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tv   U.S. Senate Leaders Open Second Session 115th Congress  CSPAN  January 3, 2018 6:41pm-7:04pm EST

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>> the majority leader. >> as he opened the second session of the hundred 15th congress we are pleased to welcome my colleagues back to the chamber. i would like to extend a particular welcome to our two new senators were just sworn in. first, senator doug jones of alabama will have big shoes to fill. his state has sent some very distinguished legislators to washington including our attorney general, jeff sessions. senator jones brings the background in law enforcement having served as a federal prosecutor in the northern district of alabama and welcome
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him. we also welcome senator tina smith for three years she served the people of minnesota as their lieutenant governor and now she will join senator which are in representing them here in their senate. i congratulate both of them and look for to working with them in the months ahead to make bipartisan progress and find common ground on the behalf of the american people. the senate will need to tackle a number of important issues this year. it is my sincere hope that we can do so in a renewed source of comedy, collegiality and bipartisanship. i know the colic sample size of the aisle should the hope and it is urgent that we make it a reality. congress must reach a spending agreement by generate 19 to ensure uninterrupted funding for the federal government, among several key priorities it is vital that our agreement to provide sufficient resources for our volunteers, armed forces.
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under the budget control act american military has been stretched thin by disproportion cuts that have harmed our combat readiness and since fiscal year 2013 defense cuts have outpaced come outpaced domestic spending costs by $85 billion. let me say that again, mr. president, since fiscal year have outpaceduts tidomestic spending cuts by $85 billion. to fix this we need to set aside the arbitrary notion that new defense spending be matched equally by new nondefense spending. there's no reason while funding for national security and our service members should be limited by an arbitrary political formula that bears no relationship to actual need. let's come together across the aisle and construct a funding agreement that gives our men and women in uniform the tools and training they need. another matter, mr. president, over the last week one of the
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often overlooked cost of iran's regional aggression has come to light. iranians have taken to the streets in protest demanding that supreme leader and the president do more to expand the domestic economy. iran's action in yemen, syria in iraq and support for proxies such as hezbollah have diverted resources away from economic reform and investments. while the government has prioritized the military and security elites and clerical institutions the peoples, brougt iran has suffered. now they are discontent it is fully evident. as part of our overall strategy toward iran we should be focused on ending iran's malign activities across the middle east and we should hold accountable any officials behind the crackdown on these protests. the coming days will be noteworthy as we do see the
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hardliners use these protests as an excuse to promote even more aggressive policy northwest and tighten their grip further on the country and its economy. now one final matter yesterday a very distinguished senator announced its intentions to retire at the end of thisf congress. for more than 40 years senator orrin hatch and serve the people of utah in this body. he is not only our president pro tem asf we celebrated last year senator hatch is also the longest-serving republican senator in the history of the united states. during this historic tenure senator hatch has shared three key committees, amassed deep expertise across all manner of build a truly remarkable resume of accompaniments on the half of the american people. senator hatch is offended our nationalal security and our religious freedom in his father to protect americans with disabilities and shepherd find judges onto our courts.
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just last month a senate finance committee chairman he played an integral role in passing the most significant tax reform law in more than 30 years. senator hatch colleagues here will be sorry to see him retire and i will miss his friendship but i know his wife elaine and his blood familys will be glad o welcome them home. fortunately it is not yet time to say farewell, the institution and the american people will benefit greatly from the senators wisdom and a famous work ethic for one more year before his retirement. mr. president, i understand there's a bill at the desk and will you do a second reading? >> the senator is correct. the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. >> as 2274, a bill to provide
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for the compensation of federal employees affected by lapses in appropriations back in order to place the bill on the counter and thel provisions of rule 14i would object to further proceedings. >> objection haven't been heard the bill will be placed on the calendar. >> mr. president,. >> democratic leader. >> thank you, mr. president. first as we began the second session of the hundred 15th congress i welcome all of my colleagues back from holiday break and wish them a happy new year, wish our country a wonderful 2018. which is also gratifying to see two of the best former vice presidents that we have ever had on the floor today for the ceremonies and glad to see senators, former senators, former vice presidents as
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feisty, strong and giving us their opinions as they have ever been. it is also very exciting to welcome two new members of this body will be joining the democratic caucus, tina smith from minnesotag and doug jones from alabama. in joining this esteemed body both bring a wealth of experience in individual passions. former lieutenant governor tina smith brings with her several a years of experience serving at the highest levels of stateev government where she focused on economic development and expanding access to rural broadband in affordable healthcare. issues she will continue to fight for here in the senate. in that work governor dayton priester as extremely intelligent, quick to learn and always open to hearing otherslv views. she was also dubbed the quote velvet hammer by the mayor of
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minneapolis for her ability to work across the aisle but also get tough when she needs to be. those are precisely the kinds of qualities that make an effective senator and the people of minnesota are lucky to have nsenator smith we look forwardo welcoming her in our next caucus. we also look forward to welcoming senator doug jones, the first democrat in the state of alabama in a quarter-century. he too represents the very best of public service, the very best of america.gr the things we aspire to in this country. one story from his biography stands out. as a second year law student doug jones skipped class to attend the trial of the klansman ringleader of the 1963 bombing of the 16th street baptist church, an event that shook the conscience of our country and helped launch a mighty movement for civil rights. that d day the young doug jones was moved by the disposition of justice but he was left with the
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impression that other members of the conspiracy had escaped the reach of the law. twenty-four l years later when doug jones became the us attorney for the state of alabama he pursued charges against to work lynn members involved in the bombing winning their conviction in delivering a long delayed but righteous justiceic with his work justice roll down like a mighty stream. he will continue to fight for civil rights and many other issues here in the senate. i know he cares deeply about the chip program which covers 150,000 young alabamians and i hope we can get that done for his state in his country very soon. doug jones was an excellent candidate and like senator smith he will make an outstanding senator, she for the state of minnesota, he the state of alabama the voices of jones and
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smith will add tof the diversity of energy of our caucus and i predict that both will become influential voices in this historic chamber and each of their states have great football victories this weekend, i might add. i watched alabama when over clemson -- sorry, lindsay and [inaudible]. i watched minnesota outside of my favorite three new york teams come in second in the whole nfc and we gained by as we moved to the playoffs. it was a great day for these two states in a lot of ways this weekend and it's very good so far 2018 with the swearing-in of these two senators. the first half of the hundred 15th congress now let's talk about the new direction. let the induction of these two this afternoon be the beginning of a new direction for the senate in the second half of
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this congress. the first half of the hundred 15th congress was not a year to be part of. partisan legislation, emerged from the majority leader's office and was dropped on the floor of the senate sometimes merely hours before we were asked to vote on the final passage. procedural gimmicks were used to us avoid the long history of debate and bipartisan r,partisanship. it was made unfair, more unequal by the republican majority which almost delighted in revoking consumer protections that help big business install the pro- corporate court drove up healthcare premiums and passed the tax bill dramatically skewed to the benefit of big corporations of the very wealthy. all in all 2017 was a great year for wealthy republican donors
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but a lost year for the middle class and working men and women of this country. we, democrats, hope this year is different focused on the middle class rather than the rich and powerful focused on helping them in the ways we have done in the last decade both democratic and republican residents rather than this trickle-down which benefits the few at the top and very few and does not benefit the very many in the middle. these first few weeks mr. president we have a chance to start off on theig right foot ad we have two weeks to negotiate a budget deal that also must address the host of other issues including chip, community health centers, disaster aid and of course the dreamers. democrats would also like our country to make a down payment on urgent domestic priority like combating the opioid adamic and scorch that for the first timeel helps cause our death rate our life expectancye to decline
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because of higher death rate from opioids. health care they served us and we musts serve them and shore up a pension plan for millions of hard-working middle-class americans who put money in every month and because of a stock market crash and sometimes corporate misdeeds aren't getting they put in for. these items are crucial to the middle class take opioids for example, 2016 a record 63000 and this is so sad, 63000 americans died of drug overdose, two thirds or more were opioid -related and it's a full fledged epidemic and it strikes the rich, the middle class, the poor alike and it strikes urban american, suburban america and rural america like. i have had father cry in my arms because his son had decided to turn himself around and signed up for a treatment program but
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the line so long as the funding is so scarce that the young man died of an overdose before he could enter treatment. the opioid crisis is stealing our youth. we've known about it for years, it is not new, it is heartbreaking but how much we know about it and how little we have done about it. the i american people sent us he to do the nation's business and that means addressing its greatest challenges so let's make a real investment in this budget deal and in how we treat the scorch. that is the budget and the right place to start. now a few years ago we made a promise to hundreds of children, hundreds of thousands of children were brought to the us through no fault of their own that if they registered with the government we would not deport them. t, we said we want you to be americans, learn in our schools, work in our countries, serve in
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our military, 800,000 dreamers came forward into that because above all else they wanted to be americans and they do not know another country. now we are faced withdl the deadline and in a few months protections for dreamers will evaporate and 1000 dreamers are losing protective status a week. it is time that congress passed daca protections into law in texas once and for all. democrats, including myself, led by our great senator, from illinois a member of our leadership team senator durbin have said over and a over againe are ready to negotiate and a reasonable package of border security to pass along side daca that's what you believe in border security and we want to make it work you want to make a real not just symbolic but we believe in it and if i republican colleagues inle the president engage in good faith
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and in that negotiation without unreasonable demands like and it certainly expects the border wall that publicly many republicans oppose and privately many more do i don't doubt we can reach an agreement on daca that is acceptable to both sides and i'd like to thank our senate pro tem for his active involvement in this regard, as well. in contrast to your of chaos and ineffectiveness a year in which little was accomplished and what was done was done for the wealthy and the narrow special interest i hope this year can be one of bipartisanship focused on improving the middle class because they are the ones hurting in america and they are the ones that need help and they are the ones that worry about the future of this grant, one of the country.
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we could start on the budget with opioids veterans healthcare and pension with children's health insurance and disaster aid and we can resolve this date of the dreamers and say to these hard-working kids that america has a place for them to print later today for congressional leaders will meet with budget director and the representatives of the white house to begin these negotiations in earnest. i hope it will work for their success. finally, a word on national security, mr. president. the senate has a role in conducting the nation's foreign policy but as head of state the president of the united states represents our country to the worldpo. that is a very serious and sober responsibility andui requires restraint intelligence,un sound judgment and respect for the moral authority that comes with the awesome responsibility of being the world's sole remaining superpower. over the course of the past year president trump unfortunately has squandered and squandered the moral authority that comes with the presidency of the united states. a moral authority that this country is taking generations to
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build that helps us bring a light to the world and helps us economically in every way as the world has always looked up to america and our ideals but unfortunately that moral authority is declining under president trump leadership in declining rapidly. it may have reached the lord yesterday when president trump in print one and tweet offered a poor representation of the united states to the world and more than that president trump's foreign policy by tweet is doing serious damage to the country. we have serious issues to address a broad and president trump seems happy withho module boasts and belligerent threats that get us nowhere and if any one of us were in a classroom with someone who behaves like president trump had, we'd ostracize them and we'd straighten them out. we don't hear a peep from the
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vast majority of our republican colleagues about this, so many of whom are [inaudible]. we have serious issues to adaddress a broad. president trump foreign policy by tweet will not advance our the world. it will not reassure our allies or other nations that it is better to work with us than against us. what it will do, what it is already done unfortunately is unsettle our allies and embolden our adversaries. what it will do is see leadership in the world to china which is eagerly awaiting for every opportunity to drive a wedge between our country and other countries around the wor world. without a steady and reliable hand at the home our allies may be uncertain that they can continue to trust the united
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states to honor our commitment to maintain a steady course. china and russia are rushing to fill m the void left by an unsteady united states. president she of china prior to the position of being a world leader in his new your speech where he said that china, not the united states, would be poked at the keeper of the international order and 18. president trump continues stopping our allies recklessly threatening other nations in showing leadership on the world stage that can only be described as pure [inaudible] world may look to beijing, not washington for international leadership. again, i repeat where are our friends, the republican hawks, who have been so concerned about america's leadership in the world, toon try the fact that president obama not done enough for that leadership. my dear friend, if you were here senator john mccain, would
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typically stand up and speak about this. hopefully, he will be back soon to do so. but for the rest of my republican friends i would say this insincerity and not with partisanship but with love of the country and the leadership you have shown for decades but they should please our republican friends, tell the president must stop. one and start leading. we are almost through a calendar year of the trump presidency and president trump can no longer be that given the benefit of the doubt the constant learning one of the toughest jobs of the world. my republican colleagues should not be givenim a pass by the american people if they fail to speak out or take action against this behavior. unfortunatelyce but i have to say it because i feel it sincerely his complicity in the degradation of the presidencyhe and the power of ts
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country. the american people expect our president to represent the united states with dignity and erstrength and that is not whate saw yesterday. it's time we start speaking out against it. i yield the floor. >> c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by american cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. ♪ >> hello and welcome to westminster in review. our look back at all the drama here in westminster since t

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