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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  March 25, 2019 2:59pm-7:21pm EDT

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of america are yet to come. thank you. god bless you. god bless israel and god bless the united states of america. [applause] ♪ ♪ >> well, the u.s. senate is about to gavel in after a weeklong break from capitol hill. senators plan to debate the nomination of bridget bait to the u.s. appeals court, a vote to limit debate is planned for 5:30 eastern. tomorrow senators will take up the new green deal resolution aimed as no carbon emissions by
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the year 2050 and economic fairness. they're expected to start on debate and vote on whether to allow the resolution to the floor. and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o lord god,
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the almighty and the all wise, your judgments and your ways are past finding out. lord, bless our senators with strength sufficient for today's challenges, illuminating their paths with your light. may they walk in the way of integrity and sacrifice. lord, let your power purify their thoughts as your truth governs their words. teach them to cheerfully do your will surrounding them with the shield of your providential love. use them to fulfill your
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purposes for our nation and humanity. we pray in your powerful name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved.
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morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, bridget s. bade of arizona to be united states circuit judge for the ninth circuit. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa.
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mr. grassley: thank you. i come to the floor today to share a message from iowa's heartland. as you know, million, of americans -- millions of americans in the middle of the country are experiencing catastrophic flooding. my home state of iowa and our neighbors in nebraska are particularly hard hit and down river of the missouri and mississippi it will affect others. i want to thank the trump administration for its swift response on saturday to approve the expedited request for a major disaster declaration made by iowa governor kim reynolds on thursday evening. the flooding has caused tremendous damage impacting more than two-thirds of iowa's 99 counties.
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the federal disaster proclamation will trigger emergency assistance to 56 of those counties so far and that would be the counties in blue on the map here. governor reynolds team has been in trenches working hand in hand with local officials and county emergency coordinators. they estimated damage so far across our entire state to be one in six tenths billion dollars. the damage is estimated for agriculture is $214. damages to homes, $481 million. levee repair estimates $525 million. by all accounts and every possible metric, the damages and devastation are overwhelming.
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and yet at the very same time, the legendary mythology of america's heartland is its people is rooted in truth. the road to recovery will be long, grueling, and at times gruesome. but i am confident that the grit and resilience of iowans and their fellow midwesterners will prevail. over the last week we've heard remarkable stories of neighbor helping anybody and of neighbors helping total strangers. residents of all ages and residents of differing abilities rubbed elbows to bag sand to save a water treatment facility in their small town. first responders and good
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samaritans rescued people stranded in their homes. farmers moved their neighbors' grain and livestock to higher ground. volunteers rolled up their sleeves to serve hot meals and to deliver water. and generous americans across our country opened their wallets to donate money, food, water, hygiene products, and medical supplies. iowa farmers not wiped out by the floods are sending truckloads of much needed hay to livestock producers and ranchers in nebraska. these stories offer a glimmer of sunshine in the darkest hours of the 2019 floods. you might say that we're experiencing an unwelcome twist of march madness along the
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missouri river. despite being mired in muck and mud, it's reassuring to see the full court press and gritty resilience of midwesterners. make no mistake, the catastrophic damages to private property, farmland, main street businesses, public utilities, and critical infrastructures, including wells, roads, bridges, and railways have extended beyond the capability of local and state government. area -- aerial footage of our state make entire communities and farmsteads look like an island surrounded by an ocean, and you can see some of that here in this photo. taken just last week.
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you see here a small community along the missouri river. it's a town by the name of pacific junction located in the southwestern corner of the state in mills county. its entire population was forced to evacuate. as you can see from this photo, the rooftops of homes appear to be floating in the muddy waters of the -- of a monopoly board. so i ask my colleagues here in the senate and i ask americans listening at home, put your shoes -- yourselves in the shoes of those evacuated from their homes. imagine if this were your home soaking in unsanitary water for days on end. consider for a moment the damages to your furniture, clothes, appliances, and your
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most prized possessions. think how much it would cost to replace those items. and now add up the countless hours of hard work that it would take to clean up the mess and mud, muck, and mold once the water finally recedes. i have another photo here i want you to look at. let's turn now to a photo near pacific junction. and i think i ought to thank a constituent and a friend by the name of larry winham of lendwood, iowa for -- glenwood, iowa for sharing these photos. just think of the small businesses impacted by the floods. the photo here of a motel illustrates how flooding can wash away the livelihoods of business owners and their
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employees. this particular business will have zero okay peace -- zero occupancy indefinitely. even if the roads were open, this business will need a floor-to-ceiling refurbishment to replace bed, linen, carpet, and towels, and most likely even significant plumbing and electrical work. i want to show you another photo of mainstream hamberg, iowa. this community was hard hit in 2011. and i was there in 2011. and it's worse now. and you can see it's under water 2019. let's examine how the flooding has affected our farmers. as a lifelong farmer, i know exactly what farmers across my state are feeling at this time of the year.
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they get very antsy and keep constant watch on the weather, on soil temperatures, on planning conditions for their seed -- planting conditions for their seed. they ordered seed and fertilizer. these farmers are chomping at the bit to get started on field work. now imagine the farmers along the missouri river. tens of thousands of acres of farmland under water. these acres may never be ready for planting for sure this season. and now consider the farmers who were storing grain in the bins along the missouri. millions of bushels of flood-soaked grain have spilled into murky flood waters. this picture says it all. this is grain that farmers were counting on to pay the bills to
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put this year's crop into the ground. this photo was shared courtesy of state representative david sikh whose legislative district is almost completely impacted by the flood damages, and i thank david for sharing. my state's staff tells me some farmers in the flooded areas didn't get last fall's crop fully harvested, and of course that's destroyed. since march 12, my staff has been crisscrossing scores of iowa counties to visit affected communities and meet directly with iowans. they're sharing the feedback from iowans directly to me, and i'm making plans to visit affected areas very well as soon as can. i'm anxious to measure recovery
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and cleanup efforts to inform my decisions on tax and spending policies that are needed to help with recovery efforts going forward. as my speech and these photos suggest to all, and i hope will suggest to each of my colleagues here in the senate, we have a long road to recovery from the floods of 2019. in fact, it could be worse. the national oceanic and atmospheric administration issued a wake-up call last week. we are not yet out of the woods, not by a long shot. with more precipitation, snow melt, saturated soil, frozen ground, massive ice jams, we're in store for significant spring flooding that may affect each --
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may reach 200 million americans. today i've talked largely about the extent of damages. and the recovery efforts that are just getting started. it's important also to talk about flood mitigation. breached, overtopped, or compromised levees span hundreds of miles on the missouri river along the states of iowa, nebraska, and missouri. it took a long time for these communities to recover from flooding that took place eight years ago. it's no wonder an awful lot of iowans are feeling like they're way back to square one again. iowans, especially those who live along the missouri river, want and deserve answers. southwest iowa communities have
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raised grave concern about the unresponsive corps of engineers, specifically about the lack of communication, about not enough water releases, and ordering the town of hamburg back in 2011 to remove reinforcements of the now-breached levee that left the town under water. i, too, share the concerns that have been expressed to the corps of engineers. i have had a chance to talk to the corps headquarters in omaha. for years, i have worked with several of my midwestern colleagues along the missouri river to make flood control the number one priority of the corps. it seems to me that misguided decisions and misplaced
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priorities have eclipseed common sense. so as i told you, i talked last week with the commander of the corps in omaha and shared my concerns about the lack of communication and coordination with local communities. perhaps a good scrubbing of the master manual of the corps of engineers for the missouri river may help clear wax out of bureaucratic ears that haven't gotten the message. the number one priority of the corps should be flood control. flood control, period. i started out today by saying that i want to share a message from america's heartland. i'd like to close my remarks by sending a message to that american heartland. as iowa's senior senator, i will stand with you every step of the
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way. my staff and i are working very closely with iowa and midwestern congressional del gaigz, the trump administration, and -- delegations, the trump administration, and state agencies to make sure that disaster relief programs are working effectively for homeowners, small businesses, farmers, and our local communities. and the best thing i can say to any federal agency and their employees, the corps of engineers, fema, and many others, use a little common sense and cut out a lot of the red tape. but here's where it ends. when the going gets tough, iowans get tougher. so hang tough, keep fighting, and know that help is on the way. i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, as the world now know, yesterday evening attorney general barr sent a letter to congress on the investigation of the special
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counsel. in his letter, attorney general barr confirmed the intelligence community's assessment that through a coordinated disinformation campaign and hacking operations, russia sought to interfere with the 2016 election. any attempts by a congress government to interfere with our democratic processes, successful or unsuccessful, must not be taken lightly. though the special counsel's investigation was very targeted and specific, members of the senate intelligence committee on which i serve continue our work to more closely examine the matter, as well as the broader threats posed by foreign interference as part of our oversight responsibilities. this was a major focus of the special counsel's investigation. it was not the most anticipated portion of mr. mueller's report. after reviewing the special counsel's findings, the attorney general concluded that the trump campaign did not coordinate with the russian government in their
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efforts to influence the election. based on the reaction since general barr's release of his letter, it's clear that the partisans who will never be satisfied with any results of an investigation will not be apieced -- appeased by this report by the special counsel or general barr's summary of mr. mueller's conclusions. i hope that our colleagues will trust the dedicated team of public servants who investigatorred -- investigated this matter for the special counsel and now allow couldn't to move on so we can deal with other challenges facing the american people. the worst thing we could do is to get bogged down in a relitigation of all of these issues, over which we have no real authority. because congress' role is to conduct oversight for purposes of determining whether the laws have been faithfully executed or whether changes in the law need to occur.
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obviously, special counsel's role is entirely different. it's a criminal investigation to determine whether there is sufficient evidence of a violation of a criminal law that would warrant presentation to a grand jury charging and then a trial. congress' role is demonstrably and decidedly different. i would like to thank mr. mueller for conducting his investigation with the utmost professionalism. for those of us who have seen him in action over many years, we expected nothing different. i'd also like to thank attorney general barr for promptly communicating his conclusions with both congress and the american people. throughout attorney general barr's confirmation hearings, he stressed his intent to release as much information as possible, and he is now in the process of delivering on his word. i agree with those on both sides of the aisle as well as the
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president who want the mueller report to be released publicly, as much of the report as can be released consistent with existing law should be made public so that the american public can read it for themselves. but i also agree with the chairman of the judiciary committee, senators graham, that we also need to understand better how we got to this place. we need to look at the decisions being made by the leadership at the department of justice, the f.b.i., the intelligence community, and the obama white house during the time in which this counterintelligence investigation was initiated against president trump while he was still a candidate and why, contrary to the practice, as testified to by attorney general loretta lynch, a defensive briefing was not given to the trump campaign so that they could know that the russians were trying the doors and the windows and trying to get into the organization.
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we know now from mr. mueller's report they were unsuccessful in establishing a connection and collusion, assed word has been -- as the word has been used. but we know that the investigation that initially was started ultimately came up empty handed and resulted in this narrative which prompted the appointment of a special counsel and this long investigation that mr. mueller has now completed. so we need to understand that better as part of our oversight responsibilities, particularly those of us like the presiding officer and i who are on the judiciary committee, who have explicit oversight responsibility for the department of justice as well as the f.b.i. mr. president, on another matter, we'll soon have an opportunity to vote on the green new deal. since this resolution was introduced last month, there's been a lot of confusion about exactly what is in it and how much it would cost. generally those aren't great questions to leave unanswered
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when you're trying to pass something in the senate. we need more information to be sure, but when the resolution was released it made some lofty promises, renovating or replacing all buildings a chief maximum energy efficiency and providing higher education, health care, and housing for everybody. missing, of course, were some of the details on how these goals would be either feasible or affordable. no plans on how to incentivize the research and development of new cleaner energy technologies, no specifics on how much it would cost to retrofit every existing building in the country, no estimates about how much the long list of new entitlement programs would be funded. the confusion only grew stronger when one of the authors of the resolution release add background summary that made even more promises, again with no assurances of any plans that would be feasible or could be
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implemented. the congresswoman from new york claimed that the green new deal would even include government-subsidized life for those who are unwilling to work. she said, we'll build high-speed rail that will make airline travel unnecessary, which came as a surprise to our completion from hawaii -- to our colleagues from hawaii. and she said we'll replace every internal combustion engine in every vehicle. but, as us might imagine, there is a long list of unanswered questions. one thing we know about the green new deal is that it would be a bad deal for texas. our state has always embraced an all-of-the-above attitude when it comes to energy. our people don't expect handouts but they don't expect opportunities and only come with economic and individual freedom. they don't want to be told what the government will permit them to do or forces them to do, and they certainly don't want to be taxed to death to support people
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who aren't willing to work. we believe the government should -- that the government that governs least governs best in a nation of laws, especially when it comes to our economy. texas keeps its taxes and government spending and regulations at a rational minimum to people give and small businesses that create jobs the freedom to dream big and let the free market provide and we know that it works. lower taxes and less burdensome regulation draw businesses to our state. we're one of the fastest-growing states in the nation because people are literally voting with their feet. it's because we've seen jobs created and opportunities for everyone willing to work. our unemployment rate is at or below the national average. i believe in midland, texas, in the permian basin, it is 2.1%. they the can't find enough able-bodied people to fill the jobs that exist. and we know we lead the nation
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in exports, fueling both the state's economy as well as that of the entire country. as i just alluded, the major part of our state's success is our thriving energy industry. something that won't come as a surprise to most people is the fact that texas leads the country in both oil and natural gas production. but what may surprise you is the fact that we're the number-one producer of from wind energy -- of electricity from wind energy. one-fourth of wind energy comes from texas. there's no doubt that texas' position is the largest energy-producing state has secured our position as an economic powerhouse. but if the authors of the green new deal, oil and gas or all hydrocarbons will be disastrous t because renewables simply aren't prepared to fill that gap. hundreds of thousands beaver of people will lose their jobs, exports would decline, and
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without a eliable alternative power source, you can expect to spend most of your day in the dark. instead of talking about plans that would hurt my constituents in texas and bankrupt the entire country, let's v.o.a. a serious conversation -- let's have a serious conversation about real solutions. a few weeks ago our friend and colleague from maine, nor collins, joined me on a tour of the net power demonstration plant in laporte, texas. net power has generated a system that generates affordable energy from natural gas while producing zero emissions. this kind of innovative carbon capture technology is what our future should look like. if american companies don't produce them first, well, we know somebody else will. so we need to invest in america in new technologies that can take our most reliable and affordable energy sources and make them cleaner. when senator mcconnell announced his intent to bring this bill to the floor, well,
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things got a little strange around the senate. in my experience, if the majority leader says he'll bring something you authored to the floor, you're thrilled. well, not with the green new deal. the junior senator from massachusetts, who introduced the resolution in the first place, referred to this announcement as sabotage. well, clearly something is wrong. i believe it is important for us to have a discussion about smart ways to reduce emissions and lessen our environmental footprint. but the way to do that is not through heavy-handed regulations or unrealistic goals to eliminate the fuel sources that we need. nor is is it about throwing in socialist government power grabs that only appeal to a radical wing of the other party, which is basically a distraction from the real issues we should be discussing. so, mr. president, the green new deal is bad for america, it's bad for texas, and i urge my democratic colleagues to stop this ideological race to the
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left. start working with us on practical solutions that actually have a chance to become law. i will vote no on the green new deal resolution, and i encourage all of my colleagues to do the same. and finally, mr. president, this last saturday marked one year since the fix nics act was signed into law. this legislation meant a lot to me because it fulfilled a promise i made to the southerland community after the deadliest shooting in texas here. a deranged gunman opened fire at the first baptist church in sutherland springs killing 26 people and rocking our entire state to its core. the gunman had a criminal record, had a record of violence and mental illness, had been convicted of mental violence while serving in the military and by law should not have been able to purchase or even possess
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a firearm. but the national instant criminal background check system known as nics, did not have a record of his crimes because they had not been transmitted by the united states air force to the f.b.i. in the wake of that tragedy, it's hard to rid your mind of the what ifs. what if his criminal record had been uploaded to the nics database? what if he had not been able to purchase the gun? for the family of the victims lost that day those questions are too tough to ask because they know the answer. their loved ones might still be alive today. sadly, there's nothing we can do to bring back the loved ones they lost that day, but i knew there was something we could do to prevent other families and communities from experiencing that sort of pain, grief, and less than two weeks after the
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tragedy, senator murphy and i introduced fix nicks to prevent if from happening again. penalizes federal agencies who fail to properly -- this sort of commonsense reform gained broad bipartisan support. in fact, there were 77 cosponsors in the senate alone including both the majority and minority leaders, something of a rarity in my experience. it also gained the support of a diverse group of national organizations from the national rifle association to the national coalition against domestic violence, the fraternal order of police and the national shooting sports foundation. when president trump signed this bill one year ago, it marked the strongest update to the background check system in a decade. i appreciate the support of my colleagues for this legislation. what we were able to demonstrate
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is that congress can work in a bipartisan way to address a problem if we just put our minds to it. and i appreciate the support of the sutherland springs community in the wake of the tragedy, something that they are still feeling even today. i'm confident that this legislation will help save lives and make our communities safer. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i believe climate change is change. i believe that human emissions are a major cause of climate change, and i believe the dpement -- the democratic plan for climate change which the senator from texas spoke about, the green new deal, is so far out in left field that not many are going to take it seriously.
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so as one republican, i'm here today to propose this response to climate change. that is that the united states should launch a new manhattan project for clean energy, a five-year project with ten grand challenges that will use american research and technology to put our country and our world firmly on the path toward cleaner, cheaper energy. meeting these grand challenges would create breakthroughs in advanced nuclear reactors, natural gas, carbon and capture, better batteries, greener buildings, electric vehicles, cheaper solar power and fusion. to provide the tools to create these breakthroughs, the federal government should double its funding for energy research and keep the united states number one in advanced commuting. mr. president, this strategy
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takes advantage of the united states secret weapon, our extraordinary capacity for basic research, especially in our 17 national laboratories. it will strengthen our economy. it will raise family incomes. this strategy also recognizes that when it comes to climate change, china, india, and other developing countries are the problem. american innovation is the answer. according to the global carbon project, over the last 13 years the united states has reduced production of greenhouse gases more than any other major country. let me say that again. according to the global carbon project, over the last 13 years the united states has reduced production of greenhouse gases more than any other major country. but over the last five years, china and its carbon emissions have risen. the u.s. reduction is largely thanks to conservation and to
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switching from coal to natural gas in the production of electricity. this is the way a california physicist explains it. our mothers told us as children to clean our plates because children in india were starving. cleaning our plates was a good thing for us to do, but it didn't do much for starving children in india. in the same way, carbon emissions, reducing carbon emissions in the united states is a good thing to do, but it doesn't do much to address climate change because most of the increase in greenhouse gases is in developing countries. if we want to do something about climate change, we should use american research and technology to provide the rest of the world with tools to create low-cost energy that emits fewer greenhouse gases. the purpose of the original
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manhattan project during world war ii is to find a way to split the atom and build a bomb before germany could. "the new york times" described this as, quote, the most concentrated intellectual effort in history, end quote. instead of ending a war, the goal of the new manhattan project will be to minimize the disruption on our lives and our economies caused by climate change to clean the air and to raise family incomes. both in our country and in the rest of the world by creating large amounts of reliable, clean, inexpensive energy. can a new manhattan project accomplish such bold breakthroughs in just five years? well, take a look at the last five years. carbon emissions from energy consumption are down by 230 million metric tons. the number of electric vehicles has doubled and so has the
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median driving range per charge. the utility scale charge of solar power has been nearly cut in half. the number of homes has risen by 4%, but household energy usage has decreased by 10%. we lost and then we reclaimed the number-one spot in super computing. the cost of natural gas has been cut in half. the percent of electricity provided by natural gas has increased from 27% to 35%, and that's all in the last five years. i will not spend time in these remarks debunking the green new deal because so many others have so effectively already done that. basically the green new deal is an assault on cars, cows, and combustion. with nuclear power available, its strategy for fighting climate change with windmills makes as much sense as going to
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war in sailboats. as a bonus, it throws in, as the senator from texas outlined, it throws in free college, a guaranteed job with a government-set wage, and it would take away private health insurance, the insurance they have on the job, from 170 million americans, and no one has any earthly idea what it will cost taxpayers. you don't have to believe humans cause climate change to believe in the new manhattan clean energy project. and you don't have to be a republican. hopefully the new manhattan project for clean energy can become a bipartisan proposal. many of its ten grand challenges have been proposed by the national institute of engineering and the national academy of sciences. at different times barack obama, john mccain, and newt gingrich and howard dean all have called for a manhattan project for new energy sources.
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these are the ten grand challenges. first, advanced nuclear. 98 nuclear reactors produce 60% of all carbon-free electricity in the united states. there has never been a death as a result of an accident at one of these reactors. the problem is in competition with natural gas and coal, these reactors cost too much to build and some of them cost too much to operate. according to the energy information administration, 11 reactors may shut down over the next five years. building the nuclear plant in georgia, the only two new reactors being built today in the united states, could cost as much as $27.5 billion. building two natural gas plants to create the same amount of electricity would cost less than $2 billion. we need to stop talking about
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advanced reactors and start building something. within the next five years we need to build one or more advanced reactors to demonstrate the capabilities they may bring. lower costs, increase safety, and less nuclear waste. natural gas, during the 1980's american enterprise and technology created a new cheaper way to produce natural gas for the united states. this helped our country lead the world in reducing carbon emissions because natural gas has about half the carbon emissions as a typical coal plant. continuing to develop new combustion technologies will make a natural gas fire and electric generation more efficient and further reduce carbon emissions. next, carbon capture. this is the holy grail of clean energy. coal is cheap. there's a lot of it. already we know how to capture sulfur, nitrogen and murkry
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from coal plants -- and mercury from coal plants to clean the air. if we can figure out a way also to capture carbon the a a cheaper cost and find large-scale uses for its by-product, for example, co2 to ethanol, coal could be used everywhere in the world. the natural resources defense council has argued that after conservation, coal with carbon capture is the best option for clean energy. next, better batteries. the all-electric nissan leaf that i bought in 2011 had a hard time getting me from the capitol to dulles airport and back. its range was about 70 miles. today the nissan leaf can travel 226 miles on one charge. and a tesla can travel 335 miles on one charge. the price of lithium ion batteries should fall another
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45% during the next five years. better batteries could also one day allow utilities and their customers store large amounts of electricity during nonpeak hours. then greener buildings. despite considerable recent progress, this is still the low hanging fruit. residential and commercial buildings still consume 39% of u.s. energy. the next grand challenge is electric vehicles. ten years ago there were no mass produced electric cars on united states highways. today there are one million, and you read in the paper almost every day about a major automaker making a large investment toking make millions more. solar power has grown by 1,500% since 2011 but still accounts for only about 2% of u.s. electricity. the new goal for the department of energy's sunshine initiative
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is to lower the cost of solar another 50% to .03 per kilowatt hour for utility scale solar. then fusion, this is the ultimate green energy dream. make electricity on earth the way the sun makes it. instead of splitting elements, combine them and make clean, almost limitless energy without waste. this is still a dream, but there can be meaningful progress in the next five years. advanced computing. china, japan, the united states, and the european union all want to be first in advanced computing. the stakes are high because the winner has an advantage in such things as advanced manufacturing, stimulating advanced reactors and weapons before they are built, finding terrorists, saving billions of medicaid waste, and simulating
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the electric grid in a natural disaster. the u.s. regained the number-one spot last year in advanced computing thanks to sustained funding by congress during both the obama and trump administrations, and we need to keep that position. and the final grand challenge is to double energy research funding. advanced computing is the first two. the new manhattan project needs to meet its grand challenges. the second tool is money. it would take $6 billion annually to double funding for the department of energy's office of science and its 17 national laboratories, which are where most of our nation's basic energy research is done. by comparison, many estimate the cost of the green new deal in trillions annually. mr. president, this is a bold agenda, and hopefully a
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bipartisan agenda. it is an agenda that can over the next five years place americans firmly on the path toward dealing with climate change and at the same time produce large amounts of reliable clean energy that lifts family incomes in our country and around the world. mr. president, i would ask consent to include in the record following my remarks an op-ed from the "times, authored by rich mueller from the california of berkeley entitled the conversion of a climate change skeptic and second an article calling for a new manhattan project for clean energy independence. i thank the president. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: i thank the president, i yield the floor, and i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: two, do you agree it is caused
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by museum action? and, three, do you think that congress should take immediate action to combat its effects? we're saying, let's debate it. let's not do a sham vote that's meant to embarrass one person or another. this is too serious an issue for that. republicans owe the american people some real answers, not games. because just over the last week,
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as i mentioned, in the plains of iowa we saw the devastating effects of climate change with devastating clarity. the kind of weather we saw in the iowa plains has no precedent. it was the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane lambasting the heart of the middle west. our hearts are with the people whose homes were destroyed or damaged, whose farms are decimated, the animals that were lost. the science is clear -- a change in climate and warmer air make these freakest weather incidences more likely and more intense of the republicans may want to keep their heads in the sand -- i think that's a loser for them, especially among younger voters, younger voters, younger voters. like in so many other issues, our republicans are clinging to the past, not looking at what's happened. but republicans do so at their own peril. with each passing year, their climate change denial is increasingly out of step with
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the american people. a majority of americans, two-thirds, including a large percentage of republicans, believe climate change is real, believe human action has accelerated its pace, and they know it for a is he victim reason -- they can see it themselves. on the south shore of long island, very republican asian all of a sudden -- very republican areas, all of a sudden after sandy, understand the need for climate change. every time a fire devastates california, another hurricane strikes the south states, biblical flooding strikes some part of the run or other, the american people see the effects of climate change. they see them personally, not theoretically. that's what's happening. indeed, scientists in the u.s. and canada now say that evidence for climate change has reached a, quote, gold standard of certainty. and so what have republicans done about it? rather than take these warnings seriously, they choose to play games with our planet's future.
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rather than get serious about the world our children will inherit, leader mcconnell has elected to push a sham vote on their version of a green new deal. and they'll play that game right before voting on funding for natural disaster relief. let there be no doubt, these disasters are magnified precisely because of climate change. ink not fathom the level of cognitive disdance required to schedule these votes one right after the other. no one is fooled to posture and politicize climate change. if they really want to debate the issue, let's debate it. let's bring different views to the floor. let's see how people vote. let's not put something on the floor for the first time, a serious proposal on climate change, which the leader has never put on the floor, let's
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debate them all. not getting to that happen, oh, no. just a game. politics, politics, politics, which the american people on this issue and so many others dislike. so, let republicans come at us with all they've got. the facts are on the -- people understand that climate change is real. it's no wonder that our republican colleagues don't want a real debate but a game. but the american people are not going to be fooled by the republicans' stunt vote. democrats are prepared to take bold action to address the climate change crisis head-on. that's why we're pushing for a creation of a bipartisan committee on climate change so we can examine it with a level of seriously it deserves. on another matter, last night
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attorney general barr delivered a brief letter to congress that included his
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