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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 25, 2018 1:59pm-4:00pm EDT

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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. a senator: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: no. mr. risch: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, today i rise to speak about the nomination of mike pompeo to be our next secretary of state. by now we have all heard of director pompeo's accomplishments, first in his class at west point, u.s. army officer, graduate of harvard law school, editor of the law review, successful businessman and member of congress. it is rare that a nominee to this position has had so many diverse accomplishments. now, some of my colleagues who are opposed to director pompeo argue that he will not deliver tough messages to the president or outline all of the policy options. they argue that director pompeo is a hawk who would prefer armed
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conflict to diplomacy. i find these comments disappointing. that has not been my personal experience with director pompeo. in addition, military officers are frequently the last ones to seek a military solution to a foreign policy challenge because they know firsthand the cost of war. on the other hand, they also know that without strength, no amount of diplomacy will be able to stop an authoritarian dictator. director pompeo's recent trip to north korea, i believe, highlights how effective and committed he is to pursuing diplomatic opportunities. he not only defended core u.s. interests but also moved the u.s. and north korea closer to negotiations. the maximum pressure campaign combined with a willingness to talk is working right now. i also wanted to address the issue of communication with congress. i have heard claims about information not being shared
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with the hill. as a member of the intelligence committee, i have worked with director pompeo regularly and can personally vouch for his accessibility and candor. having worked with a number of c.i.a. directors over the years on the intelligence committee, i can personally attest that director pompeo is at the top of the class for being open and straightforward. i would also like to address the issue of bipartisanship. since coming to the senate a decade ago, i have had the chance to vote for three secretaries of state. mr. pompeo will be my fourth. in each case i have supported the president's nominee to serve as secretary of state. president obama's choices for secretary of state would certainly have not been my choices. in the case of secretaries clinton and kerry, there were numerous issues where we had substantial disagreements. i believed that as to the secretary of state, however, the president was entitled to
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deference as to his choice, and that choice deserved bipartisan support because their credibility as the top diplomat is strengthened by bipartisan support. another important factor is that with secretary pompeo, world leaders will know that he speaks directly on behalf of the president, something that has been an issue in the past. this quality is very, very important for a secretary of state. director pompeo is more than qualified to serve as secretary of state. in fact, at this point because of his service at the c.i.a., director pompeo is uniquely positioned to be a very successful secretary of state. no other place in our government provides more insight into the inner workings of other countries than the work of our intelligence agencies. the c.i.a. is certainly one of the top intelligence agencies, and secretary pompeo and his
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service has had access to and indeed a directive to the work of the c.i.a. and has a deep, profound understanding of the other nations of the world and that applies particularly to the trouble spots in the world. he is uniquely qualified because of this experience to serve as secretary of state. we have often used the phrase "politics ends at the water's edge." to signal that our domestic differences do not erode our diplomatic et cetera strengths overseas. i hope that this does not change -- i hope that this vote does not change what has been a long-standing goal for our diplomatic efforts. i urge my colleagues to thoughtfully consider support for director pompeo. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: the senate not in a quorum call. mr. durbin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to be recognized in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, what's happened to the state department under this administration is almost impossible to imagine. what we've seen there is a devastation and a decimation of the resources of a great part of our government, one of the most important parts. it's a small percentage of our budget, but the work done by the state department is critically important in maintaining the united states' position around the world, projecting our image, our values where we can, helping
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the helpless in parts of the world where many countries come to their aid, and under this administration in the last year, we have seen things happen which are unimaginable. when it gets down to the basics, key posts are unfilled at the state department. there are more than 30 vacanci vacancies. in many cases, -- can anyone here believe that we still do not have an ambassador from the trump administration to south korea? south korea? we spend more time talking about the korean peninsula and the future of the korean peninsula and this president cannot find an ambassador to represent the united states in south korea. what is the possible explanation for this? and he can't blame anyone but himself. he's not sent us a nominee to even be considered. we're faced with a nuclear-armed
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north korean dictator. we have 28,000 american u.s. military personnel who are literally risking their lives in south korea, and we don't have a diplomat on the scene to try to make sure that the united states is well-represented. the department is also hemorrhaging top staff. under secretary top shannon, one the most respected, is scheduled to leave soon. it is no surprise this is happening. president trump has repeatedly proposed dramatic, irresponsible cuts in the budget of the department of state. his administration has kept top diplomats out of key discussions and deliberations. how in a time of such international unrest in this dangerous world that we live in can we be diminishing and demoralizing our topline diplomats? how can that be a smart way to keep america safe? so, mr. president, i've been
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hoping that someone would come along to right the ship at the state department, someone to draw on this amaz amazing reserr of american talent in the area of foreign policy. someone to make sure that our best diplomatic efforts are projected to prevent conflict and to further american interests, someone who could be a proud face of america around the world. it was in this context and with this challenge that i met with mike pompeo. he and i have met and had serious and challenging discussions before, notably when he was nominated to be director of the central intelligence agency. we met again a few weeks ago. it was a good and candid conversation. he seemed to understand the desperate situation at the state department and that the state department's top experts should be included in key administration discussions. this conversation left me in the same place, i believe, that senator menendez pondered at the
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end of pompeo's foreign relations committee hearing -- who is the real mike pompeo? you see, i find it hard to square the reasonable man i met the other day with some of his actions. has mike pompeo completely renounced the use of torture? he said he would not obey an order from the president to use torture. and let me add that it's tragic that we have a president who brags about using such illegal, abhorrent and un-american approaches. but we still have to worry about this. but contrast that with mr. pompeo's previous defense of waterboarding. or his jarring comments about the 2014 senate intelligence committee comments where he said, senator feinstein has put american lives at risk, end of quote. and that the intelligence officers were heroes, not pawns, in some liberal game being
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played by the aclu and senator feinstein, end of quote. or what about mr. pompeo's association with anti-muslim figures in the united states like frank gafney. the sovereign poverty law center calls him -- efforts to unmask subversive muslim conspiracies and was even banned from the far right conservative political action conference events after accusing two of its organizers of being agents of the muslim brotherhood. and yet mr. pompeo appeared on mr. gaffe knee's radio show at least 24 times between 2013 and 2016. or what about when mr. pompeo used his position on the house intelligence committee to accuse then-secretary of state clinton of orchestrating wide-ranging cover-up of the benghazi attacks
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that ended in the tragic loss of american lives in libya? is there anyone here who believes for a minute that that was not a political witch hunt that in part led to the further discrediting of the critical congressional committees involved, a committee that incidentally has lost all legitimacy i in the current investigation over russia's involvement in our election. so, mr. president, i face this decision on mr. pompeo with real concern. there are many policy issues on which mr. pompeo and i might disagree, notably on the iran nuclear agreement. i asked him point-blank, what do you think is going to happen to this nuclear agreement to stop the iranians from developing a nuclear weapon. his conjecture it is what this president would walk away from it and hope that our european allies, who also signed onto this agreement, would enforce it. does that sound like a cogent foreign policy for a leader in
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the world like the united states? our nation desperately needs someone to bring leadership to the state department. but torture, islamophobia, wild political conspiracy theories don't seem to mesh with being our nation's top diplomat from where i'm stand. so i will vote against mr. pompeo's nomination. i sincerely hope i'm wrong about this nominee. i believe he will be approved by a very small margin. i hope he will in the end upmold our nation's laws and values when it comes to torture, tolerance and international cooperation. i hope he will make sure diplomacy is exhausted before we turn to yet another war and, in particular, that he will resist john bolton and others who are notorious for wanting to rush into military conflict. i hope he will listen carefully to secretary mattis at the defense departmenters someone
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that i supported and someone i trust. i hope he will be clear to this president as the man who is the secretary of state in his administration that climate change and russia are truly threats to our nation and well-being. doing this will help strengthen america's leadership abroad and build greater trust and cooperation here in congress. mr. president, i ask that the following statement i'm about to make be placed in a separate part in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you, mr. president. on september 5, the trump administration announced its repeal of the diverse action for childhood arrivals program known as daca. as a result, hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the united states as children, toddlers and infants known as dreamers faced losing their right to stay here without being subject to deportation and their right to legally work in america. daca provides temporary legal status to dreamers if they
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register with the government, pay a substantial fee, go through a criminal background check, and return every two years for renewal. it's been a great success. more than 800,000 dreamers have come forward and received daca protection. when president trump repealed daca seven months ago, he set an arbitrary march 5 deadline of this year for congress to act and replace it. we tried. we offered to this president six different bipartisan alternatives to continue the daca program. he reequity whyed every single -- he rejected every single one of them. he sent to congress his own plan for dealing with immigration. it received 39 votes in the united states senate. 39. remember, there's a republican majority of 51. the president struggled to get his own party to support his ideas on immigration. luckily, a federal court stepped in, issued an order blocking president trump's repeal of
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daca. this means that those dreamers who have daca can continue to apply for renewed status. and i certainly urge every daca recipient to file for renewal as quickly as possible. there was a ruling yesterday as well in one of the d.c. district courts that also said that perhaps the president's actions on daca can be questioned, and it gave the government 90 days to produce evidence of what authority the president used to reach that conclusion. the trump administration is doing everything in its power to fight this injunction, and it could be lifted any day. we don't know where the courts will turn and make a decision. this means there's still an urgent need for congress to act to overcome the decision of the president of the united states of last september 5. last week the department of homeland security released updated statistics on daca and it shows, as of march 31, more
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than 32,000 daca renewal applications are pending. of these pending renewal applications, more than 9,000 were from recipients whose daca protection had already expired. and tens of thousands more dreamers have daca protection due to expire very soon. the president has created chaos, not just in the white house but clearly at the department of homeland security, as they try to respond to his decisions. secretary nielsen of d.h.s. has promised me and said publicly she will not be party to deporting any daca recipient with a pending daca application, even if their daca status has expired. we will hold her to that commitment. however, for daca recipients whose status has expired, they're not going to be given any work permits while their renewal applications are being considered. it means tens of thousands of daca-eligible individuals could be forced to leave the jobs they have, such as teachers in our school, or even in our military,
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because of the chaos that's been created by this president trump decision. and consider the fate of dreamers who are eligible for daca but never quite reached that status. until this decision is made in the court here in the district of columbia, they still can no longer apply for daca protection because of president trump's decision. -- to prohibit new applications after september 5 of last year. the nonpartisan migration policy institute estimate estimates th- that in addition to 800,000 daca recipients there are additional eligible. president trump's cruel decision to end daca means that some million daca-eligible people cannot even apply. on september 5, president trump called on congress to legalize daca, but as i mentioned,s a refused to accept six different bipartisan approaches that would. he even rejected one approach
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that offered $25 billion for his infamous wall on the mexican border. instead, the president has tried to put the entire hard-line immigration agenda on the backs of daca recipients. it's not working, mr. president. 85% of the american people are on the sides of these young people who were brought to the united states as kids, infants, children, who grew up in this country pledging allegiance to the flag. 85% of americans including many trump voters believe that is the right thing to do, but a hand full of hard-liners in the trump administration are determined to exact punishment on the dreamers and their parents. i come to the floor more than 100 times to tell the stories, the individual stories of these dreamers, and today i do that as well. this is carina macias. she's the 114th dreamer whose
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story i've told on the floor. at the age of three, her family brought her to the united states from mexico. she grew up in east palo alto in northern california. she loved to read, spent her after-school time and summers at the local boys and girls club. carina was an excellent student, received numerous awards in high school, including the mount holyoke book club and an academic achievement award. she was coeditor of her yearbook. she volunteered as a tutor and worked as a volunteer through distribution centers. she attended saint mary's college of california where she continued to excel academically and receive many awards. in may 2016, she was awarded a bachelor's degree in communications. today she works as a project manager at a biotechnology firm. she volunteers with the peninsula college fund where she organizes career development and
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college success workshops, and she tutors elementary students and mentors middle school youth competing in local science competitions. what is her dream for the future? she wants to pursue an advanced degree to become a biotechnology researcher. here's what she wrote in a letter to me. daca is my hope for a future, in which with hard work and perseverance i can achieve any dream imaginable. it's my protection from being ripped away from the only place i've known as home. it's the promise to my baby brothers who are both u.s. citizens that i'll be around to watch them mature into exceptional young men. it's the ticket that allows me to be a contributing member of society. i credit my success to the endless support i received from so many sources. i want to give back to my fellow americans so that they have the opportunity to achieve their dreams. what a tragedy it would be to deport this young woman. why would america do that?
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what sin has she committed? what crime is she guilty of? who will feel so good to see her leave america? certainly not the many people that she currently works with and serves in part of her community. that's what we face because of president trump's decision ending daca. that's what hundreds of thousands of young people just like carina face every single day because of this president's personal unilateral decision. president trump created the daca crisis we face today. instead of working toward a solution, a few hard-liners around him have sabotaged every effort to help the dreamers. in fact, the president quickly adds don't use the word dreamer. he doesn't like that word. it's why i've used it so often today. i introduced that dream act 17 years ago, and i'm glad it's become common parlance in america to refer to the plight of these young people. congress needs to do its job and the president needs to do his if
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he truly wants to lead this nation and bring us together, if he wants to stand for fairness and justice and opportunity and young people who want to make america better, this president has to step up and admit the problem that he created on september 5 of last year can only be solved if he stands up and shows the courage and determination to find a solution. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. a senator: thank you, mr. president. mr. barrasso: mr. president, earlier today we heard from the french president, addressed a joint session of congress. and he reminded us that the french and american people have always fought side by side to kpwepbd our common values. france was our original ally during the american revolution. americans fought and died in france during world war i and world war ii. our alliances spanned centuries because of diplomats, diplomats, mr. president, who have cultivated the close relationship that the countries continue with today. it's a shake that we didn't have
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a -- it's a shame that we didn't have a secretary of state of the united states who could have helped us welcome the french president during his visit here. we have a nominee eminently qualified, mike pompeo, and republicans are ready to confirm him right now. we're ready to confirm him last week. we were ready for him to get to work, get to work maintaining and strengthening relationships around the world. you know, mr. president, under previous administrations, we could have brought that nomination to the floor of the senate without needing to waste all of the time and the delays by the democrats. the time of a cloture vote, that's how we used to treat important national security positions like the secretary of state, but no more apparently. but that's happened even when senators disagreed with the foreign policies of the administration. consider secretary of state clinton, secretary of state john kerry. republicans and democrats agreed
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that the president deserved to have the team that he wanted, the people he wanted on the ground helping with him. we all agree some of these positions were very important to the national security, so important that in a bipartisan way we felt that playing political games with them was just wrong. well apparently that has changed now that donald trump has been elected president of the united states in the eyes of the democrats. because when barack obama became president in 2009, republicans didn't obstruct his nomination of hillary clinton to be secretary of state. no, she was confirmed by a vote of 94-2. then when president obama nominated john kerry for the job in 2013, republicans didn't slow down and block that choice either. he was confirmed by a vote of 94-3. republicans had serious concerns, serious concerns about president obama's foreign policy
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ideas, his strategies, his approach. but we confirmed the people that he wanted as his secretary of state. we did not obstruct these nominations. we didn't try to tarnish the reputations of the people that he picked for these important jobs. not at all. i think the senate does have an obligation to carefully evaluate a president's nominees. those nominees are qualified and capable, then the president has every right to have his team and have his team in place quickly. that was a standard. republicans applied it to these democrat nominees under a democratic president. so what happened since then? why has all this changed since then? well, we now have a republican president and we have a republican nominee to be secretary of state. it seems that senate democrats have tossed out and away things that have always been done before.
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no, we don't want to do it that way anymore. the only interest seems to be obstruction. obstruction, delaying, resisting anything republicans under president trump is trying to do, anything he's trying to do in terms of getting his team in place, a team he needs. how does someone justify a vote for these two people to be secretary of state. the democrats and republicans voted for these two, and then turn around and not vote for mike pompeo? how can you why you have that? i certainly couldn't. when mike pompeo to be nominated to be the director of the central intelligence agency, 15 senators from the other side of the aisle were willing to set aside p*pt. they knew -- aside partisanship. they knew he was qualified, his activities as a member of congress, everything he's done as c.i.a. director has shown that those 15 senators made the right call to support him over a
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year ago. they made the right call to join republicans and to respect the traditions of the senate, to put qualified people on the job even if you may not agree completely with their philosophy on political issues. no reason other than pure partisan politics that any of these democrats would vote against mike pompeo now. he's eminently qualified. he showed at his confirmation hearing, five hours he went through questioning, that he's got the intelligence, he's got the integrity, he's got the experience to serve as our nation's secretary of state. turn to the newspapers, mr. president, you have the "washington post" coming out saying, "confirm mike pompeo." you have "usa today" coming out saying confirm mike pompeo. you even have the "new york daily news," the hometown newspaper of the democratic leader of the senate, coming out
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saying confirm mike pompeo. democrats in the senate don't seem to care, mr. president. it doesn't seem like they're interested in doing the right thing. they're interested in obstructing and continuing the history of the deliberate delays that we've seen with them through this administration. you know, mr. president, they have been doing it since the very first day of the trump administration. at this rate it would take more than nine years, nine years, mr. president, to confirm all of president trump's nominees for important jobs. why? democrats can't offer a single good reason. the senate has been forced to waste huge amounts of time to confirm nominees who aren't even controversial at all. senate democrats would try to block the president from filling important national security jobs, they are putting america's security in danger. we all know that the world is a dangerous place, getting more dangerous every day.
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our adversaries are opportunistic. our adversaries are aggressive. our allies are eager to work with the united states. that's what the president of france told us today. have democrats already forgotten the atrocities that we saw in syria a few weeks ago? it was france and great britain that joined the united states in launching airstrikes against bashar al-assad's chemical weapons facilities. we need to be able to maintain the relationships that allow this kind of action to occur. we need people on the job who can both encourage our allies and deter our enemies. senate democrats have to decide. they have to decide what's more important to them: protecting america's national security or appeasing the extreme liberal far left wing of their party. i understand if a there are senators who have principled reason for objecting to this nominee or any nominee. they can vote no.
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but to continue to hold up the process as they have done for a year and a half, slowing down the process, i think if a senator is against a nominee, come to the floor, state the objection, cite the evidence, vote no. but that's not what many democrats here are doing with their obstruction of one nominee after another. it's not what they've done with their obstruction of hundreds of nominees. for them, it doesn't seem to me at least to be a principled stand. it seems to be a reckless political stunt. i listened to my colleagues on the foreign relations committee the other evening when we voted on this nomination. i listened to democrats speak on the floor and speak to the press. mr. president, frankly, i've not heard a single good reason to delay the senate's consideration of mike pompeo to be secretary of state. democrats need to stop the games. stop the delays. and allow us to move immediately to vote on his nomination and
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get president trump's secretary of state, mike pompeo, on the job. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: mr. president,
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senator mccaskill and i rise to have the opportunity to be able to pass a bill, for the senate to be able to do some work. on a bill that has been around for several years and is yet to get over the finish line. we would like to see that get finished today. it's a bipartisan bill. it's a very straightforward concept. right now, if any agency head or any sub cabinet official or any individual within the government wants to be able to see what another agency is doing, they would have to go to the office of management and budget to do a study to be able to get it back to them to find out if the program they're doing already exists somewhere else. if any member of this body or of the house who wants to find out agencies and some very straightforward things like how many employees they have, what programs that they're doing, if they measure those programs, how are those programs measured. if we want to find out those very basic things, we have to go to the g.a.o. office, make a request, and 18 months later, we get an answer back on that specific thing.
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now, this is something every agency either already has or should have, but the american people can't see, the congress can't see, and quite frankly the individuals within the agencies also cannot see. this is a straightforward concept. we call it the taxpayers' right to know. it's something senator mccaskill and i have worked very, very hard on. it passed out of the committee unanimously. this is a very bipartisan bill. to show you how bipartisan this is, this passed in the house of representatives last session 413-0. not a single house member voted against this proposal, but it wasn't able to pass the senate. so senator mccaskill and i brought it up again this year. it came unanimously out of committee. it also has already been to the house of representatives in january of 2017. it passed unanimously in the house of representatives again.
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this is just not a controversial piece of legislation. what's interesting was senator mccaskill and i did a lot of work before, working with president obama's office of management and budget to make sure that there were no concerns. they had some concerns, and so we made some changes. and president obama's office of management and budget signed off on this and said it would be a helpful document. we have now worked with president trump's office of management and budget who have also signed off on this proposal and said this would work. we went to the government accountability office which is the entity that we asked to help us find waste, inefficiency in government, and in the hearing, we asked the head of g.a.o. a simple question -- would this be a help to have the taxpayers'' right to know. you have the ability to be able to see all agencies. would this be a help to you? this was his exact response. i would urge the congress to complete passage of that bill, meaning the taxpayers'' right to
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know, and send it to the president for his signature. i think it would make a huge difference in identifying overlap, duplication, fragmentation in the federal government and provide a better accountability tool to the congress and the agencies. it is severely lacking. now, that's from the government accountability office head, the one that we have asked to be able to help us find all these things, he's saying he needs this tool. we need this tool. the agencies need this tool. president obama's team signed off on this. president trump's team has signed off on this. it has passed unanimously out of the house of representatives. we bring it to the floor today to be able to ask unanimous consent to be able to move this across the floor of the senate today to be able to get in place what president obama asked for, what president trump has asked for, what the government accountability office has asked for, what all of the house of representatives have asked for, and what senator mccaskill and i are asking for. with that, i would yield to senator mccaskill.
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the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. ms. mccaskill: i come here today to join my colleague from oklahoma to ask unanimous consent that we take up and pass the bill 317, the taxpayers'' right to know. i want to thank senator lankford for his continued hard work on this bill. we have both been at this a while. senator lankford has been working on this bill since his days in the house. i worked hard to move this bill with his predecessor, senator tom cotton, to try to get this through the senate before tom left the senate, before senator coburn left the senate. hopefully we can get it across the finish line if not today but in the very near future. american taxpayers deserve a government that can tell them how their money is being spent, and that's all this bill is trying to do. it's not complicated. it's trying to get important information to the people who are paying the bills. don't they have a right to know where all the money is going? it improves a publicly accessible online database with information about federal
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programs, including the funding for the program and the activities that it comprises, the authorizing statutes and relevant rules and regs, the individuals the program serves and the employees who work to administer it, and copies of recent evaluations or assessments provided by the agency, inspectors general, or the government accountability office. the truth is much of this information, including the program inventory itself, is already required by the government performance and results act or gpra. it passed this body by unanimous consent in 2010, but the current program inventory under gpra is a mess. it's virtually useless to help lawmakers understand whether these programs are actually working as intended or whether they are a payroll without a purpose. this bill simply adds a few additional information requirements to the program inventory and makes it much easier to compare apples to
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apples, which is what we need to be doing when we're making funding decisions. senator lankford and i have agreed to a number of changes to this bill raised not only by senator -- by president obama's administration but also president trump's administration and by leaders in this body. there are some concerns expressed to us that o.m.b. could use the information to punish agencies by holding up rules and reducing budget requests. i got news for everybody. they can already do that. they have the ability, but just because they can do it now, we have agreed to include a clause that says nothing in this bill gives o.m.b. any additional authority whatsoever, other than what is needed to comply with the requirements of this bill. i can't imagine anything more clear than that. we have added caveats to make it easier for agencies and programs to comply with the requirements of this bill. and i have got to tell you. this is what drives the american
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people crazy. different than in private business, somebody around here could have a good idea, we could legislate a new program, but going back and determining whether that program is actually delivering on the goals that were stated and believed in at the time the legislation was passed, we are really not very good at that. that's what this bill is about. it will give us the tools to require that these programs and agencies at least we have the information whether they are working. how much money they're spending, what they're trying to do. why are we hiding behind a maddening bureaucracy when we can simplify things with the technology that's available today? frankly, if we can't defend these programs and justify how we're spending taxpayer money, we should be shutting them down. i urge my colleagues to commit and support this good government transparency bill. i am worried that there is an objection. i am disappointed that there will be an objection, i believe,
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from the leader of my own party. that's disappointing to me. but it doesn't change my commitment that this is the right thing to do. so i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 43, senate bill 317, that the committee-reported amendment be withdrawn, the lankford substitute amendment at the desk be considered and agreed to, the bill as amended be considered and read a third time and passed, and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. is there an objection? the presiding officer: is there an objection? the democratic leader. mr. schumer: reserving the right to object, i certainly have a great deal of respect for my friends from missouri and oklahoma and their desire to increase transparency in government. i share that goal, but respectfully the legislation they're proposing, i believe, would undermine and potentially threaten important programs administered by the federal government. the idea of requiring the government to publish an inventory of federal programs is
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not something i object to, and as my friend from missouri stated, is already required under the law. but it's such a cumbersome thing to do that for seven years they have not published an inventory. not because it's lacking the provisions in the bill proposed by my colleagues but because it's virtually impossible to do in the way that you would do it in other far more different and simple things. in a factory that makes widgets. i also -- this bill would go further and make it even more difficult to publish the inventory that they already haven't been able to publish, neither the directors of o.m.b. under obama or under president trump has complied with the existing law. i further have serious objections with the reporting requirements. how can an agency, for instance -- and this would happen on a thousand occasions under this law -- quantify the number of individuals that benefit from the community development block grant program.
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if you revitalize one neighborhood, maybe it benefits the neighboring neighborhoods. what if they put that number in and the o.m.b. director said oh, no, that's all wrong. there is no way to do that. and how about this? is there a threshold of the number of people that is too many to administer a program that helps disabled americans get appropriate schooling or access health care? these types of questions could fill up volumes and volumes. there's no good answer to them. there's no clear answer to them. this law will not make it any easier to discern what programs are working and what programs are not. instead, i have a great deal of worry, particularly, to be honest, under director mulvaney. if you saw the budgets director mulvaney has submitted to this congress, he has eliminated just about every potential program. he's a scourge. he is one of the ten most
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conservative members of the house when he was there. he eliminated programs necessary in my state to keep the department of defense going, to help our nuclear weapons stay strong. zeroed them out. didn't just cut them. can you imagine if he got his hands on this he would use this bill not for the purposes my colleagues intend, but to basically hold back money, punish and in other ways delay very necessary programs that 90% of this congress agrees to. 90%, maybe 95%. i'm concerned that this legislation, left to the implementation and oversight of a man so hostile to government services up and down the line, whose budgets have been dramatically and repeatedly rejected by democrats and republicans alike in the house and the senate, he would use it for ill, not good.
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the potential down side to this legislation far exceeds the potential up side. dramatically. i cannot in good conscience support a bill that would give mr. mulvaney more tools to slash federal programs that most every american would agree serves the public good. so in conclusion, i support the goal of this bill, which is to provide more transparency to taxpayers, but a, i believe it won't. it will confuse things, delay things, and provide more layers of bureaucracy, not less. and could well be used by somebody who believes in slashing programs of all kinds to delay them, fail to implement them, not deliver the services that so many americans need. i strongly object. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. ms. mccaskill: mr. president,
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senator schumer is just flat wrong. he is wrong about this bill. there is nothing in this bill that gives the o.m.b. director any additional power. there is nothing in this bill that gives him any additional tools to delay or cut programs. in fact, we put that language in at the request of the minority leader. and, frankly, i remember when we were having discussions under the obama administration, many of my republican colleagues were worried that this would be a way for the obama administration to somehow have more power than we want them to have. the bottom line is we have the power in the legislative body to decide what programs are funded. we are the people who appropriate government funds. shouldn't the taxpayers and members of congress have an easily accessible way to get good information about a program? and, by the way, no one is saying anybody has to draw
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certain conclusions from the facts that would be on this website. we're only asking that the facts be put on the website. it's not nefarious. there's no plot here. i don't want to heard cdbg, nor do the members of the house who voted for this. not one democratic house member objected to this bill. i respectfully have to say that senator schumer is wrong about this legislation. he is wrong about what it would do. it is the right thing for good government. s it is the -- it is the right thing for transparency. i will work on it until we can let this go by unanimous consent or get a vote of it on the floor where i'm confident it will win by an overwhelming number. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: i could not more wholeheartedly agree with my colleague from missouri. what's surprising to me is that
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senator schumer's objection to this is that the taxpayers would find out information that he doesn't want them to find out. that's the surprising part. his answer, which i'm grateful to be able to get because over the last six months our staff from are senator senator mccaski have worked with his staff every month. we have made 27 changes in six revisions over the last six months, and in the last month, we got radio silence, nothing from senator schumer's staff. so we finally brought it to the floor and said, what is the problem because we can't seem to figure out what the problem is. we now learned today that the problem is that he doesn't want the program inventory to be public because if the american people and the congress and the office of management and budget see the programs, they might actually do things with efficiency. now, that seems surprising to
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me, but if you read the transcript is that is what he just said. the fear is that they will find outer what the federal government does in programs. surely that's not his objection. surely no one in this body would say, i hope the american people and the office of management and budget never find out what the federal government does. here's what this bill does. the reason that we could not have a good listing, as senator schumer mentioned, that there's no way to do a list is because there's no definition of a program. the federal government has struggled with that definition, so this bill fixes that. the reason that inventory doesn't exist gets solved with that. literally, senator schumer's objection to why we shouldn't do this is nonsensical.
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the second issue with this is o.m.b., the fear of o.m.b. and mcmulvaney trying to slash programs, they have no authority to take down a program, congress does that. senator schumer knows that he better than anyone in this body. congress has to actually vote on the recommendations. he can't just slash programs. he can recommend it. he can say, here's an issue of inefficiency, the same as the obama administration could have done, the exact same as any future administration can do, but congress must act on that. and it seems exceptionally shortsighted to say, i don't want the american people to know what the government's doing because of the current administration and someone i don't like. you know, in a few years there will be a different administration. that may be seven years or four years. in a few years there will be a
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different administration, but this problem will remain. agencies can't see what other agencies are doing, this congress can't see what the agencies are doing and the american people can't see what the agencies are doing. i would say for the benefit of the taxpayers, not for the benefit of washington bureaucracies, but for the benefit of the taxpayers, we should allow this information to go public, and i would hope we can continue to work with senator schumer's office after making 27 changes that his staff recommended to be able to finish this document. yesterday senator schumer was caught in the hallway and was asked what the problem was in the senate and his response to a reporter was the senate needs more comity. i would agree. unanimously the house has approved this. our committee has approved this unanimously. it has come to the floor and has
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but one person that believes that the american people should not have access to the information of the programs they pay for. i'd love to see more comity in this body and for us to be able to work this out. with that i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: an opioid epidemic is sweeping the country. more than 60,000 americans are dying from oip overdoses -- overdoses every year. more than the number of americans who died in all the years in the vietnam war. behind each number is a tragedy for a family that loses their loved one. today i want to tell the story about the hokerly family from
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arkansas. it is a story of love, courage, persistence and courage and i hope it will save other families from the tragedy they felt. betty and steve hockala are joining us. i met them at a roundtable during the opioid epidemic with state -- and with state and local law enforcement and families of opioid victims. the news is tragic from prition drug as heroin -- pr prescription -- from prescription and heroin. i learned about another killer, unwashed poppy seeds. their son steven died in his sleep from an overdose two years ago. steven was 24 years old, a recent graduate of the university of arkansas. he loved to play guitar. he was very accomplished at it. he was the joy of his parents'
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life and his sister's life. his sudden death was a shock to them. they got another shock when they found out he died of morphine intoxication. there was nothing in his apartment, no needles or pills, nothing. what had been found was a five-pound bag of poppy seeds. he ordered it on amazon. it was determined that it was the source of the morphine that killed steven. this resulted in part because of a dangerous gap in our nation's drug laws. it has been well known for ages that poppies are dangerous, both addictive and toxic, that's why it is illegal to grow or own any part of the poppy, but there's an exception, of course, for poppy seeds which many people enjoy on bagels, muffins and
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cakes. the seed isn't addictive, but unwashed seeds still tend to have bits of the plant on them which can be used for ar powerful -- for a powerful narcotic. a lethal dose of morphine is about 200 milligrams, but researchers at the university concluded that there were about 6,000 milligrams of morphine in that five-pound bag of steve that steven bought -- bag that steven bought. steven had no way of knowing just how toxic these seeds were. while there are plenty of legitimate uses for washed poppy seeds, there are no legitimate uses for unwashed seeds. yet drug dealers are abusing the status to wash seeds to profit
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and unwashed seeds that is available through online retailers. you can find instructions on how to brew poppy seed tea. so there's no question of the unwashed seeds being used for grandma's poppy seed cake. it is plain they are being used to smuggle a banned drug in our homes and manufacturers and distributors should know that. betty and steve made sure they did. it's hard to imagine the grief they feel. it would have been easy to despair, but they did not. they wanted to save other families from their fate to be sure steven's death would have meaning. they researched the issue, commissioning that report from sam houston state and studying the market for unwashed poppy seeds, and they became advocates, meeting with community leaders and elected
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officials. as i said, i only learned about the danger of unwashed poppy seeds by meeting the hocal as. i put in a call to amazon which allowed unwashed poppy seeds sold. they listened to our case and stopped selling unwashed poppy seeds. they agreed to take down the seeds and it was a victory and testament to what normal citizens like steve and betty can accomplish. this is more than a labeling problem. in fact, some of the most potent and deadly seeds which we know about, thanks to the work of steve and betty, are not labeled as unwashed and are still available for purchase, therefore, i will work in the senate and with the drug enforcement agency to ban
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unwashed seeds entirely. but today i want to thank amazon and wal-mart for taking an important first step for our country, for our state, for the hocalas and families like theirs. it's always hard to lose a loved one and a child is the hardest loss of all. i suspect nothing can assuage that kind of grief, but because of the hocala's courage and determination, we can hope that fa faw more -- that a few more families will be spared it. that's an act of true love for steven and for their fellow americans. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the following remarks be entered in a separate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. cotton: the office of secretary of state has always held a place of special prominence in the president's cabinet. in the secretary's hands rests matters of the most sensitive, delicate and consequential nature, affairs of war, and we always hope, peace. president caned put it simply when he said domestic policy can only defeat us, foreign policy can kill us. that's why presidents across the ages have filled the office of secretary of state with some of the most distinguished statesmen in our history, names like jefferson, madison, monroe, adams, clay, webster, marshall, kissinger, and now we will add the name of mike pompeo. very soon the senate will confirm mike to be our 70th secretary of state. i strongly support his nomination, as i have made known
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in recent days. before we vote, i want to emphasize what a truly impressive nominee he is, a man of noble character whose name future generations, i suspect, will ininclude on the ros of -- include on the roster of those great statesmen. mike has succeeded at every stage of life. he graduated first in his class at west point and joined the second calvary on the front line of freedom in germany. he excelled at harvard law school and served as president of a business, he became a respected community leader in his adopted home of wichita where his fellow kansans elected to serve them in the house of representatives. wichita is also where he had his biggest victory of all, winning the hand of his bride susan and he served as director of the
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c.i.a. c.i.a. for the past -- c.i.a. for the past 15 months after being confirmed by a bipartisan vote of 66-32. since then i have seen mike boost the v.i. -- c.i.a.'s morale. none of this surprises me because i've known mike for as long as i've been in public life. when i was in the house, he called me out of the blue to encourage me and offer me support. he was one of my best friends in the house and one of my strongest supporters in my senate campaign. as members of the house and senate intelligence committees, we conducted the world together to learn, and engage with foreign leaders. we have collaborated on several occasions. in 2013 we wrote an op-ed in "the washington post" calling on
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our party to support a strike against bashar al-assad for using chemical weapons. it was a lonely place for republicans to be, but we were right then, we're right now and i only wish more republicans and president obama had heeded our call. in 2015, we traveled to very enthat where we discovered and revealed iran's secret side deals with the international atomic energy agency. in 2016, after a trip to norway and sweden, we wrote an op-ed in "the wall street journal" drawing attention to europe's growing challenges with mass migration and what it means for our own country. mike has gone from one success to another because he's a consummate professional, a man who treats everyone with respect but who doesn't pull a punch or shade a view to please his audience. democrats don't deny his professionalism. the senior senator from montana has said he's led and exemplary
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career in public service. the junior senator from delaware said he'd be a good advocate for the career professionals at the state department and usaid. even former secretaries of state hillary clinton and madeleine albright have expressed their hope that he'd reinvigorate the state department. and nonpartisan experts agree. mike pohl's -- mike pompeo can't be denied. mike is a solid, thoughtful and accomplished leader. it's why 30 national security professional, including former n.s.a. director keith alexander, former c.i.a. director michael hayden submitted a letter endorsing mike's nomination. unfortunately, many democratic senators are opposing mike's nomination and they've given their reasons but i have to say these reasons don't hold up very
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well under scrutiny. some say mike is adverse to diplomacy. in fact, he simply knows that diplomacy is most effective when it's backed with a credible military threat. as frederick the great said, diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments. but he also knows that some situations may not be susceptible to diplomatic solutions, no matter how much one might wish it so. that's a fact of life. it's not a reason to oppose mike's nomination. and i would add that he recently demonstrated his commitment to diplomacy by meeting with kim jong-un to lay the groundwork for the president's upcoming summit. it's hard to think of a regime worse than north korea but mike was willing to sit down with kim to try to find a peaceful solution to the nuclear crisis on the korean peninsula. that should show us all definitively that he's committed to diplomacy.
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others say they're opposing mike because they disagree with him on social issues. here i would simply note that most republicans surely disagreed with hillary clinton and john kerry's views on these issues, yet they still voted to confirm them. and for that matter, hillary clinton opposed same-sex marriage when the democrats voted to confirm her back in 2009. so it hardly seems fair to hold mike pompeo to a different standard. still others oppose mike's nomination because he refused to say he would resign if president trump fired special counsel robert mueller. i have to say that's quite a stretch for a secretary of state nomination. this isn't the department of justice. and on the merits i would ask do they think it would have been a good idea for henry kissinger and jim schlesinger to resign in 1973 or 1974? would it help or hurt america to have our top diplomat suddenly
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leave the world stage at a time of domestic turmoil? and if that is to be the standard, have those democrats asked secretary of defense jim mattis that question? i bet they haven't. finally, there are those who worry that he won't be a check on the president. but since when is a cabinet member supposed to do that? regular elections and the separation of powers and all that it entails are the checks on the executive branch under our constitution. the president's cabinet owes him candid advice, especially when he doesn't want to hear it, but they aren't supposed to undermine him. and the state department in particular is the last place for open conflict between the president and a cabinet member. if the world doesn't believe that the secretary has the president's confidence and conducts foreign policy on his behalf, he's of little use to
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the president or the country. in fact, i would say it's the president's confidence in mike that cinch, his readiness for the job. when mike pompeo speaks, the world will know the secretary of state speaks for the president. he's well respected by the president's national security team, and he's well respected by the world. i know mike pompeo will excel as our secretary of state, and i regret some senators will oppose him for shortsighted political reasons. but since they all profess grave concerns about the lack of personnel at the state department, i look forward to them all confirming secretary pompeo's subcabinet nominees promptly once he submits them. but even better is to put politics aside and do the right thing for our country. mike pompeo has served his country with distinction. he's eminently qualified to be secretary of state and we need him on the job now. so i call on every senator to
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vote for confirmation and to send to the state department a strong leader, a wise counselor, and a good man, mike pompeo. mr. president, i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come to the floor today to voice my strong opposition to director pompeo's nomination to be our next secretary of state. this position is too important. the stakes are too high to let this nominee slide by without full consideration of what it would mean for director pompeo to be our nation's top diplomat. the person whose every word and
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action broadcast america's values to the rest of the world. some of my opposition concerns director pompeo's harsh views on matters of war and peace, and his blatantly false accusations regarding members of the muslim community. and some of my opposition surrounds my deep concern about director pompeo's ability to stand strong against president trump's erratic and uninformed foreign policy positions. but what i wanted to take a few minutes this afternoon to do is to express my serious concern about what director pompeo's ideological, extreme positions on women's rights and reproductive freedom would mean for women across the world. our nation has an important role to uphold us as a global champion of wep's rights. -- women's rights. we need a secretary of state who will be a strong advocate and continue our legacy of leadership fighting for women's
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health and reproductive freedom and the rights of women and girls around the world. instead, i'm afraid director pompeo would undo much of that legacy and undermine much of the global progress we have made. an advocate for women doesn't repeatedly support the global gag rule which keeps funding from clinics and programs that provide women important medical care. director pompeo did. an advocate for women doesn't vote to defund the united nations population fund which provides family planning services for women around the world who live in poverty. director pompeo did. and when it comes to fighting for the survivors of rape and against those who would use rape as a tool of war, it is clear we should stand by survivors, fight for them, and work to make sure they have access to the medical care they need. however, director pompeo has
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said he would prevent women who have been raped from accessing abortions. that is an unacceptably cruel response to women who are survivors. it's one of the many indicators that director pompeo is an unacceptable choice to serve as secretary of state. mr. president, the secretary of state is always a critically important position, but it takes on even more important meaning in 2018. the president not only needs good counsel navigating our complex global relationships, he also desperately needs someone who can tell him when he's wrong, who can stand up to him and be a check on this president's worse impulses. throughout his nomination process, director pompeo failed to convince me that he is that person. so i will be voting no on his nomination to be secretary of state. i urge my colleagues to do the same. thank you, mr. president, i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: i ask consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. carper: i don't know if our presiding officer was able to be present in the house of representatives earlier today, but the president of france, emmanuel macron, spoke to us about a variety of things. the paris accords, the iran deal, the long history that we have between their country and our country, the fact that the american revolution and the french revolution are contemporaneous and we shared a birth of democracy, our country and to an extent our country at roughly the same time. those who studied american history know that one of the ways we won our freedom and independence from the tyranny of that british throne was with the support of the french. and we have not always agreed with one another in the years
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since then, but mostly we have. and the bond between their nation and our nation continues to be strong, not just between our leaders but also between our people. we are fortunate to have a number of french tourists who come to our country. from time to time we're also fortunate to go to that part of the world to visit them and to know them as human beings. but the bond between our countries is a benefit for both them and for us, and i think for the world. mr. president, i've never come on the floor and started reading someone else's speech, but i'm really tempted to read some parts of what president macron, emmanuel macron said today. i speak a little bit of french. i spoke to him briefly in french
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before he gave his remarks. his english is a lot better than my french. i just want to maybe mention a couple of things that he said and add some comments of my own. he talked a bit about the paris agreement. he talked about climate change. these were his words. i think they're worth repeating and reflecting on. he said i believe in building a better future for our children which requires offering them a planet that is still habitable in 25 years. some people think that securing current industries and jobs is more urgent than transforming our economies to meet global challenge of climate change. and he went on to say, i hear these concerns, but we must find a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy. what is the meaning of our life?
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really, if we work and live destroying the planet while sacrificing the future of our children. president macron then said, he said, what is the meaning of our life if our conscience, the conscious decision is to reduce the opportunities for our children and for our grandchildren by polluting the oceans, not mitigating carbon dioxide emissions and destroying biodiversity, we are killing our planet. president macron went on to say let's face it, there is no planet b. think about that. there is no planet b. i turned to a colleague sitting next to me, and i said i am going to steal that line. there is no planet b. and you know, he was right. i'd like to say this is the only planet we've got, and it's going to be the only one we're ever going to have in our lifetime and probably the lifetime of anybody around this planet. president macron went on to say
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on this this issue, it may happen that we have disagreements between the u.s. and france. it may happen, like in all families. but that's for me a short-term disagreement. in the long run we'll have to face the same realities. we're citizens of the same planet, so we'll have to face it. we have to work together with business leaders and local communities. then he added let's work together in order to make our planet great again. isn't that terrific? let's work together to make our planet great again. not just to make america great again. not just to make france great again. but to make our planet great again, and create new jobs and new opportunities while safeguarding our earth. and he concluded his part of the speech by saying i'm sure one day the united states will come back and join the paris agreement, and i'm sure we can work together to work with you the visions of the global
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compact on the environment. i had the opportunity last week to speak at the university of delaware to a couple hundred graduate students. it's an annual gathering that they have. they were nice enough to invite me to come. we talked a little bit about leadership. among the things that i mentioned is that leaders are aspirational. we appeal to people's better angels. leaders unite, not divide. leaders build bridges, not walls. and i thought we were privileged today to hear that kind of leader. when i spoke to him in tprefrpbl, -- when i spoke to him in french, i wished him well and thanked him for the kind of message he brought to us. i don't suspect he would have any reason to know this, but when people got up today and went to work in this country, three million people went to work in jobs that probably
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didn't exist 20, 30 years ago -- three million -- and the jobs that they went to work on are jobs where they're creating renewable energy, sustainable energy, clean energy, carbon-free energy. or they are going to work in jobs which conserve energy. so we use a whole lot less altogether. think about that. three million people in this country went to work in those kinds of jobs. and we're adding 75,000, 100,000 of those jobs every year. delaware has always had a close relationship with the auto industry until about six or seven years ago. we had a g.m. plant, weiss a chrysler plant -- we had a chrysler plant in delaware, we had 4,000 employees in each at one time and lost them both at the bottom of the great recession. then and even now i tried to work closely with the auto industry, even though they don't
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have the kind of presence today in delaware that they once did. but they provide a lot of jobs. part of the supply chain is in delaware, pennsylvania, and other places. but sometimes people say that we cannot have clean air, clean water and a stronger economy. i just think that's a false choice. and the president of france as much as said that today. when -- i'm -- not a french man but it was einstein who said in adversity is opportunity. i think if we're smart about it, when we look at pollution, sea level, there's actually great opportunity that each of those present to us. they present difficulties and challenges, but also great opportunity. i'll never forget a number of years ago we are having a hearing at the environment and public works committee on the issue of mercury exclusion from
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power plants. we had, i think, four or five, maybe six witnesses. the first four or five witnesses said we cannot reduce mercury emissions by 80% over the next decade. they said we cannot. it's not possible for us to reduce mercury emissions. why do we want to reduce mercury? because it's up in the air, it's carried by the winds, the rain. it ends up in our water, ends up in fish. we eat the fish, especially pregnant women and they give birth in many cases to children who have brain damage. we had this hearing, and the first four or five witnesses all from utilities said clean coal-fired utilities said can't do it, 80% for mercury reductions. the last witness, the last witness was from a trade association. he was from a trade association whose members actually focused on developing technology to reduce harmful emissions of all
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companies, including mercury emissions from power plants. our last witness said, he said, no, i think we cannot only meet that target of 80% reduction in ten years, he said i think we can do better than that. and i think we can do it in less than ten years. and you know what? he was right. it turned out he was right. we ended up with 90% reduction in mercury emissions. and that technology has been used in this country. and the nice thing about it is that technology, there are plenty of other coal-fired plants around the world where we need to reduce mercury and we're selling that technology all over the world. that's really the opportunities that president macron is talking about, looking at adversity and finding opportunity including climate change and other kinds of pollution, pollution of our water, you name it. anyway, it was a, just a joy to hear him speak.
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actually i was really impressed. we have a bunch of pages sitting in here today. i don't know if they were able to hear the speech, if you got to hear the speech, raise your hand. okay. it had to be uplifting for young people because he was focused very much on the future. not just looking back, but focusing very much on young people. i like that. i like that a lot. one of the other things that he talked about, mr. president, was the iran deal. the iran deal. and for years and years, as some of you may recall, we suspected that iran was secretly developing nuclear weapons. didn't know for sure. we suspected the worst. and in the last administration here in this country, we work to work with the new leader


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