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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  January 8, 2018 2:59pm-7:26pm EST

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teachers is that you can save your money and you can save your money because you did not involve me, my needs, in the design experience of what you are going to teach me. if the same lesson with our kids. we don't ask our kids how to teach them we don't ask our teachers how to invest in their own professional learning so that contextualized model that you described anchored in a partnership for real need or real demand is something that we all need to pay attention to. >> thank you, ken. i would like to ask elizabeth and andrew from your experiences how have you been able to find the kind of teachers that you have needed for your models and approaches and what are your challenges there. >> the evidence about teacher effectiveness is critical in the teacher is the most important part of the teacher. if you have a high quality teacher in every classroom, kids learn. >> education department k-12 summit available at c-span .org, we leave the last few minutes of this as the us senate gavels and to start their week to work
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today on the nomination of the middle district of tennessee court, about to limit debate set forth by 30:00 easter. live senate coverage now on c-span2. senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, abide with us when other helpers fail and comfort flees strengthen our senators with your might. provide them with a perseverance that completes the task, a courage to face every fear, and a fidelity that brings glory to your name. help them to live such exemplary
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lives that they will infect others with the contagion of love of you, lord, give them the gentleness and symmetry to bring healing to our nation and world. whatever they do, may they do it for you, the author and finisher of our destinies. we pray in your strong name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. washington, d.c., january 8, 2018, to the senate, under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3 of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable bill cassidy, ar senator from the state of -- a senator from the state of louisiana to perform the duties of the chair. signed orrin g. hatch, president pro tempore. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senate majority leader. mr. mcconnell: one million americans and counting will be starting 2018 with more money in their pockets thanks to tax reform. special bonuses are on the way
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for employees all across a range of industries. businesses throughout america are taking advantage of more competitive tax rates and passing the savings along to their workers. as a result, employees at companies at visa and at&t to turning point brands in louisville, kentucky, are seeing results. for working parents in kentucky and all across the nation, it these bonuses and other permanent changes will make a big difference in family budgets. of course in just weeks even more families will see the benefits of tax reform hit their paychecks. lower tax rates will mean less money withheld for the i.r.s. and more take-home pay for hardworking americans. i'm proud of the way that the tax reform will benefit america's farmers and ranchers.
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later today president trump is going to be speak at the conference. kentucky is home to a vibrant farming community. i heard family farmers loud and clear. they said, we need tax relief, and that's what congress delivered. thanks to our once in a generation tax reform law, it will be easier for farmers in kentucky and around the country to invest in new capital equipment and recover their costs. according to the farm bureau federation, 93% of u.s. farms filed taxes through the individual code. they will benefit from the major relief we secured for pass-through businesses. and especially important for farmers, this tax bill doubled the exemption from the death tax. it -- on the same dime.
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now this burden will fall on fewer american farmers and ranchers. thanks to the work of senator robert, senator hatch and many others, we passed a tax bill that the farm bureau federation and the kentucky farm bureau enthusiastically endorse. and now farming families throughout america will reap the benefits. on another matter, later today the senate will vote on the confirmation of william campbell to serve as district judge for tennessee. like the other three district court nominees before the senate this week, he is well qualified. they are the kind of nominees who, until just recently, would have sailed quickly and smoothly right through the senate. so why will four nominations consume a week of the senate's attention?
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why do we need to file cloture on each and then exhaust the full 30 hours of debate? the reason, mr. president, is senate democrats are choosing for partisan reasons to make these nominations take as long as possible. their goal is to waste the senate's time and prevent the president from promptly filling judicial vacancies. 2017 was a historic year for controversial judges even for judges who went on to unanimous votes, democrats used every possible procedural roadblock to delay and drag their heels. 2018 is unfortunately starting off the same way. mr. campbell is a marine corps veteran, a well-respected lawyer, his record is not partisan. his nomination was reported out of the judiciary committee,
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mr. president, on a voice vote. i look forward to the senate confirming him, albeit after all democratic colleagues waste more of the senate's time. and i implore our democratic friends to turn the page on the needless obstruction and permit the senate to function smoothly so we can attend to more of the people's business. now, on a final matter, in the next 121 days -- 11 days congress needs to provide an agreement for the men and women in uniform. both sides of the aisle spoke last week of working collaborative on a solution that will allow our armed forces to advance critical missions at home and abroad. our democratic colleagues say that we should only increase fending if we increase nondefense spending in the same
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amount. this political talking point doesn't hold up. by now we all know that the budget control act hit defense spending much harder than it hit domestic spending. since fiscal year 2013, to be precise, discretionary defense spending has been cut by $85 billion more than discretionary nondefense spending. this might sound like an abstract distinction, but it has very real, tangible consequences for our national security. these disproportionate cuts have reduced the readiness of american forces to meet and address emerging threats. our military leaders have explained this over and over and over again. just months ago the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general dunford, told our colleagues at the armed services committee, quote, the u.s.
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military's competitive advantage against potential adversaries is eroding -- eroding. he cited budgetary instability as the key reason. at the same hearing, secretary of defense mattis added that, quote, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of our military than sequestration. no enemy, secretary mattis said, in the field has done more to harm the readiness of our military than question is arbitration -- sequestration. the men and women we trust to lead our military have made it clear that stat quso and defense funding let alone our failure to reach an agreement is handicapping our service members. so, mr. president, in the next week and a half let's put aside partisan rhetoric and start heeding the warnings of our
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nonpartisan military leaders. let's give those who keep us safe the resources they need to do the job. the presiding officer: under the previous order leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. thethe senate will proceed to executive session to proceed to the following nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, william l. campbell, jr., of tennessee to be united states district judge for the middle district of tennessee. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. wyden: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent to vacate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president, i come to the floor this afternoon to mark a milestone that no senator
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can be proud of. a milestone that every senator should regret. that milestone is -- it has now been 100 days since the congress failed to extend full funding to the children's health insurance program. and the congress has always looked at this in a bipartisan way. this is for the millions of families where kids walk an economic tightrope and their families, the families that balance the rent bill against the fuel bill, the fuel bill against the grocery bill. mr. president, i have to say that there was present effective of time in the last congress to
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carry out the priorities of the multinational corporations. the people who are well connected, the people who are powerful. they got permanent substantial, really massive new tax breaks, and yet the nine million kids, including 80,000 in my home state who count on chip to stay healthy, what they got was a patch. they got something temporary. they got something that didn't resemble the permanent. you can count on a tax relief that the multinational corporations were celebrating at the end of the year.
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a sad statement about the priorities the congress at the end of last year, and one that i hope we will move now in the bipartisan tradition of this congress. in the bipartisan tradition, excuse me, of this program to pass on a permanent basis. the chip program was created in 1997 through a simple idea. no child, regardless of their income, family status, or geography should go without quality, affordable health care. it serves families who make too much to qualify for medicaid, but also don't have access to affordable health care through their employer. and a lot of these families go back and forth between chip and
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medicaid, depending on whether a spouse is out of work. chip covers all kinds of essential health care for kids from preventative services to dental checkups to treatment for serious illnesses. for families across the country, that's peace of mind. that's the chance to go to bed at night knowing that you aren't going to get crushed by big medical bills in the morning. it means you don't have to have those heartbreaking right-before-bed conversations about what you're going to do for your sick child. and it doesn't mean that you have to just plan on the unexpected, unexpected emergencies with nowhere to turn. all of that is at risk, because of the negligence of this
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congress, and i use that word specifically, mr. president. i talked about the skewed priorities at the end of the year, but right now states are stretching their children's health insurance program dollars to the breaking point. they're trying to make sure kids stay covered. and what we're faced with is termination notices going out. we've got to prevent those termr these families. as i said, congress put a patch on all this, contrasting this to the permanent relief of the multinationals, and the congress sent a small amount of money to the states to keep them afloat. but make no mistake about it, mr. president, it is not going to be long before bedlam sets in
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once again and there are real consequences for children and families. now, i also want to note, mr. president, that i have been working closely with chairman hatch for months now to get chip across the finish line. chairman hatch knows what it takes. he created this program. our friend, senator rockefeller, the late great senator kennedy demonstrated that kids' health was an issue that transcends ideological lines, and our country is the better for it today. chairman hatch and i made an agreement in september that extends full funding for five years of -- affirms key protections for kids and their families, and gives states certainty they count on to plan their budgets. i note that the leader, senator schumer, is here who has been very supportive of this bill,
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sat next to pea -- to me for years, sat by rockefeller and myself, being supportive of the children's health insurance program, and our bill passed, the hatch-wyden bill passed with a strong bipartisan vote in the finance committee, but again highlighting the priority where there was time for the multinational corporations to get that permanent relief, there wasn't any time to put the chip bill, one that had only one vote in opposition in the finance committee on the senate floor. and the house of representatives, they weren't pursuing it like we did in the finance committee. they never could get past a purely partisan approach out of line with chip's long bipartisan history. now, obviously, after months of delay, it's time to act. i want to wrap up with just a quick comment about what's going to happen if you don't move and
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move quickly. just last week, the congressional budget office announced that the cost of chip has plummeted from $8.2 billion to just $800 million. that's because premiums in the individual market are set to skyrocket after the repeal of the affordable care act's coverage requirement in the republican tax bill. many of the families who currently count on chip will have to get their kids' health care on the private market at a higher cost. this congress needed more reasons to act. the budget office has demonstrated what is now at stake for kids and their families who are counting on quick action for affordable health care. mr. president, there is a long history, as i noted, of the senate working on the children's health insurance program in a bipartisan way. we started building on that tradition in the finance committee, with virtual
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unanimity, but somehow at the end of the last congress, and your priorities can always be illustrated on what you find time to do. there was time at the end of the year for the agenda of the multinational corporations. there wasn't time for the youngsters and their families who walked an economic tightrope and depend every night when they turn the lights out on making sure there's a way to pay for health care if there is an emergency in the morning. i want it understood that we are working day in and day out now to make sure that quickly, quickly kids and their families get the certainty and predictability they deserve. they deserve the kind of certainty that the powerful got with the tax bill at the end of the year. so, mr. president, we're going to be on this floor until this
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critical legislation is passed. it needs to be passed quickly. mr. president, with that, i yield the floor. mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senate minority leader. mr. schumer: thank you. i thank my dear friend. we got to congress together in 1980. i thank him very much for his leadership on the chip issue as on so many other issues that pass through the finance committee where he has done a terrific job. his caring for kids is unmatched, and he's a great asset to his state of oregon, to this body, and to our country. now, mr. president, we have two weeks until funding for the government runs out. alongside our talks about extending government funding, we have also been engaged in serious bipartisan negotiations on a number of issues that should coincide with that deadline. we have to lift spending caps,
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pass disaster aid, a health care package, reach an agreement to enshrine daca protections alongside additional border security, and of course there is the issue of 702 as well. those negotiations, although difficult, have been proceeding quite well. in fact, the four congressional leaders met with representatives from the white house last thursday and had an encouraging meeting. unfortunately, following that meeting, the white house issued a series of unreasonable demands entirely outside the scope of our ongoing negotiations about daca and border security. it's part of a pattern of behavior on the part of this white house during sensitive bipartisan negotiations. over the past year, the white house has much more frequently been a disruptive force rather than a unifying force. to throw down a list from the hard, hard-line wing of the
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white house at the last minute is not a very fortuitous or smart thing to do. now, i hope we can keep on track that we were on because the issues we are facing are mounting and a major deal requires dedicated bipartisan effort. democrats are going to keep working towards a global agreement with our republican colleagues, one that lifts the spending caps for defense, that sends our men and women in uniform the support they need and puts down a package -- puts down a down payment on tackling pressing issues here at home. opioid epidemic, veterans health care, shoring of pensions. these are every bit as important as helping our troops. our troops are extremely important. but we're a great country, and we don't have to say to help the troops we can't help the victims of opioid addiction. to help the troops, we can't help the veterans who once were troops themselves. to help the troops, we can't help working americans keep the
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pensions that they paid into year after year after year, and all these folks want is to retire and to a life of some degree of dignity. when the majority leader says this morning he's not for parity, he's saying we can't do both. he's telling victims of opioid epidemic, many of whom are soldiers, who have had ptsd, he's telling pensioneers, some miners in his own state, he's telling veterans who have to wait on line for health care, that this country can't do both, can't protect our military, give them the funds they need, and deal with our domestic needs. when donald trump ran, he said we've got to pay more attention to america. what the majority leader is saying is not, well, that's not the case. so let no one be fooled.
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when the majority leader says he's not for parity, he is not for helping opioid folks to the extent they need. he is not for helping veterans to the extent they need. he is not for helping pensioneers to the extent they need. we democrats stand for both, helping the military and helping these folks here. over the weekend i was in white plains, mr. president. that's a suburb of new york city. i stood with a mother who lost her son to an opioid overdose. a mother should never have to bury her son, especially stephanie keegan whose son daniel was a veteran, served our country bravely in afghanistan, did really well in school but had a duty to country, was in the intelligence unit for awhile , he was so brilliant. he came home, as some do, nerves
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shattered by war struggling with a severe case of ptsd. stephanie told me her brilliant, beautiful son daniel -- i saw her picture, an all-american boy if there ever was one -- her son daniel waited 16 months for treatment by the v.a., and died two weeks before his first appointment. there are so many things that can be done to change this situation, mrs. keegan said. she's right. we can make a real investment in combatting the scourge of opioid addiction, putting real resources into treatment, recovery, as well as interdiction. we can make a real investment in improving health care at our veterans' hospitals so kids like daniel don't have to wait almost a year and a half before they get the treatment they desperately need. mr. president, what about hardworking americans who need pensions? retirement is one of the things americans worry about most these
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days. for years teamsters and miners and carpenters paid into pension plans week after week, month after month, year after year. they took a little less salary in their negotiations because they wanted to know when it was time to retire they could retire with some degree of dignity. no one's going to get rich on these pensions, but at least they're there and provide a little bit of a nest egg for people in their golden years. they were told as they put the money in week after week, month after month, year after year, you may not become rich when you retire. you may not be able to buy luck reus -- luxuries but at least you'll have a life of dignity. now those pensions may be stolen from millions in america. these folks earned every penny of their pensions. are we going to shrug our
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shoulders, say we can't do that? most americans want us to do that. they don't want it to be an either/or situation. and here our colleagues would say that might increase the deficit. don't come talking to us about the deficit anymore when you put together a $1.5 trillion increase in the deficit, the majority of which went to tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and the biggest, fattest corporations in america. no more deficit talk from my colleagues here. when we democrats ask for parity in budget agreements, this is what we mean. we mean opioids. we mean veterans' health care. we mean pensions. we need to defend and support the middle class here at home just as we must protect america from her adversaries abroad, which our military does so proudly and bravely. we agree we need to support our military wholeheartedly, but we don't think that's a reason to
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leave the middle class behind. so let's do both. let's lift the spending caps equally for defense in these urgent domestic priorities. our two parties can reach a deal like that, just as we can reach a deal to pass a disaster aid package that treats all states and territories fairly, just as we can have an agreement on health care package that acknowledges the new realities of the health care markets which was disrupted by republicans when they repealed the mandate in the tax bill last year. and just as we can reach a deal on daca, protecting young people who are brought here as kids through no fault of their own while at the same time making reasonable, appropriate, and smart investments in border security, something in the past that both democrats and republicans have supported. so in conclusion, mr. president, an agreement can be reached on all these issues. nobody wants a shutdown.
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nobody wants sequestration to come into effect for either the military or the domestic side of the budget. so let's continue to work together. let's commit to work together in good faith to make progress on these issues and get it done before january 19. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: mr. president, january is senate slavery and human trafficking prevention months. in a recent proclamation, president trump continued what president obama had begun in making this the ninth annual year where we designate our first month of the year to awareness and prevention of trafficking. awareness and prevention of this crime against humanity. and president trump issued a call to action. the proclamation said in part,, and i quote, human trafficking is a modern form of the oldest and more barbaric type of
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exploitation. it has no place in our world. this month we do not simply reflect on this appalling reality. we also pledge to do all in our power to end the horrific practice of human trafficking that plagues innocent victims around the world. end quote. amen. i commend the president for this strong stance, and i commend the u.s. senate for the work we have done over the past several years in a bipartisan way to help combat trafficking, that we've made some progress. about seven years ago, six years ago senator blumenthal, who will speak later on the floor about this topic, and i cofounded the senate caucus to end human trafficking and legislation to increase penalties on people buying sex from children, stopping international trafficking by u.s. government contractors overseas, finding missing children more quickly, the most vulnerable among us, by insuring their photographs and
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other identifier are available, improving data on trafficking to find out what the problem is and changing the paradigm from treating children who are exploited as victims rather than as they had been treated over the years, as criminals. we have made some progress in these areas, but i've got to tell you despite these efforts and despite the increasing awareness of the fact that trafficking occurs right here in this country, in all of our states, we now know that one form at least of trafficking, sex trafficking, is actually increasing in our country. think about that. it's increasing in this country, in this century. and what experts say when you ask them about it is, well, yeah, that's primarily because of one reason, and that is the fact that the internet is being used to sell sex. and by the way, doing it on the internet, it turns out, occurs
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with ruthless efficiency. as victims i visited across ohio tell me, including one this past friday, in ohio, rob, it's moved from the street corner to the iphone. the street corner to the cell phone, the street corner to the internet. there was discussion earlier from my colleague from new york about the role that opioids play in causing harm in our society. of course, the internet combined with opioids is deadly. again, a the young woman i met with on friday was one of those who had become addicted to opioids, in her case fentanyl -- incredibly powerful and dangerous drug -- and dependent on her trafficker to be able to provide that. that is one form of dependency you see in sex trafficking. again, online is where people are increasingly being bought and sold. this increase in sex trafficking, to me, is a stain
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on our national character. it's only congress, by the way, that has the power to be able to stop it. there's one website, which is the leader in online sex trafficking, they have knowingly sold underage girls online. i say that because we have done an investigation and determined that. we know from the national center for missing and ex-kphroeuted children that back page is involved in 75% of all child trafficking reports the organization receives from the public. the permit nannette subcommittee on investigations -- the permanent subcommittee which i chair conducted an extensive 18-month investigation into online sex trafficking and be specifically we found that backpage knowingly facilitated criminal sex trafficking of vulnerable women and young children. it coached the traffickers on how to edit adult classified ads to post so-called clean ads for
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illegal transactions. and then it covered up evidence of these crimes in order to increase their profits. all this was done at the cost of human suffering and sometimes human life, with the sole purpose of increasing the company's profits. in the fall i testified on this issue in front of the senate commerce committee about our legislation. with me at the witness table was yvonne ambrose, her daughter 17, was found murdered on christmas eve after being sold for sex on backpage. desiree's death should never have happened. but this tragic trend is compounded by the fact that backpage has evaded justice for its role in these tragic crimes. courts across the country have consistently ruled that a federal law -- and this is what congress has such a key role to play here -- a federal law called the communications decency act actually protects
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backpage and others for their liability they should have in sex trafficking. the communications decency act is a well intentioned law. it was originally enacted back in 1996 when the internet was in its infancy and it was meant to protect third party websites from being held liable from crimes users might commit on those websites. ironically part of the original intention of the act was to protect children from intkpaoepbt material on the -- indecent material by holding liable users who sent explicit material to children. now this law is being used as a shield by cynical sex traffickers who promote in engage in online underage sex trafficking with immunity thanks to this federal law. congress didn't intend for this broad immunity in the law. i'm convinced of that but numerous courts across the country have made it clear that their hands are tied because of the legal precedent that has been formed. and as the lawmaking branch of the federal, again, it's up to
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congress to fix this injustice. no one else can do it. in the most blatant call for congressional action i've seen yet, in august of last year a sacramento judge cited the broad immunity provided by the communications decency act in dismissing pimping charges against the court opinion stated, and i quote, if and until congress sees fit to amend the immunity law, the broad reach of section 230 of the communications decency act applies to those who support the exploitation of others by human trafficking, end quote. that's an invitation to congress to act. it's clearly up to congress to act. it's past time we update this 21-year-old law for the 21st century and allow victims who have had their most basic human rights violated get justice against those who facilitated these crimes. we have an opportunity this month during national human trafficking prevention month to fix this. we can, and we must. to stop enabling sex trafficking
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act, a bill i introduced with senator bluhm it that you will -- senator blumenthal, john mccain, amy klobuchar and 18 other colleagues. that legislation, as of this morning, now has 64 cosponsors. it's totally bipartisan, both sides of the aisle. it's popular, 64 out of 100 have cosponsored because it will fix it with two changes. first, it will allow victims to get the justice they deserve by removing the communication's decency act broad protections that were talked about by that judge. specifically for those websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking crime. prosecutors can prosecute these websites. these changes will hold bad
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actors like backpage accountable by while doing nothing to impair the free internet. in online sex trafficking. the knowing standard, by the way is a high bar to meet. the california attorney general testified about that last fall. he said, and i quote, we have to prove criminal intent. we can't win a prosecution unless we can show individuals had the intent to do what they are doing. the legislation you have before you is narrowly tailored. it goes after sex trafficking. end quote. the stop enabling section trafficking act -- sex trafficking act passed the commerce committee by a vote that was unanimous. it was bipartisan, it was unanimous. and, by the way, the legislation has support of an extraordinary coalition of law enforcement organizations, anti-trafficking advocates, trafficking victims, survivors, faith-based groups,
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and even some major tech players, some in the tech community continue to be concerned. this includes the internet association, which now represents companies such as facebook, reddit, amazon, and others. it was endorsed byeses, including oracle, walt disney, and other companies have stepped up, like i.b.m. last year 50 attorneys general wrote to congress calling us to amend the communication act in the way we are proposing in this bill. 50. again, here in the senate, 64 bipartisan group of senators have cosponsored the stop enabling sex traffickers act. 60 how many votes you need in the united states senate if there are objections in the legislation to get it passed. we have that many senators who have said they want to be a part
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of the solution to this problem. they want to stop this increase in section trafficking that is -- sex trafficking that is happening in this country in this century. we shouldn't wait any longer to pass this bill in the senate. every day we do, those who sell women and children will be allowed to continue that, continue to profit, and victims will continue to be denied justice. it's not an issue of publics, it's about -- politics, it about providing justice. i hope we can vote on a bill this month during human trafficking month. i urge the leadership to have the bill on the floor as soon as possible. we've got every reason to act and no reason not to. these victims deserve justice. congress should help provide it. stop enabling sex traffickers act and passing that legislation is an opportunity. thank you, mr. president.
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i yield back my time. mr. grassley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask unanimous consent that -- i don't know whether it's four, five, or six, but some senators would like to have a colloquy on the issue of deferred action childhood arrivals, and i would ask that we could have that privilege. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: i rise today with my colleagues to offer remarks about the current status of negotiations on deferred action for childhood arrival, daca program as it is known in the united states senate. unfortunately this body still isn't closer to a legitimate and fair deal that accomplishes two goals. first of all, to promote and protect the interest of the american people in a lawful immigration system, and, two, provide a fair and equitable
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solution on daca. back in december, i introduced a bill, along with senators cornyn, tillis, lankford, perdue and cotton of the bill with the being a -- acronym secure act of 2017, was a product of months of discussions between this senator, these other senators that i just named, and the white house. our plan sim -- our plan, simply put, has five pillars. from the hard work and leadership of senator cornyn, we would have border security by mandating the construction of tactical and technological infrastructure at the border. secondly, our bill took meaningful steps to end the
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lawlessness of dangerous criminal aliens by cracking down on sanctuary cities, ending the misguided catch and release policies of the previous administration, and, finally, taking steps to address intentional visa overstays. thirdly, our bill took steps to eliminate many of the poll factors that factors that encourage people to immigrate illegally by -- by taking steps to reduce the jude indication backlogs -- backlogs. thanks to senators graham, perdue, and cotton, our bill eliminated the phenomenon known
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as chain migration and made a major downpayment towards transitioning toward a merit-based immigration system. fifth, and finally, our bill provided a bipartisan solution to protect undocumented young people brought to the united states as children by adopting senator durbin's bar removal of individuals who dream and grow our economy. and that has the acronym bridge. our plan was fair, serious, and bipartisan. most importantly, it was and is pro-american. as i've continually said since the bill's introduction, this group of senators is ready and willing to negotiate with our counterparts in good faith and to find an equitable solution to
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the daca situation that incorporates our bill's five pillars of reform. now, i said negotiate. i had at least one democratic senator infer that i could not negotiate in good faith because i didn't vote for the gang of eight immigration bill 2013. so, sadly, our good pf -- good-faith offers have been consistently rejected by democrat leadership. instead, they have decided to engage in a game of brinksmanship. so i asked several questions. why won't democratic leadership negotiate with us? because we refuse to simply pass what is referred to as a dream act as is with no proportional
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border security and interior enforcement measures. as the democrats see it, it's take it or leave it. it's their way or the highway. this isn't good faith. this isn't negotiating. and that approach is doomed to failure. so, mr. president, i have to ask, why do my colleagues and the democratic leadership refuse to even consider measures that would beef up border security and interior enforcement? do they want people to continue to immigrate to this country illegally? do they want sex offenders and human traffickers to continue to manipulate our porous border and enter our country unchecked? do they want criminal, illegal immigrants, people like jose
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sarrate to murdered kate steinly or iesen mora to continue to roam free. are they okay with gangs like ms-13 whose motto is kill, rape, control to continue to terrorize communities? i hope that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding no. if that's correct, then why does democratic leadership refuse to discuss the border security and security decisions in the secure act? despite the hysteria and
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hyperbole that you may hear from advocates, the secure act does not contain draconian enforcement measures. if anything, our bill contains the common sense security enforcement measures that this body has been debating, we've been discussing and considering for years. our bill adds new border patrol agents, u.s. attorneys, and judges to make it easier to apprehend, prosecute, and deport illegal entrance and criminal aliens. we authorize money for necessary port of entry and exit improvement so that we can know who is here, how long they are here, and when they left, if they left. our bill increases criminal
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penalties for human smuggling. these offenses that are committed by repeat offenders, often resulting in death, resulting in human trafficking, and include even sexual assault. we also increase penalties for criminal aliens who commit a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime of. our bill makes clear that individuals who engage in acts of terrorism, criminal gang members, and aggravated felons and drunk drivers are not admissible to our country and make clear that they can be put into expedited removal if they somehow make it into our country. finally, our bill permanently authorizes the voluntary e-verify program and it provides also incentives for employers to participate in that voluntary
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program. it doesn't make e-verify mandatory. it just provides employers certainty by making the program permanent. now, i hope as i described these things they are seen as commonsense measures. why would my colleagues on the other side ever want to oppose those provisions? it wasn't that long ago that many of -- many democrats supported border security and interior enforcement. i'd like to have you listen to some quotes from recent democratic presidents that supported some of these propositions. in his 1996 state of the union address, then-president clinton championed his actions to crack down on illegal immigration. he proudly noted his administration was, quote,
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increasing border patrol by 50% and increasing inspections to prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants. end of quote. in 2006, then senator, later president obama, spoke in favor of enhanced border security. he acknowledged even then, quote, we need tougher border security, stronger enforcement measures. we need more resources for customs and border agents and more detention beds. end of quote. when speaking in favor of the secure fence act, mr. obama said it would, quote, certainly do some good, end of quote, and would go a long ways in, quote, stemming the tide of illegal immigration in this country. end of quote. do my colleagues no longer agree
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with former presidents clinton and obama? do they no longer believe that we need to stem the tide of illegal immigration? my colleagues on the other side consistently talk about how daca kids shouldn't be used as bargaining chips for any potential deal. what about the innocent american citizens? they're using as bargaining chips? what about the thousands of victims every year of crimes committed by dangerous criminal aliens? do the lives of these people not matter as well? doesn't the safety of these people, the happiness of these people, the well-being of these -- do they deserve to be bargained away? mr. president, this group of
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senators that i've named and are going to participate in this colloquy remain ready and willing to negotiate in good faith and to make tough sacrifices in order to find common ground on this issue. our counterparts need to be willing to do the same. so i'm asking them, pleading with them in all sincerity to let's sit down and have an honest conversation. let's strike a deal that's fair to all, including to law-abiding american people. but any deal cooked up by this poor man's version of a gang of eight that doesn't have real border security, doesn't have real interior enforcement measures, and doesn't have the other pillars of reform in this act, well, pretty simple. that's no deal at all.
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and i won't support that. i yield the floor and i call on my colleague, the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dar north ca. mr. tillis: thank you, madam president. before the chairman leaves the chamber, i want to thank him for his leadership as chairman of the judiciary committee. he's done an extraordinary job of bringing people together to come up with a solution to this problem. now, this is a problem that has existed for years, almost two decades. the first dream act was filed in i believe 2001. it's been some 16 years and they've failed to be able to produce a result. now, think through that. that was through president bush. it was through president obama. it was actually at a time when in 2009, not a single republican vote would have been necessary to pass the dream act. and yet my colleagues on the other side of the aisle couldn't produce a result. so we know we need to do
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something different. there are things in the dream act that we need to file and put into a bill. in fact, it was instructed in a bill that myself and senator lankford and senator hatch filed called the succeed act. it's a way to provide certainty for the daca population, but it also needs to be paired up with reasonable border security provisions so that we get the broad base of support that we need for enduring policy here. there are some people that are talking about withdrawing from negotiations and trying to threaten a government shutdown and get something slammed into a year-end spending bill. but if you really care about the long-term certainty that we want to provide these young people who qualify under the daca program, the last thing you should do is play politics and get something half baked interest a provision that will always be the target of the next year-end spending bill. why don't we do something crazy and actually sit down, check our members on the republican side and the democrat side who have
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extreme views on this issue at the door and solve the problem. i've taken a lot of criticism after filing the succeed act because i had a lot of people who said i was soft on immigration. well, i respectfully disagree with some of my friends who are themselves republicans and conservatives because i don't think they've got to right. i think the young men and women who qualify under the daca program, who were brought to this country through the actions of their parent through no fault of their own deserve a respectful, compassionate, fiscally sustainable solution and certainty. and i've been working on t. i've been taking the -- on it. i've been taking the criticism ever since i filed the bill. i had the bill -- a group that essential sured -- censured me. what we did with the succeed act had to be paired with reasonable, sustainable border security measures, interior
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enforcement measures, things that are important if we want to make sure that a decade from now, 15 years from now, we're not back here again worried about a new daca population who's come across the borders. now, i've had some people say -- insisting that we have a secure border, as not compassionate, that it's unfair. but i would actually submit to you that not having a secure border is irresponsible. you talk about not being compassionate. allowing the things to occur with an unsecure border is a very -- to me having a secure border is a hallmark of compassion, and that's a little bit about what i want to talk about. so let's stipulate that working with senator durbin -- incidentally, senator durbin and i have been talking about this issue for a year and a half. i knew we were going to be here with the daca program and going to work on it. so i reached out to senator burr din and said i'm willing to try and come up with something that makes sense. but we have to be willing to
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seen something different from all the random ideas that have come together, come up with a compromise. and we've made progress in terms of how to deal with the daca population. but some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are unwilling to talk about the reality that we should also put into place and pair with what we do for the daca population, border security and interior enforcement that make sense. back in february, i spent about a week down along the southern border. i literally i was on patrol boats on the rio grande river. i was riding horseback in certain areas of the border. i was out in the interior area where enforcement actions are taken every night. i spent a lot of time down there. and one thing that struck me were some of the briefings that we received from border security. now, i'm going to get to what i consider to be the most heartbreaking last, but we want to talk about what's going on. we all -- we have people come to this floor, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and say we must do something to address
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the opioid epidemic in this country. i agree. that's why i voted for the comprehensive addiction and recovery act, spoke on the floor several times as a first step towards trying to get a handle on something that's poisoning almost 60,000 people a year, killing them. they're dying from overdoses in this nation. the reality is, the vast majority -- and we'll get to a slide in a minute -- of those illicit drugs, the heroin, the fentanyl, the other kinds of drugs that are extracted from opium, are killing people, are coming across the southern border. we simply don't have the resources in our land ports and in the areas where drug smugglers cross illegally to stop them. the consequence of that in a state like north carolina is more people are dying from drug overdoses today than dying from subl accidents, about 1,400 -- automobile accidents, about 1,400 a year and it's even worse in some other states. we were at a land port in
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laredo. they were saying on any given day, millions of doses are probably getting through because they're concealed. they're hifden in trucks. -- hidden in trucks. they don't have the capacity to inspect every vehicle. they are coming across the border illegally. we're only capturing a fracture of it. a part of what we're poping in this bill -- proposing in this bill are additional resources to make it less likely that someone can ca come across the border wh backsacks full of poison that will ultimately get into the blood systems of people who will ultimately, many of them, tens of thousands of year die. that's a case -- a compassionate case for border security. this is the number i was talking about earlier. 15,400 deaths in 2016 alone related to heroin. a lot of these are coming across the border.
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but only about 1.5% of all the drugs that are estimated to come across the border are being seized today. how do you actually increase that seizure rate? you put the resources and authorities in place so that the boarder patrol and customs and immigration resources down on the border can actually find them and arrest, charge, convict, and incarcerate the people who are poisoning the men and women and boys and girls in this country. there's also another -- and this is something too when i was down on the texas border that has just stuck with me. i was on a ranch, 7,500-acre ranch which is really, really small in texas terms. i was talking with the ranch owner. they said over the last ten years, they had actually recovered 100 bodies on this ranch alone. now, if you do the math, that means they're finding a person who has died trying to come to this country illegally about every six weeks on this small ranch. over the past 20 years, we've
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had about 10,000 people die crorsing the boarder -- crossing the border and a about a thousand of them are children. if we had a secure border, at least we would have the knowledge and the situational awareness to know where these people so that they don't languish somewhere in the middle of nowhere after they cross the border or after they've paid somebody $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 in some cases to carry them across the boarder and then they leave them. they take them across the border and say houston is a few hours away when houston is an hour and a half plane ride away from where they cross the border. we need border security for the people who are making the poor decision to come across. if we have a disiewr border, it's much less likely anyone will attempt to do it exaccident for the legal way. there's the other thing that's happening on the other side of the border, the 10,000 people who have died over 20 years are those that we've descend identified -- we've identified who were found on u.s. soil
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after crossing the border. one other thing i learned when i was down in texas is the criminal actions, the criminal gangs basically, they call them plasmas and cartels that basically run every mile of the border. if you pass through one of those plazas, and you don't pay the toll, you are likely going to die. like in one case, there were 72 people who were murdered because the human smuggler failed to pay the plaza bosses what he was supposed to the so-called toll to get him across the border. so they ordered their execution of men, women, and children just to sent a mess -- send a message. this is one of many examples we have so there's no question in my mind that of the 10,000 people that have died the last 20 years on american soil, that there are probably thousands or tens of thousands more who have died in the hopes they could get across the border. if we have a secure border and if we work on our immigration systems, we can give those parents and people who want to come to this country legally an opportunity to get here without
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harming themselves and harming their children. if that's not a compassionate case for a secure border, i don't know what is. now we're in the final stages of trying to negotiate a deal and chairman grassley did a wonderful job of summarizing what we've proposed as a starting position for negotiation with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. i hope that they'd be willing to come to the table and negotiate in good faith. recognize that their approach over the last 16 years has failed. they have promised the dreamers a solution and they've failed to deliver. they have failed to deliver under a republican administration. they have failed to deliver under president obama when they had super majorities. and we're not going to let them fail this time. giving the daca population certainty, comes up with a solution that makes sense, getting a border that is secure, making sure that the poison that's coming across the border and killing tens of thousands of people a year is reduced. it is in my opinion the scope
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that we need to negotiate to get to an agreement. and if we have senator durbin and senator bennet and others who have negotiated portions of immigration -- of the immigration issue to open their eyes to the broader opportunity to come up with a balanced policy that addresses the concerns on both sides of the aisle, we can be the congress, president trump can be the president that actually solves this problem. and along the way make it far less likely that there will be another problem for another congress to solve ten or 15 years from now and then maybe take ten or 15 years to solve it. this will have an enduring impact. this will have a compassionate impact. this will provide certainty to the daca population. this will allow me to go home and say i did something meaningful to secure the border and protect our nation. but we have to have people come together and negotiate in good faith. it needs to start this week and we need to continue it until we come to terms.
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people need to be willing to compromise and accept something less than perfect because everybody's perfect conceptions of what we should do here have all one thing in common. they have been resounding failures. they have been unkept promises and along the way our homeland is not as secure as it can be, and people are dying in the process. and hardworking people who are eligible for the daca program are uncertain about their future. so again i want to thank chairman grassley for his hard work and his leadership and willingness to engage. i want to thank the president. i was with the president for an hour and a half last week along with chairman grassley and others. we're going to be meeting again in the white house tomorrow. hopefully we'll be joined by our democratic colleagues who have been invited to the meeting. and we'll negotiate something that makes sense. now is the time for us to deliver. the empty promises of the past are insufficient. we need to provide an enduring solution and an enduring solution is a fair solution for
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the daca population and a responsible solution for border security. madam president, if we do that, i think you and i will look at this as something meaningful, something you and i did when we came in here in 2015. we got tax reform. that's meaningful. we've been promising immigration reform forever. this is not all o -- not all of it. we have more work to do. but this is a big first step, and it requires bipartisanship, it requires compromise, but it requires a genuine commitment to negotiate. so i hope that my democratic colleagues will take the invitation seriously, come to the table, negotiate an agreement that we can all be proud of, and we can give the certainty that we should give to this daca population. mr. chairman, thank you for the opportunity to speak on this, and thank you for your continued leadership on the issue. mr. grassley: senator tillis, you have been a leader in this with your separate piece of legislation a long time. madam president, the next speaker is senator cotton.
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after that, senator lankford. in the meantime, i'm going to yield the floor to my colleagues because i have another meeting i have to go to. mr. cotton: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: thank you, chairman grassley, for your leadership on this issue. thank you for offering the secure act which i and some of the other senators have supported. i want to continue this debate where senator tillis left off. we have heard a lot today about the so-called daca program, the deferred action for childhood arrivals, and the kind of negotiations in which we're currently engaged. hopefully those negotiations will reach a solution that will satisfy all the parties and give some legal protection to the daca population. we've heard a lot today about border security and the wall. i want to focus on one other element of a needed, negotiated solution, and that's chain migrations. putting an end once and for all
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to chain migrations. when you give legal status to an immigrant, that is a chain law. it can never be reversed. therefore, you can't simply address some window dressing at the border, one-year funding or pilot projects. you have to have a permanent change in return for a permanent change and an end to chain migration will be one of the most important permanent changes to u.s. immigration law in 52 years. what is chain migration? under the current law which dates back to 1965, if you're a citizen, you can bring any one of your relatives to this country. not just your spouse and your unmarried minor kids, your nuclear family, but also your adult kids and their spouses and their children, and your adult brother and your adult sister, and your parents, and then their siblings and so on and so forth. that's why it's called chain migration. each person is a potential link in a never-ending chain. so the vast majority of people
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that integrate to our -- immigrate to our country legally do so for the sole reason they happen to be related to somebody who is already here. we have heard a lot of talk about the american dream in recent days, that we're a nation of immigrants, it's part of our core. that is absolutely right. we are a nation of immigrants. we're a nation where blood ties are not supposed to dictate the path of your life. where you can fulfill your dreams. but we have an immigration system that does the exact opposite, an immigration system that favors the ties of blood, the ties of kinship, the ties of clan, the ties of tribe. what could be less american than that? and as a result, we also get a massive wave of low-killed and andunskilled -- low-skilled and unskilled immigrants over the last 50 years. today only one in 15 of the
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immigrants who come here every year come here because of their education or job skills or a job offer. that means you have thousands and thousands of workers with absolutely no consideration of what it means for the workers who are already here, for workers who are american citizens, who are earning a wage. in many cases, the most recent immigrants will face competition from the next wave of unskilled immigrants. so we're putting downward pressure on their wages. the wages of people who work with their hands and work on their feet, who hold the kind of jobs that require you to take a shower after you get off work, not before you go to work. blue-collar workers have begun to see an increase in their wages over the last year for the first time in decades, and that's in no small part because of the administration's efforts to get immigration under control, but it's not enough to stop there. the real question is who should our immigration system work for? it should work for the american
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people, the american worker. it should be crafted for their benefit, not the benefit of foreigners. we should have an immigration system that fulfills the needs of our economy, that focuses on jobs and wages for american citizens here, whether your parents came over on the mayflower or whether you just took the oath of citizenship last week. it's not some radical position. liberal democrats used to believe in that. now, i understand in this debate, most of the attention is focused on that population of about 690,000 illegal immigrants who came here through no fault of their own as young children 15, 20, 30 years ago. i think the concern for them is very understandable. president trump has shown it. my colleagues have shown it today. i share it as well. president obama did them a real disservice by unilaterally and unconstitutionally, therefore unsustainably giving them legal
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status in this country to work. president trump did the right thing by recognizing that president obama lacked that authority. he shouldn't have put them in that position. but nobody in this senate -- i think i can speak for my other 99 colleagues. nobody is eager to see these people face deportation. yet at the same time if we're going to give them legal status, we have to recognize inevitably as an operation of logic there are two negative consequences that flow from that. you can say you don't mind them but you can't say they don't exist. first, as you have heard from so many others, you're going to encourage parents from around the world who live in poverty and oppression and strife and war to illegally immigrate to this country with their small children in hopes of getting their children american citizenship sometime in the future. that is dangerous and in my opinion that is immoral. you can't offer those kind of
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inducements. second, as i have explained, you will create a whole new category of american citizens who can now get legal status for their extended families, to include the very parents who brought them here in violation of the law in the first place. as part of this debate, we have often heard the old line that children ought not pay for the crimes of the parents. well, if that is the case, can't we at least agree that parents can pay for the crimes of the parents? they are the ones who created the situation in the first place. president trump has said, as i have noted, that he wants to protect the daca population. but at the same time, he has said repeatedly we must build a wall and secure our border and end chain migration. i agree that we have to build a wall on our border. i have to say it's a little amusing to see how our democratic colleagues have changed their tune on this point. first, they were explaining for weeks that the president hadn't
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written a border security plan yet. they kept asking for a punch list, a punch list, what your contractor provides you when he is done building your home but not quite done with every single technical step. the administration provided that to them just last week. now they are complaining it's too expensive. it's outrageous, in the words of the senator from illinois. i want to point out that while the president's proposal would cost $18 billion, it's over ten years so $1.8 billion a year. the senator from illinois has proposed a naked amnesty bill that would cost $26 billion over ten years. that's right. $18 billion is too much to secure our southern border, to build a wall and to provide more agents, buy more technology, but $26 billion to provide more welfare for illegal immigrants after they get amnesty is a-okay. i'd also point out that a lot of democrats supported the secure fence act just over a decade
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ago. building over 700 miles of physical barrier on our southern border. maybe i could propose new grounds for starting negotiations. how about we simply agree as a baseline that we will fully fund the hundreds of miles of physical barriers that the senate minority leader voted for just 12 years ago? we also supported the so-called gang of eight bill five years ago. that also would have built hundreds of miles of physical barrier on our southern border. what's changed since then? now, all that being said, building a wall will help stop illegal immigration, but it won't fix all the problems to the law itself. that's why i have said, the president has said we also have to deal with that second consequence, ending chain migration. now, one trial balloon i have heard floated in recent days is that a negotiated piece of legislation could eliminate the immigration preference for the adult unmarried kids of legal
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permanent residents, green card holders. that's perfectly fine, we should do that for sure, but to act like that alone would end chain migration, preposterous. it will delay a very small part of chain migration, only delay, only delay a very small part, about 26,000 of the more than 300,000 people who come here a year through family preferences, because it doesn't even touch the preference for the adult, unmarried children of citizens. or parents, or siblings, of citizens and green card holders alike. in other words, once these young people and the daca population become citizens, then they will be able to get legal status for their relatives, which means, far from stopping chain migration, it will actually accelerate the naturalization
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process and the chain that we're trying to stop in the first place. the time has come to end this foolish and unwise policy and indeed dangerous policy as we saw just a few weeks ago in the most recent tipton terror attack in new york that had at its initiating point someone who got into this country because of chain migration. not a single advanced industrialized nation has such a lax immigration policy when it comes to immigrant families as we do. not canada, not the united kingdom, not france, not germany, not new zealand, not japan. if we are actually going to fix this problem, if we're going to do right by the american worker, if we are going to promote the american dream and american ideals, then it's time for these
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mindless family preferences in chain migration to come to an end. madam president, i yield the floor and i yield to my colleague from oklahoma. mr. lankford: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: it's an interesting conversation we can finally have about immigration. this has been a topic that has been discussed for a while but not settled. 20 years this body has talked about solving some of the immigration issues. national security and immigration hasn't been a partisan issue until of late. suddenly when president trump brings it up, we have a bunch of people who used to be for border security who are now against border security because president trump wants to do border security. some of the exact same ideas that have been the gang of eight bills or previous investigators or even talked about with a secure wall or fence before. almost every democrat in this body voted for the secure fence
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act of 2006. it's interesting to me the number of people that contact us saying we do not want to build a wall, and i have said what about the 650 miles of wall that already exist that were put in place after 2006? that, by the way, president obama when he was then-senator obama wholeheartedly supported and voted for? this is now suddenly a partisan issue. i'm trying to help our entire body take a step back and to say immigration should be a humanity issue and a legal issue, not a political issue. i had a conversation with a friend of mine this weekend who he and i have known each other for years. he's a pastor. we started talking about the immigration issue. and in that dialogue, he said to me in the church, we look at every individual as an individual that's created in the image of god, and that the church has a ministry to be able to reach out to, regardless of their legal status. but then he said right behind
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it, but in government, we strawnd there is a different responsibility. the church engages with every person equally, but the government has the responsibility of being able to look at laws, what is legal and not legal and helping abide by those laws and enforcing those laws. he's correct. there is an issue of humanity that's in this. these are people that are caught in a system, and oftentimes those children in the daca program that are caught in between the gap here, that literally they have no home country because they were brought as infants or as young children with a parent that violated the law but with a child that came in, now live in a country sometimes 20 years, this they only know this country. they are literally caught in the middle. while we have great compassion, we're walking this interesting balance between compassion for people which we as a nation have and also consistently with the law, that the law applies to every person, whether you're the president of the united states or an undocumented individual
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that's come in. the law applies to everyone. so what do we do in this? well, the first thing i think we need to do is take a deep breath and to pull the politics out of this and to say border security, in fact security as a whole is not a controversial issue. i would tell you as united states senator, i have the privilege occasionally of going to do interviews. let me give you an example. cnn has a great studio here in washington, d.c. when you go to the studio in washington, d.c., you'll go through the front door of the big building and there will be a security person that's there and they'll check your i.d. before you go any farther. and not only will they check your i.d., they'll make sure you're already preregistered to be there to visit with cnn because you can't just walk n. you have to notify them ahead of time that you're coming, even if you're the person being interviewed. then there's a physical barrier between you and the elevators. and once the security guard clears you, you go through the physical barriers but you can't go up the elevator because the
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security guard has to clear you to actually go up that elevator and punch in a certain scoad to go up to -- code to go up to the floor. when you arrive at that floor, you're literally in nowhere land because everywhere around you is locked doors til someone comes in and clears you. then you go to another security guard and you sign in at that security guard, again check i.d. and then you have an escort that takes you into the studio. that escort stays with you because as soon as your interview is done, they'll smile at you and say your time is up. we're going to escort you out. it's a shame that cnn has to do that but they do. because not everybody that walks through their doors means to do them help. there are some people that mean to do them harm. and it is right for them to keep that level of security. but for that level of security that we talk about for cnn, all of us see that as a rational thing, unfortunate but rational. i would say to us as a nation
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why is that rational at cnn headquarters and it's irrational for us to do be able to do the same thing with our own borders? not everyone that means to cross our border is there to help us. we can all admit there are some individuals, a few thankfully but there are some individuals that do mean to cross our borders and do us harm. we should be aware of that. we have half a million people a day that legally cross our border, our southern border alone, half a million people a day that cross back and forth, that legally go through the system. they're doing commerce. they're visiting family. there's all kinds of individuals that move back and forth through our gates legally every single day. we should ask a question, why are half a million people moving through legally but yet there are thousands and thousands that are moving through illegally? what's the difference and should we ask questions of some of those? should there be a physical
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barrier in some spots? we have seen places in yuma, arizona where there isn't a physical border and there's a large city on the border, that they would cross the border quickly, commit a crime and move back. when a physical barrier was put in place a decade ago in yuma, arizona, the crime rate dropped dramatically in that area. a physical barrier helped and does reduce. while i've had people say if you build a 30-foot wall, there will be a 31-foot ladder leaning against it. that's true but it slows them done and giving enough time in remote areas or heavily urbanized areas for people to be able to respond and be able to actually interdict those individuals. walls don't stop people. they slow people down so you can do interdiction and say why are you going through the wall rather than the gates like half a million people are doing today? why is that not happening? that is not unreasonable but it's become heavily politicized.
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we need to step back and to remove this from a conversation about presidents and about political parties and move it back to some basic commonsense things, things that this congress used to do on wide bipartisan support. things like a physical barrier. there should be a wall in certain areas of the southern border that don't have a wall right now. there should be areas of technology and other areas. there should be an area to have watch yo towers with cameras. we should add additional personnel. we're talking about 3,000-plus miles on our northern border, 2,000 miles on our southern border. it's a lot of territory to be able to cover. some of those areas, they don't even have broadband access to it so just getting information to the agents that work there takes a very long time or is unrow liable. we do need to have some technology improvements in some of those areas. should every part of our border have a wall? no, i don't think so. it shouldn't all have a wall but in areas where it's in heavily
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populated areas, it probably should because that provides greater security, quite frankly, on both sides of the border. some of it is even more simple than that. there are areas where there's large amounts of cane that are growing up in the ree joe grand -- rio grande river and they can't see on both sides who is moving through because they can hide through the cane. removing all that cane would provide tre men's douse -- tremendoutremendous visibility. it shouldn't be that controversial. that should be common sense, adding technology, adding sensor, adding greater visibility, adding area adding n areas that need a wall. but that isn't just the issue. some is fixing loopholes in the law that get exploited. there are some individuals that cross the border and know the
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rules. the coyotes that are human smuggling them all the way through mexico and have told them what to say. so when they encount area border patrol agent, they say, say these words and you'll get access to asylum whether it's true or not. but they say those words the coyotes have told them to say and they actually get a quick hearing and what's called a notice to appear for another hearing, usually two or two and a half years later and they disappear somewhere into the american system, and we have no idea where they are. they're somewhere among 300-plus million americans in some town in some place and we don't know. the vast majority of them never show up for the court hearings, but they have a piece of paper that says notice to appear which also means they're given legal protections until that court date and they can move around the country. it's a loophole in our system. it should be fixed. nowhere else would do that. why do we do that?
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we allow ourselves to be exemployeded. -- exploited. there are some words and phrases we need to be able to clean up in the law and some things that need to be done. again, that shouldn't be controversial. that should be security related. that should be some basic questions about how we're going to handle immigration. we allow a million people a year to become citizens of the united states legally, a million people a year. and yet the american systems is also ignoring hundreds of thousands of others that are coming into the system illegally and pretending it's not happening. it is. and for 20 years this congress has not paid attention to it. say what you would like to about president trump, but he is pushing this congress to do something its not done in two decades. deal with the issue of border security. this body will have to come to agreement on that. the house of representatives will have to come to agreement
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on that, and the president will be have to be able to sign it or it will be just another executive action that won't last very long. but if we're going to have lasting real change in border security, it has to go through the legislative process. the president is pushing us to get that done before the first week of march. we had six months of time. four months of that have already run out. it is time to get that document finished, to deal with the basic things the president has asked, border security, a legal status for those individuals that are in the daca program that the previous president just put on a deferral sense that we won't arrest you but there's some sort of legal limbo in between. president trump actually wants to have a permanent answer for all of those families. dealing with things on border security, not just the wall but the other exceptions into it. the president wants to deal with a visa lottery which is a system where 50,000 people somewhere in the world are just randomly
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drawn out of a hat to be able to become american citizens. many of us have said for a long time that's a foolish way to do your immigration system. the immigration system should be based on what do we need in america, what jobs, what locations rather than say random pull out of a hat of people around the word. i understand there are millions and millions of people around the world that would love toen e americans. but in america -- to be americans. but in america we want to be able to target those americans who want to not be americans but want to be a fabric of who we are, to be able to make decisions for ourselves as a nation and to be able to do it not just in our own policy but our immigration policy. that's not too much to ask. there are basic things that should be done. dealing with the daca students that are literally caught in a place where they have no home is a compassionate thing to do, but
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along with our compassion we also uphold the law. those kids should not be held to account for what their parents did, but their parents should not have the same access to the american system of being naturalized as the kids do only because the parents did intentionally violate the law. they chose to break the law and bring their child with them when they did it. the child didn't make that decision. now they're growing up in a place where they have no country. they should have a shot to be able to be in our nation. i do not believe that the parents of those kids that broke the law should have that same access to our system. that may seem heartless but i would tell you that's the balance we have to have between compassion for people and upholding the law, that the law does apply to all people.
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maybe there's a way to do some other work permits or some other things that could be there. but access to citizenship should be reserved for those individuals that are upholding the law, not violating it. there are some daca kids that have done some pretty remarkable stuff. some daca kids are some pretty amazing individuals. i tell folks in oklahoma when i'm home, if i could identify for you 700,000 people somewhere around the world that spoke english, that are excellent students, that stood up every day in their school and pledged allegiance to the united states of america, that are in our military already, that are already working in our economy right now, are those the individuals that you want to reach out and be part of that one million people a year that become citizens. i've have yet to have someone tell me no, that's not who we're looking for. everyone says that's exactly who we're looking for. i get to smile at them and say
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they're already here. they just happen to have grown up in this country already but they really have no home and they'd love to call this one their home. i'd like to give them the opportunity to bel to earn the -- -- the ability to earn it, to be able to go through the process, to be able to get in line like every other person in the world, to be able to get in line but not have to return to their home country because they don't know a home country, but to be able to get in line here to be able to do it. there's a way to be able to do this. the president has been the first advocate for that. there's a way to be able to actually answer the problems that we've dealt with for 20 years on border security so that we don't continue to have another daca program in five years, in ten years, and over and over and over again as we're on right now. let's solve it. interestingly enough, in 2012 when president obama announced the daca program, he made some pretty blunt, clear statements during that time period.
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one of them was for individuals -- this was in june of 2012 -- that are already here and he set a date, he said for those individuals, our nation wants to provide them an opportunity to not be arrested and we'll work on your status but for any future individuals that cross our border, you would not have access to this program. that's president obama that made that statement in 2012. and while i've heard individuals say that we should abide by the words of our presidents, that when president obama made those statements to those kids in 2012, i would remind us as a nation we should honor all of those statements if we do any of those statement, including president obama's statements of saying this will end and people that are crossing our border will be returned to their home country as he announced publicly there is a right way to be able to do immigration. let's do it the right way. we already receive a million a
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year. let's do it the right way. and you'll find a very welcoming united states of america. that's where i think we can go, and i hope in the days ahead that we can finish out a negotiation to be able to resolve some basic things. not everything in immigration but at least the core issues of immigration and border security so we can resolve the issue not only for those kids in daca but continue to be able to work on how we are securing our nation for the future. with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. madam president, 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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mr. hatch: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i ask that the quorum call be suspended, if there is one. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: thank you. madam president, before i turn to the main portion of my remarks, i wish to speak briefly on the situation in the middle east. the protests across cities in iran reflect the failed leadership of a corrupt regime. the ayatollah's negligence in denying the basic rights of its own people is inexcusable. instead of allocating resources to care for families in need, the regime has chosen to use what economic gains it has accrued through the iran deal to fund terrorism and sectarian violence in syria, yemen, lebanon, and elsewhere in the
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region. i stand with the iranian people in their demand for prosperity and freedom, and i call upon my colleagues in congress to do the same thing. now, madam president, i wish to vote the remainder of my -- to devote the remainder of my remarks to honoring the memory of a dear friend, thomas s.monson, a beloved leader who is love for god defined a lifetime of selfless service. president monson passed away quietly last week with friends and family gathered by his bedside. today i join millions across the globe in mourning the loss of an extraordinary man who has members of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints we have long looked upon as a prophet, seer and revelator. i wish to extend my deepest
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sympathies to president monson's family especially his children thomas and clark. although we are saddened by president monson's passing, we take comfort in knowing he has been reunited with his wife francis, his lifelong friend and eternal companion. president monson was born in salt lake city in 1927 to g. spencer monson and gladys monson. growing up during the great depression young tom was influenced by his parents who taught him the importance of taking care of others. from an early age, tom displayed a remarkable concern for the most vulnerable among us. and throughout his life he showed that concern and worked on solving problems for them. when thaopl was -- tom was a boy he had two beloved pet rabbits to which he tended every day. but when he heard of a destitute
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family in his neighborhood, so down on their luck they had nothing to eat for christmas dinner, tom did what few little boys would ever do. he gave his two pet rabbits to his neighbors so they could have a nice christmas meal. when little tommy returned home to see his empty rabbit hutch, tears filled his eyes but these were tears of gratitude for the joy he had felt in helping others. selflessness, service, and sacrifice, those would soon become the virtues by which thomas monson lived his life. and everybody who knew him knows that. following graduation from west high school, president monson attended the university of utah where he met francis johnson during his freshman year. around the same time he joined the u.s. navy and served in the waning days of world war ii. after the war, he graduated cum laude from the university of utah with a bachelor's degree in
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business management. shortly thereafter, he married francis in the salt lake temple. following graduation, president monson was hired by the deserat news to work in the paper's advertising department. he worked in various positions for the newspaper and eventually became the general manager of their press. as he was just beginning his professional career, president monson was called to be a bishop of a mormon congregation at the exceptionally young age of 22. that hardly ever happens in the l.d.s. church. in this position, he was charged with leading a congregation of more than 1,000 members. then at the age of 31, tom was again called to a leadership position typically reserved for older men when he was asked to serve as president of the l.d.s. mission in canada and preside over a whole raft of young
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missionaries. when he was only 36, tom was called as a member of the quorum of the 12 apostles, among the most influential positions in the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints. in 2008, he was sustained as president of the church overseeing the-day-to-day operations of a faith with millions of followers. the church witnessed record growth during his tenure as president with more than two million men and women joining the ranks of converts of the latter-day saints church. whether as a prophet or an apostle, a mission president or a friend, president monson simply took care of people. one pick story stands out among the rest when he was a young bishop. there were 84 widows in his congregation. during the christmas holiday, he would visit each and every one of them, ensuring that they were
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all provided with a good holiday meal. and even after president m0nson was released as bishop, he continued to stay in contact with each one of these widows. writing letters, making phone calls and frequently visiting them in their homes. in fact, president monson remained so close with each of these 84 widows that he would eventually speak at all of their funerals. that's a real record. president monson's example of intimate individual ministry underscored what was most remarkable about his leadership. although he provided, presided over a church of millions, his focus was always on the one. although task was making administration decisions affecting thousands of people the world over, his lifelong
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commitment was to serving individuals in need. although an expert manager, he was first and foremost a disciple of jesus christ, a man of remarkable kindness, unwavering love and per ma natural empathy. president monson was a servant first and a leader second. endless are the stories in which he would drop everything, sometimes even leaving church meetings that he was presiding, and leaving them early to visit a grieving widow, bless a sickly child, or minister to a family in need. both on a macro and micro level, president monson was intimately involved in building up the kingdom of god and he was perhaps the greatest living example of christ's admonition to find the one lost sheep who has gone astray and bring him back to the fold. of president mo nson boundless
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charity, it was once said, quote, tom has given everything to those in need, including the shirt off his back. i mean it. i've seen him give away his shirts, his suits and his shirts, and his shoes. madam president, president monson was among the greatest men i have ever known. service was his motto and humility his hallmark. countless were the lives he touched as a prophet, father, and friend. he emulated jesus christ in every particular. helping all of us draw closer to god by drawing all of us closer to each other. i'm so grateful for the life of my dear friend and for the example he left for everyone to
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follow. he was a friend of mine. he showed me great friendship, and at times stood up for me. i'll never forget one time he leaned over to me and said i vote for you. that meant so much to me. all i can say is that having his vote was really important to me. the man was one of the greatest men i've ever met on this earth. a man of humility, a man of effort, a man of distinction, a man of love and compassion, a man who really knew how to work with other people, and a man who loved men and women, a man who worked in a consecrated manner all the days of his life for jesus christ and his ministry. all i can say is that i'm going to personally miss him, and i
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believe that his imprint on not just the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints commonly nicknamed the mormon church, around the world he's going to be very difficult to ever forget. and all i can say is god bless the remaining family. i hope everything will go well with them. and i intend to attend the funeral if i can, and hopefully lend my, whatever i can to honoring one of the greatest men i've ever met in my life. and i've met a lot of really great men and women. with that, madam president, i suggest 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 wisconsin. a senator: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: is there objection? seeing no objection, the quorum call is lifted. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of william l. campbell jr. of tennessee to be united states district judge for the middle district of tennessee signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by
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unanimous consent the mandatory quorum has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate the debate on the nomination of william l. campbell jr. of tennessee to be the united states district judge for the middle district of tennessee shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: have all senators voted? does any senator wish to change their vote? on this motion, the yeas are 89, the nays are 1. the motion is agreed to.
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mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i have one request for a committee to meet during today's session of the senate. it has the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. cornyn: mr. president, the senate is not in order. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, this last weekend, i had the honor of going to camp david with members of both the house and the senate, meeting with the president and vice president and members of his cabinet, talking about the prospects for 2018. after a very successful 2017, we
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now are looking forward to what sort of legislation we could do on a bipartisan basis that will help us build on those successes of 2017. many of these are domestic priorities, but of course others are national security in nature. our internal strength, of course, affects our diplomacy and military effectiveness abroad, and actually where we were located at camp david actually demonstrates that. it was, after all, the site for secret talks to negotiate the camp david accords, a historic peace agreement signed by israel and egypt in 1978. what happened on american soil ultimately changed the global landscape, and it wasn't the only time. over the years, camp david has come to represent peace. it's a place where leaders put aside their differences to look to avoid conflict, but
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nonetheless, today we have to admit, given the global environment, peace is imperiled. we have recently seen that in iran where the largest wave of protests in more than a decade have revealed widespread discontent, not only with iran's economy, but also the actions taken by its military, which has supported hezbollah and other terrorist organizations around the world. as a matter of fact, iran is the number one state sponsor of international terrorism, which is one reason why many of us blanched at the idea of releasing money to iran as part of the joint agreement on nuclear -- on iran's nuclear program. money that they could then plow back into their support for organizations like hezbollah and their aggressive support for terrorist organizations generally. last week, the trump administration imposed sanctions
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on five entities tied to iran's ballistic missile program. apparently, tehran continues to care more about funding its terrorist proxies across the middle east than supporting its own citizens, and frustrated iranians rightfully have said enough already. we're not going to take it anymore. as secretary mnuchin said last week here in the united states we shouldn't es hate to call out the -- hesitate to call out the iranian regime's mismanagement and aversion of significant resources to thwart the threat of missile systems against its own citizenry and the secretary is exactly right. meanwhile, the situation north korea remains precarious. that country, and i say this unequivocally, must denuclearize. that's why i recently introduced a resolution with many of my colleagues here in the senate. the purpose of the resolution is to expressly declare that congress is unified in its
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condemnation of the increasingly hostile and intransigent behavior of the democratic republic -- people's republic of korea. since kim jong-un took power six years ago, he's ordered at least four nuclear tests, including the september detonation of what his regime and outside experts generally agree was a hydrogen bomb. despite great efforts made by the united states, including a recent executive order by the president, north korea's history is a bad-faith negotiator continues unabated on the world stage. it violates diplomatic norms and human rights at will and was recently redesignated itself as a state sponsor of terrorism. this resolution i referred to a moment ago asserts that the united states as well as the united nations security council and our regional allies should continue to implement the absolute strictest of sanction regimes in an effort to get the
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regime's attention and hopefully bring them to the table as part of this path forward toward denuclearization. we must continue to exhaust every reasonable diplomatic option necessary to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of the ballistic missile programs. our resolution also recognizes that the president has the constitutional responsibility to protect the united states and our allies. but it emphasizes a congressional authorization is necessary prior to committing u.s. forces to a sustained military operation on the korean peninsula. in other words, under the constitution, the president has his responsibilities and duties and congress has its responsibilities and duties. and this resolution recognizes both. we look forward to working together closely with the president in a unified front
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this year to confront north korea as well as rogue actors elsewhere. president trump we know does not take our national security threats lightly. he has a world class national security team with general mattis, secretary tillerson and director pompeo, just to name three. in an important speech last month, the president outlined the four pillars of his administration's national security strategy. he said the first pillar is to protect our homeland. we can't secure our nation if we can't secure our own borders, and we can't secure our borders unless we confront both at home and abroad the threat of terrorism and ideologies bent on doing us great harm. second, the president said we need to promote american prosperity because the only way we're going to be strong militarily and at the homeland is if we have the resources and
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economy to pay for it. economic growth at home is critical for our influence around the globe as well. we, of course, took a big step in this direction by passing tax reform last month, but a lot more needs to be done to continue to grow our economy and to return america to its historic prosperity. like updating and not scrapping the northern american free trade agreement and other trade agreement, for example, and rebuilding our national infrastructure, which was also on the agenda at camp david this weekend. the president's third pillar of national security is to preserve the peace through strength. we usually attribute that concept to ronald reagan but, of course, he's not the first or the last to recognize the joinedder of peace and strength. president trump said in his speech weakness is the surist path to conflict and unrivaled
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power is most certain a defense. i think he's right which means we have to end the defense sequester which started with the budget control act of 2011. i supported our efforts to rein in discretionary spending, but the fact of the matter is only about 30% of the money that the federal government spends is actually appropriated. and a little more than half of that is defense spending. and i simply cannot in good conscience continue those budget caps for defense spending without considering the increase and risks to our men and women in uniform and our country's national security generally. we've got to continue to modernize our til taker which we -- military which we started last year by reauthorizing the defense authorization act and fourth, the president's strategy asserts we have to advance american influence in the world through strong alliances and by
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championing our core values without apology. as the president said, a nation that does not protect prosperity at home cannot protect its interests abroad. a nation that is not prepared to win a war is a nation not capable of preventing a war. a nation that is not proud of its history cannot be confident in its future. and a nation that is not certain of its values cannot summon the will to defend them. mr. president, i couldn't have said it any better myself. i yield the floor.
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ms. stabenow: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, today marks a sad and, frankly, shocking day for too many of america's children and hardworking families because it's now been a hundred days since funding for the children's health insurance program and community health centers expired, a hundred days. history's shown us that there's a whole lot that can get done in a hundred days. it took thomas jefferson only 17 days to write the declaration of independence. the brave allied forces who landed on d-day advanced through france and liberated paris in only 80 days. and congress managed to pass 15 major pieces of legislation during president franklin delano roosevelt's first 100 days in office. and yet here we are, a hundred
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days pasted september 30 deadline and congress still hasn't managed to pass the long-term legislation to reauthorize what we call chip, children's health insurance program, and to fund our community health centers. we have a strong bipartisan bill funding chip. this was passed out of committee. i give our chairman and ranking member kudos for working together. i was proud to work with them. it came out of committee with only one no vote and has waited and waited and waited on the floor of the senate. and senator blunt and i have a bipartisan bill to continue funding for community health centers and 70 members of the senate have signed a letter supporting long-term funding for community health centers, which expired september 30, a hundred days ago.
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so right now we're in a situation where nine million children and their parents don't know what's going to happen long term. a hundred thousand children in michigan. and as soon as this month, the hundred thousand children and their families in michigan are beginning to get letters that say their children will lose coverage. and they're trying to figure out what's going on. imagine being a parent who's working hard. a lot of folks i know working two jobs trying to hold it together. you don't have health insurance. you earn too much for your children to be able to get medicaid health insurance. and so the children's health insurance program is your life line. it's your life line. it gives you the peace of mind knowing that if your daughter falls and breaks her arm or your son gets a cough that won't go away, you can take them to the doctor. and what if those children have something worse than a broken
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arm or a cough? what if they're diagnosed with type i diabetes or asthma or cancer. just imagine being that parent and getting a letter that says your child may no longer have health insurance. it's not necessary. this is not necessary. we could do this tomorrow. if we thought it was enough to bring it to the floor, we could get a vote. and i believe it would be overwhelmingly bipartisan, tomorrow. if there was a sense of urgency and understanding how these parents feel and how these children feel. so what would you do if you got that letter? what would you tell your kids? you don't want them to worry about it. what would you do? and i believe hardworking families -- and we're talking about working families, working families, people with jobs working deserve better than
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this. then we have community health centers that serve 25 million people across the country, including 300,000 veterans and seven and a half million children. at more than 260 sites across michigan, our health centers -- by the way, doing a phenomenal job -- are cerving 681 -- serving 681,000 people, including about 13,000 michigan veterans. this month health centers that were supposed to receive a new 12-month grant are only getting a small amount of funding to continue them for the next few weeks not knowing what's going to happen again. by june michigan's community health centers will lose over $80 million in funding and over 99,000 patients will lose care. last month i had the opportunity to visit two of our great
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michigan community health centers. they're a network, each of them, operating more than one site. hamilton community health network in flint and western wayne family health centers in ingster. these centers are serving literally thousands of michigan families. people of michigan every day who don't have medical care for one reason or another. now those thousands of people are at risk of having no place to go if they get sick or if they need preventive care so they don't get sick. hamilton community health network will run out of funding in april. western wayne family health centers won't get their full funding this month. they were asking me should they be laying people off. how should they be planning for their centers? what should they be doing? that means 15,500 people are wondering what will happen to them if they or their children
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get sick or slip on the ice, which there is a lot of in michigan, mr. president. and sprain and ankle. felicia knows what it's like to live under that cloud of fear. she wrote me a letter indicating in 2011 she was a volunteer serving in lansing, didn't have health insurance. when she started feeling tired all the time and losing weight, she went to the center for family health in jackson, michigan, another great center. by the way, the center for family health which served 29,000 patients last year, 2016, will run out of funding in march if we don't act. felicia was diagnosed with stage four hodgkins lymphoma. pretty scary stuff. the center for family health helped her get her health coverage through medicaid and care from the university of
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michigan, including chemotherapy and later a stem cell transpla transplant. felicia wrote me. now i am feeling awesome. i am cancer free. and i'm working part time while finishing up my college. i feel that i owe my life to the center for family health. my life to the center for family health. felicia knows the importance of community health centers. one in michigan saved her life. people like felicia and children who are covered by the children's health insurance program which we call my child in michigan shouldn't have to wait a day longer. they're counting on us to get this done. it has been 100 days of uncertainty that did not have to happen. let me say again. we have a bipartisan bill reported out of the finance committee. the house has reported their
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version. there is no reason we can't put a five-year extension immediately on the floor of the senate. senator blunt and i, our cosponsors of our bill have always assumed that once chip came on the floor, we would be adding in community health centers where there's strong support, and we would be able to get this done. and people would know that their neighborhood health center was there, that their children could go to doctor instead of sitting for hours in the emergency, that they would be able to see their doctor if they got sick. but it's been 100 days since funding has expired for community health centers and children's health insurance. that's 100 days too many. so i think coming to the floor every week, mr. president, to say let's do it today. let's do it tomorrow. we don't have to wait and hold them as bargaining chips in some bigger appropriations
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negotiation. these are families. these are kids. these are people that want to have confidence in us, that we will do our jobs. this one can get done. it could have gotten done before the holidays. what a great christmas present that would have been. it can get done now. so on behalf of the 25 million people who use those community health centers, the 9 million children and their parents who use the children's health insurance program, i call on all of us to have a sense of urgency and the leadership,ed leader to bring this up. we could get it done in a day. we would all feel good about it because it would be something we would be doing together instead of having these families wait and wait and wait. thank you, mr. president.
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mr. president, i might, before yielding -- i'm not sure i see anyone else here. i just want to acknowledge our newest senator, senator jones, who is here, and thank him that even as he was in his happiness, and rightly so, on the evening that he found out he was going to be the next senator that he mentioned chip. and i have to tell him in listening to that acceptance speech, it did my heart good to know that children's health insurance was at the top of our newest senator's mind at that important time. and it's a pleasure to see him on the floor this evening. thank you. i believe the senator from arizona is here. yes.
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mr. flake: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: mr. president, over the past couple of months we've seen a lot of efforts with regard to immigration reform, in particular to address the situation about the so-called daca kids, the dreamers who were brought here through no fault of their own and are now protected, many of them, through the daca program. but those protections will run out on the 5th of march. in fact, some have lost their protections already.
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so there is a great impetus and urgency to deal with this program. i've said from the beginning that in order to establish a long-term resolution and to provide regulatory certainty that a true daca fix must be a bipartisan solution. over the past year the two big items that this chamber and the congress has dealt with -- health care reform and tax policy -- have been done under rules of reconciliation, meaning that if we could get a bare majority of republican votes that would be enough, if we could keep all the republicans together. that is no longer the case with our approach to daca. we're not under rules of reconciliation. it will require 60 votes, meaning that only a bipartisan solution will do. that's why i've been working on such a measure with my
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republican and democratic colleagues here in the congress as well as in the white house. as i've said repeatedly, i believe on this issue that the president's instincts are better than the some of the advice that he gets. i truly believe that he does want a solution for these young immigrants. i hope that we can get there and we'll have a meeting tomorrow with the white house, a bipartisan meeting to try to get a little farther down the road. let me just stress, a lot of words are highly charged that are thrown around this immigration debate. no word is perhaps more highly charged than the word amnesty. that's been thrown around by a number of my colleagues. i would suggest that that is not the case here with the daca kids. amnesty by definition is an unconditional pardon for a breach of law. i don't think a child being brought across the border by the
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parents has committed a violation of the law. not the child. certainly the parent but not the child. and so to provide relief for those kids and to allow them to stay in the only country that they know, i don't think should be called an amnesty. yet that highly charged phrase is often used -- or word. to say, or to suggest that anyone pursuing a bipartisan solution is proposing amnesty, i think, is misleading, and it puts back the cause of actually trying to fix the situation. in the proposal that we are drafting, this bipartisan group offers a pathway to citizenship only for a specific group of young immigrants. as i mentioned, those who were brought here through no fault of their own. these are immigrants who are serving in the military, who are seeking education, who are holding good jobs. and they'll be required to
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continue to do so before they can have a chance to earn citizenship. as for the parents of these young immigrants, nobody can deny the fact that they did break the law, and any bipartisan proposal on daca cannot and will not reward them for this behavior. i agree with the president when he said that dealing with daca is a very different subject, or difficult subject, but we must do so with heart. and i believe that that has been the case for those in this chamber who have tried for 16 years to get a solution for these kids. we have to prioritize border security measures obviously to determine which ones are sensible to include in the daca measure. we will go beyond simply dealing with these daca kids with some
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border security measures, but we have to find out which ones are sensible and make sense to include in this limited measure, and table those that should be considered for the future. i have been part of comprehensive immigration reform efforts in the past. i look forward to be part of the comprehensive immigration reform efforts later this year. but this is not that. we have a very specific purpose to achieve before the 5th of march. i believe, and the commitment that we got was to have a bipartisan bill on the senate floor by january 31. i believe we need to in order to have enough runway to get this actually done by march 5. the white house, after much urging on our part, finally sent a list over as to what they considered part -- or should be considered part of the border
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security plan. as i mentioned, many of these items need to be addressed. maybe all the items need to be addressed. but they need to be addressed as part of a larger, more comprehensive effort, not the limited fix that we're going to do before march 5. i'm all in when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform. i look forward to that debate but we have to understand we can't do it all before march 5 if we're going to protect these kids. some will say we get to march 5, if we can't do it, we kick the can down the road again with some other protection. i think the courts have made it clear that what was done prior to this, the daca program itself was not constitutional. and should we simply say we're going to extend that program now, it would be found unconstitutional by the courts. so this is a real deadline. we've got to meet it.
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we've got to focus specifically on protecting these daca recipients. i think republicans and democrats and the president all want this. the question is, are we going to just over the next couple of weeks talk about bigger, broader issues that need to be dealt with but have no chance of being part of legislation? back in 2013 i participated in the gang of eight. we negotiated for seven months nearly every night here in washington. we as members negotiated and our staffs did as well, much longer hours and into the weekends. then we brought that piece of legislation to the judiciary committee where we debated for a couple of weeks, i think amended it more than 100 times. then we brought it to the house floor for another couple of weeks and edited it several more times before passing it by a vote of 68-32. that was a long process,
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hard-fought compromises in that legislation. to suggest that we can go through a similar effort in the next couple of weeks simply isn't going to happen. and so the list that the white house brought forward is simply, simply something that we ought to consider for comprehensive reform but not for this specific fix. with regard to the border itself, we all know that we need additional infrastructure on the border. i represent arizona here. we have some 375 miles of border. some of the border has good barriers in terms of fences. some areas we have what could approximate a wall. the closest thing we have approximating a wall of these old landing strips from world war ii that we put on their end and cemented in, they're opaque. you can't really see through
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them. we have them in a number of communities along the border. we've been taking them out because they're not very effective, and been putting fences in in place of them because we need to have visibility to the other side of the border. so most of what the president's talking about along the southern border is actually a fence. we do need more fences. in the gang of eight bill, i think we authorize 700 miles of additional and improved fencing. nobody's suggesting that we don't need additional infrastructure or barriers on the border. the question is how much do we provide for in this legislation? the president has made a request in the budget for about $1.6 billion for the coming year. i think that totals about 74, or will result in 74 miles of fence between texas and california. i think that that's a good place to start. how much we authorize going forward will be very much in debate.
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i know that during the campaign, the president talked long and hard about building a wall. but every time he mentioned building a wall, he talked about mexico paying for it. we all know, many of us knew at the time mexico was not going to pay for that wall. they're not. that's why the president is asking for $18 billion of u.s. taxpayer money to fund that wall. so to suggest that we are, the president hasn't changed his position and that we're dealing with a proposal that we've, that no one coming from the white house simply isn't true. it has changed. the president initially said mexico would pay for it. it's not the case. it's the u.s. taxpayer that's going to pay for any infrastructure on the border. that's as it should be. if we're putting up the border fence, we ought to pay for it. to suggest that nobody's changed their position is simply not
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true. deals like this are, where you need 60 votes necessarily involve compromise. no party, no individual is going to get everything that they want. that's -- the white house won't get everything they want. the democrats in congress won't. neither will the republicans. this will be a compromise. i'm simply suggesting tonight let's get real about the time involved between now and when we have to fix this. and not to think that we can simply kick the can down the road and put in some temporary fix, some kind of bridge later that will protect these kids. those protections will run out on march 5, and may be done at that point. so let's get serious, mr. president. let's all get serious, republicans and democrats. not coming forward to the table with unrealistic expectations about what can be done and what can be part of this legislation. let's have something that we can
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put on the senate floor by the end of the month to leave sufficient time to get this fixed by march 5. s -- so i hope that we can all work together on this, republicans and democrats. with that, i yield the floor. mr. casey: mr. president, i would ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i rise tonight to talk about another matter that is before us in the days ahead. it should be before us. it should have been done many months ago. in fact, if you want to count it by days, it should have been done about 100 days ago, as we've heard, and that's the children's health insurance program, known by the acronym chip. most americans know what the chip program is.
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it's a program that was -- became federal law about 20 years ago, a little more than 20 years ago to provide an opportunity for health care for those families between -- those who are -- whose incomes are a little bit too high maybe to be enrolled in medicaid or have children enrolled in medicaid and those who have their children's health care paid for by their employer. you get a lot of families, a lot of middle-class families or families near middle income caught between and didn't have opportunities for health care. so chip was passed. it was bipartisan and for the most part all these years now decades later remains bipartisan, but it's not reauthorized. so probably the only two numbers i'll get into tonight are nine and 180. what do i mean by that? i will start with pennsylvania. 180 means 180,000.
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that's the number of children roughly enrolled in the children's health insurance program as of december of 2017. if you look at it over the course of a year, children becoming eligible and then maybe moving off of chip to some other insurance or having other changes, in pennsylvania roughly in the last year 340,000 children benefited at one time or another, but the monthly number is 180. 180,000 children just in pennsylvania. nine is representative of the nine million children across the country who are enrolled in chip. so when we have all these debates about what has to get done in the next couple of days and between now and the middle part of january, i hope that that nine million number will be uppermost in people's minds. included within that are 180,000 children in pennsylvania.
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but this is really about not a number or a program. it's about real people. real people's lives. every member of the senate has a constituent they could tell a story about or tell hundreds if not thousands of stories. i'll just tell one tonight. about a mom that i met not too long ago, just about a week ago. jenny sheeks. generalcy is from upper makefield, bucks county, southeastern pennsylvania, just on the -- just north of the city of philadelphia. jenny told us about her son kama. kama is 8 years old and he is enrolled in the children's health insurance program, and his brother and his sister have special needs and are medicaid beneficiaries. so in one family, you have an example of one child, thankfully, benefiting from the chip program, and then two other members of that same family
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benefiting either from chip or the medicaid program. and thank goodness those programs are in place. without chip and medicaid, jenny said her children would be uninsured, because even though both jenny and her husband work full time covering the whole family on her plan is too expensive. so this is another example of working families who depend upon these programs for their children. they need these programs. these programs aren't theoretical. they aren't some faroff washington debate about timing and leverage and negotiations and back and forth. this is about their real lives right now. and as i said, this legislation should have been -- or program, i should say, chip should have been reauthorized 100 days ago. and it's inexcusable that it's not done now.
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a lot of people, we all left here right after the tax vote. everybody went back to their home states and i'm sure had a great holiday season, but unfortunately even though there was a little bit of a patch, a tiny little patch made for this program, unfortunately a lot of people left here with no worries at all and went back to states and communities and neighborhoods where there were a lot of other people worrying about whether or not they were going to get the kind of coverage for their children that they should have a right to expect. so back to jenny and her son. what are they going to do without the children's health insurance program? i can't imagine, pew fema here, few senators or house members can imagine how jenny and her son will get from here to there without the children's health insurance program.
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i can't imagine what it must be like for jenny worrying about how she will pay for her son's care if he loses chip coverage. no parent, no parent should have that kind of stress in their life. when there is an existing program that covers nine million kids that should be reauthorized. my father used to talk when he was a public official about people who led lives of real struggle. we've all known them in our lives. people that have to work every day just to make ends meet, to provide for their family and get through another day, another week, another month, another pay period. he used to refer to those americans as leading, quote, quietly triumphant lives, my father's words for those who struggle. quietly triumphant lives. well, there are a lot of families out there who lead very
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difficult lives, and they depend sometimes upon the children's health insurance program or medicaid or some other program just to get through another week. and when i think about jenny and parents like her who have to overcome tomorrow to help their children, to love them, to care for them, to protect them and to educate them. but even the most loving, caring, hardworking, and dedicated parent cannot provide the protections and the care that health insurance coverage and quality health care can provide, the kind of quality health care from professionals that comes to that child because he or she has the protection of health insurance. so those parents, no matter how much they work, no matter how good they are to their children, they cannot sometimes provide
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something as basic obviously as health care and of course the coverage, the insurance coverage that makes it possible. now, we have legislation ready to go, the kids act, the acronym k-i-d-s. that legislation is bipartisan. it's already moved through the finance committee unanimously. i don't think there was a single vote against it. if there was, it wasn't that loud a vote. so i hope that we can make these children a priority in the coming days. finally, at long last, there are a lot of deals made in the tax bill. a lot of numbers moving around to get the tax bill done, and i understand that's part of any legislation. but if that can be done in the united states senate to get a tax bill done, we can certainly have a vote to get the children's health insurance program reauthorized now that it's 100 days old. mr. president, let me conclude with the words from this
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particular 8-year-old, kama, who said the following. i know -- i see the distinguished majority leader who is here. i will wrap up tonight with the words of jenny's son. he said, quote, i was happy when i got health insurance because i knew i could go to the doctor if i got hurt or sick. when i didn't have health insurance, i was a little worried. i think we should keep chip going so we can stay healthy, unquote. no better words were uttered or spoken about the children's health insurance program than kama, an 8-year-old who said chip should stay in place so we can stay healthy. i agree. the american people agree. let's get chip done. thank you, mr. president. i would yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that at 2:15 p.m. tomorrow, all postcloture time on the campbell nomination be considered expired and the senate vote on the
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confirmation of the campbell nomination with no intervening action or debate. finally, if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate proceed to legislative session for a period of morning business, with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the committee on health be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 3759, and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 3759, an act to provide for the establishment and maintenance of a family caregiving strategy, and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the bill be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i know of no further debate on the bill. the presiding officer: is there
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further debate on the bill? hearing none, all those in favor say aye. those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill is passed. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 265, s. 1425. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 265, s. 1425, a bill to reauthorized the integrated coastal and ocean observation system act of 2009, and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the wicker amendment at the desk be considered and agreed to, the committee-reported substitute amendment as amended be agreed to, the bill as amended be considered read a third time and passed, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now,
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mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tuesday, january 9. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morning business be closed. further, following leader remarks, the senate proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the campbell nomination. further, that all time during adjournment, recess, morning business, and leader remarks count postcloture on the campbell nomination. finally, that the senate recess from 12:30 until 2:15 to allow for the weekly conference meetings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order following the remarks of senator merkley. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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mr. merkley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: i ask the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: thank you, mr. president. 100 days, that's a significant period of time, significant particularly because it involves the health of our children neglected over the last three months-plus. how is it that this chamber managed to go more than three months and not get in place a permanent expansion or five-year expansion of health care for our nation's children? well, i can tell you why. because my colleagues on the majority side of the aisle here
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in this chamber had a different bill that they were immersed in, and that was a health care bill that would be better termed health destruction bill because it would have wiped out health care for somewhere between 20 million and 30 million americans. eventually that bill version number five died here in the senate. then my colleagues across the aisle said, well, we have another beautiful idea. when you do a tax bill that will deliver trillions of dollars to the richest americans. our constitution was crafted around the vision of government of, by, and for the people. but my colleagues across the aisle like a different version
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of governance. they like governance by and for the powerful and the privileged. and so here they had this tax bill, and this tax bill has provisions like eliminating the dynasty loophole so that wealthy families can pass their dynasty inheritances from one generation to the next without ever paying capital gains. they had a provision that they wanted to change the tax brackets for the wealthiest americans. they wanted to have corporations which have paid a smaller and smaller and smaller share of the cost of the infrastructure and the health care and the education of america to pay even less. and they had a provision where pass-through corporations would get a sweetheart rate. and if you add up these provisions, they total over $3 trillion. over $3 trillion. now not all of it goes to the
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wealthiest 1%, but most of it does. and most of it goes to the wealthiest 10%. let's just, let's just take and only count two-thirds of that $3 trillion. $2 trillion. let's think about that number. that's a number that we really can't imagine. how many grains of sand are on this beach? you just can't get your hands around that kind of money, $2 trillion to the richest americans. let's divide it by the number of american men, women and children in our country. and what do you end up with? you end up with the fact that that bill that my colleagues across the aisle were so insistent on passing delivers the equivalent of $6,000 for every man, woman, and child in america to the very richest americans. but this bill wasn't about
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delivering benefits to the richest americans. this bill was not about delivering benefits to the privileged. this bill was not about making the powerful more powerful. this was about children. and so it got set aside one day after another after another, and we're at 100 days and counting. now who are these children? these are the children of families that are working americans. they don't qualify for medicaid. in oregon, that's the oregon health plan. they're doing a little bit better than that but not well enough to afford regular insurance in america. these are the children of the working poor.
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not so long ago we had a presidential campaign, and our president, president trump, campaigned on helping working families. but where was president trump -- president trump was all immersed in the same tax bill for the privileged and the powerful and didn't say anything about trying to make this happen for our children of working families. this bill, by the way, began 21 years ago. this program, children's health insurance program, chip, this program was forged in bipartisanship. this bill was the product of senator ted kennedy and senator orrin hatch working together to say we shouldn't allow low-income children, children of low-income families to go without health care.
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and why is that? well, because they knew that it profoundly affects the quality of life of that child, and we want to invest in those children. we want them to be successful. we want them to have strong futures. we don't want them to go without doctor's visits when they're sick. we don't want them to go without vaccinations and contract terrible illnesses. we don't want them to go without dental care and have their teeth destroyed even before they reach adult hood. we're going to take care of those children. forged in bipartisanship, back when both sides of the aisle seemed to care about the vision of government of, by, and for the people. but that vision has been disappearing and you find no better symbol of that than this session and the leadership of this body being obsessed with benefits for the best off while ignoring this bill for our
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children. it hasn't been completely ignored. the finance committee has acted. there is a bill called the kids act, keeping kids insurance dependable and secure, the kids act. and once again, senator hatch was right in the middle of this partnering with senator wyden from oregon. again bipartisanship at the committee level. they passed it out. they passed it out unanimously. but we don't see the kids act getting passed here on the floor of the senate. so let's change course. let's try to remember that this nation was founded on the vision of distributed power among the citizens so that it would continue to make decisions by and for the people. not by and for the best off in
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our society. let's try to reclaim that vision, and let's start by passing this bill, this bipartisan bill forged in bipartisanship, passed out of the finance committee in bipartisanship, let's get it from the floor and let's pass it now. let's not, this 100 days, not let it become 105 or 110 or 130. let's get it passed now. in the continuing resolution there was a little short patch that says we're going to make sure that states that are running out of money right now for a couple of months won't go under. this is not the type of bill that we should have for a few weeks or a couple months. quite frankly, i heard lots of folks on this floor saying they were so excited about this tax rip-off to give money to the
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powerful, the powerful needs predictability, they need stability. they need to know what the tax rules are long time and in the future. you know, struggling families would like to have some stability, not have their children be a bargaining chip in some broader vision of security, even more benefits for the powerful at the expense of working americans. let's put aside that vision of using our kids as a bargaining chip and pass this bill and get it to the president's desk. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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>> congress has until januar january 192 passes been able to from the federal government. those men talk about whether an agreement would address action for the childhood arrivals program was created under president obama to temporarily suspend deportation of those who came illegally as minors. the program was rescinded in september of last year. on the senate floor we heard republicans talk about their design now without changes to current immigration policy and border security. speaking first was chuck grassley who chairs the judiciary committee. >> highest consent, whether it's ur


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