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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 25, 2018 2:59pm-6:50pm EDT

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folks say he can hang on because he is the top fundraiser. let's be clear that this entire debate in immigration and what's happening with the russian investigation does not just hit paul ryan anymore butn hits thee top lieutenants with majority leader mccarthy, gop whip steve scalise and how they maneuver this episode the summer could very well determine who becomes hothe next leader of the republican party in the house, whether they keep the majority and that is a speaker or whether they lose the majority and that becomes the leader. there is a rivalry goingng on between those two top leaders and others. the conservative flank you have congressman jim jordan, congressman mark meadows -- >> washington journal live everyday. the u.s. senate gaveling and next their legislative week. they will this afternoon with a
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final vote on the spending package that includes energy and water projects, legitimate of grants, military construction and the department of veterans affairs. also, a vote this afternoon on whether we begin debate on the 2019 farm bill. we go live now the senate floor here 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.
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lord god, thank you for the majesty of your name that fills our hearts with joy. we are grateful for the declarations that constantly remind us of your might and power. lord, the heavens declare your glory. continue to protect and sustain our senators, provide them with power to meet each challenge, to solve each problem, and to catapult each obstacle. eternal god, you reign forever, judging the world with your justice and ruling nations with your providence.
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remind us that the hearts of world leaders are in your hands, and your purposes will prevail. we pray in your mighty name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 5895, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 449, h.r. 5895, an act making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies and so forth and for other purposes.
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: this week, our nation will honor the memory of a brave kentucky indiana. president trump will
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posthumously award first liewrnt garland merle connor with our nation's highest military distinction, the medal of honor. in 1941, garland left his farm town in clinton county, kentucky. this quiet 21-year-old enlisted in the army. when he returned after world war ii service that spanned eight major campaigns and earned a battlefield commission, four silver stars, three purple hearts, and the distinguished service cross, he was a hero. lieutenant connor wasn't supposed to be in a snow-covered forest that january morning in 1945. he was meant to be recovering in a hospital, but with his unit in need, he snuck away and returned to the front in france.
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when he rejoined his comrades, they were in urgent danger, pinned down by six german tanks. lieutenant conner stepped forward. he took a telephone, a radio, and a wire reel and ran toward the enemy alone, totally alone. past the american line, in a ditch barely large enough to cover him, lieutenant conner began directing artillery against the approaching enemy. he held his ground through wave after wave of german advances. when the enemy surged, even coming within feet of him, he called an arrest -- in artillery strikes on his own position. amazingly, when the dust settled , lieutenant conner was still alive. an allied artillery had
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destroyed the german tanks and stopped the advance. on that frigid morning, in complete disregard for his own safety, lieutenant conner saved the lives of his comrades. this afternoon, i will have the privilege to welcome ms. pauline conner, garlin's wife of more than 50 years, and other family members to the capitol. without pauline's patience and steadfast resolve, there would be no recognition tomorrow. after the war, lieutenant conner demurred any sort of personal glory. with the humility that's trip cal among the greatest generation, he returned to his farm and planned to leave the war behind him. later in life, he took it upon himself to meet privately with his fellow veterans and their families, offering comfort and advice. one day late in lieutenant
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conner's life, a former army green beret named richard chilten came to their home to ask about his late uncle who served with him in europe. he saw all of garlin's decorations and medals and urged pauline to apply for the medal of honor. that was the first step. the path wasn't easy. filing paperwork, finding eyewitness accounts, gathering support from the kentucky department of veterans' affairs, generals, and even members of congress. it was my privilege to join pauline's team when they contacted my office over a decade ago. there were setbacks, even a federal court ruling, but pauline and her team pushed forward. her long journey will finally end in victory when the commander in chief entrusts her with garlin's medal of honor tomorrow.
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i'm grateful to president trump, secretary mattis, and secretary esper for recognizing this deserving kentuckian. i'm proud to congratulate pauline and her family today, and i'd like to thank her for giving our nation the opportunity to salute first lieutenant garlin merle conner. he embodied the highest values of our commonwealth and of our nation, but this humble man never called himself a hero. so, mr. president, it's incumbent upon us to do just that. now, on a completely different matter, this afternoon our colleagues will vote to pass the first three of 12 appropriation bills for fiscal year 2019. when they do, the senate will be putting more common sense back into the appropriations process. this hasn't come easily, but thanks to the leadership of chairman shelby and ranking member leahy, the process thus
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far has been governed by levelheaded bipartisanship. i'm optimistic the same will be true for the nine remaining appropriation measures. great progress has already been made at the committee level, and i look forward to considering more legislation on the floor soon. it's particularly fitting that after the passage of the john s. mccain 2019 national defense authorization act and historic veterans legislation earlier this year, the first group of appropriation bills includes much-needed resources for the v.a. and for military construction projects. this minibus also includes funding under the energy and water title for critical announce of america's ports and waterways infrastructure, for ground breaking research on energy development and energy, and for improvements to the safety, security, and readiness of our nuclear arsenal. our colleagues on the appropriations committee,
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particularly the subcommittee chairmen senators alexander, boozman, and daines, have earned our support. this is worthy legislation. i look forward to passing it today. then we'll turn to another major priority, the farm bill. under chairman roberts' leadership, along with ranking member stabenow, the agriculture committee has continued its tradition of addressing the needs of america's farmers and ranchers with the serious bipartisanship they deserve, and today the needs are great. in the case of declines in farm income, growers and producers need certainty and stability. that's what this bill would help provide. the committee reported the farm bill to the full senate by an overwhelming bipartisan margin. this week we'll have a chance to pass the bill in the same fashion. on behalf of the farmers in my home state of kentucky and around the country, i hope each senator will take advantage of this opportunity. now, mr. president, on one final
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matter, week after week, the evidence continues to mount that tax reform and the rest of republicans' pro-growth, pro-family agenda is helping reinvigorate our economy and set the stage for long-term job and wage growth. just today, cnbc is reporting that a percentage of the americans who say the economy is good or excellent is the highest they have ever recorded in the survey's ten-year history. but amidst all the headlines of long-term investments, business expansions, and this favorable economic climate, it's important to also remember all the immediate ways the tax cuts themselves have already met direct relief from middle-class american families. our historic tax reform, which every single democratic senator opposed, lowered income tax rates, it doubled the standard deduction, and increased the child tax credit. it's given employers the flexibility to immediately pass savings along to their employees
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in the form of tax reform bonuses, pay raises, and new benefits. it's allowed major utility companies to forgo planned rate hikes and in cases actually cut the energy prices customers pay. every one of these provisions equals real money that will remain in the hands of middle-class families instead of being shipped off to the i.r.s. every one of these and all the other components of tax reform are major improvements that every single democrat in the house and in the senate voted against, and now if democratic leaders are serious about wanting to repeal tax reform, the tax cuts that are making it all possible would be right back on the chopping block. tax cuts used to be a bipartisan affair, but not these days. republicans will continue to stand up for the american people and help them keep more of their hard-earned money.
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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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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, on friday i traveled down to the rio grande valley right along the u.s.-mexico border, expecting the front page news to be about separation of families when our immigration laws were being enforced. imagine my surprise when the front page of the newspapers in the rio grande valley were talking about the flooding in south texas. we heard that late last week
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more than 200 water rescues were performed in the border city of mission alone and that some areas were pounded by more than 15 inches of rain over a four-day period. cities in south texas like har lynn -- harlingen and mercedes were over. entire soccer fields were under water and county officials out surveying flood damage around the airport. this has been especially tough news because some of the coastal areas in my state that were impacted by this flood were also hit by hurricane harvey less than a year ago and are still recovering from that catastrophe. so just as life started to get back to normal, whatever normal is, the rains came. as hurricane season is now underway, we'll continue to monitor the weather and the conditions there that may arise throughout the remainder of the
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summer months and to work with all of my constituents and leaders at the local, state, and federal level to make sure we're as prepared as we can humanly be for the next adverse weather event. but as i said, mr. president, i went to the border to talk about immigration and family separation policies. i traveled there to tour two facilities in brownsville along with senator cruz that housed young children, some very young, some up to 18, just under 18 years of age that are being sheltered after their parents crossed illegally into the united states. it's important to note that in so many respects life is pretty good in the rio grande valley. business is booming. men and women are working hard, going to school, paying their bills just like the rest of us. it's not all the wild, wild west as the press sometimes makes it out to be.
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but when it comes to immigrant shelters, i think it's really important that we learn what the facts really are rather than continue a narrative that has really very little basis in fact. the truth is the surge of humanity coming across our southern border is not -- nothing new. this year so far since october 1, there have been roughly 32,000 unaccompanied children that have come across the border, more than 50,000 families. but all told, the border patrols detained roughly 250,000 people coming across our southwestern border. i know here in washington, you could be forgiven in thinking, well, the border is not a problem. illegal immigration is not a problem. but, mr. president, i'm here to say it is a problem, and it's a national security threat, and the humanitarian crisis that
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we've seen at the border because countries like those in central america continue to send their young children up across the border into the united states. it creates a huge challenge for us, just as it did in 2014 when president obama called it a humanitarian crisis, because, frankly, our communities along the border, the tprerg is -- federal government is not prepared to deal with such an influx of humanity and particularly those who need to be taken care of in a compassionate and humane way, especially the children that come across the border. why are children coming across the border as unaccompanied and in some instances with family units? well, because the cartels, the criminal organizations that profit from a business model that allows them to exploit vulnerabilities in american law particularly when it comes to border security, they are making millions and millions of dollars
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trafficking in humanity. they don't just traffic in illegal immigration. they traffic in those who would ply these immigrants for sex trafficking, those who would distribute drugs illegally into the united states, particularly heroin and opioid along with fentanyl coming across the border, perhaps even from china, which is part of the opioid crisis in the united states. as one of my, one gentleman who has a lot of experience in the area called it, or phrased it, he said when it comes to what the cartels and criminal organizaons will transport into the united states, he said they are commodity ago -- agnost i ic. what he meant by that i gather is it's all about the money, the money these large criminal organizations earn trafficking in people, trafficking in drugs, trafficking in contraband across our southwestern border that
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represents such a challenge to our government officials at the local level and at the state level and of course here at the national level. i know there's been a lot of misinformation about what happens at the border when somebody comes to the border and claims asylum. there are accepted procedures and legal standards that should be applied when somebody comes from another country and claims a credible fear of persecution because of who they are, their race, their religion, and the like. but as secretary nielson, the secretary of state of homeland security pointed out, it is not a crime to come to a port of entry. that is one of the bridges, and to ask for asylum. it is a crime for an adult to try toross the border between those ports of entry into the united states. and that's why we end up with this huge challenge of what to do when they come across with a minor child with them.
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well, after touring these facilities in brownsville and meeting with various federal agency officials and nongovernmental organizations and local elected officials at the wesleco border patrol station what we learned is the situation is far more complex than meets the eye and many of the narratives that have been spun about what's happening at the border are just simply false or maybe based in part on fact, but in part on nonfactual information. so what we did is we had the federal officials at the wesleco border patrol station went through a step by step process of what happens to immigrant families when they are apprehended at the border. what happens when they're detained, and what happens when their cases are heard in a court. this is very useful information, and i want to particularly credit rio grande valley border patrol chief manny padilla and
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custom and border patrols david higginson and all the men and women doing a great job in difficult circumstances across the border. i'm glad to know that the processes are changing based on the executive order president trump issued last week. that order stated that immigrant families should be detained together when appropriate and consistent with law and available resources. the problem is i'm not sure anybody could be prepared for this influx of humanity coming across the border, but they're doing the very best they can. we know that executive orders are always subject to legal challenges, so we in congress have introducedegislation to make sure that if in fact the president's executive order ordering families being kept together is somehow challenged or found deficient in court, that we have legislation to back it up. because it's important that we
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in congress make clear in statute that the status quo along the border cannot continue. that status quo has resulted in family members being separated from one another, in some cases young children from their parents, something i know we all want to avoid. we know that in many cases these children that remain in close touch with their parents throughout the course of their detention, but yet we still need to make sure that these families are kept together where possible. i along with a number of my colleagues on this side of the aisle, led by the junior senator from north carolina, mr. tillis, have introduced a piece of legislation last week to address this situation. it's called the keep families together and enforce the law act. as the title of the bill suggests, it has two parts. treating families with compassion by allowing them to remain together and enforcing our immigration laws don't have to be mutually exclusive. and our bill will ensure that
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they aren't. it will allow children to stay with their parents in a safe facility while they await their court proceedings to see if they perhaps are eligible for some sort of immigration benefit like asylum. our bill would also set mandatory standards for care in family residential centers where immigration families are care and keep families are safe so they are not removed by any individual that presents a danger to them. just as importantly requires additional resources. it would require 200 new immigration judges and require the department of homeland security to expedite the court proceedings of families and children. we don't want those family units to remain in detention any longer than necessary to present their case to an immigration judge. now some have rightfully asked questions about the families who have already been separated.
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what happens now that kids have been placed apart from their parents? our bill requires the administration to take steps to reaoupb nye as many -- reunify as many families as possible that remain in i.c.e., immigration and customs enforcement, or h.h.s. health and human services custody. some, believe it or not, as part of this misinformation or disinformation, some have falsely claimed that promotes indefinite detention of families. our bill does not mandate the department of homeland security to detain parents and their kids indefinitely. it is an arbitrary court-imposed rule that says that's families can be held together for more than so many days. this is the so-called flores case. allowing families in custody for more than 20 days will allow
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immigration courts to process their claims faster so they will have better access to justice. immigrants are only detained until their proceedings in front of an immigration job are completed. some who say that it will mean indefinite detention don't know what they are saying. we need to prioritize these cases, in particular to move them to the head of the line so these families don't have to wait any longer than possible. other proposals have been put forward in addition to the tillis proposal. one of the most prominent is the one being offered by our friend, the senior senator from california. i've worked together on many issues with senator feinstein, but on this issue i think her bill has a number of problems. in fact, there's a huge question of what sort of enforcement, if any, would be permitted under
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her bill. in effect, this bill would make it impossible to criminally prosecute parents for crossing the border illegally unless their child is able to go into department of justice custody with the parents. this bill doesn't even specify where the families should be held. that's a big problem, mr. president. because children shouldn't go to jails and prisons run by the department of justice with hardened, potentially violent, criminals. i don't know anybody who thinks that's a good idea. that's why essentially the bill advocates for catch and release. what the bill says is that nowhere -- says where these families will be held since they can't go into department of justice facilities, so basically the only alternative left up to immigration enforcement officials is to let them go and to issue a notice to appear at a future court date. the bill specifically forces the
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don't of homeland security to release family units without exception which has potential criminals from being prosecuted. it's the adults we're talking about, not the children. now padilla, who is -- chief padilla said if you look at the surges in illegal immigration over the recent history, the surges in illegal immigration when it reaches its highest is when the u.s. government has a policy of catching and releasing people who violatehe immigration laws and order them to appear in the future, but of course most don't show up in the future knowing that they will rarely be followed up on an rarely caught unless they commit some other crime or offense and picked up by local police. at which time the department of
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immigration and enforcement and the local law enforcement records are matched in order to identify those people. but to suggest that we should not enforce our immigration laws or to suggest that we should catch people who violate those laws and release them to appear at a future date, which is far from certain, is itself a huge encouragement and inducement to surges in illegal immigration. one of the main reasons is because the cartels, again the criminal organization that control much of the human trafficking, the illegal drug trafficking and the movement of immigrants across the border, they are very smart and they know when there's gaps in u.s. government policy that can be exploited, like catch and release. i'm not sure everyone who supports the bill that are senator feinstein has proposed understands what the consequences are of their legislation. where are the provisions that
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allow us to enforce our immigration laws? both our bills allow for families to be kept together while they are waiting for court proceedings, but only one of them, tillis bill, also permits enforcement of our laws. that seems to be the choice that our democratic colleagues have made. so with all due respect to our democratic colleagues, their legislation simply doesn't cut it. i don't think the american people will tolerate a situation where our borders essentially remain open to the poison shipped over here from the drug traffickers to the human trafficking where people are simply sold into modern day slavery or whether it's used as a way to transport people illegally from one country to another. we want to make clear ta families should be -- that families should be kept together but also we will enforce the law even when that requires that the family be held in government
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custody for a short period of time pending a court hearing. and we also want to be clear that where they should be held is in safe residential family housing and away from hardened, potentially violent criminals. but the legislation, again, which has been proffered by our friend from california, doesn't mandate that. it basically just prevents us from enforcing our laws, it promotes catch and release, and it doesn't specify where families should be held together which could jeopardize the safety of these children. mr. president, with these and other shortcomings, i think the much better option is the bill our republican colleagues and i have introduced along with senator tillis. i hope the discussions, which i know have been planned between senator durbin, senator feinstein, senator tillis, and senator cruz, perhaps as early as today, will be productive. it would be important to achieve both goals at once, to continue
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the immigration laws and the unification of families. mr. president, i have become disturbed by what i've seen in social media. there's a hashtag in social media abolish i.c.e., abolish immigration customs and enforcement. and one house member has introduced legislation that would abolish the immigration enforcement agency. what that would do is create an open invitation to the criminal organizations that facilitate illegal immigration, drugs, and contraband, that there is no limit to the number of people who can enter the country legally, but just to wave them on through. and i would say in addition to the open borders, which is no solution, our -- there are colleagues who are advocating this sort of notion to simply
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have no plan with how to deal with the influx of humanity whether it's from a health and safety facility perspective, i think it is a half-baked idea and one we should reject. i urge colleagues on both sides of the biel and support the -- bliel and support the legislation that senator tillis and i introduced. i wish we could have done this last week because we all agree that families should be kept together and this is an emergency situation. if we come together, we can resolve the situation swiftly and ensure these children are kept with their families, which is our number one priority. but it is also a priority to enforce the laws that are on the books and not to benefit the business model of the drug cartels in the process and see
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them continue to prey on young, susceptible, vulnerable people who are willing to risk all just to make their way to the united states to our borders. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. schumer: i thank the gentleman in the blue suit. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. president, -- mr. schumer: mr. president, as we all aware the trump administration's border policy has resulted in thousands of families being separated at the border in recent months. despite the executive order, thousands of young children remain separated from their parents in cities across the country, across america. according to "the new york times" right now, there are 2,
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053 children stuck in limbo waiting for various federal agencies to reunite them with their families. some of the most basic questions about their whereabouts and the whereabouts of their families are unknown to federal officials. of the thousands of children taken away from their parents since the president's separation policy went into effect, only about 500 children in c bp -- c.b.p. custody have been reunited with their parents. some of these children are even too young to know their names. this unprecedented situation demands a federal point person to manage the family reunification process and ensure it is resolved as quickly and transparently as possible. multiple agencies have
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jurisdictions including the department of defense, the dupt of justice. we need someone in power to work across federal agencies, cut through their bureaucracy and lead an accurate, ewe main and timely rue unification of every child separated by president trump's policy. i am urging president trump to appoint a family reunification czar to manage this process. they need a competent person to impose order on the chaos the president's decision has caused. someone to be accountable so this doesn't go on months or longer with different agencies pointing fingers at each other while children languish in detention. when local federal agencies are involved in responding to a crisis, the response is often cumbersome and slow. each agency has its different track, its different goals, its
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different paths. and without someone in the white house bringing order and having them work in sync, nothing happens all too often. a czar, this is a good czar, not a bad czar, would help avoid that situation with the agencies are across purposes and paralysis inaction result. we did this when ebola was involved. we were worried about the national threat. president obama wisely appointed a czar, i believe it was ron c lam. the same can happen here in the sense that a czar could help solve the problem. it'sing agonizing, so agonizingo see children, young children, anguished looks on their faces separated from their parents. so this crisis demands a timely and efficient response.
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a family reunification czar would help get the job done. it's not a political situation where it's ideological, it's simply getting the bureaucracies to work. on china, this morning "the new york times" reports that in several industrial cities in china's interior, chinese manufacturers have been using incredibly dangerous chemicals known as c.f.c.'s which destroys the planet's ozone layer and banned by an international agreement in the 1980's. the c.f.c.'s are more dangerous to our at mess fear than co2 and methane. that's why these c.f.c.'s were banned, but now it seems that's not occurring in china and it comes as no surprise. china cracks down so effectively on free speech so one wonders why this state is unable to crack down on the use of
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environmentally toxic chemicals that have been banned for over 30 years. it took china's government a matter of days to block online access to hbo after john young poked fun at president xi. but when it comes to banning chemicals, china's government can't get its act together, please. this is a metaphor for so many of china's policies, most especially it's trade policy. many question if china will ever moderate its behavior and join the community of nations in fair trade by lowering trade barriers, by abiding by international trade rules, by ending its practice of intellectual property theft. well, this news shows that when push comes to shove, china always does what's best for
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china, short-term profit for china without regard to the well-being of its neighbors or the strictures of international agreements. whether it's lead in our children's toys or c.f.c.'s in the atmosphere, time and time again china flouts and skirts international laws, agreements and environmental standards in ferocious pursuit of its economic interests. we should not be accommodating when it comes to trade with china. we cannot appeal to its better angels and hope for the best at least with president xi in charge. we must recognize that china's government will not retreat from its self-interested posture until and unless we force it to through tough penalties for misbehavior and strong incentiveles to abide by free market priiples. on health care, madam president, last week insurers in indiana and your state of iowa requested
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an increase in 2019ates. the addition of indiana and iowa asking for increasing rates adds to the growing list of states, including virginia and maryland, new york, and oregon, who have raised rates as a result of republican health care policies. the c.e.o. of one of the largest insurers in indiana celtic said that insurer kuss have potentially lower rates in 2019 if the trump administration had no attempted to sow mass uncertainty and undermine the market. let me repeat that the c.e.o. of one of the largest insurers in indiana said that health insurance costs could have gone down if not for president trump and congressional republicans. he went on to say that the rate increases were also a result of the uncertainty caused by the republicans' repeal of the
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coverage requirement and the trump administration's expansion of short-term junk insurance plans. think about it for a moment. middle-class families in indiana could have saved on their health care next year if president trump aided and abetted by republicans here in the senate hadn't sabotaged the system. if republicans and president trump had simply left our health care system alone, things would have been much better. so many people in so many of our states will pay far more in premium increases than they will get benefit from a tax cut, particularly if you're middle class and not rich. is that right? does that put more money in people's pockets? no. does that get the economy going? absolutely not. but sadly, because of a political vendetta aagainst the
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affordable care act, republicans have undermined our health care system at every turn. they don't have an answer as to what to do. they don't have a new system to put in place. they've tried that for a year and a half and haven't gotten anywhere. no, they just want to sabotage the existing law and make it worse for average americans because they're so fixated on the fact kill the a.c.a. bill, even they they have nothing to put in its place. american families are paying the price in the form of higher premiums, out-of-pocket costs and more expensive prescription drugs. finally, mr. president, a word on a different subject. here in the senate, we disagree with one another frequently and often fervently. i certainly do. many of us disagree with the policies of the current administration. in a country as large and diverse as ours, politics has always been a noisy raucous
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affair, probably even more so today. that's okay. but we all have to remember to treat our fellow americans, all of our fellow americans with the kind of civility and respect we expect will be afforded to us. i strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don't agree with you. if you disagree with someone or something, stand up, make your voice heard. explain why you think they're wrong. and why you're right. make the argument. protest peacefully. if you disagree with a politician, organize your fellow citizens to action and vote them out of office. but no one should call for the harassment of political opponents. that's not right. that's not american. now, i understand those who look at the conduct of this president, a man who habitually engages in bullying, name
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calling, slander, and nastiness for its own sake and think we have to fight fire with fire. i know. i felt those emotions myself. i think we all do. i understand those who are outraged at the hypocrisy of this president when he complains about bullying, harassment, and nastiness, when it's used against him or his allies and he uses it as a regular tool almost every day. i'm outraged by that hypocrisy, the double standard that we seem to let this president get away with. but the president's tactics and behavior should never be emulate ed. it should be repudiated by organized, well informed, and passionate advocacy. as michelle obama, a person who represents the same kind of fineness that we've always had in america, complete contrast of
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a courseness of this president said when they go low, we go high. that's a contrast of civility, honor, and decency to president trump's coarseness and meanness. and it's a contrast that will serve those of us who oppose what the president does so well. to opponents of the president's policies, the best way to limit what he can do, to show that america is not as coarse, as mean, as hypocritical as his behavior suggests, the best solution is to win elections. that is a far more productive way to channel the legitimate frustrations with this president's policies than harassing members of his administration. i yield the floor.
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mr. nelson: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: madam president, i want to report to the senate on attending the detention center in my state of florida, homestead, florida. i stood on the floor last week and reported a lot has changed. i've just returned again from south florida where i was finally allowed to go through the detention facility in homestead where the number has been corrected from what we were
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told originally 94 children were there of the 1,300 children. 94 children were there who had been separated from their parents. the number i was given on saturday was that that figure is 70 children having been separated from their families. it is the same facility that i had teanlded last -- i had attended last tuesday, but was denied entry. despite being the senator from florida, despite having oversight responsibility of the department of h.h.s. which runs this detention facility, i was not allowed inside on tuesday to check on the 94 kids being held
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there. so i returned saturday. and while i was allowed to enter and go through the facility and talk to the employees, i was still not allowed to see the 70 children separated from their parents. or to speak with the one person who has the responsibility, who is in charge of reuniting these children with their parents. i was told that that individual and she was named was not there on saturday as she works monday through friday. and when i had this information
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and was given the name of this individual, i said, well, i will be calling her on monday and i must say we have called and e-mailed several times and have not been provided with the opportunity to speak to this one individual identified as the person who tries to reunite the kids with their parents that are in the homestead facility. now, why in the world since i was givenhe name barbara flotus, why in the world would h.h.s. not allow me to speak to her when she is back at the facility today? it is certainly in the interest of the american people to know
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that the children are being reunited. and if this is the person put in charge at that center, then why wouldn't they let this senator from florida speak to her? well, other than that, the main take away from that trip was that the executive order that the president signed last week, it's a sham. it does nothing to reunite the children with their parents. we have been told that there are over 2,300 children around the country that have been separated from their parents. we have also been told that there are attempts to be reuniting them. then why in the world would not
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the trump administration want us to be able to tell a good news story? and based on what i was told by officials at the facility i visited saturday, there is no plan in place to reunify these families. so is that the reason that they are prohibiting me from speaking to barbara flotus today? because there still is no plan? well, all of this is unacceptable. and the american people deserve the answers to these questions. well, tomorrow this senator plans to get some of these answers because the secretary of h.h.s., secretary azar, is coming in front of the senate finance committee.
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but before he testifies, i want to give him a heads up on the questions that i'm going to ask and i expect some answers. and these are the questions regarding these children and the reunification quickly with their parents. i want the secretary, secretary azar, to let him know that i would like him to explain -- and by the way, when he's in front of the senate finance committee, he is under oath. i would like him to explain where are these children right now. where are they, all over the country? when are they going to be reunited with their families?
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why is the department of h.h.s. denying members of congress access to the facilities '? why h.h.s. -- to the facilities? why h.h.s., why is it not allowing us when we are given entrance into the facilities as i was on saturday, why are they not allowing us to speak with the children that have been separated from their parents? and why is h.h.s., why are they refusing to provide us with the information that we ask about these children, including what's being done right now to reunite them with their families? i thought i was going to have a good news story to report to the
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senate. today when i talked to barbara flotus whose name i was given. but i've been denied the opportunity to speak with h the secretary should have plenty of time between now and his testimony tomorrow to the finance committee to find the information he needs to fully answer these questions, and i want to be very clear about tomorrow's hearing because this senator will expect full answers to each of the questions. no backtrack, no get off on a different subject. the american people want to know about these children and when are they going to be reunited, and that was not covered in the president's executive order.
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there is no reason why this administration should be putting up barriers and preventing members of congress from doing their jobs and checking on the welfare of these children. madam president, i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i come here to raise an issue, not with the actual bill we'll be voting on today but with language included in a committee report accompanying the bill. the environmental protection agency has reportedly given out unprecedented numbers of so-called small refinery hardship waivers to the renewable fuel standard, and
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these are given in some cases to huge multibillion-dollar companies that probably would not be entitled to what is really a hardship. the e.p.a. has yet to disclose what waivers it has granted and the rationale, and based on that -- based on what has been reported, its actions seem pretty darn fishy from my point of view. refiners speaking with the press have noted -- and this is an actual quote -- begin with a brain submitted an application. the e.p.a. was handing out those exemptions like trick-or-treat candy. the e.p.a. is hiding behind a very narrow court case for specific refineries as well as report language accompanying last year's energy and water
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appropriations bill. now neither i nor any other senator voted for this report language. report language accompanying bills are not actually law, so they're not legally binding. still, i wrote to the subcommittee that it should not include language purporting to tell the e.p.a. to do anything other than follow the law. the law mandates blending 15 billion gallons of renewable fuels into our fuel supply. estimates are that these retroactive waivers have reduced that by as much as 1.63 billion gallons. every bill gallons lost equates to a loss of more than two million acres of harvested corn and an increase in emissions.
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my constituents are outraged at this activity by the e.p.a. agriculture secretary perdue has called these waivers, in his words, quote-unquote, demand construction for biofuel. i think wrote do the energy and water subcommittee that it should write to the subcommittee to disclose the waivers it gives and the rationale for any of these grants & that any waivers should not result in lowering of the 15 billion gallon renewable volume obligation in the law. i am disappointed that the appropriators didn't include my commonsense language about transparency, but i'm very upset that it renewed the previous language purporting to direct e.p.a. how to consider small refinery waivers. the appropriations committee should drop the controversial
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report language and e.p.a. should simply follow the law. i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: madam president, i'd like to thank my colleagues on their work on the legislative branch appropriations package. for the first time in a decade, a decade, the legislative branch
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bill received for consideration outside of a year-end omnibus. returning to regular order, the legislative branch bill and all our other appropriation bills is a much-needed change. because it's our job to ensure the timely funding of our government. the legislative branch appropriations bill is good news for government transparency, for accountability, for security at the capitol. this bill will increase public access to campaign filings. it will strengthen accountability in how government property is used. it will make investments also that will help meet the security needs on the capitol campus. i'd like to thank senator murphy, my ranking member, for working with me in a bipartisan manner on amendments to the legislative branch division. the resulting bill makes sound investments in numerous
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priorities and will help ensure the operations of the legislative process. and i also very much appreciate the leadership and efforts of chairman shelby and vice chairman leahy on returning to regular order, and i'd like to thank senators alexander, feinstein, boozman, and schatz for their work on the other two bills in this package. i urge my colleagues to support the adoption of this package of appropriations bills. thank you, madam president. mr. boozman: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: for the first time in a long time, we are bringing bills to the floor, debating amendments and voting on the legislation. shortly the senate will be voting on the first fiscal year 2019 spending bills. i'm pleased that the military construction, veterans' affairs, and related agencies
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appropriations bill is part of this package. this is a bipartisan bill that funds the critical infrastructure of our nation's service members, their families, and takes care of america's 20 million veterans. this is a good step in returning to regular order, with the senate considering appropriations legislation in a timely fashion. we owe thanks to chairman shelby and ranking member leahy for providing leadership for the transparent bipartisan process. this bill is crafted in a truly open and collegial way. the subcommittee made thoughtful decisions about how to provide maximum readiness for the war fighter and prioritize the investments to the v.a. so they can take care of our veterans. we took into account the requests and preferences of all members from both sides of the aisle and balanced it with the
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administration's budget submission. within this framework, we have created a thoughtful and responsible path forward for both departments and our related agencies. the bill provides $97.1 billion in discretionary spending, which is $5.1 billion over last year's level. 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. the bill also provides $10.3 billion to support military construction and family housing needs, a $228 million increase over last year's level.
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this will fund a total of 169 military construction projects that restore war fighter readiness and increase the founding of our installations. a lot of time, a lot of energy has gone into putting this legislation together. i would like to thank my staff, patrick magnuson, jeffrey bastion, joanne huff and constance lianz, and of course senator schatz and his staff. both groups working together in a very bipartisan manner, working hard to address the needs of our service members and our veterans. mr. president, this is a good bill. it was reported out of committee without a single dissenting vote. i hope we will have unanimous support when we vote on final passage. i ask my colleagues to support this bill. thank you, madam president. with that, i yield back.
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mr. alexander: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, madam president. madam president, united states senators shouldn't get an award for restoring the appropriations process any more than boy scouts and girl scouts should get a merit badge for telling the
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truth, because that's what we are supposed to do, but the fact is that last week and tonight, we have taken an appropriations process which has been incomplete and broken for the last several years and we have done what we are supposed to do. sometimes, madam president, the united states senate has been like joining the grand ol' opry and not being allowed to sing. senator mcconnell said before he became majority lead in 2015 that his goal was to follow the example of senate majority leader mike mansfield who was the leader when mitch mcconnell was a young legislative intern. mitch mcconnell said he wanted to open the senate up, and for quite a while, that turned out to be the case. as senator mcconnell has said, in the last year of the democrat majority in 2014, there were only 15 roll call votes on amendments of the entire year. in the first year of the republican majority, that is
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2015, there were over 200. one example from the committee which i chaired, the health, education, labor, and pensions committee, was the bill fixing no child left behind. working with senator murray, we considered on the floor 81 amendments. we had roll call votes on 24. we adopted 11. voice votes to accept 28. we agreed to 27 amendments by unanimous consent. that was the bill to fix no child left behind. and another example, during the energy and water bill of two years ago, working with senator feinstein of california, the senate voted on 21 amendments and adopted 14. this year, we have fallen back into our bad habits, with few amendment votes, but over this past week, we took an important step toward restoring the practice of considering appropriations bills under regular order, because just under the energy and water appropriations bills, one of the
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three that we will be voting on tonight, we have worked together in a fair and bipartisan manner to get a result. we held three hearings, subcommittee markup, full committee markup. 83 senators made suggestions during the committee process. almost all of which we tried to accommodate in one way or the other. and then in committee, seven amendments were included in the managers' package, plus we had two roll call votes that accepted one more amendment. and then on the floor, the energy and water bill has been considered with military construction and the legislative affairs bill, and for this package of bills, we adopted be seven amendments by roll call, another 34 by unanimous consent. that adds up, madam president. what one might call restoring the practice of regular order for appropriations from start to finish. the committee process has almost always been done, the committee work. the part that has often been missing was the last part, the
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floor consideration. that's what's different about this year. i want to thank senator mcconnell and senator schumer, the two leaders, who working with senator shelby and senator leahy, the chairman and ranking member for creating an environment in which we could get this done. it wouldn't have happened if they had not been there. and then senator boozman and senator daines, the chairman and then senator feinstein as well as senator murphy as well as senator schatz, we all worked together last week and got a result. as i said at the beginning, senators shouldn't get a pat on the back for doing what we're supposed to do any more than boy scouts should get a merit badge for telling the truth, but we have done what we are supposed to do. it's an encouraging sign. i hope it sets a precedent. bipartisan majorities in congress have for several years now appropriated record levels
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of taxpayer dollars f government-sponsored research, science, and technology. this hasn't always been noticed. president trump has signed two of these appropriations bills, and i want to suggest that the president include government-sponsored research science and technology as part of his america first agenda. a principal reason the united states produces 24% of all the money in the world for just 5% of the people -- that's us -- is the extraordinary concentration of brainpower in the united states supported by federal dollars through our national institutes of health, our national laboratories, the national science foundation, and other agencies. senator gardner of colorado dropped by my office the other day, and he said this. he said i was flying over the middle east and i looked down and there were cars everywhere and i thought henry ford invented the assembly line.
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then it got to be dark and there were lights and i thought thomas edison invented the light bulb and the wright brothers invented the airplane and they're americans. we invented the internet, polio vaccine, nuclear power. you can make a long list. it's hard to think of any major technological invention since world war ii that didn't have some support from government-sponsored research. so i would like to tell president trump and the office of management and budget that science, research, innovation and technology is what helped to make america first and that he include that in his america first agenda. the funding in this bill is a good first step toward doing that. it prioritizes federal spending that keeps america first in energy research. it increases funding to develop the next generation of super computers, the fastest computers in the world. two weeks ago energy secretary
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recognize perry traveled to oak ridge where he announced that the united states will regain the number-one position in super computing in the world. we compete for that every year with china and japan. to stay ahead of china and japan and other countries, those in europe, for example, that are emphasizing science and technology and research, costs money. but it's porn to note that we've be -- it's important to note that we've been able to do that with bipartisan majorities over the last several years, not by overspending. we did it by setting priorities. the record funding that is part of this bipartisan budget agreement is a part of the 30% of the funding in the federal budget that has been going up at about the rate of inflation for the last ten years. and according to the congressional budget office, it will go up a little bit more than the rate of inflation for the last -- for the next ten years. so our record funding is
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achieved by setting priorities within budget limits. it is not the part of the federal budget that's breaking the bank. that's the entitlement part, not the national laboratories, not the national defense, not the national institutes of health, and not the national parks. they're within the part of the budget that's under control. funding in this bill supports several important agencies including the u.s. department of energy, the corps of engineers, the national nuclear security administration, the nuclear regulatory commission, the bureau of reclamation and regional commissions, including the appalachian regional commission and the delta regional authority. for the fourth consecutive year, as i was saying, we have included record funding levels in regular appropriations bills for the following activities: u.s. department of energy's office of science. this is the outfit that funds our 17 national laboratories.
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our secret weapon, no other country in the world has national laboratories like we do. it's the nation's largest supporter of research in the physical sciences. it's funded at $6.65 billion, a new record level of funding. that office of science provides funding for the laboratories, including oak ridge national laboratory, which no other country has; funding for the office of science would increase by 6% next year if this legislation became law. or let's take super computing. i mentioned that secretary perry went to the oak ridge laboratory last week. this bill provides a toelgtsz -- total of $1.68 billion for high performance computing including $980 million within the office of science and $703 million within the national nuclear security administration. this funding has been going on on a bipartisan basis for ten years. i remember senator bingaman of new mexico encouraging me to go
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to japan to see their super computer when japan was number one in the world. because of that ten years of effort, that support for presidents bush, obama and trump, america is now number one in super computing. this amount includes $677 million to deliver at least one ex- ex -- -- exo scale machine. take arpe-funded at $375 million, record funding for a regular appropriations bill, arpa e, which is sort of a funny name has a cousin with a funny name a little better known named darpa. darpa is within the department of defense. out of it has come wondrous new technologies from stealth to presenter, for example. ten -- to the internet. we funded it every year to
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invest in high impact energy technologies and get these technologies out into the private sector. another important part of the bill is the focus on efforts to clean up hazardous materials on cold war era sites. it provides $7.2 billion to support environmental cleanup, $581 million above the president's budget request. still another important part is the u.s. army corps of engineers which touches the lives of almost every american. based upon the number of appropriations requests we get each year, the corps of engineers is the federal government's most popular agency. it maintains our inland waterways. it deepens and keeps our ports open. it looks after many of our recreational waters and land, manages the refer levels to prevent -- river levels to prevent flooding. i can recall when i was a member of the environmental protection agency after the missouri and mississippi rivers flooded a
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whole room of senators showed up to ask for money for their states to deal with what was wrong and to make things right. there's a real interest in what the corps does. built restores $2.142 billion that was cut from the president's budget request bringing the corps' budget up to $6.9 billion, a new record level of funding in a regular appropriations bill. for the fifth con s.e.c. alternative year the bill makes -- fifth consecutive year the bill makes full use of the trust fund revenues for water infrastructure projects. what that means is we take the tax money we collect from people who use the locks and we spend it all on what we're supposed to spend it for which is making the locks better. the bill also provides funding that exceeds the harbor maintenance trust fund. this is the fifth consecutive year that the bill has exceeded that target which is necessary
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to adequately fund our nation's harbors including the ones in mobile, in savannah, and long beach, and many others across the country. there's $14.8 billion for the national nuclear security administration, including $1.9 billion for six life extension programs which fix or replace components of weapons systems to make sure they're safe and reliable. in nuclear power which provides 20% of our electricity and more than half of our carbon free electricity we fund the nuclear regulatory commission which oversees our reactors. we ensure funding to make sure it is prepared for new reactors particularly small reactors, advanced reactors and to extend the licenses of our existing reactors when it's safe to do so. it also provides $47 million for research and development for the department of energy to support existing reactors, $30 million for the center for advanced
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simulation of light water reactors, $30 million for transformational challenge reactors. there is a pilot program which senator feinstein especially has pushed and i've joined her to consolidate nuclear waste and move it away from the sites where they now are. funding is also there to take the first steps toward being able to store nuclear waste at private facilities. in conclusion, madam president, it is important that the american people know that the republican majority in congress has worked with democrats to provide record levels of funding for science, research, and technology. we want to keep america first on both sides of the aisle. and this bipartisan support is not limited to the energy and water development subcommittee. it's true in our subcommittees as well. the national science foundation has increased by $200 million in the bills reported this year, and for this year another $300
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million for next year. it gives 11,000 grants to universities and institutions around the country. and perhaps most important, in fiscal year 2018 for the third straight year the subcommittee chaired by senator blunt and senator murray provide an increased funding for the national institutes of health and biomedical research, $2 billion additional in the first year, $2 billion the second year, $2 billion the third year, in addition to the money nearly $5 billion in the 21st century cures act that focuses on precision medicine initiative and the cancer moonshot among other things. senator blunt says over three years that is a 23% increase. so i would say to those who haven't noticed this quiet development two things. one, congress is stkog what it's supposed -- is doing what it's supposed to do. we're not asking for an award any more than boy scouts get a merit badge for telling the truth but we're doing what we're
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supposed to do on appropriations from start to finish on these three bills. second, we're funding science and research and technology at record levels. record levels. it's important to keep america competitive in the world. i thank our staffs who have worked together on this bill. on my staff tyler owen, adam demilla, molly marsh, rachel littleton. on senator feinstein's staff, doug clap, samantha nelson. i look forward to continuing with the regular order and going to conference with the house of representatives. i urge my colleagues to vote in support of this legislation, and i thank senator leahy, who i see; senator schatz who i see, senator schumer, senator mcconnell and the other senators who have spoken today for creating the environment where we can succeed. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: i want to thank
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senator alexander as well as vice chair leahy, chairman shelby, chairman boozman and the many other people who have made this minibus work. we're going to adopt it tonight and i hope our work over the last weekas set the tone for the senate's consideration of the remaining appropriations bills. we've opened debate and considered a number of amendments, and we've avoided controversial issues that have too often torpedoed our work in prior years. between roll call votes and the managers' package we've adopted 40 amendments including 14 to the milcon v.a. appropriations bill. this speaks volumes to the bipartisan cooperation that i expect will continue as we try to get back to some semblance of the regular order as it relates to the appropriations process. i especially want to thank my colleague from arkansas, chairman boozman, for the managing affair amendment -- managing a fair amendment process and working to keep the bill bipartisan. i want to thank the subcommittee
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staff patrick magnuson, jo ann hof and my staff, chad shulkin and jason mcmahon. they worked late night reviewing hundreds of amendments. i want to thank our county parts on the energy and water subcommittee legislative committees for their work on the past few months to put together bills that i believe will pass overwhelmingly today. lastly, it's important to thank chairman shelby and vice chair leahy for getting us to this point. by the end of the week we will have reported out of the full committee's all 12 government funding bills with three having passed the flew and all before -- passed the floor and all before july 4. that is what's possible when there is a commitment to making this place work. and i will just call out one particular moment that actually impressed me. things got a little wobbly when we had that rescissions package which was a privilege matter, hit the floor. we had a couple of tough conversations, but we navigated
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our way through that. and then there was an amendment offered which was in order, but it was about waters of the united states which, without getting into great detail about this, there's probably nothing that causes people to go put on their partisan jerseys more so than wotus, waters of the united states. and chairman shelby and many republicans including leader mcconnell said essentially, listen, i'm with you, senator lee, in principle, but this is not the bill to do this on. and that's the kind of discipline that's going to be required of both parties if we're going to keep the appropriations process on track and allow it to be held harmless from some of our more partisan disputes. their strong leadership and that of their staffs, jonathan rafeo, david atkins from the majority. chuck keefer, jessica barry from the minority have gotten us to where we are today. i will urge all of my colleagues to support the minibus package,
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and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, i appreciate the comments of the senator from tennessee and the senator from hawaii, and i've enjoyed working with both of them because look where we are, madam president. this is somewhere we have not been for a number of years. it's where we used to be certainly for the first few decades that i was here. it was where we were when senator alexander and one of my heroes, senator baker, were here. what we're doing is voting on final passage of the first
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package of senate appropriation bills for fiscal year 2019. the mini bus includes the energy and water appropriations bill, the military construction and veterans' affairs appropriations bill, and the legislative branch appropriations bill. now, this -- we'll see these votes in a matter of a half-hour and they'll take part in a few minutes, but there's hours and hours and days and weeks and weekends that went into this by both republicans and democrats. chairman shelby and i worked very closely with senator mcconnell and senator schumer. we committed both senator shelby as chairman and i as vice chairman, we committed to getting the appropriations process back on track.
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we've both been here when the senate was a better place because the appropriations process worked, and our strategy has been to advance appropriations bills that have bipartisan support, to comply with a budget deal, and are free of poison pill riders or controversial authorizing legislation. what we have here before us is the first test to that strategy and i think both republicans and democrats will be pretty pleased with the result. we had good debate on this package of bills, including last week eight roll call votes, and we adopted a managers' package that contained 32 amendments on which we reached agreement. now this minute qlibus -- mini bus is the result of hard work and compromise on the part of the chair and ranking member of each subcommittee, and i urge
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the senators vote aye on final passage. impotly, during the debate on this package of bills, the senate voted to table, as has just been mentioned, a controversial amendment offered by senator lee to overturn the 2015 clean water rule relating to waters of the u.s. this rule bass designed to pre -- was designed to prevent pollutants into tributaries into our nation's drinking water supply. now, i felt the amendment would not only have driven a stake through the heart of the clean water rule, it would have done so without having to abide by a procedure act, it would have effectively eliminated the american public from any participation in the process and
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it would sidestep the arbitrary and capricious standards which we cannot have when you repeal a rule. now i oppose this amendment not only because i believe repealing the clean water rule is shortsighted and doing this amendment will set a terrible precedent for the next bedrock environmental regulation, but also because it's precisely the type of poison pill policy rider both republicans and democrats have worked so hard to avoid. the adoption of the lee amendment would have endeigning hered our -- endangered our ability to work on the mini bus. we tabled the amendment when we have votes from both sides of the aisle, including the senators who agreed with the substance of the lee amendment because they recognized the reality as well that adopting it
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would stop the whole bill. that's how the process should work, by focusing on funding matters, by avoiding controversial policy riders. we entered the senate debate with a bipartisan product that both democrats and republicans can support. i went on in some length with this because i was concerned that the house is pursuing a different path. they are taking up partisan bills. they are filling them with poison pill riders that cannot and will not pass the u.s. senate and they know that, including a rider similar to the defeated lee amendment. now, democrats proceeded with this package of bills in good faith and we'll go into conference negotiations with that same approach. but if our progress is to continue, we cannot sign conference reports on bills that
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can't pass the senate. they must be bills that can pass the senate to allow both republicans and democrats to vote on and that means they have to be free of poison pills from the right or the left. this mini bus provides significant resources to the support and care of our nation's veterans and their family members. it makes critical investments in our country's water infrastructure and energy programs. it should not be used as a vehicle to advance a partisan political agenda. now, before concluding my remarks, there's one issue that we were not able to address in the veterans military affairs bill that must be addressed in conference. the bill does not provide enough money to cover the costs associated with the v.a. choice program which was transferred to
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the discretionary side of the budget under the misona act. it only provided funding for this program through may of 2019, leaving the balance unaddressed. to cover the shortfall, we're going to need an estimated $1.6 billion more in 209, an additional 1.8 billion in 2020, and 9 -- $9.5 billion in fiscal 2021 to cover the veterans' affairs choice program. now, these costs were not accounted for when we negotiated 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. senator shelby and i filed an
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amendment, the complete the mission amendment, which would have provided the flexibility needed to ensure that we fulfill this commitment to our veterans without sequestration or without having to cut other valuable veterans' programs. and i would note that on june 19 we received a letter for 33 veterans service organizations, they represented millions of veterans, service members, and their families in support of the amendment that chairman shelby and i filed, and i would ask unanimous consent that letter be included in the record at the end ofy remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: i thank the chair. unfortunately we were not able to reach agreement to get a vote on the amendment or have it included in the managers' package, but chairman shelby and i remain committed to solving
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this problem in conference. if we don't do so, we jeopardize the health care and well-being of the men and women who faithfully served our country and relied on the promises made by our country, and i'm not willing to accept going back on our country's promise to them. i want to thank chairman shelby. i thank the republican chairs, the democratic ranking members of each subcommittee for their hard, and as long as i've been serving as a member of this body, i think we provided a road map for the rest of the appropriation bills, going back to the way we have done it under republican and democratic leadership and where the country is better off. mr. president, along with a letter that i asked about, i will also submit for the record
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a list of key staff members who worked on -- on this whole process. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i don't see seeking recognition. i suggest the absence of a quorum with time equally divided. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. a senator: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. shelby: mr. president, before we vote this afternoon, i briefly want to thank my
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colleagues in the senate and provide a status update on the appropriations process that's before us and urge the senate here to stay the course. first, mr. president, i want to thank leaders mcconnell and schumer for bringing this package to the floor and facilitating an open amendment process. mr. president, i also want to thank the bill managers, particularly senator alexander, for their work in crafting strong, bipartisan bills and keeping the process on track. in addition, mr. president, i want to express my appreciation to senator leahy, the vice chairman of the appropriations committee. vice chairman leahy is a man of his word and it's essential to the committee to move bills. finally, i want to thank all of my colleagues for their cooperation and their input
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during floor consideration of this package. at the outset of this debate, i challenge all senators to follow through on their calls for a return to regular order. to that end, several amendments received up-or-down votes on the floor and dens more from both sides were -- dozens more from both sides were included in the managers' package. mr. president, we also rejected controversial authorizing provisions for the good of the process. and now as we are getting ready to vote on final passage, i hope my colleagues agree that we're headed in the right direction here. i recognize that this package must still be reconciled with the house version before we can get it to the president's desk. but, mr. president, i'm optimistic that we can do that in short order. we can also -- we also cannot forget the nine other
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appropriations bills that remain. the appropriations committee has already reported seven of these remaining bills to the full senate, all with strong bipartisan margins. this week the committee will mark up the final two appropriation bills, defense and labor h.h.s., and i'm hoping for a similar result. and while we're about a quarter of the way through the 2019 appropriations process, we still have a long way to go. but, mr. president, we do have a framework for success. no poison pill riders, no new authorizations of law, no nongermane provisions. and i've said it many times before, and i will keep saying it, this is the basis of the agreement that i have with vice chairman leahy.
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this is the approach that our subcommittee chairman and ranking members have adopted in producing strong and balanced bills. this is the way to avoid the catch all spending measures and shutdowns we all detest. this is how the appropriations process is supposed to work. mr. president, this is simply what the american people expect both parties to do. looking ahead, mr. president, i don't think any of us are naive about the potential for partisan politics to snake its way back into the appropriations process. tomorrow is a different day as we know, after all. but we all have a constitutional responsibility to allocate taxpayer money in a deliberate manner. and we have a viable path forward. so it's my hope, mr. president,
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that today marks a new day for the appropriations process in the united states senate. to all of my colleagues, i want to thank you for your cooperation. and i ask that you continue to work with us in the weeks ahead so that we can successfully pass all 12 appropriations bills on the senate floor. with that, mr. president, i urge my colleagues to support the bill that will come before the senate in a few minutes. and i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorumming suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. clerk will read the title of the bill for the third time. the clerk: calendar number 449, h.r. 5895, an act making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2019, and
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for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there a a sufficient second? there appears to be. the question occurs on the passe of h.r. 5895, as amended. the yeas and nays were ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: have all senators voted? any senator wish to change their vote?
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on this vote the yeas are 86. the nays are 5. the bill as amended is passed. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to calendar 483 h.r. 2, an act to provide for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs of the department of agricultural through fiscal year 2023 and for other purposes. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed to h.r. 2 through fiscal year 2023 and for other purposes shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: have all senators voted?
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any senator wish to change their vote? on this vote, the yeas are 889. the nays are 3. three-fifths of the senators having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the motion to proceed. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 483, h.r. 2, an act to provide for the reform and continuation of agriculture and other programs of the department of agriculture through fiscal year 2023 and for other purposes. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: majority leader of the senate. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to executive session for the consideration of the following nomination. executive calendar 726, that the senate vote on the nomination with no intervening absence or debate, if confirmed the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, that no further motions be in order, and that any statements relating to the nomination be printed in the record.
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the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the question is on the nomination. all those in favor say aye. those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that at a time to be determined by the majority leader in consultation with the democratic leader, the senate proceed to executive session for the consideration of the following nomination, executive calendar 601. i ask consent there be five hours of debate equally divided and following the use or yielding back of time, the senate vote on the nomination with no intervening action or debate. if confirmed the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, that no further motions be in order, and that any statements related to the nomination be printed in the record. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate resume legislative session for a period
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of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i understand there's a bill at the desk and i ask for its first reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the first time. the clerk: h.r. 6, an act to provide for opioid use disorder prevention, recovery, and treatment and for other purposes. mr. mcconnell: i now ask for a second reading and in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provision of rule 14, i object to my own request. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will be read for a second time on the next legislative day. mr. mcconnell: now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tuesday, june 26. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morning business be closed. i further ask that following leader remarks the senate resume consideration of the motion to proceed to h.r. 2.
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further, i ask the senate recess from 12:30 until 2:15 to allow for the weekly conference meetings. finally, i ask that all time during recess, adjournment, morning business and leader remarks count postcloture on the motion to proceed to h.r. 2. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: so if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask it stand adjourned under the previous order following the remarks of senator brown. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you. i thank the majority leader. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent on behalf of senator murray, that a fellow on senator murray's help committee steaf laurie oc -- staff laurie ockman be granted floor privileges through august 3, 2018. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. last friday was a dark day for american workers and a dark day for the american auto industry. on the very same day that general motors laid off the
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entire second shift at the historic lord's town plant in northeast ohio, on the same day they announced that, we got word that g.m. plans to build its new chevy blazer in mexico. that's right. the company bypasses american workers, lays off an entire shift, and sends more jobs to mexico. all this comes on the heels of the windfall g.m. got from the tax bill congress passed last year. g.m. now can bring some $7 billion in overseas cash back to the united states in a dramatically lower tax rate. they can immediately deduct the cost of any new investments in plants and equipment and their overall corporate tax rate was dropped by about one-third. they can use that extra cash to invest in lord's town, invest in america but what do they do instead? they lay off 1,500 workers,
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1,500 ohio workers. 1,500 families affected in riles, kent, youngstown, in gerard, in lords town, all over the mahoney valley and beyond. that's just a year after they laid off the third shift, more than a thousand workers at the same plant. they've got some nerve. the workers of this plant are among the best in the world. the car they make, the chevy cruze beat out the foreign competition in its class last year. for the 2018 models j.d. power and associates named the cruz among the top two cars in its class. they named the lord's town plant among the six top plafntle plants -- plants in the her america's. the federal government rescued the auto industry. eight years ago i stood and actually drove one of the cars with governor strictland and
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others, one of the first cars off the line, one of the first chevy cruzes coming out of the plant. two years ago i stood in lord's town for the plant's 50th anniversary. g.m. estimated more than 10,000 people, young and old, families with children, workers who had been there close to -- a few had been there almost the entire 50 years. vintage car buffs, former workers. 10,000 people turned out to watch the plant, to watch the parade and celebrate the plant. the line to get in the plant for a tour stretched down the sphreet and around the -- street and around the plaque. that's what the plant means to the communities they serve, that's what the auto industry means to the communities they serve. it respects general motors has forgotten some of that. that's why we worked so hard to save this industry, including general motors, after the economic crisis. in addition to the federal auto rescue, the state of ohio gave g.m. more than $80 million in
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tax incentives for the cruze plant, $80 million. but now after ohio gave millions to this company, g.m. turns its back on ohio, all while making record profits, all while reaping the rewards of the tax bill paid for by taxpayers. as a country, as a state, we are invested in this industry. g.m. needs to invest in america and in ohio. they need to invest in the workers, in the communities that built this company and made it great. instead of making plans to invest in mexico, g.m. should be working with workers, with the union, with local officials, with all of us to invest instead in american workers. we have invested in g.m., g.m. should invest in ohio workers. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate previous order, the senate
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in the senate has finished its work for today. senators voted to move forward with considering the 29th farm bill which considers agriculture policy and food and nutrition programs for the next five years. they will continue work on that tomorrow. you can follow the senate like on c-span2. this past week with the help of our partners they traveled to juneau and haynes alaska. the bus continued the trip across to our next stop in fairbanks. >> this is valuable for alaskans. for most of us it's the only way to see her delegation hard at work in washington. they are proud to carry c-span for a number of reasons,
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especially for emphasis on education. from lesson plans and handouts to timely heatable videos and education conferences, the c-span classroom program offers so many resources to teachers and at great deal of value to today's classroom. thank you for being part of it. thank you for bringing your awesome bus to fairbank. the tour that was incredible. i heard stories of driving the bus up here in the things i saw on the way coming to alaska was that it was a nice trip and i understand, i've driven it a few times myself. it's an awesome trip and we are so glad you're busking here and using it as a tool to bring fairbanks nationwide. >> c-span as much order the enemy. that's a joke by the way. you laugh. what i appreciate is that it's not partisan.
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you watch the spine that takes place. you watch her delegations talk back and forth but it's extremely informative and very educational. i'm a tech geek. i hope they take me with them on the tour. if you go and look at the video screens that are interactive, people can learn and kids can learn about government. government doesn't have to be a bad word. >> join us july 21 and 22nd where we will feature our visit to alaska. watch alaska weekend on c-span, or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> coming up in just a couple minutes we take you live to columbia south carolina. president trump is campaigning for the state governor with the primary set for tomorrow. that schedule for 7:00 o'clock eastern. we will take you there life when it gets underway. until then, former governors and presidential candidates
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howard dean and chris christie previewing the 2018 midterm election with npr rachel martin. the discussion caught up with the leadership coalition annual summit in washington. it is 50 minutes. we will show you what we can until the rally gets underway and self-reliant. [applause] >> thank you for having us. it was not lost on me in the green room that here we are. [laughter] to former governors, two former presidential candidates. there's not very much personality in these two guys. a nice girl from public radio in the middle trying to moderate the situation. [laughter] the subtitle to this is looking forward to the midterm


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