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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 27, 2018 10:00am-12:01pm EDT

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florida. we take you live now to the u.s. supreme court, which continues work today on the farm bill. we are expecting votes on amendments to the legislation. live coverage of the senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, this day our hearts rise up to meet you, and our lips extol your wonderful works in the earth. great is your faithfulness.
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today, may your peace go with our lawmakers wherever you lead them, enabling them to feel the wonder of your sacred presence. lord, give them the wisdom to find true life in serving others, becoming your ambassadors to our nation and world. inspire the hearts of our senators to obey your precepts, as they discover the delight of doing your will. help them to see that their well-being is inextricably bound to the well-being of their neighbors. inspire them to share
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compassion, patience, and courage. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: it is my privilege to welcome a special group of americans to
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washington. more kentucky veterans are touching down today in our nation's capital. they're coming to remember fallen comrades and visit the memorials dedicated to their own service. earlier this month, i was lucky enough to spend time with a flight of world war ii veterans who arrived in time for the 74th anniversary of the d-day invasion. today's flight includes veterans of world war ii along with korea and vietnam. on behalf of the commonwealth and all americans, i'm plowed to thank -- i'm proud to thank them for their service. next week we celebrate our independence day, so let's not forget that the freedoms we enjoy come at a cost. let's take time to thank the heroes who have paid it and those who continue to pay it today. now, on a completely different matter, today the senate will continue our work on the farm bill. the bipartisan collaboration of roberts and stabenow have given all senators the opportunity to
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review and consider this important legislation. now we start the amendment process. ideas from many of our colleagues have already been included in the robert roberts' substitute amendment but they're open to considering additional amendments. we'll start with the conservation reserve program and go on from there. but it remains our intention to finish consideration of the bill this week. this bill is too important to let it languish. this is our chance to support the farm families, producers, and rural communities on whom our nation depends. and make no mistake about it, they need that support. american farmers are staring down falling commodity prices and living under the constant threat of droughts or floods or other natural disasters. they're looking for certainty and predictability. this farm bill delivers. the fact is, without the solid
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foundation of the farm bill and the certainty it provides, many farmers and ranchers would not be able to get operating loans to farm for another year. those are the words of the president of the american farm bureau federation, which passionately supports this bill. so do the agricultural equipment manufacturers, so do the national association of counties, so do many other groups dedicated to agriculture, business, hunger prevention and the health of rural america. that's because this legislation provides the immediate assistance and stability that farmers count on to keep feeding and supporting this country right now and because it will empower our farmers and ranchers to invest for the future. chairman roberts described this perfectly yesterday. here's what he said. it takes the government providing tools and then getting out of the producers' way. on the latter point, i'm most excited about a provision in this bill that will clear the way for the legal farming of
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industrial hemp by removing roadblocks preventing them from capitalizing on this crop. american farmers have not been able to grow industrial hemp in their fields. that doesn't mean consumers aren't buying it. far from it. it is in everything from health products to home insulation. the global market for hemp is estimated to consist of more than 25,000 products. according to one estimate, back in 2016, u.s. retail sales of hemp products total approximately $688 million. last year alone, kentucky hemp recorded more than $16 million in product sales through the state's pilot program. so american consumers are buying hemp but thanks to heavyhanded regulation, the only option at scale is importing hemp from foreign producers. enough is enough.
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industrial hemp is a completely different plant than its illicit cousin. it is time we get washington off the the way and let american farmers meet the growing demand of american consumers. in the last farm bill i championed a hemp pilot program that opened the door to some exploration. i recently heard from a fifth-generation kentucky farmer from garrett county who participates in the program. here's what he said. we had no idea what it would turn into. he says, growing hemp has been career-defining for me, beyond anything i'd ever imagined. at a time when the farm economy is struggling, it's encouraging to hear such enthusiasm for a new potential cash crop. another farmer wrote and asked fin to, quote, continue your efforts until we grow, research, and market this crop freely without undo restrictions. we have merely scratched the surface of the countless benefits that come from this plant.
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hemp will be a bright spot for our future. it's full of economic potential for kentucky and the nation. so, mr. president, we should pass the farm bill without delay. let's address farmers' immediate needs, give them new tools to help secure their future and let's get washington out of the way in the cases where outdated policies are holding them back. the bill before senior senator a prime example -- the bill before success a prime example of the good that can come when we work together. i look forward to the senate passing it for kentucky's farm families. on one final matter, this week i've been discussing how the tax cuts and jobs act is creating breathing room in family budgets. yesterday i focused on the tax cuts themselves. lower rates, double standard deduction, a bigger child tax credit. it adds up to serious savings for middle-class families. today i want to discuss the permanent pay raises, bonuses
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and new benefits that tax reform has enabled u.s. businesses to provide for their workers. remember, this is exactly what our democratic colleagues insisted tax reform would not -- would not bring about. to quote my friend, the democratic leader, right here on the senate floor in december, there's nothing about this tax bill that's suited to the needs of the american worker. well, republicans knew better. we listened to the economists who explained in an open letter that the question isn't whether workers will be helped by a corporate tax rate reduction, it's how much they'll be helped. the reason is simple. american workers can only thrive if the american businesses that employ them are given the tools to compete and win on the world stage.
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and here's what they need to compete -- a 21st century tax code. most economists agree that the real impact of tax reform on worker wages is a long-term proposition. the wage gains will roll in over the months and years ahead. but it's remarkable how quickly a number of american businesses made immediate investments in their workers. at charter communications, which employs 95,000 people nationwide, the base wage has already risen to $15 per hour because of tax reform. beginning in april, c.v.s. implemented a new fully paid parental leave program for full-time employees because of tax reform. educational opportunities are expanding for nearly 400,000 mcdonald's employees across the country, after tax reform allowed the company to ramp up tuition assistance. tax reform has enabled l.a. seed
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group, a major health care employer with more than 50 locations and,3,600 employees in kentucky alone, to grow the 401(k) options the company sponsors. workers at businesses of every shape and size are being helped all across our country. bonuses at a grain merchandiser in chester, montana, a quarter million-dollar expansion plan that create 20 new jobs in ohio. it appears tax reform is very well-suited to the needs of american workers after all. it's well-suited to the needs of hardworking parent whose pocketed thousand-dollar bonuses. it's well-suited too the needs of young americans on the first rungs of the economic lard house employers can now offer more help with continuing education. this might come it is a a surprise to our democratic
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friend whose oppose tax reform at every turn. it certainly doesn't surprise those of us who fought for the american people.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to h.r. 2, which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to h.r. 2, an act to provide for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs at the department of agriculture through fiscal year 2023 and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, all postcloture time is expired. the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. all opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the bill. the clerk: calendar number 4 l 3, h.r. 2, aen act to provide for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other
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programs of the department of agriculture -- mr. roberts: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the reading be i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. roberts: i call up the substitute amendment. officer the clerk will report. the clerk: mr. roberts proposes an amendment numbered 3224. strike all after the enacting clause -- mr. roberts: mr. president, i ask that the reading of the amendment be waived. -- of the substitute amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i call up thune amendment 3134. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: mr. mcconnell for in thune proposes amendment be amendment 3124. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the reading be waived. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. roberts: plop? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: thank you, mr. president. i rise today as the senate considers legislation on an issue that is critically foreign our nation, the agriculture improvement act of 2018, the farm bill. the goal, the responsibility, the absolute requirement is to provide farmers, ranchers, and growers, everyone within america's agriculture and food and value chain certainty and predictability during these difficult times. we are indeed in a rough patch with regard to agriculture. many of my colleagues have introduced legislation over the last year that increased priorities and stakeholders in their states. the bill that passed the agriculture committee with a
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strong 20-1 vote earlier this vote addresses many of those concerns. in fact, the ag committee passed product including portions of 65 stand-alone bills and an additional 73 amendments were adopted in the committee. and we have also included 18 amendments in today's substitute amendment. needless to say, we have worked to include as many priorities from members both on and off the ag committee, and we want to continue to work with members to address their concerns. that's why we're here. we are endeavoring to craft a farm bill that meets the needs of producers all across -- across all regions and all crops. all of agriculture is struggling, not just one or two commodities. we must have a bill that works across all of our great nation.
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that means with bipartisan support we must do our job. we must pass a bill that provides our farmers and ranchers in rural communities the much-needed certainty and predictability they deserve. i appreciate the bipartisan support that we have had today, of those on the ag committee who voted to report a bill in such a strong manner and other members of the senate, and i look forward to working with my colleagues on continuing to move this process forward. i won't say that it's an emergency, but we have to move this bill to provide farmers certainty and predictability during the very tough times that they face. i yield the floor. ms. stabenow: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, mr. president. i just want to concur with the comments of our chairman, senator roberts.
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i believe we have 91 amendments all together between the work of the committee on a bipartisan basis and the work that we have put into the substitute. we have listened and worked together with colleagues on both sides of the aisle and put forward a package of bipartisan amendments that will allow us to move forward in a way that will provide certainty for our farmers and ranchers as well as our families. now we take the next step, and we are looking forward to working with colleagues to move this forward to get to a final vote this week. thank you. mr. roberts: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: thank you, mr. president. i would like to read the amendments that are included in the substitute that my distinguished colleague,
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ms. stabenow, having working on and the diligent staff. they are senator jones, senator smith, senator kennedy, number 3097, senator murkowski, 3110, senator hatch 3125, senator merkley 3147, senator tester 3148, senator gillibrand 3154, senator gardner 3157, senator moran 3159, senator collins 3160, senator peters 3164, senator shaheen 3172, senator feinstein 3177, senator cornyn 3186, senator cantwell and senator crapo 3209, senator gardner again 3218, and senator grassley. i would only note this represents 18 amendments, including the substitute. extremely bipartisan. i have read republican,
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democrat, democrat, republican, all through these 18 amendments. we have proceeded that way in committee. we are proceeding this way on the floor. i would urge members to bring their amendments to the floor for consideration, and hopefully the amendments will be in the nature that we can consider them without controversy. i know that people have strong concerns about whatever amendment they would introduce, but again the ultimate goal is to do this quickly and to provide farmers certainty and predictability during this difficult time that they're going through. i hope members will keep that in mind with regards to any amendment they may consider. i yield the floor.
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mr. roberts: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes. mr. durbin: i ask unanimou -- did. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent it be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: last night in a federal district court a judge sitting in san diego made a critical ruling that will affect the lives of thousands of people who are the focal point of america's attention over the last several weeks. judge sabrow was appointed to the federal bench by president george w. bush. reading about him online, he is a japanese american who has a background in private practice of law before he ascended to the
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federal bench. he was given the responsibility of ruling on the zero tolerance policy of the trump administration. you remember that policy it started on may 1. it was a decision by the trump administration and attorney general sessions to separate children from their mothers and parents if they attempted to enter the united states without legal authorization. the net result of that policy was the separation of thousands of children from their parents. it's been in the news almost every day for weeks now. and a firestorm of opposition came about on both political sides of the aisle. democrats and republicans said this is unfair. it's not right. and even the first ladies democrat and republican came together in an unusual show of unanimity opposing president trump and attorney general
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session's zero tolerance policy. attorney general sessions defended the policy saying he had biblical defense for what we were doing. president trump made it clear that he was behind the policy as well, but the opposition grew and grew in its intensity to the point where there were statements made by the pope as well as an evangelical support of the president, franklin graham, calling the administration's decision immoral. immoral. late last week president trump issued an executive order saying he was ending this family separation, but that order didn't contain one word about what was going to happen to these children. no resolution of the whole question of reuniting these children with their parents. i learned about this matter months ago. well, several weeks ago at least, when we learned that a mother from the congo had made
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it through south america and central america to our border in california, presenting herself with her six-year-old daughter, asking for asylum because of fear of persecution and death back in her home country. that happened six months ago, and they removed her six-year-old daughter from her custody and flew the girl 2,000 miles to chicago. so the mother remained in san diego. the daughter was in chicago, and that's when we learned about it in my office. we started pursuing it. and after we brought it to the attention of the department of homeland security, they said that that wasn't the policy, and they were going to work on it. they did reunite the mother and child, but it led to this lawsuit, the lawsuit that judge sabraw ruled on last night. mr. president, first, i ask unanimous consent that the opinion of the court in its entirety be entered into the "congressional record" at this point. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. durbin: thaufp. let me read -- thank you very much. let me read some of the words judge sabraw wrote in his conclusion last night about the zero tolerance policy. the unfolding events of the zero tolerance policy, the judge writes, serve to corroborate the plaintiff's allegations. the facts set forth before the court portray reactive governance, responses to address a chaotic circumstance of the government's own making. they belie measured and ordered governance, which is central to the concept of due process enshrined in our constitution. this is particularly so in treatment of migrants, many of whom are asylum seekers and small children. the extraordinary remedy of class-wide preliminary injunction is warranted based on the evidence before the court and for the reasons set out
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above the court grants class wide preliminary injunction and finds as tpolgs. it goes into details, and i won't read it in its entirety since it's going to be printed in the record. but they say clearly they are enjoining the government, the trump administration, from separating minor children from their parents. they go on to say that they are also ordering this trump administration to reunify all class members with their minor children who are under the age of five within 14 days of the entry of this order, and defendants must reunify all class members with their minor children age five and over within 30 days of the entry of the order. defendants must -- and this is the government -- immediately take all steps necessary to facilitate regular communication between class members and their children. the court went on to say within
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ten days the government, defendants, must provide parents telephonic contact with their children if the parent is not already in contact with his or her child. last saturday the department of health and human services issued what i consider to be a rosy and misleading press release about how much information they had about the parents and their children and how much telephone communication was taking place. i will tell you having contacted various people who are really well aware of the situation, they really overstated the contact information as well as contacts between parents and children. but now they're being tested. the court has told them return these children to their parents. last friday i was in chicago at one of the agencies that was the custodian for 66 of these children who have been the victims of president trump's zero tolerance policy.
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it was an experience i still remember, and i won't ever forget. to see six little children walk into a conference room where i was sitting -- little kids -- and learn that two of them that i thought might be twins because they had similar hairdos, were in fact as one of them said to me just amigas, friends. one was five years old and one was six years old. it's hard for me as a father to remember my kids that age, but i can sure visualize my grandkids who are now six, seven, and eight, and try to imagine for a moment if they had been separated by their parents for thousands of miles, for weeks as a time. that was the policy of zero tolerance, to put pressure on those coming to this country seeking asylum. i just left a meeting downstairs with a person i admire greatly. his name is king abdullah of
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jordan. i admire him for so many things. his efforts to find peace in the middle east. but especially because that tiny kingdom of jordan in the middle east has done something which should be a lesson to the world. that nation of seven million jordanians has accepted three million refugees. three million refugees. it's a political peril for them to have that large a population within their borders, and yet time and time again refugees have presented themselves to jordan and have been given not only humane treatment, but good treatment under the circumstances. the united states and many other nations have helped, and i'm glad we have. it's the right thing to do. but compare what we have done in the united states when it comes to refugees. historically we've accepted 75,000 to 100,000 refugees a year after careful screening and inspection and vetting. in some cases we went way beyond that. when cubans came over and said they wanted to escape castro's
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communism, we opened our doors, and thank goodness we did. they made a great addition to america. three members of the united states senate are cuban americans, and i'm sure they're very proud of their family heritage. we opened our doors to cuban refugees. we opened our doors to refugees as well from the soviet union, people who wanted to practice their jewish religion and felt they were being discriminated against. we opened our doors for the vietnamese after the war to come here and be part of america because they had been on our side fighting for freedom in that country and ran the risk of being killed. time and time and time again the united states has opened its doors. but what has happened under this administration? first the president announced last year that he was reducing the number of refugees which would be allowed in america to 50,000 a year, a dramatic cut-back. and how many have been accepted so far this year as we come to over the halfway point of this fiscal year? 18,000.
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18,000 refugees, after careful screening only 18,000. i believe we can do better, and i believe there are those in need of help. and i believe this is the definition of who we are as americans. the way we treat the people at our borders, if we are humane, if we're civilized, if we are caring, it's a message to the world. if we're the opposite, it's also a message to the world. so right now we have to look at the score board. the kids have won and zero tolerance has lost. i hope know that we can sit down and come up with a rational, reasonable approach. america cannot accept every person who wants to live here. i wish we could, but we can't. we have to have an orderly process, and we must have border security. but we need to do it with calculator -- do it with clarity and with humanity, and we need to follow our constitution which the president i hope was reminded of as a result of this decision last night. this decision says that due
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process is part of that constitution and that this chaotic governance of this administration is not consistent with that constitution and its principles. it's time now for the president to understand that, to reunite these children within 14 days, those under the age of five, and within 30 days those under the age of 18 need to be reunited as well. then we can move forward and put this sad chapter in american history behind us. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i understand the democratic leader may be on his way. i'll yield the floor when he comes. but i do want to respond to the comments made by my friend, the senator from illinois, the democratic whip. i think that what he is proposing is a false choice. he says we need to do away with zero tolerance when it comes to
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enforcing our immigration laws. basically what that means is an argument of nonenforcement of our immigration laws. we can actually enforce our immigration laws and keep families together, and indeed we have a proposal which i know he's very familiar with, to do precisely that, proposed by senator tillis and senator cruz. and i know he and senator feinstein are talking to them and hopefully can come up with a bipartisan solution. but the argument that somehow this is a new phenomenon is just not borne out by the facts. we all remember 2014 when the vast wave of unaccompanied children coming across the border from central america was called a humanitarian crisis by president obama. and it was because we simply were not prepared to deal with the medical and other needs -- feed, house, and take care of these tens of thousands of children that were streaming
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across the border, because central america basically has some very serious problems which are resulting in people fleeing from those countries and seeking in many cases asylum here in the united states. but the idea that president trump started something new when he decided to enforce the law, or that this phenomenon of children coming across the border is something new is simply not the case. it's been happening a long, long time. and back when president obama was detaining families, was separating families on some occasions when the accommodations weren't available to deal with them together, we didn't hear a peep out of our friends on the other side of the aisle. when 1,500 children unaccompanied from central america placed with sponsors here in the united states who are not american citizens, are
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not even family members, and were not -- did not have criminal background checks, when 1,500 of those children were unaccounted for and reported in "the new york times" recently, that is the result of the flawed policies in the past in dealing with this humanitarian crisis. so we do agree on one thing, and that is families ought to be kept together. the president has said as much. but what every single democrat across the aisle has agreed to is a bill by our friend from california, senator feinstein, which simply goes from zero tolerance when it comes to violating immigration laws to zero enforcement. what that bill would result in is a return to the flawed catch and release policies of the past because we simply, if you can't enforce the law, if you don't have the immigration judges, if you don't prioritize these family cases, then you have to
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give people a notice to appear at some time in the future. and of course most of them do not show up for their court hearings, and the casualties and human smugglers whose business model depends on their ability to exploit these gaps in american law, they win. they win because they will successfully have circumvented enforcement of american immigration laws. and those are the people who benefit the most from this. i am very sympathetic to the circumstances of these children and families living in central america but we simply, as my colleague said, we can't accept anybody and everybody who wants to come to the united states under any and all circumstances. that's why we have a legal system of immigration. that's why we have a due process to consider asylum claims, which should be considered and should be expedited, in my view, while these family units are detained. but to simply say we're going to
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go from zero tolerance of immigration law violation to zero enforcement and return to a catch-and-release policy which associated with huge surges in additional immigration, according to the rio grande valley border patrol chief who i was with just this last friday, is just -- is a big mistake. the american people understand we need to enforce our immigration laws. they are compassionate, as we all would hope to be, about keeping these families together as much as we can. but at some point we need to enforce our laws, which means in this case, with these family units, they need to be detained in a secure and safe and humane facility, but then they need to present those claims to an immigration judge on a prioritized basis and if they
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don't meet the legal criteria, then we simply don't have any alternative but to return them to their home country. that's the law of the land. so 83% of the children in u.s. custody now came unaccompanied because their parents sent them from central america up by themselves. only 17% came as part of a family unit. so this is a long-standing problem, and we need to fix it. we have legislation that would do that, and we need to pass it this week, in my view. i see the distinguished democratic leader here, and i'm -- and i yield the floor. mr. durbin: would the senator yield for a question? mr. cornyn: sure. mr. durbin: i would like to make one point, if i might and ask a question. when president obama, who was my colleague in the senate and friend, came up with family detention policies, under his administration, i objected as well. and i can show to the senator
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from texas the objection. mr. cornyn: i didn't mean to suggest that he didn't object back then. but then-president obama had the same policies that are being objected to under president trump. mr. durbin: the question i have for the senator from texas is this. if our goal is to make sure that the person presenting himself or herself at the border actually appears as scheduled for the required hearings to be considered for eligibility under american law, if that is our goal, i'd like to suggest to the senator from texas -- and i think he can find in miss own state evidence of this -- that over 90% of those in that circumstance appear at the hearing as required, if they have one of three things. either legal counsel, secondly have case management, which is the counsel of groups like catholic charities and lutheran family services, or in some circumstances ankle brace lets where the government can monitor
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where they are. over 90% show up as required by hearing. it costs us somewhere in the range of $4 or $5 a day. it costs over $300 day to detain families, each member of the family. it's certainly not in the best interest of taxpayers to spend an amendment that is unnecessary. wouldn't the senator agree that we ought to look for alternatives to detention which also guarantee the appearance of individuals? mr. cornyn: mr. president, i would respond to my friend from illinois, i think alternatives to detention are a reasonable thing to look at. but the point is, people need to show up for their court hearing because right now, without detention, based on catch-and-release policies, these people simply fade away into the landscape and basically win the lottery when it comes to immigrating into the united states without making a legitimate asylum claim. i would say on the
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representation issue, i certainly support pro bono legal counsel being allowed to represent these asylum seekers and i believe that is the practice now. i would be reluctant to ask the american taxpayer to fund a lawyer for every immigrant who shows up at the border and makes a claim for an immigration benefit. i think that might be a bridge too far. but i do think that pro bono legal counsel makes a lot of sense to me. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: and i thank my friends from illinois and texas for yielding the floor to me amidst that interesting debate. now, yesterday a federal judge ordered the trump administration to immediately reunify the families who were separated by the administration's policy. it certifies what we in the congress already expect -- that the administration will expend all resources at its disposal to
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immediately reunite the over 2,000 families who have been separated. this should be the president's first order of business, to undo the harm he's caused through his chaotic and cruel family separation policy. in addition to this effort, democrats believe we should start addressing the root cause of the migrant crisis -- attacking the disease as well as we believe that central american countries should conduct asylum processing within their own countries. we believe the united states should help governments in central america crack down on the ability of gangs and cartels to operate freely and the ruthlessly in their countries. and we believe that we should go after the drug cartels, smugglers with increased sanctions. there were robust actions launched in the last administration to do exactly that and they were showing
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progress. president trump in a shortsighted fashion proposed significant cuts to aid and resources used to fight the cartels and stop the violence in central america. this is not only dangerous, but it shows a basic lack of understanding. there is a pretty simple reason people are fleeing central america -- it's the impunity of these gangs and cartels and the brutal violence they spread. many of the young people who want to escape being killed are then forced to use smugglers and other coyotes and carry drugs into this country through no fault of their own. we should stop this there in ways that we have been successful in colombia, and that would greatly reduce the number of people coming to the border, and that would make things easier for our country, but it would also make their lives a lot better and safer if they could file an asylum claim in their home country and get it
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adjudicated quickly. so this is what we democrats, many of us, are going to propose in about an hour. we don't -- there are other things we can also do, but we're addressing this issue today. president trump needs to end the inhumanity and chaos at the border, but we have to develop a real strategy to go after the cartels and gangs in central america, curbing the violence that send migrants to our borders in the first place. later today i'll be joining a bunch of my colleagues to lay out how we believe the united states should go about this. now second, mr. president, on china, i've long argued that the best way to make progress from our trade relationship with china is to be consistently tough until real concessions are won. china has abused trade norms for more than a decade, stealing our intellectual property, our know-how, illegally durbining
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artificially cheap products in our market and denying our companies into their markets unless they sign away their know-how and intellectual property. previous attempts to force coalmine to change the its behavior have been halting and milquetoast at best. these efforts have largely failed. so while we disagree on a lot of things, i would happy to hear president trump talk as if he had learned the lessons of the past. he has at times pursued a tough, aggressive course of action against china. but he seems to be unable to consistently team pressure on china. every time i think he is going down the right path, he turns around and gives them a pass on something. take the chinese telecom giant z.t.e. out of the blue president trump relaxed penalties on z.t.e. and reduced -- and loosened restrictions on its sale in the u.s. despite the fact it's been
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labeled a national security threat by the our military. why the? it seems to no end other than to placate president xi, hardly our friend on economic issues. this morning after threatening a tough, new approach to limit china's ability to invest in the united states where national security was concerned, the trump administration has once again backed off, it seems. instead, the president seems to be endorsing a bill here in congress to expand the authority of cfius, the committee on foreign investment in the u.s. that's a good provision in the ndaa. many of us wanted it to go further, expanding cfius not just to military and national security but to economic security as well. but it's not sufficient, not sufficient, mr. president. you're backing out again. president xi is outfoxing you,
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outplaying you again. once again we get the tough talk and no action. this happens over and over and over again. -- with this president and this administration. why are we waiting to impose real pressure on china for its effort to undermine our nation's economic wellspring? it is another example of president trump starting down the tough path with china and then just veering off-course for reasons unexplained, sometimes for whims. it appears there is a tug of war in the administration over just how strong a president should be with china. one week he is pulled in one direction, the next the opposite. but if we're going to convince the chinese government we're serious, the united states must be strong, tough, and consistent. otherwise the president's approach will not succeed in changing china's behavior or convincing president xi that he means business. to the detriment of american workers, american businesses, and the economy for generations
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to come. one final topic -- the supreme court, on what they did yesterday and today. yesterday the supreme court ruled that california was violating the first amendment by requiring that, quote, crisis pregnancy centers provide information to their patients about abortions. it comes alongside a rule to affirm the president's travel ban in which the majority also bent over backwards to accept president trump's position. you'd have to be living with your head in the sand over the past two years not to see a racial, religion animus behind the president's decision to ban travel into the united states from muslim-majority countries. now, unfortunately, both cases were decided 5-4. five conservative judges ruling against california law and the travel ban. anyone watching the bench at the moment ought to be shaking their heads at the political polarization of the court. and the abortion case makes it
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even worse. as justice breyer pointed out in his dissent in the 1992 california case where the supreme court upheld a pennsylvania law requiring a doctor to provide information about abortion -- adoption services, in other words, clinics performing aborks, helping women, had to provide alternative information, but now the shoe on the other foot. california passed a law that said that clinics that tried to dissuade women from abortions, which is their right, also had to provide them information about abortion. and the majority argued that there was somehow -- the majority ruled one way in the one case and one way in the other case. if free speech works in the one, why doesn't it work in the other? and if allowing it -- allowing the antiabortion clinics the
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right to not talk about abortions, why are the abortion clinics not allowed to talk about the other? there is a total contradiction. total contradiction. the majority somehow argued there was a glaring difference between the two cases, but it's plainly sophistry. in fact there was little to no difference between these two cases. again, let me just state it exactly. if -- if -- an abortion clinic should be required to give information about alternatives, why shouldn't an antiabortion clinic be required to do the same exact thing? why does free speech apply it to one and not the other? why does lack of free speech fit one and not the other? and, you know, many of us see this court, many americans see
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this court in a much more negative light than we used to. chief justice roberts, famously claimed in his confirmation hearing, he called the balls and the strikes as he sees them. here we have the chief justice of the supreme court leading a majority, departing from a clear precedent to affirm a conservative ideology. an antichoice ideology. no one, no one can see justice roberts' decision in the california case as calling balls and strikes. instead, it's a wild political pitch. and i would say to the chief justice, you are demeaning the court you seek to uphold in this type of contradiction and the dissenting opinion showed its outrage at it. and now just a moment ago, the court ruled on the janis decision, an idea that the first amendment right -- in the janis
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decision, the court said people had a first amendment right not to join a union. that's a crazy idea cooked up by conservative -- the conservative antilabor movement and pursued relentlessly until a favorable collection of judges would accept such a hair-brained theory. the first amendment and the right to organize, they are two totally separate things, but somehow the hard right first pays for these think tanks which come up with these ideas, and then they assemble enough people in the court who see things politically. not constitutionally, not legally, not ideologically to affirm this decision. unions are only 6% of private sector america. they are declining in membership. it's a reason the middle class
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doesn't make more money even in this prosperous economy. this is an awful decision. it's going to increase polarization, economic polarization in this country. it's going to make it harder for middle-class people to earn a decent living. and sooner or later, sooner or later, people are going to get so angry that lord knows what will happen. the american people are now seeing the results of a coordinated political campaign by deep-pocketed conservative interests to influence the bench, all the way up to the supreme court. justice gorsuch, of course, and the conservative majority on the court is the capstone of these efforts, the result of an appalling decision by senate republicans to refuse president obama a supreme court pick. alongside the california ruling, the roberts court has affirmed a
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plainly discriminatory travel ban, unleashed a flood of dark unlimited money in our politics, and has scrapped to -- a key pillar of the voting rights act. all goals of the hard right, all that have little to do with the constitution or reading the law, all making america a more polarized, economically divided country. opponents of these decisions and the president's policy should focus on the supreme court whose thin majority will once again hang in the balance this november. i yield the floor. and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: i ask unanimous consent the equal be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lankford: i ask unanimous consent the following individuals be granted floor privileges for the duration of the debate on the farm bill --
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detailee tu yung hung, hannah taylor, and clara wickhoff. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lankford: mr. president, today, wednesday, is day 83,723 since the senate first achieved quorum and started work. no grand celebration there. that's 229 years, two months, 22 days. in that time, this body has deliberated over some of the most difficult issues of our time, of each time -- slavery, war, voting rights. they have all been difficult issues that our nation has debated in this building, but lately it seems that we do less and less debate and more and more empty chamber quorum calls. for the people that watch the
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debate in this room watch an empty room and think where is the debate happening in the senate? now, i can assure you there is work being done. there is a lot happening in committee hearings right now. there is a lot happening in different offices trying to be able to work through the issues. our days are busy and full. for some reason, we're not getting to some of the biggest debates that need to be completed. i have had a real push in the nominations process to say we spent 100 days in the last 18 months just on a quorum call waiting on a nomination to be able to come up. that hasn't happened. in fact, in the last five presidents combined, there has only been 25 requests for additional time for any nominee in five presidents. this time in 18 months, there has been 100. it's slowing the body down. we have to be able to fix that. we have to be able to fix our budget process. our appropriations process is working a little better this year, and it's good. we have moved three bills the last week. it's the first time that has happened in a decade in the senate. that's good progress, but we
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have got to be able to complete the process so we don't actually end up with omnibus bills. that is going to take some reform. there are 16 of us, eight republicans, eight democrats that are meeting consistently to be able to work on how do we reform the process of our budgeting to make sure we can fix that. so there is some work that needs to be done. there is also some reform that needs to be done, but as we deal with things like the farm bill this week -- so far we have not had amendments on and votes on, we have got to be able to reform the process of how we get through the farm bill, how we get through our appropriations process, how we get through nominations and to be able to work through things that are difficult. things like immigration. now, i have been in this body multiple times to be able to talk about this issue, and i will continue to come back to this body and raise it. the challenge that we have with immigration is that there seems to be no deadline to be able to solve it. so congress just delays, delays, delays actually working on immigration.
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and when a deadline comes, congress finds a way to be able to get around it or the courts step in and to make some change and say we're going to make some ruling which delays a decision here, and it just gets delayed again. the nation is once again looking at the issue of immigration because of what we're watching happening on the border with families. americans are people of great compassion. we do not want to see families separated, but we also understand the basics of the law. so how do we deal with all these things together? i would say first this body has got to learn how to be able to focus on solving the issue of immigration rather than just complaining about the issue of immigration. we can't have it come up every once in a while while it's in the news and then work on something else when the news stops focusing on it. we have got to solve this issue. last february, we had four different bipartisan bills that came before the senate. all four of them failed. you would think then that there would be work to say let's combine, let's find the common ground between the four
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different bills, form a final bill, and pass it in the senate. instead, the senate got distracted with something else and walked away. we have got to solve the issues of immigration. what's currently separating families is not a new issue. some people believe that it might be, but it's not new. this comes out of a flores decision from 1997. every single president has struggled under this flores decision from a court in california. that court said you can only detain children 20 days. well, it takes 35 days to do a hearing. so the court set up an impossible situation where it takes 35 days to do a hearing. you can only hold children for 20 days. so every administration has had the same problem. do i release people into the country and tell them to show up for what's called a notice to appear at a future court date so their family can stay together, or do i separate families? previous administrations have said i will just release people into the country, and we'll tell them at a future date to be able
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to show up at a hearing. well, there are a couple of problems with that. one is thousands of upon thousands of those -- thousands upon thousands of those individuals never show up for their first hearing, their notice to appear. the vast majority beyond that, after they show up for their first hearing, are given what's called a notice of removal, to say you don't qualify to be in the country legally, so you need to leave. the problem is 98% of those individuals then don't leave. once they get that notice of removal, they find a way to be able to disappear into the country, move to a new city, and they're gone. well, this administration is struggling with that to say what we have created is an incentive to come into the country illegally. that if you cross the border and bring your family, you will be released into the country and then you can just disappear and no one will ever go and try to find you. that's a problem with just our legal system, period. now, i'm not cold to immigration. quite frankly, i am grateful that we are one of the most open immigration countries in the world. we have 1.1 million people a
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year that become legal citizens of the united states, going through the process the right way. 1.1 million a year. i just spoke at a naturalization ceremony in oklahoma city. if you ever come to one -- and i encourage every american to be able to go to one of the naturalization ceremonies, but take clean exwith you. they are -- take kleenex with you. they are incredibly moving events to be able to watch people from all over the world stand and raise their right hand and be able to take the oath of becoming american citizens. to say the pledge of allegiance for the first time as an american. to hold a little american flag and to be able to wave it. to see their family cheer them from the audience, saying we are americans together. it's incredibly moving to be able to be at that. 1.1 million people a year do it the right way. but let me add one more number to you. half a million people a day legally cross our southern border. let me run that past this body again. half had a million people a day
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legally cross our southern border. we're not a nation that's closed to immigration. we're a nation that's open to immigration. half a million people a day legally go through that process of crossing the border back and forth, and that's just coming from the south to the north. that's not counting the people going from the north back to the south back into mexico. we're an open nation for immigration, but we have real issues that need to be resolved. let me run through a couple of these. we've got to solve the flores issue. we shouldn't have an impossibly situation to -- an impossible situation. this body can fix that. but no one has since 1997. it's time for us to be able to take ownership of that and to be able to fix that. we should not separate families. but neither should we just
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release them in the country and say have a notice to appear. many people in this body may not know, right now if you call to our department of justice and d.h.s. and say in regions of the country when is the next available court date for an immigration hearing for a notice to appear, they will tell you, because we've just checked, the next available court date if you're crossing the southern border right now, they will hand you a notice to appear for august of 2022. august of 2022. you're released into the country on your own recognizance hoping you'll show up four years and two months from now at the next available court hearing. that's intolerable. so what do we do? let's start with some basics. can we agree we should add more immigration judges? we have 350 immigration judges in the country. last year this body agreed and voted to add another 150. it's still not close to what's needed. we have a backlog of 700,000
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immigration cases right now. it's not possible for that group of immigration judges to actually get through all that. can we agree let's add more immigration judges so individuals get due process but don't have to wait four years to be able to get due process? we should be able to agree on that. we should able to agree on reforms to the process. it takes over 700 days to hire a new immigration judge. that's a broken process for hiring. can we agree that process needs to be fixed? can we agree on basic southern border security that used to not be a controversial thing. in 2006, this body passed the secure fences act. it added 650 miles of fence and border on to our southern border. that vote passed with overwhelming support from this body republican and democrat. outspoken conservatives like chuck schumer and joe biden and senator barack obama voted for the secure fences act in 2006.
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this used to not be a partisan issue that we would have basic border security. 650 miles of fencing is now on our southern border today because of the bipartisan secure fences act that passed with overwhelming support from this body in 2006. can we still agree securing our southern border is a good thing or is that suddenly a partisan issue? i hope that it would not be. that should be a basic principle of trying to secure our southern border. every nation wants to just know who is coming in and out of our borders. even for asylum seekers -- and there's been much in the news about asylum. asylum requests that go to the port of entry are not violating any law. they are going to the port of entry and saying i request asylum. what's interesting from that is even if i go to 2016, people who came to the border and requested asylum, only 40% of them after they got into the country actually filed paperwork for
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asylum. of the 40% that filed paperwork for asylum only 14% of them actually received asylum. and that's in the last year of the obama administration. we should allow for asylum, but they should come to the ports of entry. that's the right spot to do it. not to be able to skip around the ports of entry and when they're arrested or come in between the ports of entry, to then claim now i want asylum. of those folks, the vast majority of them claim they want asylum but never actually file the paperwork to get it. once they're released in the country, they never follow through with the actual request. we should be able to fix some of those things. we should also be able to fix the issue about daca. i'm raised in this body multiple times and i've talked about it often at home, we have a couple of million kids that have grown up in this country that their parents illegally crossed the border. they were infants and children at the time, and they have grown up in this country. they don't know another country.
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now their parents violated the law. those kids did not violate the law. what do we do with them? the most simple principle and that i would hope we could agree on on common ground is let's secure the border. take a couple of years to secure the border but let's also give a shot to those kids here with the daca program to be naturalized, be citizens of the united states, the only country they have ever known. this shouldn't be that controversial either. quite frankly, that opinion is agreed upon by president obama and by president trump. over 70 members of this body back in february voted for a bill that allowed for naturalization of individuals in the daca program. we have four bills that we voted on. none of them got 60 votes. but if you count up each of the people that voted for them on a bill that included naturalization for those kids, over 70 people voted for that in this body. of some level. we have common agreement we should do that.
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we can't seem to finish the work to actually do it, though. we should be able to resolve it. we should be able to fix the issues of family separation. we should be able to solve basic border security issues. this is doable stuff, but we need this body to focus and to be able to actually get it done. every issue that we debate here is controversial. some of them louder and more controversial than others. i get that. but that is our job. to go through the difficult issues, to read the constitution, to talk to the people at home, to be able to deal with the issue, and to be able to make that decision. i would encourage this body to be able to finish the work. we should be able to secure our border. we should be able to deal with this issue of family migration. we should be able to be able to keep families together but actually go through the legal process, not just release them into the country for a four
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years from now hearing that they probably will not show up at. we should be able to do this and to find that common ground. let's work together. let's finish the task that needs to be done on this and actually get this resolved. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mrs. capito: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mrs. capito: mr. president, i'd like to ask to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. capito: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to highlight the six-month anniversary of the tax cut and jobs act and i'd like to illustrate what it meant to the people of west virginia since
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president trump signed this into law. and, really, i'd like to talk about in a larger sense what a difference it's made in this country. we see it in the news every single day and the benefits are really undeniable. since congress passed tax reform, we've seen incredible job creation. more han one million -- more than one million jobs to be exact. we have seen unemployment drop to historic lows and wages are on the rise. our constituentsped and businesses are feel optimistic. there is a real hop in the step of our small businesses because of their increased business and because of their ability to expand things, things that they wanted to do for years. it has been an incredible transformation. days ago, a cnbc news survey said that 54% of americans think that the economy is good or excellent. that's the highest percentage
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ever recorded in the ten years that cnbc has been doing this story. even more% is the number of stories i heard that transpired since we passed tax reform. i have heard many about this tax reform. our small businesses have been able to expand and hire new employees and give back to their employees, whether in the form of bonuses or to their communities with more charitable donations. others have been able to create jobs and hire more workers. just this month i received a letter from a constituent, chris, from charleston, who owns an eye consulting business. he said that this is legislation that has benefited small business owners all across the country and our folks back here in west virginia. he said that as a result of the tax cuts, small businesses have hired more people, raised wages, and expanded opportunities and
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operations. he considered -- that might seem like a small thing. he continued, i'm sorry. and talked about the other aspects of the tax cut. he says, that doesn't sound like a tax cut that only caters to the rich and powerful. as each week passes, more and more of our fellow americans support the new tax code. i hear it from my patients in the office all the time. well, chris isn't alone. i heard from families able to cover expenses and invest in their children's education. when president trump traveled to west virginia this spring, we spoke to one family, the federal family -- the ferrell family from huntington. they were able to open an education account. i've heard from families who have been able to afford high-speed internet for the first time. that the might sound like a little thing to a lot of people,
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but it's a big thing to a family, to a child who comes home from school and can't do the homework because they don't have connectivity. because of that change, one more student in our state is able to complete their homework at home. they no longer have to feel left behind when they get to school and that's a powerful thing. it is not just west virginia businesses and families benefiting. these benefits improved our entire communities. during the roundtable in west virginia, we heard from tony, who is a rural mail carrier. tony and his wife jessica live in west virginia with their two sons. tony explained that because of tax reform, their family was not only able to make home improvements but they were also able to make more charitable contributions. specifically, they took extra money that they had -- that they are seeing on their paychecks and gave it back to their church
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specifically for the faith-based initiative that has been a very successful resource in fighting the opioid epidemic in a we have seen throughout our state. it is no secret that the opioid epidemic is severely damaging and having consequences within our state. but because of the tax cuts and tony and jessica's generosity at least one community has extra support to fight back against the drug crisis. i know this is not an isolated incident, but it is one that illustrates an important point. tax reform is making real and meaningful change in west virginia and across the country. that is certainly not crumbs to us in the mountain state. just think, it's only been six months. only six months and already four million workers have received bonuses across the country. consumer confidence is at an all-time 18-year high.
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102 utility companies have cut their rates, and think of what that does for the folks at the lower end of the economic scale when your power bill is $50 or $100 or even $25 less a month, that makes a real difference. and more than 8,000 low-income communities have been designated as opportunity zones. i'm excited to see what is ahead for west virginia and all americans thanks to the tax cuts and jobs act. i'm excited to continue building on the incredible momentum we have created. and i'm excited to continue to deliver pro-growth solutions that will help improve lives across the country. on another note, i'd like to say i was just visited by dennis friday, who is a -- dennis fry who is a retiring park ranger at harper's ferry. he is a good friend to me. he's a historian on the highest degree on the civil war and the
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critical battles that were fought in and around harper's ferry and that state in and around maryland. i want to thank him for his hard work, 32 in the park service. he's a public servant that will never been forgotten in our region. i know he will continue to give back to our community. i want to say thank you to dennis for his depth of knowledge, his appreciation for our history, and his appreciation for if we look back at our future what we can really learn from it. i yield back my time.
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mr. toomey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. president, i rise to address an amendment that i have worked on with my
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colleague, senator corker, from tennessee, an amendment i hope we're going to get a vote on today because i think it is timely. it is important. and it's really a measure that would simply restore to congress a responsibility that the constitution assigns to congress. so what am i talking about? i'm talking about the amendment that we've crafted which would simply require that before a president, this president or any other president can invoke section 232 of our trade law which is the provisions that grant the president special powers when the national security of america is threatened, is at risk, gives him the power to impose tariffs in that situation. and what this amendment would do is it would say when a president maics that determination --
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makes that determination, that he wants to impose tariffs because it's essential for the security of our country, that he could do so as long as he has the assent from congress. and it would require an expedited process, simple majority vote, couldn't be dragged out, couldn't be filibustered but it would ultimately be congressional responsibility. now, why do i say that this would be restoring to congress its constitutional power? well, it's because the constitution is very unambiguous about this. article 1, section 8, clause 1 states, and i quote, the congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises. it goes on from there, mr. president, but duties are tariffs. i don't think anybody disputes that. so article 1, section 8, clause 1 assigns that responsibility to congress. clause 3 goes on to further make
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it clear that this is congress' responsibility by stating, and i quote, the congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations. well, the imposition of duties clearly is an exercise in regulating commerce with foreign nations. now, over time, the congress has ceded authority in this area, unwisely in my view, to the executive. and that's been going on for decades. there's no question about it. the executive now has a lot of authority under powers that congress has delegated to the president. frankly, it's part of a broader trend of congressional powers that are being delegated to the executive branch to regulators, agencies, cabinet. and i think -- i think it's a mistake i think this is a congressional responsibility. we ought to take that responsibility and we ought to take it seriously. why do i think it's important in this particular case? because in my view this section
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232 provision is being misused. it is meant to ensure that our defense department can procure defensive materials needed in time of war. that was the real motivation behind creating this power for the president to block foreign trade in the event that our national security depended on it. but what do we have instead? we have this provision being invoked as a way to impose tariffs on some of our closest allies, closest friends, and most important, trading partners. in fact, the canadians, the mexicans, the european union. over very small amounts of steel that we import. in the case of canada it's really quite amazing. canada is a country -- i mean, do we have a closer ally than our next-door neighbor, the country that sends troops to fight alongside ours whenever we have a need to do that, a country with whom we have
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massive amount of trade in both directions, a country with whom we have a balance of trade overall, a country where we actually have a surplus in steel. but what we're doing is we're imposing taxes on americans, taxes on my constituents if they choose to buy steel from canada and we're saying that that's necessary for national security purposes. of course it's not. it has nothing to do with national security. the secretary of commerce admitted as much before our committee last week when he said what it's really about is getting the canadians to agree to the changes the administration wants to make in nafta. well, i don't agree with those changes in the first place. so we're misusing a national security element of our law to punish american consumers of products that originate from one of the friendliest countries on the planet with respect to our country, and i think this is a problem. and by the way, it's not the
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first time that we've had really dubious trade policy from the administration. i totally disagreed with the mexican sugar deal that was negotiated. it's a protectionist bill that treats domestic sugar growers very, very well. they get an artificially high price for their sugar. and all of us who are consumers of sugar pay too high a pies. then we had tariffs imposed on solar panels and washing machines. we now are finding that first we had tariffs on canadians, mexican, european, south koreans. then there was relief but then that expired. now the tariffs are back. we've gone too far down the road. this has become very disruptive. this is bad for our economy. it's bad for my constituents. and fundamentally, it's a responsibility that we have. it's in the constitution. it says so. and so what this amendment does, it simply says, look, the president can invoke 232. the president can invoke
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national security if he sees fit, but he has to come back to congress for an expedited up-or-down vote. and, frankly, that's exactly what our responsibility is. this bill is relevant. the ag community is more adversely affected by the retaliation against these ill-conceived tariffs than any other sector of the economy i can think of. this is the bill that addresses ag policy. this is the right moment to have this debate and to decide whether we want to take the responsibility of the constitution -- responsibility the constitution assigns to us or not. i get that not everybody agrees with what senator corker and i and others are trying to do, but i hope everybody acknowledges that the role of the senate is to debate and vote on tough issues. that's part of what we are sent here to do, to decide what our policy will be and that necessarily includes having a debate and having a vote. so i think my colleague from tennessee is going to make a request that we be able to consider this amendment and vote
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on n. i wholeheartedly support this effort. i think it's very, very important. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: mr. president, i want to thank my friend from pennsylvania for his comments and for his leadership on issues relative to free trade and other important issues to our nation. i just want to reiterate for a minute before i ask for this amendment to be called up. the fact that this particular amendment, number one, is cosponsored by 14 people of various ideologies on both sides of the aisle. senator flake is here on the floor as cosponsor of this amendment. it is probably one of the most supported amendment we're going to vote on as it relates to the farm bill. is the farm bill the right place? absolutely. farmers around our country are being hurt by this administration's trade policies more than 20 farm bills could help them. so it's very important for us to address this issue now. some of my friends on the other side of the aisle who, by the
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way, we have many people on the other side of the aisle supporting this legislation, this amendment. some of them have said, well, but we don't want to hurt our ability to impose tariffs on china. this has nothing to do with that. as the senator from pennsylvania mentioned, the president has used the section 201 of the trade act to put in place tariffs on solar panels and on washing machines. he did that in january. the additional tariffs that he's putting in place on china are under section 301. what this amendment narrowly focuses on is the abuse of authority that the administration is utilizing to put tariffs in place on canada, mexico, and many of our allies, especially in europe. and what he's done is citing national security. it is dubious. all of us know it has nothing whatsoever to do with national security, but the reason the president is using this is he doesn't have to prove anything to use it.
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under the other sections, you have to deal with the wto -- w.t.o. or i.t.c. and you have to make a case for what it is you're doing. but when you use 232, no case has to be made. he can just do it. and, therefore, that's the reason because of this abuse of authority, that is the reason that we believe the president ought to be free to negotiate these. sure, he is the leader of our nation. but once he completes those negotiations, if he's going to use section 232 of the trade act, we believe it should come to congress as was laid out by the senator from pennsylvania. so with that, with that i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and call up amendment 3091. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i reserve the right to object. mr. president, my colleague raises concerns about the effect of retaliation or tariffs on our
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farmers and others. i couldn't agree more. but we should not pit farmers against steelworkers. only a few days after canada -- candidate trump became president trump. one of the conditions, one of the add among missions if you -- admonitions, if you will, you don't play off one industry against another. you don't play off agriculture against autos or steel or chemicals or anybody else. but we need -- it benefits all americans. and i think my colleagues agree with this. it benefits all americans if we stop china cheating, if we force them to play by the rules. i would say to my colleagues today, to senator toomey and senator corker, i understand they have some bipartisan support on this. i'd say that probably the worst thing you do for america's farmers is jeopardize passage of the farm bill today. i've spoken with senator roberts and senator stabenow about that.
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that's exactly what this amendment would do. the amendment would gut most importantly, it would gut one of our trade enforcement tools, a tool congress passed and enhanced in the finance committee just in the last couple of years, passed to ensure we protect the industries necessary to defend our country. i know my colleague from tennessee generally opposes the president's trade agenda. i think he does that from an intellectually honest position. but that is not justification for completely undoing a decades old statute that is one of the few tools we have to defend national security interests against distortions in the global market. the steel and aluminum tariffs the president has put in place are long overdue actions to defend against further shrinking of two sectors critical to national defense. senator toomey certainly knows this in the western part of his state as i know it in mine. i know my colleagues agree that steel -- excess steel production capacity in china is troubling. we're talking about a country that now has the capacity to
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produce half the world's steel, close to half the smelting, half the world's aluminum. it's infected the global market. it's made steel overcapacity a global problem. we know that china puts people to work because they can't afford to have hundreds -- to have tens of millions of young men unemployed in the countryside. they siewb -- they be subsidize their water, energy, land. they have dozens of government-owned enterprises. they -- that's very simple. we have an administration now finally willing to take action and defend our highly competitive steel industry and steel workers. i know what a competitive steel plant looks like. i was in cleveland, seven miles from my house only a week ago, that's the only steel mill in the world that can produce raw steel with one person


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