tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN May 16, 2019 1:59pm-3:59pm EDT
reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's actions. majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion's agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar 2001. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. the presiding officer: all those in favor say aye. all those opposed. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary. daniel p. collins of california to be united states circuit judge for the ninth circuit. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in
accordance with the provisions of of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of daniel p. collins of california to be united states circuit judge for the ninth circuit signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 23. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: the judiciary, howard c. nielsen jr. of utah to be united states district judge for utah. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion.
the clerk: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of howard c. nielsen jr. of utah to be united states district judge for the district of utah, signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 35. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, steven r. clark -- stephen r. clark of missouri to be district judge. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk.
mr. mcconnell: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of do hereby move to bring to a close the nomination of stephen r. clark sr. for to be district judge. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 37. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, partisan. carl j. nichols of the district of columbia to be united states judge for the district of columbia. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk.
the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of carl j. nichols of the district of columbia to be united states district judge for the district of columbia, signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 38. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary. kenneth d. bell of north carolina to be united states district judge for the western district of north carolina. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk.
the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of kenneth d. bell of north carolina to be united states district judge for the western district of north carolina signed by 17 senators. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the mandatory quorum calls for the cloture motions be waived. the presiding officer: without objection.
years before president trump went to, moved to the white house, even before president obama and his family lived there, our nation was at odds with an isolated country ruled by a repressive leader. it wasn't long before it became clear to the united nations and our country's own intelligence community that that country that i'm speaking of was enriching uranium for the purpose of obtaining a nuclear weapon, threatening to destabilize a region of great strategic importance. as the world was winding down from a cold war, tensions between the united states and this country were heating up. an administration that some would call naive recently attempted to deescalate tensions, taking an unprecedented step to hold out an olive branch to an
unpredictable regime in hopes of reaching an momentous agreement to stop them from continuing to enrich uranium. surprisingly that president gave trust and was willing to give unprecedented concessions all without any reliable mechanism to verify whether the nuclear enrichment had indeed ended. my republican colleagues would be surprised to hear me say today, mr. president, a week after the anniversary of the u.s. decision to pull out of the iran nuclear deal, and the right to be surprised because i'm not talking about iran. i'm talking about north korea. and i'm not talking about president barack obama, i'm talking about donald trump. donald trump was willing to sit down with a criminal dictator and give away unprecedented
concessions in the hopes that north korea would abandon its nuclear program. on the other hand, he turned his back on iran, a large country with a growing moderate population, roughly 79 million people, the majority of which, last i checked, were under the age of 25. a moderate president -- let me be real clear. there's some bad actors in iran, and some of them are in powerful positions, but, unfortunately, the actions of this administration, unlike the actions of the last administration, the obama administration, here's what they sought to do. they sought to diminish the extremists, the hardliners, and their sway over what happens in iran and at the same time to bolster a new generation of iranians who are growing up who are more moderate in nature and,
frankly, would like to have a better relationship with our country. but, sadly, president trump turned his back on iran and looking forward, he's taking a different course, and a different course for sure. unlike north korea, iran committed two years ago to unprecedented invasive inspections under a deal called jcpoa. on july 14, 2015, after years o careful preparation, the obama administration began implementing the jcpoa with iran and with five negotiating partners, great britain, france, germany, russia, and china in an effort to end iran's pursuit of
for the 14th time recently, like i think in february of this year, they certified for the 14th time in a row that iran has complied to the terms of the agreement, the letter and spirit of the agreement we pulled out of a year ago, and we're the only one who pulled out of it to date. the iaea itself says the inspection regime, laid out by this agreement, the jcpoa, is the world's toughest. so here's the bottom line. because of the jcpoa, iran is much further away from developing a nuclear weapon today than it was before the deal was signed several years ago. however, as i said earlier, we have not held up our end of the bargain. one year ago president trump would unilaterally leave the jcpoa even though the iaea
certified for the 14th time in a row this year that iran has complied with the terms of the agreement. we pulled out, living our allies who are committed to the deal in good faith in the lurch. this decision that we made, i think regrettably a year ago, had consequences. and instead of celebrating continued stability provided by the iran nuclear deal last week, iran's president announced that iran will begin to end its compliance with some portions of the jcpoa, including by stockpiling enriched uranium and heavy water. as i said at that time, president trump's decision increased the odds of armed conflict with iran while doing nothing to constrain their other
malicious activities in the region. again, make no mistake, not everybody in iran wants to be our friend. mostly young people want to be our friends and a lot of the folks who have been elected to office over there would like to have a friendly, better relationship with this country, but there are some who do not and i would fully acknowledge that. well, today thanks to president trump's nomination of john bolton to be the president's national security advisor, we're seeing that prediction come true -- truer than i could have imagined. last month the trump administration designated the revolutionary guard, -- the iranian revolutionary guard as a foreign terrorist organizations, further antagonizing iran.
the trump administration is mulling a plan to issue sanctions, waivers to sanctions to our european allies who intend to purchase oil from iran. and the administration has reportedly drawn up plans to send 120,000 of our troops to the middle east in response to alleged increased threats from iran. but our allies in the region, including the french, the britts -- the brits, the germans, our allies around the region, say they see no such threat. this is all happening in the absence of a secretary of defense. earlier this week, while out of -- while out on a run a couple of miles from here, if you run from the capitol down to the lincoln memorial and then turn around and sort of head
back this way, you run by the vietnam veteran memorial. and whenever i do that, i run alongside the memorial, and i take my left hand and with my fingers i touch the names of 55,000 men and women who died in that war. i served with them. i'm the last vietnam veteran serving in the senate. they died and many of us risked our lives over a war that was based, really premised, on an untruth, some would say a lie. in august 1964, then-president lyndon johnson announced that the north vietnam engaged the
navy in a battle and announced to have retaliatory attacks. he added these words to his request the following day, the united states seeks no wider war. those were his words in august 1964. his admission went on to justify a bloody, almost decade's long war after that on the basis of that document. 55,000 of my colleagues, my shipmates, my fellow marines, our soldiers, our airmen, 55,000 dead. we had a similar situation in iraq. it did not involve the gulf of tonken, it did not involve
ships, it certainly did not involve the vietnamese, but there was assertion that the iraqis were developing weapons of mass destruction. the president, the vice president, in that case bush and cheney, the secretary of defense, secretary of state all asserted that the iraqis were developing weapons of mass destruction and called on this congress to give the president the power to respond appropriately. there are 55,000 names on the vietnam memorial wall. there's no wall for the 4,100 men and women who died in rawc since -- in iraq since the congress provided president bush the authority to respond to the alleged perceived threat of weapons of mass destruction in iraq.
while there's no wall on which to write those 4,100 names, those names are written in graveyards in every state in this country -- 4,100 men, women, some young, some old who laid down their lives and what was really based on a lie, weapons of mass destruction. i want to say that lie was perpetrated chiefly, if i'm not mistaken, by a fellow named john bolton in that administration. fast forward to today. we have seen this movie before, and thanks to john bolton's rash actions in the mideast, i can
see it happen again. i don't want to see it happen again. i've been to too many funerals of people -- service members from delaware -- who died in iraq. i don't want to go to anymore. i don't want to comfort anymore spouses, children, parents, brothers, and sisters as we've done in recent years with families that have been crushed by sorrow as a result of our engagement in iraq. john bolton has agitated a war with iran for a decade. he even wrote an op-ed about it. and the op-ed was to stop iran's bomb, bomb iran. under mr. bolton's leadership, the iran policy is becoming ever more dangerous and ever more isolated from our traditional allies. the strategy could plunge us into another foreign war if not
corrected. this needless escalation is in no way to conduct our foreign policy or to safeguard our national security. what's more, the administration's actions with respect to iran, haven't just increased the odds of an armed conflict, they damaged the credibility of our country around the world. the united states cannot be trusted to uphold our commitment to those with whom we negotiate. there's little reason to believe that other countries, let alone nuclear-armed ones like north korea would be able to negotiate with us in good faith. now, there's another option here. there's another option here. yesterday former ambassador -- u.s. ambassador wendy sherman published an op-ed in the
nominees in which she wrote the following. war is not inevitable. president trump campaigned on bringing troops home, not sending tens of thousands more to the middle east. such a deployment, although inadequate for a full-scale war, is more than foolish. war in the middle east, as we should have learned by now, is neither swift to end nor sure to achieve its purpose. close quote. former iran have expressed a possible prisoner exchange. the foreign minister of iran who i met, gosh, a dozen years or so ago at the iranian ambassador residence in new york city, not the ambassador with the u.s. but the ambassador with the united
nations, a fellow named ziref, turned out i was impressed by how well spoken he was. it turned out he went to graduate school in san francisco in california. he knew a lot about america and spoke english as well as any of us in the room. he went to graduate school in denver, colorado. and he ends up here as the iranian ambassador to the united nations. and later when -- really bad guy, president of iran, am deej used sent zarif back home. disappeared into -- there was a new election. rouhani emerges as kind of a
gorbachev guy, a leader in iran. he said i would like you to be my foreign minister. it's like being their secretary of state, a position that he still holds. not long ago about a couple of weeks ago in that role he suggested that we do a prisoner swap. we hold a number of people from iranian descent that are in this country. they hold about a half dozen or so of our folks, most with dual citizenship in their country. they said why don't we do a straight out prison swap. that would be a good start to maybe tapping down the rhetoric and see if we can't find common ground with iran again. during the eight years of previous administrations, our foreign policy was designed to strengthen the standing of the moderates in iran and to undermine the power of the hard liners in that country.
and actually it worked, not perfectly but it worked. and the elections that they conducted a couple of years ago and six years ago reflect that. sadly this administration has either -- i can't believe they did it intentionally but their policy in the last just two years, a little over two years, what they have done is undermine the effectiveness, the standing of the moderates in iran and they have rallied support of iran around the extremists, around the hardliners, just the opposite of what was done in the last administration. we've got to be smarter than that. we've got to be smarter than this. when i think about the contrast between the trump administration's actions in north korea and iran, i can't help but wonder why such a stark
contrast. i would not -- i would not trust the leader of north korea any further than i could throw him. and for this president to embrace this guy and to trust him in ways that befuddle me and i think a lot of other folks, including folks in his party beyond me. but why has this administration been abdicated a closely crafted deal that keeps iran -- why won't president trump ensure the freedom of americans held in iran? well, i think part of the answer is -- was provided by thomas friedman, highly regarded famous journalist whose column appears from time to time in national newspapers. tom friedman wrote a year or so ago about something called the trump doctrine. i think it provides an answer to the question why has president
trump been so determined to get us out of the jcpoa and embrace the leader like the one in north korea. the trump doctrine goes from -- tom friedman goes something like this. it's a quote. obama built it. i, i being trump, broke it. you, including us here in this body, fix it. that's it. obama built it. i, donald trump broke it. you, the rest of us, fix it. i think my colleagues would agree it would be a travesty if the president's determination to destroy president obama's achievement and achievement shared by others in this country and by our allies and friends among other places britain, france, and germany. but our president's determination to destroy barack obama's achievement, in this case the nuclear deal, led us into another endless war in the
middle east. mr. president, i urge president trump as he has done in the case of north korea, to engage in diplomacy and ratchet down tensions with iran rather than engaging in needless provocation. mr. president, you meet with the president more than i do, but some of the times i've been with him the last two years, whenever he mentions george w. bush in the same breath he talks about how he got us into a war that cost us thousands of lives and has cost literally tens of billions of dollars, the iraq war. and so that would suggest to me that the idea of throwing more troops and a whole lot more money into a war with iran has got to be something to do with care. so on this one-year anniversary of the trump administration's pulling out of the iran deal i think foolishly doing so i would urge the president and his
advisors to think carefully about what outcomes do we really seek as a country. we should be prioritizing diplomacy at this time, not escalating tensions and risking war and american lives with no coherent strategy. it's my hope that cooler heads will prevail and it's also in america's best interest that they do. john kennedy said a lot of things that are memorable. one of my favorites is never negotiate out of fear but never be afraid to negotiate. never negotiate out of fear but never be afraid to negotiate. i think we'd be wise to remember those words with respect to iran. the last thing i'll say, the presiding officer, former military -- succeeded by a marine colonel who serves from alaska. we serve with people would have given their lives up in combat, wars far away around the world. we're very proud in delaware of the dover air force base.
it's maybe the best airlift base in the world. 5,000, 6,000 people who work there, mostly uniformed, big planes, c-5's and c-17's, it may be the best airlift in the world. dover air force base is also home to a mort wear. a month -- mortuary. a month ago the body of three marine, one of whom was from delaware, were brought back to this country. in this case their vehicle in afghanistan was blown up by a roadside bomb and we lost three of them just like that. they're not the first and sadly they won't be the last members of our armed services to come home. one of the marines christopher slutman, his body came home to his wife shannon and to their three daughters ages 4, 8, and 10. i've seen this movie before.
i've seen it at dover air force base with countless bodies that have come back from overseas. i think about those kids every day and i'm sure my colleagues think about the men and the women from their states who have served, in some cases with great courage and valor but the idea that 55,000 of those colleagues of mine who served in vietnam, a war that was premised on a lie and 4,100 were buried in graveyards all over this country, we've got to be smarter than that. we owe it to not just the families of those men and women who have died but the ones who serve today and their families. never negotiate out of fear but never be afraid to negotiate. i yield the floor.
mr. sullivan: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for alaska. mr. sullivan: thank you, mr. president. you know, i'm down here on the floor to do what i typically do on a thursday which is talk about an alaskan who's making a big difference in my state, somebody i refer to as the alaskan of the week. but, you know, this is the senate and we have debates and we're respectful in our debates. there's no one in the senate i respect more than my friend from delaware, senator carper. and his service in vietnam, captain in the navy. and so when he speaks, i listen and i have respect. but i actually thought very briefly -- it wasn't what i was planning to do but just listening to someone i respect, i thought i'd offer a bit of a
counter view for those watching in the gallery or on tv on what he just talked about because it's a really important issue but i just happen to respectfully disagree with most of what -- not everything but most of what my colleague just mentioned. so i'm just going to touch on that, mr. president, before i talk about an alaskan that's doing great work. just listening to my colleague, you talked about president trump turned his back on iran. the sanctions we placed on iran which we all voted for here in the senate are antagonizing iran. foreign minister -- the foreign minister zarif is a moderate. there's a new anywhere taif starting to come out from my colleagues. again, a lot of respect for my good friend from delaware. this about blame america first, blame trump as if the generals and advisors weren't advising
them and iran, this kind of new innocent, moderate, we're turning our back on them, we're sanctioning and a antagonizing them. so with all do respect to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, this couldn't be further from the truth. iran is no innocent. iran is no innocent at all. iran is the biggest states sponsor of terrorism in the world and has been for decades. the jcpoa which my colleague is lamenting, i read that. i certainly dug into that. i've been involved in our broader iran isolation policy for many years. that was the first major foreign policy national security agreement in u.s. history that had a bipartisan majority of senators and a bipartisan majority of house members who were against it, against it, not for it. that did not have support in this body. certainly not in the senate, not
in the house, not from the american people. so this myth that somehow this was this great agreement, it wasn't. it was a giveaway, billions to the largest state sponsor of terrorism where in ten years they're free to go develop nuclear weapons. this was not a good agreement. and this body said so. bipartisan majority in the house and the senate disagreed with president obama. partisan minority in the house and senate, first time in u.s. history on a national security agreement of this magnitude somehow passed. so there's this myth that this was supported by congress. it wasn't. democrats and republicans opposed it. the majority in both houses. and by the american people. it certainly wasn't. and remember, this is the country that after the deal, during the deal continued to say what? we want to wipe israel off the map. it's not a really nice, innocent nation saying that, we want to
wipe israel off the map. they continued to say that. and here's the final thing, mr. president. that in my four years in the senate, i've only heard one other u.s. senator, senator cotton from arkansas, even talk about this issue. starting in 2004 and 2005, i was a staff officer as a marine to this commander of u.s. central command. and there was top secret information that started to show in the region and we were out there a lot, the commander of the middle east, that the iranians are supplying the iraqi shia militia with very sophisticated improvised explosive devices that were killing our soldiers and our marines and our sailors. the iranians of course denied it. they were lying. it all came out to be true. these were infrared trip wires, explosively formed projectiles
that could punch through anything, tank, humvee. if you were an american soldier and got hit by one of these, with you were pretty much dead. i asked the joint chiefs of staff in an open armed services meeting how many member million -- military members were killed or wounded by these iranian i.e.d.'s. over 2,000 was his answer. 2,000. i've never heard any of my colleagues talk about that. so the notion that foreign minister zarif is a moderate when he was negotiated with secretary kerry is belied by the facts. this foreign minister literally had the blood of american soldiers on his hands. so i take these issues very seriously like my colleague from delaware does, and there's this notion that our allies were all for the jcpoa. they weren't. some of our most important allies, israel, the gulf arab
states who we've been allies with for decades were adamantly opposed. and they're the closest to iran. so, mr. president, this notion that we're going to blame the administration -- by the way, we keep talking about president trump. he's getting advice from really seasoned generals and admirals to reinforce our military presence in the region because they see threats. so in the media right now there's this narrative, oh, boy, the president is trying to drum up a war. well, what about the generals? what about general dunford, very well-respected marine, chairman of the joint chiefs? are they doing this? cy just came from reading some of the intel -- i just came from reading some of the intel in the scif that's prompting this discussion, and of course i can't talk about it. but i support what the administration is doing with regard to reinforcing our military capabilities in the region, and this is the reason.
it sends a message to iran that if you're going to try to do what you did in 2004, 2005 and 2006, which is kill and wound thousands of our military members, that we are going to have the capability to make you pay. now, i don't like seeing anyone come through the dover air force base either, but over 2,000 of our troops were killed and wounded by these leaders of the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. and the notion that somehow they're some kind of innocent country, that we're, quote, antagonizing, or, quote, turning our back on is not accurate. so watch out for the new narrative that the iranians are the innocents and somehow we're being provocative. what's provocative is killing our troops, which they have a
long history of doing in lebanon, the marines, and we need to send a signal that if you're going to do this again -- or are trying to -- or with our diplomats trying to kill them, that it's not going to be so easy this time. so i support what's happening there, and i hope my colleagues will. we're going to get a brief by the secretary of state, secretary of defense, head of the c.i.a. next week on this, which i think is appropriate, but let's -- let's remember who the real bad guys are. we're americans. yeah, we have political differences, but somehow if we start to make this narrative that iran is the innocents and somehow the trump guys -- john bolton, for example -- are some kind of evil people ... come on, come on. really? the largest state sponsor of
terrorism responsible for killing and mapling and wounding -- maiming and wounding thousands of american soldiers, the best and brightest in our country, and we're the bad guys? i don't think so. so watch out for that narrative, mr. president. i certainly hope it's not going to be something my colleagues on the other side of the aisle start getting out there -- it's already in the media. you have the former negotiator for president obama making these statements that somehow poor iran, all bad america. well, i'm not a big blame america first member, and i think we need to be really careful when we talk about trying to demonize our generals, admirals, national security advisors and make the iranians look like they're some kind of innocents when they're not. and i wish more of my colleagues would talk about the number of dead, military members killed by
the quds force in iran and wounded, because they never do. no one here ever talks about it. amnesia. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that my following remarks appear in a separate part in the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sullivan: mr. president, as i mentioned earlier, it's thursday afternoon, and it's the time i get to talk about an alaskan who has given of themselves in order to make my state the great place that it is. we call this person the alaskan of the week. i like to come down on the floor -- i'm not going to take a poll, but i think it's the pages' favorite speech of the week. i get to talk about somebody who's aolly made a difference, whether -- who's really made a difference, whether it's in the state or in the country. i love to encourage people to
come to visit our great state. so right now what is going on in alaska? well, sunset time is approaching midnight in many places across the state. in anchorage today, the sun officially rose at 5:06 a.m. it will set at 10:42 p.m. but that twilight starts at around 4:00 a.m. and hes at about midnight. so the midnight sun is burning bright all across america. and in the summer we're hit with this frenzied energy because of this beautiful midnight sun in the sky. you'll find many of us up late playing softball, doing yardwork, painting houses, fishing, talking to our neighbors. so it is a great time to be in alaska. i urge everybody here in the gallery to come on up. the presiding officer also has a
great state to visit, the state offul f so you go down to -- the state of florida. so you go down to florida, then take the trip up to alaska. make your plans now. so, mr. president, you know what makes my state or your state truly great is not the hours of sun it gets -- and your state does get a lot of sun, too -- or its glor us are mountains or sparkling seas, all which we have in spades, it is the people who build strong cities and communities and states. the person i want to honor today, mr. president, is anchorage police officer angie phrase as our alaskan of the week. i think it is appropriate that we're celebrating our police officers across the country, all across america. there are many, many thousands in d.c. this week because they are a force for good in our
communities, and it often goes unappreciatived. you know, -- unappreciated. you know, mr. president, i got to speak last friday at the anchorage police memorial ceremony. it was a very somber event. we have a big memorial there of all the first responders, law enforcement officers who've been killed in the line of duty in alaska. over the last 100-plus years. and as i mentioned, at that -- and as i mentioned at that, all jobs are important, no doubt about it but there is something special, some noble, something even sacred, i would say, about a job that entails protecting others and putting your life on the line to keep your fellow citizens safe. so this week i thought it would be fitting to honor anchorage police officer fraze. she is one of more than 400
police officers, men and women, who keep the residents of anchorage, alaska, my hometown, safe. so let me tell you a little bit about officer fraze, why my friend and fellow marine, anchorage police chief justin dahl, recommended her as alaskan of the week. she was raised in butte on 12 acres of land, but she did not have an easy childhood. she group in a house with no running water or electricity. her father, unfortunately, was an alcoholic, who died in a car accident when she was just 12 years old. so her mom raised her and her brother by herself. her mom was a tenacious, hardworking mother, a characteristic she clearly passed on to her daughter. she worked her way through college with her two young daughters and at the age of 40
she got her degree at the university of alaska in education. this is officer fraze's mom. you see where she gets her good genes. times was tough, money was triumphant she often had to -- times was tough, money was tight. she often had to shower at the university. but they always did make ends meet. a family struggling, barely making it. she's had a dream of catching the bad guys since seth grade. she was able to aattend the university of washington when she was only 16 years old -- so real smart. her first job out of college was a residential youth counselor working with adolescent sex offenders who had mental health issues. when her husband was offered a job with the anchorage p.d., she decided at that time that she, too, wanted to be a police officer.
officer fraze has had various duties in the 12 years hearsay worked as an alaskan police officer. she is he's been a coordinator for the academy and now a recruiter particularly focused on recruiting young women and spreading the word about how great a.p.d. is. if you want to come to alaska and you like law enforcement, give her a call. all the jobs that officer fraze has had required empathy. her life experiences, she said, has given her that empathy. chronic alcoholics, she said, don't wake up every day choosing to drink. people who act badly don't waning up wanting to be bad people. the trick is to listen to people, to find a connection, to see the humanity in each individual. she's also incredibly passionate about connecting police officers
with the people they protect. so she chairs the group called cops for communities in our town of anchorage, where the police officers interact with the public in positive ways at coffee shops, at community council meetings, at public events through anchorage. this gives the community a chance to interact with officers in a positive way. it also gives police officers a chance to get their fresh perspectives from community members. on tuesday, for instance, the cops and firefighters got together for an eating relay at a local barbecue restaurant in anchorage, and members of the community came out to cheer their favorite police member or fireman. and the proceeds went to special owe limb particulars alaska. -- and the proceeds went to special olympics alaska, which is another passion of hers. she is a great champion of
advocating for those with special needs. she and her husband matt have two daughters, talia, 14 years old, and giana, who is 10 and has down's syndrome, and according to officer fraze, is the most popular girl in her class. she advocates for girls with special needs and is also involved in the special olympics law enforcement torch run. she was one of 50 police officers in america chosen to carry the torch at the 2019 special olympics in abu did a beau. she brought the torch home to alaska and is giving it to special olympics alaska this weekend at the 2019torch run and
pledge drive which is going to be a great event. so it is what the anchorage police chief said. we are so proud of officer fraze's work and i believe the rest of anchorage should be as well. she is the epitome of the public servant ideal that is the foundation of our relationship with the anchorage community. i am genuinely honored to have her at a.p.d. upholding our most cherished tra i guesses did of community service. that's the anchorage police chief. so, mr. president, we are also proud of all our police officers and first responders in alaska. we are so grateful for the work they do to keep us safe. we want them to know that we honor their jobs and their commitment to our community. we also honor their families. these are very tough jobs. and it's hard on supportive families when your wife or husband goes off every morning
to a job that could involve risking their lives. so we want them to know -- not just in alaska but here in the u.s. senate -- we have their backs. so, to officer fraze, thanks for all that you do. we're so lucky to have officers like you in alaska looking out for us. and we thank you for being our alaskan of the week. i yield the floor. mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i'm going to take this time to speak about russia. but first, if i might, following up on the senator from alaska's point, first i want to applaud the police officer that you're honoring this week. this is national police week. i think it is very appropriate that we do recognize those that a serving -- that are serving our country and community as
first responders. i'm going to ask consent that i put my entire statement in the record in regards to national police week. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: i want to mention two police officers specifically, both gave their lives in defense of our community. these law enforcement officers were young and they went into danger rather than running away from danger. we lost two of our officers this year, last year. amy sorrels caprio from baltimore county, my home jurisdiction, a member of the baltimore county police department. she died before reaching the age of 30, pursuing a burglary suspect who struck and killed her by the vehicle being operated by the suspect. she leaves a husband, parents, and sister. and our prayers are with her. the second police officer that i would like to honor is muhammad
abdul mumman ramzindin, 51-year-old police officer from prince george's county maryland, close to where we are right here. he was off duty and he observed the need for help from a person who was a victim of domestic violence. he went to help that person and was ultimately killed by the perpetrator. he leaves a wife and four children, and our prayers are also with him. mr. president, i would ask that my following statement be separated in the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: mr. president, i rise today to address the continuously abusive nature of the russian government i am peegd on human rights of the people and people across the globe. from interference in democratic processes around the globe to its maligned influence in syria to its continued aggression against ukraine, mr. putin's regime must be held accountable
for its crimes. as we all know, vladimir putin has been openly and willfully attacking democratic institutions and processes to corrode good governance and our values. his tools are drawn from a soviet-era playbook that are constantly being updated with improvements. he's a pusher, constantly pushing the limits of acceptable international behavior and then going over the line. you cannot overlook the phenomenon unfolding across the european continent and now, yes, here in our western hemisphere. just a few weeks ago special counsel robert mueller released to the public a redacted version of his report on russia's interference in our 2016 presidential election revealing another one of mr. putin's plots to interfere and tarnish the democratic process of a strong nation. special counsel mueller described the russian effort as taking place in a sweeping and systemic fashion of premeditated
attack by the kremlin. russia's aggression on the international stage continues to grow and is deserving of global condemnation. the united states is just one of many nations targeted by the putin regime whose democracy was in a systematically targeted and attacked. it certainly was not the first nation to be targeted. reflect back to its illegal invasion of ukraine and subsequent annexation of crimea. look at russia's role in the ongoing hostilities in eastern europe. consider mr. putin's role in syria's civil war and support to dictator bashar al-assad. and he murdered hundreds of thousands of citizens and assisted to collapse the country's infrastructure. russia has shown us time and time again its disdain for international laws and norms under mr. putin's leadership. after the trifecta of russia's interference in the ukraine, syria and the democratic
presidential election here, i partnered with nine bipartisan colleagues within the first week of the 115th congress in january of 2017 to introduce the countering russia hostilities act, comprehensive sanctions legislation on russia in response to its cyber intrusions, aggression, and destabilizing activities in the united states, ukraine, syria and worldwide. over time we learned that mr. putin's increasing aggressive behavior abroad is directly related to his need to maintain power at home. in january of 2018, i released a foreign relations committee democratic member report that documented mr. putin's pattern of asymmetric warfare against democratic institutions, universal values and the rule of law in russia and across europe over the last 20 years. the report details the tools the russian government has repeatedly deployed and perfected as well as techniques to attack democracies both internally and abroad.
among many other take-aways we plernd mr. putin will continue to simultaneously step up his attacks on democracies around the world while also acting to maintain power in russia. we've also learned that it's ultimately the russian people who bear the brunt of mr. putin's international decisions. we have an obligation to support human rights around the globe as both individuals and as a nation. part of that obligation is ensuring that violators of international human rights are held accountable for their actions and are not given the resources they need to continue their nefarious actions. in an effort to address these obligations, i was fortunate to work closely with the late senator from arizona, john mccain, on the sergei magnitsky accountability law in 2012. sergei magnitsky was a moscow based lawyer who uprooted corruption in russia a deck caid
ago. he reported his discoveries to the authorities for doing his job. he was arrested, jailed, tortured and killed and prisoned. when i learned about sergai's life and work and the complete violation of basic human rights, i was shocked. originally the sergei magnitsky rule of law accountability act provides that anyone involved in sergai's imprisonment, torture, or death who has not been brought to justice in russia would be denied access to our financial systems or the ability to travel to our country. the bill also targets those who have abused their power in the country to violate the human rights of anyone in russia who disagrees with mr. putin's corrupt regime. senator mccain and i wanted to send a signal to mr. putin and his coconspirators that there will be consequences for their actions and their inactions. is -- the sergei magnitsky act was, is and will continue to be
an effective tool at doing that. senator mccain and i agreed the united states must lead the world by using the power of owsh financial and -- our financial and legal institutions to hold corrupt institutions around the world accountable for their crimes. we continue to work together to offer the global magnitsky human rights accountability act which was signed into law in 2016. senator mccain and i share critically important belief that the value of american leadership and enforcing human rights worldwide transcends party line. mr. president, i might point out that following the u.s. example, other countries have enacted similar laws to make sure that we have a blanket protection against those that commit these human rights violations. in the past year, global magnitsky designations have targeted individuals around the world responsible for acts of genocide, violence and significant corruption. my colleagues and i have called for numerous sanctions under this act and i am pleased that the administration has acted,
particularly in issuing executive order 13818 which expanded global magnitsky authorities. freezing the financial acts of perpetrators and denying them visas to the united states sends a clear message, we will not stand by while individuals are stripped of their freedoms and their rights. unfortunately while the global magnitsky legislation that is proven hugely successful, we continue to witness human rights violations around the world and more specifically at the hands of mr. putin. in recent reports, human rights groups have noted that the number of political prisoners in russia has risen at a rapid rate over the past few years. many of these groups are calling on the united states to impose sanctions on more russian officials to hold them accountable from inhumane treatment of over 250 reported political prisoners. unfortunately this issue of russian political prisoners has not been the forefront of the u.s.-russia discussions. that needs to change.
president trump continues to treat mr. putin with the utmost respect despite the russian president's holding almost 300 individuals hostages as political prisoners in russia. most recently the president has scheduled another formal meeting with mr. putin next month during the annual g20 summit. of course secretary pompeo just met with mr. putin on tuesday. human rights must be on the agenda of such talks. in 2016, russian human rights activists and prisoners who desinted with mr. putin testified before the senate foreign relations committee expressing how the united states can help russian defenders. he said, and i quote, our friends in the west often ask how they can be helpful to the cause of human rights and democracy in russia. and the answer to this is very simple. please stay true to your values. we're not asking for your support. it is hard to ask the fight for
democracy and rule of law in our country. the only thing we ask from western leaders is that they stop supporting mr. putin by treating him as a respectful and worthy partner and by allowing mr. putin's cronies to use western countries as havens for their wealth. unquote. that's exactly what the magnitsky act is all about, to deny that legitimacy. i ask that we take these words to heart. the threat that russia poses to our global community has never been more evident but we must remember that the distinction between mr. putin's regime and the russian people. the russian people are good, freedom-seeking people who want economic security and stability for their families just like we do in the united states. this is an important distinction for us to keep in our minds and our hearts as we continue to pursue effective tools to counter mr. putin's threat to the international order and the values we hold so dear. so as we work to shape u.s.
policy and diplomatic strategies towards russia, i urge my colleagues to keep in mind the aspirations of the russian human rights p defenders who risk their lives in order to advocate for a russia free of totalitarian and abusive leaders. with that, mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum and yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. rubio: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rubio: the news has been dominated hopefully -- i expect ed more coverage -- on a matter that i think is of great urgency for the country and global security and peace, and that is the tensions that are rising in the middle east. i've seen a few of my colleagues speak on the floor about it today. i've seen a lot of press reporting on it, some of it absurd, some of it on point. and i understand some of it. there's been a lack -- i thought there should have been more information provided to all the members, and i'm pleased to see that more will be available next week when we return. this is an item that i've been talking about for a couple weeks now, and that the urgent -- and that is the urgent threat potentially that exists now from
iran against the united states, particularly in iraq, but throughout the persian gulf region. first leet me talk about the threat. it is important to understand how iran operates. iran is an islamic republic, meaning they have a political branch of their government, they have a president, a foreign minister a parliamentary body. then they have a supreme leader who ultimately governs the country, in essence, his commands overrule the political branches and that's why they call him the supreme leader. he is a religious figure. and then as part of that, they have an armed services. they have an army, a navy, anarchies that protects the country -- an air force, that he can prosecutes the. then they have the islamic ref lewisary guard corps. they don't answer to the president. thet don't answer to the foreign minister. they don't answer to the regular army forces.
they answer directly to the supreme leader. a lot of times people don't understand this. they ascribe to other countries the attributes of our own. the president of iran is not the commander in chief in reality of the irgc they operate completely separate. that means that the irgc, the islamic revolutionary guard corps can operate doing things that the foreign minister, the spokesperson for the iranian government may not even know about it. sometimes they do. but two of understand that dynamic because they are not us. our attributes should the be assigned to them. the irgc has a unit called the quds force, led by general sulaymaniyah, are experts in unconventional warfare and intelligence activities, primarily abroad. this is the organization that helped build all the i.e.d.'s
that killed and maimed american servicemen in iraq. this is the organization behind a lot of the efforts to support hezbollah and syria and parts. world. the irgc's quds force is designed to do things that have some level of deniability. what the irgc quds force has developed -- and we know that now -- for the better part of a decade is the ability in case of conflict with the united states to attack us using proxies -- meaning other groups -- and escape and have some level of deniability. so get some group that they have stood up, that they have equipped, that they have trained a tack us in retaliation for something america does. but they can deny it. they can say, that wasn't our army. that wasn't our air force. that was this other group that did it on they are e this is a capability that they have build not just in the middle east but the all over the world. we have been aware of it for a long triumphant it is not a
secret to anyone. it is a capability that they increasingly have perfected. so as what's happened here very recently is a persistent and clear stream of information has arrived to american policymakers that the irgc and the quds force may be planning -- there are indications that they and their proxies in the region pose a serious and potentially imminent threat to u.s. forces and u.s. civilians in iraq and in the broader middle east. now, the president of the united states and the administration is confronted confronted with this information and what is the wholly appropriate for thing for them to do? the appropriate thing to do is reposition military assets to the region, number one, to protect the americans that are there in case they come under attack and, number two, to be in a position to retaliate. and the reason why that is important is you hope to deter this sort of attack. what you're hoping to do is to show them that we have military
capabilities in the region that if we are attacked by your proke sis at the direction of the quds force, we're going to response to that forcefully. what you hope that will do, along with public message magic, is get into their head and make them decide we're not going to do that. that's what's happened. that's what's happened here and it is wholly appropriate. i want you to imagine for a moment, if in fact such an attack like this occurred and god forbid hundreds of americans were killed, the first question everybody would have is, why didn't we have military assets in the region to protect enemy? why couldn't we get them out? that's the first question everyone around here is going to ask. and so what the administration has done to preposition military assets in the region for this potential contingency is entirely appropriate, as is also appropriate the notion that we are not going to start a war. but if we are attacked by iran's proxies, we are goings to respond against those proxies and hold iran responsible and they're going to pay a price for
this as well. who could disagree with the notion that if we are attacked, we have a right to defend ourselves and respond? and that is the only thing that is happening here. i'm pleased that in the last day more members of the senate have been made privy to this stream of information so that people can begin to see that the actions the administration has taken up to this point are not just wholly justified but are appropriate. i'm concerned i'm concerned about some of the reactions i've seen because it bodes i will in this case and also for the future. this is not true and they're making it up. there is know no such intelligence. there are even some leakers -- i don't know who these people are -- who are lying to media outlets or the continent -- or the contents of this intelligence agency because they want to create intelligence. i get this bureaucratic
infighting. i don't understand it when it comes to matters of national security. even if this information is 50% accurate, we have an obligation to err on the side of caution especially when american lives are on the line. i encourage every member to go and read this information or access it through your offices and obviously when we have a briefing with the appropriate officials, attend that as well and you will agree with me i believe. the second thing i am hearing is, oh, this is just a path to war, trying to equate this to the iraq war over a decade ago. this is nothing like that. nothing like that. this was an offensive operation. that was an invasion of another country. this is not posturing force military attack. this is military posturing for purposes of defensive operations, as i have said repeatedly. it is very straightforward. if iran attacks, there will be a war. if iran does not attack, there will not be a war. i believe the most disappointing is some insinuation, including by members of this body,
publicly and privately, that somehow we're going to provoke an attack. elements of the american government are going to go out and do something to get iran to hit us so we have an excuse to go to warmth i don't know how you prove a negatively i find that to be problematic. what encourages iran that they can get away with this is because if they believe one of these groups attacks you they believe they're going to be able to say, that's not us. some rogue group did it. the more they believe they can get away with that, the likelier they are going to do it. the second reason why they think they can get away with it is i think they believe they can exploit our political decisions. i think they read these newspapers and watch the news and they realize that some percentage of americans and certainly a significant percentage of americans in politics, are going to in some
ways take iran's side on this. they're going to say, well, we provoked it. this is our fault. we did something that made them mad, that we created the tensions or the intelligence is flawed or it wasn't iran. it was one of these others the groups. the more they read that the likelier they are to do this. that doesn't mean we can't have a legitimate debate. i think support designating the irgc as a terrorist organization. but we can have a debate about whether that should have been done or not. but not right now. because right now americans stand potentially in harm's way and they need a united stays of america to be to protect them. here's what none of us can disagree with, i hope. number one that if there is any serious indication that americans anywhere are threatened, we must position our selves to defend them and retaliate if they are attacked. the second thing we should all be able to agree on is if
americans come under attack, even if it is from a proxy force directed by a foreign agent like the irgc, not only must we defend against that attack, but we must punish it with swift retaliation. that should unite us in a matter of incredible importance. so i hope all the misinformation will stop, because this matter is too important to play political games with. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. murphy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: i ask that we dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: thank you very much, mr. president. across america there are 130 million individuals who have a preexisting condition. this means individuals have a diagnosis, an illness, a medical condition that without the affordable care act would likely mean that they were priced out of insurance because the costs associated with their illness are so high that no insurer would provide them coverage, or the cost of insurance are much higher than those who don't have that illness or that condition.
these preexisting conditions don't discriminate. they affect republicans and democrats, liberals and conservatives, people who watch fox news, people who watch msnbc. this isn't a partisan issue, preexisting conditions affect everybody. in my state, you know, give or take 522,000 people have preexisting conditions. and i talk to them every time i go back to connecticut. i remember two years ago when i was walking across the state, something i do every year. i take about a week in the summer and i walk from one end of the state to the other end. there were families that would find out on social media where i was going to be walking that day and preposition themselves hours ahead of time by the side of the road so that they could tell me about their diagnosis. one young woman who was sobbing
on the side of the road in maridan, connecticut, as she explained to me her lupus diagnosis and without the affordable care act and the protections it provides her, she would not have insurance, she would not be able to afford the medications that keep her well and alive, and her life would be ruined. and those individuals are freaking out today because they have watched this president and, frankly, this republican congress use every power at their disposal, every tool in their tool kit to try to take away these protections for people that are sick, for people who through no fault of their own just have higher medical bills than the rest of us and don't feel like they should be discriminated against or forsaken by the health insurance marketplace because of their unfortunate diagnosis.
the latest assault on people with preexisting conditions comes through a effort by the administration to allow states to sell insurance plans that don't cover basic medical needs, plans that would allow for a skimpy set of benefits to be sold out on the insurance marketplaces. now admittedly, that might be good news for pretty healthy people who don't want to pay for a full insurance product because they think they don't need it. the first problem with that is you're only healthy until you're not healthy. the second bigger problem is that when all the healthy people go to these skimpy plans, sometimes called junk plans, and all the people with preexisting conditions get left behind on the regulated plans where insurance is real, where it covers everything you need,
costs go down for the healthy people and they go through the roof for the sick people, which is the entire problem that we were trying to solve for in 2009 and 2010. and in fact, the problem the republicans say repeatedly out on the campaign trail and back in their districts and states that they want to solve for too. i don't know that i've met a republican senator who doesn't say that they don't think people with preexisting conditions should be discriminated against, and yet this rule that the administration is proposing is going to allow states to do just that. allow for a have and have-not insurance system in which people with preexisting conditions are charged more and people without preexisting conditions are charged less. my intention was to come down to the floor today and offer a unanimous consent request to get us on the road to solving this latest assault on people with preexisting conditions. and let me explain to you what my request was going to be.
i understand that there are republican objections and that there is not the ability to object today when i make this request, and so i will reserve the right to make that request until early next week. but here is the substance of the request that i was planning to make today. last week the house of representatives passed a piece of legislation called the protecting americans with preexisting conditions act, and what this legislation would have done and will do if passed and signed by the president is to prevent h.h.s. from taking any action to implement the administration's waivers for states to set up these junk plans, these skimpy plans. and it's in keeping with the intent of the affordable care act which is to allow flexibility for states. there is an ability under the affordable care act for states
to innovate and to flexible, but the affordable care act says you can't do that in a way that hurts consumers. you can't do that in a way that provides less coverage to consumers. and so the rule the trump administration is proposing in many of our minds is a violation of the affordable care act in and of itself, which is still the law of the land, but this piece of legislation would clarify that you cannot, you cannot allow for the development and widespread sale of these junk insurance plans without dramatically harming the health care of the 130 million americans who have preexisting conditions. and so my intent was to ask for unanimous consent request to bring this bill for a vote to the senate. i will do that next week. but at some point, at some point we have to act like we actually are the united states senate.
it's not enough to just say over and over again that you support people with preexisting conditions and then do nothing, as the administration launches a daily nonstop, unending, unceasing, relentless effort to destroy health care for people with preexisting conditions. this is the latest assault on people with preexisting conditions, but it stands in a very long ongoing line of actions by this administration backed up by republicans in the do think try to reduce coverage and increase costs for people with preexisting conditions. it started, of course, with the whole repeal effort which would not have replaced the affordable care act with anything meaningful. the bill that passed the house of representatives would have stripped health care away from 30 million americans.
the tax bill that included a portion of health care repeal that was passed and signed by the president eliminates health care for 13 million americans. many of those have preexisting conditions. as we speak today, the administration is readying to go to court with a whole bunch of republican attorneys general to ask the federal judicial system to overturn protections for people with preexisting conditions. so having failed to get the entirety of the bill repealed through the congress, the administration now is going to court to try to get the protections for people with preexisting conditions repealed. and once again this congress, this senate is silent on that case. we've offered another piece of legislation to stop that lawsuit from going forward. we don't have any takers on the republican side. this assault is real. i didn't make it up. it's not imagined. if this court case succeeds that
the trump administration is pushing, overnight the entirety of the affordable care act will be invalidated and there is no plan for how to replace it. if these junk plans go into effect -- maybe i will be wrong. i hope i'm wrong. maybe there won't be a flight of people to these skimpy plans. but much of the analysis i've seen suggests that that will happen. and if it does, there's just no way other than for the costs to go up for everybody left behind on the regulated plans. i don't know about you, but when i talk to my folks h living paycheck to paycheck in connecticut, they don't have a lot of room in their budget for increased premiums for health care. they're maxed out as it is. so i'll stand down for now, but i'll be back here early next week to offer this unanimous consent request. i would hope if my colleagues turn it down, if they don't want to bring up a piece of legislation that would stop this latest regulatory assault on the
affordable care act, they would come to the table with other ideas as to how to protect people with preexisting conditions from this campaign of sabotage by the administration, that they would finally recognize that this assault on the affordable care act in the court system is a really awful precedent to set, and it's going to come back and bite all of us as legislators if it were to be successful. and without any real hope of a replacement for the affordable care act, it leads to humanitarian disaster in which 30 million -- 20 million to 30 million people lose insurance because of it. so this is as important as it gets. there's very little that matters to people more than their health and their health care. and i hope that possibly next week we can come together as a body and finally do something about the administration's attempt to take away these protections for sick ppl