tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN May 16, 2019 11:59am-2:00pm EDT
the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be lifted are. the presiding officer: without objection. the question is on the nomination. ms. warren: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote: vote:
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 52, the nays are 45. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table, and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action.
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change his or her vote? if no, the yeas are 92. the nays are 5. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's actions. the clerk will report the next
nomination. the clerk: department of justice, jeffrey a. rosen of virginia to be deputy attorney general. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i have six requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. portman: mr. president, today i'm on the floor to talk about the men and women in uniform, our police officers who protect us every day. they're here in the capitol today protecting us in this chamber. they're back home in ohio protecting the citizens of ohio, and they do it every day. they put their lives on the line for us in many cases. this is national police week. it's a week when tens of thousands of law enforcement officers come to washington, d.c. they come to the police memorial. it's been a wonderful week because i've had the opportunity to meet with law enforcement officers from ohio today, yesterday, the day before. we've seen them on the streets.
we've seen them in uniform. their opportunity to come here is to talk about the important issues that relate to our law enforcement but also to pay tribute to their fallen colleagues. sadly, ohio has lost its share of officers recently. officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty include two so far this year and four last year. on february 2, clairmont county detective bill brewer was shot and killed after responding to a call from a suicidal man who was armed at an apartment complex in clairmont county. detective brewer served with the clairmont county sheriffs department for 20 years, widely respected. the funeral was amazing. there were an overwhelming number of people, grateful citizens who showed up and law enforcement from our entire region. in fact, law enforcement even from other states. at his service i had the honor of presenting his widow and
young son with a flag that was flown over this united states capitol in honor of him and in gratitude to his family. on that day county sheriff steve leahy said of detective brewer, quote, he was an outstanding man, he was a good father, good husband, good employee. he's what this country needs more of. i agree with chevrolet had i. -- with chevrolet had i. on november 4 an officer was hit by a vehicle and passed away as a result of his injuries. he was remembered as a hero, a hero who saved a baby inside a hot car and also ran into a burning building to save a blind woman. that's the type of selfless and courageous ster he was, and he -- courageous officer he was and he represented the best. last july police officer vu
nygen collapsed while taking part in training comberses. he -- exercises. he went the extra mile to help anyone who asked. his family said that's the reason he became a police officer, because he wanted a job where he could help people. that's what police officers do. in june of last year mentor police officer matthew mazady was shot and killed by a hit-and-run driver. he had served with the metro police department for 14 years. he was beloved business his fellow officers, by his family, his friends and entire community. this morning i had the opportunity to visit the national law enforcement officers memorial here in washington, d.c. and i was able to see the inscribed names on the wall there of thousands of law enforcement officers we've lost over the years. if you haven't been down there it's a powerful experience.
but there was also a beautiful memorial set up around those walls with wreaths, flowers, photographs, magazine articles, newspaper articles, other information about officers who we lost in the last year, including these two officers from westerville, ohio, who were tragically murdered last year while serving their community and all of us. on february 10, 2018, westerville police officers anthony morale and eric joining were shot while responding to a 911 call. sadly it was fatal. they had rushed to the scene. they had arrived to help. they were under fire. officer juring was killed at the scene. officer morale died in surgery later that day. i've had the great honor of meeting the families of both of these fallen officers. amazing women and amazing kids. linda morale and jamie juring
are incredibly strong women and incredibly strong mothers. i was able to express the condolences and gratitude from all ohioans for their husbands' service. the memorials i saw today were a moving tribute to those two police officers, two fallen officers who had served their fellow ohioans with honor. soon their names will be inscribed on that police wall i talked about at the memorial. their names will be inscribed there for the ages for all of us to see and so that we can all remember the ultimate sacrifice that they and other officers have made for us. we continue to hold up their families, the families of the fallen. we continue to hold them in our prayers and to show our support and express our enduring gratitude. thank you, mr. president. i yield back.
the presiding officer: the senator for quorum call. mr. cornyn: i understand we're in a quorum call. i'd ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, this sunday i have the honor of joining some of the most courageous, faithful and inspiring texans that i've mefort for the grand opening -- met for the grand opening and dedication of their new church. these men and women are part of a congregation at first baptist church of sutherland springs. for the vast majority of its history this small church was adored as a place in the community for its worship but didn't get much attention on the national stage but on november 5, 2017 that changed when a deranged shooter opened fire on a sunday service killing 26 parishioners, adults, teenagers, children, and an unborn baby. the church became the site of the deadliest mass shooting in texas history.
this attack rocked the entire small tight-knit town to its core. every home, every family, every person felt the impact of the shooter's actions. but what emerged wasn't more of the hatred and anger displayed by the shooter. instead sutherland springs became a beacon of love and hope. the day of the attack i spoke with wilson county sheriff joe tackett and offered my condolences and complete support. sheriff tackett told me about the day's events and said the bloody scene inside the church was horrific but that the response to the tragedy was instantaneous. first responders from the surrounding area as well as state and federal law enforcement officials inundated sutherland springs with resources and help. in the days and weeks following the attack the support continued. folks from across the country
made their way to this small town outside of san antonio to pay their respects, leaving flowers outside the church, singing songs of worship and extending a caring hand to those grieving. i joined the congregation one week after the shooting for their sunday service, and it was an emotional experience, to be sure. i was there to offer what i could in terms of support and hope to this grieving community. but what happened was just the opposite. they were the ones giving me inspiration. that day as the associate pastor pointed out, the church smashed attendance records. it was arcable to see not -- remarkable to see not only the church community but complete strangers embracing one another, offering a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold. there was perhaps no more moving
occurrence than pastor frank pomeroy. he and his wife lost their teenage daughter in the shooting. one week after that occurred, he opened that service saying, we have the freedom to choose. and rather than choose darkness like the young man did that day, we choose the light. coming ñ -- coming from a man who lost 26 beloved members of his congregation, including his daughter, those words are tough to get your brain around. this was no doubt the toughest moment of his life, pastor pomeroy was comforting those of us in the audience and reminding us not to let evil triumph. that message of hope was even
more important to recall. we learned the shooter had a long history of violence and a number of red flags had been raised, school suspensions, comments about wanting to accuse his superiors. he had choked his wife, fractured his stepson's skull, and done time in military prison. under existing federal laws, the shooter was prohibited from even purchasing or possessing a firearm. it was illegal. how did he get his hands on a weapon to take 26 innocent lives? in short, it was because of a broken system. he was able to purchase four firearms because information about his criminal history was never uploaded to the national instant criminal background check system, also known as
nics. in the wake of the tragedy, you wonder how this could happen and what could we possibly do to prevent something like this from happening again. in this case, one answer was clear, we have to fix the instant criminal background system so people who are disqualified can't buy firearms they are disqualified from purchasing. the air force had simply failed to upload this information into the background check system so it wasn't there when this shooter bought those guns. in response, i introduced the fix ncis act to reform the system and ensure that all federal agencies efficiently and accurately upload these
conviction records. it includes the state and local jurisdictions to the extent possible under the constitution to do the same. we can't make them do it, but we can encourage them to do it and facilitate for them to do so. it's been estimated some 20 million records and a large number of convictions for misdemeanor domestic violence are absence from ncis. seven million records, including 25% of felony convictions and a large number of convictions for felony violence were absent from the national criminal instant background system. how can we expect that system to work if, in fact, the required information is not being uploaded. each missing record represents a unique opportunity for a shooter like the one at sutherland
springs to slip through the cracks. so we knew what we had to do to change that. i worked with my colleagues in the senate on a bipartisan basis encouraging them to fix the fix ncis act. this legislation passed with 77 members of the united states senate serving as cosponsors. when the president signed this bill into law, it marked a major achievement and step forward and delivered on the promise i made to myself following pastor pomeroy's advice, focus on the light and not on the darkness. i'm grateful for support of my colleagues who cosponsored and voted for this legislation which has made our background check system stronger. it actually made it the way congress was originally intended when it created the national
instant criminal background check system. i will continue to work with the officials at the department of justice to ensure this law is fully implemented as soon as possible. so, mr. president, i look forward to joining my friends at the first bap bap ties -- bab babtist -- bap tis church. i extend my condolences to the families that continue to grieve. they have my full support and i plan to do everything in my power to prevent this senseless violence from becoming the norm. no family, no congregation, no community should ever lose a loved one because of an entirely preventable crime.
i hope, because of this legislation, they never will. i'll just say in conclusion on that topic, mr. president, what constellation, what comfort can you give to someone grieving the loss of a loved one? i can only think of one thing, that as a result of their loss and their sacrifice that some good will come out of that. i think that's the only way to reconcile your grief and your loss is knowing that out of your loss something good will come out of it. and i can genuinely say that as a result of the loss of these 26 pa rigsers -- parishioners at the sutherland springs church, we will save lives in the future. there will be lives saved and lives lived as a result of their sacrifice and what we have done working together to try to
prevent those types of acts of preventible violence from occurring in the future. mr. president, on a final topic. throughout our country's history we welcome men and women and children from other countries who are inspired by the freedoms and the prosperity made possible by our constitution and by our democracy. whether those immigrants crossed oceans generations ago or were most -- or were more recently naturalized, they chose to bring their dreams and talents to the united states. because ours, after all, is a proud nation of immigrants, and i believe the contributions of those who have chosen to seek citizenship in our country has made us stronger, smarter, and the preeminent force on the world stage. it's important to remember, as
we debate immigration reform, or what to do about the humanitarian crisis and security crisis on the border, it's important to remember the united states is the most generous country in the world when it comes to legal immigration. every year our nation admits more than one million new immigrants -- new legal immigrants, and i'm proud of that fact. i'm also proud of the fact that these individuals, these one million individuals who immigrate to our country do so in compliance with the law of the land that they now call home. that is perhaps one of the ultimate demonstrations of respect and recognizing the responsibilities that all of us have to abide by the laws of the land. but we know our immigration system is not perfect. it has flaws. i would argue it's outdated and
inefficient and it hasn't kept up with the needs of our economy. our immigration system needs a fundamental review to determine what's working and what isn't so we can create a new legal immigration system that benefits both immigrants and our success as a nation. i know there's widespread agreement here in the senate that our legal immigration system could be made better, and i hope there's enough will here in congress to have serious discussions about how to fix it. this afternoon the president is expected to announce his proposal to reform our legal immigration system, and i'm glad he and his administration have made this a priority, and i look forward to reviewing the final text of the proposal once it's available. but for those who would criticize the proposal made by the trump administration, i
believe it's incumbent on them to say what they would do to fix our broken immigration system, to improve our system of legal immigration so we can continue to welcome immigrants from around the world who want to make america their home and become truly americans. but those who just would sit on the sidelines and throw brick baths and criticize, i think they demean this system of legal immigration, which is really one of the great treasures of the american way of life. so i continue to be hopeful that we can work our way through this. i'm glad the president is making this a priority and look forward to hearing more about the details of his plan. mr. president, i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator for iowa. mr. grassley: sometime, specifically february 28, i came to the senate to visit with my colleagues about the more than 2,000 tax provisions that expired at the end of 2017. that same day i joined with finance committee ranking member wyden, of oregon, to introduce a bill entitled tax extender and disaster relief act of 2019 to extend these two dozen tax
provisions through 2019. and i very much thank ranking member wyden for his cooperation on this effort. actually, we have a lot of cooperation on a lot of different subjects within the finance committee. now, unfortunately, we're still waiting on house democrats to send us a tax bill that includes those provisions so that taxpayers who have relied on an extension can finish their 2018 tax returns. i've had some discussions with the chairman of the ways and means committee, and i don't have any reason to believe that he doesn't believe some of these extenders should be extended but i suppose because they are new to running the house of representatives and they have dissension within their own
caucus, it takes a while to get a -- an active group of people pushing for this particular legislation. but it ought to be easy to have happen because these tax provisions have traditionally been extended every two or three years over the last 20 years, maybe longer than that in some cases. i remind my colleagues in the house of representatives that taxpayers have all but run out of time. part of my purpose in introducing the tax extender and disaster relief act way back in february was to provide additional certainty for the current year for those businesses that have made use of these tax credits in the past. i noted that in most cases congress enacted those provisions to provide an
incentive for taxpayers to engage in certain actions like investment and job creation. in february, i also reminded my colleagues that those incentives are most effective when taxpayers can rely on them during the tax year, and for the most part, over the last couple of three decades they've had that certainty by the renewal of them -- of these tax credits. regrettably, we're now a third of the way through 2019 with no certainty for affected taxpayers in sight. i also said in my february remarks that my broader objective of including an extension through 2019 was so that we could have some maneuvering room to examine the temporary provisions overall and try to identify longer-term
solutions. through efforts in the last congress, we've identified potential long-term solutions for two of them, the short-line railroad tax credit and the biodiesel tax credit. but we have the opportunity now to do still more. while we continue to try to help taxpayers who still need to resolve their 2018 tax returns, we need to press ahead on more permanent solutions so we can end congress' continual bad habit of waiting until the 11th hour or months after to extend temporary tax policy. accordingly, today i'm announcing along with ranking member wyden that the finance
committee will form several bipartisan task forces to examine the temporary tax policies. these task forces will consist of members of the finance committee and focus on provisions that expired or will expire between december 31, 2017, and december 31 of this year. that's a total of 42 expiring tax provisions. each task force will be charged with examining temporary tax policies within one of five identified issue areas. these issue areas are workforce and community development, health taxes, energy, business cost recovery, and a combined
group consisting of individual excise -- individual excise taxes and other temporary policies. we'll ask the task forces to work with the stakeholders and also with other senate committees -- i should say other senate offices and interested parties to consider the original purpose of the policy and then to ask the question whether the need for the provisions still continue today. if so, we'll ask the task force to identify possible solutions that would provide long-term certainty in these areas. that may mean that the credit or deduction phases out over a period of years to provide an effective and -- an effective industry a glade path to sell
sufficiency -- to self-sufficiency. in other cases it may mean that the provisions could be scaled back while still providing sufficient benefit for the affected industry or taxpayers in exchange for long-term certainty. if there's little or no case for continuing the temporary policy, the task force should consider whether the provision should be eliminated. there may also be provisions that the task force identifies that should be extended without reform. for these provisions, the task force will have to consider whether a continued short-term extension is sufficient to achieve the policy goals, whether a longer term extension is desirable to force a future congress to reevaluate the provision down the road, or if
permanency is warranted. this is particularly relevant for the temporary tax policies relating to health care. for these we'll ask the task force to focus on whether the tax policies should be extended and for what duration. and of course we'll leave the evaluation of the underlying health care policy to health experts. in all the task forces -- and all the task forces will work to identify reform proposals like those identified for the shortline railroad tax credit and the biodiesel tax credit last year. so that we can then end the policy of congress always kicking the can down the road each time which happens to be
one, two, or three years. or in the light of our current predicament, the even worse policy of doing the kicking months after the year has ended as is the case in 2019. if congress is going to use temporary tax policy, taxpayers should be able to count on it for an intended period. moreover, the intended policy should be clear so that taxpayers do not fall into the trap of relying on a provision simply because congress has created the expectation that the provision will be consistently extended even well after the fact. taxpayers relying on these provisions have been doing what congress wanted them to do, and that happens to be the free market, investing a -- in
certain types of property or hiring new employees or taking other types of action. we shouldn't punish them for doing what congress intended with these tax credits. additionally, we'll have a sixth task force to examine related issues of temporary disaster tax relief. it will consider whether we should have a corset -- a core set of permanent proposals so taxpayers who have suffered through devastating disasters like the floods most recently in my home state of iowa don't have to wait for congress to act before they can start rebuilding their lives, their small businesses, or their farms. we've asked the task forces to begin their work right away, and we expect them to complete their
action by the end of june. this should provide adequate time to identify possible long-term solutions that can be enacted this year to end the annual extenders drama and provide certainty to taxpayers who utilize those provisions. we'll continue to work with the house of representatives to resolve the situation with respect to the 2018 temporary policies. and to provide relief for all those affected by the disasters of 2018 and so far this year. but we shouldn't wait any longer to start laying the groundwork to deal with all of these temporary tax policies as permanently as possible. i suggest the -- i yield the
floor. a senator: mr. president, i thank the chair -- the presiding officer: the senator for washington, d.c. a senator: thank you. i thank the chair of the finance committee for his leadership on these issues and look forward to working with him on the assigns task force and working hard on very important issues that he and i have been working on in the past from biodiesel to energy policy to a variety of things. ms. cantwell: so i thank him for that. i come to the floor today to honor the integ dwrit and dignity and bravery of the federal, state, local, and tribal police officers throughout our country who keep us safe every day. as officers from around the nation gather here in washington, d.c. to honor their fallen brothers and sisters and add their names to the law enforcement officer memorial, i want to take a moment to thank the officers for their service and pay tribute to those who have died in the line of duty. in 2018, 159 officers nationwide
were killed in the line of duty. and already this year 41 officers throughout the united states have made the ultimate sacrifice, to protect our communities and protect our loved ones. two of those officers came from the -- my home state in washington. callous county deputy sheriff justin der rocheier -- derosier served for six years. he was a graduate of kelso high school and washington state university where he loved going to work every day to serve and protect the people of the county. my thoughts and the thoughts and prayers of all washingtonians are with his wife, katie, his new daughter, and his entire family, and the entire county law enforcement community. deputy ryan thompson served the
people of washington for 12 years. he was born in walla walla, graduated from central washington university and served his community with honor, whether a in central washington university police ranks. so our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, their three children, their entire family, and the kititast sheriffs department as they have worked through this unbelievable tragedy. since 2017 four other officers from washington state have also been -- lost their lives in the line of duty. diego morono from kent, daniel mccartney from pierce county, detective derrick faulk from kent and chief of police randal scott gibson from kalama. all of these men we deserve a great deal of respect and gratitude for their service, for
their sacrifice, and for all the men and women in law enforcement for their commitment and dedication to our country and for embodying the best of our nation. i've seen so many of the men and women of law enforcement who are coming here to d.c. this week to participate in this memorial. it is right that we give them recognition. it is right that we continue to remember the sacrifice that law enforcement makes every single day on our behalf. i thank the president and i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: