tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN June 26, 2018 2:15pm-6:16pm EDT
>> in a moment you will take your life to the u.s. senate where today lawmakers are considering the 2019 farm bill. the house passed its version of the farm bill last week. we expect the senate passed its own version which by the extended agricultural committee in a 20-one vote. live coverage of the u.s. senate as always here on c-span2.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: thank you, mr. president. i rise today in strong support of the important legislation before us,nd that is the 2018 farm bill. this is critical legislation for nebraskans and for all americans. it will provide certainty and predictability agriculture producers need to do their jobs of delivering abundant, high-quality, nutritious food to our nation. my husband bruce and i have a family ranch in the sandhills of nebraska. that is our home. that is where we live and that is where we work. i know firsthand that being a farmer and rancher is more than just a job; it's a way of life. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
it is one of life's most noble callings, to care for the land and god's creatures, to be stewards of our natural resources and feed the world. as a state senator in the nebraska legislature and now as a united states senator, commonsense agriculture policy has been a top priority for me. this year i was honored to have the opportunity to join the senate ag committee where i am the voice for nebraska agriculture as we work on this vital legislation for our state. i want to thank chairman roberts for welcoming me to the committee and for his excellent work on this bill. i also want to thank him for making a trip to the good life this past may. ther we held a roundtable at the nebraska state fair grounds
in grand island and toured a soybean processing plant in hastings. during these visits, we heard feedback and input from nebraska ag producers that we brought back to washington as the committee crafted this bill. mr. president, production agriculture is the economic engine of nebraska. across our state there are more than 47,000 farms and ranches, from the panhandle to central nebraska to the city streets of lincoln and omaha, nebraskans understand the monumental role of agriculture as our state's number-one industry. one in four nebraska jobs is tied to agriculture, but we all know that there is a lot of anxiety in farm country today. current net farm income is down
by over 50% compared to five years ago when we passed the last farm bill. while uncertainty surrounds international trade and beautifuls policy -- biofuels policy, we're looking at tight margins. since the beginning of june, nebraska cash corn prices are down roughly 11% and cash soybean prices are down 14%. this has resulted in over $1 billion in potential lost receipts to corn and soybean producers. farmers and ranchers are worried. for many, many years i've traveled the state of nebraska to meet with and listen carefully to folks about their ideas to address the issues that they face.
i host several ag routaes with local producers, nebraska stakeholderred, government officials and agriculture industry experts about how we can boost our rural economies. many of our discussions explore the relationship between the internet of things and agriculture. a key point that has been consistently made is the need for high-speed internet connectivity on farms and ranches. i hold a number of these roundtablesvery year, and it's always good to hear straight from producers about these important issues. i also bring leaders in our government to nebraska so that they can develop a better understanding of our state and familiarize themselves with the challenges producers deal with on a daily basis. on a snowy day in may last year,
i welcomed secretary of agriculture sonny purdue to our ranch. he joined me in hosting a roundtable discussion with more than 60 of our neighbors and friends. he heard about our suggestions on trade, marketing for our products, broadband deployment, and other concerns that we as ag producers have. working together with my colleagues here in the senate, we've had some great successes rolling back federal regulations that have hurt farmers and ranchers. for example, congress worked with the administration to halt the harmful waters of the u.s. rule, which would have expanded the federal government's jurisdiction over my state's water resources. earlier this year as a part of the government spending bill, congress passed and the president signed into law a
permanent fix that i chaioned. it ensures that farmers and ranchers, that they're not treated like superfund sites under those e.p.a. regulations. additionally, we made some progress in eliminating regulations meant for oil refineries that were unreasonably affecting producers who use on-farm fuel storage tanks. leading up to the 2018 farm bill, i was pleased to work alongside the usda and the nebraska department of agriculture to lift a 13-year ban on u.s. beef shipments to israel. i've also been outspoken about the value of the south korean market to nebraska's high-quality agriculture products. i advocated for our country to stay in the free trade agreement and i visited with both the u.s.
administration officials and south korean officials to stress the importance of the trade relationship between our two countries. i was pleased to see that the administration made a good trade deal with south korea. this is a step in the right direction. it will expand opportunities for our producers and for the state of nebraska. these were big wins for our producers, but we can, we should, we must provide the predictability our producers need, especially during these tough times. that means passing the farm bill and enacting it into law. traveling around our state, a common theme that i hear is the continued need for a strong farm safety net that upholds the
integrity of the crop insurance program. this is a critical risk management tool that works for farmers. from the very beginning, i've made safeguarding crop insurance my top priority throughout this process, and i aappreciate that the -- and i appreciate that the farm bill will enhance this vital program for producers in my state and across the country. this farm bill also recognizes the importance of our trade promotion programs. nebraska producers have demonstrated that they can excel in the global marketplace. the bill before us merges the market access program, the foreign market development, the emerging markets program, and the technical assistance for specialty crops into one new priority-trade promotion, development, and assistance
program. this new priority trade promotion program will ensure the baselines for these important programs will be upheld while allowing ag organizations to leverage these critical dollars to promote our high-quality ag products around the world. moreover, the program will allow the secretary of agriculture to address immediate trade needs effectively to ensure valuable market access is prioritized. what's more, this bill takes major steps to expand broadband so that our harder-to-reach rural communities are not left behind in this digital era. there is no stronger example of the benefits of innovation than the ininfluence of -- influence of internet access on the agriculture industry. today's rural areas are experiencing increased
productivity because of the advanced technologies fueling u.s. agricultural growth. just recently i had the honor of welcoming f.c.c. commissioner brendan carr to northeast nebraska to further address this issue. together we visited northeast community college, where we learned about their fascinating precision agriculture curriculum which focuses on familiarizing students with new farming technology. advanced information technology and the data these systems gather help our amazing agriculture producers make effective decisions as they feed the world. the precision agriculture connectivity act was included in the ag committee's managers' package during the markup of the farm bill. this would create a task force at the f.c.c. charged with identifying breaks in high-speed
internet connectivity across america's farm and ranchland. additionally, in the committee markup for the farm bill, i was also pleased to sponsor several amendments which were adopted unanimously in the managers' package. my amendment encouraging producers to utilize efficient water conservation -- my amendment encouraging producers to utilize efficient water irrigation conservation technology directs the usda's natural resource conservation service to recognize the use of remote data systems for irrigation scheduling as a best-managementractice. the 2018 farm bill will also provide some much-needed relief for our ag haulers. it is clear that the hours of service regulations for truck drivers are inflexible and they
fail to consider the realities that impact our lifestyle -- livestock haulers. i filed an amendment with the senior senator from arkansas which would expand the definition of life stock to include llamas,al pa cass, live fish and crawfish. with this expanded depend in addition, agriculture haulers would receive exemptions for these products from the federal motor carrier safety administration's hours of service requirements. this legislation addresses many important issues for nebraska's producers, but it's not perfect. pesticide applicators in nebraska are being forced to deal with redunda federal regulations which provide no environmental or water quality benefits, yet they are putting a financial strain on producers.
this is a bipartisan issue, and it needs to be addressed. in fact, the e.p.a., under the obama administration, supported this fix. i wish this bill did more to cut red tape and to provide relief for our farmers and their families. additionally, i was disapointed that the bill doesn't include commonsense flexibility for the fresh fruit and vegetable program. that is i am a cosponsor to an amendment that would provide our children, no matter where they live, with being a is he is to fruits and vegetables regardless of form. this bipartisan amendment would ensure that the fresh fruit and vegetable program does not use our taxpayer dollars to pick winners and losers based on product categories.
instead, this amendment would provide our schools, particularly those in the most rural areas of our country, with more flexibility to provide their students with canned or frozen produce that is nutritionally equivalent. i u -- i urge my colleagues to support this amendment. i am proud to fight for farmers, ranchers, and producers here in the senate. our ag producers are god's gift to nebraska and to the world. they're my neighbors, my friends. they're my family. by coming together to pass this pro-farmer, pro-agriculture farm bill, we can secure a better future for our producers and for our country. again, i would like to thank chairman roberts and ranking member stabenow for their good work on this bill. the house has done their job,
and now it's our turn. i urge my colleagues to support this legislation. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: mr. president, for montanans, nothing beats getting outside, getting outdoors. hunting, fishing, backpacking, snowmobiling. you name it, it's our way of life in montana. that's why i'm excited to announce that june is national great outdoors month. you know, the outdoor life in montana has a very special meaning for me. i grew up fishing, hunting, hiking, skiing. in fact, all over the state of montana. in fact, in july of 1986, i proposed to my sweet wife cindy after we hiked to the top of highlight peak just south of bozeman, a peak a little over 10,000 feet.
seven and a half miles from the trailhead to the top and back. a long 15-mile day. i'm grateful she said yes. in fact, during the summer, i spend a lot of time backpacking in the bear tooth with our family. we bring along our mini australian shepherds and bear spray. it's good practices. in montana, outdoor recreation isn't just our way of life. it's our economy. in fact, outdoor recreation directly supports some 1,000 montana jobs. it generates $2.2 billion in wages and salaries. and estimated over $7 billion in consumer spending. we see it every summer, every winter, now every shoulder season. people from around the nation and around the world come to visit america's great outdoors. but in montana, it's all right here in our very own back yard. it's hiking in glacier.
fly fishing the gallotson, jefferson, madison, stillwater, the yellowstone, the missouri, the bighorn, or skiing in places like big mountain or red lodge or bridge or big sky. or floating, whitewater float trips. we're lucky to have all of that right at our fingertips. and that's why it's important to recognize the value of the outdoors during national great outdoors month, because i think when you spend time outdoors, you're not only experiencing montana's great outdoors, but you're giving back to our local economy and creating jobs. and for our young people, getting them outside, off their phones, and out into the wilderness is a good thing. i want to encourage everybody to recognize the national great outdoors month by joining me in getting away from the tv, away from the phones, get outside,
get out there and experience all that the outdoors have to offer. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, last friday, i visited a heartland alliance, a nonprofit organization in the city of chicago, which for more than two decades has provided care for immigrant children who were classified as unaccompanied children. the day that i visited, last friday, was my second visit to one of their nine facilities in the city of chicago. very few, if any, people in that city, the great city that i'm proud to represent even know that heartland alliance exists. you see, the children are kept in residential neighborhoods in places that look like ordinary homes. the only giveaway is the
security fence around the building is a little higher than most of theences in the neighborhood. that's the only difference and in this busy neighborhood, there is a house with dozens of children inside. on the day that i was there, heartland alliance of chicago had 66 children under their care who had been separated from their parents by our federal government over the last several weeks. they were separated under president trump's zero tolerance policy. two-thirds of the 66 zero tolerance children were under the age of 13. 22 of the children, zero tolerance children separated from their parents were under the age of 5. i went into the facility's nursery where the infants and toddlers were being held, and i couldn't imagine for a moment what it must have been like when someone reached over and took
that infant out of the arms of that mother and decided to transport that baby thousands of miles away. that's what's happened. i met two little girls. i won't use their names, but they are ages 5 and 6. when they walked in the room together, holding hands, these tiny little girls, i thought immediately they were twins. they had a bam-bam hairstyle. maybe something will remember what i am referring to from a little television show. they were as cute as they could be. they were holding hands as they walked in the room. i thought at first they were twins. then i realized one was a little bit older than the other, so i started asking questions, their names and their ages and where they were from. they were answering for one another. at the end of it, we asked are you sisters? they said no, amigas, friends. they, like so many other kids in
this situation, were clinging to anything that created a connection in their desperate little lives. i brought with me some handmade cards that kids from my staff and friends had made to send to them. they were just pieces of construction paper with stickers inside, the kind that kids love to make and love to receive, and i went around and asked each of them if they would like to take one. they took them like they were christmas toys and they hung onto them, another connection in a life that sadly had become disconnected from the reality of their family. i asked the staff at heartland alliance about these zero tolerance kids, and i said could you find the parents of these kids if you needed to for a medical ergency? well, we could try. in cases, we could, but in many cases, in the words of the
agency, it's like a scavenger hunt. you see, their parents may be moved from place to place, and if something happened, a medical emergency, it would be difficult to find that parent. i thought about that. my little granddaughters and son, 6, 7, 8 years old, if they were brought into a hospital with some serious medical condition, the first thing that the doctor wants to know, what is the history? has this child had a problem before? these people don't know. no files are coming with the children that have a medical history, and there is no way to contact in many cases their parents in an emergency situation. this was a gut-wrenching visit. it's still with me today. it's just hard to imagine that the government of the united states of america would forcefully take children away from their parents, parents who are seeking a chance at asylum and safety from violence and
persecution. and i'm angry, too. i'm infuriated that not only have these families not been rehnida, but there doesn't seem to be an effective plan in place to bring these kids back to their parents. how did we reach this point? hoinhe history of this country did we reach the point where on april 6, attorney general jeff sessions announced the trump administration had created a new zero tolerance policy for prosecuting border cases? there is no requirement in law to prosecute every border case criminally, none. these cases can be handled under civil law, and families can be kept together under the law. but this administration chose to call every person at the border a criminal, even those who were fleeing violence and death threats and seeking a chance at asylum, and as soon as they
alleged that that adult at the border was a criminal, then they could rationalize separating the children from these possible criminals. but in most cases, the overwhelming majority of cases, the only possible crime was the fact that they showed up and presented themselves at the border. as far as we know, more than 2,300 children have been taken away from their parents by the u.s. government as a result of this zero tolerance policy. they have been transferred to facilities and places far away, sometimes thousands of miles away like chicago. if the federal government separates children from parents while a family's in custody, i believe our government has a solemn obligation to ensure that each child can be located and promptly reunited with their parents. isn't this basic? but what we hear from advocates in the media is that the administration's handling of this reunification process is a
mess. we're at real risk of lost children, lost in a bureaucratic system, adrift in a bureaucratic sea who were delayed for who knows how long from seeing their parents again. that's because this was done so quickly and without any real thought to the impact it would have on the children, the impact it would have on their mothers and dads, and the impact it has on the image of the united states around the world. the trump administration needs to make an immediate priority to ensure that children separated from parents are brought back together again quickly. over the weekend, the department of homeland security said the federal government, quote, knows the location of all children in its custody and is working to reunite them with their -- families. -- with their families. i questioned that but i accepted that, but if that's true, there is no excuse for delay. no law required the administration to separate these
children from their families, and we don't need any new law passed in this chamber to reunite them. we just need this administration to act and congress to exert its oversight to verify that the administration is doing what it promised. i have worked for most of my senate career to pass bipartisan legislation to fix our broken immigration system. time and again, bipartisan efforts supported by a majority of americans have been blocked by a minority of vocal republicans. we brought a bill to the floor. i worked for six months with senator john mccain and six other colleagues to write a comprehensive immigration reform bill which we brought to the floor of the senate and passed with an overwhelming vote. it would have cured this problem and many others. the house of representatives refused to even consider it. yesterday, i sat down with several of my colleagues, republicans and democrats, to discuss whether we can find a
way to pass a law or state a policy to stop the administration from separating families in the future. i'm always happy to sit down on a bipartisan basis, roll up m eeves, and try to write a law that might serve the purpose of making this a better country, curing a problem we face, and do it with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. pennsylvania avenue is a two-way street. over the past few days, trump has made statements about immigration reform that do not help at all, and i believe are contrary, not only to the law and our constitution but the values of our country. last friday, president trump said that republicans should stop, quote, wasting their time on immigration until after we elect more senators and congressmen and women in november. also on friday, he said the stories of children separated from their parents were, quote, phony.
phony. i have seen these kids. these aren't phony kids, and they aren't phony stories. on sunday, the president quoted -- tweeted, and i quote, we cannot allow all of these people to invade our country. when somebody comes in, we must immediately with no judges or court cases bring them back from where they came. that was the president's tweet. statements like that in the president's tweet make a mockery of our constitution, and its solemn guarantee of due process of law. the due process clause of the constitution just doesn't apply to citizens. it applies to all people in the united states. the idea of abandoning due process when people seek asylum on our borders and having as the president said no judges or court cases is antithetical to the constitution and its principles. i will continue to work in good
faith with my colleagues to see what congress can do, but as long as president trump is listening to advisors like stephen miller and making statements like these, it is hard to see how any bipartisan agreement can be reached on immigration. while congress works on this issue, the administration has a moral obligation to immediately reunite all families they've separated under that zero tolerance policy. they also have to make it clear that the president's executive order last week will continue to be followed and they will not separate any more families. the third thing that we clearly, clearly need to do is to find a way for those who present themselves at the border to be brought to their hearings in a timely fashion to determine whether they're eligible for asylum. it's that basic. and we don't have to detain them for long periods of time to achieve that. there are three ways to get over
90% of the people to the hearing as scheduled. one, provide them with the advice of legal counsel. number two, provide them with case management of lutheran services, catholic services and others that are willing to counsel them and work with them and tell what the legal system in america requires. and third and in extreme cases ankle mon torgz. over 90% of people show up for hearings with those three basic things. we don't need to build multimillion-dollar internment facilities for families. we can do this in a humane and constitutional way. then we need to address some root causes of this issue. on friday in chicago, the regional head of the drug enforcement agency came down to sit down with me and we talked about the flow of opioids and the flow of heroin and the flow of fentanyl in my state of
illinois. mr. president, i'm sure it's true in ohio as it is in illinois. there is no town too small or too wealthy not to be hit by this drug epidemic we're facing. i learned and i was shocked to learn that on any given month 2,000 pounds of fentanyl come into the city of chicago. 2,000 pounds. and the drug enforcement agency is lucky to intercept 20 or 30 pounds. the rest of it is going to be consumed and distributed from that city. where is a lot of it coming from? from the cartels in mexico. it isn't the people from honduras at the border that pose the threat to america's security, not nearly as much as this drug epidemic. and keep in mind that it's a two-way street in this drug epidemic. not only are these mexican cartels sending these drugs to the united states killing our kids and killing our neighbors and friends, we are sending back to them laundered drug money and guns so these cartels can take
control in mexico and honduras and el salvador and guatamala. and when these gangs take control and threaten the lives of people, they flee to the united states looking for protection. it's an endless circle that should be broken by breaking the supply of drugs coming into this country. any other president would be sitting down with the leaders of mexico, el salvador, honduras and guatamala addressing this drug issue head on. this president tweets about kids, who he calls phony, coming to our border. we need to have truly a meeting of central american and north american leaders to discuss this drug problem and all the problems it's creating not only in their country, but in ours. and we also need to move forward and pass the dream act. i've been trying for a long time here, almost 17 or 18 years now, to pass the law which will allow those who are brought to this country as children the chance
to earn their way into legal status. almost 90% of americans support it. we need to pass it here. and finally i haven't given up on comprehensive immigration form. for goodness sakes, weee these problems every day, piece mall problems one at a time, trying to address one here and one there. isn't it time we take a look at the whole immigration system, con creed that we cannot accept from all over the world who wants to come? we just can't open our borders for everyone. we need security at our borders, but we also need a clear and humane system when it comes to dealing with the current border crisis. i hope this is a goal that even some republicans can agree on, and it doesn't take a new law to first reunite these kids with their parents and to take a positive step forward. let's get this done before the 4th of july. let's reunite all 2,300 of these children with their parents so we can have the peace of mind that we're dealing with this in
an american way. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. barrasso: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. when i'm back home in wyoming, as i am every weekend, people often tell me about how they've suffered under the health care law known as obamacare. and i've been able to give them some very good news recently about things that republicans in congress and this administration have done to help people get out of the obamacare problems that they have been having and escape some of the problems that have been caused by the law. this is a headline in the "wall street journal" from june 20. exit from obamacare, which is something i've been working on ever since the law was passed. and what i've been able to tell people at home in wyoming is that we have now scrapped the law's terribly unpopular individual mandate. done that successfully this past year, so that people aren't forced to buy insurance that may not be right for them or their families and certainly much more expensive than they'd like to
pay. you know, that individual mandate is part of the law that said every american, everyone had to have insurance not that worked for them but that washington dictated, even if it wasn't the right choice for them or their family. i told people about the work that we've been doing to expand people's options, their choices, their freedom to use what are called short-term limited duration health plans. these are less expensive health plans. they are free from the expensive, intrusive, burdensome regulations that obamacare has placed on the insurance that they have been forced to buy. thanks to president trump, i'm now able to point to the latest thing that republicans have done to help millions of americans get the care they need from a doctor they choose at a lower cost to them. last week the department of labor expanded the availability of what had been known as association health plans. this "wall street journal" editorial called "exit from
obamacare" i believe is the best example of it. and the idea is very simple. you know, large employers in this country can offer their workers a variety of good health insurance plans, and they can do it because they have the negotiating leverage that doms with a lar group of employees. small businesses, people who work for themselves, they don't have that same ability, that same leverage. the workers are often stuck looking for expensive coverage, and the place where it seems to be most expensive certainly that i see, mr. president, is in the obamacare markets. so an association health plan lets these groups of individuals, or just individuals themselves, band together and negotiate as if they were one big business. you get much better deals. so maybe it's like all the lift drivers, uber drivers or independt truck drivers working in a state or across state lines working together. small businesses members of a city's chamber of commerce,
we've seen that in las vegas where the chamber of commerce has been providing the opportunity for small businesses to come together, done it for over 30 years, but it was outlawed by the obamacare heah care law. once again these businesses can now join together to offer the same opportunities for coverage that the health care law reserved only for people who worked with big businesses. it's a way for people now, small businesses, their workers to escape the obamacare marketplace that has failed so many people across the country. you know, according to one estimate, americans who sign up for one of these association health plans, they could save close to $10,000 a year on their premiums compared to the individual obamacare market. the plans would come to the same protections people get if they do work for large companies, and they have the same protections for people with preexisting conditions which, to me, is critical, mr. president. my wife is a breast cancer survivor, multiple operations,
chemotherapy. it's important that we continue to protect people with preexisting conditions, and this does it. they have all the same protections against losing coverage if someone in the family gets sick. but it allows them to join together in a group to have much better buying opportunities and lower costs. they'll have the same protections for people who want to cover their adult children up to 26 years of age. they'll have the same bans on lifetime limits for how much the insurance will pay. you know, where i live in wyoming, most of the businesses, we have our small businesses. it's the nature of our state, and a rural economy. they are the small shop owners, ice cream stores, floor rift on the corner -- floorist on the corner. when i talk to people in wyoming, every one of them consider themselves a small business, except they don't use the word small very much because they think of themselves as businesses in our state, businesses in our communities, businesses our families rely on and go to and shop at regularly.
these are peoe who want to do right by their workers and they want to offer a lot o same benefits bigger companies have that they can offer their workers. so this new move by the trump administration, it really does give all of them a chance to do that, specifically, when it comes to health insurance and benefits for their employees. so republican policies have been so successful at creating a thriving and growing economy that we now have more job openings in america than we actually have people looking for work. that's how strong this economic recovery has become. small businesses really do need to be able to offer these better health benefits in order to compete for workers. so you need to be able to compete to provide affordable insurance, so they can afford it to provide it for their workers. at the same time people who buy their own insurance have seen prices more than double under obamacare. we need to help those people get back to more reasonable rates so they're getting the care they need from a doctor they want at
costs they can afford. but when democrats wrote the health care law, passed it straight-party line votes, they actually targeted small businesses and forced them to pay more. hard to believe but true. so republicans are leveling the playing field. under this new plan, this exit from obamacare, it's been estimated by the congressional budget office that four billion americans will sign -- four million americans will sign up for this new option. that's how popular it's going to be. for people who don't have health insurance right now because they can't afford it, they're saying 400,000 more americans who currently don't have health insurance will be able to get insurance because it will now be affordable for them so they'll finally have a chance to get the high-quality insurance they couldn't afford under the mandates of obamacare. well, this isn't something that anyone's going to be required to sign up for. it's something that people will have freedom to make decisions and choices about, the flexibility to see what works
best for them. that's what it's about, freedom and flexibility and choice. people can decide for themselves if one of these association health plans is the best option for them, the best option for their workers, for their families. and they'll choose one of these plans only if they decide it gives them better coverage and better value. because isn't that what people want? choices and value for the money that they spend. mr. president, it's interesting, as a result of the fact that when she is associated health plans came out and the options that were provided, democrats don't seem to like the fact that americans will have this kind of choice. washington democrats like to talk about the benefits of union workers being able to get together to negotiate for things like better health care, but the same democrats here in the senate oppose this new action by the trump administration that just lets workers get together to negotiate for better, morning
business affordable health care coverage. the only difference here is that the republicans want to give this opportunity to people who are self-employed or who work for small businesses. it does seem to be that the democrats want to reserve the right only to the union members, the big unions that maybe they are the ones that fund their democratic campaign for reelection. but there's nothing in the new health association health plans that tries to lure younger healthier people from obama plans. they say here's a choice. nothing requires people or businesses to participate. it just provides millions of americans with a choice. obamacare or association health plan. that's the difference. if you take a look, see what works best for you, see what you find value in, where you're going to find value for your dollars, and make that decision. republicans are for opportunities and options. democrats seem to be more for mandates and restrictions. we like to offer options and opportunities, openness. i think the american people
prefer in this land of opportunity, prefer options. democrats are going to go on the campaign trail and claim that what we have done now to these associated health plans sabotage obamacare. i've heard them talk. don't believe it. if the only way obamacare c survive is to force millions of hardworking americans to pay too much for their health insurance, then obamacare is the problem. democrats don't seem to want to admit that. they also don't really want to change any of the things that are broken in the american health care system. they want it to stay broken so they can push the plan for what we've heard some of the democrats refer to as a single-payer health plan. that's a completely government run health care system where all the bills are paid by the taxpayers. it has become the liberal litmus test for the democrats. you're going to hear a lot more about them talking about that in the weeks and months ahead. and when i look at that as a
doctor who practiced medicine for 25 years as an orthopedic surgeon taking care of families in wyoming, taking care of people from canada where they have a single-payer system, a government-run system, what i've seen from the patients i've taken care of who have come from canada to the united states for care, why did they come? it's fr -- it's free in canada. they didn't have to wait as long as they would have it to wait to get the care. when we look at what's been proposed by a number of democrats, a government-run insurance plan, you're taking in a program with higher taxes, longer lines and fewer choices. i just believe, mr. president, that's not what the american people want. they want an exit from obamacare into much more affordable insurance, something that works for them, something where they have an opportunity to make their own choices and have the
flexibility to evaluate what is best for them and their families. mr. president, we are offering real solutions to offer health care in this country. we're giving families more freedom, more flexibility to choose what works for them, not what washington dictates. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
bill, something that we have in coon something that both of our states know is really important for our economy. this legislation is one of the most important chances we have in this chamber to address one of the most pressing issues in rural parts of our country right now. i want to speak about two of my most urgent priorities for this year's farm bill and i urge my colleagues to join me in supporting them. the first is the supplemental nutritious program. which most of us call snap. there are 40 million americans who rely on snap everyay. more than 40 million people who go hungry if they didn't have access to snap. many of these americans are disabled. many of them are elderly and retired. nearly half of them are children, and millions of them, and i truly mean millions, are working. congress should not take snap away from hardworking americans
just because they don't fill out monthly paperwork. but last week the house passed its own version the farm bill at would do just that. this is shameful. here's the truth about snap. the vast majority of able-bodied adults on snap are already working. they are already working. they have jobs. many of them work several jobs. they are doing everything they can to get ahead and just to have a small slice of that american dream. they still need snap. they need snap because their wages are too low. and to be clear, they already have to follow the work requirements. they have work requirements in place since 1971, but the farm bill would just add more red tape, more paperwork for struggling families just so they can eat dinner.
now, this is the difference between the house farm bill and the senate farm bill. the senate farm bill got it right, the house farm bl has created this terrible, terrible requirement of paperwork just to get snap. one of our house colleagues said that it is to promote self-sufficiency as if low-income workers on snap aren't already working every waking hour just to scrape by. mr. president, the house plan is just a blatant example of how out of touch congress is about poverty in this country. and it's shameful that some members of the house from my own state would even support this cruel plan when so many new yorkers rely on snap every single day. i'm happy that the senate farm bill has more heart than that. the bill that came out of committee shows respect for all
hardworking families who need snap. now we need to take it a step further to do even more to help hungry children. i'm introducing an teamed the senate farm bill called -- an amendment to the senate farm bill called the snap for kids act. it would increase the amount of snap funding that families with kids in school are allowed to receive. if we can pass this amendment, we would help families stretch their food budget just by a few more days at the end of every month when they need it the most before the next paycheck comes in, and we would help millions of children in this country from going hungry, and that should be a priority here, protecting children for all of us. i have two young children, mr. president, and i know that many of our colleagues in this chamber also have young children
too. our children will never have to have access to snap to get basic nutrition. they will never know what it's like to wake up hungry because their parents didn't have enough food to feed them a nutritious dinner. and i believe at my core that we need to care about other people's children as much as we care about our own. so i urge my colleagues to do what's right and support the snap for kids act. let's reject the house of representatives cruel plan and commit ourselves to protecting snap instead of destroying it. the second issue i want to talk about today, mr. president, is the issue of dairy prices. miami state of new york is -- my home state of new york is one of the biggest dairy producing
states. we are blessed with many dairy farms and even more blessed with hardworking men and women who wake up before the sunrises to produce mick to keep -- milk to keep families hungry. unfortunately our dairy farmers have taken a serious hit from consistently low dairy prices. many of them are operating below cost of production. over the pation decade farms all over new york have actually had to shut down because of this crisis. many are currently on the brink of failing. this is what one dairy farmer said, quote, it's stressful. do i want to wake up and lose $30,000 a day? imagine the pain our dairy farmers and their families suffer when they wake up before dawn every day without a break and they still can't make ends meet and provide for their own children. imagine the heartbreak and depression of the last dairy
farmer in a family, the one who has to sell the farm despite generations of hard work because he just can't make ends meet. this is a crisis right in our backyard. it's hurting our agriculture economy. it's hurting our communities and most of all it's hurting our farmers and their families. one big reason is that our dairy insurance program just didn't work. i've heard from dairy farmers all across new york who have been essentially ripped off by the dairy insurance program because the program failed to cover our farmers when they need it the most, when milk prices have plummeted. our dairy farmers need a lifeline, and i was very proud to add a provision in the senate farm bill for $77 million of those premiums to be returned. this is great news for our dairy farmers but there's still so much more we could do.
so i've asked the secretary of agriculture for emergency funding to address this issue now. but he refuses to help our dairy farmers. so, mr. president, i'm introducing an amendment that would require the department of agriculture to help our dairy farmers with emergency funding now. i'm asking the secretary of agricult for the exact same amount of funding that he just gave cotton farmers across this country when they were struggling. the usda should be fair and treat our dairy farmers with the same, same support. i want this emergency funding to go directly to those farmers who need it so they can keep producing milk without going bankrupt, long enough for the industry to come together to balance supply and for congress to create a fairer milk pricing system. and i urge my colleagues to support this amendment, too. it affects all of us.
the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: is is there any objection to me making a short speech? the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. mr. hatch: thank you. mr. president, allow nisei a few word -- allow me to say a few words on the passing of a dear friend, charles krauthammer. he was a giant in the conservative intellectual movement and community. with his passion, we have -- with his passing, we have lost not only a first-rate political mind but a model of civility. as testament to his decency circumstance leaders on both sides of the aisle paid tribute to charles over the weekend. today i now speak for people of all political stripes when i say we will miss him dearly. few were as formidable in debate as charles krauthammer. although his body was confined to a wheelchair, his intellect
was boundless. with even keel and gentle voice, he could carefully deconstruct the views of his opponents, expressing his own ideas with eloquence. in a political landscape marked by anger and acrimony, charles stood for reason and -- stood for reason and respect. indeed, he was a voice of temperance and intemperate times -- in intemperate times. while he never backed down in debate, he was also well-practiced in the subtle argument of disagreeing without be disagreeable. in so many ways he showed us how political discourse should be balanced and rational, measured and informed with emphasis on facts over feeling. mr. president, i think we can all agree that civility took a beating this weekend. but perhaps the biggest blow was losing charles krauthammer, a man who embodied civility in his
very veins. at different times throughout our history, we have been called upon to heed the better angels of our nature. charles was one of those better angels. he represented what we would -- what we would -- could be if we listened to our better selves and if we listened to each other. as a nation we have much to learn from the example of charles krauthammer. in celebrating the life of an extraordinary man, we must do more than pay lip service to his legacy. we must honor it through our actions. we can do so by being strong in our convictions but soft with our words, by being principled in our positions but respectful of oth views in this world. in a word, we can be more civil. open the newspaper, scroll through twitter or simply turn
on the tv and you'll see that this nation suffers from a deficit of civility quite unlike anything he have i've ever seen. the problem is bad. it's getting worse, and both sides are to blame. both sides are at fault for escalating the rhetoric to irresponsible levels. i've said this many times before, but it bears repeating. our words have consequences, and in an age of retweets, viral videos and shareable comment, those words often echo well beyond their intended audience and context. it's incumbent upon all of us then, from the president to congress on down, to be responsible for our speech. with that, mr. president, i ask my colleagues, is there a better way to honor the life of charles congratulate hammer than to
follow the -- krauthammer than to follow the example of civility that he leaves behind? may we then all recommit ourselves to civility by living as charles lived. may his memory be a blessing to us all. mr. president, my wife is a wonderful person. she's a farm girl. and she came up on a farm and really has earned everything she's ever had. but she had a brother named raymon, 4. -a--- >> he was anight league when he got struck right before the solutions to h illness were arrived at. mr. hatch: and he became crippled. raymon was one of the finest men i've ever met in my life. he was very, very hurt by this
malady that came upon him. i can remember what a decent, honorable, kind person he was and how he went on and got his master's guess, all the way -- degree, all the way through at utah state university. then became a major electrical engineer in las vegas i remember one time carrying him -- and he was so light -- carrying him in my arms through the los angeles temple of the church of jesus university of latter day saints. he was one of the finest men i've ever known at any time, anywhere. that's one reason why i recognize charles so well. charles krauthammer was one of the finest men i have known,
too. he and raymon were heroes of mine, people who took on the ramifications and difficulties of life and beat them. we're going to miss charles krauthammer. not only was he brilliant, but he was somebody who made sense. he was somebody who really could relate to everybody. he was a really, really good person, just like my brother-in-law raymon was as good a person as you could ever find. i think we ought to all stop, think about these two lives, and recommit ourselves to being more reasonable to our colleagues. we might all realize that is there's more to this earth than just fighting and finding fault
and just advancing our own cause. i believe in this great of all legislative bodies. we come close here to doing that, to doing what's right, to showing respect for each other, but we don't always get there. i'm not sure you can always get there. sometimes you really have to speak out and you have to speak bluntly, but i just want to remind people of charles krauthammer, my brother-in-law raymonhanson, two people who set good examples, overcame the evils of being crippled and terribly hurt to rise above and to do things that really made a
difference in this world. i wish the krauthammer family the very best, and i care for them, i hope they come and visit once in a while. we lost a really great person this week, and i just wanted to say a few words about it. this is a great body. we have good people, great people on both sides. i'd like to see us work better together and arizona accomplish more together -- and accomplish more together in the interests of the best country on earth. if we do that i think we'll all, when the time comes, leave this place knowing that we've done our best. with that, mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. hoeven: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: with we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mr. hoeven: i ask that it be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: i rise in support of the senate farm belt as a member of the senate ag committee, i was brought to work with senator roberts and our ranking member, senator stabenow of michigan%, to pass a strong farm bill out of the committee. times are challenging in ag country. commodity prices are low and our farmers and ranchers face numerous challenges.
net farm income is down 52% from where it stood five years ago and bankruptcies are up more than 39% from 2014. moving this farm bill through the senate will help reduce uncertainty for our ag producers and will benefit the broader economy. i'd like to say a few -- i'd like to say and i do often say that good farm policy benefits every single american every single day. good farm policy benefits every single american every single day. think about that. our farmers and ranchers produce the highest-quality, lowest-cost food supply in the history of the world. so every single day every american benefits just in that respect and in other respects in terms of the employment that's created, the positive balance of trade, the innovation, so many other things -- in fact, the crops that we grow, livestock
that we raise is used not only for food but also for fuel and for fiber but just simply the fact that every single american every day benefits from the highest-quality, lowest-cost food supply in the world means when we pass the farm bill providing that good farm policy that helps support our farmers and ranchers so they can continue to provide that food supply for americans we really are doing something for all americans and something that affects their lives obviously in a very, very big way every single day. so i'm pleased we're able to draft a bill that will give our farmers and ranchers the support they need to continue to produce the food, fuel, and fiber that makes our country grow and provides the same thanks to so many in other -- things to so many other countries in the world. leading up to consideration of the farm bill we worked to gather input from farmers and
ranchers in my state and across the country. over the past year i've held roundtables back home. i've hosted ag secretary sonny perdue so he could hear from our ranchers and farmers so he could hear about their priorities. the bill provides many of these important provisions and supports the great work done by our farmers and ranchers in north dakota and across the country. i want to highlight a few of those measures. we worked hard to ensure that the bill maintains and strengthens crop insurance, which is the primary risk management tool for our producers. let me emphasize that again. crop insurance is the number-one risk-management tool used by our producers across the country. the farm bill also includes a provision based on a pilot program i put forward to improve the fairness of ag risk coverage program, a very important part of the counter cyclical safety
net for our farmers and ranchers. we have a.r.c., at risk coverage program and price loss coverage program that comprise that safety net, that counter cyclical safety net for our farmers so that when prices are low they get help. when they're high, they don't. and that's the whole idea, is to help them through the tough stretches, along with as i mentioned a minute ago, crop insurance. the pilot program that we incorporated into the bill really allows r.m.e. data, the risk management agency data to be used in addition to the national ag statistical survey data that's been used historically and provides flexibility so that you get good commonsense result when you're applying that a.r.c. program across the country to many different farmers and many different circumstances. the legislation also includes increased authorization for a water bank program i advanced which provides compensation to farmers and landowners for
flooded land through a ten-year voluntary conservation agreements. in addition, i supported measures to help address risks to animal health, livestock, export markets, and industry economic stability. that's why i'm glad to see that this bill includes a new animal disease and disaster response program as well as a foot and mouth disease vaccine bank. that protects the animals. that protects all of us as well. this farm bill also prioritizes ag research including work done at north dakota state university working to enhance crop genetics and production. the ag research down at our state and at other agricultural universities across this nation have really revolutionized farming and ranching. we can grow crops that are disease resistant and raise
livestock that is healthier and stronger because of the amazing things that have been done in research. we need to continue that because we not only supply food for this country but really for the world. and we're doing things that we never even, i think, dreamed of years ago because of this, because of the amazing advancements in ag research. in order to allow our producers to continue to compete and excel in the global marketplace the bill creates, expands and maintains critical export programs that support u.s. ag products. i'm pleased the bill we passed out of our committee preserves the no cost sugar policy which ensures that american producers can compete on a level playing field with sugar from around the world. the bill also includes measures important to tribal communities including almost all of the provisions of the cultivating
resources opportunities, prosperity and sustainability, or the crops act, for indian country. the crops act for indian country is a bipartisan legislation that i introduced and that we passed out of the indian affairs committee, which i chair, and a very important provisions in that bill that we have included in this farm bill. i want to thank both the ag committee chairman and ranking member for working with us to include those provisions in the farm bill. during committee markup we were also able to strengthen the bill in other ways as well. another good example as something that we worked very diligently to improve is the, the legislation in regard to the nrcs, particularly this legislation will improve nrcs wetlands determination and ensure that nrcs is working more closely with our producers, by that i mean in a more
farmer-friendly way. the committee included my amendments to increase the participation of tribal producers on international trade missions as well as the tribal colleges and universities access to certain grant programs. another area we've heard from many farmers and ranchers that are concerned about access to credit, as they go through these challenging times, they need access to credit. and so i offered an amendment in committee which we passed which increases the amounts of the f.s.a., farm service agency, loan guarantee from about $1.39 million up to about $1.75 million. that's under the guarantee program. then we also increase the direct loan program from $300,000 to $600,000 on an chattel type loan, and $400,000 on operating
loans. again, this is about making sure farmers and ranchers have access to credit. this was advocated for by not only the ag community but also the financial community as a way to make sure we can help farmers through tough times, but also so that we can help our young farmers get access to the credit and the capital they need to get into the business of farming. the average age for a farmer now is 60 years old. that's the average age for our farmers across the country. so we have to continue to work to help with the beginning farmer and rancher program so we can get young people into the business of farming. and it takes more capital to do that. that's why these programs are so important. i'm convinced the farm bill we're considering this week will give our farmers and ranchers the tools they need to succeed in the next five years and beyond. congress has not enacted a farm bill in the same year it was introduced since 1990. so i urge my colleagues on both
sides of the aisle to support this farm bill so that we can continue to provide our ag producers with the tools that they very much need. and i'm going to conclude with something i said at the outset, and which i try to remind people every chance i get, and that is, again, good farm policy benefits our farmers and ranchers, but it benefits every single american every single day with the highest-quality, lowest-cost food supply in the world. wi that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: mr. president, i just want to take a moment to thank my friend from north dakota for his leadership and the valuable input and hard work that he provides to the agricultural and nutritional forestry committee. we've worked together now on two farm bills. not only the work on the a.r.c. program and conservation and trade and research, but also the
important tribal provisions that i think are going to have a very, very positive impact. i just want to tnk senator hoeven for all his hard work. mr. hoeven: would the senator yield? ms. stabenow: i'd be happy to. mr. hoeven: i'd like to thank our ranking member. this is truly a bipartisan bill we brought out of committee through the hard work and good leadership of both of our chairman and ranking member, and so i appreciate all your diligent, good efforts on the bill. thank you.
the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: mr. president, i understand the senate is not in a quorum, is that correct? the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call. mr. thune: mr. president, agriculture is the lifeblood of my state of south dakota. more than 43 million of our state's roughly 50 million acres are given over to farming and ranching. in fact, cattle actually outnumber people in south dakota. we have more than four times as many cattle as people in our state, which is a pretty good example of just how fundamental ranching is to south dakota life, and we routinely place in
the top ten states for production of a number of crops, including so soybeans, corn, and wheat. agriculture isn't just a part of the south dakota way of life, it is a south dakota way of life. while i'm one of those south dakota residents who doesn't farm a ranch, i always considered it one of my great privileges to know south dakota farmers and ranchers and get to represent them here in the united states congress. that's why when i was in the house of representatives, i chose to serve on the house agriculture committee, and that's why i serve on the senate agriculture committee today. mr. president, our biggest job, as members of the senate agriculture committee, is to work on producing farm bills. she's bills set the -- these bills set the rules of the road for farmers and ranchers. they govern crop insurance and livestock disaster programs which is so important for those working in an industry where bad
weather can wipe out a year's work. they set the rules for conservation programs. they cover farm loan programs and much more. this year's farm bill is particularly important as farmers and ranchers are facing a tough ag economy. net farm income is half of what it was four or five years ago. now, more than ever, mr. president, farmers and ranchers need to know with certainty what the rules of the road will be so that they can plan well for the future. the farm bill we're considering this week is the fourth farm bill i've had the chance to work on during my time in congress. and while there are a handful of things i'd like to improve further, i'm pleased with the product that we have on the floor here today. given the variety of programs and priorities they cover, falser are -- farm bills are always a big production, that's why i got head start on the farm
bill to protect farmers. that bill was the first of nearly a dozen pieces of legislation that i introduced over the past year. i figured that starting the process early would allow us to not just reauthorize agricultural programs but to strengthen and improve them. i'm pleased that the bill before us today does exactly that. i'm also pleased that several of my proposals are included in the bill. although the credit for that goes to the farmers and ranchers who help inspire these much-needed policies and policy changes. the fact is nobody knows more about what works and what doesn't work when it comes to agriculture policy than the people out there every day working to make a living at farming and ranching. that's why i make it a point to meet regularly with south dakota farmers and ranchers to hear how things are going directly from them. they let me know which
agriculture programs are working, which aren't, and which can be improved. and many of my proposals, mr. president, for this year's bill are the direct result of conversations with farmers and ranchers back in south dakota. perhaps the prime example of that is to help improve the accuracy of the u.s. drought monitor. in april of this year i held a roundtable in south dakota. during this event several ranchers shared their concern about accurate precipitation measurements. it matters to ranchers because this data is used to determine when they -- whether they qualify for livestock forest launch subsistence. ranchers have been frustrated by inconsistent rainfall and drought determinations at the department of agriculture. this spring, after last summer's drought, for example, the u.s.
forest service determined that some federal grazing lands in western south dakota were too dry and consequently reduced the number of livestock that ranchers can use for grazing lands. they left farmers short. however, the drought monitor classified that same area as not dry enough to trigger eligibilty for the livestock forge program for those who provide assistance to those who use t land f grazing. the federal assistance is a problem. and the ranchers i met with in april let me know just how much of a problem it can be. and so i came back to washington d worked with my staff to develop legislation to improve the accuracy of the drought monitor and to require the department of agriculture to use consistent precipitation monitoring data across its
programs. and i'm happy to report that my drought monitor legislation was adopted as part of the farm bill that is about before the -- that is before the senate today. mr. president, i'm also proud that the farm bill includes authorization for a program i proposed that would strengthen soil health while reducing farmer's crop insurance costs. all farmers are familiar with the c.r.p. which provides incentives for farmers to take environmentally sensitive land out of production for ten to 15 years. but a lot of the farmers have told me they don't want to retire portions of their land for a decade or more and they don't want to place expensive seed, fertilizer and other inputs on their porous lands emnow when the prices are -- especially now when the prices are at low levels. to address this, i introduced the soil, health, and income production program. this program would provide a new
short-term option for farmers that would allow them to take their worst-performing crop land out of production for three to five years instead of the 10 to 15 years required by c.r.p. rules. farmers would receive a modest rental payment and increased crop premium assistance. this bill would accomplish the dual goals of protecting the environment while improving the bottom line for farmers. i'm very pleased that the authorization for the soil, health, and income production program was included in the farm bill tha we're considering today. a number of other proposals that i introduced also made it into the bill, including proposals to improve the agricultural risk coverage program, proposals to provide range land for native american ranchers and proposals to increase the approval rate of love stoc indemnity program
applications. one proposal, mr. president, i'm working on to get included in the bill is to allow more flexibility and conservation program paying and grazing policies. the c.r.p. program plays a gnicant program in south dakota's economy. it provides a major portion of the habitat for pheasants which brings in about a quarter of a million dollars -- or i should $200 million each year to south dakota's economy. but farmers who spent years frustrated with the department of agriculture's management of the c.r.p. program, particularly the program sometimes excessive restrictions on land use and requirements to destroy vegetative cover under m.d. contract -- mid-contract management, even in drought years when fee supplies are short. the proposal i'm working to get included in the final bill would allow paying on a third of all c.r.p. grazers on most c.r.p.
land. this reform, along with other c.r.p. reforms that i proposed included in the bill in front of us today would address some of the farmer's major concerns for acres that are rolled in the c.r.p. program. mr. president, as i mention heed, there are a few areas where i think we could have done more. i have proposals to increase c.r.p. acres and to improve the a -- a.r.c. program. mr. president, i think we have a strong bill before us today. i'm grateful for the leadership of the agricultural committee chairman, chairman roberts and ranking member stabenow. all too often these days measures that should be collaborative fall victim to partisanship, but the debate over the farm bill was collegial and collaborative and we produced a strong bipartisan bill as a result. mr. president, it takes a special kind of person to be a
farmer or a rancher. there are no set hours and no paid vacations. bad weather isn't just an inkoreans, -- inconvenience, it jeopardize your livelihood. your job is filled with late nights and early mornings. you can sit up all night with a sick calf and then have to get out there sleepless to work in the fields. the work is physically demanding, and it's performed no matter what the weather, blazing sun, freezing cold, or blowing snow and rain, and believe me we have all-of-the-above in south dakota. we don't see the back-ki work that went into the production of that gallon of milk that we picked up on our way home from the grocery store. but every time we go to that grocery store, mr. president, we are the beneficiaries of the courage, dedication, and hard
work of our nation's farmers and ranchers. we feed our country and they literally feed the world. mr. president, i'm grateful that so many farmers and ranchers call south dakota home, and i hope the bill before us today will help make their jobs just a little b easier in the future. mr. president, i yield the floor. ms. stabenow: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: mr. president, i just want to take a moment before the senior senator from south dakota leaves the floor to thank him for his leadership on so many of the provisions on the bill, the soil health bill is important and the changes in arc, i'm glad that we are able to address the issues you raised on the conservation program, and i appreciate your hard work in getting us to a place where we have a good bill and i know you have other thoughts as well. we will continue to work together to continue toll improve it.
i very much -- to continue to improve it. i very much appreciate your hard work. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, as i rise for my 201th time to wake up climate change speech, i return to a familiar subject, disgrace environmental protection agency administrator scott pruitt. not that long ago i was here causing the bakers dozen of ethical scandals swirling around pruitt. from his $43,000 cone of silence phone booth to the millions he spent on a 20-person security detail to his lights and sirens escapades to fancy d.c. restaurant le diplomate, pruitt
hasome to personify the swamp that president trump promised to drain, and he just keeps on getting swamper. in just a few weeks since my last speech on pruitt, we've learned that he used one of his closest aides to plan his vacations, hunt for a washington apartment, and most bizarrely, solicit a used hotel mattress from the trump hotel. the aide did many of these tasks on government time when she was supposed to be working for taxpayers. that is a clear violation of federal employment rules. federal rules also bar
officials, such as pruitt, from accepting gifts from their subordinates, including these kinds of personal service, even on personal time. so one way or the other this was pretty swampy. we also learned in a scene worthy of the finest banana republic that pruitt had his staffer approach the founder of the fast food chain chik-fil-a about securing a franchise for pruitt's wife. as "the new york times" recently wrote, grifter's going to grift but i would add that pruitt's actions aren't just matters of
grift. they also reveal his civility to the interests of his fossil fuel backers over the interests of the american public. my republican colleague, senator ernst of iowa recently said pruitt's efforts to undermine the renewable fuel standard, including the abundance of waivers for refiners amount to broken promises to american farmers. he is about as swampy as you get here in washington, d.c., she said. amen. you would think that someone so corrupt would not be long for a president's cabinet. you would be wrong. just last week in the face of all of pruitt's latest scandals, president trump reaffirmed his support for his e.p.a. administrator saying that the
agency is doing really, really well under pruitt. the president doesn't see anything wrong with someone as scandal plagued as pruitt in his cabinet. what he can see is that the fossil fuel industry is solidly lined up behind its servant pruitt. he's got oil company interests and the front group they fund telling him to keep pruitt on the job because pruitt is rolling back regulations, -- regulations polluters don't like. so, let's look at how well pruitt is really doing for the polluters. let's start with pruitt's record
in the courts. a number of e.p.a.'s regulatory actions or its failures to regulate have been challenged in court. republicans continue to rubber stamp trump's activist extreme right-wing and polluter-friendly judicial nominees, but american the court, nevertheless, remain a forum in which outright lies are not countenanceed and which regulatory agencies such as e.p.a. have to demonstrate the scientific, technical, economic, and legal basis of their regulatory decisions. an agency whose political leadership disassembles or doesn't do its homework won't do well in court. so how has scott pruitt's e.p.a.
fared in the courts? in two word, not well. our environment and public works committee ranking member tom carper recently released a report analyzing pruitt's record in court. as you can see from this chart, 66 cases have been filed against pruitt's e.p.a. in relation to ethics and transparency. i know this comes as little shock given pruitt's numerous and continuing ethical shortcomings. of the 14 of these ethics cases that have already been decided by a judge, e.p.a. lost 13 of them. that is a 7% success rate for pruitt. the other 79 cases challenged
e.p.a.'s regulatory actions or inactions. now, this is what pruitt is supposed to be there for. rolling back rules, protecting public health and the environment to make his fossil fuel patrons happy. this is why he still has industry support. this is why he is still running e.p.a. despite all the scandals. you can be corrupt in this administration as long as you are corrupt for the right people. of the six of these cases that have been fully reviewed by the courts, pruitt's e.p.a. lost four of them, succeeded only in delaying arguments on one, and got another dismissed on mootness grounds after withdrawing the challenge rule. in other words, pruitt is zero for six before the courts when
it comes to defending his regulatory rollbacks. pruitt's former baseball player so he'll understand it when he's batting way below the mendoza line. the courts have blocked pruitt's attempt to delay the implementation of a rule curbing methane emissions from new oil and gas wells. methane of course being a powerful greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. the courts also blocked pruitt's effort to slow-walk e.p.a.'s revision of lead paint standards. pruitt wanted another six years to revise the standards. the courts gave him 90 days. many of pruitt's biggest regulatory actions after a slashy announcement have yet even to be finalized. so they aren't yet ripe for judicial review, but even on these half-baked rollbacks,
pruitt is making mistakes which will provide ample ammunition in court for those who will sue him. take pruitt's rule making to rescind the clean power plan, president obama's blueprint to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector. as oklahoma attorney general, pruitt sued three times to b the clean power plan. he has a long record against the clean power plan in the press., at industry conferences, and on social media. many of these same fossil fuel industry donors who have bankrolled pruitt's political career are on the other side suing to block the clean power plan. pruitt has not evenevealed the ll depth of his fiscal engagement with the fossil fuel industry, because he's never
fessed up to who gave money into his dark money political operation. so it's actually probably worse than we know. well, here's wheremerica's rule of law kicks in. america's rule of law provides that those who are interested in an agency rule making -- and i'll quote the law here -- have a right to a fair and open proceeding. that right includes access to an impartial decision-maker. here given pruitt's strident opposition to the clean power plan as attorney general combined with his sickeningly close financial and political ties with the industry opposing it, can there be any doubt that pruitt possesses what under law one would call an unultraably closed mind when it comes to the clean power plan?
courts will take notice of that sort of thing. then there's pruitt's effort to exclude certain scientific studies from consideration in rule making. pruitt claims it's to boost transparency. that couldn't be phonier. it'sen effort to boost -- it's an effort to boost two industries that are big donors to his political operations. fossil fuel and tobacco. for decades fossil fuel and tobacco have pushed to prevent regulatory agencies from considering scientific studies that rely on people's medical records. they have figured out that because people like their medical records to be private and because public health
studies rely on private medical records, if they can cook up the notion that that is somehow a transparency problem, they can take the entire corpus of public health science based on medical records and put it in the bin. blocking that public health evidence is a way for these industries to screen out the most damning evidence in actual americans' actual health records of the effects of tobacco smoke and air pollution on human health. even pruitt's own scientific advisory board isn't buying that one. he rebuffed the board's request for information about this proposed rule, and issued it without the board's input. when he claimed that his proposed rule was consistent with the position of various scientific journals and groups, those journals and groups stood
up and said oh, no. they were quick to correct the record. and e.p.a.'s scientific advisory board just voted unanimously to examine the policy anyway. you might think that such a rule may also exclude some industry-funded studies but never fear, internal e-mails obtained by union of concerned scientists show that pruitt's -- themselves former industry lobbyisnew they had to make sure that industry studies could still be considered by e.p.a. it would be great to take all the real public health studies relying on real health care information, pretend that's a transparency problem, shove them off to the side, and then have
industry-funded studies left to rely upon. well, the pruitt lackeys pulled a little trick and put in the proposed rule that the administrator can include any study he likes regardless of what the rule may require opening up a nice, safe harbor for his industry sponsors, industry-funded studies. all of this sounds pretty arbitrary and capricious to me. and arbitrary and capricious, by the way, is the legal standard courts will use to evaluate challenges to this phony baloney rule. pruitt's drive to weaken fuel economy standards also looks to be on shaky legal ground.
they cobbled together a 38-page document in april announcing pruitt's intention to roll back the 2012 auto fuel efficiency standards. that cobbled-together report is devoid of the type of serious detailed analysis that courts typically look for in such a rule making. half of that little document is just quotes from car companies objecting to the rule. by comparison, the obama administration assembled a 1,217-page document justifying those standards. chock full of real scientific, technical, and economic analysis . all of the stuff that the pruitt e.p.a. is allergic to.
once again, pruitt's work product looks pretty arbitrary and capricious. short on facts, short on analysis, long on giveaways to industries that fund him. it's entirely understandable, mr. president, that the interests to which pruitt is beholden would be fighting for him to keep his job. they love this. for them, pruitt running this public health agency into the ground is a feature, not a bug of the pruitt tenure. they are just in it for the regulatory rollbacks. but i hope they recognize that a lot of pruitt's work is so
sloppy that it will likely not ultimately stand up in court. i hope president trump understands that the guy he thinks of as hisreat deregulator isn't actually very good at deregulating. only time will tell how long scott pruitt can survive the mounting, swirling ethical ordeals of his own making, and we will also see how his industry-friendly regulatory record fares under the scrutiny of honest courts, but something tells me that i'll be back here in the not to distant future with more to say about the troubled and disgraceful tenure of scott pruitt. i yield the floor and note the
the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: over the past few days the issue of family separation has reached a feferred pitch. -- fefforred pitch. all you have to do is look at the daily newspapers and television to know that is true. this a crisis that has been surging since way back in 2014, just new reaching a new peak. i said it before and i'll say it again, i find it ridiculous to suggest that members of my political party, the republican party, somehow support the idea of separating families.
no one wants families separated. no one wants to see families exploited. to suggest otherwise is to feed the frenzy that has been whipped up over the last few days. lost in this frenzy is the reality that the only group standing to truly benefit while america's divided here are smugglers, drug cartels, and human traffickers. they know about the weakness and the loopholes in our current immigration laws, and they aren't afraid to use those weaknesses and those loopholes because for these people it's all about profit for them. so smugglers, drug cartels, and human traffickers don't then care about human lives.
back in 2015 and 2016, i questioned the obama administration's department of homeland security after receiving reports that human trafficking was increasing and some smugglers weren't being arrested even after smuggling people across the border dozens of times. the lack of consequences embolden these smugglers. at that time i also asked the obama department of homeland security about a dangerous tactic used by smugglers to pair kids with unrelated adults to create the appearance of a family unit. and the words that -- that very word appearance is very key here. knowing the legal loopholes
better than most, these smugglers knew that our laws, like the flores settlement agreement, prevented family detention. flores verses -- versus reno prohibited the custody of immigrant children even when they are with their families. through this agreement, the government sent the message that if you come alone, you'd be detained, but if you come with a family, and as a family, you will likely be released. now, understanding this, these smart smugglers knew that they could sell this false freedom and build a cruel, new business
model. in 2015, i was horrified to learn that human smuggling rings were exploiting children and selling them to theigst bidder to get to the united states and avoid detention. that's right. smugglers would use kids like pawns in an effort to help adults avoid detention when coming across the border. to truly help families, any solution we come up with must protect against this evil stunt by the smugglers. department officials reported that kids were being kidnapped and adopted, and then smuggled with their unrelated adult so-called family member to the united states. u.s. government officials would
closely -- work closely with foreign officials trying to locate and safely return these kidnapped children to their mothers and fathers. unfortunately, this doesn't always happen. just as one example, a woman paid a smuggling organization in brazil $13,000 in fees to smuggle her to the united states. so she flew from her home country of brazil to mexico where then she was paired with a minor child. she was then instructed to claim the child as her own upon arrival to the united states. after learning about this scam, i.c.e. intervened and the woman was removed. the child, however, was never
found. she'll never be reunited with her real family. she's likely separated from that real family forever, and that's all because the flaws in our country immigration system permitted, and even encouraged her, to be trafficked. i heard just yesterday that the customs and border protection have stopped hearing cases for prosecution, but that's exactly what the obama administration did during their tenure. it's exactly why we're dealing then with this terrible situation in the first place that separates children and families. failure to refer cases for prosecution will only give a green light to these smugglers,
once more putting the very kids at risk that we're worried about protecting. and we ought to be worried about protecting them. now this tactic of creating fake family units isn't new and isn't limited to just a one-time deal. last week secretary neilson reported that this tactic is still being utilized. she stated that, quote, in the last five months, we have a 314% increase of adults and children arriving at the border fraudulently claiming to be a family unit. that is obviously of concern. end of her quote. these fake family units are often provided with fraudulent documents to support that the group is actually a family unit when we all know that it's not a family unit.
there's a whole industry that exists to create fake birth certificates and many other documents that show a familia family relationship as a tactic to create these fake familiar units became more popular, the underground market exploded. smugglers are very smart and many of them are masters at gaming our own immigration system. so let me reiterate that the way the flores versus reno agreement is currently applied the government can't keep children -- immigrant children even if they are with their parents. flores discourages the federal government from keeping families
together in department of homeland security custody. if we remedy this situation, not only would we be able to keep families together, but weed also -- we would also be telling the smugglers who profit from this that their day of making millions of dollars off of the most vulnerable is over, and the most vulnerable are the kids that we're talking about aren't getting the protection that they ought to get when they are separated from their parents. so, to me, the answer to this problem appears very simple. we should repeal the flores decision only as it applies to accompany children so that the department of homeland security can keep families together in family residential centers. that's very simple, and, of
course, that's very quick. that's why last week i worked hand in hand with senator tillis to produce a bill that would do st that. senator tillis' thoughtful bl, in addition to repealing part of the flores decision, would also allow more immigrant court judges to be hired and would provide that detained families have their cases heard first. senator tillis' bill would immediately end this crisis and wouldn't return us to the failed catch and release policies that even former obama department of homeland security secretary jeh johnson acknowledges as poor public policy. so i hope my colleagues will join with senator tillis and this senate to fix this problem.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. we know that americans work harder and longer than ever before and have less and less to show for it. hard work doesn't pay off the way it used to. workers in ohio have known that for a long time, that their paychecks don't stretch far enough. and this month, the state's second largest newspaper, the columbus dispatch, reported on just how bad things are for far too many ohioans. the dispatch reported a new
study by the national low-income housing coalition and the coalition when homelessness and housing in ohio, that found, get this, that two out of the ten most common jobs in ohio, two out of the ten most common jobs in ohio, only two out of ten pay enough to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. think about the number of people in fast food restaurants. think of the number of people cleaning hotel rooms. think of the number of people that are orderlies in big hospitals. think of the number of people that do clerical work andre bank tellers, that simply don't make enough to live any kind of a lifestyle which they were kids expected to live. look at it this way. the average renter in ohio earns just over $13 an hour. the average renter in ohio earns just $13 an hour. $2 less than the $15.25 an hour they need to rent a basic two
bedroom. that's statewide. but in columbus, the city's largest city, it's worse. you need to earn $17.50 per hour to rent a basic two-bedroom apartment. policy matters of ohio has done great work on shining a light on ohioans. a report last spring found last year six of the ten most common jobs in our state paid so little, that workers would need food stamps to feed a family of three. six out of the ten most common jobs in ohio paid so little that workers would need food stamps if there were three in the household. take what this means. these are ohioans doing everything we asked for they hold down a job. they get up every day. they go to work. they're serving their community. they're holding up their end of the bargain, the bargain we're supposed to have in this country. but the corporations they work for don't pay them what they're worth. it's not just the workers in these jobs who get hurt by this.
it's obviously their families. and it's interesting it's taxpayers. here's why. when corporations refuse to pay workers a living wage, when they refuse them the opportunity to save for retirement, when they refuse to provide decent health care, they create a drag on the economy. you know why? because taxpayers pick it up. someone has to pick up the tab when corporations pay $9, $10, and $11. again, i was at my high school reunion a couple of years ago. i sat across the table at dinner, my wife and i did, with a woman who has worked for a bank, a very well known huge national bank. and she'd worked there for 30 years as a teller. she was making $30,000 a year after 30 years working as a teller. so what happens to people like her? the taxpayers end up helping to finance their generally barely adequate standard of living. no one -- i'll get to that in a second. no one working 40 hours should be forced on to food stamps or
housing vouchers or medicaid or other government aid just to stay aflt. american citizens, american taxpayers shouldn't be forced to subsidize wages for mega corporations. but that's what's happening in ohio and it's happening in wisconsin and it's happening around this country. so if someone's making $10 an hour, they're probably getting their insurance from medicaid, paid for by taxpayers. they're probably getting the earned income tax credit which is a refundable tax credit provided by taxpayers. they're probably getting food stamps provided by taxpayers, the snap benefit. they're probably getting a housing voucher. so what this means because a company only pays $10 an hour, taxpayers have to provide the rest. so taxpayers are fundamentally subsidizing these huge -- think of these huge retail operations in this country. think of these huge fast food restaurants. think of the executives for those corporations who are making $2 million, $5 million, $10 million a year.
they're not paying their line workers anything close to their economic value. you know what happens then? it means taxpayers subsidize these mega -- these huge companies with their exorbitant executive salaries. the dispatch this month talked with a home health aide who lives on the east side of columbus name karen taylor. she works hard supporting her daughter and granddaughter. she only makes $11, well below the $17 that you need in columbus to afford a family apartment. she relies on federally subsidized house. she told the "dispatch" i know how to budget. i can stretch $20 really far but wages, that's my problem. she works hard. she does her part. she needs help to make ends meet because companies refuse to pay workers like her a living wage. it doesn't have to be that way. last year, mr. president, as some in this body remember, i introduced a bill called the corporate freeloader act. works this way. if you're a huge corporation --
i mean, i'm not talking about a mom and pop restaurant. careervice with ten employees or self-ployed or 30 employees or even a hundred employees. i'm talking about a large corporation. if you're a large corps and you choose -- corporation and you choose to pay your workers so little that they are disproportionately forced on to government assistance -- again, food stamps, medicaid, earned income tax credit, subsidized housing, you pay your employees so little that they're eligible for all those programs, you need to reimburse american taxpayers. you're a huge corporation. your executives make -- executive vice presidents make a million. the senior executive vice president makes $5 million. the c.f.o. makes $7 million. the c.f.o. makes $10 million but you're paying your workers $10, $11, $12 an hour, they go to government assistance. if we pass a tax bill, not the one negotiated in the majority leader's office where all the
special interests lobbyists scurryied in and out when you turn the lights on, not -- if we passed that tax bill that gave all kinds of tax benefits to the rich, if we had passed a tax bill with my patriot corps act -- owe corporation act -- i'll talk about that in a moment -- and 9 corporate freeloader fee, we would have seen a different tax bill and would have seen a tax bill that would have said to these companies pay your workers a little better and you'll get a little better tax break. so if you're a huge corporation, you pay your workers so little, they're forced on to government assistance, you reimburse american taxpayers. that's the corporate freeloader fee. on the other hand if you're a company like a whole lot of companies in my state are, if you pay good wages, you pay $15 an hour or more, offer good benefits, if you keep jobs in this country, production in this country, you don't offshore your production to mexico or china, then you get a tax cut. that's the employer -- patriot employer tax credit.
i spoke to the president of the united states in a discussion with about ten senators months and months ago in the cabinet room about these two ideas. the president said he liked the patriot employer tax cret giving tax benefits to those who do the right thing. apparently he seemed to like the corporate freeloader fee also to punish those corporations who don't do the right thing and make them pay a fee to the government for that but in the end the president of the united states joined the majority leader and speaker of the house in writing a tax bill where 80% of the benefits five years from now, 80% of the benefits in that tax bill go to the richest 1% of people in the country. imagine, imagine instead if that tax bill, it actually had been written like this in a way that would have seen wages go up and standard of living -- standards of living go up. but instead the special interests went to work. instead of tax reform that gives companies real incentives to
invest in workers, we get a tax cut that leads to billions in stock buybacks that benefit corporate executives. the white house also said, you know, our tax bill is going to mean a $4,000 to $9,000 raise for the average american worker per year. i'm like, really? nothing, nothing even close to that has happened. instead, what companies have done is they've taken their largess provided by working class taxpayers, taken that largess that they got, the 80% of benefits going to the 1% wealthiest people in corporations, they've taken that money, they've done stock buybacks. they've enhanced, increased their own executive compensation workers got almost nothing. workers get squeezed on both ends. paychecks don't grow fast enough. corporations pay poverty at low-level wages. housing gets more expensive. think of this, mr. president, a quarter of renters, a quarter of the people who rent in my state, not much different from anywhere
else, pay half their income in housing. 400,000 renters in ohio pay half their income or more in housing. you know what that means? it means if their car breaks down, it means if a kid gets sick, if you miss work for two weeks for some reason, you're probably going to get evicted. it happens every day in every city in every community, in every rural area of my state. we know we need to do more to preserve and grow our stock of affordable housing in this country. instead the administration is making it worse. they've hiked rents by 20% for almost all of ohio families that receive housing assistance. back to miss taylor in columbus, ohio. she's a home health aide, still isn't paid enough. average rent for columbus families would go up 22%. you thinker company is going to pay her 22% more or even 10% or 5%? but her housing is going up because of a decision by dr. carson ratified -- ratified by the white house to cut those -- cut that help, reduce that
help. housing, health care, education, gas, transportation, all get more expensive. workers' wages aren't going up. aren't keeping up because corporations don't value workers. we know one solution to this problem. giving workers a voice in the workplace. not a single worker can't take on the corporation, can't take on the c.e.o., can't take on the behemoths in the executive suite. that's why you need collective bargaining. last september 400 security officers in columbus got a raise from as low as $9 to a minimum of $12.45 an hour. they signed their first union contract with service employees international union log 1. that union brought them a $-- minimum $2.50 raise. it's still below what workers need but it's progress because they've joined together. they've demanded a unified voice in the companies they helped build. it's not just union. we need stronger workplace
standards to make sure the workers get the pay they earned. two years ago in columbus, ohio, the vice president of the united states, i stood with the vice president and the secretary of labor, and we announced an overtime rule where 130,000 ohioans got a pay increase or were a-- or were working fewer hours for the same amount of money. here's how it, woulded. if you're -- worked. if you're the supervisor on the night shift at a fast food restaurant and you're making $35,000 a year and your company decides -- a fast food restaurant, big national company, decides to call you management, th c make you work 50 hours, 60 hours, 70 hours a week and pay you not a cent of oversame. so this -- overtime. so this updating of the federal overtime rule that we did, that the secretary of labor did with vice president biden and president obama three or four years ago, this update of the overtime rule, 130,000 ohioans
will get paid for that 45th, or 50th hour, they'll go time and a half instead of straight salary because the company classified overtime. unfortunately the folks in the white house, the folks who promised to drain the swamp have sided with the fast food restaurants and with the big employers and are trying to strip away the overtime rules so the workers continue to have to work 50 or 60 hours and don't get a dime for it. less time with their children, less time with their family, less lee sure time, less pay. all that happens with that. so whose side with these people on? fundamentally who's side are they on? they're always on the side of the wealthy, they're always on the side of the richest corporations, always on the side of privilege. never on the side of people that fight and work and struggle just to get -- just to stay above water. at the same time we need to go after corporations that misclassify their workers. they pretend they're independent contractors so they can avoid paying into medicare or social
security, paying their share of taxes and wages. housing -- from housing to wages to workers' rights, we need to change how we think about these issues. it's not multinational corporations that drive the economy. it's workers. you know what? mr. president, since 2010, since the auto rescue, every single month from 2010 until this month at least, june 2018, every month we've had an increase in the number of net jobs created in this country. every month since 2010. granted, the growth -- the president's comments notwithstanding, the growth of jobs in 2017 was less than the five years before. but we've in this slowly increasing economy where job growth isn't as big as we wanted, wage growth certainly isn't as big as we want, but we've seen it because in 2010 and 2011 and 2012 and 2013, the government understood that you grow an economy from the middle up. you don't give tax cuts to the richest people saying it's going to trickle down.
you give tax breaks and you focus on growth in the economy in the middle out. so workers making minimum wage get raises. workers -- but it's -- as i said, it's not multinational corporations that drive the economy. it's workers making minimum wage. it's workers paid in tips. it's workers on factory floors, workers behind desks, workers in hospital wards, in restaurant richens, in classroom. workers on salary, workers punching the clock. fighting for t little guy whether she punches a clock, whether he workers in an office. fighting for the little guy, whether he works construction or whether he works manufacturing. fighting for the little guy, whether he sits behind a computer terminal or whether she's midlevel management in a fast-food restaurant. you grow the economy from the middle class out. if work -- but if you don't value work, americans can't earn their way to a better life for fare family, no matter how hard they work. that's what people around here don't understand. i sat in this -- i sat at this
desk watching a very close vote last year where 49 of my colleagues -- 49 out of 100 colleagues, all of whom have government-paid health insurance, stood on this floor and voted yes to taking away insurance in my state of 900,000 people, wisconsin 400,000, or 500,000 people, u.s. senators that have these jobs, these titles, these benefits, will were willing to take insurance away frommens-thousands of americans in my state alone. if work isn't valued, if my colleagues don't understand the value of works and they don't seem to frankly with the way so many of my colleagues vote, americans can't earn their way to a better life for their families, again no matter how hard they work. that's what we have to change. until wall street, until corporate boardrooms, until members of the united states senate respect a hard day's
work, we'll continue to see the consequences. the gap between wall street and main street will keep growing. it'll be harder and harder for workers to afford housing and other expenses. our middle class will continue to shrink, as it has, and our economy -- and our economic growth will continue to lag behind. we can work together to fix that. i note the absence of a quorum, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. roberts: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. roberts: for the information of our colleagues, the senate will proceed to the bill tomw morning at 10:00, and the amendment process will begin after senator stabenow and
i offer the bipartisan substitute, the first amendment offered on this side will be the thune amendment on the conservation preserve program. there will be no further roll call votes tonight, and i yield to my distinguished colleague, the ranking member of the committee, senator stabenow. ms. stabenow: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank y, mr. president. i just want to say that i'm pleased that we're moving forward and looking forward to the first amendment we'll be voting on, senator thune's amendment, which i'm very supportive of. i'm looking forward to working with colleagues as we move through the bill. hopefully we're on the road to getting this done this week. i would at this point suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. daines: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: i ask unanimous consent that the senate be in a period of morning business -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. daines: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: i ask unanimous consent the committee on homeland security and governmental affairs be discharged from further consideration of s. 2385 and the national proceed to immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 2385, a bill to establish best practices for state, praoeubl, and local -- tribal and local governments participating in the integrated public alert and warning system,
and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. daines: mr. president, i ask furth tt the schatz amendment which is at the desk be considered and agreed to, the bill as amended be considered read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that not withstanding the passage of h.r. 5895, and the adoption of amendment number 2910 to h.r. 5895, previously agreed to amendment number 2920 and 2999 be considered and having been agreed to following adoption of the amendment number 3066, and that the instruction line for amendment number 2920 be modified with the changes at the desk. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate
completes its business today it adjourn until 10:00 a.m., wednesday, june 27. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour 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 morni business be closed. finally, i ask that following the leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of the motion to proceed to h.r. 2, with all postcloture time being expired. the presiding officer: without jection. mr. daines: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. order. veion to the floor later.
mitchell, plans a final vote on the floor farm bill this week. more live senate coverage tomorrow on c-span2. th pas week with the help o cable partners c-span bus travel to juneau and haines alaska. as part of our 50 t-uppercase-letter where the bus continues the trip across alaska to our nexttop in for bank. c-spanrogrammings valble for alaskans. for most of us it's the only way to get your delegation hard at work in washington. they are proud to carry c-span for a number of reasons, especially for their emphasis on education. from lesson plans and handouts and timely teachable videos and educator conferences and c-span classroom offers resources to teachers and add value to today's classroom. >> thank you for being part of it and bringing your awesome
bus to fairbanks. the tour of that was incredible. i heard stories of driving up to alcan and the things they saw on the way coming to alaska was a nice trip what i heard. i've driven it a few times myself and it is an awesome trip. we are so glad you're back came here. were glad you're using it as a tool to bring fairbanks nationwide. >> c-span is 40 years old. it's much older than me. that's a joke by the way. [laughter] what i appreciate is that it's not partisan. you watch the sparring that takes place, you watch your delegations talk back and forth. it's extremely informative and very educational. one of the best things on the bus, and i'm a techie so i hope they take me with them on their tour because i would spend hours on that bus, but if you go in and look at the
video screens, they are interactive. people can learn. kids canearn about government. government doesn't have to be a bad word. >> be sure to join us july 21 and 22nd when we will feature our visit to alaska. watch alaska weekend on c-span, c-span.org or listen with the free c-span radio app. fbi director christopher rate and depth the attorney general rod rosenstein testify thursday before the house judiciary committee about actions taken by the fbi and the justice department during the 2016 elections, including the clinton e-mail investigation. at thursday at 1:00 p.m. eastern or listen with the free c-span radio app. looking ahead to tomorrow, housing and urban development secretary ben carson will be on capitol hill to testify at a house financial services
oversight hearing. that will be live tomorrow morning starting at ten eastern on c-span three. coming up in the afternoon at 230 eastern, president trump picked to lead the veterans affairs department. robert wilkie will sit before the committee with his confirmation hearing. that is also live on c-span three. coverage of both hearings is also online if you can.org and you can listen with the free c-span radio app. earlier today senate agriculture committee chair pat roberts and the committee's ranking member debbie spoke about the farm bill that was approved by the senate agriculture committee which they both support. this is about 20 minutes. >> madam president, i rise c today as the senate considers legislation on an issue that is critically important to our nation. the agriculture improvement act of 2018, the farm bill.