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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  February 5, 2018 2:59pm-6:35pm EST

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for us. i think state policy does matter. and while i agree that communities ought to have some competitiveness and some control over their own regulation, there should be a minimum standard that makes sure that the country is connected as well. but you wanted to comment. >> well, i couldn't agree with you more that the cost of maintaining and upgrading networks for underserved areas only escalating. it's a multiplier of what the build costs actually are. and we know particularly as we're seeing this extraordinary spike in the data that's being put through these networks from an increasingly small number of actually internet companies or that are sending video to customers around the country that this is even becoming more profound. so i completely agree with your -- >> so we're going to leave the last few minutes of this event. if you'd like to watch it anytime, just type broadband in the search bar at c-span.org, and you can see the last ten minutes or the whole event. live now to the senate floor, work today on the nomination of
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andre yanku to be director of the u.s. patent and trademark office, a confirmation vote scheduled for 5:30 eastern this afternoon. later this week, a short-term government funding bill to keep federal operations running past thursday is expected to come to the floor. we will have live coverage here on c-span2. o order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o god our rock, we look to you for safety in a chaotic world. we're grateful that you hear our prayers, responding to our requests for help. be a shield for our senators, protecting them from dangers seen and unseen.
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as they put their trust in you, fill them with your spirit, giving them confidence in the unfolding of your powerful providence. lord, remind them that no weapon formed against them will ultimately prosper. lead them like a shepherd beside still water, as you fill their hearts with your peace. we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible,
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with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each.
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the presiding officer: the senator for utah. mr. hatch: is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: it is not. mr. hatch: then, mr. president, i rise to speak. the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. mr. hatch: thank you. i rise today in support of the nomination of andrei iancu to be under secretary of the commerce for intellectual property and director of the u.s. patent and trademark office. uspto is critically important -- it's a critically important agency that stands at the crossroads of innovation,
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technology, and property rights. it's tasked with ensuring that our laws properly compensate ingenuity and invention while at the same time stopping bad actors who seek to game the system. intellectual property has been a focus of mine throughout my entire senate service. early in my tenure, i authored the hatch-waxman ability which -- act which made possible the rise of the modern generic drug industry. much recently, i played a key role in the american invents act which rebalanced our at that time ent system to ensure high-quality patents and reduce abusive legislation -- litigation. just last congress i offered to defend the trade secrets act that created a federal private cause of action to prevent trade secret theft and other nefarious activity.
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i've also led the charge against patent trolling, a practice of buying up patents shoally for the purpose of bringing -- solely for the purpose of bringing lawsuits and by form shopping in patent cases, that must not be allowed. i was gratified to see the supreme court last year strike a blow against abusive shopping in the t.c. hartman decision. in my remaining months in this body, i inning tend -- intend to continue ahead full bore on intellectual property reform. digital music licensing royalties for ar and are just aw of my intellectual property priorities this year. given my focus, i take a keen interest in the patent trademark act in our office and in the individual selected to run the office. i have to say i couldn't be more pleased by president trump's
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nomination of andre iancu to be the next u.s. p.t.o. director. andre has an extensive background in patent litigation. he's a partner in irel and ma nello, one of the leading intellectual property law firms. for six years he was the managing partner. andre has represented clients across the spectrum from drug manufactures to aerospace firms. he understands all sides of patent law because he's litigated all sides. in an area fraught with allegiances to particular industries or groups, andrei can bring a neutral unbiased perspective because he's already had to approach issues from so many different angles. andrei has been named a leader in intellectual property and patent law by chambers u.s.a. every year for the last 11
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years. he's been named attorney of the year by california lawyer and lawyer of the year by the los angeles business journal. president, i have full confidence that he will make an outstanding p.t.o. director. subject matter, eligibility, p.t.a.b. reform and continued controversies over forum shopping are just a handful of the issues that will soon be coming across his desk. there will also be questions about fee setting, fee diversion, and i.t. modernization. as i move forward on my intellectual property priorities this year, i look forward to working with andrei and his future colleagues to make our patent and trademark system the best it can possibly be. we owe to the american people to ensure that our intellectual property laws keep pace with our rapidly changing world.
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that has always been one of my chief focuses here in this body and it will continue to be so throughout the rest of my term. mr. president, i also like to take a couple of minutes to discuss a bill i'll be introducing with senators coons, graham, and whitehouse. it's called the clarifying lawful overseas use of data act or the cloud act. it's a tremendously important bill that will help solve the problems that have arisen in recent years with cross border law enforcement requests. the rise of e-mail and cloud computing has put our privacy laws on a collision course with privacy laws of other countries. information in e-mails or in the cloud can be stored on servers virtually anywhere in the world. this means that when law enforcement seeks access to such information, the information may be located in another country.
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this state of affairs causes problems both for law enforcement and for e-mail in cloud computing providers. it causes problems for law enforcement because warrants traditionally stop at the water's edge and because laws in other countries may prohibit disclosures to foreign law enforcement. and if causes problems for e-mail -- it causes problems for e-mail and cloud providers because they find themselves you caught between orders by u.s. law enforcement to disclose data in other countries and laws in those other countries that may forbid such disclosure. the question of whether warrants issued to u.s.-based providers may require providers to disclose data stored in other countries is currently before the u.s. supreme court in the united states v. microsoft case. oral arguments in the case will be heard later this month.
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no matter how the court rules, however, problems will remain. either law enforcement -- either law enforcement will lack the ability to obtain in a timely manner e-mail and documents in the cloud that are stored overseas or providers will find themselves caught between conflicting domestic and foreign laws. the cloud act creates a clear workable framework to resolve these problems. the bill has four key componen components. first it authorizes the united states to enter into bilateral data sharing agreements with qualifying countries under which the united states agrees to lift its bar on disclosure to law enforcement in a qualifying country if that country similarly agrees to find -- or to lift any bar it has on disclosure to u.s. law enforcement. the cloud act sets forth
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stringent requirements for such agreements in order to ensure privacy and data security. in particular, it provides that any requests by foreign law enforcement to u.s. providers under such an agreement cannot target or request information on u.s. persons. second, the cloud act clarifies that a warrant served on a u.s. provider may reach data stored overseas provided the data is within the provider's possession, custody, or control. this will enable u.s. law enforcement investigating crimes to obtain information stored overseas without having to -- without having to reason -- resort to cumbersome diplomatic channels. third, the cloud act gives e-mail and cloud computing providers the ability to challenge a warrant issued for data stored overseas if
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complying with the warrant would cause the provider to violate the laws of a foreign country. the court hearing such a challenge determines whether in the interest of international comity, the warrant should be modified or quashed. finally, the cloud act authorizes providers to disclose to a foreign government the fact that the provider has received a warrant for information stored in that country provided the foreign government has entered into a bilateral data sharing agreement previously described. this will enable the foreign government to assist compliance with the terms of the agreement and intervene diplomatically if it believes the request is inappropriate. the cloud act has broad support in both the tech community and among law enforcement. it bridges the divide that sometimes we see between these two groups. the bill is an outgrowth of my
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international communications privacy act or icpa coupled with the u.s.-u.k. bilateral framework that many of my colleagues are familiar with. indeed, the u.s.-u.k. bilateral framework agreement outlined in the cloud act is intended as a model for future agreements with the united states and other countries that are committed to privacy, human rights, and enter national -- international law enforcement cooperation. expeditiously implementing similar agreements with the european union and other allies is critical to protecting consumers around the world and facilitating legitimate law enforcement investigations. i'm pleased to be introducing this very important landmark legislation with my friends from delaware, south carolina, and rhode island and intend to push hard to see it enacted in the very near future. mr. president, i yield the
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floor. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: it's always a pleasure to hear from my friend, the senator from utah when i agree with him and even when i don't. thank you. serious stuff, mr. president. mr. president, we must pass another extension of government funding by this thursday. there isn't much time to waste. and yet speaker ryan is again considering a cromnibus, a short-term extension of funding for urgent domestic priorities but a long-term extension and a large increase of funding for defense. to placate the ultraconservatives in his caucus. of course a cromnibus is merely a reuss designed to slash
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funding for education and health care, infrastructure, scientific research, all the things that many in the freedom caucus don't want the government to support. that's why 44 senate democrats warned our republican colleagues in a letter last year that we wouldn't support a cromnibus and that it could never pass the senate. we want to fund defense, absolutely, but we also want to fund programs that help the middle class like education, like infrastructure, like scientific research. we're standing up and say we must do both. that's how this boat -- this body works. different people have different views and we compromise. maybe there are some on my side who don't want to spend as much on defense as the republican side does, but it's a compromise. i for one appreciate that we need probust defense spheng -- robust defense spending. now, sending a cromnibus to the senate, one that just funded
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defense and cut programs crucial to the middle class, would be barreling head first into a dead end. speaker ryan needs to do what's best for the country and work in a bipartisan way to fund the government, even if not every faction of his caucus will go along. if he lets the freedom caucus be the tail that wags the dog, there's no way we'll reach an agreement that can pass the senate. and it would jeopardize the positive discussions going on right now about the budget, disaster aid, immigration aid -- immigration and more. now a word on the republican tax bill. even as corporations plow tens of billions of dollars into share bybacks and stock repurchasing programs instead of raising wages or hiring more workers, president trump and congressional republicans are doing their best to portray their $1.5 trillion corporate giveaway as a boost to working
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americans. i'm sure that president trump's address in ohio today will focus on the few companies that have given bonuses, but i wonder how many of those bonuses delivered around christmas were annual and would have been given any way? i wonder how many of those bonuses were linked to the tax bill and corporate press releases to cowry favor with the president even though they would have been given anyway? well, i bet president trump won't mention a thing will the slew of layoffs and stock buybacks in the wake of the bill. i bet he won't dare mention that 80% of the benefits of this bill went to the top 1%, that the middle class should have gotten a lot more than they're getting. and we all know that corporations have spent billions enriching their sharehold erstwhile the middle class is waiting for the trickledown effects that may never come. imagine if all the money that went into tax breaks for corporations and the super rich
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went to the middle class instead. if that were the case, then president trump would actually have something to boast about in ohio today. this weekend speaker ryan showed just how far republicans will strain conjewelty, to claim their tax bill helps working americans. he tweeted that, quote, a secretary at a public high school in lancaster, pennsylvania, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week which will more than cover her costco membership for a year. someone must have told him how out of touch that was because speaker ryan soon deleted the tweet. as high school secretaries get $1.50 a week in savings, the wealthiest .1% of americans are getting an average of about $3,000 a week. high school secretary, $1.50. top .1%, $3,000 a week. because of the tax bill, the
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lancaster secretary may well be able to afford a membership to a big box store, but the top 1% can now afford a new bentley. is that fair? is that right? is that what the american people wanted? no way. no way. and all the propaganda and millions of dollars of ads from the koch brothers and all these other rich people, this handful of rich people that have so much say on the republican side, all the ads they'll pay for won't make up for that fact, and the american people see it. the fundamental unfairness at the center of the republican tax bill is this, corporations and the super rich are having a bonanza while american workers are left with paltry savings. considering the republicans spent $1.5 trillion in federal resources to pass their tax bill, the middle class should have gotten a whole lot more, a lot more than $1.50 a week.
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when president trump takes the stump in ohio, we expect to hear about how his tax bill is helping american workers but every american should know that that reality is different. on friday the trump administration declassified and released the contents of the deceptive nunes memo. it's the latest distraction concocted by republicans to protect a president of their party from the conclusions of an independent, a truly independent investigation. shamefully, it's the latest abuse in a long line of partisan broad sides against the f.b.i., the nation's premier law enforcement agency. these attacks erode faith in the rule of law. at least the american people can now see the nunes memo for what it truly is, an impotent document of g.o.p. talking points. far from being the smoking gun
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that many republicans, right-wing media outlets and russia-linked box claimed it would be the nunes memo caused smoke, full of conclusions based on innuendo. it does not vindicate the president ror prove bias at the department of justice. it confirms the steele dossier was not the catalyst debunking a right wing talking point. let that sink in, the f.b.i. was concerned about trump administration campaign advisors before -- let me repeat -- before the steele dossier existed. so this idea that the steele dossier created all this is just plain wrong and even their own memo admits it. the nunes memo also confirms that a three-judge panel on multiple occasions thought it was in the best interest of our national security to monitor a trump campaign advisor for his
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troubling links to the kremlin. seeing as house republicans saw -- sorry. seeing as house republicans saw it fit to release the contents of their partisan memo, they should certainly support the release of the memo prepared by ranking member schiff. if house republicans have any semblance to fairness, they'll vote to release the schiff memo. it's based on the same underlying documents. if it was all right to release the republican memo based on these documents, it should be all right to release a democratic memo based on the same documents. meanwhile, president trump still refuses to implement the sanctions that passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in congress. i have to say if president trump and his allies spent half the time standing up to putin as they do attacking our own f.b.i., we might actually get somewhere with putin.
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but the administration seems to fear doing anything to upset him. the american people ask why? why is donald trump so afraid to upset mr. putin? what are they so afraid of? it's inexplicable to me that the president of the united states and his allies are far more concerned with attacking american law enforcement agencies than standing up to russia. president putin interfered with our sacred democratic exalt, the process we taught in our schools and teach our children as so wonderful putin is trying to make a sham of it, interfere in it and we hardly hear a peep out of president trump and so many on this side of the aisle, who used to go after putin, to their credit, regularly. we have an investigation into the matter of putin's engagement in our elections by one of the most trusted and nonpartisan
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civil servants in washington. but because that investigation might include some wrongdoing by the president or his close associates, too many republicans in congress and of course the conservative media have turned on the f.b.i. rather than on putin. it is far more than disquieting. it's the worst place that partisan politics can go. the vital interests of our nation are being subverted to the benefit of a foreign hostile power. a congressman says we are witnessing a coup on the house floor. a senator floats the possibility of, quote, secret societies. the speaker of the house suggests a cleanse of the f.b.i. for partisan reasons, the president and his allies in congress are systematically trying to weaken america's faith in the rule of law. and to a large extent, sadly, the leaders of the republican party have been silent. a few notable exceptions
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including my dear friend, senator john mccain, are speaking out about the real threat here. not the f.b.i., not our career law enforcement officials, not special counsel mueller, but president putin and his war on democratic societies and democracy in general. we desperately need more of our republican friends to stand up and speak out, particularly the republican leadership, because their silence is rapidly becoming complicity in the denigration of our republic, something that's happening, unfortunately, before our very eyes. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. leahy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the
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senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: thank you. madam president, we are now 128 days into the fiscal year. we have had 128 days to fulfill our basic responsibility of funding the government. we have not. congress has not reached a bipartisan budget deal, even though in past years we always would have by this time, so the government is on auto pilot. across america, just as i find in vermont when i'm at families' kitchen tables, they are asking for help in addressing the opioid crisis. veterans ask us why it takes months to get a doctor's appointment in the v.a. people are worrying about having to stop working, but they can't qualify and get -- or they can't get quality and affordable child
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care. so many stop me in the street and talk to me about struggling to pay off college loans. well, it's 128 days. i was going to say we'll get to it. the check's in the mail. let's actually get to it. we have had continuing resolutions for it. it's about time we are to get serious about a bipartisan deal, get the budget going. let's for once get past the sound bites and start dealing with substance. madam president, on another matter, last friday, david nunes, the house intelligence committee chairman, received approval from president trump to release a classified memo that purports to show that a fisa application to conduct surveillance of a trump campaign aide was politically motivated.
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over the weekend, the president, speaking for once in the third person, told us that this memo totally vindicates trump in the russia investigation. that's quoting the president. but then following a pattern that has become all too familiar, the president also viciously attacked the f.b.i. in a series of tweets, something we have never seen from any president, republican or democratic, certainly not in my memory. now, there are more than a few problems with this. the most disturbing of which go well beyond this highly flawed and misleading memo. but in case anyone believes this memo represents a serious attempt to address a series of problems within the f.b.i. or within our fisa surveillance authorities, i want to raise a few points they might consider,
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because if they think it actually addresses serious problems, they either haven't read it or they don't understand the serious problems. for years, i have been leading calls in the senate to protect our civil liberties and reform our surveillance authorities under fisa. i'm appreciative of the number of republicans and democrats who have joined me in that call. but this memo has absolutely nothing to do with improving fisa, nor does a partisan memo like this have anything to do with serious oversight of fisa authorities. instead, whether intentional or not, this memo represents a direct attack of rank-and-file professionals in both our law enforcement and our national security agencies. the memo deliberately distorts a multileader process that we need to obtain and renew a judicial warrant for a suspected foreign
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agent. now, that process we want to obtain or renew a judicial warrant. that process is conducted by career, nonpartisan professionals. in this case, the process led to a warrant approved by a federal judge and renewed three times by trump campaign advisor carter paige. now, this was not based on some kind of a partisan memo. remember, carter paige is an individual who has bragged about his ties to russia. he even claimed at one point publicly to be an advisor to the kremlin. he was also targeted for recruit ment by known russian spies beginning in 2013.
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both of these facts are conveniently left out of the nunes memo. but the memo was not about conducting actual oversight. if it were, the house intelligence committee chairman would have read the underlying intelligence that purported to form the basis of the memo. he didn't. it is obvious he did not. it is obvious the white house has it, because if it were about actual oversight, he would have granted the f.b.i. director's request to brief his committee prior to releasing the memo. he department. if it were about transparency, he would have allowed the democratic response memo to be released at the same time. he did not. instead, his committee voted on party lines last week to block the democratic response. we'll learn later this evening if they are going to change course and allow the release. i have been here since the
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beginning of both the house and the senate intelligence committees. i have never seen anything as partisan as this. now, proponents of the memo claim it proves that the fisa warrant of carter paige was politically motivated. it claims the so-called steele dossier was the reason why a fisa warrant was granted, and the dossier could not be lied on and is indirectly funded by democratic interests. what it ignores is that document was only one part of a lengthy fisa application establishing probable cause, something where the judge had to call it. never mind that the giuliani was explicitly informed of the likelihood of a political motivation behind the dossier. now, the republican memo conveniently leaves that out.
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by leaving it out, that undermines a central claim that the f.b.i. hid the ball on the dossier's political origins. and never mind that the dossier was originally funded by a conservative newspaper where its author had been previously assessed by the f.b.i. to be a reliable source. now, one can disregard all of those facts and still see the memo for what it is, a complete and utter dud. the memo itself disproves its own premise. because of its reference to the controversial steele dossier, president trump and his allies paved this fisa application as the russia investigation's original sin. they ignore the fact the memo also reveals an entirely separate source unrelated to the steele doesier provided
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information to the f.b.i. that triggered the opening of the f.b.i.'s counterintelligence investigation into individuals associated with the trump campaign. that is something we did not see in president trump's tweets over the weekend. what we knew about the memo leads to one and actually only to one conclusion. the f.b.i. did its job. rank-and-file national security professionals within the f.b.i. and d.o.j. acted appropriately in obtaining a fisa warrant of carter paige. and frankly, the president's attack on these career professionals to obtain the fisa warrant are entirely without merit. i have been here with republican presidents and democratic presidents. eight presidents in all. i have never seen anybody make such unwarranted attacks on
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career professionals. these professionals i suppose if we really look, some are republican, some are democrats, some are apolitical. all of them are professional. what the republican memo from the house reveals, it reveals nothing about abuses within the fisa process. but it does reveal a lot about both the president and those house republicans who released it. it represents yet another desperate hyperpartisan attempt to smear key justice department officials and undermine the russian investigation. again, in my view, 40-some odd years here in the senate, i have never seen this under either the republican or democrat leadership, under either a republican or democratic president.
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but let's remember what is at stake here. it is not about a republican memo which is nothing more than sloppy, bad-faith attempt to distract from the special counsel russia investigation. nor is it about the steele dossier. that represents an almost irrelevant side story. but the only thing that matters here is a foreign adversary attacked our democracy in 2016, suffered no consequences, and is poised to do it again. and the president is not willing to address this threat. he's not even willing to implement sanctions on russia. they were overwhelmingly approved by the vast majority of both republicans and democrats in the congress. the only thing this president has done is disparage the very people who defend our country
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from such foreign attacks, our dedicated law enforcement and intelligence professionals. the president is trump first, america second. the fact is we are under constant attacks in our political system by russia. and who does the president single out in the state of the union address as countries that face grave threats? venezuela and cuba. no, it's the second largest nuclear power in the world that's a threat, a power that has shown by anybody's analysis efforts made them successful to undermine the electoral system not only of our country but of
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others. so i think it's more important than ever that special counsel be able to complete his investigation without either interference from the president or any misguided allies in congress. we need to know first how russia interfered in our election and that could be many other elections in this country but then just as importantly, whether anyone in the president's circle aided that effort or tried to cover it up. i've been in the senate for more than 43 years. i've never been as concerned as i am today for the institutions of our country, for our ability to stay united in the face of true, unprecedented threat. i don't say this lightly. madam president, i've walked back and forth the dirt road in front of my home in vermont.
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i pace -- i've gone back over notes i've taken. the president is going back to jerry ford when i first came here, notes i took as a young 34-year-old u.s. senator. i never have been as concerned as i am now, and i've never been as concerned as this great country having the ability to stay united in the face of true, unprecedented threat. russia is going to be back. all a member of this body has to do is read the intelligence briefings. russia will be back and many say russia has never left. so enough with the partisan distractions. it is past time we face this threat standing together. the american people deserve that
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much. madam president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, i'd ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: well, madam president, here we are again. the clock is ticking. the current funding bill expires on thursday. and we've got to act to keep the lights on. but to me that strikes me as a very modest goal because there's
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so much more we need to be doing. but when the -- our democratic colleagues shut down the government last, we know that this was all we could get at the time, which is a short-term continuing resolution til february 8. well, this is a miserable way to do business. continuing resolutions are really an abdication of responsibility on behalf of this body and for the benefit of the american people. now, it doesn't have to be this way. what we're waiting on is an agreement with the leaders of both the house and the senate to come up with spending caps for the rest of 2018 and 2019. we could have that agreement today. but our colleagues across the aisle are dragging their feet,
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to put it mildly. for what? well, it's the same reason that they shut down the government last week. it's over an unrelated immigration issue, which i'll get to in a moment. but they appear not to have learned any lesson from the shutdown which clearly the american people did not want and did not agree with. we have two distinct issues that need to be handed separately. funding the government, particularly funding our military, shouldn't be held hostage to an i immigration iss, especially when we continue to work together in good faith on border security and on the young adults who are affected by the deferred action on childhood arrivals or daca. but i say let's drop daca from the funding debate and submit the caps deal right now. as i've said before, short-term continuing resolutions are a terrible way to do business.
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governing is not a merry go round. we shouldn't have to come back in march and have these same discussions over and over again. we just passed february 2 -- it happened to be my birthday but it's always groundhog's day. and we seem to wake up every morning and go through the same motions over and over and over again and never reach a conclusion. this has bought home to me pretty dramatically today when the leadership from texas for the community health centers told me that they can't plan. they have employees, health care providers, who are worried about whether they'll have a job because the government will somehow fail in keeping its doors open and keep their programs funded. and to booth, patients are worried about whether they're going to have continued access
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to health care and the community health centers that serve vast swaths of this country. why are people put through all this anxiety both in terms of planning, terms of the staff, and the patients that depend on these community health centers just because we can't seem to get our act together here and agree to those spending caps because they're being held hostage to another unrelated issue, which the majority leader has committed to addressing in due course. well, our colleagues seem to be content to drive around in circles and not to mix metaphors, they're spinning their wheels in the process and nothing actually gets done. but maybe that's part of the plan, too. if you look at 2017, we've had a pretty impressive 2017 in terms of what this congress has accomplished when it comes to
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overregulation, when it comes to confirming federal judges, including the justice on the supreme court, neil gorsuch. and then of course there's the big tax bill which was really something that only happens every 30 years or so. it's very unusual. and we're already beginning to see the beneficial results of that tax legislation and people are learning more about it and will continue to learn more about it as they open their paycheck stub and see how much more take-home pay they have. but i'm beginning to think that these short-term continuing resolutions and never reaching an agreement on spending caps is part of the plan, to just keep us churning and to keep us not producing on behalf of the american people. i hope i'm wrong but it sure feels like that to me. i hope our colleagues will change their tactics and learn from their mistakes.
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shutdowns don't help anybody. certainly don't help the parties' responsible for shutting down the government. so let's get this caps deal done in short order. here's another thing that's been held hostage to this unrelated immigration issue. disaster relief. it was last september when hurricane harvey hit the state of texas. we had an unprecedented rain event where basically the hurricane parked itself over houston, texas, and rained down about 50 inches of rain in five days disrupting people's live, destroying their homes -- lives, destroying their homes. some of the winds along the coast blew businesses and homes away, and people are working hard to recover from that. the house passed an $81 billion disaster relief bill not just to help the victims of hurricane harvey but also the victims of
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hurricane maria in the virgin islands and florida and in puerto rico as well. and then there are the wildfires and the mud slides out west. $81 billion was appropriated by the house of representatives, and it's been sitting here since december with no action whatsoever. why? well, count that up as another hostage of this unrhee lated im-- unrelated immigration issue or the desire to just force us to spin our wheels and not get things done. i don't understand it. and if i do understand it, i don't like it one bit. well, the first rule of holes is when you find yourself in a hole, quit digging. it's the only way to get a different outcome. but our democratic colleagues have found themselves in a hole and insist on continuing to dig
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after the disastrous shutdown now and leading us to basically driving in circles. i would like to speak briefly about the ongoing border security and daca negotiations. this is an issue that's very important to me coming from a state with the largest, longest common border with mexico, where we see firsthand what the impact is of illegal drugs, trafficking of human beings, and just the failure of the federal government to live up to its responsibility when it comes to securing our borders. we learned on 9/11, 2001, how important it is to know who is coming into our country and why they are here because not everybody that comes to the united states wants to do us -- do good by us. some of them want to do us harm. certainly that's true when it comes to trafficking and the poison that unfortunately comes
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across our borders and leaves so many lives in tatters as a result of overdoses and drug abuse. i have talked to a number of my constituents in texas, including hispanic leaders, to try to bring them up to date on the discussions that have occurred here because they care quite a lot about both of these issues, border security as well as what we're going to do for these young adults who only -- whose only mistake was to come to this country with their parents when they were children. and as i said before, i will say it again, we don't hold children responsible for the mistakes their parents make. these young people deserve a clear path forward and some certainty in their lives. and i think the vast majority of us would like to try to find some way to give it to them. but we're not going to do that unless we can get concrete progress on border security and
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other reasons why this problem was created in the first place. but it was good to get the perspective of a number of my constituents who happen to be leaders in the hispanic community. many of them live in border communities. many of them -- all of them, i should say, have family or friends who are immigrants. of course we are a nation of immigrants ourselves, and we need to listen to what they have to say about what's going on. there was general agreement that when it comes to offering a path to citizenship that the president's proposal was surprisingly generous. nobody expected the president to offer a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young adults. that was extraordinarily generous. right now the program that was created by president obama which will expire march 5, there are
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690,000 daca recipients. they are the people who signed up for this deferred action. not for a path to citizenship, not for legal status but basically an agreement by the government that we're not going to try to deport you. they'll also get work permits during the pendency of their daca status. this president has offered daca recipients something that president obama never did. a pathway to citizenship for three times as many as are covered by the deferred action program. the hispanic leaders i spoke with also supported, in addition to that pillar of what the president proposed, additional border security measures. one spoke about the collateral benefits to border communities of new technology and personnel and improved infrastructure. jobs increase, restaurants and hotels benefit and communities are safer for the families and
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the children that live there. they stress that when it comes to border security, we need to be thinking about it three dimensionally. in other words, we need to consider it a system. and i've heard the secretary of homeland security refer to what the president has proposed as a wall system. it's not just a physical barrier. it's access roads. it's cameras. it's sensors, radars, aerostats, and other things to try to make sure our border is secure. ultimately my conversation with these constituents was very constructive, but i had to be honest with them. i had to admit that i've been disappointed so far. i haven't heard much in the way of ideas from our democratic colleagues other than old proposals that will not become law. even though they claim to support these young people, the daca recipients, even though they claim to support a pathway
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to citizenship for them, they have done nothing to respond to president trump's very generous offer and the four pillars of his proposal. so far they've indicated that they have little interest in negotiating. the deadline set for those negotiations is february 8, just a couple days from now. after that we'll be here on the senate floor with an open and free-wheeling debate and amendment process. but we want to achieve a solution that can become law, and so far we haven't had a willing dance partner in our democratic colleagues. the president has made an extraordinary offer, but i don't know whether it's because they don't want this president to claim any credit for any accomplishment or whether they prefer to have a political issue that they want to take to the election in november, or whether
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they're just willing to toy with the lives of these young people because they deem it politically expedient. well, none of those are acceptable, madam president, and it's really puzzling. there is just no reason why they shouldn't support closing loopholes in our illegal immigration and increasing security on the border. i've heard many of our colleagues across the aisle say border security, no problem. well, until you start asking them to be specific about what does that mean not only in terms of of an authorization or plan but what does that mean in terms of appropriations or money. according to published reports, the democratic leader, the senator from new york, senator schumer, offered the president $25 billion toward border security, $5 billion up front and $20 billion more in
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appropriations -- in authorization. but then after they shut down the government, after the president made his proposal, he took that off the table. and so far we've heard nothing, nothing from our democratic colleagues to respond to the president's generous and good-faith offer. one thing we need to do for sure, we need to regain the public's confidence when it comes to immigration, because we need to reclaim our legacy as not only a nation of immigrants, which we proudly are, but as a nation of laws. that's why people are so frustrated and emotional and angry about the status quo. that's one reason why this president was elected, because they thought he would bring an end to the lawlessness of our illegal immigration system. but in order to get this done, we've got to be able to negotiate in good faith and we've got to be able to
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compromise, which leads me to wonder again whether our friends across the aisle want an issue they plan to take to the election in november or they actually want a solution, and whether they're going to actually use these young daca recipients as a means to accomplish their goal, which is to regain the majority in the house and senate after the november 2018 elections. i hope i'm wrong, but i don't see any indication so far that i am. as the president said in last week's state of the union message, the ultimate proposal should be one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs. that's exactly right. in my home state of texas, nearly 124,000 daca recipients are our neighbors, and they are an important thread in the fabric of our communities.
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all of us feel sympathy for these young adults who are in limbo. i remain committed to finding a solution because in our country, we don't penalize children for the mistakes that their parents made. but as the president said last week, americans are dreamers too. and part of their dream is to live in a country where the law is enforced and respected. i support the president in his call for upholding the strong rule of law in this country. but the question for today is why hold everything else hostage for this unrelated immigration issue? and why, if our democratic colleagues are willing to shut down the government over that unrelated immigration issue, aren't they willing to respond to the president's generous good-faith offer to bring a solution to the problem?
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we need to know what their plan is. what is their proposal that can become law? well, madam president, the clock is ticking because we know the ending date for this program is march 5. and ultimately what we are dealing with is people's lives. what do our colleagues care most about? do they care about political advantage or trying to preserve an issue that they think will be to their advantage in the upcoming election, or do they actually care about these young daca recipients, 690,000 of them. or the 1.8 million that president trump has offered an incredibly generous offer to as long as we can deal with these other issues of border security, of chain migration, and of the
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diversity lottery visa. we're waiting for our democratic colleagues to come to us with a good-faith proposal, but so far all we hear is crickets. madam president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: mr. mcconnell: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader.
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mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i want to begin this afternoon by offering condolences to the families and friends of christopher foley of loosa county, virginia. his truck collided with an amtrak train carrying many of my fellow lawmakers. he was just 20, leaves behind a fiance, adriana and a 1 yoald son -- 1-year-old son. all those who were injured in the accident are in our prayers, our heart-felt thanks are with the first responders who rushed to the scene.
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it is too easy to take for granted that our first responders will be there for us on our worst days. forgetting that for them heroism are every day realities. i would like to recognize some of our own colleagues who sprung into action to assist the wounded. senator cassidy, congressman windras, shoe and so is senator cassidy's wife and congressman deshaun's wife. all of them sprang into action and rushed to help those alongside our attending doctor. several of those, including senator flake, also hurried to help. i thank all of them for their efforts when every moment counted, and i'm proud to call them colleagues and friends. now, on a related matter, in a few days since last week's
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tragedy, yet another fatal train crash has taken place. two lives were lost yesterday when a passenger train and freight train collided in south carolina. last december three were killed and scores injured near seattle when a passenger train jumped the traction and crashed -- tracks and crashed into a busy highway. this offers a sobering reminder that obstruction has kept the railway without an administrator. the nominee has more than 40 years of rail experience. i know of no questions about his qualifications. he was reported out of committee by voice vote on august 2 of last year, meaning this important safety regulator has now been sitting on the senate calendar for six months -- six
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months. my democratic colleagues are holding had his nomination over a parochial issue, completely unrelated to rail safety. this needs to come to an end. the f.r.a. administrator is the nation's top rail safety regulator. there's an urt need and a -- urgent need in a highly qualified candidate. i hope my colleagues will stop the partisan games on this front. we can and should confirm mr. batorri today. today. now, on another matter. our deadline to fund the federal government is this thursday. serious bipartisan negotiations continue on long-term spending levels, along with other important issues. i'm optimistic these talks will bear fruit, but in the meantime
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as broader discussions continue we have the opportunity to remove the uncertainty facing our all-volunteer armed forces. since the passage of the budget chrome act, it has been -- control act, it has been increasingly obvious that current funding levels are not sufficient for our armed forces to accomplish each of the mission task that our nation asks for them. secretary mattis said that it will require new investment and short-term continuing resolutions harm the readiness of our forces. i'm pleased that we're making real headway on negotiations over spending caps and other important issues, but there's no reason why our war fighters need to continue to face uncertainty until all the other issues are resolve. last week a bipartisan majority in the house passed a bill that would fund our national defense through fiscal year 2018. democrats and republicans came
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together, voting to secure adequate, predictable annual funding for our armed forces while we continued our productive negotiations on all these other subjects. the senate will soon take up this house-passed bill. i heard many of my democratic colleagues detail the harmful effects of short-term funding measures on our service members. soon each of us will have a chance to vote to give them the certainty they deserve while our other work continues. now, on one final matter. in the state of the union address, president trump detailed signs that our economy is thriving under the policies of his administration and this republican congress. evidence keeps piling up that good things happen when the government takes its foot off off the brake and gets out of the way of job creators. last week u.p.s., the largest
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employer in my hometown of louisville, kentucky, announced a tax reform will enable them to have $million billion to -- $12 billion to fund employee pensions many their chairman and c.e.o. had this to say. we applaud president trump and congress for their bold action. tax reform is a tremendous catalyst. on thursday, another major american employer, lowe's, announced it will give bonuses up to $1,000 to more than a quarter million hourly employees and expand family friendly employee programs. the very same day the major pharmaceutical company, amgen, which has a facility in louisville, announced that tax reform will allow them to shift more of their planned investments to the u.s. including a next generation
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manufacturing plant right here at home. already our historic tax reform law is giving employers the flexibility to invest more, expand more, hire more american workers, and give bonuses, pay raises, and new benefits to their employees. and already middle-class families across the country are seeing the benefits. mr. mcconnell: 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 the quorum call be vish yated -- vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. morning business is closed. under the previous order the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of commerce, andrei iancu of california to be under secretary for intellectual property and director of the united states patent and trademark office. the presiding officer: under the previous order there will be 30 minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form. a senator: mr. president, i ask consent for all time to be yielded back. the presiding officer: is there objection? seeing none, without objection. the question is on the nomination. a senator: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there does appear to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: do any senators wish to vote or change their vote? if not, the nomination is confirmed. 94 yeas. zero nays. under the previous order the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table. and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's actions. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to legislative session and be in 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 understand there are three bills at the desk and i ask for their first reading en bloc. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the titles of the bill for the first time en bloc without objection. the clerk: h.r. 1551, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to modify the credit for production for advanced nuclear power facilities. h.r. 2372, an act to amend the
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internal revenue code of 1986 to clarify the rules relating to veteran health insurance and eligibility for the premium tax credit. h.r. 2579, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to allow the premium tax credit with respect to unsubsidized cobra continuation coverage. mr. mcconnell: i now ask for a second reading and i object to my own request all en bloc. the presiding officer: objection having been heard. the bills will receive their second reading on the next legislative day. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the commerce committee be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 582 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 582, an act to amend the communications act of 1934, and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure?
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without objection, the committee is discharged. and the senate will proceed. mr. mcconnell: i further ask the amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, it be read a third time and passed, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tuesday, february 6. 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. further following leader remarks the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein until noon and that the time equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. finally that the senate recess from 12:30 until 2:15. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. so ordered. mr. mcconnell: if there is no
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further business to come before the senate i ask it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. objection. mr. cornyn: well, madam mr. cornyn: well, madam >> madam president, here weth are again, the clock is ticking, the current funding bill expires on thursday and we've got to ask you to keep the lights on. to me it strikes me as a very modest goal because there'sea so much more we need to be doing. when our democratic colleagues shut down the government

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