tv U.S. Senate Sen. Tom Udall Sen. Martin Heinrich Remember Fmr. Sen. Pete... CSPAN October 7, 2017 12:47pm-1:04pm EDT
voices are never involved in the process of problem solving, and we do not get to the right answers without our voices. former first lady michelle obama talking with tv producer shonda rimes emma tonight at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. >> on the senate floor this week, new mexico centers pay tribute to former six term diedor pete domenici, who last month at the age of 85. as a senator, he served as chair of the budget committee. this is 15 minutes. >> mr. president, i am joined , senatormy colleague heinrich. we thought we would come together and talk about senator domenici, he passed away recently.
pete domenici was born in 1932. andas a groceries son worked in his parent store and attended catholic school. he graduated from our own university of mexico. he taught high school mathematics. he went to law school and built a law press this. he got his start in politics on the albuquerque city commission. he was elected to the u.s. senate in 1973, and became new mexico's longest serving senator. he was a husband, father, and grandfather. he married nancy burke out of law school. was key to 59 years his long and successful career. she was a good friend of ours and we spent an hour with her in
albuquerque a little over a week ago, and she is still very strong and is still very focused as one would expect as a mother and grandmother with her children and grandchildren. pete domenici was a statesman who worked across party lines to find pragmatic solutions for the american people. the mexicans will always remember him as one of the strongest fighters our state will ever know. and i'veomenici belonged to different political parties, and we didn't always agree on things, but i was appreciated that he cared deeply about the issues. he put the nations and new mexico's interests first. i join all of new mexico in a thanking him and in mourning his loss. his skills served him well in his 36 years in the senate.
he knew the importance of a budget. sitting as they chair and wreaking member on the budget committee for 22 years, he held everyone to a standard. complexities of the budget and served longer in a leadership position longer than any other senator. a budget deficit hawk and a realist. cutsder stood that big tax will not result in growth leading to a balanced budget, and he went up against his own party and he went up against ronald reagan on the same budget is -- issue. in the 1990's, he worked with president clinton to produce a budget surplus for fiscal year 1998, the first surplus in our legit since 1969. his willingness to work with democrats and his pragmatism and
stature with his own party made it possible. on the budget committee, he understood how to align it new mexico and national interest. he recognized the potential of our national labs, las alamos and sandia and that potential they had for our state. he understood their importance to the national interests. he championed their work for decades. our labs provide thousands of good jobs in central and northern new mexico, and the breadth and depth of their research and scientific contributions to our nation are nothing short of astonishing. pete domenici played a critical role in the labs' developments. he also had a key appreciation of the importance to new mexico and the nation of our military bases. in 2005, cannon air force base in southern new mexico was slated to close. this would have cost new mexico lots of jobs and would have had a devastating impact on the overall economy of the state.
senator domenici along with the entire delegation and governor richardson worked to secure a different and critical mission for cannon air force base. today the 27th special operations wing is going strong at cannon, 6,000 men and women are employed, and rural roosevelt and curry counties benefit from the base's economic impact. senator domenici's fingerprints are not only all over the budget committee but all over the energy and natural resources committee, which he chaired for four years in the early 2000's. and the indian affairs committee which i'm fortunate to sit on today. he helped position the united states to be energy independent through energy policy acts of 2005 and 2007, the last time we really had bipartisan energy acts. and he was a strong advocate on behalf of tribes working to
advance indian health care, resolve long-standing water rights disputes, protecting native art from counterfeiting and improving reservation roads. my uncle mo talked a lot about the importance of being able to disagree without being disagreeable and to work together when possible. senator domenici understood that while the delegation was divided by party, it was united in its love for new mexico. he knew that new mexico would be stronger if everyone worked together. it's partly thanks to him that our delegation continues a tradition of working together regardless of party. senator domenici's commitment to bipartisanship did not end in 2009 with his senate tenure. he continued to try to find solutions that worked for everyone as a senior fellow at the bipartisan policy center in washington. and the pete b. domenici institute for public policy at new mexico state university in
lass cruses carries on his tradition through scholarship. the senator said and i quote, it's time for us to join together and take these partisan issues out of politics. the problems we face are so big, people from both sides need to sit down and say we can't approach this the normal way. some great leadership is needed. end quote. we could really use that commitment to bipartisanship in the senate halls today. senator domenici was in washington many years but he never was out of touch with everyday new mexicans. whether it was the repairs in the espanola valley, funding new fighter jets at kirtland air force base in albuquerque, establishing the petro cliff national monument, forming the hispanic cultural center and
museum in albuquerque, pete domenici identified new mexico's needs and came up with solutions. he and nancy had a special passion for people who lived with -- live with mental illness. born from his own family's experience, this was something that he and i talked a lot about and that our two families shared. he worked across the aisle for many years to achieve pair di and -- parity it mental health care and medical services. any family who experiences serious mental illness understands the two should be treated the same and that adequate mental health care is absolutely necessary. in 2008 congress passed the paul wellstone and pete domenici mental health parity and addiction equity act. that federal law means that millions of persons with mental illness and substance abuse disorders have better access to the care they really need.
senator domenici spoke passionately and personally about mental health. he also did so on immigration. his mother originally immigrated to the united states illegally. during world war ii she was taken in a raid aimed at, quote, italian sympathizers. those of us who were here during the immigration debates in 2006 remember his plain spoken and moving speech on the floor of the senate where he said and i quote, i understand this whole idea of a household with a father who is american and a mother who is not, but they are living, working, and getting ahead. i understand they are just like every other family in america. there is nothing different. they have the same love, same hope, same will, and same aspirations as those of us who were born here have. end quote. i couldn't agree more.
pete domenici, my good friend, son of italian immigrant grocers, a great senator, a great american, and a great new mexican, thank you for your remarkable contributions. you leave an exceptional legacy for new mexico and for the nation. with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. a senator: i would also ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. heinrich: i am really proud today to come and join my fellow senator from new mexico, senator udall, to recognize the life and service of the longest serving senator from our incredible state of new mexico, senator pete domenici. senator domenici dedicated his entire life to the state and the people that he loved. he served our state in the senate for 36 years.
his decades of service to new mexico left a lasting impact that will continue to be felt in every corner of our state for many years to come. many in new mexico called him st. pete because of how relentlessly he fought on the appropriations and the budget committees to secure resources for the people of new mexico. and you can still see the fruits of his labors at our state's national labs, at our military installations, at our colleges and universities and water systems and community centers all over our state. and that is because while he worked on the forefront of major policy debates here in the senate, pete domenici always put the interests of new mexico above all else. like myself, senator domenici's first public service experience came on albuquerque city council, then called the city commission.
and at least in my experience i know that working at that local level was an invaluable way to learn how to hear from diverse viewpoints and stakeholders and find ways to build consensus and get the results for your constituents that you hope for. i've tried to bring that approach with me into the senate and i know that senator domenici was in part so successful because of the skills he learned there. i'm grateful for the example that senator domenici set for all of us here in this body on how to advance important and complex policy goals in washington with civility for our colleagues. republicans and democrats alike who worked with him on issues like the budget, on energy, on national defense, on nuclear deterrence and mental health parity still point to his dedication to bipartisan cooperation and compromise.
although they didn't always see eye to eye, senator domenici, a republican and senator jeff bingaman, a democrat who served new mexico alongside him for the vast majority of his time in the senate always made a point of improving the lives of new mexicans by working together. it set a great example for people like me to watch how the two of them worked together. their spirit of cooperation across party lines is still present in our state's congressional delegation, and i believe that senator domenici's focus on putting policy results above party politics still resonates today. one of the greatest examples of this was senator domenici's work alongside two progressive democratic lions of the senate, paul wellstone and ted kennedy, to pass mental health parity legislation. senators domenici and wellstone didn't agree on many issues, but
they found something that they had close personal experience with and a passion for. both senators had close family members who had experienced the great challenges of finding a way to pay for mental health treatment and insurance companies were not required to cover mental health and addiction treatment in those days. in the same way they covered treatment for so many other illnesses and diseases. because of that, most insurance companies simply didn't cover these essential services at all. it started in the mid 1990's, senators domenici and wellstone worked together with mental health advocates to advance legislation to finally change that. after senator wellstone was killed in a tragic plane crash, senator domenici kept up the fight for six more years with a new partner in senator kennedy, and the paul wellstone and pete
domenici mental health parity and addiction act was finally passed in october of 2008, only a few months before senator domenici's retirement from the u.s. senate. that is the type of bipartisanship, of legacy and statesmanship on behalf of the american people that i hope that we will all remember for a long, long time to come. we should all try better to keep that spirit alive in the u.s. senate today, and i have to say i join all new mexicans, all americans in mourning the passing of senator pete domenici. our thoughts and deepest condolences, our prayers are with his wife nancy and all of his family and loved ones at this time of great loss, for their family and for the state, and i am certain that senator domenici's legacy will not be forgotten in new mexico and will not be forgotten here in the
united states senate. thank >> the house will take up the $29 million supplemental request for additional hurricane efforts , wildfire recovery, and debt belief for the national flood insurance program. for more, we talked with a capitol hill reporter. crack for much of the funding is for disaster relief and where is it going? >> after having to deal with irma and texas and florida and puerto rico and the virgin islands