U.S. House Rejects Farm Bill 198-213
Senate Session - February 14, 2018

The Senate agreed to officially begin debate on an immigration bill. Several amendments were introduced, including one by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), which was closest to President Trump’s immigration framework.

Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 09:59:36 AM

    >>

    UP FOR CONSIDERATION. AND NOW TO LIVE COVERAGE OF THE U.S. SENATE HERE ON…

    UP FOR CONSIDERATION. AND NOW TO LIVE COVERAGE OF THE U.S. SENATE HERE ON C-SPAN2.

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  • 10:00:16 AM

    OFFICER T

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

  • 10:00:28 AM

    THE CHAPLAIN

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

    LET US PRAY. ALMIGHTY GOD, THE FOUNTAIN OF WISDOM, WE THANK YOU FOR THIS SEASON OF PENANCE AND PERSONAL REFLECTION. LORD, AS WE REMEMBER THAT THE LAST TIME ASH WEDNESDAY AND VALENTINE'S DAY FELL ON THE SAME DAY, IT WAS 1945, WE THANK YOU FOR THE MANY CHALLENGING SEASONS THROUGH WHICH YOU HAVE BROUGHT THIS NATION AND WORLD. AS WE CONTINUE TO DEPEND UPON THE POWER OF YOUR PREVAILING PROVIDENCE, DELIVER US FROM MAJORING IN MINORS. BLESS OUR LAWMAKERS. AS THEY COMMIT THEMSELVES TO YOU, MAKE THEM A VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS AND A HELP FOR THE HELPLESS. MAY WE MAKE IT OUR FIRST PRIORITY TO FULFILL YOUR PURPOSES FOR OUR LIVES. WE PRAY IN YOUR SACRED NAME. .AMEN.

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  • 10:01:53 AM

    OFFICER 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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  • 10:02:11 AM

    OFFICER THE

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL READ A COMMUNICATION TO THE SENATE.

  • 10:02:16 AM

    THE CLERK

    SENATE.

  • 10:02:21 AM

    SENATE U

    UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE…

    UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE THOM TILLIS, A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CHAIR. SIGNED: ORRIN G. HATCH, PRESIDENT PRO

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  • 10:02:29 AM

    SIGNED

    THE CHAIR. SIGNED: ORRIN G. HATCH, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE.

  • 10:02:43 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED.

  • 10:08:53 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 10:08:54 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 10:08:56 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    IT'S NOW WEDNESDAY MORNING, THE WEEK THE SENATE SET ASIDE TO DEBATE DACA,…

    IT'S NOW WEDNESDAY MORNING, THE WEEK THE SENATE SET ASIDE TO DEBATE DACA, BORDER SECURITY, INTERIOR ENFORCEMENT, AND OTHER IMMIGRATION ISSUES. I PROMISED I WOULD CLEAR THE WAY TO DEBATE THESE MATTERS THIS WEEK, AND I HAVE. I PROMISED I WOULD ENSURE A FAIR AMENDMENT PROCESS IN WHICH BOTH SIDES COULD OFFER LEGISLATION FOR DISCUSSION AND VOTES, AND I HAVE. JUST YESTERDAY THE CONGRESSIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS RELEASED A LETTER THANKING ME FOR KEEPING MY COMMITMENT AND URGED THE SENATE TO RESOLVE THIS ISSUE QUICKLY. BUT WE HAVEN'T EVEN BEEN ABLE TO GET STARTED YET. HAVEN'T EVEN BEEN ABLE TO GET STARTED. YESTERDAY I TRIED TWICE TO OPEN THE DEBATE AND START THE VOTING. BOTH TIMES MY DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES OBJECTED. I'M A LITTLE PERPLEXED, FRANKLY, BY THE HOLDUP. MY DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES HAVE SPENT MONTHS, MONTHS, AS WE ALL KNOW, DEMANDING THE SENATE TAKE UP THIS ISSUE. THEY EVEN SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT, SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT -- UNNECESSARILY, I MIGHT ADD -- IN ORDER TO SECURE THIS VERY WEEK FOR THIS DISCUSSION. BUT NOW THAT THE TIME HAS COME TO MAKE LAW INSTEAD OF JUST MAKING POINTS, THEY'RE STALLING. WHY? WHY? AFTER MONTHS AND MONTHS SPENT DEMANDING THAT THE SENATE TAKE UP THIS ISSUE DO THEY NOW OBJECT TO EVEN STARTING THE DEBATE? BECAUSE THEY KNOW, NO MATTER HOW LONG THEY SPEND IN CLOSED-DOOR NEGOTIATIONS, THEY CAN'T CHANGE THE FACT THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS SPELLED OUT A FAIR AND GENEROUS FRAMEWORK THAT WILL BE NECESSARY TO EARN HIS SIGNATURE. THESE GUYS CAN'T TAKE YES FOR AN ANSWER. SO INSTEAD OF MOVING TO FULFILL THEIR PROMISES AND ADDRESS THE DACA ISSUE, THEY HAVEN'T EVEN ALLOWED THE DEBATE TO BEGIN. THERE IS A WIDESPREAD DESIRE IN THIS CHAMBER TO FIND A SOLUTION FOR THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WHO WERE BROUGHT TO THIS COUNTRY AS CHILDREN. WIDESPREAD AGREEMENT. BUT COMMON SENSE DICTATES WE CANNOT SIMPLY TREAT ONE SYMPTOM OF OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION POLICY IN COMPLETE ISOLATION. WE MUST ADDRESS THE UNDERLYING PROBLEMS AS WELL. THAT MEANS FIXING BROKEN PARTS OF OUR LEGAL IMMIGRATION SYSTEM. WE MUST ALSO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THAT'S WHY A DACA RESOLUTION SHOULD BE PAIRED WITH NEW SECURITY MEASURES AT OUR BORDERS AND COMMONSENSE STEPS TO IMPROVE SECURITY INSIDE OUR BORDERS. STEPS LIKE FIXING THE LOOPHOLE THAT FORCES US TO RELEASE THOUSANDS OF CRIMINAL ALIENS WHOSE HOME COUNTRIES WON'T TAKE THEM BACK. STEPS LIKE ENACTING CASE LAW TO PUT CRIMINAL OFFENDERS WHO REPEATEDLY AND ILLEGALLY CROSS OUR BORDERS BEHIND BARS. CRACKING DOWN WITH STIFFER PENALTIES FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND UPDATING THE REMOVEABILITY GROUNDS FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS, REPEAT OFFENDERS AND OTHER VIOLENT AND DANGEROUS CRIMINALS. WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD THOSE IDEAS BE CONTROVERSIAL? KEEPING AMERICANS SAFE DOES NOT NEED TO BE A PARTISAN ISSUE. AND ADDRESSING THESE IMPORTANT SAFETY ISSUES ALONG WITH DACA, BORDER SECURITY, AND OTHER PARTS OF OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM IS OUR BEST CHANCE TO PRODUCE LEGISLATION THAT CAN PASS THE HOUSE, PASS THE SENATE, AND EARN THE PRESIDENT'S SIGNATURE. THIS IS WHY THE PROPOSAL PUT FORWARD BY SENATOR GRASSLEY AND OTHERS WHICH DRAWS ON THE PRESIDENT'S GENEROUS FRAMEWORK AND WHICH THE PRESIDENT HAS OFFICIALLY ENDORSED HAS MY SUPPORT. BECAUSE PRESUMABLY, WE WANT TO ACTUALLY MAKE A LAW HERE. I MADE NO EFFORT, NONE, TO TELL DEMOCRATS WHAT AMENDMENTS THEY SHOULD OFFER. OF COURSE THEY SHOULDN'T TRY TO DICTATE REPUBLICAN AMENDMENTS EITHER. THE LONGER MY COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE REFUSE TO COME TO THE TABLE, THE LONGER THEY'RE UNABLE TO PRODUCE ANY LEGISLATION THEY ACTUALLY SUPPORT, THE LOWER THE ODDS THAT WE CAN ARRIVE AT A LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION THIS WEEK. YESTERDAY ALONE, MR. PRESIDENT, THE SENATE WAS OPEN FOR NINE HOURS YESTERDAY ALONE. NINE HOURS. NINE HOURS WE COULD HAVE SPENT PROCESSING AMENDMENTS AND PROCEEDING TO VOTES. NINE HOURS DOWN THE DRAIN BECAUSE DEMOCRATS WON'T LET US START THE DEBATE THEY SPENT MONTHS DEMANDING. NOW THAT WE CAN FINALLY PROCEED TO CONSIDER THE UNDERLYING BILL THIS MORNING, I HOPE MY COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE AISLE WILL COME TO THE TABLE. THE PRESIDENT'S MADE CLEAR WHAT PRINCIPLES MUST BE ADDRESSED IF WE ARE GOING TO MAKE A LAW INSTEAD OF MERELY MAKING POLITICAL POINTS. WHILE OUR DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES CAN NO LONGER PREVENT THE SENATE FROM STALLING THE DEBATE, THEY CAN CONTINUE TO DELAY VOTES ON AMENDMENTS. I HOPE THAT WON'T HAPPEN. NOW ON ANOTHER MATTER, ON MONDAY PRESIDENT TRUMP UNVEILED HIS PROPOSAL TO IMPROVE AMERICA'S INFRASTRUCTURE. TODAY HE'LL HOST COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN AND RANKING MEMBERS AT THE WHITE HOUSE FOR A BIPARTISAN, BICAMERAL MEETING ON THAT SUBJECT. I'M GRATEFUL THE PRESIDENT IS PRIORITIZING THIS AND REACHING ACROSS THE AISLE. EXPERTS AGREE THAT AMERICA'S AGING INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS A LOT OF HELP. NATIONWIDE, 9.1% OF OUR BRIDGES ARE CONSIDERED STRUCTURALLY DEFICIENT. 13.6% ARE CONSIDERED FUNCTIONALLY OBSOLETE. ONE RECENT STUDY SUGGESTED ROAD CONGESTION COSTS US $160 BILLION A YEAR. FROM ROAD CONGESTION. BUT THE ANSWER IS NOT SIMPLY TO THROW NEW MONEY AT OLD PROBLEMS. IT TOOK AMERICAN WORKERS LESS TIME TO BUILD GREAT SKYSCRAPERS START TO FINISH THAN IT NOW TAKES BUREAUCRATS TO REVIEW, NOT EVEN BUILD, BUT REVIEW PROPOSALS FOR NEW BRIDGES AND ROADWAYS. WE REALLY NEED TO STREAMLINE REGULATIONS, REFORM THE PERMITTING PROCESS, AND GET GOVERNMENT OUT OF THE WAY WHEREVER POSSIBLE. ONCE PROJECTS ARE PROPOSED, THEY SHOULD BE REVIEWED IN A SAFE BUT REASONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME AND THEN COMPLETED AS QUICKLY AND COST-EFFECTIVELY AS POSSIBLE. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS A PRIME OPPORTUNITY FOR BIPARTISAN COOPERATION. OUR LAST THREE HIGHWAY BILLS, OUR LAST THREE WRDA BILLS AND OUR LAST THREE F.A.A. BILLS ALL PASSED THE SENATE EASILY, AVERAGING MORE THAN 80 VOTES. I HOPE WE CAN RENEW THAT CONSENSUS WHEN THE TIME COMES. NOW, ON ONE FINAL MATTER, FOR EIGHT YEARS UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA, OUR ECONOMY DIDN'T PERFORM AS WELL AS IT SHOULD HAVE. AMERICA'S WAGES AND SALARIES HARDLY GREW. MANY JOB CREATORS SAT ON THE SIDELINES, WARY OF NEW TAX INCREASES OR HEAVY-HANDED REGULATIONS. WASHINGTON HAD ITS FOOT ON THE BRAKE. LAST YEAR, ALL THAT CHANGED. PRESIDENT TRUMP AND HIS REPUBLICAN CONGRESS SET OUT TO MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR WORKERS AND FOR JOB CREATORS. WE CUT REGULATIONS, PASSED TAX REFORM TO GIVE MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES IMMEDIATE RELIEF, AND SET THE STAGE FOR MORE HIRING AND MORE WAGE GROWTH IN THE YEARS AHEAD. I ORIGINALLY HEARD FROM A SMALL FAMILY-OWNED INLAND RIVER SHIPYARD IN ASHLAND, KENTUCKY, ALONG THE OHIO RIVER. THEY BUILD AND REPAIR COMMERCIAL BARGES. HERE'S WHAT THEIR PRESIDENT WROTE. HE SAID THANKS TO THE TAX CHANGE AND OPTIMISM OF OUR CUSTOMERS, WE'RE AT LONG LAST ABLE TO REPLACE EQUIPMENT WHICH HAS BEEN USED WAY PAST ITS LIFE EXPECTANCY AND POSSIBLY ADD TWO MORE PRODUCTION WORKERS. LAST WEEK, A LOUISVILLE EMPLOYER DROPPED BY TO TELL ME HOW HE IS USING HIS TAX REFORM SAVINGS. $1,000 BONUSES FOR MORE THAN 100 KENTUCKY EMPLOYEES. SMALL COMPANIES AND BIG BUSINESSES ALIKE ARE THRILLED THEY FINALLY HAVE A 21st CENTURY TAX CODE. IT MAKES THEM MORE COMPETITIVE WITH OVERSEAS RIVALS AND FREES UP MORE MONEY TO INVEST RIGHT HERE AT HOME. AND MIDDLE-CLASS WORKERS ARE REAPING THE REWARDS. MAJOR NATIONAL COMPANIES LIKE PFIZER AND HOME DEPOT, WHICH TOGETHER EMPLOY MORE THAN HALF A MILLION AMERICANS HAVE ANNOUNCED HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN EMPLOYEE BONUSES, AGAIN THANKS TO TAX REFORM. JUST THIS WEEK, METLIFE ANNOUNCED A MAJOR NEW INVESTMENT IN ITS 50,000-PLUS EMPLOYEES. THE COMPANY IS RAISING ITS MINIMUM WAGE, ENHANCING BENEFITS, BOOSTING RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS, AND CREATING A SKILLS DEVELOPMENT FUND. IN SHORT, METLIFE IS BETTING BIG ON U.S. WORKERS, AND SO ARE THE MORE THAN 300 OTHER COMPANIES THAT HAVE ALREADY ANNOUNCED MAJOR INVESTMENTS IN THEIR EMPLOYEES AND IN THEIR FACILITIES. RIGHT HERE IN AMERICA. RIGHT HERE, THANKS TO HISTORIC TAX REFORM.

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  • 10:20:00 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 10:20:07 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 10:31:14 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 10:31:24 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    GOOD MORNING.

  • 10:31:30 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 10:31:33 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 10:31:35 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. THE SENATE WILL RESUME…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. THE SENATE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO H.R. 2579.

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  • 10:31:48 AM

    THE CLERK

    MOTION TO PROCEED TO H.R. 2579 AN ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE…

    MOTION TO PROCEED TO H.R. 2579 AN ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OF 1986 TO ALLOW THE PREMIUM TAX CREDIT.

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  • 10:31:58 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    ALL CLOTURE TIME HAS EXPIRED. THE QUESTION IS ON THE MOTION MANY ALL IN…

    ALL CLOTURE TIME HAS EXPIRED. THE QUESTION IS ON THE MOTION MANY ALL IN FAVOR SAY AYE. ALL OPPOSED, NO. THE AYES APPEAR TO HAVE IT. THE AYES DO HAVE. IT THE MOTION IS AGREED TO. THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 10:32:15 AM

    THE CLERK

    H.R. 2579, AND ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OF 1986 AND SO…

    H.R. 2579, AND ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OF 1986 AND SO FORTH.

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  • 10:32:23 AM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 10:32:24 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM IOWA.

  • 10:32:27 AM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE READING OF THE -- WELL, I WANT TO CALL…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE READING OF THE -- WELL, I WANT TO CALL UP, FIRST OF ALL, AMENDMENT 1959.

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  • 10:32:35 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 10:32:37 AM

    THE CLERK

    THE SENATOR FROM IOWA, MR. GRASSLEY, PROPOSES AN AMENDMENT NUMBER 1959.

  • 10:32:43 AM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    I ASK THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 10:32:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 10:32:48 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I CALL UP THE TOOMEY AMENDMENT 1948 TO THE GRASSLEY AMENDMENT NUMBER 1959.

  • 10:32:55 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 10:32:56 AM

    THE CLERK

    MR. McCONNELL FOR MR. TOOMEY PROPOSES AMENDMENT 1948 TO AMENDMENT 1959.

  • 10:33:06 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 10:33:08 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER.

  • 10:33:12 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    I CALL UP THE AMENDMENT 1958.

  • 10:33:17 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 10:33:19 AM

    THE CLERK

    THE SENATOR PROPOSES AMENDMENT 1958 TO THE AMENDMENT PROPOSED TO BE STRIKE…

    THE SENATOR PROPOSES AMENDMENT 1958 TO THE AMENDMENT PROPOSED TO BE STRIKE BIN AMENDMENT 1959.

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  • 10:33:27 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    I ASK THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 10:33:30 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 10:33:34 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    I CALL UP AMENDMENT 1959 TO SCHUMER AMENDMENT 1958.

  • 10:33:39 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 10:33:41 AM

    THE CLERK

    AMENDMENT 1955 TO AMENDMENT 1958.

  • 10:33:45 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    I ASK CONSENT THAT THE READING BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 10:33:49 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE DEMOCRATIC.

  • 10:33:55 AM

    MR. SCHUMER

    AS WE ENTER -- AS WE ENTER THE SECOND DAY OF THE DEBATE ON IMMIGRATION,…

    AS WE ENTER -- AS WE ENTER THE SECOND DAY OF THE DEBATE ON IMMIGRATION, EVERYONE SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON FINDING A BILL TO PROTECT THE DREAMERS AND ADDRESS BORDER SECURITY THAT CAN GET 60 VOTES. THAT'S THE BALLGAME. THE MAJORITY LEADER'S DESIRE TO VOTE ON UNRELATED PARTISAN IMMIGRATION BILL, LEGISLATION THAT'S NOT ONLY SILENT ON DREAMERS BUT ALSO SILENT ON BORDER SECURITY AS WELL, THAT'S NOT A PRODUCTIVE WAY TO BEGIN THE DEBATE. LET'S GET TO THE CRUX OF THE ISSUE. LET REPUBLICANS OFFER WHATEVER THEY WANT ON DACA AND BORDER SECURITY AND WE'LL DO THE SAME. THE LEADER SUPPORTS THE PROPOSAL BY SENATOR GRASSLEY THAT'S ESSENTIALLY THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN. LET'S VOTE ON THAT FIRST. WE WILL HAVE SEVERAL BIPARTISAN BILLS TO OFFER. WE SHOULD VOTE ON THOSE TOO. NOW, DEMOCRATS ARE FOCUSED LIKE A LASER ON FINDING A PARTISAN BILL THAT CAN PASS THE SENATE TO PROTECT THE DREAMERS. DEMOCRATS ARE FOCUSED LIKE A LASER ON FINDING A BIPARTISAN BILL THAT CAN PASS THE SENATE PRO PROTECT THE DREAMERS. SEVERAL MODERATE REPUBLICANS ARE WORKING TOWARDS THAT AS WELL. THE ONLY PERSON WHO SEEMS MOST INTENT ON -- OR THE ONE PERSON WHO SEEMS MOST INTENT ON NOT GETTING A DEAL IS PRESIDENT TRUMP. PRESIDENT TRUMP'S CONTRIBUTION TO THIS DEBATE HAS BEEN TO PUT FORWARD A PROPOSAL THAT CONTAINS A VAST CURTAILMENT OF LEGAL IMMIGRATION FAR OUTSIDE THE STOAP OF DACA FOR BORDER -- SCOPE OF DACA FOR BORDER SECURITY AND DEMANDING THAT THE DEMOCRATS SUPPORT IT. INSTEAD OF MAKING A PROPOSAL IN GOOD FAITH OR WORKING WITH DEMOCRATS ON A COMPROMISE, PRESIDENT TRUMP IS TRYING TO FORCE HIS UNPOPULAR HARDLINED IMMIGRATION AGENDA DOWN THE THROATS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BY CALLING IT A DACA BILL. THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSAL, NOW THE GRASSLEY BILL, IS SO EXTREME ON LEGAL IMMIGRATION THAT SEVERAL REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN CRITICAL OF IT, INCLUDING MY FRIENDS FROM SOUTH CAROLINA AND ARIZONA. YET, PRESIDENT TRUMP THINKS THAT DEMOCRATS WOULD BE TO BLAME FOR NOT GETTING A DEAL ON DACA BECAUSE WE DIDN'T GO BLINDLY ALONG WITH HIS PARTISAN PLAN, EXTREME AS IT IS, WITH NO INPUT FROM DEMOCRATS. THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN. ONLY IN A 1984 WORLD COULD THE DEMOCRATS BE BLAMED FOR THE CURRENT PREDICAMENT ON DACA. AS MUCH AS THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO TURN THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN. AS MUCH AS HE WANTS EVERYONE TO JUST ACCEPT WHAT HE IS SAYING, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW BETTER. EVERYONE HERE KNOWS THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS STOOD IN THE WAY OF A BIPARTISAN SOLUTION TO DACA FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. LET'S TAKE A QUICK LOOK AT THE HISTORY. FIRST, IT WAS PRESIDENT TRUMP WHO TERMINATED THE DACA PROGRAM LAST AUGUST, NOT DEMOCRATS OR NOT REPUBLICANS HERE. UNILATERALLY WE ARE IN THIS PICKLE -- IN THIS WORSE THAN PICKLE, IN THIS BAD SITUATION BECAUSE PRESIDENT TRUMP CHOSE TO END THE DACA PROGRAM LAST AUGUST. THAT STANDS OUT ABOVE ANYTHING ELSE. THEN PRESIDENT TRUMP TURNED HIS BACK NOT ON ONE BUT TWO BIPARTISAN IMMIGRATION PROPOSALS. I WENT SO FAR TO PUT THE WALL, THE PRESIDENT'S SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN ISSUE, ON THE TABLE FOR DISCUSSION. THAT STILL DID NOT DRIVE HIM TO A DEAL. FINALLY NOW THAT WE'RE WORKING HARD IN THE SENATE TO COME UP WITH A BIPARTISAN PROPOSAL, PRESIDENT TRUMP IS JUST TRYING TO GUM UP THE WORKS. ACCORDING TO REPORTS, PRESIDENT TRUMP MAY THREATEN TO VETO LEGISLATION THAT DOESN'T MATCH HIS HARD LINE DEMANDS, MY WAY OR NO WAY, WITH NO DEMOCRATIC INPUT. A STATEMENT THIS MORNING FROM THE WHITE HOUSE SAID THE PRESIDENT WOULD OPPOSE EVEN A SHORT-TERM BILL TO PROTECT THE DREAMERS. SO WHO IS INTENT ON KICK THESE PEOPLE WHO KNOW NO COUNTRY BUT AMERICA, WHO WORK IN OUR FACTORIES AND OFFICES, WHO GO TO OUR SCHOOLS, TO SERVE -- WHO SERVE IN OUR MILITARY, WHO IS INTENT ON KICKING THEM OUT? NOT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. 90% WANT TO SUPPORT THE DREAMERS. NOT ANY DEMOCRAT, AND NOT A GOOD NUMBER OF REPUBLICANS ON THAT SIDE OF THE AISLE. JUST THE PRESIDENT. ON THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS STOOD IN THE WAY OF A BIPARTISAN SOLUTION TO DACA, A PROBLEM HE CREED IN THE -- CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE. AND YET THE PRESIDENT IS IN THIS DREAM WORLD. HE THINKS, I CAN BLAME DEMOCRATS FOR THE IMPASSE. AS I SAID, ONLY IN THE 1984 WORLD WHERE UP IS DOWN AND BLACK IS WHITE COULD THIS BE TRUE. ONLY IN A 1984 WORLD WHERE UP IS DOWN AND BLACK IS WHITE WOULD THE AMERICAN PUBLIC BLAME DEMOCRATS FOR THIS. THEY KNOW WHERE TRUMP STANDS. IT THEY KNOW IT. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON. THEY KNOW THAT THIS PRESIDENT NOT ONLY CREATED THE PROBLEM BUT SEEMS TO BE AGAINST EVERY SOLUTION THAT MIGHT PASS BECAUSE IT ISN'T 100% OF WHAT HE WANTS. IF AT THE END OF THIS WEEK WE ARE UNABLE TO FIND ALE BILL THAT CAN PASS -- FIND A BILL THAT CAN PASS -- I SINCERELY HOPE THAT IS NOT THE CASE -- THE RESPONSIBILITY WILL FALL ON THE PRESIDENT'S SHOULDERS AND THOSE IN THIS BODY WHO WENT ALONG WITH IT. BIPARTISAN NEGOTIATIONS ARE ONGOING, PERHAPS VERY CLOSE TO A CONCLUSION. NOTHING IS EVER CERTAIN GIVEN THE CONTENTIOUS NATURE OF THIS DEBATE, BUT I AM HOPEFUL THAT SENATORS CAN PUT THE PRESIDENT'S HARD-LINE DEMANDS TO THE SIDE AND COME UP WITH A DEAL THAT WORKS FOR BOTH PARTIES. IF WE WANT TO GO BEYOND BORDER SECURITY AND THE DACA KIDS, LET'S DO COMPREHENSIVE REFORM. WE DID IT ONCE. IT WORKED PRETTY WELL IN THE SENATE. THE HOUSE BLOCKED IT. BUT LET'S GO BACK TO IT. BUT FIRST THE ISSUE AT HAND, THE DACA KIDS AND BORDER SECURITY. THAT'S THE ONLY THING THAT CAN PASS THIS CHAMBER. THE ONLY THING. WE NEED TO PUSH THROUGH TO THE FINISH LINE. THERE ARE ONLY TWO DAYS OF DEBATE REMAINING THIS WEEK. EVERYONE HAS TO MAKE A FINAL EFFORT TO REACH CONSENSUS. THAT DOESN'T MEAN ADDING NEW DEMANDS OR DRAWING LINES IN THE SAND. IT MEANS BEING WILLING TO COMPROMISE AND TAKE YES FOR AN ANSWER. IT WON'T BE, IF WE PASS SOMETHING, EVERYTHING THAT DEMOCRATS WANT OR EVERYTHING THAT REPUBLICANS WANT, BUT IT MAY GET THE JOB DONE FOR THE DREAMERS AND THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WHO WOULD LIKE TO SEE THEM STAY IN THE COUNTRY. ON ANOTHER MATTER, TAXES. NOW, OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS ARGUE THAT THEIR MASSIVE CORPORATE TAX CUT WASN'T SUCH A HUGE GIVEAWAY TO CORPORATE AMERICA. THEY PREDICTED THAT CORPORATIONS WOULD SPEND THE TAX SAVINGS ON BENEFITS FOR WORKERS. THE EVIDENCE IS ALREADY MOUNTING THAT THOSE PREDICTIONS WERE WRONG. SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE REPUBLICAN TAX BILL, CORPORATIONS HAVE BEEN POURING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO STOCK REPURCHASING PROGRAMS, NOT SIGNIFICANT WAGE INCREASES OR OTHER MEANINGFUL INVESTMENTS IN WORKERS. IT IS NOW THESE STOCK BUYBACKS, STOCK REPURCHASING, WHICH BENEFIT PRIMARILY THE PEOPLE AT THE TOP, HAVE REACHED A SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE. SINCE THE PASSAGE OF THE REPUBLICAN TAX BILL THERE HAS BEEN OVER $100 BILLION IN STOCK BUYBACKS. AS OF LAST WEEK, CORPORATIONS ANNOUNCED TWICE THE AMOUNT OF CORPORATE SHARE BUYBACKS AS DURING A SIMILAR PERIOD DURING LAST YEAR. THE AMOUNT OF SHARE BUYBACKS HAS DOUBLED SINCE THE REPUBLICAN TAX BILL PASSED. WHY IS THAT SO SIGNIFICANT? BECAUSE SHARE BUYBACKS DON'T HELP THE AVERAGE WORKER. THEY INFLATE THE VALUE OF A COMPANY'S STOCK WHICH PRIMARILY BENEFITS SHAREHOLDERS, NOT WORKERS. IT BENEFITS THOSE WHO ARE COMPENSATED WITH CORPORATE STOCK. AND THE MONEY CORPORATIONS SPEND ON REPURCHASING THEIR STOCK IS MONEY THAT ISN'T BEING REINVESTED IN WORKER TRAINING, EQUIPMENT, RESEARCH, NEW HIRES, OR HIGHER SALARIES. AND ACCORDING TO ANALYSTS AT MORGAN STANLEY, COMPANIES SURVEYED SAID THEY WOULD ONLY PASS 13% OF THE TRUMP TAX CUT SAVINGS ON TO WORKERS, IN COMPARISON TO 43% THEY WILL SPEND ON SHARE BUYBACKS. FOR MANUFACTURERS IT'S EVEN WORSE. 9% TO GO TO WORKERS, 47% TO SHARE BUYBACKS. CORPORATIONS SAID THEY WOULD GIVE KOMPTIONS THE LION'S SHARE OF THE BUYBACKS. TRICKLE DOWN NEVER WORKS AND IT'S NOT HAPPENING NOW. CORPORATE AMERICA IS DOING WHAT'S BEST FOR CORPORATE AMERICA AND WORKING AMERICA IS GETTING LEFT BEHIND. IT GOES TO SHOW YOU JUST WHO PRESIDENT TRUMP AND REPUBLICANS WERE WORKING FOR WHEN THEY CRAFTED THEIR TAX BILL. THEY GAVE CORPORATIONS AND THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS A HUGE TAX CUT AND CUT OUT EVERYBODY ELSE. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 10:44:29 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 10:44:30 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 10:44:32 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS IMMIGRATION WEEK IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND WE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS IMMIGRATION WEEK IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND WE ARE PREPARING TO PROCEDURAL MOVES TO BRING BILLS TO THE FLOOR FOR CONSIDERATION AS EARLY AS TODAY, PERHAPS TOMORROW AT THE LATE ET -- AT THE LATEST. IT IS AN UNUSUAL TIME WHEN THE SENATE IS FOCUSED ON SUCH AN IMPORTANT ISSUE AND AMENDMENTS AND SUBSTITUTES ARE BEING OFFERED. THE REASON WE ARE AT THIS POINT AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME BECAUSE OF A DECISION BY PRESIDENT TRUMP ON SEPTEMBER 5 OF LAST YEAR WHEN HE ANNOUNCED THAT HE WAS ENDING THE DACA PROGRAM. THE DACA PROGRAM ALLOWED THOSE WHO WERE BROUGHT TO THE UNITED STATES BROUGHT HERE AS TODDLERS TO BE ON A RENEWABLE -- IT WAS CALLED DACA. SEVERAL STEPPED UP AND PAID THE FILING FEE OF ALMOST $500 AND WENT THROUGH A CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK AND INTERVIEW AND RECEIVED DACA PROTECTION. THEY WENT ON WITH THEIR LIVES. 900 OF THEM ENLISTED IN THE UNITED STATES MILITARY. UNDOCUMENTED IN AMERICA, WILLING TO HOLD UP THEIR HANDS AND TAKE AN OATH THAT THEY WOULD DIE FOR AMERICA. THAT'S HOW MUCH THEY LOVE THIS COUNTRY. 20,000 OF THEM WENT TO WORK AS SCHOOLTEACHERS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. PERHAPS THEY'RE YOUR CHILD'S TEACHER OR YOUR GRANDCHILD'S TEACHER TODAY. THEY'RE DOING IMPORTANT THINGS IN THIS COUNTRY. BUT PRESIDENT TRUMP ANNOUNCED ON LAST SEPTEMBER 5 THE PROGRAM THAT PROTECTS THEM, THAT ALLOWS THEM TO WORK, WOULD END. AND THEN HE CHALLENGED US. HE SAID TO THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. PASS A LAW. ISN'T THAT WHAT YOU'RE THERE FOR? THE PRESIDENT'S RIGHT, THAT'S OUR JOB. AND THIS WEEK WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO PASS A LAW TO END THIS CRISIS WHICH IS GOING TO REACH AHEAD ON MARCH 5 OF THIS YEAR WHEN THE DACA PROGRAM OFFICIALLY ENDS AT 1,000 YOUNG PEOPLE A DAY LOSE THEIR PROTECTION. WE HAVE LESS THAN THREE WEEKS. SO WE'RE GOING TO MOVE TODAY, I HOPE, OR TOMORROW, OR THIS WEEK AT SOME POINT TO CONSIDER SOME ALTERNATIVES TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. I'M SORRY TO SAY THERE IS NO PLAN IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO EVEN ADDRESS THE PROBLEM. NONE. I DON'T UNDERSTAND IT. THEY KNOW THAT LIVES HANG IN THE BALANCE, AND THEY KNOW THAT OVERWHELMINGLY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT TO GIVE THESE DACA AND DREAMERS A CHANCE. THE NUMBERS COME ROLLING IN 75, 80, 85% OF AMERICANS AGREE THAT THESE YOUNG PEOPLE SHOULD BE GIVEN A CHANCE TO EARN THEIR WAY TO LEGAL STATUS AND CITIZENSHIP. EVEN 60% OF THOSE WHO VOTED FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP AGREE WITH WHAT I JUST SAID. IT'S A POPULAR POLITICAL ISSUE ON BOTH SIDES, AND IT ALSO IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. WHAT THE PRESIDENT HAS PROPOSED AS HIS ALTERNATIVE, FROM MY POINT OF VIEW, IS UNACCEPTABLE, AND LET ME TELL YOU WHY. TWO WEEKS AGO THE WHITE HOUSE RELEASED A ONE-PAGE FRAMEWORK ON IMMIGRATION REFORM AND BORDER SECURITY. THE WHITE HOUSE CLAIMS THIS IS A COMPROMISE BECAUSE IT INCLUDES A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP FOR DREAMERS, SOME OF THEM. AND THAT OF COURSE, AS I MENTIONED, IS SUPPORTED BY A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. THE REALITY IS THE TRUMP PLAN WOULD PUT THE ADMINISTRATION'S ENTIRE HARD-LINE IMMIGRATION AGENDA ON THE BACKS OF THESE YOUNG PEOPLE. THESE YOUNG DACA PROTECTED PEOPLE ARE BEING HELD POLITICAL HOSTAGES FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP'S HARD-LINE IMMIGRATION AGENDA. FOR EXAMPLE, THE WHITE HOUSE WANTS TO DRAMATICALLY REDUCE LEGAL IMMIGRATION BY PROHIBITING AMERICAN CITIZENS FROM SPONSORING THEIR PARENTS, SIBLINGS AND CHILDREN AS IMMIGRANTS. NOW WE'RE TALKING ABOUT LITERALLY MILLIONS OF RELATIVES OF AMERICAN CITIZENS WHO ENTERED THE SYSTEM LEGALLY AND ARE FOLLOWING OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS, AND SOME HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR AS LONG AS 20 YEARS TO EMIGRATE TO THE UNITED STATES. THE CONSERVATIVE CATO INSTITUTE SAYS THE FOLLOWING ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PROPOSAL, QUOTE, THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO, THE NEW PLAN FROM THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WOULD CUT THE NUMBER OF LEGAL IMMIGRANTS BY UP TO 44%, OR 500,000 IMMIGRANTS ANNUALLY. THE LARGEST POLICY-DRIVEN LEGAL IMMIGRATION CUTS SINCE THE 1920'S. COMPARED TO THE CURRENT LAW, THE CATO INSTITUTE SAYS IT WOULD EXCLUDE NEARLY 20 MILLION PEOPLE THE OPPORTUNITY TO EMIGRATE LEGALLY TO THE UNITED STATES OVER THE NEXT FIVE DECADES. MR. PRESIDENT, YOU HAVE TO GO BACK IN HISTORY TO A TIME WHEN THERE WAS A PROPOSAL THAT PASSED RIGHT ON THE FLOOR OF THIS CHAMBER THAT CUT AS MANY LEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO THE UNITED STATES. THE YEAR WAS 1924. CALVIN COOLIDGE WAS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. WE HAD JUST SEEN THE END OF WORLD WAR I. THERE WAS A GROWING FEAR THAT BECAUSE OF ALL OF THE DAMAGE THAT WAS DONE IN EUROPE, EUROPEANS WOULD COME TO THE UNITED STATES. THERE WAS ALSO A CONCERN THAT THE WRONG PEOPLE WERE COMING TO THE UNITED STATES, IN THE EYES OF SOME OF THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. AND SO THE IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1924 PASSED, AND IT SET QUOTAS FOR COUNTRIES. AND IT SET QUOTAS FOR PEOPLE. IT WAS EXPRESSLY DESIGNED TO EXCLUDE CERTAIN PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE WORLD FROM ENTERING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. IT IS A NOTORIOUS PIECE OF LEGISLATION. THOSE WHO WERE TO BE EXCLUDED, EXCLUDED FROM AMERICA INCLUDED PEOPLE FROM ITALY, EASTERN EUROPE, JAPAN, ASIA, AND JEWISH PEOPLE. THAT WAS THE IMMIGRATION POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BECAUSE OF THAT BILL IN 1924. THAT'S THE LAST TIME THIS CHAMBER HAS MADE SUCH A DRAMATIC CUT IN LEGAL IMMIGRATION TO AMERICA. IT WAS A SOURCE OF EMBARRASSMENT FOR DECADES. THE UNITED STATES ESTABLISHED QUOTAS AND SAID WE WANT AMERICA TO LOOK A LOT DIFFERENT THAN IT WOULD LOOK IF OTHER IMMIGRANTS CAME TO THIS COUNTRY. THANKFULLY, IN 1965 IT WAS CHANGED. THANKFULLY WE GAVE UP THE QUOTAS, QUOTAS THAT HAVE BEEN CRITICIZED ROUNDLY AS BEING INSENSITIVE TO THE REALITIES OF WORLD POPULATION AND THE REALITY OF THE POPULATION OF AMERICA. NOW THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WANTS TO CUT LEGAL IMMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES AGAIN, BY 44%. THE BIGGEST CUT AS THE CATO INSTITUTE TELLS US, SINCE THAT HORRIBLE BILL THAT WAS PASSED 1924. LET ME TELL YOU WHAT ELSE THE TRUMP IMMIGRATION PROPOSAL WOULD DO. IT WOULD CREATE AN UNACCOUNTABLE SLUSH FUND OF $25 BILLION OF AMERICAN TAXPAYERS' MONEY FOR A BORDER WALL THAT, AS I REMEMBER CORRECTLY, MEXICO WAS SUPPOSED TO PAY FOR. $25 BILLION, THAT'S MORE -- I'LL HAVE TO DOUBLE CHECK, BUT I THINK THAT'S MORE THAN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH. $25 BILLION, AND THE PRESIDENT WANTS NO STRINGS ATTACHED. HE WANTS TO BE ABLE TO SPEND IT WHERE, WHEN, AND HOW HE WANTS. THAT IS AN INVITATION FOR FRAUD AND WASTE. IT IS AN INVITATION FOR MONEY TO BE SPENT FOR SOMETHING OTHER THAN HIS PURPOSE. IT IS AN INVITATION FOR TAXPAYERS TO BE THE ULTIMATE LOSERS WITH THE SLUSH FUND FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FAMOUS MEXICAN WALL. THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSAL AS WELL ON IMMIGRATION, PRESIDENT TRUMP IN THE MIDST OF THE WORST REFUGEE CRISIS ON RECORD IN THE WORLD IS NOW CALLING FOR FAST-TRACK DEPORTATIONS WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN FLEEING GANG AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE. I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MANY TIMES WE'VE HAD THIS CONVERSATION WITH MEMBERS OF THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION. THEY CREATE A SCENARIO, A SCENARIO OF A SIX-YEAR-OLD CHILD WHO IS SWOOPED UP IN SOME COUNTRY IN CENTRAL AMERICA. THE PARENTS GIVE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF THEIR HREUFL SAVINGS TO A -- OF THEIR LIFE SAVINGS TO A SMUGGLER WHO SAYS I'LL GET THIS CHILD TO THE BORDER OF THE UNITED STATES. THE CHILD IS THEN TAKEN OFF BY THE SMUGGLER IN A CAR OR TRUCK OR BUS TO THE BORDER. THE CHILD THEN COMES OUT OF THE CAR, IS POINTED TOWARD ONE OF OUR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WITH THE BORDER PATROL, AND THE CHILD WALKS UP AND HANDS A PIECE OF PAPER TO THE BORDER PATROL AGENT WITH THE NAME OF SOMEONE IN THE UNITED STATES. THAT PROCESS THEN UNFOLDS AND THE CHILD ULTIMATELY IN MANY CASES ENDS UP WITH THAT RELATIVE WHILE A DECISION IS MADE ABOUT THE STATUS OF THE CHILD. IS THERE EXPLOITATION IN THE SYSTEM? YOU BET THERE IS. IS THERE ABUSE IN THE SYSTEM? FOR SURE. THERE ACTUAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING TAKING PLACE? YES. AND ARE ATROCITIES COMMITTED AGAINST THESE CHILDREN IN THE COURSE OF THIS JOURNEY? ALL TRUE. SHOULD WE BE DEDICATED TO CLEANING THIS UP? SIGN ME UP, ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS. BUT LET ME TELL YOU ANOTHER SCENARIO AND ANOTHER STORY. IT HAS A DIFFERENT ORIGIN THAN TURNING OVER A CHILD TO A SMUGGLER. LET ME TELL YOU OF CASES WE KNOW IN HONDURAS AND EL SALVADOR, GUATAMALA, WHERE BECAUSE OF THE RAMPANT CRIME AND GANG ACTIVITY AND VIOLENCE THAT TAKES PLACE, PARENTS DESPERATE TO SAVE THEIR CHILDREN, SOME OF WHOM HAVE DAUGHTERS WHO HAVE BEEN VICTIMS OF RAPE BY THESE GANGS, SEND THEM TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE HOPE THAT THEY CAN SAVE THEIR LIVES. AND THEY SHOW UP AT THE BORDER HAVING LIVED IN FEAR OF THIS VIOLENCE IN THEIR COUNTRIES, AND THEY ARE ACCEPTED INTO THE UNITED STATES TO DETERMINE WHETHER THAT FEAR CAN BE ESTABLISHED IN A HEARING. TWO DIFFERENT CASES. A LITTLE CHILD BEING EXPLOITED BY A SMUGGLER. A YOUNG GIRL ESCAPING VIOLENCE AND PERHAPS DEATH BECAUSE HER PARENTS HAVE NOWHERE TO TURN TO SAVE HER LIFE. SHOULD WE TREAT THEM BOTH THE SAME? I DON'T THINK SO. HISTORICALLY, WE HAVE SAID WHEN IT COMES TO ASYLUM SEEKERS WHO COME TO THIS COUNTRY WITH A CREDIBLE FEAR FOR THEIR OWN LIVES, THE UNITED STATES HAS GIVEN THEM A CHANCE TO BE PROTECTED. WE'VE SAID THAT OVER AND OVER AGAIN. WE SAID IT TO THE CUBANS WHO HAVE BEEN ESCAPING FIDEL CASTRO. WE SAID IT TO THE SOVIET JEWS WHO WANTED TO HAVE FREEDOM OF THEIR RELIGION AND COME TO THE UNITED STATES AND BELIEVED THAT THIS WAS THE ONLY CHANCE THEY HAD IN THE WORLD. WELL, THE TRUMP IMMIGRATION PROPOSAL DOES NOT MAKE A CLEAR DISTINCTION ON THOSE TWO CASES. IN FACT, WHAT IT DOES IS END UP WITH FAST-TRACK DEPORTATIONS WITHOUT DUE PROCESS. ACCEPTING THE TRUMP APPROACH WILL LITERALLY RETURN MANY OF THESE FOLKS WHO COME TO OUR BORDER TO HARM AND IN SOME CASES DEATH. AND THEN FAST-TRACK DEPORTATIONS AS WELL IN THE TRUMP PROPOSAL WITHOUT DUE PROCESS FOR MILLIONS WHO OVERSTAYED THEIR VISAS. AN ESTIMATED 40% OF THE 11 MILLION UNDOCUMENTED FIT IN THIS CATEGORY. SO EVEN IF THEY HAVE NO CRIMINAL RECORD, WITHOUT CONSIDERING THEIR LEGAL CLAIMS TO REMAIN IN THE UNITED STATES, THEY WOULD BE DEPORTED. IT DRAMATICALLY CUTS IMMIGRATION FROM SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN COUNTRIES. WE HAVE A DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAM. IT'S FAR FROM PERFECT, BUT IT'S A PROGRAM WHICH WAS CREATED YEARS AGO SO THAT COUNTRIES THAT DO NOT HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEND PEOPLE TO THE UNITED STATES FOR LEGAL IMMIGRATION WOULD HAVE A CHANCE. NOW THESE IMMIGRANTS WHO COME FROM THESE COUNTRIES -- AND THEY'RE LIMITED IN NUMBER -- HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE BACKGROUND CHECKS, THE CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS, THE BIOMETRIC INVESTIGATIONS, ALL OF THE INVESTIGATIONS AND INTERVIEWS WHICH WIELD EXPECT TO MAKE SURE -- WHICH WE WOULD EXPECT TO MAKE SURE WE DO EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO CALL OUT THOSE WHO WOULD BE ANY DANGER TO THE UNITED STATES. THEY FACE THAT SAME SCRUTINY, AND THEY SHOULD. MANY OF THEM ARE REJECTED. THEY CAN'T MAKE THE CASE FOR THEIR LIVES AND WHAT THEY'VE DONE WITH THEM, AND THEY'RE JUST NOT GIVEN A CHANCE TO COME. NOW THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO ELIMINATE THAT DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAM. FOR THOSE LIVING IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN COUNTRIES, THAT HUGE CONTINENT, ABOUT 12,000 TO 15,000 COME TO THE UNITED STATES EACH YEAR UNDER THIS PROGRAM. BY ELIMINATING THIS PROGRAM THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SADLY IS GOING TO DENY THESE PEOPLE FROM AFRICA THE CHANCE TO APPLY FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY. IN THE PAST MANY HAVE BEEN WILLING TO SUPPORT SOME OF THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSALS, CHANGES IN OUR ELIMINATION SYSTEM, ELIMINATING THE DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY. BUT WHEN WE MADE THAT OFFER FIVE YEARS AGO, IT WAS PART OF A COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM WITH GIVE AND TAKE AND COMPROMISE THAT TRIED TO MAKE SENSE OUT OF OUR SENSELESS IMMIGRATION LAWS. IN 2013, THE DEMOCRATIC-LED SENATE PASSED A COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL WITH A STRONG BIPARTISAN VOTE OF 68-32. THE BILL WAS THE PRODUCT OF MONTHS OF NEGOTIATIONS, COMMITTEE AND FLOOR DEBATE. UNFORTUNATELY THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES REFUSED TO EVEN CONSIDER THE BILL. NOW WE'RE BEING ASKED TO ACCEPT THE ADMINISTRATION'S PROPOSALS WITH NO CONDITIONS, NO COMPROMISE, NO GIVE AND TAKE. RATHER, TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT. DEMOCRATS HAVE SHOWN WE WANT TO COMPREHENSIVELILY FIX OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM, BUT RIGHT NOW WE HAVE TO FIX OUR FOCUS ON THE DACA CRISIS CREATED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP WITH HIS ANNOUNCEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 5. THAT HAS TO BE OUR PRIORITY. IN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO WE EXPECT THE SO-CALLED GRASSLEY PROPOSAL, WHICH IS THE TRUMP IMMIGRATION PLAN, TO COME TO THE FLOOR. I WANT TO JUST SAY FOR THE RECORD, THE DEMOCRATS SUPPORT COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM, BUT WE WILL NOT STAND BY AND ALLOW DREAMERS TO BE HELD HOSTAGE, POLITICAL HOSTAGE, TO THE ADMINISTRATION'S ENTIRE IMMIGRATION AGENDA. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:59:38 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: I ASK…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

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  • 11:01:58 AM

    A SENATOR

    I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 11:02:01 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:02:02 AM

    MR. MENENDEZ

    MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY OUT OF GREAT CONCERN FOR…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY OUT OF GREAT CONCERN FOR AMERICA'S DREAMERS WHOSE FUTURES HINGE ON THE ABILITY OF THIS BODY TO KEEP ITS WORD AND GET SOMETHING DONE. I WANT TO BE CLEAR WHO WE ARE TALKING ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT DREAMERS. WE AREN'T TALKING ABOUT CRIMINALS. WE AREN'T TALKING ABOUT TERRORISTS. WE AREN'T TALKING ABOUT, QUOTE-UNQUOTE, BAD HOMBRES. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT KIDS AS AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE. AS I OFTEN SAY, THE ONLY COUNTRY THEY CALL HOME IS THE UNITED STATES. THE ONLY FLAG THEY PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO IS THAT OF THE AMERICAN FLAG. THE ONLY NATIONAL ANTHEM THEY KNOW HOW TO SING IS THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT 800,000 YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WERE BROUGHT TO THIS COUNTRY AS CHILDREN AND WHO WERE ABLE TO OBTAIN LEGAL PROTECTION UNDER THE DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS PROGRAM KNOWN AS DACA. THESE KIDS PUT ENORMOUS FAITH IN OUR GOVERNMENT. THEY CAME OUT OF THE SHADOWS. THEY PASSED BACKGROUND CHECKS. THEY REGISTERED WITH OUR GOVERNMENT, ALL TO GET A TWO-YEAR RENEWABLE WORK PERMIT AND PROTECTION FROM DEPORTATION. EVEN THE CATO INSTITUTE, WHICH IS A CONSERVATIVE THINK TANK, SAYS THAT SUPPORTING DREAMERS, 91% OF WHOM ARE GAINFULLY EMPLOYED, WOULD HURT AMERICA'S ECONOMY. AT THE SAME TIME, WE'RE ALSO TALKING ABOUT THOUSANDS OF ADDITIONAL DREAMERS WHO WERE ELIGIBLE FOR DACA BUT DIDN'T APPLY. SOME COULDN'T AFFORD THE COSTS. OTHERS WERE STILL WORKING THROUGH THE LENGTHY APPLICATION PROCESS. THESE ARE THE DREAMERS THE WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF JOHN KELLY CALLS LAZY ASSES. WELL, MR. KELLY, HERE IS WHAT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND. THE REASON THEY DIDN'T APPLY IS NOT PAUSE THEY WERE LAZY. IN FACT, IN MANY CASES, THEY DIDN'T APPLY BECAUSE THEY WERE AFRAID, AFRAID OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU. THEY'RE AFRAID THAT IF THEY CAME OUT OF THE SHADOWS AND REGISTERED WITH THE GOVERNMENT, THEY WOULD END UP ON A SHORT LIST FOR DEPORTATION. AND WHAT'S DEPRESSING IS THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION'S ACTIONS HAVE PROVEN THEM RIGHT. NOW DACA RECIPIENTS AND UNDOCUMENTED DREAMERS ALIKE FEAR THAT THEY HAVE A TARGET ON THEIR BACK, AND THAT'S BECAUSE TRUMP PUT AN EXPIRATION DATE ON THEIR DREAMS WHEN HE DECIDED TO END DACA. NOW, LET ME BE CLEAR, DACA WAS NEVER PERFECT AND IT WAS NEVER A REPLACEMENT FOR TRULY COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM, AND MAKE NO MISTAKE, WE STILL NEED COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM, AND I'M AS COMMITTED AS EVER TO THAT CAUSE, A CAUSE THAT I HAVE SPENT THE BETTER PART OF MY CONGRESSIONAL CAREER TRYING TO ACHIEVE. I WAS A MEMBER OF THE GANG OF EIGHT HERE IN THE SENATE BACK IN 2013 WHEN A BIPARTISAN SUPERMAJORITY IN THE SENATE PASSED THE MOST HISTORIC REFORMS TO OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM SINCE THE DAYS OF PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN. ONLY TO DIE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WITHOUT EVEN A VOTE. BUT THAT DEBATE IS FOR ANOTHER DAY. THAT DEBATE IS FOR WHAT PRESIDENT TRUMP CALLED PHASE TWO. THIS WEEK, WE'RE NOT HERE TO DEBATE COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM. WE'RE NOT HERE TO DEBATE THE NUMEROUS TYPES OF VISAS THAT EXIST UNDER U.S. LAW. WE'RE NOT HERE TO DEBATE HOW MAYORS RUN THEIR CITIES OR HOW POLICE OFFICERS DO THEIR JOBS. WE'RE HERE TO PROTECT DREAMERS. WE'RE HERE TO ADDRESS A CRISIS THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP STARTED LAST SEPTEMBER WHEN HE ENDED DACA. THAT'S WHAT THIS WEEK'S DEBATE IS ALL ABOUT. IT'S ABOUT PROTECTING HARDWORKING, UPSTANDING DREAMERS ACROSS AMERICA FROM BEING DEPORTED TO COUNTRIES THEY HAVEN'T STEPPED FOOT IN SINCE THEY WERE IN DIAPERS. NOW, MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES HAVE MET DREAMERS FROM THEIR STATES IN RECENT YEARS, AND THEY KNOW THAT THE LION'S SHARE OF THESE KIDS CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER COMING HERE, ONLY GROWING UP HERE. FOR THE DREAMERS WHO DO REMEMBER ARRIVING HERE, THEY CERTAINLY DIDN'T ARRIVE THROUGH ANY DECISION OF THEIR OWN. THEY WERE BABIES AND TODDLERS AND VERY YOUNG CHILDREN, AND I CHALLENGE MY COLLEAGUES TO THINK OF ANY DECISION OF CONSEQUENCE THEY MADE WHEN THEY WERE BABIES AND TODDLERS AND VERY YOUNG CHILDREN. I BET YOU DIDN'T DECIDE WHAT TOWN YOU LIVED IN, WHERE YOUR PARENTS WORKED, OR WHAT KIND OF STATUS YOU HAD. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT DREAMERS, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT KIDS WHO HAVE GROWN UP AMERICAN IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT 22,000 NEW JERSEYANS LIKE PARTE PATEL WHO CAME TO NEW JERSEY FROM INDIA WHEN HE WAS 5 YEARS OLD. HE GAINED DACA STATUS IN 2012. HE GRADUATED FROM DREXEL LAW SCHOOL IN 2016. HE BECAME THE FIRST DREAMER ADMITTED TO THE NEW JERSEY BAR IN 2018. WE'RE ALSO TALKING ABOUT STUDENTS LIKE CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, A CONSTITUENT OF MINE WHO CAME HERE FROM COLOMBIA AT THE AGE OF 2. TODAY, HE'S A JUNIOR AT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY WITH A 3.74 G.P.A. HE IS PRESIDENT OF THE MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS ASSOCIATION, AND HE IS INTERNING AT COLGATE PALMOLIVE. CHRISTOPHER SAID I'M PROUD TO BE A DACA RECIPIENT, AND I PLAN ON CONTRIBUTING AS MUCH TO THIS COUNTRY AS I POSSIBLY CAN. BUT AS ANOTHER DREAMER FROM NEW JERSEY, SARAH MOORER RECENTLY WROTE, WITHOUT DACA, HER LIFE HAS BECOME ONE BIG QUESTION MARK. ONE BIG QUESTION MARK. THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT THIS CONGRESS WILL ACT. WILL WE PROTECT DREAMERS WHO BECOME INTEGRAL TO OUR COMMUNITIES, MANY WHO ARE TEACHING IN OUR SCHOOLS, WHO ARE TREATING OUR PATIENTS, WHO ARE SERVING PROUDLY IN THE MILITARY OF THE UNITED STATES, WEARING THE UNIFORM OF THE UNITED STATES, RISKING THEIR LIVES ON BEHALF OF OUR COUNTRY, AND YET WE TALK ABOUT DEPORTING THEM. WHO ARE STARTING FAMILIES OF THEIR OWN. THAT'S RIGHT. NEARLY A QUARTER OF DACA RECIPIENTS ARE THE PARENTS OF U.S.-BORN AMERICAN CHILDREN. THAT'S WHO WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS WEEK. WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT CRIMINALS. WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT TERRORISTS. WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT GANGBANGERS OR DRUG DEALERS. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT DREAMERS. THEY ARE UNDOCUMENTED -- THEY ARE NOT UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS, FROM MY PERSPECTIVE. THEY ARE UNDOCUMENTED AMERICANS WHO HAVE PROVEN THEMSELVES WORTHY OF THE AMERICAN DREAM. YET, THE ADMINISTRATION SLAPPED AN ARBITRARY EXPIRATION DATE ON THEIR DREAM, CREATING A CRISIS THAT CONGRESS NEEDS TO SOLVE. NOW, I TOOK PRESIDENT TRUMP AT HIS WORD WHEN HE SAID HE WANTED TO TREAT DREAMERS WITH HEART, JUST AS I TOOK LEADER McCONNELL AT HIS WORD WHEN HE SAID THIS WEEK WOULD BE ABOUT PROTECTING THEM FROM DEPORTATION. BUT NOW AS I LISTENED TO MANY OF MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES ON THE SENATE FLOOR, I'M HEARING LESS AND LESS ABOUT DREAMERS AND MORE AND MORE ABOUT SPENDING TENS OF BILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS ON A WALL THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP PROMISED THAT MEXICO WOULD PAY FOR. AND CONSIDERING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S OWN REPORT, NOTING THAT ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSINGS FROM MEXICO HAVE DROPPED TO THEIR LOWEST LEVEL IN NEARLY 50 YEARS, YOU HAVE TO QUESTION THE WISDOM OF A MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR WALL, A WALL BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND A COUNTRY THAT SERVES AS OUR SECOND LARGEST EXPORT MARKET IN THE WORLD FOR AMERICAN GOODS AND SERVICES, AS AMERICAN CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES BUY AMERICAN GOODS AND SERVICES THAT SUPPORT JOBS CREATED HERE AT HOME. AND LIKEWISE, I'M HEARING A WHOLE LOT ABOUT POLITICALLY LOADED TERMS LIKE MERIT-BASED IMMIGRATION AND CHAIN MIGRATION. CHAIN MIGRATION. THESE AREN'T TERMS THAT YOU FIND IN OUR LAWS. THEY ARE POLITICAL CATCH PHRASES DESIGNED TO INCITE FEAR AND PUSH POLICIES THAT FOREVER CHANGE HOW LEGAL IMMIGRATION WORKS IN THE UNITED STATES. THE MORE INSIDIOUS, OF COURSE, IS THE TERM CHAIN MIGRATION. AND I'M APPALLED WHEN I HEAR MY COLLEAGUES TALK ABOUT CHAIN MIGRATION, JUST LIKE I'M APPALLED THAT THE MEDIA, EVEN THE SO-CALLED LIBERAL MEDIA HAS ADOPTED THIS PHRASE EVEN AS IF IT'S ACTUALLY A LEGITIMATE TERM. AND I CAN'T BE THE ONLY ONE WHO THINKS THE TERM CHAIN MIGRATION IS DOWNRIGHT INSULTING TO THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHOSE ANCESTORS WERE ACTUALLY BROUGHT TO THIS COUNTRY IN CHAINS. NOW, I HAVE HEARD A LOT ABOUT FAMILY VALUES FROM MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES THROUGHOUT MY TIME IN CONGRESS. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS LONG CLAIMED TO BE THE PARTY OF SO-CALLED FAMILY VALUES. WELL, CHAIN MIGRATION IS A TERM THAT DEHUMANIZES FAMILIES. CHAIN MIGRATION. WHEN WE WANT TO DEHUMANIZE SOMETHING, WE CREATE AN INAN MAT -- INANIMATE OBJECT. THIS CHAIN IS ABOUT A MOTHER AND A FATHER AND A SON AND A DAUGHTER. IT'S NOT AN INANIMATE OBJECT. IT IS NOT A DEHUMANIZING TERM. IT'S A TERM DESIGNED TO MAKE OUR SYSTEM OF LEGAL IMMIGRATION AND FAMILY REUNIFICATION SOUND THREATENING AND ILLOGICAL. BUT THERE IS NOTHING THREATENING ABOUT UNITING MOTHERS AND FATHERS, AND THERE IS NOTHING MORE COMMON SENSE THAN UNITING BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND SONS AND DAUGHTERS. THEY ARE NOT LINKED BY CHAINS. THEY ARE BOUND BY BLOOD AND HELD TOGETHER BY LOVE. FAMILIES ARE THE ESSENCE OF AMERICAN VALUES IN OUR SOCIETY. FAMILIES ARE THE GLUE THAT BUILDS STRONG COMMUNITIES, THE FOUNDATION OF OUR COUNTRY. YET, SOME OF MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES ACT AS IF THE NUCLEAR FAMILY IS A CONCEPT THAT HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE. WELL, I LOVE MY -- I HAVE LOVED MY DAUGHTER SINCE THE DAY SHE WAS BORN AND THE DAY SHE TURNED 21 AND THE DAY SHE TURNED 30, AS I DO MY SON. I DIDN'T LOVE THEM LESS WITH EACH PASSING YEAR. I DON'T LOVE THEM ANY LESS NOW THAT THEY HAVE GOTTEN MARRIED. IN FACT, I LOVE THEM MORE. SO WHEN AMERICANS NEED TO KNOW THAT WHEN REPUBLICANS SPEAK OF ENDING CHAIN MIGRATION, THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT ENDING THE LEGAL RIGHT OF UNITED STATES CITIZENS TO LEGALLY SPONSOR FAMILY MEMBERS IN OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM. IT'S NOT CHAIN MIGRATION. IT'S FAMILY REUNION IFUNIFICATION. THAT'S WHAT AMERICA'S ALL ABOUT. THAT'S WHAT IMMIGRATION POLICY FOR THE PAST CENTURY HAS BEEN ABOUT, KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER, NOT TEARING THEM APART. AND THE REALITY IS MOST AMERICANS ARE IN SOME WAYS THE BENEFICIARY OF FAMILY REUNIFICATION. WITHOUT IT, OUR COUNTRY WOULD BE A VERY DIFFERENT PLACE. END FAMILY REUNIFICATION, AND WE WOULD NEVER HAVE SEEN THE LEADERSHIP OF INDIVIDUALS LIKE POWELL POWELL, A -- LIKE COLIN POWELL, A GENERAL, SECRETARY OF STATE. THAT'S RIGHT. HIS PARENTS WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO COME HERE OUT THE BIG, BAD CHAIN MIGRATION THAT MY COLLEAGUES IN THE MAJORITY DECRY TODAY. END FAMILY REUNIFICATION, AND SUDDENLY BILLION-DOLLAR AMERICAN TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES LIKE KINGSTON TECHNOLOGY WOULD HAVE NEVER EXISTED. BEFORE JOHN TULLE WAS A BILLION-DOLLAR BUSINESSMAN, HE WAS A SELF-DESCRIBED MEDIOCRE STUDENT FROM CHINA. HE WOULD HAVE NEVER COME TO AMERICA IF IT WERE NOT FOR THE SPONSORSHIP OF HIS U.S. CITIZEN SISTER. HE WASN'T SKILLED WHEN HE GOT HERE, AND YET HE BUILT A GROUND-BREAKING COMPANY. SO LET'S GET REAL. WHEN PRESIDENT TRUMP PROFESSES HIS SUPPORT FOR MERIT-BASED IMMIGRATION, HE DOESN'T HAVE A REAL PLAN FOR ALLOWING A MILLION ENGINEERS AND INVENTORS FROM AROUND THE WORLD TO COME TO THE UNITED STATES. HE'S TALKING ABOUT CUTTING LEGAL IMMIGRATION BY NEARLY 50%. THAT'S A POLICY WITH DISASTROUS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY WHEN YOU CONSIDER BASIC ECONOMIC FACTS. ANY CREDIBLE ECONOMIST WILL TELL YOU WITHOUT STEADY IMMIGRATION AMERICA'S GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS WILL SUFFER AND FALL BEHIND LARGER COUNTRIES LIKE CHINA, PAKISTAN, AND INDIA. ACCORDING TO A "FORBES" MAGAZINE, EVEN DONALD TRUMP IS FROM CHAIN MIGRATION. HIS GRANDFATHER CAME HERE WITH NO ENGLISH SPEAKING ABILITY AND NO MERIT-BASED SKILLS. WHY? BECAUSE HIS SISTER WAS ALREADY IN THE UNITED STATES AND CLAIMED HIM AS PART OF FAMILY REUNIFICATION. YOU GET TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE OF CHAIN MIGRATION. THE -- IF THE REPUBLICANS WERE BEING HONEST, THEY WOULD CALL THEIR TERM OF CHAIN MIGRATION WHAT IT REALLY IS, THEY WOULD CALL IT FAMILY REUNIFICATION. BUT THEY DON'T WANT TO CALL IT FAMILY REUNIFICATION, BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO STRIP UNITED STATES CITIZENS FROM THEIR FATHERS, MOTHERS, BROTHERS, SISTERS. IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A DEBATE ABOUT THE MERIT OF THE IMMIGRATION SYSTEM, WE CAN HAVE THAT. BUT THAT DEBATE OVER COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM IS NOT THE DEBATE WE SHOULD HAVE THIS WEEK. THIS DEBATE IS ABOUT WHETHER WE WILL LISTEN TO THE VOICES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO OVERWHELMINGLY WANT US TO SOLVE THIS CRISIS. ACCORDING TO THE LATEST POLLS JUST OUT THIS WEEK, 81% OF AMERICANS SUPPORT GIVING DREAMERS A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP. YET WEEK AFTER WEEK, MONTH AFTER MONTH DREAMERS HAVE LANGUISHED IN UNCERTAINTY. REPUBLICANS DIDN'T LET US PROTECT THEM IN SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER, OR JANUARY, AND YET THROUGHOUT ALL OF THIS TIME WASTED, I HEAR MY COLLEAGUES AND -- IN THE MAJORITY SAY SUCH NICE THINGS ABOUT DREAMERS, HOW TALENTED THEY ARE, HOW HOPEFUL THEY ARE, HOW IMPORTANT THEY ARE. I SAY TO THEM TODAY IT IS GETTING HARDER AND HARDER TO TAKE YOUR COMMITMENT TO DREAMERS SERIOUSLY WHEN AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING, YOU DO NOTHING. INSTEAD IT IS BEGINNING TO LOOK LIKE PRESIDENT TRUMP, THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR ENDING DACA, HAS ENABLERS IN CONGRESS THAT HAVE BEEN INTENT ON DEPORTING DREAMERS FROM DAY ONE. IF THAT'S NOT THE CASE, NOW IS THE TIME TO PROVE IT BECAUSE MARCH 5 IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER AND COME MARCH AMERICA'S DREAMERS WILL SEE THEIR DREAMS EXTINGUISHED WITH DEPORTATION ORDERS TO PLACES THEY HAVE NEVER CALLED HOME. 19,000 -- SO FAR THERE ARE 19,000. IF MY COLLEAGUES WANT TO HAVE A DEBATE ABOUT COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM, WE CAN HAVE THAT DEBATE SOME OTHER TIME, BUT NOT TODAY, NOT THIS WEEK. NOT UNTIL WE PROTECT DREAMERS LIVING IN FEAR OF DEPORTATION DUE TO A PRESIDENT THAT ONCE SAID ABOUT DREAMERS WHO SAID, QUOTE, WE'RE GOING TO WORK SOMETHING OUT THAT'S GOING TO MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY AND PROUD. THE POLLS SHOW THAT DEPORTING DREAMERS WILL NOT MAKE AMERICANS HAPPY AND PROUD. THE TIME FOR TALK IS OVER, THE TIME FOR KIND WORDS IS OVER, THE TIME FOR EXCUSES IS OVER. THIS WEEK CONGRESS NEEDS TO TAKE ACTION. IT'S TIME TO SEE WHO STANDS WITH DREAMERS AND WHO IS EXPLICIT IN THEIR -- COMPLICIT IN THEIR POTENTIAL DEPORTATION. THESE YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE SHOWN INCREDIBLE STRENGTH IN THE FACE OF DIVERSITY AND CRISIS, THEY HAVE SHARED THEIR STORIES AND DREAMS AND IN DOING SO HAVE CAPTURED THE HEARTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES IN THE SENATE NOT TO BREAK AMERICA'S HEART BECAUSE OUR COUNTRY IS BIGGER AS A COUNTRY AND OUR FUTURE IS BRIGHTER WHEN DREAMERS HERE IN THIS COUNTRY STAY RIGHT WHERE THEY BELONG. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 11:19:37 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH CAROLINA.

  • 11:19:40 AM

    MR. TILLIS

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. IN A MOMENT I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. IN A MOMENT I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE HERE AND PROBABLY BEFORE I DO THAT THOUGH, I WANT TO RECOGNIZE THAT THIS IS VALENTINE'S DAY. I HAPPEN TO BE SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES AWAY FROM MY SWEETHEART, BUT I WANT TO WISH MY WIFE, MR. PRESIDENT, A HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY. I MADE HER A LITTLE CARD. I DON'T THINK ANYBODY CAN FIRE ME, AND I WANT MY WIFE TO KNOW I LOVE HER AND I WISH I WAS WITH HER. NOW I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IMMIGRATION REFORM. WE HEARD A DISCUSSION, AND SOMETIMES I THINK I TELEPORT FROM THIS CHAMBER TO THE KENNEDY CENTER BECAUSE THERE'S MORE THEATRICS GOING ON HERE THAN YOU CAN FIND THERE ON NIP GIVEN DAY. -- THERE ON NIP GIVEN DAY. LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. THE DEMOCRAT MADE A POINT OF SAYING THAT WE CAME UP WITH THIS TERM. PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE HAVE REFERENCED CHAIN MIGRATION IN BILLS THEY PROPOSED. NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S FRAMEWORK. I HEARD -- I WAS PRESIDING JUST BEFORE I GOT UP HERE AND I HEARD THE WORD HARD LINE USED. THE HARD-LINE DEMAND OF PRESIDENT TRUMP. I SAID A YEAR AND A HALF AGO I WAS CRITICIZED FOR SAYING WHEN YOU TALK TO BORDER PATROL AND HOMELAND SECURITY, YOU DON'T NEED A HUGE WALL. THE PRESIDENT, AFTER HE WAS ELECTED, AFTER HE GOT INTO OFFICE, LISTENED TO HOMELAND SECURITY, LISTENED TO BORDER PATROL AND CAME UP WITH A PLAN THAT ISN'T A LONG WALL ACROSS THE SOUTHERN BORDER. IT'S A STRATEGIC PLAN THAT LET'S US PROTECT THE SECURITY OF THE HOMELAND IN THE NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN BORDERS. IT TRIES TO CON IF I -- CONFISCATE TONS OF DRUGS EVERY YEAR. IT IS TO ENSURE THAT MORE GANG MEMBERS WILL BE MORE LIKELY TO BE INCARCERATED AND LESS LIKELY GO INTO COMMUNITIES THAT MANY PEOPLE WHO IMMIGRATE INTO THIS COUNTRY GO INTO. IT IS A PLAN TO MAKE SURE THAT THOSE WHO CROSS THE BORDER ILLEGALLY ARE NOT CARRYING DRUGS IN A CART OR WHEEL WELL BECAUSE IT IS USING TECHNOLOGY TO SEARCH MORE VEHICLES, TO MAKE SURE OUR HOMELAND IS SAFE. IT ALSO SHOWS MORE COMPASSION THAN PRESIDENT OBAMA'S DACA PLAN. THERE ARE 690,000 PEOPLE WHO ARE ON DACA AND THEIR FUTURE IS UNCERTAIN BECAUSE IT'S AN EXECUTIVE ORDER IT DOESN'T HAVE THE FORCE OF LAW. IT COULD POSSIBLY BE CHALLENGED BY THE COURT. THE PRESIDENT DECIDED ON SEPTEMBER 15 OF LAST YEAR, CONGRESS DO YOUR JOB. YOU'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT IMMIGRATION REFORM FOR TWO DECADES AND WHAT WE HAVE IS AN ARGUABLY ILLEGAL EXECUTIVE ORDER BY PRESIDENT OBAMA THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP KEPT IN PLACE FOR ABOUT A YEAR AND THEN HE SAID, I'LL GOING TO GIVE YOU ALL SIX MONTHS TO DO YOUR JOB, SOMETHING THAT HAS ENDURING VALUE. NOW, THE DACA PROPOSAL ONLY PROVIDED THE ILLEGALLY PRESENT PERSON WHO CAME TO THIS COUNTRY THROUGH THE DECISION OF AN ADULT WITH SOME CERTAINTY THEY WOULDN'T BE DEPORTED BUT DIDN'T GIVE THEM CERTAINTY TO CITIZENSHIP. SO PEOPLE SAY THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS A HARD-LINE PLAN. DACA ALLOWS 6 THE0 -- 690,000 PEOPLE WHO ARE HERE AND HOPEFULLY NOT HAVE THEIR DECISION TO BE THROWN OUT BY THE COURT. THE PRESIDENT'S HARD-LINE PLAN THAT WE LETTER FROM DEMOCRATS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE IS TO HAVE THREE TIMES AS MANY PEOPLE WITH A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP. CITIZENSHIP, NOT A PIECE OF PAPER THAT HOPEFULLY WILL BE IN PLACE FOR THE TIME YOU SPEND IN THE UNITED STATES, BUT SPHWHRENSHIP SO THE -- CITIZENSHIP. SO THE PRESIDENT'S HARD-LINE PLAN WHICH LEGALIZES TWO AND A HALF TIMES AS. PEOPLE NOT JUST -- HAS. PEOPLE NOT JUST TO BE PRESENT, BUT TO HAVE CITIZENSHIP. THAT'S HARD-LINE? THE PRESIDENT LISTENED. HE RECOGNIZES HE WANTS TO BE THE PRESIDENT TO GET SOMETHING DONE AND HE'S WILLING TO ACCEPT THE CRITICISM FROM PEOPLE ON MY SIDE OF THE AISLE WHO DON'T SUPPORT A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP. I DO AND THE PRESIDENT DOES. I FIND IT REMARKABLE THAT SOMEBODY WOULD SAY THAT A PRESIDENT WHO HAS ENDORSED A BILL TO PROVIDE A PATH TO SPHWHRENSHIP TO -- CITIZENSHIP TO 1.8 MILLION PEOPLE, TWO AND A HALF MORE THAN PRESIDENT OBAMA PROVIDED A TEMPORARY, IF THAT'S HARD-LINE, MY GOODNESS. NOW BORDER SECURITY. WHY IS BORDER SECURITY IMPORTANT? IS IT JUST PURELY A HARD-LINE DEPORTATION FORCE SENDING PEOPLE OUT? NO. I ALREADY TALKED ABOUT -- NUMBER ONE, HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOSES OF HEROIN, FENTANYL AND OTHER ILLICIT DRUGS CROSS OUR BORDERS EVERY YEAR. WE DON'T HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE TO INTERDICT THEM. THE $25 BILLION, ABOUT $18 BILLION WOULD BE SPENT FOR BORDER SECURITY, ABOUT 10% TO 15% ON THE NORTHERN BORDER, THE REMAINDER ON THE SOUTHERN BORDER. WHEN IT IS ALL SAID AND DOWN LESS THAN HALF WILL HAVE A WALL STRUCTURE. THE REST WILL BE SPENT ON TRAINING AND ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL. IF YOU HAVE GONE TO A BORDER CROSSING, YOU KNOW THE LONG LINES THEY HAVE THERE. IT IS TECHNOLOGY THAT HAS LOW-INTENSITY X-RAYS THAT YOU CAN DRIVE A VEHICLE THROUGH AND THE BORDER PATROL OFFICERS CAN IDENTIFY DRUG SMUGGLERS WITHOUT ANYONE GETTING OUT OF A CAR. THAT'S WHAT IT IS FOCUSED ON AS WELL. IT IS WALL STRUCTURES WHERE THEY MAKE SENSE. THEY DON'T MAKE SENSE ALONG ABOUT HALF OF THE BORDER. LET MEAL TELL YOU THE HUMANITARIAN CASE WHICH I FIND REMARKABLE THAT NOBODY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WILL BRING UP. I WENT TO TEXAS LAST YEAR. I WAS ON THE RIO GRANDE ON THE BORDER PATROL BOATS, I WAS ON HORSEBACK AT NIGHT AND I HEARD A LOT OF STORIES FROM PEOPLE, INCLUDING PROPERTY OWNERS. OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS 10,000 PEOPLE HAVE DIED TRYING TO CROSS OUR BORDER. THAT'S ON U.S. SOIL. WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW MANY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE DIED TRYING TO GET THERE. 10,000 PEOPLE DIED OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS BECAUSE WE DIDN'T KNOW WHERE THEY WERE. THEY WERE ON AMERICAN SOIL, WE DIDN'T KNOW WHERE THEY WERE. ABOUT 1,000 WERE CHILDREN. IF THAT'S NOT A CASE FOR KNOWING WHO IS CROSSING THE BORDER, EVEN IF THEY DON'T HAVE A CLAIM TO ASYLUM, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS. I DON'T SEE HOW IT IS HARD-LINE WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE FACTS, NOT THE THEATER, BUT THE FACTS. SO I THINK THAT SECOND PILLAR OF THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSAL IS BALANCED, IT'S LESS THAN WHAT HE ORIGINALLY WANTED, BUT IT MAKES SENSE AND IT SHOWS A LOT OF MOVEMENT ON HIS PART, AGAIN, TWO AND A HALF TIME THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE GETTING A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP, MORE THAN THE DACA EXECUTIVE ORDER PROPOSED AND BORDER SECURITY THAT MAKES SENSE AND NOT THIS IDEA OF A BIG WALL. WE HEARD SOMEBODY SAY THERE IS A DRAMATIC CUT TO LEGAL IMMIGRATION AND THE PROMISE WE MADE TO EVERYBODY WHO IS IN THE LINE BECAUSE OF FAMILY RELATIONSHIP THAT IS GOING TO BE BROKEN. THAT IS NONSENSE. THERE IS NO PROPOSAL LIKE THAT ON THE TABLE. THE FACT IS THERE ARE 3.9 BILLION PEOPLE IN THE BACKLOG IF THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSAL IS ACCEPTED WILL GET TO THIS COUNTRY IN HALF THE TIME IT TAKES TODAY. THERE IS ABOUT 3.9 MILLION PEOPLE WAITING TO COME TO THIS COUNTRY BECAUSE OF A FAMILY RELATIONSHIP THAT WE PROPOSED THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS PROPOSED SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET HERE SOONER. THE DIVERSITY LOTTERY IS ALSO SOMETHING THAT I THINK HAS BEEN -- YOU KNOW, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN MISLED OR TRYING TO MISLEAD YOU. I WILL LEAVE IT TO YOU TO DECIDE. THE DIVERSITY LOTTERY IS NOT ENDING IT. IT IS COMING UP WITH A REASONABLE WAY TO USE THE 50,000 GREEN CARDS IN A WAY THAT LET'S US DRAW DOWN THE BACKLOG SOONER INSTEAD OF HAVING SOMEBODY WAIT 17OR 20 YEARS TO GET INTO THE COUNTRY, MAYBE EIGHT OR NINE, BUT IT IS ALSO A FOCUS ON THE UNDER REPRESENTED COUNTRIES. MANY COUNTRIES IN AFRICA WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY EVERY YEAR TO COME TO THIS COUNTRY AND WE HAVE MADE PROPOSALS THAT WE ARE OPEN TO OTHER PROPOSALS TO MAKE THAT A PART OF HOW THE DIVERSITY LOTTERY GETS SETTLED. 50,000 WILL GET TO COME. WHEN WE SAY ENDING THE DIVERSITY LOTTERY, WE'RE NOT SAYING ENDING IT FOR 50,000 PEOPLE. THE LAST TIME WE DID ANY TYPE OF IMMIGRATION BILL, I WAS 5 YEARS OLD. I THINK IT IS TIME TO LOOK AT HOW THE WORLD HAS CHANGED AND MAYBE OPEN YOUR EYES AND HEART TO A BETTER WAY TO DO IT THAT BENEFITS THE PERSON TRYING TO COME TO OUR COUNTRY AND BENEFITS OUR COUNTRY AS A RESULT OF THEIR ENTRY. I THINK IT CAN BE A WIN-WIN. NOW, THE LAST THING, AGAIN, ON CHAIN MIGRATION. I WANT TO GO BACK -- I WANT TO FIND EVERYBODY WHO HAS VOTED FOR BILLS IN THE PAST AND THEY VOTED FOR BILL WITH LEGISLATIVE LANGUAGE THAT REFERRED TO CHAIN MIGRATION BECAUSE I'M SICK OF THAT KIND OF GARBAGE GOING ON THE SENATE FLOOR. THAT IS JUST MISLEADING. CHAIN MIGRATION THAT HAS BEEN USED IN THE PASS NOT ONLY IN OUR COUNTRY BUT OTHER COUNTRIES TO LINK PEOPLE TOGETHER. I'M SYMPATHETIC WITH SOME OF THE THINGS THE GENTLEMAN FROM NEW JERSEY SAID. SO SAY THIS IS A DIVISIVE TERM IS NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO YOUR JOB. I HAVE ONLY BEEN HERE THREE YEARS. MANY OF THESE PEOPLE WHO WERE HERE, THEY VOTED FOR LANGUAGE THAT HAD CHAIN MIGRATION IN IT. NOW THEY'RE SAYING IT'S SOMETHING THE HATEFUL FOLKS IN OUR DEPARTMENTS CREATED TO BE DIVISIVE. JUST UNTRUE. NOW, THE LAST THING. WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT LEGAL IMMIGRATION IN THIS COUNTRY, WE IMMIGRATE ABOUT ONE MILLION TO 1.1 MILLION PEOPLE A YEAR IN THIS COUNTRY. I FOR ONE DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT NUMBER. I FOR ONE, IF I HAD MEMBERS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES SAY, TOM, WE WANT TO TRY AND MAINTAIN THAT SAME AMOUNT OF IMMIGRATION. I SAY I'M OPEN TO IT. SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES I'VE WORKED WITH ON THIS BILL MAY NOT BE. BUT THE WAY THAT WE GO ABOUT DOING IT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I HEARD HOW WE NEED WHEN WE HAVE A FOREIGN NATIONAL HERE WHO GRADUATES WITH AN ENGINEERING DEGREE OR SOME DEGREE IN STEM SCIENCE, THAT WE SHOULD JUST STABLE A GREEN CARD -- STAPLE A GREEN CARD. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE HEARD THAT? BECAUSE WE NEED HIGH-END WORKERS. WE NEED WELDERS. WE NEED CAR PENTERS. WE NEED -- CAR CARPENTERS. AT SOME POINT OUR ECONOMIC GROWTH IS GOING TO BE LIMITED BY THE RESOURCES FOR THE JOB. THE DEMAND FOR WORKERS ARE THERE. WE'VE GOT AN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM WHERE ABOUT THREE-FOURTHS OF EVERYBODY WHO COMES TO THIS COUNTRY COME PURELY BECAUSE OF A FAMILY RELATIONSHIP. NOW, I BET IF WE DIG INTO IT, MANY OF THEM ACTUALLY COULD QUALIFY ON THE BASIS OF MERIT, BUT RIGHT NOW IT'S JUST A RANDOM SELECTION THAT DOESN'T REALLY TIE TO OUR NEEDS AS A NATION AND FOR OUR ECONOMIC GROWTH, FOR OUR ECONOMIC SECURITY. I FOR ONE BELIEVE IF WE GET THE IMMIGRATION POLICY RIGHT, THAT OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS, WE'LL BE BUILDING A CASE TO HAVE MORE LEGAL IMMIGRATION, MORE THAN THE ONE MILLION AND 1.1 MILLION. BUT IF WE DON'T FIX THIS, WE'RE NOT GOING TO FIX THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM WITH OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I ACTUALLY DIDN'T PLAN ON SPEAKING. I JUST GRABBED A COUPLE OF THESE SLIDES SO THAT I COULD TALK ABOUT IT. BUT IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO ME, FOR US -- I DON'T LIKE BEING PART OF AN ORGANIZATION THAT TALKS A LOT AND DOESN'T GET ANYTHING DONE. OVER THE LAST 17 YEARS, THAT'S ALL THESE FOLKS HAVE BEEN DOING. REELECT ME. I PROMISE NEXT YEAR I'LL GET IMMIGRATION REFORM DONE. NEXT YEAR I'LL FILE THE DREAM ACT AND WE'LL GET IT DONE. GUESS WHAT? IT HASN'T GOTTEN DONE UNDER A REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATION. PRESIDENT BUSH WAS SYMPATHETIC TO THIS ISSUE. HE COULDN'T GET IT DONE. CONGRESS COULDN'T GET IT DONE. PRESIDENT OBAMA COMES IN. I'M GOING TO FIX IMMIGRATION. PRESIDENT OBAMA HAD THE VOTES TO PASS OBAMACARE. THAT IS -- THERE WAS A TIME IN THIS CHAMBER WHERE NOT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN VOTE WAS NECESSARY TO PASS A BILL OUT OF HERE. RIGHT? SO IF YOU DON'T NEED A SINGLE VOTE IN CONGRESS THAT'S REPUBLICANS, ON THE HOUSE OR DEMOCRATIC SIDE, WHY DIDN'T YOU GET IT DONE? BECAUSE I DON'T THINK YOU'VE TAKEN THE TIME TO CONSTRUCT SOMETHING THAT MAKES SENSE, THAT'S COMPASSIONATE, THAT'S RESPONSIBLE, THAT WILL HAVE THE ENDURING VALUE OF LAW. SO NOW IS THE TIME TO GET IT DONE. THE ONLY WAY WE'RE GOING TO GET IT DONE IS WITH BIPARTISAN COOPERATION. IF YOU DON'T LIKE SOME OF THE ELEMENTS OF THE PRESIDENT'S FRAMEWORK, INSTEAD OF HAMMERING AND FOLDING YOUR HANDS AND SAY IF YOU DON'T VOTE ON MINE, I WON'T VOTE ON YOURS, LOOK AT THIS AND TELL US HOW WE CAN IMPROVE IT. TELL US WHAT WE NEED TO GET A VOTE. TELL US WHAT WE COULD DO TO MODERATE THIS. TO TALK IT A HARDLINE BILL IS ABSURD. IT'S THEATRICS. IT'S THE KIND OF STUFF THAT'S PREVENTED THIS FROM GETTING DOWN THE LAST TEN YEARS. I HOPE PEOPLE WILL HAVE AN HONEST DISCUSSION AND DEBATE. I HOPE PEOPLE WILL OFFER THE AMENDMENTS THEY WANT TO AND I HOPE THEY'LL BE MATURE ENOUGH. IF IT FAILS TO MOVE ON TO THE NEXT ONE -- BECAUSE I FOR ONE WANT TO PROVIDE CERTAINTY TO THE DACA POPULATION. THOSE 900, YOU KNOW BETTER THAN ME BECAUSE YOU'RE IN MARINE RESERVE, 900 PEOPLE SERVING IN THE MILITARY PEOPLE, THAT'S MORE THAN A BATTALION, RIGHT? WE HAVE OVER 900 PEOPLE SERVING IN THE MILITARY WHO ARE DACA RECIPIENTS. I WANT TO FILE THIS BILL. I WANT TO GET THIS BILL TO THE PRESIDENT'S DESK AND SAY WELCOME TO THIS COUNTRY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. I CAN'T WAIT TO GO TO YOUR CEREMONY WHERE YOU SWEAR THE OATH AS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN. THAT'S WHAT WE CAN DO THIS WEEK. BUT I'LL GUARANTEE YOU, ANYBODY WHO SITS HERE AND SAYS THAT THE PRESIDENT'S PROPOSAL IS UNFAIR AND INSINCERE AND HARDLINE, THEY'RE PLAYING POLITICS. AND IT MAKES ME WONDER IF SOME OF THEM WOULD JUST AS SOON HAVE THIS BE, IF YOU LIKE ME, I PROMISE NEXT YEAR I'LL FIX THIS PROBLEM. A CAMPAIGN SPEECH. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT FOR A CHANGE. NOW, FINALLY, I STARTED BY WISHING MY WIFE HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY. WHEN I GET INTO THESE SPEECHES, I WORKED IN BUSINESS BOAST OF MY CAREER. I'VE BEEN IN POLITICS. I GET VERY FRUSTRATED WITH THE LACK OF PRODUCTION, WITH THE LACK OF RESULTS. SWEETIE, I'M NOT MAD. I JUST GET A LITTLE BIT INTENSE. WHEN I TALK ABOUT AN ISSUE WHERE THE SOLUTION IS WITHIN REACH. I'M NOT MAD. I'M FRUSTRATED WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. SENATE WHO DON'T SEE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEIZE THIS MOMENT AND GET IT DONE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY. I PROBABLY WENT LONG. I APOLOGIZE TO ANYBODY ELSE WHO MAY BE WAITING TO SPEAK BUT THIS IS THE WEEK TO GET IT DONE. THIS IS THE CONGRESS TO GET IT DONE. THIS IS THE PRESIDENT THAT'S GIVEN US A HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY. I HOPE WE SEIZE THE DAY. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:36:22 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 11:36:33 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 11:49:52 AM

    MR. LEAHY

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 11:49:53 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT.

  • 11:49:55 AM

    MR. LEAHY

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

  • 11:49:59 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:50:00 AM

    MR. LEAHY

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE SENATE IS DEBATING THE FATE OF OUR NATION'S DREAMERS…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THE SENATE IS DEBATING THE FATE OF OUR NATION'S DREAMERS THIS WEEK. AND EVERYWHERE I GO, PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THE UNCONTESTABLE TRUTH THAT UNDERPINS OUR DISCUSSION. WE'RE ALL A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS. UNLESS YOU'RE A NATIVE AMERICAN, YOU COME FROM A LINE OF PEOPLE WHO COME FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE. IN FACT, MORE THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH, THE SIMPLE FACT IS A DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC OF OUR NATIONAL IDENTITY. THROUGHOUT OUR HISTORY, IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES HAVE GREATLY ENRICHED OUR NATION. THEIR INDIVIDUAL STORIES HAVE BECOME THE AMERICAN STORY. OUT OF MANY, WE HAVE BECOME ONE. MY MATERNAL GRANDPARENTS EMIGRATED FROM ITALY, BEGAN A BUSINESS, WERE PILLARS OF THE COMMUNITY. MY WIFE'S PARENTS EMIGRATED FROM FRENCH-SPEAKING CANADA, ALSO STARTED A BUSINESS. SHE WAS BORN IN VERMONT. YESTERDAY WE BURIED HER UNCLE, AN IMMIGRANT FROM CANADA WHO STARTED OFF AS AN $8-A-WEEK CLERK IN A SHOE STORE. BURIED WITH HONORS AT THE AGE OF 100 YESTERDAY. AND PEOPLE TALKED ABOUT THE $20 MILLION OR $30 MILLION HE'S GIVEN TO PHILANTHROPIC CAUSES IN VERMONT. THIS $8-A-WEEK IMMIGRANT CLERK IN A SHOE STORE. I THINK SOMETIMES WE FORGET WHO WE ARE. IN THE LATE 1800'S WE PASSED LAWS EXCLUDING CHINESE IMMIGRANTS. DURING WORLD WAR II, WE TURNED AWAY JEWISH REFUGEES FLEEING THE HOLOCAUST, TURNED THEM AWAY AT THE SHORES OF OUR COUNTRY, AND MANY WENT BACK TO DIE IN THE GAS CHAMBERS. AND WE KNOW TODAY THAT THESE WERE TRAGIC MISTAKES FUELED BY FOREIGN XENOPHOBIC RHETORIC. MISTAKES WERE MADE WE MUST NEVER LET BE REPEATED. NOW IN 2018 I'M CONCERNED WE'RE HEARING ECHOES OF PAST MISTAKES. ANTI-IMMIGRANT VOICES ARMED WITH THE SAME SHAMEFUL FEARMONGERING ATTEMPTING TO COME BACK IN OUR COUNTRY. IN RECENT MONTHS DREAMERS HAVE BEEN REGULARLY DISPARAGED. SOME HAVE EVEN SUGGESTED DREAMERS POSE A RISK OF TERRORISM OR HAVE LINKS TO INTERNATIONAL DRUG TRAFFICKING. THESE ABSURD DEPICTIONS WOULD BE LAUGHABLE IF THEY WEREN'T SO DAMAGING, ESPECIALLY THOSE OF US WHO REMEMBER ONE OF THE BIGGEST TERRORIST ATTACKS IN OUR COUNTRY IN OKLAHOMA CITY BY TIMOTHY McVEIGH. HE WAS NOT AN IMMIGRANT. HE GREW UP THERE. HE WAS BORN THERE. THANKFULLY MOST AMERICANS KNOW BETTER. DREAMERS AREN'T A THREAT TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY, NOT A SINGLE ONE. NOT A SINGLE ONE HAS BEEN SUSPECTED OF TERRORIST ACTIVITIES. NOR DO DREAMERS PRESENT A THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY, FAR FROM IT. BY DEFINITION DREAMERS ARE LAW ABIDING STRIVERS WHO SEEK TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR COUNTRY. BROUGHT HERE AS CHILDREN, DREAMERS ARE NOW OUR NEIGHBORS, OUR FIRST RESPONDERS, OUR TEACHERS, OUR MEDICAL PERSONNEL. NEARLY 1,000 SERVE IN OUR ARMED FORCES. THEY RISK THEIR LIVES TO DEFEND THE ONLY COUNTRY THEY'VE EVER KNOWN AS HOME. I'LL NEVER FORGET ONE DREAMER WHO WROTE TO ME LAST YEAR, DR. JUAN CONTE IS A DACA RECIPIENT. HE IS A RESIDENT OF VERMONT. HE WAS BROUGHT TO MEXICO, BROUGHT TO THE UNITED STATES AS A YOUNG CHILD BY HIS MOTHER. IN 2007, TRAGICALLY HIS MOTHER DIED OF CANCER. SHOWING REMARKABLE COURAGE AND DETERMINATION FOR A YOUNG MAN, DR. CONDAY WAS MOTIVATED TO HELP CANCER PATIENTS LIKE HIS MOTHER. HE ULTIMATELY OBTAINED A PH.D. IN CANCER RESEARCH FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, BUT AS ACCOMPLISHED AS HE ALREADY WAS, DR. CONDAY WAS NOT SATISFIED WITH JUST STUDYING CANCER. HE WANTED TO TREAT THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SUFFERING WITH OR BATTLING THE DISEASE. EVERY ONE OF US IN THIS CHAMBER KNOWS SOMEBODY WHO SUFFERS FROM OR BATTLED CANCER. MANY HAVE DIED. ONLY AFTER HE ENROLLED IN DACA WAS DR. CONDAY ABLE TO ATTEND MEDICAL SCHOOL AND HE IS CURRENTLY DOING THAT. HE IS STUDYING ONCOLOGY. DR. CONDAY HOPES TO SPEND HIS LIFE IN THE UNITED STATES TREATING CANCER PATIENTS AND RESEARCHING TO FIND A CURE FOR THE DISEASE. THIS VERMONTER, I THINK ALL AMERICANS WOULD AGREE, AMERICA IS A BETTER PLACE WITH DR. CONDAY IN IT. THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DREAMERS LIKE HIM, ALL OF WHOM HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR COMMUNITIES AND TO OUR COUNTRY. TO DENY THEM THESE OPPORTUNITIES BECAUSE THEY WERE BROUGHT HERE AS A CHILD WOULD BE AS SENSELESS AS IT IS CRUEL. WE'RE BETTER THAN THAT. AND THIS WEEK WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROVE IT. I'M PROUD OF THOSE IN THE SENATE, BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS, WHO ARE ENGAGED IN GOOD-FAITH NEGOTIATIONS OVER PROPOSALS TO PROTECT OUR DREAMERS AND IMPROVE OUR BORDER SECURITY. I SINCERELY BELIEVE THAT WE CAN FIND A PATH TO 60 VOTES, AND I HOPE THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP WILL LET US. THE MAJORITY LEADER'S DECISION YESTERDAY TO SEEK TO OPEN UP THE DEBATE WITH A VOTE ON A POISON PILL AMENDMENT ABOUT SO-CALLED SANCTUARY CITIES, WHICH HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EITHER DREAMERS OR BORDER SECURITY, WAS NOT A HELPFUL START. THESE KIND OF ATTEMPTS TO SCORE POLITICAL POINTS STAND IN STARK CONTRAST TO THE BIPARTISAN SEARCH DONE BY LEADING REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS BEHIND THE SCENES FOR A SOLUTION. SO AS THE MOST SENIOR MEMBER OF THIS BODY, IT'S MY HOPE THAT ALL SENATORS FOCUS ON A BIPARTISAN SOLUTION, NOT DIVISIVE DISTRACTIONS. I RESPECT THIS INSTITUTION AS MUCH AS ANYONE. FOR 43 YEARS I'VE BEEN HERE, I'VE SEEN AND I HOPE CONTRIBUTED TO THE GOOD IT CAN ACCOMPLISH. I'VE OFTEN SAID THAT IT'S BEST THE SENATE CAN AND SHOULD SERVE AS A CONSCIOUS OF THE NATION. WE CAN ONLY DO SO IF WE SET ASIDE OUR OWN SELF-INTERESTS, WHEN WE WORK ACROSS THE AISLE IN THE SPIRIT OF COMPROMISE. I KNOW WE'RE CAPABLE OF MEETING THIS CHALLENGE TODAY. WE'VE DONE IT BEFORE. FIVE YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, WE BROUGHT TOGETHER 68 SENATORS, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. WE VOTED FOR AN IMMIGRATION BILL THAT PROVIDED PROTECTION FOR DREAMERS, INCLUDING AN EXPEDITED PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP. UNFORTUNATELY THE HOUSE, EVEN THOUGH THEY HAD THE VOTES TO PASS IT, WOULD NOT BRING IT UP. IT'S TIME NOW FOR THE SENATE TO DO SO AGAIN, AND THIS TIME THE HOUSE TO FOLLOW SUIT. PRESIDENT TRUMP CLAIMS HE'LL TREAT DREAMERS WITH GREAT HEART. IF HE MEANT WHAT HE SAID HE'LL SIGN OUR BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE THAT EMERGES. SO LET'S GET TO WORK. FUTURE DREAMERS AND THE FATE OF THE AMERICAN DREAM ITSELF LIES IN OUR HANDS. WHEN I LEFT THAT FUNERAL YESTERDAY IN VERMONT, I THOUGHT OF MY WIFE'S UNCLE AND HER PARENTS COMING HERE FROM CANADA TO MAKE A BETTER LIFE. MY GRANDPARENTS COMING FROM ITALY. MY GREAT-GRANDPARENTS COMING FROM IRELAND, ALL WHO MADE SUCH A MARK ON OUR LITTLE STATE OF VERMONT, ALL FOR THE BETTER. AND AS A MEMBER OF THAT FAMILY, HOW PROUD I AM TO STAND HERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. I WANT TO DO MORE THAN JUST STAND HERE. I WANT TO VOTE FOR A BILL TO HELP MORE PEOPLE LIKE THAT TO COME TO OUR COUNTRY, TO MAKE OUR COUNTRY BETTER. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:59:56 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 12:00:45 PM

    MR. CORNYN

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 12:00:46 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 12:00:48 PM

    MR. CORNYN

    MR. PRESIDENT, ARE WE IN A QUORUM CALL?

  • 12:00:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WE, WE ARE.

  • 12:00:52 PM

    MR. CORNYN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'D ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'D ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

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  • 12:00:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:00:57 PM

    MR. CORNYN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE 11 REQUESTS FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET DURING TODAY'S…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE 11 REQUESTS FOR COMMITTEES TO MEET DURING TODAY'S SESSION OF THE SENATE. THEY'VE BEEN APPROVED BY BOTH THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY LEADERS.

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  • 12:01:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    DULY NOTED.

  • 12:01:07 PM

    MR. CORNYN

    MR. PRESIDENT, TODAY A GROUP LED BY CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY…

    MR. PRESIDENT, TODAY A GROUP LED BY CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, CHAIRMAN GRASSLEY, FORMALLY INTRODUCED A BILL TO ADDRESS THE DACA ISSUE, THE DEFERRED ACTION ON CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS ISSUE THAT WE'VE HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT AS WELL AS BORDER SECURITY. I THINK IT'S A GOOD STARTING POINT. I'M PROUD TO BE A COSPONSOR OF THE LEGISLATION WHICH IS CALLED THE SECURE AND SUCCEED ACT. PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT THIS BILL IS THAT IT ACTUALLY HAS A GOOD CHANCE OF BECOMING LAW. THAT'S BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT SUPPORTS IT. IT ENCOMPASSES THE FOUR PILLARS THAT THE PRESIDENT'S LAID OUT FOR US IN ANY SOLUTION TO THE DACA CHALLENGE. THE SECURE AND SUCCEED ACT PROVIDES LEGAL STATUS AND A PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP FOR AN ESTIMATED 1.8 MILLION PEOPLE WHO MEET THE SPECIFIC CRITERIA OF DACA. THIS IS FAR -- THIS IS A FAR LARGER NUMBER THAN THE NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA'S EXECUTIVE ORDER. I THINK THE FACT THAT THIS PRESIDENT WOULD SAY TO THE 690,000 DACA RECIPIENTS NOT ONLY ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE A BETTER, BRIGHTER FUTURE AND A PATHWAY TO AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP, THIS PRESIDENT HAS OFFERED ALL OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE ELIGIBLE BUT WHO MIGHT NOT HAVE PREVIOUSLY SIGNED UP THAT SAME OPPORTUNITY. WHAT AN EXTRAORDINARY -- EXTRAORDINARILY GENEROUS OFFER. THIS BILL ALSO PROVIDES FOR A REAL PLAN TO STRENGTHEN BORDER SECURITY UTILIZING THE THREE THINGS THAT BORDER PATROL HAS ALWAYS TOLD ME ARE ESSENTIAL. MORE BOOTS ON THE GROUND, BETTER TECHNOLOGY, AND, YES, SOME INFRASTRUCTURE IN HARD-TO-CONTROL LOCATIONS ALONG WITH ENHANCED PORTS OF ENTRY. I KNOW THERE'S BEEN SOME CONFUSION ABOUT THAT. THE PRESIDENT LIKES TO TALK ABOUT THE WALL AND IT IS TRUE THAT BACK IN -- I THINK IT WAS ROUGHLY 2006, 2007, CONGRESS VOTED FOR SOMETHING CALLED THE SECURE FENCE ACT. THAT GOT THE SUPPORT OF THEN-SENATOR OBAMA, THEN-SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON AND CURRENT SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER. THEY SUPPORTED THE SECURE FENCE ACT AS DID AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF SENATORS FROM BOTH PARTIES. WHEN THE PRESIDENT TALKS ABOUT THE WALL, HE'S MADE PRETTY CLEAR THAT WHAT HE'S REALLY TALKING ABOUT IS A BARRIER SIMILAR TO WHAT WAS SUPPORTED ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS. HE SAID YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SEE THROUGH IT, THE BORDER PATROL IS, AND INDEED, IN MANY PLACES HE'S CONCEDED, IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL TO HAVE A PHYSICAL BARRIER. THAT'S WHY TECHNOLOGY AND THE BOOTS ON THE GROUND ARE SO IMPORTANT. THIS LEGISLATION ALSO REALLOCATES VISAS FROM THE DIVERSITY LOTTERY SYSTEM IN A WAY THAT'S FAIR AND CONTINUES THE EXISTING FAMILY-BASED CATEGORIES UNTIL THE CURRENT BACKLOG IS CLEARED, WHICH WOULD TAKE PROBABLY ABOUT TEN YEARS. I'M PROUD TO COSPONSOR THIS COMMONSENSE SOLUTION, BUT I KNOW THAT OTHER COLLEAGUES HAVE BEEN WORKING HARD ON THEIR IDEAS WHICH I LOOK FORWARD TO REVIEWING AS THE DEBATE CONTINUES. ONE GROUP I HAVEN'T HEARD FROM MUCH, THOUGH, IS OUR DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES WHO LITERALLY SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT TO FORCE THIS DEBATE OCCUR ON THEIR TERMS AND AT A TIME THEY CHOSE. WE'RE STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT, OKAY, YOU WON IN A SENSE. I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE LOST WHEN YOU SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT, BUT YOU MADE YOUR POINT. YOU WANTED A TIME CERTAIN AND YOU WANTED A FAIR PROCESS BY WHICH TO PRESENT YOUR IDEAS. AND WE'VE BEEN WAITING. HERE IT IS WEDNESDAY WITH THE CLOCK TICKING, STILL WAITING FOR THAT DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL. WHAT IS THEIR PLAN? WHAT IS THEIR PROPOSAL? DO THEY EVEN HAVE ONE? AND IF THEY DO, WHY ARE THEY LEAVING THE REST OF US AS WELL AS THE NATION IN THE DARK? AS THE MAJORITY LEADER SAID YESTERDAY, WE NEED TO STOP TRYING TO SCORE POLITICAL POINTS AND START MAKING LAW. THAT'S THE WAY TO GET THIS DONE. TAKE THE PROPOSAL LIKE THE PRESIDENT'S, LET'S GET STARTED. PEOPLE CAN OFFER AMENDMENTS TO THAT. WHATEVER GETS 60 VOTES IN THE SENATE PASSES THE SENATE AND THEN IT'S UP TO THE HOUSE TO PASSION IT AND -- PASS IT AND UP TO THE PRESIDENT TO SIGN IT OR NOT. BUT HE'S PRETTY MUCH GIVEN US AN OUTLINE OF WHAT HE WOULD FIND ACCEPTABLE WHICH AGAIN, IN SO FAR AS IT GRANTS A PATH OF CITIZENSHIP FOR 1.8 MILLION PEOPLE, THAT IS EXTRAORDINARY IN AND OF ITSELF. BUT THE MAJORITY LEADER MADE A COMMITMENT TO HOLD THIS DEBATE AND TO HOLD IT THIS WEEK. HE HAS LIVED UP TO HIS PROMISE. AND NOW WE CAN'T LET IT ALL GO TO WASTE, WHICH AS EACH MINUTE AND EACH HOUR THAT CLICKS OFF THE TOP -- THE CLOCK, IT LOOKS LIKE THAT IS MORE AND MORE LIKELY TO HAPPEN, THAT ALL OF THIS WILL GO TO WASTE. THE COUNTRY IS WATCHING. THE DACA RECIPIENTS IN MY HOME STATE, ALL 124,000 OF THEM, ARE WATCHING AND WORRYING WORRYING, UNDERSTANDABLY ANXIOUS ABOUT WHAT THEIR STATUS IS GOING TO BE WHEN THIS PROGRAM ENDS ON MARCH 5. ONE OF THOSE DACA RECIPIENTS IS JULIO RAMOS, A BIOLOGY TEACHER WHO IS GETTING HIS MASTER DEGREE IN BIOMEDICAL INFRAMATICS. HE IS A DACA RECIPIENT. AFTER HIS MOTHER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER, HE DECIDED HE WANTED TO BE A DOCTOR. HE'S EVEN BEEN ACCEPTED INTO TEXAS MEDICAL SCHOOLS, BUT HE WASN'T SURE WHETHER HE WOULD BE ALLOWED TO ATTEND. HE'S WAITING AND WATCHING WATCHING, WORRIED ABOUT LIZ FUTURE. -- WORRIED ABOUT HIS FUTURE. THEN THERE'S MIRIAM SANTAMARIE FROM HOUSTON, TEXAS. SHE GRADUATED FROM HOUSTON HIGH SCHOOL WITH HONORS. SHE PAID HER WAY THROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND SHE WORKS AS A MANAGER AT A CONSTRUCTION COMPANY AND OWNS HER OWN PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS. SOUNDS LIKE QUITE AN ENTREPRENEUR TO ME. MIRIAM SAID, I'M NOT LOOKING FOR ANY KIND OF RECOGNITION OR SYMPATHY. I JUST WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND INSPIRE OTHERS. SHE'S ALSO LOOKING TO LIVE IN PEACE IN THE ONLY COUNTRY THAT SHE'S EVER KNOWN, THAT SHE CALLS HOME. SHE CAME TO THE UNITED STATES WHEN SHE WAS 4 YEARS OLD. FINALLY, THERE IS A MAN WHO I'LL JUST CALL BY THE FIRST NAME OF DANIEL. HE, TOO, LIVES IN TEXAS. HE GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS WITH A DEGREE IN ADVERTISING AND CONTRIBUTES PRODUCTIVELY TO SOCIETY. DANIEL CAME FROM MEXICO AT THE AGE OF 2. AND HE SAID, ALL THE CHOICES I MAKE I MADE AS AN AMERICAN BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT I AM. WE NEED TO LISTEN TO THESE STORIES AS WE CONSIDER THIS LEGISLATION AND AS PEOPLE ARE PERHAPS TEMPTED INTO THE POLITICAL GRANDSTANDING AND GAMESMANSHIP THAT UNFORTUNATELY SOMETIMES OVERWHELMS OUR BEST INTENTIONS. THESE ARE REAL HUMAN LIVES HANGING IN THE BALANCE. THEY'RE IMPORTANT. THEY TEACH US ABOUT THE REAL PEOPLE BEHIND THE POLICY. BUT THEIR STORIES ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES WE NEED TO LISTEN TO. WE NEED TO LISTEN TO THE STORIES OF THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN WAITING PATIENTLY FOR YEARS TO COME HERE IN A LEGAL WAY THROUGH VISAS AND GREEN CARDS, WAITING PATIENTLY TO JOIN THEIR FAMILIES HERE IN THE UNITED STATES DOING IT THE OLD FASHION LEGAL WAY. BUT THEY'VE HAD TO WAIT, SOME FOR YEARS, SOME FOR DECADES. AND WE SHOULD LISTEN TO THE STORIES OF THE BORDER COMMUNITIES THAT I'M PROUD TO REPRESENT IN TEXAS. FOR MEN AND WOMEN, MANY OF WHOM ARE OF HISPANIC ORIGIN, WHO SUFFERED PROPERTY DAMAGE FROM ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION -- ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS A PRETTY UGLY BUSINESS WHEN YOU CONSIDER THAT IT'S IN THE HANDS OF DRUG CARTELS AND TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS. RECENTLY ONE OF THE MILITARY LEADERS WHOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR SOUTHERN COMMAND, WHICH IS CENTRAL AMERICA SOUTH, HE SAID THAT THESE TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS CARTELS ARE COMMODITY AGNOSTIC IS THE PHRASE HE USED. HE SAID THEY DON'T CARE WHETHER IT'S PEOPLE, IT'S DRUGS, OR OTHER CONTRA BAND. WHAT THEY'RE IN IT FOR IS THE MONEY. AND THEY'RE WILLING TO DO ANYTHING FOR THE MONEY. AND UNFORTUNATELY THE VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. DESPITE THESE HARDSHIPS, BUSINESS IN MANY OF THE COMMUNITIES LIKE THOSE ALONG THE BORDER ARE THRIVING, BUT WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT CONTINUES TO BE THE CASE. SYMPATHY FOR DACA RECIPIENTS IS RIGHT AND GOOD BECAUSE IN AMERICA, WE DO NOT PUNISH CHILDREN FOR THE MISTAKES OF THEIR PARENTS. AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO PUNISH THESE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE NOW ADULTS AND HAVE BECOME PART OF OUR COMMUNITIES. BUT THOSE AMERICANS WHO LIVE ALONG THE BORDER IN MY STATE REALIZE THAT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION HAS CAUSED REAL TANGIBLE HARM IN TERMS OF PUBLIC SAFETY, IN TERMS OF PROPERTY DAMAGE, AND THEIR WAY OF LIFE. WHEN I TALK TO PEOPLE LIKE MANNY PADIA, THE BORDER PATROL SECTOR CHIEF IN THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY, IT'S HARD NOT TO REALIZE JUST HOW MUCH IS REQUIRED, HOW MANY MORE RESOURCES WE NEED TO MAINTAIN SITUATIONAL AWARENESS AND OPERATIONAL CONTROL ALONG THE BORDER. AND I'LL SAY THIS, MADAM PRESIDENT. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED OVER THE YEARS TO LIVE UP TO ITS RESPONSIBILITY TO MAINTAIN THE SECURITY OF OUR BORDER. AND SO TAXPAYERS IN MY STATE HAVE TO STEP UP AND FILL THE GAP LEFT BY THE FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP AT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. BUT WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO FIX THAT IN THIS LEGISLATION. FOLLOWING THE PARAMETERS THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS LAID OUT FOR US. THAT'S WHY DURING THIS WEEK'S DEBATE, ENSURING ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR BORDER SECURITY IS AN ESSENTIAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE. THAT INCLUDES NOT ONLY IN THE AREAS BETWEEN THE PORTS OF ENTRY, BUT WE HAVE -- WELL, MEXICO IS ONE OF OUR LARGEST TRADING PARTNERS. WE HAVE LEGITIMATE TRADE AND WHICHERS THAT FLOWS BACK -- COMMERCE THAT FLOWS BACK AND FORTH THE BORDER WITH MEXICO THAT SUPPORTS FIVE MILLION AMERICAN JOBS. BUT UNFORTUNATELY THE CARTELS HAVE FIGURED OUT HOW TO EXPLOIT THAT AS WELL. SO BECAUSE OF ANTIQUATED INFRASTRUCTURE AND TECHNOLOGY AT OUR PORTS OF ENTRY, MANY OF THEM ARE VULNERABLE TO THE IMPORTATION OF POISON, LITERALLY DRUGS LIKE METHAMPHETAMINE, COCAINE, HEROIN, AND THE LIKE THAT'S TAKEN THE LIVES OF SO MANY AMERICANS. AND WE NEED TO DO MORE AND BETTER WHEN IT COMES TO MAINTAINING THOSE PORTS OF ENTRY, UPGRADING THE INFRASTRUCTURE, IMPROVING THE TECHNOLOGY SO WE CAN INTERDICT MORE OF THAT. AGAIN, THE BORDER IS AS VARIED AS ANY PLACE IN THE WORLD WITH AREAS THAT ARE FLAT AND OPEN AND AREAS THAT HAVE MOUNTAINS AND ROLLING HILLS, RIVERS OBVIOUSLY, AND TECHNOLOGY AS WE'VE COME TO SEE AS TRANSFORMED OUR WAY OF LIFE. AND TECHNOLOGY CAN INCREASINGLY BE THE ANSWER TO SUPPLEMENT THOSE BOOTS ON THE GROUND AND THE INFRASTRUCTURE THAT THE BORDER PATROL THINKS ARE NECESSARY. THERE'S A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DETECTING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IN RURAL AREAS AND URBAN ONES. IN URBAN AREAS YOU MIGHT JUST HAVE A FEW SECONDS, THE BOARDER PATROL TELLS US, BEFORE SOMEBODY CAN CROSS THE BORDER AND ENTER INTO THE UNITED STATES. IN LARGE, OPEN AREAS, THERE'S MORE OF A LAG TIME. AND SO, PERHAPS, A FENCE OR SOME INFRASTRUCTURE IS NOT AS IMPORTANT. TECHNOLOGY MIGHT BE MORE IMPORTANT ALONG WITH THE BORDER PATROL AGENTS THEMSELVES. MY BASIC POINT IS THAT BOARDER SECURITY IS COMPLEX. FOR THOSE WHO THINK IT'S AS EASY AS ONE, TWO, THREE, I WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU TO DO, AS SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES HAVE DONE, AND THAT IS TRAVEL TO THE BORDER. WE'LL HOST YOU. SEE IT FIRSTHAND TO SEE WHY IT'S CRUCIAL THAT WE STRENGTHEN OUR PERSONNEL, TECHNOLOGY, AND INFRASTRUCTURE. AND THAT'S GOT TO BE ONE OF OUR PRIORITIES. AND I'M GRATEFUL TO THE PRESIDENT FOR MAKING THIS ONE OF HIS REQUIREMENTS AS WELL. SO WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY, MADAM PRESIDENT, TO ADDRESS NOT ONLY THE ANXIETY AND PLIGHT OF THESE DACA RECIPIENTS BUT ALSO TO MAKE OUR COUNTRY SAFER AND MORE SECURE. AND ALSO TO REFORM OUR LEGAL IMMIGRATION SYSTEM IN A WAY THAT WILL HELP US ACCELERATE THE REUNIFICATION OF FAMILIES OUT OF THE BACKLOG OF PEOPLE WAITING PATIENTLY AND LEGALLY OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY TO COME INTO THE COUNTRY THROUGH LEGAL IMMIGRATION. AND ALSO TO ADDRESS THE PRESIDENT'S CONCERN ABOUT JUST THE ROLL OF THE DICE IN THE DIVERSITY LOTTERY THAT MAKES LITTLE SENSE GIVEN OUR NEED FOR PEOPLE WITH JOB-BASED SKILLS AND GRADUATE DEGREES AND OTHER MERIT-BASED CRITERIA THAT WOULD MAKE THEM VALUABLE TO THE UNITED STATES IN ADDITION TO WINNING THE LOTTERY. SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, I HOPE WE'LL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY THIS WEEK. TIME IS WASTING. IT'S WEDNESDAY. WE DON'T HAVE ANY TIME TO WASTE AT ALL. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. I'D NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 12:15:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    QUORUM.

  • 12:15:37 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 12:32:10 PM

    A SENATOR

    A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 12:32:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 12:32:14 PM

    A SENATOR

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I APOLOGIZE. I WOULD ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 12:32:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:32:21 PM

    MR. PERDUE

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THE TOPIC OF THE WEEK,…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THE TOPIC OF THE WEEK, ALTHOUGH SOME OF US HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THIS SOAR SOME TIME, MANY OF US IN THIS BODY HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN ADDRESSING THIS OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS OR SO. I'M NEW TO THIS BODY, ONLY BEEN HERE A FEW YEARS OR SO, BUT LAST YEAR I GOT INVOLVED WITH THIS. WE'RE DEALING WITH THE IMMIGRATION TODAY, NOT JUST THE DACA ISSUE. OUR CURRENT IMMIGRA -- IMMIGRATION SYSTEM IS OUTDATED AND DOES NOT MEET THE NEEDS OF OUR ECONOMY. THE ISSUE BEFORE THE UNITED STATES SENATE THIS WEEK IS NOT JUST ABOUT DACA WHICH IS BUT ONE MANIFESTATION OF OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION POLICY. RATHER, PRESIDENT TRUMP, WHILE OFFERING A GENEROUS SOLUTION FOR DACA RECIPIENTS HAS PROPOSED A BROADER SOLUTION TO OUR LEGAL IMMIGRATION SYSTEM THAT WILL ENSURE WE'RE NOT BACK HERE IN JUST A FEW SHORT YEARS DEALING WITH THE SAME PROBLEM AGAIN. OVER THE PAST 11 YEARS, CONGRESS HAS FAILED TO FIX OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM, PRIMARILY THREE TIMES, PRIMARILY BECAUSE IT'S ATTEMPTED TO SOLVE THE ENTIRE SITUATION, THE COMPREHENSIVE PROBLEM, AND THAT WOULD BE THE LEGAL SITUATION, THE TEMPORARY WORK VISA PROBLEMS, AND THEN THE ILLEGAL SITUATION. THE SECURE AND SUCCEED ACT ONLY DEALS WITH OUR ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION POLICY. FROM THE ONSET OF THESE NEGOTIATIONS, PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS BEEN CONSISTENT WITH WHAT HE WANTS AS PART OF ANY IMMIGRATION DEAL, DEALING WITH THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION SYSTEM. HE GAVE US A CLEAN FRAMEWORK MONTHS AGO AND SAID ANY PLAN THAT DID NOT FIT THAT FRAMEWORK WOULD NOT BECOME LAW. THE SECURE AND SUCCEED ACT WE'RE DEALING WITH THIS WEEK IS THE ONLY PLAN THAT FITS THAT FRAME WARNING. IT'S THE ONLY PLAN THE PRESIDENT HAS SAID HE WILL SIGN INTO LAW. THE FRAMEWORK LAID OUT BY PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS FOUR PARTS. FIRST, IT PROVIDES A SOLUTION FOR THE DACA SITUATION AND ENDS THE PROGRAM. IT DOES SO IN A COMPASSIONATE, RESPONSIBLE WAY THAT EVERY MEMBER OF THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE SHOULD SUPPORT AND HAS SUPPORTED AT VARIOUS TIMES. PRESIDENT TRUMP WENT OUT OF HIS WAY TO REACH ACROSS THE AISLE TO DEMOCRATS WHEN HE EXPANDED THE POPULATION THAT WAS BEING DISCUSSED IN THE DACA SITUATION AND ACTUALLY TALKED ABOUT PROVIDING LONG-TERM CERTAINTY FOR THIS POPULATION GROUP. SECOND, THIS BILL SECURES OUR BORDERS WITH ADDITIONAL BORDER SECURITY AND A WALL WHERE REQUIRED. IT PUTS $25 BILLION IN A TRUST FUND TOWARD BORDER SECURITY AND A WALL SYSTEM THAT WOULD BE SPENT OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS TO PROVIDE BETTER NATIONAL SECURITY ON OUR COUNTRY'S BORDERS. IT ENDS POLICIES LIKE CATCH AND RELEASE THAT ENCOURAGE MORE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. IT MAKES CRITICAL CHANGES TO THE IMMIGRATION COURT SYSTEM TO CLEAR OUR BACKLOGS, EXPEDITE COURT HEARINGS AND GIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT THE RESOURCES THEY NEED TO PROPERLY DO THEIR JOBS. THIRD, THIS BILL FIXES THE FLAWS IN THE CURRENT IMMIGRATION SYSTEM THAT SPURRED THIS DACA PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE AND INCENTIVIZED ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. IT PROTECTS THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OF THE PRIMARY WORKER. 72% OF AMERICANS, MADAM PRESIDENT, BELIEVE IMMIGRATION SHOULD INCLUDE THE PRIMARY WORKER, THEIR SPOUSE, AND THEIR IMMEDIATE CHILDREN WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS BILL DOES. IN ADDITION, TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICANS ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT THE SOLUTION HERE FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION INCLUDES THE DACA FIX AND END OF CHAIN MIGRATION, BORDER SECURITY, AND AN END TO THE DIVERSITY LOTTERY. TWO-THIRDS, MADAM PRESIDENT. THAT WAS A HARVARD POLL PUT OUT A FEW WEEKS AGO AND THERE ARE OTHERS THAT ACTUALLY CORROBORATE THAT. THIS BILL ALSO ADDRESSES THE BACKLOG, SOMETHING THAT WASN'T BEING DISCUSSED BEFORE WE BROUGHT THIS BILL. THIS BILL ENSURES THAT PRIMARY FAMILIES OF IMMEDIATE CITIZENS, AND SOME OF THESE ARE RECENT GREEN CARD RECIPIENTS AND NEW CITIZENS, ARE TRYING TO GET THEIR FAMILIES IN. THERE'S A BACKLOG. AND WE BROUGHT THAT IN THIS BILL AND ASSURED THAT THE BACKLOG WOULD BE TAKEN CARE OF AND THESE FAMILIES WOULD BE REUNITED, WHICH IS WHAT MOST AMERICANS WANT. FOURTH, THE SECURE AND SUCCEED ACT ENDS THE ARCHAIC VISA LOTTERY PROGRAM. THIS FAILED PROGRAM IS DANGEROUS, FILLED WITH FRAUD, AND HAS PROVEN TO BE AN AVENUE FOR TERRORISTS TO ENTER OUR COUNTRY. WE SIMPLY MUST FIX THESE NATIONAL SECURITY FLAWS AND CLOSE THE LOOPHOLES IN OUR CURRENT IMMIGRATION SYSTEM THAT INCENTIVIZES ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. IF WE DON'T DEAL WITH THESE PROBLEMS THAT GOT US HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE, WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK HERE IN JUST A FEW SHORT YEARS AND THIS IS THE PRESIDENT'S OBJECTIVE. IF WE'RE GOING TO DEAL WITH IT, LET'S DEAL WITH IT ONCE AND FOR ALL ON THE IMMIGRATION SIDE AND MOVE ON TO THE TEMPORARY WORK VISAS AND SOLVE THAT AS WELL. I DON'T THINK ANYBODY IN THIS BODY WANTS TO BE BACK HERE IN A FEW SHORT YEARS. MANY ON THE OTHER SIDE AND ON OUR SIDE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FIND A COMMON SOLUTION TO THIS FOR DECADES. I BELIEVE WE HAVE A HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY RIGHT NOW, MADAM PRESIDENT, TO DO SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE IN THIS BODY HAVE WANTED TO DO FOR A LONG TIME, AND THAT IS TO SOLVE OUR LEGAL IMMIGRATION SYSTEM IN A VERY COMPASSIONATE, FAIR WAY THAT WILL BENEFIT EVERY AMERICAN. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THESE ISSUES IN A RESPONSIBLE AND FAIR WAY. POLITICIANS HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS FOR FAR TOO LONG. I'VE DISCOVERED, MADAM PRESIDENT, BY BEING IN THIS BODY, IT'S EASY FOR SOME TO JUST KICK THIS DOWN THE ROAD. IT'S A GREAT PANDERING OPPORTUNITY FOR ONE SIDE ON THE OTHER TO BLAME THIS ON THEM. UNFORTUNATELY, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE BETTER THAN THAT. AND WE HAVE A CLEAN OPPORTUNITY RIGHT HERE TO DO WHAT MOST PEOPLE IN AMERICA WANT US TO DO. THERE'S NO REASON OTHER THAN POLITICS FOR THE SECURE AND SUCCEED ACT TO NOT HAVE WIDESPREAD, BIPARTISAN SUPPORT IN THIS BODY THIS WEEK. EACH PART OF THE SECURE AND SUCCEED ACT HAS BEEN SUPPORTED BY MANY DEMOCRATS AT VARIOUS POINTS OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS. AS A MATTER OF FACT, IN THE 1990'S, IN 1994, BARBARA JORDAN PRESENTED THE RESULT OF THEIR BIPARTISAN COMMISSION REPORT -- IMMIGRATION COMMISSION REPORT TO THEN-PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON. THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS AT THAT TIME WERE TO CHANGE OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM FOR OUR CURRENT COUNTRY CAP CHAIN MIGRATION SYSTEM TO MORE OF A SKILLED-BASED SYSTEM LIKE CANADA AND AUSTRALIA. THEY KNEW THE FLAWS THEN OF WHAT WAS INCLUDED IN OUR IMMIGRATION LAW THAT WAS WRITTEN IN 1965 THAT ACTUALLY INCENTIVIZED ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. UNFORTUNATELY, IT SEEMS BECAUSE THESE IDEAS ARE NOW BEING PUT FORWARD BY PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, THE DEMOCRATS ALL OF A SUDDEN DISAGREE WITH THESE PRINCIPLES. PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS CRAFTED A DEAL THAT IS TOUGH BUT MORE THAN GENEROUS. NOBODY ASKED HIM TO EXPAND THE NUMBER OR EVEN TALK ABOUT CERTAINTY IN THE LONG TERM. HE BROUGHT THAT FORWARD BECAUSE HE WANTS THIS DONE. HE WANTS THIS SOLVED. AND HE WANTS IT ENDED RIGHT NOW. THE SECURE AND SUCCEED ACT FOLLOWS THE FRAMEWORK PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS CRAFTED. IT MAKES COMPROMISES ON BOTH SIDES OF THIS ISSUE. IT DEALS WITH THE DACA ISSUE, SECURES THE BORDER, AND FIXES CRITICAL FLAWS IN OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM THAT INCENTIVIZE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION TODAY TO ENSURE WE'RE NOT BACK HERE IN JUST A FEW SHORT YEARS DEALING WITH THE PROBLEM AGAIN FOR A NEW WAVE OF YOUNG PEOPLE BROUGHT HERE ILLEGALLY. AGAIN, THE PRESIDENT HAS SAID REPEATEDLY THAT THE SECURE AND SUCCEED ACT IS THE ONLY BILL HE WILL SIGN INTO LAW. LEADERSHIP IN THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HAVE ALSO BEEN CLEAR. THE ONLY PLAN THEY WILL BRING UP TO A VOTE IN THEIR BODY IS ONE THAT WILL BE SIGNED INTO LAW. THE SECURE AND SUCCEED ACT IS THAT PLAN. MADAM PRESIDENT, WE DON'T HAVE MANY OPPORTUNITIES IN THIS BODY FOR COMMON THOUGHT AND COMMON POSITION. WE HAVE ONE HERE. I'VE SEEN WHAT MOST PEOPLE IN THIS BODY HAVE SAID ABOUT THESE ISSUES, AND IT'S SO MUCH -- IT IMPRESSES ME THAT THERE'S COMMONALITY OF THOUGHT. THIS BODY AT THE ROOT WANTS TO SOLVE THE DACA ISSUE, BUT THEY ALSO WANT TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS THAT CAUSE THIS ISSUE IN THE FIRST PLACE. THIS PRESIDENT CALLED FOR A COMPASSIONATE COMPROMISE WHEN HE MET WITH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS SEVERAL WEEKS AGO IN THE WHITE HOUSE, AND WE ALL GREED IT WAS TIME TO -- WE ALL AGREED IT WAS TIME TO DO THAT FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. BUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT TO BE ASSURED THAT THE BORDER IS SECURED. THEY WANT TO BE ASSURED THAT THE POLICIES EMBEDDED IN THE IMMIGRATION SYSTEM DON'T CREATE ANOTHER WAVE OF ILLEGAL CITIZENS. THEY ALSO WANT THIS ARCHAIC DIVERSITY LOTTERY WHICH HAS NEVER WORKED IN ITS ORIGINAL INTENT AND IS NOTHING BUT A LOOPHOLE FOR TERRORISTS TODAY TO BE ENDED. I WANT TO SAY ONE OTHER THING. I THINK THERE HAVE BEEN -- THERE'S TOO MUCH TALK ABOUT THIS BILL CUTTING IMMIGRATION. THAT IS NOT THE INTENT HERE OF THE INTENT IS LONG TERM WE'VE GOT A BILL IN HERE CALLED THE RAISE ACT WHICH WOULD ACTUALLY MOVE US TO A MERIT WHENNEN BASED SYSTEM LIKE CANADA AND AUSTRALIA. THAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE SECURE AND SUCCEED ACT. WHAT IS INCLUDED HERE IS A FIRST STEP TOWARD A LONG-TERM SOLUTION NOT ONLY IN OUR LEGAL IMMIGRATION SIDE BUT IT SETS US UP TO THEN DEAL WITH THE TEMPORARY WORK VISAS AND THEN ULTIMATELY THE ILLEGAL POPULATION. I BELIEVE, MADAM PRESIDENT, AS I KNOW YOU DO, IT'S TIME FOR THIS BODY AS WE SAY SO MANY TIMES TO PUT OURSELF INTERESTS, OUR PARTISAN INTERESTS ASIDE AND DO WHAT WE NOW HAVE HARD EVIDENCE THAT TELLS US WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT TO DO. THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I YIELD MY TIME AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 12:41:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 12:45:11 PM

    CALL THE

    THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT.

  • 12:45:14 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    I WOULD ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 12:45:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 12:45:18 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    THANK YOU. MADAM PRESIDENT, LET ME BEGIN BY CONGRATULATING CHLOE KIM, A…

    THANK YOU. MADAM PRESIDENT, LET ME BEGIN BY CONGRATULATING CHLOE KIM, A FIRST-GENERATION AMERICAN WHO WON A GOLD MEDAL FOR THE UNITED STATES IN THE WOMEN'S HALF-PIPE SNOWBOARDING EVENT THIS WEEK. HER FATHER IMMIGRATED FROM SOUTH KOREA TO THE UNITED STATES IN 1982, BECAME A DISHWASHER AT A FAST FOOD RESTAURANT, STUDIED ENGINEERING AT EL KA MEANO -- CAMINO COLLEGE AND BECAME AN ENGINEER. HE WORKED AS AN ENGINEER SO HE COULD SUPPORT HER ENDEAVOR. CONGRATULATIONS TO CHLOE AND HER ENTIRE FAMILY. YOU MAKE THE UNITED STATES PROUD. MADAM PRESIDENT, THE WHO DEBATE THAT WE ARE NOW UNDERTAKING OVER IMMIGRATION AND THE DREAMERS HAS BECOME SOMEWHAT PERSONAL FOR ME BECAUSE IT HAS REMINDED ME IN A VERY STRONG WAY THAT I AND MY BROTHER ARE FIRST GENERATION AMERICANS. WE ARE THE SONS OF AN IMMIGRANT WHO CAME TO THIS COUNTRY AT THE AGE OF 17 WITHOUT A NICKEL IN HIS POCKET, A YOUNG MAN WHO WAS A HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT, WHO DID NOT KNOW ONE WORD OF ENGLISH AND WHO HAD NO PARTICULAR TRAINING. A FEW YEARS AGO MY BROTHER AND I AND OUR FAMILIES WENT TO THIS SMALL TOWN THAT HE CAME FROM AND IT STRUCK ME THE KIND OF COURAGE HE SHOWED AND OTHER PEOPLE SHOWED LEAVING THEIR HOPELAND TO COME TO A VERY -- HOMELAND TO COME TO A VERY DIFFERENT WORLD WITHOUT MONEY IN MANY CASES AND WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE OF THE LANGUAGE. NOW MY FATHER IMMIGRATED TO THIS COUNTRY BECAUSE THE TOWN THAT HE LIVED IN THIS POLAND WAS INCREDIBLY POOR, THERE WAS NO ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR HIM, PEOPLE THERE STRUGGLED TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE FOR THEIR FAMILIES. HUNGER WAS A REAL ISSUE IN THAT AREA. MY FATHER CAME TO THIS COUNTRY TO AVOID THE VIOLENCE AND BLOODSHED OF WORLD WAR I WHICH CAME TO HIS PART OF THE WORLD IN A FEROCIOUS MANNER, AND HE CAME TO THIS COUNTRY TO ESCAPE THE RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY THAT EXISTED THEN BECAUSE HE WAS JEWISH. MY FATHER LIVED IN THIS COUNTRY UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1962. HE NEVER MADE A LOT OF MONEY. HE WAS A PAINT SALESMAN. MY FATHER WAS NOT A POLITICAL PERSON BUT IT TURNED OUT THAT WITHOUT TALKING MUCH ABOUT IT, HE WAS THE PROUDEST AMERICAN THAT YOU EVER SAW, AND HE WAS SO PROUD OF THIS COUNTRY BECAUSE HE WAS DEEPLY GRATEFUL THAT THE UNITED STATES HAD WELCOMED HIM IN AND ALLOWED HIM OPPORTUNITIES THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ABSOLUTELY UNTHINKABLE FROM WHERE HE CAME. BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT IMMIGRATION IS NOT JUST MY STORY, IT'S NOT JUST THE STORY OF ONE YOUNG MAN COMING FROM POLAND WHO MANAGED TO SEE TWO OF HIS KIDS GO TO COLLEGE AND ONE OF HIS SONS BECOME A UNITED STATES SENATOR. IT'S NOT JUST MY FAMILY'S STORY, IT IS THE STORY OF MY WIFE'S FAMILY WHO CAME FROM IRELAND AND IT IS THE STORY OF TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICAN FAMILIES WHO CAME FROM EVERY SINGLE PART OF THIS WORLD. MADAM PRESIDENT, IN SEPTEMBER OF 2017, PRESIDENT TRUMP PRECIPITATED THE CURRENT CRISIS WE ARE DEALING WITH BY REVOKING PRESIDENT OBAMA'S DACA EXECUTIVE ORDER. IF PRESIDENT TRUMP BELIEVED THAT EXECUTIVE ORDER WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND THAT IT NEEDED LEGISLATION, HE COULD HAVE COME TO CONGRESS FOR A LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION WITHOUT HOLDING 800,000 YOUNG PEOPLE HOSTAGE BY REVOKING THEIR DACA STATUS. BUT PRESIDENT TRUMP CHOSE NOT TO DO THAT. HE CHOSE TO PROVOKE THE CRISIS THAT WE ARE EXPERIENCING TODAY AND THAT IS A CRISIS WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH AND HERE IN THE SENATE WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT NOW. AND LET US BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT THE NATURE OF THIS CRISIS BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE SAY, WELL, IT'S REALLY NOT IMMINENT. IT'S NOT SOMETHING WE HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT NOW. THOSE PEOPLE ARE WRONG. AS A RESULT OF TRUMP'S DECISION, 122 PEOPLE EVERY DAY ARE NOW LOSING THEIR LEGAL STATUS, AND WITHIN A COUPLE OF YEARS, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF THESE YOUNG PEOPLE WILL HAVE LOST THEIR LEGAL PROTECTION AND BE SUBJECT TO DEPORTATION. THE SITUATION WE ARE IN RIGHT NOW AS A RESULT OF TRUMP'S ACTION MEANS THAT IF WE DO NOT IMMEDIATELY PROTECT THE LEGAL STATUS OF SOME 800,000 DREAMERS, YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WERE BROUGHT TO THIS COUNTRY AT THE AGE OF 1 OR 3 OR 6, YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE KNOWN NO OTHER HOME BUT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LET US BE CLEAR THAT IF WE DO NOT ACT, AND ACT SOON, THESE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE COULD BE SUBJECT TO DEPORTATION. AND THAT MEANS THEY COULD BE ARRESTED OUTSIDE OF THE HOME WHERE THEY HAVE LIVED FOR VIRTUALLY THEIR ENTIRE LIFE AND SUDDENLY BE PLACED IN A JAIL. THEY COULD BE PULLED OUT OF A CLASSROOM WHERE THEY ARE TEACHING, AND THERE ARE SOME 20,000 DACA RECIPIENTS WHO ARE NOW TEACHING IN SCHOOLS ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY. AND IF WE DO NOT ACT, AND ACT NOW, THERE COULD BE AGENTS GOING INTO THOSE SCHOOLS AND PULLING THOSE TEACHERS RIGHT OUT AND ARRESTING THEM AND SUBJECTING THEM TO DEPORTATION. INSANE AS IT MAY SOUND, I SUPPOSE THAT THE 900 DACA RECIPIENTS WHO NOW SERVE IN THE UNITED STATES MILITARY TODAY COULD FIND THEMSELVES IN THE POSITION OF BEING ARRESTED AND DEPORTED FROM THE COUNTRY THAT THEY ARE PUTTING THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE TO DEFEND, AND SOME PEOPLE SAY, WELL, THAT'S FAR FETCHED. WELL, I'M NOT SO SURE. IT COULD HAPPEN. HOW INSANE IS THAT? BUT THAT'S WHERE WE ARE TODAY AND THAT'S WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF WE DO NOT DO THE RIGHT THING AND THIS WEEK PASS LEGISLATION HERE IN THE SENATE TO PROTECT THE DREAMERS. MADAM PRESIDENT, WE HAVE A MORAL RESPONSIBILITY TO STAND UP FOR THE DREAMERS AND THEIR FAMILIES AND TO PREVENT WHAT WILL BE AN INDELIBLE, MORAL STAIN ON OUR COUNTRY IF WE FAIL TO ACT. I DO NOT WANT TO SEE WHAT THE HISTORY BOOKS WILL BE SAYING ABOUT THIS CONGRESS IF WE ALLOW 800,000 YOUNG PEOPLE TO BE SUBJECTED TO DEPORTATION, TO LIVE IN INCREDIBLE FEAR AND ANXIETY. BUT HERE IS THE VERY, VERY GOOD NEWS REGARDING THE DREAMERS, AND IT'S ACTUALLY NEWS THAT I A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO WOULD NOT HAVE BELIEVED TO BE POSSIBLE, AND THAT IS, MADAM PRESIDENT, THAT THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, DEMOCRATS, REPUBLICANS, INDEPENDENTS, ABSOLUTELY AGREE THAT WE MUST PROVIDE LEGAL PROTECTION FOR THE DREAMERS AND THAT WE SHOULD PROVIDE THEM WITH A PATH TOWARD CITIZENSHIP. THAT IS NOT BERNIE SANDERS TALKING, THAT IS WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE SAYING IN POLL AFTER POLL AFTER POLL. JUST RECENTLY, ON JANUARY 20, A CBS NEWS POLL FOUND THAT NEARLY NINE OUT OF TEN AMERICANS FOUND IN FAVOR OF THOSE WHO ENTERED THE UNITED STATES ILLEGAL AS CHILDREN -- ILLEGALLY AS CHILDREN SHOULD REMAIN IN AMERICA. IN EVERY STATE IN THIS COUNTRY THERE IS STRONG SUPPORT FOR THE DREAMERS AND A PATH TOWARDS CITIZENSHIP. ON JANUARY 11, A QUINNIPIAC POLL FOUND 86% OF AMERICAN VOTERS, INCLUDING 76% OF REPUBLICANS, SAY THEY WANT THE DREAMERS TO REMAIN IN THIS COUNTRY. ON FEBRUARY 5, IN A MAMMOTH POLL, WHEN ASKED, NEARLY THREE OUT OF FOUR AMERICANS SUPPORT ALLOWING THESE YOUNG PEOPLE TO AUTOMATICALLY BECOME U.S. CITIZENS AS LONG AS THEY DON'T HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD. IN OTHER WORDS, MADAM PRESIDENT, THE VOTES THAT ARE GOING TO BE CAST HOPEFULLY TODAY, MAYBE TOMORROW, ARE NOT PROFILES ENCOURAGED, THEY ARE NOT MEMBERS OF THE SENATE COMING UP AND SAYING, AGAINST ALL OF THE ODDS I BELIEVE THAT I'M GOING TO VOTE FOR WHAT IS RIGHT. THIS IS WHAT THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT. AND MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, IT MIGHT BE APPROPRIATE TO DO WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT RATHER THAN WHAT A HANDFUL OF ZENO PHOBIC STREERMISTS -- EXTREMISTS WANT. MAYBE WE SHOULD LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND THAT IT WOULD BE A MORALLY ATROCIOUS THING TO ALLOW THESE YOUNG PEOPLE TO BE DEPORTED. WHEN I THINK FROM A POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE THAT 80, 85% OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SUPPORTING ANYTHING IN A NATION WHERE WE ARE DIVIDED TODAY IS EXTRAORDINARY. YOU CAN'T GET 80% OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE PEOPLE TO AGREE ON WHAT THEIR FAVORITE ICE CREAM IS. BUT WE'VE GOT 80% OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO ARE SAYING, DO NOT TURN YOUR BACKS ON THESE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE LIVED IN THIS COUNTRY FOR VIRTUALLY THEIR ENTIRE LIVES. MADAM PRESIDENT, WE HAVE GOT TO ACT AND ACT SON HERE IN THE SENATE, AND THERE IS GOOD LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ALLOW US TO DO THAT. AND IN THE HOUSE THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THERE IS NOW BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION SPONSORED BY CONGRESSMAN HERD AND CONGRESSMAN ARILLA WHICH WILL PROVIDE PROTECTION FOR DREAMERS AND A PATH TOWARD CITIZENSHIP. MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION NOW HAS MAJORITY SUPPORT. AND I URGE IN THE STRONGEST TERMS POSSIBLE THAT SPEAKER RYAN ALLOW DEMOCRACY TO PREVAIL IN THE HOUSE. ALLOW THE VOTE TO TAKE PLACE. IF YOU HAVE A MAJORITY OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE IN A BIPARTISAN WAY WHO SUPPORT LEGISLATION, ALLOW THAT LEGISLATION TO COME TO THE FLOOR, LET THE MEMBERS VOTE THEIR WILL, AND IF THAT OCCUR I THINK -- OCCURS, I THINK THE DREAMERS LEGISLATION WILL PREVAIL. MADAM PRESIDENT, WE ALL UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS A NEED FOR SERIOUS DEBATE AND LEGISLATION REGARDING COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM. THIS IS A DIFFICULT ISSUE, AN ISSUE WHERE THERE ARE DIFFERENCES OF OPINION, A WHOLE LOT OF ASPECTS TO IT. HOW DO WE PROVIDE A PATH TOWARD CITIZENSHIP FOR THE 11 MILLION PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY WHO ARE CURRENTLY UNDOCUMENTED BUT WHO ARE WORKING HARD, WHO ARE RAISING THEIR KIDS, WHO ARE OBEYING THE LAW? WHAT SHOULD THE OVERALL IMMIGRATION POLICY OF OUR COUNTRY BE? HOW MANY PEOPLE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO ENTER THIS COUNTRY EVERY YEAR? WHERE SHOULD THEY COME FROM? ALL OF THIS IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT AND NEEDS TO BE SERIOUSLY DEBATED. BUT, MADAM PRESIDENT, THAT DEBATE AND THAT LEGISLATION IS NOT GOING TO BE TAKING PLACE IN A TWO-DAY PERIOD. IT'S GOING TO NEED SOME SERIOUS TIME, SOME HEARINGS, SOME COMMITTEE WORK BEFORE THE CONGRESS IS PREPARED TO VOTE ON COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM, AND IT WILL NOT AND CANNOT HAPPEN TODAY OR TOMORROW OR THIS WEEK. OUR FOCUS NOW AS A RESULT OF TRUMP'S DECISION IN SEPTEMBER MUST BE ON PROTECTING THE DREAMERS AND THEIR FAMILIES AND ON THE ISSUE OF BORDER SECURITY. MADAM PRESIDENT, -- WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, THERE WILL BE IMPORTANT LEGISLATION COMING TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE TODAY OR MAYBE TOMORROW. AND I WOULD HOPE THAT WE COULD DO THE RIGHT THING, DO THE MORAL THING, AND DO SOMETHING THAT HISTORY WILL LOOK BACK ON IN A VERY POSITIVE LEGISLATION. LET US GO FORWARD. LET US PASS THE DREAMERS BILL. LET US DEAL WITH BORDER SECURITY. AND THEN IN THE NEAR FUTURE LET US DEAL WITH COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM. THANK YOU, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 01:34:41 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

  • 01:34:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 01:34:44 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THE QUORUM CALL BE LIFTED.

  • 01:34:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE IS NOT IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 01:34:50 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    QUORUM CALL.

  • 01:34:57 PM

    WORDS

  • 01:37:36 PM

    THESE WORDS

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 01:45:21 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 01:45:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OREGON.

  • 01:45:23 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    I'D LIKE TO ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT MY INTERN, AMANDA POWER, HAVE THE…

    I'D LIKE TO ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT MY INTERN, AMANDA POWER, HAVE THE PRIVILEGES OF THE FLOOR FOR THE BALANCE OF THE DAY.

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  • 01:45:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:45:32 PM

    MR. MERKLEY

    OBJECTION.

  • 01:54:49 PM

    A SENATOR

    A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 01:54:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM

  • 01:54:55 PM

    MR. BLUNT

    IF WE ARE IN A QUORUM CALL, I MOVE IT BE SUSPENDED.

  • 01:54:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE IS NOT IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 01:55:00 PM

    MR. BLUNT

    I AM PLEASED TO COME AND TALK TODAY. THIS IS A WEEK WHERE WE HAD ALL…

    I AM PLEASED TO COME AND TALK TODAY. THIS IS A WEEK WHERE WE HAD ALL ANTICIPATED A RETURN TO THE SENATE WHERE IDEAS ARE WIDELY DEBATED. I WAS STANDING BY THE MAJORITY LEADER LAST WEEK WHEN HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THIS AND SAID WE WILL LET A THOUSAND FLOWERS BLOOM. IT DIDN'T SOUND LIKE SOMETHING THAT SENATOR McCONNELL WOULD NORMALLY USE AS A REFERENCE, BUT HE DID. I'M THINKING, WELL, THAT WOULD BE A GOOD THING TO SEE A THOUSAND DIFFERENT IDEAS WIDELY DEBATED ON THE SENATE FLOOR. SO FAR, THIS WEEK, THERE HAS NOT BEEN ANY DEBATE BECAUSE WE CAN'T SEEM TO AGREE ON WHO VOTES ON WHAT FIRST. I THINK THAT'S A PARTICULAR LEVEL OF DYSFUNCTION THAT WE SHOULD ALL BE CONCERNED ABOUT. FOR THE SENATE TO DO ITS WORK, WE HAVE TO BE WILLING TO VOTE AND WE HAVE TO BE WILLING TO TAKE SOME HARD VOTES. MY SENSE OF POLITICS TODAY IS WHETHER YOU HAVE TAKEN THE VOTE OR NOT, SOMEONE'S GOING TO ACCUSE YOU OF TAKING THAT VOTE. YOU MIGHT AS WELL NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR -- THE VOTES YOU TAKE. JUST WORRY ABOUT THE WORK WE GET DONE AND WHATEVER VOTES ARE NECESSARY TO BE TAKEN TO GET THAT DONE. ON THIS TOPIC, IT DOES SEEM TO ME THAT WE HAVE TWO ISSUES HERE THAT SHOULD BE SOLVED, TWO ISSUES WHERE THERE IS BROAD AGREEMENT. I HAVE SAID FOR A LONG TIME THAT THERE ARE REALLY THREE QUESTIONS IN THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE THAT NEED TO BE ANSWERED, AND ONE IS HOW DO WE SECURE THE BORDER, AND TWO IS WHAT ARE THE LEGITIMATE WORKFORCE NEEDS OF THE COUNTRY, AND THREE, WHAT DO WE DO WITH PEOPLE WHO CAME OR STAYED ILLEGALLY. AS WE THINK ABOUT SECURING THE BORDER, BY THE WAY, HALF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY CAME LEGALLY AND JUST STAYED. IT'S NOT ALL A BORDER ISSUE BUT IT IS SIGNIFICANTLY AND PARTLY A BORDER ISSUE. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT PEOPLE EXPECT A GOVERNMENT TO BE ABLE TO DO IS SECURE ITS OWN BORDERS. OFTEN WHEN YOU HEAR THE STORY OF A COUNTRY SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE THE GOVERNMENT HAS DISINTEGRATED AND IS NO LONGER IN CONTROL OF THE COUNTRY, ONE OF THE FIRST -- ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS MENTIONED BY PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THAT DYSFUNCTIONAL GOVERNMENT IS THEY DON'T CONTROL THEIR OWN BORDERS. IT TRULY IS A LEGITIMATE EXPECTATION OF A FUNCTIONING GOVERNMENT THAT YOU CONTROL YOUR OWN BORDERS. IT'S ALSO A LEGITIMATE EXPECTATION OF GOVERNMENT THAT YOU WOULD LOOK AT YOUR ECONOMY, YOU WOULD LOOK AT WHAT WORKFORCE NEEDS YOU HAVE THAT AREN'T BEING MET, AND FIGURE OUT THE BEST WAY TO MEET THOSE WORKFORCE NEEDS, AND THEN IN THIS DEBATE, BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T CONTROLLED OUR BORDERS AND BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T KEPT TRACK OF PEOPLE WHO LEGALLY CROSSED OUR BORDERS, SO WE HAVE GOT SOME NUMBER OF PEOPLE, USUALLY THE ESTIMATE IS ABOUT 11 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY WHO ARE NOT HERE LEGALLY. WHAT DO WE DO WITH THOSE PEOPLE? NOW, MY VIEW, MR. PRESIDENT, HAS ALWAYS BEEN THAT IF THE GOVERNMENT MET ITS PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY, WHICH IS AN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM THAT WORKS, THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WOULD BE VERY FORWARD LEANING ABOUT THOSE OTHER TWO ISSUES, BECAUSE NOBODY REALLY ARGUES THAT IF WE DON'T HAVE PEOPLE HERE TO DO THE WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, WHETHER IT'S HIGHLY SKILLED OR NOT HIGHLY SKILLED, THAT WE OUGHT TO BE THINKING ABOUT WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO GET PEOPLE HERE WHO DO THAT WORK, WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO KEEP PEOPLE HERE WHO CAME HERE TO GET TRAINING TO DO HIGHLY SKILLED JOBS AND GRADUATED FROM COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES OR OTHER SKILL-ENHANCING THINGS THAT HAPPENED WHILE THEY WERE HERE. IF THEY WANT TO STAY, MR. PRESIDENT, MY VIEW IS IF THEY DIDN'T DO ANYTHING THAT GOT THEM IN TROUBLE WHILE THEY WERE HERE, WE SHOULD ALMOST ALWAYS WANT THEM TO STAY. WHY WOULDN'T WE WANT THAT SKILL SET IN OUR ECONOMY? IF WE DON'T HAVE IT, WHY WOULDN'TAWAY COME UP WITH THE -- WHY WOULDN'T WE COME UP WITH THE WAYS TO REACH OUT AND GET IT? AND THEN THOSE WHO ARE NOT HERE LEGALLY, I THINK PEOPLE GENERALLY, IF THEY THOUGHT THE PROBLEM WAS SOLVED, IF THEY THOUGHT THE GOVERNMENT TRULY HAD MET ITS RESPONSIBILITY TO OPERATIONALLY CONTROL THE BORDERS, THE GOVERNMENT HAD MET ITS RESPONSIBILITY TO KEEP TRACK OF WHO COMES IN LEGALLY AND KNOW IF THEY HAVE LEFT OR NOT. I MEAN, THERE IS NO RETAIL STORE IN AMERICA THAT DOESN'T HAVE A BETTER SENSE OF ITS INVENTORY THAN WE DO -- THAN WE DO OF WHETHER PEOPLE WHO HAVE LEGALLY COME INTO THE COUNTRY AND CHECKED IN WITH A CUSTOMS OFFICER, WE DON'T KNOW IF THEY HAVE LEFT OR NOT. COULDN'T TELL YOU IN WEEKS, PERHAPS, WHETHER SOMEBODY IS STILL HERE OR NOT, EVEN IF THEY DID EVERYTHING EXACTLY THE WAY YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO DO IT. AND THIS DEBATE LARGELY DRIVEN BY THE MOST SYMPATHETIC OF ALL THOSE GROUPS, AND THAT GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO CAME HERE, WHO WERE BROUGHT HERE BY SOMEONE ELSE, OFTEN THEIR OWN PARENTS, WHO WERE BROUGHT HERE BY SOMEONE ELSE, WHO ENTERED THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY BUT HAVE GROWN UP IN AMERICA. NOW, MY FIRST RESPONSE TO THAT AND I THINK THE RESPONSE OF MOST AMERICANS WHEN THEY'VE THOUGHT ABOUT THAT IS KIDS WHO GREW UP HERE, KIDS WHO WENT TO SCHOOL HERE, KIDS WHO HAVEN'T GOTTEN IN BAD TROUBLE WHILE THEY WERE HERE, KIDS WHO HAVE NO REAL MEMORY OR CONNECTION WITH THE COUNTRY THAT THEY WERE BROUGHT FROM, OF COURSE WE WANT THEM TO STAY. OF COURSE WE WANT THEM TO BE PART OF OUR ECONOMY. OF COURSE WE WANT THEM TO BE PART OF A VITAL AND BECAUSE THEY ARE WHO THEY ARE AND, AN EVEN YOUNGER SOCIETY, THEN WE WOULD BE WITHOUT THEM, WHY WOULD WE WANT THAT TO HAPPEN. SO WE HAVE TWO ISSUES HERE. THE IDEA OF PEOPLE WHO ARE RAISED HERE WHO HAVE DONE EVERYTHING THAT ANYBODY ELSE WOULD DO TO ACCLIMATE AS AN AMERICAN IN ALL WAYS, WHO WENT TO SCHOOL HERE, WHO DID EVERYTHING ELSE HERE, 70% OR 80% OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE -- I OCCASIONALLY SEE A NUMBER EVEN HIGHER THAN THAT -- BELIEVE THEY SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO STAY. MORE AND MORE AS PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THAT, THEY ALSO BELIEVE THAT AFTER THEY'VE BEEN HERE LIKE ANY OTHER IMMIGRANT WHO CAME TO THE COUNTRY LEGALLY, THAT THEY WOULD EVENTUALLY BE ABLE TO TAKE THE TEST, TO GO THROUGH THE PROCESS TO BECOME A CITIZEN, THAT IS A WIDELY ACCEPTED PREMISE THAT THIS DEBATE SHOULD BE BUILT ON. ANOTHER WIDELY ACCEPTED PREMISE THAT THIS DEBATE SHOULD BE BUILT ON IS 70% OR SO OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND A HIGHER PERCENTAGE IF PEOPLE REALLY KNEW THE FACTS BELIEVE THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOT MET ITS RESPONSIBILITY TO SECURE OUR OWN BORDERS. SO LET'S ASSUME THAT THAT NUMBER -- YOU HAVE TWO 70% ISSUES, THAT YOU WOULD ASSUME THAT A WORKING CONGRESS COULD TAKE TWO 70% ISSUES AND COME UP WITH A SOLUTION THAT MAKES ITS WAY TO THE PRESIDENT'S DESK AND SOLVES BOTH OF THESE PROBLEMS. NOW, WE'RE NOT GOING TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS BY SAYING, OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY HERE, BUT WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO ANYTHING THAT MAKES IT HARDER FOR OTHERS TO BE BROUGHT HERE ILLEGALLY BY SOMEONE WHO HAS CONTROL OF THEM. WE'RE NOT GOING TO SOLVE THAT PART -- OF COURSE THAT'S NOT GOING TO WORK. I KNOW THERE WAS ONE BILL AT LEAST PROPOSED WHERE THE DACA KIDS, AND WHETHER YOU SIGNED UP OR NOT, I DON'T THINK THAT SHOULD BE A DETERMINER. APPARENTLY THE PRESIDENT AGREES IF YOU'RE HERE IN THAT CATEGORY OF KIDS WHO WERE BROUGHT HERE AND GREW UP HERE, IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU -- WHAT REASON YOU HAD FOR NOT SIGNING UP AS A DACA KID. YOU CAN STILL BE PART OF THAT OVERALL DISCUSSION OF HOW YOU GET TO STAY AND YOU STILL GET TO STAY IF WE CAN COME UP WITH A SOLUTION FOR YOU TO DO THAT. WE'RE NOT GOING TO SOLVE THAT PROBLEM AND SAY WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A STUDY OF THE OTHER PROBLEM TO SEE WHAT'S WRONG. IF BY NOW WE DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE OTHER PROBLEM, WE'RE NEVER GOING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE OTHER PROBLEM. IN 1986, MR. PRESIDENT, LONG BEFORE I CAME TO -- EITHER OF US CAME TO CONGRESS AND MAYBE LONG BEFORE SOME OF US GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL, IN 1986 WE WERE GOING TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. EVERYBODY WHO WAS HERE ILLEGALLY COULD STAY IF THEY WANTED TO AND THE BORDER WOULD BE MADE SECURE. SO HERE WE ARE, OVER THREE DECADES LATER STILL DEBATING THE SAME THING. WE NEED TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS, BOTH OF THEM. AND IF WE CAN SOLVE OTHER PROBLEMS WHILE WE'RE DOING IT, THAT'S FINE, TOO. BUT WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO COME UP WITH A SOLUTION. THAT MEANS IF THERE ARE A NUMBER OF IDEAS OUT THERE AS TO HOW THE SENATE SHOULD MOVE FORWARD AND ONE OF THEM IS, WELL, LET'S LET THESE KIDS STAY THAT SIGNED UP. BY THE WAY, ON THE DACA ISSUE, IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER HERE, PRESIDENT TRUMP SAID -- -- SAID I'M GOING TO GIVE THE CONGRESS SIX MORE MONTHS TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM UP UNTIL MARCH 5. IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT THE COURTS HAVE ALLOWED PEOPLE TO CONTINUE TO SIGN UP. SO REALLY THE MARCH 5 DEADLINE IS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN MARCH 5. BUT THE PRESIDENT SAID, I'M GOING TO GIVE THE CONGRESS SIX MORE MONTHS. BUT THE PRESIDENT -- THE PRESIDENT BEFORE HIM, PRESIDENT OBAMA, DIDN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT THIS FOR YEARS, NOT BECAUSE HE DIDN'T WANT TO, I BELIEVE, BUT BECAUSE HE SAID HE DIDN'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO. PRESIDENT OBAMA REPEATEDLY SAID THE PRESIDENT CANNOT SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. THIS HAS TO BE THE CONGRESS SOLVING THE PROBLEM. AND HE ULTIMATELY DECIDED WELL, IN SPITE OF SIX OR SEVEN YEARS OF SAYING I CAN'T SOLVE THIS PROBLEM ON MY OWN, I'M GOING TO TRY TO WITH AN EXECUTIVE ORDER. AND THE TRUTH IS THAT THAT EXECUTIVE ORDER WAS NEVER GOING TO DO THE JOB. I THINK PRESIDENT OBAMA KNEW THAT. PRESIDENT TRUMP WHEN HE EXTENDED -- WHEN HE DID HIS OWN ORDER, HE PROBABLY ALSO KNEW HE DIDN'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO THAT ANY MORE THAN PRESIDENT OBAMA HAD TO DO WHAT HE DID. BUT BOTH OF THESE PRESIDENTS IN THEIR OWN WAY HAVE TRIED TO DRIVE THE CONGRESS TOWARD MAKING A DECISION THAT COMES UP WITH A PLAN THAT WORKS, A PLAN THAT WORKS FOR KIDS WHO WERE BROUGHT HERE WITH NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER AND A PLANNING FOR SEEING THAT KIDS STILL CAN'T BE EASILY BROUGHT HERE WITH NO CHOICE. WE DON'T NEED -- WE NEED TO LET YOUNG PEOPLE COME HERE BECAUSE WE NEED THEM HERE AS PART OF OUR WORKFORCE, AS PART OF OUR COUNTRY. LEGAL IMMIGRATION IS WHAT MADE AMERICA GREAT. THE RULE OF LAW IS ALSO WHAT MAKES OUR COUNTRY WHAT IT IS, AND YOU CAN'T CONTINUE TO LET IMMIGRATION BE AN AREA WHERE WE HAVE DECIDED THERE ARE LAWS THAT WE WILL NOT ENFORCE. AND SO THE CHALLENGE FOR THE CONGRESS RIGHT NOW IS TO COME UP WITH A COMBINATION OF THIS PROBLEM IS NOT GOING TO CONTINUE TO BE THE SAME PROBLEM IT IS TODAY, BUT FOR THE PROBLEM TODAY, WE'RE GOING TO SOLVE IT. AND WE'RE GOING TO SOLVE IT IN A WAY THAT LETS KIDS WHO GREW UP HERE BECOME PART OF THE SOLUTION. I CONTINUE TO BE COMMITTED TO STRENGTHENING OUR BOARDERS. I CONTINUE TO BE COMMITTED TO STEMMING THE TIDE OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. FRANKLY, I CONTINUE TO BE COMMITTED TO THE IDEA OF LEGAL IMMIGRATION AS PART OF CONTINUALLY REINFORCING AND REENTHUSING WHO WE ARE. BUT I'M ALSO COMMITTED TO FINDING A PERMANENT SOLUTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WOULD BE IN THAT CATEGORY OF KIDS WHO WERE BROUGHT HERE, GREW UP HERE, HAVEN'T GOTTEN IN TROUBLE WHILE THEY WERE HERE, AND HAVE EVERY REASON TO WANT TO BE PART OF THE AMERICAN DREAM AND PART OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT THEY HAVE BEEN PART OF UP UNTIL NOW. I HOPE WE CAN FIND COMMON GROUND ON A BILL THAT DOES THAT. I HOPE WE CAN PASS A BILL FROM THE SENATE THAT THE HOUSE WILL ALSO PASS. IF THE SENATORS THINK THEY'VE DONE THEIR JOB BY PASSING A BILL THAT CAN'T POSSIBLY PASS THE HOUSE, THAT'S JUST ANOTHER KICKING THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD. WE NEED TO FIND A SOLUTION HERE THAT REALLY SOLVES THIS PROBLEM, AND YOU SOLVE THIS PROBLEM BY PUTTING A BILL ON THE PRESIDENT'S DESK. TO DO THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO VOTE. WE CAN'T DO THAT BY JUST HAVING A QUORUM CALL OR A VACANCY HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR. WE HAVE TO BE WILLING TO VOTE. THERE'S SOME THINGS I CAN -- THAT I'LL ENTHUSIASTICALLY VOTE FOR AND SOME THINGS THAT I WILL RELUCTANTLY NOT BE ABLE TO BE FOR. BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT I SHOULD -- IF I CAN'T BE FOR WHATEVER IS BROUGHT TO THE SENATE FLOOR, I DON'T WANT TO VOTE ON IT, I DON'T WANT TO DEBATE IT. WE CAN'T CONTINUE TO TUNE INTO A VACANT SCREEN OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE FLOOR AND SAY THIS IS THE WEEK WE'VE ALL COMMITTED. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A REAL DEBATE ABOUT SOLVING AS MANY PROBLEMS AS WE CAN THAT RELATE TO KIDS WHO GREW UP HERE, AND WE'RE NOT EVER HERE IN WAYS THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE AND SOLVING THAT PROBLEM SO OTHER KIDS ARE NOT LIKELY IN THESE NUMBERS TO FACE THAT SAME PROBLEM IN THE FUTURE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND HOPE THAT THE FLOOR IS FILLED OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAY, WITH A VIGOROUS DEBATE ABOUT THE BEST WAY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM BEFORE US IN A WAY THAT THE PEOPLE WE WORK FOR WILL FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT AND THE PEOPLE WHO ARE MOST IMPACTED BY OUR DECISION WILL FEEL EQUALLY THE CONCERN, THE WARMTH, THE DESIRE OF OUR COUNTRY TO HAVE A VIBRANT ECONOMY THAT HAS PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE PART OF IT ABLE TO BE PART OF IT AND PARTICULARLY PEOPLE WHO GREW UP IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BE PART OF IT. I WOULD YIELD.

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  • 02:09:57 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

  • 02:09:58 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM WYOMING.

  • 02:09:59 PM

    MR. BARRASSO

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, IT SEEMS JUST ABOUT EVERY DAY WE…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, IT SEEMS JUST ABOUT EVERY DAY WE GET MORE GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE TAX RELIEF LAW THAT REPUBLICANS HAVE PASSED. THIS WEEK THE NEWS IS GETTING EVEN BETTER FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. BY THE END OF THIS MONTH, 90% OF WORKERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY WILL SEE MORE MONEY IN THEIR TAKE-HOME PAYCHECKS. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHERE THEY ARE. THEY CAN BE IN MATEETSIE, WIEL, AND THEY WILL SEE AN INCREASE IN CHAIR PAYCHECKS THIS WEEK. THAT'S BECAUSE THIS THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, IS A DEADLINE FOR EMPLOYERS TO START USING THE NEW I.R.S. TAX WITHHOLDING TABLES. THE I.R.S. TELLS EMPLOYERS HOW MUCH MEAN TO WITHHOLD FROM -- MUCH MONEY TO WITHHOLD FROM PEOPLE'S PAYCHECKS SO THAT THE TAXES WORK OUT PRETTY CLOSE AT THE END OF THE YEAR. THAT'S THE WAY IT'S SET UP. WELL, THE I.R.S. LOOKED AT THE NEW TAX LAW. AND THEY SAW THAT PEOPLE WERE GOING TO BE PAYING LOWER TAXES AT THE END OF THE YEAR. SO THEY PUT OUT THE NEW TAX TABLES. THEY TOLD BUSINESSES TO ADJUST HOW MUCH MONEY THEY WITHHOLD, HOW MUCH TO WITHHOLD FROM A PERSON'S PAYCHECK, AND TO DO IT BY FEBRUARY 15, TOMORROW. SO FOR 90% OF AMERICANS, THIS TAX AMOUNT IS GOING TO BE LOWER, WHICH MEANS THAT THEIR PAYCHECKS ARE GOING TO BE LARGER. A TAX CUT IS THE SAME AS A RAISE. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE SEEING ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY, PEOPLE GETTING A RAISE IN THEIR PAY. NOW, SOME PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY GOTTEN A PAYCHECK WITH THE NEW HIGHER WAGES. OTHERS ARE GOING TO GET IT VERY SOON. THE WEBSITE YAHOO FINANCE CRUNCHED THE NUMBERS. THIS IS WHAT THEY SAID. THEY FOUND THAT A TYPICAL WORKER MAKING $60,000 A YEAR WILL GET AN EXTRA $112 IN THEIR PAYCHECKS EVERY MONTH BECAUSE OF THE TAX LAW. WELL, THAT'S OVER $1,300 FOR THE YEAR. NOW, TO ME THAT'S VERY GOOD NEWS FOR AMERICAN WORKERS. I WAS AT HOME IN WYOMING THIS PAST WEEKEND TRAVELING ARP THE STATE, -- AROUND THE STATE AND I'M HEARING ABOUT IT IN ALL THE DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES THAT I GO TO THAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS IS BETTER FOR ME AND MY FAMILY PERSONALLY. SO ON TOP OF THIS, A LOT OF WORKERS ARE GETTING SPECIAL BONUSES AND RAISES BECAUSE OF THE TAX LAW. SO NOT ONLY ARE THEY GETTING MORE MONEY BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT THE TAX RATES HAVE BEEN LOWERED, THEY'RE ADDITIONALLY GETTING MORE MONEY BECAUSE THEY'VE GOTTEN A RAISE OR A BONUS. WELL, IT SEEMS LIKE THERE ARE ABOUT FOUR MILLION HARDWORKING AMERICANS WHO ARE GETTING BONUSES OF HUNDREDS OR EVEN THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS THAT THEY'RE SEEING AS A RESULT OF THE NEW TAX REFORM LAW. THEY'RE ALSO GETTING EXTRA MONEY IN THEIR RETIREMENT PLANS. THEY'RE GETTING HIGHER STARTING WAINLS. WE'RE SEE -- WAGES. WE'RE SEEING MANY PLACES INCREASING THE STARTING WAGES, SOME UP TO $15 AN HOUR. MORE THAN 300 COMPANIES, MR. PRESIDENT, HAVE SAID THEY'RE INCREASING ALL OF THESE KINDS OF COMPENSATIONS AS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE TAX LAW. SO IN MY HOME STATE OF WYOMING, PEOPLE ACROSS THE STATE ARE GETTING BONUSES, BONUSES. THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO WORK AT HOME DEPOT, AT LOWE'S, AT WALMART, AT STARBUCKS, AT WELLS FARGO, AND OTHER BUSINESSES THAT HAVE FAMILIAR NAMES TO PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY. BUT, MR. PRESIDENT, THERE ARE ALSO PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING IN SMALLER BUSINESSES, LIKE THE JONAH BANK IN WYOMING. THEY HAVE BRANCHES IN CASPER AND IN CHEYENNE. IT'S NOT A NATIONALLY KNOWN BANK, BUT IT'S VERY IMPORTANT IN OUR STATE, IN OUR COMMUNITIES. EVERY EMPLOYEE OF THIS BANK IS GETTING A $1,000 BONUS. THE BANK IS ALSO INCREASING ITS GIVING IN THE COMMUNITIES WHERE THEY HAVE BRANCHES. WORKERS BENEFIT. THE COMMUNITY BENEFITS. THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE CHANGE THE TAX LAW SO WASHINGTON GETS LESS AND TAXPAYERS GET TO KEEP MORE. THAT'S WHY I VOTED FOR THIS TAX LAW, MR. PRESIDENT, TO GIVE THE KIND OF TAX RELIEF THAT MADE THESE BONUSES AND THESE PAY RAISES POSSIBLE. IT'S GOOD FOR WYOMING. IT'S GOOD FOR PEOPLE ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. YOU KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S INTERESTING. IT'S EVEN GOOD FOR PEOPLE IN STATES WHERE THEIR SENATORS VOTED AGAINST THE TAX LAW. 90% OF PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE SEEING THE BENEFITS NO MATTER WHICH STATE THEY'RE FROM, THEY'RE SEEING THE BENEFITS. THERE'S A BUSINESS IN GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN. IT'S CALLED THE MILL STEEL COMPANY. THEY SAID LAST WEEK THEY'RE GIVING AN EXTRA $1,000 TO THEIR WORKERS BECAUSE OF THE TAX LAW. EVERY REPUBLICAN VOTED FOR AND EVERY DEMOCRAT VOTED AGAINST. NOW, 400 PEOPLE AT THAT COMPANY ARE GETTING THE BONUS. MICHIGAN HAS TWO DEMOCRAT SENATORS. THEY BOTH VOTED AGAINST THE TAX RELIEF LAW. STILL LED TO $1,000 BONUSES FOR THESE 400 WORKERS. WELL, WHAT DO THE SENATORS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT NOW? ARE THEY PROUD THAT THEY VOTED AGAINST THE TAX LAW? ARE THEY GLAD THEY SAID NO TO THESE SORTS OF RAISES THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE IN THEIR HOME STATES TO GET THE BONUSES? WE KNOW WHAT NANCY PELOSI THINKS. FIRST SHE TALKED ABOUT THE TAX LAW SAYING IT WAS ARMAGEDDON AND THEN SHE SAID IT WAS THE END OF THE LAW. SHE SAID THE BENEFITS THAT PEOPLE ARE GETTING UNDER THE TAX LAW ARE JUST CRUMBS. FOR HER IT MAY BE DIFFERENT, BUT FOR A LOT OF AMERICANS A DZ SDZ -- A $1,000 BONUS IS MUCH MORE THAN CRUMBS. MR. PRESIDENT, AN EXTRA $1,300 -- I TALKED ABOUT THE WORKER EARLIER IN THIS TALK, IN THAT PAYCHECK, IT IS MUCH MORE THAN CRUMBS, $15 STARTING WAGE IS MORE THAN CRUMBS. DEMOCRATS VOTED AGAINST IT BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T WANT PEOPLE TO GET THE EXTRA MONEY. IT SEEMS TO ME HARD TO BELIEVE THEY WOULD CONTINUE THIS WAY AND CONTINUE TO TAKE PRIDE IN VOTING AGAINST IT, BUT THEY DID. NOW IT SEEMS DEMOCRATS WANT TO INSULT PEOPLE BY SAYING THAT WHAT THEY ARE SEEING AND WHAT THEIR BENEFITS ARE IS SIMPLY CRUMBS. THESE ARE SOME OF THE CASH BENEFITS WORKERS ARE GETTING FROM THE TAX LAW. REPUBLICANS PREDICTED OVER THE DEBATE OF THIS LAW THAT THERE WOULD BE OTHER BENEFITS AS WELL. WE SAID THAT BUSINESSES WOULD PAY LESS IN TAXES AND SOME OF THEM WOULD BE ABLE TO ADDITIONALLY CUT PRICES FOR CONSUMERS, LET PEOPLE BUY THINGS MORE CHEAPLY. AMERICANS ARE STARTING TO SEE THIS PREDICTION COME TRUE AS WELL. ONE OF THE FIRST PLACES THEY ARE SEEING IT IN THIS THEIR UTILITY BILLS. GAS, ELECTRIC, AND WATER UTILITIES ARE CUTTING THEIR RATES BECAUSE THEIR TAXES ARE GOING DOWN UNDER THE LAW. UNTIL VERMONT -- VERMONT, MR. PRESIDENT, VERMONT'S ONLY GAS UTILITY COMPANY IS CUTTING THEIR RATES 5% BECAUSE OF THE TAX LAW. BOTH OF THE SENATORS FROM VERMONT VOTED AGAINST THE LAW. BUT IT WAS BECAUSE OF THE REPUBLICAN LAW THAT PASSED THAT CAUSED THESE RATES TO GO DOWN. IN FACT, 23 STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WILL PAY LOWER UTILITY BILLS BECAUSE OF THE TAX RELIEF LAW. OTHER STATES ARE LOOKING AT CUTTING RATES. RATES ARE GOING DOWN IN CALIFORNIA, NEW YORK, MASSACHUSETTS, CONNECTICUT, STATES WHERE EVERY DEMOCRAT SENATOR VOTED AGAINST THE TAX LAW. WHAT DO THESE DEMOCRAT SENATORS HAVE TO SAY NOW? ARE THEY PROUD OF THE FACT THAT THEY VOTED AGAINST THE TAX CUTS THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE LOWER UTILITY BILLS IN THEIR STATES? WHEN PEOPLE'S MONTHLY BILLS GET CUT, IT'S LIKE A PAY HIKE, MORE MONEY IN THEIR OWN POCKETS. THEY HAVE MORE MONEY TO EITHER SAVE OR SPEND ON OTHER THINGS OR TO INVEST. THE OWNER OF A GYM IN CINCINATI, OHIO, SPOKE WITH HIS LOCAL RADIO STATION ABOUT WHAT THE TAX BREAK MEANS TO HIM. HE SAID THAT WHEN PEOPLE HAVE EXTRA MONEY TO SPEND, THEY SPEND IT. THEY GO OUT TO EAT, BUY GYM MEMBERSHIPS AND THEY ENJOY THEMSELVES. PEOPLE HAVE THAT EXTRA MONEY TOP SPEND NOW, TODAY BECAUSE OF THE TAX LAW REPUBLICANS PASSED. THEY HAVE THE EXTRA MONEY, DESPITE EVERY DEMOCRAT IN THIS BODY VOTING AGAINST TAX RELIEF. EVERY ONE OF THEM SAID NO. THEY ALL VOTED NO. DEMOCRATS VOTED NO TO TAX RELIEF FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES, ESSENTIALLY VOTED YES TO KEEP THE EXTRA MONEY IN WASHINGTON SO THEY COULD DECIDE HOW TO SPEND IT. MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE MUCH MORE FAITH IN PEOPLE AT HOME IN WYOMING DECIDING HOW TO SPEND THEIR MONEY THAN ANY FAITH I HAVE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. FOR SO MANY AMERICANS EVERY DOLLAR HELPS, AND, MR. PRESIDENT, THEY ARE NOT CRUMBS. DEMOCRATS MAY NOT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BUT THE AMERICAN FAMILIES DO. PEOPLE IN EVERY STATE OF THIS COUNTRY KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHAT REPUBLICANS DID WITH THIS TAX LAW. THEY ARE SEEING MORE MONEY IN THEIR PAYCHECKS, MORE TAKE HOME PAY, MORE MONEY TO DECIDE WHAT TO SPEND, WHAT TO INVEST, WHAT TO SAVE. THEY KNOW THAT REPUBLICANS PROMISED TO CUT PEOPLE'S TAXES AND PEOPLE KNOW THAT REPUBLICANS DELIVERED ON THE PROMISE. THEY KNOW THE BENEFITS THEY HAVE GOTTEN ALREADY AND THEY ARE CONFIDENT THAT THE ECONOMY WILL CONTINUE TO GROW STRONGER DAY BY DAY. PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY ALSO KNOW THE FACT THAT EVERY DEMOCRAT VOTED AGAINST THIS LAW, VOTED AGAINST GIVING THEM A TAX BREAK, VOTED AGAINST HAVING THEM KEEP MORE OF THEIR HARD-EARNED MONEY. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW WHO TOOK THEIR SIDE, WHO VOTED FOR THE AMERICAN PUBLIC VERSUS WHO SAID NO. HARD-WORKING AMERICANS ASKED US TO DO A JOB FOR THEM. REPUBLICANS ARE DOING A JOB, DEMOCRATS IN WASHINGTON, MR. PRESIDENT, CERTAINLY ARE NOT. REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO KEEP DOING THAT JOB FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, A JOB THAT WE HAVE PROMISED AND A JOB IN WHICH WE HAVE DELIVERED. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:20:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR.…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 02:20:43 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 02:37:04 PM

    A SENATOR

    MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 02:37:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM HAWAII.

  • 02:37:07 PM

    MS. HIRONO

    ARE WE IN A QUORUM CALL?

  • 02:37:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE IS INDEED IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 02:37:12 PM

    MS. HIRONO

    WE ARE?

  • 02:37:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    YES, THE SENATE IS IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 02:37:15 PM

    MS. HIRONO

    I'M SORRY. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO VITIATE THE QUORUM…

    I'M SORRY. MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO VITIATE THE QUORUM CALL.

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  • 02:37:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:37:20 PM

    MS. HIRONO

    MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S TIME FOR THE SENATE TO DO ITS JOB AS A SEPARATE BRANCH…

    MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S TIME FOR THE SENATE TO DO ITS JOB AS A SEPARATE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT. THIS WEEK WE CAN COME TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN BASIS TO RESOLVE THE CRISIS DONALD TRUMP CREATED WHEN HE CANCELED DACA. WE CAN PROVIDE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN OUR COUNTRY THEIR SHOT AT PURSUING THE AMERICAN DREAM WITHOUT FEAR OF DEPORTATION. RIGHT NOW THESE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE BROUGHT TO THIS COUNTRY AS CHILDREN ARE TERRIFIED THAT THEY WILL BE SEPARATED FROM THEIR FAMILIES AND THE LIVES THEY BUILT HERE IN THE ONLY COUNTRY THEY KNOW AT LOVE. I'VE MET AND SPOKEN WITH SO MANY DREAMERS IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS THESE PAST MONTHS. THEIR FOCUS, DETERMINATION, AND COMMIT MRCHTS IN -- COMMITMENT IN THIS FIGHT CONTINUES TO BE EXTRAORDINARY AND INSPIRING. EACH DREAMER HAS A DIFFERENT STORY TO TELL. BUT THEY ALL SHARE A PROFOUNDLY SIMPLE ASPIRATION, TO LIVE AND WORK, STUDY IN THE ONLY COUNTRY THEY HAVE EVER CALLED HOME. WHEN YOU SIT AND LISTEN TO THEIR STORIES, IT ISN'T DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND WHY BETWEEN 80% AND 90% OF AMERICANS SUPPORT PROTECTING THESE DREAMERS. PEOPLE LIKE KAREN MALENI AND BEATRICE WHO CAN ATTEND THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII BECAUSE OF DACA. PEOPLE LIKE VICTOR FROM HOUSTON WHO ASPIRES TO BECOME A COUNSELOR FOR LBGTQ YOUTH LIKE HIM. AND PEOPLE LIKE YETSI FROM OREGON WHO WORKS THREE JOBS SO SHE WITH PURSUE HER DREAM OF BECOMING A NURSE PRACTITIONER TO CARE FOR OUR SENIORS. THESE INSPIRING YOUNG PEOPLE DON'T NEED TO HEAR ANY MORE PROMISES. THEY NEED MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO PUT THEIR VOTES WHERE THEIR MOUTHS HAVE BEEN AND DO THE RIGHT THING. LIKE MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES, I STRONGLY SUPPORT PASSING A CLEAN DREAM ACT. LEGISLATION THAT ALREADY HAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. BUT IT'S CRITICAL THAT WE GET TO THE 60 VOTES WE NEED TO PASS A BILL. I'M OPEN TO DISCUSSING DIFFERENT PROVISIONS, INCLUDING SOME FUNDING FOR BORDER SECURITY TO HELP US GET THERE. WE CAN AND SHOULD HAVE A DEBATE OVER COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM BUT ONLY AFTER WE PASS LEGISLATION THIS WEEK TO PROTECT THE DREAMERS. WE CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT USE THIS DEBATE TO PROVIDE COVER FOR EFFORTS TO DISMANTLE THE FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM OR TO MAKE MASSIVE CUTS TO LEGAL IMMIGRATION. THE PRESIDENT AND A NUMBER OF COLLEAGUES HAVE MADE IT CLEAR THEY WOULD LIKE TO ELIMINATE FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRATION IN FAVOR OF A SYSTEM DESIGNED ONLY TO RECRUIT IMMIGRANTS WITH ADVANCED DEGREES AND SPECIALIZED SKILLS. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THE UNITED STATES TO RECRUIT HIGHLY SKILLED IMMIGRANTS, AND WE HAVE A NUMBER OF IMMIGRATION PROGRAMS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS PURPOSE. BUT WHEN YOU RESTRICT IMMIGRATION ONLY TO PEOPLE WITH HIGH-SKILLED EXPERIENCES OR ADVANCED DEGREES, YOU LIEWTZ OUT ON A -- YOU LOSE OUT ON A LOT OF HUMAN POTENTIAL THAT HAS HISTORICALLY CONTRIBUTED SO MUCH TO OUR COUNTRY. WE DON'T HAVE TO LOOK FAR BACK INTO HISTORY TO PROVE WHY THIS STATEMENT IS TRUE. OVER THE PAST WEEK, THE OLYMPICS HAVE CAPTURED THE EXCITEMENT AND IMAGINATION OF PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND IN FACT THE WORLD. AND MANY OF THE PEOPLE WE'VE BEEN CHEERING FOR ARE EITHER THE CHILDREN OF IMMIGRANTS OR OUR IMMIGRANTS THEMSELVES. OVER THE WEEKEND WE SAW ONE ATHLETE WHOSE PARENTS IMMIGRATED FROM JAPAN TO BECOME THE FIRST AMERICAN WOMAN TO LAND A TRIPLE AXLE IN THE OLYMPICS DURING HER APPEARANCE IN THE TEAM FIGURE SKATING COMPETITION. YESTERDAY WE SAW MOMI BINI WHO IMMIGRATED TO THE FRUNS GHANA TAKE TO THE ICE TO COMPETE IN THE SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATING AND TWO NIGHTS AGO I WATCHED CHLOE KIM THROW DOWN A NEAR-PERFECT SCORE IN THE WOMEN'S SNOWBOARD HALF PIKE TO WIN THE GOLD MEDAL. AFTER COMPLETING HER HISTORY-MAKING RUN, THE CAMERAS PANNED TO HER FATHER PROUDLY WAVING HIS GO CHLOE SIGN IN THE AUDIENCE. HE ARRIVED IN CALIFORNIA IN 1982 WITH $800 IN HIS POCKET. HE WORKED FOR YEARS AT MINIMUM-WAGE JOBS TO SAVE FOR COLLEGE. WHILE STUDYING AT EL CAMINO COLLEGE, HE WORKED AS A HEAVY MACHINERY OPERATOR AT NIGHT. JONG ENCOURAGED CHLOE TO BEGIN SNOWBOARDING WHEN SHE WAS 4. THEY WOULD JUMP OFF THE LIFTS TOGETHER BUT BECAUSE HE DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO SNOWBOARD, THEY WOULD TUMBLE TO THE GROUND. JONG BROUGHT CHLOE HER FIRST SNOWBOARD ON eBAY FOR $25. WHEN CHLOE WAS 8, HE QUIT HIS JOB AS AN ENGINEER TO SUPPORT HER SNOWBOARDING CAREER. HE WOULD OFTEN WAKE UP AT 2:00 A.M. IN THE MORNING TO DRIVE CHLOE OVER 300 MILES TO HER PRACTICES. AFTER WATCHING HIS DAUGHTER WIN OLYMPIC GOLD, JONG SAID IN KOREAN, WHEN I CAME TO THE UNITED STATES, THIS WAS MY AMERICAN HOPE. AMERICAN DREAM. THIS MEANS NOW THIS IS MY AMERICAN DREAM. SO REFLECTING ON HER FATHER'S SACRIFICE, CHLOE SAID, MY DAD HAS DEFINITELY SACRIFICED A LOT FOR ME. AND I DON'T KNOW IF I COULD DO IT IF I WAS IN HIS SHOES. LEAVING YOUR LIFE BEHIND AND CLOSING -- AND CHASING YOUR DREAM BECAUSE YOUR KID IS PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS SPORT, I THINK TODAY I DID IT FOR MY FAMILY AND I AM SO GRATEFUL TO THEM. CHLOE'S STORY OF WINNING OLYMPIC GOLD IS EXTRAORDINARY, BUT HER FATHER'S STORY SPEAKS TO A DEEP AND ABIDING FOUNDATION OF AMERICA AND TO MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AS AN IMMIGRANT. MY MOM ALSO CAME TO THIS COUNTRY POOR AND WITHOUT SKILLS TO ESCAPE AN ABUSIVE MARRIAGE TO GIVE HER THREE CHILDREN, OF WHICH I AM ONE, A CHANCE AT A BETTER LIFE. AND LIKE JONG AND CHLOE, ONE GENERATION AFTER MY MOM CAME TO THIS COUNTRY, I AM STANDING ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE FIGHTING FOR HUMANE IMMIGRATION POLICIES. THESE STORIES SPEAK TO THE BROADER IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE IN OUR COUNTRY. WE WORK HARD AND EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES THIS COUNTRY PROVIDES. AND WE OFTEN SEE THE RESULT OF THIS HARD WORK WITHIN A SINGLE GENERATION. I WOULD ASK MY COLLEAGUES, DO YOU THINK THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF WE PREVENTED IMMIGRANTS LIKE JONG AND ME FROM COMING TO THIS COUNTRY? TARGETING IMMIGRANTS FOR DISCRIMINATORY AND HARSH TREATMENT IS DENYING OUR COUNTRY'S HISTORY. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF OUR ORIGINAL PEOPLES EVERYONE CAME TO OUR COUNTRY FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE. WE'RE FIEFTING TO PRESERVE -- WE'RE FIGHTING TO PRESERVE THE SPIRIT OF OUR COUNTRY, THAT SHINING CITY ON A HILL. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. I NOTE THE ABSENCE -- I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:45:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 02:45:11 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 02:55:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEVADA.

  • 02:55:54 PM

    MS. CORTEZ MASTO

    THANK YOU. MR. PRESIDENT --

  • 02:55:56 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE IS IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 02:56:00 PM

    MS. CORTEZ MASTO

    THANK YOU.

  • 02:56:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE IS IN A QUORUM CALL.

  • 02:56:06 PM

    MS. CORTEZ MASTO

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THAT WE DISPENSE WITH THE QUORUM CALL.

  • 02:56:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 02:56:11 PM

    MS. CORTEZ MASTO

    OBJECTION.

  • 03:07:02 PM

    A SENATOR

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 03:07:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW MEXICO.

  • 03:07:07 PM

    MR. HEINRICH

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.

  • 03:07:09 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:07:15 PM

    MR. HEINRICH

  • 03:16:00 PM

    A SENATOR

    PRESIDENT. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 03:16:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT.

  • 03:16:06 PM

    MR. MURPHY

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AS WE SPEAK, THERE IS A HORRIFIC SCENE PLAYING…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. AS WE SPEAK, THERE IS A HORRIFIC SCENE PLAYING OUT AT A HIGH SCHOOL IN SOUTH FLORIDA. TURN ON YOUR TELEVISION RIGHT NOW, YOU'RE GOING TO SEE SCENES OF CHILDREN RUNNING FOR THEIR LIVES. WHAT LOOKS TO BE THE 19th SCHOOL SHOOTING IN THIS COUNTRY, AND WE HAVE NOT EVEN HIT MARCH. I'M COMING TO THE FLOOR TO TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE, BUT LET ME JUST NOTE ONCE AGAIN FOR MY COLLEAGUES, THIS HAPPENS NOWHERE ELSE OTHER THAN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THIS EPIDEMIC OF MASS SLAUGHTER, THIS SCOURGE OF SCHOOL SHOOTING AFTER SCHOOL SHOOTING. IT ONLY HAPPENS HERE NOT BECAUSE OF COINCIDENCE, NOT BECAUSE OF BAD LUCK, BUT AS A CONSEQUENCE OF OUR INACTION. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR A LEVEL OF MASS ATROCITY THAT HAPPENS IN THIS COUNTRY WITH ZERO PARALLEL ANYWHERE ELSE. AS A PARENT, IT SCARES ME TO DEATH THAT THIS BODY DOESN'T TAKE SERIOUSLY THE SAFETY OF MY CHILDREN, AND IT SEEMS LIKE A LOT OF PARENTS IN SOUTH FLORIDA ARE GOING TO BE ASKING THAT SAME QUESTION LATER TODAY. WE PRAY FOR THE FAMILIES AND FOR THE VICTIMS. WE HOPE FOR THE BEST. I CAME TO THE FLOOR TAD TO TALK ABOUT IMMIGRATION. I WANT TO MAKE A SPECIFIC CASE TO YOU TODAY, BUT BEFORE I DO, I WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT PROCESS. I HAVE HEARD A LOT OF MY FRIENDS ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OF THE AISLE SAY ON THIS FLOOR AND IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS MADE AN IMMIGRATION PROPOSAL AND DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN ASKING FOR AN IMMIGRATION PROPOSAL, SO WE SHOULD JUST ACCEPT HIS FIRST AND ONLY OFFER. WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? PRESIDENT TRUMP GAVE YOU SOMETHING THAT SAYS IMMIGRATION ON IT. WHY AREN'T YOU ACCEPTING IT? IT'S A TERRIBLE PROPOSAL. IT'S BAD FOR AMERICA. TO HIS CREDIT, PRESIDENT TRUMP DOES ATTEMPT TO TRY TO DEAL WITH THESE DREAMER KIDS, BUT THERE ARE THREE MILLION POTENTIALLY ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS IN THIS COUNTRY, AND IT ONLY ALLOWS ABOUT 1.8 MILLION OF THEM TO GET THROUGH THE PROCESS. BUT THAT'S REALLY NOT THE WORST PART. THE WORST PART IS IT CUTS LEGAL IMMIGRATION BY 40%. IT BASICALLY ABANDONS THIS COUNTRY'S COMMITMENT TO FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRATION. LISTEN, I WOULDN'T BE HERE IF WE ONLY HAD SKILLS-BASED IMMIGRATION. MOST MEMBERS OF THIS BODY WOULDN'T BE HERE IF THE ONLY WAY THAT YOUR PARENTS OR GRANDPARENTS OR GREAT GRANDPARENT COULD HAVE COME HERE IS BECAUSE OF A PH.D. OR A DEGREE OR A CERTIFICATE. MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS CHAMBER, I WOULD IMAGINE, CAME HERE -- ARE HERE BECAUSE THEIR PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, GREAT GRANDPARENTS CAME HERE BECAUSE THEY HAD FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS HERE. LET'S NOT REIMAGINE THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY. DEMOCRATS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ACCEPT THE FIRST OFFER FROM THIS PRESIDENT IF IT'S NOT GOOD FOR AMERICA. NEGOTIATION, RIGHT, STILL HAS TO BE PART OF THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS, AND I'M GLAD THAT THERE ARE MEMBERS OF THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS WHO HAVE BEEN TRYING TO DO THAT, AND WE'LL SEE WHERE THAT GOES. THE PRESIDENT HAS PUT THIS PROPOSAL ON THE TABLE THAT DRAMATICALLY CUTS IMMIGRATION INTO THIS COUNTRY BECAUSE HE SEES IMMIGRATION AS A CORE WEAKNESS OF THIS COUNTRY. HE VIEWS NEW ENTRANTS TO AMERICA AS AN ECONOMIC DRAIN. THAT'S WHY HE WANTS TO POTENTIALLY KICK OUT THREE MILLION DREAMER KIDS NEXT MONTH IF WE DON'T ACT. THAT'S WHY HE WANTS TO DRAMATICALLY CUT DOWN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT ARE ALLOWED TO LEGALLY EMIGRATE TO AMERICA. HE VIEWS THAT AS A PROBLEM THAT NEEDS TO BE DEALT WITH, AND HE IS NOT ALONE. MANY AMERICANS AGREE. I HEAR FROM THEM REGULARLY IN CONNECTICUT. FRANKLY, ONE COULD ALSO ARGUE THAT THERE IS NOTHING MORE AMERICAN THAN BEING SCARED OF IMMIGRANTS. EVERY SINGLE NEW WAVE OF IMMIGRANTS TO OUR SHORES HAS BEEN MET WITH SOME DEGREE OF FEAR AND DERISION AND PREJUDICE. LIKE CLOCK WORK, EVERY GENERATION OR TWO, AMERICAN POLITICIANS DENOUNCE IMMIGRANTS AS A THREAT TO THE AMERICAN-BORN WORKER. IN THE 1850'S, GROWING NUMBERS OF CATHOLIC IMMIGRANTS FROM IRELAND, AS THE MURPHIES -- AS THE MURPHYS CAME. THEY CLAIMED THAT CATHOLICS COULD NEVER BE AMERICANS BECAUSE THEY OWED ALLEGIANCE TO THE POPE. STARTING IN THE 1880'S, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CHINESE IMMIGRANTS BEGAN TO IMMIGRATE TO THE WEST COAST, CAUSING A SPIKE IN ANTI-CHINESE SENTIMENT THAT EVENTUALLY RESULTED IN THE PASSAGE OF SOMETHING CALLED THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT. FEARING THOSE THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM US IN SKIN COLOR OR RELIGION OR NATIONAL ORIGIN OR LANGUAGE, IT IS AN UNMISTAKABLE FACET OF AMERICAN HISTORY. BUT OVER AND OVER AGAIN, WE HAVE OVERCOME THESE BASIN STINGTS BECAUSE OUR BETTER ANGELS PREVAIL. BUT ALSO BECAUSE OF THIS BRIGHT, STRAIGHT LINE THAT CONNECTS AMERICA'S LIBERAL IMMIGRATION POLICY WITH OUR ECONOMIC GREATNESS. AND SO I WANT TO TAKE JUST A COUPLE MINUTES TO MAKE FOR YOU A EXACT BUT IRREFUTABLE CASE FOR THE CORRELATION BETWEEN ECONOMIC POWER AND AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS. FROM 1870 TO 1910, IT'S NO COINCIDENCE THAT AMERICA'S TRANSFORMATION INTO A GLOBAL ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE OCCURRED DURING A PERIOD OF MASSIVE INFLUX OF HUMAN CAPITAL. DURING THAT TIME, NEARLY 15% OF ALL AMERICANS WERE FOREIGN BORN. THAT'S A SHARE THAT OUR COUNTRY HAS NEVER REACHED SINCE THEN. THIS PERIOD OF UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH FOREVER DISPELLED THIS MYTH THAT WE STILL LABOR UNDER TODAY, THAT THE NUMBER OF AMERICAN JOBS IS FIXED. IMMIGRANTS INCREASE DEMAND, AND THAT INCREASED DEMAND, IT CREATES JOBS. ORGANIZATIONS FROM THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES TO THE CONSERVATIVE CATO INSTITUTE HAVE DONE THEIR OWN STUDIES ON THIS QUESTION AND HAVE COME TO THE SAME CONCLUSION. KATO RECENTLY SAID THIS, QUOTE, IMMIGRANTS ADD JOBS, IN PART BY RAISING CONSUMER DEMAND. SO GETTING RID OF IMMIGRANTS, SUCH AS BY DEPORTING UNAUTHORIZED WORKERS, THIS IS KATO'S WORDS, WOULD MOST LIKELY DESTROY JOBS AND RAISE NATIVE UNEMPLOYMENT. THAT MAKES SENSE, RIGHT? BUT IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE THAT IMMIGRANTS CREATE GROWTH, THERE IS ANOTHER, EVEN SIMPLER EXPLANATION, AS TO WHY WE NEED ROBUST IMMIGRATION. AT PRESENT, -- AT PRESENT BIRTH RATES, WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH PEOPLE BORN HERE TO FILL ALL THE JOBS CREATED IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS. IT'S ESTIMATED THAT ACCOUNTING FOR GROWTH, AMERICA IS GOING TO NEED 83 MILLION NEW WORKERS TO ENTER THE WORKFORCE IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS. 83 MILLION. BUT HERE'S THE PROBLEM. ONLY 51 MILLION NEW WORKERS WILL BE NATIVE BORN. THAT LEAVES US 32 MILLION SHORT. AND UNLESS FOLKS START CHURNING OUT A LOT MORE BABIES, IMMIGRATION IS THE ONLY WAY TO FIX THAT DEFICIT. OKAY. NOT CONVINCED? WELL, THINK ABOUT HOW THE FEDERAL BUDGET WORKS. MOST OF OUR BUDGET IS SOCIAL INSURANCE, WORKING AGE AMERICANS PAYING INTO ACCOUNTS THAT PAY BENEFITS TO OLDER NONWORKING AMERICANS. SO YOU NEED A BALANCE BETWEEN THE TWO IN ORDER TO NOT GO BANKRUPT. AND MANY OF OUR COMPETITOR NATIONS AROUND THE WORLD ARE SPIRALING TOWARDS THIS DEMOGRAPHIC CATACLYSM. BY 2030, THE MEDIAN AGE IN JAPAN WITH STRICT IMMIGRATION POLICIES IS GOING TO BE OVER 50. IT'S EXTRAORDINARY. WANT TO KNOW WHY GERMANY IS SO INTERESTED IN BRINGING REFUGEES INTO THEIR COUNTRY? BECAUSE WITHOUT THEM, THEIR MEDIAN AGE IN 2030 IS 48. BUDGETS SIMPLY CAN'T WORK WITH THAT MANY RETIREES AND THAT FEW WORKERS. BUT BECAUSE OF AMERICA'S LIBERAL IMMIGRATION POLICY, OUR AVERAGE AGE, WHICH IS TODAY 38, INCREASES IN 2030 TO JUST 39. DURING THAT TIME, CHINA, ANOTHER COUNTRY THAT DOESN'T REALLY ALLOW IMMIGRATION, THEY GO FROM HAVING A MEDIAN AGE THAT'S TWO YEARS YOUNGER THAN THE UNITED STATES TO THREE YEARS OLDER. IN 2010, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS AND THEIR EMPLOYERS SENT $13 BILLION TO SOCIAL SECURITY. WITHOUT THEM, THE TRUST FUND WOULD BE OUT OF MONEY TODAY. OKAY. SO YOU'RE NOT THERE YET? LET'S TALK JOBS. JUST ASK YOUR FARMERS IN YOUR STATE HOW IMPORTANT LOWER SKILL IMMIGRATION IS TO KEEPING THEIR FARMS AFLOAT. BUT TALK ABOUT HIGH-SKILLED JOBS, WOULD IT SHOCK YOU TO KNOW THAT 31% OF PH.D. HOLDERS IN THIS COUNTRY ARE IMMIGRANTS? IT'S AMAZING. OR WHAT ABOUT MORE THAN ONE QUARTER OF ALL HIGH-QUALITY PATENTS IN THE UNITED STATES BEING GRANTED TO IMMIGRANTS. OR HOW ABOUT A STUDY FROM THREE YEARS AGO, SENATOR CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO REFERRED TO IT, THAT FOUND THAT IMMIGRANTS ARE TWICE AS LIKELY AS NATIVE-BORN AMERICANS TO START A BUSINESS. THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU? HERE IS A MIND BLOWER. 43% OF FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES IN THE UNITED STATES WERE FOUNDED OR COFOUNDED BY AN IMMIGRANT OR A CHILD OF AN IMMIGRANT. AND YOU KNOW WHO THEY ARE. EBAY'S FOUNDER CAME TO THE UNITED STATES FROM FRANCE WHERE HE WAS BORN TO IRANIAN PARENTS. GOOGLE'S CO-FOUNDER EMIGRATED WITH HIS FAMILY FROM RUSSIA WHEN HE WAS 6. ELON MUSK STARTED SPACEX WHICH HAS 4,000 EMPLOYEES, CAME FROM SOUTH AFRICA. HENRY FORD WAS AN IRISH IMMIGRANT. ESTEE LAUDER'S FAMILY WAS HUNGARIAN. ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF I.B.M. HAD GERMAN PARENTS. IF YOU DON'T WANT FORD OR B.M.W. OR GOOGLE TO BE PART OF THE AMERICAN STORY, THEN KEEP SAYING THAT IMMIGRANTS ARE AN ECONOMIC STRAIN. IT WAS ONCE MARVELED THAT, QUOTE, NO OTHER NATION HAS SUCCESSFULLY COMBINED PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT RACES AND NATIONS WITHIN A SINGLE CULTURE. THIS COMBINATION, IT'S OUR DEFINITION AS A NATION, BUT IT'S ALSO THE STORY OF OUR ECONOMIC GREATNESS, OF OUR SPRAWLING LEAP UNDER TWO SHORT CENTURIES FROM JUST AN IDEA TO THE BIGGEST, MOST DYNAMIC ECONOMY ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET. AND TO DENY THAT HISTORY OR TO MISREMEMBER IT WOULD BE PERHAPS AN IRREVERSIBLE ERROR. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 03:27:36 PM

    MR. GRASSLEY

  • 03:27:37 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM IOWA.

  • 03:27:41 PM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    SOME OF WHAT I JUST HEARD I CAN READILY AGREE TO. CERTAIN THINGS LIKE…

    SOME OF WHAT I JUST HEARD I CAN READILY AGREE TO. CERTAIN THINGS LIKE WE'RE A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS, NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT. WE NEED IMMIGRANTS. WE TAKE ROUGHLY 800 TO A MILLION LEGAL IMMIGRANTS A YEAR. THEY'RE WELCOME. WE ALSO, THOUGH, ARE A NATION OF LAWS, AND AS A NATION OF LAWS, WE WANT PEOPLE TO COME HERE ACCORDING TO OUR LAWS AND ABIDE BY THE LAWS. NOW, WE'RE WORKING WITH A GROUP OF PEOPLE, IF YOU CALL THEM DACAS, IT WOULD BE ABOUT 800,000. IF YOU REFER TO THEM AS DREAMERS, MAYBE 1.8 MILLION. WE OBVIOUSLY HAVE SYMPATHY FOR THOSE BECAUSE A BABY BROUGHT HERE IN DIAPERS BY A PERSON OR FAMILY THAT CROSSED OUR BORDER WITHOUT PAPERS AND HENCE WERE ENTERING OUR COUNTRY ILLEGALLY, WE DON'T ATTRIBUTE THE SIN AND THE UNLAWFULNESS OF THE PARENT TO THE BABY, AND SO THERE IS A LOT OF THAT THAT HAS HAPPENED, AND THERE IS A GENERAL AGREEMENT -- MAYBE NOT EVERYBODY IN MY POLITICAL PARTY AGREES WITH THIS, BUT I THINK 80% OF THEM DO -- THAT WE NEED TO DEAL WITH PEOPLE THAT ARE HERE THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN AND GIVE THEM LEGAL STATUS. THAT'S THE COMPASSION THAT WE ARE SHOWING FOR PEOPLE THAT BROKE OUR LAWS BY THEIR PARENTS DOING IT BUT NOT THE KIDS DOING IT. I ALSO DIDN'T EVER THINK WE WOULD BE HERE TODAY DEBATING THIS BECAUSE I WENT THROUGH THE 2013 DEBATE ON IMMIGRATION. THE SENATE PASSED A BILL. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DIDN'T TAKE IT UP. I WAS IN THE MINORITY AT THAT TIME, BOTH IN A CAUCUS THAT WAS IN A MINORITY AS WELL AS IN A MINORITY THAT VOTED AGAINST THAT BILL BECAUSE I DIDN'T THINK IT DID THE THINGS THE WAY THAT I WOULD DO THEM. AND EVERYTHING DIED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. SO THEN TWO YEARS LATER I BECAME CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. WE HAVE JURISDICTION OVER IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION. I COULD HAVE SPENT THREE MONTHS ON IMMIGRATION DURING 15 OR 16 AND SENT A BILL TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THAT PROBABLY WOULD HAVE DIED. BUT I MADE UP MY MIND EARLY IN MY CHAIRMANSHIP THAT I WANTED TO DO THINGS THAT WE COULD GET DONE. AND SO OVER A PERIOD OF THE LAST CONGRESS MY BILL, MY COMMITTEE VOTED OUT 31 BILLS, ALL BIPARTISAN. 18 OF THEM GOT TO A DEMOCRAT PRESIDENT, BECAUSE I FELT IN 2015 AND 2016 THAT WHY GO THROUGH THAT PROCESS IF IT'S GOING TO DIE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. SO EVEN A YEAR AGO, AFTER A PRESIDENT WAS ELECTED THAT CAMPAIGNED SO MUCH AGAINST ANYTHING DEALING WITH IMMIGRATION AND LEGALIZATION OF PEOPLE HERE, EVEN YOUNG PEOPLE THAT HE'S NOW COME TO THE CONCLUSION WE OUGHT TO LEGALIZE, I DIDN'T THINK WE'D BE HAVING THIS DEBATE TODAY. AND SOMEHOW I THINK MEMBERS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY DIDN'T THINK WE'D HAVE THIS DEBATE. I THINK THAT THEY WERE SHOCKED PROBABLY WHEN THE MAJORITY LEADER DECIDED TWO OR THREE WEEKS AGO WHEN GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN TO MAKE AN AGREEMENT TO BRING THIS ISSUE UP, AND HERE WE ARE DEBATING AN IMMIGRATION BILL THAT, QUITE FRANKLY, I DIDN'T THINK WE'D BE DEBATING. AND WE'RE HERE. AND THEN OF COURSE WE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING MONDAY, DIDN'T DO ANYTHING ON THIS ISSUE TUESDAY. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER WE'RE GOING TO HAVE ANY VOTES TODAY. BUT HERE WE ARE DEBATING IMMIGRATION. WE HAVE A CHANCE TO DO WHAT MEMBERS OF THE OTHER POLITICAL PARTY AS ADVOCATES FOR DREAMERS AND DACA KIDS, AND WE HAVE THEM ON THIS SIDE BUT MAYBE NOT AS VOCAL OR AS LOYAL AS DEMOCRATS ARE ON THIS ISSUE, AND NOW SOMEHOW WE HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME GETTING THE ISSUE UP, GETTING IT UP AND GETTING SOMETHING PASSED. AND I OFFER TO MY 99 COLLEAGUES SOMETHING THE PRESIDENT SAID HE WOULD SIGN. NOW MAYBE YOU DON'T LIKE EXACTLY WHAT'S IN THAT PROPOSAL. GET IT UP AND AMEND IT AND LET'S SEE WHAT SORT OF COMPROMISE WE CAN ACCOMPLISH. BUT WE ARE HERE BECAUSE THE LEADER SAID WE'RE GOING TO DO THIS ISSUE. IT WAS SOMETHING THAT THE MINORITY DEMANDED, AND WE OUGHT TO REACH A PARTICULAR CONCLUSION ON IT AND GET SOMETHING TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. NOW ONCE WE KNEW THIS ISSUE WAS GOING TO COME UP AND WE KNEW THAT ON SEPTEMBER 5, WHEN THE PRESIDENT SAID THAT HE WAS NOT GOING TO CONTINUE THE ILLEGAL APPROACH TO THE DACA KIDS THAT OBAMA, PRESIDENT OBAMA DID, AND WE HAVE REASON TO BELIEVE THROUGH COURT DECISIONS ON OLDER PEOPLE, THEY RULED THE PRESIDENT DIDN'T HAVE THE AUTHORITY, THAT HE DIDN'T HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO DO WHAT HE DID WITH THE DACA KIDS. IN FACT, DOZENS, OR AT LEAST A DOZEN TIMES BEFORE HE MADE THAT DECISION, HE WAS TELLING THE ENTIRE COUNTRY HE DIDN'T HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO DO IT, AND THEN HE WENT AHEAD AND DID IT. SO THIS PRESIDENT COMES IN, TAKES AN OATH TO UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF THIS COUNTRY, AND HE DECIDES THAT HE CAN'T CONTINUE WHAT WAS CONSIDERED ILLEGAL ACTIVITY BY THE PREVIOUS PRESIDENT. THIS IS A CONGRESSIONAL DECISION THAT WE MADE, AND CONGRESS OUGHT TO MAKE IT. AND SO WE WERE TOLD ON SEPTEMBER 5, DO SOMETHING BY MARCH 5. SO HERE WE ARE. NOW I HEARD FROM THE PREVIOUS SPEAKER AND MAYBE A LOT OF PREVIOUS SPEAKERS THAT THIS IS THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN. YES, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT THE PRESIDENT SAID THAT HE'S GOING TO SUPPORT AND WOULD SIGN, BUT I WANT TO SAY TO YOU, THE WORK THAT A GROUP OF US SENATORS HAVE PUT ON THIS ISSUE OVER A PERIOD OF THE LAST THREE MONTHS WITH ABOUT 18 MEETINGS, FOUR MEETINGS WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO DISCUSS THE ISSUE, AND MOST OF WHAT'S IN THE PROPOSAL THAT IS PUT BEFORE YOU ARE THINGS THAT A GROUP OF SENATORS PUT TOGETHER. AND I WOULD SAY AS OUR GROUP MET, WE PROBABLY HAD SUBGROUPS OF THREE WHO HAD DIFFERENT VIEWS, AND SOME OF THEM FELT STRONGLY ABOUT THEIR POSITION. BUT EVERYBODY CAME TOGETHER IN A COMPROMISE THAT YOU SEE IS HERE BEFORE US IN MY AMENDMENT. NOW SOME OF THOSE MEETINGS, WE DISCUSSED THESE THINGS WITH THE PRESIDENT. AND I WANT TO GIVE THE PRESIDENT CREDIT FOR A JANUARY 9 MEETING HE HAD WHERE HE CALLED TOGETHER 23 OF US, BIPARTISAN, BICAMERAL, WHERE WE WOULD -- WHERE WE WERE ABLE TO DIAL DOWN ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU'D BE DISCUSSING WITH IMMIGRATION AND CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THERE WERE FOUR MAIN POINTS WE OUGHT TO BE DEALING WITH. AND YOU'VE HEARD OF THESE AS THE FOUR PILLARS, BUT LET ME REPEAT THEM. ONE WAS LEGALIZATION OF THESE CHILDREN THAT WERE BROUGHT HERE BY THEIR PARENTS. NUMBER TWO, BORDER SECURITY. NUMBER THREE, CHAIN MIGRATION. AND NUMBER FOUR, DIVERSITY VISA. AND WE'VE DISCUSSED THESE THINGS WITH THE PRESIDENT, AND I SUPPOSE THE PRESIDENT PROBABLY EMPHASIZED CITIZENSHIP TO A GREATER EXTENT THAN MAYBE WE DID IN OUR DELIBERATIONS. BUT WE HAVE SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN PUT TOGETHER HERE BY MEMBERS OF BODY IN A COMPROMISING WAY, NONE OF US GETTING EVERYTHING THAT WE WANTED. AND WE'RE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE THE PRESIDENT'S BACKING ON THIS. SO I HOPE THAT YOU SEE THIS NOT AS WE'VE HEARD FROM THE OTHER SIDE AS THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN, AS IF SIX OF US THAT INTRODUCED THIS -- SEVEN OF US, I THINK -- THAT INTRODUCED THIS PROPOSAL, THAT SOMEHOW WE JUST TOOK SOMETHING FROM THE WHITE HOUSE AND PUT OUR NAMES ON IT, AND IT'S THERE BEFORE THE UNITED STATES SENATE. BECAUSE THAT ISN'T HOW IT WORKED. SO I THINK I WANT TO ADDRESS SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT HAVE BEEN PUT BEFORE US BY PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE. SO I WANT TO EXPRESS, AS YOU PROBABLY HAVE SEEN ME EXPRESSING ALREADY IN MY REMARKS SO FAR, MY FRUSTRATION WITH THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE HERE IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. IT AMAZES ME THAT MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE SIMPLY AREN'T READY TO HAVE A SERIOUS IMMIGRATION DEBATE. THEY DEMANDED, BEEN DEMANDING TO HAVE THIS DEBATE FOR MONTHS. THEY HAVE EVEN SHUT THE GOVERNMENT DOWN TO GET TO THIS POINT. AND NOW WE'RE ACTUALLY ON THIS ISSUE THAT THEY HAVE BEEN DEMANDING THAT WE DEBATE FOR MONTHS DURING THIS CONGRESS. BUT FOR SOME OF THEM ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, FOR YEARS. AND THEN, NOW WHEN IT'S TIME TO PUT UP OR SHUT UP, THEY'VE COME UP EMPTY-HANDED. DESPITE HAVING WEEKS TO PREPARE, SENATE DEMOCRATS ARE STILL RUSHING TO PUT SOME PLANS TOGETHER. SO LET THAT SINK IN. THINK ABOUT THIS JUST FOR A MOMENT. SENATE DEMOCRATS RECKLESSLY SHUT DOWN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OVER IMMIGRATION, AND THEY DID IT OVER PLANS THAT THEY STILL LARGELY HAVEN'T DRAFTED. THAT SHOULD BE VERY FRUSTRATING NOT ONLY TO THIS SENATOR, BUT MOST OF MY COLLEAGUES. AND IT'S EXACTLY WHY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SEEM TO HAVE LESS FAITH IN THIS PROCESS IN WASHINGTON, D.C. BUT EVEN MORE FRUSTRATING IS THAT FOR TWO VALUABLE DAYS THEY HAVE REFUSED TO ALLOW THE SENATE TO DEBATE IMMIGRATION MEASURES. NOW AS I UNDERSTAND WHY THE DEMOCRATS -- I DO UNDERSTAND WHY THE DEMOCRATS ARE AFRAID TO VOTE ON ENDING SANCTUARY CITIES. THOSE POLICIES THAT WE CALL SANCTUARY CITIES ARE MASSIVELY UNPOPULAR WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. IN OTHER WORDS, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FEEL THAT WHEN THE CONSTITUTION SAYS THAT IMMIGRATION LAW IS ONE OF THE 18 POWERS OF THE UNITED STATES, THAT NO LOCAL OR STATE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE ABLE TO INTERFERE WITH WHAT THE CONSTITUTION SAYS AS THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND. YET, I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY DEMOCRATS REFUSED FOR TWO DAYS TO ALLOW US A DEBATE ON AN ISSUE LIKE SANCTUARY CITIES. THAT AMENDMENT WOULD HELP US KEEP OUR COMMUNITIES SAFE FROM DANGEROUS CRIMINALS, BESIDES CARRYING OUT THE INTENT OF THE CONSTITUTION THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAVE COMPLETE AUTHORITY OVER IMMIGRATION. WHO COULD BE AGAINST AN APPROACH TO OUTLAW, OR TO SEND A SIGNAL THAT SANCTUARY CITIES AREN'T JUSTIFIED WHEN THAT IS HOW YOU PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM THE CRIMINAL ELEMENTS THAT SOME SANCTUARY CITIES PROTECT? APPARENTLY THE DEMOCRATS ARE, SINCE THEY DON'T SEEM TO BE FOR OUTLAWING SANCTUARY CITIES. I GUESS ANOTHER WAY TO SAY IT IS THEY COULD DO MORE TO PROTECT HARDWORKING AMERICANS FROM THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT THAT IS, ALBEIT A SMALL PART OF OUR IMMIGRATION PEOPLE THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, IT STILL CREATES HAVOC FOR PEOPLE LIKE THE STEINLE FAMILY WHERE KATE WAS MURDERED, AS A EXAMPLE, BY A -- AN ALIEN WHO WAS A FELON, WHO RETURNED TO THIS COUNTRY AND RETURNED NOT ONCE BUT FIVE TIMES. THEN, IN OTHER WORDS, I HAVE TO ASK MY COLLEAGUES WHETHER ENFORCEMENT ISSUES ARE LEGITIMATELY A PART OF IMMIGRATION DEBATE. AND THAT'S WHAT THE SANCTUARY CITY SITUATION IS ALL ABOUT. ISN'T BORDER SECURITY MORE THAN JUST THROWING MONEY AT INFRASTRUCTURE? SHOULDN'T WE BE DISCUSSING HOW TO REFORM OUR NATION'S LAWS SO THAT DANGEROUS CRIMINAL ELEMENTS CAN'T INFLICT HARM ON INNOCENT FAMILIES? I'M PRETTY SURE, I'M ACTUALLY 100% CONFIDENT THE ANSWER TO THOSE QUESTIONS ARE YES, THAT THOSE ARE IMPORTANT ISSUES TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THOSE ISSUES USED TO BE DISCUSSED HERE. I'VE ALREADY MENTIONED THE NAME OF KATE STEINLE, MURDERED BY ONE OF THESE PEOPLE. I COULD ADD THE NAMES OF SARAH ROOT, JEMEL SHAW. THESE PEOPLE ALL HAD DREAMS TOO, BUT THEY HAD THEIR LIVES ENDED BY FELONS WHO HAD BEEN DEPORTED AND COME BACK INTO THIS COUNTRY. IF MY COLLEAGUES WERE ACTUALLY SERIOUS ABOUT DEBATING THIS ISSUE, WE'D BE DISCUSSING BORDER ENFORCEMENT ISSUES. SADLY, IT SEEMS LIKE MY COLLEAGUES' PLANS THAT I'VE SEEN SO FAR FALL SHORT OF THAT GOAL. LEGALIZING DREAMERS, YES. WHO'S GOING TO ARGUE WITH THAT? A LITTLE BIT OF MONEY FOR BORDER SECURITY, THERE'S A LOT TO ARGUE ABOUT THERE. BUT NOT DOING SOMETHING ABOUT CRIMINAL ALIENS THAT ARE A THREAT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THIS COUNTRY FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR PEOPLE, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT OUGHT TO BE A PART OF IT. SO WE GET ALL THE PEOPLE IN THIS ROOM THAT WANT TO SAY THEY WANT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT BORDER BY THROWING MONEY AT IT, YET THEY REFUSE TO ACTUALLY GIVE OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT THE LEGAL TOOLS THAT THEY NEED TO PROTECT AMERICANS, BECAUSE JUST A WALL OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL, ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE, MORE BORDER PATROL, IT'S ALL BORDER SECURITY. BUT IT'S MORE THAN A WALL, BUT IT TAKES MORE THAN THOSE THINGS TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND SO I'M HERE TO TELL YOU THAT IT'S A TRAGEDY THAT SOMEBODY, THAT SOME PEOPLE IN THIS BODY JUST WANT TO LEGALIZE FOR ONE YEAR, TWO YEARS, OR THREE YEARS AND PUT MAYBE A LITTLE BIT OF MONEY INTO BORDER SECURITY WITH NO COMMITMENT TO THE FUTURE. ALL WE HAVE DONE THEN IS KICKED THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD. WE'RE STILL, NONE OF MY COLLEAGUES' PROPOSALS ARE BEING DEVELOPED IN A WAY THAT THEY CAN ACTUALLY BECOME LAW. MAYBE FOR THEM, SIMPLY PASSING A PARTISAN BILL IS ENOUGH. LEADER SCHUMER SAID THAT THIS MORNING, AND I WAS HERE LISTENING TO HIM. BUT THAT'S NOT ENOUGH FOR THIS SENATOR. THIS SENATOR ACTUALLY WANTS TO SEE SOMETHING PASSED INTO LAW THAT WILL PROVIDE REAL PROTECTION FOR DACA KIDS. THAT'S WHY I HAVE INTRODUCED AN AMENDMENT THAT COULD ACTUALLY PASS THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND WE KNOW THE PRESIDENT WOULD SIGN IT. POLLS SHOW THAT THE FRAMEWORK A NUMBER OF US DEVELOPED ALONG WITH THE PRESIDENT'S INPUT IS OVERWHELMINGLY POPULAR. A HARVARD HARRIS POLL SHOWED THAT 65% OF THE VOTERS AGREED WITH OUR PLAN, INCLUDING 64% OF DEMOCRATIC VOTERS. SO DESPITE THE HYPERBOLE YOU WILL HEAR FROM MY COLLEAGUES, THE PLAN THAT THE PRESIDENT SAID HE WOULD SIGN IS NOT ONLY POPULAR BUT AGAIN IS THE ONLY PLAN THAT HAS ANY CHANCE OF BECOMING LAW. SO IT'S TIME FOR ALL MY COLLEAGUES TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT FIXING DACA, STOPPING POSTURING, STOPPING SHOWBOATING, AND STOP SIMPLY TRYING TO PASS A BILL OUT OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE THAT WON'T GET CONSIDERED IN THE OTHER BODY AND WON'T BE SIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. THE FOCUS OUGHT TO BE ON MAKING ACTUAL LAW. IF ALL OF US HERE IN THE SENATE, PARTICULARLY THOSE THAT ARE IN THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS, FOCUS ON THOSE THINGS, THEN THE CHOICE FOR THEM WILL BE VERY CLEAR. THEY WILL VOTE FOR THE AMENDMENT THAT THE SEVEN OF US HAVE PUT BEFORE THE SENATE CALLED THE GRASSLEY AMENDMENT. THEY'LL BACK THE PRESIDENT. AND THEY'LL PROVIDE REAL SECURITY, REAL CERTAINTY TO THE DACA RECIPIENTS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. IN FACT, IT'S SO SIMPLE FOR PEOPLE, SOME ON THE OTHER SIDE THAT HAVE BEEN PROMISING A DACA CERTAINTY FOR YEARS AND SOME FOR A FEW MONTHS, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, REAL STRONGLY THE LAST THREE OR FOUR MONTHS, IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE TOLD THOSE KIDS THAT YOU ARE GOING TO GET THEM LEGAL, EVEN GIVE THEM A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP THAT YOU CAN DELIVER. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 03:47:59 PM

    MR. CASEY

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 03:48:02 PM

    MR. CASEY

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TO SPEAK ABOUT THE ISSUE THAT WE'RE…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TO SPEAK ABOUT THE ISSUE THAT WE'RE DEALING WITH ON THE FLOOR, AND I'M GRATEFUL FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY. I WANTED TO FIRST OF ALL STRESS THE CRITICAL URGENCY THAT WE ACT TO PROTECT OUR NATION'S DREAMERS. THE UNITED STATES, AS WE ALL KNOW, BOTH PARTIES KNOW THIS, IS A PROUD NATION OF IMMIGRANTS, YET IN SEPTEMBER, THE ADMINISTRATION INSULTED OUR VALUES BY ANNOUNCING A DECISION TO END THE DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS PROGRAM, WHICH WE KNOW BY THE ACT ACRONYM DACA. DREAMERS ARE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE LIVED IN OUR COUNTRY SINCE THEY WERE CHILDREN. THEY ARE LAW-ABIDING RESIDENTS WHO HAVE LEARNED ENGLISH. THEY HAVE PAID TAXES AND SECURED JOBS TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES. OUR GOVERNMENT PROMISED THEM THAT THEY WOULD BE PROTECTED IF THEY CAME FORWARD, AND NOW THE ADMINISTRATION, AT LEAST SO FAR, HAS BROKEN THAT PROMISE. DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF THE DREAM ACT SINCE THE ADMINISTRATION FIRST ANNOUNCED ITS DECISION ON DACA MORE THAN FIVE MONTHS AGO. WE HAVE YET TO VOTE ON A SINGLE PIECE OF BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO PROTECT DREAMERS. I DO, HOWEVER, COMMEND THE BIPARTISAN WORK OF A NUMBER OF MY COLLEAGUES IN BOTH PARTIES WHO HAVE COME TO THE TABLE TO DRAFT LEGISLATION THAT PROTECTS DREAMERS AND, AND SECURES OUR BORDER. WITH HUNDREDS, SOON TO BE THOUSANDS OF DREAMERS LOSING PROTECTION EVERY DAY, IT'S CRITICAL THAT WE COME TOGETHER TO PASS BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION THAT WILL PROVIDE PERMANENT PROTECTIONS FOR THESE REMARKABLE YOUNG PEOPLE. DREAMERS ARE DEEPLY INTEGRATED INTO COMMUNITIES ACROSS PENNSYLVANIA AND A LOT OF OTHER STATES AND ACROSS OUR COUNTRY, OF COURSE. DREAMERS WORK AS NURSES CARING FOR -- CARING FOR OUR FAMILIES. THEY WORK AS TEACHERS EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN AND AS SERVICEMEN AND SERVICEWOMEN IN OUR MILITARY WORKING TO KEEP US SAFE. TAKE A YOUNG PENNSYLVANIA DREAMER THAT I MET A FEW MONTHS AGO, WAY BACK, I GUESS, IN SEPTEMBER NOW WHO WAS STUDYING TO BE A NURSE. TALKING ABOUT HER OWN LIFE, SHE SAID ALL I WANT TO DO IS HEAL PEOPLE. ALL I WANT TO DO IS BE A NURSE. THEN SHE BECAME VERY UPSET THINKING ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT SHE MIGHT HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY BECAUSE OF WHAT HAD NOT HAPPENED IN WASHINGTON, NO LEGISLATION PASSED TO PROTECT HER. ANOTHER DREAMER FROM LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA -- THE PRESIDING OFFICER KNOWS THAT PART OF OUR STATE WELL. AUDREY LOPEZ. AUDREY WAS BROUGHT TO THE UNITED STATES FROM PERU WHEN SHE WAS JUST 11 YEARS OLD. AUDREY SPENT MOST OF HER CHILDHOOD IN PENNSYLVANIA, AND HER PARENTS INSTILLED IN HER THE VALUE OF HARD WORK AND AN EDUCATION. LIKE SO MANY DREAMERS, AUDREY ONLY LEARNED THAT SHE WAS UNDOCUMENTED WHEN SHE WAS APPLYING TO COLLEGE AND LEARNED SHE DID NOT HAVE A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. DESPITE NOT HAVING ACCESS TO FINANCIAL AID, AUDREY WORKED HARD AND SHE GRADUATED, GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE. AFTER GRADUATION, SHE TOOK A JOB IN PUBLIC SERVICE, WORKING AT CHURCH WORLD SERVICES, ASSISTING REFUGEES WITH RESETTLEMENT. AND THIS PAST FALL, AUDREY ACCEPTED A NEARLY FULL SCHOLARSHIP TO AMERICAN UNIVERSITY WHERE SHE WILL OBTAIN A MASTER'S DEGREE IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. AUDREY IS AN AMERICAN IN EVERY WAY BUT NOT ON PAPER. SHE IS CONTINUING TO WORK HARD DESPITE NOT KNOWING IF SHE WILL HAVE A FUTURE IN THE COUNTRY SHE CALLS HOME. WE SHOULD BE SUPPORTING YOUNG, HARDWORKING PEOPLE LIKE AUDREY WHO WANT TO WORK IN THE SERVICE OF OTHERS AND OUR NATION. INSTEAD, SOME BUT NOT ALL, NOT ALL REPUBLICANS ARE THREATENING HER FUTURE. NOT ONLY HER FUTURE BUT OUR NATION'S FUTURE BY MAKING US LESS SAFE AND, FRANKLY, DAMAGING OUR ECONOMY. PROTECTING DREAMERS IS NOT ONLY THE RIGHT THING TO DO, IT'S ALSO GOOD FOR THE AMERICAN ECONOMY, AND IT'S IN OUR NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS. DACA HAS ENABLED ALMOST 800,000 YOUNG PEOPLE TO GROW AND THRIVE IN AMERICA, INCLUDING ABOUT 5,900 IN PENNSYLVANIA. PART OF THE FABRIC OF OUR COMMUNITY, THESE IMPRESSIVE YOUNG PEOPLE LIKE AUDREY PROVIDE AN ENORMOUS CONTRIBUTION TO OUR SOCIETY, INCLUDING PAYING AN ESTIMATED $2 BILLION EACH YEAR IN STATE AND LOCAL TAXES. BY CONTRAST, REPEALING DACA WOULD AMOUNT TO A LOSS OF $460.3 BILLION FROM THE NATIONAL G.D.P. OVER THE NEXT DECADE. SO IF YOU WANT TO DO IT BY YEAR, ROUGHLY $46 BILLION A YEAR FOR EACH OF THE TEN YEARS. IN PENNSYLVANIA, ENDING DACA WOULD RESULT IN AN ANNUAL LOSS OF $357.1 MILLION TO THE STATE G.D.P., ACCORDING TO THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS. CURRENTLY, ABOUT 900 DREAMERS ARE SERVING IN THE UNITED STATES MILITARY, AND MORE THAN ONE OUT OF EVERY SEVEN DACA-ELIGIBLE IMMIGRANTS HAVE LANGUAGE SKILLS THAT ARE CURRENTLY IN SHORT SUPPLY IN THE U.S. MILITARY. IT MAKES NO SENSE TO REMOVE THESE DREAMERS FROM A COUNTRY THEY CALL HOME. I BELIEVE IT'S BOTH WRONG AND DANGEROUS. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT ALLOWING DREAMERS TO STAY IN THE UNITED STATES. IT'S ABOUT TIME CONGRESS LISTENED TO THE NEARLY 80% OF AMERICANS WHO WANT TO PASS PROTECTIONS FOR DREAMERS ALONG WITH INCREASED BORDER SECURITY SO WE CAN PREVENT THIS SITUATION IN THE FUTURE. SO IT'S TIME FOR ACTION. WE NEED A REAL COMPROMISE SOLUTION THAT WILL GET 60 VOTES IN THE SENATE AND OF COURSE 214 VOTES -- 218 VOTES IN THE U.S. HOUSE AND A SIGNATURE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. WHILE I HAVE ADVOCATED IN THE PAST FOR A CLEAN VOTE ON THE BIPARTISAN DREAM ACT -- THAT'S WHAT I PREFER -- COMPROMISE WILL BE CRITICAL TO ENSURING WE GET SOMETHING DONE AND SENT TO THE PRESIDENT'S DESK. IN 2013, I AND MANY OTHERS, 67 OTHER SENATORS, VOTED FOR A BIPARTISAN IMMIGRATION BILL THAT WOULD HAVE DOUBLED THE NUMBER OF BORDER PATROL AGENTS. NUMBER TWO, THAT BILL WOULD HAVE MANDATED 24-HOUR SURVEILLANCE OF THE BORDER, USING ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY LIKE DRONES. AND NUMBER THREE, IT WOULD HAVE PROVIDED A PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP FOR LAW-ABIDING IMMIGRANTS. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF BIPARTISAN PROPOSALS TO PAIR DREAMER PROTECTIONS WITH DATA-DRIVEN, SENSIBLE BORDER SECURITY THAT FOCUSES ON PUBLIC SAFETY. I LOOK FORWARD TO FINALLY, FINALLY VOTING ON THESE ISSUES, AND I WOULD HOPE MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WILL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH US TO SECURE OUR BORDER AND ENSURE DREAMERS LIKE AUDREY LOPEZ HAVE A FUTURE THEY CAN COUNT ON. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:55:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR.…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

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  • 04:03:27 PM

    A SENATOR

  • 04:03:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA.

  • 04:03:31 PM

    MR. TOOMEY

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

  • 04:03:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:03:35 PM

    MR. TOOMEY

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WANT TO SPEAK ABOUT OUR IMMIGRATION DEBATE AND…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WANT TO SPEAK ABOUT OUR IMMIGRATION DEBATE AND MY AMENDMENT IN PARTICULAR. BUT FIRST LET ME SAY, YOU KNOW, WE'RE GOING TO FIND OUT JUST HOW SERIOUS OUR COLLEAGUES ARE ABOUT GRANTING NOT JUST LEGAL STATUS TO THE DREAMERS, PEOPLE WHO WERE BROUGHT HERE ILLEGALLY WHEN THEY WERE CHILDREN AND SHOULDN'T BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THAT ACTION, BUT THE PROPOSAL THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR A VOTE LATER THIS WEEK, WILL NOT JUST GRANT LEGAL STATUS BUT WILL GRANT A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP. IT GOES WELL BEYOND THE LEGAL EXECUTIVE ORDER THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA ISSUED, AND IT WILL BE AVAILABLE TO FAR MORE PEOPLE THAN THOSE WHO TOOK UP PRESIDENT OBAMA'S ILLEGAL EXECUTIVE ORDER. IT WILL BE AN EXTRAORDINARY MOMENT. I HOPE WE ARE ABLE TO REACH AN AGREEMENT ON THIS BECAUSE I THINK THIS NEEDS TO GET DONE. BUT I WANT TO FIRST ADDRESS AN AMENDMENT THAT I HAVE OFFERED AND IS NOW UP AND PENDING AND WE WILL BE VOTING ON IT, I THINK, AT SOME POINT THIS WEEK, WHICH IS ABOUT KEEPING OUR COMMUNITIES SAFER BY ADDRESSING THE ISSUE OF SANCTUARY CITIES. THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT ONE FATHER IN PARTICULAR KNOWS ALL TOO WELL. ON JULY 1, 2015, GYM STEINLY -- JIM STEINLY WAS WALKING ARM IN ARM ON A PEER IN SAN FRANCISCO. SUDDENLY A GUNMAN SPRANG OUT, OPENED FIRE, HITTING KATE. SHE PLEADED, HELP ME DAD AS SHE BLED TO DEATH IN HER FATHER'S ARM. NOW, ANY MURDER IS APPALLING, BUT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MAKES THIS EVEN MORE APPALLING IS THAT THE SHOOTER SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ON THE PEER THAT DAY. THE FACT IS HE WAS AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT WHO HAD BEEN CONVICTED OF SEVEN FELONIES AND HAD BEEN DEPORTED FIVE TIMES, BUT EVEN MORE GALLING, MR. PRESIDENT, IS THAT THREE MONTHS BEFORE THE DAY THAT HE MURDERED KATESTEINLY, -- KATE STINLY, THIS MURDER WAS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE SAN FRANCISCO POLICE DEPARTMENT. THEY HAD HIM. HE WAS IN CUSTODY. THEY HAD HIM FROM AN OLD WARRANT FROM A PREVIOUS CRIME. WHEN THE DAPT OF HOME -- DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY FOUND OUT THEY HAD THIS GUY IN CUSTODY, THEY REACHED OUT AND SAID, HOLD THIS GUY UNTIL WE CAN GET SOMEONE TO TAKE HIM INTO CUSTODY. WE KNOW HE'S DANGEROUS, BUT THE SAN FRANCISCO POLICE COULDN'T PROVIDE THAT MINIMAL COOPERATION. INSTEAD THEY RELEASED THIS MAN BACK ON TO THE STREETS FROM WHICH THREE MONTHS LATER HE MURDERED YOUNG KATE STINLY. WHY WOULD THE POLICE DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT? WHY WOULD THEY REFUSE TO PROVIDE THIS MINIMAL COOPERATION WITH THE IMMIGRATION AUTHORITIES WITH RESPECT TO A DANGEROUS INDIVIDUAL? WELL, THE REASON, MR. PRESIDENT, IS BECAUSE SAN FRANCISCO IS A SANCTUARY CITY. WHAT THAT MEANS IS IT HAS AS ITS EXPLICIT LEGAL POLICY A PROHIBITION THAT PERMITS THE POLICE FROM COOPERATING. THIS IS THE CASE EVEN WHEN THE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES BELIEVE THAT THE PERSON IS DANGEROUS AND THE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT FOLKS WISH TO COOPERATE WITH THE FEDERAL AUTHORITIES BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT THIS PERSON IS A THREAT TO THE SECURITY OF THEIR COMMUNITY, BUT THE LOCAL POLITICIANS OVERRIDE THE POLICE AND DECIDE THAT THIS WILL BE A SANCTUARY CITY, SUCH AS THE CASE WITH SAN FRANCISCO, AND SO THE SAN FRANCISCO POLICE HAD NO CHOICE. THEY WERE REQUIRED BY THE LOCAL LAWS TO RELEASE THIS MAN ON TO THE STREETS. YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE MANY IRONIES ABOUT THE SANCTUARY CITIES IS THAT IF FEDERAL OFFICIALS HAD CALLED THE SAN FRANCISCO POLICE ABOUT ANY NUMBER OF OTHER CRIMES, ROBBERY, CAR THEFT, VIOLATING A TRADEMARK, COUNTERFEITING, ANY NUMBER OF OTHER FEDERAL CRIMES, THEN THE SAN FRANCISCO POLICE WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO COOPERATE. THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN HAPPY TO COOPERATE. THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO COOPERATE. BUT BECAUSE THE CRIME WAS COMMITTED BY AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT, THE POLICE HANDS WERE TIED. THE POLICE WERE FORCED TO RELEASE KATE STEINLY'S KILLER. MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS UNBELIEVABLE TO ME THAT WE HAVE COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY THAT WISH TO PROVIDE THIS SPECIAL PRIVILEGE, THIS SPECIAL PROTECTION FOR EVEN DANGEROUS CRIMINALS BECAUSE THEY ARE HERE ILLEGAL. IT'S -- ILLEGALLY, BUT THAT WAS THE CASE. THE STEINLY'S ARE NOT ALONE. SAN FRANCISCO IS NOT OUR NATION'S ONLY SAINGT WEARY CITY. -- SANCTUARY CITY. PHILADELPHIA, THE LARGEST CITY IN MY HOME STATE, HAS AN EXTREME SANCTUARY CITY POLICY, AND IT HAS HAD APPALLING CONSEQUENCES ALREADY. MAYBE THE MOST HEARTBREAKING OF THESE IS A CASE OF RAYMON. HE WAS IN THE U.S. ILLEGALLY, HE WAS DEPORTED IN 2009, BUT ILLEGALLY REENTERED THE U.S. AND IN 2015 THE POLICE ARRESTED HIM ON CHARGES OF AGGRAVATED SALTS AND OTHER CRIMES. WHEN THE BACKGROUND CHECK WENT THROUGH, THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SAW THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE HAD THIS GUY. THEY KNEW WHO THIS GUY WAS. THEY KNEW HE WAS HERE ILLEGALLY AND KNEW HE HAD BEEN DEPORTED AND KNEW HIM TO BE THE DANGEROUS CRIMINAL THAT HE WAS AND SO THEY ASKED THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE, COULD YOU HOLD THIS GUY FOR 24, 48 HOURS UNTIL WE CAN GET AN AGENT THERE TO TAKE HIM INTO CUSTODY AND BEGIN DEPORTATION PROCEEDINGS. WE KNOW HE'S A BAD GUY. WE WANT HIM OUT OF THE COUNTRY. UNFORTUNATELY, PHILADELPHIA POLICE HAD TO REFUSE. INSTEAD, THEY RELEASED HIM ON TO THE STREETS IN JANUARY OF 2015. THE PHILADELPHIA D.A. DIDN'T FEEL LIKE HE HAD ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO PROSECUTE THE CASE, AND HE DROPPED THE CHARGES. RATHER THAN COOPERATING WITH HOMELAND SECURITY, THEY RELEASED HIM BACK ON TO THE STREETS. IN JULY OF 2016OCHOA WAS ARRESTED FOR RAPING A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF 13. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS BRUTAL ATTACK ON A CHILD WAS ONLY POSSIBLE BECAUSE PHILADELPHIA IS A SANCTUARY CITY, AND IT'S THESE APPALLING CASES, LIKE THE STEINLY CASE OR THIS CASE IN PHILADELPHIA, THAT MAKE IT SO IMPORTANT THAT WE END THESE SANCTUARY CITIES IF IT IS AT ALL POSSIBLE TO DO SO. SO MY AMENDMENT IS A BIPARTISAN AMENDMENT. IT IS IDENTICAL TO A BILL I INTRODUCED AND THE SENATE VOTED TO CONSIDER IN 2016, I REINTRODUCED IN 2017. IT DOES TWO THINGS. IT TACKLES A LEGAL LIABILITY FOR LOCALITIES THAT WISH TO COOPERATE WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, AND WITH THAT LEGAL LIABILITY PROBLEM SOLVED, IT IMPOSES PENALTIES ON COMMUNITIES THAT CHOOSE NEVERTHELESS TO BE SANCTUARY CITIES. WE DON'T HAVE THE AUTHORITY AS A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO DICTATE A POLICY THAT A LOCAL COMMUNITY MUST FOLLOW. THERE'S A CONSTITUTIONAL SEPARATION THAT GIVES THEM THE POWER TO DO WHAT THEY WILL, BUT WE DON'T HAVE TO SUBSIDIZE THEIR BEHAVIOR WHEN IT ENDANGERS ALL OF US, AND THAT'S WHAT MY LEGISLATION GOES AFTER. SO LET ME DISCUSS THE FIRST ONE, THIS LEGAL LIABILITY ISSUE. THERE ARE TWO -- AT LEAST TWO COURT DECISIONS NOW THAT ARE -- HAVE PUT PRESSURE ON MUNICIPALITIES, LOCALITIES TO BE SANCTUARY CITIES, OVER A DOZEN PENNSYLVANIA COUNTIES HAVE DONE SO. ONE IS A THIRD CIRCUIT DECISION, THE SECOND IS A FEDERAL COURT IN OREGON. THEY HAVE HELD IF THE DEPARTMENT DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY MAKES A MISTAKE, SUCH AS WRONGFUL IDENTITY, THEY ASK A COMMUNITY, A LOCAL POLICE FORCE TO HOLD SOMEONE WHO IS IN FACT AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, WHO IS HERE ILLEGALLY AND SO IT IS -- LEGALLY HERE AND IT IS ERRONEOUS, IF THAT HAPPENS, UNDER THESE COURT DECISION, THE LOCAL MUNICIPALITY CAN BE HELD FOR LIABILITY. SO MY BILL ADDRESSES THIS PROBLEM BY SIMPLY SAYING THAT WHEN A LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER COMPLIES WITH AN IMMIGRATION DETAINER REQUEST FROM D.H.S. THAT IS DULY ISSUED AND BONA FIDE REQUEST, THEN THE LOCAL OFFICER HAS THE SAME AUTHORITY AS A D.H.S. OFFICIAL. IN A WAY THE OFFICER WOULD BE CONSIDERED AN AGENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ONLYLAND SECURITY FOR THIS -- HOMELAND SECURITY FOR THIS PURPOSE, AND THE ENTITY THAT A PERSON WOULD THEN SUE IN THE EVENT THAT A PERSON IS WRONGLY DETAINED AND THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED, THE ENTITY WOULD BE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. THE RESPONSIBILITY SHOULD BE ON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SINCE IT WAS, AFTER ALL, A REQUEST THAT INITIATED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. MY LEGISLATION DOES NOT IN ANY WAY CURB AN INDIVIDUAL'S ABILITY TO FILE A SUIT IF THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS, IF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED, WHETHER INTENTIONAL OR ACCIDENTAL, THERE'S NO CURB ON AN INDIVIDUAL'S ABILITY TO ADDRESS THAT IF THEY WERE WRONGLY DETAINED. IT TRANSFERS THE LIABILITY TO THE MUNICIPALITY WHICH WOULD BE THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. THAT'S THE FIRST PART. SOLVE THE CIVIL LIABILITY PROBLEM THAT HAS SOME MUNICIPALITIES ACROSS AMERICA, CERTAINLY IN MY STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, HAS THEM CHOOSING TO BE SANCTUARY CITIES EVEN THOUGH THEY WOULD RATHER NOT BE. NOW, HAVING ADDRESSED THAT AND IF OUR LEGISLATION IS ADOPTED AND WE HAVE SOLVED THIS LEGAL LIABILITY PROBLEM, IF A COMMUNITY NEVERTHELESS DECIDES IT IS GOING TO ENDANGER ALL THE REST OF US BY CONFERRING THIS SPECIAL PROTECTION ON SOMEBODY JUST BECAUSE THEY CAME HERE ILLEGALLY DESPITE THE FACT THAT THEY MAY WELL BE A DANGEROUS CRIMINAL, WHY IN THAT CASE THEN UNDER MY AMENDMENT THAT COMMUNITY WILL BE DEEMED A SANCTUARY CITY AND UNDER MY AMENDMENT SEVERAL TYPES OF FEDERAL FUNDING WOULD BE WITHHELD FROM IT. SPECIFICALLY, WE WOULD WITHHOLD FROM THESE SANCTUARY CITIES COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANTS AND CERTAIN GRANTS FROM THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION. MR. PRESIDENT, I THINK THIS IS EMINENTLY REASONABLE. SANCTUARY CITIES IMPOSE COSTS ON ALL OF US. IT RAISES THE COST TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF ENFORCING IMMIGRATION LAW. BUT BY FAR OUTWEIGHING THAT IS THE COST TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OF MORE CRIME AND THE UNBELIEVABLE, REALLY STAGGERING COST TO FAMILIES LIKE JIM STEINLE, HIS FAMILY. HE AND HIS FAMILY WHO, OF COURSE, LOST THEIR DAUGHTER. I THINK IT'S EXTREMELY REASONABLE TO HAVE AS A POLICY THAT IF A COMMUNITY CHOOSES TO IMPOSE THOSE COSTS ON THE REST OF US, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL NOT BE SUBSIDIZING YOU. NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME DEBUNK SOME OF THE MISINFORMATION THAT IS OCCASIONALLY DISSEMINATED ABOUT MY LEGISLATION, MY AMENDMENT. ONE IS THAT IT'S SOMEHOW ANTIIMMIGRANT. THIS IS NOT ANTI-IMMIGRANT AT ALL. THIS IS PRO-IMMIGRANT. THE FACT IS, THE VAST, OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF IMMIGRANTS TO AMERICA, LEGAL OR ILLEGAL, WOULD NEVER COMMIT THESE TERRIBLE CRIMES. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. BUT IT'S ALSO OBVIOUSLY THE CASE THAT ANY VERY LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WILL INCLUDE SOME CRIMINALS AMONG THEM. WELL, THERE'S ROUGHLY 11 MILLION PEOPLE WHO ARE HERE ILLEGALLY, 11 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN THE U.S. SOME OF THEM ARE CERTAINLY VIOLENT CRIMINALS. AND IT MAKES NO SENSE TO INSULATE THOSE VIOLENT CRIMINALS, HOWEVER FEW THEY MAY BE, FROM CAPTURE BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AND IT BE ABSURD TO -- IT WOULD BE ABSURD TO ALLEGE THAT THIS IS SOMEHOW ANTI-IMMIGRANT WHERE QUITE LIKELY SOME OF THEIR VICTIMS WOULD BE OTHER IMMIGRANTS. IMMIGRANTS WANT TO LIVE IN SAFE COMMUNITIES, TOO. I'M POSITIVE OF THAT. THEY DON'T WANT DANGEROUS CRIMINALS ABLE TO WALK THE STREETS JUST BECAUSE THEY CAME HERE ILLEGALLY. THE SECOND POINT I WANT TO STRESS IS THIS AMENDMENT DOES NOT DISCOURAGE OR PUNISH ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FROM COMING FORWARD TO REPORT A CRIME. THIS IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE FOLKS WHO WANT TO KEEP SANCTUARY CITIES SOMETIMES CHARGE THAT IF MY LEGISLATION WERE PASSED, VICTIMS AND WITNESSES TO CRIMES, IF THEY ARE HERE ILLEGALLY, THEY WOULDN'T COME FORWARD. NOT SO. WHAT MY AMENDMENT AND THIS UNDERLYING LAW SAYS, IT EXPLICITLY STATES THAT A LOCALITY WILL NOT BE LABELED A SANCTUARY JURISDICTION FOR THIS PURPOSE AND, THEREFORE, WILL NOT LOSE ANY FEDERAL FUNDS IF THE POLICY OF THAT MUNICIPALITY IS THAT A PERSON WHO COMES FORWARD AS A VICTIM OR A WITNESS TO A CRIME DOES -- THE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT DOES NOT SHARE THAT INFORMATION WITH D.H.S. LET ME BE CLEAR AND EXPLICIT ABOUT THIS. WE HAVE AN EXPLICIT CARVEOUT IN THE LEGISLATION. IF A LOCALITY CHOOSES TO PROVIDE SANCTUARY STATUS TO A VICTIM OF A CRIME OR A WITNESS TO A CRIME, THAT SUCH A COMMUNITY WOULD NOT LOSE ANY FEDERAL FUNDS WHATSOEVER. AND WE THINK THAT MAKES SENSE BECAUSE WE DO WANT TO ENCOURAGE CERTAINLY VICTIMS AND WITNESSES OF CRIMES TO COME FORWARD. SO WE GET IT. WE DON'T WANT TO CREATE A WORRY THAT THAT WOULD HAVE DEPORTATION CONSEQUENCES FOR THEM. A THIRD POINT THAT SOME HAVE ALLEGED -- AND I WANT TO BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT -- IS THE PENALTIES MY AMENDMENT HAS FOR A COMMUNITY THAT CHOOSES TO BE A SANCTUARY CITY DOES NOT INCLUDE THE LOSS OF ANY FUNDS WHATSOEVER RELATED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OR SECURITY. THAT'S SIMPLY NOT THE CASE. THE LIST OF CATEGORIES THAT WE INCLUDE IN LOST FUNDING IS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN ITS NATURE. IT IS NOT AT ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT. ANOTHER POINT THAT SOME ON THE OTHER SIDE HAVE MADE IS THAT SOMEHOW THIS LEGISLATION, MY AMENDMENT, WOULD IMPOSE AN UNMANAGEABLE BURDEN ON LAW ENFORCEMENT. WELL, ONE SIMPLE FACT TO CONSIDER IS IF THAT'S THE CASE, THEN WHY HAS IT BEEN ENDORSED BY NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT GROUPS? THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF POLICE ORGANIZATION HAS ENDORSED MY AMENDMENT. THE INTERNATIONAL UNION OF POLICE ASSOCIATION, A DIVISION OF THE AFL-CIO HAS ENDORSED MY AMENDMENT. FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ASSOCIATION HAVE ENDORSED MY AMENDMENT. NOW, WOULD THESE GROUPS ENDORSE A BILL THAT IMPOSED AN UNWORKABLE BURDEN ON THEIR OWN MEMBERS? I RATHER DOUBT IT. I THINK, ACTUALLY, THEY UNDERSTAND THIS AMENDMENT JUST ENCOURAGES LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TO SHARE INFORMATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND IN SOME CASES TO TEMPORARILY AND BRIEFLY HOLD PEOPLE IN CUSTODY UNTIL THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY CAN GET THERE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS A BIPARTISAN AMENDMENT. IN 2016 WHEN THE SENATE VOTED ON THIS VERY SAME AMENDMENT IN THE FORM OF A FREE-STANDING BILL, IT RECEIVED A MAJORITY AND IT HAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. UNFORTUNATELY, A MINORITY FILIBUSTERED IT AND BLOCKED IT. BUT THE FACT IS, IT IS A BIPARTISAN PIECE OF LEGISLATION WITH MAJORITY SUPPORT. SO I DON'T THINK IT SHOULD EVEN BE CONTROVERSIAL. I THINK WE'LL HAVE A VOTE ON THIS RELATIVELY SOON IN THE COMING DAYS. AND I HOPE IT WILL HAVE VERY BROAD SUPPORT. THIS IS JUST COMMON SENSE, MR. PRESIDENT. IT STANDS FOR THE PRINCIPLE THAT THE SAFETY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE MATTER, THAT THE LIVES OF KATE STEINLE AND OTHER VICTIMS OF VIOLENT CRIME MATTER AND THAT ALL OF OUR COMMUNITIES SHOULD BE AS SAFE AS THEY CAN BE. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 04:22:01 PM

    A SENATOR

    PRESIDENT. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 04:22:02 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT.

  • 04:22:04 PM

    MR. BLUMENTHAL

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. WATCHING THE PICTURES TODAY AS I CAME HERE TO…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. WATCHING THE PICTURES TODAY AS I CAME HERE TO THE FLOOR WAS DEEPLY MOVING, EVEN THOUGH THERE IS MUCH THAT WE DON'T KNOW, A LOT OF INFORMATION THAT WE LACK ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING AT MARJORY STONEHAM DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL IN PARKLAND, FLORIDA. THE IMAGES OF EMERGENCY VEHICLES AND EMERGENCY RESPONDERS OF YOUNG PEOPLE AND CHILDREN EVACUATING A SCHOOL AFTER ANOTHER TRAGIC INCIDENT OF GUN VIOLENCE. IT BRINGS BACK MEMORIES THAT ARE SEARING AND HARROWING. ONCE AGAIN, WE FEEL THAT CHURNING IN OUR STOMACH, THAT SENSE OF GUT PUNCH, AND A WRENCHING OF HEARTS THAT REMINDS US OF HOW WE FELT THE DAY OF VIOLENCE IN NEWTOWN. AND YET ANOTHER SCHOOL IS VICTIMIZED BY GUN VIOLENCE. WE'RE WAITING TO LEARN MORE OF THE DETAILS, BUT CERTAINLY OUR HEARTS AND PRAYERS GO TO THE VICTIMS AND THEIR LOVED ONES. OUR GRATITUDE GOES TO THE COURAGEOUS FIRST RESPONDERS WHO ARE ON THE SCENE NOW APPREHENDING THE SHOOTER AND ADMINISTERING TO THE VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS. MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH THOSE STUDENTS, EMERGENCY RESPONDERS, PARENTS, LOVED ONES, AND THE COMMUNITY OF PARKLAND. AGAIN, GUN VIOLENCE RESPECTS NO BOUNDARIES. IT SPARES NO COMMUNITIES. IT VICTIMIZED ALL OF US WHEREVER IT HAPPENS AND WHENEVER, INCLUDING THE GUN VIOLENCE THAT KILLS PEOPLE EVERY DAY INDIVIDUALLY, OFTEN UNPUBLICIZED AND INVISIBLE. MY HEARTBREAKS TO HEAR THAT ONE MORE SCHOOL IS FACING THIS UNTHINKABLE HORROR THAT AGAIN, THIS HARROWING SCENE PLAYS BEFORE THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA, LITERALLY UNFOLDING IN REAL TIME. I KNOW THAT I SHARE AND ALL OF THE MEMBERS OF THIS CHAMBER SHARE THE GRIEF AND SYMPATHY AND HEARTBREAK THAT THAT COMMUNITY EXPERIENCES TODAY. I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE CONNECTICUT DREAMERS AND SHARE THEIR STORIES AND CALL FOR THIS CHAMBER TO TAKE NARROW FOCUSED ACTION TO PREVENT THEIR DRACONIAN MASS DEPORTATION AND PROTECT THEM FROM THAT KIND OF VERY UNFORTUNATE OUTCOME. THE DREAMERS WHO WOULD BE COVERED UNDER LEGISLATION THAT I HOPE WILL PASS IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS CAME HERE AS CHILDREN. THEY GREW UP AS AMERICANS. THIS COUNTRY IS THE ONLY ONE THEY KNOW. ENGLISH IS THE ONLY LANGUAGE. MANY OF THEM SPEAK. THEY GO TO OUR SCHOOLS, SERVE IN OUR MILITARY, AND SUPPORT OUR ECONOMY. THEY BELIEVE IN THE AMERICAN DREAM. ALL OF US BELIEVE IN THE AMERICAN DREAM BUT SO DO THEY, AND THEY WORK HARD AND GIVE BACK. DEPORTING THE DREAMERS WOULD BE CRUEL AND IRRATIONAL AND INHUMANE, UNWORTHY OF A GREAT COUNTRY BREAKING OUR PROMISE TO THE DREAMERS WHO CAME FORWARD WHEN THEY WERE TOLD THAT THEY WOULD BE GIVEN PROTECTED STATUS, WOULD BE A VIOLATION OF NOT ONLY THE AMERICAN DREAM BUT OF THE PROMISE MADE BY A GREAT NATION. GABRIELA IGLASIES CAME TO THE UNITED STATES IN 2001 FROM LIMA, PERU. SHE'S LIVED IN CONNECTICUT FOR 17 YEARS. SHE WORKS FOR CONNECTICUT STUDENTS FOR A DREAM ADVOCATING FOR HER FELLOW DREAMERS. AND SHE HAS BEEN WORKING ON SECURING FOR THOSE UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS, THEIR RIGHTS TO SAFETY, TO HIGHER EDUCATION, TO HEALTH CARE, AND TO LIVE IN A COUNTRY WITHOUT FEAR AND DISCRIMINATION. SHE SHARED WITH ME SOME OF THE DIFFICULTY, HER FAMILY HAD WHILE SHE WAS GROWING UP. SHE AND HER FIVE SIBLINGS ARE SUPPORTED BY THEIR PARENTS WHO WORK IN MINIMUM-WAGE JOBS. SHE HOPES THAT IF THE DREAM ACT PASSES, SHE'LL BE ABLE TO TAKE ON SOME OF THAT ECONOMIC BURDEN THAT HER PARENTS NOW CARRY. AND SHE HOPES THAT SHE'LL BE ABLE TO MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO SUPPORT HERSELF AND HER FAMILY. SHE'S CURRENTLY IN HER FIRST YEAR OF COLLEGE AT A COMMUNITY COLLEGE WHERE SHE'S FACED MANY FINANCIAL CHALLENGES. NOT BEING ABLE TO GET A JOB AT 18 YEARS OLD IS FRUSTRATING AND SOMETIMES DEVASTATING. IF THE DREAM ACT WERE TO PASS, SHE COULD FINISH HER TWO YEARS OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE -- AT COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND TRANSFER TO A FOUR-YEAR INSTITUTION, AND SHE COULD PURSUE HER DREAM OF WORKING AS A LAWYER OR IN THE FIELD OF LAW. THERE ARE COUNTLESS OTHER STORIES OF CONNECTICUT DREAMERS, SOME WANTING TO KEEP THEIR IDENTITYIES NOW CONFIDENTIAL. THERE IS A YOUNG MAN IN BRIDGEPORT WHO WAS BROUGHT TO CONNECTICUT AT THE AGE OF 5. HE WAS EDUCATED IN THE BRIDGEPORT PUBLIC SCHOOLS. HE MAJORED IN CHEMISTRY. AND NOW ATTENDS FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY. HE HAS EXCELLED THERE AND FINISHED HIS FIRST DEGREE WHEN HE WAS ACCEPTED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKLEY'S PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY PROGRAM. HE HAD TO LIVE UNDER THE THREAT OF DEPORTATION BECAUSE HE HAD NO WAY TO APPLY FOR PERMANENT, LAWFUL STATUS. WHILE HE WAS CONTINUING HIS STUDIES HERE, HE LIVED WITH THE THREAT OF DEPORTATION. THERE IS A NEW BRITAIN WOMAN WHO WAS BORN IN MEXICO AND BROUGHT TO AMERICA WHEN SHE WAS 6 YEARS OLD. THE JOURNEY WAS TERRIFYING. SHE COULD BARELY UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS HAPPENING. SHE HAD NO IDEA AT 6 YEARS OLD SHE WAS ENTERING AMERICA IN A WAY THAT WOULD AFFECT HER FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE. SHE MADE NO CHOICE TO COME HERE OR TO COME HERE IN THAT WAY, BUT IT HAS AFFECTED HER. IN FACT, DESPITE HER ATTENDING SCHOOL AND THEN GOING TO COLLEGE OUT OF STATE AT BAY PATH COLLEGE EARNING A GREAT MANY LEADERSHIPS THERE -- LEADERSHIP POSITIONS THERE, SHE REMAINS IN THE LIMBO OF UNCERTAINTY AND ANGUISH AND ANXIETY CREATED BY THE THREAT OF DEPORTATION. SHE DREAMS ABOUT HELPING PEOPLE TO MAKE SURE THAT FAMILIES WITH LOW INCOME CAN HAVE ACCESS TO OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY. INDEED, SHE IS PURSUING A MASTER'S DEGREE IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY. FINALLY, THERE IS A WOMAN I KNOW WHO CAME HERE FROM VENEZUELA. SHE WAS BROUGHT HERE WHEN SHE WAS 11 YEARS OLD. SHE REMEMBERS HER MOTHER THAT SHE WAS COMING HERE SO SHE COULD LEARN ENGLISH AND THAT SHE WOULD BE SUCCESSFUL IF SHE WERE BILINGUAL. SHE SETTLED IN NORWALK. SHE BEGAN SCHOOL RIGHT AWAY. LIFE WAS DIFFICULT AT FIRST. BY THE TIME SHE WAS A JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL, SHE STOPPED TRYING TO GET PERFECT GRADES BECAUSE SHE FEARED COLLEGES WOULD NOT ACCEPT HER, AND EVEN IF THEY ACCEPTED HER, SHE WOULD NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE BECAUSE SHE WAS UNDOCUMENTED. BUT SHE PERSEVERED. SHE ATTENDED COMMUNITY COLLEGE. SHE WENT ON TO WESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY AND OVERCAME OBSTACLES THAT FOR MANY AMERICANS WOULD BE -- NOW SHE FEARS THAT ALL OF THOSE DREAMS WILL BE FOR NOT. THESE DREAMERS, IN FACT, HAVE TRUSTED AMERICA. THEY BELIEVED IN AMERICA'S PROMISE TO THEM. COMING FORWARD, PROVIDING FACTS ABOUT THEIR RESIDENCE AND THEIR FAMILIES AND THEIR JOBS AND SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS. THEY BELIEVED IN AMERICA. IT WASN'T A DREAM. AMERICA IS TO BE TRUSTED. AMERICA IS THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY. AMERICA IS THE GREATEST NATION IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. THEY HAVE A DREAM THAT IS AMERICAN, WHICH IS THAT THEY WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PURSUE THEIR FULL POTENTIAL AS HUMAN BEINGS, TO GIVE BACK, TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES, TO BETTER THEIR LIVES. THAT'S THE AMERICAN DREAM. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING'S, I HAVE A DREAM SPEECH SAID, WHEN THEY WROTE THE CONSTITUTION AND DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, THEY WERE SIGNING A PROMISSORY NOTE, A PROMISE THAT ALL MEN, AND HE MIGHT HAVE ADDED WOMEN, WOULD BE GUARANTEED THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF LIFE, LIBERTY, AND PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. END QUOTE. THE TIME HAS LONG SINCE COME FOR US TO HELP THE DREAMERS. THE TIME IS TODAY. THE TIME IS TODAY FOR US TO PROTECT THEM AGAINST MASS DRACONIAN DEPORTATION, A VIALING OF A -- A VIOLATION OF A PROMISE THAT WOULD BE UNWORTHY OF AMERICA, THE PROMISSORY NOTE OF THIS AMERICAN DREAM CAN BE MADE A REALITY BY THIS CHAMBER TODAY AND TOMORROW. I UNDERSTAND SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES MAY WANT TO CHANGE THE IMMIGRATION SYSTEM. IT IS TRULY A BROKEN SYSTEM IN NEED OF COMPREHENSIVE REFORM. THAT TASK IS FOR ANOTHER DAY. TODAY WE MUST MAKE SURE THAT WE PROVIDE THESE DREAMERS WITH LEGAL STATUS AND A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP. THAT'S OUR MORAL OBLIGATION, THAT'S OUR JOB. LET'S GET IT DONE. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 04:43:25 PM

    MR. LANKFORD

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 04:43:26 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA.

  • 04:43:28 PM

    MR. LANKFORD

    IS THE SENATE CURRENTLY IN A QUORUM CALL?

  • 04:43:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    NO.

  • 04:43:34 PM

    MR. LANKFORD

    NO.

  • 05:01:39 PM

    A SENATOR

    A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 05:01:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM DELAWARE.

  • 05:01:42 PM

    MR. COONS

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

  • 05:01:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    NO.

  • 05:01:46 PM

    MR. COONS

  • 05:05:55 PM

    THINGS SECURE

    TWO THINGS: SECURE OUR BORDER AND FINALLY GIVE DREAMERS THE PATHWAY TO…

    TWO THINGS: SECURE OUR BORDER AND FINALLY GIVE DREAMERS THE PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP THAT THEY HAVE LONG WAITED FOR AND THAT THEY DESERVE. TO ADDRESS BORDER SECURITY, OUR BILL WOULD ENSURE WE GAIN OPERATIONAL CONTROL OF THE BORDER BY 2020 WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY, NEW RESOURCES FOR FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT, AND NEW INFRASTRUCTURE. IT WOULD REDUCE THE EXISTING IMMIGRATION CASE BACKLOGS BY FUNDING NEW JUDGES AND NEW ATTORNEYS WHILE ALSO ADDRESSING ONE OF THE ROOT CAUSES OF MIGRATION INTO OUR COUNTRY FROM CENTRAL AMERICA. OUR LEGISLATION WOULD GIVE CERTAINTY TO 1.8 MILLION DREAMERS BROUGHT HERE AS CHILDREN THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, WHO ARE AMERICAN IN EVERY WAY BUT ON PAPER. DREAMERS WHO CONTINUE TO PLAY BY THE RULES BY GOING TO SCHOOL, SERVING IN THE MILITARY OR BEING CONSISTENTLY EMPLOYED CAN BECOME LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENTS. AND AT LEAST FIVE YEARS LATER U.S. CITIZENS. MR. PRESIDENT, SENATOR McCAIN AND I AREN'T THE ONLY ONES WHO THINK THIS BIPARTISAN SOLUTION MAKES SENSE. IN FACT, THE REASON WE FILED IT HERE WAS BECAUSE OF THE STRENGTH OF ITS DEVELOPMENT IN THE OTHER CHAMBER, THE PEOPLE'S HOUSE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THIS BILL WAS CRAFTED BY REPUBLICAN KPHAB -- CONGRESSMAN WILL HERD OF EL PASO, TEXAS WHOSING DISTRICT HAS MORE THAN 800 MILES OF THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER AND CONGRESSMAN PETE AGUILAR WHO IS FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, THE TWO OF THEM PUT THIS BILL TOGETHER AFTER A LOT OF OF CONSULTATIONS AND MEETINGS WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES IN THE HOUSE AND IT TODAY ENJOYS 27 REPUBLICAN COSPONSORS AND DEMOCRATIC COSPONSORS. I OFTEN HEAR WE SHOULDN'T TAKE UP AND CONSIDER ANYTHING THAT CAN'T PASS THE HOUSE. BUT A BILL THAT HAS # 54 BIPARTISAN COSPONSORS IN THE HOUSE IS CERTAINLY ON THE RIGHT TRACK. NOW I'M CLEAR-EYED ABOUT THE FACT THAT THIS McCAIN-COONS BILL IS NOT PERFECT, AND I UNDERSTAND SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES MAY WANT TO MAKE CHANGES TO IT. SOME OF MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS I MET WITH AND HEARD FROM AND TALKED TO IN RECENT DAYS HAVE SUGGESTED IT NEEDS MORE INVESTMENTS IN BORDER SECURITY TO WIN THEIR SUPPORT. AND THAT'S FINE. BECAUSE, MR. PRESIDENT, OUR BILL IS MORE THAN JUST A SET OF POLICIES. IT'S A WAY TO PROVIDE A FRAMEWORK FOR US TO AGREE AND NOT LET OUR AGREEMENTS PREVENT US FROM MOVING FORWARD. SO MY MESSAGE TODAY IS SIMPLE ABOUT THIS BILL. WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FIX OUR ENTIRE IMMIGRATION SYSTEM THIS WEEK. IN FACT, I'M CERTAIN WE CAN'T. BUT WE CAN OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS, PERHAPS EVEN OVER THE NEXT FEW HOURS, TAKE IMPORTANT, EVEN HISTORIC STEPS FORWARD. WE CAN LAY THE GROUNDWORK FOR SECURING OUR BORDER WITH NEW INVESTMENTS, NEW TECHNOLOGY. WE CAN HELP DREAMERS SUCCEED IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS, SERVE IN OUR AMERICAN MILITARY, ENRICH AMERICAN COMMUNITIES WITHOUT LIVING IN CONSTANT FEAR OF IMMINENT DEPORTATION. THESE ARE TOUGH ISSUES BUT THE SOLUTION CAN BE FAIRLY SIMPLE AND I THINK OUR LEGISLATION OFFERS A REAL SOLUTION FOR RIGHT NOW. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS HAVE BEEN DEVELOPMENTS IN RECENT DAYS -- I'VE BEEN PROUD TO PARTICIPATE IN A LARGE BIPARTISAN EFFORT BY THE COMMONSENSE COALITION, AND AS IT HAS AS A GROUP TRIED TO HAMMER OUT A BIPARTISAN DEAL, I'VE BEEN HONORED TO HAVE STARTED THIS DISCUSSION, THIS DEBATE WITH SENATOR McCAIN BY FILING OUR BILL THAT WE BROUGHT OVER FROM THE HOUSE THAT IS A BIPARTISAN BILL, THAT IS, I BELIEVE, THE MOST BIPARTISAN BILL CURRENTLY BEFORE THIS CHAMBER ON THIS ISSUE. IF WE CAN MAKE MORE PROGRESS, IF WE CAN ATTRACT MORE BIPARTISAN SUPPORT THROUGH SOME AMENDMENTS OR REVISIONS, I WELCOME THAT. I BELIEVE THIS WEEK, THIS DAY, THIS OPENING ON OUR SENATE FLOOR IS NOT ONLY A CHALLENGE BUT AN INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THE RIGHT THING. YOU DON'T HAVE TO AGREE ON EVERYTHING. WE JUST HAVE TO AGREE ON SOME THINGS. AND WE CAN AND FIND A WAY FORWARD TOGETHER. MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS AN ENORMOUS HONOR TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PARTNER WITH SENATOR McCAIN IN THIS LEGISLATIVE EFFORT. AND WHILE HE IS NOT WITH US TODAY, I KNOW HE IS WITH US IN SPIRIT AND WATCHING OUR DELIBERATIONS. AND AS SOMEONE WHO HAS SHOWN NOT JUST COURAGE ON THE BATTLEFIELD, BUT COURAGE IN AMERICAN POLITICS, A DETERMINED WILLINGNESS TO COMPROMISE AND TO WORK TIRELESSLY TO ADVANCE THE INTERESTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, I CAN ONLY HOPE THAT MY COLLEAGUES, WHEN WE GET A CHANCE TO VOTE ON THIS BILL -- WHICH I HOPE WE WILL LATER TODAY -- WILL JOIN ME IN SUPPORTING IT, IN RECOGNITION OF HIS LIFETIME OF SERVICE TO OUR NATION AND HIS COMMITMENT TO BIPARTISANSHIP. IT IS MY HOPE THAT AS THIS DAY AND TOMORROW UNFOLD, WE WILL HAVE THE OPEN AND FAIR PROCESS THAT'S BEEN PROMISED AND THAT ALL OF US TOGETHER CAN DO WHAT WE WERE SENT HERE TO DO. LISTEN TO EACH OTHER, TRUST EACH OTHER, WORK TOGETHER, AND FIND A PATH THROUGH COMPROMISE THAT CAN SOLVE THESE TWO MOST IMPORTANT AND PRESSING ISSUES IN THE FIELD OF IMMIGRATION. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 07:01:50 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 07:01:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MINORITY WHIP.

  • 07:01:53 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED.

  • 07:01:56 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:01:57 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, EVERY DAY IN AMERICA, WE FACE THE DEVASTATING REMINDER OF…

    MR. PRESIDENT, EVERY DAY IN AMERICA, WE FACE THE DEVASTATING REMINDER OF THE TOLL OF GUN VIOLENCE. TODAY WE WATCHED THE SCENE AT THE HIGH SCHOOL IN PARKLAND, FLORIDA, WHERE YET ANOTHER SCHOOL SHOOTING HAS TAKEN PLACE. IT IS GUT WRENCHING. WE KNOW THAT SO MANY FAMILIES HAVE JUST HAD THEIR WORLDS AND LIVES CHANGED FOREVER BY SENSELESS GUN VIOLENCE. IRONICALLY, THIS IS THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF A SIMILAR SHOOTING AT NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY IN DEKALB, ILLINOIS. OUR PRAYERS GO OUT TO THE VICTIMS, TO THOSE FAMILIES, AND TO THE FIRST RESPONDERS AND OF COURSE TO THE PARKLAND COMMUNITY. YESTERDAY, IN THE CITY OF CHICAGO, WHICH I AM HONORED TO REPRESENT, WE LOST ONE OF OUR FINEST. COMMANDER PAUL BAUER OF THE CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT, SHOT AND KILLED BY A GUNMAN IN THE CHICAGO LOOP. COMMANDER BAUER WAS A 31-YEAR VETERAN OF THE C.P.D. AND THE COMMANDER OF THE 18th POLICE DISTRICT IN THE NEAR NORTH SIDE. HE WAS A PILLAR OF THAT COMMUNITY. WELL KNOWN IN HIS DISTRICT, HE HAD BEEN COMMENDED TO THE CITY COUNCIL LAST YEAR FOR A CHARITY HOLIDAY PARTY HE HAD HELPED HOST FOR UNDERPRIVILEGED KIDS. A HUSBAND TO HIS WIFE ERIN, A FATHER TO A 13-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER NAMED GRACE. COMMANDER BAUER WAS IN A TRAINING SESSION YESTERDAY IN THE LOOP, BUT HE DIDN'T HESITATE TO HELP OUT HIS FELLOW OFFICERS WHEN THEY WERE PURSUING A FLEEING SUSPECT. COMMANDER BAUER WAS SHOT SEVERAL TIMES BY THE SUSPECT. HE DIED FROM HIS WOUNDS. CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT EDDIE JOHNSON SAID THIS WAS AN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT DAY FOR THE CHICAGO POLICE FAMILY. COMMANDER BAUER WAS A HERO IN LIFE AND MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE TO HELP PROTECT THE CITY HE SERVED AND THE CITY HE LOVED. HIS LOSS IS A TRAGEDY. OUR PRAYERS GO OUT TO THE COMMANDER'S FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES, AND HIS LOFS ONES AND OF COURSE HIS FAMILY -- HIS LOVED ONES AND OF COURSE HIS FAMILY AND DAUGHTER. AS I MENTIONED, TODAY MARKS THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF ONE OF THE MOST DEVASTATING SHOOTINGS EVER TO OCCUR ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS IN AMERICA. ON FEBRUARY 14, 2008, A GUNMAN WITH A HISTORY OF MENTAL INSTABILITY WALKED INTO A LECTURE HALL AT NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY IN DEKALB AND OPENED FIRE. HIS BULLETS KILLED FIVE STUDENTS AND WOUNDED 17 MORE. IT WAS A HORRIFIC MASS MURDER, AND IT SHOCKED THE ENTIRE NATION. THE FIVE YOUNG ILLINOISANS WE LOST THAT DAY ALL HAD BRIGHT FUTURES AHEAD OF THEM. GAIL DEBOWSKI, 20 YEARS OLD FROM CAROL STREAM WHO WORKED AS A CAMP COUNSELOR AND WAS A TALENTED SINGER IN HER CHURCH CHOIR. CATALINA ISLAND GARCIA OF CICERO, 20 YEARS OLD, A SMILING, OUTGOING YOUNG WOMAN WHO PLANNED TO BE A TEACHER. JULIANA MEHANT, 30 YEARS OLD WHO SERVED OUR COUNTRY IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY AND ARMY RESERVE AND WENT TO N.Y.U. TO STUDY TO BECOME A TEACHER. RYAN MACE OF CARPENTERSVILLE WHO WAS FUN AND FUNNY. HE WAS INSPIRED TO WORK AS A COUNSELOR. AND DANIEL PARMENTER, 20 YEARS OLD, A RUGBY PLAYER WHO LOST HIS LIFE BECAUSE HE SHIELDED HIS GIRLFRIEND FROM THE SHOOTER. IT IS HEART BREAKING TO THINK OF WHAT THESE FIVE YOUNG PEOPLE COULD HAVE ACCOMPLISHED IN THE TEN YEARS SINCE THAT HORRIBLE DAY. WE MOURN THEIR LOSS AND OUR HEARTS GO OUT TO THEIR FAMILIES AGAIN. WE REMEMBER AND HONOR THE WOUNDED WHO STILL BEAR THE SCARS OF THAT TERRIBLE DAY. WE RENEW OUR THANKS OVER AND OVER AGAIN TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND FIRST RESPONDERS WHO HEADED TOWARD THE SOUND OF GUNFIRE THAT DAY AND WHO TREATED THE VICTIMS AFTER THEY WERE WOUNDED. WE COMMEND THE MANY MEMBERS OF THE N.I.U. COMMUNITY WHO STEPPED UP IN THE DAYS THAT FOLLOWED, WORKING TO PERSEVERE THROUGH THIS TRAGEDY WITH HEAVY HEARTS BUT UNBROKEN SPIRIT. AND MOVING FORWARD, TOGETHER FORWARD IN THE WORDS OF THAT NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY HUSKY FIGHT SONG. IT IS DEVASTATEING TO THINK THAT IN THIS GREAT COUNTRY, STUDENTS AND EDUCATORS COULD BE GUNNED DOWN IN OUR SCHOOLS, BUT IT HAPPENS SO OFFER THAT I'M AFRAID A NUMBNESS IS SETTING IN. JUST IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS, WE HAVE HAD FATAL SHOOTINGS OF STUDENTS AT AZTEC HIGH SCHOOL IN AZTEC, NEW MEXICO, WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY IN NORTH CAROLINA, MARSHALL COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL IN BENTON, KENTUCKY, AND THEN TODAY IN FLORIDA. OTHER TRAGEDIES HAVE BEEN NARROWLY AVERTED BECAUSE OF WELL-TRAINED STAFF. AT MATOON HIGH SCHOOL IN ILLINOIS, A HEROIC TEACHER NAMED ANGELA McQUEEN STOPPED A STUDENT GUNMAN FROM CAUSING A MASSACRE THERE LAST SEPTEMBER. THE THREAT OF STUDENTS -- THE THREAT OF SHOOTINGS IN OUR SCHOOLS IS EVERPRESENT. ACCORDING TO A TALLY KEPT BY THE GROUP EVERY TOWN, THERE HAVE BEEN AT LEAST 18 INCIDENTS SO FAR THIS YEAR WHERE A GUN HAS BEEN FIRED ON A SCHOOL OR COLLEGE CAMPUS. SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES ARE DOING THE BEST THEY CAN TO PREPARE AND PROTECT THEIR STUDENTS. I SALUTE THE EDUCATORS AND ADMINISTRATORS WHO ARE WORKING HARD. IS CONGRESS DOING ALL IT CAN TO KEEP OUR NATION'S STUDENTS SAFE FROM GUN VIOLENCE? NOT EVEN CLOSE. OF COURSE THERE IS NO SINGLE REFORM THAT COULD STOP EVERY SHOOTING IN AMERICA, BUT WE KNOW THERE ARE BIG GAPS IN OUR LAWS THAT MAKE IT EASY FOR CRIMINALS, ABUSERS, AND MENTALLY UNSTABLE PEOPLE TO GET THEIR HANDS ON GUNS THAT HURT INNOCENT PEOPLE. CONGRESS HAS DONE NOTHING, NOTHING IN RECENT YEARS TO CLOSE THOSE GAPS AND MAKE AMERICA SAFER. CONGRESS HASN'T EVEN CLOSED THE GUN SHOW LOOPHOLE THAT THE 1999 COLUMBINE, COLORADO KILLERS USED TO BUY THEIR WEAPONS, AND WE DID NOTHING IN RESPONSE TO THE MURDER OF 20 FIRST GRADERS AND SIX EDUCATORS AT SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN CONNECTICUT. IN FACT, THE ONLY VOTE TAKEN BY THE SENATE ON GUN LAWS IN THIS CURRENT CONGRESS WAS TO WEAKEN GUN LAW SAFETY PROVISIONS ON THE BOOKS. THAT WAS A VOTE SENATE REPUBLICANS BROUGHT UP LAST YEAR THAT PREVENTED THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION FROM ALERTING THE F.B.I.'S GUN BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM ABOUT PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS. IT IS LIKELY THAT BEFORE THIS YEAR IS OVER, THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY WILL CALL UP MORE BILLS TO WEAKEN GUN SAFETY LAWS. THAT IS THE WRONG RESPONSE TO THE EPIDEMIC OF GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA. I'M NOT GOING TO GIVE UP ON TRYING TO CLOSE THE LOOPHOLES IN OUR GUN LAWS. I WANT TO KEEP FIGHTING FOR UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS, TOUGHER STRAW PURCHASING LAWS, AND BETTER LAWS TO PREVENT GUN THEFT. I'M NOT GOING TO GIVE UP BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE PATRICK CORELLIS WHO WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD TEN YEARS AGO AT THE TRAGEDY AT NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY. LUCKILY, PATRICK SURVIVED. SINCE THAT DAY, HE HAS BEEN A LEADER IN ILLINOIS, FIGHTING FOR COMMONSENSE GUN REFORM. I HAVE COME TO KNOW AND ADMIRE HIM FOR HIS EFFORTS. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH WHAT PATRICK WENT THROUGH AND SO MANY OTHERS WENT THROUGH ON THAT DAY IN DEKALB, ILLINOIS, TEN YEARS AGO. WE OWE IT TO PATRICK AND THE OTHER N.I.U. VICTIMS AND FAMILY AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS, AND TO THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS MORE ACROSS AMERICA WHO HAVE BEEN KILLED OR WOUNDED BY GUNS THIS PAST DECADE TO KEEP TRYING TO REDUCE THE TOL OF -- TOLL OF GUN VIOLENCE. MAYBE WE CAN'T STOP EVERY SHOOTING, BUT IF WE DO OUR BEST TO KEEP GUNS OUT OF DANGEROUS HANDS, WE WILL SAVE LIVES. I INTEND TO KEEP DOING MY BEST TO ACHIEVE THAT GOAL. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 07:09:36 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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

  • 07:09:45 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 07:32:09 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 07:32:10 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER.

  • 07:32:12 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 07:32:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:32:17 PM

    MR. SCHUMER

    MR. PRESIDENT, I MODIFY MY AMENDMENT 1958 WITH THE TEXT AT THE DESK.

  • 07:32:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR HAS THAT RIGHT.

  • 07:32:34 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT.

  • 07:32:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 07:32:37 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I SEND A CLOTURE MOTION TO THE DESK FOR AMENDMENT NUMBERED 1955.

  • 07:32:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:32:43 PM

    THE CLERK

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

    CLOTURE MOTION. WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 22 OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, DO HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE DEBATE ON AMENDMENT NUMBERED 1955 TO H.R. 2579, AN ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986 TO ALLOW THE PREMIUM TAX CREDIT WITH RESPECT TO UNSUBSIDIZED COBRA CONTINUATION COVERAGE, SIGNED BY 18 SENATORS, AS FOLLOWS --

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  • 07:33:05 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE READING OF THE NAMES BE WAIVED.

  • 07:33:08 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:33:09 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I SEND A CLOTURE MOTION TO THE DESK, AMENDMENT NUMBERED 1948.

  • 07:33:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:33:15 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 SENATE AMENDMENT NUMBERED 1948 TO H.R. 2579, AN ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986 TO ALLOW THE PREMIUM TAX CREDIT WITH RESPECT TO UNSUBSIDIZED COBRA CONTINUATION COVERAGE, SIGNED BY 16 SENATORS AS FOLLOWS --

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  • 07:33:39 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE READING OF THE NAMES BE WAIVED.

  • 07:33:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:33:42 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I SEND A CLOTURE MOTION TO THE DESK, NUMBERED 1958 AS MODIFIED.

  • 07:33:47 PM

    THE CLERK

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

    CLOTURE MOTION. WE, THE 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 SENATE AMENDMENT NUMBERED 1958 AS MODIFIED TO H.R. 2579, AN ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986 AND SO FORTH, SIGNED BY 16 SENATORS AS FOLLOWS.

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  • 07:34:07 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE READING OF THE NAMED BE WAIVED.

  • 07:34:10 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:34:12 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I SEND A CLOTURE MOTION TO THE DESK FOR AMENDMENT NUMBERED 1959.

  • 07:34:16 PM

    THE CLERK

    WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 22…

    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 SENATE AMENDMENT NUMBERED 1959 TO H.R. 2579, AN ACT TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986, AND SO FORTH, SIGNED BY 16 SENATORS AS FOLLOWS.

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  • 07:34:32 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK CONSENT THE READING OF THE NAMES BE WAIVED.

  • 07:34:35 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:34:37 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE MANDATORY QUORUM CALLS FOR THE CLOTURE MOTIONS…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE MANDATORY QUORUM CALLS FOR THE CLOTURE MOTIONS BE WAIVED.

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  • 07:34:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:34:45 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION FOR THE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO EXECUTIVE SESSION FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF THE FOLLOWING NOMINATION -- EXECUTIVE CALENDAR 586.

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  • 07:34:53 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:34:59 PM

    THE CLERK

    NOMINATION. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, MARGARET WEICHERT OF…

    NOMINATION. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, MARGARET WEICHERT OF GEORGIA TO BE DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR MANAGEMENT, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET.

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  • 07:35:09 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK CONSENT THE SENATE VOTE ON THE NOMINATION WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION…

    I ASK CONSENT THE SENATE VOTE ON THE NOMINATION WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE 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, THAT NO MOTIONS BE IN ORDER AND THAT ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO THE NOMINATION BE PRINCIPLED IN THE RECORD.

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  • 07:35:26 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE QUESTION OCCURS ON THE NOMINATION. ALL THOSE IN…

    WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE QUESTION OCCURS ON THE NOMINATION. ALL THOSE IN FAVOR SAY AYE. ALL THOSE OPPOSED, NO. THE AYES APPEAR TO HAVE IT. THE AYES DO HAVE IT. THE NOMINATION IS CONFIRMED.

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  • 07:35:39 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE BE DISCHARGED AND THE…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE BE DISCHARGED AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF P.N. 474 -- 02 AND THE NOMINATIONS BE CONFIRMED, THE MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID UPON THE TABLE WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE, THAT NO FURTHER MOTIONS BE IN ORDER, THAT ANY STATEMENTS RELATED TO THE NOMINATIONS BE PRINCIPLED IN THE RECORD, THE PRESIDENT BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED OF THE SENATE'S ACTION, AND THE SENATE THEN RESUME LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

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  • 07:36:04 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:36:07 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE BE IN A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK THEREIN FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 07:36:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:36:14 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS BE DISCHARGED…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS BE DISCHARGED FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF S. 2246 AND THE SENATE PROCEED TO ITS IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION.

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  • 07:36:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:36:25 PM

    THE CLERK

    S. 2246, A BILL TO DESIGNATE THE HEALTH CARE CENTER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF…

    S. 2246, A BILL TO DESIGNATE THE HEALTH CARE CENTER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS IN TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA, AS THE SERGEANT EARNEST I. BOOTS THOMAS V.A. CLINIC, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 07:36:41 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 07:36:43 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

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

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

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  • 07:36:50 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:36:51 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

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

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF S. RES. 406 SUBMITTED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 07:36:55 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:36:57 PM

    THE CLERK

    SENATE RESOLUTION 406, TO AUTHORIZE REPRESENTATION BY THE SENATE LEGAL…

    SENATE RESOLUTION 406, TO AUTHORIZE REPRESENTATION BY THE SENATE LEGAL COUNSEL IN THE CASE OF UNITED STATES V. V.ALUMINADILACA.

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  • 07:37:12 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO THE MEASURE.

  • 07:37:15 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE RESOLUTION BE AGREED TO, THE PREAMBLE BE…

    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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  • 07:37:22 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:37:23 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

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

    NOW, MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT WHEN THE SENATE COMPLETES ITS BUSINESS TODAY, IT ADJOURN UNTIL 10:00 A.M. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15. 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, I ASK THAT FOLLOWING LEADER REMARKS, THE SENATE RESUME CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 2579.

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  • 07:37:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:37:46 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

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

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

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  • 07:37:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

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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)