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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 18, 2018 3:29pm-5:29pm EDT

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by owning the falcons he built two great chambers of commerce and sought others to come to the communities where he was prospering and built their businesses. then he wanted to be president of the atlanta chamber of county. thr-pbt -- atlanta and kalb are the two biggest counties in georgia. he brought them together. he was a broker of common interest. he found the good in every opportunity and tried to sell the good and forget about the bad. he tried to bring out the best in everybody. and i never made a deal with john williams or saw a deal that he had made -- i never saw anybody leave the closing table that didn't feel good. his knack was to be sure that if you left the closing table and you had a check, you felt good about it. and if you had just written a check, you felt good about it. he wasn't a lose-win person. he was a win-win person. and that's why he was such a great businessman and such a great entrepreneur. he's a great friend and a giant of a friend to me.
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i met him 50 years ago next month. this may sound funny but it's a great story. he worked for the georgia power company. i worked for a small real estate company called north side reality associates. our two first jobs, his with georgia power and mine with north side were to hold open the total electric house of the year in 1967 which meant we drew the last straw and every night from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. we held those houses open in hopes somebody would come to look at them and the electric utilities hoped somebody would build a total electric house. it was the first time they had ever done it. we -- i remember the nights thap john talked about what he wanted to be and how he wanted to be a entrepreneur, and real estate developer and how he wanted to make things better. i sold him four acre piece of land. i helped him with some of the properties that he put together and always found him to be the
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win-win guy. he was my friend, he was my supporter, my confidante. he was also my greatest critic. every politician should be lucky enough to have a john williams. he will tell you what you want to hear and what you don't want to hear. he could write checks all day long, but you and i know that it's not just the checks that they write but the advice they give. it's the passion they have. when you find someone who has a passion for their family, building businesses, for their community and for everything that is great american, you want to stay close to them. for 50 years, i stayed close to john williams. before he boarded a plane, i started crying. so did everybody else i talked to since. everybody misses john and was shocked by his going. but realizing the difficulties
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he had in recent years, back surgeries and things at that nature and at 74, you know that time is running out, but it's a good example of how you want to be ready and know the legacy you left is better than the one you inherited. john was a man of modest means at his birth. when he want to the georgia institute of technology, better known as georgia tech, he graduated with a debt and modest means, but great principles. the story about the families because his mom wanted to landscape everything and make it look beautiful. proved it didn't take a lot of money to make things look good, but a lot of hard. i'm sad today and all of georgia is sadder. all of should hope and pray that all of us have the time in our lives to know somebody as good, decent, as honorable, with the ption of their community and lover of their country as john
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a. williams of atlanta, georgia, my good friend. god bless you, john, and god bless the united states of america. i yield back.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. markey: mr. president, i ask for vitiation of the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. markey: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i am here to join ranking member nelson and my colleagues to voice my opposition to james bridenstine who has been nominated to be the next administrator of the national aeronautics and space administration. but first i would ask unanimous consent that floor privileges be granted to mary schultz and william goldsmith, both fellows
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on my staff for the remainder of this session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. markey: thank you, mr. president. nasa is an agency that has been at the center of our nation's modern history and impacts the daily lives of millions of americans. the world watched in awe as neil armstrong took that first step on to the surface of the moon in july of 1969 wearing a nasa patch on his spacesuit. today we marvel at photos of pluto's surface captured by nasa's new horizons mission in july 2015. from the closest to the further reaches of our own solar system, nasa is always there. now nasa is at a critical point in its history. and that is because the united states is poised to unleash the next great feat of human innovation as we look to unlock the true possibilities of space.
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but to accomplish these goals, we need a solid foundation, and that starts and ends with the science conducted at nasa every single day because nasa's mission involves not just revealing the wonders of far away worlds but of investigating the realities of our own. and in order to truly do that, we need continued scientific research of the highest caliber. the scientists working at nasa today are among the very best in the world. nasa in partnership with the national oceanic and atmospheric administration are noaa -- or noaa produces or analyzes the most robust data we have on our planet's changing climate. the o.c.o.3 program monitors eert's atmospheric carbon levels. the clair path finder mission ms
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heat. the deep space climate observatory satellite provides our scientists comprehensive data sets that are crucial to understanding the vast changes that are under way on our own planet this very second. on nasa's website right now, they have a web page entitled, quote, scientific consensus, earth's climate is warming. on this web page based on nasa's vast collection of data, it continues, quote, the impacts of climate change are already occurring. sea levels are rising. and snow and ice cover is decreasing. the warming climate likely will cause more floods, droughts, and heat waves. the heat waves may get hotter and hurricanes may get stronger. those are nasa's words. we know them to be true because science has proven it. nasa science is the gold standard. its scientific work is crucial
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to us understanding the threat that climate change poses to our nation, our economy, and the health of all americans and people around the world. but houston, we have a problem. nasa science, nasa's mission and american leadership will all be in serious jeopardy if james bridenstine is confirmed to be the next administrator of nasa. under his leadership, nasa would come to stand for not accepting scientific advice. congressman bridenstine's record is one of questioning climate change and undermining science. he has repeatedly questioned the scientific consensus and the threats of climate change. before changing his website, it stated, quote, global warming theories should not drive national energy policy without clearer evidence. global warming isn't theory. it is based on science.
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and unfortunately, mr. bridenstine's words do not reflect the accepted science behind climate change, including the very science that nasa has been collecting and needs to continue to collect. under president trump, we know that fear is rampant across the federal government among scientists. so it is no surprise that the environmental and scientific communities across the country are asking that we vote down congressman bridenstine's nomination based on his voting record and his clear denial of accepted science. because if mr. bridenstine is confirmed as the administrator of nasa, he will bring that fear to its scientists at a time when we need them more than ever. but it's not only his views on science that makes him unsuitable to lead nasa. nasa's workforce is comprised of more than 18,000 workers that
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identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and year. nasa has officially stated that, quote, diversity and inclusion are integral to mission success. but in a 2013 speech on the floor of the united states house of representatives, congressman bridenstine declared, quote, marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to children. he has stated repeatedly that he would support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. congressman bridenstine's personal views and voting record against people that identify as lgbtq should immediately disqualify him from consideration for leading this diverse agency. nasa is an agency of inspiration, an agency that showcases the very best of american ideals, scientific integrity, innovation, diversity, fearlessness, resolve and hope. mr. bridenstine puts these
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ideals at risk and is not qualified to lead this agency. i urge my colleagues to oppose his nomination. i urge a no vote. thank you, mr. president. i yield back and i question the presence 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 pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to end the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. toomey: thank you, mr. president. i rise this afternoon to recognize and celebrate with my constituents and friends from
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the seat community of pennsylvania and beyond. i want to start with the acknowledgement that my -- acknowledgement of certain words may be off. i am delighted to have so many wonderful representatives of the sikh community. i want to thank hem and all of -- them and all of the members of the sikh community who made this trip down to washington, d.c., to participate in a celebration for an important holiday and to raise awareness about the sikh community. sikhism has been around for nearly 600 years. it originated in india in the 15th century. today there are about 30 million sikhs who live in countries all around the world, making it one of the world's largest
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religions. sikhism believes that every individual, regardless of sex, gender, race, or creed is equal before god. sikh was introduced in the united states in the 19th century. today there are about 700,000 sikhs who live in the united states and a large number of sikhs preside in pennsylvania. in fact, there are several sikh places of worship and they are located throughout pennsylvania philadelphia, pittsburgh, allentown, and erie. in my many travels across pennsylvania, i've had the opportunity to meet with and get to know sikhs, hardworking sikh constituents. i can tell you they are close-knit, vibrant communities deeply committed to their families, fully american while at the same time preserving some
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wonderful and often very old traditions. the sikhs constitute a rich cultural fabric to the commonwealth of pennsylvania, and i'm grateful to them for what they add to my state. a few years back, i was proud to join the sikh congress. we recognize the sikh holiday of vosaki. it is usually celebrated on the first day of the month of vasaki, which is april 14. this is a special occasion to remember the founding in 1699 of the call saur, which are devout sikhs, which played an important role in its identity. the holiday also recognizes the spring harvest. sikhs recognize this important
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holiday with parades, with dancing, with singing, other festivities and also with volunteer service, especially volunteering meals to those in need and other forms of community service. this year the sikh coordination committee east coast, with support of the u.s. congressional sikh caucus, has organized a parade in washington on may 19 to commemorate it as national sikh day. the theme of the parade is the sikh identity, sikh culture and sikh way of life. thousands of sikhs from all over the united states will participate. i am proud of the sikh communities of pennsylvania and i wish the sikh community much luck in the parade and a very voius vasakhi -- vasakhi.
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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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mr. alexander: i ask consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president, yesterday our country lost a bright, caring, independent lady and my wife and i lost a caring friend. barbara wish set a good example for wife, first lady, and we wish her family our sympathy for the great life of barbara bush. john meacham wrote the biography of george h.w. bush, barbara
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bush's husband, to great acclaim. he had access to the diaries of president bush and barbara bush that was almost unpayroll i'lled -- parallelled with any other biographer's experience. so as a biographer who told us a lot about those two individuals. i thought a better name for john meacham's book, it was named "destiny and power," which must have been a proper name because it sold a lot, would be "the last gentleman." if i were to make a really accurate suggestion about the title of the book, i would call it "the last gentleman and his lady" or maybe the -- "the last gentleman and his very independent lady." i remember it was 1991. it was a sunny day and we were
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walking on the south lawn of the white house. i was the education secretary and i was walking with the president and mrs. bush when he announced his school program for low-income children. as we walked along, barbara turned to president bush and said george, you've got on the wrong pants. he had his suit coat on from one suit and he had pants on from another suit. so she said to him, to the president, you go on back in and change clothes and lamar and i will wait here for you, which we did and he did. on another occasion, president bush invited my wife and me to join barbra and the president -- barbara and the president at ford's theater. the president traveled in a big car. as the protocol goes, he got out first. as she was about to get out, she said i'll get the door, george.
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on still another occasion, i was sitting next to barbara and george bush, and the president was called on to make some remarks and he leaned over to his wife and said, barb, what should i talk about? and she whispered back very loudly, about five minutes, george. barbara bush was quite a woman. she said what she thought. when her second one of her sons decided to run for president, she was reported to have said, i think we've had enough bushes. when i ransom for president in 1999 against her other son, i made what i thought and certainly by today's standards some very mild comments disagreeing with him about something and i heard from barbara bush about what i had said about her son george w. bush. not many of us think how
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difficult it must be to be the spouse of a president of the united states, all that one goes through. but think how harder it must be to also be the mother of a president of the united states and the mother of another distinguished son who's governor of a large state and who ransom for president of the united states. barbara bush was the anchor of her family and a very successful and remarkable family it was. i was education secretary for president bush in 1991 when the national literacy act was enacted. and let's use barbara's own words to describe the event. you'll find them in her memoir. she wrote, i must say i got more credit than i deserved. i don't agree with that, but she continued. i heard that george was going to give the pen to me but before he could, senator simon spoke up and said that pen ought to go to barbara. so i donated it to the george bush presidential library center. in the end, however, barbara bush wrote, it's not pens and
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pictures that counts. it's the national literacy act that really counts. it was the first piece of legislation and to date the only one ever enacted specifically for literacy with the goal of ensuring that every american adult acquires the basic literacy skills necessary to achieve the greatest possible satisfaction professionally and personally. but barbara, wrote, but even more than that, the act seeks to strengthen our nation by giving us more productive workers and informed citizens. in his biography of president george h. w. bush, john machum wrote of a generational controversy in his words that barbara bush endured in may of 1990. she was invited to her alma mater -- she was invited -- not her alma mater -- to wesley
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college to speak at graduation and receive an honorary degree. but she was being criticized by wesley's -- wellesley's young women. because as president bush put in his own diary -- and these are president bush's words -- because she hasn't made it on her own, because she's where she is because she's her husband's wife, what's wrong with the fact that she's a good mother, president bush wrote in his diary. a good wife, a great volunteer, a great leader for literacy and other fine causes, nothing but to listen to these illeaguous kids there is. mrs. bush invited mrs. gorbachev who was visiting the white house to go along with them. there she confronted the issues of work and family and the role of women head-on delivering a well received commencement address. she put the audience at ease by saying early on that one day i'm
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sure that someone in this audience will grow up to become a spouse of the president of the united states, and i wish him well, she said. she also said, maybe we should adjust faster. maybe we should adjust slower. that is what she told the graduates. but whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change, fathers and mothers. if you have children, they must come first. you must read to your children and you must hug your children and you must love your children. your success as a family -- our success as a society depends not on what happens in the white house but what happens in your house. barbara bush to the wellesley graduates in 1990. the country is expressing to the bush family as i am trying to today our great respect for
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barbara bush's life. president bush, george h. w. bush has sent a response to those of us who have said our condolences, and i would like to close with the president's own words about his wife, barbara. this is what george h.w. bush said. i always knew barbara was the most beloved woman in the world. in fact, i used to tease her that i had a complex about that fact. but the truth is, the outpouring of love and friendship being directed at the enforcer, president bush's words, is lifting us all up. we havwe know life will go on ae would have it, but, president bush says, so cross the bushes off your worry list. barbara bush.
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i thank the president. i yield the floor.
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mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i ask for the yeas and nays on the pending nomination. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered.
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the presiding officer: without objection, the question is on the nomination. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote: vote:
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vote: the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 55, the nays are 48. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table, and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: thank you, mr. president. in the past 24 hours, we have learned of a high-level meeting between director mike pompeo, the president's nominee to become secretary of state, and kim jong-un, the tie n rant leader of -- the tyrant leader of north korea who has threatened to use nuclear weapons not only against our allies but the united states and has a growing capability in his efforts to do just that. we have also seen incredible partisan obstruction threatened on his nomination. the absurd levels of partisanship in this chamber are a stain on our institution. we see it at every level of nomination from ambassadorship to commissions to boards, and now we see it at the level of the secretary of state, a position that will be instrumental in denuclearizing the north korean regime.
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director pompeo had his confirmation hearing last week before the senate foreign relations committee where he reiterated again, and we now know that this committee hearing, his testimony took place after he had visited kim jong-un, and in this committee, he stated i want to be -- he made it very clear that our goal remains the complete and verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. that is the stated goal confirmed by director pompeo. the complete, verifiable, universal denuclearization of north korea. but we now have people threatening to stop this nomination at a critical time when we face a nuclear threat that is the greatest this country has seen since the cuban missile crisis. our colleagues on the other side of the aisle would decide to deny this country of its top state department diplomat. now, let me just say and
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describe what some of our colleagues have said who have claimed now that they're going to vote against mike pompeo for secretary of state but who just a few months back voted to confirm mike pompeo. one of my colleagues who is voting against director pompeo for secretary of state has admitted that director pompeo has been a, quote, solid manager of the c.i.a., saying i voted for him to head the c.i.a. and don't wish i had that vote back. i think he has a background in intel and has been a solid manager there. another colleague said -- who tried to criticize director pompeo's diversity policies at the c.i.a. was met with this response from director pompeo who explained at the hearing that those types of complaints decreased under his leadership. mike pompeo stated the number or complaints, the statutory requirement decreased from 2016 to 2017 by 40%. director pompeo further explained i'm proud of that
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record, the work that my team has done on this. so concerns about diversity policies refuted at the committee hearing. another senator said that they worried mike pompeo was conducting olympics and says, quote, pompeo is the wrong person to be engaging in diplomacy. the nominee to be secretary of state is the wrong person to be conducting diplomacy? perhaps we need somebody working at the department of transportation. maybe that's the person they want to conduct diplomacy. building interstates. maybe that's who they think should be conducting diplomacy. i would rather have somebody who is being nominated as secretary of state to be conducting diplomacy, somebody who has an outstanding background in the military, somebody who stood in europe during the height of the cold war. standing on the iron wall. mr. president, this is a time when we ought to be doing everything we can to confirm a
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secretary of state, somebody who has had meetings already with kim jong-un, who is understanding of what has to happen to achieve what kim jong-un has said, denuclearization, to achieve what is the goal of this country, the stated and goal that's already enshrined in law, the complete and verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. to simply oppose his nomination for partisan purposes is wrong, and we have seen it time and time again. that's what we have here. a simple partisan effort to derail the top diplomat who has already engaged in top-level negotiations about denuclearization with the most significant threat this country has seen since the cuban missile crisis. this country deserves better. certainly this institution can do better. we have somebody in mike pompeo with a solid background and
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understanding of diplomacy, clearly the intelligence background through his time at the c.i.a., and now he would be denied this opportunity simply because of his political affiliation. mr. president, this country deserves better. i urge my colleagues to stop this absurd obstruction. confirm mike pompeo and let's get to work achieving what could be lasting peace on the korean peninsula. that time is now, and i urge my colleagues to take the opportunity for peace. mr. president, i yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: now, mr. president, the senate routinely
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reauthorizes the coast guard, much like the defense act, which shouldn't be a terribly partisan issue, never has been. we all deeply respect the work of the coast guard and recognize the heroism of the men and women who serve in that capacity. but unfortunately the republican majority slipped a poison pill rider into this otherwise noncontroversial bill that would repeal part of the clean water act. that's why the coast guard reauthorization bill failed today. the rider would prohibit the e.p.a. and the states from regulating solution and invasive species from the ballast water of large vessels. instead, it would let the coast guard set regulations. an agency that doesn't have the environmental expertise of the e.p.a. this is a massive change to the clean water act. the clean water act has worked well for decades because the states drive innovation and enforcement in partnership with the e.p.a. under this law, states would no longer be able to do that.
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the idea of states' rights goes out the window. i visited many different parts of my state. in upstate new york when invasive species have long slagd communities or parts of long island where toxic chemicals and algae plague the bays and beaches and hurt our clamming industry severely. they hurt the businesses, they hurt tourism, they hurt fishing as well. you name it. we believe the rider will cost many states tens of billions of dollars in lost economic activity. let me repeat that. many states will lose tens of billions of dollars in economic activity because of this rider. and let me also say this about small recreational fishermen. and new york state is third in the number of recreational pleasure boats. no one's proposing to hurt the little guy, and that is why democrats are ready to permanently exempt them from the
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vessel discharge requirements. finally, let me make a point about progress and regular order. mr. president, the vessel discharge petitions in this bill poolt the regular order of the senate. this is a matter in the jurisdiction of the environmental and public works committee, not the commerce committee. there was no consultation with the e.p.w. minority on this provision. there were no hearings. instead, the commerce committee inserted these provisions in the coast guard reauthorization bill over the objection of many democrats. and so i will be offering shortly to pass a clean coast guard reauthorization bill by unanimous consent. it includes a permanent exemption from discharge requirements for small recreational fishermen. democrats are ready to pass this coast guard bill as is, without the poison pill environmental
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rider. i yield the floor before i make my objection. mr. schumer: excuse me, mr. president. before i make my unanimous consent request.
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the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that as if in legislative session, the amendment at the desk to the mcconnell motion to concur with the amendment 2232 be called up and made in order, that the amendment be agreed to, that the motion to concur with amendment 2232 as amended be agreed to, and that the motion to refer -- that the motion to refer and all other amendments be withdrawn. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the majority leader. mr. schumer: i ask that we adjourn. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, as i said, reserving the right to object, there is no objection to the senate considering an amendment to strike the vida language. we have offered our colleagues the opportunity to vote on this amendment all week, and if the senate needs to speak on the question of whether to include
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the vida language in the coast guard bill, i would welcome that debate in a fair up-or-down vote. there are many supporters of this language from both sides of the aisle, and i'm confident the amendment would be defeated. i would ask the senator to revise his request that the senate resume consideration of the coast guard legislation, that the amendment to strike the vida provision be made pending, and the senate vote on the amendment prior to the vote on the motion to concur with further amendment. so would the senator be willing to modify? mr. schumer: i will not. the presiding officer: is there objection to the original request? mr. mcconnell: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard.


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