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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  April 13, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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now. we don't have a vote, and as i understand it, we might have a vote, but they may then say vote on two other issues, you know, that are poison pill issues. that's the way it goes around here. someday i'm going to write a book called "how a bill really becomes a law." and the truth is, that's how it goes around here. you want to vote on something? then they say, swallow a porcupine and maybe we'll give you a vote. now here's another one. miracle on the hudson pilot pushes more rest for cargo crews. and he and i are standing there and all i'm saying is we need a vote on this, and if people want to come down in the well and vote the wrong way on safety, they've shown themselves. but, frankly, they're putting the lives of people at risk. and i'm asking for a vote. again sully sullenberger is
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quoted. let me be very direct. fatigue is a killer. it's a ruthless indies crime nant killer that our industry and our regulators have allowed to continue killing for way too long. mr. president, this isn't partisan. i have a democratic administration who did the wrong thing on this. and i have a republican senate that's not giving me a vote on this. come on. when people die in an airplane crash, you don't know if they're democrats or republicans. we just know we cry our hearts out for the families. and i'm going to show you again the crashed plane. this is what happens when there is fatigue. this is what can happen. there have been many of these crashes, mr. president, because the pilots are flying on five hours' sleep. so all i'm asking for is a vote.
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give us a vote. if you want to vote it down, vote it down. you'll be judged. that's all. that's your problem, not mine. and i want to praise senator klobuchar who is my coauthor of this amendment. and she was very, very effective in her comments, both in the committee and at the presser yesterday. and sullenberger, the hero of the hudson said this in this other article. "this rule was written the way it was not for scientific reasons but for economic ones by those who are more concerned about an additional burden that they considered an additional cost. it's time to right this wrong. it's time to fix this rule." those of us who have been around a long time remember the ford pinto. that car exploded when there was a crash. i think a lot of us remember it.
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and when discovery was done by the attorneys for the victims, they found out the cold and calculating way the corps viewed these -- the corporation viewed these accidents and losses of life. oh, they said, we can stand x number of accidents a year. no problem because we have insurance and it won't affect us. but, gee, it will cost us x number of dollars to fix the problem. what could be more callous? what could be more cold? it's the same thing here. it's the companies. and you know what's fascinating? the airlines that now operate under the nine-hour rule. could we put up the chart that shows the two planes with the different times. the airlines that now fly their pilots up to nine hours a day
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compared to the cargo plane owners who permit their pilots to fly up to 16 hours a day, the airline industry is doing great. they never said word one of a problem. they had rested pilots. they had happier crews and they're doing fine. so why is it that we get letters from the corporations that fly these planes, god forbid we should tell them give their pilots rest. i want to tell you who's on our side. the southwest airlines pilots association. and this makes me thrilled -- just sent us a letter. on behalf of the more than #,000 pilots -- 8,000 pilots -- this is actually to senator thiewn -- "urge you to include the safe skies act in the f.a.a. reauthorization. and they say it fixes a huge safety gap that exists in our
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air transportation today. they talk about the cogan air crash in '09 that we took action to fix on passenger planes but it was inexplicable that it was left out of the cargo planes, and as pilots, they say safety is their number one priority and they say we can't do our job if we're not all held to the same safety standards. a tired and fatigued pilot is a danger to everyone in their path. that's the point. these passenger pilots are rested. the cargo pilots are fatigued. they fly in the same sky over the same air space. they try to land at the same airports. and having this disparity is a nightmare. they say please do not let another tragedy be the reason for action. this is your chance to fix the cargo.
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i want to thank these pilots for weighing in on this. it means a lot to me that you did it. then the coalition of airline pilots association, they say -- they talk about the klobuchar amendment which is this amendment. and they ask to please allow this vote. and they say, we cannot continue operating with two levels of safety and we sincerely hope you're able to fix the carveout -- cargo carveout once and for all. we urge your support for this amendment. and i want to thank so much captain michael carne, president of the coalition of airline pilots association. i want to say to my colleagues who might be listening in their offices, we get on planes all the time. we have a hundred percent faith in the pilots. we all do. they have the responsibility of getting us to our families
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safely. every single pilots association is saying to us fix this carveout. it's dangerous. we could be, any of us, on a passenger plane doing great and somehow a cargo plane crashes into us because that pilot had five hours' sleep. so we have all these letters from the independent pilots association, the allied pilots association, the international brotherhood of teamsters, teamsters local 1224, teamsters local 357, and they're all saying the same thing. we cannot do our job if we are not all held to the same safety standard. a tired and fatigued pilot is a danger to everyone. don't let another tragedy be the reason for action. so i know people saying, barbara, why are you being so tough and not letting us vote on
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other things. i've got to say this. if we don't use this occasion to fix a problem that's listed as the number one safety issue by the ntsb, and we can do it in two minutes. i've spoken my peace. you know, one of my staffers said she explained to her 7-year-old child what the issue is because he's always interested in what she's working on. and she explained to him. she said, jacob, the fact of the matter is same size planes and the man who's flying this and the lady flying this one get different hours of rest. so i see that my friend from florida, the great ranking member of the commerce committee, might want to add some facts here. mr. nelson: would the senator yield? box yes, i would. mr. nelson: mr. president -- mrs. boxer: yes, i would. mr. nelson: mr. president, i thank the senator for yielding. i want to bring to the attention of the senator i am very hopeful
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that we are getting agreement, that there will be a vote on your amendment and some other amendments, but the agreement is going to be that the senator i thought would be happy to hear the news that it looks like we're coming to agreement where there will be a vote on the senator's amendment. mrs. boxer: if i could respond through the chair, mr. president. the words of my colleague are just very hopeful. i just hope it's not tied to some poison pills that other people have a problem with. you never know around here what's going to happen. in my view and i know you share it because i know your passion is with me on this, the fact of the matter is, this should be just an up-or-down vote. it shouldn't be related to other things. it is the number one safety issue of the ntsb. my friend from florida is like a brother to me. and we counsel each other on the issues of which we have
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expertise. i know he's in there fighting the fight to get a vote. i'm so grateful to him. you know, i've added, mr. president, a whole bunch of support for this. so i'll close at this point because i think my friend has given me some hope. i'm going to just close reading the recording. i don't -- senator nelson, did you ever hear this? i want to make sure you did. this will take just a moment. this is from the excerpts from the flight deck before a plane went down. pilot one: i mean i don't get that you know it should be one level for everybody. this is words from the grave. pilot 2: it makes no sense at all. pilot 1: no it doesn't. pilot 2: to be honest it should be across the board. to be honest in my opinion whether you're flying passengers or cargo, if you're flying this time of day, you know, fatigue is definitely -- yeah, yeah.
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when my alarm went off, i mean, i'm thinking i'm so tired. answer: i know. now, when this happened, i thought for sure that our administration would take care of this and change that dual rule. they didn't. that's why we're here. i want everyone to know this. sometimes it's hard to look at something like this, but it's harder to look at the final result of what happens from fatigue. mr. president, this is what happened within minutes of that conversation. people could not function. captain sullenberger has said it well. fatigue is a killer. and we could fix it here today. we fixed it. olympia snow and i years ago fixed it for passenger craft. they deserve our support and the people would rely on them, all of us, because they share the sky with the passenger aircraft.
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we need to fix this. i thank you very much. i thank the senator from florida. i would yield the floor at this time. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. a senator: mr. president, i rise today to speak about an issue that we too often forget about here after the fact. we move on to the next topic of the day. but it was just one year ago on april 2 that actually marked the framework for the joint comprehensive plan of action, the president's nuclear deal with iran. mr. perdue: that was the day it was announced. we were promised by this administration at all levels that this nuclear agreement would make the world a safer place. mr. president, i've traveled the world quite a bit in the last year. just got back from another trip to the middle east.
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i believe the world possibly is more dangerous right now than at any time in my lifetime. unfortunately, the message that the world is safer did not resonate with iran. the world was given a false promise that this nuclear deal would serve as a catalyst for change and a moderation within iran. we've seen change but it's only been for the worse. iran is both enriched and emboldened by this dangerous deal. the president's deal provided iran with over an estimated $100 billion, a wind fall. the secretary said just this january iran was, quote, had massive needs within their country and we, the u.s., will be able to track where this money is going. what's happening with it? end quote. but instead of focusing these funds inward as we were assured on improving the lives of their people, iran has chosen to use the money to bolster its conventional forces and cyber
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capabilities to strengthen its proxies, to crack down on its own people, and to further destabilize the region. iran has test lawrnled four -- launched four ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal was announced. most recently these missiles were launched with the words "death to israel" emblazenned on their side. the most recently launched mizzle -- missiles were more advanced, precision guided and more sophisticated. iran has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the middle east capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. they continue in developing space-launch vehicles as well that are transparent guise for seeking longer range missile capability. iran humiliated and detained at gunpoint u.s. navy saylors in violation of international law. -- sailors in violation of international law. iran is using cyber espionage
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and cyber attacks as a tool of influence with iranian hackers breaking into e-mail and social media accounts -- our very own state department who worked on iran-related issues. iran also used american hostages for strategic and economic leverage from this administration. only turning over innocent americans when the administration freed seven iranian sanctioned violators and dismissed charges on 14 other iranians, including two men who helped transfer soldiers and weapons to the assad regime and to the terror group hezbollah. iran continues to spend millions to support the how advertise -- houthis that is contributing to yemen. the u.s. confiscated another weapons cache from the iranian sea believed to be enroute from iran to yemen in support of the houthis. this shipment included about 1500 rifle, 200 rocket propelled
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grenade launchers and 21 50 caliber machine guns. that would be bad enough if it were the only one but this is the fourth such seizure in the region since just september of last year. i think it's very clear what iranian intentions are with regard to the rebels in yemen and also to the terrorists of hezbollah, ha hamas, and othersn the region. according to the state department, iran continues to be the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. that's our own state. in its quest to dominate the middle east, iran has exploited terrorism as a tool of statecraft to oppose u.s. interests and objectives in iraq, bahrain, yemen, lebanon, and palestinian territories. iran continues to spend an estimated $6 billion a year in support of assad in syria and millions of dollars in material to hezbollah and hamas.
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on a recent trip to the middle east just a few weeks ago, i heard these concerns from our friends and allies in the region firsthand. iran's domestic propension has also gotten worse. the crackdown on dissent is at its worst since the 2009 green revolution according to the n.g.o.'s. iran continues to imprison those who disagree with the mullahs and to imprison those who are at odds with the regime. executions are at their highest level since 1989. further, the regime disqualified thousands of reformist candidates in its recently held parliamentary elections. it is clear that the middle east and i would argue the world is potentially worse off since the signing of the president's nuclear deal. and what are we doing about it? i think that's the question the american people should keep their eyes on. well, according to secretary kerry -- and i quote -- "iran deserves the benefits of this
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agreement that they have struck." end quote. and despite the four ballistic missile launches, the administration won't call them a violation of u.n. security council resolution 2231. this is the resolution that includes the nuclear deal, arms embargo, and ballistic missile prohibitions. just last week ambassador shannon, the under secretary of state for political affairs, told the foreign relations committee that he believes these ballistic missiles tests -- quote -- "violated the intent" of the u.n. security council resolution but would not call them a violation. mr. president, i'm troubled by that. ir's ever-increasing support for terrorism and instability is going essentially unchecked. this is no way to handle a rogue regime. instead, we need to take a tougher stance on iran. now that we see their intentions post-deal. on ballistic missile violation we must go beyond the president's designation of 11 individuals and companies for
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the ballistic missile launches. the iranians paid for that technology somehow, yet no financial institution was sanctioned for this transaction. the technology arrived in iran by boat or plane, yet no shipping line or airline or any logistics firm was included in the sanctions. we need to codify sectoral sanction on iran for ballistic missiles and impose tougher standards for mandatory sanctions, including-- aquiization of ballistic missiles. we need to show iran we're skier just about stopping their -- serious about stopping their support of terrorism and human rights violations. we should impose stricter sanctions on the iran revolutionary guard corps for their support of terrorism. would understand to freeze assets owned by the irgc, it's members, or affiliates. we should codify executive order 13599 which prohibits iran's
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direct or indirect being a is he is to the u.s. financial system. we need to imriewfn new sanctions against iran as money laundering entity. we need to reauthorize the iran sanctions act. this vital legislation, which is one of the most important linchpins, is due to expire at the end of this very year. without the reauthorization of i.s.a. -- the iran sage sanctiot -- the threat doesn't care much weight. we need to have these sings reauthorized so we can use them swiftly in the event of any future iranian violation. president obama has already admitted that iran has violated the spirit of the nuclear agreement. finally, we must ensure that israel is able to maintain its qualitative military edge. this is a standard that we've upheld for many years ands -- and equip our gulf allies
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against increased iranian aggression from proxies. iran's behavior over the past year has provennen that they are not worthy of the threft bestowed upon them by this administration. congress must hold iran's feet to the fire to get a stronger u.s. policy towards iran. we cannot afford to give this rogue regime the benefit of the doubt any longer. iran refuses to be an honest actor. it's clear from iranian actions just since the nuclear deal was announced that they have not changed their behavior on missile testing, human rights violations or support for terrorism. our policies must change to reflect the dangerous realities. the obama administration should work with congress to strengthen our sanctions, reauthorize the iran sanctions act, and stand up to iran's total disregard for international restrictions and the original intent of this nuclear deal. mr. president, the world is a
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very dangerous place. iran needs to see a strong america stand up and lead again in the region. on this recent trirntion the most asked -- on this recent trip, the most asked question that we asked of these leaders is, what do we need to do as america? the number-one answer by these heads of state was universal: america needs to lead again. we've created these power vacuums. it is time now to close this one with iran. thank you, mr. president. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. blumenthal: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. the united states senate has -- the presiding officer: the senate in a quorum call. mr. blumenthal: thank you. i ask the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. the united states senate has remarkable, even magic, moments, and yesterday was one such time for my colleague from connecticut and myself, senator murphy and i had the great honor and privilege to welcome again team 26 from newtown, connecticut. at the end of a truly extraordinary journey, their fourth bike ride from newtown,
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to commemorate and remember the 26 beautiful children and educators who were killed at sandy hook elementary school. this incredibly searing and horrific moment in our state's life in december 2012 was marked by their first journey three years ago. this one was their fourth ride through rough roads, traffic, snow, and rain, and across the northeast as they pedaled -- literally pedaled down to washington, d.c. we said goodbye to them on saturday morning. i was there.
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in some pretty cold weather. and they braved some fierce storms to be here. but the memory that they carried with them and the resolve and resilience they showed really epitomizes the spirit of sandy hook and its wonderful people, who not survived that unspeakable tragedy of december 2012 but also showed america a lesson. with acts of kindness, unceasing advocacy, resiliency and resolve and, most importantly, a message of peace, love, and hope, i wear still on my rift a bracelet that i received then. it's lettering is worn out so
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that it's no longer readable. but it is that same message of hope, peace, and love that they brought with them as they traveled here. and today a number of them came to the capitol -- and i was proud to greet them with their leader monty frank, who organized that first ride, and really is responsible for the extraordinary leadership in keeping them together and keeping them going over those rough roads. with us at the capitol today were peter ol some of the n, drew cunningham, ken eisner. they are wrong the 26 riders who came to washington yesterday and met with us outside the house of representatives and then went to the white house and met with officials there, including valerie jarrett, and eventually
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with the vice president of the united states, vice president biden. the members of team 26 chose to reid to washington, d.c., not only -- chose to ride to washington, d.c., not only for their personal reasons but to deliver petitions with a very clear message: that guns have no place on campuses. they have no place on school grounds. they have no safety reason to be there. in fact, they aagree vat the -- they adegree vat the danger of firearms and other kinds of perils on school property. they ride also on behalf of commonsense, sensible measures that can be achieved. and we have an obstacles here to achieve. that's what they said to us as we met with them in front of the
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capitol yesterday. their message was that we can save lives, that we can work together. we can get things done here across the aisle, 0e on a bipartisan basis. to do what 90% of the people want, which is universal background dhoak checks to keeps out of the hands of dangerous people and criminals. to make sure that gun trafficking is a federal crime and that straw purchases are against federal law, to ensure that fewer hands get -- fewer guns get into the hands of dangerous people and particularly domestic abusers. when domestic abuse is combined with a gun in a home, death is five times as likely. and this message ought to include also limiting the use of
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high-capacity magazines that can prevent all kind of terrible rampages with assault weapons that have become all-too-prevalent in this country, proding protection when temporary restraining order ordered -- are ordered, can help victims of domestic abuse at a time when they need it most. and making sure that the gun manufacturing industry is not given an exemption from liability that every other industry has to defend against when it breaks the law. placca ought to be repealed, and i've introduced legislation that would do it. this problem of gun violence affects all of us, and not just through the mass shootings and massacres that occurred like
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sandy hook, but 30,000 deaths every year and many of them are suicides, preventable, senseless, avoidable if we take action to tackle the problem of gun violence in this country. that's the message of the riders who brave those storms, who travel those rough roads, and remind us that congress has been complicit in these deaths by its failure to act. congress is complicit in gun violence and its deadly toll in this country. monty frank, a sandy hook resident who was one of the founders and leaders of team 26 and who rode here again this year -- he's ridden every year -- i'm proud that he is a friend. he recently wrote -- quote -- "team 26 will ride again because
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we promised the families in sandy hook that we would continue to honor their lost loved ones. we made the same promise to the many victims we have met since then in baltimore, bridgeport, connecticut; harlem, new york, and the district of columbia. while we established team 26 for sandy hook, team 26 could just as easily be named for the victims of gun violence in chicago on a given weekend. in fact, gun violence is so prevalent that we could be called team 26,000, and that number would fall short of the number of gun deaths every year in america. i have with me the petition they brought here. but more important, i'm here to tell my colleagues we must act. we must cease our complicity in this body. if tens of thousands of people in this country were infected with ebola or zika or the flu,
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there would be drastic urgent action to meet that public health crisis. the epidemic of gun violence in this country is no less a public health crisis. it is equally an epidemic and it can be stopped. it must be stopped. i want to close with the words of dennis yez of bethlehem, connecticut. he rode here with team 26 and wrote the following, entitled, "why i ride." "i ride for the kids who will never know the joy of riding a bike, the feeling of freedom, the visits of their best friends to their house. all of it taken away in a split second with a firearm left loaded in the same house where they're supposed to feel safe. i ride because the same people who have serious mental health
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issues are able to purchase deadly firearms without a background check because of a loophole. i ride because the same people who have a temporary restraining order because of domestic violence are sometimes able to keep a deadly firearm. i ride so our elected officials, regardless of affiliation, will feel shame when they look at themselves for not doing enough to keep guns away from people who should not have them. i ride because kids in the u.s. are nine times more likely to die from a gunshot than in any other western country. i ride because dawn hopstrung was my kid's principal in bethlehem, connecticut. sometimes they will always remember she was a friend to all the kids. i ride because doing nothing won't make the problems go
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away." on that beautiful sunny day yesterday, as remarkable and magic a time as it was, i thought of all of those sun-filled days that those 20 beautiful children and six great educators will never have, and others also will be deprived of having because congress is failing to act. we must act. and i hope that we will act and carry with us in our hearts always the message of team 26. i am proud to yield to my colleague and partner in this effort, senator chris murphy of connecticut. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: thank you very much, senator blumenthal. let me associate myself with all the remarks my colleague from conneccut. let me congratulate the riders
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from team 26 for making it through such inclimate weather and bringing this message to the halls of congress and to the white house. it strikes me that there are similarities between this ride and the challenge ahead of us. every tough ride is a long stretch of both peaks and valleys. your challenge is knowing that there's another hill coming before you to not give up, to know that at the end of that long ride there is reward. and when we talk about the scope of our fight to change the laws of this country to try to put a dent in this epidemic of gun violence, you have to view our journey the same way. there are going to be peaks and there are going to be valleys. there are going to be moments of triumph where we change the laws for the better, where we see progress, as we have in connecticut, where a new state
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law has resulted in a 40% dimunition in the number of gun homicides. and then there are the valleys, moments like we had here in early 2013 where despite 90% of americans supporting the idea that you should just prove that you're not a criminal before you buy a gun, we weren't able to pass that law because of a filibuster here. every great change is defined by failures but also by peaks and valleys as was their ride. i join senator blumenthal for thanking them for focusing on this particular issue with regard to gun campus. it is up to each individual whether they choose to buy a firearm or not. but they should make the decision pimp buoyed by the facts -- this decision imbued by the facts and the facts are if you have a gun in your home it is easier to kill you than it is
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an intruder. nancy lanza had guns in the home for a variety of reasons but one of the reasons was as a single parent she wanted firearms for protection. her guns were used to kill her and 20 small first graders and their teachers. similarly, on campuses, the data tells us that in areas that have more guns, you are more likely to have higher rates of gun homicides. it is fiction that if you arm all the good guys they'll kill the bad guys. that is not how it plays out in real life. i appreciate them bringing this petition here to shed focus on this movement to make sure we don't have students walking around campuses with concealed weapons. that doesn't make for a safer campus environment. then lastly, mr. president, because i know others want to speak, i just want to tell you two things that struck me from our meeting at the white house tep end of the day -- at the end of the day yesterday. the first was when all the riders on team 26 got to tell
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their stories about why they decided to join this ride, and many of them were doing it because of a deep love and affection for monty frank. but they all shared common cause with him. around that table were individuals who had suffered gun violence in their immediate family. one woman whose son committed suicide just shortly after the murders in sandy hook. another husband and wife who had lost a encloses friend in a mass shooting. but many of the individuals who were there were simply there because they had children who were in school and they knew that but by the grace of god it could be their child. i've got a first grader i drop off every morning to school. i know there is nothing different about my school, my child's school than sandy hook elementary school. i think about nicole hockley every morning when i drop off my seven-year-old who said she never imagined it would be her.
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and she doesn't know why more parents don't step up and try to do something about this before it's their child. the second thing i was struck by was their experience along the road. they noted over four years they haven't run into almost anybody who disagreed with their mission, who gave them a hard time about their advocacy. and that's really not surprising given the fact that there is broad consensus in the american public as to what we should do. there really is no disagreement in any of our states, regardless of geography, regardless of race or political ideology of whether or not we should make sure that criminals don't buy guns, make sure that people who have serious mental illness can't get their hands orpb -- on firearms. this appears to be controversial and politically toxic the way we talk about it. but the way it's talked about on the main streets that team 26 rode down it's not controversial at all.
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it's a settled issue. criminals shouldn't buy guns, and there's n justification in most americans' minds for a federal law that today on average allow for four of six guns to be sold without a criminal background check. they want the law changed, and we shouldn't pretend that this issue is politically controversial. it might be amidst lobbying circles in washington, but it's not in the communities that team 26 rode through. and they can tell you that because they were cheered everywhere they went. this is no small feat to organize this ride. it makes a difference in the communities in which they do events, the communities through which they ride. and it will ultimately make a difference here. every great movement for change is a long journey made worthwhile at the end when after you have rode up lots of hills and down into valleys, you end up at the finish line. i thank team 26 for their work. i yield the floor.
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mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, while my friends, the two senators from connecticut, are on the floor, let me just state, you know, i've been here long enough now to realize that it's hard to change things with just a speech. indeed, it's hard to change things by just voting up or down on bills. the way we actually solve problems is by trying to find consensus. i know the senator from connecticut and i have different views on the second amendment and that may be because there are different views around the country based on our experience and the culture in which we were raised. i realize in urban areas particularly in the northeast, the idea of people being raised around guns is sort of a way of life for recreation, self-defense and the like is just, it's not their experience. but in other parts of the country where the presiding
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officer lives, where i live, it is. and people feel very strongly about their rights under the second amendment. but there is a common ground here that i hope, that the senator from connecticut and i have talked about, and that has to do with the mental issue where i hope we can find that consensus. because as long as we're talking past each other, we're never going to resolve any of these issues. and i do think there is some common ground, because in the end the gun is an inanimate object. and the fact is that if we continue to ignore the mental illness that is very often a factor in acts of gun violence, then i think we're going to continue to talk past each other. as the senator and i have discussed, i've -- actually the bill that i've introduced, the safer cities and mental health reform bill, it actually includes a provision which allows people like adam lanza's
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mother to go to court and get a civil court order that would mandate that adam lanza take his prescribed antipsychotic drug. now i don't know if in this instance it would have changed the course of events, but i do know it would have given adam lanza's mother who he murdered and stole her guns and then killed these poor innocent children in sandy hook, it would have given her an additional tool and may have just possibly averted the tragedy. and i know there are many families in america today that would welcome additional tools by which they could then help loved ones become compliant with their doctors' orders, take their medication and become productive, productive people. there's a gentleman named pete early that i know the senator knows who has testified here often. he's a journalist. he wrote a book called "crazy."
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and it's a book about his son's experience who had mental illness. it's not about his son. the title is not for his son. it's about the system that will fails people like pete early's son because it doesn't provide the options that they need in order to deal with their mental illness. and so i do think there are ways that we can work together. but as long as we keep making speeches to our respective constituents back home, we're never going to do that. i know we're working on the mental health issue now, and i would just say to my colleague i'm more than happy to try to find some common ground on this issue because i do think not only do we need to improve the background check system for people who are adjudicated mentally ill like the shooter at virginia tech, this is a failure of the current system where the virginia law did not require this mental health adjudication be uploaded in the background
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check system. and then this terrible tragedy occurred. but there are things we can do to improve the current background check system. there are things we can do to arm parents and families with new tools to try to help their mentally ill loved ones and maybe just maybe change the course of some of these incidents, these incidents of mass violence which are terrible tragedies. so i make that offer. i know the senator is not ready to cosponsor my legislation as currently written, but i would invite him to just take a copy of it, mark through in a pencil the things that you don't like and you can't live with and give me what you can live with, and we can perhaps begin that conversation. i thank the senator for listening. mr. president, i came to speak on the f.a.a. bill, the federal
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aviation authorization bill, but i first want to commend our colleagues in the house for passing some important legislation yesterday called bankruptcy, not bailouts. the bankruptcy, not bailouts, bill, a bill that will put to rest once and for all the concept that it is somehow the taxpayers' responsibility to bail out financial institutions when they fail, putting our financial system in jeopardy, and of course the idea of too big to fail was an unfair and really, i think, erroneous concept made part of the law in the dodd-frank legislation that prioritizes large financial institutions over the needs of american families. we need to do everything we can to protect taxpayers from having to be called upon to bail out banks. we need to let banks go bankrupt and use existing laws to restructure their debt and then to get back on track. so this is actually a very important step in the right
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direction. i commend chairman hinserling and the house of representatives for passing that very piece of legislation. it's similar to legislation that i have introduced here in the senate with senator toomey, the junior senator from pennsylvania, and i hope we can move forward soon. just one other interjection on the whole idea of bankruptcy versus bailouts. i read in the press and i hear from some of our colleagues in the house that they think the bankruptcy laws are somehow a bailout. it's the antisis of a -- antithesis of a bailout, the opposite of a bailout because it is to restructure the debt of a bankrupt person or business, and in doing so, allows them to get this -- get it behind them and then to get on and continue to live a productive life as an individual or to deal with a
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productive business if you're a business. but the idea that somehow taking advantage of the bankruptcy laws is a taxpayer bailout is just flat wrong, and i hope our colleagues in the house have the courage, particularly as we look at the puerto rico situation, realizing that at some point unless we act in the house and the senate to deal with the impending crisis in puerto rico, unless we act in advance of that crisis, we are going to be presented with an emergency situation, and we are going to be asked to bail out puerto rico using taxpayer dollars, and i want none of that. i want none of that. and i think all of us who were here after -- during the financial crisis in 2008 would say the same thing. we want none of that. so let's do our work, whether it's ending too big to fail for large financial institutions or dealing with the impending
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bankruptcy financial crisis in puerto rico. so to the topic of the day, mr. president, for the past few days, we have been working on this legislation to reauthorize the federal aviation administration. chairman thune of the commerce committee has been -- and his staff have been doing some good work, making a lot of progress toward completing the bill, and i hope that that cooperation continues and we are able to conclude this legislation tomorrow. but this legislation would do some very important things. it would streamline critical new investments in an airport infrastructure, in aviation safety to protect passengers and to help them get where they need to go more efficiently. it would also include the most comprehensive airline security reforms since president obama took office. for example, it strengthens the vetting process for airport employees and addresses a growing number of cybersecurity threats facing aviation and air
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navigation systems. and most importantly of all, it puts american consumers and safety first, and it does so without raising taxes or adding fees to customers, which feel like a tax. you may call it a fee, but if it costs money, it really doesn't feel any different than a tax. but i'd also like to point out the benefits to states like mine, texas. it protects air traffic partnerships and supports dozens of texas airports and directly responds to requests that i have gotten from texas communities looking for new opportunities to improve regional air traffic management or expand service in order to meet demand. all crucial members to help texas communities move people and goods safely through airports. i have introduced an amendment to this legislation with two -- with the two arizona senators and our junior senator colleague
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from nevada, senator heller, that would do even more to help our ports of entry by strengthening public-private partnerships at air, land and seaports. the fact of the matter is financial resources, money, is always in short supply, and rather than always coming back to the taxpayer and saying you need to pay more, what we need to do is become more creative, and that's why public-private partnerships are important. local communities are willing to join in a partnership with the federal government to deal with these critical infrastructure needs at land, air and seaports, and that's what this amendment would do. we've already seen in my state time and time again how important these partnerships can be to help reduce wait times at ports of entry, the land-based ports of entry like laredo, which is the largest land based port of entry in the united states, and if you have ever been there, you see the trucks stacked up coming from mexico and important trade that goes on between our two countries that
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support six million jobs in the united states alone, but these public-private partnerships have been very successful in helping deal with our infrastructure needs. it's not just about convenience. it has an economic impact as well. i mentioned the six million people who benefit because of their jobs depend on binational trade just between the united states and mexico. for example, according to one study, each minute a truck sits idle at the border waiting to come to the united states, even though they are legally authorized to come here, to bring goods manufactured or produced in mexico, for example, more than $100 million of economic output is lost or forfeited. let me say that. for every minute a truck sits at the border because we don't have the infrastructure to process the truck into the united states, more than $100 million in economic output is lost or
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forfeited. so this amendment would authorize more of these partnerships, which would also facilitate staffing and better protect legitimate trade and travel and keep our economy running smoothly and keep jobs being created. so i hope my colleagues will consider this amendment and vote to build on the success of similar programs in the past, both in texas and across the country. i want to mention my last amendment, one i introduced yesterday as well that would target the world's foremost sponsor of terrorism. that's the country of iran. mahan air is iran's largest commercial airline, and it has repeatedly played a role in exporting iran's terrorism. we all know iran as being the number one state sponsor of international terrorism, and mahan air is one of the ways that they export that terrorism.
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we might call mahan air terrorist airways, would perhaps be more precise. it not only supports the efforts of the quds force, but another iranian-backed terrorist group, disebz. to put it simply, mahan air enables the reach of iranian personnel and represents throughout the middle east as well as iran's proxies, as the regime continues unabated to undercut the interests of the united states and our allies in the middle east like israel. unfortunately today, mahan air is working to expand its international operations now that the obama administration has lifted sanctions as part of the misguided iran nuclear deal, and so mahan air is expanding its operations and adding more international airports to its flight patterns, including several in europe in an effort
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to, of course, increase its bottom line. mahan air's unfettered support of terrorism and the worst aspects of the iranian regime should give us all pause, and i'm concerned about the security risks of americans who fly in and out of the same airports serviced by a mahan airlines aircraft. so my amendment would require the department of homeland security to compile and make public a list of airports where mahan air has recently landed. i think the public has a right to know that the airports they are flying into are being used to service an airline of the iranian government used to export terrorism. and so it would also require the department of homeland security to assess what added security measures are needed. we must protect our country and our citizens from an airline that is complicit in terrorist
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activity, so i hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this commonsense amendment to the f.a.a. reauthorization bill, to help shine a light on this bad actor. mr. president, i would just close with this. under new leadership, the 114th congress has actually gotten the senate back to work again, and it's not just for the benefit of the majority party, it's not just for the benefit of the minority party. it's actually for the benefit of the constituents that we serve, because they're the ones who benefit when we can try to work and find common ground and move legislation forward where we can find agreement, knowing that there are many areas where we will never find agreement because of fundamental principle differences of opinion. but this is another example of an important piece of legislation that will benefit the entire country. it definitely isn't a partisan piece of legislation, so it's something that i'm glad that we have been able to move forward on, and i look forward to
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concluding this legislation tomorrow. it's time we upgrade our air transportation system for the entire country, and it's time to put the safety of airline customers first, and this bill does that. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, i rise today to talk about something very dear to me and to so many of my fellow wyoming-ites, particularly gillette, wyoming, where i used to be the mayor. it's the third largest town in wyoming. here is an effect that it's having. this administration has made no secret about its continuous efforts to whittle away at america's coal industry. well, very sadly, two weeks ago, those efforts resulted in unprecedented layoffs as two of
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wyoming's biggest coal mines let go of 15% of their work force. my wife and i were heartbroken to see these 456 miners suddenly out of work. now, besides the mines, of course, there are railroad layoffs because that's how the coal is delivered to the other 40 states in the nation. outside of gillette, there are 130 coal engines parked, not to mention trains. that means about 1,300 railroad workers are out of jobs. now, today peabody coal announced that they were filing chapter 11 bankruptcy. we'll see more of that. i know the suffering of the 456 people and the 1,300 railroad people suddenly out of work may not sound so bad in a place like california or new york, but in wyoming, whole communities feel that kind of impact. folks i talked to in wyoming are depressed and they are angry, and it's because the energy
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industries they support and rely upon have for too long been the target of bad federal policies. people have been mining coal in wyoming since the mid 1800's, but it wasn't until the 1970's that the industry really took off. the clean air act of 1970 implemented the original restrictions on sulfur dioxide emissions, and suddenly the low sulfur content, the clean coal from wyoming's powder risen basin was in -- powder river basin was in high demand. wyoming went from producing just over 2% of our nation's coals in the late 1960's to producing 9% by the end of the 1970's. that number rose to 31% by the end of the 1990's. by the end of 2014, 39% of the nation's electricity was generated by coal, according to the energy information administration. 40% of that coal was generated in wyoming. that year, wyoming's 20 mines
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directly employed over 6,500 workers who earn an average salary of nearly $84,000, almost twice the statewide average. the industry indirectly employs tens of thousands more contractors in jobs that support the coal industry. the coal industry played over $1.14 billion to wyoming in taxes, royalties and other revenue in 2014. that's money that was used for schools, roads, community colleges across the state. those are all in jeopardy. so with all of these supportable energy, with all these well-paying jobs, how did wyoming find itself losing jobs last week? how did wyoming wind up with the fastest growing unemployment rate in the nation? well, i recently ran across this 2011 editorial cartoon that i think helps explain how this administration is bringing down the coal industry. now, this one was -- this was drawn and dedicated to the
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wyoming legislature when they were talking about some similar things. and so it's -- it's still pertinent but we have to change this tattoo on the arm to "administration." and the dates need to be changed to 2012. that's when the environmental protection agency issued its final mercury air toxic standard rule. and then 2015, when the department of interior piled on with its proposed steam protection rule. and the e.p.a. released its final clean air plan. and then 2016, when interior froze the federal coal leasing program. if we imagine these changes, this cartoon can explain how we got where we are today.
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we're killing the golden goose, the producer of the low-cost energy for the united states. now, mr. president, let me expand on those issues a bit further. a little hard to understand just giving the titles. in 2012, it is e.p.a. finalize -- the e.p.a. finalized a standard that required a strict reduction in air emissions from electric generating units. it was known as mercury and air toxic standards, or mats rule. and like many of the rules coming from the e.p.a., the cost of this regulation was immense and the benefits limited. even if the benefits are calculated over a much longer period of time than the cost. now, the e.p.a. estimated that the rule would create between half a million and $6 million in benefits related to this mercury reduction. the cost? now, remember,s this half a million to $6 million in benefits. at a cost of nearly $10 billion
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annually for implementation of the rule. luckily the supreme court rejected the mats rule last year, stating that the e.p.a. should have considered costs before setting out to regulate mercury from fossil fuel power plants. but the administration wasn't deterred. last year congress disapproved of both the stream protection rule and the clean power plan, disastrous rules aimed at eliminating the extraction and use of low-cost energy using the congressional review act. we did so with bipartisan support and yet the president did not listen and instead chose to veto those bills. i believe a u.s. president should first and foremost seek to help the citizens of the united states. that means a deep understanding of the people and the challenges they face. president obama and others in his administration and some seeking to replace him have demonstrated how woefully little they understand about coal and
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the jobs that are related or about the people who produce it and even about the people who use it. many folks in wyoming who produce and use coal have reached out to me and i want this administration to hear from them. the administration needs to hear from people like nancy from my hometown in gillette. she wrote last week to tell me about losing her job at a mine where she'd worked for nine years. she's 64 years old, single and takes care of her elderly father. she has a house payment, a house she's worked very hard to keep after going through a divorce. now she's worried about losing her house and just wants a job so she can keep her house and retire with a little money in her pocket. to understand the impact these policies have on not just energy workers but communities in which they live, the administration needs to hear from sarah from new castle. now, that's about 70 miles from
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gillette and about 50 miles from nicole mine. sarah and her husband started a carpet and flooring store and have been successfully managing it for over three decades. she's sad to see so many of her community out of work. they travel a long way to work. and fearful that the economic downturn will mean the end of a business she's devoted her life to creating. now, the administration needs to hear from robert, again from gillette. his and my hometown. he recently lost his job at a smaller coal mine and had to uproot his family to move to another state to find work. he knows that out west, the media markets are small and the national news will never cover the heartbreaking stories of his colleagues and neighbors in this coal market. robert needs to know that maybe the media won't cover his family's story but i won't forget about him and i won't stop fighting the bad policies this administration has created. america has the resources,
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america has the manpower and america has the reserves to provide the energy we need for a strong economy and a healthy environment. nobody knows that better than the folks in wyoming, where people for generations have made a good living extracting energy from the same lands on which they love to hunt, fish, hike and camp. people are dedicated stewards of the land and want their children and grandchildren to enjoy it in the same way. that's why wyoming coal mines are recognized year after year for their outstanding reclamation efforts. you can see that in this photo of beautiful land in wyoming, where a short time before a coal mine existed. now, i have occasion to take people out to the mines once in awhile and usually as we get close, if they're from somewhere else, they say, oh, don't let them tear up that land over there, that's beautiful. and we have to explain to them, that's where the mine used to be. this is where it's headed. and they say, oh, you can change
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that into this, do it. now, there's some difficulties with replacing it like this. this hill had to be exactly the same as it was before the coal was removed. if there's stones in there, they have to be put back where they were before. now, the ranchers that border on these coal mines say, why would anybody move that much dirt and put it back the way it was? why wouldn't they improve it? well, it's the law and they've been following the law and getting phenomenal results. but wyoming and other states that produce and rely on fossil fuels need is innovative policies that will encourage new ways to continue to develop and use america's huge reserves of coal, oil and gas. we're the saudi arabia of coal and that can displace some of what saudi arabia has been thrusting on us for decades. one of those objects is carbon
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sequestration, which senators from both sides of the aisle in this chamber have historically supported. using this technology, carbon dioxide emitted from combusting fossil fuels can be captured and routed to secure geological storage, preventing it from being released into the atmosphere. although plants need that. the carbon dioxide can also be used for enhanced recovery of oil and natural gas to help ensure that america efficiently utilizes these resources. when a well is drilled and pumped, you get about 25% of the oil out of the ground. now, there's some enhanced recovery that's been invented since that time and they can get about another 20% out of the ground. that means that 55% of our value is still under the ground. people are working to invent ways to take care of that and take care of the energy that we're going to need to be energy independent. even the white house supports
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investment in research and development projects to make carbon capture more accessible, deployable and affordable. i hope my colleagues from any state that uses or produces fossil fuels will join me in supporting policies to encourage carbon sequestration and the use of carbon. there are a number of uses but one of those is to get that enhanced oil recovery. last week was a tough one for wyoming but i'm proud to be from a state that's always found a way to bounce back from any bust and actually what we've got is a leveling out but it's a difficult leveling out because for the first time, coal prices, oil prices and natural gas prices are all down at the same time. when you have an economy that's building for growth and it levels out, it seems like a dramatic bust. so this is not the end of coal's chapter in wyoming history.
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i'll keep making -- working to make sure of that. and, mr. president, i'd also ask that an article that just came out today about the powder river basin creating a new future in wyoming's biggest coal town, which talks about some of the alternative things that people are doing. those will help gillette if we eliminate coal. the low-cost energy will force people across the nation to pay more for their energy. that's a good baseload. it runs all the time. it's not like wind. when the wind doesn't blow, you don't have it. it's not like solar. when the sun doesn't shine, you don't have it. coal can work 24 hours a day and it's low cost. and there's also been more done to clean up coal-burning power plants than in where else. we invite anybody to come to gillette, wyoming, and look at the several power plants that we have there and look at the clean air that we have there. the only time we get regional haze there is when the forests
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burn in oregon and washington and blow into wyoming and make our mountains disappear. and you won't find nicole dust around either because -- you won't find any coal dust around either because people blow away what they can sell. so we hope you'll come and take a look at the environment that's there, take a look at the power plants and along with the other people that we've encouraged to come here, say, you know, that's not bad and america needs it. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: without objection, the material will be included in the record. mr. enzi: suggest the absence of a quorum. 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 indiana. a senator: mr. president, i ask that the call of the quorum be vacated. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: mr. president, this is now my 39th edition of
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waste of the week, 39 weeks i've been back here when the senate has been in session to talk about unnecessary, fraudulent, wasted, abused spending of taxpayers' dollars. mr. coats: this week -- and we've run up quite a total, more than i thought we would hit. but the more we dig into this and the more noargs we get -- information we get from the agencies that are looking at how we spend taxpayers' dollars, the more alarmed i have been and the public should be and our colleagues should be over how these hard earned tax dollars are spent in a wasted, abused way or fraudulent way. so i'm going to keep doing n. i'm going to keep doing this to alert my colleagues and alert the american people, in particular people in my state. there are ways that we can better and more efficiently use their tax dollars or not require them in the first place. this week i'm focused on
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documented abuse of the department of agriculture's supplemental nutrition assistance program most hoosiers and americans know this as the food stamp program. the food stamp program has had ups and downs in terms of support and a lot of bad publicity about the abuse of these. i get many, many letters and contacts into my office, i was standing in the grocery line and saw someone use food stamps not for milk for their children or cereal or nutritious food but for junk food, for tobacco, for alcohol. it's not supposed to be used for this kind of thing but somehow we keep reading about potential misuse of what this program is intended to do. now the snap program as it's now called, supplemental nutrition assistance program, snap, snap
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program, is to provide low-income families, low income individuals that are in a needy situation to help with their nutrition needs and provide food items. it's funded by the federal government and it's administered by the states. let me begin here by saying i'm not here to do a critique of the program. that's a topic for a different discussion. i'm here to talk about whether or not this program is being effectively run by the states and effectively funded by the federal government. because what we've learned are that, no surprise, as in so many other federal programs, there's been gaming and fraudulent use of this. and there are clearly are people that don't qualify and are not eligible for receiving these food stamp vouchers but are
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nevertheless receiving them through this program. now, the government has become modern here with the digital age and instead of just the food stamps and i guess that's maybe one of the reasons they changed the name of the program, they issue a card. it's like a debit card. you carry it in your wallet. money is added to that card electronically, and it can be used at grocery stores. you can swipe it. and hopefully it works better than secretary clinton's card worked at the subways in new york. anyway, you can swipe this card and it will deduct the amount of cost that you have in terms of the food you provided and it's issued and refreshed on a monthly basis. in looking at the program, the general accounting office got some tips about the fact that a
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lot of replacement cards were being sent out. now, we all leave our license card on the counter in the kitchen or our credit card. where is that credit card? uh-oh, i need a replacement. i mean, this happens. and we understand that. so there's a replacement card program available through snap and you say you lost your card and they send you a new one. the problem is, is that g.a.o., the government accountability office, learned from the program that a tremendous amount of replacement cards were going out to people sometimes well over four -- i think they draw the line at four. wait a minute. maybe we ought to look at this because this person has been asking for a replacement card on a regular basis, and are they really losing those cards or are they using them for other purposes? so they set up a trial program.
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they looked at three states: massachusetts, michigan and nebraska. and found that more than 7,500 households receiving the snap benefits had suspicious transactions and were using four or more electronic -- these e.b.t. cards, like debit cards in a year during key times, such as when cards were recreditted with benefits, all of a sudden requests came in saying i lost my card. and, by the way, this is the fifth time or sixth time or whatever. in totaling all this loss up, the general accountability office said that this accounted for more than $26 million of suspicious transactions. now, that was just for the three states. and these are sizable states, but massachusetts, michigan and
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nebraska, but they pale in comparison to say texas, california and new york. so if it was $26 million of suspicious transactions for just the three states that were the -- the accountability office looked into, imagine what it would be if they checked all 50 states. and so we did some calculations on the same proportion of snap households as those identified by g.a.o. as it affected the whole country. and we came up with roughly $3.2 billion of waste over a ten-year period of time. that's not small change. a lot of people work awfully hard to accumulate the kind of moneys needed to total $3.2 billion and then only to see it wasted. well, people said, you know, maybe this -- these suspicious
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transactions were legitimate. so we did a quick search on craigslist. craigslist is this list you go into. i know all the young pages here understand this. us old people don't, aren't necessarily up to speed on all the new electronic transitions and processes and so forth. but we got into craigslist. i got into it with the help of my young staff. we got into craigslist and we found that what was being advertised -- on craigslist, you put up something that others will want to buy, and it can be anything from a washing machine to a lawnmower to a picture frame or whatever. well, we found some people advertising these snap cards, these e.b.t. cards. for instance, a mechanic named marco -- this was not marco
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rubio by the way -- a mechanic named marco will accept e.b.t. caferredz as -- cards as payment for auto care, he said. in other words, if you have a problem with your car, come over to my shop and i'll fix it for you and instead of cash, you can give me e.b.t. cards. probably that's pretty tempting. how much fixing my auto? 35 bucks. well, i've got an e.b.t. card. it's got $33 boy 4 -- $33.47 left on t. how about i pay you with that? i can take that in payment. and then they reapply for a replacement card. that's one of the ways it adds up. another advertises to beyonce tickets. i haven't been to a beyonce concert but i actually know who she is. even at my age i realize she's a star and everybody wants these tickets. and so they advertised two tickets for $1200 and said we can accept e.b.t. cards for payment. well, somebody has to accumulate
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a lot of those cards to come up with a payment for -- to cover two tickets to a beyonce concert. in another post on craigslist reads, i have around -- this is someone put in here. i'm quoting. "i have around $1300 in food stamps and i have no need for it at all. i will sell this card, my card with $1300 in credits if you'll send me 300 bucks." so i guess that raises questions about how these cards are being used, and these are just a few examples. this kind of fraud obviously needs to be addressed. as all the other 38 weeks of waste of the week i have put up here continues to accumulate. these cards are obviously not being used, all of them, for those who need it and for its intended purpose.
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it's clear that we ought to be adopting g.a.o.'s methodology of tracking both a number of recipients that receive four or more e.b.t. cards at specific times of the years and those with suspicious transactions. i think a lot of this abuse could be eliminated. so what we're doing today is we're adding another $3.2 billion of waste and we continue to raise the amounts, now $161, 977, 000, 000 of waste, fraud and abuse and this is going to continue as we alert the american people. i inform my coo colleagues heref the united states congress, inform the administration that there are ways to better use and hopefully not even have to request in the first place the kind of tax dollars that we are
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paying for a clearly dysfunctional federal government program. mr. president, with that i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. hatch: thank you. mr. president, i rise today in support of the f.a.a. reauthorization legislation before us as well. the manager amendment filed yesterday on this key piece of legislation. this is an important bill that will ensure that the airport and airway trust fund remain solvent and that our nation's airways system and the countless jobs that are impacted by the system do not have to deal with a funding shortfall or a lapse in authorization. the airport and airway trust fund finances many of our national aviation programs. currently expenditures from the trust fund are authorized through july 15 of this year. and the provisions that ensure adequate fund forge the trust fund expire at the same time. that means absent congressional action, national airway programs and projects will come to a screeching halt about three months from now. make no mistake, this bill is about protecting jobs and consumer interests across the
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country. no one would benefit from a lapse in funding or authorization, as either one would threaten the livelihood of people throughout the country. the passage of what should be considered routine legislation can get weighed down by unrelated issues. no one seriously disputes the need to ghet bill over the finish -- to ghe get this bill r the finish line. the committee which i chair is responsible for the tax portion of the f.a.a. bill. it is paid thriewr a number of -- through a number of tax provisions set to sphie expire y along with the authorization of i ask that the quorum call be suspendeditures from the trust fund -- along with the authorization of expenditures from the trust fund. in years past, the financial committee has introduced detailed legislation to renew and, if necessary, update those provisions. we typically have a markup and a
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report -- and report the legislation out of committee. i had intended to follow a similar course with this year's f.a.a. bill. unfortunately, that is this aisn't how things worked out. as we were working through the process in committee to set up an f.a.a. markup, it became clear that my friends on the other sued of this aisle saw the bill as an opportunity to add a number of extraneous items. provisions that have nothing whatsoever to do with the f.a.a. to the bill and set the stage for a politically charged debate in the finance committee. i'm not one to shy away from controversy, but with an item of this importance, one that is a priority for both members -- for mels omembers on both sides, i t see the benefit for either side in turning a tax title into other wide-ranging extenders bill and reducing the robust debate process in the finance committee to a series of controversial votes.
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moreover, given the small lead time before the authorizing bill was to be up for floor debate, a markup that addressed anything more than the finance committee's basic responsibility to fund the f.a.a. would have prejudiced members on both sides in terms of preparation. for all of these reasons, we decided not mark up the bill in committee and instead to resolve the matter here on the floor. it appears that it has been resolved. we will be voting before the end of the week a simple extension of the taxes dead indicated to the airport and airways trust fund through the end of fiscal year 2017. ultimately, a clean extension of the f.a.a. taxes like the ones before us is probably the best approach. my main priority in developing this legislation was to ensure adequate funding for the f.a.a. and airway projects and programs throughout the country and to do
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so in a fiscally responsible manner. over the past few weeks we've heard a lot of talk about adding additional provisions to the tax title and there were some efforts to once again stack this legislation with extraneous items. indeed, leading up to yesterday, lobbyists and special interest groups all over town were waiting with baited breath to see what was in the tax title. don't get me wrong. i am not a purist or a foolhardy idealist. i maude it clear that the senate pass a clean f.a.a. bill, but i know that none ever us can reasonably expect to get everything we want out of every piece of legislation, particularly when the goal is impt compromise. -- is bipartisan compromise. i'm very much in favor of practicing the art of the doable, which sometimes means accepting things i don't want to see happen. so i have been willing to work with my colleagues to include other provisions in the tax title in order to get a deal on
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the overall f.a.a. bill. i leave it to others to characterize what happened in those negotiations, as none of the items under discussion were high priorities for me. instead, i'll just note that after weeks of discussion, fingerprinting and a -- finger-pointing, a decision was made to move forward with a clean extension of the f.a.a. provisions, which once again is -- was my preference from the outset. i am pleased with this outcome. i just wish we could have taken a less contentious path to arrive at this conclusion. still, this is a good outcome for the american people and all of the industries that rely on a fully functional airway system. the legislation before us will extend the programs for a year and a half and provide greater certainty for people in businesses around the country. on top of that, it will improve security on planes and in our nation's airports while also providing much-needed
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improvements to help consumers and airline passengers. i know that the people of utah in my home state are particularly interested in seeing congress finish its work on the f.a.a. reauthorization, and over the last few months i've heard from many groups and businesses from utah and elsewhere on a number of issues addressed by this bill, including airport funding, drone safety, rural airport needs, and general aviation. many people when they think about utah's airways probably think that we just have the one airport in salt lake city. and make no mistake, that's an important airport, not only to utah but to air travel and shipping all across the country and other parts of the world. but my state's interest in the f.a.a. bill extends well beyond the salt lake city international airport. all told, we have 47 total airports in the state of utah vai varying greatly in purpose, size, and overall capacity. all of which would benefit from
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this legislation. many of these airports have new development or expansion projects either under way or in the planning stages. the legislation before us will give assurances to these airports and allow them to plapn for future needs. the bill also includes important i guess pros from the treating small airports with fairness a act, which constitutes section 52(a). f.a.a. bill. this legislation will help a number of small and rural airports like coming of those in utah to bring back t.s.a. staff and security screening equipment if certaining conditions are met. then there's subtitle (f) of this bill. we have language taken from the pilots bill of rights ii, a bill passed by the senate by unanimous consent last year but
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was not yet passed yet by the house. the general aviation committee in utah will benefit tremendously from these provisions which could potentially help thousands of general aviation pilots in utah, saving them time and known in managing -- time and mo enin managing their health and fitness to fly. there are provisions that will benefit utah and most states throughout the country. in short, this as good bill. mr. president, from the f.a.a. reauthorization provisions to the tax and funding title, it is the right approach to addressing those particular needs and we need to get it done. therefore, i urge my colleagues to support senator thune's managers amendment as well as the overall f.a.a. bill. now, mr. president, i would like to talk for a minutes on s. 438, the ensuring that patient access and effective drug enforcement act. the senate unanimously passed
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this crucial legislation last month and just yesterday the house passed the bill as well. the bill now goes to president obama for signature. i'd like to begin by thanking senator whitehouse for his important work on this legislation. he and his staff have been crucial partners in helping to move it forward. i'm also grateful for the support of our other cosponsor, senators rubio, vitter, and cassidy. srs. 433 is an important bill ad clarifies several key provisions of the controlled substances act in ways that will strengthen efforts to fight prescription drug abuse while ensuring that patients retain access to needed medications. as we all know, prescription drugs play a crucial role in treating and curing illness, alleviating pain, and improving
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quality of life for millions of americans. unfortunately, these drugs can be abused. a balance is necessary to ensure that individuals that need prescription drugs for treatment receive them, but that such drugs are not diverted for improper uses. to this end, s. 483 makes three important changes to the controlled substances act. first, it clarifies the factors that the attorney general is required to consider when deciding whether to register an applicant to manufacture or distribute controlled substances. the current text of the controlled substances act instructs the attorney general to consider factors that -- quote -- "may be relevant to and consistent with the public health and safety" -- unquote -- but does not provide any guide angs as to what those factors might be. this vague language creates uncertainty among applicants regarding the standards they must meet to obtain a
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registration. s. 483 reduces this uncertainty by tying those standards to congress' findings in section 101 of the controlled substances act regarding the benefits, hearths and commercial impact -- harms, and commercial act of controlled substances. this change will bring clarity to the registration process and provide better guidance to regulators as they consider applications, manufacture, or distribute controlled substances. the second change s. 483 makes is to delineate the standards under which the attorney general may suspend a controlled substantials act registration without a court proceeding. under the terms of the controlled substances act, the attorney general may suspend a registration to manufacture or distribute controlled substances without court process if she determines there is an imminent danger to the public health and safety. but the act does not define what
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constitutes an imminent danger, leaving the attorney general's authority under this provision essentially open-ended. this in turn leaves companies who operate in the shadow of uncertainty regarding when and whether a registration may be summarily suspended. srs 483 clarifies the attorney general's authority to immediately suspend a registration by specifying that such a suspension may be appropriate where there is a -- quote -- "substantial likelihood of an immediate threat to death, serious bodily harm or abuse of controlled substance will occur in the absence of an immediate suspension of the renal strags." this will prermt the attorney general to visit the suspension orders when necessary to protect against an imminent threat of harm. while statement ensuring that this power does not become a sword constantly hanging over the head of law-abiding companies.
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in addition to these important clarifications, s. 483 will also facilitate greater collaboration between distributors, manufacturers, and relevant federal actors in combating prescription drug abuse. in particular, the bill provides a mechanism for companies who violate the controlled substances act to correct their practices before the attorney general suspends or revokes their registration. even inadvertent violations may lead to suspension or revocation, descrubting the supply chain from the company's prescription drugs. this in turn can cause hardship for patients who rely on the company's dprutiocompany's drug. srs 438 alleviates this problem by allowing companies to submit a corrective action plan to remediate the violation before suspension or revocation, thus ensuring that supply chains remain intact. this provision will also encourage greater self-reporting
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of violations and promote joint efforts between government and private actors to stem the tide of prescription drug abuse. srs 483 takes a balanced afroach the problem of prescription drugs. it clarifies and further defines the attorney general's enforcement powers. it reflects a measured, carefully negotiated compromise between stakeholders and law enforcement that will enable both to work together more effectively. most importantly, it will make a meaningful dinks in our homes and communities. i want to thank my colleagues for their support of this legislation and urge the president to sign it into law. with that, i yield the floor. mr. cotton: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: arkansas lost a political legend today when
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former congressman ray thornton passed away at the age of 87. he grew up in sheri dang, the child of two teerchtion. his quick wit was evident at an recallly age. he graduated from high school at 16 years of age. he headed o. off to high school winning a scholar lp 10 attend yale. after college, ray heeded what would be the first of several calls to serve his country and joined the united states navy. where he served for three years with the pacific fleet during the korean war. after leaving the navy, ray returned home to arkansas, earned a law degree from the university of arkansas and married betty joe. ray began a successful legal career before being elected attorney general in 1970. after one term ray was elected to the house of representatives from arkansas' fourth district. ray served with distinction including on the judiciary committee where he helped draft
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articles of impeachment against president nixon. in 1978, he narrowly lost an epic senate primary featuring him, fellow congressman and later governor jim guy tucker. he returned to the family business of education becoming the only man to serve as president of both arkansas state university and the university of arkansas. ray returned to politics in 1990 winning election to the house of representatives again, this time from arkansas' second district, serving another three terms. representing the little rock area, ray was president clinton's congressman that he voted against the president's signature budget in 1993. also around this time arkansans passed an amendment to our state constitution limiting the terms of federal officeholders. in the ensuing landmark case, u.s. term limits v. thornton,
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the supreme court held that states cannot add additional qualifications to federal offices, including a limitation on terms. ray was the named defendant and believed in this constitutional principle. but shortly after the decision, he announced his retirement from congress, proving that the case was never really about him but rather his devotion to the constitution. on a personal note, i got to know ray as he prepared to retire from congress. thanks to the recommendation of a family friend who worked for ray i interned at his little rock office in the summer of 1996. rather than the usual intern where you pay down front when interns literally clipped stories out of the newspaper, i spent days and days at a storage unit in southwest pulaski county sorting through more than a quarter century of ray's public papers preparing them for the archives under the supervision
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of his long time and matchless advisor judy voltress. it highlighted a common theme of ray's career, his commitment to do the right thing as he saw the right even when it was the tough thing. whether it was impeachment, that 1993 budget vote or the term limits case, ray stood his ground. but ray didn't leave public life after congress, for he answered another call to service, this time on the arkansas supreme court where he served until 2005. now ray has gone home to his maker. and while we join his family and friends in mourning the loss, we also celebrate his long, well-lived life and service of our country and arkansas. rest in pay, ray thornton. -- rest in peace, ray thornton. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:

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