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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 28, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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helpful. >> i now recognize ms. block burn for five minutes. the mac thank you mr. chairman. thank you to our witnesses for your patience. we appreciate this. as you know we've got another hearing going on this morning. dr. sosin, i will come to you if i may. i have a copy of dr. frieden's testimony from this committee last year. and he was testifying about the june 2014 anthrax incident. he said -- i voted for the testimony -- and i'm quoting these incidents should've never happen. it was totally unacceptable. we will explore broader implications of these incidents and incorporate lessons learned from bad to proactively prevent
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future incidents he is at laboratories across the nation and the work with pathogens. so i want to know can you explain why we didn't seem to learn the lessons? can you talk about why there is another comprehensive review of safety and security of the bioterror land. why is another review necessary for the problems the cdc not corrected? and then who is going to conduct a new route you and ultimately who do we hold responsible for this? >> thank you for your questions. pardon me if i need refreshing. >> i would be happy to refresh you.
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>> i'm sure you will. .. thousands of procedures and -- >> your say no one person is in charge, it is done by committee? >> no. i'm saying the nature, the current nature of the federal
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select agent program is one of setting broad standards to achieve high laboratory performance. does not review each individual specific procedure at each entity. >> to procedures call for notifying congress? >> i'm sorry? >> to the procedures call for notifying congress if you need to do a review? if you have another incident? so that's not a part of your best your business process? >> i apologize if congress was not notified regarding the review that dr. frieden requested we take internally of the federal select agent program at the cdc. that review is not a review of cdc labs and procedures. that is a review of what opportunities -- >> let me ask you this. going back to his testimony where he says that it never
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should have happened, lack of adequate procedure, totally unacceptable, going to put processes in place that incorporate the lessons learned. was this not done last year? >> many things were done. this was not addressed. >> okay. so was not addressed. that's and to i wanted a yes or no. either it was done over it was not done. and that is what we want to know. seat, this is what is part of so frustrating, to the taxpayers who are footing the bill for the. because you all feel like you have immunity, if you will and you don't have to move forward and do the job because you have a continuing appropriation. you just don't do the job until it's convenient. >> congresswoman -- >> if you mess up once come to mess up twice, you mess up 86 times and it's no skin off your back because nobody is responsible because you operate
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by committee, because we ask you to do something and report back to us. what do you do cigarette as he we will get around to it later? maybe we need to have you go get the job done. >> perhaps i'm misunderstanding the -- >> have another hearing and look at this is something that is frustrating. you should be, realize once that it was a mistake and immediately move forward to correct the procedures and policies. and then should change the way that things are done. and i know i'm running out of time. i will yield back the balance of my time. >> i do think it's important clarify that the seed -- the cdc with anthrax was address. is a different situation to what i did acknowledged is that as a federal select agent program
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with anthrax, with inactivation, in hindsight we should have and we will address the inactivation procedures before that is used again. >> c-span gidget the best access to congress. live coverage but here's house congressional hearings and news conferences. bring it the events that shape public policy entity morning "washington journal" is live with elected officials, also makers and journalists enter comments by phone, facebook and twitter. c-span great white america's cable companies and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. >> the senate is currently in recess for their weekly party lunches but they will return in about 10 minutes right around 21552 the they will continue work on the secure highway and mass? >> caller: bill funding set to expire on that on 40. we could use of the procedure vote this afternoon with a final passage the possible before the end of the week.
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to learn more we spoke earlier with a capitol hill reporter. >> join us is kellie mejdrich. yesterday house majority leader kevin mccarthy said the house would not take up the senate secure highway funding bill this week at this when house republicans leaders announced the house would now consider a new short-term bill that would extend highway funding for just three months. how and why did this change? >> caller: so there's a couple of reasons. first of all this has been several weeks of messaging from the house since the senate released a multi-year authorization. transportation and ways and means leaders in the house just to believe that there's enough time to be able to examine the legislation. of the house to be able to speak on this before the august recess. and so they for a couple of weeks now, have pointed to the five months-ish, two december 18
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extension that they have offered. but the senate hasn't been a nikon has entered a multiyear deal and a late last night at the last minute by doctor the senate chose to go through a procedural motion that would basic require them to be dragging out a debate clock today, after they took that action late last night the house introduced a three-month extension of transportation program to october 29. so from what we have seen this just seems like a house is upping the ante in trying to force the senate to pass a short-term extension before breaking for recess. >> host: tell us some the details in this new three-month highway funding proposal. who are the main office of the bill? we are hearing it would include money for the veterans affairs department? >> caller: so the bill was sponsored by transportation infrastructure committee chair bill -- it has chairman paul
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ryan as a cosponsor, and we just got this bill text late last opportunity but is still pouring through it, including committee staff. not majority staff but ways and means, authorizing committee everybody is taking a look at this now. what we do know is that there is a provision in the bill to address the consolidation of veterans affairs health care programs. this is to deal with an impending cloture -- closure of certain of the hospitals but that is so something that has been figured out. over some type of an offset into bill for that. that's what i'm hearing from transportation advocates and other staff. but the main for the transportation part is that it would extend authorization to the end of october, october 29. but also includes $8 billion from the general fund an offset from the general fund.
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the same amount of money put into the transportation program. 8 billion general fund transfer to into the highway trust fund which is the bank account a century that the federal government uses to reimburse states for projects for transportation projects. they would keep an $8 billion general fund transfer into three-month extension. so while authorization and this bill will only stretch to the end of october financially they could keep the highway trust fund afloat through the end of december. and remember the highway trust fund faces a shortfall at the end of the summer. and so the house and the senate to act for the impending hole in the fund, the federal government will be unable to reverse states for projects they been working on, and states will not be able to engage in any new road repair. >> host: speaker boehner met with reporters earlier today and said he quote what do everything they can to get long-term highway bill.
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that's according to a tweet from your cq colleague. what's the likelihood that the house passes a long-term deal before this new three-month funding extension expires? >> caller: so speaker boehner also told reporters this morning that the short-term extension through the end of october was necessary to get to a highway bill sometime before the next extension that had just proposed yesterday expire. andand of his commitment to a long-term highway bill at least from what we've been reading is contingent on the senate going ahead and passing another short-term extension. speaker boehner bill shuster paul ryan all of the myths of this is way too soon be passing a multiyear deal and they have not budged and whether they're going to take it up. but again i guess it depends on the senate action later today. we will see but it seems unlikely that house when the to a long-term the recess. >> host: what is the status?
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it now also has the reauthorization the of the ex-im bank. what our senate leaders saying about the new house proposal? >> caller: to senate leaders are for display in the messaging from the house. they are contending that not only will they pass this bill but they will try to pass it in time for the house to take it up before they say they're going to leave by the end of thursday. this really depends on this afternoon. senator jim inhofe and senator dick durbin have said they're working on a unanimous consent agreement. basically they're going to try to take a move to cut short some of his procedural time that has been put in place. because of some of the actions they've done yesterday. the same as a very complicated procedural situation when it comes to this bill. there's many potential hangups and many potential stalls that could occur on certain is related to the bill.
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but the leaders are saying that they're going to try this afternoon to push to get the members to agree to take a key vote later this evening. instead of if they didn't do this move, defense will try to get senators to speed up the clock they would have to revisit this again tomorrow and it could be too late. >> host: quickly, what is the impact if no deal is done before the august congressional break? what are cities and towns what are they likely to see? >> caller: they could see those construction cones all around the freeways and local roads stay up but the workers might not be there. of these that's the messaging from a lot of transportation advocacy groups. the reality is if they don't do something to stop an impending shortfall on the highway trust fund, reauthorize transportation programs, states would be unable to engage in the summer construction work that they have been doing without the face of
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aracoma will have their backs. so this is such a potentially disruptive and financially costly consequence but i don't think any of the leaders in the house or the senate truly believe that they will not be able to come to some agreement before these observations expire. what really depends now is whether the house message about a short-term will outweigh defendants push for a long-term before the august deadline. that is what we'll see in the coming days, who reigns supreme in terms of who's going to be the one who takes the move to reauthorize before recess. >> host: kellie mejdrich is the correspondent for cq roll call. seek his website is thanks for your time always a pleasure. thanks so much spin we are a moment or two away from going back live to the floor of the u.s. senate. members will continue work on
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that six-year highway and mass? >> caller: bill. funding is set to expire this friday so we expect this afternoon several procedural votes with a final passage vote possible before the end of the week. quick reminder that house quick reminder that house foreign affairs committee hearing about the iran nuclear agreement just wrapping up a little while ago. it's been going for some four hours or so today. we will have it for you later tonight on c-span networks. now live to the floor of the senate here on c-span2.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: mr. president this friday, july 31 the authorization for the highway trust fund will expire, and the fund itself will be nearly out of money. that means that unless congress acts projects in new hampshire and across the country would grind to an abrupt halt. and in the face of this, the house has passed yet another
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short-term stop-gap bill. the senate is now debating and amending a long-term highway bill and my clear preference is for a long-term bill. i think it would be a terrible mistake to pass yet another short-term extension without at the same time taking action on a long-term bill like the senate is currently doing. only passing another short-term extension which would be the 34th since 2008 without taking steps toward a multiyear bill would be kicking the can down the road, and in this case, the road is overwhelmed by traffic badly in need of modernization and filled with patches and potholes. if you have driven around the roads in the district of columbia sometimes you wonder where you are because they are so bad so filled with potholes.
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and for a country that seeks to remain competitive in the 21st century, as we do in america this is totally dysfunctional and destructive. there are few more basic and necessary functions of government than providing for modernized highways, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. and yet in congress, we have been grossly neglecting this responsibility. china spends about 9% of gross domestic product on infrastructure. brazil spends about 8%. even in europe, they're spending about 4%. but infrastructure spending in the united states has fallen to just 2% of g.d.p. our highways and bridges face an $800 billion backlog of investment needs including nearly half a trillion dollars in critical repair work, and americans spend a staggering
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5.5 billion hours stuck in traffic each year. and yet in early may we saw a budget pass out of this congress, supported by the majority party that slashed federal funding for transportation by 40% over the next decade. i am especially concerned about disrepair and decay among our nation's bridges. that's why i filed an amendment which is a bill that i've introduced in previous congresses called the safe bridges act. the federal highway administration has identified more than 145,000 145,000 structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges. that's more than 20% of all the bridges in the united states. and in new hampshire it's actually a higher percentage. in may i went with the mayor and city manager of concord, new
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hampshire's state capital to inspect the rusted out and now-closed sewells falls bridge, which is one of the three critical bridges in concord across the merrimack river. i worked very hard with the city our office did to get necessary approvals from the u.s. department of transportation to replace this bridge. in fact, it's a replacement project that started back in 1994. the city of concord lined up all the permits and approvals and then nothing. because of uncertainty about federal funding for the project it was stopped dead in its tracks. my amendment the safe bridges act, would authorize an additional $2 million annually for the next three years to enable states to repair and replace their structurally deficient or functionally
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obsolete bridges. states would get funding based on their share of deficient bridges nationwide, and the additional funding is fully paid for by closing a corporate tax loophole. now, as the senate continues to debate the transportation bill, i hope we do get an opportunity to vote on relevant amendments like my safe bridges act. the negligent of our transportation infrastructure is creating congestion and gridlock on our roads. it's hurting our economy and our global competitiveness. it's also killing jobs, especially in the construction trades where employment has yet to recover from the great recession. according to a duke university study, providing federal funding to meet the u.s. department of transportation's infrastructure requests would create nearly 2.5 million new jobs, so our investment in this industry, which is one of the slowest recovering from the recession would create millions of new
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jobs. several months ago i joined with a bipartisan group of eight senators who had previously served as governors senators king rounds, kaine hoeven, warner carper, manchin and myself. we sent a letter to our senate colleagues urging that we commit to fully funding national infrastructure priorities and that we put a stop to the dysfunctional short-term fixes that have become routine in recent years. mr. president, i know you appreciate that it was a visionary republican president dwight eisenhower, who championed the interstate highway system in this country. the national interstate and defense highways act of 1956 -- and i think it's -- it's critical to think about the title of that bill, which was not just about commerce, but it was also about defense, it was about the security of our country. it ensured dedicated federal funding to build a network that
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today encompasses more than 46,000 miles of roadways. that system has transformed our economy, it's created countless millions of jobs, but it's now six decades old. it's dead -- its dedicated funding mechanism the highway trust fund, is chronically underfunded and just days from becoming insolvent. it is time for congress to come together to come together on a bipartisan basis to break the cycle of patchwork fixes. the bill before us is not perfect. there are a number of provisions included that i don't agree with if i had been writing the bill, but it's a compromise measure and it was ably negotiated by the leadership of the environment and public works committee, senators inhofe and boxer, along with numerous others in this body. so we have the opportunity to pass a six-year authorization bill with three years of funding. and yet what's happening in the
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house today? the house is passing another short-term extension and they're getting ready to leave town. they're not even going to stay and take up the bill that's going to come out of the senate that's a long-term bill. they're going to give us another short-term bill that is going to leave states like new hampshire up in the air with thousands of people who are not sure if they're going to have a job next week when the money runs out who aren't sure what the future is going to hold, companies who can't plan because they don't know if we've got a long-term highway funding bill. it is time for congress now to pass a fully funded multiyear highway bill that will allow governments at all levels to planner long-term capital investment projects, to build a 21st century transportation system that meets the needs of our 21st century economy.
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mr. president, i hope that we in the senate will be able to pass this bill and that our house colleagues will recognize that they need to stay here and get this work done. thank you very much, and i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i ask that the
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quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: i also ask to speak as if in morning business for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: mr. president i'm here to talk about energy, both lower-cost energy and who is going to supply it. you might say why today? because sources tell me after almost seven years president obama is going to turn down the keystone pipeline project. seven years. this is an application that was filed by the trans-canada company in september 2008, so here we are in year six in september it will be secretary of years the application has been pending, the administration has still not made a decision, delay or defeat through delay. so the question is, well, why then is he going to turn down the project now?
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and it's because he'll wait until congress is out of session for august and then he'll turn the project down while congress is not in session to have less pushback less criticism of the decision make it under the radar. and that timing is understandable because he's making a political decision rather than a decision based on the merits. as we know, congress overwhelmingly supports the project. the house overwhelmingly passed approval of the keystone pipeline project. here in the senate we had 62 votes in favor of the measure. we were actually missing some members or we would have had 63. but strong bipartisan, -- overwhelming parliament in the house and the senate. we sent it to the president and he vetoed it. he vetoed it saying it was up to
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him to make the decision, not congress congress went on record overwhelmingly in support of the project congress approved the project but he vetoed the bill. and said that's his decision to make. now we hear he's going to make it and turn down the project. but the congress overwhelmingly supports it, the states on the route, the keystone pipeline route, overwhelmingly support it. there are six states on the route, every single state has approved the project. montana, south dakota, nebraska kansas, oklahoma, texas, they've all approved the project. so congress supports it, the states support it, but most importantly, the american people support it. in poll after poll, the american people have overwhelmingly shown support for the project. 65% to 70% strong, overwhelming support for the project. why do they support it? that's what this is really all
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about, the merits of the project. they support it on the merits. because it means more energy for this country energy produced in this country and in canada, energy produced in my home state of north dakota, energy produced in montana 830,000 barrels of oil a day from canada and the united states that we can use right here refine in our refineries and then we can use rather than getting it from some other country opec russia, venezuela, you name it. it's energy we produce here at home. first and foremost, republicans support it because they want our energy produced here at home. they want us to be secure. it's about jobs. it's about jobs. this is a multibillion-dollar investment that creates good construction jobs. it's about economic growth, growing our economy here at home working with our closest friend and ally, canada, and
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it's about national security through energy security, not having to depend on the middle east or opec for energy. and it doesn't cost the federal government a penny. not a penny. this is, as i say is a multibillion-dollar project completely built with private investment. and would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in local state, and federal cash revenue -- tax revenue. not one penny of federal costs generating hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues at the local state and federal level. but maybe the greatest irony of all is this -- at the same time the president is making it harder to produce energy here at home in our country and get energy from our closest friend and ally, canada, he wants to make it easier to produce oil in iran.
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think about that. right now the president is pressing congress to approve an agreement with iran that would remove the sanctions on all production and export in iran. under the proposed agreement that the president has submitted to this congress, he includes releasing the u.s. sanctions put in place by congress, i might add, sanctions put in place by congress that limit and restrict iran's ability to produce and export oil. these include our energy sanctions that limit iran's sale of crude oil which was specifically passed by congress. also he wants to remove the sanction on investment in iran's oil, gas petrochemical and automotive sectors. again, sanctions passed by congress. he wants to remove sanctions on
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the energy sector equipment and gasoline sanctions that were passed by congress. so in essence what he's doing he's allowing iran to export his oil, allowing investment to help them produce more oil and allowing exports to iran of technologies that will help them produce more oil and gas, at the same time by turning down keystone he's making it harder for us 0 produce and transport oil and gas in our country and work with our strongest ally, canada. so what's the net effect of that? the net effect of that, it just helps put opec back in the driver's seat. but if you don't believe me, let's just take a look at the numbers. the numbers don't lie. prior to 2012, before we put the congressional sanctions in place, the kirk-menendez sanctions as part of the defense authorization act the end of
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2011 during that year at that time in 2011 iran was producing 2.6 million barrels of oil a day, 2.6 million barrels of oil a day. by 2013, after the kirk-menendez sanctions had been in effect, iran was down to exporting only 1.1 million barrels a day. so they'd gone from 2.6 million barrels a day down to 1.1 million barrels a day of oil that they're producing and exporting and getting paid for. it in more than half. my state of north dakota alone produces 1.2 million barrels of oil a day. that's more than iran's exporting right now. but if all these sanctions come off, iran gets to go right back up to 2.6 million and beyond. do the math. even a million barrels a day at $50 a barrel, that's $50 million a day. so you can see that this means hundreds of millions and
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billions of dollars to iran. certainly something to think about. going from 2.6 million barrels a day, we put these sanctions in place, knock it down to 1.1 million and that's with exceptions that the president has allowed to the sanctions. that's without the sanctions being fully implemented. and it shows that those sanctions are effective. but it also shows that if we release them, iran gets incredible amounts of money not only dollars that have been held on them but dollars that they're going to generate every day from increased oil production. so the president wants us to relieve these sanctions at the same time he in essence impedes our oil and development our growth in energy development in this country. the simple question i have is how does that make sense? how does that make sense?
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how do we get into a situation where we're enabling iran to produce more oil but the u.s. produce less? that makes no sense. but that's the impact of the president's decisions. now, the president will make an argument it's based on environmental act fakers. he's making that decision for environmental reasons he doesn't want the oil produced in canada -- he usually doesn't talk about the light sweet crude that's produced in the back ann -- bakken area of north dakota the sweetest crude that i know of. he tries to make the argument he doesn't like oil that's produced in canada for environmental reasons. yet his own state department -- remember i said this has been pending now almost seven years. we're in year six.
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in his -- and his own department of state the environmental impact statement says that the keystone will no significant environmental impact. so it will be interesting to see when congress is out of session in august and president turns this down trying to get under the radar what he has to say about how he's going to address the state department's clear environmental impact statement finding no environment no significant environmental impact. but we'll see what it is. we'll see what it is. at the same time, at the same time that he works to convince americans that all sanctions should be lifted from iran, so that they can produce more oil bring more money into their country. there's an old saying.
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essentially it goes those who fail to heed the lessons of history are destined to repeat them. president obama is not breaking our dependence on foreign oil. he's reinstating it. the president is not strengthening our energy future he is weakening it. and i urge him to reconsider. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you. i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: mr. president it seems like every day americans are hearing more and more news about how badly obamacare is failing. some of the latest headlines have had to do with just how expensive health insurance is going to be next year under the president's health care law. the price increases that are
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being reported are truly staggering. insurance companies are planning to raise rates 20% 30% even 40% on some of their plans and they say it's because of the health care law. "the new york times" had an article on this a couple of weeks ago. it quoted one health advocate in the state of oregon saying specifically that some people, they say, -- quote -- "may start wondering if insurance is affordable or if it's worth the money." well a lot of americans have been wondering if the entire health care law is actually worth the money. now some democrats have said that these outrageous price increases won't affect everyone. well they sure affect a lot of people. you know, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle say that the increases won't be as large as they're going to be if you're willing to switch plans every year or if you accept less
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access to doctors or even less access to medications. well the argument makes the same mistake that president obama made from the beginning about the health care law and it confuses coverage with actual care. in connecticut some insurance companies say that they've come up with ways to slow down the increase in their premiums. what they're doing is they're actually cutting access to care. one company decided that it could save some money by reducing the use of specialty drugs, so some people who have this insurance may not be getting the drugs that they used to get. another company in connecticut decided that it could charge a little less by limiting the number of doctors that the patients could see. instead of raising rates by 12.5% next year like it planned they say the company now will just be raising rates 11.5%. that's the kind of situation that hardworking families are
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facing. higher premiums, less access to care. these narrow networks of hospitals and doctors aren't just hurting people in connecticut. they're turning up in obamacare plans all across the country. there was a study that came out this month. it found that plans offered through obamacare insurance exchanges across the country covered 34% fewer doctors than the average plans sold outside the exchange. now, it's even worse for some specialists. according to the report, exchange plans include 42% fewer oncology and cardiac specialists. well that's cancer doctors that's heart doctors. so if you've got cancer or you have got a heart condition there is a much lower chance that your doctor is covered by your obamacare insurance. people are paying outrageously high premiums, co-pays and deductibles, and they're left with insurance coverage that may not cover their care.
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so a lot of people have decided they just can't afford the affordable care act. they would rather pay a tax penalty to the i.r.s. than spend hard-earned money on this limited and expensive obamacare insurance. according to the i.r.s. last year 7.5 million hardworking taxpayers paid that tax penalty. that's one out of 17 taxpayers. another 12 million people couldn't afford obamacare insurance or didn't want it, and they filed a form saying that they shubt have to pay the penalty at all -- shouldn't have to pay the penalty at all because it was unaffordable. there are only six million people who actually signed up for obamacare exchange plans last year, and almost 20 million people rejected obamacare because it was too expensive it wasn't right for them and their families. now, president obama has said repeatedly that the health care law is working he said, even better than he expected. is this what he's talking about even better than he expected? more americans are rejecting obamacare than are signing up
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for it on the federal exchange. is that better than the president expected? does president obama think that the federal insurance exchange is working better than he expected? there are headlines about this recently as well and how washington has failed to protect taxpayer dollars. the government accountability office set up a test of you know, the president's web site, the one that failed so miserably. what they did is they created 12 fraudulent applications in order to see if they could actually get health insurance subsidies using fraudulent applications. 11 of these 12 phony applications were approved last year. now here we are a year later. turns out that the washington bureaucrats you can't believe it renewed renewed these policies renewed the taxpayer-funded subsidies for all 11 of these phony applicants. some of them even got higher
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subsidies this year than they did last year. so what's the government accountability office say about it? the chief investigator looked at it and he said there still appears to be no system in place. no system in place to catch missing or fabricated documentation. it's incredible and it's disturbing and it's no surprise that taxpayers are offended. finally, mr. president we're also seeing more news about one of the new taxes that the democrats included in their health care law. there was a headline in "the new york times" last wednesday wednesday -- "concern grows on health tax." concern grows on health tax. wednesday, july 22. first page, business section. concern grows on health tax. now, this is about the new 40%
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tax on so-called cadillac health insurance plans. the -- these are the plans that employers offer to their workers. these are the plans that washington says are too generous. the article tells the story of kirk dela who works at a paper mill in longview, washington. "concern grows over exsighs tax effect on health care plan." there are a number of people working and talking at this location in longview, washington. but the story of kirk is also about his wife brenda. she has diabetes. the article says that kirk and brenda are worrying about his company's proposed new health care plan which would require workers to pay as much as $6,000 toward their family's medical bills. that's a huge amount of money for anyone, but it's a huge amount of money for some of these very hardworking families. now, these are changes that their employer has to make
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because of the president's health care law. and you know what? this isn't even an obamacare plan. this isn't something they're buying through the exchange. these are people who get their insurance through work. now, president obama said that if you get your insurance through your job he said nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. well millions of americans across the country are finding out that that was just one more expensive broken promise made by the president. obamacare continues to be a complicated and a costly mess. republicans have offered good ideas about how to lower health care costs how to improve access, how to help americans lead healthier lives. we all have ideas that will get rid of some of the ridiculous washington-imposed mandates that are driving up costs, that are forcing so many americans to go without insurance and certainly without care.
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six years ago the american people were unhappy with health care in this country. they didn't think that the solution was higher prices, less access to care and higher taxes as well. the american people are not satisfied with these constant headlines about all the problems with the president's health care law. congress should not be satisfied with the current state of health care in this country either or with the disastrous side effects of the president's health care law. it is time for the president to admit, to admit the health care law is causing pain and problems all across the country. it's time to start anew to give people the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower costs. thank you mr. president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be advertise
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bends -- dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: we all know the chamber is engaged in a passage of a multiyear highway bill, not just highways but deals with mass transit transportation infrastructure in general. to me the most important thing about what we're doing is the fact we're going to do it not on another temporary patch which we've done, i'm told, 33 different times but we're actually going to pass a three-year highway bill. and to me the best news, i would say to the presiding officer, is now it looks like we've got the house thoroughly engaged, so it's not just a question of this bill or nothing, perhaps if experience is any guide, we can come up with something even better by collaborating with our house colleagues. but i wanted to come to the floor and talk a little bit about the impact of this bill on my state the state of texas because we are a fast growing state, we have about 27 million
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people there now people are moving from around the country to texas because our economy is growing. last year our economy grew at the rate of 5.2%. now, just to compare that to the nation, last year the nation's economy grew at 2.2%. what does that mean? that means there's a lot more jobs and a lot more opportunity and so people are literally voting with their feet, leaving the countries with -- leaving the states where there are limited opportunities and coming to states like texas where there are more opportunities. but that means more congestion, more traffic and more challenges when it comes to our roadways and our rural freight routes. and it means challenges for our economy. many states, of course, would be delighted to have the problems we're having because frankly, people are moving away from many states, not too many states but i know the
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presiding officer's state of oklahoma is experiencing economic growth and job growth, too, because we share a common -- a common interest and sector of the economy the energy economy which the rest of the country would do well to learn from, the examples in oklahoma and texas as part of our economic success story. as others have mentioned one of the chief reasons this bill has so much enthusiasm behind it is because it gives freedom and flexibility to the states to plan for infrastructure needs in the future. it's perhaps should go without saying but a six-month patch if we were to kick this over till denver doesn't give anybody any certainty to be able to plan these infrastructure projects which take literally not months but years. as i said, for a state like texas that's growing rapidly by some estimates 600 people a day are moving to the state
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improving our roadways and bridges is vitally important for the continued growth of our economy and prosperity for our people. and we have the practical challenge of handling a growing number of cars and trucks on our roads. one way this bill gives added freedom and flexibility to the states is through a provision that would help texas and other border states meet their growing infrastructure needs particularly at the southern border improvements that are not only necessary to get us goods from point a to point b but to keep us safe as well. frequently when we talk about the border we talk about border security and that is a very, very important consideration and, frankly we not have committed the federal resources we should to border security to make sure that we know who's coming into the country and why they're here. and of course we know recently in the news, people continue to
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penetrate our borders even those with criminal records causing havoc and indeed, committing christmas against innocent people such as occurred recently in the terrible incident that happened out in san francisco. but really our border infrastructure and security is the front line of our defense to keep our people safe and to regulate who comes in to the country and to make sure that only legitimate people can enter. so the question is, is one law -- as one law professor recently testified before the senate judiciary committee he said when it comes to immigration that's really only one question, are you going to have controlled immigration or uncontrolled immigration. it's basically that simple. well i'm here today to talk about transportation and the importance of this bill in terms of the border infrastructure when it comes to trade and commerce but as i mentioned it
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also is an important front line when it comes to the safety and security of the american people. we are fortunate in texas to be the top exporting state in the nation. that is one of the reasons why our economy has grown faster than the rest of the country because the agricultural products that are grown there the livestock that is raised the manufactured goods that are made are exported to markets all around the world which creates good jobs, well-paying jobs right at home. but it also takes good infrastructure to move more than $100 billion in exported goods from texas to mexico each year. supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in texas alone. it's estimated that when you look at the nation as a whole that binational trade between mexico and the united states supports as many as six million american jobs. that's something we frequently overlook when we talk about our
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relationship with our neighbor to the south and the border and immigration, is that there are many benefits to legal trade and traffic and controlled legal immigration. and, indeed, as i mentioned $100 billion in exported goods from texas to mexico each year supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. by allowing texas in this bill and other border states more flexibility in long-term planning of border projects, consumers can benefit as goods are shipped more efficiently back and forth. infrastructure is necessary to moving massive amounts of trade moving through our ports of entry every day. for texas and the united states to remain competitive the region must have the quality infrastructure to truck train, and ship billions of dollars' worth of goods efficiencily and -- efficiently
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and safely. doing nothing at the border is not a viable option. a report from the texas state legislature found $116 million in u.s. economic output is lost or forfeited every single minute that trucks sit idle at the border with mexico. that are literally frozen in place because they're bottlenecked because of archaic and and kuwaited structure and lack of appropriate tapping -- ant equated structure. and it plays at another role, such as preventing illicit merchandise from entering the country. as i said our border crossings and the technology employed there and the professionals who work there, they are the first line of defense against bad actors who want to get into the country illegally or get contraband goods through our ports. in texas better roads and
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bridges apartment the border region mean better economic opportunity and a quality of life for our growing border communities. fortunately the provide provisions in this bill would give the governor of texas and all other border states the big gest freedom to face transportation problems this nose states and give them the tools to address them. by dedicating funds to invest in infrastructure projects at the discretion of state governors we can make sure that our states have the resources they need to enhance trade and travel and to keep us safe at the same time. this is not a course of -- of course a new notion. during my time in the senate i've worked with folks in texas and elsewhere on both sides of the aisle and on both ends of the capitol to try to find ways to facilitate greater levels of legitimate commerce and travel through our ports of entry and
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throughout the border region. and i'm thankful for making progress in this legislation and i commend my texas colleagues congressman will hurd, henry cuellar and others for working with us to try to -- for introducing similar legislation on border infrastructure in their chamber. so hopefully as we now move from a senate bill to hopefully a house bill that can then be reconciled in committee these things will be retained and be part of the conference report. the bottom line is the quality infrastructure and making sure that our border is safe and effective is a bipartisan, bicameral issue and one that clearly unites people in my state and across the border region of our southern states. so i'm thankful to see this provision included and hope it gets passed soon to give our states the opportunity to dedicate even more necessary resources to the border.
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this provision is an important example of the overall theme of this bill, giving the states a reliable way forward to plan for their long-term infrastructure needs. more than anything else, i believe this legislation is an investment in our future and the next generation. so mr. president i thank all of our colleagues for working with us to get this bill moving forward. we have an important vote tomorrow morning and then we have another final passage vote, i believe it's on thursday. in the meantime, the house is going to send us a three-month bill which will give us the necessary time for the house then to consider their own transportation bill and then to get us to a conference where we can reconcile the differences. and as the presiding officer and i have discussed before, in the past if that's any indication that will give us even greater ability to influence the ultimate outcome in a way that improves this product in a bicameral and bipartisan sort of
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way. mr. president, i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: mr. president i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coats: mr. president in recent weeks the american people have learned the shocking story of the barbaric practices that planned parenthood uses to terminate life and to harvest innocent human life. in a video released earlier this month that's gone viral as it should the senior director of medical research at planned parenthood explained the process
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by which she harvests aborted body parts to be provided for medical research. i quote her -- "we have been very good at getting heart lung liver because we know that, so i'm not going to crush that part. i'm going to basically crush below. i'm going to crush above and i'm going to see if i can get it all intact." end of quote. additional videos have been released, i'm told more to come. with planned parenthood officials discussing the organ harvesting of fetuses unborn children. beating hearts. on the sonogram, on the screen, human beings. despite the stunning impact and the outrage of millions of americans, planned parenthood's response to the release of these
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videos is blame the messenger or the videographer, but let's not address the practice of harvesting of aborted body parts. i'd like to enter into the record a column by russ dufaw. i urge every senator to read his july 25, 2015, column entitled "looking away from abortion." and i'd ask unanimous consent that that article be placed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coats: let me share just a couple of excerpts from his piece. written in "the new york times," russ duhat says -- quote -- "and the problem these videos create for planned parenthood isn't just


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