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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 11, 2019 1:30pm-3:30pm EDT

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and if you will not lead, get out of the way because we have an obligation to move forward now and take advantage of this historic opportunity and obligation. just weeks ago in one 24-hour period, massacres in el paso and dayton left 31 people dead. 11 days ago a shooter in odessa, texas killed another seven. communities are forever changed by these events. and so is our nation. the trauma and the stress done in schools to our children, by the drills they condeduct, by the advertise -- conduct, by the anticipation that's raised, by the fear that's engendered. the sights and sounds of gun violence echo and reverberate
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across our land. i remember the sights and sounds of parents at the firehouse in sandy hook on the horrible day in 2012 when 20 beautiful children and six great educators died. the firehouse is where parents went to find out whether their children were okay. and the way they found out was that their children either appeared or they did not. for them in the cries and sobbing they experienced, the expressions of anguish, the look on those faces was only the beginning of their nightmare. but it transformed connecticut. and what we did in connecticut
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was to adopt commonsense measure, comprehensive steps to stop gun violence. but the lesson of connecticut is not only that those steps have reduced gun violence including homicide but also that states with the strongest laws are still on the the in ersy of the one -- mercy of the ones with the weakest because guns have no respect for state boundaries. they cross state lines and they do damage and death in states like connecticut with strong guns through the iron pipeline that comes from other states to our south. since that day at sandy hook, there have been 2,218 mass shootings in the united states and over 2,000 times parents have sat as did those parents at sandy hook, have waited to know
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whether their children were okay. children would left in the morning with no inkling about the violence that was to unfold. there is no reason that people have to live this way in the united states of america. america has no greater proportion of mental health issues than any other country. we have a higher rate of gun violence. we can prevent it through commonsense steps. comprehensive steps that will save as many lives as possible, as quickly as possible by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. that is the principle of the two main poems likely to come before this body. keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. do it through background checks which have to apply universally
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to all sales for them to be effective. experts estimate that 80% of firearms acquired for criminal purposes are obtained from unlicensed sellers. a recent study found that states that have universal background check laws experience 52% fewer mass shootings. background checks prevent people who are dangerous to themselves or others from buying firearms. and likewise, emergency risk protection orders take guns away from people who are dangerous to themselves or others. these two concepts have a common goal, the same end. they achieve it by complimentary means. the vast majority of perpetrators of mass violence exhibit clear signs that they are about to carry out an
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attack. the shooter in parkland, as my colleague senator lindsey graham has said all but took out an ad in the newspaper saying he was going to kill people at that school in parkland. the police were repeatedly alerted to his violent behavior, including a call from a family member who begged the police to recover his weapons. today in florida she could ask for an extreme risk protection order under a florida law signed by my colleague, senator scott, when he was governor in the 17 jurisdictions that have passed emergency risk protection order laws. enforcers can petition courts to temporarily restrict access to firearms with due process. and at a hearing this morning in the judiciary committee, we learned from one of the judges in broward county who enforces these laws, they have worked to
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prevent shootings, including many suicides. and they enable mental health help to be available as well. these laws prevent suicide. the majority of those gun deaths in the united states in fact are suicides accounting for 60% of those 90 people killed every d day. emergency risk protection orders are effective but they are resource intensive. and that is why senator graham and i have worked hard and we are close to finalizing a measure that will provide grants and incentives to other states who are considering or may consider these kinds of laws together with senator graham, i have been working hard on this legislation. and we are close after extensive discussions not only between us but with the white house, with our colleagues to a bill that
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can muster bipartisan support and pass this body. the charleston loophole must be closed. i've been leading that fight in the senate to fix this problem for years. the house-passed bipartisan legislation on background checks, h.r. 8, and on the charleston loophole that would fix the problem of would-be murderers having access to guns simply because information is unavailable within the time limit that is set. guns should not be sold simply because a deadline for a background check is not met. most are done literally within seconds or a minute, but some require more extensive work. there is no reason to wait to pass these measures.
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neither should we wait to pass a safe storage bill that would have prevented deaths like we believe ethan songs perishing in gillford. this past january ethan song would have celebrated his 16th birthday but a year earlier he was accidentally killed by a gun stored in his friend's closet. accessible to him and a friend. chris and michael and thousand of parents lose children to gun violence every year. it's a parents' worst nightmare and in many cases safe storage including possibly sandy hook would have prevented a mountain of heart ache and a river of tears. and the songs have been so
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strong and courageous as have been the survivors and victims' families in sandy hook. they have been the powerful face and voice of this effort, the most effective advocates and the groups that have been formed in these past years, raising awareness and mobilizing it, every town, giffords, brady, new town action alliance, sandy hook promise, connecticut against gun violence are only some of the -- moms demand action, students demand action. they are mounting a political movement, and we need to hear them. history will judge us harshly if we fail to heed that call for commonsense reform. but the voters will judge harshly as well, colleagues who
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fail to heed that call. and we need to keep in mind gun violence is not one problem. there is no one solution. there is no panacea. we need to aim at all these measures, including a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines. the house just this week approved a ban on high-capacity magazines as well as an emergency risk protection order statute. gun violence is many problems, not one. it's loopholes in the background check system. it's the failure to safely store firearms. it's an arbitrary deadline for completing a background check. it is the lack of emergency risk protection orders that take guns away from people who are dangerous to themselves or others with due process.
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i've worked on this issue for more than two decades, almost three decades since i was attorney general, first elected in the state of connecticut. there's been progress. the progress has achieved results. now it is this body's obligation to take that next step and i implore the president of the united states to state his support which my colleagues across the aisle have said is necessary for them to do what they think is responsible, and i ask them if the president fails to lead, you must do so. we must continue this fight and never give up, never go away for the sake of the survivors and
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the families who said from this gallery when we tailed to act in the wake of sandy hook shame, shame on us in fact if we fail to act. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i join with many of my colleagues to make a pretty simple request. and that is, the issue of gun violence in this country requires us to take action. and the senate needs to do what it is historically the place to do. the presiding officer is in his first term. i'm in the third term but the united states is the place where we debate on the issues. it's the greatest deliberative body in the world. that's what i thought i was running for. it's time for leader mcconnell to bring up -- well past time to bring up gun safety legislation, for us to act, to do something about gun violence in this
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country. and, yes, we would hope that the president would lead, would provide that leadership that we hear after every one of these mass shootings that the president is engaged. well, we need his leadership to bring us together on sensible gun safety legislation. but if we don't, we still have the responsibility here in this body to act, and we call upon leader mcconnell to bring forward sensible gun safety legislation. the united states is an outliar on gun violence. when you compare the amount of gun violence in the united states to the other developed countries of the world, in every category, multiply it times ten, 20, or 30, more likely for gufn violent -- gun violent type episodes here in the united states than other developed countries of the world. we have far more private ownership of guns in this country than among industrial
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nations of the world. we have far more mass killings. we have far more gun-related suicides. the list goes on and on and on. so we need to take action. this is one area where we don't want to be the outliar. we want -- owe outlier. we want safe communities and inaction is not the answer. yes, there are many things that we could do. look, the people of maryland, the people throughout this country have been victims of this gun violence. in my own state of maryland, we had a mass shooting in june of last year at the capital gazette. outrageous. people trying to do their jobs killed. we've had of course school shootings. it's time for this congress to take steps to reduce this risk. so inaction is not an option. what should we do? as my previous colleague said, there's a lot of things we should do. we should take a look at whether it's reasonable for there to be
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private ownership of military-style weapons. i think there shouldn't be. that's certainly a bill we could bring up. we've seen these assault weapons used in a lot of mass attacks where you have multiple casualties in a matter of seconds where there's no possibility for law enforcement to respond to keep people safe during that short period of time. we should get rid of the high-capacity magazines. i know the house is working on that. that's something that, again, is not necessary for the purposes of recreation. we should identify those people of extreme risk individuals and be able to put a -- put a flag on their ability to purchase a weapon. we need to invest in mental health. all that is important. the bill that we could pass today is the universal background check. the house has passed it, it's been here. it's been here since february of this year. for seven months, that bill has been here. universal background checks. it was passed with a strong
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bipartisan vote in the house of representatives, and it's consistent with the second amendment. the supreme court has said that the right is not absolute. that certain individuals are not tiled to have firearms because of what they have done. since 1968, we have provided forms to determine whether individuals are entitled to own a firearm or not, and of course in 1993, we passed the presale process for licensed dealers because that's where guns were being purchased back in 1993. so if you buy a gun from a licensed firearm dealer, you have to go through the federal -- the national instant criminal background check system, as my colleague said it takes a matter of seconds. you can get it clear or not cleared. and it works. three million guns have been denied transfers as a result of this check.
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but there are loopholes in it because of the way commerce is handled today. it doesn't cover private sales. internet sales weren't even available back when we passed these laws. we have got to close those loopholes. and it will save lives. states that have closed these loopholes have lower amount of gun violence than those states that have not, but we need a national answer to this. a person from maryland can go from west virginia or to west virginia, the laws are different. we need one state, one federal law to deal with closing this loophole. today and every day in this country, 100 people are killed through gun violence every single day. we can't wait. we have to act. that's what this body is best at. so, mr. president, i encourage president trump to lead on this issue. i know he had some meetings this
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week. and i encourage our leader to allow this body to take up the universal background bill that passed the house of representatives by a strong bipartisan vote. let us get that done. let us tell the people of this country that we won't be silent and we won't be inactive in regards to the amount of gun violence in this country. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mrs. gillibrand: mr. president. mr. cardin: i ask unanimous consent that my statement in regards to stephanie gallagher, we will be voting on her later today for district court judgeship, appear separately in the record in support of her nomination. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. gillibrand: mr. president, i rise to join my colleagues in discussing our country's horrific gun violence epidemic. i have risen to speak of this problem many times over the years. and to be honest, it's exasperating to have to do it
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over and over again. el paso, dayton, gilroy, odessa, midland, brownsville, new york. the list goes on and on. city after city, community after community devastated by gun violence. we witness these tragedies. we watch hard breaking and nightmarish footage on our televisions. we offer our thoughts and prayers. we have heavy hearts, deep disappointments and horror, and still nothing. the senate has still not passed any meaningful legislation to address the problems, so here we are once again in this chamber. democrats are speaking out on behalf of the american people, on behalf of the citizens who are protesting and demanding action, on behalf of our constituents who call and write and tweet at us every single day for commonsense legislation to help end the gun violence that
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plagues our communities. and we aren't just speaking out on behalf of democrats because gun violence doesn't ask what political party you're from. it touches the lives of everyone in this country. the majority of the american people, democrats, independents, and republicans, all want action. they want their schools to be safe. they want a place to be able to go and worship and be safe. they want to be able to go and buy their back-to-school supplies and be safe. so let's be really clear about the root of this inaction. it's greed, it's corruption. it's the rot at the heart of washington. and the n.r.a. is no different. the n.r.a. cares more about gun sales than they do about the people of this country. they care more about the gun manufacturers than they do our
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communities. and too many of my colleagues just don't have the guts to stand up to the n.r.a. there are three effective solutions sitting right in front of us, all of which are bipartisan, all of which have been voted on before, getting lots of bipartisan support. i really reject the false argument that because these commonsense proposals may not stop every single incidence of gun violence that it's not worth doing them. we should do these. it makes no sense to stop doing the commonsense things just because it doesn't stop every gun crime, because the truth is it's time to do something. we can and should ban assault weapons and large magazines. no civilian needs access to weapons of war. those weapons are designed solely to kill large numbers of people very quickly in minutes and seconds, and our military train heavily to be able to use
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those weapons well. we can and we should pass my legislation to criminalize gun outrage. it will help flow the tide of illegal guns into cities like new york and chicago across the country where guns that are illegal are sold directly out of the back of a truck to a gang member or a criminal. it's one of the things that law enforcement keep asking us to do and have been for a decade. we can and should pass the red flag laws that are designed to make sure people with violent tendencies can't have access to guns. but the first and most obvious solution should be a cake-walk for this chamber, and that's universal background checks. this solution is supported by the vast majority of americans, and a great bipartisan bill has already passed our house. but it's not even being considered for a vote right now in the senate.
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so it's really on senator mcconnell right now. it's on him. it's his decision to protect our communities or not, to just protect our kids. as a mom, when there was a shooting less than a mile from theo and henry's school, all i could think about was getting there as fast as i possibly could just to make sure my child was safe. that's the fear that every parent in america has today. and we shouldn't accept living in america where we have to worry that our kids aren't safe in school, that they're actually doing shelter-in-place drills instead of mathematical drills. we shouldn't accept that world. we shouldn't accept a world where you can't be at a bible study with your friends. we shouldn't accept a world where you can't go to a concert or go to a movie and know that you're safe. but that's the world we're living in. and the truth about all of this is right now, this moment we're
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in, we have americans who are fueled by hate hunting down other people, with weapons of war. and that has to change. and we do have the will to do this. congress can show courage. congress can do the right thing, so why not do it now, when the american people are begging us to just have an ounce of strength in our spines, just an ounce of courage to stand up to special interests, to greed and corruption and lies that distort this debate. we're bigger than this. we're stronger than this. we are better than this. let's protect our kids. i yield the floor.
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mr. casey: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i rise to speak about the same issue that my colleague from new york just spoke to, and i know others have preceded her to the microphone -- or to the floor, i should say, and i'm grateful to be part of this discussion today. what i could do but i know i don't have to because it's so well known now is to go through the three or four most recent mass shootings, the ones that get most of the attention, but i don't have to do that because we know so well now what happened just in the last number of weeks. one way to remember them, of course, is by the names of the communities, el paso, dayton, midland, odessa. names like that that we know exactly -- everyone in the country knows exactly what you're talking about because of what happened there. what we don't talk about enough, of course, are the places where there is daily gun violence and horror and tragedy and death and
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grievous injury that doesn't get the same attention. tragically, another way to go through a list of tragedies that are kented to this awful epidemic of gun violence, this uniquely american problem of gun violence, is to use numbers. these numbers are now emblazoned on the communities that were so tragically destroyed in large measure by these -- by these events. in el paso, it was 22. in dayton, it was nine. and in odessa -- midland and odessa, it was seven. so when you do the math, that's 38. that's the number of people killed in just three places. but, of course, there are a lot of other deaths between those tragic events that aren't getting the same attention.
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so it's another way to measure it. 38 killed between august 3 and august 31. another number is the number of injured. i think the number now is about 76 just in those three tragedies. so 38 killed, 76 injured, and three american -- in three american communities. one of the most disturbing realities after the fact is what happened in dayton in just such a short time frame. i know that time frame. you could probably -- you could probably cite the other tragedies as well. but we know that in about 32 seconds in daipt, nine people were killed and 27 were injured. law enforcement, the folks we often call the good guys, good guys not just with guns but good guys with a lot of training, in
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a heroic willingness, a her/i can commitment to get to a place of danger to try to apprehend a criminal or to try to save people. in dayton, the law enforcement officials got there faster than superman could get there, and it wasn't fast enough, because in 32 seconds, nine were gone and 27 were injured. we know that in midland and odessa, texas, the authorities reported that the gunman was prohibited from purchasing a firearm at one point, but he was able to avoid a background check because he purchased his assault-style weapon through a private sale. further evidence as to why we need a background check bill that is rigorous, not just a background check bill that make,
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but is rigorous enough to stop that guy, the guy in texas who brought such horror to that community, including, as one of the wounded, a 17-month-old child. we know that also through the month of august, that same time period i mentioned. i mentioned august 3 to 31, but if you include every day of the month, in that month, the u.s. has experienced 38 mass shootings, so 38 times when four or more people are involved is the definition of a mass shooting. when i think about it in terms of -- of the scale of it -- and i don't think there is anyone who would disagree with this -- this is a public health epidemic, and it's plaguing our cities and our communities every single day. what we're talking about here in terms of the perpetrators of this violence, they're not just criminals, they are domestic
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terrorists, and we should call them that. that's what they are. we should try to remember their names, or, frankly, even speak their names, but we should remember what they are. domestic terrorists. who are, frankly, in terms of the whole scale of the problem, causing more problems in america than any other terrorists are causing. these domestic terrorists are using high powered military style assault weapons to kill our children and to kill our families. we know that last october, the most deadly act of violence against the jewish community in american history occurred at the tree of life synagogue in the city of pittsburgh. 11 killed there. six injured, including four of the six being law enforcement officers who again got there very quickly. maybe not in seconds but in minutes but of course getting
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there that fast with all of their training, with all of their courage and all of their commitment was not fast enough because they got there in just minutes and that wasn't fast enough because of the nature of the weapon and because of the assailant. how about philadelphia? the two biggest cities in my home state of philadelphia and pittsburgh, philadelphia be the largest. days before the horrible weekend of el paso and dayton, a mass shooting occurred in southwest philadelphia which left a 21-year-old dead and five others injured. but because it was one killed, it's not ranked as a mass shooting. that happened this that same time frame. on august 14, an individual in north philadelphia barricaded himself in a house and shot six police officers with an
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assault-style weapon. the shootout lasted nearly eight hours and prompted a local child care center to shelter in place for hours. i was at this child care center just a knew days later and watching it on the news, i had envisioned a geographic distance of a lot more than it was. when i walked just on to the side of the building where the child care center was and looked across the street, it was closer than the width of this room we're in today. and when you go out the backdoor of the child care center, it was within feet across a very narrow street from where the shooter was barricaded. in this instance you have one shooter in a house with a high-how we ared weapon who is able to hold off a number of law enforcement officials for hours at a time. that's just one example of the power of the weapon. so the issue of gun violence is a uniquely american problem.
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no country has the same scale as the problem at this scale and america has never had a problem like this in its history. so it's uniquely american and unique in american history itself. now, some in congress want to surrender to this problem. the argument is that there is nothing that we can do except better enforcement of existing law. i don't think most americans believe that nor should they because there is certainly more we can do. so to have that position, what i would say is a surrender to the problem, you would have to argue that the most powerful nation in the world, the most powerful nation in the history of the world, can do absolutely nothing except maybe tighten up a law by way of enforcement, absolutely
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nothing to confront this problem. no one is arguing that if we passed a background check bill here or an extreme risk protection order bill, that somehow the problem would magically begin to decline. no one is arguing that. but there is certainly something we can do to reduce the likelihood and we would hope reduce that likelihood substantially, reduce the likelihood of more mass shootings. if we pass two bills in the united states senate that became law, and 25 years from now one mass shooting was prevented, it would be worth every minute of that effort and every degree of energy expended in furtherance of passing that legislation. we've been talking about this for a long time just in the recent time. we now know that it's more than 195 days since the house passed h.r. 8, the bipartisan background checks act of 2019.
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we know that in the -- as i referred to earlier, the odess odessa-midland shooting that our nation now needs a national background check bill in order to make all americans safer from the horrors of gun violence. reports indicated in 2018 alone, 1.2 million firearm classified ads were posted on that did not, did not require a background check before purchase. so this is a big loophole, a loophole that helps feed an illegal underground gun market in cities and communities across our country. if implemented the universal background checks bill known as h.r. 8 would close this loophole requiring background checks for all firearms sales between private parties. we also know that since 1994, background checks have prevented three and a half million gun
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sales, three and a half million gun sales to dangerous criminals and others prohibited from owning a gun. so i have to ask again are we to surrender to this problem? i don't think so. i think most americans don't want to surrender to it. what they want is they want us to take action. they're little bit tired of just speeches and debate. they may want a little more debate, but they want votes. they wants us to be debating and voting, debating and voting, several times at least if not more so. so this is a challenge that is a grave difficult challenge to confront. but the mission of confronting it, the commitment to confront it is a mission i think worthy of a great country. so i'd ask the majority leader mcconnell to give the senate the opportunity to debate and
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vote. first the universal background check bill, h.r. 8. and i'm sure there will be other versions of that in the debate and that's fine. we should debate on all of them and vote on all of them and also to debate and vote on extreme risk protection bill. and i would argue do more than that. have a series of commonsense gun measures be debated and voted on, even if we are likely to know the outcome because the american people expect that this uniquely american problem and the scale of it is worthy of that debate and worthy of those votes. mr. president, i would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: mr. chairman, i rise to also talk about gun violence. i want to express my appreciation of republican colleagues, those of us on this side of the aisle feel strong by about this issue. i understand we've gone a little bit past the time and i'll try to be quick but i feel very strongly about it too. let me talk about two virginia
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tragedies and tell the story of a hero whose name we should all know, a hero whose name we should all know. it's been interesting. i sat on the floor and listened to a number of speeches of my colleagues and as they talked about gun violence and mass shootings in the united states, very few have mentioned that 12 people were killed in virginia beach in a mass shooting on may 31. they mentioned odessa and they've mentioned el paso and they've mentioned dayton. why not virginia beach? because there have been so many tragedies since may 31. the virginia beach shooting of 12 government employees, actually 11 and a contractor who was just there to get some permits for a building permit he was seeking happened barely three months ago but it's already receded into the memory of anybody outside of virginia because the gun tragedies since have been the ones that have crowded into our mind. and the fact that that has been allowed to happen, that we're so used to it now, the killing of 12 people in a mass shooting
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barely three months now as escaped most people's memories tell us we've become use to a situation that we should never have grown able to tolerate. in the virginia beach shooting one of the reasons that 12 people were killed so quickly was that the shooter used high capacity magazines, magazines that would contain dozens and dozens of rounds of ammunition, magazines that made the rescue operation conducted by brave first responders extremely difficult. we say we care about our first responders. when i talk to our first responders, they say if you care about us, do something to restrict high capacity magazines. don't you want us to be able to stop a shooting in progress? don't you want us to be able to stop a murder and keep the homicides and carnage down? it's hard to do it when we're up against somebody with such a massive amount of firepower. if you care about first responders, if you want us to stop crimes in process, then enable us to put meaningful restrictions on high-capacity
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magazines. and i think that was a powerful lesson from the virginia beach shooting that had the magazines been smaller, they could have stopped the carnage earlier. there may have still been those injured or killed but it would have been less of a toll. i want to point this out before moving to the next issue. as a society we tolerate high-capacity magazines. many in this chamber are hunters. many in this chamber are familiar with hunting laws. in virginia as in most states there are rules that have been on the books for years. if you hunt a deer in virginia, we limit the amount of rounds that you can have in a rifle or shotgun. we put a limit. and that limit has been accepted for decades. why? why do we limit the size of magazines in hunting animals? because it wouldn't be fair. it wouldn't be sportsman like. it wouldn't be humane to allow an animal to be hunted with a
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magazine of near unlimited capacity. if it is not humane to hunt an animal with a massive magazine, then why allow near unlimited magazines to be used to hunt human beings? this is a rule that we accept and we should accept it for weapons designed to hurt humans as well. the second tragedy in virginia occurred when i was governor a number of years ago, the tragic shooting at virginia tech. i won't go into it because i'll segue when i talk about a hero but the shooting at virginia tech happened because of a weakness in the background check system. the individual, the young man who killed 32 people was prohibited from having a weapon because he'd been adjudicated mentally ill and dangerous but weaknesses in the background check system enabled him to get a weapon anyway. we learned a powerful and painful lesson that day which is if your background check system has loopholes and gaps, disasters will result.
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so i join with my colleagues who say house bill 8 that's come from the house, that's a comprehensive background check system bill that keeps weapons out of the hands of people who are dangerous to themselves or others is something we should absolutely pass. and last, let me just tell the story about an american hero. i've told this story on the floor before but not for a number of years. and i want to tell the story because i think everybody should know this individual's name. the name of the hero i want to describe as a man named livu who was one of the 32 people killed at virginia tech on april 2007. let me tell you about him. he was born in romania and was jewish during the holocaust. when germany okay piped romania and -- occupied romania and began to take over the country, jews were persecuted and he, then a young child, his family was sent to concentration camps and many of them perished just
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because they were jewish. he as a young child was hidden by relatives and friends and miraculously managed to survive the nazi campaign of anti-semitism against jews. many jews left romania because they felt like their neighbors and friends didn't protect them but livu decided to stay. i'm a romania and i'm going to stay in romania and try to make my country a peaceful place where jews can live in peace with their fellow men and women. he ran into a second problem. he went to the university. he was a talented scientist and engineer but then the soviet union moved in and essentially occupied romania. and they punished him because he was jewish and because he wouldn't join the communist party. he was a world renowned engineer, published in journals around the world. first they prohibited his ability to travel to academic conferences and then they prohibited his right to publish and over the years the soviet
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dominated government of romania, took away virtually every right he had. he started to try to figure out a way to emigrate to israel. in the early 1970's at a time when some eastern european jews were allowed to immigrate toist, liviu finally escaped soviet dominated communist after surviving the holocaust and move to israel, his dream. he was teaching a at one of the premiere scientific engineering institutions in the world. he got an offer after a few years to come to be a visiting professor in blacksburg, virginia, at virginia tech for one year. and he came in 1985. this romanian jew, professor at an israeli technical university came to blacksburg, virginia, in the mountains of appalachia for one year and fell in love with blacksburg. and he stayed in blacksburg at virginia tech for the rest of his career.
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on april 16, 2007, liviu librescu was teaching an engineering class in one of the two buildings that was the subject of the attack by the shooter. the morning of april 16, 2007. he had undergrads and grads in the class. when he heard shooting start in the classroom, he instinctively knew he should protect his students. live -- liviu librescu is over 70 years old, this holocaust survivor. he went and stood on the second floor of the classroom of this building and he told the students you have to jump out the window. i will do everything i can to protect your life. jump out the window. he stood there in the classroom door absorbing bullet after bullet. every student of lib u.a.e. librescu was able to escape from that building, save one. there was one student who couldn't get out in time who let others go first. lib u.a.e. librescu -- liviu
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librescu was killed. one student in his classroom was killed. but all of these other young people, he saved their life. april 16, 2007, was a day that was a very special day in liviu librescu's live. most in the classroom wouldn't have known it. that day was yom ashoah, which is a day that occurs every year in the hebrew calendar and it is a day that is celebrated and commemorated in israel. it's a day to commemorate, remember, never forget the holocaust. that's what that day was. liviu librescu, a holocaust survivor, knew what that day was. he knew what it meant. he made a choice. because the commemoration of the holocaust is not just remembering the violent perpetrators, and it's not just remembering the victims. it's also remembering that there wouldn't have been millions of victims had there not been so many bystanders.
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that's what yom ashoa is about. it's about victims, it's about perpetrators, but it's also about bystanders. and that the holocaust would never had happened had there not been so many bystanders. what liviu librescu decided to do that day was not be a bystander. as violence was occurring around him, he decided i will not be a bystander. i will try to take an action to save someone's life. think about it. he survived the holocaust. think about it. he survived the soviet takeover of his country, and then he came to this nation and loved it but he couldn't survive the carnage of american gun violence, but he did at least decide he wouldn't be a bystander. that is what we are called to do in the senate of the united states, not be bystanders. we do not have to demonstrate the courage of a liviu librescu and place our body in front of a
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classroom door and absorb bullet after bullet to save somebody else's life. i don't think i would have the courage to do that. i don't know how many of us would. we're not called to make a sacrifice of that magnitude. but i do think we're called to make some sacrifices, and i do think we're called not to be bystanders. and if we are going to be true to that calling, we have to be willing to take up and debate and vote on commonsense measures to keep americans safe from gun violence. thank you, mr. president. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. braun: i rise today to honor those who lost their lives tragically 18 years ago and to make sure we never forget what happened then. i vividly remember that morning in my own office in jasper,
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indiana. i didn't have a tv. somebody there brought it up on the internet. that second plane flew into the building. i will never forget that image because we didn't know what happened with the first one. we knew what happened with the second. senator rick scott and i recently over the summer break took a trip to israel. all of that that went into preparedness, the evil that lurks around the world, i see it again up close to where it always makes you wonder how can you live like that, how can you be prepared when you know there are always individuals, countries out there just like in 1941, just like in 2001? imagine living in a country where your entire border is surrounded by a fence or wall to
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keep people out. and the really tough places, there is another barrier, and in the really tough places, a dirt berm. that drove home again how important it is to be prepared and to always be strong when it comes to defending this country, the liberty, and freedoms that we all enjoy every day. i never thought it could happen in 1941. i didn't think it could happen in 2001. it can happen again because that's the world we live within. when i came here as a u.s. senator, i always knew the most important thing this body should do is foster the defense and the security of this country, and when you see it has slipped so precariously over the last few years, and thank goodness we have built it back up to a level that makes sense, it's because we always need to be repaired.
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and if we're going to truly honor all the lives that were lost in 1941, 2001, inevitably down the road, we need to be strong, we need to be prepared, and we always need to be aware of the fact that we are blessed, just like the state of israel is blessed, despite all of that, a thriving economy. they live with that danger every day. they find a way to get through it. let us never let our guard down or drop our defenses here. our freedom and our liberty depend upon it. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: mr. president, as my friend from indiana and others have pointed out today, this is a day that americans remember as a day of unique tragedy. earlier today, on the senate
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floor, we had a moment of silence in the middle of a series of votes. the senate floor was full of members who paused to think about what had happened that day. i think almost every american alive today knows where they were that morning. it was a beautiful, clear morning just like this morning was. if you were too young to remember where you were that morning, there is a real likelihood that your parents told you where you were that morning. it was a seminal moment. it changed how we looked at so many things in our country. today we reflect where we were and the changes that occurred after that. i had a -- i was working in this building on the other side of the building as a member of the house 18 years ago, and i shared with capitol police today my appreciation for what they do every day. on this day, every year i remember being one of the last people to leave this building as
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the capitol police are working hard to get people out. a sense that that plane was coming here and was going to either hit the white house or the capitol. and i remember walking out of the door, and i really was among the last to leave the building here that day, but i remember looking in the eyes of the capitol policewoman who was still at the door and thinking and realizing that i was going to be out. if the building was a target, i was quickly going to be somewhere else. she was still going to be here until those who work with us and work to protect us every day were sure that everybody that could possibly be found and gotten out of the building was already gone. we clearly understand the world is a dangerous place. we just had a discussion this week, a foreign policy discussion about whether in the country that really then served
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as the haven for al qaeda, what would happen if we totally left that country back to the taliban, and would it become a haven again? and almost certainly i think it would. we really need to think about a number of things. one is so many people do so much to protect us all the time. we have thousands of americans in uniform and in the intelligence community that every day spend their time being sure that we are as safe as we can be and that our freedoms are secure. they are deployed overseas. they are fighting terrorist groups like isis or the remnants of al qaeda. they're working here to spot homegrown terrorist. they're doing what they can to find what somebody may be talking about or what somebody may be bringing across the border that would be of danger. and senator capito and i were just at the border last week.
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one of the things we talked about were not only the drugs coming over the border, but the other things coming over the border designed to harm us and who we are and how we live. in st. louis, missouri, in arnold, missouri, we have the second biggest installation of the national geospatial agency constantly looking at the information that's out there, looking all over the world to see if there is activity in places that there wouldn't be activity, but if there was activity, it would likely be activity that would be designed to harm us or others in the world. we need to understand that, and we also need to understand that in the society we live in, there is never perfect security and perfect freedom at the same time, and we have worked really hard not to allow ourselves to lose the freedom we cherish in return for the security we'd like to have. we also need to remember those
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people that respond. the first responders that ran toward the tragedy on 9/11 as others were able to run away from the tragedy, passing each other. many of those first responders became numbered among the 3,000 americans that died that day. just last month, the president signed into law the national urban search and rescue parity act that allows federal employees to be active participants in urban search and rescue teams, whether it's from a natural disaster or a man-made disaster. the third thing we need to keep in mind is how important it is we honor and care for the victims and heroes among us, those that ran toward the tragedy, those they left behind, people who still suffer today because of what happened to them
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that day. as likely as not, those people that benefit from the victims compensation fund were people staying behind to help others -- where people staying behind to help others are rushing forward to help others. we don't want to become afraid to be the great diverse society we have become. we don't want to become a society where we allow the terrorists to win by taking our freedoms away. but this is an important time for us to think of those freedoms, for those who defend those freedoms, for those who rush to the scene of danger when we have danger, and for those who try to do everything they can to minimize that. so today we grieve, we pray, we remember, we resolve that we will continue to be vigilant against attack and unafraid of defending who we are. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor.
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ms. ernst: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the vote series begin following the remarks of senators daines, collins, lankford, and cotton. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. ernst: mr. president. 18 years ago, on a bright, clear-skyed september morning, without warning, our nation was attacked. many of us probably remember where we were on that horrible day. i had that morning off. i was at home with my nearly 2-year-old daughter. we didn't have the tv on. we had a couple of gentlemen at the house. i was getting a brand-new furnace on that day. what would be normally a couple-hour installation turned into an all-day event as those
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men would take time off from installing our new furnace to run into the other room so we could see what was going on on the television. so i had two phone calls that morning. the first was early. it was from a neighbor. and she said joni, do you have the tv on? and i said well, no, wanda, i don't. what's going on? she said joni, you just need to turn the tv on. so i did. i saw the horrible events unfolding right in front of us. the second phone call i got was from my iowa army national guard unit. captain ernst, we're doing a 100% accountability check. we need you to stay by the phone all day so we know how we can
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get a hold of you. 100% accountability. it was an experience many of us had never felt before, the terrifying shock of knowing that the country we love and our fellow americans were under attack. mr. president, our adversaries sought to tear us apart by their cowardly acts, but instead they brought us together as americans for in those terrible moments we also saw the very, very best of our country. the firefighters, the police officers, the first responders, and the ordinary citizens who courageously put their lives on the line to save countless others. on that day as individuals and as a nation, we came together in a unique way and we also made
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a pledge to never forget, to never forget the nearly 3,000 victims and the families that they left behind, to never forget the heroism of both our first responders and those everyday men and women who selflessly acted to save lives, to never forget the importance of defending our homeland and the great democratic principles that we stand for. it's a pledge i personally take very seriously, and it's why i've organized this event for my colleagues to come to the floor today and to share their memories and thoughts on today, this 18th anniversary of the september 11 terrorist attacks. it's why i work so hard to make sure our armed forces have the technology, support, and
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resources they need to defend our nation from threats both here at home and abroad. it's why i cosponsored and helped to finally get signed into law a permanent reauthorization of the september 11 victim compensation fund, keeping our nation's promise to support the first responders who continue to sacrifice their health and even their lives from their work in the post-9/11 recovery efforts. and it's why we should never ever take our nation and our freedoms for granted. mr. president, i am one, just one of the millions of americans keeping that promise to never forget. in fact, today back home in iowa there are countless folks that are honoring that vow in their own thoughtful way.
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many use today's anniversary as a day of service, performing acts of kindness throughout iowa. others come together with their communities to honor and remember those who were lost. it's really wonderful to see all of the ways that folks are doing that, from walking in the 9/11 march to the capitol in des moines to visiting the 9/11 never forget mobile exhibit currently at the clay county fair, to participating in the annual 9/11 moment you are of -- moment of silence motorcycle ride in mason city. and for some of our fellow iowans today will be spent remembering loved ones in the attack. folks like newton's jean cleary, whose husband jim, who was a loving and good-natured,
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good-humored, god-fearing, giant of a man who never came home from a fateful business trip to the world trade center 18 years ago. for nearly two decades now jean has been on a crusade to keep jim's memory alive and well. she helped raise funds for newton's very own 9/11 memorial. she speaks to local students, educating them about the events of that day 18 years ago. and she has given her testimony all over iowa. and for folks in iowa, they've probably seen her driving across the state. she has a pretty special license plate which reads, nvr 4gt.
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never forget. today and every day iowans are keeping that sacred promise. we will always remember jim cleary and the nearly 3,000 others who lost their lives that tragic day. we also always honor the heroes who selflessly sacrificed and saved countless lives. we will always rise up to defend our nation and its citizens. we will never forget. that is our sacred promise. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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mr. daines: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: mr. president, 18 years ago today americans witnessed what evil looks like. 18 years ago today americans witnessed the loss of innocent
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life. 18 years ago today americans witnessed acts of cowardice. today montanans and americans across our country are taking time to reflect upon the horrific acts of 9/11. today we take time to remember the thousands of lives lost on that horrible day. we remember the daughters who lost mothers, sons who lost fathers, loved ones and friends and the communities that were broken by these tragedies. i know i speak for most of us when i say that we remember that day like it was yesterday. that fateful morning i was in bozeman, montana.
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i typically like to get an early start at work. we are two hours ahead of eastern time, so it was early in the morning. my wife cindy called me. i was at my desk. i was working for a cloud computing, a software company, starting the day. and cindy called me. she said, it's really strange news. there's been a plane that's hit one of the world trade center towers. and i think many of us at that time thought it was maybe a small private plane, sort of a strange bit of news coming out that morning. and then as the minutes went by, we started finding out what was really going on, that it wasn't a small plane. it wasn't an accident. it was a 767 loaded with fuel, because it was attempting to make a journey across our
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country from boston out to the west coast. and the images of the planes crashing into the twin towers is one i'll never forget and it's one that will never stop hurting. i remember after then it was confirmed it was a commercial aircraft, very quickly the speculation began that this was a premeditated terror attack. and moments like that, you want to be with your loved ones. i quietly closed the door to my office and i drove home to be with my wife and to be with family as we watched the rest of the horrible day unfold. 2,977 innocent americans lost their lives. 2,977 innocent americans didn't return home that day. i think it's important to think about every single human life
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that was lost and the pain of the families that are many that day today when they lost their lofs ones, that -- loved ones, that pain is very real yet again today. this was a slaughter of our fellow americans that shook our nation to its very core. yet in the face of extreme adversity, we are a nation that did come together and we carried on. i think about those moments when our churches, cathedrals were filled with americans in prayer, reflecting upon what had happened. today we honor and remember the almost 3,000 people who died that september morning. we remember the survivors, those first responders and the firefighters, the friends and families of those we lost. and while we take the time to remember today, we also reflect on who we are as a nation. as americans, we're strong,
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we're resilient. after the 9/11 attacks, we responded with strength and we stren thengd -- strengthened the homeland and we're most grateful to those who served and who serve today in our armed'ses. i most recently in the last year, last december i flew to afghanistan. in fact, we carried 50 pounds of montana beef jerky to deliver to the 495th combat sustainment support battalion of the montana army national guard who were deployed over in afghanistan protecting us. and as i received the briefs that day, i was reminded yet again that this war that we have against terrorism exists this very moment. and i can tell you this, because of the men and women who serve in our armed forces and intelligence and law enforcement across our nation, it's because of them that we're able to stand here today without another
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terror attack like we saw in 9/11. when i received the briefs in afghanistan in december, i'm reminded again of that porous border between afghanistan and pakistan that there are plots being created and attempted to hit the homeland again. and if it were not for those brave men and women, many in special forces, as i spent time with scott miller who has had a career in special forces, who is overseeing the operations there, i'm grateful that they continue to remain vigilant in this fight against global terrorism. america's enemies want us to be afraid. but the thing is here in america, we don't give up. and when america is strong, so are our allies and so is the free world. we must remain vigilant to be sure we maintain that reagan doctrine of peace through strength. the world will never forget what happened on this day 18 years ago. and despite the political
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differences and divisions that we have across our country and this city, we must always remember that we are all in this together, and americans are stronger when we are united. there's no force of evil or terror that will ever overcome the will and the determination of a free and united people. we ask that god continue to bless our fighting men and women, and may god continue to bless the united states of america. thank you, mr. president. i yield back.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: september 11 is a solemn anniversary. 18 years later we still remember the toll from that terrible day, nearly 3,000 americans lost their lives in the attacks on the twin towers, the pentagon, and united flight 93. but every american experienced the pain of loss that day. just as we mourn the innocent lives lost, we also remember the heroism of our first responders who ran toward danger and death to help their fellow americans. out of the ashes of that terrible tragedy arose a strength and unity that the whole world came to admire. september 11 altered the course of our nation's history and
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ablaze the fire and smoke. and for so many americans, it altered the course of our lives. our fighting men and women deployed overseas just weeks later and remain in the fight today. so many americans joined them enlisting to defend our nation. young kids who witnessed firefighters rush into the burning towers grew up and themselves joined units with old-fashioned names like engine and ladder. a generation of intelligence officials dedicated themselves to preventing another 9/11. and they have and they still do. and their lives continued to be altered because the consequences of september 11 are still with us. the attacks of 18 years ago continue to claim new victims, as first responders and others
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succumb to injuries and illnesses that trace back to that morning. the al qaeda terrorist whose attacked us are blood did id yet undefeated, while the taliban terrorists who gave them safe haven threaten to regain control in afghanistan. most tragic of all, our brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines continue to fall in the line of duty in defense of our country. just last week, army sergeant first-class he will list a. alberto was killed in the battlefield. september 11 is his story, too, a story of valor and sacrifice. so the story of september 11 continues to unfold many years after the fact. may its memory strengthen our resolve to continue fighting the enemies of freedom, and may we never, ever forget.
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i yield the floor. mr. lankford: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from from oklahoma. mr. lankford: 18 years ago today my office in oklahoma city, a fellow staff member poked her head in the office and said to me, there is a freak
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accident that's happened in new york city. a plane flew into the world trade center. she went down the hallway and pulled in a rolling cart -- the younger generation will have no idea what that is. a rolling cart with a tv on top of it. we plugged it in and watched it. the second plane flew in and both of us stood there solicitly thinking, that's -- there silently thinking, that's no accident. that's murder on a massive scale and terror like i'd never witnessed with my own eyes. when i didn't know was at that moment how many thousands of lives would be affected and how much our nation would be changed. that morning 18 years ago, seven oklahomans died. but our nation was forever changed. common terms we think about today like t.s.a. or terror watch list or department of
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homeland security, or body scanners or the patriot act -- those didn't exist on september 10, 2001. they've all come since then. as our nation learns how to do more security, learns how to engage and has learned a painful lesson that what people think in an isolated village in a remote country, what they think matters to us because what they may carry out, if left alone and ignored, could kill our family members and our fellow americans. almost 3,000 americans died that day. but since that time period, we have pushed back -- not against the people of afghanistan or the people of iraq, not against
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muslims or faith; against a specific ideology that intensely hates the freedom of america and who intentionally plans to kill americans they've never met. we learned in a new ideology as a nation that day, that we not only have to take it seriously but that we must not wait until they carry out a fight. if they're planning it, if they're preparing it, if they have the capability, we should assume they're actually going to do it. since that time period, american men and women have taken the fight to people who want to come and kill more americans. but it's also been at a great cost to american blood and treasure. 4,432 americans have died in iraq. 2,353 americans have died in afghanistan.
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51 of those are my fellow oklahomans in afghanistan, 72 of those, my fellow oklahomans in iraq. today i pulled out of my closet a specific tie that i rarely wear, but it was a tie given to me by a gold star wife who never, ever wanted to be a gold star wife. she just wanted to be the wife of chris horton, who she intensely loved. who went to afghanistan to serve his country in the oklahoma national guard and died for our freedom. and two years later, she handed me this tie and said, he hated wearing ties, but you have to wear them all the time. just remember him. we as americans will not forget,
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and we have not forgotten. there are flags all out over america today just to remember. there are moms and dads that really hug their kids tight this morning before they left for school, and the kids didn't even know why. they just did. and there are places that are gathering to be able to pray for peace because, as a nation, we are a nation of peace. and we have no desire for war. in fact, we detest the pain and penalty and blood and loss of war. and we have no desire to be at war across the world. but it came to us, and we look forward to the day when the guns are silent again. and this finally concludes and a time of peace can be restored again. today, though, we're just a nation remembering and praying for that time of peace that will
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come. and telling families, gold star families, families that have sent their loved ones around the world to places they had never seen before, we have not forgotten and we are grateful that we serve together as a nation. with that, i yield back. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, let me say at the outset that i join in the sentiments that have been expressed by the senator from oklahoma and our colleagues on the floor starting with a moment of silence until this last speech in remembering the historic american significance of september 11. the fact that both political parties came together on the floor shows there's hope that when it comes in this nation and i values and what brings us together is a powerful force. and today it is the force of memory, the force of promise, and the force of the future of this country. i want to salute my colleagues, particularly my friend
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infrastructure oklahoma, for his -- from oklahoma, for his moving statement about this tragedy. mr. president, i'd like to change topics for just a moment to another important issue that has risen today and i believe is worthy of comment. just a few hours ago in the white house the president, first lady, the secretary of the health and human services, and the commission of the food and drug administration made an historic announcement when it came to vaping and e-cigarettes. you see, they've just finished the 2019 national youth tobacco survey. what they have found is that in a one-year period of teenager the number of our kids -- in a one-year period of time, the number of our kids who are using these products have gone up to 27.5 million. in a previous year it had gone up 80%. it is continuing to skyrocket because it is an addiction popular with children. our kids don't know any better.
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they're being told by juul and other companies that somehow this is a healthy alternative to tobacco cigarettes. that has yet to be proven. and the food and drug administration challenged juul and the other companies to come up with clinical proof of that statement before they repeat it again and again and impend. but in the course of the last several years, the sale of these e-cigarettes and vape products has mushroom h. roomed dramatically in the united states. just ask any school principal, teacher, and many parents and they'll tell you what's happening. kids don't understand that these flavors that they're buying -- flavor pods like unicorn milk, guppy bears, bubble gum may sound like some sweet candy treat. but when you inhale it, you run the risk of real damage. so far over 450 american kids have been admitted to hospitals because of lung problems from vaping. six have died.
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these young people do not understand how risky this is. have you walked down the street and seen somebody with a big cloud of white smoke over their heads as they exhale from one of these vaping devices? they don't realize what they're ingesting in their lungs could be deadly. the food and drug administration and the secretary of health and human services made an anicaraguansment today that is -- made an anicaraguansment today that is significant. they announced that the e-cigarettes and flavors are going to be taken off the market, out of retail stores and online sales. then come may of next year, those who want to bring these back have to justify them as being good for public health. i want to ask that the record note that senator murkowski and i have joined in a bill that we introduced last year, a bill which went off these flavor pods. i want to thank her. there weren't a lot of senators that wanted to step up, and she
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did. we set out to ban any of these flavor pods that were dangerous to children and couldn't be proven to be harmless. i thank her for that leadership. and i believe our legislation and our constant pressure on this administration came to this moment today where we are stepping forward. we are making it clear in the united states of america that we know that vaping targets kids. we know that these targeted kids are risking their health and their life by continuing to use e-cigarettes and vaping, and with this administration today, on a bipartisan basis, we are banning these flavor pods once and for all. we're going to try to move forward. the last thing i'll say is this -- i hope that the surgeon general or one of the other public leaders in our government will step up now and notify every school principal in america, to call an asystemmably, to gather the parents and let them know about this danger.
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27.5 million kids in this country vaping today. let's hope they can stop appeared stop soon before they -- and stop soon. i salute the administration for their work on this matter. this is a good moment in this history that we're moving forward on a bipartisan basis. i yield the floor. ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, earlier today we paused and commemorated those who lost their lives on september 11, 2001. 18 years have passed, but the memory of that day remains as vivid as if it were yesterday. we each have our own recollections of where we were and what we were doing as the horrifying terrorist attacks on our country began to unfold. i remember having the television
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on and watching a report that a plan, originally reported as a small plane, had struck one of the twin towers. i then shortly thereafter saw the second aircraft strike the world trade center. it was then that i knew that our country was under attack. i told my staff to stay away from the capitol building because i feared that it, too, could be a target. today we all still share the powerful emotions of shock and anger and grief. i was worried not only about my staff, those in the buildings, but also staff members that i
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had who were on their way back from portland, maine, which turns out to be where some of the terrorists began their journey of death and destruction. that day. on the evening of that terrible day, members of congress gathered together on the steps of the u.s. capitol. with tears in our eyes and sorrow in our hearts, together we sang "god bless america." the emotions of shock, anger and grief were joined by unity, resolve, and patriotism. that sense that swept over us as we sang was a source of strength in the challenges that we faced
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in the fight against terrorism. so many were killed that horrific day. in my state of maine, we remember robert and jackie norton of loubeck, a devoted retired couple who boarded flight 11 to celebrate a son's lg -- wedding on the west coast. we remember james roe of portland, an army veteran and devoted father on his way to a business meeting in california. we remember robert slakel of gray who was celebrating his recent promotion to the rank of commander in the united states navy and was still settling in to his new office at the pentagon when the plane struck. we remember steven ward of goren
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who was working on the 101st floor of the north tower that terrible morning. on this solemn anniversary, we join all americans in remembering the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives that day, lives of accomplishment, contribution, and promise. each loss leaves a wound in the hearts of families and friends that can never be fully healed. and we honor the heroes of that day. we still are moved by the selfless courage of men and women on flight 93 who wrestled that plane to the ground in pennsylvania, sacrificing their lives so that others might live.
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we are inspired by the firefighters, e.m.s. personnel and police officers at the world trade center who continued to climb upward to rescue those who were in peril even as the twin towers were tumbling down. the new york city fire department alone lost 343 firefighters who responded to the attacks. we pay tribute today and every day to the first responders, the military personnel, the civilians who rushed into the smoke and flames at the pentagon to lead others to safety.
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we express our gratitude to those who have given so much to defend our nation against terrorism, the men and women of our armed forces. while millions of americans watched in horror as the tragedy unfolded on that terrible day, thousands of courageous first responders who rushed to the world trade center, who rushed to that field in pennsylvania, who rushed to the pentagon to help search for victims and to help bring anyone they could to safety still inspires us. they put themselves in imminent danger to save the lives of others. and later on, years later we
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learned that the toxic dust and debris that many were exposed to have caused chronic illnesses. the overwhelming bipartisan vote here in the senate in july to reauthorize permanently the 9/11 victim compensation fund ensures that those first responders who risked their lives to save their fellow americans will always be supported and their illnesses treated. september 11 was a day of personal tragedy for so many families. it was also an attack on the united states of america and an assault on civilization.
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we must never forget what was lost and what remains at stake. we must continue our pledge, the pledge that we made that horrific day to do all that we can to prevent future attacks. the fundamental obligation of government is to protect its people. since september 11, 2001, we have done much to meet that obligation, but more work remains. in the aftermath of those attacks, former senator from connecticut, joe lieberman, and i as the leaders of the senate homeland security committee, worked in a bipartisan way with the leaders of the 9/11 commission and the
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families of those who were lost to terrorist attacks on that day to pass the most sweeping reforms of our intelligence community since world war ii. it is significant that the intelligence reform and terrorist and prevention act passed the senate by a vote of 96-2, and that with the hundreds of amendments that were considered, not a single one was decided by a party-line vote in what seemed like a moment, september 11, 2001, was transformed from a day like any other into one that forever will stand alone. the loss we relive reminds us of
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the value of all we must protect. the heroism reminds us of the unconquerable spirit of the american people. our accomplishments remind us that we can meet any challenge as long as we keep this day of remembrance in our hearts, we shall meet the challenges that lie ahead. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of michelle bowman of kansas to be a member of the
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board of governors of the federal reserve system, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of michelle bowman of kansas to be a member of the board of governors of the federal reserve system shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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