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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 22, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm EST

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od kansas, up on the nebraska border, how do you get to the v.a. hospital in wichita or in denver? our initial attempt was let's put an outpatient clinic closer. well, the problem with that, we now have an outpatient clinic in burlington colorado, and an outpatient clinic in hayes kansas but that's still two and a half hours from atwood, kansas. so if you're a 92-year-old world war ii veteran in atwood, kansas how do you get to hayes or burlington, colorado? the answer is you probably don't. our veterans are not being served. we attempted to address this issue. we in fact -- let me say it differently. we addressed this issue in the choice act and said if you're 40 miles from a facility, then the v.a. provides the services at home, and the v.a. is interpreting that facility, the word facility, just to mean any facility there regardless of what service it provides. and in many instances i take liberal, kansas. there's a sebok there and they
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haven't had a physician in over 40 years. and it counts as a facility even though there is no physician that is recently in attendance at the clinic. these issues ought to be resolved in favor of, who? the veteran. who, of all people, would we expect to provide the best service to in any capable way that we can who would we expect to get the best health care in our nation? i would put at the top of the list those who served our country. and the -- the committee that passed this legislation the choice act it says in the language, the conferees recognized the issue that i just described and added report language that allows veterans to -- quote -- "secure health care services that either unavailable or not cost-effective to provide at a v.a. facility, which was intentionally included to give the v.a. flexibility to provide veterans access to non-v.a. care when a v.a. facility, no matter
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what size or location, cannot provide the care the veteran is seeking." so today i'm introducing senate bill 207. i would ask my colleagues to join me. again, i guess my first request would -- could the department of veterans affairs fix this problem on their own? and, if not, i would ask that my colleagues join me in fixing this legislatively with one more directive to the department of veterans affairs saying, if they can't provide the service at the cboc, they want it doesn't count -- then it doesn't count as a facility within the 40 miles. this is a problem across our state. now, i had my staff at a meeting in the visn, in which they were describing how they were going to enacted -- implement, excuse me the choice act and they put up a chart in which they show how they're going to have a mobile van work its way through the area of our state and missouri and talked about how that will then satisfy the
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40-mile requirement. why is the v.a. bending over backwards to avoid -- let me say it differently. why is it the v.a. not bending over backwards to take care of the veteran instead of bending over backwards to make sure that it is the most difficult circumstance for a veteran to get the health care they need at home? we ought to always err on the side of what is best for the veteran not what is best for the department of veterans affairs, if you could ever make the case that providing services someplace far away from the veteran is good for the v.a. so mr. president, i thank you for the opportunity to speak to this issue. it's an important one. i mentioned it to a number of my colleagues and they've described similar circumstances in their state. i've met with the department of veterans affairs personnel. i serve on the veterans' committee, have since i came to congress. we will work in every way with
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the veterans' committee republicans and democrats to make certain that there is a fix to this issue but i want to highlight today the manner in which the department is implementing the choice act is not the way that congress intended and it's not the way that benefits the veteran. and finally let me say that even if there was some circumstance in which the department doesn't have the authority to do what we're asking them to do in the choice act, they have the ability today to provide non-v.a. care whenever they deem it necessary. there is also the opportunity for them to use the pilot program that many of us have in our states -- and i see the gentleman from maine is on the floor today. they have a pilot program the able act, in which we are trying to provide services to veterans at home. there is a variety of ways the department can solve this problem and i ask them to do that. in the absence of their solution, i ask my colleagues to join me in sponsoring in debating in potentially
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amending but most importantly in passing and sending this bill to the president so that we can resolve once and for all that the department of veterans affairs is created to the benefit of the veterans, not the department. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. king: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. mr. king: mr. president first as an original cosponsor of the good senator's bill, i want to compliment him for taking the leadership position he has on this issue for bringing it forward and so eloquently expressing his support for it today. this is an important bill. i think it's one that we can all agree on, on a bipartisan basis and let's get it through and to the president. mr. president, i start with a question, a basic question -- why are we here? why do we have these jobs? what is it that we're supposed to do? and the clearest expression of that -- of the answer to that question comes from the preamble of the constitution which lays out exactly what our
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responsibilities are. we the people of the united states -- the people of the united states -- in order to form a more perfect union establish justice insure domestic tranquility provide for the common defense -- provide for the common defense defense -- promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordane ordain and establish this constitution for the united states of america." this is the purpose of the constitution. it's the purpose of the government. and the more solemn responsibility of any government, i would submit -- any government, anywhere, any time -- is to provide for the security of its citizens. "to provide for the common defense." that is our most solemn and fundamental responsibility. we're not doing that right now. we are avoiding missing
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obfuscating and not dealing with one of the most serious threats facing our country. i refer to the threat of cyber attack. every intelligence official that i have talked to in the last two years every military official everybody with any knowledge of the defense and security, the national security of this country has emphasized that the most serious threat we face right now is cyber. what does that mean, cyber attacks? the disabling of critical infrastructure attacks on our businesses financial system. this is a direct threat that is heading at us like a freight train on a track. the problem mr. president is we see it coming but we're not doing what we should to deal with it. now, to say that it's coming is
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a kind of understatement. this is an unusual chart but it -- it goes in time from 2004 till today and it's basically the frequency and size of cyber attacks in our -- in our country. the bigger bubbles are bigger attacks. the smaller bubbles are small attacks. so 2004, 2006, one or two but not many. you can see what's happening is it's bubbling up and it's about to boil over. each year we've seen more attacks, larger attacks, more serious attacks. the evidence is overwhelming that this is a threat that we're facing. sony was a wake-up call if ever there was one. what if sony, the sony attack, has been the new york stock exchange? or the railroad system where cars bearing toxic materials are derailed? or the natural natural gas gas pipeline
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system or any other of the critical infrastructure of this country, financial or physical, that would have disabled us? i was at a hearing yesterday of the armed services committee. we had the testimony of two of the wisest men in america brent scowcroft, general brent scowcroft who was a -- who was a national security advisor to president ford and president h.w. bush, and burzynski dr. burzynski, who was the national security advisor to jimmy carter talking about threats. and brent scowcroft said that he believed the cyber threat was analogous to the nuclear threat. people wouldn't be killed but our country could be destroyed. he saw this as one of the fundamental -- one of the two fundamental threats that we face today. and yet what are we doing in congress? not much. it's as if, mr. president we
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got a telegram from admiral yamamoto in 1941 saying, "i'm steaming toward pearl harbor and we're going to wipe you out" and we did nothing. or a telegram or a text message from osama bin laden saying, "i'm hitting -- we're heading for the world trade center. what are you going to do?" and we did nothing. we have the notice. it's right in front of us and yet we aren't acting. what are the risks? the biggest risk is in the nature of our society. the good news is, we're the most technologically advanced society on earth. the bad news is, we're the most technologically advanced society on earth because it makes us vulnerable. it's what they call an asymmetric vulnerability. we are the most vulnerable because we're the most wired.
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we're in the most danger because of our technological advancement. what can they do to us? well here -- this just gives you an idea of how this risk is accelerating and how it fits. this sincere number of devices in the world connected to the internet. and back in 2003, it was very few. 2010, we were up to 10 billion devices connected to the internet. the projection is by the end of this year, we'll be at 25 billion devices connected to the internet. and by 2020 -- not that long from now -- 50 billion devices connected to the internet and therefore, vulnerable to cyber attacks. critical infrastructure i've mentioned. the financial system. what would it do to the country mr. president if all of a
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sudden everybody's bank account disappeared? most of us, many workers in america, have their -- we don't see cash money or a paycheck. it goes electronically into your bank account. what if all of that just disappeared? chaos would ensue. the same thing with transactions on the new york stock exchange or the great transactions of our banks. it would be -- it would be chaos that would tumble through the economy and then into people's daily lives. transportation could be paralyzed. the simple act of messing around with how red and green lights work in a major city could paralyze a major city for hours if not days. transportation of -- of toxic or volatile compounds could be compromised. and, of course, the energy system the electrical grid. we don't realize how dependent
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we are on these modern facilities until they go down. periodically in maine when i was governor, we had an ice storm where three-quarters of our people lost electricity. for sometimes two weeks at a time. and we learned what a disaster that was. one of the things we learned was that home furnaces, heating oil furnaces, need electricity to fire. people got cold. it wasn't just, gee i can't watch tv tonight. it became life threatening. the second area of vulnerability is financial. data breaches, that's something that's happening all the time. and then, finally property ideas, threats of ideas. where are these threats coming from? all over the place. north korea russia, china iran terrorist organizations are now looking into the cyber field. hackers for hire. somebody in some country or
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somebody's basement somewhere in the world who hires out to take advantage of the vulnerability particularly of the western countries and particularly the united states. we're already incurring huge costs. the costs of these data breaches, the costs of protection against the data breaches. our -- our financial system is spending a huge amount of money to protect itself from these breaches. mr. president, we have to act. we have to act. it is beyond time to act. my favorite quote from mark twain -- and there are many -- but my favorite is "history doesn't always repeat itself but it usually rhymes." "history doesn't always repeat itself but it usually rhymes." nothing new ever happens. this would not be the first time in history a great nation ignored threats to its existence
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existence. in august of 1939, winston churchill said, in talking about the house of commons -- but he could have been talking about the united states congress -- "at this moment in its long history, it would be disastrous it would be pathetic, it would be shameful for the house of commons to write itself off as an effective and potent factor in this situation or reduce whatever strength it can offer to the firm front which the nation will make against aggression." later on -- or, earlierier in the 1930's he said, "when the situation sways manageable, it was neglected and now that it is thoroughly out of hand, we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure." mr. president, we are very -- we're at the line between manageable and too late. i would argue it's almost over that line.
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now is the time that we have to act. but we aren't acting because of a have a right of reasons the complexity of our process. four committees have to consider cyber legislation the differences with the house the differences with the white house. there are all kinds of complications which seems to be preventing us from acting. again, churchill is appropriate. "there's nothing new in this story, "he saismghts "it "it falls into that long, dismal catalog of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed un-teffabilityunteachability of mankind. wont of foresight unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong, these
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are the features which constitute the endless reputation of history." let's act before the crisis strikes, mr. president. let's act when we still have time. there are at least three bills that i know of that are available. the one is a bipartisan bill that was heavily negotiated in the intelligence committee came out of the committee i think 12-3 and -- last summer. that's available. it's a new congress. but the ink is barely dry. a bill that came out of the judiciary committee a bill that came out of the homeland security committee in december of 2012 and lost in this body by a couple of votes from my friend senator collins and senator lieberman also dealing with this problem. in other words, we don't have to start from zero. we don't have to invent these solutions. we just have to have the will to put nem them in place.
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and yet we don't act. people say well, we've got national security, senator. what are you talking about? we're spend almost $600 billion a year on the defense of this nation. and the answer is, yes. but in some ways it reminds me of the famous maginot line of france in the 1930's. there is a mistake. maginot line has come to symbolize a faulty defense premise, which it really isn't true. the maginot line worked. the problem was the maginot line stopped it went from switzerland to the belgian border. it stopped at the belgian border and the germans came around it and behind it and overwhelmed france in six days. so the problem wasn't that the maginot line was not effective defense, and our defense budget seniorcertainly is not ineffective. it is absolutely essential.
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but we're not defending the whole frontier. there's a piece of it, like belgium, that's undefended, and that's our failure mr. president. so what are we going to say when the crisis strikes? what are we going to say when we go home to our constituents in our home states, when the financial system goes down, people can't get their money there's -- there's threats of violence and violence across our country, when toxic waste is spilled in our waterways? what are we going to say? well, we would have done something about it but it was really in four committees, and that was really hard. or you know, we just got in this argument with the white house and couldn't work it out. or gee we would have solved it and your paycheck wouldn't have disappeared, except, you know, the house -- you know how they are. can you imagine trying to defend yourself by that kind of argument? it would -- you'd be laughed out
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of the place. come on. let's do this. i don't know exactly how to proceed except maybe those four committees should get together, talk to each other and say let's bring a bill to the floor. i would like to see this body decide we are going to pass a cyber protection legislation between now and may 1. there's no reason we can't do it. the bills are drafted. we just have to pull ourselves together and take collective responsibility for defending our country. if we don't do this, mr. president, a friend -- a colleague on this floor yesterday, we were talking about it he said, it is political malpractice if we don't get this done. this is a threat we know about. it's important. it's serious. we know at least some of the important things that we have to do to coordinate better between the government and the private sector. we know how we can help to solve
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this. we just have to summon the political will to do it t it. and it isn't even that controversial. there are differences here and there. but this isn't one of the big fights aren't here where we have great ideological differences. this is one where we should be able to come together. it's a lack of coordination and a lack of political will. mr. president, i don't know how i can say this more strongly. i think it is one of our most fundamental responsibilities. i'd go back to the preamble of the constitution. the primary reason governments are established and that our government was established one of the basic reasons is to provide for the common defense. if we don't do that in the face of this threat, shame on us. this is one of the most solemn responsibilities we have as united states senators, as members of the congress, and as
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members of the federal government of the united states. i deeply hope that the next several weeks and months will be time of productive discussion and a commitment to the -- at least the attempted solution, the beginning of a solution to this grave threat facing the united states of america. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. enzi: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi:man, i rise today to -- mr. president i rise today to discuss several issues that i hope we'll consider in this congress. i sit up nights worrying about our thaition nation's debt and how it'll affect our children and grandchildren. i'm now the chairman of the budget committee so i have more responsibility. but we have a spending problem in this country and we cannot spend our way to prosperity.
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rather, we have to stop spending more thank we take in and find a way to start paying down $18 trillion. the debt is growing. in fact, last year -- last fiscal year we spent $469 billion more than we took in. this fiscal year we're projected to spend d $550 billion more than we will take in this tievment time. the money that we actually goat make decisions on is about $1,000 billion. i could say $1 trillion. but i could say $1,000 billions seems to me like a lot more. when we talk about one we don't pay much attention. whether it is a pen penny for a dollar or a million or a billion. but we're talking about $1,000
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billion that we actually get it make decisions on. and we go ahead and spend half more than that again. half more than we take in. how long do you think we can do that? well it's affected by interest. we have to pay interest on the money that we spend that's in addition to the money that we take in. right now we are able to borrow that money at only 1.9%. only? that amounts to $251 billion that we're paying in interest. doesn't do a single program. just pays interest. and how many people think that the interest rate is going to stay at 1 .9%? well nobody does. in fact, the projections for this year for that interest rate as we sell our bond, is for 2.1% and going up. the average would be 5%.
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let's see $250 billion. if that ducialtiond that would be $5 -- if that doubled that would be $500 billion. that could happen in one year. that would be an extra $250 billion that we couldn't spend out of that $1,000 billion that we now get to make decisions on, which is only two-thirds of what we actuallynd. we have a spending problem and it's catastrophic in the long run. now, people would like us to balance the budget -- and i've noticed that 24 states have already passed a constitutional convention balanced budget amendment. there is a provision article 5 of the constitution says you can have a constitutional convention and there are ways of having it happen, and that's by two-thirds of the states saying that they want to have one. and the twhai all those are being phrased is though it would be limited to a constitutional
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convention on the balanced budget amendment only, but there's no provision to keep it at that. the only real provision in article 5 is one that says that no matter what you do in a constitutional convention, the thing that cannot be violated is that all states have equal representation in the united states senate, since we're the least pop lailted state that's one of -- since we're the least populated state that's one of my favorite parts of the article. but everything else could be tapped. there are ten more states considering that resolution. if all 34 of them pass it we'll have a constitutional convention. if we had to balance that budget in one year, that means that we have to cut $550 billion out of $1,000 billion. in other words we'd have to make a 50% cut to balance the budget. the real tragedy of this, i'm not even talking about paying down the national debt.
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i'm just talking about what the we would be able to spend after we pay interest. because we overspend. so we're trying to get it on a track where we can at least see the end of the tunnel and hope that's not the light of the train coming our way. so far it is. so that's -- that's one of the things that keeps me up. several members of the senate have ideas on how we could do that and i intend to work with them on an effort to find some real solutions eliminating some of the budget gimmicks that we've had in the past of the and i have some ideas that i hope my colleagues will consider. one of them is my penny plan. that cuts the overall spending by 1% for three years to balance the budget. a little pain for virtually everybody. everybody gives up one penny out of every dollar that they get from the federal government. the plan doesn't mandate any specific cuts. congress would have the authority to make targeted cuts and focus on the worst first.
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that's what we ought to do is focus on the worst first. there's plenty of worst first out there. if we focus on identifying and heheeliminating all of the waste until spending that occur we might no have to cut important programs and services. let's not make the cuts hurt. let's be smart about the spending cuts and prioritize how we spend taxpayers' money. my biennial appropriations bill would allow for each of the appropriations bills to be taken up for a two-year period. that means that agencies would know what they were doing for two years. what happens right now is we don't meet the spending deadline, which is october 1 until sometime that in into the next year. they don't even know what they're going to do for the year they're in. we need to solve that problem and my biennial budgeting bill actually breaks the spending up into two pieces. we do 12 of the bills sos we do six -- the six tough ones right
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after an election. then we do the six easy ones before the next election. it would allow the appropriators to scrutinize the details of the budgets. when you're looking at $^1,000, how much detail do you think you can look at when you have to do that eand every year? -- each and every year? so i'm suggesting we only have to do it once every two years for half of the budgets. and i think that would get us into a position where we would be cutting that worst first. of course, the defense defense appropriations bill would be taken up each year, just like we tank the authorization bill. some people have mentioned that we're funding some things that aren't authorized right now. they were authorized before, but the authorization date has passed so technically they're not authorized to happen. i was curious as to how many of those there were.
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i found out that there are over 250 authorizations. so how many of those are current? well 150 of them are out of date. we're still spending the money but we haven't looked at the program to see if that's what we intended for them to do and if that's how they're using the money and if it's getting done. it's about time we did that. so eliminating duplication and waste as well as improper payments could be a real part of the solution this year because those are avoidable wastes of taxpayers' dollars. the government accountability office has reported that 31 areas of the federal government are in need of reform to eliminate duplicative and unnecessary programs. consolidating programs and agency functions that overlap could save $95 billion. additionally in fiscal year 2012, there were nearly $100 billion in improper payments. that's the last time that we have an accurate record or
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inaccurate record of inaccuracies. these are payments that shouldn't be going out the door to people who are no longer eligible for benefits or overpayments of benefits or, in worst cases payments to people who are deceased. ending waste and duplication could not only help out our fiscal house and get it back in order, but it could restore some confidence in the ability of government to operate effectively. additionally, i believe that now is the time to deal with the problems we've seen each day since obamacare was implemented. premiums are skyrocketing for many people this year. while small businesses continue to hold off on hiring new workers or are keeping people on a part-time schedule so that they don't have to go out of business. we should repeal this law because it's bad for consumers and bad for businesses. we need real health care reform that gets health care costs under control and ensures that the rural health care providers can afford to continue to provide vital services.
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we can redo that so that we provide what the president promised but hasn't provided. i'm also hopeful this congress can take up tax reform legislation. this will be a challenge since the president said he wants a trillion more in revenue from the tax code. i disagree with that premise because i don't think washington needs to spend more. tax reform shouldn't raise any more money for the federal government than the current system does, but if done correctly, tax reform may generate additional revenue through economic growth. that revenue can be used to reduce the deficits and pay down the debt. i hope we can work on a bipartisan basis to take our tax code off autopilot and make it more simple and more fair for everyone -- families, small businesses corporations particularly individuals. as the only accountant on the finance committee, i'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work on tax reform. i also hope that congress will work to improve our economy and
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make energy more affordable by approving the keystone pipeline that we're debating now and fighting the president's war on coal the only stockpilable energy source that we have. the keystone pipeline application has been pending for more than five years and the state department had five reviews of the project and want more. every one of those reviews have determined the pipeline would cause no significant environmental impacts. and the pipeline would create thousands of jobs. let's get it built. similarly, we need to encourage coal production and prevent the administration from restricting this low-cost, reliable, stockpilable energy source. the coal industry provided directly and indirectly over 700,000 good-paying jobs in 2010 but since being sworn into office, president obama's
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rule-making machine has released rule after rule designed to make it difficult and more expensive to use coal. instead of running from coal, america should run on coal and i hope this congress will embrace its abundance and its power and its potential and the ingenuity of the american people people. there isn't any problem that i haven't seen that the americans couldn't solve. so let's just go to work on having cleaner energy and putting some of that incentive in to using coal. now, we need to challenge the president's other regulatory overreach as well. president obama has issued more executive orders more regulations and other executive actions than either president bush clinton or reagan. in fact, last month, "usa today" reported that this president is on track to take more high-level executive actions than any president since truman.
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with 195 executive orders and 198 presidential memoranda under his belt. now, this year we need to fight the abuse of executive power whether it's used to grant illegal executive amnesty to illegal immigrants or to regulate all bodies of water on public and private lands or to make unconstitutional political appointments. i'll be reintroducing my constitutional amendment to allow states to repeal federal regulations and hope to work with my colleagues on other efforts to fight regulatory overreach. i'm confident that we can make real progress for america this year on these and other issues because i believe the republican leader is establishing regular order has established regular order. i expect that we'll use the committee process so that senators can offer constructive amendments and debates on bills in that forum where they're intensely interested in that
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particular interest. i'm hopeful we'll also have an amendment process on the senate floor so that all 100 members of the senate have an opportunity to improve the bills we consider consider. each of us has a different background and each of us looks at every proposal from a different point of view. working together, we can make things better for the american people and i hope that we'll do it this year. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. heinrich: mr. president, i want to take a couple minutes to talk about the pending business, the trans-canada tar sands pipeline. and i think it's helpful to start out just by recognizing that we actually haven't had a global energy bill in the senate going back until on 2005. so it's been about 10 years since we've really looked at our entire energy policy in this country and set a new course for what we should be doing in the
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future. and so i thought it would be helpful to start with, despite the fact that i think bumper stickers are a little dangerous at least try to encapsulate the general direction that we should be going. the short and sweet of what lens we should be viewing our national energy policy through. and i think if i had to boil that down to a simple and concise statement what i would say is simply -- fewer imports and cleaner fuels. and so as we look at different proposals over the course of this upcoming congress, i think it will be very helpful particularly on the energy committee and here on the floor to view these projects through that lens. now, oddly enough, we're not dealing with a major energy policy as the very first thing that the united states senate considers as its pending
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business. we're dealing with one single project put forward by trans-canada an international corporation, that has spent millions and millions of dollars over the last few years lobbying washington for this particular project. and a lot has been talked about about tar sands and about oil sands. and, you know, one of the things that i think would be helpful to talk about is the fundamental difference between the oil that is produced around the united states and tar sands production. because at the end of the line we're talking about the energy that's produced. but at the front end there's an enormous difference between oil that is drilled for in southeast new mexico or northwest new mexico in west texas in north
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dakota and colorado and tar sands. if we look through that same lens of fewer imports and cleaner fuels tar sands development really fails on both of those fronts. we're talking about more dependency here in the united states on importing energy. we're talking about a substantially, substantially dirtier fuel source. in fact, we -- we aren't really allowed props on the floor here but when having this conversation in caucus, i brought some tar sands with me so i could show people the difference between oil and tar sands and just how caustic and sticky it is and how it really represents a step backwards in our overall energy policy in this country. to produce tar sands most people think of oil production. you put a well in place you case the well, you have a well pad. it has impacts certainly but it is substantially limited
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compared to what we're seeing going on in the aboreal forest in alberta canada, right now. this is a picture of northern canada. it is a place that for those of us in arid southwestern states, i can't tell you how envious we are of the kind of water that you find in this part of canada. but also the fish and wildlife and the forestry sources are substantial. you know if you look at this picture, some people would say that's the cienld kind of place you might want to see as a national wildlife refuge or a national park. that's what the aboreal forest looks like before tar sands production. and the thing to remember is that tar sands are not drilled for. they're not produced the way that oil and natural gas is produced. tar sands are mined and they're strip mined. so let me show you a little slide that exemplifies the
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aboreal forest and then the tar sands production area in the back. so the front is how it -- how it started out and the back is what you have once you're producing the tar sands. now, you heard from our colleague from wyoming in his statement recently on the floor that there's no significant environmental impact from this this -- from this project. but when you look at tar sands production, i don't know how you can look at a photo like this and say there's no significant environmental impact. and let's go on to the next slide here and we'll take an even closer look at what the tar sands looks like when it's in production. we're talking about an enormous area across northern canada impacted in this way. and as you can see the tar sands, they're not oil. it's -- it's sand and bit bitumen
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together. so to be able to process tar sands, to be able to send it through this tar sands pipeline, the keystone or any other pipeline, to be able to produce it and refine it, is a very complicated process. you know, you start by removing the forest cover. then you scrape off the topsoil. after that, you dig up the remaining tar sands and you have to heat those up and process it to get the -- the energy bearing oil portion out. and just to be able to move it through a pipeline, you have to heat it up, you have to pressurize it and you have to add caustic solvents. one of the reasons why it has been so incredibly difficult to clean up the existing tar sands spills in places like michigan and arkansas is because unlike oil that we've got a fair amount of experience with that's not easy to clean up because of these additional solvents and
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because of the very sticky nature of this substance it's almost impossible to clean up. we have very little luck cleaning up tar sands spills to date. so you see in the front of this picture the boreal forest, what's left of it, and then you see acres and acres and acres thousands upon thousands of acres, of tar sands production. so i think that the first thing that is important for people to know is that this simply is not traditional oil and gas development. it's not clear a well pad drill a hole and produce oil. it is the kind of impact that if it were proposed for new mexico or new york or california or even texas, i think you would have enormous outcry. you know, we -- we don't have the kind of open-pit mining and strip mining that we once had in this country but that is what it is most analogous to.
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that said, another one of the claims that has been made repeatedly about this particular project is that the emissions that it would create are inconsequential. and so it's helpful to look at the emissions to understand that because tar sands are fundamentally not only harder to handle but fundamentally dirtier from a pollution point of view than traditional oil resources. it's instructive to look at the difference between if we created the same amount of energy from domestic new mexico, texas colorado, north dakota crude oil versus if we produce that energy from tar sands. once again you can kind of get an idea of the emissions just at the source of the tar sands development. but if you build this tar sands pipeline and we burn all of that
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produced tar sands that's going to move through it the incremental pollution impact of that the incremental carbon pollution -- not the base pollution of whether or not you're going to -- if we created the same amount of energy from oil sources or from some other source of energy -- if we used oil from the united states to create this energy, not looking at that but just the increment of burning tar sands oil instead of conventional crude oil is equivalent of putting 285 million cars on the road for a year. so the addition of carbon pollution to the atmosphere is anything but inconsequential. and if you looked at it from the point of view of -- that's the equivalent of putting all the cars in pennsylvania, doubling pennsylvania's cars, putting
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another pennsylvania-worth of auto traffic on the road every year for 50 years. now what that doesn't take into account is the additional carbon has released simply because you're cutting down all the forest you're eliminating the peat bogs, and you're industrializing an enormous part of alberta and canada. that is another 6 million cars worth of carbon pollution on the road for a year. so that brings me to what difference does this make. you may have seen in the news just a few days ago how 2014 was the hottest year on record. i wish i could say that was an anomaly. unfortunately, it is not. 14 of the last 15 years have been record-setting years.
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and if there's something we know from our geologic record, from ice cores from the science that has been done at nasa and noaa and analyzed by our labs and university scientists, it's over time the amount of carbon pollution that is in the at most spheerks the--atmosphere the parts her million of carbon dioxide at any give untime tends to correlate with temperature. doesn't matter if it comes from a volcano or the exhaust of your car. but because we have added such an enormous increment in recent years, you can see that as the parts per million of carbon go up over time, this is -- this is the co2 concentration. and unfortunately it is not quite up to date because we are
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up here above 400 parts per million. over that a simple time period the average temperature has gone up year in and year out with fluct reaganfluctuations but the trend line continues to go up to a very dangerous level. so adding an additional increment of carbon pollution is simply not something that we can afford at a time when we need to be showing real leadership in terms of cleaning up our energy sources, moving forward to a clean energy future and putting americans to work here domestically with that approach. now, the temporary jobs that this tar sands pipeline will create are not inconsequential but it is worth stepping back and talking about how much -- since this has been sold as a jobs program -- how much of a permanent impact this is going to make. and i would make the argument
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that if we were truly serious here in the united states senate about the type of temporary construction jobs that this pipeline would create, we would get serious about passing a transportation bill. not only passing a trillions bill but financing transportation in this country financing infrastructure in this country the way that we have historically. we have a deficit of trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure at this point in this country because we won't pay to maintain it. and, in fact, our parents' generation built an infrastructure that is the envy of the world. and with the current approach in the congress, we haven't even had the decency to maintain the infrastructure that they built and pass it on to our children unimpaired much less create additional infrastructure of the type that we saw from previous
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generations. so if you look at the permanent jobs as tar particular lated as articulated in the environmental impact statement we're talking about 30 to 50 jobs from keystone. that's slightly less than a mcdonald's. it gives you a sense of the kind of scale that we're talking about in terms of permanent jobs jobs. if you compare that to just regional projects in individual states a transmission line in the southwest three times as many jobs as that. an electric vehicle plant in the west in nevada, substantially -- many, many increments of permanent jobs more, which once again brings us to the fact that in this recovery, just in the third quarter of 2014, we saw
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18,000 new clean energy jobs created in this country. so we need jobs in this country. we need energy in this country. and i would argue that the sooner we commit ourselves to a clean energy, job-incentive future the -- job-intensive future the sooner we will address the real challenges that are before us. so i want to continue to urge the president to exercise his discretion and his veto of this. i suspect it will pass the united states senate. but the sooner we get through this process my hope is that we can return to a real debate about how we address the science that all the scientists have said is out there. we did make a big step forward yesterday in that the senate for the first time -- and republicans in the senate, in particular for the first time -- accepted the reality of climate change. unfortunately, right now the
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policy prescription is to make that climate change worse. it's time we had an apollo project for clean energy in this country. that will take a transition. that means we're going to continue to produce fossil fuels as part of that transition. but the sooner we get serious about investing in research and development, the sooner we get serious in terms of scaling the very real and economically competitive technologies that we already have, the sooner we get serious about building infrastructure like transmission lines to carry renewable energy from parts of the country where it can be produced today to parts of the country where it would be consumed, the sooner we will lead the world and put this country back on track to be the world leader in not only energy but in clean energy. with that, i would thank you for my time, mr. president.
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and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president today is the -- i would ask unanimous consent that this -- that the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: the sna is in a quorum call. mr. hatch: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: and i ask unanimous consent that these remarks be placed in the record in an appropriate place. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: mr. president today is the anniversary of a
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tragedy. 42 years ago today the supreme court announced its creation of a right to abortion for virtually any reason at all virtually at any time. the result of that decision is a tragedy for our society for our culture, and for our precious life lost. since even before america's found, the law was on a steady march toward protecting the human beings before birth. during the 19th century medical professionals and civil rights activists led a movement that succeeded in prohibiting abortion in every state except to save the life -- to save the mother's life. america had reached a consensus on the importance of protecting the most vulnerable. unfortunately, the supreme court swept all of that aside imposing upon the country a permissive abortion regime that the american people to this day have never chosen or accepted. the debate over the morality, legality or policy of abortion begins with one inescapable
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fact: every abortion kills a living human being. many have tried mightily to avoid obscure distract from, or ignore that fact that it will not go away. every abortion kills a living human being. that fact informed president ronald reagan when he wrote a moving essay titled "abortion and the conscience of the nation." he wrote, "we cannot diminish the value of one category of human life, the unborn, without diminishing the value of all human life." the real question, mr. president mr. president, reagan said -- the real question, president reagan said, is not about when human life begins but about the value of human life. i believe that remains the real question today. today the united states is one of only seven nations in the world who allow abortion into
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the sixth month of pregnancy and beyond. that list of nations includes such chafn yons of champions of human rights as china and north korea. yet the united states voted in favor of the universal declaration of human rights which recognizes in its preamble the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of -- quote -- "all members of the human family" -- unquote. article 3 of the declaration states "everyone has a right to lievment" words such as "universal" and "inherent" and "all" are unambiguous and clear. our embrace of the inherent dignity and worth of all human beings in 1948 stands in jarring contrast to the supreme court's decision in roe just 25 years late that the life of any human being may be ended before birth. the supreme court might have thought in 1973 that it was
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settling the abortion issue. by 1992, however the court conceded that the rules it created in roe simply did not work and issued revised regulations in the case titled planned parenthood v. case six the court said then that the contending sides in the abortion controversy should -- quote -- "end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the constitution." unquote. national division on any issue let alone one so profound as the taking the value of human life, will not end simply because the court says so. the division over abortion not only continues but has remained largely unchanged even after dozens of supreme court decisions and four decades of insisting that abortion is a constitutional right. the supreme court can render opinions on constitutionality but it is limited in its ability
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to forge lasting consensus. that is the providence of our great deliberative bodies where the people are truly represented. more than 70% of americans believe that abortion should be illegal in most or all circumstances. that figure has not changed in 40 years. what has changed is that more americans today identify themselves as pro-life than pro-choice. large majorities favor a limitation on abortions and last november elected scores of new pro-life legislators in both at both the state and the federal level. mr. president, we must not avoid the fundamental question of the value of human life, for no question is more important. wedo we still as we once did believe that every human being has worth? two nights ago president obama spoke about the values that are
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at stake in the public policy choices we must make? is there any value more important than life itself? he spoke about expanding opportunities for individuals but the first opportunity that must be secured is the opportunity for life itself. for many, the right to abortion is a symbol of progress. however, the idea that a act resulting in killing a human being should be held as a step forward to as a light to guide our way, is misguided. we should be deepening the convictions that all human beings have inherent dignity and worth p. that has been and should remain the foundation of our culture of our society and even our politics. in his 1983 essay president reagan wrote that -- quote -- "we cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion"
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-- unquote. today's tragic anniversary is a reminder of how our nation's survival depends on respecting the essential dignity and worth of every human individual. restingresting in the balance is how we ultimately define who we are as a people and what we strive to be as a nation. this is an important issue. it's not one that should just be slighted over. it is an issue that should strike in the heart of every person in this body. it is an issue that we all should stand up to strengthen and to fight against in the case of this issue of abortion. i'm so grateful that so many people feel the same way and that more and more of the people in this country are starting to realize that every human life is important and that this society
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has sometimes gotten off track and not respected the rights of human beings. i think roe v. wade led us there, and we should be led out of roe v. wade by those who know that there is a better way that there is a better way to have a sensitivity that society really deserves to have, should have and i believe will have in the future. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. well i withdraw that request. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president thank you so very much. and i heard the words of my friend and he's eloquent in his remarks. but i don't think he'd be surprised to know that i see this issue very differently. before roe v. wade was decided in the 1970's, women died.
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women died because they couldn't end a pregnancy even if they were raped. and there are bodies buried in america, and you don't know the cause of death because if a woman tried to end an unwanted pregnancy, sometimes as a result of rape or even incest, she'd be considered a criminal. and that's what you hear from my colleagues on the other side. let's go back to the last century. let's undo roe v. wade. and it's hard for me to believe that here i stand in this century arguing that women should be respected that families should be respected that everyone tion's religion should be respected because you see i support a woman's right to choose.
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and that means if your religion says you will never end an unwanted pregnancy i support you. i believe this decision should be between a woman, her doctor, and her god. -- and her family. and i don't think any united states senator should get in the middle of a woman's private life. it is dangerous to do so. it is wrong to do so. and to do so in the name that you're really doing something that is going to help a family, it just doesn't make sense to me. you know, the republican party used to be the party of individual freedom and individual rights. and when i was on the board of planned parenthood so many years ago before roe v. wade, you know who was very active and on their board? george herbert walker bush. this was an issue that was
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embraced by republicans and democrats: individual respect for women individual rights for women, caring about a woman's health. that wasn't a partisan issue. and i don't see how interfering with a woman's health or her right to choose in any way is helpful to her in a time of need. it should be her decision within the law. we don't want to go back to the last century. and i was glad to see the republicans in the house pulled a bill off the floor because it was so nasty to women it didn't even allow them the right to terminate a pregnancy of a certain date if the woman was a victim of rape. they pulled it, but then they replaced it with another terrible bill that also limits a woman's right to choose.
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my republican friends would make doctors criminals put them in jail for years and years. they would make women criminals. they even had one that said a grandmother should be put in jail if she helps her granddaughter. that was just too much for me. -- as a grandmother. how dare some senator come down here and tell a grandma what to do for her grand daughter. this is the party of individual freedom, that always decries "too much government"? come on. this is putting government right in the middle of our most personal decisions. it never used to be that way but that's the way it is. everyone deserves respect for their views. they shouldn't be taunted for their views.
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that's why the right to choose makes so much sense. you don't tell someone that government says you must do a b, or c. you till tell the person, within the law, within roe, which is a modest decision -- which was a modest decision at the time, you make a decision and we respect it and we don't need to know about it. putting senators in the middle of our private lives is not why i came to the senate. we have a lot of work to do. we've got to work on good jobs. we've got to pass a highway bill. we've got to make sure that this planet is habitable for people. talk about kindness, think about the future generations who have to live on a planet that is increasingly inhospitable. scientists tell us if we don't do anything about climate at the
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end of the day it may be an uninhabitable planet. we have a lot of work to do. we all do. and it seems to me we should start off by doing what government should do, not putting ourselves in the middle of private lives. so you know, again i greatly respect my colleagues whose views are different than mine, but all i ask them to think about is this, if you embrace your right to choose, then you are saying to women all over america, this is a tough decision we understand it. make it with your god. make it with your loved ones. but we're not going to be right there in the middle of your living room telling you what we think is right what we think is right. because that's not why we were elected. so i'm glad i happened to be on the floor to follow senator hatch's remarks and i feel very
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strongly about this. as many of you know, the democratic women of the senate and several of our republican women colleagues will continue to fight against saying to a woman that she has no right to make a most private most personal decision that without satisfying united states senators most of whom are men by the way. it's just not right. and speaking of polls because i think senator hatch mentioned one, people want us to have a moderate approach on this. they don't want abortion on demand. neither does any pro-choice senator. roe v. wade spelled it out in the early stages we know a woman has that right. later only if her health or life
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is threatened. it is pretty modest. it makes sense. leave it alone. that decision was made in 1973. don't turn the clock back in this century. so i want to thank the president and i would yield the floor and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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ms. murkowski: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: thank you mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that at 3:50 today the senate proceed to vote in relation to the following amendments in the order listed -- boxer 113, which is a side-by-side for senator fischer, and senator fischer 18 as modified, manchin 99, sanders 24 lee 71, murkowski 123, which
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is a side-by-side for senator wyden, wyden number 27, blunt 78 as modified, cornyn 126 as modified and menendez 72 as modified. and further that all amendments on this list be subject to a 60-vote affirmative threshold for adoption, except for cornyn 126 and menendez 72, which are germane, and that no second degrees be in order to the amendments. i ask consent that there be two minutes of debate equally divided between each vote and that all votes after the first in the series be ten-minute votes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. ms. murkowski: mr. president i ask --
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ms. murkowski: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to call up my amendment number 123. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from alaska ms. murkowski proposes
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an amendment numbered 123. ms. murkowski: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president i ask unanimous consent to modify the blunt amendment number 78 with the changes at the desk. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection the amendment is so modified. ms. murkowski: and mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to call up the cornyn amendment number 126 as modified with the changes at the desk. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from alaska ms. murkowski for mr. cornyn proposes amendment numbered 126 as modified. ms. murkowski: i ask unanimous consent that the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cantwell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: i ask consent that the menendez amendment number 72 be modified with the changes
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that are at the desk. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection the amendment is so modified. ms. cantwell: mr. president on behalf of senator manchin i call up his amendment number 99. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from washington ms. cantwell, for mr. manchin, proposes an amendment numbered 99. ms. cantwell: i ask that further reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cantwell: mr. president i want to yield to senator boxer so she could call up her amendment. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i call up amendment 113. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from california mrs. boxer, proposes amendment 113 -- mrs. boxer: i would ask it be considered as read, and i would ask to have two minutes just
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before the vote starts to explain this amendment. ms. murkowski: mr. president. the presiding officer: without objection. is there objection? ms. murkowski: reserving the right to object, i just want to make sure that we are understanding here the vote is scheduled to begin three minutes ago, and as part of the unanimous consent agreement there was not any time allowed for the boxer amendment for senator boxer to speak. i don't have a problem in giving -- mrs. boxer: i would ask that we each have a chance, a minute at least to talk about our amendment. ms. murkowski: and i'm happy to make sure that is allowed. it is my understanding -- it wasn't included in the consent but i'm certainly happy to allow for the minute as senator boxer has requested. mrs. boxer: so i have a minute. i actually asked for three but as i understand, i have a minute. is that where we're at? i would ask unanimous consent for two minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you so much i
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say to my friends. i know what a hard job it is to get this bill moving, and i'm trying to be very helpful. i'm offering an amendment i didn't expect to offer mr. president, because basically my amendment says that we should acknowledge the benefit that parks provide to our local and regional communities and their economies for small business, enhanced local tourism and how much they contribute to employment and provide our opportunities to our families. now, can you imagine america without yosemite yellowstone grand canyon, the statue of liberty natural bridges in utah scottsbluff in nebraska, muir woods in california, glacier bay in alaska? these were all protected by republican and democratic presidents and in many cases by congress. why do i offer this? it seems to me we shouldn't have to argue about this. it's because my friend, senator
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fischer, has an amendment that i think is very dangerous. i know she modified it and i appreciate that, but at the end of the day, it is so vague that i think it's going to lead us right to the courthouse door. for example, if a president now or in the future, democratic or republican decided in california because the community really wanted it to declare a national monument, as we have just had recently, in many cases, i would tell you this -- under this fischer amendment what would happen is there would really have to be under consideration what does this do to other monuments to other parks, to the budget deficit? and if someone who did not like this said i'm taking this to court because the president didn't consider this, you would not have any more national
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monuments and you would not have all the beautiful iconic things we have like the grand canyon and scottsbluff and i just think it's a bad amendment. i know my friend is trying to make a point but i think we should defeat it and pass the boxer amendment. the presiding officer: under the previous order the senate will proceed to a vote in relation to amendment number 113 offered by the senator from california, mrs. boxer. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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