Skip to main content

tv   US Senate  CSPAN  December 9, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EST

12:00 pm
and those transactions supported 164,000 u.s. jobs and returned $674 million to the treasury. so you might ask what's wrong with this picture? why is the senate banking committee holding up the person who would allow ex-im to continue to operate at its full capacity and allow it to continue to help with job creation? we've seen this very directly in new hampshire. new hampshire is a small state. we're a small business state. and yet we're the state that ex-im chose when they rolled out their small business program to help small businesses with the financing they needed to export, and one of those first people to take advantage of that program was boyle energy services and technology. their c.e.o., michael boyle,
12:01 pm
says without ex-im, he would have to consider offshoring production in order to continue to grow his business. now, best does 90% of its business overseas and it relies on ex-im for working hapt overseas. they're not doing a lot of transactions over $10 million, but we have a lot of companies in new hampshire who are doing transactions over $10 million and who are subcontractors to big companies that are doing those transactions. so in new hampshire, we have general electric, which is very dependent and needs those exports and that financing. we have a growing aerospace industry that includes companies like new hampshire ball bearing and includes companies like albany engineering composites which worked on the dreamliner with boeing. and i talked to the c.e.o. of albany after he came back from the paris air show a couple of
12:02 pm
years ago, and he said the people who are getting the jobs, getting the accounts are the companies that can provide financing around the world. so in new hampshire, we make a lot of things. we have a robust manufacturing industry, because we have companies like boyle energy services and technology, new hampshire ball bearing, go, b.a.e. and yet, we're hamstringing those businesses and their ability to continue to grow jobs, continue to grow their business because we're not willing to make one appointment to the ex-im bank that would allow us to create jobs in this country, and sends money back to the treasury. for all of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who are so concerned about the fiscal health of this nation, and i think we share that on the democratic side, why would you
12:03 pm
not reauthorize and make sure that an agency like ex-im bank is fully operational, can create jobs, can return money to the treasury? it boggles my mind that because of this ideological battle, we're not willing to do what is practical, what is in the interests of our businesses of job creation, of making sure that we can compete around the world with other companies that are making things. so i share the concern that we've heard from senator heitkamp and from senator klobuchar that the longer we delay in approving the nomination of mark mcwaters, that the longer we delay in making sure that ex-im is fully operational, the more jobs will be lost, the more difficult it will be for companies to compete
12:04 pm
and the more money will be lost to the u.s. treasury. so, mr. chairman, i hope that under the new administration, there is more of a willingness on the part of my colleagues to actually approve these nominations and to move government forward so that we can create jobs, we can address the economic challenges that too many people in this country are facing. thank you very much. i yield the floor, and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
12:05 pm
12:06 pm
12:07 pm
12:08 pm
12:09 pm
12:10 pm
12:11 pm
12:12 pm
12:13 pm
12:14 pm
12:15 pm
quorum call:
12:16 pm
12:17 pm
12:18 pm
12:19 pm
12:20 pm
12:21 pm
mr. portman: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: mr. president, i rise today tiewk about the heroin and prescription drug epidemic -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. portman: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without
12:22 pm
objection. mr. portman: mr. president, i rise today to talk about the heroin and prescription drug epidemic that's gripped my state of ohio and the country. i spoke on the floor yesterday about john glenn's passing. we lost him yesterday afternoon at age 95, a true icon, and his life was really the life of our country over the time period from when he joined his fellow mercury astronauts and was the first person to orbit the earth to the time that he served here in the senate and went on to found the glenn college at ohio state university. an amazing life. later today we're going to ask the full senate to seat on a resolution -- to vote on a resolution that senator sherrod brown, my colleague from ohio, and i are working on. and we hope to have that resolution voted on successfully and allow the entire senate to pay tribute to a remarkable american life, a former colleague of ours, and one whose seat i am very humbled and honored to hold today, and that
12:23 pm
is john glenn. so we will be bringing that up later during the day. but again today, i'd like it talk a little about an issue that is one that this congress has focused on more in the last few months and to commend the congress for that but also to continue to raise awareness of of it and to allow all of us the opportunity to figure out how we can do more in our own way, in our own communities, in our own homes to be able to address it, and it is this heroin and prescription drug epidemic. it is now to the point where we have somebody in our great country who is dying of an overdose every 12 minutes. one american losing his or her life every 12 minutes. in my own state of ohio, we've been particularly hard-hit by this. we lose one ohioan every few hours. the statistics are overwhelming. it is now the number-one cause of accidental death in our country. it has been the case in ohio
12:24 pm
since 2007, but behind those statistics, of course, are faces and families and communities. a 4-year-old boy was recently coming into his bedroom in cleveland, ohio, in the old brooklyn neighbor hand he found his -- neighborhood and he found his dad dead of an overdose, 30 years old. that was in the news this week. recently there were two men in sandusky, ohio, found dead in a parking lot. someone was there and recorded both their overdose and then the first responders coming. the sandusky first responders found them barely breathing and brought them back to life with this miracle drug called narcan or naloxone. these first responders saved this life, as they saved 16,000 lives last year in ohio.
12:25 pm
next year it will be an even larger number, after we find out after the year closes. it is not for the faint of heart. some of you have probably seen it. it has gone vi viral. by the way, i've talked to firefighter around the state and the sandusky firefighters are no exception. they tell me they have responded to more overdoses than they have fires over the past year, more overdoses than they have fires. these are our firefighters who are again saving lives every day. when i was in canton, ohio, last week, i was told that there had been twice as many overdose deaths this year already as last year, and again the firefighters there and other first responders tell me it's their number-one focus and concern. when i talk to county prosecutors and sheriffs around ohio, they also tell me it is the number-one cause of crime in each of their coun counties in .
12:26 pm
it is everywhere. it knows no zip code. so this problem is one that, unfortunately, has gripped our country like no other. i started off work on this issue over 20 years ago when cocaine and marijuana and, later, methamphetamine were an issue and certainly all are horrible and our prevention efforts led to what was called the drug-free communities act, which was passed to be able to help address this. community coalitions have been formed to help with that. but this new wave of addiction in my view is worse. it's worse i in terms of the number of overdoses and deaths. it is worse in terms of the impact on fathers tearing them apart. it is worse in terms of the crime it creates, most of the people creating more and more crime to be able to feed their habit. it's worse in terms of the ability to get people-on-back on track -- to get people back on
12:27 pm
track, to help them with recovery. it is a very difficult addiction. the united states congress, including this body, have taken action, as i said, and i appreciate that. let me tell why you we need to tax take action. -- need to take action. i told you about these two men in sandusky, ohio, found overdoses. this is something individual overdose. when someone of the men was revived, this is what he said. "i have a problem. if i could get help, i would. i need it. and i want it." mr. president, i believe that if someone needs help for addiction and they're willing to get it we ought to be able to provide it. that's why it's important that congress be involved, that state legislatures be involved that we be involved in our communities to ensure that when someone is ready to get that treatment, that it's accessible. i have a met with addicts and their families all over our
12:28 pm
state, probably met with several hundred addicts or recovering addicts in the last couple years alone, as we've put together this legislation and tried to work on something that is actually evidence-based and will help, and so many of them tell me they're ready. one grieving father told me that his daughter had been in and out of treatment centers and finally after several years of trying to deal with her addiction, she acknowledged that she was ready. and he personally took her to a treatment center in ohio. they told him and told her that they would love to help, but they were fully booked. they didn't have a bed available. they would have to have one in a couple of weeks. during those 14 days, he found his daughter in her bedroom having overdosed and died. those stories are
12:29 pm
heartwrenching, aren't they? and yet they're stories from every one of our states. so access to treatment is important. access to longer-term recovery is important so people can get back on track to lead healthy, productive lives once again. it is also really important that we do a better job on prevention and education. ultimately to keep people out of the funk l of addiction is the -- the funnel of addiction is the most effective a.q.i. way to deal -- is the most effective way to deal with addiction. the connection between prescription drugs and heroin and these other sympathetic heroins, these -- synthetic heroins, because four out of five heroin addicts in your state, probably started with prescription drugs and then shifted over to heroin. there is an opportunity for us to do more about that by raising that awareness because when people learn more about that connection, then they're smarter about the danger that's inherent in taking these often
12:30 pm
narcotic painkillers that are sometimes overprescribed. to raise awareness about this issue, i have come to the floor every week we have been in session since february. this is now our 29th speech about this issue, the opportunity to talk about it, raise awareness about it. and i will say again over the course of those 29 weeks, a lot of things have happened here by raising awareness. one is this body passed legislation called the comprehensive addiction and recovery act, otherwise known as cara. we passed it here in this chamber after taking it through committee after three years of work, conferences, bringing people in from around the country, experts. the legislation focuses on how do you actually come up with a better way to do prevention, education, treatment, recovery and to help our first responders with naloxone, this narcan miracle drug, provide training.
12:31 pm
all of that resulted in cara passing this body by a vote of 92-2. that never happens around here. so what is an overwhelming bipartisan -- so it was an overwhelming bipartisan support for legislation that is needed. this past summer, light this summer, president obama signed that legislation into law, and it's now being implemented, and i commend the administration for moving as quickly as possible on this. there are a couple of programs that are already up and running. we've now provided, for instance, for nurse practitioners and physician assistants to be able to help with regard to medication treatment. that was something that was urgent in my home state of ohio and other places, just the need to have more people to be able to help recovering addicts get back on track. that's happening right now. that's already being implemented. other aspects of the legislation including some of the prevention programs and the national awareness campaign on connecting prescription drugs to heroin is still being put into effect. i again today urge the administration to move as quickly as possible. and for the administration-elect, the new
12:32 pm
administration to be prepared to step in to ensure that this legislation moves quickly. i think the legislation cara is probably the most important antidrug legislation we have passed in this body in at least two decades. it's evidence-based, it's comprehensive. it will improve prevention treatment. the first time ever we've put long-term recovery into any legislation, which is incredibly important for success. we talked earlier about the difficulty of getting people out of the grip of addiction, having that longer term recovery aspect. think of recovering housing and being supported by a supportive group rather than going back to the old neighborhood or going back to a family that is suffering from this issue, that longer term recovery really helped to improve the rates of success. that's in our legislation. it also begins to remove the stigma of addiction. i think that in some respects may be the most important part of the legislation. it acknowledges that addiction is a disease. as a disease, it needs to be
12:33 pm
treated as such. when people come forward to be able to get treatment and probably eight out of ten heroin addicts are not, you obviously see much better results for the person, for the family, for the community. for example, think about ashley from dayton, ohio. at just age 32 years old, she died of a heroin overdose recently, leaving her three small children without a mom. after ashley died, her mom went back and looked at her diary to see what she had said during her last several weeks. she found it, she read it, and what she wrote in her diary will break your heart. it details her daily struggle with addiction. it talks about the pain and the suffering. here's one passage, and i quote -- "i am so ashamed. i am an addict. i am always be an addict. i know i need help.
12:34 pm
but she wrote i'm afraid to get it because i know i'll need to go away for it. i will be away from my kids." end quote. cara actually, this legislation i talked about, was designed to help women like ashley. it not only helps erase the stigma of addiction to get women like her to come forward, acknowledge their illness and get the help they need, but it allows women in recovery to bring their kids with them. so you have family treatment centers and funding available for those kinds of treatment centers and for longer term recovery so we can keep families together. it authorizes $181 million in investments and opioid programs every year going forward, and again it ensures the taxpayer dollars are spent more wisely and effectively by channeling them to programs that have been tested that we know based on evidence actually work. i will say even with these new policies in place under cara, we're going to have to fight every year for the funding as
12:35 pm
part of the appropriations process, and we're doing that today. in the most recent continuing resolution which funds government until tonight, we were able to get $37 million in short-term funding to be sure cara was fully funded during that four-month period of time. soon we will be voting on the next four months or so of a continuing resolution, and once again we have fought the good fight on both sides of the aisle. we have asked the appropriations committee to include the funding for cara. we have been successful in doing that. there is full funding in the continuing resolution that will be voted on here shortly that provides for the implementation of this legislation. that's really important, because if that funding had not been provided even for the short term, it would have been difficult to get the programs up and going, again on prevention and treatment and recovery and helping the first responders with regard to narcan training and supply. so that's important. if we fully fund it and we
12:36 pm
support getting more people into treatment, we will save lives. there's no question about it. if we fully fund the prevention, we will save lives. in addition to that funding, under the 21st century cures act, which was just passed by the house and senate over the past few days, there is additional funding that's immediate funding that goes to the states. it allows the states to use their own programs that they have through block grants to be able to help address this crisis that we face. i strongly support that. i think this epidemic is such that we need to do both, have the longer term evidence-based programs in place year after year for the future, but also immediately give our states an infusion of funds to be able to help with their existing programs. i believe that that legislation is critical in my home state of ohio and i know how it is going to be used. it will be used well. our department of mental health and addictive services needs it. that legislation was an
12:37 pm
authorization in the 21st century cures act. it was two years of funding, $500 million next year, $500 million the next year to fund again dealing with this crisis immediately. that funding is now -- has now shifted also into the continuing resolution, so for this year, we now have under this appropriations bill we're about to vote on that additional funding of $500 million, so we had to do the authorization and then the appropriation, and that's part of the c.r. so that's something people should think about as they look at this continuing resolution. we know that this funding will help because we know prevention keeps people out of this fum of addiction the most effective way and the treatment can work. i've met so many people across ohio who have taken advantage of treatment, of a supportive environment that comes with recovery programs and have been successful, so many stories of hope. one is the story of rachel model from columbus, ohio.
12:38 pm
as a teenager, rachel abused alcohol, she then turned to pills, and then once the pills were too expensive, as we said, all too common, she switched to heroin. she stole from her family, even selling her mother's arthritis medication. she stole jewelry from her boyfriend's parents. she wrote herself checks from her mom's checkbook. for those who are watching, listening, who have members of their family who are suffering from this illness, you know what i'm talking about. she received help finally. her help came from netcare crisis services initially, detoxing and getting into treatment and then mary haven treatment center. i visited mary haven in october. i had a chance to meet with some of the recovering addicts who were there, talked with them about what they had been through. rachel is an example of a success story. she is now two years sober and studying finance at columbus
12:39 pm
state community college. she is a success. if we fully fund cara and if we get this legislation in place with regard to these cures appropriations, we will see more success stories like that. we will save lives across our country. for all those who are suffering from the disease of addiction like ashley from dainty talked about or michael from sandusky we talked about or rachel from northland, let's do the right thing. let's fight for them. let's implement cara quickly. let's build on this commonsense law. let's support additional funding now so we can help as many americans as possible. by doing so, mr. president, i believe we can begin to turn the tide on this addiction, and not only save lives but help so many of our constituents lead more productive and full lives. i yield back my time.
12:40 pm
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. cochran: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to proceed, but i also want to ask before i begin that senator -- the distinguished senator from california, mrs. boxer, be recognized following my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cochran: mr. president, this resolution will provide government funding for april 28 -- through april 28 at the level prescribed in last year's budget agreement. i urge the senate to support the resolution. it provides funding to continue counterterrorism operations in iraq, afghanistan and syria. it supports our allies through the european reassurance
12:41 pm
initiative. it includes funding for humanitarian assistance and to protect american diplomats. the resolution also funds important priorities here at home. it appropriates $872 million to fight opioid abuse and support innovative cancer research. these funds will begin to implement the cures act which the senate passed earlier this week by a vote of 94-5. the resolution also contains funding to respond to hurricane matthew. there was severe flooding in louisiana and other recent natural disasters. in total, $4 billion is
12:42 pm
available under this bill and will be allocated to recovery programs that benefit 45 of our states. the resolution also provides funding to help flint, michigan respond to the contamination of its water supply and to communities around the country providing safe drinking water. mr. president, i urge the adoption of this resolution. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i want to thank senator cochran for his courtesy in getting the time for me. you know, some people may wonder why it is on a friday we're still here and we're still arguing and we're still
12:43 pm
debating. there are several issues that are troubling to many people in the senate and in the country, and a couple of them have a focus on them today. how this all ends remains to be seen, but i just feel it's important for the american people to understand there are some people here that are willing to take the time to explain why we can't just go home right now, and we're no different than any other american. we don't want to have to work on the weekend. we don't want to have to be here when we don't have to be, giving speeches that we don't have to give. i also want to give a shout out to my friends who are calling attention to the plight of widows of miners, miners who went into the coal mines and knowing full well they risked
12:44 pm
their lives every day, they knew that if something happened to them, their widows would be taken care of. if we can't take care of widows and children, if we can't take care of widows and children who are left behind because a coal miner risked his life or her life, who are we fighting for and what are we doing here? now, senator manchin, senator heitkamp, senator casey, senator schumer, several of my colleagues have been very clear. senator warner. they have been taking to this floor warning the majority, republicans, that we want to take care of these widows. the money is there. it's there for them.
12:45 pm
but instead my republican friends want to take it away. and you know what? that's not happening without a fight. that's not happening without a fight. we can't defend widows and orphans, i got news for you. we don't deserve to be here. now, two days ago i gave what was to be my final major speech on the floor of the senate. believe me, i don't want to be here. i don't want to be talking. i wanted to go out with a great big smile on my face after working in politics for 40 years. but i am here, and i am here to explain an issue that is very troubling. if you ask the average person
12:46 pm
what troubles them about congress, they hate congress. i mean, we get like a 17% positive rating. maybe 18%, maybe 12%. it's bad. it's hurtful. one of the things they will say on their list is they hate when a special interest rider is dropped on a bill, it has had no look, it is no hearing, it has nothing to do with the bill. and el nino are force -- and then people are forced into a situation where either they swallow that garbage or they can't vote for the underlying bill which may be very important to their state, to their constituents or to the country. that's what's happening on the continuing resolution to keep the government open. there's a paltry four-month extension for the widows of coal
12:47 pm
miners of their health care. what good does that do? they're going to be frightened to death. maybe they go to the doctor in that first month and the doctor says i'm watching a lump. it may be cancerous. cock back in three months -- come back in three months. they don't know if they're going to have health care. it's a disgrace, but the widows are not protected in the continuing resolution. so what are you facing? either you shut down the government or you fight for the widows. this is what people hate about congress. and we don't have to do it. not at all. if you believe you've got great legislation, go through the channels, introduce the bill, let it have a hearing. if you think the miners' widows only deserve four months, let's have a discussion about it.
12:48 pm
well, we've got another situation on another bill. the bill is called wrda. you may have heard about it. what does it stand for. water resources development act. this wrda bill is a beautiful bill. it was worked on for well more than a year with my committee. i'm proud to be the ranking member on it. i was the chairman. when republicans took back the senate, senator inhofe became the chairman. we worked hand in glove. we set aside our differences. we set aside poison pills, and we said we're going to put together a great bill, and we did. it's a great bill. it deals with flood control. it deals with making sure there's environmental
12:49 pm
restoration. it deals with making sure our ports are dredged and can in fact support the type of commerce we need in the greatest country in the world. we have funding in there, authorization in there for desalination because we know we have droughts in the western states and we need to work on that. we have authorization in there for ways to use technology to ensure we can increase our water supply, so we have authorization in there for water recharging and water recycling. it is quite a bill. it has authorization in there to move forward with all the army corps projects that have been looked at up and down and inside out.
12:50 pm
for my state, it's incredible what we have in there. i don't think i've ever had a bill that did more for my state. we have projects in sacramento. we have projects in los angeles. we have projects in the san francisco area. we have projects from north to south, east and west. we have levee fixeses. we have lake tahoe restoration that senator feinstein and i worked on. we have very important ecosystem restoration. we have projects in orange county, all over. why do i say this? i say this to make the point. why, if senator boxer has all those great things for her state in this wrda bill, why is she standing here saying vote "no"?
12:51 pm
it isn't easy. it breaks my heart, but i'll tell you why. in the middle of the night, coming from the ceiling airdropped into this bill is a dangerous 98-page rider which will become law with the wrda bill, and what does it do? it attacks head on the endangered species act. it gives operational instructions on how to move water in my state away from the salmon fisheries and to big agribusiness, regardless of what the science says. and if somebody says oh my god, this is terrible, we're going to lose the salmon fishery, it will take a very long time to have that study and will be too
12:52 pm
late to save the fishery. this isn't just about the salmon it is about the people who fish. they are distressed about this. they represent tens of thousands of families who rely on having enough water for the fishery. i ask unanimous consent to place in the record the letter signed by this vast array of fishermen. i ask unanimous consent to place in the record the names and the letters from all of those who rely on the salmon fishery. the presiding officer: without objection.
12:53 pm
mrs. boxer: thank you. i know it's a holiday. god knows i know that. this year hanukkah and christmas come at the same time. so in my family, my grandkids celebrate both. i want to go home, but the people who depend on the water to support the salmon fishing industry, they may not be able to celebrate this year because someone over there named kevin mccarthy dropped in the dead of night a rider on a beautiful bill called wrda and wrecked it. and never once thought about the people who rely on fishing. it is a disgrace.
12:54 pm
who's signing the letter saying don't do this, don't do this, don't do this? the pacific coast federation of fishermen's association, the golden gate salmon association, the southern california trawler's association of santa barbara, commercial fisher hemen of saudi -- fishermen of a barbara. the common at -- the monterey fishermen's association, the half-moon bay seafood marketing association, the half-moon -- the san francisco crab boat owners association, the small-boat commercial salmon fishermen association, the bedega bay fisherman marketing association, the salmon trawlers marketing association, the humbolt fishermen's
12:55 pm
association, the coastal trawler fishermen's association. putting those in the record. in all my lifetime serving, i have never seen such an outcry from one industry. there is no disagreement. the water will be taken away for agribusiness regardless of what the scientists think. now you may say, well, senator what was controlling this before this power grab? it's a law. it's a law called the endangered species act. and you may then ask, well, what liberal politician president signed that? and let me give you the answer. a republican named richard nixon.
12:56 pm
what breaks my heart more than anything else -- and i've said it before -- is how the environment has become such a hot-button issue. and i want to talk to you about the endangered species act. you know, we have landmark laws in our nation. it makes our nation great. the clean water act, the safe drinking water act, the endangered species act, the toxic control substances act, the brownfields law. these are landmark laws beloved by the people. if you went out on the street or i asked up in the gallery how many people think we should protect our endangered species? i would be surprised if more than a few disagreed with that. and let me show you why. what has been saved by the endangered spee seats act? how about nothing less than the american bald eagle.
12:57 pm
this species was on its way to extinction, but because of the endangered species act, we learned that there were only enough left for a few years. and so the endangered species law said no, no, no, no. we have to change what we do and protect this species. the american eagle was protected because richard nixon and democrats and republicans agreed we need an endangered species act. that was in the 1960's. now we have a front assault on the endangered species act. and let me show you what other species we've saved under the endangered species act. this is the california condor, this magnificent creature.
12:58 pm
god's creation. we talk a lot about our faith here, and i never ever, ever doubt anybody's faith. but i am saying if you truly are a believer, then you'd work to protect god's creation. it's part of our responsibility. here it is. what would have happened if this type of law was changed, this endangered species act had been changed to say don't worry about the science. do whatever you want. or you know what? if it's bothering the hunters or the fishermen, just throw it out the window. we wouldn't have saved these creatures. i'll show you some others. this is the paragon falcon. this magnificent thing. it makes you smile to just look at it.
12:59 pm
again, endangered. if there had been legislation like this midnight drop from kevin mccarthy on the endangered species act, we might have lost this magnificent creature. so to say that we should just go home to our families and our children and our grandchildren without calling attention to what is on the wrda bill that i love -- let me be clear. personally, i win either way. one way i win if we stop this bill and we take off this horrible rider and pass it clean. that would be the most amazing thing. and if we don't, i bring home 26 incredible projects to my people. it's not about me. it's not about me.
1:00 pm
we have one more to show you. this is the great sea turtle. this beautiful creature saved by the endangered species act. if we had similar legislation about this magnificent creature and it said, you know, if seven out of ten people believe it's harming their business, let's just forget about it, we don't really need it, we wouldn't have saved this. so when you -- when you drop this -- i call it midnight rider on a beautiful bill and say we're going to violate the endangered species act, unless somebody can prove that it's really bad, you're destroying
1:01 pm
the endangered species act, and what right does anybody have to do that in the middle of the night in the darkness before christmas days before government funding runs out? i say nobody should have the right to do it, and since they did it, i'm going to make noise about it. believe me. i am on my way out the door. did i want to do this? no. i did my speech. i was so thrilled to do it. my family was up there, and i'm in the middle of a battle now. well, i guess that's how it is. you come in fighting, you go out fighting. that's just the way it goes. a lot of people said oh, barbara, why do you want to do this? you know, you had such a beautiful speech, it was a high note. i can't. i'm alive. i know what's going on. i'm going to tell the truth. and the truth is kevin mccarthy has been trying to get more water for big
1:02 pm
agribusiness in his -- water in my state is very contentious, and my view about water is everybody comes to the table, we work it out together. i don't like the water wars. he has launched another water wars battle. for big agribusiness against the salmon fishery. it's ugly, and it's wrong, and it's going to wind up at the courthouse door anyway. why are we doing this? it's not right. you don't need to fight about water. just all the stakeholders have to sit down and work together. i love the fact that my state produces more fruits and vegetables and nuts. it's the breadbasket of the
1:03 pm
world. but under most measurements, farmers use 80% of the water, mr. president. 80% of the water. and in a drought situation, why would you then hurt the other stakeholders because an almond grower wants to do morale monday growing and it takes a gallon to produce one almond. i love almonds. believe me, they are fabulous food. and there is a recent study, they are really healthy for you and i want everyone to eat almonds, but they export a ton of them. we have got to preserve the environment in our state and not run these fishermen out. what's really been interesting is the editorials that have come
1:04 pm
about as a result of this midnight rider. i ask unanimous consent to place in the record an editorial by "the sacramento bee." thank you, mr. president. this is it. this is what i'm reading from. "the federal legislation surely will result in increased water exports. its basic point and contains unfortunate language that would allow federal authorities to override scientists and order water exports that could further damage the delta and the fisheries." what is the delta? the delta is the series of islands through which the natural rain water runs. and the water gets purified, and it runs into our rivers and streams. and it supports the salmon
1:05 pm
fishing and it supports clean drinking water. but if you rip away that water, you're going to have more salt in the water that remains, it's going to be more expensive for the people to get it to drinking quality. i say, senator hatch, i'm going to have the floor for quite a while. sorry. i'm going to have the floor for quite a while. and so what you have here is a circumstance where you're not only running the salmon fishery out but you are also destroying the water quality, the drinking water quality for many users in the area who rely on the delta water and making it far more expensive to clean up the water because it has so much salt in it. so here is "the sacramento bee"
1:06 pm
saying the unfortunate language would allow federal authorities to override scientists and order water exports that could further damage the delta and the fisheries. i think i've explained to you what that means. so it destroys and harms not only the salmon fishery but it also destroys and harms drinking water. now, the bill, it says -- this is the rider that's on my beautiful wrda bill that i love so much that i wrote with jim inhofe. the bill authorizes additional pumping unless fisheries scientists can prove there will be damage to fish, an impossible standard. so when those who support this say oh, don't worry, barbara, they will pump at the maximum ability, constantly, but there has to be a report. well, by the time they finish
1:07 pm
the report, there will be a lot of dead fish or no fish. and it goes on to say no one should kid themselves. this bill will result in damage to the environment and will not end the california water wars. let me say that again. this is the "sacramento bee." this is not known for any kind of liberal editorializing. no one should kid themselves. this bill will result in damage to the environment, and it will not end california's water wars. so we put that in the record along with all the different fishing groups that strongly oppose this. so we are here, we are here and everyone's calling me, oh, let's go home, let's go home.
1:08 pm
i want to go home. i really want to go home because this is the end of my last term. but i can't. let the clock go. it will run out. but the fact remains we have to take a stand against these midnight riders that drop from the ceiling that attack richard nixon's endangered species act that we all supported forever until now. i guess it's easy to say i support the endangered species act until someone says oh, there's an endangered species, and then you say oh, never mind. no, no, no. no, no, no. you support it because you want to protect god's creatures, and then you keep supporting it, and
1:09 pm
you don't attack it on a rider that was dropped at midnight, never had a hearing on a bill that had nothing to do with the subject matter. what they did belongs in the energy bill, but they didn't want to put it in there. they wanted to put it in wrda because wrda is so popular. wrda is a beautiful bill, a biewfl bill that i worked on that's going to be my legacy bill. so here i am standing up, making a big fuss on my own bill and saying vote no on it. that is really hard. i hope no one in this body ever has to do this. it is a very difficult thing. now, you may say who really cares? about the salmon fishery?
1:10 pm
who really cares about the endangered species act? well, how about every environmental organization that i know of in the country. and, mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent to place in the record letters from these organizations. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you so much. so who are they? they're the natural resources defense council who have clearly stated that this is a violation of the endangered species act. the league of conservation voters, an organization that follows this. they are scoring this vote. they are scoring this vote. defenders of wildlife who are committed to protecting god's creatures. earth justice. the sierra club. national ought -- auto bawn
1:11 pm
society. greenpeace. trout unlimited that had a huge participation of fishermen, recreational fishermen. environmental entrepreneurs. these are actually business leaders in this country who care about what we do, and they say -- and i'll read a little bit of the trout unlimited letter. trout unlimited is opposed to the drought provision that has been added to the wrda bill being considered by the house as it undermines an otherwise salutary water resources development act bill, developed in a bipartisan manner by the house and senate. what a beautiful opening sentence. they get it. trout unlimited, they're not liberals or conservatives. they just like to go and have a good time with recreational fishing. there won't be a fishery left
1:12 pm
because of a bill that was dropped from the ceiling in midnight because somebody wanted to take water away from the salmon fishery and give it to agribusiness. disgraceful. why don't we work together on getting more water. this is not a drought bill. it's called the california drought bill. it's ridiculous. it has nothing to do with increasing the water. all it does is move water from one place to another, and the additional authorizations on it on the rider are already in the underlying wrda bill. we don't need this. it calls for desal. it calls for water recharging. so -- it calls for recycling. so this is a phony name of the bill. california trout bill. it does zero, zero, zero, zero
1:13 pm
to help with the drought. all it does is attacks the fishing industry. that's it. and thousands of jobs because one congressman over there represents a little district, and he's delivering to agribusiness. it's shameful. we stand here and we decry the fact that the widows of the miners are getting the shaft, and they are, and i stand with them. i ask my colleagues to vote no on a bill that contains language that will undo the salmon fishery on the entire west coast, and in this, i speak for maria cantwell, who will also be down here to speak. i speak for ron wyden. i speak for jeff merkley. i speak for patty murray. we are apoplectic about this.
1:14 pm
do you want to do in the salmon fishery? have the guts to have a hearing on it. have the guts to look in the faces of these salmon fishery people. have the guts to tell it to their face. don't drop this thing at the last minute. christmas time and we're all going to be good little girls and boys and say oh, we're going to go home. no, we're not. we're not. it's not right. you know, i grew up, there was right and there was wrong. you can't turn away from wrong, even if it's inconvenient. it is inconvenient. you know, i have stood alone on this floor. i'm not standing alone on this, but i would if i had to. so let's see what some of these environmentalists have said. how about e-2, the environmental business leaders, what do they
1:15 pm
say? as business leaders focused on policies that promote a growing economy and healthy environment, we ask that you vote no on the cloture on water resources development act if it contains the added language regarding california water. they say they're a nonpartisan group of business leaders, and they have funded venture capital and companies, and they said that wrda is critical and that this language will not solve any drought issues. its shortsighted conditions could damage the salmon industry that is fed from the central valley and hurt thousands of recreational jobs up and down the west coast. i mean, what i'm telling you is the truth.
1:16 pm
there is a bill that's called the california drought bill and does nothing, nothing at all to bring water in, because all of the language that will deal with desal and high technologies are there are in the wrda bill. that's just a phony deal. and there's no mandatory funding in it for those purposes. but what is mandatory is that regardless of the situation, water will be pumped away from the salmon fishery and toward big agribusiness. and you know, there's another -- why don't we do this? it will be worse next year. really? they've already said the people behind this, the agribusiness people, oh, this is just the start. this is just the start. so if we allow this to go
1:17 pm
without people paying attention, we're opening up the door to more and more attacks. there's a story -- and i ask unanimous consent to place in the record the story from the "san jose mercury news." the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you. this editorial's very strong. in favor of the salmon fishery. and they say that this rider sells out to central valley water interests. it guts environmental
1:18 pm
protections and will have devastating long-term effects on the sacramento, san joaquin delta's ecosystem. and they talk about my stand on this, and they note that i won't be here and that i'm taking a stand on this. they call this rider, the one that takes the water away from the salmon fishery and gives it to agribusiness, they call it an 80-page document negotiated behind closed doors which allows maximum pumping of water from the delta to the central valley and eliminates -- i'll talk about this -- important congressional oversight over building dams. i'm going to take a minute on this.
1:19 pm
i forgot to mention this. this is -- this bill, this rider that was added to wrda is called a california drought bill. it's way more than that. it's how to kill the salmon fishery in the west coast bill. because it doesn't only kill it in california, it kills it in oregon. it kills it in washington. and thousands and thousands of jobs. and that's why we put in the record all the people in that salmon industry who oppose this rider. but it also says -- and this is amazing -- that in the 11 western states over the next five years the administration coming in will be able to single handedly authorize the building of dams which, as you know,
1:20 pm
wreak havoc with the natural environment and our rivers and are very expensive. congress has always been involved in the authorization of dams because we hold hearings. why should we do it? why shouldn't we do it? we bring in all the parties and we make a decision. this takes away the authority from congress to authorize dams in the 11 western states. so i say rhetorically to mr. mccarthy, do you really distrust your colleagues that much? do you really, that you no longer trust them to have anything to say about whether a dam should be built or not? do you really want to take away the authority from your colleagues to call experts together to say why is this dam needed? what would the pluses be if it's built? what would the minuses be? what would happen to wildlife? what would happen to the environment? is it being built on an
1:21 pm
earthquake fault? you may laugh at that, but trust me, there were proposals in california to build these enormous dams on earthquake faults. and the only reason they were stopped is congressional hearings. well, now president-elect trump, when he's president, will be able to determine in the 11 western states that have b.l.m. land, whether there ought to be dams built. and congress will have no say. and then the answer back is oh, but they still have to fund it. yeah, i've been down that dance before and i know how that works. you just get a few dollars in it, it's on the books. this bill is awful. it's awful. and i am so grateful to these newspapers in california who have called, called them out on it.
1:22 pm
mr. president, i've got a republican senator complaining that i'm talking too long. what is the situation on the floor? can senators speak as long as they wish? the presiding officer: no limitation. mrs. boxer: thank you. so i will continue to speak. and when i'm done, i'll be done. it may be soon. i'm getting a little tired, but i'm going to keep talking for awhile. and i say to everybody i'm sorry, but don't drop a midnight rider on a beautiful bill that i worked on for two years with my colleague, senator inhofe, and then say i'm really annoyed she's talking too much. i'm sorry. i apologize. but i'm going to talk until i'm done. and the senator from
1:23 pm
washington, she's going to talk until she's done. don't drop a midnight rider and destroy the fishing industry and say that congress will no longer have the ability to build -- authorize the building of dams. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: mr. president, will the senator from california yield for a question? mrs. boxer: of course i will. ms. cantwell: i thank her for being out here today on this very important public policy issue because it is december, and most people know that high jinx happens in december around here, that people want to go home, that people are doing
1:24 pm
last-minute deals. i don't know if the senator from california knows, but the whole deregulation of enron and the energy markets and the whole, that was a december midnight rider kind of activity. all of these things, you know, they know the members want to go home. they think it's the last deal, they can throw something in and everybody will just go along with it and blame it on i didn't read the fine print. so there's a couple of things in here that i just wanted to ask the senator from california about. i'm going to talk later but i wanted to get over here because she's such a knowledgeable person on this and i wanted to ask her a couple of questions. first, this rider that was placed in the house wrda bill, is that the jurisdiction of your committee? mrs. boxer: absolutely not, my friend. as you know, it is the jurisdiction of your committee. it has absolutely nothing to do with mine. and i would say there are two pieces added that we have a little jurisdiction on, just
1:25 pm
funding for desal, but that's already in the base wrda bill. so i can honestly say to my friend, this a horrible rider in and of itself and one of the other problems with it is it's gone to the wrong committee. she's right, it belongs to your jurisdiction, yours and senator murkowski. ms. cantwell: i would like to enter into the record if i can the "san francisco chronicle" that says stop the feinstein water rider buse i think it's a great article that outlines how this isn't the jurisdiction of this committee and how it is a rider. i think that's one of the most objectionable parts for our colleagues is that regular order wasn't followed and it sets up a very bad precedent. so if i could, mr. president, enter that into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cantwell: i'd also like, mr. president, to ask the senator from california if she's aware that in this legislation there is also language which i'm not sure is in your jurisdiction
1:26 pm
either, the ability for dams to be built in 17 states without additional review by the united states congress, without any other discussions. are you going to take 17 western states and just give them blanket authority now to build dams without the consultation or input from cities, counties, constituents, interest groups, river constituents, fishermen, all these people are going to bu because we have several projects we've been discussing in the pacific northwest that i've had to visit personally and talk to people. people are going very methodically through these issues and discussing them in a collaborative way because there's trade-offs here. and every community has a different opinion. so the notion that you would be foregoing your own state's ability to raise questions here in the united states senate about somebody building a dam in your state, why would any
1:27 pm
member want to forego their ability as a member of the united states senate or house of representatives to forego their input on a dam being built on a river in their state? are you aware of that provision? mrs. boxer: senator, i just was talking about it briefly before you came to the floor, and i actually misstated it, so i'm really glad you corrected me. in rider dropped at midnight going on a bill that's a beautiful bill that i worked on for so long that you were a part of and you have a lot of wonderful things in there, as i do. this rider went to the wrong committee, and the issue you talk about, the ability of the president of the united states to by himself authorize dams in the western states for the next five years anywhere in those states is unheard of. and it is in your jurisdiction.
1:28 pm
it is in the jurisdiction of the energy committee. i hope senator murkowski's outraged about this as much as you are. and the fact is you're absolutely right. here you have senator, a senator and a congressman getting together and saying that the congress should be bypassed and have no say in where dams should be put, whether dams should be built at all, and it is in the jurisdiction of the energy committee. it's not in the jurisdiction of environment and public works. ms. cantwell: well, mr. president, i thank the senator from california for that explanation. and i also want to enter into the record another san francisco story from just yesterday where an attorney, doug obelgee who basically says that the densely technical text, he points to my colleague's point about the midnight darkness of these things.
1:29 pm
densely technical text -- quote -- "explicitly authorizes the trump administration to violate the biological opinion under the endangered species act." end quote. so in the dark of night, it then says it is wholly inconsistent with state law. so i think that's the part where states are going to be told, look, you're just going to have to build a dam like that's it. we decided. everybody calls us up and says wait a minute, i didn't want to dam that river or i want that stream to produce fish. or i want that flow to be for downstream people further downstream. not right here. all of that is basically now been given over to someone else and is inconsistent with our state law. so you're really overriding state law as well. i'd like to enter into the record, mr. president, if i could enter that story into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i'd also like to ask the senator from california if she's aware of a provision of the bill as
1:30 pm
people are referring to it that jilts the taxpayers. jilts the taxpayers. now i know there's a bunch of groups -- taxpayers for common sense and even the heritage foundation, all of these people who are basically calling out the ridiculous spending aspects of this california provision. but i wonder if the senator from california is aware that this basically l authorizes the prepayment on construction obligations that basically is going to take millions of dollars out of the u.s. treasury just by passing this legislation, we would be taking money out of the treasury, resulting in basically $1.2 billion in receipts that we would have. and giving u -- us a loss of $807 million. so this is a provision in the
1:31 pm
bill that i think has had little discussion, and this sweetheart deal for people is going to rip off the taxpayers in addition to all of this authorization that's in the legislation. is my colleague from california aware of this provision? mrs. boxer: i want to say to my friend, i was aware of a provision, but i did not know the details of what you just said. so are you saying to me -- and my staff confirms that you're absolutely right. so you're saying to me that water contractors will be relieved of certain payments and the federal government will be on the hook, federal taxpayers. is that what you're saying? ms. cantwell: what is happening here is that as people who are under current contracts on water repayments, they would be given a sweetheart deal in deduction of their interest which would allow them to shortchange our treasury on revenues that we are expecting.
1:32 pm
now, if that's a big discussion and everybody here wants to take that kind of money out of the treasury and basically give a sweetheart deal to people, then we should have that discussion. we should have that discussion and understand that that's what we're doing and bless that and hear from our appropriators that that is a worthy thing to do for some reason. i can't imagine what that reason would be given that we are such shortchanged here and every day we are talking about how to make ends meet with so little revenues. so i don't know why we would give a bunch of contractors this ability to cost the treasury so much money by giving them a sweetheart deal. so i will enter something into the record about this. it would really, as someone said, cause very substantial headaches for treasury and o.m.b. and various agencies. so again, i think in the advent of somebody thinking it's december and people want to go
1:33 pm
home for the christmas holidays, that people aren't going to read the details of this legislation. so i hope that our colleagues will read this detail because i don't think we can afford to cost the treasury this much money. and i would also ask, mr. president, my colleague from california, i'm going to assume that you have had a lot of discussion with our house colleagues about their earmark rules, and i think one of the reasons why the wrda bill is something that people support because it's a list of projects that have been approved by various agencies and organizations, so has this project been approved by any of those agencies or organizations? mrs. boxer: well, not only has this whole notion of moving water from one interest -- i would call the salmon fishery a critical interest not only in my state. that's why i hate that it's called the california drought.
1:34 pm
it impacts not only california's fishing industry, but it impacts washington's, oregon's. that's why our -- save one, all of our senators on the west coast are strongly opposed to this. don't call it california water. but the fact of the matter is this has not been looked at in any way. and whether it's the money, whether it's what it does to the fishery, no one has really looked -- there hasn't even been a hearing about this specific bill. i know your committee has looked at a lot of ways to help with the drought, and i want to compliment my friend from washington, senator cantwell and senator murkowski. you have come up with real ways to work with every stakeholder and not continue these absurd water wars where we take money away from a fishing industry that is a noble, historic
1:35 pm
fishing industry. tens of thousands of fishermen who support their families and giving it over to big agribusiness. that is not the way you want to approach the drought, senator. it's not the way i want to approach the drought. and i would never be party to picking a winner and a loser. this is not our job. our job is to, a, make sure there are ways through technology to get more water to the state, and work, all of us together, to preserve that salmon fishery. everybody knows it isn't -- the salmon doesn't know when it's in california, when it's in washington, when it's in oregon. let's be clear. we need to protect it. and so i am just so grateful to you for -- for being on this floor today because your reasons for being here first and foremost are you're protecting jobs in your state. secondly, you're protecting the environment of your state.
1:36 pm
third, you're protecting the rights of the states and the tribes and the municipalities to have something to say over this. you're protecting the endangered species act, which as i pointed out before you came, was signed by president richard nixon, for god's sake. this is not a partisan thing. these are god's creatures. and i showed -- and i'll just quickly show you this and then take another question. i showed the bald eagle and several other species that if there had been shenanigans like this, senator cantwell, you know, oh, well, we're going to not listen to this science, we're just going to do what we want to do, we wouldn't have the bald eagle. we wouldn't have these creatures that i showed. the fact is, senator, what you're fighting for is not only for your state, not only for jobs, but you're fighting for the larger point that in the dead of night you don't do a sneak attack on one of the
1:37 pm
landmark laws that you and i so strongly support. ms. cantwell: well, if i could, mr. president, ask the senator from california, because there is another element that she is alluding to, which is how to resolve water issues, and while my understanding is your committee is very involved in basically the federal government programs that help communities around our country deal with water infrastructure and clean water, the larger issues of how a community settles these disputes about water on federal land has really been the jurisdiction of the energy and natural resources committee. but this bill, my understanding also, is trying to weigh in inside disputes as it relates to the larger colorado basin. i know my colleague from arizona is very concerned because his views weren't heard. i know there's a big fight as a
1:38 pm
result of the language that is in here on the southern part of our country where there is also a water dispute and various states are debating this. i can remember when our former colleague tom daschle was here and there was a whole big fight on a river issue that the upper midwest was concerned about. and basically, if my understanding is correct, that what people are trying to do in this legislation is instead of having the collaborative discussion of these various states work together to resolve it, they're basically saying no, no, we can just put an earmark rider in and instead make all the decisions for everybody and choose winners and losers. so not just here in the pacific northwest issue of san francisco and oregon and washington but also as it relates to challenges we have on the colorado river,
1:39 pm
challenges in the southeast part of our country, and basically it sets up a discussion in the future of why would you ever regionally get together to discuss anything if you can just jam it through on legislation by basically as our colleague elizabeth warren said putting a little cherry on top and getting people to say oh, this must be really good. then the consequence is the thorny, thorny issues of water discussion aren't going to be about the current rules of the road or collaboration. it's going to be about earmarks and riders that taxpayers for common sense, heritage foundation, all of these people object to as the worst of the worst of congress. mrs. boxer: well, right. and i would say to you this. i did hear my colleague, along with you, i heard elizabeth warren describe it. she described it a little bit like this. you take a beautiful bill like wrda, which for the most part -- i mean, it's not perfect but
1:40 pm
it's a pretty darn good bill. then you put a pile of dirt on top of it, a pile of dirt which i call the mccarthy rider, and then you stick a little maraschino cherry on top, which is flint and a couple of other good things, and you say okay, eat the dirt. that's another way of -- of explaining it. and my friend is right. what is the message if we don't fight this darn thing and perhaps defeat it and get it stripped out -- which we have an amendment to strip it out if we can get to it. what we are essentially saying to the -- all the people, the stakeholders in the water wars is, you know, what's important is your clout. give enough money to this person, agribusiness, and maybe you can control him. or give enough money to this person, maybe you can control her. the bottom line is we need to be working to bring everybody to the table, because my friend and
1:41 pm
i understand a couple of things. the water wars are not going to be solved unless everyone buys in, and there are ways we can do this. we have done this work before. we can reach agreement, because if we don't, what happens? lawsuits. and let me just be clear. there are going to be lawsuits on lawsuits on lawsuits on lawsuits, because this is a clear violation of the endangered species act, and some colleagues say oh, no, it isn't. it says in there it's not. well, very good. you know, let's say we loaded a weapon and we dropped it on another country, and they said this is war. you just dropped a bomb on us, and we said no, it isn't. we said we weren't declaring war on you. it's the action that counts, not what you say. a rose is a rose, as william
1:42 pm
shakespeare once said. call it any other name. this is an earmark, this is wrong, this is painful, this violates the endangered species act, this is going to lead to the courthouse door, and that's why my friend and i are not very popular right now around this joint, because we're standing here and people want to go home. they're annoying. why is she still talking? well, i'm still talking. i don't want to. i wish i -- i mean, i say to my colleague, i'll ask her a question on my time, which is this -- does she think it's really painful for me to have to filibuster my own bill? ms. cantwell: i am sure -- i want to thank you for your steadfast leadership in the united states senate and the fact that you're retiring, you're certainly going to be missed, and i'm sure you would like to have legislation on water resources passed, and i think you brought up a very
1:43 pm
important point. strip out this language that there is bipartisan support for asking it to be stripped out, and there is bipartisan support asking it to be stripped out because people with true water interests have not been allowed to have their say. we could get this done today and be done with this and be on our way, so i think that our colleagues who want us to be done, there's an easy path forward, very easy path. just strip out the language on california and send it back. mrs. boxer: mr. president, i want to ask, since we're kind of reversing things, i would ask that my friend control the time right now. the presiding officer: is there objection? objection is heard. mrs. boxer: okay. then i will just hold the floor forever. that's fine. let me say to my friend you have
1:44 pm
been through these kind of wars before when you were standing alone trying to stop drilling in the arctic, and i remember all of our colleagues saying oh, my god, this is terrible. you know, this drilling in the arctic is on the military bill. imagine, drilling in the arctic, they put it on the national defense bill, and my friend was approached and she was told senator, you're going to bring down the entire defense of this country if you don't back off. and my friend said i don't think so. all you have to do is strip this arctic rider and we're done. am i right in my recollection of that? ms. cantwell: the senator is correct. it was december, the same kind of scenario, basically jamming something onto a must-pass bill was a way that somebody thought this body would just roll over,
1:45 pm
and in the end we didn't and sent it back to the house and the defense bill was passed in a very short order. in fact, in an exact same scenario. the house had already gone home, and they basically opened up for business again and passed it with two people in the chamber. it can be done. it has been done. if people want to resolve this issue and go home, strip out this earmark rider language and we can be done with it and we can have the wrda bill and we can be done. so i think that what my colleague is suggesting, because it isn't really even the authority of the wrda committee, this language that she probably would be glad to get language that's not her jurisdiction off of this bill and communicate to our house colleagues that this is the approach that we should be taking. so i'd like to ask through the president if in fact the senator
1:46 pm
from california understands that that kind of approach on earmarks is something that you've heard a lot about from our house colleagues about how opposed they are. mrs. boxer: i have. i want to say since our friend is here -- i'm not doing any sneak attack on anything and i never would. it's not my way. i am going to ask unanimous consent right now, senator cantwell, without losing my right to the floor and making sure i get the floor back -- is that correct? after i make a unanimous consent request, i assume i will still have the floor, under the rules. the presiding officer: depends on what the unanimous consent request is. mrs. boxer: the request would be to strip the rider out. you look perplexed. we've been talking about a 98-page rider that was added to the wrda bill. we have filed an amendment to do that. the presiding officer: this is not in order. mrs. boxer: excuse me?
1:47 pm
the presiding officer: this request is not in order. mrs. boxer: a unanimous consent is not --. the presiding officer: it's not in in order to strip out house language by consent. mrs. boxer: if i were to ask through the chair what would the appropriate language be to get unanimous consent, is it to allow an amendment to do that? would that be the right way to go? the presiding officer: motion to concur with an amendment. mrs. boxer: okay. so we could ask that by unanimous consent to have such an amendment. and i want to make sure that after i make that i would not lose the right to the floor? the presiding officer: that is correct. mrs. boxer: thank you. on behalf of my friend from washington and myself, i would ask unanimous consent that we be allowed to offer an amendment to strip a rider that was placed on by kevin mccarthy over in the house and is 98 pages and is in the house bill. it's called the california drought provision. i would ask unanimous consent that we be allowed to have an amendment to strip out that language. the presiding officer: is there
1:48 pm
objection? a senator: mr. president, i object. mrs. boxer: well, mr. president, that was a good test. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mrs. boxer: you can see where this is coming from, i say to my friend from washington. all we're asking for is go back to a bill that we worked on for almost two years and that we are now looking at a situation where we will be harmed in many ways by this rider. when i say we, our states. we have thousands of salmon fishery jobs that will be lost. we have a front attack on the endangered species act which has been called out by every major environmental group in the country. we have letters from every salmon fishery organization
1:49 pm
saying that this is dangerous. but yet, all we're asking for is a simple amendment to strip out a midnight rider and the republicans object. the republicans object. and in that rider, it takes away the right of congress to approve dams. so whether it's in colorado or it's in wyoming or it's in california or if it's in washington or if it's oregon or if it's montana -- and there's many other western states -- the president-elect will have the right to determine where to put a dam. he will have the ability for the first time in history to authorize the building of dams. and the answer comes back from those who support the rider, oh, but congress has to appropriate. well, we know where that goes. i've been here a long time. all you need is a little
1:50 pm
appropriation every year, and the deal continues. so we've got a circumstance on our hands, and i know people in the senate are really mad at me right now. well, what a perfect way for me to go out. oh, i was a pain in the neck when i came. i'm a pain in the neck when i go. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i have a question for the senator from california. mrs. boxer: thank goodness. ms. cantwell: the irony of this situation -- first of all, i appreciate the senator from california because she's such a stalwart in so many different ways on so many different issues. but people may not know about the colleague we love dearly, is that she is greatly theatrical. she's got a beautiful voice. she writes music. i think somebody obviously lives in l.a. probably, you know, hobnobs with all sorts of people
1:51 pm
who are in the entertainment industry. but you sang beautifully the other night at our goodbye dinner to the retiring members. but this reminds me of that movie "china town." there was a famous movie that jack nicholson was in that was all about the corruption behind -- mrs. boxer: and faye dunaway. ms. cantwell: jack nicholson and faye dunaway did a movie a long time ago about the waterways in california, the fight on who gets water and what people found out was there was so much corruption behind the deal that basically people were trying to do a fast one. and so the subject, if i'm correct, that's what the subject of the movie is about, this is not a new subject. it's a very old subject. the question is, are people trying to supersede a due process here that consumers and -- in fact, i would ask
1:52 pm
that i hope that the ratepayers and constituents of the utilities in los angeles would be asking the utility what are they doing lobbying against the endangered species act. my guess is there's a lot of people in southern california that have no idea that a utility would lobby, spend their public dollars lobbying against a federal bill statute by undermining it with a rider in the dark of night. but i wanted to ask my colleague this issue is an historic issue in california, correct? and when it's done in the dark of night, as that movie depicts, what happens is that the issues of public interest are ignored and consequently people are shortchanged. is that your understanding? mrs. boxer: yes. i want to yield my time to my friend, but here's what i'm going to say right now. what i'm going to say is you're
1:53 pm
absolutely right that this issue has been around california for a very, very long time. so i'm going to yield my time to her, and she will have it at this time. i would yield for a question. i can't yield you my floor time. i can yield for a question. the answer to the other question is of course my friend is right. she talks about the movie "china town." do you know what year it played? was it in the 1980's? it's a long time ago. and i remember it well. it was about the water wars, and it resulted in people dying. i mean it was corruption. it was who could get the water rights. because here's the deal. here we have our beautiful state. and as my friend knows, because of the miracle of nature, northern california gets the water. southern california has been
1:54 pm
called a desert. so we've always had a problem. and now when i came to the senate, we had 18 million people. now we have 40 million people. so we have urban users, suburban users, rural users, farmers, fishermen. and we have to learn to work together. how do you do that? not the way kevin mccarthy did it, which is a grab for big agriculture, which destroys the salmon fishery and is going to bring pain on the people who drink the water from the delta because it's going to be having a huge salt content. it's going to have to -- has to be taken out before they can drink it. this is the opposite of what ought to happen. so i would certainly yield back to my friend for another question. ms. cantwell: on that point, mr. president, then the process for discussing these water
1:55 pm
agreements really don't belong -- you're saying they don't belong in your committee, and they have been controversial over a long period of time. the best way for us to deal with it is not through an earmark, which this is, which is the notion that the -- the notion that the house of representatives is jamming the united states senate on a $500 million earmark is just amazing to me because of the water agreements that people have negotiated and who have passed through these committees and have been agreed to, they're not letting those go. but they're letting these go. this particular earmark, and sending us over. but the normal process would be for these federal agencies and communities to work together on a resolution. and then if resources were asked for, they would come through, i believe, the energy and natural resources committee for that authorization because we're the ones who deal with the bureau of reclamation and the public land issues. is that your understanding as
1:56 pm
well? mrs. boxer: absolutely that's my understanding. what is such a joke is my republican friends who were just objecting to us having an amendment to take this earmark off, you know, always give big speeches about, congress is putting all these earmarks in. well, this is a clear earmark because it's directing a project to run in a certain way and diverting water to a special interest and taking it away from the fishery. taking it away. and, therefore, by it's very nature giving a gift -- a gift of water to big agribusiness and letting the salmon fishery just go under. and i'd say to my friend, the reason she's down here, this is not just about california. the provision is called
1:57 pm
california drought. it's not about the drought. it doesn't secure the drought. it doesn't cure the drought. and yet my friend is right, every provision, including the one about giving president trump the right to decide where a dam will be built, taking it away from congress, that all belongs in your committee's jurisdiction. i'm surprised senator murkowski isn't here because this is a direct run at her as well as you. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i would ask the senator from california then the question is on this process of deciding the authorization -- i notice we had a few colleagues out here that were -- i don't know if they were coming to speak. but in your region there is a lot of discussion between the western states on how to balance issues on water. is that correct? there's a lot of meetings and discussion? mrs. boxer: there's no choice because, as you know, my state
1:58 pm
gets all of the water out of the colorado river. it's under a lot of stress. we've got a lot of problems. we've got all of a lot of probl. my heart goes out to every single state holder in my state. and that's why i'm so chagrined at this because we all have to work together, i say to my friend in our state. we're all suffering because we don't have the water we need. but the way to deal with it is is not to, you know, slam one complete industry called the salmon fishery, which not only impacts my state but your state and oregon as well. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i have a question for the senator from california because of some of our colleagues that were out here. my understanding as -- is if you can get water from northern california by agreeing to kill fish and not meeting those obligations, then southern california can take some of that water as well, and then the consequence is these western
1:59 pm
states who might be supporting this bill have less obligation to make more conservation efforts. so in reality, if you're talking about colorado river and all the various resources that have to be negotiated, if somebody can be lets off the hook because you're justify going to -- just going to kill fish instead, you have more water. if you want to kill fish in streams and give all the money to farewells, of course you have more water. then no one in the colorado discussion has to keep talking about what are we going to do about drought. and i think you're going to tell me that drought is not going away. it's a growing issue of concern. and so we actually need more people to discuss this in a collaborative way than in an end runway. but am i correct about the partners and all that discussion? mrs. boxer: well, my friend is very knowledgeable and very smart, because people tend to look at a provision, i say to my friend, in a very narrow
2:00 pm
way. they say what's the difference? it doesn't matter. but my friend is right, on the bigger picture, if the fishery dies and all the jobs with the fishery die and there's no demand for the water for the fish anymore, my friend is right. that relieves the discussion. so, yeah. you know what it reminds me of, say to my friend -- i remember once when they said, let's raise the retirement age for social security because, you know, people are working longer and so-and-so and so, and it will help the social security trust fund. well, if you take that, my friend, to the ultimate, why don't we say, people should work until they're 90 and then there won't be any social security problem because everyone will die before it kicks in? it's the same analogy here. you kill off all the fish, and the entire salmon

16 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on