U.S. Senate Debates Ryan Zinke Nomination CSPAN February 28, 2017 2:15pm-5:32pm EST
he enjoys my full support i believe as they have announced both chairman burr and senator warner, the intent to pursue whatever the facts take them. [inaudible] >> say that again. [inaudible] >> and we will leave the senate leadership to go back to the senate floor senators returning from the party lunches.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mrs. mccaskill: i ask that the quorum call be set aside. the presiding officer: we are not in a quorum call. the senator is recognized. mrs. mccaskill: thank you. mr. president, i want to begin my remarks today by paying tribute to a strong, wonderful civil rights leader, ina boon, who passed away a few days ago. she was 90 years old. and she really was the strength and heart of so much of the civil rights work that went on in the st. louis area. she began working for the naacp during the 1950's, and she will
be sorely missed. she was an extraordinary woman. and i think it's important to put a tribute to her in the record of the united states senate. the other thing i want to talk about today, i want to mention thatms. boon after graduating from sumner high school in st. louis attended the oakland university in alabama, one of the historically black colleges and universities in our country, which brings me to what i want to talk to the senate about today and what i want to try to emphasize. betsy devos has been given one of the most important positions in education in this country. and call me old-fashioned, but i think it is pretty important that the secretary of education have a basic working knowledge of history. it is one thing to appear at a hearing for your confirmation
and have no idea what the individual disabilities education act is or not have a working understanding of the federal laws as it relates to education in this country, but it takes it to a whole new level that someone who is secretary of education would make the kind of statement that secretary of devos made in the last few days. i want to read out loud. this is the statement from the secretary of education following a listening session with historically black colleges -- historically black college and university leaders. and i want to put out the quote that i think is important for us to dwell on today. and the quote is as follows: historically black colleges and universities are real pioneers when it comes to school choice.
real pioneers when it comes to school choice. now let's be clear what historically black colleges and universities were. it wasn't about a choice. it was about racism. that's where these colleges came from. it wasn't that a young black student looked at the state university and said, well, you know, i've got to decide. do i want to go to the university of alabama or do i want to go to an historically black college and university? it may be that way today, but not when they began. they were established because you know what the university of alabama said to african american students? you can't come here. you are not welcome. you are not allowed to darken
our doors. there was no choice. this was the jim crow era of racism and segregation. in 1862, president lincoln signed an act which who i -- whh provided land for the purposes of college in each state. in 17of of those states mainly in the south black students were prohibited by law from attending these land grant clebltion. colleges. the second act required states to require a separate land grant for blacks if blacks were excluded. many of our great hbcu's like florida a&m became public land land-grant colleges after the
act of 1890. these schools were not established because someone thought there should be school choice. these were established because racism left blacks without any choice. when blacks tried to attend schools like the university of alabama and the university of mississippi, they were blocked, and there were riots. the fact that secretary devos doesn't understand this basic fact is appalling. her statement is wrong. it was offensive, and it should be corrected. we need the -- we need the secretary of education to have a basic, fundamental understanding of history in the united states of america, especially as it relates to education. is there anything that was more important in the history of our
country than the struggle for equality in education? is there anything that is more important than recognizing and understanding that for years in this country young black people could be punished for learning how to read? that they would be told you're not welcome even if the universities were public universities. so shame on secretary devos. shame on her for not understanding history, for not -- for trying to shoehorn the racist history in our country into her talking points about school choice. that's wrong. and it should be corrected. i hope that it was an oversight. and if it was, i hope she will admit her mistake and
acknowledge that historically black colleges and universities in the united states of america were not about choice. they were about racism. they were about trying to provide an opportunity mostly a movement that was largely led by ministers and academicians from other parts of the country trying to make sure that in a land that professes equality and justice for all, education is the most fundamental of opportunities that must be afforded every single citizen. so, no, it wasn't about choice, secretary devos. it was about something else. and it's important that as the leader of education in this country, you acknowledge the history that is the underpinnings of the importance of historically black colleges and universities in our country. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and notice an absence of a quorum.
the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: thank you, mr. president. good afternoon, mr. president. the presiding officer: the presiding officer: good afternoon, the senator from delaware. mr. carper: i rise today, mr. president, in opposition to the nomination of representative zinke to become secretary of the interior. as is always the case, i take the opposing position with some trepidation. having served as governor of my state, i appreciate the importance of the chief executive's decisions to build his or her team. but at the same time, i think we in the senate have a constitutional obligation to provide our advice and provide our consent because in the end
not all nominees are best for the country that we are pledged to protect. some of my western colleagues may wonder what a small state like delaware on the east coast would have in the selection of a secretary of the interior. turns out there's plenty. as the chief land steward of our great nation, the secretary of the interior will be asked to manage our collective interests in the conservation and the use and the appropriate management of the abundant living and nonliving resources that are occupying our land. for that reason alone, we should expect a firm commitment from such a leader that the american taxpayer will receive full value for private use and profiting from the use of our resources, our nation's resources. and we need to assure that the use of those resources will not abuse the quality of life for americans while enhancing the profits of a very limited few.
that i'm sad to say does not appear to be mr. zinke's track record. for example, as a congressman, i'm told that he opposed the federal coal leasing moratorium ordered by his predecessor secretary jewell. some would call this an appropriate reaction to an alleged war on coal, but let's just take a moment and take a closer look. as you know, mr. president, i live in a small state, delaware, that as it turns out getting smaller almost every day. with each passing tide and every coastal storm, a part of us, our land, disappears forever. we are fighting a valiant and some would say futile war against an encroaching sea. this is not the result of vairmt -- variability in weather patterns or long-term trends in ocean dynamics. this is climate change at work. we're not alone in feeling the effects of our nation's dependence on robust use of carbon-based fuels like coal
over the past couple of centuries. these are native -- they are native alaskan communities that have to move in their entirety. think of that. have to move in their entirety because tides, storms and waves assisted by the absence of ice, they used to protect them from fierce winter storm surges, are literally eating away at their communities. i try to imagine what it would be like as a family to get the news that you have to leave a place that's been your home for generations, a place from which your ancestors derived their sus seen nantz and raised their legacies. i also can't imagine be a person who represents those people and families and having to help them come to grips with the realities of a changing world that we, if we act quickly and assertively, can begin to stabilize. so it means a whole lot to us in delaware that we take a very careful look at when and how we use the bounty of material
minerals under our public lands. at the very least, that should include as secretary jewell's order envisioned an assurance that we as americans are paid a price for the coal and other public resources that our lands provide that match the values they represent. it is the least among us who need our government's help, not those with the most. we should also as secretary jewell's policy recommended be aware of and responsible for the climate change implications of coal sales from public lands. if we as humans, as mr. zinke admits, are responsible for our changing climate and the fact that my state is slowly eroding away, this ennui should embrace, not ignore, the common sense wisdom of the former secretary of the interior. given a chance to agree with this common sense in his response to questions to my colleagues on the energy and
natural resources committee, mr. zinke repeatedly -- continuing on this theme, mr. zinke in response to questions from the energy and natural resources committee members supported the congressional rescrew act respect -- review act resolution to limb mate the obama administration's -- eliminate the obama administration's rule to curb wasteful releases from land-based operations. yet another example of willingness to sell the american people short in favor of a handful of energy companies. wasted gas is wasted public revenue. let me say that again. wasted gas is wasted public revenue. wasted methane is adding yet more of a very potent greenhouse gas to our atmosphere. and given the opportunity to reflect some concerns for americans, our climate -- delaware's and alaska's shorelines and our global obligation to put a lid on
climate contributions, this nominee demuirs. we've seen this pattern of helping the few at the expense of the most across the board with our current president's nominations, with too many of them, this president's nominations. i believe this is also un-american, unwise, unfair and unacceptable. i'm also concerned with mr. zinke's stance toward the use of the antiquities act by the president to designate lands as national monuments. specifically his confirmation -- during his confirmation, we heard a willingness from congressman zinke to take the legally uncertain step of revisiting the use of the antiquities act by the president to designate lands and historic sites across the nation as national monuments. undermining the antiquities act a lot of people believe is bad for historical preservation and bad for economic development opportunities associated with national monuments and our national parks. for those who don't know, the
antiquities act has been used by presidents dating back to the early toth century, -- 20th century, roughly a hundred years to preserve and protect our nation's historic sites and preserve federal lands for all of us, all of us to enjoy. during his time in office, president obama utilized the antiquities act to safeguard and preserve federal lands and cultural and historic sites. in fact, president obama utilized his authority more so than any of his predecessors ultimately designating 550 million acres of land as national monuments including what we call the delaware national monument. delaware as it turns out has a special history with the antiquities act which i would take a moment to talk about today. and before our delaware -- before delaware saw the establishment of a national park in our borders, we had a national monument for a up come of years. -- a couple of years n. 2013 president obama recognized
delaware's importance contribution to the founding of the united states, including its role as the first state to ratify the united states constitution by creating the first national monument with our urging support. before that designation, delaware was the only state in the nation that had neither a national monument or a national park. we're the first state, first state to ratify the constitution but until a couple of years ago no national park. the only state in that situation. but simply put, delaware was missing out on the tourism and economic development that a national monument or national park can bring. the economic opportunities afforded to states with national monuments and national parks as it turned out are significant, quite significant. each state with a park or monument receives economic benefit of at least a million dollar, i'm told. if not, much more in tourism and economic development and every year millions of americans and countless others from across the
world plan their vacations around america's national parks and monuments. believe it or not, if someone in some other country, europe, asia, latin america, central america, if they are interested in coming to the united states, they go on the national park website and they look up all the national parks and monuments across the country. and decide which ones they might want to visit. the single most popular destination within the united states borders for people from tours from other parts around the world believe it are not are our national parks. isn't that extraordinary. the economic opportunities afforded to states with national monuments and national parks are significant again, about a million dollars or more. the delaware national park celebrates delaware's rich colonial history as the first state to ratify the u.s. constitution. as it turns out, we ratified the constitution, first to ratify december 7, 1787.
many years before that, maybe 150 years before that the first fins and swedes came to america and landed in what is now wilmington, delaware. sailed across the ocean, finland, before we had a finland, the swedes and fins were one, and they sailed to the delaware bay and north to the delaware river and came to an unchartered, unnamed river that -- that headed off to the west and went about a mile. there were a lot of big rocks along the coastline. and they landed there at the rocks. and they declared that spot the colony of new sweden which later became wilmington, delaware. they built a fort called fort christina and built a church. it's the longest, continuous operating church in america. about 15 miles south of that spot on the delaware river -- actually named the river that they sailed up on and planned their -- planted their flag, the
christina river named after the 12-year-old child queen of sweden but about 50 miles south of the christina river further down on the delaware river is the town of new castle. there's a big statue of william penn in the town of new castle. it's because william penn first landed in america not in an area close to philadelphia where they have penn's landing. he landed in new castle, delaware, and he brought with him the deeds, if you will, to a land that would later become pennsylvania and delaware. further on down the coast toward where the delaware bay meets the atlantic ocean is a town called louis, delaware, lewis, dell. and it was settled by the dutch, first time unsuccessfufully. the settlers lost their lives, the first time. the second time they came back and successfully settled lewis, delaware. and it endures to this day.
they didn't much like the idea that the dutch had a stron stro, foothold. one night several hundreds of years ago, the british one night surrounding lewis, delaware, which was again inhabited, colonized by the dutch, they burned it to the ground. they burned it to the ground. the next morning when the sun came up, there was one house standing in lewes, delaware. if you drive up from lewes, come up state 1 before -- just before you get to the dover air force base is a plantation named after john dickenson who was a penn man of the early -- the -- a pen man, an early writer who spoke and wrote, encouraged the
colonists in what is now america to rise up against the tyranny of the british crown. and if you come a little bit further up state route 1 to dover and go to downtown dover, you come across an area where there used to be a tavern. the tavern was the golden fleece tavern. and the golden fleece tavern was the place where on december 7, 1787, after three days and nights of debate and discussion, roughly 25 early colonists decided to ratify the constitution, which had come down the week before from pennsylvania. we were the first state to ratify the stuvment a few -- the constitution. a few years before that, athe president of delaware and later held any number of offices in our state before it was a state, he actually rode his horse right past the area where the golden fleece tavern was where the constitution was are thified and
rode his -- was ratified and rode his horse up to pennsylvania in order to cast the tie-breaking vote of the declaration of independence. the national park service decided a few years ago that the early colonial settlement leading up to the ratification of the constitution is what made our state unique. think of it like a necklace with different stones with valued interest around our state. that's what it is. that's the national park today. it started off as really a national monument under the anty quits act. given that kind of history, we need make sure that future administrations, presidents have the ability to utilize the an if antiquitities act for all to enjoivment i want to urge my colleagues to send what i sympathy an important message that we want people in our government who are there to help people and i'm going to be
objection. ms. hirono: mr. president, last november, i was on maui, celebrating the 100th anniversary of haliakala national park. the weather at the summit of the volcano was terrible. it was raining in sheets with 4g the rain sideways, but i was there with over 40 school children to plant haliakala silver swords, a special threatened plant that only grows in the harsh climate of the summit of haliakala volcano. the silver sword can live for almost 100 years before it flowers, spreads its seeds into the wind and dies. silver swords have dotted the landscape of haliakala summit for millennia, but invasive species, human activity and climate change have pushed the plant to near extinction. in the early 1900's, scientists estimated that as few as 50
plants remained on the volcano. but this changed after haliakala became a national park in the -- in 1916. in the 100 years since, park rangers and visitors have made a concerted effort to protect the silver swords from feral goats and sheep and to make sure that hikers don't go off the trail and trample their shallow root systems. after the passage of the endangered species act, the silver sword became listed as a threatened species. through the law, conservationists have provided resources to help restore the silver sword population on haliakala for the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the park every year. groups of students including those that i joined that november -- cold november day have planted over 1,000 silver
swords to supplement the population of silver swords. they were there to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the haleakala national park. i share this story because it demonstrates many of the reasons why the department of the interior is so important in the role that it plays in preserving our public lands. because business is booming at our national parks. in 2015, our national parks hosted 305 million visitors, a new record. and these visitors generated $17 billion in economic activity in nearby communities. but our national parks are suffering from an overwhelming deferred maintenance backlog of $12 billion. our national parks are also understaffed because of sequestration and a variety of other factors, 10% fewer people work in our national parks today than five years ago.
and this is at a time when our visitors to our parks are growing, ever growing. so this means that fewer ranger and support staff dedicated to maintaining parks like haleakala and protecting species like the silver sword. to add to this, the administration has put a 90-day hiring freeze in place that threatens nearly 2,000 permanent vacancies that are critical to helping our national parks function. we need an interior secretary capable of standing up to the president to make preserving our public lands a priority, but during my meeting with nominee zinke, his confirmation hearings and before the energy and natural resources committee on which i sit and his record as a member of congress, i did not receive the assurances and commitments i needed to support his confirmation as interior secretary. although he expressed some support for the land and water
conservation fund or the lwcf, an important program that funds land purchases to add to protective areas like our national parks, he said the program could benefit from some, quote-unquote, changes. the only change i'd like to see is to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the lwcf which has suffered from chronic underfunding throughout its history, and i will continue to work with my colleagues like senator maria cantwell, who is a ranking member of the energy and natural resources committee in the senate to accomplish this goal. we also need an interior secretary committed to preserving our public lands, not exploiting them for fossil fuel production. congressman zinke and the trump administration are too wedded to the fossil fuel industry and fail this test as well. supporting alternative and renewable energy development is
an issue for people in hawaii, and i would say a lot of people in the rest of our country care about. earlier this year, i received a letter from michael who lives in pahoa who said that representative zinke, and i quote, has consistently voted for carbon-heavy energy sources. his antienvironmental record shows a leaning that could well move exploration and extraction to areas formerly closed to exploitation. with interest in oil pipelines, he has a conflict of interest in moving away from fossil fuels and into alternative and renewable resources. we have destroyed enough of the country for the enrichment of the 1% with little to no benefit to the rest of our citizens. he is a destroyer, not a fixer, not someone for the environment or the people, end quote. congressman zinke also does not share a commitment to protecting
endangered and threatened species like the silver sword. while in the house, congressman zinke voted to block funding for any listed endangered species on which the fish and wildlife service failed to conduct a five-year review. it didn't seem to matter to congressman zinke that the reason why these reviews did not take place was because republicans and congress failed to appropriate the necessary funding to product these reviews. cutting funding in this way would devastate conservation and recovery efforts for as many as 850 species across the nation, 137 of which are in hawaii and one of which is the haleakala silver sword. during the confirmation process, i asked congressman zinke if as secretary he would work with congress to ensure that the fish and wildlife service would receive sufficient funding to conduct these reviews and recover our nation's endangered species. he responded by saying he would,
and i quote, work closely with congress to ensure conservation and recovery programs are appropriately funded, end quote. i don't know what he means by appropriate, but i do have a feeling that my view of sufficient sung, which is the question i asked him, and his answer that he would support appropriate funding are probably very, very different. in fact, i wonder if under secretary zinke -- there would have been the funding necessary to help maui plant the 1,000 silver swords on haleakala summit. this is wrong. congressman zinke also does not share a commitment to combating climate change or supporting research that will help in that effort. well, washington, d.c., do you notice how warm it is? it's february, and what is it? it's 60 degrees out there. washington, d.c., is on track to have experienced the warmest
february on record. but we have a new administration stocked full of climate deniers. as secretary of interior, congressman zinke will be leading the u.s. geological survey, the usgs, an agency that lists climate change as one of its top mission areas. during his confirmation process, i asked congressman zinke if he would try to limit the usgs's work on climate change in any way. unfortunately, congressman zinke did not provide a definitive answer, only saying that he would need to learn more about the usgs's role in climate change research. his answer did not reassure me that he will allow usgs and other agencies in his department to continue to make climate change research a priority or to protect the right of these scientists to pursue their
research without interference. this is particularly concerning in light of the trump administration's ongoing efforts to silence our federal workers, including those within the national park service who are speaking out about the threat of climate change. we need a secretary of interior who will protect our public lands, make investments to conserve our endangered and threatened species and who will continue to confront climate change. his record and past statements demonstrate that congressman zinke is not the right person to lead the department of interior at this juncture, at this critical stage. i urge my colleagues to oppose his nomination. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. ms. hirono: i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk
the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schatz: and to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schatz: thank you, mr. president. 20, that's the number of bomb threats that were called into jewish institutions in our communities across the country
yesterday in one day in alabama, delaware, michigan, maryland, virginia. in my home state of hawaii in teplable emanuel where i grew up. no one wants to be the parent who picks up the phone and finds out they need to pick their child up from school because of violence and all because of their faith. since 2017 began nearly 1,000 bomb threats have been called into jewish schools and jewish community centers. this is what rising anti-semitism looks like in our country. granted we knew weird stuff was pap ha*ping, david -- happening, david duke. this is not normal america. but now the threat of violence is real and it is coming through the phone lines of american schools every day and it is loud and clear.
this rising threat demands leadership. it demands that we regularly and quickly denounce anti-semitism and do everything that we can do to stop it from growing, but that is not what we've seen so far from this administration. the baseline expectation of an unequivocal, quick, and regular disavowel of rising anti-semitic rhetoric is no longer being met. instead we have to extract it from the administration. we have to ask for it. when it doesn't come, we have to ask when it's coming. what is even more sad is that this administration has avoided any opportunity -- even the easy ones and most obvious ones, to stand against anti-semitism. just over a month ago the world marked international holocaust remembrance day and the white house put out a statement
without a single mention of the 6 million jews who were killed in the holocaust. now here's a crazy thing -- the first draft mentioned jews. the state department drafted the initial statement which mentions jews like every holocaust remembrance day statement like it normally did and then it went to the white house where someone thought, let's make edits. let's remove mention of jews from a statement about holocaust remembrance day. this was someone's decision. it was an intentional decision. now, who would decide that and why would that be done? why remove mention of jews? it's like mentioning slavery and not mentioning african americans, it's like mentioning internment and not mentioning japanese americans. when you are talking about genocide, it is not irrelevant
to talk about who did it and to whom. it is a requirement. but the white house didn't mention jews and it didn't apologize when people were rightfully confused, and only now that violence has been unleashed, jewish cemeteries are being desecrated, people's children are being threatened on a daily basis, only now are we seeing a minimum from the white house to recognize the rise of anti-semitic sentiment and actions. i am worried. and so local communities have taken upon themselves to lead the way and stand up together. this is what leadership looks like. it looks like muslim americans showing up to cemeteries to help to restore jewish headstones. it looks like local police raising money and people taking time to hold a vigil in solidarity with their jewish neighbors. there have been far too many
bystanders to the increasing anti-semitism across the country. it is long past time to break the silence and to make it utterly clear that the united states is not a place for hate. it is un-american to hate jews or muslims or strangers in the midst. that is not who we are or what we stand for. that is not the united states of america. this week are, as jewish communities are reviewing bomb-threat guidance and looking at best practices for security, it's up to all of us to take action and to do everything we can to beat back rising anti-semitism. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: i ask consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask consent that two statements have i offered here be placed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, it has been five months since our intelligence community first detailed how russia launched a cyber act of war on america and our last presidential election -- five months. and in those five months, how
many times have my republican colleagues come to the floor of the senate to discuss this national security threat -- this cyber attack by russia? how many times has the party of ronald reagan, who so clearly understood the threat of the soviet union, spoken on the senate floor about this russian cyberattack on america -- zero. that's right, zero. they found e than 35 occasion, to talk about stripping health care from americans, dismantling environment alt and an you it cruchtion regulation, but to talk about how a former communist kgb official launched a cyber act of war against america aimed at eroding trust in our historic democracy and electing a candidate seen as more sympathetic to russia, zero, not once. mr. president, why would russian dictator vladimir putin favor
president trump in the last election? well, i just returned from a week visiting our allies in eastern europe, and i can tell you they're puzzled by this, too, and they're worried. they're worried that donald trump, the new president, is already advancing and will further advance policies sympathetic to vladimir putin's dangerous agenda. specifically weakening the western transatlantic democratic alliance. regardless of the partisan leanings of who was in government in the nation's "just visited, populous, social democrat, conservative, liberal, their concerns in each of these nations, poland, lithuania, and ukraine were the same. is the united states' history of championing democracy and collectively security in europe ending? are we backing away from those values and commitments just as russia is more aggressively challenging them?
is the american president really using phrases like, quote, enemy of the people, closed quote, to describe the free press in america? you see, the countries that i visited were once in the eastern block, warsaw pact, or soviet union. they're familiar with that term "enemy of the people." there was a term used by soviet dictator joseph stall lon that was so ominous that the soviet premiere later demanded that the communist party stop using it because it eliminated the possibility of any kind of ideological fight. think of that. here was crustov saying stop using a stallon term, enemy of the people. it's too divisive and now it's being used to describe the media, a description that's been offered by the new president of the united states? under the -- the trump's
administration's blinders to putin's nature and the silence of too many of his colleagues are a harbinger of some kind of western retreat when it comes to russian aggression? this is hard to believe it's happening in 2017. president trump has called nato obsolete. that is a stark and completely wrong statement, so bad that it required the vice president of the united states to travel to munich, germany, last week, and reassure our allies who have been part of our alliance since world war ii that nato was not objection lead -- obsolete. when has that happened in history? that the president of the united states would make such a sweeping, erroneous, dangerous statement about the most important alliance in the world and then send his vice president out on a repair job? the president has surrounded himself with people like steve
bannon who reportedly once called himself a lennonist and seems bizarrely sympathetic to putin's dick take torl model and weak -- dictatorial model and weakening the alliance. it turns out that the just resigned national security advisor general michael flynn, the one who was fired by the previous administration, the one who led chants on worthy of a great democracy, about locking uphillry clinton -- up hillary clinton was in fact speaking to russian officials before he or donald trump has taken office and suspiciously just after president obama imposed sanctions on russia for its attack on our election. president trump still refuses to release his tax returns to clarify what his son said in 2008 regarding trump's businesses. saying, quote, a lot of money pouring in from russia, closed quote. president trump even said yesterday, quote, i haven't called russia in ten years,
closed quote. that's hard to verify. he spoke to vladimir putin on the telephone just a month ago, which was following incidentally a day later by renewed fighting by the russian-backed separatists in ukraine. and president trump visited russia in 2013. he tweeted at the time, i quote, i just got back from russia, learned lots and lots. clearly he didn't learn enough about vladimir putin. as if that wasn't enough, this president still refuses to acknowledge russia's attack or to criticize vladimir putin. mr. president, you see, the president of the united states has trouble, a real habit of lashing out at everyone and anyone involved in a perceived slight, a dangerous and unbecoming behavior when granted the privilege to be president of this great nation. in fact, the vast number and
range of those attacked are insulted via twitter is so significant that i would need considerably more time here on the floor of the senate to list all of the targets of president trump's attacks on twitter. so if you make any criticism or joke about president trump, make any perceived slight, run a department store, lead a labor union, do just about anything, you may be a victim of one of his twitter attacks. except, of course, if you happen to be a former communist kgb official who now leads russia, a nation that recently attacked our election. how is it possible? how is it defensible? how is this not an abdication of the president's responsibiliti responsibilities? mr. president, russian president putin launched a cyber attack of war on the united states and its democracy november 8, 2016 is a day that will live in cyber infamy because of this russian
attack on the united states of america. president putin interfered in our election and tried to influence the selection of the american people in choosing their leader. the evidence is overwhelming. it's been available in increasing apartments for almost -- amounts for almost five months. the white house is silent, in denial. republican senators are largely silent and not one of them has come to the senate floor to even a i dress this issue -- even address this issue. meanwhile if vladimir putin continues his aggressive, military, cyber disinformation campaign throughout europe. just last week "the washington post" reported that the white house led an effort to discredit news stories that described contacts between the trump campaign and russian government officials. the house intelligence committee chairman congressman nunez of california, a republican, went so far as to dismiss these claims of russian interference in the campaign for president of
the united states and to condemn the leaks that have brought this information to the attention of the american people. rather than doing their part to ensure an impartial, independent investigation of these chilling facts, the white house has tried to spin it out of existence. in fact, yesterday it was reported that white house press secretary michael pompeo and the chairman of the senate and house intelligence committees to help discredit news articles about the trump campaign aides' contact with russian officials. john brennon who is head of the central intelligence agency under president obama was asked in an interview last night if he could imagined being contacted by the white house and asked to spend a -- spin a story one way or the other. he said it was unthinkable. it just wasn't done under previous administrations. here we are not even six weeks into this presidency and it's already happening. can anyone here, anyone imagine
what would happen if the situation had been reversed? i can just imagine the halls of -- howls of treason and impeachment. not a single nominee would be confirmed until there were answers and accountability if this had happened and there was an effort by the russians to influence an election in favor of the democrats. what has happened, my friends on the other side of the aisle? when will they put the country that they've sworn to represent and to uphold above any partisan consideration? a polish expert that i ran into during my journey summed all this up wisely when he said, if the united states does not respond to the russian attack on its own election, putin will feel he has a free hand to keep taking destabilizing actions in the west. there was a time in washington when national security issues were bipartisan. politics used to stop at the water's edge and the security of the nation meant putting aside
partisan agenda to face a common threat. it's time to return to that tradition. we need an independent transparent investigation of this russian involvement in our presidential election. we know the voters list in my home state of illinois was hacked. we know that some 17 different intelligence agencies have told us unequivocally that russia did everything in its power to try to change the outcome of this last election. we are told that there could have been up to a thousand russian patrols -- trolls sitting in headquarters in moscow trying to hack into the commuters of people in the -- computers of people in the united states to influence the outcome of this election. we know that coincidentally some two hours after a very controversial negative story came out against donald trump that the russians released information that they had hacked from the campaign of hillary clinton, two hours. a coincidence? not likely. there's a lot of information that needs to be followed up on.
no conclusions can be reached until there's a thorough independent, credible investigation. i worry about using the intelligence committees for this purpose. these committees and their activities are important, critical, but they're largely invisible, and their deliberations are intermable and we're waiting, hoping they will come up with information to help us spare the united states from a future attack by russia or any other country on the sovereignty of our nation. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from maine is recogniz recognized. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i have four requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of both the majority and the minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted.
ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to urge my colleagues to support the home health care planning improvement act which i have introduced with my friend and colleague from maryland, senator cardin. our legislation aims to help ensure that our seniors and disabled citizens have timely access to home health services available under the medicare program. mr. president, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse mid wives, and clinical nurse specialists are all playing increasingly important roles in the delivery of health care services, particularly in rural and medically underserved areas of our country where physicians
may be in scarce supply. in recognition of their growing role, congress in 1997 authorized medicare to begin paying for physician services provided by these health professionals as long as those services are within their scope of practice under state law. despite their expanded role, these advanced practice registered nurse ses and physician -- nurses and physician assistants are currently unable to order home health care services for their medicare patients. under current law, only physicians are allowed to certify or initiate home health care for medicare patients, even though they may not be as familiar with the patient's case as the non-physician provider.
in fact, mr. president, in many cases, the certifying physician may not even have a relationship with the patient and must rely upon the input of the nurse practitioner, physician assistant, clinical nurse specialist, or certified nurse midwife in order to order the medically necessary home health care. at best this requirement adds more paperwork and a number of unnecessary steps to the process before home health care can be provided. at worst, it can lead to needless delays in getting medicare patients the home care that they need simply because a doctor is not readily available to sign the requisite form.
the inability of these advanced practice nurses and physician assistants to order home health care is particularly burdensome for our seniors in medically underserved areas where these providers may be the only health care professionals who are readily available. for example, needed home health care can be delayed for up to days at a time for medicare patients in some rural towns in my state of maine where nurse practitioners are the only health care professionals and the supervising physicians are far away. a nurse practitioner told me about one of her cases in which her collaborating physician had just lost her father and,
therefore, understandably, was not available. but here's what the consequences was: this nurse practitioner's patients experienced a two-day delay in getting needed care while they waited to get the paperwork signed by another doctor. another nurse practitioner pointed out that it is ludicrous that she can order physical and occupational therapy in a sub-acute facility but cannot order home health care. how does that make sense? one of her patients had to wait 11 days after being discharged before his physical and occupational therapy could continue sumly because the -- simply because the home health agency had difficult finding a
physician to certify the continuation of the very same therapy that the nurse practitioner had been able to authorize when the patient was in the facility. so think about that, mr. president. here we have a patient who is in a rehab facility, for example, or a sub-acute facility or a nursing home, a skilled nursing home, and that patient is ready to go home, but the chances of successful treatment of that patient -- of that patient's ability to regain function -- is going to be diminished if there is a gap between the physical and occupational therapy and home health care nursing that that patient would receive at
home, if ther there's no physicn available -- if there's nophysician cable food the -- if there's no physician available to do the paperwork. that does not make sense. and i would wage their it leads to additional cost for our health care system because becaus--because if that essentie health care is not available in it the patient's home, the tendency is going to be to keep the patient in the facility for a longer period of time to avoid the gap in treatment. and yet we know that it is much more cost-effective to treat the patient in his or her home. we also know that for many patients that is their preference as well. they would rather be in the comfort, security, and privacy of their own home.
mr. president, the home health care planning improvement act would help ensure that our medicare beneficiaries get the home health care that they need, when they need it, by allowing physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse midwives to order home health services. it only makes sense. they can order it when the patient is in certain facilities, but then they lose the right to order it when the patient goes home? that just doesn't make sense. these are skilled professionals who know what the patients need, and we should not be burdening the system with unnecessary paperwork.
our bipartisan legislation is supported by the national association for home care and hospice, the american nurses association, the american academy of physician assistants, the american college of nurse practitioners, the american college of nurse midwives, the american academy of nurse practitioners, and the visiting nurse associations of america. mr. president, a lot of times we deal with health care issues that are extraordinarily complex and difficult for us to figure out what the answer is. this is not one of those cases. this is a commonsense reform that will improve and expedite services to medicare
beneficiaries, whether they are disabled citizens or our seniors. it will help them get the home health care that they need without undue delay. i urge all of my colleagues to join us as cosponsors of this commonsense bill. thank you, mr. president. mr. president, seeing no one seeking recognition, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rubio: thank you, mr. president. i know we're working through these nominations. an important one before us now. as we continue to debate it i
thought it would be a good time to talk about the overall function of the federal government and the important things it does. today i had the occasion to meet with individuals from the one foundation, a group i learned about for the first time in 2010. i was runing for the institutes and a group of activists with black shirts and a round white symbol on the shirt that said "one" and i didn't know what it was. i thought it was a protester or something of that nature. they were polite and started talking to me br it. they are a group of coengagers on behalf of the united states, cofounded by bono of. they're here again today. we had an opportunity to meet with them early this morning. many of our members have perhaps seen them around here in the capitol. it brought to mind something i want to talk about, the broader issue of the united states and
the state department and the world. let me tell you something i hear about from a lot of people. this has been going on for a long time. i don't blame people because people have real lives, businesses to run and families to raise. they're not watching the federal budget line by line on a regular basis. there's a perception out there that the united states government spends extraordinary percentage of our overall budget on foreign aid. i saw a poll recently, a legitimate poll conducted and it asked people how much do you think of the federal budget goes to other countries? the average was 26%. that's what people thought. the truth is nothing even close to that. i want to begin by saying today foreign aid, as part of our overall budget, is less than 1% of the total amount the u.s. government spends. less than 1%. the second thing people bring up is we have so many problems in america -- and we do. we have real issues we need to confront. why do we spend so much money on these other countries when we
have so much problems here at home? that is a legitimate question. people should ask that. and i think it's important for those of us who believe in global engagement and believe in the function of foreign aid to justify it, to never take it for granted and to constantly examine it to make sure the money is being spent well and that it's worth spending at all. and so that's what i wanted to come on the floor and do here today for a few minutes. i know we're soon going to enter a budget cycle and there will be debate and every dollar in the budget should justify itself, and i wanted to explain for a moment why i believe that global engagement through foreign aid is so critical. here's the first. the world has always been interconnected, sperk for america. we are -- especially for america. we are not a small nation. we are the most influential, most consequential nation on the planet. and i can tell you that almost without exception if there is a major crisis anywhere on this planet, it will eventually have
a nexus to life in america in one way or another. you think about one of the controversial issues that's been debated in washington and been discussed plitically -- politically is syrian refugees. i remember people would tell me it is sad what happened in syria but what does it have to do with us? two and a half years later i think we know the answer. when refugees are created anywhere in the world that is natural that a specific percentage of them want to come to the richest, freest, stablest nation in the world, the united states of america. it also impacts our allies. we've seen that in europe where a tremendous strain has been placed upon our allies in europe. a significant amount of the budget in german where i recently visited it being spent on the refugee crisis and the impact it's having on them. so i would tell you that our, what happens in the world has direct consequence to the united states. here's another fact of why it matters to america. this is a key fact that i was
able to pull up today, or my staff was. 12 -- 12 -- of the 15 top trading partners of the united states were once recipients of united states foreign assistance. now, i think the best way to justify foreign assistance to understand the history of it, so let's go through it a little bit here. we're going to go back in time. let's go to the end of the second world war. europe is in ruins. japan is in ruins. and the united states, had it based like most great powers in history, would have either abandoned those nations to themselves or the united states would have conquered them and made japan a colony or made germany a dependent on the united states. instead, through the marshall plan, the u.s. rebuilt western europe and in particular germany, through additional assistance the united states provided aid to rebuild postwar japan. in the japanese case between 1946 and 1952, the united
states invested $2.2 billion or $18 billion in today's dollars in japan's reconstruction effort. that amounts to more than one-third of the $65 billion in goods that the united states exported to japan just last year, in one year alone. what is the result of this aid? here's the result. today we have a prosperous, unified germany which is a strong member of nato and a strong ally of the united states, and we have in japan the world's third-largest economy and one of the most important allies of this great country of ours in the asia pacific region. this would not have been possible without united states assistance, did it help the people of japan and the people of germany? absolutely. did it help the people of the united states? without question. is the world a better place today because germany is a free democratic nation involved in trade, involved in alliances with us, deploying troops around the world for nato missions?
without a doubt. is the world a better place because japan is the third-largest economy and a strong ally of the united states and the asia pacific region? without a doubt. and so that's an example of the fruits of u.s. engagement. some will say to me that's after the second world war. that was a catastrophic event. but as a matter of course, when else has this borne fruit? well, i would tell you that's not the case. i would point to south korea. it's hard to believe, but just a few decades ago, south korea was poorer than north korea. south korea had less money, less of an economy, less prosperity than north korea. today, south korea is an industrialized, fully developed economy, one of the largest economies in the world, a nation that not long ago with a military dictatorship is now a vibrant and functioning democracy, a strong american ally, and they are no longer a recipient of aid. do you know what south korea now is? they are a donor state, as is
japan, by the way, as is germany, by the way. so again another example. do you want one in our own hemisphere? look at the country of columbia. -- colombia. colombia not long ago was basically a failed state. that country had been overrun by the cartels, the government was on the verge of collapse, presidential candidates beings -- being assassinated. colombia saw its challenges. but plan colombia and investment in that country over a decade of $14 billion, today an investment in that economy wasn't $14 billion but our investment in helping them move forward with plan colombia, today trade between the united states and colombia is at $14 billion, and as of last year it actually was a surplus. here's what's more. colombia is now a force multiplier for our costs. for example, if you visit honduras, as i did during the summer, and you see the honduran police and honduran special forces being trained to take on
the criminal elements and cartels in that country, do you know who is there training them alongside of our people? the colombians. the colombian military units that have the same uniform, the same training, the same weaponry, the same practices as the green berets of the united states. and they are a force multiplier. and today colombia is doing the things america once had to do because of the aid that we provided them and they are perhaps our strongest ally in the western hemisphere. it goes on and on from a human perspective. you think about america, america's feed the future initiative. it's an initiative that's trained thousands of farmers in tanzania over the last decade. now our country exports to them the increase -- exports to tanzania from the united states have increased by 500%. it's important to point out, by the way, that there have been reductions in foreign aid over the last few decades.
today we spend 60% less on foreign aid as a percentage of our gross domestic product than we did when president reagan was in office near the end of the cold war. and there is rationale for this as well. for our economy and for our national security. from our economic perspective, 95% of the consumers in the world, 95% of the people on this planet who buy things live outside the united states. seven of the ten fastest growing economies happen to be in the developing world. so if you are an american company that makes things -- and i know we want to make things in america again -- you have to sell them to someone. if you can only sell them to 5% of the world's population that happens to live in the united states of america, that's one thing. but imagine how much more you could sell, how much more money you could make, how much more value you would have for shareholders, how many more employees and jobs you would create if you could sell to more than that 95% of the people around the world. but you can't sell, people can't be consumers if they are
starving. they can't be consumers if they're dying of hiv-aids. they can't be consumers if they're dying of malaria. they can't be consumers if they live in an unstable country. so there is an economic rationale for our investment around the world. we are helping people to emerge from poverty and ultimately become members of a global consumer class who buys american goods and services. we are in essence planting the seeds for markets to develop that we can trade with, that we can sell to. that's one of the reasons why it's so important. that's one of the reasons why today one out of five american jobs are tied to international trade. one in three manufacturing jobs in america are tied to exports. you can't export unless there's people on the other end of the deal to buy it from you. and we want as many people in the world to be able to afford to buy things from us, and it begins in many places around the world by ensuring that they are alive, and then to ensure that they have the education they need to develop an economy so their people can become
consumers and trade partners with us. and the list goes on and on in terms of the accomplishments it's had. our global antimalaria program has saved over six million lives. primarily children under the age of 5. the president's emergency plan for aids relief has saved more than 11 million people and has prevented two million babies from being born with h.i.v. the number of school-aged children worldwide out of primary school, not going to primary school, dropped to 57 million children in the year 2015. still too many, but the number was nearly twice that, 100 million just seven years ago. there has been a 99% reduction in polio cases thanks to the efforts that we have led in vaccination programs, and the list goes on and on. there is a national security component to this, and here it is. imagine for a moment that you're
a child born in africa and your mother, your parents had h.i.v. and they survived because of american assistance. or imagine if you yourself were someone that survived because of american assistance from dying from h.i.v. or from malaria or you got to go to school because of american help or you didn't contract polio the way your relatives used to contract polio because of american assistance. imagine if you are one of these young people around the world whose lives are better because of the help of the american taxpayer. this is never going to be 100% for sure, but i promise you it's going to be a lot harder to recruit someone to anti-american and anti-american terrorism if the united states of america was the reason why they are even alive today. that's the national security component apart from allowing countries to become more stable and provide for their people and for themselves. by the way, when we talk about the international affairs budget, it's not just foreign
aid. it's everything, diplomatic relations, trade and economic relationships with the global community, security assistance with key allies. israel as an example provides them $3 billion in military assistance. they are a key ally in the strategic part of the world. we talked about the health clinics in the schools, the humanitarian relief efforts. i remember going to the philippines about three or four years ago, and one of the first things people mentioned to me was that after that horrible storm that killed and hurt so many people, they woke up one morning and saw a u.s. aircraft carrier off the horizon, and they knew that things were going to be better because america was on the case. think about the power and what that means for our nation and the impact that it has on people arnold the world. this is part of it. and by the way, when we travel abroad, when you're an american and you're in another country and you lose your passport or your wallet gets stolen or you have any sort of issue or you have to work abroad. many of the people i know, we get the calls in our office. people who have kids studying abroad and they have an issue,
they have to go to the consulate or the embassy, this is the budget that pays for that stuff. this is the budget that pays for that. or if you're a company that decides i want to do business in this new country, i want to go over there and see if i can fly to this country, find some customers and maybe come back to america and hire 20 more people so we can build products to sell, want to expand our reach, it's our u.s. embassies, and the agencies working within them that are helping make those connections for american businesses. that's part of this budget. so when we talk about this, i think it's critical for us as leaders to explain to the american people just exactly what it is we're talking about. we always want to put america first. we always want to think about the american people first. that's our obligation. but i think this is part of that. if you really want to help the american people, you have to ensure that the world that we live in is a more stable place. now, i will close by saying well, this gets back to the argument some make, well, why does that have to be us? we have been doing this for so long. we have been involved in this for so long. we spent so much money, so much
blood and treasure around the world for the cause of freedom, democracy, humanitarianism and the like. why does it have to be america? i think that gets to the fundamental question of what kind of a country do we want to be? and the choice before us is, it has to be america because there is no alternative. that's the point i hope people will remember and understand. there is no alternative for america in the world today. if america decides to withdraw from the world, if america decides to step back, if america declines and our influence around the world becomes less palpable, what will replace it? and there are only two things that can replace it. not the u.n., not -- there is only two things that can step in whatever america leaves that it steps back. number one is totalitarianism. for the growing movement around the world led by china and russia and north korea and iran, totalitarian regimes. that is the first thing that could step in and fill the vacuum. and the other is nothing. the other alternative to america is nothing. it is a vacuum.
and that vacuum leads to instability, and that instability will lead to violence, and that violence will lead to war, and that will ultimately come back and impact us, whether we want it to or not. this is the choice before us. so without a doubt, i am the sponsor of a law we passed last year, foreign aid accountability. i want to make sure that every dollar of american taxpayer money that is invested abroad for these purposes are spent well and aren't going to line the pockets of a corrupt dictator. 100% agree with that. but this idea that somehow we can just retreat from our engagement in the world is bad for national security, it's bad for our economy. it isn't good for policymakers that want to put the american people first. and by the way, doesn't live up to the standards of who we are as a people. and i have said this many times before, and in this i'm guided by my faith. i believe that to whom much is given, much is expected. that is what the ancient words and scripture teach us. i think that principle is true for people, and i think that principle is true for nations.
i believe in the depths of my heart that our creator has honored america's willingness to step forward and help those around the world, and i believe he will continue to do so as long as we use our blessings, not just for our good but for the good of mankind. and so i hope that in the weeks to come as we debate the proper role of government and the proper way to fund it, we understand what a critical component foreign aid and the international affairs budget is to the national security and the economic interests and to our very identity as a people and as a nation. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, request that the proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, we have the nomination of representative ryan zinke to be the secretary of the interior as the business before the body today and i would like to spend a few moments this afternoon speaking about him, his equal indications
and why -- qualifications and why i feel he will be a strong secretary of the interior. mr. president, really of all the cabinet-level nominations that have an impact on my home state of alaska, the secretary of interior is almost certainly the most important and the most consequential. two-thirds of alaska, nearly 224 million acres is under federal management. to put that into perspective, that is more land than is occupied by the entire state of texas, and it's an area about 177 times larger than the state of delaware, and the vast majority of that land is controlled by agencies within the department of the interior, from the bureau of land management to the park service to the fish and wildlife
service. so, again, significant parts of alaska. more land than is occupied by the state of texas is held under federal management. so when you're in a situation like that, we really, in alaska, we call this interior secretary our landlord. he might not necessarily like that fact, but he is our landlord. if you're from an eastern state like massachusetts or new york, which have hardly any federal lands within their borders, the decisions that are made by the department of the interior literally determine the livelihoods of thousands and thousands of alaskans as well as the stability and success of our state. when the department of interior chooses to work with us, alaska is able to grow and prosper, even as our lands and our waters remain protected under the most stringent environmental standards in the world.
but when the department chooses not to work with us, as was all too often the case in the last administration, the people of alaska suffer. our state's economy, our budget, and our future are all threatened at the same time. i start with that context to help the senate understand why i take this confirmation process so seriously whenever a new interior secretary is nominated. i consider whether the nominee is right for the job and whether he or she will do right by the people of alaska as well as the people of all the west. i talked with the nominee and asked him or her questions everything from anelka to wilderness and wildlife management. when i make a decision, i'm making it as a senator for alaska, and as the chairman of both the authorizing committee
and the appropriations subcommittee for the department of interior. and so today, after a great deal of review and careful consideration, i am very pleased to be here to speak in strong support of our new president's nominee for this position, representative ryan zinke. i believe that representative zinke is an excellent choice to be our next secretary of the interior. maybe i'm a little bit partial here, but the fact that he is a fellow westerner, hailing from the treasure state of montana, that helps with me, but he's a life long sports man. he loves to hunt and fish. that also resonates with me. i understand he is also a pretty good downhill skiers. he is a trained neurologist. more notably, he has dedicated his life to the service of our nation, including more than two
decades as a navy seal, a term in the montana senate, and most recently as the sole u.s. congressman for his home state. representative zinke's life and career have prepared him well to serve as secretary of the interior. again, he was born in the west. he lives in the west. he understands it. he understands its people. he has substantive knowledge of the challenges facing the department and truly a first-hand experience in trying to solve them. he's also shown that he understands the needs for the department to be a partner and to be a partner for alaska and our western states, which, again, contain the vast majority of our federal lands. we had an opportunity in the energy and natural resources committee to hold a hearing to consider representative zinke's nomination on january 17. it seems like an eternity ago
now. but what i remember very clearly from that morning is the positive and very compelling vision that he chaired with us. -- shared with us. representative zinke told us he grew up in a small timber and railroad town next to glacier national park and he explained that he believes the secretary is responsible for being, quote, the steward of majestic public lands, the champion of our great indiana nations -- indian nati nations. he spoke to it in the committee hearing. that he understands the purpose and value of federal lands, invoking teddy roosevelt and pledging to follow the multiple use doctrine. mr. president, as other colleagues have come to the floor today to speak about representative zinke's nomination, several have spoken to the issue antiquities act and
speaking more directly than to the issue of multiple use as it relates to our public lands. and in outlining, i think, the concept of multiple use that representative zinke believes and follows, it's probably best to look to his own words that he -- that he said when he was before us in the committee. on multiple use, representative zinke said the following: in multiple use in the spirit of roosevelt, it means you can use it for multiple purposes. i'm particularly concerned about public access. i'm a hunter, fisherman, but multiple uses are also making sure what you're going to do you know and you go in with both eyes open, that means sustainability. that means it doesn't have to be
in conflict if you have recreation over mining. you just have to make sure that you understand what the con conventions -- consequences of each of those uses are. it's our public land. what i have seen most recently is our access is being shut off. roads are being shut off, and we're all getting older. and when you don't have access to hunting areas, traditional fishing areas, it makes it an elite sport. i'm particularly concerned about the elite teufpl of hunting -- elite teufpl of hunting, fishing, an snowmobiling. single use, if you look at the mere model of some of our national parks in some of our areas, i agree. there are some areas that need to be set aside that are absolutely appropriate for man to be an observer. there are special places in our country that deserve that recognition. but a lot of it is traditional uses of what we find in north dakota and montana where you can
hunt, fish, drill an oil well, make sure there is a reclamation project, make sure there is nepa. if you are doing something more intrusive, make sure you monitor the water. everyone enjoys clean water and we should. i don't think they are necessarily in conflict. i think you have to do it right. i think it's important to put those comments of representative zinke in the record because it's clear that again he recognizes the many uses, the multiple uses of our public lands and recognizing that there are certain places that are special, but ensuring that again that doctrine of multiple use is respected as initially intended. representative zinke also told us that he would have three main tasks if he is confirmed as secretary of the interior. the first he said is to restore trust by working with rather
than against local communities and states. the second is to address the multibillion dollar maintenance backlog at the national park service so that we preserve the crown jewels of our public lands for future generations. and the third is to ensure the professionals on the front line, our rangers and field managers, have the right tools, right resources and flexibility to make the right decisions that give people a voice -- to give a voice to the people they serve. so those were the three priorities as outlined by representative zinke. and i believe that all three of those missions are necessary, and i'm hardly alone in supporting representative zinke as the right choice to fulfill them. within the committee he drew bipartisan support when we reported his nomination to the full senate on january 31. and he has drawn widespread support from dozens and dozens
of stakeholder groups all across the country. from the alaska federation of natives, the black feet tribe, the chock did you taw nation and american indians, ducks unlimited, the congressional sportsman's foundation and the national rifle association. the public lands council and the american exploration and mining association. these are just a few of the many stakeholders that have praised or endorsed representative zinke to be our next secretary of the interior. so, mr. president, i am glad that we're finally here today on the verge of confirming representative zinke to this position. and i would remind the senate that despite many substantive differences, we confirmed president obama's first nominee for interior secretary on inauguration day back in 2009. not so with representative zinke. it's now been six weeks since we
held his nomination hearing, and almost a full month since we reported his nomination from our committee again on a strong bipartisan basis. so i'm disappointed, of course, that it's taken this long to get to this point, particularly with regard to a nominee who i think by all accounts is not controversial or unqualified. now we need to confirm representative zinke without any further delay so that he can select his team and get to work addressing the range of issues that he will inherit. from the park services' maintenance backlog to the need for greater balance in federal land management to life and death issues in remote alaskan communities and from the bureau of indian affairs to u.s. affiliated island, representative zinke really has his work cut out for him, and he needs to be allowed to get started on it as soon as he can. again, i will repeat that i
believe that representative zinke is a solid choice for this demanding and critical position. while we may not agree on every issue, i believe he will work with us in a thoughtful manner that is reflective of a true partnership. i believe that he understands what the job requires and that he has the experience necessary to succeed in it and he will show that the department of interior can still work with local stakeholders to achieve positive results. i thank representative zinke for his willingness to continue his service to our nation and for his patience during this process. and on behalf of alaskans, i look forward to working with him after he is confirmed with bipartisan support, and i would urge every member of the senate to support his nomination. with that, mr. president, i see that my friend and colleague from the great state of alaska is here with us today, and with that, i yield the floor.
mr. sullivan: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: mr. president, i rise like my colleague from the great state of alaska also in support of the confirmation of congressman ryan zinke to be our nation's next secretary of the interior. now, there's been a lot of discussion about congressman zinke and he comes to this job with great qualifications. he's a patriotic and ethical m man, from a patriotic and ethical part of america, the american west. he's a navy seal who's dedicated decades of his life to protecting our great nation. he's a lifelong sportsman. he's a trained geologist. he's a strong advocate for
energy independence. he has a keen interest in protecting our environment while not stymieing much economic growth. there's probably no position more important to our great state's future, the state of alaska's future than the secretary of interior, and i think it's great that we're going to have a new secretary in addition to the chairman of the energy and natural resources committee, my colleague senator murkowski from our great state, no more important positions than those positions. the federal government owns more than 60%, 60% of alaska. and we are a big state. i don't have to come down here and talk about how big we are, but we're the biggest by far. sorry, texas. mr. president, in my state as
many states in the west, our land is our life blood. it feeds us. it's what drives our economy. and our culture. congressman zinke understands this. he hails from montana which has a similar view of how important the land is. he understands responsible energy development goes hand in hand with robust environmental protections, and he understands this very important point. we as americans can do both. we can responsively develop our resources and protect the environments. no country has a better record of doing that than the united states of america. congressman zinke has committed to work with alaska as a partner and opportunity rather than acting as a roadblock to success. why is this so important?
well, mr. president, this would be an enormously welcome change from the past administration. i served as alaska's attorney general, as a commissioner of natural resources in my great state and now as a u.s. senator, and i witnessed, unfortunately, how the previous administration, the former obama administration, tried to stop, stymie and slow roll literally every economic project nm alaska, -- project in alas carks every one. a-- alaska, every one. so many states across our country have tremendous resources to be developed right now. america is undergoing an energy renaissance where once again the world's -- again we're the world's energy super power yet our federal government was not helpful in that renaissance at all. it can be now and we are looking towards a bright future when we have a federal government that's going to be a partner in opportunity, not an obstacle.
so, mr. president, i'm hopeful that we're going to see a new renaissance of economic growth and job creation in alaska and across the country buoyed by federal agencies, like the department of interior under congressman zinke's leadership that want to help us seize opportunities, not undermine them. so like my colleague senator murkowski, i want to encourage all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote for congressman zinke to be our next secretary of interior, a man of integrity, a man of patriotism, a man of experience who in my view is going to make a great secretary of interior. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that s. 90, the red river gradient boundary survey act be discharged from the committee on judiciary and referred to the committee on energy and natural resources.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 8, s. res. 62. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 8, senate resolution 62, authorizing expenditures by committees of the senate and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the foreign relations committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate proceed to s. res. 35. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 35 expressing profound concern about the ongoing political, economic, social, and humanitarian crisis in venezuela and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure?
without objection the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to immediate consideration of s. res. 73 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 73 designating february 28, 2017, as rare disease day. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i further ask the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that following leader remarks on wednesday, march 1, there be 20 minutes of debate equally divided prior to the confirmation vote on executive calendar number 8 ryan zinke to be secretary of the interior followed up by ten minutes of
debate equally divided prior to the cloture vote on executive calendar 5, the nomination of ben carson to be secretary of housing and urban development, and if cloture is invoked, time be counted as if invoked at 1:00 a.m. that day. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection so ordered. mr. mcconnell: now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate recess until 8:25 p.m. tonight and upon reconvening proceed as a body to the hall of the house of representatives for the joint session of congress provided under the provisions of h. con. res. 23, that upon disillusion of -- dissol liewtion of the joint session the senate return at 10 a.m., wednesday, march 1, following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and morning business be closed. finally, following leade -- following leader remarks, the senate proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the zinke nomination, as under the previous order.
the presiding officer: without objection. the senate stands in recess until 8:25.ary. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i ms. cantwell: mr. president, i >> mr. president? >> i rise today to speak about the nomination that congressman ryan zinke to be secretary of interior. the secretary of interior is one of the most important jobs inen the federal government and even more so for people in the west.