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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 21, 2019 2:59pm-6:22pm EDT

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>> do you see that part of tht role is to go in -- just like a bank examiner you go in and try to ferret out where things are not working right rather than r iting to find out after the fact that something isn't working right. >> absolutely yes. when he comes to consumer protection peninsula. >> thank you. i have one minuterc more than likely follow up on a question when you were before committee in march i asked about, i asked about a proposal the bureau had published in 2017 to directly obtain data from a variety of entities in the student loan jdustries and this went to the omb for routine review. at the time he said were looking into that to figure out where it stands and could you have an update - >> we leave the last part of the spanking hearing and can watch this and all are covered at the senate is is about to gavel in and they are voting which
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would make the balkan - a debate on executive damnation of the 2020 spending. we taking live to the floor of the senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain of the senate, doctor black, will open the senate with prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal master, we find shelter in your shadow, for you are our
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refuge and fortress. lord, we place our trust in you. rescue our senators from the forces that seek to threaten freedom. remind our lawmakers that nothing is impossible for you. be with them this day as they strive to serve you and country. we call on you because you have promised to answer us, so satisfy our longings with your saving power. lord, use us all to help heal the wounds of a divided nation.
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we pray in your strong name, amen. the president pro tempore: will you join me in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of americ, 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 ask to speak as if in morning business for what time i might consume, and my guess it'll be about 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: first of all, my usual one-minute speech after i open the senate. last week i spoke about consistent congressional oversight, the checks and balances of government, congress to make sure that the executive branch of government faithfully executes the laws under the constitution. in that speech, i talked about how the democrats have ignored their own party's use of russian and ukrainian government
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connections to undermine trump. i noted how the democrats' action literally fit that's right own definition of collusion. congress ought to conduct aggressive oversight. it's a constitutional demand. however, if you want to be taken seriously in this body and by the american public, you have to be -- you have to be very consistent. and, of course, i'm pointing out some inconsist sis by the other -- inconsistencies by the other political party. when democrats ignore their own leadership collusion with foreign governments yet investigate the president after alleging he did the same, that's a lack of consistency and doubts about credibility. now, on another subject, i
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recently introduced the whistle-blower program improvement act of 2019, a bipartisan bill, and i have the support of the bipartisan whistle-blowers caucus. this legislation strengthens whistle-blower protection for whistle-blowers working in a variety of key sectors, including our securities and commodities industries and the foreign service. there's been a lot of talk about government whistle-blowers lately. that's very appropriate. it's important to remember that many of our whistle-blower laws are there to protect just ordinary, average americans who don't work in government at all. many of the groups helped by this bill work in the private industry. in some cases, they're investors
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or business people who've been on the receiving end of financial fraud. in others, they're employees like stockbrokers, traders, investment advisors, administrative professionals, and other support staff who see activities in the course of their work that they know are outright wrong, and these good people decide to speak out, speaking out many times causes you to eventually seek whistle-blower protection. among these brave whistle-blowers are people like the three employees at merrell lynch who had evidence that between 2009 and 2015 their company was misusing customer
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cash. now just think how lucky these savers were, helped by whistle-blowers willing to come out and say a wrong has been committed. they did it this way. the whistle-blowers told the securities and exchange commission sec what they knew, and in doing so provided information critical to an investigation of the company's practice. that investigation uncovered multiple violations of federal rules. among other things, the securities and exchange commission found the company was not depositing cash in reserve accounts, as law required. instead, the company was using tricky accounting maneuvers to
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free up billions of dollars per week, and then you know what? using that money to finance its own trading practices. and, in the process, it's quite obvious the company was putting its customers' cash at risk. the securities and exchange commission said that, quote -- and i quote -- had merril lynch failed in the midst of these trades, the firm's customers would have been exposed to a massive shortfall in reserve accounts, end of quote. the information provided by whistle-blowers led to a successful enforcement action, which involved an admission of wrongdoing by the company and a $415 million settlement. now, getting back to the
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importance of whistle-blowers, if these whistle-blowers hadn't stepped forward, then who knows? those shady accounting practices might still be going on this very day instead of having been stopped, stopped cold. investors might still be facing the same unnecessary risk. now, there are plenty of examples from the commodities industry as well. people like edward sidell, a whistle-blower who informed the commodity futures trading commission that j.p. morgan chase was failing to disclose conflicts of interest with some of its clients. because mr. sidell decided to speak out about what he knew, the government collected hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements.
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whistle-blowers like mr. sidell and the employees at merrill lynch deserve our gratitude, and they deserve our support. they helped the securities and exchange commission and the commodity futures trading commission to do their job, and they helped to promote transparency, and with transparency comes accountability, in this case, for our financial system. i tell you something else they deserve. they deserve assures that when they put -- they deserve assurance that when they put their jobs and their reputation on the line, they won't be fired just for trying to do the right thing. they deserve to know that if the government recovers money because of their disclosures, they'll be able to get a
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decision on their award application and do it in a timely fashion. currently whistle-blowers don't have these assurances. last year, despite strong objections that i raised in a brief to the supreme court in the case of digital reality v. somers, the court ruled that a whistle-blower who reports violations of our nation's security laws is protected from retaliation not all the time but only when he or she discloses the wrongdoing directly to the s.e.c. because of this ruling, if a whistle-blower in the securities industry reports a concern to a supervisor at their place of work without also going to the s.e.c., they can be fired
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without any recourse. in other words, fired for the so-called crime they did. and what did they do? they did nothing more than what you might call the crime of committing truth. so they have no legal protection or means of getting their job back. that's not what congress intended when it created the current securities and exchange commission whistle-blower program, and that was done back in 2010. it's not what i intended when i voted for that whistle-blower protection. that law was supposed to protect whistle-blowers who report wrongdoing. it was supposed to prevent them from being fired just -- without
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just cause. this decision has far-reaching implications that potentially affect others beyond those working in the securities industry. because the commodities whistle-blower program was established through the same public laws as the securities and exchange commission program, that program incorporates many of the same provisions, including similar language to that which the supreme court ruled on during the digital reality case. that means whistle-blowers in yet another program face the prospects of having anti-retaliation provision congress put in place a decade ago suddenly yanked away from them. that's unacceptable to me.
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it's a scenario that should be unacceptable to every member of this body who cares about keeping our financial system very strong. protecting the investors, my bill prevents the supreme court ruling from becoming the status quo. it makes it clear that whistle-blowers who report concerns about possible violation of our federal securities and commodities laws are fully protected, whether they take their concerns to the securities and exchange commission or to the commodity futures trading commission. or to anyone else in their company who they reasonably believe has the ability to address their concerns. that's what companies should want. they should want it anyway to keep their public
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respectability. it's also a commonsense goal that we ought to be seeking, and it is common sense. when an employee tells his or her company about concern, it gives the company a chance to investigate and address the concerns, and if necessary to self-report any problems to the federal regulators. companies that come clean and self-report almost always receive reduced penalties. now, that's an outcome that's better for the company, and it's obviously better for the investor. on another matter, my bill addresses a concern for securities and commodities whistle-blowers. i said before that if the government recovers money as a result of a whistle-blower's
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disclosure, the whistle-blower deserves at least an initial disoition concerning their award application, and to do it in a timely fashion. unfortunately, my office has heard of far too many cases where whistle-blowers have to wait years to get a decision from the securities and exchange commission after they applied for an award. and you apply for the award after you make the case for the government. and that waiting, that long to wait is not acceptable. a year should be more than enough time for regulators to reach an initial determination regarding an award application. my bill makes the one-year standard law for both the securities and exchange commission and the commodities future trading commission whistle-blowers.
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and if the agency takes longer than a year to reach an initial decision, the whistle-blower office must notify the chairman, and the whistle-blower of the cause for the delay. recently, i had a chance to sit down with securities and exchange commission commission chairman clayton to discuss these changes. my staff worked closely with the securities and exchange commission and the commodity futures trading commission to craft the language. now i urge all my colleagues to support change as well. in addition to these changes, my bill irons out other differences between the securities and exchange commission and the commodity future trading commission whistle-blower program and ensures that whistle-blowers reporting to both of these bodies have access to the same judicial remedies.
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it also enables the commodity future trading commission to hold more in customer protection fund. that is the fund used to pay out its awards to the whistle-blower, and it allows the commodity futures trading commission to use money from the fund to teach stakeholders about the opportunities that are available to them through the whistle-blower program. finally, my bill addresses the critical gap in protection provided to foreign service employees through the whistle-blower protection act. due to a drafting error in the law, the office of special counsel has stated that it doesn't have the authority to investigate instances of possible retaliation against
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foreign service workers when the retaliation comes in the form of a poor performance evaluation. that's an important task of the office of special counsel and an important protection that congress has afforded to other government whistle-blowers, so the foreign service offices people should have that as well. my bill closes that gap and makes it clear that foreign service workers should receive those same protections. now, in closing, this bill contains commonsense changes. it reinforces and extends protections that congress already granted in the past and ensures that whistle-blowers working in different industries who make similar kinds of disclosures are equally treated
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and equally protected under the law. it also tells the supreme court of the united states that you didn't get it right. that's something i am certain we can all get behind, straightening out the supreme court when they don't follow congressional intent. the bipartisan coalition of support for this bill is strong testament to that. i want to thank my original cosponsors, senators balled wynn, durbin, and ernst for their enthusiastic support of this legislation and when it comes before the senate for a vote, i urge all of my colleagues to do the same. i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. con. res. 27. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. con. res. 27, concurrent resolution providing for the use of the catafalque
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situated in exhibition hall of the capitol visitors' center, and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the concurrent resolution be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now, mr. president, this week the senate has several opportunities to make headway on important matters facing our country. first we will tend to a pending treaty protocol on the accession of a new member to nato and reaffirm the importance of the alliance to the security of u.s. interests around the world. then we'll consider yet another of the president's well-qualified nominees to the diplomatic corps. but while the senate can take care of some of these matters on our own, much of the pressing business of the american people
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requires coordination with our colleagues across the capitol. and unfortunately, the only thing that seems to really inspire house democrats these days is their obsession with overturning the results of the 2016 election. in the weeks since the speaker of the house gave in to her far-left members' demands for an impeachment inquiry, she and other prominent house democrats have insisted over and over and over again that impeachment will not stop them from making real progress on legislation. they say their three-year-old impeachment parade doesn't have to block traffic and bring other important priorities to a standstill. that's what they have been saying. but actions speak louder than words. we have yet to see any actual indication that house democrats intend to make good on that commitment. for months, we have heard the speaker claim she would like to
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get the yes on usmca. we have heard that her caucus is, quote, making progress, end quote. but nearly a year after this landmark agreement with mexico and canada was announced, the most significant update to the north american trade policy in a generation is still waiting for the house to take action. billions of new dollars in economic growth, 176,000 new american jobs are still waiting on house democrats, and that's not all. so far, even something as completely basic as funding our armed forces, funding our men and women in uniform has met the same fate. democrats have elected to stall it and block it in order to pick fights with the white house. notwithstanding our bipartisan, bicameral agreement to wrap up the appropriations process in good faith, senate democrats voted a few weeks ago to block
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funding to the department of defense. no critical resources for u.s. service members, no predictable planning process for our commanders, no pay raise for our all-volunteer armed forces, none of that was allowed to travel through the senate because our democratic colleagues just don't care for the occupant of the white house. ironically, many of these same colleagues of ours have spent recent days making loud pronouncements on u.s. foreign policy. by the sound of their comments, this it -- it almost sounds as if they are coming around to republican long-held views on american leadership around the world. once again, actions speak louder. thus far, our democratic colleagues might have been willing to get past partisanship for the sake of job number one, funding our military. so this week, we'll offer our democratic colleagues a clear test. are all the declarations they are willing to work on important
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legislation or just empty talk? or will senate democrats finally do their part to move the appropriations process forward? soon we will vote on advancing a package of domestic funding legislation. as i said last week, i'm grateful to chairman shelby and senator leahy for their continued conversations and hopeful they can produce a substitute amendment that will fund a number of urgent domestic priorities. then once we conclude that work, we'll vote to move forward to funding for our national defense. two big votes. two big votes, mr. president. two big opportunities for our democratic friends to show the country whether their party's impeachment obsession leaves them any room at all for the pressing business of the american people. now, mr. president, i understand there is a bill at the desk due a second reading. the presiding officer: the leader is correct.
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the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. the clerk: s. 2644, a bill to impose sanctions with respect to turkey, and for other purposes. mr. mcconnell: in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule 14, i would object to further proceedings. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will be placed on the calendar. 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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quorum call:
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mr. murphy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: i ask that we dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the following treaty, which the clerk will report. the clerk: clard number five, treaty dock 16 -- 1, protocol to the north atlantic treaty of 1949 on the accession of the republic of north macedonia. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: i want to tell you a quick story about a woman from
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atlanta. her name is dawn jones. dawn bought what is commonly referred to in the insurance industry as a short-term health insurance plan. she bought it from the golden rule insurance company, which is united health. she needed it because she needed some coverage in between jobs. she was then diagnosed with breast cancer, and she went through a heartbreaking experience trying to get her insurance company to cover her for her 400,000 medical bill. in the end she could not get her short-term health insurance plan to cover her breast cancer treatments, and here's the reason why. the insurer didn't need to cover preexisting conditions. short-term plans do not need to cover things that we
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traditionally think of as health care insurance today. the protections of the affordable care act require that insurance cover you whether you are diagnosed with a serious disease or not, but short-term plans don't need to cover you for those things. so this short-term plan didn't cover her breast cancer despite the fact that she wasn't diagnosed with breast cancer until after she signed up for the plan. you may ask, why is that a preexisting condition if she keant diagnosed with breast cancer -- if she wasn't diagnosed with breast cancer until she was on the short-term plan. the insurance company made an innovative argument. they said she actually had the cancer before she signed up for insurance. so even though she didn't know she had cancer, even though she hadn't been diagnosed with cancer because she technically had cancer before she got the
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insurance plan, she had a pleeng, and thus they would not cover it. this is a pretty typical story about what happens on the short-term insurance plans in this country. they are more commonly referred to these days as junk insurance plans because for millions of americans who sign up for short-term insurance, they find out that it really doesn't cover much of anything. one golden rule plan secludes pregnancy, provides a life-time maximum benefit of a quarter million dollars. that is, by the way, an incredibly low amount of life-time coverage, a quarter million dollars for one hospital stay for one illness can be over $250 million. and it doesn't cover a hospital room or nursing services for a
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patient admitted on a friday or saturday. so good luck if you get sick on a friday or saturday because you're not going to get coverage on those two days of the week. these are junk plans because they don't cover what you need and you, by and large, don't find out about that until you actually need the insurance. how about a gentleman from san antonio who actually had his short-term plan for about six years. he had been paying it and paying it for six years because they are technically short-term plans, he's renewing them over and over and over again, and when he was diagnosed with kidney disease, they wouldn't cover him because they went back to his medical records and found out that he had some blood work done earlier that had shown the initial signs of kidney disease, but he wasn't diagnosed until
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later on. and what they said was just like for this woman in atlanta because you had signs of kidney disease when you were insured with us a year ago, we're not going to cover you now because technically you're on a new plan. he had been getting the plan for six years. because he had been signing up for short-term plan after short-term plan, he didn't get covered for kidney disease. over and over again we hear these stories about individuals who go on junk plans and find out they can't get insured for hospital stays. can't get insured for fries and saturdays, no dental, no coverage for maternity, all sorts of back-bending activity to try to stop getting people coverage for illnesses. and, yet, these plans are becoming more and more prolific. why is that?
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the reason is that the trump administration is using an innovative method to try to get more americans to sign up on these junk plans. and that's what i wanted to come down to the floor to talk about today. these junk plans are a nightmare for people who get on them and then find themselves on the outside of coverage. when you sign up for health insurance, you bakely think it's going to -- basically think it's going to cover a set of things, hospital stays on weekends, coverage for your cancer diagnosis. the junk plans don't cover these things. but the trump administration decided to use a section of the affordable care act that was designed to strengthen our health care system, and instead use it to weaken the health care insurance system by providing for more and more of these junk plans.
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a little bit of legislative history. there's a section of the a.c.a. that was set up so that you could apply to the state for a waiver to improve coverage. the waiver says that you can do some innovative things in the a.c.a. so long as you prove that whatever you're going to do is going to provide health coverage that is just as comprehensive that is what is required under the a.c.a., that you're not going to cost providers anymore under the a.c.a., that the people insured under the a.c.a. in your state wasn't go down and you will not increase the federal deficit. well, president trump in october of 2018, issued new guidance that essentially guts all of those protections for these waivers. president trump basically says that these short-term insurance plans can be approved even if they cost people more, even if
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they don't cover things like preexisting conditions, even if they result in less people getting insurance. and so this october 2018 guidance allowed for these young plans to be -- junk plans to be sold in more states to more consumers. even worse, the 2018 guidance said these junk plans could be sold side by side with the affordable care act plans right on the same webpage, disguising the fact that some plans would coverage you for your preexisting conditions and others wouldn't. and so today we have more and more of these junk plans available to individuals, and more people who are vulnerable to all the old abuses that used to happen left and right in the health care insurance system, largely to people who have pretty serious illnesses. 130 million americans have a
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preexisting condition. in my state over a half million people have some sort of preexisting condition. and if they sign up for one of those junk plans, either because they were marketed the plan under the belief that it would cover them or by mistake because they didn't notice the difference between the a.c.a. regulated plans and the junk plans on the website that they go to, they are at risk of not getting covered for their preexisting condition. it gepts even worse than that -- it gets even worse than that. because what economists tell us is that these junk plans which cover very little are, admittedly, going to be attractive to some people who are presently pretty healthy. young people, people who don't have any preexisting conditions, they may sign up for those junk plans because it doesn't really matter to them at the time that they don't get coverage for much
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at all because the junk plans are going to have prices that are lower in most instances than the plans that cover basic health care services. okay, now, in the short term that might be okay for the people who are relatively healthy until they get sick and found out their junk plan doesn't cover anything. but for the people who have preexisting conditions who can't sign up for the junk plans, who need to be on the plans that are regulated by the affordable care act, their premiums are going to skyrocket. i mean, this is health insurance 101. as more healthy people go to the junk plans, leaving behind on the affordable care act plans folks that have these preexisting conditions, their prices will go up. and so the trump administration's junk plan rule is, frankly, bad news for a lot of people who are on junk plans if and when they actually need
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health care insurance, but it's also really terrible news for the 130 million americans who have preexisting conditions who are likely going to see their insurance rates skyrocket. and so next week we are going to have a vote on the floor of the united states senate, a vote on a resolution of disapproval for the administration's junk plan guidance. and i listened to members of the senate on both sides of the aisle for a long time talk about how the one thing we agree on is we need to protect people with preexisting conditions. although many of my relevant -- republican colleagues do not support the affordable care act, they do support people with preexisting conditions. which i generally mean to read that we don't pass legislation or let the administration do anything to make it already harder than it is to live with a
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cancer diagnosis or a diagnosis of serious heart disease. and, yet, it's completely clear that the trump administration's guidance is going to make life a lot worse for people with preexisting conditions. those that go on the junk plans and for those that stay behind. here's a quote from an article in the atlantic magazine which did a summary of these junk plans and what they're like and frankly how important they are to insurance companies. the article says that these short-term junk plans make up a high profit portion of the insurance industry's business. quote, they are largely designed to rake in premium, even as they offer little in return. and even when they do pay for things, they often provide
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confusing or conflicting protocols for making claims. collectively, short-term plans can leave thousands of people functionally uninsured or underinsured without addressing or lowering real steamwide cost -- real system-wide costs. that's the story of junk plans. they're a pretty good deal for the insurance industry, which is why they have been pushin pushie trump administration, to allow more of these junk plans to be sold. they're a good deal for the insurance companies because ultimately they don't low pressure the insurance companies to pay out a lot in benefits but they ultimately make a ton for the insurance companies in the premiums they collect. and so it's time for everybody in this body who has stood up and said that they support individuals with preexisting conditions to vote that way. next week we will have an opportunity to stop in its tracks the trump
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administration's rule allowing for more of these junk plans to be sold to consumers. and because we know the house of representatives will join us, we now have the chance to actually do something about it. and stop this erosion of health care for people with preexisting conditions before it's too late. i get that the country and this congress are rightly consumed with the ongoing scandal surrounding the impeachment inquiry and the recent heartbreaking, unconscionable events in syria. but that doesn't mean that folks in our states are as concerned with those headline-grabbing issues as we are. they still have to make their budgets balance every single month. and they are deeply worried, at
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least those families that i talk to in connecticut who are still struggling with serious illnesses, about our ability to make sure that the protections for preexisting conditions which were a life saver, a life line for millions of americans when we passed the affordable care act are not undermined by this president. we have a chance to step up and do something about that next week. i would yield the floor and i would noaght the absence of a quorum. -- and i would 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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quorum call:
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mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: are we in a quorum? poit we are. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president. before i get into my main remarks on syria, i just heard the majority leader, leader mcconnell, say that he wants to see if we can do appropriations bills. we'll see if democrats want to legislate. well, give me a break. we have been waiting for six months, nine months since we started to legislate, and it's well known in the country that the senate is the legislative graveyard, that leader mcconnell has not put on the floor bill after bill after bill on major issues affecting the country that demand attention. and most everybody knows that he's proud that he's the grim reaper. so now to say will democrats want to legislate?
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well, it's all up to leader mcconnell. now, on the appropriations bills, of course we want to legislate when it's being done in a fair way. and there are some bills that came out of the appropriations committee in a bipartisan way. i think there are four of them that the leader is thinking of putting on the floor. and we'd like to report on those and have a vigorous process as we go forward. there are certain bills that were not done with any consultation. taking money out of things like milcon, , and -- h.h.s., and putting it for a wall that he knows that democrats won't go for. those kinds of things we can't legislate until they become bipartisan, until we work together. so there are certain bills, h.h.s., defense, milcon that --
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d.h.s. that we can't move forward on until we have some bipartisan agreement. but on the bills where there is agreement, we would be happy to move forward. of course, that doesn't solve the problem. after that happens, our house colleagues, speaker pelosi, chairman lowey, have suggested that there be a 302-b conference because between the 302-b's are different in these two bills and that's the right place to go once the house -- once the senate passes these less controversial bills. so i hope we can move forward. i hope we can. the first package of bills, four of the five are not controversial. the fifth they didn't even need to bring to the floor of the appropriations committee, milcon , but on those four moving forward would be a fine thing. hopefully we can work out an amendment process whereby members will offer amendments. so we will finally legislate after nine months, not just move
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judges and other appointees, and it's a good thing, and i'm glad that leader mcconnell finally has maybe felt the pressure and wants to legislate. let's go to syria. saturday night, president trump announced on twitter that he was reversing his decision to host next year's g-7 summit at his golf resort in doral, florida. the president's original decision was the textbook definition of self-dealing, an outrageous move that provoked immediate and rightful condemnations. multiple outlets over the weekend reported the president decided to back down only after hearing of intense opposition from members of his own party. many of whom told him privately they would not defend him on the issue. it's obvious. it's obvious to almost everyone in america that you don't suggest a resort that you own as a place to have a conference. it makes no sense.
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is the president so interested in making a few extra dollars that the reports are he brags from a multibillionaire he is to risk violating the rules and laws of this country, the emoluments clause? it makes no sense. now, it's unfortunate that this wasn't the only decision that made no sense. there is an obvious pattern between the president's decision about the g-7 and his decision to precipitously withdraw from our forces in syria. both were done in a sort of whimsical way where from all reports the president doesn't consult with the experts in this latter case with the military and the state department and c.i.a. both have resulted in condemnation from across the political spectrum. in fact, last week, over 120 house republicans voted in favor of the resolution criticizeing the president's syria --
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criticizing the president's syria policy. leaders mccarthy, scalise and cheney, hardly moderates in the middle who are always seeking compromise, these are pretty hard-nosed people, and they voted to condemn, so it must be pretty bad. well, of course it is. former military commanders and some of the president's staunchest allies in the senate echoed those sentiments. just like the president reversed course on g-7 after a torrent of criticism from his own party, president trump must dramatically, drastically rethink his policy in syria, which is far more dangerous because of one word above all else -- isis. by abruptly pulling troops out of northern syria, the president has betrayed and deserted our partners and allies, created a security vacuum that our longest standing adversaries, iran, putin, and assad are exploiting. he put american lives in danger by letting hardened isis
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fighters escape captivity and regroup. as american troops leave kurdish areas, videos show kurdish locals hurling rotting vegetables and shouting america lies. that's painful. do you know who it's painful most to? our soldiers who fought alongside the kurds, so the kurds sacrificed some of their own people so americans wouldn't have to die. one leading russian newspaper, no doubt part of the putin propaganda machine, ran a column this week proclaiming russia's unexpected triumph in the middle east, putin won the lottery. meanwhile, public reports suggest at least 200 people with suspected links to the islamic state have escaped the displacement camp in northeast syria as a result of the turkish invasion. and we in new york know better
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than anyone. a small group of bad, bad terrorists, evil terrorists can do untold damage to our homeland. this policy is reckless, unthought out, dangerous. it's been since -- it's been three weeks since the announcement of the president's decision, and he has yet to articulate any plan for what happens next. as a five-day, quote, pause on hostilities comes quickly to an end tomorrow, every member of this chamber ought to be asking what is president trump's strategy to secure the enduring defeat of isis? how does the president plan to find the escaped isis prisoners? how does he plan to fix this mess? because these isis people are dangerous and create a problem right here in our homeland that could well do that. according to the "new york times" this morning, the president's now considering leaving a small force in eastern
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syria. we need to know if that's true, and if so how many. what would be their mission? for how long? and maybe most pressing, how would a deployment in eastern syria secure isis prisoners and help track down those who have escaped? which presents such a great danger to our country. the president is flitting from one idea to the next with no coherent strategy apparent. his own cabinet officials have yet -- have yet -- have yet to even agree on a time to brief senators on the administration's plan. we have been waiting, and we want to hear from the top people , secretary esper and secretary pompeo, c.i.a. head haspel. this is serious stuff. the congress has to be briefed. we're worried the reason we're not being briefed is because there is no strategy, and these
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three people who are in charge of major portions of the american -- of the american government, the military, the c.i.a., the diplomatic corps, don't have any idea what the president is up to. the quickest, simplest way -- the quickest, simplest, and most powerful way to send that message to the president would be for the senate to take up and pass the bipartisan house resolution on syria. i ask the senate's consent to take it up last week, but unfortunately it was blocked. we're going to keep coming back to it because it makes a difference when my republican colleagues stand up to the president. that can affect him more than anything else, so they shouldn't duck it or be allowed to duck it. when the president -- when the republicans pressure the president as they did on the g-7, he considers changing
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course, so when it comes to our national security, vital matters of foreign policy and, yes, especially when it comes to the constitution, the rule of law, the integrity of our democracy, republicans must put the country over the party. on syria and the fight against isis, that means leader mcconnell and republicans should let us vote on a resolution. 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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sir quorum call:
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mr. casey: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. mr. casey: mr. president, i would ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: also, mr. president, i ask to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i rise this afternoon to talk about the question of impeachment, which, of course, is being debated across the country.
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the evidence continues to mount regarding actions the president has taken, and, of course, this issue is worthy of not only debate but worthy of inquiry and review and even debate and discussion here in the senate. from the mueller report to the recent investigations -- or i should say to the recent revelations regarding the president's dealing with ukraine and its president, evidence indicates that the president is not only willing to take actions which amount in my judgment to an abuse of power -- in fact, i think the behavior of the president on the phone call with the ukrainian president was a textbook case of abusive power, but apparently he wants to enlist others to defend the indefensible, this behavior and
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has -- has said other things which are troubling to so many americans. i think it's important to provide some historical perspective on impeachment. i'll seek to do some of that today. this is by no means a full review of the history, but i think it's important to talk about some of the questions our founders were wrestling with. our founders gram grappled with different questions as they dealt with the constitution itself, particularly the power of the president of the united states. as our founders debated how to hold the president accountable during the 1787 constitutional convention in philadelphia, eldbridge gary said as following regarding impeachment. quote, a good magistrate will not fear impeachment, a bad one
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ought to be kept in fear of them. unquote. consistent with gary's remarks, our constitution provides an impeachment process for, quote, treason, bribery, or other high crimes an mdz miss -- it was informed by centuries of english legal precedent. we know that, as alexander hamilton explain the in federalist number 65, impeachment should stem from -- from a, quote, abuse or violation of some public trust, unquote. i'll say it again. quote, abuse or a violation of some public trust, unquote. so informed by this history, congress has consistently interpreted the phrase broadly
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to mean, quote, serious violations of the public trust, unquote. that was one understanding. and has explained that, quote, the phrase refers to misconduct that damages the state and operations of government institutions and is not limited to criminal misconduct, unquote. that's an important distinction -- not limited to criminal misconduct. there is no requirement for a president to engage in a, quote, quid pro quo, unquote. any kind of quid pro quo arrangement is not required for impeachment. although it's certainly an impeachable offense to gauge in that kind of conduct. rather our constitution merely requires, quote, abuse or violation of some public trust, as hamilton spoke to. ever since special counsel
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mueller introduced his report on -- on his experience and as testimony emerged about his conduct toward ukraine, i assessed how president trump's actions fell under our current high crimes means. this is an undertaking that must be done in a considered manner and after reviewing all the relevant information that's available. i'm increasingly convinced that speaker pelosi was correct in calling for an peesm inquiry -- impeachment into president trump's conduct. a failure of congress -- to pursue would be insulting to the constitution and insulting to our values. let's talk about the ukraine example for a moment. over the past several weeks our nation has been confronted by
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credible and detailed press reports as well as exhaustive testimony, in some cases lasting eight hours, nine hours, ten hours at a time just for one witness. and this testimony has come from both career diplomats and state department officials, indicating the president has been employing his personal attorney to manage a shadow diplomacy agenda focused on personal vendettas and unfounded conspiracy theories in ukraine. in a telephone call to president zelensky of ukraine, president trump immediately after the ukrainian raised the issue of purchasing javelins to defend his country from russian aggression. the president then asked the ukrainian president to, quote, to do us a favor, though,
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unquote, by working with his lawyer, rudolph giuliani, and launching an investigation into a discredited conspiracy theory regarding a server in ukraine. it has been debunked so said a former homeland security advisor to president trump, among others. president trump also asked president zelensky to, quote, look into, unquote, joe biden's son and explain, quote, a lot of people want to find out, unquote, about biden, a political rival who, of course, is running for president. after a memorandum of the phone call was released to the public, the house intelligence committee released a text message from the top u.s. diplomat in ukraine who indicated that he thought it was, quote, crazy for the president to with hold security
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assistance for help with a political campaign, unquote. other officials have since come forward. some even resigning because of their serious concerns over the white house's handling of ukraine policy. michael mckinley, a former senior advisor to the united states secretary of state, mr. mckinley testified that he resigned for two reasons. first, quote, the failure of the state department to offer support to foreign service employees caught up in the impeachment inquiry on ukraine. and, second, by what appears to be the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance a domestic political objective, unquote. that's what mr. mckinley said, who just left the state
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department. our founders had the foresight to ensure that the power of the president was not unlimited and that congress could, if necessary, hold the executive accountable for abuses of power through the impeachment process. surely not every instance of presidential wrongdoing merits impeachment. using the vast powers of impeachment in a cavalier fashion would be an insult to our constitution. this inquiry is not simply about president trump's abuse of power. this inquiry is about our democracy and the values that the founders agreed should guide our nation. impeachment is not what anyone in this town would prefer. it's what our constitution demands -- demands when executive abuses of power -- when an executive abuses his or her power in a manner that,
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quote, damages the state and the operations of government institutions. unquote. and that is from an earlier impeachment in the 1860's. when as hamilton said so long ago when hamson said there is, quote, an abuse or violation of some public trust. unquote. we are summoned, summoned by our constitutional duty to act. to fail to act would be a dereliction of that duty thereby inviting this executive and future executives to abuse that public trust with impunity. we should never do that. mr. president, i would ask consent to offer additional remarks but in a different place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: thank you, mr. president. mr. casey: just very briefly, i
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wanted to highlight a story that was in today's "wall street journal" entitled as court case imperils affordable care act, some states prepare contingency plans. that's the headline. subheadline is lawmakers explore ways to preserve coverage benefits if the health law is struck down. this is the opening paragraph i'll read. it's not very long but i'll read it from the stare today. a federal appeals court decision that could strike down the affordable care act as soon as this month has rattled officials in several states who are pursuing legislation to preserve some coverage in the absence of any trump administration contingency plan. lawmakers in states including louisiana, nevada, new mexico, and california have passed bills or are reviewing action aimed at dealing with the fallout if the a.c.a. is overturned.
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unquote. that's from the very beginning of the article. i won't go further other than to say this is a grave matter. if a federal appeals court were to rule in favor of the moving party here on appeal, or i should say the moving party at the beginning of the suit, and affirm the district court, what would happen if that were the case? the patient protection and affordable care act would be wiped out and it would cause not just chaos but would take away protections from people like those who have protections for a preexisting condition and would also take health care coverage away from millions if not tens of millions. this is a critically important matter and it deserves and warrants the attention of members of the united states senate and the house as well. with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas is recognized. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you very much for the opportunity to speak to my colleagues here on the senate floor this evening. i really come to talk about something that shouldn't be momentous, shouldn't be unusual, should be routine around here. and unfortunately as you and i have experienced, it's not routine. and what's not routine is the united states senate, the u.s. congress getting its job done. part of that job is the appropriations process, and it ought to be something that we do every year on a routine basis. every city council, every county commission, every school board in the state of kansas every year passes a budget and determines the spending for that school board or that city council or for that county commission. and yet when we come to washington, d.c. over the years,
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it's become problematic. it's become difficult for us to do one of the basic things of a functioning government. to determine the amount of money to be spent in broad terms and then to fill in the spaces with what we should do for individual agencies, departments within that budget agreement. so we're here poised for a vote tomorrow, a motion on cloture. what that means to folks back in kansas is whic should we begin e process of passing appropriations bills. i'm here to urge my colleagues, both republicans and democrats, to vote yes on cloture, to bring us to the point in which we can have the debate. i wouldn't have thought when i came to the united states senate that one of my primary tasks at least as i saw it was try to help this place function. and having appropriations
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process that is thoughtful, that establishes priorities, that allows every member of the united states senate to have input, that's something we ought to be able to accomplish without a lot of work. and i hope that we demonstrate that we can do that in the vote tomorrow. so we've -- the appropriations process has involved a appropriations committee of which you, mr. president, and i serve on. and many of the bills have been considered and voted on. there will be four bills as a package in this motion to cloture that will be presented to the full senate tomorrow. the subcommittee that i chair, commerce, justice, science, that appropriation bill will be part of that cloture package. agriculture, something hugely important to my constituents in kansas and across the country, interior, transportation, housing and urban development. those four bills have passed unanimously out of the senate appropriations committee in
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september. every republican on the committee, every democrat on the committee voted in favor of them. i know in my own circumstance, the commerce, justice, science bill, i worked closely -- perhaps a better way so say it the ranking member of our subcommittee, the senator from new hampshire, senator shaheen and i worked closely together to try to find a path by which we could avoid those issues that would prevent us from finding an agreement that allowed our bill to move forward. i'm pretty certain that occurred in the other three subcommittees. and so presented tomorrow is an opportunity for the senate to take up four appropriation bills, four out of 12. and those four are ones that were unanimously agreed to by the appropriations committee. i commend the chairman shelby and vice chairman leahy in their efforts in the full committee to bring us together to get us in a position in which we have those four bills now soon i hope to be pending in front of the united states senate.
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why does this matter? well, there's a lot of work that's gone into trying to determine what those appropriation bills should say, should contain. certainly how much money we spend is important but if you sidetrack the appropriations process, you eliminate the prioritization. we need to make decisions every year on behalf of the american people. is there something that we should spend no money on? last year received some money but not this year. it's not worthy, it's not enough high priority for us to spend money this year. are we spending money today, this year that are about right. and there are maybe things we should spend more money on. that's a process that involves hearings. it involves witnesses. it involves testimony. it involves other members, united states senators, a hundred of us have the opportunity to provide input as to how much money should be spent in those various areas of the appropriation bill. and are there things that are higher priorities, programs that
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work better than others. so we ought to care about this from a fiscal point of you, how much money we spend and are we on a path to get us toward greater fiscal sanity. getting our books to balance. but at the same time in the process of doing that, are we making decisions that determine that something is more important than something else because we know we shouldn't and can't spend money on everything. and that's what the appropriations process does. and maybe we didn't get it exactly right but allowing the bills to come to the senate floor allow 99 of my colleagues to join me in the ability to offer amendments, to change those priorities. so every member of the united states senate on behalf of their constituents back home in their home states ought to care about an appropriation bill being on the senate floor. perhaps this is the point i should say if we fail to do this, what this normally will mean is we have what we call a c.r., a continuing resolution meaning we're going to fund the federal government next year at
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the same levels and the same way as we did this year. well that lacks any kind of common sense or a basis for making a good decision. not everything is equal. just because we spend something last year in this amount doesn't mean it's the right amount next year. and if we've been doing continuing resolutions one year after another, what it means is decisions we made about spending three, four years ago remain the priorities for next year's spending. so we ought to avoid the continuing resolution. we ought to do our work. and tomorrow's vote puts us on a path to do that. again that only -- we're only on that path if the members of the united states senate decide this is something that we're going to proceed to accomplish. and so fiscal order, prioritization of spending. i also think that congress over the years has deferred too often to federal agencies and departments. and while i know and i tell my
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stilts, i know that -- constituents, i know that the american people are not satisfied with the nature of congress as an institution. perhaps not satisfied with even their own senator or united states congressman or woman. but we are the closest thing that you have to the ability to make your will known and cause and effect in washington, d.c. so someone can visit with me, someone can visit with every united states senator and have a consequence here and it is through this process if you allow us all to participate in the legislative process, then we can take our constituents' will and bring it to washington, d.c. on their behalf. in the absence of that, it just means the departments, the cabinets, the cabinet secretaries, the agency heads, the bureau chiefs, the people who work within the bureaucracy, they have more say if we don't do appropriation bills than elected officials representing kansans and the people of 49 other states. so this is a way we can bring the people of the united states
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into decisions made in washington, d.c. and when we defer, when we do a continuing resolution, it means that no -- it means that it's more likely that no person within the bureaucracy has any reason to pay any attention to our interests. so a constituent brings me a problem and says something is going on at the department of interior, and this is what we're seeing. this is how it affects us. could you help solve that problem? could you get somebody's attention at the department of interior? could you get somebody's attention at the department of commerce? and if we don't do appropriation bills, our ability to influence people at the department of commerce, the power of the purse string disappears. it means that we have less ability not only to determine how money is spent but to be able to tell an agency head or a cabinet secretary this makes no sense. what you're doing to folks back home is very damaging. let us explain to you. and human nature being what it is says if you're the person or
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if you're the organization, in this case the united states senate, that determines how much money an agency, department, or cabinet secretary gets within their realm of authority, you're going to be much more likely to listen to a member of congress and help us solve problems on behalf of our constituents. so the appropriations process matters greatly. and i think we're poised for the opportunity to demonstrate this place can work. it can represent the american people. and we can allow all of our colleagues to have input in the appropriations process. it's been ongoing since last year. so, mr. president, i hope the conclusion tomorrow by my colleagues is that this is a worthy endeavor. the united states senate ought to return to the days in which we did 12 appropriation bills on an annual basis and we allowed the american people their input in the appropriations process. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator for kentucky is recognizrecognized. a senator: i ask unanimous consent that the previously vote scheduled to 5:30 commences now. the presiding officer: without objection. 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
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of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on treaty called number 5, treaty document number 116-1, protocol to the north atlantic treaty of 1949 and so forth 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 protocol of the north atlantic treaty of 1949 on the accession of the republic of north macedonia 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: does any senator wish to change their vote? all senators having voted, the yeas are 84, the nays are 2. three fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn have voted in the affirmative. the motion is agreed to. the senator is recognized.
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mr. hoeven: i ask unanimous consent that following leader remarks on tuesday, october 22, the time until noon be equally with divided between the two leaders or designees. i further ask that all postcloture time on treaties calendar 5, 116-1, expire tomorrow at noon and the senate vote on ratification of the treaty. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: unanimous consent -- i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session and be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 368, submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 368, to authorize the records on the permanent subcommittee on investigations on the committee
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of homeland security and governmental affairs. the presiding officer:the presie objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. hoeven: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 200, h.r. 150. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 200, h.r. 150, an act to authorize grant reporting. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the clerk -- the senate will proceed. mr. hoeven: i ask unanimous consent that the committee-reported substitute amendment be agreed, the bill be
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considered read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m., tuesday, october 22, further, following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, morning business be closed and senate proceed to executive session and resume consideration of treaty document 116-1 under the previous order. finally that the senate recess from 12:30 p.m. until 2:15 p.m. to allow for the caucus meetings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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also on the agenda this week a debate on the executive nomination had 2020 spending. the house will be in order. >> for 40 years c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress. the white house, the supreme court in public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country seeking make up your own mind crated by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span your unfiltered view of government. >> canada is holding national elections to decide if the prime
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minister will continue. join the canadian broadcasting corporation for news coverage and the results. that is tonight starting at nine eastern on c-span2. facebook ceo mark zuckerberg testifies about the libra crypto currency project and will take questions from the house financial services committee that is live wednesday attending and eastern on c-span3. in a reminder you can watch online as he's or listen with a free c-span radio app. next remarks by connecticut senator on foreign policy and u.s. security. he spoke with the hudson institute in washington, d.c. this is an hour. >> good morning, everyone and good morning to all the people watching over c-span and electronic means of


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