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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  December 5, 2016 3:00pm-8:01pm EST

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>> [inaudible conversations] we are excited to have dr. carson as our intended nominee for housing and urban development. we're looking forward to another very productive week in the transition that is sending a historic base. and i'll be spinning some time in new york this week, spending some time here at the trump tower but i think the american people are rightfully encouraged and impressed at the speed and decisiveness our president-elect is bringing to assembling a government that will make america great again. thank you all. [inaudible] >> the senate is coming in shortly working on a medical research built includes funding for national institutes of health, and vice president biden's cancer been shot initiative. a vote to advance the bill at 530 beauties turn and vice
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president biden will be presiding over that vote. live to the senate floor here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. heavenly father, help us today to become people whose lives will be productive for your glory. forgive us when we come short of your will for us and for our nation. lord, show our lawmakers how to do things your way, embracing your precepts and walking in your
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path. remind them that the narrow and difficult road often leads to life and abundant joy. as you teach them to live abundantly, replace their anxiety with calm, their confusion with clarity, and their doubts with faith. may your heavenly peace, which transcends human understanding, guard their hearts and minds today and always. we pray in your holy name. amen. the president pro tempore: plee join me in pledging allegiance to our beloved flag.
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i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senate majority leader. mr. mcconnell: last week the senate passed the 21st century cures innovation bill. now it is time for to move this forward to the president's desk for his signature. it is one of the most important bills we'll pass this year. it's not hard to see why. it will encourage investment in
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biomedical research to help deliver treatments and cures to patients, it will cut their red tape and burdensome regulations while also protecting safety, and it will build upon progress to support regenerative medicine and other innovative therapies. cures also includes provisions to strengthen men it will health programs and provide much-needed resources to help combat the opioid epidemic. it's legislation that can have an act on each of our states and on each of our constituents. later today senators will take the next stp in advancing 21st century cures. with continuing cooperation, we can pass this bipartisan bill very soon. the cures legislation is just one key area where the senate has been working to complete its work before the holidays. negotiations are on-going on the continuing resolution, which we'll consider later this week. this week we will also pass the defense authorization conference report and work continues to
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finalize other out standing conference reports including water resources development bill, the so-called wrda bill, and the energy policy modernization bism as these efforts continue, i want to thank all those who have been working around the clock to reach a conclusion on these important issues. so we're going to have a busy week ahead. let's keep working together to get it done. i see the senator from tennessee on the floor. i particularly want to commend him for his outstanding work on the cures bill. you've had two major accomplishments this congress -- the rewrite of no child left behind last year and now this medical innovation bill -- and i just want to commenddditional vea more to say about that later, but i want to commend the senator from tennessee for his outstanding work on this important bill. now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the committee on banking, housing, and urban
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affairs be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 5602 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 5602, an act to amend the united states code and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the subcommittee discharged. the senate proceeds to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the shelby-brown substitute amendment be agreed to, the bill be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: is there objection? mc-- the presiding officer: without objection. hearing no further debate, all those in favor say aye. those opposed? the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill, as amend is passed. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration
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of the following calendar numbers en bloc: 675-783. -- 638. dr 68 3w. officer snrer objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the calendar numbers be considered read en bloc and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table all en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the committee on armed services be discharged from further kings of s. 3336 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 3336, bail to provide arsenal installation reutilization authority. the presiding officer: is there snooks -- objection? the senate will advance to the measure. mr. mcconnell: ask unanimous consent that the earns amendment being agreed to, the bill be considered a read a third time and passed. the presiding officer: is?
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without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the chair lay before the senate the conference report accompanying s. 2943. the presiding officer: the chair lays before the senate the following message. the clerk: conference retire to accompany 2943, the committee on conference on the greeing votes phs two hots on the amendment of house to the bill 1*z 2943 to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2017 for military activities and so forth and for other purposes having met have agreed that the senate proceed from its disagreement to the amendment of the house and agree to the same with an amendment and the house agree to the same signinged by a majority of the conferees on part of both houses. mr. mcconnell: send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion for cloture. the clerk: cloture motion: motion cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules
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of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the conference report to accompany is $2943, the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2017 signed by 16 senators -- mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that the reading of the names be waived. officer sph without objection. the clerkcleric. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the mandatory quorum call be waived. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the democratic leader. mr. reid: before i give me remarks on blain, i want to say a brief word about senator alexander, the senior senator from tennessee. during my time in congress, he is one of the most pleasant people i've dealt w he's always very thorough in whatever he wants to talk to about, and i found him to be a remarkably good senator. he has a background that's stunningly important, longtime
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governor of the state of tennessee, someone who has served in one of the republican administrations as secretary of education and on this cures bill, this cures bill is not everything i would like it to be. i think it is too weak in some parts. i think that we could have done better. but i'm -- i've been around a long time and i understand that's what legislation is all about. we've been trying for a couple years now to get money for opioids. there should be far more and it should be give nona different way than we have it here. but it's money. and we have people as we are sitting around here for a few minutes today dying as a result of this the scourge that's sweeping america. it's in oklahoma, it's in tennessee, it's in places like new hampshire, it's all over. and so that part of it is excellent p. i think the resources we give to
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the national institutes of health, there's not enough we can do. i would hope there would be much more. i'm happy to report that this is the beginning of a moonshot that senator biden will lead in research to defeat cancer. it can be done. we've made tremendous progress. and we're making it on a monthly basis now. so there are a lot of good things in this legislation. one of the things that the senior senator from tennessee and i have spoken about is clinical trials. sometimes you don't understand the importance of those until they could personally affect you. and with the injury i suffered a couple years ago, almost two years ago, i'm hopeful that in my lifetime there will be something done to be able to take care of ret -- retinas thae damaged. we have a lot of retinas that
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are damaged, as a result of diabetes and other maladies. but not a lot has been done on injuries to retinas. but there's work being done on that now. i had a good meeting on disait with one of the foremost people in the world dealing with retinas, dr. bresler of johns hop kifnlts and they're doing some stuff. they're doing some stem cell work, some transplants. and on a very personal basis, senator alexander came and talked -- excuse me, came and talked to me one evening. he asked if i had time. of course i always have time for any senator that wants to see me. he came to me with tears in his eyes to talk to me about people who have damaged their eyes. how work there is done for these people who once couldn't see, as
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were biblical passages, can now see. and it was a really wonderful meeting. and i had the good opportunity to meet one individual that he introduced me to by the name of doug oliver who was basically blind because of work done with stem cells, he can now see. he's off disability. he can drive a car now. he can do -- he can read now. he couldn't do that before. so i appreciate senator alexander's good work 0en this -- on this legislation. it perhaps could have passed without hirnlings but i doubt it. i admire his legislative skills and i hope with the new congress coming that he will pull even those skills that he doesn't have now out of his back pocket and do even more. there's a lot more that needs to be done in the new congress. so i express my public admiration to the senior senator from tennessee for the good work that he's done, for his state
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and the country for many, many decade. mr. president, in the bitter cold of north dakota -- and oh, it can be cold up there -- yesterday there was a celebration at standing rock. why? along the banks of this missouri river in this heavy snow, there were hugs and tears of joy and drumming and dancing as the people of the standing rock tribe and others heard the good news: the army corps of engineers did not -- did not -- approve the easement for the dakota access oil pipeline. instead, the corps of engineers determined that the pipeline must be rerouted. and i'm so glad. that's so important. this is a victory for the standing rock sioux. mr. president, we know the long history that native americans have in your state. we know around the country -- i have 26 separate indian entities in nevada. oh, they've been treated so
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poorly. but mef is no different than -- but nevada is no different than any other state. pushed out of their lands that they dwelled on for -- before we showed up, we white folks here in america. but they've been pushed around. so when the standing rock people heard this good news that the corps of engineers had finally be given them at least some small victory, it was really exciting for them. this is a victory for them. they have been objecting to this construction for more than two years. the tribe was concerned about a number of issues, not the least of which was our -- their ancestral grounds, some of which land has their ancestors buried there. they were afraid of water contamination and other problems. in a statement to the press, the chairman of the standing rock sioux tribe said, and i quote -- "we wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost
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gratitude the courage it took on the part of president obama, the army corps, the department of justice and the department of the interior to take steps to correct the course of history and do the right thing. the standing rock sioux tribe and all indian country will be forever grateful to the obama administration for this historic decision." close quote. mr. president, indians have taken one loss after another. one loss after another. rarely are there victories for the indians. i agree with the chairman of the tribe. this is a historic decision. it was a monumental step, momentous step toward correcting the course of a disgrateful history -- disgraceful history. as i said last week on the floor, treatment of the standing rock sioux by our government has been shameful. for more than a century, sioux were pushed to reservations first. when i say reservations, plural.
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but even that land was taken, most of it. and then massive dams were built. put the tribes' best land under water. the result of these actions was a crippling poverty that plagued the tribe for generations, even this generation. this mistreatment was not unique, as i've indicated, to standing rock. indeed, there are tribes all across the nation with very similar histories. we have them in nevada. yesterday's decision will not make up for the past, but the president's action was a huge step to rectify a terrible wrong. money, profits and not human dignity was the direction of the pipeline. the obama administration changed that. for far too long, the pleas for justice for native americans went unanswered. at least now on this occasion, standing rock sioux and native americans throughout this country know that someone is
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listening and their concerns are being addressed by the united states government. i admire the support of those who locked arms with the standing rock sioux. appropriately enough, these people called themselves water protectors, native americans from all over america. politicians from all over america, entertainers from all over america and other celebrities are some of the water protectors, and we must recognize the more than 2,000 veterans who traveled to standing rock from across america to protect the protesters from violence. mr. president, it's also important to note that speech after speech, demonstration after demonstration was peaceful, and all the leaders of this demonstration said that time after time after time, that it would be peaceful, and it has been. the only aggression has not been
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from indians but it's from those people who were pushing the pipeline. it's no surprise that many of these veterans are native americans because american indians serve in our nation's armed forces in greater numbers per capita than any other ethnic group. going back to world war ii, of course, the great ira hayes who was made famous by johnny cash. they have a long history, serving all of our wars and stepping forward. i'm gratified at the strength of the standing rock sioux. their ancestral burial grounds remain protected and their water clean. i thank president obama, his administration and the army corps of engineers for their action. the petition took a long time. it was a culmination of months and months of analysis and deliberation. i appreciate the conclusion reached. but everyone should know that this fight isn't over. we know from long experience how
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decisionmakers keel over for fossil fuel interests. we must remain vigilant. my only hope is that the trump administration will not undo the justice that native americans have finally received. all must support the standing rock sioux and help them protect the history of their land and their water. i would just as one aside, mr. president. many, many decades ago, i was lieutenant governor of the state of nevada, and we had our lieutenant governor's conference in oklahoma. it was a wonderful week that we spent in oklahoma. and one of the highlights of that trip was an education that i received one night of a -- and i assume it's still going on, i don't know, but at a wonderful pageant that took place. i believe it was a place called talquah, i believe that was the
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place, where they in such detail and such magazine magazine negative cans described how oklahoma has so many indians. a wonderful story. i was very impressed with the native americans that i met and have met since that time in oklahoma. and a memento i was given there in oklahoma -- frankly, someone stole it from me, but it was each one of us, each lieutenant governor was given a little painting by a famous oklahoman at the time, at least. his name was tiger. i don't know what his real name was, but he was a famous artist. it was a beautiful indian scene that he had painted. we all got one. it was an original. i'm sorry that someone took it out of my office. but i have fond memories of that convention in oklahoma where i learned so much about the people of oklahoma and, you know, we -- some of us in the west had --
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have and have had over the years kind of a negative impression of oklahoma. you know, the oakies coming to california and all these uneducated people causing trouble, but it was a wonderful trip to oklahoma. and i have been terribly impressed, have always been impressed with the people of oklahoma. and just a little aside here. i've had some good fortune at being able to legislate things here in washington. one of the things that can be looked at as good or bad -- and maybe i won't get a lot of pats on the back for this with the new administration, but a senator from oklahoma and i did some really good work. the congressional review act was
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reed-nichols legislation. that was hard to do. what it basically said was if there is a regulation promulgated by an administration, we as a congress have an opportunity to look it over, to define it, determine if, in fact, we have the ability with enough votes to overturn that regulation. so again, mr. president, as the presiding officer is from oklahoma, i want you to understand of my affection for the state of oklahoma and the people from oklahoma. i have had some difficult tussles with people from oklahoma over the years. no more better example of that is dr. coburn. but having said that, i have never found more of a gentleman than dr. coburn, even though we disagreed on some policy issues, he was always a gentleman, and i have appreciated the things i learned from him. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the house message to accompany h.r. 34, which the clerk will report. the clerk: house message to accompany h.r. 34, an act to authorize and strengthen the tsunami detection forecast warning research and mitigation program of the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, and for other purposes. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i ask that my remarks be placed in the appropriate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: mr. president, i rise today to pay tribute to jim lyons, long-time staffer on capitol hill, my staffer, and a fixture in the policy world here in d.c. who passed away on september 29 of this year. james chancell lyons was born on march 7, 1973 to steven and ann lyons, both natives of the d.c.-virginia area with
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long-standing ties to the local communities. growing up in springfield, virginia, jim was an accomplished athlete, excelling in both baseball and basketball. long before sports fans in the d.c. area, his favorite football team was the dallas cowboys, a decision he made consciously because his older brother steven was a big redskin fan. jim was also a great student, eventually graduating suma cum laude from james madison university. he went to law school from the university of texas where he made the educating committee of the text journal of law and won a scholarship for being the best tax law student in his class after pulling the top grade in his business association's income tax, international tax, corporate tax, estate and gift tax classes. after law school, he earned a clerkship at the fifth circuit court of appeals and then got a job working for cleary-gottlieb,
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one of the finest law firms in the country. of course, you would never guess any of this if you knew jim. while he was always an incredibly valuable and often brilliant attorney and congressional staffer, he talked about his college and law school days as though he spent most of his time having fun and just barely skating by. that, of course, was vintage jim lyons. incredibly outgoing, but unbelievably humble. jim could have a long conversation with anyone about pretty much anything, but he was never one to spend all that much time touting his own accomplishments. make no mistake -- jim lyons was very accomplished. after his accomplished in and at the law firm in new york, jim made his way to the house ways and means committee, and following a brief, subsequent and successful stint at the department of justice, he was hired by chairman chuck grassley
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to serve as tax counsel on the senate finance committee. in his eight years on the finance committee, he made a mark on every major tax bill, not to mention a number of debt and budget deals that went through the senate, including many tax extenders bills, some of which he seemed to be able to cobble together single-handedly. jim was smart as a whip. he was a tremendously valuable congressional staffer because he had both a remarkable understanding of tax policy and an uncanny ability to see all the traps and pitfalls that stood ahead for any particular proposal or piece of legislation. he had anen cyclopeedic knowledge of the technical -- an encyclopedic knowledge of the technical aspects of the tax code as well as a clear understanding of the real-world implications. he could see where a particular tax policy or bill would fit in the larger policy, and when nasa
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political landscape. jim was one of those people who could go into the weeds to discuss debate or negotiate tax policy literally with anyone on the planet, but also boil that same policy down to its essential elements and explain it to lesser more tallies, including, i have to say, more than a few of us united states senators. of course, like all of us, jim had his own ideological views and opinions, and he made no secret about the way he saw the world and his beliefs about the best path forward for our country. when necessary, he was a fierce advocate for his own views, but more importantly for someone in his position, he was able, when necessary, to dispassionately apply his accrued knowledge and expertise to any tax proposal, whether it came from crforts or liberal or republican or democrat, and then break it down to its essence and give a clear
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and concise assessment of the policy and its chances for being enacted. all of this made him an essential and indispensable part of our efforts on the senate finance committee for close to a decade. as i think of all my colleagues -- as i think all of my colleagues will attest, staffers with that kind of knowledge and ability to evaluate policy and lay out its chances for success really can be hard to come by. however, in the weeks since jim's passing, it hasn't been his accomplishments or his knowledge of the tax code that people have most remembered. instead, most of the focus has been on his friendly misdemeanor, his mischievous sense of humor and most of all his kind heart. dozens of jim's friends and colleagues visited jim and his family in the hospital during his final days, and during the october recess, hundreds attended a memorial service held
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here in the capitol. each one of these people had at least one personal story to share about jim. surely, some of the stories did touch on his successes as a staffer and his professional disposition, but far more often the stories were about jim's kindness, even to straings, or his ability to make people feel at ease and sometimes laugh uncontrollably in even the tense st situations. jim was quick to provide a much-needed laugh when things got very tough. he is one of very few people i've come across on capitol hile been here awhile -- who will be remembered more or less equally for the bills he successfully drafted and negotiated. i'll end for the way he cracked everyone up at the negotiating table. i think my favorite story that i've heard about jim came from his mother, ann.
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in 2003, jim was living in new york city when much of that part of the country suffered a massive blackout. it's difficult to be in a place like new york without power, and jim noticed many people on his way home who were stranded and in need of assistance. rather than look down at the ground and head quickly for home, as many would probably want to do in that situation, jim offered help to a dozen or so people, bringing them all home to his apartment giving them both food and space to ride out the power outage. most of these people were strangers, yet cim -- jim ever the kind soul offered his time and his home to help them through a difficult evening. i ask unanimous consent that a copy of pages 14 and 15 from the august 2003 edition of clear
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bonus, a newsletter from the law firm where jim worked at the time, be included in the record following my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: the article tells the story of jim's efforts during the power blackout. these are the types of stories that have been shared since jim's passing and i know these memories and stories from people who knew and worked from jim have been helpful to his family during this difficult time. when i hear these accounts of people's interactions with jim, i'm reminded of a popular hymn in my church which reads, "each life that touches ours for good reflects thine own great mercy, lord. now send this blessing from above through words and deeds of those who love. what greater gift does thou bestow? what greater goodness can we know? than christ-like friends whose
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gentle ways strengthen our faith, enrich our days. and when such a friend from us departs, we hold forever in our hearts a sweet and hallowed memory. bring us nearer, lord." jim lyons led a life that touched others for the better. his positive influence has been felt by many people. i miss jim's stalwart presence on the finance committee. i miss his wise and plain spoken advice and unequaled knowledge of tax policy. more than that, i miss the kind and humorous manner that endeared jim to so many of us working in and around the senate. there's a simple quote, an anonymous proverb of sorts that has often been attributed to dr. seuss. though its origin is ultimately in dispute that quote is -- quote -- "don't cry because it's over.
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smile because it happened." unquote. over the past couple of months, i think that as the prevailing sentiment among those of us who have been lucky enough to know jim lyons. while tears have been shed the remembrances we have of jim's life and our interactions with him have given all of us reason it to smile and even laugh. i want to once again express my condolences to jim's family, his parents steven and ann, ris brother steve, his nephews tyler and blake and of course his beloved dog buddy. recently i had the opportunity to spend time with and get to know jim's wonderful family. they are truly extraordinary people, and my prayers continue to go out to them. and i know i'm not alone in that regard. i care for them. everybody who knew jim and has now known them cares for them.
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our sympathy and our heartfelt thanks go out to them for allowing their son to become the great person that he really has become, and of course allowing him to come and work with us on capitol hill. now, mr. president, i would like to turn briefly to another solemn matter. i rise today, december 5, 2016, in commemoration of the 89th birthday of the late king pumathon aduulayday of taiwan and in recognition of the national day of thailand in remembrance of the extraordinary life, steady leadership and remarkable 70-year reign of the beloved king.
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i introduce senate concurrent resolution 57 along with represent matt salmon in the house. that particular resolution honors the late king's lasting legacy, extends our collective condolences to the royal family and the people of thailand and celebrates the alliance and friendship between our two nations. i would like to thank the cosponsors of this resolution, senators whitehouse, roberts, markey, flake, cotton and gardner. additionally i express appreciation to senator bob corker in receiving timely bipartisan effort in the senate foreign relations committee. his imagine it city, king bhumibol enjoyed a special relationship with the united states having been born in
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cambridge, massachusetts, in 1927 while his father was completing medical studies in harvard university. he was always a trusted friend of the united states in advancing a strong and enduring alliance and partnership between our two countries. at the time of his death on october 13, 2016, king bhumibol was the longest-serving head of state in the world and the longest serving in the history of thailand. he dedicated his life to the well-being of the thai people and the sustainable development of his country. his majesty was an anchor of peace and stability for thailand and for the region earning him the deep reverence of the thai people and the respect of leaders around the world. i hope my colleagues will join me tomorrow in passing senate concurrent resolution 57 as a
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gesture of respect and appreciation for the life of this great leader and as a symbol of our continual commitment to and friendship with thailand. additionally, i'm sure my colleagues in the senate will join me in offering our warmest congratulations and best wishes to the new king of thailand, his majesty, king maha. and the last name is machuralongone. i apologize if i haven't pronounced these names right but i want to pay tribute to the new king. with that, mr. president, i
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yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:. hatch --. mr. hatch: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate passage of h.r. 5602, s. 3326 and calendar
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number 675 through 683. 336. i'm sorry. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. so ordered. mr. hatch: thank you, mr. president. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to end any quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to speak on the senate floor for the last time. i'm not generally big on nostalgic member nighsences, but i would like to reflect briefly on what is clearly the greatest honor of my professional life,
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my 12 years in the u.s. senate and 5 1/2 years in the u.s. house of representatives. the enormous honor of serving the people of louisiana, to whom i will always be so deeply indebted. in someays, w it seems like just yesterday that i was on the floor of the u.s. house being sworn in, surrounded by our very young children, except for jack, that is -- he wasn't born yet. i said then -- quote -- "i am honored, humbled, awe-struck to stand before you today." close quote. and i stated my simple goal: to become at ease and comfortable as i learn the ways of congress, as i hopefully become an effective representative and a respected colleague and friend
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but never to become so at ease and comfortable that i lose these feelings of honor, of humility, of awe." and believe me, i haven't. my very first year in the senate was a very memorable one. that year louisiana was struck by hurricanes katrina and rita. after the initial shock of those cataclysmic events, i realized that my priorities as louisiana's senator for quite sometime would be dominated by the desperate need to rebuild our state, including dramatically improving our hurricane and flood protection and restoring our coastline. katrina's devastation was hard to imagine, destroying much of southeast louisiana and coastal mississippi. then less than one month later, hurricane rita slammed into
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southwest louisiana, as another one of the most intense hurricanes in history. i immediately went to work with senator landrieu and the rest of our louisiana delegation, as well as my good friends thad cochran, trent lott and others to secure the necessary disaster recovery assistance and also to make reforms to the army corps of engineers to better protect our families and communities from future natural disasters. louisiana has continued to face and survive other major disasters, including hurricane goose stove in -- gustav in august and september 2008, hurricane ike in september that have same year, hurricane isaac in 2012, the red river flooding in northern and central louisiana, and the 1,000-year flood event in greater baton rouge and acadiana this past august. as if all of that weren't
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enough, in april 2010, the deepwater horizon oil rig exploded off the coast of louisiana killing 11 men and devastating our coastline. the disaster, followed by the horribly misguided offshore drilling moratorium president obama put in place, caused economic and environmental chaos in louisiana. once again, i immediately went to work with so many others to increase and improve safety measures, to reopen the gulf of mexico to energy exploration and put people back to work. we introduced legislation to dedicate a majority of the b.p. penalties toward restoring coastal ecosystems and economies damaged by the spill. it was an uphill battle to ensure louisiana was fairly compensated, but we did and we achieved substantial wins,
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including passage of that critical restore act that i described. during the recovery fight following each of these disasters, i found that the most effective leadership involved communicating clearly and employing solutions based on louisiana common sense, and what always inspired me -- what kept me going -- was the unbelievable resilience, faith, and determination of my fellow louisianans. their strength and their optimism have been oh, so powerful reminders of how blessed i have been to serve them. on a host of other important issues, i always sought to further two sets of political values, really modeled after my two favorite presidents: ronald reagan and teddy roosevelt.
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i always strove to further the central american tradition of limited government and individual freedom, and i was never afraid to shake things up, to demand needed reforms, to ensure that leaders in washington serve the american people and not the other way around. i've had the honor of protecting louisiana's traditions and proud heritage while here in the senate. louisianans love the outdoors and want strong environmental conservation and sportsman policies to maintain that culture, that certainly includes securing the rights afforded to each american by the second amendment, which i have fought to do. louisianans respect the sanctity of life which has been one of my top priorities while serving in congress. i've introduced many bills that end taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion mills and have proudly stood in the defense of
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life. when it comes to our nation's immigration policies, i have been an advocate for targeted reforms that fix the immigration crisis starting with border security and enforcing the immigration laws already on the books. i've fought president obama's unconstitutional attempts to implement executive amnesty, which only encourages more immigrants to come here illega illegally and insults the millions of fine immigrants who do follow u.s. law. i was also the first to introduce legislation in 2007 to end dangerous sanctuary city policies and have continued to do so each congress since. i've also been critical of too big to fail in the banking sector and have found banking reform to be an area in which republicans can absolutely find common ground with democrats. that's where i found success in
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passing into law specific measures that restrict too big to fail and taxpayer-funded bailouts. also during my time in congress, i've introduced several important government reform bills so we can get back to the best traditions of our democracy, which includes electing citizen legislators, making sure they don't make themselves into a separate ruling class and advocating for term limits so individuals don't remain in office for an eternity. americans of all backgrounds think washington is on a different planet and members of congress just don't get it. that's why i fought to end congress' automatic pay raises each year. i first introduced that language in 2009 and the raises have been successfully blocked each year since. congress can only be an
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effective representative body when it lives under the same laws it imposes on the rest of the country and one major way to support that is through term limits. when i was a member of the louisiana state legislature, i was successful in establishing legislative term limits there, and i've authored the leading term limits measure for congress here as well as imposing it on myself. i fought for commonsense legislation that helps all americans have access to high-quality and affordable health care. that includes the work to dis-management l obamacare -- dismantle obamacare and replace it with patient-centered health care reform, which i'm very hopeful the incoming trump administration will achieve. and, in the meantime, i've been fighting to end washington's exemption from obamacare. an illegal obama administration executive order a louse washington elites to avoid the
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most inconvenient, expensive aspects of the affordable care act by giving themselves taxpayer-subsidized health care through an exchange meant solely for small businesses. also in the hoke arena -- also in the health care arena, i was able to pass the bipartisan steve gleason act of 2015 into law. it provided immediate relief to patients denied access to lifesaving and life-altering medical equipment. it was about a medicare policy change in 2014 that we had to reverse. our bill allowed these patients to have access to medical equipment that truly empowers them, that is a true lifeline, changes their lives absolutely for the better. and i've also fought against large drug manufacturing lobby to allow for reimportation of safe and approved prescription
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medicine from other kurntion which gives -- other countries, which gives patients, especially our seniors, relief from rising health care costs. i've been honored to serve in the senate in additional ways as well, including as a top republican on the environment and public works committee and most recently as chair of the senate committee on small business and entrepreneurship. and i'm very proud to say that we've accomplished so many of our goals in those two roles. on e.p.w. we worked in a bipartisan fashion to pass several major pieces of legislation, including the water resources and development act of 2007 and the even more significant wrda of 2014. several reauthorizations of the highway bill, the bipartisan and historic rewrite of the 40-year-old objectio toxic subss control act, which began as
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conversations between senator frank lautenberg and myself, a partnership which senator tom udall continued after frank's unfortunate passing. we were also able to hold the administration accountable by conducting investigations into some outright corruption within the obama e.p.a., and we advanced key transparence initiatives that shed light on the administration's policies that were not based on sound science or strategic needs. as chair of the small business committee, i've been advocating to make sure the voices and concerns of small business owners across the country are heard in washington. we've held 23 hearings here, 18 field hearings, numerous round table discussions, hearing testimony from over 175 witnesses usually about the
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disastrous negative effects of obama policies like the new waters of the united states rule, key and disastrous effects on small businesses, and job creators and their employees. at the very same time, we found common ground with ranking member shaheen and other democrats on the committee. during my tenure as chair, we've passed 32 bipartisan bills out of the committee, which is 22 more than my predecessors did over a much longer period, and eight of our bills have passed through the entire legislative process and been signed into law. these accomplishments are but a fraction of the years of hard work my staff and i have dedicated to the people of louisiana and indeed the american people. i've worked hard to be a champion for them because the government should serve the taxpayer and not the other way
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around. and that includes by working hard to stay in touch through 398 town hall meetings, at least five in each parish of louisiana, through 231 telephone town halls and through active, energetic casework and constituent service. but clearly what i will treasure most about my service here is the people i have been honored to serve with. my colleagues, including my fellow will youians, senator bill cassidy, mentors like former senator rick santorum and senator jeff sessions, and most especially each of the dedicated people who have been part of team vitter. i've come to the senate floor several times this year to thank
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key departing staff members. that's for a very simple reason -- my staff has been the key ingredient, the key to every success we have enjoyed together in public service. wendy and i consider them a part of the family. i really, truly want to thank my staff again for their tireless, dedicated service to louisiana. i am so very grateful. wendy joins me in that. and i want to specifically recognize some of our leaders. my chief of staff, luke boller, my legislative director, chris stanley. my wonderful finance director, courtney wistello. our state director chip lateham. and committee staff director meredith west. our grants coordinator, brenda
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moore. my media head, john braebender. and senior infrastructure policy advisor charles burningham. my senior economic advisor, david stokes. campaign treasurer, will vanderbrook. and communications director cheyenne klotz. i know a few of our other former senior staff members are here, too, or are watching, mike mack abrams and joel degrado, brian zimward, travis johnson and michael waun. last and obviously not least is my beloved family. my five wonderful brothers and sisters, our children, their children, the extended family led by the ultimate leader of team vitter, my wife wendy.
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i can never thank them enough, and certainly i can never, ever thank wendy enough. through it all, wendy has been so enormously patient and supportive and understanding, not to mention being the life of every team vitter party, leading the rounds, rounds, plural, of fireball shots. she and our daughters are in the gallery today. i thank them and sophie and ari and jack for decades of love and support. she was first in my arms as a 2-year-old when i was first sworn into the house of representatives and made those previously quoted remarks. quote -- "i am honored, humbled,
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awestruck to stand before you." close quote. she has changed some. but as i said at the beginning of my reflections, those feelings certainly have not. so i'd like to close as i did that day in the house over 17 years ago, and that's simply by recognizing the wonderful, loving forces that have brought me here today. god, family, led by my parents up above and my wife wendy, staff and friends, and of course the wonderful, wonderful people of louisiana. they are here with me today. they are here with me always. and i thank them from the depths of my heart. mr. president, for the last time, i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. cassidy: mr. president, today i have the honor to recognize and thank my colleague and friend, the honorable senator david vitter for his 25 years of service to louisiana. our state has been fortunate to have him as a voice and advocate in this chamber for the past 12 years. on a personal note, when i arrived at the senate, david worked with me, sharing with me some of the privileges that normally he as a senior senator could have kept all to himself. and with great graciousness, he worked with me and said listen, this is how i think the process should be set up, and i would like you to have some of this privilege as well. i will do that same with whomever replaces david. he has set a pattern that again by his graciousness and
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magnanimity deserves repetition. as a new support, i was fortunate to have him as a resource for advice and knowledge that comes from time and experience in this body. there are some things that are -- happen here that you have to kind of have experience to follow, and david had both the experience and the sharpness and the insight to recognize. i again look forward to sharing what he has taught me with whomever takes his place. and i will note as david did, he helped lead our state through some of our worst times. from hurricane katrina in 2005 to the great flood of 2016, all the way in between, david has worked hard to make sure that louisiana and the people of louisiana have what they need to recover. the hall work of -- the hallmark of senator vitter's tenure, he has always cared deeply about our state, constantly looking at what he could do that would benefit our state not just in the short term but doing that which is consistent with his
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principles to help louisiana and the united states thrive in the long term. he has been on the side of that family whose father goes for two weeks, works on an oil rig in the middle of the gulf of mexico , working hard so that his family has a better future. our david has been on the side of that mom juggling two jobs to earn enough to make sure that her children's needs are met. just a recent example, again for that short-term and long-term perspective that david handled so well. he stayed consistent for years, working across the aisle, first with senator frank lautenberg theand senator udall to pass the much-needed reform of the toxic substance reform act, first of its kind in nearly 40 years. this reform would protect both the worker, that person on the rig, perhaps, at least the person that would be processing the products of that rig, but also gave the manufacturers in louisiana and across the country the certainty they needed to
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expand their businesses and to create more jobs. on a lighter note, he is a great saints fan. we in louisiana kind of like the fact that when the slowing ann who dat came up spontaneously and people started to put it on the shirts and the nfl was going to go to court to stop this from happeng, david wrote a letter to roger goodell and the letter started off by saying who dat. so speaking truth to power on behalf of the who dat nation is one credit of his. similarly, david was tweeting before our president-elect made it perhaps as high profile. i remember during the 2013 super bowl in new orleans -- and again, the context of this is that the saints had just been punished, of course, saints fans think unfairly by roger goodell. so in the 2013 super bowl in new
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orleans when the power went out, david's tweet without missing a beat said -- quote -- "like most saints fans, i'm immediately assuming roger goodell is a chief suspect for the power outage." the quick-witted quip cut to the emotion of the who dat nation. as the 114th congress comes to a close, this senate will be losing an important member. david brings a sound, strategic mind to this chamber that will be missed. i wish him, wendy, their children, lisa, sophie, ari and jack the best of luck in their journey forward. on behalf of all of louisiana, i say thank you. mr. president, i yield back. mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: mr. president, i want to thank the senator from louisiana for his very kind remarks. more importantly, i want to thank him for years of great partnership, great work on behalf of louisiana, and i know he will make an outstanding
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senior senator. thank you. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. cassidy: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that proceedings under the call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. i rise in strong support of the 21st century cures act, and i commend the chairman and ranking member of the senate help, education, labor and pensions committee, senator lamar alexander and senator patty murray, for their unwavering commitment to this very significant bipartisan legislation. the senate help committee, on which i'm privileged to serve, has devoted considerable time and effort to this comprehensive legislation. it includes many reforms and priorities that will benefit so many families across our great
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country. mr. president, the 21st century cures act will support the research and development of treatments and cures for millions of americans and their families who are coping with devastating diseases. it will improve the process of moving new discoveries from laboratory benches to patient bedsides. i doubt, mr. president, that there is a family in america who will not be touched by this important legislation in some way. all of us have a family member, a coworker or friend who has courageously faced the struggles of living with a debilitating chronic illness or a rare disease or who have received a
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devastating diagnosis and have passed away far too soon, leaving a hole in our hearts. imagine how this could change with the passage of the 21st century cures act and the strong support of the research and development that will lead to new treatments and therapies that can help us achieve our dream of conquering so many devastating diseases. simply put, mr. president, this legislation matters. it matters to the children who know firsthand the burden of living with type 1 diabetes and who beg their parents for just one day off -- their birthday or christmas -- from having to deal with the consequences of
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their juvenile diabetes. it matters to the family members who know the agonizing experience of looking into the eyes of a loved one suffering from alzheimer's disease only to receive a confused look in return. it matters to the parents of young boys who have duchenne's muscular dystrophy, who know what it is like to give their all in an effort to help their sons achieve their dreams, whether it's finishing college or driving a car, even as their children every day battle the progression of this debilitating and ultimately terminal illness. the 21st century cures act will drive progress and medical
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innovation so that we can prevail against these diseases and many more that cause so much pain and suffering, so much fear and uncertainty and so much heartbreak. mr. president, there simply is no investment that we can make that provides greater returns for americans than our investment in biomedical research. it not only yields new discoveries in the development of better treatments and even cures, but also can have a dramatic effect on the budgets of families, states, and the federal government. the bill before us will help direct $4.8 billion to the national institutes of health,
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including $1.6 billion for the brain initiative, to improve our understanding of diseases like a.l.s., parkinson's and alzheimer's, our nation's most costly disease. mr. president, we spend $263 billion a year caring for people with alzheimer's disease. of that amount, approximately $160 billion comes from the medicare and medicaid programs. if the current trajectory continues as our population is growing older, this disease will bankrupt the medicare and medicaid programs. and that's why i'm so pleased to see the initiative, the brain initiative funded in this bill,
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and also the work that we're doing in the appropriations committee to boost funding for alzheimer's disease and other dementias, so that we can finally find effective treatments, a means of prevention or perhaps even a cure for this disease that brings so much heartache not only to those suffering from it, but their families as well. our bill will also help provide $1.8 billion for the vice president's cancer moonshot. we all know that vice president biden has taken on this cause, a very personal one for him, because he lost his beloved son beau to cancer. another exciting field that will
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be funded by this bill is $30 million for regenerative medicine using adult stem cells. how exciting it was to have an individual come before our policy lunch whose sight had been restored due to innovative stem cell certificate xi. -- stem cell therapy. this individual lives in tennessee but he happens to be from preskyle, maine, 13 miles from where i was born and grew up. and how i wish so many older people in this country who are losing their vision to macular degeneration and glaw -- glaucoma and sometime cases a combination of both or injuries to their eyes could benefit from
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this exciting development of stem cells who could restore the sight of someone who was legally blind. he now can drive. that is so exciting, and that is the promise of researching regenerative medicine. in addition to support for n.i.h., the 21st century cures act will help direct $1 billion in much-needed funding to address the horrendous heroin and opioid abuse problem in this country. maine has been particularly hard hit by this epidemic. in just the first nine months of this year, maine experienced a record 286 offender -- 286
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overdose deaths. that's more than one a day, mr. president. tragically that number already exceeds the 272 overdose deaths in maine during all of 2015. i'm distressed when i hear about the lack of treatment options for mainers who are struggling with drug addiction, particularly in rural areas. as a result of the shortage of treatment alternatives, this epidemic is playing out in emergency rooms, county jails, and on the main streets of my state. i can't tell you how many sheriffs have come to me pleading for help, telling me that their intake area of their jails looks like a detox center or an emergency room of a hospital.
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they are overwhelmed by these cases. we can and must do more to support access to treatment and to alert people of all ages to the risks of opioid abuse and heroin use. the 21st century cures act will provide a vital infusion of $1 billion over two years to support grants to states to supplement treatment and prevention efforts. mr. president, i was talking with one of my colleagues earlier today, and both of us remember when we were in school hearing lectures from recovering heroin addicts who came into the schools. and i'll tell you that was highly effective. we would no more have tried
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heroin than -- i can't even think of a proper analogy. we know, unfortunately, that many of the people who are using heroin started with prescription opioids, and that's why i am encouraged by movements across our country and by actions taken at my request and the request of other senators by the centers for medicare and medicaid services to make sure that we are not putting pressure on providers to overprescribe opioids. surely they are appropriate in certain cases, but the number of prescriptions has soared in this country and is twice the
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number prescribed on a per capita basis as in our neighboring country of canada. the 21st century cures act also includes a bill that i introduced with several of my colleagues: senators warren, kirk, baldwin, alexander and murray, that is called the advancing n.i.h. strategic planning and improving representation and medical research act. despite its extremely cumbersome name, it is an important bill that's been incorporated into this legislation. it will require the n.i.h. to release periodically a strategic plan outlining how the agencies will meet, its mission statement, and it will provide us with important guidance and
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metrics as we continue to work together to increase this vital funding. it will also help to ensure that study populations in colin rabble -- in clinical research are more representative of the diverse population in our country. for example, women face many of the same health threats as men, such as heart disease and cancer, but they react differently to various treatments. i remember, mr. president, years ago an infamous study that was called mr. fit, it had only men enrolled in it. i believe, if memory serves me correctly, it was to look at heart disease. well, women have different symptoms often of heart disease than do men, and they respond differently to different
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medications, therapies and treatment. we also know that women are at higher risk for certain chronic health conditions like alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis. they suffer from those diseases in far greater numbers than do men. i'm wondering with alzheimer's disease, whether it's simply a matter that the biggest risk factor is the age and women live longer than men, but perhaps there are other factors at play. my point is that by helping to ensure that women, african-americans, latinos, and other demographic groups are appropriately represented in clinical research, we can increase our scientific understanding of the causes, risk factors, prevention
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strategies, and effects of treatment for diseases that commonly or disproportionately affect these populations. the bill before us also includes legislation that i introduced with my colleague from wisconsin, senator baldwin, to help address the educational debt burden that many young researchers face. this is so important to help ensure that america's finest up and coming young researchers continue to help lead the world in biomedical discovery right here in this country. i don't want to lose these talented young people to other countries. i want them to stay right here. and if they come to work for n.i.h. or the c.d.c. or other
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federally funded institutions and agencies and we can get them help with their medical school or college, their advanced degrees, their debt, that's a really good agreement for us to be making. it is also of tremendous importance that we were able to add mental health legislation to the 21st century cures act. the reforms in this bill will enhance coordination, address a lack of resources and develop real solutions to improve outcomes for individuals with serious mental illness and to help their families who are often desperate to get them the help that they need. i'm pleased that the bill also includes the mental health on
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campus act which i offered as an amendment which we considered the mental health legislation in committee. my colleague, senator dick durbin, and i introduced this legislation for the first time in 2009, and i want to commend him for his leadership. college students in maine and across the country must have access to critical and often life saving mental health services. despite growing demand for these critical services, far too many students still lack access. without these services students may experience detrimental effects that range from declining academic performance to drug dependence to being at greater risk of suicide. while millions of americans suffer from mental illness, only
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a statistical few engage in unspeakable acts of violence against themselves or others. suicide, however, is the leading cause of death among americans between the age of 15 and 34. in addition recent tragedies on college campuses like the shooting at a community college in roseburg, oregon or northern illinois university highlight the dire need for mental health outreach and counseling services on college campuses. perhaps, mr. president, some of the tragedies that we have witnessed might have been prevented had the resources been in place to support timely diagnosis, early intervention, and effective treatment for those struggling with severe
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mental illness. one of the saddest meetings i've had in the last year, mr. president, was with a group of families from maine who had adult children who were suffering from severe mental illness, and yet these families felt powerless in getting them the help that they needed. these adult children were not compliant with the medication that they had been prescribed, and in many cases their families felt powerless to be able to get them the help that they needed. in one terrible case, a man's son was released from a hospital
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for people with mental illness in the state of maine, and he killed his mother thinking that she was al qaeda. only then could his father get his son the institutionalized help that his son so desperately needed. it was just such a painful, painful story to hear from this anguished father and husband. i believe that the language in this bill will help to change that. mr. president, the 21st century cures act passed the house last week by an overwhelming vote of 392-26. think how few bills pass with
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that kind of strong bipartisan support. it is supported by president obama who had an op ed in maine newspapers this weekend endorsing the bill. it is the product of years of bipartisan work on the senate help committee and it has earned the support of more than 300 organizations. so, mr. president, i'm frankly surprised that we're having a roll call vote, a cloture vote on this bill. i'm surprised because while this bill may not be perfect and no bill is, there is so much that is worthwhile and good and significant in it that will make such a difference to so many
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american families. i urge all of our colleagues to vote in support of this bill so that we can quickly send it to the president's desk where he is eager to sign it into law. it may well the most important, far-reaching legislation that we pass this year in terms of its benefits for families across this great nation. thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i would 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 montana. a senator: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tester: thank you. i rise on behalf of nearly a hundred thousand veterans that live in montana. these are folks who have earned our deep respect and gratitude. i've traveled the state many times, listened to their ideas and i've listened to their concerns. montana's veterans have not been shy about expressing their views. what i have heard is this. there's no doubt that we must hold the v.a. accountable. work to improve access to health care, job, education, transportation, and housing for veterans. and that is why it is critically important that we a taking our marching orders from veterans and the advocacy organizations that are led by veterans because we know that their top priority is to do right by the folks who they serve. veterans in montana also tell me when it comes to solving the
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problems facing veterans, they expect folks in washington, d.c. to check their politics at the door and to go to work. unfortunately, there are groups out there who are funded by dark money. they hide their out of touch political agenda behind the veil of our nation's veterans. as the incoming ranking member of the veterans affairs committee, i have serious concerns about who president-elect trump is listening to when it comes to honoring our veterans and this nation's commitment to those who have worn the uniform. that is why it is so troubling that recent news reports have indicated that the trump administration is relying heavily on guidance from concerned veterans for america. now, concerned veterans for america is a political advocacy group funded by the koch brothers who want to dump
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unlimited amounts of dark money to push dangerous policies that would privatize the v.a. or to convert the veterans health administration into an independent government chartered nonprofit corporation. c.v.a. also wants to divert funds away from the v.a. and cripple its ability to plan long term to recruit doctors and nurses and to invest in the information technology that can improve veterans' experience at the v.a. these cuts will undermine the quality of care at the v.a. now, there's nothing wrong with helping veterans get specialty care in the community in a timely fashion when the v.a. can't do it. and that often happens in rural communities, but c.v.a.'s push for wholesale dismantsling of the v.a. is not what we want and that's not what the veterans need. we need to talk to the veterans. the veterans that i have spoken to. and this is what we'll see.
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when folks volunteer to serve in the armed forces, this nation is indebted to them, and we must ensure that we deliver on those promises that are made. privatizing the v.a. will fail our veterans and their families. it will reduce the quality of care that our veterans receive, and it will are more expensive for taxpayers. privatizing the v.a. will ultimately mean that veterans will wait longer for doctors' appointments and the cost of care will go up. all we have to do is take a look at the veterans comois program -- choice program which allows veterans to access care at private facilities. it has resulted in longer wait times and this is unacceptable. under this program veterans are actually waiting longer to see doctors, hospitals are increasingly frustrating and refusing to see veterans and costs are going through the roof. imagine this program on steroids. that's what the c.v.a. wants to
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do all the while starving the v.a.'s work force and infrastructure. in fact, what c.v.a. is pushing for is similar to what speaker ryan wants to do with medicare and we have seen the backlash of that proposal by seniors across this nation. the same is true at the veterans proposals to privatize the v.a. it is simply bad policy. groups like the v.f.w., the american legion, the disabled american veterans, the iraq and afghanistan veterans of america and many others oppose privatization and they oppose it for good reason. the american legion's national command der dale bar -- dale barnett said it best. the private sector didn't send our heros to war. uncle sam did. barnett is right. the federal government has an obligation to honor those incredible sacrifices and when we shirk that responsibility, it dishonors those brave men and women. we need to listen to the legion and countless other veterans
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groups whose mission is to help the veterans, not unravel the v.a. veterans service organizations are very different and have a very different mission and tax structure than concerned veterans for america, the first being that v.s.o.'s take their cues from the veterans they represent, not billionaire political activists who fund their operation. groups like the legion, the v.f.w., and iraq and afghanistan veterans for america are organized as nonprofit groups whose missions are simply to help veterans. concerned veterans for america is an issue advocacy group with a political mission. v.s.o.'s disclose their donors. c.v.a. doesn't are to. yet c.v.a. has incredible influence and in the year of the president-elect. this is deeply concerning to me and more importantly it is deeply concerning to the veterans across this nation. i talked -- i talk to veterans
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every week when i'm home in montana. they universally tell me that they like the care they receive from the v.a., once they get in the door. the problem is getting in the door. they don't want to see a private dofnlgt they want to see a v.a. dock. they know that the v.a. understands their unique issues. my hope is that president-elect trump starts talking to the folks who want to help veterans and not to organizations with a political agenda. my hope is that we will work with chairman eye sack son and -- eye sack son and i and other veterans group. my hope is that we will work with democrats, republicans, independents to reform our campaign finance laws so that we can increase transparency and know who is trying to influence this government. my hope is that he will put veterans first, as he chooses
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the next v.a. secretary. i remain hopeful that we can find common ground to work together to hold the v.a. accountable, to improve care and to ensure that we're all delivering for veterans. but our brothers and sisters and sons and daughters are sent to war, we make promises to them, promises that we must keep. when they come home, they are changed people, and we cannot expect the private sector to address the seen and unseen wounds of war. in this upcoming congress, there are incredible opportunities to make progress, and i am full committed to montana's veterans and veterans across this country and their families, and i will push back against those who attempt to undermine the noble mission of the veterans administration. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i'd like to ask unanimous consent that senator kirk be recognized next, senator
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murphy following him and then after that i be recognized to talk about a bill we will be introducing at 5:30. mr. kirk: mr. president, years ago i climbed the capitol steps for many of those who could not. i did my return to the senate and have established a standard of care for rehabilitation in this legislation. to make sure that many people could have the access to the best rehab that i did. the passage of the cures act will achieve this losty. the cures act also contains bipartisan provisions to provide accelerated approval of regenerative medicines. the regrow act is a major step forward that americans will not have to go to other countries for their own stem cells to be used in their own therapy. to make sure this faster approval process happens means that many more people will receive advanced stem cell therapies that are also available overseas right here at
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home to make sure that happens. i would like to thank everybody. you've played progress with the f.d.a. i championed with senators collins and manchin on this. i yield back and thank you, mr. chairman. i want to make up my -- i want to make up thank my senior senator to make sure the fundamental point of using your own stem cells can be used to accelerate your healing. in the case of using your own stem secialtion they already have your exact d.n.a. mavment i think it is wise that we go through a shorter approval process here. i want to thank the gentleman for putting in the kirk language in the regrow act and would yield back. the presiding officer: the senator tennessee. mr. alexander: while we're waiting for senator mor first, let me salute senator kirk for his leadership on regenerative medicine. from the very beginning he has pointed out to the committee and to the senate that as the mayo clinic has said, regenerative medicine is a game changer.
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for stroke victims, for heart disease, for people with retinal disease, and in this legislation, thanks to senator kirk, senator collins, senator manchin, and senator mcconnell, we have legislation that takes an important and responsible step forward to recognize the promise o ofregenerative medicine. odes 30 million to the national institutes of health -- $30 million to the national institutes of health for clinical trials to support regenerative medicine. then there are two other provisions in the bill. one of them allows the food and drug administration to make regenerative therapeutic products eligible for the f.d.a.'s existing accelerated drug approval pathway. we've had great success over the last four or five years with an accelerated pathway for drugs, a similar one, that senators burr
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and senator bennet and others got enacted into the law. we're doing the same thing with combination drugs and devices in this legislation. and now senator kirk has add regenerative medicine to the accelerated pathway, and i salute him for that leadership. mr. kirk: mr. president, i would like to remind the gentleman, who is also chairman of the injurin -- of the energy subcommittee of appropriations, one of the most complicated things that we could face in our world is biological systems. when we look at the new aurora computer that's going to be built in the argonne national lab trirks i know at the -- laboratories, i know -- my goal is to make sure w way ahead of e chiengs. we now have $165 million to make sure that we have a computer that is far faster than the
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computer in china. with that we'll be able to model proteins and cells to make sure that we make she is advances much faster. -- these advances much feafort. my hope is that we're stunned at how much work is done with the leading computer, that we accelerate all this, that builds on that. let me say one thing. every piece of regulation that the gentleman touches goes by by a couple hundred votes. when you see lamar take over a bill, then you know it is going to be going through on a big walloping. he got a huge vote in the senate and i hope he gets a big vote here. everything he touches turns to gold on legislation. we cannot have a better friend on the medical care than we have in lamar alexander. mr. alexander: mr. president, the senator from illinois is very generous. i thank him for it. but i would remind him that he was the persistent agent for the
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change and support for regenerative medicine. that wasn't easy to do. and he has been the leader along with others of us who cared about the same thing, on making sure the united states maintains its lead in supercomputing and competition around the world. now, mr. president, senator murphy is -- the senator from connecticut is coming. i think what i will do is begin and when he comes, i will stop and let him make his comments and remarks and then resume so i don't delay the vote. because i know everyone is looking forward to casting a great big "yes" vote in a few minutes. mr. president, the united states senate majority leader, whose position in the senate this is, has said more than once in private meetings where i was and
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in -- on the floor of this body that the 21st century cures bill on which we will be voting in a few minutes is the most important legislation congress will pass in year. in his address to the nation this past weekend, president obama urged us to vote for the bill today and tomorrow. it could help us find a cure for alzheimer's, the president said. "it could end cancer as we know it and help those seeking treatment for opioid addiction." the president continued, "it is an opportunity to save lives and an opportunity we must can't miss." vice president biden has been telephoning senators, urging support for 21st century cures because, in the vice president's words, "it is a big step for cancer research and the cancer moonshot that's so close to his heart." speaker paul ryan in the house
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of representatives has made 21st century cures explicitly a centerpiece of his vision for our country's future, describing it as -- quote -- "bipartisan legislation that would accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of lifesaving treatments." unquote. with such bipartisan support from the president of the united states, the vice president of the united states, the speaker of the house, the senate majority leader, two democrats, two republicans, it's no wonder that on last wednesday the house of representatives approved 21st century cures by the overwhelming vote of 392-26. this legislation holds the promise of improving the life and health of virtually every family in the country. it will provide $4.8 billion in a one-time surge of funding for biomedical research in a time of
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breath taking opportunity. it will advance vic biden's moon moonshot, as well as the brain initiative uvmentz it will help move safe it will help move safe and effective cures through the development process more rapidly and at a lower cost making medicines available sooner and hopefully at lower cost to patients. it will provide $1 billion in grants to help deal with the raging opioid rep. it includes -- the raging opioid epidemic u it includes funding to help mental health programs for the first time in a decade. it will improve health information technology for doctors who are eager to get rid of the over-documentation of hospitals and their patients and help get the nation's electronic health record system out of the
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ditch. and from a taxpayers' point of view it does all of these things in a fiscally responsible way by reducing other spending to pay for every penny of the $6.3 billion cost. mr. president, i see the senator from connecticut on the floor, so i'd like to suspend my remarks for five minutes so he could make his. and then i would ask consent that the totality of my remarks follow his remarks. and before he speaks, let me just say once again how much i appreciate his leadership and that of senator cassidy and that of senator cornyn. one reason why the majority leader calls this the most important piece of legislation congress will act on this year is because it includes the mental health legislation that senator -- that these senators, senator murphy, senator cornyn, and senator cassidy have offered.
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mr. murphy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator connecticut is recognized. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. i appreciate senator alexander's kindness allowing me to say a few words in support of this bill on behalf of myself and senator murph morery. i would like to congratulate senator alexander for once again showing how the senate can work properly and how we can bring together republicans and democrats between a priority that really has nothing to do with whether you are a republican or democrat, whether you voted for hillary clinton or donald trump. if you are out there suffering from a life-altering or potentially terminal disease, if you are out there suffering from mental illness or addiction, you need help, and we are coming together in maybe one of the most important pieces of health legislation that has passed this congress in a very long time to deliver that help. so i am not going to endeavor to
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re-create the remarks of senator alexander when it comes to describing the important aspects of this bill, except to say that after passage of this bill, it is just going to be a whole hesk a -- -- a whole heck of a lot more likely that a life-changing, lifesaving drug is going to be able to make it to market in time to save a life. and every single one of the underlying reforms in this bill abillto the drug discovery procs bipartisan. think about senator bennet's and hatch's bill, the promise for antibiotic and therapeutics for health which establishes a new path way for antibacterial and antifungal drugs. i think about senator casey and senator isakson working on the advancing hope act which will extend the pediatric review voucher program until 2020, incentivizes drug companies to research treatment for
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life-altering diseases that impact pediatric patients. inside this bill are all sorts of good, important, bipartisan achievements. as senator alexander noted, there's also help for people suffering from addiction. the fact of the matter is, in my tiny little state, only 1% of the nation's population, we're going to have over 800 people die. we have an awful lot of people showing up with overdoses in our emergency rooms that have no place to go, that have no detox programs, in a long-term this $1 billion authorized in legislation to fight the opioid epidemic, that will save lives in my little state. finally on the issue of mental health, senator cassidy and more alexander and myself who were on the floor last week talking about this legislation, the
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focus on funding prevention, the focus on making sure that parents are a part of the care for their adult children, to focus on ensuring that insurance companies really do pay attention to the parity act that we passed ten years in this congress, to assure that you get covered for mental illness just like you get covered for physical illness. a broken leg really isn't any different than a broken bone, a broken brain when you think about it, we can treat both. these are important advances in mental health as well. i know that this place, you know, has a bad reputation, that people pay attention to the fights here more often than than they do to the -- than they do to the moments we get together and cooperate, but the 21st century cures act that senator murray and senator alexander, with help from senator cornyn, myself, senator cassidy and the house, congressman upton and pallone and tim murphy and eddie bernice johnson, this is an example of how this place can
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work better. as we head into what may be a very charged atmosphere in january, i hope that we remember this moment. i wanted to come down on behalf of senator murray who has helped shepherd this through the process and congratulate senator alexander on it and recommend passage to all of my colleagues. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i thank the senator for his words of support and effective leadership this year. i thank senator murray from washington, she would be here except her plane is late. the vote will be held open to make sure she can be here. senator murray is a well-respected member of the leadership, well respected on that side of the aisle but also this side of the aisle, because when she can, she creates an environment where we can do today exactly what we're doing today. i think the american people appreciate that. senator murphy and i both benefited from that. so thank you for those remarks. i will continue my remarks. at a senate hearing earlier this
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year, dr. francis collins, the distinguished head of the national institutes of health, an agency he calls the national institutes of hope, offered bold predictions about major advances to expect in the next ten years from sustained investments in biomedical research such as we're doing with this bill. one prediction is that scientists will find ways to identify individuals at risk for alzheimer's, even before symptoms appear, as well as how to slow or even prevent the disease. today alzheimer's causes untold family grief and costs $236 billion a year. left unchecked, the costs in 2050 would be more than our nation spends on national defense. dr. collins' other predictions are equally breathtaking. using stem cells, doctors could use a patient's own cells to rebuild his or her heart. this personalized rebuilt heart, dr. collins said, would make
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transplant waiting lists and antirejection drugs obsolete. he expects development of an artificial pancreas to help diabetes patients by tracking blood glucose levels and creating precise doses of insulin. he says a zika zika vaccine shoe widely available by 2018 when a universal flu vaccine and hiv-aids vaccine available within the decade. to relieve suffering and death from the epidemic of opioid addiction that led to 28,000 overdose deaths in america in 2014, he predicts new, nonaddictive medicines to manage pain, and even -- an even more effective antidote than the $1 billion that we would be authorizing by our votes today. these truly would be miracles. the bill has taken more than two years to assemble both in the senate and the house. there have been major differences of opinion, but the resolution of those differences,
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thanks to senator murray and to many other senators, has been bipartisan every step of the way. we saw that on display in the work of the president, the vice president, the speaker of the house and the senate majority leader. we saw it in the house, with its vote of 392-26 last week, thanks especially to the leadership of chairman upton, ranking member pallone and representative degette. and we saw it in our senate health committee where we approved 19 bills that include 50 proposals, and every one with both a democratic and republican sponsor, except for one bill offered solely by senator murray who is the ranking democratic member of our committee. now, we have a diverse committee of 22 members. that would be an understatement, actually. some of the most liberal members and some of the most conservative members. but when our committee considered these 19 bills during three markups held over several months, the largest number of
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votes against any one of these 19 bipartisan bills was two. let me say that again. the largest number of votes, recorded votes against any one of these 19 bipartisan bills was two. in our committee of 22. here's what some of those 19 bipartisan bills approved unanimously or by a wide margin would do to help move safe and effective treatments and cures for rapidly through the regulatory process and into doctors' medicine cabinets and into doctors' offices. for example, senators bennet and warren and burr and hatch would allow researchers to use their own data from previously approved therapies when they submit for review a treatment or cure for a serious genetic disease like duchenne, a rare kind of muscular dystrophy that can impact children as young as 3. senators burr and franken would
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help bring innovative medicine device such as art initial knees, insulin pumps, start stents to patients by getting rid of unnecessary evaluations and streamlining the review process for clinical trials. senators baldwin and collins have had a bill to improve opportunities for our young researchers, essential to advancing biomedical research. senator kirk just talked about his legislation with bennet, hatch, murkowski, isakson, collins to improve rehabilitation research. helping the approximately 800,000 americans who suffer a stroke each year. senators isakson, murphy, casey, wicker and vitter will help advance our understanding of neurological diseases. senator murray, as i mentioned earlier, will clarify that the f.d.a. requires cleaning and validation data for reusable medical devices. senators murray, hatch, bennet, cassidy and whitehouse, their
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bill improved health information technology for doctors and patients. we had six hearings on medical information technology. the program's in a ditch. we think we're helping to get it out of the ditch. we have been working with the obama administration to do that, and i look forward to working with the trump administration to continue that. senator burr, bennet, hatch, donnelly would speed breakthrough devices, putting senior people in charge of the review process. casey, isakson, brown and kirk, legislation for if you're the parent of a child with a rare disease like brain cancer, their bill would increase the likelihood your child would be able to take a drug that will help by giving a drug company that develops a drug for such a disease a voucher they could keep or sell that will speed up the review of another drug. now, one may say this is getting boring. this is too long. it's not boring to the millions of americans who stand to benefit from this. it's exactly the kind of work
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that we ought to be doing in the united states senate. and what the american people would like to see us do more of. the medical electronic data technology, senators bennet and hatch and many others interested in that. burr and casey and isakson and roberts have important legislation for planning ahead for events like bioterror attacks to help protect against anthrax, for example, or smallpox. the combination products innovation act, a number of senators are involved with that on the committee. it will help prevent the growing field of combination products like band-aids with neosupport inbuilt in or a heart stent that would be implanted to deliver blood thinners to prevent a cloth from -- clot from being caught in red tape. then there are to give families a voice in drug development. there is one a top priority for new hampshire will help those agencies attract and keep the
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kind of talent they need to approve all these exciting advances that are coming. there is legislation to shorten the development of new treatments, to help those affected with life-threatening superbugs. the advancing precision medicine which senator murray and i cosponsored is in direct support of president obama's initiative to map one million genomes so researchers can develop treatments and cures tailored to a patient's genome. there are three or four other major pieces of legislation. actually, five or six others that i will include in the record but not read at this time because we're approaching the time for a vote. but let me conclude by saying that in addition to these bipartisan policies, the 21st century cures bill includes $6.3 billion in funding. we usually don't attach such funding to a bill authorizing programs. we usually work along two tracks. one track for authorizing
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programs, one deciding how much to spend on those programs. during the last two years while we have been working on our authorizing legislation, our appropriations committees have recommended major increases in support for biomedical research. it's important that every senator know this. in the current year at the urging of senators blunt and senator murray, congress added $2 billion a year to the $32 billion budget of the national institutes of health, which could total $20 billion over ten years. then the senate appropriations committee recommended another $2 billion increase for the next fiscal year 2017 which could total another $20 billion over ten years. now this 21st century cures legislation adds $4.8 billion in a surge of one-time spending for the national institutes of health on top of the regular appropriated money toward key objectives. $1.8 billion for the cancer moon
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shot. $1.4 billion for precision medicine. $1.6 billion for the brain initiative. it adds $1 billion for state grants to help states fight the opioid abuse epidemic. i believe in every state represented here tonight the opioid epidemic is on the front pages of the newspapers. it adds $500 million for the food and drug administration. 21st century cures also gives the national institutes of health $30 billion for clinical trials to support regenerative medicine which the mayo clinic has described as a game-changing area of medicine with the potential to fully heal damaged tissues and organs offering solutions and hope for people who have conditions that today are totally beyond repair. it gives the f.d.a. authority to allow regenerative therapies to be eligible for f.d.a.'s existing accelerated drug approval pathway. i want to acknowledge the work of speaker ryan and leader mcconnell in designing a way to secure funding that both
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democrats and republicans can accept. that's not always easy. for those concerned about additional spending, often on our side of the aisle, speaker ryan and house budget primary tom price made sure that the funding is one time, not mandatory, paid for and approved each year by appropriations committees. it doesn't add one penny to the overall budget because for every increase in the discretionary budget, we reduce the same amount in the mandatory ledger. for those who worry that congress might not approve the $6.3 billion in additional spending in later years, i've heard a little of that from the other side of the aisle, my answer is that the best way to ensure that the money is spent in the following years is a big vote today and tomorrow when we finally pass the bill just as the house did last week. in conclusion, mr. president, it will be hard to explain why you voted to spend $6.3 billion for cancer, precision medicine and
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opioids this year, but then voted not to spend it this year year -- next year, and the legislation provides that the money cannot be diverted for any other purpose than what we vote for today and tomorrow. in addition, this year's portion of cures includes a half billion dollars for opioid grants is included in the continuing resolution that we will vote on later this week. this is the kind of lasting legacy, mr. president, that the president of the united states and our congress can be proud of. the next administration or the next congress will not be repealing this law because we've taken the time to work out our differences and create a consensus of support. we did this at this time last year with an equally complicated bill to fix no child left behind, which despite its complexities received 85 votes in this body. when he signed it, the president called it a christmas miracle. well, the 21st century cures bill will present president obama with another christmas
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miracle, one that will help virtually every family, and when we pass this legislation, the real winners will be the american families whose lives will be improved by this bipartisan legislation. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. we are in a quorum call. mr. whitehouse: may i ask first that the pending quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. whitehouse: with the permission of my distinguished
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chairman, who has worked very hard on this bill and whose efforts i appreciate very much, i just wanted to add very briefly that i hope very much, i look forward to working with my colleagues to assure that the second tranche of the opioid funding is aligned with the cara bill, the comprehensive addiction and recovery act, that we just passed in such bipartisan fashion a few months ago. we have not achieved that alignment yet, and i hope that we do very soon. and i appreciate the terrific efforts of my chairman. mr. alexander: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: well, it's a rare day when we see the vice president presiding. we welcome him here today. we look forward to welcoming you back later in the week. i know members will have plenty to say about his life and his legacy later in the week, but
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today the senate would like to specifically acknowledge his efforts to help americans struggling with cancer. he's known the cruel toll this disease can take. but he hadn't let it defeat him. he's chosen to fight back. he's taken a leading role and the senate will soon pass the 21st century cures act as a testament to his tremendous effort. i think it's fitting to dedicate this bill's critical cancer initiative in honor of someone who would be proud of the presiding officer today, and that's his son. and in just a moment that's exactly what the senate will do. renaming the n.i.h.'s cancer initiatives in this bill after beau biden. mr. reid: mr. president, will the senator yield? mr. mcconnell: if i can say to
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my friend, the democratic leader, i have one more. thank you. so, therefore, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of h. con. res. 174 which is at the desk. the vice president: the clerk will report. the clerk: house concurrent resolution 174 directing the clerk of the house of representatives to make a correction in the enrollment of h.r. 34. the vice president: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i call up an amendment which would rename a title of the bill. i would say to the clerk i would like for her to read the entire thing. the vice president: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from kentucky mr. mcconnell for himself and mr. reid proposes an amendment numbered 5137. beginning on page 1, line 7, strike following correction and all that follows and insert the following: following corrections. one, amend the long title so as to read an act to accelerate the discovery, development, and
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delivery of 21st century cures and for other purposes. two, amend the section heading for section 1001 so as to read, beau biden, cancer moonshot and n.i.h. innovation projects. three, amend the table of contents in section 1 so that the item relating to section 1001 reads as follows: 1001, beau biden, cancer moonshot and n.i.h. innovation projects. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the amendment be agreed to, the concurrent resolution as amended be agreed toened a the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the vice president: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president? the vice president: the democratic leader. mr. reid: i see all my colleagues.
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the presiding officer served in the senate for 36 years. during the time he was here, he was about as much a man of the senate as anyone could be. he was a democrat, but he was also available to anybody any time, and i so admire him. i know that he's worked very closely with the republican leader on some very important issues in the last eight years. so i want the record to be spread with the fact that the presiding officer, proud of his family as anyone could be, and doing this for beau only furthers the effect that this man, the presiding officer, has had on this country. and i am grateful to the republican leader for allowing me to cosponsor this important amendment changing the name of this bill to the beau biden
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memorial moonshot. so grateful to you, the republican leader, all the senators, understand the man presiding is really a man of the senate and always will be. the vice president: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate, an act to authorize and strengthen the tsunami detection, forecast, warning and mitigation program of the national oceanic and atmospheric administration and for other purposes. signed by 16 senators. the vice president: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum will be waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that the debate on the motion to cloture in the house amendment -- to concur in the house amendment to
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the senate amendment h.r. 34 shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory, and the the clerk will call the roll. vote: vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the vice president: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not, on this vote the yeas
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are 85, the nays are 13. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. cloture having been invoked, the motion to refer and the amendments thereto fall. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the democratic whip. without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, last friday, i had a meeting in chicago. i invited -- i ask for order on the floor, please, mr. president. thank you, mr. president. last friday, i had a meeting in chicago with about 50 in attendance. it was on friday morning, and we
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gathered groups of people from across the city of chicago and state of illinois who were focusing on one make-or-break issue for many of them. it was an emotional issue, one that caused many to break down in tears as they told me their stories. that's the reason i have come back to the floor of the senate today and every day since the election, to talk about one specific issue that i believe is important for this nation to reflect on. mr. president, 16 years ago, a young lady contacted my office. her name teresa lee. she had been brought to the united states from korea at the age of 2. she had grown up in chicago with a family of modest means, and during the course of her childhood, signed up for what is known as the merit music program in chicago. they offer free instruments and free musical instruction to kids from low-income families. it's a great program.
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well, teresa lee signed up and it turned out she had an extraordinary talent at piano. when she came to contact my office, it was as she was leaving high school and applying to be accepted at the best music schools in america, juilliard in new york, the manhattan conservatory of music. when she went to fill out the application and it came to a question of her citizenship and nationality, she wasn't certain what to put, and her mother suggested she call our office, and she did. we told her that under the law, she was undocumented, brought her at the age of 2 on a visitor's visa. her mother had never filed any papers for her. she had grown up in america thinking she was an american like her brother and sister who were born here, and now she came to realize at age 17 or 18 that in the eyes of the law, she had no legal standing in america. the law's pretty harsh. mr. president, i ask consent
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that the order be restored on the floor. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. durbin: mr. president, the law's harsh for people like teresa. the law says that she needs to leave the united states for ten years and apply to return to the united states. where would she go? to korea? she had never been there. she grew up in brazil for a short period of time. she didn't speak the language. she doesn't speak portuguese either. so she was caught in the middle. that's why i introduced the dream act and said that young people brought to the united states by their parents before the age of 16, if they have finished school and have no serious criminal issues, should be given a chance to go to school further, to have a legal status in america, and i believe ultimately to earn their way into citizenship. going to the back of the line and waiting their turn, but at least to have that as their
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goal. i introduced that bill 16 years ago. it's never become the law, but there are about 2.5 million young people in that circumstance in america. six years ago, the president of the united states created something called daca. daca is deferred action for childhood arrivals program, an executive order. as a result of that order, president obama allowed these dreamers, as they have come to be known, eligible dreamers to receive daca status. now, in order to do it, they have to apply, come out of the shadows, declare themselves, file a fee of about $500 with the government, go through a criminal background check, an interview and then be given temporary, only temporary legal status so they can't be deported and they can legally work, renewable every two years. as of today, 744,000 young people have done that.
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many of them were in the room -- at least some of them were in the room in chicago last friday. they're not certain what's going to happen next. the new president has promised to end daca. if he ends it, what happens to these young people? for instance, there are 28 of these daca young people who were in medical school at loyola university in chicago. 28 undocumented who were there without any government -- federal government assistance, and who have promised to give a year -- most of them, a year of service to the state of illinois in rural areas, in poor neighborhoods when they become doctors. if they lose their daca status, they lose their ability to work legally in the united states, and they can't go through the clinical experience which is part of becoming a doctor. they'd have to drop out of medical school. well, there's one thing we can say for certain, we don't have
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an oversupply of doctors serving inner cities and rural areas in my state and across the nation. we need these doctors. so if daca changes, if it's eliminated, what will happen to these young people? that's a challenge which i face and other members have as well. i want to salute senator lindsey graham of south carolina. he is working with me on legislation to address this, to give at least a temporary status to these daca-eligible young people while we debate immigration reform in a larger context. there are important issues at stake here, but the most fundamental issue is one of fairness and justice. these young people did nothing wrong. they were brought to this country by their parents. they've grown up in this country and gone to our schools, and there are some amazing stories of what they've done with their lives. i want to tell you one of those stories. i've done this over 100 times now on the floor of the united states senate.
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this is barbara olacha. in 2002 when she was five years old her family brought her to the united states from mexico. she grew up in phoenix, arizona, and she knew she would face challenges being undocumented. her older sister has been accepted at arizona state university but couldn't afford to go to school there. as an undocumented immigrant she is not he eligible for financial status. arizona law prohibits state financial assistance to dreamers like barbara and heresies ter. during her freshman year in high school a mentor told her -- quote -- "you're going to have to try harder than everybody else. " barbara said -- quote -- "those words confirm what i had known all along. although i was starting high school i began to dread what
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most students anticipate with excitement: graduation day. what if i got in my dream school, dream university but couldn't go because i couldn't afford it. " in high school, barbara was a great student and was involved in many curricular activities. she was a member of the decathlon team for four years and team captain when she was a senior. she was a member of student government, yearbook and homecoming. she volunteered to tutor middle school students and worked part time to save money for her education. she participated in a number of programs in arizona state university, including the walter cronkite journalism institute. she recorded a story about her life that was aired around the nation on national public radio. this experience sparked her interest in journalism and led to an internship at kjzz, the phoenix affiliate from npr. last year barbara graduated as valedictorian of her high school class with a 4.5 grade point
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average. as a result of her accomplishments, barbara was accepted at dartmouth college, an ivy league school where she's now a sophomore. she wrote me a letter and here's what she said about daca. i'm very grateful for daca. it allowed me to work and not be deported to a country i do not know and haven't been to since i was five years old. just like thousands of other undocumented students in the united states, i've grown up and become acustomed to the culture here. the united states is where i belong, and i want to be a contributing member of society as i have proved in my 13 years in this country. barbara and other dreamers have so much to give. they are young, they're idealistic, energetic. they're amazing. these young people will overcome odds many young people will not face in their lives. to think in your first year in high school you're reflecting on the fact that even if accepted
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into college you may not be able to go. that was her future as she saw it then. if daca is eliminated barbara could be deported back to mexico, a country where she hasn't lived since she was five. will america be a better country if barbara is deported or if she stays her? using her talent, her energy, her inspiration for our future. i think the answer is clear. now is the time for america, this nation of immigrants, to come together and heal the wounds that divided us in this election. i am just hoping that this president-elect, when he replex on barbara -- when he reflects on barbara and 700,000-plus other daca he eligibles will realize what they can do for america's future and i'm hoping in the senate we can overcome our differences -- and there are many -- deep differences, political differences and give
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these young people a chance. senator graham and i are basically working on a bill which says at least suspend their status so they won't be deported, that they can continue to work. do that while we do our business here on the issue of immigration. that's only fair. it's only right. it's the right american way to approach an issue that can affect so many innocent people. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mrs. capito: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to talk about an issue of great urgency. the fate of tens of thousands of american workers in just a matter of weeks, 16,000 coal miners and their dependents will lose their health care coverage, and roughly 6,000 others will join that group in the year 2017. and here we are just days away from congress wrapping up its work for the year.
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this should be a time to motivate us to action. i've served in congress a long time, and i know nothing motivates congress more than a deadline, up against a deadline as we are today. this time should be no different, and here's why. without some resolution before congress adjourns, the men and women who have powered our nation and spurred economic growth for generations will have the carpet ripped out from under them. they will lose the health care benefits that they so rely on and have been promised. and it's important to recognize the risks our coal miners have taken to better our lives every day. when you visit a coal mine, which i've done -- i've been underground in a coal mine -- you see the rigorous and often very dangerous working conditions where these men and women do their job every day to provide the energy that we need to light this chamber, to warm our homes, to keep our classrooms lit. they are the pillars -- those
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miners are the pillars of our communities, and many of them are veterans of our nation. for decades they worked hard and played by the rules. yet, the realties facing these men and women are stark. they are up against the wall, and we're up against the wall with them. and the challenges they face will only grow if we fail to accommodate and have immediate action. we can talk about the realities of the war on coal, but this is about more than that. this is about people. tens of thousands of people, mostly older, many suffering health issues who rely on health care, and many are in need. this is about tens of thousands of coal jobs that have been lost, devastating my region of the country, forcing miners to rely on these modest benefits more than ever before. this is about employers that are bankrupt, that can no longer fund these benefit plans. and you know, we have a
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solution right here in front of us that's ready for a vote to prevent any lapse in benefits. it's a solution that has support from both sides of the aisle. we passed the miner protection act out of the finance committee in a bipartisan way, and it's a solution that could mean the difference in the livelihoods of tens of thousands of americans. i have really, really hoped that we could offer the miner protection act as an amendment to the 21st century cures bill. the 21st century cures bill is all about health. the miner protection act is a lot about the health and well-being of our miners f miners. and that's why despite the many good things and benefits in the 21st century bill, which opioid epidemic funding, which hits my state of west virginia and many of our states really hard, advanced medicine, cancer moonshot, i had to oppose us moving forward on the cures bill tonight without an amendment process. that's how important this issue is to our miners. before friday, we will move
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forward on a bill to fund our government. we must take action in that bill, which i consider mostly our lance chance, the -- our last chance, the continuing resolution, to protect important benefits to our miners. if we don't -- if we don't, we will be failing to act in the benefit of thousands of american workers. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. a senator: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: i now ask unanimous consent that the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: i also ask unanimous consent to vitiate all actions taken today during the session of the senate on h.r. 5602, senate 3336 and calendar number 695 through 683. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn till 10 a.m. tuesday, december 6. following prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time
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for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. further, following leader's remarks, the senate resume consideration of the house message to accompany h.r. 34 postcloture. finally, that all time during adjournment and recess of the senate count postcloture on the motion to concur. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: leader -- i'm sorry, mr. president, if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the the presiding officer: the >> the senate today advancing medical research bill that includes funding for the national institutes of health. and vice president biden's cancer moonshot initiative. later the defense will take up a defense bill. and with government spending center on up up by friday we expect a temporary reaction of funding.
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you can follow the senate live on c-span two. the vote vote on the medical research bill included vice president biden presiding over the chamber. just before the vote mitch mcconnell acknowledge the vice president and his work on the cancer moonshot initiative. he asked that the cancer provision of the bill be named after the vice president's late son bo who died of brain cancer in 2015. to >> it is a rare day when we see the vice president presiding, we we welcome you him here today. we look forward to welcome you back later in the week. i know members will have plenty to say about his life and his legacy later in the week, but today the senate would like to specifically acknowledge hisca efforts to help american struggling with cancer.
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he has known the cruel told this disease can take. chosen he has not let it defeat him, he has chosen to fight back, he has taken a leading role in the senate will soon pass the 21st presiding of to his tremendous effort. i think it is fitting to dedicate this bill's critical cancer initiative in honor of someone who would be proud of the presiding officer today. and that is his son, bo. in just a moment that is exactly what the senate will do. renaming the and our age cancer initiative in this bill after bo biden. one m >> if i could say to my friend the democratic leader, i have one more. therefore mr. president i ask unanimous consent the senate
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proceed to the consideration of hr reds 174 which is at the 174 desk. >> the clerk will report. t >> s concurrent resolution 174 dick wrecked in the clerk of house of representatives to make a correction in the enrollment of hr 34. ti >> is their objection to proceeding to the measure? >> without objection. >> i call up in a moment with weight which would rename the title of the bill. i would say to the clerk i would like for her to read the entire thing. >> the clerk will report the amendment. >> the center from kentucky mr. mcconnell proposes an amendment number 5137 beginning on page 1, line 7, strike following correction and alls. that follows an answer the following.er purpo the following corrections, one. amend the long title so as to re-, and acted to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of 21st century and further purposes. to, amend the section heading for section 1001 it so as to read, abiding cancer
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moonshot innovation project. three, amend the table of contents in section one so that the item relating to sectionoond 1001 read as follows, 1001, ohio biden cancer moonshot and nih am moonshot project. >> i asked consent that the amendment be agreed to, the concurrent resolution is amendment be agreed to in the motion considered be laid upon the table with no action or debate. >> without objection. [applause]ere, he >> the presenting officer served in the senate for 36 years, during the time his here he was about as much a man of the
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senate as anyone could be. he was a democrat, but he was also available to anybody, anytime, and i so admire him, i know he has worked closely with the the republican leader on important issues the last eight years. so i want the record to be spread with the fact that a presiding officer, proud of his family as anyone could be and it lit only furthers the fact that this man the present enough or has had on this country. i am grateful to the leader for allowing me to ne cosponsor this important amendment changing the name of this bill to bo biden memorial moonshot. i'm grateful to him. all the leaders and senators understand that you are a man of
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the senate and always will be. the climax. >> the clerk will report the motion. >> congress continues work on the medical research treatment bill noticed the 21st-century cures act, peter silverman, what is the main purpose of this legislation? >> it's a bipartisan effort and is looking to speed up the approval of new drugs, new cures to get the patients, particularly for rare diseases, but it also has money in it which is helping bring the democrats on board to invest money in that national institutes of health for medical research, particularly on cancer. vice president biden the cancer moonshot is a big part of the bill and it has funding for that as long as other medical research items. the idea is to speed up, improve
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research and innovation around cures and new drugs to get to patient. >> so democrats really showing they were on board in the house what last week. the boat 392 - 26, the house passing the measure last week. what are some of the key house and senate lawmakers responsible for getting final build on? >> this is a threat up in republican from michigan, he is the chairman of the house energy and commerce committee, he is until the end of this year, this was his big last act, his signature bill that he has been pushing for a long time. but it is bipartisan. congresswoman diana -- a democrat from colorado was his big partner in the house on this. they joined with the senate for the house committee chairman, lamarr exit alexander in his counterpart patty murray, the democrat also played a big role. >> a couple of specifics, what with the bill do about fda drug
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approval process? >> it's a variety of ways to try to speeded up make it more efficient, some critics have said it goes too far and has made the lowering standards of the fda, but the sponsors push back on that and said still going to be safe, we are just tried to speeded up. for example, using something called real-world evidence, so instead of waiting for clinical trial which is the gold standard but takes a long time and can be expensive, it allows for data from the use of a drug in the real world to say, this looks like it is having a good effect, maybe we can just use this data ahead of time without waiting for the clinical trial. >> does the bill include funding for to fight opiate abuse. connect this to the bill that was passed earlier this year, the larger packet and fighting opiate abuse. >> this is been an issue that congress has been dealing with, the opiate of abuse. there was a bill earlier the sheer but the democrats
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criticize that bill, a lot voted but still criticized insanity and have money in it. so now this bill today is bringing some money along which is making some democrats happy, it is 1,000,000,000 dollars over two years. it is a significant amount of money and that is dry praise from the white house and republicans as well have said they want to put money towards the. >> strong support in the house, the white house is in it supports the bill but it has some concerns, what are those? >> they set over all the strongly favor the bill. they're upset, as people often are on the way the measures paid for. it does have some obama care cuts and it called the prevention fund which is part of obama care and is meant to provide money to prevent illnesses, for example stopping people from smoking which leads to cancer, but overall their
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concerns are relatively small, i think they're pretty happy with where the bill ended up. >> you mentioned vice president and the vice president was in the chamber for the 21st century cures at, what does this do bill do specifically for them which i program? >> it gives it money. that's the the main thing. 1.8 billion dollars, part part of that any h funding is set aside for cancer research to essentially cure cancer over a number of years. experts say it it is not as simple as coming up with one cure but it's trying to accelerate research and knowledge of cancer. it is a big win for vice president biden. it something is passionate about. he will be coming to the senate to see it in person. >> what is it in the bill that has senator sanderson warren
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upset about a? >> to the holdouts on the bipartisan plot, and there basically saying this is a giveaway to pharmaceutical companies. it's helping them get their drugs approved faster. other little provisions that were slipped in their that they say or disfavors to the drug companies and in return they're not really getting anything. they say does does nothing to address drug prices which is been a big issues with epipen's getting a lot of uproar. this bill does not directly deal with drug prices, that would've made a much more partisan issue which lawmakers are trying to avoid. worn and sanders also say that even though there is money they wanted it to be what's called mandatory which means is guaranteed funding it's guaranteed funding and doesn't have to be renewed every year, but this sunday mother's day money it does have to go through the appropriations process over your. >> you can follow the reporting
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on this and other issues up at the hill.com and on twitter at peter sullivan, thank you thank you for the update. >> thank you. >> in 1979, c-span was created as a public service a public service by america's cable television companies. it is brought you today by your cable or satellite provider. the current house republican study chair, congressman and incoming chair outlined the goals for the conservative movement in the new congress. arthur brooks the head of the american enterprise institute leaves the event. >> in afternoon everyone, good good afternoon for those of you joining us here live, i am delighted to welcome all of you to the republican spending committee changeover and leadership event. our two guests before you will
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talk today about the republican study committee and what the plans are for the future. please join join me in welcoming our guests. [applause] >> as things generally are these days we have an audience here at the headquarters and we also have a larger audience who are watching us here, not my but some live over the internet. a lot of people are joining us by lifestream today. we're going to be opening up for q&a. before start of start with housekeeping which is that if you are watching us on lifestream and you want to join in on the conversation, the way you do that on your browser is to go to fl idl and enter the code aei
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event is the code. and we want to welcome our viewers on c-span, thank you for joining us. i've been looking for to the event because this is something that we have done a bunch of times. it's a relationship that we truly cherish. the republican study committee has been a force of intellectual ideas in a moral force in the u.s. house of representatives for long time. since i've been to washington, d.c. it's been impressive work. we have 170 members, 70 members, it is the majority of the majority in the house, it impacts major policies, it has unless you congresses and it promises to do even more in the coming years given the political world once we see around here aei and has had a productive and special relationship. this is the third time we've hosted the the conversation between the outgoing and incoming chairman. let me introduce them briefly before we turn to the event. the current chairman's representative billboards who
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represents the 17th district of texas. his on my far left. [inaudible] congressman floors was elected to congress in 2010 in the epic year of 2010 which is really the beginning of some major changes in party politics and around the country. and was elected as artists we chairman a 2014. before that he spent 30 years in the oil and gas business in texas. the incoming chairman for the next congress's representative mark walker from the sixth district of north carolina. mark and i have gotten to know each other through his series of medication seminars we've been doing on the hill. it's been a lovely thing for me, i enjoy. i enjoy. he was elected to congress recently in 2014 and has had a rocket did assent heading up the rnc in the beginning of his second term. before politics he worked as a pastor. before ministry who worked in
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business and finance. he's done a lot for the pocketbook in the sulfur americans. and now politics. two weeks ago he is elected by his colleagues to be the chair for the incoming congress. i congratulate congratulate you on that we cannot be happier. a few things will do and the conversation to start out by asking a few questions. then we will direct a few questions to the incoming chairman and open up for discussion with the rest of you and finally, we will take some live and virtual questions and discussions and finish up so let's start with you. represented floors, you been the chairman for the last two years
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a president obama's presidency. we did not know where the country was going, think we all got a little bit of a surprise in the last election i think it's fair to say. it's one of the few elections were both people on the left and people on the right almost equally surprised by how things turned out. one of the key lessons or takeaways as far as i'm concerned, i'm not a washington guy, from through seattle washington, but i've not lift your must make rear. the remarkable thing i find is so many politicians interpret victories as permanent and the selection tells us those who saw the permanent realignment of american politics in 2008 to the left or wrong, were wrong and those who see this as a permanent victory for the republican party are probably wrong too. we. we should never treat any political victories as permanent so what let's talk about what you have seen the last few years, what's your assessment looking back over the past few years of what you have done and how you're thinking of it? >> i think if you look at the macro environment that we started with, we started the 114
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congress with some headwinds in front of us. first of all if you remember the president's first state president's first state of the union after he got elected was that he was going to bypass congress. remember he said i have a pen and i have a phone. so that set the theme for the last four years of his presidency. and he followed through with that threat. so he largely viewed the constitution as irrelevant and congress as an inconvenience. and that's the way he behaved in the last for years. so we had to deal with that. ultimately it went to our benefit because the american people rejected that style of leadership. that is the environment we were living with with the rnc. we did have an a majority in the house, we had a majority in the senate, the senate majority you cannot tell that we were a majority or not because it was hard to tell who was controlling the agenda. so the rnc had to maintain a clear, thoughtful, conservative course moving forward. i think we did a good job in
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that in the hundred 13th congress. we center the most aspirational, transformational budgets that we've ever pass, we also created a framework and task forces to be able to provide the underlying conservative substance for what became the speakers of a better way agenda. when speaker i became speaker and he talked about setting a new path for the country, we decided look, we are the conservative majority in the house, let's set that, let's set that, let's take ownership of that, we created six tax forces that we dealt with national security, fiskars responsibility, economic empowerment and those in the underclass of folks in poverty, we looked at better ways to deal fact, we looked at tax care and healthcare reform and looked looked at restoring our limited constitution. we took goes on. we created a series of white
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papers for the speaker to use or for the house task force to use and they ultimately form 70 and 80% of -- and if you take that one step further to the presidential race, donald trump's make america great again, it really has most of this embedded in it. now here to get laid it it in a different way than i would do it. definitely different than pants did it but he was saying essentially the same things in terms of let's in america back the right set of rails. so i feel like the rnc played a part in the transformation of government that we have had over the last few weeks. now history will determine whether that is the case or not, i want to echo something he said. i just. i just read a headline that said the democratic party is dead. i think most of us in this room would like to say that is true,
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but if is going to be dead, it's up to us to keep it that way. if we as conservatives lose our bearing, if we go the wrong direction and we have seen that in the past, we've seen republican's driveway in the seventies, you saw 70s, you saw republicans dry away from the core principles during the bush 43 presidency. if we stray than that will provide -- the democratic party to come back. so we have to stay thoughtful to the core values that we spouse in the last election that gave us unified government. and i'm pretty confident that were going to do that. we set the framework and i think mark is the right person to lead us forward. >> was you say the biggest headwinds you face over the past two years. >> the biggest headwind for several you had a senate that believed how i say this
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carefully? the rules. >> were [inaudible] tv or anything. [laughter] >> i've already had a couple of senators talks about my comments and some were housebroken senators, anyway, let me say this. the american people make decisions in elections and they really don't care whatever rules are up. they. they don't care about the inside washington stuff. when they say drain the swamp they mean drain the swamp. they don't care if there's a 60 bill threshold and the summit or not, they want to get things done. so i think the biggest things we've had over the last couple of years was that you have an out of control executive branch and when you actually dig into the constitution, we have a limited set set of remedies to deal with that. if you don't have a senate that is willing to go ahead and use the majority in an effective manner to help you out.
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if you want to change the behavior of the executive branch, change the way you allocate dollars. but that means you have to pass an appropriations bill and the senate only pass one or two appropriations bill. if you you want to change the direction of the executive branch, then you have to find a way to pass legislation that puts the president on notice that he's going the wrong direction. we had difficulty doing that. and we all saw it, but we cannot really get that all the way through the article one branch and that's what was frustrating to many of us as conservatives in this country. >> i can imagine a situation in which that is not -- the tension between the senate and house going forward particularly when
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there's a president and who knows what the relationship is going to be, it's gonna be an adventure. i guess that leads me to my next question, what advice have you been giving that you can tell us in public to mark? >> well first off i don't think i need to give much advice to mark because i think mark is wired writes already. i hate to use that terminology,. mark is fundamentally conservative in in a great leader. i think he has all the tools in place. the advice i would give to marcus the advice i would give to any conservative, that is, remember if her fighting each each other were not fighting the chew enemies in the hard-working american families in this country are suffering. so we always need, when you decide that my conservative bill is better than yours, instead of
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trying to work together to find out how to make a common conservative bill, then that energy are spending on being mad takes we been able to achieve the objective of getting the thoughtful conservative solution across the finish line. on in the president's desk and in the law so you can improve the lives of hard-working american families. so make sure that you're very careful to not let our rnc conservatives fight among each other. make sure they have been northstar out there to go out and try to touch all of the time. >> fractionalization can be a problem and what can we do about that? and return it over to mark for second. a couple of things you don't know that i just learned he's a trumpet player, it's important that we all be brass players i believe. and also, you have an elvis and profession that is well known on the hill?
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>> i cannot confirm or deny at this point. >> will try to do this one time when you're the outgoing chairman all get you liquored up and we'll see what we can do. what you see right now, you have been around in a member and you know weight around the hill at this point, what are your top priorities for the republican committee? >> it's interesting how those have grown exponentially in the last 30 days. as a body we have moved from trying to work hard to throw legislation against the wall to and hope that it sticks as opposed to say let's push forward policy and laws that impact many generations. a couple of those things that come to my mind's tax reform. how many decades how many decades have really been talking about tax reform? this administration has added 8000 pages of tax code regulations. a small businesses and individuals get in the crosshairs of the irs, they don't have a chance.
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so being able to leave it out we have good ideas still keep three major deductions, higher education, turtle charitable giving and the mortgage interest rate, i think those three would be a huge win obviously without getting too much into a talking point but to repeal obama care. i've enjoyed working with the senators on recommendations, it's an opportunity for us to sink our teeth into it quickly and early on. the reason i think it's so important of what we do with that repeal, we want to make sure, i know there's arguments, we have a standard here and a chance to go after the heart of obama care even under reconciliation, i think those two priorities are something we need to partner, also hopefully
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partner with the congress to get done early on in the spring. >> it sounds like you'll be busy. >> do you think that in doing that infighting against that that you can grow the size and bring in people, fractionalization ordinarily curse one the other side is in the white house and you might be able to bring people together probably a little bit more of a common thing, do you think growing the rnc is the way to do a? >> i think it's a high product of it, i feel like that if we do our job, whether it's business politics, ministry, you do your job and it fluctuates as opposed to artificially recruiting people in,. >> terrific. >> sorry to jump in, the rnc is
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not affected because of its size, it's effective because of the members that it has. and the ideas that they put forth and how they are willing to advocate for those ideas, not only at home among their constituents but here among their colleagues, here among the outside groups and so the rnc today is 178 members and i'm not sure if that's really the right size or not. i think maybe a smaller rnc would be possibly more effective. >> it's like price rationing here. >> i'm not trying to say, i guess what i'm trying to say is the size of the rnc is not the important issue here. and i think marketed on the head, if we develop the right policies, the right strategies, then we'll have the right people as members to get the right thing done. >> now the rnc has traditionally been known as the conservative thinking coalition on the republican side of the house, but not many americans, a lot of people in this room are sophisticated but the fact that
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they are different brands of republican party on the house i, do the scorecard for the viewers at home at this point, they hear about the study and republicans through leadership and the freedom caucus, just talk us through the different brands of republicanism on the house side. >> i love to start. what were on his effective conservativism. >> there is no reason that we cannot track whether it's leadership which is what we call the tuesday group, several of those groups -- we are the largest effective conservative caucus. however long were privileged to serve here whether it's two years or 20 years, can you look back and say, was it
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simply about winning the argument or making a difference? are there measured marks of success where you have moved the needle forward? i think i think that consist of three things. the right policy, the right approach, and the right approach. what i mean by the right voice, if you go back in business and some of you may have worked in that arena, but can sometimes reach what they call a mature stage. people are walking past the shelf, calyx cornflakes had that in the 80's or 99 they release this commercial, new england or eating cornflakes for the tagline was this, taste them, taste them again for the first time. then when you talk about the different factions, conservatives as a whole across i feel like it's us again for the first time. we have an opportunity and incredible moment in history right now to lower voices to be heard.
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i don't want to elaborate too long but that's why think the approach is important. republicans and conservatives at any time or guilty of preaching to the choir. that's our culture, if you want to use the metaphor continuum of analogy, that's where the a men's are. >> but the goal should be how do we get the conservative message in the new community and into new places. sometimes it's now is leading with a policy but leading with the relationship to visit, listening grow the relationship that in a sense, i'll give you an example if you look at a news news car or used car and you're looking at the different bells and whistles, if i look at your used car and say that's the nastiest piece of automotive i've seen in my life there's automatically a defensive nature that comes up. we have to to do better across the board has conservatives and i think that comes out our messaging, thus which are me to run for congress initially. we will stay consistent with
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that and i believe this provides an incredible place to exhibit that conservativism across the board,. >> i have to agree. mark calls the effective conservativism, i call it thoughtful conservativism. it's the same thing. is there a policy, the right approach, i like the way he calls at the what right voice and that's how you train us to because you are struck by the you are stuck by the conservative heart how we don't do well in conservative messaging. so we have to have the right way to message the policies that the american people essentially voted for on november eighth. so we have to help articulate that and then have the policy behind that i believe the rnc has the ability to do that. again the membership today has that cross-section, it's not a miniconference if you look at the average conservative score
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it is way more conservative as a whole. but we do have enough adversity to have good thoughtful ideas, an outfit that drives a solid conservative solutions. >> what i find exciting is that there's going to continue to be a push and it's going to continue to drive a message outside the traditional constituent. i realize that this look like a good year for republicans, but it was a 5050 election, it was not i mean it's pretty good at the state local level to be sure, but this is not, it doesn't look like a victory or huge wave that
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republicans if they're going to be successful to take a message into a nontraditional community to be sure. as part of your priorities stuff that the house can drive into the senate get done were talk about tax and repealing parts of obama care and dodd frank, but what are the nontraditional things that you're thinking of that will help represent through republicans and a new way to show basically conservative head, liberal liberal heart, what he can do about that? >> just yesterday we were able to bring in my staff and i were able to bring in a copy of and evangelicals across the country. really people in different regions of the country to talk about two things come immigration and race relations. i believe the church has an opportunity, not to direct the policy but to partner with us on getting this message to fresh communities. i was privileged to be able have two major endorsements in my
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area, to wonderful, lifelong democrat from the african-american community. the one lady, mayor johnson has never had a republican yard sign in her in her yard before. his intentionality to build the foundation relationship because if you're willing to invest in the time it allows you to speak on the topic as you would call the nontraditional topics. i believe it not just builds a republican party but there's fertile soil right now. we have the data on our side in the last eight years have not benefited any community. in north carolina homeownership is down eight years in a row in the minority community. we have the data. but how we share that message is crucial. if we in with a strong armor common attack in any aspect of life, when you start from an adversary position you limit your gain immediately. if are willing to look across
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the conference and talk about these nontraditional items, we have an incredible opportunity to impact her culture. >> mark is right. our messaging has to go outside. we can't just be on fox news all the time. we have to we have to go talk to msnbc and make the case about why american families are struggling today. why they're better off under an environment. how they're better off with a new way to approach poverty covers the old way didn't work. and look at how the obama care failed and we have new, fresh ideas to deal with those issues and talk about why constitutional limited government is better for the american people, because that means the government is taking less of the liberties away from the american people and giving it back to them and the government works for them not against them, those are things that resonate across any
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community, but we have to reach into those communities and use whatever toolset we can find. there might be guys there that are hostile to interview with, but we have to do that. we have to get outside our comfort zone as conservatives and carry this message out to the american people. >> nothing is more effective for the conservative message or any message then, if politics is the business of persuasion as opposed to locking down the basin talking to the troop of believers which is a good way in a bad way -- one of the great ways we've seen is to talk to the people who are hostile, because those who are watching are persuadable. they're the ones who say i just saw -- on msnbc and no horns. that's crazy. and who knows. and the ellison presentation was unbelievable. >> i think you guys have even addressed this i think it's on the first page of your website
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and if i could remember the way he faced it is we encourage civil disagreement. that says it all because what you're doing is going into new environments and you're not just taking a message to people who agree with you. when you can think of that perspective it gives an opportunity. >> the committee going where they're not invited. let's talk about another faction, at least another movement in conservatism, republicanism today. it's hard to miss the populism that's happened in the republican party as of late. nobody knows how long that will persist. but that is the way that carried president-elect trumped for the white house. i think we all understand what the phenomenon is but it has policy and wrinkles to it. that's interesting from a standpoint, it's it's about the concept of free trade. it has been's with respect to
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immigration but how do we iron out those wrinkles and how do you see it let's start with you bill. you will running as we went through the election, and a how are you going to take it up. >> if you listen to a donald trump set about trade, he started out was something to get everybody's attention and that is that nafta has heard the american people and tpp will hurt the american people, but then as he went along i was was a hook to get people to listen and then he took it to the next step and said i'm going to negotiate trait great trade deals. essentially what he same as we need free trade but we need to have fair trade deals.
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so he's gonna scrap tpp and i'm fine with that and then he'll do it trade deal and let's make sure were taking care of america first. you could take take care of america first in a way to put the other five on the bargaining table doesn't lose. so i think the president smart enough to do it, i think we know how to do that, when it comes to immigration, i'm have a very conservative district in texas, but you know what they want? they say it's fast to have fine to have an agreement. 90% of my district is fine with a path to citizenship agreement. the second thing they say is that they're fine with a path to legal status for folks who broke
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the long came here illegal. but the thing they want to start a discussion is they want to see the border secure before they do any of that. so i think we go back to it said and build a wall, look at it whether it's a physical wall it's a physical wall or more of a virtual systems type wall, but you make sure the american people feel comfortable that they are safe from people coming across the border and then we can have a discussion about what you do with the folks that are here, the dreamers, the folks that committed the crime they came across. and if you can take that an conservative district like mine find a way that sounds like a liberal policy but it's not, it's a compassionate conservative policy, think there's ways to have a good, robust decision. the outcome of this, is you people committed to the republican party forever. because you sat down with them and you engage them in a way where you did not make them your enemy.
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and too often i think in the populism, we turn off people and we don't have to do that. >> i have one of if not the finest legislative director here today. but there are times where i disappoint him when he gets into these 30 minute policy rants and have to say i don't think the people care. and what i mean by that even though it's valuable to have the depth and comprehensive policy, i married to a family nurse practitioner trauma nurse who flies on a helicopter and does real work, if i'm in that situation where i am needing that attention, i don't really want to cure sure about the hippocratic vote to make my pain go away, i just feel like there's a crisis and we need help. that's where the american people are.
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so when we get into this policy elitism talk, we just need to make sure that our message is very strong. when i first began to think about running for office i remember attending the national convention in tampa in 2012. i went down there was trying to look all around and one of the things i noticed was this great lip service and intentionality about regional communities in different youth and generations of minorities. and as soon as we spanish now put your hands together for the oak ridge boys. what what we learned in that moment is what we're doing versus what were saying. it was a contrast. and i feel like as for is where we need to grow this point, we need to make sure as we talked to the american people that were
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able to do, not these condescending terms of political greek and latin, but be able to say this is where you're hurting, we hurting, we are at point a, we need to get to point b and hear the two or three steps to get there. i believe before able to do that we will have by and that maybe we haven't seen in generations. >> i find it interesting that nuance approach to the immigration question is particularly important. and the fact that the house of representatives is traditionally been the think tank of the republican party which is a great role, experimentation happens there, thought were policy goes to die which you didn't say that about the senate, just insinuated that about the senate,. things can happen in that place. i love the spirit of politics, but you're also talking about an approach that is nontraditional, it doesn't, it doesn't fit on a bumper sticker, a wall, it doesn't treat all immigrants,
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even illegal illegal immigrants is equal to another. at of that and i think that's important. and it it does represent the views of your constituents. that leads me to the next question which is as the experimenting body for the republican party, what is your view on the ability to do that and i bring that up because there's been a complaint about the separation of powers as of late. the extent to which congress should continue to be the congress and where your idea if you disagree should take precedence over the constitution designates that. how is the approach gonna change. when the republicans controlled the house of representatives and the senate it was kind of easy to talk about the problem when president obama was using the phone and issuing executive orders. what happens when it's a president in your party? >> i think we all agree that
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some of president trumps propose policies are not going to line up very well with our conservative policies. with respect to that, what, what i would like to do, if i had absolute control over the agenda in the house, and i don't. don't. i'm not trying to claim that. but what i would do is say what are those areas where we have good alignment with what resident trump wants to go and where we want to go and then say we will take the lead on this and we will give you the legislative constitutions to go forward in that way he is not inclined to try to use in -- early on in the election process he said, i will through executive orders to this this and this, and then i think there's a time where he started to soften them because his
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advisers and hey, you have to pay attention to what article one says versus what article to says. so i think the rates to reinforce that make him feel comfortable with that is let's do the things where we agree, let's look at tax reform and obama care. let's do border security and rebuild national security and those areas where his agendas are not exactly aligned with ours, we can easily take six months to do those things that we agree, enables the next six months to figure out where the commonality is between what he wants to do with respect to infrastructure and what we think the way to go just as one example. so i think that's what we need to do. work on the things where we know were together pick the 80% solution to move forward and then we'll figure out how to deal with so the market people know that they're getting something for the vote that they made last month and then we'll
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figure out the rest in the next six months. >> on the 80% concept of say ronald reagan, when he talked about that it was interesting, he is not talking about just 80% of what republicans agree and he was talking but 80% that republicans and democrats agree on. some are, what is your view on the most likely ways where you can make some new friends on the other side of the aisle? speemac, relational person. but it has it has to be genuine. one of the things that were able to do early on and from what we understand was the first time we've done this in congress, we launched a bipartisan hb cu you internship program. we reached out, with education and hbc you world and in fact we have a lot of hbc you presidents coming in february of next year. i think the way to do that, you have to take the lead and not in
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a way where you're attacking or trying to show off the opposition, shows this is an area not just the lipservice aspect of it but literally intentional action steps you can make. that that was one of them. it is an environment where others see outside groups or other entities, we are in this boxing ring and were having to dodge and weave and move our feet at the same time. it's difficult. through a place that can develop most is at the local level. as this thing grows up it augments or spreads out and makes it more challenging. doesn't delineate our responsibility to make every effort that we can whether it's dinner plain sports together, together, or whatever it might be, that's not pretended he. if you always use it it doesn't dumb down with a harsh rhetoric we sometimes see in d.c. >> one of the key things that
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has caused bitterness between republicans and democrats is rib obama care. probably no piece of legislation has been more divisive than that. in 2008 when president obama won and promised to do that, and 2009 when they rammed it through on a strict partyline vote. i was brand-new and a little naïve about politics. i remember thinking to myself, boy, they should probably see if they can find some not completely -- enemies and maybe leave a little something for someone on that side and they didn't. they said this is it's gonna be, i want, you loss, it was a strict partyline vote. shoes on the other foot now. i've heard from my friends who were responsible for the legislation and it is very better. they cannot believe their lifework is about to be repealed and replaced by something at least in part.
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is there a lesson that conservatives can learn from that? is there way that we can attenuate some hostilities from the other side? maybe not make allies in a bit make less than implacable post. learn how learn how to not win the way the democrats did? >> i immediately think my dad and mom were born and raised until obama, huge crimson tide man so we grew up a big football fans. but he said this, he said loose with grace, when with humility. and when you ask up that question that's what i thought of. when with humility. we don't
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have to spike the football, because we have to ask ourselves long term, what is our end goal. is it to accomplish as you suggest to build accomplish as you suggest to build those bipartisanship relationship? there's a moment here, we can go out attack, attack, attack, attack it or we could say let's revisit is that a little bit of a pollyanna viewpoint? >> . .
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so, if our goal is to achieve those three objectives then i think we ought to reach across the aisle. there may be a good idea in that, there may not get include the amendment process and as long as they are acting in good faith and they continue discussions and if they don't act in good faith, if everything is designed to be a poison pill, and if that's the case warned them are you with us and in trying to increase access and affordability? no, then let saddam do this and if you are just there to make political points than we are going to slam the door on you. but i would even go they didn't treat us this way, i would extend the olive branch and give them a chance. i'm not very optimistic that they will do that but give them an opportunity and do it on c-span so the american people can see at least we gave them a chance to be part of the process and they elected to not be part of process.
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the pay-to-play political games and hopefully they will understand obamacare was probably the thing that caused them the majority in 2010. cynic there are two possible goals here. most people agree the patient should be making the decision regarding health care and it's very crucial if the amount of democrats that are hearing from small businesses on what the obamacare mandates are doing to those businesses that gives us a major opportunity. scott ferguson and i were talking about this the other day. one of our first guest we may be bringing in the former president bill clinton to speak about the heals of obamacare and maybe he can share some of those things. we are going to turn to the audience now. we have a few really good questions coming in from my ipad but we will start actually here right in the back and then we are going to go, so wait for
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the mic and tell us your affiliation. >> hello. i i'm madeline and i'm from the center for american progress. you met that you went with that non-traditional -- i'm wondering what specific message should the church beginning out and how to set relate to the republican study committee? >> thank you, lovely question. i will give an example. one of the pastors were concerned. they have a church of several thousand attendees on the sunday morning and one at their church plans is in the hispanic community. we were talking the other day about putting people on the deacon board and we realized we had 200 undocumented people and we were wrestling with the fact the should we even allow them to serve as deacon? the problem is sometimes the republican talking points come every time we talk about this,
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secure the border, secure the border, secure the border. we have to secure the border first but we cannot ignore the situation long-term. what are the solutions and we'll say we will figure that out once we secure the border. maybe it's time for this to be proactive instead of reactionary. and to the heart of your question that's where so many evangelicals as we saw up. the presidential primary 16 of their first went to state these are issues that are important to the enemy can partner with the compassionate side of the church to long-term solutions. >> i see my colleague in the audience and he runs our property practice which is something critically important to us here. i know the two of you care about this a lot because i've talked
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to you both about this particular issue. what can we see that his new among conservative republicans in trying to ameliorate poverty? this is sadly a question that didn't come up very much during the campaign yet american poverty has become extremely tragic particular over the last eight years. we are going to make any progress over the next four years i think the idea are going to at least in part come from the house side. what kind of encouragement can you give us that we are going to see some big new thinking about helping our brothers and sisters who are falling below the poverty line in this country? >> well i think you are going to see some really old transformational thinking. if you look at the better way agenda that we have created in the house, that represents the thinking we did and a big percentage of that, of those
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policy solutions were developed by rnc membership. we had members that were passionate about this issue we went on talk to the communities that are stuck in poverty we said what is it? i mean you don't like being here. what is it that you need and what is it that you why? we look at it from a totally different way than the way poverty programs today represent. poverty programs today are measured by input. how many days and dollars to date do you spend? how many people to give food stamps to and how many people do get housing assistance to? they never judge the outcome so our welfare program should become work replacement instead of things to get you equipped and ready to go to work and they sometimes are disincentivized to go to work. we turn this on its head and say we are going to help you get the training that you need but we are going to make sure that you
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are always there to have a job to grab that run on the economic ladder insert climbing on the economic ladder to have all the opportunity. you are stuck in poverty and that's a thinking we have got. of all the things that could change the country you could eliminate a big chunk of the permanent underclass if we could start looking at poverty in a different way and view it as it's designed to get people out of poverty and not to help them stay in poverty. that's the problem with the progress we have today. once you are in it is hard to get out. for instance if you are on welfare and you get married your benefits are cut so you destroy the family. when you destroy the family your chances of giving -- getting out of poverty or diminish further. so we have to do things that protect us and not destroy the family is the part of the way we look at dealing with this issue.
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>> i jump in on generational poverty and i talk about the family that everything we can do whether the second chance act anything we can do the drive that family back together if you go back to 1960s across-the-board families were attacked more than 80% of the time and now various places is less than 20%. the statistics are easily read when it comes to the family is productive overcoming poverty. yet what we see is the breakout of the family, culture condition the spiritual condition of my opinion. those are the kinds of policies policies -- policy limitations we need to do to drive a pathway for that families to be intact as much as we can. not incentives that is still just talk about the key people separated to enhance people for not getting married and not have a structured family. that's an area where we have plenty of room to attack in the future. >> i don't think either of you
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even with a hint of hostility towards the safetynet per se. actually it's remarkable from an american perspective when they think they know conservatives are. you are pro safetynet conservatives but he wants welfare with work and welfare with dignity. >> we catch you when you fall but we don't -- we help you get a job and raise a healthy family. the best social program in family is a paycheck and the great job to support it. that's so you'd be the family and house the family and educate the family and you grow the tax base and the middle class. that's what we need a trampoline to bounce back on their feet. sin one of the most rewarding aspects of my short tenure in congress is to go to the various communities and have an opportunity to talk about the fact that god is created you with specific skills and talents and abilities that are unique to
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your very person. because of that you have every right, every opportunity to flourish and find a pathway and to see some of that resonate for the first time, it's incredibly rewarding. those are the kinds of messages i believe we need to be talking in a conservative talk process and not one of condemnation. >> the periphery not of society but of our conference room. >> congratulations to aei on the new pics. very impressive. whether or probably during the campaign there was little to no discussion about the country's prodigious fiscal problem including entitlement reform so what is there is he planning to do to drive some much-needed solutions in that area? >> do you want to go first? >> 1967, 68 you look at two
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budgetary processes. you have the maturity of discretionary payment late 1960s we had 26 or 27% anatori and 73 or 40% discretionary spending. what is discretionary? is what the government should be focused on infrastructure different education arenas military defense etc. and what is mandatory? is basically two things interest on the national debt and since that time it's amber did. by 2023/24 it would have grown to 80% mandatory and 20% discretionary. it's not only a fiscal problem by the national security issue at some point. sina cutbacks already trying to take the military and put them in different places. we have to do some hard decision-making when it comes to the entitlement side and there a few bills passing around right now. i visit it can get it done in the past eight years with the lack of veto power that those are some things that it wasn't talked much about in the campaign but members of congress
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on the legislative side that is something we will have to take a look at. otherwise we are doing a disservice to generations behind us. >> i would like to chat on this. if you really want to see how we look at this from an rnc perspective look at the budget that we have proposed the last six years since i've been in congress since we have had a republican majority. you look at the rnc budget it's much, much more conservative than the house budget as a whole and we haven't been timid about touching the so-called third rails. we have touch medicaid and medicare and we touch social security. not that we want cutting them but making them sustainable and also making sure that we stop the intergenerational theft because today what's happening today is our millennial generation is being robbed of their future by older generations and we have to stop that.
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our budgets particularly the last two which make social security solvent and medicare solvent and medicaid solvent in the ways we should do that. we as conservatives in the house have not forgotten about that and we have actually put it in writing and we have withstood the political fallout that comes from putting these aggressive agendas on the table. some of those things actually -- some of our ideas have worked in the house budget. remember my first year on the budget committee we touch medicaid and medicare that very first year and in our first budget we ballasted in three years. the rnc budgets were balanced and 10. in my second year at ballasted 10. the house budget -- we at the rnc have continued to push the conference to the right but do it in a way that doesn't blow up those permits. that's the first thing the other
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side says. we have proven that what's happening today is we are taking food away from babies from future generations and throwing them off the cliff when of these programs fail anyway. what we have done is said we will make them sustainable for current generations and future generations. >> we are very aggressive at that program. >> it's an interesting point that did not come up as a matter of republican politics during this presidential campaign so is it fair to say that this is an area where rnc will show resolution independence notwithstanding where the rest of the party goes? >> yes. mark is definitely going to have an answer on this as well but we are going to show particularly that this is where there's probably some daylight between the president-elect and us because he wants to spend
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trillions on amber structure. he says we are not going to touch it. and not touching entitlements damages his ability ultimately to be a successful president. we are not going to be able to afford national defense and building the virtual wall where the visible wall whatever it is he wants to do. we are going to have a record with them and i'm not being critical. we have got to sit down and have the rest of conversation. the thing about the president-elect his behavior in the past two weeks i think he has shown he's willing to sit down and talk to people and converse on this. it won't be me, it will be mark. >> i'm thinking we may have to push back a little bit whether it's not just the president's administration but sometimes his own leadership is the excessive spending. that's where sometimes it gets a

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