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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 5, 2019 9:59am-12:00pm EST

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is commendable. >> thank you for having me. [applaus [applause]. [inaudible conversations] >> the u.s. senate is continuing work today on judicial nominations with a couple much votes scheduled at noon eastern. and later in the afternoon, senators will vote on whether to confirm robert duncan as a governor of the u.s. postal service. take you live now to the senate floor here on c-span2.
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the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. majestic god, your name fills the earth. in spite of our challenges, you continue to rule
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with your love, wisdom, and power. grant that our lawmakers may not forget the many dangers, toils, and snares that you have already brought our nation through. lord, give our senators the wisdom to know that you continue to direct the steps of the faithful and that we have nothing to fear. spirit of god, arise within our hearts and prepare us for the task of this day. surprise us again with
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your ability to transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows doing for us more than we can ask or imagine. we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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mr. grassley: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i'd like to address my colleagues for one and a half minutes in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: i believe that i have developed a reputation among my colleagues and hopefully among my constituents for transparency in the issue of the public's business should be public. that applies to how the world bank loans u.s. dollars. so the world bank is right now trying to sneak through a new policy that offends me. i received word that the world bank is planning tow -- to vote right now as i speak on a new country partnership framework with china. that framework commits the world
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bank to providing china with billions of dollars in loans indefinitely. now, what's odd about this is that china is now the world's second-largest economy, and its per capita income is well above the levels at which countries are supposed to graduate from needing world bank assistance. in other words, china should stand on their own two feet without help from the american taxpayers or even indirectly through the world bank. it happens that our country is the world bank's largest contributor and the spending bill that funds the world bank includes a provision for a big capital increase from the
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american taxpayers to the world bank. so with this legislation pending, we in the congress have an opportunity to weigh in, and we should take that opportunity to make sure that american taxpayer dollars don't go to china, particularly when china's taking their own money and investing in the initiative to get influence around several countries on the face of the earth. i'll have more to say later on this topic. thank you all very much. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: madam president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: well, for weeks now, republicans have been asking democrats to take off their impeachment blinders and let congress legislate for the american people. we've argued that american families deserve better than this partisan paralysis where democrats literally obsess over impeachment and obstruct everything else. this very morning, for example, the speaker gave a speech on national television to push forward her rushed and partisan
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impeachment. not one word, not one word on the outstanding legislation the american people actually need, nothing on usmca or the ndaa or funding for our armed forces. it's all impeachment all the time. only in this town, madam president, only in washington does anybody think it's okay for our armed forces to go unfunded and a major trade deal to go unpassed, because democrats are too busy hosting a panel of law professors. hosting a panel of law professors to criticize president trump on television instead of the things the american people actually need us to address.
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now, the kentuckians i represent cannot believe our military commanders are being denied certainty, our men and women in uniform are being denied stable funding, and 176,000 new american jobs are being held up, all because democratic leadership thinks there is more political advantage in obstruction than in doing their job. well, the service members and personnel in the kentucky national guard at fort campbell, fort knox, and the bluegrass army depot aren't going to simply stop doing their jobs. no, they are counting on us to pass critical defense legislation that reforms housing and spousal employment programs, invests in construction readiness and modernization, and locks in -- listen to this --
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the largest pay raise in a decade. these bills touch every single state, and of course there are major national and international issues at stake as well, but democrats are still holding the ndaa hostage for a partisan wish list that is meant to appease trial lawyers, public sector unions, and their own far left base. they're holding up, holding up the ndaa over unrelated nongermane left-wing wish list items. and meanwhile, the speaker, the democratic leader, are withholding their assent from important bipartisan provisions like the caesar syria civilian protection act which has
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previously passed both houses and has been modified to resolve all concerns by the committees of jurisdiction. unlike the democratic leader's rhetoric on syria in recent weeks, this bill would actually do something to stand up for the syrian people and hold assad accountable. i hope the democratic leader will allow this important demonstration of our support for the syrian people to go forward. in the meantime, as if to underscore the democrats' top priority is performance art for coastal elites and not the people's business. i understand the speaker of the house spent part of this weekend in madrid, in madrid, talking about climate change. she took an international flight to discuss carbon emissions.
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so the speaker was in spain lamenting president trump's decision to pull us out of the paris agreement. maybe she pitched her conference green new deal, their socialist plan to hurt our economy while bigger emitters like china go roaring right by. as an aside, over the past 15 years, the u.s. carbon emissions have actually fallen significantly. we appear to be on track for another decline in 2019. meanwhile, paris agreement signatories like china and india continue to emit more and more every year. china already emits roughly twice as much as the u.s., and they're increasing every year. kentucky and many other states know exactly what happens when
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washington democrats ignore these facts and decide america needs to take on a unilateral economic pain for no meaningful change in global emissions. we're still trying to recover from democrats' last war on coal. we certainly don't need speaker pelosi to promise the europeans she is going to start a new one. so, madam president, working americans and their families are not well served by democrats' political performance art. what they really need, what they really need are results. the only path to results is bipartisan legislation. and fortunately, it's a well-trodden one. there are 58 consecutive annual defense authorizations to prove it. always in the past, we have been able to overcome these partisan differences and go forward.
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and there's a bipartisan bicameral agreement that the speaker and the democratic leader signed just a few months ago to help them find their way back to the table. the agreement needs to be honored. i hope they do so sometime soon. on another matter, while we wait for our democrat colleagues to let this legislation move forward, the senate used the time to confirm more of president trump's impressive nominees for the federal courts. some of my friends across the aisle complained that we devote too much time to nominations. well, first i'd like to remind everyone that district judges are the kinds of nominations that historically sailed right through the senate in big groups on voice votes.
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if our democratic colleagues want to spend less time voting on district judges, they should take it up with the democratic leader who is forcing us to take cloture vote after cloture vote. as of this morning, we have taken cloture votes on 81 district judge nominees. by this point in president obama's presidency, we had taken one, one cloture vote on a district judge nominee. let me say that again. as of this morning, as of this morning, we've taken cloture votes on 81 district judges. by this point in president obama's presidency, we had taken one, one cloture vote on a district nominee, just one. at the comparable point in the
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five presidencies preceding president obama combined, combined, we had not taken a single cloture vote on a district judge nomination, not one. but three years into the trump presidency, 81 cloture votes and counting just on district judges. so there's your answer on floor time. but more broadly, i want to take a moment to help clarify why i and millions of other americans care so much about having federal judges who believe in the radical notion that words matter and that a judge's job is to follow the law and the constitution. take, for example, the subject of religious freedom. the liberty of conscience and the freedom to live out our faiths has been a foundational
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principle from the republic's earliest days. many of the first europeans who arrived in the new world came here fleeing religious persecution. james madison wrote that religion, quote, must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man and is the right of every man to exercise it as they may dictate. samuel adams said in the summer of 1776 that america would be the last asylum for freedom of thought and the right of private judgment. so let me contrast the understanding of the founders with a couple of current events. last month, new york state invents a district judge to throw out the trump administration's conscience protection rule for health care
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providers. this straightforward rule ensured health care workers could not be forced, forced to perform or assist with medical procedures that profoundly violate their religious beliefs. but the radical democrats in new york could not abide this basic protection for people of faith. instead, they want to force christians and other people of faith who work in health care to either assist in procedures like abortion or lose their jobs. so much for freedom of conscience. new york's behavior is part of a disturbing trend. powerful interests on the left want to shrink freedom of religion until it means freedom to go to church for an hour on sundays as long as it doesn't impact the rest of your life. they want to shrink freedom of religion until it means freedom to go to church for an hour on
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sundays as long as it doesn't impact the rest of your life. that shrunker interpretation is nothing like what our founders intended. and candidly, i'm not sure how much longer the modern democratic party will even believe in that. a few months ago, a democrat running for president told cnn that government should take away the tax-exempt status of churches and religious institutions that disagree with left-wing positions. this, madam president, was not some french candidate. it was a guy who democrats and the mainstream media had likened to john f. kennedy, ultimately suggesting the federal government should punish churches if liberals don't like
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their social views. how appalling. these disturbing signs have not been limited to the courts or to the democratic campaign trail. absurd antireligious arguments have appeared right here, right here in the senate. in the last several years, some of our democratic colleagues have tried literally to impose religious tests on nominees for federal office. just take the no religious test clause and the first amendment and throw it right out the window, get rid of it. judge brown buescher, now a district judge in nebraska, was attacked by two democrats on the judiciary committee for being a faithful catholic and a member of the mainstream worldwide
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catholic group, the knights of columbus. attacked for being a member of the knights of columbus? in written questions, one senator called standard catholic teaching extreme positions and asked if he had -- would dial down his personal faith practice if confirmed. that happened in the judiciary committee of this senate. as our colleague, senator sasse, observed at the time, democrats were transparently implying that brian's religious beliefs and his affiliation with his catholic religious from internal organization might make him unfit for service. plainly unconstitutional. judge amy coney barrett, now a judge on the seventh circuit,
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was likewise subjected to a religious test during her confirmation hearing. one democratic senator literally asked do you consider yourself an orthodox catholic? she was asked that in the judiciary committee. another bizarre and ominous rye mark, the dogma lives loudly within you, and that's a concern. so, look, madam president, these warning signs on religious freedom are literally popping up everywhere the modern liberal left rears its head. religious freedom in america has never, never meant and will never mean solely the freedom to worship privately. it has never meant to practice only a subset of face acceptable to some subset of politicians. what it means is the right to
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live your life according to the dictates of your faith and your conscience free from government coercion. if those statements strike anybody in this chamber as remotely controversial, that is exactly why president trump, senate republicans, and millions of americans are focused on confirming federal judges who will apply our constitution as it was originally written. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, richard earnest myers ii, of north carolina, to be united states district judge for the eastern district of north carolina.
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the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. scott: thank you, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed --
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scoat scott madam president. the presiding officer: -- mr. scott: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. scott: first, democratic leader, thank you. as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to calendar number 212, h.r. 2486. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 212, h.r. 2486, an act to authorize mandatory funding programs for historically black colleges. the presiding officer: is there objection in proceeding to the measure? without objection.
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mr. scott: i ask unanimous consent that the alexander-murray amendment at the desk be agreed to and that the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. scott: i know of no further debate on the bill, as amended. the presiding officer: if there is no further debate, the question is on passage of the amendment. of the bill, as amended. all in favor say aye. all opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill, as amended, has passed. mr. scott: i ask unanimous consent that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the senators from south carolina, tennessee, washington state, and alabama -- well, but -- be allowed to speak for brief moments on this great job they have done and i be given back my leadership time at 10:50. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. alexander: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i want to thank the democratic leader for his courtesy and support on this. he and senator mcconnell made it possible for us to do this. i will limit my remarks for a couple of minutes and then to senator murray and then senator scott, senator coons, senator jones is here, and we'll finish by 10:50. madam president, it's hard to think of a piece of legislation that would have a more lasting impact on minority students in america than the bill that the senate just passed. i believe in doing so we have improved the provision in the house bill that was sent to us, that's what we did. we amended a house bill that we're now sending back to them. we've been working with leaders in the house to make sure that our bill is something that the house can accept and pass. we hope that will happen. we hope that will happen in the next couple of weeks. and here is the result of it
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happening. number one, a big step for historically black colleges and minority institutions, permanent funding at the level of dz tdz 255 million a year for those institutions that serve up to two million minority students. that's number one. the second big step is one that senator murray and i and our committee, senator jones, senator bennet, senator king, and many others have been working on for five years, to simplify the form that students use to apply for federal aid for college. 20 million families fill out what's called the fafsa, the federal aid form every year, and then we have students who borrow more than $100 billion a year. and what we have done in this bill is reduce the complexity of filing that fafsa form by saying
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to students you don't have to give your federal tax information to the government twice. we'll take the 22 questions -- up to 22 questions that are a part of the 108 question fafsa, and we will eliminate them. and if the student gives his or her express consent, the internal revenue service will answer those questions for the student. madam president, i can't tell you how many times students, parents, college presidents, federal aid counselors have told me that the application and the verification of this information has discouraged low-income students from coming to -- to college. 5.5 million of the students of the 20 million students who fill out these forms have the accuracy of these forms questioned. this will eliminate that for most of the students because
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they will only have to give that information to the government twice. i want to thank senator murray especially for this. we worked together on the education committee. but senator coons, senator scott, senator richard burr, of north carolina, which has the largest number of historically black colleges and universities, and the senator from south carolina have been a great support. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: minority institutions are an essential part of our entire higher education system and those institutions serve nearly six million undergraduate students, a large majority of whom are students of color ornative american students. funding for those critical institutions should never be up for debate and now because of this, it will not be. i am so glad we have reached a bipartisan deal that will permanently fund hbcu's and
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m.s.i.'s. i especially want to thank senator jones for his leadership in pushing to make sure this got done as well as my partner, senator alexander, and, of course, senator coons, scott, and burr. i'm also pleased that this legislation streamlines federal student aid for more than 20 million students applying for aid and nearly eight million borrowers. our nation's outdated and overly complicated financial aid system is forcing students and borrowers to jump through too many hoops to access federal financial aid and verify their tax returns that they already filled out and get help if they are struggling to pay their student loan. the fafsa act, which is included in this bill, allows data to be securely shared between the i.r.s. and the department of education, making it easier for students to fill out the fafsa and pay their loans. this bill will strengthen privacy protections and help students and borrowers navigate
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their financial aid through a streamlined, more efficient process. and i also want to recognize jeff's work and express my gratitude to him. madam president, there's one more way in which this agreement we reached is important. this proves once again that we can work across the aisle and get things done when we all stay focused scarily on -- squarely on what is best for students. we have a lot ahead of us to make higher education affordable and accessible and ensure students' safety on campus. i'm hopeful that we can build on this bipartisan progress we've seen so for as we continue to work together to reauthorize the higher education act in a comprehensive way. again, i be want to thank all of my colleagues for their work on this and i look forward to more to come. mr. scott: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. scott: thank you. to avoid the risk of being redundant, i want to put a little skin on the bones as it
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relates to what this futures act means to college students, particularly those college students who are entering into the process for the very first time in their families. what it means is simply this. simplification means more education for a lot more students, and that's good news. we oftentimes talk about the importance of keeping the american dream alive and keeping it well. this will provide significant opportunities for low-income students to get through the process very quickly. in south carolina we had eight hbcu's. the economic impact of those graduates is around $5 billion of lifetime earnings. this bill makes that more achievable, more attainable and keeps the american dream live and well. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. jones: thank you, madam president. madam president, i'm rising today with just, for lack of a
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better term, an incredible amount of hope and excitement, something we don't always see on the floor of the senate these days. we go through so many routine measures. we go through so many political speeches. but today is truly a day of hope and excitement and optimism because we are on the verge of a significant moment for our nation's historically black colleges and universities, and all minority serving institutions. i frankly hope that in our partisan world that we're living and a partisan america that people across this country are tuning in right now or at least will follow what's happening on the floor of the senate today where a bipartisan coalition has come together for a significant and important segment of our population that deserves the same economic and occasional opportunities -- educational opportunities as everyone else. 14 months ago i came to this
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chamber to introduce a permanent extension and increase a funding for these important institutions of education. nearly half of all the funding they received was set to run out on september 30, 2019. we secured a quarter of the cosponsors. within the new congress, we offd a more modest but bipartisan and paid for plan to avert the looming fiscal cliff, but our goal and the goal of everyone in here and the goal of all of those, including my friend, senator alexander, was to always reach the ultimate goal of permanent funding, a permanent solution for these important institutions. all told, these schools serve six million students across the country. they are often the foundation upon which families begin to build generational wealth. generational wealth. not just one person that goes to
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college, but generational wealth in communities that have long, long faced system systematic barriers to doing so. they create good, sustainable jobs, part of the very foundation of our higher education system in this country. and in my state in particular. with all due respect to my friend, senator burr from north carolina, there's a little bit of a controversy about who has the most hbcu's. i would claim that alabama does, with 14, but that's for a debate on another day. but we can all agree that supporting these schools and the students they serve is not a partisan issue. i think we can all agree on that. i think we can shoaf that we cae can agree on that. their funding should never become a political football. we have been working toward the same goal. to say the least, i am so deeply relieved that today we
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forged this bipartisan compromise that will allow these schools to provide the funding they need, the certainty they need to go forward, to continue to fill their important mission. i really, especially want to thank my colleagues on the help committee. chairman alexander and ranking member murray in particular, for your leadership and your willingness to reach across the aisle, to find the common ground for the better good of this community. i also want to thank my friend, senator scott from south carolina in joining me on what we have done for the last couple of years to introduce the future act and to push it forward. i believe, and i've said this for so, so long that we have so much more in common than we have that divide us, and this is just one example. it is why i would hope that folks across the country are looking to see that we can come together and we can be unified. i'm grateful today because in addition to the permanent funding of hbcu's and
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minority-serving institutions, this agreement, as the senator from tennessee said, includes a long overdue first big step towards simplifying the fafsa application. even with a law degree, i can tell you that with my kids trying to do that made me pull out what little bit of hair i have left. i didn't need to do that. it's not just a frustrating process. it can be so intimidating that students or their parents just walk away. in alabama alone, kids walked away from millions of dollars of federal financial aid. grants, not just loans. the fafsa as it is today can be a huge barrier for students who want to go to college. the proposal that we have on the table now will help save taxpayers and make the fafsa process less painful by cutting up to 22 questions from the form, and it lays the groundwork for a broader fafsa reform that senator alexander and i have been working on which
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we propose to cut even further to maybe 17 to 30 questions. but getting those two priorities across the finish line today is not just about renewing funding or cutting red tape. at their core, these issues are about opening doors of opportunity for young people who have talent and motivation to succeed in college and in life. but they have not necessarily had the financial means or the family connections to do so. this is about making sure we empower every young person in this country to reach their full potential and then pay it forward for future generations. that is what gives me the home standing here today. it's what makes me excited today. and, again, i want to thank my colleagues for the incredible effort senator alexander, senator murray in particular. our hearts have always been in the right place. we have always moved the ball
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forward knowing that the long-term goal was to help these families for generations to come. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: madam president, today is about a moment of hope. today is about a moment of genuine bipartisanship made possible by the discipline and determined leadership of senators alexander of tennessee and murray of washington state. i rise to join my friend and colleague, the senator from alabama, who has just given remarks following the senator from south carolina. and at a moment when what most americans see on their televisions is partisan division and dysfunction in the senate and the house, i just want to remind all of us we can get good and important and significant things done together as just happened on the floor a few moments ago. for generations american families have worked and saved
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and strived to send their children to college, but for a long time our nation's original sin, the sin of slavery and racism has left a long shadow and stain on access to the critical opportunity of higher education. in which of our nation for -- in much of our nation for decades african americans were denied entry to most of america's colleges and universities and still today face unreasonably high barriers to higher education. the establishment of historically black colleges and universities, hbcu's, and other minority-serving institutions of higher education have been a critical answer to that tragic history of discrimination. men and women who founded and who lead hbcu's refuse to accept a system of higher education that denied opportunity to african americans, and over decades hbcu's have risen to become some of our nation's finest ak democrat nest niewtioc institutions, educated men and women who have gone on to become
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our nations greatest leaders. that is why republicans and democrats acted to make a permanent commitment, a permanent commitment to supporting hbcu's and minority-serving institutions with federal funds. we've agreed to make permanent $255 million in annual funding for hbcu's, and i'm particularly excited about this legislation because my home state of delaware is home to one of the finest public hbcu's in the country, delaware state university, founded in 1891, one of the country's premier land grant universities and over the last 125 years emerged as one of our nation's premier hbcu's graduating some of my state's best accountants, business leaders, researchers, nurses, social workers and much more. the university's first female president will end her impressive tenure this most and be succeeded by tony allen who will continue the trajectory of the hornets of delaware state
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university. their -- it is home to the delaware center for neuroscience research, a partnership of institutions working to advance our understanding of our brains and how we form thoughts and memories and feelings that may help unlock the key to addiction and other challenges our country faces. it's also home to oscar, the optical science center for applied research which is helping speed detection of disease and support our soldiers from detecting it threats and even equip a nasa mars rover. delaware state has been the lead institution on grants from nasa, n.s.f. and n.i.h. in the last few years. we are very proud of delaware state. this funding stream last year provided $880,000 for critically needed funding for stem, faculty, research and for students. let me last reference something that my colleagues have also spoken to, the streamlining of the free application for federal student aid, or fafsa, which impacts 20 million american
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families. as some know, i spent a long time, roughly 20 years of my life actively involved with the national i have a dream foundation which provides college access opportunities for young people from families with no means or experience of attending higher education. i myself sat with dozens of young delawareans and struggled as we finished the fafsa form for them and this long worked for solution that senators alexander and murray have advanced of streamlining this form from 1088 questions to -- from 108 questions to 22 will make a lasting difference for abz to education all over our nation. i'm grateful for the opportunity to join this bipartisan coalition and look forward to even more progress in the months and years ahead. thank you. and with that, madam madam chair, i yield. the presiding officer: the democratic leader.
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mr. schumer: first let me thank my colleagues, the senators from south carolina, tennessee, washington state, alabama, and delaware for their hard work on this very important issue. i appreciated their words, and i think far more appreciated even than their eloquent words is the fact that we're getting this done finally, and i'm so glad for it. i'll say something about it now. so let me just add my words of support for the future act. a few minutes ago, as i mentioned, we passed the future act by unanimous consent, and i'm so glad and grateful that the senate came together today to give these institutions and the students they serve the certainty needed to continue focusing on their important mission. in america -- in america, we believe in ladders up.
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people should have to climb those ladders. no one is going to put them up on a pedestal, but there should be the ladders there so that if somebody wants to work hard, they're given fair opportunity. and barriers, sometimes barriers based on bigotry do not stand in their way. hbcu's make up 3% of colleges and universities, but they produce 27% of african american students with bachelor degrees in stem fields, 80% of african american judges, 40% of african american engineers, 50% of african american lawyers, 40% of african american colleagues here in the congress are hbcu graduates. so this is one fine ladder up, as are our other institutions that spend much time helping
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hispanic americans and native americans, native americans as well. we need these ladders. it's part of america. and we should help them whenever we can. tribal colleges and universities serving black, hispanic, and native american populations serve more than 130,000 american indians and alaska natives, the most underserved group in higher education. hispanic-serving institutions have grown by nearly 40% since 2009, helping the latino community make big inroads in college enrollment and completion. they now enroll 66% of all hispanic undergraduates but account for only 15% of nonprofit colleges. so all three of these types of institutions -- the hbcu's, colleges and universities serving american indians and
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alaska natives, and hispanic-serving institutions -- are amazing ladders up. essential to making higher education accessible and affordable and attainable for all americans, essential for having that bright sun of the american dream actually shine on people instead of it being some words that are meaningless to them. so this is a very fine moment, and i want to thank all of those who put this all together and made it happen. we can celebrate. this is not -- most of the things that pass by u.c. around here, or many of them are kind of small and narrow. this is not. this is very important, and my salute to those who made it happen who i mentioned earlier. now on a less happy subject, this morning -- this is on impeachment, and this morning the speaker of the house instructed house committee chairs to begin drafting
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articles of impeachment against the president of the united states. that is a very solemn duty and solemn undertaking. the speaker's decision comes after the house intelligence committee-reported that its inquiry had quote, uncovered ago months long effort by president trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 elections. we know russia interfered on trump's behalf in 2016, and now he's trying to make it happen again. this time by trying to push ukraine. the charges against the president are extremely serious. no belittling of these charges will hold any water. the charge to use foreign interference on behalf of a
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candidate in the 2020 elections is dramatic and awful stuff. these charges ken our national security. they concern the sanctity of our elections and the potential corruption, corruption of our nation's foreign policy for personal political interests of the president of the united states. the gravity of those charges demands that senators, if articles of impeachment are served to us, to put country over party and examine the evidence without prejudice or partisanship. which is why it is so disheartening, confounding, deeply disappointing that at this historic moment, i heard the republican leader criticize ing in such strident
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terms the process of the impeachment inquiry in the house for being too short and not including enough witnesses or due process for the president. i'd respond on two counts. first, the republican leader is simply wrong to suggest that the house process has been anything but deliberate, evenhanded, and serious. speaker pelosi, the house intelligence committee, the house judiciary committee, are proceeding exactly how the constitution prescribes. but second, it is the height of hypocrisy to criticize the house process for being too short and not including enough witnesses when the trump administration is the one blocking witnesses from testifying. what hypocrisy? how can the leader even say it with a straight face? will this febrile obeisance to
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president trump never cease? are they so afraid of him and his bullying that they can't admit the obvious truth and twist themselves in pretzel knots to make arguments that are so spurious? it is the height of hypocrisy to criticize the house for not including enough opportunities for the president to make his defense when the president's refusing to participate. it is the height of hypocrisy to say that there are not enough witnesses when we don't hear a peep out of the republicans urging the president to allow the witnesses that the house wanted to come forward. this hyperventilation about the length of the house process and the number of witnesses is simply ridiculous. the trump administration is responsible for those things, not house democrats. everyone knows that. everyone knows they have gone to
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worth to block witnesses and documents. i'd remind my colleagues if the articles of impeachment are indeed passed by the house, leader mcconnell and senate republicans must work with democrats to set the parameters of a fair and impartial trial. every member of the senate should support a fair process. the house is running a fair process now. we must do the same in the senate if it comes to that. all week, i have been urging my senate republican colleagues not to spread or even speculate about the dangerous myth that ukraine, not just putin, interfered in the 2016 elections. the myth was invented by putin's intelligence services to deflect blame away from putin while driving a wedge between the united states and ukraine, one of putin's top goals. when certain senate republicans
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are parroting putin's talking points, we have a serious problem. hopefully the overwhelming criticism of the members who did that this week have convinced them to stop and back off in a -- in the republicans' absurd denial of fact and total defense of president trump even when it's obvious he's not telling the truth, we have reached a low moment and maybe the lowest of all with the mouthing of putin's conspiracy theory about ukraine. now, another insidious conspiracy theory was doused with cold water this morning. you know, truth comes out, republicans. sooner or later. and this theory -- another theory was doused with cold water when it was reported that attorney general barr's
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hand-picked prosecutor had reportedly found no evidence that the f.b.i. probe into the trump campaign was a setup. republicans in the house, conservative media personalities, fox news, and other blind partisan loyalists to the president have long conjured and peddled these deep state conspiracies without evidence. the attorney general is even use the resources of the justice department which could be filled with communist party tries or tackling ransomware attacks on cities across the country to investigate the origins of the 2016 probe. attorney general barr's actions are presumably in hopes of turning up evidence of these far-fetched theories. well, too bad, republicans. too bad, hard right. the attorney general's hand-picked prosecutor found no evidence of these conspiracy
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theories that the investigation of president trump was started with evil and political intent. the only evidence we have is that the outlandish theories peddled by president trump and his allies to defend this administration are totally baseless. now, on another note, airport face scans. this morning, it was reported that the trump administration will propose a rule to require u.s. citizens to have their faces scanned whenever they enter or leave the united states. this sounds like something out of china. currently, all u.s. citizens are allowed to opt out of facial scans when entering or exiting the country. the trump administration is poised to remove that option and make facial scans mandatory for all travelers, including u.s. citizens. i have significant concerns about what this policy would
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mean for privacy of every american citizen. just last year, a cyberattack of c.b.p. compromised the personal information. in this case, it was license plates and facial data, of just over 100,000 people -- of just under 100,000 people. imagine if d.h.s. were required to retain the facial data of every american who traveled in and out of the country. there are, of course, legitimate questions about whether the federal government is legally allowed to collect and store this data. those questions must be answered before, not after the trump administration moves forward with its new rules. on something as serious as this, congress should debate this issue. i see no reason why the current opt-out policy must change, and i will work with privacy advocates in the senate like my friend senator markey to
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legislatetively prevent the administration from moving forward. another issue -- robocalls. the house of representatives yesterday passed bipartisan legislation to crack down on the tens of billions of robocalls that plague americans every year. all of us are bothered by these darned robocalls. they come at the worst times. they are on and on. you can't even shut them off. last year alone, americans were battered by 48 billion, billion robocalls. that's 150 calls per person per year. robocalls are annoying, they are persistent, and beyond that, many of them are dangerous to consumers. foreign companies can make thousands of calls with the push of a button and can charge americans simply for picking up the call. can you believe that? many are designed to scam elderly americans. we have heard about elderly americans who are frightened and send their life savings to these
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criminal callers. and many of the calls target institutions like hospitals and slow down important businesses. the traced act passed by the senate in may and recently amended and passed by the house requires phone companies to block robocalls without charging consumers and will give the justice department, the f.c.c. better tools to prosecute scammers who prey on unsuspecting many elderly americans. i am proud to be a cosponsor of the original senate bill. i have pushed hard to move it forward. the senate should now take action on the amended and expanded robocall legislation from the house and pass it before the year is out. as we saw with the recent legislation to the democratic protests in hong kong, when there is bipartisan consensus on an issue, we can move swiftly to enact bipartisan legislation.
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these moments unfortunately are far too rare under leader mcconnell who has avoided the considering of legislation on the floor even when it has bipartisan support. but i hope as we enter the final few weeks this year, leader mcconnell will address the issues of robocalls and send this bipartisan bill to the president's desk. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i know the american people, when they see what's happening in washington, think that we fight all the time and we disagree about everything, but let me just agree with my friend, the democratic leader, on the issue of the nuisance of robocalls. but as important as that is to our quality of life and to protecting vulnerable seniors and others who may be misled by some of these deceptive calls, some of the most basic functions of the federal government have not been fulfilled, like
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appropriating the money that's necessary to support our men and women in uniform. the bipartisan spending caps bill that we agreed to in august has been walked back by our democratic friends, and we find ourselves with a lot of uncertainty here at the end of the year in terms of what the future may hold. in terms of our ability to actually get anything done, things like pass a highway bill. that's one thing that republicans and democrats can all agree on is our disdain for traffic and congestion. that's one thing we could work on together. we could work together to bring down drug prices, particularly the out-of-pocket costs for consumers with high deductibles and high co-pays. we could pass the usmca, the united states-mexico-canada agreement. all of these enjoy broad bipartisan support but unfortunately they are all now held captive by this impeachment
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mania which has stricken the house of representatives and is scheduled to come over here to the senate probably around the first of the year, depending on the schedule that speaker pelosi keeps in the house. so while there is plenty of good ideas out there about things that we can work on together on a bipartisan basis, we all know that the senate and the congress has limited bandwidth. we can't do everything we want to do. we need to prioritize. and i would hope that our priorities would be the american people's priorities and not the political priorities here of partisans in washington, d.c., but unfortunately it looks to me like the partisans are winning and the people are losing. we need to keep fighting against that, but that's where we are right now, particularly with speaker pelosi's announcement this morning that the house is now going to proceed to draft articles of impeachment. something that's only been done four times in our nation's history. this will be the fourth time.
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we know what the outcome is likely to be with the 67-vote threshold here in the senate, and i think all of us in america have listened or been exposed to anyway the various arguments on both sides of the question. but i don't frankly expect anything new to come out of this. a lot of this is rehashed over and over again ad nauseam in order to justify a partisan impeachment process less than one year before the next general election. i would think we would be a little bit cautious about 535 members of congress working here in the nation's capitol reversing decisions made by millions in the last -- -- last presidential election. unfortunately, we don't see this issue getting the kind of sober and serious consideration that
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the founders contemplated or that the american people deserve. mr. president, on another topic, a number of our colleagues here in washington have undertaken a radical approach when it comes to providing the energy that our country needs. as a matter of fact, if you think about it, it's because of the energy being produced by the oil and gas industry here in america today that the average price of gasoline is now probably roughly $2.50 per gallon. in austin, texas, where i live, you can drive from the airport to my home and you can see gas prices at $2.15 a gallon. it's cheap relative to the historical prices. and you think about what that means in terms of consumers,
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regular everyday working folks and families. it means they are able to spend money on other things that are important to them in their lives and not spend all of their income on filling up their gas tank. that's a huge gift to the american people and to consumers. but rather than focus on the benefits of what our innovative and entrepreneurial energy industry has done, we know that some of our friends here in washington want to reorder the world in their own image. they say that the goal is to completely eliminate the most affordable and reliable sources of energy for what? well, in pursuit of net zero emissions. i'll talk more about that in a moment. we remember earlier this year they introduced the green new
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deal. the green new deal is chalk through of ideas but no pragmatic. it puts socialist policies under one big green umbrella. with an unaffordably high price tag. the best evidence, mr. president, of how extreme this proposal is is when it came up for a vote in the senate, not a single senator voted for it. that includes all of the cosponsors of the -- of the proposal. that's not exactly a profiling encourage to tell the american people this is a solution to our environmental and energy problems and then when it comes up for a vote, you run and hide. and nobody voted for it. well, if this proposal was not so terrifying, it would be a
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terribly bad joke. well, that may be the most extreme proposal we've seen, it's not the only one. we know that some of our democratic colleagues in the house are trying to impose government mandates, that means more regulation, more taxation, more control by washington all in an effort to achieve zero -- net zero emissions by the year 2050. you know, 2050, in some ways seems like a long way off and in other ways doesn't seem that long way off. but in pursuit of programs that would address a problem in 2050, how about let's taking care of the business that's sitting here right before us today. first, we seem to have lost any sense of urgency in any of our important priorities like funding the government or funding the military. a number of our democratic
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friends running for president say we should ban fracking. i would like to ask them if they know what that is or how it works. some of them also said they want to ban the export of crude oil. america, this month, for the first time in 70 years, became a net exporter of oil. i'll talk more about that in a moment. but some are saying they even want to go so far as to ban the use of natural gas. well, natural gas has been responsible for taking formerly coal-fired power plants and putting them into a cleaner energy source which has actually reduced emissions by a substantial amount. but, no, the idealogues, in pursuit in their pie in the sky utopian dreams want to eliminate something that has been a substantial improvement in terms of the reduction of emissions
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while providing affordable energy. i think it's safe to say we all agree, runs, democrats, independents, everybody agrees we should do what we can to protect our environment. in fact, we live here, we breathe the air, we drink the water. we should all be equally concerned about the environment. but i'm really -- i really think some of these proposals are nothing more than virtue signaling. they are not a solution to a problem. all of these folks are trying to paint the energy industry as the enemy and the process. every good story needs a villain and our friends on the left believes that the energy industry that provides the cheap gasoline so people can drive to work or take their kids to school or go about their business, they are saying that the energy industry is really the enemy, not our friend. well, it's just not the case. by the rhetoric you're hearing,
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you would think that oil and gas companies bankrupted the country and riewntd our alliances and sent the entire globe into famine. well, that's not true. it's just the opposite of true. when you talk about global energy security, american oil and gas have reversed the tide of the energy landscape in our favor and supported our friends and allies around the world in important ways. our colleagues proposing these unworkable and unaffordable mandates would be wise to look at how the energy global landscape has changed over the last half century and consider the broader consequences of their proposal. to understand the importance of american energy on the world stage we need to rewind just a bit to the 1970's. at that time the vast majority of the world's oil and gas came from the middle east, giving these nations a great deal of
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power. in fact, you may remember back in 1980, president jimmy carter pronounced something called the carter doctrine. he said, if any foreign power would block the flow of oil through the straits of who horm, it would be an act of war. that's what jimmy carter said in 1980. so that such was our reliance on imported energy from the middle east. well, our country dealt with this consequence -- with this situation and -- and we addressed it responsibly and effectively. we know another indication of our dependence on imported energy, the united states, when we supported our friend and ally, israel, in the yom kippur war, opec, the exporting
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countries, particularly middle east countries, they banned the sale of crude oil to the united states. those who are old enough to remember know that prices quadrupled some were worried about the energy that would be necessary to create electricity and a number of towns asked their citizens not to even put up christmas lights. this is because our source of oil and gas was cut off from the middle east, such was our dependence. despite strong domestic production, we were still relying heavily on imports, and once that supply was cut off, we were caught flat-footed. so the arab oil embargo brought to light the risk of energy dependence and brought to mind the need to do something about it. there was a consensus that we
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needed to grow our supplies here at home so we were less dependent on imports. so less than two years later congress, thinking we were doing a good thing, we put a ban on the export of american crude because we thought we needed it here and wouldn't -- didn't want to export it abroad. but over the next four decades a lot has changed. advancements in the energy sector, including hydraulic fracture and horizontal drilling have dramatically increased the production of american energy. for the first time in 70 years, america has become a net exporter of oil. that's how dramatically this has turned around. and in the process we've achieved our goal of reducing our reliance on imported energy from dangerous and unsettled regions of the world like the middle east. well, pretty soon we found
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ourselves sitting on a goal mine -- gold mine and it became clear it was time to lift the export ban. in 2015, after 40 years of no exports, that's what congress did. we did so because we believed, number one, we had more than we could use here in america, but we also believed this would be a huge boon to our economy. but that was just part of the equation just as we were able to reduce our reliance on oil from an unreliable and unstable regions of the world, we knew that by exporting the oil that america produced, we could help other countries, our friends and allies around the world who were dangersly dependent on sources of -- dangerly depend on sources of oil from countries like russia that are all too ready to use energy as a weapon. do what we say and we'll keep
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the oil and gas flowing. do something we don't like, we will shut you down. in the not so distant pass many allies looked to iran and russia for energy needs. in the baltic states all nato allies relied almost exclusively on russia for their oil and gas and electricity. several european countries depended on russia for 80% of their gas and on the whole one-third of the gas that europe consumed came from russia. when our allies were looking to our adversaries for basic needs like heating and electricity and fuel, that's a real problem. it's a strategic vulnerability, not only for those countries but also for the united states. our friend, senator john mccain, had quite a sense of humor, those of us who knew him during his lifetime. but he aptly described russia as a gas station masquerading as a
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country. russia's ability to export that energy to other countries was the lifeline for their -- for their country. but i think senator mccain hit the nail on the head. especially when russia uses that energy as a weapon. so as i alluded, in 2009 we saw the vulnerability this creates when russia effectively turned the lights off in ukraine for almost three weeks they shut down the energy supply. this affected ten countries in europe whose natural gas traveled through ukraine. just as the united states realized how dangerous our foreign oil reliance was, our allies began to understand the implications of their dependency as well. many of our friends in europe have been working to diversify their energy supply, which is a good thing, and build strategic gas interconnectors between
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countries reliant on russia for natural gas, getting a diversity of yours sources -- a diversity of sources is an insurance policy for those countries so russia can't just cut off their energy supply. supplying our friends around the world with american oil and gas not only strengthens our security but it alleviates the power that our adversaries like russia hold in important regions of the world like europe. in addition to increasing global security, american oil and gas have allowed us to provide affordable, plentiful and reliable energy to countries struggling to supply power for their own citizens. if you think about it, low-cost energy coming from america has the potential to be the greatest poverty reduction program in memory. for example, in india when i first traveled to india in 2004,
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if you drive from delhi to the taj mahal, you will drive to vast -- through vast areas where the population is very poor and huge swaths of that population lack access to things to cook their food with or electricity to light their homes. and so what do they do? well, they burn cow dung, they burn coal or wood pellets or other high-efficient fuel sources, so america, with the clean energy we have here, we are able to help one of our closest friends and partners in the world and in the process help the prime minister and the leadership there lift more indians out of this grinding poverty and relying on things like cow dung simply to cook
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their food. last year we doubled the amount of export to india and i would dare say the sky is the limit. i think many of our democratic colleagues should reflect back on the lessons of history before advocating a return to the 1970's when it comes to the way we approach american energy. i understand the importance of innovation in the energy sector to lower emissions, and i'm all in. but rather than a -- than another government program or higher taxes or more regulation or surrendering control over our freedom to washington, d.c., why don't we let the innovators, the entrepreneurs come up with solutions? that's what happens when it comes to american oil and gas. they came up with the answer, not washington, d.c. and we're all benefiting from the results. but when it comes to innovation, i've introduced legislation and a number of our other colleagues have too, to increase research dollars going into ways to lower
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emissions by looking at alternative ways to deal with energy production like electricity, for example, a small natural gas-fired power plant in la port, texas, that i visited with our friend, senator collins from maine, where they emit zero carbon dioxide. that's a boom to the environment and i think also provides a solution to the oil and gas industry because what they do is they pipe the co2 after the back end and use it to inject in the ground in old oil fields so they produce more oil and gas. that's called secondary recovery. but here at home it's easy to take dependable energy for granted. we do it all the time. we don't worry about having the energy to cook our dinner at night or refill our cars' gas tanks. we take that all for granted. but the truth is in countless countries in the world, for the
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majority of the world it's a completely different story. our friends who advocate these utopian ideals like the green new deal, i don't begrudge them their desire to improve the environment but i would ask them to be more pragmatic when it comes to trying to solve the problem or i would ask them, are you really trying to solve a problem? if you are, we want to work with you to reduce emissions. but if your goal is to pursue some fantasy which won't work and we can't afford, count me out. but if you want to solve the problem, count me in. american energy is simply powering the world. it's strengthening global security. it's lifting millions of people out of poverty. and we need to continue to harness the power of one of our country's greatest national assets. so, mr. president, i'll conclude there but i will continue to share some of my thoughts on the
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importance of american energy on the senate floor. it's a topic bigger than one floor speech. and hopefully remind and encourage all of the members of the senate to work toward energy abundance and help keep energy affordable, which will improve the standard of living and the quality of lives of all americans. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. gardner: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: thank you, mr. president. on september 10, just a few months ago, loren brui brunner,a veteran of 1941 passed away. mr. brunner wasn't just any veteran, he was a veteran who served on the u.s.s. arizona during the attack that morning. on saturday, december 7,
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millions of americans across the country will pay tribute to the attack at pearl harbor memorial to commemorate what happened that morning that brought the united states fully into the second world war. aboard the u.s.s. arizona were 1,512 officers, sailors, marines. the attack that day december 7 killed 1,177 of them. 335 brave people survived that morning. but loren brunner who passed away september 10 was one of four who survive today that were on that ship that december morning in 1941. loren brunner passed away at the age of 98. and on this saturday his ashes will be interred at the u.s.s. arizona to join his ship mates,
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those who were lost that morning and others who have joined their fellow sailors, marines, and officers since. three men remain, veterans of that war from the u.s.s. arizona, lou conter, 9le years, kim potts and donald stratten, colorado springs, colorado, a 97-year-old. ken and don will join together for most likely the last time this saturday as they will watch a live video feed of the ceremony at peril harbor at the u.s.s. arizona memorial to view the interment of their ship mate loren brunner at the u.s.s. arizona. the senate was able to play a small role in recognizing what brought don stratten, loren brunner, and the others together. you see, on that morning when
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their ship was bombed, loren brunner had been shot in the leg. donald stratten was on fire. the two of them and four of their other ship mates were on a control tower as the ship was on fire. when a rope appeared from a vessel next to the u.s.s. arizona, the line was thrown if a sailor named joe george. they tied to the tower and were able to shimmy across 70 feet from the burning arizona while they were on fire to the vessel to share safety. loren brunner, 70% of his body was burned, shot in the leg. don stratten suffered bodily burns, spent a year in the hospital as a result. went back into the service to continue the rest of the war. this chamber, congress, we helped make sure that the gentleman who threw that rope, that life line from the vessel to the arizona received final
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recognition for his act of heroism, joe george who went for decades without recognition for his act of bravery that saved these six sailors was able to receive just a couple of years ago december 7, 2017, the bronze star for valor, recognition of his acts. december 7, 2017 also marked the last time that donald stratten was able to join the memorial service to commemorate december 7, pearl harbor. and i have this picture here that i'll show of donald stratten who again this weekend will be joining ken potts as loren brunner is interred, to join the other men and women who lost their lives that morning. this is an opportunity for us to once again say thank you to the
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2,403 people overall at peril harbor who were killed, to the people who survived who went on to fight the second world war, our veterans today who live and continue to live the legacy that was given to them that december 7 morning. so on saturday as we join our families in weekend work, i hope that we'll take a little bit of time to reflect once again on a dark chapter in american history that led to a great american century, to be thankful to the men and women who serve our country, to the men and women who fight for our nation each and every day, to the people like ken potts and lou cantor and donald stratten who continue to remind us each and every moment why this nation is worth fighting for. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from washington.
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ms. cantwell: mr. president, i come to the floor today to talk about the importance of passing the expired tax credit provisions for many small businesses, industries that support families, help revitalize economic depressed communities, and those that are underserved. we all know that two years ago the republicans and president trump enacted a $2 trillion tax break for large corporations and there was a lot of lobbying here that went into getting that legislation passed. and yet when it comes to these provisions which is just about tax certainty in the tax code that has been there for decades that needs to be reauthorized, congress is not getting the job done. and we need to come to terms now about why it's so important to help small businesses have tax certainty in the code, to help families and communities, and to get this provision done by december 31. we all know how important it is
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that these voi individuals, gren energy companies, economic development, and many other aspects of the tax code are now being basically held hostage since i believe 2017 by congress' inattention to this issue. our tax code is most effective when we have certainty, predictability, and where we've made decisions out of congress that we do think we want to incent and motivate investment. renewables are a large source of private sector infrastructure investment and the clean energy tax credits have allowed industry to scale and invest in technologies that have brought prices down by 68%. solar prices by 88% and we've seen unbelievable growth in the energy sector because of our investments in the green energy tax credits.
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another example is the biodiesel tax credit that i've worked on with chairman grassley for years. but that particular tax credit and its uncertainty and congress' failure to act and give predictability has led to more than ten biodiesel plants being closed so far and there could be many more closed if we fail to act before december 31. this means a loss of jobs, a loss of production of fuel. it means the loss of economic benefit to regions, and it means impact to soybean and other sectors that have been part of this growing economy. we need to act before more plants close. i'm very concerned about a particular facility in graze harbor, washington, and while it may only employ 37 people at this point in time, grays harbor is an important point in the washington state economy located
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on our coast and has many great attributes positioned for the future of trade. so not only do i want to see biodiesel grow, i want to see biodiesel and biodiesel exports grow. i think that this is shortsighted that congress can't get its act together to give people predictability and certainty about the tax code. but let's talk about some other examples that are not just about clean energy. for example, the medical expense deduction. these deductions give taxpayers the extremely -- gives certainty on deductions for high out-of-pocket medical costs and these are things that allow people who are able to deduct qualified expenses that exceed 7.5% of their gross income through 2018. this year the threshold increase to 10% of their adjusted gross income. so if we're not going to give people certainty, it's going to be more dollars out of their
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pocket. another example is the mortgage debt forgiveness. when you lose your home, you should not have to pay taxes on your mortgage debt. but that's what's going to happen if we don't give people certainty in the tax code. without this provision, if your house is foreclosed on and the remaining debt forgiveness in bankruptcy, the amount that you would have to pay is the same amount that you would have to owe instead of being forgiven. so to me that inability to not have that mortgage debt deduction is just wrong, that congress can't get its act together. if you're going to get your act together and pass a major bill for corporations, shoe at least give small businesses and individual taxpayers the certainty they deserve in the tax code. these provisions have been in the tax code for a long, long time. this is not like a surprise. it's not like we haven't done this before. but instead of taking care of
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today's tax code before december 31, people are off making grandiose discussions. i get some people on this side of the aisle would like to change and make corrections to the tax code. other people on our side of the aisle would like to make $100 billion investment in child tax credit. look, i'm appreciative of that discussion. but quit waging that battle and do our day job and take the tax code and the expiring provisions and give taxpayers certainty by the 31st of this month. another example of the expired provisions would help address the high cost of higher education by allowing students and families to deduct up to $4,000 for tuition and other high education costs with total student loan debt at $1.5 trillion, an average student debt over $31,000, provisions like these on deductibility of that is very important.
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on employment and economic development, nearly 26% of the provisions that are expiring are related to incenting employment investment in lower income communities. the new market tax credit. there's probably not a member in the senate that has not had a jurisdiction in their state use the new market tax credit as one of the most effective economic development and community tools. this credit encourages private investments in low-income communities. since the program was enacted in 2000, the new market tax credit has delivered over $95 billion in project financing to more than 6,000 projects and created over one million jobs. so why can't we have certainty on the new market tax credits by december 31 of this year? there's no reason. the new market tax credits expire, and where are we going
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to be on building affordable housing, health care facilities, community clinics, research and technology incubators, mixed-use commercial programs? so i see no reason why we can't get this job done. i've been working with senators cardin and blunt on a bill that would make this program permanent and hopefully we wouldn't have to go through this routine every year. but take another example -- the work opportunity tax credit. it has been an incredibly effective tool in helping individuals, including veterans, find gainful employment. the work opportunity tax credit provides up to $2,400 for hiring a certified person, including veterans, and people receiving snap and tanf benefits. we know this program works. in my state each person certified to receive the tax credit, there is a net savings of $17,700 in federal subsidies. so, where is the voice for people who say, let's give a tax credit and put people to work
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and actually reduce federal subsidies? oh, we're letting it expire -- again -- and give uncertainty in the tax code. why? not sure, because people are too busy posturing in a big debate instead of getting our basic tax extender homework done. let's not continue to fail. let's get out here and give these work opportunity tax credits the predictability people would like to see. in 2013 washington had over 26,000 individuals certified with the tax credit helping them find employment and that represented a total of $42 million in savings. so all of these issues i'm tug -- i'm talking about, investments in our communities, investments in our tax credits so they can continue to drive down costs, investments in helping retrain and get people off of subsidies.
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why can't we get this done? mr. president, i hope that people will understand that these small businesses, these families don't have people running through the halls to lobby for them, as they did on the big corporate tax break. but i guarantee you, they deserve the tax certainty. they deserve the predictability. and, yes, we can continue to debate the last big tax bill all through 20. i guarantee you we'll -- all through 20. i guaranteest guarantee you we'll spend a lot of time talking about it. but do do not fail to get this basic job done, literally not giving these businesses individual certainty, i think since 2017. people think you're going to make it retroactive for three years. no. stop. get this job done and give the seniority to small businesses and underserved communities that they deserve. help them succeed just like you've helped big corporations.
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i thank the president. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: i rise along with senator to urge our colleagues to support the confirmation of professor richard myers to serve as the district court judge for the eastern district of north carolina. president trump has nominated an eminently qualified and principled individual to serve in the eastern district. in his career, professor myers has worked as a journalist, a prosecutor, and as a professor. each step professor myers has taken in his professional career has prepared him for this role. from the newsroom to the courtroom, to the classroom, professor myers has shown his commitment to the principles of
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truth, justice, and of wisdom. i cannot imagine a more solid foundation upon which to place the responsibility of a district court judgeship than those of professor myers, which he's exhibited throughout his career. professor myers is a first-generation college graduate who has close ties to wilmington, where he has chosen to locate his chambers. once confirmed, professor myers will hold court in wilmington, the same city where he was raised, where he went to college, and where he was a journalist. north carolinians are lucky to have someone like professor myers with his caliber and his sense of duty to represent us in the eastern district of north carolina. i urge all of my colleagues to vote for judge myers -- or soon-to-be judge myers' confirmation when this comes up later today. and i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: mr. president, i also rise today to voice my strong support for the president's nomination of professor richard myers to serve as a judge in the eastern district of north carolina. i might add for my colleagues, the longest court vacancy in the history of our court system. professor myers was reported out of committee on a strong bipartisan vote on october 31, and i'm pleased that the senate will today consider his nomination. i want to give my colleagues some additional insight into a man that we're asking them to vote on and that goes beyond his stellar legal credentials. first thing i want my colleagues to know is that professor myers embodies a work ethic and diligence that we deserve in all our judges.
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as an immigrant of kingston, jamaica, professor myers was the first-generation college student in his family. he worked his way through undergraduate -- his undergraduate degree at the university of wilmington and after college pursued a career in journalism. he worked for the "wilmington morningstar," and it was his investigative reporting that gave him the desire to earn his law degree. he graduated magnum cum laude at university of north carolina law school and began a clerk nor judge cintell of the d.c. court of appeals. second, he will be a judge who understands the value of public service. having made a career change from practicing at a prestigious private firm to contributing to our nation's justice system following the attacks of september 11, 2001.
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he said that his change in career -- and i quote him -- was something i felt that i could do and that i owed the country that had been really good to my family, unquote. he did this first in the central district of california and then in the eastern district of north carolina. professor myers then took a different path of service at the university of north carolina at chapel hill instructing the next generation of lawyers to be people in -- his own words -- and i quote, do the right thing every day, unquote. if confirmed, professor myers will serve on the eastern district of north carolina and as senator tillis said will hold court in wilmington. ironically, this court is currently meeting in the building that once housed the wilmington -- the "wilmington
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morningstar." when considering his story, it seems fitting that someone with the character, work ethic and servant's approach to life will be returning to the building of his first postcollege job wearing the robe of a judge. i have faith had his ability to do the right thing every day. in this critically important role and i'm grateful for the opportunity to speak on his behalf to our colleagues. this is a well-deserving and will be an incredibly effective serving judge in our district court system. i urge my completion to support him -- i urge my colleagues to support him unanimously. i yield the floor. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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