tv Capital News Today CSPAN March 6, 2013 11:00pm-2:00am EST
the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent it from happening. well, i think it's time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the founding fathers. this next section is a section particularly dear to my heart. it was given before i was born. not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a cuban refugee, a businessman who escaped from castro and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said we don't know how lucky we are. and the cuban stopped and said, how lucky you are? i had someplace to escape to. and in that sentence he told the entire story. as i turn and see the junior
senator from florida, i know he and i both know, as i hope does every member of this body, just how precious and fragile the freedom is that we enjoy in this country. as president reagan continued in that speech, if we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. this is the last stand on earth. and this idea that government is beholding to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man. this is the issue of this election. whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the american revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan for our lives better than we can plan them ourselves. you and i are increasingly told
that we have to choose between a left or right. well, i'd like to suggest there's no such thing as left or right. there's only up or down. up, man's old age dream, the ultimate and individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of owe toa tal tehranism totalitarianism. those who would trade freedom for security have embarked on this downward course. given the top of this discussion, the asserted power of the president to take the life of a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil without due process of law, that last portion bears reading again. those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course to the ant heap of
totalitarianism. in this vote harvesting time, they use terms like the great society, or as we were told a few days ago by the president, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. but they've been a little more ex applies it in the past and among themselves. and of all of the things i now will quote have appeared in print. these are not republican accusations. for example, they have voices that say -- quote -- "the cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism." another voice says "the profit motive has become outdated. it must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state." or -- quote -- "our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century." senator fulbright has said at stanford university that the
constitution is outmoated -- outmoded. he referred to the president as -- quote -- "our moral teacher and our leader, and he says he is hobbled in his tasks by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document." let me read that one again, too, because that also is very applicable to the discussion this evening. he referred to the president as -- quote -- "our moral leader and -- our moral teacher and our leader, and he says he is -- quote --"hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document." the constitution. he must -- quote -- "be freed so he can do what he knows is best." and senator clark from pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman defines liberalism as meeting the needs of the masses through the full
power of the centralized government. i for one resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men of this country as -- quote -- "the masses." that is a term we haven't applied to ourselves in america. but beyond that, the quote full power of our centralized government, this was the very thing the founding fathers sought to minimize. they knew that governments don't control things, that government can't control the economy without controlling people. and they know that when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. they also know these founding fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy. now, we have no better example of this than government's involvement in the farm economy over the last 30 years.
since 1955, the cost of this program has nearly doubled. one fourth of farming in america is responsible for 85% of the farm surplus. three four of -- three-fourths of the farming has known a 21% increase in the per capita consumption of all its produce. and i am going to skip further along. to the end of this speech, which i will confess not unlike the speeches given on this floor, was not a short speech. i will move to the end where president reagan continued and said, "those who would trade
our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. they call their policy accommodation. and they say we'll only avoid direct confrontation with the enemy, he'll forget his evil ways and learn to love us. we cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the iron curtain give up your dreams of freedom because to save your skins we're making a deal with your slavemasters. alexander hamilton said a nation said a nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master and deserved one. now, let's set the record straight. there's no argument over the choice between peace and war. but there's only one guaranteed
way you can have peace and you can have it in the next second. surrender. admitally there's a -- admitally there's a risk but every lesson tells us the greater risk lies in appeasement and this is the specter that we face. you and i know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. if nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin? you and i have the courage to say to our enemies there is a price we will not pay. there is a point beyond which they must not advance. and this, this is the meaning in the phrase of barry goldwater's "peace through strength." winston churchill said the destiny of man is not measured by material k078 pew taitions -- computations. when great forces are on the move in the world we learn we're
spirits, not animals. and he said there's something going on in time and space that beyond time and space which, whether we like it or not, spells duty. you and i have a rendezvous with destiny. we'll preserve for our children, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness. we will keep in mind and remember that barry goldwater has faith in us. he has faith in you and i to have the ability and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny. that path, the path of standing and fighting for freedom, even when it seems daunting, even when it seems the gestalt of the moment, is on the other side. , is a path with many only
forebears and i can tell you speaking and echoing the sentiment of the millions in twitter, of the people following this stand for principle tonight, that if the 100 senators of this body stand together and say regardless of party, liberty will always prevail, regardless of party, the constitution is the governing body, the governing document in this nation, then we will be doing our jobs. and i commend you, senator paul, for a lonely stand that as the night has worn on has not proven quite so lonely. and indeed, were you the only senator standing at his desk
this evening, it would not be lonely in that circumstance, either, because you would be standing shoulder to shoulder with millions of americans that do not wish the federal government to assert arbitrary power over our lives, over our liberty, over our property, but who instead want a government that remains a limited government of enumerated powers that protects the god-given rights each of us is blessed to have. and the question i ask of you, what in your judgment is america without liberty? who are we if we are not a free people? mr. paul: mr. president, i want to thank the senator from texas for his remarks. i think he's hit it exactly on the head and the question is a
very pertinent question. the question is really where do we go from here? i see this as a struggle, i see that we're engaged in an epic struggle but it's not a struggle between republicans and democrats. it's a struggle between the president and the constitution. the question is, does the president have the power and the prerogative to have his way regardless of the constitution? the question is, does the attorney general get to say that he will adhere to the fifth amendment when he chose -- chooses to? is there a cloudy skies for american citizens on american soil that they either get the fifth amendment protections or they don't get the fifth amendment protections? so this really is a struggle, not only between the president and the constitution but between the senate and the congress and the president to say whether or not the president gets to determine this policy or whether this is a policy that should come from congress. i think we should be asking not just for the president to give
his memos on drones, we should be giving him our memos on drones. we need to be dictating the law to the president and not action questioning and giving the president this authority. this should be a battle between the executive and the legislative, it should involve republicans and democrats trying to restrain the president from saying he has the ability to decide when you get fifth amendment protections and when you don't. at this time i would without yielding the floor like to entertain a question from the senator from florida. mr. rubio: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: thank you. first of all let me congratulate the junior senator from texas on a fantastic question. in that question he referred, he used shakespeare references, used reference to the movie "patton" one of the great movies. i didn't bring my shakespeare book so let me begin by quoting a modern-day poet, whiz
califa, "work hard, play hard." you look at the time, i think it's a time when many of our colleagues expected to be back in the home state playing hard, but i'm happy that we're here still working hard on this issue. it'sle the twng stng request if you watch from home, here in the audience of people watching on the news or whatever what's going on here because i think it's important to explain what's happening here. what's happening is pretty straightforward. the senator from kentucky has asked a question of the administration. it's a pretty straightforward question. is it constitutional for the federal government to kill a noncombatant u.s. citizen in the united states? and we all have strong feelings about that program, we all have strong feelings about the war on terror, these are all legitimate issues but this is a very direct question that's been asked. and what would have resolved this hours ago from my understanding and if i'm incorrect, the senator from kentucky will correct me in a moment, my understanding is he has offered two ways to bring
this to a resolution. one is just a statement from the white house, a clear, unequivocal statement that says, of course, it's unconstitutional, it's not going to happen, just a straightforward statement of that magnitude. in fact, i've been watching on television over the last few hours, i saw the senator from kentucky say they reached out the white house, they've been unable to get a direct response. maybe that's changed in the interim. i don't know, we'll hear from him in a moment. the other is and i hear he made a motion to have a resolution here that made it clear that was the sense of this body. that the sense of this body would be that this is unconstitutional. again, pretty straightforward. i'm not sure even those among us who are, let's just say those among us who believe this program is necessary, i don't know anybody in this body who believes a noncombatant u.s. citizen in the united states not doing anything of imminent danger should somehow be killed by the u.s. government.
nor do people at home believe that either. so that was the sense of the senate that this is the case, and in exchange for that vote, the vote for mr. brennan would move forward and that's been rejected. this doesn't make a lot of sense to me. i go to a great american phaou shreu, "the -- great american movie, "the godfather." he says i'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse. to me, these are straightforward offers he can't refuse. they have been refused. i think that is pretty stunning. the third thing i want to say is i want to you imagine what this conversation would be like tonight if the president was george w. bush and if this issue was about george w. bush. just imagine that for a moment now. if he had been asked this direct question and refused to answer, what this chamber would look like tonight, what the arguments being made would be like tonight. imagine that for a moment.
that takes me back to another modern-day he poet by the name of jay-z. one of the things he wrote it's funny how seven days can change. it was all good a week ago. things really have changed. if the president was george w. bush and this was a question being asked of him and his response was the silence we've gotten, we'd have a very different scenario tonight except i actually believe the senator from kentucky would be on the floor making the exact same arguments he's making. i want everybody that's watching to clearly understand, and if i'm wrong the senator from kentucky is going to correct me in a moment, what he's asking is a simple, straightforward response. or if we can't get that, a simple and straightforward response from the members of this body in a sense of the senate resolution. both have been rejected. the last observation that i would have tonight is that there have been some pretty phenomenal legal analysis done on the floor. that reminds me of the most famous quote from "the
godfather" never actually used in the movie. i don't know how that happened. maybe they cut it out. here's the quote: a lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than 100 men with guns can steal. i don't know how that is relevant to this but i thought it was a pretty good quote and i thought i'd bring it up. i went to law school. i was a land use and zoning attorney which meant if i wound up in court something went horribly wrong with the land use application. we've had good arguments tonight on constitutional issues with regard to this. i think it's important to discuss. it's important for the people at home to fully understand what the legal arguments are here because they are important. they go to the heart of our constitution. they go to the heart of our civil liberties. they go to the heart of the things that distinguish our nation. i think what's really stunning to me, clearly the constitutional issue is important, is how simple and straightforward this issue is and how easily it could have been resolved. i don't know how many hours
we're into this now, but i think it's about 11 hours and 15 minutes, because we can't get a straightforward answer. and the members of this body deserve that. the members of this body deserve an answer, no matter what party you're in, no matter what party the president is in. this is a legitimate question that's being asked. and all this could be over if we could just get a straightforward answer. and i think that's something every member of this body should care about. it's not a republican question. it's not a conservative question. it's a constitutional question, a relevant question, one that should be easy to answer. and the idea that they're refusing to answer it for some reason -- i don't know if it's pride or because they think it's beneath them or they got something else going on or maybe it snowed too much today and the answer department was shut down. either way, i just don't understand how they can't answer this straightforward question. it reminds me of another line from the godfather when he says
don't ever take sides against the family again. that is kind of what's happening here. as an institution, we deserve to have answers to these questions. we have a job that we're held responsible for, that we're held accountable for. 30 years from now, 40 years from now, 20 years from now, 10 years from now, these sorts of decisions will have ramifications long after all of us here are gone, there will be other people here in these chairs. maybe it's our children, our grandchildren or our great-grandchildren will visit this building and they will read about the time we served here. and if we're making mistakes, history will record those mistakes and hold us accountable for those mistakes. if things are happening today that set the groundwork for things in the future because that's the other thing we need to remember, no matter how you feel about the current president, he's not going to be president forever. but the precedents he sets could very well guide what future presidents do. and so the point is that if we are laying the groundwork here
today, making mistakes by not asking certain questions, history will hold us accountable for that. and that's all of us. not one of us, not five of us. not the republican part of the senate. all of us. we have a right to ask these questions and to get these questions answered. that's not being obstructionist. that's not being partisan. that's being a senator. and i'll tell you i've only been here two years, but i know enough of this process already to know that every single one of us at some point when the majority changes, when a new president is elected, at some point every single one of us is going to want to know an answer to a question to the administration or some other branch or element of government, and they're going to hold us off. they're going to give us the heisman. they're going to stiff arm us and try to push us aside and not answer the question. i would hope at that moment whether you agree with that person or not, that you would stand and defend their prerogative and their right as a representative of their state to
get legitimate questions answered in a straightforward way. and so as i said earlier today when i came to the floor, this issue is about this institution as much as anything else, about the right of every single member of this body to be able to ask legitimate questions of the administration or other branches of government and get a straightforward answer. and so i guess the question that i would have for the senator from kentucky, the junior senator from kentucky, that i'll ask here in just a moment, the question that i would ask of the junior senator from kentucky, just to clarify, my understanding is that this issue could have been brought to resolution quite a long time ago if the white house had either, a, made their feelings well known in a statement. you can put that out there in 30 seconds and it will be done. just come out and say it, that it is unconstitutional to kill u.s. citizens that are noncombatants who are in the united states. that's one route. the other thing that could have
ended this is the unanimous consent motion that he made to have this body vote on a sense of the senate. that would have brought it to a vote. is that abg senate are those the -- is that accurate? mr. paul: that is the sequence of things. we've been in contact with the white house throughout the night, made several phone calls to the white house. we told them we're willing to allow a vote on the brennan nomination. all we're asking in return is we get a clarification on whether or not they believe they have the authority under the constitution to target americans on american soil. and i think it's a question that's fair to ask. we've been willing to let them have the vote at any time, earlier tonight obviously as well as in the morning. all we've asked in return from the white house is a clarification. the last report i got from the white house is they were done talking tonight. i hope that doesn't mean they're done talking tomorrow. i really think this struggle is an important struggle, and i think that there really needs to
be clarification from the white house before this goes forward because this is a point in time when the question has been raised and it's important for them, i think, to answer the question that the fifth amendment is not optional. you don't get to choose to adhere to the fifth amendment. it applies to u.s. citizens on u.s. soil, and there are no exceptions to that. with that, i would -- without yielding the floor, i'd like to entertain a question from the senator from south dakota, if he has one. mr. thune: i thank the senator from kentucky for yielding for a question, and i appreciate his diligence in continuing in this late hour in trying to get answers to some very important questions. i think many of us, when we got up and came in here this morning were preparing and getting ready for the big blizzard of 2013 which of course never materialized here in washington, d.c. but evidently there are a lot of agencies of government that weren't here today, and perhaps when they get back, maybe the senator from kentucky will get
an answer to his question. i think it's a really straightforward question. i'm someone this evening who has supported the use of drones in fighting the war on terror. i think they have been very effective in killing terrorists, people who want to do harm to the people of this country. but i think that the question that's been raised by the senator from kentucky and the reason why we are here this evening has to do with a straightforward issue. and he's got a sense of the senate that he's prepared to have the senate go on record on, and it's very simple and very straightforward. it says resolved that it is the sense of the senate that, number one, the use of drones to execute or to target american citizens on american soil who pose no imminent threat clearly violates the constitutional due process rights of citizens. number two, the american people deserve a clear, concise and unequivocal public statement from the president of the united states that contains detailed legal reasoning, including but
not limited to the balance between national security and due process, limits of executive power and distinction between treatment of citizens and noncitizens within and outside the borders of the united states. the use of lethal force against american citizens and the use of drones in the application of lethal force within united states territory. it is a very straightforward resolution, a sense of the senate. and all that the senator from kentucky is simply doing is trying to get a response, get a vote on that, make that the statement here in the united states senate and obviously get the president of the united states, the white house, and mr. brennan whose nomination is pending before us to make a clarification on that point. it's not like this issue popped up overnight. the senator from kentucky has been trying for some time to get answers to this question. he submitted numerous letters and addressed to mr. brennan a letter here. this is one i'm quoting from, february 12, in which he pulls his numerous questions, one of
which is: do you believe that the president has the power to authorize lethal force such as a drone strike against a united states citizen on u.s. soil? what about the use of lethal force against a nonu.s. person on u.s. soil? these are straightforward questions, madam president, to which the senator from kentucky deserves an answer. and this is a perfectly fitting and appropriate time in which to try and get that answer. the nomination of the c.i.a. director. it's an incredibly important and strategic position in this country. and, of course, under the constitution of the united states, article 2, section 2, this is the -- the president has the power by and with the advice and consent of the senate to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators present concur. he shall nominate and by and with the advice of the consent, shall appoint ambassadors and other public ministers and councils, judges of the supreme
court and other officers of the united states. so it's the advise and consent power that the united states senate has under the constitution that this, the senator from kentucky is exercising on this nomination. and, madam president, again, it's been pointed out many times on the floor of the senate today, this is not something that is a partisan issue. it is not a democrat or republican issue. this is something that has ramifications. it's a constitutional question. it has to do with due process under law. it has to do with the advise and consent power in the constitution of the united states senate. and so when the senator from kentucky continues to press the administration for a straightforward answer and he continues to get sort of these vague, ambiguous answers, if you will -- and again, these are questions that have -- it's not like this popped up overnight. back on january 25 of this year in 2013, the senator from kentucky posed of mr. brennan a series of questions at that
time. and the follow-on letter which i quoted on earlier here was on february 12. he put forward questions such as: do you agree with the argument put forth on numerous occasions by the executive branch that it is legal to order the killing of american citizens and it is not compelled to explain its reasoning in reaching this conclusion? do you believe this is a good precedent for the government to set? he goes on to ask another question: would it not be appropriate to require a judge or court to review every case before the individual in question is added to a targeting list? please describe the due process requirements in place for those individuals being considered for addition to a targeting list. would you agree that it is paradoxical that the federal government would need to go before a judge to authorize a wiretap on a u.s. citizen overseas but possibly not to order a lethal drone strike against the same individual? if not, please explain kwrubl
something seupl -- why you believe something similar to the fisa standard should not be used with regard to legal actions against united states citizens. madam president, these are straightforward questions. these are questions to which i believe the senator from kentucky deserves an answer. many of us here this evening are here to support him in that endeavor in his attempt to at least try as this nomination moves through the process, get the answers to the questions that would allow him to perform the advise and consent function that is in the united states constitution as it applies to nominations and as it is, has implemented here by united states senators in history. i just want to say to the senator from kentucky, and i have a question for him in just a moment that it really is remarkable to see this process unfold. in my time here, and i came in the 2004 election, started with my service to the united states senate in january of 2005, i've not seen a time where we had a
senator who as a matter of principle stood down here for the number of hours that he has today and insisted on getting some answers. and i give him great credit for the job that he has done in pressing this issue. he's not been given that answer yet. it sounds like kind of come up to the line a couple of times. it's very simple. he could put this thing to rest. all they have to do is come forward and answer that very simple question about the legal authority to target american citizens on american soil with drone attacks. it doesn't seem to me, at least, that would be that hard of a question to answer. they say as a matter of policy, they haven't done, that they don't have any intention of doing it in the future, why don't we just put this issue to rest once and for all and the senator from kentucky will allow the process to go forward and mr. brennan can get his vote. but i think in the time at least that i've been here, it certainly is -- is remarkable to
me to see the amount of effort that the senator from kentucky has put forward in trying to answer a very straightforward question. and for that i give him great credit because it's a principled stand, something that too often we don't see enough of around here. and to stand down here and use his powers as a united states senator in a way that's very fitting with the tradition and history of this great institution, you look at the united states senate and those who have come before and the place -- the great characters of our history, clay and calhoun and others who have graced the united states senate and some of the great debates that have occurred in the past, and it's nice to see us discussing and debating a major constitutional issue, a major constitutional question. and i, like many of my colleagues who are here this evening, support the senator from kentucky in his quest to get answers. i think it's certainly appropriate. i think it certainly should be expected that the administration respond to what are very
straightforward questions with regard to the issue that's been raised by the senator and i would hope that that question or that answer will become -- will be forthcoming. if it's not, it's entirely possible, i suppose, that this could continue for some time into the future. but in any event, i would ask the senator from kentucky if -- what it would take in terms of a -- some sort of affirmation, some sort of answer, some sort of response from the white hou house, from the nominee, the director of the c.i.a. to satisfy the question that he has raised? it seems to me, at least as a senator from south dakota, that the question you've posed is a straightforward and simple one and merely requires a very simple answer. mr. paul: madam president, i thank the senator from south dakota for his remarks and would make the comment that i, like he, have seen things that the drones can do to protect our soldiers and no one's arguing against that.
no one's reall arguing against g drones to defend our country against any kind of attack. what we are arguing is that noncombatants in our country are due fifth amendment protections and that the white house should acknowledge this. this is important because the drone strikes overseas, when looking at the category and looking at the way they're being done and under what standards, there are some of those standards that we don't think are appropriate for u.s. citizens on u.s. soil. so we're asking for a clarification. we think attorney general holder got close to that today under the duress of cross-examination. we'd like to see him do it voluntarily in a nice, concise statement and we'd be happy to vote on the brennan no, ma'am nations any as -- brennan nomination as early as tomorrow morning. i'd like to yield the time to the minority leader. mr. mcconnell: yeah, i thank my colleague from kentucky. and first let me say i think our mutual constituents have certainly learned -- mr. durbin: madam president, was
there a unanimous consent request? mr. mcconnell: would senator kentucky yield for a question? mr. paul: yes. mr. mcconnell: first, let me say -- i thank my friend from kentucky. first, let me thank him for his courage and conviction. having been here awhile in the senate, i -- we've only rarely, as senator thune pointed out, had extended debate on -- on any matter. a body that came into existence for the purpose of lengthy discussions of weighty issues has in recent years had very little lengthy discussion of weighty issues. and if i understand the issue the senator from kentucky feels so passionately about is that the administration should answer a question that is pretty easily stated, as i understand it, as follows: does the administration take the view that a drone
strike against a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil would be an appropriate use of that weapon? am i correct that that's the question that the senator from kentucky hopes to get an answer to from the administration? mr. paul: yes. mr. mcconnell: and it's -- i assume the senator from kentucky shares my view that it's pretty easily understood question? it strikes me that that's a question pretty easily understood and has to be something the administration's given some thought to given the development of this new weapon. i heard senator barrasso earlier today just talking about how this technology has really changed -- we would never have thought of this a few years ago, this technology has actually changed warfare in a very dramatic way. and so as i understand it, what the senator from kentucky's
looking for is the question of how this dramatic, new weapon applies to the u.s. constituti constitution, the use of it applies to the u.s. constitution on american soil. and so i think it's entirely appropriate that the senator from kentucky engage in an extended debate with the support of his colleagues to get the answer to this question. and i wanted to congratulate him for his tenacity, for his conviction, and for being able to rally the support of a great many people and also people who have come over from the house of representatives who feel also, i gather, that this is a legitimate question that the administration ought to be answering. and i might say, at whatever point we get to a cloture vote to extend debate on the nomination of brennan, it is my view that cloture should not be
invoked. this is a controversial nominee. should cloture be invoked, i intend to oppose the nomination and congratulate my colleague from kentucky for this extraordinary effort. mr. paul: thank you. madam president, i want to thank the minority leader for his remarks and for his insightful questions. the question about whether or not the president has actually gotten involved with what would the rules be has actually been somewhat broached. he was asked at google about whether this could occur and he said, well, the rules would have to be different outside than inside. so it implies that they have thought about what the rules should be inside. but to my knowledge, no one in the intelligence committee has been informed what the rules are inside. it troubles me that they think they have the authority to do targeted drone strikes inside, particularly when there are examples where the twin towers and 1941 pearl harbor, those would be attacks that you would repulse no matter who you knew
was coming in, they wouldn't be a targeted strike on an individual at a designated time. you would repulse those attacks militarily and they really wouldn't even fall into the category of what we're talking about here as targeted drone strikes. you might use drones but they wouldn't really be what we're talking about, nor is the question we've been asking all day. so they've answered a question, just not the question we asked. mr. mcconnell: i thank my friend from kentucky. mr. paul: madam president, i'd like to yield for a question from the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: madam president, i -- i would like to spend a couple of moments here revisiting the context in which this discussion occurred. i want to commend the senator from kentucky for raising what i think is an extremely important, extremely important issue and forcing the attention of this
body to this issue at a -- at an appropriate time, which he has done. and i might add, at great personal inconvenience to himself. this really arose from a letter that the senator from kentucky sent to mr. brennan, the nominee for director of central intelligence, and the response that he got. and i want to -- these are short letters and i want to review this so that it's very clear exactly what was posed and what the response was and where we are at the moment in this debate. the letter from the senator from kentucky begins, "dear mr. brennan: in consideration of your nomination to be the director of central intelligence agency, the c.i.a., i have repeatedly requested that you provide answers to several questions clarifying your role in the approval of lethal force against terrorism suspects, particularly those who are u.s. citizens.
your past actions in this rega regard, as well as your view of the limitations to which you are subject are of critical importance in assessing your qualifications to lead the c.i.a. if it is not clear that you will honor the limits placed upon the executive branch by the constitution, then the senate should not confirm you to lead the c.i.a. " and clearly this is the idea that is under scrutiny this evening. the letter goes on to say, "during your confirmation process in the senate select committee on intelligence, committee members have quite appropriately made requests similar to questions i have raised in my previous letter to you, that you expound on your views on the limits of executive power in using lethal force against u.s. citizens, especially when operating on u.s. soil. in fact, the chairman of the ssci, the senate select committee on intelligence, senator feinstein, specifically asked you in post-hearing questions for the record whether
the administration could carry out drone strikes inside the united states. in your response, you emphasize that the administration -- quote -- "has not carried out" such strikes and -- quote -- "has no intention of doing so." i do not find this response sufficient. now, let me just add editorial editorially, i don't know anyone could find that sufficient. it clearly is an evasion of the question. that doesn't answer the question that was posed by senator feinstein, just as we haven't been able to get a question -- an answer to the question posed by the senator from kentucky. the letter goes on to say, "the question that i and many others have asked is not whether the administration has or intends to carry out drone strikes inside the united states but whether it believes it has the authority to do so?
this is an important distinction that should not be ignored. and this, of course, goes to the heart of the question. does this administration believe that it has the authority to carry out a lethal strike by a drone against an american citizen on american soil? the letter goes on to say, "just last week, president obama also avoided this question when posed to him directly. instead of addressing the question of whether the administration could kill a u.s. citizen on american soil, used a similar line that 'there has never been a drone used on an american citizen on american soil.'" the evasive replies from the administration to this valid question have only confused the issue further without getting us any closer to an actual answer. i'd say that's a -- again, this is my editorial comment. i think that's a generous
ateasment. when a direct question is asked and the party to whom the question is directed repetitively evades the question, it makes you seriously wonder what their intentions are. the letter goes on to say, "for that reason, i once again request you answer the following question: do you believe that the president has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil and without a trial? i believe the only acceptable answer to this is no. until you directly and clearly answer, i plan to use every procedural option at my disposal to delay your confirmation and bring added scrutiny to this issue and the administration's policies on the use of lethal force. the american people are rightly concerned and they deserve a frank and open discussion on these policies. sincely, rand paul, u.d., united
states senator. and i have to say, this is a very straightforward and simple question. it's been posed clearly. it's been posed repeatedly. and now i want to share with -- with you, madam president, the answer, such as it is, that we've received, the most recent answer that was directed to senator -- the senator from kentucky which, again, i would suggest is not responsive to the question. a letter dated march 4 to senator paul, on february 20, 2013, you, referring to senator paul, wrote to john brennan about the administration's view about whether the president has a power to authorize lethal force such as a drone strike on a u.s. soil. the letter goes on to say as members of this administration have previously indicated the u.s. government has not carried
out drone strikes in the united states and has no intention of doing so. as a policy matter-hourover we reject the use of military force where law enforcement authority provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat. we have a long history of using the criminal justice system to incapacitate individuals who pose a threat to the united states and its interests abroad. hundreds of individuals have been arrested and convicted of terrorism related offenses. the question is therefore hypothetical, unlikely to occur and one we hope no president will ever have to confront. it is possible, i suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the constitution and applicable laws of the united states, for the president to authorize the military use of lethal force within the territory of the united states.
for example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances of a catastrophic attack such as the one suffered on december 7, 1941 and september 11, 2013. were such a circumstance to arise i would examine the facts and circumstances before advising the president on the scope of his authority. the reason i read the entire letter is i didn't want anyone to think any part of this was taken out of context or anything was being left out. i think when you read the entire letter in response to the entire letter that was sent as a request, i think it's very clear. this administration refuses to answer a simple and very important and very legitimate question. our attorney general suggests that under certain set of circumstances which he won't
specify any guiding principles or rules that would allow us to understand those circumstances, he would examine the facts and circumstances and then advise the president on the scope of his authority. there's no suggestion of what legal authority he has to do this. there's no description of the constitutional authority. i find this very, very disturbing. you know, we've all observed the very new developments that we're experiencing in national security. the minority leader alluded to this in some respects. as i mentioned earlier today, there's no question we have a relatively new phenomenon in our national security challenges. it's only in very recent times that we've come to understand the nature of a whole new kind of enemy. it's not just the nation state
anymore. which has historically been the nature of military threats. but now there's a very different kind of threat, dispersed, somewhat affiliated, sometimes asphail phil yaited, geographically widespread network of terrorists. that's very different from the traditional nation state. that's a different kind of threat and we've spent a lot of time trying to come to terms with how to address this. and in an overlapping period of time. a new technology has emerged that gives us the ability from vast distances away to send a very sophisticated unmanned aircraft that is quite lethal and quite capable of destroying a target. and i think most of us probably feel that there are many cases where this is an appropriate
tool under appropriate set of circumstances. but frankly, i think it should be the subject of an ongoing discussion. how would we use this? under what circumstances does the president have unlimited unilateral authority or not? that's a discussion we ought to have about the use of this technology overseas. where i think, as i say, i think it has a very important, very useful, very legitimate function. but when we're talking about using this, the american government using this military asset to kill american citizens on american soil, i'm a little shocked that there isn't an automatic presumption that that's not permissible. certainly not legal. i can't understand the constitutional basis for that and i would certainly suggest
that the burden ought to be on those who would suggest that that is permissible. and so what the senator from kentucky has done is said just tell us the answer to this question, do you believe that you actually do have this authority, and could you tell us that. you know, if they believe that they have this authority -- and since they won't answer unequivocally that they lack the authority -- it's hard to infer anything other than that perhaps they think they do have this authority. it obviously raises a whole lot of very, very important questions. like under what circumstances would you feel like you have the authority to exercise this power? and exactly whom would be targeted? how would you describe -- decide whom to target? in the event you were carrying out a strike using lethal force of this magnitude on american soil against an american
citizen, what kind of criteria would govern your judgment about the risks that would be imposed on innocent people who are in the vicinity? and what about any judicial review at all? would there be any appropriate role? because, of course, we have a very long tradition of a due process. you know, there are a local of americans who have serious reservations about the idea of -- of indefinite detention on american soil. indefinite detention is pretty tame compared to being destroyed by a drone. so i would just suggest that the failure of the administration to answer this basic question of whether or not they believe they've got the authority to do something that's completely unprecedented is a very fundamental and important question and completely legitimate, and it is completely appropriate, i think, for this body to insist
on an answer to this question before we would go ahead and confirm a person who would have enormous power and authority over a variety of national security issues. so i just want to commend the senator from kentucky for really putting a bright light on this issue. this is a very important issue, and as i mentioned earlier, he's done it at great personal inconvenience to himself because he has a passionate commitment to the liberty of the american citizens, he manifests that all the time in many ways and this is one of the ways he's doing it and i commend him for that and i would just conclude my question by addressing the senator through madam president, my question for the senator is has there been any change in the status of the lack of response from the administration since the last time we have heard from -- from the administration?
mr. paul: madam president, we have been asking the question to the white house all day and we've said all along we would allow the vote to proceed forward but we haven't gotten any response from the white house. and the consideration of whether or not we will get a response tonight, i think it's unlikely. we'll keep pressing the issue in the morning as well. with regard to the senator's remarks, i think one of the things i hope will come out of this debate will be that we will reassert our authority as a -- a function of the separation of powers where our body will say to the president we not only would like your drone memos on how you think you can do this, but really we should reassert our authority and tell to the president this is how we think you should do it and this is the law that's going to dictate and circumstance circumscribe how you will do this. that's an authority i think has been long necessary and we've been letting go by the side and i think we should reassert.
at this time, madam president, i'd like to yield -- mr. durbin: would the senator yield for a question? mr. paul: without relinquishing the floor i'll yield to a question. mr. durbin: i apologize to my friend from wisconsin. i know he's been waiting. the question asked by the senator from pennsylvania prompted me to recall a specific set of circumstances which i think address his concerns, our mutual concerns about the use of lethal force. i know that we're talking about this in the context of drones, but a drone is a weapon. and there are other weapons by which our government can use lethal force to kill people. so i think going to the question that you asked mr. brennan, in a more generic sense the question is when can our government use lethal force in the united states against perhaps u.s. citizens? i think it's a legitimate question. i was not misleading the senator earlier when i said there's a scheduled hearing, the only
scheduled hearing on this question coming up before the judiciary subcommittee on constitution which i chair, and the ranking member, senator cruz of texas, who was here earlier. so i think it's important, and it's an important constitutional question, but i'd just like to say while the gentleman, my colleague from pennsylvania is here i'd like to recount a set of circumstances for him and then pose a question to you. the circumstances were 9/11, 2001. some of us we're in this capitol building. in fact, just outside this door. and as we came to work we heard that some plane had crashed into the world trade center in new york. as we were watching on television, a few minutes after 9:00, a second plane crashed into the world trade center. the add jainging about building. we all know what happened following that. in a meeting here just a few feet away we started seeing billowing smoke coming across the mall right outside our window here. a third plane taken over by
these terrorists was crashing into the pentagon. what we didn't know at the time was there was a fourth plane. but we evacuated the capitol. and all of us, literally everyone raced out of this building to stand on the lawn outside. it wasn't a safe place but we didn't flow where to go. all the tourists, all the staff and all the rest. it wasn't a few minutes, we were out there and we heard something that sounded like a shot, a discharge of a weapon. in fact, it was fighter planes that were being scrambled to protect the united states capitol. at that time the order had gone out to all commercial airplanes in the united states, land immediately. so that we would know who was in our airspace and not responding to that command. it turns out there was one fourth plane involved and that plane crashed in pennsylvania, we believe because of the heroism and bravery of the
passengers on board who when they realized what was happening tried to take control of that plane before it could be used as a weapon. many people believe that plane was aimed for this building, for for someplace in washington, d.c. we had scrambled our military planes and had that plane not crashed into the countryside in pennsylvania and come within the airspace of this capitol, i think we know what would have happened. our government would have used lethal force, military lethal force to shoot down a civilian airplane that was threatening, we believe threatening the lives of innocent americans. it would have been the use of health force on our soil to stop a person or persons whom we believed were terrorists about to kill innocent americans. so when i listened to the response from attorney general holder in hypothetical and put it in the context of 9/11, i
can imagine that president bush might have been called on in an instant to make a decision as commander in chief to bring down the fourth plane before it crashed into another building and killed innocent people. now, that's a circumstance i'd say to the senator from pennsylvania and the senator from kentucky which i fully understand and expect the commander in chief to respond to. so i don't think this is such a clear and easy situation. it's important that we have this hearing and explore the many possibilities, the possibility of a terrorist overseas who threatens our safety and the use of lethal force, drones or otherwise. the possibility of a non-u.s. terrorist in the united states and the use of lethal force to deter them and then obvious questions, what if it's a u.s. citizen overseas, what if it's a u.s. citizen in the united states? i've joined ten other senators asking for the same legal memos which i you would like to see as well, justifying whatever course of action this
administration has used. i think it is a legitimate constitutional responsibility of the senate and the house and this congress, but i also understand having lived through as all of us ca did in some respect 9/11, the complexity of those decisions that have to be made in such a fashion. so my question to you as i said before, we have to end with a question mark, don't you consider the situation of 9/11 and the use of lethal force, even military force to shoot down a civilian plane if it had survived the passenger effort in pennsylvania and was headed for the u.s. capitol, to be a legitimate exercise of a commander in chief to protect the united states? mr. paul: madam president, absolutely, my answer to the question that the senator raises is absolutely we have the right to defend ourselves, and it would have been a decision that has to be made imminently because a lethal threat needs to have a lethal response
immediately. my whole problem with this whole debate is none of us disagree with that, i don't think. we all agree you can repel an imminent attack. we all agree if someone is outside the capitol with a rocket launcher, grenade launcher, lethal force can be used against them. none of us disagree with that. we're talking about a targeted drone program where we target individuals. overseas the standard seems to include people who are not actively engaged in combat who we think either might be in the future or have been in the past. i don't think that standard can be used in the united states. i think when you're in a battlefield, you don't get due process. if you're shooting at americans drones can hit you any time. missiles can hit you. there is no due process in a battle. this is a big debate because many have said the battlefield is here. but if the battlefield is here, that would imply that the fifth amendment doesn't apply here.
the president said he will use the fifth amendment in the process of deciding drone attacks overseas, but he doesn't get the option to kind of use it privately. using the fifth amendment privately to me is not really using the fifth amendment. i will say i have a great deal of respect to the senator from illinois. we've often been on the same side on civil liberties issues. i don't question that you and i may well see eye to eye on this issue that targeted killings of people in restaurants and their house, in a hotel is not something that we can or will tolerate t. contravenes the constitution. it is a simple question. the president should simply answer that question. i think attorney general holder was coming in the direction of that. but why is it so hard? why is it like pulling teeth to get them to admit that they don't have this power? presidents need to more easily say, by golly, no, the constitution says you can't do that. the fifth amendment does apply.
there are no exceptions to the fifth amendment for american citizens on american soil. that's all we're asking. but i think the 9/11 comparison or pearl harbor is a red herring in the sense none of us disagree with repelling an imminent lethal attack, ongoing lethal attack with lethal force. no one disagrees with that. mr. durbin: would the senator yield for a question without yielding the floor? the white paper presented to us by the justice department concludes the right to national self-defense and the 2001 authorization to use military force gave the u.s. government lethal authority to kill a u.s. citizen in a foreign country that is not an area of active hostilities. if the target is a senior operational leader of al qaeda or an associated force, so it's qualified in that regard. the white paper argues such an attack does not violate the constitutional rights of the u.s. citizen in this circumstance -- quote -- "if heposes an imminent threat of
violent attack against the united states. number two, his capture is not feasible. and the justice department white paper goes on to say and the operation complies with law or principles such as the need to minimize collateral damage. i will say to the senator i stand with him. i want an answer to his question and i think we should pursue it on a bipartisan basis as we have many issues together in the past. i think it is a legitimate question. but i would say that the white paper that we've been given relative to this u.s. citizen overseas has some fairly narrow circumstances in terms of the use of force. when it comes to the use of that force in the united states, i believe the circumstances should be just as narrow if not more. i would just say to the senator i am genuine in my concern for bringing these issues out in a full hearing of our constitutional subcommittee. i think i have to end the question and i hope he appreciates my sincerity. mr. paul: madam president, in quick response to that, one of
the few problems with that is they also go on to say that imminent doesn't need to be immediate. you're also complying you can kill this american -- i implying you can kill the american in a nonbattlefield. the debate about whether that is a sufficient standard for america, it's not. to kill someone not in combat, one, it's not wise. you're not going to get any information. when someone is eating dinner, why don't you send the police over and arrest them? to kill someone in a noncombat situation in america is unacceptable under any circumstances. and i think we need to come to an agreement on that. madam president, i would like to yield for a question to the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: the senator from kentucky, obviously all of us have come down here to support, i think, your very legitimate request to have a legitimate question answered. i think you deserve those answers.
and if not an answer from the white house, you at least deserve a vote. i started watching here this morning. you started about 11:57. it's now past midnight. i think my primary action is one of being puzzled. i've been here for two years, never served in any kind of legislative body. certainly came to the united states senate thinking this was the world's greatest deliberative body. and what i found is a body which is utterly dysfunctional. this is actually one of the best examples of how this body ought to work. it's also an example of that dysfunction. i cannot believe that this issue has not been resolved within a half-hour, within an hour. just take a vote. you know, we have a number of our colleagues from the house coming here in support of the senator from kentucky. the house is operating, i believe, as our founders intended. they are passing budgets.
they're debating issues. they're passing real pieces of legislation that unfortunately are being dropped over here in the united states senate where those good pieces of legislation is dying. and that's a real shame. for example, i serve on the budget committee of the united states senate. i've been on that budget committee for two years. we have not yet voted on a budget in the budget committee. this is, by the way, when this nation is facing a fiscal crisis unlike anything we've really faced in our history. we've racked up for four years now, where our debt succeeds $1 trillion -- exceeds $1 trillion. we haven't even brought to the floor an appropriations bill all year long. how can we function as a body if this is how it operates? now, a number of republican senators joined the president
and his invitation for dinner tonight. it was an excellent dinner. it was a genuine, sincere, open discussion of the fiscal problems facing this nation. i was part of a group of 44 senators a year and a half ago, almost two years now, that also joined the president prior to the final debate on the first debt ceiling in the summer of 2011. the president of the united states leaving that meeting should have come away with a very strong understanding that those 44 republican senators were incredibly sincere in their desire to work with the president, to work with our colleagues across the aisle to solve these problems. i'll tell you, i'm one united states senator that ran for office not to become a united states senator, but because
we're losing this country. we're bankrupting it. one of the things, when i'm talking around the country, i do make the point that fortunately i don't know of any parent who would willingly max out their credit cards, get in debt way over their heads never intending ever to pay it off, but fully intending to pass it off to the children and grandchildren. i don't know any parent that way, fortunately. but yet collectively as a society, that is exactly what we are doing. frequently in this political town, republicans are accused of waging a war on women. waging a war on immigrants. none of that is true. what washington is doing is we're waging a war on our children. we're mortgaging their future. it's absolutely immoral.
americans have got to stop and consider what it is, what we're actually doing to future generations. so i left the dinner with the president tonight -- i think all my colleagues did, i hope the president did, with a pretty strong sense once again that there's a great deal of sincerity, a great deal of desire to roll up our shirt sleeves, put down partisan bickering, put down partisan differences, work together to really solve this problem. i think there's got to be a realization that neither side's going away. if we're going to start solving these problems, we have got to start working together. we have got to return the united states senate into that deliberative body that our founders intended it to be. we've got to be willing to be held accountable. we've got to take votes. it shouldn't be that hard. we shouldn't be afraid.
now, i'd ask the senator from kentucky -- i mean, as i understand this again, just puzzling that we're here now after midnight, and, again, i applaud you for your resolve here. that's why you see every member coming down here and providing the support. but i think all you wanted was either unanimous consent or possibly a vote on this simple question resolved that is the sense of the senate that, one, the use of drones to execute or to target american citizens on american soil who pose no imminent threat clearly violates the constitutional due process rights of citizens. it seems like a pretty simple question. it seems like one that most united states senators would want to express their opinion by taking a vote. or allowing this resolution to pass by unanimous consent.
so i guess my only question is: is that really all you're looking for? either an answer from the white house or just a simple unanimous consent agreement or a simple vote? mr. paul: madam president, i thank you for the question from the senator from wisconsin. yes, we had two simple requests tonight. the first was for a vote on a nonbinding resolution to express our opinion that it's unconstitutional to kill americans on american soil. and that was denied by the majority party. the second request we've had in communication with the white house is for the white house to say or clarify their opinion that they're not going to be doing targeted drone strikes on noncombatants in america. we haven't had much success with each one. we will continue to ask that question. i've told them that i will remove myself from the blockage of john brennan's nomination as soon as we get some
clarification from the white house. i'm still hopeful in the morning that they will do that. and by doing that, we can move forward with it. but i've been more than willing to compromise because i don't think it's so much about john brennan as it is about a constitutional principle. but i want the president to publicly acknowledge that the fifth amendment does apply to americans in our country and that we're not going to cherry pick when we apply the fifth amendment. madam president, at this time i'd like to yield for a question from the senator from south carolina. mr. scott: thank you. will the senator from kentucky yield for a question? mr. paul: yes. mr. scott: thank you. the drone issue is not an issue. it's not a question about democrats versus republicans or the d.n.c. versus the g.o.p. it's not a question about the executive branch versus the legislative branch. it's not a question about conservatives versus liberals. it's a question about the constitution.
another one of our friends says that this nation, our great nation, needs to stand and recognize what rand paul is doing today for americans. all of our aspirations mean nothing, nothing at all without our rights. another said that you don't have to like our political party. you don't even have to like senator rand paul to stand with rand, you only need to be against the assassination of americans without due process on u.s. soil. and so i will close with a question that we've heard many times already. why won't -- why will not this administration simply state that it is unconstitutional and illegal -- unconstitutional and illegal for the government to
kill americans in the u.s., on our soil, or as i think about it, it's illegal on the soil of greenville, south carolina. it's illegal in akony county, south carolina. it's illegal in charleston, south carolina. it's illegal throughout the coast of south carolina without due process to kill american citizens. is that what you're asking? mr. paul: madam president, i think it's an easy question to have answered, and it boggles my mind that they haven't. i think the president in general, though, and other presidents in general are very -- they hang on to their power with a ten tpheurbs grip -- tenacious grip and they don't want to allow there is any possibility by saying they don't have this power they've given up
this power. i think that is a mistake for presidents. i think it goes against what candidate barack obama was for and senator barack obama. i hope in the morning when they wake up, they'll wake up and think about with a candidate barack obama said in 2007, what senator barack obama once stood for as a senator and that is that the power of the presidency is limited and checked by the constitution. madam president, at this time i'd like to yield for a question from the senator from arizona. a senator: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i want to commend the gentleman for this 12-hour long question now. mr. flake: it is an important topic. i recently traveled to afghanistan and receiving a briefing there about the drone program and how it is working in and how it's being used in afghanistan. after seeing that briefing and how it's being used, i was awed by it. i thought, what a powerful weapon, what a great weapon in this case to use against
terrorists. but my second thought is, what happens when that's in the hands of our enemy? and i can tell you, it's a sobering thought to think of what happens when our enemies get this kind of technology. but it's also sobering to think of what can happen if we use this technology here domestically. so i think that the question you've asked is totally right and proper. at what point or where does the president derive authority or does he believe he has the authority to use these weapons or any kind of weapon for lethal means when there is no imminent threat? so i think that the question that the gentleman is asking, if i understand the question correctly, is right and proper. my understanding is, all you want to find out is, does the president believe that the administration has the authority to use lethal means in this manner domestically. is that correct? mr. paul: madam president, that is correct.
it's a simple question. i think we're not asking for any heavy lifting here. we're asking the president, you know, do you have this authority. and i think it's important that it is a legal question in the sense that we want to ask and get a legal constitutional response. we're not asking, oh, we probably won't do it, we don't intend to do it or it's not appropriate or it's not, as a policy matter, we don't like doing it. we want the constitutional answer, do you really believe you have the constitutional authority to do this? mr. flake: i thank the gentleman. mr. paul: madam president, at this point, i would like to recognize for a question, without yielding the floor, the senator from utah. mr. lee: a question that i have with regard to an issue that was raised by my friend a few minutes ago, my friend, my distinguished colleague, the senior senator from illinois, touches upon an important point. upon a principle of law that dates back centuries and has
application in myriad context, one that deals with the concept of imminence. so my friend from illinois is certainly correct in pointing out that the white paper leaked by the obama department of justice to the news media recently does include some analysis that talks about imminence. it is significant, however, to point out that on page 7 of that white paper, the administration goes on to essentially eviscerate that concept of imminence. in fact, it makes clear that this condition -- that is, the condition dealing with imminen imminence -- with the idea of presenting an imminent threat of violent attack against the united states -- quote -- "does not require the united states under this standard to have clear evidence that a specific attack on u.s. expernz interes interests -- u.s. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future." that's at the top of the first full paragraph on page 7 of the
very same white paper that my friend from illinois was quoting. and so in response to -- to that question, it is important to point out that they've taken the imminence out of imminent. there is no more imminence in this standard. and so if, in fact, we are to believe the white paper is the correct assessment of the administration's position, it is no longer an imminent standard, it is something else. it's something of a new development, it's something that was created out of whole cloth by this administration that has nothing to do with the traditional imminence standard. so i ask my friend, my colleague, madam president, my friend from kentucky whether this is consistent with the time-honored notions of due process? mr. paul: madam president, this is exactly what i understand and it's a significant problem, and i would be happy to yield, if there's a question from across the aisle or a question that is in the form of an explanation as
well, on his understanding, if we understand this incorrectly. but this is a real problem, because the idea of imminence people think of is someone leflg a weapoleveling a weapon at youe in a battlefield. all of these things with which none of us disagree that there should be a response. but the problem is -- i mean, it really is -- you know, i'm not an attorney so it's easy for me to disparage attorneys even though i'm standing among two that i admire -- more probably -- [laughter] -- but the whole point is that that sounds like a bunch of government attorneys got together and tried to write some gobbledygook that no one could understand, that makes no sense, that imminence now means something that's not immediate. i'd be happy to entertain a question or -- without yielding the floor. mr. durbin: this is getting pairlessly close to a debate and i'm sorry for those who are observing it if it looks like the senate is actually in debate. but an obvious question -- was
osama bin laden an imminent threat to the united states when we took him out? i think he was. was he hatching a plot to cause harm to the united states in an imminent manner? probably not. mr. paul: madam president, i would say, touche. good response and i think well worth thinking about. [laughter] and difficult in a sense that i don't think there's any of us who really were opposed to getting bin laden. and there's a question, you're right, of whether or not exactly there was imminence involved with that. and i think, though, that when we start talking about standar standards, whether we have standards in battlefield, standards overseas, and standards at home, i think the standard at home has to be incredibly high and i don't believe that we're involved in a battlefield here. i don't believe that you have given up due process here. i don't know that bin laden had any due process.
and i would yield for a question from the senator from texas. mr. cruz: i thank the senator from kentucky, and i would point out that the questions of imminence i don't think are nearly as difficult as has been suggested. and, indeed, i'd like to thank the senior senator from illinois for braving this long evening and for expressing his equal and heartfelt concerns about the limitations on the power of the executive to take the lives of u.s. citizens on u.s. soil. i would point out that at the hearing we had now yesterday with the attorney general, there was a series of questions exploring in further depth what the position of this administration was, because in response to the senator from kentucky's inquiry, attorney
general holder put in writing that he could imagine circumstances in which it would be permissible to take the lives of u.s. citizens on u.s. soil. and the two examples he gave were pearl harbor and 9/11. and, as the senator from kentucky responded -- and i think everyone here agrees -- those examples are unobjectionable. both of those instances were instances of grievous military attacks. i think nobody doubts that if kamikaze planes are coming down on our ships in pearl harbor that the united states can use lethal force to take out those planes and to save the lives of our servicemen and women. there's no question about that, legal or otherwise. likewise, i think nobody doubts that if terrorists have taken over an airliner and are steering it into a building,
that as tragic as that decision would be, as heart wrenching as the decision on 9/11 must have been for the president to give the order to shoot down that fourth commercial airline if it began approaching yet another target where it could inflict thousands of deaths, i think nobody disputes that stopping an imminent, immediate act of violence and, indeed, a military act of war is fully within the authority of the federal government. the question that was posed of the attorney general was the question that senator paul had asked originally, not that question. rather, it was, if there is an individual, a u.s. citizen, on u.s. soil who is suspected of being a terrorist and for whom we can say arguendo there is abundant evidence to demonstrate
this individual is a terrorist, and if this individual is on u.s. soil and is not currently an imminent threat of violence, if he or she is sitting at a cafe in rural virginia having a cup of coffee, the question that i posed to the attorney general is in those circumstances, would it be constitutional for the united states government to send a drone to kill that u.s. citizen on u.s. soil with no due process of law if that individual did not pose an imminent threat? now, in my judgment, that was not a difficult question. i think the answer -- frankly, the answer i expected was, "of course not." of course the federal government cannot kill a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil who does not pose an imminent threat. that's been the state of the law from -- from the day our constitution came into effect.
and from before. instead, the first response of the attorney general was, well, it wouldn't be appropriate to use lethal force there and we wouldn't do so. and i pressed again to the attorney general and said, with respect, the question is not whether it is appropriate or not, it's not a question of prosecutorial discretion, do we trust that you would not choose to exercise lethal force in that circumstance. rather, it is a question, would it be constitutional to kill a united states citizen on u.s. soil with a drone if that individual did not pose an imminent threat? the second time, the attorney general said, i don't believe it would be appropriate. yet a third time i asked the attorney general, i am not asking about appropriateness. as the attorney general of the
united states, you're the chief legal officer for this nation. does the department of justice have a legal opinion as to whether it is constitutional for the u.s. government to kill a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil if he or she does not pose an imminent threat? and yet a third time, the answer was, it wouldn't be appropriate. and then finally, when asked a fourth time, the attorney general said, when i say appropriate, i mean it wouldn't be unconstitutional. and so finally, after asking four times, the attorney general agreed. and my response in that questioning was, general holder, i'm very glad you have stated that position. i emphatically agree with that position. i don't understand why it took such gymnastics to get to that position. i wish you had simply said that in response to senator paul now two days ago. it would have been a very
straightforward and simple thing to say. and what i also said to the attorney general is that senator paul and i have drafted legislation that will make explicitly clear that the u.s. government may not kill a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil who does not pose an imminent threat. and i hope, based on the attorney general's representations, that the department will support that legislation. that ought, in my judgment, be legislation that should be bipartisan legislation that should pass this body 100-0 because it is truly phrased with as unobjectionable a legal truism as i can come up with. i will admit, i have been flabbergasted as these days have gone on why john brennan, when asked by senator paul this question, did not simply say no. why eric holder, when asked repeatedly, did not simply say
no, at least not at first. and why in the now over 12 hours that this filibuster has been proceeded the white house has not put in writing the absolutely correct statement of constitutional law that the federal government cannot kill u.s. citizens on u.s. soil if they do not pose imminent threats. and i would note with the hypothetical that the senator from illinois posed to senator paul, even if that situation, osama bin laden -- even in that situation, osama bin laden was a horrible enemy of the united states who committed a grievous act of terror and was the mastermind behind it, and i am very glad that after a decade-long manhunt we were able to find him. and we were able to in a military battlefield take him out. i would suggest the question,
if he were not in pakistan, if he were living in an apartment in the suburbs of chicago, and if he were asleep in bed, i would suggest even if he were osama bin laden, a really, really, really bad guy, there is nothing in the constitution that gives the federal government the authority to fire a missile at an apartment with a sleeping person in it in the united states if that individual were a u.s. citizen. if he were in the u.s. what we would do is what we could would expect to do with any other really, really, really bad guy which is go in and an plea hend him. -- apprehend him. there are things on the battlefield we would never do at home. so i would suggest any argument that says someone sleeping at home in bed presents and imminent threat is an argument
that stretches the bounds of the word "imminence" beyond where its natural meaning should lie. if an individual is pointing a bazooka at the pentagon, or robbing a bank or committing another crime of violence, there is no doubt that force and lethal force can be used to stop that crime of violence, but i think there likewise should be no doubt that the federal government lacks the authority to kill united states citizens on u.s. soil if there's there is no iminept threat of death or grievous bodily harm. so i'm hopeful the results of this extended discussion will be several fold. i am hopeful number one that it will prompt the white house to do what it has heretofore refused to do which is in writing explicitly answer the question posed by senator paul now over a week ago, and
explicitly state as the position of the united states of america that the federal government cannot kill a united states citizen on u.s. soil if that individual does not pose an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm. i also hope that a consequence of this extended discussion is that we will find widespread agreement in this body behind passing legislation to make clear that the constitution does not allow such killings. i am hope thankful that legislation will command wide support on the republican side of the aisle, but likewise wide support on the democrat side of the aisle. i would hope and would certainly welcome the support of the senior senator from illinois and indeed, every member of the democratic caucus. and should this body come together in a bipartisan way or
even, better, in a unanimous manner, and clarify that the constitution prohibits killing u.s. citizens on u.s. soil absent an immediate threat, i would suggest this debate would have accomplished a great deal, because it would have made clear the limits of the executive power and it would be indeed carrying out the finest traditions of this body serving as a check to unchecked government power. and so i would ask of the senator from kentucky, do you agree if those were the outcomes of these proceedings that this would have indeed been a beneficial proceeding for helping focus the american people on these issues and helping draw a line that the executive cannot cross consistent with the constitution?
mr. paul: mr. president, i am hope thankful we have drawn attention to to -- that we have drawn attention to this issue, that this issue won't fade away, that the president will -- that the president will tomorrow coming up with a -- come up with a response. i would like nothing more than to facilitate the continuation of the debate tomorrow. we've tried repeatedly throughout the day and we'll see what the outcome of that is. i would like to thank my staff for being here for a long day, for their help. i'd like to thank the fellow senators for being supportive of this cause. i would like to thank the members of congress who came over to support this cause. the clerks, the capitol police, the staff of the senate, the doorkeepers who apparently i may have gotten in trouble, and anybody else who came to support this and even the -- even the senior senator
from illinois, for better or worse, for being here to support the cause. the cause here is one that i think is important enough to have gone through this procedure i sit at henry clay's desk, and they call henry clay the great compromiser. when i came to washington one of my fellow senators said to me, he said, oh, i guess you'll be the great compromiser. and i kind of smiled at him and laughed, and i learned a little bit about henry clay and his career, and, you know, people think that some of us won't compromise. there are many compromises. there are many things i'm willing to split the difference on. if the democrats will ever come to us and say we will fix, we will save social security, what the age we change it to, how fast we do, there are a lot of things we can split the difference on. but the issue we've had today i think is one that we don't split
the difference on. i think you don't get half the fifth amendment. i don't think you acknowledge the president can obey the fifth amendment when he chooses. i don't think the fifth amendment process can somehow occur behind closed doors. while i'm a fan of henry clay, i've often said i'm a fan of cassius clay. his weapons of choice were said to be his pen and his buoy knife -- bowie knife. he said he was so good with the first he had recourse 0 the latter. he was a fierce abolitionist. he didn't suffer fools and didn't compromise often. but worth fighting for what you believe in. i think the american people can tolerate a debate and a discussion. there has been nothing mean-spirited about this debate for 12 hours. i think in fact more of it would be even better. i wish we had more open and enjoined debate.
the senior senator from illinois has brought up good points and i think there is much discussion. i hope this won't be swept under the rug and that this isn't the end of this. but that this is the beginning of this. and i would go for another 12 hours to try to break strom thurmon's record but i've discovered there are some limits to filibustering and i'm going to have to take care of one of those in a few minutes here. [laughter] i appreciate the senator's forbearance on this and if there are some other than-on the other side of the aisle who have been lynching and may agree on some of these -- listening and may agree on some of these issues, will impact the president's decision and one, will say that the senate should be trying to restrain the executive branch, republican or democrat, and two, will use your influence to try to tell the president to do
what i think is really in his heart which is to say absolutely we're not going to be killing americans, not in a combat situation, we will obey the constitution, the fifth amendment does apply to all americans and there are no exceptions. thank you for the forbearance and i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president? [applause] the presiding officer: there will be order. expressions of approval or disapproval are not permitted in the senate. [applause] the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, let me first say on a personal note i want to thank the senator from kentucky. he and i have agreed on many things and worked together on many things. there is much common agreement on what we hope to achieve with this issue as important as it is. i thank him for his spirited defense of his position today and 12 hours and i want to
excuse him from the floor whenever he wishes. i move to proceed to calendar number 43. the presiding officer: the question is on the measure to proceed. without objection the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, central intelligence agency, john owen brennan of virginia to be director. mr. durbin: i send a cloture to the desk. the clerk: we the undersigned senators in accordance with provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of john owen brennan of virginia to be director of the coi coi signed by 17 senators as follows, reid of nevada, feinstein, stabenow, brown, reed of rhode island, carper, coons, casey, pryor, nelson, begich, mikulski, murray, levin and manchin.
mr. durbin: i move the senate proceed to a period of morning business with minority permitted permitted each. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: i ask that when the senate complete its business, it he a jurn until 10:00 a.m., the journal of proceedings be approved to debate debate and the following any leader remarks the senate resume executive session in consideration of the brennan nomination, further that the senate recess from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. to allow for caucus meetings. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: if there is no further business to come before the senate i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
>> i believe the united states has many fantastic qualities. i believe that many many people have the possibility of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and i think every year that is less and less probable. but the united states, especially in foreign policy that i have worked on for years and years is an interventionist state, we mess with other people's politics in ways that i cannot imagine americans tolerating. imagine if some country invaded
us. can you imagine americans thinking that this is okay? that somehow we have a myth that it's okay when we invade these people. noble prize winner jody williams on c-span's "q&a" this sunday. >> strengthening background checks and limiting firearms based on mental illness. this report was a little less than a half-hour. >> i would like to focus on
this, this is a very important topic. to my colleagues, thank you very much. we are trying to fix a problem that most americans would just be astonished that exists. but it does. and to people of the charleston area, i have heard your voice says. let me tell you quickly the problem that we were trying to fix. alice baldwin and young lady and in 2005, she came across the canadian border into the united states. she had family in south carolina and they did the investigation about the threats that she made and i will not read the threats because some of them are pretty tough. it resulted in her being arrested and indicted for threats against the president. schmidt before a federal judge, a psychiatric evaluation was ordered, and antipsychotic drugs were administered to make sure that she was competent to stand trial. she went to an evaluation
facility and the court declared her legally insane and a substantial risk to others in 2005. a federal court, she pled not guilty by reason of insanity and was ordered to undergo commitment for long-term care for which she received. fast forward to the year 2013, in 2013, this young lady who was a paranoid schizophrenic, previously pled not guilty and threatened to kill the president of the united states, she was admitted to a mental health treatment facility and found by a federal court to be a risk to herself and others and went to south carolina in february of this year and legally purchase a firearm. she submitted the paperwork for a background check, and according to atf authorities in south carolina, there was
nothing illegal about her entering. she went to ashley hall, a private school in charleston, south carolina, she presented herself at the school and she used a gun trying to kill staff members, but the gun did not fire. it was a semi automatic 22 pistol. it did not fire. but she legally did buy a firearm after being in federal court and found to be dangerous to herself and others. and what have we learned? that our current system has major problems in it. this bipartisan legislation, and i would like to make senator begich and senator kyl for helping me in this legislation, we want to make sure the people who find themselves in this legal category, having been a
judge by a federal court to be dangerous to themselves and others would no longer be able to legally pass a background check. there are a lot of emotions around the gun violence issues and i am hopeful that this is one area where we can find tremendous bipartisan support to fix what is a gaping gap in our law. i thank god everyday that the gun did not discharge and i will do everything i can with my colleagues to make sure that this mistake is fixed and in south carolina, this method at the state level to record all adjudications finding someone dangerous to themselves and others, so that people in that category cannot buy a gun. there are over 14,000 fall into that category.
we are trying to make advancements at home to help fix that problem. i would like to turn it over to senator begich who has co-authored legislation. >> thank you for bringing this issue. i was familiar with it on some level, but senator graham clearly had an incredible story to be told. thank you senator graham for coming forward and working on this, as well as my two other colleagues. i was pleased to help negotiate part of the bill strengthen the background check system, protecting mental health rights. dangerous people can fall through the cracks in part because the background check system lacks a clear definition of mentally incompetent people. by creating a clear definition, this bill will help prevent individuals with dangerous mental health issues from buying guns.
this is only part of the solution. but it is an important step forward. in addition, the bill will strengthen the rights for people with mental health illnesses. it provides a specific definition of mentally incompetent. that only includes individuals involuntarily committed to treatment. this also creates a clear pathway to recovery within the system. the changes are outdated, such as mentally defective. we must neither stigmatize mental health or a bridge the second amendment rights. this bill is a step in the right direction and i would like to think the nra as well as the national council on community health care and the national alliance for mental health care for the contributions to this effort. we work closely with them to make sure that we can have a bill that makes sense and could be implemented. it is an honor to be here, and i would like to echo what senator graham said.
here is the bill that passed strong bipartisan support from members of the senate. hopefully as we go on in this debate come and this is one of the bills that can move forward and pass the senate as well as the house and move on. it is clear that the language needs to be fixed and this is one way to do it can and also create some consistency in the law, and protect those who are experiencing until illnesses. >> thank you, i appreciate the opportunity to come out in support of this legislation. in arizona after the shooting of gabrielle giffords, mark kelly and his gabby giffords came to capitol hill and talked about the shortcomings of our background check system in arizona. they pointed out that there were more than 120,000 mental health individuals who have been adjudicated at the state level. and that is not part of the system. there is something wrong when
that is the case. this piece of legislation and perhaps some other things that we can do will allow individuals to be able to -- allow authorities to determine who is incapable and should not be in a position to get a weapon. i appreciate the time that has gone into this particularly by the primary sponsors. i am glad to support this bill. >> after the shootings in connecticut, i have spent a lot of time with people in arkansas, asking them about gun issues. we certainly have people that call in and say that you need to do something. one of the things that we recognized in our state is the overwhelming majority of gun owners that are law abiding citizens. and they are completely responsible gun owners.
they have those guns for various reasons. it is something in our state that people take very seriously. what i have done is reached out to prosecutors and local police and i have even been to gun store owners to talk to them and many, many gun owners in the state of arkansas. one of the things that i keep hearing is we need to enforce the law that we have on the books. we are taking the existing law and we are improving the integrity of the database of the background check that currently exist. i hear a lot of people say the laws we have can be improved, there are holes or gaps and we have heard some of that already today. i hear that around the state of
arkansas. and i think that this is about improving something that we do have on the books that we think will be effective and will keep guns out of the hands of many people who should not have a gun. i would like to thank my colleagues from all three of them that i'm standing with today, for their approach on this. one of the things i love about this effort is it is bipartisan. if we are going to get things done here in washington, we must do it in a bipartisan way. if you want to get it done in washington, and needs to be done in a bipartisan way. that is very important to this legislation. so thank you. >> are there any questions about this? >> [inaudible question] >> well, the regulations
defining mentally competent is not have a reason of insanity finding. we are going to change the federal regulation to better define what senator begich said, the objective is after you have had the court find that you are a danger to yourself and others to capture that, there's due there is due process appeal to all of these systems, the pleading not guilty by reason of insanity does not disqualify you under the current background system. 99.9% of americans say that this is a mistake that needs to be fixed. i think you made a good point. i don't know how many state adjudications there are in the united states where people have been found by a court to be a danger to themselves and others that are not into the federal system for background check purposes.
i think there are 14,000 in south carolina. my state legislature is trying to fix that problem by requiring a state law enforcement division to take all of these adjudications and put them into the federal system. i would urge every state to do that, just like jeff had said. we have thousands of people out there that have had their day in court and have found it to be dangerous to themselves and others. whatever differences we have, i think this is one area that we should be able to rally around. >> senator, another current law would be being allowed to go to a gun show and buy a gun. are you still okay leaving that in place? >> the pressure of regulating product sales, the one thing i'm not ever going to support is that if i buy a shotgun and give one to a family member, i am not going to take a federal system
and put that into the federal system. that's just not practical. i think there is work being done with senator coburn about someone taking private firearms to a public place. i think that is a work in progress. in 2005 there were 17,000 who failed the background checks and only a portion of prosecutions. many were fugitives and not any of them were picked up. clearly we have a long way to go to improve the current system. if you are dumb enough to try to buy a gun when you own the land, we need to get you. i mean, imagine someone who is a fugitive from justice goes in to
buy a gun, fills out the form, they pop up in the system as being a fugitive and nothing happens to them. i think that is a good place to start given the current system. >> the limits of what you would support with background checks -- >> i will just speak for myself. tom coburn is a good friend and anything that he thinks is a good idea, i will look at it closely. i would be open to looking at the work product, but i would say this. as my colleague has said, we have a background check system that really doesn't prove a lot. it is against the law to fill these forms out. if you look at the forums, they are not confusing. if you break the law and nothing ever happens to you, my concern is expanding the amount of paper that we do nothing with is not
the deterrent that we are looking for. >> if i could add another part of that. we are finding a piece of the puzzle, but you can get a fairly bipartisan strong support on. we have not wanted to get caught up in the issues. i will tell you that we've been after these issues and we did something very simple. there are people who are crazy enough to go buy a gun and they know that they are a fugitive for felon and the prosecution is unbelievable. what we had to deal with was felons who had guns. what we did was a simple thing. we actually hired to city prosecutors and assigned them to the u.s. attorney's office. i will tell you what happened very quickly. the odds are they will serve maybe 60 days. in a federal court, five years.
it's mandatory. so we put people away for five years when they carry a gun and it has circled very quickly on the street. it is a very tight community out there. if you look at where these gun offenses occur, the thousands of gun cases, many are related to criminal activity, drugs, those types of activities. we entered it at a fast pace. ..
and we believe has a great chance of moving forward through the system. >> to make a point on -- if there is any item that is told that violence to be that can make a difference, a real difference, i think this instead. in other words, to make sure we integrate and strengthen the background check to include those who are not mentally able or should not have guns in this way. when you think about it, if you're a criminal, you typically have criminal networks, where you might not be able to get it at a kind show our private sale
but you get it somewhere else, you are going to be hot anyway. criminalist sounds like. people with mental health issues there are certain people who are loners, without networks. if they are turned down, it may delay them long enough, where there may be some intervention for something that could stop them for the past sierra. when you look at the case of jared loughner, this would not have been applied to you, but those like him if you want to make a real difference, here's where you make a real difference. >> tumor questions. >> very often the issue of mental illness comes up as far as guns are concerned. you also have veterans groups, whether recently or in the past
in the amount, et cetera. how does this law address that equates >> this flawed has found someone to be a danger of themselves or others. in this case by reason of sanity will now be captured. people with mental health problems need to have due process. were not undertake second amendment rights away because somebody says that he matter that she down the street. pupils heard rumors about your mental health. if you had an episode of the military were you receiving treatment, the system needs to have a mechanism as to whether or not we can determine, in a rational way, it that disability renders you unsafe to yourself and others. this is a delicate violence. we try to capture court decisions. when courts have rendered verdicts, over 14,000 people in
south carolina have been adjudicated by a competent court not in the system. that's what we're trying to fix. we just have to be careful how far we go. >> again, the party just mentioned is very critical in regards to making clear that legally disabled no longer applies after the person is found is the piece to the puzzle you're referring to. the other piece to make sure it's clear to verbiage is adjudicated as a mental defect and not mentally competent. that's an important distinction. we work to get that done because the issue you brought up as well as others. >> senator leahy would improve how you deal with the straw purchases trafficking. is that something you could
support quite >> i understand why he is working on trying to find a partisan. if we contain bipartisanship, all of us want to purchase a gun through a straw purchase is already legal. purchase cheney take law. i'd be willing to look at what they have. if grassley and leahy can agree, a pretty good chance this might happen. >> we've heard a lot from lindsey graham, but the three of you -- [laughter] i'm curious where you guys are on the various rules that are out there. >> well, from a standpoint i'm not a judiciary committee so i won't have a chance to make it to the process. i'll look at as we come through. we had to enforce the law on the books. you kind of take that general approach and start getting into areas like straw purchases, things like that that are argued they are, but may not be working
well right now. i am like senator graham. i look forward to seeing that the judiciary committee comes up with. i hope would be bipartisan whatever it is. i party saddam opposed to senator feinstein assault weapons ban. nevertheless, we'll look at things as presented. right now from a standpoint because i'm on the committee, it's relatively early in the process because they have a process in the committee and your senators working hard to get some enter the committee. once that happens will look at it. [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> i'll give you one quick statement about the dinner that was supposed to be quiet and nobody knew about. just ask yourself this, you've been in this business, most of you, a wild. if ronald reagan had dinner at number seven senator bill clinton, you have a hard time getting your editors to report it. the fact that there is a lot of interest in a dinner between the president and a handful of republican senators is a pretty good statement about where we are as a nation. i am not blaming anybody because it takes both parties to get $16 trillion in data. it will take both parties to get out. the president called senator
mccain myself a few weeks ago. senator mccain as you all know as his opponent into the mini. i see the president reaching out. everybody wants to dr. phil about what he's doing. i'm assuming the president wants to talk seriously about the issues of the day. or if he wants to have a dinner to get to know each other better, that's fine with me. so how do you say no to the president to the president of the united states with i tried have dinner with senator colleagues? you don't. any who would do that in this business is in the wrong position. some of the president tonight i get together a group, i willingly was honored to do that. for this goes, i don't know. i do believe that the president has been doing lately, getting off the campaign trail back into the normal way of doing business up here talking to each other, i
can't think of any major accomplishment in america where no one ever talk to each other. i want to complement the president for reaching out. he's doing the right thing. we need to stop the campaign. the election is over. but i do know where the country is going. if we don't fix entitlements, they will consume all the money we send to washington in the future of medicare and social security will collapse. the president knows that also. i publicly said i'm willing to do more revenue if we can ban the entitlement occurs. speaking for myself. there's other senators giving their views to the president tonight. they will talk sense into them and all texans us. i'm encouraged by the president outreach. i hope it fares through, but i know this, if we never talk to each other, i know exactly was going to happen. this country is going to fail. thank you.
[inaudible conversations] thisre >> in your response to senator paul yesterday, he suggested there may well be circumstances in which it ispo permissible toe use drugs to target a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil.se i'd like to explore the circumstances. in particular company appointed to pearl harbor and 9/11, both . which were extreme military attacks on thein homeland. i want to askitary attacks on the homeland. i want to ask if an individual is sitting quietly at a cafe in the united states, in your legal judgment, does the constitution
allow a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil to be killed by a drone? >> for sitting in a cafe and having a cup of coffee? >> if that individual is not posing an imminent and immediate threat of death or bodily harm, does the constitution allow a drone to kill that individual? >> on the basis of what you said i don't think you can arrest that person. >> the person is suspected to be a terrorist. you've bun dant evidence he is a terrorist, involved in terrorist plots but at the moment not pointing a bazooka at the pentagon, he is sitting in a cafe. overseas, the government uses drones to take out individuals walking a path, sitting at a cafe. if a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil is not posing an immediate threat to life or bodily harm, does the constitution allow a drone to kill that citizen? >> i wouldn't think that would be appropriate lethal force.
we would deal with that the way we typically do. >> with all respect, general holder, my question wasn't appropriateness or prosecutorial discretion, it is a simple legal question. does the constitution allow a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil who doesn't pose an imminent threat to be killed by the u.s. government? >> i do not believe, again, you have to look at all of the facts. on the facts you have given me, this is a hypothetical, i would not think in that situation use of a drone or lethal force would be appropriate because -- >> general holder, i have to tell you, i find it remarkable in that hypothetical which is deliberately simple, you can't give a one word, one sill balance answer, no. i think it is unequivocal, if the u.s. government were to use a drone to take the life of a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil and that individual didn't pose
imminent threat, that would be deprivation of life without due process. >> i said use of lethal force, drones, guns, or whatever else would not be appropriate in that circumstance. >> you keep saying appropriate. my question isn't about propriety. my question is whether something is constitutional or not. as attorney general, you're the chief legal officer of the united states. do you have a legal judgment on whether it would be constitutional to kill a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil in those circumstances? >> a person who is not engaged as you described. this is the problem with hypotheticals. the way you described this person sitting at the cafe, not doing anything imminently, the use of lethal force would not be appropriate, would not be something -- >> i find it remarkable you still will not give an opinion on the constitutionality. let me move to the next topic. we have round and round. >> let me be clear. translate my appropriate to no. i thought i was saying no.
no. >> then i am glad, after much gymnastics, i am glad to hear that it is the opinion of the department of justice that it would be unconstitutional to kill a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil if that individual did not pose an imminent threat. that statement has not been easily forthcoming. i wish you had given that in response to senator paul's letter asking you it, and i will point out this week i will be introducing legislation in the senate to make clear that the u.s. government cannot kill a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil absent imminent threat, and i hope based on that representation that the department will support that legislation. >> well, that's totally consistent with the letter i sent to senator paul. i talked about 9/11 and pearl harbor. those are the instances where i said it might possible be considered. but other than that, we would
[applause] >> thank you area match. [applause] >> thank you area match. first up is a real honor to be here. i didn't know governor graham is going to be here, so it's nice to see you. we saw you tonight i was sleeping, he was coming and. it's glad to see you. glad you're here. i want to especially thank
president gave, senator don gaetz, speaker of the house, will weatherford. these are men of great faith in their devoted to helping florida families. like everyone in this chamber, they are committed to helping our state and investigating and future generations. they are my partners, they are my friends and they are committed public servants. [applause] >> lieutenant governor, jennifer carroll, thank you for your tireless work each and every day. thank you very much. [applause]
i'd like to thank chief justice ricky polston and other members of the court. it's nice to see you. [applause] attorney general, gambon d. agricultural commissioner, adam putnam and cfo jeff atwater. [applause] somebody is calling. all right. i also want to thank the love of my life and my beautiful wife is now 40 years, ann, for being here. [applause] my daughters allison,
jordan and son-in-law jeremy are here today. ann and i are very proud because both of our daughters are the new additions this year. [applause] and for a repeat performance, based ina road grandson is here, august is now falling asleep. this is the best job of being a grandpa. i love being a grandpa. [applause] this is not a third time i've had the opportunity to address the state of the great state of
florida. after two years of hard work, this update can be summed up in two words. it's working. [applause] two years ago we met, facing crippling debt, record high unemployment and a downward spiral of job losses. today because of the tireless work of the men and women in this room, our businesses are creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and our unemployment rate is now down nearly to the national average and we're stopping here.
it's working. [applause] two years ago we knew we'd are called here to make the difficult choices still florida families get back to work. together we face those challenges head on. we cut taxes. we eliminated thousands of regulations on job creators. we paid down state debt for two years in a row. we invested in priorities like education and our economy is on the rebound. it's working. [applause] because he made the hard choices over the last two years, we were able to make the smart choices now to keep our economy growing. we have a projected budget surplus for the first time in six years.
[applause] our challenges are different in this budget, but the goal is absolutely the same. the goal is economic growth and job creation. this year we have two priorities to keep our economy growing. first, remove the sales tax on manufacturing equipment. and second, invest in our teachers by providing them a well-deserved pay raise. [applause] our florida families first budget supports these priorities while maintaining substantial reserves. this is responsible stewardship of tax money. washington d.c. could learn a few budget lessons from florida.
[applause] the contrast between our state and the nation's capital is remarkable. now is not the time to turn back to the legacy of taxing and firing that crippled the economy we inherited two years ago. we must stay the course for economic growth and job creation. when i ran for governor, as you well know, it was the first time i'd ever were any elected office. i spent a career in business, not politics. i knew that her primary job was to move florida's economy out of the red and into the black. we need to cut spending, pay down debt, super job creators. what we needed to defend the simple and in many ways remains the same today. why we need to do it is even more clear and personal matter.
as many of you know, and then i lost last year. my mother, mr. was one of the only constants in my life. even after he moved away from home and joined the navy, we communicated every week. we'd write letters and talk on the phone if we could, but we never let a week go by without being in touch. i am absolutely critical for the lessons i learned from my parents sacrifices. they often had trouble making ends meet, so we moved for them to find work. i remember when my mom would take extra jobs just so they could buy groceries. in spite of my mom struggles, including getting a divorce for my birth father at a young age and almost putting up for
adoption, my mom was an incredible optimist. she was an encourager. she told us to dream big. my mom never went to college. for her own children, getting a great education was not an option. our education is so important to my mom she didn't just talk about it. she showed up. my mom somehow made it to everyone if my graduation, even when it meant she had to travel far away. i don't know how she found the money, but she came to freezing chicago for my boot camp graduation and dallas for law school graduation. my mom, the wife of a world war ii veteran had a simple formula for raising kids. we had to go to church, a lot. do while in school, get a job.
she taught in america hard work by sacrifice and that you could live in a tree and he wanted. you could make your american dream come true. the longer i live, the more i'm convinced that my mom was right, not just for our family, but every family. why are we so focused on creating jobs and improving education? white with a florida family first in our budget? because every florida family wants not to dream. they want the opportunity to make sure dreams can come true. my mom's formula, our formula this session is simple. we must invest in our education system, support our teachers, cut taxes to help create more jobs. our work to cut spending and
live within our means over the last two years has allowed us to once again invest in education. the workers at tomorrow aren't florida classrooms today. when i first stood before you in 2011, i said the single most important fact during student learning is the quality of teaching. since that time, we eliminate the teacher tenure. it would take effect in 2014. [applause] florida's education system is making tremendous progress, due in large part to her great teachers and the work begun by governor bush and many in this legislature. our students and teachers were recently ranked six for
educational quality. our fourth graders scored among the highest in the world under recent reevaluation. accountability is working. [applause] the best way we can build on this progress is to reward hard-working teachers at the $2500 pay raise. [applause] some say they are afraid racist while teachers may mean a teacher during a bad joke is truer to. but thanks to our work, we are now in a better position than ever before to reward good teachers and moved by teachers out of the classroom.
we don't want a war and teachers. we want a war on failure. [applause] teachers change lies. greco middle-school teacher, elizabeth heli is here. are you please stand? [applause] elizabeth began her career as an engineer, but decided she wanted to share her passion for for science by teaching it. thank you area match. [applause]
orange county school district superintendent, barbara jenkins is also here. barbara, will you please stand? [applause] we need to honor you for your commitment to the teachers in your district and your dedication to student achievement. thank you, elizabeth and barbara for the work you do to help take dreams come true for the next generation of floridians. [applause] at psychology to stop and think for a second. think about your favorite teacher. we all had a favorite teacher. like me, you're all probably here because some teacher believed in you and is probably the favorite teacher.
said the government to to please stand now in honor of the great favorite teacher. [applause] in total, i budget increases k-12 education funding by more than $1.2 billion. [applause] billion dollars commitment builds on our billion dollars investment in k-12 education stier. our total education investment of 2.7 billion in state funding for k-12 this year is the highest state funding level in florida history.
[applause] this represents an increase of more than $400 in per student funding over the current fiscal year. i'm not in for your help to make this historic commitment to education funding a reality for florida families. getting a great education helps dreams come true in those terms are almost always jobs. that is why our formula for success focuses on education and jobs. two years ago, florida was losing jobs in many florida families releasing their dream. and the four years before i took office, florida last month at 825,000 jobs. unemployment than tripled from 3.52 9/11 .1 over those four years. the debt increased over those
four years by $5.2 billion. our housing market had collapsed. our economy was off track. florida families are hurting. the shortsighted policies of borrowing her future has led to disaster. together we fight to cut spending, cut taxes and pay down debt. our unemployment rate has not dropped by more than three percentage points from two years ago. the second biggest drop in the country. [applause] we are now at 7.9%, barely above the national average and where do for your low from florida and we are stopping there. [applause]
we've cut the state that the $2 billion. housing is up in consumer confidence is rebounding. our economy has created around 200,000 private sector jobs in the last two years. many thousands of florida families now have the opportunity to live their dreams. it's working. [applause] we can run off the same wanted to create an environment that would encourage businesses to 700,000 jobs over seven years. when i took office two years ago, the debate was about whether or not that was even possible. now there's a debate on how to count all the jobs being created and who should get credit for it. maybe it's because i'm not a politician, but i think this is a great debate to have.
it celebrates the fact the economy is what again creating jobs. [applause] and as ronald reagan said, there is no limit to which you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit. [applause] as long as even one florida family job, our work is not done. that is why we are committed to removing the sales tax on manufacturing to quit. florida is one of only a feast days with this tax would not have the nation in per capita manufacturing jobs. we need to level the playing field to compete for manufacturing jobs. there's some great florida manufactured leaders here with us today. we are honored to have wes bush,
chairman and ceo of north grumman here. less than 24 hours ago, his company made a major amount that they will be adding more than 1000 new jobs in florida. [applause] thank you for your great confidence in our state and our workers. also, president of johnson & johnson dave brown associate here from jacksonville. [applause]
and going through precedent from miami. [applause] manufacturing has a major in pact on our economy. every manufacturing job supports two to three other jobs in our state. companies like northrop grumman, then show how manufacturing businesses combined the florida's great location and 15 seaports me to more jobs for florida families. bill johnson, director of the port of miami and chairman of the florida ports is also here. [applause]
when the miami port dredge project is completed, along with the panama canal expansion, thousands of new jobs will pre-created. thank you for your commitment to building jobs in the great state of florida. thank you very much. [applause] not having a job is devastating to the family. i remember when my parents couldn't find work. i remember when my dad had his car repossessed. the most important thing to a family is having a job. everything we've done over the last two years has been geared to job creation and i want to stress again, it's working. [applause]
this year we are proposing will continue to roll back a business tax exemption by 2000 more small businesses to pay the business tax. the first successful, will have removed a business tax to 70% of the businesses since taking office. i'm committed to getting rid of this tax entirely. it will mean more jobs for florida families. thanks to the hard choices we've made over the last two years, we can't afford to cut taxes. and also invest in critical areas that have gone without increased funding for several years. our budget increases operating funds for florida state colleges by $70 million. and increases funding for florida university by more than $390 million. much of this increase will be tied to performance bashers to
ensure schools are preparing students to get a job. i would especially think university of florida president, bernie machen for coming up with performance measurements for success. dr. machen worked with colleagues across the system to form measurement and continue to make florida universities invest in the country. dr. machen, a stance we can thank you and all florida universities. [applause] i also want to thank randy hanna, chancellor of the florida state colleges for working to make college more affordable. i want to thank for his role in eliciting all 23 state colleges suffered for your degree
programs in our $10,000 decrease challenge to graduate student in high demand job field at a low cost. please join me in taking randy and all of our state college suitors for stepping up. [applause] for the first time in eight years, our budget also been creases funding for persons with disabilities by $36 million to help were disabled people receive community services and 2.5 million for job training. becky k. clements is here today. she's an advocate for persons with disabilities in the orlando area. i was honored to meet eddie recently and here's a story about her beautiful daughter, laura lang who's overcome many
obstacles with her disability to get a job at target. please stand so we can thank you for sharing your great jury. [applause] are florida families first budget also invest $1.59 to provide safe houses for rooms of human trafficking. noaa and i had the privilege of meeting allison last month. houston was first trafficked when she was five years old. she eventually came to florida where she continued to be a victim of trafficking into her early 20s. today, allison is a warrior and a battle to end terrific crime.
houston could not be here today, but we are grateful for the god-given bravery she has to share her story and give a voice to the millions of the dems who suffer in silence. please join me in a round of applause to thank allison and all of those working to raise awareness for siegel and stop this crime claiming even one market them. [applause] we have some other heroes here today. annette curt. we please stand up on her of son, private first class paul
to our chirps, firefighters and police officers, you are the true definition of heroism. st. lucie county sheriff sergeant jerry morales, whose life was taken tragically just was weak with the profile of courage. we are forever grateful to sergeant morales and all first responders who live for something larger than self. thank you very much. [applause]
allison, recognized represent a cherry picked pigman will be deployed to kuwait right after session ends. representative said to come up to the stance we can thank you for service, not only to our state, but to our country. [cheers and applause] two years ago, we began our hard work to get our state's economy back on track. today we know it's working. [applause] we could have chosen a different course. we could have continued to drive up taxes and burgeoning freespending.
that would've been the easy way out. california based their top income tax-free to 13.3%, highest in the nation. but it isn't working in california. people are leaving the date and they had the second-highest unemployment rate in the country. more taxes and more spending are working in new york either. more than 3.4 million people have fled new york for 2000 to 2009. florida was their number one destination. [applause] taxing and spending artwork in an illinois either. i should raise their tax rate by nearly 70% in 2011, they have one of the worst budget deficit in the country. here in florida, arbor to reduce
spending, cut taxes along with critical investments in priorities like education is working. top ceos now ranked florida the second best place to do business in the country. we have been her one pipeline. just recently we made a major announcement with verizon at the orlando area that will result in a new facility in hundreds of jobs. michelle robinson, verizon's original press event is here today. michelle, would you please stand? [applause] thank you for invest in a florida and helping create more
opportunities for florida families. thank you very much. we didn't win every battle over the last two years. after a long fight, we lost a supreme court over the president's health care law amid lost a presidential election along with the promise that the loss for repeal. now our options of either having to pay for this program in other states while denying health care to her citizens or using federal funds to help the poorest in our state with the medicaid programs as we explore other health care improvement. as they wrestled with this decision, i thought about my mom. and her struggles to get my little brother health care with no money. i concluded further three years federal government has committed to paying 100% of the cost of
i believe in big dreams. i believe florida will be the number one place in the world for job creation. i believe florida will be the number one place in the world to get a great education. and the number one place in the world where families can afford to live. [applause] i believe that as we all continue to work together, florida's job growth will outpace the nation and our unemployment rate will drop with the national average. i hope texas governor rick perry is listening. i hope texas governor rick perry is listening. as governor perry found out when he came to florida to go fishing, he came in second. florida will stop until we are number one. [cheers and applause]
florida will soon see texas at the top job creator in the nation. and we also plan to beat them and how we brag about our state also. the hard work done over the last two years has set us up with a simple formula for success this year. they must remove the sales tax on manufacturers. [applause] and invest in future generations of floridians by investing in florida's teachers. [applause] president gave, speaker weatherford, senators and representatives, i look forward
do not advocate of letters that in an print and she's been dead for the team were deep undercurrents in first went through four editions in the 1840s. she was a best-seller through the 19th century. people knew her. she's always been famous. >> william hague says his government will send logistical age including armored vehicles
to the syrian opposition forces. the house of commons for an hour and a half. >> the secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs . [inaudible conversations] secretary william hague. >> mr. speaker, with permission i'll make a statement on the crisis in syria. the necessary developments in policy unreadiness to develop further bloodshed continues. tears sector began it has reached catastrophic proportions. 10,000 people have died since i last updated the house in early january. that made smart people have died in the first two months of this year than in the whole of the first year of the conflict. the total estimated death toll is now over 70,000