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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  January 22, 2018 11:30am-5:22pm EST

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scheduled for noon eastern on limiting debate on a bill that would reopen the government and keep it open until february 8. now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order.
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mrs. ernst: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mrs. ernst: mr. president, i rise today to urge senate democratic leadership to end their reckless government shutdown. it's no secret that over the years i've made clear that i don't like funding our government from one short-sided band-aid bill to another.
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we must establish a path forward to responsibly fund our government for the long term. it's responsible and right thing to do for our military, for future generations, for our veterans, and for the american people. but rather than finding a long-term funding solution to ensure stability in our military, the senate democratic leadership has decided to shut down the government. so what does that mean for our military? well, for starters, critical defense projects have come to a halt. we can also see delays in maintenance of our critical aircraft, ships, our weapon systems at a time when our
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adversaries are becoming more aggressive and more advanced. and our service members who put their lives on the line every day for our country don't know when they will receive a paycheck. i have an advisor right now that is deployed to the middle east. i received an e-mail from him this morning and he said it's really hard for all of us here knowing that our government is shut down, but he said every day it's the same for us here in afghanistan. we will do what we need to do. god bless him for that. iowa national guardsmen are deployed overseas right now. one of my former units, the 248
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aviation support battalion is spread out through the middle east doing their mission while we struggle to find a way forward for them here in washington, d.c. military schools have been canceled. i spoke to an active duty army officer this morning. she was scheduled for her precommand course this weekend and her orders were canceled. she told me, i will not be able to go to that precommand course before i deploy. she will head overseas not having had a vital course to instruct her on leadership in the military. the likelihood of her picking up that course again in the future, near zero -- near zero. additionally, having served as a
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battalion commander in the iowa national guard during our last government shutdown, i can tell that you these shutdowns have a significant impact on our national guardsmen. a shutdown prohibits our citizen soldiers from participating in drill and training exercises essential to our military readiness. our public affairs officer sent out this notice this morning from the iowa national guard. the headline, iowa national guard feels effect of federal government shutdown. nearly 900 technicians furloughed. that's in iowa alone. approximately 400 personnel sent home from weekend training. that's just iowa.
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110,000 national guardmen were affected over this last weekend because of the shutdown. now, should these men and women be called to defend our nation in the face of danger, it is critical that they are properly prepared and a government shutdown does not allow this. during the time that the government shutdown goes on, we're not able to maintain our equipment. that hurts our readiness. our personnel can't do their wellness and medical checks. that hurts our read aniness -- readiness. our military can't get to their schools for advancement in their careers, that hurts our readiness. once those orders to school has been canceled, you can't just pick up on tuesday, wednesday, or thursday and say, okay, i'm
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going to school now, there are only so many slots allocated. if you miss that training period, you may be waiting months, perhaps even years to pick up those schools in the national guard. during the shutdown our folks are furloughed. depending on how long the government is shutdown, our citizen soldiers might not receive enough training days to be adequately prepared for duty. this could also mean that their time serving throughout the year might not be included in their total years of service, potentially further jeopardizing their benefits and pay. what a lot of folks here that haven't served in the military or guard or active duty, what they don't understand, in the
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reserve and guard you have to meet so many points in a year for that to be considered a good retirement year. if you fall a few days short of that, the entire year does not count towards your retirement. the entire year does not count towards your retirement. despite the rhetoric otherwise senate democrats are turning their back on men and women in uniform by putting our military's resources and readiness in jeopardy. it is inexcusable. additionally, the legislation the senate voted on friday night would have reauthorized the children's health insurance program for six years. six years. providing approximately $80,000 -- 80,000 iowa children with access to important health
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care services, especially in the rural and underserved areas. unfortunately, senate democratic leadership is playing political games in a post-hour effort to ensure critical funding is in place for children in iowa and across the country. instead the senate democratic leadership shutdown hurts iowa's low-income children, and puts rural areas at a major disadvantage and disrupts states' ability to ensure secure financial planning for their health care programs. folks, the reality is this shutdown happened because democratic leadership didn't get everything they wanted in this funding bill. they didn't get everything they
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wanted. as a result, they decided to hold hostage our military, our military's readiness, our children's health care, and our government. you see, the senate democrats who chose to play politics set arbitrary deadlines regarding deferred action for childhood arrivals, also known as daca. i too want to ensure that congress finds a solution for daca recipients. we have many, many recipients in iowa. many of my colleagues want to see resolution on this as well. america is a nation of immigrants and our diversity truly is our strength. it's incredibly important that
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we find a fix for daca recipients as they are so important to the fabric of our communities and to our future. many young down documented children were -- many young undocumented children were brought here truly through no fault of their own. congress has been and must continue to work together to identify and pursue a measured approach that addresses daca recipients' unique situation, and also respects the importance of our immigration laws, keeps our borders secure, and discourages future illegal immigration. there is estimate time to
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achieve a solution. there's still time, but holding the government hostage and stalling important discussions on daca really is nonsensical. some of my democratic colleagues are starting to show a willingness to work through these issues and reopen the government, and i'm asking them to vote yes for funding our government so that we can move ahead. but the decision to remain shutdown lies solely with the democratic leadership here in the senate. so today i'm calling on senate democratic leaders to put their reckless games aside and start working with us on a path forward to fund the government, ensure low-income children have access to health care, provide the resources our military
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needs, and find a solution for our daca recipients. i'm asking my senate colleagues, those that i have spoken with, both sides of the aisle, to join us in a yes vote today at noon, or shortly thereafter, so that we can find solutions. with that, mr. president, i thank you, and i yield the floor. i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. now today -- today we enter the third day of the trump shutdown, the first ever real shutdown to occur when one party controls the entire legislative process. the republican party controls the house, the senate, the presidency, and yet they were unable to keep the government open for the american people.
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leader mcconnell knows it takes 60 votes to win passage of a spending bill, and yet he moved forward with a last-minute extension that he knew lacked the votes. both democrats and republicans voted against that bill. the reason the republican majority had such difficulty finding consensus is they could never get a firm grip on what the president of their party wanted to do. these days with -- these days you never know who to deal with when it comes to the republicans. the republican leaders told me to work out a deal with the white house. the white house said work it out with republican leaders on the hill. separately president trump turned away from not one but two bipartisan compromises. each would have averted this shutdown. each would have led to a deal on the budget and health care and
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disaster aid and things like opioids and veterans and pensions and on immigration. my recent offer to the president was a generous one. i put his signature campaign issue on the table in exchange for daca and still he turned away. president trump's unwillingness to compromise caused the trump shutdown and brought us to this moment. the facts are well known. now i wish to update the senate on where things stand after this weekend. since our meeting in the oval office on friday, the president and i have not spoken, and the white house refused to engage in negotiations over the weekend. the great dealmaking president sat on the sidelines. despite and because of this frustration, i've been having conversations with the republican leader over the
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weekend about a path forward. after several discussions, offers, counteroffers, the republican leader and i have come to an arrangement. we will vote today to reopen the government, to continue negotiating a global agreement with the commitment that if an agreement isn't reached by february 8, the senate will immediately proceed to consideration of legislation dealing with daca. the process will be neutral and fair to all sides. we expect that a bipartisan bill on daca will receive fair consideration and an up-or-down vote on the floor. now it's a shame, mr. president, that the american people and the senate have had to endure such hand wringing, finger pointing, stridency to secure a guarantee that we will finally move to
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address this urgent issue. it is something the majority could have avoided entirely, a concern the president could have object -- obviated if he were willing to take yes for an answer. while this procedure will not satisfy all on both sides it's a way forward. i'm confident that we can get the 60 votes in the senate for a daca bill. and now there is a real pathway to get a bill on the floor and through the senate. it is a good solution, and i will vote for it. i'm incredibly grateful to the bipartisan group that has come together in recent days to renew the immigration debate with the sense of urgency. i believe that this group has the potential to return the
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senate to the kind of place it should be on the issue of immigration, a place for bipartisanship, a place for action, a place for achievement. the bipartisan group in a very fine way filled the glaring absence of the president in these talks. i expect the majority leader to fulfill his commitment to the senate to me and to the bipartisan group and abide by this agreement. if he does not of course -- and i expect he will -- he will have breached the trust of not only the democratic senators, but members of his own party as well. through these complicated and lengthy negotiations, democrats have always sought to be reasonable, to act in good faith and get something real done.
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despite all of our entreaties, the president was obstinate. despite bipartisan support for daca, the republican majority dithered. the senate has muddled along for too long, content to delay action on our most pressing challenges until the very last moment. that ends today. the republican majority now has 17 days to prevent the dreamers from being deported. mr. president, we have to -- we have a way to address the fate of the dreamers starting right now instead of waiting until march with the minority and the moderate middle empowered to bring a bill to the floor instead of being held by the most strident, anti-immigration voices in the republican caucus. and we on our side of the aisle
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will continue to fight as strongly as we can for the dreamers in the weeks ahead. i say to all americans, urge your senators to vote yes on the bipartisan compromise when it comes forward. write, tweet, e-mail, phone, visit, do everything you can so we can finally pass this bill. in a few hours the government will reopen. we have a lot to do. the issue of the dreamers demands resolution. a budget must be written. health care has to be addressed. relief provided to disaster-stricken parts of our country. pensions and opioids. veterans. child care. all have to be taken care of. the trump shutdown will soon end, but the work must go on. and it will.
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thank you and i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i want to thank the democratic leader for his comments and his indication that he intends to support the measure before us. i think if we've learned anything, i think if we've learned anything during this process, it set a strategy to shut down the government over the issue of illegal immigration is something the american people didn't understand and would not have understood in the future. so i'm glad we've gotten past that and we have a chance now to get back to work. and, therefore, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum call be waived.
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the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to concur with a further amendment in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 195, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 195 with a further amendment shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. mr. schumer: mr. president, before we call the roll, i ask unanimous consent that the democratic whip be allowed to address the chamber for three minutes with the gracious approval of the majority leader.
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the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, let me thank you very much and thank the majority leader for this opportunity. let me thank my friend, my colleague, and our leader on the democratic side for his passionate, personal commitment to this issue involving the dreamers and daca. he has been by my side and i've been inspired by his leadership from the start. and let me thank my colleagues. so many of you cast a vote that was very hard and very difficult because ubld, as -- you believed that the issue of the dreamers is the civil rights issue of the time. you stuck your necks out and said i'm willing to go on record even if it's hard to explain back home and i will never forget that. the question now is how we move forward. what i have seen here on the floor of the senate in the last few days is something we have not seen for years. constructive, bipartisan conversations and dialogue on
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the floor not just about this issue, which is obviously front and center, but about the future of this institution and what the senate will be from this point forward. that, to me, has been encouraging because it says to me that we do have an opportunity to work together. my special thanks to senator susan collins, my friend, and senator murkowski for joining with jeff flake and lindsey graham and cory gardner and others who have been working on this issue for so long to try to make a positive impact on this debate so we can move forward. i cannot tell my colleagues how many have come up to me from the other side of the aisle and said we're with you on this issue. we want to help you get this done. each of them has a little different take on what that means, but i do believe them and i do believe we have this opportunity to move together. now comes the test, the real test as to whether we can get this done, whether we can be the senate again, whether we can return to a regular order on the
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floor and constructively have a debate. for some of you, it will be the first time you've ever seen it, but believe me, it's worth the price of admission. all it took for you to come to the united states senate. so now we have to stand together. my last word is this, we have gathered the largest bipartisan group of senators to ever commit to moving forward on the dream act and immigration. we have a process. i want to thank senator mcconnell for explicitly saying today it will be a level playing field. it will be open to both sides. we will move to the issue as you characterized it morning of daca and immigration. thank you for doing that. i believe that that sets the stage for us to work together. for the first time in five years we will have a debate on the floor of the senate on the dream act and immigration. to all the dreamers who are watching today, don't give up. i know that your lives are hanging in the balance on what we do here on capitol hill and with the white house. three weeks from now i hope to be joining you in celebrating
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the passage with you and your families and your communities, a measure which will strengthen america and give you an opportunity to be part of our future. mr. president, i yield. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not on this vote the yeas are # 81. nays are 18.
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three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. cloture having been invoked the motion to refer falls. mr. cardin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, mr. president. first let me tell you how pleased i am, the people of maryland, that we are now in the process of ending this government shutdown. a government shutdown does not benefit anyone. it certainly doesn't benefit the federal workers who live in maryland and the federal workers around the nation. the uncertainty that a shutdown brings, those that are exempted are asked to work without knowing when they will get a paycheck. those that are on furlough don't know whether they'll ever get a paycheck or not. it's not in the interest of our federal workforce. it's certainly not in the interest of federal contractors who depend upon contracts that
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have been put on suspension. it's not in the interest of the public who depend upon governmental services and it ends up costing taxpayers more money. mr. president, i'm pleased to see that we're on a path to end this shutdown, to get government back up and a path forward. i also am pleased that we've at least accelerated by two weeks the deadline for getting a budget done. many of us have expressed major concern about continuing to operate under a continuing resolution. that makes no sense. we heard from the department of defense that they cannot keep our country safe on continuing resolutions. we know that agencies when they are trying to plan their mission cannot operate on continuing resolutions. for the public, continuing resolutions state that we're going to operate on last year's budget. it doesn't reflect this
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year's -- it doesn't reflect this year's priorities. and that's what we should be doing every year. so in this case the republicans control the house, the senate, and the white house. you would think that a budget could have been done bill october 1, which is when the fiscal year began. october 1 of last year. we're now approaching four months under the f.y. 2018 budget and we still don't have a budget. one of the parts that i am pleased about, as we move forward we've had real, i think, positive discussions that by the february 8 date, it's realistic to expect that we're going to be able to enact budget numbers so that the appropriations committee can recommend to the full chamber and we can pass appropriations bill or cromnibus or an omnibus that will allow our agencies to have full-year appropriations. or i should say the remainder of
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this year's appropriations. and i certainly hope that will include f.y. 2019. that would certainly be the best. and that it will be balanced, balanced between the needs of the department of defense and the nondefense agencies. we have critical functions that require to have a full year of appropriations for, including our national defense, department of defense, our state department, the department of health and the work that's done in national institutes of health, food safety and the federal drug administration, the ability of the social security administration to deliver checks to our seniors and to take care of our health care needs. all that requires that we have the predictability of a budge. so i'm -- predictability of a budget. i'm pleased that during this debate, not pleased we had a shutdown, we had great discussions between democrats and republicans that we are committed to bringing out a budget by february 8 so that we
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can give that type of predictability to the people of this country. that was one of the principle frustrations that many of us didn't want to go for a continuing resolution without knowing how we were going to deal with the budget. there are some special needs that we've had particular attention to, that we really also need to get done by no later than february 8. one of that is the opioid funding. i.p.o. funding, clearly it is in our -- opioid funding, clearly it is in our national interest. everyone in the country is suffering from the opioid crisis and we need to make sure 245 we give the wherewithal for the federal government to be a strong partner in dealing with this crisis. many of my colleagues have talked about disaster relief. we certainly need to give help to the communities of texas and florida, the -- puerto rico, the wildfires of the west. we know that we got to get that done now.
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we can't wait another month. let us make sure that by no later than february 8 we've also dealt with that issue. i'm pleased in the legislation that we're considering now that we will deal with the children's health insurance program. i wish it was permanent rather than putting another deadline on the program. we should try to make this permanent. it's been a bipartisan success program in all of our states and the children's health insurance program needs further attention for permanency. however, the legislation that we're in the process of passing does not deal with community health centers. we know that most of our children, parents are using the chip program, are going to be using health centers. we need to extend the programs for our health centers. there are a lot of extenders out there, mr. president. just to mention one, the one that i've been interested in and have authored legislation deals with the therapy caps.
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therapy caps mean that those who have the most serious needs for therapy services -- those suffering from stroke, those type of injuries -- are not able to get the full services or are at least threatened to not get the full services because of the therapy cap. we've extended it every since we put -- ever since we tut it into law. it should never have been put into law. but we also need to pay attention to it in this budget debate. that also needs to be dealt with by february 8. my colleagues, we've brought up the serious pension issues that affect the workers of this country. that needs to be addressed. so there's reason to say that i'm pleased that the government is back up -- or will be back up shortly. but we really need to negotiate and not operate under continuing resolutions. i think we have a much better chance to get to these budget resolutions resolved through a cromnibus or omnibus rather than
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another continuing resolution. and then, mr. president, there is the issue of the dreamers that i've talked about numerous times on the floor of the united states senate. the dreamer issue is urgent. it's urgent. many dreamers' lives have already been affected, and their lives have been changed as a result of president trump's announcement last september putting a six-month time limit on when the dreamers would be subject to deportation. that deadlining occurs early march. but in the meantime those who are up for renewal status, there's been uncertainty as to whether they will be able to continue to eside here in -- reside here in america, that they'll be able to continue to have a driver's license or work. they feel like they have -- and they do have -- a date on the back of their body saying that they expire on a particular date. that anxiety needs to end. it should never have been started under president trump's
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edict in september. but we need to respond to that in an urgent way. so i was very pleased that we have a commitment from the majority leader that by no later than february 8, if we have not passed a bipartisan daca protection -- dreamer protection bill, that we will have that bill on the floor of the united states senate in a manner in which the majority of the senate can speak, and i'm very confident that the compromise that had been negotiated with senator graham and senator durbin, we will be able to pass that bill that would protect the dreamers. yes, it does. what it does is it allows the dreamer status to maintain and puts then in a pathway so they can have permanent citizenship here in the united states and they know that their future is america. after all, it's the only country that most know. so that is certainly very encouraging sign. i was also very pleased to hear in the negotiations that took
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place that that legislation would also provide the protection for those that are here in temporary protective status. president trump in some of the cases has extended dates and said this was the last extension that could expire within the next 18 months. in some cases he's deferred making that decision for some countries. what we know about those in temporary protective status, they're very similar to the dreamers. many know no country but the united states as their home. and it's important that we protect their status here in the united states and provide them a pathway for permanency and citizenship here in the united states. they are part of america, and they are part of our economy. in the meantime, mr. president, i would hope that there would be consensus here and support from the white house that the enforcement procedures that are being used against the immigrant community is mindful of the efforts being made here to
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provide them a permanent status and that the priorities on enforcement that we've heard mentioned many times, which quite frankly are very confusing to the immigrant community, that those priorities would not aim at those that are going to be protected under the legislation that we will be considering in the next few weeks. so, mr. president, we all are pleased that we are now able to move forward and keep government open, that we have a commitment to deal with the budget of our country by february 8, and the dreamer issue by that date, that we've made real progress. as senator durbin observed -- and i must tell you i think each of us did also -- that during this very difficult time the conversations that we've had among our colleagues on both sides of the aisle have been very encourage. i think the members of this body want to return to the great traditions of the united states senate where we listen to each
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other, where we work together, where we compromise and we're able to come to successful completion of of our work. too much work -- virtually no work has been done. but too much is on the table right now that needs to get finished. and let us take advantage of these next few weeks to show the american people that indeed we will work together in the best interests of our country, putting partisan politics aside, dealing with our budget issues, dealing with our immigration issues, dealing with our health care issues, dealing with our pension issues. we can do the people's work. let's get that done and let's start right now. -- in getting that work completed. with that, mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. burr: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the
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quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. burr: mr. president, the united states senate has just done the right thing. and in a matter of hours hopefully the decision to fund the government, to put people back to work will find its way to the house of representatives, and i'm sure that there it will find a quick agreement and tomorrow everybody will be back in place in both the house and the senate, and both the house and the senate can work aggressively between mind february -- between now and february 8 to make sure this doesn't happen again and to make sure we bring permanency to the funding. mr. president, the vice chairman of the committee, and i was notified when the house c.r. appeared, that there was language in this that was different than in the past.
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and the language is in section 148 of the c.r., and it's of concern to the intelligence committee. let me just read the language. section 148. funds ahe want proked by the department of defense missile defeat and defense enhancement acts -- appropriations act of 2018, division b of public law 115-96, may be obligated and expended without -- excuse me, notwithstanding section 504 of the national security act of 1947. now, the language is troublesome for the committee because it would authorize the intelligence community to spend funds notwithstanding the law that requires prior authorization by the senate intelligence committee or by the house intelligence committee. now, the vice chairman and i were on the floors i think, last week and we had a 65-34 vote to
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reauthorize the most significant intelligence tool to keep america safe, and in that debate both senator warner and myself said to our opposition that we would do everything within the committee's power to make sure that we did aggressive realtime oversight over the entire intelligence community. sometimes that means that when we see that there might be something more uncomfortable, we alter the ability to access funds. in congressional terms, we call that fencing off money. but we utilize the tools as an authorizer to effect what impact individuals within the intelligence community can choose to do. now, when you take away section
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504 authorities that the committees have, for the next three weeks we will have an inability to exercise, in our estimation, the tools that we might need to keep our commitment to 34 individuals that still voted against us but, more importantly, to the american people that we would do everything to make sure that our intelligence communities acted in a way that those educated and elected in this body saw fit. so, as a result, this language could erode the powers of the authorizing committee effectively the intelligence community could expend funds as it sees fit without authorization bill in place and with no statutory direction indicating that an authorization bill for 2018 is forthcoming. let me just say to my colleagues, a situation like this is untenable.
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we've worked with our colleagues in hypocrisy to develop -- in hipcy to develop language to change this. and i might say, we've had a umcan of opportunities to do it and we should have done it literally with we changed the date of the c.r. when we changed the date from the original date to the 8th of february -- the 16th, i think was the original -- we should have inserted this new language. but because a fight between aappropriators and the intelligence committee in the house, we weren't able to do that. and i have a feeling that senator warner and i are going to find that there is now a fight between the intelligence communities and the appropriators of the united states senate because i fear somebody might object to the unanimous consent i will ask after senator warner speaks. but let me read for you, mr. president, what the
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committee has come up with, and this is bicameral. the house select committee on intelligence is in agreement. in sections 148 it would say, funds appropriated by the defense, missile, defeat, and defense enhancement being -- appropriations act of 2018, division of public law 115-96, for intelligence or intelligence-related activities are deemed specifically authorized by congress for the purposes of section 504 of the national security act of 1947, 50 u.s. code 414, during fiscal year 2018 until the enactment of the intelligence authorization act for fiscal year 2018. vice chairman is a lawyer. i'm not. i really rely on the legal counsel that we have within the committee to interpret u.s. law. it really doesn't take a law
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degree to understand that there's a huge difference between ignoring section 504 -- notwithstanding -- or applying section 504, which our change makes. so this isn't really a misinterpretation. this is a question of whether you want to take section 504 of the national security act of 1 1947, 50 u.s. code 414 and continue to let it apply, or whether you are a he going to provide the intelligence community a waiver that exempts them from having to adhere to part of u.s. code, and the reason that i wanted the opportunity to speak before we ask unanimous consent was i want my colleagues to understand we take our oversight role extremely serious. we want every tool in our basket that we can to give the american people the assurance that we know exactly what's going on and
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that we are at least in agreement that they proceed forward, not that they have a free rein, only because they've been appropriated a pot of money because an executive request was made. it would be no different under the obama administration or under the trump administration. and i would encourage my colleagues not to object to it when i ask for the unanimous consent because that's what we are here for. with that i would yield to the vice chairman. mr. warner: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: mr. president, i want to echo the comments that my friend, the chairman, the senator from north carolina made. ten days ago we asked for reauthorization of section 702. i came to this floor and advocated that this was a critically important tool, that part of the reforms of that legislation would even give us more insight into how that tool was used. but we said at that point, not
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only do those members who didn't agree with us on that but to all the members and for that matter the american people that the intelligencintelligence committl continue its vigorous oversight of that program and other programs. being on the intelligence committee, at least until recently, has not been necessarily all that high attention and profile. we spent hundreds and hundreds of thundershowers every month in a scif -- hundreds of hundreds of hours every month in a scif. one of the things i find so rewarding about the intelligence committee's work on issue after issue, you couldn't tell who is a democrat and a republican. we all take extraordinarily serious our oversight responsibilities. if this exemption is granted, you could potentially have an administration, any administration go off and take on covert activities, for example, with no ability for our
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committee which spends the time and has the oversight to say time out or to say we actually disagree with that policy. so i've been very disturbed about the whole process that arose in the house, how this was attempted to get slipped in. i hope as well as the chairman that no member would choose to object and if they do choose to object, i hope they will be able to explain to the american public why they would want to remove the intelligence committee's ability to monitor and then if we make a decision, withdraw funds if we don't agree and have that ongoing tool that's one of the most key components of our oversight responsibility, why they would want to give any administration for that matter a blank check. so, again, my hope would be that no one will object to this request that we will continue the policies that existed for as long as i've been on the committee and that those of us
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on the committee will continue to take the responsibility of oversight very, very seriously and will continue to do it in a bipartisan way. with that i'll yield back to the chairman. mr. burr: i thank the vice chairman of the committee. mr. president, there are over 30-plus professional staffers that staff both sides of the intelligence committee. on each side there's a staffer designated for each of the intelligence agencies in this country. and i would dare say today that they know their particular portfolio of intelligence agencies as well as the employees that work inside that agency. they're experts. they're tasked with that degree of knowledge. and layered on top of that are 15 members of the united states senate, that the leadership on both sides have asked to spend countless hours behind closed doors as the vice chairman said,
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typically in a bipartisan fashion. to provide for every member and for the american people, our certification that we agree with what the intelligence community is doing, that it lives within the letter of the law, that there is some congressional oversight on a constant basis in real time assuring members and the american people of that accuracy. why would you take away the tools that we have to actually hold them accountable? and i know that appropriators believe that this hinders their ability to spend money when we're in a continuing resolution period because of section 504. i'm not sure that i interpret it
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the same way that they do. just because an executive branch has asked for a pot of money, i've never considered that the committee couldn't go in because of a veriment dis-- vehement disagreement with the way it's being spent and alter that. that altering means that on the part of 15 members, we have a hesitancy as to how it's being done. at this time i would ask unanimous consent that the burr amendment to the amendment number 1917, which is at the desk, be considered and agreed to. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. a senator: i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. burr: it's my hope we will
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come to our senses at some point in this process and this waiver to u.s. code will in fact not be in place, but i will assure on behalf of the vice chairman and myself, to all our members, we will do the best to our ability given the limitation that's placed on us to hold the intelligence community accountable for everything that they do and that we will be much more active in the future relative to the appropriations that find their way there if in fact they're not going to provide us the tools to manage in a constructive way those things that the agencies choose to carry out. if i didn't have the number of
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individuals in members and in staff that are experts, i probably wouldn't be as confident. but these folks take it extremely serious because we know what's at stake. the trust that we have with our members and the trust we have with the american people. with that, mr. chairman, i politely yield back but with great disappointment. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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brown mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. the news is good today. it looks like we're close to a resolution. what makes that resolution, what that makes -- what makes that acattractive to me, this is the first time as we know that congress, the white house and supreme court -- the house, the senate, the white house and the supreme court are controlled by one party, first time that that's been the case in a
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government shutdown. we know where responsibility lies, but that's the past. i want to look at the future. the future is this should make it easier because of the discussions so many of us had over the weekend with senators in our own party and the other party regardless of which -- of the party of any of us, that we have -- i think we're reaching a place where i think we can get serious about negotiations and a whole lot of issues. once this is behind us after this vote later today, once the house passes it, the continuing resolution, once the president signs it, i'm hopeful we can get serious about a whole host of other issues. in ohio in the last two weeks, two hospitals have closed down, one for-profit hospital in m masselin, a small industrial city not far from canton, and a not for profit in dayton, ohio. both announced the closures of those hospitals. he know what that means -- we
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know what that means to people in the region. it's lost time. it's all the things that a good hospital means in a community. and part of the reason for those hospital closings, frankly, is we haven't done our jobs here. the attacks on the affordable care act, the unrelenting attacks from the president and the majority party here. i've stood with my governor, republican governor. i'm a democrat. governor kasich and i against these medicaid cuts, against the attacks on the affordable care act, against the undercutting, the shrinking of the signup period, the undercutting of the marketing campaigns, all the things that have caused more volatility and instability in the health care market. what i'm hopeful for after this bill is signed by the president later today and the government reopens, we then can get serious about what do we do about not just chip -- i think people in both parties here - finally -- took four months but finally
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giving chip not just new life but six years of life. i'm thrilled about that. but to make chip work, you need community health centers. because in a child -- if a working family, each making $10 an hour, they don't have enough money to buy insurance, they don't have a job that perhaps has insurance, they rely on chip, well, if their child gets sick and wants to go to a health center, if the community health centers are closed or underfunded or underoperating, there's no place to go. you don't need just chip. you need the community health centers, too. and we need to pay attention to rural hospitals. a lot of my state is rural. i look at what the -- i know -- i've been, for instance, to the brian hospital, phil enin is the president of that hospital and does a very good job with a difficult task because in small towns, it's the county in the northwest corner of the state, the county borders indiana to the west and michigan to the north.
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small towns like that have more challenges running their hospitals. i hope we can focus on that. we can focus on 340-b, a medicaid prescription drug cost provision. i'm hopeful we can focus on the disproportionate share payments. i'm hopeful we can focus on some of the medicare extenders so that we can in fact bring some stability to this health care system. because these two hospitals that closed in dayton -- they haven't closed yet. where they announced the closure in dayton and masselin, we're working to keep both open. it's a challenge. but the closing of those hospitals i hope isn't a harbinger of what is to come. because of the attack on the health care market and the laws over the last year. but that's why we need serious long-term negotiations here. the other issue that's so important, mr. president, is pensions. the preside -- in the presiding officer's home state of indiana and my state of ohio and
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pennsylvania, north dakota and missouri and michigan and wisconsin and minnesota, there are hundreds -- literally hundreds of thousands of teamsters and coal miners and iron workers and carpenters and confectionry workers, even though they paid into a pension for 30 years, even they they gave up dollars today at the bargaining table so they could put dollars aside for the future often matched by their employer, because of wall street greed and wall street malfeasance and misfeasance in part, these pensions, they're going to face huge cuts. the presiding officer senator young and i and senator donnelly, a number of us, senator portman and johnson are working out some -- i hope just working toward some agreement on pensions, that we can make sure -- you didn't work 40 years to see a 40% cut in your pension. i start with the butch lewis act legislation that i've introduced
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with a number of cosponsors. we want to work with both parties to make sure this works. i'm hopeful this deal today helps to clear a path so that the two senators from indiana and i and senator portman and others can work together to make this happen. in my state alone it's 50,000 teamsters, it's another 7,000 or 9,000 coal workers. these are union plans. these union members gave up wages today. they understood, i don't take as much pay today, that money's set aside so i have health care and so my pension is there when i retire in 30 years. they did it right. they played by the rules. their government needs to back them up. that's the importance of this pension bill. that's why i appreciate the work of the presiding officer and others.
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i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. cornyn: h president hfer th- mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for texas. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i know the paperwork is being
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finalized but i for one, and i guess i'm not the only one -- i'm sure there's broad appreciation for the fact that our democratic colleagues who voted to close the government have now changed their mind and now will vote on final passage having just voted on cloture to reopen the federal government. this was a strategy that lacked an end game and was never going to work. the safety, health, and livelihoods of americans across the country didn't deserve to be held hostage, and the american people have had enough of these kinds of games. i think basically the verdict of the american people is a pox on both your houses. i don't think anybody comes out of this looking very good. but surely, this calculated stunt that put funding for our government, military, and
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children's health insurance program at risk all because our colleagues wanted to accelerate consideration of the daca issue, the deferred action for childhood arrivals, was a mistake by any measure. they, of course, had planned the strategy for months. many of them had signaled their intention to he vote against any spending bills unless the daca issue was resolved, despite the fact that a majority of americans in recent polls said that avoiding a shutdown was more important to them than other priorities. and if you just think about it, trying to deal with the concerne legitimate, and i am sympathetic with them. of the 690,000 daca recipients versus 320 million americans who were hurt by this shutdown, it just seems disproportionate and unnecessary.
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for most of the last three days, negotiations led to nowhere. the majority leader in particular took the conciliatory gesture of instead of pursuing the four-week extension, said okay, we'll do it for three weeks, and that's what ultimately our colleagues across the aisle voted on. but what did they have to show for that? to my mind, they got nothing to show for that. sure, they got a commitment from senator mcconnell, the majority leader, to take up the issue of immigration in february. he was going to do that anyway because we know that the program, the deferred action for childhood arrivals program expires in march, march 5. so logic would tell us that, yes, we're going to have to take it up in february.
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so it seems tow harm billion to try to shut down the government to force something that was going to happen anyway. and so i said, it doesn't make much sense to me. i'm glad our colleagues decided to take this step to reopen the government while we resume or work to find a solution on this immigration issue. but we have a lot of other important issues. first of all, we got the children's health insurance program. it will be reauthorized, as part of this vote shortly. but we've got other issues. we've got to agree on spending caps for this fiscal year, so the appropriations committees can figure out how much money can we commit to our national security. we have shortchanged our national security in recent years because of the budget control act and conservation, which creates automatic spending -- and sequestration, which creates automatic spending caps absent some agreed-upon grand
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bargain. this has been a perennial problem, not just for congress and the country but particularly it has fallen hard on our military, at a time when james clapper, the former director of n.i.hnational intelligence, hasd he has never seen a more diverse array of threats confronting our country and confronting the world. and you can just tick down the list from north korea to iran to russia to china. there are -- there is the threat of homegrown terrorism here in the united states because of domestically inspired islamic extremists. the world is a dangerous place, and it's only made safer when america is strong and america leads. and we can't do that underfunding our national security apparatus, our intelligence agencies, and the department of defense.
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so we need to take care of that. we also need to deal with disaster relief. i come from a state that was hammered by hurricane harvey, the most significant rain event in many, many, perhaps even 1,000 years, where more than 50 inches of rain inundated the city of houston and that environs, and many people are still hurting, many people are still not back in their homes. their bases were blown away. and while the house of representatives has voted on a $81 billion disaster relief package, because of the holdup here -- again, because our democratic colleagues in the senate think that this daca issue is more important than those victims of natural disasters, not to mention the wildfires out west -- that's been put on ice as well. so there's a lot of important
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things that we need to get done, and i hope we'll take advantage of the next few weeks here to get them done as we continue our discussions about daca and what to do to provide some assistance to these 690,000 young people who were brought here as minor children by their parents and are in somewhat of a box. earlier today i went to the white house with several of my colleagues to meet with president trump to discuss the four areas that he's laid out to address the march 5 deadline relating to daca. we're working through those four issues as i speak, trying to find a permanent solution for the daca recipients, making sure that border security and interior enforcement -- and interior informs is beefed up so we don't have a reputation of this situation in the future. we also are looking to limit chain of migration and to
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perhaps even use some additional visas left over to accelerate the movement of people who having playing by the rules and been waiting in line, some for 010 or 20 years, just to rejoin their families here in the united states. and finally, the president instructed us to deal with the visa lottery program, about 50,000 visa provided literally based on a lottery, not because the immigrant has any special skills or qualities that would contribute to our country but merely because they happen to wing the lottery. i think it makes sense to reform that, perhaps to use some of those additional visas to -- again, to deal with the backlog of people who have been waiting in line patiently trying to emigrate to the country in a legal fashion. we ought to reward them, not continue to punish them, but
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also to try do what we might to maybe reassign some of those visas to merit-based immigration, people who have graduated with skills that we need here in the united states, including the stem field, science, technology, engineering, math. i think that would -- i think that makes a lot of sense. but obviously i am not going to decide this by myself. we're going to have to build a coalition of democrats and republicans, and i think we can. i think we can demonstrate our natural american compassion when it comes to immigrants. as i've said before, we are a country that's been built by immigrants. but the part we seem to always forget in this conversation on immigration is we're also a nation of laws, and that's what people have lost confidence in; that the federal government is committed to securing the border and enforcing our laws. and if we do that, i think the american people will continue to welcome people through a legal
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immigration system who want to come here to america for a better life and to contribute and to pursue their dream. our meeting at the white house was a productive conversation. it's just one of many. i know senator schumer visited with the president, i believe it was last friday, on the immigration question. our colleagues senator durbin and senator graham have been working with senator flake, senator menendez, i think senator gardner was -- is part of that as well, and i'm probably leaving somebody out. but they have a bipartisan proposal that they took to the white house. unfortunately, the president said it wasn't a proposal that he could support, and so back we go to the drawing boards. and nobody pretends that this solution is easy, but it is one that we need to address. i believe the president remains engaged and committed to finding a solution for these young
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adults who were brought here, as i said, through no fault of their own. i especially remain committed to the 124,000 daca recipients in my home state of texas. it's no surprise that texas has a large immigrant population because of our proximity to the border. but we're not alone, and many of these 690,000 daca recipients are spread to every state in the country. but i have a personal interest in making sure we come up with a bipartisan solution for these young adults who face such uncertainty. but it's important that any solution we agree on contains two things. first is a daca solution for these young adults, many of whom are huge contributors to our communities. indeed, these are our neighbors, and they work alongside us in our community. they deserve a thoughtful and compassionate solution that i hope we deliver.
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i understand the plight that they find themselves in. i've had a chance, like all of the members of the senate and the house, to meet many of these young people and many of them are extraordinarily impressive. they've excelled in school. they have a lot of promise. but you unfortunately, they carry this -- but, unfortunately, they carry this burden of a status that does not permit them to stay in the country absent legislative action. so it is a precarious position. i'm sure to live every day not quite sure of what the future will mean. but any solution we come up with over the next several weeks must also protect the 320 million americans that already live in the country, in addition to these daca recipients. and what i mean by that is i think there needs to be some natural symmetry here to the extent that we provide compassionate relief to these
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young people. i think we need to correspondingly assure the american people that we're actually serious about border security and enforcing our laws. my state has had to bear the burden of a lot of the cost of border security, including placing law enforcement personnel along the border, because the federal government has simply failed to do its job over these many years. and i know leaders in my state will be glad to see the federal government finally step up and accept their responsibility. i know the president has talked frequently about a wall. some people talk about tactical infrastructure. as a matter of fact, the president referred back to the 2006 secure fence act and said, well basically we're talking about the same thing. what the border patrol usually refers to this as -- they call it tactical infrastructure.
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and my tutor on matters affecting border security is the current sector chief of the rio grande valley, manny padilla. and he says, at each and every place along the border, each of which is unique in its own way, it requires a combination of three things. he said, it requires infrastructure -- call it a fence, call it a wall, call it a barrier, whatever you call it; that's one peeves it. but the second is technological, it's technology. it's an aerostat balloon in the sky. it's ground sensors. it's radar. it's a u.a. have, an unmanned aerial vehicle. but it basically is tied up into a system that is complemented by boots on the ground, by the
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border patrol that are an essential component. so when mr. padilla says that border security involves infrastructure, technology, and people, what he's saying is that we should leave to the experts how and where to deploy each of these items where it makes the most sense. if you go out to west texas out in big bend, i've flown over the cliffs there that are 3,200 feet tall that look down into the rio grande river. you don't need to build a fence there. you don't need to build a wall there. but you go to san diego, california, you go to some of the corridors -- the hard-to-control places in the texas-mexico border, maybe what you'd prefer to do is have a technological solution. or in an urban area where it is easy to dart across the border
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into the united states and melt into the urban landscapes maybe it makes sense to have fencing and tactical infrastructures, and walls where appropriate. so being able to put in place the right mix of infrastructure, personnel, and technology will enable us to begin to regain the public's confidence on this issue because if we address the plight of these young adults but do not address the cause of the problem, which is illegal immigration, which is how they got here being brought by their parents in the first place, we'll be back here arguing the same thing a decade from now. so i stand ready to work, and i'm glad our democratic colleagues have joined us today in reopening the government so we can work on finding a solution to our border security and immigration challenges. we are all working and have been for months on a path forward on daca, and we'll continue to do
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so now that the government has reopened and we can roll up our sleeves, work with the white house, work with our colleagues in the house and the senate, and to come up with solutions to the four items the president has identified for us. so i welcome the ideas of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers and certainly from the president himself, work on this issue will require an effort by all of us. so now it's up to the house to do its job after we pass this continuing resolution for three weeks and to move us past this shutdown. let's reopen the government and all get back to work. mr. president, i yield the floor, and i'd note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: madam presiden president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous
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consent further procedures under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to immediate consideration of s. con. res. 33. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate concurrent resolution 33, providing for a correction in the enrollment of h.r. 195. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i know of no further debate on the motion to concur with amendment. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, the question is on the motion to concur with further amendment. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second?
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there is a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not the yeas are 81. the nays are 18. the motion to concur is agreed to, with amendment.
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mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: majority leader. mr. mcconnell: could we have order in the senate. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. mcconnell: madam president, after three days of an unnecessary lapse in funding, a bipartisan majority has brought the democratic leader's extraordinary filibuster to an end and passed a bipartisan bill to reopen the federal government. as i've said repeatedly over the past week, shutting down the government is an irresponsible way to do business. it does not reflect the seriousness with which i know my colleagues on both sides would like to approach the people's business here in the senate. all our important work for the american people had to be put on hold while this manufactured crisis was dealt with. we made no substantive progress, not one inch, on the serious
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bipartisan negotiations that will take to solve issues, such as immigration and border security, health care, defense spending and many other matters. so i'm glad we can finally get back to work here. the political gamesmanship the past three days have highlighted many of my colleagues' commitment to honest and bipartisan work. i'd like to particularly thank senator graham, senator collins, senator flake, and several of our democratic colleagues who worked tirelessly to bring this impasse to a conclusion. soon federal operations will be getting back to normal for the american people. we all know what comes next, challenging negotiations on a host of serious issues. the weeks ahead will require the best from all of us. i hope we can remember some lessons from this regrettable incident.
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brinksmanship and hostage taking do not work. they make bipartisan progress harder, not easier to achieve. senators must focus on the common good of the american people, not the wharped priorities, the wharped priorities of extreme voices no matter how loudly they shout at us to do otherwise. with a pointless, damaging partisan theatrics of this government shutdown behind us, serious and bipartisan negotiations can resume. we've been talking for months about how to address military spending, disaster relief, health care, immigration, and border security and the rest of congress unfinished business. now those talks can get going again. whether they bear fruit is up to all of us. now, mr. president, i move to proceed to executive session to
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consider calendar number 594, jerome powell. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. all opposed say no. ayes appear to have it. ayes do have it. the motion is carried. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, federal reserve system, jerome h. powell of maryland to be chairman of the board of governors. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion, we the jiewndz signed senator -- undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move bring to a close debate on the nomination of jerome h. powell to be chairman of the board of governors of the federal reserve system signed by 17 senators. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion.
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all in favor say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. ayes do have it. the motion is carried. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar 597, alex azar. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. all opposed say no. ayes appear to have it. ayes do have it. the motion is granted. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of health and human services, alex michael azar ii of indiana to be secretary. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators no accordance with the rules of -- move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of alex michael azar signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session.
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the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. ayes do have it. motion is granted. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive stion to consider calendar number 620, sam brownback. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. ayes do have it. the motion is granted. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of state, samuel dale brownback of kansas to be ambassador at large for international religious freedom. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. 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 samuel dale brownback to be ambassador at large for international religious freedom signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be
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waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum calls for the cloture motions be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the 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 that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn til 12:00 noon tuesday, january 23. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour 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 powell 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: if there's no further business to come before
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the senate, i ask it stand adjourned under the previous order following the remarks of senator daines. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: before i got involved in politics, i spent 28 years in the private sector. small businesses, medium-sized business, fortune 25 company. the fortune 25 company was procter and gamble, i spent 14 years with that company. one of our assignments took us to mainland china. i remember when we were offered the assignment and we took the job, that time we had our little boy david, our first child. he was about 18 months old. and our second child annie, she was just born. she was just a new baby, several weeks old. and we moved. that was in january of 1992.
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and we were part of leading the team that pioneered the operations for procter & gamble back in the early days. today that geography i think is p&g es second largest geography as it relates to sales in the world. and i remember we would spend time with other american families from around the world. there were american families. there were families from virtually every continent. we would spend time going to organnages. we would go to the or fan ajs -- orphanages usually on a saturday. some had disabilities. some of these babies never received a human touch except when the families, often time american families would go and hold them. on a positive note, it built in a conscience at that orphanage. they knew the americans were
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coming on saturday. things got cleaned up. the babies were getting a little better fed. that was a good thing. but we were fighting on behalf of those who had life and weren't being treated very well. i'm going to tell you a couple other stories about things that happened while we were over there in china. i remember i was running a large organization. i had many chinese employee, who were -- employees who were working for me. one day one of my key managers came. he said, steve, i need to go to the police station this afternoon. and i said, oh, my word, is there something wrong? do you need some help? he said no, not really. my wife is pregnant and we did not have permission from the authorities to get pregnant. and i said, what does that mean? he said, well, that might mean they would terminate the pregnancy, require it.
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at that moment i looked at that employee, one of my key managers, and i said, i will do all that i need to do, all that i can to ensure we protect that baby assuming you want to keep that baby. and he said my wife and i do want to keep that baby. sol i said, what does help look like, how can i help you? and he said, well, could i get a case of shampoo? we were making some well known brands, head & shoulders shamp shampoo, vidal sassoon, pantene. we were making crest toothpaste then, tide. we had these world class brands and so i gave him a case of shampoo. and he went downtown to see the authorities. that case of shampoo saved the life of that baby and they now have a beautiful grown daughter.
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another day i was at work and my phone rang. my wife, cindy, called me. and she said, steve, you won't believe it but we just had twin baby girls dropped off on our doorstep in our apartment. i said twin baby girls? really? and at that point we had three children so we went over to china with two. we had two more in fact while we were living over there. by the time -- at that time we had three. she said they were just infants. and the story behind that, there was a mother who lived in the countryside who had one baby, a little girl, and she got pregnant with twins. and because of the one child policy, she was in trouble. and she fled to the countryside. in fact, she was hiding in a remote location and her mother would come out to feed the mother and the babies to keep them alive.
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to make a long story short, we battled for a couple of years because there was no paper trail for these two beautiful chinese babies. and there was an american family that worked for procter & gamble, one of my associates that wanted to adopt those babies. and i can tell you another happy ending to that story, they are now two beautiful young women who are living in the united states as u.s. citizens. these stories demonstrate the importance of saving one life at a time. i share these stories, mr. president, because today is the 45th anniversary of the supreme court's decision on roe v. wade. and i know there's a lot going on at the moment. the senate just voted to reopen the government. the house will follow shortly. the president will sign that.
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common sense has prevailed. we've got the government open again. and in fact we're reauthorizing the children's health insurance program for six years. but today in the midst of all of these important issues that we're dealing with, we cannot, we must not forget that each year in the united states, over 600,000 babies lose their fight for life due to abortion. no case of shampoo is able to save them. they never got the chance to be adopted. it's over 600,000 babies a year. 60 million since the supreme court's decision on roe v. wade in 1973. 45 years ago today.
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i told you a little bit about david when i started my remarks, our oldest son of our four children. david was born in the united states before we moved to china, and i think as a parent and if you're a parent, you remember those new babies, you take them to get their shots, it's much harder on mom and dad than it is on the baby. the baby's screaming and crying, the pain they're feeling. and you just -- you yearn at a parent to try and take away that pain. it's part of the natural response of any mom or dad. but tragically in this nation, that over 13,000 babies aborted, there are over -- aborted that are over 20 weeks old. you see at 20 weeks, that baby can yawn, it can make faces, it can stretch. and the science tells us that
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babies at 20 weeks of age can feel pain. so we think about the pain that a parent feels when a newborn maybe receives a vaccination. imagine the pain a baby at 20 weeks and beyond feels if it's being aborted. in fact, when they do in utero surgery, at 20 weeks and beyond, they administer anesthesia to that baby. we must continue to fight to protect life at all stages. but certainly where we can take steps, bipartisan steps, to protect life, we should. i think we might be able to agree that banning elective abortions for babies that are 20 weeks are older -- that's five
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months, well past the halfway stage in gestation -- we should do that. at the center of this debate is a tiny child, and that baby can't speak for itself yet. those babies we fought for in china, whether it's that baby that was saved by a case of shampoo or those twin baby girls who were dropped off on our doorstep, they couldn't speak and fight for their lives. the babies in the womb, their cries aren't audible. we at least could hear the cries of those twin baby girls, and that is why we must act on their behalf. in fact, studies have shown that the vast majority of americans are in favor of prohibiting
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late-term abortions, of stopping elective abortions after 20 weeks. in fact, if you pull millenniall millennials, that number is even higher. why is that? i'm not sure i have the precise answer, but one possibility is technology. in fact, if you have a smartphone, take it out. i can't do that because they're prohibited on the floor of the senate, so i can't demonstrate it here. but if you have a smartphone or you've got your computer, your ipads, go to google and just type in 20 weeks. that's all. you don't have to type in baby. type in 20 weeks. look at what pops up. what you'll see are images of what a baby looks like at 20 weeks.
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and i think technology is now convincing millennials that what goes on in the womb at 20 weeks is a life. it's not just a piece of flesh. and that's why we need to pass the pain capable unborn child protection act. by the way, just last week the department of health and human services announced a new conscience in religious freedom division within its office of civil rights. the administration is committed, and i'm grateful they're committed to enforcing existing conscience laws. i don't believe anyone should be forced to participate in an activity like abortion that violates their own conscience. i'm grateful for this administration's commitment to protecting life and the rights of conscience, and i stand ready to work with them and anyone
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here on either side of the aisle to advance the cause for life. i've always believed that people will believe those things they discover for themselves. as a parent, you know that. you can teach your children. you can say things to your children. but ultimately it's a process of them discovering something for themselves before they really will believe something. and i think that's what's going on right now with millennials and the issue of late-term abortions and the issues of life. because technology is showing all of us with the incredible clarity of ultra sounds and giving visibility of what's going on inside, that amazing miracle of life, that indeed it is a life. since the supreme court's decision on roe v. wade, 60 million babies have lost their lives to abortion. we can honor the memories by acting to end this atrocity.
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i very much look forward to seeing the pain-capable unborn child protection act come to the floor of the united states senate. we may have disagreements about when life begins, but let's all agree that we should stop late-term abortions. and 20 weeks is when that little baby can feel pain. i think that's a reasonable place to draw the line to get bipartisan support going forward. there's only seven countries in the world that hall hrou these late -- that allow these late-term abortions. the united states is on the same list as north korea. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this most important legislation. thank you, mr. president. i yield back. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate
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stands adjourned until noon stands adjourned until noon the senate today voted 81-18 from the government through the. eight. senate minority leader chuck schumer and he democrats voted to vote for federal spending after credit for majority leader mitch mcconnell to take up legislation on immigration including the program called daca that allowed some documented immigrants to come to assist children to remain in this country. the bill now goes to the house for a vote. right now some of the floor debate in the senate this afternoon about this deal. >> today we enter the third day of the trap shut down the first ever real so down to occur when one party controls the entire legislative process. publican party ctr


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