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tv   U.S. Senate 12062017  CSPAN  December 6, 2017 10:00am-12:00pm EST

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short-term extension of government funding beyond this coming friday. and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate 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. our father in heaven, we trust you to direct our lives. you are holy,
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ruling in the heavens. keep our lawmakers faithful to you, as you use them to accomplish your purposes. may they hear the groans of the poor, the cries of the helpless, and the moans of the oppressed. help our senators to cause justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. give them the wisdom to find in you a refuge in turbulent times, remembering that you will never
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abandon those who seek you. grant them the greatness of being on your side doing your will on earth, even as it is done in heaven. we pray in your merciful 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. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask the chair
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lay before the senate a message from the house of representatives. the presiding officer: the chair lays before the senate a message from the house of representatives which the clerk will report. the clerk: resolved that the house disagreed to the amendment of the senate to the bill h.r. 1 entitled an act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles 2 and 5 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018 and ask a conference with the senate on the disagreeing votes of the two houses thereon. mr. mcconnell: last week senators answered the calls of our constituents by voting to overhaul our complex and outdated federal tax code. we seized the opportunity to spur economic growth to help create jobs right here at home, and to take more money out of washington's pocket and put more money into the pockets of hardworking american families. our bill also helps provide for the country's energy security by further developing alaska's oil and gas potential in an
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environmentally responsible way. it delivers relief to low and middle-income americans by repealing obamacare's individual mandate tax. i'd like to once again thank every one of my colleagues who supported this once in a generally ration effort to make our tax code work for the middle class and to help them get ahead. since the beginning of this process, we said the tax reform would be done through regular order and an open process. that's exactly what has happened. under chairman hatch's leadership, the senate finance committee hosted dozens of hearings over multiple years and a full committee mark yum. -- markup. members on both sides of the aisle had a chance to offer amendments both in committee and here on the floor. we considered numerous amendments and when it came time to vote, the senate approved the bill. this has been a year's long process to deliver tax reform. we've come a long way. we still have more work ahead of us. earlier this week our colleagues in the house voted to work with members of the senate to produce a final bill to send to the
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president's desk. and later today, the senate will do the same. we'll vote to join our colleagues in a conference to finish our work on tax reform. the american people deserve taxes that are lower, simpler, and fairer by voting to go to conference, we'll be one step closer to getting it done. i look forward to voting to send our legislation to conference later today. now, on another matter, with the cooperation of our colleagues congress will pass a short-term continuing resolution before the end of the week. once the house passes the continuing resolution, the senate will have a chance to consider it as well. by sending the short-term funding provisions to the president for his signature, we'll ensure that the government remains open while bipartisan discussions continue with our colleagues in congress and the white house on a long-term funding solution. in the meantime, it's important to recognize that this bill doesn't have any contentious provisions. we should all support it. a vote for the short-term
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measure will help maintain our military. it will continue the important work of federal agencies. and it will provide states with certainty to continue funding the children's health insurance program until a bipartisan chip reauthorization agreement is finalized. so, mr. president, when the house sends us the short-term continuing resolution later this week, i'd urge all of my colleagues to join me in voting for it. that way, we can continue the critical operations of the federal government while we work toe finalize a long-term -- to finalize a long-term solution. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia.
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mr. kaine: parliamentary inquiry. are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are in a quorum. mr. kaine: if i could ask that we dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaine: ris-- mr. kaine: president trump acouple of months ago said he was going to terminate the daca executive order of president obama in six months. that would be in early march -- unless congress found a resolution. i'm gratified that we're having discussions, many of us, about what that resolution might be. i want to acknowledge 35 house republicans yesterday signed onto a letter that was lettered by a virginia representative, scott taylor, from the hampton roads area, saying we need to fix this and we need to fix this by the end of the year. i want these discussions to continue. in virginia there are about 13,500 dreamers. i want to tell a few of their stories and why virginia is a
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better state because of them and why i think the nation is a better country because of the hundreds of thousands of dreamers who are contributing to the diverse richness of this country. let me just talk about a few of the virginia dreamers i met in the last few amongsts. amongsts -- the last few months. first the story of gloria odioya. gloria is a child of parents who are nigerian. she was born in england and her parents brought her to the united states when she was one year old. her dad is a doctor and came to practice medicine and work on a work visa but then her dad became ill and could no longer work and then the work visa expired as a result. and gloria then became undocumented when her father's visa expired. gloria was not aware that she was undocumented until she was about to start climate change and her parents then -- start college and her parents then had to tell her the full story. but gloria is a remarkable young
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woman. she went to wesleyan college and then she enrolled at william and mary law school. she is scheduled to graduate this month from william and mary law school. when she does, she will be the first daca student to get a law degree in virginia and only the fourth daca recipient in the united states to get a law degree. and she is bound and determined -- she says i am going to be the first undocumented student in virginia to get a law degree. she's very, very focused upon her study'd studies. she's been very involved in the black law students association, the immigration service society and the immigrants association for the last three years. i have had a chance to meet gloria. she was tremendous, tremendous young lady. that's gloria. andreiias magnuson.
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swedish-born music producer and mixer. he his parents brought him to the united states when he was two years old. this is the only home he's ever in a moment his career has blossomed in the united states where with his first band he sold over 50,000 records and has toured the united states and other countries. currently he works out of his house in richmond where i live and he has a recording studio and he has sold a combined 1.5 million records through the spanning of his youthful music career. the united states is his home. richmond is his home. it is where his career is and it's where his family lives. his mother, his stepfather, and his two half-brothers are all american citizens. andreis is a swedish dreamer. he is branching out from music to i guess demonstrate the swedish-virginia talent for
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barbecues. he wants to enter more competitions in the future. neither gloria more andreas are the typical snapshot you might think of when you think of a dreamer -- one a nigerian lawyer and one a swedish music producer. bruno car dough is a -- and her friends call her mel, is from hampton, virginia, in the tidewater area. she works on family and children's services. her whole goal is to use her education to do social worth she would like to combine that with a future degree in law to help immigrants like herself. she works for a nonprofit that focuses upon mental mettle needs. i think we all know how significant mental health needs are in the country. many people have never been diagnosed or if they have been diagnosed, they don't get treatment. the organization she works for helps people make sure they can find the financial support they
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need to access mental health care that they need. before she worked with this family services agency, she formed a coalition called i cause to help undocumented students be able to afford higher education. she has received numerous scholarships and awards that have allowed her to pursue her education. she was a recipient of the hispanic scholarship found to go get her social work degree. with her academic success and her passion to help others, brunette is exactly the kind of virginian we like to celebrate because she is a person of accomplishment who is taking her own skills and benefiting others. that's as american a value as there is. the fourth student i will mention is giancarla. she came to america a decade ago
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to be reunited with her parents who she had not seen for seven years. in an article in "the washington post" that highlighted her particular story, giancarla said that she spoke only spanish when she came here and the way she and her father perfected their english was by riding in the car and singing beetles' songs and chicago songs. the senator in the chair is too young to remember chicago songs. it is easy to think of somebody coming from central america coming to america and with their dad thinking they will learn to songs to learn length are issue. the article mentioned when she came to the united states, even the most simplest homework assignments were impossible for her. she had to study so hard, much harder than others because of the language difficulties to succeed. very quickly she was not just
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doing well. she was in honors classes. she wanted others to succeed. like the other stories that i mentioned, she's made a passion of assisting others to do what she has done, to learn english, to prepare for citizenship tests. she was prompted to advocate for dreamers when a school counselor told her sorry for you, college isn't an option because you will have to pay out -off state tuition and -- out f state tuition and she couldn't afford it. she decided to join a lawsuit and the lawsuit led to virginia offering in-state tuition to those living here and paying taxes and succeeding like jiancarlo. so she maintained her high gaap. she earned admission to radford university, a wonderful university in southwestern virginia. she was the first dreamer accepted at radford and she was given a full scholarship and she graduated with a bachelor's degree in international economics in may of 2016. she is determined and committed to serving her community just
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like the other 13.5,000 dreamers in virginia. this is a very important issue. and i think president trump while i was disappointed when the president after saying dreamers are great kids, they have nothing to worry about with me, i was disappointed when he said i'm going to terminate the program in six month, because i -- months because i viewed it as a little bit of a broken promise. there was something in that announcement that, frankly, we have to grapple with which is no executive action is as good as a tat toar fix. executive action can be changed by this president or that. so even though i supported the daca executive order of president obama, i recognized it wasn't the same as a statutory fix. we do need congress to act in this. i was proud to be one of nearly 70 members of this body in june of 2013 that voted for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that included a dream act, a permanent statutory solution for these dreamers. and we need to find that
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permanent solution. and the dialogue that we're having with the dream act that is supported by -- championed by senator durbin and cosponsored by many, including me, it's bipartisan, it has the cosponsorship of lindsey graham, there's also a bridge act that's proposed by republican members that also is trying to solve the dreamer issue. the letter in the house that i mentioned the other day. it seems like we're in the time where we're having this discussion and seriousness and we're on the path to finding a permanent solution. we need to do this. these families are law-abiding, tax paying, hardworking setting example kind of families. and you find them serving in the military and starting businesses and succeeding like these young people are who i've described. so this is a season where we have a lot on our plate. we've got budgetary issues. we've got the chip insurance program for kids. we have a lot on our plate
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between now and when we adjourn for the holidays at the end of the month. but this is an issue we can solve. i'm heartened to see the discussion reaching a boil. i'm heartened to see bipartisan support for these dreamers, but i'm not surprised because when i read their stories, you will see why their cases are compelling and why not just members in this body and the house but also the american public strongly supports a permanent resolution. so i earn courage my colleague -- so i encourage my colleagues to do this, let's do it soon. we will be proud of this if we do and proud of the accomplishments of the young people i described. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor, and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: mr. president, are we currently in a quorum call? the presiding officer: the senate is currently in a quorum call. mr. coons: i ask unanimous consent that proceedings under the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, i rise today to offer a tribute, to a friend, a leader, and one
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of a kind, rich hefra. my colleagues in the delaware congressional dell indication, senator carper and congresswoman blunt rochester, join me in congratulating rich hefra on his long roared of service to delaware. he will soon be retiring as the president of the delaware state chambechamber of commerce and id to honor his many contributions, not just to delaware's business community, but to our legal, education, and governmental communities, to all of delaware. rich moved from philadelphia to wilmington back in 1971, attending delaware law school and serving as an intern for then-senator joe biden. rich later functioned as finance director for joe biden's 1978 senatorial campaign. rich's career took off in 1985 when he started as a special assistant and top aide to then-wilmington mayor dan f
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frolly. he recognized rich's business acumen and promoted him as director to the department of housing in 1987. he became one of the mayor's most trusted advisors, a key part of his cabinet. rich later departed the wilmington city government to bark on his journey with the chamber of commerce. the mayor was sad to lose rich but recognized his great value to our entire state through the chamber. quote, if i were the president of the state chamber, i would want to be able to communicate across political lines, across community and business lines, then-mayor frolly said. quote, rich has demonstrated the reach that goes beyond partisan.
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he was the organization's chief advocate for federal and state and local issues. it was in this role that i first met him. the state chamber has been a strong organization, representing the business community and a on a very wide range of issues. he expand the the chambers advocacy role across the state and recently helped guide the modernization of coastal zone act, and advocated for the creation of the delaware prosperity partnership to help delaware's economic development for the future. his insight was and still is sought after in many policy areas including tax policy, health care issues, land use managed and workers' compensation. rich's department of knowledge has been a resource for everyone who has spoken with him. his weekly e-mails, webcasts, television and radio appearances are engaging. he has long had his finger on
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the pulse of delaware. throughout his tenure at chamber, he has served on many boards and commissions. the governor's workers' compensation advisory, the delaware health care commission. rich also made educating the next generation of delawareans of all backgrounds a priority as an adjunct faculty member teaching business and political science at delaware technical and community colleges and at wilmington university. rich's opinions, his style and voice have been sought out for nearly 30 years by business leaders, elected officials, and delawareans alike up and down our state. and all those who got to know rich hefron got to know him as a friend. our governor john carney had to say about him just the other day. rich exemplifies the delaware way. he has great relationships with legislate terse on both sides of the." he takes a long-term approach to
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issues rather than an ideological or short-term approach because he realizes we're here to work together and get something done that will benefit our state. we all owe rich an incredible debt of gratitude for what he's done for the delaware state chamber of commerce, he's done to support job creation and for what he's done to improve our great state of delaware. close quote. former delaware state representative bobby byrd, a longtime friend and former coworker of rich's, also spoke of his long career of service to our community. bobby byrd said, quote, not only has rich been a lifelong democratic party activist, he's also been a very competent advocate for delaware's business community. he is truly an example of the delaware way, close quote. though rich is now retiring, his voice and his counsel will never be far away. and in retirement, his sports teams will be just a bit closer.
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i personally wanted to say to rich my great thanks for the many ways in which you've encouraged and advised and supported me in the eight years i worked in the private sector in manufacturing and the ten years i served in county government and now in my seven years here in the senate. many in this body find this hard to understand, and senator carper and i talked talk about this delaware way where we all work together and find ways to solve problems. but the idea that a democratic party activist is the long-regarded head of our chamber of commerce is just one small example of that delaware way. and, rich, no one has been a better, more trusted source of advice to business leaders, community leaders, political leaders alike that un. it's appropriate that this is the eve of delaware day, almost 132 years to the day tomorrow, the brave delaware delegates risking their lives and everything they had, met at the
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golden fleece tavern in dover, d.e.a., and unanimously voted to make delaware the first state to ratify our constitution. and tonight we will celebrate again our annual taste of delaware. tonight we will toast you at our taste of delaware event, an event not possible without you and the state chamber's unyielding support the taste of delaware event is a great example of what it means to bring people together from across our state, from our three counties, from north and south, and to travel over here to washington and share with all of our colleagues here in the senate some of what makes delaware special. rinks you and your team have created a wonderful washington tradition, attracting literally thousands of guests and dozens of dealt's kuhlary staples to celebrate the first state here in the nation's capital, and, rinks i hope that you yourself have been the best example i could provide to my colleagues
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of what it is that makes delaware so special. you will be missed, rinks in your role at the state him, and i wish for you and colleen and your family all the best in your well-deserved years of retirement. thank you. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: i'd ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. chairman, i'd like to begin my comments today by offering my condolences to the family of my friend al hill jr. al was the oldest grandson of the legendary texas oil man h.l. hunt and he passed away last saturday. al was many things to many people. we shared in common an -- as alumnus the fact that we were -- both went to trinity university you about the difference between us is that al was a star tennis player and i was not. he later popularized the sport as president of the world championship of tennis. during the rest of his career following his education, he worked in the energy industry and was a commercial real estate developer and most of us knew him as a prominent
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philanthropist, along with the entire hill family. al positively impacted the lives of more people than i can count, including mine. and i simply want to say how much we will miss him. the second person i'd like to talk about today and the focus of my remarks is a texas woman named lavina masters. now lavinia is not famous in a sense, but she's near and dear to my heart because of her courage. when lavinia was 13 years old she was sexually assaulted at knife point by a man who broke into her parent's home. her parents were sleeping upstairs and immediately called the police. lavinia was taken to the hospital in dallas where a forensic exam was performed and d.n.a. evidence was collected in a rape kit. but then it sat there. the evidence sat around for 20 years untested, believe it or
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not. when other victims of sexual assault had similar forensic exams, their rape kits were added to lavinia's, warehoused, not tested and eventually a backlog began. more than two decades later in 2005lavinia's rapists had not been identified. she calls the frustration and anxiety of having to wait year after year putting salt in the wound. she didn't know who the rapist was and she didn't know if he was still around or whether her life was even in jeopardy. one day lavinia saw a tv commercial about a new initiative to clear backlog rape kits. she called the dallas police department, and fortunately officers reopened her case. soon there after her untested rape kit was located, and when it was finally tested, it turned up a d.n.a. match for her
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perpetrator. well, the rapist was already in jail for other crimes he had committed, but because of the statute of limitations, which bars prosecuting somebody after a certain period of time, she couldn't even press charges, which is a shame. but this case and lavinia's courage at coming forward and letting us talk about her case demonstrates the importance of testing these rape kits. it's important not only to identify as the power of d.n.a. testing will allow you to do, who the perpetrator was, but it will also allow you to exonerate or exclude somebody who, whose d.n.a. does not match that in the rape kit. all of this illustrates problems inherent in untested rape kits that lie in storage lockers and laboratory counters across this country.
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these kits contain forensic evidence with the potential to solve a crime. and as lavinia's case demonstrates, frequently people who commit sexual assault, they don't just do it once. they're serial offenders and they will keep going until they're caught. and unfortunately lav inia's case because of the 20 year interval from the time she was assaulted it is unknowable how many times her assailant committed similar acts of sexual violence against other people before he was finally stopped. so these rape kits contain forensic evidence with the potential to solve a crime, to put a rapist behind bars, and to provide victims with closure and vindication and society with justice. the good news is we made great strides in recent years in not only my state but in the united states in dealing with this problem.
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and one recent report from the department of public safety indicates that there's still more than 2,000 kits that remain untested in texas, and that's unacceptable. but nationally the problem is even much bigger. with as many as 175,000 rape kits that haven't been analyzed. in other words, lavinia masters is not alone. she's joined by other texas women, courageous women like carol bart who came forward with her story to help other women and potential victims avoid their fate. well, their cases are why a bill i authored earlier this year is so important. something called the safer reauthorization act. safer is an acronym for sexual assault forensic evidence reporting. victims of sexual assault scarred by painful memories and physical trauma can't afford to wait for more proficient
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procedures and funding that's easier to come by. they need their stories to be heard and the evidence tested. my bill reauthorizes a program which was created in 2013 which has helped law enforcement advance the national rape kit backlog, reduce it. now there are many jurisdictions like the city of houston, for example, who a few years ago took on this on their own and didn't wait around for the federal government or additional funding. and it was just amazing how many hits they got on these untested rape kits which coincidentally or not coincidentally matched up with other reported crimes as well, that's allowed them to solve not only unsolved sexual assault cases but other crimes as well, putting people at the scene of the crime who claimed to be somewhere else, for example. well, my bill reauthorizes this program created in 2013 which has helped law enforcement
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reduce the national rape kit backlog. i'm happy to have the support of my friend and colleague, representative ted poe, who is cosponsoring the bill in the house. this original legislation bears the name of the debbie smith act, the name of another brave woman who stepped up and out of her personal tragedy used it for good. and so we named the debbie smith act after her, something that allowed us to then fund, federal funds and make them available to test untested rape kits, and actually that original legislation improved it to 35% and required 7% of them to be used as audits on existing rape kit programs. the problem, in other words, mr. president, is when we got started we didn't even know how many untested rape kits there were because there was no audit program.
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and much of the funds that were being used for the debbie smith act were being used for administrative or other purposes and not to test rape kits. so these audits are important. they have had the potential to uncover thousands more untested rape kits across the u.s., each with evidence that could be used to bring criminals to justice. the reauthorization i sponsored goes one step further than the original legislation. it also ensures that peed i can't -- that pediatric forensic nurses are eligible for training so that once they complete it they are better equipped to respond properly and appropriately to church suffering from abuse. finally -- to children suffering from abuse. this bill extends the safer program which will ensure the longevity of a program with a proven history of success. i'm grateful that this safer act has enjoyed the support of a broad range of bipartisan
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supporters, including, in this chamber including the senior senator from minnesota and the senators from nevada and colorado, each of which are original cosponsors. here's the problem, mr. president. this bill has now passed the senate but is waiting for action in the house. it's december, and we know the clock is ticking. it's imperative that the house act to reauthorize this program before the end of the year. and while i'm confident it will, time's awasting. we need to make sure that this money is allocated for the safer program for the new year and that not only the testing continues, but the audits continue so we can find other rape kits like those of carol bart and lavinia masters that need to be tested, perhaps sitting on an evidence locker shelf somewhere in a police department. this week a coalition of advocacy groups and law enforcement agencies has called for the house to pass the safer
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reauthorization act in a timely fashion. they said the promise of safer has yet to be fully realized, and they pointed out that the nation is at a reckoning point when it comes to sexual assault and harassment. well, they're absolutely right. we have reached a critical turning point. today as more and more survivors reach out to report these life-altering crimes, it's certainly not the time to let authorization for safer lapse. fortunately, i know and these law enforcement and victims' rights groups know that our colleagues in the house share their beliefs. but like i said, i know we're going to get this done, but time's a wasting, and i hope our colleagues in the house will take this legislation up which has no controversy at all associated with it, and get it passed and get it to the president. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor, and i note
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the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, is the senate in a quorum call now? the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. whitehouse: may i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted? the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. whitehouse: thank you. mr. president, moody's investors service is one of america's credit rating agencies. it's not an environmental organization. it doesn't have any activity in the debate over climate change. that's not what it does. what moody's does is to analyze the ability of companies and government agencies that issue debt to meet those debt obligations. now these moody's ratings matter because they determine the interest rates that states and counties and municipalities and companies must pay. there was some interesting news last week. moody's declared that it is time for cities, counties, and states along our coasts -- alaska being an example of a
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state with a lot of coast -- to wake up to the growing risk of climate change. moody's, moody's h has adopted credit indicators, to quote them, to assess the exposure and overall susceptibility of u.s. states to the physical effects of climate change. what the managing director said is this, what we want people to realize is if you're exposed, we know that. we're going to ask questions about what you're doing to mitigate that exposure. now moody's looked particularly at coasts and at the share of a state's economic activity generated by its coasts and coastal communities, the amount of homes built on floodplains and the risk of extreme weather damage in that state or community as a share of the economy.
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that's taken into your credit ratings, moody's said. end quote. it makes sense obviously. communities that face rising seas, that face heavier storms, that face increased flood damage will bear greater costs of mitigation and repair. and if property values drop as a result, so does revenue. moody's realizes that investors need to take that information into account in analyzing bonds. so it's going into the moody's ratings. think about that. the truth of climate science has gone beyond the warnings of scientists, which we ought to have heeded a long time ago. you have outstanding scientists at the university of alaska who are studying ocean acidification, sea level changes, all of that. and we probably would have
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listened to those scientists but for the influence of the fossil fuel industry here. the truth of climate science has gone beyond the warnings of government agencies, national laboratories and our military services, warnings which have been there for a long time and which we also all -- ought to he heeded but for the political influence of the fossil fuel industry. it has gone beyond the states and coastal regulators, even beyond the warnings of the insurance and reinsurance industries, all of which we have refused toed to -- refused to heed to placate the fossil fuel lobby. moody o'is not -- moody's is not going to assess this risk in blue states. coastal communities in every
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corner of the country, in blue states and red states alike, are facing climate change risk to their citizens and their economies. let's take a look at north carolina. i -- i visited income to see the effects of climate change along the southeast coast. what i saw bore a striking likeness to what happened in our coastal towns and they were every bit as concerned as coastal rhode islanders. i visited the facility where duke university, north carolina state, east carolina state and noaa are studying sea-level rise and climate change. i met them at the educational center where a bipartisan group was united in concern over the
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exposure of their coastal communities to rising seas and fiercer storms. i flew out over the outer banks to where sea-level rise is slowly swallowing them and relocating them. they were formed -- outer banks are dynamic barriers that move with tides and storms. according to the u.s. geological survey, i'll quote them, the outer banks, particularly the ocean side have always been hazardus places for man. end quote. they have become permanent home to over 30,000 people and attract over $1 billion in tourist spending into that county. according to a recent comprehensive article by "inside climate news and the weather channel," one beach near east sea gull drive in nags head has
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been eroding for six feet per year. rapid erosion threatens store-front homes and brings the ocean closer to infrastructure. state engineers scramble to keep the roads and bridges open and to rebuild them stronger and higher. this isn't just a north carolina issue, this is a story familiar to many coastal communities. a union of concerned scientist study reports sea-level rise doubling -- doubling the number of communities along the coast facing what the study calls chronic inundaitions and possible retreat in the next 20 years. g.a.o., which we depend on for a great many things here, recently reported that coastal areas face particularly high financial risks, hence the moody's decision, and that annual coastal property losses from
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sea-level rise and increased storms would run into the billions of dollars every year in the short run, reaching over $50 billion every year by late century. every year over $50 billion in loss to coastal properties if we don't pay attention. g.a.o. referenced a report that estimated the total of $5 trillion in economic costs to coastal property from climate change through 2100 -- $5 trillion in economic k costs -- economic costs to our coastal communities. that is a story that rhode islanders see coming at us as well. our barrier beach communities like matunik beach and green
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hill see rapid erosion. the top photo from north carolina shows one of the two remaining homes at east seagull drive in nags head, the site i talked about. you can see the exposed septic tank that all the sand has been washed off of, and you can see there is limited beach left and at high tide that house is over water. on the bottom is a strikingly similar picture of houses in green hill, rhode island. this photo was taken after the april 2007 nor'easter that tore through new england. you can see the pilings here are keeping the home above the water. by 2009, had -- 2009, this home got repaired but it had to be
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moved back up a dune bank. now, can you only move back so far from rising seas before you start bumping into people's property behind you. my predecessor, senator john chafee, who was once the chairman of our environment and public works committee, owned a family house in matunik, rhode island, where i remember swimming as a young man. the chafee house is now completely gone, lost to rising seas. rhode island's coast took a real lashing in 2012's superstorm sandy. these images are from matunik where sandy exposed store-front houses to the sea. the historic browning could thages up here were family homes for generations. two of those historic homes had to be demolished.
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the third could be relocated inland. you can see from these shoreline maps the retreat of the shore to sea-level rise, and what it's done to these beach front communities. here in nags head, these little red squares are where the houses used to be. only two remain, these two. as you can see by the old shorelines, not that long ago, coastal homes had yards of beach in front of them that is now lost. and storms, as well as sea-level rise can change all of that. if you look at this rhode island map, you can see the steady loss of beach along this shore, but it tells two stories.
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not only is it the story of gradual loss of beach to rising seas, but it is also the sudden devastation that a storm can wreak. this storm is from a hurricane in 1938. one big storm just scoured that beach clean. now we're back behind that, and here's the 2014 line in blue. if you look at this site on google right now, you can see that it has gone even further back, and along matunuck, along the coastline, this is the ocean mist. you can have a great time in the ocean mist. it is a great place. not along ago you could walk out of the ocean mist and down to the beach and walk across dozens of yards to the beach where people played volleyball and took in sun before you got to
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the sea. this is the ocean mist now. it had to be propped up on pilings as the sea goes underneath it. north carolina and the federal government are having to spend millions of dollars replenishing the utter banks -- outer banks beaches. the state has to renourish hundreds of miles of beach. western carolina university tallied up more than 3$00 million spent on the beach from 2007 to 2013. another $64 million will be spent by local governments in nags head this year and $40 billion more. nationwide we spend 1.8 billion. there is a report that rhode island lost around 90,000 cubic yards of beach sand from superstorm sandy, so over
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$3 million of federal funding had to be used to rebuild the beaches in matunack. but you name it, these are all temporary stop gaps that must eventually yield to rising seas. and as this happens, there will be a constant drain out of local treasuries as communities have to spend more and more to keep up with the rising seas, and there will be a gradual loss of revenue in to local treasuries as valuable ocean-front property that pay local property taxes are lost. that is why moody's is starting to score this issue in coastal communities. now, one solution that coastal communities can come up with is to ignore this. in 2010, north carolina's resource commission science
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panel on coastal hazards recommended that a rise -- a sea-level rise of one meter, 39 inches, be adopted as the amount of anticipated rise in 2100. that was in 2010. since then, data exiled and analyzed by noaa that is way too low and that the potential for sea-level rise on those shores is twice that, two meters of sea-level rise. here's what the rally news -- raliegh news reported, the state figured the rise would be at eight inches. end quote. the odds of that becoming true are virtually nil. just ask moody's how credible that estimate is in face of the evidence. moody's is going to be going in and looking at this stuff and they are not going toy buy --
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going to buy phony solutions that there will be eight inches of sea-level rise when noaa is predicting two meters. and you will not be ready because you're not responding to the science. climate denial works in politics because of the massive influence of the fossil fuel industry, but it is really not going to matter to moody'sa s.ers. in -- moody's assessors. rhode island is planning for a worst-case scenario of nine to 12 vertical feet of sea-level rise by the end of the century. nine to 12 vertical feet. colleagues may want me to laugh that off and say, no, it's really convenient to talk about that. it really ticks off our fossil fuel friends. i will never, ever ignore this. i can't ignore this and we as a body should not ignore this.
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no amount much beach nourishment will protect rhode island from that. at ten feet we will lose 36 square miles of extremely valuable store front land, people homes, people's businesses, the marinas and piers that people depend on. we must act on climate change now to give coastal states any chance to avoid these worse case scenarios. and we have to help coastal communities plan for the changes we can't avoid. a recent report from texas a&m and rice university researchers highlights what they call, get this, the growing disconnect between the 100-year fema floodplain and the location of actual flood losses.
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and, again, the growing consensus over the inability of the fema derived floodplains to capture actual lost. on average, about a quarter of insured flood losses occur outside the mapped floodplains, and in some cases, more than 50% of flood losses occur outside of what the max said would be flooded areas. with bad mapping, we are leaving local communities at a terrible handicap. so back to that g.a.o. report, quantifying those coastal risks. it notes, quote, given the potential magnitude of climate change and the lead time needed to adapt, preparing for these impacts now may reduce the need for more costly steps in the decades to come.
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but it also points out, and i will quote them here, the federal government does not have government-wide strategic planning in place to manage what it called significant climate risks before they become federal fiscal exposures. the federal government does not have government-wide strategic planning efforts in place. madam president, we have to give local communities better support. bad maps and no planning is not support. our coastal homes, our coastal economies, and our coastal heritage are all at stake and bad maps and no planning aren't meeting those responsibilities. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president.
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the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, mr. president. i take this time to talk about the pending business which is the tax proposal going into a conference committee between the house and senate. as i'm sure the american people now know at 2:00 a.m. in the morning on early saturday morning the senate passed its version of tax reform. the house had already done that. they were working on a house bill and now the motion before us is to take that bill and send it to a conference. we'd be better off sending it back to committee so we could have public hearings and understand what we're voting on rather than send it to a conference committee. i hope, though, that we will take advantage of the conference to deal with the three fundamental flaws that were included in both the house and senate bill. first washe


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