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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 24, 2018 10:00am-10:54am EDT

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>> we have to leave the confirmation hearing. the vote and the hearing are archived online in a c-span video library to watch any time. take you live down to the use senate continuing the consideration of kyle duncan to serve on the fifth circuit appeals court. it's possible the senate could vote on a confirmation on his nomination today. and tomorrow a joint meeting of the house and senate where they will hear from the president of france who is visiting the u.s. later in the week expecting the senate to take up the nomination of the cia director mike pompeo to be the next secretary of state. 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.
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eternal lord, marvelous is your name. we celebrate the works of your hands: the sky and sea, the songs of birds, the hues of flowers, and the precision of the planets. bless the people of our beloved republic, amid all differences may they be one in spirit, purpose, and faith. lord, continue to sustain our senators. keep them living, laboring, and loving for the good of all. make them instruments of your will for the healing of our nation and world.
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keep them conscious of your presence and direct their thinking, speaking, and doing. we pray in your sacred 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. mr. mcconnell:
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madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: yesterday the foreign relations committee finished consideration of mike pompeo's nomination to serve as our nation's 70th secretary of state. they reported his nomination to the full united states senate with a favorable recommendation. later this week we'll take their advice and we'll vote to confirm him. we'll be lucky to have this capable public servant on the job. we know mike pompeo is up to the task. after all, we confirmed him with a be comfortable and bipartisan majority to lead the c.i.a. in one of the most sensitive positions in our government, the quality of his leadership was directly linked to the security of the american people. west point valedictorian, harvard law, u.s. army officer, a successful businessman, three-term congressman, serving on the house intelligence committee. this is the resume that mike pompeo brought to the top job at
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the c.i.a. with the support of a bipartisan supermajority of the senate and by all accounts his tenure there has been a big success. the caliber of mike's leadership and the quality of his counsel have won him the respect of our national clandestine service and the confidence of the president. just recently director pompeo undertook sensitive conversations with directives of north korea to lay the groundwork for efforts aimed at denuclearizing the korean peninsula. as he steps into this new mission as secretary of state, he clearly enjoys the confidence of the president. and throughout his testimony before the foreign relations committee, he demonstrated expertise and professionalism. fortunately, even as so many of president trump's well-qualified nominees are obstructed and delayed without reason, a bipartisan majority of senators have already signaled their intention to vote to confirm
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mike pompeo. we have the nominee and we have the votes, and we'll confirm our next secretary of state this week. then i hope we can build on this bipartisan momentum and process more of the president's qualified nominees. now, madam president, on another matter, our nation's opioid epidemic continues to playing communities and families in my home state of kentucky and across the nation. here in congress, we're doing our best to support the health care and law enforcement professionals who are battling it every single day. last week i introduced a protecting moms and infants act, a bipartisan effort to confront the heartbreaking cases of prenatal and infant opioid addiction. it builds on my 2015 build, the protecting our infants act, and congress' other recent progress on this issue. in recent years congress bolstered prevention and treatment efforts through the comprehensive addiction and recovery act and the 21st
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century cures act and the recent government funding bill dedicated a record level of resources to saving lives from heroin and prescription drug abuse. but much more work remains, so today i'm proud to announce legislation to address this crisis devastating effects on the american worker and the american workforce. stable employment is not just a path to go financial security for workers and families earning a paycheck from a job, it's also linked to personal happiness and even physical health. we see firsthand in kentucky the need for the structure and support that come with a job to help keep former addicts from falling back into the cycle of addiction. according to the c.e.o. of a treatment facility in louisville stable housing and employment are vitally tied to an individual's recovery. but unfortunately in the very communities where employment can do so much, the opioid crisis itself is making it harder to attain. i frequently hear of kentucky
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employers cite substance abuse as a major hurdle to finding and hiring suitable applicants. one study traced roughly 25% of the decline in workforce participation between 1999 and 2015 to the opioid crisis. that amounts to about one million missing workers. missing workers. no wonder the trump administration reports the epidemic costs our economy $500 billion in 2015 alone. and the economic cost pales in comparison to the human cost that addiction and joblessness inflict. the comprehensive addiction recovery, or career act would begin to target relief to states most devastated by substance abuse. this state-based pilot program would encourage local businesses and treatment groups to form partnerships to help those in recovery find and maintain
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employment. the legislation expands housing block grants to encourage more transitional housing options for recovering addicts until they secure permanent arrangements. it gives states more flexibility to spend federal career services and training funds to support specific initiatives dedicated to helping individuals transition from treatment to the workforce. in short, this bill does exactly what the experts tells us needs to be done on this front. this morning chairman alexander in the help committee are reviewing comprehensive opioid legislation. i commend him for diligent efforts on this subject. it's my hope the committee will choose to include some of the proposals in the protecting moms and infants act and the career act in the larger package they're development. this requires our continued attention on behalf of those in kentucky and all over the country who are struggling, we're determined to keep doing
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our part. now, madam president, on one final matter, the passage of republican's historic tax reform last december was just the latest illustration of the diverging paths republicans and democrats envision for our economy. for the better part of the last decade our democratic colleagues' ideas ran their course. we were promised they'd help us recover from the financial crisis, but it wasn't a recovery for all americans. in fact, the path put forward by our democratic colleagues had two distinct lanes. the express lane was for major cities like new york and san francisco. urban areas with more than a million residents captured 90 -- 90% of the nation's population growth and nearly 75% of new jobs created between 2010 and 2016. 75% of new jobs created between
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2010 and 2016 went to these large urban areas. those select communities actually made up some ground. but working families and job creators in america's smaller cities, towns, and rural communities were stuck in the slow lane. their job opportunities dried up as investment dollars hit the road. there, americans learned what it feels like when washington, d.c. leaves you behind. but fortunately these communities are among the first to feel the benefits of the new republican approach. the historic tax relief we passed last year cut taxes for american families and gave employers more flexibility to expand, hire, and give their workers bonuses, raises, and new benefits. as my colleague senator young reports, the results in indiana are adding up. he heard from a hoosier in cedar lake who is expanding his family
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milk hauling business and a kokomo small business owner who's now hiring more workers. and i recently read that over in ellitsville one family found an additional $200 in their monthly paychecks, enough to cover a week's worth of groceries. i don't think my colleagues across the aisle intended to make life more difficult for middle-class families across the country. it's just that these left-wing policies make it harder, not easier, for american workers and job creators to actually get ahead. but when my democratic friends had the chance to join us and deliver historic tax relief for american families, they stood firm and tried to block tax relief on a party-line basis. one of indiana's own senators tried to block all that good indiana news from happening. i'm proud republicans overcame that obstruction and got tax reform accomplished for all americans.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the 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, the judiciary. stuart kyle duncan of louisiana to be united states circuit judge for the fifth circuit. mr. mcconnell: i suggest 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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mr. cornyn: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call.
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mr. cornyn: i would ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, yesterday, after some drama, in a rare ability of civility on the part of senator coons, for which i applaud him, the senate foreign relations committee approved the nomination of mike pompeo as secretary of state. this despite chairman corker's repeatedly pointing out how qualified for this appointment director pompeo actually is. but apparently it fell on deaf ears. this sort of treatment is unprecedented in my memory, certainly, for a secretary of state. director pompeo was, in fact, first in his class at west point, let the harvard law review, served his country in the military and served the people of kansas in congress. not to mention the fact that mike pompeo already serves in one of the most sensitive and
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important positions in the trump administration already, director of the central intelligence agency. i spoke yesterday about the confirmations of some of the most recent secretaries of state, not just secretary clinton and kerry. secretary kerry got all but three votes in the senate. secretary clinton lost only two votes in the senate, but i also spoke of secretary powell and secretary rice, all confirmed overwhelmingly because the senate has always had a tradition up until now of some deference to the president when confirming nominees to positions like this that have national security importance. and the world needs to know that this president has confidence in this nominee, and he does. that is the key to his effectiveness in international diplomacy, knowing he has the
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president's ear. our democratic friends once upon a time acknowledged that in the words of the senior senator from delaware that the president, regardless of what party you're from, needs, for the most part, to have the team they want to put in place. they have been elected to lead. let's give them a chance to lead. the opposition we're seeing breaks with this long-standing tradition in a shameful and partisan way. of course, our democratic colleagues have been slow-walking and obstructing qualified nominees since the president was sworn in, just to hinder the progress for hindering progress' sake alone. this is the kind of hyperpartisan approach to foreign policy that threatens to harm our national security, because this is an important national security post. not only should we confirm mr. pompeo so the president can have the support of his full
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cabinet, but also so the american people can have the assurance that our national security is not being treated like a pinata that our democratic colleagues are whacking with a stick. the american people can see through this kind of concerted effort to prevent the president from filling cabinet roles that deserve to be filled. in fact, that seems to be the approach. wherever, whenever, however to block president trump from accomplishing anything he seeks on behalf of the american people, even though he is elected, he was elected president of the united states. several editorial boards have already pointed out the importance of filling this position and urged our democratic colleagues to allow director pompeo to be confirmed expeditiously. "usa today" editorial writers penned an editorial saying
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unless a nominee has large failings, the president should be given wide latitude to appoint aides they agree with. pompeo meets that test and approval. "the washington post" writes mro foggy bottom in the hope that he will fulfill his promise to revive and reassert u.s. diplomacy. and the "chicago tribune" writes that pompeo knows well how to work with both congress and the president who trusts him so much he sent him on a secret mission to pyongyang to meet with north korean leader kim jong-un unin advance of the president's meeting with him in a few weeks. but it doesn't stop there. there are nearly a dozen editorial boards who say the same thing that these newspapers have, that mr. pompeo is undoubtedly qualified and the president trusts him, and on these two points, the senate should confirm him. the flip-flop that our democratic colleagues are doing from last year when 15 of them
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supported mr. pompeo's nomination to the c.i.a. should be a source of embarrassment. to say that somehow the secretary of state job is more important or more sense tiff than the c.i.a. director, well, both of them are extraordinarily important, and if they had the confidence in him to vote to confirm him to the c.i.a. and are now searching for reasons to support a no vote for secretary of state, it's pretty clear what's happening. some of the most radical activists in the democratic base are clearly getting to some of these senators. but there is still time to put country above politics, national security over the next election, and principle poster posturing. i would urge all our colleagues to give this nominee the same treatment that the senate gave secretaries powell, rice, kerry,
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and clinton, and confirm mr. pompeo as our next secretary of state. madam 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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quorum call:
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mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the qearm be dispense -- quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: mr. president, the markup committee will markup the rules of the nominees to benefit the majority. of course the majority can approve of the nominations on a party line vote for all nominees up to and now including the supreme court since leader mcconnell elected to change those rules last year. why the need for further erosions to minority rights in the senate? republicans argue it's because their facing, quote, historic obstruction of the president's nominees. a few points on that. the democrats have cooperated with the majority of
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noncontroversial nominees, like career ambassadorships and civil servants for a long time now. before each recess there is a long list of names approved. before the last recess, the senate confirmed as nearly as many nominations in 2018 as president obama had confirmed in the analogous year, 2010. let me repeat that before the last recess the senate has confirmed almost the exact same number of nominees in 2018 as president obama had confirmed in 2010, the second year of his presidency. so this idea that it's historic, bunk. you can tell it's bunk because the president and vice president at the same time our republicans and the president himself on some days complains about obstruction, on other days the president and vice president are boasting about how many judges
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they filled on the bench. this morning president trump said, quote, we put on a number of direct court -- district court judges. we are setting records. i say to them, you can't have it both ways, on the one hand historic obstruction and on the other a record pace of confirmations that your brag to your base about. you can't have it both ways. it is hypocrisy. a second point. the republican majority has already taken brazen steps this congress to limit minority rights on nominations. i mentioned the leader breaking the rules on supreme court nominees. let's not forget he broke the rules after letting merrit garland sit there. it takes a lot of gall to talk about obstruction when leader mcconnell made obstruction his
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watch and ward when he did when he did to merrick garland. and he has not stopped. the republicans engaged in hard ball tactics at the district circuit court levels. here's what happened. take the seat vacant on the second circuit. because senators leahy, then chairman, honored the blue strip, a seat in the second circuit that belongs to wisconsin was held open for six years -- six years by refusing to approve two nominees by president obama. now the president has nominated a very conservative judge, mike brennan, who failed to earn the recommendation of the bipartisan commission. respected in wisconsin, set up
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by both senators, baldwin and johnson, one a democrat, one a republican to recommend nominees, but this administration has no real concern about the qualifications of the judges as long as they meet the long right checklist. despite the fact that senator baldwin did not return a blue ship, chairman grassley moved him out of committee anyway. the blue slip tradition was faithfully honored by the chairman. it was used to an extent that would certainly be, quote, historic obstruction -- six years a seat was vacant on the circuit court and not the only one that had long-term vacancies. and now all of a sudden because democrats want to discuss this, mull this for few days, senator
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lankford wants to change the rules. i know he only came to the senate in 204, but he ought to look a bit at the history before he does something like this. the issue of nominations has been fraught and it's true there have been escalations on both sides. i'd be the first to say that. democrats, despite the rhetoric from the majority party, have worked this year in good faith to clear noncontroversial nominations expeditiously. when nominees require vetting, the senate should have the tools to consider them thoroughly because clearly this administration is not taking the task of vetting seriously. and this is a final argument there are many good ones i'd like to make. this trump administration has done the worst job of vetting nominees than any administration i can remember. it seems a slap dash process.
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they had to withdraw the nominee from the labor department because he wasn't properly vetted, fire the secretaries of of h.h.s. and v.a. and face a hoes of other controversies with staff and turnovers. if mr. pruitt had been properly vetted they may never have nominated him given what we've found out. and now we hear that the new nominee for v.a. secretary, the president's are personal doctor, is on hold because of some troubling allegations. how did he get through the process with all of these allegations, not even being made public. my guess, not proper vetting. i wasn't there, but it's speculative that maybe one day that the president, who we know acts on impulse, had this nominee in the room, his doctor, and said, hey, let's put you up without any vetting. so the president is putting
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forward nominees without appropriate vetting. it's our job to vet and we will not be rushed through particularly when this administration has such a poor record of looking at the qualifications and the problems that each nominee brings. more than ever -- more than ever with this president it's the senate's job to advise and consent, not be a rubber stamp. so the rules changed proposed by senator lankford is totally unmerited, inadvisable, and lacks any knowledge of history of the senate. you know, we're trying to return to some comity here. the omnibus bill was very good working between speaker ryan, leader pelosi, leader mcconnell, and myself.
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we are going to talk about doing the appropriations process on regular order and going back to the days when we did that which i know the majority leader wants to do that as do i as does senator shelby as does senator leahy. something like this, so partisan and so unfair and so unacknowledging of the his -- unacknowledging of the history that has gone before doesn't help the sense of comity in the senate. i urge republicans and democrats alike on the rules committee to reject this terribly ill-advised proposal. now, on another matter, mr. president. over the last few months house republicans have heaped enormous pressure on the dpiewrt attorney general rod rosenstein in a transparent attempt to bullying
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into providing documents pertinent to an ongoing investigation, something we've hardly ever seen before, something that really gets in the way of law enforcement doing their job. representative nunes who has shown his partisanship repeatedly, and others, went so far to threaten mr. rosenstein with contempt of congress if he didn't hand over comey's memos and other documents related to special counsel mueller's investigation. mr. rosenstein gave him that information which, of course, was leaked afterwards out into the press. it is not justice department protocol, nor any other prosecutor's protocol, to share information beyond the investigation. it just welcomes interference. that's true even with the most
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objective of those who get the information, which i think 95% of america believes congressman nunes is not objective. it is not hard to understand why we don't do this, and yet several house republicans have smeared mr. rosenstein and even threatened his job unless he broke with the longstanding prosecutorial guidelines giving him the ammunition to twist. it is just disgraceful and not consistent with us being a democracy where there's rule of law. more consistent with a bullying attitude that we see in nondemocrat, small d, countries. deputy attorney general rosenstein is doing his level best to honor the integrity of
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the russia probe while being dragged through the mud by his colleagues. he's a strong man. he's done an excellent job and he is doing his best now. he's doing exactly what a deputy attorney general should be doing. mr. rosenstein deserves our respect, all party's respect, the whole country's respect for his efforts to be honest and transparent with congress while maintaining the integrity of the russia probe, but even so, as a columnist in "the washington post" put it this morning, quote, it's a miserable day at the justice department when the deputy attorney general is forced at gunpoint, bullying, threatening to turn over important evidence in a criminal investigation. the bullying and threatening were my words. it continues to be a real disgrace that house republicans engage in such bare-knuckle
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tactics to deter and kick up dust around the mueller investigation. our fellow republicans, the bar across the country and the country itself, the public, should resist this kind of bullying and pressure. it is so un-american. it is so against the rule of law and so against how democrat republics work. 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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