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tv   U.S. Senate Advances HHS Secretary Nomination  CSPAN  February 2, 2017 4:59pm-7:00pm EST

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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or chapping their vote? -- or change their vote? you're recorded.
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if not, the yeas are 52, the nays are 48. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i move to proceed to h.j. res. 41. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: motion to proceed to the consideration of house joint resolution 41, providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, united states code, and so forth. the presiding officer: question is on the motion. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 25erbgs the nays are 48. the motion to proceed is agreed to. the clerk will report the joint resolution. the clerk: h.j. res. 41, joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, united states code, and so forth.
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the presiding officer: pursuant to 5u.s.c.802-d-2. there will now be up with ten hours of debate between the proponents and opponents of the joint resolution. mr. crapo: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator idaho. mr. crapo: i rise to discuss the regulatory burden imposed by the s.c.c.'s extractive resource rule making and offer my support not the resolution to designation approve it. i'll take a few moments to talk about the complicated history of this ruled and then the concerns with the way it was form lated. the sacrament s.c.c. was challen court by the chamber of commerce and by the american petroleum institute. in 20 13-rbg the u.s. district court threw out the regulation contending among other things that the s.c.c. misread the requirements of the statute. the s.y.c. did not appeal the
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decision, being a nounalling that it immediated to rewrite the rule. the s.y. c.r.s. proposed timetable for a new rule was delayed several times and in 2014 oxfam america sued to compel the s.c.c. to move forward on a new rule making. the court order the s.c.c. to file an expedited schedule and as a result, a new rule was proposed in 2015 and finalized last year. as one can see, this rule and its various i think rations has been fraught with controversy for many years. advocates for the rule have said that it will combat corruption in resource-rich nations much the s.c.c.'s final rule raised doubts about this. the final rule stated several things, including the direct causal relationship between increased transparency in the extracted industry and social benefits is inconclusive. it noted that research and data available at this time does not
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allow us to draw any firm conclusions. unlike the potential benefits, though, the costs are reasonably certain. the s.c.c. estimated up to $700 million in initial costs and up to $590 million in on-going annual costs. put another way, each company would endure between $560,000 and $1.6 million in initial costs and between $224,000 and $1.3 million in additional costs each year. we cannot view these costs as only affecting the largest companies but must consider the plight of the smaller ones. just under half of all the companies covered by this rule are considered smaller companies and they would be disproportionately impacted by millions of dollars in fixed costs, money that could be better spent on jobs and growth.
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finally, the president's statement of administration policy also endorses this resolution. some of the reasons it highlights include in some cases the rule would require companies to disclose information that the host nation of their proposed project prohibits from disclosure or is commercially sensitive. the rule would impose unreasonable compliance costs on american energy companies that are not justified by quantifiable benefits. and, moreover, the american businesses could face a competitive disadvantage in cases where their foreign competitors are not subject to similar rules. i've repeatedly stressed the need for the u.s. financial system and markets to remain the preferred destination for investors throughout the world, and this rule harms this status. i urge my colleagues to support this resolution and to preserve the integrity of our securities laws and capital markets. and, mr. president, i ask
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unanimous consent at this point to enter into a colloquy with my colleague from georgia, senator isakson. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. isakson: mr. president? the chairman of the banking committee, i recognize the time and the recognition. i am a member of the committee. i have a traveled to many continents for many years. i've seen resource-rich countries. i think transparency is important in seeing to it that the resources they receive for selling those resources is available to their people so that resources go to the benefit of the people and not the government. are you also aware that i am not a big support of the dodd-frank bill. because of what we've done in transparency and anticorruption, countries like the united
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kingdom, norway and canada have followed our lead. i'd like to ask the chairman of the banking committee a couple of questions to ease my fears about this question. first, i'd like to direct a couple questions to the chairman. it is my understanding that the joint resolution does not -- i underscore "not" -- repeal section 1504 of the dodd-frank law, is that correct? mr. crapo: yes, that is correct. what this resolution does is to cause the current s.e.c. to not take effect. as it was characterized yesterday on the house floor and will be characterized further today on the senate floor, what the s.e.c. will need to do is go back to the drawing board and come up with a better rule which complies better with the law of the land. mr. isakson: thank you. i'd like your commitment to work with me and other members of the caucus that are concerned -- that want to ensure that that the s.c.c. moves afford with the implementation of this as soon as possible. mr. crapo: thank you, senator.
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i will work to ensure that the s.c.c. implements all of its congressional mandate. mr. isakson: thank the chair. mr. crapo: thank you. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i rise in opposition -- mr. inhofe: would the senator from ohio yield for a request? i ask unanimous consent at the conclusion of the remarks from the senator from ohio, i be recognized for up to niefns. -- up to five minutes. mr. brown: up to five minutes? the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. [inaudible] mr. brown: i rise in soiption to the bill before us which ought to be entitled "the kleptocat relief act." my republican colleagues are trying to repeal the critical bipartisan rule initiated by senator lugar, republican from indiana, senator cardin, a democrat from maryland. it was a critical bipartisan
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rule to prevent corruption. this transparency rule is part of dodd-frank wall street reform law. it's one of the best anticorruption tools that president trump now has to keep his promise to -- in his words -- drain the swamp in washington and around the world. but now in just week two of his presidency, republicans are racing to use an obscure law called the congressional review act to wipe it out. the c.r.a. was not intended to hand a new president the power to roll back regulations that protect workers, to protect the environment, to protect investors and to protect consumers. in this case, republicans are using the c.r.a. to target rules that have gone through extensive years-long administrative and public review, including on issues that agencies were specifically ordered by this congress to study and address. republicans unprecedented use of the c.r.a. is not about congress performing due diligence or
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agency oversight. it's a gross abuse of power to make their big corporate allies happy. i heard my friend from idaho talk about the chamber of commerce and the american petroleum institute. that's just a start. the rule they're trying to repeal protects u.s. citizens and investors from having millions of dollars of their dollars vanish into the pockets of corrupt foreign oligarchs. it does this by requiring all oil, gas, and mineral companies listed on u.s. stock exchanges to disclose the royalties and bonuses and fees and taxes and other payments they make to foreign governments. this kind of transparency is essential to combating waste, fraud, corruption, and mismanagement, as senator isakson talked about the poverty he sees in these resource-rich countries. yet rex tillerson, whom this body just, i believe yesterday, confirmed with a pretty much partisan vote -- yet rex
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tillerson and congressional republicans want to strip it away. rex tillerson in his years as c.e.o. of exxonmobil -- we'll talk about that in a moment. he strongly opposed this rule, almost by himself, with exxonmobil as the head of that company. at mr. tillerson's confirmation hearing, senator kaine from virginia introduced a 2008 report by republican senate foreign relations committee staff. that report was the basis -- republican staff, i assume at the behest of senator lugar an others. that report was the basis for what eventually became section 1504 of discoed frank known as the bipartisan cardin-lugar amendment to fight corruption in mineral-rich countries. that report concluded that many resource-rich countries are poor because their vast mineral resources often breed corruption. that corruption lines the pockets of the cleptocrats,
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increases poverty and hunger and instability. senatosenator lugar says that paradoxically, history shows that rather than a blessing for a country, energy reserves can be a bain for these many poor countries leading to fraud and corruption, wasteful spending, military venturism and instability. too often oil money is that should go to the nation's poor -- these are senator lugar's words -- ends up in the pocket of the rich or squandered on the transplantation of power in massive showcase projects instead of being invested productively and equitably." that's called the resource curse. it prevails all over the world today. for example, oil-rich venezuela is running out ever food and medicine. resource-rich nigeria is in an economic mess wracked by terrorism and poverty. armed groups fought for years over minute wral wealth in congo and elsewhere in africa. resource-rich countries in asia have similar problems. the natural resource sector in
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so many countries is famously corrupt. the world's single-most corrupt industry, according to the organization for economic cooperation development -- oil companies can no longer hide behind the excuse of confidentiality. increasingly, companies are expected to disclose what they pay in taxes and other payments to governments whose natural resources they extract. that's what this language from senator lugar, senator cardin and also senator laity did. that's what the rule does. that's what we should do. this congress wants to undo that. it's required under the laws in the u.s. and 30 other countries now as well as international initiatives. in other words, what we did here was follow by 30 other countries in a number of more responsible energy companies, i would say, began to implement, pass this language, began to implement these laws. the extractive industries transparent initiative is a global standard that aims to put information comb government
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revenues from national resources deals -- national resource deals into the public domain in 51 countries, including ours. this includes telling us what taxes the companies pay, which is key to ensuring, to ensure that citizens know what benefits they get from venezuela or nigeria or congo from their natural resources. let me offer examples of the kind of corruption we're talking about. this just turns your stomach. in equitorial guinea, according to anticorruption groups, oil companies, including exxon, have had a long history of problems on this front. the regime of the president obiyay, who executed his brutal uncle to gain power almost 40 years ago has been tarnished with allegations of corruption and cronyism, brutal political repression, routine human rights violations and drug trafficking for years. years ago the senate permanent subcommittee on investigations released a report and held a public hearing which revealed that a number of oil
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companies -- again exxonmobil -- were making direct payments into an account in the name of the republic of equitorial guinea located at rigs bank in washington, d.c. virtually all the money in the accounts, tens of millions of dollars, consisted of royalties and other payments from oil companies, primarily, surprise, exxonmobil, to the country of equitorial guinea for the right to explore and produce oil in the country. instead of paying the money to the government or the national treasury of equitorial guinea, the company sent the money to the account at riggs bank. that account was controlled by the president for life and two of his relatives. the account signatories were the president for life, his son and his nephew. imagine that, instead of paying the national treasury, oil companies made payment into this account in another country controlled by a dictator and his relatives. i can't believe we in this body support that. how could the citizens of
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equitorial guinea know how much royalty money was coming in for their oil in their country and where it was going when it was in a secret account controlled by a dictator? the answer obviously is they couldn't. the report from the p.s.i., the committee that investigated here, documented that some of the funds from that account were used to make suspicious transactions. the united states then investigated the president for life's family finances. prosecutors noted that president for life obiyan's son received an official government salary of less than $100,000 a year but used his position and influence as a government minister and the president-for-life's son to amass more than $300 million worth of assets through corruption and money laundering. paid himself $100,000 but found a way to amass $300 million more. all in violation of the laws of his country and our country both.
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2014, the son settled a case brought by federal prosecutors. he agreed to sell his $30 million mansion in malibu, his ferrari and various items of michael jackson memorabilia. "the new york times" reported this month he's working to delay his trial when corruption charges in france where prosecutors said he amassed a personal fortune of $115 million which he used to indulge his tastes. when he served as secretary of agriculture prosecutors say he used influence over timber industry, next to oil the most important in the country to line his pockets. last november prosecutors in switzerland seized luxury cars, cars belonging to him and last month at the request of the swiss, the dutch authorities seized his 250-foot, $100 million yacht named the ebony shine as it was about to sail to equitorial guinea. he said the yacht belonged to his country's government. all the while his people are
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starving. you can't make this stuff up, mr. president. if the bill before us were adopted, the obiang family would be celebrating. they would be celebrating in washington. they would be celebrating in california and in equitorial guinea. in nigeria, a major oil deal struck by exxonmobil with nigeria's economic and crimes commission, a law enforcement agency that investigate high level corruption. a controversial deal agreed by exxonmobil and the nigerian government in 2009 to renew three lucrative oil prices which at the time accounted for around a quarter of nigeria entire oil production. exxonmobil agreed to pay $600 million to renew licenses and construct a power plant, making a total contribution of $1.5
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billion. yet documents suggest that the nigerian government may have valued the licenses at $2.5 billion and the chinese oil company offered to pay $3.7 billion for the same licenses over six times the amount reportedly paid by exxonmobil. other incredible and notorious examples abound would be reason enough for us to act to try to help the millions of people around the world who are victims of this corporate collusion. in today's world the recess purse doesn't affect far-off companies. it affects americans every day. it's empowered dictators in iraq, libya and syria, situations which cost american lives and american taxpayer dollars. it worsens global poverty which can be a seedbed in a fertile ground, growing ground for terrorism against us and our allies. it leads to instability that threatens global oil supplies. it raises gas prices at home.
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that's why we need this for all the above, to protect america's national security interests by combatting corruption and secrecy all these oil companies at the table with them that has caused conflict and instability and violent extremist movements in africa and the middle east. nonstate actors benefit from trading natural resources in order to finance terrorist operations. despite all this, despite all this, mr. president, the republican-led house of representatives, as senator crapo said, voted yesterday to repeal this bipartisan initiative, an initiative that unless repealed holds big oil accountable and protects the american people. the senate republican leadership is following suit, a little ironic in light of the fact that canada trumped in almost every rally in state after state after state where he's campaigning talked about draining the swamp.
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since the rule's creation exxonmobil led by mr. tillerson, now secretary of state and big oil licenses like the u.s. oil petroleum institute, u.s. heritage foundation fought to kill it. who else opposes this rule besides senate republicans, house republicans and president trump? there's the autocrats in russia. we know about the connections between russia and the secretary of state. we don't know quite enough about the connections between the president and -- our president and president putin because we can't get the president's tax returns and we know something is going on, who else opposes it in autocrats in iran, where advisor flynn made interesting comments today. autocrats in venezuela and throughout africa with oil wells and gas fields and copper mines. they want to keep their payments
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a secret. it's working for them, working for the autocrats, working for exxon. apparently it's working for republicans in the house and senate too. i'm not sure how but i know it's working. 30 countries, mostly the u.s. and canada and european nations, adopted similar anticorruption standards. this rule, this law passed, senator lugar's and leahy's passed as part of dodd-frank, the s.e.c. is adopting this rule. 30 other countries in the world followed our lead. some of the more responsible oil companies prepared to comply. these standards -- be clear, with europe and canada in the same disclosure system the field is level, working. many companies already report such payments under european rules and are doing just fine. it's hardly causing them undue burdens in the regulatory framework that my colleagues like to talk about. it's why many industries support the rule. despite exxon, the bad actor
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here and the c.e.o. of exxon now amazingly our secretary of state, when you go through this litany, bp and shell publicly two major large oil companies publicly endorse payment reporting and lined up u.s. rules with foreign and other markets. foreign and state owned markets like from china, brazil including cnooc and brazil's petro braz are required to disclose under u.s. rules leveling the playing field. rozneft, bp and shell already report under u.k. rules, the largest mining companies in the world, numon, rio tinto reported similar reporting. in oil, gas and mining workers unions like the united steel workers back the rules. you notice who doesn't back the rules. it's exxon, american petroleum institute, autocrats in iran, in russia, in venezuela and all that.
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investors also support it including investor groups with $10 trillion, so they can better understand and manage the reputational ex- -- ex-approaptn ?anchtions. it's supported by religions groups. who's against it? republicans in the house, republicans in the senate, the president of the united states, exxonmobil, the secretary of state who used to be c.e.o. of exxonmobil and autocrats in iran and venezuela. you get the picture. all these groups that care about justice, care about fair play, that care about doing business with predictable, fair rules like b.p. and shell, all of them support it. global witness, the one campaign, oxfam, publish what you pay. we need to be clear of one other thing that my friend from idaho said. this rule won't cost a single american job. everything oil companies can legally do today is still allowed under the anticorruption
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rule. they only have to do one more thing. they have to report their numbers to the securities and exchange commission. how can that cost millions and millions of dollars? so cardin-lugar makes big business and government more transparent. it fights corruption. it does it all without hurting taxpayers. it's a creative approach to global leaders -- to global problems that our leaders did embrace until we had a president who wants to drain the swamp, he says. shut up embracing, not rejecting at the behest of just a few actors. again, who's lobbying to overturn this rule? it's autocrats around the world. it's exxon. it's the american petroleum institute. it's companies, a very small number of companies when so many people are on the other side. if we repeal this measure today, shareholders and investors in poor communities around the world will continue to see their money and their natural resources stolen, stolen by crooked oligarchs. we'll be undoing the moral
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leadership. this is, in so many ways a moral question that senator cardin and senator lugar and senator leahy brought to us, bipartisanly with broad, broad support from both parties. we will turn -- we'll be turning a blind eye to corruption. we'll be betraying our principles and undercutting our allies in europe and canada who followed our lead. they followed our lead to craft their own rules based on ours. under the terms of the congressional review act, any future substantially similar rule will be forever prohibited from being written by the s.e.c. that makes no sense. i hope this effort fails, mr. president, because enough of my colleagues -- and i know they do. i know my republican colleagues understand this because enough of my colleagues recognize the merits of this anticorruption measure, they refuse to cow to - cow tow to the dinosaur wing of big oil.
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i thank senator cardin for his work. i thank senator leahy for his. and i thank former senator lugar from indiana for the important work they did on this measure. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i know that president obama is gone now, but his war on fossil fuels is alive and well. however, they're not winning. back in oklahoma, they ask the question sometimes, they say how can, if everyone over there, if the liberals are all opposed to fossil fuels and to nuclear, i might add, that's oil and gas and nuclear, and if coal, oil and gas and nuclear are responsible for 89% of the power it takes to run this country, you know, how do you run the country if you do away with those? those are the kind of questions we get. and i appreciate it. i know that it's a very popular statement that was made by my friend from ohio. unfortunately, it has nothing to do with the issue that we're looking at right now.
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back during the time that dodd-frank was considered, that was dealing with banks with financial institutions. it had nothing to do with energy. and yet, somebody, head of section 1504 that was put in there, part of section 1504 was one that required that information that is made during the course of a competitive situation for some kind of a project -- i'll give you an example. we have a private sector in our oil and gas. china, that's a government project there. so if we're competing with them, let's say for somebody -- for some cause that is in tanzania or some place, they said so that there is a safeguard and there can't be corruption, so that if we should win -- i say we. i'm talking about the private sector in the united states of america -- then they have to report the information to the s.e.c. who in turn makes it
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public. now, their intent was not to have to break down everything that was in that -- it's just the bottom line. what is the total cost that goes to these countries? what are the total costs? that's all they care about because the total costs, that would be -- that money went to tanzania, there are some corrupt officials there, they might steal some of the money. to keep that from happening, we want to report what the cost was in the winning party. you don't have to have all that other information. in fact, i say to you, mr. president, that in 2013, the court struck this down because they said that was not the intent. the intent was just to have a total figure, and so they said, even suggested, and our intent at that time was to vacate that, as the court did vacate that rule and send it back and have them redo it. the s.e.c. redo it in such a way that it would only affect the amount of money that would go that might cause some corruption at some time.
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that's what it was all about. and so we -- we unfortunately they put together another one which was very similar and does require a lot of information that was not -- was not necessary. now, i have to say that on a c.r.a., i'd just like to correct something that the senator from ohio said. the c.r.a. is there because when an unelected bureaucrat comes out with some kind of an unreasonable rule that is very costly to the people of this country and those people, it's done by someone who is not an elected official, and the elected officials look at this and say wait a minute, this is something i go home, and they, people are complaining about this. well, they love that because they can say well, this wasn't me, this wasn't me. this was the -- this was an unelected bureaucrat that put these rules in. now, what the c.r.a. does is make us in the house and in the senate more accountable because we have to then stand up and
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vote on something, saying we endorse this rule or we don't endorse this rule. that's what it's all about. so anyway, we have an opportunity here to go ahead, and i'm certainly hoping that we will do this and change this rule so that it would make as a requirement nothing but the amount of money that is paid by the winning party in a situation where they're competing with each other. now, if that happens, then we will know how much money that was and we will be able to go to the party and find out if they, in fact, are stealing some of this money. but why is it necessary to have all the components of a -- of a competition when you have the private sector and the united states of america competing with countries like china where it is a government-owned institution. so that's all this is about.
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all we want to do is to be able to say we want a report so the public knows how much the total bid or in this case the total amount was, not all the components that went into the calculation of that. that's all it's about. my time has expired. i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i'd like to just lay out the schedule for everyone. i know they are interested in knowing the way forward. i have discussed with the democratic leader where we go from here. the senate's going to debate the pending joint resolution tonight for as long as there is interest in debate. tomorrow, the senate will convene at 6:30 a.m., and immediately proceed to two roll call votes. passage of the joint resolution of disapproval and cloture on the nomination of betsy devos.
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so recapitulating that, debate tonight as long as our friends on the other side would like to debate. tomorrow we'll convene at 6:30 a.m., immediately turn to two roll call votes, passage of the joint resolution of disapproval and cloture on the nomination of betsy devos. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, the distinguished majority leader finished -- are you finished? i didn't want to interrupt you. did you finish what you were saying? mr. president, you know, you hear the talk that's going on here is the suggestion that if we don't pass this resolution, this republican resolution, we'll stop having oil and gas produced around the world. that's a bit of balderdash. the fact is if we do pass what
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the republicans want us to pass, what we're saying is that any crooked entity anywhere in the world that has gas and oil, they will be able to pocket secret payments. they could pay -- they could use it to pay tariffs or anything else and we'll never know. senator lugar, the most distinguished senator that has ever served in this body, a republican, senator cardin, the senior senator from maryland, and i worked very hard to -- to include this legislation in section 1504 in the dodd-frank wall street reform. the consumer protection act not to stop any oil and gas exploration, but to add some transparency so that investors would know where their money's going and where it's coming from, and also to combat massive
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corruption. it's a commonsense thing. we are finding this would protect investors, but it's also going to make it a lot harder to get away with stealing billions of dollars of public funds in some of the poorest concerns in the world. some in the oil and gas industry say this rule would create unacceptable burdens. well, senator cardin and others will speak about that, but that argument has no merit. even if it did, why not come up with a piece of legislation, debate it to refine it? you don't have to kill this rule to do it. what they are doing here, trying to bring about the death knell
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for most of our closest allies, resulting in the extraction of natural resources and also to help investors find out what the risk is. the sponsors of this resolution said they support the goals of this rule. this they want to make some adjustments. that's the epitome of disingenuousness. it really is. it doesn't pass the giggle test. the rule doesn't take effect until the end of 2018. if they really want to make some changes, bring up the amendment, let's debate it and let's vote on it. what we want to do is protect investors, investors whose combined net worth exceeds $10 trillion, they support this rule. and it's equivalency of the rules adopted by 30 other governments. we want to protect the public. look what happens. if we overturn this rule, we are saying okay, you can continue to make secret payments to very,
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very corrupt foreign autocrats like vladimir putin of russia and africa, the governments of angola and equatorial guinea. discussed by the distinguished senior senator from ohio a vote about what happens in places like angola and equatorial guinea. you have people in those country, they barely survive on a dollar or two dollars a day. their leaders are driving mercedes and rolls royces. they fly private jets to vacation homes on the french rivera. santa monica, they pay off their armed forces to stay in power. and where does the money come that is making these people having hundreds of millions of dollars? they come from the royalties
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paid by the u.s. and other foreign companies. do we really want to be part of that? do we really want the people of this country to look at the lefts, the autocracy and all and say well, the united states is helping that? anyone who reads this rule, pays the slightest attention to the estimated $1 trillion lost to crime and corruption, tax evasion in these countries, and also the millions of deaths attributed to corrupt practices will understand that -- the fallacy of the basis of attacks by those who oppose it would realize senator cardin and senator lugar and i and others did to bring this about. and the rule does not put american companies at a competitive disadvantage that applies to both u.s. and foreign
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companies. it complements existing laws elsewhere in the world. in fact, chinese state-owned companies like petrochina are covered by u.s. law. great britain, norway, china are examples of countries that have adopted this. i challenge anybody to show any objective fact to say this hurts our companies. you know, we overturned the rule. what happens in other countries that have been doing the exact same? again, we'll start seeing billions of dollars going -- stolen from public treasuries, squirreled away in swiss bank accounts by the robert mugaves of the world. we see people like vladimir putin and those around him become even more
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multibillionaires. but there's one other thing i'd like to say before i close. there is a huge connection between corruption and terrorism, particularly in africa,. what senator cardin and senator lugar and i wanted to stop. terrorist groups flourish when government corruption continues to incompetent, corrupt military forces. terrorists benefit when revenues from these activities are kept in the dark, enabling them to radicalize and recruit a very resentful population that has been impoverished by the corruption of their so-called leaders. and we overturned this rule that senators should know that violent extremists and terrorists and other criminal ent prices will benefit from it. it doesn't help our oil companies, although they sure as heck benefit extremists and
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terrorists and other criminal enterprises. and corruption is among the most corrosive forces that breed instability and violence. and then countries like ours try to feed and protect the innocent people who get caught up in that corruption and that violence. it wreaks havoc on the people of those countries. it hurts american companies trying to do business. it hurts americans who invest in these risky companies. if the norm is nondisclosure, if we're going to vote for this, we're going to say okay, our new norm is nondisclosure. what happens when there's nondisclosure? bribery becomes an unavoidable and accepted way of doing business. and that's when countries like russia and china have to compete with american companies would prefer because they are best at corruption. we try to follow the rules. we do away with the rules they
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gave. you know, we're only saying disclose your profits. the responses of this resolution, even though aware of it, it helps our competitiveness and it protects investors in the public. it was first passed to put the united states at the forefront of transparency and government accountability, efforts that paid off. other countries had to follow our lead. and all of a sudden we say hey, guys, we're sorry. we're going back to the closed door system. we're going back to the swiss bank accounts. we're going back to the corruption that funds vladimir putin, funds the oligarchs in africa and elsewhere. we'll turn our backs on the theft and misuse of payments made by u.s. companies where we don't care about the countries who suffer the consequences, we don't care about american investors who deserve this critical information, so when they invest, they know what
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they're investing in. this resolution is an affront to the values and to the citizens of our great, noble nation. and it would be a huge mistake to pass it. mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, let me thank senator leahy for his comments. ten years ago i was privileged to represent the people of maryland in the united states senate. i came to the senate with senator brown at that time and other -- it was our first year. senator brown had the opportunity to serve on the banking committee. i had the opportunity to serve on the senate foreign relations committee. today i hold that position on the senate foreign relations committee that senator lugar held when i first went on the committee. that is, the ranking member of the committee. mr. president, i remember one of the very first hearings that we had in the senate foreign relations committee on resource
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curse or blessing. it was a matter of concern to every single member of the senate foreign relations committee, democrats and republicans. we saw the faces of people from nations in africa that had a resource wealth but they had the resource curse. the people were living in horrible poverty and yet the country had mineral wealth, gas and oil, that was being exploited but not for the benefit of the people. it was being used to obtain income for their leaders to funnel corrupt practices. senator lugar in october of 2008 authored a committee report of the senate foreign relations committee entitled the petroleum and poverty paradox assessing u.s. and international
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communities' efforts to fight the resource curse. we went through the regular legislative process as to how we could deal with the circumstance that we knew that the united states must exercise leadership. and, mr. president, as senator brown has pointed out the whole history how we went through all this and the importance of it and all of the details, i just want to fill in some of the details as to how this came about. because we were looking for a way in which we could turn the wealth of a nation to its people and cut off the corruption that it funded because the corruption was not just the obscenity of wealth being used by their leaders as senator brown pointed out in equatorial guinea. it was also the fact that this wealth that was coming to these leaders were also being used for
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criminal activities, to finance illegal drug activities, and to finance terrorism. and i want to take issue with my friend from oklahoma and his comments. there's never been an effort in this legislation to affect the supply of any source of energy here or anywhere around the world. that's being done. the question is where does the money go that is being used to exploit these resources. do they go to the people of the country where the resource is located or do they go for corruption? that's what we attempted to do. so senator lugar and i and others -- and i want to thank senator leahy, senator durbin who was on the floor earlier, one of our early leaders, senator menendez, senator wicker because we did this not only in the senate foreign relations committee at the time i was chairman of the senate el sinkee
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commission, we worked in that organization to see how we could deal with transparency and how the american leadership could help the international effort to end the resource curse. as a result, legislation was authored and introduced in order to try to deal with this issue. and senator lugar and i authored a bill, a bill that said we want to know where the money is going so we can track the money. we want to be able for the people of that nation to be able to say we know money is coming in now. our leaders, show us where the money is going. and that legislation was introduced. it was debate. it became part of the dodd-frank law and quite frankly, mr. president, it was supported in a rather bipartisan way and it
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became law. ever since its enactment it's been fought by the american petroleum institute. i'm not sure why because today other countries have adopted similar standards and this information is readily available as far as the way it's compiled by companies and many oil companies today, mineral companies today are supplying this information with no complaints, no problems. but it was fought and tonight we're debating the c.r.a., the congressional review act. now, it was pointed out earlier tonight that before today it had only been used once since its 1996 enactment. the reason because it is a sledgehammer approach to dealing with issues that should be dealt with by a scalpel. but here's the real abuse.
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we're using the congressional review act which is supposed to be used when an agency goes rogue, when they start to do things that were never intended by congress, were never authorized by congress. 1504 was passed by congress and it's taken the s.e.c. almost a decade to get the rules out. and we're saying they abused their power? maybe they abused their now we are by delay but they certainly haven't abused their power but what they have come forward with. they're carrying out congressional mandate as they should. that was never the intent of the c.r.a. to be used for this type of a process. "urge -- i urge my colleagues to recognize that this is not the right way we should be proceeding. in september 2009 as i indicated with senator lugar's help, i introduced legislation. it was bipartisan. senator merkley, wicker,
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schumer, durbin, feinstein, menendez and others joined in that effort. the s.e.c. was directed to derail rules on oil, gas, and mining companies as to how disclosures could be made on the u.s. stock exchange so they could disclose their royalties and payments they made to foreign governments. that was what we mandated. why did we want to know that? because these royalties and payments were basically bribes to government leaders because it never went to the people. it was in the u.s. interest not only because of how those funds were used to -- against our principles but also not only to finance illegal activities but but it could have been a source for stable governments which was important for u.s. interests that we have stable governments. it helps us in our foreign policy and national security. it also gives us a stable source
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of oil, gas and minerals. investors have a right to know. they have a right to know in what countries that their companies are investing their stockholder investments. so it was a reasonable request by congress. one of my colleagues indicated that it was -- by our courts. that was a process issue, not on a substantive issue. that was corrected. a new rule comes out and now we're using a c.r.a. in order to block it. the rule as currently -- as it's currently worded provides for a reasonable period for enforcement so it's not even going into effect immediately because we're allowing the companies to have ample time in order to comply with the rule. and here i just want to make
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this point. it creates a level playing field. it does not put american companies at a disadvantage. this is a level playing field. 30 countries already require this. the e.u. requires this. canada requires this. why? you want to know why they did it? because the u.s. led. we passed the law. i met with the europeans. i met with the canadians and they said, you know, this is a good bill. you are the leaders. you're doing it. we're going to do it also. so they did it. and it's in effect in these countries. and oil companies and mineral companies have complied with it. they have -- guess what? it wasn't difficult. shell, b.p., francis total, luke oil, gas prone, they're huge giants, all have reported. it's not causing any competitive
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problems. they're not losing any proprietary rights as has been suggested. there's been no harm done. when i listened to the cost-benefit analysis and listen to our distinguished chairman talk about -- that the data is not really available, the reason the data is not available because we don't have disclosure. if we get the information, then we'll be able to tell exactly how we can deal with the problems in ghana or nigeria or problems in so many countries where the people are hurting, some of the lowest -- some of the worst poverty rates in the world. we'll be able to find out information out. but if we don't know that what's being paid by u.s. companies, how do you do a cost-benefit analysis? i don't know how you could possibly do it. i heard the numbers on the cost of compliance, and i would challenge that. i would challenge the cost of compliance numbers because this information is already
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available. companies know where their money is going. they have to -- it's a normal business issue. but even if you take those numbers and i heard thousands of dollars it's going to cost, hundreds of millions of dollars of contracts, i don't want to minimize the cost but as a percentage of the business they're doing, it's minor. and the benefit we get if the money can go to the people and deal with these horrible conditions that we see in these resource wealthy countries, then it's certainly very much worth the effort that's part of our effort in dealing in other countries is to try to lift up the standard of living in so many of these countries. so when we look at again what is at stake, what is at stake and that is to to allow the wealth a country to go to its people for its stability. now, i've heard my colleagues
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say, well, we're not against this. the law is still there. all we're talking about is this regulation. and once we pass this c.r.a., we're going to go back to work with the s.e.c., bring out a new rule. really? do you really believe that? do you really believe if we pass the c.r.a. that we're going to see a new rule come out of the s.e.c.? it's taken us nine years to get to where we are right now. do you really believe that with the -- what the -- with the law saying you cannot bring out -- the s.e.c. cannot bring out a rule that is substantially the same in form unless authorized by a subsequent law of congress, do you believe that won't be challenged in the courts? with lengthy litigation before we'll ever see another rule take effect? let's be clear about this. i will continue to do everything i can to make sure the people of
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these nations get the wealth of their country. i'm going to do everything i can. i'm going to work with all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. i really do believe in the sincerity of my colleagues that they believe in transparency. it's going to be tested. and i'm going to come back and see where we can make sure that 1504 is in force because as i heard my chairman and i respect him greatly, we do a lot of issues together, when the chairman says that he's going to make sure the s.e.c. complies with all congressional mandates, this is a congressional mandate, and it's our responsibility to make sure the s.e.c. complies with section 1504. and if our colleagues pass this c.r.a. and i hope you don't, it's our responsibility to make sure the s.e.c. complies with 1504. and i'm going to be here urging
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in every way i can to make sure that happens. mr. president, i would ask consent that the statement from publish what you pay which talks about a lot of the different aspects and micts that have -- myths that have been said be made part of our record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: let me conclude. for years congress has been trying to shine a lot by the millions of dollars paid to foreign governments by taking away one of the only tools we have to shine a light on extractive payments and associated corruption, we're sending a message to corrupt leaders around the world that the united states does not care about corruption, that we won't hold them accountable, and that they should continue with business as usual exploiting their own people and perhaps even funding terrorist organizations with some of their secret proceeds. it's not in our national interest to stop an anticorruption rule that bolsters america's national security, advances our humanitarian and anticorruption goals, and demonstrates u.s.
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moral leadership. i urge my colleagues to join me in voting against this resolution of disapproval. i yield the floor. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i want to take a few minutes to comment on some of the initial reactions that i've heard from my democratic colleagues on the president's nomination of judge gorsuch. to be an associate justice of the supreme court. first of all, even before we had the nominee there with many of the democratic members vowing to filibuster the nominee sight unseen, that of course is very unfortunate as well as being ridiculous. in other words, saying you're going to filibuster somebody
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before you even knew who the nominee is. but of course, be given how the minority has treated the president's cabinet nominees so far, it isn't exactly surprising that they would say this before the president even nominated somebody for the court. and then, of course, this week the president announced his nominee. judge gorsuch, of course, was confirmed by the senate in 2006 without a single no vote and is universally respected as one of the finest and most fair-minded judges in the country. in fact, get this, one of president obama's solicitor generals called him -- quote --
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one of the most thoughtful and brilliant judges to have served our nation over the last century. now, if an obama solicitor general says that, and that's not mainstream enough, i don't know what is. after the president's announcement, something very interesting happened. right out of the gate, there were a number of senate democrats calling for --quote, unquote -- a hearing and a vote. well, that certainly sounds very encouraging. the press picked up on these comments, and one newspaper even reported that after learning who the nominee was, there were already seven senate democrats
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opposed to filibustering this nominee. at first glance, it appears those democrats were trying to be consistent with their stance from last year that a nominee deserves a hearing and an up-or-down vote. but, of course, now they conveniently seem to have dropped the up or down portion of that stand. now, isn't that a -- a neat trick, a new trick. take, for example, one of my colleagues who just last year said -- quote -- "the constitution says the senate shall advise and consent, and that means having an up-or-down vote." end of quote. but oddly, just yesterday, that same colleague said -- quote -- "i support a 60-vote margin for all supreme court nominees." that's a very nice sleight of hand, but most of the senators
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aren't that gullible. "the washington post" fact checker certainly took notice of their wordsmithing, and that has earned them two pinocchios. when you look at the facts, a 60-vote threshold has never been a standard, as the minority leader said yesterday. otherwise, we wouldn't have two of the current justices sitting on the supreme court. of course, my colleagues tried unsuccessfully to filibuster justice alito. the senate voted 72-25 to invoke cloture. he was then confirmed 58-42 on an up-or-down vote. justice thomas, now on the supreme court for 25 years, was confirmed 52-48.
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there was no cloture vote on justice thomas' nomination. in fact, the senate didn't set any sort of requirement that there be 60 votes for seven of the eight justices serving on the court. so if there has been any sort of requirement or practice in the senate on supreme court nominees, it's, in fact, been that the nominee does not need a 60-vote. although many of them received that kind of support. we already know some members have pledged to filibuster the nominee, and this minority leader stated that part of the --quote, unquote -- fair process is a 60-vote threshold. i suppose if you're already
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committed to attempting a filibuster on a supreme court nominee before you even know who that person might be, then you might consider that part of --quote, unquote -- fair process. of course, we all know, all republicans and democrats know that launching a filibuster against a supreme court nominee isn't part of a fair process. it never has been. but i suppose we should cut our colleagues just a little bit of slack. they're having a hard time figuring out how to make good on their promise to attack the nominee no matter who it is when they have now been presented hueneme with an impeccable credentials, as well as broad bipartisan support.
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and this brings me to the second brief point that i want to make. judge gorsuch had barely finished speaking at the white house, and there were already attacks on the nominee by some on the left. some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have already taken the senate floor to attack and mischaracterize judge gorsuch's record. although we expected it, these imperialist attacks with untoward and obviously misplaced. after all, those on the left trot out the same tired arguments against every republican nominee. now, you know, going back a few years may be too far for some of
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you younger members. they attacked justice stevens because he -- quote -- revealed an extraordinary lack of sensitivity to problems that women face, end of quote. they called justice kennedy a sexist who -- quote -- would be a disaster for women, end of quote. and they said there was -- quote -- ample reason to fear, end of quote, justice souter. and, of course, you know what turned out. justice stevens and souter turned out to be favorites of the left, and too often justice kennedy has ruled the liberal way. this morning, "the washington post" editorial board noted that while we argued last year, meaning the paper argued last year that the president
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shouldn't fill a supreme court vacancy that occurred -- i said that wrong. this morning, "the washington post" editorial board noted that while we argued last year that the president shouldn't fill a supreme court vacancy that occurred during a presidential election year, senate republicans at least -- quote -- quoting the post, refrained from tarring mr. garland formally personally, end of quote. in contrast, the paper noted that this -- that this dissent is unwarranted this early by writing this -- quote -- "trashing mr. gorsuch as an outlandish radical, despite his
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impeccable credentials, the wide-respected commands in his field, his long service as an appeals court judge and the unanimous voice vote he received the last time the senate considered him for the federal bench is at the very least premature, end of quote. our friends on the other side of the aisle would do well to take note of "the washington post" observation. so i'd like to make this point. in the process, we have witnessed for the president's cabinet nominees, if that's any guide, i'm quite confident that we're going to -- we'll hear all manner of reasons and arguments about why we should delay a
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hearing on judge gorsuch. but as my friend and former chairman of the judiciary committee, senator leahy, often noted, supreme court nominees don't have the opportunity to respond to personal attacks outside of their confirmation hearings. so i'm going to consult with the ranking member on timing for the hearing, but i can tell you what we aren't going to do. we're not going to delay this hearing, especially in the face of all of these attacks on his record and character, which both for the record and for the character are unjustified. so i will conclude with this -- i had the good fortune of meeting one on one with judge gorsuch yesterday. he's as impressive a person in person as he is on paper.
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i expect that as my friends on the other side of the aisle meet judge gorsuch and actually review his record, they will find him to be an eminently qualified and universally respected judge whose decisions faithfully applying the text of the law place him well within the judicial mainstream. now, maybe people that say they want a mainstream judge, they want an activist judge that will read the text the way the judge wants it read for their own personal views as opposed to the intent by congress, but judge gorsuch is doing what any judge should do -- reading the law. and he said if any judge likes every decision he makes, then he's not a very good judge.
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now, this is what we're going to do. we're going to do our due diligence and we're going to send a questionnaire to judge gorsuch in the next day or so. i'll expect he will answer that question here promptly, and then we'll do what i said before the election. before we knew who was going to be the next president. in fact, we thought it was going to be secretary clinton. when i say we, the country as a whole had that in their mind, that there was no doubt about it. so i said before the election, as one responsible for not having a hearing on the previous nominee, that whoever was elected president, this process was going to move forward. so we'll have that hearing where members can ask this nominee any questions that they deem
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appropriate. we'll vote on him in committee and the full senate will vote on his nomination. but and given his exemplary record and the facts as we know them, i expect this nominee to be confirmed. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: mr. president, and i'm going to try to be very brief. i'm rising to return to the topic of the effort of the c.r.a. to roll back transparency in the oil and gas industry, and i will speak briefly. i know my colleague from arizona is here and wants to speak, too. the issue has been described. it's an s.e.c. rule requiring energy companies to disclose the payments they make to foreign governments for natural resources, and the reason is that many countries with abundant natural resources are run by dictators, and there has been a long history of payments by oil companies, american and
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others, to those dictators that don't get to the people and actually further corruption of the countries. just one example. an i.m.f. report stated in just one year, 1998, the government of equatorial guinea received $130 million in oil revenues and $96 million of it went directly to the personal bank account of the dictator. meanwhile hunger in that country is rampant. that's what led to this. i'm on the foreign relations committee. and in preparation for our hearing on the nomination of rex tillerson, the former c.e.o. of exxonmobil as secretary of state, i read a wonderful report that was done by senator lugar when he was the ranking member of the senate foreign relations committee. october 2008 report to members of the foreign relations committee from the ranking member, the title was petroleum and the poverty paradox, assessing u.s. and international efforts to fight the resource curse. i read this. i read the book "private empire
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," a recent history of exxonmobil to prepare for my testimony -- for my examination of rex tillerson for secretary of state. this particular report was the basis for the 2010 law that was described by senator cardin and it was sponsored in a bipartisan way. it didn't prohibit any company from doing anything. it only required companies that pay foreign governments to disclose those payments. i voted yesterday against rex tillerson for secretary of state because i believe a public official's duty, especially secretary of state, has to be to the country, and i was worried based on the testimony, three areas of the testimony, that rex tillerson could not set aside his loyalty to exxonmobil. he refused to answer questions that i asked him about exxonmobil's knowledge of climate science, yet efforts to convince the public that the science was not settled. he told me he wouldn't answer my questions. he did not demonstrate to the
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committee's satisfaction in my view that he could be independent in russia. for example, he said that exxonmobil had not lobbied against sanctions against russia when we actually have the lobbying forms to suggest that they had. in both of those areas, i found his responses wanting and i voted against him. mr. president, i'll be honest. i asked him about the resource curse question and today i kind of feel like i got snookered. i said there's a lot of concern about these countries that let resource wealth go to dictators and further corruption. what are you going to do about it as a secretary of state working on development, for example, of some of these poor nations. and he talked about high minded values and virtues of the things the united states could do that would battle corruption and increase transparency. he didn't tell me that he had been personally involved in an effort to defeat the legislation that passed congress in 2010. now there is press out suggesting that that's the case.
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and he didn't tell me that apparently there was an effort under way to undermine the transparency statute that was so important. and i think it's just -- i got to put it on the record, mr. president. within one day, within one day of the senate approving mr. tillerson for secretary of state, the trump administration has relaxed sanctions on russia. that happened today. and now apparently we're going to vote to eliminate a law that requires transparency among companies like exxonmobil. i kind of feel like i got snookered at the hearing. what public interest is at stake in rolling this back? i don't think there's any -- some say look, it's about leveling the playing field. the u.s. shouldn't be at a competitive disadvantage. but u.s. companies aren't at a disadvantage. companies listed on the u.s. stock exchange wherever they're from are required to do this transparency. these disclosures and many are
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already doing it. and because we've led the european union and canada have said this is a great idea and they're doing it too. it would be a horrible thing if the u.s. pulled away from its leadership. in conclusion, i'm concerned that in the opening two weeks of the trump administration despite a lot of promises about what they would do on the economy, what is the administration -- has the administration done about the economy? on day one they entered an executive order retracting an f.h.a. mortgage reduction thereby requiring f.h.a. homeowners with f.h.a. loans to have to pay more for their monthly mortgages. they have done a federal hiring ban that falls disproportionately on veterans because the federal work force is a veteran-heavy work force. they've done the immigration rules that not only affect immigrants but also have a dramatic negative effect on america's tec technology industy and in the first two uses of the c.r.a. procedure since the
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1990's, they've eliminated a rule to allow more pollution of streams in poor areas that were -- where coal is produced and now this, allowing companies to escape transparency and make the very kinds of payments that lead to corruption in foreign governments, corruption so severe that a former republican member of this body was compelled to write a superb report in 2008 and have bipartisan legislation passed. i urge my colleagues to vote against the c.r.a. repeal of this rule. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: mr. president, one of the most important elements is swift access to the courts. that promise has been broken in my home state of arizona. that's because arizona falls under the jurisdiction of the u.s. court of appeals for the ninth circuit, a circuit that is both oversized and overworked.
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with the jurisdiction encompassing 13 districts spread across nine states and two u.s. territories, the ninth circuit covers one in five americans. it hears roughly 12,000 appeals each year. next busiest circuit doesn't even hear 9,000. and for the thousands of cases under its consideration, the average turn around time exceeds 15 months. now if excessive delays weren't bad enough, it turns out that the ninth circuit is overturned by the supreme court 77% of the time when the supreme court grants -- 77% of the time. that's obviously higher than any other court. so not only is the court excriewsh yatingly -- excruciatingly slow but in many instances it's simply wrong. the court itself is unusually large.
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it has 29 authorized judgeships. that's 12 more than the next largest circuit. the ninth circuit is so big that it can't even rehear cases as a whole body, like every other appeals court does. instead cases are reheard with limited en bloc or enbanc. these are packages of 11 judges each. that means only a third of its judges are deciding law for the entire court, only a third. of the states suffering under the weight of the ninth circuit's crushing backlog, arizona shoulders a uniquely heavy burden. per capita arizona has the busiest federal docket in the circuit. that puts arizonans at the back of an already long line just to get their day in court. as if the dliewj of cases -- deluge of cases continues to fill the ninth circuit's docket, the line keeps getting longer
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and longer if you happen to live in arizona. with problems like these, we're left to ask is the ninth circuit simply too big to succeed? if you're in arizona, the answer is unquestionably yes. arizonans deserve better and that's why today i'm introducing a bill to break up the ninth circuit. with the support of my colleague from airsz john mccain and our governor i've introduced the judicial administration and improvement act. this bill would create a new 12th circuit by moving arizona as well as alaska, idaho, montana, nevada, and washington out of the ninth circuit. doing so would create two smaller appellate courts where one dysfunctional court stood all the while establishing stronger local and regional and cultural ties. this would help alleviate the ninth circuit's enormous caseload and ensure a more timely and accurate judicial process for both circuits.
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now, importantly the bill would also free the ninth circuit from -- or the new circuit from the ninth circuit's precedent. that means states like arizona would be able to chart their own legal course consistent with local needs and traditions. a fair and functioning judiciary is one of the pillars of our democracy. geography shouldn't limit a citizen's access to the courts. the judicial administration improvement act will right this wrong by restoring faith in our judicial system and securing the access to justice that americans deserve. now, mr. president, mr. president, before i yield back, i want to speak for a couple of minutes about the supreme court. a year ago we lost one of the greatest legal minds to ever serve on the nation's highest court. for nearly three decades judge antonin scalia fought for individual liberty and defended the integrity of the constitution.
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no judge in recent memory has so fundamentally influenced the trajectory of the supreme court. now, from his landmark decision that protected our second amendment right to bear arms to his staunch defend of enumerated powers, judge scalia stood as a bulwark against the erosion of our still rights by an activist judiciary. he did this with an unshakable commitment to an originalist interpretation of the constitution. through this lens he did not read words that were not there nor infer content that did not exist. instead, justice scalia simply understood the constitution as the founders understood it. mr. president, judge scalia's passing marked a watershed moment for the future of our country. suddenly in the midst of the last presidential campaign, voters were empowered to determine the philosophical balance of the supreme court at the polls by entrusting
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republicans with the stewardship of our federal government, voters signaled their desire for change and for the values that our party embraces. from strong separation of powers to a commitment to federalism, to religious freedom, people of arizona and around the country wanted to restore these foundational principles. now, president trump's nomination of judge neil gorsuch to the supreme court will help usher in that change and solidify those values on the court for a generation to come. earlier this week i had the opportunity to attend the ceremony at the white house and to listen to judge gorsuch accept his nomination. i was impressed by his humble respect for the law and for his commitment to service. i was particularly struck by his recognition that -- quote -- it is for congress, not the courts
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to write new laws. and that a justice should make decisions based on what the law demands, not the outcome that he or she desires. i also appreciate his experience as an appellate court judge. this experience has given him a firm understanding of a properly functioning federal circuit. now, as someone who's trying to reform an oversized -- overworked ninth circuit, i really appreciate that insight. judge gorsuch is an accomplished, mainstream jurist with a judicial philosophy worthy of judge scalia's seat. we can be confident that he will read the law as written and not attempt to legislate from the bench, but if we allow rigid partisan and ideological calculations to seep into our confirmation process, i fear that no president will be able to get a cabinet or supreme court pick confirmed.
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the favor line of our former president was that elections have consequence. indeed they do. like it or not, the winning party governs. that's democracy. and we have a responsibility now to govern. my hope is a return to the long-standing traditions of bipartisan cooperation on the supreme court nomination. judge gorsuch is experienced. he is qualified. and he deserves a fair hearing. he deserves an up-or-down vote here on the senate floor. i'm confident that when he receives that up-or-down vote, that he will fill the vacancy on the supreme court. i yield back. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: thank you, mr. president. back on the topic of the
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evening, the congressional review act action to overturn the s.e.c.'s rule, i'm just kind of at a lost for words. you know, there are people back home that ask you how politics is going, and they have a certain set of assumptions about the way congress works. they watch house of -- watch "house of cards." they watch movies about politics. they watch other tv shows on hulu and netflix, whatever it may be and i submit to you that what we are doing right now is so corrupt, so grotesque, so obvious, so trite that it wouldn't even make the cut as a plot for a tv show about politics because who would believe that the republican congress as one of their first acts would pass a law prohibiting the implementation of a rule that requires

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