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tv   U.S. Senate 10192017  CSPAN  October 19, 2017 1:29pm-3:30pm EDT

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mr. president, as chairman of the energy committee, i've come to the floor today to urge every member here to vote against amendment 1301 that will be voted on later this afternoon. the f.y.2018 budget instructs the energy committee to raise $1 billion over the next decade. that's all that it does. it just says go out and find a billion dollars over the next decade. and i will tell you, i appreciate -- i appreciate chairman enzi's willingness to include this instruction. and i have every confidence that our committee will be able to meet the instruction. and there's good reasons why we should be able to meet it and really very good reasons why we should oppose an amendment which
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would preemptively strike it. i think it's fair to say that we have opportunities within the energy sector to help advance this country when it comes to our energy security, our national security, and our economic security. but we need to be able to move forward with that. so what we are able to do within this instruction that is pretty wide open is, is to focus on those areas where we might be able to see increased energy production that could bring us new wealth, create new wealth in this country. so i'm going to be the first to agree that some of our options within this open instructions are better than others. some will create jobs. some may end jobs. some will reduce energy costs as opposed to raising them.
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some will actually increase our energy and mineral security as opposed to sacrifice or selling it off. and so what i would hope that members would do is look at this instruction as an opportunity to do something constructive for the country. and the best example of that really is to expand energy development in our federal areas where we have seen decline in recent years. i think we recognize that responsible development not only will reduce our immediate deficits, but it's about jobs and job creation. it's about wealth and wealth creation, about allowing us to build new wealth and create prosperity. it will help energy affordability for our families and businesses, something that i hear about all the time. it will strengthen our national security and our competitiveness. and this is a point that needs
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to be emphasized over and over and over again. it's not only energy security, but it's national security. when we are vulnerable on other nations for our energy resources, there is an energy insecurity. but we also realize that energy production will ensure the type of growth that we need to finally begin reducing the federal debt which is now over $20 trillion. but in short, what we will be able to do with this energy instruction is allow us to create new wealth. why would that not be something that we would not all embrace? i think that the instruction will allow us to really see some enduring benefits that will be felt all across our country. and i think it's important to recognize and to state that this does not come at the expense of our environment. this is not an either/or
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appropriation. anyone, anyone familiar with modern development can recognize that just as the scare tactic that it is. senator sullivan, my colleague from the state of alaska, was on the floor earlier this morning, and he spoke to the outdated, the stale arguments that we have heard repeated on the floor and why we must reject them. now the amendment that we have in front of us, 1301, simply strikes the section in the resolution that would provide for the energy committee instruction. but the purpose perhaps takes it a little bit further in mentioning and bringing out the arctic national wildlife refuge, anwr. there's been a lot of discussion on the floor about anwr already.
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senator sullivan, when he spoke earlier, spoke to the broader opportunities that we have seen in the arctic with arctic development in general. but i want to just raise a few facts about anwr more specifically since it's clearly been put out there for discussion. and as an alaskan and one who has been part of these debates for many years now not only here on the senate floor but in alaska, we know what we're talking about when we discuss the issue of arctic development. we know and understand what anwr is, what the willed -- where the wilderness area is and where the 1002 area is. and i think it's important to put it into context. anwr is an area of 19.3 million
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acres. it's about the size of the state of south carolina. included in this anwr area is a eight million acres of federal wilderness. so you've got wilderness area, you have refuge area. but you have nonwilderness area designated as the 1002 area. that's this area on the coastal plain. this is an area of 1.5 million acres. delaware is about 1.3 million acres. but the 1002 area is what was specifically set aside, specifically set aside under anilca that would allow for consideration for its oil and gas potential. so when anwr was established, it was recognized that there
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were areas that were appropriate for wilderness and there were areas that were appropriate to be reviewed and considered for their exploration and production potential. and that's what we're talking about within the 1002 area. but even within this area that was specifically set aside, we are not asking to develop all of the 1002. we are asking to develop just 2,000 federal acres within it, effectively one ten thousandths of the refuge area. you can't see it, but that little red dot is basically what we're talking about. that's what we're talking about. and we can say this. we can say we don't need to do more than 2,000 acres in this
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19.3 million acre area that has been set aside specifically for oil and gas production because of what has happened over the decades with regard to our technologies, how we have worked to reduce the footprint since prudhoe bay opened nearly, over 40 years ago. well pads on the north slope have shrunk by over 80% in these intervening years. we're talking now about pad areas that are 12 acres in size, 10, 11, 12 acres in size. so we've reduced the footprint dramatically, but what we have expanded dramatically is the subservice reach. the new technologies have allowed us to increase the ability to reach out under the
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surface to an area 125 square miles -- 125 square miles. we have increased by 4,000 percent in the years that we've been producing, exploring and innovating up north, the technologies that we use for exploration, senator sullivan showed the ice roads that we use, that reduce, again, the impact on the surface and avoid the need for permanent roads. we use forward-looking infrared cameras to survey for polar bear dens so we can avoid them. there is actually a story just this spring about a polar bear that was denning. we found where she was by using the technologies that we know. and literally working around where that polar bear was until
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she emerged from her den with her cub in the spring. it's working with the technologies that we have to allow for the activity but with minimal disturbance to not only the land but to the wildlife there. caribou. we all know about the caribou up in the north slope area. and what we have learned is that over the years the caribou that occupy these areas have not suffered. in fact, they have thrived. when oil development first began, we were looking at herds in the numbers of about 5,000. just this last year the herd, the caribou herd is numbering about 22,000, and it has maintained steady and substantial levels. so when you understand what the 1002 area really is and what development would actually look like, it's not hard to
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understand why you have alaskas' support. over 70% of alaskans support responsible development there. now i want to give you one of the best examples. matthew rexford is the president of kaktovik innuclearupiat, a gf community leaders from our north slope and he wrote a great opinion piece not too long ago explaining why he supports responsible development in the 1002 area. i'm going to submit his full comments for the record. but a very brief part of them provides as follows: as anwr debates occur, the views of the inupiat who call the area home are oftentimes left out. the wishes of the people who live in and around the refuge's coastal plain frequently are drowned out by people who live hundreds, even thousands of miles away, many of whom have never bothered to set foot anywhere near the arctic. well, today is a new day.
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and he goes on to speak as to the voice of the arctic inupiat, which is members from across the arctic slope who have voted unanimously to pass a resolution supporting oil and gas development in the 1002 area. he goes on further to state, when oil was first discovered on our land in 1969, the inupiat were worried of industry activities and fought hard for self-determination to protect our subsistence resources so we fully understand the trepidation from outsiders, the fear that the presence of industry could disrupt wildlife and affect america's manufacturing perspective of our land and culture. however we also have the benefit of decades of experience working with the oil and gas industry to implement stringent regulations to protect our lands and the industry consistently is lived up to our standards. prudhoe bay, the largest oil field on the continent located
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60 miles west of the coastal plain of anwr has demonstrated for four decades that resource development and ecological preservation can coexist in the arctic. the oil and gas industry supports our communities by providing jobs, business opportunities, and infrastructure investments has built our schools and hospitals and provided other basic services most americans may take for granted. our region recognizes its importance to our local and state economy and believe development can be done responsibly in a portion of the 1002 area. we are not alone. the presiding officer: i'm with matthew and these are the --. ms. murkowski: i'm with matthew. these are the voices we should be listening to. my answer is yes, opening the nonwilderness 1002 area to development is an option to meet the instructions to the energy committee. but it is not the only option.
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but i will tell you it is the best option. and it is on the table. but we should be clear. amendment 1301 is not a vote to open the 1002 area or to keep it closed. it's about whether or not this instruction should stay in the budget resolution and it's about whether or not we're going to recognize the substantial benefits that await us or whether we're going to ignore our future energy needs. and once again wind up in a situation where we see prices rising, families hurting and everyone is wondering why didn't you act when you had a chance. i think we all recognize that we're enjoying some benefits of lower energy prices, and some have suggested here that, hey, we're all fine. we don't need to do anything. a few have even said that because we're exporting oil now, we don't need to -- we don't need to do more for
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ourselves here. truly an open invitation to ignore the supply side. and that's just a bad idea. we've been down that road before, and we know enough not to be in that place again. the e.i.a., the energy information administration, projects that in 2040 the world is going to be using more oil, not less. and they project that our country will still be importing about seven million barrels a day on a net basis. they project prices will be back above $100 a barrel. there's other experts that are already pointing to other signs. the international energy agency recently found that, quote, global oil supply could struggle to keep pace with demand after 2020 risking a sharp increase in prices unless new projects are approved soon. so my point here is we have an opportunity. we have an opportunity not only
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to help america, to create jobs, to allow for opportunities not only in my home state but around the country, we have an opportunity to ensure a level of energy security while at the same time broadening this to enhance our national security. so what i'm asking colleagues today is not cramp this very important conversation. give us a chance to give instruction in committee. we'll be able to have hearings and put the options out on the table and understand fully how we can do more when it comes to energy production in this country. so let the energy committee do its part here. let's not pull the plug even before we get going. i think given everything that we've heard here on the floor
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about strengthening our economy and protecting the middle class and making life better for the people we serve, we have to ask the legitimate question -- why would you leave energy out of this debate? why would we limit our opportunity to create new wealth in this country? mr. president, i would again ask the senate to reject this amendment. it would deprive us of a substantial opportunity to benefit our country and ensuring that we have great prospects and possibilities in front of us. the energy committee wanted to see this instruction in the budget resolution. i've got every confidence we can meet it. i would urge members to vote no on the motion to strike when that comes up later today. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: are we currently in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. coons: i join my colleague from the state of virginia,
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senator warner, in keeping from tax reform from ballooning our deficit. the republican budget includes a troubling provision that would exempt a $1.5 trillion tax reform bill from the important requirement that legislation that adds cost to the u.s. government must be paid for rather than merely added to our deficits. this rule, well known to our colleagues, is one which i am troubled to see a number of long-time friends choose to ignore this time around, a role long known in the senate as the pay-as-you-go rule, or paygo. it's an important rule that forces congress to be responsible stewards of dollars. it is to find offsets rather than add to our national debt. it is the right policy and it's been in place for years.
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so it's, frankly, jarring that this budget document that would include a provision that exempts a $1.5 trillion tax reform bill from the paygo rule. look, i agree, we need to work together towards a bipartisan tax reform bill, one that reduces taxes on the middle class and simplifies our overly complicated tax code. we can't pass a budget that allows congress to put $1.5 trillion more on the government's credit card, on our credit card. i want to thank senator warner for his long leadership on the need for fiscally responsible governing. senator warner, as a rm former -- as a former governor, understands the danger our national debt poses to our long-term economic prosperity. i am proud to work with whim and remind our colleagues of the senate's longstanding support of paygo, and i encourage all
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members, especially my republican colleagues to support this amendment. and now, if i might, with the forbearance of my colleagues, speak to one other amendment for a moment. it's an amendment i've introduced that i know may well not get a vote, but i wanted to speak to. it would ensure as we consider tax reform we don't forget those most in need of our assistance right now and in the future. the united states was hit very hard by three hurricanes and many wildfires this year and in particular puerto rico, a u.s. territoryof 3.4 million people and now has a humanitarian crisis. 3.4 million people is several times more than live in my state of delaware. it's about the size of connecticut. once we get past the initial crisis and restore power and provide drinking water and ensure people have housing, then
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puerto rico, the u.s. virgin islands, and areas of houston, texas, miami, and florida an areas affected by wildfires will have significant rebuilding needs. we have representatives of the governor of puerto rico and the governor himself here on the hill this week clarifying just how much more will be needed for the marshall style investment plan needed to rebuild puerto rico. i will advocate that we provide further support from folks from the corporation from national community service, americorps, and triple "c" corporation. we will need investments for cdbg, parks, and infrastructure. i wanted to reference, before i hand it over to my colleague from virginia, a second amendment that would prevent us from moving forward on tax reform before we first provide by the americans affected by the
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needs. i thank my colleague for his fiscal responsibility. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: i thank my colleague for his fiscal responsibility. before he served in the senate, he served as head of one of the largest counties in delaware. whether you serve as a county chairman or governor, you're used to the notion that you have to pay your bills and i -- i appreciate very much his support for this amendment, keeping paygo in place. let me also echo that i absolutely support his notion that the american citizens in puerto rico deserve not to be forgotten, deserve to receive the same attention that we have
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bestowed upon americans in texas, florida, louisiana, or elsewhere around our great country when they are victims of national disasters, and i would simply amend -- i hope that the senator from delaware has a chance to get his amendment. i hope as well while puerto rico is not receiving sufficient attention, there is an american territory nearby, the american virgin islands that have the same kind of challenges. i hope if the senator gets a chance to raise that amendment, he includes the u.s. virgin islands in the amendment as well. mr. president, i call up amendment 1138 which i filed at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from virginia, mr. warner, proposes an amendment numbered 1138 to amendment numbered 1116. mr. warner: i ask unanimous consent that the reading be
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dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. warner: i rise today and speak in favor of my amendment striking the language in the budget resolution that would exempt the $1.5 trillion tax reconciliation instructions from senate bill and prevent this body from dramatically increasing this body from our debt and deficits. i know everybody is coming back from lunch and probably feel pretty good and don't want to get -- get sick, but our country has $20 billion in debt. both parties have unclean hands. in the years i have worked with my republican colleagues on issues trying to address debt and deficit, but the notion that we're about to take on a budget resolution this afternoon and we're going to start with the premise that the rules that are
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there to try to protect us from being fiscally irresponsible, we're going to blow those off at the outset and say we're going to start with a $1.5 trillion in the hole before we start counting is beyond irresponsible. and i thank my friend, the senator from delaware, for joining me in offering this amendment. mr. alexander: would the senator from virginia yield for a question? -- mr. cornyn: would the senator from virginia yield for a question? mr. warner: i will as long as i get to finish my comments. mr. cornyn: i appreciate that. the senator from virginia is my friend. we worked closely on the intelligence committee and on a number of matters. i have a question as to whether the senator from virginia believes that it's possible to improve economic growth as a
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result of tax reform in such a way as it will close that $1.5 trillion gap that he is so concerned about. some economists, the ones that i believe are people we can depend on had suggested as much as four-tenths of 1% g.d.p. will improve our economy to the point where that gap will close to zero and we'll actually see true deficit reduction. does the senator agree with that or disagree? mr. warner: i would like to thank the senator from texas for his comments. i agree that we need a more simplified tax code. i believe a goal of our tax code ought to put american business on a competitive basis with other countries around the world.
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i believe as well to do that -- one of the goals of tax reform ought to be lower corporate rates. i'd point out, though, three quick things so i can fin pish my -- finish my comments. one is let's look at where america's tax burden stands versus other nations that actually have lower corporate tax rates, for example. of the 34 oecd nations, 35 now, 35 oecd nations, if you listen to some folks on this floor you would think that america must rank at the top of that list. we're 31st out of 35. secondly --. the presiding officer: all time has expired. mr. warner: so much for a response to my -- mr. president, i ask unanimous consent since i have a few moments and was trying to give courtesy for an answer to my colleague, an additional five minutes.
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the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cornyn: mr. president, just to clarify, is the request for an additional five minutes of debate? the presiding officer: that is the chair's understanding. mr. warner: five minutes to try to answer the senator's question , and my very short statement which i'll amend. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i object to any additional time -- the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. enzi: mr. president, is there two minutes equally divided and he's used his? the presiding officer: no. time is expired. the time was until 2:00. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to change their vote or to vote? if not, yeas are 47, the nays are 51, the amendment is not adopted. the senator from arizona. the senate will be in order. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent that the senator from
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south carolina be eye it. -- be quiet. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to address the senate as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president, i come to the floor today to support the budget resolution for one reason, it's because it provides the senate a path forward on tax reform. i strongly support this effort to fix america's burdensome tax system. it's my hope that it will help the tax code and our economy. unfortunately, i cannot offer my support without reservation, so i have come to the floor today to explain my concerns and remind my colleagues of the important work ahead of us. even as we support this resolution as a means to achieve meaningful tax reform, we must acknowledge the fact that the
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underlying budget contains an insufficient level of funding for national defense. the chairman on the senate armed senate armed services committee, i need to ensure that those serving in uniform have the training, equipment, and resources to keep our nation safe. the senate budget resolution will set the defense spending at the levels dictated by the budget control act cap. this budget is $54 billion less than the president's request and $86 billion less than this body authorized this past month in the national defense authorization. we passed the national defense authorization by a vote of 89-9, a demonstration of a bipartisan belief that the spending is
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unacceptable. let me be clear, there is no bca level defense spending to provide our military with what they need for current missions and prepare for future threats. for those of us who have been paying attention, we have heard the warnings of the steady decline of our military. time and again, time and again, our senior military and defense leaders have signed the alarm about the dangers of the budget control act spending caps. the chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff, our highest uniformed military officer, general dunford, has warned that if we continue on the current path, he assesses that, and i quote, within five years, we will lose our ability to project power, the basis of how we defend the homeland, advance u.s. interests and meet our alliance commitments. make no mistake about what that means.
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america's military advantage is degrading. without the ability to project power, the united states will no longer be a global power. that means we put at risk not only our ability to secure our interests and protect our nation but also the unprecedented era of security and prosperity that american global leadership has provided the world. i might add for the benefit of my colleagues, former president george w. bush today gave a very, very strong statement emphasizeing this problem and challenge that we face. this is the strategic reality we are facing in the next five years. it should not be a surprise. we have seen the steady degradation of the military. the strain of constant operational tempo, combined with inadequate and unstable funding has over the past 16 years worn down the greatest military in the world. just this last week, our secretary of defense mattis sent
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a letter to the armed services committee expressing his concerns with regard to the national defense authorization act we are currently negotiating with the house. the very first thing he said before addressing any of the policy changes and reforms in the bill is that his primary concern is the budget control act. and we know why. because the defense spending caps are doing such harm to our military. secretary mattis wrote, quote, as i have testified before your committee, no enemy has done more to harm the war-fighting readiness of our military than sequestration. i will repeat that for the benefit of my colleagues. no enemy has done more to harm the war-fighting readiness of our military than sequestration. current caps continue to unnecessarily defer critical maintenance, limit aviation availability, delay modernization, and strain our
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men and women in uniform. we have seen the evidence of this harm. over the last few months, there have been a rash of training accidents, collisions, and crashes. we are seeing the tragic accidents in the news far too often. seven sailors were killed when the u.s.s. fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of japan. a marine c-c-130 crashed in mississippi and killed all troops on board. an osprey helicopter crashed off the coast of australia and resulted in the death of three marines. an army helicopter crashed off the coast of hawaii with five soldiers presumed dead. ten sailors perished when the u.s.s. mccain collided with a tanker near singapore. an army blackhawk helicopter went down during a training mission off the coast of yemen, and one soldier died. one soldier died during helicopter training at fort hood. an amphibious vehicle explosion at camp pendleton injured 15
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marines. a demolition accident at fort bragg killed one soldier and injured seven others. two navy pilots died in a t-45 crash in tennessee. my friends, we are now losing more of our men and women in uniform in totally avoidable training accidents than we are in combat. there is plenty of blame to go around for all of these incidents, but we cannot ignore the fact that congress' inability to provide adequate, stable, and predictable budgeting has contributed to the troubling state of affairs. while increased funding is not the only answer, there is no scenario where our military can get healthy and ready to meet the challenges of an increasingly unstable world without additional resources. there is broad bipartisan agreement about that from members of the house of representatives here in the senate and the president.
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and yet, and yet, we're about to vote for a budget resolution that severely underfunds the military, because the reality is as we all know that it will not impact the actual appropriations. to solve these problems and to fulfill our duty to the men and women in uniform, we must negotiate a bipartisan budget agreement that will lift the caps on defense spending. only then can we rebuild the military, reverse the disturbing readiness crisis and retain our ability to project power and secure our interests around the world. might i remind my colleagues that the fiscal year starting three weeks ago and that the defense department is currently operating under a continuing resolution, we know the harmful effects it will have on the military. that's why getting to work on a budget deal is so urgent. we must delay no longer.
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the budget resolution is not meant to provide that broader budget agreement. this budget resolution is simply a means to get us to tax reform. however, this budget resolution does represent something extremely troubling. the republican party used to be unified in its support for a strong national defense. if our leaders in congress and the white house don't immediately get to work negotiating a deal to lift the defense caps and fund the military at a higher level than in this budget resolution, i'm not sure we will be able to claim that mantle any longer. mr. president, i just want to sum up by saying we have a readn the military today, and that is whenever there is cuts in defense spending, the first thing that goes is the easy ones, the training, the readiness, the spare parts, the flying hours. those are the ones who get cut first because they are the
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easiest. cutting a major weapons system or program is extremely difficult. so now we have this list as i just read off of men and women serving in the military that we are responsible at least partially for their death and injury. why? because they're not able to be trained. they're not able to be equipped. they're not able to be maintained. 60% of the f-18's are not able to fly. we have sailors and airmen who are working 100-hour work weeks. we have -- we have gigantic problems with the ability to simply operate. meanwhile, our adversaries are stepping up their capabilities. obviously, every time we turn around, there is another crisis of some kind. look at the world eight years ago and look at the world today. you will find an incredible
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deterioration of america's position and influence in the world. the front page of the economist magazine this week has a picture of the dictator in china and the title is the most powerful man in the world, and it's true, and it's true. and so here we are with a budget resolution that basically has cut our military, that is basically not funding what we need, and my friends, i do not mean to get emotional, but why should we send these young men and women in uniform into harm's way without all they need toward to fight and defend this nation? right now, they are not ready. right now, their planes can't fly. right now, they are not able to operate and train. they are not ready, and that is not john mccain's word. that is our military leaders' words. and some of the most respected people in america and in the
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world. general mattis, general mcmaster, general kelly. they will all tell you the same thing. and we are sending our young men and women into hazardous situations without them being completely equipped and capable of defending themselves. that's wrong. what greater responsibility do we have than to the men and women who are serving us in uniform today? four died just this year. how many members of this body, how many of the 100 members of this body knew we even had an operation in my engineer? -- operation in niger? i won't go into the details in deference to the family, but this is wrong what we're doing. we saw it in the 1970's, and now we're seeing it again. it was mark twain, i believe, that said history doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes, and it's beginning to rhyme. and if we don't -- with this
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evolution that we're going through, we are spending to the level as authorized by the defense authorization act, then we will bear some responsibility for what happens. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: mr. president, later today, the majority is going to attempt to pass a budget for 2018. passing a budget has come to mean all sorts of things in congress these days. last year's budget was an attempt to repeal the affordable care act. this budget is supposedly all about tax reform. however, a bug first and foremost should be a statement about priorities for the coming year and for the coming decade. so let's take a moment and examine what this budget says about the majority's priorities.
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with any budget, i think you need to look at the end result and ask a couple of very simple questions. first, does this budget help reduce federal deficits and debt with a responsible, sensible approach? and second, does this budget ultimately put us on a sustainable fiscal path? the answer to these questions is a clear no. instead, this budget is primarily intended to allow the majority to use an expedited procedure to move tax breaks that would increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. that's a trillion with a t. mr. president, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will say this lost revenue was offset by spending cuts and promises of new revenues from economic growth far beyond what almost every single mainstream economist predicts.
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now, let's look at the trillions in cuts that the majority is proposing. and where the budget is specific, it is bad. medicaid is cut by $1 trillion. medicare, which provides essential health care services to our seniors, is cut by $470 billion. on top of that, the budget includes over $3 trillion in unspecified cuts. now, you don't have to be an expert in the federal budget to know that $3 trillion in unspecified cuts means one of two things. they are either, one, cuts to programs that families and communities rely on like head start, pell grants and transportation funding, or, two, they are unspecified because they are simply never going to happen. and that is what we are voting on today.
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nearly $1.5 trillion in cuts to medicare and medicaid and then trillions in cuts that are either so unpopular that no one dares name what they are or trillions more in deficits because there is not a plan. the federal budget is about choices. and you could learn a lot about which choices a budget puts in black and white and which are left deliberately unspecified, and when it comes to the majority's tax plan, we know only a few details, but we know enough to see where there will be winners and where there will be losers. the winners will be the wealthiest americans in our country and global corporations. we also need to look at what it means for michigan families and small businesses, but there is a deliberate lack of detail that makes figuring out what the bottom line is for working families impossible. we don't know where the tax breaks will start and where they will stop.
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we don't know what personal exemptions families will be able to take. we don't know the size and scope of the child tax credit. we don't know if important incentives for charitable contributions will be kept. the majority is even keeping open the possibility of raising taxes on americans who are trying to save for their retirement. this budget should be straightforward. we should reduce the tax burden on middle-class families. we should make it simpler for americans to file and understand their taxes. we should make it easier for them to save for retirement, and we should increase take-home pay for americans that work hard each and every day to make a living. unfortunately, none of these details that are important for middle-class folks were important enough to include in this budget, and that is why i will vote against it. and i urge my colleagues to do the same. we cannot add another $1.5 trillion to the deficit. we cannot slash medicare and
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medicaid. this is simply the wrong direction for our country. so why are we moving forward with this budget at all? well, on this issue, i think the administration has been clear. passing this budget is all about passing a so-called tax reform bill. however, passing this budget is not a requirement for passing tax reform. i repeat -- passing this budget is not a requirement for passing tax reform. passing this budget is only a requirement to pass a tax bill with as few votes as possible, without input or buy-in from members of the minority. this is not the way we should pass real tax reform. tax reform if it's going to be successful must have broad bipartisan input. i stand ready to work with my colleagues on real tax reform modernize, and streamlining our tax code can boost michigan businesses, raise take home pay
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for workers across sectors and help create the type of 21st century economy that we need. we can make it easier for small businesses, including manufacturers and family farms to invest in themselves and we can make the code fair across sectors. we can establish incentives for smart investment in our communities. we can implement strong enforceable rules to prevent companies from gaming our tax system and moving profits and jobs overseas. and for families we can make a meaningful boost in takehome pay. we can expand the tax credit and earned income tax credit and we can work together to find real ways to help alleviate the cost of child care. we can lessen the burden of student debt, and we can help people save for retirement. tax reform can help create more good jobs right here at home, fix some of the issues in the code that drive jobs and companies overseas, and put more
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money in the pockets of working families. in 1986, congress passed the most dramatic reform of the federal tax code in modern history. how many votes did the sweeping overhaul of the tax system get? well, when tax reform ultimately passed the senate in 1986, it received 97 votes. if we want to repeat that accomplishment and truly overhaul our code to make it work better for american families and american businesses, that level of bipartisanship should be our goal, not 50 or 51. i know we can do these things in a truly bipartisan manner if we are just given the chance. let's work together to pass real tax reform with broad support from both sides of the aisle. the american people deserve nothing less. i stand ready to work with the majority and so do my
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colleagues. i urge the majority to abandon this effort and start over. make the decision not to add trillions more to the deficit. make the decision not to cut medicare and medicaid for americans in need. start over. let's find a path forward to find real lasting bipartisan solutions. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the following amendments be called up en bloc and reported by number. flake 1178, baldwin 1139, rubio 1205, heitkamp 1228, portman 1422, donnelly 1234, kaine 1249. i further ask consent that at 3:00 all time on the resolution
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be yielded back and the senate vote in relation to the amendments in the order listed, that there be no second-degree amendments in order to these seven amendments prior to the votes. finally, that there be two minutes equally divided between the managers or their designees prior to each vote and that all votes after the first in the series be ten minutes in length. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report the amendments by number. the clerk: the senator from wyoming mr. enzi proposes en bloc amendments for other senators numbered 1178, 1139, 1205, 1228, 1422, 1234, and 1249. mr. enzi: for the information of all senators these are the first seven amendments we will consider during vote-a-rama, and we'll work to get an agreement on a final list of amendments during these votes.
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i yield the floor. mr. perdue: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. perdue: mr. president, i rise today i think i'm the only thing standing between this body and a vote on something that two years ago i didn't know existed. that's a vote-a-rama in local senate terms. as a matter of fact, being an outsider to the political process, i find a lot of this very strange. i came to washington and now i've seen a new vocabulary. it includes things like scoring that doesn't have anything to do with sports, by the way. vote-a-rama that doesn't have anything to do with the carnival down the road. or a deficit neutral reserve fund. i'm still trying to figure out what that is. i see the president of the senate smiling up there, and then points of order. there is a vocabulary centered around what we're going to be doing this afternoon. but i want to speak to the budget process itself. first of all, i want to be very clear to my colleagues on both sides.
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i support this budget we're going to vote on today for one very strong reason. that is, it's a vehicle to get to tax reform. i won't speak on tax for the few minutes that i have but i do want to speak about the process. mr. president, what we're doing in america right now because of the senate and congress and what we've been doing in the last 43 years is we're losing the right to do the right thing. let me say that again. we're losing the right to do the right thing. just a few weeks ago we voted without batting an eye for $15 billion of allocated funds for the victims of two hurricanes in florida and texas and other southern states. mr. president, every dime of that money is borrowed money. we have to go to china and other places and borrow that money so that we can spend and do the right things. that is not an embellishment or an exaggeration. what about research for the rising spiraling cost of our health care driven by alzheimer's, cancer, and diabetes? we spend about the same amount of money on that as we spend on
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all foreign aid and yet if we were to do more, we could solve those heinous diseases and lower our medical cost. we can invest in our infrastructure, mr. president. we could absolutely take care of victims of wildfires and now we have puerto rico. even tonight we're going to be asked to vote, an up and down vote on a supplemental bill for some 30-plus billion dollars for the needs of these catastrophes. well, mr. president, we have lost the right to dough the right thing, which is -- to do the right thing which is to meet those things. here is the biggest one. you just heard my great colleague, senator mccain from arizona, the chairman of the armed services committee of which i am a member. and he talks about how decimated our military is if a funding standpoint. he talked about readiness. he talked about capitalization. but today we are borrowing every dime we spend on our military, on our veterans, and on every
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domestic discretionary program in the united states. that's a fact. so where do we get the money from when we run out of our own money? we spend every dime -- by the way, we collected over $3.5 trillion of federal tax revenue last year, mr. president. it's the largest amount america has ever collected in income taxes in total taxes for the term government. the most we've ever spent -- most we ever collected. but all that money goes to mandatory expenses. as a matter of fact, our government has grown just in two presidencies since 2000 under one republican president, one democratic president, our government has grown from 2.4 trillion to $4 trillion, mr. president. that's not the worst of it. the worst is yet to come. we've added in two presidencies $14 trillion to our federal debt of our $20 trillion, $14 trillion was added under of two presidents. the next few years the current budget of which we're working we'll add $11 trillion to our
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debt. here's the problem, mr. president, the blue line here is what you heard senator mccain talk about earlier. that's our discretionary spending. it's flat. as a matter of fact, between 2009 and today, we've lowered discretionary spending by $400 billion. over a third. but what's happened is our mandatory expenses have explod exploded. as this chart says, this line here are our mandatory expenses. that's social security, medicare, pension and benefits for federal employees and interest on the debt. mr. president, this is a formula for financial disaster. we already have at this point here $20 trillion of debt. just over the next 30 years some estimates say we have over $130 trillion of future commitments, liabilities coming at us like a freight train. mr. president, we are hamstrung because we have a budget process that doesn't work. and one thing that contributes to this is a process that over the last 43 years since the 1974 budget act was put in place that
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created this budget process, the budget has only worked four times in 43 years. it's only funded the term government four times -- federal government four times. that's not a partisan comment, mr. president, that is an indictment on this body and on the body across the hall here. four times. and any other environment, sports, medicine, business, military, imagine if you had a process that only worked four times. imagine if you had a tank in world war ii and you're over there and only four times, every 43 times you fired it, it only worked four times. imagine what the result would be. what we have here is a system that doesn't work. and i'm going it try to explain that very quickly. first, we have committees in the united states senate, mr. president, that involve themselves in appropriation and the funding of the federal government. one are called authorizing committees. these are committees like state department, foreign relations. we have appropriations. we have all of these authorizing committees over here on the left.
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on the right here are appropriation committees. now, these committees have to pass today 12 bills in order to fund the federal government. now, over the last 43 years, mr. president, out of the 12 bills that we have to appropriate to fund the government, we have only averaged two and a half. two and a half bills, mr. president. in any other world that can't work. it doesn't work here. so we end up with 179 continuing resolutions that get us past the end of our fiscal year to continue spending at last year's rate and then we go to an omnibus, another new term that i never heard of up here, at the end of the calendar year basically six or eight people will get in a room and decide how to spend $1 trillion. the current budget only deals with primarily issues that are not in the mandatory side. mr. president, there is a way forward. there are members of the other side, and i'm going to call out one, my good friend from the state of rhode island, senator whitehouse and i and others have
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been working on this for quite some time. he has a great idea. let's pick a point in the future. make the debt a percentage of our g.d.p. and then work backwards from there with guardrails on what we can do every year. there is a budget process that we've been working on that creates a politically neutral platform, mr. president, that allows both sides in a bipartisan way to argue and fight over what we think the budget should include because we believe the budget should be a law. today the budget is only a resolution which means it's nothing but a political statement by the majority party. we then go to an authorizing process, mr. president, where the minority party because they weren't asked to play in the budget process, we have an ho authorizing process that today we have over 300 -- $300 billion of federal expenditures a year that are not authorized. over $300 billion. then we are supposed to go to an appropriation process, like i just society. we've only appropriate -- just said. we only appropriated over those 43 years two and a half bills a
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year instead of the 12. mr. president, we can fix this. it's -- it's not a partisan issue. we will absolutely fix this budget process in a bipartisan way. i'm going to vote for this. i hope my colleagues will vote for this budget bill so we can get on and debate tax. mr. president, the debt crisis is the number one crisis we face in our country. it keeps us from doing the right thing, funding our federal national defense, taking care of our domestic needs. mr. president, i will support this budget today and i urge my colleagues to do the same. with that i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from la. a senator: i ask for unanimous consent to speak for three minutes. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. cassidy: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cassidy: i ask unanimous consent to speak for three minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cassidy: this is not about the budget, mr. president, but it's about something that all of us can unfortunately understand the importance of. on sunday, october 1, united states naval aviation instructor lieutenant patrick l. ruth and aviator lieutenant junior gray
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walsberg both were killed when their training jet crashed in tennessee. lieutenant ruth was a native of louisiana. lieutenant ruth sieved in the navy for nine -- served in the navy for nine years beginning his career in the naval reserve officer training at tulane university. after flight training he joined the carrier airborne early warning squadron 126 based out of norfolk, virginia, in 2012. lieutenant ruth flew the hawkeye as part of the tactical forces of the u.s. navy. part of his duties was air strike patrol, ocean surveillance and search and rescue coordination. in april, 2015, he moved to the naval training squadron seven based in meridian, mississippi. as an instructor, lieutenant ruth trained the next generation of aviators and strike aviation, basic aircraft maneuvering and landing skills. lieutenant ruth was a dedicated
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navy aviator. he earned two navy marine corps achievement medals during his career. our brave men and women in uniform take an extreme risk every day to defend our nation. the risks are necessary to make sure our military is fully prepared to face any threat. we are forever grateful for lieutenant ruth and those who answer the call of duty to keep us safe. we also think of the incredible sacrifices of lieutenant ruth's family and all military families. they may not be wearing uniforms, but they, too, serve our country. i had the privilege of speaking with lieutenant ruth's family. i learned his younger brother shane is active duty navy. his older brother is retired navy. his sisters are and were supportive. his parents still grieve. how can any parent not? but to borrow from president lincoln's letter to a grieving mother, i pray our heavenly father may assuage the bereavement and leave them with the memory of the loved and a
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solemn promise of those who laid a sacrifice on the altar of freedom. lieutenant ruth is survived by his parents, his fiancee jessica and his four siblings. you are in our prayers. lieutenant patrick ruth will not be forgotten. thank you, mr. president. i yield back. the presiding officer: under the previous order, all time on the resolution is yielded back. there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote on flake amendment number 1178. mr. flake: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: this amendment would set up a deficit-neutral reserve fund related to making the american tax system simpler and fairer for all americans. we have got to not only do tax reform, but we need to do it urgently. it's been more than 30 years since we have reformed the tax code in any significant way. and we have more preferences and
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loopholes and deductions out there than we know what to do with. in fact, if you total all of them together, there is more spending in the tax code, or expenditures in the tax code or tax -- money avoiding coming to washington, tax avoidance than we spend in our entire discretionary budget. it's about $1.26 trillion annually. so we have got to have a code where we lower the rates and broaden the base, and broadening the base means going after some of these popular loopholes and deductions and preferences that make the tax code a lot bigger and scarier and more complicated than it should be. and with that, i yield back. the presiding officer: who yields time in opposition?
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all time is yielded back. the question occurs on amendment 1178. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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