tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN March 21, 2018 10:21am-11:01am EDT
partners. with that, mr. , mr. president,i would yield the floor. >> mr. president? >> the senator from connecticut. >> i ask unanimous consent that senator cohen, cardin, lincoln and is and i directed a to five minutes each and then send it to recognized for up to 15 minutes prior to the vote. >> is there objection? no objection. >> thank you. thank you v ery much, mr. president. mr. president, i just back from a a trip to atr major transatlantc conference in europe, and while the europeans have spent a lot of time over the course of the last 12 months handwringing about whethermi the united stats is committed to europe, committed to nader, committed to our common defense, my feeling up on, coming to brussels for this particular conference is that there kind of over the handwringing. they are n just make plans to me on without us. they are making plans to protect themselves without us.
they are making plans to try to set the rules of the road economically, politically and culturally around the world without the united states. evidence of that was very clear. the europeans are setting up something called the european defense initiative in which they're going to start doing military planning and purchasing outside of nato because they are just not convinced, not confident that the united states is going toer be seriously engad in nato. that compromises our security as the europeans start to make plans for their defense without us, even though we still have an obligation under the treaty to protect them. over and over you see the world moving on as they watch this massive withdrawal of america from the world. the president said at a rally in alabama a few months ago, he said quote, the world is starting to respect the united states of america again. well, that couldn't be further
from the truth. the pew organization charts of the countries opinion of the united states, , and they also charged with other countries believe that the united states is going to act in the best interest of the world and the numbers are frankly startling. of the 377 countries they survey, only two of them have higher confidence in the united states under trump than they did under obama. one is a rather specific insignificant increase. the one that is significant is russia which by 42 percentage point is more confident that the united states is going to act in that countries best interest. south korea, 88% confidence under obama, 17% confidence under trump canada 83% under obama. 22% 22% under trump germany 86 o 11. and they've come to this belief because as my colleagues have mentioned, the trump administrationon has signaled is
unwillingness to try to set a moral tone for the world in the way that it budgets. the budget they presentedha to s reduces accounts dedicated to counting russian aggression about its periphery by 63%. that's a that's a clear telegraph to europe that they are on their own, countries that are trying to fight back against a russia that wants to reestablish a new version of the soviet empire will have no health from the united states. the national endowment for democracy in this budget is cut by $100 million. and so it's no secret that countries like hungary and poland are starting to slip away from traditional democratic norms, countries like the philippines are doing the same because there is not a moral force in the united states committing to bring them closer to the ideals of precipitate toward democracy. $1.6 billion cut in humanitarian
aid telling the rest of the world if you want to solve these enormous problems of humanitarian catastrophe famine and refugee displacement, you can't look to usre anymore. you are on your own again. and a 35% cut in overall international narcotics law enforcement funding, just at a a time when record amounts of fentanyl i find it way into the united states -- are finding their way. >> the moment of panic is over for the world. they have watched this administration walk away from its traditional obligations to try to stand up for the rule of law, to try to promote democracy and human rights, to protect america's interests and our allies. minnesota making other plans without us. i hope the next administration will be able to correct for that but those plans are to break once they are made and hope republicans and democrats will stand up to make sure that america does not become any weaker in the world than it already is today, 15 15 monthso this administration. we are less safe as a nation
because of this wholesale withdrawal from the global stage. it's not too late to try to turn it around so i yield the floor. >> mr. president? >> the senator from delaware. >> mr. president, i join my colleagues on the floor here today to address this afternoon concerns we have with the foreign-policy and the trump administration. i want to thank my colleague, senator menendez of new jersey come recommended by the foreign relations committee, and comment first of the outset on two things that even while he said that i i just don't think are true. first, the democrats are bottling up the president widely needed nominees forcing ambassadorial position or senior department of stateos dominatio, and that we are holding key nominees. frankly, i think nothing could be further from the truth. earlier today in a business meeting our foreign relations committee which works well on a bipartisan basis voted out a whole series of ambassadors, treaties, assistant secretaries of state. second, ivers said by some
pundits that democrats wish president trump ill, that we are working to do everything we can to hold them back and prevent him from being successful. so let me start by saying i think all of us know that we're strongest when we stand together and work together all of us have at some point heard the old adage that politics should stop at the water's edge and nothing would make me happier to see our foreign-policy, our military at a diplomatic efforts succeed around the world. i do not wish our president feel our state department a lack of success -- ill. i think it is a smidgen for the few minutes andth taking on the floor today that president trump who promised as a candidate to be unpredictable and nontraditional has over performed in that category. he is foreign-policy has been defined by inconsistency,, volatility, unpredictability and at times and failed to advance our values. this comes exactly at the time as my colleague from connecticut
was just reciting with our allies and partners praise stability of leadership and when the threats to our democratic way of life from russia and china are on the rise. trump's shock and awe style of governing was demonstrated recently by his abrupt firing of the secretary of state in a tweet and his for the humiliation of the secretary of state in stories that dribbled out about exactly how and when and where he was fired. we should not be conducting foreign policy in the same way that one might host a reality tv show like the apprentice. in just a year as i've attended a variety of conferences and meetings around the world i've been struck at the number of ways in which the president has undermined alliances and friendships have taken decades to build. let me just briefly review a few of the ways our european, african and asian allies have been puzzled or confounded by our withdrawal from the transpacific partnership, by imposing a taliban on citizens for majority muslim countries, by withdrawing from the paris climate accord, by imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum
including against our close north american and european allies, , by questioning our commitment to nato and by denigrating an entire continent when discussing the value of potential immigrants from africa. real and consistent leadership around the world that reflects american values is needed more now than ever. in the dozen countries i visited a regional security conferences in theas past year i've heard te same from our vital allies to send it to mccain and to halifax in canada and to singapore in southeast asia for whole series of bilateral meetings with reference to discuss close and trusted allies senator flake and i've traveled to africa, senator graham and i travel to the middle east. in all of these strips what he heard was that are allies are concerned that you need reassurance about how and where we stand, and that in many cases yet they're beginning to move on past us and to reach accommodations with china or russia having included that we are not committed to engagement
with the world. every time i go on a visit to a foreign embassy, intimacy of the united statesh overseas, i sit down with ourrk foreign service officers and ask about their work and your service and i am overwhelmingly with their professionalism, with her dedicationr. yet overwhelmingly the big number of vacancies at the senior level in the state department and the budget to propose a more than 30% cut in the state department and usaid, has had a significant demoralizing effect on these people who we cannot to advance america's interest and values around the world. let me also say briefly that on of africa i spent a great deal of my time on the foreign relations committee we are missing ambassadors to some of the biggest and most important countries south africa, tanzania just being too for example, and it's a continent where china's pervasive presence is not encountered by an america that is robustly engaged. why does this matter? because in the central africa
will become the fastest-growing largest market for our goods and should be a continent in which with a close alliances and partnerships. i'd instead of building partnerships in helping expand markets to create jobs at home, the trump administration is squandering the current economic momentum and watching from the sidelines as democratic norms deteriorate. member of both the appropriations and foreign relationsei committees, i was greatly concerned that for the second year in a row the trump administration budget proposed deep cuts in diplomacy and development. we must recognize that while these investments serve as you mentioned purpose they also make us stronger by spreading american values, safe of a building coalitions, less susceptible to terrorism by creating a more stable world and more prosperous by creating stronger export markets for our goods. if you want to make a global leader we need a strong state department and usaid that are sufficiently funded. let me turn to the matter of russia before i conclude. throughout his of administration
president trump has not only turned away from some of our critical allies and we can our commitments to international coalition but has refused to head-on clearly address the real and multifaceted threats we face from russia. russia's activities as has been testified to by senior administration officials over many hearings now are directly anything with our democracy, our last election unlikely our next election as well as those of oua closest allies throughout the world. rather than sending a clear and forceful signal to russia that our political affairs are not to be meddled with, president trump hasn't stepped up times turned aside from this challenge and failed to address it. let me conclude by simply saying now more than ever the united states must lead in the world and i look for to working with my colleagues on the foreign relations committee on a bipartisan basis to advance our interests. thank you, mr.an president. with that i yielded the floor. >> mr. president? >> the senator from maryland. >> mr. president, i take this time because i think this issue is an extremely important issue. it's talking about the authority
of the congress of the united states versus the president on introduction of our troops into war hostilities. and this is been a struggle that we've been debating for a long time. congress passed the war powers act over the objections of the present because we recognize the constitution gives us the power to introduce troops into harm's way, and the resolution says very clearly thatar the introduction of the united states armed forces into hostilities will allow congress to have an expedited process if the administration has not gottenti the authorization for e use of that military force. the supreme court made it very difficult for us to enforce that, making us pass in the state department authorization a process in which a joint
resolution could be filed in order for congress to express itself if the president has not sought the authorization for use of military force. we now have a circumstance with the united states, in my view, the president has introduced american troops into hostilities by assisting the saudis in the refueling missions in regards to the campaign in yemen. to me that is introducing the troops, whether it is right or wrong, congress has the responsibility to respond to this. i say that knowing that our presiding officer has been very articulate about the need for us to pass and o authorization for use of military force in regards to her campaign against isis. but here's the challenge we have. theis administration and previos administrations have interpreted in such a narrower way it would take away from congress our ability to have the
authorization for the introduction of american troops into hostile circumstances. yet, compare that with this administration and previous administrations interpretations ofri the 2001 authorization for use of military force which we passed after the attack on our country on 9/11. they would have you believe that authorization that was limited to those, who planned the attack against us on 9/11 applied to our military campaign against isis in syria. or isis in yemen, , or wherevere may find isis king were in the world. now, i think that's just an absurd interpretation, and just i know thena distinguished chairman of the senate foreign relations committee is on the floor. i think our committee needs to take this issue appeared when you to take up what is happening in yemen with our support of the saudis and what's happening in the course to conversation for use of military force.
but this campaign has been going on for a long time. congress needs to wait in whether we are for indoor against it. we need to exert our jurisdiction, and we haven't done that. and it's a very frustrating that those of us who believe very deeply in our constitutional responsibility assume thatme responsibility, and have a lot of confidence in the distinguished chairman of the senate foreign relations committee but but i question wr we're going to get more time in the future to debate this issue. iee know the chairman what you were stuck in committee but will we have time on the floor of the united states senate to debate this issue. i think we need to debate it ad vote up or down with american troops should be assisting in this mission. and with that, mr. president, i yield ther: floor. >> mr. president? >> senator from utah. >> mr. president, i stand to urge a no vote on the motion to table. we are involved in
co-belligerence andnd hostilitis in someone else's war, in a civil war in yemen. now, it's very difficult to dispute the contention that there is no decision made by our government that iss more severe, more serious that carries with it more dire consequences than saving, sending brave young menu and women sworn to protect us into harm's way come into battle, into hostilities. we have been faced with a debate here about what amounts trusted us. we have executive branch of government that understandably has define that term narrowly, but in this case so narrowly as to obliterate any meaning behind that word. basically suggesting that we're not in hostilities unless we got people on the ground firing upon an enemy and being fired upon. that isn't always a way modern warfare is conducted and hasn't been for some time. the fact is that we have our
uniformed military personnel who were engaged in things like mid air refueling on combat missions. refueling the combat airplanes of another country when those combat planes are in route to a battlefield, to a theater of warfare if those are not hostilities, i don't know what is. we've been told that we need to do this in regular order. let's talk about regular order for a minute. because as i mentioned a moment ago there is nothing more serious than sending our uniformed military personnel into p hostilities, we had in ts labody adopted laws and procedures, making it possible for us to receive fast-track consideration of measures that indicate that the executive branch of government has overstepped its power. we are in our third year involved in this civil war in yemen.
three years, and yet this hasn't come up for a vote. three years and we haven't had anything out of committee and vote on the senate floor. three years ought to be long enoughand, in fact, a war powers resolution gives us expedited consideration, gives the committee ten days to consider that. the committee has never had more than twice the time to consider that. the committee has not put anything out. this is why we are well within our rights, well within the boundaries of what's appropriate. in fact, well within what the constitution already grants us, which is the power to declare war. that i power with good reason ws not vested in the -- most accountable to the people of the most regular intervals. the reason this is so important because before we send our young people into ay place where they could die, we want to make sure that an open honest debate is held in public view, not behind
closed doors in the pentagon or some other government office building but right here on the singapore and in the house of representatives. -- senate floor. we cannot exercise of power and we cannot claim to be mindful, we cannot be deemed faithful to our oath to both protect and defend the constitution of the united states if we don't look out for our authorities come , e don't make sure that someone else is in exercising authority that was created to this body. that authority belongs not to any one person. it belongs to the people. and if we refuse to take this so today, if we choose instead to table this measure rather than to allow it to, up for a vote on the senateor floor, we are choosing not to decide and we will have still made a choice, a choice to abdicate our responsibility if we make that decision today then shame on u . it is our prerogative as a coordinate branch of government to make sure we do our job that
which only congress can do. this is, in fact, a war. there are, in fact, break humanitarian concerns presented by that war and that makes it all the more important not less important for us to debate this or to discuss this. under the light of day in public and on the senate floor. mr. president, i urge my colleagues in thetr strongest terms i'm capable of commute getting to vote against the motion to table. thank you, mr. president. >> mr. president? >> the senator from tennessee. >> mr. president, i enjoyed hearing the discussion about the item before us and i must say i feel abo whole lot better about this debate if it was focused on us refueling french jets going
into mali, the same exact debate. i assume that these individuals would consider those to be hostilities that somehow or another that doesn't rise to congressional approval. this one i think is politically tinged. saudi arabia certainly.sa has issues. they conducted themselves in manners that we wish were better. the crown prince was here today and all of us who met with him on the conduct relative to yemen, yet at the same time we know that because american folks are involved in refueling and because we're helping to a degree with intelligence, we know that less civilians are being killed there. we know that. we know that us being there has affected their conduct. but i want to talk about process here. our sponsors of the bill who i have great respect for have used
a very entrepreneurial method to bring this to the floor, and i don't say that to be for jordan. it reached into the war powers act and pulled out something that was never intended for this purpose. i think edwin understands that your candidate edwin understands that if somehow or another we don't table this we would have, we will be setting a precedent here. it would be a situation of first impression where from now on, from now on when americans, with our air force is refueling jets in the air we are involved in hostilities and i don't think that's a standard that we wish to set. but i want to argue this on a different level. it's hard for me to believe that we would take up an issue of thise serious nature and not allow a committee of jurisdiction to work its will. i i mean, we had a hearing last week that senator mcconnell set up for all senators to come in and briefs on yemen.
his stated reason for doing that is most peopleeo and the senate don't know much about what's happening in yemen. people on the foreign relations committee do and people on intel do and people in armed services do, but most of the city is not really been involved recently in the issue. and sove typically a way we wok ready is the committee does its work, it does its recommendation. it works with the administration and you come forth with a piece of legislation. can you imagine, for instance, with tax reform if we just had some kind of odds were no way of bringing tax reform to the floor without the committee working on or bringing fisa to the floor without intel working? that's not the way we supposed to do things here. so we've got the bill that is being generated right now with a bipartisan bill by jeanne shaheen and todd young.
it may not be the bill we deal with on yemen but it is just having developed. by the way, i skipped a beat here. i want to refresh peoples name as what we are voting on. we are not voting on anything but a decision to discharge the yemen issue from the committee. without the committee taking any action, without the committee having any hearings. this is about to say we're going to skip the foreign relations committee and we're going to set precedent here on the floor in this entrepreneurial way that we reached into the war powers act to find a cost to bring to the floor which was never intended for this purpose. what i would say to people is a better way of handling this would be to table this motion, to let the foreign relations committee do the work that you have signed the foreign relations committee to do. we will have hearing on yemen.
we've got a piece of legislation that is being developed in a bipartisan way, republican and democrat, to deal with this issue. and let us work our will in the appropriate way. by the way, in a way that actually will generate an outcome, a and outcome. in addition, i know that our members on the floor that had been frustrated, and someone referenced earlier about the '01-'02 aumf still being used, presiding officer has very involved in tryinger to developa new aumf that would supersede those two aumfs and give the senate and the house the ability to wait in every four years on these types of actions, and will have ao markup on a bill that or presiding officer, that senator kaine from virginia, senator young from indiana, that many people been involved in. that markup is going to take
place on april 19. so hopefully the senate will not only have an ability to deal with a real bill on yemen that actual generate a real, coming through committee, but also have the ability to deal with an aumf that will set aside the fact that for years congress has not weighed in on this issue. to me that's a much better route. i would urge everyone in this body two, instead of following this unique process that's not going to generate an outcome regardless, to allow the foreign relations committee to dol its work to bring a bill to the floor that will generate a non-, and i will make make a motion in a o moment to table that. i realize there may be one more speaker before i do so. >> mr. president, with the center yield? >> yes, sir. >> mr. president, i appreciate the leadership the chairman of the foreign relations committee and i agree with his proposed outcome of this vote.
that's not to diminish the importance of the issue raised by the senator from utah, the senator from vermont but i do agree with him a preferred,, careful, cautious when dealing with competing interest in a complex world. but i would just ask the senator for the to the point whether he can confirm my understanding that actually using this unique process, is it is a distant, it is mine, that would actually be a voterama? up voting on multiple different proposals, not just this one proposal and create perhaps some confusion and s'more chaos into what is admittedly a complex and sensitive foreign relations and national security measure? >> that is correct. so in closing, mr. president, i would just ask is like every other committee hearing in the
senate, hopefully take this work seriously and does work, especially on important matters like this that affect peoples lives, that this body would think that a better recommendation would be to table this effort, to have this wild west debate on the floor over the course of the next several hours, instead of doing it that manner, to give the committee of the jurisdiction of the ability to work its will on yemen to hearings, through a process, through a process on the committee that will actually bring the bill to the floor that hadd been thought through and where we had worked with other bodies of government to get it into place within it could be amended and dealt with in a more methodical and appropriate way. i'd like to remind people one more time. we also plan to mark up an aumf on april 19 to deal with the lingering issue of having an
open situation where we are still dealing with isis and al-qaeda and others, based on something that was authorized to do in afghanistan years ago. with that i moved to table the sanders motion. i thought i was the last? i will yield of the rest of my sanders. >> the senator from vermont. >> i appreciate that but i think i have five minutes of my own. >> the senator is correct. >> delighted to add on senator corker is time as well, but let's see. the resolution that we will soon be voting on is really very simple. it has two basic points.
number one, i i and the 14 othr cosponsors of this resolution believe that under the definition laid out in the 1973 war powers resolution, u.s. forces have been introduced into the saudi-led war in yemen, a war which is causing a humanitarian disaster. and i say to my good friend, senator corker, the chairman of the foreign relations committee, this war has been going on for three years. 10,000 civilians in yemen are dead, 40,000 have been wounded, 1 million are dealing withh collar right now, millions have been displaced. and you come tonight -- cholera -- you say we will hold a hearing, that's good, but it is three years too late.ha and issue that we are dealing with right now is whether or not
the united states said and the united states congress accepts its constitutional responsibility on the issues of war. and this is not a complicated issue. and i don't think anybody here disagrees. article 1, section 8 of the constitution says not that the president can make war and send our young people into harm's way, it is u the congress of the united states that should make war. and our role now in yemen, working with the saudi led intervention there, is one of hostilities under the war of the united states and the war powers resolution. not just my view on this, as many may know here, as i suspect
the chairman of the committee knows. last november by a vote of 366-30, the u.s. house of representatives agreed with the essence w of what senator lee ad i are trying to do. and the house passed a nonbinding resolution stating that u.s. involvement in the yemen civil war is unauthorized, every member of the democratic leadership voted for that as did the republican member of the house foreign affairs committee and royce. editorial in the "new york times" today, quote, the united states initially deployed forces to combat al-qaeda in yemen under post-september 11 congressional authorization, measures but congress never specified to specifically approve military involvement ine the saudi-houthi war even though the constitution and the 1973 war powers act give congress a role. n
"new york times" for too long congress has abdicated its role as america prolonged its stay in somewhere and expand into too reluctant to share these crucial decisions with lawmakers, resolutions like this on whether they can't and must have serious debate and accountability. you know, i think now, and i say this to my friend, the chairman, i think now of the two major foreign-policy disasters that have taken place in our lifetime,, number one, the war n vietnam, and in that war a democratic administration, under an otherwise very good president, lyndon johnson. he and the secretary of defense misled and lied to the american people with regard to the gulf of tonkin resolution. that is not established fact as a result of declassified information. and the united states got sucked
into the war, and my generation, the young men of my generation suffered so terribly, over 60,000 died, and many others came home wounded in body and in spirit. the united states congress abdicated its responsible at that point in 1964. and 15 years ago oddly enough today, on this day, it was a war in iraq and a republican administration, and the administration lied to the american people again. and where was the congress getting out the facts? what the vice s president of the united states, saddam hussein is building weapons of mass destruction. there's a connection between saddam hussein and iraq and the 9/11. it was a lie. a it was a lie. and congress voted to approve of war based on false information. so what i say, mr. president, today, it is time for the
congress to accept its constitutional responsibility or i don't know how well we will do. maybe we will screw it up as well, very possible. that's what the founding fathers suggested, and i think that they were right. we are closer to the people. the house and the senate, that is the white house. this white house or any of the white house. so the two issues today, do we accept our constitutional responsibility to vote on matters of war? i have suggested every member of the senate vote yes. don't duck your responsibility. don't abdicate your responsibility. second, the war in yemen in i my view hasn been a you managing disaster as a result of saudi intervention. but the most important vote is you actually have a vote on whether or not american troops are involved in the war in yemen? i hope very much will vote against senator corker is motion to table and i hope after we do that we will vote for the
resolution. with that it is time for the united states to get out of yemen. thank you, mr.e president. >> mr. president? >> the senator from tennessee. >> very briefly. i just want to set the record straight. the house of representatives voted to say that the war in yemen is not covered by the 2001 aumf, and i think this body would agree. they did not do as was just mention why the senator from vermont. as a matter fact, they decided not to take up this measure that we are taking up today because they thought it was not a good measure to pick up. so i don't want anybody in this body to think that the house has already supported this effort. the house not only didn't support it, they wouldn't take it up because they thought it was damaging to our country foreign-policy so i hope people will join me in voting to table this motion, to let the committee to its work as it is supposed tong do. let us bring something to the floor that will actually have an outcome, have an outcome, then
let's haveow a debate down the road on the aumf, the '01-'02 aumfs which i hope we will give floor tiger with that i think the time is ended. i moved to table the santa's motion to discharge s.j. res page four and ask for the gays and maze. >> sunday on c-span's q&a, yale university law school professor amy chua talks about a book. >> overcoming political tribalism. we need to be able to talk to each other as americans again and not just say you are the evil ones. it used to be that people on the other side of the political divide were is people that we disagreed with. now it's almost like the people who voted for the other candidate are immoral, they are in the knees. they are not real americans anymore. because i study really democracies around the world, places like libya, they become
what's the difference between libya and the united states? libya is a multiethnic country, 140 different people. it's a failed state. it's disintegrative why? because it doesn't have that overarching strong living identity comes from natal the country together with colonna construction. but we do. this is what makes us special. >> q&a sunday night at eight eastern on c-span. >> live picture of a snowy u.s. capitol with government offices and schools in the area closed because of the third, actually the fourth nor easter in four weeks. fso hitting the area. the senate is about to come in to finish work on an online sex trafficking prosecution bill. vote expected to get underway in the 4:00 hour. doug jones of alabama also would be giving his maiden speech. that is set for 1 p.m. eastern.