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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 21, 2019 9:59am-12:32pm EDT

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requirements as they currently do. and it would apply to all types of populations and all types of tobacco products including e-cigarettes. as a father of a marine and the committee, extend this, to the members of the military as we do to their civilian counterparts. so i look forward to working with the majority leader and many ours to do a good thing for our young people and raise the tobacco age to 21. as the leader mentioned, there are other senators, senators romney and young, and senators schotts and durbin. and they've invested energies in this effort and we pledge to work with all of them and we can come together on behalf of our young people. with that, mr. president, i thank you for the time and thank you to the majority leader and leave the floor. >> and the senate about to gavel in continuing debate on judicial nominations, this afternoon a vote on 9th circuit
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court of appeals judge and funding for disaster relief, which members are trying to vote on before the start of the memorial day break which starts this weekend. we'll take you live now to the floor of the senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the reverend black will come lead us in the prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, we are grateful for life and all of its gifts. thank you for the beauty of the
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earth, for the majesty of the skies, and for the wonder of your love and grace. draw near to our lawmakers as they seek to see you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly each day. lord, let the light of your understanding illuminate the path they travel. teach them to trust your precepts and to obey your commands, permitting you to guide them with your wisdom and might. when this day is done, may they look back with the realization that they have been loving and
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kind, generous and faithful, joyful and good. we pray in your strong name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c, may 21, 2019. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable cindy hyde-smith, a senator from the state of mississippi, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: chuck grassley, president pro tempore.
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mr. mcconnell: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the committee on finance be discharged from further consideration of s. 1370 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 1370, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the committee is discharged. and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the bill be read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i further ask that the papers be held at the desk and if the house passes the bill identical to the text of s. 1370 just passed by the senate, the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be
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considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. finally, upon passage of the house bill, s. 1370 be indefinitely postponed. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection,so ordered. mr. mcconnell: now, madam president, this week presents us with more opportunities to make progress on the backlog of qualified nominees who are still awaiting senate confirmation. we began yesterday by voting to advance an exceptionally well qualified nominee to the federal judiciary, daniel p. collins of california was chosen by president trump to be u.s. circuit court judge for the ninth circuit, and the reasons why are abundantly clear. mr. collins is a graduate of harvard and sanford law school, held clerkships on the ninth circuit court of appeals and the u.s. supreme court for justice scalia. he served at the department of justice as associate deputy attorney general and as attorney
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advisor in the office of legal counsel, and he spent four years as an assistant u.s. attorney. and he's complemented that experience with more than 20 years of well-regarded work in private practice. mr. collins has developed a reputation for legal excellence. the american bar association rates him well qualified for this post. our colleagues on the judiciary committee reported him favorably here to the floor. so i hope my colleagues will join me as we vote later today to confirm this fine nominee. following the collins nomination, we'll consider four more nominations to district courts around our nation. howard nielson of utah, stephen clark of missouri, carl nichols of the district of columbia, and kenneth bell of north carolina. each has been tapped by the president to fill important vacancies. collectively they represent decades of experience in private practice and decades more in public service, and they come
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before us with the high esteem of their legal peers. take the case of mr. nielsen, whose nomination we'll consider first. according to former circuit judge mike luddig for whom he served as law clerk, this is what judge luddig had to say. howard nielson may be the most single qualified person to serve on the federal bench i have had the privilege to know. it would hard to come up with a more unequivocal endorsement. i hope my colleagues will join me to endorse mr. nielsen. i notice a few of my colleagues across the aisle expressed some displeasure that the senate has recently bnl spending some time -- budget spending some some -- been spending some time on nominations. i remind my friends on the other side that not so long ago thoroughly qualified district
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nominees were the kind of nominations that would sail through the senate floor by voice vote. since this particular president was inaugurated in 2017 this senate has taken a different view with across-the-board delaying tactics. the effect has been the need for cloture votes and individual consideration for all kinds of uncontroversial nominations where it hadn't been a tradition in the senate in the past. so, madam president, more than two years into this administration we're left with too many vacancies still unfulfilled and a backlog of qualified nominees that need considering. and confirming unobjectionable individuals continues to take more of the senate's time than it should. but this obstruction is not going to deter us. we'll be here as long as it takes. we'll keep confirming highly qawsmed nominees to the -- qualified nominees to the federal bench, keep putting the
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president's team in place and giving americans the government they actually voted for. on another matter, as i've discussed many times here on the floor, powerful natural disasters have recently devastated communities across america. many are still in need of aid as they struggle to rebuild. my colleagues know all too well the destruction brought states across the southeast and gulf coast and puerto rico by a bad hurricane season. tens of billions of dollars in damage to buildings and infrastructure and thousands of people left without shelter or access to clean water and electricity. we remember the record wildfires that swept across our western region, the tornadoes that tore through the deep south, and the rampant flooding that sunk entire communities across the midwest and affected many of my fellow kentuckians as well. we've seen the pain caused by nature's worst. now it's time for congress to
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finally, finally demonstrate our commitment to america's best. it's time to deliver supplemental resources for the rebuilding efforts that in many cases have been inching, and just inching along for months. it's well past time to show that relief workers, the volunteers, and the families still picking up the pieces that we have their backs. in recent days important progress has been made to deliver on this overdue commitment. chairman shelby, ranking member leahy, and our colleagues on the appropriations committee and their counterparts over in the house are continuing their hard work to reach a bipartisan solution that meets the most pressing needs of all of these affected communities. that includes promising steps toward a bipartisan agreement to deliver critical resources to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis at our southern border. the status quo is completely, completely dysfunctional.
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so i'm glad the agreement seems to be converging on more resources. so i expect to discuss our progress in greater detail as the week unfolds, but it's my sincere hope that in both parties and in both chambers we'll finally, finally be able to reach a meaningful consensus that can become law and deliver on the priorities of communities that are in need all across our country. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: over the past year, women's reproductive rights have come under a new level of assault. from alabama to missouri to texas and georgia and beyond. over 300 new restrictions have been proposed in 39 states. bans on abortion as early as six weeks. so-called heartbeat bills, arbitrary waiting periods, restrictions on clinics so severe that they force any center that performs an abortion to close down, leaving a few of our states with no more than a single clinic. ten such bills have now passed into law. these restrictions fly in the face of public opinion. the vast majority of the american public don't want to see roe overturned or a woman's
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right to choose curtailed so severely as to render it meaningless. so i understand why many of my colleagues here in the senate don't want to associate themselves with these extreme antiabortion laws. some of them have even publicly opposed the law passed by the alabama's republicans, including the house republican leader and the president. but let's face it. there is a sleight of hand going on here because while many of my colleagues don't support these policies out loud, they are at the same time confirming judges to the federal bench with horrendous records on women's rights, many of whom hold extreme views on roe. and these judges in many ways have just as much power as state legislatures to restrict a woman's right to choose and limit access to contraceptives through the courts. just look at some of the judges the republican senate has approved in the past two years with almost unanimous support on the republican side. look at leonard steven graz who
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wrote about, quote, the moral bankruptcy that's the legacy of roe v. wade. what about amy comey barrett. she said that wade had been ee ee -- erroneously decided. a lot of these judges are not just against abortion. they are against contraception. she is on the bench for life. amy comey barrett who said that is on the bench for life and on president trump's short list for the supreme court. and let's not forget justice kavanaugh who refused to affirm that roe was settled law and now sits on the one body with the power to overturn it. just last week, republicans confirmed wendy vitter who said planned parenthood kills 150,000 a year and wants to push the idea that contraceptives cause cancer. and we have more coming down the pipeline. soon the senate may consider the nomination of stephen clark who belonged to an organization called lawyers for life, and he once compared roe v. wade to the
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dred scott case. so republicans are playing a cynical long game here. they refused to comment on the antiabortion bills but are content to install antichoice judges across the bench who will uphold many of these very same laws. it's hypocritical. it's sort of like that old routine. they're saying no, no, i'm not for these laws. judges, approve them. i am supporting judges who approve them. it is not fair, it is not right, it is cynical, and the american people are going to get wise to it. mr. president, -- madam president, we're watching the end game of a long and concerted campaign by the far right to erode a woman's right to choose through the courts. from the moment that roe v. wade was decided in 1973, the most extreme elements of the republican party have plotted its demise. the federalist society was
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founded with the intent of cultivating a generation of judges loyal to conservative causes. its founder, leonard leo, is above all an antichoice advocate, some would say even further a fanatic. and now that they have a republican president and a republican senate, the federalist society can push judge after judge after judge onto the bench with barely a delay, with barely a discussion, where they will have the power to severely curtail a woman's right to choose. so my republican friends who profess opposition or indifference to these extreme antiabortion bills while voting for hard-right anti-roe judges are engaging in subterfuge if not hypocrisy. finally, a topic i have discussed before. the administration's moves to block access to telecommunications equipment from china's state-controlled and state-backed firms like huawei. i firmly back these measures.
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as our defense, law enforcement, and intelligence officials have publicly testified, huawei and other chinese telecom companies pose a national threat to the security of the united states. their technology could allow china to spy on americans, steal their data, and otherwise conduct espionage. but it's also there is another point. china has taken advantage of us. there is a huge consensus now in america that that has happened. we didn't have that consensus even five years ago, but whether it's business, labor, average american citizens, democrats, republicans, everyone agrees china takes advantage, and one of the main ways they take advantage is they don't let our companies that have top-line products sell them in china except under restrictions that make it almost impossible for them to do it. our major tech companies are excluded from china, but china at the same time can sell anything it wants here. reciprocity should be our
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watchword. if google or facebook or any of our other companies can't sell in china, their top companies shouldn't sell here until they let us in. that's what's happened with huawei, in addition to the national security concerns, and it makes sense. so i say to the commerce department stay strong. we're now talking about some 90-day delay. i hope this is not prelude to what we did with z.t.e. where we stood tough at the beginning, it had an effect, and then we backed off. president trump, don't back off on huawei. commerce secretary ross, don't back off on with huawei. secretary treasury mnuchin, ambassador lighthizer, stay strong. this will get the chinese to play fair. talking won't. tariffs are one tool. this is another. we need all the tools in our
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toolbox to get china to play fair. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, daniel p. collins, of california, to be united states circuit judge for the ninth circuit.
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mr. thune: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. thune: madam president, friday's announcement that the administration had reached an agreement to remove steel tariffs on canada and mexico was great for america's consumers, producers, and workers, mexican and canadian retaliatory tariffs on u.s. products have already been lifted. that's a big deal for american producers, especially for farmers and ranchers who were hit the hardest by mexico and
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canada's retaliatory tariffs. it removes a significant roadblock to the united states-mexico-canada trade agreement. with the reforms adopted by the mexican government, two issues have been addressed. now it's time for the house democrat leadership to take up the agreement in the near future. the united states-mexico-canada agreement would boost auto manufacturing to digital services to dairy farming. it would create 176,000 new jobs and increase wages for workers. it's time to take up this agreement. madam president, as i said, the united states-mexico-canada free trade agreement would be a boon for u.s. producers and u.s. workers. this is the kind of stuff we should spend our time on in washington, measures that grow
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our economy, increase opportunity, and improve life for the american people. that's what republicans have been working on and our policies have helped produce the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years and more jobs and higher wages for workers. unfortunately, my colleagues across the aisle seem more interested in relitigating the 2016 election and accelerating their party's rapid move toward the radical fringe left. while i realize that democrats were disappointed with the results of the 2016 presidential election, it's time for them to accept the fact they lost. it's been more than two years now and democrats are still more focused on opposing this president than on getting things done for the american people. and when democrats do get around to talking about legislation, too often its proposals from the radical fringe left which is rapidly swallowing up the democrat mainstream. take the democrat, or the green new deal, the democrats' plan
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for a government takeover of a large section of the economy in the name of clean energy. the estimated price tag for this government takeover, between $51 trillion and $93 trillion over ten years. to put that number in perspective, $93 trillion is more money than the united states government has spent in its entire history. $93 trillion is more money than the 2017 gross domestic product of the entire world. how do democrats plan to pay for this? well, they don't actually have a plan. and their usual tax the rich solution won't work since taxing every wealthy american at 100% rate wouldn't come anywhere close to paying for the green new deal. should the green new deal ever come to pass, working americans would face massive tax hikes for the privilege of having government dictate the design of
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their house and the type of their car. then, of course, there's democrats' plan for a government takeover of the nation's health care. under so-called medicare for all, the government would take away americans' insurance choices and force everyone into a single one-size-fits-all government-run plan and then tax americans to pay for it. madam president, thanks to policies like tax reform, american families are doing better than they have been doing in a long time. they have been taking home more money. they have access to better jobs and more opportunities. and they're enjoying better wages and benefits. to most people it would seem logical to continue and build on the policies that have gotten us here, but not to democrats. democrats want to overturn the policies that have gotten us to this point. instead of tax cuts, they want tax hikes so they can implement their socialist fantasies.
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instead of less government interference in americans' lives they want more. they think the government should be directing your health care choices, your housing choices, your energy choices and much more. it's unfortunate the democrat party is being swallowed up by its extreme left wing. madam president, republicans are going to do everything that we can to protect americans from democrats' socialist fantasies and to continue to expand the choices and the opportunities available to american families. madam president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i would ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, next saturday, june 1, marks the official start of the atlantic hurricane season. it's an important reminder for everyone, from individuals and families to businesses and local officials, to review preparedness efforts to ensure you are ready for anything that mother nature may throw at you. they are simple steps, -- there are simple steps, of course, that everyone can take like reviewing evacuation routes, signing up for emergency alerts, and making a family communications plan. this is also a great time to look at your insurance policies to ensure that you have the right coverage. this isn't the most fun conversation or topic to talk about at the dinner table, but in the event of a disaster,
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these small steps can make a world of difference. as we gear up for the 2019 atlantic hurricane season, i can't help but think back on the devastation my state saw in 2017 when hurricane harvey hit. this storm was the largest rain event in american history, and some parts of texas are still in the recovery mode. harvey brought more than 50 inches of rain to some parts of houston, and i'm sure that many americans can remember the tv footage of the devastating scenes and the heroism of people who rose to the challenge and helped. the roofs of homes were completely torn off, revealing knee-deep water and scattered furniture. streets looked like rivers filled with small boats leading rescue operations. folks linked arms, making human chains to help save people who were stranded in their vehicles.
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it was the second most expensive hurricane in history only behind hurricane katrina, with an estimated total cost of $125 billion. while we could put a price tag on damaged homes, businesses, and infrastructure, there is no way we could even begin to quantify the impact this storm had on lost loved ones and how much it completely upended so many lives. with that heartbreak fresh on our minds, it only underscores the importance of strengthening our preparedness efforts. unlike many threats we face, either from our adversaries on the ground or in cyberspace, there is nothing we can do to stop matter in her tracks. our only course of action is to be prepared and to build resilient communities that can withstand the impact. we need to continue to do
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everything in our power to provide assistance to state and local governments so that they can protect themselves in the event of severe weather. now, you may recall that in the wake of hurricane harvey and other natural disasters, congress worked hard to provide disaster relief to texas and other states adversely affected. while there is still a lot of work to be done, these dollars have helped my state rebuild and come back to some semblance of normalcy, and i'm grateful to all of our colleagues here for working with us in florida and california, the other place, puerto rico, the other place that is were hit about that same time, and i'm grateful for the assistance that a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen and president trump working together have provided in the wake of this devastation. but here is the rub, mr. president. much of the funding that has been approved for texas still hasn't been untangled from red
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tape here in washington, d.c. in february, 2018, 15 months ago, congress appropriated more than $28 billion in community development block grants for disaster recovery, with roughly $12 billion intended specifically for mitigation purposes. about $4 billion of that was designated for texas and can still be used to do things like repair waste water treatment facilities that haven't been fully restored, or to carry out important economic revitalization in decimated areas, or to relocate or elevate damaged facilities to prepare for the next storm. but we haven't seen a cent of that $4 billion because it's been tied up at the office of management and budget. i've said before, mr. president, and i'll say it again, i look at the constitution, i see what the authority is of the president, i see what the authority is of the house of representatives, and i see what the authority is of the united states senate, and my
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understanding is when they all agree on an appropriation bill that it is the law of the land, but somehow this agency, the office of management and budget, has seen fit to usurp that authority and to defeat the will of congress when it comes to getting disaster relief to the intended beneficiaries, and this undue delay, i believe, is unacceptable, but it's sadly not unique to my state. other states are facing the same unnecessary holdup in getting desperately needed funds. one of those states is west virginia, which has been waiting more than three years to receive funding after devastating floods in june of 2016. my colleague from west virginia, senator manchin, and i have recently introduced a bill that would require the office of management and budget to ensure that these appropriated funds are promptly disbursed.
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it will start a timer, a shotclock, if you will, on when o.m.b. will release the money, giving them 60 days to untangle the red tape and get them to the communities that desperately need them. it's important to note this change would apply not only to this particular block of funding but to any funds appropriated to states which are being withheld by o.m.b. as appropriators continue to work this week, i hope they will include a provision that states like texas that have already suffered from a major disaster don't become victims of government bureaucracy. it's now been 467 days since the president signed a bill that would have sent roughly $7 billion to texas, and it's tough to imagine what communities could have accomplished in that time and how much progress could have
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been made if simply congress's and the executive branch's will had been carried out with the federal bureaucracy. with the 2019 hurricane season only a week and a half away, it's critical we get this money out of washington and into the hands of those who need it so we can begin to work on long-term projects to protect the texas coast and protect against future storms. of course, hurricane harvey was not the first storm to hit my state and i guarantee it will not be the last. texans have waited long enough for the funding we were promised and congress appropriated over the signature of the president and i hope we can pass something soon to improve these communities an carry out congressional -- and carry out congressional will. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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murmur mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. murmur unanimous consent -- mrs. murray: unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. i want to start this morning by expressing my appreciation to all of my colleagues who will be out here speaking out and to the men and women nationwide who are doing the same in their own communities. mr. president, in the last few weeks we have seen some of the most blatant and cruel efforts yet to deny women access to a safe legal abortion. we have seen legislation so
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extreme it would block a 12-year-old survivor of rape from getting an abortion and sentence health care providers to prison for providing safe, medley sound -- medically sound care to their patients, which is their responsibility. mr. president, the extreme politicians behind these cruel abortion bans are not stopping in alabama or missouri or anywhere else. they want to take these bans all the way to the supreme court. they want to allow brett kavanaugh to do what president trump and republicans chose him to do, roll back the decision in roe v. wade that established a woman's constitutionally protected right to make her own decisions about her own body and her own health care. they are pushing for this even though they know as well as we do that without the ability to exercise that right, women lose their lives. even though they know just as well as we do that without this right, doctors will be blocked from providing medically
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appropriate care. mr. president, let me be frank. extreme conservatives will push theets -- these abortion bans all the way to the supreme court even though they know that in a world where women cannot control what happens to their bodies, they are less able to plan their family and stay financially secure and independent. that means they are less free and less equal. i'm not going to stand for that and senate democrats are not going to stand for that either. so i'm proud to be on the floor today with a number of my colleagues who will be here standing for what our constitution confirms is true. women have the right to access safe legal abortion and this makes our country stronger because when women -- because women are absolutely critical to our country's strength. i'm proud to be making clear that even in the face of relentless attacks on women's health an rights, we're not -- and rights, we're not going to
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back down one bit. the truth is there are certain extreme politicians around the country to want to take us backward to the mad men era or further than that. the vast majority of women and men nationwide, including these -- those from all different backgrounds agree, abortion should be safe and it should be legal just as our constitution says. those people are watching now. they are speaking up and they are absolutely going to remember who stood up to protect women's health and rights and who pushed to take those rights away. mr. president, we have a number of senators who will be speaking about this today and i want to thank them for being here today. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: thank you, mr. president. and while she's on the floor, i want to commend my northwest colleague and friend senator murray and all of her leadership constantly coming to the floor
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and leading us on this enormous health challenge, a challenge that is existential for so many women across the country. mr. president, across the land republican lawmakers are passing extreme bills that throw in the trash can 45 years of settled law on reproductive health. this is an open, coordinated attack on roe v. wade and a woman's right to choose the health care she needs. these republican lawmakers are passing bills that are not only harmful, but they are overwhelmingly opposed by the public, bills with harsh criminal penalties for women and doctors, bills with no exceptions for cases of rape or insist, bills that explicitly compare women getting medical
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care to the holocaust. let me just repeat that. bills that explicitly compare women getting medical care to the holocaust. so i want to be clear what this is all about. the party of donald trump is insisting on government control of women's bodies. that is what is on the table in alabama, in georgia, moi, and else -- missouri, and elsewhere. government control -- government control of women's bodies. millions and millions across the land are watching in anger and in fear as all of this is playing out. i've heard from many of them back home in oregon. i heard it last weekend. i've got four town meetings in the rural part of oregon coming up. i'm going to hear it again. women are afraid for the future -- their futures, their
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family's futures because they know what is at stake with this coordinated attack on their rights. first it puts women's lives in danger. the reality is abortions will happen in states that passed these laws, but those abortions will happen later and they will be unsafe. women are going to die. that is a fact. women are going to die because of these restrictions. if you need proof, just look at the figures before and after the rowe case -- in the roe case, before roe, thousands of women died due to unsafe abortions and those are only the ones that people knew about. didn't even take into consideration the unnamed, the unknown victims of those misguided policies. after roe was decided in 1973, women's health care got safer.
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now, once again, there's an effort to undermine that safety of women. second, in key ways, the future of these restrictive laws creating is worse for women and health care professionals than before roe. what we're talking about now is jailing doctors for life. we're talking about treating women like hardened criminals after they get a medical procedure. women in some places are facing the prospect they may need to report miscarriages to the government or they could wind up in prison. now the other side in this debate paints a picture of women exercising their right to choose that is unfair and unrealistic. these are incredibly difficult choices. many women exercising their right to choose have just been hit with the most devastating medical news that prospective
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parents can face. it's not up to state lawmakers and government bureaucrats to step in and interfere with this intensely private and personal choice, but that's xablly what is -- exactly what is offered in state houses across the land. these laws punish women before roe, and it is a nightmarish fiction. it is a coordinated attack on women's right that is cruel and dangerous. abortion decisions are health care and health care choices should be made by women and the doctors they trust, not by the federal government, not by state lawmakers -- women and doctors, that's it. full stop. my democratic colleagues and i -- i want to thank senator murray. i see senator shaheen who has
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been such an advocate for women's health care for many years in public service. they are here and they are part of this effort that i'm proud to join in to fight at the federal level with everything we've got to stand up for women's rights, for intensely personal choices, and we're going to be joining those women across the land who are standing up and fighting with everything they've got. the government should not have control of women's bodies. end of story. i yield the floor. mrs. shaheen: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: thank you, mr. president. i'm here to join my colleagues, and i was going to say i'm pleased, but i'm not pleased. i'm disappoint that we're here on the floor today talking about something that should be an issue that's decided by women with their families with their
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physicians, and yet we're here to sound the alarm about the relentless assault that state legislatures and this administration have leveled against constitutionally protected reproductive rights and a woman's right to choose the health care she needs. i certainly applaud senator murray who has done such a great job of leading this response to this assault and my colleague from oregon, senator wyden, for their efforts. this radical effort to limit women's freedom to a full range of reproductive care is part of a broader strategy by some in this country to take health care away to those who need it. americans across the country, both women and men, are calling out these threats and fighting them head on. so today in hundreds of capitals across this country, in courthouses hundreds of rallies
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have powerful messages being sent, that we are not going back. as members of congress here in washington, we need to join them and defend women's reproductive rights. in just the past two weeks, governors in alabama and georgia signed extreme and dangerous abortion restritions -- restrictions into law. and yesterday the missouri legislature passed another bill to place draconian restrictions on a women's access to abortion. these actions are part of a concerted effort around the country to overturn roe v. wade and to deny women access to reproductive care. you know, and what's so ironic about this is that this is coming at a time when last year this country saw fewer unintended pregnancies than at any time in our history because giving women access to family planning, to the range of
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reproductive health care that women need means that there are fewer unintended pregnancy, and what laws like this means is that there will be more abortions, more unintended pregnancies, more maternal health deaths. that is not the direction that we should be going in. all of these state actions are concerning, especially the new alabama law which would outlaw abortion in virtually all instances with no exception for cases of rape or incest. the alabama law also establishes prison sentences for providers who perform abortions in violation of the abortion ban. so think about that for a second. if a doctor performs an abortion for a rape victim, the alabama law could put that doctor in prison for as long or even longer than the rapist. that makes no sense. the alabama abortion ban and so many other state laws like it
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will not only impede on a woman's freedom to make her own reproductive choices but it will also push women into the shadow and increase the likelihood of unsafe abortions. we know that. we've got data that shows that, not just in the united states but around the world. today one in three women live in states where abortion would be outlawed if roe v. wade is overturned. the alabama law and other state abortion bans are designed as a direct challenge to the protections provided by roe in the hopes of forcing action from the supreme court and sowing chaos for women in those states where abortion would be outlawed. rather than thinking about women and how they will be affected by this law, it's strictly designed to try and challenge the current roe v. wade law.
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unfortunately even in the light of the extreme nature of these recent abortion bans, we have an administration that is compounding the issue through its own actions to interfere with access to reproductive health services. now, whether it's creating new administrative obstacles to insurance coverage of abortion, preventing title 10 family planning clinics from informing their patients about reproductive care choices, or any of the many other recent federal actions, the trump administration's clear goal is to chip away at access to abortion. now, these recent actions by states and the administration pose grave threats to the freedoms and reproductive health protections that are relied on by women all across this country. at this critical time, we need to say loud and clear that we are ready to fight these extreme actions with everything we've
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got. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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ms. cantwell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: i ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i
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come to the floor to join my colleagues who have been speaking this morning about the access to health care for women in america. today as women take action across the nation to bring focus to this issue, i would like to join my colleagues, particularly the senior senator from washington, and thank her for her leadership on this important issue. she knows better than most how many times the united states senate and the congress in the last decade have fought over access to health care for women. it seems like every budget debate, every fiscal cliff, every budget negotiation, every issue had to have a debate about whether we were going to defund planned parenthood. so it's not a surprise that we're out here today as states across the nation try to roll back access to health care. i guarantee you i believe and my state believes that access to health care should be and is protected under the constitution as a right to privacy. we believe that and codified row vd wade into statute by a -- roe
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v. wade into statute. anyone who is going to take on access for women and erode what is a basic right in our state and i believe a basic right protected in our constitution, we are going to raise our voices. you are going to hear from us. so it is amazing to me that every budget battle, every debate here in the senate comes down to rolling back access to women's health care. and now as we see, supreme court justices who may or may not uphold those basic rights as were established in connecticut v. griswold, as supreme court justice who just happened to hail from the state of washington understood that the privacy rights protected in the constitution are in the pun numb bra of rights, i believe our supreme court justices should also continue that well established practice of observing those privacy rights. so hard to say what all these state actions will lead to,
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whether they will make it to the supreme court and what this supreme court will have to say about it. but i can tell you that we here in the united states senate, women who understand the access to health care, are so emphatic that we not erode these rights. i had the very unfortunate situation of having to speak at a funeral this weekend for a 28-year-old former staff member who died of cancer. and i know how much fight she had in her, but it was afterwards where one of harrell tifs said -- her rel tefs said to me, senator, you can't leave this unaddressed. young women at college campuses are not getting the breast exams to do early detection that she should. they should be out there.
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we should do more to evangelize that young women need to pay attention to their health care. and yet here we are across the nation having this debate. and i guarantee you that the access to health care to do those early detections in a lot of communities come with the access that organizations like planned parenthood and others deliver. so while they're not what's immediately under attack by these states, i guarantee you it is all part of a larger debate that needs to stop. health care should be the right of women to be discussed with their doctors and continue to be protected under our constitution. i thank the president. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. a senator: i thank my colleague from washington for that personal story and sorry for her loss of her former staff member.
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ms. klobuchar: i think that story is a good place to start because this isn't just about an isolated bill passing in one state. this is actually part of a greater effort. you look at what this administration has been trying to do since day one. defunding planned parenthood. okay. well, that is where one out of five women in their lifetime will go to seek health care for things like cancer screenings, for things like contraception. you look at the fact that over the span of the last administration, we actually reduced abortions to the lowest level in recorded history. that's a good thing. people who are personally opposed to abortion or people who are pro-choice can agree that that's a good thing. why did that happen? because contraception was available. why did that happen? because health care was available that allowed with more ease women to access
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contraception. and so now what do we have? three things going on. these restrictive laws that literally put doctors in prison for 99 years. that's what i'll talk about today. we have an effort to defund planned parenthood and reduce access to contraception as a result. and then we have an effort, a major effort, to repeal the entire affordable care act which would allow women to be kicked off of their health care insurance if they have a preexisting condition. and before that act came into law, in eight states being a victim of domestic abuse was considered a preexisting condition. so do not see these laws that we're just -- that were just passed in these states, are being considered in these states as isolated. look at it as a complete package. and it's not a package that the women of this country want to get in the mail. i have always believed that a
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woman's most personal and difficult medical decisions should be made with her doctor and her family and that those decisions should not be undermined or politicized by government officials. but that is exactly what we are seeing today. in the last few months, an alarming number of states have passed laws to limit a woman's ability to seek reproductive health care services. kentucky, ohio, mississippi, and georgia have all recently passed measures that basically amount to bans on abortion. and just last week alabama passed a bill that effectively and in writing banned abortion completely. the bill which passed the alabama state senate, by the way, without a vote of a single woman senator, would allow a doctor who performed an abortion to be sent to jail for 99 years. the alabama law's only exception is if a woman's life is at risk. it does not even include an
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exception for incidents of rape or incest. so what does this mean? well, if your kid is in college and gets brutally raped, it means that they wouldn't -- she would not have a choice about whether or not she would carry a baby. that's what that law says in alabama. and if and if a doctor wanted to intervene, if a doctor wanted to help in that state, he would be sent to prison for 99 years or up to 99 years. this is what this bill that passed one of the states and is similar to bills in other states actually says. what we are seeing, of course, is wrong and unconstitutional. these bills directly infringe on a woman's right to make her own medical decisions and the precedent that the supreme court set in roe v. wade, which has been affirmed many times over the last 46 years.
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you wonder where the public is on this? 73% of americans do not believe that roe v. wade should be reversed. in my state, i have people that are pro-choice and i have people who are pro-life. i have people that believe personally, do not want to have an abortion. however, they do not think that their views should dictate what happens to their neighbors. and that is the problem. that is the nub of the problem with what's going on in these states. the precedent in roe is clear, but these lawmakers have decided that they want to take away a woman's basic right to make a personal health care decision. in fact, they are passing these bills with the hope that it goes to the supreme court, where this administration have placed judges on that court where there is a lot of hope with the people that are passing these restrictive laws that they're going to overturn roe v. wade.
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after signing the new abortion ban into law, the governor of alabama released a statement in which she said, the sponsors of this bill believe that it is time once again for the u.s. supreme court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about, quote, the best opportunity for this to occur. so don't tell me this is just one legislature deciding that they're going to do something that other people in this chamber on the other side of the aisle don't agree with. no, no, no. this has been an effort that has been going on for years. this is an effort that is going on during an administration with a president that in 201 in a town -- in 2016 in a town hall meeting said that he thought women should be punished for making that decision. a few hours later his campaign tries to dial it back with the statement that, no, he meant that doctors should be punished. so this is not just an isolated
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incident, which is why so many of my colleagues has taken to the floor today. we can have individual disagreements, and we can have our own personal beliefs, but as elected officials, we must follow the constitution of the united states. and overturning roe isn't just unconstitutional. as i said, it is against the wishes of the vast majority of the people in this country. in the last few years, as i've noted, we have seen an assault on women's access to care. we have seen it with the attempt to defund planned parenthood, even though during the obama administration we saw an historic decrease in abortions. according to a c.d.c. study conducted between 2006 and 2015, abortion rates fell to historic lows near the end of the obama administration. what should we be doing?
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well, we should be providing more access to health care services, comprehensive health education, and contraception -- not less. and we should ensure that women are equipped with the knowledge and resources they need to make informed health care decisions. in the senate i have fought back against efforts to undermine the ability of a woman to make choices about her own health. i have cosponsored the women's health protection act, important legislation led by senator blumenthal, to prohibit laws intended to restrict women's access to reproductive health services. and i look forward to cosponsoring this bill again when it is reintroduced. i thank senator murray for her leadership over the years -- many, many years in this area. it is our responsibility to treat women in every state in this union with respect and dignity instead of using them as political pawns. i join my colleagues in condemning these recent efforts
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to restrict women's access to health care services and i will continue working to protect the health and lives of women across the country. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader.
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mr. durbin: mr. president, if we are in suspension -- i ask to suspend the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, it is difficult to believe that it's happening, but i've seen it. it was about three weeks ago. i was in el paso, texas. i went down to see what was happening at our border. you can't escape all the stories that have been written about the number of people who have been coming to our border and what's happening to them. i wanted to see for myself. i saw what was a detention facility for people who had been stopped at the border. it was a cell -- there was a cell with a plate-glass window so you could see everything inside. above the door of the cell it said, capacity 35. and i looked inside, took the
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time to slowly count, and i counted 150 men in that cell, standing shoulder to shoulder. a few of them could sit on the benches on the side of the walls. 150. there was one toilet in that cell. they were fed their meals to eat standing up. they slept taking turns lying down on the floor. some of them would be there for three days, some as long as six weeks -- six weeks. next to that cell was another one with a plate-grass window that you could see -- with a plate-glass window that you could see inside. and above the cell was a shine that read, capacity 16. this was a cell with 35 women. there were four or five with nursing babies.
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i've since learned that in the few weeks since i saw this and witnessed it firsthand, things have gotten dramatically worse. the cell with 150 now has almost 200 men jammed into it. the cell with the women, even worse than what i saw when i visited. if i described these conditions in a prison in some foreign country, you would say, for goodness sakes, the united states should speak up for human rights. we cannot allow human beings to be treated that way. this detention facility for these immigrant is in the united states of america. it has to come to an end and it has to start with a commitment by the people of this country through their elected representatives in congress and this president to stop this inhumane treatment of these
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individuals. today i am aide sending a letter that i never -- today i'm sending a letter that i never thought i would send to the international red cross. you see, we call on the international red cross to go to developing countries and look at their prison situations and decide whether they are humane. i cannot believe that i'm asking them to do this in the united states of america. but because i have seen it with my own eyes and i've been told that it's getting worse, i feel i have no choice. i'm also asking for the inspector general of the department of homeland security to immediately on an emergency basis review the detention facilities for adults and children. why do i raise that point? because we know what this administration did last year at a project called zero tolerance. zero tolerance, announced by the attorney general of the united
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states, jeff sessions, said we'll treat everyone who comes to our border as a criminal. understand that people can come to our border and present themselves, as many people do, and ask for asylum. they have not violated any law of the united states at that point. they've turned themselves in. they're not sneaking in. they've turned themselves in for adjudication as to whether they're eligible to be in this country. but attorney general sessions said last year, we will treat them as catch and release. and, therefore, because --s a criminals. and, therefore, because they are suspected criminals, we will remove their children from them. how many kids under zero tolerance were taken by the trump administration away from their parents? 2,880. i know that number because a federal judge in southern california took this administration to court and said, i want an accounting for every one of those children. i saw those children, at least some of them, in chicago. they go through a bureaucratic
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process and end up at agencies that the -- this health and human services, in fact, agencies that try to place them in foster care or connect them with up with a member of their family. i remember they brought in a number of children who had been taken away from their apparents. there were two little 4-year-old girls who i thought were sisters. as i looked more closely, i realized they weren't. they just seemed like sisters, and they had become friends at that facility. four years old. holding hands. they gave them crayons and coloring books, which i give to little kids. then i went to an immigration court proceeding in downtown chicago in an office building. you'd never know it from the street. but on the fourth floor of this high-rise we have a u.s. immigration court, and a very caring judge was there, and she
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was trying to get through a docket that was very heavy. she incited me to stay for the first case -- she invited me to stay for the first case of the day. it involved two clients. it was tough to get this proceeding under way because zero tolerance had resulted in more children coming into these immigration courts, and the difficulty in getting this hearing under way was that she said before we start, i want everyone to take their seats. it was hard to get marta to take her seat. marta was two years old. she had to be lifted into the chair and handed a stuffed animal for her hearing. lucky for the other client, hamilton -- hamilton spotted one of those matchboxcars on top of the table and 4-year-old hamilton scrambled up into the chair. in the united states of america, an immigration hearing and the clients were two years old and four years old. because of the conscious policy
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of this administration to separate children from their parents. so we have this setting with detention cells jammed with people in inhumane circumstances and the separation of children from their parents. i sent a letter to the inspector general of the department of homeland security asking about these children who've been separated. it came back to me a few months ago and said, we've discovered there were more. before thea they a-- before they announced that this administration had been separating children as they presented themselves at the border, the judge stepped in and asked, how many? today it is reported that at least 1,712 more kids may have been separated. that means we're over 4,500 babies, toddlers, infants, and
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children separated from their parents by this administration. sadly, some of these children will not be reunited. their parents were sent back, usually to central american countries that they came from. and now the kids are in the system and way too young to even remember who mom was or who bad was. this circumstance has reached the point of a humanitarian crisis on our border. how can this president who was elected promising that he would do something about immigration have brought us to this terrible moment where we have more people presenting themselves at the border than we've had in history, certainly those with children, we've never had people in these numbers showing up. and the tougher this president's rhetoric is, the meaner his tweets are, the more people come to our borders.
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it's exactly the opposite of what he promised us. this circumstance here is absolutely intolerable, unacceptable, and embarrassing to our country, that we would have to call on an international organization to look at the way we are treating people in the united states. i'm sorry that it's come to this, but in good conscience, i can't ignore it. the most recent news report says another child died at the border. i think that brings the total to four in the last few weeks. is that what america has come to? we need to have an immigration policy that makes sense. absolutely we must have border security. in an age of terrorism and an age of drug epidemics, i want to know who's coming into this country, and i want to know what they're bringing with them. secondly, the united states certainly cannot accept everyone in the world who wants to come here. it's understandable they want to live in this great country. that's what brought my
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grandmother and mother to these shores as immigrants to this country. but we cannot accept everyone in the world. and third, we don't want anyone dangerous coming into this country, period. no exceptions. and if you're dangerous and not legal in this country, you should be gone. but having said that, now it's our burden to come up with a comprehensive immigration bill that makes sense for this nation of immigrants in the 21st century. unfortunately, the united states senate and this empty chamber tells you how much work we do on legislation. we give speeches. we ran for the senate to give speeches. and occasionally, we vote on another nominee every few hours. that's it. you won't see a comprehensive immigration bill come to the floor of the senate that hasn't, not this year and not for the
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previous six years but the last time it did, i was part of a bipartisan effort that wrote one that passed the senate with i believe 67 votes. an overwhelming roll call bipartisan in favor of immigration reform that died in the republican-controlled house and there's never been another try since. why were we elected to come here if we can't face this problem squarely, dealing with what's going on at our border and making sense out of our immigration system? this is a humanitarian nightmare on our border. but i'll tell you another one. this president decided to end the daca program. i know a little bit about that. maybe more than some of my colleagues. because it was 19 years ago that i introduced a bill -- we do a lot of that. but this bill was called the dream act. 19 years ago. it said if you were brought to this country as a child, you lived here and went to school
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and didn't get in trouble with the law, you ought to have a chance to become legal in america. that was it. and for 19 years we've been trying to make it the law of the land. unable to get 60 votes in the senate, we always got a majority but never the 60 votes that we needed. and i appealed to my former senate colleague and friend president obama and said can you do something to help these young people who have never known another country and want to be part of the united states and its future. many of the schoolchildren who visit us here get up in their classrooms every day, and i'm proud to say they put their hands over their hearts and pledge allegiance to that flag. these kids do exactly the same thing. it's the only flag and the only country they've ever known. and so president obama created what was called daca. and 790,000 of these young people stepped up, paid a filing fee of over $500, went through a
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criminal background check, and they were given a chance to stay legally in the united states for two years at a time, not to be deported and to be able to work and be able to go to school. 790,000 of them. you know, i really believe in them. and you know human nature, out of 790,000, there's got to be some of them in there that are going to disappoint you. but i stand here today in the senate and tell you that in all these years since president obama has done that, i've never heard any of those stories. these are extraordinary young men and women. i've told their stories on the floor of the senate, over 120 of them, how these daca-protected young people want to become part of america's future. let me tell you about a group of them in chicago. university -- lie yol la university -- lyola university in chicago is a great school and have a great school of medicine. whether they heard about the daca program, they said we're
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going to open up competition to these daca-protected young people to compete to go to medical school. and the word flashed across the country. because many of these young people who dreamed of being doctors had no chance because they were undocumented. because of daca they were given this temporary legal status and buzz of the university, -- because of the university, they were able to apply. over 30 of them were accepted to the medical school, some of the brightest kids living in our country who wanted to become doctors. there was a catch. if you went to loyola, you had to promise to give a year of service to the state of illinois that loaned you the money to go to school, for each year we loaned the money. they signed up for it. they were ready to go to neighborhoods where we need doctors, in small town, rural america where we desperately need doctors. well, these young people are some of the best and brightest i've ever met. every one of them an inspiration. so when president trump eliminated the daca program, he
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eliminated their opportunity to continue their medical education. you see, after four years of medical school, you go into a residency. and a residency is a job, employment. it's a lot more than 40 hours a week, i might add. but since president trump eliminated daca, they cannot legally take a job. this case is going through the courts now as to whether the president had the right to eliminate daca. he did it. the second court last friday said he was wrong. he had no reason, no basis to eliminate this program. when you hear these stories about what's happening at the border in these detention cells, when you hear about the conscious decision of this administration to separate infants and toddlers from their parents, 4,500 of them being separated, when you hear about this administration coming forward to eliminate the daca program and to stop these medical students from becoming doctors and serving in my state
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where they're desperately needed, you have to ask yourself, mr. president, what is your immigration policy. why have you made such a mess of this situation that wasn't very good to start with? and what are we going to do about it? anything? not in this empty chamber, not today. we're just going to pick up the papers every morning and say isn't it a shame. well, it's more than a shame. it's an embarrassment to this country, that this nation of immigrants has reached this moment. mr. president, i continue to appeal to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. please, come forward and let's solve these problems together. i've been part of bipartisan groups that have come up with comprehensive bills and all sorts of legislative responses. my door is always open to anyone who wants to sit down. in the meantime, bring humanity to our border. let us not do things with these
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people presenting themselves that don't speak well of our values and our reputation around the world. we can do better. we can.humane treatment, -- we can provide humane treatment, even as congress fails to do its job, those people at the border deserve to be treated like human beings. as we work through our legal issues and our political issues, no more separation of children from their parents. how devastating that must be for that child. you know, when some of these parents were reunited with the children, these little babies and infants, young kids wouldn't talk to the mothers. turned away from them. with their body language they said what we knew was going through their mind. you abandoned me. you left me. i don't know who you are anymore. over time maybe they can reestablish that relationship. child psychologists tell us
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there could be some damage that needs to be repaired there, and isn't that a shame that an innocent child would go through that experience. now that we know that there were 1,712 more of these children, we need to do everything with this federal judge who had the courage to step up to reunite them as quickly as possible with their parents. in the meantime, i want to call on this administration and the acting secretary of the department of homeland security kevin macaleenan, go down to the border, take a look at the detention facilities, do everything possible to make certain that there is humane treatment there. these are desperate people risking their lives to come to this united states of america. we owe them at least humane treatment while they are here as our political and legal system works its way.
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mr. president, i ask that the next statement be placed in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, people are following what's happening in states like alabama, georgia, and mississippi where state legislators are considering -- state legislatures are considering legislation on the issue of abortion. this is a very inflammatory, divisive issue. i know. i've seen it firsthand throughout my political career. i have good friends who are on one side of the issue who smile and say hello and wouldn't vote for me in a hundred years because of this issue. i have others who passionately support me because they take the other side of the issue. it really is for some people the litmus test on how they'll vote for a candidate. and for over 40 years we have tried to reconcile this issue, this basic question, when does
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life begin. in roe v. wade, the u.s. supreme court said we're going to base it on the concept of viability, survivability of the fetus as to an individual's right when it comes to making this decision as opposed to society's right or responsibility. and there have been a lot of debate over the years as to whether that roe v. wade decision was right or wrong. we've seen a lot of different efforts to change it, some successful, some not. and we've seen subsequent supreme court cases which redefine roe v. wade as well. now we have a group that believes that they can move forward on this in the state of georgia and the state of alabama. and what they've proposed is much different than what we had accepted as the norm for decad decades. they've eliminated, for example, any exceptions for rape and
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incest. most people understand that victims of rape and incest should be viewed differently as others, but in the state of alabama they eliminated those exceptions in the law that they just passed. why are they doing that now when federal courts have in the past, in the immediate past decided they can't go that far? well, because they believe that because the actions of the united states senate, it's going to change in the courts. this president has appointed two new justices to the supreme court, gorsuch, kavanaugh. and the belief is that even though they told us over and over again that roe v. wade was settled law, if this new law in alabama makes it across the street to the supreme court, they may use this alabama law to overturn roe v. wade. and we continue on a regular
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basis here to bring judges before us who have extreme views on the subject. and without much debate give them lifetime appointments to the federal bench, district and circuit court judges. several of them are before us this week. i've heard them in the committees. just last week we had a judge vitter in louisiana. she is a person who has blamed planted parenthood for -- planned parenthood for deaths and has said at one point that she believed that contraception, the pill, was dangerous to women, her conclusion without scientific evidence to back it. she just got a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. that's the kind of nominees that are brought to us by this administration. so is it any wonder that the alabama legislatures were
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encouraged to think if we can pass this law and get it to the right federal judge, somebody under the trump administration, we're going to overturn roe v. wade? i think that would be a serious mistake if it happened and the overwhelming majority of americans support roe v. wade. but some would directly and virtually reverse roe v. wade. what we are facing is is not a few far-right politicians making a statement out of the mainstream. this is a systematic effort by republicans to restrict women's reproductive rights and ultimately overturn roe v. wade. what else do these state legislatures have in common? they rank among the lowest when it comes to gender representation and women in power. meanwhile, here in the senate, republican leader mcconnell has lined up even more extreme
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ideological judicial nominees who have records of restricting women's rights. just last week, as i mentioned, the republican majority confirmed ms. wendy vitter, who once promoted the concept that contraceptives cause cancer and claimed that planned parenthood kills 150,000 women a year. that anyone could make those statements and then be approved by this senate chamber for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench tells you the standards that are being used by the trump administration and by the republicans in this body. she was confirmed to a lifetime appointment. this week the senate is considering mr. daniel collins, who has been nominated to the ninth circuit over the objection of both california senators. he filed an amicus brief in support of hobby lobby petition to deny female employees of that
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corporation contraceptive care, and he's argued that pregnancy clinics need not follow a local notification law informing patients about their options when it came to birth control. also this week we are considering north carolina district court nominee kenneth bell who once wrote in an op-ed, and i quote, there is no middle ground on this issue of abortion. and then missouri district nominee stephen clark will be before us as well. he spent much of his legal career litigating against reproductive rights and access to contraceptives. these are the nominees to take lifetime appointments on the federal court. you've got to bring together the action of alabama with the action on the floor of the united states senate. alabama is setting up the test case. the republicans in the senate are setting up the courts in the hopes that they'll rule in that
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test case to put an end to roe v. wade and say that, despite the support of a majority of americans, women do not have the last word when it comes to their own bodies, their own lives, and their own pregnancies. that is what this is about today in america on our political scene. that is certainly what the next election is all about as well -- the vision of america, the rights of women, the rights of individuals to make their own decisions about their own bodies. mr. president, i hope that the republican leaders who have expressed their misgivings about the alabama legislation will do much more than that. i hope they will join us in trying to maintain some sort, if not a consensus, some sort of understanding about how we deal
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with this extremely divisive issue. mr. president, i ask consent that the statement i'm about to make be placed in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, in a sermon on the good samaritan, dr. martin luther king jr. said that most people who come upon a stranger in need ask, if i stop to help this man, what will happen to me? but the good samaritan reverses the question and asks, if i don't stop to help this man, what will happen to me? the latter person is rare and special, dr. king said. on the saturday before easter, that special person was another man named king -- robert king of chicago. mr. king was driving a heavy traveled lakeshore drive which passes in front of my apartment when he saw a green and white van on the road. another vehicle had crashed into that van at a stoplight.
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many cars passed and did nothing. but mr. king didn't. he stopped to see if he could help. he noticed the man had a van in the cooler and thought he might be delivering food. he found out that the man was an organ transplant surgeon. inside the cooler were three precious organs that needed to be rushed to nearbay northwestern memorial hospital as soon as possible. robert king, the passerby, stopped to help one stranger in need. he ended up helping to save two lives. those precious organs were the final magnanimous gift of a young woman who died too soon and had the heart to donate her organs. one patient at northwestern received her liver and kidney while her pancreas went to another patient at a separate hospital. the president and c.e.o. of gift
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of hope organ and tissue donor network put it best, here was just a regular chicagoan -- this robert king -- who through the kindness of his heart helped us honor a donor family who was kind enough to donate the most precious gift anyone can ever give. at the chicago organ annual meeting, they gathered last week and honored robert king for his act of kindness that saves lived and told his story to the world. the two people who were helped by robert king's thoughtfulness were among an estimated 113,000 men and women and children who are living and waiting and hoping for organs to reach them. every ten minutes another person is added to that list. every day, sadly, 20 people die waiting for a transplant. the human body contains eight organs that can be transplanted and save lives -- the heart, two
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lungs, two kidneys, pancreas, liver, and intestines. and here is the hope each of us can choose to save up to eight lives by becoming an organ donor. the world needs good samaritans. it needs more robert kings and more organ donors. mr. president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. durbin: i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m. recess:
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>> the complete guide to congress is now available. it is lots of details about the house and senate for the current session of congress. contact and bio information about every senator and representative plus information about congressional committees, state governors and the cabinet. the 2019 congressional directory is a handy spiral-bound guide. order your copy from the c-span online store for $18.95. >> starting memorial day may 27 all week in prime time c-span has coverage of commencement ceremonies taking place at colleges and universities across the country.
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