The Senate Will Convene At 3:00 PM Today
Last Senate Session - November 15, 2018
Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 10:00:16 AM

    THE CHAPLAIN

    LET US PRAY. ETERNAL GOD, YOU ARE OUR HELP IN AGES PAST AND OUR HOPE FOR…

    LET US PRAY. ETERNAL GOD, YOU ARE OUR HELP IN AGES PAST AND OUR HOPE FOR YEARS TO COME. WE FIND CONSOLATION FROM THE KNOWLEDGE THAT OUR TIMES ARE IN YOUR HANDS. FORGIVE US WHEN WE DOUBT YOUR POWER, MERCY, AND LOVE. BLESS OUR LAWMAKERS. HELP THEM TO REMEMBER THAT YOU LOVE THEM SO MUCH THAT YOU WANT WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM. YOU ARE SO WISE THAT YOU KNOW WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM, AND SO POWERFUL THAT YOU CAN BRING ABOUT WHAT IS FOR THEIR ULTIMATE GOOD. GIVE EACH OF OUR SENATORS A FRESH BURST OF ENTHUSIASM FOR THE NEXT STAGE IN THE UNFOLDING LE YOUR LOVING AND POWERFUL PROVIDENCE. WE PRAY IN YOUR SOVEREIGN NAME. AMEN.

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  • 10:02:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE…

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE THE SENATE WILL BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK THEREIN FOR UP TO 10 MINUTES EACH.

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  • 10:13:11 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, THE PRESIDENT OF THE…

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SWEARS AN OATH TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION, INCLUDING BEDROCK PRINCIPLES, RULE OF LAW, THE SANCTITY OF ELECTIONS, BUT NEARLY EVERY DAY PRESIDENT TRUMP IGNORES THIS FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY AND TRAMPLES ON THE VALUES THAT HAVE MADE OUR COUNTRY THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. NO PRESIDENT HAS COME CLOSE TO DEFAMING AND TRYING TO DESTROY THE DEMOCRATIC VALUES OF THIS COUNTRY. NO PRESIDENT HAS COME CLOSE. NONE. THIS MORNING, FOR WHAT SEEMED LIKE THE MILLIONth TIME, THE PRESIDENT ANGRILY, WILDLY, AND BASELESSLY RANTED ABOUT THE SPECIAL COUNSEL'S INVESTIGATION. IT THE DOESN'T MATTER TO HIM THAT HIS CLAIMS HAVE NO BASIS. IT DOESN'T MATTER TO HIM THAT HIS WORDS MAY DEGRADE FAITH IN OUR INDEPENDENT LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AND THE RULE OF LAW. HE PROCEEDS ONLY ACCORDING TO SELF-INTEREST. HE'S OFFENDED THAT SOMEONE MIGHT LOOK INTO THE FACT THAT HE DID SOMETHING WRONG. THIS HAPPENS WITH EVERY PRESIDENT, AND HE LASHES OUT IN WAYS THAT HURT OUR DEMOCRACY PERMANENTLY. JUST LOOK AT HOW OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS TRIED TO INTIMIDATE AND BULLY ELECTION OFFICIALS IN FLORIDA AND ARIZONA WITH FAN FANTASTICAL CLAIM OF VOTER FRAUD. IT DOESN'T MATTER TO HIM THAT THERE'S NO EVIDENCE TO THE CHARGES. IT DOESN'T MATTER TO HIM THAT IN BOTH STATES IN ARIZONA AND FLORIDA, REPUBLICAN OFFICIALS SAID THERE IS NO FRAUD, DEBUNKING THE PRESIDENT'S CLAIMS THAT. IT DOESN'T MATTER TO HIM THAT HIS CLAIMS ERODE FAITH IN THE INTEGRITY OF OUR ELECTIONS AMONG A SEGMENT OF HIS SUPPORTERS. IF THE PRESIDENT THINKS IT WILL HELP HIM PERSONALLY, HE'LL SAY IT. ONE OF THE MOST RECENT EXAMPLES JUST HAPPENED YESTERDAY. THE PRESIDENT, HE KEEPS GETTING MORE AND MORE ABSURD. HE MAKES UP THINGS. SO HE MOST RECENTLY CLAIMED IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DAILY CALLER THAT, QUOTE, ILLEGAL VOTERS GO TO THEIR CAR, PUT ON A DIFFERENT HAT, PUT ON A DIFFERENT SHIRT, AND VOTE AGAIN. MR. PRESIDENT, NAME ONE. NAME A FEW. WHERE DID IT HAPPEN AND WHEN? OR DID YOU JUST READ THIS ON SOME RIGHT-WING, NASTY, DISHONEST BLOG AND JUST REPEAT IT? DONALD TRUMP, YOU'RE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. BECAUSE YOU READ SOMETHING IN A HAS NO BASIS IN FACT, YOU DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO REPEAT IT IF YOU'RE PRESIDENT AND BEHAVING PRESIDENTIALLY, AND YET HE DOES IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN. IT'S THE HEIGHT OF IRRESPONSIBILITY. IT'S THE HEIGHT OF IRRESPONSIBILITY. SINCE HIS FIRST DAY IN OFFICE, PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS MADE THESE RIDICULOUS CLAIMS ABOUT VOTER FRAUD, AND EVEN HIS SHAM VOTING COMMISSION, LED BY CHRIS KOVACK, COULDN'T PROVE. THE REAL DISGRACE IS HOW LOW THE PRESIDENT AND SOME REPUBLICANS WILL STOOP TO BE PREVENTING AMERICAN CITIZENS FROM EXERCISING THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE AND HOW FAR THEY'LL GO TO UNDERMINE FAITH IN OUR DEMOCRACY, EVEN TO THE POINT OF DISENFRANCHISING MILITARY VOTERS, PEOPLE WHO MAY BE OVERSEAS DEFENDING OUR FREEDOM, RISKING THEIR LIVES, WHO WANT TO VOTE, AND IF THEIR BALLOT DOESN'T COME IN EXACTLY AT THE RIGHT MOMENT, THEY SHOULDN'T BE COUNTED? DISGRACEFUL. THE TENDENCY IS TO TREAT THE PRESIDENT'S WORDS, OH, THAT'S OUR MODERN PARTISAN POLITICS. WELL, WE HAVE TOO MUCH PARTISAN POLITICS, BUT THE TRUTH IS THE PRESIDENT'S BLATANT DISREGARD FOR BASIC NORMS, CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRAINTS, AND TRUTH IS UNIQUE TO HIM. NO PRESIDENT HAS COME CLOSE TO GOING AS FAR TO DESTROYING DEMOCRATIC NORMS. HE IS DOING SEVERE AND POSSIBLY IRREPARABLE DAMAGE TO OUR DEMOCRACY, ALL TO SUIT HIS GOAL AND OFTEN, IT SEEMS, JUST HIS EGO. SO DEMOCRATS, WE CONDEMN THIS BEHAVIOR, BUT WHERE ARE OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS? THEY SHOULD KNOW BETTER, THEY DO KNOW BETTER. I HEAR THE PRIVATE CHATTER. THE SILENCE OF THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY AS THE PRESIDENT TAKES AN AX TO DEMOCRATIC NORMS WILL GO DOWN AS ONE OF THE LEAST RIGHT MOMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. IT WILL GO DOWN AS ONE OF THE BAD MARKS IN THE HISTORY OF THE SENATE, AND WE DON'T HEAR A PEEP. ARE OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES AFRAID? ARE THEY JUST BEING MERCENARY? AFTER THIS LAST ELECTION, I WOULDN'T THINK THAT WOULD BE THE CASE. TRUMP DIDN'T LEAD THEM TO OVERWHELMING VICTORY. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO HEAR FROM THEM? THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE OF PARTISANSHIP WHEN A PRESIDENT, DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN, DOES SO MUCH TO DESTROY DEMOCRATIC NORMS, DOES SO MUCH TO JUST MAKE UP THINGS LIKE PEOPLE WENT INTO A CAR, PUT ON A DIFFERENT HAT AND SHIRT AND THEN VOTED. WHERE ARE OUR COLLEAGUES DECRYING THIS, AT LEAST SAYING THE PRESIDENT SHOULDN'T DO IT? THEY ARE EMBRACING THE PRESIDENT WHO THEY KNOW HAS DONE SO MANY BAD THINGS. I'M NOT TALKING IDEOLOGICALLY. I'M TALKING ABOUT HONOR AND RESPECT FOR DEMOCRACY. IT IS SOMETHING THEY SHOULD NOT BE PROUD OF. NOW, ON THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION ITSELF, THERE IS THIS IDEA OUT THERE ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE THAT THE PRESIDENT DOESN'T INTEND TO INTERFERE WITH THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION. REPUBLICANS, INCLUDING MY FRIEND, THE REPUBLICAN LEADER, SAY PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS NOT THREATENED THE SPECIAL COUNSEL INVESTIGATION, SO THERE IS NO NEED TO PROTECT IT. THAT'S A LAUGH. HE THREATENS THE INVESTIGATION ALMOST EVERY DAY. HE DID THIS MORNING IN HIS TWEETS. TO SAY THAT THE PRESIDENT HASN'T THREATENED THE SPECIAL COUNSEL IS NOT ONLY LOGICALLY DUBIOUS, IT'S JUST DEAD WRONG AND UNTRUE. A FEW WEEKS AGO, PRESIDENT TRUMP SAID THE INVESTIGATION SHOULD END. THIS MORNING AGAIN, PRESIDENT TRUMP MADE CLEAR THAT HE DOES NOT WANT THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION TO REACH A FAIR AND IMPARTIAL CONCLUSION. AND LAST WEEK, PRESIDENT TRUMP WENT AROUND THE TRADITIONAL LINE OF SUCCESSION IN THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, WHAT MANY BELIEVE TO BE A VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION, TO INSTALL AN ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL WHOSE ONLY QUALIFICATION FOR THE JOB SEEMS TO BE THAT HE IS PUBLICLY -- HE HAS PUBLICLY CRITICIZED THE RUSSIA PROBE. MY FRIENDS, PARTICULARLY MY FRIENDS AGAIN ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE, THE WRITING'S ON THE WALL. LET'S AVOID THIS CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS. LET'S AT LEAST STAND UP FOR RULE OF LAW. WE SHOULD PASS LEGISLATION NOW IN THE LAME DUCK TO PROTECT THE SPECIAL COUNSEL'S INVESTIGATION FROM THE PRESIDENT AND FROM HIS WOEFULLY UNQUALIFIED HENCHMAN, MR. WHITAKER. SENATORS FLAKE AND COONS TRIED YESTERDAY BIPARTISANLY. THE REPUBLICAN LEADER OBJECTED. THEY ARE GOING TO KEEP TRYING AS THEY SHOULD, AND DEMOCRATS WILL TRY TO ADD THIS PROPOSAL TO THE MUST-PASS SPENDING BILL BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IT'S SO IMPORTANT FOR OUR DEMOCRACY. THERE IS TOO MUCH THE A STAKE TO SIT AROUND AND WAIT UNTIL THE PRESIDENT CROSSES THE LINE, CREATING THE CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS WE ALL ABHOR. BUT WAITING UNTIL THAT HAPPENS, IT WILL BE TOO LATE. WE NEED TO ACT ON LEGISLATION TO PROTECT THE SPECIAL COUNSEL, TO PROTECT THE RULE OF LAW, TO PROTECT DEMOCRACY, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND THE FUNDAMENTAL CHECKS AND BALANCES THAT'S A HALLMARK OF OUR GREAT NATION. FINALLY, MR. PRESIDENT, -- MADAM PRESIDENT, LAST TUESDAY'S ELECTION WAS HISTORIC FOR NOT ONLY THE NUMBER OF BATTLES CAST BY AMERICANS IN THE MIDTERMS, BUT ALSO FOR THOSE FOR WHO THOSE BALLOTS WERE CAST. AMERICANS SENT TO OUR CAPITOL THE MOST DIVERSE CONGRESS IN THE HISTORY OF OUR NATION, FROM SEVERAL STATES, THE FIRST NATIVE AMERICAN WOMAN, THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN, THE FIRST ISLAMIC WOMAN WERE ELECTED IN THOSE STATES. FINALLY THE MEN AND WOMEN WALKING THE CORRIDORS OF POWER ARE BEGINNING TO LOOK LIKE THE NATION THEY REPRESENT, AT LEAST ON OUR SIDE OF THE AISLE. WE ARE NOT THERE YET BUT WE ARE A LOT CLOSER. IN LIGHT OF THIS PROGRESS, IT'S PERHAPS FITTING THAT EXACTLY HALF A CENTURY AGO, A FELLOW BROOKLYNITE, SHIRLEY CHISHOLM, BECAME THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN ELECTED TO CONGRESS AND EVENTUALLY THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN TO RUN FOR A MAJOR PARTY'S NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT. BREAKING THAT GLASS CEILING AND PAVING THE WAY FOR SO MANY OTHERS TO FOLLOW. WHETHER THEY KNOW SHIRLEY CHISHOLM OR NOT, SO MANY WHO ARE ELECTED ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE -- ON THE OTHER SIDE -- IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OWE A LOT TO HER, AS DO ALL AMERICANS. SO I HAVE INTRODUCED A RESOLUTION IN THE SENATE, ALONG WITH MY FRIENDS, REPRESENTATIVE EBETTE CLARK, MY CONGRESSWOMAN WHO I WAS PROUD TO VOTE FOR IN NOVEMBER, AND BARBARA LEE OF CALIFORNIA IN THE HOUSE TO HONOR SHIRLEY CHISHOLM'S ACHIEVEMENTS AND HER LEGACY OF PUBLIC SERVICE. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 10:23:40 AM

    CALL

    A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT.

  • 10:24:57 AM

    MR. KYL

    THANK YOU. MADAM PRESIDENT, YESTERDAY, THE NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY…

    THANK YOU. MADAM PRESIDENT, YESTERDAY, THE NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY COMMISSION RELEASED ITS REPORT AFTER ABOUT A YEAR OF STUDY ON THE DEFENSE NEEDS OF THE UNITED STATES AND OUR FUTURE REQUIREMENTS FOR A DEFENSE STRATEGY AND FUNDING OF THAT STRATEGY. I HAD THE HONOR OF SERVING ON THAT COMMISSION DURING THE TIME THAT PRECEDED MY CURRENT PRESENCE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. THE COMMISSION WAS APPOINTED BY THE MEMBERS -- THE CHAIRMAN AND THE RANKING MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE. THERE WERE SIX FROM -- APPOINTED FROM EACH OF THE TWO BODIES, SO A TOTAL OF 12, AND IT WAS A DIVISION EQUALLY BETWEEN REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS. I WAS PRIVILEGED TO HAVE BEEN APPOINTED BY MY PREDECESSOR, SENATOR JOHN McCAIN. THE COMMISSION IS CHAIRED BY AMBASSADOR ERIC EDELMAN AND RETIRED ADMIRAL GARY ROUGHHEAD. IT INCLUDED DEFENSE EXPERTS WHO HAD SERVED IN CONGRESS, WHO HAD SERVED IN THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY, THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY, THE MILITARY, AND THERE WAS ONE FORMER POLITICAL PERSON, MYSELF. AS I SAID, WE WERE TASKED WITH THE JOB OF STUDYING OUR NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE AND TO THE CONGRESS ABOUT OUR FUTURE COURSES OF ACTION. THE COMMISSION WORKED VERY HARD TO REVIEW ALL OF THE PERTINENT INFORMATION RELATED TO THE FORMATION OF THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY WHICH HAD BEEN ISSUED EARLIER IN THE YEAR, AND THIS EFFORT INCLUDED EXAMINING THE ASSUMPTIONS, THE MISSIONS, THE FORCE POSTURE, STRUCTURE, AS WELL AS STRATEGIC AND MILITARY RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE EXECUTION OF THAT NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY. THE COMMISSION PARTICULARLY FOCUSED ON THE THREATS TO THE UNITED STATES AND THE SIZE AND SHAPE OF THE FORCE REQUIRED TO DETER AND IF NECESSARY DEFEAT THESE THREATS. IT FOCUSED ON THE READINESS OF OUR FORCE, THE POSTURE AND CAPABILITIES OF THE FORCE, AND THE ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES, AND ALSO EXAMINED THE STRATEGIC AND MILITARY RISKS THAT INFORMED THE DEVELOPMENT OF BOTH THE NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY AND THE NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY. THIS COMMISSION, MADAM PRESIDENT, HAS DEMONSTRATED THAT EVEN IN WASHINGTON, D.C., IT IS POSSIBLE TO GET A GENUINELY BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS ON SOMETHING. IN THIS CASE, OUR CONSENSUS ON UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY. WE AGREED THAT, FOR EXAMPLE, BUDGET-DRIVEN STRATEGIES THAT ASSUME TOO MUCH RISK WILL COST US MORE IN THE LONG RUN THAN PROPERLY FUNDED STRATEGIES BASED ON THE REALISTIC ASSESSMENT OF THE CURRENT STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENT. THAT'S KIND OF A LONG WAY OF SAYING THAT WHAT THIS BIPARTISAN COMMISSION CONCLUDED ON A CONSENSUS BASIS, NO DISSENTING VIEWS AT ALL, WAS THAT WE RISK MORE BY PROCEEDING WITH THE REBUILDING OF OUR MILITARY, CONSTRAINED BY BUDGET REQUIREMENTS THAN IF WE WERE TO INCREASE THE BUDGET FOR DEFENSE SPENDING AND ELIMINATE THE I AM AM -- IMPEDIMENTS TO SENSIBLE ACQUISITION, SUCH AS THE CONTINUING RESOLUTION AND THE SEQUESTRATION REQUIREMENTS THAT CONGRESS HAS BEEN ENGAGED IN OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS. WHAT THIS COMMISSION SAID IN STARK HEADLINES IS THE UNITED STATES FACES A NATIONAL EMERGENCY. IT CONCLUDED IN VERY STARK TERMS THAT WE MIGHT LOSE A WAR WITH CHINA OR RUSSIA, AND THAT THE ONLY WAY TO AVOID THIS IS TO ADEQUATELY FUND THE STRATEGY THAT THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE HAS SET OUT. HIS PRIORITIZATION, THE COMMISSION CONCLUDED, IS EXACTLY RIGHT. WE HAVE TO CHANGE FROM FOCUSING SOLELY OR PRIMARILY ON FIGHTING A WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST OR CONFLICTS WITH TERRORISTS AND INSTEAD CHANGE TO FOCUSING ON THE THREATS THAT ARE POSED BY POTENTIAL ADVERSARIES, RUSSIA AND CHINA. IF WE HAVE THE CAPABILITY OF DEALING WITH THOSE THREATS BY DETERRING THEM OR IF NECESSARY DEFEATING THEM, THEN WE SHOULD ALSO BE ABLE TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO DEAL WITH TERRORISM, TO DEAL WITH NORTH KOREA, AND DEAL WITH IRAN, BUT THAT OUR FIRST PRIORITY NEEDS TO BE TO FOCUS ON CHINA AND ON RUSSIA. THE N.D.S. COMMISSION REPORT ARGUES -- AND I'M QUOTING NOW -- THE U.S. MILITARY COULD SUFFER UNACCEPTABLY HIGH CASUALTIES AND LOSS OF MAJOR CAPITAL ASSETS IN ITS NEXT CONFLICT. IT MIGHT STRUGGLE TO WIN OR PERHAPS LOSE A WAR AGAINST CHINA OR RUSSIA. THE UNITED STATES IS PARTICULARLY AT RISK OF BEING OVERWHELMED, SHOULD ITS MILITARY FORCES BE REQUIRED TO FIGHT ON TWO OR MORE FRONTS SIMULTANEOUSLY. END OF QUOTE. NOW, SOME MIGHT OPPOSE SUCH STRONG WORDING, BUT THE COMMISSION BELIEVED THAT WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO TALK HONESTLY ABOUT THE STATE OF OUR MILITARY PREPAREDNESS AND OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. AS AMBASSADOR EDELMAN, CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION STATED, AND I'M QUOTING AGAIN, IT IS PROBABLY MORE DANGEROUS TO TELL OURSELVES AND OTHER PEOPLE THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO THESE THINGS WHEN IN FACT WE AREN'T ABLE TO DO THEM BECAUSE WE'RE NOT PAYING FOR THEM. END OF QUOTE. THE OBJECT OF A STRONG MILITARY IS TO DETER CONFLICT FROM EVER OCCURRING, AND YOU DO THAT BY DEMONSTRATING THAT YOU'RE ABLE TO PREVAIL IN A CONFLICT, IF NECESSARY, SO YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE CAPABILITY OF DEFEATING ANY ADVERSARY YOU MIGHT FACE. IF YOU HAVE THAT CAPABILITY, THOSE ADVERSARIES ARE LESS LIKELY TO MISCALCULATE, TO ASSUME THAT THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO ADVANCE THEIR PAROCHIAL INTERESTS WITHOUT PUSHBACK FROM THE UNITED STATES, NATO, OR OTHER ALLIES, AND THEY COME TO THIS BELIEF IF THEY EXAMINE THEIR CAPABILITIES AGAINST OURS AND DETERMINE THAT WE ARE LACKING IN THE ABILITY TO STOP THEM. WHAT THIS REPORT SAYS IS, WE'VE GOT TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT REBUILDING OUR MILITARY OR WE RUN THE RISK OF BAD ACTORS IN THE WORLD DECIDING THAT THEY CAN TAKE A CHANCE THAT WE WON'T RESPOND. SO LET ME SUMMARIZE WHAT THIS REPORT SAYS. AND AGAIN I CAN'T EMPHASIZE TOO MUCH, I KNOW IT'S WASHINGTON, D.C., I KNOW WE'RE TALKING ABOUT DIFFICULT ISSUES HERE, BUT THESE 12 DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS SHALL EQUALLY DIVIDED, REACHED A CONCLUSION, A CONSENSUS ABOUT WHAT WE NEED TO DO, AND WERE WILLING TO SPEAK VERY STRONGLY ABOUT IT. SO IT'S POSSIBLE FOR DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS TO GET TOGETHER ON SOMETHING IN THIS CITY, AND I'M HOPING THAT MY COLLEAGUES IN THE HOUSE AND IN THE SENATE WILL APPROACH THE ISSUES IN THE SAME BIPARTISAN SPIRIT THAT CHARACTERIZED THE DELIBERATIONS OF THE COMMISSION. HERE'S THE SUMMARY. FIRST, WE'RE IN A STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY. FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE END OF THE COLD WAR, THE UNITED STATES IS AT RISK OF LOSING A WAR AGAINST THESE PEER COMPETITORS. THAT'S A EUPHEMISM FOR CHINA AND RUSSIA. SECOND, THERE'S A BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS THAT CONGRESS MUST PROVIDE PREDICTABLE AND SUFFICIENT FUNDING FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO EXECUTE THE STRATEGY THAT IT'S DEVELOPED -- THE NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY. AND THIS MUST -- THIS MEANS THAT CONGRESS MUST UNDO SEQUESTRATION, WHICH IS THE PROVISION IN LAW THAT SAYS THAT IF WE DON'T MEET CERTAIN BUDGET REQUIREMENTS THAT ALL DEPARTMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, HAVE TO CUT RIGHT OFF OF THE TOP AN EQUAL PERCENTAGE OF FUNDING IN ORDER TO GET BACK TO THOSE BUDGET LEVELS. FOR THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT, IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO BOTH PROVIDE FOR OUR NATIONAL SECURITY AND COMPLY WITH THAT REQUIREMENT. SO SEQUESTRATION HAS TO END. SECONDLY, WE HAVE TO RETURN TO THE REGULAR ORDER APPROPRIATING FUNDING FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ON AN ANNUAL BASIS AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH FISCAL YEAR SO THAT THE PENTAGON CAN DO THE PLANNING NECESSARY AND THE PEOPLE WHO PROVIDE THE WEAPONRY AND OTHER PRODUCTS TO THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CAN PLAN ADEQUATELY FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION OF THESE ITEMS ON A SENSIBLE BASIS, ON A BASIS THAT ENABLES THEM TO CALCULATE IN THE FUTURE HOW MUCH MONEY THEY'LL HAVE OVER THE PERIOD OF TIME THAT THEY NEED. WE CAN'T DO THAT IF INSTEAD WE CONTINUE TO OPERATE ON WHAT'S CALLED CONTINUING RESOLUTIONS, WHERE CONGRESS THROWS UP ITS HANDS SOMETIME IN THE LATE SUMMER AND SAYS, WE'RE NEVER GOING TO AGREE ON HOW MUCH TO FUND THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS OF GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. LET'S JUST AGREE TO CONTINUE TO DO THE SAME AMOUNT OF SPENDING WE DID LAST YEAR ON THE SAME THINGS. THINK ABOUT THAT IN YOUR FAMILY URGENT ABOUT. INSTEAD OF EACH YEAR YOU TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT WE'RE GOING TO NEED THIS YEAR AND IT'S GOING TO BE A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN LAST YEAR, WE SAY WE'RE GOING TO SPEND THE SAME AMOUNT WE SPENT LAST YEAR ON THE SAME THINGS. IT IS A VERY ILLOGICAL WAY AND A VERY DETRIMENTAL WAY TO PROVIDE FOR OUR NATIONAL DEFENSE. THE THIRD THING THAT THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDED IS THAT WE HAVE TO INCREASE THE TOP LINE OR THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF MONEY SPENT ON DEFENSE OVER THE NEXT MANY YEARS IF WE'RE GOING TO TRULY REBUILD OUR MILITARY. LAST YEAR A DEAL WAS STRUCK IN WHICH WE AGREED TO A TWO-YEAR FUNDING FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE THAT STAUNCHED THE FLOW OF BLOOD FROM THE INADEQUATE FUNDING FROM YEARS PREVIOUS. BUT ALL IT DID WAS TO TEMPORARILY PROVIDE FUNDS PRIMARILY TO INCREASE OUR READINESS. IT DID NOT PROVIDE ENOUGH TO REBUILD OUR MILITARY. IT PROVIDED ENOUGH TO START THE JOURNEY, WHICH MAY TAKE US 15 OR 20 YEARS, BUT THAT'S HOW LONG WITH INCREASED FUNDING IT'LL TAKE TO DO THE JOB. AND WE CONCLUDED THAT WE IGNORE THE ISSUES AT OUR PERIL. THAT TODAY OUR ADVERSARIES UNDERMINE U.S. GOALS ON A DAILY BASIS AND THAT CONTINUED NEGLECT OF OUR DEFENSE CAPABILITIES PUT OUR NATION AT RISK. WELL, WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC CONCLUSIONS HERE? THIS REPORT -- AND I'M QUOTING HERE -- THAT AMERICA'S MILITARY SUPERIORITY -- THESE ARE QUOTATIONS -- HAS ERODED TO A DANGEROUS DEGREE, THAT THE UNITED STATES IS IN A CRISIS OF NATIONAL SECURITY. QUOTE, THE UNITED STATES IS PARTICULARLY AT RISK OF BEING OVERWHELMED SHOULD I MORE FRONTS SIMULTANEOUSLY, END OF QUOTE. IN OTHER WORDS, WE FOUND A NATIONAL EMERGENCY THAT THIS COUNTRY IS AT RISK OF BEING DEFEATED BY RUSSIA OR CHINA SHOULD WE FIND OURSELVES AT CONFLICT WITH THEM. NOW, NOBODY IS PREDICTING A WAR TODAY OR EVEN TOMORROW, BUT WE'VE SEEN THE NATIONALISTIC DESIGNS THAT CHAIN HAS IN ITS VLADIMIR PUTIN'S RUSSIA TO ADVANCE ITS SPHERE OF INFLUENCE, PARTICULARLY IN EASTERN EUROPE, THE TAKING OF THE CRIMEA, THE SANCTION OF -- THE INVASION OF UKRAINE, THE SHOOTING DOWN OF AN AIRLINER, THE USE OF CHEMICAL AGENTS PROHIBITED BY TREATIES, BY THE WAY, ON FOREIGN SOIL TO DEAL WITH PEOPLE WITH WHOM IT DISAGREES. SOMEBODY HAS LIKENED VLADIMIR PUTIN TO THE BURGLAR IN THE HOTEL THAT WALKS DOWN THE HALLWAY PUSHING ON EACH DOOR UNTIL HE FINDS ONE THAT'S NOT LOCKED THAT HE CAN GO IN AND BURGLARIESED. HE IS AN OPPORTUNIST THAT TAKES ADVANTAGE OF WEAKNESS. THE LAST THING WE WANT TO DO IS SUGGEST TO HIM THAT WE WOULD NOT OR COULD NOT RESPOND TO ACTIONS THAT HE TAKES. IN OTHER WORDS, TO PREVENT HIM FROM MISCALCULATING, WE'VE GOT TO DETER CONDUCT THAT COULD LEAD TO CONFLICT. AND THE WAY THAT THE RUSSIAN MILITARY DOCTRINE WORKS THIS WAY THESE DAYS, IT STARTS WITH A -- IT'S DONE THROUGH CYBERATTACKS, THROUGH PROPAGANDA, THROUGH ACTIONS THAT PERHAPS UTILIZE CONTRACTORS RATHER THAN RUSSIAN MILITARY TO GO INTO ANOTHER COUNTRY SO THAT THEY HAVE PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY. UNTIL THEY HAVE ACHIEVED THEIR INITIAL GOALS. AND THEN HAVE THE RUSSIAN MILITARY MOVE INTO THE AREA AND EVEN POTENTIALLY, ACCORDING TO RUSSIAN DOCTRINE, USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS. THEY WOULD D.O.D. THIS ON A TACTICAL -- THEY WOULD DO THIS ON A TACTICAL BASIS IN ORDER TO ESCALATE TO DE-ESCALATE. IN OTHER WORDS, TO SUGGEST TO NATO, THE UNITED STATES, AND OTHER ALLIES THAT FOR US TO RESPOND TO HAD THAT ATTACK COULD LEAD TO A NUCLEAR CONFLAGRATION. THE RUSSIANS HAVE THE TACTICAL WEAPONS. MENT THEY HAVE TEN TIMES MORE THAN WE DO. SO THEY COULD USE THEM ON A BATTLEFIELD AND THEN SAY, LOOK, WE'VE TAKEN THE TERRITORY WE WANT TO TAKE. WE'RE DONE -- FOR NOW -- AND YOU JUST NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE, RATHER THAN GETTING INVOLVED IN THIS CONFLICT. THAT'S THE KIND OF WAY THAT WE COULD BE DRAWN INTO A CONFLICT EVEN THOUGH THERE'S NOT A BIG ARMY ATTACK OR AIR ATTACK TO BEGIN SUCH A CONFLICT. IT'S THE ESCALATION LADDER WHERE TACTICAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS MIGHTING USED AND THEN IT IS UP TO THE UNITED STATES TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO NEXT. THIS IS THE KIND OF THING IN WHICH MISCALCULATION CAN OCCUR, AND THE UNITED STATES CAN GOT TO PERSUADE COUNTRIES LIKE RUSSIA AND CHINA THAT THEY SHOULDN'T BEGIN THE PROCESS OF CALCULATING WHETHER THEY COULD DEFEAT US WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT WE WOULDN'T OR COULDN'T RESPOND. THAT'S WHAT DETERRENCE IS ALL ABOUT. NOBODY WANTS WAR, BUT YOU PREVENT WAR BY DEMONSTRATING TO THE AGGRESSOR THAT IT'S NOT WORTH IT FOR THAT AGGRESSOR TO START THE CONFLICT. HE'S GOING TO LOSE MORE THAN HE COULD POTENTIALLY GAIN. WE DON'T GET TO DEFINE WHETHER WE HAVE ADEQUATE DETENSE. THAT'S DEFINED BY OUR POTENTIAL ADVERSARY. WHAT DO THEY THINK WE CAN DO? AND IN THE LAST MANY YEARS, BOTH THE CHINESE AND RUSSIANS HAVE GONE TO WAR -- HAVE GONE TO SCHOOL ON THE UNITED STATES IN THE WAY THAT WE CONDUCT OUR MILITARY ACTIVITIES. FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE MIDDLE EAST IN AFGHANISTAN. THEY UNDERSTAND OUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES, AND THEY'VE BEEN SPENDING A LOT OF MONEY ON RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AND READINESS, WEAPON ACQUISITION AND DOCTRINE TO -- AND DOCTRINE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR WEAKNESSES IN AN ASYMMETRICAL WAY IN ORDER TO DEFEAT US IF THERE SHOULD EVER BE A CONFLICT BETWEEN US. THE CHINESE HAVE PUT A LOT, FOR EXAMPLE, INTO THEIR SPACE-BASED CAPABILITIES, TRYING TO KNOCK THE UNITED STATES OUT OF SPACE, SO THAT OUR SATELLITES CAN'T TELL OUR TROOPS WHERE TO GET WHERE THEY NEED TO GO. THE RUSSIANS ARE VERY GOOD IN CYBER ACTIVITY. THEY WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO DEFEND DENY US THE ABILITY -- BE ABLE TO DENY US THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER THROUGH CYBERSPACE. THEY'VE DEVELOPED VERY CAPABLE MODERN TECHNOLOGY AND WEAPONRY THAT IN SOME CASES IS MUCH BETTER THAN OURS. THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO DENY US ACCESS TO BATTLEFIELDS THROUGH THEIR LONG-RANGE AIR DEFENSES, FOR EXAMPLE. SO THE UNITED STATES NO LONGER HAS SUPERIORITY IN ALL MILITARY FIELDS. WE CAN EXPECT NOT TO HAVE AIR SUPERIORITY, FOR EXAMPLE, IN A CONFLICT WITH RUSSIA. THESE ARE PROBLEMS THAT HAVE TO BE REMEDIED, AND THEY CAN'T BE REMEDIED OVERNIGHT, AND WHAT OUR COMMISSION CONCLUDED WAS, WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THE POTENTIAL THREAT, THE REASON OUR ADVERSARIES HAVE DEVELOPED THE KINDS OF WEAPONS AND DOCTRINE THEY HAVE IS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE PREPARED IN THE EVENT OF CONFLICT BETWEEN US. WE'RE NOT GOING TO START A CONFLICT. BUT WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY DON'T MISCALCULATE TO START ONE. AND THAT STARTS WITH HAVING A MILITARY WHICH THEY UNDERSTAND IS SUFFICIENT TO DEFEAT THEM. THAT'S WHAT REAL DETERRENCE IS ALL ABOUT. THIS REPORT SHOULD NOT BE UNDERSTOOD AS A CRITICISM OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE OR OF THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT. IT IS TRUE THAT WE SAY THAT THERE ARE AREAS THAT NEED IMPROVEMENT, BUT SECRETARY MATTIS KNOWS AS WELL AS ANYONE WHAT THE NATURE OF THIS THREAT IS. HE IS ABLE TO SAY, I WILL MAKE DO WITH WHAT THE CONGRESS GIVES US, BUT I DON'T THINK HE'S ABLE TO SAY -- AND I KNOW IN MY HEART THAT THAT'LL BE SUFFICIENT. IN FACT, EARLIER IN YEAR HE WARNED US -- AND I AM QUOTING -- THAT OUR COMPETITIVE EDGE HAS ERODED IN EVERY DOMAIN OF WARFARE -- AIR, LAND, SEA, SAY, AND CYBER. THE COMBINATION OF RAPIDLY CHANGING TECHNOLOGY, NEGATIVE IMPACT ON MILITARY READINESS RESULTING FROM THE LONGEST CONTINUING -- CONTINUOUS PERIOD OF COMBAT IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY, AND A PROLONGED PERIOD OF UNPREDICTABLE AND INSUFFICIENT FUNDING CREATED AN OVERSTRETCHED AND UNDERRESOURCED MILITARY. END OF QUOTEATION. SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, HE HAS RECOGNIZED THE PROBLEM. AND I THINK IT IS UP TO THE CONGRESS TO RESPOND TO HIS RECOGNITION OF THE PROBLEM AND TO THE REPORT OF THIS BIPARTISAN COMMISSION. WE'VE ALL HEARD PLENTY ABOUT THE RESULTS OF THIS UNDERFUNDING. WE'VE SEEN AIRCRAFT THAT AREN'T ABLE TO FLY OR THAT CRASH. WE'VE SEEN NAVY SHIPS THAT COLLIDE WITH EACH OTHER. AND OTHER KINDS OF CATASTROPHES THAT HAVE BEFALLEN OUR MILITARY. TODAY OUR MILITARY IS THE SMALLEST THAT IT'S BEEN SINCE 1940, SINCE BEFORE WORLD WAR II. WE FACE MUNITION SHORTAGES. WE OBVIOUSLY NEED TO REFRESH OUR WARN-OUT TROOPS AND THE EQUIPMENT. THERE ARE CONVENT REQUIREMENTS TO MODERN -- THERE ARE URGENT REQUIREMENTS TO MODERNIZE OUR DETERRENT. THE DETERRENT THAT SAYS TO THE CHINESE AND NORTH KOREA AND IRAN, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT A NUCLEAR CONFLICT WITH US. WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO DESTROY YOU. WE'RE IN THE PROCESS OF MODERNIZING AND IT WILL TAKE A LONG TIME AND A LOT OF MONEY TO DO THAT. DEFENSE SPENDING IS NEAR HISTORIC LOWS. WE THINK BECAUSE LAST YEAR WE AGREED TO SLIGHTLY INCREASE IT FOR A TWO-YEAR PERIOD OF TIME THAT WE SOLVED THE PROBLEM. THAT'S NOT TRUE. AS A SHARE OF BOTH THE FEDERAL BUDGET AND THE NATIONAL ECONOMY, WE ARE SPENDING AT NEAR HISTORIC LOWS ON DEFENSE. WE NOW HAVE ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO KNOW THAT MINDLESS SPENDING CUTS, AS WOULD BE REQUIRED BY SEQUESTRATION, FOR EXAMPLE, DON'T MAKE THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MORE EFFICIENT. THERE'S ALWAYS SAVINGS TO BE HAD IN THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, BUT THAT'S NOT THE WAY. REFORMING LARGER DRIVERS OF THE PENT GONE'S BUDGET WOULD REQUIRE LARGER CHANGES THAT THE PENTAGON HAS BEEN UNWILLING TO MAKE. SO LET'S PUT THE BURDEN WHERE IT LIES, AND THAT IS ON THE CONGRESS TO FIX A LOT OF THESE PROBLEMS. BETWEEN THE FISCAL YEARS 2012 AND 2019, THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE WILL HAVE SUSTAINED $539 BILLION IN CUTS OVER THE BUDGET PLAN PROPOSED BY SECRETARY GATES IN THE YEAR 2010. SO SECRETARY GATES SAID HERE'S OUR 20-YEAR PLAN AND WE'RE ALMOST HALFWAY THROUGH THAT PLAN AND WE'VE ALREADY SUFFERED ALMOST HALF A TRILLION DOLLARS IN CUTS OVER WHAT HE SAID WE WOULD NEED. IF DEFENSE SPENDING CONTINUES AT THE PLANNED RATE THROUGH 2021, IT WILL TAKE ANOTHER 19 YEARS TO REVERSE ALL OF THE BUDGET ACT CUTS THAT OCCURRED AS A RESULT OF SEQUESTRATION. OBVIOUSLY WE'VE GOT WORK TO DO. I'VE TALKED ABOUT THE THREAT -- LET ME JUST MENTION A COUPLE OF OTHER POINTS THAT WE MADE IN THE REPORT. WE COMMENTED ON THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT'S NATIONAL SECURITY REPORT WHICH THE NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY WHICH WAS PUBLISHED IN 2017 ACTUALLY HELPED TO MAKE THIS CASE FOR US. IT ARGUED THAT WE FACE, AND I QUOTE, AN EXTRAORDINARILY DANGEROUS WORLDS THAT THREATS HAVE INTENSIFIED IN RECENT YEARS. WE FACE QUOTING, WHERE QUOTE, THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE OF KOREA AND THE REPUBLIC OF IRAN AND ACTIVE GROUPS ARE TRYING TO ACTIVELY HARM AMERICANS. WHEN I SPEAK OF CHINA AND RUSSIA, I DON'T MEAN TO DEMEAN OTHER ACTORS LIKE NORTH KOREA OR IRAN OR THE TERRORISTS WHO CONTINUE TO THREATEN US, I'M NOTING THE MOST SERIOUS THREAT SHOULD CONFLICT ARISE. THIS FOCUS ON CHINA AND RUSSIA, I THINK, IS PRUDENT BECAUSE BOTH COUNTRIES, AS I SAID, HAVE EXTENSIVELY MODERNIZED THEIR FORCES, INCLUDING THEIR NUCLEAR WEAPONS ARSENALS, AND THEY HAVE TAKEN ACTIONS THAT THREATEN, COERCE, AND THREATEN OTHERS IN THE REGION. FOR THE LAST 17 YEARS, MOST OF OUR FORCES HAVE BEEN ORGANIZED, MANNED, AND TRAINED AND EQUIPPED TO FIGHT SMALLER-SCALE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. I THINK IN THE MEANTIME SOME OF OUR PLANNERS HAVE FORGOTTEN HOW TO OPERATIONALLIZE FOR LARGE-SCALE MILITARY CONFLICTS. THIS WE HAVE TO LEARN WHILE WE HAVE TIME. OUR ADVERSARIES ARE NOT WAITING. THEY DON'T FACE SIMILAR FISCAL CONSTRAINTS AS WE DO. I WAS ASKED THE OTHER EVENING, ISN'T IT TRUE WE SPEND MORE ON OUR MILITARY THAN CHINA AND RUSSIA DO? AND THE ANSWER IS THIS IS NOT AN APPLES AND ORANGE COMPARISON. WE ARE HONEST ABOUT THIS. WE PUT OUT WHAT OUR INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY TOP LINE BUDGET IS. THE RUSSIANS AND CHINESE DON'T DO THAT. THEY DON'T PAY OUR FORCES THE WAY WE DO. 70% OF THE BUDGET IS FOR THE MAN POWER AND IN THE PAY AND BENEFITS AND THE HEALTH CARE THAT THEY NEED AND WE DON'T HAVE THE COMBINED INDUSTRIAL BASE THAT -- WITH THE MILITARY THAT THE CHINESE DO, FOR EXAMPLE, AND THAT THE RUSSIANS DO. SO WHAT WE SPEND IS ALL OUT THERE. WE CAN HIDE A LOT OF THEIR SPENDING IN THE ACTIVITIES OF THEIR INDUSTRIAL COMPANIES THAT ARE DOING THE WORK OF THE CHINESE ARMY, FOR EXAMPLE. SO THAT'S NOT A VALID COMPARISON. I THINK, MADAM PRESIDENT, I'LL JUST CONCLUDE THIS WAY. I'VE -- I WAS IN THE CONGRESS FOR 26 YEARS. I SERVED ON THE HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE. I CAME TO THE SENATE AND SERVED ON NUMEROUS COMMISSIONS AND TASK FORCES THAT THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, FOR EXAMPLE, FOR EIGHT YEARS, THAT LOOKED INTO THE THREATS THAT WE FACED AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO ABOUT THOSE THREATS. I LED EFFORTS TO DEAL WITH OUR STRATEGIC DETERRENT, OUR NUCLEAR MODERNIZATION EFFORT. AND I WAS SOBERED BY THE EVIDENCE THAT WE RECEIVED AS A MEMBER OF THE DEFENSE STRATI DISWRI COMMISSION, -- DEFENSE STRATEGY COMMISSION. I WAS TAKEN ABACK. I HAVEN'T BEEN IN THE SENATE IN FIVE YEARS. I HADN'T HAD THE ADVANTAGE OF THE CLASSIFIED BRIEFINGS OF THE STATUS OF OUR ADVERSARY'S EFFORTS AND OUR OWN AND I WAS SHOCKED AT THE DEGREE OF THE LOSS OF ADVANTAGE THAT WE USED TO HAVE. THIS COULD LEAD POTENTIAL ADVERSARIES TO MISKAL -- MISCALCULATE THAT THEY COULD MAKE MOVES. THAT HAS TO CHANGE IF WE'RE TO AVOID WAR. THEREFORE, I URGE MY COLLEAGUES, IN THE DAYS AND WEEKS TO COME, TO REVIEW THIS COMMISSION REPORT, TO THINK ABOUT IT IN TERMS OF A CONSENSUS DOCUMENT BETWEEN REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS WHO UNANIMOUSLY AGREED THAT IT WAS CRITICAL TO TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THE TRUTH THAT WE HAVE A SEVERE CRISIS IN THIS COUNTRY AND TO RECOGNIZE THAT WE, THE CONGRESS, THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE, HAVE THE FIRST OBLIGATION TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS BY SETTING THE POLICY THROUGH OUR NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTS AND THEN FUNDING THOSE POLICIES ADEQUATELY THROUGH A SERIES OF ELIMINATING SEQUESTRATION, FUNDING THROUGH THE REGULAR ORDER APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS, RATHER THAN CONTINUING RESOLUTION, AND INCREASING THE TOPLINE BUDGET FOR THE MILITARY ENOUGH TO MAKE UP THE GAP THAT WE DISCUSS IN THIS REPORT HERE. THAT EFFORT WILL BEGIN IN THE ADMINISTRATION WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF ITS BUDGET, WHICH IS UNDER WAY RIGHT NOW, AND WILL BE SUBMITTED TO THE CONGRESS IN THE EARLY SPRING. I URGE THE ADMINISTRATION AS WELL TO RECOGNIZE THAT ITS LEADERSHIP IN THIS EFFORT WILL HAVE A LOT TO DO WITH THE SUCCESS OF CONGRESS STEPPING UP TO DO ITS JOB TO FUND THAT BUDGET ADEQUATELY. SO, TO MY COLLEAGUES WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR NATIONAL SECURITY, AND WHO ISN'T? AND TO THOSE WHO SAID DURING THE LAST CAMPAIGN, WE WANT TO WORK ACROSS THE AISLE TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS THAT CONFRONT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WELL, I CAN'T THINK OF A MORE SERIOUS PROBLEM THAN THIS. THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES AND WORK TOGETHER. I PLEDGE TO WORK WITH MY COLLEAGUES TO DO THAT AND TO REVIEW THIS STRATEGY DEFENSE COMMISSION, TO REVIEW IT OVER THE THANKSGIVING BREAK THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE HERE AND COME BACK READY TO DO WORK. MADAM PRESIDENT, I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:53:11 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    QUORUM.

  • 10:55:41 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOTWITHSTANDING ADOPTION OF THE MOTION TO…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOTWITHSTANDING ADOPTION OF THE MOTION TO CONCUR ON THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO S. 140 WITH FURTHER AMENDMENT 4054, AS MODIFIED, AMENDMENT 4054 AS MODIFIED BE FURTHER MODIFIED WITH THE CHANGES AT THE DESK.

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  • 10:56:03 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    SO FOR THE INFORMATION OF THE SENATE, THE MODIFICATION THAT JUST OCCURRED…

    SO FOR THE INFORMATION OF THE SENATE, THE MODIFICATION THAT JUST OCCURRED WAS NECESSARY TO FIX A TECHNICAL ERROR THAT OMITTED A NUMBER OF IMPORTANT CHARTS AND TABLES FROM THE BILL. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF S. CON. RES. 51.

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  • 10:56:53 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, THE SENATE'S FINAL ORDER OF BUSINESS THIS WEEK WILL…

    SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, THE SENATE'S FINAL ORDER OF BUSINESS THIS WEEK WILL BE TO CONFIRM MICHELLE BOWMAN, THE PRESIDENT'S CHOICE TO SERVE ON THE FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD. AS I'VE HIGHLIGHTED IN RECENT DAYS WE HAVE BEFORE US A NOMINEE WHOSE SKILLS AND BACKGROUND ARE TAILOR MADE FOR THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE OFFICE. MS. BOWMAN HAS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN COMMUNITY BANKING AND THE SEAT TO BE FILLED IS INTENDED FOR AND AN EXPERT IN THAT VERY FIELD. MY COLLEAGUES HARDLY NEED TO ILLUSTRATE ANY FURTHER THE ROLE THAT SMALL COMMUNITY BANKS PLAY IN THE LIVES OF FAMILY FARMERS, SMALL BUSINESSES, AND COMMUNITIES ALL ACROSS OUR COUNTRY. IT'S TIME TO TAKE AN IMPORTANT STEP FOR THEM AND DWIRM THIS WELL-EQUAL -- CONFIRM THIS WELL-QUALIFIED NOMINEE. YESTERDAY, WE PASSED LEGISLATION TO REAUTHORIZE THE COAST GUARD BY REAFFIRM THE CURRENT SECURITY INTERDICTION AND RESCUE MISSIONS THAT KEEP AMERICANS SAFE AND TO STREAMLINE DUPLICATIVE REGULATIONS AT THE SAME TIME. THE PROVISION TO CLARIFY THE REGULATION OF VESSEL INCIDENTAL DISCHARGE DELIVERED A MUCH-NEEDED VICTORY FOR THE COMMUNITIES AND SMALL MARITIME BUSINESSES, INCLUDING SO MANY IN MY STATE OF KENTUCKY, THAT RELY ON AMERICA'S INLAND WATERWAYS FOR THEIR LIVELIHOOD. AND THE REAUTHORIZATION DELIVERED SOME WELL-DESERVED CERTAINTY TO THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD WHOSE COMMITMENT TO SERVICE SHOULD MAKE ALL OF US CROWD. THIS IS THE LATEST INSTALLMENT OF A LONG LIST OF LEGISLATION PASSED BY THIS CONGRESS ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THE BIG BATTLES MAY BE WHAT CAPTIVATES THE PRESS AND THE REPUBLICANS ARE PROUD OF OUR SIGNATURE ACCOMPLISHMENTS LIKE CONFIRMING JUSTICE GORSUCH AND JUSTICE KAVANAUGH, BUT FREQUENTLY IT HAS BEEN OVERLOOKED HOW CONGRESS'S OTHER MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS HAVE BEEN TRUERLY BIPARTISAN. REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS PASSED LANDMARK LEGISLATION THAT MARSHALED MORE RESOURCES TO THE COUNTRY'S FIGHT AGAINST OPIOID. GREATER ACCESS TO GRANT SUPPORT FOR STATE AND LOCAL AUTHORITY, MORE SUPPORT FOR TREATMENT RECOVERY AND WORKFORCE REENTRY PROGRAMS TO HEAL THE WOUNDS OF THIS DEVASTATING EPIDEMIC. TOGETHER WE REFIRMED SOME OF THE -- REAFFIRMLED SOME OF THE EXCESSES OF DODD-FRANK. WE ENDED THE CYCLE OF CHRONIC CONTINUING RESOLUTIONS FOR DEFENSE FUNDING THAT DENIED CERTAINTY TO OUR ARMED FORCES AND ERODED OUR READINESS. WE REBUILT A REGULAR APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS, IT FEATURED THE LARGEST YEAR ON YEAR DEFENSE FUNDING INCREASE IN 50 YEARS AND THE BIGGEST PAY RAISE FOR SERVICE MEMBERS IN NEARLY A DECADE. TOGETHER WE MADE NEW INVESTMENTS TO REBUILD OUR NATION'S INFRASTRUCTURE. TOGETHER WE BROUGHT NEW RESOURCES AND NEW REFORMS TO THE SYSTEMS THAT SERVE OUR VETERANS. TOGETHER WE APPROVED COMPREHENSIVE SANCTIONS TO TARGET MALIGNED BEHAVIOR THROUGHOUT THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM. WE PASSED MAJOR BILLS TO COMBAT SEX TRAFFICKING, I AM PROVE SCHOOL SAFETY, EXPAND OPPORTUNITIES FOR VOCATIONAL AND TECHNICAL TRAINING, AND PRESCRIBE NEW MEDICAL TREATMENT TO THOSE WITH TERMINAL ILLNESSES. AND, MADAM PRESIDENT, THIS ISN'T EVEN AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST. SO CLEARLY THE SENATE HAS PROVEN TO BE FERTILE SOIL FOR BIPARTISAN WORK. IT'S MADE LIFE BETTER FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IN TANGIBLE WAYS. WE SHOULD ALL TAKE PRIDE IN THIS, AND WE'LL NEED TO KEEP UP THIS MOMENTUM FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS YEAR. AS WE CONSIDER MORE LEGISLATION AND CONFIRM MORE NOMINEES. AND WE WILL NEED IT THROUGHOUT THE NEXT CONGRESS. WE'LL NEED TO WORK ACROSS THE AISLE WITHIN THIS BODY AND THIS REPUBLICAN SENATE AND DEMOCRATIC HOUSE. WE'LL NEED TO LEARN TO COLLABORATE AS WELL. THE LONG LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS OFFERS JUST THE BLUEPRINT WE WILL NEED. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:01:18 AM

    CALL

    A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT.

  • 11:04:50 AM

    MR. PAUL

    MADAM PRESIDENT, PURSUANT TO THE ARMS CONTROL ACT OF 1976, I MOVE TO…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, PURSUANT TO THE ARMS CONTROL ACT OF 1976, I MOVE TO DISCHARGE THE FOREIGN RELATION COMMITTEE FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF S.J. RES. 65, RELATING TO THE DISAPPROVAL OF THE PROPOSED FOREIGN MILITARY SALES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF BAHRAIN.

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  • 11:05:26 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT.

  • 11:11:09 AM

    MR. CARDIN

    I WOULD ASK CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL -- WE'RE NOT IN A QUORUM CALL.…

    I WOULD ASK CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL -- WE'RE NOT IN A QUORUM CALL. MADAM PRESIDENT, I RISE TO DISCUSS THE FIRING OF ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS, AS WELL AS THE ONGOING JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATION BY SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT MUELLER INTO RUSSIA'S INTERFERENCE IN THE 2016 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. THE ONLY TRANSPARENCY TO BE FOUND IN THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE IS THE PRESIDENT'S DISDAIN FOR THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION INTO THE 2016 ELECTIONS. AFTER MULTIPLE GUILTY PLEAS AND CONVICTIONS AMONG THE PRESIDENT'S CAMPAIGN ADVISORS ON THIS ONGOING INVESTIGATION, PRESIDENT TRUMP REMAINS RELENTLESS IN HIS CAMPAIGN TO FIND ANY WAY POSSIBLE TO LIMIT THE SCOPE OF THE ONGOING INVESTIGATION. I DID NOT SUPPORT JEFF SESSIONS' NOMINATION TO BE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BUT HE FOLLOWED THE LAW AND RIGHTLY RECUSED HIMSELF FROM OVERSEEING THE WORK OF MR. MUELLER AND HIS TEAM OF PROFESSIONAL INVESTIGATORS. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROD ROSENSTEIN SHOULD CONTINUE TO OVERSEE THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROSENSTEIN HAS SHOWN HIS FIDELITY TO THE RULE OF LAW WITH THE MUCH-NEEDED ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE SPECIAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE POTENTIAL CRIMINAL ACTIVITY AND COLLUSION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT IN THE 2016 ELECTIONS. HIS CHOICE OF ROBERT MUELLER WAS SOLID. MR. MUELLER SERVED AS THE F.B.I. DIRECTOR UNDER BOTH DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATIONS. HE HAS A WELL-EARNED REPUTATION AS A NONPARTISAN PROFESSIONAL. LET ME REMIND MY COLLEAGUES THAT WHEN DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROSENSTEIN MADE THE SPECIAL COUNSEL APPOINTMENT IN MAY OF 2017, HE WROTE, AND I QUOTE, MADAM PRESIDENT, I DETERMINED THAT IT IS IN THE PUBLIC INTERESTS FOR ME TO EXERCISE MY AUTHORITY AND APPOINT A SPECIAL COUNSEL TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS MATTER. WHAT I HAVE DETERMINED IS THAT THE -- THAT BASED UPON THE UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE PUBLIC INTEREST REQUIRES ME TO PLACE THIS INVESTIGATION UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF A PERSON WHO EXERCISES A DEGREE OF INDEPENDENCE FROM THE NORMAL CHAIN OF COMMAND. CONSIDERING THE UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS MATTER, HOWEVER, I DETERMINED THAT A SPECIAL COUNSEL IS NECESSARY IN ORDER FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO HAVE FULL CONFIDENCE IN THE OUTCOME. OUR NATION IS GROUNDED ON THE RULE OF LAW, AND THE PUBLIC MUST BE ASSURED THAT THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ADMINISTER THE LAW FAIRLY. SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER WILL HAVE ALL APPROPRIATE RESOURCES TO CONDUCT A THOROUGH AND COMPLETE INVESTIGATION, AND I AM CONFIDENT THAT HE WILL FOLLOW THE FACTS, APPLY THE LAW, AND REACH A JUST RESULT. END QUOTE. THAT'S WHAT MR. ROSENSTEIN SAID WHEN HE APPOINTED MR. MUELLER AS SPECIAL COUNSEL. NOW WE KNOW JUST HOW RIGHT DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROSENSTEIN WAS TO WORRY ABOUT PROTECTING THE INDEPENDENCE AND INTEGRITY OF THE SPECIAL COUNSEL'S INVESTIGATION SO THAT THE RULE OF LAW WILL BE FOLLOWED AND THE SPECIAL COUNSEL COULD FOLLOW THE FACTS, APPLY THE LAW, AND REACH A JUST RESULT, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE PRESIDENT WANTS. INDEED, AT EVERY TURN, PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS TRIED TO UNDERMINE THE RULE OF LAW AND INTERFERE WITH THIS INVESTIGATION. HE HAS RELENTLESSLY CRITICIZED THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION. SOMEHOW CHARACTERIZING IT AS A WITCH HUNT OR CONFLICTED ANGRY DEMOCRATS, NOTWITHSTANDING THE DOZENS OF GUILTY PLEAS AND CONVICTIONS ALREADY OBTAINED BY THE SPECIAL COUNSEL AS WELL AS MR. MUELLER'S PROFESSIONALISM, NONPARTISAN LEGACY OF SERVICE. THE NEW ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL, MATTHEW WHITAKER, WHO IS AN UNCONFIRMED POLITICAL APPOINTEE IS ALREADY ON THE RECORD MAKING INFLAMMATORY COMMENTS ON HOW TO LIMIT THE SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION AND CUT OFF RESOURCES. HE SHOULD IMMEDIATELY RECUSE HIMSELF FROM THE INVESTIGATION. SERIOUS LEGAL QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN RAISED ABOUT THE LEGALITY AND CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE DESIGNATION OF MR. WHITAKER BY PRESIDENT TRUMP WHO HAS NOT BEEN CONFIRMED BY THE SENATE AND IS HEADING A CABINET DEPARTMENT. THE CONSTITUTION'S APPOINTMENT CLAUSE REQUIRES ALL PRINCIPAL OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO BE NOMINATED BY AND WITH THE ADVICE AND CONSENT OF THE SENATE. THIS ACTION BY PRESIDENT TRUMP IMPERILS THE VERY LEADERSHIP OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND ITS DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS AND CALLS INTO CONSIDERATION ANY DECISIONS MADE BY MR. WHITAKER DURING HIS TEMPORARY SERVICE. THE SENATE HAS ALREADY CONFIRMED DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROSENSTEIN ON AN OVERWHELMING BIPARTISAN BASIS 0 BY A 94-6 VOTE IN APRIL OF 2017. UNDER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT GUIDANCE AND CURRENT LAW, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROSENSTEIN, WHO HAS SERVED WITH DISTINCTION UNDER BOTH DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATIONS AND WHO WAS NOMINATED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP, SHOULD BE DESIGNATED AS THE ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE PRESIDENT NOMINATES AND THE SENATE CONFIRMS A SUCK SUCCESSOR TO THE FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS. UNDER CURRENT OVERSIGHT OF DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROSENSTEIN, SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER'S INVESTIGATION MUST CONTINUE UNTIL ITS CONCLUSION. THE PRESIDENT MUST STOP TRYING TO IMPEDE ITS PROGRESS. CONGRESS HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO FINALLY TAKE LEGISLATIVE ACTION TO PROTECT THE INVESTIGATION FROM MEDDLING FROM THE WHITE HOUSE, ESPECIALLY FROM INTERFERENCE BY THE PRESIDENT. THE SENATE HAS AN OBLIGATION TO PASS LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ENSURE THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE SPECIAL COUNSEL, PROVIDE JUDICIAL REVIEW FOR REMOVAL OF THE SPECIAL COUNSEL AND REQUIRE ADDITIONAL REPORTING TO CONGRESS ON THE SPECIAL COUNSEL'S INVESTIGATION, DOCUMENTS AND ADDITIONAL FINDING. S. 2644 DOES EXACTLY THAT AND IS A BIPARTISAN BILL THAT PASSED THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE BY A VOTE OF 14-7 IN APRIL OF 2018. IT HAS SAT ON THE SENATE CALENDAR EVER AMBASSADOR FOR MORE THAN -- THE SENATE CALENDAR FOR MORE THAN SIX MONTHS. THE SENATE SHOULD BE ABLE TO VOTE ON THIS IMMEDIATELY. MADAM PRESIDENT, I HOPE MY COLLEAGUES AGREE THE SPECIAL COUNSEL SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO FINISH HIS WORK WITHOUT INTERFERENCE, NO ONE -- NO ONE -- UNDER THE CONSTITUTION, NOT EVEN THE PRESIDENT, IS ABOVE THE LAW, AND CONGRESS CANNOT ALLOW THE PRESIDENT TO OBSTRUCT THE SPECIAL COUNSEL'S INVESTIGATION. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:19:06 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    I WANT TO TALK ABOUT A MAN NAMED ALTON MILLS, A YOUNG AFRICAN AMERICAN IN…

    I WANT TO TALK ABOUT A MAN NAMED ALTON MILLS, A YOUNG AFRICAN AMERICAN IN THE CITY OF CHICAGO, AN ABOVE-AVERAGE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT. IT LOOKED LIKE HE MIGHT EVEN GO ON TO HIGHER EDUCATION. BUT HE HAD SOME BAD LUCK WHEN IT CAME TO EMPLOYMENT AND JOBS, AND HE MADE A STUPID DECISION. HE MADE A STUPID DECISION BY BECOMING PART OF A GANG IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD THAT WAS SELLING DRUGS. AS A RESULT OF THAT, HE WAS ARRESTED, CONVICTED OF POSSESSION AND SALE OF A SMALL AMOUNT OF NARCOTICS, AND THE SENTENCE WAS SUSPENDED BECAUSE HE HAD NO PREVIOUS CRIMINAL RECORD. IT HAPPENED A SECOND TIME. AND AGAIN DIDN'T SERVE A DAY IN JAIL, WAS SUSPENDED, WITH THE PROMISE THAT HE WOULD NEVER DO IT AGAIN, AND HE STUMBLED AND DID IT A THIRD TIME. AS A RESULT OF THAT, IN 1994, AT THE AGE OF 24, ALTON MILLS WAS GIVE AN MANDATORY SENTENCE OF LIFE IN PRISON. HE HAD NEVER BEEN INVOLVED IN A VIOLENT CRIME. NEVER USED A FIREARM. BUT -- AND NEVER WAS A DRUG KINGPIN, BUT HE HAD BEEN INVOLVED IN THE SALE OF DRUGS. A LIFE SENTENCE AT AGE 24 FOR THE THREE INCIDENTS WHICH I HAVE BEEN MENTIONED. HOW COULD WE HAVE EVER REACHED A POINT WHERE A PERSON WOULD BE SENT TO JAIL FOR LIFE FOR THOSE THREE CRIMES? WE REACHED THAT POINT BECAUSE 25 YEARS AGO WE DID SOMETHING WHICH WAS JUST PLAIN WRONG. YOU'LL SELDOM HEAR A SENATOR SAY THIS IN THE COURSE OF A SPEECH, BUT I'M GOING TO SAY IT -- THE WORST VOTE I EVER CAST IN MY LIFE IN THEOUS IN OR THE SENATE -- IN THE HOUSE OR IN THE SENATE WAS FOR THE 100-1 SENTENCING DISPARITY BETWEEN CRACK COCAINE AND POWDER COCAINE. IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU TAKE THE SAME AMOUNT OF COCAINE AND IT WAS IN A POWDER FORM SITTING NEXT TO THE SAME AMOUNT OF COCAINE IN A CRYSTALLIZED FORM THAT COULD BE SMOKED AND YOU WERE ARRESTED FOR POSSESSION OF ONE OR THE OTHER, THE SENTENCE FOR CRACK COCAINE WAS 100 TIMES WHAT IT WAS FOR POWDER COCAINE. WHY DID WE DO THAT? WHY DID WE HAVE SUCH A GROSS DISPARITY? BECAUSE WE WERE FRIGHTENED. AS A MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, I REMEMBER IT WELL. THEY CAME TO US AND SAID, THERE'S A NEW FORM OF COCAINE ON THE STREET. IT COSTS $5. IT IS HEAVILY ADDICTIVE. AND IF A MOTHER INGESTS THIS COCAINE WHILE SHE IS PREGNANT, IT COULD HARM THE FETUS FOR LIFE. DO SOMETHING. AND ABOUT THAT SAME TIME THERE WAS THIS GREAT SCANDAL HERE IN WASHINGTON, WASHINGTON, D.C., AN OUTSTANDING BASKETBALL PLAYER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND NAMED LEN BIAS OVERDOSED ON DRUGS AND DIED. PEOPLE WERE TALKING ABOUT HIS CAREER IN THE N.B. AAND THIS GREAT TALENT AND HE WAS -- IN THE NBA AND HIS GREAT TALENT AND HE WAS DEAD. MENT IT IT WAS PART OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND PART OF THE OVERREACTION THAT TOOK PLACE AMONG POLITICIANS IN WASHINGTON. I WAS ONE OF THEM. I VOTED FOR THAT 1 SEE-1 DIS -- I VOTED FOR THAT 100-1 DISPARITY TO SEND A HARD, YOU OF IT MESSAGE. WE DID. IT DIDN'T HAVE ANY MEASURABLE IMPACT ON DRUG SALES IN THE UNITED STATES. BUT IT HAD A MEASURABLE IMPACT ON THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO WERE INCARCERATED IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE LENGTH OF THEIR INCARCERATION. THOSE VOTES, THE VOTES THAT I CAST AND MANY LIKE ME ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE, RESULTED IN MANDATORY SENTENCES FOR PEOPLE LIKE ALTON MILLS, A LIFE SENTENCE. A LIFE SENTENCE. WELL, LET ME IT TELL YOU HOW THE STORY ENDS. ALTON MILLS, AFTER SERVING 23 YEARS IN PRISON, CAME TO MY ATTENTION THROUGH DEFENDER -- CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS' ATTORNEY GENERAL NAME, OF ALL THINGS MY ANGEL CODY. SHE WAS HIS ANGEL, THAT'S FOR SURE. SHE FOUGHT FOR HIM. SHE DESERVED THAT HE DESERVED BETTER THAN TO SPEND THE REST OF HIS LIFE IN PRISON FOR THOSE STUPID DECISIONS HE MADE IN HIS EARLY LIFE. I APPEALED TO PRESIDENT OBAMA TO COMMUTE HIS SENTENCE. AND PRESIDENT OBAMA AGREED TO DO THAT. AFTER ALL THAT SERVICE BEHIND BARS, HE WAS RELEASED. WHAT'S HE DOING TODAY? HE'S A MECHANIC AT THE CHICAGO TRANSIT THIS. HE REPAIRS THE BUSES. HE GOT MARRIED, IS NOW WORKING WITH HIS DAUGHTER AND HIS NEW GRANDCHILD. HE IS CONTRIBUTING TO SOCIETY. HE IS A COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT WHERE HE'S PURSUING AN ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE -- FINALLY HIS LIFE IS ON THE RIGHT TRACK. IF HE HADN'T RECEIVED A PARDON, ALTON MILLS WOULD HAVE DIED IN PRISON BECAUSE OF OUR EXISTING FEDERAL SENTENCING LAWS. BUT YESTERDAY SOMETHING HAPPENED WHICH IS REMARKABLE. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP HAD A PRESS CONFERENCE WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND ANNOUNCED THAT HE WAS GOING TO SUPPORT LEGISLATION WHICH I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON FOR QUITE SOMETIME WITH SENATOR LEE AND SENATOR GRASSLEY TO CHANGE THE SENTENCING PROVISIONS THAT I'VE DESCRIBED TO YOU. WHAT AN AMAZING COALITION -- DURBIN ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE, GRASSLEY AND LEE ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE, AND NOW PRESIDENT TRUMP? THE STARS ARE LINED UP IN A WAY THAT WE SELDOM SEE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. AND WHAT WE'RE GOING TO SET OUT TO DO WITH THIS BILL, IF WE CAN PASS IT IN THE CLOSING WEEKS OF THIS SESSION, IS TO GIVE A CHANCE TO THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE STILL SERVING SENTENCES FOR NONVIOLENT OFFENSES INVOLVING CRACK COCAINE UNDER THE OLD 100-1 RULING TO GIVE THEM A CHANCE TO POTENTIAL INDIVIDUALLY -- NOT AS A GROUP, TO POTENTIAL INDIVIDUALLY TO THE COURT FOR A REDUCTION IN THEIR SENTENCING. I HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS. IT IS NOT EASY. THEY HAVE TO GO RIGHT BACK TO THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE THAT PROSECUTED THEM TO GET THE THUMBS UP AND APPROVAL TO GO FORWARD. MANY TIMES THEY TURN TO VICTIMS, IF THERE ARE VICTIMS IN THE CRIME, BEFORE ANY DECISION IS MADE. THEY TURN TO THE JUDGES, PARTICULARLY THOSE SENTENCING JUDGES WHO ARE STILL ON THE BENCH, AND IF THEY CLEAR ALL THOSE HURDLES, THEY HAVE A CHANCE FOR A REDUCTION IN THEIR SENTENCE. SENATOR GRASSLEY AND I ARE ABOUT TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP ENDORSED YESTERDAY AND WILL BEGIN WORKING TO BUILD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT TO PASS IT BEFORE WE LEAVE. CONGRESS NEEDS TO PASS THIS LEGISLATION. WE HAVE A DIFFERENT DRUG CRISIS FACING US TODAY. IT ISN'T CRACK COCAINE ANYMORE. IT IS AN OPIOID EPIDEMIC. IT IS A FENTANYL EPIDEMIC. IT IS THE DEADLIEST DRUG EPIDEMIC THAT WE'VE EVER FACED. AND WE HAVE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT VIEW OF DRUGS THAN WE DID WHEN ALTON MILLS WAS SENTENCED. IN THOSE DAYS, MOST OF THE DEFENDANTS WERE PEOPLE OF COLOR, PRIMARILY AFRICAN AMERICANS. BUT TODAY THIS OPIOID EPIDEMIC HAS GONE FAR BEYOND THE HOOD. IT'S GONG FAR BEYOND THE INNER CITY. IT AFFECTS SUBURBS, EVEN THE WEALTHIEST OF SUBURBS, TOWNS, RURAL TOWNS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL THEY ARE. AND PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO THINK ANEW ABOUT WHAT TO DO WITH DRUG ADDICTION. IS OUR GOAL TO PUT PEOPLE IN PRISON FOR DRUG ADDICTION OR OUR GOAL TO END THE ADDICTION? WE KNOW THAT SOME CASES, THOSE THAT GO TO PRISON WON'T USE AGAIN. MANY TIMES THEY DO. WE KNOW IF PEOPLE GO SUCCESSFULLY THROUGH TREATMENT, THEY MAY BE SPARED THE ADDICTION AND IT MAY SAVE THEIR LIVES. WE'RE COMING OF AGE WHEN IT COMES TO DRUGS IN AMERICA. WHAT WE TRIED TO DO WITH THIS BILL IS ALSO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS WHO MEET CERTAIN CRITERIA, LIMITED CRITERIA -- DRUG OFFENSES, WHICH IS THE NUMBER ONE PROSECUTION OFFENSE IN OUR FEDERAL SYSTEM. DRUG OFFENDERS WHO ARE NOT KINGPINS, THEY'RE THE NO THE BOSSES, THEY'RE NOT INVOLVED IN ANY VIOLENCE IN THE CRIME, AND THERE'S NO GUN INVOLVED AND THEY ARE WILLING TO COOPERATE WITH THE GOVERNMENT IN CLOSING DOWN THE DRUG OPERATION. IF THEY MEET ALL THOSE CRITERIA, WE SAY THAT THE COURT CAN TAKE THAT INTO CONSIDERATION IN SENTENCING. I THINK THAT'S A GOOD THING. I THINK IN ALTON MILLS SITUATION, IT WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN A MUCH, MUCH DIFFERENT SENTENCE THAN HE FACED BEFORE THE COMMUTATION BY PRESIDENT OBAMA. WE ALSO WANT TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT IN THE FUTURE THOSE WHO WERE SENTENCED UNDER THE OLD 100-1 DISPARITY, AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, COULD PETITION THE GOVERNMENT FOR A A LOWER SENTENCE. NO GUARANTEE THAT THEY'LL BE RELEASED. BUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO PETITION IN THOSE SITUATIONS. I THINK THIS IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. LET ME SAY THAT THE BILL ALSO CONTAINS PROVISIONS WHICH I THINK ARE EXTRAORDINARY WHEN IT COMES TO PRISON REFORM. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH ALL THESE PEOPLE? MOST OF THEM WHO ARE IN PRISON ARE COMING OUT SOMEDAY. WILL THEY COME OUT TO COMMIT ANOTHER CRIME? THAT WOULD BE A FAILURE OF THE SYSTEM COMPLETELY. SO TWO SENATORS -- ONE REPUBLICAN, SENATOR JOHN CORNYN OF TEXAS, ONE DEMOCRAT, SENATOR SHELDON WHITEHOUSE OF RHODE ISLAND -- CAME TOGETHER WITH THE PRISON REFORM BILL THAT'S ALREADY PASSED H T WITH 386 VOTES. WE IMPROVED IT SOME IN THE SENATE BUT IT BASICALLY GIVES TO THOSE WHO ARE IN PRISON AN INCENTIVE TO DEVELOP SKILLS AND TRAINING AND EDUCATION LEVELS THAT WILL SERVE THEM WHEN THEY LEAVE TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM AND REDUCE THE COMMISSION OF CRIME IN THE FUTURE. I THINK THAT IS HUMANE. IT'S SENSIBLE, AND IT SAYS TO THOSE WHO TRULY WANT TO TURNS THEIR LIVES AROUND, WE'RE GOING TO GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO PROVE IT. PROVE IT WITH YOUR ACTIONS AND WE'LL GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO BE RELEASED EARLIER. AND TO HAVE A CHANCE TO GO INTO SOCIETY IN A POSITIVE WAY. WE BROUGHT THESE TWO TOGETHER -- CRIMINAL SENTENCING AND PRISON REFORM -- AND IT DOESN'T HAPPEN VERY OFTEN AROUND HERE. THE LAST TIME WE HAD ANY MEASURABLE IMPACT ON THE SUBJECT WAS EIGHT YEARS AGO. IT WAS EIGHT YEARS AGO WHEN I INTRODUCED MY FIRST BILL ON CRIMINAL SENTENCING REFORM. AND I THINK THAT BILL, WHICH INCIDENTALLY I COSPONSORED WITH FORMER SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS -- I THINK THAT BILL WORKED. IT GAVE THE INDIVIDUALS AN OPPORTUNITY TO PETITION FOR EARLY RELEASE. AND IN MANY CASES, IT SAVED THEIR LIVES AND GAVE THEM A CHANCE. WE'RE BACK -- WE'RE BACK WITH A BIPARTISAN BILL. IT'S CALLED THE FIRST STEP BILL. AND THIS BILL I THINK DESERVES OUR CONSIDERATION IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. YOU SEE THIS EMPTY SENATE FLOOR? THIS IS A PLACE TO DO BUSINESS. WE HAVE SOME BUSINESS TO DO. IN THE THREE WEEKS WE'LL BE IN SESSION IN THE MONTH -- THE END OF NOVEMBER AND MONTH OF DECEMBER, WE CAN EASILY PASS THIS LEGISLATION. I SAT DOWN WITH SENATOR GRASSLEY AND REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC LEADERS FROM THE HOUSE. THEY ARE ANXIOUS, WE'RE ALL ANXIOUS, TO BRING THIS UP. I'M GOING TO PLEAD WITH SENATOR McCONNELL AND ASK EVERYONE TO JOIN ME TO PUT THIS MEASURE ON THE CALENDAR. I BELIEVE IT WILL HAVE STRONG BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS WILL JOIN IN AN EFFORT ENDORSED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP. HOW ABOUT THAT FOR YOUR HEADLINE. YOU DON'T SEE OFTEN THAT SORT OF THING HAPPENING VERY OFTEN. WE GET A CHANCE TO DO IT HERE WITH THIS REVISED FIRST STEP ACT. I WANT TO THANK ALL THOSE WHO WORKED SO HARD STARTING WITH MIKE LEE, MY ORIGINAL COSPONSOR. ADD TO THAT CHUCK GRASSLEY WHO HAS BEEN A TERRIFIC PARTNER START TO FINISH IN MAKING THIS A BIPARTISAN EFFORT. AND SPECIAL THANKS TO SENATORS CORNYN AND WHITEHOUSE FOR MERRYING UP THEIR PRISON REFORM PACKAGE WITH OUR SENTENCING REFORM PACKAGE. THIS COULD BE SIGNIFICANT. IT COULD BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS WE DO WHEN IT COMES TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE NOT ONLY THIS YEAR BUT FOR A LONG TIME. I COMMEND MY COLLEAGUES FOR THEIR COOPERATION ON THAT AND I HOP WE CAN GET THIS -- I HOPE WE CAN GET THIS JOB DONE IN THE CLOSING WEEKS OF THIS SESSION. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 11:33:14 AM

    MR. CORNYN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I KNOW LOOKING BACK ON THE LAST TWO YEARS SINCE THE 2016…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I KNOW LOOKING BACK ON THE LAST TWO YEARS SINCE THE 2016 ELECTION, TIME HAS FLOWN. BUT IT'S IMPORTANT TO REFLECT ON WHAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH AND REALLY IT'S PRETTY REMARKABLE. AND THESE ARE NOT JUST POLITICAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS. THESE ARE THINGS THAT HAVE IMPROVED THE LIVES OF OUR CONSTITUENTS, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. SO AS TIME IS RUNNING OUT ON THE 115th CONGRESS LEADING UP TO THE HOLIDAYS, YESTERDAY I SPOKE ABOUT SOME OF OUR LARGER ACCOMPLISHMENTS. TODAY I WANT TO HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THE OTHER IMPORTANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS THAT WE'VE MADE THAT BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T PARTICULARLY CONTROVERSIAL, YOU DIDN'T SEE THEM REPORTED IN CABLE NEWS OR IN THE MEDIA OR THE SUBJECT OF MASSIVE SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS. SO IN ADDITION TO THE ECONOMIC GAINS THAT WE'VE SEEN FROM PASSING HISTORIC TAX REFORM FROM THE REGULATORY ROLEBACK WE'VE SEEN WHICH -- ROLLBACK WE'VE SEEN WHICH UNLEASHED THE AMERICAN ECONOMY, WE'VE ALSO PASSED IMPORTANT PUBLIC SAFETY LEGISLATION LIKE THE OPIOID LEGISLATION WHICH IS DESIGNED TO HELP THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS SUFFERING FROM DRUG ADDICTION. IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THE GRIM STATISTIC THAT LAST YEAR ALONE 72,000 AMERICANS DIED FROM DRUG OVERDOSES. 50,000 DIED FROM OPIOID OVERDOSES WHICH INCLUDE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, FENTANYL, AND HEROIN, MOST OF WHICH COMES FROM MEXICO. AND I'LL TOUCH ON THAT IN A MOMENT. A LITTLE OVER A YEAR AGO, THE GULF COAST OF TEXAS SUSTAINED A RAIN EVENT, THE LIKES OF WHICH WE HOPE WE'LL NEVER SEE AGAIN. THIS WAS CALLED HURRICANE HARVEY BUT INSTEAD OF DAMAGING WINDS, WE HAD IN ADDITION INCREDIBLE AMOUNTS OF RAIN WITH CATASTROPHIC FLOODING THAT LEFT TEXANS DEALING WITH MONTHS-LONG RECOVERY EFFORTS THAT ARE STILL GOING ON TODAY. I WAS PROUD TO JOIN WITH NOT ONLY MY TEXT COLLEAGUES BUT ALSO -- TEXT YAS COLLEAGUES BUT ALSO COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE IN BOTH CHAMBERS TO DRAFT TWO DISASTER RELIEF BILLS TOTALS $47 BILLION FOR HURRICANE HARVEY AID AS WELL AS THE OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS AFFECTING OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. ABOUT $30 BILLION OF THAT I THINK IS -- WAS TEXAS SPECIFIC MORE OR LESS IN TERMS OF THE NEEDS, IN TERMS OF THE RESOURCES THAT WERE REQUIRED NOT ONLY TO RECOVER BUT ALSO TO HELP MITIGATE FUTURE THREATS. BECAUSE WE KNOW IT DOES LITTLE GOOD TO FIX THE PROBLEM TODAY IF IT'S GOING TO BE REPEATED TOMORROW AND WE KNOW HURRICANE HARVEY IS NOT THE LAST HURRICANE AND THE LAST RAIN EVENT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE. SO WE AUTHORIZED A COASTAL STUDY THAT WILL LEAD US ULTIMATELY TO CONSTRUCTION OF A COASTAL SPINE THAT WILL HELP PROTECT THE IMPORTANT GULF COAST REGION WHERE MOST OF THE REFINING CAPACITY IN THE COUNTRY IS LOCATED. AND WE KNOW THAT IS A NATIONAL PRIORITY. AS WELL AS THE FLOOD MITIGATION PROJECTS I MENTIONED A MOMENT AGO BY AUTHORIZING AND FUNDING THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS. WE TRIED TO LISTEN TO WHAT OUR CONSTITUENTS AND I DID IN TEXAS, WHAT THEY SAID THEY NEEDED MOST AND WE PASSED TWO OTHER PIECES OF LEGISLATION PARTICULARLY RELATING TO THE DISASTER. FIRST WE MADE HOUSES OF WORSHIP ELIGIBLE FOR CERTAIN FEMA GRANTS TO HELP THEM REBUILD AFTER DISASTERS AND THE SECOND WAS A TAX RELIEF PROVISION SIMILAR TO THE ONE WE PASSED AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA WHICH GAVE TEXANS THE ABILITY TO DEDUCT THEIR PROPERTY DAMAGE COSTS AND ACCESS RETIREMENT SAVINGS ON AN EMERGENCY BASIS WITHOUT PENALTIES. PROVIDING THAT RELIEF WAS A BIG HELP TO MY CONSTITUENTS. DISASTERS TEND TO BRING OUT THE BEST IN ALL OF US BECAUSE IT CALLS US TO DO THINGS THAT WE DIDN'T KNOW WE COULD ACTUALLY DO. AND THE TEXAS SPIRIT WAS PERHAPS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WAS MOST REASSURING FOLLOWING THESE DISASTERS AND IT NEVER WAVERED. WE SAW THAT SPIRIT AGAIN RALLY AROUND A COMMUNITY AFTER AN UNTHINKABLE ACT OF VIOLENCE AT SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, TEXAS, THAT LEFT 26 PEOPLE DEAD AND 20 MORE WOUNDED. BECAUSE THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE HAD FAILED TO UPLOAD A FELONY CONVICTION FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INTO THE F.B.I.'S CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM, THE SHOOTER IN THAT CASE WAS ABLE TO ACQUIRE A FIREARM, MULTIPLE FIREARMS BY SIMPLY LYING ABOUT HIS CRIMINAL BACKGROUND RECORD. AND SO WE CAME TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN WAY TO PASS A BILL I INTRODUCED CALLED THE FIX NICS. IT FIXED OR AT LEAST TOOK GREAT STRIDES TOWARD FIXING OUR BROKEN BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM TO ENSURE THAT VIOLENT CRIMINALS CAN'T EASILY ACQUIRE FIREARMS WHEN THEY'RE CONVICTED AND INELIGIBLE UNDER EXISTING LAW. WE SAW THAT RESILIENCY ARISE OUT OF ANOTHER TRAGEDY AT SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL WHERE WE PASSED THE STOP SCHOOL VIOLENCE ACT. I'M NOT SUGGESTING THAT BY PASSING LEGISLATION WE'RE GOING TO MAGICALLY WAVE OUR WAND AND STOP ACTS OF VIOLENCE, BUT WE CAN DO THINGS THAT HELP PROVIDE PLANNING, TRAINING, SAFETY INFRASTRUCTURE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT SUPPORT FOR OUR SCHOOLS TO MAKE THEM A LESS SOFT TARGETIN ACTS OF VIOLENCE, BUT THESE I THINK ARE INTENDED AND WILL HAVE A CONSTRUCTIVE EFFECT AND ACTUALLY SAVE LIVES. A THIRD WAY THAT WE SPOKE ON THE ISSUE OF PUBLIC SAFETY IN OUR COMMUNITIES WAS THROUGH ANOTHER BILL I INTRODUCED CALLED THE PROJECT SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS ACT THAT WAS SIGNED INTO LAW EARLIER THIS YEAR. IT PASSED THE SENATE UNANIMOUSLY. PEOPLE THINK EVERYTHING IS DIVIDED HERE. WELL, ON POLITICAL -- ON POLITICAL LINES. WELL, WE PASS LEGISLATION LIKE THIS UNANIMOUSLY IN THE SENATE. IT AUTHORIZED THE PROJECT SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD PROGRAM AT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WHICH AIMS AT REDUCING VIOLENT CRIME BY PAIRING LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS WITH FEDERAL PROSECUTORS AND USING TOUGH FEDERAL LAWS TO PROSECUTE GUN CRIMES. THESE PARTNERSHIPS ARE PROVEN TO REDUCE VIOLENT CRIMES AND DESERVE OUR FULL SUPPORT. WE'VE ALSO COME TOGETHER TO PROVIDE HELP TO VICTIMS OF CRIME AND FOR THE VULNERABLE. THE PRESIDENT HAS SIGNED THREE BILLS INTO LAW, A BILL I BROWSED WHEN I -- INTRODUCED, THE FIRST CALLED THE SAFER ACT WHICH IS AIMED AT REDUCING THE BACKLOG OF UNTESTED RAPE KITS AND FORENSIC LABS AND THE SECOND CALLED THE JUSTICE SERVE ACT WHICH ASSISTS LAW ENFORCEMENT IN PROSECUTING THE MOST DIFFICULT COLD CASES USING THE SEEMINGLY MAGICAL POWER OF D.N.A. TESTING IN FORENSIC LABS. THE THIRD IS A BILL I CHAMPIONED CALLED THE PROTECT OUR CHILDREN ACT WHICH REAUTHORIZES IMPORTANT RESOURCES COMBATING CHILD EXPLOITATION ONLINE. PERHAPS THE BEST NEWS STORY OF THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS HAS BEEN OUR ECONOMY, HOW IT'S COME ROARING BACK. WE'VE TRIED TO REDUCE THE REGULATORY BURDEN ON EMPLOYERS AND JOB SEEKERS ALIKE, INCLUDING IN THREE BILLS THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS SIGNED INTO LAW. THESE WERE TARGETED BILLS NOT DESIGNED TO CHANGE WESTERN CIVILIZATION BUT TO ADDRESS SPECIFIC REAL PROBLEMS THAT WILL IMPROVE THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE WE WORK FOR. ONE OF THOSE IS THE NEW HOPE ACT WHICH IS AN OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING REFORM BILL THAT GIVES STATES THE TOOLS TO REDUCE BARRIERS TO CERTAIN PROFESSIONS. IT MAKES NO SENSE BASICALLY BECAUSE OF LICENSING REQUIREMENTS, TO BASICALLY BAR PEOPLE FROM DOING THINGS THAT THEY CAN LEARN HOW TO DO WITHOUT OVERLY BURDENSOME LICENSING AND TRAINING REQUIREMENTS WHICH ESSENTIALLY ARE DESIGNED TO PROTECT INCUMBENTS. AND WE'VE ALSO PASSED THE JOBS FOR OUR HEROES ACT WHICH MAKES IT EASIER FOR OUR VETERANS TO GET COMMERCIAL DRIVER'S LICENSES. WE PASSED THE AMERICAN LAW ENFORCEMENT HEROES ACT TO MAKE SURE VETERANS CAN GET HIRED BY LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES WHEN THEY COME OUT OF THE MILITARY WITH THE VERY SKILLS THAT ARE NEEDED BY OUR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT, AND WE KNOW ALL OF OUR POLICE AGENCIES ARE WORKING HARD TO TRY TO RECRUIT GOOD QUALIFIED PEOPLE TO HELP KEEP OUR COMMUNITIES SAFE. AND THEY STRUGGLE WITH THAT. THIS WILL HELP MAKE THAT BETTER. BUT IN EACH OF THESE CASES, WE TRIED TO LISTEN TO THE NEEDS OF TEXANS AND PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND TRANSLATE THAT INTO LEGISLATION THAT WILL IMPROVE THEIR LIVES. THEY DON'T GET TOP BILLING ON THE NATIONAL NEWS, BUT THEY DESERVE OUR SUPPORT AS DO THE PEOPLE WHO I CAME IN CONTACT IN MY STATE WHO HAVE INSPIRED THESE LAWS. SO AS WE CLOSE OUT THE 115th CONGRESS AND MOVE INTO A NEW CONGRESS IN JANUARY, THESE ARE THE TYPES OF THINGS THAT WE CAN CONTINUE TO DO TOGETHER. BECAUSE OF THE MIDTERM ELECTION, OUR FRIENDS IN THE OTHER BODY, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES NOW THAT MISS PELOSI WILL PRESUMABLY BE THE NEXT SPEAKER, THEY HAVE AN IMPORTANT DECISION TO MAKE. DO THEY WANT TO MAKE NOISE? DO THEY WANT TO HARASS THE PRESIDENT? OR DO THEY WANT TO WORK WITH US TO MAKE LAWS THAT IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THE PEOPLE WE REPRESENT? I HOPE THEY CHOOSE THE LATTER, AND CLEARLY THERE'S MORE WE CAN AND SHOULD DO TOGETHER TO HELP THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I KNOW I'M RUNNING OUT OF TIME. I'M GOING TO COME BACK A LITTLE LATER ON AND TALK ABOUT THE CARAVANS THAT ARE COMING UP FROM CENTRAL AMERICA THROUGH MEXICO AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO TOGETHER TO ADDRESS THOSE, BUT AT THIS TIME I'LL YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 11:49:33 AM

    MR. PAUL

    I RISE TO CALL FOR AN END TO THE WAR IN YEMEN. YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW THERE IS…

    I RISE TO CALL FOR AN END TO THE WAR IN YEMEN. YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW THERE IS A WAR IN YEMEN BECAUSE THE MEDIA SEEMS TO BE INVOLVED WITH OTHER THINGS. WE HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE SAUDI COALITION, NINE OTHER NATIONS INCLUDING BAHRAIN WHO HAVE BEEN BAMMING YEMEN. YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW. ABOUT YEMEN EITHER. YEMEN IS ONE OF THE POOREST COUNTRIES ON THE PLANET, ABOUT 17,000 PEOPLE WHO LIVE ON THE EDGE OF STARVATION THERE. THIS YEAR THEY SUFFERED CHOLERA. OVER A MILLION PEOPLE HAD CHOLERA AND THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE DIED. THIS IS A COUNTRY SO IMPOVERISHED THAT SCENE WHEN THERE IS NO -- THAT EVEN WHEN THERE IS NO WAR IN YEMEN THEY LIVE ON THE EDGE OF BEING ABLE TO SURVIVE. THE PICTURES ARE HEARTRENDING. WHEN YOU SEE THE PICTURES OF SWOLLEN BELLIES BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH PROIT -- PROTEIN. YOUR TAX DOLLARS ARE SUPPORTING THIS WAR, SO I THINK THERE OUGHT TO BE A DEBATE, SO THAT'S WHAT I STAND UP TODAY TO DO, IS TO FORCE A DEBATE OVER WHETHER OR NOT WE SHOULD BE INVOLVED WITH AIDING AND ABETTING THE SAUDI COALITION IN THIS WAR IN YEMEN. YOU SEE, OUR FOUNDING FATHERS INTENDED THAT CONGRESS WOULD DEBATE WAR. IT WAS VERY, VERY CLEAR. IF YOU READ THE FEDERALIST PAPERS, IF YOU READ THE CONSTITUTION, IF YOU READ ANY OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS, IF YOU READ ANY OF THE FIRST EIGHT PRESIDENTS, THEY SAID EXPLICITLY AGAIN AND AGAIN THAT THE PREROGATIVE TO DECLARE WAR WAS CONGRESS', THAT IT WAS SPECIFICALLY TAKEN FROM THE PRESIDENT, SPECIFICALLY FORBIDDEN OF THE PRESIDENT TO GO TO WAR WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF CONGRESS. SO WE'VE BEEN HAVING A LITTLE BIT OF THIS DEBATE. ABOUT A MONTH AGO WE HAD A DEBATE, AND YOU KNOW WHAT? THE ADMINISTRATION ARGUED THAT BOMBS ARE NOT WAR, THAT REFUELING PLANES THAT BOMB PEOPLE IS NOT WAR. THAT WE ARE NOT INVOLVED WITH HOSTILITIES IN YEMEN BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE TROOPS MARCHING ON THE GROUND WITH MUSKETS. I THINK THAT'S AN ABSURD NOTION THAT YOU COULD BE REFUELING BOMBING PLANES, SUPPLYING THE BOMBS AND AS BOMBS ARE RAINING DOWN ON PEOPLE AND CIVILIANS ARE KILLED AND THE ONES WHO SURVIVE PICK UP A SCRAP OF THE BOMB AND IT SAYS MADE IN U.S., TELL THEM WE'RE NOT INVOLVED WITH THE WAR IN YEMEN. MADISON, AMONG THE FOUNDING FATHERS, WAS QUITE CLEAR IN SAYING THAT THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH IS THE BRANCH MOST PRONE TO WAR. THEREFORE, WE HAVE, WITH STUDIED CARE, VESTED THE POWER TO DECLARE WAR IN CONGRESS. WE HAVE NOT OBEYED THAT CONSTITUTION MAXIM FOR A LONG TIME. FOR A LONG TIME WE'VE BASICALLY ABDICATED OUR ROLE, BOTH PARTIES, REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT, HAVE LET PRESIDENTS, REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT, DO WHAT THEY WILL. THIS WAR STARTED UNDER THE PREVIOUS PRESIDENT. THIS WAR CONTINUES UNDER THE CURRENT PRESIDENT. AND YET, CONGRESS DOESN'T HAVE THE SPINE, DOESN'T HAVE THE WILL TO STAND UP AND SAY THAT IS OUR JOB TO DECLARE WAR. IT'S OUR JOB TO REPRESENT THE PEOPLE, TO LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE AND DECIDE WHETHER WE SHOULD BE AT WAR. THE CONSTITUTION IN ARTICLE 1, SECTION 8, SAYS CONGRESS SHALL DECLARE WAR. IT IS UNEQUIVOCAL. AND YET, HERE WE ARE INVOLVED IN YET ANOTHER WAR. WE'RE INVOLVED IN A WAR IN YEMEN. WE'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN A WAR IN SYRIA. WE'VE ALSO BEEN INVOLVED IN A WAR IN LIBYA. HE WE'VE ALSO NOW BEEN AT WAR WITH PEOPLE IN AFGHANISTAN WHO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11, 18 YEARS LATER. THESE WARS GO ON AND ON BECAUSE CONGRESS, AND SPECIFICALLY THE SENATE, DOESN'T DO THEIR JOB. YOU'VE HEARD PEOPLE ON TELEVISION YELLING, DO YOUR JOB, DO YOUR JOB, AT THEIR LEGISLATORS. WELL, THAT'S FINE, BUT LET'S DEBATE WHAT OUR JOB IS. THE CONSTITUTION WAS VERY CLEAR THAT ONE OF OUR JOBS IS TO DECLARE WAR, AND WE HAVE ABDICATED THAT RESPONSIBILITY AND HAVE NOT LIVED UP TO IT. I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A DIRECT VOTE ON WHETHER WE SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN YEMEN, A DIRECT VOTE ON WHETHER WE EITHER DECLARE WAR OR WE DON'T, BUT THAT IS FORBIDDEN BECAUSE I'M IN THE MINORITY, NOT IN THE MINORITY PARTY BUT IN THE MINORITY IDEOLOGICALLAL LLY. THE VAST PART OF THE THIS PARTY SAYS THE PRESIDENT HAS UNITARY AUTHORITY. THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF CAN DO WHATEVER HE OR SHE WANTS. THAT'S WHAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF THESE PEOPLE BELIEVE, SO THEY WILL VOTE AGAINST THIS BECAUSE THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT CONGRESS REALLY SHOULD TELL THE PRESIDENT WHEN WE GO TO WAR. I WOULD LIKE TO VOTE DIRECTLY THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE AT WAR IN YEMEN, NOT BE INVOLVED WITH SUPPLYING REFUELING OR BOMBS TO THE SAUDIS AND THE BAHRAINIS AND THEIR COALITION. I'M FORBIDDEN FROM THAT VOTE, BUT BECAUSE OF A 1976 LAW, THE ARMS EXPORT CONTROL ACT, I'M ABLE TO OBJECT TO ARMS SALES. WE'VE DONE THIS TWICE IN THE LAST YEAR. WE OBJECTED IN A BIPARTISAN WAY TO THE SALE OF ARMS TO SAUDI ARABIA BECAUSE WE THOUGHT THEIR WAR WAS UNJUST, INDISCRIMINATE, KILLING CIVILIANS AND WAS NOT IN AMERICA'S BEST INTEREST. THE FIRST TIME WE HAD THE VOTE, WE GOT A LITTLE OVER 20 VOTES TO SAY WE SHOULD NOT BE CONTINUING TO SELL ARMS TO THE SAUDIS WHILE THEY CONTINUE THIS ABOMINATION. 20-SOMETHING VOTES OUT OF 100. WE H LOST OVERWHELMINGLY. WE HAD ANOTHER VOTE TWO OR THREE MONTHS AGO. WE GOT 47 VOTES. NOW WE'VE HAD THE KILLING AND DISMEMBERMENT OF A JOURNALIST BY THE NAME OF KHOSHOGGI. PEOPLE ARE FINALLY COMING TOGETHER YET THE BOMBS CONTINUE TO DROP. WE'RE STILL SUPPLYING THE BOMBS. THINGS ARE BEGINNING TO CHANGE. THERE IS A MOVEMENT AMONG THE PUBLIC TO HOLD THEIR REPRESENTATIVES ACCOUNTABLE AND SAY WHY ARE WE AT WAR IN YEMEN? WHY DON'T YOU VOTE ON WHETHER WE SHOULD BE AT WAR IN YEMEN? WHY DO YOU ABDICATE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO THE PRESIDENT? YOU SEE, IT'S HARDER FOR SOMEONE LIKE ME BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT IS OF MY PARTY AND I AGREE WITH HIM ON MANY DIFFERENT ISSUES. BUT WHERE'S THE OTHER SIDE? THE OTHER SIDE, THEY SHOULD BE RISING UP AND SAYING THIS IS A USURPATION OF POWER, THE PRESIDENT IS TAKING UPON HIMSELF POWER THAT'S NOT HIS. THE OTHER SIDE SHOULD BE RISING UP UNANIMOUSLY AND SAYING ENOUGH'S ENOUGH. WE ARE TAKING BACK THIS POWER. YOU SEE, PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THIS ALL THE TIME. PEOPLE PRETEND TO BE BELIEVERS IN CONGRESSIONAL CHECKS AND BALANCES. THERE'S ALL THESE GROUPS OUT THERE FOR CHECKS AND BALANCES. YET, THIS IS A CHECK AND BALANCE. THIS IS A TIME IN WHICH THE SENATE CAN TELL THE PRESIDENT WHAT TO DO. BUT WATCH THE VOTES. MANY OF THE PEOPLE YOU SEE ON TV SAYING WE SHOULD STAND UP AND THE PRESIDENT THIS AND THE PRESIDENT THAT ON THIS ISSUE, WHICH IS AN HONEST ISSUE OF DISAGREEMENT WITH THE PRESIDENT, STAND UP AND RESTRICT HIS POWER. STAND UP AND TELL THE PRESIDENT THE CONSTITUTION SAYS THAT WAR SHALL BE DECLARED BY CONGRESS. BUT WATCH THE VOTES HERE. WE WON'T GET A DIRECT VOTE ON THE WAR. WE'LL GET AN INDIRECT. WE WON'T EVEN GET TO VOTE TODAY ON SAUDI ARMS BECAUSE THEY'RE AFRAID TO PUT FORTH SAUDI ARMS BECAUSE THEY THINK WE MIGHT WIN. BUT WE WILL VOTE ON ONE OF THE COALITION PARTNERS, THE BAHRAINIS ARE PART OF A NINE-COUNTRY COALITION FIGHTING THIS WAR THAT HAVE HAD CASUALTIES, THEY DROPPED BOMBS, BEEN ON THE GROUND IN YEMEN. THEY ARE PART OF A FIGHTING COALITION. THE RESOLUTION TODAY WILL BE SPECIFICALLY ABOUT NOT SELLING ONE SET OF ARMS SALES TO BAHRAIN. THE OTHER SIDE WILL LOOK FOR EXCUSES TO SAY NO, OH MY GOODNESS, BAHRAIN HAS BEEN A GREAT ALLY. I'M NOT DISPUTING THAT. WHAT I'M DISPUTING IS THAT THEY'RE GETTING THE MESSAGE THAT WE ARE UNHAPPY. WE SUPPLY THEM WITH ALL OF THEIR ARMS, ALL RIGHT. WE GET TO HOST OUR NAVY THERE. GREAT. THEY'RE AN ALLY. GREAT. I'M NOT ASKING THAT WE END OUR ALLIANCE. I'M NOT ASKING THAT WE SANCTION THEM. I'M ONLY SAYING STOP ONE SALE OF ARMS TO SEND A MESSAGE THAT WE ARE DONE WITH THE WAR IN YEMEN, THAT WE ARE NO LONGER GOING TO SELL WEAPONS TO COUNTRIES THAT ARE FIGHTING THIS WAR IN YEMEN, THAT THE WAR MUST COME TO A CLOSE. AND SOME WILL GREW, WELL, IT'S ALREADY KIND OF WINDING DOWN. WE'RE NO LONGER REFUELING THEIR PLANES. AND YET SINCE SECRETARY POMPEO SAID ABOUT THREE WEEKS AGO THAT THE SAUDI COALITION SHOULD QUIT BOMBING CIVILIAN CENTERS, THE SAUDIS HAVE DROPPED 200 BOMBS ON HODAYDA. IT IS A CITY WHERE MOST OF THE HUMANITARIAN AND FOOD COMES IN. YEMEN DEPENDS, 80% OF THEIR FOOD MUST BE IMPORTED, COMES THROUGH THIS ONE PORT FOR THE MOST PART. THE SAUDIS, SINCE WE ADMONISH THEM, SINCE SECRETARY POMPEO SAID THEY NEED TO CEASE AND DESIST FROM BOMBING CIVILIAN CENTERS, THE SAUDIS HAVE DROPPED 200 MORE BOMBS ON THE CITY OF HODAYDA WHERE THE HUMANITARIAN AID COMES IN. IT MUST STOP. SOMEONE MUST TAKE A STAND AND SAY ENOUGH'S ENOUGH. WE ARE AGAINST THE HUMANITARIAN DISASTER IN YEMEN. THEY WILL ARGUE, THEN VOTE ON THAT. I CAN'T HAVE A DIRECT VOTE ON THAT. THEY WILL NOT LET ME VOTE ON WHETHER OR NOT WE SHOULD BE AT WAR IN YEMEN. I'M ONLY ALLOWED TO VOTE ON THIS ONE SMALL THING, BUT THIS IS A PROXY VOTE. THIS IS A VOTE THAT REPRESENTS WHETHER OR NOT WE SHOULD BE AT WAR IN YEMEN. IT'S AN INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT VOTE. IT IS A, AN ATTEMPT TO GRAB BACK POWER FROM THE PRESIDENCY. IT'S AN ATTEMPT TO HAVE A CHECK AND BALANCE ON ALL PRESIDENTS OF ALL PARTIES, OF ALL BELIEFS. I DON'T THINK THAT WE SHOULD EVER SET ONE ARM, ONE MUSKET, ONE SHOTGUN TO CREATE A JOB. OUR ARMS INDUSTRY IS FOR OUR NATIONAL DEFENSE. IT IS A UNIQUE INDUSTRY THAT IS NOT AN ENTIRELY PRIVATE ENTERPRISE INDUSTRY. THE ARMS MANUFACTURER, THE MILL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX IS SUPPORTED OVERWHELMINGLY BY TAX DOLLARS. I'M NOT FOR ANYBODY BEING ABLE TO BUY AN F-16. I'M NOT FOR SELLING F-16'S TO RUSSIA OR TO CHINA, BUT I'M ALSO NOT FOR SELLING ANY MORE TO SAUDI ARABIA. I'M NOT FOR FIXING THEIR PLANES. I'M NOT FOR GIVING THEM REPLACEMENT PARTS. THEIR AIR FORCE WOULD BE SHUT DOWN IN A MATTER OF MONTHS IF WE STOPPED FUNDING THEM. PEOPLE SAY IT'S TOO DRAMATIC. YOU'RE DOING THINGS, THEY HAVE BEEN SUCH A GREAT ALLY. WE HAD A SENATOR ARRIVE YESTERDAY AT OUR LUNCH, AND HE SAID, WELL, WE KNOW HE'S NOT A DEMOCRAT. WE KNOW HE DOESN'T BELIEVE IN REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT. WE KNOW IT HE'S A -- YOU KNOW, HE'S A THUG, AND OF COURSE THEY EXECUTE AND CRUCIFY PEOPLE -- CRUCIFY PEOPLE IN SAUDI ARABIA. YOU KNOW, IT'S THE BEST WE CAN DO AND WE NEED HIM VIS-A-VIS IRAN. WHAT WILL HAPPEN? IRAN WILL TAKE OVER THE WORLD IF WE DON'T COMBAT THEM AND EVERY MISBEGOTTEN CIVIL WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST. HERE'S THE POINT AND THIS IS A POINT WE SHOULD DEBATE AND NOBODY DEBATES. WHO IS MORE EVIL? THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARD AND AYATOLLAH OF IRAN OR THE SAUDI ARABIA KINGDOM? IF YOU LOOK AT IT OBJECTIVELY, SAUDI ARABIA SPENT OVER $100 BILLION TEACHING HATRED OF CHRISTIANS, HINDUS, AND JEWS AROUND THE WORLD. THEY HAVE OPENED TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MA DROS IS AS, THE HAQQANI NETWORK THAT HAS KILLED OUR SOLDIERS IN AFGHANISTAN ARE SUPPLIED WITH MONEY BY THE SAUDIS. THE TALIBAN HAS GOTTEN MONEY FROM THE SAUDIS. THERE WAS A REPORT THAT A SAUDI ROYAL DROPPED OFF A CHECK FOR $266 MILLION TO THE TALIBAN AT ONE POINT. SO WE'RE FIGHTING THESE PEOPLE AND WE'RE ARMING PEOPLE. WE SHOULD NOT BE ARMING THE ENEMY. IT'S NOT JUST ONE SIDE. THE OTHER SIDE HAS ADMITTED THIS AS WELL. IT'S NOT JUST REPUBLICANS SAYING THIS. HILLARY CLINTON SAID IN A CABLE THAT WAS LEAKED THAT SAUDI ARABIA WAS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT SOURCE OF FUNDING TO SUNNI TERRORISTS WORLDWIDE. WHAT'S IT LIKE TO LIVE IN SAUDI ARABIA? WE MIGHT ASK BEREEK AL NIMMER. HE WAS ARRESTED AT 17 AT A PROTEST. HE'S STILL IN JAIL. HE'S SCHEDULED TO BE EXECUTED. THEY HAVE A REAL GLORIFUL WAY OF EXECUTING YOU IN SAD RAIN. THEY CHOP YOUR HEAD OFF AND THEN CRUCIFY YOU. HIS HEAD WILL BE CHOPPED OFF AND HIS BODY WILL BE DISPLAYED IN A CRUISE FIRST POSE. THAT'S WHAT -- CRUCIFIX POSE. THAT'S WHAT THEY'LL DO TO HIM. THEY HAVE BEHEADED MINORS IN SAUDI ARABIA BUT WE BUY THEIR OIL AND WE'RE SUCH GOOD FRIENDS WITH THEIR SHEIKS AND THEIR KINGS. IN SAUDI ARABIA RIGHT NOW, THERE ARE 3,000 PEOPLE IN PRISON WHO HAVE NOT GOTTEN A TRIAL. THERE'S NEARLY A THOUSAND PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN IN PRISON FOR THREE YEARS WITHOUT TRIAL. THREE YEARS WITHOUT TRIAL, A THOUSAND PEOPLE. AND YET WE CONTINUE TO SAY, OH, YES, BUT THEY OPPOSE IRAN. WHO'S WORSE? IRAN OR SAUDI ARABIA? MAYBE NEITHER ONE OF THEM ARE GOOD. DO YOU WANT TO SEND YOUR SON OR YOUR DAUGHTER TO FIGHT FOR THE IRANIAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARD? NO. DO YOU WANT TO SEND YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER TO FIGHT FOR THE SAUDI KINGS WHO CRUCIFY PEOPLE? NO. MAYBE WE DON'T ALWAYS HAVE TO PICK SIDES. MAYBE THERE'S A TIME THAT COMES WHEN THE THOUSAND-YEAR-OLD WAR BETWEEN SUNNI AND SHIA, LET THEM FIGHT IT. IS THERE A REASON WE ALWAYS HAVE TO SEND OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS TO THE MIDDLE EAST? PEOPLE USED TO SAY YOU'VE GOT TO DO IT FOR OIL WHICH IS OFFENSIVE TO ME. WE'RE DOING IT FOR OIL AND OIL PROFITS? WE'RE INDEPENDENT NOW OF THEIR OIL. WE EXPORT OIL. WE DO NOT NEED SAUDI ARABIA. PEOPLE SAY WE'VE GOT TO HAVE THEM OR IRAN WILL TAKE OVER THE WORLD. SAUDI ARABIA SPENDS EIGHT TIMES MORE, SAUDI ARABIA AND THEIR COALITION PARTNERS SPEND EIGHT TIMES MORE ON MILITARY THAN IRAN. WHAT HAPPENS EVERY TIME WE SEND A DOLLAR TO SAUDI ARABIA? IRAN THEN ASKS RUSSIA FOR STUFF. SO IT'S AN ARMS RACE THAT IS FUELED BY BOTH OF THE LARGER OUTSIDE POWERS WITH THEIR PROXIES AND EVERYTHING IS A PROXY WAR. BUT IF YOU FOOL YOURSELF INTO THINKING SAUDI ARABIA IS A GOOD GUY AND IRAN IS THE BAD GUY, YOU HAVE TO ASK YOURSELF ABOUT THE $2 BILLION THAT SAUDI ARABIA SPENT IN INDIA. $2 BILLION OVER A TWO-YEAR PERIOD TEACHING HATRED OF HINDUS, HATRED OF JEWS, HATRED OF CHRISTIANITY, TEACHING THAT VIOLENT JIHAD IS OKAY. HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, BILLIONS OF DOLLARS SPENT BY THE SAUDIS AND YET PEOPLE SAY WELL, WE MAKE A BUCK AND WE CAN CREATE A JOB, I FOR ONE WOULD NOT TRY TO CREATE ONE JOB BY SELLING ARMS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE OUR ENEMY. I DON'T CARE ABOUT JOBS IF WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SELL ARMS TO OUR ENEMIES. THE ARMS BELONG TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE ARMS SHOULD BE SEEN AS A NATIONAL SECURITY ASSET. WE DON'T SELL ARMS TO RUSSIA. WE DON'T SELL ARMS TO CHINA. AND WE SHOULDN'T SELL ARMS TO THE SAUDIS WHO TEACH HATRED OF CHRISTIANITY. THERE ARE SAUDI CITIES YOU CAN'T EVEN GO TO. CHRISTIANS CAN'T GO TO MECCA OR MADINA. YOU CAN'T CARRY A BIBLE IN SAUDI ARABIA. YOU TRY TO VISIT IN SAUDI ARABIA AND BRING A BIBLE IN, YOU'LL BE REJECTED AT THE BORDER. THIS IS NOT WHAT WE'RE FOR. EVEN THOSE WHO. A SENATOR: ADVOCATED FOR THE WAR -- EVEN THOSE WHO HAVE ADVOCATED FOR THE WAR ARE ADMITTING THERE IS MO MILITARY SOLUTION. RECENTLY SECRETARY POMPEO SAID NO MILITARY SOLUTION IN YEMEN.

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  • 12:05:36 PM

    MR. PAUL

    GENERAL MATTIS HAS SAID THE SAME THING. NO MILITARY SOLUTION. BUT THEY'RE…

    GENERAL MATTIS HAS SAID THE SAME THING. NO MILITARY SOLUTION. BUT THEY'RE NOT GETTING THE SIGNAL. WE'RE TELLING THEM THERE'S NO MILITARY SOLUTION. WE'RE TELLING THEM TO QUIT BOMBING CIVILIAN AREAS AND THEY'RE STILL BOMBING THE AREAS. SINCE SECRETARY POMPEO TOLD THEM A FEW WEEKS AGO TO QUIT BOMBING CIVILIAN AREAS, THEY'VE DROPPED 200 BOMBS ON HUDAYDAH. THE SAUDIS AREN'T GETTING THE MESSAGE. THE BAHRAINIANS ARE PART OF THE COALITION. I'M NOT SAYING WE SANCTION IRAN. I'M NOT SAYING WE KICK THEM OUT AS AN IE LIE OR END OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BAHRAINIANS. I'M SELLING DON'T -- I'M SAYING DON'T SELL THEM ARMS ONE TIME. DO YOU THINK THEY GET THE MESSAGE? THAT'S A MESSAGE OF STRENGTH. A LOT OF BEAM SAY WE NEED PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH AND NEED TO HAVE A STRONG MILITARY. YOU KNOW QHA? WE NEED TO HAVE A STRONG FOREIGN POLICY THAT SAYS WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE PUSHED AROUND BY TWO-BIT DICTATORS IN THE MIDDLE EAST. WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE LED ASTRAY AND TO REJECT ALL OF OUR VALUES BY SENDING ARMS INTO A WAR WHERE CIVILIANS ARE BEING KILLED BY THE THOUSANDS. 17 MILLION PEOPLE IN YEMEN LIVE ON THE EDGE OF STARVATION. THE CITY THAT A LOT OF THE HUMANITARIAN AID COMES THROUGH HUDAYDAH, IT'S BLOCKADED BY THE SAUDIS. I THINK WHEN WE MAKE DECISIONS ON FOREIGN POLICY, FIRST THEY SHOULD BE MADE HERE. THE CONSTITUTION INTENDED THAT WE DECLARE WAR AND THAT REALLY FOREIGN POLICY COME FROM THE PEOPLE THROUGH THE CONGRESS, BOTH HOUSE AND SENATE. IF WE WERE TO HAVE THAT DEBATE, WE WOULD ASK THE QUESTION, IS OUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR IN YEMEN IN OUR NATIONAL SECURITY INTEREST? IS OUR NATIONAL SECURITY ENHANCED BY BEING AT WAR IN YEMEN? I THINK THE QUESTION IS UNEQUIVOCALLY NO. TO THOSE WHO SAY WELL, WE MUST COMBAT IRAN, IRAN IS BEING COMBATED BY SAUDI ARABIA BUT IRAN IS NOT A THREAT TO COME ACROSS THE OCEAN TO SEE US. GUESS WHO HAS COME ACROSS THE OCEAN? YOU REMEMBER 9/11? YOU REMEMBER WHO THE HIJACKERS WERE, 15 OF 19 OF THEM WERE FROM SAUDI ARABIA. REMEMBER THE 28 PAGES IN THE 9/11 REPORT THAT THEY WOULDN'T LET THE AMERICAN PUBLIC READ FOR YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS FOR OVER A GETTING CADE? -- DECADE? YOU CAN NOW READ THOSE AND THE INDICATION IS THAT SAUDI ARABIA WAS INVOLVED IN 9/11, PERHAPS IN THE FINANCING, PERHAPS IN THE PLANNING. WE ACTUALLY VOTED OVERWHELMINGLY TO ALLOW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO SENTENCE -- TO ACTUALLY SUE SAUDI ARABIA OVER THIS BECAUSE OF THE IMPLICATION, YES, THE 28 PAGES SHOWED THAT THEY WERE INVOLVED. SO WHAT WE SHOULD BE DEBATING HERE IS THERE A NATIONAL SECURITY RISK OR IS THERE A NATIONAL SECURITY ENHANCEMENT? IS IT BETTER FOR OUR COUNTRY, IS IT GOOD FOR AMERICA TO BE INVOLVED IN THE WAR IN YEMEN OR DOES IT ACTUALLY ENHANCE THE RISKS THAT WILL BE INVOLVED IN FURTHER WAR AND FURTHER DRAWN INTO THE MIDDLE EAST? IF YOU LOOK AT THE HISTORY OF OUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND PRESIDENT TRUMP GETS THIS VERY WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS HE SAYS OVER AND OVER AGAIN IS THAT THE IRAQ WAR WAS A MISTAKE, THAT IT WAS A GEO POLITICAL BLUNDER OF IMMEASURABLE PROPORTIONS. WHY? IT'S THE SAME THING THAT'S HAPPENED OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN THE MIDDLE EAST. WE GO IN AND WE TOPPLE THE STRONG MAN. THE STRONG MAN HAS A HORRIBLE HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD. WE SAY WE'RE BRINGING FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY. YOU KNOW WHAT WE GET? WE TOPPLE THE STRONG MAN AND WE GET CHAOS. AND EVEN DECADES LATER, LOOK, IN AFGHANISTAN, DECADES LATER WE STILL HAVE CHAOS. YOU HAVE CHAOS IN IRAQ. YOU HAVE CHAOS NOW IN SYRIA. YOU HAVE CHAOS IN YEMEN AND LIBYA BUT IT'S NOT MADE BETTER BY INTERVENTION. IT'S ACTUAL WILL I MADE WORSE. OUT OF THE CHAOS BRINGS MORE TERRORISM. TERRORISM LOVES CHAOS. IT'S SORT OF LIKE NATURE -- A VACUUM. WELL, TERRORISM LOVES A VACUUM. SO TERRORISM GROWS AND THRIVES AND BECOMES MORE ORGANIZED WHEN THEY HAVE A VACUUM. MY FEAR IN YEMEN IS, AS THE WAR GOES ON, AS BOTH SIDES DESTROY EACH OTHER IN A WAR THAT HAS NO REAL END, THAT MAYBE AL QAEDA OF YEMEN DOES COME BACK AND AL QAEDA OF YEMEN BECOMES THE DOMINANT PLAYER. WHERE DOES ISIS COME? PEOPLE SAY ISIS IS FROM IRAQ. ISISREW IN SYRIA FROM ROCK -- ROCCA. EVEN AFTER 15 YEARS THE RYE IRAQIS WERE FECKLESS TO STOP THEM BUT THEY GREW IN THE CHAOS OF SYRIA. WHO DID HE WE SUPPLY IN SYRIA WITH WEAPONS? THERE WAS ANOTHER POST FROM HILLARY CLINTON TO PODESTA SAYING WE'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT SAUDI ARABIA BECAUSE THEY'RE INDISCRIMINATELY SUPPLYING ARMS TO AL QAEDA AND ISIS IN SYRIA. BECAUSE WE ALWAYS THINK YOU'VE GOT TO BE INVOLVED, THERE CAN NEVER BE A TIME WHEN WE'RE NOT FIGHTING ON ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER, WE GET INVOLVED WITH THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS. SO OFTEN THE LESSER OF TO EVILS IS GUESS WHAT? STILL EVIL. SO WHAT'S HAPPENED IS WE'RE DRUG INTO EVERYBODY'S WARS, WAR ON END, ON END IN THE MIDDLE EAST WITHOUT RESOLUTION. THEY'VE BEEN KILLING EACH OTHER FOR A THOUSAND YEARS. AND WE THINK SOMEHOW SIDING WITH THE SUNNIS AGAINST THE SHIA IS GOING TO BRING THIS WAR TO A CONCLUSION. THE THING IS THAT I THINK IT'S BEEN A MISTAKE. I THINK IT'S BEEN COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. I THINK THE WAR IN YEMEN IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. I THINK THAT OUR INVOLVEMENT THERE IS LEADING TO MORE CHAOS. I THINK THE SENATE HAS ABDICATED THEIR DUTY AND THEIR ROLE. UNDER -- ARTICLE 1, SECTION 8, THE SENATE IS ALLOWED TO AND SHOULD BE DECIDING WHEN WE GO TO WAR. PEOPLE TALK ABOUT CHECKS AND BALANCES AND WE SHOULD BE INVOLVED. SOMEHOW WE SHOULD CHECK THE PRESIDENT WHO IS ASSUMING TOO MUCH AUTHORITY. THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TODAY. THIS IS THE CHECK AND BALANCE. THIS IS YOUR PROXY VOTE ON THE WAR IN YEMEN. THERE WILL BE NO DIRECT WAR IN YEMEN BECAUSE THEY WON'T ALLOW IT. THIS WILL BE A PROXY VOTE BECAUSE IT WILL BE ABOUT WEAPONS TO BAHRAIN BECAUSE WE'RE NOT BEING ALLOWED A DIRECT VOTE ON THE WAR IN YEMEN. WE SHOULD BE. IT SHOULD BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS WE DO AND FUNCTION IN THE SENATE, AND THAT IS TO DIRECT FOREIGN POLICY, TO DECIDE WHEN WE GO TO WAR. IT'S PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE DO UNDER THE CONSTITUTION AND WE'VE ABDICATED IT FOR DECADE AFTER DECADE. I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE'S FRUSTRATION WITH SAUDI ARABIA IS GROWING. I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT A LOUD MESSAGE SENT. IF YOU SEND ANY OTHER MESSAGE, I MEAN, SOME ARE PROPOSING SANCTIONS ON THE KILLERS. WELL, THEY'RE IN JAIL AND THEN IN ALL LIKELIHOOD THEY'RE GOING TO BE EXECUTED SO WE'RE GOING TO SANCTION A BUNCH OF PEOPLE WHO ARE IN JAIL AND GOING TO BE EXECUTED? THE SAUDIS WILL LAUGH AT THAT. THAT IS WEAKNESS. EVEN SINCE THE LAST THREE WEEKS, SINCE SECRETARY POMPEO SAID YOU NEED TO QUIT, YOU NEED TO SEIZE AND DESIST FROM BOMBING CIVILIAN AREAS, THE SAUDIS HAVE DROPPED 200 BOMBS ON CIVILIAN AREAS IN HUDAYDAH. THEY'RE NOT GETTING THE MESSAGE. IF WE WANT TO SEND THEM A MESSAGE AND SEND THEM A MESSAGE LOUD AND CLEAR, WE NEED TO TELL THEM NO MORE ARMS. THE NEXT TIME THEY POST A WEAPONS SALE TO SAUDI ARABIA, WE'LL DO THE SAME THING. THIS IS ABOUT THE ENTIRE COALITION OF NINE COUNTRIES THAT ARE INVOLVED IN THIS. TODAY IT WILL BE ABOUT BAHRAIN BUT TODAY IS REALLY ABOUT YEMEN. IT'S ABOUT THE QUESTION I BEGAN THIS WITH. MY CALL TODAY IS TO END THE U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR IN YEMEN. WE SHOULD HAVE DEBATED THIS IN ADVANCE. WE SHOULD HAVE DEBATED THIS BEFORE WE GOT INVOLVED WITH THE WAR IN YEMEN. AND YET THERE'S THIS CREEPING MISSION THAT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. THE WARS BEGIN WITH THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. THEY CREEP AND GROW LARGER AND LARGER AND WE ABDICATE OUR DUTY AND ROLL TO VOTE ON THESE THINGS. TODAY IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. THE WAR IN YEMEN SHOULD END. IT WON'T BE THE DIRECT MESSAGE I'D LIKE TO SEND TO SAUDI ARABIA BUT IT WILL BE AN INDIRECT MESSAGE. IF THIS RESOLUTION WERE TO PASS, YES, IT WOULD BE A LOUD AND CLEAR MESSAGE THAT WE'RE SERIOUS. BUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN AND YOU'LL WATCH CLOSELY IS MANY MEMBERS WILL SAY OH, BAHRAIN IS OUR ALLY, WE CAN'T DO THIS TO OUR ALLY. I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT ENDING OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH BAHRAIN. I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT NEVER SELLING ARMS TO THEM. I'M TALKING ABOUT ONE TIME, TODAY DON'T SEND THEM ARMS. WHAT'S THE DRAMA ABOUT? THAT TO ME IS A VERY MODEST STEP, ONE TIME, NOT SELL THEM ARMS. THEY COULD BE SOLD IN SIX MONTHS. QUIT BOMBING YEMEN. PULL OUT OF THE COALITION. STOP THE FIGHT. WE'LL TALK ABOUT THE ARMS SALES. ONE TIME WE SHOULD STAND UP AND WE SHOULD SEND A MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE TO THE PRESIDENT THAT WE ARE IN CHARGE UNDER ARTICLE 1, SECTION 8, DECLARATION OF WAR COMES FROM CONGRESS. WE'VE ABDICATED FOR TOO LONG THAT ROLE AND MY HOPE IS TODAY THAT THERE WILL BE ENOUGH OF US TO SEND A MESSAGE, AND THE MESSAGE SHOULD BE LOUD AND CLEAR. WE SHOULD END -- THE U.S. SHOULD END THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR IN YEMEN. THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT.

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  • 12:15:32 PM

    MR. PAUL

    WE HAD AN AGREEMENT TO HAVE AN HOUR'S WORTH OF DEBATE WITH THE OPPONENTS…

    WE HAD AN AGREEMENT TO HAVE AN HOUR'S WORTH OF DEBATE WITH THE OPPONENTS OF THE BILL WERE GIVEN 30 MINUTES AND THE PROPONENTS OF THE BILL WERE GIVEN 30 MINUTES. THE UNANIMOUS CONSENT ALLOWED ME THE REMAINING 30 MINUTES, AND THE TIME PERIOD HAS EXPIRED. SO I THINK REALLY WE OUGHT TO GO BY SOME RULES AND STRUCTURE AROUND HERE. THOSE WHO ARE AGAINST THE BILL SHOULD COME IN THE ALLOTTED TIME. THE TIME WAS USED BY ALL KINDS OF OTHER PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THINGS NOT RELATED TO THE DEBATE. I THINK IT DOES A DISSERVICE TO THE DEBATE THAT WE DID THAT.

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  • 12:16:03 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    IF I MAY, JUST THROUGH THE CHAIR SAY TO THE GENTLEMAN, NUMBER ONE IS THERE…

    IF I MAY, JUST THROUGH THE CHAIR SAY TO THE GENTLEMAN, NUMBER ONE IS THERE WAS NOBODY ON THE FLOOR WHEN THE GENTLEMAN MADE A MOTION TO ULTIMATELY RESERVE ALL OF THE TIME IN OPPOSITION TO THE END. HAD I BEEN ON THE FLOOR, HAD I KNOWN THAT SUCH A MOTION WAS GOING TO BE MADE, I WOULD HAVE OBJECTED TO THAT. THERE IS A CERTAIN LACK OF COURTESY IN THAT REGARD. I WOULD JUST SAY TO THE SENATOR THAT OPPOSITION NOW WILL BE REMEMBERED AS AN OPPOSITION IN THE FUTURE WHEN THE SENATOR IS SEEKING AN OPPORTUNITY. ALL WE'RE ASKING FOR IS FIVE MINUTES. AND IF YOU NEED SOME MORE TIME TO MAKE A FINAL COMMENT --.

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  • 12:16:43 PM

    MR. PAUL

    I THINK A FAIR RESPONSE IS THAT WE GRANT AN ADDITIONAL FIVE MINUTES TO…

    I THINK A FAIR RESPONSE IS THAT WE GRANT AN ADDITIONAL FIVE MINUTES TO OPPONENTS OF THE BILL. AND IF YOU ALLOW ME TO CONCLUDE IN FIVE MINUTES, I'M FINE WITH THAT. I WOULD JUST MODIFY THE OBJECTION TO INCLUDE WHAT I'VE STATED. IF THAT'S ACCEPTABLE, I WOULD REMOVE MY OBJECTION TO THE MODIFIED MOTION.

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  • 12:17:15 PM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    THANK YOU. I RISE IN OPPOSITION TO THE RESOLUTION. AS WE EVALUATE THE…

    THANK YOU. I RISE IN OPPOSITION TO THE RESOLUTION. AS WE EVALUATE THE RESOLUTION, WE'VE GOT TO CONSIDER THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A SPECIFIC MILITARY SYSTEM, THE CONTEXT THAT WILL BE USED AS WELL AS HOW WE UTILIZE ARMS SALES AS A FOREIGN POLICY TOOL. I HAVE MUCH IN COMMON WITH SENATOR PAUL ON THE QUESTION OF YEMEN. I HAVE MOVED IN HIS DIRECTION. THE SAUDIS HAVE HAD THEIR OPPORTUNITY. I AM PROMOTING LEGISLATION WITH SEVERAL COLLEAGUES ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS TO DEAL WITH EXACTLY THAT. IF I AM THE ONE HOLDING UP ARMS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA AS WE SPEAK, AS THE RANKING MEMBER ON THE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE, THAT'S WHY IT HASN'T COME TO THE FLOOR BECAUSE I'M NOT LETTING IT GO THROUGH UNLESS THE ADMINISTRATION BREAKS THROUGH A HOLD AT THE END OF THE DAY, WHICH WOULD VIOLATE ALL OF THE EXISTING PROCESSES WE HAVE. BUT THIS VOTE IS NOT YEMEN. IT IS NOT SAUDI ARABIA. IT IS NOT THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. IT IS BAHRAIN, AND BAHRAIN IS A CRITICAL ALLY TO US. IT HOSTS THE U.S. NAVY'S FIFTH FLEET, PROVIDING A VITAL NAVAL BASE ON WHICH THE UNITED STATES PROTECTS ITS NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS IN THE GULF AND THROUGHOUT THE REGION. AND ITS WILLINGNESS TO HOST OUR NAVAL FORCES ALSO PLACES BAHRAIN AT GREATER RISK FROM ATTACK FROM IRAN AND TERRORIST GROUPS SEEKING TO DO HARM TO THE UNITED STATES. IT'S ALSO A SECURITY PARTNER AS IT COMES TO PIRACY, AL QAEDA, ISIS AND IRAN. IT HOSTED AN ISRAELI YEW -- UNESCO DELEGATION IN JUNE. THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD IS ABHORRENT. IT'S ABHORRENT AND WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO FIGHT ON THAT ISSUE WITH THEM. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, HALTING THE SALE OF WEAPONS INTENDED TO DEFEND BAHRAIN'S SECURITY IS NOT THE SOLUTION IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE. I'LL CLOSE AND YIELD THE BALANCE OF THE TIME TO THE CHAIRMAN. ARMS SALES TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES PROVIDE THE UNITED STATES AND THIS BODY WITH IMPORTANT INFLUENCE AND LEVERAGE ON THOSE COUNTRIES' VIEWS AND ACTIVITIES ON FOREIGN POLICY. SOMETIMES IF USED SMARTLY THEY CAN SHIFT A COUNTRY'S ACTIONS IN A POSITIVE DIRECTION. I'M CURRENTLY OPPOSING AN IMPORTANT ARMS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE SAUDIS ARE USING THESE WEAPONS IN A SPECIFIC CONTEXT INAPPROPRIATELY. CIVILIAN CASUALTIES RISE. THIS WEAPON SALES IS NOT PART OF A COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY TO END THE CIVIL WAR IN IRAN -- I MEAN IN YEMEN. SO I JUST WOULD URGE US TO, ON THIS PARTICULAR OCCASION TO OPPOSE THIS PARTICULAR RESOLUTION. AND I PROBABLY WILL STAND WITH THE GENTLEMAN WHEN THE MOMENT COMES AS IT RELATES TO DENYING THE SAUDIS ARMS SALES, PARTICULARLY IN THE MIDST OF WHAT THEY ARE DOING IN YEMEN. AND WITH THAT, I YIELD TO THE DISTINGUISHED CHAIRMAN OF THE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE.

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  • 12:20:22 PM

    MR. CORKER

    I WANT TO THANK THE RANKING MEMBER FOR HIS COMMENTS, HIS FRIENDSHIP AND…

    I WANT TO THANK THE RANKING MEMBER FOR HIS COMMENTS, HIS FRIENDSHIP AND WELCOME HIM BACK AND LOOK FORWARD TO HIS LEADERSHIP ON FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES FOR MANY, MANY YEARS. I ON RIGHT NOW. I HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT THE WAR IN YEMEN. WE'VE HAD HEARINGS. WE HAD PEOPLE ON OUR COMMITTEE THAT ARE TRYING TO TAKE STEPS TO DEAL WITH THE WAR IN YEMEN. OBVIOUSLY VERY UPSET WITH WHAT HAS HAPPENED WITH THE JURNT. -- JOURNALIST. I THINK A PRICE NEEDS TO BE PAID. THE ADMINISTRATION SENT OUT NOTICE THEY WERE SANCTIONING 17 INDIVIDUALS THAT WERE INVOLVED. HOPEFULLY DIFFERENT STEPS WILL BE MADE. I'VE ASKED FOR A HIGH-LEVEL L MEETING WITH MATTIS, POMPEO AS SOON AS THEY GET BACK TO SHARE WITH US WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH SAUDI ARABIA ON BOTH FRONTS, BOTH YEMEN AND WHAT IS HAPPENING AS IT RELATES TO THE JOURNALIST WHO WAS ASSASSINATED, IN MY OPINION, AT THE DIRECTION OF THE CROWN PRINCE OF SAUDI ARABIA. SO I HAVE A LOT OF CONCERNS. I THINK WHEN YOU HAVE CONCERNS, THOUGH, YOU ADDRESS THOSE CONCERNS TO THE PEOPLE THAT YOU HAVE CONCERNS WITH. BAHRAIN IS NOT ONE OF THOSE. BAHRAIN CERTAINLY HAS HAD SOME ISSUES WITH HUMAN RIGHTS, AND WE HAVE DEALT WITH THOSE. IT IS A CITY-STATE IN THE PERSIAN GULF WHERE WE HAVE 7,800 MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM WHO ARE PROTECTING OUR INTERESTS THERE, WHO ARE A BUFFER AGAINST IRAN. AND FOR US TO NOT -- TO BLOCK SALES, OFFENSIVE SALES TO THE COUNTRY OF BAHRAIN THAT IS HOUSING ONE OF OUR MOST IMPORTANT NAVAL BASES OVER SOMETHING THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM BUT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH ANOTHER COUNTRY, IS NOT A PRAGMATIC NOR A SENSIBLE STEP. SO I HOPE THAT WE WILL OPPOSE THIS. I THINK THAT WE WILL. I UNDERSTAND THE SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY'S FRUSTRATIONS. I DO. HE SHARES THOSE MANY TIMES IN THE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE. I DO. I DO UNDERSTAND THOSE. BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT TAKING SOMETHING OUT ON A COUNTRY THAT'S UNRELATED TO WHAT IS HAPPENING IS A VERY INAPPROPRIATE AND A VERY, NOT A MATURE STEP FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE TO TAKE, AND I HOPE WE WILL SOUNDLY DEFEAT THIS. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT.

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  • 12:22:37 PM

    MR. PAUL

    FROM KENTUCKY.

  • 12:23:57 PM

    THIS

    TO THIS: POMPEO SAID THREE WEEKS AGO, POMPEO SAID THAT THEY SHOULD SEIZE…

    TO THIS: POMPEO SAID THREE WEEKS AGO, POMPEO SAID THAT THEY SHOULD SEIZE ALL BOMBING OF CIVILIAN CENTERS. HOW MANY BOMBS HAVE DROPPED ON HUDAYDAH SINCE HE ASKED THEM TO SEIZE? 200 BOMBS HAVE DROPPED ON THE THEM WHERE THE PORT NEEDS TO COME IN FOR A STARVING POPULATION SINCE WE TOLD THEM NOT TO. WE SAID WE'RE NOT GOING TO REFUEL THEIR PLANES ANY MORE. WE'RE NOT REFUELING THEIR PLANES. THEY'RE REFUELING THEIR PLANES WITH OUR PLANES. THEIR PILOTS ARE TRAINED BY US, THEIR MECHANICS ARE TRAINED BY US. WE NEED TO BE STRONGER. IT IS A SENSE OF WEAKNESS. IT IS A DISPLAY OF WEAKNESS NOT TO AT LEAST BLOCK ONE ARMS SALES. THIS IS A MODEST PROPOSAL AND IT'S THE LEAST WE CAN DO.

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  • 12:24:53 PM

    Senate Vote 243 - On the Motion to Table S.J.Res. 65

    Motion to Table Agreed to (77 - 21)
    Yea
    Nay

    Vote Details: Yea - 77
    Republican - 48
    Democratic - 28
    Independent - 1

    Vote Details: Nay - 21
    Democratic - 17
    Republican - 3
    Independent - 1

  • 01:13:42 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR CHANGE THEIR…

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, THE YEAS ARE 77, THE NAYS ARE 21. THE MOTION IS AGREED TO. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE FOLLOWING NOMINATION, WHICH THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 01:14:02 PM

    THE CLERK

    NOMINATION, MICHELLE BOWMAN -- FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM, MICHELLE BOWMAN OF…

    NOMINATION, MICHELLE BOWMAN -- FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM, MICHELLE BOWMAN OF KANSAS TO BE A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS.

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  • 01:30:00 PM

    MR. CORNYN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANTED TO COME BACK TO THE FLOOR AFTER SPEAKING A LITTLE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANTED TO COME BACK TO THE FLOOR AFTER SPEAKING A LITTLE EARLIER THIS MORNING TO TALK ABOUT THE SO-CALLED CARAVAN OF MIGRANTS COMING FROM CENTRAL AMERICA UP THROUGH MEXICO AND WHO ARE NOW LOCATED IN TIJUANA. MANY OF WHOM WILL BE SEEKING ASYLUM HERE IN THE UNITED STATES COMING FROM TEXAS WITH A 1,200 MILE COMMON BORDER WITH MEXICO, CARAVANS ARE NOT UNHEARD OF. IN FACT, WE HAVE MANY CARAVANS SHOWING UP ON A DAILY BASIS AT BORDER PATROL STATIONS, UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN, FAMILIES. WHAT HAS HAPPENED IS THAT THE CARTELS, THESE TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE FIGURED OUT AT PART OF THEIR BUSINESS MODEL THAT THEY CAN MAKE MONEY BY SHIPPING MIGRANTS UP THROUGH MEXICO INTO THE UNITED STATES, OR SHIP DRUGS UP FROM MEXICO INTO THE UNITED STATES, OR TRAFFIC IN CHILDREN AND WOMEN FOR SEX, SLAVERY, THEY FIGURED OUT THEY CAN MAKE MONEY BECAUSE OF THE GAPS IN OUR BORDER SECURITY, BECAUSE OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR LAW THAT MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO DETER MANY OF THE IMMIGRANTS COMING FROM CENTRAL AMERICA. AND I KNOW DURING THE RECENT MIDTERM ELECTIONS THERE WAS SOME THOUGHT THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP OR OTHERS WERE JUST SORT OF MAKING THIS ISSUE UP IN ORDER TO ENERGIZE VOTERS LEADING UP TO THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS. WELL, I WON'T COMMENT ON THE POLITICS OF THIS. I WILL JUST SAY THAT THIS IS A PHENOMENON THAT HAS BEEN OCCURRING ON A DAILY BASIS FOR THE FORESEEABLE PAST. AND IT'S BECAUSE OF A GLITCH IN OUR LAWS THAT OUR DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES ARE WELL AWARE OF, THAT WE'VE TRIED TO FIX, BUT THEY SIMPLY WILL NOT COOPERATE WITH US IN ORDER TO FIX THEM. AND BASICALLY WHAT WE WOULD DO IS TO TREAT SOMEBODY WHO ENTERS THE UNITED STATES FROM WAY WE WOULD IF THEY CAME INTO OUR COUNTRY ILLEGALLY FROM MEXICO. THAT IS THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT. BUT THEY WON'T HAVE ANY PART OF IT BECAUSE THEY FEEL LIKE THIS ADVANTAGES THEM POLITICALLY. BECAUSE BY ENFORCING OUR LAWS, BY SECURING OUR BORDERS, THEY BELIEVE THAT SOMEHOW THAT CAN BE PORTRAYED AS ANTI-IMMIGRANT, WHICH IS DEMONSTRABLY FALSE. ABOUT 40% OF MY CONSTITUENTS IN TEXAS ARE OF AN HISPANIC ORIGIN, MANY OF WHOM LIVE ALONG THAT INTERNATIONAL BORDER, WHO UNDERSTAND THAT THE CARTELS THAT TRAFFIC IN PEOPLE AND DRUGS AND CONTRABAND ARE CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS THAT THREATEN THEIR SECURITY AND SAFETY. SO I FEEL VERY STRONGLY ABOUT THIS ISSUE, AND I THINK SOMEBODY NEEDS TO SPEAK UP AND TO STATE THE FACTS. THESE CARAVANS ARE BRINGING THOUSANDS OF MIGRANTS COMING FROM CENTRAL AMERICAN COUNTRIES, MOSTLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN. BUT YOU CAN IMAGINE IF ONE CARAVAN OF SEVERAL THOUSAND PEOPLE ARE SUCCESSFUL IN BREACHING OUR BORDER, IN ENTERING INTO THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT REGARD TO OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS, WHAT THAT WILL DO TO ENCOURAGE FURTHER EFFORTS. SO THIS IS NOT A ONE-OFF. THIS ISN'T JUST SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN ONE TIME. THIS WILL GET WORSE AND WORSE AND WORSE. IF YOU WENT DOWN TO SOME OF THESE CENTRAL AMERICAN COUNTRIES AND ASKED THEM, WHO WOULD LIKE -- WHO WOULD LIKE TO EMIGRATE TO THE UNITED STATES, YOU'RE GOING TO SEE NOT JUST HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS, BUT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS AND PERHAPS MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO WOULD LIKE TO COME TO THE UNITED STATES. BUT WE HAVE TO HAVE AN ORDERLY WAY TO DEAL WITH IMMIGRATION. SOMEBODY ASKED IN THIS LAST MIDTERM ELECTION, WHAT'S YOUR POSITION ON IMMIGRATION. I SAID IT'S REALLY SIMPLE. LEGAL IMMIGRATION IS GOOD. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS BAD. SO WE KNOW THIS CARAVAN, THIS CURRENT CARAVAN IS NOT MADE UP ENTIRELY OF ASYLUM SEEKERS OR PEOPLE TRYING TO FLEE POVERTY AND VIOLENCE IN THEIR HOME COUNTRIES. IT'S MADE UP OF MIGRANTS FROM OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD THAT TRAVEL TO CENTRAL AMERICA SO THEY CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT POROUS BORDER AND COME FROM COUNTRIES FROM ALL AROUND THE WORLD AND COUNTRIES UNFORTUNATELY PLAGUED BY TERRORISM. I'M NOT SAYING THAT WE HAVE A BUNCH OF TERRORISTS IN THIS PACK. I'M JUST SAYING IT IS A VULNERABILITY THAT COULD BE EXPLOITED BY ANYBODY WHO WANTS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE GAPS IN OUR LAW AND OUR LACK OF SECURITY. IT ALSO INCLUDES PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN ARRESTED IN THE UNITED STATES AND DEPORTED BACK TO THEIR HOME COUNTRIES WHO ARE REENTERING THE UNITED STATES IN VIOLATION OF OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS, AND ONCE THEY HAVE ALREADY COMMITTED ACTS OF CRIME AND THEY'RE COMING BACK AND DISGUISED AMONG THE LARGER CARAVAN OF CENTRAL AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS. AND ONE THING THE BORDER PATROL HAS ALSO MADE CLEAR. THEY SAID BECAUSE THE BORDER PATROL HAS TO DEAL WITH THIS MASSIVE HUMANITY COMING UP ACROSS THE BORDER AND TO SOMEHOW TREAT THEM IN A HUMANE FASHION, THE CARTELSES REALIZE THE BORDER PATROL IS ALL BALLED UP TRYING TO PROCESS THIS CARAVAN OF CENTRAL AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS, SO THAT OPENS UP AVENUES WITH WHICH TO IMPORT ILLEGAL DRUGS INTO THE UNITED STATES, ANOTHER MONEY-MAKING PROPOSITION FOR THE CARTELS. AND 90% OF THE HEROIN AND OPIOID -- 90% OF THE HEROIN THAT COMES IN THE UNITED STATES COMES FROM MEXICO. SOMEBODY SAID TO ME RECENTLY, SAID, WELL THE CARTELS ARE COMMODITY AGNOSTIC. I THOUGHT THAT WAS A PRETTY GOOD WAY OF EXPRESSING IT. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY'RE IN ANYTHING THAT WILL MAKE THEM MONEY, NO MATTER HOW DEBASED, NO MATTER HOW CRUEL, NO MATTER HOW INHUMANE, THEY'RE WILLING TO DO ANYTHING TO MAKE MONEY. AND BY NOT DEALING WITH THIS ISSUE IN A RESPONSIBLE FASHION ON A NONPARTISAN BASIS, WE ARE MAKING THE CARTELSES -- CARTELS RICH. MORE PEOPLE HAVE DIED IN MEXICO SINCE 2007 THAN HAVE DIED IN THE WARS IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ COMBINED. THE INCOMING PRESIDENT OBERDOR SAYS HE WANTS TO DEAL WITH THE VIOLENCE IN MEXICO AS PART OF HIS NEW ADMINISTRATION. AND FRANKLY, I THINK WE NEED TO HELP HIM. BUT THE -- WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THE REALITY. THIS IS NOT BENIGN ACTIVITY. THIS ISN'T MOM AND POP OPERATION WHERE PEOPLE WHO WANT JOBS ARE COMING INTO THE UNITED STATES. THIS IS A BIG BUSINESS. "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL" REPORTED EARLIER THIS MONTH THAT TWO GANGS, MS-13 AND BARRIO 18 RULE OVER MOST OF EL SALVADOR TERRORIZING THAT COUNTRY'S POPULATION. THESE GANGS AND THE CARTELS THAT SUPPORT THEM THROUGHOUT CENTRAL AMERICA TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A VERY SIMPLE ECONOMIC PRINCIPLE: SUPPLY AND DEMAND. SO AS LONG AS THERE'S DEMAND IN THE UNITED STATES FOR HEROIN AND OTHER ILLEGAL DRUGS, AS LONG AS THERE IS DEMAND FOR LOW-WAGE LABOR, THESE GANGS WILL FILL THAT SUPPLY. AS LONG AS THERE IS A DEMAND FOR SEX SLAVERY, THESE GANGS AND THESE CARTELS WILL MEET THAT SUPPLY. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, THIS MAKES OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR FRIENDS IN MEXICO VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. OUR TWO GOVERNMENTS NEED TO WORK MORE CLOSELY TOGETHER BECAUSE U.S. AND AMERICAN INTERESTS ARE INTERRELATED AND ALIGNED. THIS IS NOT JUST AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION OR DRUG OR SMUGGLING PROBLEM. IT'S ALL OF THEM COMBINED. IT'S A QUESTION OF WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO COULD ACTUALLY CONTROL OR DEFEAT THE CARTELS THAT THREATEN THE SAFETY AND STABILITY OF THEIR PEOPLE IN THAT COUNTRY AND HAVE THIS BUSINESS MODEL THAT I MENTIONED. SO OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH MEXICO, UNDER THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRESIDENT LOPEZ OBERDOR WHO WILL BE SWORN IN ON DECEMBER 1 -- I HOPE TO BE THERE AT THAT INAUGURATION -- OUR PARTNERSHIP MUST CONTINUE TO GROW AND EVOLVE BECAUSE THE GANGS, THE CARTELS THAT HURT AND KILL PEOPLE IN MEXICO AND THEN THREATEN OUR SECURITY AND SAFETY HERE IN THE UNITED STATES ARE GOING TO ALSO EVOLVE AND ADAPT TO MAKE SURE THEY CAN MAINTAIN THEIR DOMINANCE IN THE REGION. THAT'S WHY PROGRAMS LIKE THE MERITA INITIATIVE OR VITAL TO OUR COLLECTIVE EFFORTS IN COMBATTING THIS MONSTER. IT'S CLEAR WE SHOULD COMBAT THE FLOW OF DRUGS IN THE UNITED STATES AND HOW WE CAN HELP RESTORE THE RELATIONSHIP, OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THOSE COMMUNITIES AND THOSE COUNTRIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL IN CENTRAL AMERICA. BUT THIS CRISIS EXTENDS FAR BEYOND HOW TO TREAT THE FLOOD OF MIGRANTS THAT COME ACROSS THE BORDER, AND THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE ALONE, AS SOME WOULD HAVE IT. PEOPLE ACT LIKE THE PRESIDENT DREAMED THIS ISSUE UP JUST IN ORDER TO GAIN ADVANTAGE OR ENERGIZE HIS BASE DURING THE RECENTLY PASSED MIDTERM ELECTIONS. THAT'S FALSE. IN TEXAS, COMMUNITIES ALONG OUR BORDER RELY HEAVILY ON LEGITIMATE TRADE AND TRAVEL THROUGHOUT OUR -- ACROSS OUR PORTS OF ENTRY. IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT. THAT'S WHY NAFTA AND THE RENEGOTIATION OF THE U.S.-MEXICO-CANADA TRADE AGREEMENT WAS SO IMPORTANT. AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO THE ENTIRE COUNTRY BECAUSE 14 MILLION JOBS DEPEND ON TRADE WITH MEXICO AND CANADA. AND YOU CAN IMAGINE IF OUR PORTS OF ENTRY ARE CLOGGED WITH A CARAVAN AFTER CARAVAN, TENS, HUNDREDS, THOUSANDS, MAYBE 100,000 FROM CENTRAL AMERICA SEEKING ASYLUM IN THE UNITED STATES, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE MUCH LEGITIMATE TRADE AND COMMERCE ACROSS THOSE PORTS OF ENTRY, AND IT'S GOING TO HARM NOT ONLY MY STATE BUT THE UNITED STATES AS A WHOLE. WE CAN'T FORGET THAT OUR BORDER COMMUNITIES ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT, AND ANY SOLUTION WE FIND MUST SOMEHOW BALANCE OUR NORMAL COMPASSION FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE VULNERABLE AND PEOPLE WHO ARE SEEKING A BETTER LIFE, BALANCING THAT COMPASSION WITH THE RULE OF LAW AND OUR ABILITY TO PROTECT OUR OWN SOVEREIGNTY BY SECURING OUR BORDERS AND CONTROLLING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION INTO THE UNITED STATES. IN THE COMING WEEKS I HOPE WE CAN WORK WITH THE ADMINISTRATION TO DETERMINE A COURSE OF ACTION THAT ADDRESSES THE REAL NEEDS OF LEGITIMATE ASYLUM SEEKERS WITHOUT REWARDING ILLEGAL ACTIVITY AND MAKING THE DRUG CARTELS EVEN RICHER THAN THEY ARE NOW. , AND ENCOURAGING AND CONDONING MORE AND MORE VIOLENCE WHICH HARMS PEOPLE ALL ACROSS THE REGION. WE NEED TO SEND A MESSAGE THAT THE UNITED STATES ALONE CANNOT BEAR THE BURDEN OF THIS MASS MIGRATION, AND WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT THOSE WHO SEEK TO ENTER THE UNITED STATES DO SO LEGALLY. WE'LL WORK WITH OUR PARTNERS IN CENTRAL AMERICA AND MEXICO TO TRY TO FIND SOLUTIONS THAT WILL ALLOW MIGRANTS TO RETURN SAFELY TO THEIR HOME COUNTRIES OR FIND RESETTLEMENT SOLUTIONS IN SAFE COUNTRIES UNTIL THE DAY WHEN I KNOW THEY WOULD HOPE FOR, THAT THEY COULD SAFELY RETURN HOME. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR:

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  • 01:46:29 PM

    Senate Vote 244 - On the Nomination PN1860

    Nomination Confirmed (64 - 34)
    Yea
    Nay

    Vote Details: Yea - 64
    Republican - 50
    Democratic - 14

    Vote Details: Nay - 34
    Democratic - 31
    Independent - 2
    Republican - 1

  • 02:42:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE THEIR…

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, THE YEAS ARE 64. THE NAYS ARE 34. THE NOMINATION IS CONFIRMED. A SENATOR:

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  • 02:43:29 PM

    MS. CORTEZ MASTO

    THANK YOU. I RISE TODAY TO HONOR A DEAR FRIEND. HER NAME WAS EMILY FAYE…

    THANK YOU. I RISE TODAY TO HONOR A DEAR FRIEND. HER NAME WAS EMILY FAYE REECE WHO PASSED AWAY ON NOVEMBER 3 AT THE YOUNG AGE OF 44 AFTER EIGHT YEARS OF BATTLING COLON CANCER. EMILY WAS A SOURCE OF STRENGTH AND A BEACON OF LIGHT IN THE RENO COMMUNITY. SHE RADIATED LOVE AND KINDNESS TO EVERY PERSON SHE MET, AND HER LOSS WILL BE FELT BY EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHOSE LIFE SHE TOUCHED. SHE LOVED AND ADORED HER THREE CHILDREN, MADELEINE, KAY JAY AND THOMAS WHO ARE LIVING LEGACIES AND TESTAMENTS TO THE AMAZING PERSON THAT EMILY WAS. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND IMPACT OTHERS. THESE ARE THE WORDS THAT EMILY LIVED BY AND WANTED TO SHARE WITH THE REST OF THE WORD. DURING HER LIFE SHE EMBODIED THE SIMPLE MESSAGE GIVING LIFE AND LOVE, DOING ALL SHE COULD TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS. SHE DID THIS FIRST AS A PUBLIC SCHOOLTEACHER AND AFTER HER CANCER DIAGNOSIS, SHE BECAME A PERSON ON A MISSION TO EDUCATE US ALL ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCESSIBLE, AFFORDABLE, AND QUALITY HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE. BEFORE HER PASSING, EMILY WISHED FOR HER FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO HONOR HER BY VOTING. SHE RECOGNIZED HOW CONSEQUENTIAL ELECTIONS ARE TO BUILD A BETTER FUTURE FOR HER CHILDREN AND HER COUNTRY. AND EMILY WAS PROUD THAT SHE WAS ABLE TO VOTE EARLY AND CAST HER BALLOT TO MAKE SURE HER VOICE WAS HEARD IN NEVADA, EVEN IN THE FINAL DAYS OF HER LIFE SHE CONTINUED TO FIGHT FOR ALL OF US. HER ADVOCACY WAS ONE WAY FOR HER TO IMPACT OTHERS AND SHE FOUGHT TO PROTECT THE HEALTH CARE OF NEVADANS BY USING HER DIAGNOSIS TO OPENLY TALK ABOUT WHAT IT'S LIKE TO LIVE WITH A TERMINAL DIAGNOSIS AND THE DIFFERENCE THAT THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT HAS MADE IN EXTENDING AND IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE. SHE REMINDED US HOW THE A.C.A. MEANT THAT SHE COULD SPEND HER TIME WITH HER CHILDREN INSTEAD OF WORRYING ABOUT BILLS AND BANKRUPTCY. THE LAST TIME I SAW EMILY WAS HERE ON CAPITOL HILL JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO, AND SHE WAS ADVOCATING ON BEHALF OF OUR FELLOW NEVADANS WHO RELY ON MEDICAID TO GET THE CARE THEY NEED. SHE WAS HERE TO OPPOSE MASSIVE FUNDING CUTS TO THE PROGRAM THAT SHE SAID WAS SAVING HER LIFE. SHE WAS HERE TO SPEAK ABOUT AND OUT AGAINST A LAWSUIT THAT WOULD TAKE AWAY PROTECTIONS FROM AMERICANS WITH PREEXISTING CONDITIONS AND FIGHT FOR PEOPLE LIKE HER WHO DIDN'T HAVE A VOICE. SHE WAS A BATTLE-BORN WOMAN, AND SHE BORE HER FIGHT AGAINST CANCER AND FOR HEALTH CARE FOR EVERY AMERICAN WITH GRACE, DIGNITY, AND COURAGE. EMILY WAS A FIGHTER. SHE WAS A MOTHER, AND SHE WAS A FRIEND. AND I WILL BE FOREVER GRATEFUL FOR THE TIME SHE SPENT TO GIVE VOICE TO THE VOICELESS AND FOR HER COMMITMENT TO BETTERING THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO, LIKE HER, NEEDED THEIR HEALTH CARE PROTECTED. TODAY AND EVERY DAY I HONOR EMILY'S MEMORY AND CONTINUE TO FIGHT TO PROTECT HEALTH CARE FOR EVERY NEVADAN SO THAT THOSE STRUGGLING WITH ILLNESS CAN FOCUS ON THEIR FIGHT TO GET BETTER, SPEND TIME WITH THEIR FAMILIES, AND LIVE OUT THEIR LIVES WITH DIGNITY. EMILY'S LEGACY LIVES ON THROUGH EVERY LIFE SHE'S TOUCHED, INCLUDING MINE. EMILY'S LEGACY WILL CONTINUE TO LIVE ON IN EACH OF US AND THROUGH HER BEAUTIFUL FAMILY, AND I KNOW SHE WILL CONTINUE TO BLESS US WITH HER PROFOUND LIGHT THAT WILL GUIDE US AND GIVE US STRENGTH THROUGH THE GOOD TIMES AND THE BAD. KNOWING EMILY WAS A BLESSING, AND I THANK HER FOR HER FRIENDSHIP. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AND I NOTICE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:47:24 PM

    CALL

    A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 02:49:18 PM

    MR. CASEY

    MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY AS I HAVE MANY TIMES IN THE LAST…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY AS I HAVE MANY TIMES IN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS -- AND I KNOW I'M NOT ALONE IN THIS OF COURSE -- TO TALK ABOUT, UNFORTUNATELY TO HAVE TO TALK ABOUT YET ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING, THIS ONE OCCURRED IN MY HOME STATE, IN ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, IN THE SOUTHWESTERN CORNER OF OUR STATE, IN THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH IN A COMMUNITY KNOWN AS SQUIRREL HILL. I COME TODAY TO DO A COUPLE OF THINGS. NUMBER ONE IS TO HONOR THE VICTIMS OF THIS MASS SHOOTING AND THE INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE INJURED. OF COURSE TO OFFER CONDOLENCES TO THE GRIEVING FAMILIES AGAIN, TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE FOR THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AND MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS WHO RESPONDED TO THE SCENE, AND OF COURSE TO STAND WITH A COMMUNITY IN THE FACE OF HATE AND TERROR. ON THIS OCCASION, THIS DEADLY MASS SHOOTING OCCURRED IN ONE COMMUNITY, BUT IT ALSO OCCURRED IN A HOUSE OF WORSHIP. IT RESULTED IN THE DEATHS OF 11 INNOCENT PENNSYLVANIANS THAT LEFT 6 PEOPLE INJURED, INCLUDING 4 LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS RESPONDING TO THE SCENE. IT WAS A TARGETED HATEFUL ATTACK ON THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN PITTSBURGH. AS I MENTIONED, IN THE SQUIRREL HILL COMMUNITY IN THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH. IT WAS AN ACT OF VIOLENCE THAT WE MUST WORK TO ENSURE NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN, AND IT WAS JUST A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, LONG BEFORE ELECTION DAY. ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27, THREE CONGREGATIONS, THE TREE OF LIFE CONGREGATION, DORA HADASH CONGREGATION, AND NEW LIGHT CONGREGATION, ALL THREE WERE ENGAGED IN SHABAT MORNING SERVICES AT THE TREE OF LIFE SYNAGOGUE IN THE SQUIRREL HILL NEIGHBORHOOD, WHICH IS A RESIDENTIAL PART OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH. AS THESE WORSHIPERS WERE ENGAGED IN SERVICES, WHAT PLAYED OUT WAS THE WORST DEADLY ACT OF VIOLENCE -- OR I SHOULD SAY THE MOST DEADLY ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN AMERICAN HISTORY. THESE CONGREGANTS WERE TARGETED FOR ONE REASON: BECAUSE OF THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS, BECAUSE THEY HAPPEN TO BE JEWISH. AND THEIR LIVES WERE CHANGED FOREVER BY ONE HATEFUL ACT OF TERROR, AS WERE THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO WERE INJURED. SO OUR DEEPEST CONDOLENCES ARE WITH THE FAMILIES OF THE 11 VICTIMS OF THIS ATTACK. HERE ARE THE NAMES OF THE 11: JOYCE FIENBERG, RICHARD GOTTFRIED, ROSE MALLINGER, JERRY RABINOWITZ, CECIL ROSEN THAL AND HIS BROTHER DAVID ROSENTHAL, BERNICE AND SYLVAN SIMON, DANIEL STEIN, MELVIN WAX, AND IRVING YOUNGER. MAY THEIR MEMORY BE A BLESSING TO THEIR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITY. IT'S DIFFICULT TO EVEN BEGIN TO ADEQUATELY EXPRESS THE HURT THAT THIS COMMUNITY HAS ENDURED, THE HORROR THAT THESE FAMILIES HAVE ENDURED, AND THE HURT THAT IS STILL PART OF THIS COMMUNITY. MAYBE ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO AND OUR SYMPATHY BUT ALSO OUR SOL SOLIDARITY WITH THOSE WHO FACE THAT HORROR AND THAT DANGER AND THAT HATE IS TO TALK ABOUT WHAT THOSE FOLKS DID IN THAT DARK, DARK HOUR, AND IT LITERALLY WAS ABOUT AN HOUR, MAYBE A LITTLE MORE THAN THAT, THAT MORNING, THAT SATURDAY MORNING. WE OF COURSE AT THIS TIME, AND SO MANY HAVE SINCE THAT DATE PAID TRIBUTE TO THOSE IN LAW ENFORCEMENT WHO CONFRONTED THE MURDERER WITH UNCOMMON VALOR. WE PAY TRIBUTE AS WELL TO THE EMERGENCY SERVICE PROFESSIONALS, NURSES, AND DOCTORS AND OTHERS WHO MINISTERED TO THOSE WHO WERE WOUNDED AND TRIED THEIR BEST TO MINISTER TO THOSE WHO WERE DYING. ALL OF THESE INDIVIDUALS -- AND IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO NAME ALL OF THEM, WHETHER THEY'RE IN LAW ENFORCEMENT OR MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS OR EMERGENCY PERSONNEL -- ALL OF THESE INDIVIDUALS WERE AT THAT MOMENT, AS THEY ALWAYS ARE, SERVANTS IN THE MOST PROFOUND MEANING OF THAT WORD. THESE WERE SERVANTS WHO CAME FORWARD TO HELP IN THAT DARKNESS. THEY CAME FORWARD TO SAVE AND TO COMFORT. AND AS THE GREAT HYMN TELLS US, THAT GOES BY THE TITLE OF "THE SERVANT'S SONG," THESE WERE SERVANTS WHO WERE HOLDING THE LIGHT FOR THESE INDIVIDUALS IN THE NIGHTTIME OF THEIR FEAR. THAT'S WHAT THAT SONG REMINDS US, "THE SERVANT'S SONG." SO IN THAT NIGHTTIME OF FEAR, WHEN A GUNMAN WITH VERY POWERFUL WEAPONS IS SHOOTING DIRECTLY AT INDIVIDUALS, TARGETING THEM IN A HOUSE OF WORSHIP, WITH NO PROTECTION AT ALL FOR THOSE WHO WERE VICTIMS, AND THOSE WHO WERE TARGETS BUT WHO SURVIVED BUT HAD TO WAIT WHAT MUST HAVE SEEMED LIKE AN EASTERN -- LIKE AN ETERNITY FOR HELP BECAUSE THE GUNMAN WAS IN CONTROL OF THAT SCENE FOR A PERIOD OF TIME, THEY WERE IN THAT NIGHTTIME OF THEIR FEAR, AND THOSE SERVANTS CAME FORWARD TO BRING SOME LIGHT TO THAT DARKNESS, TO BRING LIGHT TO THAT NIGHTTIME OF THEIR FEAR. PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD HAVE MARVELED AT THE STRENGTH, THE RESOLVE, AND THE LOVE OF THE PEOPLE OF PITTSBURGH, A COMMUNITY THAT IS, AS THEY'VE SAID SO MANY TIMES SINCE THEN IN THAT COMMUNITY, IT'S A COMMUNITY THAT IS STRONGER THAN HATE. AND I WOULD ARGUE STRONGER THAN EVER. SO WE'RE THINKING ABOUT THOSE FAMILIES. WE'RE THINKING ABOUT THOSE WHO GAVE SO MUCH IN THAT HOUR OF TRAGEDY AND HORROR AND DEATH AND DARKNESS. BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO DO MORE THAN THAT. COMMENDATION AND SYMPATHY AND CONDOLENCES AND SOLIDARITY AND BEING DETERMINED TO TRY TO PREVENT THIS FROM EVER HAPPENING AGAIN, ALL OF THAT IS IMPORTANT, BUT WE HAVE TO DO MORE. WE HAVE TO ALSO ACT, OR MAYBE IT'S BETTER TO SAY TO TAKE ACTION TO ENACT COMMONSENSE POLICIES, LAWS AND OTHER POLICIES THAT WILL REDUCE, AT LEAST REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD THAT THESE ACTS OF VIOLENCE WILL IN FACT CONTINUE TO OCCUR. THIS IS A PROBLEM, THIS PROBLEM OF MASS SHOOTINGS IS A UNIQUELY AMERICAN PROBLEM THAT HAS TO BE SOLVED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, OF COURSE THROUGH THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES. AND AT EVERY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT, BUT MAYBE MOST ESPECIALLY HERE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND THE OTHER BODY, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WORKING WITH THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. I BELIEVE WE HAVE TO TAKE ACTION. NO SINGLE LAW OR NO SERIES OF MEASURES, EVEN IF THEY WERE TO BE ENACTED INTO LAW, WILL REMOVE THE POSSIBILITY THAT THESE MASS SHOOTINGS AND OTHER EXAMPLES OF HORRIFIC GUN VIOLENCE WILL SUDDENLY VANISH FROM THE EARTH AND NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. BUT THERE ARE STEPS WE CAN TAKE THAT WILL FOR SURE REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD. THE POINT I MADE ALL ALONG IS THAT WE'VE GOT TO TAKE ACTION, ENOUGH ACTION, EVEN A SERIES OF ACTIONS THAT MIGHT PREVENT ONE OF THESE, ONE FEWER INCIDENT WHERE KIDS ARE KILLED IN A SCHOOL, LIKE WE SAW SIX YEARS AGO IN NEW TOWN, CONNECTICUT, SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. ONE LESS EXAMPLE OF PEOPLE BEING GUNNED DOWN IN A NIGHTCLUB OR IN ANOTHER SCHOOL IN FLORIDA, AND ANOTHER IN A SYNAGOGUE IN PITTSBURGH. WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO? WELL, WE CAN START WITH MEASURES THAT HAVE BROAD-BASED SUPPORT. SOME OF THEM SUPPORT BY 80% TO 90% OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. WE COULD REQUIRE UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS. I THINK THAT'S ABOUT A 90-10 ISSUE MAYBE P. BAN MILITARY-STYLE ASSAULT WEAPONS. MILLIONS OF THEM ON OUR STREET ALREADY, WEAPONS OF WAR ON OUR STREETS AND COMMUNITIES AND LIMIT HIGH-CAPACITY MAGAZINES THAT ALLOW HUNDREDS OF ROUNDS TO BE FIRED IN JUST A MATTER OF SECONDS OR MINUTES. WE MUST KEEP GUNS OUT OF THE HANDS OF DANGEROUS PEOPLE, SUSPECTED TERRORISTS, AND INDIVIDUALS CONVICTED OF HATE CRIMES, STALKING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND DATING VIOLENCE. THESE POLICIES CAN'T PREVENT EVERY ACT OF VIOLENCE OR REPLACE WHAT HAS BEEN LOST AT THE TREE OF LIFE SYNAGOGUE OR IN COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE NATION, MOST RECENTLY, THE MOST RECENT OF COURSE IN CALIFORNIA. BUT WE CAN TAKE ACTION. AND I DON'T THINK IT'S IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO SURRENDER, TO SURRENDER TO THIS PROBLEM, TO SURRENDER TO THIS UNIQUELY AMERICAN PROBLEM, AND JUST THROW UP OUR HANDS AND SAY THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO, SOME MIGHT SAY, ABOUT MASS SHOOTINGS. THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO, SOME MIGHT ARGUE, TO LOSE OVER 30,000 LIVES A YEAR TO GUN VIOLENCE. I THINK WE CAN TAKE ACTION. I THINK WE CAN DO MORE. AT A MINIMUM, WE HAVE TO TRY. AND EVERYTHING I MENTIONED, YOU COULD ADD MORE, LIKE PLUGGING THE LOOPHOLE THAT SAYS IF YOU'RE TOO DANGEROUS TO GET ON AN AIRPLANE BECAUSE WE HAVE A REASONABLE SUSPICION, A WELL GROUNDED SUSPICION THAT YOU'RE A TERRORIST THAT YOU CAN'T GET ON AN AIRPLANE, WHY WOULD THAT SAME INDIVIDUAL BE ALLOWED TO HAVE A WEAPON? IT DOESN'T MAKE A LOT OF SENSE. SO WE HAVE SOME WORK TO DO AS LEGISLATORS AND AS AMERICANS TO TRY TO REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD THAT THESE ATTACKS WILL CONTINUE. NONE OF THE MEASURES THAT I'VE OUTLINED HERE TODAY, AND WE COULD ADD MORE TO THE LIST, ARE IN ANY WAY INCONSISTENT WITH THE SECOND AMENDMENT OR IN ANY WAY WOULD UNDERMINE THE RIGHT OF AFTER LAW-ABIDING AMERICAN TO PURCHASE A FIREARM AND TO USE A FIREARM FOR SELF-PROTECTION OR FOR HUNTING OR WHATEVER ELSE. WE HAVE TO TAKE ACTION AT LONG LAST. IT'S BEEN TOO LONG, TOO MANY TRAGEDIES, TOO MANY LIVES LOST, AND THE RESPONSE BY THE CONGRESS, FOR YEARS NOW -- YOU COULD EVEN SAY DECADES -- HAS BEEN TO THROW UP THEIR HANDS AND SAY THERE'S NOTHING THAT WE CAN DO. I DON'T BELIEVE THAT ABOUT AMERICA. THAT THE MOST POWERFUL NATION IN THE WORLD CAN DO NOTHING ON THIS ISSUE. WE NEED TO DO MORE. WE NEED TO DEBATE IT ON THE FLOOR AGAIN, BUT TO DO SOMETHING THAT WE HAVEN'T DONE IN A SUBSTANTIAL WAY, IN AT LEAST SIX YEARS, AND THAT IS TO HAVE VOTES ON THIS FLOOR THAT DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE. WE HAVE TO SOLVE A LOT OF PROBLEMS IN THE WEEKS THAT REMAIN IN THIS CONGRESS AND IN A NEW CONGRESS, BUT ONE OF THEM IS THIS -- TO BEGIN TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM THAT ONLY AMERICA HAS SUFFERED FROM. IT'S DIFFICULT. IT IS CONTENTIOUS, AND IT IS CERTAINLY NOT A PROBLEM THAT HAS AN EASY SOLUTION, BUT TO DO NOTHING, WHICH IS BASICALLY WHAT THE CONGRESS HAS DONE FOR FAR TOO LONG, TO DO NOTHING IS NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. I WOULD ARGUE IT IS INCONSISTENT WITH OUR VALUES. IT'S INCONSISTENT WITH WHO WE ARE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, AS WE EXPRESS CONDOLENCES FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOVED AND LOST, THOSE FAMILIES WHO HAVE SUFFERED EITHER THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE OR ARE STILL SUFFERING BECAUSE A LOVED ONE IS INJURED, THE LAW ENFORCEMENT WHO WERE INJURED IN THIS INCIDENT, AND AS WE COMMEND AND SALUTE THE GOOD WORK OF LAW ENFORCEMENT, THE GOOD WORK OF MEDICAL SERVICE PROFESSIONALS, THOSE PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE ON OUR STREETS EVERY DAY SAVING PEOPLE, AS WE DO ALL OF THAT AND OFFER THOSE WORDS OF SYMPATHY AND CONDOLENCE AND COME ENDAITION -- COMEN DAITION, LET US BE DETERMINED AS A PEOPLE TO BEGIN TO REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD THAT CONTINUALLY SUFFERS AND ENDURES MASS CHUTING AFTER MASS -- MASS SHOOTING AFTER MASS SHOOTING, LOSING LIVES THROUGH ALL OF THESE MANY YEARS AND IN JUST THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS. I THINK THAT'S ALSO A CHALLENGE AND ALSO SOLVING THAT IS WORTHY OF A GREAT COUNTRY. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:06:34 PM

    MR. LANKFORD

    MR. PRESIDENT, EARLIER THIS YEAR CONGRESS CREATED A BIPARTISAN COMMITTEE,…

    MR. PRESIDENT, EARLIER THIS YEAR CONGRESS CREATED A BIPARTISAN COMMITTEE, EIGHT REPUBLICANS, EIGHT DEMOCRATS, HALF FROM THE HOUSE 0, -- HOUSE, HALF FROM THE SENATE. THEIR MISSION WAS TO REFORM THE BUDGET PROCESS. IT WAS AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT THAT OUR DEBT IS CLIMBING AND THERE'S NO STRUCTURE IN PLACE TO EVEN ADDRESS THAT DEBT. ANY TIME OUR DEBT IS ADDRESSED, IT SEEMS TO BE HAPHAZARD OR ACCIDENTAL OR AN AD HOC COMMITTEE IS FORMED TO GO AFTER DEBT EVERY TEN YEARS OR SO. THIS IS SPIRALING AND WE NEED TO HAVE SOMETHING DONE AND IT NEEDS TO BE BUILT INTO THE STRUCTURE. STARTING IN APRIL, THESE 16 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS STARTED TO MEET WITH THESE INSTRUCTIONS, QUOTE, TO SIGNIFICANTLY REFO THE BUDGET APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS. THE IDEA WAS SIMPLE. WE'RE GETTING A BAD BUDGET PRODUCT, WE PROBABLY NEED TO LOOK AT THE BUDGET PROCESS AND TO BE ABLE TO FIND OUT WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE PROCESS. YOU SEE, THIS PROCESS THAT WE HAVE WAS ARE STARTED IN 1974, RIGHT AFTER WATERGATE, CONGRESS CREATED THIS NEW PROCESS WITH BUDGET, WITH A PRESIDENT'S BUDGET, WITH AUTHORIZING BILLS, WITH APPROPRIATING BILLS, AND IT WOULD ALL WORK TOGETHER FOR GREAT TRANSPARENCY. IT WAS A GREAT PLAN ON PAPER. BUT SINCE 1974, IT HAS ONLY WORKED FOUR TIMES. FOUR TIMES. AND YEAR AFTER YEAR AMERICANS KEEP SAYING THE SAME THING. WHY ISN'T THE BUDGET WORKING AGAIN? WHY IS EVERYTHING CLIMBING? AND EVERY YEAR CONGRESS SAYS THE SAME THING, WE'LL FIX IT NEXT YEAR, NEXT YEAR, NEXT YEAR, NEXT YEAR. AT SOME POINT WE HAVE TO ADMIT IT'S A BAD PROCESS AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET A BETTER PRODUCT OUT OF IT. WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO FIX THAT PROCESS. SO WE STARTED MEETING. TODAY WE HAD OUR FIRST SET OF VOTES ON HOW WE'RE GOING TO SIGNIFICANTLY REFORM THE BUDGET PROCESS. STARTED MEETING ABOUT 10:30 THIS MORNING, AND AFTER 15 AMENDMENTS AND DEBATE, THE HEARING WAS SUSPENDED AT LUNCH FOR A WEEK BECAUSE A FEW OF THE MEMBERS WANTED TO FLY HOME EARLY FOR TEANG. -- THANKSGIVING. SO NOW WE'LL HAVE TO FINISH THAT WORK NEXT WEEK. IT SIGNALED ME AGAIN THAT WE DON'T SEEM TO BE SERIOUS IN THIS BODY ABOUT DEALING WITH DEBT AND DEFICITS. THAT EVEN THE GROUP SELECTED TO REFORM THE PROCESS COULDN'T FINISH DEBATE WITHOUT BREAKING EARLY FOR THANKSGIVING. SO FAR THE ONLY AGREEMENTS TO DO SIGNIFICANT REFORM, REMEMBER THAT'S THE MANDATE, THE ONLY AGREEMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN SET SO FAR HAVE BEEN TO DO BUDGETS EVERY TWO YEARS RATHER THAN EVERY YEAR, BUT STILL KEEP RECONCILIATION AND APPROPRIATION EVERY YEAR, CHANGE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE AND THEN TO ADD A NEW OPTIONAL BIPARTISAN BUDGET PATHWAY IN CASE SOME FUTURE CONGRESS HAS LIGHTNING STRIKE AND THEY WANT TO BE ABLE TO TRY IT. THAT'S THE ONLY AGREEMENT THAT WE'VE HAD SO FAR. I DON'T KNOW IF THAT SOUNDS LIKE SIGNIFICANT BUDGET REFORM TO YOU, BUT IT DOESN'T TO ME. THAT SOUNDS LIKE JUST SHIFTING THINGS AROUND. FOR MONTHS WE HAVE RESEARCHED THE HISTORY OF THE BUDGET PROCESS. WE HAVE IDENTIFIED SIRCHT OPTION THAT'S -- DIFFERENT OPTIONS THAT ARE OUT THERE. WE TRIED TO FIGURE OUT HOW WE'VE GOTTEN TO THIS UNWORKABLE SPOT OF DEFICITS THAT WE'RE IN AND,000 TO FIX IT. -- AND HOW TO FIX IT. FOR MONTHS WE WORKED ON THIS. AND THEN AS WE GOT TO THIS POINT, SUDDENLY EVERYONE STARTS BACKING UP INTO THE STATUS QUO AND JUST SAY WE'LL TRY HARDER AGAIN. THIS WILL NOT WORK TO JUST TRY HARDER. THE PROCESS HAS TO CHANGE. YOU SEE, WE MET WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE AND ASKED SOME VERY BLUNT QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR DEBT AND DEFICIT THAT AMERICANS INHERENTLY KNOW AND THEY CAN JUST FEEL IT. BUT WE ASKED THE SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD NUMBERS. THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE REPORTED BACK TO US THAT IF WE WOULD -- IF WE WANT TO GET BACK TO THE HISTORIC LEVEL OF DEBT AND DEFICITS THAT WE HAVE HAD FOR THE PAST 50 YEARS, IF WE WANT TO JUST GET TO THAT LEVEL, WE WILL HAVE TO START CUTTING OR TAXING 630 -- $630 BILLION EVERY YEAR STARTING IN 2019 TO JUST GET BACK TO THE HISTORIC ELT -- HISK LEVELS -- HISTORIC LEVELS WE HAVE BEEN AT. IF WE WANT TO REMAIN IN THIS POSITION THAT WE ARE IN RIGHT NOW, WE WILL HAVE TO CUT OR TAX AN ADDITIONAL $400 BILLION EVERY SINGLE YEAR JUST TO TREAD WATER. THE REASON FOR THAT IS OUR INTEREST RATES ARE CONTINUING TO GO UP AND ON $21 TRILLION IN TOTAL DEBT RIGHT NOW, AS OUR INTEREST RATES TICK BACK UP, WE WILL BE SOON APPROACHING $1 TRILLION IN INTEREST PAYMENTS EACH YEAR. THAT IS MORE THAN ALL OF OUR DISCRETIONARY SPENDING COMBINED. WHEN PEOPLE ASK THE QUESTION, WHY IS THE DEBT INCREASING SUDDENLY AND THEY LOOK AT THINGS LIKE THE TAX BILL AND SAY IS IT THE TAX BILL? NO, IT'S NOT THE TAX BILL FROM LAST YEAR. IN FACT, THE TAX BILL FROM LAST YEAR AND THE TAX CHANGES THAT WERE MADE FOR THIS YEAR, THERE'S ACTUALLY MORE REVENUE COMING INTO THE FEDERAL TREASURY THIS YEAR AFTER THE TAX CHANGES THAN THERE WERE LAST YEAR. LET ME RUN THAT BY YOU AGAIN. EVERYONE SEEMS TO WANT TO BLAME THE TAX BILL ON THE INCREASING DEBT AND DEFICIT. THERE'S MORE REVENUE COMING TO THE TREASURY THIS YEAR THAN LAST YEAR EVEN AFTER THE TAX CUT BECAUSE THE TAX CUT SPURRED ECONOMIC ACTIVITY, MORE PEOPLE HAVE JOBS, MORE PEOPLE ARE PAYING TAXES, MORE PEOPLE ARE MAKE PG MORE MONEY, THEY -- MAKING MORE MONEY, THEY ARE PAYING ADDITIONAL TAXES. EVEN WITH THE CUT, MORE REVENUE IS COMING IN. IT IS NOT ABOUT THE TAX CUT. IT IS ABOUT A SKYROCKETING INTEREST ON A $21 TRILLION DEBT. AND THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT THAT OTHER THAN BEGIN TO ADDRESS IT SERIOUSLY. IT HAS BEEN PREDICTABLE. C.B.O. HAS SEEN IT FOR YEARS, AND IT'S HERE. AND THE SIMPLE MANDATE OF THE BUDGET REFORM COMMITTEE WAS TO BRING OUT A SIGNIFICANT REFORM IN THE PROCESS SO WE COULD ADDRESS THIS TOG MOST FRUSTRATING PROCESSES I'VE HAD IN MY SHORT TIME HERE IN THE SENATE. BECAUSE MOST DON'T WANT TO SOLVE IT. BECAUSE THE DECISIONS WILL BE HARD. SO LET ME LAY OUT SOME OF THE OPTIONS I DO THINK FIX THIS. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HARD CHOICES? THE FIRST THING THAT I HEARD OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN THIS BUDGET REFORM PROCESS IS THAT WE NEED TO GET TO A BIPARTISAN PROCESS, AND I AGREE. REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO LOOK AT THE DEBT AND DEFICIT AND WORK TOGETHER. THERE SEEMS TO BE ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT GIMMICKS TO WORK TOGETHER WHEN WE'RE AVOIDING THE ONE SIMPLE WAY. THERE IS ONE SIMPLE WAY TO DO SOMETHING BIPARTISAN, IT'S CALLED PASSING A LAW. RIGHT NOW THE BUDGET, AS IT'S DONE EVERY YEAR, IS NOT LAW. THE SENATE WRITES A BUDGET, THE HOUSE WRITES A BUDGET, NEITHER IS ACTUALLY PASSED, THE PRESIDENT NEVER SIGNS THEM. THE HOUSE CREATES A BUDGET, THE SENATE CREATES A BUDGET, AND THEN EVERYONE DEBATES FOR A YEAR AND THEN WE GET TO APPROPRIATIONS AND FIGHT OVER APPROPRIATIONS AT THE END OF THE YEAR BECAUSE THOSE ARE ACTUALLY LAW. HERE'S THE SIMPLE SOLUTION. IF YOU WANT TO AVOID GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWNS, IF YOU WANT TO END ALL OF THE END OF THE YEAR FIGHTING, IF YOU WANT TO MAKE BUDGETING AN ACTUAL BIPARTISAN PROCESS, THERE'S A SIMPLE SOLUTION. MAKE THE BUDGET A LAW. I KNOW THAT MAY SOUND OVERLY SIMPLISTIC TO PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE BODY. AND MANY PEOPLE THINK THE BUDGET NEW HAMPSHIRE A LAW. BUT IT IS NOT. IT IS INTO THE LAW BECAUSE THEN YOU CAN CREATE PARTISAN DOCUMENTS AND DEBATE IT AND HASH IT AROUND FOR A FULL YEAR, AND THEN GO FIGHT AT THE VERY END OF THE YEAR BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN HAPPENS WHEN THERE'S LOTS OF PRESSURE. THE SIMPLE WAY TO RESOLVE THIS AT THE GOING UP IS TO MAKE THE -- AT THE BEGINNING IS TO MAKE THE FIGHT ABOUT THE BUDGET AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR LONG BEFORE THERE IS A DISCUSSION OF GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWNS. MAKE THE BUDGET ITSELF A LAW. PUSH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE AND THE WHITE HOUSE TO SIT DOWN EARLY IN THE YEAR BEFORE MAY 31, RESOLVE HOW WE'RE GOING TO SPEND, WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO, WHAT IS THE PLAN, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO SAVE, AND THEN PASS IT AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT WHEN THAT HAPPENS -- AS A LAW. WHEN THAT HAPPENS, THEN ALL THE WORK CAN HAPPEN AFTER THAT. THEN DO YOU ALL THE APPROPRIATIONS BILLS. THEN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO SAVE. BUT YOU'VE ESTABLISHED THE BIG DEAL. IT MOVES THE FIGHT FROM THE END TO THE BEGINNING. MOST EVERYONE ON THIS COMMITTEE IS FIGHTING WITH THE ONE SIMPLE, OBVIOUS ANSWER -- MAKE THE BUDGET A LAW INSTEAD OF A PARTISAN POLITICAL DOCUMENT EVERY YEAR. THAT IS NOT -- THAT HAS NOT WORKED. LET'S FIGHT IT OUT EARLIER. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE BUDGET FIGHTS. WE HAVE DISAGREEMENTS IN THIS BODY. LET'S HAVE OUR AGREEMENTS BUT LET'S HAVE THEM EARLY INSTEAD OF HOLDING THE ENTIRE COUNTRY HOSTAGE AT THE END OF THE YEAR RIGHT AS WE APPROACH A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN. LET'S LAY OUT IN THE BUDGET DEBT-TO-G.D.P. TARGETS. WHAT DO WE PRODUCE TOTAL AS A COUNTRY? WHAT'S THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF DEBT THAT WE CAN HANDLE AS COUNTRY? LET'S CREATE A PLAN FOR THAT IN THE BUDGET AND THEN THROUGH THE COURSE OF THE YEAR ACTUALLY EXECUTE THAT PLAN. THAT'S WHAT EVERY FAMILY, EVERY BUSINESS DOES. THEY LOOK AT THE REVENUE COMING IN. IF THEY'VE GOT DEBT LIKE THEIR MORTGAGE AND CARS, THEY PLAN AND ALLOT FOR THAT. WE TOO. THE BUDGET IS A POLITICAL DOCUMENT AND THEN WE MAKE UP SPENDING AS WE GO THROUGH THE YEAR WITHOUT A SIGNIFICANT PLAN. MAKE THE BUDGET A LAW. CREATE YOUR DEBT-TO-G.D.P. TARGETS IN IT AND THEN EXECUTE THOSE IN THE COURSE OF THE YEAR. MOST AMERICANS HAVE HEARD SOMETHING ABOUT APPROPRIATIONS BILLS. THEY'VE HEARD THAT ON SOME NEWS REPORT OR SOMETHING. THE 1974 BUDGET ACT REQUIRES THAT WE DO A CERTAIN NUMBER OF APPROPRIATIONS BILLS. RIGHT NOW IT IS 12 BILLS REQUIRED. IT BREAKS UP THE MAJOR PARTS OF GOVERNMENT SPENDING INTO 12 LITTLE SPOTS. BASICALLY WE HAVE 12 SEPARATE BILLS SET ASIDE FOR SPEND. WE NEVER HAVE A SINGLE BILL SET ASIDE FOR SAVING. LET ME RUN THAT PAST US AGAIN. THERE IS NO PLAN FOR A BILL THAT IS SET ASIDE FOR SAVINGS. ONE OF THE THINGS I'VE RECOMMENDED TO MAKE THE BUDGET A LAW TO FORCE EVERYONE TO HAVE THE FIGHT EARLY RATHER THAN LATE, BUT TO ADD A 13th BILL. DO OUR 12 APPROPRIATIONS BILLS, BUT THE 13th BILL BE A BILL THAT SET ASIDE EVERY SESSION OF CONGRESS THAT IS FOCUSED ON WHAT ARE WE GOING TO SAVE? FORCING CONGRESS EVERY SESSION TO HAVE TO STOP AND HAVE THE DEBATE. HOW ARE WE GOING TO SAVE MONEY? WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? EACH CONGRESS CAN DECIDE HOW MUCH THEY WANT TO SAVE. BUT EVERY CONGRESS HAS TO WORK A LITTLE BIT ON THIS. CURRENTLY, EVERY TIME WE FIGHT DEBT, IT MAY BE ONCE A DECADE BIG MEETING ON DEBT. WE'RE NEVER GOING TO GET AHOLD OF $21 TRILLION IN DEBT TRYING TO FIGHT IT ONCE A DECADE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO IT LITTLE BY LITTLE BY LITTLE AND CHIP IT AWAY. BUT THIS CONGRESS, JUST LIKE THE LAST CONGRESS, JUST LIKE THE ONE BEFORE, DIDN'T DO A SIGNIFICANT WORK ON DEBT REDUCTION BECAUSE THERE WAS NO DEADLINE AND THE WORK IS HARD. IF I KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS CONGRESS FROM THE SHORT TIME HE HAVE A. BEEN HERE, IT'S THAT IT WILL NOT DO ANYTHING UNTIL IT HAS TO. SO IF WE CREATED IN LAW A REQUIREMENT THAT EVERY SESSION OF CONGRESS THERE HAS TO BE WHAT I CALL THE 13th BILL, THIS BILL THAT'S DESIGNED TO SAY CONGRESS HAS TO DEBATE HOW MUCH THEY'RE GOING TO SAVE AND WHERE THEY'RE GOING TO SAVE, IT WOULD AT LEAST FORCE THAT MOMENT WHERE WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO RESOLVE THINGS. THERE'S BEEN NO DIALOGUE SO FAR 0 ON HOW WE REALLY REFORM THE DEBT LIMIT. THE DEBT LIMIT ONLY IS AN AMERICAN INVENTION. IT WAS DESIGNED TO BE ABLE TO CONTROL OUR SPENDING AND CONTROL OUR DEBT BUT I CAN ASSURE IT HAS NOT WORKED. 78 TIMES WE HAVE RAISED THE DEBT LIMIT. THE DEBT LIMIT HAS BECOME A DEBT CLIFF AND A BIG FIGHT REAR THAN SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY -- RATHER THAN SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY CONTROLS OUR SPENDING. IF WE WOULD PUT IN PLACE SOMETHING TO ACTUALLY CAUSE CONGRESS TO HAVE A VOTE ON DEBT, I WOULD BE GLAD TO DEAL WITH THE DEBT LIMIT. IT IS DRAMA EVERY TIME. AND SUBSTITUTE IT FOR SOMETHING THAT'S REALLY GOING TO REDUCE OUR DEBT BURDEN. BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT THE DISCUSSION IS. THE DISCUSSION IN THE COMMITTEE IS NOT ABOUT TRYING TO ACTUALLY REDUCE OUR DEBT OR TO PUT IN PLAN A WAY TO BE ABLE TO REDUCE OUR DEBT. IT'S JUST WHAT CAN WE DO TO TAKE OUT THE DEBT CEILING VOTE ENTIRELY BECAUSE IT IS TRICKY. THAT DOESN'T HELP US. THAT'S NOT SIGNIFICANT REFORM JUST REMOVING SOMETHING BECAUSE IT'S TRICKY. SIGNIFICANT REFORM ON OUR BUDGET PROCESS IS WHEN WE REPLACE IT WITH SOMETHING THAT'S EFFECTIVE. EVERY YEAR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SINCE 1974 HAS SUBMITTED SOMETHING CALLED THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET. MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ARE SPENT COMPILING THIS BIG, GIANT DOCUMENT THAT NO ONE READS. IT BECOMES A BILL POLITICAL DOCUMENT. EVERY SINGLE PRESIDENT HAS PUT ONE OUT SINCE 1974, EVERY YEAR, AND NOT A SINGLE ONE MASS EVER PASSED, NOT ONE. BUT LOTS OF TIME AND AHE TENSION IS SPENT ON THE, QUOTE-UNQUOTE, PRESIDENT'S BUDGET. THERE IS A SIMPLER WAY. TURN THE PRESIDENT TURN OVER THEIR PRIORITIES. TURN OVER THE AGENCY ISSUES THAT THEY SEE ON SPENDING, PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE. BUT DON'T CREATE THIS BIG EXPENSIVE PROCESS OF HAVING A GIANT PRESIDENT'S BUDGET THAT REALLY MEANS NOTHING. HOW ABOUT SHIFTING OUR BUDGETING AND OUR WHOLE PROCESS TO THE CALENDAR YEAR RATHER THAN THE FISCAL YEAR. MANY AMERICANS DON'T KNOW THAT CONGRESS RUNS FROM OCTOBER 1 UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30. WELL, GUESS WHAT? IT'S THE MIDDLE OF NOVEMBER RIGHT NOW. OUR APPROPRIATIONS ARE NOT DONE FOR THIS YEAR. THEY'RE NOT DONE FOR LAST YEAR. WE'VE CARRIED THEM OVER ON SOMETHING CALLED A CONTINUING RESOLUTION, OR WHICH LAY PEOPLE SAY IS A C.R. JUST LIKE WAS DONE THE YEAR BEFORE, JUST LIKE WAS DONE THE YEAR BEFORE, JUST LIKE WAS DONE THE YEAR BEFORE. YOU SEE, CONGRESS ACTUALLY FUNCTIONS ON THE CALENDAR YEAR BUT WE PRETEND TO FUNCTION ON A FISCAL YEAR. BUT IT GUARANTEES THAT EVERY OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER, WE'VE GOT BUDGET CHAOS AS WE'RE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BE ABLE TO RUN THE SYSTEM. HOW ABOUT THIS FOR A SIMPLE SOLUTION -- WHY DON'T WE ACTUALLY RUN IT ON THE CALENDAR YEAR BECAUSE THAT'S HOW WE ACTUALLY DO IT, INCLUDING THIS YEAR. THAT WOULD MEAN YOU COULD ACTUALLY PLAN AND STRUCTURE FOR THAT. THAT'S SIGNIFICANT BUDGET REFORM. BUT CURRENTLY THE CONVERSATION IN THE BUDGET REFORM COMMITTEE IS, NO, WE'LL TRY AGAIN NEXT YEAR AND SEE IF WE CAN MAKE SEPTEMBER 30 WORK. IT WON'T, BY THE WAY, BUT NO ONE WANTS TO ACTUALLY MAKE THE SHIFT. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF DEBATE ABOUT SOMETHING CALLED RECONCILIATION. RECONCILIATION IS A PROCESS THAT'S INTENSELY BROKEN. IT WAS DESIGNED BY THE BUDGET ACT TO BE SOMETHING TO REALLY FOCUS ON DEBT AND DEFICIT. BUT IT'S BECOME A FIGHT WITH OUR PARLIAMENTARIAN AND WITH EACH OTHER ABOUT HOW TO STICK IN SOMETHING THAT'S NOT DEBT AND DEFICIT-RELATED. WHY DON'T WE SIMPLIFY THE LANGUAGE? WHY DON'T WE CLEAN UP THE RECONCILIATION PROCESS? WHY DON'T WE MAKE IT WHAT IT WASSTEIN DESIGNED TO BE AND MAKE SURE IT IS CLEAR SO THAT RECONCILIATION IS USED TO DEAL WITH DEBT AND DEFICIT. IT IS A DOABLE TASK. WE HAVE LAID OUT MULTIPLE DIFFERENT PROPOSALS TO BE HOW TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT. SO FAR THEY'VE ALL BEEN TURNED DOWN. WE'VE GOT TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO GET BETTER NUMBERS. IF WE CAN'T GET BETTER NUMBERS, WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET BETTER RESULTS. WE'VE GOT TO REAL REAL NUMBERS FROM THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE AND JOINT TAX. WE HAVE TO ALLOW DYNAMIC SCORING SO WE GET A PREDICTIVE WAY TO LOOK AT THE TAX AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS. WE'VE GOT TO HAVE REAL CONSEQUENCES IF CONGRESS DOESN'T DO A BUDGET. AMERICANS KNOW, IF CONGRESS DOESN'T DO A BUDGET, THEY JUST LEAVE TOWN AND SAY, OOPS, DIDN'T GET IT DONE THIS YEAR. HOW ABOUT THIS FOR A SIMPLE IDEA -- THAT WOULD BE EFFECTIVE EVEN TODAY IF WE WERE DOING IT -- THERE IS A SET DEADLINE IN STATUTE, IN LAW WHEN THE BUDGET HAS TO BE COMPLETED, WHEN THE APPROPRIATIONS BILLS HAVE TO BE COMPLETED, AND WHEN THEY HAVE TO BE SIGNED. AND IF THOSE MILESTONES OR DEADLINES ARE NOT HIT, CONGRESS CANNOT ADJOURN, CANNOT LEAVE TOWN. I DON'T CARE IF IT IS APPROACHING THANKSGIVING OR NOT. YOU SET A DEADLINE AND IF IT IS NOT COMPLETED BY THAT DEADLINE, CONGRESS HAS TO BE IN SESSION EVERY DAY, INCLUDING WEEKENDS, UNTIL IT'S DONE. THAT'S A SIMPLE SOLUTION. CONGRESS, IF THEY'RE IN SESSION EVERY SINGLE DAY, AT SOME POINT THEY WILL SAY, I WANT TO BE ABLE TO GO HOME AND SEE MY FAMILY. WE NEED TO GET THIS RESOLVED. I WOULD AGREE. THERE'S NOT A PRESSURE POINT BETTER THAN FORCING CONGRESS TO STAY IN TOWN AND STAY IN SESSION UNTIL THE WORK IS DONE. WE'LL SEE IF THAT IS ACTUALLY ADDED INTO THE PROPOSAL. BUT SO FAR THAT'S TRENDING AWAY FROM JUST SAYING TO CONGRESS IN THE FUTURE AND NOW, NO, WE'LL TRY TO GET THAT DONE, BUT I'M NOT SURE THAT WE REALLY WILL. IF WE WANT TO END GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWNS, THEN KEEP CONGRESS IN SESSION. IF YOU WANT TO END LONG CONTINUING RESOLUTIONS, KEEP CONGRESS IN SESSION UNTIL IT IS DONE. IT IS A PRETTY STRAIGHTFORWARD PROCESS. IT WOULD BENEFIT OUR ECONOMY, IT WOULD BENEFIT THIS CONGRESS. EVEN SIMPLE THINGS -- IT'S FASCINATING TO ME. THERE IS AN INTERNAL PROCESS CALLED VOTE-A-RAMA. IT IS AWFUL. IF YOU'RE EVER YEAR AROUND IT OR WATCHING IT, IT IS TERRIBLE. IT IS AROUND THE BUDGET PROCESS, AND IT IS AN ENDLESS DEBATE, VOTE, BUT NONE OF THE VOTES ACTUALLY COUNT. THEY'RE ALL MENTALLING VOTES. BUT -- THEY'RE ALL MESSAGING VOTES. BUT ANYONE CAN BRING UP ANYTHING AT ANY TIME. IT'S A TERRIBLE PROCESS. THAT'S FIXABLE. IN FACT, WE BROUGHT PUP AN AMENDMENT TODAY IN THE PROCESS, ONE OF THOSE 15 AMENDMENTS THAT WAS DEBATED BEFORE PEOPLE LEFT EARLY FOR THANKSGIVING, WE BROUGHT UP THAT AMENDMENT TODAY TO FIX THE VOTE-A-RAMA. AND IT FAILED. BECAUSE FOLKS ON THE OTHER SIDE WANTED TO HAVE MESSAGING VOTES JUST IN CASE IT CAME UP. INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, IN THE LAST VOTE-A-RAMA THAT HAPPENED, THIS ALL-NIGHT, PERPETUAL MEANINGLESS VOTE SERIES, THE LAST VOTE IN THE VOTE-A-RAMA WAS A MESSAGING VOTE, SHOULD WE END VOTE-A-RAMAS OR NOT? IT PASSED UNANIMOUSLY BECAUSE EVERYONE IN THIS CHAMBER SAYS THEY HATE IT. BUT WHEN THERE WAS A REAL OPTION TO GET RID OF IT, THEY KEPT IT. BECAUSE THE STATUS QUO IS EASIER THAN CHANGE. SIGNIFICANT BUDGET REFORM WAS THE MANDATE. IT'S NOT HAPPENED SO FAR. NOT EVEN SMALL BUDGET REFORM HAS HAPPENED SO FAR. WE'LL COME BACK AFTER THANKSGIVING. WE'LL HAVE ANOTHER SERIES OF AMENDMENTS. WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE ABLE TO GET THIS RIGHT AND TO BE ABLE TO FIX A VERY BROKEN PROCESS. AND I WOULD PRAY THAT OVER THANKSGIVING MEMBERS OF THIS BODY AND OF THE HOUSE DETERMINE THAT $21 TRILLION WORTH OF DEBT NEEDS SIGNIFICANT REFORM, NOT JUST TWEAKS AROUND THE EDGES, AND THAT WHEN WE COME BACK FROM THINGS -- THANKSGIVING, PEOPLE ACTUALLY APROFESS THIS SERIOUSLY INSTEAD OF THE FLIPPANT WAY IT'S BEEN APPROACHED SO FAR. WE'VE GOT TO GET THIS DONE. AND I COMMEND US TO GET IT DONE. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:29:15 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    MR. PRESIDENT, A FEW WEEKS AGO THERE WAS A MEDIA ATTENTION ON THE CARAVAN…

    MR. PRESIDENT, A FEW WEEKS AGO THERE WAS A MEDIA ATTENTION ON THE CARAVAN FROM CENTRAL AMERICA COMING UP THROUGH MEXICO AND MAKING THEIR WAY TO THE UNITED STATES INTENDING TO DECLARE ASYLUM OR CROSS THE BORDER ILLEGALLY. THIS IS KIND OF INTERESTING BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE THAT WE HAVE WITHIN OUR LAWS THE ABILITY, IF A PERSON DECLARES ASYLUM, THAT IT HAS TO BE ACTED ON. IT HAS BEEN A MATTER OF ROUTINE AND WE'VE HEARD ALL ABOUT PEOPLE DECLARING ASYLUM, GETTING A COURT DATE AND NOT SHOWING UP FOR COURT. WE KNOW THAT THAT HAPPENS AND IT'S REALLY A NO-BRAINER. BUT NONETHELESS IT HAS BEEN GOING ON AND ON AND ON. THE LAW DOES PRESCRIBE THAT ANYONE COMING TO THIS COUNTRY TO SEEK ASYLUM WILLING -- WILL BE COMING TO THE COUNTRY THROUGH OTHER COUNTRIES THEN THEY SHOULD FIRST GO TO WHATEVER OTHER COUNTRY THEY GO THROUGH BEFORE COMING TO THE UNITED STATES. IN OTHER WORDS, SOMEONE CAN BE FROM CENTRAL AMERICA IS OBLIGATED, IF THEY'RE COMING THROUGH MEXICO, THEY SHOULD GO NOT TO THE UNITED STATES BUT TO MEXICO TO SEEK ASYLUM. ASYLUM IS NOT WELL DEFINED. ANYONE CAN CAN SAY -- CAN SAY, MY LIFE IS IN DANGER AND I NEED TO COME INTO THE UNITED STATES ACROSS THE BORDER. BACK IN MY REAL LIFE, I SPENT 20 YEARS ON THE BORDER. I WAS A DEVELOPER. I SPENT TIME DOWN THERE, AND THEY HAVE THE SAME SOLUTIONS AND WONDER WHY WE DON'T GO AHEAD AND HAVE A SOLUTION. SO, ANYWAY, WE WERE TOLD THE MY GRANTS ARE -- MY GRANTS WERE -- MY GRANTS ARE ESCAPING. THEY MAYBE WANT TO REUNITE WITH THEIR FAMILIES. I WOULD THINK THAT ANYONE WITHIN EARSHOT RIGHT NOW WOULD -- WOULD WANT TO DO THE SAME THING FOR THEIR FAMILIES. SO THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR A LONG TIME. AND WHILE THE CARAVAN RIGHTFULLY GARNERED A LOT OF ATTENTION, IT IS REALLY PART OF A MUCH LARGER PROBLEM. IN FISCAL YEAR 2018 ALONE MORE THAN 296 -- 396,000 PEOPLE WERE CAUGHT ILLEGALLY CAUGHT CROSSING OUR BORED BY CUSTOMS AGENTS. AN AVERAGE OF 5,,000 SOMETHING A WEEK. THEY KNOW OUR BORDER IS POROUS. WHILE THE PROBLEMS ARE NOT NEW, THE CARAVAN BRINGS A RENEWED SPOTLIGHT TO OUR VULNERABILITIES. WE HAVE TO SECURE OUR BORDERS AND TACKLE THE POLICIES THAT ENCOURAGE ABUSE OF OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM. AFTER DECADES OF SEEING OUR BORDER BREACHED OVER AND OVER AGAIN, VOTERS RESPONDED VERY ACTIVELY TO PRESIDENT TRUMP WHEN HE WAS PLEDGING TO ADDRESS OUR IMMIGRATION CRISIS BY BUILDING A WALL. HERE'S THE THING, WALLS WORK. WE KNOW THEY WORK. WE'RE ABOUT THE ONLY ONE WHO DOESN'T HAVE WALLS HERE. D.H.S. HAS ESTIMATED THAT A WALL, AND WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE WALLS THAT HAVE BEEN IN THE DISCUSSION PROPOSED BY THIS PRESIDENT AND PROPOSED BY MANY OF US IN THIS BODY, WILL DETER 90% OF ILL -- ILLEGAL CROSSERS. 90%. SO WALLS DO WORK. IN NEARLY 2,000 MILES, IT WILL TAKE AN ESTIMATE, THEY HAVE BEEN USING THE FIGURE, ESTIMATED $25 BILLION TO FULLY SECURE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER. I HEARD MY COLLEAGUES TBRIEPING -- GRIPING ABOUT HOW WE WILL PAY FOR IT AND WE DON'T NEED TO GROW OUR DEFICIT OR USE OUR TAX DOLLARS TO PAY FOR IT. THAT'S WHY I'M INTRODUCING THE WALL ACT OF 2018, TO BUILD THE WAR AND SECURE OUR BORDER. AND WE ARE GOING TO INTRODUCE THIS. WE HAVE TALKED THIS OVER AND DETERMINED THIS WILL WORK. IT IS VERY SIMPLE. IT PROVIDES $25 BILLION -- ACTUALLY MORE THAN THAT -- FOR A WALL BY ELIMINATING FEDERAL BENEFITS GOING TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. NOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO YELL AND SCREAM. WE HAVE A LOT OF LIBERALS IN BOTH BODIES OF CONGRESS THAT ARE GOING TO SAY, NO, WE CAN'T DO THAT. LIBERALS ARE ALWAYS GREAT ABOUT GIVING THINGS AWAY, BUT THE BOTTOM LINE -- I ALWAYS THINK OF MARGARET THATCHER WHEN I THINK ABOUT THIS. SHE SAID THAT SOCIALISM IS A WONDERFUL THING UNTIL WE RUN OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY TO GIVE AWAY. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW. UNDER CURRENT LAW NONCITIZENS WHO ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WORK ARE ABLE TO RECEIVE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDITS, THAT'S A REFUNDABLE TAX CREDIT. THEY ARE ELIGIBLE BECAUSE APPLICANTS DO NOT NEED TO PROVIDE WORK-AUTHORIZED SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS. PRIOR TO 2003, THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION ROUTINELY ISSUED SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS SIMPLY TO ANYONE NEEDING A DRIVER'S LICENSE OR BANK ACCOUNT. WE STOPPED THAT NOW BUT THOSE NUMBERS STILL EXIST AND ALLOW FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO OBTAIN SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS AND RECEIVE THIS REFUNDABLE TAX CREDIT AND POSSIBLY OTHER FEDERAL BENEFITS. NOW, MORE SIGNIFICANTLY, THIS BILL THAT WE'RE INTRODUCING WOULD REQUIRE THE TAX FILERS THEMSELVES TO PROVIDE A WORK AUTHORIZED SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TO RECEIVE THE REFUNDABLE CHILD TAX CREDIT. NOW, UNDER THE LAW FILERS ONLY HAVE TO PROVIDE A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER FOR DEPENDENTS THAT THEY ARE CLAIMING TO RECEIVE TAX CREDIT AND REFUNDABLE PORTION. NOW, THAT'S UNDER THE CURRENT LAW. AN ILLEGAL PARENT CAN WITH LEGAL DEPENDENTS AT THE END OF A TAX YEAR COULD GET A CHILD TAX CREDIT FOR A CHECK FOR AS MUCH AS $1,400 PER CHILD AND THAT CHECK COMES FROM UNCLE SAM. BY CLOSING THESE LOOPHOLES, WE CAN SAVE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR, WE CAN SAVE EVEN MORE TAXPAYERS DOLLARS BY ENSURING THE INTEGRITY OF OTHER FEDERAL WELFARE PROGRAMS LIKE SNAP BY MANDATING THE ALL STATES USE THE E-VERIFY SYSTEM, WE CAN ADD AN ADDITIONAL LAYER OF INTEGRITY TO ENSURE THE LEGAL WORK ELIGIBLE STATUS OF BENEFIT RECIPIENTS. NOW THESE ARE COMMONSENSE REFORMS. YOU HAVE TO ASK THE QUESTION, WHY WOULD WE NOT DO THIS? ONLY THOSE WHO -- THOSE LEGALLY IN THIS COUNTRY AND ELIGIBLE FOR WORK SHOULD BE RECEIVING BENEFITS, FEDERAL BENEFITS INTENDED TO GET PEOPLE OUT OF POVERTY AND GET THEM BACK TO WORK. AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY WOULD WORK. AND THEY ARE ALL COMMON SENSE. ONE OF THESE THINGS THAT FALL UNDER THE CATEGORY OF MAKES SO MUCH SENSE, WHY DON'T WE GO AHEAD AND DO IT. WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO AHEAD AND DO IT NOW. ONLY THOSE LEGALLY IN THIS COUNTRY AND ELIGIBLE FOR WORK SHOULD BE RECEIVING FEDERAL BENEFITS INTENDED TO GET PEOPLE OUT OF POVERTY AND INTO JOBS. AND, FINALLY, THIS BILL IS ACTUALLY AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT THAT IS OUT THERE THAT -- BUT WE SHOULD BE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF IT. IT SAYS THAT IT WOULD INCREASE THE MINIMUM PENALTY FOR EVERY ILLEGAL CROSSING OF THE BORDER. OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS THERE'S BEEN AN AVERAGE OF 5,000 ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSINGS EACH YEAR. BY RAISING THE MINIMUM PENALTY ON ILLEGAL BORDER, THE GOVERNMENT WOULD RAISE AS MUCH AS $15 BILLION OVER A TEN-YEAR PERIOD. THIS MORE THAN PAYS FOR A WALL. OUR PRESIDENT RIGHTFULLY DEMANDED A WALL NOT BE PAID FOR WITH HARDWORKING AMERICAN TAX DOLLARS AND MY BILL FULL ILL FILLS -- FULFILLS THAT COMMITMENT BY NOT TAKING MONEY FROM A LEGAL CITIZEN OR LAWFUL IMGRANT. TO SUM IT UP -- I WAS HAVING A NEWS CONFERENCE LAST WEEK ON THIS BILL AND SOMEONE SAID, WELL, THE PRESIDENT HAS SAID MEXICO SHOULD PAY FOR IT. IN A WAY YOU COULD SAY THIS FULFILLS THAT COMMITMENT TOO. IT IS BEING PAID FOR BY BENEFITS THAT WOULD OTHERWISE GO TO LEGALS WHO WILL NOT GET THE BENEFITS. IT IS THE BEST OF BOTH WORDS AND A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM. IT IS WHAT THE AMERICAN FAMILIES DESERVE, BUT EVEN MORE, IT'S WHAT THE HARDWORKING LAWFUL MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE ABIDING BY OUR IMMIGRATION PROCESS DESERVE. THAT IS THE BILL WE'RE GOING TO BE INTRODUCING, AND YOU WILL BE HEARING A LOT ABOUT IT. BECAUSE ONE THING THAT PEOPLE SAY HAS NOT BEEN RESOLVED IS HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH $25 BILLION WITH A WALL? IT IS EASY, IT CAN BE DONE, THE FIGURES BATCH, -- MATCH AND IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO FOR LAWFUL AMERICANS. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:38:36 PM

    CALL

    QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:

  • 03:38:37 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 04:03:33 PM

    MR. BROWN

    THIS WEEK, THIS BODY BEGAN RUBBER STAMPING YET ANOTHER TRUMP NOMINEE WHO…

    THIS WEEK, THIS BODY BEGAN RUBBER STAMPING YET ANOTHER TRUMP NOMINEE WHO WILL HELP UNRAVEL WALL STREET, REFORM WHO WILL GIVE BIG BANKS FREE REIN AGAIN. THIS WHITE HOUSE LOOKS LIKE A RETREAT FOR WALL STREET EXECUTIVES. MICHELLE BOWMAN IS ABOUT TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE. WE SHOULD BE AWARE THAT THE ONLY REASON THIS SLOT IS OPEN IS BECAUSE OF THE OBSTRUCTION OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S FEDERAL RESERVE NOMINEES IN THE LAST CONGRESS. PRESIDENT TRUMP WILL ALREADY HAVE NOMINATED SIX OF THE SEVEN BOARD SLOTS. OTHER NOMINEES WE COULD BE VOTING ON WHO WOULD ENJOY MORE BROAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT THAT I WOULD -- THAT WOULD HAVE DIRECT IMPACT ON SAVING AND CREATING AMERICAN JOBS, PEOPLE -- BIPARTISAN NOMINEES FOR THE EXPORT-IMPORT BANK BLOCKED BY TWO OR THREE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE, DOING THE BIDDING OF THE WHITE HOUSE, COSTING US THOUSANDS -- AND THIS IS COMING FROM BUSINESS INTERESTS, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS, PEOPLE -- "WALL STREET JOURNAL" PLACES LIKE THAT. THIS IS COSTING US THOUSANDS OF GOOD-PAYING MANUFACTURING JOBS BECAUSE OF COMPLICITNESS IN THE MAJORITY LEADER'S OFFICE AND BECAUSE SOMEBODY AT THE WHITE HOUSE HAS A PROBLEM WITH THE EXPORT-IMPORT BANK. NOBODY CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS. THESE NOMINEES HAVE STRONG BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. INSTEAD OF VOTING ON THAT TO CREATE JOBS IMMEDIATELY, IMMEDIATELY IN MY STATE, WE'RE VOTING ON SOMEONE WHO WILL MAKE IT EASIER FOR THE FED TO ROLL BACK AND WATER DOWN MORE CONSUMER PROTECTIONS. MISS BOWMAN FAILED DURING THE HEARING TO PROVIDE THE COMMITTEE WITH ANY INSIGHT ON HER VIEWS ON MONETARY POLICY AND REGULATION, ON FINANCIAL STABILITY. IN OTHER WORDS, ALL OF THE ISSUES THAT AFFECT OUR ECONOMY SHE'LL MAKE DECISIONS ON. WE'VE SEEN WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE FED. WE'VE HEARD THEIR PLANS FOR ROLLING BACK RULE AFTER RULE AFTER RULE. TODAY VICE PRESIDENT -- VICE CHAIR QUARLES SAID THE FED CAME TO OUR COMMITTEE LAST WEEK TO TESTIFY. LAST WEEK HE SAID THE WEAKENED -- THEY'LL WEAKEN STRESS TESTS FOR LIVING WILLS. THE FED PUT OUT ITS PROPOSAL TO IMPLEMENT THE BANK GIVEAWAY BILL ENACTED EARLIER THIS YEAR. IT ROLLS BACK RULES ON BANKS WITH OVER $250 BILLION -- YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE IT DOES? GET THIS, MR. PRESIDENT. THE FED ANNOUNCED PLANS TO WEAKEN RULES FOR FOREIGN MEGA BANKS. THESE ARE BANKS LIKE SANTANDER AND DEUTSCHE BANKS. THESE ARE FOREIGN BANKS. THINK ABOUT MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. THESE ARE FOREIGN BANKS, BIG FOREIGN BANKS, FOREIGN BANKS THAT ARE HUGE INTO THE HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN ASSETS INTERNATIONALLY. GOOD SIZE IN THIS COUNTRY. THEY HAVE BROKEN FEDERAL LAW. TIME AND TIME AND TIME AGAIN. WHAT DOES THIS WHITE HOUSE DO? WHAT DOES THE MAJORITY LEADER DO? HE SAYS IT'S OKAY TO GIVE THESE FOREIGN BANKS A BREAK. THEN WE HAVE TO BE PREACHED TO ABOUT MAKING AMERICA GREAT. HOW DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE, MR. PRESIDENT? THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SENDS THESE NOMINEES UP HERE WHO COME OUT OF THIS SWAMP AT THE WHITE HOUSE, THESE NOMINEES WHO PURE AND SIMPLE LOOK LIKE A RETREAT OF WALL STREET EXECUTIVES AT THE WHITE HOUSE. EXCUSE ME, A RETREAT OF FOREIGN BANKS C.E.O.'S AT THE WHITE HOUSE. AND THEY COME UP HERE AND WEAKEN THE RULES PROTECTING AMERICANS. WE SIDE WITH FOREIGN BANKS WHO HAVE BROKEN THE LAW INSTEAD OF SIDING WITH AMERICAN CONSUMERS. MR. PRESIDENT, SOMETHING IS VERY, VERY WRONG ON THAT. I WORRY FOR OUR COUNTRY. I WORRY FOR OUR ECONOMY. I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED -- THERE MAY BE COLLECTIVE AMNESIA IN THE SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE BUT I REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED. MR. PRESIDENT, I LIVE -- THE ZIP CODE MY WIFE AND I LIVE IN HAD MORE FORECLOSURES IN 2007 THAN ANY ZIP CODE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I SEE THE RESIDUE FROM THOSE FORECLOSURES. I KNOW PEOPLE LOST THEIR HOMES. I KNOW PEOPLE LOST THEIR SAVINGS. I KNOW PEOPLE LOST THEIR JOBS. I SEE WHAT THOSE HOMES LOOK LIKE. I KNOW THEY HAVE HIGH LEVELS OF LEAD-BASED PAINT. DOES ANYBODY CARE ABOUT THAT? NO, THEY WANT MORE DEREGULATION AND WANCHTS TO HELP THE FOREIGN BANKS AT THE EXPENSE OF PEOPLE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. IT'S BAD ECONOMICS. IT'S MORALLY OUTRAGEOUS.

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  • 04:07:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 04:08:11 PM

    CALL

  • 04:08:12 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 04:27:40 PM

    THE CLERK

    CLOTURE MOTION, WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE…

    CLOTURE MOTION, WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 22 OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE DO HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE DEBATE ON THE NOMINATION OF STEPHEN ALEXANDER VADEN OF TENNESSEE TO BE GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

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  • 04:29:44 PM

    THE CLERK

    CLOTURE MOTION, WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS…

    CLOTURE MOTION, WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE DO HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE DEBATE ON THE NOMINATION OF THOMAS ALVIN FARR OF NORTH CAROLINA TO BE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA. SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS AS FOLLOWS.

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  • 04:30:42 PM

    THE CLERK

    CLOTURE MOTION, WE THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE…

    CLOTURE MOTION, WE THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE DO HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE DEBATE ON THE NOMINATION OF JONATHAN A. KOBES OF SOUTH DAKOTA TO BE UNITED STATES CIRCUIT JUDGE FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS AS FOLLOWS --

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  • 04:31:43 PM

    THE CLERK

    CLOTURE MOTION, WE THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE…

    CLOTURE MOTION, WE THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE DO HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE DEBATE ON THE NOMINATION OF KATHLEEN LAURA KRANINGER OF OHIO TO BE DIRECTOR BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTIONS SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS AS FOLLOWS.

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  • 04:32:43 PM

    CALL

  • 04:32:44 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 04:45:20 PM

    CALL

    A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 04:45:21 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 04:59:55 PM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    PEOPLE WHO HAVE CALLED THEMSELVES LATVIANS HAVE BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR…

    PEOPLE WHO HAVE CALLED THEMSELVES LATVIANS HAVE BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR CENTURIES AND CENTURIES. BUT THE NATION-STATE THAT WE CALL LATVIA HAS ONLY EXISTED FOR 100 YEARS, SO I COME TO THE FLOOR TO EXPRESS THE FACT THAT ON SATURDAY THE REPUBLIC OF LATVIA CELEBRATES 100 YEARS AS A COUNTRY. AS KOBACH CHAIR OF THE SENATE BALTIC FREEDOM CAUCUS, I RECOGNIZE THE ESTONIA AND LITHUANIA IN FEBRUARY, AND I MENTIONED THAT I WOULD BE BACK THIS NOVEMBER TO TALK ABOUT LATVIA'S 100th ANNIVERSARY LIKE I DID ESTONIA AND LITHUANIA BACK IN FEBRUARY. ON NOVEMBER 18, 1918, THE PEOPLE'S CONSUL OF LAT I HAVA -- LAT VIA DECLARED INDEPENDENCE. THE MOVEMENT WAS A PROCESS OF CONTINUOUS HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT GOING BACK TO THE LATVIAN NATIONAL AWAKENING IN THE 1950S. AT THAT TIME BETWEEN LOCAL GERMAN-SPEAKING NOBLES AND THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL GOVERNMENT AND DIVIDED BY THE INTERNAL POLITICAL BOUNDARIES BETWEEN THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE, LATVIANS DID NOT CONTROL THEIR POLITICAL FATE. HOWEVER LATVIANS PROMOTED UNITY AROUND THEIR LANGUAGE AND CULTURE. WITH THE COLLAPSE OF THE CZAR GOVERNMENT, LATVIANS PUSHED FOR AN AUTONOMOUS TERRITORY, ALTHOUGH INDEPENDENCE DID NOT YET SEEM FEASIBLE. WHEN THERE'S AN -- THERE WAS AN ATTEMPT TO CONSOLIDATE CONTROL OF LA TVIA, THE TIME CAME TO DECLARE INDEPENDENCE. HOWEVER, AS WE ALL KNOW, DECLARING INDEPENDENCE REMAINS AND MEANS BEING PREPARED TO DEFEND THAT DECISION OF INDEPENDENCE. MUCH AS OUR FOUNDING FATHERS PLEDGED THEIR LIVES, THEIR FORTUNES, AND THEIR SACRED HONOR TO THE CAUSE OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE, THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF LATIVIA KNEW THEY WOULD HAVE TO DEFEND THEIR INDEPENDENCE WITH THE FORCE OF OURS. IN FACT, THEY HAD TO FIGHT INVASIONS BY BOTH SOVIETS AND GERMANS. IF THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR, IT IS BECAUSE IT'S PRETTY MUCH THE SAME STORY I DESCRIBED IN FEBRUARY WITH THE HE'S STONIAN -- ESTONIAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE. IN FACT, THE LATIVIAS AND ESTONIANS FOUGHT SIDE BY SIDE. THEY RECEIVED HELP FROM POLAND, THEY SIGNED THE PEACE TREATY RECOGNIZING THE SOVEREIGNTY OF LATVI IA -- SADLY, IT WASN'T LONG BEFORE THE TREATY WAS VIOLATED. HITLER AND STALLEN AGREED TO -- BETWEEN THEM AND THE PACK. THE SOVIETS AND THE OTHER BALTICS IN THE LEADUP TO WORLD WAR II AND THEN OF COURSE HITLER BROKE HIS END OF THE BARGAIN AND INVADED. AT THE END OF THE WAR, STALIN HAD TAKEN BACK THE BALTICS AND MADE CLEAR THAT HE WAS THERE TO STAY. DESPITE THE COURAGEOUS RESISTANCE OF THE LATVIAN FORCE BROTHERS FOR MANY YEARS WHILE LATVIANS HELD OUT HOPE OF ASSISTANCE BY THE UNITED STATES ON WESTERN ALLIES, LATVIA REMAINED OCCUPIED BY THE SOVIET UNION FOR THE NEXT 50 YEARS AFTER WORLD WAR II. HOWEVER, THE UNITED STATES NEVER RECOGNIZED THE LEGITIMACY OF THE SOVIET OCCUPATION OF LATVIA. THROUGHOUT THE COLD WAR, WE MAINTAINED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS VIA EMBASSY STAFF WHO HAD BEEN A CREDIT TO THE UNITED STATES BY LATVIA BEFORE THE SOVIET OCCUPATION. I SHOULD NOTE THAT IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE LATVIAN OR BALTIC HISTORY, THERE ARE BOOKS ON THE SUBJECT WRITTEN BY A PROFESSOR EMERITUS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY. THE PROFESSOR'S NAME IS ANDRE PLAKIN. AFTER WORLD WAR II, LATVIANS WHO HAD FLED THE SOVIETS OR OTHERWISE FOUND THEMSELVES OUTSIDE THEIR COUNTRY WERE UNABLE TO GO HOME TO A COUNTRY UNDER FOREIGN OCCUPATION. THE DISPLACED PERSONS ACT ALLOWED REFUGEES TO COME TO THE UNITED STATES PROVIDED THEY HAD A SPONSOR, AND ABOUT 700 OF THEM CAME TO MY HOME STATE OF IOWA. THERE IS A LATVIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN IOWA TO THIS VERY DAY. IN FACT, THE FIRST LATVIANS TO COME TO THE DES MOINES AREA WERE THE FAMILY OF THE CURRENT PASTOR OF THE IOWA LATVIAN EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH CONGREGATION, LEO PELLS. AFTER HIS FAMILY'S INITIAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR A JOB AT A CREAMERY IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, FELL THROUGH, THEY HEARD THAT IOWA WOULD BE A GOOD CHOICE AS THE CLIMATE WOULD BE WHAT THEY WERE USED TO. SO THAT FAMILY MOVED TO DES MOINES. OTHER LATVIANS SOON ARRIVED AND THEY SPONSORED FURTHER LATVIANS UNTIL THEY WERE -- UNTIL THERE WERE 300 TO 400 JUST IN THE DES MOINES AREA. THE LATVIAN SOCIETY OF IOWA WAS FORMED IN 1950, AND THE LATVIAN LUTHERAN CONGREGATION WAS FORMED IN 1952 AFTER THE ARRIVAL OF THE LATVIAN PASTOR. LIKE IN OTHER LATVIAN COMMUNITIES AROUND THE WORLD, CULTURAL EVENTS WERE ORGANIZED TO KEEP THE LATVIAN CULTURE ALIVE AND A SATURDAY SCHOOL WAS ESTABLISHED TO TEACH LATVIAN LANGUAGE, HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY AND FOLK DANCES. SONG FESTIVALS WERE PLAYED -- HAVE PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE PRESERVATION OF LATVIAN CULTURE GOING BACK TO THE NATIONAL AWAKENING SO NATURALLY THERE WAS ALSO A CHOIR. THE LATVIAN SOCIETY OF IOWA WAS PART OF THE LARGER EFFORT OF THE LATVIAN, ESTONIAN, AND LITHUANIAN COMMUNITIES TO KEEP THE PLIGHT OF THE BALTICS ON THE RADAR OF OUR AMERICAN POLITICAL LEADERS. THEN IN 1991, THANKS IN PART TO THE EXTERNAL PRESSURE FROM THE UNITED STATES AS WELL AS THE COURAGEOUS EFFORTS OF LATVIANS THEMSELVES AND OTHERS IN THE SOVIET UNION DEMANDING THEIR PREMIUM, THE EVIL EMPIRE COLLAPSED. LATVIA IS NOW BACK IN THE FAMILY OF FREE DEMOCRATIC EUROPEAN NATIONS WHERE IT BELONGS. LATVIA IS A MEMBER OF NATO IN EXCELLENT STANDING, BOTH IN TERMS OF MEETING ITS FINANCIAL COMMITMENT OF 2% OF G.D.P. AND IN TERMS OF ITS SOLDIERS FIGHTING SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH AMERICANS AND OTHER ALLIES IN PLACES LIKE AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ. EVEN WHILE LATVIA IS LOOKING TOWARDS A BRIGHT FUTURE, ITS LARGE NEIGHBOR TO THE EAST IS RULED BY A MAN WHO SEES THE FALL OF THE SOVIET UNION, INCLUDING LOSING LATVIA AS, IN HIS WORDS, THE MAJOR GEOPOLITICAL DISASTER OF THE CENTURY. THOSE ARE THE WORDS OF VLADIMIR PUTIN. HE APPEARS TO BE STUCK IN AN OLD-FASHIONED WAY OF THINKING THAT ASSIGNS SMALLER COUNTRIES TO THE RIGHTEOUS SPHERE OF INFLUENCE. HE BULLIES NEIGHBORS THAT DO NOT TOE THE RUSSIAN LINE. IN FACT, HE HAS EVEN OCCUPIED THE UKRAINIAN REGION OF CRIMEA. WHILE THE U.S. DOES NOT RECOGNIZE JUST AS WE DIDN'T RECOGNIZE THE SOVIET OCCUPATION OF THE BALTICS. VLADIMIR PUTIN RESENTS THE FACT THAT LATVIA AND THE OTHER BALTICS NATURALLY CHOOSE TO ALIGN WITH FELLOW EUROPEAN COUNTRIES TO THEIR WEST WITH WHICH THEY SHARE A COMMON EUROPEAN HISTORY, CULTURE, AND OUTLOOK. GIVEN THEIR PASS AND CURRENT EXPERIENCE DEALING WITH K.G.B. THUGS LIKE PUTIN, THE LATVIANS CAN PROVIDE INVALUABLE INSIGHT AS WE GRAPPLE WITH HOW TO COMBAT RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION. IN FACT, IT IS APPROPRIATE THAT RIGA IS HOME TO NATO'S STRATCOM CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE WHICH PROVIDES ANALYSIS OF SOLUTIONS FOR NATO ON STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS AND COUNTERING DISINFORMATION. SO AS I CONCLUDE, I LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING THE STRONG PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN LATVIA AND THE UNITED STATES, AND I OFFER MY BEST WISHES TO ALL THE LATVIANS AS THEY CELEBRATE 100 YEARS OF LATVIAN STATEHOOD. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:11:20 PM

    CALL

    QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:

  • 05:15:20 PM

    CALL

    QUORUM CALL:

  • 05:16:16 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:28:08 PM

    THE CLERK

    S. 3321, A BILL TO AWARD CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDALS TO KATHERINE JOHNSON…

    S. 3321, A BILL TO AWARD CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDALS TO KATHERINE JOHNSON AND DR. CHRISTINE DARDEN AND TO AWARD GOLD MEDALS TO DOROTHY JON AND JACKSON FOR THE NATIONAL YOU ARE A NAUGHTICS SPACE ADMINISTRATION DURING THE SPACE RACE.

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  • 05:28:29 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SUBCOMMITTEE IS DISCHARGED. THE SENATE WILL PROCEED…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SUBCOMMITTEE IS DISCHARGED. THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE. MAJOR FURTHER ASK THAT THE COULDN'T SUBSTITUTE AMENDMENT AT THE DESK BE CONSIDERED AND AGREED TO, THE BILL AS AMED BE CONSIDERED READ A THIRD TIME AND PASSED, THE TITLE AMENDMENT AT THE DESK BE AGREED TO, AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE, ALL ALL. IS THERE OBJECTION.

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  • 05:29:05 PM

    THE CLERK

    RESOLVE THAT THE BILL FROM THE SENATE, S. 2152 ENTITLED AN ACT TO AMEND…

    RESOLVE THAT THE BILL FROM THE SENATE, S. 2152 ENTITLED AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 18 UNITED STATES CODE TO PROVIDE FOR ASSISTANCE FOR VICTIMS OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AND OTHER PURPOSES DO PASS WITH AN AMENDMENT.

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  • 05:30:08 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOTWITHSTANDING THE UPCOMING ADJOURNMENT OF…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOTWITHSTANDING THE UPCOMING ADJOURNMENT OF THE SENATE, THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE PREZ PREZ AND JOART AND. A SENATOR: LEADERS MAKE APPOINTMENTS TO COMMITTEES, BOARD, OR CONFERENCES AUTHORIZED BY LAW BY CONCURRENT ACTION OF THE TWO HOUSES OR BY ORDER OF THE SENATE.

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  • 05:30:53 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY,…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY, IT ADJOURN TO THEN CONVENE FOR PRO FORMA SESSIONS ONLY WITH NO BUSINESS BEING CONDUCTED ON THE FOLLOWING DAYS AND TIMES AND THAT FOLLOWING EACH PRO FORMA SESSION THE SENATE ADJOURN UNTIL THE NEXT PRO FORMA SESSION. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 3:00 P.M., TUESDAY NOVEMBER 20 AT 10:00 A.M., FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23 AT 12:00 NOON. I FURTHER ASK WHEN THE SENATE ADJOURN, ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, IT NEXT CONVENE AT 3:00 P.M. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26, AND THAT FOLLOWING THE PRAYER AND PLEDGE, THE MORNING HOUR BE DEEMED EXPIRED, THE JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS BE APPROVED TO DATE, THE TIME FOR THE TWO LEADERS BE RESERVED FOR THEIR USE LATER IN THE DAY, AND MORNING BUSINESS BE CLOSED. FURTHER, FOLLOWING LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION AND RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE VADEN NOMINATION WITH THE TIME UNTIL 5:30 EQUALLY DIVIDED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES. FINALLY, THAT CLOTURE MOTIONS FILED DURING TODAY'S SESSION OF THE SENATE RIPEN AT 5:30 P.M. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26.

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  • 05:32:02 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    SO IF THERE'S NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK IT…

    SO IF THERE'S NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK IT STAND ADJOURNED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF S. RES. 700 AND DO SO AS A FURTHER MARK OF RESPECT FOR THE LATE WALTER D. HUDDLESON, FORMER SENATOR FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY.

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  • 05:32:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER AND PURSUANT TO SENATE RESOLUTION 700, THE SENATE…

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER AND PURSUANT TO SENATE RESOLUTION 700, THE SENATE STANDS ADJOURNED UNTIL 3:00 P.M. ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16 AND DOES SO AS A FURTHER MARK OF RESPECT TO THE LATE WALTER HUDDLESTON, FORMER SENATOR FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF

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  • 05:32:44 PM

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115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 2056 (After 683 days)
  • Debate1184 Hours
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