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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 16, 2014 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. sanders: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont is recognized. mr. sanders: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. sanders: mr. president, i wanted to inform the members about an important hearing that was held this morning at the senate veterans' committee. and i also want to thank the members of the senate who in the midst of a very partisan environment last month voted with 93 votes, overwhelming support to pass a very significant piece of legislation to help the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our country, the
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legislation that was written by senator mccain and myself. and i thank him very much for his help in this effort. one of the important provisions in that legislation was an understanding that the needs of our veterans are a cost of war. they are a cost of war quite as much as guns and tanks and planes and missiles are a cost of war. it seems to me to be fairly obvious that if we spend trillions of dollars fighting the wars in iraq and afghanistan, it is absolutely appropriate to make sure we have money available on an emergency basis to take care of the men and women who use those guns and tanks and missiles and who put their lives on the line and in some cases never came home. so the first point that i want to make is that if we send people to war, we should always
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understand that a cost of that war is taking care of our veterans. and i recall, and i see the chairperson of the appropriations committee, and she will recall this as well, that when this country went to war in iraq and afghanistan -- and let me be clear, i voted against the war in iraq. but when we went to war in iraq and afghanistan, what the understanding was, was this is emergency funding. that our troops, no matter how you voted on the war, needed the equipment to take care of themselves, to protect themselves and to win the mission. and that is exactly where we are today. we want to win this mission. and the mission that we're involved in now is making sure that the men and women who serve this country in the military get quality care in a timely manner. that's the mission that we have to win now, and that, in my view, is a cost of war.
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mr. president, i think there is not widespread awareness of what the cost of war is. and i hope, a, that we never get into more wars in the future. but that if we ever do, that people understand that any budget for war must include the needs of veterans not two years after the war, but 70 years after the war when some veteran is sitting in some room, in some apartment without legs, without arms, without eyesight. that is a cost of war, and you don't desert those people. not tomorrow, not 50 years from now, not 70 years from now. our moral commitment is to make certain that we provide for those who defended us. i think, mr. president, there is not sufficient understanding about what the cost of war really, really is. and i wanted to mention just a few facts that people should
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understand. over two million men and women serve this country in afghanistan and iraq, and studies are very clear that 20% to 30% of those men and women have come home with post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. that is between 400,000 to 500,000 men and women who are coming home with ptsd or t.d.i. and what that translates into -- what that translates into is men and women who are struggling every single day. it translates into outrageous high rates of suicide for younger veterans, substance abuse, inability to hold on to a job and earn a living. many of these folks have a very difficult time being around people. it translates into divorce. it translates into emotional
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problems for kids and for other family members. since fiscal year 2006, the number of veterans receiving specialized mental health treatment has risen from over 927,000 to more than 1.4 million in fiscal year 2013. mr. president, today and every day approximately 49,000 veterans are receiving outpatient mental health appointments. let me repeat that. today -- today -- some 49,000 veterans in 50 states in this country are receiving mental health appointments. that is a staggering number. during the last four years, v.a. outpatient mental health visits have increased from 14 million a year to more than $18 million a
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year. this is just one of the problems facing the veterans community. how do we provide the psychiatrists, the social workers, the psychologists, the counselors that we need? it is a huge, huge issue because ptsd and t.b.i. are very, very tough illnesses. in addition, who we're looking at now and every member of the senate is familiar with this is outrageously high waiting lists for veterans to get into the v.a. time and time again i hear from veterans in vermont and i hear from veterans all over the country. i hear from veterans organizations and i read independent surveys that tell me that when veterans get into the v.a., the quality of the care they get is good. just met two hours ago with a veterans organization; same thing. once people get into the system, the quality of care is generally
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good. the problem is accessing the care. the problem is appointments. and i won't read you all of the statistics, but trust me, the waiting lines all over this country are much, much too high in many parts of america. there are other people who never even made it to the waiting lines. this has to do with a whole lot of things that we have discussed. the bottom line is we must address the waiting time issue and make sure that in the very near future every veteran who is in need of health care gets that health care in a timely manner. sloan gibson who is the acting secretary of the v.a. -- the presiding officer: the senator is informed that the time is under republican control, if the senator would suspend. mr. sanders: could i ask my colleague just for three more minutes? a senator: you may, senator. the presiding officer: without objection, the senator from vermont is recognized. the presiding officer: is there objection? ms. mikulski: reserving the
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right to object, senator sanders is speaking. senator risch, i believe, was going to speak. the time now is on unaccompanied children; am i correct? the presiding officer: the unanimous consent was that republicans control until 4:30. ms. mikulski: and i -- the presiding officer: the senator from idaho -- mr. risch: i ask unanimous consent -- ms. mikulski: i haven't yielded the floor. i reserve my right to object. i am clarifying. senator sanders wishes to speak. as i understand it, this is not in any way to interfere, but at 4:30 i'm supposed to be the time on the democratically controlled time. is that right? the presiding officer: the already agreed to unanimous consent request was that the republicans control the time until 4:30. ms. mikulski: i'm just trying to -- all i'm trying to do is
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know when i'm going to talk. if i could turn to the gentleman, how long do you intend to speak, sir? mr. risch: senator, i intend to speak for about 4 1/2 minutes. ms. mikulski: i reserve my objection. i think we deserve to hear senator sanders and i'll wait patiently until my turn. mr. risch: thank you. mr. sanders: and i thank you senator risch. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: let me just wrap it up by saying this, the point that acting secretary gibson made this morning was a very simple but important point. what he said is that we must address the immediate crisis of ending these outrageously long waiting periods that veterans are now experiencing in order to get into v.a. and right now -- and i am proud of what he is doing -- they are moving very, very aggressively to get veterans all over this
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country into private health care when necessary and any other form of health care to make sure that those waiting periods go down. and i think they're doing a pretty good job at that. they're going to continue to do that. but we should be mindful that this is going to be a very, very expensive process. but the other point that he made, which is equally important, is that long term, if the goal is to end these unacceptable waiting periods, we have got to give the v.a., the staffing, and the space, the facilities and the infrastructure that they need. and he came forward with what i recognize is a very big price tag. his price tag was $17.6 billion, so that we can get the 10,000 more staff we need, doctors, the psychiatrists, the primary health care physicians, the mental health counselors that we need, getting the space we need.
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because in many facilities around the country, the staff can't operate because they don't have adequate space. so what i would say to my colleagues, if we are serious about addressing this very, very important problem, we will go forward in two ways. number one, immediate crisis, let's end those waiting lists. let's contract out when necessary to private physicians. but long term, it is absolutely imperative that the v.a. have the infrastructure that they need so that we don't have this crisis again two years from today. last point, i reiterate, if we send people off to war, if we make that enormously difficult, painful decision, i hope every member in this body understands that taking care of veterans is a cost of that war and that we have a moral responsibility to do everything we can with them and their families. so with that, mr. president, i
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would yield the floor. again, i want to thank my friend, mr. risch, senator risch for the courtesy of giving me some extra time. mr. risch: thank you, senator. mr. president, senator crapo and i would like to introduce the idaho county shooting range land conveyance act. idahoans deeply value their second amendment rights and recreational use for firearms for hunting and shooting sports is common. use of firearms in idaho is a tradition often passed through the generations and many use it as an opportunity to teach safe and responsible practices to their children. we have been working on this matter and on this particular issue since 2010 as it relates to this particular parcel of ground. idaho county needs adequate resources to provide this not only for its citizens but also for its citizens. the sheriff's office cannot effectively train their staff in firearms use because they simply do not have the facilities. should the idaho county shooting
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range act conveyance be enacted, a 31-acre parcel of land in idaho will be transferred from the united states government to idaho county for use as a gun range which will be maintained by the county. it is enthusiastically supported by both the idaho county sheriff's office, the county commissioners and the cities of idaho county. passing this legislation will fill the void in idaho county for firearm training, practice and shooting sports for citizens and law enforcement by providing quality facilities that will ensure safe and responsible use for years to come. i look forward to working with my colleagues on the senate energy and natural resources committee to pass this bill, and i thank you, mr. president, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time between now and 5:30 will be controlled by the majority party.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico is recognized. mr. heinrich: mr. president, for the next hour, a number of us from the democratic caucus will be talking about the central american refugee crisis, and we are lucky to be joined by senator mikulski, the chairwoman of the senate appropriation committee, to get us started today. so i look forward very much to hearing what she has to say. and then you will be hearing from me in a little bit. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland is recognized. ms. mikulski: mr. president, i urge today -- i rise today to talk about really an urgent crisis at our border in which over 250 children a week are coming from central america,
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fleeing horrific gang violence, horrific gang violence to seek refuge and asylum in the united states of america. this is being equaled a crisis at the border. a border crisis, but the crisis actually begins in central america where brutal, violent gangs based on organized crime are either trying to recruit the boys into organized crime, drug smuggling, human trafficking or to recruit the girls into human trafficking and other just dangerous and repugnant circumstances. but when you go to the border the way i have, that you will see that the situation is dire, and it's dire because as these children come to the border, crossing the rio grande, probably within really almost a
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50-mile stretch of the grande. it's not over the 1,900 miles of the grande, that they come and actually -- they don't try to sneak in. they come right up to where the border control is, and they have pieces of paper with their name on it. they are then taken into custody by border control, they are placed in holding cells that are really designed for adult males. they were really designed to hold drug smugglers, narcotraffickers and now they told as much as 20 or 30 or 40 children while under the law they are to be placed in the hands of the health and human service agency while their legal and asylum status is being verified. well, i'm telling you, the entire infrastructure for dealing with these children, from the way the border control
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is trying to take care of them, the overrunning of the capacity of these holding cells to the backlog on processing their legal asylum determination to really trying to place them in facilities under the care of health and human services. the situation is dire, and the president of the united states has asked for emergency funding to deal with it. i hope that we consider this emergency funding. the amount of money that the president is seeking is $3.7 billion. this is to care for the humanitarian needs of the children, the enforcement at the border, the identifying of their legal status under a law passed under the administration of president bush to deal with
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trafficking of children, both boys and girls, and also robust deterrence in the home countries where these children are coming, but the deterrence comes from breaking down and prosecuting organized crime syndicates of the smugglers and the traffickers. we're also asking for money to conduct a massive educational campaign advising central american families against the dangers and false hopes of this journey. the journey is indeed dangerous, mr. president. they come on foot, they come by car, they ride the tops of a train that's refused to as the beast. there is one little girl that i smoke to with secretary johnson. she had stayed awake for two days on the rooftop of a train, terrified that she would fall off and be mutilated just to be able to make it into the united
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states of america. and why did she make such a fearless, dangerous -- a perilous, dangerous journey? it's because they were trying to recruit her into these violent and vile ways. we need to make sure that we go go -- that central america with our help goes after the seven organized crime units that we know that are sparking this, that are trying to recruit these kids. give them false promises, too, that they come to this country, that they will be able to get a free pass somehow into getting into this country. we need to be able to stop this and be able to deal with it in the most effective way. the president's program actually does outline the money to be able to do that. when the children do come, as i said while they are awaiting their legal status to be determined, they are placed in the hands of h.h.s.
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now, h.h.s. doesn't run group homes. h.h.s. doesn't run foster care. h.h.s. funds it, and they need to be able to turn to local communities to be able to have these children be able to stay. and i saw fantastic work being done while the children were being placed at lackland air force base and that the social services were being run by -- under contract by faith-based organization, the baptist church. now, i know the distinguished presiding officer knows a lot about human services. i myself am a social worker, and i will tell you that faith-based organization is really running a good program for these kids, but we are running out of money. we need money for food and shelter for the children. we need money for the border
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agents. we need money for transportation to shelters and also transportation when we can return these children home. we need money for immigration judges and legal services for the children to determine their asylum status. as i said, we need the muscular deterrence in the home country breaking up the organized gangs that then create the violence that then sets these children on their journey. the best way to make sure that the surgery of children is stopped is not by harsher immigration roles. it's -- rules. it's by making it hard on the drug dealers and the human traffickers, the smugglers, the coyotes because they are the ones that are the reason they are coming. looking at the data, looking at the data, we see that these children are coming not only where there is high poverty, but
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the children are coming where there is a high level of crime, particularly homicide, murder and other recruitment of children. these children were almost being recruited by child soldiers in their own country to engage in violent criminal activity. so we need to be able to look at this emergency supplemental and be able to meet the human needs while the children are here, make sure we fund the judges, the immigration judges and the services to determine their asylum status and be able to take care of them. already 60,000 unaccompanied children have come into our country during this last year. in the two weeks that i toured the border, i saw young children as young as 5 with one instruction -- cross the border, turn yourself in and try to get as safe as you can.
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border agents find these children often dehydrated, malnourished and usually a victim of some type of trauma. and also they have heard false promises from the smugglers about what it will be when they come here. these smugglers see as part of these dangerous gangs and cartels see women and children as a commodity to be really bought, sold, transported as if they were cargo. children leave these homes based on lies. they think that they're coming to an area where that they will never have to go home or that they will be safe. i hope that we then pass this appropriation. i hope that in passing the appropriation, we'll be able to protect the safety of the children, we determine their legal and asylum status and we have this muscular deterrence
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strategy in the home country. now, there are those who want to be -- have a new immigration policy or repeal the george bush law. i would caution that because remember, our problem is not the children. our problem is what causes the children to come. we have to go after what causes the children to come, and that's the drug dealers, the smugglers, the coyotes, those that are engaging in such violent crime. the host countries, along with mexico, need to help deal with this, and we need to marshall our law enforcement resources to be able to help them through this. now, they say let's bring in the national guard at the border. what's our national guard going to do? when these little kids cross the rio grande, they're going to go right up to that soldier, put
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their arms around his or her leg and say i need to be safe, can you help me? what are those national guard going to do? it is not a border enforcement problem. it is a criminal gang problem in central america. so we need to be able to be sure that we are targeting the right areas in order to solve this problem. the children are not the threats. the children are not the threats. they are coming here because they are threatened themselves. we need to meet these urgent humanitarian needs, and we need to focus on our hemisphere to break up the gang in crime. now, later on today, i hope that we are going to have a briefing for every single senator so that they can ask the questions to -- about this situation. who are the children? why are they coming? what are their legal rights under the law?
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but how can we effectively deal with this children's march, where the children are in danger aloan in their host country and on the long journey to this one. we are also asking that this $3.7 billion be designated as an emergency. there are those who will want to take from other domestic programs. i would caution that. and, in fact, i reject the very idea of that. the president has said this is an emergency -- an emergency because under the budget control act of 2011, it meets the criteria that it is sudden, urgent. unforeseen and temporary -- urgent, unforeseen, and temporary that deals with the loss of life, property or our national security interests. i think it meets that test. i do not want to take offsets from existing programs to do this need. it is unexpected.
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it's significant. we can deal with it but let's not do it at the expense of other programs designed to help the american family and the american middle class. mr. president, i know that there are others who want to speak on this. i will have more to say later. but for now, i hope -- let's examine the urgent supplemental and let's really solve the problem at the border and what causes it to be a problem for us. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico is recognized. a senator: let me start by thanking my colleague from maryland for her leadership on the appropriations committee and for her leadership on this difficult issue. she said something in caucus the other day that really struck me. she said, every senator has an opinion on this but not every senator has the facts. and facts matter, mr. president.
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they make for good policy. last week i had the opportunity, along with secretary johnson, to visit a temporary facility for refugee mothers and their children that's in my home state of new mexico. the holding area at this facility in artecia, new mexico, is one of several now -- one of several ways that d d.h.s. is increasing its capacity to process the increasing number of families with children from central america that are crossing our southwest border. on monday, 40 individuals were repatriated back to honduras and it's reported that more mothers and their children will be sent back to their countries of origin. now, while i was at this facility, i saw firsthand the remarkable interagency that effort it took to take a federal law enforcement training center, a campus, and turn it into a
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safe and humane place for families to stay while their cases are being processed. but that's not all i saw while i was there. i watched a young boy play soccer with his little brother. both of them clearly happy to be in the kind of secure environment where they can just be kids. and i saw a lot of mothers. i saw mothers whose faces were worried and who reflected the clear concern for, what is the future for them and for their children. what i didn't see at that facility, mr. president, i didn't see cartel mules, i didn't see drug runners, i didn't see criminals or gang members. these were mothers and little kids. most of these families come from one of the most violent regions in the world today and this current crisis is of grave concern to all of us. i know i've heard from a number of my constituents who want to know what they can do to help.
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and i have to give great credit to the local chamber of commerce in artesia, new mexico, as they worked very hard as they received hundreds of donations from compassionate new mexicans across the state hoping to make a difference in these people's lives. and they understand that this is first a humanitarian crisis. they also understand that we're a nation of laws but that our immigration system has been broken for a long time and needs to be fixed. the senate worked for months to address this but the republican-led house of representatives refuses to even debate immigration reform. much less allow a vote on it. instead, republicans claim that the president's immigration policies, including deferred action for childhood arrivals, or daca, as it's known, caused a crisis at the border. mr. president, that couldn't be
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further from the truth. the increase in unaccompanied children started before president obama created the daca program two years ago. the united nations high commission on refugees has documented an increased number of asylum seekers from el salvador, honduras, and guatemala since 2009, a full five years ago now. what's more, children crossing the border would not be eligible for daca. in fact, they wouldn't be eligible for the senate version of immigration reform. and these asylum seekers are not only fleeing to the united states but also to the other neighboring countries in the region. they're fleeing to panama and nicaragua, costa rica and belize. in fact, those countries saw a 712% spike in asylum cases from el salvador, from honduras and guatemala from 2008-2013.
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further demonstrating that children are not coming to the u.s. to apply for daca, they're coming because their lives are at risk back home. in interviews with over 400 children, the united nations high commission on refugees found that no less than 58% of them were forcibly displaced because they suffered or faced harms that indicated a potential or actual need for international protection. an increase of more than 400% from back in 2006. less than 1% of these kids spoke of immigration reform or some new program or policy as the basis for coming to the united states. in fact, out of the 404 children who were interviewed, there were only four, four children, who expressed a reason for coming that related to some part of the u.s. immigration system.
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the reality is, as we heard from senator mikulski, what's driving our children to our borders is unimaginable violence, is corruption, is extreme poverty and instability in their home countries. mr. president, this picture was taken in taguci galpa in honduras and is, frankly, an all too common sight in honduras today. not only is the poverty unimaginable but the violence that we have seen is like nothing in recent history. honduras has now the world's highest murder rate with over 90 murders per hundred thousand persons annually. last year, approximately a thousand young people under the age of 23 in honduras were murdered, murdered out of a nation of over 8 million, a thousand young people. and a report published by the
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u.s. conference of catholic bishops found that 93% of crimes perpetuated against youth in honduras go unpunished, complete thcompletely unpunished. the national observatory for violence reported that violent deaths of women increased by 246% between 2005-2012. mr. president, this is all the more unsettling to me because i know firsthand that honduras didn't always look this way. in the 1990's, i traveled to honduras with my wife, julie. we were on our honeymoon. we flew in to san pedro sula, the only time i felt any fear was trying to drive in a city that moves a lot faster than i do when i try drive on country roads in new mexico. but we never had any fear for violence while we were in honduras. we traveled around the country.
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we went to many places off the beaten path. that's very different today. today, san pedro sula is a city susynonymous with murder. and to understand just how bad it is, you can look at pictures like this one of literally body bags getting ready to go to mass graves from murders happening in these neighborhoods in san pedro sula. you can read a recent article in "the new york times" by francis roblis. it tells the chilling story of christian, an 11-year-old sixth grader from honduras, who lost his father in march after he was robbed and murdered by gangs while working as a security guard protecting a pastry truck. it's kind of hard to imagine needing a security guard to protect a pastry truck. three people he knows were murdered this year alone. four others were gunned down on
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a nearby corner in the span of two weeks at the beginning of the year. a girl his age resisted being robbed of the sum of $5. she was clubbed over the head, dragged off by two men who cut a hole in her throat and stuffed her underwear in it and left her body in a ravine across the street from christian's house. not to mention the story of anthony, a 13-year-old from honduras who disappeared from his gang-ridden neighborhood. his younger brother kenneth hopped on his green bike to search for him. starting his hunt at what was a notorious gang hangout in the neighborhood. they were found within days of each other, both dead. anthony, 13, and a friend had been shot in the head. kenneth, age 7, had been
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tortured and beaten with sticks and rocks. they were among seven children murdered in the la predetta neighborhood of san pedro sula in april alone, in one month. el salvador and guatemala have the world's fourth and fifth highest murder rate today. the center for gender and refugee studies found that in 2011, el salvador had the highest rate of gender motivated killing of women in the entire world. and in guatemala, the department of state reports widespread human rights problems, including institutional corruption, particularly in the police and judicial sectors, kidnapping, drug trafficking, extortion and often lethal violence against women. we have a human crisis at our southern border that requires immediate but compassionate response.
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yet instead of supporting the supplemental which seeks to address the root causes of the crisis and protects these vulnerable children, republicans are trying to use the crisis to promote fear and their border enforcement only agenda. recently, a republican governor suggested the president send the national guard to -- quote -- "secure the border once and for all" and that "the border between the u.s. and mexico is less secure today than at any time in the recent past." as i mentioned at the beginning of my talk, mr. president, facts are stubborn things and this is simply not the case. in fact, the notion that lax border policies are somehow responsible for this latest crisis is not just a myth, it's a willful misrepresentation driven by politicians who would rather create a political issue than to solve a very real problem.
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the border today is more secure than it has ever been. there are more border patrol agents on the ground. there are more resources. there is more technology deployed on the border than at any time in our nation's history. at any time. in fiscal year 2012, the federal government spent almost $18 billion, with a "b." $17.9 billion on immigration enforcement. now, that's $3.5 billion more than the budgets of all the other federal law enforcement agencies combined. $3.5 billion more than the f.b.i.'s budget plus the d.e.a.'s budget, plus a.t.f.'s budget, plus the secret service, plus the u.s. marshal service. and these resources have made a difference. from fiscal year 2009-2012, the department of homeland security
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ceased 71% more currency, 39% more narcotics, 189% more weapons along the southwest border as compared to the last four years of the bush administration. but then it's important to remember that this crisis from refugees in central america isn't about children and families sneaking across our border like criminals. as you heard from the senator from maryland, many of these refugees seek out the first border patrol agent that they can find in order to turn themselves in. many of these children have walked across the border or across the rio grande with identification literally safety pinned to their -- to their shirts. but that image doesn't serve the political interests of those who prefer a border crisis to a refugee crisis. now, let's step back and
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remember that the senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill more than a year ago now. a bill that included incredibly important provisions to further strengthen our border but that would also protect refugee children and crack down on the smugglers and the transnational criminal organizations that are at the root of the current crisis. notably, this bill was widely supported by both democrats plawnsd in the senate chamber. public support and good economics not have been enough to convince house republican leaders to hold a vote on immigration reform, but they can't turn a blind eye to the current humanitarian crisis along our nation's southern border. instead of attacking the president, senate republicans should work with him to address the issue, and they should demand their colleagues in the house act to fix our broken
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immigration system. additionally, passing the $3.7 billion supplemental sends a clear signal that we are aggressively stemming the flow of children and families from central america while continuing to treat these refugee children human mainly and as required under the law. this situation is an emergency and, mr. president, we need emergency funding. our immigrant communities have helped to right the economic, social, and cultural history of america. i know this firsthand. my own father is an immigrant who came to this country as a boy from nazi germany in the 1930's. and as the nation we value the twin promises of both freedom and opportunity, those ideals are important no matter where you're born. but the fact is, our immigration system is broken.
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those of us who represent border communities understand the challenge that we face, but there are solutions, solutions before us that are pragmatic and bipartisan and uphold our american values. i'm familiar with the promise america represents for families. i know how hard immigrants work, how much they believe in this country, and how much they're willing to give back to this country. a small group of faith leaders from new mexico penned an op-ed in "the albuquerque journal" over the weekend and in sharing their thoughts on this humanitarian crisis they wrote" while the current situation raises the issues in powerful ways, expressing hatred toward, fear of, or ang were women and children serves nothing to resolve national debate. rather, it engenders a
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destructive spirit of mistrust. let us seek to understand the immigrants' reasons for coming and to work collaboratively for just and reasonable immigration reform" -- end of quote. i could not agree more with these faith leaders. it's time, mr. president, to fix our broken immigration system once and for all. our short-term solution is to approve the president's emergency supplemental request now and as part of our long-term solution, we need house republicans to put the senate's immigration bill -- immigration reform bill on the floor for a vote. our nation, mr. president, will be the better for it. thank you. a senator: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: i rise today to speak about the ongoing humanitarian crisis on our southern border, and i thank my colleague, senator heinrich and senator mikulski, for their eloquent words in speaking to this issue. as a woman and as an immigrant, my heart breaks for these children. my mother fled japan where i was born and she fled out of desperation to escape a terrible marriage. i came with her to this country as a young girl, and i remember how uncertain i was about what was in store for me. although we came by boat in steerage, at least we traveled safely and together. we did not face the kind of danger as these children who are risking everything to be here are facing. their journeys to our border are lined with smugglers and
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traffickers. children are arriving injured and malnourished. yet they continue to come not just to the united states but to other nearby countries, fleeing their countries out of desperation. these children don't care about the dream act or the senate's immigration reform bill. they are terrified of the violence, abuse, and death in their home countries. young girls who represent about 40% of the children who arrived this year, often face sexual assault and rape. let me share some recent stories from young girls who are fleeing. one girl fled an area of el salvador controlled by gangs. her brother was killed for refusing to join a gang that tried to forcibly recruit him. she was raped by two men and became pregnant as a result. she fled el salvador and was
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attacked on her journey to the united states. another girl was kidnapped by a gang in honduras that attempted to traffic her into prostitution. she escaped and reported the kidnapping to the police. the gang then abducted her again, raped her, and burned her withing cigarettes. she fled to the united states and is seeking asylum. yet another girl fled el salvador when she was 8 years old. gang members had kidnapped her two older sisters. the girl's mother did not want her 8-year-old daughter to suffer the same fate so she arranged for her daughter to be brought to the united states. these are horrific stories. it's clear that something needs to be done. i have worked with my colleague colleague, senator menendez, to introduce a comprehensive plan to address this issue. the plan aims to curtail trafficking and smuggling, contain the violence and discord
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in central america and ensure that these children have access to legal assistance and are in safe and humane conditions when they arrive here. this friday i will also take some of my colleagues to mcallen andstone, texas to view facilities housing these children during the processing and removal process. we will see for ourselves the conditions that these children are in and meet with officials and leaders on the ground. this crisis clearly demonstrates that inaction is not an option with regard to these children. i urge my colleagues to support the supplemental funding needed for our country to meet their humanitarian needs. we have a responsibility to ensure that those in our custody are treated accordingly our values as a nation and the president's request will allow our government to keep these
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commitments. i'd also urge my colleagues to reject the idea that the solution here is to speed up the deportation of these children back to the dangerous conditions they fled. stripping away basic legal protections for children in these terrible situations will not solve this problem. and as senator heinrich so eloquently showed us, the conditions in their home countries are truly horrific. to really address this situation, we need to do more work with our partners in the region to reduce violence and improve opportunities in their home countries. we must provide resources so that we can safely, fairly, and timely process these children, including asylum determination as provided by law. we should also -- we should all look to our conscience in seeking a path forward.
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surely, we can do better than sending these children back to the horrific conditions that they are escaping. out of sight is not out of mind. that is not what our country stands for. i strongly urge my colleagues to support the president's supplemental request and i urge my colleagues to work together toward resolving the underlying causes of this crisis. and i yield back. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut.
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mr. blumenthal: mr. president, i'm very honored to follow my colleague from hawaii and those eloquent and powerful remarks and for her, the presiding officer, my colleague from new mexico, who knows so much and much of it firsthand about this issue and has really been a leader in this body for myself and others, and i thank him for that leadership. my view of this issue concerning the tens of thousands of young children making the difficult and dangerous journey to the united states from lands where they face violence and oppression is shaped by my meeting with some of them in my home state of connecticut. i had the opportunity to do so recently on a number of occasions, and it has deeply affected my own approach because what i've seen in them really
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inspires me. it inspires me because i understand better the reasons that they have come here, and the reasons they've come here relate to the violence, the threat of torture, the oppression that they see in the lands they are leaving, and they are coming, many of them, here for family reunification. what struck me in speaking with these young children is that they are coming here to reunify with relatives. their moms and dads, their aunts and uncles. they have come here to be with members of their family. and, of course, to seek education. they desperately want to go to
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school. and they want the opportunity simply for freedom that they see this country as epitomizing and embodying the beacon of opportunity that drew so many of our forebears to this country, the lamp that is lit above the harbor of new york symbolically for all americans, the ideals that this country embodies for the world. that's the reason that people come here and why our relatives, our own families came here one generation ago for me, perhaps more generations ago for others here. so what we face is, in fact, a humanitarian crisis. it is a refugee crisis of children seeking asylum and
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family reunification. and escape from oppression and torture and death in intolerable conditions in their home countries. gang warfare that is the result of drug trade, pushed from colombia to central america, to service better their customers here in the united states. their markets are here. this country provides the demand that fuels the trade. not only this country, of course, but all around the world. but these children are the innocent victims of the warfare, gang warfare, market warfare that is fueled by a drug trade that they have nothing to do with inciting or spurring. they are truly innocent victims.
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the values that this country embodies that drew them here and drew our ancestors, our forebears to come here, are the values that we must now remain true to serving. and among them is the ideal of due process and fairness and justice. and to say simply that we will deport all of them en masse, ask to questions, put them on a bus, really is a disservice to those values and ideals that this nation embodies for the world. a source of our power in dealing with the world. our power is not the result only of our air superiority, our great naval fleet, our brave warriors on the ground. it is truly the ideals that our military serves and our military
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might serves to safeguard around the world. and speaking of security and safety and safeguarding our nation, our border is secure, more secure than ever before. perhaps not perfectly secure, and more has to be done for border security, which immigration reform would help to accomplish. the president has utilized an unprecedented level of resources in terms of both boots on the ground and advanced technology. there's no evidence to indicate any breakdown in border securi security. what we have on our border is not a situation involving huge numbers of immigrants slipping into this country surrepetitiously. they are coming here openly, surrendering themselves to
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authorities who are being immediately apprehended by law enforcement. this situation is entirely consistent with a fully effective border security appar are the us -- apparatus. we'd expect to see a large number of immigrant children only in this country. after all, the united states policies apply only to the united states' borders. but in fact that's not what we see. there are children seeking asylum and refugee status in many other western hemisphere countries including some of the poorest in the world, and a documented 712% increase in asylum seekers from el salvador, honduras, and guatemala since 2009. we've seen no increase in illegal immigration from mexico,
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which also would be happening if it were simply lax border security. any way you look at this situation, the facts simply do not support the theory that america's border is in crisis. it is central america that is in crisis, el salvador, guatemala, honduras that are the source of this humanitarian crisis. and so rolling back the trafficking victims protection reauthorization act will not solve a border problem and it will not uphold the values and ideals of this nation. the protections of this law, in fact, are essential to ensuring that the united states of america does not send innocent children into situations where they would be harmed and killed. and so i would oppose a wholesale rollback of this law,
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and we have to make sure that we do what's right and get this situation right because the stakes are so very high. no one in this chamber wants to be responsible for sending one child to her death because we fail to consider the complexities and provide the humanity that this situation demands. not only would rolling back the trafficking victims protection act do harm -- and we must first do no harm -- but it would also hurt law enforcement. this act helps enforcement and our law enforcement authorities to gain crucial, actionable intelligence about trafficking
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organizations. this law reflects a fact that i learned during my law enforcement career: one of the keys to putting criminals behind bars is working closely with victims. in fact, victims are really essential -- their cooperation is vital to make the law enforceable and making sure that it is enforced. the trafficking victims protection act encourages victims of trafficking to turn themselves in and cooperate to border patrol agents and provide u.s. law enforcement with the information they need. they are not interested in arresting children. they want to arrest the traffickers, the drug lords, the top of that chain. that is so very important for our colleagues to understand. the surge in drug trafficking and drug-related violence that
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has turned so many communities into war zones is driven by those gangs in central america that are, in turn, driving also the flood of young children to this country. we have this crisis in common with them. it is a humanitarian crisis and a law enforcement challenge. let us move toward immigration reform, which will help to address that crisis by increasing border security, by enabling millions of people now in the shadows to have a path to earn citizenship, to make sure that our values and ideals are upheld by the greatest nation in the history of the world. i want to thank all of my colleagues who've spoken today and most especially to thank senator leahy and senator feinstein for their decades of
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committed work on this issue. i look forward to working with them, the presiding officer, the majority leader, who has led this chamber and this nation so well on this issue. i thank the chair, and i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask that the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask that following leader remarks, tomorrow, july 17, the senate proceed to consideration of s. 2244, the debate time with respect to the bill and consideration of amendments in order to the bill be modified as follows: coburn 349, 30 minutes equally divided, vitter 3550, flake 3551, ten minutes equally divided. and tester 355230 minuteses
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equally divided. further, any reminder remaining time until noon be equally divided between two leaders or their designees. at noon, the senate proceed to vote on amendments in the previous order. the bill be read a third time and the senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill, as amended. there be two minutes equally divided prior to each vote and all after the first vote be 10 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i move we proceed, mr. president, to executive session to consider calendar 859. -- 849. the presiding officer: question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor please say aye. all opposed, noi no. the ice appear to have t the ayes do have t the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: julie e. carnes of georgia to be united states
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circuit judge for the is 1th circuit. mr. reid: there is a cloture motion at the desk and ask the chair to have it reported. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of julie e. carnes of georgia to be united states circuit gunnel for the is 1th circuit, signed by 167 senators as follows: mr. reid: i ask that the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now move to legislative session. mr. president, i am sorry. i just forgot that we -- i ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i move now, mr. president, to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion motion to proceed. all those in favor please say aye. all those opposed, please say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it.
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the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar 851. the presiding officer: question is on the notion proceed. all those in favor please say aye. all those against, please say nay. the ayes appear to have t the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report. the clerk: andrei baroce of jr. mr. reid: there is a cloture motion at the deive i ask that it be reported. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of andrei birotte jr. of california to be united states district judge for the central district of california, signed impi 17 senators as -- mr. reid: i ask that the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask that the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived.
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officer sph woifntle. mr. reid: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor please say aye. all those against, please say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. vietd i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 852. the presiding officer: question is on the notion proceed. all knows in favor please say aye. all those gerntion please say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: robin l. rosenberg of florida to be united states district judge for the southern district of florida. mr. reid: there is a cloture motion at the desk, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of robin l. rosenberg of florida to be united states
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district judge for the southern district of florida, sewned by 17 norse as -- mr. reid: i ask that the reading of the names be waived, mr. president. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent that the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be wraiived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now proceed to move to legislative tegs. session. the presiding officer: question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor please say aye. all those against, please say nay. the ayes appear to have t the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 854. the presiding officer: question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor please say aye. all those against, please say nay. the ayes appear to have t the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: john w. did he reid: theree
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motion at the desk. i ask it be reported. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on. the nomination of jo w. did he graph less of louisiana to be united states district judge for the middle district of louisiana signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: -- mr. reid: i now move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. against say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask consent the senate proceed to calendar number 450. the presiding officer: without
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objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 450, h.r. 3212 an act to ensure compliance with the 1988 convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask the committee reported substitute be agreed to. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i don't believe there is further debate on this matter. the presiding officer: hearing no further debate, all those in favor say aye. all those against please say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. mr. reid: i ask consent -- i ask that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent the senate proceed to h.r. 1528. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 458, h.r. 1528, an act to amend the controlled substances act
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and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding with the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the bill be read a third time passed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent the senate proceed to s. res. 503. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 503 designating september 2014 as national child awareness month and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding with the motion? hearing no objection, ... mr. reid: mr. president, there is no objection; is that right? the presiding officer: there is no objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent the senate proceed to s. res. 504. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 504 to direct the senate legal
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counsel to appear as amicus cier yew and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection? hearing no objection, granted. mr. reid: i ask consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that hannah van demark and julia ferlazzo and zachary nash, interns in the banking committee staff be granted floor privileges for the duration of the consideration of the terrorism risk insurance bill. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent when the senate adjourns today it resume tomorrow on thursday, july 17, following any leader remarks the senate proceed to consideration of calendar number 438. and i ask that that be approved, mr. president. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. reid: at 12:00 noon tomorrow there will be up to five votes. we anticipate three roll call votes in relation to the coburn-flake amendments and passage of the tria bill. we expect an agreement to vote in relation to the circuit judge nomination at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. if there is no further business to come before the senate i ask it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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as well as leading russian financial institutions. "the associated press" says the u.s. has asked any of the effort to stop the insurgents the eastern ukraine, which is widely believed to be backed by moscow. the president's press conference on the way here i espn2. until then, the prime minister's question spent today. in his last question time before summer recess, british prime minister david cameron talked about his recent cabinet shuffle. >> order. >> questions to the prime minister. >> mr. speaker. >> thank you ministers eager.
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i had meetings with colleagues and others in additions to my duties i shut her their meetings today. >> mrs. anna guo bob. >> thank you, mr. speaker. >> will the prime minister explain why 75% of his top ers till mad. >> the honorable lady is being a little bit childish. the government before -- the government before mine had four women cabinet ministers and three additional women attending cabinet. we now have five full members of the cabinet in additional three attending. so more people attending. in terms of the server does party was of course i had in a living coalition government. when it comes to derivatives sitting around the cabinet table, i am proud to say a third of them are now women. [shouting]
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>> hazlehurst. >> having reaffirmed his confidence in the transport secretary -- i urged him to give early priority to the improvement. i am well aware of this problem in some of the campaigns such as the 90 campaign and i know my right honorable friend, now backed by a larger team of ministers come additional ministers in the transport department will give that their urgent attention. >> ed three. [shouting] >> mr. speaker -- mr. speaker, we have always said we will support the government when they do the right being. so can i join thousands of parents across the country and congratulating i'm getting rid of the education secretary. saab saturn >> why did he do not have?
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>> i hope the whole house can come together in this way, which is the right honorable member -- the right honorable member for north west ham shyer has served in this house of commons for over 40 years and he will be retiring after the next election. so when it came to replacing an extraordinary politician and someone who has given so much to this country as the chief whip, i wanted to find the very best candidate and i am proud to have done so. [shouting] >> ed miliband. >> is obviously got a short memory, mr. speaker, because this is what he is to say about the education secretary. i want to stress the education secretary to get on with that job for many years, rather than saying i am now going to shut the welfare somewhere else.
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so why did he do it? isn't a shortage of unqualified to teachers or the failure of his preschool is quite >> ltd. with the former education secretary cheats. a record number, new preschools, standard rising across the country unreformed that will ensure. it isn't an extraordinary that the day at a record increase in the numbers of working in our country, he will do anything not to talk about economic recovery. deficit or mean, economy growing, numbers that were rising. i'm not surprised he doesn't want to talk. his sole job is a bit shaky. >> ed miliband. >> if it is all such a great success, i don't still know why he is the education secretary. >> was talk about the figures today. we have welcomed the
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unemployment. but his real problem is this recovery is not benefiting most working people. you are working harder for longer for less. there are 7 million people in working families who are paid so little they are in poverty. the economy is working for them. >> let me bring the house up to date on the unemployment figures that have been released this morning. we see employment -- employment up by 254,000 this quarter. we see women's employment. received employment up in the unemployment counseling by 121,000. and we have reached an import milestone in our current shake, which is more people in work in our country than ever before in our history. we can now say that since this government came to office, there are 1.8 million were people in work. that is a record we can be proud
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of and some pain that the labor leader has raised week after week, long-term youth unemployment is now flowing then when this came to office. [shouting] of course it is disappointing. pay is the rising faster. but let me remind him what the director of the institute for fiscal studies said. he said this. we have had a great big recession. we have had the biggest recession in 100 years and it will be astonishing if household incomes haven't fallen and earnings haven't fallen. that is what has happened and we know who is responsible for the great economic recession because extraordinarily they are still in their jobs. [shouting] >> ed miliband. >> mr. speaker, he is in its fifth year as prime minister and all he can do is try and blame someone else. [shouting] and he just doesn't get it. and he just doesn't get it. this week we saw shocking figures about another group
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suffering from the cost of living prices. millions of young people whose earnings are falling faster than everyone else. one in four of them living with their parents because they can't afford to buy a house or even met one. does he honestly think there's any benefit of the recovery? >> of course we want living standards to recover faster. and there were two things you need to do to make that happen. first of all, get more people into work and we are getting people into work. secondly, cut spending so you can cut taxes, which is exactly what we are doing. yesterday, labour announced that an import announcement is now their policy to put up taxes on middle income people. perhaps he can now get to his feet and tell us which taxes on rich people. >> ed miliband. >> i asked the question and he fails to answer them. he has the worst record on living standards than any prime minister in history. but there is one group -- there is one group -- all told him
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last week. it is sane amount to go from the dispatch box he is happy with his team. now there is one group who is feeling the benefit of the recovery. can he confirm that while average pay is down 1600 pounds a year since the last election, last year the top 1% took home an extra 15 billion pounds after his millionaire's tax cut. >> i've got to say, mr. speaker, i am happy looking on my team and i'm pretty happy with his team, too. [shouting] let me explain, mr. speaker. one of the things that wasn't noticed that happened yesterday. the deputy leader of the labour party on the radio said this and i want to quote precisely. i think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes. that is why she sat. they should. that is their policy.
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the squeezed middle will be squeezed more. now he means to tell us -- now he needs to tell us which people are going to pay which taxes because on this side of the house we have cut council tax. we cut peschel duty. we've cut the jobs tax. we've increased -- >> i want to briefly discuss today the support of ukraine. before i do, what to take the time to update people on foreign-policy challenges that i refute the secretary kerry this afternoon. first of all, i think secretary kerry and our outstanding military leaders in afghanistan for their success in helping to break the impasse over the presidential election. thanks to their efforts and of course thanks to the afghan and courage of the two candidates, both of whom i spoke to last week, the candidates have agreed to abide by the results of a comprehensive and internationally supervised audit that will review all the ballots
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to form a unity government. if they keep their commitments, afghanistan will witness the first democratic transfer of power in the history of that nation. the progress will honor both candidates who have put interest of the united afghanistan first. the millions of afghans who defied threats in order to vote in the service of our troops and civilians who have sacrificed so much. this progress reminds us that even as their combat mission in afghanistan and sincere, america's commitment to a sovereign come united and democratic afghanistan will endure. along with our determination that the american never get threatened by terrorist inside of afghanistan. second, john updated me on the negotiations with iran over its nuclear program. over the last six months, iran has met its commitments over the interim deal be reached last week, halting the progress of its nuclear program, allowing
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more inspections and rolling back its most dangerous stop pile of nuclear material. meanwhile, we are working with our p5 plus one partners in a rant to reach a comprehensive agreement that assures us grants program will in fact be peaceful and they won't obtain a nuclear weapon. based on consultations with secretary kerry, it is clear to me we've made real progress in several areas that we have a criminally forward. but as we approach a deadline of july 20 under the interim deal, there is still significant gaps between the international community and iraq and we have more work to do. so over the next few days, we'll continue consulting with congress and our team will continue discussions with iran and our partners as we determine whether additional time is necessary to extend the negotiations. third, we continue to support diplomatic efforts to end the violence between israel and
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hamas. as i've said repeatedly, israel has the right to defend it self from rocket attacks that terrorized the israeli people. there is no country on earth that can be expected to live under a daily barrage of rocket. and i am proud that the iron storm system that americans helped israel develop insight has saved many israeli lies. over the past few weeks, we've all been heartbroken by the death and injury of so many innocent civilians in gaza. men, women and children who are caught in the crossfire. that is why we have been working with our partners in the region to pursue a cease-fire, to protect civilians on both sides. now yesterday come israel could agree to a cease-fire. unfortunately, hamas continued to fire rockets at civilians thereby prolonging the conflict. but the israeli people in the palestinian people don't want to live like this.
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they deserve to live in peace and security, free from fear. that is why we will continue to encourage diplomatic efforts to restore the cease-fire and we support egypt's continued efforts to bring this about. over the next 24 hours, we'll continue to stay in close contact with friends and party from the region and we will use all of our diplomatic resources and relationships to support efforts of closing a deal on a cease-fire. in the meantime, we will continue to stress the need to protect civilians in gaza and in israel and to avoid further escalation. finally, given his continued provocations in ukraine, today i have approved a new set of sanctions of some of russia's largest companies in financial and two shins. along with our allies, with whom i've had working closely over the last seven days and weeks, i have repeatedly made it clear that russia must halt the flow of weapons across the border into ukraine.
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russia must urge separatists to release their hostages and support a cease-fire. that russia needs to pursue internationally mediated talks and agree to meaningful monitors on the border. i've made this clear directly to mr. putin. many of her part -- european partners have made this clear to mr. putin. we have emphasized their preference to resolve this issue diplomatically but that we have to see concrete actions are not just words by russia in fact is committed to trying to land this conflict along the russia ukraine border. so far, russia has failed to take any of the steps i mentioned. in fact, russia's support for the separatists and violations of ukraine sovereignty has continued. on top of the sanctions be a burning post, we there for designating selected sectors of the economy is eligible for sanctions. we are freezing the assets of
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several russia defense companies and we are blocking new finance unit some of russia's most banks and energy companies. the sanction are significant, but also targeted, designed with maximum impact on russia while limiting any spillover effects on american companies for those of our allies. we are taking these actions in close consultation with european allies, meeting in brussels to agree on their next steps and what we are doing is the russian leadership will see once again that it actions in ukraine have consequences, including a weakening russian economy and increasing diplomatic isolation. meanwhile, we are going to stand with ukrainian people as they seek to determine our future, even in the midst of this crisis, they have made remarkable progress these past few months and held democratic elections and elected a president and are pursuing
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important reforms in china new association with the european union. the united states will continue to offer our strong support to ukraine to help stabilize its economy and defend its territorial integrity. because like any people come ukrainians deserve the right to forge their own destiny. so in closing i will point out the obvious. we live in a complex world and that a challenging time. none of these challenges fund themselves to quick or easy solutions, but all of them require american leadership and as commander-in-chief i am confident that if we stay patient and determined that we will in fact meet these challenges. thanks very much. >> sanctions against iran -- >> the panel the president talked about expand on russian individuals and companies. but the new sanctions stop short of fully cutting off key russian economics at yours, said u.s. officials say they are continuing to hold in reserve in case moscow launches a full-scale invasion of ukraine.
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>> we are at the henrya wallace country life center, which is 50 miles south and west of des moines. and this is the birthplace home of henrya wallace. wallace is a violet consist of three generations of wallace's. the pitcher was no fondly as uncle henry and he was the founder of wallace's farmer magazine. his son, henry c. wallace was u.s. secretary of agriculture under woodrow wilson and henry sees son was born on this fire
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in 1888. he went on to become editor of wallace's farmer magazine. he was then asked by franklin roosevelt to serve as u.s. secretary of agriculture, which he did for eight years from 1933 to 1941. in 1941 to 1945, he was roosevelt's vice president as u.s. secretary of agriculture he is known for the agricultural adjustment act, which was the first time that farmers were asked not to produce. at first ,-com,-com ma people couldn't believe the things that he was proposing regarding now. but then as prices went up, they started to listen to him and people still refer to him today as the genius secretary of agriculture. >> explore the history and literary life of des moines, iowa saturday at noon eastern on the stand to both tv and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american
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history tv on c-span 3. >> the senate today failed to advance a measure that would have required employers to provide contraceptive coverage. that was in response to the recent supreme court decision in the hobby lobby case. before the bow, senators chuck schumer, democrat from new york and texas republican ted cruz talked about the decision, the first amendment and religious freedom. together, their comments are about 20 minutes. >> we rise today to discuss to protect women's health care from corporate interference factor 2014, introduced by my friend and colleague, senator murray and senator udall. proud to be a cosponsor of this legislation. we are at a critical moment when it comes to women's health care rights. we just witnessed a supreme court decision that curtailed important access to health care for employees across the country. the hobby lobby case has now
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opened the door for the vast majority of companies and bosses to start denying their employees contraceptive coverage if the owners have a religious objection. we must slam the door shut. to do that, mr. president, this body must set the record straight about the law that the supreme court used in made their decision. the religious freedom restoration act. as one of the original authors of the religious freedom restoration act, i was a sponsor -- the lead sponsor of the house of representatives. senator kennedy was the lead sponsor in the senate. i can say with absolute certainty that the law has been unwisely stretched by the supreme court to extend religious protection to corporations congress never intended to be covered under the bill. i am compelled to do so, mr. president, because several of my colleagues on the other side have come to the floor to defend the hobby lobby decision using my words. these are arguments i made back
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in 1993 when we passed, first past it and were doing with the protection of individual, undermined individual liberties. the quotation that you still probably with the import that religious freedom of expression in our country. i said the rifra would help restore the american tradition of allowing maximum religious freedom. that is as true today as it was then. i believe as strongly as it was written then as i do now. but he was misinterpreted and wrongly expanded by the supreme court. when my colleagues uses quotation, they completely miss the point of the debate. it is not about freedom of religious expression in government mandated health coverage. that is a false choice. the debate is really whether or not the supreme court appropriately interpreted the rfra and applying it to profit-making corporations.
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as the author of the bill, i can say again with absolute certainty the supreme court at the hobby lobby case dead wrong. when we wrote rfra back in 1993, we did go to protect that which individuals with strong beliefs had always enjoyed. the presumption that they should be able to exercise their religious beliefs without interference from the government. but the court took that protection and misapplied it to for-profit companies who exist for the purpose of benefiting from the open market. the hobby lobby decision marks a sharp departure both from the intent of rfra and prior judicial interpretations of rfra. the supreme court got it wrong. that is why this bill offered by my colleagues from washington and colorado is seven portend -- of paramount importance to clarify the law and restore protection there were stripped away by this wrongheaded supreme
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court decisions. my colleagues on the other side of the iowa continue to assert another assault by democrats and free exercise of religion or other falsehoods. so mr. president, i would like to clearly asked me what this bill will and won't do. this bill will ensure that companies will not deny workers benefits including birth control is required to be covered by federal law. this bill will make it clear that bosses cannot discriminate against their female workers, ensuring equal treatment under the law for tens of thousands of workers whose coverage hangs in the balance. this bill is not only about birth control. the hobby lobby decision has implications for other health services and now this bill will ensure all covered employees have access to all house very health care. not only does come up with blood and antidepressants, vaccines. the bill does not require
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churches are nonprofit organizations to provide contraceptive coverage even when they object on religious grounds. the affordable care exemption process for nonprofit organizations with the religious mission is unchanged by this though. this bill will modify the new laws that target specific religious groups. the bill only applies to health care and most import like, this bill does not -- does not restrict the constitution's first amendment right to the free exercise of religion. the bill only clarifies the relative way the court should give when two federal statutes, such as the affordable care act in the religious freedom restoration act come into conflict. as they continue to say, rfra was intended to give individuals , individuals who profess strong religious beliefs that they had always enjoyed. the strong presumption nation failed to exercise religious beliefs without government
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interference. rfra was not intended, was not intended to extend the same protection to for-profit corporations whose very purpose is to profit from the open market. the supreme court's cavalier decision to grant religious right to closely held corporations could curtail the health care freedom of women not as many as 90% of american does or says. by putting health care decision in the hands of a woman's boss and said if a woman and her doctor creates a slippery slope that could affect tens of millions of americans. our daughters ,-com,-com ma our allies in the future. we need this bill to clarify the law and firmly protect the woman's right to access essential health care. i think my colleagues come to udall and murray for offering this legislation. i urge my colleagues to support this effort to protect women's health care and religious freedom. thank you, mr. president and i yield the


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