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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 15, 2019 1:59pm-4:00pm EDT

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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 of us that have
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worn boots, we take a look at this legislation and find ways that we can better support those who serve. in the senate, members of our military families and veterans, you have our support. you have our gratitude, not only today but every day. and i know the folks back home in iowa feel the same. so for all of us to all of you that have worn the uniform and those that have supported those who have worn the uniform, thank you for your service, and god bless you. god bless our great state of iowa, god bless the great united states of america, and those men and women that make it possible to be free. thank you very much, mr. president. i yield. mr. inhofe: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma.
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mr. inhofe: first of all, let me associate myself with the remarks of the senator from iowa. it is so important to all of us, particularly those of us who have had occasion to serve, to really pay attention to what's going on. this is the military appreciation month. it's very significant what's going on. every month should be military appreciation month. as the chairman of the senate armed services committee and as a veteran, it's been my great honor and responsibility to support our war fighters during and after their service. whenever they were needed, they were there. and so we've got to do a better job in supporting them. we went through eight years of not adequately supporting the military. it is something that many of them are suffering from now. next week, as was pointed out, we're going to do the defense
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authorization bill. it's not very often you can stand here and say we're going to introduce a bill and we know it's going to pass. the reason we know it's going to pass is because it's passed for the last 54 years. we know this one is going to pass. i can remember a few years that we actually had to go into september to get the defense authorization bill actually passed. now, in the event it got to the end of december, which the same thing would be true this year, this coming year, then we would have had hazard pay that wouldn't be paid, we would have flight pay that wouldn't be paid, there would not be adequate funding to take care of any of that. so we can't let that happen. we're not going to let that happen. i'm a little confused now because a month from today, we will actually mark the bill up in the united states senate, and yet the house isn't going to do it, it's my understanding, untif january. and then i also heard that they may over in the house actually do the appropriation bill first.
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well, if you do the appropriation bill before you do the -- the -- the bill that we will be marking up, the ndaa, then there is no reason to even do the ndaa from the house perspective. so we do know that good things are going to happen. we are implementing the national defense strategy. we have talked about the national defense strategy several times here on the floor and how this, we have done a very good job i think in putting together this. most importantly, we are supporting our all-volunteer force. it happened when -- i may be the last person in the senate armed service committee who still believes in compulsory service. i also wonder what would have happened in my life if i hadn't been drafted. i remember coming back at christmas time, eisenhower was president. i was enrolled in the university of mexico. i looked in the mailbox and there was a card.
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it was from the president. i thought how nice of the president to remember me, christmas time. it was my draft notice. so that changed my plans. i often wonder where i would be today if i hadn't had that experience. so anyway, we are going to provide the armed forces with adequate funding, and i hope we can find a budget solution. we can't do it with the continuing resolution. we have asked all of our leaders in committee hearings why -- what would happen to us if we did a continuing resolution, and it just wouldn't work. i think we all realize that. it puts people who are budget hawks like me and military hawks in a very awkward situation because we have a situation where as a result of the eight years of obama, we had a thank called parity so that for every dollar you put in the military, there is going to have to be a dollar that will go into -- into nondefense programs. this is something that doesn't
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work. so the continuing resolution we all know is something that should not be a -- an option. the responsibility carries great weight now. we ask our men and women in uniform to do more in the face and more in dangerous, unpredictable world than at any time. i think the trump administration's right. they say -- they try to categorize our two threats that are out there, one being the threat of the rogue nations that are out there. and we're talking about north korea and some of these -- some of these nations. at the same time we also have the great power threat. this is one that we face. we know that, yes, we're used to dealing with the threats of the rogue nations, but after the eight years of the obama administration, we watched russia and china forge ahead of us in many areas.
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hydrosonics is a good example. that is something that is taking place now. so during that period of time, during the last five years of the obama administration, the amount of money that we had to run our military with was reduced by almost 25%. now, we have made up a lot of this in fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019 through the -- thanks to the trump administration. we have increased that funding back up to $700 billion, then again $716 billion, and this time i think we're going to be at $750 billion. now, there is some dispute as to exactly -- what the exact figure will be, but nonetheless, we're starting to rebuild. so we will be modernizing our force including our nuclear arsenal now in order to maintain our military superiority or to regain that, is a better word than maintain, because we have actually lost some of our superiority. well, into the future, our armed
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forces have long been the best in the world, but we have problems now in trying to rebuild, and that's what this is all about. so we'll support our troops and their families who sacrifice a great deal to protect our nation. this concludes -- includes making meaningful reforms to privatize on-base housing. we went through this housing trauma just the other day. we found out a lot of people are not being treated properly, a lot of the spouses of our members and our members are living in housing that is totally unacceptable, but we came to that realization and we're correcting that now. that's going to be corrected even further in the defense authorization bill that we will pass -- that we'll mark up a week from today. so we want to thank every man and woman who have ever put on the uniform and those that are doing this in defense of the country, congratulate them, pay particular attention to them and
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support them in every way that we can. the fabric of our nation is stronger because of you guys in uniform and those who have been in uniform and endure for the years to come because of your service. god bless all you guys. with that, i will -- the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come to the floor today as part of military appreciation month. it's a time clearly to remember our brave service men and women, who reflect on their faithful service to this country, and to recall the many sacrifices that our troops and their families have made and continue to make in defense of this great nation. mr. president, many of us will be heading overseas for this, the 75th anniversary of d-day to commemorate the efforts of an incredible group of allies on the fateful day and the weeks and the months that followed. as i stand here today, i think of those soldiers and i think of
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my wife bobbi's dad, bob brown. currently 92 years old, living in thermopolis, wyoming, long-time postmaster. he still drives meals on wheels, mr. president, as he says for the old folks. he was called to europe in world war ii, and he is one of those few that was in world war ii in the european theater as well as in japan as part of that first occupation and then called back to korea as part of the 300 who continued in the fight for our freedoms. he continues today to serve our united states and his wife jeri who went through all of this in thermopolis, wyoming, knows the sacrifices that he and so many have made. my dad, world war ii battle of the bulge. i still carry his dog tags from the battle of the bulge with me. i have them with me today on the floor of the senate, and i carry them with me when i go to see
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our troops overseas. he is a guy that had to quit school in ninth grade because of the depression. in world war ii, and i have gone through some of his old papers, i found pictures of he and a number of members of the artillery who were part of the liberation of france. from the time i was a little boy, he would say john, you should thank god every day because you live in america. you don't know how fortunate you are. we are so blessed, mr. president, to live in this great country. and it is to the men and women who continue to protect this land, who fought for our freedoms. my dad, his wife louise, the sacrifices that they have made on behalf of all of us. and today, mr. president, we honor all of our armed forces, the army, the navy, the air force, the coast guard, the marines, the national guard. today in particular, mr. president, i want to salute the members of the wyoming army national guard because they are now deploying to the middle east. some 300 wyoming soldiers from six units will be sent to the middle east between january and
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september, the largest wyoming deployment in nearly a decade. the deployments began in january with the g company of the second battalion, 211th aviation, a medical ee iraquation unit, the most deployed unit in the wyoming national guard. the unit includes soldiers from bear river, from casper, carpenter, cheyenne, laramie, and wheatland. this past week, the wyoming governor mark gordon participated in a send-off ceremony in casper for 130 wyoming national guard troops headed to texas ahead of a nine-month deployment to the middle east. the cowboy can oneers, the group that my father-in-law bob brown was part of, they are from more than two dozen communities from casper to lovell to cheyenne to morecroft. this guard unit will serve under the u.s. central command
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covering iraq, afghanistan, kuwait, and the united arab emirates. mr. president, wyoming and the entire nation owe an incredible debt of gratitude to these fearless fighters for our freedom, so god bless the united states armed forces, god bless our troops, our veterans, god bless the united states of america. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. scott: good afternoon. i'm proud to speak today in honor of military appreciation month. our men and women in uniform are true heroes. they risk their lives every day to protect our freedoms and our way of life. i had the opportunity to serve in the united states navy during the vietnam war. my adopted father was one of the few who made all four combat jumps in the 82nd airborne during world war ii. as governor, i made it my mission to turn florida into the most military and veteran-friendly state in the nation, and we succeeded. we championed important legislation and funding to support priorities that matter
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most important to military families and we took every opportunity to recognize veterans for their service. florida has 20 military bases and three unified commands, more than almost any other state. as governor, i met regularly with florida's base commanders to see how i could help support their missions and their troops. and as a senator, i continue to host base commander meetings to make sure our military has every resource they need. america is blessed with the protection of the strongest military in the world. our military provides not only for the safety of our country, but also leads in supporting our allies and protecting freedom and democracy across the globe. for decades, we have invested in building our military into the most lethal fighting force in the history of the world, but we live in a dangerous world and we must avoid complacency. our military readiness was diminished by budget cuts and sequester under president obama which reduced defense spending across the board. the dysfunction of washington has many consequences, but it's
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significantly -- but a significantly weakened military is the most dangerous. our military superiority is never guaranteed. russia and china continue to build up their militaries with a single goal in mind -- to dominate the world stage. to avoid a national security emergency, we must act now. that's why, as a member of the armed services committee, i am fighting to match the president's request of $750 billion in defense spending and i fight to secure a pay raise for our men and women in uniform, our heroes. i have also sponsored the pay our coast guard act to make sure military pay is never affected by a government shutdown. we must also work together to pass disaster relief funding immediately which will help rebuild tindell air force base following the devastation of hurricane michael. i will never lose sight of one of the most important roles i have as a united states senator, to protect and serve the families of our nation. none of us should lose sight of that. i look forward to working closely with each of you to invest in america's greatest asset, the men and women of our armed forces. thank you. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. president. i would like to echo the sentiments my colleagues have expressed in appreciation of the men and women who serve in our armed forces. while it may seem like the members of chamber, much like america itself, are strongly divided on issues of national policy, i can say without a doubt that we are all united in support of our troop and their efforts to protect and defend our nation and its ideals. that's why i'm appreciative of the opportunity to join with my colleagues today to thank the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen working tirelessly to protect the american people from the multitude of threats that face our nation. the men and women who wear our nation's universal selflessly serve. they're fully aware of the risks they face. despite that, they bravely put
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themselves in harm's way to defend our country, ideals, and allies around the world. they didn't choose this life to seek recognition, awards or honors. like those who wore the uniform before them, they chose the path of a higher calling, they chose it as a way to use their talents for the greater good. the men and women who serve in our military embody what it means to be a giver. i know my fellow arkansans share my gratitude and appreciation for all of our military personnel and their families who sacrifice at home while their loved ones are abroad. arkansas has a storied military heritage and a long, proud history of supporting our nation's defense. troops stationed in this state served our country honorably even before it was admitted to the union. today arkansas -- arkansans are stationed around the globe and
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our personnel at the little rock air force base, camp robinson, pine bluff arsenal, fort chafee. we have six national military observance days as a way to express our gratitude. that gratitude endures in perpetuity. we simply cannot thank our service members enough for the tremendous sacrifice they made to ensure that we continue to live in the greatest, freest country that the world has ever known. as the son of an air force master sergeant, i learned at a young age about the sacrifice our men and women in uniform make. i also learned very early on that military families face unique challenges. it truly is a family affair. my father joined the national guard while he was in high school and while still in high
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school his unit watts -- was shipped out to prepare for world war ii. he remained in the air force long after the war was over, serving over 20 years in uniform. the example set by my father's military career and the lessons we learned growing up in a military family helped my siblings and me to prepare for a productive service-centered life. the experience taught us one of the most valuable lessons i continue to carry with me today today, through their service to our country, the men and women of our military are part of something much bigger than themselves. my father was not only my hero but as a world war ii veteran, he and fellow service members in fort smith were embraced in the same manner by the community as a whole. the respect and admiration our community displayed for military members wasn't fake or forced. it was genuine and remains as strong today in communities
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across our great nation. while those displays will be more publicly visible during national military appreciation month, the feelings of respect, admiration, and gratitude will carry on long after the end of this month. our nation is eternally grateful for the sacrifice of every service member working to keep america safe, strong, and free. and it's a real honor to be down here with my colleague from arkansas, and we greatly appreciate your service and congratulations on your book that tells the story of arlington and what a very special place that is, truly hallowed ground. i yield back, mr. president. 123450
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mr. cotton: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: we're here in the middle of national military appreciation month, so i'm pleased to join my colleagues in showing our nation's gratitude for every single soldier, sailor, airman, marine and coast guardsman who is serving or has served our nation with honor. this month is specially dedicated to our armed forces but of course we have ample reason to celebrate them and appreciate them year round, because our troops serve year round and around the clock willingly accepting limitations on their own freedom and comfort so their fellow americans can live in freedom and security. right now thousands of american troops serve in dangerous conditions overseas far from home. even now at this moment our troops are engaged in combat surrounded by the enemy fighting courageously. we're all thankful and proud of
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their service and indebted for their sacrifice. but not only them, two weeks ago i had the privilege of attending a medal ceremony in arkansas where seven veterans of the korean war were honored for their service for actions they took in defense of our freedom nearly seven decades ago that these long-ago actions were not forgotten. one week ago i had the opportunity to thank our military spouses, the unsung heroes of our armed forces, for their work raising families despite the hardships of military life. those are just a couple of events from the last couple of weeks, yet they are multiplied countless times every day across our country and around the world wherever our troops and their families are present. at airports troops returning from overseas are greeted with hugs and cheers. the remains of our fallen heroes are greeted with odd silence.
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at diners and restaurants a uniform and even a veterans cap will still sometimes earn a veteran or soldier a free meal from a grateful neighbor and fellow citizen. here in washington, honor flights for our veterans still get police escorts with flashing sirens and children salute those veterans, sometimes asking innocently about their memories of battle. across the river in arlington national cemetery, the sentinels of the platoon stand at attention and walk the mat around the clock and in all weather just as they have for the past 82 years to ensure that those unknown soldiers and every person whose headstone graces those beautiful rolling fields rest in eternal peace. i'm proud to live in a country that honors its military in such
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a fashion, but more important i'm proud to live in a country whose military is worthy of such honor. so to every soldier, sailor, airman, marine and coast guardsman, i extend my gratitude, my respect and my thanks to you and your family for your honorable service. not just today, not just this month, but every day. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: mr. president, in the united states we're known as the land of the free, and there's a reason for that. it's because we are the home of the brave. our military men and women represent the very best of america. in fact, the good word tells us greater love has no man than this than a man lay down his life for his friends. when a young man or a young woman volunteers to serve, he or she is writing a blank check made payable to the united states of america for an amount up to and including their life. and in montana, we are so very fortunate to have so many heroes hail from our great state, including many who now work on my staff and on behalf of the people of montana.
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great montanans like christie hagler, denny lenore. we're fortunate to have dylan vaden here in d.c. currently serving in the marine corps. thank you for your service to our country. thank you for your service to the people of mt. in fact, just last fall i had the honor of visiting the men and women of the 495th cssb while deployed in afghanistan. they flew over to kabul and bag land air force base and i had a chance to spend time with these great montana. a few months ago i had the privilege of welcoming these same soldiers home after they had been deployed for nine long months. these men and women had been far away from their families and from their friends across the holidays, many of whom were with us that night on the tarmac
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as they were risking their lives to protect our freedom. seeing them reunited with their loved ones was a powerful experience for both cindy, my wife, and me. it's one that i will never ever forget. but the sad reality is that some of our montana heroes don't make it back. staff sergeant travis atkins, a boozman native, in fact travis and i both went to the same high school. he was recently awarded the highest military distinction in this country by president trump, and that's the medal of honor. you see, sergeant atkins willingly laid down his life when he tackled a suicide bomber to shield the blast from his fellow soldiers in order to save their lives. a true hero, the sacrifice that he made for his country and his fellow soldiers will never be
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forgotten. over in fort harris in montana, master sergeant jesse edinger of the army national guard has been welcoming home the fallen since 2006. he knows what sacrifice looks like. he's no stranger to combat, having served three deployments to iraq and afghanistan. he earned his national instructor certification and has taught over the years hundreds of soldiers within his region to be honor guard trains. he's done more than 1,100 funerals for veterans which included the service for travis atkins. and while we all appreciate our brave men, our brave women who serve in the military every day, this month is military appreciation month. this month is about giving these men and women the added
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appreciation that they richly deserve. i will continue to advocate for policies that strengthens our military and gives our men and our women who serve the strategic advantages they need to win. thank you to all who serve and to all who have served. and on behalf of a very grateful nation, we honor you and we appreciate you. i yield back.
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mr. lankford: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: mr. president, the month of may is military appreciation month. it's a time when we, as a country, we come together, we pause, we recognize the sacrifice of those who have raised their right hand, worn the cloth of our country and they continue to serve the world's greatest military day in and day out. they have exceptionally long days, difficult tasks. sometimes they fight the fight of boredom in hanging out and
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guarding a spot and sometimes they are in an exceptionally stressful full-on combat mode. throughout the month of may there are six different days of observation to honor our nation's military and their families who sacrifice so much. loyalty day, public service recognition week, victory in europe day, military spouse appreciation day, armed forces day, and, of course, at the end of the month a pause for memorial day. all of these observances within one month, may. it's a clear sign that our military is one of the most important cornerstones of our country and their sacrifices unmatched and so should be honored and celebrated. i hope that all americans recognize the service of their family members, husband, wife, son, daughter, mom, and dad. they are wearing the uniform and
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can be gone months at a time on multiple deployments. i had the opportunity to meet with many family members in oklahoma, that their spouse, mom, dad, son, daughter have been deployed multiple times in several different theaters, and while they are forward deployed, their family waits. and it's a long, difficult wait. it's tough on the family, for those that serve in our national guard, it's tough on employers, it's tough on their personal finances, and it's a stressful environment. for those folks that have done it and continue to serve, that 1% of our nation that defends the other 99% of our nation, we could not be more grateful for them and for their family members. and to our gold star families, those who were left behind to continue the legacy of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we
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thank you for your service and for your love of country. it's our duty as a station to continue to support our gold star families, to be able to encourage them, check on them, live life with them. just last week i introduced legislation with senator carper to expand certainly educational benefits to the survivors of guardsmen who have died as a result of their service. this is the least we can do as a nation to be able to walk alongside those gold star families. over 33,000 active duty guard, reserve, and active duty personnel are currently assigned in oklahoma and have oklahomans serving our country an protecting our interests literally all over the world right now. we're home to tinker air force base, vance air force base, the center of excellence, as well as countless different national guard lotions all around the state. we train and equip our soldiers,
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sailors, air american, and marines. and i'm proud of the oklahomans that wear that uniform. as we continue this military appreciation month, i hopele all americans take the time to remember that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whether you are awake or asleep, someone is on guard watching our nation right now. someone is defending our freedoms right now whether you are hearing about military appreciation month while you're at work, while you're at play, while you're at rest someone is not resting right now. they are defending your freedoms. and we are grateful. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. gardner? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: no, we aren't. mr. gardner: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, kind rick came steel crow -- castillo was an 18-year-old senior set to graduate high school at the end of the week when his life was tragically cut short. on tuesday, may 7, kendrick castillo sat in his british literature class just like any other day at school when two schoolmates burst into a classroom at the stem school in highlands ranch and opened fire. when faced with the unthinkable, kendrick acted out of pure heroism as he put his
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classmates' lives before his own and charged the shooters. a classmate of kendrick's described his heroism by telling nbc news about his actions, quote, giving all of us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room to escape. brendan, a classmate who charged the assail yafntses with kendrick told abc news kendrick castillo died a legend. he died a trooper. and i know he will be with me for the rest of my life. john reflected on his son's actions by saying he did what he had to do and i knew that was my son's nature, that was who he was. centsdz rick castillo -- kendrick castile low displayed
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courage. he wanted to study engineering and loved spending his free time fishing and camping. today colorado mourns the loss of a hero as we say goodbye to kendrick castillo. as his friends, family, and community gather in highlands ranch for a final farewell, we must pledge to never forget this young man. kendrick castillo lost his lifesaving his fellow classmates. the students of the stem school in highlands ranch experienced an absolute tragedy and showed fearlessness well beyond their years as they took charge in the face of danger. now is a time to come together in tragedy to rise above it and remind every single student at that school that we love them, that we are with them, and we
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will never forget them. i also want to take a moment to honor the first responders who once again displayed true bravery in the response to this tragedy. deputies of the douglas county police department, south metro fire rescue, and all other neighboring first responders on the scene acted quickly to help stabilize the situation and lead the students and faculty to safety. this week is national police week, a fitting time to reflect on those who protect our sons and daughters every day. mr. president, in washington, d.c. this week, we are celebrating national police week, a time we take each year to thank law enforcement for protecting our communities and to remember the cost of providing this comfort. today thousands of officers and their families will gather on the west front lawn of the capitol to participate in the 38th annual peace officers memorial service, an event to
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honor all those we have lost in the line of duty. i hope the camaraderie and support they've experienced during the ceremony and throughout the week will bring a bit of comfort to law enforcement and our law enforcement community. i also hope it demonstrates the tremendous gratitude that we all have for these sacrifices. police week serves -- police week also serves to show the law enforcement community that the lawmakers in washington have their back. we will continue to help departments all over the country afford life-saving equipment like bulletproof vests to help as many officers as possible return home safely every day. in fact, just this week the senate is working on legislation to make sure we're providing life-saving equipment through the bulletproof vest grant program. we're also working on legislation this week that would help address mental health needs, not just of the law enforcement officer themselves but for their families as well because we know the pressure and strain that this duty can create
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and put upon a family. i know my colleagues in the senate will join me in thanking the many officers who joined us in washington this week, their bravery and courage allow all of us to enjoy the safety and security we so often take for granted. it should not take a tragedy for any of us to reach out to a police officer. e.m.s. official or firefighter to thank them for their work and to let them know their bravery does not go unnoticed. yesterday i had the honor of joining the colorado memorial ceremony at the fallen officers memorial. 320 coloradans over the years have been added to the fallen officers memorial. 320 too many. four were added this would be. adams county deputy heath gum, los angeles county matthew
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moreno, littleton police officer kevin denham. one of the most important moments at the ceremony yesterday was the comment made by a police officer who spoke to a widow of a fallen officer who said, support for law enforcement community is needed long after the bagpipes have played. i think that's what we have to do as colleagues together is to make sure that while the pomp and ceremony memorials end, it's after the bagpipes have finished that we must continue to stand with the men and women on that blue line of service to our communities. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. i come to the floor once again today to address democrats' one-size-fits-all health care scheme. it's radical plan to take over all of health care in america and to take away -- to take away, mr. president, health insurance from millions of americans. still, nearly every senate democrat running for president and 109 members of the house of
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representatives or, democrats all, have backed one-size-fits-all health care. last week former senator heidi heitkamp of north dakota had some words of wisdom for her fellow democrats. she writes in "the washington post," most americans are satisfied with the health care they receive and do not want their coverage options taken away and replaced, as she said, with a one-size-fits-all government program. i agree. the fact is, according to the census bureau, 90% of americans have health care coverage. of those, 200 million -- 200 million, mr. president -- are covered by private health plans. 180 million have employer-provided health coverage and most say that their current plan works well for them. now, the 180 million americans covered through their jobs, they work hard.
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and these people go out every morning and support their families. according to a survey released last year, the vast majority of people with employer-provided coverage, 71% of them to be precise, like their current health care plan. so who exactly are those workers on employer-sponsored plans? well, many are union members. they negotiate their health coverage through their union representatives. many are public employees, federal and state employees, people who serve this country. so why do democrats, who support one-size-fits-all health care, want to outlaw proven, popular, and predictable health care for millions of these working families? democrats certainly seem to be putting politics above principle. and, what's more, they clearly believe that washington knows best but shouldn't we be asking what these hardworking americans
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who have good private insurance want? well, shouldn't we ask them what's best for them, what's best for their families? let's take the teamsters union, for example. in an article published in 2017, the teamsters said, the availability of high-quality health care has been a top selling point for those who belong to unions. a benefit these workers have barringed for and oftentimes they have -- bargained for and oftentimes they have sacrificed higher pay for these excellent insurance benefits. met me underscore that point. the teamsters union believes their health benefits are excellent, and maybe democrats should ask the united steelworkers about their insurance coverage. if you go to a steelworkers' website, you'll find their answer. the steelworkers' benefit plan -- this is from their website -- provides high-quality, affordable health and welfare
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benefits to u.s.w. -- united steelworkers -- u.s.w. workers and their families. basically, if you are a union member watching this debate right now, you need to know that democrats in washington are coming for your hard-earned health care benefits. make no mistake, under the one-size-fits-all health care legislation offered by senator bernie sanders and so many democrats running for president, this high-quality health insurance program and their insurance will cease to exist. no wonder last year some high-profile public sector unions started sounding the alarm about losing their health benefits. when new york state debated a sanders-like proposal to take over health care, who raised the loudest objections? well, it was the public-sector unions, of course.
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so, again, we have millions of union workers -- federal and state employees and their families -- all with excellent health care benefits that are on the democrats' chopping block. but instead of helping fix the nation's health care problems, democrats are looking to destroy what is actually working. and, remember ... it's more than union workers and public-sector employees that are threatened. democrats' one-size-fits-all health care plan is gunning for retired military members' health care insurance as well, talking about the tricare health plans. our service members have earned their tricare coverage through years of faithful service defending this nation. now, i believe one of our greatest responsibilities is to provide those who protected this nation in terms of our retired service members. back home in wyoming,
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mr. president, i talk with service members, veterans nearly every weekend. these proud americans want me to make sure that tricare works for them and to protect and strengthen benefits that work and they have earned through their service. still, far-left democrats don't want to listen to reason. they are hellbent on a one-size-fits-all approach to health care. mr. president, it's especially ironic that democrats even want to ban obamacare plans, the plans they voted for, they put in place. it's less than a decade since democrats passed obamacare, and now they want to repeal it and replace it basically saying, obamacare has failed. for years i've come to the floor to discuss the shortcomings of obamacare. every time republicans have offered to improve health care, we've heard from the democrats that obamacare is off limits and they can't possibly make any changes to that law.
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but now the democrats are running for -- but now that democrats are running for president, well suddenly they're singing a different tune. they're done defending obamacare. in fact, democrats are happy to repeal obamacare so they can replace it with a one-size-fits-all health plan for america -- health care plan for america. senator heitkamp is actually warning -- warning them -- not to cast aside obamacare and start all over again with a one-size-fits-all plan. well, mr. president, let me just say, as a doctor, as a physician who has taken care of patients for decades, my focus continues to be on improving health care for american patients and for their families. americans want to focus on real health care reforms that make a difference for them, for their families in terms of the cost and in terms of the quality of their care. these are the issues that republicans are working on right
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now, protecting patients with preexisting conditions it lowering prescription drug costs, and ending surprise medical bills. mr. president, surprise medical bills are bills patients receive that come out of nowhere. these bills are an unfair financial burden on many families, completely unexpected medical costs that they can't afford and aren't expecting and just last week i was at the white house with president trump announcing a plan to help patients by ending these surprise bills. republicans also remain committed, mr. president, to protecting patients with preexisting conditions and to lowering the cost of prescription drugs. so democrats have a choice to make. they can follow the far-left democrats pushing their radical one-size-fits-all approach to health care -- and, again, this
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extreme scheme will mean the loss of health insurance coverage for millions and millions and millions of hardworking people, union workers and their families, members of our veterans, people that have helped protect and save this country, federal and state employees and their families and all of the americans who are currently enrolled in obamacare plans. a better option for democrats is to work with republicans on commonsense, bipartisan solutions, real reforms that improve health care for all americans. let's reject one-size-fits-all health care that will make americans pay more to wait longer for worse care. that's the key, mr. president -- one-size-fits-all health care. i will tell people listening in today, mr. president, you will pay more to wait longer for worse care. it's time to reject the
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one-size-fits-all care for americans. let us work together to give all patients the care they need from a doctor that they choose at lower cost. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. menendez: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i came to the floor to speak about the rising tensions and potential challenges with iran, but i wouldn't want, after my distinguished colleague's remarks and as a member of the senate finance committee that had helped write the affordable care act, to have my silence be an acceptance of his view. for nearly a decade, republicans have sought to tear down the affordable care act -- or what some derice civil call obamacare
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-- derisively call obamacare, with no out that, with no plan. this administration is actual any a federal court arguing that the law is unconstitutional, the very law that gives protections to everyone in this country who has a preexisting condition -- a child born at birth with some heart disease, a husband who had a heart attack, a woman simply because she is a woman and before was discriminated because she was a woman, and somehow that was a preexisting condition and allowed insurance companies to charge twice as much as their male counterpart in the same age group and the same geography. it was the affordable care act that ended that discrimination. it is the affordable care act that ended lifetime caps, so if you had a major illness like cancer, before you hit the creating on your insurance and you were one illness away from bankruptcy, the affordable care act ended lifetime caps so that if you had a serious illness,
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you're still covered. the affordable care act created the possibility for our children to be able to stay on our insurance until the age of 26. that was not the law before. and the list goes on and on. so it is that which democrats have been about, and expanding upon that the opportunity to create a universal system for everyone is something we all desire. but as important as that issue is, i've come to the floor in alarm and to demand answers ansy this administration about iran, about its policy, about what intelligence the administration has. for more than a week we have seen press reports and heard rumors about threats to u.s. interests and possibly american citizens by iran. for more than a week, i have been demanding along with others that the administration provide senior-level officials to brief members of the united states
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senate. for more than a week, the administration has ignored these requests. it has for all intents and purposes refused to provide members of congress with information critical to our national security. information it says indicates that american citizens and american assets may be in harm's way. after specifically requesting information on security posture at our diplomatic facilities in iraq on monday, this morning morning -- this morning i read from press reports that the administration is ordering the departure of staff from our embassy in baghdad and our consulate in irbil. as the ranking member, the senior democrat on the senate foreign relations committee, it's pretty outrageous to be learning about the evacuation of an embassy from media reports. now there are only two reasons to make such an order. we have credible intelligence that our people are at risk or
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there is some type of preparation for military action against iran. mr. president, this behavior is unacceptable. by refusing to provide members of congress with critical information, this administration is blatantly disregarding the fundamental governing structures of the united states as outlined in our constitution. the senate foreign relations committee is charged with writing the laws that authorize the use of military force and of oversight of the state department and the safety of those who work there. the administration must provide this committee with the information we need to judiciously and appropriately make policies. and while i hear there's a briefing for all senators rumored to be up next week, that's not confirmed, nor is it an acceptable timeline. next week may be too late. we do not need another iraq
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weapons of mass destruction moment that led us to one of the worst disastrous military engagements when there were no weapons of mass destruction to be found. we need clarity. we need answers, and we need them now. we cannot make foreign policy and national security decisions while flying in the blind. now make no mistake, i have no doubts that iran continues to be a bad actor in the region and throughout the world. iranian leaders continue to support dangerous proxy actors throughout the region. iran continues to violate arms embargo. iran continues to oppress its own people. indeed i have spent the better part of two decades developing legislation and policies to stop iran's quest for a nuclear weapon and attacks against our allies, including israel. working across the aisle often cajoling and prodding the
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executive branch and our allies, congress led the effort to build an extensive economic and political pressure campaign to force iran to the negotiating table. our allies in europe, asia and across the world, most of whom share our concern about iran's ability to develop a nuclear weapon and its broader maligned activities have been critical to this effort. when building a policy to effectively confront an adversary, you must have an end goal. you must have clear objectives, and you must take actions in pursuit of those objectives. with iran, our objective was to ensure that iran never develops a pathway towards a nuclear weapon. so i'm all for putting on as much pressure as we can, but that requires also having a clear way of showing how it can be alleviated. there must be a viable, tenable diplomatic track. if i were to put you in a room, lock the door, throw away the
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key and tell you there's no way out and no way to survive, you would sure as hell start looking for ways to fight and break down that door. so for a campaign of maximum pressure, when the moment of maximum leverage is reached, it must be sieged. that requires working with our allies to offer a real diplomatic path to negotiations. now british major general chris skeka, american commander of the coalition to fight islamic state has been questioned. yesterday spain pulled a frigate from a u.s.-led naval group that has been scheduled for a joint training mission two years ago saying the original mission had changed. our allies are critical not just in connell fronting iranian -- in confronting iranian maligned
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activity but in securing peace around the world. now is the amount for a diplomatic surge to meaningfully engage our allies and iran in a serious negotiation to end its pathway towards nuclear weapons and its maligned activities. and second, congress has not authorized war with iran and the administration, if it is contemplating military action with iran, must come to congress to seek approval. mr. president, i call on every member of this body on both sides of the aisle to assert our institutional and constitutional prerogatives and demand information from this administration, demand classified briefings. when matters this serious are at stake, we have to demand more. we cannot and we will not be led into dangerous military
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adventurism. the administration must provide this critical information to congress, and it must do so immediately. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president. i think many of our colleagues here in the chamber know that senator alexander and i host a breakfast on tuesday mornings called tennessee tuesday, and this week at the breakfast one of our tennesseans said i have seen so many men and women in law enforcement uniforms in d.c. what is going on? is this normal? it gave me the opportunity to say, actually this is national police week, and this is a week that we set aside to honor those
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men and women who are in law enforcement. there are tens of thousands of police officers and sheriffs and highway patrolmen across our country, and my hope is that each of us will stop this week when we see them, say a thank you to them for the service that they provide our communities, because when it comes to fighting so many of the issues that affect our communities on a day-to-day basis, the issues we face because of drugs and drug trafficking, human trafficking, gangs, it is our local law enforcement that is on those front lines, and we say thank you to them. this year in tennessee, three officers have lost their lives. and during this week, we
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remember them and express our gratitude to their families for their service and their sacrifice. we have lost trooper matthew elias ggotti from the tennessee highway patrol. sergeant steve hinkel from the sullivan county sheriff's office, who died on tuesday, february 26, 2019. police officer nicholas scott gallinger from the chattanooga police department, and he died on sunday, february 24 of 2019. as i talked to our sheriffs and police chiefs and patrol captains, i know that there are many others who have been injured, and we remember them. we also say thank you, thank you so much to the families of
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these men and women who have chosen -- you know, they really are called. this is their calling to public service, and we thank them that they answer that call and that they choose to serve well in our communities to keep us safe so that we know our communities are a place where we can rear our families, where we can enjoy camaderie with family members, with friends, with our churches. i will tell you as i -- i was thinking about this week, i thought there are so many moms and grandmoms who i think are pretty much like me. many times i will say i'm a security mom. i want to make certain that my children and my grandchildren are safe, that our children are safe when they're going to
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sporting events, when they're going to school. we say a prayer when they get behind the wheel of a car. and we're so grateful that there are law enforcement officers that are there at public events that keep them safe, that watch out if they're going to be speeding on the road, and provide that security that is so essential to our way of life. i have the opportunity as one of these security moms, if you will, to serve on our senate judiciary committee, and just last week chairman graham brought forward three bills that we've approved. these are things that are going to help law enforcement officers and their families. providing mental health support for law enforcement and their families, vitally important,
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and of course lifesaving bullet-proof vests which are now essential. and ensuring that our first responders get the benefits that they have earned by standing for that duty. and when they get ready to retire, those benefits are going to be there. this week i have joined senator cornyn, and i thank him for the leadership that he has for the back the blue act, and i think many of us who stand in this chamber know that we stand to back that thin blue line, that line that is the difference between order and chaos in our communities. and this bill is going to create new penalties for killing or assaulting law enforcement officers and protecting officers from lawsuits when they intervene to stop a violent
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crime. it is a commonsense provision, and i am pleased to be there in support of this bill. you know, as we talk about law enforcement and we talk about security and having safe communities, we also need to remember our customs and border patrol agents and officers that are on this southern border. when you talk about being a security mom, of course, you know, you're going to talk about economic security and health care security and job security and national security, but border security is a part of that and it is a way that we work to keep our communities safe. and we all know there is a humanitarian crisis on that southern border, and much of it is fueled by cartels that are big business, and they deal in drug trafficking and human
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trafficking, and then it is our first responders that address this in our communities and on our city streets. and because of this, the issues and the lack of security at that border has created an environment where now at this point every state is a border state and every town is a border town because those problems that come across the southern border with the human trafficking, with the drug trafficking, with the gangs, all of this ends up on the street in your community. we are working on legislation that is, we hope, going to help with this situation. it will target traffickers of unaccompanied minors in the care of health and human services. you know, one of the things
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that has not happened and needs to happen, health and human services and homeland security need to be able to share all this information that they have on individuals that are bringing these unaccompanied children, individuals that say i am a next of kin, individuals that say i am here and this child is coming to me, and we want to make certain they are in the country legally. we want to make certain that they have a relationship with these children so that we are protecting and looking out for the security of these children and making certain that they are not being trafficked. now as we talk about our children and some of the trafficking, of course much of the trafficking takes place in
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the virtual space. it takes place online. it seems impossible, but yet that is what happens with the human trafficking, the sex trafficking, the adverse impact that this has on young girls and on women. it is horrifying. and because of my work to prohibit these traffickers from working online, we are pushing forward with privacy legislation. you don't want and i do not want our children to be followed online. that is what is happening. and it is why we need to make certain that moms have the tools that they need, that parents have the tools they need to
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guard with the privacy of their family online. you know, mr. president, i've recently introduced the browsers act. this is legislation that i had while i was in the house of representatives, and i'm -- i will tell you, it's one of the first bipartisan privacy bills that we have had. but the browser act will require you to give your consent if you're going to opt in and allow someone to share your information, to have access to your sensitive information. we have a history in this nation of respecting informed consent, and that's what we're saying; that individuals need to give their consent to a company before that company looks at their private information or, worse yet, data mines or, worse
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yet, shares that information about that individual with third parties, people they do not know, people they've never seen, people they never will see. and then that tech company, guess what? -- selling ads. they are paid -- they are paid off of your information. the browser act also prohibits companies from denying their service to users who refuse to waive their privacy rights. you have a right to privacy, and these companies should not deny you their service because you say, you cannot share my information. you can't share my sensitive information. i'm not going to opt in to allow you to do that, big tech company. and for opting out on
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nonsensitive data, i'm going to opt out, and i'm not going to allow us to do that. i do not want my children followed. i do not want you to be following me. i don't want you to be he will selling my information. i don't want my spam running crazy with ads and information that i do not want. individuals deserve their privacy. americans deserve to know that they are protected and have that privacy in the online universe and that they are not going to be followed, they're not going to be tracked. and while we're talking about technology, i want to the bring attention to the global race for 5g or 5th generation wireless technology. you're hearing a good bit about that, mr. president. it doesn't matter if it's in our commercial sector or your military sector, we are at the
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forefront of this debate certain that we win this race on 5g, that china does not get a foothold, that huawei does not penetrate our delivery systems, and to make certain that we, win this -- that we win this race, just like we did the race to 4g that brought forward a lot of the technologies that we take for grants on that twice that we hold in our hand, we make our phone calls, we send our e-mails, we pull up maps, we get to a favorite site where we want to make a purchase, we log on to social media accounts, all from a handheld device. that's what 4g brought us. and 5g is is going to be as refary as going from -- as revolutionary as going from analogue to digital.
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and we are going to stay on top of this to make certain we win this race. and because of this, we have a couple more pieces of legislation that i'm going to come back to the floor and discuss at a later date. we've got the secure 5g and beyond act. i've got the supply chain act. make certain that, yes, we're focused on the one hand security in the virtual -- on security in the virtual space, to make certain this we are rooting out these threats that may come to our supply chain and would affect our private-sector or our governmental sector, because we know that it is imperative that, yes, we win the race in 5g but that we protect our networks and we -- that we secure them so
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that the american public knows that their information is not being exploited. mr. president, i will tell you, as a mom who values and puts a priority on keeping children and grandchildren safe, it is an honor for me to come to this floor to salute the men and women who are in law enforcement and to talk about what we need to be doing every single day from this chamber to protect our nation's security and to protect our citizens. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, today i'd like to honor the life and legacy of the late-senator richard lugar my colleagues and
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i in the senate were deeply saddeninged to hear of his passing. his selfless service and direless dedication to the state of indiana and to this nation inspired many to follow in his footsteps and govern using his principled commitment to the rule of law and desire for constructive compromise. from an early age, senator lugar understood the value of hard work and dedication to what was important. he became an eagle scout and then was valedictorian of his class in both high school and college. later a rhodess scholar at the oxford university in england. later in his career he served as a dedicated statesman. as a fellow eagle scout, loo senator lugar knew the knowledge and skills gained in scouting always have a use and are a central part of the boy scout
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motto, be prepared. he learned early on the importance of core scouting values such as trust, reverence and the rest. he disployed these values not only in his nearly four-decade career in the senate but also has a loving husband and farther to his wife and four sons. these critical skills also served him well as the mayor of indianapolis. as a former mayor myself, i know the need for every citizen to play an active role in the day-to-day life of their towns and cities. senator lugar understood this, too, and the value in working together to make cities, states, and nations better places. as mayor, he envisioned the unification of the city of indianapolis with the surround ing marion county and he did it. assuring in steady,
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uninterrupted economic growth for that region. in a nearly four decade-long career in the senate, it's difficult to pinpoint his greatest achievements, however, i think it's safe to say that some of the most important work came as chairman or ranking member of the senate foreign relations committee. under his steady leadership and acute attention to detail, the committee considered critical issue at a milestone in the future of world democracy and diplomacy. his contributions were instrumental in, as its name suggests, the formation of the nunn-lugar cooperative threats reduction program in 1991, intended to dismantle nuclear warheads at the close of the cold war. this program was enacted at a critical moment in the soviet union's dissolvement. in action was not taken at this
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important juncture, dangerous nuclear weapons from the former soviet union could have been at risk of falling into the wrong hands. these efforts laid the groundwork for the implementation of future programs that are responsible for dismantling hundreds of nuclear warheads, biological weapons, and dangerous missiles. quite simply, senator lugar's work changed the course of hoe and worked toward a safer world for the generations that followed. i had the honor working with senator lugar when i was on the health, education, labor, and pensions committee. he was instrumental in the origination and legislation of president bush's program, the president's emergency plan for aids relief -- or pepfar, for short. pepfar was life-changing legislation for those stricken with potentially fatal diseases like h.i.v. and a.i.d.es. like tuberculosis and malaria.
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unlike many foreign assistance programs which do not impact those directly on the ground, pepfar taught people how to avoid contracting the h.i.v. a.i.d.es disease and provided countries with the ability to care for the citizens who were already infected. senator lugar was also a committed manage of faith, a member of the united methodist church, his moral compass was glided strongly by his -- guided strongly is by his faith. he was always one to do what he thought was right rather than what was easiest. senator lugar had a tireless commitment to what is was right. my wife and i send our deepest condolences to his loved ones. he had a profound effect on all that knew him as a colleague, a fathers, and as a friend.
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mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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