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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 1, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or change their vote? hearing none on this vote, the yeas are 50, the nays are 44. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. perdue: mr. president i rise today to speak about the military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies appropriations bill. i'm very encouraged that this bill has finally come to the floor of the united states senate. i also would like to remind my colleagues that the senate appropriations committee has put forward 12 appropriations bills that reflect the priorities of the american people and the budget we passed back in april. let me remind my colleagues that that budget took $7 trillion out of the president's proposed budget over the next 10 years and yet here we are today in october facing the reality that since april, we have not been able to debate on this floor those 12 appropriations bills.
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you've heard all year that we need to get back to regular order and that means the senate needs to bring up and debate each of these 12 bills individually. however, due to democratic obstructionism, the federal government is operating under a short-term funding measure and the senate has not been able to debate any of these 12 funding bills. mr. president, it's time for the political posturing to stop. people back home don't understand. i don't either. senate democrats are again acting as a roadblock and preventing progress. the american people sent us up here to govern responsibly and it's time for senate democrats to start living up to this expectation particularly when it comes to funding our government. this vote today senate democrats are blocking us from moving forward with a bill to fund military construction projects that help our troops and support key veterans' programs many of which need
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reform after being plagued by backlogs and scandals for years. we must make good on our nation's promise to our veterans and provide our troops with the facilities they need to work, train and fulfill the mission of the united states armed forces. senate democrats just voted against improvements to the v.a. electronic health records system so that veterans' records are safely and seamlessly accessed among agencies and the private sector. they just voted against increased transparency for the v.a. disability claims system to reduce the backlog for those veterans who need help the most. they just voted against much-needed oversight of v.a. construction projects like the veterans hospital -- v.a. hospital in denver, colorado, that is over $1 billion over budget. additionally, they just voted against construction of the second missile defense site in poland a project that an important deterrent against
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russian aggression in eastern europe and had been previously scrapped by president obama. our nation is currently dealing with a global security crisis, mr. president. we must make recent russian aggressions and take rise of a great power of traditional rivals very seriously. just yesterday russia launched airstrike in syria to prop up bashar al-assad in a strategy our own defense secretary secretary ash carter, described as counterproductive and equated to -- and i quote -- "pouring gasoline on the fire." clearly we must make sure our troops have the resources they need to protect our country. because of that, i'm shocked that my colleagues across the aisle today just voted to delay construction for our military facilities facilities our troops depend on to train for current conflicts and to prepare for whatever the future holds. mr. president, most appalling of all, senate democrats voted today to block this bill, even
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after we've learned that many of our veterans, thousands tens of thousands of our veterans have died while waiting for care they need and deserve. this is unconscionable and the brinksmanship we're seeing from senate democrats across the aisle is totally unacceptable. our veterans sacrifice so much for our freedom and our servicemen and women are currently putting their lives in jeopardy every day for us and our families. we cannot fail them. this bipartisan funding bill does a lot of important things for our nation, mr. president but most importantly it supports our american heroes. like most of my colleagues, i've traveled this year and met with our fighting women and men on the front lines. mr. president, the best the very best of america is in uniform today and they deserve our full support. today i call on my colleagues across the aisle to stop blocking these important bills. let's get them on the floor and negotiate compromise if we have to but get to a conclusion
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where we can fund the men and women defending our freedom. we now have 72 days to return to regular order and debate these important appropriations bills so the priorities of our veterans our military and the american people can once and for all be restored. i sincerely hope that all colleagues in this body will not disappoint the american people yet again. thank you mr. president. i yield my time. and i notice 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 majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask the chair to lay before the senate the conference rorlt to a accompany h.r. 1735. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the committee of conference on the greelg votes of the twro houses an amendment with the senate to the bill h.r. 1735 to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2016 for military activities of the department of defense and for other purposes having met have agreed to the house recede from its disagreement to the amendment of the senate and agree to the amendment with an amendment and the senate agree to the same signed by a majority of the conferees on the part of both houses. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the conference report to accompany h.r. 1735, an act to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2016 for military activities of the department of defense and for military construction, to proscribe military personnel strepgs for such fiscal year and other purposes, signed by 1 senators as follows -- mr. mcconnell: i ask that reading of the names be dispensed with. officer without objection. -- the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: mr. president i ask unanimous consent that proceedings under the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president
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before i proceed to consideration of a colloquy with my colleague from wisconsin i just wanted to take one moment my colleague from wisconsin had brought to my ateption, that there are news reports that have just come out of a tragic mass shooting at a community college in oregon. i believe it is called umpqua community college. and so i just wanted to ask all who might be watching or who might be with us in the chamber to keep in your thoughts and prayers the families of the victims, which number somewhere around ten and if the wounded somewhere around 20, to keep in mind the first responders and the faculty staff and students of this community college our colleagues who represent the state of oregon, and all who have been affected by this trag dmi--this tragedy in oregon that is just now being reported. i appreciate the forebearance of my colleague and the chair and
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the other members present for my taking a moment just to bring that to your attention. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i might enter into a colloquy with my colleague from wisconsin. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president i rise today to join my colleagues in marking national manufacturing day, which will be celebrated across the country tomorrow. the simple fact is that manufacturing has been and continues to be a vital part of our economy but coming from the state of delaware, i know firsthand the challenges manufacturing has faced in the 20th century and the challenges it continues to face i hadtoday. almost every day i ride the amtrak train from wilmington, delaware to washington d.c., and as i look out the win dorks as we pass through the city of newark delaware, i see the old aseemly plant. each time i see it i think about what it was like going to the plant gate, visiting with friends and family, the
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thousands of men and women who worked shift for decades a this the tremendous automobile manufacturing plant that made the durango and for decades before that other models. every time i see that site, which today is leveled and now being rebuilt i'm reminded that for decades there were men and women there who had one thing in common clued: good-paying steadily, high-quality manufacturing jobs. manufacturers were at the center of my state's economy are today gone and many families, many of our communities still feel the impact. for thousands of delawareans who grew up with friends and family working every day at g.m. and chrysler or the steel mill or the avon plant are now gone. it's easy to be skeptical about the prospects for a re-rifle of a -- revival of american manufacturing. i am here today with my colleague from the state of the wisconsin to tell our fellow
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americans that despite those harsh realities, there are real reasons for hope. manufacturing still supports 25,000 jobs in my state and since 2010 our economy the growing manufacturing sec terek has created 870,000 new jobs, as production costs have gone up in our competitors' countries like china, and as the key input cost of energy has come down, businesses have seen over the last decade that more reliable financial and legal and engineering structures and resources here in the united states and cheaper energy has made american manufacturing more competitive than it's been in decades. just as important as the number of jobs created in the manufacturing sector is the quality and the compensation for those jobs. american manufacturing also today is responsible for three hft quarters of all -- three-quarters of all private-sector research.
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illustrating how to stay ahead and to dlief in the modern world economy, manufacturing has to be on the cutting edge. while american manufacturing is today resurgent, there is much more we can do together build on this momentum. that's why senator baldwin and i are leading a campaign called manufacturing jobs for america to focus on four key areas where we together, can strengthen american manufacturing. first, investing in america's workforce. second expanding being a selves to capital. third, opening up markets abrawtd. fowrnl creating the conditions necessary for growth. in the last congress, the initiative brought together 27 senators to introduce 36 dink manufacturing bills -- 36 different manufacturing bills. provisions from eight of those bills are now law including our bill to croat a national manufacturing strategy that will for the first time lay out a proactive, comprehensive long-term policy for investing and strengthening american
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manufacturing. something all our major competitors have long had. the administration has also come afford forward with strong ideas and initiatives from their investment in nine new manufacturing hubs around the country to new department of labor job skills programs that would strengthen job training. it's our hope that manufacturing jobs for america can continue to play an important role in investing in and scaling up these ideas so they can have national impact. we're optimistic we can continue together to build on the progress we've made and pass more of these bills in this congress. already, for example the cree ready act has passed -- the career ready act has passed the? and and is waiting to betain about the i house. this bill would prepare students for advanced manufacturing jobs by strengthening school counseling programs. another important bill, the innovators job creation act passed the senate finance committee and if passed into law would help small manufacturers to invest in and scale up their
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r&d. passing legislation is never easy and it could take months or years to get these commonsense bipartisan bills passed into law. but there's something congress can do right now. -- to help support our manufacturing sector. just last week i stood on this floor awrnlgded complietion to reauthorize the import-export bank which was allowed to expire earlier this yeemple the ex-im bank has helped many american manufacturing companies to sell their goods around the year supporting 150,000 american jobs in just this past year. each day we file to reauthorize this critical tool for american manufacturers who are exporters we put more and more american jobs at risk. manufacturers like bowing and g.e. are already moving good american jobs overseas. g.e.'s announcement that it is moving 350 jobs from wisconsin to canada is a stark example of this new reality. the reason is simple: g.e. and similar companies can't risk staying in a country that
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doesn't have a reliable export credit agency, a tool all of our competitors provide often with much more more robust resources than ex-im used to enjoy. without a backing of such an agency other countries won't even consider accepting project bids from g.e. and others. i think this is unacceptable. it should be unacceptable to all of our colleagues. it is time for congress to recognize what is stacket for our economy our manufacturing sector and american workers if we continuing to fail to accept up and reauthorize the ex-im bank. final i will mr. president, i would like to address a broader issue we face with american manufacturing: its representation its public relation image. while the changing face of manufacturing is a great thing it is also a challenge. because too often perceptions about manufacturing are stuck in the past. i've heard personally from parents and from guide angs counselors who tell me they're reluctant to encourage their kids and best students to pursue a career in manufacturing. why? because to them folks from an onlier generation -- from an older generation, manufacturing
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brings to mind dangerous work environments and lower wages and understandably they don't see these as the viable promising career paths that today's advanced manufacturing truly offers. their worries just don't match up with today's reality where manufacturing jobs require higher skills than ever before from hard math and engineering skills to the ability to think critically and work as part of a team. most modern manufacturing jobs require a two-year college degree. many require more. so in my five years as a senator, i've had the opportunity to visit dozens of manufacturers up and down my state of delaware that are creating new high-quality, high-paying jobs and i'm certain my colleague from wisconsin has had the same experience and insight. in delaware, one of those manufacturers is m. davis a woman-run, family-owned manufacturer that's been around over 140 years. they produce sophisticated equipment for industrial companies like phillips 66 and dupont jobs that require
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high-skilled workers. another advantaged manufacturer is acudive far more than your typical company they produce products not for average consumers but they solve highly complex engineering and design problems for some of the world's most prominent firms from boeing to airbus, to rolls race. the only way to remain successful is to develop a highly skilled workforce supporting professional development and recruiting graduates from schools like the university of delaware. unfortunately, it is not just public perception that hasn't kept up with manufacturing's transformation. job training programs have also lagged lined in preparing people with the skills they need to suck need the advanced -- to succeed in the advanced manufacturing jobs of today. while i have more to say on that topic, let me invite my colleague from the state of wisconsin to add her views and her comments to this important conversation about manufacturing in america. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin.
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ms. baldwin: i thank you mr. president, and i want to thank my good friend from delaware and like him i do want to start my remarks with taking a moment to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the community of roseburg, oregon as we have heard word of yet another senseless act of gun violence. i hope all who are listening join us in our thoughts and prayers. mr. president, i rise today to join my good friend from delaware and to lend my voice in calling attention to an important day in america. tomorrow across the country the hardworking americans who get up every day to move our economy
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forward will create a collective chorus in celebration of national manufacturing day. at thousands of events in villages towns and cities throughout our nation, manufacturers will open their doors friday and show in a coordinated effort what manufacturing is today and what it isn't. i am so proud to join this effort because by working together during and after national manufacturing day, we can shine a spotlight on the need for america to address workforce readiness issues, connect with future generations and recognize the important role manufacturing plays in creating an economy that works for everyone. in wisconsin, we have a long and proud tradition of making things
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: paper engines tools ships. and, yes cheese, brats and beer. we possess one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the nation supporting our very significant share of our workforce and exporting products and goods all over america and in fact the world. manufacturing has long been the backbone of our made- made-in-wisconsin economy so much so that we actually celebrate october as manufacturing month in wisconsin. in my state and across our country, manufacturing is increasingly an engine of economic growth and innovation and a source of good-paying jobs with high wages and solid benefits. and that is why i strongly believe that the that middle-class families and small businesses and manufacturers
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that are working so hard to move our economy forward deserve to have both parties in washington working together to grow our manufacturing economy and create jobs. i am so proud to join my colleague, senator coons, on the floor today to highlight national manufacturing day and i want to thank him for his leadership and his partnership on our manufacturing jobs for america initiative. our effort aims to build bipartisan support for legislation that will modernize america's manufacturing sector and help american manufacturers grow and create jobs and assist american workers in getting the skills that they need to succeed in the next generation of manufacturing jobs. working together, we are trying to do our part to get washington to focus on manufacturing jobs.
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this shouldn't be a difficult task but unfortunately congress has shown itself better at manufacturing one crisis after another instead of working across party lines to strengthen american manufacturing. the fact is governing by crisis has distracted us from the important work of moving our manufacturing economy forward. so before we all pat ourselves on the back for simply doing our job in keeping the government open for business, let's address one crisis that has not been addressed. two months ago the senate did its job and passed a long-term transportation bill with bipartisan support. that legislation sought to end this constant cycle of short-term measures. it put people to work rebuilding
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our roads and bridges and ports and creates jobs and will boost our economy. it's also important to manufacturers because it makes an investment in a 21st century american infrastructure that provides businesses with the quality transportation system they need to move their goods to market. this legislation also includes another measure that is vital to manufacturers and businesses in wisconsin and across america. we reauthorize the export-import bank, which is an important tool that helps us create that level playing field bringing fairness to global trade and giving american manufacturers the resources they need to fight and win against their global competition. however, after we included that
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in our long-term transportation and infrastructure package in the senate, the house adjourned for the august recess without passing that legislation to reauthorize the export-import bank and has failed to take action on it for two full months. just this week republicans on the house financial services committee voted in lock step to block an amendment to reauthorize the bank. these actions and inactions have real impacts on workers and they are being felt by wisconsin workers and families right now. g.e. power and water announced this week that it plans to stop manufacturing gas engines in wakashaw wisconsin, and blamed the closure on the house of representatives for not reauthorizing the export-import bank. it is a stark reminder that when
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congress fails to do its job hardworking people can lose their jobs as a result. it is my hope that this reminder will be heard by congress. it's also my hope that national manufacturing day will provide an opportunity for my colleagues to rally around on the need for us to come together and address the challenges we face to grow our manufacturing economy. the wisconsin families that i work for depend on our manufacturing jobs, and i believe that if we work to give our workers a fair shot, we can compete against anyone. but one of the challenges we must meet is making sure that our workers have the skills that they need for the manufacturing jobs of the future. we are fortunate to have a very
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strong technical college system that is working to provide wisconsin businesses a skilled workforce so that they can compete and grow. american manufacturing took a huge hit as a result of the 2008 financial collapse and ensuing recession. but through sheer grit and determination, we are coming back. u.s. manufacturing has added 876,000 jobs over the past 66 months. over the past 12 months manufacturing has added 124,000 jobs. but despite this positive trend we need to do more. the sector needs to add 1.7 million jobs overall just to return to prerecession levels. in wisconsin our economy isn't growing as strong as we need to create true shared prosperity.
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in fact, it's lagging behind national growth. the manufacturing sector that sustained our economy in wisconsin for generations must move forward a stronger pace if middle-class families are going to get ahead. one of the most important things that we can do is put a stronger focus on investing in stem programs and career and technical education. i am proud to have cofounded the career and technical education cawkdz -- caucus, otherwise known as the c.t.e. caucus, and worked with cochairs senators kaine and portman to advocate for a career in technical education. i believe that c.t.e. is one of the most effective vehicles for responding to laboring -- labor market changes and workforce readiness needs of businesses,
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particularly our manufacturers. we need to do more to ensure that students are better trained and better equipped for the high-skilled jobs of the future, especially in advanced manufacturing. our business communities have been clear on the need for a highly trained workforce for in-demand fields, and c.t.e. provides the knowledge and skills that can help drive stronger economic growth for our "made in america" manufacturing economy. in closing, i would like to urge my colleagues to join us tomorrow by visiting a local manufacturer in your state. national manufacturing day provides our nation with an important opportunity for us to show our commitment to the idea that manufacturing does not represent the jobs of yesterday. senator coons was talking about the branding issues.
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well today's manufacturing economy isn't your father's manufacturing economy. and today's factory isn't your grandfather's factory. it is a growing industry that has changed from the assembly lines of the past to high-tech innovation that will drive our future. today american manufacturing represents the jobs of tomorrow, providing a range of job opportunities in the area of skilled production, information technology design, engineering and science. our next-generation manufacturers need more skilled workers, and it is our job to work together to make sure that our economy has them. so let us join together and celebrate national manufacturing day and show that our commitment is a celebration of american manufacturing, and let's inspire
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the next generation of manufacturers. again, i think my colleague from delaware and my colleague from minnesota for their dedication to this vital issue. mr. coons: madam president i'd like to thank my colleague from wisconsin senator baldwin for her hard work on manufacturing, her deep and broad experience in what it takes for manufacturing to continue to grow. in the state of wisconsin, in the state of delaware and across our country. let me just pick up on a theme through both of our previous comments, that skills are a key challenge for us. that if we're going to take advantage of the enormous opportunity, the hundreds of thousands of unfilled jobs in this sector, one of the key issues is a mismatch in skills. one other theme across both of our comments was how when we can't work together across the aisle bad things happen like the export-import bank goes unauthorized. but when we can team up and can
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work together, we can make remarkable progress. let me just briefly reference two of the bills that we've worked on in the past and have strong bipartisan support and which i hope can move forward in this congress. one, the manufacturing skills act, where the lead sponsor is senator ayotte of new hampshire would help cities and states to modernize their job training programs and to equip job seekers with the skills they need for today's manufacturing jobs. another bill that manufacturing universities act of 2015, where senator lindsey graham is the lead cosponsor would designate 25 manufacturing universities across the country and invest up to $5 million per year per school to redesign their engineering program so they're focused on the needs of modern manufacturing. many of the other ideas that have come -- been brought to the floor by colleagues also focus on skills. let me just briefly reference two. senator merkley has drafted and introduced the build career and
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technical education act to focus on some of the issues the senator from wisconsin was just speaking to, finding innovative ways to improve c.t.e. education in our k-12 system to draw more talented students into the pipeline for these unfilled but lucrative manufacturing careers. last but certainly not least senator franken of minnesota has tirelessly worked to promote greater cooperation between community colleges and their local manufacturing partners. and i know in a moment he will share with us his vision for how we can improve skills training in manufacturing. let me close by simply saying that tomorrow, as we celebrate national manufacturing day -- honored to well come penny pritzker to delaware to talk about how working together at the state and federal level private sector, public sector, we can create and maintain strong 21st century manufacturing jobs. we see the revival that's going
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on in american manufacturing. we see the opportunity we have in front of us. and we want to seize it. and by enacting bipartisan bills that tackle the challenges i've discussed, we hope to have the opportunity to make the very difference that our nation requires. and with that i yield the floor to the senator from minnesota for his remarks on national manufacturing. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: thank you mr. president. i thank the good senator from delaware and the senator from wisconsin for organizing today's celebration of manufacturing. as my colleague from delaware mentioned -- and i think the presiding officer knows -- i talk a lot about the role of community and technical colleges in training their students for high-skilled jobs in
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manufacturing, and i will talk about that role in these remarks remarks, but first i heard a few minutes ago about a shooting at a community college in oregon. and i just want to say something about that. first all of our hearts here in the senate go out to the victims in that shooting and to their families and to their friends and loved ones at umpqua community college in oregon. these students at community colleges they're often young people who are getting an
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education to prepare themselves for a future. very often they're people midcareer who are going back for training to get the kind of skills that senator coons talked about and a new career. and the resurgence of manufacturing in the united states and in my state minnesota really should inspire us to invest more in training more americans for these good manufacturing jobs. i don't know what the focus of umpqua is, but again, i believe
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i speak for everyone in this body that our heart goes out to all the victims and their loved ones. and i don't know whether they were like some community and technical colleges in minnesota preparing for jobs in manufacturing. manufacturing jobs -- we've heard my other colleagues talk about how these are not the old manufacturing. dark dirty and dangerous i've heard a manufacturer refer to what a lot of people think of. and i go to junior highs and high schools with manufacturers to talk about the high skills and the high-paying jobs that go with today's manufacturing.
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in the most recent data available as of 2010, the average annual wage for a manufacturing job in the united states was over $56,000 about 22% higher than the average wage for all industries. and minnesota manufacturing supports jobs for more than 300,000 minnesotans. that's about 13% of the jobs in our state. manufacturing is responsible for 14% of minnesota's g.d.p. manufacturing is a huge driver in our economy. we manufacturer manufacture great things. we did the hvac system for the new world trade center, for the freedom tower. this is why i want to talk about one of the greatest problems
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that our manufacturers face today, and that's the skills gap gap. manufacturers cannot find enough skilled workers to help them compete in a global economy. according to enterprise minnesota, an organization that supports manufacturers in my state, there are over 6,500 open manufacturing jobs in minnesota waiting to be filled. and my experience talking with manufacturers confirms that they're desperate to higher good people with the right skills for jobs that can support a middle-class life for workers and their families. in the words of just one manufacturer kim aragony of haberman machine in oakdale
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minnesota, "we are still suffering from a skills gap. for my company specifically you it no longer is a capacity issue because of equipment but one with people. we are limited in what we can produce and ship out the door because we don't have enough master-level machinists. imagine what this ripple effect is causing my state and our country as a whole." so how can we help our manufacturing industry meet this challenge? well we took a good first step last year when we passed the bipartisan workforce innovation and opportunity act wioa. it was the first reauthorization of the workforce investment act in over a decade almost two. it modernized our workforce development system and improved
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coordination between workforce boards education and training programs and local businesses. i just think we need to do more to go further. that's why i will be reintroducing legislation very soon to increase federal investment in workforce training partnerships between employers and community and technical colleges. i call it community college to career fund act. and it would create grants that help businesses and community colleges train workers for high- high-skilled good-paying jobs. businesses and community technical colleges across my state support the community college to career fund act because they know firsthand --
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and i have seen firsthand the differences that these programs can make. under this program community colleges and businesses together would apply for grants based on how many jobs their partnership would create, what the values of those jobs would be to the community, and very importantly, how much skin in the game do these businesses have and does and does the community have -- or the state. i hope that my colleagues will take this up and pass it this year. this is a great way to address a number of things -- the cost of college. i have talked to so many manufacturers who have hired someone who has just a credential from a community
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technical college hires them and then pays them to go back to school while they're working pays for their tuition and to -- and to finish their associates degree, brings them back and says, now go do your bachelor's degree, go get your four-year -- while you're work. and i'll pay for it -- quhierl a -- while you're working and i'll pay for t time and time again i've seen workers who've had their education paid for have no debt, a couple degrees and a good job -- very good job. i'd like to close with the words of john johnston from states manufacturing in golden valley, minnesota. he writes, "when my son was young, he used to say my daddy works with big machines that go boom booms boom. my son is now 17 years old and
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climbing a career in manufacturing. he grew up around those machines that go boom. unfortunately, most students these days think that modification ismanufacturing is not for them. if they could only get in to see how remarkable it is to see how things are really made, they would change their perspective." he goes on, "each night at dinner we talk about his" -- he's talking about his son -- "his high of the schoolday and he's so excited to tell me about his equipment or next project in manufacturing class. now it is time to light that fire inside of other students and show them today's manufacturing companies are a great place to have a career." unquote. a great place to have a career. his story illustrates perfectly why promoting manufacturing
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careers with young people is so important. we have a lot of advantages in this country because of natural gas boom. we have cheap energy, relative to the rest of the world. and because the nature of manufacturing -- and because of the nature of manufacturing the main cost now is the technical is the technology and a much smaller piece is low-skilled labor. and what this country needs to compete is high-skilled labor. and we need more people, more young people especially, to take advantage of the opportunities -- opportunities available in manufacturing so that we will continue to compete globally and expand as we compete globally. thank you mr. president.
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mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president i continue to read in the up newspaper, in the press particularly that that covers our activities here in congress, talking about the shutdown that was averted because we were able to pass a continuing resolution by -- before the midnight end of the fiscal year on witness day night. -- on wednesday night. but i'd like to reflect just a few minutes on what the cause of this drama is and where the responsibility actually lies for all of this shutdown drama which is completely unnecessary
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if the senate and the congress were permitted to basically do our job. for example just this afternoon our democratic friends decided to filibuster legislation that would help our veterans and our men and women in uniform because it would fund the full range of services to veterans and construction of military facilities. if you think about that for a moment it becomes even more outrageous because the idea that in order to force this side of the aisle to the table in order to spend more money and raise taxes, that you would hold our veterans and our military hostage is really a remarkable thing. certainly nothing to be proud of and something that needs to be
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called out and identified for what it is. but the only reason we've had to go through this process on a continuing resolution -- and by the way for those who are not familiar with a continuing resolution what that means is we are continuing for a period of time, this now until december 11 the current spending policies of the federal government. that means we are side-stepping the appropriations committee where outdated or obsolete programs are discarded or if they're multiple government programs that could be consolidated and made more effective and more efficient or, if heaven forbid, we could actually save some money and apply it to priorities or maybe help reduce or deficit. that's where that should be happening. but because of the obstruction of our friends across the aisle who are just dead set on forcing this to the negotiating table so
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they can force the federal government to spend more money is really outrageous. we've had two previous votes on the defense defense appropriations bill, which even is more immediately directed to help support our families and the men and women in uniform who are serving -- many of whom are serving in harm's way. it's amazing to me how many people will coom to the senate -- come to the senate floor or in the other body, the howmpt and talk about their devotion and dedication to our military and our veterans. and they should. our military and our veterans deserve our devotion and appreciation and every honor we can bestow on them. but the idea that you would at one hand talk like that and then come to the floor and block legislation which funds their paycheck or pays for their
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benefits if they're a veteran keeping the commitment we've made to them, it really is outrageous, which is just another reason why the american people everybody outside of the beltway, hold congress in washington in such low regard. and we are after all a self-governing people. and when people hold their government in low regard and lose confidence in their government basically they're losing confidence in themselves and in our country and in our ability to control our destiny or at least try to point us in a better direction. so earlier on, i believe it was the senior senator from new york who gave an interview to "the new york times," and he talked about the fact that democrats were going to have a filibuster summer. and now that sort of slopped over into filibuster fall
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apparently. and why? for what reason? what's a good reason? well, it is not for a good reason but it is for this reason. it is so they can force republicans, the majority, to the negotiating table to spend more money. and then there's the white house. no leadership out of the white house on fiscal matters whatsoever. this morning the white house threatened to veto this very bill assuming it would pass the congress. again, why? well because it complies with the current law and budgetary restrictions under the budget control act. and you might ask why are they offended by that? why is that a problem? that's a good question actually, because the president himself signed the budget control act into law. and the very caps on spending that have kept discretionary spending at 2007 levels are caps that he signed into law.
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and the idea, again, that you would hold hostage our troops and veterans is really incredible. and why? because the president and the minority the democrats refuse to adhere to budget spending caps that the president signed into law. and you know, we hear a lot of discussion about those caps or sequestration. this is the automatic spending caps on discretionary spending, they remember actually proposed -- they were actually proposed by the president and his team at the white house in the first place. so it would require a certain degree of cognitive dissonance or maybe willing suspension of disbelief to read over the white house's veto threat on this particular bill and to take it seriously. but we're going to continue, mr. president, to press our
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democratic colleagues to return this body to what we like to call regular order around here. in other words doing our job. what we were elected to do. and this whole idea of holding our troops and veterans hostage in order to force more government spending is just beyond outrageous. and with everything happening in the world, i don't doubt that it's hard for this message to penetrate, but the reason why we continue to operate on continuing resolutions and temporary patches like the one that we just passed that goes to december 11 is because of the obstruction on the other side of the aisle these filibusters. and we have a lot of work cut out for us by that december 11 deadline. before that deadline, we have to deal with an expiring highway bill. we passed a multiyear highway bill here in the senate and sent
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it to the house. my hope is they can use this time up until october 29 to pass a highway bill, we can get to a conference and work out the differences and we can settle that one important piece of business. i come from a big state. we need those resources in order to maintain and build our highway system for public safety for the environment and for the economy. so i hope we can get that done. but we're going to have a real another big drama here caused as a result of the democrats vetoing or -- excuse me -- filibustering these appropriations bills called an omnibus appropriations bill. in other words, what is set up to happen as a result of the obstruction on the other side of the aisle by blocking all of these appropriations bill is we're going to have to consider all of the funding for the federal government for perhaps
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the next year, and we're going to have to vote on that one big bill probably $1 trillion or more in december. that is a horrible, horrible way to do business. first of all it's not transparent. our constituents can't hope to read that legislation and understand all the ramifications of it and what it might mean. it also frankly it's susceptible to larding it with things that aren't necessary. it wouldn't be passed under other circumstances because it's put on a -- quote -- "must-pass legislation." you're going to hear another drumbeat -- mr. president i'll close on this -- about shutdowns and cliffs and irresponsibility of congress in not meeting our basic obligations and there is one reason for that under present circumstances. it's because our democratic
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friends have chosen to filibuster and to stop the senate from doing its business the way we should be doing our business. in an orderly transparent responsible, accountable sort of way. and the way we do that is by taking up individual appropriations bills and passing them. if we did it that way, there would be no government shutdown drama, if one appropriations bill or two appropriations bill didn't get passed for some reason for some delay. so this is really the source of all this shutdown drama. the obstruction of our democratic colleagues in preventing us from doing our basic business of governing and making sure that we are doing what we promised to do when each of us stood for election in front of our voters. and i know -- i see the junior senator from montana here. i know one of the things that motivated many of our new senators is a desire to come here and put our fiscal house in
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order. we aren't even talking about doing some of the things like we should, some of the things we need to do to reduce the deficit, the difference between what we spend and what comes in, and then much less, the debt, which is in the $18 trillion range, which is unbelievable. so these young men and women who are serving as pages, we are leaving behind for them a financial burden which is just simply immoral. it's just not right. and the promises that were made to back when social security and medicare were passed that those would be there for you in your later years i haven't met a young person today who thinks that social security or medicare are going to be there for them, because, frankly they're going to run out of money on the current path that they're on. so we have a lot to do, mr. president. believe me, the country is
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upset. people are angry. they're scared. they're worried about their families and about their future. they're worried about their security. and when they look at the tv set or read the newspaper how a willful minority can simply shut down our ability to do our job and conduct the nation's business, their anger and their frustration and their fear is justified. we can do better, and i hope and pray we will. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: mr. president i rise today in recognition of gene turnage the former montana supreme court chief justice and
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state senate president who passed away earlier this week. chief justice turnage was a true public servant who always put montana and this nation first. he's remembered as a fair and tolerant judge and a true gentleman legislator. as both a legislator and judge he had a genius for solving conflicts and bridging differences, a quality that is far too rare in public service. chief justice turnage was part of a dying breed of the greatest generation and was a true statesman. as a world war ii veteran a state legislator and chief justice of the montana supreme court, justice turnage truly exemplified our state's strong legacy of service. his passing is a great loss for montana. on behalf of all montanans, i want to recognize gene for his
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decades of service to montana and to this nation. our thoughts and prayers are with the turnage family during this time of loss. i yield back my time.
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mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: before i speak, i would make a unanimous consent request for floor privileges for this congress for details from the department of justice david palmer and zach turelleberg. the presiding officer: without
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objection, so ordered. mr. grassley: today i am pleased to introduce along with a broad bipartisan group of colleagues a truly landmark piece of legislation. it is the result of months of hard work and thoughtful deliberation. it is the largest criminal justice reform bill in a generation. this bill represents a consensus among my colleagues and me. there are elements of the criminal justice system that we can agree -- that we agree can and should be improved. we all agree that statutory mandatory minimum sentences can serve an important role in protecting public safety and bringing justice to crime victims and this bill will preserve the primary mandatory
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minimums to keep some certainty and uniformity in federal sentences and to encourage criminals to cooperate with law enforcement. we even add develop new mandatory minimums for crimes involving interstate domestic violence and supplying weapons or other defense materials to prohibited countries or terrorists. but our current system has produced some specific instances of severe and excessive sentences and so we all agree that we need to lower some of the harshest enhanced mandatory minimums. and we all agree that we can do a better job of targeting those enhanced mandatory sentences to the most serious violent and repeat offenders.
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and so this bill does just that. it even expands some of those enhanced mandatory minimums to criminals with prior violent felonies and state crimes involving the unlawful use of firearms. that will be a big help in cities across the country who face rising homicide rates from violent offenders and who have been released from prison. we also all agree that our current system could benefit from giving judges a bit more discretion in sentencing. that's why we are expanding the current safety valve. we also create a second safety so that nonviolent offenders who have minor criminal histories or play low-level roles in drug organizations cannot improperly
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swept up by mandatory minimums. finally, we all agree that we must improve our prisons and stop the revolving door. so those of us introducing this bill have agreed to give lower-risk inmates a chance to return to society earlier and with better prospects to become productive law-abiding citizens. there are other parts of this bill that are also important but i won't go into them at this time. as i said, this is the biggest criminal justice reform in a generation. instead, at this point, i want to end with the idea that this bill is about the united states senate as well. senators from both sides of the aisle and senators with very
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different perspectives have come together to solve an important problem facing our country. this is how the united states senate can work and should work and i'm pleased to be a part of it and do that in my role as chairman of the judiciary committee. finally, i want to extend sincere thanks to my colleagues who joined in this effort of reaching a bipartisan agreement. senator durbin senator cornyn, senator whitehouse, senator lee senator graham, senator schumer senator booker, and senator scott. and i end by thanking the ranking member of the judiciary committee, senator leahy for the great help that he's been not only as my friend but as
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working on this piece of legislation. i yield the floor. mr. grassley: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk shall call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: mr. president, last week i came to the floor to speak on the subject of religious liberty in america. i explained why religious liberty matters why it's important and why it deserves special protection from government interference. i also use my remarks to welcome pope francis to washington and to recognize the historic nature of his visit. i was struck by the pope's emphasis on religious liberty while he was here and by his concern for the state of religious liberty not just around the world but in the united states as well. in his address at the white house, pope francis said that many american catholics are -- quote -- "concerned that efforts to build a justice and wisely ordered society respect the right to religious liberty." and he called on all americans
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to -- quote -- "to be vigilant to preserve and defend religious freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it." before congress, pope francis spoke of the delicate balance required to combat violence and extremism while at the same time safeguarding religious liberty. and in philadelphia, he declared that the right of religious exercise extends well beyond the church door. quote -- "religious freedom certainly means the right to worship god individually and community as consciences dictate. but religious liberty by its nature transcends places of worship and private sphere of individuals and families." mr. president, like pope francis, i too am concerned about threats to religious freedom here in the united states. last week i announced my intention to give a series of speeches on the subject of religious liberty and i continue that purpose today by speaking
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about the history of religious liberty in america. as my remarks will show concern for religious liberty has been a critical feature of our nation from the beginning. the desire to enjoy the freedom to live's one faith was a motivating factor for many of our earliest settlers. once here they set about creating societies in which religion could have full room to flourish. at times they fell prey to the same sectarian narrow-mindedness that bedeviled the nations of europe. but on the whole our forebears enjoyed and permitted a broader range of religious freedom that could be found most anywhere in the world or the planet at that time. as the heirs of their efforts we have the obligation to continue their commitment to religious liberty. freedom of religion is part of the very fabric of our nation.
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it is not only enshrined in the text of our first amendment but also permeates our history. our very identity as a nation, protecting and promoting freedom of religion, is at the heart of the american project. let's begin at the beginning. the first permanent european settlers here in america were pilgrims seeking to escape religious oppression. leaders like john winthrop guided puritans and other groups of pilgrims from europe to the new world in search of a place where they could practice their religious beliefs according to their own conscience. the pilgrims' journey to massachusetts bay is considered such an important part of the american story that a mural depicting the -- quote -- embarkation of the pilgrims -- unquote -- hangs in the rotunda of the united states capitol. this great painting stands as a symbol and constant reminder of america's place as a safe harbor
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for those seeking religious liberty. following the success of the puritans other religious minorities including quakers congregationalists, basketball tifts, jews, -- baptists, jews, presbyterians and a host of german and dutch sec. s came to the american colonies to practice their religions in peace. unfortunately, they didn't find the religious tolerance they hoped for. the massachusetts bay, for example, punished heretics and held the view that nonadherence to the state religion was a crime to the state. these minorities did not give in. instead, they pressed on in search of new locales where the promise of religious freedom could be found full bloom. roger williams, the founder of the first baptist church in
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america, was among the most notable dissenters from religious orthodoxy. williams believed that the church in massachusetts was not sufficiently separated from the church of england and openly questioned the legitimacy of the colony's charter. forced to flee his home in boston for fear of being arrested, williams found refuge among the natives. he went on to purchase land from the massoit tribe and established a new settlement that he gave the rather auspicious name providence. a few years later providence and several other communities joined together to form the rhode island colony, the first colony in the new world to offer religious liberty to all sects. citizens in rhode island could attend the church of their choice without fear of government reprisal. mr. president, we see in the founding of rhode island the seed of the idea that all people
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should be free to practice their faith. if massachusetts represented the flight from persecution then rhode island constituted the next step in the path towards religious freedom. the extension of free exercise. nor was rhode island the only safe harbor in the new world for religious minorities. there was also pennsylvania which was named for william penn a quaker. english authorities imprisoned penn in the tower of london for writing pamphlets critical of the church of england. after he was released, penn established the pennsylvania colony as a refuge for practitioners of his own quaker faith. another example was the dutch colony of new netter land, later known as new amsterdam and today known as new york. when new amsterdam was founded in 1625, its articles of
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transfer assured new englanders that they could -- quote -- keep and enjoy the liberty of their consciences and religion -- end quote. no city better symbolizes the religious diversity of america than new york city, which should be surprising given that new york was one of america's earliest havens of religious liberty and tolerance. it bears mention mr. president that although many of the early american colonies aspired to provide religious liberty to all citizens colonial america often fell short of this ideal. in 1689, for example england's parliament enacted the act of toleration which granted freedom to nonanglicans to hold their own religious services, provided they properly registered their
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ministers and places of worship. however, the act did not extend the right to old public office to nonconformists and explicitly excluded catholics and unitarians from all benefits provided by the act. moreover ministers of minority sects could be imprisoned for failing to apply for licenses or for preaching outside of authorized locations. in 1774, virginia authorities imprisoned some 50 baptist ministers for failing to heed the toleration act requirements. yet the trajectory of religious liberty in america has always been a straight line, however has not diminished the centrality of the religious freedom to the ideal or to the history and growth of our nation. looking back centuries later we rightly criticize colonial leaders for failing to give full freedom to religious practitioners, but the religious
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failure of some colonial leaders to live up to the ideal was ultimately overwhelmed by the success of later colonists and by the significance of religious liberty to the entire american project. as i said last week, our nation exists because of religious liberty. the freedom to practice one's faith was central to the founding and growth of the american colonies. furthermore, the guarantees of religious liberty -- or the guarantee -- the guarantees of religious liberties are found in the colonial chapters, coupled with the breadth of religious diversity in prerevolution america is nothing short of remarkable. as stanford professor michael mcconnell has noted one of the great constitutional experts in our country, in the years leading up to the revolution, america had -- quote -- already experienced 150 years of a
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higher degree of religious diversity than had existed anywhere else in the world unquote. i come now to the american revolution and subsequent ratification of our constitution. it was through these crucial events mr. president, that the ideal of religious liberty had so long motivated the colonists to become part of our fundamental charter of government. george washington, while leader of the continental army, issued a command concerning religious liberty to the revolutionary troops. quote -- "as far as lies in your power, you are to protect and support the free exercise of the religion of the country and the undisturbed enjoyment of the rights of conscience in religious matters with your utmost influence and authority." unquote. that was george washington. thomas jefferson the author of the declaration of independence
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likewise emphasized the centrality of religious freedom for our new nation. in 1766, the virginia legislature adopted a statute on religious freedom written by none other than thomas jefferson. this law said that -- quote -- all american shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matter of religion and that the same shall in no ways diminish, enlarge or affect their civilian capacities." unquote. jefferson's words in the statute on religious freedom had a profound influence on james madison who we revere today as the father of the constitution. madison reflected jefferson's version in his own writings, declaring that, quote -- "the religion of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man to
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exercise it as these may dictate." unquote. the original constitution ratified in 1788 did not contain a bill of rites because the framers believed that the structure they had created would effectively guard against tyranny. they also worried that enumerating rights could lead to mischief as officials might argue that any right not enumerated did not exist. but the framers eventually reversed course, and a few years later madison drafted and the states ratified the first ten amendments to the constitution. the first of these amendments formerrized the guarantee of religious -- formerrized the guarantee of religious liberty already found in many state constitutions and deeply embedded in the fabric of american society. the words are familiar to all americans -- quote -- "congress
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shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." unquote. the principle that had motivated the initial settlement of america and that had grown and matured in concert with the growth and maturation of the colonies themselves had found expression in our fundamental charter. of course, ratification of the first amendment is not the end of the story, from the founding generation down to the present day, the importance of religious liberty to the american ideal has tipped to manifest itself in a variety of ways. consider the experience of ursulan nuns of new orleans. these french sisters were the first congregation of roman catholic nuns in the united states. they came to america in the early 1700's and settled in new france which later became
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louisiana. following the louisiana purchase in 1803, the sisters of the ursuline convent grew concerned that they would lose their rights to their property and mission now that their charter was under the jurisdiction of the united states. the mother superior of the ursulines petitioned thomas jefferson to ask that the sisters be allowed to keep their property in new orleans. president jefferson responded powerfully telling the sisters -- quote -- "the principles of the constitution and government of the united states are a sure guarantee to you that your property will be preserved to you sacred and inviolate and that your institution will be permitted to gover rules without interference from the civilian authority." unquote. president jefferson spoke the
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truth. indeed the old ursuline convent and mission survives to this day. it is located in new orleans' famous french quarter and is the oldest building in the mississippi river valley. the old ursuline covenant is an emblem of the vitality and centrality of religious liberty in american life. the persecuted religious minority unpopular in its day and even revowed in some -- reviled in some backwards segments of society received a personal guarantee from the president of the united states that their rights and property would remain secure under the protection of the united states government. here we see religious liberty not only as ideal but as reality. to return to my earlier formulation, massachusetts represented the flight from religious persecution.
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rhode island and other colonies, the extension of free exercise. now in the constitution we have the guarantee of religious liberty to all people in all places within the jurisdiction of our great land. the constitution and its guarantee of free exercise is the culmination of the process that began when the pilgrims first set foot on the mayflower way back in 1620, but the constitution is only as effective as we through our fidelity make it. regrettably, the exercise of the guarantee of free exercise has at times been undermined or even abridged by narrow-minded sectarianism or fear of new traits. such diversion from the promise of religious liberty has not caused to question the continuing value of religion or to claim that the promise of
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religious freedom is a false promise. rather, it is reason to rededicate ourselves to the ideal enshrined in our constitution that all men and women have an inalienable right to choose for themselves what they believe and how they will practice their beliefs. as many of my colleagues know, i'm a descendant of the early mormon pioneers who much like the pilgrims of the mayflower fled persecution and discrimination by abandoning their homes for a new place of refuge. in the case of the mormon pioneers, they migrated many by foot and harsh conditions in a mass exodus across the great plains, over the rocky mountains and finally into salt lake valley and other settlements throughout the intermountain west. brigham young was a great colonizer and said people all over the west


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