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tv   U.S. Senate Debates Health Care Law Repeal  CSPAN  January 5, 2017 1:59pm-4:00pm EST

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mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i rise today in support of s. con. res. 3, the on-going effort to repeal the most harmful elements of the so-called affordable care act. while my friends on the other side of the aisle have been trying to convince the american people there's nothing to see here and that this poorly named law is working according to plan, the vast majority of our citizens know -- they know the truth. obamacare just doesn't -- doesn't work. according to the results of a recent gallup poll, 80% of americans want congress to either change the affordable care act significantly or repeal and replace it altogether.
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let me repeat that. eight out of every ten people in this country agree that the status quo is unacceptable. and that we need a major, major change in what's going on around here. we need a course correction in our health care system. i.t. not hard to see -- it's not hard to see y it's not hard to see why this is the case. after all, under obamacare, the cost of health insurance has increased dramatically and will continue to do so well into the future. under obamacare, individuals and families are being left with fewer and fewer choices when it comes to buying health care. -- or health insurance, i should say. under obamacare, patients have fewer options and reduced access to health care providers, and under become berk the american
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people -- and under obamacare, the american people have been hit with steep taxes, burdensome mandates and a health care system that simply does not meet their needs. this year alone, premiums in the benchmark plan for the obamacare exchanges have gone up by an average of 25%, and in some parts of the country, the increases have been significantly larger than that. in addition, over the past few years, insurance plans have been dropping out of the markets all over the country. as a result, it's estimated that more than half of the counties in the u.s. will have two or fewer available health insurance plans on the exchanges. that's this year. and about a third of them have only one available option. i'm quite certain that every single member of this chamber has heard from a number of their constituents about the -- about
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these problems, about the problems they faced as the fierkt has been -- affordable care act has been implemented. i know i have. a number of utahans have written to me to express their concerns about the increases in their insurance premiums. for example, last month, austin from provo, utah, told me that due to the growing costs of his insurance plan -- quote -- "i'm going to have to drop the insurance and face the penalty next year. i'm worried because, as a young husband and father, i'm barely making ends meet, and i'm not sure i can afford to pay the penalty for not having insurance." unquote. similarly, ervin from spanish fork noted that because her family's -- it's erin, excuse me, from spanish fork, utah, noted that because her insurer dropped out of the utah marketplace, the remaining plan that best met her family's needs
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was -- quote -- "a plan with a small list of in-network providers and no coverage for out-of-network providers." unquote. she continued saying that under this new plan -- quote -- "we will have a higher deductible, $13,000 for the family, we will have to pay the full cost of any visit to the doctor, and we will not be able to save as much money in our health savings account each month because of the high premiums, which add up to $11,000 a year." the premium is basically another mortgage payment for us. only we have no property to snore it -- property to show for it. this is too much." unquote. mr. president, no family should have to choose between paying their mortgage and paying for their health insurance. yet with all of obamacare's failures and broken promises, families throughout the country are currently having to make
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those kinds of choices. unfortunately, it does not get any better from here, not without a major change to the status quo. in fact, i think it's safe to say that we fail to arctic the worst is -- to act, the worst is yet to come. therefore, it is only fitting that we begin this new congress by repealing obamacare and setting the stage for workable reforms that will actually bring down costs, provide more options, and let the american people and not washington bureaucrats make their own health care choices. the budget resolution before us is the first step in this effort. as we all know, the resolution contains reconciliation instructions to the relevant committees, including the senate finance committee, which i chair, to draft legislation to repeal obamacare. so after approving this resolution, the next step will be for the finance committee, the help committee, as well as
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the ways and means and energy and commerce committees over in the house to get to work on putting together a repeal package. this process will be more difficult than it sounds. we don't want to be wreckness and we don't want -- we do want to be reckless and we don't want to inflict more harm on the american people. therefore, in addition to repealing obamacare, the legislation we draft pursuant to this budget resolution will have to include a stable transition period to give us the time and space we need to provide more sensible reforms. under the budget resolution, the legislation to repeal obamacare and provide that transition period will need to be reported to the budget committee by january 27. then both the house and senate will debate the legislation, hopefully passing it by simple majority votes, and sending it to the desk of the incoming president.
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once we pass this repeal legislation, welcome to the most important step in the process. replacing obamacare with a health care system worthy of the american people. now, this will not be a simple endeavor. iters going to take -- it's going to take a great deal of work, and it will almost certainly require the efforts of people from both parties. the finance committee is going to have a major role to play throughout this process of repealing obamacare, providing for a secure transition, and replacing the law with more effective reforms. our committee has jurisdiction over all the major federal health programs, including medicare and medicaid. in addition, we'll have jurisdiction over the tax provisions, which include all of obamacare's harmful taxes as well as the premium tax credits provided to purchase plans in the obamacare exchanges. i have spoken at length to my
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republican colleagues on the finance committee about these issues, and all of them are ready and willing to do whatever is necessary to put our nation's health care system son a more responsible -- system on a more responsible path. we're going to get it done. that i have no doubt. to be shiewrks the first few steps -- to be sure, the first few steps in this effort are going to happen quickly. once again, the plan is to produce repeal legislation before the end of this moneyst month. this, of course, is how is has to be. the american people don't have the time for us to wait. and we don't have the luxury of sitting back and watching the problems get worse over time. the problems facing our health care system are growing by the day. we need to take the swiftest possible action. we intend to act quickly and methodically to begin providing relief for the millions of americans who are currently
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suffering as a result of obamacare and the unworkable system it has created. as i noted, if that effort is going to be successful, it should be bipartisan. and both congress and the incoming administration will need to work together. on that point, i do want to note that my friends on the other side of the aisle have, as recently as this morning, made a number of statements and issued several demands with regard to the process for considering and confirming the president-elect's cabinet appointees. -- or nominees. according to my colleagues' statements, they want multiple rounds of hearings on every nominee, which, by the way, is unprecedented. this morning they even went further issuing demands that certain preconditions be met before hearings could even be held on a particular nomination.
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mr. president, these tactics are, to put it bluntly, preposterous. my colleagues are free to oppose any nominee and to try to convince others to do the same. it is unfortunate that they've decided to go further by politicizing the process by which we consider nominations. speaking for the senate finance committee, i have to say that we have an established set of vetting procedures for all executive branch nominees. republicans and democrats alike have those particular vetting procedures. that process has been in place for decades and it's traditionally been bipartisan. by all accounts, the finance committee's long-standing vetting process is exceptionally thorough and fair, and it is deeply regrettable that some of our colleagues would try to undermine that process and not provide the incoming trump
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administration's nominees the same respect and regard that our committee has provided for nominees in the obama administration and prior administrations as well. as chairntion i take this process -- as chairman, i take this process very seriously. i have made no efforts to abbreviate or short-circuit our procedures for any nominee and have no intention of doing so in the future. i'm certain that all of our chairmen here in the senate can say the same thing. my hope is that my completion will stop -- my colleagues will stop politicizing this process at every step and allow the senate to function as it has under both republican and democrat administrations. my friends on the other side may not like the results of the recent election, but their disappointment at the outcome is no justification for reinventing the way we do business here in the senate. i hope that we'll all take this into consideration and that we'll start cooperating with each other and we'll get this
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government moving again and that we'll support and sustain these people who are qualified and good people who are being chosen by the trump-elect administration. i think it's important that we do these things and do them carefully and that we treat each other with the respect that is well-deserved in this body. and i hope the petty, cheap politics will be discontinued. mr. president, with that i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. a senator: mr. president, i enjoyed listening to the comments of my colleague from utah about the affordable care act and some of its problems. i wanted to expand on that a little if i could. mr. portman: i know we're having a discussion right now about whether to repeal and replace the affordable care act affordable care act and we're focused a lot on what the time
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frame might be and what the replacement might be which is appropriate but we also have to remines ourselves as to how we got there. we got here because the affordable care act has not met its promises and let down the people of ohio and around this country. millions of these families have already had a tough time experiencing really a middle class squeeze of flat wages, even declining wages on average over the last decade or so and now higher costs. and that squeeze is accelerated by the cost of health care which have gone up dramatically. in my own state of ohio, the ohio department of insurance has reported a 91% increase in the individual market in ohio in the last six years, an 80% increase for small businesses that are purchasing affordable care act compliant plans. this is since the affordable care act went into effect. so think about that. almost a doubling of health care premium costs. who can afford that? people certainly can't afford it as their wages are flat or even
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declining on average. nationally according to the kaiser family health foundation, average family premiums since the affordable care act was put into place have increased by more than $4700. you recall one of the promises of the affordable care act was that costs would go down on average of $2500 per family. it's just the opposite that's happened, in fact almost doubling of that to a $4700 increase. i don't think families have gotten that kind of pay increase. that would be an 80%, 90% increase to afford that they certainly haven't in ohio. this is a huge problem. to make matters worse, we think these cost increases are continuing to escalate in our state and around the country. in ohio premiums for this year 2017 are on average 13% higher than 2016 so double-digit increase in one year. two plans in particular premiums went up by about 389% in -- 39% in ohio. for some families much worse than that.
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we've had good leadership in ohio in governor kasich and the insurance commissioner for our state. because of that, i believe we've done a better job of trying to control these costs, but in many parts of the country the situation is even worse. nationally premiums are increasing by about a quarter just this year, 25% in one year. arizona they're doubling. tennessee they're rising 63%. pennsylvania right next door to ohio 32%. i could go on and on. i'm sure north dakota has had similar problems as the presiding officer can tell us about. some people, you know, might be able to afford these higher premiums but a lot of people can't afford it. i heard about having the choice between paying your rent and paying your premium. that's what i hear back in ohio as i talk to people who are already struggling and now hit with these huge expenses. unless we take action, there's no light at the end of this tunnel. the congressional budget office which i -- and the joint commite on taxation projected unless we do something to change the status quo premiums continue to
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skyrocket. they say they'll grow at least by 5% each year. that's far faster than wages grow. again the squeeze continues. the law was advertised as something that would and i quote -- bend the cost curve meaning seeing a reduction in the cost of health care but health care costs have gone up, not down. on top of that the american people have had to pay hundreds of billions of dollars every year in taxes for this new law. there are 19 tax increases in the affordable care act. some of these like the cadillac tax are very unpopular even among democrats and republicans. so if we can deal with that with any kind of repeal effort immediately. another goal of this law was supposed to be increasing access to health care. let's talk about that for a second. i heard different things on the floor this week about that. about six million people lost health insurance that they liked as a direct result of this law going into effect. so about six million americans
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are told your coverage is no longer adequate, it doesn't meet the mandates, you're going to lose your coverage. president obama told the american people i'm told 37 different times that if they liked their doctor, they could keep their doctor. of course that tned out to not to be true. when you lose your health care plan and lose your doctor, you don't feel like those promises have been kempt. the outside group that looks at what we elected officials say about what's going to happen and compare it so actually what happened, and by the way, it's still not true. one in five obamacare customers were forced to find a new insurance company for this year, for this year. so the congressional budget office i mentioned, the joint committee on taxation, these are nonpartisan groups, they now project 27 million americans are still uninsured today. and under the status quo, if we don't take action, they say that will be the case for the next decade. so there's -- this notion everybody is going to get
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covered just hasn't happened. by the way that's about one in ten people in our work force even after hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars haven spent on the affordable care act including these 19 new tax increases. a lot of people have told me rob, i have health insurance but i really don't because my deductible is so high. so forgetting the premium for a second to pay for health care, just the annual deductible has gone out of sight. there's some plans where the deductible, as you know, for a family might be $8,000, $9,000, $10,000 a year. that's not really health care because you end up paying all that money out of pocket. the average deductible for a mid-level plan under obamacare according to the kaiser family foundation went up from $2500 last year 2015, the year before last now to more than $3,000 last year, an increase of about a quarter in just one year. so you see this increase also in the deductibles, the copays, not just in the premium. national insurers have lost billions of dollars on the
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affordable care act exchanges and a lot of them have just pulled their plans from the states. this is a real problem because if you don't have competition and choice out there, you're not going to get the costs down. i will say in my own state of ohio, we've lost nearly a third of the companies on our exchanges just this year. we've gone from having 17 companies offering insurance on the exchanges in 2016 last year to this year just 11. so 17 companies down to 11 companies. we now have ten of our counties, 88 counties ohio, 20 of our counties where there's only one insurer. by the way, this is true nationally. about one-third of the counties arp the united states now only -- around the united states now only have one insurer. again this leads to higher costs, less choice, less competition, quality also goes down because you don't have that kind of competition for the beneficiaries. it also of course affects this issue we talked before premiums going up, deductibles going up, copays going up and the middle class squeeze. so the president's health care law certainly failed at its own goals that were laid out, the promises that were made.
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made it harder to create jobs, too, which is a different issue really. what is the economic effect of this? of course having more people covered is a good thing. we all want that but what's the economic impact of the way that the affordable care act was put into place? we're looking at the weakest recovery in the history of our country from a recession still. unfortunately we haven't seen the kind of strong economic growth that we all hope for and had anticipated after a deep recession. some of the reason for that in my view is health care. health care coasts going up dramatically -- costs going up dramatically, not being able to get ahead, smaller businesses having higher and higher costs. when you look at the latest jobs report, it's interesting. the bureau of labor statistics tells us that 5.7 million americans now are stuck in part-time work who want full-time work. people are looking for a full-time job but can only find a part-time job. why is that? the economy is not working as it should, it's not generating enough growth to create job
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opportunities full-time, but it's also because of these mandates under the affordable care act. and i can tell you, you know, economists may differ on the impact of this but go talk to people about it. i was in ohio a few months ago. a woman came up to me and said can you tell me. my employer says i can only work 28 hours a week. i figured what it was about. she was a fast food employee but i asked her, well, what do they say? she said health care. so what does that mean? it means under obamacare if you work under 30 hours a week, you're not covered by the mandates and new cost. some employers are saying well, we're going to keep you under 30 hours a week. that's led to mar part-time work. in this particular case the woman said i have to find another part-time job. i have kids at home, it's tough. i said in answer in part to this is change the health care law, to make some of the requirements and mandates and make it pro-jobs rather than the current situation. tens of thousands of new pages of regulations in this law.
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it forces businesses, spall businesses and i'm a small business person. i devoted a lot of time and effort to figure it out. you go to the consultants, pay them a bunch of money and they sell you they're not sure what it means either. this is one of the big issues that doesn't get talked much with the affordable care act is it's just really hard for a business to figure out what they're supposed to do, particularly small businesses that don't have that kind of expertise and professionals in house. so those costs instead could go toward more employees. they could go toward reinvesting in the business, plant equipment but they're going to try to figure this thing out. i don't doubt the good intentions of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who support this legislation. again, we all want to see more coverage. we want to see health care costs go down, but that's not what's happened. before the affordable care act went into affect, the cbo estimated 26 million americans would be enrolled in a plan in 2016. that's what they estimated, 26 million would be enrolled in a plan in 2016. the actual number was 12.7, less
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than half of that. so again it hasn't met its own promises and its own projections. the co-ops are another failure. there is a debate on the floor just before i got elected but it was about should there be a public option so that everybody would have an option to get into an exchange. let's put together the co-ops, the nonprofits, set them around the country. there were 23 co-ops set up, including one in ohio. we now see 15 of the 23 co-ops have gone insolvent, 15 of the 23. i will tell you last spring when 22,000 ohioans lost their health care because the co-op went belly up, it was tough because they had to scramble and find a new health care plan quickly. more than 860,000 americans, people encouraged by this law to sign up for these co-op plans have had to scramble to find new coverage because of a failed co-op. so it's tough on these families. it's also tough on the taxpayer. we did an investigation of this under the committee of
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investigations. we looked at what happened to the families and looked at what's happened to the taxpayer. at that time when only about half of the co-ops had gone under, rather about two-thirds, $1.2 billion of taxpayer money had already been spent on these co-ops. that money isn't coming back to the treasury, meaning this is money that will probably never be repaid again, part of the problem with our debt and deficit is obamacare affordable care act has been so expensive and these co-ops in particular just wasted money. among the surviving co-ops, three have not yet enrolled, 25,000 members. the nonpartisan government accountability office g.a.o. issue add report in march that confirms the results of our investigation and it indicates that this money, the $1.2 billion has now increased substantially because more of the co-ops have gone under. by the way, many of those 22,000 ohio families in the co-op had already paid deductibles on the plans they thought they could count on.
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think about it. they already paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in health care costs to get up to their deductible and all of a sudden they find out they've got to go to a new plan and they've got to start all over again. so it's sort of adding insult to injury. they lost their plan. you have to scramble to find one and find out i have these out of pocket expenses again. although i met my deductible on the old plan i have to start over with the new plan. this is not the way it ought to be. it's not fair. these families did nothing wrong. all they did was what they were told to do which is sign up for these co-ops. i think these are just symptoms of the problem. i think the diagnosis is clear which the health care law is a bad law, bad health care policy. it just hasn't worked. it's difficult to make the other argument. the president's health care law hasn't worked, not that it didn't have good intentions because it tried to achieve those good intentions by forcing millions of people to buy a product they didn't want often after losing a product they did want, including a $2 billion
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taxpayer funded website that didn't work. as you may recall, you remember all the problems with the affordable care act website and potentially exposed a lot of personal information unfortunately of many of these individuals to hackers. as i talked about, even those who have insurance often have limited access to providers because the deductibility is so high they just can't afford their health care. with higher costs and fewer choirses the american people by and large are dissatisfied by this plan, the affordable care act, just as they have since this was enacted. there was a cbs poll that showed more americans disapprove of the law than approve it. eight in ten americans want the law repealed or significantly changed, eight in ten americans. why? because they've seen it. by the way, most americans are not in the exchanges but they felt it because think about this. when a company is involved in the exchanges and losing money and many of these companies are losing hundreds of billions of
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dollars aer use, what they're doing is cost shifting on to private plans, on to employer-based plans and raising the costs for other americans. this is part of the reason why health care costs have gone up generally, not just on the exchanges but overall. i've certainly seen this firsthand in ohio. stiforts have -- constituents have been contacting me for the last six years to tell me how this health care law is affecting them. as a father of five who wrote to me after the cost of his family's insurance doubled. another man saw his did you deductible soar to $4,000. these folks just can't afford it, period. i remember the letter i received from dean from sandusky. he lost his job in 2009 during the recession. because he lost his job h had to go on the individual market to buy health care insurance. he picked out a plan that worked for him, his family and him. he liked it, he bought it. once the president's health care law went into effect that plan was discontinued because it didn't mean the mandates and requirements of the new law. he found himself high and dry,
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had to find another plan. he had to buy a plan twice as expensive and it cost him more than half of his pension because that's his income is his pension. not only did he lose his job, but then he was saddled with a much more expensive cost of living with a plan he couldn't afford. he didn't do anything wrong, but because of a failed mistake and approach that congress took to health care reform, he's got to struggle to make ends meet. susan from about a dave i can't wrote -- from batavia wrote to me, a single mom. she wrote, i stay in shape, watch my diet, exercise regularly, did all the right things, had a high deductible, lost-cost plan but under the president's new health care law i had to change my plan. her coverage was for double the price on the premium. single mom, tough to afford. another susan from columbus, ohio, wrote to me she works for a small business with 12 employees. when the health care law went into effect rates went up nearly
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30% in one year. small businesses and new businesses cannot afford this. i can not tell you how much new businesses i went to where i asked them what have your premiums done over the past few years? double-digit, rob. you know, again, there is no place for that to come from except for wages and benefits and cutting back on employees. in some cases, again, not exphangd plant and equipment they would want to otherwise because of this health care law. it doesn't have to be this way. we can enact real health reform that uses the market forces that help to increase competition, that require insurance companies to compete for our business. that allow people to get the plan that they want looking all around the country for what works best for them. this burdensome health care law is standing in the way of those reforms right now. it is hurting middle-class families in ohio and across the country. the health care market was far from perfect before this law, so i'm not arguing that the status quo is acceptable.
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i do think we have to do things not just to repeal obamacare, but to replace the affordable care act with reforms that make better sense because we had issues before. but it's gotten worse, not better. it accelerated the problems. so i hope that over the next couple of months as we talk about this we will be able to come up with a replacement plan that makes sense. republicans and democrats alike need to come to the table on this because, again, i've listed today all the reasons that the current law is not working, the status quo is not acceptable. i think it's very hard to argue that it is. that means that all of us have a responsibility to say okay, how do we fix this? how do we come together? republicans and democrats alike, not on a partisan basis as was done last time but let's figure out a way to do it together to make sure the people we represent have a chance to get the health care they want for their families for them, that fits them where they can have costs that are affordable, where they can have quality that takes care of themselves and their family, where it can be patient centered and we can give people the affordable care that they deserve. thank you, mr. president. i yield back my time.
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mr. enzi: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: i ask unanimous consent that at 2:45 there be two minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form prior to the vote in relation to the kaine amendment number 8. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. enzi: i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment number 8 offered by the senator from virginia, mr. kaine. the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: mr. president, i have spoken about this previously. the budget that's on the floor really isn't a budget. it's more of a focused attack on health care for millions of americans. amendment 8 that i've offered with senator murphy and others is an attempt to stop the majority from passing a health care repeal through a fast-track process, and the amendment does
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three things. it creates -- one thing. it creates a budget point of order against any legislation that would either reduce the number of americans enrolled in public or private health insurance, increase health insurance premiums or reduce the scope and quality of benefits provided, and i would ask for yeas and nays on the amendment. the presiding officer: is there objection? is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. mr. enzi: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, this amendment is corrosive to the privilege of the budget resolution, meaning that it's outside the scope of what's appropriate for a budget resolution. any inappropriate amendment that could be fatal to the privilege of this resolution which would destroy our efforts to repeal obamacare. in other words, a vote in favor of this amendment is a vote against repealing obamacare. in addition, this amendment is
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not germane to this budget resolution. this budget resolution is much more focused than a typical budget resolution. the congressional budget act requires that the amendment to a budget resolution be germane. since this amendment does not meet the standard required by budget law, a point of order would lie. as such, i raise a point of order under section 305-b-2 of the congressional budget act of 1974. a senator: mr. president 1234 -- mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: mr. president, i move to waive section 305-b of the act for purposes of the pending amendment, and i ask for the yeas and nays on that motion. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the question is on the motion to waive. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber who wish to change their vote? if not, on this vote, the yeas are 48, the nays are 52. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, this motion is not agreed to. the point of order is sustained, and the amendment fails.
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the presiding officer: who yields time? if no one yields time, time will be charged equally to both sides.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: mr. president, in the final days of the obama administration's second term, with all eyes focused on the president-elect, the temptation
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to try to take a dramatic action to seal a cherished policy legacy must have been almost irresistible. so it proved for president obama on december 23, 2016, when he betrayed decades of robust bipartisan american support for israel at the united nations. by abstaining from a completely biased resolution that condemns our close friend and ally israel and condemns all the so-called settlement activity defined as any construction and any territory won by israel in the six-day war. u.s. policy for decades has been to stand up for israel at the united nations. a hotbed of anti-semitism that discriminately condemns israel more than any country in the world, particularly when resolutions are being offered up
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that are outrageously biased, that attempt to predetermine the outcome of negotiations, that prejudge the basis for negotiations or that try to dictate terms to israel. we have seen this pattern of appealing to the u.n. from the obama administration over and over again with the disastrous deal, the nuclear deal with the islamic republic of iran as well as the u.n. convention on climate change, two international agreements that significantly threaten the security and prosperity of the united states. both of them should have been submitted to this body, the united states senate, as treaties, but the president chose instead to try to impose them through the united nations because he knew that they would never be ratified by the senate even when this senate had a democratic majority. so the obama administration's strategy instead has been to
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curb american power by subjugating our national interest to the globalist agenda of the u.n., a policy that he is now attempting to extend to israel. here are some of the main problems with unsc resolution 2334. first, it is an attack on israeli sovereignty as it falsely defines as illegal under international law building activity within israel's own borders, which should be an internal israeli issue. the historical connection of the jewish people to the land of israel did not begin in 1967. and let us not forget that the six-day war was a defensive war fought almost 50 years ago by the jewish state against the palestinians and their arab enablers who were gathering in a concerted effort to wipe israel off the map. against all odds, israel won
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quickly and decisively, and the map was redrawn to ensure that israel was not endangered by its own borders, the weakness of which israel's enemies had attempted to exploit. of course, the defeated party, the palestinians, have not accepted this outcome, and israel has time and time again invited them to negotiate a resolution, just one that involves israel's continued existence as a jewish state, something that the palestinian authority has over and over again refused to acknowledge or accept. therein lies the bottom line for israeli security. the pre-1967 lines proved indefensible, so rather than as the obama administration treats it some sort of gold standard, israel's security interests has deemed them intolerable, and any resolution to this issue should not be dictated by the united
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states or the united nations but rather should be negotiated and decided upon directly by the sovereign nation of israel and by the palestinians. secondly, the resolution falsely claims israel's sovereignty over the eastern part of jerusalem and areas that it controls after the six-day war, including judea and samaria, are supposedly occupied palestinian territory. mr. president, this is nothing short of absurd. what that means under the terms of the united nations resolution that the obama administration acquiesced to and indeed there are considerable reports that the obama administration, president obama and john kerry, actively encouraged and facilitated under the terms of that resolution the jewish corridor, the old city of jerusalem is illegal and
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illegitimate and not justifiably a part of israel. under the terms of that resolution, the location of holy sites for the jewish people including the most important holy sites, the temple mount, is illegal and illegitimate to be a part of israel. and under the terms of the resolution, the western wall where jews from all over the world come to pray is deemed occupied palestinian territory illegal and illegitimate. it's more than a little ironic that president obama went to the western wall to place a yarmulke there, pretending to show respect to israel and yet his administration in an outgoing act of contempt declares the western wall not part of the nation of israel. this couldn't be further from the truth, and it was also an affront to views around the world that the resolution was adopted on the eve of hanukkah.
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for eight days, jews lit candles all over the world to remember the miracle that happened there, to commemorate the heroic battle fought by the mac a bees that liberated -- by the mac a bees, and the rededication of the temple in jerusalem. how ironic that on the eve of a celebration liberating jerusalem and rededicating the temple in jerusalem, that the administration and the united nations would declare that jerusalem and the temple are not legitimately part of israel. how disgraceful. the united states should not be facilitating the adoption of a resolution that at its core attempts to delegitimize israel. attempting to distort and rewrite recent history as well as the mallen yeah old historical connection -- millennia old historical
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connection of the jewish people to the lands of israel. third, the resolution will also help fuel palestinian diplomatic, economic and legal warfare. a campaign against israel, particularly because of its provision that calls on states to make a distinction in their dealings with israel between pre-1967 israel and israel beyond the 1967 lines, encouraging boycotts, divestments and sanctions against israel. and potentially leading to israelis and americans being brought in front of the international criminal court. palestinian leaders are already promising to use this resolution to push the international criminal court to launch a former investigation against israel. mr. president, that was not an unintended consequence of this action. that was precisely the intent of the united nations and the obama administration to facilitate assaults on the nation of israel.
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yet even a -- yet even after this disgraceful united nations resolution, it was clear that the united states was not yet done with secretary of state john kerry delivering just days later a truly shameful speech attacking israel. his speech, very much like kerry's 2014 remarks likening israel t to pan apartheid state, will only enflame rising anti-semitism in europe. it will encourage the mullahs who hate israel and hate ameri america, and it will further facilitate law fare. president obama and john kerry's actions were designed to secure a legacy, and in that they have succeeded. history will record and the
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world will note that barack obama and john kerry are relentless enemies of israel. kerry's speech, through stunning moral equivalence between our great friend and ally israel and the palestinian authority, which is currently formed in a unity government with the vicious terrorist of hamas. secretary kerry declared the hamas regime radical in the same way he declared the duly elected government of israel extreme. that moral equivalence is false and it is a lie. the i.d.f. defending the people of israel, protecting people and keeping them safe is not the same moral equivalent of terrorists who strap bombs to their body and seek to murder innocent women and children. kerry declared the vicious terrorism sponsored by hamas equal to the israeli settlements
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in the west bank. and he equated israel's celebration of its birth with the palestinian description of this event as a disaster. unlike barack obama and john kerry, i do not consider the existence and creation of israel to be a disaster. and the government of the united states should not be suggesting such a thing. kerry's speech attempted to lay out an historic and seismic shift toward the delegitimatization of our ally israel. and it is a sign of their radicalism and refusal to defend american interests that obama and kerry chose to attack the only inclusive democracy in the middle east, a strong, steadfast ally of america, while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the islamic terrorism that grows daily. but, unfortunately, president
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obama still has two weeks left in his presidency, and he may not yet be done betraying israel. next week on saturday, january 15, france is convening a conference with 70 other nations designed to serve as an extension of the u.n. resolution and the kerry speech, an all-out assault on israel. i am deeply concerned that what is decided at this conference will be used to try to further impose parameters or even audaciously recognize a so-called independent palestinian state through another security council resolution. the security council is scheduled to meet on january 17. conveniently, three days before obama and kerry leave office. let me speak to a moment to our friends and allies across the globe.
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when the president of the united states, when the administration of the united states attempts to encourage you to support their positions in the united nations, that can be highly persuasive. it has been an arena, a forum that barack obama has flourished in, even as he has shown condid he essential and contempt for the congress of the united states and the peement of the united states. -- and the people of the united states. but to our friends and allies, let pe me remind you that obama administration is coming to an end on january 20. if you desire to continue being a friend to america, if you desire to continue close working relationships to america, then i call upon our allies, do not join in attacking israel on january 15 in france or on january 17 in the security council. the new administration, president-elect trump, has loudly condemned the u.n.
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resolution and the obama administration's complicity in its passage. i would encourage our friends and allies not even to attend the january 15 conference, or if they do choose to attend, to oppose and stand up appeared speak out against -- and speak out against any further attempts to attack or undermine or delegitimize america. -- or israel. and i want to commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for offering resolutions to repudiate this administration for their actions of the last few weeks. it says something that you see republicans and democrats in congress coming together united to say, this action by the obama administration is beyond the pale. let me underscore again to our friends and allies, to our ambassadors, to heads of state, to friendships and relationships that we value so much, listen to the bipartisan consensus of congress and do not go along
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with the bitter-clinging radicalism of the obama administration attempting to lash out, strike out at israel with their last breath in office. as commendable as these resolutions are, i believe the senate and the congress needs to go further, that we need to take concrete steps so that there will be repercussions and consequences for the united nations and the palestinians for their behavior. that is why i'm working with my colleague, senator lindh did i graham -- lindsey graham, on introducing legislation along with other members of this body designed to cut the funding to the united states -- united nations, designed to cut u.s. taxpayer funding going to the u.n., unless and until they repeal this disgraceful anti-israel resolution. we know previously that one way to get the u.n.'s attention is
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cut off their money. we know from the failure of other u.n. organizations to recognize so-called palestine as a member state, after american taxpayer dollars were withheld from unesco for doing so in 2011, that the u.n. over and over again values its pocketbook over its leftist values. and however unintentionally, president obama's misguided foreign policy has led to an unprecedented reproachment between israel and america's arab allies such as egypt and jordan and the u.a.e. we have also seen hopeful signs of shifting positions at the united nations as countries such as brazil and mexico and italy and australia have recently signaled that they may no longer reflex civil vote in favor -- reflexively snroat favor of the
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palestinians. they have recently demonstrated and unprecedented degre degree f support for the jewish state. these changes represent a significant opportunity for the united states to bolster one of our most important allies, an opportunity we can preserve for the president-elect by not letting mr. obama squander it on the way out the door. america should be leading the charge of the united nations and around the world to rally burgeoning support for israel, not trying to stab the jewish state in the back. just over a week ago, i spoke with israeli prime minister netanyahu. i told the prime minister that despite the disgraceful actions at the united nations, that america stands resolutely with the nation of israel, that the american people stand with
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israel, and that i believe there's a very real possibility that the extreme and radical actions of obama and kerry will in fact backfire. it's not accidental that they waited until after the election to do this. they could have tried to do this this summer, but obama and kerry knew well that the american people do not support their attempting to attack israel. so they waited until after the election. they waited until they were on their way out the door. kerry in his speech said israel cannot be both democratic and jewish, one or the other but not both. mr. president, this is an enanity that is deemed only in marxist faculty lounges. israel is jewish, it is democratic, and it is and should remain both. and i believe by revealing just how extreme they are, by
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removing the fake mask of support for israel that obama and kerry have chosen to do in the last several weeks, that it will help to galvanize support in this body and across the world for our friend and ally, the nation of israel. israel is not only our friend and ally, but it is a partner of the united states. that alliance benefits the vital national security interests of america. the israeli military benefits the national security of the united states of america. the israeli intelligence services benefit the united states of america. israel's steadfastness against radical islamic terrorism, which has declared war on both israel and america, that benefits the national security interests of this country. it is israel, the thriving one-and-only jewish state that stands on the front lines for
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america and, more broadly, western civilization against the global threats we face. and our commitment to israel must be restored and strengthened, and i look forward to taking action with my colleagues, i hope, on both sides of the aisle in the near future to repudiate obama's shameful attack on israel, to repudiate the united nations' efforts to undermine israel and to reaffirm america's strong and unshakable friendship and support for the nation of israel. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. enzi: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: mr. president, i call up amendment number 1 and ask for that be reported by number. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the amendment by number. the clerk: the senator from wyoming, mr. enzi, for mr. paul proposes an amendment numbered 1. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: with the permission of the chairman, i'd like to ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. enzi: mr. president, do you mind if that comes off the resolution time? mr. whitehouse: i don't. xi stey no objection. -- mr. enzi: no objection. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, this is the 152nd diem time i have come to the floor for my time to wake up speeches warning
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about the peri perilous -- perio our state of climate change. i am going to continue this in the new congress, continuing to present the latest and most compelling scientific evidence of the changes that are coming our way driven by carbon pollution. nobody should take my word for it. i urge my colleagues to thereon their own home state climatologists, their own home state university researchers, their own home state's public health officials and their own constituents who are out there fighting to protect their communities from changes that are already happening right before their eyes. in rhode island, we have a lot of fishermen, just like louisiana has, mr. chairman. the president of the rhode island commercial fishermen's association is chris brown, and just this past week he was the subject of a "new york times" article "climate change is going to make it hard on some of those species that are not particularly fond of warm or warming waters," told "the
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times." we used to come right here, where he was on his boat, the proud mary, and catch 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 pounds a day, sometimes 10 dho,000. but the fish he was after has moved north. the species have moved from their traditional ranges into deeper and cooler water. john manderson is a biologist and he told the times in that article that public policy needs to keep pace with the rapidly changing oceans, where species are shifting northward in response to warming 10 times as quickly as they do on land. our idea of the property rights and laws are purely land based, he said, but the ocean is all about flux and turbulence and movement. in rhode island, fishermen are getting clobbered by that flux. captain dave monte is a member of rhode island's marine
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fisheries council. he wrote in "the providence journal" again this week, i often think about the fish and how important it is to grow them to abundance so there are more fish for all to catch and eat. in 2017, we need a fish first agenda or someday there may be no fish left to catch. climate change, acidification, overfishing by world nations and changing federal strategies could make it the worst of times for fish in 2017. we need to make an effort, he wrote, to understand what is happening to the environment and the fish and then take that second step of communicating it to others to affect policy. that is what i am being asked. the providence journal also recently wrote p how in rhode island the sea is moving higher and farther inland, as it is in louisiana, which i think is the state losing ground fastest to the ocean of all the 50. they reported on storm tools, a
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program developed by rhode island coastal resources management council director grover fugate and university of rhode island emeritus professor ocean of engineering malcolm spaulding. storm tools provides 3-d maps of the potential flooding damage along rhode island's coast. the journal described the project as -- quote -- one of the most sophisticated models developed anywhere to project future damage from storm surges and sea level rise. and we're taking the results seriously, mr. president. the journal quoted william depasquel who is the director of planning in one of our cities, warwick, rhode island, who said when i saw some of those scenarios, my jaw hit the ground. that's what we're looking at, and warwick is now using those maps to prepare for the future. "the providence journal" has also recently written about matunic beach in south kingstowne. town manager steven alfred warns that if the sea takes out
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matunic beach road, 240 homes will be totally cut off without a water supply or access to emergency services. the article features kevin finnegan who owns the ocean mist, a renowned local establishment. the journal writes, and i quote, the ocean mist has occupied the same spot under different names since prohibition ended in 1933, but the ocean has moved. where once beach bathers had to plan a trek across sand to reach the water from the mist, waves now flood the supports holding up the tavern's deck. finnegan and the town of north kingstowne are now scrambling to build sea walls. engineering bill ladd who works for finnegan and who had his first beer at the ocean mist back when the drinking age was 18, estimates that the two walls my only buy matunnuck beach 20
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or 30 more years against the oncoming ocean. that's because, as "the independent," a local newspaper in the southern part of rhode island reported in december, about four feet of matunuck beach is eroding every year. according to director fugate, that emotion will more than double by the end of the century. rhode island is not a big state. we cannot afford to have this much reclaimed by the ocean. the independent article quotes north kingstowne town council president terry mckay who says a climate change threatens the property values of his community's coastal homes, which is a significant portion of the town's revenue base. i quote, he said historical values will have to change as coastal concerns rise, and residents have to be more receptive to redoing building infrastructure such as through elevating houses. he also said that homes may not
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be there in 20 years, resulting in a major revenue loss -- end quote. yet, another "providence journal " article last week featured tanner steves, a wildlife biologist with the rhode island department of environmental management, which has to tear up roads and parking lots along the sacunnott river as the seas rise. the journal wrote, as the barrier has narrowed, losing nearly 100 feet since 1939, the salt marsh on the other side has many more susceptible to flooding. "the independent" made rhode island's case for climate action in a december editorial. here's what they said. the signs are clear if not immediately visible to most. there are the well-documented, widely publicized shifts with global import such as the loss of polar ice and the growing frequency of extreme weather
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events. locally, there are changes in the ecology of narragansett bay and locations at which the effects of a rising sea level, sometimes subtle, sometimes less so, may be plainly seen. but we encourage, they said, all rhode islanders from coastal communities and beyond to remain attuned to the situation in terms of both what the sea is telling us and what is being proposed to prepare for coming changes. the stakes, "the independent" said, are enormously high and the broadest possible effort is required to meet the challenge. that's the message to me from rhode island. that's why i give these speeches. as i continue to push for honest debate on this issue in congress, i also travel around the country to see folks on the ground in other states. i have been to 15 states now, and in the closing months of 2016, i hit texas and pennsylvania.
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in texas, i joined representative elliott nashtad and texas environmental activists at a public event in austin to call out congressman lamar smith of the house republican science technology committee for his abuse of congressional power to harass public officials and climate scientists, including subpoenas, demanding that state attorneys general divulge to him their investigative materials. related to their inquiries into exxonmobil's potentially fraudulent climate misinformation. the committee's also harassing the union of concerned scientists,, greenpeace and vair university scientists because they are exposing exxon for years of misleading the public on climate change. texans are taking notice. the "san antonio express news," which had previously always endorsed congressman smith for
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re-election, decided not to endorse him in this latest election cycle. the paper cited his, and i quote them, bullying on the issue of climate change -- end quote, as behavior that should concern all americans. i also joined a panel discussion with leading scientists from texas universities to discuss their research into climate change in texas. the panel included dr. john anderson from rice university, dr. andrew dessler from texas a&m university, doctors charles jackson and harry cook from the university of texas at austin, and dr. katherine heho from texas tech university. they had a unified voice on the dangers of climate change. dr. heho said texans are seeing changes all around them. quote, we get hit by drought, we get hit by heat, we get hit by storms, we get hit by sea level rise, and we're starting to see those impacts today. texas is really at the forefront of this problem, she said.
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dr. anderson of rice agreed that the texas climate is already changing. he said accelerated sea level rise is real, not a prediction. its causes are known. thermal expansion of the oceans and melting of glaciers and ice sheets. and it is causing unprecedented change along the texas coast -- end quote. dr. dessler from texas a&m laid out what he called -- quote -- the fundamental and rock-solid aspects of climate science. humans are loading the atmosphere with carbon. this is warming the climate, and this future warming is a huge risk to our society and the environment. we should insist, he said, that our elected representatives rely on this sound science when formulateing policy. i returned to austin in november to speak to the association of public and land grant universities. president david duley of the university of rhode island had
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invited me to join a panel that he moderated with, among others, dr. john nielson gammutt, texas' state climatologist and also a professor at texas a&m university. the bottom line was simple -- climate change is real, and the scientists at our universities will be increasingly forced to defend good science, academic freedom and climate action. university leadership will have to defend their scientists against the onsalute of foia requests and personal attacks that are the modus operandi of phony science fronts propped up by the fossil fuel science fuel industry to spread calculated misinformation. the american scientific community faces a real threat from that operation. on to pennsylvania, i had the opportunity to spend a day traveling with my friend and colleague, bob casey, around southeastern pennsylvania, getting a firsthand look at the effects of climate change and hearing about the work
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pennsylvanians are doing to address it. at university of pennsylvania's morris ash read up, leaders from the moms clean air force, from physicians for social responsibility and from other groups talked about kids with asthma and other conditions that worsen when temperatures and pollution levels are high. in malvern, we toured the lead platinum north american headquarters of st. gobaine, the world's largest building materials company. the companies demonstrating that green building materials and technologies can be married with styles designed to produce stunning results. with operations in rhode island, pennsylvania and around the globe, st. gobaine is developing innovative technologies to reduce carbon pollution, generate clean energy and improve air quality for millions of people. from there, we visited the john heinz national wildlife refuge, which is the nation's first
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urban wildlife refuge and pennsylvania's largest freshwater tidal wetland. lamar gore, the refuge manager, showed us how the refuge is at risk from the saltwater pushed in by rising sea levels. the refuge is adjacent to the philadelphia international airport along the delaware river. as you can see from these graphics reproduced from "the new york times," at five feet of sea level rise, some of the city goes under water, and the refuge is in real trouble and water encroaches upon the philadelphia airport. at 12 feet of sea level rise, 6% of the city, including the they have iewj, the airport and parts of downtown philly, are all under water. projections that parts of philadelphia will one day be uninhabitable due to sea level rise are among the major drivers for the forward-looking climate mitigation and adaptation
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policies of philadelphia's office of sustainability, and senator casey and i met with them, too. lastly, being in pennsylvania gave me the chance to secretary with dr. robert bruele of drexler university. he is the scholar who has documented the intricate propaganda web of fossil fuel industry-funded climate denial, collecting over 100 organizations from trade associations to conservative think tanks to plain old phony front groups. the purpose of this climate denial apparatus is to quote drd organized effort to misdirect the public discussion and distort the public's understanding of climate -- end quote. i'll wrap up with a special thank you to one of the folks who helped organize my texas trip, tom smith, who has been the director of public citizen of texas for more than 30 years.
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known by his friends and colleagues as smitty and known for his signature straw hat, over his career, he has testified more than a thousand times before the texas legislature and congress. mr. uphill struggle indeed. he was successful, though, and central in creating the texas emissions reduction program which led to wide-scale deployment of is he solar and wind across texas. a true environmental champion, smitty retires this year. i would ask unanimous consent to enter into the record a recent tribute from the texas tribune titled "smitty, a texas lobbyist for the small fry, retiring after 31 years." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, in the article, he is quoted as saying the thing that i learned time after time, story after story, is that p


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