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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 5, 2019 9:29am-11:29am EDT

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inventory. things like the df-21 an intermediate range ballistic missile-- excuse me the 26 or the 21 which is a medium range ballistic missile all could be used in that regional conflict, south china seas and the tacom and the treaties would be subject to that. so would be subject to some sort of an imf treaty and right now not subject to the comprehensive test ban. i understand that they signed it in '96, i don't know that they have ratified it although the russians signed in '96 and ratified in 2000. >> your analysis would conclude that the chinese are modernizing their nuclear forces in a way that would be inconsistent-- >> we'll leave this discussion on arms control and go live now to capitol hill, the senate is about to gavel in. senators today will consider
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nominees to be assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs. chairman of the commodities futures trading commission, and assistant interior secretary for policy. live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2.
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the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. black, will offer prayer to the senate. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal father, the source of or hopes and dreams, you are the stable influence tht gives us peace in a sometimes chaotic world. we praise you for surrounding us with the shield of your favor and love. lord, continue to guide our lawmakers as they trust you to direct their steps. remind them that you will not
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with hold good things from the upright. use them to illuminate the darkness of faulty thinking and to make our nation and world a better place to live. sanctify their thoughts as they daily expose themselves to the wisdom and constellation of your word. and, lord, as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of d-day, increase our staith in the power of your -- our faith in the power of your loving providence. we pray in your strong name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance
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to our flag. 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. mr. mcconnell: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: yesterday the senate voted to confirm andrew saul of new york to serve as commissioner of social security and voted to advance several more highly qualified nominees. today we'll vote to confirm three other executive branch nominees to important posts at
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the department of state and interior and at the cftc and will advance three for judicial nominees to fill seats on the u.s. district court for the eastern district of virginia and the court of federal claims. so the senate continues to clear the backlog left by more than two years of systemic delays and obstructions that extended even to nominees with major bipartisan support. impressive, unobjectionable individuals who spent months, and in some cases well over a year on the executive calendar were finally granted straight-forward votes. but the senate rule change adopted this spring is already making a change. in 48 session days from january through april we were able to confirm just 23 nominees, but in the 20 days immediately following the modest reform, we've confirmed 45, about twice as many in less than half the
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time. and, of course, the number of confirmation has continued to climb in the weeks since. we needed to get these folks on the job for the sake of the country. the president, any president, should be able to stand up a government. the american people deserve to be governed by the government they voted for. many of the jobs that have been needlessly held open are not typically the highest profile positions, but they are still hugely important. as i said yesterday, until we confirm david schenker later today, his confirmation to hold the top middle east job at the state department will have been held up for more than a year. this is the middle east position at the state department. and, yet, as a cloture vote indicated this qualified nominee carries overwhelming support. the nomination's been held by democrats for political purposes
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that have nothing to do with the nominee or his qualifications for the position. given the crises ranging from libya to yemen and almost elsewhere in between, it is time to have a secretary for near eastern affairs confirmed and on the job. later we will confirm susan combs to serve as assistant secretary of the interior. her nomination has been pending in the senate since july of 2017, two years, 700 days, just shy of two years. but starting tomorrow she'll finally be on the job. these are the kinds of nominees who once would have moved swiftly through the senate, frequently by a voice vote. i wish we could rediscover that tradition. but one way or another we'll continue to make progress. on another matter, now in addition to the nominations
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there are a number of other important items that congress ought to be able to tackle in the next several weeks. as i mentioned several times, we need continued negotiations between the senate, the house, and the white house to have a bipartisan funding agreement to set up the appropriations process. we'll also need to complete a national defense are authorization act to address critical national security challenges, rebuild our military's readiness and modernize our armed forces to address the growing challenges posed by great power competitors like russia and china. and, madam president, the headlines remain filled with the unacceptable, unsustainable security crisis and humanitarian crisis down on our southern border. by now i'm confident every member of congress has heard the breathtaking numbers. we all heard the chaos analyzed a thousand different ways. what we haven't seen is any be a
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tight on the democratic side for actually getting an outcome. we haven't seen democrats put aside their reflexive opposition to anything -- anything the president requests and face the facts. so allow me to repeat some of those facts yet again. we're all hoping they will sink in sometime soon. one week ago this morning border agents encountered the largest group of people attempting an illegal crossing that they have ever -- ever seen. they apprehended more than 1,000 individuals, the largest group ever. for consecutive months the men and women who guard our border have apprehended 100,000 people -- 100,000. that is each month -- 100,000 a month. we're talking about numbers not seen for more than a decade.
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and as we all know, in particular the amount of families and children are consistently record breaks as well. the officials whom we trust to protect our borders, not to mention feed, clothe, and house individuals have been crying out for months that their agencies are stretched literally to the breaking point. one processing center that was to hold 125 now holds 900. the office of refugee resettlement said that the agency for unaccompanied children may use all of its funding this month and reduce operations. here is one newspaper reporting on testimony from the head of the border patrol. the flood of immigrants has overwhelmed border patrol stations and other facilities forcing them to release migrants
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into the communities with the hope that they will be back for court hearings. so this is weakening our border security and national security. it is directly worsening the condition for these men, women and children. and the authorities are pleading -- pleading, madam president, for our help. i dare say there are not many occasions when the editorial board of "the new york times" has chosen to side with the trump administration, but this crisis is so bad and the next step is so obvious that it has united president trump, republicans here in congress, and "the new york times" editorial page. i doubt if we'll see that again. here was the title of their editorial about a month ago. congress, give trump his border money. they describe, quote, a humanitarian crisis of overcrowding, disease, and chaos
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as resources are strained and the system buckles, the misery grows. they published that editorial while we were finalizing the disaster funding legislation. there was no reason why the funds to alleviate the humanitarian crisis at the border should not have been included in that bill. and yet my friend, the democratic leader, came to the floor multiple times late last month to call the issue of border funding, quote, extraneous. extraneous. well, addressing the humanitarian crisis is not extraneous. it is extension yes, ma'am. migrants are experiencing overcrowded and underequipped facilities. our law enforcement and humanitarian professionals are crying out for help. look, i understand our democratic colleagues find it extremely difficult to put partisanship aside and work with the president the american people actually elected. i think the whole country sees
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very clearly that democrats in congress seem to prefer picking fights with this president to actually getting much done. but their partisan spite must not prolong this misery any longer. as long as democrats continue to drag their feet on this crisis, as long as they keep slow walking funding that everyone from president trump to "the new york times" sees is necessary, then my colleagues across the aisle will continue to own -- own the consequences. it's on them. so i hope my democratic colleagues will allow this legislation to move forward. no more poison pill policy riders, no more political posturing. it is way past time for action. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: quorum
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call: quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. murphy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: i ask that we dispense with the quorum call.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. first, i have a unanimous consent request for floor privileges, first that they be granted for the remainder of the day for my fellow dr. sirus and for the rest of the year for interns in my office darcy hartwell, holly mcgrath, and katie stanton. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: thank you very much, mr. president. mr. president, last week a man submitted his two two-week -- his two-week notice in virginia beach at his place of employment before going there and shooting 12 people and injuring four
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others. he unloaded dozens of rounds indiscriminately, in addition to two handguns, he had extended ammunition magazines and a suppresser to mufl the sound -- to muffle the sound of gunfire. this was the 100th mass shooting in america coming on the 100th day of the year. this has become a regular part of life in the united states of america, individuals walking into churches and shopping malls and schools and places of employment and shooting indiscriminately such that dozens of innocent lives are lost. in most cases the same kinds of
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weapons are used, semiautomatic rifles, extended magazines, weapons or components of weapons that are banned in other countries, were banned in this country for a period of time because they were believed to be so dangerous such that they should be in the exclusive province of the military and law enforcement. ryan keith cox was 50 years old when he was shot and killed on may 31st. he was known for his soft-spoken nature and his powerful singing voice in his church choir, and he was constantly affecting those around him with small but meaningful gestures of kindness. the day that he was killed in virginia beach, a close coworker
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of ryan's, christie dewar was with him and ryan told christie and other colleagues to bear themselves in the break room. christie implored keith to join them in the break room. and he said to her, i have to go check on the other ones. keith left and he was soon shot by the gunman as he was assisting other co-workers to safety. christie said every time i was upset, ryan would give me a big hug. when i was jub set about something, he knew exactly what to say to make you smile. you knew he was the type of person to lie his -- lay his life down for someone. mr. bishop said that he had known keith for years. they had been leaders in the church world, bishop williams said.
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ryan keith cox was 50 years old when he was shot in virginia beach. joshua hardy was two years old. he was 52 years old. he had been working for four and a half years as an engineering technician in the city of virginia beach. he was raised in hampton roads. he came from a really big family and was described by his friends and family about being really caring, especially about kids. he didn't have any children of his own but watched over his nieces and nephews. one of his indonesia's said that he cared for me and my cousins. he was like a father figure to me because my dad wasn't around. in 2011 josh published a book called the a, b, c book on protecting yourself from strangers and people he worked
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were so impressed that he went above and beyond. larry knight gave a copy of the book to his daughter and grandson and he remembers joshua always having a smile on the job. quote, joshua was one of the nicest people you would ever care to meet. he was funny and kind hearted. he would do anything for you. laquita brown was 39 years old. she was a public servant from chesapeake, virginia. she had worked in the public works department for more than four years. she was a right-of-way agent. her friends called her ms. worldwide because she loved to travel. she had been all are around the world. and her social media was plastered with pictures of her travel. her father, as any father would be, was heart broken by her death. he said she was everything --
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everything to me. i know nobody's perfect, but from the time she was born, she had no faults. for the brown family, the grief surrounding laquita's death comes on the heels of laqita's brother dying from a hit-and-run driver three years ago. he helped her through his grief. she saved me, he said. i wouldn't have made it through that without her. 100 days into the year, 100 mass shootings. it doesn't happen anywhere else in the world except for the united states of america. we can't claim to be helpless. we can't claim to have no solutions because if it only happens here and nowhere else, then there must be something
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different happening here. right. we can learn. we can adapt. we are now 100 days since the house of representatives passed a universal background checks bill. a universal background checks bill that is supported by 90% of americans and would have a significant downward effect on the number of people that are shot in this country. now we tend to only pay attention as a nation and as a body when something like virginia beach happens, when there is a mass shooting of epic scale when five or ten or 20 people lose their life at one time. but since the house passed the universal background checks bill, 10,000 people have been shot and killed in america. that's a stunning number. 10,000 people have been shot and killed in america in 100 days since the house passed the universal background checks bill. and the vast majority of these
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individuals are not killed in mass shootings. most of these suicides are people who took their own life with a weapon, many are accidental, many of them are homicides. the grief and pain is no different than l aquita's father is feeling. the reason i peg this to the background check bill is that background checks saves lives. if you're getting a gun in a commercial sale, you need to prove you're not a criminal or mentally ill. in states that have universal background checks, you have less suicides, you have less homicides. connecticut is a perfect example. research shows that once we passed our universal background checks requirement, we did it quite a number of years ago, we
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saw a 40% reduction in gun homicides in our state. similarly when missouri went from having a universal background checks to not having them, they saw a 41% crease in homicides in their state. not every single one of these deaths preventible, but many of them are. it's not that we don't know what to do. it's not that we don't know what makes it country different. it's just we're unwilling to take those steps. just this past weekend 52 people were shot in communities across this country. ten deaths from gunshot wounds in chicago alone, and these victims are just as worth remembering as the victims in virginia beach or sandy hook or
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parkland. duane brown was 16 years old. he was a sophomore in high school in chicago, illinois, and he was all hyped up to throw himself the biggest 16th birthday party that his friends had ever seen. at the end of april, he was going to throw down. but on april 1st, he was standing in front of a gas station when a gunman opened fire, hitting duane in the leg and the chest. one of his basketball teammates thought the initial news of his death was an april fool's joke. it happened on april 1st. so when he heard about it, he went back to sleep. his friend said he was the life of the party. he was so energetic. i was with him a week ago and for this to happen in that time
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period, i'm in shock. at a vigil, his elementary school principal read an excerpt of something he wrote in school. he wrote, i want to be a good son. always be there for my mom and always be there to take care of her. a couple of weeks ago, jalen elsey was a freshman at finger academy high school in chicago. according to his uncle, jacob has an outgoing, kind-hearted kid. he lived with his mother, two sisters, and three brothers. jalen is not around anymore because he was one of those victims of gun violence in the city of chicago. his uncle said this -- summer in the city? it's just something different. other kids look forward to going to summer camp. jalen was just trying to make sure he lived another day.
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his uncle jacob began tearing up as he recalled his favorite memory of jalen as a small child. whenever jalen and his brother would come stay with their uncle, they would take a bath and they would nestle among the pillows and blankets, waiting for their uncle to blast them with hot air from a blow dryer. he was just a lovable kid, surviving his environment, said his uncle, and he knew about family. family was always instilled in him. mr. president, since my life was changed in december of 2012 when 20 first graders were killed in sandy hook, i have tried to come down to the floor of the house of representatives every couple of weeks and tell the stories of victims of gun violence in this country, to try to put some -- some personality behind the 10,000 lives that have been lost in the last 100 days, and i told you about five of the victims
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this morning. but our inaction is complicity. there are tough things and then there are easy things. i get it that there are some antigun violence measures that i would support that are just too hot for some republican members, but i don't care what state you're from. 97% of your constituents, 80% of your constituents, the vast majority of your constituents support expanding background checks to make sure if you buy a gun online or buy a gun at a gun show, you have to go through a five-minute background check. all of our constituents, no matter if we represent a blue state or red state, support extreme risk protection owners. you go to the court when somebody is on the verge of lashing out against someone else or going to hurt themselves and take away their guns, at least temporarily. these are the things that are not controversial anywhere except for here.
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we could pass. since the house passed the background checks bill, by the way, with bipartisan support, 10,000 people have died. there have been 109 mass shootings. 31 states have had a mass shooting. 166 kids have been killed or injured. 175 teenagers have been killed or injured. and so i'm here on the floor today to send my heartfelt condolences to the families in virginia beach who have continued to mourn yet another mass shooting. i expressed, as i always do, my condolences to the families of gun violence throughout this country. 80 to 90 people lose their life every day from a gunshot wound, but i'm also here today to ask
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my colleagues to think about why we continue to refuse to have a debate on a piece of legislation that the house passed 100 days ago in a bipartisan fashion. even if you don't love the version of the background checks bill that the house passed, bring your own version to the floor. bring a different bill that will address the epidemic of gun violence in this country. all i ask is that you don't do nothing, that you stop your absolute silence in the face of this epidemic of slaughter. let the senate be the senate. i heard that there was a time some years ago when the united states senate actually debated legislation. i've read in the history books that this is supposedly the greatest deliberative body in the world. we are doing no deliberation
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here. bill after bill passes the house of representatives. none of it comes before the senate for a vote. no health care bills, no immigration bills, no antigun violence bills. i get it that the bills that passed the house probably can't pass a republican-led senate, but why are we not even trying? who is in charge here? the special interests who want nothing to happen, the gun lobby, the health insurance companies? or are we in charge? we're the ones that got elected. we're the members of the united states senate. we could choose to have these debates, hash out our differences, and see if there is a proposal that 60 of us could agree on that would do something about this unacceptable level of gun violence that plagues this nation on a daily basis.
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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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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: are we in a quorum, mr. president? the presiding officer: we are. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: now, mr. president, i said yesterday here on the floor, i said yesterday that i
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don't believe that president trump will follow through on his threat to impose tariffs on mexico. why? first, because the president has a tendency for bluster. there are many examples of the president taking a maximalist position before eventually backing off and announcing some different solution. nine times out of ten, after a few months, everyone realizes that the so-called solution isn't real and doesn't work, but the president needs a way out of his bluster. that may well be true with the tariff issue. second, most senate republicans oppose the president's idea of slapping tariffs on mexico. they know how that could destabilize our economy in mexico -- our economy and mexico's and that could actually make the migration problem worse. so publicly, the president has continued the tough talk on tariffs with mexico. he responded to my statement on the floor with a tweet last
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night. but ultimately i continue to believe that he'll back off. that has been his m.o. and when he does, i would urge him to consider a real solution to the border problem, not some fake solution that he and the mexicans announce and then does nothing. they don't follow through, it doesn't have effect, whatever. here is a commonsense policy that will actually reduce the problems at the border. many of the migrants that arrive at our southern border are fleeing untenable situations. gang violence, drug cartels, corruption, domestic abuse, economic depravity. if you're starving, if you're worried that your child will be mugged, if you're worried that your daughter will be raped, you ain't staying there. the governments of those countries have failed to provide safety or security for people
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living within their borders in nicaragua and in honduras and in el salvador. their citizens or some of them feel compelled to embark on a bruce 1,000-mile adjourn did i on a dangerous 1,000-mile journey rather than staying put when staying put is not worse for them. these are not evil people. president trump likes to make them out to be drug dealers or criminals. most of them are trying to escape some -- to get some separate relief from the problems created by gangs, hardship, social oligarchy. so we democrats have crafted legislation that would help address the problems in those three central american countries that are causing the migrants to flee in the first place. first, we would allow asylum seekers to apply for asylum within their own countries. that 1,000-mile trek across mexico is dangerous, it's often
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expensive, you have got to pay a coyote or buy off drug dealers or other criminals. let them apply in honduras, in el salvador, in guatemala, and not amass at the border. second, we provide significant security assistance to central american countries to build their capacity to crack down on the gangs and drug cartels and human trafficking that endemic in those countries. and we'd increase the number of immigration judges, and personnel to reduce the current backlog of cases at the border. these policies make eminent sense. and unlike the president's plan to impose tariffs on mexico, our proposals do not threaten the u.s. economy. we'd urge our republican colleagues to join us in this commonsense solution. when the president inevitably retreats from his tariff threat which may be as soon as this afternoon, we should proceed on
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these commonsense policies, not some fake thing that sounds good in an announcement and then goes away like we've seen over and over again when the president conducts foreign policy, north korea being one of the most notorious examples. over the past year on saudi arabia -- on saudi arabia, over the past year the kingdom of saudi arabia despite some positive domestic reforms has too often acted like a brute in the middle east rather than a stabilizing force. i understand that saudi arabia worries about iran. i share those concerns about the iranian government. but the saudis have all too often reacted in the wrong way. in yemen the saudis are fighting a proxy war that has resulted in untold human suffering and the slaughter of innocence, many children. internally the saudi government has conducted a widespread campaign of political oppression, including the imprisonment of women's rights campaigners.
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we all know how the saudis were responsible for the vicious torture and chilling murder of a journalist and american resident jamal khashoggi. despite these gross violations of international norms and values, the trump administration has just cozied up with crown prince mohammad bin salman and offered almost no criticism. we just learned according to reports that the trump administration approved seven transfers of american nuclear technology to the saudis. including two after khashoggi's murder. now the administration is using its favorite tool claiming emergency powers to justify another 22 arm sales to the saudis and others including precision guidance, guided munitions for saudi's operations in yemen. has the trump administration lost all perspective when it comes to saudi arabia? providing excuses and cover for
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the brutal murder of a journalist, an american resident, aiding and arming the saudis in the human rights tragedy in yemen which will only come back to hurt them in the long run. what are we doing here? congress has already voted in bipartisan majorities to unwind america's involvement in yemen which of course the president vetoed. and now we ought to vote to disapprove these arms sales. the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, senator graham, urged by our ranking member on foreign relations and our leader on this issue senator menendez, have thankfully announced a bipartisan effort to do just that. i strongly support that effort. let me say my republican friends over the last years of the obama administration bitterly complained about the way president obama used executive authority. the amount of executive
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authority used by president obama could fit in a thimble compared to the abuse of executive authority by president trump. and yet it seems in the past our republican colleagues who so criticized obama for much less have been totally silent when president trump abuses executive authority. but now maybe there is some green shoots. maybe some of our republican colleagues in the senate are waking up to the idea that in america we have a three-branch government, not a one-branch government and maybe some of our republican colleagues are recognized that and beginning to act, the possible green shoots, to instances one is tariffs. a lot of republicans don't like the tariffs. will they have the guts if the president implements them to oppose the president?
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we'll see. and now on saudi's arms sales, a number of senate republicans are beginning to say we need to constrain the president the way the congress has traditionally constrained the executive branch. i'm hopeful but i'm also skeptical. if the past is prolong, -- for log, my republican friends will ultimately back down. leader mcconnell, his m.o. will let a few of them off the hook so they can go home and say they supported it but never enough to make sure congress provides an effective check on the president. it's sort of a wink and a nod. well, let's hope that this time it's different. let's hope that these mur ourings among republicans about the saudi arms sales and about the tariffs are real and they will actually stand up to him which is what a congress should do even when they're of the same party as the president. climate. as i have said so many times, no threat poses a greater danger to
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our planet than that of climate change. the last five years have been the warmest on record. there's more carbon dioxide in the air than any point in human history. our children and grandchildren will live with the consequences of the decisions we make today. we need all hands on deck. the federal government, local governments, municipality, corporate leaders, global efforts. if we are to meet the challenges of climate change head-on. but for years our government has been too slow to act and more often than not done nothing or very little. just yesterday president trump once again not based on fact, based on whim as he so often acts, voiced a dangerous skepticism about climate change while meeting with prince charles. one of the biggest reasons for the slow progress on climate policy has been the oppressive grip of big oil, big gas, big
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coal on our political system. they've spent untold millions to debunk climate science and to torpedo climate legislation. one of the largest perpetrators has been the u.s. chamber of commerce which never reveals its donors and has acted all too often as a front for big oil. recently as public action -- as public support on action for climate change has grown even more overwhelming, the chamber is starting to sing a different tune. they've launched a campaign for cleaner energy sources. they've added a new section to their website addressing climate change. they've -- they now even say that on this issue, inaction is not an option. well, i couldn't agree more. inaction is not an option. but color me skeptical about the chamber. i hope to see the chamber follow its public stance with real action but until i do, i fear
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this change is merely cosmetic. all too often the big oil and big coal companies don't act themselves, although some do, but they let the chamber do their dirty work for them. so today sheldon whitehouse and i along with a number of our colleagues will be sending a letter to the chamber calling them to speak out against the administration's effort to undermine the national climate assessment. it's not enough to simply say oh, well, it's a problem. inaction is not an option. they must do something concrete. this is a concrete action we are proposing, that will make a difference. and i read in today's "new york times" that companies are now beginning to plan for how climate change will cost them more money in the next five years. they don't think it's no problem. they don't think it's a 30-year problem. these companies and they're interested in their profits, that's how they should be interested although i would like to see a little more interest in
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workers and communities and climate, but these companies for their own bottom lines are saying climate change is real and we better do something. well, one way the chamber can move things along is to speak out against this administration in its efforts to undermine the national climate assessment. for years this study has been the gold standard for climate research within our government. it's not partisan. it's factual. it's based on science. and it assesses the long-term threats to climate change. the president sort of on climate, a member of the flat earth society denying the fact, it would be as if columbus sailed ndz the president still said the earth was flat. that's how he's acting on climate. well, the chamber ought to break with that. they ought to let science and facts determine how we act. this is a moment when the
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chamber could actually use its influence to convince the administration to reverse course if the business community said this, it would make a big difference. so this is a moment. let's see if the chamber really wants to prove that they're for climate change. let's see. let's see. and if they don't, we ask their members who say they believe in climate and who are even planning for the problems we face to put pressure on them to do it. let's hope. let's hope. now before i yield the floor, i just want to send a kudos -- he reminded me the word kudos is singular, not plural which i didn't know for all my years here. mr. president, i see by your reaction you didn't know that either. it's a kudos. so let me give a kudos to sheldon whitehouse's leadership on this issue. one of his many positive traits is he knows grammar and all of
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that much better than most of us, but one of his greater traits is how he has been relentless in pushing forward off climate and on pushing corporate america to do more. i look forward to continuing to work with him to shed light on the role that big money plays in undermining climate policy. and i look forward to hearing from the chamber of commerce on what they have to say about the administration's latest attacks on climate science. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, 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, department of state, david schenker of new jersey to be an assistant secretary. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr.
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president. i ask unanimous consent to complete my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president, it's so interesting to always come to the floor and speak on topics that are important to tennesseans. and i think also to americans. as i begin my remarks, i want to kind of build the context for this and take us back to a time i know that mr. president recalls and so do i. it was the 1960's. i was a child that was growing up and i remember it as a decade where bold statements and brash behavior and activists from each side of the aisle set the standard for what we today look at and say is a modern day spl political protest.
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what we saw in this decade was wump sleepy college campuses became the scene of widespread unrest. conditions were -- tensions were high and conditions were perfect for what else but a supreme court battle. in september 1969, a group of students attending central connecticut state university decided they wanted to organize a local chapter off the organization students for a democratic society. the university president rejected the application claiming that the s.d.s. philosophy was, and i quote, antithetical to the school's policies, end quote, and could be a disruptive influence on campus. now, i'm sure he thought that he had a good point. the national s.d.s. organization was known for its fiery protests
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and it's now -- its now notorious acts of civil disobedience. they made it their business to make authority figures nervous. nervousness, however, is not an exception to the first amendment. the students knew that so the lawsuits started flying. the students' case finally made it to the supreme court which held that, and i'm quoting, the first amendment to the constitution of the united states applies in full force on the campuses of public colleges and universities. end quote. that case healey v. james was a win for free speech. and although precedent continues to trend in the right direction, the first amendment is in danger on the american college campus. from so-called free speech zones to severely restricted speech codes, campus officials are doing their best to ensure that
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students are protected from anything that may challenge their preexisting notions of right and wrong. instead of creating a safe environment, these policies have backfired, creating an
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