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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 19, 2018 9:59am-12:42pm EDT

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maybe i should ask former administrator ridge that question. >> yeah, i don't know-- >> thank you. >> thank you all, thanks for persevering. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> the u.s. senate about to gavel in to start their day. lawmakers will continue work on fiscal year 2019 spending. they'll focus on energy and water projects, military construction, and veterans programs among other issues. the senate will recess between 12:30 and 2:15 p.m. eastern to allow members to attend weekly
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party caucus lunch meetings. now live to the senate floor on c-span2. 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. eternal god, who has created too give our lawmakers zeal with knowledge that they will order their priorities for your glory.
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remind them to strive to bring deliverance to captives, the recovery of sight to the morally blind and freedom to the downtrodden. as our senators make plans, give them faith to know that your purposes will prevail as they cultivate reverence for you, bless them with life, security, and peace. may they remember that you are able to do immeasurably, abundantly above all that they can ask for imagine according to your power working in and
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through them. we pray in your strong name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the
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majority leader. mr. mcconnell: one of our top goals for the senate this year was to recover a regular appropriations process. it's been a long time since the system worked as intended. the spending agreement we passed in march achieved several critical objectives. it broke the limits on funding our armed forces, delivered the largest year on year increases for our troops in more than a decade. it provided record levels of veterans funding with increased oversight and modernization. it secured major resources for infrastructure improvements, it took steps to prevent school violence, it scaled up research, treatment, and prevention funding to fight opioid addiction.
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it was a product of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations with the white house. but while the spending agreement achieved a lot, it wasn't anybody's best case scenario. no senator on either side of the aisle was thrilled with the process nor was the president, nor were the american people. we all agreed we owed americans a more fundingsal process for allocating their hard-earned money. so here in the senate we made it a top priority to bring regular order back into the process. led by chairman shelby and ranking member leahy, they have engaged in the type of thorough committee work that ought to define the appropriations process. thanks to their hard work, the full senate can now take up this package which includes appropriations for energy and water development, military construction and veterans' affairs and the legislative branch.
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we'll be considering it on the floor this week. keeping families and communities safe, defending our nation, and upgrading our economic foundation, the energy and water components in this legislation address each of these national priorities. for example, they provide for critical improvements in the safety, security, and readiness of our nation's nuclear arsenal. today as the nation enters a period of renewed global competition among great powers, it is vital that we maintain a robust and well-maintained nuclear deterrent. this legislation puts forward the funds to continue safeguarding our stockpile and prepare the nation for existing and future nuclear threats. it also includes record funding for the office of science and new energy technologies and advanced computing. there are also funds for fossil fuel research, particularly for coal, carbon -- coal carbon capture. in addition to our energy
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future, there are infrastructure initiatives, provides ample support for the future of america's water resources. it directs nearly $7 billion to the army corps of engineers for maintain our ports and inland waterways, protecting our shores and reducing the damage caused by flooding. these funds will keep us on track to meet national priorities, but i can also testify to the impact this legislation will have on communities across the country, including my home state of kentucky. earlier this year, i asked secretary perry to take a visit with me to the paducah plant in western kentucky. i was glad he took me up on the offer. secretary perry said that we had a p responsibility to decommission the site. this is an important step to fulfill that step to the community and to the thousands-plus workers dedicated
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to environmental cleanup. this legislation provides funding for the am laichian regional commission to improve distressed counties in kentucky and the regionped and funds the homestead locks and dams and kentucky locks, this is for the 1,900-plus miles of inland waterways and the 13,000 maritime jobs they support. the reality is this legislation is needed to support communities across our country. energy matters to all americans, water infrastructure matters to all americans. i urge everyone to join me in supporting this bill. now, on another matter, yesterday gallup reported that the percentage of americans satisfied with the way things are going in our country is as high as it has been since 2005. that is nearly a 13-year high.
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no wonder with an ongoing economic expansion creating jobs across the nation, our unemployment rate is at the lowest level since the year 2000. consumers are confident, manufacturers are confident, small businesses are optimistic. as i said, many times washington doesn't deserve all of the credit for this, the government doesn't create prosperity, american workers and job creators do. but public policy does set the stage. bad policy can make wage growth and capital investment much more difficult. good policy can make things easier, take the historic tax reform that republicans passed just last year. in addition to immediate tax relief for middle-class families and small businesses, we sought to improve our long-term foundation by making america a more attractive place to start a business, expand a business, and invest for the future. that's why tax reform allowed full and immediate expense --
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expensing of capital developments and made corporate rates more competitive. businesses large and small are taking notice. a few weeks ago the "wall street journal" said that u.s. companies are ramping up on their businesses at the fastest pace in year. one recent analysis said that the s&p spending on factory equipment and other developments in the first-quarter of 2018 would be nearly 25% more than they spent in the first-quarter of just last year. what about small business? just a few weeks ago a leading industrial survey showed 62% of owners reporting recent capital outlays on the heels of the most positive sales trends since 1995. major business changing equipment is being purchased. ribbons are being put on new facilities. the long-term foundations for a
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stronger economy are literally be poured. republicans are proud that we helped make this happen. we are getting washington out of the way so that american prosperity can take flight. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that h.r. 55, as amended be presented as passed -- 5515. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the presiding officer: the leadership time is reed served. morning business is close -- is reserved. morning business is closed. the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 5859.
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the clerk: an act making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2019, and for other purposes.
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the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: .
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quorum call: mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: we're not in a quorum call, madam president? the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: madam president, members of both parties, and, i believe, the vast majority of americans remain concerned about the trump administration's zero tolerance policy that's resulted in thousands of families separated at the border. anyone who has seen the photos, heard the audio of small children alone and afraid crying out for their parents cannot help but feel horror and disgust by what's going on. that's not america. that's not the america we know and love and generations before
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us have known and loved. clearly, no one should be allowed into this country who doesn't meet the legal requirements, but we have an adjudication process that in the past did not require the separation of parents from their children. the trump administration has decided, of its own will and volition, to take a crueler, more callous, and indeed more expensive and time-consuming approach. as a bipartisan group of former u.s. attorneys wrote yesterday, quote, the zero tolerance policy is a radical departure from previous justice department policy and that it is dangerous, expensive, and inconsistent with the values of the institution in which we serve. -- served. and yet, president trump acts as if his hands were tied, as if it's not up to him, as if
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somehow congress and democrats are to blame for a policy his administration instituted, defended, and many members of the administration continue to defend, most recently the homeland security secretary. the truth of the matter is that the trump administration announced this new zero tolerance policy at the border in april. even they hadn't done it before that. so they weren't required. the trump administration decided to criminally prosecute every single illegal border chiesa, instead of simply deporting them. that's what changed. donald trump on his own volition changing the policy to a much crueler one. and he was supported by his whole administration or much of his administration. chief of staff kelly called the policy, quote, a tough deterrent. secretary of homeland security kirstjen nielsen has defended the policy, as have attorney
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general sessions, white house advisor steven miller, and several other members of the administration. last night, on fox news, attorney general sessions characterized the family's separation policy as a deterrent. so when president trump tweets, quote, change the laws and that his policy is the result of a law, quote, democrats forced upon the nation, he's ignoring reality, he's contradicting his own administration. as commentator after commentator, democrat, republican, liberal, conservative, has said, president trump is simply not telling the truth, and in a cowardly way. no law, no law requires the separation of families at the border. that's just not true. now, at the republican convention, president trump said
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about the problems of the nation that, quote, i alone can fix it. in the case of family separation, it's actually true -- mr. president, you alone can fix it. the president alone can fix this with a flick of the pen. mr. president, you should fix it, but if you don't want to change this cruel policy, at least admit that it is your decision. blaming others falsely is cheap, easy, and dishonest. a cheap way out. unbecoming of any president. president trump, if you're truly ashamed of what's happening at the border, get your team together and undo this policy. but if you don't want to change the policy, you need to take responsibility and own up to it. on z.t.e., last night, the
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senate passed the national defense authorization act, fulfilling its annual duty to authorize funding for our nation's military and update our national security policy. as part of the bill, a bipartisan amendment to reinstate sanctions against chinese telecom giant z.t.e. passed as well. although many have probably not heard of z.t.e., americans of all stripes should be cheering this news, because in the views of many experts, if we allow z.t.e. into this country, china and its government will use our phones to spy on each of us, our companies with their great technology, and our military. that's why so many people are against z.t.e. being allowed into this country, and in my view the same would be true of huawei, the other big chinese telecom company.
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z.t.e., backed by china's government, has flouted u.s. sanctions and lied about it. the f.c.c., the f.b.i., and the pentagon have all issued stern warnings about the national risk posed by z.t.e.'s technology. allowing the sale of z.t.e. technology in the united states could allow china to spy on every american's private information, on american businesses, and even on our military. it's a security risk, and why is president trump, in a simple call with president xi, just legislate -- letting it continue? fines don't matter at all to this giant company. they will still pose the same security risk before and after they pay a fine. so when the trump administration reached a sweetheart deal with z.t.e. to go easy on them, folks here in congress from both parties were shaking their heads
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in disbelief. china's the singlemost significant threat to american jobs and american intellectual property, the lifeblood of our economy. z.t.e. represents that threat. there is no good reason to take it easy on them. so i'm heartened that members of both parties, some of the most conservative members of this body and some of the most liberal members of this body and everyone in between stood up and said we shouldn't be forgiving z.t.e. it is now vital our house colleagues keep this bipartisan provision in the national defense bill if it heads towards a conference. they should not let the pressure of president trump, who simply doesn't know how to negotiate, president xi flatters him and he gives in on something vital to national security, they should not let president trump pressure them into reducing american security, both economic and
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defense. they should not let president trump pressure them into allowing z.t.e. to spy on every one of us, which they could well do. now, before moving on on this, i want to take a moment to thank senators cotton and rubio for working with senator van hollen, myself, and the rest of us on this issue. my friends on the other side of the aisle, it's harder for them to oppose the president than it is for us. my friends on the other side of the aisle have had the courage of their convictions to not only speak out but to support this legislation despite the opposition of their party's president. it's rare indeed when schumer, van hollen, rubio, and cotton issue a joint statement, on this issue, we all agree. it's an issue that transcends party and concerns the vital national security interests of this great united states of america. so i'm very glad for the sake of
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the country we were able to come together and pass this amendment. finally, mr. president, on health -- madam president, on health care. today we expect the trump administration to issue a new rule that would expand junk insurance plans that don't cover critical conditions and are far from comprehensive health coverage. these plans may not include coverage for maternity care, may not include coverage for mental health treatment, may not include coverages for newborn care, prescription drugs. worse still, these plans weaken protections for americans with preexisting conditions. finalizing this rule is simply the latest being act of sabotage of our health care system by the trump administration and a back door to expanding junk insurance plans which benefit the insurance industry but hurt the average american.
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that's why more than 95% of the health care groups that filed comments about this proposed rule opposed it. no single group that represents physicians, patients, hospitals, or nurses is supported, not one -- is supportive, not one. you can always find people who can make a fast buck putting together a health care plan that does very little for people as they collect money from them. our responsibility is to not allow that. in this congress, we had done that. president trump's undoing it. the trump administration and republicans in congress should work with democrats in a bipartisan way to make health care more affordable. instead of taking actions that jack up costs on middle-class families and those that are sick that need health care the most. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama.
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mr. shelby: madam president, just three months ago, congress passed and the president signed a $1.3 trillion, $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package for the year 2018. no one had time to read it, much less an opportunity to amend it here on the floor. the president vowed that never again would he sign such a measure. collectively, we lamented the absence of process, an excess of partisanship that led to that point once again. the collapse of regular order had become the new normal despite our usual resolutions to revive it. madam president, i'm pleased to report here today that the senate appropriations committee has charted a different course in the months since the 2018
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omnibus became law. in april of this year, i began working with vice chairman leahy and our colleagues on the appropriations committee to put into motion an aggressive schedule to mark up all 12 appropriation bills before the july 4 recess here. thus far, the committee has passed seven of these bills. this week, the committee will mark up three additional bills, and the final week of june we will consider the remaining two. at the moment, we're right on schedule. madam president, what has been truly remarkable, however, is not the speed of the 2019 appropriations process, but the bipartisanship has given it new life. all seven of the bills passed by the committee thus far have garnered overwhelming bipartisan support. most of them, in fact, have been
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approved unanimously. this is no small accomplishment in today's partisan political environment. on this point, madam president, i want to pause and recognize the significant contributions of vice chairman leahy to this effort. senator leahy and i have known each other for many decades now. in fact, our combined years on the appropriations committee exceed the age of many of our colleagues there. on this basis, we came together at the outset of the process and determined that only by united -- uniting would appropriations bill make it to the senate floor and beyond. he and i made a deal, the essence of which "politico" succinctly summarized in the headline of a recent article entitled "poison pills vanish from senate spending bills." that's what we hope. as part of this deal, vice chairman leahy and i agreed to
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reject not only partisan riders -- our own, too -- but also new authorizations in the 2019 appropriations bills. we resolved that senators on both sides look into authorizing new law and appropriations bills would be referred to the appropriate authorizing committees. and as the appropriations process has unfolded, i've honored this deal. vice chairman leahy as honored this deal. our subcommittee chairman and ranking members have horned this deal and the result -- have honored this deal and the results, madam president, speak for themselves. last week, for example, the interior, environment, and related agencies appropriations bill passed unanimously out of the committee. madam president, you would have to go back nearly ten years to find the last time the interior bill garnered such strong bipartisan support. i recognize that today we're
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still early in the game here and that many contentious issues lie ahead, but i believe that we've established a framework for success in returning to regular order. it is now time to translate this success to the senate floor. through their discipline in adhering to this framework, members of the appropriations committee, including the presiding officer, have demonstrateed that their perennial calls for a return to regular order were not hallow. today we'll begin to discover whether the full senate is equally sincere in its resolve. the package before the senate combines three fiscal year 2019 measures recently approved by the appropriations committee -- the energy and water development appropriations bill, the military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies appropriations bill, and the legislative branch appropriations bill.
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madam president, the energy and water development bill provides $43.7 billion in discretionary spending, a $566 million increase over the 2018-enacted level. the bill addresses critical national security needs concerning nuclear energy and also while improving our water infrastructure and investing in basic science and energy research for this nation. senators alexander and feinstein, the chairman and the ranking member of the energy and water development subcommittee, have crafted, i believe, a balanced, bipartisan bill that passed the full committee, madam president, by a 30-1 margin. the military construction, veterans affairs, and related agencies bill -- the second bill -- provides $97.1 billion, $5.1
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billion above the 2018 enacted level. this bill supports investments that will ensure maximum readiness and war fighting capability for our troops while also providing funding for needed improvements and innovations at the v.a. senator boozman and schatz, the chairman and ranking member, wrote a strong bill that received unanimous support of the full committee. finally, madam president, the senate's legislative branch bill provides $3.3 billion in discretionary funding, which is $68 million above the 2018 enacted level. this bill, the third bill, makes important investments in the safety and security of those working in congress and those citizens that are visiting -- guests visiting our capital.
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chairman daines and rank member also drafted a strongly bipartisan bill that garnered the unanimous support of the full appropriations committee. chairman alexander, boosman, ranking member feinstein and murray, i want to thank you for your continued hard work and leadership on these tills bills. as we move to consideration of these bills on the floor today, i urge all members to support any amendments they have as soon as possible. vice chairman leahy and i are committed to an open amendment process, as are each of the subcommittee chairmen and ranking members, who will be managing their parts of this legislative package p. just as they work diligently to accommodate as many members' requests as possible during the committee process, they intend to accommodate as many amendments as they can on the floor.
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madam president, to recap for the benefit of members, we're not interested in poison pill riders. we're not considering new authorizations in law. but we are interested here in discussing substantive amendments that are germane to this package. this is the path i believe that leads back to regular order. madam president, it is my hope today that we will not be led astray down the path of delay and partisanship that results in yet another omnibus. that is no way to fund the government. let's debate and dispose and do our job on behalf of the american people. let's demonstrate to the american people that our collective call for a return to regular order was not just for show, and let's complete our work on this package in a timely manner so we can move on to the considerable work that lies ahead. i want to take a moment and thank all senators at this
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moment for their input and their cooperation in this process thus far. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, i appreciate the comments of my friend, the chairman of the appropriations committee. i know, as many know, that chairman shelby and i have been friends for decades. we travel different parts of the world trying to promote the united states agenda, and we've worked very closely together. that's why we're opening debate on the first senate appropriations bill for fiscal year 2019, the minibus before us concontinues the energy and water appropriations bill, the
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military construction and veterans affairs appropriations bill, and the legislative branch appropriations bills. now, these bills have strong bipartisan support, and i want to compliment on each subcommittee the chair and ranking members who worked very, very close together, setting aside partisan labels, to get these bills before the full committee so that senator shelby and i could then bring them up for votes in the full committee. and so far we've reported from the committee seven of the 12 annual appropriations bills, each with overwhelming bipartisan support. i want to reemphasize that. each with overwhelming bipartisan support at a time when the things you read as though nothing can be done in a bipartisan way. i think we've set the example of the way the senate was and should be and can be.
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as one who's been in this body for almost 44 years, i like to see the senate work the way it should. in fact we're going to mark up three of the remaining five bills this week. the chairman and i are committed to making the appropriations process work again, and so far in committee it has. in that respect, i thank again my good friend senator shelby for his leadership, the bipartisan cooperation that's helped us achieve these results so far. now, our best chance for restoring regular order and avoiding the need to do an omnibus spending bill at the end of the year is to abide by the bipartisan, bicameral budget agreement and avoid poison pill riders from the left or the right. and the bill before us does just that. the chairman and i -- and we're
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the ones that have to spend the time on the floor, but we want a real debate on this spending measure. members should come to the floor, offer amendments, debate them. but if we're going to succeed in moving this bill through the senate, members on both sides of the aisle need to show restraint, as we did when we marked up these bills in committee, refrain from offering controversial legislative matters or other poison pill amendments, offer those hon authorizing bills where they should be, and debate them there. the appropriations bills that make up the minibus before us contain funding for important programs that make a real difference in people's lives, certainly in the lives of every senators' state around here, and in vermont, across the nation, and we should not derail this spending because of unrelated policy riders. if we do this, if both sides of the aisle can show restraint, we
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will have taken a very important step in getting this process back on track and putting the senate back to what it should be. let's talk about the military construction and veterans affairs bill. it dedicates considerable resources to the support and care of our veterans, including $2 billion to address the maintenance backlog at our v.a. hospitals and clinics. we agreed to that in the bipartisan budget deal. we have it in this bill. it also has critical funding for medical care and research, hospital clinic construction, the disability and pension programs, the energy and water bill invests in our country's water infrastructure and energy programs. it provides funding to support our rural communities. it benefits vermont but all the rest of the nation. every one of us has rural areas in our state, and this will
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benefit them. i'm pleased that the bill supports much-needed repairs and improvements in our environmental infrastructure and our energy infrastructure and strengthens the innovative ways to deliver these critical assets. now, from a parochial point of view, i know it makes vermont more resilient to the change in climate and violent weather events. all you have to do is look at the map. it makes every state -- every state -- more resilient, and that's what we need. the bill once again includes strong funding for the weatherization program. it of course helps families in vermont, but the northeast and northern states -- but the northeast and north states across the country who struggle with high home heating prices during the cold winter months, where it is not unusual to have
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days or even a week where it is below zero in those states. the bill wisely rejects several of the administration's budget proposals by making real investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. that's going to accelerate, diversify sustainable energy production in every part of our country but also support american innovation in the private sector, as well as many world-class research institutions across the country. i want to see americans' innovation being supported because that's a bill that will create and sustain jobs. and then the legislative branch bill provides funding for the senate and house of representatives, the library of congress, the copyright office, the capitol police and the architect of the capitol. in addition, it supports the
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congressional budget office, the government accountability office, which are essential to our oversight functions. i support this package of bills that came from the subcommittee. i urge other members to do the same. let me just mention one issue briefly related to veterans health care. the military construction and veterans affairs bill has one serious problem, and chairman shelby and i are committed to fitching it. the bill -- to fixing it. the bill does not provide money to cover the costs associated with the v.a. choice program, which was transferred to the discretionary side of the budget under the mission act. it will become part of a new consolidated program to be funded in this bill. unfortunately, the mission act only provided funding for this funding through may of 2019,
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leaving the balance unaddressed. to cover the shortfall, we're going to need an estimated $1.6 billion more in fiscal year 2019. an additional $8.6 billion in fiscal year 2020, and 9.5 billion billion for fiscal year 2021. now, these costs were not accounted for when there was the negotiation for the budget caps in the bipartisan budget deal. so the chairman and ranking member of the subcommittee were unable to address the shortfall within their allocation without cutting funding for other important programs. now, we do our veterans no favor if we say we're going to promise care, but, oh, by the way, we're not going to pay for it. senator shelby and i are working on a solution that provides the flexibility having made sure
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having made this promise to our veterans that we can carry out this process and we hope to offer an amendment later this week to address this issue. so, in conclusion, i look forward to the debate of the appropriations bill before us, and i ask senators, all 100 of us, to work with us to restore the appropriations process. we only achieve success and return to regular order if we pledge to work together. look at the example that chairman shelby and i have set in which these bills have been advanced. we did it with 31 members of the senate appropriations committee voting overwhelmingly, both sides of the aisle, for these bills. so i thank the chairman, but i also thank the subcommittee chairs and reames because they
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work like mad and they got it done. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: i ask unanimous consent that molly marsh, a fellow in senator alexander's office and megan parrot, be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the energies of h.r. 5859, energy and water development act. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. boozman: thank you, madam president. i'm pleased to -- for fiscal
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year 2019. this is a bipartisan bill that funds the critical infrastructure for our nation's service members and their families and takes care of america's 20 million veterans. as in the past, this subcommittee crafted the bill in a truly open and bipartisan and collegial way. the subcommittee took into account the requested preferences of all members both sides of the aisle and balanced it with the administration's budget submission. within this framework we have created a thoughtful and responsible path for both departments and our related agencies. a lot of time and energy has gone into putting this legislation together, and i would like to thank senator schatz and his staff for working so hard for addressing the needs of our service members and veterans. the bill provides $97.1 billion in digs cession ordinary spending.
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within that, the department of veterans' affairs has provided a new record level of resources of $86.4 billion in discretionary funding, which is $5 billion over last year's level and $ 1.1 billion over the president's request. these resources will provide health care and other important benefits earned by u.s. service members. this bill provides $78.3 billion to support medical treatment in health care, includings dz 8 -- $8.6 for mental health, including funds to prevent veterans' suicide, $86 million for the caregivers program, $70 million for opioid abuse and treatment, and $70 million for health initiatives. it provides funds to prevent veterans' homelessness, invest
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in veterans research, eliminate the claims backlog, provide for state extended care facility structure and support the board's efforts to address the growing backlog. the bill has $10.3 to support military construction and family housing needs, a $228 million increase over last year's level. this will fund a total of 169 military construction projects to restore to war-fighter readiness. these projects support bed down of new platforms such as the f-35 and kc-46 and provides investments that support nuclear deterrence and air superty. dry dock support will give help
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to readiness and training facilities will contribute to current and future force readiness. this bill provides resources to improve the quality of life for service members and for their families. it provides $1.6 billion to provide homes and related housing services to service members and their families living in our installations around the world. $388 million for schools and $366 million for hospitals and medical clinics. we were able to address $489 million worth of construction, which will allow the services to fund their highest priority unfunded projects. the bill contains $921 million for overseas contingency operations and the european deterrence initiative to improve
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infrastructure and facilities throughout the european theater to deter further russian aggression and deter threats from the middle east and north africa. in summary, madam president, this is a good bill. it was reported out of committee without a single descending vote, and i hope we will have unanimous support when we vote for it on final passage. i ask my colleagues to support this bill. i would like to thank senator shelby and leahy for their support in putting this bill together, and, again, would like to thank senator schatz and his staff for working with us in such a bipartisan, cooperative manner. and, of course, my staff for all of their efforts and the hard work that it takes to put something of this magnitude together. with that, madam president, i yield back. mr. schatz: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii.
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mr. schatz: thank you, madam president. i'm pleased to join my colleague from arkansas, the chairman of the military construction and veterans' affairs appropriations subcommittee in presenting this bill for consideration before the full senate. i want to thank him for his work to create a fair and bipartisan bill and i also want to thank the appropriations committee chairman and vice chairman for their leadership and commitment to an orderly process to bring these bills, and all the appropriation bills to the floor. this is the first set of appropriation bills before the senate this year. we are make good progress and in the next few days, we are going to be set the tone for the rest of the work this year on appropriation ps. this builds -- appropriations. this builds on what we have done in the omnibus by supporting service members and their families. it funds military construction projects that are needed to continue our work to address years of the budgetary risk
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taking that have led to neglected facilities tied to military readiness. in total the bill provides the v.a. with nearly $5 billion more than last year's bill and adds $200 million for military construction. i'm particularly pleased that we were able to fund $500 million worth of unfunded military construction requirements while increased funding must continue to be requested and sustained in future years, this funding makes progress to restore military readiness across the joint force, including importantly for the army and air national guard that have served as an operational reserve for nearly two decades of war. the increased funding for are v.a. will go where it will do the most goods for our veterans and their families, that includes $400 million to combat the opioid epidemic, which is $18 million above the budget request, $365 million above the
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budget request for the caregivers' program, nearly $500 billion above the omnibus for mental health services, an additional $87 million to increase staffing to process veterans disability appeals, and an additional $30 million to help deliver telehealth services to remote and rural areas. we have extra for v.a. medical care above the advanced appropriations in the omnibus. this includes an additional $750 million for v.a. housing care and $1 million for prieded care through the v.a. community care program. we agree that the v.a. community partners are essential to serving veterans and access especially in rural areas. but privately provided care cannot come at the experience of v.a.'s in-house medical services
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or other programs core to v.a. and that's where the administration is to recognize to take us. without budgetary relief, there will be a $38 million hole at v.a. and will undermine serving our veterans and their families. i know the vice chairman and chairman are working with the leadership and chairman and ranking member of the authorizing committee so we can fulfill our commitment to veterans. they will have my full support on that. i want to thank senator boosman and my staff for helping to craft this bipartisan bill. i will have more to say, in the meantime i encourage any of our colleagues, if they have amendments to file those as soon as possible so we have sufficient time to review them. i ask unanimous consent that olivia harris, brendon mcgovern
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and jack plunkett with granted floor privileges for the length of the current debate on h.r. 5895, an act making appropriations for energy and water development act. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schatz: thank you. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: #
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for colorado. mr. gardner: thank you, mr. president. in the last year in colorado -- i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. gardner: thank you. mr. president, last year, colorado had a great snow pack in many areas of the state. in fact, what happened because of moisture, rain, snow pack in many areas of colorado led to a lot of growth, a lot of great
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spring grass, a lot of undergrowth that came in. the problem is, though, when you have a wet year followed by a dry year, that same -- same growth then turns into tinder during a drought year. that's unfortunately what we have seen in parts of colorado this year. parts of colorado that are experiencing some of the driest conditions they have seen in 70 or 80 years. on june 1, the 4/16 fire, which is in southwest colorado was started. it started burning now. it's about 35,000 acres of land have been gobbled up by this wildfire. there also are a number of other fires across colorado. the borough fire, buffalo mountain fire, a fire between redvale and montrose, colorado. i come to the floor to bring attention to some of the actions that we have taken, though, that have helped with fighting these fires, some of the policies that we need to put in place that
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could do a better job giving more tools to fight these fires, and what we could do to help make firefighters do their jobs in a better, safer way. so if you look at what we did this past year, the past year, just a couple of months ago, we passed a bill that fixed the fire-borrowing crisis that had consumed our wildfire-fighting budget each and every year. what happened is congress would fund firefighting based on a ten-year rolling average and then they would exceed that cost of firefighting budget and then they would consume other parts of the forest service budget, cannibalizing other parts, say, that would go toward mitigation, preventing next year's forest fires, to fund the firefighting efforts of this year's fire. so we never really caught up with the cycle. over half of the budget was being consumed on fighting forest fires. this congress did a bipartisan fix that allows us to treat it more like a normal, traditional
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disaster instead of cannibalizing other funds within the forest service. i asked one of the forest service representatives, employees at the fire, i said, are you able to make better decisions knowing now that you have a budget fix in place and the answer was yes. so we're actually able to fight fires and in this case the fire -- i know we've got a map. if we could go to the next slide. we have a map right here. so the city of durango, colorado, is right here. this fire is moving. and we're able to fight this fire better knowing that we have the funding and the resources necessary to adequately supply these fire fighting efforts. as a result, this 35,000-acre fire -- at least as of a day ago -- we hadn't lost a home, even though nearly 2,000 homes have been evacuated. i think that's a remarkable feat. and great credit needs to go to the fire fighting personnel.
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they have not lost a structure as a result of their efforts. and the tools that we've helped to give them. and so to the personnel, thank you for the work that you continue to do. to the people of colorado who may have scheduled a vacation or planned a vacation in durango, know that these towns remain open, that you can still go to durango, colorado, you can still go down the river, you can have an incredible time with your family. i encourage people across this country not to cancel their vacation, not to cancel their plans but to go ahead and visit. this town, this state needs you now more than ever. i would just encourage people to recognize that, yes, there may be a fire in the forest, but it's not in the town. it's perfectly safe to go visit, to be there. and i hope that they will because both silverton and durango need you now more than ever. we also know that our land managers can use better policies in terms of reducing fuel loads and making sure they can get into the forests to reduce the
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potential for a serious conflagration, the types of which we've seen more and more of recently, to help give them better tools to cut through litigation and the analysis paralysis which has tied our decision-makers' hands when it comes to fighting fires. the other thing i've heard outside the 416 fire is the concern about drones. i hope that every person listening to speeches and the news reports will take to heart, when you fly a drone, when you fly a u.a.v. over a fire because you think it would be neat to get pictures of it, understand that you are putting people at risk, their lives at risk, and you are stopping -- you are putting a halt to significant elements of the fire fighting effort. what do i mean by that? one drone will shut down the air tanker program, no more slurry efforts, no more helicopters flying in, no more airplanes
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flying in dropping retardant that can stop the spread of the fire. please, please stop interfering with active fire fighting efforts. scott tipton and i will be introducing legislation that will increase the penalties on people who are interfering with fire fighting efforts by flying a drone in a wildfire -- over a wildfire. it's got to stop. it's putting people's lives at risk and it is certainly allowing these fires to spread because they have to shut down the air fighting -- fire fighting efforts. we can't fight these fires at night with tankers. we're working on that. we have other legislation that would allow night-vision goggles, research to be done to help make this effort happen, to be able to fight these fires at night, but we can't do it now. so when you take out an hour or two of the day, that means those tankers can't get in, that means more acres are burned, that means more lives are put at risk. stop it. you're hurting people. and so this is something that we have to give more tools to our decision-makers, land managers, help reduce the fuel, cut
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through the litigation, red tape, reduce the number of lawsuits that are preventing these forests from being managed in a healthy manner. that's do that. then we have to make sure that we continue other policies to get more dollars on the ground for fuel-reduction efforts. long-term consequences of this fire, though, will remain, because long after the smoke is gone, the effects will be felt. when there is a rainstorm, we'll have hydro-phobic soil conditions that will allow debris flows, that will create debris throws causing conduits to be impacts, perhaps wiped out the via ducts that are going to be affected, the water conduits that will be affected through debris flows. drinking water systems that could be affected. flooding dramatically increases. those effects will have to be dealt with. when you're dealing with businesses that rely on the use of the forest, particularly in the summer, the seasonal businesses that are impacted right now are going 0 to need
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help. that's the small business administration, the department of commerce and others who can help provide disaster relief to these businesses. because if you're re-- because if you rely on a forest for your business during the summer and that forest has been closed, obviously your business is greatly impacted. so that's something that this congress will have to continue to work through as we address the impacts on seasonal businesses throughout colorado and the west for that matter that have been affected by these wildfires. so to this congress, thank you for the work you did to fix the practice of fire borrowing, for putting an end to it, for allowing us to budget regularly for wildfires, making sure that we have the dollars necessary to do this, without impacting forest programs that would have reduced the next year's fires. but stop dangerous activities, stop flying drones, interfering with wildfires. let's work on policies that we can innovate to bring new science, new expertise, new research to allow us to do a
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better job fighting the fires. but people remember -- i hope people will remember that durango, silverton remain open, all of colorado remains open. come visit, spend your time, your great memories that you can make with your memories in our forests, incredible, amazing, beautiful environment of colorado and the west. so, mr. president, i thank you and this is just one more important thing to remind ourselves, that we are all in this together. and i want to thank this congress for the would, that they've done. -- for the work that they've done. mr. president, i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for south dakota. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, the good economic news keeps pouring in. cnbc reports that economic
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growth for the second quarter for 2018 is, and i quote, on track to double 2017's pace. in april, since the first time the bureau of labor and statistics began tracking the data the number of job openings outnumbered the number of job seekers. in may the unemployment dropped to the lowest level in 18 years. wages are growing at the fastest rate since 2009. and small business optimism has hit its second-highest level ever. a recent survey from the national association of manufacturers reported that 97% of manufacturers plan to increase hiring as a result of tax reform, 86% report that they plan to increase investments, which i means new jobs and opportunities for workers.
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that's a lot of numbers, but they all boil down to one thing, mr. president, and that is life is getting better for american families. yesterday the "wall street journal" reported, and i quote, economic confidence among lower-income americans is taking a recent leap, the latest benefits that the economic expansion are reaching a broader swath of workers. end quote. mr. president, if there's one thing that's needed to help the american people achieve a dream, it's the thriving economy. what do people think about when they think about the american dream? they think about starting a business from their kitchen table and growing it into a thriving enterprise, they think of a secure job that will allow them to have a nice home and take their kids to the beach and save for retirement and those unexpected expenses. they dream about landing a job
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at their dream company and working their way up the ladder to the top. they dream about fulfilling work that can turn into a fulfilling career. and they treatment about a secure retirement with extra money to treat the grandkids. mr. president, those are the type of things that americans dream about when they think about the american dream. it is hard to dream about those things if the economy is stagnant or struggling. it's hard to work your way up the ladder if your company is having to lay people off, it's hard to buy a house or to save for the kids' college if you don't have anything left over once you pay the bills. mr. president, during the last administration the economy did not thrive, and as a result, american families struggled. when president trump took office, republicans and president trump made reversing our economic decline a priority. perhaps the two biggest drags on our economy during the obama administration were burdensome
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regulations and an outdated tax code. and so we took immediate action to roll back burdensome obama regulations and we got to work on reforming our outdated tax code. six months ago this week, we passed historic tax reform. before the tax cuts and jobs act, the tax code was not helping businesses grow and create jobs. in fact, it was doing the opposite. and that had real consequences for american workers. a small business -- own -- a small business owner struggling to pay the hefty tax bill for her business was highly unlikely to hire a new worker or raise wages. a struggling business trying to stay competitive in the global marketplace while paying a substantially higher tax rate than its foreign competitors too often had limited funds to expand or increase investment in the united states.
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and so we took action to improve the playing field for american workers by improving the playing field for businesses as well. to accomplish that, we lowered tax rates across the board for owners of small and medium-sized businesses, farms, and ranches. we lowered our nation's massive corporate tax rate, which up until january 1, was the highest tax rate in the developed world. we expanded business owners' ability to recover investments they make in their businesses which frees up cash that they can reinvest in their operations and workers, and we brought the u.s. international tax system into the 21st century so american businesses are not operating at a disadvantage next to their foreign competitors. and now we're seeing the results. companies have announced higher
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wages, better retirement benefits, bonuses, increased investment, new jobs, and more. as i mentioned, 77% of manufacturers plan to increase hiring as a result of tax reform. and 72% plan to increase wages or benefits. meanwhile, at the end of may, the national federation of independent business reported that a record high percentage of small businesses had increased compensation for their employees. then there are the 100-utility companies that are lowering rates as a result of tax reform. the companies boasting their education benefits to help employees get the skills that need for successful careers. the companies ex and panning parent -- expanding parental leave benefits, the low unemployment rate, the pace of wage growth, and so much more,
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mr. president. in short, as i mentioned earlier, life is getting better for american families. opportunities are expanding, paychecks are increasing, wages are growing, benefits are growing, and that means more families are able to afford those car repairs on that payment on -- downpayment on a house, more families are able it set aside money for their kids' education, and more families are able to boost their retirement contributions. more families are looking forward to a secure future. mr. president, i'm proud of the benefits of the tax cuts and jobs act of delivering for american families, and i'm going to keep working for policies that will expand opportunities for families in this country even further. mr. president, i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: mr. corker: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for tennessee. mr. corker: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are.
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mr. corker: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. corker: mr. president, i plan to speak more fully tomorrow on this topic, but the constitution as i know you know and others in the chamber know gives the united states congress the authority to deal with tariffs. i know we're dealing with some regular order business during this week and i'm glad we're able to do so, and i want to congratulate my colleague, the senior senator from tennessee, the way he is conducting himself with the way he is dealing with appropriations and the members of the appropriations committee and the work they have done to make sure we can move through in this a timely fashion, but, mr. president, from time to time moments arise in u.s. history where congress should assert its authority.
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-- authority and play a calming role when a time when the world is royaling -- royaling from a president who decides what he will do with other countries regarding tariffs with no reasoning for much what he is doing. mr. president, we have an amendment that we're seeking to make even better to hopefully cause the congress, the united states senate, and the house of representatives, to take its rightful role as it relates to this tariff situation. today we had a number of small businesses from tennessee, i'm sure there are many from indiana and alaska, that are wondering what world they are waking up in as tariffs seem to be rolling off from the white house, again with no seeming strategy or thought, just weeing up and --
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waking up and putting in place taxes on the american people, changes relationships that have been built since world war ii between our nation and others. in some cases appearing to take place over personal picks that the president may have against an individual or another company. that's not the way the united states -- that's not the way the united states has led the world. and we have a responsibility as a congress over these matters. section 232 of the trade act has never been used like it's being used today where we, in essence, are claiming under the guise of national security, tariffs being put in place against our neighbors and against our allies. i don't think there's a person in this body that believes that the national security waiver being utilized in the manner it is being utilized is even
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appropriate. i can't imagine there's anybody in this body that even believes that to be the case, and yet our president wakes up on a daily basis deciding that he's going to put in place policies that affects our nation and others and the citizens that we represent. affecting them in major ways. and so, mr. president, i'm just here today to say that i know the pressure is going to build. i know these other countries are going to retaliate. mr. president, they have no choice but to retaliate. the citizens they represent would push them, are pushing them to retaliate. they have no choice. so, mr. president, we as a body have a responsibility at this time to reclaim our responsibilities as it relates to tariffs and revenues, allow the president to continue to negotiate, allow them to do so,
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but when he completes his work, he should bring whatever it is he would like to impose on other countries, especially since he's using a section 232 in ways that it was never intended. mr. president, he should bring that to the united states senate and to the united states house of representatives, and we should decide if this section 232 is being abused in the way that it is, we should decide what tariffs should be put in place. i plan to come back and speak on this matter tomorrow. i hope that at some point as pressure builds, as chaos is created in other countries and around the world, as our leadership role in the world continued to take a hit and be challenged, i hope the united states senate will rise to the occasion. i want to thank those many people on both sides of the aisle that have sponsored legislation to deal with this. i hope the leader of the senate
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and the minority leader of the senate will decide that this is an important issue that we need to take up and that we will take action. with that, i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: mr. president, i rise in support of -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mrs. feinstein: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: thank you very much, mr. president. i rise in support of the appropriations package currently under consideration, particularly the section dealing with energy and water development appropriations.
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i know my good friend, senator alexander, the chairman of our energy and water subcommittee on appropriations spoke last evening. i have served as chairman or ranking member of this committee for the past five years. we have alternated. it's been a real pleasure and a great privilege for me to work with him. i also want to thank senator shelby and vice chairman leahy. perhaps people don't know this, but they have taken truly meaningful steps to return us to regular order. it's been a long time coming, and i truly hope it can be maintained. i have been on the appropriations committee for more than two decades, and i have been saddened to watch as we have descended into partisanship year after year and lessened our influence as a committee. believe it or not,
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mr. president, it's been 21 years since congress passed all 12 appropriation bills by october 1. since then, we have just staggered through a series of continuing resolutions and omnibuses. so i'd like to thank my colleagues on the appropriation committee for supporting this bill during markup where we saw a vote of 30-1. i hope that we will be able to maintain that spirit of bipartisanship on the floor, and i urge my colleagues to refrain from offering poison pill amendments that would derail our progress. i believe this is a fair bill, it contains trade-offs and hard choices. i certainly don't agree with everything in it, particularly the nuclear weapons portion, but i support passage of the bill by the senate. overall, the bill provides $43.8 billion for the army corps of engineers, the bureau of
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reclamation, the department of energy, and other agencies. this is an increase of $566 million over fiscal year 2018 levels. i want to highlight the fact that we received an increase in our nondefense allocation of $474 million above 2018. this is a very generous allocation, and it has allowed us to do the following -- to increase funding for reclamation programs that prevent and mitigate the effect of drought throughout 19 western states. to increase funding for critical army corps infrastructure. to increase funding for the office of science, the largest single supporter of basic scientific research in the united states we were also able
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to continue strong support for applied energy programs, particularly those that fund the development of carbon-free renewable technologies. even with a more modest defense allocation, we fund efforts to address the environmental legacy of the cold war in tennessee, south carolina, new mexico, washington, and other states. the bill also funds key priorities in nuclear nonproliferation, including securing radiological materials in hospitals and industrial facilities in this country and helping our international partners do the same. before i turn to nuclear weapons, i would like to speak briefly about nuclear waste. there are over 80,000 metric tons of spent fuel stored at 77
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reactor sites in 33 states. the vast majority of that is still stored in wet pools. this is important because every one of us have communities struggling to deal with their legacy nuclear waste, and for the sixth year in a row, this bill includes a provision that would create a nuclear waste pilot program to allow for interim consent-based storage of commercial spent nuclear fuel. but i want to say to all my colleagues in the senate, we need your support to get this done. we have a bipartisan path here in the senate, but the house won't budge. they won't support any nuclear waste proposal that isn't yucca mountain.
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we can't let another year after all these years that have a gone by with no movement on nuclear waste. we need the senate to be united, and we need your help to push the house to stop holding our bipartisan pilot program hostage to their impossible demands on yucca mountain. finally, i want to speak briefly about nuclear weapons. unfortunately, this bill includes the $65 million requested by the trump administration to begin to modify the existing w-78 warhead for the new low-yield weapon. if fully funded, this new nuclear capability will be completed in just two years. i strongly oppose funding for this new nuclear weapon. i firmly believe that we already have enough nuclear weapons, and
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the military actually agrees. when testifying before congress, on march 20, 2018, general john heiten, the commander of u.s. strategic command, said, and i quote -- i have everything i need today to deter russia for doing anything against the united states of america. we're fully ready against any threat that exists today without a doubt, end quote. that's the head of our nuclear forces, saying he has everything he needs, so why waste money on new nuclear weapons the military doesn't need? not only do i share the general's belief that we already have enough nuclear weapons in general, but i also believe we definitely don't need any low-yield nuclear weapons in particular. the trump administration has argued that it needs this new
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nuclear weapon in order to have a proportionate response to a russian first use of a low-yield weapon. that line of argument makes clear that the administration is actually contemplating using nuclear weapons to fight limited nuclear wars. just think about it. there's no such thing as a limited nuclear war, and we're kidding ourselves if we think there is, and the military agrees. in february, secretary of defense jim mattis said, and i quote, i don't think there is any such thing as a tactical nuclear weapon. any nuclear weapon used any time is a strategic game changer, end quote. and i share secretary mattis' view. i don't believe there's any such thing as a limited nuclear
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weapon. once a nuclear weapon is used by any country against any target, that's the end of us. therefore, i do not see any reason to develop low-yield weapons. mr. president, we have steadfast ly funded the modernization of our nuclear stockpile and its supporting infrastructure over the past eight years. altogether, the congressional budget office estimates that over the next 30 years we will spend $1.7 trillion to upgrade and maintain nearly all of our nuclear forces. but the low-yield submarine launch ballistic missile warhead is separate and apart from the scope of that effort. funding it simply does not make sense from either a budgetary or
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a strategic perspective. despite my opposition to funding for this nuclear warhead, mr. president, i do recognize that in other ways this is a balanced bill. it builds on the investments we were able to make in the f.y. 2018 omnibus, provides another $200 million for water projects in the west and continues investments in clean technologies that will help combat the effects of climate change. it's not perfect. it's not the bill i would have written if i were chairman. but on balance, i support this bill, and i urge my colleagues to do so as well. once again, it is a great pleasure for me to work with my chairman. we have worked together now for over five years on this
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committee and produced a bill every year. both of us have made compromises, and i'm just very proud of the relationship. so thank you very much, mr. chairman. i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, yesterday i spoke briefly about the ongoing situation at the u.s.-mexico border, and it continues to be on my mind and many others' mind, including the presiding officer, who's offered some very constructive suggestions for how to address this situation. just like under the obama administration back in 2014, we've seen a surge of unaccompanied children and families coming across our southern border during this spring and summer months. that at the time was called by the president, president obama, a humanitarian crisis, and it
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truly was and is. between october 1 of last year and may 31 of this year, the number of families apprehended at the southwest border rose 58% compared to the same period a year earlier. many of these individuals hail from central america. some have presented themselves lawfully at ports of entry, but others have tried to enter illegally in more remote, unpopulated areas. let me explain for a second. i think secretary nielson tried to make this distinction but i'm not sure it quite penetrated. if somebody shows up at a port of entry and asks for asylum, they have not violated our immigration laws. and their claim for asylum needs to be considered by the border patrol and by the immigration judge to whom their case is assigned. but if somebody tries to enter the country between the ports of
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entry, they have violated a federal law. and secretary nielson made the point that there's no reason for people claiming, legitimately claiming asylum to enter the country illegally when they could come through the ports of entry, much as cubans have in times past during the existence of the so-called wet foot, dry foot policy that was later abrogated by president obama. people with a credible fear of persecution in their home countries may present their claims through a normal, well-defined process. there's no reason for somebody to go to the far reaches of the frontier that the border region, the wild, wild west i like to call it, and to try to come in by illicit means. there's simply no reason to do that if you have a legitimate claim for asylum. nonetheless, many people opt to go that route anyway. and for them, the trump
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administration has made a decision to enforce our laws on the books by prosecuting adults in criminal court when they are apprehended crossing our borders illegally. that's, those are laws passed by congress, signed by the president of the united states, and the trump administration has made the logical decision that it is their responsibility to enforce laws that are on the books. the relevant laws, the ones that make it illegal to cross the border in the first place a misdemeanor, and it often makes subsequent crossings much more serious. they have been on the books for many decades, but they were not always enforced by previous administrations when families were involved. but now, because of a number of federal court decisions, consent decrease and statutes, an adult must be separated from a child as the legal process plays its way out. the reason why i say that is
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because we don't want children going to jail with an adult who's being processed for illegally entering the united states. children are under current practice placed in a separate safe setting. they're not left unattended and fending for themselves against violent criminals that are being detained by regular i.c.e. or bureau of prison facilities. the relevant legal decisions and settlements and statutes are important to acknowledge because, as "the new york times" stated this past weekend, technically there is no trump administration policy stating that illegal border crossers must be separated from their children. what there is instead are many variables hard to disentangle from one another. the current administration stepped up enforcement directives, the so-called flores agreement which requires that children be held for no longer than 20 days. a ninth circuit opinion that
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applies flores to family units, protracted time lines for asylum claims limited detention facilities and a division of responsibility between i.c.e., health and human services, and under other agencies. so you can see how this quickly becomes enormously complex because of this overlay of federal law, consent decrees, court judgments, and other divided responsibilities among federal agencies. underlying this complex array of factors is something pretty uncontroversial, though. i think every member of this chamber will agree with the trump administration that we should never be placing children in prisons or jails with hardened criminals when their parents are being prosecuted. but by the same token, i and many others certainly don't want family members to be separated from one another as a consequence of department of homeland security and administration officials enforcing laws they were sworn
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to uphold. what we're literally being told is that there is a false choice here. you can either enforce the law or unify family members. we're hearing from many of our democratic colleagues that the administration ought to simply quit enforcing the law. but that is something we all have taken an oath to uphold and defend the constitution and laws of the united states -- the constitution and laws of the united states. and whether you're a legislator, the president of the united states, the secretary of homeland security, the head of immigration and customs enforcement, we have all taken that same oath. i know u.s. customs and border protection folks, like manny padilla and david higgerson and the men and women who work under them in the rio grande valley are trying to do what is required of them by their job, and that is to enforce the law. and that's a good thing. we appreciate all they do. so the answer to this current
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situation is a solution that allows us to both enforce the law and keep families together. they don't have to be mutually exclusive. we've got to keep family members together and prevent unnecessary hardship, stress, and outrage. that's not our purpose, to cause these children in particular who have been brought across our border illegally by their parents, we're not trying to take it out on them or punish them. because we've heard about the consequences that when family members are separated, mental health problems may, for example, follow children all the way to adulthood. so we need to be mindful of that risk and work to ensure these children's well-being. none other than the former first lady law r are a bush -- laura bush wrote she believes we can find a better answer to this current crisis and i agree with her. we're off to a pretty good start. some of my colleagues and i,
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including i know the presiding officer's staff, are working together to try to come up with a way to keep families unified when they're detained at the border. i think our goal should be pretty clear and simple. ensure that families stay together at i.c.e. facilities while their criminal or civil proceedings are ongoing. clarify that the so-called flores settlement does not apply to children who cross the border illegally with their parents. and promote the expedited consideration of detained families by immigration judges so that they're not left in limbo for any longer than is absolutely necessary. i believe these are the building blocks for a consensus approach, one that every member republican and democrat alike, could rally behind. throughout the course of our discussions, though, one point has become increasingly clear. all of us believe that families crossing the border should be kept together. where we differ is whether or
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not we believe we should also enforce our immigration laws. but as i said, it need not be an either/or proposition. we can keep families unified while at the same time remain resolute in enforcing our immigration laws, because in fact congress wrote them. and *eutsdz -- it's within our prerogative to change them if we wish. but as long as they're on the books, i believe that everybody from the president of the united states on down has a responsibility to enforce laws on the books. the trump administration has said it will not tolerate any violations of those laws or any others, and that all offenders will remain on the table for prosecution. but there's no reason for anybody to oppose what i've laid out. either we are a nation of laws with a government that enforces them or we are a nation with no laws and open borders. so i would urge all of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to keep talking and keep an open mind.
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i believe in a very contentious subject like immigration, we could literally come together and resolve this situation swiftly and ensure that these children are kept with their families and that the law is enforced according to what the laws are on the books. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: mr. president, as we await a 12:15 vote, i just
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want to urge my colleagues to support the first amendment we'll be voting on today. it's the gardner-coons sense of the senate resolution, a resolution that focuses on the importance of federally sponsored research to the advancement of scientific innovation. there are a lot of great things to like about the programs funded in this energy and water appropriations bill that is about to be before us, especially the work funded by the u.s. department of energy. our bipartisan resolution reinforces that message by acknowledging that the united states has long been a leader in innovation in large part because of a critical role played by federal funding for both basic and applied research. we've made investments for decades that have led to incredible breakthroughs instrumental to our current prosperity, economy, and jobs. the department of energy national labs, the 17 labs across 11 states, have been at the forefront through that process since their founding.
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and it is the creative, generative, innovative partnership between these federally funded national labs, our network of universities and colleges that conduct federally funded and privately funded research, and the entrepreneurs and companies that take through applied research their innovations and inventions to the marketplace that in combination have created one of the most innovative, most competitive economies in global history. i am grateful for the leadership of senators alexander and feinstein, the chair and ranking member of the energy and water appropriations subcommittee of appropriations for having brought forward this balanced and thoughtful work. i will remind my colleagues that for several years now budgets presented by the executive branch have proposed deep and harmful cuts to the foundational federally funded scientific research upon which the success of our innovation economy rests. and i am thrilled that once again this year on a bipartisan basis we are rejecting those
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cuts and instead investing significantly more in federal scientific research. so, i'm grateful for the opportunity to partner with my colleague, the senator from colorado, in moving this sense of the senate. and i'm hopeful that it begins to clarify on a bipartisan basis that this chamber is committed to innovation, to science, to competitiveness, to research. with that, i urge my colleagues to support the amendment. thank you, mr. president.
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the presiding officer: the senator from dell ware. mr. coons: while we're waiting for floor action, i thought i would briefly share with my colleagues that my day began speaking to the pampg yachtic
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cancer action network. more than 500 americans who came from all 50 states and all across capitol hill right now, meeting with offices in the house and senate, folks who have lost loved ones, family member, relatives, neighbors, to one of the deadliest cancers, pancreatic cancer. they're here to urge we invest more in medical research because this is a cancer that has affected families all over our country and without greater investment and research, we cannot bend the trajectory of this dread disease. it was just last february i lost my own father to pancreatic cancer and this year was my first father's day without him. i'm grateful for the opportunity to have joined with these americans from every state this morning, and i join with them in urging my colleagues to consider this year investing more in research to end the scourge of pampg yachtic cancer -- pancreatic cancer. thank you, mr. president.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana ned i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until senate stands in recess until >> this is a live picture from hearing look at the hillary clinton e-mail investigation and campaign 2016. the justice department inspector general michael horowitz is
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testifying in a joint hearing with the house oversight and government reform committee and the judiciary committee. this hearing continues live today over on c-span3. if you missed any of our live coverage we will show hearing again tonight in its entirety starting at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span2. also to the senate commerce subcommittee examines cambridge analytica partnership with facebook during the 2016 presidential campaign. they herring is a follow-up to a hearing with facebook zuckerberg with a focus on the collection and use of social media data. the privacy concerns raised in the wake of the cambridge analytica facebook scandal and potential steps to protect consumers. watch that beginning at 10 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> the c-span bus is in alaska this week for the 38th stop of our 50 capitals tour. we are in juneau with help of
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our cable partner. >> we are thrilled that c-span one of the long-time programming partners has chosen to visit alaska for the first time in 22 years. as part of its 50 capital and cities to her. big shout out to c-span. [cheers and applause] >> so for decades we've offered c-span to customers because we believe in the network mission to open to unfiltered trusted media resource and we support c-span's effort to help inform and educate the nation on policy, politics, history and current events. gci in the cable companies make c-span possible. there is no government mandate,, no public funding, no advertising. c-span is truly a public service funded by gci and other companies. c-span calmly calls itself tables gift to america. so, now thanks for long standing
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special partnership with c-span buses nationwide safety cables to her wicked to showcase our state, the largest in the nation by the way, to the rest of the country via c-span. well, they are here, finally. thank goodness. >> we are ecstatic. it is a huge deal for us to give them a chance to showcase our city nationwide, just to have the idea that somebody wants to come in and sample what we have to offer, and hopefully take it back and we're were open for bs and we like the idea you are here. it's like having visitors in the summertime. >> joined us of july 21 and 22nd would will feature our visit to alaska. watch alaska weekend on c-span, or listen on the c-span radio app.
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in. >> next, the senate judiciary committee examines workplace sexual harassment in the federal judiciary branch. witnesses include the federal judiciary workplace conduct working group chair james duff. supreme court chief justice john roberts and establish the group following the resignation of a federal judge for multiple sexual misconduct allegations. this is about one hour and 45 minutes. >> the judicial branch has a problem. they had to deal with that our congress will have to do it for the courts. i welcome everybody to this very important hearing and were trying to confront sexual-harassment and other workplace misconduct in the federal judiciary. on december 8, 2017, news broke


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