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Senate Session - January 16, 2018

The Senate voted 60-38 to limit debate on the House-passed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reauthorization bill.

Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 04:29:29 PM

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    CAN FIND IT ONLINE

  • 04:29:45 PM

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    CAN FIND IT ONLINE IN ITS ENTIRETY AT C-SPAN.ORG. THE SENATE ABOUT THE…

    CAN FIND IT ONLINE IN ITS ENTIRETY AT C-SPAN.ORG. THE SENATE ABOUT THE GAVEL IN, REAUTHORIZING THE HOUSE APPROVED FISA PROGRAM REAUTHORIZATION.A VOTE ON THAT SET FOR 5:30. D THE SENATE IN PRAYER.

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  • 04:32:03 PM

    TEMPORE PLEASE

    PLEASE JOIN ME IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO OUR FLAG. I PLEDGE…

    PLEASE JOIN ME IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO OUR FLAG. I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.

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  • 04:32:39 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 04:32:41 PM

    TEMPORE MAJORITY

    PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE: MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 04:32:42 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    AS WE ALL KNOW, CONGRESS HAS UNTIL FRIDAY TO REACH AN AGREEMENT THAT…

    AS WE ALL KNOW, CONGRESS HAS UNTIL FRIDAY TO REACH AN AGREEMENT THAT ENSURES CONTINUOUS FUNDING FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. THERE'S TOO MUCH AT STAKE FOR REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS NOT TO COME TOGETHER, PARTICULARLY WHILE SERIOUS BIPARTISAN CONVERSATIONS ARE UNDER WAY ON SHARED PRIORITYIES, SUCH AS REBUILDING OUR MILITARY, FIXING OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION POLICY, AND OTHER ISSUES. NOW THAT A FEDERAL JUDGES THAT ISSUED A NATIONWIDE INJUNCTION PREVENTING THE ADMINISTRATION FROM WINDING DOWN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S DACA PROGRAM, IT IS CLEAR THAT CONGRESS HAS AT LEAST, AT LEAST UNTIL MARCH AT A MINIMUM AND POSSIBLY EVEN LONGER TO REACH A COMPROMISE THAT RESOLVES THE DACA QUESTION BUT ALSO STRENGTHENS OUR SECURITY AND MAKES OTHER NEEDED REFORMS TO OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM. WITH NO IMMINENT DEADLINE ON IMMIGRATION AND WITH BIPARTISAN TALKS WELL UNDER WAY, THERE'S NO REASON WHY CONGRESS SHOULD HOLD GOVERNMENT FUNDING HOSTAGE OVER THE ISSUE OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. I'M CONFIDENT THAT SENATORS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE WILL CHOOSE TO AVOID A MANUFACTURED CRISIS, REACH A BIPARTISAN FUNDING AGREEMENT IN THE COMING DAYS, AND THEN CONTINUE OUR NEGOTIATIONS IN THESE IMPORTANT AREAS. NOW ON ANOTHER MATTER, LATER THIS AFTERNOON THE SENATE WILL VOTE TO ADVANCE REAUTHORIZATION OF TITLE 7 OF THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT. THIS INCLUDES SECTION 702, ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOLS THAT OUR WAR FIGHTERS AND INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS USE TO WAGE THE WAR ON TERROR AND TO KEEP AMERICANS SAFE. IT ALLOWS THE UNITED STATES TO COLLECT COMMUNICATIONS FROM FOREIGN TERRORISTS WHO WISH HARM ON AMERICA AND OUR ALLIES. TO BE CLEAR, IT DOES NOT PERMIT THE TARGETING OF AMERICAN CITIZENS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. LET ME REPEAT THAT SECTION 702 DOES NOT ALLOW THE TARGETING OF AMERICAN CITIZENS, NOR DOES IT PERMIT THE TARGETING OF ANYONE OF ANY NATIONALITY WHO IS KNOWN TO BE LOCATED HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. WITH RESPECT TO FOREIGNERS ON FOREIGN SOIL, 702 GIVES THE MEN AND WOMEN TO KEEP THEM SAFE THE VITAL TOOL THEY NEED TO FULFILL THEIR MISSIONS. FIVE YEARS AGO CONGRESS REAUTHORIZED THE TITLE WITH OVERWHELMING BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. IT'S IMPERATIVE THAT WE DO SO ONCE AGAIN. THE WORLD REMAINS DANGEROUS. AL QAEDA, ISIL, ASSOCIATED TERROR GROUPS ARE STILL INTENT ON HARMING OUR PEOPLE AND THOSE WORKING WITH US OVERSEAS. YET WITH EACH DAY THAT PASSES SINCE THE NATION WAS ATTACKED ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, IT SEEMS THAT CONCERN OVER TERRORISM HAS WANED N. IS IN PART DUE TO THE SUCCESS OF OUR DEFENSE AND INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY IN PREVENTING ANOTHER MAJOR ATTACK. THEY RELY UPON SECTION 702 TO ACCOMPLISH THAT MISSION. I LOOK FORWARD TO RENEWING THE BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS ON THIS ISSUE AND REAUTHORIZING THIS IMPORTANT PROVISION AS THE SENATE VOTES LATER THIS WEEK. NOW, ON A FINAL MATTER, MR. PRESIDENT, IN THE WAKE OF LAST MONTH'S HISTORIC TAX REFORM LEGISLATION, THE NEWS IS FILLED WITH STORIES OF ECONOMIC OPTIMISM AND INCREASING PROSPERITY FOR WORKERS AND MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES. IN FACT, I'M PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THAT EARLIER TODAY, I SPOKE WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF HUMAN THAT -- HUMANA WHICH EMPLOYS MORE THAN 12,000 PEOPLE IN MY HOME STATE OF KENTUCKY. YESTERDAY THEY NOTIFIED TEAR STAFF THEY WILL BE ACCELERATING PAY INCENTIVES FOR ASSOCIATES AND RAISING THE MINIMUM HOURLY WAGES FOR BOTH PART TIME AND FULL TIME EMPLOYEES ALL THANKS TO TAX REFORM. FOR THESE KENTUCKY WORKERS, THE TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT WILL MEAN MORE MONEY IN THEIR PAYCHECKS. AND JUST LAST WEEK THE INTERNATIONAL AUTOMAKER FIAT CHRYSLER ANNOUNCED IT WILL INVEST $1 BILLION IN THE TRUCK ASSEMBLY JUST OUTSIDE OF DETROIT. THE PRODUCTION LINE FOR RAM, HEAVY DUTY TRUCKS IS LEAVING MEXICO AND COMING BACK TO AMERICA. THIS WILL CREATE 2,500 NEW JOBS AND INJECT RELIEF RIGHT INTO THE LOCAL ECONOMY. ACCORDING TO OFFICIALS WHO ANNOUNCED THE CHANGE, ALL THIS IS ONLY HAPPENING, MR. PRESIDENT, ONLY HAPPENING BECAUSE TAX REFORM IS REMAKING THE BUSINESS CLIMATE IN OUR COUNTRY. AND BESIDES THE REVIVAL IN MANUFACTURING, FIAT-CHRYSLER ANNOUNCED A NEW WAVE OF $2,000 BONUSES FOR 60,000 HOURLY AND SALARIED EMPLOYEES. THEY WILL JOIN A GROWING LIST OF MORE THAN 150 COMPANIES THAT HAVE ANNOUNCED PLANS TO DISTRIBUTE SIGNIFICANT BONUSES, PERMANENT PAY RAISES, MORE GENEROUS RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS, OR OTHER BENEFITS TO THEIR EMPLOYEES ALL, MR. PRESIDENT, THANKS TO TAX REFORM. PRIOR TO TAX REFORM, COMPANIES THAT WANTED TO MANUFACTURE GOODS IN AMERICA AND HIRE AMERICAN EMPLOYEES FACED THE HIGHEST STATUTORY CORPORATE TAX RATE IN THE DEVELOPED WORLD. AMERICAN WORKERS WERE READY TO CLOCK IN BUT OUR OUTDATED BURDENSOME TAX CODE TOLD POTENTIAL INVESTORS TO MOVE ALONG AND FIND SOMEWHERE ELSE TO SET UP SHOP. THOSE DAYS ARE OVER. OVER. THANKS TO THE PRESIDENT AND REPUBLICAN MAJORITIES IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE THAT VOTED TO MODERNIZE OUR TAX CODE. NOW WE'RE THE ONES WITH THE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE. "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL'S" EDITORIAL BOARD BELIEVES OUR TAX REFORM WILL BENEFIT INVESTMENT IN THE UNITED STATES, QUOTE, AT THE EXPENSE OF HIGH TAX COUNTRIES, SUCH AS GERMANY. THE JOURNAL ALSO REPORTS THAT CHINA, QUOTE, FEARS THE TAX CHANGES COULD MAKE THE U.S. A MORE ATTRACTIVE PLACE TO DO BUSINESS. THAT'S CHINA. IT'S BECOMING CLEAR THAT THESE FEARS ARE ENTIRELY JUSTIFIED. AND IT'S GOOD NEWS FOR FAMILIES AND WORKERS IN KENTUCKY AND ALL ACROSS AMERICA.

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  • 04:39:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 04:40:19 PM

    MR. LEAHY

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 04:40:21 PM

    MR. LEAHY

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK CONSENT THE CALL OF THE QUORUM BE VITIATED.

  • 04:40:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE SENATE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE HOUSE MESSAGE TO ACCOMPANY S. 139 WHICH THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 04:40:41 PM

    THE CLERK

    HOUSE MESSAGE TO ACCOMPANY S. 139, AN ACT TO IMPLEMENT THE USE OF RAPID…

    HOUSE MESSAGE TO ACCOMPANY S. 139, AN ACT TO IMPLEMENT THE USE OF RAPID D.N.A. INSTRUMENTS TO INFORM DECISIONS ABOUT PRETRIAL RELEASE OR DETENTION AND THEIR CONDITIONS TO SOLVE AND PREVENT VIOLENT CRIMES AND OTHER CRIMES, TO EXONERATE THE INNOCENT, TO PREVENT D.N.A. ANALYSIS BACKLOGS AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 04:41:53 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 04:41:55 PM

    OFFICER DEMOCRATIC

    OFFICER: DEMOCRATIC LEADER.

  • 04:41:56 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. FIRST, ON THE TOPIC OF NET NEUTRALITY, SINCE THE…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. FIRST, ON THE TOPIC OF NET NEUTRALITY, SINCE THE ADMINISTRATION'S F.C.C. VOTED TO END NET NEUTRALITY IN DECEMBER, DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN WORKING HARD TO ROUND UP ENOUGH SENATORS TO OVERRULE THE F.C.C.'S DECISION, WHICH PLACES CONTROL OF THE INTERNET IN THE HANDS OF THE BIGGEST CORPORATIONS. TODAY WE REACHED A MILESTONE. 50 SENATORS WILL SUPPORT SENATOR MARKEY'S RESOLUTION OF DISAPPROVAL. ALL 49 DEMOCRATS HAVE SIGNED ON TO COSPONSOR AND MY FRIEND FROM MAINE, SENATOR COLLINS HAS ALSO SAID SHE WILL SUPPORT. WITH OUR FULL CAUCUS SUPPORTING THE MEASURE, IT'S CLEAR THAT DEMOCRATS WANT TO KEEP THE INTERNET FROM BECOMING A WILD WEST WHERE I.S.P.'S ARE FREE TO OFFER PREMIUM SERVICE TO THE WEALTHIEST CUSTOMERS WHILE AVERAGE CONSUMERS ARE LEFT WITH FAR INTERIOR OPTIONS. WHEN WE FORCE A VOTE ON THIS BILL, REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS WILL FOR THE FIRST TIME HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO RIGHT THE ADMINISTRATION'S WRONG AND SHOW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHOSE SIDE THEY'RE ON. ARE THEY ON THE SIDE OF BIG INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS AND CORPORATIONS OR ARE THEY ON THE SIDE OF CONSUMERS, ENTREPRENEURS, START-UPS, AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS? I APPLAUD SENATOR COLLINS FOR SUPPORTING THIS EFFORT AND HOPE SINCERELY THAT MORE OF HER COLLEAGUES WILL DO THE SAME. GIVEN HOW QUICKLY THIS MEASURE HAS EARNED THE SUPPORT OF 50 SENATORS, I BELIEVE WE HAVE A REAL CHANCE OF SUCCESS IN RESTORING NET NEUTRALITY AND KEEPING THE INTERNET OPEN AND FREE FOR ALL AMERICANS. NOW, THE MOST -- ANOTHER PRESSING ISSUE BEFORE US THIS WEEK IS FISA AND THE 702 PROGRAM. THE MAJORITY LEADER IS PRESSING FORWARD ON A SIX-YEAR BILL TO REAUTHORIZE THE 702 FISA COURT PROGRAM. THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT BILL BUT RIGHT NOW THE MAJORITY LEADER IS PUSHING FOR ITS PASSAGE WITHOUT DEBATE OR AMENDMENTS. THAT'S THE WRONG APPROACH. MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES WOULD LIKE TO OFFER AMENDMENTS ON THIS LEGISLATION AND, FRANKLY, THEY DESERVE THAT RIGHT. AND PERSONALLY, I BELIEVE THAT WHILE THE BILL MAKES SOME IMPROVEMENTS TO THE 702 FISA PROGRAM, IT SHOULD GO SOMEWHAT FURTHER. WE COULD DO A BETTER JOB BALANCING THE CRUCIAL NATIONAL SECURITY IMPERATIVES OF THE PROGRAM WITH LEGITIMATE CONCERNS ABOUT PRIVACY AND PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF THE AMERICAN CITIZENS. CLEARLY, THE BILL ON THE CALENDAR IS BETTER THAN THE STATUS QUO. AND IT'S CERTAINLY BETTER THAN NO BILL AT ALL, BUT THAT'S NOT THE CHOICE BEFORE US. THE MAJORITY LEADER CAN OPEN UP THE BILL FOR LIMITED AMENDMENTS, LIMITED DEBATE AND A FEW AMENDMENTS, NOT TO DELAY BUT SO THAT WE CAN HAVE SOME AMENDMENTS AND TRY TO IMPROVE IT. FOR THAT REASON, I'LL BE VOTING NO ON THE UPCOMING CLOTURE MOTION. IF CLOTURE IS NOT INVOKED, WE COULD MOVE QUICKLY TO AN AMENDMENT PROCESS WHERE SENATORS FROM BOTH PARTIES COULD OFFER IDEAS TO IMPROVE THE BILL. THAT'S WHAT WE OUGHT TO DO, ESPECIALLY ON A BILL ON THE MOST SENSITIVE AREA OF THE GOVERNMENT WHERE SECURITY AND LIBERTY MEET AND THAT WILL STAND FOR SIX YEARS, SIX YEARS. THAT IS TOO QUICK FOR TOO MUCH, AND WE OUGHT TO HAVE SOME AMENDMENTS AND SOME DISCUSSION. NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, THE FATE OF THE DREAMERS HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF MONTHS OF INTENSE BIPARTISAN, BICAMERAL NEGOTIATIONS. LAST WEEK, A BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS WENT TO THE WHITE HOUSE WITH AN AGREEMENT THAT REPRESENTS THE BEST PATHS FORWARD. SENATORS GRAHAM AND DURBIN, ALONGSIDE SENATORS GARDNER, MENENDEZ, FLAKE AND BENNET, WORKED OUT A COMPROMISE THAT FITS SQUARELY WITHIN THE FOUR CORNERS THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP HIMSELF OUTLINED AS THE PARAMETERS OF THE DEAL IN A TELEVISED MEETING LAST TUESDAY. IN EXCHANGE FOR PASSING DACA PROTECTIONS, THE GANG OF SIX DEAL INCLUDES PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FULL BUDGET REQUEST FOR BORDER SECURITY, INCLUDING FUNDING TO BUILD BARRIERS ALONG THE SOUTHERN BORDER. IT DEALS WITH FAMILY REUNIFICATION WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE NEGOTIATIONS, FORECLOSING THE POSSIBILITY OF DREAMERS SPONSORING THEIR PARENTS FOR CITIZENSHIP. THE DEAL WOULD ALSO CURB THE DIVERSITY LOTTERY SYSTEM, ANOTHER ITEM THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP REQUESTED. THE FULL DETAILS OF THE PROPOSAL WILL BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW, BUT THOSE ARE THE BROAD STROKES AS I UNDERSTAND THEM. THE CONCESSIONS IN THE BILL ARE TOUGH PILLS TO SWALLOW FOR DEMOCRATS. IT'S NOT THE BILL WE WOULD HAVE WRITTEN IF WE WERE IN CHARGE. BUT THAT IS NOT THE SITUATION WE FIND OURSELVES IN. TO MAKE THIS BODY WORK, TO AVOID A SHUTDOWN, WE MUST COMPROMISE. SO DEMOCRATS TRIED IN GOOD FAITH TO MEET THE PRESIDENT AND OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES HALFWAY, TO FIND A DEAL THAT NEITHER SIDE LOVED BUT BOTH SIDES COULD LIVE WITH, AND THAT'S WHAT A BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS ACHIEVED. THE DEAL THEY PRODUCED IS RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE. IT ADDRESSES THE PRECISE ISSUES THE PRESIDENT IDENTIFIED AS PART OF THE DEAL, AND YET, AT THE PIVOTAL WHITE HOUSE MEETING LAST THURSDAY, PRESIDENT TRUMP TURNED HIS BACK ON THIS BIPARTISAN SOLUTION AND PROCEEDED TO USE FOUL AND VULGAR LANGUAGE TO DEMEAN AFRICAN AND CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES. HIS WELL-REPORTED COMMENTS WERE CERTAINLY UNBEFITTING THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES. THEY WERE BENEATH THE DIGNITY OF HIS OFFICE. THEY WENT AGAINST THE VERY IDEA OF AMERICA WHICH HOLDS UP AS AN UNASSAILABLE TRUTH THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, NO MATTER THEIR STATION OR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN. BUT JUST AS DISTRESSING, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S COMMENTS REVEAL AN INTRANSIGENCE ABOUT COMING TO A DEAL FOR THE DREAMERS. IT SEEMS THE PRESIDENT HAS ONLY TWO WAYS OF NEGOTIATING. EITHER HE COMMITS TO A DEAL ONE WAY AND THEN BETRAYS HIS WORD THE NEXT, WHICH IS WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR AFTER LEADER PELOSI AND I MET THE PRESIDENT ON DACA, OR HE EVEN DISMISSES THE POSSIBILITY OF COMPROMISE AND SAYS A BIPARTISAN DEAL IS THAT HE GETS EVERYTHING HE WANTS. MR. PRESIDENT, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF LIVES HANG IN THE BALANCE. FUNDING FOR OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM HANGS IN THE BALANCE. PRESIDENT TRUMP NEEDS TO STEP UP. HE CAN'T JUST BLUSTER. HE CAN'T JUST PLAY A GAME OF BRINKMANSHIP. HE CAN'T JUST BE OBSTINATE AND SAY MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. HE NEEDS TO BE WILLING TO TAKE YES FOR AN ANSWER. A VERY FAIR, BIPARTISAN DEAL REMAINS ON THE TABLE. IT'S THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN, AND WE'RE MAKING STEADY PROGRESS ON BUILDING ADDITIONAL SUPPORT IN BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS. IF IT WAS PUT ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE OR SENATE, I PREDICT IT WOULD GET A MAJORITY VOTE IN EITHER ONE. THERE IS A DEAL TO BE HAD THIS WEEK. THE ONLY PERSON BLOCKING IT IS PRESIDENT TRUMP. SO I HAVE A CHALLENGE FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP. EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT HOW BIGOTED YOUR COMMENTS WERE LAST WEEK. WELL, ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. IF YOU WANT TO BEGIN THE LONG ROAD BACK TO PROVE YOU'RE NOT PREJUDICED OR BIGOTED, SUPPORT THE BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE THAT THREE DEMOCRATS AND THREE REPUBLICANS HAVE PUT BEFORE YOU, ONE THAT WAS AIMED AT MEETING THE CONCERNS YOU VOICED. GIVE THE DREAMERS SAFETY HERE IN AMERICA AND BOLSTER BORDER SECURITY AT THE SAME TIME. THIS MAY BE THE LAST TRAIN LEAVING THE STATION. PRESIDENT TRUMP NEEDS TO GET ON BOARD. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 04:49:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT.

  • 04:49:59 PM

    MR. LEAHY

    MR. PRESIDENT, I FIND MYSELF IN STRONG AGREEMENT WITH THE COMMENTS OF THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I FIND MYSELF IN STRONG AGREEMENT WITH THE COMMENTS OF THE SENATOR FROM -- THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM NEW YORK STATE. ALSO HE HAS TALKED ABOUT 702, AND LET ME REFER TO THAT A BIT. SECTION 702 IS IN S. 139, THE AMENDMENTS REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 117. WE'RE GOING TO VOTE VERY SOON WHETHER TO CUT OFF DEBATE AND BLOCK ANY AMENDMENTS ON THE FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT FAILS TO REFORM ONE OF OUR MOST IMPORTANT SURVEILLANCE TOOLS. SECTION 702 OF THE FISA AMENDMENT ACT WAS INTENDED TO PROVIDE FOR VAST AND POWERFUL SURVEILLANCE OF FOREIGNERS OVERSEAS WHO MIGHT DO HARM TO US, AND IT DOES. BUT THE FACT THAT IT IS AN EFFECTIVE SURVEILLANCE TOOL USED AGAINST FOREIGNERS ABROAD IS NOT THE CONCERN YOU HEAR ABOUT TODAY. TODAY YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR A CONCERN THAT SECTION 702 HAS BECOME AN UNEXPECTED AND POWERFUL DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE TOOL. NOT ONE DIRECTED AT THOSE ABROAD WHO MIGHT DO US HARM BUT POTENTIALLY DIRECTED AT EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN IN THIS ROOM AND THROUGHOUT THIS COUNTRY, ALLOWING THE GOVERNMENT TO SEARCH FOR AMERICA'S E-MAILS AND OTHER SUBSTANTIVE COMMUNICATIONS, DO IT WITHOUT A WARRANT. THE SO-CALLED BACK-DOOR LOOPHOLE. IF WE PUT HERE LEGISLATION SAYING THIS LEGISLATION WILL ALLOW OUR GOVERNMENT TO SEARCH ALL OUR E-MAILS WITHOUT A PARENT, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS WOULD BE JUMPING UP AND SAYING WAIT A MINUTE, THAT VIOLATES THE FOURTH AMENDMENT. WELL, THE LEGISLATION WE'RE VOTING ON TODAY AUTHORED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, DEVIN NUNEZ, CONTAINS WHAT HIS SUPPORTERS SAY IS A FIG LEAF OF REFORM, BUT IN FACT THE LEGISLATION MAKES A BAD PROBLEM EVEN WORSE. I'M GOING TO OPPOSE CUTTING OUT DEBATE ON THIS BILL. I STRONGLY URGE MY FELLOW SENATORS TO DO THE SAME. NOT TO KILL THE BILL BUT TO AFFORD US ON SUCH A CRITICAL SURVEILLANCE TOOL THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEBATE THE CONSTITUTIONAL IMPLICATIONS AND TO OFFER AMENDMENTS TO IMPROVE THE BILL AND TO PROTECT AMERICANS FROM EVERY SINGLE STATE IN THIS COUNTRY. THE MAJORITY LEADER HAS PROVIDED US NO SUCH OPPORTUNITY. HE DOESN'T WANT US TO OFFER ANY AMENDMENTS, EVEN AMENDMENTS THAT WE KNOW COULD PASS FOR THE BIPARTISAN MAJORITY. SENATOR LEE AND I ARE FILING SEVERAL AMENDMENTS TO APPROVE THIS BILL, INCLUDING THE U.S.A. LIBERTY ACT. THAT'S A SENATE COMPANION TO A BILL THAT WAS REPORTED OUT OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE IN A STRONG AND VERY BIPARTISAN VOTE. OUR AMENDMENT OFFERS A SENSIBLE COMPROMISE. IT WOULD PROTECT NATIONAL SECURITY, SOMETHING THAT WE ALL WANT TO DO, BUT IT ALSO PROTECTS AMERICANS' CIVIL LIBERTIES, WHICH I HOPE WE ALSO WANT TO DO. I STRONGLY SUPPORT A WARRANT REQUIREMENT BASED ON SENATOR FEINSTEIN'S AMENDMENT TO THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE THAT WOULD CLOSE THE BACK-DOOR LOOPHOLE. THESE AMENDMENTS, OTHERS OFFERED BY SENATORS WYDEN DESERVE A VOTE. SENATOR LEE AND SENATOR PAUL HAVE SPOKEN SO STRONGLY ON THE PROBLEMS OF THIS. WE OUGHT TO BE HEARD. THEY OUGHT TO HAVE A CHANCE TO OFFER AMENDMENTS. INSTEAD THE ONLY BILL WE'RE VOTING ON TODAY IS A HOUSE BILL WHICH FAILS TO COMPLY WITH A FUNDAMENTAL CONSTITUTIONAL IMPERATIVE. I THINK WE CAN DO BETTER IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE THAN TO ACCEPT A FLAWED HOUSE BILL. AND DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY THE SHAM WARRANT CONTAINED IN THAT NUNEZ BILL. AGAIN WHY WE SHOULD HAVE A SENATE BILL THAT SPEAKS TO THOSE THINGS WE KNOW AS SENATORS AND NOT THE FLAWED WARRANT IN THE NUNEZ BILL. THAT WARRANT -- THE EXEMPTIONS ARE SO LARGE, IT RENDERS IT MEANINGLESS, TO REQUIRE A WARRANT ONLY DURING THE FINAL STAGE OF A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION, AND ONLY WHEN THE GOVERNMENT BELIEVES NATIONAL SECURITY RISKS DELAY FOR BODILY HARM ARE NOT IMPLICATED, NOT IMPLICATED AT SOME UNDEFINED POINT IN TIME. IN ALL OTHER CASES, AT A PREVIOUS POINT IN THE INVESTIGATION. THE GOVERNMENT CAN SEARCH FOR AMERICANS' INFORMATION IN THE SECTION 702 DATABASE JUST AS FREQUENTLY AND CASUALLY AS WE MIGHT LOOK UP FOOTBALL SCORES ON GOOGLE. BUT EVEN IF IT'S COMPLETELY INEFFECTUAL, THE NUNEZ BILL HAS A WARRANT REQUIREMENT. THAT MEANS THE SPONSORS OF THIS FLAWED LEGISLATION ACKNOWLEDGE SOME FORM OF WARRANT IS REQUIRED TO PROTECT AMERICANS' PRIVACY. THEY RECOGNIZE THAT IF YOU SEARCH THROUGH A VAST DATABASE OF AMERICANS' COMMUNICATIONS, THEY CAN TRIGGER FOURTH AMENDMENT PROTECTIONS WHEN IT'S CONVENIENT TO THE GOVERNMENT. THE PROBLEM IS THE CONSTITUTION DOESN'T SAY WE PROTECT AMERICANS' RIGHTS ONLY IF IT'S CONVENIENT TO THE GOVERNMENT. THE REASON WE WROTE THE CONSTITUTION IS TO MAKE SURE EVERY ONE OF US HAVE OUR PROTECTIONS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT, NOT JUST WHEN THE GOVERNMENT FEELS, OKAY, ON THIS OCCASION, WE'LL LET YOU HAVE RIGHTS. WHEN A FOURTH AMENDMENT IS IMPLICATED, THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO OBTAIN A WARRANT. IF THEY'RE GOING TO COME AND SEARCH YOUR HOME, COME AND SEARCH YOUR FILES, COME AND SEARCH YOUR PAPERS, THEY SHOULD HAVE TO HAVE A WARRANT. THE FOURTH AMENDMENT EITHER APPLIES OR IT DOES NOT. IF IT DOES NOT, THEN LET'S HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND DO AWAY WITH IT. NOBODY HERE WOULD VOTE FOR THAT. BUT EVEN THE SPONSORS OF THE NUNEZ BILL NOW AGREE THE FOURTH AMENDMENT APPLIES. THE ONLY QUESTION IS WHETHER THEY HAVE A REAL WARRANT REQUIREMENT OR A WARRANT IN NAME ONLY. SIMPLY CALLING SOMETHING A WARRANT DOESN'T MAKE IT THAT. I FIRMLY BELIEVE THE REAL WARRANT REQUIREMENT DOESN'T HAVE TO PUT OUR NATIONAL SECURITY AT RISK. THE REFORM PROPOSAL I SUPPORT CONTAINS WELL-TRIED EXIJ ENTS FOR CIRCUMSTANCES TO ALLOW FOR EMERGENCIES. FOR THESE REASONS AND OTHERS, I STRONGLY SUPPORT A WARRANT REQUIREMENT TO CLOSE THE BACK-DOOR LOOPHOLE, AND I THINK MY FELLOW SENATORS, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS, OUGHT TO BE ALLOWED TO AT LEAST HAVE A VOTE ON IT. IF THEY DON'T, THEN I WOULD URGE MY COLLEAGUES IN THE SENATE TO VOTE NO ON INVOKING CLOTURE. ON THE FISA AMENDMENT'S REAUTHORIZATION ACT. SECTION 702 AUTHORITIES TO BE TEMPORARILY EXTENDED AS THEY WERE IN DECEMBER. IN FACT, THE FISA COURT STATUTORILY AUTHORIZED CERTIFICATIONS THAT PERMITS 702 SURVEILLANCE DON'T EXPIRE UNTIL THE END OF APRIL. THERE IS NO EMERGENCY NOW. WE STILL HAVE THE TIME AND THE ABILITY TO GET THIS RIGHT. LET'S PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION. LET'S PROTECT AMERICANS. THE MAJORITY LEADER SHOULD DO HIS PART. HE SHOULD ALLOW MEMBERS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE WHO CARE DEEPLY ABOUT THIS ISSUE TO OFFER AMENDMENTS BEFORE ANY LONG-TERM AUTHORIZATION. I AGREE SECTION 702 IS AN IMPORTANT TOOL. BUT THIS ISSUE IS FAR TOO IMPORTANT TO RUSH THROUGH WITHOUT ADEQUATE DEBATE. I THINK WE COULD PROTECT THE NATIONAL SECURITY, BUT WE CAN PROTECT THE CIVIL LIBERTIES OF LAW-ABIDING AMERICANS. THIS BILL FALLS SHORT. I'M GOING TO BE VOTING NO ON CLOTURE. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 04:58:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 04:58:22 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK CHAIRMAN LEAHY FOR HIS EXCELLENT REMARKS,…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK CHAIRMAN LEAHY FOR HIS EXCELLENT REMARKS, AND LET ME SIMPLY SAY TO MOVE FORWARD WITHOUT AMENDMENTS SURRENDERS THE CONSTITUTIONAL OBLIGATION SENATORS HAVE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THIS ISSUE IS IMPORTANT. IT IS COMPLICATED. AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SOME REAL AMENDMENTS TO MAKE SURE AT THE END OF THE DAY WE HAVE POLICIES THAT KEEP OUR PEOPLE SAFE AND PROTECT OUR LIBERTIES. A BIPARTISAN COALITION OF US. I SEE MY FRIEND FROM KENTUCKY HERE. HE'S JOINED BY HIS COLLEAGUE FROM UTAH, SENATOR LEE. SENATOR LEAHY AND I. OUR BIPARTISAN COALITION IS DEDICATED TO ESSENTIALLY ONE MISSION. WE THINK THE COUNTRY DESERVES A SENATE THAT IS VERY TOUGH ON TERRORISTS. WE DON'T TAKE A BACK SEAT TO ANYBODY IN TERMS OF FIGHTING TERRORISTS. WHAT WE'RE OPPOSED TO IS AN END RUN ON OUR SACRED CONSTITUTION. RIGHT NOW, WITH THE CHANGES IN COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS AROUND THE WORLD AND COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS INCREASINGLY BECOMING GLOBALLY INTERCONNECTED, WE HAVE MORE AND MORE LAW-ABIDING AMERICANS SWEPT UP IN SEARCHES UNDER THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT. AND AS I SAY, WE WANT TO FIGHT TERRORISTS, BUT THE LAW ALLOWS THE GOVERNMENT TO TARGET FOREIGNERS TO ACQUIRE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION, WHICH BASICALLY MEANS ANYTHING RELATED TO THE CONDUCT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS. SO LET'S TALK ABOUT WHO COULD GET SWEPT UP IN THESE SEARCHES AND WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT SENATOR PAUL AND SENATOR LEE AND SENATOR LEAHY AND MYSELF AND COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE OUGHT TO HAVE AS LAW-ABIDING AMERICANS, WE THINK THEY OUGHT TO HAVE THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. THE KIND OF PEOPLE WHO COULD BE SWEPT UP IN THESE COMMUNICATIONS AND HAVE THEIR E-MAILS OR TEXTS, THEIR DATA SEARCHED WITHOUT A WARRANT COULD BE AMERICAN BUSINESS PEOPLE TALKING TO FOREIGN CONTACTS. IT COULD BE FIRST, SECOND, OR THIRD-GENERATION AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS TALKING TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS STILL OVERSEAS. AMERICAN JOURNALISTS COVERING FOREIGN STORIES, U.S. SERVICE MEMBERS TALKING TO FOREIGN FRIENDS THEY MADE WHILE THEY WERE DEPLOYED, AMERICAN TEACHERS AND RESEARCHERS SEEKING INFORMATION FROM FOREIGNERS. HOW MANY AMERICANS GET SWEPT UP? WE DON'T KNOW. WE DON'T KNOW NOT BECAUSE OF A LACK OF EFFORT. WE'VE BEEN TRYING FOR SIX YEARS TO GET THE GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE EVEN AN ESTIMATE. MY CONCERN IS ON A NUMBER OF THESE ISSUES TO ENSURE THAT WE HAVE BOTH SAFETY AND LIBERTY, WE'VE ACTUALLY GONE BACKWARD. IN THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, IN AN OPEN HEARING, WHEN THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, DAN COATS, OUR FORMER COLLEAGUE, WAS ASKED ABOUT WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT COULD COLLECT IN EFFECT JUST WHOLLY DOMESTIC, PERSONAL DATA HERE IN THE UNITED STATES, WE COULDN'T EVEN GET A STRAIGHT ANSWER WITH RESPECT TO WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE, UNDER THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT COULD COLLECT WHOLLY COMMUNICATIONS. WE COULDN'T EVEN GET A STRAIGHT ANSWER TO THAT. SO WHAT WE NEED IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A REAL DEBATE. WE'VE GOT A NUMBER OF AMENDMENTS THAT GO RIGHT TO THE HEART OF WHAT THESE ISSUES ARE ALL ABOUT, PARTICULARLY THE GOVERNMENT CONDUCTING REPEATED WARRANTLESS SEARCHES FOR AMERICANS, EVEN IF THOSE AMERICANS AREN'T THE SUBJECT OF ANY INVESTIGATION, AND THE GOVERNMENT THEN CAN READ THOSE PRIVATE COMMUNICATIONS. I WANT TO PUT FINALLY THIS WHOLE ISSUE IN CONTEXT. EVERY YEAR THE C.I.A. AND THE N.S.A. CONDUCT THOUSANDS OF WARRANTLESS SEARCHES OF 702 DATA FOR AMERICANS, AND THAT'S JUST FOR CONTENT. THE CONDUCT OF THESE SEARCHES, WHERE THEY CONDUCT TENS OF THOUSANDS OF WARRANTLESS SEARCHES FOR COMMUNICATION RECORDS, THE F.B.I. IS CONDUCTING THESE SEARCHES SO FREQUENTLY THAT THEY DON'T EVEN COUNT. BUT THIS BILL MIGHT HAVE SOME MARGINAL EFFECT ON ONE OF THOSE SEARCHES. SO THE HOUSE BILL IS NOT JUST FAKE REFORM. IT'S A SETBACK. AND THE LAST POINT I WOULD MAKE IS WE FINALLY MADE SOME HEADWAY WITH RESPECT TO COLLECTION OF COMMUNICATIONS THAT ARE NEITHER TO NOR FROM A FOREIGN TARGET, BUT ARE SIMPLY ABOUT A FOREIGN TARGET. I WENT AFTER THIS ISSUE FOR YEARS, THIS QUESTION OF ABUSE OF WHAT'S CALLED A BOUTS COLLECTION. FINALLY THE GOVERNMENT REALIZED IT WAS GOING TOO FAR AND THEY PUT LIMITS ON IT. NOW IT LOOKS LIKE THEY WANT TO GET BACK IN THE BUSINESS, AND THE OTHER BODY -- THE HOUSE -- BASICALLY CREATES A PATH TO GOING BACK TO A COLLECTION WHICH EVEN THE GOVERNMENT HAS ADMITTED HAS BEEN ABUSED. THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY, MR. PRESIDENT, IF WE VOTE TO ALLOW SOME AMENDMENTS TO COME UP WITH POLICIES THAT WILL ALLOW AMERICANS TO LOOK AT THE SENATE AND SAY WE DIDN'T GO BACKWARD. WE WENT FORWARD. WE PROTECTED LAW-ABIDING AMERICANS, BUT WE MADE IT CLEAR WE WERE GOING TO BE RELENTLESS IN OUR SEARCH FOR TERRORISTS. I KNOW I HAD A LITTLE BIT MORE TIME, BUT I SEE MY COLLEAGUE AND PARTNER, SENATOR PAUL, ON THE FLOOR, AND, MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THAT I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 05:05:30 PM

    MR. PAUL

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 05:05:32 PM

    MR. PAUL

    I RISE IN OPPOSITION TO THE GOVERNMENT LISTENING TO YOUR PHONE CALLS,…

    I RISE IN OPPOSITION TO THE GOVERNMENT LISTENING TO YOUR PHONE CALLS, READING YOUR E-MAILS OR READING YOUR TEXT MESSAGES WITHOUT A WARRANT. IT DOESN'T MEAN THE GOVERNMENT WILL NEVER DO THIS BUT IT MEANS THEY WILL HAVE TO ASK A JUDGE. THEY WOULD HAVE TO ASK A JUDGE IF THEY HAVE PROBABLE CAUSE THAT YOU COMMITTED A CRIME. THEY WOULD HAVE TO NAME YOU. THEY WOULD HAVE TO NAME THE INFORMATION THEY WANT. IT'S CALLED THE FOURTH AMENDMENT. ALL AMERICANS DESERVE THE PROTECTION OF THE FOURTH AMENDMENT. IN FACT, I BELIEVE IT WAS JOHN ADAMS WHO SAID THAT JAMES OTIS' ARGUMENT AGAINST BLANKET WARRANTS, AGAIN GENERALIZED WARRANTS THEY CALLED WRITS OF ASSISTANCE THEY SAID THAT ARGUMENT JAMES OTIS MADE IN THE 1760'S WAS THE SPARK THAT LED TO THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. LINCOLN IS SAID TO HAVE WRITTEN THAT ANY MAN CAN STAND ADVERSITY, BUT IF YOU WANT TO CHALLENGE A MAN OR A WOMAN, GIVE THEM POWER. IT'S REALLY BEEN THE HISTORY OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION OVER ALMOST 1,000 YEARS, THE STRUGGLE TO CONTAIN THE POWER OF THE MONARCH, THE STRUGGLE TO MAINTAIN AND CONTAIN THE POWER OF THE GOVERNMENT IN EVERY FORM, FROM THE MAGNA CARTA ON, IT HAS BEEN THE PEOPLE TRYING TO TAKE POWER BACK FROM EITHER MONARCHY OR DESPOTIC GOVERNMENT. WE GET TO THE FORMATION OF OUR GOVERNMENT, AND JEFFERSON WROTE THAT THE CONSTITUTION WOULD BE THE CHAINS, THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE BOUND UP IN THE CHANGE. PATRICK HENRY WROTE THAT THE CONSTITUTION IS MEANT TO RESTRAIN THE GOVERNMENT, NOT THE PEOPLE. IT IS ABOUT TRYING TO RESTRAIN GOVERNMENT FROM ABUSING THE POWER TO TAKE OUR RIGHTS. YOU HAVE A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO BE LEFT ALONE. JUSTICE BRANDEIS PUT IT THIS WAY. HE SAID THE RIGHT MOST CHERISHED AMONG CIVILIZED MEN AND WOMEN IS THE RIGHT TO BE LEFT ALONE. BUT WE KNOW ALSO THAT THE HISTORY OF THOSE WHO GRAB THE REINS OF POWER, THE HISTORY OF THOSE WHO TAKE UP THE MANTLE OF POWER IS A HISTORY OF ABUSE. PRESIDENT WILSON IN WORLD WAR 1 ARRESTED 10,000 AMERICANS FOR THEIR OBJECTION TO THE WAR. F.D.R. HAD AN ENEMIES' LIST THAT HE ACTUALLY WAS VERY VOCAL AND PUBLISHED IN NEWSPAPERS, 77 PEOPLE THAT WERE HIS ENEMIES, AND HE USED THE I.R.S. TO GO AFTER THEM. L.B.J. ILLEGALLY SPIED ON MARTIN LUTHER KING. WE JUST HAD MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY YESTERDAY. L.B.J. SPIED ON HIM ILLEGALLY IN ALL MANNERS, IN ALL FORMS. HE SPIED ON VIETNAM WAR VETERANS. NIXON HAD AN ENEMIES' LIST. YOU NAME IT, PRESIDENT AFTER PRESIDENT HAS ABUSED THIS POWER. PRESIDENT OBAMA HAD A FIGHT WITH THE TEA PARTY GROUPS. IT TURNS OUT THAT TO REGISTER AS A TEA PARTY GROUP WAS GIVEN EXTRA SCRUTINY AND PEOPLE DENIED BEING ALLOWED TO FORM AS A CHARITABLE GROUP OR POLITICAL ACTIVIST GROUP UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA BECAUSE THEY DISAGREED WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA. WE NOW HAVE A CURRENT ADMINISTRATION WHERE THERE HAVE BEEN ACCUSATIONS OF PEOPLE IN THE F.B.I. HAVING A PERSONAL ANIMAS AGAINST THIS PRESIDENT, AND CONSPIRING AND DISCUSSING HOW THEY COULD BLOCK HIM. WE'VE HAD MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WHO WERE MARRIED TO PEOPLE DOING OPPOSITION RESEARCH ON PRESIDENT TRUMP, PAID FOR BY THE OPPOSITION CANDIDATE, BY HILLARY CLINTON. THERE IS WITHOUT QUESTION THAT POWER HAS BEEN ABUSED AND WILL ALWAYS BE ABUSED. IT WAS LORD ACTON SAID POWER CORRUPTS AND ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY. THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY IS ABOUT TRYING TO RESTRAIN THE POWER OF GOVERNMENT. REALIZE THAT WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO COLLECT ALL OF THE PHONE CALLS IN ITALY IN ONE MONTH. THERE WAS A STORY SAYING WE DID IT. WE COLLECTED EVERY PHONE CALL FROM ITALY. WHO GETS TRAPPED IN THAT? IF YOU COLLECT EVERYONE'S PHONE CALLS IN GERMANY OR EVERYONE'S PHONE CALLS IN JORDAN, WHO GETS CAUGHT IN THAT? MANY, MANY INNOCENT LEGITIMATE AMERICANS GET CAUGHT UP IN THE OTHER END OF PHONE CALLS BECAUSE IT'S NOT JUST THE PHONE CALLS OF TERRORISTS. IT'S EVERYBODY'S PHONE CALLS. THEY'RE ALL BEING VACUUMED UP, AND INNOCENT AMERICANS ARE CAUGHT UP IN THAT. SENATOR WYDEN HAS BEEN A LEADER IN SAYING AND ASKING TOUGH QUESTIONS ON THE SPWEPBS COMMITTEE. ARE THERE -- ON THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. ARE THERE COMMUNICATIONS THAT ARE PURELY BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE IN AMERICA THAT HAVE BEEN CAUGHT IN THIS DATA BASE? HE'S BEEN GIVEN A VARIETY OF ANSWERS ON THIS BUT WE SUSPECT AMERICANS TALKING TO AMERICANS IN THIS COUNTRY ARE CAUGHT UP IN THIS DATA BASE. SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT BE ALLOWED TO SEARCH THIS DATA BASE TO PROSECUTE YOU FOR I.R.S., FOR NOT PAYING YOUR TAXES, FOR A MINOR MARIJUANA VIOLATION? ABSOLUTELY NOT. WHY? BECAUSE THIS INFORMATION IS GATHERED WITHOUT A WARRANT. IT IS GATHERED WITHOUT ANY CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION. AND AS OTHERS HAVE SAID, WE ACTUALLY ARE OKAY WITH A LOWER STANDARD FOR GATHERING FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE. WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE CONSTITUTION DOESN'T APPLY TO EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD. BUT IF AMERICANS GET CAUGHT UP IN THAT, AMERICANS DESERVE THE PROTECTION OF THE CONSTITUTION. NOW SOME ON THE OTHER SIDE HAVE STARTED SAYING, WELL, IT'S LAWFULLY GATHERED SO IT CAN BE USED FOR ANY LAWFUL PURPOSE. THAT IS THE MOST RIDICULOUS ARGUMENT I HAVE EVER HEARD. IT'S GATHERED LAWFULLY FOR FOREIGNERS. AND WE MADE THE STANDARD ZERO. THERE IS NO CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION. WE NEVER SAID WE'RE GOING TO GATHER FOREIGNERS' INFORMATION, PUT IT IN A BIG POOL, MIX IT UP WITH AMERICANS' INFORMATION, AND THEN TYPE YOUR NAME IN, JOHN SMITH AND FIND OUT WHO YOU'VE BEEN TALKING TO. REALIZE THAT THEY CAN LISTEN TO YOUR CONVERSATION, THEN THEY CAN BRING YOU IN FOR AN INTERVIEW WITH THE F.B.I., AND IF YOU SAY ANYTHING IN THE INTERVIEW THAT CONTRADICTS WHAT THEY EAVESDROPPED ON YOU IN YOUR CONVERSATION, YOU'VE NOW COMMITTED A FELONY. DO WE REALLY WANT ALL OF OUR PHONE CALLS RECORDED AND THEN HAVE THE ABILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT TO BRING YOU IN AND ASK YOU QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR PHONE CALLS? AND IF YOU'RE NOT PERFECTLY ACCURATE IN RECORDING YOUR PHONE CALLS, YOU COULD GO TO PRISON? ALL WE'RE ASKING FOR IS THAT FOR AMERICANS, THE CONSTITUTION SHOULD BE IN ORDER. WE SHOULD NOT GET RID OF THE CONSTITUTION. WE SHOULDN'T THROW IT OUT. THE CONSTITUTION SHOULD PROTECT US ALL. WE TAKE AN OATH OF OFFICE TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION. OUR SOLDIERS TAKE THE SAME OATH OF OFFICE. WOULDN'T IT BE SAD IF OUR SOLDIERS CAME HOME FROM FIGHTING AND DEFENDING THE CONSTITUTION TO LEARN THAT WE GAVE UP ON IT WHILE THEY WERE GONE? THE SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS HERE IS THAT THE MAJORITY DOESN'T WANT ANY DEBATE. THEY WANT TO RAM THIS THROUGH WITH NO AMENDMENTS. SENATOR WYDEN AND I WORKED FOR MONTHS ON AMENDMENTS AND ON AN ALTERNATIVE BILL WHICH ACTUALLY REAUTHORIZES THE PROGRAM. SENATOR LEAHY AND LEE HAVE ANOTHER BILL THAT'S SIMILAR THAT REPLACES THE PROGRAM. NONE OF US ARE FOR ENDING THE PROGRAM. WE'RE ALL FOR SAYING IF YOU WANT TO LOOK AT AN AMERICAN'S INFORMATION YOU'VE GOT TO GET A WARRANT. PEOPLE SAID IT WILL SLOW US DOWN. ALL OF OUR BILLS HAVE AN EMERGENCY EXCEPTION. IF THEY DECLARE AN EMERGENCY THEY CAN LOOK AT THE INFORMATION AND GET THE WARRANT THE NEXT DAY. WE HOPE THAT THAT WOULD BE EXTRAORDINARY AND NOT THE NORM. SO THE THING IS, IS WE WANT THE PROGRAM TO WORK BUT WE DON'T WANT AMERICANS CAUGHT UP IN IT. I HOPE THAT SENATORS WILL THINK THIS THROUGH. THIS WILL NOT KILL THE PROGRAM. THEY'RE GOING TO SCARE YOU TO DEATH AND SAY TOMORROW WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE AND THE WORLD'S GOING TO BE TAKEN OVER BY TERRORISTS IF WE DON'T HAVE THIS. IF WE WIN THIS VOTE TONIGHT, THEY'LL BE NEGOTIATING WITHIN AN HOUR AND WE'LL COME TO A COMPROMISE THAT ALLOWS THE CONSTITUTION TO PROTECT AMERICANS. THAT WAS OUR OATH OF OFFICE. THAT IS WHAT WE SHOULD DO. AND I URGE A VOTE AGAINST THE BILL.

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  • 05:13:39 PM

    MR. GRASSLEY

  • 05:13:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM IOWA.

  • 05:13:42 PM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    I STAND TODAY IN SUPPORT OF S. 139, THE FISA AMENDMENT REAUTHORIZATION…

    I STAND TODAY IN SUPPORT OF S. 139, THE FISA AMENDMENT REAUTHORIZATION ACT. AS WE KNOW, THE FIRST RESPONSIBILITY OF GOVERNMENT, OF THIS UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, IS TO PROTECT OUR CITIZENS. TO DO SO, WE MUST MAKE SURE THAT THOSE WHO PROTECT US HAVE THE TOOLS TO KEEP US SAFE. THIS BILL DOES EXACTLY THAT. IT PROVIDES THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS. BUT ALSO IT ALSO MINDS THE CIVIL LIBERTIES AND THE PRIVACY PROTECTIONS THAT OUR CONSTITUTION REQUIRES, ESPECIALLY GIVEN THE EVER-CHANGING TECHNOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE. THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR COUNTRY'S SAFETY AND SECURITY HAS BEEN HIGHLIGHTED IN SEVERAL EVENTS FROM JUST THE PAST TWO YEARS. NOW WE OFTEN GET LOST IN THE CONSTANT NEWS CYCLE. BUT LET'S NOT FORGET THAT NEW YORK CITY SUFFERED THREE SIGNIFICANT TERRORIST ATTACKS IN THE LAST 15 MONTHS ALONE. SEPTEMBER 2016, A TERRORIST DETONATED A PRESSURE KAORBG -- COOKER BOMB IN NEW YORK'S CHELSEA NEIGHBORHOOD. A SECOND PRESSURE COOKER BOMB WAS FOUND A FEW BLOCKS AWAY BUT DIDN'T DETONATE. EARLIER THAT DAY A BOMB WENT OFF NEAR THE START OF THE MARINE CORPS CHARITY RACE. THIS -- THIS PAST OCTOBER, A TRUCK WAS RAN ON THE BIKE WAY, KILLING EIGHT AND INJURING 12. THIS PAST DECEMBER, ANOTHER ONE DETONATED A BOMB IN NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY TUNNEL INJURING SEVERAL PEOPLE NEAR HIM. HE TOLD INVESTIGATORS HE DID IT IN THE NAME OF ISIS. IN JUNE OF 2016, OMAR SHOT AND KILLED 49 AND INJURED 53 OTHERS, ALSO IN THE ACT OF THE NAME OF ISIS. IN SEPTEMBER OF 2016, A TERRORIST STABBED 17 IN THE MALL IN ST. CLOUD, MINNESOTA. NOVEMBER 2016, A TERRORIST INJURED 13 AFTER DRIVING INTO AND TRYING TO STAB STUDENTS AND TEACHERS AT OHIO STATE. AND IN DECEMBER OF 2015, WE HAD THE SAN BERNARDINO SHOOTING WHERE TERRORISTS KILLED 14 AND INJURED 22. WE'VE ALSO SEEN TERRORIST INSTANCES AROUND THE WORLD, ESPECIALLY IMPACTING OUR FRIENDS IN EUROPE. IN THE U.K. ALONE THERE HAVE BEEN A HALF DOZEN TERRORIST ATTACKS, INCLUDING A SUBWAY BOMBING IN LONDON INJURING 30 PEOPLE AND ANOTHER PLOWING PEOPLE DOWN ON THE LONDON BRIDGE AND KILLING 48, AND THE MANCHESTER CONCERT BOMBING WHERE 22 PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND THE ATTACK ON THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT IN LONDON, KILLING FOUR, COLLUDING A PERSON FROM -- INCLUDING A PERSON FROM UTAH. ALL OF THESE ATTACKS, AND MORE, SHOW THE THREATS ARE REAL AND WE MUST PROTECT OUR COUNTRY BY LAWFUL CONSTITUTIONAL MEANS. CONGRESS HAS DONE SO BY PROVIDING LAWFUL AUTHORITY, SUCH AS SECTION 702. THE 702 PROGRAM HAS BEEN CALLED THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TOOL IN THE N.S.A. ARSENAL FOR THE DETECTION AND DISRUPTION OF TERRORIST THREATS. THE N.S.A. DIRECTOR HAS SAID PUBLICLY THAT THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE WAY TO REPLICATE 702 COLLECTION. SOME ESTIMATES ARE THAT OVER 25% OF CURRENT U.S. INTELLIGENCE IS BASED UPON SECTION 702. THERE ARE SOME KEY EXAMPLES. HAGI BECAME THE SECOND IN COMMAND OF ISIS. HE WAS THE MAIN FOCUS OF THE COUNTERTERRORISM EFFORTS. THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT OFFERED A $7 MILLION REWARD FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO HIS CAPTURE. WE SPENT OVER TWO YEARS LOOKING FOR HIM. HE WAS ULTIMATELY CAPTURED BASED ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY ON INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION FROM 702. ZASI IS IN PRISON FOR PLANNING AN ATTACK OF THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY SYSTEMS IN 2009. HE RECEIVED EXPLOSIVE TRAINING IN PAKISTAN FROM AL QAEDA. HE CORRESPONDED WITH AN E-MAIL ADDRESS WITH AN ADDRESS IN PAKISTAN. THE 702 PROGRAM UNCOVERED THE CORRESPONDENCE. WITHOUT THAT DISCOVERY, THE SUBWAY BLOAMING -- BOMBING PLOT MIGHT HAVE SUCCEEDED. IN OCTOBER OF 2013, THE F.B.I. BEGAN INVESTIGATING SEAN PARSON, A FOREIGNER FROM TRINIDAD AFTER PARSON BEGAN TO POST ONLINE EXPRESSING A DESIRE TO COMMIT AN ATTACK AGAINST WESTERN INTEREST. A COLLECTION FROM 702 WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN IDENTIFYING PARSON AND HIS NETWORK. THROUGH THE 702 PROGRAM THE F.B.I. ASSISTED FOREIGN PARTNERS TO IDENTIFY THE INDIVIDUAL WHO COMMITTED THE 2016 NEW YORK EVE'S TERRORIST ATTACK AT A NIGHTCLUB IN TURKEY. IT DURING THAT ATTACK 38 PEOPLE WERE KILLED, INCLUDING AN AMERICAN CITIZEN. AND THOSE ARE JUST FROM UNCLASSIFIED EXAMPLES. IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMIND MY COLLEAGUES OF THE PURPOSE BEHIND 702. IT PROVIDES THE GOVERNMENT THE AUTHORITY TO COLLECT THE ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS OF FOARNS LOCATED OUTSIDE -- FOREIGNERS LOCATED OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES. UNDER 702 IT'S AGAINST THE LAW TO TARGET ANYONE IN THE UNITED STATES, OR ANY AMERICAN CITIZEN, WHETHER THAT CITIZEN IS IN -- WHERE EVER THAT CITIZEN IS IN THE WORLD. THE PROGRAM IS TARGETED. IT IS NOT A BULK COLLECTION SYSTEM. FURTHERMORE, THE FISA COURT MUST APPROVE TARGETING PROCEDURES TO ENSURE THAT ONLY APPROPRIATE INDIVIDUALS ARE SUBJECT TO SURVEILLANCE. MINIMIZATION PROCEDURES LIMIT THE HANDLING AND USE OF INFORMATION THAT IS COLLECTED. ALL THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT HAVE A HAND IN OVERSEEING THE PROGRAM TO PROTECT THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO REMIND MY COLLEAGUES THAT THIS LEGISLATION WAS FIRST SIGNED INTO LAW IN 2008 WHEN WE TOOK UP CONSIDERATION IN 2012 AND DEBATED THE LAW. WE AUTHORIZED THIS LEGISLATION WITH NO CHANGES. THE 2012 CLEAN REAUTHORIZATION HAD THE FULL SUPPORT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA. SOME OF OUR SENATE COLLEAGUES OPPOSE THIS BILL. THEIR FIRST AND MOST CONSISTENT CLAIM IS THAT SECTION 702 VIOLATES THE FOURTH AMENDMENT, OUR COLLECTION -- OUR COLLEAGUES CLAIM THAT IT IS AN END RUN AROUND THE CONSTITUTION. OTHERS CALL IT A LEGAL LOOPHOLE, A BACKDOOR, OR A WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. SECTION 702 IS FULLY CONSISTENT WITH THE CONSTITUTION. EVERY FEDERAL COURT TO REVIEW 702, EVEN INCLUDING THE VERY LIBERAL NINTH CIRCUIT HAS UPHELD THE LAW. THE SUPREME COURT'S RECENT DECISION TO DENY REVIEW OF THE NINTH CIRCUIT CASE LET STAND THAT COURT'S DECISION. THESE COURTS CONSISTENTLY DETERMINE THAT A WARRANT IS NOT REQUIRED TO COLLECT OR QUERY 702 INFORMATION. MOREOVER, THE INDEPENDENT P CLUB REVIEW BOARD HAS REVIEWED THE ENTIRE FRAMEWORK OF 702 AND FOUND IT TO BE CONSTITUTIONAL. THE OTHER MAIN CLAIM AGAINST THIS BILL SL THAT PROVIDES -- IS THAT IT PROVIDES NEW POWERS TO THE GOVERNMENT. AGAIN, THIS IS NOT TRUE. NEVERTHELESS THIS BILL CLUEDS -- INCLUDES SIGNIFICANT REFORMS. FIRST THE BILL REQUIRES THE F.B.I. TO GET A WARRANT IN SOME CRIMINAL CASES. IN OTHER WORDS, WE ADDED A WARRANT WHERE COURTS HAVE HELD NONE ARE NECESSARY. THE BILL ALSO PROVIDES PROTECTION FOR WHISTLE-BLOWERS AND REQUIRES AN INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT. IN SHORT, THIS BILL PROVIDES OUR GOVERNMENT THE TOOLS IT NEEDS TO PROTECT OUR NATIONAL SECURITY WHILE PROVIDING SOME MUCH-NEEDED TRANSPARENCY MEASURES AND INCREASE PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTY PROTECTIONS. YOU CAN TELL I'M VERY STRONGLY IN SUPPORT OF THIS LEGISLATION. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO VOTE IN FAVOR OF THIS VERY IMPORTANT NATIONAL SECURITY PROTECTION LEGISLATION. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 05:23:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH CAROLINA.

  • 05:23:45 PM

    MR. BURR

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE FOR…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE FOR HIS SUPPORT, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, FOR HIS IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS FOR HOW THIS WORKS AND WHY IT IS CONSTITUTIONAL. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT SENATOR WARNER AND I BE PERMITTED TO COMPLETE OUR REMARKS CLIER TO THE -- PRIOR TO THE CLOTURE VOTE.

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  • 05:24:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:24:11 PM

    MR. BURR

    I YIELD TO THE VEST CHAIRMAN OF -- VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE.

  • 05:24:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM VIRGINIA.

  • 05:24:21 PM

    MR. WARNER

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FOR HIS WORK. I RISE IN SUPPORT OF PASSAGE OF THE…

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUE FOR HIS WORK. I RISE IN SUPPORT OF PASSAGE OF THE FISA AMENDMENT REAUTHORIZATION ACT. THIS WOULD PROVIDE SIGNIFICANT REFORMS THAT ENHANCE THE PRIVACY PROTECTIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS AND PRESERVING AUTHORITY CRITICAL TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY FOR AN ADDITIONAL SIX YEARS. AS VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, I HAVE LONG ADVOCATED BALANCING NATIONAL SECURITY AND COUNTERTERRORISM WITH THE PRIVACY RIGHTS OF AMERICANS. SECTION 702 STANDS AMONG THE MOST IMPORTANT OF OUR INTELLIGENCE PROGRAMS. TO ILLUSTRATE, I'D LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT VERY BRIEFLY ONE RECENTLY DECLASSIFIED SUCCESS STORY INVOLVING A TERRORIST BY THE NAME OF HA GID. HE WAS SECOND IN COMMAND OF ISIS BASED IN SYRIA. N.S.A. SPENT TWO YEARS LOOKING FOR HIM. THIS SEARCH WAS ULTIMATELY SUCCESSFUL PRIMARILY SUCTION OF FISA SECTION 702. UNDER 702, THEY WERE ABLE TO COLLECT INTELLIGENCE ON CLOSE ASSOCIATES AND THE NETWORK SUPPORTING MR. AMAN. BETWEEN 702 AND OTHER INTELLIGENCE THAT WAS DEVELOPED, THE I.C. WAS ABLE TO TRACK DOWN THE MOVEMENTS OF MR. AMAN AND ULTIMATELY RESULT IN TAKING HIM OFF THE BATTLEFIELD. THIS IS BUT ONE OF NUMEROUS EXAMPLES IN WHICH INFORMATION OBTAINED PURSUANT TO SECTION 702 HAS PROVEN CRITICAL TO ADDRESSING THREATS TO AMERICANS, BOTH DOMESTICALLY AND ABROAD. FOR MUCH OF THE PAST YEAR AND A HALF, I HAVE WORKED CLOSELY WITH CHAIRMAN BURR AND A BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS TO PASS LEGISLATION TO REAUTHORIZE SECTION 702 FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD WHILE INCORPORATING SUBSTANTIVE REFORMS. IN OCTOBER, OUR SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE PASSED IN A BIPARTISAN WAY A VOTE OF 12 TO 3, COMPREHENSIVE REAUTHORIZATION LEGISLATION. SINCE THAT TIME WE WORKED WITH COUNTERPARTS IN THE HOUSE AND WITH THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH TO ENSURE THAT THE FINAL BILL WE WILL VOTE ON TONIGHT AND TOMORROW WILL HAVE WIDESPREAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT AND INCLUDE CIVIL LIBERTIES AND PRIVACY PROTECTIONS. THE BILL BEFORE US HERE TODAY IS A PRODUCT OF EXTENSIVE BIPARTISAN, BICAMERAL NEGOTIATIONS. THIS BILL IS NOT PERFECT. RARELY HAVE I WORKED ON OR VOTED ON A BILL ANYWHERE THAT'S PERFECT. BUT I BELIEVE THIS MEASURE REPRESENTS A SIGNIFICANT COMPROMISE AND PRESERVES THE OPERATIONAL FLEXIBILITY OF SECTION 702 WHILE INSTITUTING KEY REFORMS TO FURTHER PROTECT U.S. PERSONAL PRIVACY. LET ME TAKE A MOMENT TO IDENTIFY A FEW KEY ITEMS IN THIS LEGISLATION THAT I BELIEVE BEAR MENTIONING. FIRST, AND I SEE MY FRIEND FROM FLORIDA, WHO HAS WORKED LONG AND HARD ON THIS, HE WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT BROADER, BUT IT DOES INCLUDE A WARRANT REQUIREMENT. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SECTION 702, THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A COURT ORDER BEFORE F.B.I. CRIMINAL INVESTIGATORS ARE PERMITTED TO VIEW INVESTIGATIONS PURSUANT TO SECTION 702 CONCERNING AN AMERICAN CITIZEN. SUCH A COURT ORDER WOULD APPLY IN THE CONTEXT OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS OPENED BY THE F.B.I. THAT DO NOT RELATE TO NATIONAL SECURITY. THIS BILL ALSO MANDATES A STUDY BE CONDUCTED BY THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OF THE F.B.I. QUERYING PRACTICES ONE YEAR FOLLOWING THE ENACTMENT OF THIS LEGISLATION, MAKING SURE THAT SUCH PRACTICES HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE FISA COURT AND IMPLEMENTED APPROPRIATELY BY THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. THIS IS IMPORTANT IN ENSURING TRANSPARENCY. IT INCLUDES AN ASSESSMENT OF THE INTERPRETATIONS OF THE F.B.I. AND D.O.J. OF QUERY PROCEDURES. IT REQUIRES THE HANDLING BY THE F.B.I. OF AN INDIVIDUAL THAT IS UNKNOWN. IT INCLUDES THE SCOPE OF ACCESS BY THE F.B.I.'S CRIMINAL DIVISION TO 702 INFORMATION. THIS WILL NOT ALL OF THE QUESTIONS ASKED, I SAY TO MY FRIEND FROM OREGON, IT WILL PUT THE F.B.I. ON RECORD. IN ADDITION, IN TERMS OF QUERYING PROCEDURES, SECTION 13 THE WILL HAVE NEW PROCEDURES TO BE DRAFD AND APPROVED BY THE COURT IMPLEMENTED BY EXECUTIVE BRANCH AGENCIES. THERE IS NEW PUBLIC REPORTING OF STATISTICS ABOUT ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED UNDER FISA. AS MENTIONED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, S. 139, FOR THE FIRST TIME, EXTENDS WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS TO CONTRACTORS IN THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY. THIS ADDITION IS ESSENTIAL TO ENSURE THAT THOSE IN THE I.C. HAVE AN AVENUE TO REPORT ABUSES. MR. PRESIDENT, CONGRESS MUST NOT FURTHER DELAY CONSIDERATION OF A LONG-TERM REAUTHORIZATION. WE'VE BEEN DEBATING THIS ISSUE FOR THE PAST 18 MONTHS. INDEED, CONGRESS HAS KNOWN ABOUT THIS DEADLINE SINCE THE PRIOR REAUTHORIZATION OCCURRED IN 2012. NUMEROUS COMMITTEES HAVE HAD EXTENSIVE HEARINGS ON THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE, INCLUDING IN OUR COMMITTEE BOTH OPEN AND CLOSED HEARINGS. I BELIEVE THIS BILL WILL STRENGTHEN AND PROTECT AMERICANS. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO VOTE IN FAVOR OF THIS LEGISLATION AND I THANK THE PRESIDENT AND AGAIN WANT TO THANK MY FRIEND, THE CHAIRMAN OF THIS COMMITTEE, THE SENATOR NORTH CAROLINA, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO HIS COMMENTS. WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR TO THE CHAIRMAN.

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  • 05:30:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH CAROLINA.

  • 05:30:55 PM

    MR. BURR

    I THANK THE VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE. I SAY TO THOSE WHO ARE OPPOSED…

    I THANK THE VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE. I SAY TO THOSE WHO ARE OPPOSED TO THIS, I HAVE GREAT AFFECTION FOR ALL OF THEM. THEY HAVE PASSION THAT REALLY DISPLAYS THEIR BELIEF THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NEED TO BE PROTECTED FROM GOVERNMENT. AND LET ME JUST SAY FROM THE START, THIS IS THE SINGLE-MOST REVIEWED PROGRAM THAT EXISTS IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. THIS IS REVIEWED CONGRESSIONAL WILL IT IS REVIEWED BY COURTED, IT IS REVIEWED BY THE D.N.I. IT IS RADIO VIEWED BY THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE BECAUSE WE REALIZE ON THE COMMITTEE THAT THIS REQUIRES NOT JUST THE STAMP OF APPROVAL FROM CONGRESS BUT THE ASSURANCE BY THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE AND BY EVERY BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT THAT IT LIVES WITHIN THE PARAMETERS WE'VE SET. I'M NOT SURE THAT ANYBODY COULD HAVE HEARD A MORE THOROUGH DESCRIPTION THAN WHAT SENATOR WARNER JUST GAVE AND A MORE OVERWHELMING VOICE OF SUPPORT THAN WHAT THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE GAVE SENATOR GRASSLEY. BUT LET ME TAKE HEAD-ON A COUPLE OF ISSUES THAT HAVE COME UP AND CLAIMS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE ON THIS FLOOR THIS AFTERNOON. ONE IS THAT THIS IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. WELL, LET ME JUST BE CLEAR. THIS HAS BEEN TESTED IN THE COURTS, AND THE COURTS HAVE RULED THAT THIS PROGRAM IS LAWFUL AND IT IS CONSTITUTIONAL. SO ANY CLAIM OUTSIDE OF THAT IS NOT A CLAIM FROM THE JUDICIARY, WHICH WE TRUST; IT IS A CLAIM FROM AN INDIVIDUAL, AND I BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD IN THIS CASE TRUST THE COURTS. BUT LET ME SAY HERE THAT CONGRESS RECOGNIZED THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF SECTION 702 WHEN 2 REAUTHORIZED -- WHEN IT REAUTHORIZED THE BILL IN 2012. FURTHER, FEDERAL COURTS HAVE CONSISTENTLY UPHELD THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF 702, FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE UNITED STATES V. MOHAMMED, NINTH CIRCUIT, DECEMBER 5, 2016. THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY HELD THAT NO WARRANT IS REQUIRED FOR A SEARCH TARGETED AT A FOREIGN PERSON ABROAD WHO LACKS FOURTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS, EVEN THOUGH SOME U.S. PERSON'S COMMUNICATIONS ARE INCIDENTALLY ACQUIRED IN THAT COLLECTION. THE COURT FOUND THAT SECTION 702 COLLECTION WAS REASONABLE UNDER THE 4th AMENDMENT, REASONABLE BALANCING TEST, AND THE TARGETING AND MINIMIZATION PROCEDURES SUFFICIENTLY PROTECTED THE DEFENDANT'S PRIVACY ISSUES. THAT'S CONTRARY TO THINGS THAT YOU HEARD ON THIS FLOOR IN THE LAST HOUR. BUT THIS IS THE NINTH CIRCUIT COURT, DECEMBER 5, 2016, MAKING A RULING BASED UPON THIS INCIDENTAL COLLECTION THAT APPLIES TO U.S. CITIZENS. WHAT THE VICE-CHAIRMAN JUST SHARED WITH YOU IS WE WENT A STEP FURTHER. WE DIDN'T LEAVE IT JUST WITH THE COURT TO DETERMINE CONSTITUTIONALITY AND THE LACK OF A 4th AMENDMENT PROTECTION. WE PUT INTO THE BILL THAT IF IT DIDN'T HAVE A NATIONAL SECURITY IMPLICATION, IF IT WAS A CRIMINAL ACT AND IT WAS GOING TO BE PROSECUTED IN THE COURTS THAT WAY, THAT BEFORE THEY COULD LOOK AT THE CONTENT OF THAT COMMUNICATION, IT REQUIRED THEM TO GO TO THE COURT AND SEEK AND GET A WARRANT BEFORE, IN FACT, THEY COULD LOOK AT CONTENT. SO NOT ONLY DO WE HAVE THE COURTS ON OUR SIDE SAYING THERE IS NO 4th AMENDMENT PROTECTION, WE'VE GONE A STEP FURTHER AND SAID, IN THE CAVES U.S. CITIZENS -- IN THE CASE OF U.S. CITIZENS, IF IN FACT THEY WERE INCIDENTALLY CLICKETED AND IF IN FACT THE THE INFORMATION THAT OF THE THAT WAS IN THE DATABASE THAT'S GOING TO BE USED FOR A CRIMINAL CASE -- SENATOR PAUL TALKED ABOUT MARIJUANA -- THEY WOULD HAVE TO GO TO A COURT AND GET A WARRANT FROM A JUDGE TO LOOK AT THAT CONTENT, WHICH MEANS YOU'LL HAVE AN F.B.I. AGENT THAT WILL MAKE A DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER THE CONTENT IS VALUABLE ENOUGH TO GO TO THE COURTS AND SEEK A WARRANT. THIS IS A PROTECTION FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. IT IS NOT A REQUIREMENT FOR THE 4th AMENDMENT OR FOR THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF 702. NOW, LET ME JUST SAY TO MY COLLEAGUES, WHO IF THERE ARE ANY ON THE DEFENSE POST, THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE IS + OFF THE FLOOR. IF YOU NEED ONE OF THE GUYS WHO NEEDS TO OVERSEE THIS PROGRAM, ON THE ONE HANDS THE IMPORTANCE OF IT HE IS HERE. HE IS READY TO TALK TO ANY MEMBER. WHY? BECAUSE 702 IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT NATIONAL SECURITY TOOL WE HAVE IN THE UNITED STATES. YOU SEE, IF YOU ASKED ME TO SUM UP WHAT IS THIS BILL FOR, THIS IS ALLOW GOVERNMENT TO KEEP THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SAFE. THIS BILL DOES MORE TO ALLOW LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE IN THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE EXECUTIVE GROOM ASSURE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OF THEIR SAFETY. THAT'S AT THE HEART OF WHAT CONGRESS IS ESTABLISHED FOR. SPENDING ALL THESE THINGS COME AFTER THAT. BUT THE DEFENSE OF THE COUNTRY, DEFENSE OF EACH INDIVIDUAL AMERICAN IS WHAT'S AT THE ROOT OF OUR RESPONSIBILITIES. AND 702, AS IT RELATES TO THIS AGE OF TERRORISM, IS THE SINGLE-MOST EFFECTIVE TOOL THAT WE HAVE TO ASSURE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT WE'RE DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN TO PROVIDE THEIR SAFETY. I MIGHT ADD TO THAT THAT FROM A STANDPOINT OF THE INTERNATIONAL COLLECTION AND THE INTERNATIONAL CADRE OF TERRORISTS, WE'RE ABLE TO SHARE WITH OTHER COUNTRIES IN A WAY THAT NOBODY ELSE CAN WHEN THEIR COUNTRY IS IN JEOPARDY OF A TERRORIST ATTACK. AND WE HAVE MULTIPLE EXAMPLES WHERE WE HAVE SHARED WITH OUR PARTNERS AROUND THE WORLD, AND I MIGHT ADD, WE DON'T NECESSARILY REQUIRE THEM TO BE A PARTNER OF OURS TO SHARE THIS WITH THEM. WE TAKE COUNTRIES THAT WE HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP WITH, MAYBE IS THIS HAD -- MAYBE WE DON'T LIKE -- MAYBE THAT WE DON'T LIKE TOO MUCH. IF WE SEE THERE IS A TERRORIST ATTACK THAT IS EMINENT, WE WILL SHARE THAT WITH ANY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, EVEN OUR ENEMIES. SO LET ME PUT ASIDE FOR ANY COUNTRY THAT SECTION 702 IS LAWFUL AND IT IS CONSTITUTIONAL. LET ME GO TO THE RIGOROUS OVERSIGHT THAT I THINK THAT THE VICE-CHAIRMAN DESCRIBED. IT'S OVERSEEN BY THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE COURT. IT'S OVERSEEN BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND THE I.G. IT'S OVERSEEN BY THE CONGRESSIONAL INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. IT'S REQUIRED TO BE EVALUATED ON AN ANNUAL BASIS BY THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND BY THE BUREAU FOR PROCEDURES THAT THEY HAVE TO FOLLOW. I CAN'T STRESS ENOUGH THAT THE COMMITTEE, YOUR COMMITTEE, YOUR COLLEAGUES IN CONGRESS ARE THE ONES THAT YOU SHOULD FEEL MOST CONFIDENT AT REVIEWING AND PROVIDING PROPER OVERSIGHT FOR THIS PROGRAM. YOU SEE, IT'S THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT REACH THE CLARITY THAT'S NEEDED TO -- FOR THIS BODY AND FOR THE CONGRESS TO LOOK AT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND SAY, WE HAVEN'T CROSSED THE LINE. WE'VE STAYED WITHIN THE LEGAL BOX THAT WAS CREATED. BUT DON'T LEAVE IT TO COMMITTEE. LET'S USE THE -- BUT DON'T LEAVE IT TO ME. LET'S USE THE PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT BOARD. IN 230914 FOLLOWING AN EXTENSIVE REVIEW, PCLOB NOTED TO DATE, THERE ARE NO KNOWN INSTANCES WHICH GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL DELIBERATELY VIOLATED THE STATUTE TARGETING PROCEDURES OR MINIMIZATION PROCEDURES. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN. THE PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT BOARD WHICH MANY HERE CREATED CAME OUT AND IN THEIR REPORT SAID, TO DATE, THERE IS NO KNOWN INSTANCES IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL DELIBERATELY VIOLATED THE STATUTE TARGETING PROCEDURES OR MINIMIZATION. AT THE SAME TIME, IN THAT REPORT, PCLOB MADE A NUMBER OF RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE GOVERNMENT INTENDED TO ENHANCE THE SAFEGUARDS FOR PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES IN SECTION 702. IN FEBRUARY 2016, THE PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT BOARD REPORTED THAT ALL OF ITS RECOMMENDATIONS HAD BEEN IMPLEMENTED IN FULL OR IN PART BY THE GOVERNMENT. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN. IN FEBRUARY OF 2016, EVERY RECOMMENDATION THAT THE PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT BOARD MADE ABOUT THIS PROGRAM, THE PCLOB CERTIFIED THAT THOSE HAD IN FULL OR IN PART BEEN ADOPTED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. IF YOU ONLY GO ON WHAT YOU HEARD OVER THE LAST HALF AN HOUR OR HOUR, YOU WOULD THINK THAT THIS IS RIDDLED WITH QUESTIONS OF CONSTITUTIONALITY AND THAT THERE ARE MASSIVE ABUSES. THE FACT IS THERE HAVE NOT BEEN ANY AND THE COURTS HAVE RULED THAT IT IS CONSTITUTIONAL, IT IS LEGAL, AND IT DOES NOT INFRINGE ON THE 4th AMENDMENT AT ALL. WELL, LET ME STY MY COLLEAGUES -- LET ME SAY TO MY COLLEAGUES, I EXPECTED WE'D BE HERE. WE HAD A HEATED DEBATE IN THE COMMITTEE. THE PRESIDING OFFICER REMEMBERS THAT WELL BECAUSE HE'S ON THE COMMITTEE. WE CONSIDERED A LOT OF AMENDMENTS, AND AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE CAME OUT WITH A BILL THAT'S VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT WE HAVE TODAY. 12-3 VOTE. SHOWS A TREMENDOUS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. NOW, IF SENATOR WARNER HAD WRITTEN IT BY ITSELF, IT WOULD PROBABLY LOOK DIFFERENT. IF I HAD WRITTEN IT BY MYSELF, IT WOULD PROBABLY LOOK DIFFERENT. WHAT WE'RE ASKED TO VOTE ON TODAY IS A BILL THAT LOOKS DIFFERENT THAN WHAT WE PASSED OUT. IT'S A LITTLE BIT STRONGER FROM A STANDPOINT OF THE PROTECTION OF PRIVACY BECAUSE IT DOES INSTITUTE THIS WARRANT REQUIREMENT IF IN FACT YOU WANT TO SEE THE CONTENT OF ANY COLLECTION OUT OF 702 THAT'S DEALING WITH A CRIMINAL PROCESS. BUT IF IT'S NATIONAL SECURITY, WE'RE DOING EXACTLY WHAT I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT US TO DO. WE'RE DUE USING THE DATA THAT WE'VE GOT TO FIND THE HE PEOPLE THAT WANT TO -- TO FIND THE PEOPLE THAT WANT TO COMMITTEE THESE ACTS AND STOP THEM BEFORE THEY DO IT. THAT'S NOT INTENT OF THIS. THEN THIS PROBABLY SHOULDN'T EXIST. IF ANYBODY BELIEVES THAT TERRORIST QUIT AND WE'RE NO LONGER A TARGET, THEN ELIMINATE THIS. I'M CLOSER TO THE LINE THAN I EVER THOUGHT I WOULD BE BEFORE I GOT TO THE UNITED STATES SENATE. AND CERTAINLY BEFORE I BECAME THE CHAIRMAN OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. BUT I DO UNDERSTAND RESPONSIBILITIES, RESPONSIBILITIES MAKE SURE THAT THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO WE CHARGE WITH PROTECTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO ACCOMPLISH IT. IT'S THE REASON WE'RE DEBATING ON THE FLOOR AND AT THE OTHER END OF THE CAPITOL THE FUNDING OF OUR MILITARY. IT'S TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR MILITARY HAS THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO GO OUT AND DO THE MISSION THEY'VE BEEN ASKED TO DO. WELL, FROM THE BUREAU TO THE CYBERSECURITY ACT WE'VE ASKED THEM -- TO THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY, WE'VE ASKED THEM TO DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO MAKE SURE AMERICA IS SAFE. WITH NO ABUSES TO DATE -- AND THAT'S THE DETERMINATION OF THE PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT BOARD, NOT A RIGHT RIGHT-LEANING INSTITUTION. AND THE FACT IS THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS LIVED EXACTLY WITHIN THE LETTERS OF THE LAW THAT WE HAVE DESCRIBED. SO I WOULD URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO VOTE FOR CLOTURE. LET'S MOVE ON TO THE 30 HOURS ON THIS BILKS IF THAT'S WHAT IN FACT -- ON THIS BILL, IF THAT'S WHAT IN FACT EVERYBODY DEMANDS. WE'VE ALREADY EXTENDED IT TEMPORARILY. THAT'S NOT A SIGN OF CONFIDENCE TO THOSE WHO WORK IN IN THE TRENCHES AND WE ASK TO KEEP US SAFE. LET'S DO THE BOLD THING. LET'S FINISH THIS. THIS IS A BICAMERAL, BIPARTISAN NEGOTIATED BILL. BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE, BOTH ENDS OF THE CAPITOL -- IT IS TIME WE DO OUR BUSINESS. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO VOTE YES FOR CLOTURE. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 05:43:40 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    THE FLOOR.

  • 05:43:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WYDEN: MR. PRESIDENT? THE PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 05:43:46 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK UP TO TWO MINUTES.

  • 05:43:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:43:51 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUES. I'LL BE VERY BRIEF. WHAT WE'RE DEBATING IS WHETHER…

    I THANK MY COLLEAGUES. I'LL BE VERY BRIEF. WHAT WE'RE DEBATING IS WHETHER THE SENATE WILL BE THE SENATE. IF YOU VOTE IN FAVOR OF THIS, YOU ARE VIETNAMING FOR CLOTURE. -- YOU'RE VOTEING FOR CLOTURE. THERE WILL BE NO AMENDMENTS THEN. WE WOULD HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY IF WE VOTE AGAINST CLOTURE FOR IMPROVING THIS BILL. AND I WANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT IF WE TAKE A SHORT TIME TO IMPROVE THIS BILL, AS SENATOR LEE WANTS TO DO AND SENATOR LEAHY AND SENATOR PAUL, THIS PROGRAM CONTINUES TO OPERATE. IT IS NOT IN ANY WAY GOING TO HARM OUR ABILITY TO FIGHT TERRORISM. THIS PROGRAM WOULD STAND. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO VOTE TO CARRY OUT OUR CONSTITUTIONAL OBLIGATIONS AS SENATORS TO HAVE REAL DEBATES AND VOTE AGAINST CLOTURE. I YIELD.

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  • 05:44:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE.

  • 05:44:55 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 MOTION TO CONCUR IN THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO S. 139, AN ACT TO IMPLEMENT THE USE OF RAPID D.N. D.N.A. INSTRUMENTS AND SO FORTH AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS.

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  • 05:45:18 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT, THE MANDATORY QUORUM CALL HAS BEEN WAIVED. THE…

    BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT, THE MANDATORY QUORUM CALL HAS BEEN WAIVED. THE QUESTION IS, IS IT THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO CONCUR IN THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO S. 139 SHALL BE BROUGHT TO A CLOSE? THE YEAS AND NAYS ARE MANDATORY UNDER THE RULE. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: VOTE: MELBOURNE VOTE: VOTE: VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 05:45:26 PM

    Senate Vote 11 - On the Cloture Motion S. 139

    Rapid DNA Act of 2017

    Cloture Motion Agreed to (60 - 38)
    Yea
    Nay

    Vote Details: Yea - 60
    Republican - 41
    Democratic - 18
    Independent - 1

    Vote Details: Nay - 38
    Democratic - 29
    Republican - 8
    Independent - 1

  • 07:06:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ON THIS VOTE, THE YEAS ARE 60. THE NAYS ARE 38. THREE-FIFTHS OF THE…

    ON THIS VOTE, THE YEAS ARE 60. THE NAYS ARE 38. THREE-FIFTHS OF THE SENATORS DULY CHOSEN AND SWORN HAVING VOTED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, THE MOTION IS AGREED TO.

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  • 07:07:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLOTURE HAVING BEEN INVOKED, THE MOTION TO REFER WITH AN AMENDMENT AND THE…

    CLOTURE HAVING BEEN INVOKED, THE MOTION TO REFER WITH AN AMENDMENT AND THE AMENDMENTS PENDING THERETO FALL. IT -- THE SENATOR FROM OHIO.

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  • 07:07:11 PM

    MR. BROWN

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. THANKS TO SENATOR SCHUMER AND MY COLLEAGUES WHO…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. THANKS TO SENATOR SCHUMER AND MY COLLEAGUES WHO WILL JOIN US IN THE COURSE OF THE EVENING FOR COMING TO THE FLOOR TONIGHT TO SHINE A LIGHT ON THE ONE MILLION, MORE THAN ONE MILLION WORKERS AND RETIREES ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY WHO ARE ON THE VERGE OF FACING MASSIVE CUTS TO THE PENSIONS WHICH THEY HAVE EARNED. THIS CRISIS AFFECTS THOUSANDS OF OHIOANS. PERHAPS MORE THAN 60,000 IS OUR COUNT. IT AFFECTS THE MASSIVE CENTRAL STATES TEAMSTERS PENSION PLAN, THE UNITED MINE WORKERS PENSION PLAN, THE IRON WORKERS LOCAL 17 PENSION PLAN, THE OHIO SOUTHWEST CARPENTERS PENSION PLAN, THE BAKERS AND CONFECTIONERS PENSION PLAN, AND OTHERS. IT HAS AN IMPACT ON WORKERS AND RETIREES AND ON BUSINESSES IN EVERY SINGLE STATE IN THE UNITED STATES. IT'S BAD ENOUGH, IT'S BAD ENOUGH, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT WALL STREET SQUANDERED WORKERS' MONEY. IT'S WORSE THAT THE GOVERNMENT, THAT THIS BODY, THAT THE HOUSE -- GOVERNMENT HASN'T YET STEPPED UP. THE GOVERNMENT IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK OUT FOR THESE FOLKS AND IS SO FAR TURNING A BLIND EYE TO THE PROMISE MADE TO THESE WORKERS. THE SENATE, THE SENATE FOUND THE TIME TO PASS A MASSIVE TAX GIVEAWAY FOR CORPORATIONS THAT SHIP JOBS OVERSEAS. WE KNOW THAT THE TAX BILL MADE IT EVEN MORE LIKELY FOR COMPANIES -- FOR A MANUFACTURING COMPANY TO SHUT DOWN IN MANSFIELD OR LIMA OR CHILICOTHE OR PORTSMOUTH OR SPRINGFIELD, OHIO, AND MOVE OVERSEAS. SHUT DOWN PRODUCTION HERE, MOVE OVERSEAS, SHUT DOWN PRODUCTION AND SELL THOSE PRODUCTS BACK INTO THE UNITED STATES. THE SENATE'S BILL DOES THAT, BUT IT DID NOTHING FOR HARDWORKING AMERICANS WHO WORKED THEIR WHOLE LIVES TO EARN THEIR RETIREMENT. IT'S DISGRACEFUL, AND TIME IS RUNNING SHORT TO MAKE THESE PENSIONS WHOLE. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES IN THIS BODY, COLLEAGUES WITH HEALTH CARE AND RETIREMENT PLANS PAID FOR BY TAXPAYERS -- REMEMBER THAT. MY COLLEAGUES, ALL OF US HAVE OUR HEALTH CARE AND PENSIONS PAID BY TAXPAYERS. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES IN THIS BODY TO THINK ABOUT THESE RETIRED WORKERS AND THE STRESS THEY'RE FACING. IT'S AN EXPENSIVE TIME OF YEAR. PEOPLE ON FIXED INCOMES, PEOPLE ON FIXED INCOME, THEIR HEATING BILLS GO UP, THEY TRIED TO SCRAPE TOGETHER WHAT THEY COULD FOR THE HOLIDAYS, FOR GRANDKIDS. THEY HAVE LOVED ONES THAT ARE SICK. SOME OF THEM ARE SICK THEMSELVES. REMEMBER, THIS IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST THESE RETIREES AND THEIR FAMILIES. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF WORKERS GIVE UP MONEY FROM EACH AND EVERY PAYCHECK TO FUND A PENSION THEY EXPECT TO BE THERE WHEN THEY RETIRE. THINK ABOUT THAT, MR. PRESIDENT. THOSE THAT HAVEN'T REALLY LOOKED AT WHAT HAPPENS IN UNION NEGOTIATIONS WHERE WORKERS SIT AT THE BARGAINING TABLE AND THEY GIVE UP INCOME TODAY TO PUT MONEY ASIDE FOR THE FUTURE FOR THEIR PENSIONS. THAT'S WHAT THEY DID. THEY GAVE UP INCOME TEN YEARS AGO, 20 YEARS AGO, 30 YEARS AGO, EVEN 40 YEARS AGO, PUTTING IT ASIDE OFTEN MATCHED BY EMPLOYERS, THAT MONEY THEN COMES BACK TO THEM IN THE FORM OF A PENSION WHEN THEY RETIRE. IF WE DON'T PROTECT THOSE PENSIONS, HOW DO ANY WORKERS KNOW IF THEIR RETIREMENT IS SAFE? HOW DO YOU PLAN FOR YOUR KIDS? HOW DO YOU PLAN FOR YOUR FAMILY'S FUTURE? HOW DO YOU DO THAT WHEN THIS KIND OF UNCERTAINTY HANGS OVER YOUR HEAD? THESE AMERICANS HAVE DONE EVERYTHING RIGHT. THEY HAVE WORKED THEIR WHOLE LIVES TO EARN THESE PENSIONS. THEY PUT IN LONG HOURS TO SUPPORT THEIR FAMILIES. THEY DID IT SO THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO SPEND THEIR RETIREMENT YEARS ENJOYING TIME WITH THEIR GRANDCHILDREN, NOT WORRYING EVERY DAY ABOUT HOW TO MAKE ENDS MEET. THE REASON THEY THOUGHT IT WASN'T JUST BLIND HOPE, IT'S BECAUSE OF THE LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACTS THEY HAVE NEGOTIATED IN GOOD FAITH. WHEN I FIRST STARTED IN PUBLIC SERVICE, MR. PRESIDENT, I USED TO SPEND HOURS WHEN THE LEGISLATURE WASN'T IN SESSION, I WOULD SPEND HOURS AT THE UNITED STEELWORKERS LOCAL 169 IN MANSFIELD, OHIO, LISTENING TO WORKERS TALK ABOUT THEIR DREAMS. WE TALKED ABOUT A LOT OF THINGS. ONE THING -- I TALKED ABOUT THEIR KIDS WHOM I HAD GONE TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH AT MANSFIELD SENIOR HIGH OR JOHNNY APPLE CEDE JUNIOR HIGH. ONE THING I HEARD OVER AND OVER WAS HOW WORKERS GAVE UP PAY TODAY AT THE BARGAINING TABLE FOR THE PROMISE OF A PENSION TO BE THERE WHEN THEY RETIRED. IT'S PRETTY SIMPLE. THEY SAT AT THE NEGOTIATI TABLE, THEY EARNED THEIR PENSIONS, THEY GAVE UP THE PAY RAISES TO DO IT. BUT NOW THEIR GOVERNMENT HAS ALLOWED WALL STREET TO BLOW IT, AND TOUGH LUCK FOR THEM. NOT ON OUR WATCH, MR. PRESIDENT. BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS, I STOOD IN THIS BUILDING WITH MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES AND WITH RITA LEWIS, THE WIDOW OF BUTCH LEWIS. HE HAD WORKED 40 YEARS AS AN OHIO TEAMSTER. BUTCH DIED OF A HEART ATTACK ON NEW YEAR'S EVE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. IF HE WERE HERE TODAY, BUTCH WOULD TELL YOU THAT HE DIDN'T WORK THOSE 40 YEARS TO GET JUST 40% OF HIS PENSION. SADLY, WHEN -- AS I SAID, BUTCH PASSED AWAY FAR TOO SOON AFTER FIGHTING FOR THE RETIREMENT HE AND THESE WORKERS EARNED. IT WAS MY HONOR TO NAME OUR SENATE BILL THE BUTCH LEWIS ACT AFTER HIM. THIS ISN'T A PARTISAN ISSUE, MR. PRESIDENT. IT AFFECTS COMMUNITIES WE ALL REPRESENT. IT AFFECTS TEAMSTERS IN MICHIGAN, IN OHIO. IT AFFECTS WORKERS IN MONTANA, THE PRESIDING OFFICER'S STATE. IT AFFECTS WORKERS -- IT AFFECTS MINE WORKERS IN THE MAJORITY LEADER'S STATE. IT AFFECTS TEAMSTERS, TRUCK DRIVERS IN THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER'S STATE. MY COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE HAVE VOIFD SUPPORT AND THE DESIRE TO WORK TOGETHER IN GOOD FAITH TO KEEP THIS PROMISE. NOW WE JUST NEED TO SIT DOWN TOGETHER, PUT POLITICS ASIDE AND GET IT DONE. A NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS HAVE BEEN IN NEGOTIATION WITH DEMOCRATIC SENATORS THAT WE HAVE LED TO MAKE SURE THIS CAN GET DONE. FUNDAMENTALLY, MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S ABOUT WHOSE SIDE YOU ARE ON, IT'S ABOUT WHOM WE WORK FOR. MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES MADE IT PRETTY CLEAR IN DECEMBER WITH THEIR TAX VOTE THAT THEY WORK FOR WALL STREET AND THE CORPORATION TO SEND JOBS OVERSEAS, BUT I SAY WE WORK FOR THESE TRUCK DRIVERS AND IRON WORKERS AND CARPENTERS AND CONFECTIONARY WORKERS AND TEAMSTERS. THEY ARE NOT ASKING FOR A HANDOUT. THEY'RE ASKING FOR WHAT THEY EARNED OVER A LIFETIME OF WORK. IT'S TIME FOR US TO DO THE JOB TAXPAYERS SENT US HERE TO DO AND SAVE THOSE PENSIONS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. I'M JOINED ON THE SENATE FLOOR TODAY BY THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN AND THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM INDIANA, SENATOR STABENOW AND SENATOR DONNELLY. THEY HAVE BEEN VERY ACTIVE IN THIS ISSUE. I KNOW SENATOR CASEY IS GOING TO JOIN US, AND OTHERS HAVE BEEN VERY ACTIVE STANDING UP FOR THESE RETIREES, UNDERSTANDING AGAIN THAT THE TEAMSTER RETIREES AND MINE WORKERS AND IRON WORKERS AND OTHERS GAVE UP MONEY TODAY, GAVE UP RAISES AT THE BARGAINING TABLE TO PUT MONEY ASIDE FOR RETIREMENT. WE OWE THAT TO THEM. IT'S TIME THE SENATE DOES ITS JOB. I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR TO SENATOR STABENOW.

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  • 07:14:14 PM

    MS. STABENOW

  • 07:14:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN.

  • 07:14:16 PM

    MS. STABENOW

    FROM MICHIGAN.

  • 07:19:29 PM

    COVER THE BASICS

    AND COVER THE BASICS: FOOD, MEDICINE, EVERYDAY EXPENSES. HE WORKED EVERY…

    AND COVER THE BASICS: FOOD, MEDICINE, EVERYDAY EXPENSES. HE WORKED EVERY DAY OF HIS LIFE AND DOESN'T WANT TO END HIS LIFE IN POVERTY, NOR SHOULD HE. AS HE TOLD ME, WE ARE THE NOT THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THE BAD INVESTMENTS OF OUR HARD-EARNED MONEY AND LOST BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. AND KEN'S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. THIS ISN'T THE FAULT OF THE WORKERS AND THEY SHOULDN'T PAY THE PRICE. THEY SHOULD KNOW THAT THE PROMISE MADE TO THEM AFTER A LIFETIME OF HARD WORK WILL BE KEPT. THAT'S WHY I'M SO PLEASED TO BE COSPONSORING THE BUTCH LEWIS ACT OF 2017 WITH MY COLLEAGUES THAT ARE HERE THIS EVENING. THE BILL WOULD CREATE A NEW OFFICE WITHIN TREASURY CALLED THE PENSION REHABILITATION. THE NEW OFFICE WOULD GIVE TROUBLED PENSION PLANS THE OPPORTUNITY TO P BECOME SOLVENT AGAIN THROUGH LOANS AND ASSISTANCE FROM THE PENSION BENEFIT PENSION BENEFIT GUARANTY CORPORATION. WITH THIS BILL THESE PLANS WOULD BE ABLE TO PAY WORKERS ALL OF THE PROMISED BENEFITS WITH NO CUTS. NO CUTS. THE PLANS WOULD BE REQUIRED TO DEMONSTRATE THE ABILITY TO REPAY THE LOANS AT THE END OF THE TERM. THINK ABOUT, WALL STREET BANKS GOT LOANS. SHOULDN'T MIDDLE-CLASS WORKING MEN AND WOMEN, RETIREEERS WHO WORK ALL THEIR LIVES AND BELIEVE IN OUR COUNTRY AND BELIEVED THAT IN FACT OUR COUNTRY WOULD HAVE THEIR BACK, SHOULDN'T THEY ALSO HAVE THE SAME KIND OF OPPORTUNITY TO BE ABLE TO PROTECT THEIR PENSIONS? LET ME JUST SAY AGAIN THAT THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT AFFECTS MILLIONS OF AMERICANS, MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS WHO HAVE WORKED THEIR ENTIRE LIFE, PEOPLE WHO ARE RETIRED NOW OR ARE NEAR RETIREMENT OR ARE STILL WORKING HARD AND PAYING IN AND TRUST THAT IN FACT THEIR PENSION WILL BE THERE. AND IT'S INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT THAT OUR COUNTRY KEEP ITS PROMISE TO THEM. LET ME ALSO SAY IN CONCLUSION THAT I WILL BE INTRODUCING, IN FACT REINTRODUCING LEGISLATION THAT I INTRODUCED LAST SESSION TO ADDRESS SOMETHING ELSE THAT I THINK IS A MATTER OF FAIRNESS, TO PREVENT RAISES AND REDUCE SALARIES OF TOP PENSION FUND EXECUTIVES IF RETIREE BENEFITS ARE CUTS. I UNDERSTAND HOW DEVASTATING PENSION CUTS WOULD BE TO RETIREEERS -- RETIREES AND THEIR FAMILIES. THERE IS NO QUESTION WE NEED LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS TO THE PENSION CRISIS FACING OUR COUNTRY. HOWEVER, PEOPLE WHO ARE RETIRED RIGHT NOW AND FACE LOSING THAT PENSION AND GOING INTO POVERTY OR PEOPLE THAT ARE ABOUT TO RETIRE, THEY DON'T HAVE TIME TO WAIT. THERE IS A TREMENDOUS SENSE OF URGENCY ABOUT THIS. AND CUTTING BENEFITS WOULD PLACE A TERRIBLE BURDEN ON RETIREES WHO HAVE WORKED HARD ALL OF THEIR LIFE TO EARN SOME DIGIT, SOME COMFORT, SOME SECURITY. PEOPLE LIKE KEITH AND MARY, BOTH IN THEIR 70'S, WHO DEPEND ON KEITH'S PENSION AND SOCIAL SECURITY TO MEET THEIR BASIC NEEDS. AND AS THEY TOLD ME, WE TRY TO SAVE BUT IT'S HARD. WE'RE HOPING THAT THE PENSION WILL LAST MORE THAN TEN YEARS, BUT WHO KNOWS? KEITH AND MARY HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW. THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW THAT OUR COUNTRY'S GOT THEIR BACK AND THAT THEY CAN COUNT ON THEIR PENSION BEING THERE. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO HELP KEEP THAT PROMISE FOR KEN AND KEITH AND MARY AND HARDWORKING PEOPLE ALL ACROSS MICHIGAN AND AMERICA. I SEE OUR LEADER ON THE FLOOR, AND I WANT TO THANK HIM FOR MAKING THIS A TOP PRIORITY, AS WE ARE NEGOTIATING THE PRIORITIES OF THIS COUNTRY, THE PRIORITIES OF THE BUDGET FOR NEXT YEAR, MAKING SURE HARDWORKING AMERICANS HAVE THE PROMISE KEPT OF THEIR PENSION IS SOMETHING THAT I KNOW IS AT THE TOP OF HIS LIST, AND I'M PROUD TO JOIN HIM IN THIS.

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  • 07:23:49 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    THANK YOU. AND I WANT TO THANK YOU AND MY COLLEAGUE FROM INDIANA, MY…

    THANK YOU. AND I WANT TO THANK YOU AND MY COLLEAGUE FROM INDIANA, MY COLLEAGUE FROM OHIO, SENATORS BROWN AND STABENOW AND DONE -- AND DONNELLY AND KLOBUCHAR AND HEITKAMP HAVE BEEN STALWART VOICES FOR MEN AND WOMEN IN THEIR STATES, SENATOR MAN CHINA CHINA -- SENATOR MANCHIN FOR THE MINERS IN WEST VIRGINIA AND OTHERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. WE COME TO THE FLOOR TONIGHT TO URGE OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES TO JOIN US IN DOING SOMETHING TO SHORE UP PENSION PLANS FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS, MILLIONS OF MIDDLE-CLASS WORKERS IN THIS COUNTRY, TEAMSTERS AND CARPENTERS, THEY PUT THEIR MONEY INTO PLANS YEAR AFTER YEAR. THEY KNEW THEY WOULDN'T BE RICH WHEN THEY RETIRED BUT THEY THOUGHT THEY COULD LIVE A LIFE OF DECENCY. THEY OFFERED 401(K) SALARY INCREASES. THEY SAID GIVE ME A LOWER RAISE BUT PUT MONEY IN THAT PENSION. THESE PEOPLE EARNED THESE PENSIONS. THEY ARE THE BACKBONE OF AMERICA. BUT NOW AFTER ALL THEIR HARD WORK AND ALL THEIR SAVINGS, SEVERAL MULTIYEAR PENSION PLANS ARE AT RISK OF FAILURE THROUGH NO FAULT OF THE WORKER. FAMILIES IN MY STATE AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY COULD SEE THEIR RETIREMENT SAVINGS SLASHED, TEAMSTERS, MINERS, CARPENTERS, FOOD SERVICE WORKERS ARE AT RISK OF LOSING SECURITY THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN. THEY WEREN'T RESPONSIBLE FOR THE STOCK MARKET CRASH. THEY WEREN'T INVOLVED IN OFFSHORE SWAPS IN LONDON OR SOMEWHERE. BUT THAT DIMINISHED THE VALUE OF THESE PLANS. AND THEY'RE CERTAINLY NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR CONGRESS TWIDDLING ITS THUMBS AND DOING NOTHING IN THE FACE OF THESE SHORTFALLS. TEAMSTERS IN MY FACE ARE FACE -- IN MY STATE ARE FACING A 30% REDUCTION IN BENEFITS. THEY FEEL THE IMPACT OF THE CUTS EVERY DAY. SO IN CONCLUSION, WE HAVE TO GET SOMETHING DONE. OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS SPENT MOST OF 2017 PRESSING LEGISLATION THAT HELPED THE WEALTHIEST CORPORATIONS AND BIGGEST CORPORATIONS TO GET BIG TAX BREAKS. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MIDDLE-CLASS WORKER? WHAT ABOUT THE MIDDLE-CLASS WORKER? LET 2018 BE DIFFERENT. LET IT BE THE YEAR WHEN WE FIX THESE PLANS, AND LET'S DO IT IN THE UPCOMING BUDGET DEAL. I KNOW THAT SENATOR BROWN, STABENOW, DONNELLY AND SO MANY OTHERS WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR HARDWORKING PENSIONERS UNTIL WE FIX THE PROBLEM. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT MY ENTIRE REMARKS BE PLACED IN THE RECORD AT THIS POINT.

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  • 07:26:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 07:26:30 PM

    A SENATOR

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 07:26:32 PM

    MR. DONNELLY

    MR. PRESIDENT, MY COLLEAGUES AND I ARE ON THE SENATE FLOOR TONIGHT ON…

    MR. PRESIDENT, MY COLLEAGUES AND I ARE ON THE SENATE FLOOR TONIGHT ON BEHALF OF THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS WHOSE PENSIONS ARE AT SERIOUS RISK. FOR GENERATIONS, THERE HAS BEEN AN EXPECTATION IN OUR COUNTRY THAT IF YOU WORK HARD AND EARN A PENSION, THAT PENSION WILL BE THERE IN RETIREMENT. UNFORTUNATELY, THAT PROMISE IS NOW IN QUESTION. DUE TO CORPORATE BANKRUPTCIES, THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND UNDERFUNDING, AMONG OTHER REASONS, SOME OF THE LARGEST PENSION FUNDS IN THIS COUNTRY ARE AT RISK OF INSOLVENCY, POTENTIALLY LEAVING RETIREES WITH PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR. I KNOW FIRSTHAND THE VALUE OF A PENSION. MY LATE FATHER-IN-LAW WAS A TEAMSTER. HIS PENSION ALLOWED HIM TO HELP SUPPORT HIS FAMILY, AND IT PROVIDED HIM WITH THE DIGNITY OF A DECENT RETIREMENT. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS WHO GO TO SLEEP TONIGHT UNCERTAIN ABOUT THEIR FINANCIAL SECURITY. I MET THESE RETIREES. I STOOD WITH THEM AT RALLIES. I'VE ATTENDED THEIR MEETINGS. JUST TEN DAYS AGO BACK HOME IN INDIANA, I JOINED ROUGHLY 300 TEAMSTERS BOTH ACTIVE AND RETIRED FROM ALL CORNERS OF INDIANA. THEY MET IN INDIANAPOLIS TO TRY TO LEARN WHAT THE FUTURE WOULD HOLD. THEY SIMPLY WANT THE PENSIONS THEY WORKED SO HARD AND SPENT SO MANY HOURS LABORING FOR AND THAT THEY EARNED. THEY SIMPLY WANT WHAT WAS PROMISED TO THEM AND WHAT THEIR HARD WORK EARNED FOR THEM. UNLESS CONGRESS ACTS SOON, IN INDIANA ALONE, 22,000 TEAMSTERS AND 2,700 MINE WORKERS ARE AT RISK OF SIGNIFICANT PENSION CUTS. THAT'S WHY I COSPONSORED THE BUTCH LEWIS ACT AND THE AMERICAN MINERS PENSION ACT. THESE BIPARTISAN BILLS WOULD ENSURE RETIREES RECEIVE THEIR PENSIONS. BOTH BILLS CREATE A LOAN PROGRAM THAT EXTENDS THE SOLVENCY OF AT-RISK PENSION PLANS. I ALSO CONTINUE TO WORK WITH SENATORS IN BOTH PARTIES TO BUILD SUPPORT AND TO FIND A SOLUTION. CONVERSATIONS NEED TO TURN INTO THAT SOLUTION BEFORE THE PENSION SHORTFALL GROWS EVEN WORSE. IF WE DON'T ACT, THE SOLUTION BECOMES MORE COSTLY EVERY DAY. THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR LISTS 144 MULTIEMPLOYER PLANS AS BEING IN CRITICAL OR ENDANGERED STATUS. THE AT-RISK PLANS INCLUDE IRON WORKERS, ROOFERS, MACHINISTS, FISHERMEN, PLUMBERS, BRICK LAYERS, AND CARPENTERS, AMONG OTHERS. WE NEED TO SHORE UP OUR PENSION SYSTEM BEFORE THE PROBLEM GROWS WORSE. THE FAILURE OF THESE PLANS WOULD NOT JUST DEVASTATE THE IMPACTED RETIREES, IT COULD BE ECONOMICALLY DAMAGING TO IMPACTED COMMUNITIES, COULD LEAD TO THE INSOLVENCY OF THE PENSION BENEFIT GUARANTY CORPORATION, THE PBGC, WHICH PROVIDES PENSION INSURANCE. LAST YEAR WE SIMILARLY STOOD ON THIS SENATE FLOOR TOGETHER, TOGETHER NOT AS REPUBLICANS, NOT AS DEMOCRATS, BUT AS AMERICANS, TO FIGHT FOR HEALTH BENEFITS FOR THE RETIRED MINE WORKERS. WE SOLVED THAT ISSUE. WE REACHED A COMPROMISE BY WORKING TOGETHER. REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS, TOGETHER, PASSED A PERMANENT SOLUTION THAT WAS SIGNED INTO LAW. LET'S DO IT AGAIN HERE. WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO THE RIGHT THING, TO ENSURE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS HAVE THE FINANCIAL SUPPORT THEY EXPECTED, THAT THEY WORKED NONSTOP FOR, AND THAT THEY RECEIVE THE PENSIONS THEY EARNED. A SOLUTION IS RIGHT HERE IN OUR GRASP. WE HAVE TO GET THIS DONE, AND I URGE THE SENATE TO ACT IMMEDIATELY. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD BACK.

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  • 07:31:30 PM

    MS. BALDWIN

  • 07:31:31 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM WISCONSIN.

  • 07:31:34 PM

    MS. BALDWIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO JOIN MY COLLEAGUES IN OUR FIGHT TO KEEP A…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO JOIN MY COLLEAGUES IN OUR FIGHT TO KEEP A PROMISE MADE TO WORKERS AND RETIREES ACROSS THIS COUNTRY. I'LL START WITH WHERE WE WERE, WHERE WE ARE NOW, AND WHAT WASHINGTON NEEDS TO DO TO KEEP THESE PROMISES. A LITTLE OVER TWO YEARS AGO CENTRAL STATES PENSION HAD AN APPLICATION BEFORE THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT WHICH, HAD IT BEEN APPROVED, WOULD HAVE MEANT DEEP CUTS TO PENSIONS THAT HAD ALREADY BEEN EARNED OVER A LIFETIME OF HARD WORK. RETIREES IN MY HOME STATE OF WISCONSIN BEGAN TO RECEIVE LETTERS NOTIFYING THEM THAT THEIR PENSIONS COULD BE CUT BY 30%, 50%, AND IN SOME CASES AS MUCH AS 70%. TREASURY MADE THE RIGHT DECISION AND REJECTED THESE PENSION CUTS. THAT WAS AN IMPORTANT VICTORY, BUT WE HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN THAT THERE IS MORE WORK TO BE DONE, THAT WE HAVE TO FIND A LONG-TERM SOLUTION THAT KEEPS THESE PROMISES. I'M TALKING ABOUT A PROMISE MADE TO BERNIE IN FRANKLIN, WISCONSIN, WHO WOULD HAVE LOST ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF HIS PENSION IF CENTRAL STATE'S APPLICATION HAD ACTUALLY GONE THROUGH. I'M TALKING ABOUT A PROMISE MADE TO KENNY. KENNY IS FROM MONINIE FALLS, WISCONSIN, WHO SPENT MOST OF HIS CAREER IN TRUCKING PAYING INTO A PENSION FUND TO SAFEGUARD HIS FAMILY'S FUTURE. HE GOT A LETTER NOTIFYING HIM THAT HIS PENSION MIGHT BE CUT BY 55%. I'M TALKING ABOUT PROMISES MADE TO 25,000 RETIREES AND WORKERS IN THE STATE OF WISCONSIN. THEY HAVE BEEN LIVING WITH FEAR AND UNCERTAINTY OF NOT KNOWING WHETHER THE RETIREMENT SECURITY THAT THEY SAVED FOR AND SACRIFICED FOR AND THAT THEIR FAMILIES DEPEND UPON WILL BE THERE WHEN THEY NEED IT. IF WASHINGTON DOES NOT ACT, THESE WORKERS AND RETIREES WILL FACE MASSIVE CUTS TO THEIR PENSIONS EARNED OVER DECADES OF WORK. I HAVE BEEN PROUD TO WORK SIDE BY SIDE WITH WISCONSIN RETIREES AND WITH SENATOR SHERROD BROWN TO INTRODUCE THE BUTCH LEWIS AC THE BILL WILL PUT FAILING PENSION PLANS, INCLUDING CENTRAL STATES, BACK ON SOLID GROUND TO ENSURE THEY CAN MEET THEIR COMMITMENTS TO RETIREES TODAY AND WORKERS IN DECADES TO COME, AND IT DOES SO WITHOUT CUTTING A SINGLE CENT FROM THE BENEFITS RETIREES HAVE EARNED. IN THE TIME SINCE CENTRAL STATES SUBMITTED ITS APPLICATION TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, I HAVE MET WITH RETIREES IN MILWAUKEE, GREEN BAY, AND IN DEVER, WISCONSIN. LAST WEEK I WAS IN BROOKFIELD, WISCONSIN WITH MANY MORE THAN 200 RETIREES AND WORKERS WHO ARE COUNTING ON WASHINGTON TO PASS THIS BILL. WASHINGTON NEEDS TO ACT. WE NEED TO PASS THE BUTCH LEWIS ACT AND WE NEED TO DO IT SOON. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD.

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  • 07:36:00 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MINNESOTA.

  • 07:36:03 PM

    MS. KLOBUCHAR

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO JOIN MY COLLEAGUES IN CALLING FOR ACTION,…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO JOIN MY COLLEAGUES IN CALLING FOR ACTION, ACTION TO PROTECT THE HARD-EARNED BENEFITS OF PENSIONERS, HARDWORKING PEOPLE ALL ACROSS MY STATE. I WANT TO THANK MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR BROWN, FOR ORGANIZING THESE SPEECHES, MY NEIGHBOR TO THE EAST, SENATOR BALDWIN IN WISCONSIN, FOR HER ELOQUENT WORDS ON BEHALF OF THE WORKERS IN HER STATE. I KNOW HOW IMPORTANT BENEFITS ARE TO WORKERS FIRSTHAND. MY GRANDPA WAS ONE OF MANY CHILDREN AND GROWING UP IN THE IRON RANGE OF MINNESOTA, AND HE LOVED SCHOOL, BUT HE HAD TO QUIT AT AGE 15 TO HELP SUPPORT HIS FAMILY. FIRST HE GOT A JOB AS A TEAMSTER PULLING A CART AND THEN AT A VERY YOUNG AGE HE WENT TO WORK IN THE IRON ORE MINES IN MINNESOTA. HE HAD WANTED TO BE IN THE NAVY. HE HAD WANTED TO SAIL THE WORLD. INSTEAD HE SPENT HIS ENTIRE LIFE TO SUPPORT HIS EIGHT BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND THEN LATER MY DAD AND MY UNCLE. HE SPENT HIS ENTIRE LIFE WORKING 1,500 FEET UNDERGROUND. HE WOULD GO DOWN THE MINE SHAFT EVERY DAY WITH HIS BLACK LUNCH BUCKET, AND I OFTEN THOUGHT WHAT DID HE THINK WHEN HE WENT DOWN IN THAT MINE SHAFT, OF LIFE AND OTHER THINGS. HE FELT HE HAD AN OBLIGATION, AND THAT OBLIGATION WAS NOT ONLY IMPORTANT TO OUR FAMILY, WHICH SOMEHOW ENDED ME UP IN THE SENATE, BUT IT WAS ALSO IMPORTANT TO THE OBLIGATION TO OUR COUNTRY THE. WHEN YOU GO BACK TO WORLD WAR II, IT WAS THE IRON ORE THAT BUILT OUR COUNTRY, OUR FACTORIES, OUR SKYSCRAPERS, AND OUR SHIPS AND TANKS THAT WON THAT WAR. THAT'S WHAT MY GRANDPA DID, AND IT WAS DANGEROUS BACK THEN. MY GRANDMA WOULD ALWAYS TELL ME HOW YOU WOULD HEAR THIS WHISTLE GO OFF, AND IT MEANT THAT SOMEONE WAS EITHER VERY HURT OR KILLED IN THE MINES. AND ALL OF THE WIVES WOULD GO AND STAND OUTSIDE THAT MINE TO SEE WHAT MINER WAS GOING TO BE BROUGHT UP INJURED OR WORSE. MY DAD REMEMBERS SEEING THE COFFINS IN THE CHURCH IN ELIE LINED UP OF MINERS THAT HAD BEEN KILLED. THIS WASN'T THAT LONG AGO. WHEN SOMEONE DOES SOMETHING LIKE THAT FOR THEIR FAMILY, FOR THEIR COUNTRY, PROMISES THAT WERE MADE TO THEM SHOULD BE KEPT. BECAUSE MY GRANDPA STAYED IN THAT JOB, OVER TIME THE SAFETY REQUIREMENTS GOT BETTER, THE BENEFITS GOT BETTER, HE WAS ABLE TO GET HEALTH CARE, HE WAS ABLE TO SAVE MONEY IN A COFFEE CAN IN THE BASEMENT OF THE HOUSE SO HE CAN SEND MY DAD AND BROTHER TO COLLEGE. THAT ALL HAPPENED. SO WHEN HE GOT SICK, HE SHOULD BE ABLE TO HAVE HEALTH CARE, RIGHT? WELL, HE DID. HE HAD CANCER. HE HAD HEALTH CARE. WHEN MY GRANDMA GOT OLDER AND LIVED INTO HER LATE 80'S, SHE WAS ABLE TO STAY IN ASSISTED LIVING. THAT HAPPENED BECAUSE THE PROMISES MADE TO THOSE WORKERS WERE KEPT. THE PROMISES MADE TO WORKERS IN MULTIEMPLOYER PENSION PLANS IS SIMPLE, THAT THE PENSIONS THEY HAD EARNED THROUGH YEARS OF HARD WORK WILL BE THERE WHEN THEY RETIRE. IT IS DESCRIBED AS A 3-LEGGED STOOL, SOCIAL SECURITY, PENSION, AND SAVINGS. A STABLE AND SECURE RETIREMENT RELIES ON ALL LEGGINGS BEING STRONG. BUT SOME MULTIEMPLOYER PENSION PLANS ARE FACING CHALLENGES THAT COULD WEAKEN ONE OF THOSE LEGS. OVER THREE MILLION AMERICANS RELY ON THESE BENEFITS FOR A SAFE AND SECURE RETIREMENT. THE CENTRAL STATES PENSION PLAN IS SUCH A PLAN. IT WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1955 TO HELP TRUCKERS SAVE FOR RETIREMENT. THAT WAS WHILE MY GRANDPA WAS STILL IN THE MINES. TODAY THE CENTRAL STATE PENSION PLAN INCLUDES CAR HAUL, TANK LINE, CONSTRUCTION, CLERICAL, DAIRY, AND TRUCKING INDUSTRIES. IN MY STATE THERE ARE OVER 21,000 WORKERS AND RETIREES IN THE PLAN. THIS AFFECTS WORKERS AND RETIREES FROM ALL OVER THE MIDWEST. I GUESS THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED THE CENTRAL STATES PLAN. NEARLY 38,000 WORKERS AND RETIREES IN OHIO, 37,000 IN MICHIGAN, OVER 32,000 IN MISSOURI, 25,000 IN WISCONSIN, AND OVER 2,000 IN NORTH DAKOTA. IN FACT, WHEN THIS ISSUE FIRST CAME UP, AND IT WAS RUSHED OVER FROM THE HOUSE, AND WE DIDN'T KNOW THE IMPACT IT WOULD HAVE ON OUR STATES BECAUSE THERE WASN'T A LOT OF THOUGHT PUT INTO HOW THIS WAS DONE INTO HOW IT WAS PART OF A BIGGER BILL, WELL, I VOTED AGAINST THIS BILL. I THOUGHT IF IT'S CALLED CENTRAL STATES, I PROBABLY HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE IMPACTED. UNFORTUNATELY, THAT WAS RUSHED THROUGH AND PEOPLE DIDN'T HAVE THEIR SAY. IN FACT, SEVEN OF THE TOP TEN STATES IN THE CENTRAL STATES PENSION PLAN ARE MIDWESTERN STATES. IN SEPTEMBER OF 2015, CENTRAL STATES SUBMITTED A PROPOSAL TO THE TREASURY TRO REDUCE PENSION BENEFITS FOR WORKERS UNDER THE PENSION ACT OF 2014. TREASURY REVIEWED THE PROPOSAL, WHICH WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN BENEFIT CUTS FOR OVER 270,000 CENTRAL STATE RETIREES AND WORKERS. SOME OF THESE PENSION CUTS WERE AS HIGH AS 50%, 60%, AND EVEN 70%. IMAGINE SOMEONE WHO HAS SPENT THEIR LIFE DRIVING A TRUCK, SAVING MONEY, AND SUDDENLY ONE DAY THEY FIND OUT THEY ARE GOING TO LOSE 70%-THEIR PENSION. I HEARD FROM PEOPLE ALL OVER MY STATE HOW DEVASTATING THESE PROPOSED CUTS WOULD HAVE BEEN. PEOPLE WERE CONCERNED THAT THEY WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO AFFORD THEIR MEDICATION OR MIGHT HAVE TO SELL THEIR HOUSE. MANY WERE IN THEIR 60'S, 70'S, OR EVEN 80'S, AND ARE NOT ABLE TO GO BACK TO WORK. I STOOD UP WITH MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES AND FOUGHT AGAINST THAT PROPOSAL FOR A SIMPLE REASON, IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. WE RAISED SIGNIFICANT CONCERNS ABOUT THE PLAN, AND THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, IN A MOVE THAT I THINK SURPRISED SOME OF US PLEASANTLY, BUT NOT THOSE WHO ARE ON THE FRONT LINE EVERY DAY, THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT REJECTED THAT PROPOSAL. WELL, WE TEMPORARILY AVERTED A VERY BAD PLAN GOING INTO EFFECT, THIS ISSUE IS NOT GOING AWAY. THE CENTRAL STATES PENSION PLAN STILL FACES INSOLVENCY BY 2025 AND MORE THAT 70,000 MINNESOTANS ARE FACING FUNDING SHORTFALLS MANY MORE THAN 100 OF THESE PENSION PLANS ARE FACING FUNDING CHALLENGES AND DO NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT PLAN ASSETS. PENSIONERS ACROSS OUR STATE AND OUR COUNTRY DEPEND ON THEIR PENSIONS. PEOPLE LIKE SHERMAN FROM MY STATE IN NORTHERN N MINNESOTA, -- NORTHERN MINNESOTA, WHERE I TALKED ABOUT WHERE MY GRANDPA WORKED IN THE MINES. SHERMAN HAS BEEN WORKING ON THIS AND RAISING IT TO A NATIONAL LEVEL AND WORKERS AND RETIRE EAST ARE LOOKING TO US TO TAKE ACTION. THAT'S WHY I'VE JOINED WITH MY COLLEAGUES TO COSPONSOR THE BUTCH LEWIS ACT, AND I THANK SENATOR BROWN FOR HIS LEADERSHIP ON THIS LEGISLATION. THIS BILL IS A WIN-WIN FOR EMPLOYERS, EMPLOYEES, RETIREES, AND AMERICANS. THE BILL WOULD PUT THE PENSION PLAN BACK ON SOLID FOOTING AND ENSURE THAT THE PLANS COULD MEET THEIR OBLIGATIONS TO RETIREES AND WORKERS FOR DECADES TO COME. THIS WOULD HAPPEN WITHOUT CUTTING A SINGLE CENT FROM THE BENEFITS OUR WORKERS OR RETIREES HAVE WORKED HARD FOR AND PAID INTO THE PENSION PLAN FOR AND BUILT THEIR TREE TIMER AROUND. THE INTRODUCTION OF THIS ACT HAS BEEN AN IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD IN ELEVATING THE NEED FOR ACTION. AS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS WORK TO RAISE THE CAP, THE PENSION CRISIS SHOULD BE A FUNDING PRIORITY. IT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN ANY COMPREHENSIVE BUDGET DEAL. SOMEHOW IN THIS VERY CHAMBER PEOPLE FOUND A WAY TO DO A BUNCH OF TAX CUTS, RIGHT, SOME OF THEM WERE THERE FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS, BUT A LOT OF THEM HELPED THE WEALTHY. SOMEHOW THEY FIND THEIR WAY TO THAT. WELL, THEY BETTER FIND THEIR WAY TO THIS BECAUSE THIS IS IT ABOUT WORKING PEOPLE. WE OWE IT TO ALL AMERICANS WHO PLAYED BY THE RULES AND WORKED HARD THROUGHOUT THEIR LIVES FOR A SECURE PENSION. I STAND TODAY READY TO WORK WITH OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE FLOOR AND ACROSS THE AISLE ON A BIPARTISAN SOLUTION. WE ALL KNOW THAT DELAY ONLY MAKES THE SOLUTION MORE COSTLY. THE TIME IS HERE. WE CAN'T PUT IT OFF ANY LONGER. WE MUST MOVE FORWARD TO GET THIS DONE FOR OUR WORKERS, FOR OUR BUSINESSES, AND OUR COUNTRY. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 07:45:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA.

  • 07:45:42 PM

    MR. CASEY

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK CONSENT TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 07:45:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:45:48 PM

    MR. CASEY

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TO SPEAK AS WELL ABOUT THE ISSUE OF…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TO SPEAK AS WELL ABOUT THE ISSUE OF PENSIONINGS, AS MANY OF -- PENSIONS, AS MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES HAVE BEEN SPEAKING ABOUT TONIGHT. I WANT TO OUTLINE A SERIES OF WHAT I BELIEVE TO BE PROMISES THAT THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE MUST KEEP WITH LARGE SEGMENTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME WE WERE IN A LONG DEBATE WHICH HAD TRANSPIRED OVER MONTHS AND THE MAIN ISSUE THERE WAS HEALTH CARE FOR RETIRED COAL MINERS AND THEIR FAMILIES. THIS WAS A PROMISE MADE TO COAL MINERS ACROSS THE FAMILY, THOUSANDS OF THEM ACROSS THE COUNTRY, THOUSANDS JUST IN PENNSYLVANIA ALONE WHO WERE PROMISED THAT THEY WOULD HAVE HEALTH CARE IN THEIR RETIREMENT. THAT PROMISE WENT UNFULFILLED DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE GOT A BILL THROUGH THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE, AS WE WERE INSTRUCTED TO DO TO FOLLOW SO-CALLED REGULAR ORDER, HAVE A HEARING, HAVE A VOTE, GET IT THROUGH THE COMMITTEE. BUT IT WAS HELD UP MONTH AFTER MONTH AFTER MONTH, REALLY FROM THE FALL OF 2016 UNTIL APRIL -- APRIL OF 2017. SO THAT PROMISE ALMOST WENT UNFULFILLED AND IT TOOK FAR TOO LONG BUT EVENTUALLY WE GOT IT DONE. BUT AT THE SAME TIME WE MADE ANOTHER PROMISE TO THOSE SAME COAL MINERS THAT WE'D WORK ON THE PENSION ISSUE FOR THEM. THAT WAS THE SECOND HALF OF THE ORIGINAL LEGISLATION. SO WHEN IT COMES TO PROMISES WE HAVE CERTAINLY PROMISES TO KEEP TO THOSE AMERICANS WHO WORKED SO HARD IN THE MOST DIFFICULT JOB IN THE WORLD. WE ALSO HAVE SOME PROMISES THAT MUST BE FULFILLED, AND I WOULD HOPE -- I WOULD HOPE THAT THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP AND THE REPUBLICAN MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE ALONG WITH THE ADMINISTRATION, ONE PARTY IN CHARGE OF TWO BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT -- I HOPE THEY WOULD KEEP THEIR PROMISE TO NINE MILLION AMERICAN CHILDREN. THE MINER'S HEALTH INSURANCE -- THE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM OF COURSE IS OVER 100 DAYS OVERDUE FROM BEING AUTHORIZED. EVERYONE SAYS THEY'RE FOR IT BUT IT IS NOT DONE. AND IT WAS SET ASIDE TO GET A TAX BILL DONE, WHICH IN MY JUDGMENT WAS A GIVEAWAY TO THE SUPERRICH AND BIG CORPORATIONS. BUT EVEN IF YOU WANTED TO SUPPORT THE TAX BILL, WHY COULDN'T YOU CARVE OUT SOME TIME BY THE END OF THE YEAR, I ASK THE MAJORITY, TO GET THE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM REAUTHORIZED? NINE MILLION KIDS, 180,000 IN PENNSYLVANIA, WHY COULDN'T YOU GET IT DONE? HERE WE ARE NOW IN THE MIDDLE OF JANUARY FACING YET ANOTHER DEADLINE AND THE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM IS NOT YET REAUTHORIZED. SO THAT'S A PROGRAM. AND WE'LL SEE BY THE END OF THE WEEK WHETHER THE MAJORITY KEEPS ITS PROMISE TO THOSE NINE MILLION CHILDREN. THE PENSION ISSUE IS THE ONE I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT TONIGHT, BUT THERE'S ALSO A PROMISE THAT WAS MADE 20800,000 APPROXIMATELY -- TO 800,000 APPROXIMATELY YOUNG PEOPLE, THE SO-CALLED INDIVIDUALS IN THE SO-CALLED DACA PROGRAM, THE DREAMERS. THAT'S ANOTHER PROMISE. BUT THE PROMISE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TONIGHT -- AT LEAST ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE IN THE SENATE -- IS THE PROMISE OF PENSIONS. WHY DO SO MANY PENSION PLANS FACE THE OBSTACLES AND THE BURDENS AND THE CRIES CRISIS THAT THEY MACE RIGHT NOW? THE TWO MAIN REASONS, OF COURSE, WAS FIRST AND FOREMOST THE FINANCIAL CRISIS WHICH WIPED OUT STOCK HOLDINGS, JUST AS THESE MEMBERS WERE RETIRING. AND OF COURSE THE SECOND REASON IS SUBSTANTIAL JOB LOSS IN THE INDUSTRIES THAT ARE AFFECTED BY THESE PENSION PLANS. WHILE WALL STREET AND THE GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT HAVE RECOVERED FROM THIS HORRIFIC FINANCIAL CRISIS THAT THE COUNTRY HAS NOW RECOVERED FROM BUT STILL SOME PEOPLE BEING HURT BY IT AND AS THE WEALTHY ARE DOING BETTER THAN EVER, YOU KNOW THE NUMBER THAT WAS CITED A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO THAT SINCE 1980 THE SHARE OF NATIONAL INCOME -- IF YOU TOOK ALL THE IN BEING IN THE COUNTRY -- THE SHARE OF NATIONAL INCOME HELD BY THE TOP 1% WAS 11% IN 1980. PRETTY HIGH NUMBER FOR 1%. BUT THEY HAD 11% OF NATIONAL INCOME. WHAT WAS IT IN 2014? IT HAD ALMOST DOUBLED TO 20%. SO WHEN I SAY THE VERY WEALTHY, THE TOP 1% HAVE DONE QUITE WELL, I'VE EVEN USED THE WORD "BONANZA," THEY'VE DONE REALLY WELL SINCE 1980, I CAN BACK IT UP WITH A NUMBER. SO EVEN AS THEY'RE DOING BETTER AND THE OTHER INDICATORS MIGHT PEOPLE BETTER, WAGES AND OPPORTUNITY FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS HAVE STAGNATED AND OUR PENSIONS HAVE PAID THE PRICE. WORKERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF COAL MINERS, TEAMSTERS, BAKERY AND CONFECTIONARY WORKERS IN PENNSYLVANIA ARE LISK WITH THE WORRY THAT THEIR PENSIONS MAY NOT REMAIN SOLVENT. THEY PLAY BY THE RULES, THEY PAY THEIR DUES, THAT HE PUT IN THEIR TIME FOR THEIR -- THEY PUT IN THEIR TIME FOR THEIR COMPANIES. THEY AND THEIR CHILDREN PAID THE PRICE DURING THE FINANCIAL CRISIS WITH THEIR JOBS AND WAGES. THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE TO CONTINUE TO PAY THE PRICE IN RETIREMENT THROUGH REDUCTIONS IN PROMISED BENEFIT -- PENSION BENEFITS. IT'S INEXCUSABLE AND INSULTING FOR AMERICANS TO LIVE WITH THIS TYPE OF WORRY, WONDERING WHETHER THEY WILL HAVE QUALITY OF LIFE IN THEIR RETIREMENT THAT THEY HAVE BEEN PLANNING FOR AND DEPENDING UPON THROUGHOUT THEIR CAREERS, CAREERS OF HARD WORK AND SACRIFICE, CAREERS OF GIVING SO MUCH TO THEIR COMPANIES AND IN MANY CASES SO MUCH TO THEIR COUNTRY AS WELL. AND YET WE HAVE THAT UNCERTAINTY FACING THOSE INDIVIDUALS AND THEIR FAMILIES. WONDERING IF AFTER DECADES OF WORKING IN JOBS THAT TOOK A TOLL IN MANY CASES ON THEIR OWN BODIES THEY WILL NEED TO GO BACK TO WORK TO AFFORD THE HEATING BILL OR THE COST OF MEDICATION. THAT'S INSULTING. WE MUST TAKE ACTION NOW TO SHORE UP OUR PENSION SYSTEM, TO KEEP THE PROMISE TO AMERICANS WHO MADE OUR COUNTRY WHEN IT WAS TODAY -- THE GREATEST IN THE WORLD FOR SURE. NOW, WE KNOW WHERE DEMOCRATS STAND ON THIS ISSUE. WE'RE WITH WORKERS. WORKERS -- AND THE QUESTION NOW IS WHETHER OR NOT REPUBLICANS WILL WORK WITH US TO GET THIS DONE. AS I SAID BEFORE, THE REPUBLICANS HAVE ALL THE VOTES THAT THEY NEED TO GET THIS DONE. THEY DIDN'T FLINCH IN DECEMBER WHEN IT WAS A QUESTION OF WHETHER THEY WOULD GIVE $13 BILLION IN TAX WINDFALLS TO THE NATION'S LARGEST BANKS. ALL OF THAT OF COURSE WAS UNPAID FOR. WE KNOW WHERE REPUBLICANS STAND WHEN IT COMES TO GIVING AWAY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN BORROWED MONEY TO LARGES, PROFITABLE CORPORATIONS. THAT WAS THE TAX BILL THAT I MENTIONED BEFORE. WE WILL SOON FIND OUT WHETHER OR NOT THEY STAND WITH WORKERS WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR PENSIONS. THE REPUBLICAN CONGRESS NEEDS TO ACT NOW TO MAKE SURE THAT WE PASS WHAT IS CALLED THE BUTCH LOUIS PENSION ACT -- I'M SORRY, THE BUNCH LOUIS ARCTIC IT IS A PENSION BILL, TO GIVE RETIREES IN PENNSYLVANIA AND OTHERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY THE PEACE OF MIND THAT COMES WITH KNOWING THEIR RETIREMENT IS SECURE. IT'S FUNDAMENTAL, MR. PRESIDENT. THIS IS A PROMISE. IT'S EITHER GOING TO BE KEPT OR IT'S GOING TO BE VIOLATED. AND THIS IS THE WEEK TO ENSURE THAT IT IS KEPT TO THOSE AMERICANS WHO HAVE WORKED SO HARD. THEY DESERVE THESE PENSIONS. THEY'VE EARNED THEM. WE NEED TO KEEP OUR PROMISE. THE MAJORITY NEEDS TO KEEP ITS PROMISE. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR. AND I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 07:53:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    QUORUM.

  • 07:55:34 PM

    A SENATOR

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 07:55:37 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:55:40 PM

    MR. ROUNDS

    MR. PRESIDENT, I SUCCEED THAT THE SENATE BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I SUCCEED THAT THE SENATE BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK THEREIN FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 07:55:49 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:55:50 PM

    MR. ROUNDS

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE APPOINTMENTS AT THE DESK…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE APPOINTMENTS AT THE DESK APPEAR SEPARATELY IN THE RECORD AS IF MADE BY THE CHAIR.

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  • 07:55:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:56:03 PM

    MR. ROUNDS

    MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE TWO REQUESTS FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET DURING TODAY'S…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE TWO REQUESTS FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET DURING TODAY'S SESSION OF THE SENATE. THEY HAVE THE APPROVAL OF THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY LEADERS.

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  • 07:56:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    DULY NOTED.

  • 07:56:17 PM

    MR. ROUNDS

    I UNDERSTAND, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THERE IS A BILL AT THE DESK AND I ASK…

    I UNDERSTAND, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THERE IS A BILL AT THE DESK AND I ASK FOR ITS FIRST READING.

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  • 07:56:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE THE CLERK WILL READ THE TITLE FOR THE FIRST TIME.

  • 07:56:27 PM

    THE CLERK

    S. 23 1,A BILL TO AMEND TITLE 18 UNITED STATES CODE TO PROTECT PAIN-…

    S. 23 1,A BILL TO AMEND TITLE 18 UNITED STATES CODE TO PROTECT PAIN- CAPABLE UNBORN CHILDREN AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 07:56:36 PM

    MR. ROUNDS

    MR. PRESIDENT, YOU NOW ASK FOR A SECOND READING AND NOR TO PLACE THE BILL…

    MR. PRESIDENT, YOU NOW ASK FOR A SECOND READING AND NOR TO PLACE THE BILL OWN THE CALENDAR UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 14, I OBJECT TO MY OWN REQUEST.

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  • 07:56:47 PM

    CER OBJEC

    OFFICER: OBJECTION IS HEARD. THE BILL WILL BE READ FOR THE SECOND TIME ON…

    OFFICER: OBJECTION IS HEARD. THE BILL WILL BE READ FOR THE SECOND TIME ON THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE DAY.

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  • 07:56:54 PM

    MR. ROUNDS

    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 UNTIL 10:00 A.M. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17. FURTHER 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 RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE MOTION TO CONCUR IN THE HOUSE AMENDMENT TO ACCOMPANY S. 139. FINALLY, THAT ALL TIME DURING RECESS, ADJOURNMENT, MORNING BUSINESS, AND LEADER REMARKS COUNT POSTCLOTURE ON THE MOTION TO CONCUR.

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  • 07:57:33 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:57:35 PM

    MR. ROUNDS

    IF THERE IS TO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT IT…

    IF THERE IS TO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT IT STAND ADJOURNED UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 07:57:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ORDER.

  • 07:57:55 PM

    >>

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115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 2042 (After 681 days)
  • Debate1178 Hours
  • Quorum Calls474 Hours
  • Votes333 Hours

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)