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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 11, 2019 11:59am-2:00pm EDT

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information. by allowing for a clear and conspicuous notification process, consumers will be able to make a more educated choice about the nature of the relationships they want to have with online vendors and with tech companies. furthermore, the browser act will prohibit digital services from denying the service to users who refuse to waive their personal privacy rights. the browser act also empowers the f.t.c., the federal trade commission, to enforce these rules using its unfair or deceptive acts as privacy policies. now, the federal trade commission has been our privacy regulator in both the physical and the online space. just this week, senator klobuchar and i sent a letter to
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the f.t.c. urging stronger action for bad actors in the tech space, companies like facebook and google have transformed society in revolutionary ways and need to recognize that with that great power comes great responsibility. this is the 21s. it is not the wild west. these tech companies need to be respectful of your privacy rights. my hope is that through the bipartisan effort we will shed light on the need to protect competition and online privacy to keep up with the fast-paced changes in technology. the f.t.c. has a responsibility to hold tech companies accountable for securing their platforms. mrs. black burn: we need -- mrse
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one final point. the browser act treats everyone in the broadband and edge companies exactly the same. one regulator, one set of rules. this is commonsense. unfortunately yesterday democrats in the house passed a bill to regulate broadband service providers, but guess what, guess what. they didn't do anything to big tech. mrs. blackburn: they didn't do anything about privacy with google, with facebook, with yahoo. these people that collect your data and sell it to the highest bidder. and then that person markets back to you. when i chaired the communications and technology subcommittee in the house, i repeatedly offered to work with the other side of the aisle to
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preserve a free and open internet. i'm always happy to work together to find a legislative solution and put this so-called net neutrality issue to rest once and for all. but rather than work together on this, the house pushed through a hyperpartisan bill to reinstate a controversial, heavy-handed regulation of communication companies, but heaven forbid they do not want to touch big tech who were their big buddies. leader mcconnell has said -- and i am so grateful he has saig from the house is dead on arrival in the senate, and i look forward to continuing to work on this issue, but here's what my friends across the aisle
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and my friends over in the house need to realize the internet is not broken. the internet is not broken. many of you, madam president, probably have an electronic device close at hand. it's working just fine. the internet does not need the intervention of nancy pelosi and house democrats. it's fine. it is going to be just fine by itself. in fact, as an alternative, we could just strike out the text of the house-passed bill and insert the browser act in its place. one set of rules, one set of rules for the entire internet ecosystem. one set of rules enforced by one
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federal regulator. that's the browser act. it's about fairness. it's about encouraging innovation. it is about making certain that we keep a free and open internet. madam president, i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the postcloture time on the bernhardt nomination expire at 1:45 p.m. today. i further ask that the motion to
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reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. peters: madam president, transportation is responsible for roughly two-thirds of our national consumption of petroleum and one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. but imagine a future where we could produce low-cost, secure clean energy technologies to move people and goods easily across our nation. imagine if we could then sell our advanced american technology and products to the rest of the world. well, that is a future by working together we can indeed achieve.
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there is no question that the cars and trucks of the future can be equipped with technology to make them safer and more fuel efficient while also saving consumers money. rapidly emerging technologies have the potential to not only reduce air emissions, their development could also help create jobs in michigan and across the nation, and these are jobs that cannot be outsourced. madam president, we must ensure that the united states leads the way in developing these innovations, and that's why i reintroduced the bipartisan vehicle innovation act with my colleagues, senator alexander and senator stabenow. the vehicle innovation act promotes research and development investments in clean vehicle and advanced safety technologies. the bill also modernizes the vehicle technologies office within the department of energy which exist to help create and sustain american leadership in the transition to a global clean energy economy.
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this office's leadership has already led to improvements in engine efficiency through vehicle weight reductions and improved production costs and the vehicle innovation act will help ensure that these continued innovations move forward. i'm proud to again partner on this bill with senator alexander and fellow michigander debbie stabenow, and in the last congress, we were able to pass the vehicle innovation act through the senate. now with fellow michigan delegation members congresswoman debbie dingell and haley stevens leading this bill in the house, there is no reason this legislation should not be enacted into law. the bill is supported by labor, by industry, and by conservation groups, including the united auto workers, the motor and equipment manufacturers association, the auto alliance, the blue-green alliance, and the natural resources defense council. america should lead the world in clean energy advancements, and i
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urge my colleagues to support the vehicle innovation act. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, while many folks in washington, d.c. remain ambivalent about what's happening along the southern border, i'm here to report that we are reaching a breaking point. every month, customs and border protection releases the total number of people who attempt to cross the southern border. the total includes those who cross illegally between the ports of entry as well as those deemed inadmissible in a port of entry. just to give you an idea of the size and scope of the numbers we have been dealing with, since june, 2014, the month that
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president obama referred to this as a humanitarian crisis, more than 66,000 individuals were encountered along the border. at that time, we thought 66,000 was a huge number, but it pales in comparison to what we are seeing now. last month, more than 103,000 people attempted to illegally cross the border. that's 103,000, up from 76,000 the previous month. i know a few weeks ago we got into a debate about what did and what did not constitute an emergency or crisis at the border. i don't care whether you call it a crisis or an emergency, but the entire system is breaking and it's unsustainable. this is the highest number of people attempting to enter the country that we've seen since 2007 and this mind boggling figure represents the strain felt by the personnel, that is, u.s. government employees,
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whether they be border patrol orcus toms or whoever -- or customs or whoever who are trying to manage the influx of the migrants. the men and women of cpb lack both the manpower and the facilities to appropriately respond. the already understaffed agency is reassigning personnel to try to make do. but 40% of the border patrol's manpower is spent processing migrants and providing care and transportation, and many of the agents are taken off their patrol line to do this work leaving areas of the border vulnerability to exploitation by drug cartels and others. the detention centers where these migrants are housed and processed are being processed are relatively small facilities not designed for these kind of huge numbers. they were originally built to house single adults for a short period of time, but the skyrocketing number of unaccompanied children and family units is now putting a
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serious strain on those resources. last month alone, there were more than 53,000 families and nearly 9,000 unaccompanied children apprehended at the border. 53,000 families and 9,000 unaccompanied children. customs and border protection simply lacks the facilities to hold these children or the personnel to provide appropriate care. and do we really want border patrol handing out juice boxes and diapers as opposed to interdicting dangerous drugs and other contraband coming into the united states? i don't think so. but we know they are desperately asking for additional detention space and staff to be able to manage the migrants in custody. and why is it so important that they be detained? well, because if we engage in the practice that has come to be known as catch and release, then it is doubtful that we will ever see these migrants again, even
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though they will be notified of their time to appear in front of an immigration judge months and maybe even years into the future. they'll just simply melt into the landscape and if they had bonified reasons to claim asylum and failed to appear for their hearing in front of an immigration judge, they waive those rights, and they will be deported if they are ultimately located in the united states. we know that customs inspectors have been rea i signed from their -- reassigned from their duty to do things like process migrants and provide transportation. and with fewer customs agents on the job, we are now seeing lengthy delays at the ports and check points along the entire border. right across from el paso, texas, truckers have reported been sleeping in their vehicles so they don't lose their spot in line for hours and sometimes days. i heard from some of the car manufacturers that require their
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-- the flow of their supply chain across from mexico and vice versa, that they literally are hiring aircraft to fly from jaurez to el paso because it's faster that 11-minute flight, than it is waiting 24 hours in line. and many of our car manufacturers that depend on just-in-time inventory, when they can't get their inventory just in time but have to wait 24 hours, it disrupts their manufacturing line and endangers their business. and, of course, it's easy to see how this can have a ripple effect on the entire border and american economy. this slowdown isn't just affecting businesses along the border. it has businesses across the country worried, as i said. mexican products feed the supply chain for many manufacturers in the united states and these slowdowns will affect
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production. while folks who live far away from the border may have just chosen to look the other way until now, they don't have a choice anymore. the system is breaking and the ripples will soon be felt across the country unles unless memberf congress on both sides of the aisle work together and are serious about enacting a solution. we know what we need to do but politics is preventing us from getting it done. it's time to provide our front line officers and agents with the personnel and the resources and the legal authorities they need in order to do their job we've asked them to do. but without support from congress, we're sending them into a losing battle and we're setting our economy up for a disaster. madam president, on another matter, when the senate is in recess next week, i like most of
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our colleagues here will be returning to our states to talk to our constituents and hopefully to listen to what they have to say. but some of the things i'll be talking about as i travel from el paso to laredo including the gear-up for the success act with student, teachers, and school administrators. gear up seeks career and college readiness for low-income students. it currently serves 6,000 students nationwide and texans have benefited from the $885 million in gearup grants over the last 20 years. i'm glad i've had a chance to visit with some of my constituents in san antonio about this bill and the incredible impact that gearup grants have had on their students. i guess i didn't fully appreciate the fact a student really has to begin zig in seventh grade what their course of study will be because if they don't take the required courses for other courses they're going
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to need in order to graduate or get into college, they may miss the boat entirely. and many of these students come from families whose parents had never attended college and they may be unaware of the requirement to take -- to plan and take care to take the right sort of course selection early on as opposed to waiting until their junior or senior year when they begin to think about where to apply to college. this legislation would allow school districts to better cater to their students' specific needs rather than using a one-size-fits-all program. and it would reduce the local cost-share required by half. i'm eager to hear from my constituents in el paso, laredo, and talk about what else we can do in washington to promote college and career readiness. we know that in a tight labor market with a booming economy, one of the things we hear about the most back home is the fact that they -- that employers
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can't find adequately trained workers to work in the jobs that are available and return a good wage. so it's important that we continue to do everything we cannot only to promote education generally but also career readiness for many of the well-paying jobs that are going wanting for a lack of qualified workers. i'll also take some time to visit the center for child protection in austin to discuss the jenna quinn law. this would allow grants to train students and teachers and caregivers on identifying and providing child sexual abuse. the bill's named for a courageous texan and modeled after successful reforms in my state, and it's another great example of how we're working to bring the successful texas model to the national level. and finally, i'll visit the air force base in abilene, texas, with my friend and colleague
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congressman jodey arrington for a briefing on the latest operations and recent news from the air force that it will be receiving the b-21, the next generation of strategic bombers. dais is the most dynamic bomber base in the country and i'm glad the air force has chosen the future home for the b-21 squadrons as well as weapons instructions courses and test squadrons. it just makes a lot of sense. and i look forward to spending time at home with my constituents. these conversations drive my work here in the senate and i'm eager to get more feedback on how these bills could make positive changes in their lives and in the lives of all of my constituents in the state. now, madam president, on one final matter, this week texas lost a true hero, lieutenant colonel richard cole passed away on tuesday at the ripe old age of 103 in my hometown of san antonio. for texans and so many americans, lieutenant colonel
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cole or dick as his friends and brothers in arms called him symbolized one of the most remarkable groups from the greatest generation in world war ii and that would be the doolittle raiders. the group is named for then-lieutenant colonel jimmy doolittle in 1942 fearlessly led b-25 bombers and 80 crew members on a strike targeting factories and military installations in and around tokyo. this was actually dick's first mission and he was jimmy doolittle's copilot. after the attack by the japanese on pearl harbor, this mission wasn't just of tactical importance. it was a major morale boost for our nation. the air force chief of staff david goldfein said those 80 intrepid men changed the course of history. they executed a oneway mission without hesitation and against enormous odds. the mission was, as you might
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imagine, perilous. doolittle's raiders took off from the u.s.s. hornet with barely enough runway to get airborne. doolittle and kohl's aircraft only had 467 feet to take off in an aircraft that wasn't designed to launch from an aircraft carrier. the airplanes inadvertently took off 170 miles further from japan than they planned so they had insufficient fuel to make it to their landing fields in china. as a result, dick then 26 with limited experience jumping out of aircraft had to leap out of his b-25 into unknown territory. he later reported he gave himself a black eye when he pulled the ripcord and finally landed in the branches of a tree where he spent the night dangling. he later said they don't give purple hears for self-inflicted injuries. i gave myself a black eye. but his heroism was certainly
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rewarded. he received the distinguished flying cross for his role in the bombs as well as the bronze star and the air medal. then in 200015, dick -- 2015 dick and his fellow raiders received the congressional gold medal. these men as you might imagine shared an incredible bond and their lasting camaraderie was evident through one special tradition they shared. for each reunion the crew would share acognac in silver goblets engraved with the raider's name. after toasting to the men who had died since their last reunion, they would flip over the goblets of those who had passed away. at their final reunion in 2013 only four raiders were left. after determining that this would be the final reunion due to their age and travel limitations, dick delivered the last toast. now his silver goblet will be turned over just as it was for
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the 79 brothers who left this earth before him. so today we remember the final doolittle raider for his incredible courage and sacrifice and a life well lived. america has lost another hero but our country will never forget him. i send my condolences to dick's family and friends and especially his son rich and daughter cindy. madam president, i yield the floor. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. markey: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. markey: madam president, i -- the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. markey: i ask for a vitiation of the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. markey: thank you, madam president, very much. madam president, i rise today to address the senate on the
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nomination of david bernhardt to head the department of the interior. i ask unanimous consent that i may use this chart in order to further my goal of making it clear why he should not be nominated and confirmed as secretary of the interior. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. markey: i thank you very much. madam president, under secretary bernhardt, the department of interior will come to stand for the department of oil interests, d.o.i. this wheel of bernhardt's giveaways makes it very clear what the objective of his tenure as the secretary of interior will in fact entail. bernhardt's nomination is just a
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continuation of the trump administration's cocktail cab -- cartel cabinet. only a month ago, a former coal lobbyist was confirmed to head the environmental protection agency. let me say that again. just last month, a coal lobbyist was nominated and confirmed to be the secretary of the -- the head of the environmental protection agency of the united states. unbelievable. but now republicans want to install a former oil lobbyist to head the department of interior because in trump's administration it is nothing but foxes guarding the henhouse. now, we need more answers about mr. bernhardt's lobbying activities. we need answers on whether or not mr. bernhardt used his
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position at the department of the interior to help former clients. the american people need to see the documents associated with bernhardt's lobbying activities. and, most importantly, we should not confirm a former oil lobbyist to lead the very agency that is tasked with protecting our public lands from despoilization. now, let me point now to the wheel of giveaways for more oil -- more oil. and that's the -- that's the goal of his appointment. the arctic national wildlife refuge is one of our national treasures that is under threat from big oil and the trump administration. this is the wildest place left in america, and it should not be turned into a drilling
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playground. yet republicans here in the senate voted in 2017 to hand this special place, the arctic refuge, over to big oil. and now this administration is trying to hit the gas on drilling there in one of the earn's most pristine -- earth's most pristine wilderness areas. now, last year mr. bernhardt said that he would, quote, expedite oil development in the wildlife refuge. and he has worked inside the department of the interior to limit environmental review of drilling activities. so let's just imagine gushing oil poisoning the habitat of magnificent creatures like polar bears and caribou and snowy owls and the arctic fox, rigs and pumps threatening the ancestral homeland of the gwich'in and
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inupiat peoples, which they call the sacred place where life begins. now, i've spent my career protecting the arctic national wildlife refuge for future generations. and today i will not support the nomination of david bernhardt to undermine the protections we have worked so hard to put in place. we must stand up for the generations yet to come that cannot yet speak to protect our public lands and our oceans. and, at the same time, the trump administration is trying to roll back the fuel economy standards for the vehicles which we drive. in other words, since we put 70% of all the oil which we consume in our country on a yearly basis into gasoline tanks of the vehicles which we drive in our country, if you increase the fuel economy of every one of
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those vehicles, it reduces the amount of oil which you need to drill for. so what do the republicans want to do? what do the oil companies want? what do the koch brothers want? what does exxonmobil want? well, very simple. by not increasing the fuel economy standards of the vehicles which we drive, you need more oil because cars will consume more in the course of a year. and they then say, ah ... let's turn to the arctic national wildlife refuge, a sacred place, and find more oil because the vehicles we drive won't be that efficient. now, what kind of sacrifice are we going to make in our country because the koch brothers and
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exxonmobil want to have more oil drilled for? we're going to have the trump administration say, the only way we can justify it is that the cars, the light trucks, the s.u.v.'s which people drive are not that efficient. therefore, you need all the oil you can get, even though we're a technological giant and we know that we can make these vehicles so much more efficient. so we never have to drill there. that is a sin against the environment, a sin against our country and future generations who should be able to enjoy this pristine area, the wildlife refuge. now, let's move on to another part of the wheel of giveaways. even more oil, even more oil that will be another giveaway during the bernhardt time at the department of interior.
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on january 4 of 2018, the department of interior announced a plan to revise the offshore drilling plan to eliminate protections of the east and west coast, east of the gulf of mexico and for the arctic. the ambulance to open up more than 90% of u.s. coastlines to hoyle an gas leasing. since then, the bipartisan opposition has been deafening. all governors along the east and west coasts have opposed or expressed concern with expanded oil and gas exploration off their coast. more than 340 municipalities and over 2,100 elected local, state, and federal officials have formally opposed offshore drilling and seismic air gun blasting in our ocean. but david bernhardt is not listening to those concerns.
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instead, he is listening to his former fossil fuel clients. he is moving ahead with this terrible offshore drilling plan that would threaten state after state with the threat of a spill in the ocean off of those states. we should not confirm bernhardt to lead the department of interior, handing the keys to the beaches of our country, to the coastlines of our country, to our fishing and tourism industries in our country over to big oil is not what our citizens want. it is the opposite of what we need to do to protect our environment. but it is with david bernhardt and his -- but it is what david bernhardt and his fossil fuel friends want. there is no reason that we have to drill off the coastlines of our country, right where people who are swimming will be watching these oil rigs that are
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going to be drilled down into those ocean areas off of our beaches to find oil that we don't need, that we don't need. if we increase the fuel economy standards of the vehicles which we drive, we can back it out -- back out the need for all of that additional oil. that's the sin against the environment that is being committed. that's the agenda of david bernhardt at the department of interior. so instead of being the united states of america, a technological giant that invents its way to the new automotive technologies, that reduces the amount of oil that we need, that reduces the amount of greenhouse gases that go up into the atmosphere; instead, david bernhardt, as the secretary of interior, partnered with the new coal lobbyist who is running the
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e.p.a., we're going to wind up with more greenhouse gases going up into the air, a reduction in the efficiency of the vehicles which we drive, and putting more profits into the pockets of the koch brothers and exxonmobil and the auto industry, which also wants to reduce the fuel economy standards of the vehicles which we drive. this is a sin against our environment but also our identity as the technological giant of the planet. we can do this, we can make our cars more efficient. we can have plug-in hybrids, we can have all-electric vehicles, we can create a revolution that avoids the necessity of drilling off off beaches, drilling in the arctic wildlife refuge. we can do this. but that's not what donald trump
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wants. he wants fossil fuel industry representatives at the department of interior and the e.p.a. in running these agencies. so david bernhardt's ties to big oil, the very industry he is tasked with regulating, are as deep as on oil well. those ties should be disqualifying for anyone nominated to head the department of interior. we need to stop the pollution of our democracy by big oil interests. and i urge my colleagues to vote no on the nomination of david bernhardt. i ask my colleagues to consider what we can do to avoid the necessity of despoiling these sacred environmental locations in our country for the oil industry, for the koch brothers.
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this is a big moment, this vote that we're about to cast. this is one more step by donald trump that will result in far more greenhouse gases going up into the atmosphere, far more danger being presented to places that should be just put off limits to the oil industry because of the risk of environmental danger that would be provided by that permission to drill. that's why we should all pause and really consider whether or not we want to go deeper and deeper into an era that is completely avoidable, if we unleash the technological might of our country. when president kennedy went to rice university in 1961, what he said was we were going to have a mission to the moon, and that mission would require us to invent new metals, new alloys,
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new propulsion systems that did not exist and that within ten years we would have to then bring that mission back safely from the moon through heat half the intensity of the sun and to do so successfully. now, auto mechanics is not rocket science. we already know how to improve the fuel economy standards of the vehicles which we drive. you don't need nuclear physics. you don't need aeronautical engineers to help you do this. president kennedy challenged our country, and we responded. president trump is like j.f.k. in reverse. he's saying, we can't do it, that instead what we have to do is here on earth be the leaders in despoiling our most sacred environmental locations. and that's why today is such a
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monumental opportunity for the senate just to say no on a bipartisan basis to david bernhardt, who is someone who does not deserve this post as the secretary of interior. and i urge once again a no vote for all of my colleagues. and, madam president, with that, i yield back the balance of my time, and i question the presence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: ms. murkowski: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: madam president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. ms. murkowski: i request that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: thank you, madam president. i'm pleased to be able to be here today to speak in strong support of david bernhardt's nomination to be secretary of the interior. and i want to thank all of my colleagues on the energy and natural resources committee. we worked pretty hard together
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to report mr. bernhardt's nomination last week. we moved it out with good bipartisan support. i also want to thank the majority leader for filing cloture this week so that we can confirm him before we depart for this two-week work period. i've got several reasons. i have a whole host of different reasons to outline as to why i support mr. bernhardt's nomination. i outlined them before the committee, but i'd like to take a couple minutes here this afternoon to reiterate them on the senate floor. first is really his background. he understands and is in touch with our public lands. mr. p bernhardt is from the west , where the vast majority of our public lands are located. he grew up in rifle, which is a small town in western colorado.
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he spent a lot of his summers in wyoming. he, to this day, remains an avid sportsman us outdoorsman. he likes hunting and fishing. he's a guy who appreciates the outdoors. he is really almost unparalleled in terms of the experience that he brings to the job. he's worked at the department of interior now for about ten years, including two senate-confirmed posts. back in 2006 we confirmed him as solicitor by voice vote, and then in 2017 we confirmed him to be the deputy secretary, again that vote was a good bipartisan vote. he's now served as acting secretary since january of 2019. we've got a situation where
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simply put, he has more experience at the department than any other previous nominee for secretary except one. so that's pretty good credential there. of equal importance, mr. bernhardt has the right perspective to be the secretary of the interior. he understands how federal land management decisions affect our local communities. he's seen how federal policies impact people's access to and use of public land. and he also recognizes the need to balance conservation and opportunities for economic development. i think that david bernhardt has proven his ability to lead the department. he's well qualified. he's highly competent. he's built strong working relationships with those who are affected by the department's decisions. i really think that there is no question that he is ready for
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the job. he can handle everything that it entails. i've been asked by several of the reporters that are out there , what do you think that david bernhardt really brings to the table? what i have shared with them is that as i have gotten to know david bernhardt in his various capacities there at interior, he is a guy who understands and enjoys the policy of these issues. he likes to get down into the fine details. he knows the background. he's not just being given something by staff to read. he is the one that is really, really engaged in understanding to a level of detail that is greatly appreciated. when i think about the importance of this position as
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secretary of the interior, i come at it from the perspective of an alaskan coming from a state that has more federal acres than any other state, the department of interior controls most of those. we often refer to the department as our landlord. that's not necessarily a title that we like. we like to consider ourselves a partner, but i think we truly recognize that we need leadership to understand and appreciate the impact that their decisions within the department of interior can have on us. i know that david bernhardt understands that. he has been a good partner for alaskans, but he's also been a good partner for individuals, groups and states across the country. that's why his nomination is supported by a wide range of stakeholder groups from the alaska federation of natives to ducks unlimited, the rocky mountain elk foundation and the
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association of fish and wildlife agencies. i think it's also important to note that mr. bernhardt moved through our committee process in pretty good order here. he answered all of our questions. again, he demonstrated the depth of his understanding of the issues, his expertise, he really exceeded expectations which led to a very strong bipartisan vote of 14-6 at the business meeting last week. now the full senate has the opportunity to confirm mr. p bernhardt. some will continue to make allegation over ethics, but the fact of the matter is as we have reviewed those charges we found nothing that should hold him back. i know this has been absubject of discussion here on the senate floor, so i want to lay out very clearly. there are some new stories that are being printed and have been printed that are filled with old
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information that's already been reviewed by our committee staff. new stories, old facts. they don't contain anything new or anything disqualifying. there is nothing amiss here and there is no valid reason to delay this process. the office of government ethics certified that mr. bernhardt is in good standing. so has interior's designated agency ethics official. my committee staff has contacted interior's inspector general, confirmed there are no open allegations into mr. bernhardt. i would tell folks that what needs to happen here, we need to move forward. we need to reject the last-minute rhetoric that's designed to delay. we need to confirm a well- qualified candidate to be our next secretary of the interior. we have a lot to do. r interior has a lot to do to make sure we're protecting our lands, increasing our energy
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security as well as fulfilling all the missions of the department. and the sooner we are able to confirm a secretary to focus on them, the better. mr. president, mr. bernhardt is very well qualified to be the secretary of of the interior. he has the right background, the right experience and the right perspective for the job. he's ready to lead on a permanent basis, and i'm glad that very shortly here we're going to be considering his nomination. and i would strongly encourage every member of chamber to support his confirmation. i have an additional statement that i would ask unanimous consent be included as part of the record that goes into more fulsome detail from those who have written in to support the nomination of david bernhardt, organizations like the american council of snowmobile associations, the off-road business association, county commissioners from around the
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country, representatives from the alaska federation of natives, as well as various tribes. and i would that that be incorporated as part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: and, mr. president, before i relinquish my time here, i just want to take a very, very brief moment to note that a friend, a leader, an extraordinary roll model for many, many alaskans, certainly in the alaska native community, has recently passed. salina everson was a language and culture lawyer in southeastern alaska, one who fought for the tlingit language and culture preservation. she was a, an extraordinary woman and role model. grew up speaking tlingit.
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it was her first language in school. she was told you can only speak english. she broke that rule and courageously spoke tlingit anyway. she's a champion for her culture. we mourn her passing. this woman not only was considered grandma salina and considered by hundreds of children in schools in southeastern alaska as a friend and a relative, i consider her one as well. i was honored that she was the one that helped adopt me into the dejitan clan and gave me the honored name of lady of the land. know that i send my prayers to salina's family as they face this loss. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president,. the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, i come to the floor this afternoon to honor a member of my staff.
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i thank senator fischer and senator manchin for giving me an opportunity to speak at this moment. m.j. kenney has been part of my team in the senate for fine years and for the past several years he was a constant on the floor of the senate as deputy floor director of my staff. at the end of this week he's going to be moving on to a new professional opportunity. unlike many of us who work in this building, m.j. actually is a resident of the washington, d.c. area. he graduated from walt whitman high school in bethesda, maryland, a suburb of the city of washington. walt whitman wrote in his essay democratic vistas the following, did you too old friend suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and for a party name? walt whitman understood that democracy is more than campaigns. democracy is certainly more than just yelling at one another. democracy is a process.
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it is a daily dedication to the institutions and norms and the rule of law, making democracy work takes skill and commitment and it takes many people who are willing to make a sacrifice and see the demands for long hours and the demands for time on the floor as part of their democratic commitment. this can demand great patience, great sacrifice. i think that walt whitman would have given m.j. kenney high marks as do i. for the last few years m.j. has helped to make sure the senate does the daily work of democracy. i have counted on him to make sure that my interests were represented on the floor of the senate, that my constituents in illinois had a voice in the senate, and that stories about dreamers and other important information be shared in the "congressional record" with my colleagues and beyond. making certain that that information was floor ready was a responsibility of m.j. kenney
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and he handled it professionally. m.j. and my floor director are my dynamic duo that helped make things happen around here. together they are my eyes and ears on the floor when meetings and other obligations take me away. m.j. has also been a big help to so many other senators. he came to my office 12 years ago for an informational interview. we tried to decide whether we were right for one another. luckily i came to the conclusion that the graduate of northwestern university in chicago with a degree in history who already termed for then congressman and now senator chris van hollen was a good fit for my team and good prospect to help us move forward. i gave m.j. his opportunity and i'm glad i did. he flourished. in one year he moved from legislative correspondent to legislative aide to becoming a key part of my floor team. in every job that he's done for me, m.j. has been a steady, reliable partner. even in difficult times.
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he works long hours without complaint but with grit and good humor. in college he studied history. in the united states senate and on this floor for the last nine years he's not only witnessed history, he's helped to shape it. i couldn't ask for more in a staffer. i suspect that some of what m.j. knows about patience and perseverance he learned as a lifelong long-suffering baltimore orals fan. it's like being a cubs fan. among his treasured possession on his desk is a bobble head of a golden glove winnerer. just as manny left the o's m.j. is leaving the senate. i want to wish him continued success and thank him for being an important part of my team over the years. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: i want to thank m.j. also on behalf of senator
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durbin. his staff does a great job and we always enjoy working with him. m.j. enjoy your new endeavor in life. i rise to speak on the nomination of mr. david bernhardt. the committee of energy and natural resources. the committee voted him to be secretary of of the department of of interior by a vote of 14-6. members on both sides held and continue to hold strong feelings on his nomination. both sides have scriewt sniezed his -- scrutinized his ability. whether it's processing permits for energy production on federal lands or ensuring the u.s. geological survey can conduct its work of analyzing data on the changing climate, the department of interior has a huge amount of responsibility. the secretary of interior is the guardian of our country's
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greatest natural resources. they manage half a billion acres of land or 20% of the nation's land. one of every five acres in the united states is under their chrome. these lands include some of the most special places, national parks, trails, seashores, and also manages submerged lands on the outer continental shelf. it is also the largest supplier of water in the 17 western states. it manages nearly 500 dams and over 300 reservoirs that supply water to 31 million people. furthermore, nearly 20% of the energy we use in produce -- is produced on lands managed by the secretary. these include not just coal and oil and natural gas, but also hydropower and geothermal, solar and wind energy. the secretary of interior manages our trust obligations to
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600 recognized indian tribes and provides services to 200 native americans. this is an enormous responsibility. as a former governor i have always believed that an executive is entitled to deference when selecting his or her team as long as the candidates are qualified and ethical. i have carefully reviewed mr. bernhardt's experience and his qualifications. i met with him twice before his hearing an spoke with him again by phone afterwards. i questioned him extensively about his willingness to be a good steward of our nation's natural resources and national sites. i questioned him about his ability to balance our resource, needs with environmental protection and fairness to the owners of our public lands, which are all of us, the american people. i spoke to him about the need to make sure that those granted the privilege of using our public lands leaves them in better condition than they found them.
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based on my extensive discussion with him him and vee view of his record, i believe mr. bernhardt is clearly qualified to serve as secretary. he held senior positions in the department for eight years during the bush administration including over two years as a solicitor, the third highest office in the department. he served as a deputy secretary for the past two years an acting secretary since january. he knows the interior department inside and out and he is well versed on all the issues that come before it. he clearly has the knowledge and experience to serve as secretary. now, the opposition to mr. bernhardt's nomination comes not have from any lack of nong or -- knowledge or experience, but because of conflicts that originates prior to being secretary. i had extensive conversations with mr. bernhardt about the potential compliance and laws. i reminded him, he takes the
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same oath i take, public service, not self-service many we spoke about the insurance of a culture that the department have the highest level of compliance. based on the answers and assurances he gave me, i voted for him in the committee last week and i will support his nomination when we vote on the floor to confirm him. but i had said before the vote in the energy and natural resources committee and i'll say it again. i expect him and the department to hold itself to the highest etsz -- ethical standards because i assured him i will. he must have ethical and scientific integrity and i intend to work with him and his staff to ensure this is the case. our parks and public lands, our scenic beauty and fish and wildlife resources are important
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to everybody, and especially to the people of west virginia, which i represent and to the people of all of our states and the outdoor economy, the nation counts on the secretary of interior. the committee on energy and natural resources on which i'm privileged to serve as ranking member has a lot of work to do. we have to address the park backlog, fully fund the land and water conservation fund to ensure that companies are granted the privilege of developing public energy pay the royaltyies they owe the taxpayers and to see the public lands are wisely managed and protected. i intend to work with mr. bernhardt on these major issues and that he will put his knowledge about these issues to work for the american people and execute his responsibilities in a manner that ensures our public lands are not just maintained but improved for the benefit of generations to come.
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for that reason i will vote to confirm him to this important position, and i would ask your consideration for the same. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. mrs. fischer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: mr. president, i have four requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and new orleans. -- and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mrs. fischer: thank you, mr. president. recently i came to the senate floor to speak about the airborne leg of the nuclear try -- tr iad and i am here to talk about intercontinental icbm's. following the titan icbm weapons
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in the 1960's, the u.s. deployed the first minutemen in support of the strategic missions. over half a century later, today the united states deploys 400 minute men i-3icbm's, each carrying a single warhead. while this took place in the 1970's, much of the technology dates to the previous decade. the system was originally designed for a ten-year service life, but has sustained an exceptionally high availability rate and is expected to remain in service through the 2030's thanks to a series of life extension programs. but we cannot extend the current system beyond 2030, and that's why we are now developing its replacement, the ground based strategic deterrent.
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doing so will require resources in a budget constrained environment, and perhaps for that reason we are hearing renewed calls to abandon the triad around cut our icbm force. however, this step would be foolish and dangerous to the united states and to our allied security for several reasons. first, icbm's are highly reliable and always ready. that's why they are regarded as the most responsive leg of the triad. unlike bombers and submarines which may require time to arm or maneuver, the icbm force provides the president the ability to promptly respond if deterrence fails. this virtue is often mischaracterized as a source of risk. the system's rapid response is
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described as a hair trigger by critics who often paint chilling pictures of 400icbm's automatically flying to their targets and causing arm armagedn either by accident or cyber interference. i want to be clear, there is no hair trigger about our icbm's. we have many safeguards put in place to ensure the system operates only as intended. for example, our icbm's are actually targeted on the open ocean spaces as a means of ensuring that even if all of our safeguards failed and a missile somehow managed to launch by accident, it would land in the ocean and not accidentally start a nuclear war. the critics conveniently fail to
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mention that. former stat com commander general robert kaler recently testified before the senate armed services committee, and he said, quote, it isn't the same thing at all as thinking about a wild west hair trigger. it's not the way it works. end quote. the high readiness of the icbm force also provides an important hedge against uncertainty. since we no longer maintain bombers on nuclear alert, the icbm's and the submarines reinforce each other so that a technical failure in one leg of the triad does not render our day-to-day deterrent inoperative. those who advocate for doing away with the icbm force must account for under their proposals in such moments there
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would not have been an additional leg of the triad to ensure our nation isn't left without a nuclear deterrent. and as our nuclear forces continue to age, we reliability challenges will only grow. critics often describe the icbm force as being vulnerable, even going so far as to call our missiles sitting ducks. it's true that silos, they are not hidden, they aren't mobile, they can't be targeted -- they can be targeted, but, again, this is a misunderstanding of what actually is a strength of the icbm force. in his testimony before the senate armed services committee, general heighten stated that the icbm force, quote, creates the
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most significant targeting problem for an adversary because there are 400 separate targets across the united states. all would have to be independently targeted by an adversary. that targeting problem is hugely problematic and creates a significant advantage for us. end quote. simply put, destroying 400 hardened and geographically disbursed silos is an extremely difficult proposition. only russia possesses the capability to destroy our icbm force. no other nation on earth can do so, and it would greatly diminish russia's arsenal in the process. that is not a vulnerability. as general heighten clearly states, it is a significant advantage for our nation.
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for these reasons, and many others, republican and democratic administrations alike have maintained icbm's as part of our nuclear forces for decades. the role of icbm's has been reconsidered and reviewed many times and their value has been repeatedly reaffirmed in a bipartisan manner. for example, last november the report by the bipartisan national defense strategy commission stated that the triad presents insurmountable targeting challenges for adversaries, imposes disproportionate costs on add adversary defenses and hedges against unforeseen geo political or technological changes. mr. president, i will close by saying that our icbm forces make
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key contributions to our overall nuclear forces. and as members on both sides of the aisle agree, they are an essential ingredient to the bedrock of our national security, our nuclear deterrent. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. scott: good afternoon. the crisis in venezuela is a crisis in america. senator rubio, congressman isbalard and i have been talking about this for years and worked with the white house on a strategy. more than 200 americans live in venezuela and their concerns are our concerns. make no mistake, this is a crisis. it's a humanitarian crisis that threatens the people of venezuela and created a flood of refugees numbering -- numbing in
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the -- numbing in the millions. the dictatorship of nicholas maduro and the creeping influence of military presence represents a clear and present danger to the entire western hem is here. there are some who will say this is not our fight, that the millions of venezuelans suffering 2,000 miles away are not our concern. some have criticized the mere mention of the crisis in venezuela by those like myself as american imperialism or u.s.-backed coup. i reject that. this is our fight. freedom and democracy in latin america is our fight. and i remind these critics that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. we cannot let evil triumph in venezuela. it would be a failure of leadership with disastrous consequences. there is only one option left to get aid to the people of
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venezuela. it is something that no one is willing to talk about. it is becoming clear we'll have to consider the use of american military assets to deliver aid. maduro and his thugs have left us no choice. i applaud president trump and his administration for taking bold action by recognizing juan guaido as a legitimate president of venezuela and organizing the international community to do the same. the sanctions implemented by this administration against the maduro regime and its puppet master in havana reflect their commitment to freedom and democracy in latin america. and yet maduro remains in power. the people of venezuela continue to suffer, and the influence of cuba, russia, china, and the international terrorist organization grows. we must do more. but in order to understand where
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we go from here, we need to look at history. hugo chavez might have been elected democratically but he never intented to govern democratically. he built a socialist dictatorship by hollowing out the constitution and the courts. he made civil society bend to his will or face elimination. he nationalized entire sectors of the economy and used them to pay of 0 his cronies. he took over the oil sector and made the national energy company his piggy bank. and he made common cause with our enemies. most notably, the castro regime. cuba received and continues to receive free oil from venezuela, and in return provides political and internal security operatives. in other words, cuba provided and is still providing military
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thugs to help stop freedom. chavez allowed his regime to engage in illicit trafficking of drugs and people and he cooperated with middle eastern terrorist organizations like hezbollah. this is intense -- intense fired by maduro. the path of socialism led to a failed state that relies on the world's bad actors for survival. the result is one of the worst humanitarian crisis in our hemisphere's history. we cannot ignore the impact that the socialist policies of chavez and maduro have had on the people of venezuela. nine out of ten households say they don't have enough money to buy food. that's socialism. 80% of children are in some state of malnutrition. that's socialism. inflation is over 10 million percent this year and the
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concurrence is worthless -- the currency is worthless. what does that mean to the average person? a bundle of carrots costs three million bullivars. venezuela has the highest murder rate in the world. more than 3.5 million refugees, about 12% of the population have fled to neighboring countries because they can't get food, water, medicine or safety from their government. two million more venezuelans are expected to flee before the year is out. with colombia taking the brunt of this refugee crisis, colombian resources are strained as they do all they can to help the refugees flee in persecution. starveation and sickness, while the maduro regime blocks funds and continues to cooperate with the narco trafficking rebels that playing colombia, i
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want -- that plague colombia. i want to thank president dukee for all he's doing. brazil and peru also pitched in accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees. for weeks millions of venezuelans have been left without running water amid a series of massive blackouts. journalists report scenes that are now part of the daily life for venezuelans. dozens sleeping in line for their turn at a well in one of the city's biggest slums. three men with a paint bucket tied with ropes down a well hoping to hit water. people parked on the highway waiting to place bottles under streams that run down a mountain. many venezuelans call this situation a genocide because violence and starvation is being imposed on the civilian population as a conscious policy of maduro and his puppet masters. dictators like maduro recognize
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weakness as an opportunity. the hung -- hungryer and sicker his people are the easier they are to repress. this is the evil we are facing in our hemisphere. one thing is clear, maduro underestimates his people. they may be oppressed but they are not weak. they may be hungry but their hunger is for freedom and they're making their voices heard. we need to listen. nicholas maduro is an illegitimate president. his election was a sham. just like the elections in cuba and russia. a complete sham and a joke. dozens of countries across latin america have recognized juan guaido's constitutional right to the presidency. as president of the national assembly, the only democrat body left in venezuela, juan guaido has the right and the duty to preside over new elections and the return to democracy. the people still in power in venezuela are corrupt bureaucrats and military officers engaged in
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embezzlement, narco trafficking and human rights abuses. since being tested by uprises in 2014 and 2017, the regime reinforced a repressive apparatus using armed civilian gangs specialized police units and antiright forces of the national guard to terrorize and control the civilian population through arbitrary arrests, beatings, detentions, and killings. the maduro regime has gone so far as to arrest the chief of staff for imprisonment. i met his wife on monday in miami. she fled three weeks ago with her seven-year-old son before maduro's thugs destroyed their home. the majority of the armed forces want change in their country but they live under the repressive forces of control, threats, intimidation and violence. russian mercenaries protect
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maduro because he can't trust his own troops. and the russian government has provided military advisors and specialists to maintain the maduro regime's defenses including surface to air missile systems. russia has also sent nuclear capable bombers to venezuela in violation of the venezuelaan constitution to intimidate the united states and other countries in the region. in short, russia's expanding its military presence in venezuela to prop up a regime hostile to the united states and create a foot hold into the western hemisphere. not since the cuban missile crisis has russia taken such an aggressive step to expand their influence in the region. meanwhile china evades sanctions we have placed on the regime by investing in the country and extending generous loans to prop up the dictatorship in caracas. the united states faces a serious national security threat and humanitarian crisis at our doorstep. this is becoming as dangerous for us as the syrian civil war
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has been for europe, israel, and jordan. left unchecked, it will destabilize our regional allies and provide a base of operations for our enemies. i am urging the administration, congress, and the american people to see the crisis for what it is, a rising tide of social and political collapse encouraged and funded by our enemies. the socialist dictatorship of nicholas maduro and his cuban, russian, chinese and narco trafficking allies do not care how many millions of venezuelans suffer and die. he is determined to remain in power, sucking the life out of a once vibrant nation and creating an outpost for adversaries and a safe harbor for terrorists intent on harming americans. we cannot let this stand. we will be judged by our response to this crisis, not just the humanitarian crisis but the threat to our hemisphere.
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the credibility and security of the united states is on the line. the question is not if we can tolerate this crisis that is worsening daily, we surely cannot, the question is when will we act to end it. hostile regimes like russia, china, and cuba are digging in. they're training killers, distributing weapons, and placing military assets in venezuela. their message is clear. they don't intend to give up without a fight. history has proven that permitting the former soviet union to establish a presence in cuba perpetrated a six-decade totalitarian dictatorship that has exported instability to the region and worked against u.s. national security interests. our safety, national security, and the peace of our hemisphere demand that we take action. we cannot allow this murderous regime to continue spreading misery within its borders and
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into neighboring countries. there is a democratic government in waiting in the form of the national assembly and interim president juan guaido. u.s. policy relies on rallying his internal support and forcing those around maduro to see their future as brighter if they will defect and support the movement towards freedom and democracy. there are steps we can take to accelerate this process. first, we must follow through on american policy and indict leaders for human rights violations and for narco narcotrafficking and money laundering crimes. the region's strongest supporters do not care if the people suffer, but they do care if their stolen fortunes and freedoms are at risk. we must make clear to them that their future is in jeopardy if they continue to support maduro and interference from cuba, russia, and china. there will be nowhere to run, there will be nowhere to hide. the united states will give no
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quarter to those who support the brutal maduro dictatorship. second, we must break the hold the cuban government has on venezuela. it is imperative that the united states fully implement the sanctions contained in the libertad act to allow u.s. nationals and to deny entry to those who traffic in stolen property. cuba cannot continue to freely incite violence and instability in venezuela while profiting from the use of stolen property and human trafficking. chavez and maduro kept the cuban regime afloat for decades and now cuban operators are keeping the maduro regime in power. it is time we recognize that these problems are one and the same. third, we must encourage our allies in the region to join us in this effort. president trump has repeatedly called on regional counterparts to exert for leadershipship -- leadership and right to do so.
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our allies must join in this effort. the lima group made up of our friends in the region has given broad support to the strategy of isolating the maduro regime in favor of the interim president juan guaido urging additional sanctions and that is welcome but they should not rule out the possibility that they will need to pursue more aggressive means to remove this threat. their security and economic well-being are also at risk. they should remember the maduro regime and his supporters want venezuela's neighbors to live in fear. even before this crisis began in earnest colombia faced regular interventions and threats from the venezuela regime. maduro and his supporters do not want peaceful relations with other countries except on their own terms. i'm quite sure that cuba, china, and russia do not have the best interests of the region in mind. i was glad to see the organization of american states accept deployment of designated
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permanent representative of the national assembly. consistent with the inter-american democratic charter it must expel maduro's representative. the maduro regime is not a legitimate government and has no right to send a representative to the very body in the western hemisphere charged with protecting and promoting democracy in the region. fourth, we must not appear weak in the face of chinese, russian and cuban determination to prop of maduro. our adversaries question our will and determination. they don't think we're serious. we should disabuse them of that notion. all options including the use of american military assets must remain on the table. if sanctions can cripple the maduro regime we must continue on that path. but so far sanctions alone aren't stopping the maduro regime and the united states needs to start considering the use of military assets to bring aid to the millions of starving and sick venezuelans. i call on all of our allies and
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those supporting juan guaido to help us in this effort. let me repeat that the united states must consider the use of military assets to bring aid to the people of venezuela. but that doesn't end the conversation. if embargoes and blockades can help we should consider them. if military force on the part of the united states and our allies in the region is necessary to rid us of the scourge of maduro and his thugs, we cannot rule it out. if the venezuelan people through their elected assembly and laws and constitution request to restore a constitutional government and democracy, we should be ready to answer that call. the maduro regime has not been broken yet and can count on 20 years of narco trafficking. the chinese and russians see venezuela as an economic opportunity and more importantly they see it as an opportunity for to be a thorn in the side of the united states.
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this is a confrontation that we must be willing to meet with decisive action. the venezuelan people want change and even now they think of survival as much as they think about a democratic future. they are looking to the united states and to democratic countries to help them and we must answer that call. thank you. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: unanimous consent to speak for up to six minutes prior to the scheduled vote. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. menendez: mr. president, i rise today to oppose the president's nominee for the secretary of the interior, david bernhardt. once again instead of draining the swam much, president trump -- swamp, president trump is -- has more -- we have chemical lobbists running the e.p.a.'s chemical safety programs. unless we put the brakes on mr. bernhardt's nomination, we
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will soon have a fossil fuel lobbist running the department of interior. for the state like new jersey that depends on a healthy, vibrant coastal economy, mr. bernhardt's extensive ties to the fossil fuel industry are troubling to say the least. the secretary of interior is charged with the stewardship of public lands and waters and safeguarding our natural resources for generations to come and yet "the washington post" has reported that mr. bernhardt has so many conflicts of interest that he must carry a card around just to keep track of them. think about that. mr. bernhardt has such deep ties to fossil fuel companies with business pending before the interior department that he cannot keep track of them. how mr. bernhardt could approach his position, if confirmed as secretary of interior, is no mystery. during his time as acting secretary he's gained a reputation as a general in the trump administration's war on science. reports suggest that he has
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suppressed scientific evidence in order to benefit corporate interest at the expense of environmental protection. and rather than be responsive to congress about our concerns, mra stunning lack of transparency. like many trump nominees, he has failed to respond to basic inquiries from congress. for example, on march 20th, i sent a letter, along with senator feinstein, senator merkley and 15 of our colleagues, requesting the acting secretary respond to a series of questions about his views on offshore drilling. with his hearing in the energy and natural resources committee quickly approaching, we asked mr. bernhardt to respond prior to coming before congress. this way committee members could have at least a baseline understanding of his views while crafting their questions. we received no response. mr. bernhardt then came and testified before the committee. he could have used the
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opportunity to enlighten us about his views on offshore drilling. he chose not to. now three weeks later we still lack answers even as the majority seeks to confirm him as a secretary of the interior. when an individual seeking confirmation by the united states senate refuses to answer basic questions posed by 18 senators, that should be a red flag for all of us. the questions that were asked weren't technical, they weren't gotcha questions, they were straightforward questions about one of the most fundamental jobs that the secretary of the interior has, the stewardship of our coastal waters. we asked secretary bernhardt if he supports opening up any or all of the atlantic ocean to offshore exploration or gas development? no response? we asked the same about the arctic and other places. again, no response. we asked the acting secretary if he would commit to meeting with
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the governors of states of which he proposes to deal for oil. no response. he we asked if he would commit to meaningful hearings on states impacted by the oil drilling. no response. we asked how he would reconcile the opposition to offshore drilling to every governor democrat or republican, with president trump's goal of opening all of those waters to drilling. and what did we get no response. we asked if he could confirm that the administration's provisions to the well-controlled cruel, the one safety reform put in place after the deepwater horizon disaster wouldn't denigrate safety. no response. so, mr. president, i won't risk it. i won't risk new jersey's $34 billion tourism industry. i won't risk $800 billion in coastal property values, i won't risk a fishing industry that
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supports 050,000 jobs in my -- 50,000 jobs in my state, i won't risk the shorelines, i won't risk the lives and livelihoods that depend on clean coastal waters because that is what we are risking if we vote for mr. bernhardt. i cannot fathom going home to my constituents and tell them i gave the nominee to the secretary of interior a free pass on basic questions about the jobs he's applying for. with the silence of this nominee, i have no reason to believe that mr. bernhardt will deviate from the path chartered by this administration and every member of this chamber knows what that path looks like. we have seen the weakening of protections after the b.p. oil spill, endangering the safety of workers and the vibrant coastlines. we have seen the blasting up and down the coasts without the concern of the devastating impact on the wildlife or our
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fisheries and we will see the privatization of president trump's offshore drilling that would open up the atlantic ocean, the pacific ocean, and the entire arctic to offshore drilling. if this plan comes to fruition, sooner or later, we will see another crisis the magnitude of the deepwater horizon. my friends, my colleagues, this is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. when that day comes, every member of this chamber who supported david bernhardt is going to have to answer to their constituents, to the shore businesses who see their livelihoods washed away in a slick of oil. to those who are out of a job through no fault of their own, to coastal towns that see the tourism and recreation wiped out. a vote forked david bernhardt -- a vote for david bernhardt is a vote for offshore drilling. the presiding officer: the
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question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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