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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 4, 2019 12:59pm-3:00pm EDT

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delegation. one would have thought that all we talked about was trade because trade was important to all of our states, but at governor branstad's insistence, in every meeting we had with senior chinese officials, we said fentanyl is our biggest problem, and you can solve our biggest problem more than anybody else in the world. instead of being our problem, why don't you be our solution in why don't you let the united states point to china and say, you've helped us solve a problem that is killing thousands of americans on a regular basis. well, china has now agreed to do that in december with president trump. it is now announced that on may 1, all forms of fentanyl will be controlled and, therefore, illegal. we should watch and make sure that it's effectively done. but what we should say today is that, mr. president trump, we thank you for putting atop a
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busy agenda in december fentanyl. and, president xi, we are grateful to you for a decision that we believe will save thousands of american lives. i might add, it's very helpful to have such an effective ambassador as terry branstad in china because he knew how to focus the attention of many visiting delegations. our delegation wasn't the only one who carried this message. senator portman and others have been there. but this is an example of china responding to an urgent problem and we ought to give both our presidents -- both presidents a pat on the back, much more than a pat on the back for this important step. madam president, turning to another topic, i often suggest to tennesseans that we should look at washington as if it were a split-screen television. for example on last october on
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one screen you would have seen senators throwing food at each other all month long over the kavanaugh debate, but in another part of the capitol, you had 72 senators working together, democrats, republicans, three different committees from the senate, five from the house, working together to enact what the president called the single most important law to deal with a public health epidemic ever passed, and that was the opioids bill. so while we're arguing, which we know how to do, on issues about the border or issues about the special counsel's report, on the other screen you will see a lot of work getting done if you take time to look. that means bipartisan efforts, that means republicans and democrats working together. it takes 60 votes to get most
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things done here. we're 53-47. so, as i did, i being looked to -- i looked to count the number of schools in tennessee, i need to count the democrats, and when we do that we can get up to 70 to 85 and get through difficult issues. today i want to talk about one of those efforts, a bipartisan effort to try to reduce health care costs. health care and health insurance are often conflated. we p often mix them up. both in congress and in media stories, the president does that sometimes too. i want to be clear what i'm talking about is a bipartisan working effort that health care itself, not just health insurance, is too expensive. health insurance has gotten a lot of attention lately. the president tweeted earlier this week, quote, deductibles are way over $7,000, making it
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almost worthless. i agree. high deductibles tied to high premiums make health care inaccessible to many americans. i know the president is looking at ways to give americans more affordable health insurance, and to protect those with preexisting conditions. but the truth is the cost of health insurance will not come down or even grow more slowly unless we lower the cost of health care. you can't have low-cost health insurance when you have high-cost health care. and so my top health care priority this congress is to enact legislation that will give all americans an opportunity for healthout scoms -- health outcomes and health experiences at a lower cost. democrats and republicans are working together on that too get a result. that's why senator murray, the lead democrat on the senate's
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health committee, and i are working with senator grassley and senator wyden, the senior leaders on the senate finance committee which shares jurisdiction over health care. we're working together on specific bipartisan steps to help deal with the startling fact which has come -- by experts who have come before our health committee that up to half of what americans spend on health care is unnecessary. that's according to dr. brent james from the national academy ps in testimony before our -- academies in testimony before our committee. in order to focus on reducing health care costs, after the senate health committee held five hearings on reducing the cost of health care, i wrote a letter to the american enterprise institute, the brookings institution, governors, state insurance commissioners, doctors, patient groups, academic experts, and the public asking them to submit
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specific recommendations to congress to lower health care costs. as of the march 1 deadline for response, we received over 400 recommendations. some as many as 50 pages long. ip want to talk about some of those today -- i want to talk about some of those today. but before i do, it is important to know that the cost of health care, in effect, has become a tax on the families, employers, and state governments. warren buffett called the balloons cost of health care, quote, a hungry tape worm on the american economy. almost every day i hear from tennesseans that health care is too expensive. for example, sherry from health and human services taj, ten -- from hermitage, tennessee, she said they are new parents and spend as much on health insurance as they do on their
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mortgage not including copays and deductibles, sherry said. many people worry about a surprise billing which is when a patient receives care at an in-network hospital but out of network specialist like an anesthesiologist also treats the patient. ed to, who lives in knoxville, took his son to the hospital, his son was treated. he had to pay a copay because the hospital was in network and headed home. he was surprised when he received a bill for $1,800. because even though the emergency room was in network, the doctor who treated his son was not. i hear a lot about the high cost of prescription drugs. shirley recently wrote me from franklin said, as a 71-year-old, senior with arthritis, i rely on
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embrel, my copay has increased from $75 to $95. i will have to limit my usage in order to balance the budget. i hear from doctors. dr. lee gross, a florida primary care doctor testified at one of our hearings that insurance and government regulations are were making primary care too expensive. dr. gross is one of the first -- he founded one of the first primary care practices. this is where a patient might pay $60 a month for an adult, $25 for the first child, $10 for each child after and receive all of their primary care, strep tests, vaccines, minor surgical procedures, and more. he calls it netflix for health
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care. after you pay your membership, you don't have to pay each time for care. another doctor who is with the hathaway morgan health care center, told me that direct primary doctors are a powerful group for driving improved outcomes in health care because the doctors take responsibility for the outcomes, the risks, and the cost to the patient. i also hear that the place where medical procedures are performed can make health care more expensive. for example, michael, from johnson city, shared that he recently had an endooscopy, a fairly routine procedure at an out patient facility, however the procedure being done is at the hospital. michael said, not only am i charged a higher hospital rate, but taxpayers are charged a higher rate as well.
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i imagine that every senator has heard similar stories from people in their states and wants to do something about reducing the cost of health care. in order to the more than 400 comments we received, american enterprise institute in brookings sent us a detailed list. some of these the senate health committee can work on, some of these fall under the jurisdiction of other committees, and some are steps that the administration itself can take without congressional action. my staff and i are still reviewing these, but i wanted to mention some today. one reason that health care is so expensive is that the cost is in a black box. patients just don't know how much a particular test or procedure will cost. that makes it nearly impossible to adequately plan for future health care expenses. and because of that, the health care system does not operate with the discipline and
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cost-saving benefit of a real market. congress has already taken some steps to increase transparency. for example, last congress we passed and the president signed legislation by senator collins of maine to ban the so-called gag clauses in pharmacy contracts that prevented pharmacists from telling a patient that a drug is cheaper if you pay with cash instead of your insurance. and now we received recommendations on how to build on that first step. for example, patients shouldn't be prohibited from knowing the cost of a surgery or doctor's visit in advance of scheduling the procedure or appointment. and insurers and employers should not be prohibited from providing patients with information recommending lower-cost options or higher-quality providers. another recommendation, mr. president, this one from aei
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in brookings, is that employers contribute claims data, which is information on how much a test or service cost and how much insurance will pay for it to what is known as an all-payers claim database. it helps insurers to see trends in health care spending. this would help break open the black box around the claims data for the 181 million americans who get their health care on the job. one of our new health committee members, senator braun, of indiana, owns a manufacturing and distribution company. he employed over 1,000 people before he became a senator. he was aggressive about helping his employees reduce health care costs. health care blue book, a tennessee company that testified at one of our five hearings on how to reduce health care costs recommended that we look at the
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clauses in contracts employers sign with insurers that block the employer from accessing the identified claims data that they can use for price and quality transparency. the trump administration is also focused on transparency. for example, secretary azar has proposed a regulation to start requiring advertisements for prescription drugs, make sure they include the list price and ask for feed back on -- feedback on the prices required for medical services also be disclosed. another strategy for achieving better outcomes and better experiences at lower costs is to focus on the 300,000 primary care doctors in our country. dr. krpilana testified at a
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committee hearing that primary doctors are the quarterbacks of health care, by managing their diseases, primary care drs are able to -- doctors are able to help patients stay healthy. adam bolder told me while primary care counts for 3% to 7% of the spending, it can affect half of the spending. another doctor who runs a primary care practice, the same type of practice that i mentioned earlier that dr. gross runs says this, direct primary care is the only model that is able to offer affordable health care with complete price transparency. one suggestion we have heard is to change internal revenue service rules that block americans from using their health and savings accounts to pay for the monthly direct
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primary care fee. and then there's drug pricing. many recommendations are focused on reducing what we spend on prescription drugs, which is about 17% of all health care spending. one way is reforming prescription drug rebates. the discounts that pharmacy benefit managers negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. the trump administration has proposed a new rule for the $29 billion in rebates on prescription drugs that the government pays for through medicare part d. one recommendation is to expand that to the estimated $40 billion of rebates negotiated in the private market. then another way to lower drug prices is to increase competition through generic drus which -- drugs, which can be 85% less expensive than brand drugs. i have heard concerns about brand drug companies not providing samples meetings to
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make generic drugs. it was recommended that we increase competition for the generic version of biologic drugs which are called biosimilars. one way to do that is a bill that senator collins introduced, is to have access and bring to market more biosimilars. surprise billings. it was recommended that we focus on helping to eliminate surprise medical billing which is what happened when todd of novel took his son to the emergency room. a.e.i. brookings said the issue is not that insurance companies have limited hospitals and doctors in their networks but their, quote, emergency departments and auxiliary positions as well as hospitals and ambulance companies have a lucrative, out-of-network billing arrangement unavailable to other providers, unquote,
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which encourages doctors to go out of network and send patients high bills. senator cassidy, senator hassan are leading on a way to help eliminate surprise billing. we received comments about the importance of the seamless exchange of information between electronic health records. that includes stopping information blocking. a goal of the 21st century cures act, a bipartisan bill that senator mcconnell said was the most important bill of the last congress, was to make it easier for patients to have access to health care records and for doctors and hospitals to get the information they need to treat patients. last month, the department of health and human services released two proposed rules required by the cures act to lead better coordinated care and less unnecessary health care. we held a hearing on those last week. we heard a story in the better experiences and outcomes that can happen when health care records are interoperable.
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and finally consolidation of health care. we received comments on the decreasing choices in competition in the health care system which is when hospitals merge with doctors' offices or other hospitals, insurers merge with other insurers or hospitals and insurers merge so that these hospitals or insurers have even more control over the market. some argue that consolidation in health care can benefit patients and lower costs. others say that gives patients fewer options and health care prices increase. a.e.i. brookings suggested that one way to address the potential negative consequences of consolidation would be improving oversight of the 340-b drug discount program which has been found to incentivize hospitals to purchase physician practices or employ physicians directly to bring in additional revenue from the 340-b discounts.
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this echoes what we heard at our committee hearing. today i'm also asking that other senators continue to come forward to senator murray, to senator wyden, senator grassley, and to me with their specific proposals for how we can reduce health care costs. what i hope to do is compile the proposals that fall under the jurisdiction of our senate help committee into a package of legislation that the committee will vote on early in the summer. we can then combine that with whatever the senate finance committee passes and ask the leader to put it on the senate floor and work with the house to send legislation to the president's desk. secretary azar this morning, in a hearing before the appropriations committee, reiterated his support and the president's support for this bipartisan process to reduce health care costs. my staff and i will continue to review recommendations and work with other members to incorporate ways to get americans like sherry, todd,
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shirley and michael better outcomes and better experiences at lower costs. i thank the president, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator for virginia. mr. warner: mr. president, i would like to make remarks as if we're in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. warner: thank you, mr. president. two weeks ago, after almost two years, special counsel mueller filed his report with the attorney general. the attorney general sent us a short letter summarizing the major findings of the report. simply put, the sum -- a summary is not going to cut it. the attorney general's own letter discusses the vast extent of the special counsel's investigation, mentioning over 500 witness interviews, 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, 230 orders for communication records, and almost 50 orders for pen registers and actually 13 requests of foreign governments. this is an extraordinarily
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extensive investigation that yielded a rich collection of facts about russia's attack on our democracy. the american people deserve to see the results so that they can judge the facts for themselves. we know from court filings, news reports, and the senate intelligence committee's own investigations that the russians attempted to influence the trump campaign in many ways. at least 17 individuals in the trump organization had over 100 publicly released contacts with russian officials or intermediaries. and yet of those 100 contacts in the midst of a campaign, somehow not one of those individuals, even those contacted with explicit offers of assistance from a hostile government, called the f.b.i. to report those -- those offers. and yet, the attorney general's four-page summary of this sprawling investigation, a summary that according to press reports may not even accurately
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reflect the mueller report, focuses almost exclusively on the criminal portion of the mueller probe, with barely any mention of the special counsel's counterintelligence investigation into these contacts. the senate intelligence committee, the only bipartisan counterintelligence investigation still standing, has documented extensive efforts by russians to reach out to those around then-candidate trump. a few candidates -- a few examples we have documented in public domain, candidate trump's efforts to negotiate a business deal to build what was going to be called the largest building in all of russia, negotiating on that deal throughout the whole primary process, and even potentially, at least according to his attorney, mr. giuliani, maybe negotiated all the way through the election. it may in itself not have violated any laws but i think if i was a republican primary
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voter, i would have liked to know that my potential candidate was still trying to do a deal with vladimir putin's government. we also in our investigation have expressed -- have exposed ongoing communications between the president's campaign chairman, mr. manafort, and constantine kolemnick who has ties with russian intelligence and the oligarch. our committee has made multiple criminal referrals to the special prosecutor based on what we have learned of his efforts to lie to us and obstruct our investigation. this is what a counterintelligence investigation is all about. we need to fully understand what the russians were trying to do, and we need to be able to warn future campaigns ceantsd about the lengths and the new tools that hostile governments will go to undermine our democracy. now, i believe we can't make that full guidance to future campaigns without a full release
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of this report. now, some observers have said that the report cannot be released without jeopardizing sources and methods. let me be clear. as vice chair of the senate intelligence committee, no one is more sensitive of those concerns than i am, but that -- but the resolution that we have specifically states that the report should be released to the public in accordance with the law. clearly, sources and methods would not be released under this standard, nor the grand jury information. what we're talking about here is basic transparency. let's make sure the full mueller report is released to congress, including the underlying documents and intelligence, and then let's make sure that the american people see as much of this report as possible and as soon as possible. and let's do it in a bipartisan way to protect sources and methods. therefore, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that as if in legislative session, the senate proceed to the immediate
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consideration of h. con. res. 24, expressing the sense of congress that the report of special counsel mueller should be made available to the public and to the congress, and which is at the desk. further, that the concurrent resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: reserving the right to object, i'm all for transparency. i think we should know as much about this investigation into the president as we possibly can. we do know that we only know part of the story and that the mueller report is only part of the story, but we also need to know how this originated because i think it's very important that we not turn our country into this back and forth where each successive party tries to use the apparatus of government to investigate the previous
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president. we do know now that the investigation of the trump campaign reached to the highest levels of the white house, all the way up to president obama. what we don't know is was president obama told that the evidence to get this investigation started was paid for by the hillary clinton campaign? we need to know that. so that's not part of the mueller report, but that's something that i'm asking that we should attach to this resolution. we need to know, was president obama told that this information came from the hillary clinton campaign? we do not yet know whether or not john brennan was involved and to what degree. we do not know whether or not john brennan colluded with british spy agencies to spy on americans. it's illegal for our c.i.a. to spy on americans. we don't yet know whether or not john brennan was colluding with british spy agencies and other spy agencies to get them to do
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his dirty work. we do know now that john brennan, who had the power to listen to every american's phone call, who had the power to listen to every person's phone call in the entire world, we know that he is a rank partisan. we now know that john brennan has called the president a traitor, essentially saying the president should be put to death. this is the guy that was in charge of this investigation. this isn't an objective person. we need to know about all of the communications. so i'm asking unanimous consent that we modify this resolution and that we find out and gain access to all the communications between comey, brennan, and clapper and the white house and president obama because i don't want to ruin this great country with politically motivated investigations year in and year out. this had to do with placing spies and infiltrating the trump campaign. do you really think that our intelligence agencies should be
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infiltrating each other's campaigns? i don't want this to happen to a democrat. when president trump came to the hill a week ago, he said this shouldn't happen to the next democrat president. we should not misuse the power of our intelligence agencies to go one party after another. how can we get on to the people's business if we're allowing the government to be consumed with this kind of stuff? so i ask unanimous consent that we amend the resolution and that we look at the entire story, not just the investigation, but how we got here. the media wouldn't even print this fake dossier. it was so scandalous and so unverified and has turned out to be untrue, an yet this was the basis for beginning the investigation. this was the basis for doing something extraordinary. implanting spies and informants into the trump campaign. so i ask unanimous consent that we amend the resolution and that as the mueller report comes forward, we also come forward
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with all of the communications between the people who got this started and we discover once and for all whether or not these people misused their office and start -- in starting this investigation. the presiding officer: does the senator from virginia wish to modify his request? mr. warner: reserving the right to object, i would simply point out to my colleague from kentucky that the intelligence community in their january, 2017, report reached a unanimous conclusion. that conclusion was that russia massively interfered in our elections. they did it in the form of hacking in to personal information and releasing it subjectively. they did it in terms of at least touching the electoral systems in 21 of our states' election systems in ways that, frankly, found a great deal of vulnerabilities, and they did it in ways that manipulate social media that quite honestly caught
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our intelligence community and the social media companies off guard. our intelligence committee spent a year reviewing the conclusions of the intelligence community and in january of 2018 unanimously agreed that the intelligence community's findings were correct, the russians interfered. they did it on behalf of one candidate, mr. trump, against another candidate, mrs. clinton. and for those reasons, i respectfully object to my colleague from kentucky. the presiding officer: is there objection to the original request? the senator from kentucky. objection is heard. mr. warner: mr. president, i simply close out, i hope we can move past this. the president himself has called for the release of the report. the house in a rare stroke of unanimity voted 420-0. i think many in this body would like to move beyond this issue. the only way we're going to be able to move beyond this is to get this report released, get it
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out to the american public, let those of us who are charged with the intelligence community's responsibilities see all the report, and the underlying documents. i hope we can get to that point. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator for wyoming. mr. barrasso: secretary jens stoltenberg addressed congress. the secretary generals in washington this week marking nato's 70th anniversary, created after world war ii. nato is a political an military -- and military alliance of european and north american democracies. since its founding, nato has been a bulwark for freedom, peace, and security around the world. for 70 years -- 70 years -- nato has been a bedrock of security.
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the united states stands behind its collective defense outlined in article 5 of its founding treaty. as a member of the senate foreign relations committee, i traveled to belgium and met with ambassador hutchison and nato officials to discuss ways to strengthen the alliance. these briefings reaffirm for me that now more than ever america needs a strong nato alliance for our safety, for the safety of our allies, we must support and strengthen nato. the alliance has expanded from an original 12 to 29 member nations. these allies are our friends in our time of peace, they are partners in time of turmoil, and they are our defenders in time of war. mr. president, in armed conflicts around the world, nato serves as a force multiplier for all of its members.
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after the september 11, 2001, attacks, nato sent tens of thousands of troops to fight alongside our u.s. forces in afghanistan. nature wrote is helping to defeat isis in iraq and syria and its global regions continue to expand. nato members are working in eastern europe to deter russian aggression. nato isn't just protecting europe from russian interference, it's serving u.s. security interest in the region. given the emerging threats around the globe, nato must have the tools and the resources that it needs to deter our enemies. this means that all members need to recommit themselves to nato's mission and to fully meet their pledges. secretary stoltenberg forced on meeting alliance targets through cash, capabilities, and contributions. that has been what we discussed in belgium, it is what he
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discussed yesterday and that has been his focus, cash, capabilities, and contributions. at the wale summit, every country agreed to spend at a minimum 2% of their g.d.p. on defense. the u.s. continues to pay more than its fair share, 22% of nato's entire budget and 3% of our nation's g.d.p. president trump, to his credit, has pressed nato and our allies to bear the full their of their burden both financially and militarily. nato secretary general projects that the alliance will spend $100 billion more gone defense -- on defense by 2020. 22 nato nations increased their defense spending since the summit in wales. in 2014, on only three met the
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wales spending target. severin met that target in 2018. still 22 allies are falling short of the target. they must contribute more if the alliance is to meet its financial goals and to provide a capability and credible outcome. this is important as nato faces more formidable foes. it is critical to fund military readiness, develop new capabilities and improve alliance cohesion. nato allies and partners are increasingly involved in doing more with their troop contributions as well. allies and partners contribute more than half the troops in nato missions. we made pro dwres on burden sharing, and today we celebrate 70 years of nato achievements. nato brought about the economic transformation of central and eastern europe, it has established and enabled canadian
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soldiers to fight alongside u.s. soldiers on the front lines against terror and insisted on russia's compliance with international law. without a doubt, nato is the most successful security alliance in our nation's history. mr. president, the united states remains as committed to nato's mission today as with it was founded 70 years ago. we want a strong nato serving as a cornerstone of international freedom, of peace and security for another 70 years. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor.
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mr. toomey: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for pennsylvania. mr. toomey: thank you, mr. president. earlier today the senate invoked cloture on the nomination for the next director for the federal finance housing committee. the nominee is named mark calabria, and i just want to say he is an extraordinarily qualified and capable man. i hope this body will overwhelmingly confirm him. he is a ph.d. economists, he has tremendous work p experience in the -- work experience in the field of housing finance, he has worked at h.u.d., the banking committee, and is the chief economist to vice president pens. i -- vice president pence. i am looking forward to working with dr. calabria and i urge my
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colleagues to vote to confirm him later today. i also wanted to say a few words about an idea that has been floated about one of our colleagues, mr. president. and the idea has been floated by my friend, and he is my friend, senator wyden as the ranking member on the senate finance committee, and he is a very good man with a very bad idea. and i want to explain why i believe the idea he has floated is so mistaken. his proposal is that we change our tax code so that we would impose taxes on unrealized investment gains every year. surntly we impose taxes on investments only -- currently, we impose taxes on investments when it is later sold. if the asset to later sold, the difference is a gain, and we impose a capital gains tax on that gain but only when the gain is actually realized.
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under senator widen's proposal, if an asset goes up in value even if it hasn't been told would require it to be taxed. the investor would have to be taxed. there is an another element, is that these taxes that he wants to impose on the phantom gains would not be a the capital gains tax rate but at personal income tax rates instead. the current capital gains rate is 23.8%, that is the highest paid, the highest personal income tax rate is 37%. so in some circumstances this would be a huge tax increase. let me say -- let me explain why i think both of these are very bad ideas, taxing, unrealized gains, and taxing all gains at ordinary income rates. first of all, let's take the
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idea of taxes on unrealized gains. these are the paper gains. this is a market to market appreciation that is unrealized. the investor doesn't actually sell the asset. there is a good reason that our system doesn't impose taxes on unrealized gains. there are several, but one is the value of the asset could go back down. one widely held asset in america is stocks, stocks you can buy on an exchange and stocks famously go up and down. so i think it strikes most people as unreasonable to force people to pay a tax on this notional gain on a stock when that stock could go down and you still paid the tax. there's another problem with this and that is the tax would be imposed without a liquidity event. in other words, the investor
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hasn't sold the asset, doesn't have the cash, what if the investor doesn't have enough cash to pay the tax bill? this risk alone would have a chilling effect on investment, it would discourage people from making the investment in the first place because they would have to wonder and worry what kind of tax bill they would incur even if they didn't sell the asset. another problem of this is the complexity and difficulty of implementing this. it's pretty easy to determine the value of a stock, but there are other categories of investment that are much more difficult to value like real estate or a small business. and so imagine, mr. president, an entrepreneur buys a small building and builds it out and creates a restaurant, and that's his business. he's operating a restaurant. it may be profitable, it may not be. but what if the real estate values in that neighborhood happen to go up? here you have a struggling
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entrepreneur trying to make ends meet in his restaurant and the i.r.s. will come along and say, you owe us a lot of money because we i think the land you're on has gone up in value. what good does that do for the restaurant operator or for the jobs being created? it's not a good idea at all. there's another aspect to senator wyden's proposal, and that is what he would use a higher rate -- he would like the top rate of 37% to be imposed, at least in some cases, on these capital gains whether or not realized. so the question is why do we have a lower tax rate on capital gains than we have on other ordinary incomes. there are several reasons for that as well. good reasons. one is we don't seclude from our calculation of investor's gain, we don't exclude the -- the
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component only with inflation. ten years later that will be worth like 25% more than it was when you bought it but you don't have any real gain. that's just the reflection of the fact that dollars are worth less. so as a sort of rough justice for the fact that you were never taxed on the full gain, even the nominal gain that is just inflation, at least it is taxed at a lower rate to make up for that. there's another factor, and that is most investments are in an asset that itself generates income. and that income is taxed. so, for instance, a stock, a stock is a share of a company, a company has to pay tax. so imagine an investor who invests in a company and that company makes $100 of income. that's the profit for the business. well, the first thing that business has to do is pay 21% of
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that to uncle sam. that is the tax on corporate income. that leaves $79 left over for the investor and the investor has to pay 23.8% on that. that works out to about $19. atat the end end of the day on a $100 gain, the investor is only able to go home with $60. that is a 40% effective tax rate to the investor despite the fact that the nominal rate applied on the investor gain is 23.8%. the combination is more like 40%. that is higher than any individual income tax rate that we have in our entire code. and, of course, it is a gain in such an asset only occurs when investors generally believe that the after-tax value has gone up. so, mr. president, i think there would be a big mistake to go down this road. i think it would be a big
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mistake to tax unrealized gains. as it is now, gains are taxed, they are taxed at the time they are earned, they are actually realized, and it would be a mistake to raise the tax on these. both of these ideas, and certainly in combination, would absolutely certainly have a chilling effect on investment. they would diminish the willingness of people to invest in new businesses, in growing business, in startup business and a chilling effect on investment means a chilling effect on economic growth. so, mr. president, this proposal, i think, is misguided. it comes at a time when the tax reform that we have recently passed that actually encourages investment is clearly working. our tax reform has generated tremendous surge in investment in equipment, in technology, in new business. we've seen a tremendous growth in our overall economy as a
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result in the 2018 our economy grew at 3%, the best since 2005, and with a strong growing economy, we've seen terrific, terrific rutle for the people that we all -- results for the people we represent. unemployment is at the lowest rate in 50 years. african american unemployment is the lowest that has been at the lowest ever recorded, hispanic at the lowest wage, youth unemployment at the lowest, wages growing rapidly and accelerating, and it is strongest among lower-income workers. clearly the reforms that we implemented have been an incentive for more investment. that led to more growth and i certainly don't want to see us do anything that would disrupt the fact that we create an environment where there is now so much opportunity and where work is paying so much more than it has before. as i say, senator wyden is a
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good man but this is a bad idea and i certainly hope we don't move in this direction. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i want to speak briefly about an historic day. april 4, it was the day that the nato alliance, the agreement in washington was signed to create the nato alliance after the second world war. i want to start it by saying or by repeating what president truman said on that day. we hope to create a shield against aggression and a fear of aggression. a bulwark which will permit us to get on with the real business of government and society. the business of achieving a fuller and happier life for all of our citizens. that agreement was signed on april 4, 1949, and since then the 70 years that have followed the alliance has gotten stronger. the alliance has grown.
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in fact, there's a number of countries that hope someday to also be a member of the nato alliance. it's been an important and what i believe the most important alliance in the history of mankind. this week is nato week, and yesterday we had the secretary general speak to us before a joint session of congress, and the secretary general was very actually optimistic about the future of nato, and i am as well. there's a lot of things that -- i was with a group a couple of weeks ago who were wondering about nato and some of the discussions or disagreements that we have amongst our nato allies. but i liken it to the kind of disagreements that i have. i grew up in a family of six kids, big family. all of us had very different views and very different ages and life experiences. i really believe that the disagreements that we have among our allies are like the disagreements you have among
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your family members. but at the end of the day you make no mistake about it, when an attack on any one of us is viewed as an attack on everyone of us, every country takes that seriously. and in fact, in the 70 years since nato was created, that obligation, it's within article 5 of the agreement, that if there is an attack on any one of us that we consider it an attack on every one of us. it happened on 9/11. the only time in the history of the alliance that the article 5 obligation under the treaty has been exercised is when nato countries joined with the united states in the war on terror. and many people may not realize, but there was a huge human toll for living up to their commitment. many nations sent their men and women into harm's way, and over 1,000 of them have died since 9/11. many others have been gravely
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wounded. but they lived up to their commitment. it was the first test of the treaty that only happened less than 20 years ago. senator shaheen and i are now cochairs of the senate nato observer group, and i want to compliment senator shaheen for actually coming up with the idea to reconstitute the group, because we need to make sure that our partners, our allies understand that congress believes that nato is a very, very important alliance to ensure our mutual safety and security. there was another interesting point, though, that the secretary general made in his speech yesterday before congress. because some people have criticized president trump for telling our partners that they need to pay their agreed to fair share. the secretary general said that the president's call has actually been answered and that it was a positive step that he
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took to make these other nations recognize that we must invest in our mutual defense, our mutual security. that can only come through innovating technologies that will defend the regions within the nato alliance, making sure that our troops are working together, working very well on a military-to-military basis. and we're doing that. but without that sustained commitment from the other nato allies, we can lose ground, and it's their best interest to do it. as i said earlier, nato is growing. we have a long list of countries that hope that they can meet the requirements to someday come into nato. many of them were within the sphere of influence for the soviet union before the end of the cold war. we all know that russia is the greatest threat to europe. we all know that russia has done things that are illegal, according to international. they annexed the crimean region in the ukraine. every week ukrainians are dying in a war that very few people
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know about. we've got to make sure that we actually confront russian aggression, and the best way to do that is to have a strong nato alliance. so on this historic day, april 4, 70 years later i believe that the alliance is strong. i believe that that's what secretary general talked about yesterday, and i believe that every member of congress shares the view that the nato treaty, the nato alliance is the most important bulwark against aggression and threats to freedom, and i look forward to continuing to serve with cochair shaheen to make sure that our partners know that this congress is prepared to support them and to make sure that the alliance grows and remains strong. thank you, mr. president.
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the presiding officer: the senator for ohio. mr. brown: i rise in opposition to the nomination of calabria calabria -- mark calabria. he's the wrong man for this job. you know, sometimes i kind of can't believe this place. i see these people, i see the president of the united states really never experienced any of these challenges that homeowners in cleveland, ohio, or in muncie, indiana, face. i mean he can't even get a loan from a local bank. he's got to go to germany to the deutsche bank. that's really beside the point. but i just don't understand, when we have these academicians or these people, they work in government for awhile and they go out and do these writings, and over time i look at someone like mark calabria, he seems
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like a genuinely nice fellow and honorable guy. but some of the things he said and wrote in his career, we start with this, he questions the need for the 30-year mortgage. a lot of members of congress, a lot of people voting on this nomination, a lot of people in the white house, the white house that looks like a retreat for wall street executives, the majority leader's office down the hall that's got a stream of lobbyists going in and out that -- from the banks and the oil companies and gun lobby and all that. i just, you know, mr. calabria has said that he questions the need for a 30-year mortgage. many of my colleagues here and in the white house, they don't really have to worry about paying their mortgage. you know, they don't have to think about saving for retirement and planning for retirement and thinking i've got seven years until i want to retire. i've got 14 years to save money for my children to go on to college, to go to lorraine community college or to go to ohio state or to go to
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bloomington, the university of inn -- indiana. but most people can't afford to buy a house if they don't have a long term 25- or 30-year mortgage. they can't put 50% down like it was before franklin roosevelt and pay it off in five years. that's how we did homeownership in this country 70 years ago and that's why there wasn't much homeownership. mark calabria wants to blow it up and say i don't like the idea of a 30-year mortgage. he's not being nominated for the secretary of the interior. he's not being nominated for the e.p.a. he's being nominated for the federal housing finance agency. it's a critical job. we know we have a housing affordability crisis in this country. one-fourth of all renters pay half their income, at least half their income in housing costs. one-fourth of people who rent,
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i assume it may be higher in appalachia, indiana, as it is appalachia, ohio, or higher in east cleveland and gary than it is in some other places, but whatever the number, overall a quarter of renters in this country pay 50% of their income in housing. you know what that means? it means your car breaks down, you've got to borrow money from a payday lender so you can go to work to keep making $12, $14 an hour. it eventually means you may get evicted because you can't meet your monthly rent. the homeownership rate among african americans is at the same dismal level as it was before congress put those open housing antidiscrimination laws in place. now this administration is not even enforcing those laws. he doesn't think -- mr. calabria, he doesn't think we need the current afford housing -- affordable housing goals. he called homeowners who are under water with their mortgages
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deadbeats. i don't know if he's ever actually been in ohio. he might have. he might have ties there for all i know. i don't know that he does. but eight years ago in ohio one out of five homeowners were under water. it means they owed more on their house than their home was worth. it's not their fault that in their community the housing, the worth of their home was dropping. not because they didn't keep it up but because people were foreclosed on or homes were abandoned or people were evicted and those homes, the value kept dropping. so they actually owed more than their home was worth. mr. president, and he calls those people deadbeats. is it a deadbeat, somebody that loses their job and can't pay their mortgage? does that make them a deadbeat? is a deadbeat somebody who gets hurt on a construction project? he's a carpenter or she's a boilermaker and she can't work and he calls them deadbeats. this is the person we want in charge of housing. he questions the need for the
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hardest hit funds. in the presiding officer's state and my state, the hardest hit fund helps matter to help clean neighborhoods up and try to get a floor under prices so they start going up again. he said just let prices fall. rits easy for him -- it's easy for him to say but how about people affected by this? my colleagues who support his nomination today shouldn't act surprised when he raises costs for borrowers, when he makes it more difficult to develop affordable housing, cuts off access for housing especially for people of color. that's what he advocated his entire career. we should reject dr. calabria's nomination. we should tell the president of the united states to send us a nominee who will take this job seriously and who will make it, a nominee who will make it easier, not harder for americans to afford housing. mr. president, i ask for a no vote on the nomination of mark calabria to head the federal housing finance agency.
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i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, yesterday in warren, illinois, a small town on the illinois-wisconsin border, mourners from near and far lined the streets and packed the town's high school to say goodbye to a local hero. they came to honor and to bid farewell to illinois state trooper brooke jones story who
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was killed in the line of duty last thursday. trooper jones story had pulled over a truck a little after noon and was inspecting it on the shoulder of u.s. highway 20 in freeport, just west of rockford, illinois, when a semi trailer crashed into her, her squad car, and the truck that she had stopped. her squad car and the truck she had pulled over burst into flames. trooper jones story, a devoted public servant, 11-year veteran of the illinois state police, wife, stepmother, daughter, sister, lifelong fan of the chicago cubs, fan of disney movies, animal rescuer, and a crossfit workout artist died instantly. she was 34 years old. no one else was injured. sadly and unbelievably, trooper jones' story was the second of three illinois state troopers
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who have died this year after being struck by vehicles on the sides of roads and highways. three state troopers in illinois killed in less than three months. all told, illinois -- 16 illinois troopers have been struck by vehicles so far this year. several suffering serious injuries. let me tell you about the other two heroes we lost. just two days after trooper jones story died, trooper jerry ellis was killed by a wrong-way driver near libertyville, illinois. it happened about 3:25 in the morning. the driver was headed in the wrong direction on interstate 94 in green oaks when he hit trooper ellis' squad car head on. the driver who caused the crash was also killed. jerry ellis was 36 years old. he had been an illinois state trooper for 11 years, and before that, he had served his country in the united states army in
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iraq. he and his wife stacy were the parents of two little girls, kaylee, age 7, zoe, age 5. chris lambert, in fact, was the first illinois state trooper killed this year. it was january 12. he had just finished his shift and was on his way home when he stopped during a snowstorm to help at the scene of a three-car accident on interstate 294 in northbrook. another driver, apparently trying to avoid the pileup, swerved onto the left shoulder of the highway where trooper lambert was standing, hit him, and killed him. trooper lambert was 34 years old. he, too, was an army veteran. he had served in iraq and haiti. he had been with the illinois state police since 2013. he and his wife heile, were parents to a 14 month old daughter delaney. the driver who hit him had been charged with felony reckless
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homicide. what makes the deaths of these three public servants, these three heroes harder to bear is our state of illinois passed a law nearly 20 years ago, supposed to make roads safer for police and other emergency responders. it's called the move over law or scott's law. it was named after chicago fire department lieutenant scott gillan who was killed in 2000 by a drunken driver while working a crash scene on a chicago freeway. scott's law requires motorists to slow down and if possible move over when they see a parked squad car, fire engine, or ambulance with flashing lights. if you can't change lanes, slow down, proceed cautiously. that's what the law says. scott's law was expanded in 2017 to include all vehicles stopped with hazard lights on, including tow trucks. violators can lose their license and face stiff fines of up to $10,000. every state has some form of
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scott's law. police and other first responders in many states are working to draw attention to these laws and to enforce them. i believe the federal government needs to do more. in the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization bill, i will be working to not only increase funding for highway safety grants to provide states with the resources they need to better enforce these laws, but to encourage people all across america to be sensitive to the men and women who are serving us in public capacities, in law enforcement and other responsibilities who deserve our respect and our caution. despite these measures, illinois state police have seen a troubling increase in incidents in which a squad car parked with its lights flashing has been hit by a passing car. in 2016, five incidents. 2017, 12. last year, eight. just a little over three months into this year, already 16 such incidents. three young troopers dead. two days ago, april 1, was
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illinois state trooper day, a day set aside each year to honor the dedicated men and women of the illinois state police. brendan kelly is now the acting director of the illinois state police, and he said, and i quote, in 97 years, 69 men and women of the illinois state police bravely put on their uniforms to serve the citizens of the state and never returned home, but this is the first time in 66 years that illinois state police lost three state troopers in one year, and the year is only a few months over. state police are uncertain what is driving this dangerous, deadly trend, but lucy culper -- and i would like to show you her photograph -- lucy culper, a sixth grader from rural rio, illinois, hopes she may have a way to stop terrible losses. i thank the senator from new york. lucy is just 12 years old. she knows the fear that comes
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from watching someone you love go to work and worry you might see them again. you see, lucy's dad, her hero, john culper, is also an illinois state trooper. when lucy learned about the number of illinois state troopers who had been hit and killed recently, she said to her dad what can i do? they came up with an idea together. with help from her mom jessica, lucy created a facebook page to raise awareness about scott's law. she calls her page the move over project. she posted that photo i have shown of herself standing next to her dad, holding up a sign that reads hashtag move over for my dad. she asked others with loved ones in the police or other emergency services to post similar photos with the hashtag move over and fill in the blank. in five days, lucy's facebook page had more than 14,000 visits, 14,000 likes. people have sent in photos from all over the country. they want people to move over for their dads, their moms, their sisters, their uncles,
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their friends. there are photos of firefighters and police officers, e.m.t.'s, tow truck drivers standing next to spouses, children, infants, parents, friends, and pets. this week, the state of illinois commission on volunteerism and community service honored lucy with the volunteer of the week award. she deserved it. but lucy says the only reward she wants is for people to follow the law and move over so that her dad and others like him to do dangerous jobs will be able to come home to their families at the end of the day. i want to thank lucy for her efforts in starting the move over project. look at the faces of the families involved. remember that the next time you see an emergency vehicle on a highway with its lights flashing, parked along the roadway, move over and save lives. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: first, let me thank my friend, my good friend, the senator from illinois, for those great words. we have had police officers in
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new york in the same. there is a bridge named -- on the southern state parkway named after an officer who died a few years ago in the same situation. and i thank lucy for caring and pushing hard. now, mr. president, i rise in opposition, strong opposition to the nomination of mark calabria to become the director of f.h.a. i hope every senator who has homeowners in their districts will pay attention here. for decades, we have had fannie mae and freddie mac providing mortgages at lower rates for people because there is a federal guarantee and because housing is such an important part of our economy, it stimulates jobs and the growth in the economy. so it's utterly amazing. once again, we're in sort of alice in wonderland. the nominations from this administration go directly in the face of what i bet almost every member on the other side
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believes, that interest rates should be low for mortgages and that there should be some kind of federal guarantee. well, here's what dr. calabria believes. first, he believes that the 30-year mortgage should not -- is not necessarily part of our federal housing finance system. he believes that fannie and freddie guarantees should be no higher than $200,000. so i'd ask dr. calabria visit some of the middle-class neighborhoods of new york. policemen, firemen, teachers, construction workers. their homes would be put in jeopardy by this, and the home is the middle class' piece of the rock. what the heck are we doing around here? president trump doesn't pay attention to who the nominees are. they're put forward by people
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like mick mulvaney who believes in no government involvement in anything, and people get hurt. what about the young couple, new job, new baby, they want to buy their first home? what about the person of color? finally with zoning laws changed and others, they can get a home. what about parents who are about to retire and want to sell their home? so they can move to smaller quarters and have a little bit of extra money, grandparents. to put in somebody like this who wants to undo the fhfa and undo our rock-solid housing system would be ridiculous. i hope my colleagues will listen. if you believe in homeownership, if you believe the middle class ought to have homeownership, you can't support somebody who wants to eliminate the federal guarantees, who wants to lower
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the amount, and who wants to say that the 30-year mortgage, which has had such success in america, should no longer be the bedrock of our system. i hope people would look at who this nominee is and vote no. i certainly will. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for wyoming. mr. barrasso: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. barrasso: i ask unanimous consent that all time be yielded back. that all time expires. the presiding officer: is there objection? if not, all postcloture time is expired. the question is on the nomination. mr. barrasso: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be.
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the presiding officer: there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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