U.S. House Rejects Farm Bill 198-213
Senate Session - January 23, 2018

The Senate briefly convened before adjourning for weekly caucus lunches. The majority and minority leaders both spoke about their legislative agendas.

Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 11:59:40 AM

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    ON C-SPAN2. THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE:THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. THE…

    ON C-SPAN2. THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE:THE SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. THE CHAPLAIN

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  • 12:02:43 PM

    TEMPORE SENATE

    SENATE WILL COME TO ORDER. THE CHAPLAIN WILL LEAD THE SENATE IN PRAYER.

  • 12:02:50 PM

    THE CHAPLAIN

    LET US PRAY. ALMIGHTY GOD, THE FOUNTAIN OF WISDOM, THANK YOU FOR HEARING…

    LET US PRAY. ALMIGHTY GOD, THE FOUNTAIN OF WISDOM, THANK YOU FOR HEARING AND ANSWERING OUR PRAYERS. LORD, YOU HAVE GIVEN US SO MUCH, BLESSING US IN IMMEASURABLE WAYS, YOU HAVE EXCEEDED OUR OWN EXPECTATIONS. FOR THAT, GOD, WE ARE GRATEFUL. WE THANK YOU FOR THIS GREAT COUNTRY, FOR OUR LEADERSHIP, AND FOR THE WOMEN AND MEN WHO SERVE IN THIS BODY. HELP THEM TO REMEMBER, GOD, THAT THIS IS YOUR COUNTRY AND THEY ARE YOUR STEWARDS, BUT FOR A MOMENT IN TIME. WE PRAY THAT YOU WILL HELP US MOVE FORWARD WITH FAITH IN TOMORROW, KNOWING YOU WILL TRANSFORM OUR THOUGHTS, WORDS, AND ACTIONS ACCORDING TO YOUR DIVINE WILL. WE PRAY IN YOUR HEAVENLY NAME. .AMEN.

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  • 12:04:16 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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  • 12:05:02 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 12:05:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 12:05:06 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    LEADER.

  • 12:11:21 PM

    LINE CONGRESS

    LINE: CONGRESS IS APPARENTLY NOT DONE CUTTING TAXES. EVEN AFTER PASSING A…

    LINE: CONGRESS IS APPARENTLY NOT DONE CUTTING TAXES. EVEN AFTER PASSING A $1.5 TRILLION TAX OVERHAUL LAST YEAR. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, I COULDN'T SAY IT BETTER THAN THE "NEW YORK TIMES." THE SENATE IS NEVER DONE LOOKING FOR NEW WAYS TO TAKE MONEY OUT OF WASHINGTON'S POCKET AND PUT IT BACK IN THE POCKETS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

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  • 12:12:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE FOLLOWING NOMINATION WHICH THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 12:12:17 PM

    THE CLERK

    NOMINATION, FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM. JEROME H. POWELL OF MARYLAND TO BE…

    NOMINATION, FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM. JEROME H. POWELL OF MARYLAND TO BE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS.

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  • 12:20:05 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

  • 12:20:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER.

  • 12:20:09 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    DEMOCRATIC LEADER.

  • 02:14:45 PM

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    OBSTRUCT. IT DOESN'T DO --

  • 02:15:18 PM

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    WE TAKING OUT TO THE LIVE FLOOR OF THE U.S. SENATE. CONCERNED THAT AS…

    WE TAKING OUT TO THE LIVE FLOOR OF THE U.S. SENATE. CONCERNED THAT AS CHAIR OF THE FED, GOVERNOR POWELL WILL ROLE BACK CRITICAL RULES THAT HELP GUARD AGAINST ANOTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS, AND THAT IS SIMPLY A RISK WE CANNOT AFFORD. WHILE BIG BANKS HAVE BOUNCED BACK IF THE 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS AND ARE POSTING RECORD PROFIT, MANY AMERICAN FAMILIES ARE STILL TRYING TO REBUILD THEIR LIVES TEN YEARS LATER. YET GOVERNOR POWELL SEEMS TO THINK THAT THE NUMBER ONE PROBLEM WITH OUR CURRENT FINANCIAL SYSTEM IS THAT WE'RE TOO HARD ON THE BANKS. IN HIS CONFIRMATION HEAR, HE SAID THAT HE WOULD, QUOTE, CONTINUE TO CONSIDER APPROPRIATE WAYS TO EASE REGULATORY BURDENS. WHEN I ASKED HIM IF THERE WAS A SINGLE FINANCIAL RULE HE THOUGHT SHOULD BE STRONGER, JUST A SINGLE PROVISION IN ONE OF THE FED'S DOZENS OF RULES WHERE THERE MIGHT BE AN UNINTENDED LOOPHOLE OR WHERE AN INKNOW STATIVE PRODUCT HAS -- INNOVATIVE PRODUCT HAS INTRODUCED A NEW RISK INTO THE SYSTEM, HE COULDN'T NAME A SINGLE ONE, NOT ONE. AND MY QUESTIONS FOR THE RECORD, I ALSO ASKED GOVERNOR POWELL ABOUT A REPORT THAT THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT PUT OUT LAST JUNE. NOW, THIS REPORT WAS REALLY JUST A CUT AND PASTE JOB OF THE BANKING LOBBYISTS' WISH LISTS FOR RULE ROLLBACKS. GOVERNOR POWELL DO NOT IDENTIFY ANY RECOMMENDATIONS IN THAT REPORT THAT HE DISAGREED WITH. AGAIN, NOT A SINGLE ONE. AND THAT'S NOT ALL. AT GOVERNOR POWELL'S CONFIRMATION HEARING WHEN MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUE SENATOR KENNEDY ASKED HIM ABOUT WHETHER THERE ARE ANY INSTITUTIONS TODAY THAT ARE TOO BIG TO FAIL, GOVERNOR POWELL SAID, QUOTE, I WOULD SAY NO TO THAT. GOVERNOR POWELL EXPANDED ON THAT STATEMENT IN HIS ANSWERS TO MY WRITTEN QUESTIONS SAYING, QUOTE, WE HAVE MADE ENOUGH PROGRESS THAT THE FAILURE OF ONE OF OUR MOST SYSTEMICALLY SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS WHILE UNDOUBTEDLY POSING A SEVERE SHOCK TO THE ECONOMY COULD MORE THAN LIKELY NOT BE RESOLVED WITH -- COULD MORE LIKELY THAN NOT BE RESOLVED WITHOUT CRITICALLY UNDERMINING THE FINANCIAL STABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES. NOW, FIRST OF ALL, THAT IS AN INCREDIBLY NARROW DEFINITION OF WHAT TOO BIG TO FAIL MEANS. BUT SECOND OF ALL AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, GOVERNOR POWELL'S VIEW IS OUT OF STEP WITH THE MAINSTREAM OF SERIOUS EXPERTS. GIANT INSTITUTIONS STILL HAVE THE ABILITY TO BLOW UP OUR ECONOMY, AND THAT IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FACING THE FED AND OTHER REGULATORS. I AM DEEPLY CONCERNED THAT AS SOON AS GOVERNOR POWELL UNPACKS HIS BOXES IN THE CHAIRMAN'S OFFICE, HE WILL BEGIN WEAKENING THE NEW RULES CONGRESS AND THE FED PUT IN PLACE AFTER THE 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS, AND HE WILL HAVE HELP. RIGHT DOWN THE HALL WILL BE HIS CLOSE FRIEND, RANDAL QUARLES, THE FED'S NEW VICE CHAIR FOR SUPERVISION. GOVERNOR POWELL TOLD ME WHEN WE MET THAT HE INTENDED TO RELY A LOT ON VICE CHAIR QUARLES ON REGULATORY ISSUES. THAT IS A REALLY DANGEROUS PROSPECT. BEFORE COMING TO THE FED, VICE CHAIR QUARLES SPENT MORE THAN A DECADE IN PRIVATE EQUITY WHERE HE MADE HIS MARK ARGUING FOR WEAKER RULES ON BIG BANKS. AND HE'S GOTTEN A RUNNING START NOW THAT HE'S AT THE FED. IN HIS SPEECH A FEW WEEKS AGO AT HIS OLD PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM, QAWRMS ANNOUNCED THAT HE -- QUARLES ANNOUNCED THAT HE WAS WORKING ON REDUCING CAPITAL STANDARDS FOR WALL STREET BANKS, WEAKENING THE RULE AND MAKING STRESS TESTS EASIER FOR BIG BANKS TO PASS. IN OTHER WORDS, HE'S ALREADY SET UP HIS TO DO LIST TO GUT MEASURES PUT IN PLACE AFTER THE FINANCIAL CRISIS THAT ARE THERE TO TRY TO KEEP OUR ECONOMY SAFER SAFER. SO GOVERNOR POWELL SAYS HE WILL TAKE HIS QUEUES FROM A GUY WHO WANTS TO GET RID OF AS MANY RULES AS HE CAN AND TAKE THE TEETH OUT OF THE RULES THAT HE CAN'T. NO THANK YOU. THAT WILL MAKE AMERICAN FAMILIES LESS SAFE. IT WILL MAKE THE AMERICAN ECONOMY LESS SAFE. AND TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, POWELL'S GIFTS TO THE GIANT BANKS WILL COME AT A TIME WHEN BANKS OF ALL SIZES MADE GIGANTIC PROFITS LAST YEAR AND GOT GIANT TAX GIVEAWAYS IN THE BILL THAT WAS PASSED IN DECEMBER. GOOD GRIEF. WHEN WILL ENOUGH BE ENOUGH FOR THESE GUYS? BUT EVEN WITH THE BANKS ROLLING IN MONEY, THE ARMY OF LOBBYISTS AND EXECUTIVES HAVE COME BACK STORMING CAPITOL HILL AND THE HALLS OF THE FED, SPINNING THE STORY THAT FINANCIAL RULES ARE THROTTLING THEM AND NEED TO BE CUT BACK. WE NEED A FED CHAIR WHO CAN STAND UP TO WALL STREET AND THINK ABOUT THE NEEDS OF WORKING FAMILIES IN THIS COUNTRY. WE NEED SOMEONE WHO BELIEVES IN THE TOUGHEST RULES FOR BANKS, NOT IN WEAKER RULES FOR BANKS. THAT PERSON IS NOT GOVERNOR POWELL. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:20:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:

  • 02:21:03 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 02:32:56 PM

    MR. THUNE

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED.

  • 02:32:59 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:33:00 PM

    Senate Vote 18 - On the Cloture Motion PN1353

    Cloture Motion Agreed to (84 - 12)
    Yea

    Vote Details: Yea - 84
    Republican - 44
    Democratic - 39
    Independent - 1

    Vote Details: Nay - 12
    Democratic - 8
    Republican - 3
    Independent - 1

  • 02:33:01 PM

    MR. THUNE

    I WOULD ASK THAK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOTWITHSTANDING RULE 22, THE…

    I WOULD ASK THAK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOTWITHSTANDING RULE 22, THE SENATE VOTE TO INVOKE CLOTURE ON THE POWELL NOMINATION.

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  • 02:33:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MOTION TO…

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE.

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  • 02:33:15 PM

    THE CLERK

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

    CLOTURE MOTION. WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 22 OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, DO HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE DEBATE ON THE NOMINATION OF JEROME H. POWELL TO BE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM, SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS.

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  • 02:33:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT, THE MANDATORY QUORUM CALL HAS BEEN WAIVED. THE SCWE IS, IS IT THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT DEBATE ON THE NOMINATION OF JEROME H. POWELL OF MARYLAND TO BE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM SHALL BE BROUGHT TO A CLOSE. THE YEAS AND NAYS ARE MANDATORY UNDER THE RULE. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 03:08:26 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, THE YEAS ARE 84. THE NAYS ARE 12. THE MOTION IS AGREED TO. THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA.

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  • 03:08:51 PM

    MR. THUNE

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOT…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOT WITHSTANDING RULE 22 AT 5:00 P.M. ALL POSTCLOTURE TIME BE CONSIDERED EXPIRED AND THE SENATE VOTE ON CONFIRMATION OF THE POWELL NOMINATION, THAT IF CONFIRMED THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE AND THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION, AND THE SENATE THEN VOTE ON THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE ON THE AZAR NOMINATION.

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  • 03:09:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:09:20 PM

    MR. THUNE

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'M GLAD THAT DEMOCRATS DECIDED THAT THEY NEEDED TO REOPEN…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'M GLAD THAT DEMOCRATS DECIDED THAT THEY NEEDED TO REOPEN THE GOVERNMENT. THE POLITICAL THEATER THAT THEY ENGAGED IN OVER THE WEEKEND ENDANGERED FUNDING FOR OUR MILITARY, THREATENED THE FUTURE OF THE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM AND CREATED UNCERTAINTY ABOUT P IMPORTANT GOVERNMENT SERVICES FROM PROGRAMS TO VETERANS TO WORKER AND PRODUCT SAFETY TO PUBLIC HEALTH. AND FOR WHAT? FOR POLITICS. DEMOCRATS WERE FEELING PRESSURE FROM CERTAIN INTEREST GROUPS WITHIN THEIR PARTY AND SO THEY DECIDED TO USE THE GOVERNMENT FUNDING BILL TO TAKE A STAND ON AN UNRELATED ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION ISSUE. IT DIDN'T MATTER THAT REPUBLICANS HAD ALREADY EXPRESSED AN INTEREST IN WORKING ON AN IMMIGRATION BILL WITH DEMOCRATS OR THAT THE DEADLINE FOR SUCH A BILL WAS NOT IMMINENT. NO, DEMOCRATS WEREN'T GETTING THE BILL THAT THEY AND THEIR INTEREST GROUPS WANTED WHEN THEY WANTED IT, SO THEY DECIDED TO JEOPARDIZE THE OPERATION OF THE ENTIRE GOVERNMENT. MR. PRESIDENT, UNFORTUNATELY, OBSTRUCTING FOR POLITICAL REASONS HAS BEEN THE DEMOCRATS' MODUS OPERANDI SO FAR THIS CONGRESS. DEMOCRATS WERE SUPPOSEDLY FERVENT ADVOCATES OF EXTENDING THE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM BUT THEY CHOSE TO BE 0 INSTRUCT THE SUBSTANTIAL SIX-YEAR EXTENSION OF CHIP INCLUDED IN THE GOVERNMENT FUNDING BILL BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO MAKE A POLITICAL POINT. ON PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEES THEY OBSTRUCTED AND OBSTRUCTED AGAIN EVEN WHEN THEY PLAN TO EVENTUALLY SUPPORT THE NOMINEE. OF COURSE I DON'T NEED TO REMIND ANYONE OF DEMOCRATS' REFUSAL TO ACCEPT REPUBLICANS' OFFER TO WORK TOGETHER ON TAX REFORM. THIS OF COURSE DESPITE THE FACT THAT DEMOCRATS HAD PREVIOUSLY CALLED FOR TAX REFORM AND SUPPORTED MANY OF THE PROPOSALS THAT WERE INCLUDED IN THE LAW. MR. PRESIDENT, OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE GOING TO BE DISAGREEMENTS IN POLITICS. SOMETIMES VERY SERIOUS ONES. AND SOMETIMES OPPOSING LEGISLATION IS ABSOLUTELY THE RIGHT THING TO DO. BUT OPPOSING LEGISLATION BECAUSE YOU HAVE A SERIOUS DISAGREEMENT WITH IT AND OPPOSING LEGISLATION FOR POLITICAL REASONS ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS. AND UNFORTUNATELY, SINCE THEIR DEFEAT IN THE 2016 ELECTIONS, DEMOCRATS HAVE SPENT A LOT OF TIME DOING THE LATTER. AND THAT'S IRRESPONSIBLE. IT'S SHORTSIGHTED AND IS A DISSERVICE TO THEIR CONSTITUENTS. DEMOCRATS ARE MISSING THE CHANCE TO HELP DELIVER MAJOR BENEFITS FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THAT TAX REFORM LEGISLATION THAT DEMOCRATS FIERCELY DECRIED DESPITE THEIR PREVIOUS SUPPORT FOR MANY OF THE INCLUDED PROPOSALS, WELL, THAT LEGISLATION, MR. PRESIDENT, WHICH HAS BEEN THE LAW OF THE LAND FOR BARELY A MONTH, IS ALREADY DELIVERING BIG BENEFITS FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. MORE THAN 200 COMPANIES HAVE ANNOUNCED WAGE HIKES, 401(K) INCREASES, AND/OR BONUSES. THE NATION'S LARGEST PRIVATE EMPLOYER, WALMART, ANNOUNCED AN INCREASE IN ITS STARTING WAGE FOR HOURLY EMPLOYEES AND BONUSES FOR ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES. IT ALSO ANNOUNCED EXPANDED MATERNITY AND PARENTAL LEAVE BENEFITS IN THE CREATION OF A NEW ADOPTION BENEFIT FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES. MORE THAN ONE MILLION WALMART EMPLOYEES WILL BENEFIT FROM THE CHANGES. TECH GIANT APPLE ANNOUNCED LAST WEEK THAT THANKS TO TAX REFORM, IT WILL BRING HOME ALMOST $250 BILLION IN CASH THAT IT HAS BEEN KEEPING OVERSEAS AND INVESTING IT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. IT ALSO ANNOUNCED THAT IT WILL CREATE 20,000 NEW JOBS AND PROVIDE $2,500 STOCK BONUSES TO EMPLOYEES. THE LIST GOES ON. BETTER RETIREMENT BENEFITS AT AFLAC. INCREASED CAPITAL INVESTMENT AND BONUSES AT AT&T. BONUSES AT P.N.C. INCREASED INVESTMENT IN AN INFRASTRUCTURE AND FACILITIES AT BOEING. A HIKE IN STARTING WAGES AT CAPITAL ONE. NEW JOBS, BONUSES AND INVESTMENT FROM FIAT CHRYSLER. BONUSES AT SOUTHWEST JETBLUE AND AMERICAN AIRLINES. BETTER RETIREMENT BENEFITS AT VISA. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. AND THEN THERE ARE THE UTILITY COMPANIES SEEKING APPROVAL FROM THE REGULATORS TO PASS SAVINGS ON TO CONSUMERS. THESE BENEFITS ARE GOING TO MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE IN FAMILIES' LIVES THIS YEAR AND IN SOME CASES WELL INTO THE FUTURE. AND THE MAIN BENEFITS OF TAX REFORM, MR. PRESIDENT, ARE STILL TO COME. THE I.R.S. HAS RELEASED THE NEW WITHHOLDING TABLES FOR THE TAX LAW, AND AMERICANS SHOULD START SEEING THE RESULTS IN FEBRUARY. THANKS TO LOWER INCOME RATES AND THE NEAR DOUBLING OF THE STANDARD DEDUCTION, 90% OF AMERICAN WORKERS, 90% SHOULD SEE BIGGER PAYCHECKS STARTING NEXT MONTH. ON TOP OF THAT, THE DOUBLING OF THE CHILD TAX CREDIT WILL MEAN EVEN GREATER TAX RELIEF FOR HARDWORKING PARENTS. AND THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, IS JUST THE BEGINNING. ONE MAJOR GOAL OF TAX REFORM WAS TO PROVIDE IMMEDIATE DIRECT RELIEF TO HARDWORKING AMERICANS, AND THAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. BUT OUR OTHER GOAL WAS TO CREATE THE KIND OF ROBUST, LONG-TERM ECONOMIC GROWTH THAT WOULD PROVIDE LONG-TERM SECURITY FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES. THAT'S ALREADY STARTING WITH THE WAVE OF WAGE INCREASES AND BONUSES. BUT THERE IS A LOT MORE TO COME. AS BUSINESSES LARGE AND SMALL EXPERIENCE THE BENEFITS OF TAX REFORM, AMERICAN WORKERS WILL SEE INCREASED ACCESS TO THE KINDS OF JOBS, WAGES, AND OPPORTUNITIES THAT WILL SECURE THEIR AMERICAN DREAM FOR THE LONG TERM. MR. PRESIDENT, I'M PROUD THAT WE PASS THE TAX REFORM, AND I'M VERY EXCITED ABOUT THE BENEFITS THAT ITS ALREADY DELIVERING FOREAMERICAN FAMILIES AND -- FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES AND AMERICAN WORKERS. BUT WE HAVE A LOT MORE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS YEAR. FROM IMPROVING OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, TO STRENGTHENING OUR MILITARY, TO BORDER SECURITY. I HOPE TO -- I HOPE YESTERDAY'S VOTE WAS A SIGN THAT THE DEMOCRATS WILL STOP OBSTRUCTING. WE CAN GET A LOT MORE DONE IF WE WORK TOGETHER. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:16:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    QUORUM:

  • 03:16:09 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 03:26:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OHIO.

  • 03:26:20 PM

    MR. BROWN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO DISPENSE WITH THE QUORUM CALL.

  • 03:26:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:26:25 PM

    MR. BROWN

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. TODAY WE CONSIDER THE NOMINATION OF FEDERAL…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. TODAY WE CONSIDER THE NOMINATION OF FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD GOVERNOR JEROME POWELL OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM. IT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MONETARY POLICY, ENSURING THE STABILITY OF THE FNT SYSTEM -- FINANCIAL SYSTEM AND THE SAFETY OF OUR BANKS. THE FEDERAL RESERVE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., ALSO HAS 12 REGIONS OR DISTRICTS AROUND THE COUNTRY. ONE OF THEM IS LOCATED IN MY HOMETOWN OF CLEVELAND. GOVERNOR POWELL HAS BEEN A MEMBER OF THE BOARD SINCE 2012, HE HAS SUPPORTED CRITICAL ELEMENTS OF FINANCIAL REGULATION. HIS TRACK RECORD OVER THE PAST SIX YEARS SHOWS HE IS A THOUGHTFUL POLICYMAKER. HE WOULD LEAD THE FEDERAL MARKET WITHIN THE RESERVE. HE HAS THE GOALS OF MAXIMUM EMPLOYMENT AND PRICE STABILITY, THE CORNERSTONES OF A WELL-FUNCTIONING ECONOMY. SENATOR CRAPO, WHO IS JOINING ME TODAY. WE LISTENED TO TESTIMONY TODAY ABOUT THE NOMINATION OF ANOTHER FED GOVERNOR, NOT THE CHAIRMAN OF THE FEDERAL, BUT A FEDERAL GOVERNOR TODAY, MR. GOODFRIEND, AND THE ANSWERS WE ELICITED FROM HIM, SEEMED TO BE, IT WASN'T CLEAR, HE DOESN'T HAVE THE SAME BELIEF IN AND RESPECT FOR THE DUAL MANDATE. THE DUAL MANDATE, UNLIKE WHAT THE EUROPEANS DO, THE DUAL MANDATE IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR WORKERS IN THIS COUNTRY. IN EUROPE, THE CENTRAL BANK CARES -- ITS CHARGE IS ONLY TO KEEP INFLATION DOWN. IN OUR COUNTRY THE CENTRAL BANK, THE FEDERAL RESERVE, IT'S WHAT WE CALL OUR CENTRAL BANK, HAS TWO JOBS, EQUALLY BALANCED, DUAL POLICIES, AND THAT IS TO KEEP INFLATION DOWN AND EMPLOYMENT UP. SO THEY ARE MAXIMUM EMPLOYMENT AN PRICE STABILITY, CORNERSTONES OF A WELL-FUNCTIONING ECONOMY. TO ADVANCE THAT, CHAIRMAN POWELL, GOVERNOR POWELL SUPPORTS THE GRADUAL INCREASE IN INTEREST RATES. HE RECOGNIZES THE IMPORTANCE OF AN INDEPENDENT RESERVE, IMPORTANT, VERY IMPORTANT. I DON'T WANT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WITH OUR PREJUDICES AND BIASES AND POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES TO INFLUENCE THE INDEPENDENT, TO COMPROMISE THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE. GOVERNOR POWELL RECOGNIZES THAT INDEPENDENCE. HE'S COMMITTED FOLLOW AN EXAMPLE OF PRIOR FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRS BY DOING THE JOB WITHOUT A VIEW TO POLITICAL OUTCOMES. GOVERNOR POWELL PLAYED AN IMPLEMENTAL ROLE UNDER THE RULES FOR DODD-FRANK. WE NEED THE FEDERAL RESERVE TO MAKE SURE THOSE RULES ARE APPLIED THOROUGHLY AND CONSISTENTLY SO THAT GAPS OR FAILURES DON'T CREATE LARGER RISKS FOR THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM. WE KNOW THAT TOO MANY PEOPLE IN THIS BODY SEEM TO HAVE A COLLECTION -- A COLLECTIVE AMNESIA ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TEN YEARS AGO. IT IS UP TO US TO REMIND GOVERNOR POWELL, IT'S UP TO HIM TO REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TEN YEARS AGO AND TO LEARN FROM IT. AS CHAIR, GOVERNOR POWELL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING SURE THAT THE FED FULFILLS ITS CONSUMER PROTECTION ROLE, AMERICANS WORK HARD TO MAKE ENDS MEET, THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH UNFAIR PRACTICES BY FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS ENGAGED TO -- GOVERNOR POWELL HAS SEEN THE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SAFETY AND STABILITY OF OUR BANKS DURING HIS TIME AT THE FED. I EXPECT HIM TO MAINTAIN AND TO IMPROVE THOSE STANDARDS. OHIOANS STILL RECOVERING FROM THE LAST FINANCIAL CRISIS CAN'T AFFORD THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANOTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS. GOVERNOR POWELL WANTS THE FED TO PLAY A PART IN THE SUCCESS OF THE ECONOMY AND AMERICAN FAMILIES. I CALL ON HIM TO CONTINUE THE FEDERAL RESERVE'S MEASURE PATH FOR MONETARY POLICY TO SUPPORT THE STRONG REGULATIONS HE HELPED PUT IN PLACE. FOR SOME PEOPLE IT'S EASY TO FORGET HOW MUCH DAMAGE WAS DONE BY THE -- BY THIS LACK OF STRONG OVERSIGHT IN OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM. ESPECIALLY DURING THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. MILLIONS LOST THEIR HOMES. I KNOW THAT CHAIRMAN CRAPO AND I HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS. THE ZIP CODE THAT CONNIE AND I LIVE IN CLEVELAND, WE HAD MORE FORECLOSES IN THAT ZIP CODE THAN ANY OTHER ZIP CODE IN THE UNITED STATES. THINK WHAT IT DOES TO PEOPLE'S LIVES. THINK OF WHAT IT DOES TO OUR FAMILIES. YOU WILL M. MILLIONS OF PEOPLE LOST HOMES, MILLIONS LOST JOBS, MILLIONS LOST MUCH OF THEIR LIFE'S SAVINGS. FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS, THE NEARLY NINE YEARS OF GAINS IN THE STOCK MARKET MAKE THE CRASH OF A DECADE AGO A DISTANT MEMORY. FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WHO HAVE LITTLE IN DIRECT HOLDINGS IN THE STOCK MARKET AND NOT MUCH HOLDING -- NOT TOO MUCH IN OTHER AREAS EITHER, THEIR WAGES HAVE BEEN FLAT, MANY HAVE STILL NOT RECOVERED FROM THE CRISIS. THE FED'S LATEST SURVEY OF HOUSEHOLD WEALTH INDICATES -- GET THIS -- 44% OF AMERICANS CAN'T COVER AN EMERGENCY EXPENSE OF $400. 44% OF AMERICANS CAN'T COVER AN EMERGENCY EXPENSE OF $400 WITHOUT SELLING SOMETHING OR BORROWING. THEIR CAR BREAKS DOWN, THEY NEED $400 TO FIX THEIR CAR TO GET TO WORK. THEY'VE GO TO TO GO A PAYDAY LENDER. THEN THEIR TROUBLES START. THEN THEY HAVE TO GET A SECOND AND THIRD PAYDAY LOAN. INCOME INEQUALITY IS THE WORST SINCE THE 1920'S. THE RACIAL WEALTH GAP IS WORSE. ONE-TWELFTH OF ITS WHITE COUNTERPART. THE FED CAN'T SOLVE ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS BUT CAN MAKE THEM WORSE. RIGHT NOW THE FED SEEMS PUZZLED WHY LOW EMPLOYMENT IS NOT PRODUCING MORE UNINNATION. PERHAPS IT IS BECAUSE NOR AMERICANS ARE SUGGEST PA STRUGGLING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK. EVEN IN THE FACE OF CONTINUED LOW INFLATION, THERE ARE THOSE PUSHING FOR RATE INCREASES TO GIVE -- YOU KNOW TO GIVE BONDHOLDERS BETTER RETURNS. OTHERS WANT TO GO BACK TO SOME OF THE SAME BANKING PRACTICES THAT BROUGHT ABOUT THE FINANCIAL CRISIS. THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE FED IS CRITICAL, BUT ONLY IF IT'S USED TO MAKE DECISIONS BASED ON DATA, INEXPERIENCE, NOT IDEOLOGY. THAT'S EXACTLY WHY BEN BERNANKE AND JANET YELLEN DID IN IN THE LAST DECADE IN GUIDING ONE OF THE LONGEST-LASTING RECOVERIES IN OUR HISTORY. GO BACK TO THE YEAR 2010. WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA TOOK OFFICE WE WERE LOSING 800,000 JOBS HER MONTH IN THIS COUNTRY. 700,000 A SECOND MONTH. FOR RUNS OF THOUSANDS, MILLIONS OF JOBS AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS ADMINISTRATION. STARTING IN 120, IN LARGE PART BECAUSE OF THE AUTO RESCUE AND OTHER THINGS, OUR ECONOMY BEGAN TO TURN AROUND. WE HAVE HAD -- WE HAVE HAD JOB GROWTH EVERY SINGLE QUARTER, EVERY SINGLE QUARTER SINCE 20120 SINCE THE AUTO RESCUE. PRESIDENT TRUMP LOVES TO TAKE CREDIT FOR THE JOB GROWTH AND THE MONTH-AFTER MONTH, THE FACT IS IT WAS LAUNCHED EARLY IN THE OBAMA YEARS. NOT ECONOMIC GROWTH TO THE LEVEL WE WANT. NOT JOB GROWTH TO THE LEVEL WE WANT. CERTAINLY NOT PAY INCREASES TO THE LEVEL WE WANT. BUT SOMETHING. I HOPE GOVERNOR POWELL WILL UPHOLD THAT TRADITION THAT CHAIRMAN BERNANKE AND CHAIRMANWOMAN YELLEN BEGAN. I WILL SUPPORT -- MR. PRESIDENT, I PLAN TO SUPPORT GOVERNOR POWELL'S NOMINATION. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO DO THE SAME.

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  • 03:34:24 PM

    MR. CRAPO

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 03:34:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM IDAHO.

  • 03:34:27 PM

    MR. CRAPO

  • 03:37:18 PM

    A SENATOR

    THE SENATOR FROM UTAH.

  • 03:37:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM UTAH.

  • 03:37:21 PM

    MR. LEE

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENGAGE IN A COLLOQUY WITH SENATOR FLAKE, THE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO ENGAGE IN A COLLOQUY WITH SENATOR FLAKE, THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA.

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  • 03:37:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:37:27 PM

    MR. LEE

    MR. PRESIDENT, IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE CIRCUS IN THIS TOWN LONG…

    MR. PRESIDENT, IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE CIRCUS IN THIS TOWN LONG ENOUGH, YOU PROBABLY REMEMBER EARMARKS, THE INFAMOUS SPECIAL INTEREST SPENDING PROVISIONS THAT PARTY LEADERS USED TO SPRINKLE OVER UNPOPULAR LEGISLATION, SORT OF LIKE HEAVILY SUBSIDIZED SUGAR. EVEN IF YOU AREN'T FAMILIAR WITH THIS CONCEPT, YOU MAY BE FAMILIAR WITH SPECIFIC WASTEFUL EARMARKS LIKE THE INFAMOUS $223 BILLION BRIDGE TO NOWHERE IN ALASKA OR THE $3.4 MILLION TURTLE TUNNEL IN FLORIDA, WHICH WAS PRECISE WHAT I IT SOUNDS LIKE -- A 13-FOOT-LONG UNDERGROUND TUNNEL INTENDED NOT FOR PEOPLE, NOT FOR AUTOMOBILES, NOT FOR TRAIN TRAFFIC BUT JUST FOR TURTLES. OR THE SO-CALLED MONUMENTS TO ME -- BUILDINGS THAT POLITICIANS NAME AFTER THEMSELVES. EARMARKS WERE EVERYTHING AMERICANS COULDN'T STAND ABOUT WASHINGTON, D.C., THEY ENABLED CORRUPTION AND THEY FACILITATED WASTE. THEY WREAKED OF ENTITLEMENT. THEY WERE THE SWAMP. AND THEN THEY WENT AWAY FOR SEVEN WONDERFUL YEARS AND COUNTING. THEY WENT AWAY BECAUSE REPUBLICANS BANNED THEM, AFTER THE 2010 ELECTION CYCLE WHEN THE TEA PARTY WAVE ROLLED THROUGH WASHINGTON LIFTED BY AN ANTI-CROHNISM MESSAGE. BUT NOW SOME POLITICIANS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ARE TRYING TO BRING EARMARKS BACK. NOW, I'VE HEARD SOME BAD IDEAS IN MY TIME IN THE SENATE, BUT THIS ONE TAKES THE CAKE. JUST LIKE IN THE HORROR MOVIES, THE SWAMP THING IS COMING BACK TO LIFE -- OR AT LEAST IT'S TRYING TO EVEN AFTER WE HIT IT IN THE FACE WITH A SHOVEL. EARMARK FANS NEVER LEFT WASHINGTON, OF COURSE. THEY'VE JUST BEEN LYING LOW, WAITING FOR MEMORIES OF THEIR WASTE AND ABUSE TO SOMEHOW FADE FROM OUR PUBLIC CONSCIOUSNESS, FROM OUR AWARENESS AND IN OUR DISCUSSIONS ABOUT WASHINGTON. AND NOW SEVEN YEARS LATER THESE POLITICIANS AND THEIR SPECIAL INTEREST PALS THINK THEY'VE FOUND A NIFTY ARGUMENT TO REHABILITATE PORK BARREL SPENDING. THEY POINT TO THE DYSFUNCTION IN CONGRESS AND SAY THAT EARMARKS WOULD SOMEHOW MAKE ALL OF THAT BETTER. IT'S A LITTLE BIT LIKE SAYING, YOU KNOW, THERE'S A FIRE OVER HERE. LET'S THROW SOME GASOLINE ON IT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS. SURE, THESE DEFENDERS ADMIT THAT EARMARKS ARE FREQUENTLY UNSEEMLY. THEY HAVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT. THERE ISTHERE IS NO UNDER THE GETTING AROUND THAT. BUT THEY CLAIM THAT EARMARKS ARE A SORT OF INDUSTRIAL LUBRICANT FOR THE SAUSAGE-MAKING FACTORY THAT IS CONGRESS. ACCORDING TO THEM, BRINGING EARMARKS BACK WILL GET THE MACHINE CHURNING OUT SAUSAGE GET JUST LIKE BEFORE. LIKE MANY TERRIBLE POLITICAL ARGUMENTS, THIS ONE HAS SOME ACKNOWLEDGEABLE, SUPERFICIAL APPEAL. CONGRESS IS INDEED DYSFUNCTIONAL AND EARMARKS PROBABLY WOULD MAKE IT EASIER FOR SOME PEOPLE IN CONGRESS, SOME PARTY LEADERS AND OTHERS TO BUY VOTES FOR THEIR BILLS. BUT WHY SHOULD WE BELIEVE THAT OUR PROBLEMS WILL BE SOLVED IF WE JUST HAND MORE POWER OVER TO THE ALREADY POWERFUL FEW IN CONGRESS? IF WE MAKE IT EASIER FOR THEM TO PASS UNPOPULAR BILLS LIKE OBAMACARE OR MASSIVE AM NECESSARY CITIES, IT WAS THE ELITES FROM BOTH PARTIES WHO REDUCED CONGRESS TO ITS PRESENT LOWLY STATE. THE PUBLIC DESPISES CONGRESS AND IT CERTAINLY IS NOT BECAUSE WE KILLED EARMARKS. IT'S BECAUSE THE PUBLIC DISTRUSTS THE ELITES WHO RULE THEM AND THE ALL OF UNREPRESENTATIVE LAWS THEY PASSED WITH THE HELP OF EARMARKS, NO LESS, PRIOR TO THE 2010 ELECTION CYCLE WHEN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SAID, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH WHEN IT COMES TO EARMARKS. NOW, THE FINE FIGHT OVER EARMARKS IS REALLY A FIGHT OVER TWO VERY DIFFERENT COMPETING VISIONS OF HOW CONGRESS SHOULD GOVERN. THE WASHINGTON ESTABLISHMENT LIKES THE CURRENT SYSTEM WHERE JUST A FEW LAWMAKERS NEGOTIATE AND WRITE BILLS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. THIS SYSTEM ITSELF WORKS GREAT FOR THE SWAMP. IF YOU LIKE THE SWAMP, THEN YOU PROBABLY LOVE EARMARKS. IT KEEPS CASH FLOWING THROUGH CERTAIN OFFICES AND THEIR ALUMNI ALUMNI'S LOBBYING SHOPS ON Q STREET. THE TOUGH DECISIONS ARE MADE IN SECRET WITHOUT ANY ACCOUNTABILITY OR FIDELITY TO THE PUBLIC, TO THE PEOPLE WE REPRESENT. BUT THIS CORRUPT SYSTEM EXCLUDES ALL BUT A HANDFUL OF WELL-POSITIONED REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS. SO IT EFFECTIVELY DISENFRANCHISES HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHOSE REPRESENTATIVES HAVE LITTLE SAY OVER WHAT ACTUALLY PASSES INTO LAW. BRINGING BACK EARMARKS WOULD ONLY MAKE THAT SITUATION WORSE. AN ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM WOULD BE ONE OF TRANSPARENCY, OF DECENTRALIZATION, OF LEGISLATIVE ACCOUNTABILITY. REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS WOULD WRITE LEGISLATION COLLABORATIVELY IN THE OPEN FOR ALL TO SEE, FORGING COMPROMISES, AND, YES, FROM TIME TO TIME TAKING TOUGH VOTES. THE REASON CONGRESS DOESN'T WORK LIKE THIS RIGHT NOW IS BECAUSE THE ESTABLISHMENT IS AFRAID OF WHAT THE PUBLIC MIGHT SEE. AND HOW THEY MIGHT VOTE IN RESPONSE TO WHAT THEY SEE. GOVERNING OUT IN THE OPEN WOULD REQUIRE MEMBERS TO DO THE HARD WORK OF LEARNING ABOUT ISSUES BEFORE FORMING COHERENT POSITIONS. THE PRESENT BROKEN SYSTEM IS MUCH EASIER -- AT LEAST IN THIS CRITICAL RESPECT. IT LETS A SMALL HANDFUL OF LAWMAKERS DO ALL THE THINKING AND THE SCHEMING AND IT REWARDS DOZEN SILL LAWMAKERS WITH THE EINDICATIONAL -- OCCASIONAL EARMARK TO TOUT TO THEIR CONSTITUENTS BACK HOME, TO TOUT TO THEM AS IF TO SAY, AREN'T I WONDERFUL? EARMARKS WOULD MAKE LIFE WONDERFUL FOR POLITICIANS, IN OTHER WORDS, BUT IT WOULD MAKE LIFE WORSE FOR THE COUNTRY, MUCH WORSE. THAT WE'RE EVEN CONSIDERING SUCH A BARGAIN, THAT IT'S EVEN BEING DISCUSSED IS A SERIOUS MATTER IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS AN INSULT TO LOGIC, IS EXACTLY WHY CONGRESS IS HELD IN SUCH WIDESPREAD PUBLIC DISDAIN. EVENTUALLY I BELIEVE CONGRESS WILL REFORM ITSELF. AS THE OLD ADAGE GOES, IF SOMETHING CANNOT GO ON FOREVER, IT WON'T. BUT IT'LL TAKE A LOT OF PAINFUL DECISIONS BEFORE WE GET TO THAT POINT. WE'LL HAVE TO STRUGGLE HARD TO EXTRICATE OURSELVES FROM THE MESS. BRINGING BACK EARMARKS WOULD REPRESENT A STEP BACKWARDS IN THIS STRUGGLE, BACK TO CRONYISM, BACK TO WASTE, AND, YES, BACK TO THE SWAMP. THIS IS SOMETHING WE CANNOT ALLOW. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT CUTS AGAINST OUR VERY INTEREST AS AMERICANS AND AS MEMBERS OF AN INSTITUTION THAT HAS CALLED ITSELF THE WORLD'S GREATEST DELIBERATIVE LEGISLATIVE BODY. SO I'D ASK MY FRIEND FROM ARIZONA, SENATOR FLAKE, FOR HIS THOUGHTS ON THE MATTER AND WHAT HE THINKS ABOUT THE WISDOM OR LACK THEREOF IN BRINGING BACK THIS HORRIBLE TRADITION.

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  • 03:45:25 PM

    MR. FLAKE

    I THANK THE SENATOR FROM UTAH, MR. PRESIDENT. LET ME JUST SAY DURING A…

    I THANK THE SENATOR FROM UTAH, MR. PRESIDENT. LET ME JUST SAY DURING A TELEVISED BIPARTISAN MEETING RECENTLY IN THE WHITE HOUSE, THE PRESIDENT SUGGESTED THAT WE MIGHT BE MORE COLLEGIAL AROUND HERE AND MORE EFFICIENT IN CONGRESS IF WE WOULD JUST BRING BACK EARMARKS. THE REACTION FROM LAWMAKERS PRESENT WAS DECIDEDLY MIXED. SOSOME CHEERED THAT DECLARATION BUT MOST OF US, I HAVE TO SAY, RECOILED AT THE THOUGHT. AS SOMEONE WHO SERVED IN CONGRESS DURING THE GLUTENOUS EARMARK ERA WHEN PORK WAS USED REGULARLY TO BUY AND SELL CONGRESSMEN'S VOTES, I CAN TELL YOU FIRSTHAND THIS IS AN IDEA THAT NOBODY OUGHT TO BE LAUGHING AT OR EMBRACING. AMIDST PUBLIC ERUPTION INVESTIGATIONS AND A CONSTANT STREAM OF EMBARRASSING HEADLINES ABOUT SWEETHEART DEALS FOR FAMILY AND FRIEND, CONGRESS WAS FORCED TO PLACE A MORATORIUM ON EARMARKS ABOUT SEVEN OR EIGHT YEARS AGO. EARMARKING DOES NOT IMPROVE LEGISLATIVE -- THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. IN FACT, IT COMPROMISES MEMBERS INTO IGNORING UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR AND VOTING FOR BAD BILLS THAT THEY WOULD OTHERWISE OPPOSE. REMEMBER, OBAMACARE WAS APPROVED WHEN A SINGLE VOTE WAS SECURED WITH AN EARMARK, THE ONE THAT WAS DERIDED AS THE CORNER HUSKER KICKBACK -- CORNHUSKER KICK BACK. LICE WISE WHEN SENATORS RECEIVE EARMARKS THEY ARE AGREEING TO SUPPORT HUNDREDS OF OTHER EARMARKS STUFFED INTO AN APPROPRIATION BILL. LET ME JUST TALK ABOUT WHEN PEOPLE SAY THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS WOULD BE A LOT SMOOTHER, WORK A LOT BETTER WITH EARMARKS, THERE WAS A ABOUT A PERIOD OF TEN YEARS WHERE EARMARKS REALLY HIT THE HIGH POINT. 1994, 1995 THROUGH 2006. I SERVED IN THE HOUSE FROM 2001 TO 2012. AND DURING THAT TIME WE HAD EARMARKS FOR PART OF THE TIME AND WENT WITHOUT EARMARKS PART OF THE TIME. 2005 I THINK EVERYBODY RECOGNIZES WAS THE HIGH POINT OR THE LOW POINT, IF YOU WANT TO PUT IT THAT WAY. THERE WERE A TOTAL OF 16,000 EARMARKS SPREAD ACROSS 12 APPROPRIATION BILLS AND ONE AUTHORIZATION BILL. WORTH ABOUT $30 BILLION. NOW, YOU WOULD THINK THAT IF YOU HAD THAT MUCH TO GREASE THE SKIDS IN WASHINGTON, THAT WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PASS ALL APPROPRIATION MEASURES AND MOVE THROUGH THE PROCESS. WE'VE HAD MORE COLLEGIAL COMPLIANT BODY. DURING THAT TIME IN 2005, I JUST CHECKED, WE PASSED ONLY FIVE APPROPRIATION BILLS IN THE HOUSE. ONLY FIVE. WE ENDED UP WITH AN OMNIBUS BILL. AND THAT WAS WHEN REPUBLICANS CONTROLLED THE HOUSE, THE SENATE, AND THE WHITE HOUSE. SO THIS NOTION THAT WE'VE GOT TO HAVE EARMARKS AND IF WE JUST GET BACK TO EARMARKS, THEN THIS PLACE WILL RUN SMOOTHLY, WE'LL GET THROUGH THE APPROPRIATION BILLS, 16,000 EARMARKS WORTH ABOUT $30 BILLION, ONLY FIVE APPROPRIATION BILLS APPROVED. WE ALL REMEMBER TOO WELL THE INDOOR RAIN FOREST IN IOWA, THE TEA POT MUSEUM IN NORTH CAROLINA AND OF COURSE THE BRIDGE TO NOWHERE IN ALAS ALASKA. WHEN A CHALLENGE WAS MADE TO THAT INFAMOUS BRIDGE AND OTHER PROJECT, NOT SO VEILED THREATS WERE LEVIED. WE SIMPLY CANNOT GO BACK TO THAT TIME. I REMEMBER WELL DURING THAT TIME ONE PARTICULAR EPISODE WE WERE IN HC-5, THE HOUSE BASEMENT. IT WAS DURING THE APPROPRIATIONS SEASON. AND ALL OF A SUDDEN ONE MEMBER RANSOM INTO THE MEMBER JUST BREATHLESS. HE HAD THE LIST, THE LIST FROM THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE AS TO WHO WAS GETTING THE EARMARKS AND WHO WASN'T. THAT WAS LARGELY A STAFF-DRIVEN PROCESS, BUT THEN EVERYBODY WOULD -- THE THING WAS, WE'VE GOT TO GET THESE EARMARKS. WE'VE GOT TO GO ANNOUNCE THEM QUICKLY IN THE HOUSE BEFORE THE SENATORS TAKE CREDIT FOR THEM. THAT WAS THE ATMOSPHERE AT THAT TIME. THAT WAS NOT A HIGH POINT. THAT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT WE WANT TO RETURN TO. I WAS LOOKING AT SOME OF WHAT I SAID IN THE HOUSE AT THAT TIME AND SOME OF WHAT I QUOTED WHEN WE WERE TRYING TO GET RID OF THEM IN 2009. I QUOTED AT THAT TIME THE THE HILL NEWSPAPER REPORTED THAT A PROMINENT FIRM FOUNDED -- I'M SORRY -- WAS THE SUBJECT OF A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO POTENTIALLY CORRUPT POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS IT HAD GIVEN $3.4 MILLION IN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO NO LESS THAN 284 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. THEY WERE LOB -- THERE WERE LOBBYING SHOP, SET UP FOR THAT PURPOSE SIMPLY TO BE AT THE INTERSECTION OF EARMARKS AND POLICY. THE HILL ALSO REPORTED ON FEBRUARY 10, 2009 THAT THIS FIRM WHICH SPECIALIZED IN, QUOTE, OBTAINING EARMARKS IN THE DEFENSE BUDGET FOR A LONG LIST OF CLIENTS WAS, QUOTE, RECENTLY RAIDED BY THE F.B.I. "THE NEW YORK TIMES" NOTED THAT THE SAME LOBBYISTS FOR THAT FIRM, QUOTE, SET UP SHOP AT THE BUSY INTERSECTION BETWEEN POLITICAL FUND RAISING AND TAXPAYER SPENDING DIRECTING TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CONTRIBUTIONS TO LAWMAKERS WHILE STEERING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN EARMARKED CONTRACTS BACK TO HIS CLIENTS. THIS IS A PROCESS THAT SIMPLY IS TOO TOUGH TO POLICE WHEN IT GETS THIS WAY. DURING MY TIME IN THE HOUSE OVER A SERIES OF A NUMBER OF YEARS, I WENT TO THE HOUSE FLOOR LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF TIMES TO CHALLENGE INDIVIDUAL EARMARKS AND THESE SPENDING PROJECTS. FOR THOSE WHO THINK THAT YOU CAN GO AND CHALLENGE THESE EARMARKS AND HAVE SOMEBODY SAY, ALL RIGHT, YEAH, I DIDN'T WANT TO SPEND MONEY ON THAT TEA POT MUSEUM ANYWAY, THAT'S A BAD IDEA, THAT RARELY HAPPENED. IN THE HUNDREDS OF TIMES I WENT TO THE FLOOR TO CHALLENGE EARMARK SPENDING, IT WAS ONLY ONE VOT THAT I WON -- VOTE THAT I WON, ONLY ONE IN HUNDREDS OF TIMES BECAUSE THE PROCESS OF LOG ROLLING TAKES OVER WHERE ONE MEMBER WILL SAY I'LL PROTECT YOUR EARMARK IF YOU'LL PROTECT MINE. IT WAS MORE LIKELY THAT I WOULD GET 30, 40, 50 VOTES IF I WAS CHALLENGING A POPULAR APPROPRIATOR, I WOULD GET EVEN FEWER BECAUSE NOBODY WANTED TO CHALLENGE THEM BECAUSE THEIR OWN EARMARKS WOULD BE THREATENED. THIS IS NOT A PROCESS THAT WE WANT TO GO BACK TO. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT WE SHOULD BE PROUD OF IN OUR HISTORY. SEVERAL OF OUR COLLEAGUES ENDED UP IN JAIL. ONE OF THEM ACTUALLY HAD AN EARMARK BRIBE MENU PRINTED IN HAND ON HIS CONGRESSIONAL LETTERHEAD WHERE YOU WANT AN EARMARK FOR THIS MUCH, HERE'S WHAT IT WILL COST YOU UNDER THE TABLE. HE ENDED UP DOING TIME IN PRISON. NOT EVERY MEMBER DID THAT OBVIOUSLY. BUT IT'S A PROCESS THAT IS TOO DIFFICULT TO CONTROL. AND HERE'S THE WORST PART ABOUT EARMARKS GENERALLY. SOME WILL SAY THAT IT'S JUST A FRACTION OF SPENDING, JUST A COUPLE OF PERCENTAGE -- IT'S JUST A COUPLE OF PERCENTAGE POINTS OFF THE FEDERAL BUDGET WHICH IS TRUE. BUT THE PROBLEM IS ONCE YOU GET BACK INTO EARMARKING, THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE SPENDS AN INORDER-- INORDINATE AMOUNT OF TIME FOCUSING ON THAT ONE PERCENTAGE OR TWO PERCENTAGE POINTS ON THE FUNDING AND GIVES UP ITS OVERSIGHT RESPONSIBILITIES ON THE OTHER 98% OF THE BUDGET. AND WE SIMPLY DON'T DO THE OVERSIGHT THAT WE SHOULD BE DOING ON THE FEDERAL AGENCIES AND HOW THEY SPEND THIS MONEY. THAT'S THE WORST PART OF EARMARKING THAT WE SIMPLY GIVE UP OVERSIGHT. YEAH, WE PAY A LOT OF ATTENTION TO THAT 1% OR 2% OF FUNDING BUT WE GIVE UP OVERSIGHT ON THE REST EFFECTIVELY. SO I HOPE WE DON'T GO THERE. THAT'S WHERE WHY I'M INTRODUCING BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION, JOINING MY COLLEAGUE FROM UTAH, TO BAN PERMANENTLY ALL CONGRESSIONAL EARMARKING. SENATORS McCASKILL, TOOMEY, JOHNSON, RUBIO, ERNST, FISCHER AND SASSE ARE ALL ON AS COSPONSORS AND I HOPE THAT WHEN THIS IS BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR, THAT IT PASSES, AND WE DON'T GO BACK TO THIS PRACTICE OF EARMARKING. I WOULD TURN BACK TO MY COLLEAGUE FROM UTAH AND SEE WHAT OTHER THOUGHTS HE HAS ON THE SUBJECT.

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  • 03:54:27 PM

    MR. LEE

    I'M GRATEFUL FOR THE WORK THAT'S BEEN DONE BY THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA ON…

    I'M GRATEFUL FOR THE WORK THAT'S BEEN DONE BY THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA ON THIS TOPIC. ONE OF THE FIRST TIMES I REMEMBER SEEING THE SENATOR FROM ARIZONA ON TV MANY YEARS BEFORE I WAS ELECTED TO THE SENATE WAS WHILE HE WAS SERVING IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. I SAW HIM INTERVIEWED ON NATIONAL TELEVISION TALKING ABOUT THIS ISSUE, TALKING ABOUT THE CORRUPTION THAT INEVITABLY FLOWS FROM A SYSTEM THAT ALLOWS FOR FAVORS LIKE THESE TO BE HANDED OUT. AND I REMEMBER THEISM MEN'S RESPECT I -- THE IMMENSE RESPECT I HAD FOR THIS MAN WHO I DID NOT KNOW AND WOULD NOT COME TO KNOW FOR ANOTHER DECADE OR SO, BUT WAS WILLING TO CALL OUT SOMETHING HE BELIEVED WAS CONTRARY TO PUBLIC POLICY, CONTRARY TO ANY SYSTEM THAT WOULD RESULT IN A GOOD CONSEQUENCE, A GOOD OUTCOME FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. I ALSO APPRECIATE THE COMMENT HE MADE A MOMENT AGO ABOUT A FAMILIAR REFRAIN BY DEFENDERS OF EARMARKS. HE MENTIONED, SENATOR, FLAKE, OVER TIME PEOPLE WILL POINT OUT EARMARKS, EVEN AT THEIR HEYDAY, REPRESENTED A COUPLE OF PERCENTAGE POINTS OF TOTAL FEDERAL SPENDING. WELL, IT MAY BE TRUE. IF YOU WANT TO PUT IT THAT WAY IN THOSE TERMS AS THEY INEVITABLY DID AT THE TIME, QUITE PERSISTENTLY, BUT IT OVERLOOKS A FEW THINGS. IT'S A MUCH LARGER PERCENTAGE, OF COURSE, OF DISCRETIONARY SPENDING, OF DOMESTIC NONDEFENSE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING AND AN EVEN LARGER PERSON. BUT MORE TO THE POINT, SOMETHING THAT'S ONLY 2% DOESN'T NECESSARILY MEAN THAT IT'S HAVING A FAVORABLE IMPACT AND IT'S NOT HAVING AN IMPACT THAT ITS VERY SELF IS VERY SIGNIFICANT. WHEN YOU LOOK AT A MILE-LONG TRAIN, THE ENGINE CAR MIGHT REPRESENT ONLY ABOUT 2% OF THE TOTAL LENGTH OF THE TRAIN, BUT IT'S WHAT'S DRIVING THE TRAIN. IT'S WHAT'S DETERMINING WHERE THE TRAIN GOES. AND IF THAT TRAIN IS GOING IN A WRONG DIRECTION, THAT CAN BE VERY BAD. SO I HAVE ALWAYS FOUND UNPERSUASIVE THE INITIALLY PERSUASIVE ARGUMENT THAT, OH, THIS IS JUST A TINY SEGMENT OF FEDERAL SPENDING. AT THE END OF THE DAY, EARMARKS REPRESENT EVERYTHING THAT WE ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH ABOUT WASHINGTON, MOVING BACK TO THEM WOULD REPRESENT A DEPARTURE FROM A VERY FAVORABLE REFORM THAT WE HAD IN THIS BODY SEVEN YEARS AGO. AND SO I'D ASK SENATOR FLAKE WHO HAS SERVED IN CONGRESS LONGER THAN I HAVE AND WHO HAS SEEN THIS, TELL ME WHAT YOU WOULD FEAR MOST ABOUT BRINGING BACK EARMARKS.

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  • 03:57:04 PM

    MR. FLAKE

    WELL, I THINK THE SENATOR FROM UTAH, ONE OF THE THINGS I FEAR MOST, WE'RE…

    WELL, I THINK THE SENATOR FROM UTAH, ONE OF THE THINGS I FEAR MOST, WE'RE HAVING A TOUGH ENOUGH TIME CONTROLLING SPENDING. DR. COBURN WHO SERVED IN THE HOUSE, I ADMIRED HIS TIME THERE. HE WENT AFTER EARMARKS AND A LOT OF THESE APPROPRIATIONS AND DID THE SAME THING WHEN HE CAME TO THE SENATE UNTIL THE LAST DAY HE WAS HERE. HE HAD A SAYING. HE SAID EARMARKS ARE THE GATEWAY DRUG TO SPENDING ADDICTION. AND WHAT HE MEANT BY THAT IS THAT WHEN YOU GET AN EARMARK IN AN APPROPRIATION BILL, SOME PEOPLE SAY, WELL, IT'S JUST AN EARMARK FOR A COUPLE MILLION DOLLARS FOR A, YOU KNOW, ROCK 'N' ROLL HALL OF FAME. THAT WAS ACTUALLY ONE THAT WAS FUNDED. THE PROBLEM IS, ONCE YOU GET YOUR EARMARK THERE, YOU'RE OBLIGATED TO SUPPORT THAT ENTIRE BILL NO MATTER HOW IT BECOMES. DURING THE PERIOD, PARTICULARLY 2001 TO 2006, BOY, WE BLOATED UP A LOT OF APPROPRIATION BILLS. WE WERE RUNNING BASICALLY ALMOST A SURPLUS IN 2001. BY THE TIME WE GOT TO IT THOUSAND 6 -- 2006, IT WAS ANYTHING BUT. NONDISCRETION-YEAR SPENDING AND DEFENSE SPENDING, INCLUDING EARMARKS INCREASED SIGNIFICANTLY. IT WAS JUST NOT A GOOD TRADE. WHAT I FEAR MOST IS THAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO HAVE SOME CONTROL ON NONDEFENSE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING. THE GROWTH OF THAT HAS BEEN SLOWER THAN OTHER THINGS. BUT ONCE YOU START GETTING EARMARKS IN THESE BILLS, THEN YOU'LL BE OBLIGATED TO SUPPORT THEM NO MATTER WHAT. THEN YOU SUPPORT BLOATED APPROPRIATION BILLS JUST TO PROTECT YOUR EARMARK. THE PROCESS OF LOGROLLING TAKES EFFECT. I PROTECT YOURS IF YOU PROTECT MINE. THAT'S ONE THING I FEAR A LOT. I TURN IT BACK TO THE SENATOR FROM UTAH.

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  • 03:58:55 PM

    MR. LEE

    FROM UTAH.

  • 04:00:02 PM

    A SENATOR

    THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 04:00:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 04:00:05 PM

    A SENATOR

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:00:10 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:00:11 PM

    MR. WICKER

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE SENATE VOTED YESTERDAY TO REOPEN THE GOVERNMENT. I'M…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE SENATE VOTED YESTERDAY TO REOPEN THE GOVERNMENT. I'M GLAD THAT COOLER HEADS AND BIPARTISAN GOODWILL PREVAILED BEFORE TOO MUCH DAMAGE WAS DONE BUT WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? THE LEADERSHIP OF BOTH HOUSES NEEDS TO PROM NEGOTIATION CAPS -- NEEDS TO APPROPRIATE NEGOTIATION CAPS FOR THE REST OF THIS YEAR AND ALL OF NEXT YEAR. WE ALL NEED TO DO OUR PART TO MAKE SURE THIS IS DONE IMMEDIATELY. AS A MATTER OF FACT, HALF OF THAT JOB IS PRACTICALLY DONE. OUR COLLEAGUES IN THE HOUSE HAVE A PROMISE FROM THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE TO CONSIDER A DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS BILL AT THE SPENDING LEVEL SET BY THE MOST RECENT NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT. THAT AMOUNT IS $700 BILLION AND REPRESENTS AN INCREASE OF $88.6 BILLION OVER LAST YEAR'S ENACTED SPENDING LEVEL, A WELCOME DEVELOPMENT. AND SO IT WOULD SEEM TO MAKE SENSE FOR THIS BODY TO ADOPT THAT FIGURE IN THE SENATE BILL AND THE JOB WOULD BE HALFWAY DONE. I HOPE OUR LEADERS WILL NOT WAIT UNTIL THE WEEK AFTER NEXT TO GET US IN AGREEMENT ON DOMESTIC SPENDING. LET'S NOT APPROACH THE NEXT FEW DAYS AS IF THE BATTLE LINES ARE AGAIN DRAWN. RATHER THAN USING THE COMING DAYS TO SUIT UP FOR THE NEXT SHOWDOWN, PERHAPS WE CAN WORK TO STRENGTHEN THE SENATE SO THAT IT DOES THE GOVERNING THAT OUR FOUNDERS ENVISIONED. THE GOVERNING THAT STATESMEN WHO PRECEDED US HAVE PROTECTED. AMERICANS DO THEIR JOBS DAY IN AND DAY OUT, AND THEY EXPECT THE SAME HARD WORK FROM THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON. IN THIS REGARD, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD LIKE TO CALL ATTENTION TO AN OP-ED BY RADIO HOST HUGH HEWITT THAT WAS PUBLISHED ONLINE YESTERDAY BY "THE WASHINGTON POST." IT IS TITLED "HOW TO END THE SENATE'S ASTONISHING DYSFUNCTION." A PRETTY GRAPHIC TITLE FOR AN OP-ED. MR. HEWITT WARNS THAT THE INSTITUTION OF THE SENATE IS CAREENING TOWARD WIDESPREAD CONTEMPT AS HAPPENED TO ITS ROMAN PREDECESSOR EVEN BEFORE THE EMPERORS TURNED IT INTO A FANCY ADVISORY COUNCIL. END OF QUOTE. ONE MIGHT BE INCLINED TO AGREE, GIVEN THE EVENTS OF THE PAST FEW DAYS. INDEED, WE HAVE REACHED AN EMBARRASSINGLY LOW POINT WHERE A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN IS WRONGLY USED AS A BARGAINING CHIP FOR MERELY POLITICAL GAIN. AS MR. HEWITT CONCLUDES, QUOTE, IT WOULD BE BEST FOR BOTH PARTIES TO HEAD OFF CHANGE IMPOSED FROM PRESSURE FROM THE OUTSIDE WITH CHANGE ORGANICALLY ORCHESTRATED FROM WITHIN BY THOSE WITH CARE FOR THE BODY AND ITS ORIGINAL DESIGN. AGAIN ENDING THE QUOTE. THERE ARE PLENTY OF EXPERTS WITH IDEAS ON HOW TO CREATE A MORE EFFICIENT AND MORE EFFECTIVE SENATE. THOSE IDEAS SHOULD BE WELCOME NOW. BUT THOSE OF US WHO TOOK AN OATH IN THIS CHAMBER AND SERVED WITH A GREAT LEGACY OF THIS INSTITUTION CANNOT STAY ON THE SIDELINES. WE OCCUPY A UNIQUE POSITION TO DRIVE REFORMS AND MAKE THE SENATE BETTER, ENSURING ITS EXISTENCE AND ITS SUCCESS FOR THE NEXT GENERATION. THERE IS REAL HOPE THAT THESE REFORMS HAVE ALREADY BEGUN. FOR EXAMPLE, THERE HAS BEEN SUPPORT BY BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS TO CHANGE THE PROCEDURAL RULES ON EXECUTIVE AND JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS, SHORTENING POSTCLOTURE DEBATE FROM 30 HOURS TO 8 HOURS. THE DEMOCRATIC-LED SENATE PASSED THIS RULE ON A TEMPORARY BASIS IN 2013 WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. OUR COLLEAGUE FROM OKLAHOMA, SENATOR LANKFORD, HAS A THOUGHTFUL PROPOSAL. HE SUGGESTS THAT WE PERMANENTLY SHORTEN POSTCLOTURE DEBATE ON EXECUTIVE AND JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS. I AGREE WITH THIS PROPOSAL. THE PRACTICE OF CONFIRMING NONCONTROVERSIAL NOMINEES IS A COURTESY HISTORICALLY GIVEN WITHOUT DELAY TO WHOEVER OCCUPIES THE OVAL OFFICE, TO WHOEVER THE PUBLIC HAS INSTALLED AS PRESIDENT, DEMOCRAT AND REPUBLICAN ALIKE. DELAYS ARE NOT ONLY INCONVENIENT AS A NEW ADMINISTRATION TRIES TO PUT ITS TEAM IN PLACE, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, DELAYS KEEP HIGHLY QUALIFIED INDIVIDUALS FROM SERVING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, SOMETIMES IN POSITIONS AFFECTING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY OR DELIVERING DISASTER RESPONSE. LIKE MR. HEWITT, I BELIEVE WE CAN DO MORE TO MAKE THE SENATE WORK FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WITH AN OVERHAUL OF ITS RULES. AND I QUOTE MR. HEWITT, PRESERVES THE RIGHTS OF THE MINORITY IN SOME CASES WHILE ALSO REFLECTING THE SPEED AT WHICH THE WORLD MOVES TODAY. UNQUOTE. AND AT THIS POINT, MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO INCLUDE IN THE "CONGRESSIONAL RECORD" THE OP-ED BY MR. HEWITT IN ITS ENTIRETY.

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  • 04:05:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:05:20 PM

    MR. WICKER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:11:05 PM

    A SENATOR

    THE SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA.

  • 04:11:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA.

  • 04:11:08 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    I HAVE A COUPLE OF UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUESTS. MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE SEVEN…

    I HAVE A COUPLE OF UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUESTS. MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE SEVEN REQUESTS FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET DURING TODAY'S SESSION OF THE SENATE. THEY HAVE THE APPROVAL OF THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY.

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  • 04:11:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    DULY NOTED.

  • 04:11:22 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    AND, MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT DAVIS, STEVEN DAVIES, A…

    AND, MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT DAVIS, STEVEN DAVIES, A COAST GUARD FELLOW AND PAUL BANKSTON A MILITARY FELLOW BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGES FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR.

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  • 04:11:38 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:11:40 PM

    MR. INHOFE

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT SOMETHING THAT'S DIFFERENT THAN…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT SOMETHING THAT'S DIFFERENT THAN ANYONE ELSE HAS TALKED ABOUT HERE, BUT THERE'S A VERY GOOD REASON FOR IT. FIRST OF ALL, TO TRY TO ESTABLISH SOME CREDIBILITY HERE, I HAD OCCASION TO SPEND QUITE A BIT OF TIME WORKING ON ISSUES IN AFRICA. IN FACT, I'VE HAD OCCASION OVER THE LAST 23 YEARS TO MAKE 156 AFRICAN COUNTRY VISITS. THAT'S A LOT OF AFRICAN COUNTRY VISITS. AND WE HAVE FRIENDS THERE. I PERSONALLY HAVE FRIENDS THERE. INTIMATE FRIENDS. WE'VE WORKED ON A LOT OF MILITARY CONCERNS THAT THEY HAVE. BUT THIS IS AN AREA WHERE WE HAVE VERY CLOSE FRIENDS, AND SO I'M GOING TO BE SINGLING OUT ONE CLOSE FRIEND BUT NOT TO THE DETRIMENT TO THE REST OF THEM, BECAUSE WE HAVE MANY CLOSE FRIENDS, CERTAINLY AS MANY AS 32 COUNTRY PRESIDENTS AND PRIME MINISTERS THAT WE'VE BEEN VERY CLOSE TO. BUT THERE'S A REASON FOR SINGLING OUT ONE PARTICULAR INDIVIDUAL WHICH IS PAUL KIGAME, PRESIDENT OF RWANDA. FIRST OF ALL, HE'S GOING TO BE COMING IN AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE AFRICAN UNION IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. HE HAS BEEN ALREADY ELECTED. THE SECOND THING IS THAT HE HAS SURVIVED THE, THE RWANDA GENOCIDE WHICH ARGUABLY COULD BE THE GREATEST GENOCIDE OF ALL TIMES. ON THE 28th OF JANUARY HE WILL BECOME THE PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN, I GUESS, OF THE AFRICAN UNION. NOW, THIS IS REALLY NOTHING SHORT OF A MIRACLE. RWANDA IS A MIRACLE AND WE HAVE PAUL CAN I -- PAUL KIGAME AND THE PEOPLE OF RWANDA TO THANK FOR. THE LARGEST GENOCIDE OCCURRED IN THIS SMALL AFRICAN COUNTRY. NEARLY A MILLION RWANDANS WERE SLAW -- SLAUGHTERED. THE SEEDS WERE PLANTED DECADES BEFORE. MANY THOUSANDS OF HUTUS USED MACHETES AND CLUBS TO SLAUGHTER TUTSIS. IN MOST CASES IT WAS NEIGHBORS KILLING NEIGHBORS. EVEN SOME FAMILY MEMBERS, THE HORROR WAS UNIMAGINABLE. FATHERS AND MOTHERS WERE FORCED TO WATCH THEIR CHILDREN BEING HACKED TO DEATH. ONE MAN WAS FORCED TO BEAT HIS WIFE TO DEATH IN ORDER TO SPARE THEIR SEVEN CHILDREN FROM BEING TORTURED TO DEATH. MANY RWANDANS WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO SURVIVE AND REMEMBER WATCHING THEIR PARENTS AND SIBLINGS BEING MURDERED. ONE PERSON, IN FACT, THIS WILL BE A LAST-MINUTE THOUGHT, BUT THERE'S ONE INDIVIDUAL THAT WAS, HER NAME IS IMACULAY. SHE WROTE A BOOK, "LEFT TO TELL." THAT IS SOMETHING YOU CAN GET AN IDEA OF WHAT HAPPENED. THE FACT THAT THERE WERE PEOPLE IN THEIR OWN COMMUNITY TRYING TO KILL HER, AND THEY KILLED 70%, 70% OF THE ENTIRE TRIBE AT THAT TIME. WELL, ANYWAY, THE WORLD JUST WATCHED AS THIS SLAUGHTER TOOK PLACE. THEY DID NOTHING. DESPITE HAVING THE UNITED NATIONS HAD PEACEKEEPERS STATIONED IN RWANDA AND THEY WERE ORDERED TO WITHDRAW, LEAVE ALL THE GENOCIDE TO TAKE PLACE. OUR PRESIDENT, U.S. PRESIDENT WAS BILL CLINTON. HE DID NOTHING. THE WORLD JUST STOOD BY AND WATCHED. AND THE HORROR WAS STOPPED ONLY BECAUSE OF ONE MAN, THAT ONE MAN WAS PAUL KAGAME. IN OCTOBER OF 1990, PAUL KAGAME LED A GROUP OF RWANDAN REFUGEES FROM UGANDA WHOSE PARENTS HAD FLED THE MASS VIOLENCE THREE DECADES AGO. THE PRESIDENT OF UGANDA IS THE PRESIDENT USENDE. HE AND PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME CAME FROM THE BUSH. THEY WERE GOOD FRIENDS. HE WENT UP THERE FOR REFUGE TO TRY TO SAVE HIS RWANDANS AT THAT TIME BECAUSE HE SAW THE GENOCIDE COMING. WHAT'S EVEN MORE AMAZING ABOUT RWANDA IS THEIR LEADER AND WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THIS. YOU SEE, RWANDA HAD TWO VERY DIFFERENT PATHS THEY COULD HAVE TAKEN. THEY COULD HAVE EITHER JUST TAKEN REVENGE, PAUL KAGAME, TAKE THE NEW STRENGTH THAT HE HAD, THE NEW POWER THAT HE HAD, AND HE COULD GO AFTER THE OTHER TRIBE THAT IS THERE, THE HUTUS. HE COULD START ANOTHER GENOCIDE OF HIS OWN. THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED. THE OTHER THING HE COULD HAVE DONE WAS THE PATH OF FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION, AND THIS IS THE PATH OF HARD WORK WHERE THE TUTSIS WHO SURVIVED THE GENOCIDE WOULD HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO FORGIVE AND LIVE ALONGSIDE THE SAME HUTUS WHO KILLED THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS. THIS IS THE PATH OF REBUILDING A NATION FROM THE GROUND UP SO THAT TOGETHER THEY COULD HAVE A COMMON FUTURE. WE NOW KNOW WHICH PATH PRESIDENT RWANDA CHOSE. PRESIDENT KAGAME LED THEM DOWN THE PATH OF RECONCILIATION. THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT MADE THIS HAPPEN. ONE OF THE PERSONS I WAS VERY FOND OF, HE IS DECEASED NOW. CHUCK COLSO HE SPENT TIME IN PRISON, STARTED THE PRISON FELLOWSHIP AND WAS ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE RECONCILIATION PROCESS. IN MANY CASES, THE HUTUS WHO COMMITTED GENOCIDE AGAINST A TUTSI FAMILY WOULD SEEK FORGIVENESS FROM THAT FAMILY AND THEN ACHIEVE RECONCILIATION BY BUILDING A HOME TOGETHER FOR THE TUTSI SURVIVORS WHO LIVED IN. SO THROUGH THIS, IT MAY SEEM KIND OF LIKE A SMALL GESTURE. THE PEOPLE IT WAS ALLOWED THE HEALING AND FORGIVENESS PROCESS TO WORK. TOGETHER THE HUMAN HOUTHIS AND TUTSIS ARE BUILDING THEIR FORGIVENESS TOGETHER. I HAD ONE EXPERIENCE THAT I WATCHED THEM AFTER THIS HAPPENED, MY WIFE CALLED THIS TO MY ATTENTION. WE HAD A BUNCH OF THE WOMEN TOGETHER IN RWANDA. THEY BUILD A CERTAIN KIND OF BASKET THAT'S DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHER COUNTRY. SO AFTER THE RECONCILIATION, THERE THEY WERE, THE HOUTHIS AND TUTSIS YOUNG WOMEN WERE MAKING THESE. AND THEN THE INGENIOUS OF PAUL KAGAME, HE WORKED OUT A DEAL WITH SEVERAL MARKETING AREAS IN THE UNITED STATES. MACY'S IS ONE OF THEM. THEY STARTED SELLING THIS STUFF. SO IT IS A GREAT BOON FOR THEM. BUT ANYWAY, HE SHOULD BE CREDITED, PAUL KAGAME, FOR THIS AMAZING TRANSFORMATION OF A NATION INTO A TRIEFG, SUCCESSFUL COUNTRY. THIS TRANSFORMATION IS PAYING GREAT DIVIDENDS. I WAS IN RWANDA MOST RECENTLY IN OCTOBER. I HAVE BEEN THERE A TOTAL OF EIGHT TIMES IN THE LAST FEW YEARS. EACH TIME I GO, I AM SURPRISED BY WHAT I SEE. LET ME JUST MENTION FIVE THINGS THAT ARE UNIQUE TO RWANDA. FIRST, THERE IS NOT A PIECE OF LITTER ANYWHERE IN RWANDA. PEOPLE CAN'T BELIEVE THEY ARE ANYWHERE IN AFRICA OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY OR THE UNITED STATES. THERE IS NOTHING. YOU CAN'T FIND ANY LITTER. IN FACT, THEY HAVE THE LAST SATURDAY OF EVERY MONTH, THEY HAVE A PROGRAM WHERE THEY GO TO AND EVERYBODY JOINS TOGETHER AND THEY PICK UP EVERY KIND OF BIT OF TRASH AND EVERYTHING ELSE. THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE MUCH BUT YOU SURE NOTICE A DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU ARE THERE. THE SECOND THING THAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THEM IS THEIR INFRASTRUCTURE. RWANDA IS KNOWN AS THE LAND OF A THOUSAND HILLS. THEY DON'T HAVE ANY LEVEL AREAS IN RWANDA. AND I REMEMBER NOT LONG AGO GOING FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF IN THE AREA BETWEEN THE HILL AREA AND THE MOUNTAIN AREA, ON A ROAD THAT WAS PAVED, PERFECTLY PAVED. IT'S ONE THIS YOU WOULD EXPECT TO BE IN THE UNITED STATES. THERE WERE NO POTHOLES, NOTHING. BUT IT WAS A HIGHWAY THAT YOU WOULD EXPECT TO FIND ANYWHERE EXCEPT IN AFRICA. AND THEY ARE KNOWN FOR THIS. BECAUSE RWANDA IS DIFFERENT. THE THIRD THING IS THE PEOPLE ARE HARD WORKERS. I MENTIONED THAT THERE AREN'T ANY FLAT AREAS OUT THERE. SO EVERY SQUARE FOOT IN RWANDA IS USED TO GROW SOMETHING, FROM THE BOTTOMS OF THE PEAKS, I MEAN, EVERYTHING IS THERE. THEY ARE HARD WORKERS, AND THEY GROW ALL THE THINGS THAT THEY GROW, TEA, COFFEE, POTATOES, OTHER CROPS, THEY ARE ALL BEING CULTIVATED ACROSS THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, AND IT'S ALL HILLY COUNTRY. THERE IS NO PLACE ELSE THAT IS TAKING PLACE. IT'S HARD WORK. THEY DO IT MOSTLY BY HAND. BECAUSE THIS IS HARD WORK, THEY'RE ABLE TO FEED THEMSELVES AND EXPORT MORE VALUABLE CROPS ABROAD. FOURTH, IT'S SAFE. YOU WOULDN'T EXPECT A COUNTRY THAT'S GONE THROUGH THE MOST DEVASTATING GENOCIDE MAYBE IN HISTORY TO BE A SAFE PLACE TO WALK AROUND, AND IT IS. THERE IS THINGS THAT ARE -- YOU CAN WALK THERE AT NIGHTTIME. I TELL YOU, IT'S SAFER THAN WASHINGTON, D.C. THE FIFTH THING THAT'S UNUSUAL ABOUT THIS, THE ECONOMY IS BOOMING. EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK IN RWANDA, CONSTRUCTION IS HAPPENING. IN JUST THE LAST FEW YEARS, THEY HAVE BUILT NEW HOTELS, A CONVENTION CENTER. THEY ARE NOW WORKING ON A NEW AIRPORT TO FACILITATE ALL THE GROWTH IN TOURISM THAT'S COMING THERE. THESE ARE JUST MY OBSERVATIONS. BUT PRESIDENT KAGAME'S LEADERSHIP IS NOT JUST RESULTING IN VISIBLE CHANGES. THE NUMBERS BACK UP WHAT I HAVE SEEN. SINCE HE BECAME PRESIDENT IN 2000, RWANDA HAS EXPERIENCED A G.D.P. REAL GROWTH OF 8%. NOW, THIS IS KIND OF INTERESTING BECAUSE HERE WE ARE THROUGH OUR TAX BILL, WE'RE GOING TO BE INCREASING OUR G.D.P. HERE IN THIS COUNTRY, AND THERE IS A FORMULA THAT NO ONE DISAGREES WITH, AND THAT IS IF A FOR EACH 1% INCREASE IN GROWTH IN THE G.D.P., THAT DEVELOPS A TRILLION DOLLARS OVER A PERIOD OF TEN YEARS OF INCREASED REVENUE, AND THAT'S SOME OF THE REVENUE THAT WE ARE GOING TO BE USING AS A RESULT OF THAT. BUT THAT'S -- THIS IS NOT THE UNITED STATES. THIS IS IN AFRICA. AN 8% G.D.P. GROWTH. AND IT'S NOT -- IT'S GEARED TOWARD THE POOR PEOPLE. THAT'S WHY THE POPULATION HAS JUST LIFTED PEOPLE OUT OF POVERTY. IT HAS DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED ITS EASE OF DOING BUSINESS. THE WORLD BANK RECENTLY RANKED RWANDA NUMBER ONE FOR DOING BUSINESS IN EAST AFRICA, NUMBER TWO FOR DOING BUSINESS IN SUB-SAHARA AFRICA, AND NUMBER 41 IN THE WORLD. THAT'S REMARKABLE WHEN YOU CONSIDER THAT JUST A MATTER OF EIGHT YEARS BEFORE, THEY WERE RANKED 150th IN THE WORLD FOR DOING BUSINESS. NOW THEY ARE 41. AND TODAY YOU CAN START A BUSINESS AND GET ALL THE NECESSARY PERMITS TO OPERATE IN JUST A FEW DAYS. RWANDA HAS BECOME A MODEL FOR GENDER EMPOWERMENT. MAYBE THIS GOES A LITTLE FURTHER THAN A LOT OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY ARE COMFORTABLE WITH, BUT RWANDA'S CONSTITUTION REQUIRES THAT 30% OF DECISION-MAKING POSITIONS BE AWARDED TO WOMEN. BUT TODAY BECAUSE OF OBAMA, IT'S NOW 60%. 60% OF RWANDA'S PARLIAMENT ARYANS AND 40 -- PARLIAMENTARIANS AND 40% OF ITS CABINET ARE FILLED BY WOMEN, INCLUDING MY GOOD FRIEND, THE FOREIGN MINISTER, AND ALSO THE AMBASSADOR THAT MANY OF US KNOW HERE BECAUSE SHE IS HERE IN THE UNITED STATES, AMBASSADOR MATILDA. THE FOURTH THING IS RWANDA HAS FACILITATED THE DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY THAT NO ONE WOULD EXPECT IN AFRICA. RWANDA ENJOYS A NATIONWIDE FIBER-OPTIC INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WILL ENSURE 95% OF ITS CITIZENS HAVE ACCESS TO HIGH-SPEED FOUR-G INTERNET. FURTHER, IT HAS INTEGRATED DRONE TECHNOLOGY INTO ITS HEALTH CARE SYSTEM TO ENSURE THAT DIFFERENT THINGS LIKE BLOOD CAN REACH PATIENTS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. AND THE FIFTH THING IS THAT RWANDA HAS TRANSFERRED -- TRANSFORMED ITS HEALTH SYSTEM, HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. LIFE EXPECTANCY IS NOW 64.5%. IN 2000, IT WAS JUST 49%. ALL THAT HAS TAKEN PLACE IN THE LAST FEW YEARS. CHILD MORTALITY RATES ARE DOWN MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS. MATERNAL MORTALITY IS DOWN 80%. IN 2000, THERE WAS ONLY ONE DOCTOR FOR EVERY 66,000 PEOPLE. TODAY THERE IS ONE DOCTOR FOR EVERY 10,000 PEOPLE. WHEN ASKED -- IN BETWEEN THOSE YEARS AND SINCE THE GENOCIDE HAS TAKEN PLACE, THE MALARIA-RELATED DEATHS PLUMMETED BY 85%. AND WHEN YOU ASK HOW THESE THINGS WERE POSSIBLE, THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION'S COUNTRY DIRECTOR HAS SAID -- AND THIS IS A QUOTE. THIS IS NOT A QUOTE BY ME OR SOMEONE IN THIS COUNTRY OR BY THE PRESIDENT. IT IS -- THE QUOTE IS THE MAIN INGREDIENT IS VISIONARY LEADERSHIP. THIS IS THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION SPEAKING. IT'S ABOUT HAVING A TARGET, SAYING WE WANT TO BE THERE IN THE FUTURE AND UNDERSTANDING OBSTACLES IN THE WAY. THAT VISIONARY LEADER IS PAUL KAGAME AND HE GETS RESULTS. THAT'S THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. RWANDA HAS ESTABLISHED A HIGHLY CAPABLE PROFESSIONAL MILITARY. PRESIDENT KAGAME ACTUALLY STUDIED IN FORT LESSON WORTH IN KANSAS AS A PART OF THE IMET PROGRAM IN THE EARLY 1900'S. THE IMET PROGRAM IS A PROGRAM WHERE WE TRAIN PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES TO BE LEADERS THERE. OF COURSE THEY DEVELOP AN ALLEGIANCE TO OUR COUNTRY. IT'S VERY SUCCESSFUL. THAT'S HOW THIS GUY GOT STARTED. HE STARTED IN AN IMET PROGRAM. HIS MILITARY BACKGROUND IS VERY PROFESSIONAL. AS PRESIDENT, HE HAS ACQUIRED THE SAME OF HIS FORCES IN THE RWANDA DEFENSE FORCES, ALL MILITARY ORDERS AND INSTRUCTIONS ARE ISSUED THROUGH A CHAIN OF COMMAND. RWANDA'S PLAN IS TO HAVE A SMALL, WELL-EQUIPPED ARMY OF 20,000 WITH A RESERVE COMPONENT OF 100,000. THEIR DEFENSE STRATEGY IS SEEING A COMBAT-READY FORCE CAPABLE OF RAPIDLY DEPLOYING TO MEET VARYING CONTINGENCIES BOTH AT HOME AND ABROAD. THEY ARE DELIVERING. RWANDA IS THE FIFTH LARGEST CONTRIBUTOR TO THE U.N. PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS IN THE WORLD. THEY CURRENTLY HAVE CLOSE TO 5,000 TROOPS DEPLOYED IN DIFFERENT MISSIONS, WIDELY ACKNOWLEDGED AS SOME OF THE BEST PERFORMING AND MOST TRUSTED PEACEKEEPERS IN THE WORLD. RWANDA IS ALSO A MAJOR PARTICIPANT IN THE EASTERN AFRICA STANDBY FORCE. THAT'S A BATTALION OF 850 TROOPS AND A POLICE CONTINGENCY OF 140 OFFICERS, WHICH ARE ON STANDBY FOR CONTINGENCIES IN EAST AFRICA. THE COUNTRIES THAT HAVE GONE TOGETHER ARE TANZANIA, UGANDA, BURUNDI, KENYA, AND OF COURSE RWANDA. THESE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS THAT ARE EXACTLY IN LINE WITH WHAT WE SHOULD BE HELPING THEM AND PARTICIPATING IN AND DOING OURSELVES HERE IN THE UNITED STATES IN TERMS OF POLICY GOALS FOR AFRICA. WE SET UP A WAY TO HELP AFRICANS HELP AFRICANS, TO TRAIN AND ASSIST REGIONAL PARTNERS SO THAT THEY WILL BE CAPABLE OF HANDLING SECURITY THREATS BEFORE THEY BECOME GLOBAL CRISES. WITH THE EMERGENCE OF THEIR PEACEKEEPING MISSION, THE REGIONAL COOPERATION, WHAT WE HOPED WOULD HAPPEN IS HAPPENING. PAUL KAGAME IS THE REASON RWANDA IS LEADING THE WAY. RWANDA IS A CLEAR EXAMPLE OF WHAT A STRONG, STRATEGIC PARTNER SHOULD LOOK LIKE TO THE UNITED STATES. IT IS NOT JUST ME SAYING THIS. RWANDA IS RECOGNIZED AROUND THE WORLD FOR ITS PROFESSIONAL FORCE. IN FACT, RWANDA'S DEFENSE MINISTER WAS AMONG THE FEW LEADERS WHO SPOKE AT THE UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING MINISTERIAL IN NOVEMBER IN VANCOUVER. BECAUSE OF THESE AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENTS, PRESIDENT KAGAME IS WIDELY VIEWED AS ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL HEADS OF STATE ON THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA. A LOT OF LEADERS AND OBSERVERS PRAISE HIM AND HIS RECORD. BENEDICT ARAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN EXPORT-IMPORT BANK SAID -- AND THIS IS A QUOTE. THIS IS THE AFRICAN EXPORT-IMPORT BANK. HE SAID, QUOTE, RWANDA IS A COUNTRY THAT WAS ALL BUT WRITTEN OFF SOME TWO DECADES AGO, BUT JUST LIKE THE PHOENIX THAT DIED AND ROSE FROM ITS ASHES, AN EMERGES TO BECOME THE SHINIEST STAR ON THE CONTINENT, SHINIEST IN TERMS OF GOVERNANCE, IN TERMS OF CAN-DO SPIRIT, IN DOING THOSE THINGS NOBODY EVER THOUGHT WAS POSSIBLE. AGAIN, THAT'S THE AFRICAN EXPORT-IMPORT BANK TALKING ABOUT PAUL KAGAME. THE HELD OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, THE AFRICAN DEPARTMENT, SAID -- AND THIS IS THE HEAD OF THE AFRICAN DEPARTMENT OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. AND THIS IS A QUOTE. I WANT TO RECOGNIZE RWANDA'S REMARKABLE LEADERSHIP, ITS CREATIVITY, TENACITY, AND RESOLVE, WHICH HAVE DELIVERED SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN ADVANCING HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF -- FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL YOUR PEOPLE. YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS IN SUCH A SHORT SPACE OF TIME ARE TRULY REMARKABLE. THAT'S THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION HE'S TALKING ABOUT. HE'S TALKING ABOUT RWANDA. HE IS TALKING ABOUT SPECIFICALLY PRESIDENT KAGAME. NOW, FORMER NIGERIAN PRESIDENT OBASANJO. HE CAME IN AFTER THE PERSON THAT WAS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE GREAT TERRORISTS OF ALL TIME, AT THAT TIME WAS ABASHA. HE CAME IN TO FINANCE REFORM THE LEADERSHIP THERE IN NIGERIA, AND HIS STATEMENT WAS, QUOTE, RWANDA HAS MADE DIFFICULT TRADE-OFFS, BUT AS AN AFRICAN LEADER, I TELL YOU THAT I WOULD MAKE THE SAME TRAWDOFFS. AND YET HIS INFLUENCE IS RECOGNIZED MORE CLEARLY, NOT BY WHAT HE -- PEOPLE HAVE SAID ABOUT HIM BUT BY WHAT HIS PEERS HAVE ASKED HIM TO DO. IN JULY, 2016, KAGAME WAS SELECTED BY HIS PEERS TO LEAD THE EFFORT TO REFORM THE AFRICAN UNION TO MAKE IT MORE EFFECTIVE. HE DID NOT USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO RAISE HIS OWN PROFILE, AS MOST PEOPLE WOULD DO. RATHER, HE USED IT TO BUILD CONSENSUS AND CAST A VISION FOR A FUTURE AFRICA THAT IS NO LONGER RELIANT ON AID FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD. IS THIS L THIS IS A VERY -- THIS IS A VERY SIGNIFICANT THING. WHEN YOU HEAR FROM PEOPLE ON THE STREET, THE FIRST THING YOU HERE IS -- YOU HEAR IS THAT AFRICA IS SUPPORTED BY US AND THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO DO THINGS ON THEIR OWN. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME HE MADE THIS STATEMENT. AFRICA IS NO LONGER RELIANT ON AID FROM OUTSIDE NATIONS. WITHIN MONTHS, HE DEVELOPED A REFORM PACKAGE ON -- THAT HAS FOUR PARTS. THE FIRST ONE THE AFRICA UNION HAS TO BE FOCUSED ON THE CONTINENTAL SCOPE AS OPPOSED TO REGIONAL. THEY ARE MOVING FROM REGIONAL TO START LOOKING AT THEIR ENTIRE CONTINENT. HE WANTS THE E.U. TO FOCUS ON THE ISSUES THAT AFFECT THE CONTINENT. SECOND, THE E.U. MUST CONNECT WITH ITS CITIZENS. KAGAME PLANS TO DO THIS WHICH FOCUSING AND IDENTIFYING ON APPROPRIATE MEANS TO ENSURE THAT PRIVATE SECTOR PARLIAMENT, AND CITIZENS ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE PROCESS. HE WANTS TO MAKE THE AFRICA PASSPORT AVAILABLE TO ALL CITIZENS, ALLOWING PA -- A FREE FLOW OF PEOPLE. THE BUSINESS OF THE A.U. MUST BE TAKEN CARE OF IN AN EFFICIENT WAY. THE FOURTH IS TO PROVIDE THEM WITH THE PROPER FUNDING WITHOUT ASSISTANCE FROM OUTSIDE DONORS. HAVE YOU HEARD THAT FROM ANY COUNTRY, LET ALONE AFRICA? THAT'S WHAT HE SAID. HE ENVISIONS THIS BY EACH AFRICAN COUNTRY IMPOSING A 3.2% TARIFF ON IMPORTS. NOT ALL OBSERVERS AGREE, I ADMIRE THIS FOR SEEKING WAYS TO UNGRIP THEMSELVES FROM THE ASSISTANCE OF OTHER NATIONS TO FUND THEIR GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES. THAT WAS HIS PLAN. WHAT CEMENTS HIS STATUS AS AN INFLUENTIAL POWER BROKER IN AFRICA IS THAT AT THE A.U.'S MEETING IN JANUARY, THIS IS IN THE PAST, BUT AT THE NEXT MEETING WHICH WAS JANUARY 17, HIS PEERS AT THE A.U., THAT'S THE AFRICAN UNION, THEY CHARGED HIMMED -- THE AFRICAN LEADERS CHOSE KAGAME. A NUMBER OF THE PROPOSALS HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED. ABOUT HALF OF THE NATION STATES HAVE IMPLEMENTED THE MOST DIFFICULT PART, THAT IS PASSING UPON THEMSELVES A0.2% IMPORT TARIFF AND FORWARDING THE PROCEEDINGS TO THE AFRICAN UNION. THEY ARE PAYING FOR THESE THINGS PROPOSED BY KAGAME IN THE AFRICAN UNION. THEY HAVE WHAT WE CALL REAL SKIN IN THE GAME. MORE AND MORE NATIONS ARE GETTING ON BOARD AND RWANDA IS LEADING THE WAY. TO FURTHER CEMENT HIS STANDING AND INFLUENCE IN JULY OF 2017, KAGAME WAS SELECTED BY HIS PEERS TO CHAIR THE AFRICAN UNION. WITH GENOCIDE, RWANDA HAS IT IN OUR HISTORY BOOK, BUT BECAUSE THEY HAVE CHOSEN THE PATH OF RECONCILIATION INSTEAD OF REVENGE, PRESIDENT KAGAME HAS USED THE PLATFORM TO BE A NATION OF FRIENDSHIP AND HELPED NATIONS THAT NORMALLY DON'T GET ALONG. FIRST, HE IN THE STATE OF ISRAEL, HAVE A SIMILAR PAST. THEY HAVE BEEN VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE. MANY AFRICAN NATIONS, ABOUT HALF, ARE MUSLIM MAJORITY. PRESIDENT KAGAME HAS FACILITATED ISRAEL'S DESIRE TO REENGAGE IN AFRICA. THEY ARE USING THE INDISPENSABLE BRIDGE ON WHICH THEY USED TO RETURN TO AFRICA. IN THE LAST TWO YEARS, PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU HAS DEVELOP WOMANED SEVERAL OF THE AFTERRY -- HAS WELCOMED SEVERAL OF THE -- NETANYAHU HAS BEEN IMPRESSED BY THE WORK OF PRESIDENT KAGAME AND HAS INVESTED HIMSELF IN THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA. RWANDA HAS PUT ITSELF AT RISK IN ORDER TO TO STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT. IN 2014, RWANDA ROTATED ON TO A U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL. WHILE THERE, RWANDA ABSTAINED FROM AN ANTI-ISRAEL RESOLUTION SO TYPICAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS. AND WHEN HE DID THIS, THEY BLOCKED IT FROM MOVING FORWARD, PREVENTING THE UNITED STATES FROM HAVING TO VETO IT. IN THIS CHAMBER, WE REMEMBER THAT. I REMEMBER THE FACT THAT WE DIDN'T WANT TO BE IN THE POSITION TO VETO IT, BUT WHAT THEY WERE DOING WAS TOTALLY UNFAIR. WE HAD ONE GUY COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO DO IT AND THAT WAS PAUL KAGAME. RWANDA IS ONE OF THE FEW NATIONS NOT TO VOTE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES FOR CONDEMNING TO MOVE OUR AMBASSADOR TO JERUSALEM. KAGAME KEEPS HIS WORD AND DOESN'T SHAKE WITH FEAR AT THE POSSIBILITY OF INTIMIDATION. KAGAME HAS BROUGHT ABOUT THE RESTORATION OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS WITH AFRICA. IN 2016, HE LED THE PUSH TO INVITE MA ROCCO BACK -- MAROCCO BACK INTO THE UNION. BACK IN THE FIRST BUSH ADMINISTRATION, OUR SECRETARY OF STATE JIM BAKER, WAS TRYING HIS BEST TO UNDO THE DAMAGE THAT WAS DONE BY BARACO. THREE DECADES WESTERN SAHARA WAS TAKEN FROM ITS HOME PLAND AND -- HOMELAND AND PUT OUT IN THE DESERT. I'VE BEEN THERE AND YOU WONDER HOW A PERSON CAN LIVE OUT THERE. THE PROBLEM WAS IS THAT MAROCCO IS RICH. I TESTIFIED BEFORE A HOUSE COMMITTEE AND I COMMENTED THAT MAROCCO HIRED THE MOST EXPENSIVE LOBBYISTS IN WASHINGTON. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS WAS THAT BECAUSE OF THE ADVANTAGE THAT THEY HAVE, THEY'VE BEEN NOT GOING TO COME TO THE TABLE. ONE OF THE REASONS IS MAROCCO IS THE ONLY COUNTRY THAT CAN BE CONSIDERED AN AFRICAN COUNTRY NOT PART OF THE AFRICAN UNION. WHAT DID PAUL KAGAME DO? HE BROUGHT THEM INTO THE AFRICAN UNION. HE HAS CONVINCED THE AFRICAN UNION TO ALLOW MAROCCO TO JOIN ONCE THEY CAN GET TOGETHER AND GET SOMETHING DONE. SO HOPEFULLY HE'S ON THE ROAD TO TRYING TO END THREE DECADES OF TRAUMA THAT HATS -- THAT HAS TAKEN PLAYS OUT IN THE DESERT. BUT THIS EFFORT SOUR OUR RELATIONS WITH KAGAME? NO. THE IMPACT IS THE OPPOSITE. EARLIER FORMER GENERAL PRESIDENT, THE U.N. ENVOY, TRAVELED TO KAGALI TO APPEAL FOR KAGAME'S HELP. THE U.S. RECOGNIZED THE IMPORTANT STEPS THAT KAGAME HAS TAKEN TO BRING MAROCCO INTO THE AFRICAN UNION TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF THE WESTERN SAHARA. IT IS NOT JUST MAROCCO, IT IS OTHERS. SOUTH SUDAN WAS THE SAME COUNTRY. SOUTH SUDAN TRIED TO GAIN THEIR INDEPENDENCE AND THEY FINALLY DID GAIN THEIR INDEPENDENCE AND WE THOUGHT EVERYTHING WOULD BE FINE, UNFORTUNATELY THAT STARTED A CIVIL WAR. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON NOW FOR THREE YEARS AND WE KNOW THE ONLY VERSION THAT LOOKS LIKE HE'S REALLY DEEP AS A RESULT TO RESOLVE THE -- AS WELL. SO RWANDA HAS PEACE KEEPING TROOPS IN BOTH COUNTRIES, AND THE SUDANESE AND SOUTH SUDANESE FORCES DO NOT TARGET, BUT PROTECT RWANDA. HE HAS TWO COUNTRIES WARRING AGAINST EACH OTHER. RWANDA IS GOING IN TO TRY TO RESOLVE TESTIMONY AND THEY BOTH WELCOME RWANDA AND THEY TRUST RWANDA MILITARY BECAUSE THEY TRUST KAGAME. IT'S INTERESTING TO THINK THAT RWANDA IS IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE AND DOESN'T HAVE A LOT OF INFLUENCE, BUT THAT WOULD BE A MISTAKE. AS A RESULT, KAGAME HAS BEEN ABLE TO SECURE FOR ITS PEOPLE AND BECAUSE OF THE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS THAT HE'S DEVELOPED. RWANDA IS AMONG THE MOST INFLUENTIAL COUNTRIES IN AFRICA. WHEN KAGAME WAS INAUGURATED TO HIS THIRD TERM, NO FEWER THAN 22 HEADS OF STATES FROM ACROSS AFRICA ATTENDED THE FESTIVITIES. THAT HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE. WHEN 22 COUNTRIES COME IN TO PARTICIPATE IN THE INAUGURATION OF A PRESIDENT BUT THEY CAME FOR PAUL KAGAME. THE LEADERS OF AFRICAN NATIONS WERE SEEN EMBRACING ONE ANOTHER LIVE ON TV. THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN FOR NO REASON. IT HAPPENS BECAUSE THEY TRUST AND ADMIRE PAUL KAGAME. IT'S NO WONDER THE AFRICAN LEADERS ARE LOOKING TO RWANDA AND KAGAME FOR HOW TO MOVE INTO THE FUTURE. ACCORDING TO ONE REPORTER, THE RWANDA MODEL IS BECOMING A HALLMARK PHRASE IN AFRICA. THERE IS ONE QUOTE HERE, IN AFRICA'S CORRIDORS OF POWER IN THE BOARDROOMS, IN THE BANKS, IN BE DONOR DISCUSSIONS, AND INTERMINABLE GOVERNMENT CONFERENCES, IT IS REPEATED LIKE A MANTRA, THE RWANDA MODEL, THE RWANDA MODEL. KAGAME IS ADVANCING THE VISION OF AFRICA. HE WANTS TO MOVE HIS COUNTRY AND THE WHOLE CONTINENT AWAY FROM DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN AID INTO A BUSTLING FREE MARKET ECONOMIES THAT ENABLE THE PEOPLE TO TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES. HE RECENTLY COMPLAINED TO HIS FELLOW PEERS AT AN AFRICAN SECURITY SUMMIT REGION THAT THEY HAVE RELIED TOO MUCH ON THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. HE SAID THAT A MAJOR PILLAR OF THE REFORM OF THE A.U. IS A MORE FOCUSED AND ASSERTIVE AFRICA THAT IS FOCUSED ON RESOLVING ITS OWN PROBLEMS. HE SAID WE MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OURSELVES, WHICH DOESN'T REALLY SECLUDE PARTNERS, -- EXCLUDE PARTNERS, BUT THEY ADD TO OUR EFFORTS. HE HAS CLEARLY DONE THAT AND THE MAIN THING IN ALL OF THE REFORMS IS TO GET AFRICA OUT OF THE DEPENDENCY MODE. HE'S DOING IT. LAST MARCH, WHILE SPEAKING IN LONDON AT "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL"'S INVESTING IN AFRICA CONFERENCE. HE SAID I WANT TO SEE AFRICA GET ITS ACT TOGETHER SO IT IS NOT RELIANT ON WESTERN COUNTRIES. HE SEES A FUTURE AFRICA THAT IS MORE AUTONOMOUS AND TAKING CARE OF ITSELF. IT IS A VISION THAT HIS PEERS ARE GATHERING AROUND THE WE SHOULDN'T MISUNDERSTAND IT. KAGAME IS NOT SAYING THAT AFRICA SHOULD HAVE NO INVOLVEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES OR THE WEST. FAR FROM IT. WHAT HE WANTS IS TO HAVE A PEER-TO-PEER RELATIONSHIP INSTEAD OF A DONOR-BASED RELATIONSHIP. HE WANTS LEGITIMATE BUSINESS RELATIONS BETWEEN CUSTOMERS AND SUPPLIERS IN -- TO JOIN AND TO GATHER AMONG AFRICAN BUSINESSES AND OTHER COUNTRIES, INCLUDING THOSE IN THE UNITED STATES. IN KAGAME'S VISION FOR A NEW AFRICA, AFRICA NATIONS WILL HAVE COOPERATION ON SECURITY AND TERRORISM AND TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH THEIR FRIENDS, PARTNERS, AND ALLIES. HE WANTS TO END THE DAYS OF RELIANCE ON FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS. AND SO WE SEE THIS AGAIN. MANY LEADERS IN AFRICA HAVE DESIRED THIS KIND OF CHANGE BUT FEW HAVE HAD THE POSITION, THE INFLUENCE, THE CLARITY, AND FOCUS TO ARTICULATE IT WITH THE KIND OF PASSION THAT IS AS PERSUASIVE. ONLY PAUL KAGAME. THERE ARE FAR FEWER THAT HAVE THIS KIND OF RECORD OF IMPROVING THE LIVES OF HIS OWN PEOPLE IN THE WAY THAT HE HAS, AND THIS IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF PARTNERSHIP THAT THE UNITED STATES SHOULD HAVE WITH OUR FRIENDS AND ALLIES IN AFRICA, SHOULD HAVE, BUT THEY DON'T HAVE AT THE PRESENT TIME, UNFORTUNATELY. TOO LONG THE UNITED STATES HAS HAD THE WRONG POLICY TOWARD AFRICA AND AFRICAN NATIONS AND MOST AMERICANS STILL THINK THERE'S ONLY ONE COUNTRY ON THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA RATHER THAN 54 INDEPENDENT STATES THAT MAKE IT UP. U.S. POLICY SHOULD AFRICA SHOULD BE DIFFERENT. IT SHOULD BE A PARTNERSHIP AND FOCUS ON AFRICANS HELP AFRICANS WITH SECURITY, TRADE, AND DPLOAM SIT. IN SECURITY THE UNITED STATES SECURITY GOALS IN AFRICA SHOULD BE TRAINING AND EQUIPPING KEY PARTNERS IN ADDRESSING CONTINENT TERRORIST THREATS THAT COULD AFFECT THE UNITED STATES AND TO ADDRESS REGIONAL SECURITY THREATS SO THAT THE U.S. MILITARY DOES NOT HAVE TO ENGAGE SO THEY CAN DO IT INSTEAD OF OUR INVOLVEMENT. THIS IS THE GOAL OF AFRICA. AFRICA HAS BECOME SOMETHING FAIRLY NEW. WE WERE ONCE A PART OF THREE DIFFERENT DEMANDS, THE CENTRAL -- COMMANDS, THE CENTRAL COMMAND, PACIFIC COMMAND, AND THE EUROPEAN COMMAND AND NOW WE HAVE AFRIKAN AS ITS OWN COMMAND. THE SECOND THING IS TRADE. OUR TRADE FOCUS IN AFRICA SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON DEVELOPING FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH AFRICA NATIONS SO THAT THEY HAVE A RECIPROCAL PEER RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR AFRICAN TRADING PARTNERS. THIS IS THE STATUTORY POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES BUT IT IS NOT WORKING THAT WAY. IN 2015, A TEN-YEAR EXTENSION WAS SIGNED INTO LAW. THIS IS AN APPROPRIATE POLICY FOR THE NEAR TERM, BUT LONG TERM IT IS NOT BECAUSE WE NEED TO HAVE THE SAME KIND OF ACCESS TO FRINGE NATIONS AS -- TO FRAIN NATIONS AS WE -- TO AFRICAN NATIONS AS WE PROVIDE TO THEM. THE POLICY IS TO PURSUE A FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH AFRICAN NATIONS. BUT IT DOESN'T BACK IT UP WITH ANYTHING. IN MY TRAVELS TO AFRICA, I'VE SEEN MANY COUNTRIES ARE ALREADY -- THEY'RE READY FOR FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS, BUT THE BUREAUCRACIES OVER HERE IN THE UNITED STATES, THEY DON'T AGREE. THEY DON'T THINK THAT THEY ARE READY. SO I INTRODUCED THE AFRICAN FREE TRADE INITIATIVE ACT WHICH REQUIRES U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE TO ARTICULATE WHAT AFRICAN COUNTRIES NEED TO DO TO GET READY FOR TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH THE UNITED STATES. YOU KNOW, IT'S ONE THING FOR PEOPLE OVER HERE -- FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE DESIRING TRADE AND NOT DESIRING TRADE -- TO SAY, WELL, AFRICA IS NOT READY. BUT WHAT WE'RE DOING WITH THIS LEGISLATION IS SAYING, WE NEED TO KNOW FROM OUR TRADE REPRESENTATIVE WHAT THEY NEED TO DO SO THEY CAN BE A PART, THEY CAN GET SKIN IN THEIR OWN GAME. SECOND, IT REQUIRES THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE TO COORDINATE WITH THE MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION AND USAID SO THAT THEIR AID DOLLARS ARE FOCUSED ON PROJECTS THAT WILL HELP PREPARE THEM FOR FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH US. THESE PROVISIONS HAVE PASSED AND BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW. SO WE'RE MAKING THAT HEADWAY. STILL THE BUREAUCRACIES HAVE ALL THE TOOLS THEY NEED, BUT THEY AREN'T WILLING TO USE THEM BECAUSE THEY DON'T TAKE AFRICA SERIOUSLY. THEY DON'T VIEW THEM AS PEERS. THEY LOOK DOWN ON THEM BECAUSE THEY'RE SMALL. BUT THIS IS A SHAME BECAUSE THE ECONOMIES IN AFRICA ARE GROWING FASTER THAN ANY OTHER REGION IN THE WORLD. THEN THERE IS DIPLOMACY. OUR FOCUS SHOULD BE ON BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS ON ALIGNMENTS WITH COUNTRIES THAT WE CAN TRUST, WHO SHARE OUR VALUES, AND WHO HELP US INFLUENCE THE REST OF THE CONTINENT AND THE WORLD, AND TO BE FAVORABLE TO THE UNITED STATES. FOR TOO LONG WE'VE RIDDEN A HIGH HORSE THROUGH AFRICA. WE HAVE BEEN QUICK TO CHIDE THEM FOR THE MISTAKES THEY'VE MADE AND WE'VE BEEN SLOW OR COMPLETELY NEGLECT IN RECOGNIZING THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS. I'VE ALREADY ARTICULATED THE MIRACLE THAT THEY HAVE EXPERIENCED. WHEN THE PEOPLE OF RWANDA DECIDED TO ALLOW THE PRESIDENT TO RUN FOR AN ADDITIONAL TENTH THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CONDEMNED THEM. THEY PUBLICLY SHAMED THEM FOR THE COUNTRY'S ACTIONS AND DOUBLED DOWN WHEN HE RAN FOR REELECTION. THAT ADMINISTRATION DID NOT HAVE A CATEGORY FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS THAT WAS DIFFERENT FROM OURS. THEY JUST DIDN'T HAVE THE CATEGORY FOR A NEW NATION NEEDING HELP AND SO THEY WERE NOT HELPFUL TO THEM. THAT ADMINISTRATION ALSO FAILED TO RECOGNIZE THE AMAZING PROGRESS THAT RWANDA HAS MADE TO IMPROVE THEIR COUNTRY AND THE HEALTH AND EDUCATION OF THEIR PEOPLE, NOR DID THEY RECOGNIZE THE SUPERB SECURITY ASSISTANCE RWANDA PROVIDES IN THE REGION. AND SO OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH RWANDA WAS NEGATIVELY IMPACTED BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. WE HAVE BECOME KNOWN AS A CONDID HE SENDING AND UNRELIABLE PARTNER IN AFRICA. IF WE DO NOT CATCH UP AND CHANGE OUR APPROACH, OUR FRIENDS WILL SIGN NEW PARTNERS. IT IS NO SECRET HOW ENCHANGED CHINA IS ON THE CONTINENT. EVERY TIME YOU TRAVEL THROUGH AFRICA, THEY WILL SAY, WELL, THE UNITED STATES TELLS US WHAT YOU NEED. WE BUILD WHAT YOU NEED. THEY DON'T DO IT WITH AFRICAN LABOR BUT THEY HAVE A REASON FOR DOING THIS. THEY UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT AFRICA IS GOING TO BE IN THE COMING DECADES, SO THEY'RE TREATING AFRICAN NATIONS ACCORDINGLY, AS PEERS, HE WE SHOULD BE DOING. CHINA HAS SURPASSED THE UNITED STATES AS AFRICA'S LARGEST TRADING PARTNER. WE'VE BEEN THEIR LARGEST TRADING PARTNER FOR MANY YEARS, BUT NOW THAT'S CHANGED. CHINA HAS TAKEN OVER. THEY FUNDED THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE AFRICAN UNION'S HEADQUARTERS IN ETHIOPIA. THEIR AID DOLLARS GO TOWARDS PROJECTS THAT ARE TRIAL NEEDED, PROJECTS HAPPEN MUCH FASTER THAN COMPARED TO OURS. THE UNITED STATES HAS FALLEN BEHIND AND AT GREAT RISK. BETWEEN NOW AND 2030, THE ECONOMIES OF AFRICAN NATIONS ARE EXPECTED TO GROW BY AN AVERAGE OF 5% A YEAR, MEANING THE TOTAL SIZE OF THEIR ECONOMIES WOULD NEARLY DOUBLE IN THAT TIME. BY 2025, THE CONTINENT WILL HAVE A COMBINED G.D.P. OF OVER $2.5 TRILLION AND $1.4 TRILLION OF THAT -- THAT'S MORE THAN HALF OF THAT -- WILL CONSUMER PEND SPENDING. ACCORDINGLY, AFRICA'S GROWING MIDDLE CLASS WILL CONTINUE TO BECOME HIGHLY ATTRACTIVE IN THE BUSINESS WORLD. BY 2034, AFRICA IS EXPECTED TO HAVE THE WORLD'S LARGEST WORKING-AGE POPULATION OF 1.1 BILLION PEOPLE. WHICH COULD LEAD A LOW-COST LABOR ECONOMIC BOOM SIMILAR TO WHAT WAS EXPERIENCED IN EAST ASIA AFTER WORLD WAR II. OUR NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL A ALSO NOTED THAT THESE DEMOGRAPHIC AND ECONOMIC SHIFTS WILL HAVE ENORMOUS POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES AND THAT AFRICA'S ROLE IN WORLD POLITICS WILL DRAMATIC CHANGE BECAUSE OF THEM. IMPLEMENTING THIS POLICY WILL BENEFIT OUR PEOPLE, WILL GIVE US GREATER SECURITY, GIVE US A STRONG ECONOMICS AND IT WILL ADD TO OUR INFLUENCE IN THE WORLD IN THE LONG RUN. THESE THINGS WE NEED TO DO AND WE'RE NOT DOING THEM NOW. AND SO I'M ENCOURAGE OUR ADMINISTRATION TO DO IT. WE NEED TO GET THESE THINGS AND TO IMPLEMENT THIS POLICY EFFECTIVELY WE MUST CULTIVATE CRITICAL RELATIONS OF INFLUENCE WITH OUR LIKE-MINDED FRIENDS IN AFRICA. IN THE MIDDLE EAST WE HAVE ISRAEL. IN EUROPE WE HAVE GREAT BRITAIN. IN AFRICA WE HAVE AFRICA AND PAUL BUGAME. HE WILL SOON BE SWORN IN AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE AFRICAN LEADER. HE HAS ACCOMPLISHED GREAT THINGS FOR HIS K HE HAS ALSO ESTABLISHED HIMSELF AS A HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL FIGURE IN THE AFRICAN HEADS OF STATE BECAUSE HE HAS SET A BOLD VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF AFRICA THAT IS AUTONOMOUS, SELF-SUFFICIENT AND OPEN FOR BUSINESS. THIS VISION IS 100% COMPLEMENT TROY WHAT THE UNITED STATES POLICY SHOULD BE IN AFRICA. IN RECOGNIZING THIS -- AND RECOGNIZING THIS IT IS MY HOPE THAT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WILL EMBRACE HIM AND RWANDA AS THE AMERICAN FRIENDS THAT THEY ARE. WE NEED TO BRING RWANDA CLOSE SO THAT WE CAN WORK COOPERATIVELY WITH THEM TO ACCOMPLISH OUR SHARED GOAL. RWANDA AND AMERICA ARE LIKE-MINDED FRIENDS AND WE SHOULD TREAT THEM ACCORDINGLY. SO LET ME CONCLUDE WITH A PERSONAL STORY THAT EXPANDS A LITTLE BIT ON THIS. I HAD AN EXPERIENCE IN 2000. IN 200 IDENTIFIES CALLED BY A FRIEND ARE IN RWANDA. HIS NAME WAS CHARLES MURAGANDI. HE CALLED UP AND THERE'S BEEN A PROGRAM THAT I'VE BEEN INVOLVED INNED AND OTHERS HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN WHERE WE ENCOURAGE TO HAVE LIKE WE HAVE HERE IN THE UNITED STATES, WE HAVE WEEKLY PRAYER BREAKFAST EVERY WEDNESDAY. WE ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO THE SAME THING. HE CALLED ME UP AND SAID, YOU KNOW, WE NOW HAVE BEEN DOING THIS. WE WOULD LIKE IT HAVE OUR FIRST NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST IN RWANDA. WILL YOU COME OVER AND SPEAK. 14 YEARS LATER -- THIS IS AQUITE A CO-INKS DENSE. 14 YEARS LATER IN 2014 WE WERE ON ANOTHER TRIP IN BURUNDI BEFORE GOING TO OATH OPENNIA BUT FOR SECURITY REASONS WE WEREN'T ABLE TO LAND IN BURUNDI. SO WE STOPPED IN RWANDA INSTEAD. RWANDA DIDN'T KNOW WE WERE GOING TO BE THERE. WE DIDN'T KNOW WE WERE GOING TO BE. IT WAS JUST -- THERE WAS NO WARNING WHATSOEVER. BUT WHEN WE GOT THERE, AS A COINCIDENCE, THE NEXT DAY THEY WERE HAVING THEIR 14th ANNUAL PRAYER BREAKFAST. THEY ASSUMED, SINCE I WAS THEIR SPEAKER, AT THEIR FIRST PRAYER BREAKFAST 14 YEARS BEFORE, I WAS THERE TO GIVE A SPEECH. SO I D I SAY THIS BECAUSE 14 YEARS BEFORE THAT HAPPENED AND EVERY YEAR SINCE THEN AND EVERY YEAR SINCE THIS TOOK PLACE, PAUL WAS THEN LEADING BOTH PRAYER BREAKFAST. SO IN ADDITION TO ALL OF THE VIRTUES THAT PAUL THAT I HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT -- PERHAPS TOO LONG -- HE IS A STRONG MAN OF FAITH AND IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 04:54:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 04:54:07 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK FOR UP TO 15 MINUTES.

  • 04:54:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:54:14 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, VERY SHORTLY THE SENATE IS GOING TO TAKE TWO VOTES ON THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, VERY SHORTLY THE SENATE IS GOING TO TAKE TWO VOTES ON THE PRESIDENT'S NOMINEES. THE FIRST IS TO CONFIRM JEROME POWELL AS THE NEXT FED CHAIR. ONCE THAT VOTE WRAPS UP, THE SENATE WILL VOTE ON WHETHER TO BEGIN DEBATE ON THE NOMINATION OF ALEX AZAR TO BE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. THIS IS ONE OF THE KEY ROLES IN OUR ENTIRE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN CARING FOR AMERICA'S SICK AND VULNERABLE. LET ME BEGIN BY SAYING THAT HAD MR. AZAR DOES NOT COME WITH THE STAGGERING ETHICAL CHALLENGES OF HIS PREDECESSOR, THE FIRST TRUMP H.H.S. NOMINEE TOM PRICE. HERE IS MY CONCERN. MR. AZAR'S NOMINATION IS A CLEAR SYMBOL OF THE PRESIDENT'S BROKEN PROMISES ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND PLEDGE TO SECURE BETTER AND MORE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL AMERICANS. AT THE OUTSET OF MY REMARKS, I'M GOING TO START WITH THE ISSUE OF SKYROCKETING PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES THAT NOW CLOBBER MILLIONS OF AMERICANS AT PHARMACY WINDOWS ACROSS AMERICA. IT IS ONE THING FOR A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO HAVE CLAIMED THAT HE WOULD JUST BE TOO BUSY, TOO BUSY WORKING TO HAVE TIME TO GOLF AND THEN SPEND ALMOST ONE OUT OF THREE DAYS IN OFFICE GOLFING. IT'S ANOTHER THING ALTOGETHER TO PROMISE CHEAPER PRESCRIPTION DRUGS TO SICK AND VULNERABLE AMERICANS WHO EMPTY THEIR POCKET OZ TO PAY FOR THEIR MEDICATIONS ONLY TO ABANDON THEM COMPLETELY ONCE YOU ARE IN OFFICE. NOW, IT WAS BARELY A YEAR AGO THAT DONALD TRUMP STOOD BEFORE OUR COUNTRY AND SAID PRESCRIPTION HIKING DRUG COMPANIES WERE GETTING, QUOTE, AWAY WITH MURDER. MR. PRESIDENT, THOSE WERE HIS WORDS, NOT MINE, NOT SOMEBODY IN THE NEWS MEDIA. THE PRESIDENT SAID THE DRUG COMPANIES WERE, QUOTE, GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER. NOW HE'S NOMINATED ALEX AAZAR, ADRUG COMPANY EXECUTIVE WITH A DOCUMENTED HISTORY OF RAISING DRUG PRICES TO LEAD THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. FROM 2012 UNTIL LAST YEAR, MR. AZAR WAS THE HEAD OF ELI LILLY'S AMERICAN SUBSIDIARY. THAT'S LILLY U.S.A. AND HE CHAIRED THE U.S.A. PRICING, REIMBURSEMENT, AND ACCESS STEERING COMMITTEE, WHICH GAVE HIM A MAJOR ROLE OVER DRUG PRICE INCREASES FOR EVERY PRODUCT LILY MARKETED ACROSS THE COUNTRY. ON MR. AZAR'S WATCH, THE PRICE OF FORTEO, A LILLY DRUG USED TO TREAT OSTEOPOROSIS, MORE THAN DOUBLED. THE PRICE OF EPIAN, A LILLY DRUG USED TO TREAT HEART DISEASE, MORE THAN DOUBLED. THE PRICE OF STRATERA, A DRUG USED TO TREAT ADHD, MORE THAN DOUBLED. THE PRICE OF HUMILA, A LILLY DRUG USED TO TREAT DIABETES, MORE THAN DOUBLED. AND THESE ARE ONLY A FEW OF THE DRUGS THAT WERE UNDER MR. AZAR'S PURVIEW. MR. AZAR TOLD THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE THAT HE HAD NEVER -- NOT EVEN ONE TIME -- SIGNED OFF ON A DECREASE IN THE PRICE OF A MEDICINE. AND WHEN ASKED ABOUT THAT STATEMENT IN HIS CONFIRMATION HEARING, MR. AZAR WAS QUICK TO SAY, THAT'S JUST THE WAY THE SYSTEM WORKS. BUT HE DIDN'T GIVE US ANY CONCRETE EXAMPLES OF HOW HE'D BUCK THAT SYSTEM IF HE BECAME THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. IT SEEMS TO ME, GIVEN THE FACT THAT HE WAS ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT CONCRETE IDEAS HE HAD FOR REFORMING THE SYSTEM AND CARRYING OUT THE PRESIDENT'S PROMISES TO HOLD DOWN PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES, HE CAME UP EMPTY, AND I GUESS THAT SAYS I WOULD FIT RIGHT IN WITH THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ON PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRACTICES. IN ITS FIRST YEAR, THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HAS MADE EXACTLY NO PROGRESS WHEN IT COMES TO TACKLING THE SKYROCKETING PHARMACEUTICAL PRICES. THEY DON'T HAVE ANY EXECUTIVE ORDERS THAT HAVE ANY TEETH IN THEM, DON'T SEEM TO BE ANY NEW INITIATIVES AT ALL, NO NEW LEGISLATION HAS COME FROM THE DEPARTMENT OR THE WHITE HOUSE. PERHAPS, IN MY VIEW, THAT'S BECAUSE THE ADMINISTRATION SEEMS TO BE BUSY ON OTHER FRONTS, LIKE TAKING HEALTH CARE AWAY FROM THOSE WHO NEED IT, PEOPLE WHO CAN LEAST AFFORD TO HAVE THEIR BILLS CLIMBING UPWARD BECAUSE OF A DECISION MADE BY A BUREAUCRACY HERE IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS NOMINATION AS YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR SENATORS DISCUSS, TOMORROW IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST THE ADMINISTRATION'S FAILURE ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. IT IS IN EFFECT A PROXY ON AN ENTIRE HEALTH CARE AGENDA. THIS IS REALLY A REFERENDUM ON A HEALTH CARE POLICY FROM THIS ADMINISTRATION THAT I THINK IS AN ABJECT FAILURE. IT'S A YEAR IN NOW AND THE ADMINISTRATION'S TRACK RECORD ON HEALTH CARE IS PRETTY CLEAR. NEW DATA CAME OUT A FEW DAYS AGO SHOWING THAT THE NUMBER OF AMERICANS WITH HEALTH INSURANCE DROPPED BY MORE THAN THREE MILLION PEOPLE. THAT MEANS THREE MILLION AMERICANS ARE A SUDDEN ILLNESS OR INJURY AWAY FROM A NIGHTMARE OF PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY, HAVING TO SELL THEIR HOME OR THEIR CAR OR EMPTY A RETIREMENT ACCOUNT TO ESCAPE FROM UNDER THAT MOUNTAIN OF MEDICAL BILLS. AND, TWO A VERY SUBSTANTIAL PART OF THAT PROBLEM STEMS FROM THE ADMINISTRATION'S SABOTAGE OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. THE ADMINISTRATION CUT THE OPEN ENROLLMENTROLLMENT PERIOD IN HALF. THAT MEANT ANYBODY WOULD CLICKED ON THE INTERNET HOPING TO SIGN UP THIS MONTH FIND OUT THEY'RE JUST TOO LATE. THEY SLASHED ADVERTISING BUDGETS THAT HELP REACH THE YOUNGER AND HEALTHIER CUSTOMER THAT MAKES THE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKET AFFORDABLE. AND THEY MADE IT HARDER FOR THOSE HAVING DIFFICULTY SIGNING UP FOR COVERAGE TO GET A LITTLE BIT OF HELP IN PERSON. THIS AGENDA, THIS SABOTAGE AGENDA, IN MY VIEW, IS AN ATTACK ON THE KIND OF HEALTH INSURANCE THIS ADMINISTRATION SAYS IT'S FOR. THEY SAY THEY'RE FOR A PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKET, BUT THE FACT IS WHAT THEY'VE BEEN DOING IS UNDERMINING THE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKET AS PART OF THEIR EFFORT TO UNDERMINE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. SO THIS POLICY PERPETRATED BY A PARTY AND THE PRESIDENT WHO PROFESS TO WANT TO RUN THIS COUNTRY LIKE A BUSINESS CERTAINLY DOESN'T REFLECT THE KIND OF SOUND BUSINESS PRACTICES WE SEE FROM BUSINESS LEADERS IN MY HOME STATE OF OREGON. IF THAT WASN'T HARMFUL ENOUGH, THE ADMINISTRATION ALSO IS ALLOWING FRAUDSTERS TO ONCE AGAIN SELL JUNK COVERAGE, JUNK COVERAGE INSURANCE POLICIES THAT AREN'T WORTH THE PAPER THEY'RE PRINTED ON. A MAJOR PART OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WAS LAYING DOWN BASIC CONSUMER PROTECTIONS FOR THE PRIVATE MARKET. IT WAS ALL ABOUT SAYING THAT AMERICANS WOULD NO LONGER GET STUCK WITH JUNK INSURANCE THAT TURNED OUT TO BE WORTHLESS WHEN THEY ACTUALLY SUFFERED AN INJURY OR CAME DOWN WITH AN ILLNESS. MR. PRESIDENT, I CAN'T TELL YOU WHAT A STEP BACKWARD IT IS TO SEE THE SALE OF THESE JUNK INSURANCE POLICIES. YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS DIRECTOR OF THE GREAT PANTHERS, IT WAS COMMON TO SEE OLDER PEOPLE BUY 15 OR 20 PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE POLICIES TO SUPPLEMENT THEIR MEDICARE. AND THEY WEREN'T WORTH THE PAPER THEY WERE WRITTEN ON. THEY WERE JUNK. FINALLY WE GOT THAT CHANGED. WE PASSED A LAW WITH TEETH TO CHANGE IT. BUT NOW THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HAS WITH RESPECT TO THE PRIVATE MARKET AND THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT DECIDED LET'S TURN BACK THE CLOCK AND BRING BACK JUNK INSURANCE IN THE PRIVATE INSURANCE MARKETPLACE. SO INSTEAD OF WORKING ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS TO MAKE THE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKET MORE AFFORDABLE AND COMPETITIVE, THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HAS SABOTAGED THOSE MARKETS, HIKING THE NUMBER OF AMERICANS WITHOUT COVERAGE, AND STICKING A WHOLE LOT OF AMERICANS WITH JUNK COVERAGE THAT IN MY VIEW IS VIRLTUALLY -- IS VIRTUALLY GUARANTEED TO FAIL THEM WHEN THEY ARE IN MOST NEED. THEIR BIGGEST THREAT THEIR STRATEGY POSES ON A BASIC LEVEL IS IT WIPES OUT THE IRONCLAD GUARANTEE OF PROTECTION FOR AMERICANS WITH PREEXISTING CONDITIONS. A GUARANTEE OF ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE ISN'T WORTH MUCH IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD IT. AND THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS DOING A BANKUP JOB -- BANGUP JOB OF MAKING HEALTH INSURANCE UNAFFORDABLE FOR THOSE WITH PREEXISTING CONDITIONS. THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ALSO HAS UNDERMINED YEARS OF PROGRESS WITH RESPECT TO WOMEN'S HEALTH. THEY ATTACKED A RULE THAT SAYS WOMEN HAVE TO BE GUARANTEED NO COST ACCESS TO CONTRACEPTION, ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR HEALTH CARE RULES IN RECENT MEMORY. FORTUNATELY, THE ADMINISTRATION'S ACTION ON THAT ISSUE HAS BEEN HELD UP IN THE COURTS, BUT THAT IS ONLY ONE PART OF THE ANTIWOMEN'S HEALTH AGENDA THAT PLAYS OUT NOW. JUST LAST WEEK THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OVERTURNED LONG-STANDING PROTECTIONS DEALING WITH STATES AND FAMILY PLANNING PROVIDERS. THIS IN MY VIEW IS AN ATTACK BOTH ON A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO SEE THE PROVIDER OF THEIR CHOOSING AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD. THE ADMINISTRATION IS ALSO BROADENING THE EXCEPTIONS THAT GIVE EMPLOYERS AND UNIVERSITIES A SAY OVER WHAT KIND OF HEALTH CARE WOMEN CAN ACCESS. HERE'S HOW MR. AZAR DESCRIBED HIS PERSPECTIVE ON THAT ISSUE WHEN HE WENT BEFORE THE HELP COMMITTEE. HE SAID, AND I QUOTE, WE HAVE TO BALANCE, OF COURSE, A WOMAN'S CHOICE OF INSURANCE THAT SHE WOULD WANT WITH THE CONSCIENCE OF EMPLOYERS AND OTHERS. MR. PRESIDENT, WE DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT. A WOMAN'S CHOICE OF HEALTH CARE IS HER CHOICE, HER CHOICE AND NOBODY ELSE'S. THE CARE SHE HAS ACCESS TO AND RECEIVES IS NOT UP TO HER EMPLOYER. IT'S NOT UP TO A UNIVERSITY. IT'S UP TO THAT WOMAN AND HER PHYSICIAN. AND NOW THE ADMINISTRATION IS EVEN GOING AFTER PROTECTIONS FOR LGBTQ AMERICANS. BOTTOM LINE, THE ADMINISTRATION IS DOING A LOT MORE TO PROTECT THE PERPETRATORS OF DISCRIMINATION THAN THE VICTIMS. HEALTH CARE IS A RIGHT IN AMERICA BUT DISCRIMINATION IS NOT. THE WAY MR. AZAR DESCRIBES THE POSITION HE'S NOMINATED TO FILL, IT SOUNDS LIKE HE UNDERSTANDS IT. HE SAID IN HIS CONFIRMATION HEARING, IF I GET THIS JOB, MY JOB IS TO ENHANCE AND PROTECT THE WELSHING OF ALL AMERICANS -- WELL-BEING OF ALL AMERICANS, BUT HE IS NOT COMMITTED TO REVERSING THESE KIND OF ANTIDISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES I JUST DESCRIBED. WHEN I HEARD MR. AZAR SAY IT WOULD BE HIS JOB TO ENHANCE AND PROTECT THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF ALL AMERICANS, I COULDN'T HELP BUT THINK BACK TO THE FIRST NOMINATION HEARING THE FINANCE COMMITTEE HAD FOR A TRUMP H.H.S. NOMINEE. BACK THEN TOM PRICE TOLD THE COMMITTEE IT WOULD BE HIS JOB AT THE DEPARTMENT JUST TO ADMINISTER THE LAW PASSED BY CONGRESS. HE'D BE OUT OF THE LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS. ONCE HE GOT THE JOB, HE BROKE HIS WORD AND THAT'S BEEN THE NORM FOR THE DEPARTMENT OVER THE YEAR. THE CONGRESS HAS EVERY REASON TO BELIEVE THAT'S GOING TO CONTINUE REGARDLESS OF THE TALKING POINTS MR. AZAR AND ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS USE. FINALLY, MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO DISCUSS MEDICAID. JUST IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS, THE ADMINISTRATION HAS BEGUN GIVING STATES A GREEN LIGHT TO SLAP NEW IMPUGN TIF REQUIREMENTS AND -- IMPUGN TIF REQUIREMENTS AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS COVERED ABOUT I STATE PROGRAMS. BOTTOM LINE, MEDICAID IS A HEALTH CARE PROGRAM. THE VAST MAJORITY OF THOSE WHO COUNT ON MEDICAID EITHER ALREADY HAVE A JOB OR ARE UNABLE TO WORK DUE TO OLD AGE AND INFIRMITY. AND WE SHOULDN'T BE TRYING TO MAKE LIFE HARDER FOR THOSE FOLKS. THE ACTION BY THE CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES GOES AFTER PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST TRYING TO GET BY. IT'S A DECISION BY BUREAUCRATS IN WASHINGTON GOING AFTER AMERICANS WHO WALK AN ECONOMIC TIGHTROPE, WHO MIGHT JUST BE TRYING TO TAKE CARE OF KIDS OR ELDERLY PARENTS WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH A CHRONIC CONDITION. THIS LOOKS ON MEDICAID LIKE YET ANOTHER IDEOLOGICALLY MOVIE VAITED ATTACK -- MOTIVATED ATTACK ON A PROGRAM THAT COVERS AMERICANS, VULNERABLE AMERICANS OF ALL GENERATIONS FROM NEWBORN INFANTS TO TWO OUT OF THREE SENIORS. THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS GIVING STATES PERMISSION TO ATTACK IT. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT FOR TWO ADDITIONAL MINUTES.

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  • 05:10:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 05:10:37 PM

    MR. WYDEN

    MR. PRESIDENT, IN A SHORT WHILE THE SENATE WILL HAVE A CLOTURE VOTE ON MR.…

    MR. PRESIDENT, IN A SHORT WHILE THE SENATE WILL HAVE A CLOTURE VOTE ON MR. AZAR'S NOMINATION TO RUN THE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT. BUT THE DEBATE WILL BE ABOUT A LOT MORE THAN THAT. IT'S A QUESTION OF WHETHER THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO TAKE THIS COUNTRY BACKWARD ON HEALTH, TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST AMERICANS. IT'S A QUESTION OF WHETHER THE ATTACKS ON MEDICAID SHOULD CONTINUE AND WHETHER THIS ADMINISTRATION IS GOING TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR ITS BROKEN PROMISEPROMISES ON LOWER DRUG PRICE, INSURANCE FOR ALL, NO CUTS TO MEDICARE OR MEDICAID. I REGRET TO SAY TO THE SENATE TODAY I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE MR. AZAR WILL CHANGE COURSE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. I DO NOT SUPPORT HIS NOMINATION, AND I URGE A NO VOTE TODAY. AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 05:11:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, ALL POSTCLOTURE TIME IS EXPIRED. THE QUESTION…

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, ALL POSTCLOTURE TIME IS EXPIRED. THE QUESTION OCCURS ON THE POWELL NOMINATION. IS THERE A SUFFICIENT SECOND? THERE APPEARS TO BE. THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: VOTE: VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 05:12:00 PM

    Senate Vote 19 - On the Nomination PN1353

    Nomination Confirmed (84 - 13)
    Yea

    Vote Details: Yea - 84
    Republican - 44
    Democratic - 39
    Independent - 1

    Vote Details: Nay - 13
    Democratic - 8
    Republican - 4
    Independent - 1

  • 05:29:44 PM

    VOTE

    VOTE: VOTE:

  • 05:39:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS THAT HAVE NOT VOTED OR WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE…

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS THAT HAVE NOT VOTED OR WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, THE YEAS ARE 85, THE NAYS ARE 12. THE NOMINATION IS CONFIRMED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER IS -- THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER IS CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE, AND THE PRESIDENT WILL BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE.

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  • 05:40:00 PM

    Senate Vote 20 - On the Cloture Motion PN1371

    Cloture Motion Agreed to (54 - 43)
    Yea
    Nay

    Vote Details: Yea - 54
    Republican - 47
    Democratic - 6
    Independent - 1

    Vote Details: Nay - 43
    Democratic - 41
    Republican - 1
    Independent - 1

  • 05:40:19 PM

    THE CLERK

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

    CLOTURE MOTION. WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 22 OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, DO HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE DEBATE ON THE NOMINATION OF ALEX MICHAEL AZAR TO BE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS.

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  • 05:40:36 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 NOMINATION OF MICHAEL A.AZAR OF INDIANA TO BE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SHALL BE BROUGHT TO A CLOSE. THE YEAS AND NAYS ARE MANDATORY UNDER THE RULE, AND THE CLERK SHALL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 06:01:17 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

    ARE THERE ANY SENATORS IN THE CHAMBER WISHING TO VOTE OR CHANGE THEIR VOTE? IF NOT, THE YEAS ARE 54, THE NAYS ARE 43, THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE IS AGREED TO. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE NOMINATION.

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  • 06:01:34 PM

    THE CLERK

    NOMINATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ALEX AZAR TO BE…

    NOMINATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ALEX AZAR TO BE SECRETARY OF HUMAN RESOURCES. STEINSTEIN I VOTED AYE --

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  • 06:01:49 PM

    MRS. FEINSTEIN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I BE PERMITTED TO CHANGE MY VOTE. IT WILL NOT…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT I BE PERMITTED TO CHANGE MY VOTE. IT WILL NOT AFFECT THE OUTCOME.

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  • 06:01:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:02:55 PM

    MS. WARREN

    MR. PRESIDENT, ARE WOULD WE IN A QUORUM CALL?

  • 06:02:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE IS NOT. REIN REASON I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE LIFTED.

  • 06:03:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    DID YOU SAY --

  • 06:03:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE IS NOT. REIN REASON I ASK TO BE RECREATIONED TO SPEAK.

  • 06:03:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:03:10 PM

    MS. WARREN

    I RISE TO URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO VOTE AGAINST THE CONFIRMATION OF ALEX AZAR…

    I RISE TO URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO VOTE AGAINST THE CONFIRMATION OF ALEX AZAR TO SERVE AS SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES OR H.H.S. WHEN CONGRESS CONFERS SOMEBODY TO BE H.H.S. SECRETARY, THEY'RE PUTTING THAT PERSON IN CHARGE OF SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONS MADE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, DECISIONS THAT TOUCH THE LIVES OF EVERY FAMILY IN AMERICA. THE SAFETY OF THE FOOD INSIDE OUR FRIGERATORS, THE CALL OF NURSING HOMES WHERE OUR GRANDMOTHERS LIVE, THE PRICE OF OUR HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY, THE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE TO A FLU OUTBREAK. ON THESE ISSUES AND MANY, MANY MORE, THE H.H.S. SECRETARY CALLS THE SHOTS. WHEN CONGRESS DEBATED TOM PRICE'S NOMINATION TO BE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ONE YEAR AGO, I SAID THAT WE SHOULD NOT HAND OVER THE KEY TO THIS AGENCY UNLESS WE WERE ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT HE WOULD PUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FIRST EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY. AND LET'S BE HONEST, TOM PRICE DID NOT CLEAR THAT BAR. HE DIDN'T EVEN COME CLOSE. NOPE, WHEN HE WAS NOMINATED, TOM PRICE ALREADY HAD A TRACK RECORD OF USING HIS POSITION IN GOVERNMENT TO HELP EXACTLY ONE PERSON -- TOM PRICE. BUT SENATE REPUBLICANS WERE SO EXCITED TO GET STARTED GUTTING THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND RIPPING UP MEDICAID THAT THEY JAMMED HIS NOMINATION THROUGH WITHOUT A SINGLE DEMOCRATIC VOTE. WELL, TURNS OUT WE'RE LOOKING AT SOMEONE WHOSE RECORD IS A PRETTY GOOD WAY TO JUDGE HOW THEY'RE GOING TO FIGHT FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. BECAUSE TOM PRICE DIDN'T SPEND HIS TIME AS H.H.S. SECRETARY WORKING FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES. HE SPENT IT BURNING TAXPAYER DOLLARS AS HE FLEW AROUND ON PRIVATE JETS AND MILITARY AIRCRAFT DURING THE EIGHT MONTHS THAT TOM PRICE WAS ON THE JOB, HE PUT HIS OWN INTERESTS BEFORE THOSE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. AND NOW PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS NOMINATED ALEX AZAR TO BE TOM PRICE'S REPLACEMENT THE AS SECRETARY OF H.H.S. REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN TRYING TO SPIN MR. AZAR AS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR, SOMEONE WHO CAN BE TRUSTED TO STAY OFF PRIVATE JETS WHILE HE HELPS THEM CARRY OUT THEIR PLANS TO GUT THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND MEDICAID WITHOUT ATTRACTING QUITE SO MUCH UNWANTED ATTENTION. BUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AREN'T FOOLED BY THIS SPIN BECAUSE IN THE WAYS THAT MATTER MOST, ALEX AZAR IS LIKE TOM PRICE. MR. AZAR'S ROSE MAY READS LIKE A HOW-TO MANUAL FOR PROFITING OFF GOVERNMENT SERVICE. ABOUT A DECADE AGO HE WORKED IN GOVERNMENT HELPING TO REGULATE THE NATION'S MOST PROFITABLE DRUG COMPANIES. AND WHEN HE LEFT, HE SHOT STRAIGHT THROUGH THE REVOLVING DOOR AND BECAME AN EXECUTIVE AT ELI LILLY DRUG COMPANY. LAST YEAR THEY PAID HIM MORE THANK $3.5 MILLION. NOT BAD. AND NOW HE WANTS TO SWING RIGHT BACK THROUGH THE REVOLVING DOOR AGAIN AND ONCE AGAIN REGULATE THOSE SAME DRUG COMPANIES, REGULATE THEM AT LEAST UNTIL HE DECIDES TO SPIN THROUGH THE REVOLVING DOOR AGAIN AND MAKE MORE MONEY FROM THE DRUG COMPANIES. YOU KNOW, I DON'T THINK THAT PRIVATE-SECTOR EXPERIENCE SHOULD DISQUALIFY EXPERIENCE FROM SERVING, AND I'M ROOTING AS HARD AS ANYONE FOR AN H.H.S. SECRETARY WHO ACTUALLY CARES ABOUT THE JOB. BUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE TO KNOW THAT THE PERSON RUNNING H.H.S. IS LOOKING OUT FOR THEM AND NOT FOR HIS OWN BANK ACCOUNTS OR FOR THE PROFITS OF HIS FORMER EMPLOYER OR WHAT MAKES HIM MORE MARKETABLE TO HIS NEXT EMPLOYER. AND THAT'S WHY MR. AZAR FACED SOME REALLY TOUGH QUESTIONS AT HIS CONFIRMATION HEARING BEFORE THE HELP COMMITTEE ABOUT WHETHER HE WOULD BE WILLING TO HOLD GIANT DRUG COMPANIES ACCOUNTABLE WHEN THEY BREAK THE LAW. AFTER ALL, HE WORKED FOR ELI LILLY WHILE THEY WERE CLEANING UP THE MESS AFTER BEING FORCED TO PAY THE LARGEST CRIMINAL FINE OF ITS KIND IN U.S. HISTORY -- A PUNISHMENT FOR LYING ABOUT ONE OF ITS DRUGS AND PEDDLING THAT DRUG AS A TREATMENT FOR ALZHEIMER'S WITH NO TREATMENT THAT IT WORKED. THE WORD FOR THAT, BY THE WAY, IS FRAUD. AND ELI LILLY'S SCHEME COST THE GOVERNMENT AND TAXPAYERS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. NOW, MR. AZAR STARTS OUT BY SAYING THE RIGHT THING ABOUT THIS. HE SAID, QUOTE, OH, THAT SORT OF BEHAVIOR IS UNACCEPTABLE. OF COURSE ANYONE WHO BREAKS THE LAW SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. SOUNDS GREAT. BUT THEN I SCRATCH THE SURFACE JUST A LITTLE AND WHEN I PRESSED JUST A LITTLE BIT HARDER AND ASKED HIM TO GIVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SOMETHING MORE THAN A POLISHED TALKING POINT, HE STARTED DANCING AROUND IN HIS CHAIR, BOBBING, WEAVING, DOING EVERYTHING HE COULD TO AVOID ANSWERING THE QUESTION. MR. AZAR SAID HE BELIEVED THAT LAWBREAKERS SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. SO I ASKED HIM FIVE SEPARATE TIMES DURING HIS CONFIRMATION HEARING WHETHER HE THOUGHT ELI LILLY'S SETTLEMENT REPRESENTED ADEQUATE ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE COMPANY'S ILLEGAL BEHAVIOR. FIVE TIMES IN A ROW. HE DODGED, HE DANCED, HE REFUSED TO GIVE A STRAIGHT ANSWER. I ASKED HIM TWICE WHETHER C.E.O.'S SHOULD BE HELD PERSONALLY ACCOUNTABLE WHEN DRUG COMPANIES LIKE ELI LILLY BREAK THE LAW. BOTH TIMES HE SQUIRMED AWAY FROM THE QUESTION LIKE IT WAS SOME KIND OF SNAKE THAT WOULD BITE HIM. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE BETTER THAN AN H.H.S. SECRETARY TO STRUGGLES TO ANSWER THE QUESTION WHETHER GIANT DRUG COMPANIES AND THEIR C.E.O.'S SHOULD FACE THE MUSIC WHEN THEY CHEAT TAXPAYERS AND LIE ABOUT DRUGS. AND ON THE TOPIC OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, IT IS THE SAME STORY ALL OVER AGAIN. MR. AZAR SPENT HIS WHOLE CONFIRMATION HEARING BEFORE THE HELP COMMITTEE PRETENDING THAT THE DRUG ADMINISTRATION HASN'T BEEN TRYING TO RIP UP HEALTH CARE COVERAGE FOR TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS. HE ACTUALLY SAT BEFORE THE COMMITTEE AND BUTTER WOULD MELT IN HIS MOUTH, SAYING THINGS LIKE, OH, I DON'T THINK THE ADMINISTRATION WANTED FEWER PEOPLE TO ENROLL IN HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE. I'M SURE THEY JUST CUT THE ENROLLMENT PERIOD IN HALF BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT IT WOULD IMPROVE ACCESS TO INSURANCE. HE ACTUALLY SAID THAT. WHEN I HEARD THAT, I REALLY DID, I WONDERED IF HE THOUGHT WE WERE STUPID. HIS ANSWER WAS SO RIDICULOUS THAT I EVEN ASKED HIM A FOLLOW-UP QUESTION IN WRITING TO MAKE SURE I HAD IT RIGHT. AND HE RESPONDED -- THINK ABOUT THIS, THAT WHEN THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION CUT THE PERIOD OF TIME THAT PEOPLE COULD ENROLL FOR HEALTH INSURANCE, HE SAID, I DO NOT AGREE WITH THE CHARACTERIZATION THAT THE ADMINISTRATION OR THE DEPARTMENT HAS MADE AN EFFORT TO UNDERCUT OPEN ENROLLMENT. YOU JUST CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP. REPUBLICANS WANT TO PRETEND THAT ALEX AZAR IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM TOM PRICE BECAUSE TOM PRICE WAS A TERRIBLE H.H.S. SECRETARY WHO DIDN'T PUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FIRST. BUT I DON'T SEE THE DIFFERENCE. I SIGH SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T WANT TO SAY IT OUT LOUD BUT WHO INTENDS TO BEHAVE EXACTLY LIKE TOM PRICE WHEN HE SITS DOWN BEHIND TOM PRICE'S OLD DESK. HE WILL SUPPORT EFFORTS TO REPEAL THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, GUT EFFORTS TO ENROLL PEOPLE IN HEALTH INSURANCE, TAKE AWAY MEDICAID FROM PEOPLE WHO NEED IT THE MOST. NO ONE HERE SHOULD BE FOOLED. THIS WEEK IS THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF TOM PRICE'S CONFIRMATION HEARING BEFORE THE SENATE, AND WE KNOW HOW THAT ENDED. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE BETTER. THEY DESERVE AN H.H.S. SECRETARY WHO WILL PUT THEM FIRST. I WILL BE VOTING AGAINST ALEX AZAR BECAUSE I DON'T BELIEVE HE MEETS THAT STANDARD. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD. A SENATOR: PLOP?

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  • 06:11:47 PM

    A SENATOR

    PLOP?

  • 06:11:50 PM

    MS. STABENOW

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO SPEAK ABOUT WHY I,…

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO SPEAK ABOUT WHY I, TOO, WILL BE OPPOSING ALEX AZAR TO BE THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND I APPRECIATE, AS ALWAYS, MY GREAT FRIEND FROM MASSACHUSETTS AND HER ADVOCACY FOR THE PEOPLE OF HER STATE AND ALL OF THE COUNTRY. PERHAPS NO MORE THAN ANY OTHER AGENCY, THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TOUCHES THE LIVES OF PEOPLE IN MICHIGAN AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY EVERY SINGLE DAY. IT PROVIDES FAMILIES ACCESS TO HEAD START AND OTHER EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS THAT HELP OUR YOUNGEST LEARNERS GET TO HAVE A STRONG START. IT HELPS ENSURE THAT FAMILIES HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE, WHETHER THROUGH MEDICARE, MEDICAID, CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE, OR PRIVATE INSURANCE. IT ADMINISTERS THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, WHICH MAKES SURE THAT MEDICATIONS ARE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE, AND IT WORKS TO ENSURE THAT HEALTH INSURANCE AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ARE AFFORDABLE, BECAUSE THE BEST MEDICATION A UNDERSTAND HEALTH COVERAGE -- AND HEALTH COVERAGE IN THE WORLD WON'T HELP ANYONE IN YOU CAN'T AFFORD THEM. IN SHORT, THIS POSITION IS ALL ABOUT PEOPLE, AND I EXPECT OUR NEXT SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO, ABOVE ALL, PUT PEOPLE BEFORE POLITICS OR PROFITS. UNFORTUNATELY, I DO NOT HAVE CONFIDENCE THAT MR. AZAR WILL DO THAT. SOME OF MY BIGGEST CONCERNS COME IN THE AREA OF PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES, AN ISSUE THAT EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IN MICHIGAN. I HAVE SPENT A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF TIME FOCUSED ON THAT OVER THE YEARS ON WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN, BRINGING DOWN COSTS FOR FAMILIES IS A VERY, VERY CRITICAL ISSUE FOR SO MANY, IF NOT EVERY FAMILY, IN MICHIGAN. FAR TOO MANY OF OUR FAMILIES ARE STRUGGLING TO KEEP UP WITH THE RISING COSTS OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. TAKE PATRICIA, WHO IS 73 YEARS OLD, AND A RETIRED NURSE. PATRICIA PRESCRIBED HUMIRA FOR HER SEVERE RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS. WHEN SHE CALLED THE FARM CIRCUMSTANCE SHE LEARNED THAT THE PRESCRIPTION WOULD COST $1,405. AS PATRICIA TOLD ME, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY I CAN AFFORD THIS AMOUNT ON A MONTHLY BASIS. $1,405 A MONTH. SOMEONE SOMEWHERE IS GETTING EXTREMELY WEALTHY OFF THE SENIORS, SHE SAID. THESE COMPANIES SHOULD BE CALLED TO TASK FOR THEIR GREED. I AGREE WITH PATRICIA. AND WE KNOW THAT PATRICIA IS IS NOT ALONE IN STRUGGLING TO AFFORD HER MEDICATION. BETWEEN 2008-2016, PRICES ON THE MOST POPULAR BRAND-NAME DRUGS ROSE OVER 208%, MORE THAN DOUBLED IN THE UNITED STATES. I CAN TELL YOU THAT THE AVERAGE MICHIGAN FAMILY'S INCOME DIDN'T DOUBLE DURING THAT SAME TIME. THESE OUTRAGEOUS PRICE INCREASES FORCED PEOPLE IN MICHIGAN AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO DO THINGS WE'VE HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT -- SPLIT PILLS IN HALF, SKIP DOSES, AND EVEN GO BANKRUPT. JUST T JUST TO STAY ON THE MEDICATIONS THEY NEED TO STAY HEALTHY OR EVEN STAY ALIVE. THESE FOLKS ARE SPENDING MONEY ON PRESCRIPTIONS THAT THEY COULD BE USING TO SAVE FOR RETIREMENT OR PAY FOR COLLEGE FOR THEIR KIDS. THAT'S WRONG. AND IT NEEDS TO CHANGE. I DON'T BELIEVE THAT MR. AZAR, A LONG-TIME PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY EXECUTIVE WITH A TRACK RECORD OF DRAMATICALLY INCREASING DRUG PRICES IS THE PERSON WHO CAN MAKE THAT CHANGE. HERE'S AN EXAMPLE. INSULIN. PEOPLE WHO HAVE DIABETES AS WE KNOW NEED IT TO STAY ALIVE, CHILDREN, ADULTS, SENIORS. YET STAYING ALIVE HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY UNAFFORDABLE IN PART THANKS TO MR. AZAR, THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF ELI LILY U.S.A.. THE PRICE OF ONE VIAL OF ELI LILLY'S HUMALOG INCREASED FROM $21 IN 1996, $21 TO $123 WHEN MR. AZAR BECAME THEIR PRESIDENT, TO $255 FOR JUST ONE VIAL. AS WE KNOW, PEOPLE NEED MORE THAN ONE VIAL. ONE VIAL, $255 IN 2017 WHEN MR. AZAR LEFT. MR. AZAR SAYS HE AGREES THAT PRICES ARE TOO HIGH, BUT HE WAS NOT -- BUT HE DOES NOT SEEM READY TO DO MUCH ABOUT IT. IF HE THINKS THEY'RE TOO HIGH, WHY DIDN'T HE LOWER THEM, RATHER THAN RAISING HIM WHEN HE WAS IN HIS POSITION AS PRESIDENT OF ELI LILLY U.S.A.. I TOLD HIM THAT THE NATIONAL ACADEMY'S OF SCIENCES, ENGINEERING AND MEDICINE AT OUR FINANCE HEARING RECOMMENDED ALLOWING H.H.S. TO NEGOTIATE PRICES. HE SAID THEY WERE WRONG. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULDN'T NEGOTIATE PRICES FOR PEOPLE TO GET THE BEST DEAL. COMMON SENSE TELLS US THAT'S WHAT SHOULD BE HAPPENING AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN HAPPENING FOR YEARS. MR. AZAR ALSO OPPOSES THE IMPORTATION OF SAFE AND AFFORDABLE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS FROM CANADA. THAT'S DESPITE THE FACT THAT HIS FORMER COMPANY, ELI LILLY SELLS THE IDENTICAL INSULIN PRODUCT IN CANADA AND AROUND THE WORLD FOR LESS THAN IT SELLS HERE. NOW, LET'S LOOK AT THIS PICTURE. YOU CAN GO ACROSS A BRIDGE FROM DETROIT INTO WINDSOR, FIVE MINUTES, TENSE MINUTES ACROSS THE -- TEN MINUTES ACROSS THE BRIDGE AND DROP DRAMATICALLY THE COST OF YOUR INSULIN FROM THE SAME COMPANY. ELI LILLY AND OTHER DRUG COMPANIES ARGUE, WELL, THE PROBLEM IS THEY'RE NOT SAFE. ARE THEY SAYING THAT ELI LILLY'S INSULIN ON ONE SIDE OF THE BRIDGE IN WINDSOR IS NOT SAFE TO BRING ACROSS TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BRIDGE? WE OPEN OUR BRIDGES. WE EXPORT, WE IMPORT EVERY SENDING GAL DAY MOST -- SINGLE DAY MOST EVERYTHING BUT PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. WHY DOES MR. AZAR THINK PEOPLE IN MICHIGAN SHOULD PAY MORE FOR A DECADES-OLD DRUG THAN THEY DO PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST A FEW MILES AWAY IN CANADA? BY THE WAY, INSULIN HAS BEEN AROUND FOR -- I DON'T KNOW -- A HUNDRED YEARS OR SOMETHING. AT SOME POINT YOU RECOUP YOUR COSTS BUT THIS PARTICULAR BRAFNEDZ OF INSULIN -- BRAND OF INSULIN IS SOLD ON ONE SIDE OF A BRIDGE IN ONE COUNTRY, IN CANADA, FOR LESS THAN THE OTHER SIDE. PEOPLE IN MICHIGAN NEED TO KNOW WHY THEY THINK THAT MAKES ANY SENSE. IT SURE DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME. AND IT SURE DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE TO STEVEN FROM MICHIGAN. HE'S 47 YEARS OLD. HE'S A VETERAN WHO HAS TYPE II DIABETES. HIS DOCTOR PRESCRIBED AN ELI LILLY MEDICATION, GAZAMBI THAT'S WORKED WELL TO CONTROL HIS BLOOD SUGAR BUT HE CAN'T AFFORD IT. THE MEDICATION COSTS MORE NAN $2,000 FOR A -- MORE THAN $2,000 FOR A 90-DAY SUPPLY. $2,000 FOR A 90-DAY SUPPLY. NO GENERIC EQUIVALENT. WONDER WHAT IT COSTS IN CANADA. IN STEVEN'S WORDS, THE DRUG COMPANIES ARE HOLDING US HOSTAGE. I NOW SEE WHY SOME SENIORS CUT THEIR MEDS IN HALF. SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE. I COULDN'T AGREE MORE. SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE AS STEVEN HAS SAID. UNFORTUNATELY, I DON'T BELIEVE THAT MR. AZAR WILL DO IT. DRUG PRICES AREN'T THE ONLY ISSUE THAT CONCERNS ME ABOUT THIS NOMINATION. LAST WEEK WE LEARNED THAT 3.2 MILLION MORE AMERICANS WERE UNINSURED AT THE END OF LAST YEAR, IN DECEMBER, THAN AT THE END OF THE YEAR BEFORE, 3.2 MILLION MORE PEOPLE DIDN'T HAVE INSURANCE. LARGEST SINGLE YEAR DROP IN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE INSURANCE. SO HIGHEST INCREASE SINCE 2008 OF THOSE WHO DON'T HAVE INSURANCE. IT'S A HUGE STEP BACKWARD FROM JUST A YEAR EARLIER WHEN THE U.S. HIT AN ALL-TIME LOW OF THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT DIDN'T HAVE INSURANCE OF 10.9%. RECENTLY WE SAW THE PASSAGE OF A TAX BILL THAT AMONG OTHER THINGS WILL LEAVE 13 MILLION AMERICANS UNINSURED. MORE AMERICANS UNINSURED. AND DRIVE UP PREMIUMS EVEN HIGHER AT DOUBLE DIGITS. AND THEY'RE NOT DONE YET. RIGHT NOW H.H.S. AND THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ARE CONSIDERING RULES THAT WOULD EXPAND THE AVAILABILITY OF INSURANCE PLANS THAT DON'T COVER ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS. AT ANOTHER TIME THEY WERE CALLED JUNK PLANS. I CAN REMEMBER BEFORE WE PUT IN PLACE THE REQUIREMENT FOR BASIC HEALTH BENEFITS TO BE COVERED, THAT SOMEONE WOULD CALL ME AND SAY, YOU KNOW, I'VE HAD INSURANCE FOR YEARS. NEVER NEEDED IT. GOT SICK AND DISCOVERED, OH, MY GOSH, IT WOULD COVER ONLY ONE DAY IN THE HOSPITAL. I DIDN'T KNOW. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, THOSE ARE CALLED JUNK PLANS. YOU THINK YOU'RE OKAY UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY NEED MEDICAL CARE. YOU ACTUALLY NEED COVERAGE AND YOU FIND OUT THAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR SOMETHING THAT WAS JUST A BUNCH OF JUNK. WE NOW HAVE IN PLACE CONSUMER PROTECTIONS. WE HAVE IN PLACE CONSUMER REQUIREMENTS THAT ARE CALLED ESSENTIAL BENEFITS. WHY? BECAUSE THEY ARE ESSENTIAL. EMERGENCY ROOM COVERAGE, PRETTY ESSENTIAL. HOSPITALIZATION. EVERYBODY ASSUMES IF THEY HAVE INSURANCE, THEY'RE COVERED IN THE HOSPITAL FOR THE AMOUNT OF TIME THEY NEED TO BE IN THE HOSPITAL. MENTAL HEALTH SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, MATERNITY CARE. BASIC THINGS THAT EVERY PERSON MAY NEED IN THEIR LIFETIME AS IT RELATES TO THEIR HEALTH. WHEN I ASKED MR. AZAR IF HE BELIEVES PLANS SHOULD HAVE TO COVER ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS, HE AVOIDED REALLY ANSWERING THE QUESTION. HE SAID THAT HE WOULD, QUOTE, WORK TO ENSURE THE LEAST DISRUPTIONIVE APPROACH -- DISRUPTIVE APPROACH TO IMPLEMENTING THESE POLICIES AND TO APPROPRIATELY CONSIDER THE CONCERNS EXPRESSED BY STAKEHOLDERS CALLED PEOPLE THAT NEED HEALTH CARE, DURING THE RULE-MAKING PROCESS. WE DON'T NEED THE LEAST DISRUPTIVE APPROACH TO IMPLEMENT BAD RULES. INSTEAD, WE NEED AN APPROACH THAT DOESN'T DISRUPT PEOPLE'S HEALTH CARE. WE NEED AN APPROACH THAT DOESN'T DISRUPT PEOPLE'S HEALTH CARE. THIS IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH EVERY DAY FOR SOMEONE IN MICHIGAN AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY. I ALSO ASKED MR. AZAR WHETHER HE BELIEVES THAT ALL HEALTH PLANS SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO COVER MATERNITY CARE AND NEWBORN CARE AT NO ADDITIONAL COST. IT'S PRETTY BASIC. IF YOU'RE A WOMAN, PRETTY BASIC IN TERMS OF COVERAGE. HE ONCE AGAIN DUCKED SAYING ONLY THAT, QUOTE, IT IS CRITICAL THAT EVERY WOMAN HAVE ACCESS TO HIGH QUALITY PRENATAL CARE. WELL, WE KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS BECAUSE BEFORE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, ONLY 12% OF THE PLANS IN THE INDIVIDUAL MARKET COVERED MATERNITY AND NEWBORN CARE. AND SO YOU FOUND YOURSELF IN A SITUATION AS A YOUNG WOMAN, VERY COMMON SITUATION THAT WOULD HAPPEN, NEWLY MARRIED, YOU'RE STRUGGLING TO GET STARTED, YOU DON'T PLAN TO GET SICK, YOU'RE NOT PLANNING TO HAVE A BABY SO YOU GET THE SKIMPIEST HEALTH PLAN THAT YOU CAN HAVE THAT YOU THINK WILL KIND OF COVER YOU. THEN SOMETHING HAPPENS. 50% OF THE TIME WE KNOW IN YOUNG COUPLES, THERE'S AN EXPECTED PREGNANCY AND THEN WHOOPS, PRIOR TO THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, OH, NOW YOU HAVE A PREEXISTING CONDITION. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PAY MORE IF YOU CAN GET COVERAGE AT ALL. I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MANY TIMES I HEARD THAT FROM WOMEN THAT I KNOW, PEOPLE THAT I REPRESENT IN MICHIGAN. PRETTY BASIC FOR WOMEN THAT MATERNITY CARE AND NEWBORN CARE SHOULD BE COVERED. AND IT IS NOW WITHOUT EXTRA COST BECAUSE IT'S BASIC CARE FOR WOMEN. AND WE HAVE AN H.H.S. NOMINEE WHO'S NOT WILLING TO SAY YES, MATERNITY CARE IS BASIC FOR WOMEN AND WOMEN SHOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY MORE TO GET BASIC HEALTH CARE, LIKE MATERNITY CARE AND NEWBORN CARE. LET ME SPEAK ABOUT ANOTHER ISSUE. IF CONFIRMED, MR. AZAR WOULD ALSO BE IN CHARGE OF MEDICARE AND MEDICAID WHICH RAISES ADDITIONAL CONCERNS FOR ME ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT I REPRESENT. THANKS TO MICHIGAN'S MEDICAID EXPANSION, A BIPARTISAN EFFORT IN MICHIGAN, 660,000 MORE PEOPLE HAVE INSURANCE AND UNCOMPENSATED CARE HAS BEEN CUT 50%. CUT IN HALF. WHICH MEANS 50% MORE PEOPLE WALK INTO THE EMERGENCY ROOM CAN ACTUALLY PAY FOR THE CARE THAT THEY'RE GETTING. IT'S NOT ROLLED OVER ON TO EVERYBODY ELSE. USED TO BE SOMEBODY CAN'T PAY, EVERYBODY ELSE SEES THEIR INSURANCE RATES GO UP. TAXPAYERS PAY MORE. THOSE COSTS HAVE GONE DOWN 50%. 30,000 JOBS HAVE BEEN CREATED AS PART OF THAT PROCESS AND PROJECTIONS SHOW THE STATE OF MICHIGAN IS GOING TO -- THAT THEY ENDED UP LAST YEAR SAVING MONEY FOR THE TAXPAYERS, $432 MILLION WAS SAVED BECAUSE MORE PEOPLE HAD INSURANCE AND COULD PAY FOR THE MEDICAL CARE THAT THEY WERE GETTING. I THOUGHT THAT'S WHAT WE WANTED WAS FOR PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO PAY FOR THEIR MEDICAL CARE. DESPITE THE PRESIDENT'S PROMISE NOT TO CUT MEDICAID, EVERY REPUBLICAN HEALTH ROAM THAT CAME BEFORE CONGRESS LAST -- PROPOSAL THAT CAME BEFORE CONGRESS LAST YEAR HAD ONE THING IN COMMON, HUGE CUTS TO MEDICAID. THEN SECRETARY PRICE PUSHED FOR THE PASSAGE OF THESE BILLS. AND DURING THAT TIME, MR. AZAR SAID HE SUPPORTED THOSE BILLS TO GUT MEDICAID. IN FACT, THE CURRENT BUDGET RESOLUTION THAT WILL WE ARE UNDER PASSED BY THIS SENATE IS A TRILLION DOLLARS IN MEDICAID CUTS AS WELL AS ALMOST A HALF A TRILLION IN MEDICARE CUTS, NOT YET TAKING EFFECT BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO TAKE ANOTHER STEP TO ACTUALLY PASS THE BILLS IN THE SENATE, BUT THAT'S READY TO GO. IT'S IN THE BUDGET RESOLUTION. MR. AZAR SAID HE SUPPORTED THE BILLS. AND IT WOULD PUT MEDICAID ON A MORE SUSTAINABLE FOOTING. THREE OUT OF FIVE SENIORS IN MICHIGAN WHO ARE IN NURSING HOMES GET THEIR NURSING HOME CARE THROUGH MEDICAID HEALTH INSURANCE, THREE OUT OF FIVE SENIORS. MORE SUSTAINABLE FOOTING? NOT FOR THEM. NOT FOR THEIR FAMILIES. I'LL TELL YOU WHAT'S NOT SUSTAINABLE, MICHIGAN FAMILIES TRYING TO SURVIVE WITHOUT HEALTH COVERAGE, THE MEDICAL CARE THAT THEY NEED. SO IN CONCLUSION, THE PEOPLE IN MICHIGAN KNOW WHAT THE NEXT SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES NEEDS TO DO. A PRETTY BIG JOB. IT AFFECTS A PART OF THEIR LIVES IN SOME WAY. THAT PERSON NEEDS TO, AMONG OTHER THINGS, BRING DOWN THE COST OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IMMEDIATELY THROUGH USING THE POWER OF NEGOTIATION TO BRING DOWN PRICES, NEEDS TO TAKE THE SHACKLES OFF IN TERMS OF EXPORTING AND IMPORTING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS JUST LIKE ANY OTHER PRODUCT. WE OUGHT TO HAVE SAFE IMPORTATION, COMPETITION ACROSS THE BORDER TO BRING DOWN PRICES. AND WE OUGHT TO HAVE INCREASED TRANSPARENCY, NOT THE NOMINEE'S HISTORY OF RAISING PRICES OVER AND OVER AGAIN. THAT PERSON NEEDS TO PROTECT AND STRENGTHEN MEDICAID AND MEDICARE, NOT CUT BENEFITS. AND THAT PERSON NEEDS TO ENFORCE PATIENT PROTECTIONS, LIKE THE ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS, LIKE THE ABILITY FOR A WOMAN TO KNOW THAT HER BASIC HEALTH CARE IF SHE HAS A BABY, PRENATAL CARE OR POSTNATAL CARE WILL BE COVERED WITHOUT HER PAYING MORE BECAUSE SHE'S A WOMAN. THAT'S WHAT SHOULD BE HAPPENING, THE PIERKT PATIENT PROTECTIONS, NOT SOMEONE WHO THINKS IT'S OKAY TO GO BACKWARDS. MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S WHY I'M VOTING NOW ON MR. AZAR'S CONFIRMATION. I HOPE MY COLLEAGUES WILL TAKE A SERIOUS LOOK AND DO THE SAME. THE HEALTH OF THE PEOPLE OF MICHIGAN AND THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY DEPENDS ON IT. THANK YOU. I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR INJURES MR. PRESIDENT. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOTWITHSTANDING RULE 22, ALL CLOTURE TIME ON THE AZAR NOMINATION EXPIRE AT 2:15 TOMORROW, JANUARY 24.

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  • 06:33:56 PM

    MR. DAINES

    AND THE SENATE VOTE ON CONFIRMATION OF THE AZAR NOMINATION WITH NO…

    AND THE SENATE VOTE ON CONFIRMATION OF THE AZAR NOMINATION WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE. FINALLY, THAT THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE AND THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION.

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  • 06:34:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:34:11 PM

    MR. DAINES

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 22 FOLLOWING THE CLOTURE VOTE ON THE BROWN NOMINATION, THE -- THE BROWNBACK NOMINATION, THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE FOLLOWING NOMINATION, EXECUTIVE CALENDAR 552. I ASK CONSENT THAT THE SENATE VOTE ON THE NOMINATION WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE. THAT IF CONFIRMED, THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE, THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION AND NO FURTHER MOTIONS BE IN ORDER AND ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO THE NOMINATION BE PRINCIPLED IN THE RECORD AND THE SENATE RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE BROWNBACK NOMINATION.

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  • 06:34:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:34:47 PM

    MR. DAINES

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF CALENDAR NUMBER 214, SENATE BILL 1395. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT PROCEED TO LEGISLATIVE SESSION FOR A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK THEREIN FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 06:35:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:35:09 PM

    MR. DAINES

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF CALENDAR NUMBER 214, S. 1395.

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  • 06:35:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:35:17 PM

    THE CLERK

    CALENDAR NUMBER 214, S. 1395, A BILL TO REVISE THE BOUNDARIES OF CERTAIN…

    CALENDAR NUMBER 214, S. 1395, A BILL TO REVISE THE BOUNDARIES OF CERTAIN JOHN H. CHAFEE COASTAL BARRIER RESOURCES SYSTEM UNITS IN DELAWARE.

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  • 06:35:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 06:35:35 PM

    MR. DAINES

    I FURTHER ASK THAT THE BILL BE READ A THIRD TIME AND PASSED AND THE…

    I FURTHER ASK THAT THE BILL BE READ A THIRD TIME AND PASSED AND THE MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE.

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  • 06:35:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:35:48 PM

    MR. DAINES

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF CALENDAR NUMBER 293, S. 2152.

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  • 06:35:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:35:57 PM

    THE CLERK

    CALENDAR NUMBER 293, S. 2152, A BILL TO AMEND TITLE 18, UNITED STATES…

    CALENDAR NUMBER 293, S. 2152, A BILL TO AMEND TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE, TO PROVIDE FOR ASSISTANCE FOR VICTIMS OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 06:36:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 06:36:12 PM

    MR. DAINES

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE COMMITTEE-REPORTED…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE COMMITTEE-REPORTED AMENDMENTS BE AGREED TO, THE BILL AS AMENDED BE CONSIDERED READ A THIRD TIME AND PASSED, AND THAT THE MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE.

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  • 06:36:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:36:26 PM

    MR. DAINES

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF S.…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF S. RES. 379 SUBMITTED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 06:36:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:36:33 PM

    THE CLERK

    SENATE RESOLUTION 379, TO AUTHORIZE THE PRODUCTION OF RECORDS BY THE…

    SENATE RESOLUTION 379, TO AUTHORIZE THE PRODUCTION OF RECORDS BY THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS.

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  • 06:36:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 06:36:47 PM

    MR. DAINES

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE AGREED TO, AND THE MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE.

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  • 06:36:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:37:02 PM

    MR. DAINES

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF S. RES. 380 SUBMITTED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 06:37:08 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 06:37:09 PM

    THE CLERK

    SENATE RESOLUTION 380, CONGRATULATING THE UNIVERSITY OF CHARLESTON MEN'S…

    SENATE RESOLUTION 380, CONGRATULATING THE UNIVERSITY OF CHARLESTON MEN'S SOCCER TEAM FOR WINNING THE NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION DIVISION 2 MEN'S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP AT SWOPE SOCCER VILLAGE IN KANSAS CITY,

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  • 06:37:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 06:37:31 PM

    MR. DAINES

    I FURTHER ASK THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE AGREED TO, AND…

    I FURTHER ASK THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE AGREED TO, AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE.

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  • 06:37:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:37:41 PM

    MR. DAINES

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT MAJOR PATRICK J. HANEY, MARINE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT MAJOR PATRICK J. HANEY, MARINE CORPS FELLOW IN SENATOR CORNYN'S OFFICE BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGES FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE 115th CONGRESS.

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  • 06:37:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:37:55 PM

    MR. DAINES

    MR. PRESIDENT, I NOW ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I NOW ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY, IT ADJOURN UNTIL 10:00 A.M. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24. FURTHER, THAT FOLLOWING THE PRAYER AND PLEDGE, THE MORNING BUSINESS 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. FINALLY, FOLLOWING LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION AND RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE AZAR NOMINATION.

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  • 06:38:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:38:24 PM

    MR. DAINES

    IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT IT…

    IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT IT STAND ADJOURNED UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 06:38:29 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ORDER.

Briefings for January 23, 2018

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Statistics

115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 1654 (After 502 days)
  • Debate1010 Hours
  • Quorum Calls381 Hours
  • Votes263 Hours

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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)