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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  April 20, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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quorum call:
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mr. cornyn: mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i have nine unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have been approved by both the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, yesterday the -- this chamber passed a bill to reauthorize the federal aviation administration, another bipartisan accomplishment that without a doubt has returned this -- helped return this chamber to operating the way that we all, i think, believe it should function. and after that, today we were finally able to move forward with an energy bill, the energy policy modernization act.
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we've all been working on that legislation for sometime now, and i'm glad we got it done earlier today. but i want to give special credit to chairman murkowski, the bill manager, and her counterpart, senator cantwell, for their incredible patience and diligence in dealing with this legislation that's been stuck on this senate floor for some time. senator murkowski, in particular, didn't shy away from addressing some of the most difficult challenges head-on, and needless to say, her hard work finally paid off earlier today. this legislation is important to the country because it helps update our energy policies and helps america produce more energy, use it more efficiently and save money in the process. one of the most significant portions of that legislation was
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streamlining the approval process for liquefied natural gas exports. this is really an example of how our energy future has been transformed so dramatically. you may recall, years ago there were these terminals being built around the country on the shorelines that were going to be the recipient of natural gas produced in some other part of the world and then brought to the united states. but thanks to modern drilling technology and the use of fracking, which i know in some corners is a dirty word, but we've been doing it successfully here in the united states for 70 or more years -- but thanks to horizontal drilling and fracking and modern drilling technologies, america is now producing more natural gas than we have any use for. and so it's good for our economy, good for jobs, good for
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the world really for america to be able to export more of its natural gas and oil, for that matter, something we dealt with at the end of last year when we lifted the antiquated export ban on crude oil. but this legislation, like the federal aviation administration authorization bill, is another example of how the senate is now back to work. when i tell constituents and folks back hoarnlings i say, well, you may not have heard -- or, if you heard it, you may not actually believe -- but we're actually getting some work done in the congress under new leadership. and i think it's been beneficial not just to the country, not to just those directly affected by the legislation we're passing -- things like the comprehensive addiction and recovery act to deal with the opioid prescription drug abuse and heroin issue -- not only are the the people directly affected by
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the legislation benefiting, but i think the entire exon is, and -- the entire exo country is and particularly the members of the senate, because we've been able to discuss and ultimately volt on legislation. what a -- vote on legislation. what a concept. it wasn't that long ago when the democratic leader was majority leader, and this senate was virtually shut down. and even if you were in the majority party, even if you were a democrat, when democrats held the majority in the senate, basically because of the decision to shut down the legislative process and to deny anyone an opportunity to offer an amendment, many of our democratic colleagues, even though they were in the majority, when it came to election time, they didn't have anything to show for their service representing their constituents here in the senate, even though they were in the majority party. but under the new leadership of the senator from kentucky, the senate majority leader, senator
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mcconnell, he's committed to an open process that benefits all members of the senate and all 320 or so million people in the united states that we represent, because now any senator, regardless of whether they're in the majority or the minority, can call up and seek votes on amendments to legislation to help make legislation better. the and so i think we've learned an invaluable lesson from the mistakes of the past that only by working together in a bipartisan way can we try to find the consensus and get things done, and the american people deserve that. so now that we've finished our working on the energy bill, i hope we can continue working together to address other problems facing the country. one of the most fundamental jobs that the congress has to perform is the appropriations process because somebody has got to pay for the policies to actually make the policies that we pass
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work. and this week we have a chance to start that process with the energenergy and water approprias bill. this is another example of great bipartisan work and commitment, a bill that unanimous passed out of committee. this legislation will invest in our nation's waterways and fund critical infrastructure projects. yesterday i spoke about how the flooding that's been affecting much of texas this week, particularly the houston area, that we are struggling to deal with. well, this appropriations bill would, for example, invest in projects to mitigate risks associated with flooding like texas has been experiencing over this week. it would also invest in our nuclear arsenal to make sure we're ready to meet existing and future nuclear threats. so to put it simply, this appropriations bill plays a big role, not only in our national security but in terms of public safety.
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that's both at home and abroad. now, last year we got stuck. we tried to move the appropriations bills through the regular process, but because of a dispute over spending levels, our democratic spend friends basically blocked any ability we had to move the appropriations bill through the regular order, or the regular process. and, unfortunately, at the end of the year, what that left us with is a need to pass one big omnibus appropriations bill, something that nobody said they liked. in fact, here on the senate floorks i called it not an omnibus appropriations bill, but an ominous appropriations bill. with that, there's very little transparency and only a handful of people that are really directly involved in crafting a bill that spends over $1 trillion. that's a terrible way to do business. so now we're trying to get back to the old-fashioned way, one
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bill at a time, and i commend -- i commend chairman alexander and ranking member feinstein for the good work they've done so far. this is going to take a little bit of cooperation and maybe even little bit of self-restraint, something that washington isn't necessarily known for. but even though all 12 appropriations bills were set out of the respective committees last year, for the first time since 2009, we're weren't able to get it done, and i'm hoping that this year will be dimp. so far -- will be different. so far our colleagues across the aisle have said they believe we ought to proceed with a markup of different appropriations bills, voting on them one at a time. so this is our first test, and, believe me, people are watching to see how we proceed on this legislation and on other appropriations bills, including our colleagues in the house of representatives. stop passing some stopgap
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funding bill at the brink -- at the end of a fiscal year where people are talking about shutdowns. that's not the way we're supposed to work. we can do better, and we can avoid those pitfalls if we'll just do our best, show a little restraint, and get our work done. so i hope the energy and water bill is the first of 12 appropriations bills that we consider, discuss, and ultimately pass, because that's what the american people deserve. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i wonder while the assistant republican leader is on the floor, i might say a word about this chart that i mentioned earlier. he mentioned that this is the first bill that we're spending $1 trillion. many of us on both sides of the aisle -- i know especially on the roone side of the aisle -- republican side of the aisle -- are concerned about the federal debt, which is $19 trillion. and we make great speeches about it, about what to do about it. but as we begin to talk about
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the $1 trillion we're about to appropriate in 12 bills, i would like to invite my colleagues to look at that bottom line. that is the money we're talking about. this is the $1 trillion we're working on. it's been flat since 2008. it's going up at the rate of inflation or a little less. but, mr. president, that's a trillion dollars. we're spending $4 trillion this year. the other $3 trillion is not what we're working on in these 12 bills. the other $3 trillion is automatic mandatory spending and interest on the debt,s and if we add there to that red line -- add interest to that red line, it would be even higher. i may offer an amendment to turn the entire process over to the appropriations committee, before, because we're doing our job. we've kept spending down much that's not the problem. so i hear that some people may want to say, well, let's further
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reduce the blue line, and what i would invite my friends and colleagues to say, we have letters from more than 80 senators requesting support for projects important in their state, for flood control and for nuclear weapons and for national labs and for deepening harbors, for inland waterways, and we've included in our bill requests from all those senators. so if we cut that blue line by $2 billion, we'll need to ask for requests from those 80 senators about what they'd like to cut. you know, which flood would they like it not clean up? which lock would they like to close? which nuclear -- which nuclear operation needs to be slowed down? so we need to be reasonable about this and we need to be straightforward about t i would like to see us deal with that red line. that's where the real spending problem is. i'd like to see you be responsible on the blue line. senator feinstein and i have cut
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$125 million program. we've gotten control of one big construction project. we're getting control of two others. we're doing our job. so as we enter in this discussion, let's keep -- i would respectfully ask my colleagues, let's keep a focus on the two lines. the $1 trillion line is the blue line. it's under control. it's not the problem. if that were the debt, we wouldn't have a problem. it's that red line that we're not doing anything about on either side of the aisle. on either side of the aisle. senator corker and i have a bill to reduce the growth of that spending by $2 trillion. we're the only two cosponsors. after we do these 12 bills we can talk about the blue line but i'm going to make sure during this whole process if senators want to talk about cutting spending they focus on where the problem is. it's the red line, not the blue line we're working on starting with this bill. i thank the senator for his remarks. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: i would just ask
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the distinguished senator from tennessee, the bill manager, that the point you make is exactly right. i think most americans would be surprised at this blue line and the fact that this is the money that the appropriations process spends each year, but it's only about 30% of what the federal government spends. to your point. my recollection is that under current projections, that red line is growing at about 5.3%, it seems like, over the next 30 years or so. while the blue line remains roughly flat. but that's a product of a lot of things that need to be fixed like the fact that for every dollar that's put into medicare, $3 is spent. and the fact that the social security trust fund in the not too distant future is going to run out of money because people are getting older, more people are benefiting and less people are paying into it. the senator's exactly right.
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we've actually been pretty disciplined in dealing with discretionary spending because of the budget control act and sequestration. but many people who are, decried the fact that we actually renegotiated the sequester numbers. one reason we did that was for national security purposes, that about $500 billion, the money that we spend is for national security. so i know the senator is aware, as i am, that there's good work being done, i think, at the budget committee level to try to come up with some budget reforms. but unless we get control of not just discretionary spending but the nondiscretionary, the mandatory spending, that red line. we're going to continue to see the deficits and the debt grow. and then when interest rates go back up to normal levels, we're going to be spending more money on interest on the debt than we will perhaps for national
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security. so i would just -- i told the senator this was a question, and i guess it's more of a statement. but i just want to thank you and senator feinstein and the appropriations committee for getting us back to regular order and back to work. and i hope we'll take up and pass this legislation without undue delay. this is not, i would also add, an opportunity for people to empty their out basket on different pieces of legislation they would like, because the rules of the senate, that would create a lot of problems. so again, i guess we counsel some of the self-restraint i was talking about earlier. but thanks to the senator from tennessee and from california for bringing this important legislation to us. i hope we can get this done sometime today or tomorrow. thank you. mr. alexander: thank you. mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, i thank the senator from texas for his leadership and for his comments. he's exactly right.
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over the next ten years that red line according to to the congressional budget office is projected to increase by nearly 80%. nearly 80%. the blue line, the one that's reasonably under control, will go up about 23%. but the bigger problem is the blue line is the share of the federal government will decrease from 33% to 22%. now, mr. president, that's the money for national defense in an unsafe world. that's the money for national laboratories in an economy that needs the job growth that comes from that research. mr. president, that's the money that cleans up after the missouri river, the tennessee river, the mississippi river flood. it deepens the harbor in savannah and in los angeles, san diego, and gulfport and all around. i've been to hearings, mr. president, after a big spring flood at the energy and -- at the e.p.w. committee,
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environmental committee, where we've had 17 united states senators come in and ask for more money. well, we have record levels of funding for the army corps of engineers in this budget for the purpose of locks, dams, flooding, environmental cleanup and it's all within the budget control act. we set priorities. we reduce projects. we cut some out that weren't as important, and we stayed, we've cut that blue line flat. we've done our job on financial oversight. so there are a number of advantages to having a full 10 or 12 weeks to deal with appropriations bills. one is it allows senators such as the senator from nebraska, who is not a member of the appropriations committee, to have a chance tonight floor to offer his amendment if he would like to. the way our system works, senators may ask us, and as i mentioned, 77 did ask us to include some of their ideas and policies in our bill, and we did in every case in some way. in some way.
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now we're up in the 80's. so everybody had a shot on this and will have more of a shot in the next day or two on the floor. so the whole senate will be involved. that is one advantage. the second advantage is to show the american people we're doing our job. we're conducting oversight of the government agencies, that we've had four hearings, that we've set priorities, that we cut out more priority projects and getting other projects under control. the third thing is maybe we can put a spotlight on the difference between the top line and bottom line, the red line and blue line. the blue line is an example of good government. the red line is an example of malpractice. by whropl? by us. by which party? bill both. by both. so let's be specific. if you're a surgeon you don't cut off the left arm because your nose is hurting. you work on the left arm. we don't need to cut off the blue line if the red line is the problem. if the red line is the problem. as often as i have a chance over
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the next two days, i'm going to do my best to remind our colleagues and the american people that we're doing our job on the $1 trillion we appropriate. and you'll have a chance to help us do our job if you come to the floor with your suggestions. we're not doing our job on the red line which is mandatory spending. if we don't do our job the chairman of the joint chief of staffs has said it is our greatest national security. maybe it should help to have a contrast, the way we should be doing, the bottom line and the way we should be doing it, which is that line growing out of control. i welcome the opportunity and i thank both the majority leader and the democratic leader for getting things in order so we can have a regular appropriations process for the first time. and i remind my colleagues that this is the earliest we've started an appropriations process since the budget act became law in 1974.
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the senator from california has suggested that i remind our colleagues and their staff members that if they have amendments, bring them to our staff and we'll work with you and see if we can include them in the bill. or if you'd like to offer the amendments, we'd like to do that today or tomorrow. there's no need to waste time here. we have 11 other bills we can get to very quickly and other important legislation that's awaiting the senate's action. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia.
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mrs. capito: thank you, mr. president. i am pleased to rise to express my support for the open debate we're going to have on the fiscal year 2017 energy and water appropriations bill. i would certainly like to thank the senator from california for her and my colleagues on the appropriations committee, and i'd like to thank senator alexander for his leadership and their work and their collaboration. it's been as a person who's only been in the senate for a year and a half and on the appropriations committee for about that time, it's been fun for me to watch seasoned pros as they weave their way through the appropriations process. so i thank them for that. but you know what? this is what our constituents sent us here to do. shrepblgs -- legislate, suppress an opinion,, express an opinion, amend and debate. this is a fiscally responsible bipartisan bill which passed out of the appropriations committee
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last week unanimously. it is also worth noting -- and i've heard it noted already today, probably will hear it many more times, that we are considering appropriations bills on the senate floor at the earliest point since 1974. i look forward to the bill passing with many priorities that are important to my home state of west virginia. and i also look forward to passing the other 11 appropriations bills as we move through this process. we can all agree that governing by continuing resolution is not ideal. the leadership in the senate and through the work of the appropriations committee, of which i'm a proud member, has put us on a path to pass these bills that will fund our government in a reasoned manner, transparent manner and a manner which is an open and deliberative process. this bill which comes before us has enormous importance to every state, particularly my state of
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west virginia. it includes resources that ensures safe and stable infrastructure, promotes and stimulates research in the fossil fuel industry, and promotes resources for rural areas most negatively impacted by the economic downturn and continues assaults against coal producing states in appalachia. i visited the blue stone dan in hinton west virginia. it is a marvel built in the late 1940's and completed in the 1950's but we must maintain and modernize to make sure we have the safest and the most technologically superior dams and prevention of flooding. it's important -- the importance to the blue stone dam to the surrounding area and all of west virginia cannot be overstated. it's protecting the neighboring capital city of charles town where i live from massive and
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catastrophic flooding. this bill provides construction funds for projects like blue stone as well as operation and maintenance funds for hundreds of locks and dams across the country, including many in my state besides blue stone, elkins. disappointingly the president's budget cut funding for the corps of engineers. i don't know how you can do that. that irresponsible action is eliminated in this bill. we restore the cut and fund the army corps of engineers by more than $1 billion above the president's request. a smaller but equally important investment in west virginia is the appalachian regional commission tphoepblg as -- known as the a.r.c. i'm pleased the senate is again proposing to boost funding of the a.r.c. following the increase in last year's omnibus bill. while it might not be familiar to a lot of people, the a.r.c. really spearheads many worthwhile efforts in the appalachian region including action to help communities impacted by the downturn of the coal industry through worker
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training, economic diversification and job services. one way to provide our citizens with greater opportunities is to provide them with broadband access. west virginia is not wired for broadband like a lot of our other states. we need to meet the acceptable standards set by the f.c.c. we understand we have mountains and it is difficult, but if we don't make this change, wes west virga is going to be left further behind. this is an economic challenge and health care tool. it is anti-ty helping west virginia connect to the internet. this bill maintains the funding level for fossil fuel energy and research development at $632 million. 66% of the electricity generated in the united states is from
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fossil fuels. coal, natural gas, and petroleum. and this will not change anytime soon. the department of energy's own energy information administration predicts that coal will still make up about a third of electricity generation for ged decades to come. if the administration itself acknowledges that these fuels will be critical to electricity generation, we must ensure that we are using these in the cleanest way possible. therefore, we must continue to make should that investment in research and development for clean coaltecnologies. the fund something $272 million above the president's request and the president's proposed cut and those proposed by some of my colleagues as we move through the markup we anticipate proposed cuts to fossil fuel research, in my are shortsighted because they fail to realize the value of the research that's being done in places like the national energy technology lab
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in morgan town, west virginia. that's known as nettle, which has reorganized and restructured its budget to be more transparent so we can understand what's going on there and where the dollars are being appropriated and to better focus on research and maximize those funds. i really apliewd these efforts and frankly i think we should all applaud them. their work is very important, not just to us in west virginia, to each and every one of us. there are many provisions in this bill that are very noteworthy and i will like close it with this. for west virginia, this legislation provides funding and support that will help us in many ways, and i am proud to have supported it in committee and now here on the floor and i will be very excited to see -- this will be my first appropriations bill that's actually come to the senate floor -- well, i think we did do one maybe last year. but this will be the first time energy and water has been an on the floor, and i look forward to the debate of mire colleagues. thank you mr. president.
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mr. gardner: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: thank you, mr. president. i first want to congratulate our colleagues for the work that they have accomplished this week. i. the work of reauthorizing the federal aviation administration, for those in colorado it is important work for denver international airport, for multiple airports around the state. the aviation industry in colorado accounts for tedges of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of revenue generated by not only d.i.a., whether it is veil or durango, grand junction, any number of airport as cross -- across the state has benefited. i want to commend chairman thune for his work as well as senator murkowski for the work she has accomplished on the energy bill legislation that will accomplish greater opportunities for the u.s. to achieve north american energy security, including thousands of jobs that could be
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created by legislation i was able to secure within the bill on performance contracting, a very great accomplishment for the senate. i urge the house and the senate to come together quickly in order to find a compromise on the energy bill and get this signed into law. mr. president, i come to the floor today to talk about an event that i participated in last week with general heighten, who was in colorado springs at space and cyber command, to talk about an event that was shared by governor hyingen looper from the great state of colorado. the united states air force -- cheyenne mountain air force station has been at the forefront of our nation's capacity to track threats worldwide providing the component of north american defense and security. today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the operational capability of cheyenne mountain. that's the event that i was able to participate in last week. now, many people across this country probably know cheyenne mountain air force station.
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they know it through popular culture, through movies like "doctor strangelove" or through "war games," for those of you who weren't quite of the "doctor strangelove" generation and they know cheyenne mountain air force station from "stargate." colorado is proud to be at the center of the effort to provide for the national security. cheyenne mountain air force station is one of the greatest march vestles its time representing an $18 billion facility, unrivaled anywhere in the world. bore into the front range into the rocky mountains to secure this world-class facility, providing countless space and ground sensor data collections that are assimilated to provide our nation's national security leadership apparatus with key information to determine threat assessments and ensure the safety and security of millions
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of people around the world. the 21st force -- the support group provides the dedicated daily sustainment to more than 13 mission partners performing the national security mission inside of the mountain complex. the mountain fortress as it has been nick named. and over 1,000 u.s. and canadian military members and civilians remain vigilant around the clock to defend our great nation at this facility. i'm proud the senate came together last week to approve my resolution which designates today, april 20, 2016, as cheyenne mountain day to recognize the 50th anniversary of cheyenne mountain achieving full operational capability. today we recognize the strategic importance of cheyenne mountain and celebrate the efforts of the 21st space wing, the mission support group and the men and women who work for the common defense of north america. -- at cheyenne mountain. mr. president, i yield the
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floor. mr. president, i note 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 west virginia. a senator: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. a senator: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. without objection. a senator: mr. president, i rise today to once again share the devestatessing story of the nationwide opioid especial demic that america currently faces which is pain, basically pain kills. mr. manchin: it's a crisis i've been dealing with since i was the v.a. of west virginia.
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it's ravaging my state. west virginia has been hit harder than most states in our country. the drug overdose deaths have soared by more than 700% since 1999. just last year we lost 600 west virginians alone to opiate abuse. that's prescription drug abuse. let me explain what we're dealing with. we're dealing with a product manufactured legally by pharmaceutical companies, a product that's approved by the food and drug administration, federal government. a product that's distributed and prescribed by our doctors, the most trusted people we have in our lives. and it goes on and on. and then basically people don't understand and have not understood for the last two decades the devastating effect that it has. but our state's not unique. this is happening everywhere.
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51 americans die every day. every day 51 americans. you have to think about that. every 30 minutes or less someone's dying because of a prescription drug overdose they got addicted to. since 1999, we've lost almost 200,000 americans to prescription opiate abuse, the pain pills as we know. so we need a serious culture change in america to get to the root of the problem. we need to change the approval of all these new, more potent drugs coming on the market. we don't need them. we've got enough. let me just, the scope of the problem is this, in the united states of america, we have less than 5% of the world population. seven billion people live on this beautiful planet earth of ours. we have approximately 330 million. how in the world can we explain how 5% of the population consumes 80% of all the pain
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pills, opiates, addictive opiates that are produced in the world? this one country of ours is the most addictive country on earth. there's not another one like this. we allow pharmaceuticals to advertise on television. we're the only ones that allow a drug that we know is addictive and can destroy people's lives to be advertised so people are asking for it, going out wanting to buy something because its market is so slick. it's just wrong, just totally wrong how we approach this. so it needs to be an overhaul of our culture. mr. president, my office continues to get flooded with letters. i'm going to read a letter today from my state of west virginia and from your state of georgia. and we're encouraging people to continue to share. the reason i'm encouraging people to share me the letters, for far too long this has been a silent killer, mr. president. people haven't talked about it. there's not a person that might be watching, not a person in this chamber that doesn't know somebody in their immediate
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family or extended family that has been affected by drug abuse. most of it prescription, legal prescription drug abuse. so you have an epidemic on your hand. we talk about ebola and zika and all the other things we're concerned about an epidemic. we don't have any of those that are killing 51 americans a day. but we're still silent about it. well, people are breaking their silence. they're sending me these letters and i'm going to read them every week to put a personal touch to this epidemic that we face. and i don't want people to be ashamed. we all have it happen. just because it might be your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your aunt, your uncle, your cousins or your children, and we have to look basically at addiction at an illness. for far too long, mr. president, we've looked at addiction as a crime. we put people away, put them in
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jail because they committed a crime. most of it is grand larceny because they had to steal to support their habit. they get a felony on their record. we put them in jail. they come back out, they're no better, they're still addicted. now they have a felony and can't get a job. we've taken them out of the productive part of our society. we're losing a whole generation of productive, beautiful people and we've got to fight this. let me tell you debbie's story from west virginia. this is debbie's story. my daughter started using drugs around the age of 13. it really escalated after her second child was born. her husband being from baltimore, maryland, with access to lots of different kinds of drugs, so she told me after the birth of her baby the doctor prescribed her percocet after vaginal birth. she started off snorting them, then injecting them. her drug abuse spiraled out of control to using meth on to heroin and cocaine and who knows what else. then she started buying suboxin,
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a drug to help you get off of your addiction but it is also an opiate. when she had her third child, c.p.s., child protection services, stepped in. but then they walked away in 90 days. she took off to baltimore, maryland, putting her two youngest children in danger, leaving her oldest behind with us. however, we finally got her to bring the children back to us, but she wasn't willing to stay with her children. the drugs were more important than her three little children. they have more of a draw this the pool. we now have temporary guardianship and she finally is taking steps in recovery. i don't understand why these doctors hand out opiate drugs like it's candy. i can tell you, debbie, why they do it. because they don't have the training. they don't understand the effects these drugs are having on people. and they're basically told
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whatever the manufacturers told them, whatever a sales person. and if the drug is allowed to be for a 30-day prescription, they give you 30. if it's for 60, they give you the maximum of 60. that's why they're being handed out like candy. she says i have another daughter that was in a car accident and broke her leg. she had to have surgery and the doctor prescribed her -- listen to this -- 80 percocet all at one time. 80 at one time. can you believe that? already battling one child with addiction, i very closely monitored her medication. not all people are strong-willed. this has to stop. these are dangerous drugs, and they lead to more dangerous drugs. these drugs are killing our children. they're pulling our families apart. why are doctors prescribing so many at a time? why do we have suboxin, another addictive drug to treat addiction. methadone is another one. why isn't suboxin a care
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monitored drug so it can't be sold on the streets? why don't we have free treatment centers in every county to help with addictions so our children aren't dying? i'm going to talk about the treatment centers or lack of treatment centers and what we can and what we should be doing as a country. my daughter is 24 years old with a lifetime of fighting addiction. my mom and sister had to bury their sons because of addiction. i don't want to bury my daughter. that's debbie's story, from west virginia. mr. president, this is winnie's story from augusta, georgia. my name is winnie garrett. she wanted me to use her full name because she is not addiction and she needs help. i've been living in augusta, georgia, for 15 years with my husband, son and daughter. my daughter is 21 and a heroin addict. she started using opiates when she was 16. she met a guy whrofs shooting pills -- who was shooting pills and heroin, so in september of 2014 she started shooting too. she had a great job, an
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apartment and was a highly functioning addict. in may she asked if her boyfriend and she could come and move into our house so that they could save money and get an apartment together. in july her boyfriend attempted suicide and was hospitalized and then sent to rehab. erin's heroin use skyrocketed at that time. in september we caught erin and her friends in our house about to shoot up together, but we intervened. erin agreed that she needed help and she started methadone at a methadone clinic. you have methadone and suboxin. she started the methadone clinic. in october of 2015 one of her friends that was in our house in september overdosed and died at her grandmother's house. erin started to abuse again. by christmas she had no new job and no money to pay for
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methadone. she was going downhill fast. on january 2, it 2015, she called me to ask me to get her. my husband and i found her and told her she must go to the hospital as we were not prepared to help her go through withdrawal. we didn't have the ability or the knowledge to do it. she fought with us and didn't want to go. as we drove closer to the hospital and stopped for a light, she jumped out of our moving vehicle and proceeded to walk away from us. we had to walk her into the hospital and commit her. after the hospital went through her belongings she was civilly committed for a minimum of 72 hours. erin went through withdrawal and was clean for about two weeks but wouldn't consider going to a rehab place because she wouldn't want to leave her friends. she has relapsed and i have tried to talk to her, but she is not ready for rehab. it breaks my heart to see my baby girl now. it has affected our entire
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family. her brother wants nothing to do with her and her father and i can only pray that god will look after her and keep her safe from harm. she is living on the streets and in anyone's house that will take her and her friends in for a day or two. my daughter graduated from fine arts magnet school, was accepted to savannah college of art and design, and erin is smart. she's beautiful and very capable when she is clean. i really don't even recognize my little girl on drugs now. something must be done. thank you for listening. these are people probably three or four years ago, mr. president, wouldn't have wrote these letters to us. they're desperate. they need help. they're willing to put their names to it. they want to put a face to this epidemic. they really do. let me tell you the problem we have, mr. president. we do not have, you do not have in georgia, we do not have in west virginia, we don't have treatment centers. when people are begging for help, there's no place to send them. we've got day courts now and drug courts but there's really
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no treatment center. and then they've got a felony on their record, and i'm not talking those with violent crimes. i'm not talking those sexual crimes. i'm talking basically larceny, grand larceny. they get a felony. if we do get them clean, they can't get a job with that felony. so there are some things we have to do. let me tell you what we can do. the first thing that we can do is on the treatment centers. think about this. we have a fee on cigarettes. we know cigarettes are dangerous for you. they've proven cigarettes are addictive and dangerous for your health, and you pay a fee, a tax, when you buy cigarettes. and in most of the states, they use those taxes to go back to health, to their health clinics. you buy alcohol, we know alcohol is dangerous. alcohol, you shouldn't drink. but we partake in it and they charge a tax. we have no way of funding or supporting the treatment centers. so i'm going to propose and ask
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all of my colleagues, we're looking and working on this every day. there should be a one penny per milligram, just one penny per milligram of every opiate produced by manufacturers paid into a treatment fee. strictly cannot be used for anything except treatment centers throughout the united states of america to help the people that need help. we should also consider how do we get people back into productive lifestyle. if they go through and approve treatment center, program, that's one year, let's say they go into a mentoring to where not only they become clean themselves, they're mentoring now for another year to help people become clean. they don't have a violent crime against them. they don't have a sexual crime against them. but they have a crime of larceny. should that person not be considered basically from their good standings of finishing a one-year rehabilitation program which they passed with flying colors and they're clean and
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another year they committed their lives to at least giving back and trying to help other people through mentoring, and then be considered to have that basically expunged from their record as a felony so they can get back into the workforce? if not, we're losing a whole generation of quality workers. these are all bright, smart people that can do something and contribute back to the economy. every week i'm going to be coming down here. i'm going to make sure that the people of america know you're not alone. we hear you. and we're going to do something. mr. president, i thank you for listening, and i notice the absence of a quorum, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call: mr. inhofe: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call in progress be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, and i ask unanimous consent i be considered -- recognized as if in morning business for up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: all right. as secretary of state john kerry
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prepares to sign the united states on to the paris climate agreement on the 22nd -- that's earth day. that's going to be two days from now. there are lessons from the past international climate agreements, the kyoto protocol, namely, that would be remiss if we ignored. let's keep in mind the meeting that they had was the 21st annual meeting. this is the big united nations meeting. this is when they all come in and they try to get 196 countries to come in and have mandatory emissions reductions. and it hasn't worked in 21 years. it didn't work this year either. so it's kind of embarrassing, the situation they're facing now. this is called the paris agreement. what it is, it's just a political stunt for the president to do what president clinton couldn't do with the kyoto protocol, and that was way back in 1997.
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in 1997, the united nations framework convention on climate adopted the kyoto protocol, which is -- set forth binding timtimetables for greenhouse gas emissions for developed countries, countries like us here in the united states, european union countries. meanwhile, developing countries like china and india and brazil got a free pass. the kyoto protocol exempted 80% of the world from greenhouse gas emission reductions. that's way back in 1997. now, i could talk extensively how it was known there that without developing countries like -- that kyoto would produce no meaningful reductions. what's most important now in advance of the paris agreement signing -- that's going to be two days from now -- is holding
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the obama administration accountable to the lessons learned from the fallout of kyoto. let's not forget that the kyoto protocol, which was a legally binding treaty, as topped what they talk about -- as opposed to what they talk about now in the paris treaty, which is all voluntary -- it was signed by the clinton administration in 1998 but was never submitted to the senate for ratification. this is because the senate had already -- they knew that they weren't going to ratify it, way back in -- about that time, about 1997. we had the byrd-hagel resolution. now, what it said was if you come back from kyoto with a product that does one ever two things, we won't ratify it. this thing was passed 95-0 right here in this chamber. and, of course, the two things were if you come back with something that is going to be
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treating developed countries different than developing kurntion we won't -- countries, we won't ratify. or if you come back with something that is a financial burden or hardship on us, then we won't sign it. so they knew when they came back, it wasn't going to be signed. 95-0. not one senator would have voted to ratify t now, ultimately the 36 developed countries who are legally bound to its greenhouse gas targets and 17 of them have failed to meet the targets. some countries joining kyoto, like iceland, had targets that actually granted increases in greenhouse gas emissions while others like russia had a target of zero, and that required them to do nothing. the same thing is true for russia today with the paris agreement. russia pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% but made their promise based off emission
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levels from 1990, not the current emission levels today. so they could actually increase their emissions and still complecomply-- comply with theit they made it. i remember this from raoul the other meet -- from all the other meet, russia is sitting back there without any development out there in siberia and hughes that as land -- and use that as land without any emissions. i had occasion many years to fly a small cessna airplane around the world. i was emulating the trip, widely proposed as the aviator from oklahoma. he was the one flying the airplane when will rogers was killed. i never forget going all the way from moscow to provodania across siberia. there is etime zone after sometime zone -- there's time
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zone after time zone after time zone. no roads, nothing down there. that's land they were using, that russia has been using to make their -- to give them the stlang they have. oh, including japan, the host country for the signing of the kyoto, significantly missed its greenhouse gas reduction targets and instead they increased -- here is the host country and they increased their emissions. there were warning signs countries would fail to meet the kyoto targets. for example, in 2005, the year kyoto went into force, as then-chairman of the e.p.w. committee -- that was me; i held hearings on kyoto where i questioned then the united states senior climate change negotiator -- his name was harlan watson -- about the
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u. countries meeting their -- about the e.u. countries meeting their targets. watson testified at the time, only two of the e.u. countries were on track to meet their targets. they all had targets but only two countries had them. another witness, dr. margo this morning of the american council for capital formation, told the committee that was having the hearing, our committee, that the european union "the policy-makers are beginning to worry about the additional steps required to meet the targets. we now know that they are right. the e.u., one of the staunchest advocates for the greenhouse gas emissions can cuts barely reached half of its required targets under kyoto." now, if developed countries like those in the european union have ignored legally binding greenhouse gas emission targets
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in kyoto, it's highly unlikely that they would -- that they would not meet the voluntary reductions that are in the paris agreement. now, within the e.u., some individual countries such as poland have already shown fierce opposition to the paris agreement, due to the fact that they are reliant upon coal power for them to run their country. there has also been vigorous debat--debate over e.u. reducti. everybody is tired of it. some have said paris is different because developing countries like china agreed to the greenhouse gas targets. however, as is normally the case, you got to read a little bit closer. china's climate change commitment to peak their emissions by 2030 is business as usual. they signed on.
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they are a developing country. but what did they sign? they signed -- they said, we agree we're going to go ahead and increase our emissions until 2030. then we'll reconsider. after making their pledge, "the new york times" uncovered that china dramatically underreported the amount of coal it burns per year, burning 17% more than what china had previously reported during its climate talks. just last month the london school of economics and political science researcher found that it is possible that chinese emissions have already peaked. it's no wonder when a country is bringing online a new coal-powered power plant every ten days. here's a country out there -- and we keep hearing from all of our do-good friends, just give china a chance, they're going to follow our leadership. yeah, they're going to follow our leadership, all right. they're anxious for us to come up with reductions as we chase
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the manufacturing base to someplace like china. they would be the recipient of that. just think, there is a country that is actually putting online a new coal-fired plant every ten days. now, why would china bother putting forth such a commitment and why would the obama administration promote it as historic? well, first, it is in the interest of china to ensure this commitment is ratified because it makes it more difficult for the united states and european union to get out of economically damaging regulations. that's what i meant. they could end up in china -- our manufacturing base. second, it's in the interest of president obama to sign this agreement since his own legacy hinges on its ratification. for the agreement to come into force, 55 countries representing at least 55% emissions are going to have to sign. and we've seen this before. think back to kyoto.
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clinton did not have the support of the senate. yet clinton delegated his united states ambassador to sign it. that's exactly what's happening today. clinton doesn't want -- or, president obama doesn't want to go down there because president obama is fully familiar with the fact that they can't reach their targets, and besides that, we have the united states supreme court stepping in saying they can't do it. so the obama administration should take note of this. history does repeat itself. if kerry signs the paris agreement, which he will, it will be an act in defiance of lessons from the past and in defiance of the best interests of the american people. all while achieving no meaningful impact on global temperatures. just like kyoto, countries will not comply. here at home the president needs to -- means to force the united
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states to reduce greenhouse gas gases through 2025. primarily through what he calls his power plan, which is likely to get struck by the courts and its implementation has already been blocked by the united states supreme court. so we've got a situation where we have 27 countries that have filed lawsuits against the plan and we actually had someone from bother the chamber of commerce -- national chamber of commerce and the sierra club before our committee just a few weeks ago, and they're saying, well, there's no way in the world that you can have this kind of a reduction. so it's dead in the water anyway. i mean, 40% -- it's going to go business as usual. only 15% could have an effect from the power plant -- the power plan, and then the rest of them, 45%, are not only in the middle of t and besides that, the supreme court has now said that they -- until all the litigation is cleared up that
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nothing is going to happen. and so they've intervened in that as well as the wotus regulation, which is very significant. that's the waters of the united states. so it's not going to havment they're going to have -- so it's not going to havment they're --t going to happen. they are a going to have their party there. let me say that i really hope that all 196 of the countries send their representatives to new york because i'd love to have them get to know america, travel around, spend their money, go down historic highway 66 that goes through my state of oklahoma, and they'll have a wonderful time while they're here. but they might as well skip the new york part. i see my good friend from indiana is here. with that, i will yield the floor. mr. donnelly: i thank my friend from oklahoma, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. donnelly: mr. president,
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for more than a month, many of my colleagues and i have come to this floor to talk about our responsibility as senators to do our job and to consider the president's supreme court nominee. merrick garland. that's right, here in one of the world's greatest deliberative bodies, where we have debated war and peace, civil rights, the right of women to vote, we're now engaged in a debate about whether or not the senate should carry out one of its most basic constitutional responsibilities. even more troubling than the refusal of some senators to even consider the supreme court nominee is that this is one in a series of failures over the past year. it's not an isolated incident. it's a pattern. back home in indiana, our priorities are clear. we want good jobs and safe
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communities. hoosiers are asking important questions of their elected officials. such as what is the senate doing to strengthen our economy? what are we doing to keep americans safe? today i want to talk about two additional simple things that the senate can do to strengthen our economy and to keep our country safe. both have strong bipartisan support already. we just have to do our job. the first relates to the export-import bank. last december after months of negotiations and a five-month lapse, congress agreed with bipartisan support to reauthorize the export-import bank. the official export credit agency of the united states of america that helps american
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companies, including small businesses from my home state and from everyone else's, compete in the global economy. it doesn't get more common sense than approving an agency whose sole purpose, sole purpose, is to help create more american jobs at no cost to taxpayers. in fact, in 2014, the banks supported $27.5 billion in u.s. exports and more than 164,000 american jobs. in return, return, over $675 million to the u.s. treasury. the bank creates jobs, reduces the deficit, and spurs economic growth. it's a win-win-win. yet despite bipartisan approval last december, senate inaction
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continues to hamstring the bank that keeps it from fully functioning. you see, in order to improve certain financing -- approve certain financing the bank needs a minimum of three senate-approved board members. today we have only two. that's because board nominee mark mcwatters, a republican, has been stuck in the senate banking committee for more than three months. at a time when american companies are struggling to compete in an economy that is often rigged by other countries manipulating their currency, intellectual theft, there are a few members of this body who are intent on obstructing this important economic tool by refusing to consider mr. mcwatters nomination in order to advance an extreme
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ideological agenda. so here we are again, willfully allowing an important tool for economic growth to sit idle simply because some in the senate refuse to do their jobs. while most americans find it hard to believe we can't agree on something as commonsense as supporting the american economy, perhaps more troubling is the refusal to confirm an official to lead our nation's efforts to combat terrorist financing around the world. mr. adam szubin. adam szubin is the nominee to be treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes. his job is to identify and to disrupt the lines of financial support to international
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terrorist organizations, to proliferators of weapons of mass destruction, narcotics traffickers and other actors posing a threat to u.s. national security or foreign policy. it's a critical job. and just about anyone you ask will tell you that adam szubin is the guy we want doing this job. he has helped shape and enforce u.s. sanctions against our adversaries for nearly a decade under both republican administrations and democratic administrations. he is recognized as a leading expert on terrorism financing and is widely considered one of our nation's best tools in taking the financial footing out from under terrorist groups like isis and al qaeda and countering
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adversaries like iran, north korea, and increasingly russia. today marks one year since mr. szubin was nominated. an entire year. for one full year our country has worked to combat terrorist financing and enforce and expand sanctions against key adversaries without a confirmed official to lead the charge. at a time when our sanctions regimes are critical to countering iran's ballistic missile program, north korea's nuclear weapons development, and russia's renewed aggression, at a time when u.s. military personnel are serving in harm's way in locations around the world combatting isis and al qaeda and their affiliates, the united states senate is
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undermining the ability of one of our nation's top counterterrorism officials to do his job. by failing to act on the nomination of mr. szubin, who people on both sides of the aisle agree is the perfect person for the job, we're undermining his credibility with the very countries we need on our side to effect these sanctions and to cut off funding flows to terrorists. the memorial expect us to -- the american people expect us to use every single resource, every single resource we have to keep our nation safe. yet when it comes to putting our strongest team on the field to fight back and to cut off terrorist financing, some in this body continue to put politics ahead of our national security. why has mr. szubin not yet been confirmed as the under secretary
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for terrorism and financial crimes? simply put, the senate refuses to do their job. to have a vote. mr. president, i understand it's an election year and there is much discussion in washington about what is good political strategy for the different parties. while the timing may be inconvenient for some, i will remind my colleagues that every day outside of washington, law enforcement officers among many others rely on a fully functioning supreme court for the legal guidance that serves as the basis of our founding promise of liberty and justice for all. i remind my colleagues that every day across our country millions of hardworking men and women go to work to support their families, many of whom rely on jobs supported by the export-import bank, and every
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day across the globe our service men and women put their lives on the line to protect our country from terrorists and from foreign nations intent on doing us harm. many of those terrorists and foreign nations are targets of the crippling sanctions the u.s. treasury implements and enforces to help keep americans safe. and stkaepl szubin is leading -- and adam szubin is leading that team. these men and women who go to work to support their families, the law enforcement officers who protect our communities and the service men and women who fight for our great country every single day don't stop doing their jobs because it's an election year, don't pass on confirmations because it's inconvenient timing. i said it before and i will say it again, most americans believe congress can do something to help move our country forward.
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at the very least, we should do no harm. we're falling short of this moment basic standard, but we can change that right now by simply doing our job. by considering merrick garland's nomination to the supreme court, by doing our job to support the economy, by considering the nomination of mark mcwatters to sit on the board of the export-import bank, and by doing our job to support our troops and protect our country, by considering the nomination of adam szubin to be under secretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial crimes. this should be the very least that we do, and we need to do it now. mr. president, let's follow the examples of those who elected
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us, who roll up their sleeves every day and go to work. it's time for us to roll up our sleeves and to go to work and to do our job. mr. president, i yield back. mrs. feinstein: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: thank you. i just want to compliment the senator from indiana on the remarks he has just made and thank him very much. i also want to urge members please bring amendments to the floor to the energy and water appropriations bill. we hope to finish this bill and the only way we're going to do it is if members bring and file
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their amendments. so thank you very much, mr. president.
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the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: we're not in a quorum call.
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mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: mr. president, one year ago today the president nominated adam szubin to serve as under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes at the treasury department. mr. szubin's nomination was pending in the banking committee for more than 11 months before we finally acted on it. so far in this congress -- not this session, but the entire congress, the senate has not acted on a single nominee from the banking committee, even those who play critical national security roles like mr. szubin. we've not even acted yet on certain nominees eligible for expedited consideration by the full senate. in the past the senate acted on these privileged nominees -- quote unquote privileged nominees -- as a routine matter. the hardworking people of ohio, arkansas and georgia expect the senate to do its job. part of our job is giving the
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president's nominees fair and respectful and timely consideration. unfortunately, the unprecedented partisan obstruction we've seen over judge merrick garland's nomination to the supreme court has been a fact of life longer than that at the banking committee. the under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes is one of the most important national security posts in our government. mr. szubin disiewp serves in an acting capacity. besides bipartisan, his evidence by the vote out of committee and as evidenced by his initial appointment to the executive branch by president bush, his nomination has languished for a year, a full year because of one thing, republican obstruction. allow thg proven leader -- allowing this proven leader to remain unconfirmed weakens his position and undermines american influence in our efforts to track terrorists and stop them from raising money on the black market or elsewhere. the mission of


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