tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN May 15, 2019 11:59am-1:59pm EDT
but actually legislation to help american families. what a break it would be if the united states senate became the united states senate again. i hope senator mcconnell will allow us to put a bill on the floor of the senate. it would be a day of great celebration here in the united states senate. i think republicans and democrats would enjoy the opportunity to actually come to the floor, have a debate, pass a
bill which may become a law which ends up helping americans. for many of us, it's the reason we ran for office, and i hope we can return to that very soon. i see my colleague from texas is here on the floor, and i don't want to take all the time. i ask consent to add into the record at this point a separate statement on a different issue and it be placed in a different part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding rule 22, at 5:30 p.m., all postcloture time on the lee nomination be considered expired. if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. i ask that following disposition of the lee nomination, senate vote on the cloture motions for the vitter, bulatao and rosen nominations. finally, if cloture is invoked on those nominations, the
cloture votes on the vitter and bulatao nominations be occur at noon on thursday and the rosen vote on cloture occur at 11:45 on may 16. and if confirmed, the motion to 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. cornyn: mr. president, i have ten requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i came to the floor to talk about police week and some legislation that we've introduced to honor and support our men and women in blue called -- not surprisingly -- back the blue. but i just would note from the comments of my friend from illinois, he was bemoaning the fact that there didn't seem to be bipartisan legislation that could come to the floor of the united states senate and be debated and voted on and passed
with the concurrence of the house of representatives and the president's signature. actually, there's a lot we could be doing together. i've been on the floor for a number of times describing the humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. that's something we could work together to address. i've introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation with my friend and colleague, henry cuellar, of the house of representatives that would address that humanitarian crisis, i believe make big steps towards stopping it. and that's something we could do together. i know that the democratic whip from illinois doesn't particularly like the idea that president trump is nominating highly qualified people for the judiciary and for executive branch nominations, the types of people we are voting on today and will vote on tomorrow. obviously that's not on his -- high on his agenda. but i submit that there's a lot of other things we could do
besides fixing this humanitarian crisis. we could work on roads and bridges together. i know that chairman barrasso of the environment and public works committee is soliciting the views of a number of senators and is going to come to the floor hopefully in the next couple of months with some ideas on what that infrastructure package should look like. i actually think that's the best way to handle that. and,again, these are nonpartisan issues. infrastructure is not a partisan issue. but figuring out how to pay pour it is the biggest -- how to pay for it is the biggest challenge. i note that ms. pelosi and senator schumer, the democratic leader, and the president met and talked about a $2 trillion price tax well, it seems to me that that's backwards. we ought to be talking about what sort of plan makes sense and where we can get the votes to build consensus on that plan rather than say, we want to
spend this much money on a plan to come. that's why i think the committee work that's being done in the senate and hopefully in the senate and in the senate by the environment and public works committee is so important. once the environment and public works committee makes a proposal, votes that out of the committee on a bipartisan basis, then the senate finance committee, on which the presiding officer and i serve, will be asked to come up with the way to pay for it. that's always the part that people want to talk about the least, but it is important. it's important we not continue to spend money we don't have and increase our deficits and debt. rather, we need to come up with a user fee model which is what the gas tax is designed to do, and find a way not to pay for that infrastructure and to deal with congestion and traffic, those issues by just borrowing from peter to pay paul and literally just increasing the
money we borrow and give that tab to our children and grandchildren to pay back. there's a lot of really good ideas out there and ones i think we ought to work on together. so, i don't share the distopian views of the senator from illinois in terms of the senate. i think this is not -- the senate is not broken. it's just a matter of political will to try to work together, to get beyond the petty disagreements that seem to come up every day and just to do our work. sometimes that's -- you don't necessarily appear on tv or your name in lights when you're doing that sort of hard work. but it's essential to get the senate's work done and indeed to get the work of the american people done. so those are some things we could work on together. and if there is a political will to do so. mr. president, this week tens of thousands of americans will make
their way to washington for national police week, our annual opportunity to honor the brave men and women in blue who have lost their lives while protecting our communities. this includes, of course, many officers from texas, and i'm particularly proud of the fort worth, texas, pipe and drums band, and the texas pipe and drum corps that performed on the national mall yesterday. law enforcement is a calling answered by a select few. these brave men and women have chose ena difficult and -- chosen a difficult and sometimes life protecting our cities and our neighborhoods. they wake up each morning and put 0en a uniform, never knowing what the day may hold. it requires a lot of courage and sacrifice, both from the officers and their families. and i'm grateful for those who selflessly serve our communities each day.
each day -- excuse me, each year for police week we honor the law enforcement community and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. one of the most emblematic reminders of that sacrifice is the national law enforcement officers memorial, which is here in washington, d.c. it is a beautiful tribute to the federal, state, and local law enforcement officials who died in the line of duty. and it features marble walls filled with thousands of names. each name represents an american hero and, sadly, this year we add the name of 13 texans to that medicalial. these officers gave their -- to that memorial. these officers gave their lives to our country and communities and we thank their families thor their sacrifice, and we remember and honor their names. each year for police week we pay tribute to those who go to work and never come home. we honor the lives of those we've lost. we share in the grief of of
their families, and we promise never to forget the stories of heroism they left behind. mr. president, while we remember the fallen this week, i hope we'll also take time to consider how we can do more to support and serve those who have taken the oath to defend us. throughout my career in public office, i've had the pleasure of interacting with law enforcement officials from across my state and certainly here at the federal level, including our incredible capitol police officers. i'm continually impressed and inspired by their professionalism, their conviction, and their unwavering commitment to enforcing the law and wasp to ensure that they have what they -- and want to ensure that they have what they need when they put on that uniform every morning. last congress we made a lot of progress on two bills i introduced then, which are now law. the first is the justice for served act, which i introduced with my colleague, senator
klobuchar, another example of bipartisan legislation. this bill provided grants to state and local governments to prosecute cold cases. by making sure the newly tested d.n.a. evidence is used to investigate and prosecute unsolved cases, the justice served act helps ensure that violent catch and release are taken off the street -- criminals are taken off the street and brought to justice. i also introduced legislation with senator peters from michigan to authorize the project safe neighborhoods program at the department of justice. this is a nationwide partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutors that use data-driven, evidence-based, and trauma-informed practices to reduce violent crime. it is inspired by a successful program that was initiated at the state level in texas when i was attorney general but the truth is it started in the eastern district, i believe it was, of virginia and, of course,
was designed and focused on the one hand reducing gun crime and gun violence by those who repettively use guns in the commission of crimes. we were glad to help use the example in virginia and in texas to bring the model to the nation and promote this proactive and collaborative approach to prevent violence in our neighborhood. i am appreciative of the fact that our colleagues have seen fit to work together to pass both of these bills and that -- to president trump for him signing though, but i know there's a lot more that we can and should do. today i'm introducing another one -- another piece of legislation called back the blue, which i'm introducing along with our colleague, senator cruz from texas, and senator tillis from north carolina. this legislation sends a strong message to the more than 900,000 law enforcement officers serving in our country that we support
them and we will not tolerate knit act of violence against them, period. -- any act of violence against them, period. in recent years we've seen brutal, inexcusable attacks on law enforcement officers across the united states, including one in texas that entirely rocked our state. in 2016, a man killed five police officers and injured nine others in dallas. it was a sobering reminder of the dangers these officers face every day and call for us to take action to do more to support them. this bill makes clear our support for these public suivantes who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving us. the back to blue act would make it a federal crime to kill or attempt to kill a law enforcement officers, a federal judge, or federally funded public safety officer. it would make it a federal crime to assault a law enforcement officer, too. there is zero justification for
attacking a police officer -- none. we need to show that we value their lives, and we need to make it absolutely clear that we will hold those carry out crimes against them accountable. the back the blue act sends that message loud and clear. i think it's important to point out that legislation would also help make our communities stronger by allowing grant funds to be used for efforts that help foster more trust between police and the communities they protect. this bill would better serve the men and women who work tirelessly in our communities each day. there is no doubt in my mind that our nation is better and safer because of the hard work and dedication of our law enforcement officials. here in the senate, we should do all we can to help them do their job effectively and as safely as possible. the back the blue act would be a great tax i hope my colleagues will -- would be a great start. i hope my completion will back this legislation and decide to
permission that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sullivan: mr. president, i'm going to be on the floor here with some of my colleagues in the next hour, and i want to thank my colleague from iowa, senator ernest, lieutenant colonel ernest, by the way, iowa national guard, for organizing the series of discussions we're going to have here in a couple minutes on the senate floor, focus on military appreciation month. military appreciation month. and i think we're all going to talk about how wonderful our military is and do a little bit of bragging about our different states and how we support and appreciate our military so much. mr. president, you know i like to come down to the floor and talk in supervisor tifs about -- superlatives about my great state of alaska. it's true most senators like to talk about their state and that's good.
we're proud of our states. we each think we live in the best state in the country. the facts, though, are that -- well, we all believe that and i happen to think my state is the best state in the country. now, in alaska when we talk about our military and the support and military appreciation month, we certainly have a large military presence in alaska. we have about 32 military facility, five major installations, roughly 10% of the population is either in the military or family members of those in the military. so i like to say alaska actually constitutes three pillars of our nation's military might. we are the cornerstone of missile defense so the missiles and the radar that protects the entire country from attacks, whether kim jong-un or iranians, they allare in alaska.
for the asian pacific, the arctic, and we'll have over 105th generation fighters, f-32's in alaska the end of next year and we're a vital platform for some of america's best trained troops to deploy anywhere around the world because of our strategic location and, mr. president, alaska also boasts the largest number of veterans per capita of any state in the country. so these are the facts. they're all good but what's so unique about alaska -- and i would say, mr. president, most states is how proud we are of our military, how much the communities of alaska, big communities, small communities support the men and women serving in the military. it's almost a part of our d.n.a. in alas came. let me just give you -- in alaska. let me just give you one example, mr. president. i was in a group of community leaders in delta junction in alaska's interior.
it's actually near fort greely where we have our missile defense fields. it's right on the outskirts of what's called jay park which is the biggest training range air, training range in the entire united states. it's actually the size of florida, the air space. and so there's great training. we have red flag exercises. our men and women in the air force in particular do some wonderful training there. we're in this community meeting and some air force pilot was flying low and fast, probably broke the sound barrier because there was a giant sonic boom. shook the whole building. shook the whole meeting room. now, i would say, mr. president, most states that would probably result in people complaining and calling their congressman and senator and, you know, being mad about what the military is doing, shaking the buildings with sonic booms because they're
breaking the speed of sound as they're training. and the mayor of delta just looked at me and said, sound of freedom. sound of freedom. no complaints. just support. mr. president, let me give you another example. in so many of our smaller native communities, native villages across alaska, you see what i refer to as special patriotism. alaskan natives in the lower 48 american indians serve at higher rates in the military than any other ethnic group in the country. that is special patriotism because let's face it, these great american patriots haven't always been supported by their government when they came home after fighting in world war ii or korea or vietnam. as a matter of fact, mr. president, there was a documentary film that was produced about a community in alaska called hoonah, alaska and
southeast alaska. it was called the -- the film was called hunting in wartime and it was about how almost every single male, high school senior in the late 1960's in these small communities went off to fight in vietnam. every one of them. almost every one of them. that is special patriotism. and this isn't -- this support for the military isn't a recent phenomenon in alaska. in 1942 during world war ii, alaskans oversubscribed their war bond quota by 300% surpassing every state in the union. but mr. president, i just want to mention that so many senators, democrat, republicans are going to come down to the floor and talk about military appreciation month as we should, as we should. you know, there's some talk in the country about the 1%, the less than 1%.
well the 1% i really care about is the less than 1% of young men and women who still today raise their right hand to support and defend the constitution, to defend our liberty knowing that it could even cost them their life by joining the u.s. military. so we all have wonderful veterans, wonderful men and women in the military who we support here in the u.s. senate, and i will tell my constituents the one thing we are focused on doing is making sure when you send your son or daughter to join the military, that is the top military in the world, the most ready military in the world, the most capable military in the world, and one thing that we are doing is we are reversing a dangerous trend from 2010 to 2015 defense spending for the u.s. military was cut by almost 25% during the second term of
the obama administration, 25% and readiness plummeted. we're changing that. because no man or woman in this country who volunteers to support and defend the constitution by joining the military should be joining a military that's not at the highest levels of readiness and lethal in terms of getting the job done. so is, mr. president, i'm going to pass this on to some of my colleagues here. but as the senator from a state that communities support our military so much, i just want to thank all the members, regardless of where you live, for the great work you do and let you know that the u.s. senate supports you with all its heart and soul. i yield the floor. mr. tillis: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you, mr. president. while my friend and colleague from alaska is still on the
floor, i want to thank him for his service, for many years of service as a marine. i'm here to talk about north carolina and military appreciation month. we have a special relationship with members of the military and their families in north carolina. we have a million veterans in the state, literally hundreds of thousands of people that serve the military. you may have heard of the global response force. the global response force is out of fort bragg. when there is a crisis anywhere in the world, whether it is a military conflict nor a relief effort, i.t. the -- it's the 82nd airborne that goes where every they need to go sometimes with only 24 hours notice. the marines in camp le jeune and new river constitute of 45% of all the marines serving in the marine corps. we can go up to seymour air
force base. we have a large number of men and women serving on a base that was home of the next-generation tanker. to say that we have a close bond with military is an understatement. we love them, and we love their families. i chair the personnel subcommittee on senate armed services, so i get an opportunity to have a direct role in not only showing appreciation to the men and women who are serving in the military but there is their spouses. it is a tough job. they're serving, too. so as we think about military appreciation month, let's make sure we're not only first and foremost thinking about those brave men and women who have sworn the oath to defend and protect our nation, but also their nationser -- their families. i also want to make sure we don't lose sight of that veterans population, a million of them in my state alone. one-tenth of our population are veterans. we should also talk about the national guard and reservists.
if you take a look at a state like north carolina, we have a umin of people that have been deployed -- a number of people that have been deployed multiple times to some of the most dangerous places. during military appreciation month, we should pay special attention to the special group of people. but i hope each and every one of you every day of the year show them the appreciation and the respect they deserve. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. cramer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. cramer: mr. president, we'll correct the record and say north dakota. the presiding officer: north dakota. i apologize. mr. cramer: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, like my colleagues and like people from around the country, north dakotans are very proud of our military heritage. in fact, north dakotans sign up at a rate of four times the national average. i think you've hear that theme throughout the midwest,
especially, and i'm just really grateful to senator ernst today as we stand and do something we ought to do every day, something we ought to do in church when we're sitting next to them in the pews or we're talking to our neighbors and family members -- thank you. part of the reason we don't say thank you for often is because we goes in our offices unaware of the dangers around the world because you all do your jobs so very well. thank you, thank you, thank you. well, mr. president, north dakota is home to two air bases. i just recently finished a tour of the military bases in north dakota, and i want to speak briefly about the airmen at these two bases. grand forks, north north dakotas a wing. we designated this base as the
319th reconnaissance wing. this is one of only three of its kind. i am continually impressed with the mission of the global hawk. the global hawk mission headquartered out of grand forks is remarkable. and i believe that grand forks is a base that is well positioned for the future of war fighting. and so to the west of grand forks a couple hundred miles is the community of minot. home to the 5th bomb milk wing at the minot air force base. this is interesting because the bomb wing operates the intercontinental ballistic missiles and the b-52 bombers in the same base. that's two of the three legs of the nuclear triad that we hear so much about. and you're not going to find a stronger proponents of the nuclear triad than you will with me because it's the only base of its kind. as the base's motto goes, only
the best come north. the nuclear triad is important to that. every day the airmen wake up with the weight of the world on their shoulders. for their service and their willingness to stand in the gap in the defense of the world, i am immensely grateful and always impressed. mr. president, of course i'd be remiss to not also mention the air base -- the airspace station in cavalier. i think it's the air force's smallest base, but a very important installation. as we debate in this chamber the need for a modernized space force, understanding the work that this base does has further compelled me to stand in support of a modern, capable military unit able to defend the emerging domain that space has become. and a special thank you to those 40 or so airmen in cavalier who do incredible job far from home and in many cases far from a lot
of other people around them. on a more personal note, mr. president, i want to say thank you to the military families and spouses of those stationed in north dakota, as my colleagues have done. as we know, in a family, everybody serves. and in a small community, everybody serves together and they come from all over the country, and they bless all local communities and our state in their work in north dakota. and they deserve a very special thanks for that service. mr. president our military community is not of course solely is defined by our air force bases but also by our incredible army and air national guard. in fargo, i'm going to highlight this one, the 119th wing of the national guard is known as the happy hooligans, and they're frequent recipients of the outstanding unit award. earlier this year they received their 20th outstanding unit award and this is an award given to the units who distinguish themselves by the exceptional service and outstanding achievement and no group better
exemplifies that than the happy hooligans. in fact, no unit has received more outstanding unit awards, either in the active air force or the national guard. congratulations to the happy hooligans. i want to say a special things not only to the -- a special thanks not only to the families, but in the guard there are a lot of people that serve, including their employers. they encourage these incredible military personnel who do a great job for us in the home front as well as when called in to action beyond our border. the mission of the national guard is to provide ready units, individuals, and equipment supporting our communities, state, and nation. just a few short years ago -- if i might just elaborate a little bit on some homeland issues. just a few short years ago our state called on our national guard to meet that mission.
we were abandoned by the federal government. the north dakota national guard was deployed to help keep the peace, and it is appropriate today on this police memorial day that we recognize this relationship. they were deployed to keep the peace as out-of-state being a visits with no interest really in north dakota. they flooded our state to violently protest the daca access -- the dakota access pipeline. you would think that that would have some serious ramifications. because of the quality of our guardsmen, they did what the previous administration would not. they stood up for the rule of law. and they stood in the way of radical protesters, even while their own families were targets of the radical protests, the harassment of radical protesters from everywhere other than north dakota and they put their lives at risk, did it without
profvation, without -- without provocationings but with a calming presence. they did it without orders. they defend our state from the chaos that descended upon us. again, thank you is inadequate. it is all we can do today. but i would just compel people to say thank you more often. as you see that neighbor, as you see that person sitting next to you in the pew, make it a point to say thank you out loud in front of friends. i yield back. the presiding officer: thanks to the senator from north dakota.
ms. ernst: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. ms. ernst: thank you, mr. president. during military appreciation month, we honor the men and women who wear our nation's uniform, those who have worn it in the past and those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. as a senator and a combat veteran with over 23 years of service between the army reserves and the iowa army national guard, i am grateful to have the opportunity to get to know so many patriotic and selfless americans. and iowans are well-represented
in those ranks. nearly 9% of our state's adult population are veterans. the national average is just above 6.5%. from world war ii to the global war on terrorism, iowans have served with honor and distinction. military appreciation month is also a time to recognize our military families who sacrifice so much and faithfully support our men and women in uniform. they keep things running during long deployments and help during the transition back to civilian life. they help that family member and, of course, long, long after. so to all of our military families in iowa and of course across the nation, thank you. thank you for also choosing to serve. this month is also a good opportunity for those of us in
the senate to highlight some of the work we're doing to support our service members, our military families, and of course our veterans. next week the senate armed services committee will be starting our yearly national defense authorization act. in anticipation of that process, i'll be joining my democratic colleague in arizona, senator sinema, to introduce two new bills to address military sexual assault, one to improve prevention and the other to streamline prosecutions. i'll also be introducing a bill with senator warren that will explore ways to better track brain injuries sustained by our war fighters. helping our service members with injuries sustained in battle is a top priority of mine. we owe it to our wounded
warriors to seek out game-changing treatments and to help them heal and recover. and as the chairman of the subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities, i'll also use the ndaa process to ensure the bill fosters technological advancements to better equip our war fighters for their success. military appreciation month is an important reminder of the daily sacrifice made by our service members. our military families, and our veterans. it's also a solemn time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep america free, safe, and prosperous. we have many of our own members that have served in the military. i want to thank them all very much. so from those