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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 25, 2019 2:14pm-6:10pm EDT

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measure. what are you hearing about support from house republicans? >> house republicans as we reported last week here at gq rollcall we reported that they were largely planning to put the weight on the senate proposal even though the statement of the ministration policy threatening a veto and there's a lot of reasons why there's negative response from the white house about this but in the same time as the pelicans will be hard-pressed to disagree with a proposal that was negotiated between the senate republican chairman of the provisions committee from alabama between the top democrat on the senate for patients committee from vermont and i think the president would be hard-pressed not to sign billions of dollars of aids for those agencies which are suffering and need more money in order to pay their workers. >> kelly, appreciate the update we continue to follow you at ke l and aj on twitter and you report at cq .com thank you so
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much. >> things a lot. >> you can watch live coverage of the u.s. house on c-span. the senate is about to gavel back in for more debate on defense programs and policy this afternoon. shortly we take live to the floor of the u.s. senate for more debate. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. cornyn: madam president, yesterday the senate
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overwhelmingly voted to proceed to the national defense authorization act by a vote of 86-8. excuse me, 86-6. that's about as overwhelming a bipartisan vote as we've had lately, and it's for good reason. because this bill represents one of our most fundamental duties as a united states congress, which is to authorize military expenditures and to provide our men and women in uniform with the resources they need in order to protect the american people. the defense authorization bill would authorize funding for the department of defense to carry out its most vital missions as well as support our alliances around the world and improve the quality of life for our service members, including the largest pay raise in a decade. all of us have long understood the importance of passing this legislation each year, which is why for the past 58 years we
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have passed a defense authorization bill each of those years without delay. the bill, of course, has gained broad bipartisan support in the armed services committee, and in the first procedural vote yesterday evening, but that doesn't mean that our colleagues across the aisle aren't eyeing it as the latest target for their obstructionist tactics. we're hearing that our democratic friends are actually threatening to filibuster this legislation in an attempt to force a vote on iran, but this is really just a subterfuge. i don't buy it. in reality, the democratic leader has urged the majority leader not to hold a vote on the defense authorization bill this week because so many of his members are running for president and need to be at the debate in miami. he said the senate should wait to have the vote until the full
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body is present. he said there's no rush to complete the national defense authorization bill. just to translate, the minority leader wants the rest of us to stop working so that the democrat senators who are running for president can prepare for the debate in miami instead of being here in washington and doing their job. instead of doing that, they want to audition for their next job, or so they hope. well, the minority leader thinks we should delay giving our military families a pay raise so his members can campaign for president. that's one of the more galling things i've ever heard proposed across the aisle. the demand for a vote in relation to iran is a smoke screen. it's a tactic being used to cover up for their colleagues who don't want to miss yet another vote. in the first six months of this
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year alone, senate democrats have played politics with nominees for important positions throughout the federal government. with border security funding in the midst of a humanitarian and security crisis that's occurring at the border. they dragged their feet on middle east policy bills and now apparently the national defense authorization act. our constituents sent us here to washington to cast votes, yes or no, on bills that shape our country, and in this case strengthen our nation's military. we should not tolerate the political ambitions of some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to take precedence over the men and women who serve us in the military. their priorities may be elsewhere but the rest of us are not buying it. it's appalling and we won't let it happen. madam president, on another
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matter, i recently heard from one of my constituents in san antonio about her growing concern with rising drug prices. she wrote to me, i personally haven't had to make the choice yet between making my mortgage or getting a drug i need or my family needs,s but i know the day is coming. it's not a matter of if it will happen, but when for all of us in america. close quote. madam president, she's certainly not alone. countless texans have conveyed to me their concerns about rising drug costs. and one man even told me that he and his wife feel like their health is being held ransom. across the country more and more people are struggling to pay for their out-of-pocket costs for their prescription drugs and are weighing financial decisions that no family should be forced to make. now the good news is there is
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bipartisan agreement here in congress, somewhat of a rarity these days, that something must be done to reel in these skyrocketing costs and to protect patients who are being taken advantage of by some pharmaceutical companies. we spent a lot of time looking at this issue in both the judiciary and finance committee on which i sit, as well as the help committee, which is also working on legislation to lower out-of-pocket health care costs. when it comes to drug prices, we know that the high cost frequently is not the result of the necessary costs for research and development of an innovative drug or a labor-intensive production process or scarce supply. the high costs frequently is because major players in the health care industry are driving up prices to increase their bottom line. later this week the judiciary committee will hold a markup to
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consider some of the proposals by members of the committee to address this kind of behavior. one of the bills we'll consider was introduced by senators grassley and cantwell. it would require the federal trade commission to look at the role of pharmacy benefit managers who play an important albeit elusive part in the pharmaceutical supply chain. another bill we'll be reviewing has been introduced by senators klobuchar and grassley and would combat pharmaceutical companies ability to interfere with regulatory approval of generic competitors. we'll deal with a bill i introduced called the affordable patients -- be affordable care for patients act.
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this bill importantly will not stymie innovation and it will not punish those who rightfully gained exclusive production rights for a drug. that's what our patent system is designed to do. those are two false arguments being pushed by opponents to my bill, though, and believe me, there are many. the bill is designed rather to stop the bad actors who abuse our laws and effectively create a monopoly. most drug companies don't fall into that category, but some definitely do. first, the bill targets a practice called product hopping. when a company is about to lose exclusivity of a drug because their patent is going to expire, they often develop some sort of minor reformulation and then yank the original product off the market. that prevents generic competitors from entering the market. one example was the drug naminda which was used by patients with
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alzheimer's. near the end of the exclusivity period, the manufacturer switched from a twice daily drug to a once daily drug. that move prevented pharmacists from being able to switch patients to a lower-cost generic and gave the company an unprecedented 14 additional years of exclusivity. now don't get me wrong, there are often legitimate changes that warrant a new patent, but too frequently we're seeing this deployed as a strategy to box out generic competition. by defining product hopping as anticompetitive behavior, the federal trade commission would be able to take action against those who engage in this practice. it's an important way to prevent companies from gaming the patent system and patients from carrying the cost of that corporate greed. our country thankfully is the
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leader in pharmaceutical innovation. none of us wants to change that, and that's partly because we offer protections for intellectual property. some companies are taking advantage in order to maintain their monopoly as long as possible. our bill would target this practice known as patent thickening by limiting patents companies can use to keep competitors away. one famous example it the drug humira, as i understand, the most commonly prescribed drug in the world. it's used to treat arthritis and a number of other conditions. the manufacturer of humira has 136 patents on the drug. 136 patents and 247 patent applications, and this drug has been available now for more than 15 years. but this type of behavior makes
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it difficult for biosimilar manufacturers to bring a new product to market to compete with that drug and thus bring down the price for consumers. in the case of humira, multiple biosimilars have been f.d.a.-approved and available since last year, but the vast array of patents obtained by the manufacturer prevent any competition from inturg -- entering the market until 2023. this delays market entry years past the exclusivity periods the law originally intended to grant. while the patent on the drug formula may have expired, there are still in this case hundreds of other patents that have to be sorted through. our legislation would seek to end patent gaming that leads to high costs for consumers. companies use these patents to extend litigation against a would-be competitor. that process is lengthy,
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complex, and expensive. so by limiting the number of patents these companies can use and preventing this sort of gamesmanship, our bill would simplify the litigation process so that companies are spending less time in the courtroom and hopefully more time in the laboratories innovating new life-curing -- or disease-curing and life-extending drugs. competitors would be able to resolve patent issues faster and bring their drugs to market sooner. better competition, which is our goal, is to create a better product at a lower price for patients. what my bill and those that we'll be considering in the judiciary committee this week have in common is they seek to prevent bad actors from gaming the system to exploit patients for profit. since senator blumenthal and i introduced this bill, we've received valuable feedback from our colleagues in the senate as well as folks at the federal trade commission, the patent
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and trademark office, and the food and drug administration, and many stakeholders. their input has helped us make adjustments to ensure that our bill will effectively carry out our goal, which is to reduce drug prices without hampering innovation or creating overly burdensome regulations. we are finalizing our revised bill and we'll introduce it soon. the affordable prescriptions for patients act will stop pharmaceutical companies from deploying defensive strategies to monopolize prescription drug pats and ensure our system works for, not against the american people. i appreciate our colleagues in the senate, especially chairman alexander of the health, education, labor, and pensions, chairman grassley, chairman of the finance committee and chairman graham, chairman of the judiciary committee who continue to work with us to bring down health care costs for
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patients across the country, and i look forward to our markup on these bills later this week. madam president, i yield the floor and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. are we -- the presiding officer: we are in a qorl. mr. blumenthal: may the quorum call please be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the rules committee be discharged from furred consideration of s. 1247, the senate proceed to its immediate consideration, that the bill be considered read a third time and passed, and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there an objection? the senator from mississippi. mrs. hyde-smith: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. blumenthal: madam president, the reason for this request for unanimous consent is very simply
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that this legislation is based on a straightforward, commonly accepted idea. if you see something, say something. the duty to report act this measure would require campaigns, candidates, and family members to immediately report to the f.b.i. and the federal elections commission any offers of illegal foreign assistance. it is simply a duty to report illegality. it's codified into law what's already a moral duty, a patriotic duty, a matter of basic commonsense. it is already illegal to accept foreign assistance during a campaign. it's already illegal to solicit foreign assistance during a campaign. all this bill does is to require
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campaigns and individuals to report those illegal foreign assistance offers or solicitations directly to the f.b.i. i never thought, few would have guessed that there is a need for this kind of legislative mandate to do what is a patriotic and a moral duty. with the 2020 election on the horizon, we need to do everything we can to safeguard the integrity of our elections, but the president made remarks that are truly historically astonishing. he made those remarks just last week that highlighted his own moral and patriotic depravity. he was asked whether he would
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accept help in 2020 from foreign governments or foreign nationals, and he said simply, quote, i take it. that is very much reminiscent of what his son said when he was offered assistance from russian agents with dirt on hillary clinton, and he said i love it. that kind of receptiveity to illegality is not only un-american, it ought to be explicitly illegal, and all of us in this chamber would reject it, i am sure. in fact, many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle were severely critical of president trump's remarks.
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his remarks are also reminiscent of what his son-in-law, jared kushner said in a television interview, that he didn't know whether he would contact the f.b.i. in that kind of same situation again that donald jr. encountered with offers of assistance from russian agents. he didn't know whether he would. it's a hypothetical. well, we really know what both the president and jared kushner as well as his son donald jr. think about this issue. according to the mueller report, when a kremlin-linked individual, dmitri simms, offered to provide kushner with damaging information on hillary clinton, he took the meeting. that's not the only example. when george papadopoulos,
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convicted on a federal charge of lying to the f.b.i., was told by a maltese professor that the russians had dirt on hillary clinton in the form of thousands of e-mails and willing to provide them to the trump campaign, what did he do rather than go to the f.b.i.? he eagerly alerted others on the campaign. just yesterday, hope hicks, trump's communications director for a while, was interviewed by the house judiciary committee. she said that she knew that the president's statement was troubling. in her words, knew that the president's statement was troubling and, quote, understood the president to be serious when he made those remarks. the president's remarks alarm every american and everyone in the law enforcement community. our legislative efforts stem from this basic principle.
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the american people, not russia, not china, no one else should decide who the leaders of our country are and the direction our democracy should go. 80% of the american people across the political spectrum or more support this legislation, republicans, democrats, and independents. all we're doing is asking that mitch mcconnell avoid blocking this important legislation and allow a vote on the senate floor. this bill has 19 cosponsors in the senate, including senators whitehouse, booker, harris, warren, gillibrand, klobuchar, sanders, heinrich, udall, markey, smith, cardin, murphy, wyden, merkley, and hirono. it has been introduced in the house by congressman eric
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usd(at&l)well and it now -- stalwell and it now has 30 exorns, including jerry nadler. i invite my republican colleagues to join me in passing this legislation. republicans ought to stand up for the rule of law. they ought to speak out for our national security. they should refuse to tolerate these kinds of words and behavior from an american commander in chief. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator. a senator: i rise today to emphasize the importance of this year's national defense authorization act. mr. cramer: it is important and what we must accomplish this week while we are still here. madam president, the primary obligation of congress is to provide for the common defense.
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for the past 57, 58 years, congress has met this obligation primarily through passage of the ndaa. with this bipartisan legislation, we provide our armed forces the resources and authorities they need to defend our country. this bill keeps america on track by confronting the readiness crisis in our military branches. madam president, i'm the first north dakotan ever to serve on the senate armed services committee, and i consider this a great honor. north dakota is home to two air force bases, minot, which is home to two of the three legs of the nuclear triad, the b-52 bomber and the minuteman icbm missiles, and one in grand forks. and effective in just a few days, home of the 319th reconnaissance wing. we're also home to multiple army and air national guard units and missions ranging from construction and combat engineers to security forces to i.s.r. and launch and recovery
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provisions. our army national guard, in fact, has an air defense artillery regiment that regularly protects us right here in the capital region as part of operation noble eagle. madam president, our military community is a foundational element to our state, as it is to many states. to us, the ndaa is not just arbitrary funding numbers for abstract aircraft and equipment. this legislation supports those in my state and across the country who defend our nation at home and around the world. we're honored by the outsized role that our patriots play in the defense of our nation and the cause of liberty. our commitment to them and their families must be clear. when they are called into action, they will have every resource they need to carry out successful missions. i want to address a fundamental aspect of this week's debate. apparently, there are some in this body who would rather bypass budget negotiations and pass a -- than pass a continuing resolution. there are others who want to
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delay passage of this important priority until later in the year. madam president, we cannot simply kick this can down the road. passing a c.r. is handing our military community months of uncertainty and anxiety and could nullify much of the good work that we're doing here today and this week, such as improving the livelihood of our service members. and delaying passage to accommodate the political ambitions of a few of our democratic colleagues is industry unacceptable and should be dismissed as quickly as it was suggested. those who offer their lives in service to our country represent the best of what america has to offer. what they give us, we can never repay. but we can do our best to help as they serve and transition back to civilian life. for example, this ndaa seeks to improve the livelihood of our volunteer military force, with benefits such as the largest pay increase in over a decade. it also provides military
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spouses looking for work or hoping to retain their job after being relocated personal assistance. we also include language that encourages the air national guard to provide to keep us safe from foreign adversaries, this year's ndaa bolsters our nuclear triad with an enhanced commitment. while visiting the minot base, i witnessed the reality they face every day. our brave men and women in uniform feel the weight of the world on their shoulders, yet they remain are vigilant and alert and quite cheerful, i might add. deterrence works. democrats and republican administrations have supported it. eliminating this does not eliminate the threat.
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the world does not become a safer place when we remove that which keeps us safe. if we defy history and the military community by unilaterally weakening our superior arsenal as some in the house proposed, we would face the -- place the fate of the world in the hands of our adversaries. i would like to bring attention to a matter that is not currently included that i believe should be. i submitted an amendment that honors the lost 74 vietnam veterans who died in the u.s.s. frank c. evans in between in combat missions whose names are not included on the vietnam memorial wall. congress passed this legislation last year in the house version of the ndaa, but it failed to be added in conference. this year i moved from the house to the senate and so did this
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bill. it has received overwhelming bipartisan support from our colleagues here and from constituents across the country. however, the bureaucrats in washington remain firmly opposed. it is inexplicable to me that bureaucrats could determine that these sailors ultimate sacrifice is unworthy of being memorialized. this has been a source of tremendous frustration to me. i have had my own motives questioned. i have been told it would require top work to change the memorial. i heard fears of precedent being changed as though finding more ways to honor the fallen and forgotten would set a bad example for the future. madam president, these excuses are insufficient. the lost 74 and families they left behind deserve better than this and i have no plans to quit this fight any time soon for them. but this, and other possible
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inclusions aside, this ndaa includes important legislation. the senate armed services committee came up with a bipartisan proposal that reduces redundancy in space programs, defines clear leadership in space at the upper echelon of the military. i thank my colleagues foreseeing the administration's vision and working in a bipartisan fashion to improve it. madam president, i -- i led two important amendments that were adopted in the committee markup. the first requires the commander of the space force report directly to the secretary of the air force. after, of course, the first year after establishment. that is to say, a year after it's established they would answer directly to the secretary. the second, holds that the commander of the space force become a permanent member of the joint chiefs of staff, also after the first year of
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establishment. both were supported by the department of defense and should be maintained through the conference negotiations. the first provision, reporting directly to the secretary ensures that the space force commander has direct access to the top civilian leadership of the air force just like the navy marine corps model. the commandant of the marine corps does not report to the naval operations neither should the -- it will give our space forces equal -- we all know that real authority in the pentagon is budget authority and unless the space force has a true voice in the budget process they will -- they will never be prior triewzed appropriately. when testifying before the armed services committee, general heightman, talked about making space a priority. i quote, we have to have
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somebody in the pentagon that focuses their total attention on space all the time. i've known every chief of staff of the air force for the past 20 years and carried space effectively into the tank. they all cared about space, but it is a secondary issue. unquote. rather than relegating space to a secondary issue, it should be reported directly to the general. the joint chiefs, of course, are the primary military advisors to the president. the president makes strategic positions on the use of our national security resources based on the counsel received from the joint chiefs of staff. without a separate, equal voice at the table, the space force commander will be marginalized from critical decision-making. the chairman of the joint chiefs general dunford reiterated this point when he said, quote, the
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key is to have individuals that are singularly focused on space and make sure we incorporate that perspective, that very healthy perspective into the outcome which is a joint force that can fight. unquote. madam president, general dunford is exactly right. the space force commander should have a seat on the joint chiefs and bring that singular focus of space to the table. now, i understa stand the concerns -- i understand the concerns, and i agree we should minimize overhead and unneeded bureaucracies, which is why my amendments do not take affect for a year and it bars any new staff in the interim. last week there were c.b.o. estimates on the potential costs of the amendments. i want to report some other c.b.o. reports. the estimates of this report is
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for illustrative option -- policy options, they do not represent cost estimates for any particular piece of legislation, unquote. with that in mind, i would ask the department of defense to take these concerns seriously and use the one year to craft and present a plan to appropriately implement these two provisions. my colleagues' concerns are not unwarranted. however, it would be poor policy to ham sphring the space force from -- hamstring the space force from the beginning. it is worth noting the house ndaa takes two parts of my amendment. the leader of the space corps would rrt to the air force and -- would report directly to the air force. the house, senate, and department of defense are largely in line with these two provisions. the idea of the space force will
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become a reality with this near's ndaa. the establishment process will be incremental and requires oversight. but our first step must set the conditions to ensure its success. madam president, the importance of this ndaa is clear. passing it is vital to my state andor our nation. it supports our troops -- and our nation. it supports our troops and provides for the creation of a space force capable of protecting the domain from military conflict. i urge my colleagues to support it and pass it quickly to demonstrate our commitment to our highest priority. and 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. inhofe: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: madam president, i thought there would be people in here speaking. we are right now in consideration of the most significant bill of the bill, the national defense authorization act. it's not just the biggest bill, but the most significant one and we know it's going to pass because it passed for 50 -- 59 years in a row, and so obviously it's going to pass. but the problem is we have many amendments to be discussed because we've -- yesterday alone we adopted 93 amendments, and they are equally divided between democrats and republicans, and so i've -- i encourage all of
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the members who have amendments that are in the list of 93 amendments to come down to the floor and talk about the amendments. i have a list of those individuals who have requested to be here in conjunction with that. and he are not down here. let me appeal to the members, democrats and republicans alike, to come in and describe your amendments and talk about this. because this bill, we are going to do everything we can to get this bill passed this week. now, i have to say that there's an effort right now by the leader of the democrats to try to put this off because they want to watch their friends run for president on tv on wednesday night and thursday night. and so we -- but to me that's not -- we have the most important bill of the entire year, something that we have to pass. it's something that is -- with
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all the problems that come up, housing, for example, the big problem on privatization of housing, it came up last february. it's something that we have all the -- all the solutions are in this bill. they're taken care of. on modernizing our nuclear modernization, that's in this bill. it's going to be done but it can't be done until the bill is passed and signed by the president. and if we wait as is suggested in order for them to watch their friends on tv, if we wait, then that's going to put it off for a week and it's going to certainly jeopardize the possibility of getting it passed. there isn't time. if you look at the list of things which the leader of the senate articulated just a short while ago, all these things have to be done and have to be done before the end of the fiscal year. and so the end of the fiscal year is looming out there. we don't have that many legislative days. we've got to do a budget. all these things have to be done. so we cannot jeopardize all of
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that by postponing this for a week. so i encourage our members to come down, be heard, and describe their amendments. with that i'll suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, madam president. i would ask suspension of the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. stabenow: thank you very much. madam president, i rise today to once again talk about the truly obscene cost of prescription drugs. and the number one thing we can do to lower prices. and it's spelled out right here. let medicare negotiate. it's very simple. let medicare negotiate to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. prescription drug costs are a huge issue for people, frankly, of all ages who need medication in my state. whether i'm talking to farmers in west michigan, retirees in the upper peninsula, working families in wayne county or m macone county, families are feeling the effects. when you look at the numbers between 2008 and 2016, prices on
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the most popular brand-name drugs went up 208%. the price, over 208%. just ask those farmers in west michigan and those working families in macomb, their income did not rise 208%. perhaps nobody has been hurt more than our seniors who tend to take more medications and live on fixed incomes. in 2017 alone, the average price of brand-name drugs that seniors often take rose four times faster than the rate of inflation. so one year. four times faster than the rate of inflation. and again i'm absolutely certain that the vast majority of the seniors in my state did not see their incomes go up four times faster than the rate of
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inflation. i can tell you that seniors in the upper peninsula didn't see their pensions or social security checks increase that much. so what do families do? what do seniors do? well, we all know the stories. some people are forced to cut back on other things like food, paying their bills. some folks cut their heart pills in half or take their arthritis medication every other day instead of every day, which by the way is not okay to do. and some families stop filling their prescriptions altogether simply because they can't afford it. this is wrong. this is wrong. i've always believed that health care is a basic human right, and that includes prescription medications. so how do we lower the cost of
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prescriptions so families can afford the medications they need to get healthy and to stay healthy? number one way to do that is to let medicare negotiate. very straightforward. let medicare negotiate. the v.a. is allowed to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. and the v.a. saves 40%, 40% for veterans compared to medicare. in fact, if medicare paid the same price as the v.a., it could have saved $14.4 billion on just 50 drugs if it paid the same prices as the v.a. $14.4 billion in savings if
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medicare could negotiate for seniors the way the v.a. is able to negotiate for veterans. so what's stopping it? well, republicans in congress and pharma lobbyists are standing in the way of getting this done. in 2018 there were 1,451 lobbyists for the pharmaceutical and health product industry. that's almost 15 lobbyists for every one member of the united states senate. their job is to stop competition and keep prices high and they're doing a very good job. back in 2003 when medicare part d was signed into law, they blocked medicare from harnessing the bargaining power of 43 million american seniors, 43 million american seniors who
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could together see negotiating power, but it was blocked by language that was put into medicare part d. and let me just say again, it's very simple. take that language out and let medicare negotiate. let medicare negotiate. 16 years later, pharmaceutical companies are still boosting their bottom lines. on the backs of our seniors. now, as if putting that language in medicare part d wasn't enough, we constantly see efforts to look for an advantage to block competition, to do something to protect prices, to keep prices high, and they're at it again. the name brand industry that is a huge supporter of the new trade agreement, nafta 2.0, some
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say nafta 1.5. some people call it the u.s.-mexico-canadian trade agreement. but this deal with canada and mexico has been put together and negotiated by the administration and has something in it to protect the pricing for big pharma. the provisions could stop competitors from getting cheaper generic versions of biologic drugs on the market sooner. so if you stop the competition, you stop the ability for general -- for generic unbrand names, no brand names, same drug most of the time but just without a brand name on it, if you stop that competition even though that competition brings down prices, you can keep prices and profits high.
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biologics are some of the most expensive drugs out there. for example, humira, the world's top selling prescription streets conditions including clone's disease -- chron's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and can cost up to $50,000 a year. $50,000 a year for one prescription drug. how many people do you know who can afford to pay $50 thousand a year for their -- $50,000 a year for their medication, for just one drug? at least three companies have developed generic versions of the drug but they won't be available in the united states until at least 2023. so we've got at least three companies with a lower-cost drug, generic version that could
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bring down prices. they won't be available in the united states until at least 2023 and humira isn't a new drug. it's been around since 2002 when we had a hearing in the finance committee. and i want to commend our chairman for doing that and bringing in the top drug company c.e.o.'s. the c.e.o. that puts humira in the marketplace indicated they have over 130 some different patents to protect them from competition. so here we are in the middle of a trade agreement where they're wanting to put language in concerning the length of patents in order to protect their position. by the way, shortly after the president signed the umca at the
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end of last year, the drug companies decided to begin 2019 with price increases on more than 250 prescription drugs, including hug humira. so they feel more confident their position is protected, there's not going to be competition. so what happens? they raise the prices again. pharmaceutical companies like to argue that they need special giveaways like they got in medicare part d and that they're trying to get in the new trade agreement, mexico-canadian-u.s. trade agreement because they invest so much in research and development. however, it's also true that when given the opportunity to invest in research and development, many companies chose instead to put more money in the pockets of c.e.o.'s and shareholders rather than using the big tax cut they received to put more into research and development.
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i'm a huge supporter of research and development. most of it -- most of the primary, basic research is done by all of us as taxpayers. in fact, last year the 500 biggest u.s. companies spent $608 billion on research and development which is great. that might sound like a lot but they spent $806 billion buying back their own stock to keep the prices up on the stock. that also makes you wonder why didn't pharmaceutical companies use their tax giveaways to reduce the cost of prescription drugs? the pricing of prescription drugs in this country is the ultimate example of a rigged system. it's time to come together and to unrig it, and that's what we should be doing. that's our job to unrig the system. first we need to allow medicare
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to harness the bargaining power of 43 million american seniors. one recent poll found that 92% of voters support allowing medicare to negotiate. let medicare negotiate. 92% of voters believe in this. and second, we need to prevent the pharmaceutical companies from receiving additional sweet deals that keep drug costs high. i think it's about time that we make a deal that benefits michigan farmers and businesses and seniors and working families. that should be our focus. we should not be in a situation where time after time there is special treatment, protective language that bars the pharmaceutical industry from negotiating under medicare or
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that allows them to protect their patents longer so they don't have competition from generic drugs to bring prices down. let's unrig this system. and address the highest driver, the biggest driver in raising the cost of health care in this country which is the cost of prescription drugs. we can do something about that, and we need to do it soon. thank you, madam president. i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. tillis: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you, madam president. madam president, i come here today first and foremost -- the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. tillis: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tillis: thank you, madam president. i come before you actually first and foremost to thank senator
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inhofe for his great leadership as the chairman of the senate armed services committee, and a special thanks to the staff who are working very, very hard to process the hundreds of amendments to the national defense authorization act that came out of the committee with broad bipartisan support. i'm here to talk specifically about some provisions that i think are pretty important that actually started in the personnel subcommittee. i chair the personnel subcommittee for senate armed services, and early this year we heard of what i consider to be absolutely unacceptable conditions in military housing across the country. in north carolina, madam president -- in your great state of tennessee -- you know that we have bases, we have military housing, we have men and women, many of them very young, oftentimes the spouses are deployed. so the families back home to take -- so the family is back home to take care of their children, take care of their own jobs, and living on the base.
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but about february we got reports -- and these are not just one-off reports. these are reports across the country of mold, mildew, damage from storms, all kinds of conditions that i think in the private sector you would find objectionable. i think it's particularly objectionable when you're talking about people whose families are with that husband or wife who's serving in the military or serving this country. so we decided to have a umin of hearings where we brought the -- so we decided to have a number of hearings where we brought the private housing providers to in to get an explanation. quite honestly, there wasn't a good explanation. back in about 1996, the federal government decided to get out of the housing business. i'm glad they did, because they were doing a really bad job. and for about ten years we had a great story to tell in terms of the quality of housing, the
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service to the tenants, and the satisfaction of the military families. but then something god sideways in a very, very -- but then something got sideways in a very, very bad way. when you see -- this is a shower. when you see this kind of mold and mildew in your shower, would you think it's acceptable? if go in and you see children's toys -- and this is actually the bottom side of a crib. mold and mildew in these folks' housing, with small children in it, people with respiratory conditions, living these kind of conditions. i expect the garrison down at the bases and i expect the private housing providers to move heaven and earth to eliminate these sorts of problems. we are making progress, but i feel like in order to make sure it's just not progress that's being made while they all of a sudden get the attention of this senator and other e.m.s. in of the u.s. senate -- and other
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members of the u.s. senate, we have to change the rules in terms of the authorities that the department of defense has and the expectations that we have for the private housing providers. i have to give the -- now the acting secretary of defense, formerly the secretary of the army, and all the service secretaries for stepping up. they've created a tenant bill of rights and they've created a dispute process. they've demanded a more timely and more transparent method for actually solving service requests. all of those now have language in this national defense authorization act that congress needs to act quickly on so that we can make sure that we put into place the right expectations in the statute to make sure that the problems that exist today are fixed and that they don't happen again. now, i will tell you that while we're making progress, i know when i go down to fort bragg and i go down to camp le jeune, i've
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held what they call sensing sessions where basically getting a few dozen people together and hear their complaints. there's an amazing thing that happens when i go down in north carolina -- i don't know, madam president, if you've done one of these in tennessee yet. but if you announce that you're going to come down and hear from the tenants, there's an amazing thing that happens. you get all these service requests that are about here when they announce that i'm coming to jacksonville or fayetteville. about a day or two before i get there, magically, they've been able to solve almost all of these service requests. and then i go away for a couple of months and i see them coming back up again. well, one thing that everybody who's listening -- and this is not just the private housing providers. it's the department of defense and congress that all i think shifted their focus away from this problem and we've got to maintain a focus on it. so for my part, i've -- i just spoke with my scheduling director and my state staff a i told them, i want to take the next sensing sessions up a
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level. i want a town hall. i want to be able to put two or three -- 200 or 300 families with housing down in jacksonville at camp le jeune and down at fort bragg in fayetteville, -- i want to put them in a room. i want to make it clear to everyone involved. whether it is the private housing prayer, the garrison commanders, department of defense, and put a light on in this congress where it's our inaction that's caused the problem. we want to know what their problems are. we're going to hear from hundreds of people. we're going to make progress on these kinds of things through the provisions in the ndaa, but we've still got to continue to focus on this problem. and, madam president, the last thing -- first off, i want to thank senator inhofe. i did a great job in terms of casting light on this. and i know i've got the commitment of the chairman of the senate armed services committee. but i don't want these just to be words on the floor.
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i want them to be words that are put into action in terms of how we can help these military families today. if you have a service request outstanding with any vendor and you don't feel like you're getting a prompt response, i want you to write down tillis.senate.gov. we will treat every single housing request you have as a request for case with, in my office. i will have one of several dozen staff in my office open up a case and track it until it's complete. and anybody else who knows a service member that has this problem who thinks they won't have somebody that will follow up on it, give me a chance, because we've already solved a lot of them and we're going to solve a lot more. and we're not going to finish until i believe that the men and women and the families at fort bragg, camp lejeune and bases across this country have the safe and comfortable housing that they deserve. so, madam president, thank you
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very much. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president. in 1831 a young frenchman seeking to understand the motivating principles behind the world's newest independent nation mused that, and i quote, in america the principle of sovereignty snowe either barren -- is not either barren or concealed as it is with some other nations. it is recognized by the customs and proclaimed by the laws. it spreads freely and arrives without impediment at its most remote consequences. now alex sister detoak -- alexis de tocqueville had come to american on a training mission. he had no schooling in political science but was fueled by knowing if the principles guiding the early american
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republic could help his fellow frenchmen. even as an outsideer de tocqueville saw freedom, not a long figurehead or compulsory philosophy as the foundation to build upon. freedom is what he saw as an enduring foundation. today, however, the belief in a moral right to self-governance is more often than not portrayed as quaint and the kind of fierce independence that drove our founders to the battlefield outdated in comparison to modern concepts of so-called global governance and polite codependence. but when i look at the state of the world and all its competing philosophies, i am grateful, very grateful for our bold commitment to spefl defense. that is why i come to the floor today to express my thoughts on
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our national defense authorization act and to say a thank you to chairman inhofe for his leadership in pushing the senate armed services committee to present ideas, to bring forward amendments, and to work through this process together. i am looking forward to the couple of days in front of us with members from both sides of the aisle in this chamber. it cannot be understated the importance of maintaining a regular budget for our military cannot be diminished. failure to do so will put our troops at a disadvantage. look no farther than the ongoing tension right now between the u.s. and iran, how this has magnified the part that deterrence plays in defending our security without resorting
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to the use of military force. the importance of deterrence. last week i spoke at length with two emerging war-fighting domains that challenge the way we think about modern defense. these are cyber and space. that's why this year's ndaa expands beyond legacy programs to include recognition of emerging threats and our response to those. the next great threat to our sovereignty may be more subtle than a bomb dropped on american soil. it could undermine our cybersecurity, or slowly compromise the supply chain that provides us with needed microelectronics. it might cause us to question our position in the world or to rethink our influence in the international community. it's important to understand
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that these attacks aren't only meant to undermine our relationships and our infrastructure, they're a coordinated and intentional attack on the foundations that de tocqueville recognized as both powerful, unique, and underpinning what we have in the united states. the implications are clear, everything we do in this chamber must be understood in the context of defending america sovereignty. it means believing in the supremacy of the constitution and giving the defense community the means to protect us to fulfill that first responsibility, providing for the common defense. it means recognizing that freedom of speech and freedom of the press and free assembly are just as precious as any physical
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thing that we can put under lock and key. those who would threaten our freedom and safety do not look to america and see our formidable military as the single greatest threat to their destructive agenda. they are most frightened by our unwavering and ardent commitment to freedom. our enemies are frightened of the young men and women who willingly join the military. they volunteer for service. they are frightened by the strength of conviction that leads men and women on the street, men and women on our streets to protect protesters and their protests, even though they would never join those protests, not in a million years. they do this because they
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recognize that defending someone's right to speak is just as important as speaking themselves. our enemies are frightened by the confidence with which we defend the constitution when well-meaning actors ask if we could set the first amendment aside to better protect impressionable minds from dangerous ideas. ours is the kind of freedom that is always in danger of extinction, just as the late president reagan repeatedly reminded us. but it's also worth protecting, and this week i implore my friends on each side of the aisle to do all they can to ensure that our best, our first line of defense has the ability to protect and defend freedom and freedom's cause. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: madam president, we've been discussing this. i think it's important. it's not just redundant but it's important that we reemphasize that this is the most
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significant vote of the year. it's a $750 billion bill. this is the one that our entire military is dependent on passing, and it will pass. it's passed every year for 59 years and it's going to pass this year. i am concerned, however, there is an effort to try to delay it for a week or two, which is something that in a minute i'll say why it's not going to work. it just occurs to me there's so much stuff in this bill. we talk about all the equipment, we talk about the change, we talk about trying to make up, trying to catch up with russia and with china and our adversaries who are actually ahead of us in many areas. and that's all significant. but there's one issue that not many people are aware of that i think is really significant that is addressed. it kind of lets you know how far this bill goes.
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there is a problem that exists with the spouses of the military right now, under the trump administration we're seeing the best economy we've had in arguably in my lifetime. we're clearly seeing success in tax relief. and that's why we have this, the reduction in taxes. then of course that with the deregulatory effort of this administration. and right now we have the lowest national unemployment rate we've had in a long period of time, 3.6%. 4% is supposed to be full employment. in my state of oklahoma, we're even doing better than that. we have 3.2%. anyway, families across the country are feeling the benefit of getting the economic engine moving again, and that's good. but there is one group that still faces extreme unemployment, and that is the military spouses.
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people don't think about this, but in the case of the members of the military, they're either husbands or wives, in almost every case they want part-time employment. many of them are skilled and have prepared for careers, but they're not able to get careers or get employment because of the spouse moving sometimes every two years or every three years, and so that they have to go into a whole new environment. and there are some state laws that preclude spouses from getting employment without complying with certification from the different states. in 2018, there was a rand study that found that frequent military moves result in spousal unemployment or underemployment
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and delays employment among spouses who need to obtain credentials at a new duty location. we need to facilitate easier paths to both licenseure and employment for military spouses. i made correction in this policy so that as president trump last year, he signed an executive order that would work to exclusive employment opportunities for military spouses. he did that with executive order. we've gone a little further with this bill. we've been successful in getting these results, they are clear. military spouse's unemployment dropped from 25% in 2013 to 13% in 2019. it is different because they are the spouse of military. it is significant progress, but
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it doesn't address one-third of military spouses who are underemployed working outside their technical field. one area we can make an immediate impact is for approximately 35% of the military spouses and careers that require occupational licenses that are administered by the state. so they may be different from state to state and these individuals are not in a position to satisfy one state and then go to another state. so most of those spouses are licensed in health care, education, but others include attorneys and real estate agents for the military family moving an average of every two years requires relicensing and transferring your license. it is a costly thing. the solution is simple. we have to go after the red tape that makes it hard for military spouses to move their professional licenses and their
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careers. and so this is something that we have addressed in this bill. people don't think about this, but we have done it. this will give a lot of relief to these people. it kind of reminds me when you look at the overwhelming things that we dealt with in this bill, it's something that is very signature and it is something -- significant, and it is something that is, by far, the most important thing that we'll be doing all year. there's a document called the national defense strategy commission. it's a report. it's democrats and republicans. a year ago this group got together and they are the very foremost authorities in the country on military, and they decided, what it is that we need to do. we went through eight years of the obama administration and i have to admit that he was very honest about it. he never had defending america as a top priority, and so we find ourselves in a situation where we had countries like
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china and like russia who are actually ahead of us in areas like hypersonics. hypersonics is kind of state of the art thing we're doing in defense and offense. it's a system that moves at five times the speed of sound and we were leading all of the rest of the world in this effort until that administration. and that put us behind so that both china and russia are ahead of us in that area. and this is something that really disappoints a lot of the american people when they find out. i go out and give talks around the country, and when i tell them that there are countries that have better equipment than we do, better artillery than we do, they are surprised to find out. but, clearly, china and russia is doing that. now, a lot of times people will say, well, wait a minute, how could they be ahead of us when we're spending so much more money than they are on our
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defense. the reason for that is simple. and that is the single largest expense item is people -- is the cost of people. and, of course, in china and russia, they just tell them what to do. they don't have to have good living conditions for their troops. and consequently they are doing better than we're doing in many areas, and this is more than just our conventional capabilities. the ndaa, national defense authorization act, is full -- fully funds our nuclear modernization, looks out for our troops, giving the largest pay raise in over a decade, we made needed reforms to our privatized military housing. we thought things were going pretty well, a number of years ago we decided to privatize our military housing and i thought it was a good idea and no one was opposed to it and we did it.
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the problem is the contractors that came in and won these contracts to take care of military housing worked fine for the first two or three years and then they got a little bit greedy and time went by and all of a sudden it all exploded last february when several people who got together for military housing and talked about the deplorable conditions that we wouldn't expect anyone to live under. we had a number of hearings. the first one was a hearing on the victims of individuals who are living that -- that housing condition -- in that housing condition, and they told the stories about the -- all of the problems that -- with the -- with the housing situation. the next thing we had was a hearing on the contracts. these are the guys that came along and bid so that they would be able to do it. and they admitted in the public hearing that that was true and that they had not been doing the job that they needed to do. anyway, that is something that
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we are -- that's in this bill. we are taking care of it. we now have a system setup that has pretty much resolve that problem. so we have a lot of capabilities that are in this thing. it makes it easier and more affordable for spouses to transport their occupational licenses. that's what i was just talking about. i said before this bill is going to pass, and it will, but -- but it would keep it from passing if the minority leader, chuck schumer, is successful on delaying consideration until july. you know, we have so much -- this has to be done by the end of this fiscal year, and that's -- that's creeping up on us, and in the event that we don't get it done this week, as we have planned to do, then very likely it's not going to be done next week or the week after that. the longer it takes, we know the political reality of that.
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we have to get it done and passed by thursday, and i think that we will. but this bill -- this has the stuff in it that we really need to -- it's the most significant bill that we have. and so we want to avoid any delays in the calendar. we would not be able to end the ndaa before october 1st. that has real impact. that would delay the fixes that we are talking about in privatization of housing, the delays in milcon money. milcon, that's military construction. we have a lot of military construction that is proposed right now. if you put it off, we don't know what will happen to the military construction. delays in disaster recovery. we have right now, and you heard on the floor today, the problems that exist in various states, florida, north carolina, and some places out in the nebraska area and around there that we
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have disaster recovery programs that we can't do that if we delay this thing for another couple of weeks these people are requesting going to have to be -- these people are going to have to live in these conditions forking a long period time. the forces in iran will expire by that time. there's every reason in the world that -- i think it's pretty bad when a political decision is made to delay the consideration of this bill for another week or two weeks. and all done for purely political reasons because the democrats are having their big show on tv tomorrow night and the next night and they want to sit and watch that as opposed to finishing this bill. it's our intention to go ahead and finish the bill and get it done and that's what we are going to do. so we are anxious to do it. i'm very proud of the committee that i chair.
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the armed services committee metaphor a period of several months and talked about all the amendments that could be considered and talked about the fact that we are not considering amendments on the floor. jack reed, my counterpart here, he and i have talked about doing amendments for a long period of time. under the rules of the senate, if one person objects to bringing an amendment up, no amendments can come up. yesterday we passed the supplemental bill that has 93 amendments. people are talking about their amendments, they just can't do it on the floor. that's the thing happening right now. we have the best of intentions to continue doing that until we get the bill. and so let me just reinvite the members down. we have, right now, a long list of the 93 amendments and of the
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sponsors of those amendments and -- we're encouraging each member to bring his amendment down to the floor even though it may not be considered individually, it has already passed in -- yesterday and people need to know what's in this bill. so i'm going to encourage our members, invite them to come down right now to get involved and explain to not just this -- this -- the united states senate but to everyone else what all is in this bill. people have a right -- have pride in their own amendments and so we're encouraging them to come down at this time and present their amendments. and with that, i will invite them down, 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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mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call in progress be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: while we're waiting for other senators, let me once again encourage members of the senate to come down and talk about their amendments. it's kind of an awkward situation we have here and we're all aware of this. the senate rules say amendments can't come to the floor except by unanimous consent. that means that if there's one person who objects to having an amendment come up and being considered, then all that person has to do is object. and, frankly, that happened last year. we had a couple of members that were holding out for an amendment, a nongermane
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amendment that they wanted to consider. and they stated they'd hold up all other amendments. well, that happened. it looks like it's happening again this year. but we're prepared it year because anticipating that would be the case, we passed yesterday the 93 amendments with the bill that we went to as the underlying bill. so that -- we now have 93 amendments in addition to the amendments that we already have. probably we're in excess now of 200 amendments that we've had on this bill since its inception. and most of these amendments are bipartisan. in fact, of the 93 amendments that we adopted yesterday, we don'ted those -- we adopted those, were amendments we considered in the committee that i chair, the senate armed services committee. but 44 of those were democrats. 44 republicans. and then the rest were both
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bipartisan. so this is not really that partisan of a bill. but anyway, this includes an amendment by my colleague senator graham and senator heinrich in support of plutonium pit production which is key to maintaining our nuclear stockpile. a lot of people are not aware of the problem that we have with plutonium pit production and consequently we -- you know, we have to be competitive in this area. we have not had a nuclear modernization program in quite a long period of time. so nuclear modernization has gotten a lot of attention this year. traditionally we've seen bipartisan support for these programs, and there's good reason for that. our nuclear force is critical to our deterps posture and in -- deterrence posture and in turn our overall position in the
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world. this is our top position in securing america. the threat that's out there today -- i often say i look wistfully back on the days of the cold war when they had two superpowers and we knew what they had and they knew what we had and mutual destruction really meant something at that time. it doesn't mean anything anymore. you have people that are run by deranged leaders of country and these people have the power to knock out an american city. that's the kind of threat that we're faced with today. that's why nuclear deterrence is so significant and such a significant part of this bill. our nuclear force is critical for our deturns posture and overall the security of the nation. anyway, we can't pretend that just because we take a step back, countries like russia and china will do the same. and we did. for a period of time in the last administration, we did step back in our efforts and a lost those
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efforts were -- and a lot of those efforts were in nuclear modernization. and consequently, while we were ahead in this area, ahead of china and ahead of russia, they caught up and actually passed us. right now the -- they have hypersonics as an example. hypersonics is kind of state-of-the-art in warfare. it's something that travels at five times the speed of sound. it's something that we were ahead of back prior to the last administration. and we fell back behind because while we weren't doing anything, china and russia were doing things. we tried this before during the obama administration and just it didn't work. so we know russia and china are modernizing their nuclear forces at an alarming speed while we've been electing ours. -- neglecting ours. and north korea and iran continue to further their goals of creating instability and
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gaining influence in their regions. and we're at a disadvantage. and it poses a threat to america and our allies in we don't provide robust support of our nuclear programs and doing it now we are in danger of falling behind. the national defense strategy acknowledged this reality. that's the thing i talked about a few minutes ago, that we have the national defense strategy as a blueprint for what we've been doing in our defense authorization committee. and we've been adhering to that. so the ndaa takes this into account and supports all of the aspects of the triad. now, the triad, we've had people recently say, well, we don't need to spend the amount of money on a triad system. the triad obviously means three approaches to defending for our
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nuclear defense, but when you stop and think about the three different ways that a weapon can come into the united states, it can come in on an icbm, it can come in on a submarine or it can come in on a bomber. and so that's what they mean by a triad. some have said, we don't need three approaches. we need only one. well, if we knew in advance if a weapon is coming in and what is going to be used to be delivered, i could agree with that. so we can't lop off a leg or two on the triad or the whole thing will collapse. each component provides a different type of protection and combined makes it far more challenging for adversaries to find opportunities to strike. and there are adversaries out there that want to do that. so, make no mistake, our adversaries are paying attention, both to their capabilities and to our
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capabilities. we need a strong, resilient, responsive nuclear enterprise to deter threats. nuclear weapons aren't just a relic of the cold war but currently we are treating them that way. half of our d.o.e. nuclear facilities are more than 40 years old and a quarter date back to world war ii. so after years of neglect, the ceilings are literally falling down around the workers in nuclear complexes across the country. and fortunately -- in fact we'll have several people coming down here talking about that threat because in some states their senators want to be sure that they are doing a good job of maintaining our nuclear capabilities. so we need to modernize, revitalize this infrastructure we want to maintain face with china and russia and if we want to preserve a credible nuclear deterrent. i think it's important to note that the cost of modernization
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is not excess i have. it averages about 5% of the d.o.d. budget. that seems like a small price to pay to prevent a nuclear war. the ndaa -- that's what we're considering now, the national defense authorization act -- it fully funds the nuclear modernization program at or above the request. including additional funding for columbia-class submarines and low-yield ballistic missile warheads. the ndaa also pushes the national nuclear security administration toward its goal of plutonium pit production, a requirement to meet the needs of our nuclear strategy. so, anyway, these investments will increase our capabilities and bring us into the 21st century. this is what we need to be doing to implement the national defense strategy and assess a full range of threats that our nation faces. you know, it is a dangerous world out there, and we have a
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lot of people out there who don't like america. let's face it. those individuals who -- and i was disappointed in the last administration -- i'm talking about the obama administration. it's the first time since in my memory -- certainly since world war ii -- that we've had either a democrat or republican administration that used simply other than defending america as a primary goal of our country. instead, that has dropped back, so -- and we suffer the consequences. so we are in the process right now of rebuilding our military. we did in 2018 -- that was the first year of the trump administration. he increased the military spending back up to where it had been before of $700 billion. then $716 billion the next year and then $750 in the bill that
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we are considering at this very moment. so we're going to end up with a stronger america, and i think by the time the end of this year, everything that we're doing in this bill is fully implemented -- it is now behind us -- we're going to be in good slap to do the job we're -- in good shape to do the job we're supposed to be doing in indistinguishing america. in the meantime, we have this bill and i'm going to quit talking and encourage our members to come down and talk about their amendments. one who is going to be coming down in just a few minutes -- in fact, is due down any minute now -- is senator richard burr. he is in charge of the intelligence. he chairs the intelligence committee. and that's a part of this bill. so it's important that people understand how far-reaching this is. that's probably the real reason that we don't want to give in ato the minority leader of the senate who's trying to get us to delay this for another week or
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longer because of the -- oh, the big show people are going to see on tv tomorrow and the next day of all the democrats who are running for president. i remember just the last time -- the last time we had 17 republicans running. this time we have 20 democrats running. so, anyway, that might be a great show, but it's not as important as the would, that we're doing here -- as the work that we're doing here and that we absolutely have to get this done this week in order to fulfill the obligation we have to the american people. so let me again encourage our members to come down and discuss their amendments because we're going to be coming to a vote this week on all of those and they have to make sure that we have a full house of senators who know everything that's in this bill. with that, i'll yield the floor and 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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quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. a senator: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. burr: mr. president, i want to thank chairman inhofe and ranking member reed for accommodating the intelligence committee's intel authorization bill for 2020 to be in the ndaa.
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and i want to thank leader mcconnell and senator schumer for their understanding of why this was important to do. mr. president, i yield my time, myself as. time as i may consume. the senate select committee on intelligence is a unique committee. we uphold the secrecy and confidentiality of the nation's programs that keep our nation safe every day. we ensure our intelligence community has the tools and the resources to protect america both at home and abroad. so i'm pleased that the senate is considering our intelligence authorization bill as part of the ndaa. our bill is a three-year fiscal years in the making. in may the senate intelligence committee unanimously passed the bill with a vote of 15-0. let me say that one more time. we unanimously passed the intel authorization bill 15-0.
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i appreciate vice chairman warner's work, his collaboration to achieve that unanimous support of all 15 members of the intelligence committee. the bill is genuinely bipartisan, a product that protects the united states, strengthens our national security, and supports the activities of the men and women who are serving in uniform around the world and around the globe. i would remind the president and the members that it is 15 members of the select committee of intelligence that give the other 85 members of the senate and the american people the assurance that our intelligence activities operate within the constitution and/or the executive order of the president. the last intelligence authorization bill for fiscal year 2017 was enacted may 5 of 2017. we've gone too long without critical resources and
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authorities that our intelligence agencies need to do their work and to keep our country safe from an ever-expanding national security threat. not only does our bill fund the u.s. intelligence activities across 17 agencies, but it enables the congressional oversight of the intelligence community's classified activities. the bill ensures financial accountability for the programs we authorize and supports development of future capabilities to stay a step ahead of our adversaries. we do not have time to waste as the threats increase in scope and scale. all of this bipartisan oversight and all of this accountability can exist only when we have a current enacted intelligence authorization bill. our intelligence agencies need the authorization, the direction, and the guidance from congress to protect and defend america, its allies, and its partners.
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the agencies need these authorizations to collect, analyze, and utilize intelligence and to recruit and retain personnel that they need. and equally important, our authorization bill ensures those activities abide by our constitution and privacy laws. i'd like to mention some specifics in the bill. first, it deters russia and other foreign influence in our u.s. elections. it facilitates information sharing between federal, state, and local election officials. these activities are essential to protecting the foundation of democracy, our democracy, our u.s. elections. next, the bill increases oversight of russian activities by requiring notifications of russian federation personnel who travel in the united states countering russia's propaganda
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activities within the united states by requiring threat assessments on russian financial activities. in addition, the bill improves our security clearance process by requiring the intelligence community to take steps to reduce the backlogs, improving clearance information sharing and oversight and holding the executive branch responsible for modernizing the clearance policies. the bill protects the intelligence community's supply chain from foreign counter intelligence threats from countries such as russia and china. importantly, the bill increases benefits for intelligence community personnel by enhadgessing pay scales -- enhancing pay scales for certain cybersecurity positions and increasing paid parental leave. finally, it establishes increased accountability for our most sensitive programs. the senate intelligence committee has acted carefully
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and comprehensively to oversee our intelligence community and its resources, but the current gap in authorities is unacceptable and, frankly, it's dangerous. our enemies and our adversaries do not take two years off. congress cannot afford to let our intelligence authorization bills lapse any longer. i'll end, mr. president, where i started, without the collaboration and cooperation of the chairman, the ranking member, and the entire committee, we wouldn't have this opportunity. but they recognize as well as we do that the security of america comes first, and any delay in authorizing the intelligence community or passing an ndaa is not what america expects us to do. they expect us to pass as rapidly, with as much predictability for our men and women in uniform as we do for those who serve in the shadows of our intelligence community.
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a authorization bill that is done as quickly, as clearly, and makes their life and their future predictable. america's safety is too important for us to delay any longer for the military or for the intelligence community. so i once again thank the chairman for his accommodations in this bill. i urge my colleagues in this body, pass this authorization bill as quickly as we possibly can and send the signal to the men and women who serve this country and defend this country that congress is on their side and not in opposition to them. i yield back and notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: and the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i'm really
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pleased and honored to be on the floor today with my great colleague from the great state of rhode island. we share a border. we share many, many common views, one of them being a commitment to our environment. senator whitehouse has been a historic champion of action against environmental degradation as well as climate change, global warming, which bring us to the floor today, because we are here to call attention and call for action in connection with the effects of climate change on the waters off our state and the east coast of our nation. there is a palpable, historic consequence to the warming of
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those waters, among others, to drive fish populations northward in search of cooler waters. and the northeast has already experienced some of the highest levels of ocean warming and sea level rise in the united states. they are only projected to exacerbate and exceed the present levels. there are storms, our states, rhode island, connecticut, and others up and down the east coast and all across the country have experienced those new superstorms that are becoming the new normal in our nation. the most recent being the unprecedented hurricane and then superstorm sandy. and connecticut and rhode island are poised to lose land to sea level rise. scientists predict an almost two-foot increase in the level of long island sound by 2050.
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my colleague, senator whitehouse, has been here more times than i can count. i think more than 200 times to call our attention to the effects and the causes of this historic and catastrophic trend of climate change in our nation, on our planet. but what brings us here today is a very discrete and disastrous consequence of those waters warming and changing fish population that are available to a group of our citizens and residents who have been an economic mainstay and backbone for our state. they are the fishermen who carry
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on a great profession and way of life. despite an outdated and byzantine quota system that has failed to adapt to those movement of fish stock like black sea bass, some are flounder, from their waters northward, and then new fish populations from the middle atlantic states to our waters. the fish quotas fail to take account of changing fish populations. the fish are smart by logically. they know when the waters are warming. they seek cooler waters further north, but the quotas fail to keep track. and so the fish that are caught by our fishermen are not the same kind as they did before, and they are not the same kinds that are contemplated by the
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present quotas. they are catching fish that they are required to throw back, even after they are dead. so this quota system is failing at every level. it is failing environmentally. if the goal is to enhance and save fish populations. it is failing economically because it is driving these fishermen out of their way of life. and it is failing in public policy by failing to provide a rational and informed way to set those quotas. there is a solution, because this whole system is governed by the magnuson-stevens act, which, by the way, is under the commerce, science, and transportation committee where i sit. there have been proposals to reform and change it. the current byzantine system of quota settings is really a relic
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of a long-gone era, and it should be reformed, but right now, immediately, the secretary of commerce can intervene. the statute says the law of governing the management of fisheries requires that the department of commerce must ensure fishery management plans adhere to several national standards, including the use of the, quote, best scientific information available to decide catch limits. and it also says that any management plans, quote, shall not discriminate between residents of different states and must allow quotas that are, quote, fair and equitable. this system is failing those standards. i agree with the fishermen of connecticut, and i believe of rhode island, who are saying
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this current system is nonsensical, it's outdated, it is irrational, and it is worthless, and it fails to do them fairness and justice. it's time for action. the commerce department should use its power, as extraordinary as it is, to impose emergency regulations and create a more equitable system. as bobby guzzo, a fisherman from stonington told "green wire" recently, quote, things have changed, the fish have moved north, but the quotas have not changed to keep up with it. the science has to be better. they have got to get more of a handle on it. i ask, by the way, mr. president, that the "green wire" article be incorporated in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: so it's past
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time for an update for a system that takes advantage of science and research. we owe it to our fishing industry, but we owe it to ourselves as members of this ecosystem, as policy setters and legislators, to keep faith with the fishermen of rhode island and connecticut, but really it's the fishermen of america and as fish stocks shift north, fishermen from other states are going to encounter the same challenges. they will be side of the aisling north to -- they will be sailing north. their quotas around their states are as outdated as ours. the longer trips they will undertake mean more carbon pollution, leading to more
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climate shifts and acidification of the ocean. there is some good news amidst all of this gloom and doom. we are already mustering the awareness and the resolve to take action, and that is why we are here today not only to wake up but keep up this kind of fight. and i thank my colleague from rhode island for leading this great effort. thank you, senator whitehouse. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: it is a great honor and pleasure to join the senior senator from connecticut. we were both attorneys general in our states and we both serve in the senate together and we are friends outside of the chamber.
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and another senator from a great fishing state should be presiding. this is 247th speech. rhode island shares a border with connecticut as well as a proud fishing heritage and connection to the sea. whether you're walking the docks of stonnington or new london or point judith. our fishermen say the same thing, these are not the waters our parents, and great grand parents fished. one fisherman told me, it's getting weird out there. and it's aing big economic issue. there were over $114 million in landing and not the ancillary fishing economy around it.
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carbon pollution and warming acidifying oceans put that whole economy at risk. earlier this month the national academy of sciences estimated by 2100 around 17% of all ocean life by biomass will disappear. in february the journal of science founded since that we have lost much of our seafood due to warming temperatures and depleting oxygen levels. a 2017 study warns, and i qot here, the body size of fish decreases 20% to 30% for every one degree celsius increase in water temperature. and the water is warming. oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat trapped
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by our greenhouse gas emissions. all of the ex excess -- all of that excess heat, 90% of it, has gone into the oceans. how much is that? well the federal government's 2017 climate science special report from noaa, nasa, the department of energy, and others found that the ocean has heated up by 900xena gels. what is that. goules, not like your grandmother's earrings, gou les as a measure of energy. more than 9 sextillion goules.
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if you want a more vigorous and more kinetic description, vision an atomic bomb. its classic mushroom growd erupting -- cloud erupting into the sky. imagine all of that nuclear energy capture just as heat. now imagine four atomic bombs exploding every second -- every second. that's the excess heat that is going into our oceans from climate change. more than four atomic-bomb's worth of heat energy into the
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oceans every second of every day of every year. that is a lot of heat energy, and adding it to the oceans has consequences. global surface temperatures are up 1.5 degrees fine fahrenheit e before the carbon pollution of industrial time began. according to noaa there are new record highs five times since 2000. the rapid rise in ocean temperatures is forcing species once southern new england icons to abandon our waters for cooler, deeper seas. a 2018 noaa funded study noted that thousands of species are
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going northward. in 201663% of the -- 2016, 63% of squid was landed in rhode island. the value was over $28 million. in my state, that's a big deal and, remember, that's just the landing value. that's not the surrounding economic value. climate change is putting had that, our precious calamari, at risk. squid is rhode island's most valuable fishery accounting for 50% of all of our state's landing by value in 2018. rhode island once had a booming lobster fishery. that has moved north. noaa reports what we already know. i quote, the lobster industry in new york and southern new england has nearly collapsed. maine is temporarily benefiting
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from the northern movement of lobster, but the lobster are expected to keep moving north into canada as we keep warming the oceans. in january, "the washington post" ran this amazing piece as part of it's gone in a generation series, featuring the stories of rhode island and maine, lobstermen who are dealing with our changing ocean. new england fishermen also see declining shellfish populations. eastern oysters, northern bay scallops, landings all declined 85% between 1980 and 2010. noaa's northeast fishery science center identified ocean warm temperatures as the culprit. as ocean warms, 90% of the heat was absorbed by the oceans, 30%
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of the co2 was chemically absorbed by the oceans, out of the atmosphere, into the seas, but it acidifies the oceans, and for many species that is a double whammy. sea scallops were valuable and connecticut's most valuable species in 2017 connecticut landings. let's look at that. acidification and landing both troubled sea scallop. they extract calciumate, and if you get it high enough, you dissolve the shell's of living creatures. in 2018, the graphic institution warned that the sea scallop population could go down 50%
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under a worst-case scenario. mr. president, while we in the senate strug toll-free our chamber from the remorseless political grip of the fossil fuel industry, our fishermen pay the price. the oceans are warming too fast for us to respond to rapid changes in fish stocks. so in our states, black sea bass and summer flounder, both species mentioned by senator blumenthal. he mentioned his friend bobby guzzo, rhode island fishermen are telling me the same thing. the science director for noaa's northeast fishery, says much of our management assumes that conditions in the future will be the same as they have been in the past the -- in the past. that is no longer true. we are so off base from historic trends and data that we can no
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longer rely on that history to forecasts where fish populations will be. so black sea bass and summer flounder head north towards cooler water from the mid-atlantic states that used to be their home base. you would think it would make sense for the allocations of that fish -- the catch allocations to move northward with them. the blue is the base of where most of the black sea bass food stock existed back in the 1970's. up here is the base right now. that's the chesapeake bay. there is rhode island. there is the hope of cape cod of massachusetts. so it's a big move up into our space, but did the catch limits move up with it? no. southern states were unwilling to give up their quotas, leaving our fishermen in connecticut and rhode island with an abundant
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catch that they can't harvest. imagine the frustration. rhode island, connecticut, and other new england states don't have a vote on a critical fishery management council that makes this decision, putting our fishermen at a severe disadvantage fighting for their right to the fish now settling up here in southern new england. our fishermen have to throw back valuable fish from lobster pots and from nets because our fishery management rules haven't caught up with their ocean reality. mr. president, we've got to update how we manage the shifting fish stocks as climate change moves fish populations around. we must speed research and catch limits to match what fishermen actually see in the water. our fishermen and our coastal economies depend on it. so i'm very grateful to senator blumenthal, my outstanding
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colleague from connecticut for joining me today. together we will continue to fight for a day when our rhode island, connecticut fishermen can foresee their children and grandchildren continuing their long tradition of fishing the seas. we strive for meaningful action on climate change and ocean acidification, for updated fisheries and climate modeling, and for improvements on how we manage these stocks. to save our seas and to save our fishing economies, we must wake up to the threat of climate change and respond to these consequences that real fishermen are seeing in their real nets and boats every single day. i thank the presiding officer and i yield the floor and ask unanimous consent that the senator from connecticut and i be allowed to engage if a -- in a brief colloquy. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. after that eloquence, i hesitate
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to add anything. but the urgency of his plea and the need to hear the voices of the fishermen brings to mind that photograph taken from the greenwire article, and it is of, in fact, a boat in the stonington harbor during a visit by president trump in 2017 in the coast guard academy in new london. and as the banner on this boat says, please help us. we need help for the fishermen of our nation, whether it's louisiana or rhode island or connecticut because of this completely obsolete obscenely outdated system that is depriving them of a decent livelihood, depriving our nation
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of sufficient fish nutrition, and depriving our nation and our world of a -- an end to climate change. so i would ask my colleague in rhode island, very briefly, does he believe that this administration is heat -- heeding that message, not only on behalf of the fishermen of stonington and connecticut, please help us, but on behalf of the planet to help us stop global warming and climate change? this is is -- is this administration acting sufficiently. mr. whitehouse: clearly when it comes to climate change, this administration is embarrassing itself and our country with the factually and scientifically preposterous claims that they make. and the nonsense denial that they continue to promulgate is going to be i think a lasting
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blot on our country as the rest of the world looks to us for leadership and sees instead more fossil fuel-funded denial and treacherous political behavior by the industry that guides very often the hands of people in government. so from that point of view, it's a complete train wreck. from the point of view of helping the fishing communities, they've actually been taking it on the chin for a while. i will say a good word for the fishing communities which i think they have really tried to do their best. when we asked the fishing community to consider moving to a catch shares type of regulatory model, a lot of them didn't like it but a number of them tried it and they realized they actually could make it work. and it actually improved their business prospects. and so the -- that move has been one that has not been easy for them to make. but more and more they've made it and they've been able to see how it works better for them to
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be able to share catches. somebody is out at sea having a great day, instead of having to go back in, they can get on the radio and say i'm having a great day out here. it's cheap to say out here. i'll keep fishing if you give me some of your catch. you can stay home and they work out the deal on the radio. so that's been a good thing. again, not easy for them. they've also really stepped up as you know, -- as senator blumenthal knows so well, in the regional planning, offshore planning. fishermen have come forward. they've participated. i think they've been very fair and productive. unfortunately the manner in which the obama administration rolled out the offshore marine monument was a bit of a blow to the trust that had been developed but they had participated in good faith. so i have, you know, good things to say about what our fishing community has tried to do to keep up. but no matter what you try to do as a fisherman, 'you have an
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abundance of black sea bass, if it's so abundant that it's going into lobster pots to eat the bait and you're pulling up black sea bass in lobster pots, if you're pulling it up in your trawls and you find that you can't keep this fish, you could go to the dock and you could sell it for several dollars but, no, you're obliged to throw it overboard because you can't bring it in. it's already been probably a little bit compromised by particularly been caught in the trawl. so it's not likely to survive very long when you put it back in the water so you're really not helping anybody by throwing it in. you know it's valuable. you know there's a lot of them. you know that you're throwing them back injured or having difficulties surviving or very often dead. i've seen them just go twirling down in the -- through the water. you wonder who's looking out for
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me because this does not make sense. this does not make sense. and the science supports what they're saying. noaa has known for a very long time that this black sea bass population was moving northward. this was only 2014. it's even further north from there. so, you know, nothing is more frustrating than not being taken seriously. i think we need to take the concerns of our fishermen seriously. of course one way to do that is to take climate change seriously and not listen to this nonsense of it being a chinese hoax and not having a bunch of really creepy eccentrics from the climate denial stooge committee brought in the government and actually given positions as if they were legitimate. mr. blumenthal: i thank the senator from rhode island. i look forward to coming back to the floor with him and expanding on this colloquy in the future. and i will be a proud partner of
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his in advocating for the measures. and i join him in praising our fishing community because they have stood strong in the face of adversity. thank you, mr. president. mr. whitehouse: i thank senator blumenthal for his leadership on this issue. our fishing communities have a powerful voice in senator blumenthal. he's worked with them for many, many years before in the senate when he was attorney general and it's a great honor to share the floor of the senate with him today. mr. president, i yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk shall call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: the senate is -- without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. wednesday, june 26. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, morning business be closed, and the senate resume consideration of s. 1790. finally, notwithstanding the provision of rule 22, the cloture motions filed during monday's session ripen at 12:00 noon tomorrow. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. mcconnell: so if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask it stand adjourned under the previous order following the remarks of senators fischer, risch, and brown. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mrs. fischer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to speak on the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill. i want to begin by thanking the chairman and the ranking member of the senate armed services committee for their leadership and for their hard work in crafting it bill and managing it on the floor. the bill before us today is a worthy successor to last year's john s. mccain national defense authorization act. like its immediate predecessor, this bill's overarching objective is to reorient the department of defense towards the great power competition that our nation faces today. overall, the bill supports a total of $750 billion in defense
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spending which includes $642 billion for the department of defense's base budget, $23 billion for the department of energy's defense activities, and another $76 billion for overseas contingency operations. this meets the level of spending requested by the president and provides the department of defense with real growth above the rate of inflation in recognition of increasing threats our nation faces. the bill also supports the all-volunteer force providing a3.1% pay raise for our men and women in uniform. it meets the president's request with respect to end strength for an active duty force of $1,--
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1,390,000 soldiers, airmen, and marines. i serve as chairman on the subcommittee on strategic forces which has jurisdiction over nuclear forces, missile defense, and national security space programs. and u.s. strategic command to which nebraska is home. i'm fond of quoting the statement of former president obama's secretary of defense ash carter that, quote, nuclear deterrence is the bedrock of our security and the highest priority mission of the department of defense. end quote. that was true in 2016 when he said it. and it is even truer today as russia and china continue to expand their nuclear arsenals and deterring great power conflict becomes the central focus of our military. with this changing security environment in mind, this bill
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fully funds the nuclear mission of the men and women of the u.s. stratcom, including the sustainment of our nuclear forces as well as the modernization of our triad, our nuclear command and control systems, and the department of energy's nuclear complex. this legislation builds upon last year's support for the supplemental systems announced in the president's nuclear posture review. by authorizing funds for the deployment of low-yield ballistic missile warhead. numerous senior military leaders have testified that's what is necessary to address gaps in our current deterrence posture. the f.y. 2020 senate also
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supports the navy -- cruise capability in order to further enhance deterrence and also to reassure allies. more over, the legislation includes a requirement for the administration to submit a report assessing four major categories of nuclear arms that are currently not captured by the new start treaty. as many of my colleagues are aware, the administration has announced its intent to pursue a more comprehensive approach to arms control beyond the traditional bilateral limitations of land-based icbm's, submarine launched ballistic missiles and our heavy bombers. the administration's logic is simple. threats are shifting. as russia invests in new and novel nuclear systems that are not captured by the new start
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treaty and china's arsenal expands, a new approach is needed that accounts for these new dynamics. in support of this effort, this provision would require the administration provide a comprehensive assessment of these factors. additionally, the strategic forces subcommittee authorized resources for a number of key unfunded priorities for our war fighters. this includes an additional $113 million for the development of the next generation of g.p.s. receivers to ensure the u.s. military continues to have access to resilient position, navigation, and timing capabilities and an additional $108 million for the missile defense agency to continue the development of space-based
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sensors to track advanced threats, including hypersonic weapons. and finally, it fully authorized critical bilateral u.s.-israel cooperative missile defense programs. the critical resources this bill provides will be appreciated by our strategic partners and our men and women in uniform around the globe as well as those in each and every state here at home. madam president, i am honored to represent the men and women of the wing of the national guard in nebraska. i am proud to say in this legislation authorizes several critical investments that not only support our uniformed men and women in nebraska, it better enables them to fulfill their roles in defending this nation. by passing the f.y. 2020 ndaa,
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we keep the fighting 55th wing flying. the bill authorizes full funding for the air force budget request to support the c-135 family of aircraft. it supports significant upgrades to the capabilities of the rc-135 ribbert joint, the conversion of kc-135 tankers to wc-135-r nuclear detection aircraft and enables the ongoing oc-135 open skies recapitalization. just as critically, the bill helps the air force to evolve its i.s.r. capability and move toward a more survivable networked environment with manned, unmanned, and sensors all acting as key components to give battlefield commanders the best information possible. to achieve this, the bill includes two amendments i
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authored that will direct the air force to examine the integration and dissemination of data from surveillance platforms like the rc-135 to the war fighter. while the bill authorizes these important new investments, it also provides funding to address ongoing disaster recovery efforts, which are essential to restoring military installations that were affected by the recent flooding in nebraska. rebuilding offutt air force and the nebraska national guard camp ashland are top priorities and i am happy to report that the bill authorizes millions of dollars in funding to aid in the continued process of cleanup, design, and construction for the facilities that were destroyed. because i believe nebraska's bases are a core component of
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the nation's defense, i was also proud to offer two amendments that further support the process of rebuilding. these measures increase the cap on minor military destruction for recovery at bases impacted by recent disasters and encourage the military services to work quickly to rebuild offutt air force base and camp ashland. i strongly urge all of my colleagues to work together to support this disaster recovery effort. many key military installations have been affected across several states, and the work to rebuild these bases must be a collaborative effort. we owe it to our men and women in uniform to do this together. for 58 years the ndaa has been the subject of a bipartisan consensus in congress. despite other disagreements that may arise and the significant
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debates that we face, this bill has long been a unifying subject of agreement on capitol hill. there is good reason for that, and a record that spans a half-century does not happen by accident. the fact is that no matter what other issues arise, an area where we must forge agreement is in supporting our service members and enabling the defense of the nation. this year we had a productive makeup -- we had a productive markup with substantial debate on the issues in this bill. the process worked the way it was intended. we emerged with a strong, bipartisan consensus on the bill before us. i encourage all of my colleagues to support this legislation so we can continue our tradition of
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authorizing full funding for the military and ensure that this legislation is signed into law on time. in that same spirit, it is essential that we take the next step and work to secure a budget agreement that not only supports a robust top line for national defense but that we do so swiftly to give the department of defense the predictable funding they need to plan and budget for the coming year. passing ndaa is only half of the job. yes, we must authorize full funding for our military, but if we are truly committed to our military men and women, we must also vote on the defense appropriations bill to fund what we do here this week on ndaa.
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as we continue to debate the f.y. 2020 ndaa, we should aller the reason why we have this debate every year. one of the primary responsibilities of congress is to provide for the common defense. that responsibility is written in the constitution. and it is an oath each of us swore to uphold. i am reminded of that oath frequently when i am back home in nebraska. each time i shake hands with a nebraskan in uniform or meet a family member with a loved one overseas, i think about the responsibility we have and the debt we owe the ones who serve. over the years, countless sons and daughters of the heartland have answered that call to service. they are regular men and women from every background and every
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walk of life, united by their desire to safeguard their homeland and protect the cause of freedom. yes, they are regular men and women. but they are also exceptional americans, and their spirit and their sacrifice is an example that we should remember every day. i hope that we can come together in the spirit of service and work together to swiftly pass the f.y. 2020 national defense authorization act. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. risch: madam president, i rise today to talk about the -- i'm sorry, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes. mr. risch: i'd ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be
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vitiated, please. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. risch: thank you. madam president, i rise today to discuss the proposed udall amendment to the national defense authorization act, and it is not pending, but it has been filed, and, thus, i do want to talk about it for a few minutes. first of all, let me be clear. the united states is not responsible for iran's wreckless activity and its violent ways. it's time once again the to put the line of behavior in the spotlight. iran has refused to act as a responsible member of the international community. indeed, the magnitude of iran's -- iranian regime's cause stick behavior both at home and abroad is overwhelming. responsible nations do not threaten the sovereignty of their neighbors by funding terrorists. responsible nations do not
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catalyze and provoke violence in the nation. responsible nations do not through a murderous regime of bashar al-assad in syria. responsible nations do not carelessly spread dangerous missile technology to violent extremist groups that threaten the lives of civilians. responsible nations do not attack embassies and hold hostages. yet the iranian regime has done all of these things and persists. make no mistake, the iranian regime has american blood on its hands. we all recall the dark days in iraq and the iranian roadside bombs that took the lives and maimed our service men and women. today america's sons and daughters deployed abroad are again at risk. the amendment in front of this body would tie the hands of our commanders and prevent our troops from even acting in
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self-defense. additionally, this amendment takes options off the table, telegraphs our foreign policy to our adversaries and emboldens those who wish us harm. no one seeks a conflict with iran -- not the president of the united states, not this body, and not the american people. the u.s. government has made clear our willingness to negotiate with iran. the iranian people are a proud people. they are descendant -- they have a proud history. they are the descendants of a culture, the persian culture. it was one of the greatest cultures on the face of the earn. the iranian people deserve better than what they're getting from the regime that is in power now in iran. the fact remains that the iranian regime is faced with a sharp choice. the regime must choose between continued terrorist activity and behaving as a responsible member
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of the international community. the iranian regime should sit down and think about the road that they are pursuing. like all countries, they want security, national security for their people. is the road to national security trying to develop a nuclear weapon that the world has told them they can't develop? is it continuing funding terrorists? is it continuing the maligned activities that it continues within syria? none of these things give them the national security that they want. they should take a lesson from north korea. north korea pursued this for generations, but in the last 18 months, north korea sat down and said, you know what? our national security is better served by picking door number two instead of door number one. and as a result of that, the threat that north korea has been
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under has been greatly lifted. this particular amendment is an amendment that has a place in a debate, but it has no debate -- it has no place in this particular bill. first of all, it's not within the jurisdiction of the committee that has this bill in front of them. it is the jurisdiction of our committee, the foreign relations committee. these issues on the war powers and the president's ability to use military force deserve thoughtful and reasoned debate. it is not a cavalier amendment like this that takes away the ability of our men and women to actually defend themselves. i would you were my colleagues to cast a no vote -- i would urge my colleagues to cast a no vote on this amendment and get on with the serious business and the important business of passing the national defense
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authorization act. madam president, i yield the floor.
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mr. brown: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you. i ask unanimous consent that a letter from the chair and vice chair of the intelligence committee regarding the referral of s. 1879 be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. this month we surpassed the record for the longest period of
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in american history without an increase in the minimum wage. it's been nearly a decade since those american workers, since minimum wage workers last got a raise, literally a decade. because of inflation the salary of a minimum-wage worker today is worth $3,000 less than it was in 2009. think about that. it's not like minimum-wage workers are making a lot of money. the equivalent today of a minimum-wage worker, it's equivalent to $3,000 less than it was a decade ago because of inflation. president trump, republicans in congress don't have a plan, don't even close to have a plan. they block any plans the rest of us have. don't have a plan to give millions of workers a raise. why? because the corporate lobbyists going in and out of the office of the senate majority leader don't want them to. and we know it's not just minimum-wage workers who are losing out on money in their pockets because the president and the members of this body
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always stand on the side of corporate interests, always put their thumb on the scale supporting corporations over workers. look at the priorities democrats fight for every day in this body, then look at what this administration does. it's pretty clear who's on the side of american workers. democrats have plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. president trump is against it. he wants to do nothing to raise wages. democrats have a plan to strengthen collective bargaining rights to give workers more power in the workplace, the pro act. president trump nominates judge after judge who puts their thumbs on the scale for wall street over consumers and workers. democrats have a plan to put more money back in the pockets of 114 million american workers, the working families tax relief act. it means if you're making
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$25,000 or $30,000, if you have children or if you don't have children, you'll get through the earned income tax credit more money in your pocket. again, president trump and the special interest republicans in this town again show their hostility to workers by opposing it. president trump, though, did sign a tax cut for corporations that led to record stock buybacks. the tax cut that president trump pushed through this senate with the majority leader doing his groundwork for him, the bill he pushed, the tax cut he pushed through the senate more than 75% of that tax cut over time goes to the richest 1% of people. think about that. $1.5 trillion tax cut. who benefits? 75% of the benefits go to the richest 1% of people in this country. democrats too have a plan to give american workers more control over their lives and their schedules, the schedules at work act that we're introducing soon. we have a plan to protect
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workers from companies that steal their hard-earned money by refusing to pay them for the hours they've worked, the wage theft protection act. think about how that works. you work on a salary. say you're making $35,000 a year. you are a night manager at a restaurant, at a fast-food restaurant. the company decides to list you as a manager. so you're making, say you're making $35,000 a year salary. the company can work you 42, 45, 50 hours a week and pay you not a cent for the hours above 40 because you're in -- you earn that salary and the company declared you management. i call it wage theft. we used to have laws in this country we enacted many years ago why you why you -- updated t ford, president nixon and president obama, but president trump said no and scaled that
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back. his administration rolled back rule after rule to protect workers from companies that cheat them out of the wages they've earned. again, it's whose side are you on when you have a president who is hostile to workers, who betrays workers while talking a good game but is clearly on the side of corporate interests every single time? democrats are united in demanding that any new north american free trade agreement, any new nafta have strong labor standards, so we don't end up with another race to the bottom on workers rights and benefits. president trump so far hasn't propose duesed a deal that protects workers from corporations that want to move to mexico so they can pay their workers less. in fact, the trump tax cut bill, again, that senator mcconnell down the hall, that he fought for and rammed through this senate by only a couple of votes, that bill gave corporations, if you shut down the lordstown plant, the gm
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plant, you're paying a 25% tax rate, you move to mexico you pay 10.5%. that's what happened as the president failed to renegotiate nafta and help workers. let me give you an example. let me mention a quick story. after nafta passed five years later, i went to the mexican border and with a friend went across the border and visited a mexican auto plant. that auto plant looked just like an auto plant in cleveland or just like the -- an auto clant in cincinnati or just like the auto plant, the jeep plant in toledo. and there was one difference -- the workers were working hard, the floors were clean, the technology is up to date. there was one difference between the auto plant in mexico and the auto plant in toledo. do you know what the difference was? the difference was the mexican auto plant didn't have a parking lot because the workers that worked there can't afford to buy the cars they make. yet, president trump's renegotiation of nafta have let
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those workers' wages out so the workers will continue to be far, far underpaid in mexico, have weaker environmental laws, encouraging especially with the trump tax plan, encouraging more american companies to move to mexico. on another issue, so important to so many in this country, especially to elderly people, democrats have a plan to lower the price of prescription drugs, one that a news outlet said it combines just about every policy idea that drug lobbyists hate. yet, president trump and members of this senate, all with good health care paid for by taxpayers. don't ever forget that. all of us that represent people in this country have good health care paid by taxpayers. they are all trying to take away the protections for americans with preexisting conditions. let me go back to the overtime issue for a minute. three years ago, i stood in columbus to announce the obama administration was going to raise the salary threshold to earn overtime pay and make millions for -- millions more
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workers eligible. it would have meant four million americans, 130,000 ohioans were going to get a raise. as i explained earlier, when you're working -- making $35,000 or $40,000, you are paid a salary, they call you management. you work more than 40 hours, you don't get paid a nickel for any time you work over 40 hours. so if we -- what president obama's rule did was give a raise to 130,000 ohioans, four million workers. but you know what? workers didn't get that raise because attorneys general, far right, extreme conservative attorneys general around the country, first they sued to stop it, then when president trump won the election, he came up with a new rule that leaves most of those workers behind. talking again about people making $38,000 or $40,000 a year. middleman engineers at banks and restaurants and grocery stores. they are often required to work 50, 60, 70 hours without getting a cent of overtime. i know i keep mentioning this
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over and over and over. it's an american value. it's what we stand for as a nation. it's how we should govern through the eyes of workers, people that work. if you work 50 or 60 hours, obviously senators and bank presidents and c.e.o.'s and doctors and lawyers shouldn't get paid overtime, but people making $35,000 or $40,000, if you work more than 40 hours a week, you should get overtime. that's what we used to do in this country, but we don't do it all the time now because of president trump's opposition. democrats have a bill to fix. it's the restoring overtime pay act. 4.6 million americans would be newly eligible for overtime pay. the president who clearly doesn't understand how somebody living on $35,000 or $40,000, how that person -- what that person's challenges are. the president thinks it's just fine to leave those workers behind. so much, so much for fighting for american workers. that was his campaign promise. he would put them back to work, he would have good manufacturing wages for them, he would pay them, he would make sure they
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made good wages, but it's all part of donald trump's phony populism. he divides to distract from the fact that his administration looks like a wall street retreat. true populism is never racist, it's never anti-semitic. true populists don't pass tax cuts for rich people and leave out workers and children. populists don't choose wall street over consumers. populists don't choose corporations over workers. populists don't choose health insurance companies over sick people. it comes down, madam president, to whose side you are on. are you going to fight for the dignity of work or are you going to fight for the privilege of the wealthy? the president promised to fight for american workers. he breaks that promise every day. he's broken that promise for more than two years. if you love this country, you fight for the people that make it work. i wish president trump would remember that. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate
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stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. adjourn: >> the senate wrapping up work on this tuesday. they will be back tomorrow for more work on the 2020 defense programs and policy bill. we will have live coverage of the senate when they return here on c-span 2. and be with us tomorrow, when the house oversight and reform committee holds hearing on the office of special counsel's recommendation that president trump fired white house counselor kelly-anne conway for numerous violations of the hatch act, a federal law that limits certain political activities by executive branch employees. live coverage wednesday morning starting at 10:00 eastern on c-span 3, on-line at c-span.org or listen with the free c-span radio app. i'm a white male. i'm prejudiced.
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the reason it is is something i wasn't taught, but it's kind of something that i learned. i don't like to be forced to like people. i like to be led to like people through example, and what can i do to change? you know, to be a better american. >> that was a remarkable moment. i didn't really realize until i kind of stepped off the set because there were more calls after that; right? we had to keep rolling, how powerful it was. there was something in his voice that touched me. i mean, you can hear it. it's so authentic as he searches for the words to say something to a national audience that most of us won't admit in our homes. i i'm prejudiced. >> sunday night on q&a, heather mcgee president of the foreign policy organization was a guest on c-span's washington journal in august of 2016 when gary called. she talks about that interaction and her follow-up with him. >> part of the reason for that is that you have to remember this is august. you know, we'd had this sort of
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racially-charged summer with donald trump's campaign, with black lives matter and the police shootings and then, you know, the tragic events, all in baton rouge, dallas, i mean, it was really a time when people felt like all they were seeing on tv about race was bad news. and here was first a white man, admitting that he was prejudiced, which for people of color was, you know, we kind of just all said finally. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern, on c-span's q&a. i'm a cold war historian, historian of communism, different etiologies and so forth. friends of mine e-mailed me and said why do you want to tackle this issue, right, marriage, and family, and you're jumping into the culture war? do you really want to do this? >> author and grove city college professor will be our guest on
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in depth, sunday, july 7th from noon to 2:00 p.m. eastern. his latest book is "the divine plan". he has other books, as well as books about the spiritual lives of ronald reagan, george w. bush and hilary clinton. join our live conversation with your phone calls, tweets and facebook questions. watch in depth, live sunday july 7th from noon to 2:00 pem eastern on book tv. -- 2:00 p.m. eastern on book tv. watch book tv every weekend on c-span 2. the supreme court issued an opinion in gundy v. united states, upholding a provision f of. this case was heard by an eight justice bench.
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justice brett kavanaugh had not yet joined the court when oral argument was heard. justice kagan explained the decision as four of the justices joined the majority and the fifth justice came to the same outcome but didn't sign on to the opinion. chief roberts, clarence thomas and gorsuch dissented. the court heard oral argument back in october of 2018. this oral argument is about an hour. >> we will hear arguments in gundy versus the united states. >> mr. chief justice and may it please the court, the provision grants power to the nation's top prosecutor to expand the scope of criminal laws and to impose

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