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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 11, 2018 10:29am-12:29pm EDT

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the oddest there's lunches are out here and you can engage and guess out there as well. thank you so much for joining us. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> today the senate would be considering the nomination of john bring to the national labor relations board with the confirmation vote set for about 12:20 p.m. eastern. confirm republicans would hold a majority on the nlrb. also a vote to limit debate the deputy labor secretary nomination and more executive and judicial nominations coming up this week. mitch mcconnell it's indicated they will keep the senate in session this week to complete work on all of the scheduled nominations. and now live to the floor of the u.s. senate as the session gets
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underway here on c-span2.
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the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. spirit of the living god, fall afresh on us today. you are a god of might and power, and our times are in your hands. forgive us for sometimes forgetting to trust your prevailing providence, as you increase your faith through the power of your holy word. lord, thank you for our lawmakers. remind them that they are appointed by you
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and are, therefore, accountable to you for their work. may they not forget that they are servants of your kingdom, as you motivate them to be faithful in what they think, say, and do. provide them with your wisdom empowering them to fulfill your purposes for their lives. we pray in your strong name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: this morning speaker ryan announced to his colleagues that he'll be departing the house at the conclusion of the 115th congress. two and a half years ago paul ryan was drafted by his colleagues to lead the house through a new era. like a true leader, paul stepped up to the plate. he answered his colleagues' call with exactly the earnest, selfless and focused poach that has defined his entire career in
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congress. the results have been beyond impressive capping off a remarkable 20-year korea in congress, paul's speakership has yielded one significant accomplishment after another for his conference. his constituents in wisconsin, first congressional district as well as the american people. true to his career-long reputation for a champion for pro-growth economics, paul helped lead the way on last year's once-in-a-generation rewrite of the nation's tax code. thanks in large part to his personal passion and expertise, tax reform became a reality and our economy is charting a new course toward greater prosperity and greater opportunity. on its own this generational accomplishment would secure the speaker's legacy as a transformational conservative leader, but of course it's far from the only fruit of his speakership. his leadership was vital to securing everything from the
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largest increase in defense funding in 15 years to the remaking of the way we treat and find cures for rare diseases. what's more, paul has paired that ambitious agenda within an infectious good cheer and unflagging commitment to serve all americans. amidst all the stresses and pressures of leadership, paul's optimism and energy never faded. it's been a sincere pleasure and a real inspiration to work alongside this humble servant and happy warrior. i'm glad we can count on his continued leadership through the rest of the year because our work together is far from finished. i look forward to collaborating closely these next months to implement more of the inclusive pro-growth, pro-opportunity agenda the american people are counting on us to keep advanci advancing. now, on another matter yesterday the senate confirmed the first of six nominees slated this
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week. claria horn boom to serve the eastern and western districts of kentucky. she was confirmed 96-1. just one senator in opposition. this is the kind of uncontroversial nomination the senate could typically dispatch by voice vote. oh, but not these days. over and over again we've had to file cloture and exhaust floor time on amply qualified nominees who then soar through their confirmation votes by lopsided margins. since president trump took office, the senate has had to hold 82, 82 cloture votes on judicial and executive nominations. in the first two years of president obama's administration, there were only 12 such cloture votes. 12 for president obama, four for george w. bush, eight for president clinton and already
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just a few months into president trump's second year, 82, 82. the numbers speak for themselv themselves. well, today we'll have the opportunity to confirm yet another qualified nominee for a critical post. john ring's nomination to serve on the national labor relations board is an important next step to continued cleaning years of regulatory rust off the american economy. it's a natural addition to the progress we've made scaling back unhelpful regulations that make it harder for american businesses to create jobs and make opportunities for american workers more scarce. mr. ring's confirmation will give the country a fully stopped nlrb once again and turn the page on the previous administration's effort to remake this bipartisan board into a one sided political weapon. even in a short amount of time last year, we saw just how much good a fully functioning nlrb
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can do for american workers when it calls balls and strikes fairly instead of bending over backwards to meet every demand of big labor. today we'll have a chance to get things back to normal for the long term. mr. ring has a distinguished record in labor negotiation. i would urge my colleagues to join me in voting to confirm him today. after mr. ring, the senate will turn to the nomination of pat pizzella to serve as deputy secretary of labor. the fact that this cabinet agency has gone 15 months without its number two official is yet another testament to the historic obstruction visited on this administration by senate democrats. he's been sitting on the calendar for six months despite his ample qualifications. i would urge all of our colleagues to vote to finally advance mr. pizzella's nomination. on another matter this week
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we've been discussing the stark difference between the obama administration's agenda and the policies that president trump and this republican congress have implemented. during the obama years, the overwhelming majority of all the limited new growth and new jobs went to the biggest and richest urban areas. times were good. if you happen to live in new york, san francisco, or a few other places. but if you were one of the millions of americans in our nation's towns, smaller cities, suburbs, or rural areas, not so good. according to one estimate, 73% of all the employment gains in the country between 2010 and 2016 went to metro areas with more than one million residents. practically everywhere else americans either treaded water or started sinking. this president and this republican congress were sent
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here to put this right and because the american people gave us a chance to do so, they now have leaders in washington who focus on cutting taxes instead of raising them. rolling back over regulation instead of piling on more suffocating rules, and looking out for the best interests of all workers and job creators, not just those in our biggest, wealthiest cities. the early results from our inclusive opportunity agenda are clear. after years of stagnation, we're beginning to see signs that rural america turned a corner in 2017. one analysis found that last year rural areas outpaced the rest of the country in job creation relative to the share of the economy they started out with. there's still much, much more to do, but these early promising signs add up to hundreds of thousands of new jobs. that's a sight for sore eyes in kentucky, west virginia, montana, maine, and so many other states.
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and what about our smaller cities? i recently heard from my friend senator toomey that because of this historic tax reform we passed last year, caterpillar technology in reading, pennsylvania, will invest $100 million in expanded manufacturing capabilities. $100 million in our economy and american workers because of tax reform. for this american manufacturer founded in 1889, the tax cuts and jobs act means a new hot rolling mill to produce the special alloys for aerospace and consumer electronics. there are -- they're also investing in 3d printing. this is what happens when manufacturers have the breathing room to bet on the u.s. economy and on their american workforce. bleething room is exactly what our policies are giving them. carpenter enjoys employing more than 3,000 pennsylvanians w. this kind of major capital
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investment, i expect they'll be competing for future generations of skilled workers as well. pennsylvania should be proud that senator toomey was one of the leaders that happened lead the charge for tax reform. it's a shame his colleague, the senior senator from pennsylvania, put party politics ahead of workers and taxpayers and voted to block tax reform right from the beginning. fortunately, my democratic colleagues failed to block tax form from taking place even though many now want to repeal the law that's led to the new jobs, higher wages, and increased opportunities all across our country. stories like these are just the first fruits of tax reform, regulatory reform, and all the other ways this republican congress is fighting for every american worker, job creator, and middle-class family.
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mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: before i get into the substance of my remark, i remind my dear friend, our majority leader, that the vast majority of the benefits of this tax break, this tax cut, went to the wealthiest of americans. the vast majority went to large corporations. and what are they doing with the money? using most of it for buybacks. that was a by buyback. they buy back their own salary. the rich guy making money, the shareholders, one third out of the country, most of whom in the top 10% of america make more money. the middle class and rural america particularly is left behind in this bill. we could have done a tax bill where the benefits went to the middle class, not just some, 10%, 20%, but all.
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so this bill is -- it's a bit of a fake. small benefits for the middle class along with harm to their health care. the things put in this bill will raise many people's premiums far more than their tax -- than their small tax break. so let's be honest about this. this bill was done for the rich and the wealthy and the powerful. and there was some benefits to the middle class, but it could have been so much, so much better. but our republican colleagues listened to the wealthy special interests, to large contributors, and that's how this bill came about. by the way, because it creates a deficit of $1.5 trillion -- and i'd remind our leader, rural america really cares about deficits. there's a lot of republicans,
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particularly the more conservative ones, say now let's cut medicare and social security. how is an elderly person in rural america going to feel about that? so i would simply say this bill, this bill was not the right remedy for america. there was a lot better. now, speaker ryan. now, i know speaker ryan quite well. speaker ryan is a good man. he's always true to his word. even though we disagreed on most issues, in the areas where we could work together, i found him to be smart, thoughtful, and straightforward. i found him to have a great deal of integrity. we didn't agree, but he had deep beliefs, and he was not like some on his side of the aisle who say it's my way or no way. he was willing to meet you, to try and get something done. so i thoroughly enjoyed working with speaker ryan. i admired him as a human being,
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as a religious man, somebody who cared a lot about his family. i understand his frustrations. i do. when you have so many intransigent people in your caucus who say it's my way or no way and your job, even though you have deep beliefs, is to want to get something done, it's hard. it's hard. now, with his newfound political freedom, i hope that the speaker uses his remaining time in congress to break free from these hard right factions that plagued him so and that have kept congress from getting real things done. if he's willing to reach across the aisle, he'll find democrats willing and eager to work with him. i'd say to speaker ryan, let's work together. you are more of a free man now. follow your instincts, which means your beliefs won't be the same as ours, but you will want to try to come to some kind of
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agreement that we can meet somewhere in the middle. now, the job may be made harder because congressmen scalise and mccarthy are now competing for the job in the hard right's favor. they are too violate in that caucus. but i believe speaker ryan is up to the job to overcome that problem and work in the last months here for the betterment of our country. now, on the issues of yesterday and last night, for months, mr. president, i've heard my republican colleagues argue that there is no need to pass legislation to protect special counsel mueller and the russian probe from president trump because they have been assured by anonymous white house officials that it wouldn't happen. president trump, in his own words monday night, made it plain as day that he may be considering firing the special counsel and/or the deputy
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attorney general, which would be equally egregious. the white house spokeswoman from the podium said that president trump believes he has the authority to fire the special counsel all by himself. and a report in "the new york times" said that president trump considered firing mueller as recently as december, in addition to a year ago in june. only an hour ago, the president tweeted that the fake corrupt russia investigation, his words, was, quote, headed up by all the democratic loyalists or people who work for obama. mr. president, will you start telling the truth? robert mueller is a republican. deputy attorney rosenstein is a republican whom you appointed. christopher wray, the head of the f.b.i., is a republican whom
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you appointed. i don't know how long the president can believe that people will swallow just the bold mistruths that he spews out day after day after day. but what he said is that the people that, quote, the investigation was being headed up by all democratic loyalists or people who work for obama is patently false, and the president should retract it. it's all too obvious, however, these kinds of remarks make it all too obvious that the president, who cares little for truth, may be considering the firing of the special counsel or the deputy attorney general. so i'd like to direct my remarks and -- to my republican colleagues. i say to my republican colleagues, you can no longer rely on anonymous sources as a reason for delay or inaction on legislation to protect mr. mueller and avoid a constitutional crisis.
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the evidence is staring us all in the face. we cannot ignore the elephant in the room any longer. because the consequences of the president taking action against mueller or rosenstein or issuing political pardons is just too dire. as many republicans have said, such action would precipitate a constitutional crisis in this country. the president doesn't seem to realize it, but i know my republican colleagues do. no person is above the law in this country, not even the president. he's not a king. he's the president. if the president were to interfere in any way with the chain of command in the russian investigation or clean house at the justice department in order to install lackeys who would carry out his orders, we would be no better than a banana
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republic. the things we see happening in other parts of the globe would be happening here. in those places, leaders use the levers of power to subvert or avoid accountability in all ways. president trump seems to wish he could do just that. i want to be crystal clear on that point. if the president were to take action against deputy attorney general rosenstein, it would be every bit as grave of a mistake as removing special counsel mueller. america, as we know it, as we love it, would diminish. i know republicans and democrats agree on that. so why not take the bull by the horns? why wouldn't we take immediate action to potentially prevent a constitutional crisis from coming to pass? why don't we head it off at the pass and move bipartisan legislation that's been introduced this morning through
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the judiciary committee, which i'm told senator grassley is seriously considering, and on to the floor of the senate where i hope leader mcconnell would place it. in a bipartisan group this morning, senators graham and tillis, booker and coons, have introduced legislation that would help protect the special counsel. why not pass this legislation now and avoid a constitutional crisis? why not avoid an injury to the body of this great country and then try to stitch it up? why not avoid an injury instead of sustaining it and trying to stitch it up? that's what we should be doing. let's not wait until it's too late. let's head the constitutional crisis off at the pass by
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passing the bipartisan legislation introduced by graham, tillis, booker, and coons, and take the threat of a crisis off the table right now. so i urge senator grassley to schedule a hearing and markup on this bill, to report it out of his committee. we must be sure not to water it down with amendments or accept changes that would render it useless. i urge leader mcconnell to then take that bill to the flood put it on the floor where we can debate it and pass it. surely something this serious deserves the time and attention of u.s. senators, and i dare say if legislation, bipartisan legislation like this came to the floor, it would pass by a large majority, members of both parties, and pressure on the house to do just the same would be large.
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the rule of law cannot be a partisan issue, should not be a partisan issue. we cannot let it become a partisan issue. the congress must speak clearly, loudly, with one voice by passing legislation to ensure that any effort by the president to remove special counsel mueller, deputy attorney general rosen tine would be rendered unsuccessful. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. a senator: last friday -- the presiding officer: the senate in a quorum call. mr. cotton: can we end the quorum call? the presiding officer: without objection, under the previous order, leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, national labor relations board, john f. ring of the district of columbia to be a member of the. mr. cotton: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: last friday marked
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the 75th anniversary of the third infantry registration. as one of its veterans, i didn't want to let the moment pass without notice. the third infantry, more commonly known as the old guard, serves across the river at arlington national cemetery. most of here and most in the gallery have probably visited the cemetery and seen old guard soldiers. arkansans who visit me in the capitol consistently tell me that arlington the highlight of their trip. that's not surprising to me because old guard soldiers set the standard for their dedication, their diligence, their devotion. the third infantry is one of the nation's -- is the nation's oldest active duty infantry unit and yet the reverence we feel for them goes beyond their mere length of service and to what they represent -- into what they represent: the dignity of freedom. the third infantry reactivated on orders of the secretary of the army.
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the ceremony was held just a few steps from here on the east plaza of the capitol. then the old guard immediately conducted another ceremony to present the flag of liberation to the president pro tempore of the senate and the speaker of the house. that flag had flown over this very capitol on pearl harbor day in 1941. then u.s. forces raised that flag over rome and berlin and tokyo after we had defeated the axis powers. finally the old guard led the army day parade from the capitol down constitution avenue where president truman sat in the reviewing stand at the ellipse. not bad for their first day back with the regimental colors. it had been only 18 months since the regiment, serving with the 106th division as an occupation force in berlin, was caught up in the rush to mobilizations at world war ii. but the army needed an official
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ceremonial unit in the nation's capital as well as the contingency force as tension built between the united states and the soviet union. so the army called the third infantry back into service at fort meyer right next to arlington and restored the history formerly belonging to the regiment. that was due in no small part to their reputation for professionalism, present from its very beginning. the third infantry was stood up in 1784, when the continental congress created the first american regiment. the war for independence had convinced congress that whatever its fear of standing armies, the country needed at least a small professional fighting force to defend it. and so the third infantry started as the lone professional regiment in the early days of our republic and our common defense was organized mostly around state militias.
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to this day its members continue to display that professionalism by holding themselves to the most exacting standards as the army's highest-profile unit and the official escort to the president. but the thirden fantory's professionalism also had a serious purpose: to defend america. so faithfully has the reinment served the american people that its history and the nation's history are thoroughly intertwined. first it served at posts along the frontier, where it protected american settlements against indian attacks. under the leadership of general "mad" anthony wayne and it fought the british imperialist army to a standstill in 1812. today they wear a buff strap on their shoulders to commemorate that 18th century heritage. after the war, peacetime demobilization and reorganization gave the regiment
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its current name: the third infantry. then during the mexican war the third infantry distinguished itself with bravery, skill, and stamina at every major battle at places like monterey and vera cruz. its famed bayonet charge is what persuaded the war department in 1922 to authorize the thirden fantory to march with bayonets affixed to theirrrives, a privileged for solely for that renalment. and it was because of the thirden fantory's valor that the commanding general at the vera cruz granted it the honor of leading the victorious march into mexico city during which he turned to his staff as the third infantry passed in review and said, gentlemen, take off their hats to the old guard of the army. and ever since the name has stuck. after the mexican war came the
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civil war, which divided not only our nation but also our army. ulysses s. grant and robert e. lee now faced off against each other. the third infantry fought every major battle in the war's first years. first full run, antietam, fredericksburg and jettiesburg. suffering casualties, the old guard ended the war at the headquarters standing alongside general grant at appomattox courthouse. in the days that followed, the vast majority of state volunteers returned them to their families, but not the old guard. the regulars, as they were known back then, went straight back to the front, again protecting settlers from indian raided across the western frontier. they defeated spanish forces in
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cuba during the spanish-american war. they fought insurgents in l philippines. some of the same places where the islamic state is present today. they guarded our border with mexico during world war i and they helped get the lend-lease program going in the early days of world war ii before deploying to europe itself. but it was after the old guard's reactivation that it assumed the duties for which it's rightly famous today: performing ceremonies and military honor funerals. for hit first 162 year, the old guard defended america's frontiers and fought its wars both at home and abroad. now these new responsibilities have defined the old guard's mission for the last 70 years. the size and structure of the regiment has evolved just as arlington national cemetery it is has grown and the old guard's prominence has increased as it has participated in major
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internationally televised events such as the ceremony to inter-the unknown soldiers from world war ii and the korean war in 1958 and the state funeral for president kennedy in 1963. the essence of the mission has not changed since 1948. it's this history, this reliability, this steady, sober leadership that the old gar has become known for. their skill and proficiency, their care and attention to detail, their faithfulness and discipline -- all of they will set the highest standards of military conduct and character. our fellow americans see all of that whenever they visit arlington, they can imagine it on the battlefield. then they can have no wonder why -- that's why the old guard is held in such reverence and that's why it is fitting to mark this important anniversary. the old guard represents the best of our country but also the
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best in ourselves. isn't free. it requires self-sacrifice and self-discipline. that's what makes it a noble and therefore a fulfilling way of life. and for reminding us of that dignity, the dignity of that comes with being a free people, the men and women of the old guard deserve our deepest thanks. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: democratic whip. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, last week i spent four days in venezuela p. i've never been there before. i was given an opportunity to get a visa to come to the country, and i jumped at the opportunity. venezuela -- of course on the north end of the south american continent -- is a constant source of concern in the united states and the region. and i wanted to see for myself
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what was happening. no doubt many are aware that venezuela has been suffering devastating economic and democratic backlieding. but what i found was a country that is on the edge of collapse. facing overlapping economic, humanitarian, and political crises. on the economic side, venezuela has so many positive things. it's rich in natural beauty, oil, minerals, human talent, but it's seen its economy run into the ground by mindless price controls, multiple exchange rates, and gross mismanagement. inflation is rampant, expected to reach 13,000% thisser i do not, leading to what some call a race for survival. imagine walking down the main street of caracas and seeing long lines by every a.t.m. why are they there? because each day the residents of venezuela must go to the a.t.m. machine with their credit
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card or debit caud and take out the maximum withdrawal allowed. it is hundreds of thousands of bolivars, but it translates into into20 cents. wait at an a.t.m. for 20-cents worth of currency so you can ride the bus back and forth to work. that's what life is like in the capital of venezuela. they have universally discredited and arbitrary price controls that are eerily reminiscent of the failed policies in cuba and the soviet union. they've decimated -- and left basic goods unaffordable. i saw many shops but no customers. basic goods are available. shampoo or diapers, for example, but they cost the equivalent of two or three months' of salary. we stopped and done a
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translation at one store that isn't under price controls and found a pound of hamburg cost $4, which doesn't sound bad except that is the monthly wage -- the minimum monthly wage in venezuela for a pound of hamburg. people waiting in long lines, rampant inflation, hyperinflation has made cash scarce and nearly worthless when it can actually be found. i have never visited a country where i never touched their currency. they warned me against t if you buy things here as a tourist, you're going to pay 20 times what local people pay. they have exchange rates that are bizarre and change by the minute and these people live with this every single day. government -- the government maduro stages raids into the formal grocery stores to impose arbitrary price controls leaving owners unable to stock their shelves or run a functioning
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business. if there is a rumor out that there are eggs for sale somewhere in caracas, there is a rush to that location and people wait for hours in the hopes to buy some. informal markets are springing up trying to meet the people's demands. yet while i walked through these markets, i saw long lines, a long line waiting and i went to the front to see what they were waiting for. they wanted to buy toilet paper. business leaders told me they are being vilified by the government, forced to sell products below cost so the government can be exclusive seller of imported goods. they also shared stories of workers. listen to this, fainting on the job from hunger. one particular concern, one of the largest employers in venezuela, said they decided they had to start bringing fruit to the workplace in the morning business so their workers could get something to eat. when they fainted, it was not
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only danger us to them but to people around them but h. and they wanted to keep their workers awake. only one out of three people in venezuela eat three meals a day. children fainting at school. the government has run the state oil industry into collapse treating it as a cash cow and as a way to lining their pockets. currently, now, there is little or no investment in the oil industry, the national oil industry of venezuela. there is little or no maintenance, and there's a mass exodus of skilled personnel and engineers. what would an engineer working for a venezuelian national oil company earn in the course of a year? dramatically more than most venezuelians. $1,700 a year, annual income. and what would they earn in other countries in latin america with the same skills? $85,000 a year, average income.
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is it any surprise they're leaving? it's also no surprise that the country is suffering a heartbreaking humanitarian crisis, one that is notable for malnutrition and a breakdown of basic public health. brave and dedicated health care workers, and i've met some, n.g.o. leaders told me of a shortage of vaccines with outbreaks of measles and diphtheria that haven't been seen for decades. malaria is at record levels. when the public health officials gave me a briefing on the public health crisis of venezuela, they said that the maternal mortality rates, the death of mothers, is down at the level that it was 50 years ago in the early 1960's. the same thing is true for infant mortality. that high a level. you have to go to either south sudan, yemen, or syria to find comparable public health crises.
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and those three countries are all at war. venezuela is at war with itself. in fact, one expert said that the outbreak of measles, diphtheria, and malaria was the worst that he had seen, certainly the worst in all of south america. with venezuelian's flooding into neighboring countries, many of them are spreading these diseases -- these diseases that have been cured in so many countries around the world. basic diabetes, asthma, and h.i.v. treatment simply not available. for four months now, h.i.v. patients have not been given medication. a staggering number of hospitals cannot perform basic services. many do not have any capacity to perform a blood test. no x-ray machines available on a 24/7 basis. many of them don't have electricity. some do not even have clean water.
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venezuelians are suffering malnutrition, and it's particularly acute for children who suffer for a lifetime due to stunted brain development. one expert said the rates of malnutrition affected more than 8% of the population, in some areas as high as 15% of the people suffering from malnutrition, and you can see it on the streets of caracas. when you go and look in their public parks, you see these children, thin limbs, spindly legs and arms and you think to yourself, these kids aren't getting enough to eat. it's hard to know precisely about all these statistics because the government officially stopped collecting and releasing information. they leave it up to private organizations. and what i found also particularly cruel was the government's supposed effort to help with hunger,s provision of a monthly food basket was linked to having the right political identification card. sadly, these food boxes are imported. someone's making a lot of money
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in that process with corrupt middlemen taking a cut at multiple steps along the way all to provide a politically manipulated lifeline that only meets seven of the 12 basic food needs. the regime has also linked these food rations to polling stations during elections which brings me to the third overlapping crisis, a democratic crisis. let me acknowledge that hugo chavez did in fact win his initial terms in democratic elections. he tapped into public disenchantment with the failure of traditional governing parties to address the deep chasms of poverty in venezuela. he even said and i'm quote, i'm not the cause. i'm the consequence referring to his rise to power. but his election like that of some many autocrats at heart also brought the steady dismantling of the country's democracy, a path followed by the current president. you see, in venezuela, political parties that look threatening
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are arbitrarily banned. political opponents that appear to be popular are jailed or exiled or just plain disqualified from running for office. government institutions, like the venezuelian election commission are simply political tools of the regime. the rule of law has collapsed. in 2017 the opposition won a sweeping victory in legislative elections, and what happened next? the president of venezuela, maduro, installed an illegitimate rubber stamp constituent sellly to usurp the legitimately elected national assembly. it was his way of stopping his opponents. the supreme court national election council are stacked with partisan cronies who do whatever the regime asks regardless of the law. and now with the country on the edge of economic collapse, the president has called for a snap election on may 20. more than six months before traditionally it would be held. he wants to move quickly for
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fear that he might lose. maduro doesn't want to risk losing even under a rigged system so he's rushing forward with this election but doesn't -- that doesn't come close to meeting established international standards. what i found bears repeating is that the critics of the venezuelian government regime and their actions are not confined to the united states or canada. they include central american countries like panama and south american countries which have expressed their displeasure with maduro's actions as well as the european union's displeasure. but parties and candidates still remain arbitrarily banned. zero trust in discredited election commissions and registration and voting processes have been dramatically manipulated. i met with some of the opposition leaders and they told me what happens when people try to vote. they have to go through an elaborate process with a machine to register to vote.
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it's controlled. it takes too much time. it limits the opposition from registering their voters. there's little time for a legitimate campaign, especially with government control of the media and representable long-term election monitors are nowhere to be seen. none seem to be planned for the actual election either. under these conditions how can any such election be credible? if president maduro proceeds with this may 20 election under these circumstances, he's going to find venezuela further isolated. amid these deeply troubling and ominous conditions, i nonetheless met so many brave and dedicated venezuelians who are trying to endure and reverse this horrible situation. doctors, nurses, civic leaders, business people, politicians, so many others sharing food and medicine, running for office facing the threat of arrest or exile, documenting human rights abuses in the shrinking media space trying to run businesses
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in a broken economy. it's an incredible act of courage each day. i also met with former political prisoners, political opposition members, and their families who are under constant threat or are ready under some kind of arrest. mr. president, i would name them here but to do so puts them in danger in venezuela. i was moved by their dedication and humanity. and i'm haunted by the comments of one group of young idealists. over dinner friday night in caracas, they talked about the future. and they said if we called the same group of five opposition leaders together a year from now, we'd be lucky if three showed up. two of us will be exiled or jailed between now and then. that's what they face by being political opponents to the current regime. i fear how many of venezuelians' most talented will be sacrificed under these conditions. the regime also is tragically holding a u.s. citizen josh halt
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of utah on criminal charges. the charges are nonsense. i visited with jsh holt in his pris -- josh holt in his prison. the prison is known locally as hell on earth. josh and his venezuelian wife have served 21 months with no end in sight. and they still haven't gone through the criminal process. he's suffering and he should be. it's understandable. and he's clearly being held as a political hostage. i appeal to the president and every member of the government to release this young man and his vensian wife and -- venezuelian wife and her daughter so they can come to the united states, back to the united states. keeping josh holt as a political hostage will just isolate the maduro regime even more. i'm one of a bipartisan group of members of country who will continue to push for his immediate release. and lastly, i want to note that every time i go on one of these trips overseas, including to some of the most far-flung
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corners of the globe, i'm always moved by a group of talented americans working for us and representing us. and those are the men and women in our embassies without exception. todd robinson, our embassy team in caracas, is a point of great pride and outstanding public service. the conditions which they are forced to operate under are extraordinarily stressful. mr. president, there was some small hope that negotiations led by the vatican and regional leaders most recently hosted in the dominican republic could lead to some kind of path forward between the venezuelian government and the opposition before it's too late. but all of these have failed. some hoped years ago that a group known as the boston group of american and venezuelian elected officials might be the beginning of a dialogue, might be continued to this day. but it's increasingly difficult to see that possibility. i met some of the venezuelian boston group members. several of them are deeply committed to this administration
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currently in power. but many of them talk about changes that need to be made in venezuela. so i haven't given up hope completely that there may be some voices that can move this country back to a civilized status. let me be clear in my conclusion here. to the venezuelian government. specifically, a message that they should proceed with an election that meets the following basic standards. all political prisoners must be released and all candidates and parties must be allowed to compete. there must be at least six months for a legitimate campaign. the national election council should be restructured and led by a credible group of professionals with even division partisan basis so that it isn't loaded for one party or another. there must be no linking of food with voting or political party affiliation. the national assembly must have its powers restored. credible international and local
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election monitors must be allowed to observe the preelection and actual election process with full accreditation and access. going further otherwise will only bring more suffering to the people of venezuela and more isolation to their nation. republicans and democrats don't agree on much these days. certainly not here in washington on capitol hill. but we do agree that venezuela and the consequences of president maduro's regime continue to lead that nation down a negative path, a path of suffering. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i want to preface my remarks today about china with the recent article from the economist, dated march 1, 2018, which i think does a very good job of crystallizing what the hopes and aspirations that we in the west had for china and what the reality has turned out to be. they point out in march, 2000, bill clinton divided american opinion on china into two camps. the first he said were the optimists. the second he said were the hawks and the pessimists. the optimists, they describe it, with an eye on the future who could see china becoming the next great capitalist tiger, with the biggest market in the
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world. that was the optimistic view. the economist says the hawks and pessimists stuck in the past saw china stubbornly remaining as the world's last great communist dragon and the threat to stability in asia. well, as this article points out, it wasn't an either/or. they called it a both, slash, and. they include that the china of xi zin-ping is a mercantilist dragon under strict communist control, using the power of its vast markets to cow and co-op capitalists rivals, to bend the rules-based order and to push america to the periphery of the asia pacific region. they call this one of the starkest reversals in modern
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geopolitics. and indeed, the administration's national security strategy that president trump rolled out just a couple of months ago states that china challenges american power, influence, and interest. and points out again that the hopes and aspirations of the optimists appear to have been dashed, and instead we have one of the starkest reversals in modern geopolitics. that leads me to the subject i wanted to come and at least to start to talk about because it does relate to china, but today in the subcommittee on international trade in the senate finance committee, which i happen to chair, we're convening a hearing on trade issues in china. the core issue my colleagues and i will examine involve challenges to u.s. businesses, manufacturers, and service providers who are trying to get
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access to the chinese market, a market that retches the second largest economy in the world. china has almost unfettered access to the united states. there are important protections in place like the committee on foreign investment in the united states that does look at some of those investments to make sure our national security interests aren't compromised, but by and large, china has open access to the u.s. and the u.s. market. china's the united states' largest merchandisized traysing partner and the third largest export market for u.s. goods abroad. although the legitimate flow of goods and services between the united states and china has increased over the years and is in many respects a positive thing, statistics alone do not capture the whole story, hence the preface that i gave about
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the economist's view of what's changed in china. unfortunately, why chinese companies enjoy largely open access to the u.s. market in an economy that's receptive to foreign investment, u.s. companies are not afforded reciprocity in this regard. the president in his state of the union message made that point, that in our trading relationships, we expect reciprocity. in other words, to be -- to treat our trading partners the same way they treat us. hopefully to everybody's advantage. u.s. companies seeking to do business in china offer -- often encounter, i would say always encounter a protectionist system, one that employs predatory tactics and promotes domestic industries over foreign competitors, many of which receive state subsidies. in many cases, china has used trade as a weapon, coercing u.s.
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companies to enter into joint ventures or other business arrangements that would require a company to hand over key technology and know-how, the so-called secret sauce of their business in order to gain market access. this process has already begun to erode america's technological advantage and undermine our defense industrial base, something which should concern all of us and which is the subject of a revision of the committee on foreign investment of the united states statute that's going to be coming out of the senate banking committee and the house banking committee, an updating of the cfius process to meet the challenges of today. of course the trump administration under section 301 of the trade act of 1974 is currently considering potential investment restrictions to address harm resulting from china's effort tohave attempted to engage chinese leaders on their trade practices, the
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high-level diplomatic talks have generally yielded little progress and often resulting in commitments with zero follow-up action. discussions may continue in the future, but china's market access reforms are still too slow and real barriers exist. reciprocal treatment for u.s. companies should not be too much to ask. indeed, it is the minimum we should insist upon. it's my hope that today's hearing will paint a clear picture of the problems that persist with access to chinese markets and that significant reforms will follow. mr. president, on a second brief matter, i want to meangs that yesterday was the one-year anniversary of neil gorsuch's joining of the united states supreme court. former attorney general ed meese called justice gorsuch someone
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in the mold of the late justice antonin scalia, an impartial judge who applies laws as they are written and shows an abiding respect for the rights guaranteed by the constitution. i commend president trump, as i have numerous times in the past, on his outstanding selection, and i congratulate justice gorsuch on his first year of serving on our nation's highest court. let's not forget that justice gorsuch is not the only good news when it comes to the federal judiciary. he's only one part of a much larger and often untold story. as of earlier this month, 40 article 3 judges that are federal life tenure judges have been confirmed under president trump's tenure, 30. that's been in large part to the commitment of the senate under our majority leader's leadership, making sure that this was a priority to confirm judges that have been passed out of the judiciary committee here on the floor of the senate and
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to maximize our floor time in order to get that -- get that priority accomplished. my home state has filled two appellate vacancies as well as two district vacancies so far, and additionally five accomplished lawyers are waiting for a hearing for texas district vacancies, and two more are waiting to be confirmed for those vacancies. so as andy oldham, an accomplished lawyer nominated to fill the third seat on the fifth circuit since president trump became president, and i hope we will continue to move all of these judicial nominees and many more across the country very soon. i know there is a lot of focus on the executive branch and the legislative branch, but i believe the judiciary is the bedrock of our government, ensuring that equal justice is available to all, no matter what your station in life, and it is the rule of law that enables all of our other freedoms to be
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possible and enables our economy to flourish and to create opportunities for our people so that they can pursue their dreams. that's how important i believe the judiciary is, and we should never forget it. yesterday, president trump took another important step in -- in this area when he announced he would be nominating david morales to fill one of the vacancies i just mentioned, this one in corpus christi, texas, u.s. southern district. david has extensive seerns working for the texas attorney general -- experience working for the texas attorney general, as well as the texas university system. he was recommended by senator cruz and my federal judicial evaluation committee, a bipartisan group of the best and brightest lawyers the state of texas has to offer, and david was recommended to us by the -- what we call the fjec, and they
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perform great service not only to senator cruz and myself but to the public generally in vetting these potential nominees for judicial service and recommending them to us. david morales will bring more than 23 years of complex litigation and agency -- in agency dispute resolution to bear, and i would hope our colleagues will join with me in making sure his nomination is swiftly considered and that he is confirmed. i think david and the other texans president trump has nominated will make excellent additions to our court. they are the kind of people we would want in our courts, those who will impartially ensure that justice is done and the law as written is followed, no matter who the litigant is or the type of controversy at issue. finally, mr. president, for the skeptics who like to say that
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nothing good ever gets done here in washington, i'd like to mention one other item, and that is the real positive consequences of a bill we just passed and that's being signed into law by the president today, the fight online sex trafficking act called fosta. the effort to pass it was led by our colleague, the junior senator from ohio, senator portman, and i and others were honored to serve as original cosponsors of this legislation in the senate. we have been working on this issue since at least 2012 when i introduced a resolution, along with a bipartisan group of my colleagues, that called for to cease and desist from being the website -- cease and desist their facilitation of human trafficking, including children and prostitution by eliminating the adult section of the website.
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we passed -- we had to pass this law because under the communications decency act, they were able to -- when they go to court, they were able to claim that congress had not carved out a provision for trafficking but merely for child pornography, and thus had escaped attempts to bring them to justice in the past. well, this important legislation that we -- goes along with a bill we passed in 2015 called the justice for victims of trafficking act which refocused our efforts on fighting the sex trade here in the united states by targeting those who purchase human trafficking victims and providing services to the survivors of this crime and giving law enforcement new tools to target the organized networks responsible for commercial sexual exploitation. well, that was just a few years
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ago, but just this last month, as i said, we changed section 230 of the communications decency act to allow state attorneys general and victims to seek justice against websites that knowingly assist or facilitate commercial sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking. the good news is since that time, a grand jury in arizona has indicted seven people affiliated with backpage on 93 counts of money laundering, facilitating prostitution, and other crimes. the indictment alleged that the website operated essentially as a highly lucrative online brothel. after we passed fosta, to fightx trafficking act, some websites announced major policy changes and shut down sections that may have helped enslave and entrap young women, so it's not just been the indictment and
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hopefully the conviction of people who facilitated backpage over the years. it's had a deterrent effect on other websites that did similar things and encouraged them in their own self-interests to shut down those sections that helped facilitate human trafficking. backpage has now been seized by federal law enforcement and can no longer serve as an open forum for the exploitation of children and the purchase of human beings for sexual slavery. these are all positive signs that the law we enacted is making a real difference and ensuring that this malignant conduct does not go unpunished. the prosecution and dismantling of backpage has sent a clear message to the pimps and the buyers responsible for sexual slavery, resulting in the shutdown of many other sites involved in the commercial sex trade. this includes message boards where individuals posted accounts of the sexual assaults of women and children as if they
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were reviewing a restaurant menu or product. as i said yesterday with reference to facebook, the internet can be a very good thing, but we can't be naive in ignoring the dangers it represents when put to a perverse use to women, children, and others. so what we did with fosta, the fight online sex trafficking ability, is an unqualified good thing. it is something that republicans and democrats worked on together, together with the president, to pass and to sign into law. it's a good thing that we changed the provisions that inadvertently shielded sex trafficking online. it is one way we can make the internet a safer place for everyone. so, mr. president, i applaud the bipartisan efforts of the members here in both chambers of
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congress as well as the president for his support, and for those who think nothing good ever comes out of washington these days and that democrats and republicans can't get along to pursue the public interest, this is exhibit one that i would offer of the most recent efforts we made to shut down this modern-day human slavery. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. lankford: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: let me do a quick history lesson with this body. 1773, as colonies, we were getting more and more frustrated with king george, and we had a lot of issues that we had to raise with him, things that were arbitrary that were coming down. then it boiled it a head. in december of 1773, a group of american colonists went out to boston infuriated with the tariff policy over tea. the british east india company had special access that no one else had. they had no taxes and everyone else had a tax -- a tariff. and it pushed out all of the other companies except for the british east india company. and a group of american colonists went out to one of the
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ships, grabbed out the tea in the harbor, threw in overboard, creating the legendary boston tea party. there is an argument about tariffs. there is an argument about international trade. it was an argument about can american companies trade fairly? and we still talk about it today. it's interesting to note that in our letter that thomas jefferson wrote in 1776 which we now call the declaration of independence, in their long list of grievances that we wrote out to king george, we included in it this line. we included in it for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world. as one of our big grievances. by the way, that grievance happened to be right in between the british government allowing british soldiers to murder inhabitants in america and doing our taxes without consent. right in between those was cutting off our international
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trade. we've been free traders as a nation since before we were even a nation, and we've been passionate about keeping it fair but keeping it free and keeping it open. free trade is a big issue for us, and for some reason it has become this big, national conversation again. should we have free trade and fair trade? should we continue to engage? what does it mean to have a deficit in our trade? does it have to be equal with every country that they buy as much from us that we buy from them? suddenly this has become a brand-new dialogue again. i would like to bring a couple of real-world moments beginning with a history lesson to say that trade and international trade has been important to us even before we were a country. we were gathering supplies from all over the world to do our basic production. we're still doing that today. for some reason i run into people that they think this whole supply tha chain that's an international supply chain is something new in this generation. i tell them, you should look at
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your history and see that the united states has always had an international supply chain. we're also at that% of the world's economy -- we're also 25% of the world's economy. there is no nation in the world that can afford to buy as much from us as we buy from them. we're the largest economy in the world by far. we're going to buy more from other countries. so the issue is, how does this work in our economy and how do we make sure we protect american manufacturing and the american consumer at the same time? so met me walk through just a practical view of what it looks like. third-generation farmers and ranchers who live in roosevelt, oklahoma, a population of a whopping 241 in roosevelt, by the way, if you want to know, but the agricultural products that they produce help feed the world. they raise wheat, cotton, cattle, and milo.
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every year their crops are coming in and they use john deere equipment. we look at that john deere tractor and its beautiful green and we think that's a great american company. except part of that equipment also comes in their tractor in its original form from india. parts come from germany and most of it is from the united states. they employ about 60,000 people in the united states. it is a great american company, john deere is, but their calves are made in germany, their hydraulic cylinders are made in mexico. the castings are from iowa, but the guidance products are from california. some of the transmission electronic parts actually come from india. other parts are from missouri. but we see that as a great american tractor. the crews that harvest the crops are folks that come in illegally, by the way, they were
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from new zealand or south africa. the wheat they produce goes to egypt, india, japan, some of it goes to south korea. their cotton is used all over the united states, but it's also, by the way, partially shipped to china as well to be able to produce garments. some of those garments soon end up right back here in the united states again starting with cotton from roosevelt, oklahoma. the milo that they use it goes to feed. most of that feed goes to texas, which if you're in oklahoma, you consider that international trade, but it's still domestic trade. but a lot of that feed goes to china. their cattle -- now, their cattle -- great american beef. we eat as much beef as we can possibly eat in oklahoma and the rest of it we ship all over the world. their beef is used in oklahoma and all across the united states, but it's also sent to japan, korea, and mexico p understand this -- just as an
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aside, in 2017, u.s. beef producers exported 1.2 million metric tons of -- metric tons of beef worth $it billion. that's just american beef going around the world. leading partners in that -- canada and mexico. $980 million in exports. it's a big part of what they do. now, charlie swanson, he drives a ford f-150 pickup, a great american product, isn't it? a great ford truck. that f-150 by the is completely assembled here in the united states but the alum unanimous comes in from canada. that's in that great american truck. about 15% of the components that are in that great american truck come from mexico. some of the parts even come from china. but, by the way, that f-150 is
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not only used extensively in the united states, it's also shipped around world. there are a lot of those f-150's that are driving on the roads right now in mexico and canada and, yes, even in china. that f-150, by the way, drives on four good solid tires, good-american-made tirement but the steel cord that's in those american tires comes from all over the world. that steel is not made mostly in the u.s. that's in most of our tires. and a lot of the chemicals that go into the production of those tires are from europe, from asia and from latin america. so while those good american tires, some of them said at the goodyear facility in oklahoma or the michelin plant in ardmore, they've got parts and pieces that are from around the world even in those american-made tires. by the way, they're shipping them out as well.
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so just for charlie and just what's happening there in roosevelt, oklahoma, population of 241, the products they're producing are going all over the world. the products they use, even the products like a john deere tractor, a ford f-150 or the goodyear tires or the michelin tires on that vehicle are american-made but are dependent on trade from all around the world. i could talk about -- i talked to brent hancock, born in oklahoma. he left kiowa county. he received his doctorate of veterinary medicine and opened up a clinic in 1995. for over 20 years he's been taking care of sack vin nations. it's -- care of vaccinations. he vaccinates these animals with
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vaccines to provide some of the safest agricultural products in the world. some of those vaccines come from companies like bayer, which is an international company. they're based in germany. he also uses products from merck. they have offices in 50 countries. and they produce their products and ship them to 140 countries around the world. again we just look at it and say, a good american veterinarian, must be all-american, actually is dependent on products coming from all over the world to provide basic things. i can't talk about oklahoma and not talk about oil and gas as well. realize, most of the pipe that goes down the hole in most of our wells, that pipe is produced from steel that is not made in eric in. that particular type of steel that's in those wells is produced around the world but not here. so we're dependent on any of our oil and gas to go in that f-150 pickup in that john deere tractor to actually be a part of
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it produced from steel from around the world. i could take you to tulsa, oklahoma, slightly larger than kiowa county, by the way, to a manufacturing plant that employs about 150 people, produce refrigerators, they import products from europe and they combine them with products that they're making here in the united states and assemble them and then that final product is sold all over the country and is also sold to mexico from one plant in oklahoma. another company imports products from suppliers in canada and mexico. they create a final product sold all over the united states and this then they sell it right back to canada and mexico as well. this shouldn't be shocking to anyone. this is the same structure that we've had since the 1700's as colonies. we produce some raw products and
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shim them out. we buy some and be able to use them as manufacturing. this is a nation that is very interconnected to the world and it is exceptionally important that our trade agreements get resolved as fast as possible. i want fair trade. we had unfair trade in 1773 that we pro-toasted in the boston harass we are -- that we protested in the boston harbor. we still want fair trade agreements right now. but those trade agreements need to be resolved as fast as possible. farmers and ranchers in oklahoma cannot wait a year to find out what's going to happen in our trade policy. some of them are on the edge of the knife right now on bankruptcy. they can't get anything on the future's market to try to figure out what's happening in the now to be able to do the basic investment they need to do for this year's crop. predictability helps you just like fair and free trade does. so while i understand full well
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the administration is engaging in trade negotiations around the world, i encourage them to move from talking about these trade agreements to settling them. getting them resolved with mexico and canada, getting the best deal that we can have, resetting this agreement with nafta for another generation, as it's being reset right now, to prepare us for the future. get that resolved. those are our two largest trading partners. getting resolved our trade agreement with korea, locking that one in and then finishing out all the area around asia as well. 12 of those nations have already resolved a trade agreement that they're into -- putting us behind. those nations are forming contracts now that we need to engage in as soon as we possibly can. there are big issues were china in trade. they have not been fair in all of their trade agreements. we need to resolve our trade agreements with china. and i'm pleased that this administration is leaning in to resolve a long-term issue with china trade. it is about time someone does it.
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but we also need to get it resolved. we don't need retaliatory tariffs moving across every industry in our nation destabilizing what we're doing in the economy. let's get these issued resolved. quite frankly, many of the trade issues that we have with the rest of the world aren't their tariffs. there are regulations. when our regulations and american red tape from our own government slow down our own economy, let's deal with our own house to make sure that what we produce is competitive around the world. but in the meantime, let's move our trade conversations to trade agreements so we can continue to move on towards doing the same thing that we have done since the 1700's as americans. that's trading with the entire world and leading the world with it. with that, mr. president, i yield back.
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the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: madam president, as we all know, our country is facing a lot of challenges,
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particularly overseas, and a lot of them are in the news. iran, syria, north korea. but when you look out across the landscape of what the big, big long-term geostrategic challenge, challenges that face our nation, in my view, there's no doubt that the number-one challenge economically, from a national security standpoint, is the rise of china. it's the rise of china as a great power. and we need to be thinking about that. a lot more. because that's going to be the issue that our country faces not just this year or next year, but for decades. now i come from the great state of alaska. we are an asia-pacific state. we are always looking to that
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region. sph-fbgt, we're in -- as a matter of fact we're in that region. my hometown of anchorage is closer to tokyo than washington, d.c. what i see as a positive on this issue, having been in this body for a little over three years, have come to the floor and talked a lot about the rise of china. and it was a little concerning that a few years ago nobody was talking about it. very few people were talking about it, but that's changing and i think that's positive. it's changing. this administration is focusing. and it's changing what my colleagues, democrats and republicans certainly, this is an area where i think there's a lot of agreement. i was just presiding for the last hour. the majority whip, my good friend and my good friend from oklahoma both were talking about issues dealing with china and trade and strategy. and that's positive. and so is the administration. if you look at the national security strategy of the trump
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administration, they are starting to focus on this issue. front and center. the return of great power rivalries with china as the leading, pacing threat, challenge, but also an opportunity for this great nation of ours. when you look at the history of our country, particularly post world war ii, the united states set up the international system, the international trading system, security system. we've been leading that. so many countries, hundreds of millions of people in the world benefited from that. and the irony of course is that one country that benefited probably more than almost anyone is china. the rise of china was not only helped, it was spurred by the american international trading system, the sea lanes of commerce that we've kept open
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for decades. and so there was a moment in the last couple decades where we reached out very much. there was a great speech by our former deputy secretary of state in the bush administration, a gentleman by the name of bob zoellick who went on to become the head of the world bank. and he asked in a speech to the chinese, he said you need to now become a responsible stakeholder in this system that we created because you have benefited so dramatically. you're big, you're powerful. now help become a stakeholder in the international order that we set up. here's the offer to you. well, unfortunately, madam chair, i think whether it's a democrat or republican, in the national security and foreign policy realm, most people are sensing that china has rejected that notion. no, we're not going to be a responsible stakeholder in your system. we're going to set up our own system. as a matter of fact, we might even try to undermine your
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system, the global system set up by the united states of america, by democrats and republicans over decades. and you see it. you see it everywhere, whether it's decades-long theft of intellectual property, whether it's high tariffs, whether it's any american company coming into china, being forced to transfer their technology. no other country do this. china, but they're doing it to our companies and have been doing it for decades. so there's a rethinking right now. clearly the trump administration is thinking about what the new strategy should be. the national security strategy of this administration, which i commend people to read, it's quite a good document, written by the outgoing national security advisor h.r. mcmaster, focuses a lot on this issue of reciprocity and great power rivalry again. so as we're thinking about it, madam president, i'd like to just briefly touch on three
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principles that i think will be key as we debate this, as we help formulate this hopefully in a bipartisan manner, this issue is going to be with us for decades. for decades. three key principles. first, reciprocity. true reciprocity. the majority whip was just talking about this. the national security strategy of the trump administration talks a lot about this. the president talks a lot about this. this is just a fairness issue. a fairness issue. as i mentioned, i.p.r. theft. high tariffs. the forced tech transfer from american companies to china. giant state-subsidized, state-owned enterprises. and state-backed investment funds, buying up companies all over the world. no other country does that to china. so when you look at the issue of reciprocity, i like to break it
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down into kind of a positive and negative. you have negative reciprocity. if we can't do that in your country, you shouldn't be able to do it in our country. pretty simple. pretty fair. everybody understands that. and then there's positive reciprocity. one thing i've been encouraging the chinese to do for many yearr there a lot. spent a lot of time with senior leaders in that country. the united states has been going over and investing in china for decades. factories, we built them from the ground up, employ tens of thousands of chinese with american capital. you know what? china is getting big enough, they can do that in america. the japanese did that in the 1980's. we had major trade disputes with them. what did they do? they started coming to our country and investing in our states with their capital, greenfield investments, auto factories, for example, and employs tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of
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americans. we would welcome that. as a matter of fact, in alaska, the chinese are talking about helping us develop a large-scale alaska natural gas project. greenfield investment, employing alaskans. that would be positive if that's going to happen. so that's the way we need to think about reciprocity. second key principle, madam president, allies. allies, allies, allies. the united states is an ally-rich nation. our adversaries and potential adversaries, think about who that might be. russia, north korea, iran, potentially china. they are ally poor. no one wants to join the north korea team or the iran team -- well, maybe syria. but the united states for decades has had allies because they trust us. we're not a perfect nation, but they trust us.
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look all over the world. so what we need to do with regard to our strategy on china is make sure we remember not only our allies in deep and current relationships with japan, with korea, with australia, but expand them. vietnam. the presiding officer and i went to vietnam with the chairman of the armed services committee, a war hero who spent time in prison in vietnam, senator mccain. the vietnamese are interested in dealing with us. india, incredible opportunities to have a deeper alliance between the oldest democracy in the world -- us -- and the biggest democracy in the world -- them. so allies has to be a key part of our strategy as we look with regard to how we deal with the rise of china for the next two or three or four or five
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decades. because all of these countries, all of our allies are having the same challenges. and finally, the third principle we cannot lose sight of, and for too long this body lost sight of it, robust american economic growth. since the founding of our nation we've been growing at about 3% or 4% g.d.p. growth. i have a chart. i talk about it all the time down here. and yet over the last decade, because of policies we inflicted on the american people, we were barely growing at 1% g.d.p. growth. what does that mean? everybody talks about that, numbers, wonky, that's a proxy for the american dream and we were not growing. we weren't growing. and in asia, the coin of the realm of power more than anything, more than military power, is the power of your economy. we have not had that. we have not shown up.
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and that matters. what we are trying to do in this body now, tax reform, regular toerl reform, un -- regulatory reform, unleashing american energy because we're going to start growing this economy again. that's going to help the american people. that's going to reignite the american dream. but that is going to be key with any policy we deal with china. so, madam president, as we're thinking through this challenge -- and i'm going to come and talk about this a lot. and i know you're interested in it. i know my colleague from michigan is interested in it. we need to continue to focus on these core principles: reciprocity, our allies, and robust economic growth, as we all struggle with and put together a strategy, aing long-term strategy to deal with the rise of china, the challenges and the opportunities. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: madam president, our
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nation's middle class was built by the hard work of american workers, at a time when our country has become increasingly polarized, we should be able to agree everybody should have a fair chance to succeed if they are willing to work hard and play by the rules. these truly american values have inspired generations of workers to stand together and collect lively bargain for basic workplace protections like fair wages and reasonable hours. this allows american workers to be productive members of the economy and to achieve their version of the american dream. but the american dream only exists if hard work is rewarded with the opportunity to earn a good living, to provide for your loved ones, and when it's all said and done, to be able to retire with dignity. this is deeply personal to me. my mom found opportunity as a
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nurse's aide and led the opportunity to lead her workplace, she was an sieu union leader. as i grew up in rochester hills, it feels like the american dream has moved out of the reach of too many american families, joining, or staying in the middle class can be a daily struggle. we must fight every day to support and to build the middle class, not chip away at fundamental worker rights. the laws, regulations, and administrative decisions that come out of washington have a direct impact on american workers, unions, and the middle class. the national labor relations board protects the rights of american workers. they safeguard the ability to unionize and engage in collective bargaining for fair
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workplace conditions. to work as intended, the nlrb, must be made up of members deeply committed to representing the interests of -- interest of american workers. unfortunately, the nominee we will be considering shortly, mre this commitment. in fact, he is the third labor attorney president trump has nominated to the committee with zero -- let me say that again -- zero track record of representing workers. he has only represented clients on the corporate and management side of labor issues. during mr. ring's tenure at one of the country's largest firms, he has advised corporations on how to undermined worker protections. he has also posted blogs opposing commonsense reforms to modernize union election procedures, saying it was one of the big -- some of the biggest
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salts on employer rights in recent history. mr. ring would join recently confirmed board member william emanuel who had represented corporations. five months after mr. emanuel's appointment, the nlrb was forced to vacate a major decision related to employer liability due to his conflicts of interest. and yet the administration continues full steam ahead with new nominees with extensive corporate ties and conflicts of interest. this administration is also breaking precedent and all conception of fairness by refusing to nominate new nlrb members in a bipartisan pair. despite a pending democratic vacancy on the panel, the president and senate majority leader have instead chosen a partisan approach, doubling down on the one-sided nature of a
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supposedly independent federal agency. this is simply unacceptable development and it is an ongoing effort to silence our nation's workers. protecting american workers, the american middle class, and the american dream should not be a partisan issue. and i'm deeply concerned with mr. ring's appointment to the nlrb, if confirmed to the five-member board, the majority of the agency charged with protecting workers vice voices will be stacked with voices that undermined workers rights. i think workers should be treated fairly, but not at the expebs of our -- expense of our nation's workers and the middle class. we need nlrb members who will stick up for american workers and the american class. mr. ring will not be that kind of nlrb member, and the administration and the majority are actively preventing seating
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someone who will stand up for workers. i will be voting against mr. ring's nomination, and i urge my colleagues to do the same. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr.sullivan: i have 14 requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. under the previous order, all time is expired. the question occurs on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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