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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 1, 2014 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to change their vote or to vote? if not, the ayes are 55 and the
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nays are 42. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: george jarrod hayesle of maryland to be united states district judge. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i ask unanimous consent to yield back the time before the vote. the presiding officer: without objection, all time is yielded back. the senate will tom company order. come to order. the senate will come to order. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion works we hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of nancy l. moritz of kansas to be united states circuit judge for the tenth circuit signed by 17 senators.
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the presiding officer: by unanimous consent the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of nancy l. moritz of kansas to be the united states circuit judge for the tenth circuit shall be brought to a close. on this vote -- the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: does any senator in the chamber wish to vote or change their vote? if not, on this vote the ayes
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are 60, the nays are 38, and the nomination -- and the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nancy l. moritz of kansas to be united states circuit judge for the tenth circuit. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i ask unanimous consent the time until 1:45 be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: i have six unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders and i ask unanimous consent these requests be agreed to and be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. jurm: thank you, madam president. madam president, the highway trust fund mrs. murray: the ohio the
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highway trust fund is running on fumes and states from vermont to california and many in between are rethinking their plans for construction because of funding uncertainty in the highway trust fund. one example is new mexico. there, state officials are starting to ramp up construction plans for interstate 25 in albuquerque. that project has been a high priority for their city officials for a number of years. once it's complete, it's going to reduce traffic and improve safety that's vital for that area. but right now state officials in new mexico have said they are concerned about federal funding for that project and it now might be in jeopardy. that is not an isolated case. the trust fund supports transportation projects across our entire country. it eases congestion for our commuters, for our businesses that need to move their goods efficiently and quickly.
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it funds our safety initiatives and construction that improves our roads and bridges and sparks job creation for american workers. but the department of transportation now says that that trust fund won't be able to keep up with its payments to states as soon as this summer. this crisis is right around the corner, and many states are now planning for worst-case scenarios. in fact, the state of missouri has stopped planning for new projects. colorado, state a state official said without these federal funds, major projects probably won't be completed or ever get underway. arkansas has begun planning several projects to replace old bridges and widen highways and repair roads, but now their transportation officials have put ten projects on hold because of this looming crisis.
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madam president, construction is at its height during our summer months, so if the highway trust fund hits a crisis in the next few months, we could potentially see a construction shutdown, meaning workers are going to be left without paychecks, and that could add up to 10,000 jobs in florida according to the president of the florida transportation builders association, and across the country, failing to shore up our highway trust fund here could cost more than 180,000 jobs in fiscal year 2015. that is according to an analysis from the center for american progress. in kentucky, governor steve beshear summed it up by telling reporters -- and i quote -- "we can't afford for the highway trust fund to go incolonel vent." madam president, -- insolvent." madam president, state workers are counting on us to solve this. i'm hopeful we can replenish the
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yourself trust fund in a bipartisan way. house republican dave camp who chairs the ways and means committee has proposed using corporate revenue to replenish the highway trust fund. president obama's grow america act calls for corporate revenue to address this crisis and make important investments in our infrastructure, and that approach makes a lot of sense. closing wasteful loopholes so we can create jobs here at home would be good for our workers, good for our economy and it would make our broken tax system fairer in the process. so, madam president, i'm here today to say i'm hoping that our republicans will come to the table, willing to close just a few corporate loopholes so that we can avoid an unnecessary crisis in our highway trust fund, so that we can give our states more certainty to plan, and we can help spark job growth in this summer. but if republicans aren't willing to work with us, they're going to have to explain why egregious corporate tax
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loopholes are more important than workers in our construction industry, and more important than drivers and businesses that rely every day on safe roads and bridges. madam president, i'm here to say and warn, construction projects are at risk across our country. another example happens to be in new hampshire where construction crews have been working on a major project to widen interstate 93. that project was designed to ease congestion and improve safety. last month, the state transportation commissioner said the project could be stalled and thrown off schedule if congress does not resolve this highway trust fund crisis. he said aind -- quote -- "-- -- and i quote --"any hiccup in federal funding will have a negative impact on the ending." for many states, madam president, this looming crisis is all already -- already a reality.
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let's show our states together that we will continue to invest in projects that help drivers and help businesses move their goods and let's show the american people that congress can work together to ensure vital transportation construction projects will move forward this summer. let's shore up that highway trust fund and avoid this unnecessary and totally preventible crisis. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: madam president, i ask proceedings under the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: madam president, i come to the floor today to speak about the corrupting power of money in our national politics and the tragic impact of a whole series of decisions by the supreme court that has steadily strengthened that power. madam president, over the last 40 years bipartisan coalitions in this body, bipartisan coalitions in congress have come together behind commonsense measures that actually succeeded in limiting the power of money in politics. most recently back in 2002 a bipartisan coalition in this chamber led by senators john mccain and russ feingold, republican and democrat respectively, took a few steps to significantly limit the use of so-called soft money and to ban special interests from
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pouring money into national elections in the month or two before election day. as actually elected representatives the perspective of members of congress who enacted that legislation was informed by their real experiences as public officials who have run and won elections and who have written and fought for and passed actual legislation. and since members of this chamber, members of this congress have seen, have experienced the corrosive effect of money every day, congress in my view should be given great deference when it has been able to transcend partisan divisions and put in place commonsense protections. yet over the past few years, a bare majority on the current supreme court has in decision after decision dismantled many of those critical protections and shows no signs of stopping. in doing so, this court's decisions display a significant, a stunning naivete about how our political system actually works and how it is
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continuing to change. and as a result i think have brought us closer to a world where as a recent new republic piece argues -- quote -- "millionaires and billionaires speak loudly and the rest of us have to do the listening"-- unquote. most recently, in a 5-4 decision, the supreme court struck down a limit that has stood since 1971 when congress passed the federal elections campaign act on total campaign donations that any one individual may make in the same federal election cycle. before this recent supreme court rule, individuals couldn't give more than $117,000 between cans and party committees. after the ruling, that limitation has been swept away, and there's nothing to stop a wealthy donor and ultra wealthy donor from contributing to every federal race each election cycle. some here have cheered the decision as upholding the first amendment and free speech, but in my view, when you're able to
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spread around hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to dozens and dozens of candidates in a coordinated way, you are not speaking; you're coming dangerously close to buying. for ultradonors, the reality is, i.t. not just about making their voices heard. under existing supreme court precedent under these recent decisions, there's no limits on anybody's abilities to spend whatever he or she wishes to buy newspaper ads, television spots or even make a politically moat elevated movie. the reality is that it's about trying to control more and more of the legislative agenda of this congress and more and more of the direction of our government. in mccutcheon, this recently decided cairks the supremdecidet has made it easier for the wealthier and special interests they represent to hedge their et abouts by diversifying their political portfolio. it has more in common sadly with wall street investment strategies than with the free
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speech rights envisioned by the founders at the constitutional convention. frankly, i think the founders would not recognize our political system today, and the increasingly harsh influence of big-money donors in our overall national political scene. together with the citizens units decision five years ago, we see the truly dangerous imloikses of the decisions rendered. one of the boldest decisions i've ever seen, citizens united was another 5-4 decision and killed off nearly half of that bipartisan compromise bill from 2002 of mccain-feingold by allowinallowing corporations anr special interests to anonymously fund campaign ads in the months before an election. in doing so, as justice stevens tbloat a dissent, ytion the court relied largely on individual dissenting opinions blazing through court precedents and overruling or disavowing an entire body of settled case
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law." justice stevens also not noted t do so, the court also decided a position that the parties did not present to it. five justices were unhappy whrimented nature of the case brought before the court and changed the scope of the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law. this is a dissent but a dissent that i think should draw our atongs the direction that these -- attention to the direction that these two vital court decisions are taking this nation. soon after, the supreme court stengded these decisions to state laws as well. they have brushed aside important bipartisan legislation designed to prevent corruption of the political branches and provide americans some level of confidence that their voices matter to their elected representatives. we've all seen the impact of
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this decision, of citizens united in particular, as commercials by groups nobody has ever heard of funded by donors that can remain in the dark have flooded the air waves of our election years ever since. earlier i mentioned that these two decisions show a stunning naivete about how politics really work and let me be clear, i don't say this because the supreme court overturn add law that congress passed. it is the court's job to be a check on congress, to defend our fundamental freedoms in the face of congressional overreach or improvident action. but in the mccutcheon decision, the court overturned a core holding of its own previous decision in buckley v. slail hoe. the case it purports to apply. as justice breyer brought, "the court's decision -- it creates a loophole which when taken coght with citizens united eviscerates our nation's campaign finance
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laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those very laws were intended to resolve." for instance, in the court's decisions, it consistent lit refers to traditional political corruption as quid pro quo corruption, corruption of the sort where a specific contribution is made for a specific vote or action. in arguing that campaign donations and political spending or speech have shown no signs of leading to corruption, the majority argues that campaign giving and the -- quote -- "general gratitude that a candidate or elected official may feel" is not the same as quid pro quo scruption in the sense of directly buying votes or action in the congress. but as justice breyer noted in his dissent, the majority's "narrow view of corruption" excludes efforts to attain influence over access to elected first of all, or political
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parties." every single member of this body and every member of the house of representatives knows that to be true and knows this influence to be pernicious. let me give an example. as many of my colleagues would attest, hanging over everything we do is the shadow of anonymous big-money ads getting dropped onto the airwaves out of nowhere in just the last weeks before an election and it influences in pervasive and kruppive ways decisions made in this body week in and week out. of course tough opposition ads are nothing new. robust debates in campaign season go about a being to the very first campaigns of this republic. as politicians we all welcome the community to engage those who disagree with us. every citizen should have the right to voice their opposition to me or any member. but what is a huge problem is the fact that nobody knows who's behind these ads making it easier for any wealthy individual or corporation to pour an unlimited amount of
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money into a race behind completely false attacks. because the donors often in the dark, there is no way for the public to know who the claims are coming from or whether they're credible. that's why in this chamber folks in my caucus, democrats have repeatedly argued for our taking up and passing the disclose act, which would require third-party ads to say who funded them so that citizens can reach their own conclusions. this is an increasingly difficult problem for our country. in the 2010 cycle, super pac's spent more than $0 million. so far in this cycle, they've already spent and raised -- raised and spent more thank $200 million. the result is that every campaign has to do more and more fund-raising so they have the resources to rebut the claims made in these negative ads with concealed dons.
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that means more time on the phone or at fund raisers, traveling around the country, organizing and carrying out fund raising activities rather that engaging in our constituents and diving into the details of policy. it's even worse in the house where the daily demands in their two-year cycle are even more compelling. let me offer one brief stat in the average winning senate race in 2012. it cost $10 million, which means the winning senator had to spend $4,600, they had to raise $4,600 every single day over a six-year term. that's time not spent on solving the real issues facing our country. that's an unbelievable amount of time dedicated to fund-raising, and it just doesn't end, whether the term is two or six years. i know i have it relatively easy, little to complain about compared to my colleagues. i come from a small state, a very modest amount we have to raise in a competitive race in delaware pales in comparison to much larger states with much
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more expensive media markets. but toc a problem for this entire body and entire country. lellet me offer one last examplf why this matters. as we debate here and the other party complains about the absence of opportunities to offer amendments and the lack of a robust and open amendment process, one of the reasons we often do not take to the floor and vote on competitive, compelling, difficult amendments is the concern that they will then being the subject of last-minute, aggressive ads. rather thank a chamber of free debate, the shadow of free money turns policy making into a beacon of risk aversion. policy-making gets paralyzed and this serves no one. though it is not an example of corruption in the quid pro quo sense, money does corrode the public trust and steadily corrupts the snm 1,000 different
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ways. we need, we badly need an honest conversation about the impact of big spending and fund-raising on our political system. at this point, madam president, i believe we badly need fundamental changes to redirect the decisions and the attention of the supreme court. buckley v. valeo, the 1976 decision of the supreme court that equated money with speech in my view needs to be revisited. so senator udall of new mexico has introduced a constitutional amendment that in my view restores the balance of that original law and decision and it's one that i strongly support. by bending backwards to declare anything that corporations or the ultrawealthtory wish to do with their money, the equivalent of speech, today's court in my view threarn strengthening speech has weakened it for the millions of americans who cannot afford to play in this new system. at a time of growing economic inininequality, this threatens e
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very foundations of our democracy. with that, madam president, noting the presence of two other colleagues, i would ask if i might have the forebearance of two brief speeches, recognizing recently departed delawareans or if the press of the schedule does not make that possible? i appreciate the forebearance of my colleagues. madam president, i would also today like to take a few minutes to recognize two great delawareans. first i'd like to recognize harry gravel. right now in wilmington, delaware, friends are coming together to celebrate harry, who is retiring from his long leadership roll of the delaware building trades after a lifetime dedicated to workers and our nation. i first got to know him in my service on county council where
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he gave me constant advice and was a constant source of encouragement and support. don't get me wrofnlgt he didn't always agree with me and support me. with harass rirks you got the strange -- with harass rirks you got the straight shot and nothing less. you always knew where he stood. he'he is transparent and honest. he is not only a great friend but a great father. we were both honored by the diabetes foundation as father of the year. he is the grand father of three. he never gives up, especially when he puts his mind to something. from an early age he knew the value of hard work. high school he went to salesiadams schooled and worked his way through school to make sure that he could afford a good agency. a vietnam veteran, served our country in wartime and since he came home, he's never stopped working for working families and
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veterans, and i was particularly proud to work with him in his role at the sprinkler fitters and then the building tradeds council on helmets to hard hats on offering training and job training to real veterans. you've seen him fight for his workers, family, and community. programs the greatest example of his will was his most recent fight. he suffered a stroke a few months ago. harry dug in as he has his entire life. he finished his physical and occupational therapy faster than doctors thought he could. everyone who knows him will agree with me that he deserves the years he will now bet to geo spend in the beautiful beaches of delaware. let me offer a tribute to a lifelong friend and mentor, james wilcox brown. he set sail on april 2 had at the age of 65, the gentle
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determination and unconditional kindness with which he lived his life inspired all around him, including his family, his friends, and this junior senator from delaware. jim graduated from selasiadam high school. he worked as legal counsel for w.l. gore for 36 years and as a member of the j.a.g. corps for 26 years retiring as colonel. his tireless community service was broad and deeply felt and i was proud to be able to appoint him to delaware's service academy selection board. he is survived by his wife peggy and their four wonderful children and six grandchildren. sainldzly wanted to add my voice to so many who will deeply miss this patriot, this great lawyer, this centered, thoughtful, and kind man, and this personal friend who helped teach me the importance of humility and of a commitment to excellence. thank you, madam president. with that, i yield the floor.
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mr. pryor: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. pryor: thank you, madam president. i come today with a psalm and a story. the psalm i want to read is one of the most nameous passages in all of scripture. in times like this that arkansas has been through, a lot of people go to ecclesiastes or job or one of the gospels, but i wanted to read psalm 23. "the lord is my shepherd, i shall not want. he makes my lai down in green pastures. he leads me beside still waters. he restores my soul. he leads me in paths of righteousness through his namesake. even though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i will fear no evil. and you are with me -- for you are with me.
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your rod and your staff, they comfort me. you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and i shall dwell in the house of the lord forever." madam president, on sunday, september 27, 2014, at about 7:06 p.m., a tornado touched down right on the saline and pulaski county lines just west of little rock. it stayed on the ground for about an hour. crossed the arkansas river. crossed near a little town called mayflower. now the weather service tells us it was an ef-4, and that means it had a wind speed of up to 190 miles per hour. 190 miles per hour. we lost 15 arkansans, madam president, and we'll never
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forget them, and we love them and their families. we'll miss them, and it's a great loss to each and every arkansan and really each and every american. paula blakemore of el paso, mark bradley of mayflower, jamie collins of alonia, helen grier of mayflower, jeffrey hunter of velonia, dennis laverne, glenna laverne, david mallory, robert oliver, cameron smith, tyler smith, rob at this tittle, rebea tittli, tory tittle and daniel watson. madam president, you can see and hear from those names that a lot of these were family members and obviously members of a few communities in my state. i want to thank my colleagues first because many called and reached out in various ways.
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some covered meetings for me. in fact, senator jack reed of rhode island actually covered a military promotion ceremony which was really special for me -- for him to do and special for everyone involved, so i thank him for that. and many, many, many of my colleagues have offered to help. also, we have had people from outside of arkansas who have reached out. i know our governor has fielded calls from a number of other governors from around the country, and our emergency management people have been reached out to by other emergency management folks. you know, another phenomenon that's happened in our state, we neighbor several states who have gone through this before. one of those is missouri. i see my colleague from missouri here in the chamber today. people from missouri came down and helped. people from oklahoma came down and helped. of course we helped those states in their time of need, and it was so reassuring and so appreciated that those folks would come, those previous storm victims would come to arkansas and help us. we really, really do mean that.
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we appreciate it very much. and of course the federal officials, they reached out. i was in the car with our governor, governor mike beebe when president obama called him and that meant a lot, and they were able to work through some of the federal-state issues immediately right there on the phone. that was great. of course secretary jay johnson called the governor and i talked to him that same day. he is trying to come in the next few days to arkansas. i hope he is able to make it. craig fugate, and we appreciate the resources that fema brings and their attention to our state. one of the things that we recognize is the work is just beginning. i see my colleague from louisiana. i don't know if anyone better in this chamber understands than louisiana about recovering from a widespread disaster, but nonetheless, also, madam president, i want to just thank and acknowledge the thousands and thousands of arrest san cans who made a
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difference -- of arkansans who made a difference. one of the underappreciated groups i want to mention, they probably don't get enough notoriety, and this sounds kind of silly, but the tv weather people. as soon as the storms were in the area, they broke from the normal broadcasting, they went wall-to-wall coverage. i talked to so many folks in mayflower and those areas where they said hey, we watched it on tv, we could see exactly where that storm was and that's what saved us because we knew it was coming. the sirens were going. i was at a dinner with some friends of mine in little rock. we heard the sirens, we heard the weather radio go off. sure enough, we turned on the television and we watched it, too, just like everyone else. the department of emergency management has been off the charts good. there is a man there named david maxwell who unfortunately has a lot of experience with this. adem has been phenomenal. we have a system in arkansas we call code red. that got activated, that worked very, very well. the mayors, elected officials, county judges, et cetera, they all came together. we also obviously had first
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responders that rolled in immediately, and that was great. general wafford of the arkansas national guard activated 54 guardsmen. they showed up, they did their duty. it's so reassuring to the communities when they see those men and women in uniform. first of all they have a lot of training and experience. it stabilizes a lot of things. the other thing i noticed is when i pulled up there, there were police cars and fire trucks and everything from -- it seemed like every jurisdiction in arkansas. so really, really great to see that. and i know that, you know, one of the real unsung heroes in this is just everyday, ordinary arkansans, just everyday citizens. they came and they brought their chain saws and they checked their kids out of school to go help. they rolled out and really streamed in to help. then we have other folks, they are too many to mention, but some of the state agencies that are underappreciated on things like this. the arkansas game and fish commission, the forestry commission, they had people there clearing the way and
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knocking down things, highway department. you know, the utilities, as always, utilities, they sprung into action. even though power was down for a pretty good while, i think we had about 35,000 customers or so without power for a little while. they got that taken care of, got their folks from other states to come in as we do. we have intergy brought people in from other states, got their contracts going. one of the things i noticed, madam president, is the churches. the churches really are prepared for this, and part of their mission. i did notice that the state baptist convention has what they call a mobile mass feeding unit. in the first three days, they fed 4,300 hot meals in velonia alone. i don't know what they were doing in other places, but it was great for the volunteers that were helping and also the families there to be able to go
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get a hot meal. of course, salvation army and red cross, all of them really rolled out and helped. again, these two senators who are here in the chamber with me today, they have been through these tragedies before and they know the insurance industry rolls out, sets up temporary things. i saw lots of insurance folks with clipboards and cameras and all the things they needed. the wireless companies came, put up temporary towers because a lot of those were knocked down. charging stations for folks, things like that. wal-mart, one of our largest -- the largest company based in arkansas, it came with truckloads of water, diapers, snacks, various kinds of donations. you know, baby wipes, batteries, flashlights, whatever people needed, it seemed like wal-mart was there with a truck to offload and really help people do what they need to do. and tyson foods is another one of our great arkansas companies. they have a program they call meals that matter, and they do three meals a day. and i saw their trucks there at the mayflower school where they
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were set up. i saw this big tyson truck just sitting there, and i knew everybody was scurrying around and the other trucks. i said what is that one? that one is just full of ice. they have learned through these tragedies and other things where they go that ice is in very, very short supply. so to try to keep things cold and to give people something cool to drink, it's very important. but anyway, we could talk about this for a long time because seeing those people and seeing what they have gone through. i was there the next morning with the governor and a number of other people, the attorney general and a number of others. madam president, it was very emotional. you talk to some folks and they are grieving for the loss of their loved one or next door neighbor in one case. i talked to a man who lost his mother. but then again at the same time the others are rejoicing to be safe and to have their lives and the lives of their children. i know that one man i talked to who i think -- i never even got his name, but i think he was
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stationed at little rock air force base, he said he looked out his front door and he saw the storm. it was bearing down on his house, there wasn't any way to avoid it. he grabbed his kids, threw them in the bathtub, got some blankets, covered them all up including himself in the bathtub. he said for about 45 seconds, it sounded like they had an f-16 in their house. and when it stopped finally, he took the blankets off. at this point, they weren't in the bathroom anymore, they were in the garage and the roof had collapsed and they couldn't get out. before long, they heard some neighbors calling for them and they were able to dig a tunnel and get those three girls out and then he got out. so, you know, just got out with scratches, but it's an amazing story of perseverance. i know that the day after the storm or two days after the storm, there is a little hardware store there in mayflower called h.p. true value hardware, and that building was really shaken to its
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foundations. i mean, it's a total wreck but the merchandise was good in there. and this is this man's entire career, his entire working life is right there in that building. a local hardware store. he is going to turn it over to his daughter one day. she was there with her children. they were getting the merchandise out and trying to get it into some sort of storage so it could be saved while they rebuild. that's a real-life matter for them, so we tried to help there. i remember standing in someone's -- out by the curb in front of their home or what used to be their home that was just a pile of rubble, and at first when you look at that, all you see is just debris. your eye can't even focus on it. you don't know what you are looking at. then when you actually sit there and take a moment and look, i looked down there and i saw oh, well, there is a ceiling fan motor. the blades were all gone but there is a ceiling fan motor. right there, gosh, i see legos mixed in the yard. oh, there is an upside-down sink. right here on the pavement, it's a family portrait, whether it's
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this family or that family or a family from a mile away, who knows, but nonetheless, a family portrait, just a color photo laying there in the middle of the street. i know that one of the things i saw, madam president, as i stood there and i saw what used to be a house and there was the front door and the door frame and it was brick and sort of the stoop and the steps going up to the house, but there was no house there. all that was left was the door frame. you think about that, you think about those people and their house is completely gone and they have to rebuild. i did hear a story. i didn't talk with the people, but a story was going around with some of the volunteers who were out there working about a -- a family that survived and their dog survived, and the way the dog survived is as the storm -- the tornado was hitting their home, they actually grabbed the dog by the collar. he was trying to fly out the window or what was left of the house, and they held onto -- they were holding onto for dear
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life and they held onto the dog for his dear life and they made it. a lot of times you go up to a house where a house was, and it's just a concrete slab, that's all there was. you just look at that and you go how did anybody survive that, but they did in most cases. and i went to a friend of mine's farm, a guy named preston scroggins who i have known for a long time. he is a really good guy, pillar of the community kind of person up there. i went to his home and i saw that -- that he lost everything. he lost his home, lost all of his vehicles. he had a big farm shop, what we call a shop which is a metal building. has, you know, steel girders in it. and i've never seen this before with a tornado, but when they built that -- that metal building, of course they built these girders to hold it up and then the -- sort of the siding type stuff on the side and the roofing, all metal, but -- and
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of course the steel was twisted, and that's pretty bad. that takes a lot of force just to twist that steel like that, but what i had never seen before is the footings of the building were these huge concrete balls where they dug a hole, filled it with concrete and stuck the steel girders in there to caused footings. this tornado actually picked up those balls out of the earth. they were actually picked up and setting down a few feet away from the big hole in the ground. that's an amazing amount of force. that's what an f-4 does. and it didn't just knock down buildings. it obliterated them. and the beautiful thing about our state is that it did not obliterate people's dreams. we talked to one woman and she said well, this was my dream house, but the amazing thing was was -- is that a new phrase has been created out of this. we heard people saying it over
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and over. they called it arkan-strong, because people in our state, they are resilient, they are strong people, they are scrappers. part of being strong is to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and dusting yourself off and go out and do more that day and improve what you have got and work for your family. but also one element of being strong is about neighbor helping neighbor. we saw that in abop dance therew that in abundance there in arc ancht to be able to sit there in your front yard and you have no worldly possessions left. it looks like your pickup truck has been beat with 20 men coming out there with hammers and beating on it. for you to sit there and your house is in ruins and there's nothing left and for you to look at me and say, "well, it's just stuff," that takes a strong person to say that. that's someone who has the right perspective. you see the bravery, the
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selflessness, the general ross tirks and you -- the generosity, and you know why these amazing people i help, you know why i'm so very, very proud to be their senator. i am also proud of the senate because it wasn't too long ago would we voted for -- that we voted for disaster relief. we now have money sufficient to cover this and other disasters. i wish i could say this was going to be the last one for the year. but everybody knows as well as i do that this won't be the last one for the year. but let me close for that song. "lord of my shepherd, i shall not want. he makes me lie down in green pastures." our people have found those. they will continue to be finding those as we go through this. "he leads me beside still waters." that's a very comforting thing and they need to be comforted right now. "he restores my soul." one thing liked up is the
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definition of "soul" according to webster's is "the engine physical aspect of a person." it is a person's emotional and moral nature. where the most private thoughts and feelings are hidden. the complex of human atricts that manifest as consciousness, thought, feeling and will. anyway, he restores my soul. "he leads me in paths of righteousness for his names sake, even though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death." those people in arkansas nona they have faw walked through the shadow of the valley of death. "your rod and your staff, they comfort me. you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies and anoint my head with oil. my cup overflows." and i'll tell you, the attitude of the people of citizen of my r
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cup is overflowing. those blessings continue to come. "surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and i shall dwell in the house of the lord forever." having that perspective is going to get a lot of these people through that. i want to thank and thank all my colleagues for all the best wishes and all the willingness to help and the offers of assistance and all the things that make up the senate family, and with that, i know i have a couple of colleagues that are waiting to speak. so with that, madam president, i yield the floor. thank you. mr. blunt: madam president, i want to real estate spond to my good friend from -- respond to my good friend from arc average we know more about tornadoes than we'd like to know. our friends from louisiana know about tornadoes and hurricanes, both. but thinking about -- we had a
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massive tornado in joplin, missouri, in the last week. in fact one at baxter spring and papau and the tornadoes in arkansas and mississippi. that tornado was three years ago, i believe, nex next week, t the first responders were your neighbors. before anybody else can get there, your neighbors are there thinking about seeing people come in and get that man out of the garage with his three little girls and your neighbors beginning to help you collect those few things that are left that may just be stuff, but it's your stuff, and it's pictures and it's things that can't be replaced. but what really can't be replaced are the lives that are saved and what can't be replaced are the lives that are lost and people will live with that tragedy no matter how resilient. that's a tragedy that lasts forever. for all those families affected this week, the ones that our
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friend mr. pryor talk torkd the ones that others talked to, the hometown of two of our colleagues of mississippi, tupelo, hit by a tornado, these are tragic moments when neighbors come together. that and faiths, as senator pryor said, are what help people get through this. i have a couple things i want to talk b one, this is a national mental health awareness month. just started today. senator stabenow and i have introduced some legislation -- we're introducing legislation this week "caring for america's heroes act" that would just look what the we're doing in the military. we're looking carefully at the military as it relates to what we're doing to help our veterans and to help those who serve. i was at fort leonard wood just a few days ago, at waynesville, missouri, talking to the hospital personnel there about mental health issues as it relates to the many new
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inductees that come there and as it relates to the full-time force and the retirees that come there. and when the act that senator stabenow and i are throwf introg this week would do is to treat mental health conditions like other health conditions for dependents, for spouses, dependents for retirees who now have a limit on what can be done and how many hospital days you can stay for mental health, that's not the same limit for anything else. and there's no justifiable reason pour it not b for it note same limit. i think we'll have good support from the defense department to just simply ensure that military dependents and retirees who are covered under tricare, for instance, are treated in the same manner for inpatient mental health services as they would be for any other injury or any other kind of health. bringing those to par with
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others as important. i sc asked the surgeon general f the army just a few days ago if the national institutes of health estimate that one out of four adults -- americans have a behavioral health problem, that if diagnosed can almost always be treated, if that would relate to the military as well. and her view was yes. we recruit from the general population. we don't have any reason to believe that those numbers aren't reflected in our population as well. and the so, as we move forward, we need to be sure in mental health awareness month and in a month where, as in every month, we should be always mindful of our veterans and retir retireest we're pursuing those solutions for them as we are for the country generally and hopefully we'll be able to work with the defense department and get this one gap closed in the very near
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future. i want to talk for a few minutes, madam president, about where we are on health care. i know that there was an attempt in recent days to take a victory lap, and maybe again today, over a number of people that sign up. i will just say one more time, i don't think that's the way you can measure this. i said when the web site wouldn't work, we can't measure this whether the web site works or not because surely eventually the web site will work. and we shouldn't measure this by how many people sign up. because the people that sign up don't have any other option. they are option is to not sign up at all or to sign up. that's not much of a choice for most people, although i'm going to talk in a minute about a couple of people that have decided they don't have a reasonable choice, so they're not signing up for anything. but we need to make sure that this government does what's necessary to create access to what's been the best health care system in the world. we all want people to have access to that system.
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the question really is, are we doing that the right way? now, polling clearly shows that people don't think we're doing that the right way, and the president's numbers reflect that, the kaiser family foundation poll shows that just 38% of people think the law is work as intended . 57% think it is not working the way the white house had hoped. surely the rollout, the signup -- you can talk all want about how many people sign up. there is a debate going on in the house of representatives this week about, well, they sign the up, but did they pay? according to the house commerce committee, they say that insurers tell them that only two-thirds of the people that are signed up have paid. if you don't pay, you're not really signed up and you don't really have cofnlg. i don't think any insurance works that way. that same committee's report said that only 25% of paid
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enrollees are within the crucial age range, which is 18-34. for this to work, you have to have people who are young and healthy sign up as well. and why isn't that happening? the original estimate was we need 25%. why is it that insurance costs more for other people. that would spline why young people aren't signing up. prior to january 1 of this year, if you were young and healthy, you might pay 20% of what the person at the other end of the spectrum was paying. now you'd have to pay at least 33%. maybe that's why those people aren't signing up. and the of course the workforce impact of people who have part-time jobs because full-time scwobjobs are covered, jobs of e
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than 30 howmples the house recent placed the save america's workers act to increase wages by saying, no it is not a 30-hour standard. it should be a 40-hour standard. i am a cosponsor of the senate bill that would do that same thing that senator collins has been advocating for for months now. the unintended consequences at the workplace are not fair to american families, they're not fair to american workers. we can do something about one of those unintended consequences by just saying, wait a minute. the 40-hour workweek that we've always said was full-time work should still be the 40-hour work weerks no-- -- 40-hour work weet the 30-hour workweek. it is going to to cost $121 million to repair the web site. which is a whole lot more than the $94 million already spent to create the web site. i wonder what would have happened if we had taken that
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money and bought insurance forbe the people that we were trying to move from uninsured to insured? and let me say -- i am going to give about three more examples today. my time is limited on the floor. i have got down a handful about families that are dramatically impacted by this. the law of averages surely there is a good story out there to tell. but there are lots of stories and they're -- no matter what anybody says, these stories over and over again turn out to be tragedies for families. randy from mexico, missouri, and his wife had plan that he liked but they received a cancellation notice in october. he went to the exchange to find -- and found that the exchange, he'd have to pay over $600 more a month in premiums and faced
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deductibles that were $3,500 higher than they had had in the past. so $600 increase in premiums, $3,500 higher deductibles. the cheapest plan traibl to randy and his wife would have them paying $14,000 in premiums a year and they'd have $11,000 deductible before the insurance would pay anything. $25,000? so randy and his wife decided, that's really not insurance at all. so we're not going to have insurance. found the best thing he could find. found what was available. decided it just clearly wouldn't work. and, madam president, it wouldn't work for any of us either. any of us who really need snuns, if it was going to cost $25,000 annually before a single thing was covered, we wouldn't think that was snuns. and we've got a system that obviously the best thing that randy of mexico, missouri, could find was that that was his option that he had. neil lost his job two weeks and
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decided to go back. he is from raymore, missouri, decided to go back to school full-time. hhe's had nerve damage in his back and takes several medications. his doctor prescribes 120 pills a month but his insurance plan will only pay for 100 pills a month. so neil says, not only does he have pain that he didn't have before, but he says there's nothing i can do about it. nobody wants to help. the doctor says i need 120 pills a month. the insurance says they're not going to let me have more than 100. i think he wishes this was between he and his doctor instead of he and his insurance company. myron and his family have annual premiums that went from $2,200 to $6,500. a $4,300 increase. he found his doctor is no longer in the network. he doesn't want to have a new
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doctor. he liked his old insurance, but it was canceled, and he can't get to the doctors he used to use with his new insurance. campus problem, young, healthy son on the campus. his insurance was $550 a semester last semester. this year, it's $770 a semester so he can have the same insurance that in all likelihood he won't use because he is, after all, young and healthy, but the 40% increase is an increase that the law almost requires because the law went from five different categories of people to be insured to three and the top one can't pay more than three times what the bottom one pays. and one final story. this is dennis from dexter, missouri, near missouri's boot heel. he is an insurance broker. he says he has lots of stories he can tell but the one that came to mind that he told us
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about this week was that people had had a nationwide network of doctors in a plan that used to sell. now they are transitioned to a network that's much smaller and it only works in the state you reside in. missouri has as many states that touch it as any. eight states touch our state. many people live on or near a border. if you live on or near a border in that exchange, you can't go to the hospital or doctor that in all likelihood that may be ten miles from where you are because it is not in your state. when i was first told that, i just simply didn't believe it. the more we checked into it, that's what we found out that people were finding over and over again. the policies that he could get didn't allow them to go a reasonable way if they had to cross a border. so we have work to do. i hope we can do it. i think there are ways we could work together, but the real thing we have to solve here is better health care for families and affordable health care and health insurance for families.
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it's not happening right now. i hope we move to a better place, and i would yield the floor. mr. vitter: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you, madam president. madam president, i come to the floor again to urge consideration and a vote and a positive vote on my no washington exemption from obamacare proposal. you know, madam president, i think the first rule of american democracy should be that whatever congress chooses to impose on america, it lives by itself. whatever laws washington passes, it lives by itself. and that should be the rule across the board and that should certainly include health care and obamacare. but, madam president, that is not the case, that's not the case at all because there is a washington exemption from obamacare, there are special
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interest washington subsidies under obamacare that the average american doesn't get in any way, shape or form. so as it relates to health care and obamacare, i think the rules should be simple. the baseline plan, the fallback position for all americans are what we live by, and under obamacare, that was first during the debate called the public option, but then it came to be known as the exchanges, and that should be the plan that we all live by and our staff lives by and the white house and top members of the administration live by. no special exemption, no special deal, no special subsidy, no special treatment. now, that was the intent of an amendment and that's actually the clear language of an amendment that actually passed this body and passed the process and became part of obamacare, thanks to the leadership of
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chuck grassley and others, and i certainly strongly supported the amendment, there was a clear amendment added onto obamacare in the senate that said every member of congress, all of our staff have to go to the so-called exchanges for our health care. the problem is on the way to implementing that after passage of the bill, folks around here understood what that meant, and so they watered down and amended that language through the back door by administrative fiat in an illegal way, and so they got the president and his administration to issue a special rule that took all of the sting out of that amendment. that rule did two things. first of all, it came up with the mechanism whereby a lot of congressional staff don't even have to go to the exchanges at all, and secondly, this illegal
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rule gave members of congress a special subsidy to go to the exchanges that no other american gets at comparable income levels, no one else gets, completely unique. in addition to that, madam president, the administration, top members of the administration like cabinet officials and top white house aides, have never been subjected to anything like the same rule. so, again, i think we should come back to what almost all americans feel should be the first rule of american democracy. what's good for america has to be good for washington. what's imposed on america needs to be imposed first and foremost on washington, no special exemptions, no special subsidies, no special carveouts, no special deals, and that's what my no washington exemption from obamacare proposal is
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about. every member of congress, our staff and the white house and top administration officials should go to the exchanges for our health care with no special deal, no special exemption, no special subsidy. madam president, i have been fighting for simply a full debate and vote on this for six months now and unfortunately have been completely shut out of any vote. this started as soon as the administration announced its special illegal rule to get around this provision of obamacare late last year, and as soon as that was announced, i said this is wrong, we need to address this, we need to stop this, and i proposed my clarifying language. and i brought up that language as an amendment on the floor as soon as i could. it was in september of last
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year, on the portman-shaheen bill, which is back on the floor now. after a lot of back and forth, the majority leader finally agreed fine, we'll have a vote on the vitter amendment on this subject. in fact, senator reid was quoted in "the hill" september 17 of last year -- quote -- " what i have said i would do is we'll vote on vitter," meaning my no washington exemption language. going back to his quote -- "as senseless as that is." i appreciate that endorsement of the proposal. "i mean we'll go ahead and do that," close quote. so he agreed to that provision on portman-shaheen. that was reported the same day by bloomberg, september 17. quote -- "reid said on the senate floor that a vote would
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be allowed on the vitter proposal as long as republicans agreed to consider a yet to be unveiled democratic counterproposal that would be offered either as a side-by-side or second-degree amendment." close quote. and also that same day in c.q., "reid said tuesday he was willing to give david vitter, remarks, louisiana on his proposal to force more government workers onto health care exchanges and to pay the premiums themselves." close quote. in addition, at the same time, the next day, september 18, and the day following, september 19, senators shaheen and portman said the same thing. senator shaheen was on the senate floor september 18 saying great, we'll give senator vitter his vote. i have no problem with that. senator portman, september 19, the same thing. quote -- "my understanding is that there has been a general agreement to have a vote on the vitter amendment. that is something i have heard on the floor from leadership."
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close quote. well, as we all know, that agreement never materialized, was never honored, i have never gotten that vote. it's now six months later, and i am simply asking for a full debate and fair up-or-down vote on this important issue. look, it's a free country. people don't have to agree with me, but let's have a vote. we voted yesterday on something that we have voted and revoted on multiple times at the majority leader's insistence. i'm asking for one vote on this important issue that the american people care about. we voted and revoted on things multiple times. i'm asking for one clear vote on this issue. after the majority leader agreed to a vote on this amendment that i never got in september, a
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couple months later when i was revisiting the issue, he said okay, we can have a vote but it has to be the only vote on this this congress. well, i resisted that at the time, but i'll take that. one vote. can we have one vote on this important issue this congress? can we have a modicum of free expression and open debate and an open amendment process on the senate floor? can we have one vote on this issue that the american people certainly care about? that's what i'm asking. that's what i'm asking for for the majority leader to honor his commitment. that's what i am pushing for. that's what i will continue to push for, which is why i'm filing the amendment to the portman-shaheen bill. and again, i'm filing it to this bill for one clear reason. that's the context in our previous consideration of
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portman-shaheen where i was told we agree to having a vote on this issue. we will have the vote. i'm simply asking that that commitment be honored. now, having said all of this, madam president, i also care deeply about other important issues, including energy issues, including moving forward with a very important jobs project for america, the keystone x.l. pipeline. and because of that, when i saw the majority leader's recent proposal that we move ahead on portman-shaheen with five energy related votes, one of which would clearly be the keystone x.l. pipeline, i certainly took that very seriously. that is also an important issue. that deserves a vote. it's had votes in the past, but that needs to be addressed.
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so as soon as i saw that, i -- and again, this is an offer by the majority leader, a hotline request that we now consider the portman-shaheen bill and limit considerations to five energy related amendments that we would be -- that would be chosen by the republican leader. and so as i saw that hotline and that offer, i called the republican leader to make sure of two points, two points i care about quite a bit. number one, that one of those amendments would be a very substantive amendment on the keystone pipeline, not general, vague sense of the senate language but binding language that would approve without the president's involvement this very important jobs project. and number two, that at least one of the other amendments was an important matter within the
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jurisdiction of the e.p.w. committee on which i serve as ranking member. the majority -- the republican leader absolutely agreed that that was the case. yes, absolutely. once we lock in this unanimous consent request by leader reid, one of those votes would absolutely be a binding proposal about the keystone pipeline. another would clearly be an important matter from the jurisdiction of the committee on which i serve as ranking member on e.p.w. and so those are important matters and those are significant votes, so i will set aside temporarily my pursuit of this no washington exemptions vote. i promise you i will be back to it. i promise you i will use every reasonable opportunity to get that vote which was promised me last september, six months and
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counting, but i believe we should move forward with majority leader reid's proposal that he made as a hotline request this morning. and so i offer that, madam president, as unanimous consent agreement so we can lock it down and move forward and move forward with this keystone vote, move forward with these other energy votes and then move forward beyond that hopefully to a vote on the no washington exemption language very soon. and so i make as a unanimous consent request majority leader reid's own proposal, that there be unanimous consent agreement on s. 2262, the energy efficiency bill, that we move to its immediate consideration, that the only amendments in order be five amendments to be offered by the republican leader
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or his designee related to energy policy, with a 60-vote threshold on adoption of each amendment, and that following the disposition of these amendments, the senate will proceed to a vote on passage of the bill as amended, if amended. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. durbin: madam president, reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: i would like to ask for consent to speak for five minutes in response to the senator from louisiana after i have responded to his unanimous consent request. mr. vitter: madam president? the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. vitter: madam president, reserving the right to object by only ask for the opportunity to respond to the response to the unanimous consent request before the leader proceeds. but i have no objection otherwise to his speaking after that for five minutes. the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader.
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mr. mccain: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: what is the request? the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: first, reserving the right to object, what the senator from louisiana has characterized as the majority leader's position on the pending legislation has not been stated by the majority leader and i suggest he talk, the senator from louisiana speak to his leadership and work with the majority leader to resolve differences on amendments. i object. mr. vitter: madam president, reclaiming the floor --. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: let me read the exact text of a hotline. hootline is a message that goes out to all senators. quote -- "the majority leader in in consultation with the republican leader would like to enter into a unanimous consent agreement on s. 2262, the energy efficiency bill. the only amendments in order would be five amendments to be offered by the republican leader or his designee related to
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energy policy with a 60-vote threshold on adoption of each amendment. following the disposition of these amendments, the senate will proceed to a vote on passage of the bill as amended if amended" -- close quote. that is clearly an expression of the majority leader's proposal in consultation with the republican leader. that's what was sent to all members of the senate, at least on our side, after a personal discussion between the majority leader and the republican leader. so just to be crystal clear, my unanimous consent right now is that hotline request that has been clearly characterized as the request of the majority leader in consultation with the republican leader. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: i know the senator
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from arizona is waiting to take the floor. i waited for the senator from louisiana to finish his lengthy statement about several issues. i ask unanimous consent to speak for only five minutes and maybe less and then i'll leave and turn the floor over to the senator from arizona. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. vitter: reserving the right to object, i'd just like two minutes to respond and i don't mean to delay the senator from arizona but i'd like two minutes to respond. the presiding officer: is there objection to -- mr. vitter: there is objection and i propose an alternative unanimous consent that the senator from illinois speak for up to five minutes followed by me for up to two minutes. mr. mccain: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: reserving the right to object, i will not object but i ask that unanimous consent that following the completion of what was just discussed, that the senator from south carolina and i be allowed 20 minutes for our time to speak.
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mr. durbin: reserving the right to object, i think there is a vote scheduled at 1:45. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois is correct, there is a vote scheduled at 1:45. is there objection to the request from the senator from louisiana? without objection, so ordered. the assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: because my friend from arizona has waited patiently i'll turn five minutes into three minutes. the question is health insurance for members of the senate and their staff. the senator from louisiana said we shouldn't be treated differently and he's right. turns out members of the senate and their staff go to get their health insurance through the health insurance exchanges just like eight million other americans and we buy our health insurance not from a special little company but from the same list of a hundred in my case, a hundred different policies
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available to anyone working in the district of columbia. my wife and i chose blue cross/blue shield. that's covering us. that was our choice. we're paying a monthly premium. our employer, the federal government, is contributing toward that premium. like every other family in america. where the employer makes a contribution, in this case the federal government, and the employee makes a contribution, in this case this senator and his wife. we're being treated like everyone else. now he wants to take away the employer contribution not just for members of the senate but also for our staffers. these poor hardworking people, all they want is health insurance like every other family, the senator from louisiana is going to make a statement of principle here, they shouldn't get employer contribution to their health insurance. what a noble and courageous position. well, the question is whether he's going to turn back any federal subsidy for his health insurance. i don't know if he does or not.
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it would be a show of good faith if he the. ill i will fight for the right of members of congress to be treated like everybody else, buying insurance in exchanges from private health insurance companies, policies available to everyone else with an employer contribution and i will fight for staffers, democrats and republicans, to have that same right. the senator from louisiana has held up a bill on the floor of the senate all week because he wants to call that amendment. isn't it about time that we get 0 the business of the senate and do something? we're going to leave today, we'll come back next week. i'll hope he'll have second thoughts about holding up the senate for another week. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: i had the feeling by need to respond to whatever was said and i was certainly right. a couple of things just to set the facts right. first of all, my proposal does mean washington is treated like all other americans with regard to obamacare. that's not going on now.
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many members of our staff don't have to go to the exchange. all others and members of congress get a huge taxpayer-funded subsidy that no other american at the same income level gets, no other american. and the obama administration, white house officials, don't fall under that requirement at all to go to the exchange. that's number one. number two, i don't take that subsidy. the assistant majority leader is a little late to the game. i made that decision months ago and announced it so i do not take that subsidy. and number three, the assistant majority leader has just rejected a proposal of the majority leader in consultation with the republican leader. i don't know why they can't take yes for an answer. they're complaining about me holding up a bill that is not on the floor yet and i'm asking for unanimous consent that they initiated with regard to energy
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amendments. and let me just read the exact text of the hotline again. qois the majority leader in consultation -- quote -- "the majority leader in consultation with the republican leader would like to into a unanimous consent request on the energy efficiency bill. the only amendments in order to be five amendments to be offered by republican leader the republican leader or his designee related to energy policy with a 60-vote threshold on adoption of each amendment. following disposition of these amendments the senate will proceed to a vote on passage of the bill as amended if if amended" -- close quote. i don't know why we can't take yes for an answer here. i'm holding up the bill? the bill isn't on the senate floor yet. i'm asking for unanimous consent that was a discussion and an idea of the majority leader in consultation with the republican leader, and now that's being objected to by the same sources who proposed it. this is silly. let's get on with important
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votes, let's get on with this important keystone vote, a binding keystone vote, and then let's in the future get on with important obamacare votes, certainly including my no washington exemption proposal. thank you, madam president. mr. mccain: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: how much time is remaining before the vote? the presiding officer: eight and a half minutes. mr. mccain: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that immediately following the vote that senator graham and i be a0 loud 20 minutes -- 20 minutes to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. mccain: thank you, madam president. i yield the floor and notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. grassley: i ask for the yeas and nays and yield back remaining time. the presiding officer: without objection all time is yielded back. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the question is on the chuang nomination. the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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