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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  March 22, 2018 12:30pm-2:31pm EDT

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serving senator in the history of our country. constant champion of mississippians and the american people. i don't think the american people truly understand how much senator cochran has accomplished for his state and his country. marcelle and i count him among our dearest friends. his leadership on the appropriations committee in the senate will be sorely missed. our country needs more devoted servants like thad cochran. i'm sad to see my dear friend leave. but i know his legacy and presence will be felt in this chamber, in mississippi, across the country for generations to come. i will enjoy looking to photographs of my dear friend taken in vermont and mississippi
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and around the world. he is one of my heroes. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. shelby: mr. president, i, too, would like to start here by thanking my good friend senator thad cochran for the tireless dedication and public service that he has brought forth here throughout some 40 something years, 45 years. over 45 years ago, as has been said here, he was elected to the united states house of representatives and elected to the u.s. senate in 1978. thad was a practicing attorney in jackson, mississippi, a graduate of the university of mississippi, law school, undergraduate. and also studied abroad at
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trinity college in dublin, ireland, where we visited one time. we've served together here in the u.s. senate for over 30 years. he's been an excellent colleague and i've been honored to work with him. we represent neighboring states, mississippi and alabama. we both worked on some of the same priorities. but mainly he served mississippi with the utmost dignity and respect. he has an excellent staff. mr. shelby: we're all grateful for the hard work and help and coordination with all of us. as chairman of the appropriations committee, he's been a remarkable negotiator and the majority leader will tell you he's won himsel -- we need e traits. thad has provided critical funding for mississippi
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priorities over the years. he hasn't forgotten where he's from. he's led the restoration of the gulf coast after hurricane katrina right here with a lot of help. his major priorities have always been, as i've understood them, defense of this nation. education that senator leahy talked about, agriculture where he served as the chairman of the ag committee for a long time, rural issues not only in mississippi but all over america. thad also spent many years serving on the rules committee that i now chair, but i believe history will reflect thad cochran's long legacy of strong leadership, and i believe myself that he's made an extraordinary impact here in the u.s. senate. thad, as we all know, is very courteous, well mannered, has a
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low-key demeanor most of the time, you know. he's quiet and he's patient. and he's built seniority through power and perseverance. some people say that thad cochran is the last true southern gentleman. i think there's a lot of truth to that. some people say he represents the lost art of being nice, and we all need to work on that. he's always -- has been and will be a hero here and back home in mississippi. thad, i wish you well. you and your wonderful wife, kay, and i think all of us should strive to continue on the wise path that you've paved for us here in the senate. i believe we're all grateful, mr. president, for his service to mississippi and to our nation. we wish you godspeed. thank you.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. a senator: thank you, mr. president. i have known and admired thad cochran for 40 years since he first came to the senate. ms. collins: at the time i was a young staffer for senator bill cohen who also was elected to the senate that same year. i saw from the start that this gentleman from mississippi was so bright, insightful, and creative and yet also humble, kind, and devoted to helping others. he treated everyone with such dignity.
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he was nice to everyone, from the elevator operators to the highest officials around the world. he truly is one who leads by example. those qualities are his legacy, and i have seen them time and again as a member of the senate appropriations committee when thad was an important member and, of course, when he became the chairman. last year was the 150th anniversary of the creation of the appropriations committee, and thad marked that occasion by reminding all of us of our great responsibility to make thoughtful and informed decisions in the allocation of public funds. in managing appropriations bills, he was always so
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inclusive, willing to incorporate ideas and priorities from everyone who could make a persuasive case. the fact is that thad has always placed careful consideration and compromise above partisan politics. that really reflects how thad has led his life. he has excelled at everything he has ever undertaken. when he joined the boy scouts, he became an eagle scout. in his high school, he was valedictorian. in college he had the highest scholastic achievements. in serving in the navy, he excelled. and of course we know how much he has accomplished as our
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esteemed and dear colleague here in the senate. when thad served as chairman of the appropriations agricultural subcommittee, he traveled to the state of maine with me, and we met with maine's potato farmers and blueberry growers, not exactly staple crops of mississippi. but thad listened so intently to these farmers and growers, and it was so clear that he cared about him that he valued our family farms and our rural communities. that night we had a lovely maine lobster dinner at an inn on the coast. during that dinner, thad shared with me his passion for good literature, his love of music,
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and his passion for education that had been instilled in him by his parents. of course another issue that brought thad and me together was making sure that our naval fleet was strong. as the u.s. navy veteran who served for a time in boston, massachusetts, thad has always been a dedicated advocate for his shipyard in mississippi as i am for bath iron works in the state of maine. thad has twice visited b.i.w. with me to see the great work done there. and in 2013, thad received the navy's distinguished public service award in recognition of his long-standing commitment to
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american seapower. through four decades in the senate plus three terms in the house of representatives, thad has compiled an admirable legislative record on issues ranging from education, libraries and the arts, our national defense, scientific and biomedical research, conservation initiatives, and civil rights. but perhaps his greatest legacy is he taught us how a senator should act. and that legacy will live on forever. thad, our nation is so grateful for your service and i personally am so appreciative of
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your friendship. i offer my best wishes to you and to kay. you will be greatly missed. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: minority leader. mr. schumer: i had the privilege to speak at some length about thad in leaders' remarks, but i just wanted to add one point. i know my colleagues are waiting. another trait of thad's that made him so successful was he had a long memory and knew how to work the legislative process. so i remember after katrina with the devastation, thad came over to me and talked to me about the needs for so much, including a rail line that was somewhat controversial in the southern part of his state. and he really convinced me that it was desperately needed and i voted for it.
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well, we'll -- the wheel always turns. six years later we were devastated by sandy. and we needed all the help we could get. i went to thad. i didn't have to say a thing. he said, i remember what you did for me. i'm going to help you all the way with sandy, and he did. it's just one of many great traits about this man and why he was so amazingly successful for the country and most of all for his beloved state of mississippi. he made people want to help him and help his state, even though we don't have, as susan says, the senator from maine said, our states are so different, we wanted to help each other and we're bound by it. so, thad, you are a great man, a great example to all of us on how to conduct ourselves and we will miss you here in the senate but wish you godspeed in whatever else you do.
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mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the president pro tempore. mr. hatch: i rise to pay tribute to a revered perve, senator thad cochran. thad cochran will be retiring at the end of this month bringing more than 40 years of exemplary service to our nation, to mission miss and our nation. senator cochran is a mississippi man through and through. he was born in pontotoc to a mother who was a schoolteacher and a father who was a principal. after graduating value diblght torian of his -- valedictorian of his high school, he attended ole miss where he earned his bachelor's and injuries doctorate degrees. after serving in the navy he practiced private law in mississippi for several years but it wasn't long before he
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entered politics. after serving in the house of representatives, thad first came to the senate in 1978, just two years after my own election. so the truth is, i hardly know this place without him and i can hardly imagine what things will be like when thad is no longer sitting here. it's difficult to describe the special bond you share with someone who has been your close friend and partner here on the floor and colleague for more than four decades. thad and i have been here through some of the most formidable events in modern history, including the fall of the soviet union, the rise of american gem any, the creation of the internet and the coming of the digital age. and as members of this body, we had the privilege of not only to witness history but also to help shape it. whether as chairman of the senate republican conference, the agriculture committee, or the appropriations committee, senator cochran has spearheaded some of the most significant policy initiatives of the last
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several decades. with an equal mix of healthy persistence and pure southern charm, he quickly earned his reputation as, quote, the quiet persuader. unquote. i know i speak for all my colleagues when i say he will be sorely missed. you see, mr. president, thad cochran is so much more than the senior senator from mississippi. he's so much more than the legislation he's passed and the titles he's held or the awards he's received. thad cochran is a fixture of american politics, a man synonymous with the senate who embodies in every way all that is right and good about this body, a commitment to comity, character, and respect. i think my colleague senator leahy put it best when he said that senator cochran represents the old school. he personifies a generation of lawmakers brought up on the principles of bipartisanship and compromise and i believe these very virtues have been the keys
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to his success as a legislator. even in recent years, as our politics grew evermore divisive, thad reminded us that in the era of endless gridlock and perpetual polarization there is no alternative to civility and healthy debate. thad was always someone you could trust to put the good of others above self, someone you could count on to reach across the aisle, even when the political risks were great. in so doing, thad gave all of us a template for effective bipartisan legislating and he followed the model for decades for the betterment of mississippi and the nation. mr. president, i consider myself lucky to know thad and even luckier to call him a friend. it's true that this body will not be the same without him, but i hope we can honor his service by recommitting ourselves to the virtues of civility and respect every day. today i want to thank my colleague from mississippi for
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his example and his many years of friendship. i wish him and his family the very best. thad, i want you to know that not only will we miss you, we will not get along as well without you. i just think the world of you. it's been a pleasure for me to sit right by you on the floor all these years. and it's been a pleasure to learn from you. so god bless you and just know that a lot of us are pulling for you in every way. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. a senator: mr. president, everybody doesn't just come up with the same description of someone they work with every day by accident. mr. blunt: when you think about everyone that has been said, everyone sitting down what they remember about senator cochran, what do you think about when you think about senator cochran. he's a gentleman, he's a quiet persuader. he gets things done in a way that makes things that would otherwise seem hard for other
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people seem easy for him. things he -- a true groundbreaking politician, came to the congress in 1972, but in 1978 he was the first republican elected statewide in mississippi in over 100 years. he gave evidence to that willingness to serve everybody in the direction he gave his staff. nobody ever talks about senator cochran without talking about his staff. it doesn't take long into that conversation to talk about his staff that just as thad cochran encouraged them to do on day one always tried to solve everybody's problem they work for no matter what that past relationship might have been or how they disagreed on other things. the first time i got a chance to work with senator cochran, i was the chief deputy whip in the house, and we were in a leadership meeting trying to bring some things to a conclusion. and i think the majority leader
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in the senate at the time was thad's colleague from mississippi, and trent lott turned to thad and i was who was the junior person at the table. my mom and dad were dairy farmers. maybe that's why senator lott thought i would understand p but it was a dairy issue and he said why don't you and senator cochran work this out. i think it was on something like the milk marketing orders, which almost nobody understood. it was a problem that nobody thought they could solve. and all i got to do, i had been here about 25 months, senator cochran had been here 25 years, what i got to do was the great gift of watching him work that problem out. and it worked to a khraoupbgs -- conclusion that for whatever reason everyone was happy with. his leadership for states like missouri and mississippi, with large rural populations, i think we have a bigger urban population than mississippi but we both have big rural populations, and whether it was
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agricultural issues or flood insurance or rural economic development, thad cochran was always there. at one time not just being the chairman of the agriculture committee, but also the chairman of the ag appropriating committee. and anybody who's worked around here very long knows it doesn't get much more powerful than that when it comes time to solve problems. mentions of katrina and stepping up along with haley barbour, the governor of mississippi, coming together, convincing the congress of things that needed to be done and a few things that got done in mississippi that didn't get done anywhere else. i had a chance -- i was presiding this morning when senator schumer spoke. he didn't mention in his comments here a minute ago but he mentioned it this morning at an important -- knew both of them. he said he remembered thad saying one time i don't call a lot of press conferences. i don't think it's part of my responsibility.
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senator schumer quickly pointed out that was not his view of the press conferences. but it was thad's view of press conferences or "meet the press" or anything else that didn't focus on his job getting things done. a bill we'll vote on today does things for members of the active armed forces and veterans that we haven't done in a long time. it's a fitting conclusion to thad cochran who in 2013 received a navy distinguished public service award and was stationed in boston for part of his service in the navy, where nobody could understand what he said but they wanted to do whatever it was that thad cochran wanted to do. senator shelby, i liked his term that thad cochran is one of the last practitioners of the lost art of being nice. the lost art of being nice. i talked to my 13-year-old son charlie just this morning. i said charlie, it's actually easier to be thoughtful than to
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be thoughtless. but so many of us don't mature much beyond the 13-year-old understanding of that. we'd be better off to watch and learn from what thad cochran did so well while he was here. thad and kay will be missed in the daily senate family, but they will always be an important part of the senate family. it's an exciting time when you get to go home to mississippi and don't immediately understand that you very quickly have to turn around and come back to washington to do what thad did so well for so long, representing the people he worked for and the people he loved. at least two generations of mississippians don't remember when thad cochran wasn't their senator. and only when this time in the senate ends will people fully begin to realize how much he did, how much they appreciate what he did, and how much has happened because thad cochran was here.
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the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: thad, it's an honor it to come to the floor of the senate and talk for a minute about my friend thad cochran. i know everybody has probably said everything that needs to be said but just everybody hasn't said it yet. kind of in the vein of what senator blunt said, everybody says the same thing about thad cochran. he's gracious, smart, genteel,esquive. he's a great colleague. i want to tell you about thad cochran. when i came to the senate 14 years ago, i did what -- i served in every legislative body i could be elected to living where i live. the georgia house, georgia senate, the u.s. house, u.s. senate. in each one of them i got advice my first year in the georgia house 41 years ago that was real good advice. a friend of mine said johnny, the first year you're down here don't say a word. just watch everybody talk. watch what everybody else does. look at people you'd like to be
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like. for the remainder of your career be like that person. because in the end this business is about relationships and effectiveness, not about bluster and bragging. i did pick out a guy. his name was carl harrison. carl passed away but became one of the best friends i had in life. i watched him in the georgia legislature and patterned my way after carl harrison. the success i had was in large measure because i followed a great leader like carl. when i got to the united states senate i knew i needed leadership. i needed to find a book or something to tell me how to be a good senator. i remembered carl and i said i'm going to sit in this body. i've got six years in this term. surely i can take a few months of the first year and kind of figure things out. so i started watching. you could see the characteristics and the quality of each individual in the senate. everybody offers unique gifts which they give to this body. but i kept watching thad cochran. he was respected, always had time for you, never let you know
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he had been here a lot longer than you thought about being here, maybe longer than you had been born, listened to you. when you asked him a question, he gave you an answer. so i called my wife and i said sweetheart when we come back to washington next week i want to talk thad cochran to dinner because i've decided he's the guy i'd like to be most like. i'm not making this up. this is exactly what happened. so we went to ocean air, thad. i don't know if you remember that night. it was pretty crowded, pretty loud. thad is not a loud guy. when thad walks in a room it gets a little bit quiet because everybody knows wisdom has arrived. my wife and i enjoyed that dinner that night. we became great friends with thad. we had a number of issues where we engaged each other over the course of the years and all of them on the same side except catfish. i think i got a line on catfish and i apologize for that thad. i know roger is in here somewhere. is that right, roger? i tried to redeem myself the best i could. the highest compliment i could pay to anybody, i wanted to be
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just like thad cochran. so in the 13 years since that dinner at ocean air and everything i have done and tried to do in the senate, i've tried to be like thad cochran. mark twain once wrote when confronted with a difficult decision, do what's right. you'll surprise a few but you'll amaze the rest. thad cochran, when you have a tough decision to make, when somebody's got to cut to the chase, point you in the right direction, get the job done, it's thad cochran that you want. he is the perfect example to me of a noble life and a noble leader. i have a favorite poem that's in a book from the methodist church. i think that poem applies to thad cochran better than words i can come up with today. the poem goes like this. i'd rather see a good person than hear about one any day. i'd rather have a good person walk with me than merely show the way. my eyes are better pupils and more willing than my ear and
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fine counsel is confusing but example is always clear and the best of all the people are the ones that live free for to see the good in action is what everybody needs. i'll be glad to see it done but i can watch your hands in action. but the lectures you deliver may be very wise and very true but i'd rather give my lecture by observing what you do for i may misunderstand you and the high advice you give but i'll never misunderstand the way you act and the way you live. thad, you blessed us all by the way you act and the way you live, by the example that you set. may god bless you and your family. we wish you the best and will you always come back because if you ever need me i'll be right here for you. you've always been here for meed god bless you, thad. and i yield back. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, i want to thank the senator from georgia for those comments and
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would like to associate myself with all of those fantastic. we should have saved them for the concluding speech, i think. but i want to rise today also to honor a man who spent the last 46 years faithfully serving the state of mississippi in congress. thad, you're the longest currently serving member of congress, and we're going to miss your experience and your leadership. you've left a mark on congress that won't soon be forgotten. you've served with great distinction and made a difference in the senate. your time in washington began when the people of mississippi p voted to send you to the house of representatives, and you represented their interests in that chamber from 1972 to 1978. then you ran for and won an open senate seat. thad and i have found ourselves on two sides of the u.s. coin. he chairs the appropriations committee. i chair the budget committee. even though he does the details
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of spending the money and i work to set the parameters, i've always respected him and enjoyed working together. former senators too have spoken highly of senator cochran. in fact, in 2007, while congratulating thad on his 10,000th vote, our good friend, the late senator ted kennedy said thad and i don't always agree on policy matters and more often than not we find ourselves on opposite sides of the issues. but those disagreements never diminish my respect for his thoughtfulness nor do they diminish the friendship i feel toward him. i think that's a pretty common refrain for somebody who's quiet and effective and perseveres through everything. thad is known to hold strong opinions but that's never stopped him from developing a close working relationship with members of both parties. throughout his career, he has used his experience and mastery of the issues to persuade his colleagues, but he's done so
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privately rather than bashing them in the media. this determined yet respectful approach to negotiations and his passion to find solutions to the problems and concerns of the people of wyoming and america have led to his nickname of the quiet persuader. he's been a great menner to me. thad has had a remarkable career and his leadership will be dearly missed. he has inspired future leaders from his state and in that which and so many others he's made a difference. diana sends me -- joins me in sending our best wishes to you, to your wife kay and to the rest of your family and our appreciation for your willingness to serve mississippi and the nation so faithfully and so long. there are countless sayings about how politics isn't for anyone but the brave and the resilient. i think your experience, especially this past year, h shown that there is no challenge
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too large for you to overcome. and clearly you specialize in making the world a better place and that's a win-win for us all, especially our children and our grandchildren. i'm sad to see you leave the senate at the end of this month, but i wish you well-deserved retirement. and other adventures. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic whip. mr. durbin: mr. president, i rise today on this side of the aisle to start thanking my friend, senator cochran. yesterday i made a longer speech in the "congressional record," but i didn't want this moment to go by without tributes from both sides of the aisle while you're personally present on the floor. my relationship with senator cochran was fortuitous. there used to be two giants of
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the senate here, ted stevens and danny inouye. they were the two people in charge of the department of defense aopenings pros bill and we bowed to their knowledge and wisdom. then the day came from their both gone and the new people stepping in with thad cochran and dick durbin. i felt totally undeserving to be give than kind of responsibility and would never follow dan chin know way, as great as he was serving our country both in the military and the united states senate, and thad had the responsibility following ted stevens as the defense committee chair. well, we both knew that we were being held to high standards as people compared us, as they inevitably would. and the thing we decided to do from the beginning was to do it together, to learn on the job and to work together. it really hearkens back to a senate that i remember and i'm sure senator shelby and others
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remember, when we first got here, when the aopenings pros committee assignments -- appropriations committee assignments were really bipartisan assignments. and my work with thad cochran was bipartisan from the start and always was. there was mutual respect. if i ever had an issue, i could go to hix he knew that the same thing was true if there was an issue related to his concerns or the state of mississippi, he could come to me. we never, ever set out to trouble or embarrass one another publicly. we tried to always have a good, positive working relationship and the very few disagreements we had were behind closed doors and usually resolved behind closed doors. it really was the senate that i was elected to and the one that i miss today. we need more of it. thad cochran, you made it easy when you were chairman of the defense committee for this ranking democrat to be an active partner of yours in doing some important things. i think we accepted our responsibility and did our level best. i think our american national
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defense is stronger today because of it, and i am lucky because i had a good friend and a good mentor and a good colleague by my side. i wish you the very best. and if you want a longer version of this speech, it was given in the record yesterday. so you can take it home and read it. but i if you for being a great senator and representative of your state of mississippi and a great colleague when it came to our appropriations committee's work. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. cochran: mr. president, i
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am kind of choked up -- the presiding officer: the senate in a quorum call. mr. cochran: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: without objection, the senator has the floor. mr. cochran: suggest that the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cochran: mr. president, i appreciate this opportunity -- i suppose we could call it that. i don't come to the floor of the senate unless it's a really important issue to mississippi or to the nation, and i have always benefited from listening to someone who's talking with me or discussing with me an issue or making some remarks. and because i don't speak often on the floor of the senate, i
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usually prepare some notes. my staff suggests some things that i might want to discuss. as i represent all of them in the united states senate. i leave the senate with the confidence because of this effort to live up to these expectations that our enduring constitution guard our country -- guards our country from human error. it empowers our citizens to achieve greatness and to protect the common interests -- military, domestic -- a
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reviewing o by the president of departments, including number one national defense. it's an opportunity to empower our citizens, to join in the discussions at hearings. in these opportunities, our defense -- empoweredness of our military is a beacon of freedom throughout the country, and liberty for the world. and i'm optimistic about the
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future of our great nation and in the united states senate role that has been discharged and discussed here today. and i'm optimistic about the future success of our efforts to protect the security, to health, to the guarantees of the bill of rights of the united states. every day an issue comes to the u.s. senate to consider, to discuss, and i am honored to have these remarks for the
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remainder of those we've prepared for the record. i'll ask unanimous consent that it be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cochran: mr. president -- quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. sullivan: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: is the senate in a quorum call. the presiding officer: we are. mr. sullivan: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. i want to add my words to what we saw on the senate floor here a couple of minutes ago. i had actually the honor of presiding over much of the ceremony recognizing senator thad cochran's incredible service to mississippi and to america. you have heard a lot. it was really, really remarkable. 45 years in the congress. four decades in the -- as a u.s. senator. i think senator leahy from vermont said it best, we talked
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about thad cochran's integrity, a man who will always keep his word. as alaska's senator, i also just want to mention what a great friend he was to our state, to our senators. senator cochran was very close to senator ted stevens, the late senator ted stevens and frank murkowski. he really supported our state, my state. i just want to thank him for that. he has this great nickname that i think was given to him in 2006 when "time" magazine said he was one of the best u.s. senators and called him the quiet persuader. you heard that term a lot just a few minutes ago. they said in that article he has gained the trust of the administration and capitol hill for his quiet, courtly manner, using his experience and mastery of the issues to persuade his
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colleagues privately rather than making demands of them in public. a great example we can all learn from. i was proud to have been able to serve and learn from thad cochran for the last three years. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that my following remarks appear in a separate place in the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sullivan: mr. president, one of the things that i enjoy doing in my duties in the united states senate is to come down each week to recognize somebody special in my state, somebody who has made a difference for their community, somebody who might not get the attention that people get in the press or in other areas, but someone who has really made an impact. i like to call that person our alaskan of the week. you know, right now what's been happening in alaska, it's a very special time.
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our state in many ways is shrouded with myth and mystique. we certainly have, i believe, the most beautiful state in the country. there is a lot of excitement that happens, a lot of special things. just last week, we had 60 mushers who were being pulled by dog teams, dozens of dogs. these great athletes as we call them. nearly a thousand miles through some of the harshest landscapes and some of the harshest climates, and we just finished the iditarod, the last great race. so we want to encourage people watching on tv, people in the gallery to come on up to alaska. you'll love it. it will be the trip of a lifetime. come see the iditarod next year. the last great race. we just finished that up last year. it's a great time to be in alaska. it's still winter, of course. time to ski and snow machine. still cold, lots of snow, but
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the sun is now really coming out high in the sky. and of course in alaska, there is hockey. hockey. we love hockey. now, we all know it's a tough and competitive sport, but it certainly fits right into the ethos of my state. all across the state, kids, adults play hockey. boys, girls, men, women, indoor, outdoor rinks, ponds, lakes, skate up, take to the ice. now, however, as many parents know, who are involved in hockey, gear can be very expensive. actually, hockey can be very expensive. many kids and adults can miss out on this great, great sport, a great sport in my state because of the cost. so, mr. president, i'd like to introduce you to anchorage resident carlos gomez, who is
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our alaskan of the week, who has dedicated an extraordinary amount of his time and his life to try to make sure that all kids in my state, boys and girls, from all walks of life get to play hockey, like so many else do in alaska, no matter if they can afford it or not. so let me tell you a little about mr. gomez, carlos, because he's not one to brag about himself. like most alaskans of the week, unsung hero, doing so much for the community, and his impact on hockey, but particularly for the youth of alaska is remarkable. remarkable. in many ways, his story is truly a classic story of the american dream. him and his family. so carlos was born in california. when he was 10, he and his brother went to live with an
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aunt in san diego, and his waive dalia was born in colombia and moved to alaska also with an aunt when she was just 7 years old. carlos received a scholarship from the university of california-san diego, but had to drop out, cut his studies short because of the strain of both going to school and providing for his family, contributing enough for his family was very difficult. he ended up in alaska in 1972 to work as an ironworker where he helped build our state. we were building the alaska pipeline during that time, a huge, exciting time in the state. he met his wife dalia as i mentioned. they settled down in a modest home in airport heights in anchorage and began to raise a family. they had three wonderful kids. his daughters monica, natalia,
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and his son scott. all of them great, bright kids. one of them, scott, who we in alaska simply call scotty -- and i'll get to that -- had amazing athletic talents. when scotty was just 4 years old, carlos took him to his first hockey game, so scotty wanted to try it himself. soon the young boy was hooked and wanted to play hockey as often as he could. and he was good. the problem, although they weren't poor as a family, they didn't have the extra money for all the equipment and the expense that hockey requires, so the anchorage boys and girls club had a program that loaned out hockey equipment, hockey gear. they helped utilize that, but as scotty grew, he needed more equipment, and he stayed focused on hockey. so soon carlos, our alaskan of
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the week, became so involved in youth hockey and had such a heart for the youth who wanted to play hockey in alaska but had difficulty affording it, he became this master fundraiser throughout alaska for the sport. not only for his son but for all the kids in the community who wanted to play hockey across the city. so fast forward to 1998. scotty, the son, 4-year-old playing hockey on ponds in anchorage, is selected by the new jersey devils as their first round draft choice. first latino ever drafted to be in the first round of the nhl draft. scotty went on to become an all star, a stanley cup winner, a recipient of the calder trophy as the league's rookie of the year, all in his first nhl
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season. not bad for a little kid from anchorage. all before he turned 21. he went on to win another stanley cup and later played for the new york rangers, the month montreal -- montreal canadiens, st. louis sharks, the blues, and he even chose to return home during the nhl lockout to play briefly for our very own alaskan team. as you can imagine, mr. president, scotty's quite popular and well known in anchorage. he is admired by so many. and his father is as well. he could have stopped championing, as he has done for so many years, the sport of hockey at any point along the way, but what he did was he kept doing this. he kept working. he kept encouraging young kids in alaska to get out on the ice and achieve their goals, just
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like his son did. so carlos, scotty, and the rest of the family set up the scotty gomez foundation devoted to that cause, and carlos gomez is still running that today. there's more kids like scotty out there, carlos said, and, quote, we are going to give every kid we can that opportunity that my son had. mr. president, the foundation has done so much for youth hockey in alaska. thousands of kids across the state have access to gear and playing this great sport that they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford. around anchorage ranks, you will find the dark blue and gold gear, just like the alaska flag, with the ram, and that's the gomez ram to help kids no matter their background or experience get on the ice and play this great sport. the foundation has put money into rehabbing rinks like the one in east anchorage, the one
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where scotty learned to play lobing. when the anchorage school district dropped girl's high school, the gomez foundation redeveloped it across arng raj's eight public high schools. girl's hockey in anchorage is alive today because of carlos gomez and his family. also, never forgetting who gave scotty his start and generosity for hockey, the foundation has sponsored youth hockey events and grants for the boys and girls club of anchorage. one of scotty gomez's foundation every year is the last frontier hockey classic, oorkized by -- orangized by carlos and his
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partner in big lake. it took place two weeks ago. it was quite an event. more than 600 hockey players showed up, kids, professional, men and women, counting more than 1,000 people from all walks of life came to the event to raise money for youth hockey in alaska. it's amazing what one family can do to touch so many led by mr. carlos gomez. as scotty said, quote, it was my father's dream to give back. this is all him. all -- he always just wants to help others. if you're a kid in alaska and wants to play hockey, carlos gomez will egg you on and make sure nothing, nothing, especially the cost of equipment, is going to stop you. quote, when i was growing up, he
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was like a father to all the neighborhood kids to needed one, scotty said. my dad's a true hero. so, thank you, mr. carlos gomez for all you've done for alaska's youth, youth hockey throughout our great state. we are honored to call you our alaskan of the week. mr. president, i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i wish to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. this weekend americans around the country, at least a dozen places in my state of ohio, will hold peaceful marchs in my
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community and ask that we protect them from gun violence. my prayers -- not just my prayers are with the families and victims, but actually do something. change never starts in washington. we make progress because of grassroots movements of americans across our country demanding action. for too long congress has ignored millions of americans who want reasonable gun safety measures. instead this congress continues to do the bidding of the gun lobby. we already see activism making a difference. this week, a minor step, but we will finally limit reresearch on gun safety. we can't say we're doing what it takes to keep our country safe until we're finally willing to pass commonsense laws to protect all americans from gun violence. many of us tried.
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i supported the original assault weapons ban in 1994, my first term in the congress. i joined with many of my colleagues to renew testify after sandy hook. weapons of war don't belong on our streets and in our classrooms. we tried to pass legislation to close loopholes in the background check system so people who buy guns on the internet or gun shows have to go through the same background checks as law-abiding gun owners who buy their guns in stores. we tried to prevent people on the tryst watch list from buying guns. people can't believe the law in this country where if you're on the government terrorist watch list, you can't go out to john glenn airport in washington or national airport in washington, you can't get on an airplane if you're on the terrorist watch list, that's the right thing,
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but you can go out and buy a gun. we know what happened each and every time, the gun lobby stood in the way despite the fact the laws we're talking about would not undermined the rules and rights of law-abiding gun owners. i have always respected the right for law abiding citizens to have a gun. we won't give up on making our country safer. we'll keep fighting until we get weapons of war out of our schools and off our streets. creating change in our country is not easy. it requires often going up against special interest. it is how we passed civil rights, workers compensation, how we passed medicare, it's how we got social security, people banning together around the country, pushing their country, pushing their government at the state level, at the county level, at courthouse, at the
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capitol in washington, standing against powerful special interests and winning on behalf of the public. are from women's right to airport rallies, last year americans have proved over and over again the power of activism. the people who i will be with on saturday, my daughters, my wife, my daughters, probably three -- three of our grandchildren, the people i will be with on saturday will join hundreds of thousands all over this country in fighting on these issues. the people are marching on saturday are the ones elected to serve were not elected to serve gun lobbists. this gives me hope for the future. i hope my colleagues and this body listens to the activists, not to the lobbists. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. a senator: i ask unanimous consent to suspend the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: i have eight requests for committees to meet and they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted.
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mr. casey: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: we're not in a quorum call.
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the senator is recognized. mr. casey: i ask unanimous consent that liz wynnetrob be granted floor privileges during today's proceedings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to executive session for the consideration of the following nomination, executive calendar 42 1-rbgs the nomination richard granell to be ambassador to germany, that if confirmed, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon
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the table, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, that no further motions be in order, and that any amendments related to the nomination be printed in the record. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: reserving the right to object. i cannot in good faith support a nominee who has a lengthy track record of tweets attacking prominent democratic and prominent republican nominations. since his nomination, these tweets have continued showing complete disregard for the process and for the position he is nominated. the importance of the threat that russia poses to u.s.' democracy and we need ambassadors that can work with our european allies and partners now more than ever to reinforce the using to we have --
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institution we have build and to defend this country. with that, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. casey: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president, i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: mr. president, i rise this afternoon to talk about an issue we've talked about a lot in washington but, frankly, haven't done enough about, and that's gun violence. we're going to be having the -- in the next number of hours, certainly all day saturday, we're going to be having demonstrations across the country, young people coming
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into local communities but also here in washington to march on behalf of those whose lives have been lost and also to march to urge us to take action. the exact name of the effort being undertaken is march for our lives. we've never seen on this issue, and maybe any other issue, this kind of intense activism that young people have undertaken across the country. this march on saturday, march for our lives, will be unprecedented in recent american history. i'm going to be in the city of philadelphia. i know some people will be marching here in washington and also in communities across the country. the focus of the work of young people across country, starting with the students in parkland,
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florida, but growing all kras the country -- across the country in these many weeks, the focus of that will be taking action, demanding that the united states senate, the united states house, and any other legislative body that can have an impact on this should take action. that's what they are demanding and i -- i think there are a number of folks in washington for years who wanted to take action. i would hope that in response to that activism, in response to those marches, either when we come back after a break, and i hope days and weeks after that, there will be a response here in the senate that we will debate the issue or debate one amendment or one bill and then vote on it and then take the next -- the next bill and vote on that and keep going until we have a number of votes.
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it doesn't mean that we can be certain of the outcome. in my judgment that's not the reason to have a vote is to make sure that the american people see us debating this issue and voting on it. otherwise, to take no action, to simply say there's nothing that we can do about a uniquely american problem. the other option, of course, is to surrender, to say that gun vivie -- violence is part of american life. we have to get used to it. there's nothing we can do about it and surrender to the problem. i think most americans don't want to keep reading that number of deaths that pile up every year. last count, 33,000 gun deaths in one year. i don't think many americans want to settle for that. that's not the america i know. that's not the america most people know. in america we take action on tough issues. we tackle them or try to tackle
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them. we don't surrender to the problem. we don't surrender to one political point of view and say there's the paralysis leads to no solution. that's not american. when sandy hook elementary school was the scene of the kind of horror and carnage that we've rarely seen in american history back in december 2012, there was also that predisposition to just move on and to do nothing, to say there's nothing we can do. i was confronted with those questions that same weekend because i knew in the months ahead that there would be a series of votes. what turned out to be a vote on background check, a vote on the limitation of high-capacity magazines, in essence how many bullets can one individual shoot
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at any one time, that's the reason for the mass casualties. that's the reason why we have so many people that die in school shootings or in movie theaters or a nightclub or so many other settings and most recently in yet another school. the third vote, of course, was the vote to ban military-style assault weapons knowing that i'd be facing those votes which turned out to be the early part of 2013, i'd asked myself a basic question. i think this is a question a lot of americans are asking at times like this. is there nothing -- is there nothing, the most powerful country in the world, the most powerful country in the history of the human race, is there nothing that country can do to at least reduce the likelihood that we won't have more mass shootings, that we won't have more school shootings, that we
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won't go year after year having 33,000 people lose their lives from gunshot wounds, a number that's likely to grow in we don't take action. so that's the choice. do almost nothing or nothing itself or take action. that's the fundamental choice we face. that's why we need votes and debates preceding those votes. it's hard to comprehend that it's been half a decade, five years, since we had a sustained debate on the floor of the united states senate on gun violence. we've had ente -- we've had intermittent debates. we've had limited discussions and speeches, and i guess all of that is helpful but no sustained debate on one of the major issues facing the american people. they don't expect us to solve this problem in a couple of days or weeks, but they do expect us to vote. and they expect us to debate.
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and so after five years, it's about time we had a sustained debate. many of us receive letters on a range of issues, depending on what the issue of the week or the issue of the month is. i just received recently mail in a form we don't see enough of anymore, postcards. these were written by students, students and individuals too young to even be referred to as students. here's one who's only age 5. his name is cory. he said in his letter to me that he doesn't want to have guns in his school and he wants me to do something about it. and it goes on from there in a short note that he attached some artwork to on the back. that's what cory says. he doesn't want to have guns in
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schools. then there's mason who writes to me and says, i want to feel safe in school. there should not be guns in my school. he goes on to talk about what he's worried about. i want to feel safe in school. and then finally, probably the one that summed up these issues the best was a young man by the name of hayden. he wrote to me and said, i'm a fifth grader and i don't feel safe because it's too easy to get a gun permit. i should not know about this stuff, he says. i don't feel safe. and then he ends with this question. am i worth it? am i worth it? that's what hayden says. so twice in a letter where he's just writing a few sentences and then putting a heart on the other side. but hayde hayden in a few sentes
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summing up the challenge we face here in the senate and across the country. he said twice in the same letter, i do not feel safe. i do not feel safe. something that probably most people my age or in my generation so to speak never had to worry about. we didn't think of going to school and being threatened by gun violence. there might have been an anxiets at school. there might have been thinks we were worried about. this is a uniquely american problem. no other country in the world faces this kind of a problem. so we have to ask ourselves if a young person in fifth grade doesn't feel safe because of these mass shootings and mass shootings in school and then asks us am i worth it, every one
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of us in both parties would say of course you're worth it, hayden. hayden is worth an effort to try to keep him safe in school. but if you answer that question yes, that he's worth it for us to do something about it, then you have to ask the question, what am i going to do about it? are we just going to do what we usually do around here, don't vote? don't have any sustained debate, pretend it's not happening because there are forces out there that have a strangle hold on the process and say you're not even allowed to vote let alone debate and pass a bill? there are forces out there that don't even want us to debate this issue, but i think we can do more to respond to hayden's request and of course to respond to what young people across the country are demanding. you have young people who are not old enough to vote yet. i'm not just talking about hayden in his letter but all those young people are coming to washington and going to town
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squares in small towns and big cities to march for their lives. some of them -- many of them are not 18 years old yet. they can't vote. and they are leading the country suggesting to us how to vote, demanding that we take action. so it's rather ironic that this problem has gotten so bad that young people who still cannot cast a vote are asking us to do our jobs and to vote. it's not difficult to vote in the u.s. senate. usually you just have to be standing and put your hand up. thumbs up or some indication with the individuals in the senate that record those votes. it's not that difficult. it doesn't require a lot of exertion. it doesn't require a lot of energy. you just have to be on the floor, be standing, and say yes or no. so if someone wants to vote against all these gun measures, if they want to vote against
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background checks and limitation on the high-capacity magazines and still let what we have in america law now, the terrorist -- a terrorist can get a gun in america. if you want to continue that, fine. that's your choice. that's your vote. but at least vote. at least have the sense of responsibility to vote on a tough issue. so we'll have an opportunity to answer the letter and answer the question that hayden asked. is he worth it? i think he is and i think we ought to vote. mr. president, i would ask consent to include the next portion of my remarks in a different place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: and i'll be brief. i just want to note one of the recognitions of this month. i want to take a moment and remind everyone that march is developmental disabilities awareness month. in 2011 the centers for disease
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control and prevention estimated that 14% of children in the united states have a developmental disability. that's almost ten million children. developmentally disabilities include autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, and many other congenital disabilities. in the past we took a rather paternalistic point of view with regard to people with developmental disabilities. taking care of them but not raising them up and fostering their skills and abilities. this was shortsighted on our part. so today with the help of such laws as the individuals with disabilities education act, we heard a lot about that but its acronym, idea, the americans with disabilitiesability, so-called a.d.a. and my legislation from a couple of years ago the able act. each of these pieces of legislation are breaking down
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barriers to encourage and support people with developmental and all types of disabilities. people with developmental disabilities contribute numerous benefits to our society. in pennsylvania, thousands of people with developmental disabilities are working in competitive, integrated jobs at such places as s.a.p., fedex ground, pnc bank, giant eagle grocery stores and many small businesses throughout the commonwealth of pennsylvania. people with developmental disabilities make our lives richer and fuller, and we -- and as we celebrate them i pledge -- and i know this is a pledge that many in the senate make -- to protect their rights and the rights of all people with disabilities to have equal access to all of our society. mr. president, with that i'll yield the floor. mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, earlier this week this senate voted to confirm kevin mcaleenan to be the commissioner of u.s. customs and
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border protection. this is a national security job. it's the person in charge of making sure that america has secure borders. he was appointed -- he was approved unanimously by the senate finance committee that voted on him before it came to the floor. despite the unanimous vote, the democrats in this body still delayed this nominee from taking office for as long as they could. they forced the majority to file cloture on it. and we had the vote last week. we had to wait to do it. spend the time. and in the end, 30 democrats, the democrats who demanded we hold a cloture vote and delay the vote, 30 democrats voted in favor of his confirmation. mr. president, this had nothing to do with his qualifications for the office. they just wanted to delay and obstruct. that's what we're dealing with here, mr. president. forcing a cloture vote on a noncontroversial executive branch nominee, well, it used to
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be extremely rare. hardly ever happened. there were 15 people confirmed after a cloture vote at this point for the previous four presidents combined. if you take a look at the previous four presidents, obama, clinton, both bushes, total of 15 votes were taken requiring cloture in each of those presidencies, total. so what about president trump? 50 people, 50, 5-0, have been confirmed only after deliberate delays by the democrats forcing us to waste time on cloture votes. that doesn't even count people nominated to be judges. we're just talking here about presidential appointees in the executive branch. this delay is unproductive and it is unprecedented. democrats are insisting on cloture votes because there's a senate rule that allows for up
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to 30 hours of debate on presidential nominees and after we've had that vote -- so in reality, very little of this time is actually spent on debating the nominees or their credentials to serve in the office for which they've been nominated. it's a pattern of ongoing obstruction that democrats have been following since the very first day of the trump administration. that's right, since the very first day, inauguration day last year. republicans wanted to vote on mike pompeo's nomination to be head of the central intelligence agency, an important key position in any president's group, but we already had had the debate in the foreign relations committee. we could have had a debate on the floor that evening. no, a small number of democrats blocked it. forced us to have a cloture vote
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and wait, delaying the process from the day one inauguration day of the administration. now, how much of the 30 hours did the democrats actually spend debating this person's qualifications to be head of the c.i.a.? less than two hours. waste 30 hours of the whole time. only two hours was used in debate. that's how long the democrats spent on this floor giving their reasons why they wanted to vote against the nominee. nothing to do with mr. pompeo. it was just so democrats could waste three more days allowing nothing else to happen, blocking other activities in the senate. and the rules allow the democrats to stall, and they took full advantage of the rules. mr. president, it is time, in my opinion, to end this partisan spectacle. we have 78 more nominees for various jobs who made it through their committee hearings and are waiting for a vote on this


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