tv U.S. Senate Senators on Coronavirus Senate Agenda CSPAN May 6, 2020 6:32pm-6:58pm EDT
nominee is a generational legal mind, a kind heart, and total judicial impartiality. president trump made an outstanding choice when he asked this kentuckian to take his public service to the next level. i am confident that judge walker will not disappoint. so i urge the committee to produce nomination and i look to voting confirm that soon. aaron the senate floor. >> mr. president, today's the first day of national nurses week. celebrating the contribution of nurses. today seen by the fitting data can out of the floor and talk with the contributions of nurses and other essential workers over the past couple of months. we think about heroism, we tend to think of striking actions that take place in extreme circumstances. running into burning buildings, grenade to spit save a fellow soldier.
under fire to rescue a wounded comrade. when we think of heroes in these acts, of superhuman courage, generosity and self-sacrifice. the past couple of months and also reminded of us of another kind of heroism. quite heroism of doing wednesday. getting up and going to work and doing a job day after day in difficult circumstances. even when you are tired. even when you're scared. even when you know you're doing your job, places you in danger. i've seen a lot of that heroism of the past couple of months. a lot of americans have been able to work during the coronavirus crisis. for many many more had to go out and do the work and cannot be done from home. police officers, first responders, pharmacists, grocery
store employees, farmers and ranchers, food supplyan workers, ileaning personnel, bank employees, utility workers, delivery drivers, and most of all, doctors and nurses. over the past few weeks, we come to realize how much we rely on these individuals. and the society cannot operate without them. all of the food in the world won't do us any good if it doesn't make it to grocery store shelves. the prescription from the doctor for life-saving blood pressure medication is useless without a pharmacist to dispense the drug. we tend to take our utilities for granted. but we did during this crisis of no one was picking up our trash. her making sure that the water keeps running and the electricity keeps flowing.
sometimes heroism looks like running into a burning building. sometimes it looks like putting on a mask and gloves and stocking the shelves with bread and pasta and cereal. mr. president, i want to say a special word about medical personnel. of all of the essential workers have gotten up and gotten on with their duty in these days of the pandemic, medical personnel has displayed a special courage. they been on the front lines of this battle, directly confronting the disease. every day thehe come to work, ty pme to c work knowing that the day they can catch the virus from a sick patient. but they have come to work anyway. they write about and sometimes colleagues died from the disease. at times they lack protective equipment.
but they come to work anyway. those nurses that we are soldiering this week, they work 12 hour shifts providing medical care and a high stress environment that is still found time to sit with and comfort patients. i read more than one story about making sure the nurses making sure that their patients will die alone. doctors and nurses and other medical personnel, thank you. we are so grateful for your courage and yourfi sacrifice. before i close my want to send a special thank you to essential workers are the capital complex here in washington. the senators have been able to do aspects of our job, we have also had to be here in the capital to do the critical work of responding through the crisis. we simply could not be here without the contributions of and number of individuals. the men and women of the capitol police. cleaning staff, the food service
workers, the maintenance technicians and other support staff, the staffers who have to be in the office of the senate to be able to operate. in the staffers right here on the floor. their dorky person club room staff and individuals from the office. and of these are stressful days to be coming to work. i know you've been asked to do your normal duties and i am incredibly grateful and i know that all of my colleagues are incredibly grateful for everything that you've done to keep the senate operating safely. because of you, were able to keep getting her work p done for the emergent people. sooner or later, we're going to get through this pandemic. life will return to something resembling normal. but i hope we will be grateful and kept our society running during this crisis. have shown us, in a difficult
and challenging time, had to get up every day and do our duty. i yelled floor mr. wyden: mr. president? the presiding officer: the the presiding officer: the >> senator from oregon.>> righte confirmation of william, louisvillwill bevoting on charls failure to protect whistleblowers. leaning organizations, support the opposition to his confirmation and mr. president, i would now ask unanimous consent, and the statement of four organizations, true
advocates of whistleblower rights, at this crucial time be included in the records at this point.r. statement without objection. >> is currently open season on whistleblowers under the trump administration. donald trump and those around him and made it clearar that anyone who speaks up about waste, fraud, abuse or lawbreaking, can be punished. if you are a whistleblower under the trump a administration, dond trump himself and his echo chamber, will publicly call you a liar. they will present to make your name public. even the cost of your physical security. they will prevent your complaints from getting to the congress and they will fire
inspectors general who investigates your complaint. now more than ever, courageous whistleblowers deserve leaders who will protect them, defend them, and in vigorously advocate and work for them. they deserve leaders who will stand up to donald trump and anybody else who tries to punish those are going to speak truth truth especially to those in power. an amazing today, taking this time of the senate to speak on behalf of whistleblowers who feel under siege right now. i'm on the floor to oppose confirmation of william, his track record of an action and why he should not be the
director of the national counter intelligence and security. the fact is mr. president, he has failed repeatedly, the key test on protecting whistleblower rights. specifically, he failed to enact whistleblower protections that the congress required in 2014. think about that. all these years to get the job done. and he would not do it rated that is a six year track record of letting down whistleblowers and failing to follow the law. today, congress on thehi stand p for whistleblower protective democracy and the rule of law. when congress does not act, the
whistleblowers protection legislation, the way this body did in 2014, congress must not reward those who ignore the whistleblower protection laws. an area of the case exactly that, refusal of implemented for almost six years ins, the person we are discussing, with a track record and not being there for whistleblowers at official time, is being considered for job promotion in the senate. i want to unpack for a few minutes, with the world looks like now. two potential whistleblower entities intelligence community. one of the biggest threats, faced byor whistleblowers this s classified information, their bosses will retaliate against them by revoking their security clearances. without clearances, they cannot do the jobs. their livelihoods are ruined. the families suffer.
that threat is a chilling effect and potential whistleblowers. in the abuses that will be investigated and brought to light. if congress has cared about this for years, in july of 2014, the congress passed legislation specifically prohibiting security clearances is a form of retaliation against whistleblowers. so here's what the question was. what happens if a whistleblowers bossns simply assess their revod security clearance for some of their reason pretty well if they say, it was not for retaliation coming whistleblower. this was the lower have any recourse. is there an appeal process. and they stick their neck out to report waste, fraud and abuse, just out of luck. then the congress stood with the whistleblowers. in that same 2014, director of national intelligence, and the
attorney general and secretary of defense, to develop and implement policies a and practis to make that appeal process for whistleblowers a reality. in other words, the congress recognized that there was a boers were truly going to be protected, from retaliation there had to be a meaningful process for them to defend themselves against agencies that always have have all of the power. and always have the way to silence and remove those who speak up about abuse. so this important law was l pasd by congress and signed by the president on july 7th, 2014. as of that day, in 2014, the director of national intelligence, should have been drafting those policies. but they did not do it in 2014. during 2015. nor in 2016. nor in 2017.
or 18, or 19. all of those years of inaction and certainly they haven't done it in 2020. not because of the pandemic, but despite the pandemic because this is a crucial time when whistleblower protection is needed more than ever because lengthy those folks to be speaking truth to policymakers. i wanted to the senate, was at the helm everything one of those years of inaction. the person, the senate is thinking about promoting today. william. six years have passed. he has not produced those whistleblower protection policies required by law. during that time, there has been five directors of national
intelligence. in congress by the director of the and cfp senate confirmed position. he kept the job becoming both acting director in the nominate. the mouth congress to shout to ask, what is a story in these policies.ec does anybody actually moving to protect the whistleblowers. in congress required this in 2014. i want to say it again. on his watch, nothing happened in 2014. nothing happened in 2015, nothing happened in 2016 and nothing happened in 2017, 2018, 2019 and notot in 2020. no policy. lots of empty rhetoric, no policy. without the actual policy mr. president, whistleblowers are vulnerable. and when they tell the truth, and the push for accountability, every day, donald trump steps up
the tax and on the whole system of accountability. that have traditionally beenre bipartisan. chris has pushed back passing laws to protect whistleblowers but though have to mean something. for the sake of whistleblowers and the rule of law. congress should not reward those who ignore the law and leave the whistleblowers vulnerable. that is what this and has done for six years. this i cannot support his confirmation, he has defied the law, filled to protect the whistleblowers predict. >> i'm stating the obvious, is that to be implemented. thate- is something that is priority business. in 2014, this body tried to protect whistleblowers party. the law was passed. he has exhorted all of these years. that's not acceptable.
and now, with donald trump and the administration feeling publicly attacking whistleblowers conducting unremitting assault on the whistleblower system, laws to protect them are especially important to our democracy pretty damn today we see a closet donald trump campaign to silence people to speak up about abuses. we see it is effort to cover up. often corrupted responses to covid-19 crisis producing across the board. now, this country needs officials we will demonstrate leadership incentive foror the brave and the people who are willing to put theirec next outo report misconduct. whistleblowers to service, the country deserves it. the last point that i will make, my colleagues probably have heard and we will hear i believe
again, that he will promise once more, after six years of empty promises, he will promise once more to complete these critical whistleblower protection policies. what i would ask senators, if enough is enough. after six years, six years of unfulfilled promises, the senate ought to say the country deserves better. country deserves action, deserves real protection for whistleblowers. he remains the acting director. i want him even after he is done on it for six years, tim to
complete those whistleblower protection policies. when they are completed, the law congress passed is implemented, it seems to me that that is the time for the senate to discuss again whether he should get a promotion. and at last, i just want to come back how i started. i'm not the only one who feels this way. the country leading whistleblower organization may declare they opposed his confirmation due to his failure to produce policy. they include such organizations as the government accountability project, national security council. it's not just one member of the united states senate.
who's here to say that it is time to finally ensure that these courageous americans, these patriots, who are willing tofo come forward when all of te incentives in american government are to stay quiet. do not put yourself at risk don't put your career in jeopardy. when all of the incentives are for them to stay quiet, we need them speaking truth more than ever before. i poses nomination because there is a long long record of not being willing to stand up for these courageous whistleblowers and i intend to vote against the nominee.
senator from virginia. >> price today and strong support of william to be the first confirmed national intelligence security center. i believe the bill of the american patriot in the american success story. excel, pennsylvania, very modest means, he was the first to go to college prior to joining the fbi in 1996, his first job was with the general services administration in philadelphia. over 24 year long career, with the fbi, he investigated organized crime and violentes crimes. and 911 terrorist attacks. anthrax, the kidnapping, will also lead the espionage group at
the central intelligence agency. here in intelligence and security professional and he erearned that. fiercely dedicated to the mission with unquestionable honor. then in june of 2014, then director of national intelligence, someone who i know and respect very much, appointed bill to start is the director. many activities fall under this including circularity will say, ecinformation technology protection standards, cyber operations, and damage assessments from spies and unauthorized closures. i partnered is ruled by sherman with bill on many things
including education industry. about the threat proposed by china and antiquated personal. intelligence authorization act for fiscal year, 2016 recognize work that they do, made up position subject to nomination and senate confirmation. in february of 2018, president trump nominated bill to be the first senate confirmed director. the senate intelligence committee in considered it in may of 2018. and unanimously, with some concerns my colleagues, but unanimously, recommending his confirmation to the full senate. it did not get taken up because i member on the opposite side and concerned. we considered his nomination again in february of 2019 and
the new congress. and again our committee voted unanimously in favor of his nomination. unfortunately, over the last two years, despite universal recognition of bill's qualifications for this position, his nomination became entangled and unrelated matters. despite this, there's believe opportunities to lead the government, he stayed the course. he was committed to the mission of our office. i shared with the concerns about the whistleblowers. iav have seen the disregard. i will say this, i believe i have bill's commitment that the matters of processing, the procedures on whistleblower
protections, will be dealt with. i also feel extraordinarily strongly that it this moment in time, when there is not a single senate confirmed appointee and the whole office of director of national intelligence, now more than ever, we need at least one career intelligent professional, with a good record confirmed by the senate standing guard over an operation that is radio essentially seems to be directed often by political appointees redisregard professions for whistleblowers. too often to drip disregard protections for all intelligence community rated so
the fact that now gotten rid of the unrelated matters that were concluding bills confirmation by my colleague on the majority, then we deserve to give this nominee what in the country deserves. a vote and my hope would be a very strong vote of confirmation so that weekend said someone that has a career professional, commitment holding truth first and foremost. above political interference. we need bill confirmed this naposition. so i look forward toma his confirmation today. so that he can continue to do these many important security challenges facing our nation. it. early last december, really sometime later last year, people