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tv   U.S. Senate Confirms Interior Secretary Nominee Ryan Zinke  CSPAN  March 1, 2017 9:59am-12:00pm EST

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substances. >> what are the signs and symptoms for coaches to look out for? >> there can be side effects from anabolic airways of masculinization and females is the most obvious sign, but also severe acne and the ones you wouldn't see, cardiac, liver, things like that. >> thank you. since i'm halfway through my time, i will direct my questions to our nation's heroes,ac. mr. nelson and mr. phelps appeared your recent father, boomer. the recent father, twin daughters contact and stage. i just can't wait until they identify what their dreams are. i know that there are a lot of kids out there who look up to you, in my district -- >> we will leave this hearing from yesterday as the u.s. senate will meet this morning at 10:30 eastern. lawmakers to vote on the
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nomination of ryan zinke. following that a vote to advance the nomination of ben carson to be hud secretary. a confirmation vote on that expected tomorrow. tomorrow ready, rick. nomination to be u.s. energy secretary. live coverage of the u.s. senate on this wednesday morning here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. god of wonder, beyond all majesty,
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you are worthy of our praise. today, on this ash wednesday, the beginning of lent, give us the wisdom to reflect on our mortality. and to examine our lives. use our senators as ambassadors of peace, reconciliation and justice. may they work to remove malice, envy, revenge, deception and bitterness. inspire them with your presence until their faith in you is visible and contagious. may they bear witness
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to your love even when their motivations are misunderstood by their detractors. give them the gifts of integrity and authenticity in their relationships with you, and with one another. we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i think we were all really pleased last night to hear the president's unifying message. it was refreshing for everyone after such a difficult election season. it was great to see even my friend, the democratic leader, occasionally applauding the president last night. it's a reminder that we're all in this together. yesterday, i laid out my hopes for his address to congress. i said the middle class was ready for a new direction after eight years of disappointments. i said we all knew what needed to get done, too, things like simplifying taxes to create more
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jobs, reforming regulations to get the economy moving, repealing and replacing obamacare to bring relief to the middle class. it was great to hear the president touch on each of those issues last night. it was also great to hear him talk about his outstanding nominee to the supreme court, judge neil gorsuch, a judge who has earned widespread acclaim and who will be a worthy successor to justice scalia on the high court. last night, president trump talked about a new spirit of optimism in our country. he talked about responding. he talked about repositioning for success, both at home and in a dangerous world. he talked about growing opportunity, better jobs and a thriving middle class. then actually put forward policies that can get us there. what a change from the last eight years. he also outlined some of the actions he's already taken to move these priorities forward.
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for instance, he took action yesterday to send the so-called waters of the united states rule back to the drawing board. he demonstrated that there are realistic ways to protect our nation's waterways without excessive and duplicative regulations that infringe on the property rights of individuals. let me again commend him for protecting the middle class from yet another regulation based more on ideology than fact. it's just the type of thing americans are so tired of. left-wing regulations spun as one thing, yet really do another. left-leaning laws that purport to help the middle class but actually hurt middle-class families. a great example of that is obamacare. americans were promised costs would go down, but of course they went up. americans were promised more choice, but they got less. americans were promised they could keep their plans, but that was a broken promise as well.
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no wonder americans were so tired of what they have seen the last eight years. they are ready, mr. president, for something entirely new. they are ready to start believing in the future again. the president made clear last night he is ready to work with congress on policies that can actually move us forward. he'll find many partners in congress excited to get those things accomplished. we share his commitment on other issues he outlined, too. we agree that our children deserve better than failing schools. we agree that our veterans deserve better than failing bureaucracies. we agree that our brothers and mothers and friends and neighbors deserve better than the scourge of heroin and prescription opioid abuse. in an era of divided government, congress took what action we could on those issues. it was often significant action and we're all proud of it, but we now have a chance to achieve
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even more. so of course we're excited about the opportunity to improve the lives of the men and women who sent us here. that's why we all signed up for this job in the first place. and i'm not just talking about republicans. i know our democratic friends have different ideas than us on many of these things. i know the far left is pressuring them to burn the place down because it can't accept the results of last year's election. but everyone knows that won't get us anywhere at all. let's remember we have a historic opportunity before us. we can keep refighting the last election over and over and over, or we can heed the president's message of unity last night. we can come together to accomplish big things. we can pull down the barriers of the past. we can uphold in the words of the democratic leader himself our moral obligation to avoid gridlock and get the country to work again.
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now, i know he said that just before the election. i know he hoped the election would turn out differently, but we each have a duty to accept, accept the results. we each have a duty to bring the country together and to move it forward. that is now the challenge before our democratic friends. i ask them to meet the moment, meet the moment. i hope they will, because the american people are counting on us all. they're ready for a new start. we're determined to work hard on their behalf, and as the president said himself last night, so is he. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: before i get into the substance of my remarks, i was listening to our republican leader talking about compromise, not that he ever engaged in very much of it when he was leader last year, but compromise requires something to compromise over. we have nothing from the administration -- nothing on infrastructure, nothing on trade, nothing even on a.c.a., so so you want to -- so you want to sit down and talk, let's see what your plans are. get your own act together before you point the fingers at democrats. now, the president's speech. let me say this -- this president's speech was detatched from this president reality.
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the president, in this speech and in so many others, talks reich a populist, he -- talks like a populist. he promises so many things. but when he governs, nothing like that at all. he's favoring the very powerful special interests, making their lives easier and putting more burdens on the middle class and people trying to get to the middle class. at his inauguration, he gave a speech aimed at the working people and after that, within an hour, he signed an executive order that helped the banks and added about $500 to the mortgage of every new homeowner. you can't just talk the talk, mr. president, you have to walk the walk. and on issue after issue after issue, we haven't seen anything or negative things for the working class. we heard some talk about
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infrastructure. democrats, a month ago, put together an infrastructure plan of $1 trillion. it was a strong plan. it's gotten a lot of support throughout the country. where is the president's infrastructure plan? we haven't heard a peep about it and some of his white house folks leaked that, well, we won't get up to infrastructure until next year. mentioning it in a speech, infrastructure, it's not going to employ a single new worker. what about trade in the president talked about trade, putting america first. i views tend to be closer to president trump's than they were to president bush's or president obama's on trade, but, again, what we hear in the speech and what the president actually does are contradictory. so throughout his campaign the president took an issue near and dear to my heart and senator
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graham's heart, china manipulating its currency. he said over and over again in the campaign, on the first day i'm president, i will sign an executive order that labels china a currency manipulator. we know that they manipulate their currency and it cost america hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of good-paying jobs and allowed wealth to flow from our country to theirs. this one didn't require a single democrat to join in. all the president had to do was sign the order. we're now 40 days into this administration -- not only has he still not signed the order, but he is saying he may back off. last night the president talked about research, wiping out rare diseases, and yet the budget that they proposed given that they want to slash domestic
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discretionary spending by tens of billions of dollars and exempt veterans and homeland security, there is no alternative but the fact that the president, in his budget at the same time he's talking about medical research, is going to slash it. education. he talked about the great issue of education. same thing. his budget is going to slash education to smitherens, hurting our teachers and schools. perhaps the most hypocritical of all was draining the swamp. that was one of the president's main themes when he was president-elect -- drain the swamp. well, look who is in his cabinet. his secretary of treasury, his secretary of commerce and n.e.c.
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advisor are from wall street. is this the same man who said we're going to go after wall street if we get elected? wall street is running the economic show. the cabinet's filled with bankers. the cabinet's filled with billionaires, not people who feel for the average american. in fact, if you add up the net wealth of his cabinet, it is about a -- it's the -- it has more wealth than a third of the american people total -- close to 100 million people. that's cleaning the swamp? give me a break. so the problem with the president's speech was very simple. his actions don't match his words. his words in the campaign are not matched by his actions, his words in his inaugural speech are not matched by his actions, his words in his speech last
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night -- it was so funny he spoke to a bunch of cosmopolitan news anchors and mentioned maybe he will change his views on immigration and the media got into a buzz about that. then the speech he gave was one of the most anti-immigrant speeches that we heard any president ever give -- saying one thing, doing another. now, it's not the hypocrisy that bugs us, although it's there, it's the fact that he's not helping middle-class america. it's the fact that he's not making it easier for more people to travel and get into the middle class because he seems to have governed from the hard, hard right. the hard right is very far away from where the average american is. mr. mulvaney's idea of a budget,
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maybe 10% of america, mostly ideologues will support it. it is far away from where the average republican is. yesterday when the president proposed his budget, we had one republican say it's dead on ail rival, we had the majority leader saying you can't cut state department foreign aid in half. he's far over, and that's hurting him and hurting us. it's hurting the american people. so, mr. president, you know, the first 40 days have been a pretty rough 40 days for president trump. it hasn't worked out very well. why? it's not because he hasn't given a few good speeches. it's because he is governing from the hard right, he is governing far away from what the american people want. he is governing way off to the
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extreme. and, mr. president, a speech isn't going to change that. a speech isn't going to create one job, one infrastructure plan, or one trade law which makes our trade law, which needs to be changed, fairer. no, no, no. it takes action. unfortunately, when the president takes action, it is quite the opposite of what he says in the speech on the issues that affect the middle class and working-class people. so, mr. president, if mr. trump -- president trump -- does not change how he governs -- how he governs, not what speeches he gives -- in the near future, then these 40 days which have been of taou multi, of -- tumult, of contradiction, of turning one's back on the middle class, that will be six
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months, a year, and two years. the problem with the presidency does not lie in the speeches the president gives, even though i might object to a lot of things he puts in them, it lies in how he governs. he is not governing well. he is not governing down the middle. he is not governing in a way that lends itself to compromise. we democrats will continue to hold the president accountable. that's our job. that's what the constitution says we should do and we will continue until we see the president change his course in governing and no speech is going to change that or affect that. now, one other issue, mr. president, and that is our nominee today, mr. zinke. i want to spend a minute on him. he's the nominee, of course, for secretary of interior.
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one of the most important issues handled by the interior department is the stewardship of our national parks. these are one of the great national resources of our country. when my children were younger, my wife and i would take them to national parks and we'd go hiking. we loved it. we so looked forward to going out west. and i remember the reward at the end of a big hike was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. and i probably wanted them more than my kids did. but from niagara falls to places like seneca falls, stonewall, my dear state of new york is home to some of our country's most famous national parks and monuments -- places i visited and treasured my whole life. i have been concerned in recent years about the reluctance on the other side of the aisle to properly care for these great national beauties, these great
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national resources. currently there is a $12 billion backlog for our national parks. our republican majority has not seen fit to address them. now, adding insult to injury, the new administration's hiring freeze across federal agencies has already affected parks like the national -- the women's rights national historic park in seneca falls, which i visited a bunch of times. it has had to cancel tours due to insufficient funding. most troubling, our republican colleagues want to make it easier to sell off or give away public lands and expand the footprint of the oil and gas industry on public lands. as usual, help those narrow special interests, hurt the average american. that seems to be the trademark of this administration which our friends on the other side of the aisle are happily going along with. so that's the context in which i
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approach congressman zinke's confirmation. he claims to be a conservation in the spirit of teddy roosevelt, a great new yorker, but he has demonstrated supports for rules, however, that would make it easier to sell off public lands. just the opposite of what teddy roosevelt wanted. congressman stkpwhro*eupb claims to be -- zinke claims to be a conservationist but said that he would use the antiquities act to protect places of cultural, tribal significance. he claims to be a roosevelt conservation, but pledged to support the trump energy agenda, once again to expand drilling and mining on federal lands and waters -- a few big oil companies made happy, america losing a great resource that is an economic resource as well as a beautiful, natural resource.
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so, i would say to mr. zinke: you can't -- mr. zinke, you can't be a roosevelt conservationist. you can't be a roosevelt conservationist when you open up public lands to increase extraction and drilling. you're not much of a conservationist when you downplay the authority of the legislation that allows the president to create national monuments. mr. schumer: so, in sum, mr. president, congressman zinke says that he is a conservatio conservationist but doesn't have the record to back it up. that should concern every outdoor ensuressist, every -- enthusist of our great national parks. so, mr. president, i will, unfortunately, because of his record vote no on mr. zinke's nomination and i urge my colleagues to do the same.
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i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of the interior, ryan zinke of montana to be secretary. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will now be 20 minutes of debate equally divided. the senator from montana. mr. daines: mr. president, what a historic day for montana. as a fellow montanan, as a member of the senate committee on energy and natural resources and the senate subcommittee on interior and environment-related agencies, i look forward to working with ryan zinke in his
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new role as secretary of interior. serving at the helm of the department of the interior, i know he will be a strong advocate for our public lands, he will uphold the federal trust responsibility to indian tribes, and he will help unleash american energy and strengthen our water infrastructure. now, i have heard all week some friends on the other side of the aisle speak against my good friend from montana, ryan zinke. i tell you what -- i am perplexed. their concern that ryan zinke may not uphold the important roles of the department of interior, and that is to protect the public interests in land and mineral management. that he'll take shortcuts to extract minerals. well, let me tell you what ryan zinke will do, and i have known ryan zinke for 38 years. he will finally restore balance to the use and management of federal land.
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do you know that in montana, we have more recoverable coal than any state in the united states, yet the obama administration had planned to block our ability, montanans' ability to develop these resources. a moratorium is not a responsible policy. it is reckless, it's misguided. leaving the states and the tribes to be reliant on mineral royalties to lose out on these revenues and lose out on the good-paying jobs that coal supports. ryan zinke will take a fresh look at our coal programs and see how we can access these untapped resources in an environmentally responsible way. let me remind my colleagues that ryan zinke is born and raised in montana. it's a state where we like to say we get to work where we also
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like to play. he'll restore that balance to the departments so montanans can gain better access to our public lands. he'll also ensure our public lands work for those who live closest to them, and that means our states and our tribes. ryan's a montanan. he grew up in america's public lands. he grew up in the shadows of glacier national park. i grew up in the shadows of yellowstone national park. he knows that we must strike this balance between conservation and responsible energy development, and he understands better than anybody i know that this one-size-fits-all policies of washington, d.c., never work for real america. i look forward to voting for my friend, my colleague, a navy seal for 23 years and our next
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secretary of the interior ryan zinke. i yield back the time on both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. the question is on the nomination. mr. daines: 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: 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 68, the nays are 31. the nomination is confirmed. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: the senate is not in order. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senate will be in order.
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please take your conversations elsewhere. the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i move to reconsider the vote on the nomination, and i move to table the motion to reconsider. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to table. all in favor say aye. all those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. under the previous order, there will now be ten minutes of debate equally divided. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. crapo: mr. president, it's an honor for me to again recommend dr. carson as the secretary of h.u.d. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. crapo: mr. president, dr. carson brings a fresh set of eyes to every issue he faces. he has an incredible record of success and achieving outstanding results. we look forward to him bringing that same kind of analytical
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mind and management to the housing and urban development department. i don't think that there is any better pick that could have been made, and i urge my colleagues to support this motion to invoke cloture. i'd like to yield the balance of our time to the senator from montana. mr. daines: mr. president, back in 1979, there was a junior from bozeman high school, another junior from whitefish high school. both headed to dylan, montana, as boys state delegates. the keynote speaker that year was a newly elected u.s. senator named max baucus. who knew that 38 years later, that kid from bozeman would serve as a united states senator and that kid from whitefish would be our next secretary of the interior. congratulations to ryan zinke, our new secretary of the interior who was confirmed with a very strong bipartisan support, and he is the first montanan to serve in a
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president's cabinet since our statehood in 1889. ryan, it's truly an honor to be one of the very first to call you secretary zinke. on behalf of the people of montana and our country, well done, sir. i yield back my time. mr. crapo: mr. president, it's my understanding that there is no one else who wants to speak on either side. at this point, i yield back all time on both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of ben carson to be secretary of housing and urban development, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived.
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the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of benjamin s. carson, sr., of florida to be secretary of housing and urban development shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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on this vote the yeas are 62. the nays are 37. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: on nomination, department of housing and urban development. benjamin s. carson, sr. ever florida to be -- of florida to be secretary. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. a senator: mr. president, i applaud my colleagues for voting in favor of cloture on the nomination of dr. benjamin carson to be the next secretary of the department of housing and urban development. mr. crapo: on january 12, the senate banking committee held its confirmation hearing and dro questions and concerns thoroughly and thoughtfully. dr. benjamin carson was unanimously reported out of the senate banking committee on january 24. to many americans, dr. carson needs no introduction. however, his impressive resume bears repeating.
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dr. carson was raised by a single mother in an impoverished part of the city of detroit. he attended yale university and the university of michigan medical school. and later became a highly accomplished and respected neurosurgeon. dr. carson was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at johns hopkins hospital in 1984 at the age of 33, the youngest such director in the nation. he gained national fame in the 1980's by becoming the first doctor to lead an operation that separated twins conjoined at the head, one of many high-profile operations led by dr. carson. he also ran for president this past election and spent months traveling the country listening to the american people about the problems and the issues that they face with respect to housing. during his testimony before our committee, dr. carson
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highlighted the commitment that he has to carrying forth the mandate of h.u.d. and to learning more from the people directly affected by h.u.d. policies. he's also received bipartisan letters of support from four former h.u.d. secretaries, henry cisneros, former senator mell martinez, alphonso jackson and steven preston who served under both republican and democrat administrations. he said he plans to continue his conversations with the american people and do a listening tour if confirmed. this is an encouraging sign that dr. carson wants to hear from stakeholders and more importantly from the american people. there are many h.u.d. issues to be addressed. once confirmed, we can begin working on several important issues under h.u.d.'s jurisdiction. streamlining requirements for local public housing authorities, revising certain public housing programs and strengthening financing for small and rural affordable
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housing developments are areas that should be addressed. tackling homelessness, especially among our nation's veterans, is another issue that is important to me and should be addressed. it's critical that h.u.d. allow local communities to craft solutions that work best for their needs. there has been bipartisan interest in several of these reforms over the years, and i'm confident that we can make progress once dr. carson is confirmed. dr. carson has consistently demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of his fellow americans and his intellect leadership. and his life experiences are unique, valuable assets for leading an agency like h.u.d. i urge my colleagues to vote in support of dr. carson's nomination so that we can continue the great work of approving an improved america's housing system. and, mr. president, senator cornyn very graciously gave me his time of who is lined up to
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speak first, and he has asked if he could take his time at this point. i therefore ask unanimous consent that senator cornyn be next allowed to speak. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, the chamber is -- the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: this chamber is slowly, too slowly moving forward on the president's cabinet nominees. so far, this chamber has confirmed 16 cabinet nominees since january 20. i would note that the most recent nominee confirmed, mr. zinke, secretary zinke, was confirmed by a vote of 68-31. wilbur ross, secretary of commerce, was confirmed by a vote of 72-27. so why have we burned five weeks of this new administration and
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denied the president the staff and the help and the team needs in order to lead the country? it makes no sense whatsoever. and so i would just once again implore our friends on the other side of the aisle to stop the foot dragging and the delay for delay's sake and to let the president have his cabinet. i wanted to comment briefly, mr. president, on last night's address by president trump to a joint session of congress. i think it's safe to say that the president had an extraordinary night last night, and that's not just a view from a partisan, but i think on a bipartisan basis, people were enormously impressed by the vision that the president laid out. and i have had some private conversations with colleagues on the floor. they said to me in essence this is an unusual -- an
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unconventional president, but one clearly who is interested in making progress for the american people. and he laid out a broad, welcoming vision of what some of the things he wants to accomplish, but did so in a way that welcomed democrats and bipartisan support to help make that progress for the american people. and i think they were somewhat surprised but gratified to hear the president make those sorts of remarks, and i congratulate president trump for doing it. basically, what he did is he articulated an optimistic vision and a new direction for the country. this election, like the election back in 2008, was a change election. we have those every now and then after one party is in power for eight years. frequently people say well, we'd like to try something different. we'd like a change election. we had a true change election in
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2016. the american people made clear they wanted to get back in the game when they elected president trump in november, and by that i mean in terms of our american prosperity, our american strength, our american leadership in the world. president trump talked about a new national pride and cultivating a surge of economic security across the country. i think at bottom his speech was a message about confidence, confidence in the american people, confidence in our economic system that's lifted more people out of poverty than any other system the world has ever known, confidence that unfortunately had been lost during the obama years that focused so much on self-doubt and america's role in the world, retreating from that role, unfortunately leaving a void filled all too eagerly by
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transplants, dictators and thugs and thugs, like vladimir putin, for example. it's also true that this president was elected because for too long, many people in this country had felt left out and felt like they just weren't a part of the conversation we were having here about the great issues of the day. many felt sidelined, even alienateed by irrelevant policy debates that had nothing to say to their quality of life in america. many believed they truly didn't have a seat at the table. president trump's message throughout the campaign and now about five weeks into his new administration reflects, i think, the frustration and the even angst that many americans had felt and the gratification now as they feel like they have somebody who believes in what they believe and will not leave
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them on the sidelines. i believe that what president trump represents is an antidote to what many people saw as wrong with washington, d.c. and while it's true president trump has never held public office before, and by all accounts, he's an unconventional political leader, last night we heard that he'll work with all of us to actually do something about the concerns of hardworking american families and he will usher in a new era of renewed confidence in what the american people can accomplish together, as we enter into, as he put it, a time of national rebuilding. mr. president, this is about restoring faith in the american dream. my parents were part of the greatest generation, fought in world war ii, preserved america
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and a great future for their children and grandchildren. it sickens me when i read public opinion polling when people -- too many people today say they don't see that better life, more secure, more prosperous for their children and grandchildren in the future. what they're in essence saying is we're losing faith in the american dream, and i think what president trump talked about last night is a renewed faith and renewed commitment to the american dream, which means some sacrifice on the part of the present generation. not just spending money we don't have, racking up debt we'll never repay, but which our children and grandchildren will be saddled with, just for one example. well, president trump talked about taking on this tepid economic recovery that he inherited and turning it into a jobs machine that grows our
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economy for everyone. this is an optimistic message, as many have noted. it's reaganesque, really, in its tone, talking about building the american economy and re-establishing america's leadership role in the world. and i know it's just one indicator, but if you want to look at some objective measure of the american people's hopefulness and optimism about the future, all you need to do is look at the stock market. it's gone up 10% since president trump was sworn in. it closed at a record high for the 12th day in a row and a record that goes back to 1987. to me, that's saying that the markets and the american people are hopeful about what might be accomplished together under this administration.
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well, one of the things that we heard last night as well is that sort of a reflection of what vice president pence has told us in private gatherings, and i've heard him say it in public gatherings as well, that the administration is in the promise-keeping business. keeping your promise is important. how are you going to maintain the public's confidence when people say one thing when they're campaigning and then once they are sworn into office, they forget about those promises and move on. well, i'm grateful that this administration believes in the importance of keeping promises. we've already seen the president keep his promises to help rein in overreaching regulations. his commitment to reforming the tax code that he talked about last night so the economy can grow again and we can all benefit, and his commitment to repealing and replacing the failed experiment of obamacare.
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all of these he reiterated he's begun to work on and he's actually committed to seeing them through to completion, but these aren't just talking points. these are promises he's already begun delivering on. i personally am grateful, and i'm sure the presiding officer is as well, that he's also reprioritized our national security. national security is just not one of a cafeteria plan that we can kind of walk into and say well, i'll take a little of this, a little of that. national security is the number-one priority for the federal government. no one else can do that. and at a time when our country faces innumerable threats from all warned the world, including terrorism here at home, i appreciate the fact the president is committed to doing what it takes to restore our national security, to protect
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our borders and to restore the rule of law. i think it's just as simple as this president is committed to getting back to the basics of governing. he's doing what he said he would do, and i find that reassuring, together with the outstanding cabinet members that he's selected to serve with him in his administration. what america needs and what my constituents in texas call, write and ask me about all the time is a way forward that delivers security to our people, encourages prosperity for everyone and instills confidence in the job creators and investors so that we can enjoy a new era of prosperity for all our people. i'm confident that president trump, working closely with congress, can deliver on these and many more promises he's made to the american people. and it's obvious to me from his comments last night that he is welcoming and inviting our
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democratic colleagues to stop the resistance, stop the obstruction, but actually come join us to help move the country forward. i find that refreshing and welcome, and i hope some of our colleagues who still haven't quite gotten over the election on november 8 and the constituents they have who feel like they are still in a protest mode, you know, there's a time for competing in elections and then there is a time for governing. and now is the time for governing. and that takes all of us as adults who care deeply about our country working together on a bipartisan basis to try to find common ground and move the american people's agenda forward. so i look forward to working with the president to make america a stronger, safer and more economically vibrant nation. that's something we all want and something we should all work
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together to achieve. as i said, as we go forward, i hope our friends on the other side of the aisle look at the bigger picture. i've been here long enough to experience when people run for election, like many will do in 2018, and have no record of accomplishment to point to. i believe the presiding officer knows what i'm talking about. growing our economy and protecting our homeland should be bipartisan. it should be nonpartisan. and as the president mentioned, now is the time to come together to unify as americans to make our country stronger. so i hope all of our colleagues will join together, including our democratic friends, to let us get to the work of legislating, to let us get off of this extended foot-dragging timetable of confirming the
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president's nominees for his cabinet, especially when you're seeing votes like we saw on mr. zinke and mr. ross. 68-31, 72-37. there is no rationale for delaying those confirmations when our democratic colleagues are voting to confirm them. we could have done this on january 20. mr. president, i thank my friend from ohio for his courtesy, and i yield the floor. mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you. i'm rising in support of dr. carson for secretary of housing and urban development, but i just can't resist when i listen to my friend, senator cornyn. i do like and respect senator cornyn. i mean that. i just am amused by the term obstructionism when this president sat 100 yards down the hall speaking last night and
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still hasn't put any legislative proposals forward. nothing on immigration concept executive orders. nothing on infrastructure, even though democrats have followed the four corners, if you will, of his proposal, $1 trillion over ten years put into paper and actually written a real plan which includes public transit, which includes highways and bridges and water and sewer and housing and airports and all the things we do and doing it right on infrastructure, on public works. we're still all waiting. the president's made a lot of speeches. last night he was not as combative as usual. that was welcome. as senator cornyn said, we applauded that. but we're still looking for substance. we're looking for one bill. repeal and replace the affordable care act is? what does that mean? he hasn't given us anything specific. he's been voting been repeal and
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replace the affordable care act for more than a decade. they should listen to the governor from my home state, the state where the presiding officer grew up. they should listen to our republican governor who said, who admonished his colleagues here, don't repeal the affordable care act unless you've got a way to take care of 700,000 ohioans who have lost insurance. 700,000. under medicaid, not to mention 100,000 who will lose their insurance if they are on their parents' health plan, not to mention 100,000 that are on the exchanges, not to mention 100,000 seniors who are saving $1,100 for prescription drugs a year. not to mention a million ohio seniors who get free no co-pay, no deductible osteoporosis and diabetes screening and physicals and all the things that the affordable care act does. they have no proposals to replace any of those services. they talk about state lines and health savings accounts and they talk about tort reform. that's like this many people compared to this many people.
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they know that. yet i still hear this talk of obstructionism. give us stuff. give us legislative proposals. now, senator, the assistant majority leader started off by talking about, i guess a slow walk of nominees. i'm the ranking democrat. senator crapo, senator of the committee now who was not chairman then -- and he's not mostly responsible for this, but my committee, on one banking committee last year with the democratic president, i don't want to look back and do tit for tat. it's not about that. it's about moving the country forward. but last year what was it? more than two dozen, 25, 27. 25 to 30 nominees came from the president. some were very significant, export-import bank. some were federal reserve. some were inspectors general that most people don't quite know what they do. but all nominees, more than
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25, more than two dozen nominees, one of them was confirmed by the senate last year. one of 28 or so of our committee. he was confirmed on december, on the 24th month of the two-year term. so don't lecture us about people slow-walking and obstructionism and all that. 25, more than 25 nominees, one of them confirmed. s.e.c., securities and exchange commission, didn't move. federal reserve, didn't move. the transportation, public transit administrator didn't move. the comport -- one after another after another. the under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes didn't move even though he was originally a bush nominee and was promoted in the obama years, he wouldn't even come to a vote because of whatever reason that the banking committee didn't move him. we don't need that lecture. more importantly, mr. president, on these nominees, we all know the
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history. when i look at criticism and why aren't these nominees all passed, look about six months ago, eight months ago. every presidential candidate until this last election starts to put together a transition team in august. and president trump kind of -- candidate trump began to do that but not with much seriousness. then the person he had leading his transition team, he fired in november something, soon after the election. so he had to start again. he had no people kind of ready to go on these nominations. what in fact he was going to do on all these cabinet positions. then after that, he really didn't vet. he didn't really analyze, dnlt dnlt -- didn't look at the backgrounds of these nominees. if they didn't do it, usually the president's people look at these nominees and analyze and see how corrupt they are, if they have conflicts of
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interest, how qualified they are. they didn't that in this administration because apparently they didn't have time. they nominate these people and we've never seen so many conflicts of interest, this kind of wealth, this many billionaires appointed to the cabinet. just out of the finance committee, the secretary of health and human services, he bought and sold health care stocks of companies he was working with on the floor of the house of representatives. he was working object bills and amendments and yet he bought and sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of health care stocks. he didn't tell the committee the full story. the secretary of treasury, he had $100 million investment he forgot to report. maybe, maybe somebody out there would forget if they had a $100 million investment, they might forget they had it, but most americans kind of wouldn't forget he had $100 million. he lied to the committee. he lied to the committee about robe -- robosignings. this is directly related to this nomination. hundreds of ohioans, at least,
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maybe thousands lost their homes including in the presiding officer's home city where he grew up lost their homes because of these robosignings. that's why this has been slowed down is these nominees, many are unqualified for the jobs. many of them have conflicts of interest. many of them have very complex financial holdings and portfolios that just take a long time to sort through. that's the reason for the delay. and to accuse of anything else is just playing politics. now as i said, i'm here today to argue for the nomination, for the confirmation of dr. carson. i voted for a number of these nominees when i think they can offer something to our country. i voted against some of the most corrupt and some of the most out of step and far-right radical nominees. and that list is unfortunately much longer for this president than any president in american history. dr. carson had a career as a pediatric neurosurgeon.
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we know that about him. that's good. his remarkable life store is well known to millions of americans and that is good. but he's not the nominee i would have chosen to lead h.u.d. in fact he's not the nominee that any president in my lifetime would have chosen to lead h.u.d. h he's made troubling statements on public policy issues. my colleagues and i asked dr. carson direct questions about his views now that he is the nominee for secretary of h.u.d. i'll give dr. carson the benefit of the doubt. that's why i am voting for him, because he made commitments to me in person sitting in my office across the table, and he made commitments in the banking, housing and urban affairs committee in his testimony as written responses. 2450es -- these clu the promises to address lead hazards. he pledged to uphold -- under oath he pledged to uphold the fair housing act and the housing
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rights of lgbtq individuals. that wasn't what his past has been. he said comments that i find offensive or worse about gay people in this country, but he made the commitment under oath to our committee that he would fight any discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation. he has pledged to advocate for rental assistance and investment in homelessness. he's pledged to push to include housing in the president's infrastructure plan. those are commitments he made. those are commitments he made under oath. those are commitments that i will hold him to in spite of perhaps his prior philosophy of government and in spite of perhaps some of his comments that he might have made in the past. my job is to hold him accountable for this. the job of everybody in this senate, of both parties is to hold him accountable. mr. president, i want to ask unanimous consent to have printed in the record his written responses to questions i
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asked to clarify and supplement his testimony before the banking committee on january 12. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: i also ask unanimous consent that my entire statement will be in the record. i'm going to truncate it if that's okay. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you. as the ranking member of banking, and i would emphasize the committee, while the last two years it might have only been called banking, and maybe it could have just been called wall street for the way that it was run but the full committee name is banking, housing and urban affairs. it is responsible for housing policy. i see how important this department is for people in ohio and across our country. h.u.d.'s charged with enforcing fair housing laws. it's been an essential partner in national efforts to prevent and end homelessness for veterans, something senator crapo talked about, for the chronically homeless and youth and families. and the department's primary rental assistance programs help four and a half million low-income families, the elderly and people with
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disabilities find a place to call home, something that should be a right in this country. cities and towns in their efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and invest in communities, promotes lead-safe housing for children. there is a great challenge in states like mine where deteriorating lead paint in old homes threaten so many children. in my hometown of cleveland and where i grew up in mansfield, in appalachia, in city after city, in community after community, my state, there are lots and lots of older homes. in the city of cleveland well over half the homes are at least 60 years old. i asked somebody from the cleveland health department what percentage of those homes have toxic levels of lead, and he said 99. understand that old homes in this country, homes that are 60, 70, 80 years old -- and many homes fall in that category have toxic levels of lead. my support for dr. carson
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centers around the fact that he may not know much about housing policy yet -- i'm hopeful in the tours he takes, including to my state and i assume to the chairman's state of idaho, in addition, assume he'll learn more about housing. but one thing he does know as a brain surgeon is he knows what lead does in the development of children. so in small children -- the cleveland "plain dealer" reported 70 tracts in cuyahoga county whereas many as one in three children are poisoned because of the age of housing in the housing stock. one in three children has her or his physical and emotional and meantal -- meantal development sometimes arrested or slowed because of lead poisoning. through the federal housing administration, h.u.d. works with lenders to help credit worthy borrowers access a stable mortgage credit to purchase a home. they played a countercyclical role following the financial crisis when the private sector


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