tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN October 31, 2019 4:00pm-5:50pm EDT
knowing kay was a gift, and i feel so fortunate to have been able to call her my friend. my deepest condolences are with her husband chip and their children and their extended family and many, many friends, and her beloved state of north carolina. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i would ask for the quorum call. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum call: ms. cortez masto: mr. president, i rise today in opposition to it the nomination of lawrence van dyke to serve on the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit. mr. van dyke fits neatly into this administration's pattern of picking federal judges for our circuit courts of appeal without meaningful input from home state
senators. the president continues to select ideologically extreme nominees like mr. van dyke, and the white house is putting forward people without enough experience for the momentous roles they have been chosen to serve. mr. van dyke has been nominated to fill a nevada seat on the ninth circuit, even though he's not a nevadan. he didn't grow up in my state, he doesn't appear to own property there, he doesn't seem to have family ties, and he was only an active member of the nevada state bar for two years. senator rosen and i engage with the white house to put forward highly respected nevadans with bipartisan support, but our suggestions were summarily ignored because the white house was laser-focused on mr. van dyke. i want to be clear. the administration did not meaningfully consult about this nomination with nevada senators, and the result is a poor
nominee. first and foremost, i'm extremely concerned about the effect that lawrence van dyke's lifetime appointment would have on women's reproductive rights in america. as montana solicitor general, mr. vandike supports an arizona abortion ban. he contended that the constitutional right to choose should be revisited. he also defended a montana law that made it harder for young women in that state to seek an abortion. and he advocated for letting corporations sidestep their obligations to provide insurance coverage for contraception. based on this record, i fear that as a federal judge, mr. vandyke would limit women's health choices in nevada and throughout the country, including their access to byrne control. his record on lgbtq rights is also dismal.
mr. vandyke has ties to two ideologically extreme anti-lgbtq groups that the southern poverty law center has designated as hate groups. those are the alliance defending freedom and the family research council. these ties are hardly surprising, given that mr. vandyke has opposed gay rights since law school when he wrote an article for the harvard law record. this is that article. one student's response to a response to glennden. in this article, he promotes the truth that same-sex marriage would hurt families, children, and society. this is that article, and this is his quote. clearly, not only his writing but his intent on thoughts
behind what we have fought for in this country for lgbtq rights in america for the last ten years. what he says is, what is quite settled, however, is that children on average fare best in stable, two-parent families. this, combined with the correspondent laive evidence of the decline in the family unit in scandinavia, where de facto same-sex marriage has been around for about a decade, does provide ample reason for concern that same-sex marriage will hurt families and consequentially children and society. from his own words, and as solicitor general of montana, he also strongly criticized lgbtq antidiscrimination laws and worked to carve out religious exemptions to them. when signing montana onto an amicus brief arguing that a photography company could refuse to photograph a same-sex we had, mr. vandyke described the case
as important because it would establish that gay rights cannot always trump religious liberty. and what you have here is an e-mail while he was a solicitor general in montana talking about why this case was important and why was important that they sign on to the amicus improve e. brief. this is his argument, his statements in an e-mail. what he said was this is an important case because there is a fairly obvious collision course between religious freedom and gay rights, and this case, because it is an extreme case, could be very important in establishing that gay rights cannot always trump religious liberty. in his own words, in an e-mail from montana. when he was solicitor general. throughout his career, he has weakened environmental protections and standards as well. mr. vandyke has argued in favor
of fossil fuel drilling and supported reviving the keystone pipeline, ignoring the voices of conservists and native communities. his actions do not protect our air and water, nor do they recognize the impacts of climate change, nor safeguard endangered species, including the iconic sage grouse. as solicitor general of nevada, mr. vandyke challenged the republican governor he served. he actively worked against governor brian sandoval's bipartisan agreement to protect my state's native species. mr. vandyke's objection to protect sage-grouse was so extreme that governor sandoval said public that mr. vandyke position did not represent the state of nevada, the governor, or any state agency.
with that background, clearly he should not sit on a court with jurisdiction over the west, home to nearly 75% of public lands in the nation. and in the areas of reproductive rights, lgbtq protections, and environment, mr. vandyke's nomination is so troubling because it's clear that he puts his ideology above the law. this vacancy should be filled with a judge that will apply the law to the facts in an unbiased way, something that mr. vandyke has proven unwilling to do. finally, mr. vandyke's professional qualifications are simply insufficient. he was -- he has very little trial and litigation experience. when he served as montana solicitor general, his colleagues raised serious concerns about his work ethic and legal skills. and when he ran for the montana
supreme court, six retired judges of that court described him -- and as i quote -- unqualified. and as you heard at the confirmation hearings yesterday, the american bar association, which provides ratings for judicial nominees, gave him a rating of not qualified. now, that's worth repeating. the a.b.a., the american bar association, spoke with 60 lawyers and judges across four states and concluded that he wasn't suitable for a position as a judge on the court of appeals. the people with the objections are his former colleagues. as far as records show, not a single federal judicial nominee has been appointed to the federal bench who was lacking both a qualified or well-qualified a.b.a. rating and the approval of the nominee's home state senators. if confirmed, mr. vandyke would be the very first federal judge
who was judged not qualified and whose blue slips were not returned by the home state senators. i don't think that's a precedent this chamber should be proud of. mr. president, the ninth circuit court of appeals is the last stop for cases that affect nevada before they reach the supreme court. it's vital that the ninth circuit nominees know the state of nevada and its issues. this nominee lived in the silver state for a total of four years before moving to washington to work at the department of justice, where he is currently. now, in nevada we welcome new come,but usually they stay in our communities. mr. vandyke didn't. he left for a plum job in washington and is now lobbying for a lifetime appointment on on the federal bench. this isn't someone who knows nevada or its issues. this is a career political
operative who is looking for a guaranteed paycheck. for all of these reasons, i do not believe that lawrence vandyke deserves a lifetime appointment to one of the highest courts in the land, which handles 70,000 critical cases each year. he's not the right person in whose hands to leave americans' reproductive freedom, their fundamental civil rights, and their claim to a clean and healthy environment. mr. president, i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. ms. rosen: i rise today to join my friend and colleague, senator cortez masto, in opposing the nomination of lawrence vandyke to the ninth circuit court of appeals in nevada. our federal courts make decisions every day that affect consumers, immigrants, small businesses, not to mention our right to equal treatment, education, and health care. as such, our federal judges must be serious, fair-minded, and nonpartisan. we want women and men on the federal bench who will look at the facts of a case, apply the law, and work hard to reach a just result, regardless of who the parties are in front of them. the federal bench must reflect our country and all its
diversity of experience and background. even though the constitution gives the president the power to nominate federal judges, it also requires the advice and consent of the senate and historically the president consults with home state senators when there is a vacancy. as representatives to our states, we are better equipped to identify qualified lawyers and judges to serve on the federal bench that have done good work and who have good reputations in our home communities. and we have numerous qualified, nonpartisan individuals working in the nevada legal community who would make excellent additions to the ninth circuit. there are a number of amazing nevada lawyers who senator cortez masto and i would have gladly considered supporting for a seat on this prestigious court. we have litigators, magistrate judges, law professes, public defenders and existing court
judges with stellar reputations from the state, lawyers and judges from nevada. they know our state, and they have respected, nonpartisan records. but the white house didn't nominate any of these individuals for the ninth circuit. instead, the president nominated lawrence vandyke, a washington, d.c., lawyer. he wasn't born in nevada. he didn't grow up in he have in. he didn't go to school in nevada. and he doesn't live in nevada. and he doesn't live in nevada now. mr. vandyke, a montana native to run for office there and also worked in texas, came to nevada for a job a few years ago in 2015 and when the person he worked for lost a political race in 2018, mr. vandyke quickly sold the house he briefly owned in nevada and moved to virginia to work in washington, d.c.
and as last week, by his own admission, he hasn't even been back in nevada since then. he is a he a d.c. lawyer and a failed political candidate from montana who shares this white house's extreme political views. and they're imposing him on nevada, despite the fact that we have so many qualified people in our own state who enjoy broad support across the political spectrum. nevada has a vibrant community, and we take pride in knowing each other, respecting each other, and most importantly putting partisan politics aside. when it comes to working together for the betterment of our state. so if someone is a good judge or lawyer, if they're honest and they have a good reputation professionally, if they're civil in court and have a respectful demeanor, you'll usually hear the same things about that person from everyone p. these are the types of people who should be federal judges,
people who treat everyone fairly and with respect, who are smart, who are fair, and who follow the facts to get a just result. after reviewing mr. vandyke's record and meeting with him privately and watching his testimony before the judiciary committee yesterday, i have arrived at the determination that mr. vandyke does not fit that mold. mr. vandyke spent a lot of time in our meeting talking about how the role of a federal judge is to simply apply the law, not to try to change it. but his record, it clearly shows otherwise. how do we know this? because before coming to nevada, mr. vandyke worked for montana attorney general. many of his e-mails from that time are public. they show that he used that government office where his job was to defend the laws of
montana. instead what he chose to do was advance his own personal ideological agenda, even when it was against his state's interest. at least in one instance, he signed the state of montana on to a brief without even bothering to read it. and among the briefs, mr. vandyke signed in his home state of montana during his tenure as solicitor general was one asking the supreme court to strike down roe v. wade and all of the reproductive cases that followed roe. when it comes to a woman's right to make her decisions about her own body, mr. vandyke's views and actions are far outside the mainstream and they are far out of step with the views of the people of nevada. i'm also concerned about the comments mr. vandyke has made about the lgbtq americans. in 2004, mr. va van van-- mr. ve
wrote, there is ample reason that same-sex marriage will hurt families and consequently children and society. the lgbtq community is at a critical point in its fight for equality. this term the supreme court is considering whether employers in the u.s. can fire an individual for merely being gay or transgender. and when the next case an lgb lgbtq's rights comes up for consideration, it could come before lawrence vandyke. and if that isn't enough, here's one more thing to consider. the american bar association has by a substantial majority rated mr. vandyke as unqualified. for a lifetime appointment we should always strive for a candidate that is very qualifi
qualified. no, they gave us lawrence vandyke who was rated not qualified. and why did the a.b.a. make this determination? well, i'll let the a.b.a.'s words speak for themselves. based on interviews with 60 individuals who have worked with mr. vandyke over the years including more than 40 lawyers and over a dozen judges, this is what the a.b.a. said. mr. vandyke's past work is offset by, and i quote, the assessments of the interviewees is that mr. vandyke is lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in the knowledge of day-to-day practice, including procedural rules. there was a theme that the nominee lacks humility, has an entitlement temperament, does not have an open mind, and does not always have a commitment to
being candid and truthful. mr. president, surely you agree no matter who is in the white house or who controls the senate, you would want the federal judges in your states to come from and reflect your communities. you would want to trust these judges to be fair to your constituents and not use cases to advance their own ideological agenda. and you would want your judges to be at a minimum qualified to serve on the bench. i oppose the nomination of mr. vandyke, and if it is withdrawn or voted down, i will be ready that day to work with this white house on finding nominees from nevada that are qualified and fair and nonpartisan. the people of my home state of nevada, particularly today on nevada day deserve nothing less. thank you.
i yield back. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i thank my colleagues. mr. president, at the end of the fiscal year for the united states government came and went without a new funding bill mr. place. it was a big disappointment because this summer i thought we had reached an agreement on a two-year budget package designed to make the appropriations process much simpler and eliminate the uncertainty that comes from continuing resolutions and stop-start funding for government agencies. we agreed to to top line funding for defense and nondefense spending. it was a big deal. there was also a promise not to derail the process with poison policy pill riders and we got it
done in plenty of time to spare. i remember at the time thinking that hey, maybe we can help restore some regular order and put the function back in congress rather than the dysfunction. but unfortunately politics got in the way. when the time came last month to make good on the promises that were made during that two-year budget cap deal, senate democrats blocked a bill to fund our national defense. you heard me right. senate democrats blocked the appropriation for our national defense. if there's one thing that we should make a priority here in washington, d.c., it's protecting our country, keeping our men and women in uniform adequately trained with the equipment and the resources they need in order to fight and win the nation's wars and even better, to prevent a war from being fought in the first place.
but they simply blocked it, our democratic colleagues. it wasn't a disagreement over the amount. no, it was something they'd already agreed to last summer. they blocked the bill because, frankly, they don't want president trump to have any sort of wins here, even when it undermines our national security. it was a remarkable show of priorities. their animosity toward the president exceeded their desire to see funding flow to the men and women in uniform and to defend the nation. we could have provided our troops with the largest pay raise in a decade. we could have sent vital funding to our military as they battle looming threats around the world. we could have put the appropriations process back on track and restore the basic functioning of congress. but, no, our democratic colleagues chose to put politics ahead of any of that.
with our only options being a government shutdown or a short-term funding bill, we chose the lesser of two evils. but it's still evil in the sense that it's much less than we should be doing to serve the nation and serve our constituents. we pushed the deadline. we kicked the can down the road to november 21. and we hoped our colleagues on the other side of the aisle would have a qhaing -- have a change of heart but now they've proved us wrong. democrats blocked money for the military again, again. this is beginning to feel like groundhog day. they continued choosing to put their ongoing feud with the president before our most important responsibilities of congress, to provide for the common defense. as if we needed to be reminded of the importance of our strong military. earlier this week when our
highly skilled special forces troops took out the leader of isis, one of the most feared and dangerous terrorist leaders in the world, that terrorist is no longer a threat thanks to the men and women of our military and special forces in particular. it was a tremendous victory for the united states and for our allies and underscored the need for us to continue to support our troops by funding the defense bill. for our forces to continue fighting and risking death and injury itself while defeating evil in every corner of the world, they need our support. and there's no more tangible way to demonstrate that support than for congress to pass this funding bill. we also know because of the need to plan, they need stability, they need a long-term funding bill and not just this stop-start kick the can down the
road a few weeks and then come back and refight the same fights over and over and over again. that's really a pathetic response to our duty to help support our men and women in uniform. they need the unwavering support of every man and woman in this chamber, but right now our democratic colleagues seem content just to say no, to get in the way, to block this funding. will they pay any price for doing that? i don't know. they don't seem to really particularly care. i have no doubt that this obstruction tactic is tied to the obsession that the house of representatives has to remove president trump from office. we've heard it over and over again from our democratic colleagues that impeachment will not interfere with their ability to legislate, to get work done. but their actions speak louder than words.
while i think the decision to block defense funding is the most egregious example so far, it's far from the only one that the extent to which they will go to try to defeat and slow down and impede the president and anything he might be able to point to as a victory. here's another example. it's been more than a year since the landmark trade agreement between mexico and canada was announced but we're still waiting for speaker pelosi to show the green light and to pass the usmca and send it to the senate where i'm sure it will pass overwhelmingly. this agreement will provide billions of dollars in economic growth, new jobs here at home, and greater stability for our economy. but we haven't been able to reap those benefits because the agreement is being stalled in the house. well, why is that? well, it could be because they
are obsessed with and preoccupied with impeachment. and they can't seem to get anything else done. the speaker claims progress is being made, but it's been the same song and dance for months and nothing, nothing to show for it. over here in the senate unfortunately things aren't a lot different. a bill i introduced with our democrat colleague senator blumenthal from connecticut to reduce drug prices has gotten caught in the crosshairs of this partisan fighting, too. this bill has broad bipartisan support and would lower federal spending by more than half a billion dollars over ten years. it would also save consumers out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. but according to the "politico," the democratic leader's blocking the bill. despite the fact that folks in both parties here in congress as well as the president have been
-- have aide at least they're -- have said at least they're eager to pass legislation to reduce drug prices, the democratic leader won't let it come to the floor. this is the greatest example of our dysfunction here when the president is for something, when democrats are for something, when republicans are for something, when the house is for something, when the senate is for something, and we still can't seem to get it done. that's a hard one to explain. but sadly the list doesn't stop there. here's another example. earlier this year the senate unanimously, unanimously passed a bill i introduced to reauthorize the debbie smith act. this program supplies funding to state and local crime labs to test d.n.a. or forensic evidence and to reduce the rape kit backlog. it's about as nonpartisan an issue as they come.
but unfortunately that didn't make it immune from the gamesmanship in the house. after months of refusing to act on this bill, we sent it over -- i think it was in may. they did nothing for a long time and they allowed the debbie smith act to expire. when something as noncontroversial as reducing the rape kit backlog gets politicized, you know you're in trouble. well, i was finally glad to see last week that the house changed its tune thanks to a lot of pressure both from within and without because their refusal to reauthorize the debbie smith act and this critical rip kit backlog -- rape kit backlog funding was indefensible. so i hope we can get the bill to the president's desk now after the long and unnecessary delay. we all knew that the democratic obsession with removing the president from office began even
before he was inaugurated. but no one expected it to get this far out of hand or for the dysfunction to be so pervasive. their impeach at my cost has now brought the work of congress to a screeching halt. legislation is collecting cobwebs in the corner while our democratic colleagues are conducting secret hearings behind closed doors in an effort to reverse the 2016 election. while they're continuing this charade here in washington, their constituents are likely wondering what it is their elected representatives are doing to make their lives better at home. are they passing bills to bring down drug prices, like the bill i have with senator blumenthal? are they trying to strengthen the economy by improving trading relationships between mexico and canada and the united states? are they passing legislation to support our men and women in the
military? i'm sad to say that for our democratic colleagues, the answer to each of those questions is no. no time for tackling the big problems. but plenty of time for the politics of trying to remove the president from office. one year before the next general election. speaker pelosi knows this is going to divide the country and it's going to preoccupy everyone's attention here in washington, d.c., until it's concluded, and she also knows that the likelihood of getting 66 votes in the senate to convict the president and to remove him is incredibly unlikely. it's never happened in our nation's history, even though president nixon did resign. no previous president who's been impeached has actually been convicted and removed from office. the inability to separate their obsession with the president with their duties in congress
should be embarrassing. impeachment may consume the news cycle, but it shouldn't stop all of us from working together in the best interests of our constituents and the american people. i hope our democratic colleagues will reconsider. mr. president, i yield the floor, and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from. mr. carper: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: mr. president, i am here on a sad note and then on a happier note as well. i'm going to try to tie the two together. i was -- i've served here, this is my 19 year to serve in the u.s. senate. i was a naval flight officer, later governor for delaware and now i serve as delaware's u.s. senator. i have had the privilege of serving with literally hundreds of people here, in the house as
and governor and certainly in the navy, armed services during the vietnam war. among my all-time favorite colleagues, all those, whether it was military service or the state of delaware or here in congress, one of my all-time favorite people to serve with was a woman from north carolina from a place called shelby. my wife is from north carolina. her family is from north carolina. she has her father down there and a lot of nieces and nephews that grew up in the mountain. she's got sisters in raleigh. some of her sisters live in shelby. there was a woman born there in 1953 named kay hagan. i don't know that she was born kay hagan, but she became kay hagan, and maybe that was after getting married. but she was a daughter of a homemaker named jeanette, and her dad had a tire business.
later he worked as a real estate broker. apparently politics was in her blood, and her dad also served as mayor later on of lakeland, florida. that was where kay hagan spent most of her childhood. lakeland, florida is near to me, mr. president, because it is a spring training camp for the detroit tigers. i've been a detroit tigers fan since i was nine years old, so it's been a while. as people were watching the world series the last couple of days, three of the best pitchers in baseball used to play for the tigers. they went through the lakeland training camp in florida. kay was not around to watch any of those former tigers because she passed away just about two, three days ago. her dad, her uncle, rather, was former governor of florida, with whom i served.
lawton was one of the sweetest, best guys i've ever known. he served here for many years. sort of a centrist democrat and beloved in his state and beloved here as well. both kay's dad and her brother served in the u.s. family i did 23 years all in active reserve in the navy and treasure those days. apparently kay also spent summers on her grandparent's farm. they had a farm in farther carolina in a place called chesterfield. it used to be a tobacco brand. and she would spend summers on her grandparent's farm in chesterfield farm. she helped harvest watermellon. i grew up near the tobacco market. the kids shrunk tobacco and harvested watermelons as well, as kay d she graduated from
lakeland high school in 1971, went on to florida state and received ultimate her j.d. from wakefield law school. her husband chip, whom she married in -- i think in 1977, was a large transactions lawyer. she raised her family in greensboro, north carolina. if you go about 30, 40 miles north of greensboro, that's danville, virginia. that's where i grew up. when i first met her, she talked about her background and her navy and brother and her father. we talked about my affinity for the detroit tigers. we talked about her -- raising her family in greensboro and me spending my childhood in danville. i once told her a story about going to greensboro with my kid when i was a little kid and we got ourselves a hunting dog, brought him back from greensboro where she raised heifer family.
she leaves -- where she raised her family. she leaves behind three kids. jeanette was named after her mother. tilden and carrie. she is also a grandmother of five canned children, which she adored. she worked in the financial industry. she became a vice president of north carolina national bank, went on to become today part of bank america. she worked as a campaign manager for a guy named jim hunt. jim hunt was governor, governor for eight years in north carolina. in north carolina, you can be governor for eight years. you can step down and be elected again. he was a great education governor. he always surrounded himself with the best people in the world. i treasured serving as a governor with him and his friendship and the fact that she had a been his campaign manager endeared her to me. she was first elected to office
-- i think she was elected to north carolina general assembly, not a a state rep. she was elected as a state senator and she served i think five terms representing gilford county down in north carolina. she ran for the senate in 2008 against elizabeth dole, another person that i have great affection for, as i did for her husband, bob. both of them actually served here ins senate. elizabeth is from north carolina. and we were fond of her and when the two of them ran against each other, it was tough. stuff like that happens. kay won and came here and served for six years until 2015. she was defeated in 2014 by thom tillis, who serves here today. she lost by i think less than 50,000 votes. so it was a close vote. after her term in the senate, she went on to work as a fellow at the harvard institute of
politics and a senior policy consultant at an office and died in october 28 of this year, three days ago of incivillitis contracted by the bite of a tick and turned into something that happened in 2016 and three years later she finally died, which is very, very sad. she is the first female senator from north carolina, first female democrat to be elected to north carolina, to the senate from north carolina. second female -- first female democrat. she served on a number of committees. i did not have the pleasure of serving with her at the same time. she was on armed services, a lot of military operations in car lie it in a especially with the -- carolina especially in the marines. she joined the committee after i left to become a member of the finance committee. she served on the health, education, labor, and pensions
committee, small business and entrepreneurship. in six years she voted on a lot of amendments, authored a lot of bills. she did all of that. i want to focus on one thing that she supported and worked on. she was a person who believes in, that we have a moral obligation to the least of these in our society. matthew 25 speaks to our moral obligation when people are hungry, what we should do about it, when they're naked, thirty, what are our obligations regardless of our faith. matthew 25 says when i was hungry did you feed me? when i was naked did you clothe me? when i was thirty did you give me something to drink? when i was a stranger in your land did you welcome me? she answered those questions yes.
she felt she had an abolition to the least of these -- she had an obligation to the least of these. we had limited amounts of money. she believed if you give a person a fish, you feed them for a day. if you teach them to fish they can feed themselves and their family for a lifetime. she's a fitness buff. i love to work out, my wife loves to work out and she did too. i think that's one of the things that enabled her to fight this disease and fight it off for as long as she did. there's a gym here. it used to be bigger. they have a swimming pool in the gym. i never used it. for years it was men only. for years there was not an opportunity for women in the senate to have a fitness center to work out in. she changed that. she led the fight to change that i think when she lost her race
in 2014 and the women of the senate threw her a goodbye party, they did it at the pool, the fitness center in the basement of the russell building. she was in the -- 1970's she was an intern in the capitol. we have some pages here, maybe some day she'll be interns too. i don't think she was ever a page but was an intern. she became an elevator operate. i'm not sure if harry reid was her majority leader here or minority leader here. there was sort of a pecking order. people would be pages at a very young age, maybe interns later on. later on they might become an elevator operator and then go on to do amazing things with her life. she certainly did that. she operated an elevator here in the senate that carried senators including her uncle lawton chiles who i mentioned earlier.
joe biden visited kay hagan in north carolina the day before her death. that would have been about four days ago. and what joe said of kay, he said she was a crucial partner in passing the affordable care act and the stimulus package when we were going through the worst recession since the great depression. joe said she was a crucial part of the affordable care act passed by one vote, and she was that one vote. and i think she was probably as proud of that vote as anything she did in the time that she served, she served her. i want to segue from kay -- she was also interested in figuring out the right thing to do, not what was easy or expedient. she was also interested in what was the right thing to do. i remember being with other senators, democrats and republicans and we were trying
to figure out what to do on a particular issue, she would say what's the right thing to do. she had a deep faith and she believed not only that we had a moral obligation to the least of these, veeflt we -- she felt we should treat other people the way we wanted to be treated, the golden rule. i was at a hindu worship center in delaware, a couple thousand people, i was reminded of the golden rule, treat other people the way we want to be treated, love thy neighbor as thyself is part of every major religion in the world. i don't care if you're a jew, catholic, hindu. she was a big proponent of the golden resume, didn't just -- golden rule. she didn't just talk about it but did it with her life. she focused on excellence in everything she did. she was committed to doing things well. she wanted to be surrounded by
staff that did things well. when things would go well for her and her team would do a good job, she would give credit to the team. when the team would fall short, she wouldn't blame the team but she would take the blame herself. the other thing i would say she just didn't give up. she was tenacious. not very tall, not tall in stature but she was tenacious. that was shown especially by the way she fought for her life until the very, very end three days ago. i want to talk a little bit about her vote on the affordable care act and why sthee thought it was the right thing to do. matthew 25 doesn't say anything, when i didn't have access to health care, when my only source of health care was the emergency room or the hospital, what did you do about it? that doesn't say that in the new testament. but i think the implication is clear and we have an obligation, a moral obligation to try to make sure everybody
has access to health care and hopefully to affordable health care. that's what we tried to do with the affordable care act. shast why she supported it -- that's why she supported it. the affordable care act, sometimes people think the affordable care act is just the exchanges, just the marketplaces. every state has an exchange or marketplace that is there, that focuses, sort of like a purchasing pool for health care that people can become a part of. if they don't work for an employer who provides health care, they're not old enough for medicare, they're not -- their income level is too high to allow them to participate in medicaid, in those cases, the, they have to find some way to get access to health care. and back in 1993, a republican senator from rhode island, john chafee, who was also a navy guy, later secretary of the navy, he introduced legislation
here in the senate in 1993 as a republican response to something hillary clinton was doing during her husband's administration, and that's working on how do we find ways, looking for ways to make sure theamb had access to -- that everybody had access to health care in this country. hillary worked on something called hillary care and people ridiculed her. she said what is your idea? what is your idea? and the response was provided by senator chafee and joined by i think 22 or 23 republican senators, and part of what they came up with is the idea that every state should have an exchange and every state should have the ability to set up this purchasing pool in their states, and people who didn't have coverage could get their coverage in the exchanges. neither one turned into law but about 10, 12 years later a new
governor of massachusetts, mitt romney, took the idea of the exchanges and introduced mitt romneycare so that people in his state would have the opportunity to sign up for coverage in their exchange. when we wrote the affordable care act, we did it and we took good ideas from all over the country, all over the world to provide health care for people that was affordable. one of the ideas we stole and put in the affordable care act was governor romney's idea of the exchanges. you know what? it was a good idea. it was a good idea. and the first few years that they did romneycare in massachusetts, did a pretty good job extending coverage, didn't do such a great job initially on affordability. more companies provided participation and it worked well. we found in the first few years that, with the affordable care act trying to set up exchanges
about seven, eight, nine years ago that it was a challenge, it was difficult. and what's happened now is the insurers are starting to figure out how to price their product and states have been able to come up with ways to buy down their risk for the insurers and to make the number of states, health insurance and the exchanges more affordable so more people can afford that. i would close -- i see the majority leader standing here waiting to speak. i just close if i can by saying after a number of years seeing the cost of health care coverage in the exchanges across the country go up, up, up, in some cases by double-digit rates in particular years, the insurance companies trying to figure out how to price insurance for people who haven't had access in years, it took them several years to figure it out but they finally for the most part has and the cost doesn't go up by double-digit
rates any more. the cost of health care coverage in the exchanges has only gone up a couple of percentage points, maybe less. about a half dozen states the cost of health care and exchanges is going down because the states are employing their own insurance in their state. in the state of delaware, when the exchanges open up today -- is it today? tomorrow. people sign up to enroll in health care health care in delaware, the price will be coming down by 19%. there's about six other states with similar experiences being realized and that is encouraging. and our hope is that a lot more insurance companies are offering coverage in the states. 23 last year, 45 this year, and that's going to produce competition and we hope some kind of cycle that will allow people to get more coverage for a better price. kay hagan, we miss you and we consider it a privilege to serve with you here. and something good has come out
of something that was very difficult in the passage of the affordable care act was hard. it's been hard finding our way forward since then, but i think better days lie ahead. market forces are starting to work. that's a good thing. and with that, i would yield the floor. thanks so much. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to executive session for the consideration of calendar 468 through 477 and all nominations on the secretary's desk in the air force, army, marine corps and navy, the nominations be confirmed, the motions to reconsider be considered made and will be will be with no intervening action or debate, no further motions be in order, statements be printed in the record and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection.
mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate now proceed to the en bloc consideration of the following senate resolutions which were submitted earlier today. s. res. 399, 400 and 401. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the senate will proceed to the resolutions en bloc. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolutions be agreed to, the preambles be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table all en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 402 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 402 honoring the life, work and legacy of toni morrison. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i know of no further debate on the measure.
the presiding officer: if there is no further debate, the question is on the adoption of the resolution. all in favor say aye. all opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the resolution is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the preamble be agreed to and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 403. the clerk: designating octobering 2019 as national farm to school month. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? mr. mcconnell: i know of no further debate on the measure. the presiding officer: if there is no further debate the question is on the adoption of the resolution. all in favor say aye. all opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the resolution is agreed to.
mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 2423, which was received from the house. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 2423, an act to require the secretary of the treasury to mint coins in commemoration of ratification of the 19th amendment to the constitution of the united states giving women in the united states the right to vote. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the commerce committee be discharged from further consideration of the -- and the senate now proceed to s. res. 345. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 345, supporting the goals and
ideals of national cybersecurity awareness month to raise awareness about and enhance the state of cybersecurity in the united states. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn to then convene for pro forma session only with no business being conducted on monday, november 4, at 1:00 p.m. i further ask that when the senate adjourns on monday, november 4, it next convene at 10:00 a.m. tuesday, november 5, and that following the prayer and pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, morning business be closed, and the senate proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the tapp nomination.
further, notwithstanding the provisions of rule 22, the cloture motions filed during today's session ripen at 2:15 tuesday, november 5. finally, that the senate recess from 12:30 until 2:15 p.m. to allow for the weekly conference meetings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order, following the remarks of senator murkowski. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i know that several of my colleagues have had an opportunity to take to the floor this week and today to speak to the memory of a woman, a senator, and a friend, certainly a friend of mine, former senator
kay hagan from the state of north carolina. kay was -- was one of those -- one of those women who you naturally gravitated to. she was kind. she was generous in her southern manner and in her charm. i rarely use the word delightful to describe people, but kay was a delightful woman. she was -- she was a friend to so many of us. she was a good colleague here in the senate. we had an opportunity to work together on different legislative matters, whether it was initiatives that i was leading on mineral security or initiatives that she was working on with regards to -- to small business and h.u.d. zones, but the one area that we really did connect for a couple of years was what we were trying to do
with our sportsman's bill. we were successful in passing that through the senate here a couple years ago, but we worked on this back in 2014, and it gave us an opportunity, as two women from states where hunting and fishing and being engaged with the outdoors is something that alaskans and north carolinians do and enjoy, and so we shared -- we shared stories, we shared just discussion about how we were able to reach common ground. we figured if these -- if these two women from these two parts of the country could figure this out and make it happen, that would -- that would really be a good day, a positive day. well, it didn't happen at that particular time, but i am pleased to say that we were successful some years later, and i think that much of that was due in part to the good work of
kay hagan. and i know that there have been -- there have been references, again, to her legislative work, to the quality of her as just a woman and a leader, but my heart is really with the hagan family and her husband chip and her extended family who truly, truly, truly loved her and were very protective of her in so many ways, and i know that their loss is a significant one. i want them all to know that this senator from alaska shares that love, shares that loss for a woman who served us all well. so i wanted to make sure that my comments were included amongst the many that have spoken on kay's life. mr. president, i want to speak
to -- to another matter this afternoon, a matter that really as i think about my tenure here in the senate and those initiatives that i have been engaged with that have really touched, touched me in a way that just make me want to work all that much harder because it is -- it is so challenging, it is so difficult, and in many, many ways, it's so dark that anything that i can do to shine a light on it, i will do so. i came to the senate floor two years ago, joined by my former colleague from -- from north dakota, senator heidi heitkamp, and heidi was here on the floor speaking about a bill that she had introduced, savannah's act, but together, we were really working to speak to the urgency
of addressing this -- this epidemic, if you will, this growing number of missing and murdered native women across america. the awful truth in this country is that native women are victims of violence in unprecedented proportions. and when i say unprecedented, i'll just give you some of the alaska numbers to just kind of put it into perspective here. this month, october, is domestic violence awareness month. and so in many of the communities and states across the country, we have been focused on these issues of domestic violence and what more we can do to -- to address thesn and safety. well, on october 1, the first
day of this month where we're raising this awareness, the headlines in the state's largest newspaper stated that the rate of rape in the state of alaska was up 11% between 2017 and 2018, an 11% increase in one year. and we're a state where unfortunately alaska native women are two and a half times more likely to be a victim of domestic violence, and tribal villages and native communities, domestic violence rates are up to ten times higher than the rest of the nation. ten times higher. so think about as bad as it is in areas that you are in, but in our tribal villages and some of
the native communities, these rates are -- are staggering. in 2015, it was estimated that 40%, 40% of sex trafficking victims were native americans. now, i know 2015 was a few years ago, but 40% of -- of the victims who have been sex trafficked were native americans. the right of sex violence victimization among alaska native women is at least seven times greater than nonnative females in the state. so think about that. there is a -- there is a level, an unprecedented level of victimization, of assault, of violence, of murder that is experienced by alaska native women. and these -- these are statistics that really should shock the conscience. i know they shock mine, and yet
i have been exposed to them for so many years, but it continues to shock. but we all know that these are not just statistics. these are mothers, these are sisters, these are aunts, these are cousins, these are friends, and these are people, women who are being violated at rates that are unacceptable anywhere in any state. now, i mentioned that some of the statistics are old, and that is part of the problem, trying to understand what it is that we don't know. and so we need to get updated data. but what isn't old and what is unfortunately seemingly every day, we get new statistics that are added to what we have already known. it was just last week, family and friends packed an anchorage
courtroom for the arraign many of a man who had been charged with murdering 52-year-old veronica abuchuk. she was a native woman, originally from the same village of st. michael, had been in anchorage for a period of time. she had been reported missing earlier this year. she was found dead near the old glenn highway in april. it was just a few weeks ago now, maybe about three weeks ago, our community, the alaska community was just horrified as we learned through the news of a -- of a video, a video cartridge that had been found on the street and what it revealed was a tape of
torture and abuse of a native woman. that tape ultimately led to the arrest of this same man that is accused of killing veronica, but that video showed the torture and the murder of 30-year-old kathleen jo henry. she was originally from a very small village. so these are -- these are -- these are stories. these are -- these are women who we read of what they have experienced, what they have endured, and think about their
families that no longer have these women in their life, and you just can't -- you just can't view them in the abstract as statistics. and so what we are doing to respond to them as -- as women, women that are vulnerable and are -- are being preyed upon. what are we doing to act to help? so i mentioned that this is domestic violence awareness month. in alaska, we have -- we have started calling it domestic violence action month. going from awareness to action is really the key here. because i'm here to tell you in alaska, we are very aware of how severe the problem of violence against native women is, whether
it's domestic violence and assault to them being trafficked and murdered. we know the statistics. when i'm talking with alaskans about what we're seeing with missing and murdered indigenous women, the subject of trafficking keeps coming into every conversation. that's what seemingly is happening to so many who unfortunately go missing. there is far, far, far too many stories that we have here that they have become trafficked and then ultimately murdered. this nexus here is what is really frightening. so i mentioned that the data and understanding what it is that we know and what we don't know, how big is the problem, what is happening with our native women that they are being victimized to the extent and to the level that we see? so we are beginning to make some
progress. we are beginning to gather more data and understanding. there is a lot we know that we have got to learn, but one thing that has become clear is that these crimes are permeating cities across america. they are in the cities, they are also in our small and remote communities. there's really no geographic boundary we're talking about here. initially we thought the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls was primarily on the indian reservations, but we had some good strong reporting from -- from the seattle-based urban indian health institute. we learned that the number of native women that go missing in urban centers is as significant as those that go missing on
reservations or in rural areas. in fact, last year there were 507 cases of native women killed in urban areas, of those 282 were confirmed murdered, 187 were confirmed missing and 98 cases are still listed in an unknown status and these cases exist across 71 urban areas for the study from baltimore, orlando, on the east coast, all the way up the north slope. according to the report, anchorage was among the top ten cities identified in the study, coming in at number three, with 21 cases of murdered indigenous women and girls. overall alaska was the fourth highest nation with 52 cases. keep in mind these are the cases that have actually been reported. so making sure that we're
understanding the extent of the problem, the issue that we're dealing with, the spotlight we're shinning on the issue of murdered indigenous women is growing, but we need to answer those questions so, again, we can move from awareness to -- to action. so what are we doing? how are we doing? we are keenly focused. i am certainly keenly focused on what we can do to improve public safety in alaska. as shocking as many of these statistics are that i have shared with you, what we know is that in far, far, far too many communities in our state we lack law enforcement presence. these are remote communities, these are small communities, maybe three -- 300 people, but when you don't have law enforcement, when there's nobody
there who can administer justice, who can be the law effectively, it's a safe place for bad people to go and do bad things. and so what we do to -- to address this is -- is on all of us. so as we are -- as we're looking at public safety in -- in rural alaska, as i reminded attorney general barr when he participated in a video conference at the alaska native -- alaska federation of native convention a couple of weeks ago, he made the comment that we want to make sure that we have public safety throughout alaska and that a woman shouldn't have to move to the city to -- to feel safe. and i, unfortunately, had to
remind him that in the cities, unfortunately, we're not seeing the level of safety that we would seek. but we are making some headway, and i want to share with -- with colleagues what we have just done in this interior appropriations bill that we moved through the full senate just this afternoon. i thank colleagues for that support. but for the first time we are directing real dollars to prioritize the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women. we have included a specific focus there within the interior approps will for fy2020. we provide funding to address the crisis with cold case investigation, equipment, training, and background checks. so we're working -- this will be
an effort that we will work with department of justice, with the b.i.a., with the administration, with the state, with the tribes. we also encourage the indian health service to look at programs which can help educate community help aids on trauma informed care, which includes collecting evidence. through the approps bill that we passed, we address the high rates of violence experienced in far too many alaskan communities. so we've been advocating for the largest possible victims of crime act fund set aside for native communities who disproportionately face violence and have oftentimes extremely limited access to service. we also secured significant funding for the violence against women prevention and prosecution programs. and for state and local law enforcement and tribal assistance, we provide additional resources as well as
resourcing for the cops, the community-oriented policing services program, which is an initiative to increase the number of police officers and ensure that they are properly trained. so i think we're making headway on the appropriations side, but i think we know there is more that we can do. we know that there is more that we must do. i -- i thank the attorney general, attorney general barr. he came up to the state of alaska in may at the invitation of senator sullivan and myself, and many of our leaders around the state, including our tribal leaders, and he was able to -- to sit down at roundtables in anchorage, he was able to get up to -- to fort uconn and to go out to a small village in a community of about 350 people and following his visit, he was
so -- he was so struck by what he had heard, what he had seen and truly what he felt -- what he felt in his heart that he moved forward with a designation of a public safety emergency in the state of alaska. he has been working with us to -- to help specifically address how we can make these rural communities more safe, what we can be doing with everything from training to -- to basic infrastructure. so it is -- it is something that -- that we're working collaboratively on. we're also seeing so many individuals, ootions, communities -- organizations, communities really speaking up about this issue. because, again, it's like the data, if you don't know it, you captain respond to it, but if
the stories aren't shared as hard and awful as they are, it is difficult to know how we respond. so there's so many who are speaking up in different ways to bring light to the fact that so many native women have not received justice. there's a woman by the name of amber webb, who i met when i was in fairbanks for the a.f.n. conference, and she created this powerful symbol to honor missing and murdered women. he sketched the faces of more than 200 murdered and missing indigenous women in north america, and she sketched it on the traditional garb of a woman. she chose it because it
symbolizes the adaptability and the strength of native women. and it's pretty impressive. it's about 15 feet high, but, again, this sketch is the face of not a woman but a young girl, ashley johnson barr, who was a 10-year-old girl who was kidnapped and killed last year. being at ashley's memorial services with the entire community, probably felt like the whole region, grieving the loss of that child in that brutal and awful murder in her home was something that never leaves you. on one sleeve of the kuspuk is
the face of sophie sergei. she was killed in 1993. she was at the university of alaska fairbanks in one of the dorms, and her case was cold for 25 years -- 25 years her family had no idea who brutally killed her and left her in a bathtub of blood in a campus dorm room. and that case broke loose with some d.n.a. testing not too many months ago, and that family is hoping -- hoping that one day there will be justice for their daughter. but the faces on that kuspuk represent way, way, way too many lives lost. the -- some of what we are facing in alaska when it comes to -- to public safety is -- is
really the -- the lack of -- of public safety out in rural areas and just an inability to ensure that -- that people are safe in their homes and so when you -- when you look at the statistics that we have, when you look at the jeshes that you face -- issues that you face, sometimes you have to say maybe -- maybe the way that we've been doing things for this long just isn't working out in these areas. maybe there needs to be a different dynamic. so i recently introduced what we're calling the alaska tribal public safety empowerment act. it builds on a legislative provision that congressman young has introduced. but it's a pilot for alaska tribes to address violence
against native women. and in that bill we empower tribes to exercise domestic violence criminal jurisdiction on a pilot basis similar to -- similar to what we did in vawa 2013 for those in indian country. we allowed tribes to assume local control over local public safety matters. because we cannot -- we cannot allow for -- we cannot -- we cannot deny safety or justice to an individual based on jurisdictional issuesle we just -- issues, we just cannot and so that addresses the tribal empowerment. there is another powerful element and that is coordination of law enforcement agencies. i hear way, way, way too often from alaskans that they don't
actually count a missing native women as missing because the last time anybody saw her she met somebody, she left the village, went to anchorage, nobody really heard of her again. what we know -- what we know is one of the most vulnerable times for -- for these young women is the transition from a village to a hub community or to a city and we've heard from law enforcement that native people, especially these young native girls, are targeted by traffickers when they first arrive in anchorage or fairbanks or a hub community. so it's important that we both understand the scope of the problem and address coordination between our state, federal, and tribal governments. that's what savannah's act and this counter part legislation, the not invisible part do.
i introduced savannah's act earlier this year with senator cortez masto. this is something that i was proud to carry the torch for senator heitkamp. but this improves the federal government's response to addressing the crisis. savannah's act increases coordination among all levels of law enforcement, increases data sharing and empowers tribal governments with the resources they need in cases involving missing and murdered indigenous women wherever they occur. the second bill i mentioned with senator cortez masto is the not invisible act. what we've seen for far too long is that native families and communities mourn the loss of people, but often the cases remain unsolved. as i mentioned earlier, we were
shocked in alaska by the case of kathleen jo henry and the related case of victoria abichuk. but what is just as shocking is that the abichuk family has already experienced the loss of one of their sisters, martha thoms, who was killed in 2005 and whose case is still unsolved. so they have had tragedy compounded on tragedy. so these bills, savanna's act and not invisible act attempt to bring the issue of violence against native women and the ongoing epidemic of missing and murdered indians to the attention of the nation. these families have faced unspeakable loss. and until recently have felt almost invisible, frustrated, and really just let down by the system, the complex system that was supposed to protect them.
but to truly honor the memory of savannah law fontain and her family's loss, we have to close the judicial loopholes that criminals exploit. we have to improve the coordination among law enforcement at all levels of government, and we have to provide the necessary resources. so not invisible designates an official bnia to coordinate efforts across agencies and establishes a commission of local tribal and federal stakeholders to make recommendations to the department of interior and department of justice on how to combat this epidemic of disappearances, homicide, violent crime, and trafficking of native americans and alaska natives. mr. president, we have a -- we have a trust responsibility, we know, to our native people, but we have a duty of moral trust when we talk about keeping all
americans safe. and we all have to be part of the solution. so by passing these bills, we're saying -- we are not going to accept what we have dealt with, what we have faced for far too long. so i think that we have to have a sense of urgency to keep native women and girls safe. and it shouldn't be anything that is partisan. there's nothing partisan about trying to protect women. nothing partisan about trying to protect native women. it's not republican or democrat about the reality that we all deserve to have the same level of protection and justice as every other woman in this country. so i'm -- i am back here on the senate floor with the same message that i had a couple of years ago with senator heitkamp and that is to urge colleagues to move -- to move beyond awareness to action. let's take up savanna's act.