tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 10, 2014 4:30pm-6:31pm EST
recognized. mr. coats: mr. president, i'm a bit out of order here. i was waiting for some of my colleagues who have spent more time here than i have recently to speak, but i want to take this opportunity to add my sincere thanks to saxby chambliss for the kind of person he is, the kind of leadership he's provided, the kind of example that he has set during his time here in the congress and in the united states senate. i was privileged to be able to come back to the senate and join a group of people who share the same deep concerns that i had shared, and the reason i did come back:threats to our country from abroad and the fiscal plunge into debt that is going to affect our nation dramatically in the future if we don't deal with it.
but having the privilege of being with the people who have set such an example has been a great privilege for me. now, if i were a producer and a director of a movie that i wa ws going to come out about the united states senate, i would want saxby to be the leading man. first of all, he looks like a united states senator, and he has that southern calm presence that most of us envy, and he just seems to fit the profile. and then he -- the next choice would have to be for the leading a lady, and you couldn't find a more gracious, beautiful, supportive leading lady than julian chambliss. together they make a stunning couple. i have had the privilege of traveling with them and seeing
them in different places and in different situations, and just what a tremendous gift it is to be with the both of them. so the united states senate -- and many of us here -- all of us here are going to dearly miss saxby chambliss. he comes from a line of distinguished senators representing the state of georgia, and as senator burr said, he fits right into that long list of people who -- whose tenure here has been remembered for decades and will continue to be remembered for decades. and his commitment to our men and women in uniform, his service to the agriculture community, but particularly in my experience his leadership of the intelligence committee has just been leadership that this country has needed in a time of
dire circumstances. his work with chairman feinstein in dealing with the daily pressures and weight of responsibility that falls on the leadership -- and all of us on the committee but particularly the leadership -- has probably been as great in the last several years as anytime in history. very heavy decisions have had to be made. and i know i sometimes stagger out of that committee thinking, this is more than i can get my mind around. this is more than i can get my arms around in terms of how do we deal with some of these threats and some of these challenges that have popped up all over the world in various manifestations. and yet the solid leadership on the republican side of saxby chambliss has united us in a way that has forged a real bond and a desire to work on a
nonpartisan basis to live up to our responsibility to provide oversight for the intelligence community and to be a part of helping make those decisions that are so important and so formative in terms of how we deal with these particular issues. so i just want to thank saxby for the person that he's been, the person he is, the personnel continue to be, for the section -- the person that he will continue to be, for the example of his leadership and for his extraordinary leadership. and i know that the refrigerator will be stocked with coca-cola. there will being georgia peanuts in his pocket, maybe a little bit of bourbon in a drawer somewhere, and he'll have a tee time at augusta anytime he wants. so i just wish him the very best as he and julianne go forward with their life. he's left his mark here and he's certain will i left his mark on
me. mr. coburn: mr. president, a lot has been said about saxby already, but i have an observation that i've noticed over the last ten years since i've been here, and it's about leadership. we see elected leadership on both sides, but then you see real leadership. you see the person that people go to for advice. you see the person that people go to for counsel. you see the person that people go to for wisdom and judgment. that's what i've noticed the last ten years. more than anybody in this body, whether it's from the other side of the aisle or this side of the aisle, the person that -- whose
counsel is most sought is that of saxby chambliss. that's earned real leadership, and it needs to be recognized and honored for what it is, because p what i what it says is leadership that comes without judgment on the person that's asking the question, what's condemnation of a opinion that may be different of his. it is giving of himself to the benefit of the rest of us. here, here, my friend from georgia. i yield the floor. nor senator mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska is recognized. mr. johanns: mr. president, today it is an honor for me to stand here and pay tribute to saxby chambliss. i think the first time that i really got to work around saxby
i was nominated to be secretary of agriculture, and i think the first hearing saxby chaired as chairman of the senate ag committee might have been that hearing. i arrived in washington. i was scared to death. i had no idea what to expect. and i met with saxby, and i knew immediately that when i was in that hearing, i was going to be treated with dignity and respect because heious wouldn't have it any -- because he just wouldn't have it any other way. that's the way he did business. fortunately, i was confirmed and that started a working relationship. in those years, i won't try to argue that we agreed on every knenuance of farm policy. i'm positive there were times
that saxby was convinced that i didn't understand a thing about southern agriculture, but he was patient and he was determined to represent all of agriculture, whether it was south, mi midwes, west -- his goal was to be a chairman of the ag committee for all of agriculture. it was in that time that a farm bill was written, and he was a tough negotiator. he had a mind in terms of where he was headed, and he was going to stand up for his people, and i came to respect him so much. it was in the senate, though, where i really began to understand his talent. i can't tell you how many times, mr. president, that we've been in a caucus meeting and somebody would ask the most intricate, difficult question relating to
intelligence and national security, and, invariably, we would turn to saxby. saxby would stand in that quiet and forceful way that he has and walk us through the intricacies of the issues on whatever the topic was and explain it in a way that literally everybody in the room understood, got it, and walked out better-prepared to be senators with the information he had given us. but what has impressed me so much -- and i know i speak for my colleagues what when i say - is you could do the same thing with the most intricate issue relative to farm policy or ag policy or finance or the federal budget, and he could do the same thing.
the breadth of his knowledge is absolutely unbelievable. i just want to thank you, saxby, for the many times where you probably disagreed with me immensely but treated me thoughtfully and respectfully, listened to my opinion, and i saw you do that with other members in this body. and i thank you for your servi service. as one of the retiring members, i look forward to the opportunity to spend more time with you. i hope our paths cross many, many times in the future because i know i will be the better for it. god bless you, my friend. best wishes. nor senator mr. president? the presiding officer: is noter in ohio is recognized. mr. portman: the junior senator from ohio.
the presiding officer: your words. mr. portman: us a hear mr. portman: ace as you heard, m coburn talked about leadership. they leave a huge void. goit to know saxby when he came to the house of representatives. we game friends. -- we became friends. he and julianne embraced jane and me and i got to know his son and great family but i didn't eelly get know him. i really got know him when i was u.s. trade representative and my job was to try to open up markets for u.s. agricultural products around the world, and that required looking at something called subsidies, agriculture subsidies. this is a dangerous area in terms of politics. and mike johanns was very well aware of this, having been at my
side during of many of these negotiations. but my job was to come to the senate ag committee and talk about what we were up to and try to find out how much flexibility there was for us to get these market openings that were so important for our farmers and our ranchers but entailed considerable political risk. and i learned a new saxby chambliss there. that's when i saw perhaps that leadership that was talked about earlier. saxby was willing to be not just constructive but to take that risk and to be totally discrete and confidential in dealing with some very sensitive issues, and came away with a whole new level of understanding about saxby and, therefore, respect for him. and his character and his willingness to do what was right. more recently, of course, we've seen his leadership on other issues, standing up for our men and women in uniform. ladies and gentlemen, to me, he has been the guardian at the gate, giving us all comfort as ranking member of the intelligence cheat.
we fiscal cliff a dangerous, volatile world, and knowing that sax p by was there, clear-eyed, disciplined, discrete, and able to tell it like it was and tell it like it is today, i think he's given not just us but our families and all americans considerable comfort, and i appreciate your service there and finally, his willingness to step up on this issue of our national debt. this is, again, not an easy issue, and he joined with some colleagues here to promote some proposals. again, my colleagues who are leaving have all done this -- tom coburn in particular and mike johanns -- but i will always have a great deal of respect for the way he's hand that issue as well. -- for the way he's handled that issue as well. perhaps his greatest accomplishment has yet to be mentioned. and thats fact that he played golf with the president of the united states and managed to hit a hole in one. now, the press report from that day says two things that are
interesting. first, it says he hit the hole in one on, of course, the south course. a son of the south chose to use the south course for his hole in one. imu, second, it says, "he was choking up on a 5-iron." now, taking nothing away from this hole in one, because it sounds like it wasn't as long a shot as he's explained to me, it might have been choking up on a 5-iron makes no sense for saxby chambliss. there is nobody more poised, more smooth. i have never seen him choke on anything. but, saxby, we're sad to see you leave. but we're happy for you to spend more time with julianne, the kids and your beloved bulldogs, and godspeed, my friend. i yield back. ms. ayotte: madam president -- mr. president. i apologize. the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire.
ms. ayotte: mr. president, i rise to just thank my friend, saxby, chambliss. senator coburn spoke about leadership and we are very much going to miss senator coburn, senator johanns and their leadership in this body. but what he say said is very tr. because as someone who has only served here for four years, one of the people that has been most welcoming to me and really a mentor and a role model and someone who i have sought guidance from is saxby chambliss. us a look at this body -- as you look at this bo this body and yk at people that you can emulate as role models, he is one of those role models. not only is he incredibly knowledgeable on the issues that are so important to this nation -- and i can say having served with him on the armed services
committee, he is one of the most knowledgeable people in this country -- not only on what we need to do to keep the country safe because of his role on the intelligence committee but also what we need to ensure that our men and women in uniform have the very best to keep our country safe, saxby has a deep, deep understanding and very much loves our men and women in uniform and has stood up for them in ensuring that they have gotten what they need to keep this country safe. from my perspective, he is someone that is going to be so missed in this body because he has understood that you can stand on principle as he has for the important challenges facing this nation, whether it's keeping us safe or addressing the national debt that threatens not only our security but the prosperity of america, but he has also done it in a way that
he's been able to build relationships, relationships within our own conference in the republican caucus where he is a go-to leader, where people like me seek his advice on how to get things done, but also as you can see here, relationships across the aisle. and as we go into the new congress, i hope as saxby goes on to do other important things with his lovely family and julianne and his children and grandchildren, that we will follow the example of saxby chambliss of what it means to work together, of what it means to be respectful of each other, to get things done for this country and to address the great challenges that saxby has done so much important work on, including keeping our nation safe and making sure that america remains strong. so, saxby, i just want to thank you for being so welcoming to
me, for being a role model and for being someone who i think is an example of what it means to serve this country with distinction. thank you. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from north dakota is recognized. mr. hoeven: in the new congress we'll welcome 12 new republican senators and that's wonderful. they're great people, excited, enthusiastic. i think they're going to do really wonderful things. there's 12 new republican members coming into the new senate, and i'm looking, and we're going to lose three of our colleagues, of our republican colleagues. and i'm thinking maybe that's about the right ratio. you know, it's about four to one. but these are three individuals that are unbelievable in what
they have been able to do in the relationships that they have built, the friendships and the work that they've done on behalf of the american people. so, you know, i'm looking at that statistic and i'm thinking, wow, these are three great people that have done the work of many people. and they've laid, i think, the foundation in many ways for us to get to a majority. senator johanns, senator coburn and senator chambliss. i think they've done a lot of that work that was required for us to get to the majority. and you've heard about the great senator from georgia, but i think the things that i'm going to talk about for just a minute in regard to saxby chambliss apply to the two individuals sitting here with him. they're cut from the same cloth. senator coburn, senator johanns, true public servants.
people that ran for the right reason, people that served for the right reason. i think you could ask anybody on this body on either side of the aisle, and they would tell you that these three individuals served for the right reasons and served to the very best of their ability the american people. not just the people of their state, but the american people. and they will be remembered long after they're here. they will be remembered because of the great, wonderful people they are and for the relationships they've built, and for that service. so, i would echo senator ayotte's comments. one of the first people -- senator coburn touched on to, one of the first people i looked to as a mentor when i came here,
saxby chambliss. that doesn't seem intuitively like something you would do. i'm from north dakota. he's from georgia. mike johanns has been a governor of mine for decades. one of the first people i looked to as a mentor was saxby chambliss and i don't even know why. it was one of those things that immediately you like the guy. but as you listen to him a little bit, you respected the guy. you thought this guy's got something to say. he knows what he's doing. but then it's that relationship thing, that thing where he goes out of his way to work with you, to help you, to understand what you're trying to do in a friendly way, with great humor. and he does it naturally. it's just who he is. it's automatic. senator isakson really put his finger on it. it's just the way he is. you're just naturally drawn to
him. and i think you could talk to any of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle and they would tell you the same thing. integrity, honesty, intelligence, somebody you can work with, somebody who cares, somebody who's always got the best interest of the american people at heart. i had the opportunity to work with him on the farm bill, and i was counting on senator coburn to jump in there and do it with him. but when that didn't happen right away -- i'm kidding a little bit, but we couldn't have had a farm bill without senator chambliss. and when you think how difficult it is to move legislation like that, particularly over the course of the past year, and you realize that a farm bill really isn't so much a republican-democrat thing. it really isn't. i mean, that's not how if you look at how a farm bill works,
that's not the makeup. it really comes down to people who know and understand agriculture, who understand the importance of a good farm bill to our farmers and ranchers, but understand also that our farmers and ranchers across this country create the highest-quality, lowest-cost food supply in the world. and it's not perfect but every american benefits every day from the highest-quality, lowest-cost food supply in the world. and so when i think of my state of north dakota or senator coburn's great state of oklahoma or senator johanns' state of nebraska, we all produce all of these different ag products. we raise all these crops. we raise all these animals. and there's so many people out there, so many farmers and ranchers, they don't know saxby chambliss. they don't know him. but i'll tell you what, they owe him a great big thank you. they really do.
because without him, we wouldn't have a good farm plan for this country. and the reality is it's not just the farmers and ranchers. that's what's true for so many, many people across this country. they may not know saxby chambliss, but they owe him a lot. he's somebody who epitomizes the very best of this institution, and i know his wife julianne is here, and i have to admit when i first met her, i thought it was his daughter. but -- because she's so young and beautiful. teasing a little. but she's fantastic. and same thing. she was immediately a friend and a mentor to my wife. when you talk about saxby chambliss, tom coburn, mike johanns, it just doesn't get any better than that.
we'll miss him a lot. and i want to wish saxby and all three of them godspeed and may god bless you in your next career. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut is recognized. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. let me add my congratulations to senator chambliss on leaving this chamber. it's strange coming here the last two years to get to serve with giants in the senate like saxby, like senator harkin, like rockefeller. their will go sis will -- their legacies will live on. knowing what a good soul senator chambliss is i bet you he would
enjoy the new town labor day parade. we had the 53rd annual newtown labor day parade this past year. this is the biggest event in connecticut on labor day. a celebration of the town. 27 different groups that make up the parade. you've got the newtown high school marching band. this year you had the grand marshal, sidney edison proudly marching at the front, the litch field marching band. it is a must-stop if you are a senator or a governor or a congress person. we all march together at the front of the parade regardless of party, and it's just a really fantastic, wonderful place. this year there were marchers from the avielle foundation, a truck decorated in pink promoting a culture of kindness. sandy hook elementary school had a float called the magic school
bus to sandy hook school. it had a message of think you can, work hard, get smart, be kind. the judges selected sandy hook school's float as the winner in the best school category. it's a reminder that sandy hook is a positive place. newtown is a positive place, a place that is rebounding as we come upon the two-year anniversary, the two-year memorial of the tragic shooting in that town that took the lives 20 six- and seven-year olds, six of their teachers who were sworn to protect them. senator blumenthal and i have come to the floor today to mark that two-year anniversary and to just talk for a brief few moments about what's happened over the last two years, what's happened that's been positive and the work that is left to still be done. there's a lot of positive things
that have happened. i mean, it's impossible to try to find any good that comes out of this, but the foundational work that has happened in the memory of these children is really remarkable. the jessica ricos foundation was formed in an effort to pay homage to jessica's love of horses and her love of whales. and so they opened up a summer camp where kids of ages six to ten -- the age jessica was when she passed -- to be able to enjoy horses, learn how to ride them, learn how to take care of them. they raise money to sponsor the orca fellowship which is dedicated to conservation initiatives for the orca whale. i mentioned the avielle foundation. avielle's brilliant parents started a foundation seeking to understand the aspects of the grain that lead to aggression --
of the brain that lead to aggression and violence. anna grace marquez green, her family is musical. they try to find ways to build a stronger community. her father is a wonderful musician, jazz musician released an album called "beautiful life." the proceeds all go to this effort. sandy hook promise which is a group of families is asking schools, communities to take a really simple first step to ending violence. that first step is to talk to children and teens about how to be a good bystander, to look out for those first signs of trouble and to report anything that may seem out of the ordinary. and we, frankly, have seen how that small act can make a big difference. just last week a young man was arrested in utah after he admitted that he had brought a gun to school with the intent to shoot a girl that he had a
falling out with, and then his plans were to open up fire on the rest of his classmates. but a student heard about it and tipped off authorities so he could be stopped before he carried out his plan. that is what sandy hook promise is trying to do in the wake of this tragedy, to spread the word that those small acts can make a difference. and i'll talk for a few minutes about what hasn't been done when it comes to policy changes, but there is a lot that has happened when it comes to policy as well. in connecticut, we passed the strongest antigun violence measure in the country that cracks down on illegal guns and invests more resources into identifying trouble spots before they happen. washington state just passed a new referendum with 60% of the vote that extends their background check systems to private sales and to transfers. in colorado, they have passed a strong new law as well, and on
the private sector side, retailers are stepping up. big retailers from starbucks to chipotle to target have been taking separate steps, aside from anything the federal government has done, to keep firearms out of stores. so there is a lot positive that's happening, in the private sector and in the public sector. and hopefully we can build on that work here. hopefully congress can recognize that our silence, our inability to pass anything in the two-year period of time since sandy hook passed effectively makes us complicit in the continuing assault on students all across this country. here's the map. in the two years since newtown, there has been 95 different school shootings all across the country. 95 different school shootings
have occurred. during the last three months alone, there were 17 school shootings, including a single week where there was one every day, five events over the course of five days. this is an absolute epidemic that is happening all across this country since sandy hook. and why i say that we're complicit is that when there is no response from congress, when there is not a single legislative act passed, to try to do something about this, it sends a message, a message of quiet endorsement of what's happening. i know that's not our intent. i know that's not in the hearts or minds of any of our members. but people notice when every week there is a new story of a school shooting all across the country and congress does absolutely nothing about it. well, the private sector and state legislatures step up to the plate to do something about it. and so this is a day when we
remember what happened two years ago, but a day in which we should feel ashamed that we haven't done a single thing to try to stem this tide. i get it that we're not going to get a background checks bill passed through the senate in the next two years, but why not work on mental health funding? why not have everybody in this chamber just spend five minutes of your time reading the report that was just released by the connecticut child advocate detailing the history of adam lanza's intersection with the mental health system during his early years in adolescence and how it failed him step after step, year after year, month after month. a lack of follow-up, a lack of coordination, a lack of diagnosis. we have a mental health system in this country that is broken and can be fixed. yes, with some more resources but just with better coordination. that's something that we can work together on over the next two years, so that we can say
when this chart gets peppered with another 50 dots by this time next year, that we didn't just stand silent. nobody's more articulate than senator blumenthal in talking about that day. i don't want to relive it on this floor, except to just share with you the most powerful testimony that i have heard about what happens that day. this is a community that's recovering, but it's still a community in crisis. you don't lose 20 little boys and girls and just come back to life in two years. it's a resilient community but it's a community that still hurts, and it hurts in part because they don't see us doing anything about it. and so before i yield the floor to senator blumenthal to say a few words, i just want to close with somebody else's words. i've shared these words on the floor before, but they are just as powerful now as they were the
last time that i read them. this is neil heslin testifying before congress in february of 2013. he is still jesse lewis' father, one of the little boys who was killed that day. and so as we think about what happened two years ago in sandy hook, when we think about the charge that we have before us, when we think about the facts that there are those of us like senator blumenthal and myself and many others who will not rest until we honor their memories by action, let me leave you with these words. "on december 14, jessie got up and got ready for school. he was always excited to go to school. i remember on that day we stopped by misty vale deli. it's funny the things you remember. i remember jessie got the sausage egg and cheese, which he always gets, with some hot chocolate. i remember the hug he gave me when i dropped him off. he just held me and he rubbed my back. i can still feel that hug.
and jessie said it's going to be all right, everybody is going to be okay, dad. looking back, what did he know? did he have an idea that something was going to happen? at the time i didn't think about it. i just thought he was being sweet. jesse just had this idea that you never leave people hurt. if you can help somebody, you do it. if you can make somebody feel better, you do it. if you can leave somebody a little bit better off, you do it. they tell me that that's how he died. i guess we'll never know exactly what happened at that school. maybe we'll never know. but what people tell me is that jesse did something different. when he heard the shooting, he didn't run and hide. he started yelling. people disagree on the last thing he said. one person who was there says that he yelled run. another person said that he told everybody to run now. ten kids from my son's class made it to safety. i hope to god something jesse did helped them survive that
day. what i know is that jesse wasn't shot in the back. he took two bullets. the first one grazed the side of his head. the other hit him in the forehead. both bullets were fired from the front. that means that the last thing my son did was look adam lanza straight in the face and scream to his classmates to run. the last thing he saw was that coward's eyes. before he died, jesse and i used to talk about maybe coming to washington someday. he wanted to go to the washington monument. when we talked about it last, jesse asked if we could come and meet the president. jesse believed in you. this is neil heslin, his father, talking to us. jesse believed in you. he learned about you in school. and he believed in you. i want to believe new, too. i know you can't give me jesse back.
believe me, if i thought you could, i would be asking for that, but i want to believe that you will think about what i told you here today. i want to believe that you'll think about it and then you'll do something about it. whatever you can do, to make sure that no other father has to see what i've seen. it's a pretty powerful, mr. president, one that on the two-year anniversary, the two-year mark of that horrible tragedy, one that we would be wise to listen to. i yield the floor. mr. blumenthal: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from connecticut is recognized. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. on april 4 -- on december 14, 2012, we saw evil. but we also saw good. we saw tragedy but we also saw
actions that should continue to inspire us. the evil was in a deranged young man who committed unspeakable and unimaginable, horrific acts, but the good was exemplified by the police and the emergency responders and the teachers who not only risks their lives but saved other lives. and the good was something that came forward in the days and months and in the past two years. often i visit the playgrounds that have been built throughout the state of connecticut in memory of those children, in memory of charlotte bacon and wes haven and annabeth green in hartford, jessica greene in fairfield, darrin hockley in
westport and victoria soto in stratford. i visit them to watch children playing, children often the same age as the wonderful, beautiful children who perished on that day and parents about the same age as the teachers who lost their lives, sixth grade educators. on that day, parents in newtown took their children to school, kissed them goodbye and went about their days, went to work, to plan play dates and snack breaks and holiday parties. and just hours into that morning, many parents were standing at the sandy hook volunteer fire station, where i also went that day, and what i saw was through the eyes of a parent, not just a public official, the cries of grief, the faces and voices filled with tears and longing.
those images i will never forget, and they have redoubled my own determination to try to make america safer and better, to keep faith with those 26 wonderful people whose lives were lost that day, and more than 30,000 people who have perished in the united states as a result of gun violence simply because many of them were in the wrong place at the wrong time, on streets or in neighborhoods or in their own homes. and the good that's done every day by the emergency responders and police to stem this epidemic of violence cannot overcome the flood of guns in our nation and cannot compensate for the lack of effective measures to make america safer and better, by making our laws against gun violence more effective. i will never forget that day or
any of the victims or their families, and i hope america never foargts them as well. we are -- never forgets them as well. we are memorializing their wonderful lives by acts of kindness, but the best and truest way to memorialize them in history is to approve effective, commonsense, sensible measures against gun violence. in the aftermath of those horrific events of december 13, all of connecticut certainly in newtown and in our state came together to lift up those who were so devastatingly impacted, and those families have shown incredible strength. they sat in the galleries here. they came to visit us and our colleagues, urging action. congress' failure to act is
contemptible and unconscionable and a betrayal of those memories and so the action that ultimately is truest and best as a memorial to them will be for this congress to act. in newtown and around the nation, every community was affected in some way and came together with newtown. and so my hope is that still that spirit will be an inspiration to action, that it will be an impetus to the congress for effective commonsense measures that will protect countless others who are in danger and who will die if congress does not act.
more than 60,000 firearm deaths have occurred since december 14, 2012. 32,000 firearm deaths per year. those families demonstrated unrelenting resolve, and so should we, and we will. it took more than ten years for the brady law to be approved, even after a president of the united states was almost assassinated and his press secretary jim brady was severely injured and paralyzed. i hope it won't take ten years for action to be taken by congress, but we need the persistence and perseverance that will carry us through, however long it takes, to achieve lasting reform. i have been proud to serve as a member of the judiciary committee and work hard for this
measure, helping to lead the effort to approve the ban on high-capacity magazines as well as assault weapons, and background checks, but a mental health initiative and a school safety initiative have also been part of what we need to do, and i will continue my work on those efforts, mental health and school safety, bills that i've introduced, and the lori jackson domestic violence survivor act, survivor protection act. lori jackson was estranged from her husband and endangered by him. she obtained a court order because of that danger and because of real evidence of that danger. and that court order unfortunately failed to save her life because it was only temporary and it failed to take away from her husband the guns that he had. and the lori jackson protection act will fill that gap in our laws now.
are five times as likely to die as a result of domestic violence when there is a gun in the home. one in five women are victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. that's the reason that on many fronts we need to continue this fight. on my wrist since that day, or about then, on december 14, i've worn a bracelet, as i do today. the writing has faded, no longer visible. but one thing it said was, "love wins." "love wins." i truly believe that love won in newtown, that love won when connecticut's legislature passed a strong and effective measure.
a next step, not the end of the work but a next step. i believe that love won through the grace and courage and strength of the families of those children and the loved ones of the teachers who lost their lives. i believe love wins every day in our classrooms around the nation when teachers work hard -- and they work hard -- and they resolve to keep their children safe. love wins every day when someone stands up and speaks out against gun violence. love will win eventually. honor will win. we will honor those children and we will celebrate the love that they felt so deeply and unconditionally, as only children can, unqualifiably for their parents and their community.
mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent the committee on finance be discharged from further consideration of s. 2614 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 2614, a bill to amend certain provisions of the f.a.a. modernization and reform act of 2012. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. brown brown: brown: mr. prek unanimous consent that the bill be redz a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: i wanted to spend a few minutes talking as in morning business. i'm not going to offer a unanimous consent but i'm putting the majority leader on notice that i will do that before we leave here today or tomorrow or whenever we leave. yesterday the chairman of the homeland security committee, senator carper, and i thought we had cleared all holds on the taxpayer right-to-know act. and i want to give you a little history about that because for two years, the house and the senate, in conjunction, committees in conjunction, have been working on this bill. and the history goes back to a bill that was passed with president obama, myself, senator mccain and senator carper and it was the federal financial transparency and accountability
act. usaspending.gov. it was the first start towards transparency in terms of how we spend our money and where we spend our money. and, quite frankly, as we got that bill through congress, we heard the same thing from o.m.b. that senator reid is representing today. president bush and his o.m.b. director didn't want that bill. they didn't want that bill. they didn't think that the american people ought to know where they're spending -- where their spending was going. they didn't think that the american taxpayer ought to have the right to hold us accountable to know where we spent the mon money, on which programs and how. and interestingly, underrepublican leadership, we passed -- under republican leadership, we passed that bill against the wishes of the director of the o.m.b. and that
bill became law. and the president has touted that bill as the first in a long line of transparency with which his administration has embraced the idea that the american people ought to know where their money's being spent. since that time, we passed the data act, which will move us towards better quality in terms of usaspending.gov. and then we have the taxpayers' right-to-know act, which the majority leader objected to yesterday. and here's what the taxpayers' right-to-know act says. it's the taxpayers' right to know how many programs in each department that we have, how many spending is going on in each program, and where -- where's the money being spent. i mean, pretty simple, straightforward stuff that we ought to know about our government.
so the question that i'm asking is why would anybody in this body object to us knowing where our money's being spent? why would anybody in this body object to knowing how many programs each agency has? why would anybody in this body object to coordinating with all the transparency things that we've done thus far and making so that in two years from now, it ithe american people can acty see where their money's being spent, how much is being spent, on what program, in what state and at what location. now, if somebody can give me an honest explanation of why
there's a logical reason why we wouldn't want to do that, i'll take that and i won't offer another unanimous consent. but the answer is from o.m.b. is it's too hard of work. well, it's not too hard of work. that's exactly what the bush administration said whether we said we're going to have the transparency act and usaspending.gov. it's too hard, we can't do it. we can do it. the american people are owed that explanation, they're owed that transparency, and this administration through its claims of being the most transparent should step forward and release this hold. so mr. we leave here, i'm going to -- so before we leave here, i'm going to offer the unanimous consent request again. and if it's objected to, then what we're going to know is it has nothing to do with reality, it has nothing to do with honesty, has nothing to do with integrity, has nothing to do with truth, has nothing to do
with being transparency with the american people. it has everything to do with the federal government saying, it's just too hard to be honest with the american people and let them see where we're spending the money. you know, i find that's really unacceptable a for us as members of th the senate. and for a member of the senate stand up and say i object to doing that tells us that we have a long ways to go on much, much bigger problems if we're going to play the game because something's a little bit tough to do and we're going to fall for a complaint that we just can't get it done. with that, i yield the floor. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: first, i just want to salute my friend and colleague from oklahoma. i don't agree with him on probably about 80% or 90% of
what he says, but i so respect him and he's a person of integrity who really cares. and when you shake his hand and make a deal, a deal is done, which is a rarity around here and we wish him the best. now, mr. president, today i rise to discuss the recently released report by the senate intelligence committee. as a representative of one of the most targeted cities in the world, i feel compelled to speak about this report. i want to say clearly that i'm troubled by many of its findings. first, the many members of the c.i.a. and the intelligence community selflessly serve this nation and put their lives on the line. they are patriots who are protecting and serving america. keeping her safe from those very many enemies who are actively seeking to do the unspeakable in terms of arm. we owe the members of the c.i.a. and the intelligence community their due recognition and their gratitude. and we salute them for
protecting us, risking their lives in many cases to protect us and our freedom. but as with many institutions in our society, be it part of the government or part of the private sector, transparency and accountability for mistakes are an essential part of the process that preserves a balance in our democracy. and the fact of the matter is that this report lays bear some very troubling activities on the part of the c.i.a. it warrants a close examination. and where we find the conduct of the c.i.a. to be grossly counter to the nation's ideals, we must reckon with that and make sure we never go back to the days whether our government sanctioned torture. here i agree with my colleague and friend from across the aisle, senator mccain. an unimpeachable voice on this top particular. who has said time and again that these actions were torture and that torture resmirchs the honor of this great nation. i also agree with the remarks
made by vice president joe biden that only a great nation, only an open and free society can forthrightly take ownership of its mistakes, find ways to change those policies and move positively forward on both the domestic and international levels. doubtless this report containers lessons that our intelligence community must take to heart. for their goal must always be to protect our nation without sacrificing what it stands for. before i go any if further, i want to recognize the many years of hard work, diligence and courage -- yes, courage -- on the part of my colleagues on the intelligence committee and their staffs for putting this report together. i particularly want to recognize my dear friend and colleague, chair of the senate intelligence committee, diane feinstein, for her work with this report. she has been a fearless yet level-headed chair of the committee for many years now. she's just what you'd envision
as an ideal chair. and typically is her work on this excellent report for which i thank her, where once again she has been both fearless and level-headed. an extensive report like this one deserves careful review, but at first reading, two things have been made very clear. first, the c.i.a. undoubtedly went too far in its pursuit of intelligence from captured sources abroad. as i have said at formal proceedings in this legislature before, i'm absolutely opposed to waterboarding and deplore some of the tactics depicted in this report. i believe our intelligence community can obtain information using methods that are not an anathema to our nation's values. second, the report makes clear that there was a breakdown of communication between the c.i.a. and the administration at the
time of these events. mr. president, there's no doubt we live in a dangerous world. there are threats abroad and threats here on the homeland. we cannot expect to counteract these threats, protect our people and do so in a responsible way if the c.i.a. and the executive branch are not effectively communicating with one another. i was astounded to learn the report asserts that over four years went by without the president having full knowledge of some of the c.i.a.'s actions detailed in this report. that simply cannot be the modus operandi for the c.i.a. they're accountable to the government and to the people and cannot behave without proper oversight. mr. president, there is so much to unpack in this report and i urge my colleagues patience and a careful examination of the work produced by my colleagues on the intelligence committee. it should be out in front of the
american people, and now it is, and we must take a very, very close look at it. the united states, its government, its people must take stock of this account and reckon with the conclusions of the study. mr. president, we have hundreds of thousands of brave men and women posted around the world, tasked with the difficult job of keeping us safe. we should also -- we should always be mindful of their dedication and thankful for their sacrifice. their mission is demanding. it is never ending. and nearly all of them perform with a level of professionalism beyond reproach. however, from time to time it's important for us to review those actions to make sure that they meet the hard scrutiny of our nation's ideals while still protecting its people and in that light the senate intelligence committee report is an extremely important document for us to all examine.
the presiding officer: there is no quorum call. the senator may proceed. mr. casey: thank you. i also ask to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: mr. president, thank you. i rise today to discuss the fight against isis and the debate that we're having here in the senate and across the country about the authorization for the use of military force, known by the achron imaumf. the debate about the appropriate use of force is i believe healthy for our country. the american people deserve to know when and how our service members are going to be deployed to protect our national security interests. all senators in this body have an abiding obligation to take the time to learn about this issue and to ask questions about our strategy, to thoroughly debate the strategy and the
issues that relate to the authorization for the use of force, and then, of course, we have an obligation to vote, to vote on the grave question of the use of military force. it's been six months since isis began its major offensive in iraq taking control of key border crossings in the city of mosul. the president has laid out since that time a strategy for combating isis through all available means, military action, diplomatic coalition building, coordinating efforts to cut off financing and recruitment and providing humanitarian assistance. mr. president, the administration has taken these actions under previous authorizations. in these weeks and months i've consulted with administration officials, both military and civilian, outside experts and former diplomats. as i know many of our colleagues have. i've also listened to my
constituents in pennsylvania. we owe it to the american people to have a debate and a vote on a new authorization for military force, for the use of military force that clarifies and if necessary places limitations upon the president's authority in this fight against isis. we know that 1,830 service members, 91 of whom were from pennsylvania, have been killed in operation enduring freedom in afghanistan. 3,482 service members of which 197 were from pennsylvania have been killed in operation iraqi freedom. so two conflicts and in pennsylvania alone the killed in action number was 91 in
afghanistan, 197 in iraq. thousands and thousands more have been wounded in action, from pennsylvania and from across the country. some of them grievously, permanently injured because of their service. and i'm mindful as i know many are here that with both the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for the use of force, congress moved very quickly to take that action. and i understand that. we know that in hindsight that in the case of iraq at least mistakes were made because leaders did not take the time to debate and ask tough questions and demand answers to those tough questions. so i believe it's appropriate for us to do the following -- thoroughly debate this aumf as we should every time we consider
sending u.s. service members into harm's way. and second, to be prepared to continually reassess and debate our strategy against isis to ensure it is achieving our national security goals. we hope, we all hope, to develop an aumf that has broad bipartisan support. however, our priority must be to give the president clear and specific authority to fight -- to take the fight to isis, or i should say continue to take the fight to isis. the administration should have come forward with a recommendation early in the process for what they would like to see in an authorization for the use of military force. i welcome secretary kerry's testimony before the foreign relations committee yesterday. that hearing was an important step in the right direction. it's appropriate for the congress to not only conduct rigorous oversight of the
executive branch's decisions about military force, but also from time to time to take steps to shape or place boundaries around the administration's strategy. i appreciate chairman menendez's efforts to craft an aumf proposal that satisfies the needs of the administration and the concern from both side of the aisle and indeed, across our country. the congress should move forward with an authorization for the use of military force which addresses the following -- first, this aumf should not allow for any significant deployment of u.s. troops in traditional ground combat roles. this is consistent with what the president has determined is necessary at this time, and we also need to see nations in the region step up to do the fighting. we can't just have to use an old
expression from pennsylvania, coat holders. that's someone who says you do the fighting, i'll hold your coat while you fight. we need a real coalition, which we have in place now but it has to be built and strengthened and fortified and sustained. that coalition, especially in the case of members of the coalition from the region, they have to be a coalition that will contribute fighters to the battlefield, because it's their region. it's their conflict as much as it is other nations in the coalition. so when i say we cannot have a coalition of coat holders, i'm serious about that. we need a coalition that will help us. we've already done a lot. our people have, our taxpayers have have, our soldiers have. we need a real coalition toll do the fight -- who will do the fighting. we also know that isis has taken
american hostages before, and will try to do so again. if, for example, the administration has a chance to bring one of these americans home, i want them, the administration, to take action expeditiously and with clear authority. if the administration disagrees with the current proposal for authorization for exceptional circumstances, or operations, for example, a search and rescue operation inside syria, the recovery of an american hostage, they should propose, the administration should propose language they find acceptable to use in those difficult situations. secondly, this authorization for force should have come -- should it come about should not be geographically limited. isis and its associated forces do not and will not respect sovereign borders. however, i'd like to see the
administration required to consult less cloudy closely with congress if they want to consider a u.s. military operation in isis in countries beyond iraq and syria. expanding this fight geographically could have the unintended effect of prompting unrest in other countries or pushing recruits into the arms of isis. third, this authorization for the use of force should have a reasonable time line, something on the order of three years, with the explicit option for the administration to extend it a bit longer if needed. we cannot know exactly how long it will take us and our coalition partners to degrade and ultimately defeat this terrorist organization. however, the aumf should not be open ended in the way that the 2001 and 2002 aumf's were. we've seen how difficult it is to shift gears or even repeal an
existing authorization for the use of military force. fourth and finally, this authorization must also address the nonmilitary components of the administration's strategy. i was one of the first members to call for greater support for the moderate, well-vetted syrian opposition. we know that opposition especially in the north is fractured and suffering, especially under a continual onslaught from mr. assad's barrel bombs, not to mention other actions he's taken against the opposition. although efforts to support them are ramping up, the brutal assad regime has done significant damage, and that's an understatement. further, the assad regime continues to commit unspeakable atrocities against syrian civilians.
starving, torturing, or indiscriminately murdering them in violation of international law and u.n. security council resolutions -- and that's plural. i have also emphasized on a bipartisan basis with senator rubio several years ago the importance of cutting off isis's finances. this could include airstrikes or additional sanctions against facilitators. i should say with senator rubio, the financing efforts, the cutting off the of the financing was this. i've worked with him in other years on other parties of syria policy. as we've heard multiple treation leaders say, there's no purely military solution to this conflict with isis. i would also say that, if we have an authorization for force that this bill should include strict reporting requirements
that press the administration to answer these questions -- answer a series of questions, among others. first, what are you going to do to support the moderate opposition in syria? i've raised this over and over and over again with the administration. and i still don't have a satisfactory answer. number two, what steps are you taking to address the i assad regime's brutal barrel bomb campaign and what are you doing to the conflict in syria? how is the military campaign helping to cut off the financial support that sigh isis is recei? mr. president, there is strong bipartisan agreement that isis poses a clear and proximate, if not immediate, threat to our national security interests and those of our partners. i believe we can reach the same level of bipartisan agreement on an authorization for the use of military force.
we have no greater or more sacred responsibility than to carefully and thoroughly consider when and how we send american men and women in uniform into harm's way. i urge my colleagues in both parties to engage in this debate and to work expeditiously to pass an authorization for the use of military force. i would have preferred -- and i know many would have preferred -- that we passed and will have passed a bill before we adjourn this year, knowing that in this who will did i season there are service members already deployed away from home from their families to support this operation, operation inherent resolve. if we cannot get that done at the end of this year, when the debate would be fully developed enough to pass an authorization, we must -- we must -- get it done early in 2015. it must be among our first
orders of business in the new year, in the new congress, when we come back in early januaryment. this is a very grave matter. eights among thit's among the ht difficult responsibilities that congress has, and i believe we must discharge that obligation with a full debate, with a debate that's well-informed, and a debate that every member participates in before we make a decision about the authorization for the use of force. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. mr. flake: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: i rise today to discuss title 30 of the national defense authorization act or ndaa, a title that has become referred to as the land package.
now, was most of the items that congress considers, this provision has generated some controversy. for my part, however, it appears that many of the concerns here are outpaced by the substance of good public lands policy being advanced here and the economic development opportunities that it will generate. of the bills that the committees of jurisdiction included in the package, all have some form of committee procedure in either the house or the senate. 34 of the measures have passed the house while on suspension. another nine have passed the senate by unanimous consent. and it's also worth noting that because the federal government owns so much land -- particularly in the western united states -- congress has to approve all sorts of transactions involving these public lands, no matter how small the tract might be. on the substance, i believe that the bipartisan group that assembled this package of bills struck a pretty good balance,
deferring to intrastate priorities that will promote responsible economic growth. in arizona, for example, i was pleased to see the inclusion of the southwest -- i'm so, the --m sorry, the southeast land conservation afnlgt this was a bill sponsored by my colleague senator mccain. i was glad to join him. it also shares bipartisan support in the house, representatives gozar, kirkpatrick, franks, salmon and schweikert. at et cetera core, this bill will facilitate -- at its core, this bill will facilitate am access to the largest copper in america. it keek seed $60 billion over the course of mine operations and it will support approximately 3,700 direct and indirect jobs annually. it's also worth noting that copper is a critical component in most technologies, from weapons systems, computers, to
automobiles, to turbines that generate electricity, just to name a few. this mine would supply an amount of copper roughly equivalent to 25% of the u.s. demand and also notably what this bill does in terms of conservation it would preserve more than 5,300 acres of conservation lands in arizona. now, despite the broad benefits for economic development and conservation, as well as the bill's bipartisan support, there has been some opposition. we have done our best to include some provisions that address these concerns. for instance, the land exchange would not occur until after completion of a nepa environmental impact statement. it will also generate special management area around the land -- the large area known as apache leap. likewise, it will provide
protections for native americans to traditional gatherings and ceremonies after the land exchange has been completed, so long as it remains safe to do so. i would also note that resolution copper has proactively sought ways to address its anticipated water needs. to that end, i was encouraged to learn that the company has entered into a contract with the heehila water. this is further evidence of how the measure even before it's passed can help foster economic opportunities for indian and non-indian communities around the state. i'd also like to take a moment to talk about calm of the other- couple of the other positive provisions in the package. from a resource management perspective, it would support further economic activity in federal lands -- on federal lands by conveying approximately 110,000 acres of land out of the federal estate. this not only includes the o.
forementioned copper project but a copper mine in nevada, timber harvests in alaska, and coal production in montana. now, the lands package also includes a provision that would streamline the permitting process for oil and gas leases. this is critical. we've seen the pace of oil and gas production on federal lands decline in recent years while development on private lands has increased significantly. this measure also improves the permitting process for grazing and makes a down payment on so-called payment in lieu of taxes, or pilt. this is critical in helping communities that are burdened with tracts of federal land to meet the obstacles of providing services related to those lands without the correspondining tax base. this applies to a lot of the land in rural arizona. although reasonable people can disagree, i believe that this is a good measure for the state of arizona and for the united states as a whole, and i am a
pleased to see that -- and i'm pleased to see that it will advance as part of this package. i know the lands package was difficult to negotiate. they always are. it has achieved strong bipartisan support, and i think does strike the right balance between deference to intrastate concerns and federal lands decisionses. so, mr. president, i urge support of the legislation and would yield back the balance of my time. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: thank you, mr. president. the senate, i assume, is in a quorum call? the presiding officer: it is. mr. whitehouse: in this case, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you, mr. president. i am here this evening for time to wake up speech number 82. scientists tell us that the evidence for climate change is now -- and i'll quote -- unequivocal. unequivocal. not a word often used in scientific writing. and the american people know
that climate change is real. in a new poll released by the insurance firm munich rei, eight out of ten americans believe the climate is changing. they see it happening right around them. the american people also know we need to cut our carbon pollution if we're to avoid the worst effects of climate change. we can't keep burning carbon-polluting fossil fuels indiscriminately. seven out of ten americans put using more carbon-free energy like solar and wind among the best ways to battle climate change. changing the way we generate power will help cut emissions from the largest sources of carbon pollution in the country,
our coal-fired power plants. the energy information administration notes that coal generates less than 40% of our country's electricity while it generates 75% of the carbon pollution from the power sector. the 50 dirtiest coal plants in america emit more carbon pollution than all of south korea or all of canada. which brings us to the war on coal. every effort to protect the american people from coal pollution has been denounced by the fossil fuel industry and its various mouthpieces as a war on coal.
when e.p.a. proposed limits on emissions from power plants, you heard, "war on coal." when e.p.a. proposed limits on emissions from existing power plants, "war on coal." for mercury limits, ozone limi limits, particulate limits, always "war on coal." mr. president, the war on coal is a fabrication. denial machine, funded by fossil fuel money, literally owns -- owns -- the war on coal. the web site "waroncoal.co waros owned by american commitment, a 501-4c-3 nonprofit that has been
funded by the koch-brothers backed group freedom partners. war on coal? it's a public relations strate strategy, a catch phrase, a gimmick that serves to distract people from the harm coal wreaks on us. dr. drew shindel is a professor at duke university. he worked at nasa for two decades. last week in the environment and public works committee he said -- i'll quote him -- "we hear a lot up here on capitol hill about the war on coal. what we forget about is coal's war on us." so let's talk about the war on call so-called versus coal's war on us. when republicans talk about president obama's war on coal,
they leave a lot out. they leave out that coal companies have shifted to big, open-top mines, what's called mountaintop removal, so they can lay off miners and still produce the same amount of coal. they leave out that coal simply can't compete with today's cheaper, cleaner burning natural gas. in 2012, are duke energy's own c.e.o. acknowledged that e.p.a.'s proposed climate rule for new power plants was not to blame. the new climate rule, he said, is in line with market forces anyway. we're not going to build any coal plants in any event.
we're not going to build any coal plants in any event, he said. you're going to choose to build gas plants every time, regardless of what the rule is. that, mr. president, is not a regulatory war on coal. that's the free market operating. e.p.a.'s proposed clean power plan for existing power plants is the newest p.r. front in the imaginary war on coal. e.p.a. projects that the clean power plan will yield between $55 billion and $93 billion in benefits per year by 2030 compared so $7 billion to $9 billion to comply with the rule.
that math makes it a winner for the american people. some war on coal. what would they expect us to do, give up $90 billion in benefits for the american people, at the high end, in order to avoid a $9 billion compliance cost, again at the high end? $90 billion for the american people, $9 billion in compliance? who wouldn't take that deal? if the obama administration is waging a war on coal, it has a funny way of going about it. coal exports grew by 44% from 2008-2012. the obama administration keeps opening up federal lands to coal extraction, awarding many leases
at below-market rates. it actually took a federal judge in colorado to tell the obama bureau of land management and forest service to factor the costs of climate change into their cost-benefit analysis of coal mining leases. the federal agencies had looked at only one side of the ledger -- they counted the economic benefits of mining coal but not the costs. some war on coal. two years ago, the obama army corps of engineers fast-tracked environmental review of a proposed coal export terminal on the columbia river in oregon. local communities and tribes objected and the state of oregon denied the permit for the project if that's what a federal war on coal looks like, somebody
didn't get the memo. on the other side, let's look at what coal's war on us looks like. evidence that mining and burning coal harms our health and our environment and our oceans is undeniable. it's this other side of the coal ledger that hits home in rhode island and connecticut and many other states. and it's that side that the polluters want to ignore and obscure with war on coal rhetoric. burning coal releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases p. tha. that warms our atmosphere, bringing changes we are already seeing in seasons, weather and storms. there's a strong association between global warming and the
sort of rain bursts that flooded homes and businesses in rhode island in 2010, for instance. coal burning contributes to the formation of toxic ground-level ozone, which is a cause of the "bad air days" in my home state of rhode island. kids with asthma in the emergency room in the rhode island are connected with plid westerwellmidwestern power plant burn coal, and pump often unscrubbed emissions up smokestacks designed to move the problem downwind, out of state, out of mind. and don't overlook our oceans, which absorb about a third of the carbon pollution being emitted and most of the excess heat. as a result, oceans are becoming
more acidic. water temperatures are rising and sea levels are rising across the globe. in rhode island, the sea is up nearly 10 inches at the tide gauge at naval station newport since the 13930's when we had our great hurricane of 1938. so whether you're a flooded home or a mom of a child with a astha in the emergency room or someone with coastal property facing 10-inch higher seas, there are costs to coal. this is all virtually tin disputable and it -- indisputable and it will follows laws of nature. damage to coastal homes and infrastructure from rising seas and oceans. asthma attacks in children triggered by smog. forests dying from beetle infestations and unprecedented
wildfire seasons. farms ravaged by worsened drought or flooding. these are all real costs to americans. this other side of the coal ledger counts, too. it even hits home in coal country, where blowing up mountaintops particulate pollutes streams and harms folks around the mining operations. west virginia university has linked the dust thrown up by these mountaintop minds to lung cancer among nearby residents. coal fife fired power plants are the biggest sources of mercury pollution unless united states and they also emit arsenic, acid gases and other toxins. dr. shindel, who i mentioned earlier, is an expert in atmospheric chemistry and health. here's what he told the e.p.w.
committee last week. i want will quote. "of all of the sources of the emissions that lead to poor air quality in the united states, coal burning is the single largest, causing by my calculations about 47,000 premature deaths per year. that happens to be larger than the total number of americans killed in all of the years of the vietnam war by hostile fire." if you look at the casualties, mr. president, the gerl governmen -- thefederal governmg a war on coal. if there's any war, coal is waging a war on us. this is business as usual for
the polluter industry and its propaganda apparatus. coal companies have long fought public health standards, mine worker protections and compensation for ailments like black lung disease, as well as efforts to address acid rain or reduce toxic pollutants like mercury that cause brain damage in kids. nsm 1989, southern company c.e.o. edward add son testified that -- edward addison that testified that increasing rates would increase the rate to 20% in 2009. well, we cont couldn't evaluatet the prediction then but now we can. in the states with the most coal, rates actually fell. big coal's war on the truth has
a long history. mr. president, i recently had the opportunity to visit west virginia with senator manchin to learn about what coal means to the mountain state economy. i get it. we need to care about the mine miners, the truckers, the power plant workers, the engineers and others who make their living in this industry. it would be wrong to ignore their plight. just as it's wrong when the coal industry tries to ignore the effects of its carbon pollution. i think we need a carbon fee to correct the market and to slow climate change. i'm sure i'll hear, "that's a war on coal." it's not. it's simple fairness.
it's simply paying for the mess you caused. that's not war. it's not even punishment. it's just fair accounting, taking both sides of the ledger into account. when people do that, economists and scientists, they calculate the cost of carbon pollution as what they call the social cost of carbon. the administration estimates the social cost of carbon at arounder 40 per ton of carbon pollution. $40 per ton. rmpleghtthe effective cost to ps for causing that mess is zero. my carbon fee bill would correct that, correct what even economists at groups as conservative as the american enterprise institute agree is a market failure.
and we then return every dollar of the fee to the american people. that could include transition assistance for coal workers and dmsessence for communities far from coal mines, like in rhode island, facing these costs of climate change. it's also becoming increasingly clear that a revenue-neutral carbon fee will spur innovation, create jobs and boost the economy nationwide. so it's time to end the polluters' holiday from responsibility. it's time to see through their fanciful war on coal, and protect those facing the effects of coal's war on us and coal's war on the truth. it's