tv Public Affairs CSPAN May 9, 2013 5:00pm-8:01pm EDT
us to recognize that interior enforcement cannot be abandoned. >> senator klobuchar then senator cornyn. >> i have not looked at senator sessions's addition, but we're still looking out the scoring on trying to finish this out, so i'm not prepared to vote on this yet. on the northern border side, canada is the number one trading partner for our country and anything we can do to speed up trading is important. i would love to work with you going forward. we have a similar innovative thing we're going with the river act where they can pay more fees to pick the dams. we have to look at this creative financing going forward for our infrastructure, including our ports of entry. i thank you for this and hope we
can work on this some more. . i appreciate the good words this does apply to the northern and the southern borders so we recognize the challenges in terms of commercial traffic that benefits our economy. i'm going to take are senator feinstein and senator schumer and everybody's offer to work together on this. i'm not going to ask for a vote on my amendment now. i withdraw it at this time. >> the amendment is with drawn and the second degree is also with drawn. >> let me just say on this one, like the others, the series of the amendments that are offered, these are serious amendments informed by a lost knowledge about what goes on at the border. i want to say that, i'm glad we're able to accept, at least one of those. i just wanted to say this is a good amendment, the
public/private partnerships are needed. when you say we don't need a sealed border, we need a secured border that is exactly right. you've offered a lot of good amendments today and they are serious. this is the better bill of this title is better today than it was when we started the day. >> i would not that we've had -- i think all of the senators on both sides of the aisle. we've had 32 -- you may be interested in these numbers, we've had 32 amendments offered. 21 of the amendments have been adopted today. there was a suggestion earlier that these are party line votes, they are not. 21 amendments adopted, 20 were by a bipartisan vote. i just want to mention that. i think you've all done great work because -- it is now closed
and because we were able to do that we won't have to come back tomorrow. so have your office rebook those plane tickets and we'll come 7:30 tuesday morning? >> before you stand in recess, i would like to engage in a discussion on what your plans are. the reason i would like to do that because both you and i and maybe other people on this committee are a part of the agriculture committee and we're having a markup on the agriculture bill and it the s not going to take as long as this bill takes but it will take a good day or something. i want know what your plans are for the next few days to get through this bill. >> we'll stand in recess until 10:00 on tuesday. we'll go forward. i would hope we can continue to
take this -- i'm also on the senate agriculture committee. in fact, i'm the most senior member of that committee and i have a number of issues there. we have to figure out how to juggle, as we always do, i think if we're here tooze, wednesday, thursday, -- tuesday, wednesday, thursday, i think we can accomplish a lot. >> i'm on there too. >> let's not think of the reasons we can't get it done, let's do what we did today. we got a tremendous amount done today. their everybody for cooperation. i will be in my office. nobody is going to miss votes. we're going to try to figure it out. take care.
committee finishes its first day marking up the security border proposal proposed by the gang of eight. they worked through -- they passed 21 eafments according to the chairman there. news reports say there has been nearly 300 amendments filed on the bill. we're going to open up our phone lines and get your thoughts on the immigration debate so far in the senate. here's how you participant by line and we'll have a republican line and an independent line. we're also using #immigration. if you're on twitter we'll check out tweets. if you're on facebook, we posted the question, what is your immigration priorities? we'll read those posts as well.
you may have heard them mention that the committee is coming back next week on tuesday at 10:00, of course, we'll have live coverage for you on the c-span networks. let's get to phones. nebraska, daniel on the independent line. >> hello. thank you for taking my call. >> you bet. >> i've been watching it all day . t gets frustrating -- i know the gang of eight, schumer, durbin, mccain, was in the 1986 bill to promise border security ut did not come out with it. visa overstays wouldn't happen since 9/11 and they haven't been enforced. my concern is that this bill does nothing for support and i
watched them try to support in amendments to secure the border but they got kicked down. >> daniel, thanks for calling. francis is next from maryland. what did you hear today? >> i would like to call who rning about immigrants are already in the system. some of us have been here for 16 years, 20 years. what are they going to do to us? are we going to be part of the immigration? > tell us about your status. you're from liberia, correct? >> yes. >> tell people what the issue is. >> i'm a status that every year it has been renewed. i think that -- sometimes they give authorityization for a year
or a year and half. i want to noaa what they are going to do about it that, we pay taxes and we're in the system. what are they going to do about us? >> today's committee dealt with issues with southern border security. tuesday they will be back at it and considering more amendments to the immigration bill. francis, we encourage you stay tuned. you may find more details on c-span.org. we're going to re-air today's senate markup on c-span2 at 8:00 tonight. you'll get a chance to see this again or see it for the first time. ann marie is on the republicans line. >> yes, thank you so much for taking my call. i think there's a couple of facts the american people need to know. i've been listening to these hearings way back when they
first started them. they are not 11 million illegals in this country. there's 30 million or more according to our own census bureau. when they talk a legalizing 11 million, it is three or four times as many they are talking about. secondly, there was a markup and it is going to cost us, the taxpayer, over $6 trillion to keep these people here and help legalize them. i want to know, as a legal american, native born in philny, why the people who are supposed to work for us in that congress are spending all this time, money, effort, and manpower in trying to find ways to keep illegal aliens comfortable in this country? we have 14 legal americans with no jobs. this is not something congress should be spending its time on.
trying to find ways to take jobs from us and spend more taxpayer dollars? they work for us not the other way around but you wouldn't know it to look at these hearings. >> she mentioned the heritage foundation on the proposed mmigration bill. the heritage report finds that the average illegal immigrant received $25,000 in government benefits. a couple of other tweets too. here's one from michigan. this is about amendments that passed day today. feinsteins' amendment will add 10 total new border judgeships. this one immigration reform mement passes tone sure border fencing. let's go to seattle and eric on the democrats line. says immigration, this
to me, it is led and dominated by the media because what you put on tv. it is not one of the top issues, it is jobs. everything that has been done to help the african americans in this country. what about the african americans in this country who have these small smiss drug problems that problems.ns -- drug i have no problem with these people getting legal status, but what you going to do for blacks? they will have a status where they can vote but some of these minor charges against blacks are used against us to stop us from voting. that is what black politicians have to think about. thank you. >> senator schumer that you just saw leaving, a member of the
so-called gang of eight supporting the immigration legislation. earlier in the hearing today, he pointed out his opinion there are some in the senate who simply want to kill any immigration legislation. here's what he had to say. >> the group of eight of us, four of whom are on this committee, along with senator and senator hatch spen a great deal of time on this legislation. we believe it is sound, balance, sturdy ship that we will now begin its voyage. we believe we have taken all the considerations into account and we have come up with a fair bill where no one gets everything they want. at the end of the day, it will mean dramatic improvement for
the american economy, for the american people, and will make our immigration policy much more insync with what is good for jobbings and america. i would -- jobs and america. this is founded on a fundamental premise that americans will support common sense solutions to both future immigration and the 11 million who are living in the shadows. only if that are convinced that there will not be future waves of immigration into this country. this is the strongest bill that has been put together that has a chance of passing in terms of stopping future flows of illegal immigration. just on the border alone, senator mccain and i had an amendment few years ago that
spent about $800 million on the border and effectiveness rate went up from 68 to 82. we spend much more than that, as much as $6.8 billion. the border will effectively be closed with these expenditures and the way that will be done. we take future immigration and make sure that we deal with the industries that desperately need help. google moved 400 engineers as part of google's map to vancouver because canadian immigration allowed them to come there, our pails didn't. -- policy didn't. in new york state, they did not plant his thousands of acres of cabbage this year because he could not get people to pick the
crops. we will change our policy so people who are needed to help our economy grow can come into this country. at the same time, we will note that when families are divided the humane thing to do is bring the families back together. because we so dramatically opped the flow illegal immigration we can do both and do it fairly. we know our present system is broken. we know the status quo is unacceptable but we also know that there are many who will want to kill this bill. i would ask my colleagues, if you don't agree with everything, no one does. be constructive. don't try to kill a bill that is the best hope for immigration
reform that we've had in the country, i believe, and the best hope to break the partisan gridlock that has strangled the senate, congress, and the country. >> senator schumer at the markup immigration security bill. back to your phone calls. los angeles, maria on the republican line. >> yes, hi. i don't understand what we've done to this country. we're selling it down the pipes and the american people are not standing up. we're paying for these marches that illegals do, all the police, all the money this and that. why? why are we paying for all of this? why are we paying for people to come here and have kids and we call them americans and we give them welfare because those kids are americans. how can that be? the parents are illegals. they come here and have kids so we can give them the handout.
my niece is a nurse. she says that they call the hospital to ask what is it they are getting free there when they have their kids? they go from hospital to hospital to ask and that's what the hospital they choose. >> where is your niece a nurse? >> right here. >> in california? >> yes. >> thank for your call. justin on the independent line. >> hi, how are you doing? >> doing fine. >> it is interesting, towards the end of the discussion there, i remember hearing something about $1.5 billion. i mean, it is something we can change and it would be -- it would seem logical because we've lied to for 70 years any way. we used to do it back in the day. why not legalize marijuana.
that would stop people from bringing the heavy drugs because they would not bring marijuana over anywhere. >> let's check facebook. we're asking about your immigration priorities. here's one from ross that says e-verify takes three days to get a responsible. anchor d to address the baby debacle. if the businesses can't hire americans at the low wages, maybe they should not be in business. we have 25 million americans under employed and unemploymented. here's another heat. the heat is immigration-reform advocates sell legislation in judiciary committee. their biggest challenge is to win over rule of law conservatives on border enforcement. be our guest
tomorrow at 7:45 eastern. back to our calls. tanya. >> thank you for taking my call. obama should be ashamed of himself. this is because of him that they have to have a bill, this so-called reform bill to include amnesty for these illegal immigrants. it would be ok without it. most americans agree with everything september the fact of the illegal immigrants and the need for more border patrol. i live in miami entrust me, it is a mess. i see illegal immigrants everywhere where w several kids going to the hospital. my cousin who is a nurse and all she did -- she was helping them with the babies. i was like what in the world is going on here? she received hundreds of people go into that hospital, jackson
memorial hospital, that is why they are in debt. you have to understand too a lot more jobs are requiring or requesting applicants to be by linguale in spanish. are they go of to have a law to protect us against that. this is unfair. i don't see why they don't stop them from using public schools. look at the 14th amendment again. why are we giving handouts to these people when we already have so many people here struggling. i can't believe this. >> that is tanya in miami beach. mike lee, the senator from utah. a few more minutes of your phone calls. kathy on the republican line in georgia. >> hi. i've listened to the comments and i'm a c-span addict. it is so hard to boil down my comments to one. i watch our congressmen and
senators and i almost get sick because i don't see statesmen on the hill, they are just politicizing everything. when chuck schumer commented about ted cruz saying that his intentions were otherwise and he chose not to -- he wasn't going to vote on anything that contains a path to citizenship. i go back to the laws that are on the books. those are not enforced. why don't we enforce the original laws. i'm a surviving widow of a fallen law enforcement officer and was in that field in the judiciaryal field and the laws are not being passed already. i live off the federal government. i hate that i do but we paid for it with sacrifices but i have a teenager daughter. i pay full out of state tuition. i've seen my heark costs double d i pay the premums, not the
federal government. it is hard to see other benefits who are going to be given to people who have not paid their dues. >> if they can enforce one thing that needs to be enforced, what would be that be? >> border security. >> thanks for your call this afternoon. let's check twitter, the #immigration. here's one about one of the amendments that passed. e g.o.p. voted to increase funding for the border fence. how are we going to pay for it? i thought we were broke. eers another one southern european workers fuel german immigration. here's another one. it is clear that the gang of eight wants open borders as designed in u.y. agenda 21. mary is in rhode island, she's
on our independent line. go ahead. >> hi, senator sessions who has been speaking out on behalf of cited the n worker school of harvard. he has proven that the u.s. does not have a shortage of workers of any kind. senator feinstein who keeps funneling contracts for her husband, the illegal are getting rich off the taxpayer. other senators, they are taking money from corporations. they want -- these corporations want the taxpayer to have to subsidize the cheap foreign labor. it is all a joke. watch senator of rhode island laughing. senator schumer are doing the thumbs up. they don't care. we have 26 million americans unemployed. the way the .org administration
changed our -- obama administration changed our laws, they don't have to try. he hired an immigration lawyer and it has 400 loopholes. there is no back of the line, there is no paying fines. all they have to do is claim it is a hardship and you don't have to do anything. they are rubber stamped and they will be collecting welfare immediately. > let's go to steve in jacksonville, florida. >> do you hear me all right? >> we do. go ahead. >> i'm term por iryly in assistanted living. retired of at&t, i'm a graduate of georgia tech.
aside from all of that, i'm paying my own way right now. thank god for that. i've been in battle basically for the seven-year period since i first made a claim with the veterans administration. thank the lord, i get 10% for hearing loss. >> tie that into the immigration debate. >> i see a lot of time watching c-span and i thank you for this. >> thank you for watching. >> what i have going on is i have a verifying caretaker she came up on a work permit to america and was able to bring in her whole family. all she's looking for is a green card. that has been going on for seven years. she's an excellent caretaker. her wages are very low, of
course. >> steve, what country -- interested that and i pray not that she will be deported. but i think she will get a notice. >> steve, thanks for you call. thanks for all the calls and more coming up tomorrow morning. the national journal covering the hearing today. she will be our guest at 7:45 eastern. we're re-airing the hearing on c-span2 beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern. next up we're going to show you the briefings today from earlier today. john boehner calling on the white house to release e-mails about the attack in benghazi. nancy pelosile saying she won't be making her monthly visits to visit the troops because of the budget cuts. here's the briefings from today.
>> good morning. i hope you all tuned into yesterday's hearing on the tragedy in benghazi. we learned that on september 12, the day after the attacks and four days before sousa rice's tv appearance. a state official e-mailed her superiors to relay that the libyan ambassador -- she told the libyan ambassador that the attack was conducted by islamic terrorists. the state department would not allow our committees to keep copies of the e-mail when it was reviewed. i would call on the president to order the state department to release the e-mails so the american people can see it. we also know that white house continues to claim it only made stylistic changes to the talking
points made by susan rice. ignoring the fact that the senior white house officials made the changes to those talking points. our report quotes specific e-mail where is the white house and state department insisted on removing all references to the terror attack to protect the state department from criticism for providing inadequate security. while a few of our members were able to review these e-mail, they were not allowed to keep them or share them with others. we call on the president to release these unclassified, inner agency e-mails so the american people can see them. the president said and i will quote "would be happy to cooperate any way the congress wants." this is his chance to show his
cooperation so we can get to the truth of what happened in benghazi. four americans lost their lives in this terrorist attack. congress is going to continue to investigate this issue by using all the resources at our disposal. yesterday, the leader announced that the house will vote on repealing the president's health care law. it should be repealed because it is increasing the cost of health care, it is reducing access to quality health care, and it is making it much more difficult for small employers to hire workers. this morning we informed the white house that we will not submit any names or recommendations for individuals to serve on the individual payment advisory board. this is the board with 15 unelected, unaccountable individuals who have the
authority to deny seniors access to care. the american people don't want the federal government making decisions that doctors and patients should be making. we should repeal the entire law that created this board and enact a step by step common sense approach to health care that starts with lowering costs. lastly, the president is on another jobs tour or as the dwr describes it, his latest pivot back to jobs. the obama administration promised that if its stimulus plan would be enacted the unemployment rate today would be 5%. the unemployment rate is a 7.5%. what the president doesn't seem to understand that it is his policies that are undermining economic growth and job creation. i run a small business. it is no surprise to me that the economy is struggling.
slow, ad four years of anemic economic growth and job growth. it is unacceptable. america needs robust economic greent job creation. -- growth and job creation. you don't see us pivoting back to it every few months, it has been our focus long before i became speaker. if it is making our tax code simpler and fairer and expanding production, reigning in red tape , economic growth has been able to remain our biggest focus. these are some of the common sense solutions that we would deliver that we really do believe would create more jobs in our country. slow growth can't become the new normal.
>> mr. speaker, why is it not a waste of time to vote again on health care repeal when you have already voted to repeal it. whether was a democratic senate and democratic president and it won't be repealed. >> we have 70 new members who have not had a chance to vote on the health care law. they have been asking to vote on it err went going to give it to them. >> more than 30 times you've done this, do you want to be doing this? voting on this over and over because your base demands it or would you rather do other things that can pass? >> you've heard me talk a this more than once. obamacare is going to drive up the cost of health care, drive up the cost of health insurance and make it harder for small businesses to hire workers.
i believe that at the core of who i am. i'm going to do everything i can to make sure that we don't wreck the best health care delivery system the world has never known. >> it can never pass. >> you called it the law of the land. >> that is a fact. i want to repeal the law of the land. is that clear? >> is there a point because it is being implemented that you work on changes to the current law that can help this law that is already the law of the land. >> i don't believe there is a way to fix this and make it acceptable to the american people. >> mr. speaker, what do you think you will find or show the american people if you get the e-mails -- you get answers on the talking points? what is your goal here? >> the goal is to get to the truth. four americans lost their lives. their families want to know the truth. the american people want to know the truth.
i believe it's congress' obligation to get to the truth. we have to make sure that the situation that they found themselves in doesn't happen again. the only way we're going to understand that is if we get to the truth. understand the reason this is still under way because the white house has done everything possible to block access to the information that would outline the truth. the question you have to ask is why? >> they say politics. >> do yu think the -- nintelligible] >> i have not reviewed the report or the assumption in the report. others are questioning that, i'm anxious to look at the assumptions to see what they are saying there. >> do you agree with the
immigration bill in the senate? do you have any thoughts? >> all of these bipartisan effortings are very helpful to getting the congress into a position to truly consider both the fixes that are needed to our legal immigration system and how we would deal with the problem of those that are here illegally. i think the bipartisan efforts on the house side continue. they have been close for quite a while. the chairman is scheduling hearings. i just want to say this, the house is going to work its will on immigration reform. this is an issue that has been around far too long and needs to be dealt with. i intent that it is dealt with. >> you went to new york and delivered your dollar for dollar demands in terms of raising the debt ceiling.
where at a similar point right now, it seems unclear what position is going to be in terms of congress this time around. can you explain the differences? >> we're in a different position than we were two years ago. we're spending more money than what we bring in. this year the federal government will bring in more revenue than our country. you can't continue to do this. so our conversations have begun, we're going to have a big conversation with our members next week to talk a a way forward. what do you members believe is necessary in order to allow them to vote yes on an increase in the debt limit. but dealing with a long-term structural spending problem we have is at the core of it. we also know we can't cut our
way to prosperity. we need real economic growth. that's why you continue to hear a lot of discussion about tax reform, regulatory reform that would help us produce more economic growth here in our country. we do both, we can begin to solve the problem. >> on benghazi. you have five different committees investigating what happened. i'm wondering what you communicated with this on how high this priority is for you. secondly, if you're more seriously entertaining special committees? >> i have confidence now five committees doing the investigation. they understand clearly from me that we have a serious and solemn obligation to get to the truth of what happened. mr. speaker, also on that point. he spoke to republicans and he said it would be correct to
subpoena former state hillary clinton. are you in favor of subpoenaing any or all of these folks? >> i have confidence in our committees and our chairman to continue to pursue this. i'll let them make the decisions about what those next steps are. i thought the chairman and the members of the government reform committee yesterday did a fabulous job in a long day of hearings of eliciting more information that frankly, we haven't had for the last eight months. there's more -- frankly, there's going to be more hearings and more information. >> do you believe the white house is lying or misleading the american public about the taking points that was prepared for susan rice?
>> you can characterize it any way you want. somebody, clearly, decided they didn't like the references to islamic terrorism. and they made changes to this document. the american people deserve the truth and they will get the truth. hanks. >> good afternoon. i heard you wanted to hear about our dinner with the president last night. anybody interested in that? no, then let's move on then. last night we had dinner with the president, as you know, the democratic leaders. it was a productive leader in
terms of discussion. we talked about jobs, jobs, an more jobs. we talked about innovation springing from our own manufacturing in the u.s. mr. hoyer has taken the lead in make it in america and that is what we talked about as well. the make it in america agenda it begins in the classroom that we have to support and spans from doing manufacturing here at home. it was clear -- it is interesting to me because i have had the me sure of working with president bush as speaker and leader and now with president obama. in both case, when you're meeting with the president of the united states,
it is historic every time. leaders and the president and the respect for each of us have for the offices that we hold is really important. so when president bush was president or the speaker, it was
always about how can we work together to get something done? here's the presidency and all the power it has and of course, the legislative branch, the first article of the constitution. of course, we have differences, the iraq war and privatizing security. but we did many things using the power of our offices. the biggest energy bill in our country, the mental health, and coming to the president's rescue when his own party deserted him. the bills for a
low-income tax credit. you always see opportunity when relationships between the leaders and the power of the presidency. having dinner last night again it drives home all the
opportunities that the presidency can bring. clearly, we have a president who is a visionary, a person who is knowledgeable on the issues, brings judge from that knowledge . he has a clear path on how he inld like to see things done a bipartisan way and has the ability to communicate with the american people and has the package of leadership. it is sad to see how that opportunity is not exploited by our republican colleagues in the house. they must have things they care about for our country. the president says to them let's work together on your agenda but really nothing is on their agenda and never is their timetable. so some thoughts about having dinner with the president and the missed opportunities we had. instead, we have these
ridiculous things that today on the floor, the act -- instead of rewarding default and again, this would risk the full faith and credit of the united states just by having the discussion. to have more manufactured crisis with the economic uncertainty that goes with that, that has harmed american workers over the past two years. this bill will pay china first before american troops in harm's way. pay china first before disabled and retired veteran, pay china first before doctors and hospitals who treat medicare patients. pay china first before small businesses that work with us to provide goods and services. t is just wrong. we started congress and from the
start of this congress has called for regular order. have you ever heard them call from regular order center they passed the bill in the house and they said we have to have a built passed in the senate because that is regular order. well, the senate passed the bill and now the call for regular order is muted. even some of their members who have possessed, including paul ryan he wants to go to the table and get the job done. i don't know how forceful that is within their caucus. the fact is, let's have regular order. let's go the table, let's have transparency, let the american people see whose version of the budget they prefer or particular pieces of the budget. let the chips fall where they may when the public see what the
decisions are. stop this sillyness of paying china first. let's get serious. the seriousness that we would default. even two years ago, come the summer, 22 months ago, when we went to this discussion. we lifted the debt ceiling but the discussion of it lowers the credit rating. we can't go through that again. the hopes is we put an end to the sillyness. let's go the table. what are they afraid of? are they afraid of the public seeing what they have in the budget and how it contrasts to the values than the senate's budget? have the public see it. remember to write home, buy presents, flowers, candy, chocolate candy because, as you
know, sunday america's families will celebrate mother's day. what do we do for that? gift.e mothers not a good less work and less pay. it gives less flexibility to working people, more discretion to their bosses. here's what the bill does. it ends the 40-hour work week. it cuts pay for women, undermines the economic security of the middle class, gives interest-free loan, paid for by the workers wages in unused comp time to the company. i mean, what we should be doing s enkting the woman's economic agenda. accessable child care, very important to working moms at every level, every economic
level. expanding leave. fairnessf the paycheck act. that is the appropriate way to say happy mother's day. every year for the past few years i've taken a delegation to afghanistan or iraq, i've been alternating. mostly afghanistan for mother's day to say thank you to our moms and, by the way, the our grandmothers who are serving there, young grandmothers but to thank all of our troops for what that do to protect american families. we won't be going this weekend because in the sequestration, we don't have the it in the budget. i hope to go some time soon.
some members have had an opportunity to go in and bring our best wishes to our men and women who are serving there. it is something that is beautiful to behold the roles that women are assuming in the military and now they can be in combat, which means they can rise to the heights of our military service. i don't think there is anything more wholesome and this increasing and empowering women in whatever field it is, in this case the military. what was said on previous visits was the people we met who had en victims of sexual assault in the military to meet with chaplains and talk about how to do with this issue. it is encouraging that so much attention has been paid to it with the spotlight on it with
the prospect of some improvement on how we address the issue of sexual assault in the military. it is a very important issue to our women's caucus. i believe in a bipartisan way, i'm sure it is in a bipartisan way. hopefully, the change we make will make a difference in the lives of these women. but in addition to that, make a difference to the role they play in our middle and in a way that a woman could become joint chiefs, commander in chief. just a rise to the top in the military service would be really important for our country. whether it is an opportunity in the military strengthing women's role, economic security and their families, we think there are many ways in the matter of public policy to say happy mother's day. one of them is not more work,
less pay. happy mother's day, i don't think so. any questions? don't forget. >> i was in south carolina vering the culvert -- bush race. there was a reference to you and i talked to a lot of others who said we don't know sanford but we don't know nancy pelosi in congress. do you think the sanford campaign linking her to you changed the election? >> i think it set obama up by 18 or 20 points. i think she made a dig any fied and good run. i think it marks the time when someone brings up a third party it shows the bankruptcy of their own ideas. but it is always going to be a hard district and i think it
looked silly. but she did much better than president obama in the district. yes? >> on the sexual assault in the military. how do you think it has gotten as bad as it is and what more would you like to see congress do to turn those numbers around? >> i don't know if it has gotten worse or we just know more about what is happening because people are coming forward. we have more women in the in --ry and we have women ince we went into iraq we have a million plus or more veterans if we had not gone into iraq. more people serving the country. what we can do, i think that first of e ideas --
all, we have to show respect to women in their roles. it is always interesting to me because people think they can get away with it. >> they have to make sure they look at the process and we do it effectively and whether the commander can overturn the decision after the investigation . so how board of remosting the discretion of the commander. does it just apply to this or does it apply to other decisions after charges have been litigated? the idea that women -- the person that is the
abuser, everyone would agree that is not the right thing. we see comments that show such insensitivety. there was one statement yesterday that we talked about in the women's caucus someone aid well, a lot of these are during the day, as if that doesn't matter. i think we have to work on the sensitivity issues. i met with chaplains about this as well in afghanistan. communicating message, it is hard for women to come forward, what does that mean to their career? maybe someone else that was aware of such abuse can come forward and be not so concerned about what it means -- there's things that have to be done for communication, addressing it. first and foremost, about
reducing it, hopefully eliminating it. the idea that the spotlight is on it in such an important way now i think would be very helpful in that regard. >> on guns, it was mentioned that you would like the background checks and you did not have the support. there was a survey that said hat deaths with guns are down. [unintelligible] do you think that matters one way or the other to paurve the guns and the deaths being down or after newtown and aurora makes it a different issue? >> we were hard to pass the gun bill and the year they used was 1992. because of the legislation that
was passed then some states picked up on that. the problem is, we have great laws in california and now maryland and connecticut, you their e many states as guns can cross state lines without having a background check, we still need that legislation. -- it was e in the the high capacity magazine, violence against women act was in that bill as well. it was a major achievement, it made a difference. now if we don't have a ban on assault weapons and went doe have a ban on high-capacity magazines all the more reason to have a strong background check bill. all the more reason.
now we don't have the first two. some of the members would like to see that but the political reality is what it is as you saw in the senate. i respect the bipartisan that the senators brought to the legislation. i just met with many -- they 1.3 million signatures they collected in 10 days. 10 days. their t-shirts said we're not going to back down. this is not going to go away until we have a background check. just keep making the fight and the timing on it will be when they can get the votes. i'm so proud of him. he was with me a few weeks ago as the chair of the violence
prevention task force. he is working with peter king from new york and they have 160 sponsors on the legislation. that is remarkable. in our cause suss there's people who want far more to be done. they want biller bills. they would like to see -- they want to collect signatures on bigger bills. i think there's three republicans -- nonetheless, three republicans have said in both parties i will vote for it, i don't away to be a co-sponsor. but to get 160 on a bill that has all the mobilization coming down so strongly from the n.r.a. eastern organizations it is remarkable. >> you mentioned the assault weapons ban that was part of the crime bill. some of the statistics outside of that -- >> it follows suit.
we did not end with what we did, some states followed suit. >> you mentioned earlier the issues that it was ridiculous that the republicans are putting on the floor. it sounds like they are going to vote to repeal obamacare. what do you think about that and it is such a popular subject that republicans have been clamoring for the leadership > it was 38, 39, 40? 49? high 30's. i don't know what the clammer is. it seems like a week does not go by if some version isn't there. we're very -- we're coming to a place where we are going into implementation. insurance companies are putting
-- h their pro pole proposals. starting october 1, people will be able to sign up until march 31 and it is pretty exciting. it is going to be something so remarkable in terms of prevention and wellness. it is going be great in terms of technology. ot in my bill but in the american reinvestment and recovery act where we had the electric medical records, those initiatives coming it's not just going to be about good health care, it's going to be about good health. wen the republicans say,
can't discriminate on the basis of pre-existing condition -- it's a package. they want to spend money on giving tax breaks to the , but they wantle to keep the provisions -- that's not how it works. they spent hundreds of millions of dollars on opposing this bill. and then using that on subsequent elections. --n people sign up for this already now we see more positive approval ratings for the bill. i think it is 51 to 43. i think it should be more. as people sign up for it and see what it means for them. child who is sick at an early
age forever, that child would be discriminated against with a pre-existing medical condition. many monthsven for already, that has been wiped away. in a few months, that will be the case for every person in our country, they will not be discriminated against because of a pre-existing medical condition. belonger will being a woman a pre-existing condition. women have paid more for their policies already. now that will go way. it already is the law that if you are up to 26 years of age, children can stay on their parents policy. that is a big thing for young person coming out of school. free wellness exams as well as lower cost for their prescription drugs already. as people see what it means to maybe like more than 100 forion people, not
themselves but because of their family, affected by pre- existing medical condition. we think it's going to be liberating. liberty to pursue your happiness, whether it's to be a writer, photographer, start your own business, the self- employed, change jobs, you will no longer be job locked. it is a pretty remarkable thing. i don't know that this was something they insisted upon. it represents the bankruptcy of their agenda. they don't have anything to talk about. pay china first. give the company interest-free loans instead of paying you over time. this is not an agenda. it affects the middle class. this is all about the middle class. >> in light of the trial in philadelphia of the dr., is there any role that commerce
should play? it was really disgusting. when we talk about reproductive health for women, that's not we're talking about -- what we're talking about. >> you were talking about the power of the presidency. the only major piece of legislation that has gone through congress since election , dothe fiscal cliff deal you think the president has any political capital left that he can use to get initiatives through? all due respect, the violence against women act was a major piece of legislation. and it won the cause of public sentiment. that deal had passed in the senate in the last congress in a bipartisan way.
in a bipartisan way, the overwhelming majority, including all the republican women, voted for the bill in the united states senate. still, the house would not take it up. by making the public aware of it, the president -- lincoln said public sentiment is everything. this is too hot for the republicans to handle. since theays authorization ended, the previous authorization, over 500 days later when all these good things could be springing from it to protect women from violence. even at that, 138 republicans voted against it. it is stunning, how can you vote against violence against women? think because they are using the power of the majority to
block jobs initiatives that the , and theyputs forth want to be small about how they talk about a vision for growing very positive a way, that they are missing opportunities. it always is encouraging to me to see the power of the presidency. i respected it when president bush was president. i worked with him on that. he respected the speakership and the role of the congress, as does this president. that publiceful sentiment being everything, that we will be able to accomplish a great deal more. that doesn't mean we won't keep trying and calling to the attention of the public why things aren't moving in the way that they should. one way to do that is to go to that table with the budget, where the priorities are there.
one budget which invests in jobs and economic growth and innovation which has fairness and balance in how we reduce the , another one that is really a blueprint for mediocrity or worse for our country. that would be the republican budget. this is where we are. this is the arena. this is the challenge we all face. we have to meet the challenge. that means we have to go out .here in the campaigns the politics of personal distraction is one of their main tools. is one of their main tools. you come here to legislate. again, what are opportunities missed for our great middle class, which is the backbone of our democracy?
that's about our democracy. we will talk about the role of money in campaigns and how that is an obstacle to honoring the vows of our founders. for right now i have to go back work. i know you are at work. this is my pleasure. thank you very much. [laughter] happy mother's day. this is the first mother's day in i don't know how many years that i will be with my family, because i've always been on a trip. i will be with my grandchildren when they are in new york. i just visited my texas ones last week. we had an early mother's day there. san francisco on saturday. and now i will have my new york grandchildren. >> are you thinking about sending chocolate?
>> don't send it unless it's dark. [laughter] thank you. >> thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] andontact information committee assignments for each member of the house and senate, and information on net members, and supreme court justices -- cabinet members, and supreme court justices durin. louisiana governor bobby gentle at a for republican state senate candidates -- jindal at republican state senate candidates. >> she is the first first lady
to earn a college degree degree. during the civil war, soldiers called her the mother of the regiment. opposing flavoring, she influences her husband to switch from the whig party to the anti-slavery republican party and she holds the first white house easter egg roll. meet lucy hayes. we continue our series on first ladies with your questions and comments by phone, facebook, and twitter monday night, live at 9:00 eastern. also on c-span radio and www.c- span.org. >> the senate environment committee was scheduled today to vote on the nomination of gina mccarthy to head the environmental protection agency. but the meeting was boycotted, preventing a vote on the nomination. senator barbara boxer called trageous.e, rages -- ou trag
>> will come, everybody. the meeting will come to order. a feween informed just minutes ago that the republicans this markup for one of the most qualified, if i could say the most qualified nominee to ever head the environmental protection agency. i've left a glass of water here for senator vedder out of friendship in the hope that he would come and clear his throat and join us. i am rather stunned that this has happened, frankly. a nominee inseen my life answer more questions than gina mccarthy has done. senator sanders, we've been informed that the republicans are boycotting. i hope that members will stay and make a comment about how you feel about this. gina mccarthy deserves a vote. i have delayed the vote at the
request of my ranking member. i have delayed it long past when i wanted to markup. i was under the impression that as soon as he received the answers to the 1000 questions, that they would allow us to move forward with this vote. every nominee is entitled to a vote, particularly in nominee like this one. denying a nominee with this level of experience who has been confirmed by the senate for the position she now holds is wrong. its unresectable -- it's unacceptable. gina is mollified to hold the epa. she has more than three decades of public service experience -- qualified to head the epa. she has more than three decades of public service experience. she has a well demonstrated
record of working with republicans and democrats. she has received support from business and health officials, from environmental organizations, and scientists. i would say today that at this stage, their opposition, even to allowing us to vote, shows how outside the mainstream they are. it shows how obstructionist they are. it shows how their pledge to do ister with women voters false. how could you have a more qualified woman the gina mccarthy? this is outrageous. 1100 questions we submitted to her. member say that every of the committee has a right to ask the questions, but once they get the answers, if they if theike the answers,
answers aren't in accordance with their philosophy, don't be that surprised about it. we just had an election. this is not mr. romney's or mr. rick perry's cabinet. this is barack obama's cabinet. don't be that shocked that you may not agree with her views. i'm going to retain the rest of my time, because i know everybody has important meetings to get to. but i am going to stay here and have many more comments to make at the way we intend to proceed on this. at this time, we're going to go straight down the row in order of seniority. >> thank you, madam chair. it is with a heavy heart that i am sitting here, too. with a number of our republican colleagues prior to
today, urging to support the nomination of gina mccarthy. while they did not commit to doing so, for the most part they had very positive things to say. they expressed concern that she had not fully answered the questions asked of her. i say to them, do you know how many questions she has been asked? over 1000. compared to what? compared to mike lubbock, who served as epa director, secretary of health and human services. when he was nominated for the same position, he was asked fewer than 400 questions. she has been asked over 1000. the governor was asked more -- fewer than 400. she has answered a bunch of their questions, a lot of their questions. why don'tnt to say,
we ask 2000 or 3000, she may not be able to answer all of those but i think she has answered all of these questions. she may not -- they may not like the answers, but she has given unto them -- them to them. this is the cabinet of barack obama. i'm no governor. i believe the election had consequences. i believe when you are an happen to be the president of united states, you have the the obligation to nominate good people. he nominates someone unanimously confirmed by this committee. and i think maybe by the senate, for one of the top positions at epa four years ago. that comesomebody out of left field on these issues. she's someone who has worked for
republican governors before. i think for five of them. and somehow she is unacceptable. i worry about something i call executive branch swiss cheese. i'm talking about an -- we haveion cabinet positions that are vacant that are filled by acting , or assistantties secretaries or undersecretaries. that's not good. maybe our friends in the republican party's think that is bad or hard for the obama administration. it's bad for our country. what's even worse is the example it sets, and the invitation it extends for future administrations. someday there will be a
republican president. someday the republicans will be the majority in the senate. that republican is going to want to have his or her cabinet in place. if a president nominates good people, honest people, they ought to at least get a vote. they ought to get our support. i will close with this, madam chair. i am sure we all the members some meetings we have had here. i especially remember a meeting i had eight years ago. i was the ranking democrat. i met with eight or nine utility ceo's from all over the country. were talking about clean air issues. one of the utility ceo's at the end of the meeting, a guy from the southern part of the country you should tell us
what the rules are going to be. you should give us a reasonable amount of time and some flex ability, and get out of the way. we'reoblem with what doing here is it makes it difficult to do exactly what he said. it makes it hard to tell them what the rules are going to be, to provide a reasonable amount of time, and get out of the way. we need to move this nomination. we should have a good robust of eight and we should vote. this nominee deserves a vote. our country needs it. thanks very much. >> thanks so much. senator cardin. >> the community record should reflect that not a single republican has shown up today for this scheduled committee markup. this is very sad. we have seen over two months ago the president made the nomination of gina mccarthy to be the epa administrator. this is a key part of the president's cabinet.
ae american people deserve confirmed administrator. the president has made that submission. our responsibility is to vote. this is obstructionism, pure and simple. it has nothing to do with gina mccarthy, nothing to do with the answers that she has supplied. it is republican obstructionism. we know her. we know she is well qualified for this position. every senator had an opportunity to meet with her. many took advantage of that. she has answered over 1000 questions. the maximum number before was like 300. when lisa jackson was confirmed, there was 100 questions. republicans have used every opportunity to delay the confirmation process not because of her qualifications, but because of their desire to obstruct the confirmation process on president obama's appointments. they don't like some of her
answers. they don't like the laws. it has nothing to do with her answers, it has to do with the fact that she answered them honestly and they just don't wantthat, and they don't her to do what cannot be done. this administration is going to carry out the clean air and clean water act's. they have a responsibility to vote up or down the nomination. there's many endorsements of gina mccarthy to be the ministry here. i want to quote from two. the former epa air chief, mccarthy has shown a willingness to listen and industry -- understand industry's concerns. the national association of clean air agencies, she is brilliant and honest and incredibly hard-working. she is a practitioner. i listen nomination, to the comments of my republican colleagues and they had the nicest things to say about her.
she has worked for democrats and republicans. it is well past time for us to vote on this nomination. madam chair, this has been a pattern on the republican side of the aisle, obstructing president obama's nominations. in one of ouraw committees and technical rule used to block the vote for tom .erez to be secretary of labor that was the second scheduled meeting that they had on this vote. they use the fact that the senate was still in session, that we could not have a committee hearing. this is a pattern of blocking president obama's confirmation votes on his nominees for key cabinet additions. i know tom perez well. he's a decent person who turned around the department of justice, civil rights division. he speaks out for what is right for all americans. he is eminently qualified to be secretary of labor.
that nomination is being blocked not by a vote on the floor, but to gum up theways operations of the united states senate. it has nothing to do with information not made available, it has everything to do with obstructionism. as we saw with the majority leader's request for us to go to a conference committee with the house on the budget, they use procedural hurdles to block the actions on key issues here so we can even take up bills. this is a pattern we have seen. my friends on the judiciary committee have seen how the republicans have blocked votes on nominations for judges thomas and how long it takes to get a judge confirmed here. and how long it takes to get a judge confirmed here.
madam chair, remember very the nuclear we had option that was being considered. had senators that got together and said, we don't want that to happen. we are seeing it employed the republicans today in a different way. by not showing up to committee theing as a way to block constitutional responsibilities that we have as senators to take up nominations and vote on nominations. this is wrong. you want to know why some of us are going to be in favor of reforming the rules of the senate? because of abuses like this. we see the republicans to playing this every day. we have a responsibility to make sure that we carry out our responsibility. madam chair, we're going to do it. were not going to let today's failure of the republicans to show up to block the response abilities we have as senators.
>> thank you, senators. i'm going to put in the record, gina mccarthy's answers to these 1000 questions. small print, both sides of the page, going in the record for anyone who wants to see. let me just pick up on what senator cardin just said. this has nothing to do with gina mccarthy. that is clear. ismy view, global warming maybe the major -- according to the scientific community -- planetary crisis facing us that e have not else with -- crisis. that we have not dealt with it aggressively is an embarrassment. we need an administrator at the apa. -- epa. this is not just an administrator for the epa.
are republicans make it difficult to get judges on the d.c. court of appeals. there was a discussion about whether or not the national labor relations board is going to be able to function. i think we understand where our republican colleagues are coming from. the question is what we do in response. i think we act strongly. we have the american people -- the american people understand that there are difficult times, and want government to function efficiently. 10 votes cannd it, bring this nomination to the floor. >> that's correct. >> i respectfully request that as soon as possible, as the rules allow, that we hold another meeting, we make sure there are 10 senators here and we passed that. senator cardin touched on this as well. if we bring this nomination to
the floor and there is a request for 60 votes, which we are not going to get, it is time for the democratic leadership to do with the american people want, and that is to have majority rule in the united states senate. i was a kid in elementary school. we used to elect class president. we were told that majority rules. it is the minority that is ruling right here in the united .senate great som sometimes you win in politics, sometimes you lose. we know where they are coming from. it is time for us to act. i don't need a motion here. i respectfully suggest as soon as the rules allow, we have another meeting and we have 10 votes and bring it to the floor. i would then respectfully urge the majority leader to allow 50 votes, 51 votes on the floor to bring forth not only the
gina mccarthy, but other nominations where obstructionism is taking place. >> i will quickly respond. let this committee speak very clearly today. i believe you speak for all of us here. if it's not true, let me know. i'm going to tell senator that we do intend to use the rules. that's it. that means 10 people present. if you want to provide some of those 10, we would be very appreciative. if not, we will attempt to get everyone here. >> how quickly can we do that? >> it depends on the health of senator lautenberg. we have some work to do on that.
one would hope that senator vetter -- knowing senator lautenberg is not well, perhaps would revive 10 votes in honor of senator lautenberg's situation right now, which we hope is improving. we will definitely discuss this. >> do we not have proxy votes. >> you need to be physically present under our rules. >> can we look at the rules? >> of course. and we will. >> i believe in process. when people have honest differences of opinion, we debated it. when the goal is obstructionism, our job is to respond. we are not responding to the needs of the american people if there is not an epa administrator. under these circumstances, we should look at our options in order to move the nomination. >> senator, we will look at all our parliamentary options, including changing the rules of this committee.
i will be in touch with you and all colleagues. i want to thank all colleagues for being here today. ofmeans a lot to the people america, who support clean air and clean water. that is what it is about. it is not about us. it is about gina. it certainly is impacting her in her world and her life and her future. clearly it is about the american people at the end of the day. we will work together on the parliamentary ways that we can move this. >> thank you, chairman. let me quickly review some of the folks who have written favorable comment into this process in support of gina mccarthy. policyrican automotive council. the united states hispanic chamber of commerce. the president and ceo of the
southern company, a huge energy utility. the alliance of automobile manufacturers. believe it or not, the president of the national pork producers council. vicecan electric power's president, american forest and paper association's. president and chief executive, the national mining association 's spokesman. the past presidents of the american association for the advancement of science. trout unlimited. and the republican former governor of connecticut, jodi rall, who gina mccarthy work for. -- worked for. that is the backdrop to this letter we received today, which is an interesting, carefully that on first reading would suggest that she has not answered the questions. as you have pointed out, she had
1000 questions she was asked. that is a senate record, i believe. to a knownons commodity who already works at the epa and has been confirmed by the senate. really? they needed 1000 questions answered? looks like they are just trying to throw something in the gears and not get their questions answered. ,hen you look at the letter they're not asking to have their questions answered. they may even concede they have had their questions answered. what they're saying is that they haven't had five requests honored. take those five requests and put them all in one category. that is, she should agree with us. she should not agree with the president who appointed her. she should not agree with the majority of the environmental public works committee.
she should not agree with the 95% plus majority of scientists who said the issues she is going to be involved in which relate to carbon pollution are vital ones. she should take the side in advance, honor their requests to take the side of them, the oil industry, and the coal industry. that's what this is all about. really want predetermined answers in favor of the oil industry and the coal industry. well, forget it. the oil industry, the coal industry, and for reasons that are hard to imagine nowadays, the republican party, are on one side of this issue and alone. against them stand the entire scientific community. right now there is a vehicle the
size of an suv being driven around on the surface of mars. they shifted their and landed in energy writing it around on the surface of mars. ship itentists -- there -- shipped it there and landed it there and are riding it around the surface of mars. they have the property casualty and reinsurance industries. you have the vast majority of the american business community. they want in advance for this woman to take the side against all of them. that is crazy behavior. you look at what happened to gina mccarthy, what happened to caitlin halligan, the candidate for the d.c. circuit. you look at what is happening to tom perez as a candidate for director of labor. is the republican party's new outreach to women , you need toguys
bring up your game. this is not working. this is not good outreach to women and latinos to be just throwing the sand in the gears for very qualified nominees because they won't agree with you in advance when you are wrong. it's not the minority's right to get nominees to agree with the minute fans. it's not the minority's right to get them to agree with them in advance when they are so clearly in the wrong. thank you. >> think is a much. and thank you for the statement you made last night, which i'm sending around, in which you take the phrase that they put out there, which was why are we worried, god will protect us from climate change. you used your incredible understanding of religious philosophy and put that whole notion to rest. i thought it was so brilliant. i'm sending it around to others.
senator udall. >> thank you, madam chair. i also echo what has been said earlier. i think it's a sad day when we have an entire party not show up to do their work. if i was watching this and sitting here and saying, who are the people that have not showed up? i would be my first question. -- that would be my first question. i thought i would read the role. senator brosseau. senator bozeman. senator credo. senator fisher, center fishing, senator vedder, senator wicker. all of them serve on this committee. they usually participate and are part of the process. but they are not here today. they're boycotting this committee.
the thing that hits me the most about this is that this is just an outright obstructionism and abuse of the rules. we are starting to see this spread throughout our committees and on the floor. it's spreading like an epidemic, like wildfire. the list here goes on and on. ,e had all of this talk about we were going to return to the regular order. we were going to do the budget. we stayed up until 5:00 in the morning and in the senate produced a budget and in-house produced a budget. now they don't want to go to conference on the budget and are objecting on that front. more obstructionism. ,he court of appeals in d.c. one of the most important circuits in the country, a lot of people argue just as important as the supreme court, justice robert's position has not been filled for eight years.
one again, obstructionism appointments in order to achieve a political objective, and ideological objective. it continues on the judiciary. we have pushed to have appointments. the president has put appointments forward. once again we have obstruction. it is infecting every part of the government and it is on display here today in our committee. they're not showing up. they're not coming to do their work. they're using the rules to slow down the process and to prevent a very good woman from being the epa administrator. another case that was mentioned earlier, tom perez. very qualified nominee.
using a technical process in abuse of the rules to obstruct. ist we have going on here across the board in a number of circumstances outright obstructionism. i think the american people, if they looked at this, madam chair, would say the president is entitled to have his team. five short months ago, the president of the united states was elected to a second term. he's trying to put his team in place at the aba. here we have this boycott -- epa. here we have this boycott. i'm reminded of a short time ago it used to be the republicans would say, we are entitled to an up or down vote on our people. that's all we want. we want an up or down vote, madam chair.
that's what we're looking at. i would just recommend -- others have said this here today. this is an outright abuse of the rules. our obligation as the majority is to rule and to take action and move forward. if were not going to get any cooperation, if were going to get boycotts, we have an obligation to move forward. we should use the rules as best we can. i understand on this committee, what we can do is if we have all of us present, we can vote out the nominee. i would suggest we do that as soon as possible. i would also suggest that we work with our leadership and find a way where this obstructionism, we come to the floor and use 51 votes to pass these nominees and give the president his team. this should not be tolerated. it is something that is such an abuse of the rules that it can
get you angry every now and then. .e get angry, we get sad these are colleagues we have worked with. i don't understand why they do it. they're doing it today and they're doing it across the board. we need to stand up and govern. we were elected to govern. we need to carry out the policies and give the president his team. think you, madam chair. been a very good chairman. you have tried to be fair to the republicans. the thing that is amazing about gina mccarthy is the chairman has leaned the other way. she has leaned into the republicans, helped them out. 1000 questions.
the last republican nominee, secretary leavitt, had 300 questions. to's bending over backwards try to make sure that we are fair to them. and then what happens, you do that -- this has been pending since march 4. here we go, over and over again. now we are ready. it is may the ninth. they're boycotting. it is our obligation to move forward. would suggest to the chairman, let's move forward as quickly as we can. we know what the situation is. we know they really don't want answers to questions. they have not showed up. let's move forward. >> thank you. i want to make a point here. we have held up this hearing for three weeks already. toed on my being willing
give her publicans the time they needed -- republicans the time they needed. we had asked 400 questions to leavitt. excuse me, 300 plus. we said that we wanted the answers to the questions. and so we said to the republicans, we're not going to come and mark them up until we have the answers to the questions. --ator korn and called senator korn and -- cornyn call .hat behavior this is what they said when we held up the leavitt hearing and markup for two weeks. they have held her up three for three weeks. they have asked three times the number of questions, and they are not here. it seems to me unbelievable that
after what they said, when we wanted answers to questions and we held it up for two week's, now they have held it up for three weeks with nothing inside. they have gotten the answers to the questions. they don't like the answers because they are holding gina mccarthy hostage to their pro- pollutiveof -- pro- french philosophy. -- fringe philosophy. i want her to say, i give up re. if she did that, she would not represent president obama. in her position she has to enforce the clean air act great if my friends want to change the clean air act, try it -- act.
if my friends want to try to change the clean air act, try it. i know they are harassing and haranguing this nominee. it is because they are trying to get her to change the views of the obama administration and the views of the american people. i'm going to show one chart. they are fringe. here's the deal. here's the last poll. 78% of voters say the clean air act is extremely important. 69% of voters favor epa updating standards with stricter limits on air pollution. they are fringe. they are out of the mainstream. they're forcing their pro- pollution. they're trying to force their pro-pollution stance on the obama administration. they're not going to take it.
, for nominees, it ought to be 51. otherwise no president is ever going to get their team, republican or democratic. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you for the incredibly fair process that you have had in this committee. providing plenty of time in both the first round and an additional round of weeks for questions to be fully addressed. what we have today is an embarrassing dereliction of public responsibility. and the word embarrassing doesn't capture the grave harm that is coming from members of the body deciding to abuse advise and consent obligation that this body has, the senate has under our constitution, to abuse it and turn it into an attack on the judiciary and on the executive branch. today it is an attack on the
executive branch to say, we are going to use advise and consent to undermine the second of branch -- executive branch. we had a situation where we could not get a vote on a judge for the d.c. circuit. that was an attack on the judicial branch. playingnated strategy out at the committee level and to undermine the bipartisan or nonpartisan nature of the judiciary, and to damage and delay the president because he happens to come from a different party than the members who are missing in this room today. i am deep lee disturbed -- deeply disturbed this strategy. i have borrowed the chair's binder clip full of questions, hundreds of pages of westerns
asked and answered -- questions asked and answered. answered incredibly articulately and seriously, thoughtfully. these are available. the public can take a look at these. this lays out the thoughts of someone who works hard on the ground to make the law worked, as has been stated, not the perspectives of an ideologue. this is not soap book, soapbox responses. these are serious thoughts about the responsibilities under the law as asked for in these questions. once these questions have been asked and answered, as it has been pointed out, over 1000 questions, it is time to take a vote. on the floor of the senate, we are seeing this strategy continued. i have no doubt that after our
nominee passes out of this committee that there will be obstruction on the floor as well, trying to prevent an up or down vote on the nominee. we had the first-ever filibuster of a defense secretary, the first ever in the history of united states of america. that nominee was a former republican senator. it was more about attacking and undermining a newly elected president from leading our nation in taking on a serious issue than it was about who the nominee was. today we have an extra nearly qualified nominee. -- extraordinarily qualified nominee. i think that if anyone doubts the popularity of clean air and water, you just have to take a little trip to some of the countries in the world don't have rules that control this. many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have visited
china, where you cannot see 100 yards because there is so much particulates in the air that it is the equivalent to smoking more than a pack of cigarettes a day just to walk down the street. that is not the america we live in because of the work we have done to say that we want to keep those particulates out of the air. we want to have fish in our stream that you can actually not only have live, but eat the fish. our resource-f based economy, where our air and water are incredibly important as a resource. , thank you for your leadership on this. , as a body, are failing to meet our responsibilities of advise and consent. that failure is unacceptable. we need to have that conversation among our members about how we're going to change how the senate works, because the courtesy that is an
extended has become a courtesy -- abused tosed the point that it is a dereliction of responsibility. i look forward to working with the chair and my colleagues as we take on this very important , onceso that the senate considered a great deliberative body, can at least become a functioning body. >> thank you. i went to thank my democratic colleagues for being here. let the record show that senators jill a brand -- senator joe legrand had to go to the white house for a meeting -- to theand had to go white house for a meeting about sexual harassment and crimes in the military. i want to put in the record this .ther quote i served as epa administrator served as epa
administrator's republicans. i would say this to my republican friends if they were here. why don't you listen to these mainstream republicans? it out of the fringe lane -- get out of the fringe lane. americans want action. they want tougher rules and regulations to protect their health and their family's health. in yourkids who are states who are in public school, how many of them have asthma. how many of them know someone with asthma? get out of the fringe lane. work with us. this nominee,u, one of the most qualified ever,
her name was put up on march 4. i'm going to close with some of her supporters. , vice president, domestic policy and american automotive policy. upon confirmation, we look forward to working with gina mccarthy, who has demonstrated a willingness to consider the views of those impacted by the agency and to find practical solutions to issues facing the auto industry. not good enough for the fringe. the president and ceo of the united states hispanic chamber of commerce. throughout her career, gina mccarthy has shown environmental responsibility side-by-side with economic growth coexisting is possible. , ceo and founder, american sustainable business council. he says, they applaud the nomination of gina mccarthy.
we believe ms. mccarthy can provide the strong leadership needed at the epa, including working collaboratively with the business community. i say to my republican friends, get out of the fringe lane and join the mainstream of business in this country. it goes on and on. stephen harper, global director of environment and energy policy at intel. we have not always agreed with every action taken under mccarthy's watch, but we have always respected her rocksolid dedication to protecting the environment and commitment to finding solutions that protect our nation's economy. it goes on. chairman and president southern company has beautiful things to say. i ask unanimous consent. rest ofnt to put the
these into the record. it goes on and on. ,t is business, organizations respected individuals in our communities. how about this? republican governors, including jodi rail, republican governor of connecticut. views arehat cheetos nationally respected -- gina's views are nationally reseppecte. gina mccarthy is one of the most mainstream nominees ever to come before the senate. the fact that every one of my republican colleagues on this committee would not show her the respect of being here today and are hiding from this public arena, the fact that they would
treat her in this way after she answered respectfully over 1000 -- did sheestions say she wants to overturn the clean air act? a guess not. did she say she wants to redefine the borders of united states so that nobody has any rights to clean water? guess not. did she say she wanted to overturn the superfund program? i guess not. i don't know who they want to be the head of the epa. maybe the head of some polluting oil company or coal company. that would make them happy. that's not what the american people want. the american people want an overwhelming numbers -- in overwhelming numbers, their health protected.
if republicans think we're going to be quiet about this, they have another guess coming. gina mccarthy is going to become the poster child of their obstructionism. who mccarthy is a woman .eserves this promotion 78% of voters say that clean air is extremely or very important. favor epaers updating standards with stricter limits on air pollution. i say to my republican friends on this committee, it's a pleasure to work with them on infrastructure but when it comes to the environment, they are in the right fringe lane. we are not going to let the people forget it. we're going to take the story of gina mccarthy and her success, , herecord, her fairness broad support in america.
we're going to take this to the american people. so will the president, i assure you of that. by the time this is over, i hope the republicans will recognize this is one of the best nominees either party could ever find to head the epa. and i want people to understand that we did not intend to vote this nominee out with democrats. that was not my intention. i would not do that unless forced to. let's be clear. i would not have voted this out just with democrats. i'm asking my republicans to to youre, to come back responsibility. you want to be here and vote no? be here and vote no. but be here.
don't anyone say we would have voted it out of senator lautenberg and senator baucus were here. senator lautenberg and senator baucus were here. today we are asking the republicans to come back. we will schedule another markup. it is my intention if they continue this obstructionism to if it this nominee out have to just with the majority members. that was not my intention today. knew they were boycotting this till i got a letter this morning. so let's be clear. the republicans have blocked this. they have done it on purpose. they have done it by making up false accusations that she never answered their questions when she answered every one of
them rea. they're in the record. i will talk to senator fedor on the floor i have always said this is an odd situation when you have environment and public works on one committee. when it comes to the environment, we have clashes every single day. this is an example of one of those clashes. unnecessary, and we intend to keep on pushing and we invite them back to do their job. in thisme of them slept morning. maybe it was a little bit early for them to get up. we stand adjourned.
>> yesterday, another senate committee was scheduled to take another second term nominees, but republicans blocked the labor committee from meeting to vote on the nomination to be secretary of labor. harry reid spoke about the move today on the senate floor. now the minority's tactics -- republican tactics of obstruction and delay are well-known, but they're also
well-worn. those methods were once again on display yesterday when republicans delayed for the second time in two weeks the senate help committee vote on the nomination of tom perez to lead the department of labor. the able and considerate chairman, tom harass quinn, had already postponed the vote for two weeks, at the request of republicans. it was terribly disappointing that after they were granted additional time as a matter of courtesy, an anonymous republican would employ an arcane procedural tactic to prevent the committee from even meeting. of course voting on that nomination. republicans had seven weeks, 49 days, to consider this nomination. he was nominated on march 21, and since his confirmation hearing in april, he's responded in writing to more than 200
questions. he is an extremely qualified candidate for this job. the president was smart this nominating him. he has -- he's what the american dream is all about. he is a son of immigrants. he paid his way through colleges by working as a garbage collector and at a warehouse. and he went to become the first lawyer in his family. mr. perez was appointed by governor o'malley of maryland to be the secretary of the department of labor, where he helped to implement the country's first statewide living wage law. in his current role as the head of the united states justice department civil rights division, he helped settle a case on behalf of families targeted by unfair mortgage lending. as anyone can see, he is an extremely well-qualified nominee. his knowledge and experience will make him an outstanding secretary. unfortunately, impressive qualifications around exceptional characteristic are no longer enough to satisfy
senate republicans. instead of fair and constructive confirmation processes, republicans have chosen to play partisan political games with dozens -- dozens, scores of president obama's appointees. they've also slow-walked now the nomination of dedicated public certificatservant for the e.p.a. a letter was sent to chairman boxer indicating that they will boycott the nomination of ms. mccarthy's nomination. this type of obstruction used to be unheard of. now it's become really, i guess, the pattern that the republicans have adopted. they'll use any procedural roadblock or stall tactic to deny president obama qualified nominees. my republican colleagues can try every trick in the book. they have and they probably will. but i assure that you mr. perez
will have his day in the senate. i assure everyone that ms. mccarthy will have her day in the senate. and i will do all i can to ensure that t >> more from capitol hill today, harry reid and patty murray spoke about efforts to convene budget negotiations. this is just over 10 minutes. >> we just finished an attempt to go to conference again. for the last 47 days, republicans have done everything possible to get out of going to conference. roadr than start down the they have refused
to let us do anything. it is so amazing after calling for months and months amendments, committee reported they say they would not be eager to follow regular order. that is not the case. what we are asking for is regular order. what this is about is setting a for a responsible way to do something about our nation's economy. -- wenny part about them are not afraid to debate our principles in the light of day, in a conference where the press is there were staff is there, and senators are there.
chairmane the budget is one thatd on protects medicare, protect our children and grandchildren, and asks the wealthy is to contribute a little bit more to reduce the debt. sequestration, reversing these painful cuts that hurt the elderly, the middle class, the veterans, and helpless. we need to work out our shouldnces, a compromise be implemented in legislation. there is some bright rays of sunshine. for the first time i have heard, the speakers said, we cannot cut our way to prosperity. that is what john boehner said.
i agree. we agree. that is why we should work together, sit down, and negotiate. senate democrats have requested unanimous consent to move to conference five times and every time a republican senator has stood up and said now. after spending a lot of time and many months demanding regular order, they are running away from conference and running right towards the crisis. i know republicans are not too excited about the prospects of demanding -- defending their extreme budget all over again in a public conference committee. i know they are not excited about that, but the american people deserve to see our to visions side by side. we are proud of the vision that we have put forward. we want to go to conference and do what the american people
expect us to do, which is to compromise. we understand that. having talked to many senate democrats and republicans come up we understand that is the legislative process. i am absolutely can founded by the fact that they do not want to move forward, except that i see what is happening. republicans are talking about pushing us to the next crisis. their idea of a conference seems to be a conference amongst themselves out next week to debate whether or not they should use the debt ceiling to cut medicare or to cut taxes more for the rich. they are focusing on what the ransom should be for allowing the federal government to pay its bills. even before they know what they want, they are willing to risk the financial crisis to get it. and that is deeply irresponsible and will not happen. it is absurd that we are even
having this conversation. republicans realize last time that they tried this how dangerous it was to be playing games with the debt ceiling and how politically damaging it would have been to cause that kind of economic calamity. they dropped their demands, it died, and no amount of wishing from the tea party will bring it back now. the republican strategy of holding the economy hostage in trying to push this budget conference to when we have a crisis again it is absolutely the wrong approach. it is not sustainable and it needs to stop. we are ready to sit down, we are ready to negotiate, we are ready to make some tough decisions. we are ready to go to work. we see no reason to wait until the next crisis. we think the american people are on our side and they expect us to come together and have a debate and work out our differences. i do not think my republican colleagues are going to keep holding this up just to protect
house republicans from taking a few votes. thank you. what do you think of the bill that just talk -- just passed the house? , in theritization bill event of a default [inaudible] >> if that legislation where used in a model government class in the eighth grade, it would get an f. it is so shallow. the full faith and credit of the united states in jeopardy. >> they should be talking about the budget in general and what we need to compromise. they are debating how they will create the next crisis. i think that is the wrong approach. >> [inaudible]
>> there are waiting for the next crisis to come to get some type of ransom for what they want in their budget. that is not how you operate in a democracy. >> [inaudible] >> no. [inaudible] >> i do not want to get into name-calling. they have been calling for -- they are the ones who said, no pay until you pass a budget. now we have done not comment he has walked away. i was at a meeting at a white house, he said let's get the
budget. we have done the budget, there is not even a little deal. they will not even go to conference with us. >> i do not have a lot of sympathy for the house not wanting to have the votes. had all of those votes. knowld point out, i do not the house rules point by point, but we can go to conference, we have a number of days. if they do not drag this out and they come to the table willing to compromise, but can find a path to move forward, they will not have to go through a series of votes. they do not want the endgame in their faces. the deadline is being pushed farther and farther. does that take the pressure off congress? >> i believe there will be
thein the next few weeks -- white house will make an announcement that we have reached parliament. -- that we have reached parliament. why do we want to do that? they did that we have reached our limits. why do we want to do that? >> [inaudible] >> remind me of what that bill was. >> that is totally wrong. congress committee had a full hearing. he is a very fanatic about making sure there is input from the committees. the information you have is wrong. characterize how far you have
to go [inaudible] >> i doubt it. we will have to do immigration. as soon as i can. i have not given up on that. american people believe there should be background checks. if someone is unstable mentally they should have a background check. someone who is a criminal should have a background check. be the decision that this congress makes. it is only fair. 40% of the guns that are sold have a background check, 60% do not and they should. [inaudible] >> when the debt ceiling is reached, it is time we do
something about it. is the purpose of that meeting? [inaudible] i am totally dissatisfied about the republicans being unwilling to get rid of the sequestered. follow what chairman murray is talking about. go to conference and gets a budget so we can get rid of a sequester. one last question. >> [inaudible] >> we have a series of meetings with the chairman of the budget committee. the three of us have mad and we will continue to meet and we will work that out. republicans are pushing a
budget resolution until the debt left -- clement? >> i have not had them specifically states that to me. it seems clear to me when they are sitting on the floor today talking about the debt ceiling and they are playing games with that already and they are not willing to go to conference and not willing to work with us to compromise on the budget, they are pushing us to a crisis, which this country has rejected as a way to manage our budget. >> thank you, everybody. >> we will focus on the senate judiciary committee markup of immigration was a magician -- immigration legislation.
we'll be joined by kevin johnson with usa today to discuss this week's report on firearm violence. that is "washington journal" live every day at 7:00. louisiana gov. bobby jindal at a fund-raiser. that is live from manchester at 6:00. also live tomorrow, kentucky senator rand paul will be speaking at the lincoln day dinner in cedar rapids. how different it was from what we face today, many things are radically different. there are no radical leftist parties or secular parties in afghanistan today.
that has been wiped out. in the 1970's cut those were the powerful forces. for much of the 1970's was a secularist modernizer. he was replaced by the afghan communist, who began to try to remodel their society. they very quickly ran aground with that. the whole country rose up against them and that is why the soviets had to come in. what is amazing is the way that invasion and the almost unending civil war that has followed, compounded by the u.s. intervention in 2001, has completely wiped out that old afghanistan that we saw in the 1960's and 1970's. 1979stian caryl on
sunday night at 9:00. from the u.s. senate on c-span. senators from both sides of the aisle spoke on the floor about the syrian civil war and the use of chemical weapons. about 40in spoke for minutes. mr. president, i and my colleagues are here concerning syria. the strategic and humanitarian costs of this conflict continuing to devastating, not just for the people of syria but for vital american interests. as today's "washington post" editorial makes clear, nearly all of the terrible consequences that those opposed to intervention predicted would happen if we intervened in syria have happened because we have not. there's mounting evidence that chemical weapons have been used by the assad regime, as many of our colleagues have noted, including senator feinstein, the
chairman of the intelligence committee, president obama's red line on syria has been crossed. instead of act, the obama administration has called for additional evidence to be collected by u.n. investigators, who have not yet set foot in syria. and probably never will. in the absence of more robust action, it will not be longe longbottom until a-- it will not be long until assad uses chemical weapons again. by drawing a red line on chemical weapons, the president actually gave the assad regime a green light to use every other weapon in his arsenal with impunity. more than 70,000 syrians have been killed indiscriminately, with snipers,rtillery, fighter jets and even ballistic missiles. according to a recent human ghts watch report,ore than 3,300 civilians have been killed
by assad's airstrikes alone since july 2012. at the same time iran and hezbollah is bill ago front. according to estimates that have been published in the media some believe there were no more than a few hundred fighters in syria last year. but today it is widely believed there could be thousands of extremist fighters inside of sear yavment they are gaining strength by the day because they are the best, most experienced fighters. they are well-funded and are providing humanitarian nance in the parts of syria where people need is most. at the same time, this conflict is having increasingly devastating consequences to the security and stability of our allies and partners in israel, jordan, turkey, iraq, and
lebanon much the situation has been characterized as a extension shall threat for lebanon where the government estimates that 1 million syrians have entered the country. 1 million syrians have entered the country of lebanon, which has a population of just over 4 million. similarly, over the past two years, more than 500,000 syrians have flooded into jordan, a country of just 6 million people. consider, for a moment, that in prortional terms this would be equivalent to 26 million refugees or thentire population of texas suddenly crossing our own borders. in short, syria is becoming a failed state in the heart of the middle east, overrun by thousands of al qaeda affiliated fighters with possibly tons of chemical weapons and poised to ignite a wider sectarian conflict that could profoundly destablize the region.
yesterday brought news that the admistration plans to organize together with russia an international peace conference later this month to seek a negotiated settle to the war in syria. all of us - all of us are in favor of such a political resolution to this conflict. no one wants to see this conflict turn into a fight to the death and total vickery for one side or -- and total victory fo one side or the other. we all want to work towards a political settlement that forms as new government in syria reflective of the democratic aspirations of the syrian people. one of the lessons of the past two years is that such a negotiated settlement will not be possible in syria until the balance of power shifts nor decisively against i assad. until assad as well as his iranian, hezbollah, and rsian
backers n longer believe they are winging, what incentive do they have to come to the table to make a deal? this is what two well-meaning united nations senior envoys have already learned. yes, syrian opposition forces are gaining strength and territory on the ground. but assad still has air power, a decisive factor in that climate and that terrain. ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, and host of other advanced weaponry, and he is using all of it. furthermore, today's news reports that russia has agreed to sell -- today's news reports, russia has agreed to sell an advanced air defense system to the assad regime should lead us once again -- ask us whether the path to peace in syria really runs through moscow. i know americans are war-weary, eager to focus on our domestic and economic problems and not
foreign affairs. i alsonow the situation in syria is complex, and there are no ideal options. but the basic choice we face is not complicated. do the costs of inaction outweigh the costs of actions? i believe they do. no one should think that the united states has to act alone, put boots on the ground, or destroy every syrian air defense system to make aifference for the better in syria. we have more limited option optt our disposal, including limited military options that can make a positive impact on this crisis. we could, for example, organize an overt and large-scale eration to train and arm well-vetted syrian opposition forces. a course of action that was recommended last year by president obama's entire national security team. i'm encouraged that senator menendez, chairman of the foreign relations committee, has introduced legislation this week on this very issue and that he
is speaking out about the need for more robust action in syria, including addressingssad's air power. several key leaders in our own military pointed out in system that the senate armed services committee over the past several months we have the capacity, we have the capacity to significantly weaken both the assad regime's air power and its creasing use of ballistic missiles which pose significant risks as divery vehicles for chemical weapons. to address this threat, we should use our precision strike capabilities to target assad's aircraftnd scud missile launchers on the ground without our pits having to fly into the teeth of syria's air defenses. similar weapons could be used to selectively destroy artillery pieces and make assad's forces thk twice about remaining at their post. we could use the patriot missile
batteries outside of syria to help protect safe zones inside of syria from assad's aerial bombing and missile attacks. would any of these options immediately end the conflict? probably not, but they could save innocent lives in syria. they could give the moderate opposition a better chance to succeed in marginalizing radical actors and eventually provide security and responsible governance in syria after assad falls. however, the longer we wait, the worse the situation gets and the tougher it will be to confront as we will inevitably be forced to do sooner or later. i'm encouraged that a consensus is emerging and many of our colleagues, democrats and republicans alike, share this view. i note, mr. president, the leadership of senator lee vin, the chairman of our armed services committee. i joined in writing a letter to president obama urging him to take more active steps in syria.
i also note the important vce senator bob casey has lent to this debate and that his op-ed printed last week in the huffington post titd act in syria which calls for consideration of more options including cruis missiles strikes to neutralize the syrian air force be included in the record. mr. president, let me conclude with one final thought for america. our interests are our values and our values are our interests. the moral dimension cannot be lost from our foreign policy. if ever a case should remind us of this, it is syria. leon weishalter captured this point powerfully in "the new republic" this week, and i quote -- "7000 people have died in the syrian war, most of
them at the hands of their ruler. since this number has appeared in the papers for many months, the actual number must be much higher. the slaughter is unceasing, but the debate about american intervention is increasingly conducted in realist terms, the threat to american interests posed by jihadism in syria, the intrigues of iran and hezbollah, the rattling of israel, the ruination of jordan and lebanon and iraq. they are all good reasons for the president of the united states to act le the president of the united states. but wouldn't the prevention of ethnic cleansing and genocidal war be reason eugh. is the death of scores and even hundreds of thousands and the displacement of millions less significant for american policy and less quickening? the moral dimensions must be
restored to our deliberations. the moral sting. or else obama, for all his talk about conscience, will have provided -- will have presided over a terrible mutilationf american discourse, the severance of conscience from action. two decades ago, i worked with democrats and republicans in congress to support president clinton as he led america to do the right thing in stopping mass atrocities in bosnia. the question for another president today and for all americans is whether we will again answer the desperate pleas for rescue that are made uniquely to us as the united states of america. thank you, mr. president. i would ask my friend -- i first would askoth of my colleagues one questio and then -- if it
would be all right. there is new today that the secretary of state is convening -- wants to convene a conference including the russians in order to try to bring about a resolution. at the same time we read reports that the russians are selling syria the most advanced weapons. i guess i would ask my colleague from south carolina and then senator levin because i know he has a statement. mr. graham: well, that would be a big contradiction. i would just yield to senator levin to answer the question and make his opening statement. mr. levin: i thank, first of all, the senator from arizona for the leadership that he has taken on theuestion of syria and answer the question to the best of my ability at least it wouldn't be the first time that russia has taken an inconsistent position, and i am hoping that the additional military pressure on assad, which we are all calling for this morning, would
help put pressure on russia to understand if that military pressure is forthcoming that they should participate in the military -- in the political solution. i dot know that we can stop them as much as we would all wish to taking the inconsistent position that they have, but believe and i think the senator from arizona would probably agree but he could speak for himself, obviously, that -- that if president obama does as we are urging him to do, which is find a way to put additnal military pressure on assad, that that would be an important sign to russia that, okay, join in the solution. you have participated enough in the problem already. join in the solution. so i think they are inconsistent, but i think our goal of trying to get more military pressure on assad is very consistent with the idea that maybe there will be a political solution, but if there is, it will be promoted by
military pressure on assad and his understanding of that fact. mr. president, the worsening situation in syria and the snowballing plight of millions in the region requires a response. sie nonviolent demonstrations demanding democratic change began in syria in march of 2011, bashar assad and his click of supporters have unleashed a massacre that have claimed the lives of at least 70,000 syrians. the gion already suffers from a massive refugee population, it has sparked a civil war with a multitude of divergent ethnic groups and religious secretaries and placed a serious chemical weapons stockpile which is one of the world's largest at risk of falling into the hands of terrorist groups. despite the impact of this horrific campaign, assad's commitment to continuing the
fight appears unwavering. one must look no further than the increasingly indiscriminate tactics with which he conducts his campaign. in recent months, in addition to assad's possible use of chemical weapons, he has increased his reliance on air strikes, scud missiles, rockets, mortar shells and artillery to terrorize and to kill civilians. assad's ability to conduct this campaign hassen -- is enabled by two actors -- iran and russia. iran's financial, personnel and materiel suppo have been critical to ensuring assad's militaryemains operable and that the impact of defections is mitigated with reinforcements. russia supports the more serious, more advanced military weaponry, most notably air defense systems is critical to assad's continued ability to project power into areas of the country tha he no longer controls. to add further complexity to the situation, the al qaeda offshoot
continues to spread its influence in some areas of syria. its presence is of concern and countering its spread needs to be a priority. it is also critical that we ensure tt countries in the region that are seeking to force an end to the assad regime are not enabling and enhancing the capabilities of violent extremists that will ultimately turn their weapons on moderate syrians and on religious minorities in syria such as the syrian christians. the combination of these circumstances in syria demonstrates that the status quo is unacceptable and that time is not on our side. many officials in washington share this sentiment, but in the same breath remind us that the situation in syria is complex, volatile and asymmetric. syria's government institutions are crumbling which would create a dangerous vacuum. any action by the united states or the west, even if it's with our arab partners, risks significant escalation, and that any security vacuum could be
filled by islamist extremists. well, mr. president, i have supported and i will continue to support the psident's contributions to provide humanirian relief to the syrian people throughout the region as well as the additional sistance he has pledged to jordan to help with the devastating impact of ts conflict on that country, but it is essential, mr. president, that the united states, working with our allies in the region, step up the military pressure on the assad regime. of course, doing so in a carefully thought out and regionally supported way. certainly, there are significant challenges to any plan of action in syria, but we not only have to figure out the consequences of any action. we also have to figure out the consequences of not taking additional actions. in my view, the facts on the ground today makes the consequences of inaction too great, and it is time for the united states and our allies t use ways to alter the course of
events in syria by increasing the military pressure on assad until he concedes that his current course is not sustainable. taking steps to add military pressure on assad will also provide backing to secretary kerry's efforts to bring the russians into the dialogue politically, which is aimed at leading to assad's departure, and i commend secretary kerry for his efforts to bring russia into that dialogue. at the same time, of course, we condemn russia's support for the assad regime, and i happen to feel very strongly that even though we are condemning and should condemn russia's support for the assad regime, it is still in our interests that russia participate in putting pressure on assad politically to depart if secretary kerry can
possibly do so. i have joined senator mccain recently in writing to president obama urging theresident to consider supporting a number of efforts, including the creation by turkey of a safe zone inse of syria along its border, the employment of our patriot batteries closer to that border in order to protect populations in that safe zone and t neutralize any syrian planes that threaten it and also t provide weapons to vetted elements of the opposition in syria. these actions, raising the military pressure on assad, will send the critical message to assad that he is going to go one way or the other. the armed services committee, which i chair, recently held an open hearing on the situation in sya and the defense department's efforts to plan for a full range of possible options to respond to the contingencies in syria. our committee is set to receive
a classified briefing on sear cora next week, and i intend to raise these issues are our witnesses at that briefing, and i know that senator mccain and senator graham and others are also going to forcefully raise these issues with those witnesses at that briefing and to urge them to carry the message back to the administration that it is time to up the military pressure on assad. i thank the chair. i thank senator mccain and others who are participating in this discussion. and i also would ask unanimous consent, mr. president, i have five unanimous consent requests for committees to meet today during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders, and i would ask consent that the request be agreed to and that they be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: and i yield the floor. mr. menendez: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i
want to join with my distinguished colleagues here in our collective call for a greater engagement, and i srt off as i always do in my years in congress between the house and the senate with two questions -- what is in the national interests of the united states, what is in the national security interests of the united states? and from those -- the answers to those two questions is in essence how i determine my views, my advocacy, my votes and the policies i want to pursue. and there are vital u.s. interests engaged in syria. first, of course, there is a humanitarian crisis, probably the most significant humanitarian crisis at this mont. 70,000 dead and climbing, 4 million displaced, and that is, of course, an urgent call. but beyond that, we have large chemical weapons stockpiles that potentially can fall io the
wrong hands. and some have, by a whole host of public reports, already been used against the syrian people. unless you believe that somehow the rebels have in their possession chemical weapons, then this large has to be from assad. and he has used them, and i think once you use them, you are willing t use them even in greater quantities. and that is a real concern. the syrian state could collapse. that would leave a safe haven for terrorists, constitute ago new threat to the region. you already have al qaeda-affiliated groups. you have his hez. yo-- you havehezbollah. you have the rai iranian guard. you have the opportunity for a safe haven for terrorists, constituting a new threat to the region, with broader implications for our own security. the refugee crisis and sectarian violence spread instability through the region. the king of jordan was here
about two weeks ago and sat with our committee, and he made it very clear, this population has already increased by 20%. at the rate it is going, the population of jordan could double. that is not sustainable for the kingdom. this is onef the countries that has been one of our most significant and faithful allies, and a cruck stiff ally in the -- and a constructive allyn the region. we cannot afford fo for that aly to find itself in a position that which it could very well collapse. so we look all that, and finally, there could be no more strategic setback to iran, which is our -- this body has spoken collectively and in a bipartisan united fashion to stop its march towards nuclear weapons -- than to have the assad regime collapse. that would be a tremendous setback to iran and would cause a disruption in the terror pipeline between iran and hezbollah in lebanon.
these are just some of the vital national security interests of the united states in changing the tide. now, under t present set of circumstances, assad believes that he is winning and for so long as he believes thahe is winning, he will continue the during thcoursethat he is on. there has to be change in the tipping point here. after two years i believe that there are those in the opposition, rebels tt we can and have thoroughly vetted, that we can assist in trying to change that tipping point. if you have a monopoly on air power and on artillery, then the realty is you won't see a change on the ground. so the legislation that i have introduced and in working with colleagues -- and am working with colleagues on, begins to move us in a beginning direction. it is to seek to arm thoroughly vetted elements of the syrian opposition so that we can change e tipping point much it is to, of course, it into provide
humanitarian assistance and at the same time work for the assistance of a transition fund to help those rebels at are already controlling parts of the civilian population, to help them add minute straight and prepare for the future. unless we change the dynamics on the ground, we will not have a change in the regime. and for so long as the regime can continue to bomb indiscriminately its citizens and if the reports, as we have seen it from various countries, including our own, suggest that assad has used chemical weapons against his own citizens, that is only an invitation to allow him to continue do itnless we act. and so i am willing to consider other options. i know moo my colleague, senator mccain, the very dtinguished senator had this field, is willing to consider those. i'm willing to consider those as
well. but i think that finally we strengthen the hand of the administration and secretary kerry. we all want to see a politically, diplomatically achieved solution. but in the absence of change the calculus not only of assad but of his supporters that have propped him up to believe that he will -- unless they believe he will fall, i am not sure that we will changed the cal could you laws for the -- calculus for the political opportunity to take place. you think that these efforts strengthen the hand of the administration, creates a parallel track that if diplomacy fails, we have have an opportunity to pursue our vital flat interests and security interests and the humanitarian tragedy -- end the humanitarian tredy and create the type of stability we want to see in the region. i appreciate my colleague briggy colleague bringing us together on the floor. with that, i yield the floor. mr. mccain: i thank the distinguished chairman. and may i say, it's been a great
pleasure f me to have the opportunity to serve on the foreign relations committee of which senator menendez is the chairman. his stewardship of that committee, i think, has been outstanding, and i appreciate the very articulate argument that the chairman just presented, including the strategic dimension of this whole issue, which sometimes in our -- i particularly, when you focus so much on the humanitarian side, that the strategic interests of the fl of bashar al-assad is something that adds another dimension. i thank the senator and chairman of the foreign relations committee. greenhouse gas emission greenhouse gas emissio-- mr. graham: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: i would like to note that the tide of war in syria changed today because of
what's happening on the floor in the uned states sene. that may be hard for people to understand, but i really don't think so. how do you cnge the tide of battle? you make it certain to the world that assad will go, and you provide hope to those who are fighting him that you will prevail. and i would suggest that a bipartisan consensus is forming in the united states senate, that now is time to do more not less when it comes to syria, including arming the rebels, the right rebels, the right opposition, with the right weapons, which will eventually change the tide of battle. to tse who have been following this debate about syria, to those who have been in the fight trying to topple this regime, i cannot stress you to how important today is in your cause. because whe you get senator
levin and senator menendez, two institutional, important figures because of their chairmanship, but also because of who they are and what they bring to every debate around national security, combined with senator mccain and others, you have turned the tide in washington. as to senator mccain, you have been talking in the most oquent terms for at least a couple yea about stopping this warn syria, ending the assad regime, and replacing it with something better. you have been right, as are usually are, but now is not the time to look backward; it is to look forward. i think an effort by the senate and the house to acknowledge that the tide of war needs to change and that we should be bolder in our support for the opposition is going to increase the likelihood of a peaceful solution through diplomacy. the russians have to after
today, if you know anything about american politics, the game has changed when it comes to assad. and this is a monumental sea change in terms of the war in syria, by having four united states senators who care about this speak out and say we will be more involved militarily. to the opposition, this is a great day for you. to assad, this seals your fate. now, what do we do and how do we do it? it won't all end tomorrow because of this colloquy tomorrow, but we're well on the wayed to ening this with regard. here's the choice clan the current regime which is evil to the core, you can fix the second once you can't fix the first. it's that simple to me. the sooner the war ends, the better not forel saving people in syria for further slaughter
but by preventing what would be an erosion of our national security interests in four areas perform this war goes six more months, a failed state will emerge in sear yavment it will be so fractured you can't put it back together again and the 6,000icaid-a associated fighters will grow this number and there will be a safe haven in syria like there was in afghanistan. that's not good fors. unlike afghanistan, there's enough chemical weapons in syria to kill thousands, if not millions, of americans and people who are our allies. i worry greatly not only that chemical weapons have been used in syria on the opposition by the regime but those same chemical weapons will be used in the future by radical islamists against us. the next bomb that goes off in america may have more than nails and glass in it. and the only reason millions of americans or thousands of americansaven't been killed, hundreds of thousands by radical
islamists, they just can't get the weapons to kill that many of us. they would, if he could this. and i've never seen a better opportunity for radical islamists to get ahold of weapons of mass destruction than i see in syria today. and every day that goes by, their opportunity acquire some of these weapons grows dramatically. if you ask me what i worry the most about in syria and why we should get involved isor that very reason p. if these weaponset compromised, they'll fall into the hands of the people who will use them against us and to believe otherwise would be incredibly naive. jordan, probably the most stabilizing figure in the mideast in these dangerous time, is the king of jordan. his country is being overrun by refugees. if it war goes on six more months, that's probably the end of thinks kingdom because it will create economic chaos and political instability. and he will be a victim of the civil war inyria, which will have monumental consequences for
our own national security. as we talk about syria and chemical weapons falling into islamist radicals' hands, if you think the ayatollahs in iran are trying to build a nuclear power plant at the bottom of the mountain, you're wrong. they're trying to build a nuclear weapon to ensure that you are survivable. and god only knows what they would do with nuclear technology. but if you believe what they say, they would wipe israel off the map and we would be next. so i tend to believe what they saivmensay. if you allow syria to ctinue to deteriorate and have a hands-off policy towards assad, then i think you're sending the worst possible significant mall to iran because, as senator levin said, the really only ally that iran has today is assad in sear yavment how can we convince the iranians we're really sear why about your nuclear program when we're not serious about
assad using chemical weapons against his own people. what a terrible signal to send. i would just we understand this thought: taker that this is goio pay great dividends, it will being helpful to the president. we can end this war sooner rather than later. no matter what there will be a second war in syria, unfortunately. that second war is going to be between radical islamists who want to turn syria into some kind of al qaeda-inspired state and the overwhelming majority of syrians who want to live a better life and be our friends, not ouren miss sm our enemies. this war will end t right way the sooner we get the first war over, the shorter the second war will be. i think we can bring this war to close without boots on the ground. one last thought. as to the opposition, you would be helping your cause if you
would let the world know that you don't want assad's chemical weapons, that the new syria will not be a state that wants weapons of mass destruction, that you would agree that these weapons should be creeled by the international community -- controlled by the intnational community and destroyed, that you would agree to an international force coming on the ground with your blessing the day after i assad false ando destroy them for all times. to senator mccain, i really appreciate your leadership for a couple years. but persistence does matter in politics and all things that are important. and i think your persis persists paying off. to senator menendez a senator levin, the way forward is pretty clear. to president obama, we want to be your ally, your supporter, we want you to get more involved, not less. we realize it is hard, there are
risks. as senator mccain said before, the risk of doing nothing or continuing on the track we're on is far greater than getting involved and ending the war sooner. mr. mccain: if i could ask one question of my colleague, i understand recently you made a trip to the middle east. and there's nothing like seeing the terrible consequences of war, and i understand you visited a refugee camp. maybe for the benefit of our colleagues you could take a minute to describe the horrible conditions that -- the things that people, i believe now over a million refugees have been subjected t to. mr. graham: it was one of the most compelling trips we ever made to the mideast. we went to turkey and a refugee camp in jordan. 40,000-somethine
now in jordanian schools. the burden on jordan is immense, but when you talk to people in the camps about what they have gone through and their loved ones have gone through, it is heart breaking. but just from a national security point of view, once you visit the camps, you understand what's at stake here. they tell you about radical islamists moving in. they want no part of them, but at the end of the day, they are having more influence because we're in the fight and you can do this without boots on the ground. the more chilling thing they tell us, senator mccain you have been echoing for a long time, they are telling us that their children are watching the united states, and like it or not, we have a reputation in the world that we can do almost anything. well, we can't do almost anything but we are seen as a force for good, and the people in syria are just beside themselves wondering where is america. america to them is an idea.
they want to be lik us because it means freedom, economic opportunity. it means having a say about your children's future, and they are just dumfounded that we're not more involved given the stakes that exist in syria, and they tell us without any hesitation that the young people of syria will remember this moment. they will told this against us. i think i know what they are telling us. here's the good news. there is still time to act. it doesn't have to end that way. the conditions in syria are horrible. the refugee camps are beyond imagination. the u.n. is doing a great job. they are running out of money. jordan is about to fall if we don't stop this war. from a human point of view, senator mccain, we have got to get this war over and america needs to be seen as part of the solution, not part of the problem. from a national security point of view, syria is goingo become a nightmare for the whole
world, including the united states. mr. mccain: i thank my colleague. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to include in the record a piece by senator casey called time to act in syria. it wasn the huffington post, "washington post" editorial entitled repercussions of inaction, "wall street journal" article u.s. has warned planned syria arms sale, and finally a piece by leon wieseltier that i >> in a few moments, the first congressional hearing looking into the bombings of the boston marathon. air force officials make their budget request on capitol hill and face questions on a sexual abuse reports. on a that, a house debate
bill that would set debt priorities requiring the and at arst, bobby jindal fundraiser. that is live. coverage continues on 8:00 when rand paul speaks at the lincoln day dinner. >> post on 11, a lot more people cared about nasa security -- national security issues than was the case before. all of a sudden there was market for former cia folks. even former national security