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tv   U.S. Senate Tributes to Retiring Sen. Bob Corker  CSPAN  December 7, 2018 7:31am-8:04am EST

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the population could not get the attention of policymakers so they elected trump to break the glass in case of an emergency. i'm going to let this orange guy, that will get your attention. >> watch booktv on c-span2. >> tennessee republican bob corker is retiring after two terms in the u.s. senate. on thursday, his colleagues paid tribute to him in speeches from the senate floor. >> this is the 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 to pay tribute to another distinguished member of the senate who is leaving us at the end of this year, senator bob
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corker, one of the most hard-working and, frankly, relentless members of this body. he is a builder by trade and a fixer by nature. senator corker is always a man on a mission. are distinct body has a long history of impressive senators. tennesseans like howard baker, bill frick and our colleague lamar alexander. all about national reputations as leaders but after working with bob i could not feel more comfortable saying he himself will become a part of that great tennessee legacy. he has met that high bar and send it high himself. no senator could turn his or her attention to some important
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initiative. some dead end negotiation. national problem. then you would see bob corker diving into the fray and attacking the problem with everything he had. the limitless work ethic, entrepreneurial drive, these things defined bob corker since long before he was sworn in as a senator. he started working odd jobs at age 13. he cofounded his own construction company and strike out for himself. that firm grew from an $8000 mark into a major operations expand a dozen states. bob was constantly sniffing out opportunities and attacking
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them with vigor. them close to him had addiction to the feeling of a closing handshake. the needs were met. a deal was done. both parties walk away happy. the term workaholic might be putting it mildly. after one particularly harried negotiation ended in success bob explained i would sell it back to him if i could turn around and buy it again. so unlike many of his colleagues bob did not always aspired to public service. if he took an appeal to builders instincts to set his political career in motion. bob saw a message in a church
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bulletin, with construction experience to help a mission in haiti. bob went along with his father and 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 talk about the transformative wave of economic development and public improvement that was unleashed during his time as mayor. tennesseans liked what they saw. they decided his serial success story should be written right here on their behalf. in the united states senate. but mister president, if i tried to relate a comprehensive catalog, accomplished in the senate this speech would be our last act of business before new
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year's. a few highlights stand out especially. it was early in senator corker's first term the financial crisis through the economy into chaos but this fired up freshman, immediately started working with committee chairs across the aisle. and the acumen went to great use, without restoring stability. and housing reform. and the combination of his background with his post on the foreign relations committee led to unique bob corker accomplishments. and the buildout to overhaul how americans make loans to project in the developing world
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and also a key champion of the electrify africa bill that became law in 2016 laying groundwork for a more stable grid across the continent. and remain the confident businessman. many of the good things achieved for his home state for the legislation. every bit the former mayor bob continue to hustle to convince every new job and investment insight, his home state is the place for that phone call. meeting by meeting. so the senate is preparing to say goodbye to one of our most energetic and accomplished members. we will miss his enthusiasm and expertise and also his famous generosity, and everyone who jumps at the chance to describe
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a. he is thoughtful to those he knows well and those he just met. i have it on good authority at least one occasion bob -- a promising young man working at a checkout line, signed him up right there on the spot for a job interview with the chief of staff. most recently we know bob corker is the brilliant chairman of the foreign relations committee, he traveled constantly, he engaged issues around the world with an enormous degree of skill and capacity. he is a powerful voice for american interests and those of our allies and a forceful, influential foreign in the side of those who might wish us harm. he has also used the position to champion vulnerable people around the world. spearheading the end modern slavery initiative act focusing resources and attention on a
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humanitarian crisis affecting millions would be a core piece of that legacy. i know bob fried himself on bringing regular order back to the committee and back to basics. and under his leadership the committee passed the first authorization bill for the state department. predictably, that bob corker work ethic is on full display when he is traveling the world on our nation's behalf. when bob is leading a trip to israel and palestine a few years ago, he heard about smuggling tunnels between egypt and gaza and decided to see them himself. the way i heard it here arranged for ground
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transportation to gaza, examined the system and was back in tel aviv later that day to discuss the situation with prime minister benjamin netanyahu. i will admit i am excited to see what is hugely accomplished individual will get into next. there is plenty of talk about what is next in the queue. i heard his name, an opportunity envied by many in this chamber. that is the chance to spend a lot more time with family. i am sure elizabeth and the family will oblige with a smooth confirmation process. but i have to admit whatever comes next i doubt we will call it a retirement in any ordinary sense of the word. i heard what happened when bob corker tries to relax. apparently there was one summer when he endeavored to take up
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waterskiing. you know, nice lady days soaking the sunshine. that didn't last very long. bob went all in, practiced and practiced and kept at it all summer and soon, was a masterful and exhausted and burned out and once the challenge was gone, on to the next deal. on to the next construction project. bob, we will miss you a lot. the senate and the great state of tennessee will miss your service. we simply can't wait to see what you build next. >> mister president, i ask consent to speak in morning business. >> without objection.
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>> let me begin where the majority leader stopped. it is 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, wrote 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. benjamin 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.
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in 1978, age 25, he saved $6000 and started a construction company. a friend of mine in my hometown worked for him as he built a shopping center. my friend said i always knew corker would amount to something. after his experience in haiti that senator mcconnell discussed, he began to apply his skills at construction to help find decent homes for 10,000 people in chattanooga. i met bob corker 25 years ago in 1993. his friend jimmy hazlitt, who was his roommate in the
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university of tennessee called and said he had a friend who was thinking of public service and wondered if i would talk to him. jimmy is now the owner of the cleveland browns. when they first knew each other according to corker they spent a lot of 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've been an hour and a half. in his typical bob corker way, he was weighing all sides of the issue. and went 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 republican to do that with one exception. he had a primary and he was defeated by a doctor who had never before been involved in politics. some people centered amount to frisk for these two rookies running against each other in a primary, spend more of his
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money to be corker, corker -- in any event he came here and served as majority leader of the united states senate. that doesn't slow bob down more than 10 members. the new governor of tennessee invited him to become the chief operating officer of our state government. there we saw the first indications of diplomacy we now see today. he began to work with the democratic mayor of nashville who governor sundquist had just defeated in the governor's race and they brought the titans to nashville into tennessee to play the jaguars tonight at 7:20. bob earned so much respect from the democratic legislature, they persuaded him to run for governor as a democrat but he said no, he returned to chattanooga and jumped back
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into business. real estate companies were what he became involved in it became the mayor of chattanooga in 2000 and he would be the first to tell you chattanooga was already on a roll. a lot of people had a lot to do with chattanooga's success but anybody else will tell you 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 eventually, north american manufacturing plant, and to regard chattanooga as one of the most if not the most desirable city in america. and enormously successful. and in the senate race 12 years earlier, decided to retire from
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the senate and persuaded bob corker to run for his seat. maybe he didn't tell bob the whole story. that was a tough year for republican candidates. and bob nearly lost it. he nearly did something that almost no one would do whether they are a politician or executive. 6 or 8 weeks before the election he understood he was about to lose it and completely changed what he was doing, moved his campaign headquarters to nashville, hired a new team, began to tell the story of who bob corker really is instead of washington version of it and so we began to learn about his interest in haiti and the 10,000 people whose homes he found in chattanooga and his work to restore the city and lead the state and recruit the titans, people like that.
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the secretary and the treasurer of the republican senate class was sworn in in 2007. he was the only one. when bob first came here 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. the majority leader said he jumped in right away. without repeating all those things there was the financial crisis was the problems -- bob learned as much about general motors is a general motors board of directors new, he showed that as he worked, he was unafraid to talk to the managers or the union about what needed to be done. he became really focused on the
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federal debt of this country and seeing it as our biggest challenge. i don't think there is anyone in this body who has been more consistent in trying to drag out the real problem with the entitlements and he came up with a plan to introduce the bill to deal with it. the only problem is he and i are the only cosponsors of that bill. and something we have to work on. and he was discouraged to some degree about how the place works but he already accomplished so much and he continued this, being up early, reading everything he could get his hand on, calling everybody he could think of, traveling to 70 countries, worry about issues and saying what he thought. always trying to do it in a bipartisan way because he understood that is how you get results and he wanted results. bob corker voted with the majority of republican senators 85% of the time but he always
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has been a conservative who prizes results over speeches. in 2015 he became chairman of the foreign relations committee and began to deal with the issues senator mcconnell mentioned, iran, sex trafficking and others. is tough-minded pragmatism restored prestige to the foreign relations committee and his skills are reminiscent of the skills of the man we are honored this week, the team of george hw bush, what he was able to accomplish in foreign policy. when time magazine picked him 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 is an obvious choice for secretary of state or the treasury, which is exactly what happened.
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when donald trump was running and was elected in 2016, he considered senator corker for vice president, secretary of state, ambassador to australia. and over this time senator corker trump and senator corker, that is just how developers and contractors talk to each other. and deep down there's a lot of mutual respect between the two of them. these 12 years of working with bob corker has been a joy. senators from the same state, senators of the same political
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party don't always get along well with each other. this is a body that operates by unanimous consent. this is the body where relationships matter. bob corker and i follow the old rule senator howard baker and robert bird do. i won't surprise you if you won't surprised me. he 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. when he worked at the same way and i am convinced the people of tennessee were the beneficiaries of that because when they approached the corker staff and alexander staff for either one of us they found one plus one equals 3, not 2 and the people for whom we work are the beneficiaries.
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peyton manning once said he hoped bob corker would serve in the united states until he was 100 years old. i think that was really to get people to quit asking peyton manning to run for the senate because he knew better than to get involved. and while i am looking forward to working with marsha blackburn who is bob corker's successor, i have to admit that i agreed with peyton manning. bob corker has done as united states senator what every tennessean, every american should hope the united states senator would do. he has gotten up early determined to find a way to make the country a little better, read everything he could find, talked to everybody he could find on the telephone. anybody who thought he thought knew anything about the issues he cared about jumped into it with both feet, saying exactly what he thought was the right thing to do for the country and
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usually coming out with a result that did just that. it has 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, i yield the floor. >> senator from delaware. >> i ask unanimous consent to speak in morning business. >> without objection. >> madam president, i'm honored to join my colleagues in rising day and speaking a tribute to my friend senator bob corker in recognition of his remarkable service to the nation in the united states senate. senator corker and his staff
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left an astonishing legacy of tireless energy, engagement and productivity and i'm thrilled to have a few minutes to follow on the 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 at the same time and we decided the first thing we had to do was 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 it was going to be just fine. in a few weeks later i ended up on an airplane with two senators i had never heard of, bernie sanders of vermont and bob corker of tennessee. maybe i had heard of them but never met them and knew little about them and as we all sort of got engaged and went to pakistan and afghanistan i learned more and more about bob corker. i will repeat it.
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fierce work ethic. incredible intellect. determined to get things done, a builder. he reaches across the aisle, extends his hand and doesn't relent until there is a deal done. i can't think of a more frustrating place to try to bring that attitude to afghanistan at a time when law enforcement that, karzai and his half-brother had stolen nearly half $1 billion from the american taxpayers. and the president of afghanistan with the focus communication i will not soon forget. 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, engaged and purposeful with the leaders of afghanistan and in every meeting in pakistan and afghanistan and jordan and
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israel bob with a blitz of activity with purpose. what an introduction. when i realized my background as a county executive would get a lot of land use and development and bob's background as an entrepreneur, builder, mayor and someone passionate about providing housing to those in need meant we had a lot in common. 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 has been willing at times to put nation above party and always committed to his home state of tennessee. i do once to make sure i also say thank you to his wife, elizabeth, his daughters emily and julie come his family including his grandchildren who have supported him in this service was his dozen years in the senate have left a lasting legacy and that is only
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possible because he has a family that loved and supported him even as he traveled relentlessly around the world and worked tirelessly to tackle budget issues. as a builder, entrepreneur, successful businessman bob can read a balance sheet. hours is barely out of whack. as a member of the budgetary my first you use here he was reminiscent developing a message to anyone who would hear that we were headed towards a reckoning. a piece of unfinished business which i feel some obligation to carry forward in bob's honor. as you heard his colleagues say it was moments when bob's tireless, relentless energy, determination to build and get things done encountered the tragic realities of the world, a trip to haiti that opened his eyes to the profound need for housing in the world. much later a trip to the philippines to see the tragedy of young women ensnared by the sex trafficking by sex traffickers the profoundly touched him and moved him.
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it is this combination of relentless will, great intellect that made senator corker, chairman corker such a successful leader. weather meeting with world leaders, fighting budget issues or chairing the senate foreign relations committee there is universal agreement about his passion, his character, his integrity. that is because he genuinely listens to people, asks them thoughtful, sometimes tough, very focused questions and gets moving on toward solving a problem. i ask for a review of the bills that he worked on and it is longer than the time i have allotted so let me give a few highlights because one of the things that bears repeating is 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
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difference in my short eight years here. we recently worked together to reauthorize george w. bush's emergency program for aids relief in september of this year. we worked together, this is bob's initiative, senator corker's leadership, to pass the end slavery act. .. 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 $60 billion of american private which will deploy $60 billion of american private capital around the t 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
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up the skills and strength of our private sector to help build and meet the needs of a growing world. working to make the act and execute will be one of the things i can do this coming year, making sure the electrified africa act which we worked on together is submitted while this coming year will be something i look forward to doing, working to make sure the end slavery initiative act as kerry for this coming congress,, something out for two of what i will deeply miss his time with senator corker. it was at easter time last year he asked me on short notice if i thought we shouldn't go to the fastest-growing refugee camp in the world inre uganda where more than a quarter million people were living after fleeing war-torn south sudan. i i went to my wife and said i really clad quite we can at home this year. what you think what she said there is no better place on earth you could be than with bob corker worksheet and i both have
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been impressed with his tireless commitment to making a difference in the world. and the impact of that trip on both of us of spending that weekend not in the comfort required of her own homes at her own states, but with people would just lead violence, torture, rape and abuse, provide some measure of comfort and confidence to them and have insights in howel we're helping around the world. touched my heart and will affect the whole rest of my service in my life. let me just say this in closing. we had a remarkable time serving together in foreign relations. chairman corker has shown us how members of this body should act. we have a real difference is big he is a conservative republican. he comes to things with different principles but have been relentless in finding solutions. in the problems of faces will not be sold without leaders like chairman corker. it's not my honor to have the opportunity work with him on a few issues. frankly, i wish more members
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were here to talk about all the other issues from financial services to get out of industry to things around the world that a no is pressing business in this short lame-duck folks take from you. let me say this. i am eager to see what chairman corker does next because that relentless energy, that you chart, the great intellect is made such a lasting difference here that i am eager to find out what he is determined to build next. there's nothing to which he has then to 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 do some small way tried to learn the opportunity to make a difference in this country in this world with you. god bless you and thank you for your service to our nation. >> 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
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january 3. >> next defense secretary james mattis talks about russian efforts to interfere with the 2018 midterm elections. during a keynote address at the annual reagan national defense forum in simi valley. afterward he sat down for a conversation with representative beyer of fox news to talk about global hotspots, the defense budget comments plans for the future. this is just under one hour. >> this morning marks an anniversary for our keynote speaker. exactly two years ago today president trump announced to the nation his intention to nominate james mattis as our nation's 26th secretary of defense. having met and


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