tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN November 6, 2019 1:59pm-4:00pm EST
and veterans to receive their care through that telemedicine, including vital mental health care treatment and doing it from the comfort of their own home. president trump just signed another one of my bills into law, the haven act that protects the economic security and well-being of veterans and their families who rely on disability benefits and may be experiencing financial hardship. i've also continued to press the v.a. to take a hard look at their hiring practices and make sure the people treating and providing care to our veterans have a record of quality care, specifically by introducing the bipartisan ensuring quality care for our veterans act. the legislation ensures that the
v.a. is absolutely held accountable for how to help care for our veterans, and i'm continuing to press them on that issue. we must work tirelessly to restore hope in the institutions that have asked so much of our nation's heroes. plain and simple, veterans must have reliable, quality mental and physical health care. there is no option. folks, as we take a moment to reflect on the work we've done and continue to do in congress on behalf of these men and women, we should also pause as we do every year on veterans day to simply honor their service and the sacrifices they've made for our country and for our
freedom. serving in the military provided me some of the best years, the best friends, the best experiences, and the best memories of my life. each year veterans day serves as a stark reminder of the daily sacrifice made by those who have served this country bravely and selflessly. veterans in iowa and across our nation, you have my support and my deepest gratitude today and every day of the year. when men and women sacrifice time with their families, they give up their holidays, the comfort and their livelihoods to protect our nation and defend the freedoms we often take for granted, we must fulfill our commitment to caring for them
when they return home. so to all of my fellow veterans, may god bless you and keep you and for their families, thank you so much for standing behind your loved ones in our country's time of need. thank you, veterans. and with that, mr. president, i will yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: mr. president, first of all, i want to say how much i appreciate senator ernst and when she talks about veterans, she talks about her own experience but also the heart of veterans that she served with and sees every day as well as her great dedication to people who are currently serving. but veterans day is a day that we come to celebrate every year. it's a national holiday but in so many way, mr. president, it's uniquely a local holiday.
events across missouri and across all of our states are pretty dramatically different based on where you are and the way that community over time or maybe on a special occasion has decided this is getting to be the way they are uniquely going to celebrate veterans day. now, these ceremonies often include the gestures of respect that are repeated over and over again. and that's exactly what you should do with respect. respect doesn't wear out. we lay wreaths. we play music. we pledge to the flag and i think in many ways a unique way on veterans day as we think about those who have been willing to defend that flag at all cos cost. there may be a 21-gun salute. there may be a parade. there are lots of different things. but every community honors its
own neighbors in a different way. you know, if you grew up in that community and you look at the wall with community names or you look at the register at the courthouse with those who gave their lives in one of our wars, you recognize those names. those are the same last names of the people you went to school with. they're the same last names of the people you grew up alongside of. they're often the names of the families that still live in that community. i was thinking about this. i thought about a first name. one of my good friend, his middle name was after his uncle who had died in world war ii. and he didn't particularly like his middle name. and he said one day to my dad, he said i hate that name. i don't like my middle name. i wish it wasn't my middle name. what he didn't know is my dad had been on his uncle's high
school basketball team. and he quickly pointed out that your uncle, he said, one of the finest young men he ever knew and this young man never got to be an older man because he'd given his life in world war ii. and when my friend was born 15 years later, his family wanted to remember the name of that person who had served and made the ultimate sacrifice. those are the kinds of things that we think about in communities on veterans day. i'll be going to some of those events, one at the camdenton high school. they'll be honoring 32 veterans at that event and they'll also be recognizing the new junior rotc program at the high school. when we talk about local character, that's sort of what we're talking about. in camdenton, not just honoring those who served and sacrificed before but also those in a new
generation who are stepping up and being willing to serve and be willing to be recognized on veterans day. i'm going to go to a ceremony in wright county, just a little bit down the road, maybe an hour away, hour and 15 minutes away from camdenton. at that ceremony they're going to have a new wright county patriots memorial in hartville. the memorial will honor people from that area who served and died in every conflict from the civil war to the war on terror. the organizers have made it clear that this is a day of celebration, not of sorrow but a day to celebrate those who served, some who got their name on the wall, others who didn't
give their life in conflict bull were willing to. they -- conflict but were willing to. they were willing to put on the uniform, go through the training. in many cases they were willing to go into a dangerous situation and didn't have to make the ultimate sacrifice. but on veterans day we recognize veterans who were willing to serve. this will be the hundredth anniversary of the first veterans day. it was first called armistice day because it was the day that commemorated the end of world war i. world war i was culled -- during the -- called during -- it was called the war to end all wars. that's not what happened buff that's what people thought in the hours of world war i might have happened. it was so horrible, so terrible, so many lives were lost that they thought it might be the war to end all wars. it ended on the 11th hour of
the 11th day of the 11th month 100 years ago. the united states lost 116,000 people in the relatively short time we were in that war. we got in the war late. we made a difference in the war. but 116,000 people in that period of time in that truly grueling battle of world war i died, another 200,000 u.s. troops were wounded in that war. but the first veterans day the year later was not about what was lost but it was a celebration of what was won. it ended with the end of the war. it reaffirmed commitment to democracy. and on that first holiday a hundred years ago, president wilson said that, quote, the reflections of armistice day will be filled with solemn proud
in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory. remembering the heroism of those who were lost, remembering all who were willing to serve, and on that first anniversary of the end of world war i, remembering the victory that that service achieved. we've used this occasion ever since to honor and remember our veterans with pride and with gratitude. i'm glad we're continuing to build new memorials like the one in wright county. i'm glad we continue to honor people who are willing to serve like the recognition of the new rotc program at the camdenton high school. a lot of -- a lot of things have changed in the hundred years since the end of world war i. but the point is this hasn't changed. this isn't something that
americans used to do. it's something we continue to do as senator ernest said so well -- senator ernst said so well, it's something we need to do every day. veterans day is a special recognition but to be sure veterans have what they need while they're serving and once they become veterans, to be sure they have everything they were promised and then some. every access to health care that they were promised and i think we've successfully exexpanded not only the kind of health care that people can get but also the way they can get their health care, the access to respect and appreciation, the remembrance of what you did and how that might have led to a behavioral health challenge or a health challenge of some other kind and a country willing to step up for those who were willing to step up for us, mr. president, and i'd yield the
years in the making. over the last few months i've had a whole lot of opportunity to think about that day in those moments in sandra d's cafe and what it's meant to me. as we approach veterans day, i'd like to share a few of those lessons. i served in the million taker for ten years -- military for ten years, and i've seen firsthand the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make. i've had further opportunity as a representative to visit with veterans who serve in conflict zones, families who have made incredible sacrifices to keep us all free. i learned just how much sacrifice we truly ask of our troops and their families. in the marine corps, we have a motto. it's sell fehr fidelis -- semper fidelis. rierly do we tell people what it means. it means faithful, faithful to all those protected, faithful to
those who serve in peacetime and are prepared to protect it. it's why i wear this memorial bracelet around my wrist. folks back home know i wear it. i remind them off it often because it's really important. this bracelet honors lance corporal alec terwiski. alec was a fellow marine from dubois, indiana, in southern indiana. on september 3, 2012, he was tragically killed for all of us in afghanistan. his mom sandy has become a close friend. she asked me to wear this bracelet to honor his memory. and i do so, i do so proudly every day of course to remember alec and sandy and the rest of their family but also to remember all those men and women who love our country so much, love what it stands for that they're prepared, they're
prepared if necessary when called to do so to put their lives on the line for all of us. it takes a special person to take up arms in defense of our country, takes a belief in a cause much greater than ourself. that cause in fact is what america is all about and it's that very belief that makes me think back to that cafe in auburn. you see, sandra d's father robert egley was a world war ii veteran who survived the war. he lived a long and happy life back home in indiana. didn't say much about his military service. in fact, when i showed up, sandra didn't know much about the story. i did a little personal internet research in the car on the way up and it was interesting what i found during that drive to deliver her father's missing bronze star. you see, during a battle in the second world war, it was in the
fill fiend theater, robert's unit saved the lives of 511 american prisoners of war in the pacific theater. his actions and those of the other american g.i.'s with him allowed so many americans to return back home to marry their sweethearts, to start a family, and to pursue the american dream. now, think about it. this is the beauty and the magic of the gift that so many of our men and women in uniform have given or are prepared to give. because of the sacrifice of robert. gley, there are hundreds of americans who have had children and grandchildren who are now alive today as a result of his beautiful act of courage, his selfless act of service on behalf of all of us, his
patriotism, his sacrifice. thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of people across america. so for these reasons and many, many more, we must never stop working to ensure our veterans receive the respect that they deserve, and that includes ensuring that our veterans receive the care that they are due after they are back safe and secure at home. the senate has already taken up and passed many pieces of nonpartisan legislation, commonsense legislation which i cosponsored and was proud to see become law, that will improve the lives of our veterans. the v.a. mission act is perhaps the most notable and ambitious effort, where we've all come together to support our veterans. this law has already dramatically improved the way veterans receive their health care. we've also taken steps to speed up the appeals process for veterans through the v.a.
appeals modernization act. no one should ever have to wait years -- or perhaps even in the worst instance, pass away waiting on their benefits. we've made significant improvements with respect to that process. we've improved the way our veterans veterans are cared for in nursing homes, and we've worked together to provide urgently needed support for veterans who may be contemplating suicide. so this year i've introduced another piece of legislation, working with tammy duckworth, a wounded warrior herself and distinguished member on the other side of the aisle. we introduced the vets safe travel act to provide t.s.a. precheck benefits to those veterans who've been severely wounded on the battlefield. this vet safe act would help 100,000 paralyzed veterans and
130,000 blind veterans who are currently subjected to a rigorous and demeaning screening process when traveling. unfortunately, the legislation has at least so far been languishing in the house of representatives, and its delay of course means veterans in need will be left waiting. so i would really hope that before the house takes another recess week, they can take up and pass this important legislation. i think our veterans have more than earned it. we've made significant strides for our veterans, working together in recent years, but of course we must always keep striving to do more. it was george washington, a veteran himself, of course, who once said, the willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of
earlier wars were treated and appreciatived by their nation. well, let's treat them well. let's appreciate them fully this veterans day and every day. i encourage you to remember your neighbors, members in your state, service members around the country and deployed around the world. i urge you to think of all those people before and those still with us who are proud to call themselves veterans of our military. may god bless our veterans. may god continue to bless america.
the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mrs. capito: thank you, mr. president. as you know, this coming monday, november 11, is veterans day. i've heard my colleagues pay tribute to veterans in their own special way, and i wanted to be a part of that group today to say a mitety thank you to our men and women -- a mitey thank you to our men and women who serve. they have stood up to protect us and outer freedoms that we hold so dear. you know, veterans day to me is sort after day to reflect on the sacrifices made bid all of those who've -- by all of those who've served. it is a time to say thank you. it is a time to take a pause and think about the veteran themselves and their families. it's also a time for our young people -- and i'm talking elementary age students -- to really see the pride and the
commitment that our veterans over time have had, whether you're going to your hometown parade, or going to a cemetery ceremony or just talking about it within your own home. throughout america's history, our military has been regarded as the greatest in the world, and it sure is. our military would not be what it is without the men and women of our all-volunteer force. now, i am a daughter of a world war ii veteran. i think grew up hearing smithests of -- i grew up hearing smidgets of his service. he was very proud of his service in world world war ii. so on november 20 of 1944, my father, staff sergeant arch a., jr. was serving somewhere on the
belgian german line when he was shot in the face and left for dead on the balanced field for two days. he talked about it -- i remember him saying it was in a beet field and i didn't like beats now i nee knew why i really didn't like beets. he was equipped with some painkiller that he could put on his leg to sort of ease the pain as he lay there hoping that somebody would come and get him. throughout the rest of his -- that was the end of his service on the battlefield. he was taken and miraculously had a great recovery after probably a year of recovery over in england. for his actions on the battlefield, he received the purple heart, brans star, combat infantry badge and the european theater of operations ribbon with three stars. and like so many of -- like my apparent, so many of the veterans of world war ii face add harsh reality in this
conflict. this year marks the 75th anniversary of two of world war ii's most notable battles -- d-day and battle of the bulge. battle of the bulge is next month. my father's platoon went on to fight in the battle of the bulge and only three of his platoon survived. it is known as the turning of the war because the soldiers pushed their way through the forces to take back normandy. if anybody wants to see what a sacrifice our country made in world war ii and have it more for young people to see, go to the cemetery in normandy and see those white markers of a very young american force. while there were many casualties the united states and our allies prevailed and managed to change the direction of the war at the same time. as i said, next month we will remember the 75th anniversary of the battle of the bulge.
many americans lost their lives fending off the german offensive but we were eventually victorious which paved the way to the end of the war. west virginia is home to our own her shell woody williams. he turned 96 last month. he travels the country talking about veterans and love of country. i ran the marine marathon two weeks ago in honor of all marines but i thought about woody as a marine. i say i ran my first marathon, probably my last, but i thought about woody as he valiantly fought in the battle of iwo jima and rightfully earned the military's most president of the united states city just medal. i think he is going to be leading the parade in new york city on veterans day. with the growing age of this nation's world war ii veterans, i encourage our youth to take
the time to listen to the stories of heroism from our greatest generation. without their valiant actions and dedication to preserving our freedoms, this country would not be what it is today. we also must honor all of our veterans from all our eras, whether it's world war ii, korea, vietnam, afghanistan. the selfless actions of our u.s. soldiers must not go unrecognized. they put their lives on the line to afford us the opportunity to live in the greatest country on earth. we can have our own religious freedoms, freedom of speech, freedom of press, all the freedoms we enjoy are because of the folks who went before us that were dedicated and willing to serve. on capitol hill, as wees know, there are many divisive issues. but ensuring that our veterans receive the support that they have earned through that you are dedicated service -- through their dedicated service to our country is something we all agree on.
like the gentleman here today, i happen to serve on the appropriations committee, the senator from north dakota, and i'm on the subcommittee of military construction and veterans affairs and related agencies. it's been our priority to makessures that ernst haves' -- that veterans programs receive the funding to best assist our men and women who have served the country. in recent years, congress has made great strides in trying to improve the v.a. system, which can always be improved even more, but that legislation that we put forks the v.a. mission arctic i think will help and has helped. it improves the v.a. health care system by establishing a permanent veterans community care program and expanding our v.a. caregiving benefits to veterans from all eras. you know, mountainous states like west virginia, when they say, well, ten miles as the crow flies, if you're living in west virginia, that's not going to take you ten minutes. that could take you an hour. and that's not because of the
traffic. and so providing community care to our veterans is important because it allows them to receive the care they need without having to travel these long and sometimes arduous routes. but our work must not stop here. we must continue to work on legislation that will benefit our veteran community. as a united states senator, one of my greatest privileges is to sure that our veterans receive the respect and admiration that they have earned throughout their service. and this is especially true given that west virginia has one of the largest per capita populations of veterans in this country. the pride -- the pride that west virginia veterans have is truly remarkable. after service, these men and women are the bedrock of our communities and make significant contributions to making them better. rightfully so, west virginians have a great amount of admiration for those who have served and it's reflected in our communities. we have a lot of statues, a lot
of parks, a lot of commemorative highways, a lot of moments of silence in west virginia to honor our veterans that we've lost and those who have gone before us. i was marching in the relationshiply veterans day parade and just overwhelmed last vermonts day by the support -- last veterans day by the support that a small town will show its veterans. their dedication to defending this country must not be unnoticed. on monday, i urge everyone to take a moment to thank a veteran. at the same time, this shouldn't be limited to just veterans day. we should thank our veterans each and every day. it's important that we pay them the respect when the opportunities it arises. i really feel good when i'm getting on a plan and the announcement is made that our military in uniform are allowed to enter the plane and many
times the crowd -- you know how the credits get up when it's time to get onto a plane. the crowd will part and in admiration of our military welcome that little bit of head start that they get to board the plane. so without great is beingifies and dedication to endefending this flag, this country would not be what it is. i say god bless our veterans and country. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. inhofe: thank you. i rise to -- mr. hoeven: thank you. i rise to thank our veterans and their families. and i want to commend the good senator from the state of west virginia. i appreciate her remarks, her incredible support for our vents and frankly my admiration for her having just completed the ironman marathon. i think that is absolutely
remarkable. i know she is an avid runner, but to complete a marathon is no small achievement, and of course to do it as part of the ironman is another great way to honor our marvelous and wonderful veterans. my father was in the marine corps. so i have a special affinity, of course, for the marine corps because of that as well. but appreciate all of our amazing, wonderful veterans and am really honored today to join my colleagues. i know the good senator from kansas is next, and he and i have a lot of opportunity to work on agricultural issues. he chairs our ag committee. but also another member of the marine corps. i know that he has served with great distinction. just a great honor to be here today joining my colleagues in
honoring our phenomenal veterans. in june i had the opportunity to join a senate delegation in normandy for the 75th anniversary of d day. we had the honor of meeting with some of the veterans who landed on the beaches of normandy and were again reminded of the tremendous sacrifices that our nation's veterans have made to preserve our way of life and keep our nation free. it really was an honor to meet with some of those veterans and to be there at normandy on the 75th anniversary to not only see where they landed but then to talk with them about it was just an incredible way to relive history and of course to honor their incredible sacrifice. we also recognize that those who serve do not serve alone. we appreciate too the sacrifices of their families and their loved ones who have supported them and our nation's veterans in their service, and have done so throughout the history of our country and who serve today along with their veteran family member, their soldier, their
husband or wife or son or daughter, whatever it may be that has donned the uniform, served this great nation. we honor their service, all those in harm's way today as well as all our veterans. we set aside a day each year to express our gratitude. every day we're reminded of the dedication of those who serve to protect our freedom and our liberties. our veterans cannot be thanked enough, giving their service and sacrifice, the least that our nation can do is uphold its commitment to provide veterans with the health care benefits and the recognition that they have so richly earned. in the senate we passed landmark legislation, including the v.a. mission act, to support our veterans and to provide them with the care and the services that they have earned. the v.a. mission act strengthens the v.a.'s ability to provide care for our veterans. and when the v.a. is unable to do so it gives our veterans more options to seek care in their home communities. this has been a top priority for
veterans in my state, a rural state of north dakota, and giving more veterans more options closer to home for health care and long-term care is and must continue to be an absolute priority. we're also continuing to work with the v.a. and long-term care providers to ensure that providers who want to treat veterans are able to do so without undertaking unnecessary burdens. helping veterans access long-term care, nursing home care, home-based care closer to home and near their loved ones. in the course of their dedicated service, our military members make sacrifices in many ways. this includes injuries both seen and unseen, and we owe our veterans the best possible care in treating these wounds. that's why we've been working to improve and strengthen the v.a.'s mental health care and suicide prevention programs. this includes expanding access to alternative treatment options
like hyperbaric oxygen therapy for veterans who have not benefited from traditional therapies for post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd. additionally i'm cosponsoring the improved well-being for veterans act, legislation introduced by senator boozman that would expand and better coordinate services aimed at preventing veteran suicide. as chairman of the senate committee on indian affairs i recognize that native americans serve in our nation's armed forces in higher numbers than an other ethnic group. that's why i continue to advance legislation like our bipartisan tribal h.u.d. act that supports native american veterans. additionally we are working to provide our veterans with resources and opportunities to help them continue utilizing the skills they learned in the military as they transition back to civilian life. one example is our effort to help veterans receive training
to be commercial pilots. last week the senate passed its f.y. 2020 transportation funding bill with provisions from the american aviator act. i introduced that legislation with the senator from baldwin, bipartisan legislation to expand commercial pilot training opportunities for our veterans. our country needs commercial pilots so it only makes sense that we leverage the skills that our veterans learned in the military to help them meet this need. it's good for our country and it's good for our veterans. these are just a few examples of our efforts to support our veterans. our freedom has been secured by the sweat and sacrifice of the courageous men and women who throughout our history have bravely done what is needed to protect our nation and our way of life. we honor the courage and sacrifice of this nation's veterans by ensuring that they have the resources and support they need and that they have earned.
to veterans in my home state of north dakota and to veterans across the country, we say thank you not only on veterans day, but thank you every day. may god bless these brave americans and this great country that they serve. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. a senator: at the end of world war i there was a war to end all wars, and we wish it did. mr. lankford: in the 11th hour, 11 sth month, 11th day we declared armistice, the war was over. armistice day is still recognized but now is called veterans day, and this coming monday, 11/11, as we always do on the 11th day of the 1 1th month, we'll pause as a nation and say thank you to the men and women who are serving in
the united states military. it is the most moral, most lethal fighting force the world has ever known. and we are grateful. the men and women that make up our veterans, those serving be actively, those in reserves, those serving in our national guard, those that have served both home and abroad, we're grateful for the continuing service that they have right now and for those who have served in the past. it has been an absolute privilege to be able to serve our veterans in oklahoma and to be able to serve beside them. to know members of my family like my uncle ronnie, the marine, or whether it's my next-door neighbor in the national guard, scattered throughout my family and throughout my own neighborhood, i get a chance to smile and say thank you to folks on a regular basis for what they have done in the past and what they continue to do right now. with the past several sessions of congress, this congress has been able to work to serve our veterans and help those serving
right now. things like the mission act which dramatically increases veterans care and the opportunity for veterans to be able to go to different places to get care. they don't have to drive across my great tate to get -- state to get to a v.a. center to get radiology. they can do that more closer to home rather than coming to a v.a. center. that's a great asset to them and to their families. that group of folks that have sacrificed over and over and over again so their loved one can serve. they shouldn't have to sacrifice even more now. this congress has done major c compliewssments in -- improvements in expansion to the g.i. bill. it's been a long issue. we've increased the quality of care at the v.a. and we've made sure that staff members that work the a you are -- work at our v.a. centers should be held to account. by far the majority of people that serve in our v.a. centers are serving for our veterans and are passionate and grateful to do that. for some that cannot get the job
done, we shouldn't give our veterans lesser care because of those individuals. those are all things that have been done, just to say thank you. but it's interesting to me the number of times that i talk to a veteran and say thank you for your service, and they will respond with something like it's the least i can do, or absolutely, or no thanks necessary, or it was my honor to do it. it's a group of individuals that know what it means to serve and we'll continue to say thanks to them. and on this veterans day, i'll pause at a bridge in oklahoma with a family as the name of the bridge transitions to the daman leehan bridge in remembrance of an oklahoman that in 2011 died in afghanistan protecting our freedom. our veterans don't ask for our thanks, but we can't give them thanks enough for what they and their families have done to keep this great nation secure.
thank you to our veterans. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for montana. mr. daines: for generations america has been a beacon of hope and freedom around the world. when confronted with tyranny and evil, america has always overcome. every generation, patriots have answered the call to service in defense of our country and in defense of freedom and
democracy. their bravery, their willingness to serve is a testament to the american and montanaan spirit. it is my highest honor to serve as a voice for montana veterans in the halls of congress. montana has one of the highest veteran populations per capita in the united states. montana veterans are what make living in big sky country all the more special. i know i speak for most montanans when i say that growing up we learned very early on about the importance of service to our country. and for me, that lesson was taught by my father. my dad's a marine. he served in the 50th rifle company out of billings, montana. he instilled in me the values of hard work, of sacrifice, service to others, of humility. i'm grateful for his service to
our country, and i'm proud to live every day with the values that he taught me when i was so young. and those same values that my dad taught me are held by veterans all across montana. i'm grateful for montana's veterans. i'm grateful that several veterans serving on my staff both in montana and in washington, d.c. i want to thank denny in helena, robin in great falls, jim in boseman, christy in washington, d.c. these are all montanans who are also veterans serving on my team serving the people of montana. we have an extraordinary legacy of service in montana. we are home to heroes like army staff sergeant travis atkins who was honored by president trump at the white house this year for his ultimate sacrifice in
defense of our country. right now in congress, i'm working to rename the boseman v.a. health care facility after this great fallen montana hero. travis and i attended the same high school in boseman. i make it my top priority to hear from all of our veterans across all corners of our state to learn about the issues they're facing such as access to rural health care or ensuring they receive the recognition they deserve. in fact, just last month i was in great falls to help honor veteran alfred e. shryer with a bronze star medal for his service in vietnam. it was a recognition that was long overdue, nearly 50 years in the making. and after all our veterans and their families have given to our nation, it's due time that this country, our country gives them the care, the treatment, the recognition they've earned. and that's why i'm taking action.
i've introduced a number of bipartisan solutions to help resolve issues plaguing our vets, like my bipartisan bill to protect veterans pensions from scam artists. i've also led a bipartisan effort to ensure our blue wawrps exposed to agent orange while serving in vietnam receive the health care they deserve. those who risk it all, those who put their lives on the line in defense of our freedom deserve the utmost honor, thanks, and care. so to all of our veterans, thank you for your service. our country is freer and our country is safer because of you. mr. president, i yield back my time. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas.
better --. mr. roberts: thank you, mr. president. thank you to ney -- my colleagues from west virginia, oklahoma and the great state of montana. he was a private in the united states marine corps, and i thank you for your remarks, sir, and your service in this body. i rise today to speak in support of our nation's veterans. veterans day, which is coming up on monday, and the 244th -- 244th birthday, sunday, of our nation's force of readiness, the united states marine corps. i am a marine, the senior marine in the congress, and my dad was a marine serving in okinawa and
iwo jimma. on this holiday we recognize those who have sacrificed for our freedom and those who have given their lives for our country. everyone should remember these heroes. as a nation, we're home to 18 million living heroes who have served with distinction in our armed services. on this veterans day, mr. president, i would especially like to single out a great veteran who has also served with honor and respect in this body, senator johnny isakson. john hardy isakson, born december 28, 1944, just three short years after -- after the attack on pearl harbor. he began his service to our country in the georgia air national guard from 1966 to 1972, leaving the service at the rank of staff sergeant.
he then continued to serve as a member in both the georgia state senate and house as well as the united states house of representatives before his fellow georgians sent him to the united states senate. in 2005, he came back full circle to his military roots, joining the senate committee on veterans' affairs. and this 2015, he took over that chairmanship. mr. president, let the record reflect that as chairman he has worked tirelessly to reform veterans health care and benefits as well as to bring oversight and accountability to the department. under his leadership, the senate committee on veterans' affairs has passed 57 pieces of legislation that were signed into la -- 57. you heard -- into law-57.
you heard that correctly. you can see i have the gavel in four different committees. 57, i don't think i've gotten to that yet. let me go through some of the most significant reforms that johnny isakson steered into the senate and became law, the v.a. act that puts veterans in charge of their own health care, the whistle-blower protection act which hoamedz v.a. -- holds v.a. accountable, the veterans education assistance act which improves veterans g.i. bill benefits. the veterans appeals improvement and modernization act which modernizes the v.a. approval process, and one of the most important, the clay hunt suicide prevention for american veterans
act which helps get mental health to our war fighters who need them the most. mr. president, this is only a small portion of his long list of accomplishments, and his committee is not resting on their laurels. as of this morning, they have held 110 hearings, conducted more than 80 oversight visit, and have confirmed 23 presidential nominations. mr. president, in my experience as chairman of a senate committee, i think three of them, maybe four, you simply can't get this type of work done without help from those across the aisle, and this is just another example of who johnny is
as a person and a legislator. he doesn't make promises that he can't keep and he is willing to put partisanship aside in order to get the absolute best care for our nation's men and women who have served. in this body there are those who choose ideology. i understand that, and partisan issues. i understand that as well. but johnny isakson is someone who works with his colleagues to pass legislation benefiting not only our nation's veterans, but every american's pocketbook in daily life. i have a lot of personal memories when johnny would rope me in to come to a meeting -- a bipartisan meeting to try to get what we thought was a very important bill done, and sometimes i had some concerns about joining those outfits that he seemed to put together when nobody else could. but i learned pretty quick i
better go first to find out what was going on and then, second, to watch this man carefully -- carefully craft a bipartisan agreement working with colleagues, listening to them, and when johnny spoke, people usually got to the edge of their chairs and listened. that's how he got it done. on behalf of the more than 18 million veterans and their families this veterans day, we celebrate his leadership and sense of duty to country. johnny -- johnny isakson, thank you for your service. senators eventually come and go. i do not think we will see the likeness of senator johnny isakson for years to come. semper fi, my dear friend. i love you. we love you. i yield back, mr. president.
mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. and before i get into the substance of my remarks on a serious subject, i thank my colleague from kansas for his beloved words of johnny isakson. i think that will would be true of every single member. certainly the senator from kansas and certainly the senator from new york. now, mr. president, on july 30, 1778, the continental congress passed unanimously the following resolution. resolved that it is the duty of all persons in the service of the united states to give the earliest information to congress or other proper authority of any
misconduct frauds or mdz misdemeanor. unquote. that was the continental congress before our nation was formed. a duty of citizens to protect the american people from those in government who might conduct misconduct, fraud, or misdemeanors from the earliest days of our republic, our government recognized the vital role that whistle-blowers play in rooting out corruption, malfeasance and self-dealing. two nights ago, appallingly at a political rally, president trump and a junior member from this chamber, publicly and explicitly urged the press to disclose the
identity of the whistle-blower whose triggered an impeachment inquiry in into the house of representatives. a few days later the same junior senator threatened to reveal the identity of the whistle-blower himself. i cannot stress enough how wrong and dangerous -- dangerous these efforts are. the united states is a nation of laws. whistle-blower laws have existed since the founding of our republic to protect patriotic americans who come forward and stand up for our constitution. we don't get to determine when these laws apply and when these don't. we don't get to decide if the law applies whether you like what the whistle-blower said or whether you don't. these are laws. no person -- no person is above the law. this whistle-blower, whose complaint was deemed credible and urgent by a trump appointee,
is protected by these statutes. there is no legal doubt about that. every single member of this body, every single one should stand up and say this shwrong to disclose -- this is wrong to disclose his or her identity. is that is -- that is what my colleague, senator hirono will ask us to do in a moment. before she does, i want to thank my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who have spoken up in defense of whistle-blower protections. some of my republican colleagues have spent their careers defending whistle-blowers. we need them today. we need these republican colleagues, who should be here standing up for the protection of whistle-blowers. the threats we have seen over the last few days are so egregious -- so egregious they demand bipartisan outrage from one end of this chamber to the
other whether you're a democrat, republican, independent, liberal, moderate or conservative. what's happening here is another erosion of the values of this republic for political expediency. exposing the whistle-blower's identity would endanger the health and safety of them and their families. it would also be a chilling message to future patriots that they do their duty to report wrongdoing at the risk of exposure, retaliation, and retribution. why don't we see a single other republican to stand up in favor of this here today? we should. but let us send a message today that the senate reaffirms our nation's longstanding tradition of defending whistle-blowers. i urge every single member of the senate to support it and recognize somebody who has been
valiant in this fight to protect the duty enshrined by the continental congress and the constitution, my good friend, the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: mr. president, if you work for the federal government, you work for the people. you have a duty by law to come forward to report misconduct, fraud, misdemeanors and other crimes going on in government. this duty has been on the books since 1778. why? because people working in government are in a pretty good position to see when something is not right in their workplace. we want a government that is doing right by us. it's not easy for whistle-blowers to come forward to report wrongdoing in government.
that's why we have laws that protect a whistle-blower from intimidation, discrimination, and retaliation and laws that protect their identity. so on august 12, a whistle-blower -- and we don't know whether it was a man or woman so for ease of reference, i'll refer to the whistle-blower as she. she came forward, as the law required, to file a complaint with the inspector general of the intelligence community. the complaint alleged that the president was, quote, using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 u.s. election. end quote. the inspector general also has required -- determined that the complaint was credible and involved an urgent concern. the house on learning of the whistle-blower's complaint began to ask questions.
and what did the house investigations uncover? that the whistle-blower's complaint was right. bill taylor, the top u.s. diplomat in ukraine, tim morrison, the top russia and eastern europe expert on the national security council, and others have corroborated the whistle-blower's complaint about the president. and just yesterday u.s. ambassador to the european union, gordon sunland, confirmed that security assistance for ukraine was dependent on the ukrainian government launching an investigation into the president's political opponents. let's face it. what donald trump did was wrong. it's wrong for the president of the united states to shake down the ukrainian president to get dirt on his political rivals in return for almost 400 million in
u.s. military aid to help ukraine fight russia. faced with growing evidence of donald trump's wrongdoing, what happens? what happens is a president and his minute yuns -- minutians attack the whistle-blower. donald trump has threatened the whistle-blower with, quote, big consequences, capital b, capital c and put her safety at risk with comments such as i do not know why a person that defrauds the american public should be protected. end quote. and he wasn't talkin talking abt himself president his right-wing allies have been quick to echo and amplify the president's attacks. and the whistle-blower's own attorney warned the acting director of intelligence joseph maguire that the president's threaters compromising her
personal safety. just last sunday donald trump said, quote, there have been stories written about a certain individual, a male, and they say he's the whistle-blower. if it's him, you guys ought to release the information. end quote. house minority leader kevin mccarthy also insisted that the whistle-blower, quote, should come before the committee. he needs to answer the questions. end quote. while speaking at a trump campaign rally, my colleague from kentucky who has joined me on the floor today demanded that the media print the name of the whistle-blower. and representative jim jordan, one of donald trump's fiercest allies, dismissed the whistle-blower as biased and called her -- called for her identity to be made public. with these attacks on the whistle-blower, donald trump has made clear that he will use the full power of his office to bully, intimidate, and threaten anyone who dares to stand up to
him or speak out against him. can you imagine what a young career foreign service officer at the state department might do after seeing the president tell the world that whistle-blowers are spies who defraud our government? do you think that person would risk destroying her career and suffering the wrath of donald trump and his fiercest allies and supporters by reporting the president's misconduct? how about a career employee at the department of defense who sees the military aid -- that military aid is being held up to pressure a foreign government to help the president of the united states win reelection. do you think that defense department employee would risk being accused of betraying our country and acting as a spy? let's be clear here. the real purpose of these attacks is to scare anyone else who may be thinking of coming
forward to stay silent. we see the president time and time again through tweets and interviews, at his rallies openly attacking anyone who questions or disagrees with him. the chilling effect what the president is doing cannot be overstated. it totally undercuts our whistle-blower laws. in normal times we would be protecting whistle-blowers. that's what this resolution does. the resolution i'm presenting affirms that if congress expects public servants to report misconduct, we have a corn corresponding to protect them
from retaliation and threats. the whistle-blower has done her duty. now we need to do ours. mr. president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. res. 408 introduced earlier today, that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. paul: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: reserving the right to object. i support whistle-blowers and i do think that they have a role to play in keeping government accountable. they shouldn't lose their jobs or be prosecuted because of their willingness to speak. but what we have seen over the last few years is that we have a system that we should continue to refine. when edward snowden exposed the
breadth of unconstitutional spying, that everything you can do can be seen and stored by the government without cause, without an individualized order, in secret, in bulk, in defiance of the 4th amendment, not one finger was raised by those voices who are so proud now to defend whistle-blowers, not one of them stood up for edward snowden. many in fact here in congress condemned him. they wanted to bring him to trial. senators talked about hanging him from the closest tree, about executing him. people called into question his motives. hillary clinton implied that edward snowden was a foreign spy. chuck schumer now who has such outrage and such defense of the whistle-blower statute lifted not one finger for edward snowden. in fact, he called him a coward. so really i think that the outrage we see here is selective outrage and it is because they are intent on overturning the
election of the people. they are intent on removing trump from office no matter what and they will use whatever means they can to do it. interestingly, though, despite all of these people calling edward snowden a traitor, congress ended up polishing the bulk collection program that he exposed. congress knew they had done something illegal, that by collecting all of your met take date tax all of your phone call data without the permission of a judge, that it violated the 4th amendment. they knew that he had probably become the greatest whistle-blower of all time and yet where are the voices defending edward snowden now? not one of these people who fake outrage over this whistle-blower and president trump and the impeachment, not one of them will stand up for edward snowden. they would still put him in jail for life if they could. in the end we did end bulk collection because edward snowden bravely came forward and said that the government was lying to us, that james clapper
now a big president trump hater came before the senate and he lied directly to senator wyden when he said we are not collecting your data. yet where is edward snowden in all of this? as these great defenders of the whistle-blower statute are? not a word for edward snowden. snowden himself said that he didn't have adequate protection to bring his claims internally because he was a government contractor, not an employee, and not subject to the whistle-blower statute. subsequently, congress fixed that. now contractors in the intelligence community can make whistle-blower claims. i agree with that. there are also now protections for some other contractors. we should extend and expand the protection and we should make this protection retro active. to account for people like snowden. so the bill i will introduce today will expand the whistle-blower act, would be made retroactive so edward snowden can come home to live in
his own country. all he did was expose that his government was not obeying the constitution. if the fake outrage here is really towards whistle-blowerring, why don't we make it retroactive and defend the most famous whistle-blower of all time ?r that's what my bill would do. while snowden's disclosures were in defense of the 4th amendment, the 6th amendment guarantees an individual the right to face their accuser. yet the hous house of represents has been conducting a secret impeachment inquiry based on secret claims made by a secret whistle-blower. my bill would make clear that the 6th amendment is not superseded by statutes and that the president should be afforded the same rights that we all should. to understand the nature of the allegations brought against them and to face their accuser. this is in the 6th amendment. so for all the cat -- cater
walling about whistle-blower statutes, it is the high law of the land, the bill of rights, in the constitution and the 6th amendment says if you're accused of a crime, you get to face your accuser. in fact, there was a resolution last week placed by 50 members of the republican cause sus that condemns the process going on in the house. it condemns it because it says specifically in the resolution signed by 50 republicans, that the president should get to face his accusers -- that he should have counsel and call on witnesses, and to understand the basis of the charges against him. see, here's the thing. the whistle-blower should be called because they are making accusations against the president. that is the 6th amendment. we don't do away with the 6th amendment because we're talking about impeachment or talking about the president. but the whistle-blower is also a material witness. the whistle-blower is a material witness because he worked for joe biden, he worked for joe biden when joe biden and hunter biden were involved in corruption in the ukraine.
this person worked on the ukraine desk. this person traveled to ukraine. this person was involved with aid. so when joe biden says we're going to deny aid to ukraine unless you hire a prosecutor that is looking into my son's company, that is paying hunter biden $50,000 a month, don't you think west have the right to call these people? don't you think joe biden should appear? don't you think hunter biden should appear? and absolutely the whistle-blower should appear because he's an accuser but also because he's a material witness to the conflict of interest scandal that involves hunter biden and joe biden. 50 republican senators signed on to a resolution that says the president should get to face his accusers. my bill, the whistle-blower act of 2019 would make that clear, that the 6th amendment is not superseded by statutes and that the president should be afforded the right to understand the nature of the allegations brought against him and that the president should get to face his
accusers. so mr. president, as in legislative session, i ask that the senator modify her request so that instead the senate proceed immediately to my bill, the whistle-blower act of 2019, bill number s. 2798 as introduced earlier today. i ask further that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to consider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: does the senator so modify her request? ms. hirono: mr. president, reserving my right to object. my colleague's bill was just dropped on my lap literally just now. i certainly haven't had a chance to read through the bill, but i have to say that the last paragraph of his bill, which by the way i think i.t.t.' called the whistle-blower -- i think it's called the whistle-blower protect act. anyway, the last section of his bill caught my eye and let me
read it to you. section 5, ensuring 6th amendment protections, congress reaffirms that in the case of criminal proceedings, -- prosecutions and impeachments arising from the disclosures of whistle-blowers, the accused has the right to confront his or her accuser in such proceedings and that right is not supersided -- super ceded by the whistle-blower protections. suddenly the 6th amendment right for a defendant to confront the accuser is being applied to impeachment proceedings. never been done before. and by doing this, the good senator from kentucky in my view totally undermines the whistle-blower protection. so to call his bill the whistle-blower protection act of 2019 is, in my view, laughable. and by the way, in this
particular instance, we don't need the whistle-blower's testimony. the whistle-blower's complaint, the substance of her complaint has been corroborated numerous times. so all this is to send the message out there that all you people who work for federal government, if you see some kind of wrongdoing going orks don't come forward -- going on, don't come forward because expect no protection. expect the president to come after you. expect the president's minions to come after you. what is the point of having a whistle-blower statute which -- you know, which is a duty. it imposes a duty on federal employees to come forward and at the same time as we impose this duty, we have the good senator's resolution saying, yes, come forward but we're going to out you, subject you to threats,
intimidation, retaliation, this whistle-blower's own attorney has said that her safety is in question. so using the 6th amendment and sort of tie it to impeachment proceedings is -- i am just flabbergasted. so, mr. speaker, i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: is there objection to the original request? mr. paul: mr. president, reserving the right to object. i'm disappointed that any senator would come to the floor and find the bill of rights laughable. the 6th amendment is an important part of our constitution and the right to face your accuser is an in-- is incredibly important. it's disappointing in these highly partisan times that an actual u.s. senator would come
to the floor and say that it's laughable that we would apply the bill of rights to the president. i'm very disappointed it's come to this. i hope americans will say and try to look at this with a more fair mind and say absolutely the president deserves the same protections that the rest of us deserve. i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: i think the senator from kentucky should listen, because i certainly did not find the sixth amendment laughable. i found his resolution calling it the whistle-blower protection act, which, in fact, undermines whistle-blower protections, i find that appalling and laughable. and with that, i once again object to his request. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. casey: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i want to first briefly
recognize this afternoon the brave public servants who have testified in the house in recent weeks in defense of national security, the rule of law, and our democratic institutions. most recently, lieutenant colonel alexander vindman. despite lieutenant colonel vindman's two decades of military service and a purple heart for his sacrifice to our country in iraq, his character has faced brutal attacks from cable news and from some current and former members of congress. these comments about him are reprehensible attacks with no basis in fact and verbal abuse of lieutenant colonel vindman not only disrespects his integrity and his service but undermines our institutions and ultimately makes our nation less
safe, less safe. so questioning the character, loyalty, or patriotism of lieutenant colonel vindman is an attack on all veterans and is also an attack on our military. former u.s. ambassador to russia michael mcfaul put it this way in a "washington post" column just last week, and i'll quote part of the column. quote, such smear tactics are revolting and un-american. vindman has served our country with honor and distinction, both on and off the battlefield, and he is a patriot, as you would expect from someone with his outstanding resume. the idea that vindman might have dual loyalties with another nation is preposterous. vindman was born in the totalitarian soviet union, not the, quote, ukraine, unquote. his family, which is jewish,
fled religious persecution. he is not soviet or ukrainian or ukrainian american. he is simply an american. using birthplaces or hyphenated adjectives to disparage fellow americans is always wrong. it is especially so in the case of lieutenant colonel vindman. unquote, from the op-ed from a distinguished ambassador. mr. president, when i reflect upon lieutenant colonel vindman's service to our country and his integrity, i'm reminded of one of the lines -- we could use many, but one of the lines from "america the beautiful." o beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years. that's what he was doing when he testified, just like that's what he was doing when he was serving our nation in iraq and when he was wounded in iraq and what he has done as a member of our
national security team as part of the work he's done in this administration. seeing beyond the years. part of a dream of a patriot is thinking about what your actionr actions on future generations. so we need to make sure that we're very clear about where we stand on his character, on his commitment to the country, and on his courage in coming forward. mr. president, i want to move to the grave question of syria and what's happened over just the last couple of weeks. i oppose and -- and i know this is a position held by senators in both parties, but i oppose president trump's recent decision to withdraw united states armed forces from syria. following a phone call with turkish president erdogan on october 6, president trump announced that the united states would be withdrawing u.s. troops from northern syria.
this cleared the way for the turkish armed forces to proceed with an operation, an effort to target kurdish and islamic state fighters, isis fighters in northern syria. the president's decision is already impacting u.s. national security, as many analysts have predicted. we have abandoned our kurdish allies who have been instrumental in not only retaking territory from isis but also detaining isis combatants. last week, we learned that the most important -- we learned last week that they made the most important contribution of critical intelligence, helping u.s. forces locate and eliminate isis leader abu bakr al-baghdadi. that leads me to the role that russia plays, especially in the aftermath of the decision the president made about our troops in northern syria. following an initial
u.s.-brokered cease-fire, turkish and russian authorities have agreed to a more permanent status, sharing control of syria's northern border. turkish and russian forces are not only occupying kurdish-held areas, but also further expanding russia's role in syria in committing war crimes against kurdish civilians, according to the united nations. russia has already occupied u.s. military camps in the region, and turkish president erdogan's deepening relationship with vladimir putin, as evidenced by turkey's purchase of russian s- 400 missile system, that only undercuts u.s. influence in syria, all but guaranteeing that u.s. interests will not be represented in a future syrian political settlement. president trump's decision serves to benefit vladimir putin.
prior to withdrawal, the united states was russia's only military equal in syria, but russia is now the primary, and according to some analysts, the sole power broker in syria. in the vacuum left by the united states, putin will be able to return control of the country to bashar assad. also he will be able to exercise increased control over turkey, a nato ally, and also return to its cold war -- cold war-era dominance -- the russians, that is -- in the middle east. i'm holding, mr. president, an article which from a distance you can't see the headline, but here's what the headline reads. it's "the washington post," dated october 16 of this year. it says in ukraine and syria, trump's moves are helping putin. it was written by ann gearin. ann gearin is a respected reporter on national security issues and foreign policy. this article -- and i won't go through all of it -- catalogs
how the trump administration has allowed russia to assert dominance globally. i mentioned the headline, but here's some of the text of the article. it starts -- the very first paragraph of the article by ann gearin says as follows -- whether by chance or by design, the foreign policy crises involving syria and ukraine that have developed the white house have a common element. in each case, president trump has taken action that has had the effect of helping the authoritarian leader of russia. russian forces are now operating between the turkish and syrian militaries, helping to fulfill moscow's main aim of shoring up its alliance with syria and the russian military port housed there, an outcome russian president vladimir putin has sought for years. trump's actions in syria and
ukraine add to the list of policy moves and public statements that have boosted russia during his presidency. whether that was their central purpose or not, it's con funded critics who have warned that he has taken -- she is referring to our president here -- he has taken too soft a stance toward a nation led by a strongman hostile to the united states, unquote. ann gearin goes on to describe the long list of president trump's actions that demonstrate this strange deference to russia which has ultimately compromised the furtherance of u.s. national security interests in syria and beyond. i also want to make reference, mr. president, to another recent news article. the headline of this article -- this is "the new york times" dated sunday, october 13 of this year. the headline at the top says 12
hours, four syrian hospitals bombed. 12 hours, four syrian hospitals bombed. the next page, which is full of more detail and an illustration, gives you the conclusion. evidence reveals one culprit, russia, russia. here's what in pertinent part this article says. the russian air force has repeatedly bombed hospitals in syria in order to crush the last pockets of resistance to president bashar al-assad, unquote. "the new york times" published evidence that the russians bombed four syrian hospitals in a 12-hour period in may of this year. during the assault, the kafar
nebal syrian hospital was struck four times in 30 minutes. this is a hospital. dozens of hospitals and clinics in idlib have been struck since, and syrian medical workers live in constant fear of the next strike. now, i don't think i even have to say what i'm about to say, but it bears repeating for the record. such atrocities go beyond the pale of violating the geneva conventions and the laws of col. they demonstrate just how ruthless and brutal putin and his regime have been and the lengths to which they will go to assert russia's influence in the middle east. under this administration, we've seen u.s. leadership erode and multilateral institutions deteriorate to the point where the united nations is powerless in holding russia accountable to these aprocessities -- atrocities.
and as to holding mr. putin accountable, this administration has made us less safe. let me move, mr. president, to the kurds. the syrian democratic forces led by the kurdish y.p.g. have been steadfast u.s. partners in both -- in counterterrorism operations, as well as in other ways in the middle east. as the united states provided training, intelligence, and aerial support, some 11,000 kurdish fighters died in the fight against isis. 11,000 kurdish fighters. without their courage, sacrifice, partnership, and protection, the united states would have either lost the fight against isis and the coalition would have lost or won it at a major cost to the lives of u.s. -- u.s. service members and their families. for -- for the trump administration has abandoned the
kurds. since the president radically departed from a long-standing strategy in the fight against isis, we have seen mass displacement. we've also seen, of course, russian incursion and the initial signs of an isis resurgence in the region. according to the united nations, 160,000 people have been displaced, including 70,000 children. kurdish authorities state that at least 785 persons affiliated with isis have escaped. mr. president, i ask a couple of basic questions. how exactly does allowing the conditions for humanitarian catastrophe and the escape of sworn enemies of the united states, how does any of that make america safer? how does unilaterally making decisions without consulting u.s. national security leaders
and experts or also not consulting our allies who have joined us in the global coalition to fight isis, how does that build credibility for u.s. leadership around the world? how do we expect to protect the interests of our ally israel from threats along the syrian border? and finally, mr. president, how do we justify such a rapid departure in u.s. policy to promote and protect democracy in the middle east? let me move to the al-baghdadi killing. we know on october 27, just weeks after the u.s. withdrawal, the president announced that u.s. special forces, those brave fighters who are the best in the world, with support from the united states intelligence services, conducted a raid and confirmed the death of isis leader al-baghdadi. the president's failure to credit our kurdish allies who provided critical intelligence
that led to this successful u.s. operation is further evidence of his total abandonment of the kurds and lack of appreciation for the critical role the kurds have played in promoting u.s. interests in syria. let us also not forget that the president credited russia's cooperation, russia's cooperation, in opening u.s.-russian-controlled airspace to u.s. aircraft conducting the raid. he credited them before -- before he credited the u.s. special forces to laid down their lives for the mission. i think he could have at least, at a minimum, switched the order there and he should have also credited the kurds, as i've stated. while al-baghdadi's death is certainly a victory for our counterterrorism efforts, the fight against isis is far from over. i'm deeply troubled, and i know a lot of members of the senate in both parties are deeply troubled, by the president's and
frankly some of my colleagues' assertions that our withdrawal from syria was justified. the u.s. defense department estimates that 10,000 to 15,000 isis fighters are working to reconstitute themselves as a major terrorist threat after u.s. withdrawal from syria. let us be clear. killing baghdad did i is not the end of isis and certainly not the end of the united states' commitment to eliminating isis. the decision-making process leading up to u.s. withdrawal carried the hallmarks of chaos and recklessness that are now indicative as to how this administration operates when it comes to these issues. two weeks ago the united states special envoy to the global coalition to defeat isis, jim jeffrey, testified that he was neither consulted nor made aware of the president's intent to greenlight turkey's planned
offensive but was rather briefed afterwards. special envoy jeffrey has decades of experience in the region. the lack of consultation ahead of this major foreign policy decision shows the lack of deference this administration gives to seasoned career national security officials. weeks after the withdrawal, secretary of defense esper, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff milley, special envoy jeffrey, yentcom commander and the intel community briefed the senate regarding the events of the last several weeks. it is unaccept that will be it took over three weeks for congress to receive a briefing on such a critical change in u.s. foreign policy. i'll speak for myself, but i left that briefing with genuine concern. there is still, in my judgment, no definitive consensus strategy
weeks after withdrawal to prevent the resurgence of isis and ensure the promotion of u.s. national security interests in the region. this is why congress must reclaim its authority and conduct oversight over this administration's unilateral policymaking that only makes america less safe. the administration's failure to consult with congress on its plans in syria, it's support for saudi arabia's campaign in yemen, and its incendiary actions towards iran over the last year alone -- all of that alone raises the need for congress to debate and to vote on an updated authorization for the use of military force. and i would say authorizations, plural. we likely need more than one. if the president is truly serious about ending u.s. involvement in, quote, endless wars, unquote, he should work with the congress to repeal the
2001 aumf, which is out-of-date and pass an updated authorization that addresses the threats we face today. we must not only ensure that congress asserts its constitutionally enabled war making authority but also that we thoroughly consider the consequences before sending brave men and women into harm's way. the president's plan to secure oilfields in northeastern syria is misguided and obtuse. experts agree that many of these oilfields are already under kurdish control and the kurds have not asked for u.s. support in protecting them. leaving behind a, quote, small, unquote, u.s. force would likely be an ineffective and insufficient gesture after our radical betrayal of kurdish allies. this administration must formulate a coherent strategy
for a path forward in syria that goes beyond oilfields and encompasses civilian protection, humanitarian support, and the prevention of the resurgence of isis. looking ahead, the united states' goals must focus on three elements. of course, number one, preventing the resurgence of isis in iraq and syria. number two, holding turkey accountable for its war crimes and human rights violations against the kurds. and number three, accomplishing both by keeping the 64-nation global coalition to defeat isis intact. our allies are the keys to any hope of success here. however, working with allies and coalition partners is exceedingly more difficult due to the president's reckless actions of late and his constant denigration of u.s. allies. ambassador jeffrey and former special envoy bret mcgurk's efforts to build and maintain
the global coalition to defeat isis are the primary reason we're able to convene allies, build and leverage relationships on the ground and mobilize resources to reclaim territory from isis through iraq and syria. finally you mr. president, i reiterate my call on the majority leader to allow for a debate and vote on an updated authorization for the use of military force, and i would say that again, plural, for iraq and also for afghanistan. and i also call upon the administration to present a clear path forward for u.s. engagement with syria and iran. mr. president, i would ask consent that the remainder of my remarks appear in a separate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i want to turn to another matter of importance for u.s. national
security, and that's climate change. climate change is the most significant challenge our world faces right now, transcending borders and affecting every aspect of of our lives. climate change is a threat to human life. it is caused by human activity, and we must confront it. our nation has a moral imperative to protect the earth, god's creation, and the people living on that earth. particularly children whose health and well being will be affected -- and i would say adversely affected -- by climate change in incomprehensible ways. for far too long, we've discussed climate change, food insecurity, and political instability in separate silos. however, these issues are inextricably linked, and we must apply an integrated approach to ensuring global food supply to keep pace with population growth
amidst the continuing trend of climate change in a way that promotes stable, transparent, democratic societies around the world. the late senator dick lugar from the state of indiana asked me to work with him to introduce the global food security act way back in the 2007-2008 time period. at that time, senator lugar wanted to try to pass legislation which would authorize usaid's feed the future program. senator johnny isakson was a steadfast partner in actual placing the global food security act. we passed that legislation years after senator lugar and i were starting the work. the global food security act is empowering usaid to develop a more integrated interagency approach to food security across agricultural value chains and expanding farmers' access to local and international markets
through the feed the future program. we as a body must continue to advocate for the next generation of agricultural policy, promote sustainable agriculture that will be able to keep pace with growing global demand, population growth, and climate change. as a member of the senate committee on agriculture, nutrition, and forestry, i'm increasingly concerned about our ability to keep pace with agricultural production as global population grows. the global population is expected to grow from 7.7 billion to 10 billion just by 2050, and with that demand for meat and dairy could increase between 59% and 98% according to columbia university's earth institute. the impact of climate change on food systems across the globe will be almost incomprehensible but perhaps nowhere larger than
sub-saharan africa. 90% of the region's cropland is expected to see yield losses of up to 40%. 90% seeing yield losses of up to 40%. we face some of the same challenges here at home, a understand we're working -- and we're working to help farmers adapt to these pressures while also being part of the solution through climate-friendly agricultural policies. while we've made advances in recent decades, we still have high rights of undernourishment and child stunting around the world. the number of chronically hungry people around the world has increased to 821 million people, representing one out of every nine people on the planet, many of whom are women and children. i'll say that again. the number of on-ically hungry -- chronically hungry people around the world has increased
to one in every nine people on the planet. while the number of children under five affected by stunting has decreased by 10% in the past six years. that's a little bit of good news. 149 million children are still stunted. this pace is too slow to meet our united nations sustainable development goal to cut stunting in half by 2030. that's just 11 years away. our own intelligence community has linked global food security to instability that can lead to a rise in violent extremism and international crime that will affect the united states. in january 2014 the world wide threat assessment reported that, quote, lack of adequate food will be a destabilizing factor in countries important to u.s. national security, unquote.
the 2010 quadrennial defense review marked a turning point in how the united states grappled with the issue of climate change. for the first time in 2010 climate change was cited as a threat multiplier, unquote, by the department of defense. noting, quote, the impacts of climate change may impact the frequency, scale, and complexity of future missions, unquote. from syria to nigeria in the lake chad basin but also in urban upheaval in sudan, we see environmental stress and high food prices on political stability in regions vital to u.s. national security interests. which brings me to political stability. according to the u.s. global food security strategy, food insecurity exacertificate baited by climate change will contribute to, quote, social disruptions and political
instability. projections indicate that more than two-thirds of the world's poor could be living in fragile countries where state society relations are already strained by 2030, unquote. when societies break down because governments are unable to provide resilient infrastructure against climate events as well as protect local markets from vulnerabilities, trust erodes and nations are ripe for conflict. if we permit climate change to proceed without aggressive action, investment, and coordination with partners around the world, we're not only allowing millions around the world to suffer extreme hunger, resulting resulting from climate-related disasters, we're also allows conditions for the rise of extremism and the breakdown of democratic institutions to foment unchecked. for millions of people across africa, asia and latin america, climate change means more frequent and intense floods,
droughts, and storms, accounting each year for up to 90% of all natural disasters. these disasters can quickly spiral into full-blown food and security -- food and nutrition crises. mr. president, i'll wrap up with this. as we look to the hard work of congressional oversight over the feed the future program, i'm pleased that usaid has already begun to bridge its emergency humanitarian program with this longer-term development efforts to build resilience for communities affected by conflict and climate change. but the united states cannot do this alone. we need to work together on a global scale to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate economic risk and ensure agricultureald and food supply chains can sustain climate events. this administration's decision to withdraw from the paris climate agreement was a huge blow to u.s. leadership in climate policy. i and many members of congress
an individuals throughout the u.s. government along with our state and local government partners, as well as leaders in the business community across the united states, will continue to fight for policies that bring the united states in line with its paris goals and ensuring we are doing our part to address this global threat to human life. thank you, mr. president. i would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. i come to the floor today to talk about the work we've been doing in the senate this week and the work that we've been doing in the senate the last three years. and that is the work of confirming a record number of judicial nominees. mr. president, i want to specifically focus on our record on circuit court judges. as you know, mr. president, these are the courts just one layer below the supreme court, and their decisions have enormous consequences for the country.
we have confirmed 45 highly qualified circuit court judges. we've done it across all 12 appeals courts nationwide. and these judges will decide over 99% of the federal cases in america. president trump has nominated each of these judges. senate republicans confirmed each of these judges. and these judges now hold a full one-quarter, one out of every four all circuit court seats in america. mr. president, all of these judges have lifetime appointments. these circuit court judges are ruling right now, and they are doing it on major cases all across the country. so how are they making a difference in people's lives? well, number one, by
protecting americans' constitutional rights. also by upholding our individual freedoms and by checking, putting a check on government power. above all, these judges are applying the law as written, not legislating from the bench. mr. president, based on the 45 circuit court judges that we have seated and the judges that we will continue to seat, senate republicans have delivered conservative judges who will serve our nation for decades to come. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, i i ask i -- i ask consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i want to ask consent to have have -- this is one article from "the new york times" dated sunday, october 13 of is 2019. the the headline is 12 hours forces hearings hospitals bombed. i ask consent to make that part of the record, a part of the record that relates to my first set of comments regarding syria. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.
the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. a senator: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes. mr. wicker: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wicker: thank you, mr. president. i'm wearing a pin on my right lapel that was presented to me by some folks today that
appreciate veterans. and i appreciate being recognized. i'm a veteran of the united states air force and air force reserve, retired from that organization, and i appreciated them coming to put an extra pin on me today. we will celebrate veterans day on november 11, and i'll be making speeches, and hopefully many of us will be properly recognizing those of us who have worn the uniform and taken the oath and served in that respect. but today i want to talk about another group of folks, and those are the future veterans. by that of course i mean the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, the service men who are serving our country now on active duty and make a plea to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle at both ends of this
building to get our work done at least for national security. we're in a time of heightened politics. there are tensions in this building as there often have been. but at this critical juncture with so much at stake around the world, it seems to me, mr. president, that we ought to be able to pass a national defense authorization act which the distinguished chairman, chairman inhofe, and his ranking member, senator reed from rhode island, have gotten prepared, and we're ready to go. it just seems that we ought to be able to come to an agreement with the other body and get that to the president for his signature. we are now five weeks into the current fiscal year, and we don't have an appropriations bill done for the department of
defense. we have to have the authorization act which i mentioned just now, but at the beginning of october we're supposed to have the government funded, and we don't. we're under a continuing resolution, a c.r., and it sounds so harmless. we're just continuing the funding until we get all the numbers right. that's not true. every defense expert in the government, formerly in the government and outside the government will tell you that a continuing resolution is harmful to our nation's defense. it not only sends the wrong signal, it has us sending money in the wrong direction and it has us not spending money where we need to spend it. we need at the end of this month when the current c.r. ends, we need to be ready, mr. president, with a permanent appropriations bill for the department of defense for this
current fiscal year. i mean, just think of what we're looking at right now. iran is the largest state sponsor of terror and its on the warpath. it knocked out the world's largest oil facility in saudi arabia just a couple of months ago and is attacking tankers in the gulf. this is no time not to have a permanent appropriations bill for this fiscal year. vladimir putin's russia is in a shooting war against our partners in ukraine. the communist government of china is brutalizing its own people on the streets of hong kong, violating the one nation, two systems policy. but that's not the half of it. chinese dictator xi ping is not keeping his repressive ambitions at home as we know from what's going on in the pacific.
and as my friend, the chairman of the full armed services committee pointed out, the people's republic of china has increased military spending by 83%. china has increased military spending by 83% over the last decade at a time when we can't even agree on the funding for the current fiscal year we're in. that sends a signal around the world. you best believe xi ping knows we can't get our act together and do a funding bill. now my hat is off to the leaders both republicans and democrat in this body who have done their job and are ready to go forward on the funding bill, but we need to join hands and actually get it done. and for some reason we've not been able to do that. i'm begging my colleagues,
mr. president, let's fund our military. let's fund these future veterans who are serving on active duty right now. the current continuing resolution is doing real damage to our national security. it is harming the progress that we have already made to rebuild our military since the sequester, and wasn't that a disaster. it is harming our military men and women and making it harder for them to do their jobs going forward. i want to quote general mattis, former secretary mattis, who said as secretary about continuing resolutions, he said under a c.r., it's not like we even maintain the status quo if we go into one of these situations. we actually lose ground, unquote. mr. president, i would urge my
fellow colleagues in the senate and in the other body to heed the words of this great military leader. we are losing ground today, november 6, 2019, because we're under a c.r. we've seen it before, and unfortunately we are losing money and losing readiness right now. extending the c.r. any further will harm military personnel in every branch and every day. the air force is short 2,100 pilots, keeping the c.r. going would cut 123 million from undergraduate pilot training. under a continuation of the c.r. further than the end of this month naval training will be scaled back dramatically. we won't be able to fix dangerous housing that we've had hearings about, and there's been a scandal about in the
press. we won't be able to attend to that because we're working under a continuation of last year's old-fashioned numbers. vital research and development programs will go unbegun. and not only that, keeping a c.r. going not l only doesn't save money, it actually costs us money because we're spending dollars on programs that we have decided not to be involved in any more. we want to move in a different direction. the house and senate leaders have decided to do that. members of the pentagon decided to do that. but under a c.r., we're forced to keep spending money on programs we don't need any more. according to general martin, vice chief of staff of the army, delays and