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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  December 16, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm EST

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quorum call:
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mr. mccain: mr. president, i ask that proceedings under the
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quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: and i ask to address the senate as if in morning business. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i rise to call attention today sadly to the triumph of pork-barrel parochialism in this year's omnibus appropriations bill, in particular a policy provision thals airdropped -- that was airdropped into this bill, a direct contravention to the national defense authorization act, which will have u.s. taxpayers subsidize russian aggression and comrade capitalism. nearly two years ago russian president vladimir putin, furious that the ukrainian people had ousted a pro--moscow stooge in crime yarks the first days since the hitler and stal stalin, to dismember a sovereign state on the european continent.
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more on that 8,000 people have died in this conflict including 298 innocent people aboard malaysian airlines flight 17 who were murdered by vladimir putin's loyal supporters with weapons that vladimir putin had supplied them with. putin's imperialist campaign in europe forced a recognition for anyone not yet convinced that we're confront ago challenge that many had assumed was resigned to the history books. the strong militarily capable russian government that is hostile to our interests and values and seeks to challenge the international order that american leaders of both parties have sought to maintain since the end of world war ii. that's why the congress imposed tough sanctions against russia, especially against putin's cronies and their enormous -- and enormously corrupt business empires. as part of that effort, congress passepassed the fiscal year 2015
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national defense authorization act which restricted the air force from using russian-made rd-180 rocket engines for national security space launches, engines that are manufactured by a russian company controlled by some of putin's top cronies. we did so not only because our nation should not rely on russia to access space but because it's simply immoral to help subsidize russia's intervention in ukraine and line the pockets of putin's gang of thugs who profit from the sale of russian rocket engines. last year the defense authorization bill exempted five of the engines that united launch alliance purchased before the invasion of ukraine. this allowed u.l.a., the space launch company that for years has enjoyed a monopoly on launching military satellites to
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use those russian rocket engines if the secretary of defense determined it was necessitated by national security. since the passage of the act in the senate 89-11, russia has continued, as we all know, to destabilize ukraine, menace our nato allies in europe with agrowsive military -- aggressive military behavior. putin that is violated the 1987 intermediate range nuclear force treaty and now russia has intervened militarily in syria on behalf of the murderous regime of bashar assad. clearly, russian behavior has only gotten worse. that's why a few weeks ago congress acted again and passed the fiscal year 2016 national defense authorization act. the ndaa authorized $300 million in security assistance and
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intelligence support for ukraine to resist russian aggression. at the same time, the bill recognized that a small number of russian engines could be needed --ing could needed -- to maintain competition in the national security space launch program and facilitate a smooth transition to rockets with u.s.-made engines. therefore, the legislation allowed u.l.a. to use a total of nine russian engines. the fiscal year 2016 defense authorization bill, including its provision limiting the use of russian rocket engines, were debated for months -- more months the issue was debated. the committee on armed services had a vigorous debate over this important issue. an amendment was offered to maintain the restriction on the air force's use of russian rocket engines and then a positive vote of the committee, the amendment was adopted. we then considered hundreds of
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amendments to this bill on the senate floor over a period of two weeks. for two weeks we literally considered hundreds of amendments, and we did so transportlytransparently, with n process, which is a credit to both sides. there was not one amendment that was called up to change the provision of that authorization bill concerning the rd-180 rocket engines. the legislation passed with 71 votes. then because of a misguided presidential veto, this defense legislation was actually considered a second time on the floor, and it passed 91-3. i want to emphasize again, one of the things that i was proud of for years is that we do debate the senate armed services -- the national defense authorization bill. we have every year for some 43 years and passed it and had the president sign it, and we open
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it to all amendments. but there was no amendment on rocket engines proposed on the floor of the a senate. why wasn't it? if there were members of the senate who did not like the provisions in the bill, we had an open process to amend it. but they didn't. they didn't because they knew they could not pass an amendment that would remove that provision in the defense authorization act, so now in the dead of night we just find out hours before we're supposed to vote, they put in a restriction which dramatically changes that provision that was done in an open and transparent process, to their everlasting shame. in the dark of night, not a vote -- not a vote. no one consulted on the defense -- on the defense -- on the armed services committee.
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this bill, including its provisions limiting the use of the fiscal year 2016 bill, including its provision limiting the use of russian rocket engines, was debated for months. the committee had a vigorous debate, as i mentioned. and here's my point: the senate had this debate. we had ample time to have this debate. and through months of this fulsome debate, no senator came to the senate floor to make the case that we needed to buy more russian rocket engines. no senator introduced an amendment on the floor to lift the restriction on buying more russian rocket engines. to the contrary, the senate and the full congress, including the house of representatives, voted overwhelmingly and repeatedly to maintain this restriction. this is a policy issue, not a money issue. nowhere in the realm of the appropriations committee. it was resolved as it should
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have been on the defense policy bill. and here we stand -- here we stand with a 2,000-page omnibus aeption pros bill, crafted in secret -- in secret crafted, members outside of the appropriations committee were not brought into the foreign relation of this legislation, no debate. most of us are seeing for the first time this bill this morning. and buried within it is a policy provision that would effectively allow unlimited purchase and use of, guess what, russian rocket engines. what's going on here? what's going on? u.l.a. wants more russian engines, plain and simple. that's why u.l.a. recently asked the defense department to waive the previous restrictions on the basis of national security and let it use a russian engine for the first competitive national security space launch.
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the defense department declined. so what did u.l.a. do when it couldn't get its way? it manufactured a crisis. though the department of defense is restricted in using these russian rocket engines, there is no similar restriction on national is a or commercial space launches, so u.l.a. rushed to assign the rd-18 0*s -- that's the rocket engines -- that it had in its inventory to these nonnational rocket launches, despite there is no restriction. this artificial crisis has now been seized on by u.l. a.'s capitol hill leading spouse -- namely, senator shelby and the senior senator from illinois, senator durbin. overturn to ndaa's restriction. that's exactly what they've done -- again, secretly, nontransparently, as part of this massive -- 2,000-page omnibus appropriations bill.
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as i said, neither senator shelby nor senator durbin nor any other senator raised objections to the provisions of the bill that we are offered any alternative during the authorization process on the senate floor. that is a repudiation of the rights of every single senator in this body that is not a member of the appropriations committee. in fact, as i've said, and this issue was debated and voted on in the committee of armed services, the authorizing committee of jurisdiction, voted in favor of maintaining the restriction. instead, my colleagues on the appropriations committee crafted this provision in secret with no debate to overturn the will of the senate as expressed in two national defense authorization acts, and the result will enable a monopolies stick corporation -- monopolistic corporation to send potentially hundreds of
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millions of dollars to vladimir putin and his corrupt cronies and deepen america's reliance on these thugs for our military beinaccess to space. this is outrageous, and it's shameful. and it is the height of i had poo crasscy for my colleagues who claim to care about the plight of ukraine and the need to punish russia for its aggression. how can our government tell european countries and governments that they need to hold the line on maintaining sanctions on russia, which is far harder for them to do than us, when we are getting our own policy in this way? we are gutting our own policy. how can we tell our french allies in particular they shouldn't sell vladimir putin amphibious assault ships as we have and then turn around and try to buy rocket engines from putin's cronies? again, this is the height of hypocrisy. since march 2014, my colleagues
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and i in the senate have tried to do everything we can to give our friends in ukraine the tools they need to defend themselves and their country from russian aggression. rather than furthering that noble cause, senator shelby and senator durbin have chosen to reward vladimir putin and his cronies with a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars, a rocket factory in alabama may benefit from this provision. boeing, headquartered in illinois, may benefit from this decision. but have no doubt, the real winners today are vladimir putin and his gang of thugs running the russian military industrial complex. i wish that senator shelby and senator durbin would explain to the american taxpayer exactly who we are doing business with. they won't. but my colleagues need to know. so let me explain. at least one news organization has investigated how much the
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air force pays for these rd-180 rocket engines, how much the russians receive, and whether members of the elite in putin's russia have secretly profited by inflating the price. in an investigative series entitled -- quote -- "comrade capitalism" reuters exposed the role that senior russian politicians and putin's close friends, including persons sanctions over ukraine, have played in a company called n.p.o. inter-go mash which manufactures the rd-180. according to reuters, a russian audit of that company found it had been operating at a loss because funds were -- quote -- "being captured by unnamed offshore intermediator companies ." unquote. in addition, the roy terse investigation also -- the reuters investigation also reported that the company sells its rocket engines to u.l.a.
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through another company called r.d.m. ross, a tiny five-person outfit that stood to collect about $93 million in cost markups under a multiyear deal to supply these engines. the defense contract management agency found that in one contract alone, r.d.m. ross did -- quote -- "no negligible work but still collected $80 million in unallowable excessive pass-through charges." remember that is a five-person outfit. five persons and the defense management contract agency found one contract that collected $80 million in una -- unallowable excessive pass-through charges. according to the university of
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baltimore school of law professor charles teefer who reviewed reuter's documents -- and i quote -- "the bottom line is that the joint venture between the russians and americans is taking us to the cleaners," he said he reviewed pentagon audits critical of iraq war contracts, but those -- quote -- "didn't come anywhere near to how strongly negative the r.d.m. ross audit was." we've got to do better. we've got to do better than this. some may say we need to buy rocket engines from putin's cronies in russia, in particular. they will cite a letter from the department of defense in response to a list of leading questions from the appropriations committee just a few days ago which they will claim as confirmation that the department believes that the united states will not have a domestically manufactured replacement engine for defense
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base launches before 2022. of course that's nonsense. when the department of defense starts making predictions beyond its five-year budget plan, what i hear is -- quote -- "this isn't a priority but we don't really know. either way this is unacceptable. both the authorizers and appropriators ramped up funding for the development of a new dough meskically manufactured -- domestically manufactured engine. the pentagon needs to do what it failed to do for eight years: make this a pliert. -- a priority. indeed american companies have already said they could have a replacement engine ready before 2022. our money and attention should be focused on meeting this goal, not subsidizing putin's defense industry. proponents of more russian rocket engines will also cite claims by the air force that u.l.a. needs at least 18 rd-180 engines to create a -- quote --
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"bridge between now and 2022, when a domestically manufactured engine becomes available." this too is false. today we have two space launch providers, u.l.a. and space-ex. that no matter what happens with the russian rd-180 will be able to provide fully redundant capabilities with u.l.a.'s delta 4 and space ex falcon 9 and heavy space launch vehicles. there will be no capability gap. the atlas 5 is not going anywhere any time soon. u.l.a. has enough atlas 5's to get them through at least 2019, if not later. and as i alluded a moment ago, the pentagon agrees that no action is required today to address a risk or assured access to space. in declining u.l.a.'s recent request for a waiver from the defense authorization bill's
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restriction, the deputy secretary of defense concluded -- quote -- "they don't -- they do not believe any immediate action is required to address the further risk of having only one source of space launch services. indeed, in its recent letter the department of defense even confirmed that u.l.a. has enough engines to compete for each of the nine upcoming competitions and that the number they will pursue is -- quote -- "dependent upon u.l.a.'s business management strategy." so i ask senator shelby and senator durbin what are your priorities? as we speak, the ukrainians are resisting russian aggression and fighting to keep their country whole and free. this omnibus appropriations bill will send hundreds of millions of dollars to vladimir putin, his cronies and russia's military industrial base as russia continues to occupy crimea, destabilize ukraine and their neighbors in the region.
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what kind of message does that send to ukrainians who have been fighting and dying to protect their country? how can we do this when putin is menacing our nato allies in europe? how can we do this when russia continues to send weapons to iran? how can we do this when putin continues to violate the 1987 intermediate range nuclear forces treaty? how can we do this when putin is bombing u.s.-backed forces in syria fighting the murderous assad regime? i understand that some constituents of senator shelby and senator durbin believe they would benefit from this provision, but as "the new york times" editorial board stated earlier this year, when sanctions are necessary, the countries that impose them must be willing to pay a cost too. after leaning on france to cancel a sale of two ships to russia because of the invasion of the ukraine, the united states can hardly insist on
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continuing to buy national security hardware from one of mr. putin's cronies. i repeat, that is in "the new york times." mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the article -- the editorial entitled don't back down on russian sanctions by "the new york times" be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: on the record, i make this promise: that this language undermining the national defense authorization act is not removed from the omnibus, i assure my colleagues that this issue will not go unaddressed in the fiscal year 2019 national defense authorization act. up to this point we have sought to manage this issue on an annual basis, and we've always maintained that if a genuine crisis emerged, we would not
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compromise our national security interests in space. we've sought to be flexible and open to new information. but if this is how our efforts are repaid, then perhaps we need to look at a complete and indefinite restriction on putin's rocket engine. i take no pleasure in saying that. i believe that avoiding the year over year conflict over this matter between our authorizing and appropriations committee is in our nation's best interest. such back and forth only delays our shared desire to end our reliance on russian technology and from our space launch supply chain while injecting instability into our national security space launch program. that instability threatens the reliable launch of our most sensitive national security satellites and the stability of the fragile industrial base that supports them. but i cannot allow -- i cannot allow the appropriations committee or any other member of
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this body to craft a take-it-or-leave-it omnibus spending bill that allows a monopolistic corporation to do business with russian oligarchs to buy overpriced rocket engines that fund russia's belligerent and ukraine in its neoimperial ambitions. i'd like to address this issue in a larger context. the way that the congress is supposed to work is that authorizing committees authorize, whether it be in domestic or international or in this case defense programs, the responsibility of the authorizing committee is to make sure in the case of defense, the armed services committee, the training, equipping, the authorizing the funding, the policies, all of that fall under
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the armed services committee. the appropriations committee is required in their responsibilities to decide the funding for these programs. it is within -- it is within their authority to zero out a program if they don't think that the funding is called for or necessary. they can add funding if they want to for various programs. but this -- this is a complete violation, a complete and total violation. this issue was raised in the subcommittee and addressed in subcommittee on the armed services committee. it was in the full committee. it was addressed on the floor where there was hundreds of amendments that were proposed. and yet, what was decided by the armed services committee remained intact until in the dark of the night, until 10:00
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or 11:00 or 12:00, whatever time it was this morning, up pops a direct contradiction, a direct dismembering, a direct cancellation of a provision in the law where we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars that have no bearing whatsoever on the authority and responsibility of the appropriations committee. so there's two problems here. one, it was done in the dark of night. until the middle of the night. no one knew. and second of all, it is in direct violation of the relationship between the authorizing committees and the appropriations committee. so i say to my colleagues that are not on the appropriations committee, if you let this go, then maybe you're next. maybe it's an amendment or a program that you have supported,
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that you through debate and discussion and authorizing in the committee and votes and amendments on the floor of the senate, and then in the middle of the night in december, when we're going out of session in 48 hours or so, or 72 hours, that then up pops a provision that negates the entire work of the authorizing committee over days and weeks and months. i say to my colleagues, you could be next. you could be next. and that's why this in itself, subsidizing vladimir putin, is outrageous enough. but if we're going to allow this kind of middle-of-the-night airdropping, fundamental changes in programs and proposals and policies that have been debated in the open, that have been voted on in the open, completely
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negated, then we are destroying the very fundamental structure of how the united states senate and the united states congress is supposed to work. so, madam president, i yield the floor. mr. franken: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent to speak for 15 minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. franken: thank you, madam president. madam president, i rise today to celebrate the successful climate negotiations that were just wrapped up in paris. this past saturday, 196 countries came together and agreed to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, taking a very important step in the fight against climate change.
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this historic agreement is a recognition that we cannot afford to ignore the negative impacts of climate change and that we must work together globally to put the planet on a safer path forward. the agreement does not simply take countries at their word but requires transparent measurement and verification to ensure that they live up to their promises and crucially the deal requires countries to revisit their emission reduction targets every five years. that way, countries can factor in new technologies and new policies in order to keep warming -- global warming under two degrees celsius. madam president, this truly historic deal has been nearly 25
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years in the making. international climate efforts date back to 1992 when governments around the world met in rio with the objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations. nations have met every year since to further the goal, and while some meetings have been more successful than others, most have been met with disappointment and lack of action. after all, climate change is a complex issue, and bringing about consensus action for any international issue is no small feat. which is why this agreement is truly, truly impressive. two weeks ago, i traveled to paris with nine of my colleagues. we met with united states secretary-general ban ki-moon,
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with u.s. secretary earnest moniz and with negotiator todd stern. i would like to congratulate all of them for their fine work. part of the purpose of our trip was to demonstrate to the world that there is a strong coalition in the united states congress that supports the president's effort on climate change, a message we conveyed to other nations, including bangladesh, a country that has contributed little to industrial air pollution but is one of the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. it is estimated that unless we act, rising sea level will inundate some 17% of bank -- bangladesh, displacing about 18 million people in this low-lying nation. they will be uprooted and turned into climate refugees without a
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home. but of course climate change isn't something that will just impact bangladesh and other low-lying nations. it is already impacting us right here at home. while we cannot attribute any single extreme weather event to climate change, madam president, we do know that climate change impacts the frequency, duration and severity of extreme weather events. just look at the damage caused bay superstorm sandy. the storm surges caused by sandy along the eastern seaboard were far more damaging because of climate-induced sea level rise. may i remind you that the damage caused by sandy cost taxpayers $60 billion.
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madam president, we are also seeing climate impacts to our forests. when forest service chief tom tidwell testified before the senate energy committee a few years ago, he told us that throughout the country we're seeing far longer fire seasons and that wildfires are also larger and more intense. i asked chief tidwell whether scientists at the forest service had concluded that climate change had been exacerbating the intensity, the size and duration of wildfires and the wildfire season, and without hesitation, he said yes. now, as a result, the forest service is spending more and more of their budget fighting fires. now more than half of their entire budget. and we are seeing more intense
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droughts. unless we act, these droughts will have a major impact on food security around the world. that's why i recently penned an op-ed in the "minneapolis star tribune" with dave mcclen an, the c.e.o. of -- dave mcclennan, the c.e.o. of cargill, the world's largest privately held corporation, the c.e.o. of a company focused on agriculture. dave is concerned about what climate change will do to our food supply, in a world that is expected to go from seven billion to 9.5 billion inhabitants by mid century. that's why cargill called for a strong outcome at the global climate negotiations. so you can see that cargill has a strong business case to make on why we have to deal with
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climate change. but, of course, that business case isn't just confined to the agriculture sector. addressing climate change presents a tremendous opportunity to transform the energy sector. madam president, for the very first time just this last week, beijing issued its most severe warning to alert citizens of intense smog and local air pollution levels. officials ordered half of the city's private vehicles to stay off the road, halted all operation at outdoor construction sites and advised schools to temporarily close their doors. citizens were encouraged to limit outdoor activities and recommended to wear a mask when outside. china is choking on its own
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fumes. from fossil fuels. and as china and others recognize that they have to race toward clean energy, i want to make sure that our nation leads that race. i want to make sure that our start-ups are innovating tomorrow's solutions that our -- solutions, that our companies are the ones developing and deploying clean energy technologies here and around the world. again, i want to reiterate that addressing climate change head on would not only help mitigate unprecedented damage to our economy but spur growth and innovation in a world that is hungry for advancements in clean energy. my state of minnesota recognized
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this opportunity in 2007 when it established a renewable energy standard and an energy efficiency standard. these kinds of policies send a strong signal to the private sector to develop and deploy clean energy solutions, and major investors are catching on to the opportunities. just this month, bill gates launched the breakthrough energy coalition to develop transformative energy solutions. the coalition of nearly 30 billionaires from ten different countries will invest in early stage energy companies to help them bridge the gap between government-funded lab research and the marketplace. according to gates, and i quote -- "the primary goal with the coalition is as much to
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accelerate progress on clean energy as it is to make a profit." and to back up this statement, gates alone plans to invest a billion dollars in clean energy in the next five years. so you can see, madam president, that the very serious threat of climate change presents a sputnik moment, a sputnik moment for our nation. an opportunity to rise to the challenge and defeat that threat in response to sputnik, we ended up not just winning the space race and sending a man to the moon, we did all sorts of great things for the american economy and for our society. we did it once, we can do it again. by rising to the challenge of
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climate change, we will not just clean up our air but also drive inowevation and create jobs, not only in the clean energy sector, just like the space program created economic growth in so many economic sectors. the obama administration deserves a lot of credit for its leadership on climate change. our domestic commitment through the clean power plan which builds on the work of my state and others has established a federal plan for reducing emissions. this important policy has provided american innovators and businesses the confidence to take on new risks and to drive new technologies forward. after dragging our feet for so many years, i am proud that the united states is acting domestically and leading
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internationally, but our job is not done. the agreement in paris puts the planet on a safer trajectory than the one we have been on, but we have to remain vigilant and build upon that success. internationally, we have to hold other nations accountable, ensure that they commit to stronger emission reduction targets over time and to make sure that those reductions are transparent and vair final. -- verifiable. domestically, we have to build on the success of our cities and our states, and we have to work to make sure that the clean power plan and other emission reduction policies are effective. as a member of the senate energy committee, i intend to do just that. two years ago, madam president, my first grandchild was born,
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and i'm expecting my second grandchild in january. god willing, they will live through this century and into the next. and i want them to know that when we had the opportunity to put -- put earth on a safer path, that we seized the moment. so let's celebrate this agreement because it is an important milestone, and then let's build on it to make the planet a safer and more habitable place for our grandchildren and their children. thank you, madam president, and i yield the floor. and i would 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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a senator: madam president, i would ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blunt: i am here today to talk a little bit about the bill that we saw posted late last night, a bill that i think has better results that the process itself would have suggested we might have. there's no question we have to get back to the process of bringing these bills to the floor, bringing them to the floor one an at a time, let everybody challenge every penny of spending to spend it in a different way or don't spend it at all, and i'm disappointed, as
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every citizen of the country should be, that we didn't do it that way and hope that we have the opportunity next year to get back to where these bills are dealt with one at a time. the other area that i'm disappointed in is the inability to use this bill to really have the kind of policy victories that i'd like to see. the rule on waters of the u.s. that the courts appear to be consistently saying the e.p.a. absolutely doesn't have the authority to do what they're trying to do, the rule on electricity that in my state, the fourth-most dependent state on coal-powered utilities, will double our utility bill sometime between now and 2030, and for some missourians their utility bill will more than double; the rule that makes it difficult for financial advisors to give
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advice to small investors and people who have small savings, people who have small retirement accounts -- if this financial advisor's rule, so-called fiduciary rule is allowed to go into effect, it will have dramatic impact there. the joint employer rule that upends the franchise model of doing business, the model of doing business that's around the world now but uniquely american in its capacity to bring people into the middle class, allow them to rise in the middle class. so i'm disappointed about all of those things. but when you look at the bill as a spending bill, when you look at the bill as a bill that's supposed to do what this bill does, which is decide how to spend the country's money, there is a significan
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significantre-prioritization here. one of the things that i've seen even more than in recent years that used to be the case is when so many of our friends in the house and the senate -- maybe even more so in the senate -- talk about how important it is to real estate fund our priorities, what they're really saying is it's important to fund anything that any of us are for. that's not the way you set priorities. the way you set priorities is decide what's important for the government to do, decide what the government can do that people can't better do for themselves or maybe couldn't possibly do for themselves and then set those priorities. in that case, i think this bill makes significant steps in the right direction. dramatic changes in areas that have been a problem for several years now, at least the last five or six years -- in the case i'm going to talk about first, the last dozen years. but nobody has been able to do anything about it. nobody has said, those aren't
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our priorities. they've just said, we've got all of these priorities which meant every line in the appropriations bill, the best i can tell. so let's talk about the labor-h.h.s. bill. it's about 32% of all the money after defense. if i have any time, i might talk about the defense bill because it does great things for veterans, great things for cybersecurity, great things that really do support those who serve. and one of those things is encouraging our allies on the front lines on the war on terror. but in labor and education, particularly in health and human services, the national institutes of health, where so much of our health care research is generated -- a little of it is done in every state; some states have great institutions. certainly missouri and the university of missouri,
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columbia, washington university, the children's hospitals, at hospitals all over our state that have unique opportunities to do research di -- health care research is something that isn't going to happen in the way it should happen unless the government steps forward and says we're going to be a leader here. the federal government from about 1996 until 2003 doubled n.i.h. research. in less than a decade, doubled n.i.h. research. and since 2003, there's been no increase, no increase in over a decade. and as that money didn't increase, the buying power of the money decreased, and you could certainly argue somewhere in the neighborhood of 20%-25% less buying power. so in terms of what they're getting for research, less buying power by about 20% to 25%. young researchers frustrated in
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never getting that first grant, never getting the truly experimental grant that sees if something will work that nobody may have ever thought of before. and this bill increases n.i.h. research by almost 7%. it takes that 30% -- that $30 billion federal commitment to research and puts -- makes that a $32 billion commitment. it begins the process of catching up. and why do we need to do that? what are the reasons we need to do that, besides the fact that the government has done research of all kinds for a long time, from ag research, which i support, health research, which i support? but i can think just right offhand of about three critical reasons we should be concerned about health research. one is the individual impact that the failure to do this has. you know, as people live longer,
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more and more people die with alzheimer's and its complications, or cancer and its implications. fewer people die from heart attacks because we've done great things there and can still do more to make the treatment of heart attackers the prevention of heart attacks even less likely. but as people survive heart attack and stroke, they're much more likely to die with alzheimer's or cancer. all of those create great stress for families. particularly horme alzheimer's n create years and maybe decades of stress for families. to try to prevent that, to try to postpone that, to work with families -- i'd say that's the priority reason number one. to save money for taxpayers would be priority reason number two. alzheimer's alone, the pproximateltheprojection is tha,
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through comairks the federal government will be spending $1 trillion a year on alzheimer's and alzheimer's-related health care. that's about as big as this discretionary budget. i think this budget is about $1.15 trillion. so take you will the money we're -- so take all the money we're spending today on discretionary spending, suddenly that's the same amount of money in just a few decades we'd be spending because of alzheimer's. so that's a good second reason. a third reason will be that health care is about to revolutionize. everything from smartphone technology to the individual technology that's possible, now that we know what we know about the human genome, the things that make me as an individual different than everybody else and everybody else that's hearing this different than everybody else. what kind of unique cure can we find? what kind of designer medicine
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cure can we find to solve a problem for you? and then, how do you make that scalable so that with minor variations you can make the same thing possible and affordable for other people as well? and where that research is done, to the smartphone technolog technologyapplications, the focus on the brain, the focus on designer medicine, where that's done is likely to be where many of those jobs turn out to be. so certainly health care is and will continue to be a big economic driver, a very -- the multiplication of economic impact in a positive way of what we invest in health care is pretty dramatic. so that's a big increase. fighting opioids -- the opioid abuse -- this is where people are taking prescription medicines -- and, madam
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president, you're a veteran. you just retired from your long military service. but many of our people who serve are most likely to have this problem because the injuries they sustain, the accidents they sustain, create the amount of pain that they take heavy amounts of appropriate things to ease that pain, but then get addicted to that. this is an area that people weren't talking about long ago at all. but deaths from prescription i.p.o.oids have quadrupled -- opioids have quadrupled since 1999. maybe more than that, because they quadrupled between 199 and 2013. an overdose of prescription drugs cost the economy an estimated $20 billion in 0 work loss and health care costs every
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single year. the lives of families that are impacted when a successful person or a responsible person or someone who's not achieved either of those things yet but is a loved part of your family become victims of opioid abuse. we have a commitment in this budget to $91 million, not the biggest line-item in the budget but it's almost three times what we have been spending. and many of our members have been real leaders in talking about that. senator ayotte from new hampshire, senator portman from ohio, senator shaheen from new hampshire -- all very focused on this problem. the individuals with disabilities act, the education act benefits here as we move to hopefully less federal control
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on education but more ability to help local schools deal with people who have individual challenges. rural health, a big issue in my state and a big issue, madam president, in your state, is handled here in a different way. job training, an important thing we do. but what are we not doing? here is my final addition. what are we not doing? we would have liked to not fund over 40 programs, which is the bill that the appropriations committee sent to the floor months ago that was never debated and then that would have been the chance to debate all 40 of those programs. i think there were 43 programs that cost about $2.5 billion. debate all 43 of those programs and decide if the committee is right or not. you can't do that if you don't get here on the floor to do t but we still eliminate 18
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programs. those programs were still more than a quarter of a billion dollars of spending. the president asked for 23 new programs that were $1.16 billion of spending that were not done in this bill. the independent payment advisory board under obamacare, where they'd be a board rather than you and your doctor that decided what your health care was going to look like, that's not funded so that won't occur. and there won't be a big transfer from other accounts with some other label to insurance companies because all of the expectations from obamacare have turned out not to produce the kind of results that its supporters thought it would. so hopefully we have made a big difference in how we prioritize the spending of the people's money, of the taxpayers' money and

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