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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 9, 2015 10:00am-8:01pm EDT

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on some others. some passed, some have been defeated. but people have had a chance to have their say. and senator murray and i have received a large number of amendments several dozen actually that senators on both sides have offered that we've agreed to recommend to the full senate that we adopt by consent. in addition to that, we adopted 29 amendments in the committee consideration, and many of those were amendments from democrat members of the senate. so i think most senators -- in fact i haven't heard a single one say that they haven't had a chance to have their say on no child left behind. yesterday i put that the record an op-ed from the "washington post" from the virginia secretary of education ann holton who made the argument that i think stays like virginia are well-prepared to accept the responsibility for higher standards, better teaching, and real accountability. over the last 15 years that's
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happened in every state and it reminds us that this bill we're debating only provides 4% of the dollars that pay for our 100,000 public schools in the country. we have some other money that the federal government spends, 4% or 5% more for those schools but this bill spends 4%. most of the money most of the responsibility most of the opportunity for success is with parents, classroom teachers, and others who are close to the children. the consensus that we've developed here, the bipartisan consensus beginning with the bill that senator murray and i put toct together and being be -- being imriewived by committee we restore to states the responsibility for figuring out what to do about the tests. that has broad-scale support. the superintendents were in town yesterday from all over the country.
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they told uses that. -- they told us that. the teachers organizations the major teacher organizations of the country tell us we do not need in effect a national school board. those decisions need to be made by teachers who cherish the children in their classroom and parents who put them there and school board members who care pour them and governors and legislatelegislators who are closinger to home. this bill isn't easy to do, but because of that consensus we're making good prosmg progress. i would like to include in the record following my remarks an article earlier this week from "newsweek" entitled "the education law everyone wants to fix." well, the house of representatives has said it wants to fix it last night. the progress we're making suggests that the senate wants to fix tsm we know that all across the country governors legislatures parents schoolteachers want to end the aing dismiet 100,000 -- anxiety
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in 100,000 schools. we'll be having more votes today just before lunch and then we'll continue with the bill. spher officer without objection. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: i would like to also include following my remarks an article that i wrote for the "wall street journal" yesterday about the cost of going to college. i think it's unfortunate that so many politicians and pundits say that americans can't afford college when, in fact, most of them can. it's never easy. but it's important for them to know that for low-income americans, for example the first two years of college is free or nearly free at a community college and there are many other ways that colleges and universities and the federal government and the taxpayers try to make it easy for a large number of americans to go to college. that's a debate that senator hurry and i are already working on -- murray and i are already withoutwithoutworkingon. we'll bring the reauthorization of the higher education bill before the senate later in year.
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i would like to ask unanimous consent to include my op-ed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: there are a number of senators wishing to come to the floor to speak today. i want to encourage my senator who hasn't presented their amendment to go ahead and do that. i'm hopeful that soon we'll have an agreement to have a number of votes before lunch. i yield the floor. i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: thank you mr. president. mr. president, making sure our nation's students get a quality education is critical for our ability, our country's ability to lead the world in the years to come, and a good education
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can be a ticket to the middle class. so it's -- and it's also important for building an economy from the middle out not just from the top down. and, of course, yesterday the house of representatives passed their partisan bill to reauthorize the nation's k-12 education bill. while that is another important step in the process to finally fix the badly broken no child left behind law, i am disappointed that house republicans have chosen to take a partisan approach on their bill that is unacceptable to democrats and will never become law. i really appreciate the work that ranking member bobby scott put into the house democratic substitute. i am looking forward to coming together with him as well as chairman klein in a conference, and i truly hope that house republicans will be ready to join rank member bobby scott and other house and senate democrats, senate republicans and the administration as we work to get this done in a way that works for all students and families and i am looking forward to continuing that work
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here today in the senate. again, i truly want to thank my colleague, the senior senator from tennessee for working with me on our bipartisan bill, and i really appreciate chairman alexander's choorption inalexander's cooperation in working in a bipartisan way in this process. i join him in encourage our colleagues to file their amendments so we can continue making progress on this important piece of legislation. mr. president, our bipartisan bill the every child achieves act, is a good step in the right direction to fix no child left behind. it gives our states more flexibility while also including federal guardrails to make sure all students have access to a quality public education. we're not done yet. i want to work to continue to improve and strengthen the bill. one example today we'll talk about an amendment to help shine inequalities in education that stillies ifstill exist in our country. i want to thank senator warren for offering her amendment offering to help states,
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districts, and schools better betterragebetteranalyze student achievement data. i am looking forward to getting started today to work through this issue and a number of others we have. i hope to work this a bipartisan way to make sure all students have access to a quality education. again, regardless of where they live or how they learn or how much money they make. so i look forward to today's discussion and again thank our colleagues on the other side of the aisle for working with us to fix this badly broken bill. thank you mr. president. and i yield the floor. mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i want to acknowledge the senator from washington's comments. before she was here, i commented on her leadership and on how the democratic leader, as well as the republican leader, have created an environment in which we can succeed here. we govern a complex country like hours by consensus d. like ours by consensus and i think the way we're doing things is a pretty
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good example of how to do that. we have a process for this called a conference. we haven't been doing conferences much lately, but she and i both talked with chairman klein and representative scott. if we should succeed next week, as i believe we will, then we'll have a camps with the house of representatives -- a conference with the house of representatives and we'll develop a bill that the president we hope will be comfortable signing because we're not here just to make a speech; we would a result. as i said in the article i put in earlier, this is the education law that everyone wants fixed. and in our constitutional system of government, we don't fix it unless the house and senate agree and the president signs it. so that is our goal, and we're continuing to make steps thanks to the leadership of senator murray and others.
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mr. president, i notice the absence of 0 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 tennessee. mr. alexander: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that it is time until 11:30 a.m. today be equally divided between the two managers or their designees and that it be in order to call up the following amendments -- daines 2110; warren, 2120; brown, 2019; portman2107;
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manchin, heller, 2121. and that the toomey amendment be modified with the changes at the desk. further that although 11:30 the senate vote in relation to the amendments in the order listed with a vote in relation to the toomey amendment as modified after the disposition of the brown amendment with a 60-affirmative vote threshold for adoption of the daines amendment and with no second-degree amendments in order to any of the amendments prior to the votes. there would be two minutes equally divided prior to each vote. and upon the disposition of the feinstein amendment, the senate vote in relation to the fischer amendment number 2079. mr. president, i'd like to correct. it's the brown amendment 2099. i misspoke. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. alexander: for the
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information of senators, we expect the first four amendments in this series to require roll call votes with the rest of the amendments being adopted by voice vote. i thank the senator from washington for working with us to create this agreement. the presiding officer: who yields time? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. toomey: thank you mr. president. i want to speak about my amendment, which is part of the unanimous consent agreement that was just agreed to and i want to -- i've got a number of thank yous i want to go through. let me start with thanking the cosponsors of this amendment starting with senator manchin who's been with me in this battle for a very long time now. but also i want to thank the other cosponsors, including senators mcconnell senator alexander, cotton, capito, gardner, heller, inhofe, johnson, mccain, roberts and vitter. and i want to address what we've done here and explain to people what we're going to vote on later today is a -- an amendment that i think is very, very
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constructive and i'm very optimistic and hopeful this is going to pass. mr. president, it's based on a bill that i introduced with senator manchin over a year and a half ago, which was called the protecting students from violent and sexual predators act. and i've spoken about this a number of times because i feel very strongly about this, mr. president. the fact is while the overwhelming majority of our school employees across america are wonderful people and some of the great role models of our lives, it is also a fact that there are predators in our schools. that's a sad fact but it's true. and we know this for many reasons, not the least of which last year alone there were 459 school employees arrested across america for sexual misconduct with the kids that they're supposed to be protecting. so far this year, we're on a path we're arresting people at a right that exceeds that of last year. we know this is a huge problem. it came to my attention because of the absolutely horrific story
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of a young boy named jeremy bell and that story sadly began in pennsylvania. where a teacher was molesting the students under his charge. he was molesting little boys. the school figured out what was going on, reported it to the authorities but the authorities were never able to assemble enough evidence to mount a prosecution. as much as they wanted to so the school did something despicable. what the school decided to do was to make this predator someone else's problem. so they wrote a letter of recommendation and said, you just leave take this letter with you and find employment elsewhere. well, this is a pedophile. this is a predator that they did this for. of course he left and he did become someone else's problem. he got hired in west virginia as a schoolteacher. eventually became a principal. and, of course, he serially molestedly children in that
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school -- molested the children in that school finally culminating in the rape and murder of a little 12-year-old boy named jeremy bell. the practice of sending a letter of recommendation on behalf of a known predator is so appalling most of us can't imagine anyone would do it. but, mr. president the sad truth is that it has happened so frequently that it even has a name. it's called passing the trash. and in prosecution circles, in the circles of people who are advocates for children who are victims of these horrendous crimes, they know this all too well. passing the trash is all too common a practice as a way for schools to make these predators someone else's problem. well, mr. president, the initial amendment that i filed on this bill mirroring the legislation that senator manchin and i introduced attempted to deal with this problem in two ways. one, in the first place was to require a more thorough and establish a federal standard for background checks for school employees.
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and the second way was to have a prohibition against passing the trash. make it illegal for someone to knowingly recommend for hire a sexual predator. as for the first part, the background check part we've had disagreements among ourselves as to how to do that, whether to do that. there have been deep disagreements. and despite many, many conversations with my colleagues, we have not been able to reach an agreement on how to proceed on that. so i'm disappointed that we haven't reached that agreement but i understand that we don't have the votes to pass that portion. and so i've agreed to put that aside for now. i have not agreed to abandon this cause of establishing the most rigorous possible background checks. but we're going to have that fight another day and hopefully at a time when we've got the votes to pass it. what's really terrific news, mr. president, is that we have reached an agreement on the other part of our legislation the part that prohibits this despicable horrendous practice
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of passing the trash the very action that enabled the predator to get the job which enabled him, in turn, to rape and kill young jeremy bell. having reached this agreement i'm confident that we're going to be able to pass this amendment later today and if we do it will be the first time that the united states senate has established that this practice this despicable practice will no longer be tolerated anywhere in the country. mr. president, this is a huge victory for america's children. it's as simple as that. when we pass this in the senate and when it eventually becomes law, which i'm confident it will the fact is, our kids are going to be safer. there's a lot of states that already have some legislation that prohibits passing the trash within their state but no state can force another state to forbid this practice coming across their lines and into their state. that's why this always needed a federal response and i am really
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thrilled that today i think we're going to have that federal response. mr. president, i need to thank a lot of folks. i see my colleague from west virginia has joined us and i want to start with him. senator manchin has been a great partner in this effort since we started over a year and a half ago and i'm sure he'll have something he wants to add about this entire process. but i also want to thank the chairman of the committee chairman alexander and the ranking member, ranking member murray for all of the help that they have provided in getting us to this place. senator alexander in particular and his staff together with my staff, i want to mention dimple guptha who has worked so tirelessly on this. we have had many long, often difficult conversations because we started in what seemed like irreconcilable differences about this topic. but because we persisted because everybody approached this in a cooperative fashion and despite the -- the stiff
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opposition that there was at times, we were able to find the common ground. i also need to acknowledge some outside groups that made it possible for us to find this common ground. the national children's alliance, the association of prosecuting attorneys many child advocate groups across pennsylvania and across the country, law enforcement groups, prosecutors even the american academy of pediatricians has been helpful in getting us here. and let me just close with this mr. president. this is exactly the way the senate's supposed to work. this is the way it's supposed to happen. where people who share a common vision right? we all want to make sure our kids are in the safest possible environment when they go to school. but we started with wildly different views about how to get there. and when the senate is working well it works exactly as it's working now. regular order on the senate floor, through the committee process a ranking member and a chairman who are willing to work with individual members on their priorities people coming together and figuring out where is that common ground, how can
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we get this done how can we put the interests of our constituents, the american people, in this case our kids and our grandkids how do we put their interests ahead of political considerations to get this done. and i'm really thrilled that i think we've reached that point on this really important amendment. so i want to urge all my colleagues to support this amendment. i think it's -- i hope it will have very, very broad support. and i just want to say thanks to all the colleagues who helped to make this happen, mr. chairman -- mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. manchin: mr. president let me say to my colleague from pennsylvania, i have enjoyed working with him on many ventures but this has been one particularly gratifying. i this i it is bipartisan all the way. i think it will pass. it makes all sense in the world. it was jeremy bell from my state of west virginia thatches that was the
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victim of this tragic crime. as senator toomey has said, we're not going to give up on making sure that we can find out who she is perpetrators are and if they have a record, and that's something we'll continue to be very vigilant on. i want to thank him for his commitment his hard work. his staff and our staff enjoyed working together. i want to thank senator alexander and the senator murray for including this -- my amendment, another amendment i am going to be speak on, to promote volunteerism and community service. it is something i feel very strong i b i go all over the state of west virginia and speak in different parts of the country and i speak to young people and ask them if they feel like they own the country? do you believe this is your country? they look at me very strangely and they they really don't.
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who are we speaking about? it is you. it is your government. you own it. what have you done to invest in it? are you taking care of it? are you doing preventive maintenance? i'm reminded of the five promises the five promises that were made -- and it was started by colin colin powell and his five promises committee and it is something that my wife and i when i was governor of west virginia we took up. we have a five promise program we still support in west virginia. every child when they're born into this world should have a loving caring adult in their life. somebody -- somebody uncondition unconditionally that loves them. sometimes unfortunately it is not always the biological parents or family. but every child deserves to have unconditional love. second every child must have a safe place where harm can't entear their life, where they know that they will be kept safe. every child deserves that. third, every child deserves a
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healthy start. we know that nutrition and basically the ability to provide nutrition and sometimes because of their economic conditions, they don't always have that opportunity. that's a responsibility we have as the greatest country on earth be the superpower that we are. every child should have a healthy start fourth, every child should grow to earn a skill, learn a skill, be a i believe to attain a skill that will carry them to be a usful adult in -- a successful adult in life. i am going to speak about the fifth promise in just a moment. giving back to our communities contributing our time and service to improve -- this is something everybody can do. you can't use the excuse, i'm sorry, my family isn't wealthy enough for me to do something. that's not an excuse. i'm sorry i live in an area, a rural area where i just don't have that available to me. there's a need everywhere in the world. every part in this great country there is a need for you to give something back and do something to contribute, to reach out and
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to help somebody. -- to help somebody of lesser means or maybe they don't have any assistance whatsoever in their life. but there is an opportunity for every person to give. i learned from my grandparents -- i watched them open up their home make sure there was always a bed for a stranger and make sure there were rules to live by. wii you couldn't swear you couldn't drink and you had to work and provide something. if that was the case, then my grandparents took care of you. they wanted to share with you. it was simple rules to live by. true public service is not there. we for some reason thought it was somebody else's responsibility to take care of us to offer a federal or state program. what happened to reaching across the room, if you will, or reaching across your town or community or state and reaching out and helping people? our world is different bower commitment to our neighbors shouldn't be. that's one thing that doesn't change. one person can still have a
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meaningful impact on another person'sperson's life and we know that. my amendment basically has -- says that -- and this is senator shaheen -- senator shaheen has been working with me. it gives every school the flexibility to use their federal funding on programs to promote volunteerism and community service sms that's all. it is optional. it is not mandatory. but if you believe that that is such an intricate part of your responsibility as an educator to make sure these young people have a chance to get thew a food bank or a food pantry or a homeless shelter or a senior citizen opportunity to help people in need or a nursing home give them that chance, you can use some of those resources that you have through this updated bill that we're about to pass which you think is historical and much needed, that will allow them to do that. that's all we've asked for. i am so appreciative and very
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appreciative that both our chairman alexander and our ranking member murray have accepted this. my amendment today is part of keeping general powell's fifth promise. i told you about the four promises. the fifth promise is this: every child should grow to be a loving caring adult an give something back. we can't teach you that one. you have to earn that one. you have to learn that one yourself. sometimes you're toibl able to get it from where you live, the family, the community. sometimes you see it and know it is the right thing to do. this is going to i have go you an opportunity in in the educational setting to find your lot in life, to be able to give something back, to be able to grow to be a caring, giving adult. that's what this is all about. so i believe very strongly in this amendment that we have. i believe very strongly that it is going to help the youth of america be able to be americans and what's expected of us as americans to help one another. so i would say this an investment in community service
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pays off both for our students and our communities. mr. president, in 2013, in this one year, u.s. taxpayers invested $1.7 billion in our national service programs that we have to date. the total social return on this investment in 2013 was estimated to be $6.5 billion. almost a 4-1 return in the value that we receive back as a society. i don't think you can get a better return on an investment than having the youth of america be able to give something back and learn that fifth promise, to be a caring ring loving adult and to be able to carry this tradition on. i appreciate very much the chairman and the ranking member for accepting this amendment. and i think this is going to greatly help the school systems of america be able to get involved in volunteerism, again without social media but truly hands-on and so i think that this is something that we need. i am appreciative.
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i want to thing him. with that, i yield the floor mr. president. mr. portman: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i thank my colleague from west virginia. he was saying they can achieve their god-given abilities and be able to give back. i appreciate the fact that the chair and rank member have ready to take a careful look at this amendment of my understanding is that senator alexander is going to be offering this amendment later. but this has to do with substance abuse. it h's to do with our young people who unfortunately we're seeing a younger and younger age of first use of drugs. we're seeing also more and more young people who struggle with addiction. in the legislation and in the underlying law, there are provisions for prevention, and that's incredibly important. if we can get our young people not to go down this road, we can avoid some devastating consequences. to them and to their future, to their families, to our communities and if you look at
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the youths today in my home state of ohio -- i was just home the day before yesterday at a conference on this issue of heroin use and prescription drug use by our young people. it is growing. it is a huge problem. it is the number-one cause of death in owe is overdoses from these drugs not car accidents as it has been in the past. we must focus on this issue. the most effective way is through prevention and education. that's in the underlying bill. what is in the no l bill, though is to provide support servicesservices for our young people. the legislation i am offering simply provides recovering support services for our young people who fall victim to the dangers of drugs. we have a responsibility to do this in my view. again, not just to focus as the underlying legislation does on drug prevention, early intervention but also to focus on providing this important recovery services to students in schools and communities so that they can overcome their addiction and they can achieve their god-given abilities and be
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productive members of society as the senator from west virginia and pennsylvania were talking about. i encourage my colleagues to support this amendment. the second amendment i would like to talk about that i understand also may be offered later and included in a package -- and i appreciate the chair and rank member taking a careful look at this -- has to do with homeless youth. this is an amendment that basically enables us to streamline the current process where it is very difficult to establish that somebody is homeless. in fact, under our current law you've got to go through kite a process with h.u.d., with the department of housing and urban development. i'm told thrur sometimes there are sometimes up to 10 or 12 different documents you have to go through. this is streamlines the process and allows the counselors who are already in the schools to be able to make the determination to help get services to these kids. homeless youth in america are now at an all-time high. one in 45 children are now homeless in a year. i hope that this amendment which is 2087, to help homeless
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youth will also be one that will we'll be able to take up here on the floor. senator dianne feinstein and i are offering this tofght. it is foster greater community collaboration by streamlining the process allowing these counselors already in the schools to get the training they need to be able to support these kids so we can more quickly identify them and provide the services that they need. i want to make up thack thank my colleague from montana for allowingallowing me to talk about these amendments. i hope these amendments can be passed on a bipartisan basis. i yield the floor back. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment in order to call up amendment 2110. the presiding officer: the amendment is set aside. the clerk will report.
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the clerk: the senator from montana, mr. daines, proposes an amendment numbered 2110 to amendment 2089. insert the following -- >> mr. daines: ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: as a fifth-generation montana and a product of montana public schools, a husband to an elementary schoolteacher the father of four children, including one who has a degree in elementary education i understand how important a first-rate education is to our kids' future. as i meet with parents and educators across montana they share concerns about the one-size-fits-all student performance and teacher qualification metrics that currently dictate federal funding as part of no child left behind. while well-intended many of these metrics have proven difficult for schools in rural areas to achieve. so as the state debates the every child achieves act to
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reform our nation's education policies one of my priorities will be fighting to increase local control over academic standards and education policies and working to push back against burdensome federal regulations that often place our schools in a straitjacket. for example the u.s. department of education has incentivized states to adopt common core by offing exemptions from no child left behind regulations and making extra federal increasing funds -- education funds accessible to states that adopt common core. i am deeply concerned for the federal government's efforts to back states into adopting such programs as an inappropriate interference in education policy decisions that should be made by the states, to be made by the parents, by the teachers, and local school boards. if we're serious about wanting to make future generations as ours, it is important to excel in a globally competitive
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economy. our children should receive a well-rounded education that focuses on reading shall writing, math, and training in the arts. it is clear that the federal government'sfederalgovernment's one-size-fits-none approach isn't working. that's why i'm offering this a-plus an amendment to the every child achieves act. i want to thank the chairman as well as the ranking member, senators alexander senators murray for allowing this vote on this amendment today. this measure will help expand local control of our schools and return federal dollars where they belong -- closer to the classrooms. with a-plus, the states should be freed and will be freed from washington unworkable teacher standards. states would be freed from washington-knows-best. pance metrics. states would be freed from washington's failed testing requirements. states would be held accountable
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by parents parents and teachers because a bright light would be held on local school districts. with freedom from federal mandates comes more responsibility transparency, and accountability on states. we need to empower our states, our local school boards, teachers and parents to work together to get the best solutions to fit each need of the child. the a-plus returns responsibility for our kids education closer to home, reduces the influence of the federal government over our classrooms. i want to thank senators grassley cruz, vitter, johnson lee, lankford, blunt crapo rubio and gardner for cosponsoring my a-plus amendment, and i ask my other senate colleagues to join us in empowering our schools to serve their students, not d.c. bureaucrats, and support this
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important amendment. i see my colleague from utah is here as well, senator lee. i yield some sometime to you for your comments on this amendment. mr. lee: thank you. mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, the work the senate is engaged in this week is long overdue. the last time the elementary and secondary education act was updated, which was 14 years ago congress gave the country no child left behind, a policy that by all accounts has been a failure. that's why in 2012 the obama administration began offering waivers to states allowing them to opt out of the coercive and ineffective requirements that no child left behind imposed on america's school districts and classrooms. but state officials and local school boards quickly learned that just as parents and teachers did these so-called waivers didn't solve the
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fundamental problem created by no child left behind. they further entrenched that problem. these weren't waivers in any meaningful sense because they came with a new set of strings attached that only reinforced washington d.c.'s authority to micromanage the policies and the curriculum of classrooms all around the country. they did not give state and local policy-makers the freedom and flexibility to use education funding in a way that would best meet the needs of students and truly empower every child to succeed. no. instead they forced teachers, school boards and state officials to choose between the lesser of two evils. either, on the one hand, abide by the federal mandates of no child left behind. or, on the other hand, accept the federal mandates prescribed by common core and race to the top. mr. president, the underlying bill that we will vote on next
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week makes the same mistake. and unless it's amended, we can expect it in turn to have the same disappointing results. more kids will be trapped in failing schools. their opportunities in life predetermined by their parents' zip code rather than their god-given talents and their own individual desire to learn and succeed. more teachers will be rewarded on the basis of the number of years they have been on the job rather than on the basis of the number of kids that they have helped to graduate. and more parents will regrettably but understandably, lose faith in the public education system knowing that it's designed to serve the ideological whims of federal politicians and federal bureaucrats instead of the educational needs of their children. that's why i'm here this morning, mr. president to offer my support and to encourage my
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colleagues to offer their support for an amendment to the proposed reauthorization of the elementary and secondary education act an amendment that would help us avoid the serious mistakes of the past. mr. president, the basic premise, the basic animating principle behind the bill before the senate as it now stands and the basic premise the basic principle behind no child left behind and common core is that when it comes to running a classroom washington bureaucrats and politicians know better than america's teachers, parents, and local school boards. the principle behind this amendment, by contrast, the a-plus act amendment is essentially the opposite, that no one is in a better position to make decisions about a child's education than his or her parents guardians teachers counselors and principals. if you believe in this principle
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as i do and as experience instructs all of us to do, then you must support the a-plus act because it empowers every child's parents guardians teachers principals and counselors to make the greatest impact on their education and on their lives. and it would do so without eliminating any federal mandates coercive and ineffective though they may be. and it would simply give states the choice to opt out of them, no strings attached. here's how the a-plus act works. if a state's legislators determines that the federal government's approach to education reform has not improved academic achievement in their state, they have an alternative. they can submit to the u.s. department of education a declaration of intent outlining their state-directed education reform initiatives. and states that choose to opt out, education officials will
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not have to spend their time complying with onerous one-size-fits-all federal mandates. instead they'll have the freedom and flexibility to listen and respond to the needs and recommendations of parents teachers principals and school boards. they'll be able to make their education funds go further by consolidating programs and funding sources. and they'll be able to improve the educational opportunities of disadvantaged children by designing their state's policies to be more responsive and more targeted. this amendment isn't about states rights so much as it is about children's rights, like the right to a good education. and it would secure those rights by empowering america's teachers and parents to pursue innovative policies like charter schools and school vouchers and pay for success initiatives that have proven to be successful in classrooms all around the country. the bill that the senate will vote on next week may be well
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intentioned in its reauthorization of the elementary and secondary education act but it misdiagnoses the problem of the status quo. our education system needs to be reformed. not in spite of excessive federal control but because of it. the a-plus act recognizes this fact and it takes critical steps to rebuild our education policy around it. i urge my colleagues to support the a-plus amendment the success of america's children depends upon it. i thank my friend and distinguished colleague from montana and yield my time back to him. mr. daines: thank you. and i thank you for those remarks from the senator from utah and his insights into empowering schools and parents and states to have more control over their children's futures through education. this measure will help expand local control of our schools.
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it will return federal education dollars where they belong, and that's close to the classrooms. just before i came down to the floor to speak today, i was in my office with some high school students from montana from communities like saint regis hobson missoula clyde's park. they are the bright future of our state. and as i chat with them about this amendment they too agreed that by shifting control back to the states, control back to the local school boards, control back to the parents that individual and effective solutions can be created to address the multitude of unique challenges facing our schools and our students across the country. because these laboratories of democracy -- through these laboratories of democracy americans can watch and learn how students can benefit when innovative reforms are implemented at the local level. so i want to thank my colleagues
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and i want to urge my senate colleagues to join us in empowering our schools to serve their students, not d.c. bureaucrats, and support this important amendment. thank you and i yield back.
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mr. alexander: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: are we in a quorum call?
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the presiding officer: the senate is not in quorum call. mr. alexander: madam president, i ask to set aside the pending amendments and call up the following amendments en bloc: portman 2127, heller 2121. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from tennessee, mr. alexander proposes amendments en bloc number 2147 and 2121. mr. alexander: madam president, i ask consent the reading of the amendments be waived. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: madam president i ask the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: the senate is not in quorum call. mrs. murray: madam president i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendments in order to call up the following amendments en bloc as provided for under the previous order and ask they be reported by number: warren number 2120, brown number
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2099 manchin number 2103, kaine number 2096 and feinstein number 2087. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendments by number. the clerk: the senator from washington mrs. murray, proposes amendments en bloc number 2120, 2099, 2103, 2096, 2087. mrs. murray: i suggest 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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mr. wyden: mr. president i ask unanimous consent that vacate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection, the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: madam president two weeks ago the supreme court handed down a wonderful decision recognizing that all americans have the right to marry the man or woman they love. it was a triumphant movement in the march towards justice one that i was happy to celebrate at
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home with a group of oregonians who were truly elated. and in my remarks that morpg i did -- that morning i said, "love one and there is more to be done." and so today along with 36 colleagues, i am introducing the equal dignity for married taxpayers act of 2015. what this legislation does, madam president is it removes each gender gender-specific reference to marriage from the tax code. now, in his opinion for the court, justice kennedy pointed out the importance of providing equal dignity in the eyes of the law. our legislation enshrines that equal dignity and respect in our nation's tax laws by recognizing
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a new dawn of liberty for all americans. and, in my view, on a more symbolic level this legislation is one way to help close the door on an era when too many of our laws denied equality to the lgbtq community. in my view, this is a particularly important step in the march towards justice. it's a straightforward way to sment the recognition -- cement the recognition that all americans share certain unalienable rights, among them life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. madam president, i was proud to vote against the defense of marriage act in the congress 20 years ago and fight measure 36 a decade ago in oregon. and i've always said, always
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said that if you don't like gay marriage don't get one. this is fundamentally an issue of justice and of liberty and i hope that all americans take pride in the wave of acceptance and equality that has rolled across our land and this decision embodies. this legislation now has 36 cosponsors and my hope is that this body will support this proposal on a bipartisan basis. i look forward to working with our colleagues to take this next step. it is a step towards the arc of justice the arc of justice that says that all of us, all of us, have to be free; all of us
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should enjoy true and full equality for all americans. i'm very pleased that 36 colleagues are joining me in this proposal this morning. i hope the senate will pass it expeditiously on a bipartisan basis. and with that, madam president i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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mr. alexander: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: i have five unanimous consent requests toker committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the apriewl of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. alexander: i notice the absence of a quorum, madam president. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i ask consent to vitiate the quorum call, and i believe the senator from montana is in order to be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment 2110 offered by the senator from montana, mr. daines, which is subject to a 60-vote affirmative threshold for adoption. the senator from montana. mr. daines: thank you mr. president. the academic partnerships lead to success act also called a-plus gives the states greater flexibility in allocating federal education funding and ensuring academic achievement. here's what it does -- states would be allowed to obtain federal education funding in the form of block grants. states would submit a declaration of intent to the u.s. department of education to consolidate federal education programs and funding and redirect resources toward state-directed education reform initiatives. what this does is allow state and local leaders to exercise
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greater control over the use of federal education funds to address the needs of local students and target scarce resources to areas of highest need. i ask my senate colleagues to join me in powering our schools to serve their students, not d.c. bureaucrats and support this important amendment. thank you mr. president. mr. alexander: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: this amendment is well intentioned unnecessary won't pass and undermines the bipartisan agreement that we have reached to try and move in exactly the direction that the senator from montana suggested. in addition, the house of representatives rejected it last night. i would recommend instead that my friends who want more local control of schools vote for a bipartisan agreement which ends the common core mandate ends waivers in 42 states, reverses the trend of the national school board, and which in my opinion would be the biggest step toward restoring local control of public schools in the last 25
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years. so i would urge a no vote on a well-intentioned unnecessary idea that won't become law and that might help undermine the bipartisan proposal that has a very good chance of becoming law. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the votes following the first vote in this series be ten minutes in length. the presiding officer: without objection. the question occurs on the amendment. mr. alexander: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? on this vote, the yeas are 44, the nays are 54. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment the amendment is not agreed to. a senator: madam president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: madam president if i could have the attention of the senators, i'd ask consent that the -- that the order relating to the warren amendment be vitiated and the amendment remain pending while senator murray and i work with senator warren on the language in the bill so we won't be voting on the warren amendment today but it will remain pending. that leaves votes on two amendments, senator brown's amendment and senator toomey's amendment. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment 2099 offered by the senator from washington mrs. murray for mr. brown. order in the chamber please.
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mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: madam president i know that senator brown is on his way but i just want to let senators know what this amendment is about -- the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. please take your conversations out of the well. the senator from washington. mrs. murray: madam president too often our nation's students show up to school hungry or lacking adequate school supplies, and many of our teachers as we know, are really struggling to provide students with an education while they are also dealing with the compounding problems brought on by poverty. site resource coordinators that this amendment addresses operate through a community school model are able to bolster the number of resources in schools and increase the number of services offered to students and their families, so what this amendment does is it would further that goal by allowing title 4 funds to be used for site
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coordinators and i want to thank senator brown for offering this amendment. mr. alexander: madam president i would remind senators that this and the next vote are ten-minute votes. the presiding officer: who yields time? mr. alexander: i yield back time. mrs. murray: i yield back time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the amendment. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote?
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if not the ayes are 98, the nays are zero, and the amendment is agreed to. under the previous order -- order in the chamber please. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment 2094, as modified, offered by the senator from pennsylvania, mr. toomey. mr. toomey: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: thank you madam president. this amendment is really very simple. it's designed to protect children from sexual predators. we know we have a problem because every year we arrest hundreds of school employees across the country for sexual abuse of the children that are supposed to be in their care. this measure will help that problem by a very simple requirement that states pass
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legislation to prohibit knowingly recommending for hire a teacher who has abused children. this is common sense. i am grateful to my colleagues for helping us get here, especially senator manchin. i want to thank senators alexander and senator murray for their help in helping us find the common ground that can get to a great bipartisan solution for a real problem. i yield to the senator from west virginia. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senate will be in order. the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: madam president first of all to my colleague senator toomey, i appreciate the hard work he's put in. our staffs worked together. i want to thank chairman alexander and ranking member murray for their hard work on this. this young man from west virginia jeremy bell, was the victim of a crime that was preventable if we had known. we did not know. this person who basically was a predator was passed down to west
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virginia without west virginia having any knowledge at all. this will prevent this from happening anywhere in the country. i urge all of my colleagues to please support this piece of legislation. this amendment is most reasonable. it will protect your children. thank you. a senator: madam president i ask for 30 seconds for senator murray and i to make a brief comment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: i want to thank the senator from pennsylvania and the senator from west virginia for working with senator murray and me and others to come to a conclusion on this. they feel passionately about it. they worked hard on it. they deserve credit for that. i'm glad to be a cosponsor of it. i plan to vote for it. mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i join with the chairman in thanking the senator from pennsylvania, west virginia for working with our staffs to create this new version. i think this amendment gets at a real problem with ensuring that suspected abusers do not transfer to other states and districts. it's a positive step. i urge its adoption. the presiding officer: the
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question occurs on the amendment. the clerk will call the roll. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not the yeas are 97, the nays are zero -- the presiding officer: the ayes are 98, the nays are zero and the amendment as modified is adopted. under the previous order there will be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment 2147 offered by the senator from
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tennessee, mr. alexander for mr. portman. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i ask unanimous consent that the senator from virginia be given one minute and the senator from california be given one minute prior to the five voice votes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: i rise to speak on amendment 2996. c.t.e. is an academic core subject. i ran a school that taught kids to be welder and carpenters in honduras many years ago and i learned high quality technological information is an important part of the spectrum. we downgraded it for a number of years but there's a renaissance now. what my amendment would do, it would go into the current federal law and specify that career and technical education programs are core curricula. originally english math and science were. this broadens it to include
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computer science and foreign languages and this amendment would make plain that high quality career and technical education is a core academic subject. i want to thank senators ayotte merkley scott and baldwin as cosponsors and thank chairman alexander and senator murray for their great work in are bringing this bipartisan bill to the floor. this is common sense and bipartisan and i hope it would pass. mrs. feinstein: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california p. mrs. feinstein: i rise to speak on amendment 2087. it's pretty simple, madam president, what this amendment would do, and i present it on behalf of senator portman and myself, is assure that homeless children have access to h.u.d. housing. today we have 1.3 million children homeless in this country. in my state we have 310,000. the problem is getting a clear
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definition of an individual who is homeless, and what this bill would do is allow the appropriate authorities in a school to certify that a youngster is homeless so that you don't have a conflict between the h.u.d. certification and the school certification. it's long overdue. i believe it will be helpful and i'm very hopeful that this will pass with a very big vote. thank you very much and i thank senator portman. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i yield back our time. the presiding officer: all democratic debate time is yielded back. mr. alexander: i yield back all republican time. the presiding officer: all time is yielded back. the question occurs on amendment 2147. all those in favor say aye. posed, no. the ayes appear to have it.
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the ayes do have it and the amendment is adopted. the question occurs on amendment 2103. all those in favor say aye. all opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it and the amendment is adopted. the question occurs on amendment 2096. all those in favor say aye. those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is adopted. the question occurs on amendment 2021 -- 2121. all those in favor say aye. those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is adopted. the question occurs on amendment 2087. all those in favor say aye.
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those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is adopted. the question occurs on 2079. all those in favor say aye. those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is adopted. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the chair lay before the house the house message accompanying h.r. 1735. the presiding officer: the chair lays before the senate a message from the house of representatives. mr. mcconnell: i move to insist upon --. the clerk: resolved that the house disagree to the house message to the bill s. 17 a 35 and is ask for a conference on the disagreeing votes of the
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houses thereon. mr. mcconnell: i ask that we request a conference and authorize the presiding officer to appoint conferees. the presiding officer: the motion is pending. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to insist upon the senate amendment agree to the request by the house for a conference and authorize the presiding officer to appoint conferees with respect to h.r. 1735 signed by 17 senators as follows --. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: madam president, i ask unanimous consent notwithstanding rule 28 that the time until 1:45 today be divided between the managers or their designees and that at 1:45 all
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postcloture time be expired and the senate vote to invoke cloture upon the motion to insist responsible the senate amendment, agree to the request by the house for a conference, and authorize the chair to appoint conferees with respect to h.r. 15735. further, if the compound motion is agreed to, senator reid of -- reed of rhode island or his designee be authorized the to cover a motion to instruct conferees, and that following the disposition of of that motion the senate resume consideration of s. 1177. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you madam president. madam president, i rise to discuss the very significant issue of sanctuary cities. obviously, we've all been
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startled and saddened by the horrific murder in san francisco that's a direct result of san francisco sanctuary city policy. and as a result, i'll be filing an amendment today on this bill to address sanctuary city policy. madam president, this is not a new idea for me, it's not a new issue. i've had legislation on this topic since 2009. i've tried to get the u.s. senate and others' attention on this topic numerous times since then. we've only been able to get one vote on an appropriation bill, and, unfortunately, my amendment to try to end sanctuary city policy around the country was tabled with every democrat sadly, voting to table the amendment except my then democratic colleague, senator mary landrieu.
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but, madam president, i hope the very tragic murder of katherine steinle in san francisco, a wonderful 32-year-old woman, i hope that gets all of our attention and causes all of us to focus on this very serious issue. as we all know, her murder was an illegal alien who was deported five times previously. as we all know, he was an illegal alien who was convicted of felonies seven times previously and as we all know it's because of san francisco's sanctuary city law defying federal law that caused local police officials there not to cooperate with u.s. and immigration -- u.s. immigration and customs enforcement officials to hold this dangerous criminal for
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further deportation proceedings. obviously, there are a lot of things wrong with our immigration system that this case illustrates. the fact that he can come back into the country so many times having been deported, fine, that is a real red flag, but certainly this also underscores the truly truly dangerous nature of sanctuary cities policy. unfortunately, san francisco is not alone in promoting this ridiculous policy. there are over 200 cities now that defy federal law and provide this safe haven to illegal immigrants, including very dangerous illegal immigrants like the murderer of katherine steinell. for years leaders in this city have argued that providing such a sanctuary assists local law
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enforcement in doing their job. really? really? we're going to look at this case in san francisco and keep up those ridiculous arguments? let's get real. let's call these policies to a halt. they're contrary to existing federal law but the problem is we have never put teeth in that existing federal law and it's absolutely time we did so. this horrible murder in san francisco isn't the only one of its kind. just last week, an 18-year-old girl and her 4-year-old son were found shot and burned in their car. right now the top suspect is the woman's boyfriend and illegal immigrant who was deported in 2014, who illegally re-entered the country. in my home state of louisiana we have identified serious
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felons who have been released from jail and are now free to roam in louisiana. we know of these cases. now, i hope this recent incident in san francisco does get some folks' attention. there is hopeful evidence about this. in a statement following the shooting, hillary clinton said that any city should listen to the department of homeland security and urge and fully cooperate with their law enforcement and deportation work. even before the incident, in a hearing before the house oversight and government reform committee, director of immigration and customs enforcement sara saldanna described the adverse effects of sanctuary city policy, and she said a significant factor affecting efforts to deport
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illegal immigrants -- quote -- has been the increase in state and local jurisdictions that are limiting their partnership or wholly refusing to cooperate with i.c.e. immigration enforcement efforts. in certain circumstances we believe less cooperation may increase the risk that dangerous criminals are returned to the streets, putting the public and our officers at greater risk, close quote. well yeah. we saw the direct result of that dangerous, reckless sanctuary city policy in san francisco recently. right now, there are nearly 170,000 convicted criminal aliens who have been ordered deported who remain at large in our country and the question for sanctuary cities is where they can continue to protect those people, where they can finally cooperate with
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immigration enforcement officials to do something about rounding up those people, not allowing them to roam on our streets. we need to change our stance that allows sanctuary cities to get away with being accessories to murder. let me repeat that. they are getting away with being accessories to murder, and we need to put an end to that. my legislation first introduced in 2009 would do that by putting real teeth in federal law which does not exist now. my amendment on this bill, which i will be filing today would do that by putting that real teeth into federal law which does not exist now. we need to take this up and we need to do something to shut down over 200 sanctuary cities around the country that are
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clearly endangering the lives and well-being of american citizens. i urge all of my colleagues to come together to support this commonsense policy. we need to act. the tragic events in san francisco prove that we need to act. six years and waiting on this commonsense proposal from me and others is six years and waiting way too long. we need to act now and i urge all of our colleagues to join me and others in doing so. thank you madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware -- rhode island excuse me. rhode island. the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: thank you madam president. rhode island is the smallest state. delaware wants to be the smallest state but we're ahead.
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thank you very much, madam president. madam president, as the republican leader indicated pursuant to unanimous consent, i will shortly be offering a motion to instruct conferees on the fiscal year 2016 national defense authorization act regarding the inappropriate use of overseas contingency operations funding in the bill. the motion to instruct i am offering today directs the ndaa conferees to insist that the final conference report fully fund the president's budget request for the department of defense, including $534.3 billion in base budget funding and 50 be $.9 billion in overseas contingency operations, o.c.o. budget funding thereby supporting the bipartisan view that the funding caps imposed by the budget control act of 2011 should be eliminated or increased in proportionately equal amounts under the revised security and nonsecurity spending categories. this motion to instruct is consistent with the president's fiscal year 2016 budget request
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for defense which assumed a resolution to the b.c.a. dilemma that we have been trying to address. if this b.c.a. situation is resolved, we can remove the sequestration on both defense and domestic spending. unfortunately, the bill had to rely upon a budgetary -- and it's been described by many people -- gimmick by transferring $39 billion from the base budget for enduring military requirements to the o.c.o. budget, the overseas contingency account leaving a base budget that is just below the b.c.a. levels in order to avoid triggering sequestration. in the absence of a resolution to spending caps imposed by the b.c.a., the administration has stated that any legislation that contributes to locking in massive cuts on nondefense populations like this one will be subject to a veto. now, one of my concerns is that
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if we use this device or gimmick this year, it will pave the way to use it next year and the following year and year after that so we will have this enduring imbalance between security spending and department of defense and security spending in nondefense departments and a full range of governmental spending and abusing o.c.o. in this way is completely contrary to the intent of the b.c.a. the b.c.a. was designed to impose proportionately equal cuts on defense and nondiscretionary defense -- nondefense discretionary spending to force a bipartisan compromise. this approach unilaterally reneges on that bipartisan agreement. o.c.o. and emergency funding are outside budget caps for a reason. they alter the course of ongoing military operations and respond to unforeseen military events like natural disasters. to suddenly ignore the true
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purpose of o.c.o. and treat it as a budgetary device or a slush fund to skirt the b.c.a. is an unacceptable use for this important tool for our war fighters and our national security. just to highlight how this o.c.o. approach skews defense spending consider the amount of o.c.o. in relation to the number of deployed troops. most americans have a sort of very commonsense approach. if we have got lots of troops overseas engaged in operations in afghanistan iraq and elsewhere, then we need lots of o.c.o. funding. well in 2008, at the height of our nation's troop commitment in iraq and afghanistan approximately 187,000 troops deployed. we spent approximately $1 million per troop on o.c.o. under this bill, we would spend approximately $9 million in o.c.o. for our deployed troops in iraq and afghanistan. currently they are at the level of about 9,930 or the projected
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level. to put them at this approach is not fiscally responsible nor honest accounting nor consistent with the notion of why we created o.c.o. in the first place -- to support troops overseas engaged in overseas operations. there's another point too. true national security requires that non-department of defense departments and agencies also receive relief of b.c.a. caps. the pentagon simply cannot meet the complex set of security challenges without the help of other governmental departments and agencies, including state justice, homeland security, department of treasury. in the armed services committee we have heard testimony on the essential role of other governmental agencies in ensuring our national defense that it remains strong. the department of defense's share of the burden would surely grow if these agencies are not adequately funded as well. the b.c.a. caps are based on a misnomer that discretionary spending is neatly divided into
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security and nonsecurity spending but members need to be clear essential national security functions are performed by government departments and agencies other than the department of defense. as a retired marine corps general matter said if you don't fund the state department fully then i need to buy more ammunition. with regard to the threat from the so-called islamic state of iraq and the levant or isil, secretary of defense carter told the armed services committee on tuesday that the state department the department of homeland security, other agencies that are critical in protecting us against isil and other threats they need resources, too and so that's another reason why i appeal for an overall budget perspective. i really appeal for that, not just for my own department but for the rest of the national security establishment i think it's critical. according to a poll earlier this year 83% of americans think isil is the number-one threat to the united states. it is notable that of the administration's nine lines of effort to count isil, this
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threat that is so palpable to the american public, only two the security and intelligence efforts, reside within the responsibility to -- the department of defense and the defense community. the remaining seven elements of our counter isil strategy rely heavily on our civilian departments and agencies. for example supporting effective governments in iraq. we need our diplomatic and political experts at the state department to engage with sunni kurd and minari communities in iraq to build conciliation and promote political unity among the iraqi people to ultimately defeat isil. building partner capacity. the coalition is building the capabilities and capacity of our foreign partners in the region to wage a long-term campaign against isil, much of which is being carried out by the state department in us-aid. disrupting isil's finances. countering the isil's -- requires the state department to work with the foreign partners and banking sectors to ensure
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that our -- is in force. our strategic communications campaign requires a truly whole of government effort, including the state department, voice of america, us-aid and others. the approach to funding our strategic strategy is a part of government plan, not a whole of government plan unless we recognize that we have to make adjustments in these b.c.a. caps for every agency of the government. another aspect is disrupting the flow of foreign fighters. these foreign fighters are the lifeblood of isil, yet the state department and key components of the department of homeland security are facing severe cuts, undermining ongoing work with partner nations to disrupt the flow of foreign fighters to syria and iraq and to protect our boys here at home. the sixth line of approach, protecting the homeland. the vast majority of the
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department of homeland security falls under the nonsecurity b.c.a. cap. this further demonstrate that this proposal is a misnomer, a gimmick and an effort to play a game of smoke and mirrors with the american people since they are very critical to our security here at home and yet they are in that nondefense --quote, unquote -- part of the budget. humanitarian support is critical. it is getting even more critical as you read the papers and see the huge number of people coming out of syria. military commanders routinely tell you that the efforts of the state department, us-aid, the office of foreign national disaster are vital to our broader security efforts none of which are considered security activities under the budget control act. taken together, this proposal which is embedded in the underlying legislation could compromise our broader campaign against isil and deprive significant elements of our government of the resources needed to do the job of protecting the american people.
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in another respect adding funds simply to o.c.o. does not solve and sometimes complicates the department of defense's budgetary problems. defense budgeting needs to be based on our long-term military strategy which requires the department of defense to focus at least five years in the future. one-year plus up to o.c.o. does not provide department of defense with the center and -- certainty and stability it needs when building its five-year budget. when chairman dempsey chairman of the joint chiefs testified we need to fix the base budget. we won't have the certainty we need. if there is a year-by-year o.c.o. fix, that will not build that certainty that we need. on tuesday, secretary of defense carter told the armed services committee it's embarrassing that we cannot in successive years now pull ourselves together before an overall budget approach that allows us to do what we need to do, which is program in a multiyear manner, not in a one-year at a time manner. now, this use of o.c.o. risks undermining support for a
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critical mechanism used to fund the increased costs of overseas conflicts. we have to have a system for estimating the costs and funding of deployment of a trained and ready force. this approach i don't think does that. the men and women of our military volunteered to protect and are overseas fighting for american ideals, including good education, economic opportunity and safe communities. efforts always will be hampered unless civilian department agencies also receive relief from the b.c.a. caps. we have young men and women that are sacrificing overseas, and it's not just to defeat the enemy in the field. it's to give opportunity and hope a chance here at home, for their brothers and sisters for their aunts and uncles. that too has to be considered. our service members and their families rely on many of the services, in fact, provided by non-department of defense departments. veterans employment services, housing homeless support
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provided by various civilian agencies impact aid to local food districts administered by the department of education the school lunch program by the department of agriculture life-saving research on traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress, health care for retirees and individuals under medicare, medicaid services for parents including military parents and all of these that benefit directly men and women in uniform and their families would be restricted, and i don't think that's why they are risking their lives to see these programs that are helpful to them unnecessarily in my view, cut back. and our national security is inherently tied to our economic security. the president underscored this point on monday when he said the reason we have the best military in the world is first and foremost because we've got the best troops in history but it's also because we have a strong economy, and we've got a well-educated population and we've got an incredible research operation and universities that
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allows great new products that then can be translated into our military superiority around the world. we shortchange those. if we do, we're going to be less secure. n.d.a. has been accused -- it's not a funding bill so we don't have to worry about the budgetary complications but indeed we do. the stated purpose of the bill, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2016 for military activities of the department of defense. it's one of the view bills we do every year to directly authorize appropriations. and so it is intimately tied to the appropriations, to the b.c.a. to all the issues i've talked about. and, indeed, we have said -- and the committee has said repeatedly that we are authorizing money not just, you know, suggesting things to do but actually providing real money to the department of defense. if we do that, i think we have
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to it in a way that doesn't use this o.c.o. exception this year and, unfortunately in the years to come if we let it happen this year, but that we are transparent clear we put the money in the base budget and we move forward. i think it's clearly within the scope of the conference, that is why i will be offering this motion to instruct. everyone i talk to on both sides of the aisle with very rare exceptions will make a strident pitch that we have to fix b.c.a. that this is not the best approach. i heard that this morning when we had general dunfert, on both sides of the aisle. these b.c.a. caps are not the right way to fund our national defense and other elements of government. we can disagree on funding levels but there seems to be a strong consensus that the b.c.a. is not working to the benefit of the american people and we have
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to fix it. and yet we are not fixing it in the legislation that is before us, nor are we doing things to help leverage such a discussion help us to come together and do what we all claim we want to do. is remove those arbitrary caps, avoid sequestration contribute to a whole government approach, not just national security, but to economic prosperity, to educational opportunity and all of that has to be done not by using these budgetary loopholes not designed for the purpose they're being used for but for sitting down and coming up with essential legislation. we did it before through the great work of senator murray and congressman paul ryan and we can do it again. i urge my colleagues to vote obviously in favor of this motion to instruct so we send the right message to our
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conference. and with that madam president by yield the floor. mr. coats: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: madam president may i inquiry are we -- inquire are we in morning business at this point? the presiding officer: we are on the message to accompany h.r. 1735. mr. coats: i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. coats: madam president i come down here every week as you know you're usually in the chair when i'm here listening to my waste of the week. a little bit later this week than we normally do, but the issue of waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government continues. we've covered a lot of ground from the serious issues such as tax fraud and misplaced death records to the more absurd such as the federally funded rabbit massages and support for pumpkin doughnuts. each of those have a price tag
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and that price tag is paid for by the american taxpayer. i'm happy today to be able to announce that one of the items which i highlighted in a previous waste of the week speech has been addressed. in may my 11th waste of the week speech examined ways to improve compliance measures for higher education tax benefits. i outlined how congress if it can fix this problem achieve $576 million of taxpayer savings. and so that's a former "waste of the week." but now i'm bringing forward a separate one that i might just point out this was a great benefit to universities and colleges and educational institutions across the country because it required them to provide compliances even when those applying for the particular aid refused to
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provide certain information and it created a nightmare of paperwork and a nightmare of compliance for these colleges and universities. so that provision that we brought forward was incorporate operated in law that has now been passed, signed by the president and is operative and we not only have saved the taxpayer $576 million, we've provided universities relief from an unnecessary procedure that had consumed an extraordinary amount of time. today i want to talk about software licenses. the federal government needs to obviously purchase literally millions of these devices in order to get the i.t., the information technology processing through the computers and everything we do along this line to get those working right, you have to have the
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right equipment. and, in fact, the government spend last -- spent last year $80 billion on information technology including these software licenses. the office of management and budget and the 24 federal agencies that are covered by the chief administration officers act of 1990 have very key roles and responsibilities for over seeing i.t. investment management. federal law places responsibility for managing investment with the heads of these agencies and establishes chief information officers to advise and assist agency heads in carrying out this responsibility. now, there are two executive orders that have been issued that provide information for these federal agencies regarding the management of how they go about procuring and managing these software licenses.
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executive order 13-103 specifies that agencies must adopt procedures to ensure that they are not using this computer software in violation of copyright laws. additionally, executive order 13-589 states that agencies must be sure they're not paying for unused or underutilized i.t. software and services. the government accountability office has conducted an evaluation of how well this is being managed and implemented and what they found is in many many cases it is not happening. specifically the general accounting office found that the office of management and budget in the vast majority of federal agencies lack adequate policies for managing their software licenses. of the 24 major federal agencies that i had mentioned before,
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only two -- only two out of 24 -- had comprehensive policies including -- that include the establishment of clear roles and central oversight authority in managing software agreements. only two out of 24 have lived up to their requirement to manage in the way that these executive orders have ordered. an additional 18 agencies had found -- had some type of policy in place but the accountability office determined that this simply was not comprehensive enough and effective enough. and four agencies were found that had no policy at all. totally ignored the mandates of the executive orders. so these weaknesses in the system result from principally a
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lack of priority in establishing software license management. this is kind of a technical thing, and, you know, i certainly admit that i'm not fully comprehensive in terms of how all this i.t. stuff needs to work. but we hire people who are talented and have the skills necessary to oversee this kind of management. and the key here is that the result of not effectively managing this has racked up a cost estimated at $10 billion or more each year that can be saved and particularly over a ten-year period of time. actually it's $10 billion over a 10-year period of time. so just complying with the executive orders, complying with the procedures that are done by every business in america, but the federal government has not complied with
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the necessary steps to achieve the right kind of management and oversight is costing the taxpayer up to $10 billion. so today we add more to our ever-increasing amount of waste fraud, and abuse that has been found in the federal system and we are moving toward our goal of $100 billion. there will be more "wastes of the week"? the future and we hope to reach that $100 billion before the august recess. we have three more weeks before that happens. at that point we're way ahead of schedule. we had hoped to reach the $100 billion by the end of this congress. but we have determined and found so much -- so many examples of waste, fraud, and abuse that our gauge here is climbing much faster than we thought that it would. look we have major fiscal
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problems in this country. it's going to take major decisions relative to how we structure our -- how we spend taxpayers' money. we have had numerous efforts to deal with this in a macroway. all of those have come up short. i have now turned my attention and while i was engaged in that before i have turned my attention to see let's see at least if we can't find some savings for the taxpayer in terms of waste, fraud, and abuse and document it. i'm pleased as i said at the beginning of my remarks here that one of those has just been implemented, saving the taxpayer $576 million and saving our colleges and universities and institutions of higher education a nightmare of paperwork and compliance requirements that they will no longer have to do engage in. so we will continue, and we
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will do some serious issues, we will look at some absurd things that would cause people to say why in the world would we ever spend that money in the first place, it's just not responsible leadership and governing. madam president, i notice the absence of a quorum and suggest that absence as i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. coats: i suggest the remaining time be equally divided. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. coats: madam president you were so quick to announce -- confirm my request for a quorum call that i hadn't realized it had been completed. i now ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coats: and now i ask that the remaining time under the current order here be what
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divided equally between both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coats: and now ask again for the noticing we are lacking a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspensed. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum call with respect to the motion should go to conference on h.r. 1735 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president in just a few minutes we're going to take a vote here -- we're going to take a vote here in a few minutes on the -- on a motion to instruct the conferees on the national defense authorization act that would then basically if these instructions were agreed to, would actually repeal the budget act passed by the united states senate. it would be a direct real estate piewdation -- repudiation of what after many hours of debates and amendments were passed by
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the united states senate and would, on an authorization bill, require budgetary and fiscal measures which are totally inappropriate. basically, the problem that my friends on the other side of the aisle have is that they want equal reductions -- they want restoration of funding for both non-defense and defense that are forced by the budget control act. this legislation that is before the body, which is authorizing -- authorized according to the budget act and if the instructions to the conferees were enacted, which is before the body now that somehow we would then be able to repudiate the budget act which was passed and we would also be dealing with funding which has nothing to do with the authorization bill.
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so my friends on the other side of the aisle have a problem with o.c.o. the overseas contin yency operations -- contingency operations but they're trying to change it on an authorization bill. i wish that my deer friends dear friends friends would look at the rules of the senate. if they have a problem with funding, that's what the appropriations bills are all about. i ask my colleagues to reject what is obviously an unworkable and unrealistic approach to a problem that i agree is a problem. sequestration is harming the -- our ability to defend this nation. but in order to defend the budget act to change the budget that was passed by a majority and now is part -- what guided the appropriations bills that's where their problems should lievment ilie.i urge my colleagues to reject
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these instructions to the conferees, which would basically -- i do not say a way that -- i do not see a way that we could possibly confer with the house after passing these kinds of instructions. so i urge a "no" vote on mr. reed's motion to conferees concerning h.r. 1735. basically we would have to take approximately $31 billion worth of -- $38 billion of authorization out of the authorization bill. so i urge my colleagues a "no" vote. my friend and colleague, the senator from rhode island, who i respect and admire and value my friendship on this issue we simply disagree. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: all time is expired. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture.
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the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to insist upon the senate amendment, agree to the request by the house for a conference and authorize the presiding officer to appoint conferees with respect to h.r. 1735, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to insist on the senate amendment agree to the request of the house for a conference and authorize the chair to appoint conferees with respect to h.r. 1735 shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not on this vote, the yeas are 81, the nays are 15. three-fifths of the senators
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duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative the motion is agreed to. the presiding officer: the question now occurs on the motion to insist on the senate amendment, agree to the request of the house for a conference, and authorize the chair to appoint conferees with respect to h.r. 1735. the motion is not debatable. all those in favor signify by saying aye. those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. they do have it. the motion is agreed to. the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: mr. president, i have a motion to instruct conferees which is at the desk. the presiding officer: the
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senate will be in order. the senator from -- mr. reed: mr. president, i have a motion to instruct conferees which is at the desk and i ask for its consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: mr. reed moves to the managers on part of the senate at the conference on the disagreeing votes of the two houses on h.r. 1735 be instructed to insist that the final conference report fully fund the president's budget request for the department of defense, including $534.3 billion in base budget funding and $59.5 billion in overseas contingency funding thereby supporting the bipartisan view that the funding caps imposed by the budget control act of 2011 should be eliminated or increased in proportionally equal amounts for the security and non-security spending cat goirgs. the presiding officer: -- categories. the presiding officer: order in the chamber please. take your conversations outside.
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there are two minutes of debate equally divided on the motion. mr. reed: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: mr. president this motion represents what we've heard from the secretary of defense, all of our uniform leaders in the military saying that we should budget appropriately, put long-term defense needs in the base budget -- $534 billion -- and reserve o.c.o. for what it was intended to be, overseas operations. but because of the budget control act, we are using o.c.o. as the device to avoid real budgeting, giving the department of defense the real long-term resources they need. the presiding officer: order in the chamber please. take your conversations outside. mr. reed: not only does this represent what the department of defense desires but it also represents what we need to defend the american people. we need more than just the department of defense. we need homeland security, we need a secretary of the state department, we need treasury, we need everyone to defend this
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country. this approach would begin the discussion and debate, i hope, to get relief from the b.c.a. to move forward and to deal with the threats facing this country in a rational, logical way. mr. enzi: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: i would ask that i colleagues to oppose this amendment. we've had this discussion a number of times. this defeats the budget, and this isn't the appropriate place to rehash this or to try and do something different. everything that we've been working on has been based on this principle which incidentally those budget caps were signed by the president of the united states and said that this was an allowable use without breaking the caps and causingcausing sequester. so we can fund defense and defense needs to be defended and funded and it will be under what -- under the principles that we have right now.
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and we can work on other methods as we work on this and other budgets. so i would ask that you vote against this and not put this extra burden on the committee that doesn't really have the jurisdiction to do all that's being requested in this amendment. we voted on this before. we voted it down before. let's vote it down again. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to instruct conferees. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. there is. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or change their vote? if not then the reed motion to instruct conferees regarding h.r. 1735 is not agreed to.
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the ayes are 44, the nays are 52. the chair appoints the following conferees on the part of the senate. the clerk: senators mccain, inhofe sessions, wicker, ayotte fischer cotton, rounds, graham, reed of rhode island, nelson manchin gillibrand, donnelly hirono and kaine.
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ms. klobuchar: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: mr. president i rise today to talk about the important bill before us today the every child achieves act which reauthorized the elementary and secondary education act and fixes no child left behind. i also rise today to talk about the reauthorization of the export-import bank, which is also a very important matter for our country. i want to thank senators alexander and murray for their great leadership in crafting a bipartisan bill that makes critical updates to no child left behind which will help
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ensure that all students receive a quality education. this very important and they have worked together from the very beginning on the bill, and i think the results show how important it is. i want to talk today about three amendments in this bill, one of them that i have with the presiding officer about stem education. i think we all know that in today's global economy education is key to our economic prosperity. certainly the senator from north dakota understands that because our two states, minnesota and north dakota, have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. we have exciting economies with technological jobs to fill. we are two states that make things that invents things, that exports to the world. and to keep doing that, we need in the midwest and in the country in general the next generation of innovators who must be highly trained and highly skilled. we certainly see this in my state where according to the minnesota high-tech association
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minnesota will be home to nearly 200,000 technology jobs in the next decade. part of this is getting young people engaged at an early age. today's high school students aren't just competing against students in milwaukee and miami they're competing against students in munich and in mumbai and if america's going to keep its spot atop the world's high-tech hierarchy students in our country must receive the best training and education we can provide. that's why the presiding officer, senator hoeven and i are working to increase the emphasis on stem education. the klobuchar-hoeven amendment modeled after our innovate america act will expand stem opportunities for more students by allowing school districts to use existing federal stem funding to create stem specialty schools or to enhance existing stem programs within the schools. our provision will also ensure that the competent department of education is aligning stem
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programs and resources with the needs of school districts and teachers. i understand that it is in the manager's package and i thank the two leaders for that. second amendment improving teacher and principal retention. the every child achieves act includes important reforms to improve the quality of education for students in indian country. one challenge that schools serving native americans continue to confront is the high rate of teacher and principal turnover and the instability it causes. turnover hurts school districts with the added cost of rehiring and retraining, and it hurts kids as teachers come and go. one way to decrease teacher and principal turnover is to boost the professional development that these teachers receive. inadequate professional development and the lack of ongoing support are key reasons why some of our best teachers are leaving. that's why senator murkowski of alaska and i have been pushing a provision to improve teacher and
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principal retention in schools serving american indian and alaska native students. specifically our amendment adds mentoring and teacher support programs including instructional support from tribal elders and cultural experts to improve the professional development that teachers and principals in indian schools receive. this is also in the manager's package, and we appreciate that. last amendment chronic absenteeism. we know that students won't learn if they are not in school. when i was a prosecutor in hen i pen county -- hen i pin county, i developed an initiative to keep kids in school and out of the courtroom. we worked on a faster, more effective response to truancy problems. that's why my provision in the every child achieves act will provide professional development and training to schools to help ensure that teachers, principals and other school leaders have the knowledge and skills necessary to address issues related to chronic absenteeism.
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truancy is sometimes called the kindergarten of crime mr. president, because it's truly an early risk factor. i still remember looking at serious, serious juvenile offenders, ones that have committed homicide and the like, and i looked at all their files and i realized the first thing the first indication that there was real problem was truancy. it doesn't just hit in high school. it actually hits in sixth and seventh grade. so the more we can do to put a focus on this, the better off we'll be, not only for public safety but of course for these kids' lives. again i want to thank senator murray senator alexander for their tremendous work on this bill. the other issue which is somewhat related as we look at preparing kids for this current economy, preparing kids for the century we're in, is about jobs, it's about moving our economy along, and part of this is making sure that we can compete globally not only with education efforts, which is what we're doing this week, but also with financing.
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80 developed nations have export-import type banks. china's bank currently funds things at nearly four times the amount that the u.s. does, and yet we are seriously now allowing the export-import bank to lapse and i strongly support reauthorizing the bank. i want to thank all of those involved senators cantwell, kirk heitkamp, graham, for their strong and impassioned leadership on the issue. i also want to thank my colleagues for their work on this, we met with the president and senior white house officials to discuss the importance of reauthorizing the export-import bank. america needs to be a country that invents, builds things, that means the bill that we're working on this week but it also means the financing so those businesses can keep going. we had a vote here as we all know and 65 senators supported
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reauthorizing the export-import bank and in the house 60 republicans are cosponsoring a bill to do the same. we should get it done. we know that 95% of the world's customers live outside of our borders. there is literally a world of opportunity out there for u.s. businesses. we all know this isn't just about mexico and canada, it's about the rest of the world pear the emerging economy in africa, all over the world and you see opportunities. in my own state of minnesota the export-import bank has supported $2 billion in exports and helped over 170 companies in the last five years alone. every single year as you know, mr. president, i visit all 87 counties in minnesota and so i am able to see firsthand these businesses i may not even be going there to talk about ex-im, but i am so surprised when i go to businesses who say yeah we've grown our exports
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to 15% or it's now 20% of our business and we wept to ex-im and got financing or the commercial service and got help. who are we really hurting by not reauthorizing this, it would be the small businesses. yes, some big businesses use it but in my state 170 small businesses are currently using the services of ex-im. they don't have an expert on kazakhstan. they don't have a bank down the street in a small town of 3,000 people that is able to explain to them how to get that kind of financing. they rely on the expertise of ex-im and most importantly they rely on the credit of ex-im. look at this, ballsner in mountain lake, minnesota population 2,000. we don't have many mountains in minnesota but we have a lot of lakes. so we call it mountain lake. this is a small business, 74 people in a town of 2,000 that has relied on ex-im in the past decade to help export its products. their exports have grown to
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about 15% of their total sales they export from canada to kazakhstan from japan to australia, they're exporting to south africa. rawlco a small feed manufacturer a third generation business with distribution to 20 countries around the world. superior industries in morris, minnesota, it's a manufacturer of bulk handling systems. 5,000 people in the town, 500 people in morris employed at this company. that would be 10% of the town. and thanks to the export-import bank they're able to export to canada russia, argentina chile, uruguay and brazil. we know that this is necessary for small businesses. we know that this is important for our country to be on an even playing field. we don't want china to eat our lunch. but if we continue along this way and become the only developed nation that doesn't have a financing authority like
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this, we will let them eat our lunch. at the end of last month when the ex-im bank expired there were nearly 200 transactions totaling $900 billion in financing pending and 90% of businesses are no longer able to use their insurance to its full extent. i have talked to businesses who have been told when we were trying to make a deal, our competitors that were trying to make the next deal, they're not going to get financing that country let their ex-im bank spire. go to this country take our business because you know we have steady financing. this cannot continue. this is why this is a major priority of the u.s. chamber of commerce a major priority for small business organizations around the country, a major priority most importantly for the workers that worker at these companies. it is critical we move forward we must reauthorize the
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export-import bank and make sure our exporters are competing on a level playing field in a global market. thanks to the work of senator alexander and senator murray but we do it with making sure our businesses have the financing tools they need to succeed. i urge my colleagues to support the ex-im bank and reauthorize this critical agency as soon as possible. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i want to thank the senator from minnesota for her contributions to the legislation we're working on. she's been very focused on stem education, has found creative ways to encourage that and i thank her for it. we're hoping within a few minutes to be able to agree by consent to a few bills and call up a few others but i don't think we're quite ready yet. so what i would say to the senator from arkansas if you wouldn't mind through the chair, if you wouldn't mind going ahead with your remarks
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if we're able to do that, i may ask you to yield for 60 seconds and allow us to do that. but i don't want to delay you fort worth with moving ahead with your are remarks. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: there are certain policies that should not be controversial. it should not be controversial to expect that the laws of this nation be enforced equally fairly and fully. it should not be control to expect local city governments to refrain from actively frustrating the enforcement of federal law. it should not be controversial to say an illegal immigrant and repeat felon who has been deported multiple times should not be set free to again threat en law-abiding americans. much less not be in possession of a weapon. in our current debate abouting immigration these ideas are indeed controversial when in fact they should be matters of
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common sense. i acknowledge that reasonable people can and do differ on issues like border security interior enforcement and the status of immigrants. but we should not disagree about the importance of law and the safety of american people the american people. that's why i've introduced an immigration that will withhold immigration from any state or city that declares itself a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. if a city directs its law enforcement officers to frustrate law u.s. taxpayers should not underwrite that. last week a young woman was murdered on a san francisco pier while walking with her father. it was apparently a random crime, one committed by an illegal immigrant, juan francisco lopez with a long rap sheet. he was in the united states despite having been deported five times previously. and he should have been deported
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a sixth time. earlier this year he was in custody of immigration authorities after he finished a federal prison sentence and was awaiting deportation after being designated. but federal authorities handed him over to san francisco first so he could face outstanding drug charges and be requested they be notified if san francisco planned to release him. san francisco did, in fact, release him in april after dropping the charges but it never notified anyone. the city's government city allows lopez sanchez to walk free. this is because san francisco has proudly deemed itself a sanctuary city. it has passed city ordinances barring officers from assisting in the enforcement of immigration law freeing itself of the responsibility to cooperate with immigration authorities to keep dangerous criminals off the streets and out of the country. indeed lopez sanchez has
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admitted he goes to san francisco because it's a sanctuary city. this is an outrage to anyone who respects law and order. one might think it would draw a strong reaction from the obama administration. the administration after all has unequivocally declared that the constitution and our laws do not, do not permit the states to adopt their own immigration programs and policies. or to set themselves up as rival decisionmakers based on disagreement with the scope of federal enforcement. that is a direct quote from the administration's legal brief to the supreme court arguing against an arizona law designed to help federal officers enforce immigration laws. you'd think the administration would be at least as tough on sanctuary city laws that openly flout immigration policy and endanger law-abiding citizens. yet the administration has enabled even encouraged these sanctuary cities for years. americans have a right to expect
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that governments at the local state and national level will carry out their most basic duty to enforce the law and protect public safety. we should all able to agree that a family enjoying a public space like san francisco's famous piers should not have to fear being shot dead. we should all be able to agree that criminals who should be deported under our laws should not be set free with impunity. there should be no sanctuary for hardened criminals in this country. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president senator murray and i have a small package of amendments that have been cleared by both sides. i'd ask unanimous consent that the following amendments be
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called up, reported by number and agreed to en bloc. gardner 2083, mccaskill 2092, gillibrand 2018, gardner 2119, casey 2131, klobuchar 2138. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendments en bloc. the clerk: the senator from tennessee, mr. alexander for others proposes amendments numbered 2083, 2092, 2108, 2119 and 2131 and 2138. the presiding officer: without objection, the amendments are agreed to en bloc. mr. alexander: mr. president i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and call up the following amendments en bloc -- kirk, 2161, scott 2132 hatch 2082. i ask further that senator
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murray be recognized to call up two other amendments. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk shall report the amendments en bloc. the clerk: the senator from tennessee, mr. alexander proposes amendments for others numbered 2161, 2132 and 2180. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment to call up the franken amendment number 2093 and the kaine amendment 2118 en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk shall report. 2093 and -- the clerk: the senator from washington mrs. murray proposes amendments for others amendment 2193 and 2118. mr. alexander: mr. president i ask unanimous consent that at 5:30 on monday, july 13 the
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senate vote on the following amendments with no second-degree amendments in order to any of the amendments prior to the votes -- hatch 2080, kaine 2118. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska.
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a senator: i commend senators alexander and murray for crafting a truly bipartisan proposal reform and for authorizing the secondary act a main source of federal aid for k-12 education. mr. hoeven: the every child achieves act takes many important steps to return authority for the k-12 education back to the states and to the local school districts directly to those who are best equipped to understand and respond to what it takes to educate our students. importantly, this bill empowers states to develop their own education accountability plans. instead of a one-size-fits-all federal mandate this bill charges the states to work with teachers, school districts governors, parents and other stakeholders to develop a state-led education plan for all students without interference from washington. the bill affirms that the federal government cannot dictate a state's specific
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academic standards curriculum or assessment. i repeat -- the bill affirms that the federal government cannot dictate a state's specific academic standards curriculum or assessments. it affirms local control and accountability while maintaining important achievement information to provide parents with information on how their children are performing as well as to help teachers target support to those who are struggling to meet state standards. we also recognize that science technology, engineering and mathematics or stem education continues to play an increasingly important role in preparing our students for the careers of tomorrow. in north dakota, stem education prepares students to fill the work force needs of our dynamic economy, from the high-tech industries in the east to the energy fields in the west. for example, we have one school
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district the west fargo school district which has created a stem center for students in grades 6, 7 and 8 and is doing an exceptional job of integrating stem teaching into the classroom. this school district program started in 2009 with 150 students in sixth and seventh grade. since then, it has been expanded to serve eighth grade students as well. they have also created a stem pathway program at the high school level. the approach focuses on project-based learning that connects their school work to solving real-world problems through the engineering design process. when senator klobuchar and i visited the school this spring, we witnessed students working hands on with a wide range of technologies at cooperative lab stations including drones and flight simulators. west fargo students have received numerous awards and honors from placing first in
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the nation in a lunar water recycling design competition sponsored by nasa to excelling in a number of webpage design and robotics competitions around the country. this education is not just about teaching students more science math or engineering. this approach reaches across subjects to promote problem solving, collaboration communication and critical thinking skills. the every child achieves act includes a formula grant program aimed at providing state resources to improve stem education. the improving stem instruction and student achievement program provides grants to states to improve stem classroom instruction, student engagement and increased student achievement in stem subjects. under this program states have the ability to award sub grants projects of their choice to serve high-need school districts or form partnerships with higher education institutions.
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states can also use these funds to recruit qualified teachers and instructional leaders in stem subjects or to develop a stem master teacher corps. in recent years, north dakota has chosen to award funds to projects that partner our state's higher education institutions to provide professional development opportunities for k-12 math and science teachers. i've worked with senator klobuchar to craft amendment 2138. our proposal will give states the option to award those funds to create or enhance a stem specialty school or a stem program within a school. stem-focused specialty schools or stem programs within a school are those that engage students in rigorous, relevant and integrated learning stem experiences. allowing funds to go toward a stem program within a school will allow successful programs
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like those occurring in our state to benefit. it would also encourage other school districts to begin their own programs. so the school district would like to better integrate stem concepts into their teaching practices, this amendment allows those districts to submit a proposal to the state for resources to carry out their plan. the klobuchar-hoeven amendment also requires the education secretary to identify stem-specific needs of states and districts receiving funds and publicize information about those activities. the secretary is then directed to align federal stem activities with state and district needs. finally, this amendment directs the u.s. department of education to avoid unnecessary duplication of stem programmatic activities supported by the department and other federal agencies. this is important because there are so many disjointed stem activities and programs throughout our government. in a may 2015, report, the
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nonpartisan congressional research service states that despite recent reductions in the number of federal stem programs, recent estimates suggest there are still between 105 and 254 stem programs scattered throughout as many as 15 federal agencies. these programs account for $2.8 billion to $3.4 billion in spending. these programs have their own state requirements and obligations that allow very little collaboration or coordination. we simply want to ensure that states and schools are aware of the existing efforts under way to best utilize public resources. in conclusion, we believe that this bipartisan amendment should be agreeable to both sides and will strengthen the every child achieves act. and in fact, i have just been
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informed that both the chairman and ranking member from the help committee and the leaders on this every child achieves legislation has included our legislation in the manager's package, with senator from both sides of the aisle and i want to thank both senator lamar alexander from tennessee who is the chairman of the committee and sponsor of the bill as well as senator patty murray from washington who is the co-lead on this legislation for their support of this stem legislation. and with that, mr. president i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: mr. president i also rise in support of the every child achieves act and the good work that is being done in a bipartisan pay to move elementary and secondary education forward in this country. i applaud senators alexander and murray and all help committee members and their staffs for the good work that's been done on
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this bill. this is huge and important to our nation's children, but even more importantly to our economy and our global competitiveness and the fact that we're approaching it in a bipartisan manner creates a lot of hope and optimism. i speak with a number of roles. i was well educated in public, private and parochial schools myself. my three children have gone through the richmond public school system, an urban public school system in virginia during the era of no child left behind, so federal education policy was coming home in their backpack crumpled up at the end of every day, and my wife and i have kind of lived through that with them. my wife is the current secretary of education in virginia with the responsibility of carrying out state and federal education policy. and then in my own role as an elected official, as mayor education was our biggest expenditure and i visited a school in our city every tuesday morning. as lieutenant governor, the state budget, education was our
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biggest priority, and i visited schools in all 134 cities and counties in virginia. and then as governor, i had the opportunity, the great opportunity to work with our state, our teachers, our p.t.o.'s and other education stakeholders in the virginia education system which 50 years ago was one of the weakest in the united states. i'm proud to say is now one of the best in the united states. but i learned a lot as governor as no child left behind was being implemented in the schools of my state and i saw the good and the bad of no child left behind and i certainly saw the reason that we need to improve it and that's what the every child achieves act does. first good, the good things of no child left behind. i see two notable goods that, frankly, are critically important to maintain. no child left behind made us disaggregate student data so that we couldn't hide behind averages. averages can be deceiving. virginia average test scores are
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great, but that doesn't mean they're great everywhere in virginia and so we have to dig in and look at whether minority students are performing well or whether rural students are performing well or urban students and no child left behind helped us do that, not hide behind averages but really make sure truly that groups of students were not falling behind either statewide or in the individual cities and counties. the second thing no child left behind left behind did is pretty amazing. before no child left behind, there was not a standardized definition of graduation or dropout rates in this country so if you wanted to know how your own city was doing or your own county was doing or your own state was doing and if you wanted to compare that against anywhere else, you couldn't because everybody was using their own measure and usually folks would try to fuzz up the data because they were afraid of being held accountable around graduation rates and dropout rates. no child left behind, together with some pioneering work from the national governors'
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association, ended up standardizing a definition of graduation and dropout rates which enabled us to compare and compete with each other and not surprisingly as president obama discussed in the state of the union in the early part of 2015, our graduation rates are better than they have ever been because now we can focus on them, we know who's doing well and who's not, and that sense of focus and competition is enabling us to move ahead. but no child left behind also had some unintended negative consequences. the intense focus on high-stakes testing which is supposed to help you diagnose and then lead to educational strategies down the road sometimes testing has become an end in itself rather than a means to an end better student performance. and that creates all kinds of stresses on students and teachers and parents. and similarly the focus on disaggregating student data which demonstrates that there are achievement gaps in certain
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communities whether it be minority communities or rural or urban areas has often had the perverse consequence when coupled with high-stakes testing of encouraging some of our best and brightest teachers not to go into schools where they're most need fed they feel like they're punished if the test scores from kids they'll often choose not to go to those schools. that's clearly not what we meant to do with no child left behind but that's one of its perverse consequences. when i was governor i had a very funny -- now it's funny it wasn't funny at the time -- argument with the federal department of education. they absolutely insisted that jurisdictions in northern virginia were administering certain tests wrong to students who don't speak english as their first language at home. and indeed some of my cities and counties had a strategy of phasing students in if they were coming from a background where they didn't speak english at home they would be tested in
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special ways for the first couple of years in the school system. and then mainstreamed even in the way they were tested. the department of education said you can't do that, country do these tests differently. what by say to the department of education, let me show you the s.a.t. scores of my latino students. let me show you how they're doing when they graduate, that they're some of the highest performing students in the country. clearly if you measure it by the outcomes, we're doing it the right way but the department of education said outcomes doesn't matter to us, we worry about the processes and the inputs and the way you provide the tests. outcomes should be important results should be important and too often no child left behind was administered in a way where results didn't matter and that's not what should happen. i applaud senators alexander and murray for this bill because i believe the freedoms he every
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child achieves act gives states the flexibility they need, because it maintains annual testing requirements, to allow us to track the progress of students letting states set their goals for improvement. the bill invests in early childhood education which gives the states the authority to determine teacher qualifications in those areas and i am very very glad that this bill recognizes that there are fact ors other than test scores that determine whether our students are being successful. so i applaud this act and can't wait to vote for it. i want company comment on two amendments i've worked with my steam and staff member to put into this bill, some that i think are forthcoming or in process on the floor. the first is the very important challenge of young people age 16-24 who are in the most vulnerable time in their life to being victims of sexual assaults.
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a kid age 16-24 that is the most likely period in your life where you will be vulnerable to any kind of sexual assault or sexual misconduct. that's whether you're in school whether you're at college, whether you're in the military, whether you're in the work force, whether you're somewhere else and we're spending a lot of time working on this issue. but this bill contains an amendment that i proposed called the teach safe relationships act to help tackle this issue. basically under the amendment that senator mccaskill and i introduced in february, schools that are receiving title 4 funds must report on how they are teaching safe relationship behaviors to students, communication, understanding what coercion is, understanding what consent is, understanding how to avoid pressure, understanding where to go to help. these are matters that we will teach to our students at a young er age so they can keep themselves safe. and i will -- i need to give praise on this one the idea from this came from students at the university of virginia.
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i went and visited them about sexual assault on campus in december and they told me we wish we came to campus better prepared to deal with these issues. and i asked them don't you take sex education classes in high school? they said yes but the classes are about reproductive biology and needs to be more about safe behavior and relationship strategies. i thought what a great idea, that led to the amendment that is now inend concerned -- incorporated and i thank senators alexander and murray who have worked with me to incorporate this in the base bill. if we teach kids the right streams about it's in military or college campuses or work force or else our young people were safer. the second amendment some have been included and others are being voted on, one today one monday night are amendments dealing with career and technical education. i was a principal of a school
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that taught kids to be welders and carpenters, i gras up the son of a guy working an ironworking shop. every job in this country doesn't need the traditional four-year bachelor's degree. many in this country -- and the unemployment rate are still too high -- many jobs in this country are going unfilled, welders, we have to bring welders in by the ends of thousands on foreign visas and other important career and funnel fields because we don't adequately promote and celebrate career and technical education. this is similar to the previous speech about stem. i have formed a career in technical education caucus together with senators portman and baldwin. we introduced a career ready act, some portions have already been included in the bill, another portion will be voted on on monday night. but the idea is basically to make career and technical education every bit as front and center as college prep courses because we want our kids to graduate from high school both college and career ready and
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career and technical education is an important part of that. earlier today we passed an amendment to make clear that under -- for federal purposes career and technical education is not elective, it's core crumb milk. because it's important -- curriculum. it's important because nations around around the world recognize it and we need to as well. monday night we'll consider the career ready act which encourages but does not require the use of accountability indicators in state accountability plans to promote readiness for postsecondary education and career readiness. 41 states already do this. we will encourage more to do it if we pass the career ready act amendment. and second i have an amendment that i'm still working on, hope to get it on the floor, it is bipartisan by introduction, senator ayotte and i have this, it's to create a middle school career and technical exploration program called middle step. kids in the middle school years if they get a broader exposure
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to the careers available to them then they will be better equipped to start picking critic rather paths -- critic rather paths -- critic you'll are a paths when they get to high school. i lived it in my dad's business and teaching kids in honduras the value of technical fields. everywhere i go in this country i have employers who tell me they need workers who are skilled, whether it's in allied health professionals like e.m.t.'s or culinary training or welding and ironworking training or computer coding, these career and technical fields that require some postsecondary education but not necessarily a four-year college degree are paths to great livelihoods we don't family size them enough and this bill will help do that. it's been 13 years since congress reauthorized the elementary and secondary education act. it's time to update no child left behind and this is good work to do it. president kennedy said in a
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message to congress in 1961 and these words still ring true, our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. our requirements for world leadership are our hopes for economic growth and the demands of citizenship itself in an era such as this all require the maximum development of every young american's capacity. that is almost a great 20th century paraphrase of what virginian thomas jefferson said in the 1780's, progress in government and all else depends upon the broadest diffusion of knowledge among the population. those words were true then. education is still the path to success for a community and nation and we will advance the cause of education and the cause of success if we pass the fletch. flight. with that i
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the every child achieves act. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i'd like to thank senators alexander and murray on the bill before us,with the every child achieves act. it is so important we focus on this area of education. two important provisions that i asked to be included have been included in the bill. i want to specifically talk about those and again thank both senators for including these important initiatives in this important bill. one of them is a reauthorization of after-school programs, something i've worked on my entire life in congress and it goes back a very long time. and another one is on e-cigarettes which i believe are endangering our nation's youth. senator murkowski was very instrumental in the economy working with senator murray to make sure that my bipartisan
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after-school for america's children act was incorporated in the bill and i thank her. mr. president, in the senate i first introduced my after-school bill in 1997. i worked with senatorren sign at that time. the federal government at that time only funded a small federal government after-school program so when we got to 2001 i saw an opportunity to take that pilot program and turn it into a real funded authorization for after-school programs. the bill that we have on the floor today and next week will modernize that after-school program. it's the 21st century community learning center program. that incorporates after school. it will help states support quality after-school programs, encourages parental engagement and involvement and ensures that after-school activities
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complement academic curriculum. our kids don't stop learning just because the clock strikes 2:00 or 3:00 or 4:00. so the after-school activities are very important. and most important to me is that this bill preserves the stream of funding that is necessary to protect the after-school programs because to be quite honest we've had a lot of issues with people trying to grab those funds and use them for something else. and let me tell you why we cannot do that, mr. president. we serve now more than 1.6 million children of working families every year through this after-school program. that's progress. think about 1.6 million children think about all their parents and the relief it brings to them to know they've got their child in a quality after-school program. but there is still 11.3 million
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children left unsupervised when the day ends. in other words one in five children they're unsupervised from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. and those are the hours when juvenile crime peaks and risky behaviors are most likely to occur. law enforcement and mayors have been telling us for years that after-school programs reduce crime. it truly is a no-brainer. our kids need a safe place to go after school. and our parents need to make sure that their kids are safe after school because most parents both work in today's world. and no matter what, leading candidates for the republican nomination say today my understanding is, jeb bush said our workers don't work hard enough. he said that. our workers don't work hard enough. just talk to the parents of these kids. they're working hard. sometimes multiple jobs.
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and they need to know their kids are safe. i want to talk about one student, gerardo rodriguez who grew up in poverty in los angeles and he dealt with the threat of violence and the allure of gang life. while he was at carson middle school he chose to join an after-school program that was run by the boys and girls club instead of a gang. gerardo went to an after-school program instead of joining a gang. now, in statistics he would be told he was like will be to be a dropout. instead he graduated from carson high. in 2012 he obtained $3,000 in college scholarships, he's in his second year at california state university long beach and he's majoring in engineering. we we need to save kids like this.
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yes, the parents are work being working -- working hard, many hours and they need after-school help. this bill helps those kids. i'd like to do more for more children but i am thankful that we are preserving this program. our working families need to know that their kids are safe, because there are more than 28 million parents of school-age children who are employed, including 23 million who work full-time. these parents miss an average of five days of work a year because they don't have after-school care and their child gets sick -- we all know that. we've all gone through that. our children have gone through that. so it was 30 years ago when i started to work on this issue and i within the i want to again thank
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senators alexander and murray for preserving after-school care for our children. and i also want too to thank them for including my provisions on a product that is gaining popularity among our children -- e-cig retts. the language in the bill allows schools to use the funding that goes toward alcohol drug, and tobacco education to teach children about more novel education products such as e-cig retts. according to the cdc use of e-cig retts has tripled in one year. there's advertising aimed at them that makes it sound like this is just a wonderful opportunity for them. and what are our children being exposed to? not just nicotine. clearly e-cigarettes are a
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nicotine delivery system. but, even more. now, the surgeon general has said that nicotine has a negative impact on adolescent brain development. so for god's sakes let's stop our kids from being able to smoke e-cigarettes on the campus. and i have an amendment that would do just that. and i hope it will be unanimously accepted. because these e-cigarettes also contain formaldehyde, pro-pillpropylene glycol and other chemicals. so we need the f.d.a. to finalize their rule on e-cigarettes but in the meantime youth use is soaring. we're finally making progress on reducing smoking in teens and yet this e-cigarette situation is out of control and that's why i'm pleased -- and in this bill schools will be able to teach
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kids about the dangers of ecigarettes. so in conclusion, mr. president, again i want to thank the bill's managers for helping me get the after-school language in protecting our kids after school, getting some language in to make sure we can educate our kids against the dangers of a new nicotine delivery system called e-cigarettes. but i also have three more amendments that i hope will pass. i first one i talked about was confirming that a ban on smoking in schools includes -- includes -- all tobacco products such as e-cigarettes. the second amendment would prohibit advertising e-cigarettes to children. when you see this, i'm sorry i didn't bring the charts to the floor, they're using cartoon characters the same kind of thing that was done by the big tobacco companies. and big tobacco is behind this, let's be clear.
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we don't need another especially democrat hike that starts killing -- we don't need another epidemic that starts killing our people before we turn the corner on regular smoking. and the last amendment i have, mr. president, is a different subject, and it deals with college campus sexual assault and it would simply say that every college campus should have a confident confidential, independent advocate to help sexual assault survivors every step of the way. i am proud to proud to say that my legislation has been unanimously adopted by universities in my home state of california, including the university of california the state college system and the community college system to the extent that they can deal with it. because there's a lot of discretion in that particular group of colleges. but i haven't heard from the private colleges really in california and so all we're saying in this amendment is,
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let's make sure that every college campus that gets federal funds, that they set up a confidential advocate for women for men as well who are also victims of sexual assault so that from the beginning of their complaint they have a friend, they have a confidant, they have someone who knows their rights with them every step of the way. i would be so proud to see this included, and i want to thank you, mr. president for your endurance on this little talk, and say that next week i hear that senator mcconnell may be coming forward with a highway bill. i pray that it's a six-year bill. republicans and democrats voted one out of the e.p.w. committee. i'm proud to say not one dissenting vote, a six-year robust bill. and i hope we will fund in a way that doesn't cut other jobs
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while we're trying to create jobs in the transportation industry. but, in fact, looks at international tax reform where we can actually help our businesses and have a tax system that is reformed and the funds that come in to us go to the highway trust fund, so we can take care of those bridges that are falling down and insufficient 60,000 of them, and the highways that need help, and the roads -- 50% of which are in disrepair. we need help. our businesses need that help. they've called for that help. they are the concrete people, the granite people, they're the general contractors the engineers, our workers the construction workers -- we still have 200,000 out of work since the great recession. we need a six-year highway bill. we need it now. we need it funded in a smart way that helps our economy keep on
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growing. so there's lots of work ahead and i wanted to take this opportunity to say "thank you" to senators alexander and murray and am hopeful -- and a hopeful request to senator mcconnell that the bill comes out on the floor on highways is one that we can all embrace and we can take care of this great nation, because i'm tell umi'll tell you there isn't a great nation on earth that doesn't have an infrastructure to are match. you have to move goods sms you goods. you have to move people. and if you can't do that we simply can't keep up in this global economy. thankvery much, mr. president. and i -- thank you very much, mr. president. i yield the floor and i think d i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. udall: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. udall: mr. president, i would ask to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: and thank you
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mr. president. nelson mandela once said, there can be no keener revelation of a society's sole than the way it treats its children. every child deserves a fair chance. if we fail at taking care of our children we fail at everything else. so the stakes are high as we work to reform the no child left behind act. too many children are left behind. the every child achieves act is a step forward and i want to thank senators alexander and senator murray for working so hard on this bill. it's bipartisan and it's an opportunity for real progress in educating our children. my dad used to say get it done but get it done right. when we say "every child succeeds," we have to hurricane -- we have to mean it.
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every child including those in the poorest and most vulnerable communities. that is what we must do. that is the bill we must pass. i'm cautiously optimistic, but i would remind my colleagues, we can't keep playing catch-up. i have met with child well-being experts in new mexico and across the nation. they are very clear. early intervention is key. for too many children, there are too many hurdles and too little hope. our commitment has to begin early and has to stay the course. in new mexico, almost one in three children live in poverty. one in five go to bed hungry. we are ranked next to last in education, last in overall child well-being. that is absolutely unacceptable. the future of my state for our children and for our economy
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depends on changing it. earlier this year, i introduced the saving our next generation act. for full-funding for programs that work, that work on a daily basis, work in our communities for critical prenatal care, for healthy start and head start. too little too late doesn't work. the result is wafted opportunity and continued failure. children need to arrive at school ready tow learn and able to realize their full potential. that's why i also emphatically support senator casey's strong start amendment for pre-k education for every child. early learning is critical. senator casey's amendment would expand and improve those opportunities for children from birth to age five. we need to ensure all students get the same opportunities. i've introduced an amendment that provides support for native
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american schools. the bureau of indian education functions as a state education agency and has 50,000 students in it. but it is not funded as one. it often loses out on grants and other federal funding. we have to change that. mr. president, both sides have worked to improve this bill. i'm pleased it has several measures i've long fought for. for example healthy children are an investment in our future. their health education should be a priority, not an afterthought. the bill includes my amendment to make health a core subject. in addition, we know that too many students, especially in minority communities are not graduating. in my state one-fifth of high school students drop out every year. many who drop out are teen parents. my amendment provides critical support to these students.
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we need to do all we can to help them stay in school and to raise healthy children while they do so. the every child achieves act strengthens stem education financial literacy rural school districts and 21st century community learning centers. it assures that tribal leaders can teach native languages in their schools something i pushed for for a long time. it also supports vital school and community public-private partnerships. these are much-needed reforms and will make a difference to children and families in my state. our goal is clear: to reach all students especially those who need the most support to succeed in school. in new mexico, three out of four of our schools are title 1 schools. they face great challenges. many students are low-income. many have special needs. we have to make sure they have
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the resources they need. this has to be a priority, and it starts with good teachers. we aren't going to recruit great teachers especially in schools with the greatest need, if we unfairly punish those teachers for poor student performance. there has to be flexibility especially early on. mr. president, our first obligation is to students, all students. we are accountable to them and their parents and we need to keep applying pressure while providing support to states and school districts to ensure that truly no child is left behind. but we can't just test follower failure. we need -- test for failure. we need to plan for success. we should build on what works and leave behind what doesn't. but don't leave behind good students or those teachers who
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dedicate their lives to helping them. now is the time for reform to assure that standards are strong if not met efforts are in place to help those students, to make sure teachers and parents know how students are performing every year and to give states and school districts the support to succeed. but let's be clear. we face troubling and chronic achievement and opportunity gaps. every school must address this and be held accountable. now is the time to address resource inequities. now is the time to invest in what works. and now is the time to make sure that we're not taking resources away from students, schools and districts with the greatest need. parents deserve to know that when children fall behind, their schools will take action. and we have the resources to do so. but it isn't just schools that
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must act. so must we: the congress, parents, communities. we all have a stake in this, and we share the same goal, to protect at-risk students, to provide accountability for taxpayer funds and to make sure that every child has a fair chance. i want to again commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for bringing this legislation to the floor. working together, we can provide all students with the education they need. and with that, mr. president, i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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smor mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. a senator: mr. president, i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rounds: thank you mr. president. i ask to speak as in morning business today concerning the dodd-frank act which mandates the creation of 398 new rules. these rules are still in the process of being implemented but we already -- well, we already have seen capital moving from productive uses to inefficient and unproductive uses as a result of this law.
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the end result is that every dollar going to comply with these rules is a dollar that can't be productively invested in our economy by providing loans or mortgages to customers or purchasing machines or, for that matter, hiring new employees. for example at a recent senate banking committee hearing the comptroller for regions bank testified to us that it now employs, the bank now employs more compliance employees than actual loan officers. this is not only bad for regions bank, it is harmful for our entire economy. unfortunately we see examples of overregulation stemming from washington way too often. another example of an unnecessary and redundant rule that costs businesses capital is the so-called pay ratio rule buried in section 953 of the dodd-frank act.
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and today i come to the senate floor introducing legislation to repeal it. this is senate -- s. 1722. pay ratio requires the securities and exchange commission to promulgate a rule requiring companies to calculate the median salary of all their employees and then divide their c.e.o.'s pay by that number. according to one prominent organization in support of this rule the purpose of it is to -- quote -- "shame companies into lowering c.e.o. pay." forcing companies to move money from productive uses towards recreating information that is already available so they can be shamed is a poor use of financial resources. in addition to that, it is also redundant. c.e.o. pay is also already public. if anybody is interested in
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finding the salary of a c.e.o. of a public company, that information is easily available thanks to already existing disclosures. also, both the bureau of labor statistics and private economists already track the average salary for a wide variety of jobs. if you know the salary of a company's c.e.o. and you know what their business does, you can already calculate a company's pay ratio. in fact, labor unions and private web sites are already making these calculations. unfortunately the result of the pay ratio rule is more than just an academic exercise. according to the s.e.c. companies will have to spend $73 million per year to comply with this rule. and the united states chamber of commerce estimates the cost will be higher, as much as $700 million per year are on more. -- per year or more. if you split the numbers and take the difference, add them up and divide them, you get
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$386 million per year as an average or an estimate just to comply with this one single rulement -- rule. taking a look at this rule, let's use our own pay ratio test. in 2014, the bureau of labor statistics calculated that the annual mean wage was $47,230. if you divide $386 million, the cost of complying with the pay ratio rule by $47,230 the mean average wage for workers you get the number $8,172. that means on average you could pay $8,172 -- 8,172 people their full salary for the amount of money it takes to comply with the pay ratio rule. now, remember, this is only one of 398 such rules found within
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dodd frank a number of which have not even been implemented yet. this money that they would use to do this, this money has to come from somewhere to pay for this new compliance system required to follow the rule taking away much-needed capital from businesses which could otherwise invest money growing their businesses and creating job opportunities. it is a waste of time, effort and money. the legislation i introduce today simply strikes this rule in dodd-frank. it does nothing to change any other part of the law. repealing the pay ratio rule would allow companies to find more productive uses for their time and money so they can invest in the future and create job opportunities. i am committed to relieving americans from this and other unnecessary and burdensome regulations during my time in the senate and i encourage my colleagues to join me in this effort.
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thank you mr. president. i yield the floor and at this time i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk shall call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you very much,
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mr. president. i rise to speak today on an amendment that has great significance for our country. it's about early learning. let me give you the former name of the amendment just so we have it for the record. the casey amendment number 2152, the strong start for america's children amendment, which is an amendment to the every child achieves act which will establish a federal-state partnership to provide access to high-quality public pre-kindergarten education for low and moderate income families. we have had a debate, especially over the last couple of days, about our commitment to basic education, so-called elementary and secondary education and as part of that, i think it's the time to finally at long last have a debate about early learning on the floor of the united states senate. it's been a long, long time since that has happened. i want to thank folks who have
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made it possible for us to get to this point to consider an amendment like this and to have this debate about the larger legislation but also about this amendment in particular. senator alexander senator murray leading the effort to consider the every child achieves act but also in particular i want to again salute senator murray for her many years as you might call it laboring in the vineyards of early learning as she has done on so many other issues, working so hard since the first day she has been in the senate to work on early learning and also senator hirono for her work on this issue as well in proposing legislation which has come together now after a lot of years of work by a number of us in the senate into this amendment. so we're grateful for their contribution and i'd also like to ask unanimous consent to add
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senator booker as a cosponsor. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you very much, mr. president. really what this comes down to is something very fundamental. the basic link between learning and earning. if children learn more now or learn more when they are very young, they are going to earn a lot more down the road. they're going to do better in school. they're going to succeed and progress in school in a way that we would hope, no matter where they live, no matter what their circumstances if we make the commitment to those children, and because of that success and progress and learning, they'll learn more down the road. we know that a higher or a more developed education leads to great success in school and also leads to a better job down the road. this isn't simply a commitment to a child. it's certainly that first and foremost but it's also a commitment to our long-term
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economic future. if you want higher wages and you want better jobs and you want a growing economy and you want america not only to compete in a world economy but outcompete and have the best work force the best workers in the world we've got to make sure we have the best education system, and that starts long before a child gets to first or second grade and it even starts before they get to kindergarten. that's why i refer to this as pre-k or pre-kindergarten education. so if they learn more now they're going to earn more later, and we have to make sure that we bare that in mind -- bear that in mind. as we debate the appropriate role of the federal government to ensure that all students in the nation graduate from high school prepared for college and career we cannot forget about this basic piece of the puzzle that begins before that child enters even kindergarten. in the short term, students enter kindergarten more prepared and ready for elementary school
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if we pass legislation like the amendment i am proposing. some studies have even shown high-quality early learning can help double a child's cognitive development. high-quality early learning can double a child's cognitive development. in the long term, high-quality early learning -- and we want to emphasize high quality. i didn't say just any program for any -- or any kind of curriculum. we'll talk more about that later. but high-quality early learning contributes to, among other things a reduction in the need for special education number one. number two lower juvenile justice rates. number three improved health outcomes. number four, increased high school graduation and college matriculation rates. and then finally increased self-sufficiency and productivity among families. these aren't just assertions.
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these are the results of many years of study. i'll turn to the first chart for today. high-quality early learning means children, number one can earn as much as 25% more as adults. so this is where early learning has a direct and substantial correlation to higher wages down the road. number two early learning leads to healthier and more productive lives. there is no question about that. some of the best research on this has been done lately and should be part of the discussion. high-quality early learning also leads to children who are less likely to commit a crime. all the data shows that over many years now. number four, high-quality early learning means children are more likely to graduate from high school. we need to get that number up across the country. we hope that that will lead to -- to more young people finishing high school and getting higher education but that doesn't always mean a
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four-year degree. it might mean a two-year degree. it might mean a community college. it might mean a technical school. but they can't get to a community college or a technical school or any kind of higher education unless they graduate from high school, and we want to make sure that we have programs that do that. so kids learn more now and earn more later. so that's the first reason to do this. it has a positive impact on that child and a substantially positive impact on the economy. now, the other way to look at this is what would happen in the absence of this kind of commitment, which we don't have right now as a nation? i think it's a strategic comparative that we have a commitment to early learning. but what happens if we don't? well we can spend upwards of $40,000 per inmate on incarcerations thousands of dollars on drug treatment special education whatever the challenge is, those problems
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become worse the longer, the longer that we don't make this commitment. so that's one option. the other option is spend a fraction of that $40,000 on high-quality preschool and give children the good and smart start they need in life. it's that old adage -- an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. mr. president, we often have the best testimony from folks in our home state. i want to read you one of those -- one of those pieces of testimony. it's a letter -- i won't read the whole letter because i want to refer to a couple of individuals from pennsylvania, but heather from southwestern pennsylvania. she wrote to us talking about her child. i won't read all of it, but she said and i'm quoting talking about the fact that her daughter is enrolled in a high-quality pre-k program. so these are positive testimonials about the impact on
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a child and on a family. heather says in pertinent part, and i quote -- "my daughter has blossomed since starting in p.a. p.a. -- in the p.a. pre-k counts program. she said she loves it. she sings a song she learns daily and has made lots of friends. daily, she tells us how much she loves her school and her teachers. it goes on from there. another letter from dory also from the southwestern corner of our state near pittsburgh, she says and i'm quoting here, "our daughter has blossomed since starting in pre-k counts. enrolling her has allowed us to see how our child learns best. she goes on to say -- quote -- "she is just much more animated and open to learning now." so we get letters like this all the time about the positive
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impact of early learning. right from the testimony of people directly affected by it. so one other way to look at this is the testimony from families, another way to look at it, again, is from the data. one of the best authorities on this is dr. james heckman the nobel prize winning economist who estimates that the returning you return on high-quality early learning is as high as $10 for every $1 we invest. another study for the perry preschool pledge in michigan showed a return of $17 for spending $1. so you spend a buck on early learning you get 17 bucks in return. this study has been on the record for many years and unfortunately, some elected officials haven't taken it to heart. the data on return on investment
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is overwhelming, and indisputable. so if we want to measure this in terms of dollars there's all the evidence in the world. i think the evidence and the testimony from parents is even more persuasive but if we want to do a dollar comparison, there it is, $17 returned for every $1 on investment. the study of those children earned approximately $25 for her year than those who did not. study after study looking at full-day programs found a positive impact on the future earnings of participants and in the cases -- in some cases i should say the benefit just from increased wages could be as high as 3.5% per year. so this does have a direct correlation to wages. my strong start amendment would help more than three million american children have that
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opportunity for high-quality early learning and give them access to those kinds of programs. just in my home state of pennsylvania -- by the way, a state which has made strides in this direction at the state level. that's that's the good news. the bad news, they haven't made the strides we need to make. we are nowhere near 50% of our children in these kinds of programs. because of that, because of that void or that deficit the number for pennsylvania in terms of benefit is high. 93,930 children is the estimate that could benefit from this amendment being enacted into law. mr. president, i would ask consent to enter into the record a document entitled "five-year estimates of federal allotments and the number of children served by casey strong start amendment." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: just for the record what that is is a list of the
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dollar amounts that states would receive under this and they have to choose to participate but if they did they would have not just the dollars for it but the children served. so three million across the country almost 94,000 pennsylvanian, in a state like ohio 118,760 even a state like is very large state that might not have the investment that we would hope, a state like texas 299,902 children. let's round it off and call it 300,000 children in a big state like texas would benefit. so this is the benefit in terms of the number of children and i believe it's long overdue that we made this commitment to our children. the state would have to match -- that's why i mentioned it's a federal and state partnership.
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the state match and we know if that happens the full-day preschool would be available for 4-year-olds, that's the age -- the age category we're focusing on. 4-year-olds from families earning below 200% of the poverty level. it's a little less than $49,000 a family income. now, the other thing i mentioned earlier was quality. we don't want to just have programs set up around the country, federal and state partnership, and have a program. that would be nice, but it won't advance the goal of the best possible learning. we want high-quality programs. so we insist that the programs are ones that have teachers with high qualifications that are paid comparably to k-12 teachers we also would insist that there are rigorous health and safety standards for these programs small class sizes and
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low child to staff ratios, instruction that is evidence -based and developmentally appropriate. we don't just want to have any curriculum we want the best curriculum based on evidence that it works and also evidence-based comprehensive services for children. so this amendment acknowledges that high-quality prek-programs should be included for services for children with disabilities as well, and recognizes the need for increased funding to specifically serve these children in early childhood. there are other aspects of the program that i won't have time for right now but i wanted to move to the question, it's a new commitment by the united states of america even folks who would say this is a really good idea would say how are you going to pay for it? well we have a pay-for and it's a change in the tax code which i think a lot of folks would support because of what we've seen over the last couple of years. to pay for this, we would put
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limits on the ability of american companies to invert and move their tax domicile overseas to reduce their tax liability. that's a long way of saying we would make it more difficult for companies to engage in this so-called inversion strategy which allows them through a loophole to pay less taxes because they move operations into a smaller company that's foreign owned. we think -- i believe we should make that more difficult for companies to do that. if they want to do it, i don't like when they do it, not many people people do like it, we should make it more difficult. if we make it more difficult for companies to do what they wouldn't that leads to a savings in revenue and it would make a lot of sense for american companies who believe that they should move overseas to help us pay for early learning. i think that makes all the sense in the world. if we're committed to early
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learning and if we're committed to making sure we can pay for the program. so the amendment itself is paid for by dealing with this loophole or dealing with part of an advantage that companies have. it's an amendment that is supported by nearly 40 national organizations from unions to parent education early learning groups, disabilities advocacy groups and civil rights groups and i would ask unanimous consent, mr. president to enter the full list of endorsing organizations into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: mr. president just a couple more points and then i'll move on. even with these recent gains according to one of the national groups that track this data, the national institute of early education research, nieer -- only four in ten american 4-year-olds are enrolled in public prek and less than two in
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ten 4-year-olds. four in ten 4-year-olds in these kind of programs. i don't know how you outcompete the world and have the best work force in the world and develop the highest skill level in the world into the future if you don't make that commitment to early learning. i don't know how we get that if we continue to talk a good game about early learning and to listen to the testimony of parents,a also listen to the testimony of c.e.o.'s and business owners who come to us year after year and in addition to talking to us about taxation or other issues come to us and say please, please make an investment in early learning. some of the biggest companies in pennsylvania, some of the biggest companies in the world have come to us saying that. so whether it's a c.e.o. or whether it's a parent, or whether it's an educator, they all believe we have to finally at long last make our commitment to early learning as a nation
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because it's a strategic economic imperative. even in pennsylvania where i mentioned before we've made some strides over basically the last decade or 15 years we rank tenth in the amount of state resources invested, that's kind of good news but not enough, pennsylvania still is only able to serve less than 10% of all 3- and 4-year-olds in state funding for early learning. i think at the same time we can make academic arguments arguments by parents and educators and c.e.o.'s, we also know that the national data, the polling shows that it's something the american people support as well. the american people understand the vital importance of increased investment in early learning. in a national poll conducted last year by the bipartisan team at public opinion strategies at hart research, 64% of americans believe we should be doing more to ensure that children start
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kindergarten ready to do their best. here's just another way to summarize it. voters say we should be doing more to ensure children start children to do their best, no one says do less. those who say we should do more to ensure children start ready to learn 64% that's do more. do enough is 27%. we got to persuade some of those folks in green. but the doing less is only 4%. i don't know who those folks are, i hope i can meet and talk to them but the overwhelming majority of americans say we need to do more to give children the opportunity to be prepared to learn and therefore to have a strong start in their education, and down the road to literally earn more when they're working. this support runs across all parties, 55% of republicans 63% of independents, 73% of democrats. when asked about a similar proposal the one in my amendment
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seven in ten americans including 60% of republicans support it. so it is it has overwhelming support. mr. president, let me end with the words of folks who know the benefit of these programs already, some of the parents who wrote to us. there are two more that i will cite. let me just find that here. the next set of testimony is from beth. she's from washington county pennsylvania. she expresses gratitude for the pennsylvania pre-k program she said -- quote -- "my daughter has learned so much. before she had this program -- quote -- "she couldn't write any of her letters or even recognize them. she's improved so much since the first day of class it's given her socialization with kids her age." and she goes on to tell how much that means to her family and how much that means to her daughter. and then finally megan from the
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other end of the state southeastern pennsylvania in montgomery county, she says and i'm just reading in part, that her son he came into this program, meaning the pre-k program, came into this program shy and with very little verbal communication. he now talks nonstop and loves learning unquote. so i've only read you just brief excerpts from letters that we've received but here's the point -- if a child is going to enter a program and by the end of that be curious about learning that's a huge success. if a child enters a program not knowing her letters and at the end she is learning and she is achieving, that's something we can all be positive about. and even the first letter i read talking about -- talking about the way her child would -- quote -- "singing a songs that she
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learns daily." whatever it is, whether it's singing or learning letters or reading, these children are learning because of a good program. it just didn't happen by accident. it happened because they're in a high-quality program it happened because in some communities they made the decision to invest in the future of that child and the future of our economy. so let's take a step with this amendment to allow children to learn more now so they can earn more later and help us move into the future in a very positive direction. for our children, for our families and for our economy. mr. president, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. ms. baldwin: thank you mr. president. i rise to speak in strong support of an amendment to this underlying bill that addresses resource equity in our nation's schools. and i'm proud to have worked
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across party lines to join my colleagues in supporting this bipartisan amendment particularly to have worked with senators kirk, reed of rhode island and brown on this measure. it's an improvement to the long overdue reauthorization of the elementary and secondary education act that we have been debating over the course of this week. the every child achieves act importantly focuses on ensuring that those students most in need have access to a high-quality education, and it continues to ensure that title 1 funds flow to school districts where federal support can make the greatest impact, the most difference. it requires states to report key
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information that will help us identify disparities such as per-pupil expenditures school discipline and teacher and educator quality. but i believe that we must further strengthen those reporting requirements in order to fully ensure that the range of critical school resources from quality teachers to rigorous coursework to well-conditioned and equipped school facilities is being equitably distributed among school districts in a given state. and we must require states to demonstrate how they will act to address disparities among schools. now, despite the advances we've seen since president johnson signed the elementary and secondary education act into law
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50 years ago significant gaps in achievement and opportunity still exist. the u.s. department of education's office of sufficientlycivilrights recently published data from a comprehensive survey of schools across the nation that illustrated the magnitude of the problem. for example the report describes how black latino, american indian, and native alaskan students and english learners attend schools with higher ken concentrations of inexperienced teefns. furthermore -- teachers. furthermore, nationwide, one in five high schools lack a school counselor. and between 10% and 25% of high schools across the nation do not offer more than one of the core
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courses in the typical sequence of high school, math, and science. in my home state of wisconsin higher poverty and higher minority school districts remain more likely to have inexperienced teachers. the department of education has data that shows that, for example, in milwaukee where there are the most high-poverty and high-minority schools in our state 8% of teachers are in their first year of teaching, and 19% of teachers lack state certification. now, the state average is 5.6% for first-year teachers and .3% for those who lack the certification. as with the nation, achievement gaps follow these disparities.
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according to data from the national center for education statistics, there are startling differences in student proficiency and graduation rates, both in wisconsin and nationally. for example the average math proficiency in low-performing schools in my home state is 12%. the average in all other schools in the state 51%. that's a huge gap. it's a 40% gap. there's also a 37% gap for reading and language arts proficiency, and a 31% gap in graduation rates. we cannot close those achievement gaps if we do not provide all students with equal access to core educational resources, and that is why i am
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pleased to join senators kirk, reed and brown in offering this opportunity dash board dashboard of core core resources amendment. this amendment requires each state to report what key educational resources are currently available in districts with the highest concentrations of minority students and students in poverty and then it requires them to develop a plan to address the disparities that are shown to exist. it gives states flexibility to develop those plans and lay out a timetable with annual benchmarks for taking action. ans it protects a parent's right for knowing about the resources available to his or her child. as we work to reauthorize the
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elementary and secondary education act in its 50th year, we have yet to see its promise of equal access to educational opportunity fulfilled for all of america's students. as we look to the next half-century of supporting public education, it is critical that we take the steps to ensure that all children have access to the educational resources that will help them succeed regardless of race, ethnicity or family income. now, i understand that there may be a vote on this amendment early next week. i certainly hope so, and i would urge my colleagues to support this very important bipartisan effort. thank you mr. president. and i would suggest the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. cornyn: mr. president i'd ask that the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president you always feel like -- i always feel like when i return home back to the work periods in the state, the time when the senate is not in session i get a chance to travel my sit astate like the presiding officer -- travel my state like the presiding officer does in his i appreciate a little bit more how different can have a different impact can produce different results. now, i couldn't help but think as the distinguished senator from wisconsin was speaking and talking about the importance of
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education, we all -- we all agree with that, but we have maybe some differences on which policies actually produce a better result. i couldn't help but think a little bit about that last week, as i was visiting in west texas some of the ranchers and folks in the ag sector who were very interested in what we were doing up here in washington on trade promotion authority as we have worked with the president on a bipartisan basis to pass this structure by which the next big trade agreement -- the trans-pacific partnership -- will be considered and voted on. but i do have a bias. i think that experiments in policy are best conducted at the state level not at the national level. we've seen, for example as the presiding officer knows a huge
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experiment in health care reform where under the affordable care act one-sixth of our economy was effectively commandeered by the federal government in a one-size-fits-all approach. and, of course, the results were much worse than even its most ardent proponents advocated. many of the basic promises that were made in order to sell the affordable care act just simply aren't true. they haven't come to pass. so i think it's really helpful to do just the opposite. rather than experiment at the national level what kind of policies actually work, let's try these at the state level. and, indeed, on the matter of trade, i would say i come from a state that's a number-one exporting state in the country and that's one reason why our economy grew last year, 2014, at
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5.2% -- 5.2%. the economy across the united states grew at 2.2%. now, there are a lot of reasons for that difference, but don't you think it would make some people curious about whether there were actually policies or practices at the state level that produce a better result, a growing economy with rising wages and more jobs? well this isn't just me being proud of where i come from. i guess people are accustomed to texans being proud of their state and bragging about it. it's just kind of who we are and we accept that. but this is more than that. this is talking about the policies that actually work, that if embraced and implemented here at the national level once tested at the state level, we could actually see a better outcome for all america. for example texas farmers and ranchers know that from our
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experience in texas that trade is a good thing. and as you begin to explain and explore the importance of trade promotion authority the idea that we comprise roughly 5% of the world's population -- in other words 95% of the world's population is beyond our shores -- but we represent 80% -- we represent 20% of the world's purchasing power why wouldn't we want to open up our goods and servicesservices the things we grow and make to these markets abroad so more people could buy the things that we grow and raise and what we make? well mr. president i'd like to talk about another innovation, or at least another practice, at the state level that has had an impact on the quality of education at the state level. as we continue discussion of every child achieves act
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legislation that will hopefully improve the results for 50 million children, i'm glad we'll be bringing another tried and true example of what's happened at the state level to the national level. so i was happy to cosponsor with the senator from virginia, the senior senator from virginia, an amendment which takes into account the commonsense purpose of encourage the states to conduct efficiency reviews of school campuses to make sure that federal dollars are spent as cost-effectively as possible. this amendment builds on an incredibly successful program in texas, one that brings greater accountability to our schools and helps them discern how they can make each dollar go just a little bit further. this program is called the financial allocation study for texas -- or fast. it was developed by the texas
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comptroller, susan combs to evaluate the operational efficiency of the school districts and campuses across our a state. to do that, the comptroller uses data about school finances, school demographics academic performance from each school and campus around the state to help measure academic achievement relative to spending. there is a broadly held fallacy that the quality of educational outputs is equal to how much money you put into it. in other words, if you want a better product educationally all you have to do is spend more money. and i would say that's demonstrably false. there are many our parochial schools that do an outstanding job of educating their students at a fraction of what our public schools do. so i think it's a fallacy to say, if you want more or better education, all you have to do is
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spend more money. there is a more -- there is a smarter, more efficient way to deal with that, and that's what thethe allocation study is designinged to achieve to measure academic achievement relative to spending. as the senior senator from virginia explained earlier this successful texas model of a fiscally responsible educational system caught his eye what he was governor of virginia. he implemented a similar program. and in virginia, the savings came from commonsense recommendations, things like introducing software programs to improve bus routes, enhancing methods of facilities management and encouraging best practices and hiring in personnel management. while more states have adopted similar programs, these money-saving opportunities should be available to all school districts nationwide. so now with the adoption of this
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amendment just yesterday, with the eventual passage of every child achieves act, we can make sure that school districts all across the country are using their dollars for what they are really intended: classroom education not stuck back in the back office bureaucracy. as many of us have already mentioned, the underlying legislation, the every child achieves act is really about putting responsibility for our children's education back in the hands of parents local school districts, and teachers. and they are the ones, the people who are actually closer to the issue closer to the problem and the ones who perhaps know more than any bureaucrat here in washington could ever hope to know about what actually works at the local level. but it's also about flexibility meaning that it's up to individual states, not just the federal government, to determine how to achieve the best outcomes for all of our students. and importantly, i should add
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that flexibility translates into greater options for schools across the country by giving states additional freedom to create and replicate high-quality charter schools for example and giving parents more choices as i said, for their children's education. so i'm very proud of the good progress we've made across a number of issues this year so far. passing antihuman trafficking laws cracking the code on how do we pay physicians under medicare adequately rather than temporarily patching that problem for so many years. we passed a budget for the first time since 2009 that balances in ten years. and, yes we worked with the president of the united states on a bipartisan basis to pass trade promotion authority. and now next week we will conclude this every child achieves act by reforming our
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early elementary childhood education system to get more of the power get more of the authority out of washington and back to parents teachers and the states where it really belongs. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: thank you mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that boris granofsky a fellow in my office be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the 114th congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. franken: i also ask for unanimous consent to speak for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. franken: thank you mr. president. mr. president, we've been living under no child left behind or
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nclb for 13 years. during that time, we've learned what about nclb works and a lot more about what doesn't work. students teachers and parents across the country have been waiting a long time for us to fix this law. as a member of the senate education committee i'm proud to have worked on the legislation before us today and helped to have gotten it this far. the every child achieves act of 2015 builds a strong bipartisan foundation to reform our national education system, and i want to thank chairman lamar alexander and ranking member patty murray for their leadership on this bill. over the last six years i met with principals and teachers, students parents and school administrators in minnesota.
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these conversations have helped me develop my educational priorities to help improve our schools, our communities and our nation's future. i worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle including the esteemed presider mr. president, to find common ground. and i'm very pleased that many of my priorities to improve student outcomes and close the achievement gap are reflected in the legislation that is before us today. during my conversations with parents and students, i often speak about children's mental health. at the mounds view school district in minnesota i met a single mother named katie johnson. she told me about her son a nine-year-old boy whose behavior
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she just wasn't able to control. but because his school had a system in place a mental health model in place, they were able to identify that he might have some mental health problems and let, get him access to community mental health services, and he was diagnosed with adhd and asperger's. and i was able to get -- and he was able to get the treatment that he needed, and it turned him around. that day katie told me that her son was now was now doing well in school. he had taken up tae kwon do. and katie told me that her life
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had been out of control. and when her child -- when she couldn't control her child. but she said now and she pointed to herself -- i'll never forget this. she pointed to herself and said now i'm bulletproof. i can do anything. well i said let's -- well, let's do this. so i came here and introduced the mental health in schools act. and i'm proud over the last couple of years we've gotten $100 million-plus extra through the appropriations process for programs like the one in that bill. i've worked hard to get the same provisions based on my mental health in schools act into the bill before us today. my provisions will allow schools
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that want to work with community-based health, mental health organizations and mental health providers to use education funding to provide mental health screening treatment and referral service to their students. by equipping school staff with the training and tools to identify what it looks like when a kid has mental illness. in this school -- every adult in this school from the lunch ladies to the principal from the school bus drivers to the teachers are trained to see what it looks like when a kid might have a serious mental health issue, and then they would refer to the professional in the school the counselor or school psychologist. now, one of the most common features of successful schools in disadvantaged communities is
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the presence of an effective school principal. this should come as no surprise. it's a matter of common sense to expect a successful school or any successful organization to have a strong leader. and research shows that school leadership is one of the most critical components of improving student learning. yet, despite its importance, the federal government has not devoted adequate attention or resources to improving the quality of principals in high-needs schools. that's why i made sure that there is dedicated funding written into the base bill to create a pipeline for effective principals for high-needs schools. i had a round table a number of years ago at a school that had been turned around by a great principal. and the round table was with principals from around the twin
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cities. we started talking about testing. and one of the principals referred to the nclb test as autopsies. now, i knew immediately what he meant. schools were -- schools had to administer an nclb test toward the end of the year, toward the end of april and the school and the teachers didn't get the results until late june, when the kids are out of school. so the teachers couldn't use the results of the test to inform their instruction of the kid. and i found out that that was why in minnesota schools were administering other tests in addition to the nclb test. on top of that, they were giving computer-adaptive tests. what are computer-adaptive tests? well they're computer, meaning the teacher gets the result
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right away. so she can use the results of that test, or he or she can use the results of that test to to inform the instruction of each child. they're adaptive. that means when -- if a kid is getting everything right the questions get harder. and if they're getting things wrong, they get easier. and this is much more descriptive of what, where the child is. and you can pinpoint this, and this informs the instruction. and these kinds of tests were not allowed in the regional nclb because they said that all the tests had to be standardized standardized meaning having the same test for each child. but you get a much better
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assessment with a computer-adaptive test. and that's why i wrote with johnny isakson of georgia into the every child achieves act an amendment that allows states to use computer-adaptive tests. so teachers will now be able to create lessons plans based on how each student performs. and the next day -- starting the next day, if a state chooses to, can use these tests to more accurately measure student growth, which is something i so believe in is measuring in growth and not holding judging whether a kid meets or what percentage of kids meet some arbitrary performance standard, proficiency standard. but instead, whether the school
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is having every kid grow. i like that name -- the only thing i liked about no child left behind was the name. and yet every teacher started teaching to the middle, teaching to the kids who are just below or just above that artificial line of proficiency. and that was a perverse incentive not to focus on the kid up here or the kid down here. every child achieves, that's what we're going for. so this amendment will go a long way toward improving the quality of assessments used in our school and will give teachers and parents more accurate and timely information about how their kid is growing. another issue i hear as i travel around minnesota this time from businesses, is that students graduating from our schools aren't ready to take on the jobs that are waiting for them.
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this is called the skills gap. and it isn't just a problem in minnesota, it's a problem in, i'd say every state. we have jobs now that are going unfilled because our graduates lack science technology, engineering and math, stem skills. in fact, by 2018, minnesota employers will have to fill over 180,000 stem-related jobs. and so i wrote an amendment to provide states with funding to support partnerships between local schools businesses universities and nonprofit organizations to improve student learning in stem subjects. my amendment says that each state can choose how to spend and prioritize these funds which can support a wide range of stem activities from in-depth teacher training to engineering design
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competitions to improving the diversity of the stem workforce. states can also use these funds to create a stem master teachers core, which is based on my legislation called the stem master teacher core. this will offer career advancement opportunities and extra pay to exceptional stem teachers and help them serve as mentors to less accomplished teachers. today it's getting harder and harder for students to pay for college. that's why the presiding officer, mr. president, the good senator from louisiana and i worked -- the way the cameras work you can't see the presiding officer now because i'm talking. so it's bill cassidy of louisiana. we worked together on an amendment to help reduce the
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cost of college while kids are still in high school. our amendment provides funds to cover the cost of advanced placement in international baccalaureate exam fees for low-income students. and when i do college affordability round tables, i found students who have taken an a.p. course but were afraid to spend the money for the test in case they didn't get the three four or five which gave them a credit. so this will help those students do that. our amendment also includes dual enrollment programs in early college high schools. in minnesota we call them post-secondary education opportunities. these are -- these are two other models that help students earn college credit while in high school. and by participating and succeeding in these programs, students can save a lot of money
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toward college by getting college credits. the academic programs i've mentioned are critical to our children's success in school, but many kids also need additional supports to help them succeed in school. for example school counselors respond to a wide range of student needs from dealing with the aftermath of -- of traumatic events to school bullying, to the college admissions process and career advising. but we have a shortage of school counselors in this country. unfortunately the ability of school counseling professionals to assist students suspect often hindered -- is often hindered by a high student to counselor ratio, often two or three times the recommended amount. in minnesota, we have one counselor for every 700
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students. that's unacceptable. so i wrote a provision that addresses this critical need by authorizing the elementary and secondary school counseling program in the every child achieves legislation. federal grants like this one will help states and districts address these high ratios between students and counselors and bring more trained professionals into schools. another critical support for students is afterscal programs. -- afterschool programs. senator lisa murkowski from alaska and i worked together to fund 21st century community learning centers because these after-school programs play a critical role in increasing student achievement keeping students safe and helping out working families. there are over 100 21st
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century learning centers across my state of minnesota and these centers provide high-quality active-school activities to help address the physical, social, emotional and academic needs of the students that they serve. senator murkowski and i worked on another amendment to help american indian students. our amendment would fund native language immersion programs throughout indian country because language is critical to maintaining cultural heritage. native students who are enrolled in language immersion programs of higher -- have higher levels of student achievement, high school graduation rates and college attendance rates than their native american peers in traditional english-based schools. again, i'm very pleased that with the help of my colleagues, i was able to include all of these amendments into the
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legislation that we are considering today. these provisions will help hundreds of thousands of students across the country reach their full potential. lastly, i'd like to speak in support of senator patty murray's and senator johnny isakson's early learning amendment that was included in the bill and senator bob casey's floor amendment called strong start for america which also expands access to early childhood education. this is so important. the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their peers is evident before they enter kindergarten. early childhood programs can help narrow this gap. in fact, high-quality early childhood education programs not only help prepare our children for school study after study shows that there is a tremendous return on investment in
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high-quality early childhood education, ranging from $7 to $16 for every dollar spent. kids who attend a high-quality early childhood program are less likely to be special ed kids to need special education programs. less likely to be held back a grade. they have better health outcomes the girls are less likely to get pregnant in adolescence. they're more likely to graduate high school more likely to go to college and graduate from college and have a good job and pay -- pay taxes. and much less likely to go to prison. i've been a big supporter of investing in early childhood
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programs for years because it is just simply common sense to do and that's why i supported senator casey's amendment. more generally no child left behind is long overdue for the right kind of reform. with the leadership of chairman alexander and ranking member murray my colleagues and i on the help committee have worked hard to incorporate the lessons that we've learned from teachers and students and parents school administrators and put them into this legislation. we have made tremendous progress on this bill but we still have some work to do before it becomes law. we need to close the achievement gaps in this country and that means we should expect states to focus on all of their students, including low-income and minority students. as its core, the elementary and secondary education act passed
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first in 1965 is a civil rights bill that was intended to improve equality and expand opportunity for disadvantaged students. so i look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to strengthen the accountability provisions in this bill. i urge my colleagues to support the every child achieves act of 2015 so that we can keep working to support all of our nation's students. and finally -- and i want to flag something that is very important to me. i have a pending amendment to every child achieves that i care an enormous amount about the student nondiscrimination act. it will give lgbt -- lesbian gay, bisex cal -- bisexual and
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transgendered -- students the protection they need in school. and i will come back to discuss that at a later time. and i yield the floor to i think the good senator from utah. mr. hatch: i thank my colleague. mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president i rise today to talk about an issue that will have serious negative consequences on the lives and livelihoods of millions of americans and threaten our already muddled and beleaguered health care system. ever since the partisan and rush passage of the so-called affordable care act i've come to the floor dozens of time to shine the light on the problems associated with this law and to call for a swift repeal and replacements -- replacement. i have not been alone. many of my colleagues have been working to make this case as well. truth be told, this hasn't been an altogether difficult case to
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make. indeed the data have repeatedly shown that obamacare it despite the many claims of its proponents simply is not working. we've seen more evidence of this in just the past few days. for example in a recent "new york times" article we all read about the dramatic proposed increases in health insurance premiums due to obamacare's expensive mandates and regulations. now, many plans are proposing rate increases that average 23% in illinois 25% in north carolina 31% in oklahoma, 36% in tennessee and 54% in minnesota. mr. president, i don't know about you but my constituents find this unnerving. after all one of the president's chief justifications for his health care law was that it would actually bring down the cost of health care. once again we're seeing that this was just another one of the
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many empty obamacare promises. but even more frightening that these proposed rate increases are the root causes of the increases. in the recent "new york times" article, nathan t. johns the chief financial officer of arches health plan, which operates in my home state of utah was quoted as saying -- quote -- "our enrollees generated 24% more claims than we thought they would when we set our 2014 rates." this according to mr. johns led to a collection of just under $40 million in premiums while the company had to pay out more than $56 million in claims for 2014. as a result, arches health plan has proposed rate increases averaging 45% for 2016 in order to remain viable. now, i know this is not all -- that this was not at all the intention of my democratic colleagues who voted for this
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bill but it is because of this and a myriad of other unintended consequences that obamacare has consistently pulled be-- polled below 50% approval since the day it was signed into law. indeed according to a compilation by real clear politics of the 405 polls collected since the law passed in march of 2010 391 reported a majority of americans opposing or having negative views towards obamacare. unfortunately, president obama seems to be disconnected from this reality. in a recent trip to tennessee the president called for consumers to put pressure on state insurance regulators to scrutinize the proposed rate increases. he then suggested that if commissioners do their job and actively review the rates his -- quote -- "expectation" is that they'll come in significantly lower than what's being requested. but as roy vaughn, vice
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president of the tennessee blue cross plan stated -- quote -- "there's not a lot of mystery to it. we lost a significant amount of money in the marketplace $141 million, because we were not very accurate in predicting the utilization of health care." yet president obama fails to grasp the simple mathematics of the problem. and he's not alone. in response to the president's call for scrutiny, the tennessee insurance commissioner was quoted as saying she would ask -- quote -- "hard questions of companies we regulate to protect consumers." forgive me, mr. president but i fail to understand what hard questions there are to ask. if i owned a business that takes in $100 million in revenue but pays out $120 million in expenses i won't be solvent for very long. what is perhaps most disconcerting to me in all of this are the responses these patients get from officials in the obama administration. for example in response to
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concerns about these premium hikes health and human services secretary burwell recently argued that patients shouldn't worry because there are tax subsidies available to help cover the costs. she also said that they could simply shop for cheaper plans on the exchanges during the next open enrollment period. of course in a world where insurance plans across the country are requesting rate increases of 20% 30% 40% or even 50% or more one has to wonder just how many cheaper plans will be available and how many sacrifices patients will have to make in their care in order to get significant savings? mr. president, while many seem to believe that the affordable care act received a reprieve from the supreme court, i think we are actually witnessing the downward spiral of obamacare. and i cannot help but question what supposed solutions my friends on the other side of the
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aisle will come up with next. anyone who's being honest and who suspect listening to the american people -- and who is listening to the american people should recognize that obamacare needs to be replaced with real patient-centered reforms that are designed not to control the marketplace but to actually reduce the costs for hardworking patients and taxpayers. i'm a coauthor of such a plan, which we've called the patient care act. this legislative proposal which i've put forward along with senator burr and chairman fred upton in the house will reduce the costs of health care in this country without all the expensive mandates and regulations that are causing these major increases in health insurance premiums. i've talked about our proposal many times here on the floor and i will continue to do so. i know there are other ideas out there and i think we should consider and evaluate those as well. put simply, i am willing to work with anyone on either side of the aisle to fix our nation's
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health care system and to protect the american people from the negative consequences of this misguided law. my hope, mr. president is that more of our colleagues on the other side will eventually see what the majority of the american people have seen for more than five years now -- the problems with obamacare are not minor flaws that can be fixed with a little regulatory tinkering. they are fundame├▒ -- fundamental flaws. the only answer is real reform which addresses the skyrocketing costs of health care in america. with that, mr. president you can see that i'm very, very concerned about obamacare and the fact that it's breaking america, not working costs are going up on a rapid basis people are not being well served. the emergency rooms which were supposed to be spared from all
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this are just full of medicare and medicaid patients who cannot find doctors now. doctors are leaving the profession because of obamacare in large measure. and we can't get help to those who really need the help because of the many restrictions in obamacare. all i can say is that sooner or later we have to get off our high horse and look at this and look at it in a very effective nonpartisan way and either change it or get rid of it and replace it with something that will work much better and will be something the american people can live with. there were approximately 35 million people who did not have health insurance before obamacare. that was a big issue. the president has cited that many times. guess how many don't have
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insurance now with obamacare. about 30 million, 35 million people. so has this just been a big boondoggle? so the president can take credit for something that doesn't work? or are we going to do the thing that we all should as members of congress in the best interests of our -- of our citizens change this bill and get one that really does work? with that, mr. president i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk shall call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. ms. heitkamp: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. heitkamp: i also ask that molly johnson an intern in my office, be granted floor privileges for the duration of this year's senate. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. ms. heitkamp: thank you mr. president. once again we find ourselves on a thursday afternoon doing some final business before everybody returns home to meet with their constituents and do this work. i must say how much i appreciate your kind words and your attention when we have been talking about those north dakotans who were killed in action in vietnam. this week the united states senate commemorated that 50-year anniversary, and i -- i know that there are so many members who care deeply and i know you're among those members so i really want to thank the presiding officer and you
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mr. president, for your attention and your appreciation for the sacrifices of the men that i talk about weekly. mr. president, i rise today to speak about the men from north dakota who died while serving in the vietnam war. we are currently in a 13-year commemoration period honoring the vietnam -- the veterans of the vietnam war. i've had the privilege to learn from families of north dakotans who died in the war about their loved ones, who their loved ones were and who they hoped they would be. before speaking today about some of the 198 north dakotans that didn't return home from vietnam i want to publicly thank dave logas for his service to our state and our nation. dave is a vietnam veteran from dickinson. dave had plans to become a mechanical engineer and enroll at dickinson state university in art and engineering. after his first quarter he decided to enroll at ndsu instead but he was drafted
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before classes began in fargo. in 1969, he landed in vietnam in the army's 25th infantry division as a sniper. he says that his year in vietnam was a long, tough one. he was injured more than once while serving there. after david returned, he suffered from posttraumatic stress but he didn't admit it until several years ago. he says the v.a. counseling that he has received has made a huge difference for him. after his service in vietnam dave worked for over two decades at the dickinson plant until it closed and then he worked for the north dakota department of transportation. he says he is happily retired now. dave belongs to every veterans service organization he knows of. a few years ago he and his wife hopped on dave's harley and rode from coast to coast on a veterans' memorial bike ride. they ended their trip at the vietnam memorial wall in washington d.c., among a total
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of over 68,000 motorcycles and 911,000 people were there. there, dave saw for the first time the name of his fellow soldier carl berger, also from north dakota. dave was with carl when he was killed in vietnam and dave carried carl off the battlefield. dave said that the experience of seeing carl's name and visiting the vietnam memorial wall was emotional and heart warming and it gave him an idea. to give something back to his own community dave decided to build a veterans' memorial honoring all service members from stark county. three years ago inspired by the vietnam memorial wall in washington d.c., he began with his idea for a memorial in dickinson. he expects to have the memorial completed this summer. the city of dickinson donated space for the memorial park and a memorial which will consist of concrete and vermont granite listing the names of every
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person from stark county who has served in the military since the civil war and will include space for future names. the entire memorial is 100 feet in diameter and includes 14 granite benches and hundreds of bricks that individuals can personalize. local artist linda little sculpted a 6'5" bronze statue of a soldier saluting the panel of names. i really can't wait to see this memorial when it's completed and to thank dave for his vision and hard work. now i'd like to talk about carl berger and ten other north dakotans who gave the ultimate sacrifice during their service to our country. carl a native of mandan, was born august 23 1948. he served in the army's 25th infantry division. carl was 21 years old when he died on april 3 1970.
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carl was the youngest of 13 children who grew up on the family farm. his nieces and nephews remember him as a fun-loving uncle. growing up, carl attended high school at the richton abbey and played the french horn. carl's siblings remember having fun on the farm, herding sheep and working together in the field with cattle and chickens. his sister marion said that carl was a genuine hard worker, and she is grateful that her children had an opportunity to know a man as wonderful as their uncle carl. carl was killed in vietnam less than two months after starting his tour of duty. the family cherishes the memories of that last christmas they all spent together before carl went to vietnam. carl's parents were devastated by his death but they were also very proud of their son who served their country. carl's funeral was held during a blizzard, but despite that bad weather, the church was full. lawrence zietlow.
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lawrence a native of new salem was born august 30 1928. he served as a sergeant major in the army. laurence was 39 years old when he died on october 3 1967. laurence's desire to join the army was so strong that he enlisted before graduating high school. during his graduation ceremony, his diploma was given to his mother. prior to serving in vietnam he also spent time in japan germany and korea. laurence's sister leone said that a lot of laurence's friends have told her how great of a guy he was and that he would have given the shirt off his back. his sister helen told her local newspaper that he didn't talk about many experiences from vietnam, but he did describe buying gifts for vietnamese children living in orphanages. laurence was killed in vietnam when a land mine exploded near
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him. he was recognized with several awards including the army medal, the military merit medal the gallantry cross and palm medal and purple heart and a bronze star. in addition to his mother and siblings laurence was survived by his three children, larry terry and christie. kenneth kenny johner enlisted at noonan. he served in the third marines division. kenny died march 21, 1967. he was only 20 years old. kenny was the third of 15 children. he enlisted in the marines right after graduating from noonan high school. he and two of his brothers, gene and jerry made north dakota history as the first three brothers in the state to enlist in the marines at the same time. two other brothers, george and
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brian, also joined the marines later. their mom helen says the oldest three boys were so close that one wouldn't even go to prom if the -- prom if the others didn't. regarding his service in vietnam kenny told his mother many times god has a different plan for me. i'm on a special mission and i won't be here very long. in vietnam a few days before kenny was scheduled to travel to okinawa to meet his brother gene for r & r he was wounded. a few weeks later kenny died from the wounds. in appreciation for the sacrifices he made, kenny's family have named a nevada view and a grandnephew after him. ronald cookie mcneill. ronald was born march 29, 1949. he was from mott. he served in the marine corps' first battalion seventh marines, first marine division. ronald was 21 years old when he died august 4, 1970. he was one of four children and
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everyone called him cookie. he got the nickname cookie as a baby because his older brother rick couldn't say ronald so he named him cookie and the name stuck. rick said that ronald loved hunting and fishing and rick remembers the times the boys were playing hockey together on a nearby river and ended up with 11 stitches between the two of them. ronald joined the marine corps shortly after graduating from high school. he died less than three months after starting his tour of duty in vietnam. in addition to his siblings, ronald left behind his wife beverly and their son berry. douglas klose. he was from jamestown joan june 14, 1947. he served in the army's first infantry division. doug died on october 27, 1968. he was 21 years old. douglas or doug as he was known by many grew up on a dairy farm. he had five siblings.
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according to his sister barbara he was young he walked around the yard pushing up treasures and stored them in his pocket. douglas' uncles gave him the nickname hunk of junk because he always had junk in his pockets. douglas' appreciation for his family farm extended into college. he attended ndsu and studied animal science. douglas did very well in college. his two sisters barbara and renee remember how soft spoken and helpful he was. renee was douglas' pet. he always looked out for her and was a very loving brother. in his free time he liked to drive around in his father's 1962 chevy impala that had a pie-performance opening. his brother dean remembers doug and his brothers would race the car putting the other cars in jamestown to shame. dean remembers douglas being so
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strong he could lift a john de deere 620 tractor with a load atrapped to it. for fun he used his strength to compete in gymnastics. he had plans to start his own farm outside of jamestown when he returned from vietnam but he was killed when a grenade exploded mere him. gregory lunde. greg was from westhope. he was born december 8 1946. he served in the marine corps' first tank battalion first marine division. gregory was 21 years old when he died on february 6, 1968. gregory had one sister, toni. she said that she called him greg and that he was always happy and clean and meticulous. she is thankful to him for caring for her after their mother died when toni was 13. after high school, greg attended business school in
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minneapolis to prepare himself to return to westhope and help his father run a meat packing plant. toni loved the care packages gregory sent her from vietnam. he thought it was funny when he mailed toni a kimono and joked she would have to lose weight to fit into it. agreeing was killed in vietnam riding on a tank. gerald gerry klein. he was born april 29, 1946. he was from raleigh, north dakota. he served in the army's first infantry division. gerald died may 4 1968, just days after he had turned 22 years old. he was the oldest of five children and his family and friends always called him gerry. he grew up on the family's farm. his siblings said while growing up gerald spent free time either working on the farm or on the family car. while gerald was home on leave
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he became engaged to his girlfriend. after completing his service in vietnam, he planned to live on the family farm with his future wife. his brother bob said that gerald was a strong, brave man who wanted to be happy. his family appreciates the letters he sent them while serving. the day he died gerald was injured but choice to continue fighting. shortly after he was shot and killed. he would have only had a very few weeks left on his service in vietnam. i want to thank the bismarck high school 11th graders who have shared with us these facts with gerald's life. florian kuss. florian was from strasbourg and was born december 28, 1946. florian served in the farmer's 196th infantry brigade a miracle division. florian died january 5 1968.
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just days after he turned 21 years old. there were seven children in his family. florian and two of his brothers victor and frank also served their country in the military. florian grew up working on his family's farm where they raised dairy cows, chickens, pigs wheat, corn and alfalfa. florian's family plans were after completing his service he wanted to return to the family farm and continue his farming career. his brother art said that the family appreciates the time florian spent taking care of their sick father before florian was drafted. their father died less than a year after florian was shot and killed in vietnam. florian's sister betty said florian's death caused a hole in the family that will never be filled. they think about florian all the time. florian was awarded the purple
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heart, the good conduct medal and the bronze star for valor in recognition of his service and sacrifice. darel leetun. from hettinger he was born december 24, 1932. he served as a pilot in the air force. he was -- darel was 33 years old when the plane he was flying was shot down on september 17, 1966. growing up, darel enjoyed sports 4-h and spending summers at his aunt's farm. he was the oldest of four children and his siblings appreciate how he cared for and supported them and their mother after their father died when they were all young. darel's fame says he got along with people well and had great leadership skills. his sisters janelle and carol said that darel never put himself first. after graduating from ndsu he
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spent time teaching about agriculture in india and joined the air force and was stationed in england japan and vietnam. in vietnam darel completed nearly 100 flying missions before his plane was hit by ground fire and crashed. the air force presented darel with many awards including the air force cross in recognition for his extraordinary heroism that day. his air force cross citation read in part the captain led a mission of f-105's thunderchiefs against a heavily defended target near hanoi. undaunted by the intense and accurate flak, surface to air missiles and hostile migs, captain leetun led his flight to the critical target. on a bomb run his thunderchief was hit by hostile fire, becoming a flaming torch and
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nearly uncontrollable. however, captain leetun remained unformation and delivered his high-explosive ordnance directly on target. after bomb release captain leetun's plane went out of control and was seen to crash approximately ten miles from the target site. through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, captain leeton reflected the highest credit upon himself and the united states air force. over 39 years later in 2005, darel's remains were identified and he was buried with full military honors at arlington national cemetery. his widow janet son keith told the family that darel was one of the best pilots they ever flew with. darel's son keith was just 6 years old when his father died
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but through providence, keith has been connected to his father. he is especially grateful for the day in 1992 at a virginia golf course when he met his father's wingman from the final mission. that wingman's name is mike landing. when mike learned that keith was darel's son he said your dad was the heart and soul of the squadron. he was my mentor and my best friend. a his best friends have fold mike and keith he was always going to bat for people until the day he died. darel was not scheduled to fly that day but did because another man couldn't. keith is currently writing a children's book highlighting how something bad like his father's death could turn into something positive like learning about and telling inspiring stories of our heroes. ralph mccowan. ralph was from trenton. he was born april 26, 194. he served in the army's 41st
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artillery group. ralph died april 3 1968, a few weeks before he would have turned 20. there were nine children in his family and his father, brothers sisters uncles and nephews also served our country in the military. ralph's brother gene said that service to our country was deeply rooted in their family. ralph told his family he wanted to be a warrior and do his part. he was an unassuming man who had a love for horses and for people. gene said that ralph had a short life but a good one. ralph served for 69 days in vietnam before he was killed at his base camp, his fire base not camp. the family cherishes their memories of their last christmas together in 1967. valarian lawrence finley. he was born november 27 1947. he was from mandaree. he served in the marine corps'
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kilo company third battalion first marine division. valettian -- valarian was 20 when he died in may of 1969. he was the third youngest of 13 children born to louise and evan finley valarian and his family called him gus and he had a plan to run a cattle ranch after vietnam. his siblings are grateful for his fellow marines reaching out to visit them about valarian and his heroic death and how he saved their lives. valarian was killed one week before his tour of duty was scheduled to end and on his brother bobby's high school graduation day. bobby also served in vietnam. he was drafted and served in vietnam shortly after valarian was skilled there. he is now considering you suffering from cancer causeed by speech to agent orange in vietnam.
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valarian was included in the 1969 "life 1469 feature the faces of the dead in vietnam one week's toll. that article listed 242 americans killed in one week in connection with the conflict of interest in vietnam. "life 1469 magazine wrote in the article -- quote --"more than we must know how many, we must know who. the faces of one week's dead, unknown but to families and friends are suddenly recognized by all in this gallery of young american eyes." my intentions for speaking about the north dakotans killed in vietnam, they are similar. we must know more than how many. we must know who. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor.
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mr. wyden: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the following detailees -- the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent that fellows and interns on my finance committee staff be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the session: sarah brundidge, jennifer kay nolan mather tory miller, jalil miller angelique sal esan and jay wizemiller. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: thank you, mr. president. this week we are having a particularly important debate. fortunately it is a bipartisan debate and great credit is owed
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to senator murray and senator alexander for their work on the every child achieve act. this bill is a significant piece of legislation because educational opportunity in america is a right that ought to start at birth and last a lifetime. as a parent, i know that mothers and fathers want their kids to be able to climb the economic ladder throughout their life and that effort all begins with a top-flight education. in my view, the every child achieves act is a good step towards expanding opportunity for students nationwide. it's built around the proposition that each school, each district and each community is different. so rather than resorting to the sort of one-size-fits-all policy this legislation focuses
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on trying to build on smart ideas, ideas with real promise that are actually going to make a big difference in classrooms. i'm going to get to several amendments that i'd like to highlight, but i want to start by recognizing some vital components of the legislation that i have strongly supported. the most important proposal i have worked on, mr. president is one that focuses on raising graduation rates. this is one of the major economic challenges in my home state and many other states across the country. in oregon, more than 100 high schools with high rates of poverty are blocked -- they're blocked from tapping in to federal resources that can help
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for important programs, programs like mentoring mr. president before- and after-school programs programs where there is real evidence that they can make a difference in terms of helping these youngsters. now, this is not just an issue in my state. there are more than 2,000 of these schools nationwide. and because these schools are really in a very difficult spot when it comes to securing federal resources, too often the students suffer and in my view, the lack of resources for these schools often contribute to sky-high dropout rates. so what i'll discuss here briefly is how this proposal that i have worked for is going to make these school improvement grants easier for middle and high schools to obtain and to use to help these students that
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we want to see graduate and make their way to productive lives as citizens and workers. if a failing school has 40% or more low-income students, they would become eligible for assistance. the federal dollars can be used, as i indicated to fund programs that can really work, like extended learning programs, programs that would be available during a weekend or perhaps during the summer. the funds can be used to prevent dropouts and encourage students to reenter the educational system who have already dropped out. or schools can find other ways to help students stay at it and get through to graduation day. in my view, this will be a significant improvement over the status quo.
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what it does is it provides support where it's needed most and, in my view, will help us get more value out of scarce dollars approach this challenge of helping students who are dropping out get back in the system and graduate. i'm also pleased to see the inclusion of several provisions championed by my colleague senator boxer to create more opportunities for students to enroll in after-school programs and summer learning programs. in today's economy with so many families walking on an economic tightrope parents working long hours, multiple jobs, the fact is there can't always be a parent around at 3:00 in the afternoon when kids get out of school or during the summer months.
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so senator boxer really took the initiative for the 21st century community learning centers program and the after-school for americans children act. both of them, in my view, are very worthy of support because they go to bat for students by providing extra learning opportunities for children both after school and in the summer. now, there are other key elements in this legislation but the senate, in my view, ought to seize the opportunity in this debate to make some significant improvements. the every child achieves act can go a lot further to raise graduation rates. there are more than 1,200 high schools serving more than 1.1 million kids that are failing to graduate a third or more of
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their students each year. and too often it's the minority youngsters who live in economic hardship who attend these schools. senator warren and i are on the same page with respect to the need to make it possible for more of the young people who go to these schools to get to graduation. her amendment would help identify these struggling schools and provide some fresh approaches to help turn them around a smart idea that i believe warrants bipartisan support. finally, just a couple of other approaches that i think are particularly valuable in terms of this debate and how particularly we can use the machinery of the federal government to play a constructive royal in terms of education at the local level.
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senator booker and i have worked for an amendment that tries to assist homeless children and foster youngsters graduate from high school. once again mr. president and you can see it in kind of what undergirds my remarks here, the focus is on trying to create opportunity for young people who constantly are out there swimming upstream. the hurdles these youngsters face are obviously large. many of them move frequently, constantly from one place to another throughout their lives. as a result, it's hard for them to feel any connection to the school, to feel some sense of stability. so what our amendment would do what senator booker and i would seek to do is make it easier for school districts and policy-makers and to try to help
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those school districts provide additional support for those youngsters who are homeless and those children who are in the foster care system. and finally senator franken has offered an important proposal, the student nondiscrimination act that provides strongly needed protection for lgbt students. schools ought tor safe and -- ought to be safe and welcoming places that assist every child in getting ahead and thriving. for school, particularly for the youngsters i've talked about in my remarks didn't get challenging enough, it's hard to imagine how much harder it gets for a youngster who faces harassment or discrimination because of their sexual orientation. this amendment in my view, the
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franken amendment goes a long way to protecting lgbt students and their friends at school and preventing them from feeling like they just have to skip class to avoid bullying. so mr. president in wrapping up the kinds of proposals that i have outlined, starting with the effort to try to prevent students from dropping out getting up the graduation rates this is all about helping students to get ahead through education, to expand opportunity for these young people throughout their lives through education. what the focus of the senate ought to be is to make sure that no matter where a child lives or how much his or her parents earn or what obstacles they face, the message ought to be here in the united states senate, with every democrat and every republican, picking up on what chairman
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alexander and senator murray have said, that this bill will help to drive home the principle that hard work in school leads to success. i believe the every child achieves act is a good step in that direction. i urge my colleagues to support these important amendments, and i yield the floor mr. president. i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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