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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 16, 2019 9:29am-1:02pm EDT

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>> i would the sentiment of xenophobia is not different from what we've seen in the past and while it seems to us to be peppered with acts of violence and ferocity, there have been other acts of violence, other anti-immigrant riots in the period before the civil war. anti-immigrant riots in the 1880's. there have been a lot of moments in american history when the anti-immigrant sentiment has been translated into true ugliness. >> watch sunday night at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span's q & a. >> well, the u.s. senate is about to gavel in to start the day. more work is expected on executive and judicial nominations. the first votes are scheduled for 11 a.m. eastern today. lawmakers will break between 12:30 and 2:15 eastern for their weekly party caucus lunches. when they come back the senate will complete work on the
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nomination of barbara barrett to be the next air force secretary, with a final vote on her scheduled for 4:15 eastern. and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. today's opening prayer will be offered by giani sukhvinder singh of milbourne, pennsylvania. the guest chaplain: good morning. let us pray. "one universal creator god, by the grace of the true guru."
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almighty god, we call you by many names but you are one. keep your divine hand over the members of this senate as they help steer the future of our great nation. keep truth on our tongues, love in our hearts, and sound judgment in our minds. remind us of our purpose -- to love and serve one another and create a more peaceful world. we ask for blessings unto all leaders as they work for the common good. give all who govern this land humility and courage, integrity and compassion. release each one of us from ego
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so that we may serve selflessly. help us remember that we belong to one family. "recognize the entire human race as one." we ask of the almighty to also keep watch over our nation's protectors who work tirelessly day and night to ensure our safety and our freedom. you are everywhere. all are yours. whatever is seen, o god, is your form. my lord, you are but one. we ask you to bless this great nation and its people.
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"in the name of nanak, find everlasting optimism. with your will almighty god, may there be welfare of all of humanity." [ speaking foreign language ] amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the 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. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c.,
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october 16, 2019. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable patrick j. toomey, a senator from the commonwealth of pennsylvania to perform the duties of the chair signed chuck grassley, president pro tempore. mr. toomey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. president, i
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rise today to mark a very special day for the sikh religion and the sikh community across america and especially in pennsylvania. specifically the birthday of the founder of sikhism, guru nanak. guru nanak was born into a hindu household in 1469 in what is modern day pakistan. guru nanak shown a keen interest in religion early on in his life. he had real life in his youth for philosophizing and writing poetry. he married, had children and became an accountant like his father but yet always believed in the importance of living a spiritual life and eventually he underwent a profound personal transformation to become the religious figure and leader that he is recognized as today. guru nanak's most famous teachings include that there is
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only one god, that people need to -- need not go through an intermediary such as a priest to access the one god, and that all people were created equal. he preached that his followers should meditate and remember god, that she should rn -- they should earn an honest living and share with those less fortunate themselves. guru nanak started teaching the faith around the year 1500 and with around for million adherence, the sikh faith is the sixth largest religion in the world. approximately 700,000 sikhs have chosen to make their home in the united states. there are several sikh places of worship in and around the philadelphia area, pittsburgh, allentown, erie and across america. next month on november 12, there will be celebrations at
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gurdwaras across the globe to mark the 550th birthday of guru nanak. in addition, sikh leaders have come to the capitol today to commel rate the birth detail of guru nanak. a few minutes ago a giani or sikh religious official gave the prayer as the senate opened for business. i'm proud he hails from my state of pennsylvania. and this evening leaders from the sikh community will intervene an interfaith event to promote the peaceful values that all of the world's major religions share. so, mr. president, this morning i just wanted to ad my -- add my voice to wish the sikh community great luck and great joy with this event and wish guru nanak a happy 550th birthday this year. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of defense, barbara mcconnell barrett of arizona to be secretary of the air force.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: are question in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. mcconnell: i mentioned yesterday the contrast between our work here in the senate and what's transpiring over in the house. on this side of the capitol, we're focused on working for the american people. we're overcoming democrats' historic delay tactics and ob strix to confirm more of the president's impressive nominees for the executive branch as well as the judiciary. later today, we'll confirm a new secretary of the air force and then turn to several impressive nominees to district court
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vacancies to continue our renewal of the federal judiciary. we'll also keep working on the appropriations process in providing the funding our armed forces certainly need and we're discussing ways to discourage the withdrawal of u.s. forces from the middle east and ensure the united states continues to provide the essential global leadership that has cornered isis and other radical islamist terrorists and kept our nation safe. so what's going on over in the house? they're doubling down on their three-year-old obsession with finding ways to nullify the decision the american people made back in 2016. speaker pelosi's democrats are blocking the usmca, the landmark trade deal that would create 176,000 new jobs for american workers. they're dragging their heels on funding the government, keeping our military commanders in lim
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limbo. all their energy is going into this all-consuming impeecht par -- impeachment parade that has been rolling on for three years now searching, ever searching for rationale. remember, mr. president, it was literally inauguration day january 2017 when "the washington post" ran this headline. the campaign to impeach president trump has begun. inauguration day 2017. well, they got it right. before president trump even took office, one prominent house democrat had already declared he would not be a legitimate president. just a few months later another was already promising she would not rest until she impeached him. from the very beginning of this presidency, washington democrats have lived in a state of denial. they seem positive that some inside the beltway maneuver would save them of the
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consequences of secretary clinton's defeat. they hoped special mul letter's report would value date their theory about conspeary between the trump campaign and russians. they used their minority powers in the senate to nullify his presidency by obstruction even completely uncontroversial nominees to all posts simply because this president was the one who nominated them. three years of this now. now, finally, speaker pelosi's efforts to hold back her left-wing caucus have officially crumbled and the house has thrown itself into impeachment. given the lip service that house democrats paid to defending the norms and institutions of american government, you might think they would at least run the so-called impeachment inquiry by the book. you might think that the people trying to overrule american voters and cancel out an
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election from washington would conduct their process with the very high standards of fairness and due process. if you thought that, you'd be wrong. our democratic colleague vs had their minds made up -- colleagues have had their minds made up long before this began. the chairwoman of one of the committees speaker pelosi put in the process said in april 2017, quote, i'm going to fight every day until he's impeached. every day until he's impeached. that was back in 2017. so this is not about seriously discharging constitutional responsibilities. it's about the end result they've had in mind since day one. remember when the campaign to block justice kavanaugh began with protest signs with a big empty blank for the name. it was a fill in the blank protest before they even knew who the nominee was. and now, mr. president, we have the sequel with this fill in the blank quest for impeachment. the democrats' process already
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speaks for itself. for the first time ever, speaker pelosi has simply ordered the house to conduct an inquiry into impeaching a president without a full vote of the house. just yesterday, the speaker doubled down on this unprecedented and undemocratic process by once again refusing to hold a vote on an impeachment inquiry. democrats have refused to give republicans the same rights and fair treatment that republicans afforded democrats during the clinton impeachment. things like equal subpoena power for the ranking members. likewise, democrats have refused to give president trump's counsel the same opportunities that republicans gave to president clinton, rights such as attending all hearings, depositions, offering evidence, and cross-examining witnesses. we have already seen chairman schiff in public say his committee had not been in touch with the whistle-blower when
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they actually had been. we have seen chairman schiff bizarrely and brazenly fabricate what the president actually said to the president of ukraine during an official hearing that he was chairing. only to claim that his fabrications were a parody, a parody when republicans called him out for it. the same democrats who are running this circus turn around and claim with a straight face that they are solemnly following the facts and the constitution wherever it leads. give me a break. give me a break, mr. president. the entire country can see that that's not what's happening here. and here's what else the american people can see. the democrats would rather fight with the white house than work with republicans and the administration to pass legislation. we need real solutions like full-year funding for our armed forces so our men and women in uniform can receive their pay
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raise and our commanders can engage in long-term planning. real solutions like the usmca, a major victory for american workers and american businesses which the trump administration negotiated with canada and mexico, but which speaker pelosi had blocked for months with 176,000 new american jobs hanging in the balance. opportunities are right before us. senate republicans have been ready and waiting for weeks and months to do our part and actually make law on these subjects for the benefit of american families. we just need our counterparts across the capitol to get serious about this. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, just when you think things couldn't get any stranger here in washington, d.c., a few weeks ago, speaker pelosi announced that the house was officially beginning proceedings to impeach the president of the united states. while the left has been dreaming of impeachment ever since the president was first elected in 2016, the timing of this was quite a surprise. in fact, last january, the speaker led the effort to table an impeachment resolution, and
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she and chairman nadler and chairman schiff and other house leaders had said they recognize that this would never be successful unless it is bipartisan. and i think they were right then, and they're wrong now. we know that the announcement of the speakers came at a time when the only thing the public knew is about rumors on -- of a whistle-blower complaint about a call over which virtually no one knew any details, but the facts didn't really matter. this was about grabbing a hold of something and using this as a vehicle to do what the left has wanted to do since the president was unanimous consent rated. -- was inaugurated. were the initial reports reason to look into the matter further?
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absolutely. that's what the select committee on intelligence which i have the privilege of serving on did. we had the acting director of national intelligence come testify. we had the inspector general come testify about his report. but that's not the approach that house democrats have taken. they made no honest effort to investigate before deciding to impeach. prior to the speaker's press conference, in fact, we hadn't seen the complaint, we hadn't seen the transcript or heard from the leaders of the intelligence community, but regardless of the lack of any evidence at the time, they jumped into impeachment feet first. it's almost as if they were waiting for anything, any excuse, any reason at all to do what they have wanted to do since day one in opposing president trump. this confirms to me that this is really not about the facts so much as it is a search and
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destroy mission. removing a president from office is no small matter. in fact, the senate has never done so in american history. you would think that with so much at stake, our house democrat friends would make every effort to lay out a careful, logical fact-based case to the american people. in fact, they said they knew they couldn't be successful unless this was a bipartisan effort, but they made zero effort to make it bipartisan by laying out the facts, by making it transparent, by letting the american people see exactly what was going on. ordinarily, you would expect hearings on every major network, witnesses presenting their testimony subject to questioning by both republicans and democrats and detailed reports of investigations. that's what you would expect,
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but that's not what we got. instead, we got secret hearings, secret witnesses, secret interviews, and secret meetings. but you know what goes along with that kind of secrecy? leaks and more leaks. chairman schiff and his cohorts in the house have drawn the cloak of secrecy around this entire proceeding and then proceeded to drip, drip, drip a narrative to the press through leaks that would seem to justify their arguments. but that's not fair. that's not fair to the president. that's not fair to the american people who elected the 65 million people who voted for president trump to try to negate an election through this sort of
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inappropriate process justifies logic and sense. we have some idea of who they are meeting with, but we have no idea of the details they are talking about. that's because of instead through the judiciary committee which would have been an open proceeding ordinarily, speaker pelosi has grabbed this topic from chairman nadler and given it to chairman schiff, chairman of the house intelligence committee so as to have some sort of justification, as thin as it may seem, for doing things lined closed doors and in secret. you know, as i have said, i'm on the senate against committee. i understand if there is classified information that can't be made public. that's a reason to have closed-door hearings. but there should be some effort to separate the classified information, if there is any, from the nonclassified information and have a public
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hearing on that part of the information the committee's giving, not just closing the door, locking it, and throwing away the key and keeping it all secret. this is really unjustified. well, we know that there have been -- they have been busy, chairman schiff has been busy. we know he has particularly been busy on the tv talk shows and giving interviews to the media all day long, every day, and we know that there are bits of information being strategically leaked to the media which conveniently align with their overall plan, and that is impeachment. there have been no real and incredible details about what's happened behind those closed-door meetings, and i would suggest, mr. president, that every american should be concerned.
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this is entirely contrary to our basic concepts of fairness and due process to have secret witnesses, secret interviews, secret hearings, and then use that information then to take one of the most dramatic actions that the constitution provides for, and that is the removal of a president. this is contrary to any concept of fair play and due process as guaranteed by the bill of rights and our constitution. you know, you could be charged with a tragic offense and get more transparency and more due process than what the house democrats are providing to president trump, because that's what the constitution requires. because the speaker made a decision to impeach president trump based at the time solely on rumors and secondhand information, i'm left with very little optimism for the way this
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impeachment inquiry so far has been handled. now, there have been some silly hearings in the house of representatives this year, but the american people should have the benefit of being able to watch these proceedings and draw their own conclusions. they don't have to believe what the press tells them based on strategic leaks. they don't have to believe what chairman schiff and speaker pelosi say. they can judge the facts for themselves. when it comes to impeachment, arguably one of the most serious responsibilities under our constitutional for congress. house democrats have simply drawn the cloak of secrecy around their investigation. of course, you know what the logical questions are to this sort of bizarre proceeding, questions like what are they hiding, what are they afraid of,
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what is it that they don't want the american people to see? of course, as i said, there are going to be some sensitivities and perhaps even some classified information, particularly when you're talking about foreign policy, but the president has already made the key documents public. he has declassified the conversation he had with president zell -- zelensky, and we have seen the report of the inspector general. so this secrecy veil seems to be more of a necessary tool to cloak information than doesn't align with our narrative. they simply don't want people to hear all sides of the story. i have no doubt that if the facts were on their side, they would allow this process to be
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in the open. if they actually thought that transparency would benefit them, they would throw the doors wide open and do it out in public and let the american people judge it for themselves. and if the facts were on their side, they would then hold a vote on the floor of the house of representatives authorizing this impeachment inquiry which has been done each time in the past, but for what we read, speaker pelosi is trying to protect her vulnerable house members from being accountable for their vote, particularly those in swing districts that won in 2018. so this is more -- another part of the political calculation at work here. so instead, what they're doing is constructing this narrative behind closed doors and
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hand-picking which information to leak and which to keep secret. a true and honest investigation means following the facts where they may lead, gathering evidence, and giving the american people access to that information at every step, but that is a far cry from what is happening today. while house democrats are freely leaking the details of the impeachment process to the media, they are being unfair to the american people, particularly the 65 million people who voted for president trump in the first place, but not just them. we all understand elections. you win some and you lose some. even the people who didn't vote for president trump i believe would be committed to a fair process, particularly when going through something as serious as the potential impeachment and removal of a duly elected president of the united states.
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what they want to do is undo the 2016 election, but you know, they should at least have the courage to do it out in open. out in the open. and we know what's happening as a result of the democrats devoting 100% of their time and energy to reversing the results of the 2016 election by impeaching president trump. their constituents sitting at home are wondering what it is they're actually going to be able to accomplish. you know, when we have elections, people ordinarily -- candidates run for office and they say, if you elect me, i'll do this, this, and this. but house democrats have given up on that. forget their campaign promises. forget what they told the voters in the 2018 election. it's all -- they're all in on
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impeachment and removal of the president. the rest of that stuff, well, that's just talk. at least that's how it appears. you know, there are a lot of important things we can and should be doing here in washington, as opposed it this sort of political sideshow. we've had many productive hearings and efforts on such important items as trying to reduce mass violence, something that we're all concerned about; how do we bring down costs and increase choice when it comes to our health care system; how do we improve trade so that the things we grow and make this america we can sell to markets around the world; and how can we continue this incredible trend line when this comes to our economy where unemployment is at historically low levels and particularly african american
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and hispanic unemployment is at historically the lowest level in recorded history. but forget all that. house democrats are full steam ahead on impeachment, which will make it virtually impossible for us to pass productive, bipartisan legislation. it'll make it virtually impossible for them to keep the promises they themselves made to their constituents when they ran for election in 02018 -- in 2018. and that's a really -- and that's really a crying shame. you know, this is -- the final point i wanted to make, we are 13 months -- 13 months -- from a general election. president trump will be on the ballot. these folks who apparently have never gotten over their loss in 2016, they'll have a chance to
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cast their vote again. so will the american people. and we'll be able to take a look at the democratic nominee along with president trump, the republican nominee, and we'll be able to vote 13 months from now. but to me it says the democrats are not particularly optimistic about the outcome of the 2020 election, given that choice, because they're not going to wait for the election to occur. they want to divide the country. they want to paralyze congress, and they want to impeach president trump 13 months before the election. i hope cooler heads will prevail. democrats should work with us to pass bipartisan legislation that will actually make our country better off rather than pursuing this purely political agenda of
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impeachment. mr. president, i think it's disgraceful the way that house democrats have chosen to pursue this clandestine impeachment process rather than focus on what is best for the american people and let the voters cast their ballot in 13 months, rather than put our country through this divisive and ultimately futile effort to impeach and remove president trump. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: mr. president, i want to talk about a very different topic, and that's the stanley cup. yesterday at the white house the st. louis blues were warmly welcomed by the president in a ceremony celebrating their stanley cup can victory --
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stanley cup victory. they defeated the boss isn't bruins in game 7 of the -- they defeated the boston bruins in game 7 of the stanley cup final. they were the lowest ranked team in the national hockey league. at the beginning of the season, as they got into january, i think there was a time in the month of january where the odds that the blues would win the stanley cup were 150-1. i'm not particularly a betting man, but knowing what i know now, we wouldn't have had to put much money on that bet, mr. president, to have really won a significant amount of money. as it turned out, however, as you and i know and what we do here and what we've done in our lives, the odds around really what counts. what counts is how you play the season, just like we often say in politics, candidates matter. in hockey and in sports, the players matter, how they come together as a team matters,
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whether that team really becomes a team or not matters, and this one did. it was a season with the blues filled with record-breaking achievements. jordan bennington became the first and only rookie to win 17 games in the play-offs. ryan o'reilly set a franchise record with 23 points in the play-offs and was named the post season most valuable player. game seven of the stanley cup final was the most watched nhl game in 36 years. and for the first time in franchise history, the blues brought the stanley cup home to missouri. to celebrate their achievement as the best sports fans in missouri stepped out, 500,000 people were there when the stanley cup parade was shown in st. louis for the first time.
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500,000, as you know, mr. president, and several states represented on the floor, that would be everybody in the state. and 500,000 in a pretty big crowd anywhere, as it was in st. louis that someday. today the trophy will be on display here on capitol hill so that blues fans in the area can get a chance to see this legendary pro-fee in person. -- trophy in person. seeing that the stanley cup has already traveled all over the world since the blues won the cup, ryan o'reilly brought the cup to ontario to share it with his 99-year-old grandmother. but for sure the youngest baby to be put in the stanley cup, the record was broken when the trophy was brought to a mother and her newborn child at mercy hospital in st. louis. baby barely born right there in
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the stanley cup setting the new stanley cup youngest baby in the cup record. we'll never forget the image of leila anderson, battle ago life-threatening disease, became in many ways the number-one fan of the team. leila was at the white house in the rose garden yesterday and she was called up to stand by the president and the stanley cup with the team surrounding both of them yesterday in the rose garden. the night they won, she was on the ice with the players celebrating as the stanley cup was passed around at the end of game seven. the day after the team received their championship rings, two players delivered leila to personally deliver her her very own ring. their just about as -- they're just about as big as her hands.
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her name was inscribed on the diamond-studded championship ring given to her, which also included the words, play gloria, which became the team song, fight song, inspirational song for the blues at the end of the season. blues fans have plenty to be excited about this season. the majority of the names of the players that are now etched on the stanley cup are back this year. the roster is even better with the addition of defenseman justin folk. we're also proud to shea that st. louis will host the all-star game in january. that game of course brings together the most talented players in professional hockey. i know st. louis is ready to welcome them and we'll all be excited to further solidify st. louis' place as one of the
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great sports cities in earthquake in. i hope the team will once again have the opportunity to visit the white house next year and this will just be the first year of many years where those of us in the missouri delegation will get to host the stanley cup here in the capitol. and i notice 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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the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: the house of representatives continues to -- the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: now, mr. president, the house of representatives continues to investigate the circumstances of the president's interaction with the ukrainian president zelensky and whether he used the power of his office to pressure a foreign leader to intervene in an american election on his behalf. the facts that are already in the public domain are so deeply troubled and must be taken seriously. i know our colleagues in the house of representatives did not run for office to begin an impeachment inquiry but this task was thrust upon them by the president's alleged conduct and the demands of our constitution of our republic. here in the senate, our job is even more austere.
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we're assigned the power not only to examine the evidence but to render judgment. we all have a solemn duty to follow the facts impartially and let ourselves be governed by reason rather than by passion or by politics. that role means we have a responsibility to behave impartially in a nonpartisan manner from the outset. as my friend leader mcconnell said during the 1998 impeecht debate -- impeecht debate, quote, this is mcconnell, as a potential juror, if it's serious enough to warrant an impeachment proceeding, i don't think i ought to prejudge the case. and yet already a few of my senate republican colleagues seem determined to turn this serious inquiry into another partisan exercise. my friend, the republican leader here on the floor yesterday made the sadly predictable attack of calling the work of the majority in the house partisan. another of my colleagues,
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senator graham, said he was trying to organize a letter of senate republicans promising they would not vote to convict the president before the house even completes its inquiry. before any articles of impeachment are even drafted let alone voted on, before a scrap of evidence was considered in the senate trial if that comes to it. senator graham seems to be advocating alice in wonderland justice. first the verdict. then the trial. i hope he'll rethink that. over the state work period the republican leader ran an advertisement in which he declared the way impeachment stops is with the senate majority, with me as majority leader. that's a far cry from what he said in 1998, quote, not prejudging the case. we are several steps away from a potential trial in the senate. the house continues to do its work diligently, even-handedly with only the facts in mind. so i remind my republican
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colleagues in this chamber that committing today to vote not guilty is contrary to their oath to do impartial justice. that's their oath. instead of prejudging, i'd remind my republican colleagues in this body you have a responsibility to put country over party, our national security, the rule of law, democracy are at stake. on syria, we're witnessing in real time the collapse of american foreign policy in the middle east. five years of hard fighting in syria first to destabilize and then to degrade isis has been potentially undone in one phone call. the president's abrupt decision to withdraw u.s. forces has abandoned the field to our enemies. isis, iran, putin, and bashar al-assad. and it's put our friends in danger, including two of the closest friends we have in the middle east the syrian kurds and
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israel. but i want to be very clear. the president's decision poses a threat to our national security here in the united states. by green lighting president erdogan's operation and abandoning the syrian kurds to face the onslaught on their own, the president has made an already fragile situation in northern syria more dangerous and handed a get out of jail free card to potentially more than 10,000 isis fighters. isis has threatened the united states and our allies repeatedly, taken americans hostage and executed them and will undoubtedly continue to threaten our security if they experience a resurgence. we new yorkers know best, unfortunately. how a small group of fanatics half a world away can do incredible damage and kill thousands of americans here on our soil and now with isis prisoners escaping,
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unfortunately the chances of that are increasing, not just according to me but to an expert like general mattis. so make no mistake, the president's incompetent ens -- incompetence has put american lives in jeopardy. the house of representatives will consider a solution that demantdzs he reverse course. it should pass with bipartisan support and should be the first order of business for us here in the senate, the first order of business. sanctions against erdogan are fine and good. president erdogan should be punished for his iltaker aggression but sanctions alone are insufficient. and they're particularly insufficient in regards to isis. sanctions will not put isis fighters back on the run or back in their cell. they will not stop iran and putin's growing influence in the region, nor will they undo america's betrayal of our partners and allies. sanctions can be an effective
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tool but they're not the only tool, especially when the case -- especially when the crisis in this case is of the president's own making. the simplest and most effective remedy would be for the president to admit his mistake and correct course. now, proposations. earlier this -- appropriations. earlier this summer both houses of congress arrived at a budget agreement that gave us a blueprint in funding the government. but in september republicans unilaterally walked away from our agreement and proposed taking $12 billion from domestic programs, including head start, h.h.s., and even the pentagon to fund the president's border wall. this is a nonstarter. there aren't enough votes in the chamber to pass it. as we look to get the appropriations back on track, i was disappointed that senate republicans let the entire state work period pass without responding to democratic offers. instead of spending that time
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negotiating with house democrats on allocations, senate republicans have sat on their hands and now we're back in session this week at the same impasse. republicans insisting on the same thing they unsuccessfully shut down the government for last year. $12 billion for a border wall that president trump promised mexico would pay for. if senate republicans don't wise up and resume good-faith negotiations with democrat, i fear we've headed down the same road. finally, on pensions, for decades millions, millions of americans labored in construction and mining and truck driving and other industries with the promise of a secure retirement when they reach old age through their pension. but through no fault of their own, forces like a financial crisis, a dwindling labor force and inaction on the part of the federal government, their pension plans are now at risk of becoming insolvent within a
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decade. this is an immediate problem. it's going to destroy the security of millions of retirees, people who worked all their lives. they put money, a little bit of money that they could have spent and needed, but they put it in for their retirement hoping that the day they retired they wouldn't become rich but at least they could live decently. now that may be vanished, vanished. congress has the power to stop this problem dead in its tracks. just two months ago, the house passed the butch lewis act which would provide immediate relief to critical and declining pension plans so that we could keep our promise to our workers. leader mcconnell and senate republicans once again inexplicably have refused to take action on this bipartisan legislation. senate republicans blocked us from even debating it last night. so in a short time i will join my colleagues, including senators brown and stabenow and manchin and murray and wyden to
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demand that leader mcconnell allow us a vote on legislation to protect these millions of workers and secure the retirements that they have earned. president trump often claims to be looking out for the american worker, but his policies set them further and further adrift. this one is notorious. retirement, part of the american dream, part of the american way. a decent retirement. here is a chance for president trump to actually defend american workers instead of hurting them. if president trump is truly the champion of the american workers, he will prevail on our republican colleagues to start working with democrats to make sure, make sure we protect the pensions that millions of families rely on for their security and have paid for. 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 south dakota. mr. thune: i would ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: madam president, later today, the senate will vote to confirm barbara barrett as secretary of the air force. i have just come to the floor directly from a meeting with her this morning. ambassador barrett has had an impressive career both inside and outside government. among other things, she has served as u.s. ambassador to finland, deputy administrator of the f.a.a., and as a member of the civil aeronautics board.
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most importantly, she has a deep understanding of the u.s. air force thanks to her work as a civilian advisor to the secretary of defense and the joint chiefs. as a member of the defense advisory committee on women in the services, she fought to expand opportunities for women in the military. she became the first civilian woman to land an f-18 on an aircraft carrier, part of a mission to demonstrate women's fitness to fly in combat. thanks in part to her work, in 1993, the military changed its regulations to allow women to fly combat aircraft. madam president, i am always particularly interested in making sure that we have an outstanding air force secretary because my state of south dakota is lucky enough to play host to elsworth air force base, home of the 28th bomb wing and future home of the b-21 bomber. over the state work period in october, i was able to visit elsworth to sit down with the new commander of the 28th bomb wing, certainly david daas, as
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well as command chief master sergeant michelle hemingway. we had a great discussion and we had a chance to talk about the needs of the base going forward, including what would be needed as elsworth prepares to serve as the first home of the b-21. ensuring that the base has the necessary resources and infrastructure to fully support the b-21 mission will be a priority of mine, not just as we await the mission, but for decades to come. since i came to congress, i have worked with the base and the greater rapid city community to build up elsworth. we have gone from fighting to keep the base open to adding an m-q-9 reaper mission and supporting the b-1 as the work force of the bomber fleet to hosting the largest training airspace in the continental united states and to being chosen to host both the b-21 training mission and first operational squadron. i'm incredibly proud of all that elsworth airmen have accomplished, and i'm looking forward to seeing everything the
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team at the base will be able to do in the future. madam president, as i reflect on the critical role that our military plays in the world, i want to take a minute to talk about what is happening in syria right now and the united states' response. this is a complex situation. given its proximity to several fronts of conflict and unrest, turkey is facing immense pressure to address security concerns and is straining to support a huge number of refugees. turkey also has an understandable interest in rooting out terrorists within its country and stemming any factions that support them. but the kurdish militias the united states has backed in syria are not the same as the group turkey has struggled to contain in its own country. and turkey's decision to attack kurdish forces in syria will do nothing but exacerbate the humanitarian crisis on the border. it will also strengthen the assad regime and foster greater influence by russia and iran.
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most alarmingly, turkey's incursion would force them to pull resources that would be keeping isis fighters. it is deeply concerning the withdrawal forces that have set this into motion. madam president, as you know, a major reason for isis' rise was president obama's decision to withdraw forces from iraq on a timetable he announced to enemies and before the security situation was stable. the departure of u.s. forces created a vacuum in the region that isis quickly stepped in to fill. it's important that we don't allow history to repeat itself. u.s. and kurdish forces have been working together against isis for years now, and have succeeded in drastically shrinking isis territory and weakening this terrorist organization. thanks to their work in many respects, isis can be said to be on the run, but this achievement could quickly be undone by a u.s. withdrawal from the
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country. i hope, madam president, that we will be able to have some fruitful discussions here in washington this week about the need to maintain our strategic gains against isis and avoid creating a vacuum for our enemies to fill, and i hope our nato ally turkey is listening closely. madam president, i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, i rise today on the senate floor to address an issue which is really fundamental to who we are as americans. it's the issue of immigration. we've just celebrated in this past week a day dedicated to christopher columbus, who supposedly discovered america. of course, we know better. native americans were here and had discovered it before him. but he was the first european to discover america and really triggered an immigration to this part of the world that has really changed america and the
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world forever. this immigration from all over the world has created one of the most diverse nations on earth. i am a beneficiary of that immigration. my mother was an immigrant to america in 1911, coming here from lithuania to east st. louis, illinois, where she was raised and where i had a chance to grow up as well. today her son, this immigrant mother's son, has been serving as the united states senator from illinois with humility and pride. it's an indication of our family story, but it's also america's story, how immigrants came from foreign to america and built families that continue to serve this nation to this day. you would think since immigration is such a central part of who we are as americans there would be a general consensus about the issue.
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but it turns out to be one of the most hotly contested and debated issues almost since the arrival of the mayflower. how many people should be arrived to come in this country? where are they going to come from? what will they do when they come here? what impact will they have on those of us who are already here? all of these questions have led us into an ongoing debate about immigration. this morning i come to the floor to discuss one aspect of it. this last sunday i was back in illinois and was invited to a democratic party event in schonberg, illinois, on sunday morning. it was a fairly routine meeting of a democratic township organization for breakfast. i have been to many of them. it is great to seal old friends. -- it is great to see old friends. when i arrived at the event, i was surprised to see demonstrators, protesters, perhaps 200 of them, holding signs with my name on them. it is not exactly the way you
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want to start a sunday morning with 200 people with signs about this fellow named durbin. i had a chance to talk to them. i didn't run away from them because i wanted to find out who they were and why they were there. by and large, they were people from india who are currently living in the united states and want to become legal here and citizens here. most of them came to the united states bringing special skills that were needed. many of them are in the silicon valley high-tech industry, engineers who came to the states once companies certified they couldn't find an american to fill the job, which is a retirement. unable to find an american, these companies asked permission to bring this these highly skilled people from india to serve as engineers in the united states. they come in on what's known as h-1b visas by and large and it
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allows them to work in the united states for several years and to renew that work status on a recurring basis. but it reaches a point where they want to stay here. they've lived here a while. they bring their families or raise their families here, and they want to become part of america's future. and so they apply for what's known as an employment-based visa, which leads to a green card. a green card is the ticket to legal, permanent residency, which can lead to legal status and citizenship. and so these people from india were waiting to see me and say a few words to me on the fact that the waiting list for those in this category from india has now passed 520,000. 520,000 who are seeking the status in our country. i met one of them from my
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hometown of springfield, illinois, a young indian physician who is serving at one of our hospitals in springfield, and he brought with him his daughter. his daughter is is 12 years old. he is worried, because if he, a physician who came here to work from india, is not allowed to legally stay in this country and his daughter reaches the age of 18, her status changes. she's no longer his dependent. she now has her own immigration status, and she is not technically, legally beyond the age of 18 allowed to stay in this country p. and so he says to me, here is my daughter who's been here for ten years. this is the country she knows and loves and wants to be part of and if i don't get approval to stay as a doctor in this country, she technically undocumented at that point and will run into problems in her
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future. for example, no surprise this doctor wants to see his daughter go to college. well, his daughter undocumented won't qualify for any assistance in the united states by the way of pell grants or loans. how is she going to pay for college? where would she go? our immigration system says at that point if her father doesn't reach this green card status, she would return to india, a place she maybe never remembers that was part of her infancy and early time here on earth. so it is a complicated situation. and there is a debate under way here about how to stop this backlog of people who are waiting in line ten years, 20 years, and more to reach green card status. you can imagine the uncertainty in their lives, the uncertainty for their children, and why they are looking for some relief. i come to this issue never
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dreaming that i would end up being in the middle of most debates in the senate on immigration. but i welcome it because it is such an important issue and because i have strong feelings myself about america's immigration policy. i serve as the ranking member of the subcommittee on immigration for the senate judiciary committee. as i said, my own personal family and life experience has really made my warm to the subject and try to learn as much as i can in a complex field. make no mistake, the immigration system of the united states of america is badly, badly broken. how to fix it is hotly debated here in the senate, in the housers and across the nation. -- in the house, and across the nation. last night when i was watching the presidential debates, groups were running ads on the issue of immigration. many believe that it is going to be a hot topic in the 2020 election. it is quite possible it will be.
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we know in state legislatures, in city halls, on cable news and social media, almost everywhere there is a debate under way about immigration. but there is one place where there's no debate about immigration -- here. here in the united states senate. last year we had one hearing in the immigration subcommittee. the senate judiciary committee subcommittee voted on only one immigration bill last year. the chairman limited debate to one how and didn't allow any amendment ofs. and we have not had any debates on the floor of the senate. i look to the galleries and the people who come to the senate and expect to see a debate on an issue, an important issue. here's one -- immigration. but all you have is a speech from this senator, a few others, instead of addressing the issue of immigration. senator kennedy has come to the floor and i'm going to make a unanimous consent request in just a few minutes.
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he is a member of the senate judiciary committee, too. and i think he appreciates, as i do, what a great honor it is to serve on this storied committee. but the fact is to have the titles of judiciary committee, immigration subcommittee, and to do nothing i think is a dereliction of duty. we're supposed to step up and debate these things and come to the best bipartisan conclusion we can to solve problems in this country. here is a problem we're not solving. how to deal with a backlog of people highly skilled and important people like the doctor from my hometown of springfield, who wants to become an american citizen. i want him to become a citizen and get a green card. i want his family to be there with him so his life is complete
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as he pursues his professional responsibilities. now, in recent weeks there's been an effort to pass a bill to address this issue. the bill is s. 386. it's known as the fairness for high-skilled immigrants. unfortunately, there was an effort to pass it without any debate or a chance to even offer an amendment. now, this bill makes significant changes in our immigration laws. but there's never been a hearing on the bill or a vote in the committee. the lead sponsor of the legislation is mike lee, who is the senior senator from utah and a personal friend. he has negotiated several amendments in private with his republican senators, but there s been no conversation with myself or any other democratic senators from the -- in these negotiations. that's not how the senate should work. i've seen the senate at its best
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and unfortunately it was seven years ago. we decided to actually sit down and try to fix the immigration system. it is a pretty ambitious task. but we had some pretty talented people engaged in it. leading on the republican side, john mccain from arizona, next to him, lindsey graham, jeff flake, and marco rubio. on our side, i was engaged with senator chuck schumer, who is now the democratic senate leader, as well as bob menendez, of course an hispanic senator from the state of new jersey, and michael bennet of colorado. so the eight of us came together. we did what i think the senate is supposed to do -- we sat down and took our time and spent months every single week, sometimes several evenings each week, going through a different section of our immigration law and trying to make it work,
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reform it, change it. it took us months, some six months of meetings. but that's what we were elected to do. and we produced a comprehensive immigration reform bill that was supported by virtually everyone, groups -- business leaders as well as groups of labor leaders, the church community, all sorts of people from the conservative side of politics to the liberal side of politics said this is a good, fair, bipartisan compromise. so in 2013 we reported this bill to the floor, after our democratic judiciary committee chairman at that time, patrick leahy of vermont, had a lengthy hearing. we considered over 100 amendments, amendments offered by those who were voting against the bill, like jeff sessions of alabama, and amendments offered by those supporting the bill, like macy hirono of hawaii.
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each person offered an amendment of, we debated it and voted on it. and thanks to chairman leahy's skill and patience i might add, after hundreds of amendments were considered, the bill was reported out of the senate judiciary committee. it came to the floor of the united states senate in 2013 and we called for a vote and it passed 68-32. after all that work on a bipartisan basis, we finally got it right. i thought we did and i voted for it. sadly, that bill was sent across the rotunda over to the house of representatives as the constitution requires, and unfortunately the republican speaker john boehner refused to even call the people or debate an alternative to it. it literally died for lack of any effort to deal with the issue in the united states house of representatives. and so you ask well, that was seven years ago. what's happened since?
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the answer is nothing. virtually nothing. except decisions by the trump administration, for example, to eliminate some aspects of our immigration law like the daca provisions. i ask consent for three additional minutes before i make a unanimous consent. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: so in light of an attempt to pass the fairness for high skilled immigrants act without hearing or debate, i come to the floor to present an alternative. i'm introducing the resolving extended limbo for immigrant employees relief and families act known as the relief act which will treat all immigrants fairly by eliminating immigration visa backlogs, one of the most serious problems of our broken immigration system. there aren't enough immigrant visas known as green cards. as a result immigrants are stuck in crippling backlockes for decades -- backlogs for decades. most who live and work in the
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united states or in the state department's immigrant visa waiting list. however, under current law, only 226,000 family green cards and 140,000 employee green cards are available each year. children and spouses of lawful personal residence known as r.p.r.'s count against these caps which further limit the number of available green cards. the backlogs are a tremendous hardships on families caught in the situation. children of l.p.r.'s often age out, as i described earlier, because they're no longer children by the time the green cards are available. the solution is clear. increase the number of green cards. let's be clear. lifting green card caps alone without increasing green cards as the bill that senator lee is sponsoring would do will not eliminate the backlog for indian immigrants. the nationality with the most people in the employment backlog. and it will dramatically increase backlogs for the rest of the world.
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the nation's expert on immigration laws has said that we are virtually trying to solve the problem with senator lee's bill for indian immigrants at the expense of everyone else in the world. here's what he says. from 2023 until well into 2030's, there will be zero eb2 visas for the rest of the world. none for china, south korea, philippines, britain, can darks most company, any country in the european union and all of africa, zero. it will choke off green cards for every important profession that isn't in the information technology field. more than 20 national organizations have now rallied against the lee legislation and have said things such as the bill offers a zero sum approach pitting one group of immigrants against another to fight a broken immigration system. the relief act which i'm introducing today is a solution, and i would now like to make the following unanimous consent. as if in legislative session, i
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ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of -- i'm sorry. the presiding officer: the senator has used his extra three minutes. mr. durbin: i'm making a unanimous consent request. mr. durbin: as in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. 2603 introduced earlier today. further, that the bill be railroaded read three times and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. a senator: madam president, reserving the right to object. no one in this chamber has more respect for the senior senator from illinois and the democratic whip than i do. mr. kennedy: and i share much of
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his frustration. i also share and i believe the senator also believes that immigration is an extraordinarily important subject that this body should be addressing. we are a nation of immigrants. the american people support legal immigration. i know the senior senator from illinois supports it. i certainly support it. i am rising to object because a number of my colleagues -- and i don't want to simply put it on them. i join with them in this -- would like a little additional time to study this bill but equally important if not more important, many of my colleagu colleagues' sentiment is that we should take this bill up first in the judiciary committee.
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i commit to the minority whip that i will join with him in trying to get our esteemed chairman to take this bill up. i don't think we ought to be afraid of this issue. i don't think we ought to be reluctant to take difficult votes. that's why we are here in the united states senate. and i can't think of a subject that's more important for this body to address than the subject of immigration, including but not limited to legal and illegal immigration. the fact of the matter is the american people deserve an immigration system that looks like somebody designed it on purpose. but for the reasons i just expressed, madam president, i respectfully object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i thank my colleague from louisiana. we worked on things together, and i hope we can continue to in
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the future. this is controversial, but it's so timely and important. the hundreds of people who demonstrated against this senator last sunday are people i welcome into this country and will be an important part of its future. i want to find a solution to their problem, and i'm willing to work on a bipartisan basis to do it. your help will be invaluable. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. 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 frank william volk of west virginia to be united states district judge for the southern district of west virginia signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that cloture on the nomination of frank william volk of west virginia to be u.s.
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district judge for the southern district of west virginia shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? seeing none, the yeas are 90, the nays are 0. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the remaining votes in the series be ten minutes in length. officer without objection. the clerk will report the no motion to invoke clerk.
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cloture. 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 charles r. eskridge iii of texas to be united states district judge for the southern district of texas, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of charles r. eskridge iii of texas to be u.s. district judge for the southern district of texas shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: have all senators voted? any senators wish to change their vote? the yeas are 61, nays 29, the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22, do hereby bring to a close debate on the nomination of david john novak, of virginia, to be united states district judge for the eastern district of virginia, signed by
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17 senators. the presiding officer: the mandatory quorum call has been waived. is it the sense of the senate that the nomination of david john novak, of virginia, to be united states district judge for the eastern are district of virginia, shall be brought to a close? the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: have all senators voted? any senator wish to change their vote? on this vote the yeas are 86, the noes are 4. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of rachel p. kovner of new york to be united states district judge for the eastern district of new york signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of rachel p. kovner of new york to be united states district judge for the eastern district of new york shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: any senator wish to change their vote? the yeas are 85, the nays are 3. the motion is agreed to. the senator from ohio. mr. brown: mr. president, thank you. i just came from a rally, a meeting with 100, more or less 100 workers, middle-class workers from wisconsin and west virginia and my state of ohio and all over the country. teamsters -- mr. president, i ask consent to speak for five minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you. there were teamsters, mine
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workers dressed in camel shirts, bakery and confection workers, carpenters, electricians, and they're here because many of them, maybe all of them are about to lose 50% of their pensions. they're about to lose their pensions because ten years ago, in the end days of the bush administration, when our economy plummeted, people were losing jobs, 800,000 jobs a month in the last years of the bush administration, last months of the bush administration, when companies were going out of business, a lot of employers of these workers went out of business. and put on top of that wall street greed, and you can see why these pensions are in jeopardy. too often in this town people from the white house frankly to my senate colleagues don't understand what collective bargaining is about. you negotiate at the bargaining table.
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you give up wages today so that you put money aside and have a pension and health care in the future. that's what these workers did, these teamsters and these confection workers and these iron workers. that's what they did, but they're paying a price. not anything they did to cause this, but they're paying a price. this body fell all over itself to bail out wall street and to help the big auto companies, and look how they're paying back their workers parn they wantically. this body -- parenthetically. this body is fine. the president is fine bailing out the big guys. the president has been absent and republican leadership has been absent. exception, senator portman has been working with me and senator hoeven and others, but leadership has been absent on trying to fix this pension issue. you love your country, you fight for the people who make it work, you fight for the dignity of work means honoring and respecting work. we've got to do better. mr. president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent the finance committee be discharged from
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further consideration of s. 2254, the butch lewis act, that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the bill be considered read a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. grassley: mr. president, reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i have some sympathy for the motion that senator brown made because he just came from a meeting with people that are very interested in getting this multiemployer pension issue straightened out because three or four years ago i spoke to a big delegation of people mostly from central states teamsters who were very much lobbying for a solution to this problem, and they treated me like a hero because i had at
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that time -- we were probably in the middle of a government accountability office investigation of the mismanagement of these funds. we thought that we were going to get a g.a.o. report that would show the mismanagement and reaped the benefits of that mismanagement and recoup a lot of funds. but, quite frankly, that government ability office study of about two years didn't prove that i thought and central state teamsters thought was wrong. we still think that mismanagement was there, but if you don't have an authority like the government accountability office to justify that, it doesn't give you much of a leg to follow up on. now we have the bush lewis act that senator brown is asking unanimous consent for, and we also have other proposals that
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the senate finance committee, which i chair, have been working on not only under my chairmanship but the biggest problem of this being worked on when senator hatch was still chairman of the committee. so i want to give people reasons why i've asked to, reserving the right to object. the lewis act doesn't provide long-term solvency to the central states plan or other multiemployer pension plans and is costly and incomplete attempt to fix the multiemployer system. according to the congressional budget office, many plans that would be eligible for a loan under this legislation couldn't pay these loans back, and most of the plans taking the loans would become insolvent even if they're able to pay back the loans. the bill acknowledges it's
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failing by providing for direct federal assistance for plans that go insolvent even after they receive a loan. most critically, the act makes no reforms to the system to secure its long-term solvency. that's not the way we ought to be working to help retirees. since last year getting back to the work of the finance committee both under senator hatch and under my leadership, the committee has been working on a bipartisan basis to address the issues facing the multiemployer system, and i want to emphasize the necessity of bipartisanship in the united states senate when you have a division of 53-47, you've got to have 60 votes to get something done in this body, and that's why bipartisanship is very, very important.
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the committee is nearing completion of a comprehensive proposal that will include financial assistance to the critical and declining multiemployer pension plans and provide long-term solvency to these plans and the pension benefits guaranty corporation. that proposal will include financial relief for plans like central states and the coal miners. because of butch lewis act is so costly and does not -- and does nothing to fix the flaws in the system that has brought about this bill -- and i spoke to some of nose flaws in relationship to the -- some of those flaws in relationship to the government accountability office that i initiated a few years ago. there's nothing in the proposal that senator brown is asking for a u.c. on that addresses the mismanagement of the trustees,
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and our comprehensive plan includes reforms to address trustee requirements and plan operations. in other words, the people in the private sector that are managing this ought to have some responsibility to make sure that they're doing it in a fiscally sound and carrying out the rights of a trustee. so i object to this request. mr. brown: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i thank senator grassley, and we will be working together on this. i just want to point out that there of course was some mismanagement, and i want to fix the, as he does, want to fix some of the structural issues, but time is of the essence -- understanding this is not happening today but time is of the essence because these pensions, especially the mine workers but the teamsters are next and others in central states, as senator grassley knows gets worse if we don't get this done this year. i want to emphasize while there of course is some mismanagement
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of funds here, the predominant predominant, preponderance of the problem here is that a bunch of mining companies, construction companies and transportation companies went out of business with the bush recession in 2007, 2008, and 2009, taking away the companies paying into these funds. the other part of it was wall street greed, generally what happened with the stock market. that's the preponderance of the problem. but i concur with senator grassley that we can work on a lot of this together. senator portman and i especially have a responsibility to get this done and to make it happen. i thank the chairman and i yield back. the presiding officer: the senate stands in recess
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