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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 6, 2018 9:29am-11:30am EST

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donald trump election is a warning. whatever you think of trump pro or con, the rest of us that this is going in the wrong direction. the population could not get the attention of policy makers so they elected trump as sort of break the glass in cast of emergency. you're not going to listen to me, i'm going to elect this orange guy, maybe you'll listen to me. >> that's on c-span2. >> when the new congress takes office in january it will have the youngest, most diverse freshman class in recent history. new congress, new leaders. watch it live on c-span starting january 3rd. >> we take you live now to the u.s. senate where work continues on the nomination of bernard mcnamee to serve on the regulatory commission. a final vote set for noon. the nomination of the consumer
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of the financial bureau gets a vote at 1:45 p.m. and expect a vote on a short-term spending bill the 21st. live coverage now of the u.s. senate on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. today's opening prayer will be offered by dr. tommy middleton, director of the baptist association of greater baton rouge, baton rouge, louisiana. the guest chaplain: good morning. let's pray. dear father, we are grateful for the life, health, and strength that you have given us so that we may
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serve you is, and serve others. so thankful for your hand that has rested upon this nation and o god may that continue. and so lord, we pray that these no that you would give them wisdom in the decisions that they make and in the crafting of legislation. lord, that you would give them compassion, as they did with others, fell senators, fellow legislators, elected officials, constituents. and that you would give them courage to make decisions based upon truth. although there may be opposition, may they, lord -- may they stay people of truth. and, father, i do pray that you give them discernment so that in the deliberations that they make
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, they will judge a righteous judgment and finally, o lord, that we would walk in humility, realizing that the decisions that we make, the course of our walk, our actions in our life will be judged by those who have elected us here, but more than that, that we will be judged by you, almighty god. lord, we pray, we desire, we seek your help, and as your word says, our help is in the name of the lord, the maker of heaven and earth. and in that name, the name of the lord jesus christ, i pray amen
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the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., december 6, 2018. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable dean heller, a senator from the state of nevada, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, president pro tempore. mr. cassidy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. cassidy: i rise today to speak to my friend, dr. tommy
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middleton, the executive director of the baptist association of greater baton rouge. he just opened the prayer. he oversees services in six languages -- i should say, seven. the spintories include the new orleans baptist theological seminary of baton rouge, canton ministries, prison ministries in four state prisons and six local parishes, governmental interfaiths, ministries through the sea fairers ministries, and international missions in 16 different countries in which he's been personally involved. i'll add one more -- bringing relief to victims of natural disasters across our country. overall, dr. middleton also spread the good news of the gospel for nearly 50 years.
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it is my honor to invite him to open the united states senate in prayer this morning. we have all been blessed. thank you. i yield back. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i have a number of important topics to discuss this morning, but first and foremost i want to personally thank everyone in this building to gave so much of their own time and energy to facilitate the rituals that filled this capitol for the last several
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days. from the moment of president prt bush's bush's passing was made public, intricate plans were made to arrange a public tribute worthy of a national treasure and a rare patriot like job. -- like george bush. needless to say, the entire congressional family should be proud of the result. as our 41st president lay in state, the bush family, world leaders and tens of thousands of americans were welcomed to the capital to pay their respects. so i know my completion will join me in thanking the -- so my know my completion will join me in thanking. to the staff of the architect of the capitol, all the officers under the sergeant at arms, the secretary of the senate and her team, the press galleries, to the volunteers from my own staff and from other congressional offices who freely gave their time, to the staff of the
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capitol visit center, who ensured tens of thousands of people could share this experience, to the men and women of the capitol police who watch over us all, to the united states military, the envy of the world, and special thanks to my director of operations who played such a tireless role in conducting this orchestra going back through the entire weekend leading up to monday. and to so many others who worked through the weekend, around the clock to help the legislative branch coordinate a dignified send-off befitting this remarkable man whom we honored. so i thank you and the nation thanks you. now, mr. president, on an entirely different matter, the senate voted yesterday to advance the nomination of bernard mcnamee to serve on the federal energy regulatory commission. today we'll vote on his confirmation. i would encourage every one of
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my colleagues to join me in supporting this abun danley well -- abundantly well qualified nominee. after that we'll move won other business. we'll vote on kathleen kraninger to lead the bureau of consumer financial protection. i would urge each of my colleagues to join me in voting to get her started in this important work. on another matter, for eight years president obama landed blow after blow hon the war on coal. it wasn't just the coal companies that endured the pain. hardworking families, many in economically distressed communities, became the casualties of this ideological agenda. in my state of kentucky, those policies inflicted serious damage that's still being felt years later.
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that's why i was so grateful to hear that later today the trump administration will begin the process to undo and reanother -- replace another obama anti-coal regulation. throughout the obama administration, my republican colleagues and i did everything we could to stop this assault on vulnerable communities. where this particular rule is concerned, i personally led the charge of a resolution to cancel it altogether. republicans knew these policies would stymie american competitiveness and do little to actually help the environment. but despite our best efforts, president obama's e.p.a. worked overtime to shutter existing coal plants and with this rule in particular stop new ones from being built. it was the fulfillment of one of his most troubling campaign promises which many of us in coal country remember very well. here's what he said. if somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can. it's just that it will bankrupt them.
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when we blocked that legislation he originally pitched, president obama chose to go it alone and tried to issue aggressive regulations, often bending the rule of law in the process. when we used the tools available to us to bring relief to american families, we were met each time with vetoes. but everything changed when the american people elected president trump. we've worked hard hand in hand to end the war on coal and to bring relief. earlier in year the president unveiled his plan to dismantle the so-called clean power plan, a plan to shut down nearly every active coal plant. now president trump's e.p.a. is targeting another regulation that would have made it nearly impossible to build any new plants in the future. this is a crucial step toward undoing the damage and putting coal back upon a level playing field. on behalf of coal families throughout kentucky, i applaud the trump administration.
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this runaway regulation needs to be rolled back and replaced with a more achievable set of standards. coal deserves a level playing field and that's what this white house is trying to accomplish. so i look forward to reviewing the proposal in the coming days and continuing to work with president trump on this critical issue. mr. president, this is that time at the end of the congress when inevitably some of our members go on to something else and leave this body. i want to take this opportunity this morning to pay tribute to another distinguished member of the senate who's leaving us at the end of this year. senator bob corker, one of the most hardworking and frankly
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relentless members of this body. he is a builder by trade and a fixer by nature. and senator corker is always a man on a mission. our distinguished colleague hails from a state with a long history of impressive senators, tennesseans such as howard baker, al gore, bill frist, and, of course, our colleague lamar alexander. all developed national reputations as leaders. but after 12 years of working with bob, i could not feel more comfortable saying that he himself will now become a part of that great tennessee legacy. he's met that high bar, and he set it high himself. no sooner could any senator turn his or her attention to some important but stalled initiative, some dead-end
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negotiation, some thorny national problem than you'd see bob corker diving into the fray and tacking the problem with everything he had -- and attacking the problem with everything he had. the limitless work ethic, the entrepreneurial drive -- these things have defined bob corker since long before he was sworn in. -- has a senator. he started working odd jobs at age 13. at 25, he had saved enough money to cofound his own construction company -- 25 years old -- and strike out for himself. that firm grew from an $8,000 lark into a major operation that spanned more than a dozen states. bob was a natural. he was constantly sniffing out opportunities and tackling them with vigor. along the way he picked up what some close to him now joke as an
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addiction to the feeling of a closing handshake. that sign that needs were met, a deal was done, and both parties would walk away happy. the term "workaholic" might be putting it mildly. i'm told that after one particularly hairy negotiation ended in success, bob explained -- exclaimed, i'd sell it back to him if i could turn around and buy it again. so unlike many of his colleagues, bob did not necessarily always aspire to public service. in fact, it took a direct appeal to his builder's instincts to set this political career in motion. bob saw a message in a church bulletin. they needed volunteers with construction experience to help a mission in haiti.
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bob went along, along with his father, and he came back with the drive to keep doing real good for real people. that conviction eventually took him to city hall in chattanooga where people still talk about the transformative wave of education reform, economic development, and public improvements that was unleashed during his time as mayor. tennesseans liked what they saw. they decided the next chapters of bob corker's serial success story should be written right here on their behalf in the united states senate. so, mr. president, if i even tried to relate a comprehensive catalog of everything bob corker has gotten accomplished here in the senate, this speech would be our last act of business before new year's. but a few highlights stand out especially.
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it was early in senator corker's first term when the financial crisis threw our economy into chaos. but this fired up freshman immediately started working with committee chairs and new friends across the aisle. he became a pivotal player, putting his private sector acumen to great use in helping craft policies to begin restoring stability. he has been a leading voice on housing reform, of course. and the combination of his background with his posts on the foreign relations committee have led to some unique bob corker accomplishments. just this year, he has been hard at work on the build act to overhaul how america makes loans to new projects in the developing world. he was also a key champion of the electrify africa bill that became law in 2016, laying
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groundwork for a more stable power grid across that continent. there are also other subtler ways he has remained a confident businessman. tennesseans know that many of the good things their junior senator has achieved for his home state didn't even involve legislation. every bit the former mayor, bob has continued to hustle to convince every new job and new investment in sight why his home state is the place for them. phone call by phone call, meeting by meeting. so the senate is preparing to say goodbye to some of our most energetic and accomplished members. we'll miss his enthusiasm and his expertise. but we will also miss his famous generosity and the great kindness that everyone close to bob jumps at the chance to describe. he's thoughtful to those he knows well and to those he just
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met. i have it on good authority, though, that on at least one occasion, bob met a promising young man working in a checkout line and signed him up right there on the spot for a job interview with his chief of staff. but most recently, we know bob corker as the brilliant chairman of the foreign relations committee. he's traveled constantly, he has engaged in issues around the world with an enormous degree of skill and capacity. he's a powerful voice for american interests and those of our allies and a forceful, influential thorn in the side of those who might wish us harm. he's also used that position to champion couple people around the world. his spearheading of the end modern slavery michigan tiff act, focusing resources and attention on a humanitarian crisis affecting literally millions will be a core piece of that legacy. i know bob prides himself on
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bringing more regular order back to the committee and getting it back to basics. legislation, treaties, and under his leadership, the committee passed the first authorization bill for the state department -- listen to this -- in 14 years. predictably, that bob corker work ethic is on full display when he's traveling the world on our nation's behalf. i hear that when bob was leading a trip to israel and palestinian a few years ago, he heard about smuggling tunnels between egypt and gaza and decided he would go see them himself. so the way i heard it, he arranged for ground transportation to gaza, examined the system, and was back in tel
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aviv later that day to discuss the situation with prime minister netanyahu. i'll admit, though, that i'm plenty excited to see what this hugely accomplished individual will get into next, and there is plenty of talk about what mission is next in the queue. i've heard his name is in the hat for an opportunity envied by many in this chamber, and that is the chance to spend a lot more time with family. i'm sure elizabeth and the family will oblige with a smooth confirmation process. but i have to admit whatever comes next, i really doubt we will be able to call it a retirement in any ordinary sense of the word. you see, i have heard what happens when bob corker tries to relax. apparently, there was one summer when he endeavored to take up water-skiing. you know, nice, lazy days,
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soaking in the sunshine. well, that didn't last very long. bob went all in. he practiced and practiced and kept at it all summer. soon he was a masterful but somewhat exhausted and slightly burnedout water-skier. and once the challenge was gone, on to the next thing. on to the next deal. on to the next construction project. so, bob, we'll miss you a lot. the senate and the great state of tennessee will miss your service, but we can't -- but we just simply can't wait to see what you build next. mr. alexander: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: mr. president, let me begin where the majority
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leader stopped. it's a true story about the tunnels. senator corker was curious about smuggling supplies from egypt to gaza. others of us might have asked somebody about that. not bob corker. he hailed a jeep, rode to the border, inspected the tunnels, took photographs, and as the majority leader said, when he met with benjamin netanyahu that afternoon, showed him the photographs. netanyahu was startled. the prime minister of israel might have been surprised by bob corker's conduct, but none of us who knew bob corker were surprised. as senator mcconnell said, bob corker is always a man on a mission. with little regard for the obstacles in the way. in 1978, age 25, he had saved about $6,000, and he started a
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construction company. a friend of mine in maryville, my hometown, worked for him, as he built a shopping center in blunt county. my friend said i always knew that that corker was going to amount to something. after his experience in haiti that senator mcconnell discussed, he also began to apply his skills at construction to help find decent homes for nearly 10,000 people in chattanooga. i met bob corker 25 years ago. it was 1993. his friend jimmy haslem, who was his roommate at the university of tennessee, called me and said he had this friend who was thinking about public service, and he wondered if i would talk to him. jimmy haslem is today the owner
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of the cleveland browns. when they first knew each other, i believe according to corker, they sat a lot of their time sitting on the roof of the fraternity house at the university of tennessee drinking beer. nevertheless, bob corker and i walked up and down the beach at hilton head, south carolina, for what must have been an hour and a half. in his typical bob corker way, he was weighing both sides, all sides of the issue. should i run for the united states senate? should i run for governor of tennessee, which might be better suited to somebody with his executive background. he ran for the united states senate in 1994, which would have been a very good year for a republican to do that, with one exception. he had a primary and he was defeated by bill frist, a doctor who had never before been involved in politics. somebody said it really amounted for these two rookies who were running against each other in a primary, frist spent more of his
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money to beat corker. in any event, frist came here and served as majority leader of the united states senate. of course, that didn't slow bob down for more than ten minutes. the new governor of tennessee invited him to become in effect the chief operating officer of our state government. there we saw the first indications of diplomacy that we now see today in his work around the world. he began to work with the democratic mayor of nashville whom governor sundquist had just defeated in the governor's race. and together they brought the titans to nashville into tennessee, who by the way play the jaguars tonight at 7:20. bob earned so much respect from the democratic legislature that existed then that they tried to persuade him to run for governor as a democrat. but he said no. he returned to chattanooga and jumped back into business. real estate companies were what he became involved in, and then
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he became the mayor of chattanooga in 2000. now, he would be the first to tell you that chattanooga was already on a roll, that a lot of people had a lot to do with chattanooga's success, but everybody else will tell you that he was the best, fastest runner to have on the last stage of the relay team because he took what was already beginning to happen in chattanooga and put it into high gear, lay the groundwork for what be eventually attracted volkswagen to put its north american manufacturing plant there, and thereof the country generally regard chattanooga as one of the most if not the most desirable mid-sized cities in america. he was enormously successful as a mayor. then in 2006, the man who had defeated him in his senate race 12 years earlier decided to retire from the senate, and bill frist persuaded bob corker to run for his seat. maybe bill frist didn't tell bob
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the whole story. that was a tough year for republican candidates, and it was a difficult race. it was the closest race in our state's history for the united states senate, and bob nearly lost it, but he did something that almost no one would do, whether they are a politician or an executive. six or eight weeks before the election, he understood he was about to lose it, he completely changed what he was doing. he moved his campaign headquarters to nashville. he hired a new team. he began to tell the story of who bob corker really is instead of some washington ad man's version of it. so we began to learn about his interest in haiti and about the 10,000 people whose homes he had helped find in chattanooga and about his work to restore that city and to lead our state and recruit the titans. people liked that. he was elected. he had the privilege of being the president, the secretary, and the treasurer of the freshman republican senate class that was sworn in in 2007.
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he was the only one. when bob first came here, the truth is at first he was bouncing off the walls. he was a lot like many executives who come to this body and find it a very unusual place to be and to work. that didn't last very long. as the majority leader said, he jumped in right away. without repeating all of those things, there was the financial crisis. there were the problems with the auto industry. i would think bob probably learned as much about general motors as the general motors board of directors knew, and he showed that as he worked with them. he was unafraid to talk to the managers or to the union about what needed to be done. he became really focused on the federal debt of this country and seeing it as our biggest challenge. and i don't think there is anyone in this body over the last 12 years who has been more consistent in trying to point out what the real problem is --
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the entitlements. he even came up with a plan and introduced a bill to deal with it. the only problem is he and i are the only two cosponsors of that bill. so as he leaves, that's a problem he highlighted that we still have to work on. he thought about not running for a second term. he was discouraged to some degree about how the place works. but he had already accomplished so much that he decided to do it, and so he continued his habits -- being up early, reading everything he could get his hands on, calling everybody he could think of, traveling to 70 countries, worrying about issues and saying what he thought. always trying to do it in a bipartisan way because he understood that's how you get results, and he wanted results. bob corker voted with the majority of republican senators 85% of the time, but he always has been a conservative who prizes results over speeches. in 2015, he became chairman of the foreign relations committee
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and began to deal with the issues that senator mcconnell mentioned -- iran, sex trafficking, others. his tough-minded prague matism -- pragmatism and grasp of economics have restored prestige to the foreign relations committee, and his skills are reminiscent of the skills of the man we honor this week, the team of george herbert walker bush and what he was able to accomplish in foreign policy. when "time" magazine picked him in 2015 as one of the world's 100 most influential leaders, i wrote about that incident at the border of gaza and i said this at the time: if bob corker is not president of the united states himself, he's an obvious choice for secretary of state oe treasury which is exactly what happened when president trump was running and was elected in
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2016. he considered bob corker for vice president, then as secretary of state, and more recently as ambassador to australia. of course over this time senator corker has demonstrated with president trump that the same thing he did with president obama. he was not afraid to work with him, and he was not afraid to challenge him. this produced some sparks. i've told both president trump and senator corker they shouldn't worry about those sparks very much, because that's just the way developers and contractors talk to each other. i know both men well enough to know that deep down there's a lot of mutual respect between the two of them. for me, these 12 years of working with bob corker has been a joy. it is well known that senators, especially senators from the same state, especially senators of the same political party don't always get along well with
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each other. this is a body that operates by unanimous consent. this is a body where relationships matter. bob corker and i have followed the old rule that senator howard baker and senator robert byrd followed. i won't surprise you if you won't surprise me. we not only didn't surprise each other, we looked out for each other. we respected each other's work. we didn't always agree. our staffers saw that. so they worked the same way. and i'm convinced the people of tennessee why are were the beney of that because when they approached the corker staff and the alexander staff or either one of us, i think that found that one plus one equals three, not two. and that the people for whom we worked are the beneficiaries. peyton manning once said that he hoped bob corker would serve in the united states until he was
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100 years old. i think that was really to get people to quit asking peyton manning to run for the united states senate because he knew better than to get involved. and while i was -- i am looking forward to working with marsha blackburn, who is bob corker's successor, i'll have to admit that i agree with peyton manning. bob corker has done as a united states senator what every tennesseean, every american should hope a united states senator would do. he's gotten up early, determined to find some way to make the country a little better, read everything he could find, talked to everybody he could find on the telephone. anybody who he thought knew anything about the issue he cared about, jumped into it with both feet, saying exactly what he thought was the right thing to do for the country. and usually coming out with a
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result that did just that. it's been a privilege to serve with him and to know better elizabeth and their wonderful family. i look forward to watching what has to be one of the best upcoming shows in town, which will be whatever bob corker decides to do next. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: madam president, i am honored to have the opportunity to join my colleagues in rising today and speaking in tribute to my friend. my friend, senator bob corker, and in recognition of his remarkable service to our nation here in the senate of the united states. senator corker and his staff have left an astonishing legacy of tireless energy, engagement and productivity, and i am thrilled to have a few minutes to follow on the
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comments of the majority leader and his senior senator from his home state of tennessee. when i first came here as a freshman in 2010, i partnered with senator joe manchin, and we decided the first thing we had to do was to go to afghanistan to see our troops in harm's way. having never been a senator before, i had no idea how one goes about getting to afghanistan, but senator manchin assured me he had it all under control and it was all going to be just fine. a few weeks later i ended up on an airplane with two senators i never heard of: bernie sanders of vermont and bob corker of tennessee. maybe i heard of them but i certainly never met them and knew very little about them. as we all sort of got engaged in this trip, we went to pakistan, we went to afghanistan, i learned more and more about bob corker. you just heard it, but i'll repeat it. fierce work ethic, incredible intellect, determined to get things done, a builder who
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reaches across the aisle, extends his hand and doesn't relent until there's a deal done. and i can't think of a more frustrating place to try and bring that attitude than afghanistan. we were there at a time when our own law enforcement had just informed us that hamid karzai had stolen nearly $500,000 from- half a billion from the people there. senator corker unleashed with an unfocused communication that left me looking around to make sure there were folks from our side in the room. he was respectful and supportive of our men and women in the armed forces. he was engaged and purposeful with the leaders of afghanistan, and in every single meeting we had in pakistan, in afghanistan, and then in a follow-on in jordan and israel, bob was a blizzard of activity with purpose. what an introduction. what i realized on our trip was that my background as a county
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executive who did a lot in land use and development and bob's background as an entrepreneur, a builder and then a mayor and someone passionate about providing housing to those in need meant we had a lot in common. he hats an attitude -- he has an attitude of wanting to get things done and refusing to be satisfied with a body where folks talk too much and accomplish too little. from that first trip i concluded senator corker was someone with whom i could really get things done. he's the sort of person who's been willing at times to put nation above party and to be always committed to his home state of tennessee. but i do want to make sure, i also say thank you to his wife elizabeth, to his daughters emily and julia. his family, including his grandchildren, who have supported him in this service. his dozen years here in the senate have left a lasting legacy, and that's only possible because he has a family that has loved and supported him even as he has traveled relentlessly around the world and worked
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tirelessly to try and tackle our budget issues. as a builder, as an entrepreneur, as a successful businessman, bob can read a balance sheet and he knows that ours is badly out of whack. as a member of budget committee my first few years here, he was relentless in delivering a message to anyone who would hear that we were headed towards a reckoning. that is a piece of unfinished business which i feel some obligation to try and carry forward in bob's honor. as you heard his colleagues say, though, it was moments when bob's tireless, relentless energy, his determination to build things and get things done encountered the tragic realities of the world that most moved him. a trip to haiti that opened his eyes to the profound need for housing in our region in the world. much later a trip to the philippines to see the tragedy of young women ensnared by the sex traffic -- by sex traffickers that profoundly touched him and moved him. it is this combination of a relentless will, a great intellect and a huge heart that
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have made senator corker, chairman corker such a successful leader here. whether meeting with world leaders, fighting to solve budget issues or chairing the senate foreign relations committee, there is universal agreement about his passion, about his character, about his integrity. that's because he genuinely listens to people, asks them thoughtful, sometimes tough, very focused questions and then gets moving on towards solving a problem. i asked for a review of the bills that we worked on, and it is longer than the time i have allotted so let me just give a few highlights because one of the things that bears repeating is that in a deeply divided, often too partisan congress where too few members are willing to work across the aisle to achieve results, my work on legislation with chairman corker has led to most of the things that i can say with any confidence made a difference in my short eight years here. we've recently worked together to reauthorize pepfar, president
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george w. bush's emergency program for aids relief in september of this year. we worked together -- this is really bob's initiative, this is really senator corker's leadership to pass the end modern slavery initiative act, a critical step in fighting the scourge of is slavery around our world today. we worked to pass the global food security act which reauthorized usaid's emergency food security program and worked tirelessly, work i intend to continue, to make more efficient and fowivelgd -- focused food aid. the water for the world act was signed into law in 2014. and most recently a bill we spent a great deal of time on and where his staff was engaged, the build act which will deploy $60 billion of american private capital around the world at no cost to american taxpayers in a way that meets the challenge we face from china, investing everywhere in the world and allows us to step up the skills and the strength of our private sector to help build and meet
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the needs of a growing world. working to implement the build act and to execute on bob's vision will be one of the things i tend to this coming year. making sure that the electrify africa act which we worked on together is implemented well this coming year will be something i look forward doing. working to make sure the end modern slavery initiative act is carried forward this coming congress is something i look forward to. but what i will deeply miss is time with senator corker. it was at easter time last year that he asked me on short notice if i thought we shouldn't go to the fastest growing refugee camp in the world in uganda where more than a quart million people were -- quarter million people were living after fleeing war torn south sudan. i went to my wife and said what do you think? she said there is no better place on earth you could be than with bob corker. she and i both have been impressed with his tireless commitment to making a
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difference in the world. and the impact of that trip on both of us, of spending that weekend not in the comfort or quiet of our own homes or home states but with people who had just fled violence, torture, rape and abuse and provide some measure of comfort and confidence to them and to have insight of how we are helping around the world touched my heart and will affect the whole rest of my service and my life. let me just say this in closing, we've had a remarkable time serving together in foreign relations. chairman corker has shown us how members of this body should act. we have real differences. he is a be conservative republican, he's of the opposite party. he comes to things with different principles. but he has been relentless in finding solutions, and the problems that face us will not be solved without leaders like chairman corker. it's been my honor to have the opportunity to work with him on a few issues. frankly, i wish more members were here to talk about all the other issues from financial
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services to the auto industry to things around the world, but i know the press of business in this short lame duck takes folks from here. let me say this, i am eager to see what chairman corker does next, because that relentless energy, that huge heart, that great intellect has made such a lasting difference here that i am eager to find out what he is determined to build next. there is nothing to which he has bent his will that hasn't been shaped by his character, his integrity, and his kindness. it has been a true blessing, senator corker, to serve alongside you and to in some small way try to earn the opportunity to make a difference in this country and this world with you. god bless you and thank you for your service to our nation. with that, madam chair, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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i ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum call be waived
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the
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democratic leader. mr. schumer: are we in a quorum? the presiding officer: we are. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: later today the house is poised to send us a two-week continuing resolution which will give us time to work out the remainder of the appropriations process this year. i expect it will pass this chairmen -- this chamber later this afternoon. president trump and my republican colleagues now have to decide what they want to do after those two weeks are up and hopefully even sooner. as everybody knows, democrats have offered to pass the bipartisan d.h.s. appropriations bill agreed to six months ago, which includes $1.6 billion for border security. now, there's been some confusion about that figure. let meet be -- let me be clear, the $1.6 billion cannot be used to construct any part of president trump's 30-foot tall
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concrete border wall. it can only be used for fencing, using technology currently deployed at the border and only where the experts say fencing is appropriate and makes sense as a security feature. this is something democrats have always been for -- smart, effective, appropriate border security. this is so good that every republican appropriator signed off on that bill a few months ago. including senator mcconnell, senator shelby, senator rubio, senator -- they were all for it. this is a bipartisan, compromise proposal. now, if they can't go for that, the proposal that they signed off on and negotiated because president trump is pounding the table in an irrational way, there's a second option. democrats have also offered to pass the six bipartisan appropriations bills and a continuing resolution for the department of homeland security.
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that continuing resolution doesn't resolve this issue but continues to fund the homeland security department. we think that continuing resolution should be for a year. both options -- both options would receive 60 votes in the senate and in the house and would get us home in time for the christmas holiday, which i know many people want to do. i've heard that from many of my republican friends. as i said, either option would keep the government funded over christmas, because we don't want to see the government shut down over christmas, even though president trump seems to brag that he wants one. the only way -- the one and only way we approach a shutdown is if president trump refuses both of our proposals and demands $5 billion or more for a border
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wall. the wall request is a nonstarter for many reasons. here are three. first, when the -- when president trump proposed this as a candidate, he said, mark my words i'll have mexico pay for that wall. the idea that the american taxpayer now has to foot the bill doesn't make sense. second, there's no plan for the wall. they haven't said where they want to build it, how high it is. i don't like any wall, let me make clear. but how can you spend $5 billion when there's no plan? it shows that this is sort of political fodder for president trump. it appeals to his base, but he doesn't even care that much that his whole government -- his whole administration -- has not submitted any specific plans. and, third, last year we put
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$1.345 billion in homeland security for border security. not a nickel of that has been spent on a wall. it couldn't be. the language didn't allow it. but virtually none of it has been spent at all. they still have that $1.34 billion. they haven't even spent the vast majority of. and already they're demanding $5 billion more. some would say even demanding $1.6 billion more is too much. but the idea that they haven't spent last year's money and they're demanding such a huge amount this year makes no sense at all. to ask the american taxpayer to foot the bill for an unplanned, unnecessary, ineffective border is just preposterous. we know why president trump is doing this like he does so many things. it's a throwaway idea to fire up his base. and i am ashamed that my
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republican colleagues, who know better, are going along. so if president trump wants to throw a temper tantrum and shut down the government over christmas over the wall, that's his decision. but there are two sensible options on the table to avoid one. two sensible options. and we do not want to let a trump temper tantrum govern our policies or cause the shutdown of the government, which everyone on both sides of the aisle knows is the wrong idea. one final point -- by letting the president's demands get in the way, my republican colleagues are in effect ceding congress' authority over the appropriations process to the president. leader mcconnell has repeatedly said he wants regular order on appropriations in the senate. and in fact that's been one of the few bipartisan high moments that this senate has had. last year we passed a good
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appropriations process, came together on an omnibus. this year we funded close to three-quarters of the government already, bipartisan, passed by large majority. that's how it should work. well, it should work the same way for the department of homeland security. regular order would dictate that the senate consider the bipartisan d.h.s. appropriations bill passed out of committee, agreed to by both parties here on the floor. in the meantime, the six other bipartisan appropriation bills also agreed to by both parties are being held hostage over this unnecessarily to any objective observer. so if my friend, leader mcconnell, is so concerned about regular order, he would bring up the remaining appropriations bills as agreed to for a vote, and he would tell
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president trump that the bipartisan conference bill, bipartisan compromise or a c.r. are the ways to go to avoid a shutdown. on another matter, yesterday, all 49 democrats voted against considering the nomination of bernard mcnamee to the federal energy regulatory commission, and that was for good reason. mcnamee spent the bulk of his career boosting fossil fuels and slandering renewable energy. his views are so anachronistic, increase, and counterfactual, i'm sure most of my republican colleagues wouldn't agree with him. he has lied about how the renewable energies impact the electric grid. he has called support for clean energy, quote, organized propaganda, and pitched the debate between fossil fuels and
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renewables in his words as a clash between liberty and tyranny. my republican friends, these words sound absurd. you would think that i was making them up because it would so vilify mr. mcnamee, but my republican friends can see every one of these statements that he made on video. at a time when our country is plagued by wildfires and flooding, at a time when more powerful storms and hurricanes buffett our coasts, at a time when average americans are feeling the devastating effects of climate change right now, we should not elevate someone so biased in favor of fossil fuels that caused these problems in the first place. so we have a final vote today. every democrat has voted no. we need one republican to switch to defeat this awful nomination. i hope my colleagues will think about it. these look up the record.
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don't just listen to my speech. look at what this man has said, and i think a good number of you might want to vote no. on the front page of the "new york times" this morning, there is a report about how the emission of greenhouse gases has actually accelerated in the past few years. climate change is going to be the defining issue, a defining issue of our generation, a defining issue in future elections as well. and the vote on mcnamee clearly shows the difference between the two parties on the issue of climate change right now. democrats believe we need to address climate change with bold and substantial action. we cannot wait until a later day. we can't keep approving folks like mcnamee to influence energy policy. we need to act. meanwhile, many -- too many of our republican colleagues pretend the issue doesn't even
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exist, and that is sad. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, federal energy regulatory commission, bernard l. mcnamee of virginia to be a member. the presiding officer: the time until 12:00 noon will be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. smith: before i begin, i would like to request that a fellow in my office be granted floor privileges for the remainder of this congress. the presiding officer: without objection.
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ms. smith: madam president, i rise today to discuss the urgency of addressing climate change, and i will also address the nomination of mr. bernard mcnamee to be a member of the federal energy regulatory commission, which we are debating on the senate floor today. now, recently, the trump administration released the latest installment of the national climate assessment. this report is the work of over 300 expert scientists and 13 different government agencies, including the environmental protection agency, the department of energy, nasa, and others. the report makes an urgent case for action by detailing the extreme threat posed to our nation and to our world by climate change. the need for forward-looking environmental and energy policies is obvious to anyone who reads this report, and it is telling that this report is mandated by a law signed by the late president george herbert
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walker bush in 1990, the president's life who we came together to celebrate yesterday. now, the trump administration doesn't want to talk about the report's findings, but the problems of a changing climate are already well known to us in minnesota. our winters are milder than they used to be, rain patterns are changing. we are now prone to long, hot dry spells in the summer, but when the rains do come, they are more intense. big storms used to be rare in minnesota, but now we suffer more than almost anywhere else in the country, from these climate-driven increases and so-called megarain events. when it rains six or eight or even ten inches all at once, houses flood, fields flood. water can't run off or soak into the fields fast enough. as minnesota's lieutenant governor and now as senator, i have seen the consequences of these storms. without action on climate change, these problems are only going to get worse. even to those who have long accepted the scientific consensus on climate change, the new report makes for sobering
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reading. the assessment tells us that if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, and i quote, the midwest is projected to have the largest increase in extreme temperature-related premature deaths. so by 2090, the midwest can expect 2,000 additional deaths a year alone due to heat. that's more than any other region in the country. so we know that there are health consequences to a warming climate, and also important impacts on our food supply. minnesota is a vital contributor to our world's food supply. we rank fourth in the country in corn production and corn is our number one agricultural commodity. in 2017, minnesota farmers produced $4.5 billion of corn on eight million acres, but this agricultural productivity is threatened by climate change. the problem going forward is that corn doesn't tolerate
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extreme warm temperatures. corn plants grow best at approximately 80 degrees, and above 95 degrees, reproductive failure is at risk. u.s. corn yields per acre grew 60% from the 1980's to today. because of warming temperatures, the climate assessment warns that we risk losing all of these productivity gains by 2050. a world with nearly 10 billion people at mid century is going to need american farmers to produce even more than ever. climbing threatens our farmers' ability to rise to that challenge, and this is why i agree with the national farmers union which says, and i quote, we cannot wait for technology to solve climate change. we must take action now. now, we grow more than just corn in minnesota. for example, the ininabe people in my state harvest the world's
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finest rice. declines in production are expected related to increases in climate extremes and climate-related disease and pest outbreaks, as well as northward shifts of favorable growing regions. so the loss of wild rice in minnesota would be a cultural, ecological, and economic tragedy. the climate assessment also highlights the economic states here. climate change threatens to reduce the size of the u.s. economy by up to 10% by the end of this century, a lot of hundreds of billions of dollars per year. now, in response to the extreme challenges that we face from climate change, i see two ways, two potential ways to respond. the first -- the path offered by mr. mcnamee would be that we do nothing to acknowledge this problem. as the department of energy's deputy general counsel, mr. mr. mcnamee pushed a dirty coal plant bailout that would
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have cost american consumers billions of dollars a year with no discernible benefit to our energy system and a huge loss in our fight against climate change. this is why the proposal was rejected unanimously by the five ferc commissioners. and now mr. mcnamee is nominated to be one of those commissioners. to avoid dealing with the climate change problem, mr. mcnamee has, like many in the trump administration, decided that the first best tactic is to deny there is even a problem. in february of this year, mr. mcnamee spoke at a policy orientation for legislators in texas. when he was asked about how his son and other students should react to being taught climate science in schools, mr. mcnamee said just deny it. i don't care if you get an f. i don't care. well, i just reject mr. mcnamee's head in the sand approach which is fundamentally pessimistic about america's ability to lead the fight against climate change by leading the clean energy
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revolution. i, by contrast, am an optimist. the thing about the clean energy transition is that it is going to happen with or without american leadership. between now and 2050, the world will invest $11.5 trillion in building a new electric -- in building new electric generators. almost nine in ten of those dollars will be spent on renewables and other technologies with zero carbon emissions. the u.s. should lead the way in developing, making, and deploying clean energy technology. however, right now, china is leading the way. they are leading the way in renewable energy investments, spending 1 point -- excuse me -- $127 billion in 2017, outspending the united states by more than three to one. we know that americans want to step up. california and hawaii have put themselves on a path to 100% clean energy by 2050. and just this week, excel
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energy, the largest utility in my state, pledged to deliver 80% carbon dioxide emission reduction by 2030, with a goal of 100% emissions-free electricity by 2050. states, companies, and individuals can help lead the way, but that doesn't take the federal government off the hook. we must pull together as a countrynd, -- as a country, and the scale of the challenge requires national and international coordination and cooperation. the u.s. can lead or we can be left behind. we led the way during the fossil fuel revolution, and we were awarded with world-leading prosperity. there is a new revolution happening. mr. mcnamee and president trump both believe that we can prosper by doubling down on outdated thinking regarding energy and climate, but they're wrong. so i urge my colleagues to vote no on this nominee. it is the duty of those of us in congress to push for a clear-eyed but optimistic path
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forward and not let misguided ideology leave us stuck in the past. madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. cornyn: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, over the last few days since the death of president george herbert walker bush, we have heard about his life and his legacy, and it's been really a celebration of a life well lived. it's hard to imagine someone packing more into 94 years than george h.w. bush packed into his life. we heard about his time in the navy when he volunteered after pearl harbor, became a naval aviator, was shot down, was saved by a submarine that popped up and rescued him. we of course know of his devotion to public service. but we also learned a lot more about his sense of humanity and his humility and his loyalty and his optimism. sometimes here in washington, it seems like the message is all
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negative, and this has been a delightful contrast, i think, reflecting on his life and his contribution. i've said previously in talking about president bush, i said that there is nothing as powerful as a good example, and i think his example is one that we ought to all contemplate and perhaps strive to emulate in our own way and in a way that we conduct our business here. when people disagree with us, it doesn't mean that they're bad people. they just are people with different ideas, and we ought to respect one another enough to actually debate those ideas rather than engage in name-calling and really denigrate the level of discourse among us, because people watch us too. they watch us, how we conduct ourselves here, and they take
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some cues from that in how they conduct themselves on line, p.t.a. meetings in our communities and our state. so this has been really a delightful week. it's been kind of an emotionally exhausting week as we have grieved with the bush family. but at the same time, as i said, celebrated an incredible life. we've got about two more weeks perhaps. the house will pass a two-week continuing resolution, i'm told, taking us up to december 21. we'll have a chance to pass that here. the window of opportunity for us to finish our work here in the senate is closing rapidly, and there's a lot we need to get done. we have an opportunity to build off of accomplishments that we've made this last two years and to get our remaining to-do list checked off.
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the leader called the senate fertile ground for productive bipartisan work. that's because the way we're built, the way our rules are constructed, it basically requires us to do things on a bipartisan, in a bipartisan way. several of our biggest achievements for the senate this congress couldn't have happened without bipartisan support, like the landmark opioids legislation to help those struggling with drug addiction, or the historic bill to improve veterans care, shepherded by senator isakson, the senator from georgia. our work for the rest of the year will also require cooperation and bipartisan spirit particularly when it comes to funding what's left of our government. we've already joined together to fund roughly 75% of the federal government on time and through regular order for the first time in two decades. that's pretty remarkable and welcome.
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while we complete our work on the remaining appropriations bills, i expect a lot of focus to be on border security. and it's no secret coming from a border state, this is very serious business to me. i know it is to many of our colleagues. but we've been reminded by the caravans of migrants sweeping across from central america across mexico and ending up in tijuana, right across from san diego that we've got a lot of work to do collectively to address these mass migrations. i went to mexico city on saturday with vice president pence, secretary of energy perry, the secretary homeland security, secretary nielsen, and other officials were there. we had members of the house and senator lee from utah and i were the members of the senate representing the u.s. government at the inauguration of president
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lopez obrador. what we have read, including today, is that the incoming loaned -- lopez obrador administration has been hard at work to deal with mass migrations, these caravans of people coming from central america, across mexico and seeking asylum here in the united states. i've spoken many times about how these so-called caravans are, have been preceded by mini caravans. that is smaller numbers of people coming to our border and seeking entry. and in many instances seeking to exploit loopholes in our law that only congress can fix. and i'm frustrated, like many of us, that we have been unwilling to get our democratic colleagues to work with us to fix those loopholes. but what i'm encouraged by is that the incoming administration
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of the mexican president as well as the trump administration have worked to arrange for these asylum seekers to spend their time in mexico waiting for their asylum claims to be adjudicated. i think that's a big change in the way mexico has regarded this issue. previously they have regarded the issue as our problem, not their problem, and they've actually issued transit visas for people to transit mexico, and basically the message is as long as you don't stop here, we're not going to do anything about you coming across mexico. but now they realize this is their problem and our problem, and the only way we're going to be able to solve this problem is working together along with the governments of central america, where people are fleeing gang violence. it's hard to blame people for fleeing when they realize that
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their circumstances are so dire in their home country, but i think there's a lot we can and we should do working with them to help them improve circumstances in their home country so they don't feel like they have to come to the united states and seek asylum and turn themselves over to the tender mercies of the drug cartels and the people who view them as just another commodity by which they make money, just like heroine that they -- heroin that they sell in the united states, just like children and women they traffic for sex slavery. this is the same organization, these drug cartels, transnational criminal organizations, that's something -- that reality i don't think has quite sunk in here in washington, d.c. these are not nice people. these are dangerous people. all you need to do is look at the trial occurring in manhattan, el chapo, one of the largest cartelses, and reading about some of the evidence
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that's been introduced when the united states government has now extradited him to the united states and is prosecuting him, the evidence will chill your blood. it's a vicious, dangerous person who's only interest is in making money and enriching himself and his fellow cartel members. so i'm encouraged by some of these discussions and perhaps leading to an agreement between the government of mexico and the united states. so in addition to completing our most basic task of funding the government, we have to work hard to get more of the president's team in place. i've never seen an administration more sandbagged with more foot-dragging by the senate and the democrats when it comes to confirming noncontroversial nominees to serve in the president's administration. this is really just another way to undermine their ability to
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get their work done there. this is one of our greatest responsibilities under the constitution, to provide advice and consent to the president's nominees, whether they be judges, whether they be ambassadors, or wherever in a senate-confirmed position in the administration. we've seen a record number of cloture votes during the last two years because, again, our colleagues on the other side have simply wanted to burn the clock, waste time, and then vote overwhelmingly to confirm noncontroversial nominees. all that does is prevent us from getting our work done on a timely basis and makes it harder to fill these vacancies. in the first two years of the trump administration the majority leader, the senator from kentucky, has made nominations a top priority, particularly judicial nominations. but we still have a number of nominees with exemplary records waiting for confirmation. i talked to secretary pompeo,
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the secretary of state. he said they've got a number of ambassadorships, a number of important positions in our diplomatic corps vacant for no other reason than the foot-dragging and obstruction seen by the other side. it's shameful. these are well-qualified and accomplished men and women who put their lives on hold and are languishing on our calendar. we need to get them confirmed. we will advance two of those nominees today -- bernard l. mcnamee, to serve on the federal energy regulatory commission; and kathleen kraninger to be director of the consumer financial protection bureau. i also hope to add to our historic number of judicial confirmations by ensuring that more well-qualified judges are confirmed in our federal and district courts. as you know, madam president, we've so far confirmed 84 judges
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nominated by president trump, and i hope we're able to continue this work and ensure that more highly regarded judges are able to join their ranks in the federal judiciary both this year and in the next two years, the final two years of the first term of president trump. and before we adjourn the 1 115th congress, we need to pass the farm bill, the conference report. its importance really can't be overstated. i know the presiding officer comes from a state where agriculture is important. i know of your personal experience leading the ag sector in mississippi. but the farm bill safeguards the future of our agricultural community. and when we think about that phrase our agricultural community, our minds often conjure up farmers and ranchers, but the circle of that community is far wider encompassing rural communities and indeed our entire country. most of our country is rural, and agriculture is absolutely
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critical. we've all heard the saying thank a farmer three times a day, and that's true. but in reality we should be thanking hem a -- them a lot moe because the agriculture committee does more than provide the food we eat. but that's important but they do a lot more. in small towns and rural communities like those in texas, agriculture is the heartbeat of the economy. farmers and ranchers send their children to local schools, they shop on main street, buy grocery at the super market. they bank at their local bank or credit union. they receive loans for new equipment to grow their businesses and fund their operations. so they are interwoven with our communities all across the country, and they deserve our support. and some predictability and stability. the farm bill is renewed once every five years supporting the ag community in several ways. it addresses food production by helping ensure americans continue to enjoy access to the
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safest, cheapest and most reliable food supply in the world. our farmers and ranchers do this so well that we just, many of us kind of take it for granted and always assume that the food will be there when we want it and need it. most of the rest of the world doesn't enjoy that sort of abundance or the certainty that it will always be there. this also impacts many other areas, the farm bill, like forestry research, nutrition programs and humanitarian aid to foreign countries. in texas one of seven texans work in the agriculture industry. farmers and ranchers know too well that mother nature can and has disrupted harvest and devastated crops which we saw in abundance with hurricane harvey a little over a year ago. that's why perhaps the most important thing the farm bill does is give the ag community
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the support and predictability they need and they deserve. so we need to get to work and get that done before we go home for christmas. our to do list may seem daunting to some, but the reason we're able to keep our heads in the game and continue to build off of our mental -- momentum is because of the incredible record we've seen in the 115th congress. that would be for the first two years of the trump administration, when we've had republican majorities in the house and the senate. an historic record of achievement and accomplishment. that record fundamentally includes the economic gains we've seen, renewed confidence, optimism about the future, more jobs, low unemployment. you know, the hispanic and african american unemployment rates are at the lowest in history, in recorded history. that's quite an accomplishment. and unemployment is so low around the country that there is
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a genuine demand and need for more trained workers, and that's another challenge for us, to provide people an opportunity to learn the skills they need in order to fill these good, well-paying jobs that are demanding and needing more employees. well, the accomplishments we made, i'd like to think, are the result of first listening to what our constituents are telling us and translating that into legislation that will actually improve their lives. for example, in an effort to ease regulatory burden on job seekers, the president signed three bills that i introduced into law. they may not seem like monumental landmark pieces of legislation, but covering the subject matter they do, i think they help my constituents in real and important ways. the first bill is an occupational license rg reform bill -- licensing reform bill that gives states they need to
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reduce barriers in certain professions. some licensing requirements in some of the states are so onerous, so expensive and time consuming it basically freezes out those people who have those skills or talents who want to use those to make a living. but the new hope act gist states additional tools to reduce some of those barriers. two other bills help veterans who are making the transition back to civilian life. the jobs for our heroes act makes it easier for veterans to get a commercial driver's license. one thing i heard from my constituents back home is we need more truck drivers and we need better roads for them to drive those trucks on, but we've got a lot of veterans who learned how to drive big, heavy trucks in the course of their military service who we have helped expedite their position
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to good paying jobs with huge demand. we also passed the law enforcement heroes act that help law enforcement agencies to hire veterans so they can protect the american people here at home. if you read the newspapers, you will see that law enforcement agencies are desperate to get well qualified, well trained people to join their police departments. this is a way for veterans to take their skills in the military and make them available for public safety in civilian life. veterans rights issues have been a passion of mine since i was honored to serve as attorney general of texas. i've continued to work here in the senate and introduced three bills in this congress protecting victims that were signed in law. one called the safer act is to reduce the number of backlog of rape kits.
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that is forensic evidence ndaa collected -- d.n.a. collected that is key to solving that crime and identifying the perpetrator. by the way, it also has a way of exonerating people who may be arrested for it, which basically the d.n.a. test in the rape kit can potentially rule them out as a suspect. we also passed the justice served act which is prosecuting cold cases solved by d.n.a. evidence. the sorts of things that we can now do as a result of the scientific achievements of being able to test d.n.a. has opened up whole new vistas for law enforcement and to use that science in powerful and important ways to reduce the rape kit backlog and tole solve violent crimes. the third bill i will mention is called the protect our children's act which reauthorizes task forces
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combating child exploitation online. we all know that the internet is an integral part of our lives. unfortunately, there are people who use the internet to gain access to vulnerable children and recruit them or otherwise exploit them online. and so the protect our children act reauthorizes task forces, law enforcement agencies primarily, to combat child exploitation online. not every local police department or sheriff's department has the tax base to generate the revenue they need to hire the expertise or to get the technology they need in order to combat this heinous crime. so that's where i think it's appropriate for the federal government to step up and say, let's get the best practices. let's figure out what the standard should be and then help fill those gaps to combat child exploitation. but perhaps the most significant
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accomplishment congress made in terms of my state over the last two years was working together to deliver disaster relief to those suffering from hurricane harvey. that catastrophic flooding and damage caused by harvey is something we hope to never see again during our lifetime, but that is a hope that i'm afraid is in vain. we know that there will always be more hurricanes and more floods, but i was proud to join forces with the junior senator, senator cruz, to pass nearly $147 billion that was available for disaster relief, including hurricane harvey, but not limited to hurricane harvey, but also for the wildfires out west and hurricanes that hit puerto rico and other areas. we have legislation that specifically addressed needs of my constituents in texas. the first makes houses of
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worship that makes fema grants to help them rebuild after disasters. many houses of worship have public facilities that they make available to the community that are unrelated to proselytizing, and we made sure they had the fema grants. the second was a tax relief, to allow them to access retirement accounts. that was something for hurricane katrina and we did so after hurricane harvey, and it is another way we have made people's lives a little bit better after suffering from this natural disaster. and while aid after a disaster helps those affected to be able to rebuild, it does little good if we're in the also working to help prevent or mitigate the threat of flooding and future hurricanes. so we passed provisions that
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will expedite, for example, a coastal study and mitigate flood projects along the gulf coast. most of the fine product needed for jet fuel and gasoline is refined along the gulf coast of texas and louisiana, and so it's important from a national perspective, not just a local perspective, that we do everything we can to mitigate against future threats and threats to our nation's refined energy product supply. mr. president, i feel fortunate to be in the united states senate. i'm proud of the work that we've done in the 115th congress, but we need to finish our job and to get our work completed before christmas as we close out the 115th congress, the types of accomplishments that i mentioned that frankly don't necessarily get a lot of attention because most of these are bipartisan bills that we passed without a lot of
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controversy or a lot of noise. but i hope that we can continue to build on these accomplishments for the benefit of my constituents in texas and americans across the country. we've got just a short time left, two weeks perhaps, assuming we can pass, and i do expect we will pass a two-week continuing resolution taking us up to the 21st. honestly i don't think we need to the way that long. we know what we have to do. we just need to come together and get it done and then we can all go home and be with our families and loved ones during christmas. i ask that the senate proceed to legislative session for a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the committee on
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hsgac be discharged from further consideration of 5328. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: an act to designate the facility of the united states postal service located at 1234 st. john's place in brooklyn, new york. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent, mr. president, the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 1861, which was received from the house. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 1861, an act to award a congressional medal in honor of laurence eugene larry
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doaby and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cornyn: i know of no other debate on the bill, mr. mr. president. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, all in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill is passed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i further ask unanimous consent that the committee on judiciary be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 1417 and that the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 1417, an act to enact the national law enforcement museum act and so forth and for other purposes.
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the presiding officer: is there objection to the proceeding to the measure? without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the committee on homeland security and governmental affairs be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 3398, and that the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 3398, an act to amend the real i.d. act of 2005 and and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to roading -- proceeding to the measure? without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. -- without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i
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further ask unanimous consent that the small business committee be discharged and the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 6330. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 6330, an act to amend the small business act to modify the method for prescribing size standards for biz concerns. the presiding officer: is there objection to the proceeding to the measure? without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cornyn: i know of no further debate on the bill, mr. president. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, all in favor say aye. all opposed -- those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill is passed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the motion to c.e.o. consider be -- the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i further ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the
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calendar number 635, s. 3561. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 635, s. 3561, a bill to support the entrepreneur serving in the national guard and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the committee-reported amendments be agreed to and that the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i know of no further debate on the bill, as amended. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, all in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill, as amended, is passed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i ask
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unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the calendar number 633, s. 2679. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 633, s. 2679, a bill to provide access to an manage excess or surplus property to veteran owned small businesses. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: unanimous consent that the committee-reported substitute amendment be agreed to and that the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cornyn: i know of no further debate on the bill, as amended, mr. president. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, all in favor say aye. those opposed, say no. ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill, as amended, is passed. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i ask
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unanimous consent that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. korn i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar 402, h.r. 4111. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 402, h.r. 4111, an act to amend the small business act -- small business investment act of 1958 and sphort and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: i ask consent that the bill be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cornyn: i know of no further debate on the bill, mr. president. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, all in favor favor. all in favor say aye. all those opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill is passed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the motion to
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reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, finally i ask unanimous consent that the senate resume executive session to consider the mcnamee nomination as under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lankford: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oablg oak -- oklahoma. mr. lankford: the entire nation paused just for a little while this week to railroad the 41st
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president of the united states. they will honor his heg geas and his life. it's important that we also pause here in the senate chamber and quite frankly i bring the same sense of respect from my state of oklahoma. he's widely known, president bush was, of being our president. quite frankly one of the legacies i think he'll leave the longest tale on is his commitment to his faith, his family and his compassion for people. ran throughout his lifetime. the conversation during the funeral yesterday here in and it's happening right now in houston, centered significantly around his relationship with his beautiful wife, barbara. 73 years of marriage is quite a legacy and it is rare in ameri america. it was a gift to america to be able to see that kind of example set in front of us, that kind of commitment to their family and to each other. they met each other at a dance in greenwich, connecticut, in
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1941 when he was a 17-year-old high school senior and she was 16. and they went out to dance together with the glen miller congresses playing. tell me that's not a throwback to a different time and a different age. they were engaged in 1943 in the heart of the war where he shortly and during that same time period was engaged in working with the united states protecting our country during world war ii. he served as one of the youngest fighter pilots, the youngest during that time period. so his letters -- there has been much said about what a prolific writer he was in his own life. the letters have survived that he wrote to barbara during that 1943 time period, including a letter that he wrote to her on december 12, 1943, saying my darling bar -- this is when they were still engaged. he said you made my life full of everything i could ever dream
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of. my complete happiness should be a token of my love for you. who writes like that? other than a man who is just a great personal example to the nation. they were married january 6, 1945, had six children. they were the longest married presidential couple, married 73 years. in 1994, barbara bush described her husband in her memoirs as the two luckiest people in the world when all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family, and friends and we've been inordinately blessed and we know that. in 1994, that same year, he is still writing her decades later. he wrote her on their anniversary in 1994 with this note. will you marry me? then he wrote, oops, i forgot you did that 49 years ago today. i was very happy on that day in
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1945 and i'm even happier today. you've given me the joy that few men know. i've climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world but even that cannot hold a candle to being barbara's husband. the love story didn't come without some challenges, though. barbara was open about her struggle with depression in the 1970's. she described times saying this. night after night george held me while i was weeping in his arms and i tried to explain my feelings. she said, i wonder why he didn't leave me. but he didn't. in 1953, their daughter robin died of leukemia before her fourth birthday. the family struggled significantly with that. in fact, even president bush 43 referenced it yesterday in the funeral here in washington, d.c. but george bush wrote about it during that time period as well. he wrote about the loss their daughter robin who died at 3
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years old as he wrote to barba barbara, said there's about our house a need. we need some soft blond hair to offset the crew cuts. we need a doll house to stand firm against our forts and rackets and thousand baseball cards. we need someone who's afraid of frogs. we need a little one who can kiss without leaving an egg or jam or gum. we need a girl. we had one once. she'd fight and cry and play and make her way just like the rest but there was about her a certain softness. she was patient. her hugs were just a little less wiggly but she is still with us. we need her and yet we have her. we can't touch her and yet we can feel her. we hope she'll stay in our house for a long, long time.
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1953. he -- even in times of personal struggle their love for each other and tenacious passion and footion their family carry -- passion for their family carried them through it. he was at his wife's side when she died earlier this year, april 12 at age 92. george bush's 18th birthday he enlisted in the armed forces. he was the youngist pilot in the navy when he received his wings, flew 58 combat missions during world war ii, served to years as a representative for congress from texas and ran unsuccessfully for the senate. though his dad's desk when he was? the senate is right there -- was in the senate is right there when he was united states senator. president bush served as the chief diplomatic envoy in china, even before the united states had formally opened the official beijing embassy. he became the 11th director of the central intelligence agency.
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at that time called the d.c. i. from 1976 to 1977. he's the only president to have previously held that position. interestingly enough, many people don't know that the c.i.a. headquarters in langley are actually named for president bush and have been that way for a long time. it was an interesting season when he was the leader of the c.i.a. in the 1970's. there's a lot of -- there was a lot of mistrust between the united states citizens and central intelligence. president bush did something at that time exceptional as the director of central intelligence. he actually provided transparency, a radical idea where he would come to the hill and he would invite members of the house and the senate over to his house and have informal dinners with him to be able to talk about what they're doing. he came to the hill 51 times to be able to testify before the house and the senate, a record that's still unpassed by any
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director of national intelligence. it's a remarkable record of transparency and of leadership. in 1980, he campaigned for the presidency but lost. but then was tapped by the person he lost to in the primary, a gentleman by the name of ronald reagan to be his vice president. interestingly enough at 50 years old who i am today, the first president that i really remember watching was president reagan and vice president bush. to be able to see how they handled things. it was a remarkable set of leadership during that time period. in 1988 he won the republican nomination for president and then became president being the first president that i ever had the opportunity to be able to vote for at that time when i was 20 years old. so for my first time to ever vote for president, i had the privilege to be able to vote for president bush and then the honor to be able to sit in the cathedral yesterday and to be able to recognize the life.
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he was a remarkable president for being a one-term president, pushing back the sandanistas raving nicaragua. transitions europe out of the cold war, finishing the cold war without a shot being fired, unifying germany when most of europe as the soviet union fell and the berlin wall fell after reagan's famous mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. the wall didn't actually come down at that moment. it came down during the bush administration as they led germany out of that and then into unification, even though most of europe did not want a unified germany, remembering still what a unified germany did during world war ii. he led through that. he led as president for americans to start thinking about other americans in a new way, to stop saying so much that the government should provide every issue, though the government has a role, but he pushed back on something he called the thousand points of
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light and challenged americans to take care of their neighbors and their neighborhoods and for us to not look towards washington, d.c. to solve each problem but for nonprofits and communities and churches and the engagement neighbor to neighbor to able to turn around a nation. it's a remarkable calling for us to be able to be called to each other. in 1992 he lost his bid for reelection but it's interesting in his speech as he -- just after he lost the election, he made this statement. he said, i hope history will record the bush administration has served america well. i'm proud of my cabinet and my staff. america has led the world through an age of global transition and we have made the world safer for our kids and i believe the real fruits of our global victory are yet to be tasted. if he was seated here today, i could tell him we're still
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tasting the fruits of that freedom. he made this statement as well at that same time. ours is a nation that has shed the blood of war and tried the tears of depression. we have stretched the limits of human imagination and seen the technology miraculous become almost mundane. always, always our advantage has been our spirit, a constant confidence, a sense that in america the only things not yet accomplished are the things that have not yet been tried. then he said this. president-elect clinton needs all americans to unite behind him so he can move our nation forward but more than that, he will need to draw upon this unique american spirit. multiple individuals recently have referenced a letter that president bush left for president clinton on the desk in the oval office so when the transition occurred, president clinton would walk into his new office in 1993 and see this letter that ended with this statement. dated january 20, 1993.
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it's a long note, handwritten statements. you will be our president when you read this note. and he underlined the word "our." i wish you well. i wish your family well. your success is now our country's success and i'm rooting hard for you. pretty remarkable statement from someone who'd just been beaten in a campaign to then turn as an american leader and say america still continues and i'm rooting for your success. he left office and continued to serve, continued to press this thousand points of light, continued to encourage people to be able to serve their neighbors and serve each other and he continued to love his beautiful barbara. he celebrated watching his kids get elected into office, including the president of the united states. but he continued to be who he was, a gentle, compassionate,
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faith-filled person. he wanted the best for our nation. he showed us how to lose gracefully and not make enemies of our adversaries and he turned political foes into lasting friends. interestingly enough, june 12 of this year, on his 94th birthday, he wrote a note again to some friends. and in that note that he wrote earlier this year, he wrote, i'm truly touched and overwhelmed by all the messages i've received today, on his biferght day. and -- birthday. although i've seen them all, i can no longer answer them all. my 94-year-old hands would rebel. just know i appreciated hearing from you. as many of you know, for years i have said the three most important things in life are faith, family, and friends. my faith has never been stronger. i'm blessed with the world's most loving family and

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