tv U.S. Senate CSPAN November 20, 2014 10:00am-4:01pm EST
mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 2:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes
each. mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i know i express the sentiments and outrage of every member of this body about the tragic events in israel this past tuesday where those in the synagogue were brutally slain. it was a shock to all of us. in a synagogue, in a place of worship, people there praying and studying, and their lives were brutally ended. let me just mention the victims. rabbi mosha twersky. rabbi aria kapinsky. i particularly want to mention rabbi capinsky because there is a connection to maryland.
three of the victims had u.s. stips. rabbi capinsky is a cousin of a distinguished constituent, judge karen freeman of baltimore. so this affects all of us. i know that first and foremost that our prayers are with the families, and we express our deepest sympathy. i also express our resolve to eliminate such extremists and to work with the international community so there is no refuge anywhere in the world, anywhere in the civilized world for such extremists. and then i would hope that we would all recognize and speak out for israel's right, indeed its obligation, to defend its people from such brutal attacks. the "baltimore sun" said this morning in its editorial there could be no excuse, no
explanation, no reason or even plausible justification for the horrific attack on jerusalem's synagogue tuesday that left four rabbis and an israeli police officer dead. i know we all believe that statement. there is no justification for such actions. yet, hamas -- and i'll quote from the "sun" paper, hamas, the militant islam group that controls gaza hails the blow in the synagogue. it just points out the difference between hamas and israel. i've been on the floor many times talking about israel's legitimate and right to defend itself and hamas' desire to put innocent people in harm's way. it's our responsibility to speak out. if this event would have happened in the united states, i
think we all know what the reaction would have been. so our resolve go with the people of israel that we will stand by them and that we stand by their right to defend themselves. this is in the backdrop of the rise of anti-semitism. we've seen it in violent attacks in brazil. a brutal slaying in antwerp, extremist parties gaining support with espousing anti-semitism in hungary and other countries. i want to talk about the role this country place in the helsinki commission. i had the honor of being chair during this congress and the helsinki commission represents the commission we made almost 40 years ago. the core principles of human rights and tolerance.
this is our bed rom principles that -- bedrock principles that in order to have a stable country you have to have a commitment to basic human rights, and it's not just your obligation but every country that's part of helsinki, including the united states, has a right to challenge, and any other country its compliance with those basic human rights. and we've made progress. ten years ago i was privileged to be part of the u.s. delegation in the berlin conference, the berlin conference was established to deal with the rise of anti-semitism. an action agenda came out of that conference ten years ago. it put responsibility on us, political leaders, to speak out against antisemitic activities in our own country or anywhere in the world. it set up an action plan to deal with educating, particularly dealing with holocaust education, to deal with the holocaust deniers. it dealt with police training because we understand that a lot of criminal activities are
really hate crimes. and the police need to be able to identify when hate crimes are taking place in their own community. we decided to share best practices by providing technical help to countries to do better. and we established a special representative to deal with anti-semitism. rabbi baker is that special representative. but we went further than that. we expanded it to all forms of intolerance, not just anti-semitism, xenophobe i can't, antimitchell activities because -- antimitchell activities because we recognize the same individuals would do the same against muslims, would do the same against people because of their race or ethnic background. i was very pleased to see that, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the berlin conference. there was a reconvening in berlin, berlin plus ten. ambassador powers, our ambassador to the united nations, led the u.s. delegation.
she did a great job. i want to acknowledge that wayne henderson, a representative in the leadership conference on civil and human rights also represented. there's unity here. not just antisemitic activities. it's the tolerance we've seen grow too much in our world community today. the concluding document said that we need to increase our political and financial support for civil societies, and i agree with that. the transparency and supporting the n.g.o., supporting the civil societies is critically important. mr. president, the bottom line is that we must work together to route out all forms of anti-semitism and all forms of intolerance. let us work together to make all our communities safer by embracing diversity and recognizing basic human rights. with that, mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: mr. president, i rise today to call this body's ateption to a crisis -- ateptio- --attention to a crisis that grows every day. it's been more than two months since the ukrainian government reached a cease-fire. the separatists have repeatedly violated it. since it came into effect, hundreds of ukrainian soldiers
have died. the ukrainian people want peace, but these insurgents and their patriots in moscow are not interested. and every day they grow more aggressive and bolder in their violation of the ukrainian territory and their willingness to subvert the international order. i know there are some in this body who would say this is not our problem; it's thousands of miles away, not really our concern. ultimately to some people they may think is doesn't matter which flag flies over this piece of territory. what happens in ukraine is very much in our interest. it's in the interest of all who value liberty and the right to choose one's own future much the stakes are very high and the consequence of inaction are devastating. to those who ask, why is this important, let me bring up several points. first, it is in america's traditional interests and it's our traditional commitment to support democracy around the world and to uphold the right of a people to choose their own
destiny. when the soviet union fell and the people of eastern europe took back the liberty that had been stolen from them decades before, the united states made a so many promise: embrace democracy, freedom, transparency, the rule of law, and we will embrace you. the ukrainian people made their choice. they did so on the 24th of august 1991 when an independent ukraine ceased to be a dream and became a reality. a decade later the orange revolution swept a corrupt government from office and earlier this year in the face of russian threats, intimidation and aggression, they did so again. i saw that commitment firsthand earlier this year when i joined along with my colleague from maryland mr. cardin a congressional delegation to monitor the ukrainian presidential elections. there, senator cardin and i saw the spirit of the ukrainian people and they are determination to honor the memory of brave men and women who had given their life in the fight for a free and independent
ukraine. that fight continues today. but this fight is about more than just ukraine, and failing to honor our commitment to the ukrainians will have real consequences that extend to other national security priorities for the united states of america. when ukraine emerged as an independent nation after the cold war, it inherited the world's third-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons. as a newly independent state looking to ensure its sovereignty and territorial integrity, ukraine could have relied on its nuclear arsenal to ward off would-be aggressors. they made a different decision. instead of pursuing this dangerous path, ukraine sought and received assurances from the international community that its borders would be respected if it gave up its nuclear weapons. in fact, in 1994, the united states, the united kingdom and russia signed the budapest memorandum in which all sides pledged to respect ukraine's territorial integrity, retrain
from using military force to limit ukrainian sovereignty and to provide assistance to ukraine if it becomes victim of aggression from another nation. clearly, russia has broken its part of that agreement. now the question is whether we are breaking ours. if we do break our word, what will the impact be on american counter-proliferation efforts around the world? how can any nation ever trust the u.s. security's assurances if they see carnage and destruction in ukraine, if they see this as being the result of trading nuclear weapons for american guarantees? more than just the credibility of u.s. counter-proliferation efforts at a stake here. events in ukraine are a direct challenge to the entire u.s.-led international order. u.s. economic power was the glue that kept the country together through the challenges of a cold
war. it has led to unprecedented global prosperity and stability. this has produced a period of economic security. confidence in america's willingness to use our unmatched capabilities to uphold this system deters potential challengers and incentivizes other countries to play by the rules, which prevents us from actually having to use them. america's commitment to uphold this system is incredibly important. if the credibility of this commitment is in doubt, then the stability and openness upon which u.s. economic prosperity and national security depend is jeopardized and the chance for violence, instability, and economic collapse increases. by the way, the russian government knows all this. president putin, who famously declared the collapse of the soviet union to be the greatest geopolitical cat cat of the 20th century, knows that his
dream of building a new russian empire requires establishing russian dominance over its newly independent neighbors, many of whom want closer integration with the west, including ukraine, closer integration with the west not russia. to accomplish this goal, moscow must shatter this political, military, and ideological of the western system. russian aggression against the ukraine today or georgia back in 2008 is about control of these individual countries. the conflict in ukraine is the latest escalation of this trend, one that will continue until the united states and its allies say firmly, this shall not continue. the president keeps saying that -- quote -- "there's no military solution to this conflict." the president may think so, but moscow certainly does not.
the direct russian military involvement in ukraine has been on full display for the world to see for months. in previous times it may have been easier to keep these movements out of sight, even as president putin does his best to the suppress the free press. but we're for the into the have brave reporters willing to document what they see for all the world to witness. here are a few examples in the media from recent days: this is a picture of a russian-made t-90 main battle tank in ukraine recently. in a province of ukraine. this t-90 tank is the most sophisticated russian tank. mr. president, do you know who owns these t-90 tanks? 450er are the countries: algeria, azerbaijan, turkmenistan, and russia. i think it's safe to say that these tanks didn't drive from south asia or from north africa. they came from russia, in
ukraine. here is a picture of a supoy-24 fighter. here is the flag for the ukrainian separatists. not many people are aware roforts that russia is helping 20 create a separatist air force but we must wake up. in the last couple of days we've also seen reports of significant movement of russian aircraft to airfields closer to the ukrainian border. these are just a few examples of the russian armored personnel carriers, air defense systems, electronic warfare units and thousands of russian troops that nato reports say have moved into ukraine over the last several weeks. according to ukrainian analysts, russian and separatist forces have been mobilized and completed reconnaissance in preparationer an all-out
assault. barrel a day has gone by since the signing of the cease-fire in des where ukrainian troops haven't come under attack. since the beginning of the conflict, conservative estimates have put the number of ukrainian soldiers killed at roughly 4,000. another 5 240*u civilians wounded or killed in the fighting. we shouldn't be afraid to call this what it is. this is part of a russian invasion. we saw it with crimea. we're now seeing it in other parts of the border with ukraine. two months ago the president of ukraine, poroshenko, spoke here before a joint session of congress. we were all there. it was a poignant speech, a powerful speech, and one from the heart. there's a line from that speech that i think stood out. in speaking about the humanitarian aid we have sent to ukraine and asking us for additional aid, president poroshenko said, "one cannot win
the war with blankets. even more so, we cannot keep the peace with a blanket." and he was right. blankets won't stop this tank that we saw earlier. blankets won't stop bullets. blankets won't protect ukrainian children from russian artillery shells. we don't know a whole lot about what the u.s. has provided to the ukrainians. i'll get to that in a moment. we're having trouble getting that from the administration. but we do know a few things. we know we've given them blankets, sleeping mats, military rations, military kits, medical kits, and body armor. this is what we have been providing, as far as we know, to the ukrainian military. i know the ukrainians are grateful for these items, but when you compare this to the russian involvement, the differences are stark. here's what we've provided for the ukrainians. here's the russian support being provided to the separatists.
i'm proud of the hardworking ohioans -- while i'm proud of the hardworking/owians in cincinnati and elsewhere who are making these rations in ohio, the folks in heath who produce these helmets, they know as well as i do that these items won't defeat the separatists. mr. president, may i ask unanimous consent for an additional three minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: thank you. i don't mean to downplay the importance of the economic, political, and humanitarian aid we've provided. there are many reforms that the ukrainians will need to make. but how can ukraine be expected to make these difficult but necessary reforms if it can't even control its own borders or maintain law and order? there's a military dimension to this crisis we simply cannot ignore any further. moscow continues to believe that military force is a viable
option to achiefts goals. -- to achieve its goals. unless the unite united states d itsz allies help, we shouldn't expect any change in behavior. ukraine needs modern air defense systems to defend against russian air superiority. it needs unmanned aircraft to monitor its borders and to detect violations of its sovereignty. it need communications gear to prevent russia from accessing troop locations. it need advanced counter-battery radar. it needs elite rapid-reaction forces capable of read sponding to russian border provocations and fast-moving acimetry cal tactic that the russians use to destabilize the country. they need training. ukraine has asked for this support. and we should provide it. most importantly, ukraine needs a sustained commitment from the united states and our nato allies to provide the quality and quantity of equipment necessary to preserve its
independence. this is not a partisan issue, mr. president. leading democrats in the senate such as chairman of the armed services and foreign relations committee, senators levin and men nen des as well as nor cardin and others have called for increased assistance, including defensive weapons. yet the president and some of his top advisors continue to stand in the way of meaningful action, for fear of provoking russia, as if the tanks streaming into the ukraine aren't evidence enough that the american restraint has not had the desired effect on russian activity and policy. it's well-known that the president has refused to adopt policies that actually provide ukraine with capabilities they've needed and have asked for to change the situation on the ground. what's less known is if the administration is committed to directing its own limited policies. for all we've heard about the president and his steadfast support for ukraine and the $116 million in security assist the united states has promise to deliver, we know almost nothing about how these policies are being implemented. this administration has been a black box when it comes to even
getting the most basic administration about our efforts to aid ukraine. despite multiple requests, including a letter to the prosecute he's from senator cardin and myself, we can't seem to get answers on fundamental questions. what equipment has been delivered to ukraine? how long will it take to deliver the equipment we promised but not delivered? what's the process for determining what capabilities to provide? how does the equipment we've agreed to provide support the capabilities they've requested? how does our assistance efforts fit into a comprehensive strategy? this lack of transparency on the day-to-day implementation of u.s. assistance programs raises questions about the underlying policy guidance that drives it. whether the administration is actually had far more modest goals than the president's public rhetoric would suggest. for example, a bipartisan assessment conducted by retired general wesley clark and former top pentagon official dr. phillip carver appeared in "the new york times," "washington post" and other major newspapers, revealed that the obama administration had issued extreatmently restrictive instructions the nonlethal aid
the united states could provide. the lack of this aid has created real problems for the ukrainians. the fact is that no one knows in congress how these regulations are being applied. this is a huge problem and stands in the way of a coherent and effective policy. yesterday the president's national security advisor testified that the ukrainian forces is something we should be looking at. well, strengthening the iranian forces is something we definitely should be looking at. this is a welcome change of tone, should be well beyond looking at in my view, because every day we delay, every day we dither, every day we match russian efforts with half-measures, moscow is emboldened and the danger grows. i'm convinced that a piecemeal, reactionary response to moscow is a recipe for failure. instead, we must have a comprehensive, proactive strategy that strengthens nato, deters russian aggression and gives ukraine the political, economic and military support it needs to maintain its independence. we need a strategy that seeks to shape outcomes not be shaped by them. much of that leadership must come from the white house. but this body also has a role to
play. we should include funding for ukrainian military systems in the upcoming spending bills. we should pass the ukraine support -- the ukraine freedom support act which would authorize the assistance ukraine needs today. we should pass legislation that will reduce ukraine's and all of russia's assistance and their reliance on russia for its energy resources. and we should pass legislation to ensure that the united states never recognizes russia's illegal annexation of crimea. the need for action could not be more clear. through his aggression in ukraine, president putin and moscow are sending a message to ukraine and to the world that america and the west are indecisive and weak and that their guarantees of support are meaningless. the ukrainian people have rejected that message. choosing instead the path of democracy and openness, a path the united states has urged the ukrainians but also the world to follow. we and our nato allies must now stand with them. when america is strong, we stand
unequivocally for freedom and justice. we don't back down in the face of threats and intimidation. and when we see a world that is more stable, less dangerous and more free, that is because we do stand with our allies. more wars, more conflicts, more threats to our security -- these do not arise from american strength. these arise from american weakness. let us be strong again. let us lead again. let us help ukraine. the world is watching. mr. president, i yield back my time. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. chamblismr. isakson: isaksos consent to be recognized for 10 minutes. the presiding officer: the senator. mr. isakson: i'd like my remarks to be divided in two parts in the record and reflected on so so appropriately. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. isakson: mr. president, on saturday night of last week, georgia, atlanta and america lost a great citizen.
herman j. russell was one of the greatest african-american business leaders and civil rights leaders the world has ever known. he passed peacefully in his home after a short illness. but his legacy and his life will last forever, not just in the history books but indelibly on the skyline of our city. herman j. russell in 1952 starred a small plastering company called the h.j. russell company. he had just graduated from tuskegee institute? alabama and came to georgia to make his fortune and his family. fame. he started out plastering walls and plastering ceilings and he finished his career building georgia domes, building the georgia pacific building, building the 1996 olympic stadium, and building buildings throughout the atlanta skyline. while doing so, he made a lot of money that he reinvested back not just into investments but into his community. in 1999, herman russell by himself gave $4 million to morehouse college, to clark atlanta university and to georgia state university. and last december gave
$1 million to children's health care of atlanta to rebuild and help renovate the facility in downtown atlanta for a hospital for children. he was always giving back more than he asked. but his greatest gift may have been the fact that he enabled martin luther king and the civil rights movement in the 1 1960's. it's well-known that dr. king would go to herman's house to take refuge and take a swim and relax between the arduous time of the civil rights movement. herman russell would finance the movement and finance the movement's efforts and finance it so they could continue to move forward to bring about equality in the south. that's an indelible mark he's left on history not just for our state but for our country. herman and his wife had three wonderful children. they're involved in the business today. the business today is still flourishing as it always has. in fact, the new atlanta stadium, the new atlanta dome stadium, which will house the falcons, is $1.3 billion stadium that the h.j. russell company is integrally involved in. our city has lost a great friend, a great african-americ
african-american, and a great entrepreneur. so great he was recognized by the atlanta chamber as its first member, african-american member, and its second african-american president. he's been recognized by the butler street ymca, by the atlanta and georgia business council, by almost every entrepreneurial group there is for his contribution to business and his contribution to investment in the state of georgia. it's with great sadness tomorrow night that i'll go to ebenezer baptist church and be a part of the wake ceremony. but it's great pride for me today i rise on the senate floor to make sure the record indelibly recognizes the life and times and the contributions of herman j. russell. i'd like to stop my remarks at this time and pay tribute to another great georgian. mr. president, on sunday night, a great georgian and a personal friend of mine passed away from this life. at the age of 89, former governor carl sanders died in atlanta, georgia, at piedmont hospital. carl sanders was governor of georgia from 193-1967.
at the at the university of georgia as a student from 1962-1966. so my college years paralleled his gubernatorial years, where he made a remarkable change in the politics and the life the people of georgia. everyone remembers what the 1960's were like in the south in terms of segregation. most of the governors in the south, like governor wallace in alabama, were segregationists. but carl sanders came forward as a governor, wanted to bring people together, wanted to help to bring georgia and bring the south through a turbulent time to see to it that african-americans rose toy kuwait not just in -- to equality not just in the way they were recognized but in the way laws treated them. carl sanders came to washington in 1964 to meet with lyndon johnson and helped form the civil rights later that passed later in the 1960's. carl sanders was born in augusta georgia, went to university of georgia on a scholarship and played football. left the university to go and fight in world war ii and was a fighter pilot. came back from world war ii, graduated from the university of georgia and then graduated from
the georgia law school. practiced law. was elected to the state legislature then to the state senate and then governor of the state of georgia. he was the governor from 1963-1967 and back then the georgia governors could not succeed one another so he had to wait for years to run for a second team. he did wait and he ran for a second term and he lost, ultimately to the president of the united states, jimmy carter. but he was never a loser, he was a winner. and everything he did, whether it was government or business or family life or whatever it might be, carl sanders excelled. he was such a wonderful man to share his wisdom and knowledge about once every six or eight months, he would always have three or four of us over to his office at the age of the, treating us to line and talking -- at the age of 89 treating us to lunch and talking about the present and future. he was about the future for its hope and its prosperity for people. carl sanders will be remembered for a lot of things but in georgia most importantly he'll be remembered for what became at first a junior college system, which is now a four-year college system, which has every georgia citizen within 45-minute drive
of a state university system facility. his passion as governor was education. his legacy in georgia will be education. he contributed greatly to our state and greatly to the future and the prosperity of the people of the state of georgia. it is with a great sense of sadness but a great sense of pride that i pay tribute today on the floor of the united states senate to a great governor of georgia, a great citizen of our country, and a great american, the honorable carl sanders, former governor of the state of georgia. and i yield back the balance of my time. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: and consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: the senate is in morning business. mr. durbin: mr. president, it's been 511 days, 511 days since the united states senate passed bipartisan legislation to reform our broken immigration system. 14 republicans joined the democrats in supporting a measure which covered what i think are the major challenges facing america when it comes to immigration in the 21st century. there was an amendment adopted by senator corker, i believe senator hoeven cosponsored, and this amendment would have strengthened our border security to unprecedented levels. you see at this moment in time we have more federal law enforcement officials on the border between united states and mexico than the combined population of all other federal law enforcement agencies. it is a massive commitment which
would have been enhanced even more by the comprehensive immigration reform bill. for those border state senators, we would have reached the point where from galveston to san diego we would have literally had available a law enforcement agent every half mile 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. it is a massive investment and it passed the united states senate 511 days ago. that same bill addressed some serious issues about agricultural workers in illinois, california, texas and all across the nation. growers are telling us that they're having a difficult time bringing in the workers who will do the backbreaking, hard physical labor necessary for agriculture. this bill addressed it. in fact, it was endorsed by both growers as well as those who do the work. it is an amazing political achievement. it also addressed the issue of
h-1b's why do we bring the best and brightest from around the world to the united states for advanced degrees, advanced education and then welcome them to leave where if they stayed and worked to create jobs in america and new businesses and new innovations we could bill our own economy. the bill addressed it. but as important as all those things, the bill addressed 11 million undocumented people in america. 11 million. and that's just a guess and an estimate. but the bill said that those who were here undocumented, who had been here for several years could step up, register with the government, pay their filing fee, submit themselves to a background check, pay their taxes, pay their taxes and then be reviewed annually for years to make sure that they were still complying with the laws of the united states. they wouldn't qualify for government benefits or programs during this period of time, but they could work their way to legal status. that bill passed the senate on a
bipartisan basis 68 votes, and the bill went over to the house of representatives where, sadly, it languished. nothing happened. the speaker of the house refused to call the bill. in fact, he refused to call any aspect of the bill. he refused to call it in committee for any consideration or debate, and they let it languish. there were times when the house republican leadership tempted the white house and others by saying maybe now we can call it. they never ever did. 511 days passed. here we are today, and this evening president obama is going to announce an executive order to address immigration. he's waited patiently. america's waited patiently for the republicans in the house of representatives to step forward and to accept this responsibility, and they have refused. they have refused to fix this broken immigration system, and you can bet that as soon as the president issues his executive
order there will be a chorus of complaint that this president has gone too far using his executive authority to address this issue. you won't hear from the critics the facts. you won't hear from the critics that every president since president dwight david eisenhower -- i believe 11 different presidents, democrats and republicans -- have issued executive orders relating to immigration. president george herbert walker bush basically said we are not going to prosecute 1.5 million undocumented in america by executive order. prosecutorial discretion. that is the kind of thing which we've come to expect from presidents and we've expected congress to complain about. that has continued. here's what we believe president obama will announce today. the details are just starting to emerge in press reports. he is going to announce that we are going to push for accountability in immigration. senator marco rubio was on the bipartisan panel that put together the comprehensive immigration reform bill.
he said something that was very prescient and i want to refer to it at this moment. he said for those who criticize amnesty, doing nothing is amnesty in the united states for those who are here undocumented. doing nothing is amnesty. what president obama is going to suggest instead of amnesty is accountability. accountability. here's what it will say. for those who have children, who are american citizens and they have been here at least five years -- five years -- they have a chance to step forward to register with the government, to pay the filing fee for processing, to submit themselves to a criminal background check and to pay their taxes. and the president says if you will do that under his order, it's my understanding it will say you can legally work in america. you don't become a citizen. you don't have legal status beyond the work permit, but you don't have to fear deportation. you are down the list.
you are not a dangerous person who should be deported. the highest priority of those who will be deported are those with criminal records, and they should be. there is no room in the united states for anyone, let alone undocumented, who come here and commit a crime. period. secondly, if you have repeat offenders and those who violate the legal system they will be in the second category. this third category of those who might the criteria i mentioned will be given their chance. now this is accountability. this really says to those who wish to stay, if you will play by these rules, we will give you a chance to stay and work. and what's the reason? we want to deport felons. we don't want to deport families. we want to deport criminals. we don't want to deport children. we're going to focus our efforts on the borders on those who are trying to come across and those who are here and should leave. that means more resources are
put into enforcement. it also means that those who are here are going to be registered. we'll know who they are, where they are, where they're working and we'll know they're paying their taxes to stay in this country. the alternative from the republican point of view, for 511 days is to do nothing. that is an unacceptable alternative. but there's a better alternative even to an executive order, and the president will be the first to say, and that's that this congress of the united states on a bipartisan basis rolls up its sleeve and tackles this issue. we should. that's why we're elected. to do nothing as the house has done for 511 days is unacceptable. to stand by the sidelines and criticize this president for using his executive authority, the same executive authority used over and over again by presidents of both political parties in the field of immigration, is not constructive. and there's one other thing that's even worse. some members of the other party are suggesting they're prepared to shut down the government of the united states over this
issue. if the president uses his legal authority, they threaten to shut down the government of the united states. we saw that last year. the junior senator from texas took the floor and said he was going to close down the government over the issue of affordable care act. it was a terrible strategy. a lot of innocent people were hurt. it cost our government and our economy dearly. it was a politically desperate act which i hope will not be repeated ever again, certainly not when it comes to the issue of immigration. if there was ever a time for us to stand together, both political parties, and solve a problem, this is it. standing on the sidelines complaining, which we've heard over and over again from the house republican leadership and we continue to hear when it comes to the president's executive order, is not the kind of instructive policy the american people need. i applaud the president. he's going to take a lot of grief for this, for using his executive power. but thank goodness he's stepping up and addressing the problem.
where others have walked away from it, ignored it, come up with every excuse on earth, he is addressing the problem directly. and now it's time for us in the united states congress to do the same thing. we're going to come back after thanksgiving. we'll be here for at least ten days. speaker boehner, leader of the republican house, has the authority to instantly call on the floor of the house this bipartisan immigration bill which passed the senate. there is no excuse. if he's going to criticize the president for using his power to solve a problem, then the speaker should use his power to address that same problem. call the comprehensive immigration reform bill before we leave at the end of this year. bring it up for a vote in the house. i think it will pass. and if it passes and we do by legislation a much broader review and change in immigration foreman bill, we will have done -- immigration reform bill we will have done what we were elected to do. we will have served this nation. we will have set out to repair
this broken immigration system. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr., i'm glad i came to the floor and heard my friend and colleague, the majority whip, from illinois and his explanation for how it's clearly within the president's authority to issue this executive order that he plans on announcing tonight. the basic problem, though, is the president himself has said repeatedly he doesn't have that authority. he said it repeatedly. we've all seen the clips on tv and online. he said he doesn't have the power to do it, and he was right then and he's wrong now. there is a right way and a wrong way to solve problems.
the right way would have been during the first two years when -- after president obama won election in 2008, when his party commanded 60 votes in the united states senate and a majority in the house of representatives, and he of course was president of the united states, if this had been a priority for him, he could have done it then. instead he chose to jam through on a party-line vote the affordable care act, obamacare. and we see what a disaster that has been. it's not just me. i was a skeptic. i didn't think it would work. while the goals were laudable and worthy, i just didn't think the federal government hatd -- had the competence or certainly the ability to reconfigure one-sixth of our economy. but the president did it. his party passed it. and it enjoyed no bipartisan support. that's one of the basic problems with what the president is doing
today. the reason why it's so important to follow the constitution that requires passing legislation affecting five million people through both houses of congress and forces us to negotiate and build consensus is because those are sustainable policies. if you try to do things on a "my way or the highway" basis or purely partisan basis, those are not sustainable. as we know, as time goes by today's majority will be tomorrow's minority. now a democrat occupies the white house. perhaps next time a republican will occupy the white house. who knows. but the point is only things that we do through the legislative process according to the constitution and the laws of the united states of america that are done on a bipartisan
basis through that natural consensus building that is required in order to get things done, those are truly sustainable policies. and when the president decides to do it through an executive order, excisexercising powers that he himself says he does not have, what are people supposed to think? well, i heard my friend from illinois say, well, it's been 511 days and republicans haven't swallowed the comprehensive immigration reform bill that has come from the senate. well, they're not required to swallow it. they can pass legislation -- or not -- on their own timetable. you know, the old joke is that the opposing party is our adversary but the senate is the enemy. that's the joke in house circles. so there is a natural rivalry between the house and senate.
they're not expected nor required to accept what they pass, nor are they required to do it on our timetable. but i do believe that speaker boehner and majority leader mccarthy are committed, as am i and the incoming majority leader come january, senator mcconnell, to making progress on an incremental basis in this important area. but it has to be thoughtful. and we have to have fulsome debate and everybody participate in the process. what impact is the president's executive order going to have when the unemployment rate is still 5.8% nationally, when the percentage of people actually looking for work is at a 30-year low because many people have given up because of the slow-growing economy? what's the impact of these 5 million or however many additional work permits the
president presumes to have the power to issue, what's the impact going to be on competition for jobs with the economy growing slowly and jobs in short supply? what's the impact of the president's executive order going to be on household median income? we know wages have been stagnant for the middle class because of this slow-growing economy. what's the impact of millions of additional people competing for jobs in the economy going to be on wages? those are questions i would like it have the answer to. i'd also like know if the president has the power, which he said he doesn't have but now he's apparently changed his mind, to issue this executive order affecting 5 million people, what about the other 6 million people who are in the
country who did not come in in compliance with our immigration laws, who either overstayed their visas or came across the border illegally? now, you know, i come from a border state, 1,200 miles of common border with mexico. wwe had what was this magnet kne impression that we would not enforce our laws that encouraged people to make that treacherous journey across central america to mexico. many times they lost their lives, were sexually assaulted, lost their lives, in the hands of criminals. but if the president has the authority to do this for 5 million, why not the 11 million? how does he explain that to the 6 million people who see now these 5 million e getting a
preferential treatment? and how do you explain it to people who have waited patiently year after year trying to do it the right way? the president has effectively bumped them out of the line and bumped 5 million people ahead of them. now, i have every confidence that if we were able to do this in a thoughtful, deliberative sort of way, we could find a compassionate and satisfactory outcome for the people who mated mistake of -- who made the mistake of entering the country illegally. we don't give the death penalty for speeding tickets, so i think there is an appropriate way to address this, but it's not by an amnesty. and i call it an amnesty because basically there is no reconciliation process. in other words, when you have made a mistake -- and we all make mistakes and we all understand the aspirations and
hopes that immigrants bring to the united states because they come here for the reason people have historically come here: for the american people. we understand that -- for the american dream. we understand that. but we also understand that when somebody has made a mistake, they need to own up to it and they need to reconcile themselves to lawful authority because otherwise t the attitude is, the law doesn't matter. and the law protects all of us, no matter who we are, where we come from or how we pronounce our last name. and when we have a lawless process, like we do now -- and which this executive order does mog tnothing to gism -- what tht does is perpetuate chaos. and it also continues to enrich these criminal organizations that are more than happy to charge people $5,000, $6,000 a head to make that treacherousdjourny.
-- treacherous journey. wail, thiwell --this is a terri. the president has decided -- and some of our democratic colleagues say this is the same thing george bush did, this is the same thing dwight inn eisenr did. it is not and the president saided that when he said he didn't have the authority. now he's changed his mind. they issued executive orders implementing bipartisan legislation like the 1986 amnesty that ronald reagan signed. there were executive orders taken in furtherance of that consensus position based on the legislation, but never has any president purported to have the authority to out of whole cloth do what this president says he is going to do. where does he get the authority to issue work permits? he can prioritize prosecution
and deportation -- and he has -- but where does the president get the authority to issue work permits for millions of people? well, this is rocking people's fundamental confidence in their government. we elect presidents to faithfully enforce the laws, including the constitution of the united states. that's the oath the president takes when he's sworn in. "i do solemnly swear." these laws, of course, are beyond the constitution drafted by congress. it's schoolhouse rock -- you know, bills start in the house and the senate. they have to be reconciled and sent to the president. that's civics 1010. -- that's civics 101. maybe we need a new course called remedial civics 101 for those who have forgotten how the
constitution is gitte written aw it is implemented in the form of a legislative process. of course, if the president objects to what congress sends him, that's when the negotiations start. he can veto it. we can vote to override it, if we have the votes. if we don't, well, we're back to square one and we have to start that negotiation again. but i have not seen or even read of a president who seems so detached, so disinterested from actually engaging in this process set out by the constitution. this president, if he doesn't get his way, says, i got a pen, i got a phone, i'm going to go it alone. well, that's a disaster waiting to occur. because p what i what is it doea provocation to the other brafnlings of governmenbranches, well, we are not irrelevant in this process. and we may have something to say
about it. and i think you'll see some of that in the very near future with regard to the way that appropriations are made and what functions of government are funded. but i heard my friend from illinois say, even people are threatening a government shutdown. well, that's not true. wcialg well, i take that back. the democrats are saying that. no republican has said that. and it's just not going to happen. it shouldn't havment and it won't havmen--it shouldn't happt shouldn'won't happen. i like it when our friends like to tell us about our own internal politics. i was at the white house with the president and our bicameral leadership. and our democratic friends said the house of representatives can't pass any immigration reform bill. well, i don't know how they know that, unless they have some insight or wisdom that is not
obvious to the people who actually work there and have the responsibility to make it work. so what i disc do know is that e is a good-faith desire to solve this problem but not by the -- what i call the pig-and pig-and-the-python approach. we thried with the affordable care act, done on a purely partisan basis, and it didn't work. there is an understandable aversion to trying to do things in a comprehensive sort of way. so why not break it down into pieces and do what we can? because there are a lot of different pieces that do enjoy bipartisan support. but i think it's the president's -- the precedent that the president is setting is very dangerous because if he purports now have this power, which he previously said on numerous
occasions he didn't have, what about future presidents? what about policies you and i may not like, even if you think this is a pretty good idea. you say the president is trying to act because, obviously, this is controversial and things aren't moving fast enough, so i like what the president is doing. suppose you say that. well, just think about the possibility that a few years from now when we have an election, we have a new president, what if that president says, well, president obama purported to exercise this massive executive authority in defiance of the constitution and the laws, so i guess i can do it, too. this is not th the kind of political system we want. this is not good for the american people.
we do not want a system in which each party when they happen to be in power takes their turn abusing executive authority. we do not want that. i would have thought that there were enough people who love this institution known as the united states senate and believe it has an indispensable role in our government that would say, wait, mr. president, don't do it, because not only -- we may like the policy, but this really is an end run around the constitution and the role that is appropriately played by both houses of congress and the executive. but apparently there are few, if any, folks on the other side of the aisle who believe that our tradition and our constitutional system of legislating is worth preserving, at least in this instance.
well, i've spoken at some length about the practical consequences of the president's amnesty, but those consequences also bear repeating since the eyes of the country are now focused on what the president is going to announce tonight p. p. we know from recent experience that the president' president'sl amnesty will be communicated to people in other countries as a signal that, y'all come in. that's what happened with the unaccompanied children. 62,000 of them, i think the number is roughly, from central america since last october. the reason there was a flood and a humanitarian crisis, as described by the president and the administration themselves, is because the signal was, the green light is on and you can come to the united states, you don't need to come legally. as long you come here, you can stay.
and that is because it undermines one of the basic premises of effective law enforcement, and that is deterrence. in other words, you don't want to just try to stop people after they break the law. actually, it is too late to stop them. what you'd like to do is deter people from even thinking about breaking the law. and in this instance, even making that perilous journey. so there's going to be a surge, an uptick of some type of an illegal immigration because people are going to see this as a further invitation that it's okay to come. you don't need to comply with the law, you don't need to wait. you can just come. and if you're one of the lucky ones, you'll get to stay because the president -- this president or somebody will issue a further pardon. well, w we know, as i said earlier, this is a major boom to the cartels and other gangs who control mexico's smuggling networks.
and it will almost certainly lead to thousands of people who've committed crimes in this country gaining legal status. and it will also, as i said earlier, punish people who played by the rules and have waited patiently in line trying to emigrate to the country legally, it will punish them by putting them in the back of the line. now, i would -- let me just repeat this because it's important to me and that is america is the most generous country in the world when it comes to legal immigration. we are the beneficiary of the brains, the ambition and the hard work of people who come here from all over the globe. all of us -- almost all of us -- weren't -- our ancestors weren't born in the united states. we came from somewhere else. mine came through ellis island
from ireland after one of the potato crop famines in the 19th century. so we understand both the desire to pursue the american dream in this country and the benefits that accrue to our country as a result of legal immigration. that's why we're such a generous country when it comes to legal immigration. but the current chaos associated with illegal immigration has a number of very negative consequences. i mentioned a moment ago, my state has 1,200 miles of common border and it gets attention every once in awhile, like when this humanitarian crisis involving these unaccompanied minors occurs, but happens day after day after day that people are detained coming across the southwestern border from all over the world. i met a young man about six
months ago when i was down on the border who -- who had emigrated from bangladesh. and i wondered, how in the world did he get here from there? and so there were a number of other senators and congressmen with me. we asked the border patrol, can we ask him. and they said, sure. it turned out he spoke enough english. i asked, well, how much did it cost you to get here? he said, $6,000. i said, how did you get here? he said, i had to -- i had to transit eight countries to get here. now, that's a pretty complicated itinerary for anybody even under normal circumstances, but what it demonstrates is there are networks not just in central america and mexico but around the world that feed people into this network in order to emigrate to the united states illegally.
and what we're doing is nothing about that. and, of course, last year people were detained at the southwestern border from i believe it was roughly 140 different countries. if you go down to outside of falfurious, texas, down in south texas, we have rescue beacons that the border patrol has put out. so if you've made this long trip from central america through mexico in the hot weather, let's say, and you are dehydrated, you are worried about your life and your health, you can actually go hit this rescue beacon and the border patrol will come pick you up. which is maybe not their first choice but it's better than dying from exposure. but you know the languages of those rescue beacons, the ones i saw outside the checkpoint at falfurious, texas? they are in english, spanish -- that doesn't surprise anybody -- the third language is chinese.
chinese. chinese is not a native language for most -- for anybody, i bet, in brooks county, texas. so what it demonstrates is that there is a pipeline coming across the southwestern border from all over the world. it doesn't take a lot of imagination to see what a potential threat that is from a public safety standpoint. and i know there are people who scoff at the idea of enhanced border security. the senator from illinois said, we have enough border patrol to have one every half mile 24 hours a day. well, that would be a dumb way to try to secure the border. it's got to be a combination of technology, of boots on the ground, and in some places -- and this is controversial along the border -- we need to have what they call tactical infrastructure, fencing in some
places. particularly in urban areas, where it's real easy to sprint across and be lost in a crowd before anybody discovers you. but last year there were roughly 414,000 people detained coming across the southwestern orde bo. 414,000 people from 440 countries. does that sound like we've solved the problem of border security? no. and we also are sending mixed messages, as i said earlier, in terms of deterrence because people keep coming because they think they have a pretty good shot of making it in. and then the president issues an executive order. so i want to mention one other thing that has a particular impact on communities in my state and texas because we are on the front lines of this -- of this issue and that is cost to the local taxpayer. i know the distinguished presiding officer is a former mayor but the costs of health care, law enforcement, and
education fall not primarily on federal taxpayers -- they end up falling on local taxpayers, people -- the taxes they pay for their school district or their city or their county, the emergency health care that's provided at the local emergency room and, of course, law enforcement costs. and believe me, people who come across the border are not all coming for the right reason. there are people who exploit our porous border for criminal -- with criminal intent on their mind. and they are dangerous. and so law enforcement has to take special precautions and that costs money and it's cost the local taxpayers. so the federal government has been abdicating its responsibility along the border for a long, long time. and i -- i, for one, have to chuckle when my friends from non-border states want to tell me and tell my constituents
about our backyard because, frankly, to put it in a nice way, they -- they don't -- they need more information. because they really don't know what they're talking about. most of my friends in the -- and this is understandable. i mean, we all understand our states and the regions. we know that better than other parts of the country. perhaps we haven't been to. but most of my colleagues, i think -- i get the impression that their knowledge of the border is from movies they've seen or novels they've read. not from actual -- the facts on the ground or studying statistics issued by the border patrol, the department of homeland security. so, mr. president, there is a right way and a wrong way to do what the president is purporting to do. the right way to do it is in accordance with the constitution which requires both houses so
pass legislation to try to reconcile those in a conference committee and then send them to the president. and there are negotiations taking place all along the way. but there are enough areas of consensus that i believe we could make true progress. we have not been able to do it through a comprehensive bill because i think there's just a normous skepticism not just about washington but about congress and also about comprehensive bills having unintended consequences. take -- take the affordable care act. you know, the president said, if you like what you have, you can keep it, your prices will go down, not up, none of which ended up being true. and so when that happens, people are skeptical. well, what are they trying to sell us next? so the best way to deal with that, it seems to me, is to break it down into small -- smaller transparent pieces. move them across the floor in the house and the senate and let's get them to the president. and you know what? after we've done that one, two,
three, four times, i think people will then say, well, you know, what we've just done is immigration reform in an incremental sort of way. it's not going to satisfy everybody but, again, if your demand is "i want everything i want or i'm not going to get -- i'm not going to take anything," we know what happens when people lay down those sort of ultimatums. you get nothing. you get nothing. so while there is -- there are areas in immigration -- on the immigration topic which, admittedly is controversial, it's challenging, but it is our responsibility to address these challenges and these difficulties and do the very best job we can. but the answer is not and it can't be a presidential abuse of power. and, as i pointed out earlier, when you try to do things on
that basis, just like if you try to pass legislation on a purely partisan basis, it doesn't work, it's not sustainable, because what it is is a provocation to the people you've carved out of the process to try to do what they can to defend their role in the process and that's what i -- i worry about. i remember being at a conference not that long ago when james baker iii and joseph califano spoke and they talked about the importance of bipartisanship. not that i'm ever going to get the presiding officer to agree with me on everything i believe and he's not going to agree with me on what i believe, but they made the point that when it comes to some of the most challenging topics, bipartisanship or solutions are the only ones that are actually sustainable. but what happens, after the next election, then the party that
was pushed out of the process and run over then says, okay, we're going to try to repeal everything they did because we didn't vote for it and we don't support it. so that commends itself to my way of thinking, to a recommitment of bipartisan accomplishment. and i'm committed to that and i know from talking to colleagues across the aisle that after four years of being shut out of the process themselves here in the senate, that they're going to enjoy the new congress come january because they will be able to participate in the process. if you've got a good idea, you can come to the floor, you can talk about it, you can offer it, you can get a vote. now, nobody's guaranteed to win every time but you'll -- but you should have a right to get a vote. and to raise the profile of the issues that you care most about and the people you work for care most about.
so i wish the president wouldn't do this. it won't work. it's unconstitutional. it purports to exercise a power he himself said he does not ha have. but he seems determined to do it, nonetheless. i believe the american people will react negatively to this president's claim of authority to issue this amnesty and i believe then the next step is for congress to do everything we can to stop it and then to do it the right way, not the wrong way. mr. president, i yield the floor.
mr. cruz: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: the words of cicero powerfully relevant 2,077 years later. when, president obama, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? how long is that madness of yours still to mock us? when is there to be an end to that unbridled audacity of you yours swaggering about as it does now? do not the nightly guards placed on the border, do not the watches posted throughout the city, does not the alarm of the people and the union of all good men and women, does not the
precaution taken of assembling the senate in this most defensible place, do not the looks and countenances of this venerable body here present have any effect upon you? do you not feel that your plans are detected? do you not see that your conspiracy is already arrested and rendered powerless by the knowledge that everyone here possesses of it? what is there that you did last night, what the night before, where is it that you were? who was there that you summoned to meet you, what designs was there which was adopted by you? with which you think that any one of us is unacquainted? shame on the age and its lost principles. the senate is aware of these things. the senate sees them.
and yet this man dictates by his pen and his phone, dictates. he won't even come into the senate. he will not take part in the public deliberations. he ignores every individual among us. and we gallant men and women think that we are doing our duty to the republic if we keep out of the way of his frenzied attacks. you ought, president obama, long ago have been led to defeat by your own disdain for the people. that destruction which you had been long plotting ought to have already fallen. what shall we who are the senate tolerate president obama openly
desirous to destroy the constitution and this republic? for i pass over older instances, such as how the internal revenue service plotted to silence american citizens. there was -- there was once such a virtue in this republic that brave men and women would repress mischievous citizens with severe chastisement than the most bitter enemy for we have a resolution of the senate, a formidable and authoritative decree against you, mr. president. the wisdom of the republic is not at fault, nor the dignity of this senatial body. we alone, i say it openly, we the senate are waiting in our
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: mr. president, today i rise to recognize national world health day. i'd like to take a moment to recognize our rural health care providers and all that they do for this country. approximately 62 million americans live in rural areas, and they depend on an
ever-shrinking number of health care providers. rural providers play a very important role in improving the health of their communities and supporting local economies. so i want to thank our rural providers, individuals, hospitals, clinics for all that they do. rural providers support a population that makes invaluable contributions to this country through food production, manufacturing and other vital industries. yet, more people in rural america are living below the poverty lines than their urban counterparts. rural hospitals are struggling to continue providing care due to declining payments, many exacerbated by the affordable care act. the past few years have been marked by increasing rural hospital closures. with 27 hospitals shutting their doors in the last two years. the trend is concerting and --
concerning seasoned deserves attention as many more facilities and communities are at risk now. once a hospital is gone, the devastating impact on the community cannot be undone. the economic impact is unmistakable. the typical critical access hospital creates over 140 jobs in primary employment and 6.8 million in local pages while serving a population of over 14,000. when facilities close, the consequences of traveling great distances for medical care are much more than just mere inconvenience. the delays in obtaining care can mean the difference between life and death. according to the u.s. news and world report, that was the case of an infant in texas who choked on a grape and died after the only hospital in the county had
closed just a few months before. there are a number of similarly tragic stories, and they will continue to mount if we male to take action. in 1946, congress recognized the importance of rural roll call providers and worked to build the rural health infrastructure that exists today. that's called the hill-burton act. the country has changed dramatically since 1946 and thoughtful action to improve the distribution and capabilities of our rural health system is overdue. we need to act now to support our rural providers and facilitate a responsible transition to a modernized health system. rural america is facing what i would call an arbitrary attrition of providers. the hospital closures are a function of no specific design.
it's all about balance sheets strained to the breaking point of continual payment cuts. it's not about where providers need to be to serve populations. we need to take a thoughtful look then at what the future of rural health care needs to be. we need to be willing to consider bold steps to ensure that rural america has access to high-quality health care. health care coverage, whether through private insurance, medicare or medicaid, without access to providers of that care is meaningless. we need to put a stop to the ash trade barriery process now and work -- to the arbitrary process and work forward to designing a sustainable future for rural health care.
so, mr. president, i'd like to close by once again thanking all of america's rural providers. i'm committed to working with all stakeholders to transition to a better future and protect access to health care in america. mr. president, in addition, i'd like to deal with the -- speak about the extenders bill that's being worked on between the house and senate in an informer conference and to explain some things that i'm concerned about the direction that that might be taking. particularly as it relates to alternative energy and particularly as it relates to wind energy tax production credit. so here we are in another lame-duck session of congress, working to finish the business that we failed to complete during the previous year or two. one of those critical pieces of legislation that must be enacted is a tax extender bill.
it seems as though nearly every year in recent memory we put off the extension of expired tax provisions until the very last minute. in 2012, revision provisions remained expired for an entire year before we finally got them extended in january, 2013. similarly, the previous extension of expired provisions did not occur until the middle of december. now, once again, we find ourselves heading into the month of december with tax extenders having been expired for nearly 11 months now. and there is a lot of uncertainty that causes to slow down the economy when people don't know exactly what the tax provisions are. so this is new -- no way to do business. such a late action by congress results in complications come filing season for taxpayers, and that's a big problem for the
i.r.s. we need to do something right now. it's almost too late to get tax provisions -- or tax preparers to know what to do for the next tax season. obviously, tax season is unpleasant enough without our adding to it by failing to do our job on a timely fashion, and once again, we have created a lot of headaches and uncertainty for individuals and businesses. this uncertainty harms investment and business growth. in other words, slowing the economy, as i previously said. this is then bad for economic growth and does nothing to create the jobs that can come when you have more certainty for people that invest in capital and want to provide jobs. the lapse of renewable energy incentives has also created a lot of uncertainty and slowed growth in the renewable industry. this serves only to hamper the
strides made towards a viable, self-sustainable, renewable energy and fuel sector. it didn't have to be this way. the senate finance committee under the leadership of chairman wyden and ranking member hatch did its job. we marked up an extenders package in early april. the senate never took up the package -- took up that package because the majority leader refused to allow republicans to offer amendments and it appears that even a couple amendments that were going to be adopted had wide bipartisan support. rather than consider and advance the finance committee bill, the majority leader shelved the extenders bill because of fear that members of his party might have to take tough votes. with the election behind us, it's now time to get to work and get the extenders bill done. i understand that negotiations are ongoing between the house and senate on this issue.
i'm encouraged by reports that progress is being made. however, i'm concerned about rumors that some are working to leave out or shorten the extension of the wind energy tax credit. i fought this issue in the finance committee when one of the members on my side of the aisle tried to strike that provision, but we had a bipartisan vote of 18-5 to defeat that amendment that would have struck the wind production tax credit from the bill that's now before the united states senate. it seems as though opponents of wind energy have tried at every turn to undermine this industry and so i'm not surprised that we're at it again, even considering the 18-5 vote in the finance committee. i agree that the tax code has gotten too cluttered with too many special interest provisions. that's the reason many of us have been clamoring for tax reform for years now. but just because we haven't cleaned up the tax code in a very comprehensive way doesn't
mean that we should pull the rug out from under a domestic renewable energy producers. doing so would cost jobs, harm our economy, the environment and our national security. i'm glad to defend the wind energy production tax credit and -- and continue to defend it. in fact, i can tell you that 22 years ago when i first got this passed through the congress and become law, i didn't think it would become the big thing that rtit is, but there's a tremendos amount of electricity today being generated by wind energy. wind energy supports also tens of thousands of american jobs. it has spurred billions in private investment in the united states and it displaces more expensive and more polluting sources of energy. more than 70% of the u.s. wind turbines value is now produced in the united states compared to just 25% prior to 2005.
once again, opponents of the renewable energy provisions want to have this debate in a vacuum. they disregard the many incentives and subsidies that exist for other sources of energy and our permanent law. for example, the 100-year-old oil and gas industry continues to benefit from tax preferences that aren't generally throughout the economy for all businesses but only benefit their industry. these are not general business tax provisions, i want to say again. they're specific to oil and gas business. a few examples. expensing for intangible drilling costs. deduction of tertiary injections. percentage depletion for oil wells. special amization for geely on costs. i'm not going to find fault with that. but i'm going to find fault with
people that justify them and take on wind energy. these are four tax preferences for a single industry resulting in the loss of more than $4 billion annual in tax revenue. nuclear energy is another great example. the first nuclear power plant came on-line in the united states in 1958. that's 56 years ago. nuclear receives special tax treatment for interest from decommissioning trust fund. congress created a production tax credit for this mature industry in 2005 which is going to be available until 2020. nuclear also benefits from price anderson federal liability insurance that congress provided that was supposed to be a temporary measure in 1958, but this temporary measure has been renewed through 2025. nuclear energy has also received $74 billion in federal research and development dollars since 1950. are these crony capitalist
handouts? well, nobody seems to be attacking them. is it time to end the market distortions for nuclear power? well, nobody's talking about that but they're talking about wind energy. we had a cato study about nuclear energy that said -- quote -- "in truth, nuclear power has never made economic sense and exists purely as a very tour of government." people are saying that about wind energy but i don't hear the same people saying it about nuclear power. i don't understand the argument that repealing a subsidy for oil and gas or nuclear energy production is a tax increase like the -- like the accusation against wind. while repealing an incentive on alternative or renewable energy is not a tax increase. so it's not intellectually honest. now, as i said before, we have wind incentive since 1992 and
i'm the father of that. i suppose now after 22 years you might say i'm the grandfather of it. i know it won't go on forever. in fact, it was never meant to go on forever. and people in the wind energy even admit that today and talk about phaseouts. i'm happy to discuss a responsible multiyear phaseout of that wind tax credit. in 2012, the wind energy was the only industry to put forward such a phaseout plan. but any phaseout must be done in the context of comprehensive tax reform where all energy tax provisions are on the table, not just wind solely, and it should be done responsibly over a few years to provide certainty and ensure a viable industry. it's time to put an end to the annual kabooky dance that is tax extenders. good tax policy requires certainty that can only come from long-term predictable tax
law. businesses need the certainty in the tax code so that they can plan and invest accordingly. moreover, taxpayers deserve to know that the tax code is not just being used as another way to dole out fondz t funds to poy favored groups. however, the only sound way to reach this goal is through comprehensive tax reform. i agree that there are provisions and extenders that ultimately should be left on the cutting-room floor, but it is in tax reform, comprehensive tax reform, where we should consider the relative merits of individual provisions. targeting certain provisions for elimination now makes little sense for those of us who want to reduce tax rates as much as possible. tax reform provides an opportunity to use realistic baselines that will allow the revenue generated from cutting back provisions to be used to pay for reductions in individual and corporate tax rates. i look forward to working with my colleagues in the future to enact tax reform and put an end
to the headaches. and uncertainty created by the regular exploration of tax provisions -- expiration of tax provisions. right now our focus must be on extending current, expired or expiring provisions to give us room to work towards that goal. it is my hope that we can move quickly to reach a bipartisa bipartisan/bicameral agreement that can quickly be enacted and that includes the wind energy tax provisions. taxpayers have already waited too long. what really gripes me, mr. president, about this whole argument is people say that they're for all of the above. i'm for all of the above, i can say. you know, that means fossil fuels. that means all sorts of alternative energy. it probably includes conservation. and it includes nuclear. but when i see the people that are fighting the wind energy tax credit coming from petroleum and natural gas and from coal, i think of these people that say they're for all of the above.
they're really for all of the below but for none of the above. and that's wrong and inconsistent. and i want a consistent, uniform tax policy for all forms of energy being extended right now. i yield the floor. mr. grassley: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. walsh: i request that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. walsh: madam president, i have seven unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. walsh: i ask unanimous consent that the previous order be modified so that the following nomination be added,
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. portman -- mr. johnson: it is a privilege -- the presiding officer: senator, we're in a quorum call. mr. johnson: could i ask unanimous consent to end the quorum call? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johnson: madam president, it is my privilege to recommend to the senate the honorable pamela pepper to be united states district judge for the eastern district of wisconsin. pam has served with distinction as the current chief judge of the united states bankruptcy court for the eastern district of wisconsin. although not native to our state she set down roots first serving the office of the united states
attorney for the eastern district of milwaukee and serving nine years as a bankruptcy court judge. pam was done in mississippi in a town called layland. her parents were teachers and instilled in her intellectual curiosity. she migrated north for college and attended northwestern university in college where she received a degree in theater. after helping a friend get through the lsat review course, she ended up taking the lsat herself. she obviously prepared herself well because she performed well on the lsat and was accepted into the cornell university school of law. after graduation, she clerked with distinction for judge frank johnston on the 11th circuit court of appeals miewfned on to become a prosecutor in the united states attorney's office in chicago.
she is widely respected within her profession evidenced by having held offices as the president of the milwaukee bar association and the chairperson of the board of governors of the state bar of wisconsin. she is an instructor of national stature and speaks on trial evidence. she is an instructor at the federal judicial center. i have had the opportunity to speak to practitioners that have appeared before her bankruptcy court. they have told me of her patience with attorneys, which is a virtue of hers they all value. pam supposes a great sense of humor, which she obvious uses to put litigants at ease. she displays passion in making tough decisions by explaining the rational clearly so her reasoning is understood by all. she has shown great detection start. finally, pam has been striebd as
a practical judge who promptly resolves disputes while faithfully adhering to the rule of law. pam's intellectual curiosity, her ability to learn new areas of the law and efficiently administer her office has convinced me that she will continue to excel in her new role as a federal district judge. she has my full support and i urge my colleagues to vote "yes" on her confirmation. i would like to conclude my remarks by thank the hardworking members of our bipartisan nomination commission for their dedication and efforts. i would also like it thank senator baldwin for her continued support of this successful nominating process that has resulted in the selection of a well-qualified jurist, judge pamela pepper, who will serve the nation and the people of wisconsin's eastern district well. thank you, madam president. ms. baldwin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator in wisconsin.
ms. baldwin: i rise this afternoon to urge my colleagues to confirm judge pamela pepper for the united states district court for the eastern district of wisconsin, and i'm delighted to once again join my colleague, senator johnson, on the floor to discuss this nomination. the people of wisconsin deserve to have experienced and highly qualified judges working for them, and i'm proud to have worked with my colleague, senator johnson, and our judicial nominating commission to put in place this process for filling the critical federal judicial vacancies in our state, and i was pleased to join senator johnson here in may of this year to support the confirmation of jim peterson, who the senate confirmed for a seat on the western district
federal judgeship in which is, which and i am a happy to stand here with my colleague again today to speak in support of another terrific judicial nominee who will serve the people of wisconsin well. judge pepper is an outstanding bankruptcy judge, and she will be an outstanding u.s. federal district judge. as president obama noted in making the nomination, judge pepper has a long and distinguished record of service and will serve the federal court with distinction. pam pepper has indeed dedicated her professional career to public service. she has a distinguished career as a judge, federal prosecutor, public defender, and attorney in private practice. she has spent that career dedicated to serving her clients and the people of the united states. i am confident she will continue her outstanding service on the
bench and the people of wisconsin will benefit from having this experienced and dedicated public servant as a u.s. district judge. as you've heard, she has served as the chief bankruptcy judge in the eastern district of wisconsin since 2010, having served as a bankruptcy judge in that district since 2005. she simultaneously served the people of the southern district of illinois as a bankruptcy judge during that same period. judge pepper has contributed significantly to the field of bankruptcy law and the continuing education of bankruptcy judges and practitioners. prior to her time on the bench, pamela pepper worked both as a ssolo practitioner and as a federal prosecutor in the u.s. attorneys' offices in chicago and then milwaukee.
and before becoming a bankruptcy judge, pam pepper also held numerous leadership positions within the legal community, including on the boards of the federal defenders service of wisconsin you the state bar of wisconsin, the eastern district of wisconsin bar association, and the milwaukee bar association, just to name a fiewvmenfew.senator johnson andy support judge pepper's nomination to the u.s. district court for the eastern district of wisconsin. our joint support of a judicial nominee should once again send a strong message to the entire u.s. senate that she is the right choice for this judgeship. i urge my colleagues to confirm judge pamela pepper so that she can continue her distinguished service to the people of wisconsin and the people of the united states of america. i yield back.
mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, what is the parliamentary situation? the presiding officer: the senate is in morning business until 2:00 p.m. mr. leahy: i thank the distinguished presiding officer. madam president, as we know, tonight president obama is going to speak to the american people about reforming our broken immigration system, and i had dinner with him last night. we talked about this, but i think it's generally expected that he will announce what he can do to address some of the problems that are tearing families apart, dragging the u.s. economy down and risking our national security. for two years the speaker, republican speaker of the house of representatives, refused to
even allow a vote on the senate's bipartisan bill. because he has -- and i understand why the president is going to do what he's going to do. the distinguished presiding officer was here and we passed that bill by a 2-1 margin in the senate, republicans and democrats alike. and it reflects what we know. there are currently 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the united states, but everybody knows we're not going to round up and deport 11 million people. it just can't be done. even if it could be done, it would be totally un-american and against everything that we stand for. these are, after all, mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and sons and daughters. they're not a number. they're actually real people. and the president's action is going to acknowledge that these are real human beings.
it is a necessary step in an effort to bring the people out of the shadows, focus scarce enforcement resources to those that actually pose a threat, and bring some stability to those who are hardworking, law-abiding members of our community. i would much rather that we have people who are taxpayers and know they're acting legally, so we can concentrate on those who aren't. that's what the president wants to do. now, what he's doing -- and he knows there's no substitute for legislation, just as presidents reagan and both presidents bush used a similar type of executive order. it is a administer and i complete solution because -- it is a temporary and incomplete solution because legislation has to be passed for what should be done with all the things. we have to step up and fix the broken immigration system once and for all, as we did in the
senate when republicans and democrats came together. but, you know, those who say we should wait for congress to act, i think we've been waiting long enough. certainly we've been waiting now 511 days since the senate passed immigration reform. that's 511 days, during which time the republican-controlled house of representatives could take up our bill, either vote for it or vote against it. if they don't want to do either -- what they want do is vote "maybe." that way they can criticize anything the president of the united states does because they never stepped up and did anything, one way or the other. talk, talk, talk, talk, talk ... but don't do everything. now, every one of those members is very well-paivmentd the-paid. they get all kinds of perks. the least they could do is vote. vote "yes" vote "no." we did that here in the senate
by a 2-1 margin, against it. i think about what my friend and the former chairman of the senate judiciary committee, senator edward kennedy, said in the summer of 2007. he had comprehensive immigration reform before the senate. it was being blocked by the republicans. he said, what they did, "a minority in the senate rejected a stronger economy, it is unfair to our taxpayers ans workers. a minority of the the gentleman rejected america's own extraordinary immigrant history, ignored our nation's most urgent needs, but we're in this struggle for the long haul." well, senator keening did i was, senator kennedy was right. that's why democrats and republicans came together pass an immigration bill in the senate. i just ask, why 511 days later has the republican-controlled
house refused to either vote for it or vote against it? we held days of hearings, lengthy, extensive markup sessions. we worked late into the evenings debating the bill. many of us worked weekends. i remember, because i was there, we considered hundreds of amendments, more than 300 amendments were filed. we adopted 136 of them. all but three were adopted with both republican and democratic votes. and what was initially a proposal from the so-called gang of eight became through the committee process the product of 18 members from both sides of the aisle. the senate judiciary committee recommended this improved bipartisan bill to the full senate. it wasn't exactly the bill that i would have written, if i could act alone. but it was a fair and reasonable compromise. it reflected the deliberative
process, republicans and democrats, and i felt honored to bring the bill to the floor. but look what happened. 68 of us voted to pass it. republicans and democrats alike. and the republican speaker of the house an of representatives won't even bring it up for a vote. now, to this day, the republican leadership in the house is batting zero when it comes to truly addressing the broken immigration system. sure, they can go on the sunday talk shows, they can go on the news, oh, it's terrible what president obama is doing . boy, we got a better idea. you do? it's so easy to talk about what they might do just so longs a -o long as they never have to vote on it. just so long as they never have to say, i voted this way or that
way. that's not courage. the president is not actin actig alone. the american people support immigration reform. remember that. the american people support immigration reform. a bipartisan majority of the senate has endorsed action. it is the house of representatives that's out of step. our system is not going to fix itself. we know this. it should be no surprise-to-the president has decided to use his authority to make our country safer, strongerrer, and more human main and as many conservative economists testified, to dramatically help the economy of the united stat states. so if republicans really truly want congressional action on reform, they can take action right now today and allow a vote on the senate-passed bill. i would hope that every member of the republican party who
stand up and say, oh, it's terrible what the president is doing, would say, and when are the republicans going to vote one way or the other? because our bill would make unnecessary everything the president is doing. remember that. if they say, we don't like what the president is doing, say or, you got a bill that could make unnecessary anything the president is doing. why don't you have the courage to vote "yes" or "no"? or is it easier to go back home, depending on which group you're talking with, to say you're either for or against immigration reform, just so long as nobody gets -- and here's the way you voted. and of course the president has the legal authority to take this action. that is the biggest cop-out in the world to say the president doesn't have the authority. balderdash. every president since eisenhower has exercised his authority. some, like president george h.w.
bush did so on a skepping sweeping scale. we make laws in the congress. the president sets enforcement policies. he clearly has the power to take what scarce resources we've given him and identify and deport those people who pose a danger to our communities, and he will. he can limit the deportation of those who are law-abiding, tax-paying members of the community. next week -- madam president, i ask for two minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. leahy: next week, millions of americans and millions of families in this country will gather around a table to give thanks for the many blessings they've received. i know my family and i and our children and our grandchildren will. the president's actions will be counted among them for the millions of loved ones who worry that their mother or their
father or their grandparents could be deported at, any moment. the security the president's action will give that these families at thanksgivingtime is powerful and indispensable. the action the president will announce today is going to draw criticism for those who sought to stop immigration reform at every turn. but as a grandson of immigrants, i say after years and years of obstruction, the president is right to take action. married to a woman who is the daughter of immigrants, i say that when the american people see punts from house leaders that immigration reform, day after day, week after week, month after month, they start to wonder if republicans are really serious about fixing anything because at the height of -- heart of it this is about keeping america's communities strong and vibrant. we benefit from immigration. that's been our history. let it be our future.
i ask consent my full statement be made part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. morning business is closed. under the executive order the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk: nominations, the judiciary, pamela pepper of wisconsin to be united states district judge for the eastern district of wisconsin. brenda k. sannes of new york to be united states district judge for the northern district of new york. madeline cox arleo of new jersey to be united states district judge for the district of new jersey. wendy beetlestone of pennsylvania to be united states district judge for the eastern district of pennsylvania. victor allen bolden of connecticut to be united states district judge for the district of connecticut. the presiding officer: prior to the vote there will be two
minutes of debate on the pepper nomination. the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i ask all time be yielded back. the presiding officer: without objection, all time is yielded back. a senator: i ask the yeas and nays. is there. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. there is. the question is on the pepper nomination. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: is there any senator wishing to vote or wishing to change his or her vote? the yeas are 95, the nays are zero, and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate prior to a vote on the sannes nomination. without objection, all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed nay.
the presiding officer: does any senator wish to vote or change his or her vote? if not, on this vote, the yeas are 96, the nays are zero, and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate prior to a vote on the arleo nomination. without objection, all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the
nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate prior to a vote on the beetlestone nomination. who yields time? the senator from vermont. without objection, all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate prior to a vote on the bolden
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the ayes are 49, the nays are 46. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the senate will consider the following nominations, which the clerk will report. mr. leahy: madam president, i move to reconsider the last vote. mr. reid: move to lay that on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk: nominations: james d. pettit of virginia to be ambassador to the republic of moldova.
pamela leora spratlen of california to be ambassador to the republic of uzbekistan. united states tax court: tamara wenda ashford of virginia to be judge of the united states tax court. l. paige marvel of maryland to a judge of the united states tax court. cary douglas pugh of virginia to be a judge of the united states tax court. department of the treasury: ramin toloui of iowa to be a deputy undersecretary. department of agriculture: lisa afua serwah mensah of maryland to be under secretary of agriculture for rural development. department of state: george albert krol of new jersey to be ambassador to the republic of kazakhstan.
donald lu of california to be ambassador to the republic of albania. brent robert hartley of oregon to be ambassador to the republic of slovenia. department of defense: robert m.speer of virginia to be an assistant secretary of the army. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate prior to a vote on the pettit nomination. without objection, all sometime yield back. the question appears on the pettit nomination. all those in favor say aye. all opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have t the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the question ow cursoccurs on the pa spratlen nomination. all those in favor say aye.
all those opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have t the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the nomination -- the question occurs on the ashford nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the question occurs on the marvel nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say nay. the ayes appear to are it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the question occurs on the pugh nomination. all knows favor say aye. all those opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed.
under the previous order, the question occurs on the toloui novment nation. all knows in favor say aye. all those opposed, tai u.a.e. h. say nay. the nomination confirmed. under the previous order, the question occurs on the mensah nomination. all those in favor say aye. all opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it t the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the question occurs on the krol nomination. all in favor say aye. all opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the question is occurs on the moreno
nomination. all in naiver say aye. all those, nay. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the question occurs on the hartley nomination. all those in favor say aye. all opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the question occurs on the lu nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the question occurs on the speer nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motions to reconsider be
considered made, laid upon the table, the president will be immediately notified of the senate's actions and the senate will resume legislative session. the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: madam president, very briefly, i appreciate working on both sides to be able to have what is a distinguished set of career ambassadors go to their posts and represent our country abroad, and i hope we can continue on this marks as we move towards the end of the session. with that, i had yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. a senator: madam president, i rise today to honor the service of a dedicated leader in my home state of anybody. governor dave hingeman has guided our state for the past ten years with vision, with laser-like focus on efficient government, economic vibrancy,
education and protecting our feassments. mr. johanns: under his leadership and careful management, our state held strong through the economic downturn. during that time, the national spotlight shone very brightly on nebraska as one of the healthiest states, guided by dave heineman's very steady hand to ensure we remain debt-free and fiscally sound. but the governor did far more than hold the line on spending and balancing the books of our great state. he provided historic tax relief, bolstered education in our state, and he sent a signal worldwide that nebraska welcomes new business through enhanced economic development incentives. it is not surprising that nebraskans enthusiastically
elected and then reelected dave heineman to the post, giving him the proud distinction of being our longest-serving governor in the history of our state. i had the privilege of working side by sid with dave heineman back in my days as goaf -- as governor of nebraska. i was so proud to have him as my lieutenant governor in my second term, and i was always grateful for the job he did directing our state's homeland security efforts. we would have to flip the history books back to 1990, nearly 25 years ago, to see when he was first elected to public office as a member of the fre f fremont city council. he served as our state treasury. i was mayor of the city of the
lincoln at the time and i enjoyed watching dave step onto the statewide stage with enthusiasm and determination. he wanted to get things done. nebraskans would nod their head in agreement with the assertion that he remains as determined today in the last days of his time in office as the very first day he walked in. i should note that he first served the public as a member of our armed forces, having spent five years in the u.s. army after graduating from the united states military academy in west point. as anyone can tell you, it's easy to spot those west point iinfluences even today. all those experiences prepared him so well to serve as our governor. i had absolutely no doubt about
his ability to step into the role when i was confirmed as the united secretary of agriculture. i passed the baton to dave with immense confidence and i deed he took the helm and he never missed a beat. it's difficult to believe that that's 10 years ago. i think both of us have a lot more gray hair to show for it but we also have something more valuable than gold -- the honor of having been entrusted to lead and to serve the best state in the united states. i know that governor hineman has worked each day to prove worthy of that trust, as i have also. his nearly 25 years of distinguished service required strength of character and fortitude. throughout that service and long before it began, dave has had a wonderful partner in his life, sally gannon.
our first lady is as impressive and accomplished. she is a woman in her own right, having served as principal of an elementary school and now leading numerous volunteer and literacy efforts. she has supported dave every step of the way in a public service journey that offers a shining example for others to follow. thus, it is fitting that we've never before had a governor whose service spans 10 years and we may never have that again. on behalf of a grateful state and a grateful nation, i offer my sincerest gratitude for the debt indicated leadership governor hineman has provided to our great state of nebraska. madam president, yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. [inaudible] objection. mr. inhofe: madam president, the presiding officer: without tonight there's going to be a speech -- i think everyone's aware of that and i think the president of the united states, i think we all know pretty much what he's going to say. i'd like to read to you the oath of office that any president of the united states has to give and this president has taken this oath in an affirmative way for -- madam president, i ask unanimous consent i be recognized as if in morning business for as such time as i may consume. the presiding officer: without objection. senator may want to usthe senats microphone. mr. inhofe: oh. that's a good idea. all right. as i was saying, tonight we have the president's speech and i would like to, just recite one more time, what every president
has to say and has to affirm before he becomes president. "i do solemnly wear or affirm that i will faithfully execute the president of the united states, with the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states." i think people are overlooking this because they know what to expect tonight. they know what's going to happen. they know what the president's -- the president's going to do something that in the eyes of most people -- and i have to say, most of the people i talk to are from my state of oklahoma. they have a lot of common sense and they ask the question, you know, isn't this illegal, what we're about to witness? the president's bound by the constitution to ensure the laws on the books are being carried out in a manner that is true to the law as written and passed by congress. it's his duty, his obligation. that was envisioned by our founding fathers. you know, any schoolaged kid, any of my grandkids would tell you that laws are made in congress and signed into law by the president.
once bills become law, the president's constitutional duty is triggered at that point. no matter who holds the office or how that person feels about the particular law. if a president finds a law problematic, then he has to -- this is how he has to address that problem -- he has to work with congress to change the law. he doesn't have the authority to unilaterally declare that law not to apply to millions of americans, which is what i think we're going to witness tonight. yet that's exactly what the president is doing. he's -- he's issued ultimatums to congress -- "pass what i want or else?" we've heard that. we've heard those words. when congress and the american people pushed back against him, he charges forward with executive orders that are written and executed behind closed doors. i -- you know, this -- let's remember the -- that the time that this president first took office. his big thing was transparency. he wants people to know what's
going on and not have any surprises. and yet this is what's happeni happening, that these executive orders are taking the place of those laws that are passed by members who are elected to the house and to the senate. he says the reason for this is he's tired of waiting on an immigration system that's broken -- those are his words -- and he's taking action because congress won't. that's not the way it works. a congress that has had -- by the way, he's had a democrat majority the first -- the first two years he had a democratic majority in the house and the senate and of course the white house and so he can't say that we're not doing it. certainly not referring to republicans. these are the excuses for doing what he's doing. but some claim that he's not doing anything different than president ronald reagan or president george h.w. bush did. and i think it's very important, very briefly, to show you that that's just not true at all. in 1986, congress passed and
reagan signed into law the immigration and reform control act which gave amnesty to close to 3 million illegal immigrants. amnesty was granted by statute, not by executive order. that was a law that was passed with which the president signed and agreed with. soon after, the people have realized that the children of these -- of these immigrants that were still eligible for deportation, they just simply overlooked the fact that if you have a man and a wife and they are able to go ahead and become naturalized citizens, that the children, their children, underaged children, would have to do the same thing. everyone agreed. no one disagreed. so they went ahead and did it. again, that was working with congress. congress made that decision with the president of the united states. then in 1990, president bush expanded president reagan's grant of deferred deportation to
all minor children and to the spouses of those who are granted amnesty. in the 1986 law, and congress codified the policy later in the year in the immigration act of 1990. so it wasn't george h.w. bush doing it. it was the congress of 1990 that did that. so we're not talking about the same thing at all. in the case of both reagan and bush, they worked with congress and interpreted the statute, not what is happening now. president obama suspect creating a law on his own as to how he wishes the law would be. he has no authority to do it. and we're going to see this tonight, but i think we need to have this in our background what we're looking for. as we saw in his previous amnesty -- that was 2012. we remember that, about 2 1/2 years ago -- this new executive aamnesty will encourage more people to come here and break the laws. this year, thanks to president obama's executive order called
"the deferred action for childhood arrivals." that's called daca. we all talked about that and we were all focused on that. americans watched as unaccompanied alien children -- that's the u.a.c. -- poured over our southern borders seeking the same amnesty that others had been given. and who's to say the president won't give them? it's reported that tonight he'll be changing the qualifications of daca to include even more. now, what happened then is really worse than -- than what is happening now and is going to be announced tonight, because at least tonight they're talking about 5 million to 6 million people are going to be granted amnesty. and what he did before in encouraging those young people to get here to the united stat states, we don't know where they went after -- where we are today or how many there are. in my state of oklahoma, we ha
have -- at fort sill in lawton, oklahoma, we have a base that -- a base that was given a number of several hundred of these young children. these are under 18 years of age. they were told that they are to house these in -- until january. well, it worked out pretty well because we're in the middle of building some buildings down there and so we had a place for them for a temporary period of time. but they're supposed to be released in january. i went down there in october and they're already gone. they didn't really know where they were but they were gone. and i -- and even to this day, if you call up and talk to the commander down there, they'll tell you that they don't know for sure where they are. but to be even -- to go even further into this, i went down to the -- down to the texas border where i went to a center down there called los fresnos.
there are 18 i.e.s. facilities on the border -- of the southern border. not just in texas but all through -- i think 13 of those are in texas. and i went down there to see the process that they use. i talked to the border patrol. the border patrol told me that they're instructed to, and they did, send the kids as they came -- those who were at that time under the age of 18, to the various facilities, these 18 facilities. so i went to the one that i believe is the largest. it's called los fresnos. that's on the border on the eastern side of texas. and i went in -- they weren't happy about this -- i went in and took a bunch of pictures to see what was going on there. and i found out that they had a facility that had 200 beds. now, they had 200 beds, a very small number of people, so i asked the question, i said, well, how many kids are coming through here? and they said, thousands.
thousands. and i said, well, how many in the last six months? they said, well, several thousand. so let's keep in mind, they could only bed down 200 people. thousands have come through. and so we came back to trace where these thousands actually ended up and we were not able to find out. you can find that they have a web site saying how many states received how many kids. we have no way of verifying if that's true. for all we know, there are hundreds of thousands of kids that are out there and we don't know where they are. and this was all done so -- so those people who are concerned about 5 million to 6 million people tonight, you might keep in mind that we are -- it's really much more than that. so the -- so on the -- that number, the issue that we have is that we don't know where the children eventually end up and
the administration doesn't have to notify the local governments of their presence. there's some counties that are published as to how many are in a county. we don't know their names. interestingly, when i was down at loss fresnos on the border, i talked to a lot of the kids that were -- that were being brought into this country and those kids, each one had a story. oh, yes, i have...and you could tell it's a rehearsed story. i have parents that live in california or i have a dad that lives in new york or i have -- they all have this story down as if they're coming back. keep in mind that these are kids that came not from mexico but through mexico. with heard only yesterday some of the atrocities, the things that had happened to some of these kids, the raping, the killing and all of that as they're making the transition through -- through mexico. they publish on-line what states they end up in but we don't know the numbers, whether these are verified numbers. we're just taking their word for it. so something's going on and even i as a member of the united states senate, gone down there
two separate times, to los fresnos, still don't know the answers to the questions i get from the people of oklahoma that are very much concerned about this. so who monitors to ensure that they remain and show up for court if they evade the law long enough -- and they know now that they can evade the law. if the president can do it, they can do it -- then amnesty will be eventually received by them. we have immigration laws and -- and we're just going -- they're just going to be ignored. what does this say to the immigrants who are coming into america and applying for citizenship in accordance with the rule. you know, i've been -- in accordance with the law. you know, i've been gone several times to be the speaker at gnarlization ceremonies in my state of oklahoma. and i tell you, you cry when you look out there. you see a couple hundred people who have come to this country, gone through the system, studied the history. and i would suggest that those people up for naturalization
probably know the history much more than people who were born here in thist this country. they learn the language, go through all these things, and finally they become citizens of the united states. that's the legal way to do it. now, what are their thoughts right now after all they've gone through and the doors are open for anyone to come through? so is that compassion for those people? i don't think so. and compassion is acknowledging, respecting the millions that adhere to our laws and achieve citizenship. but here's the thing. when you stop being a nation based on the rule of law, you're at the mercy of one man and his whims. sounds exactly like something our founding fathers would -- would -- were looking to avoid and escape. and i think really that's the problem that we have. when i have people asking me, why is the president breaking the law with regularity, doesn't he have to obey the law the same as we do? well, as you know, there is a lawsuit that's being processed i guess over on the house side and -- but we also know this.
anyone who comes in who has two years left in his term knows that if something is starting to process to determine whether or not action is legal, it would be probably five or six years before that case would be decided. by that time, he's long gone. i just want to mention one thing that is specific. people say, well, how can you say that the president's breaking the law? he does break the law and he breaks it all the time. one of the things i've been concerned about for a long period of time is keeping the installation at guantanamo bay, keeping it open. it's the only place we can keep the type of terrorists that we have down there and it's one that has i think worked out real well. but somehow there is an obsession this president has, he wants to close gitmo, guantanamo bay. knowing that, i put a on the defense authorization bill in 1914, if anyone wants to look it up, it's section 1035-d,
the 2014 national defense authorization act, the dndaa and specifically states anticipating that the president would start releasing these people from guantanamo bay without authority, we put in the law that -- that the president shall notify congress not later than 30 days before the transfer or release of any guantanamo baydown. when we find -- dannyee. what did we find out? he released probably the five -- in fact not probably, certainly the five most -- the very worst of the terrorists being kept down there. in fact one of them's name was mohammed fazil one of the taliban commanders, mulam salim kahn. this is after the president released the terrorists. we don't know where they are right now. he said -- quote -- "muhammad fazil his return is like pouring
10,000 taliban fighters into the battle on the side of jihad. now the taliban have the right lion to lead them in the final moment before victory in afghanistan." so that's another issue altogether, these people are released to come back and kill americans. but the point is, that law was aimed specifically at the president that he can't do that and did he it. and so this is -- i just -- when i see these things happening, i think i've never seen this before. and i have been -- i'm t been -t certainly i've read an abundant amount of the history of this institution, as well as the presidents and what's going on and what should going on in washington and what our founding fathers envisioned. our founding fathers never envisioned that they would have a president who would blatantly break the law. specifically break the law. and that's what's -- is happening now. that example is just one of many that i could give.
so enjoy the speech tonight and i think you're going to see another that another one of our laws looks like it's going to be broken, that would be our immigration laws that are on the books now. with that i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: