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tv   U.S. Senate Takes Up Saudi Arms Sale Resolution  CSPAN  June 13, 2017 9:59am-12:37pm EDT

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>> what you feel is irrelevant. >> and today, we released a report titled the cop on the beat. this is regarding the cf. pb is wholly inadequate role in the wells fargo fraudulent account scandal. we have received numerous records from wells fargo endo- cc and the other is that the cf. pb was asleep at the wheel. >> the senate going to debate today whether to disapprove of u.s. arms sales to saudi arabia. senator rand paul has made a motion to discharge the resolution on the committee without committee action.
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senators will vote on emotion when they return from their lunch begins at 2:15 p.m. eastern this afternoon. live coverage of the senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, sovereign of this planet, give us the wisdom to surrender to your will. lord, guide our lawmakers to
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trust you with all of their challenges and opportunities as they strive to please you in their thoughts, words, and actions. provide them with the discernment they need to tackle the problems of these critical times. when they feel overwhelmed, sustain them as they give you their burdens. as they seek to be totally dependent on you for their guidance and strength, free them from the chains of anxiety and fear. may your sovereign might abound in their lives. we pray in your loving name.
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amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: yesterday the republican senate took another step to advance key sanctions legislation to hold iran accountable. the iranians are pursuing a regional strategy intent on empowering shia militias, hezbollah, their houthi proxies and other groups. after years of the obama administration's willingness to ignore iran's maligned activities and failure to address iran's provocations, we finally have an administration that shares our desire to take a stronger approach to keep the american people safe. this legislation will enhance our ability to hold iran accountable, which is of great importance given iran's continued testing of ballistic missiles, its harassment of u.s. vessels at sea, and its
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support of terrorism across the region. at a time when we face many challenges both at home and abroad, we must do everything we can to enable our country to counter threats where they exist and protect the american people. that's why we'll keep working to pass this iran sanctions legislation and with it additional sanctions on russia. i again want to commend senator corker and ranking members on the foreign relations committee and senator crapo and ranking members on the banking committee who worked to craft this bipartisan agreement. this is a signal action, russia's attempt to influence our elections last year was the result of eight years of a failed foreign policy. the obama administration efforts po draw down our capabilities and commitments made it clear to aggressive states such as china, russia, and iran, that
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america would watch passively as they increased their prospective spheres of influence. this bipartisan agreement -- this bipartisan amendment should represent the first step in crafting a policy response to cyber attacks against our country. now two things must follow from this small step. first, our department of defense and intelligence community must develop a war-fighting doctrine and strategy that recognizes cyber attacks, active measures and support of proxies as asymmetric, unconventional attacks on the united states. our response needs to be tied to thesque la la la -- to the escalating ladder. no nation or state should be able to attack our sovereignty without unacceptable response. senators coming together to impose additional sanctions against iran and russia should
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work toward providing the defense department with the force structure and combat readiness necessary to restore deterrence against these aggressor states. again, sanctions are only one foreign policy tool. we must also restore both our presence and full fighting spectrum capability as well. doing so will send a message to those nations which wish us harm and it will reassure our allies. and last, as it concerns our allies, later today the junior senator from kentucky will move to discharge a resolution of disapproval against american arms sales to saudi arabia. it's important to note that our sunni arab allies are engaged in two important struggles. the first is against isil and the extremist ideology it espouses, and the attacks it pursues. the second is against iran's efforts to expand its sphere of
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influence and revolution across a broader middle east. in yemen, saudi arabia and the united arab emirates are fighting against the iranian proxy houthi forces. as we know, some have raised the issue of saudi conduct of that war, but blocking this arms sale will diminish saudi capability to target with precision. the complete arms sales package to saudi arabia includes munitions, professional military education, training, air and missile defense systems, and air force modernization. part of the training provided to saudi arabia will be on subjects such as avoiding civilian casualties. more important, as the counter isil coalition continues to make gains in mosul and raqqa, iranian supported militia in iraq are posturing to create a land bridge through iraq and into syria. the land bridge could ultimately
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extend to lebanon and improve iran's support for hezbollah. so now is not the time to undermine one of our critical allies in the arab world by disapproving part of an arms sale package that will improve saudi capabilities. now on another matter, the house of representatives will vote later today on the v.a. accountability and whistle-blower protection act of 2017 which would give the department of veterans administration more of the tools it needs to hold bad actors accountable. last week the senate passed its bipartisan legislation on a voice vote, and once the house weighs in the bill will go to the president's desk for his signature. throughout our country, v.a. facilities have been plagued -- plagued -- by widespread dysfunction. our veterans deserve the timely and be effective care they were promised, and i'm committed to
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continue working with colleagues in congress and the administration to make sure they get it. this sensible approach has been a top priority of this congress, and i'm proud that we came together to continue addressing the problems in our v.a. system. representation kentucky veterans is one of the greatest privileges i've had as a u.s. senator. through their selfless service america's veterans have earned our admiration and gratitude. this legislation is one example of how congress and the administration are working to keep our commitments to our nation's veterans. so i'd like to thank senator rubio and chairman isakson it for their work on this measure on behalf of our nation's veterans and look forward to the house voting later today to send this bill to the president. now one final matter, after eight years of sluggish economic growth under the obama administration, i was pleased to see some positive numbers out of last month's jobs report.
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and now following so many years of failed left-wing policies that held americans back, a new administration and a progrowth congress have been working together to move our economy and job creation in a positive direction. we have already undertaken what has been described as the most ak bishes regulatory -- ambitious regulatory roll back since reagan and are working hard in a number of other areas as well. in fact this month the administration is redoubling efforts on the economy kicking off with an emphasis on workforce development. these initiatives are a top priority for many states like mine. we're proud to have a governor who has been an advocate for apprenticeship programs and a workforce that can fill current employment gaps while attracting new businesses and job opportunities to our state. i've also been proud to play a role in supporting these efforts and worked to secure federal funds for workforce development
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programs in kentucky. specifically, i've been proud to help secure funding for training and employment services for laid-off coal miners in an effort to help them find new job opportunities. efforts like these are critical in preparing american workers for success in today's global economy. but we know there's more we can do to help. one way the republican senate is working to do that is through tax reform. in more than 30 years -- 30 years -- since we last passed comprehensive tax reform legislation. and since then, the international economy has only grown more competitive. that's why it's imperative that we do what we can to modernize our tax structure as we also better prepare america's workforce for the many challenges and the global competition that face us in today's economy. over the past three decades, our tax system has grown increasingly convoluted and
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punitive, making it harder for individuals and businesses to succeed. in fact, according to the national taxpayer advocates annual report to congress, if tax compliance were an industry, it would be one of the largest in the united states. it's not hard to see why, considering that our internal revenue code is made up of about four million words, which to give some context, is nearly seven times longer than leo tolstoy's know tor yusly length -- "war and peace." the tax code will reduce the estimated six billion hours and $195 billion that taxpayers spend on income tax return preparations, reduce the disparity in tax liabilities between sophisticated or well-advised taxpayers and other
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taxpayers, enable taxpayers to understand how their tax liabilities are computed and prepare their own returns, improve taxpayer morale and tax compliance, and enable the i.r.s. to administer the tax system more effectively and better meet taxpayer needs. in short, as that report observes, when it comes to our tax code, there is no doubt simpler is better. so how do we get a simpler tax code? with tax reform. but that's just one of the numerous benefits that would come from a revised tax system. for instance, instead of inadvertently incentivizing companies to go overseas as our current tax code does, a revised system would encourage businesses to keep jobs right here in the u.s. instead of restricting businesses' ability to expand, create jobs and increase wages, our current tax code -- as our
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current tax code, a revised system would open up more opportunities for workers. and instead of deterring the type of growth that boosts the economy and puts more people back to work as our current tax code does, a revised system would actually promote american investment. so these are just the types of solutions middle-class families need right now, and they are the types of policies that the republican senate will continue to pursue as we work to reform our tax system. fortunately we now have an administration that is actually interested in making our tax code simpler for families and businesses alike. without demanding $1 trillion in tax hikes or more government spending. respective committees in the house and senate have been working for some time to move our tax reform efforts forward, and the speaker and i recently had a productive meeting with the president about this very issue. i appreciate the good work that my colleagues are doing on this matter, especially the finance
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committee chairman, senator hatch, who has long been an advocate for simplifying our tax system. he's been working closely with committee members and chairman brady to advance the tax reform that our economy simply demands. this is not an easy process. there are difficult issues that must be navigated, but particularly with respect to business reform, but i'm confident that we can arrive at solutions that will be good for american workers and the businesses that employ them. we have made progress already, and we'll keep moving forward as members offer their input for consideration. so i hope our friends across the aisle will come together in support of these bipartisan objectives as well, but either way, we have to keep working on this issue because we know the benefits that tax reform could have for the american people, who after eight long years of sluggish economic growth under the obama administration deserve a lot more.
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: last night, senators reached a bipartisan agreement on a package of russia sanctions for the senate to vote on as an amendment to the pending iran sanctions. it was the result of several days of negotiations and hard work. the republican leader and i spent a lot of time on this. i thank him for it, as did senators crapo, brown, cardin, corker, shaheen, durbin and menendez. i want to thank each of them for their efforts and their expertise in getting this done. in particular, i want to thank senator cardin, ranking member of the foreign relations committee, who is one of the most trusted voices in our caucus on this issue. he did an excellent job of forging a bipartisan consensus on this committee with little regard for the credit he had
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received. i also want to acknowledge senator brown, our ranking member of banking who has been steadfast in making sure that we get a good sanctions bill, an effective sanctions bill done. we wouldn't have done this also without senators shaheen, durbin, menendez and their staffs. i thank all of them. now, the final result of these negotiations is a good result for our country. by codifying the existing sanctions and requiring congressional review of any decision to weaken or lift them, we're ensuring that the united states continues to punish president putin for his reckless and destabilizing actions. i believe it's particularly significant that a bipartisan coalition is seeking to re-establish congress as the final arbiter of sanctions relief. no matter what the administration does, particularly considering that this administration has been too eager to put sanctions relief on
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the table. these additional sanctions will also send a powerful and bipartisan statement to russia and any other country who might try to interfere in our elections that they will be punished and that congress will stand firm in making sure that they are punished, democrat and republican. so again, i want to thank my republican and democratic colleague for putting party aside, for doing what's best for the country, and hope this agreement quickly passes both the house and senate, and we hope that the president will sign this legislation as well, even though it cedes the power to congress. now, on mr. mueller, i am frankly disturbed by the new strategy on the hard right to discredit special counsel mueller and sully his reputation. their strategy is clear. they know or suspect that facts might not be good for the president, so they're trying to
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vilify the man who is in charge of finding them, but they have chosen the wrong man. anyone who engages in these baseless attacks about mr. mueller's character is only heaping dishonor upon themselves. mueller is known for his service to america, for his integrity. he's a straight arrow. he's a republican. only a few weeks ago, the same hard right commentators and pundits who were praising mueller's selection and lauding his qualities -- only a few weeks ago, rather, these same hard right commentators and pundits were praising mr. mueller. they were lauding his qualities. even attorney general jeff sessions has unequivocally praised mr. mueller in the past for his service and credibility. here is what sessions said. mueller's quote, integrity is undoubted. his experience and love of country is undoubted.
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do these hard-right commentators who are attacking this honorable man, who is trying to do a job for our country and see that rule of law is obeyed, heed what senator -- what attorney general sessions has said. now because director comey's testimony has made president trump's actions less and less defendable, these hard-right commentators have turned tail. they have started an add homonyy assault on the man. it has even been insinuated that the president might fire special counsel mueller. i can't think of a worse move for the president at this time. i would have him look back in history and see what happened to a president who tried to do the same thing. and i have one question.
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what are these people who are attacking mueller afraid of? are they afraid of what mr. mueller is going to find? is the white house afraid of what mr. mueller is going to uncover? it seems pretty obvious that if they were not worried, they let mueller proceed because they would be confident he would find nothing. i can find no other legitimate reason why the white house would flip so quickly -- sorry. i find no other legitimate reason why the critics would flip so quickly to attack a man of integrity unless they were worried about what he might find. again, if the white house truly has nothing to hide, they ought to encourage special counsel mueller to investigate. they should let him do his job. when people say when there's smoke, there's fire, they're pointing to actions like this,
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and it makes the american people distrustful of the white house and their allies. now, i know all of these attacks probably don't bother mr. mueller. he's got a very strong spine, and he'll go after the facts regardless of the noise around him, but they're bother some, they're wrong, they're nasty. one of the most important things in our democracy, mr. president, is a bedrock faith in the rule of law that no person is above the rule of law. if the president's allies are going to attack every single law enforcement agents involved in the russia investigation, if the white house ever joins in those attacks, it will greatly erode the american people's faith in rule of law and do significant damage to our democracy at a time when it seems somewhat more fragile than it's been in the past. this is not a game.
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this is not funny. this is a very serious investigation that's headed by one of the most trusted men in washington. it is about foreign interference in our elections, something that eats at, that corrodes the roots of our democracy, the very well spring of our being and pride as a nation. i'd urge these attacks on mr. mueller be ceased and that my friends on the other side join me in defending his reputation. we're going a little too far here. mr. president, finally, on health care, there are only 11 calendar days of senate business left before the july fourth recess, and yet republicans are looking to vote on a final health care bill before the deadline, and not a soul outside the republican caucus has seen the bill. i'm not sure that every member
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of the republican caucus inside has seen it. to everyone in america, this should be a red alert. this should be a red alert for doctors and hospital administrators and patient groups, groups that represent older americans, groups that fight for children's health care, groups that fight for better treatment for substance abuse and mental health. this should be a red alert for working families across this country whose lives depend on affordable health care and yet have no earthly idea what their representatives in congress might pass in just two short weeks. they might never know. the republicans have not scheduled a single committee hearing, not one. not a single committee hearing on a bill that would reorganize one-sixth of the american economy, touch the lives of millions of americans, a
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life-and-death issue for some, not a single committee hearing or public debate on a bill that would potentially change drastically the way medicaid is funded, the way women are treated in our health care system, the way we treat older americans and those with preexisting conditions. why on earth haven't we had a single committee hearing on a bill of this magnitude? why on earth is this bill being hidden from public view? there's only one reason. the republican majority is afraid of the american people learning what is in their health care bill. they don't want the american people to know how much they cut and destroy medicaid or how fat of a tax break they give to the wealthiest few, because they know the backlash will be severe. in short, by their actions, it seems our republican colleagues are ashamed of this bill.
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and they know that their chances of passing the republican health care bill will plummet if they release a bill that looks anything like the house health care bill which only a tiny sliver of america supports, 17% in the last polls. a majority of republicans, a majority of trump voters are opposed to trumpcare. so our republican colleagues have made a calculation, ultimately self-defeating. better to keep their health care bill hidden from view under lock and key until the last possible moment. maybe this is the only strategy to pass a bill as unpopular as this bill is going to be. maybe it will shield their bill from criticism in the short term, but make no mistake, there will be a reckoning if this bill is passed. passing a bill of this scale
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with so many consequences for the american people without telling them what's in it, without telling them how they would fare. the political retribution will be swift. it will be a catastrophe for the republican party. i'm afraid worse this bill will be a catastrophe for the american people. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senator from kentucky or his designee will be recognized. mr. paul: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: pursuant to the arms export control act of 1976, i move to discharge the foreign relations committee from further consideration of s.j. res. 42
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relating to the disapproval of the proposed foreign military sales to the government of saudi arabia. the presiding officer: under the previous order, time until 12:3y divided between the proponents and the opponents of the motion to discharge. mr. paul: mr. president, today is an extraordinary day. today is an auspicious day, for we will be discussing issues of war and peace. believe it or not, we rarely discuss such important issues. we have been at war for 15 years. there has been a handful of debates. most of them indirect. most of them only forced under duress, and most of them would have been avoided if the leadership of both parties could avoid them. but today they cannot avoid this debate because this is what's called a privileged motion. today we will discuss the involvement of the united states in the middle east, and we will also discuss whether we should engage in a new war in yemen.
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today we will discuss an arms sale to saudi arabia that threatens the lives of millions of yemenis, but we will discuss something even more important than an arms sale. we will discuss whether we should be actively involved. should the united states be actively involved with refueling the saudi planes, with picking targets, with having advisors on the ground. should we be at war in yemen. if you remember your constitution, it says no president has that authority. only to repel imminent attack, but no president alone has the unilateral authority to take us to war. and yet, here we are on the verge of war. what will war mean for yemen? 17 million folks in yemen live on the brink of starvation. i think to myself is there ever anything important that can happen in washington, is there ever anything i can do to save
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some of the millions of children that are dying in yemen? this is it. this is this debate today. it isn't about an arms sale. it's about children like ali who die. why are they dying? because the soviets have blockaded the ports. 90% of yemen's food comes in from the ocean, and they can get no food and they are starving and dying of cholera because of war. we think of famine being related to the weather. sometimes it is. more often than not famine is manmade and the most common cause is war. how bad is it in yemen? 17 million people live on the edge of starvation. some like ali have died. what are they saying? they say that the humanitarian crisis in yemen may be worse than syria. let me repeat that because
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nobody in america is listening to this. everybody is listening to some silly show trials and silly stuff going on in committee. nobody is talking about this stuff at all. they say it is worse than syria. many people have fled syria, hundreds of thousands have died, and now many are predicting yemen may be worse. one group said that the impending famine in yemen may reach biblical proportions. think about that. it is astounding what is being done, and it is not being done with your weapons, but with youe for these children in yemen because we have a chance today to stop the carnage. we have a chance to tell saudi arabia we've had enough. the question is -- should we
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give money or arms to saudi arabia at all? what has saudi arabia done over the last 30 years? they have been the number one exporter of jihadist philosophy, the number one exporter of let's hate america, let's hate the christian tradition. they teach it in the schools in our country, they teach it in the schools in indonesia, they corrupt this throughout the world and we're going to give them weapons? i think it is a huge mistake. if you say, i don't think it is that bad. don't they share intelligence with us? don't they help us in the war on terror? yes, but then they hurt us twofold. direct from hillary clinton when she's writing honestly and not talking to the public, she sends
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an e-mail to john poa deso -- poa deso. she says, we must put pressure on saudi arabia and qatar because they are supplying logistical and financial support to isil, the group we are fighting in the middle east, saudi arabia was supplying them, according to hillary clinton not indirectly, but directly. who would give money, arms or share technology with a country that has been supporting isis? who would do that? who would think that's a good idea? they come here and say it's about iran and we have to combat iran everywhere. guess what. this may make the situation with iran worse. what do you think iran thinks when saudi arabia gives weapons? they think to themselves, if the saudis are getting more, we need more. what do you think israel thinks? if the saidies -- saudis get
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more, we need more. we are fueling an arms rice in the middle east. every side wants more. you have to say, we have to do this, we are is have to combat iran. you know how much saudi arabia and all those bombing the hell out of yemen, do you know how their military spending is 8-1. all of the weapons in is in the gulf. they have more money and spend more money on weapons 8-1. they say they don't want ballistic missiles in iran. i don't either. but the best way to do that is to put pressure on saudi arabia. how would you put pressure on saudi arabia? maybe we wouldn't sell them arms. maybe we withhold the sale of arms until they come to the table and we get a -- get an
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agreement with iran. they will never give up on their ballistic missiles until saudi arabia does the same thing. saudi arabia has ballistic missiles. they have chinese missiles. they have dozens of these. do you know where they are pointed? tehran and telaviv. so saudi arabia is no friend of israel. do they cooperate with israel some, yes. but their missiles are pointed at telaviv. the other missiles are pointed out tehran. are these missiles nuclear capable? yes. they are not thought to be nuclear tipped, meaning they have not been armed with nuclear missiles, but everyone in the arms community says they could carry nuclear payload if altered. should we send arms to saudi arabia? here's another quote from bob graham. this is a a para phrase.
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he says there is an abundance of evidence that the saudis were explicit in 9/11. have we forgotten that 15 out of the 19 hijacks were from saudi arabia? have we forgotten the missing 28 pages that they kept from the american public for over a decade. when you read the 28 pages that have now been released they tend to implicate saudi arabia. they tend to indicate that the attackers were befriended by a government agent from saudi arabia. there is an abundance of information that implicates saudi arabia in 9/11. in fact, this very congress voted less than a year ago we voted unanimously, or virtually unanimously, to let american citizens, the victims of 9/11, their families -- we voted to let them sue saudi arabia. this is an extraordinary thing. we almost never let people sue governments, particularly
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foreign governments. but we voted nearly unanimously. why? because people have sympathy still for the 9/11 victims and their family and because people obviously believe there's some information that may implicate saudi arabia. so you say, oh, no, they have changed. how much could they have changed? only a year or two ago hillary clinton wrote the e-mail saying that saudis are giving financial and logistical support to isil. who in their right mind would sell arms to saudi arabia under those circumstances? so if it doesn't persuade you that the saudis are supporting isil and terrorism, may have been part of 9/11, perhaps we should look not only at the humanitarian disaster in yemen, what are they doing to the public and that their goal basically is familiar inn to
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bring them to -- famine to bring them to submission. perhaps we should look at saudi arabia as a country. perhaps we should look at the human rights record of saudi arabia. i will give you a couple of instances of what it's like to live in saudi arabia. there was a young girl who was 19 years old. they haven't named her because her story is so traumatic. she was 19 years old. they call her the girl of katiff. she was 19-year-olds and she was raped by seven men. now, the men were punished, a couple of years in prison. you know what happened? they arrested the victim because, you see, in saudi arabia it's your fault if your raped. in saudi arabia rape victims are arrested, put in prison, and publicly whipped. she was given six months in prison and 200 lashes was her sentence. ultimately it did not come to
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fore. you know why? partly because the u.s. stood up and said it was wrong. partly perhaps because behind-the-scenes we will not sell you weapons if you behave like a bunch of barbarians. i'll tell you another story. ali, who is a shiite. the country is divided between sunni and shiite. shiite are the minority and they are treated like dirt. his uncle was a sheikh and by all accounts, one who called for peaceful elections, who never had a weapon, but was executed by the saudis for leading protests, executed for standing up in front of people and saying, we should have elections. we should not have this you a thor tairn government -- you yoa
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thor tearian government. ali's uncle was beheaded. ali was 17 at the time. it was the beginning of the arab spring and ali was excited and motivated. if you see the pictures of him, it is heart breaking. you see pictures of him in western clothing. he was, by all means, the kind of people we wish would come to leadership in saudi arabia. at 17 he went to a rally and chose to be part of the arab spring to say, we don't want des spots. we don't want kings. we want elections. and for that he was arrested on put on death row. death row in saudi arabia -- saudi arabia being saudi arabia, death row includes beheading and crucifix. that will be his sentence.
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this is the regime that you're being asked to send weapons to. people say, oh, they are buying them. the technology is ours. it's american technology that was developed for the defense of this country and the companies would never have the technology had we not paid them to have it. the american taxpayer has a right to that technology and while almost other place in the marketplace, the government has no right to tell you who to sell it to, arms is different because it is from the u.s. taxpayer. i don't think we should sell arms to saudi arabia if it might wind up in the hands of isis. i don't think we should sell them to saudi arabia if they punish people for protests, if they punish people for speaking out if they behead them.
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now, some will say, if we give them for accurate missiles, they will kill less civilians. that presumes they are not targeting civilians. you think it was a mistake -- you think they accidentally bombed a funeral procession? you think their intelligence was so bad they didn't know it was a funeral procession? they killed 125 people at a funeral. they wounded 500. we wonder about why we have so much terrorism. some, yes. they hate us maybe inherently, but some of it is blowback to policy. some of it -- do you think the people who died or the people who survived or the relatives of those who died in that funeral procession, do you think they are ever going to forget it? they will remember it 100 years from now. the problem we face of terrorism goes on and on and on as long as we keep supporting those who
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treat their people like crap, who sentence them to beheading, who are starving their neighboring country which is one of the poorest nations on planet earth. we are not getting closer to peace by supporting the saudis. it is a huge mistake. the girl of katiff, rape victim sentenced to prison with 70 lashes, ali, still on death row, sentenced to beheading, raef -- what he is -- what is he. he is a blogger. someone who writes his opinion which may not be orthodox. he has been sentenced to 1,000
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lashes. i don't think you can survive that. so the saudis are dividing his treatment into ten doses. he has 100 publicly applied. he has 900 more to go. shouldn't we think a little bit about supplying arms to this country? if the human rights aspect of this is not enough, i think we should probably think about the region. there is a problem in the middle east. there is conflict. some of it goes very deep. those in the middle east remember the battle of karvala, when a grandson of mohammed and kaliff had a battle. they have long memories. i'm reminded of what one afghan told a reporter or soldier recently. he says, you have all the
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watches, but we have all the time. they live there and have for centuries and will be there when we have gone. they have to fix their own problems. we can occasionally say we're going to help some people destroy an evil empire or an evil group like isis. but the people on the ground need to be the people who live there. it can't be foreigners, it can't be people they consider to be -- it will never work. we are foolish if we don't look at the repercussions of what it means to sell arms to saudi arabia. how will iran react? i was in a committee hearing and one of the senators said we don't care how iran reacts. we don't care what they think. we ought to. if we're going to put sanctionses on them, doesn't it mean we care enough that we try to modulate and change it their behavior. the idea of sanctions doesn't
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mean we say iran is right, but certainly we do care about what they think. so what do you think iran thinks about supplying arms to saudi arabia? they think we need more. if you add up saudi -- saudi arms alone are the third biggest in the world now. it's u.s. as big as the next ten combined, then it's china, and then it's saudi arabia. saudi arabia has these other gulf sheikdoms, despots that are allies of ours. there are about five or six of them. altogether they have eight times more weapons than iran. and so we're complaining, i think justifiably so because we worry about the mischief of iran in the middle east. but we're complaining about that and we want them to change their behavior. but what do you think is the prime reason they create weapons and they're creating ballistic missiles? some of it's because they fear our invasion, like iraq. but i think a great deal of why iran develops weapons is their fear of saudi arabia.
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in fact, when you look back at iraq and the whole weapons of mass destruction that never existed, one of the interesting stories is -- it maybe a theory but i think has some evidence -- is that saddam hussein pretended valiantly that he had weapons of mass destruction not to deter us. to deter iran. so here is saddam hussein sending all these smoke signals up that he had weapons of mass destruction because he wants to keep iran at bay. we think everything is about us and we never acknowledge that maybe some of it is about the regional politics. so when we give weapons or sell weapons to saudi arabia, there will be for every action a reaction. there will be significantly more pressure for iran to come forward and have more weapons. what does it do to our ally israel? there's been at least a few reports that says israel believes that every time we give $1 to saudi arabia, they need
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to respond with $1.50. there was a quote from one of their government ministers on this saying he worries about their qualitative edge. i have a quote here from a colleague of mine, a friend of mine who is a rabbi and a friend of the constitution, rabbi nate segal writes, while i understand the president's intentions, we must proceed with great caution due to the challenges and the history of the region. at this time i don't see the benefits of the arms deal for the united states or israel. this is coming from someone who believes with every fiber of his being that israel should be defended. he's worried that by giving weapons to saudi arabia, it detracts from the qualitative edge that israel currently has. imagine what happens if the government of saudi arabia were overthrown. they have billions and billions of dollars of weapons, many of
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these weapons are the most sophisticated weapons we have. is there a chance they could be overthrown? well, i don't know. they behead their citizens and crucify them. you think anybody who lives in saudi arabia might have some pent-up anger for the regime? william wilberforce once said of slavery, he said having heard all this, you can look the other way. but you can never say that you didn't know. i love that statement because so many people at the time of slavery looked away. they just said, it's something we do. it's part of our time. it's part of our age. and so many people knew the horror of slavery. so many people knew the horror of what was happening to a people, and they looked away. i think having heard of the impending famine in yemen, having seen ali and having heard
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of the impending famine, you can choose to look away. many in this body will today choose to look away. they will say, you know what? saudi arabia gives us some benefits some time and we hate iran more. so let's just give some more weapons to saudi arabia. but they will be looking away from the human rights tragedy that is central to saudi arabia's whole being. they will be looking away from the fact that saudi arabia was supporting isis in the syrian civil war. they will be looking away from the fact that the saudi blockade is starving yes -- starving yemi children. you know what? i choose not to look away, and today i stand up for the thousands of civilians who are being killed in yemen. today i stand up for the millions of voiceless children in yemen who will be killed by the saudi blockade.
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today i stand up for saying we, the united states, should no longer be fueling the arms race in the middle east. it's come to no good. the wars and the rage and the anger are thousands of years old. we will never get to the bottom of it. we should defend ourselves at all cost. we should be very careful who is admitted into the country. and we should not get involved in every civil war and every misbegotten part of the planet. it is my hope and my prayer that enough americans will wake up and say we are tired of war. we are tired of funding every war on the globe. and we are tired of sacrificing our young in every civil war. today this will be a bipartisan vote. there will be a large contingent from the other side of the aisle and a small contingent from this side. but this is important. this is a rare day in senate
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history where we actually have the chance to stop an evil. but we would stop this evil by sending a loud message to the president and a loud message to saudi arabia that we are not going to blindly support the arms race. we are not going to be blind to human rights transgressions, and we are not going to blindly give you weapons in the face of beheading your citizens and crucifying them. so today i take a stand for those who do not have a voice, and i hope the senate will think long and hard and will vote against this arms sale to saudi arabia. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, let me say at the outset that i support the position of the senator from kentucky. i believe what he has said about the situation between the united states and saudi arabia is timely and needs to be heard.
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people across the united states and around the world should be aware of the fact that we are witnessing four famines across this world, and one of them is in yemen. three others in the continent of africa. this is a famine that is created not by drought, not by natural disaster, but by human disaster, by a war that has been created and one that has been pushed largely by the saudis at the expense of the people, the innocent people who live in that country of yemen. what the senator from kentucky is basically calling on all of us to do is to ask what role is the united states playing in the aggressive activities of saudi arabia. should we be more vigilant that what we are selling them is being used in ways that are inconsistent with the values of the united states of america? we know the record of the saudi monarchy when it comes to human rights, and the senator from kentucky has spoken to that quite eloquently. we know what they've done to
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their own people, to the women who live in their country, and to those who seek to have the basic freedoms which we take for granted in america. we also know that when it comes to the saudi activity of promoting their version, the most extreme version of islam, they have been guilty of promulgating mohabiism that led to extreme forms of the muslim faith in some parts of the world. those are realities. we know the reality of 9/11 when we trace of origin of those who came and killed 3,000 innocent americans, too many roads led back to riyadh. too many roads led back to saudi arabia. so why can't we be more open and honest in our relationship with this country? and i think what the senator from kentucky has told us this morning, the amendment that will be offered shortly by him and by senator murphy is one that calls on the senate to take an honest look at saudi arabia today and the relationship with the united states. and may i add one other element on a personal basis?
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it is so rare on the floor of the united states senate to see what we have just seen this morning, a proposal for an amendment to be debated. an amendment to be voted on on the floor of the senate. i could count on one hand how many times that's happened this year in the united states senate. what used to be the most deliberative body in america, the great debating society and so forth has turned into a place of rubber stamps and unanimous consents. and i'm glad, win or lose, in our effort here on this amendment, that the senator is bringing this important issue to the floor. i thank him for making it a bipartisan effort in the process. mr. president, what i come to the floor to speak to is another issue that really calls on the senate and asks the basic question, why are we here? i think we know that we were elected to make america a better nation and to help families across this nation realize the great opportunity and goodness of this nation.
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so one of the issues that most people worry about the most in their daily lives is health care. they should. i've said on the floor many times, if you have ever been in a position in your life as a father of a seriously sick child and you had no health insurance when that happened, you will never forget that as long as you live. i know. i've been there. and i went through a period of time with my wife raising our daughter when she needed the best medical care in america, and we didn't have any health insurance. it was frightening, frightening to think what would happen to our little girl because we didn't have the protection of health insurance and the quality care that everybody wants for themselves and for the people that they love. so now we're in a debate now at this moment in time about the future of health care in america, the future of health insurance in america. i can't think of a more serious
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topic. people say well, it's one-sixth of the american economy, our health care system. that's critically important. but even more so, this is such a personal matter, such a personal matter for every individual. the affordable care act, which was passed six or seven years ago, i was proud to vote for it. we couldn't get any support from the other side of the aisle. not one single vote, not one republican vote in support suppf it. our goal with the affordable care act was to reduce the number of americans uninsured when it came to health insurance. we achieved part of our goal. the rate of uninsured in america was cut in half by the affordable care act. we expanded opportunities for health insurance through the medicaid program as well as through private insurance exchanges. we moved in the right direction. and we said something else. we wanted to build into the health insurance system of america, protections for
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families. we wanted to make sure that you couldn't be discriminated against buying health insurance simply because someone in your family had been sick. think of how many of us -- one out of three, i might add -- have a preexisting condition, or someone in our family with a preexisting condition. it happens. a child surviving cancer. a child with diabetes. somebody in the family who has a heart condition. those are the realities of life for families across america. and before the passage of the affordable care act, the health insurance companies could say to you not only no, but really no when it comes to coverage. or they could charge you premiums which were way beyond what people could afford to pay. we eliminated that in the affordable care act. eliminated it. you cannot discriminate against an american on the basis of a preexisting medical condition. the insurance companies had gone wild defining what a preexisting
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condition was that might raise your premiums or deny you coverage. acne in your adolescence, preexisting condition. the fact that you are a woman who might give birth to a child, preexisting condition. the list went on and on. we eliminated that and said you cannot discriminate against americans because of those things. now we have people on the other side who have said we've got to get rid of that protection. if we do, what will happen to all of these people? on saturday, i went to a march in chicago at lincoln park. it was the children's heart foundation and the congenital heart defect alliance. and of course it speaks for itself. the number-one birth defect among children in america is heart defects. one out of 100 babies born has a heart problem. these are kids with preexisting conditions. you should have seen the families show up in big, big numbers supporting little kids, some of them just babies.
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they were proudly wear t-shirts, standing and saying we're going to fight for this little boy or little girl, trying to promote medical research to save their lives. it's something that really touched me as i looked at 600 people on that hot saturday afternoon marching in lincoln park in chicago. i -- i said to them, you know, when it gets down to the basics in life, the most important thing in life is your baby. the next most important thing is the family that you have standing behind that baby. and then there is that doctor, that doctor you're counting on to do everything in his or her power to make sure your baby survives. but you need to bring into this conversation another group -- politicians, senators and congressmen, because we are making decisions right here in washington that will decide whether the families that marched in lincoln park in chicago on saturday and families like them all across america will have access to affordable
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health insurance, real health insurance that will cover them. that's what the debate's about. it was just a few weeks ago that the house of representatives passed a measure to repeal the affordable care act and to replace it. at the end of the day, not a single democrat voted for their measure. it passed by two votes, two votes in the house of representatives. and when they came back and analyzed what the republicans had voted for in the house of representatives when it came to work, here's what they found. their proposal to eliminate the affordable care act, the one that passed the house of representatives several weeks ago, according to the congressional budget office, nonpartisan, expert group, according to the c.b.o., 23 million americans will lose their health insurance under the plan that passed the house of representatives, and in my state of illinois, 12.5 million people in our population, a million people would lose their health insurance. i will just tell you i don't see
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how any member of congress can stand before us and say i've got a great solution for health care in america. we're going to take health insurance away from 23 million people. but that's what their vote did. and their vote sadly eliminated the protection against discrimination because of preexisting conditions. so what has been the reaction to the house repeal bill that was passed? i can tell you in my state, there's not a single group, not one medical advocacy group that supports what the house of representatives did. i'm from down state illinois outside the city of chicago. had a congressional district down there, small town america, great people. if you went into that part of illinois and said to them i'm going to vote for a measure that's going to put in jeopardy the future of your local hospital, the people would literally rise up to resist it. the illinois hospital association tells us that the
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affordable care act repeal passed by the house of representatives endangers hospital services all across our state but especially in small town or rural america. they estimate that we are going to lose 60,000 jobs at these hospitals in our state. i can tell you what those hospital jobs are in small town america, in rural america. they're the best jobs in the community. these are medical experts, doctors and nurses and supervisors and administrators who keep these hospitals operating, and they're paid well to do it, and they should be. those are the jobs at risk of being eliminated by the vote of the house of representatives. one million people in our state to lose health insurance, and our hospitals threatened with closure. that's why the illinois hospital association opposes what the republicans did in the house of representatives, and that's why the illinois state medical society, our doctors in the
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chicago medical society have come out against what happened in the house of representatives. that's why the nurses have opposed what was passed in the house of representatives as well. not a single medical advocacy group supports what happened in the house of representatives, not one in my state. can't find one of them. so now you remember from basic civics after it passes the house, it's our turn in the senate. what are we going to do with remark? well, i wish i could tell you. we're told we're going to vote on it, maybe as soon as two weeks from now. we'll come to the floor and vote on changing the health care system of the united states of america. what is the proposal of the republicans in the senate when it comes to the future of our health care system in america? i don't know. and the reason i don't know is it's being done in secret. there's no committee hearings, there's no opportunity to offer an amendment. in fact, we haven't even seen the measure he has to vote on in
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two weeks. the congressional budget office, which is supposed to analyze it, hasn't published any analysis of the republican plan, and yet they are moving forward at a break-neck pace to have us vote on it up or down before we leave for the fourth of july recess. it's a frightening prospect, and they will do it under what's known as reconciliation. i won't bore you with senate procedure, but what it basically means is they can move it through with a simple majority vote in the united states senate. amendments will be considered on what they call a vote-a-rama basis. and if it sounds like some kind of a game, it's almost a game. you offer an amendment, you get like one minute to explain your amendment on changing health care in america. the other side gets one minute to explain their opposition, and off you go to a vote. and then another one and another one. your head is spinning, trying to figure out what in the world each of these amendments, each of these votes are going to mean. and those are the measures to be taken by the senate when it
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comes to health care. this is exactly the opposite of what happened when the affordable care act was passed. do you know that we adopted 160 republican amendments to the affordable care act? none of them voted for final passage, but 160 amendments were offered by republicans to change it, and they were adopted. it was a bipartisan process on the amendments. how much amendments will we be able to offer to the republican senate proposal that's going to come before us in two weeks? the answer is we don't know because we have never seen the republican proposal. it's been done in secret. 13 republican senators were chosen by the majority leader to sit in private and come up with this bill. there was no open committee hearing, no open discussion. some republicans were invited in, some were not, and we don't know what the ultimate product will look like, but i can tell you this. whatever the republican senators
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come up with, it's going to have a dramatic impact on each and every single american, every one of us in our communities back home. this idea of repealing the affordable care act in two weeks i know is a solemn political promise which many republicans made, but they also made a promise to the people they represent to do what they can to help these families through their difficult times, and that's why we need to ask to make sure that the product that is passed by the republicans in the senate is one that serves the needs of people across the united states of america. if that is a product coming out of the republicans like the house measure, that takes away health insurance for 23 million americans, then i can understand why the republicans want to do this in secret. i can understand why they don't want us to see it until the very last minute and then vote on it and get out of town as fast as you can because it's an embarrassment to think that the united states senate and the house, for that matter, would vote to take away health insurance for 23 million
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americans. that is a dereliction of duty, and from where i'm sit something just flat immoral, to take away health insurance from that many people. and what if we end up with a product like the house of representatives that jeopardizes rural hospitals and hospitals in the inner cities, that closes down these community health care clinics, reduces access? well, i will tell you what will happen. people without health insurance will still show up at the hospital sick in the emergency room, and they will still be treated, but they won't be able to pay for it. who will pay for their care? we will pay for their care. everyone else with health insurance will pay more because people uninsured will receive free medical care. that is a reality. and, of course, if you don't have a regular doctor, a regular medical home, as they call it these days, what started off as a minor problem could turn into a major problem, even life-threatening. that's why the affordable care act builds into it community
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health care clinics and opportunities to create a medical home. when i met with the chicago medical society at a convention that they had in chicago this last week, i was surprised by a few things. first, i was surprised to learn that out of the 5,000 physicians in the chicago medical society, they had received responses back from over a thousand who said that they thought that the measure that passed the house of representatives, the republican repeal bill, was the worst news they had heard when it came to the future of health care. they prefer the affordable care act. but they went on to say something which may surprise people. these doctors, these doctors said, over a thousand of them responding to the survey said they thought it was time for us to talk about really significant changes to our health care system in america. they're tired of fighting the private insurance companies. what they suggested is that when you look at a plan like medicare
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for all. right now, medicare serves 50 million or 60 million americans. people can't wait to turn 65. they finally qualify for medicare, no exclusions for preexisting conditions, and they know that medicare is going to give them quality care, and it's not going to bankrupt them as individuals. these doctors, these doctors in the chicagoland area have said it's now time for america to seriously look at medicare for all, and i agree with them. i think it's time to look at it, because the private health insurance system, as we try to save it, salvage it, remake it for the affordable care act, has real shortcomings. and i hope that those on the other side who are considering changes in our health care system will actually listen to doctors, listen to hospital administrators and listen to the families they represent. why they are doing this in secrecy, why they are refusing to give us a chance for committee hearings and amendments, i can't tell you, other than the obvious.
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clearly what they have come up with is something they don't believe the american people will accept, so they need to push it through without disclosure at the last minute and get out of town in hopes that people won't blame them. well, when it comes to health care, people don't forget. i won't forget. and the people of illinois won't forget the votes that were cast in the house of representatives which threaten to take away health insurance from a million people in my state. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. leahy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i thank the distinguished senior senator from illinois for his comments. certainly if you could hear those same things in town -- certainly you would hear those same things in town meetings in vermont. on another matter, this afternoon, attorney general sessions will return to the senate for the first time since his confirmation hearing. it has been more than three months since the press revealed
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that the attorney general gave false system in response to questions from both myself and from senator franken about his contact with russian officials. but the attorney general has made no effort to come back before the judiciary committee to explain his actions, actions that some could construe as perjury. now there are countless new and troubling questions swirling around the attorney general. in fact, he was scheduled to appear before an appropriations committee this morning, a committee that would have to vote on his request for a budget, but for the second time in as many months, he just abruptly canceled. now, neither i nor senator franken sit on the intelligence committee, so we're not going to have the opportunity to follow up with the attorney general in person.
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we're not going to be able to ask him why he and his contacts -- why he had contacts with the russian ambassador, including a third reported meeting at the mayflower hotel. nor will i be able to ask about the timing of his refusal or his involvement with the russian investigation both before his recusal and after. i will not be able to ask him whether the president ever suggested he intervene in the russia investigation in any way. and especially i will not be able to ask how the attorney general can justify violating his recusal from the russia investigation by working to fire the lead investigator of that investigation. the american people deserve answers to each of these questions. they deserve truthful answers.
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that's why i shared my questions for attorney general sessions on these topics. i want him to see them, but i also share them with other members of the intelligence committee. so at least on the plus side, attorney general sessions will finally face some serious questions, but i'm still concerned he is not going to be the most forthcoming witness. we saw last week that trump administration officials have invented a brand-new claim of privilege to protect themselves from congressional oversight, to protect themselves from giving answers that would be embarrassing or damaging to the president. i asked the congressional research service to provide me with a list of valid reasons to refuse to answer a question from a senator. there is executive privilege, of course, but it has to be invoked by the president, and that's not
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absent. of course there are also constitutional privileges such as the fifth amendment right to not incriminate oneself. and even in my days as a prosecutor, i strongly protected the rights of people no matter what crime they were charged with, they could take the fifth amendment if they wanted to. bus no quote, i would rather not answer, quote privilege. that's not in the fifth amendment. that's not executive privilege. unless the answer necessarily involves disclosed and classified information, the answer i would rather discuss this behind closed doors, that's not a valid response either. that's really not a valid response. that's just trying to get out of answering questions. the attorney general
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spokesperson said yesterday thatle attorney general sessions believes it's important for the american people to hear the truth directly. he looks forward to answering the committee's questions. he has also reported yesterday that he plans to invoke privileges. if true, the attorney general is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. i hope the attorney general's not going to allow president trump to follow the precedent of richard nixon and go down the path of invoking executive privilege to stop an inquiry into unethical conduct. these questions need to be answered. the american people deserve the truth. they deserve an attorney general who is held accountable. no one embroiled in controversy and hides from the committee with -- we must not lose sight of the fact that our democracy
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was attacked. it was attacked by a country that has no respect for us. if we do not take this seriously, we will be attacked again. we must know exactly how that happened so we can protect our democratic institution and protect our country. this goes way beyond the republican or democratic party. that includes knowing whether members of the trump campaign enabled russian interference. russia is not our friend. just as they are trying to interfere in some of the nato countries in other parts of the world with elections. we know that tried to interfere with ours. the american people deserve to know whether the president or his administration is attempting to interfere with that investigation knowing that it was improper, any amount of
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attempt of obstruction of justice. attorney general sessions needs to answer for his leadership on both the senate appropriations and the judiciary committees. you know, he can keep ducking the questions, but sooner or later the attorney general must answer for his actions. we deserve to know whether he's actually in the public interest, which is what an attorney general should do or in donald trump's personal interest. if he can't decide -- he can't decide between those answers. he can't distinguish between his interest or donald trump's interest, he is not fit to serve as attorney general. mr. president, i pointed out when the deputy mr. rosenstein came before the appropriations
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committee this morning, all of the things they were cutting out of the budget -- money for victims of crime, money to go after the opioid epidemic in this country, large cuts in the f.b.i. i could go on and on. there is one place though that they did put in money for more lawyers. they put in money for lawyers that could work at taking the private property of people in texas and arizona and elsewhere to build this wall of the president's. so we don't take out money for victims of crime, we take out money for fighting opioid epidemic, but we'll sure learn how to get money to hire private lawyers to go after people's
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private property along the rio grande to build a wawr that won't -- a wall that won't really accomplish anything other than to fulfill part of a campaign promise -- a campaign promise to build a $40 billion wall. the other part was to have mexico pay for it. the check's in the mail, mr. president. very, very, very slow mail. i yield the floor. i see the -- speaking of attorneys general and people from texas, i see the former attorney general from texas, the distinguished senior senator from texas and my friend on the floor, so i will yield the floor. corn corn mr. president. the presiding officer: -- mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i
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thank the senior senator from vermont for his kind words. we do agree occasionally about a few things. we are sort of, i think, in some ways the odd couple when it comes to open government and the freedom of information. we agree on those things. somebody, i would say from the left end of the political spectrum and somebody like me from the right end of the political spectrum, which i find particularly gratifying, but there are other things we have different views on. that is hot unusual or -- that is not unusual or to be unexpected, but i enjoy working with him when we can find those areas of common ground to work on. last night the senate moved forward to vote on sanctions to hold iran accountable for its continued support of terrorism. the vote we had is a strong message to the world -- that the united states will not tolerate
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iran's complicity on terror and a clear indicator of just how important this legislation is. just last month the secretary of state, secretary tillerson noted that iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror. i would amend that slightly and say it is the leading state sponsor of terror. and the secretary said he would be undertaking a review of the success or failure of the joint comprehensive plan of action, what we know as the lob sided nuclear deal that president obama inked with iran. because, unfortunately as we have seen, the deal that the obama administration did relative to iran's nuclear aspirations did zero -- zero to stop iran's investment in terrorism around the world. as a matter of fact it generated quite a bit of new cash that iran could use to pay for acts
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of terrorism around the world. so the jcpoa, the iran nuclear deal, all but cemented the status of state sponsor of terrorism as a future nuclear power. i remember being in the house chamber when prime minister netanyahu of israel talked about this paving the way to iran achieving a nuclear weapon, albeit some ten years hence, which may seem like a long time to us, but if you're the nation of israel, ten years is just right around the core r corner -- right around the corner and you're living in that neighborhood and going to be part of the cross hairs. the jcpoa released billions of dollars and empowered our adversary and avowed enemy to engage in more terrorist activities abroad. so instead of weakening iran, it
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actually bolstered tehran's hostile capabilities. on top of that president obama pushed aside our strongest ally in the region. i mentioned israel. in order to lay a gift at feet of one of the united states' greatest antagonists with little or no benefit to our nation. that's why it's no surprise that iran continues to violate international restrictions against ballistic missile testing, flying in the face of any promises that were made in the agreement. last year then-director of national intelligence james clapper testified before the senate armed services committee confirming what we had all feared, that iran's ballistic missiles are capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction and tehran has the largest instrin of ballistic
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missiles in the middle east. under president obama's nuclear deal, their conventional inventory and capability are essentially free to grow, and grow they have. so what kind of deal was the jcpoa, the iran nuclear deal? it was a lopsided deal, but more importantly, it was a dangerous deal as well. and, of course, iran's reach goes far beyond their own border. they support the assad regime in syria and houthi rebel -- rebellion. last week on his way to saudi arabia, secretary of defense confirmed that iranian missiles were being fired by the houthis into saudi arabia. not only is iran breaking the nuclear deal, but also u.s. security council resolutions as
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well. in syria, iran continues to prop up and shield the butcher of damascus, about bashar al-assadn after brutally using chemical weapons against his own people -- some 400,000 seerns, at last -- syriaians, at last count, who lost their lives in the civil war. supported by iran, supported by russia, propping up this butcher who is head of the regime. so last night's show of bipartisan support is more than just a message of unity against terrorism. it's a sign that the senate will fight to stop iran from tightening its grip on power. the legislation we will pass this week introduces new sanctions and embargos on iran. first, it imposes new restrictions on persons who transact with and support iranian ballistic missile program, giving our president authority to impose sanctions on
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their weapons providers. the legislation also makes it clear that the islamic revolutionary guard corps bears responsibility for destabilizing activities an terrorism in the region by extending new sanctions to them as well. this bill also will address iranian human rights abuses by directing the secretary of state to submit a list of people who are guilty of human rights violations so we can take further action against them. lastly, it reaffirms the arms embargo by allowing the president to block the property of any person or entity involved in the supply, sale, or transfer of prohibited arms or material to or from iran. i also introduced yesterday an amendment to this iranian sanctions legislation that targets mahan air, which is iran's largest commercial airline. as a transporter of terrorists
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and weapons, mahan air is nothing more than a commercial coverup for terrorist activities. with routes in and out of europe, it's essential for us to stop their continued expansion and to understand what their activities and how they bear on the safety of american lives. so i'm thankful for chairman corker's leadership on the iranian and now russian sanctions bill and the expediency with which we are moving forward. while we can't, in this bill, undo all the harm that was caused by the foreign policy of the obama administration, we can work to direct course and i'm glad we're doing so in a bipartisan way. last night's vote was a sign of unity and i'm looking forward to getting this legislation through the senate and on to the president's desk. mr. president, i just want it take a moment and talk about the saudi arms sale that we will be
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voting on this afternoon at about 2:30, in that time frame. we know that saudi arabia remains under threat from the violent ambitions of iran, which i just got through speaking about, but that's not just a threat to us, it's a threat in the refugee, and particularly to sunni allies like saudi arabia. a stronger saudi arabia will provide a powerful deterrent to iranian aggression. this particular sale of weapons announced by the president when he was saudi arabia -- in saudi arabia a couple of weeks ago will provide greater reasonablal -- regional stability. it will help against iranian-backed houthis, weak government control, which allows terrorism to flourish in the region. al qaeda has been described
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by -- as the most active affiliate today with several thousands inside of yemen supported by the iranian regime. aqap, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula have takening advantage of the security and political vacuum. it will bolster the ability to provide for its own security and continue to counter terrorism operations across the region and thereby reduce the burden on the united states and our own military forces by equipping them to do their own security and not depend on us. the sale will also help deter regional threats and enhance the kingdom's ability to protect its borders, contribute to coalition counterterrorism operations, and target bad actors more precisely. finally, it will improve the kingdom's defensive military capabilities.
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since 2015 saudi arabia has intercepted more than 40 missiles fired at the kingdom by iranian-backed houthi militias. nine of these missiles have struck saudi territory itself. so i look forward to voting in the 2:30 time frame this afternoon against the resolution of disapproval filed by our colleague. i think it's important for us to help our allies defend themselves, to fill a power vacuum left by perhaps that would otherwise be filled by u.s. forces and military effort. and i think it sends a strong message to iran and their affiliates in the middle east that we will not stand quietly or stand silently in the face of their continued growth of their terrorist activities and support for terrorist activities around the world. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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i note 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 indiana. mr. young: request unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. young: mr. president, i come to the senate floor today to express my support for senate joint resolution 42, and my opposition to the transfer of specific defense articles to the government of saudi arabia. i've arrived at this decision after extensive research and careful deliberation. and i'd like to state very clearly for the record why i've come to this decision.
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i've decided to support s.j. res. 42 and oppose the transfer of defense articles to saudi arabia primarily because of the saudi government's refusal to take specific steps that i repeatedly requested to alleviate the horrible humanitarian suffering in yemen. now, before i further explain that decision, i'd like to explain what is not, who is not informing my decision. -- what is not informing my decision. i am not opposed to arms sales in general or saudi arabia specifically. on the contrary, after a series of questions are satisfactorily addressed, i believe arms sales to keep partners and allies can enable them to more effectively defend our common interests and oppose common threats. after all, the united states cannot and should not employ u.s. military forces in every instance. when the united states and our
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partners confront common threats, we should encourage and empower regional allies and regional partners to play prominent roles wherever possible. when our partners and are defending our common interests, we want them to be as well equipped and well trained and effective as possible. i recognize that despite our differences, the saudi government is an important regional security partner for the united states of america. however, when we work through our allies and partners, we shouldn't set aside our national security interests, and we certainly set aside our support for universal humanitarian principles. that principle certainly applies to the saudis and to the situation in yemen. so my decision today is based neither on opposition to arms sales in general nor in opposition to arms sales total
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saudis in particular. instead, my decision today is based primarily on the persistent and misguided refusal of the saudi government to take specific steps i have requested to alleviate some of the humanitarian suffering in yemen. and my decision should come as a surprise to no one. as i've said here on the senate floor before, the united nations calls the situation in yemen the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. according to the u.n. which incidentally our intelligence resources rely on for much of their information, yemen has almost 19 million people, two-thirds of the population in need of humanitarian or protection assistance, including
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approximately ten million who require immediate assistance to save or sustain their lives. two-thirds of the population. if that's not a recipe for instability in a dangerous region of the world, i don't know what is. 17 million people are food insecure while seven million people don't know where their next meal is coming from and are at risk of famine. in addition, according to the u.n., as of yesterday the world health organization reports a cumulative total of over 124,000 suspected cases of coo colora. colora is impacted the most vulnerable. children under the age of 18 account for 28% of all deaths. the situation is growing far worse and nln.g.o. personnel on
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the ground tells my office that the large majority of these cases have taken place since late april. perhaps the most heartbreaking statistic is that a child under the age of five dies every ten minutes in yemen of preventible causes. throughout this process rather than just mourning this terrible situation, i've tried to identify tangible steps that can save lives, that can lead to a political settlement in yemen, and that can enhance both regional and united states national security interests. in the case of yemen it became clear quickley there were specific steps the saudi could take to alleviate the horrible humanitarian situation in yemen. based on that realization in april, april 27, i led a nine machin--nine-member bipartisan o
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the incoming saudi ambassador. noting the important security partnership between the united states and the government of saudi arabia, and saudi arabia's role as a regional leader, i asked riyadh to take some specific steps related to yemen that would prevent thousands or even millions of additional people from dying there. among several requests, i asked the saudis to permit the delivery of u.s.-funded cranes to the port of hodata that would dramatically improve the ability to offload humanitarian supplies there. now, that's important because the port of hodata processes roughly 70% to 80% of all of the food and other critical imports that come into the country of yemen. this is the port that supplies people who are in the most desperate need of food and medical attention. i also asked riyadh to address
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unnecessary additional delays that the saudi-led coalition was causing for humanitarian and commercial supplies going into that port. not receiving a satisfactory response, i subsequently raised these issues directly with the saudi foreign minister when he met with me and other senators here on capitol hill. still not receiving a satisfactory answer, we continued to raise these requests repeatland i with the saudi -- repeatedly with the saudi embassy. as recently as yesterday the saudis have refused to be responsive on the cranes. further, in the face of clear evidence from the united nations to the contrary, the saudis have even denied a role in causing delays of humanitarian and commercial shipments into yemen. so for almost two months, the saudis have failed to take my requests seriously.
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for those new to this, perhaps the delays at ports seems a bit yonkish, maybe in the weeds yet in a humanitarian situation as dire as yemen with a child under five dying of preventible diseases every ten minutes, every shipment of food or fuel, every day of delay can have life or death implications. now, the saudis know this. yet they've been unresponsive to my requests. there's no doubt that the iranians and the houthis are up to no good in yemen. there's no doubt that saudi arabia has the right to defend its borders. there's also no doubt that the situation in yemen is complex. but it is a false choice to suggest that we have to choose between opposing iran and helping the millions of suffering people in yemen. i believe we have a moral
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responsibility and a national security imperative to do all we can to help the people in yemen who are starving, who need medicine, who are dying. and the longer this war in yemen continues, the more we will drive the houthis into the arms of the iranians. the more leverage the iranians and russians will gain in yemen. the more terrorist groups like al qaeda in the ie arabian -- arabian peninsula will thrive. perhaps the saudi government isn't concerned about my vote. perhaps they think this issue will just blow over, that attention will wain, that senators will lose interest. i rerk nice that i'm just one senator with just one vote, but i will caution the saudi government defense such a view. i'm not going to losing interest in this issue any time soon.
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to the saudis i say this. when i make a request and your government is unresponsive, at least as far as i'm concerned, there will be consequences for that decision. my vote demonstrates that fact. to my colleagues, i respectfully say that america's support should never be unconditional. it's in our interests. it's consistent with our humanitarian values. universal humanitarian values that we profess to demand that the saudis take some of these steps to alleviate humanitarian suffering in yemen. so for this reason i'm going to vote in support of senate joingtsz resolution 42 -- joint resolution 42 today and i urge my colleagues, republican and democrat, to do the same. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont.
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mr. sanders: i rise to speak in support of the murphy-franken resolution of disapproval and to outline my concerns for the unfetted sale of arms to the saudi arabia. -- creating new opportunities for iranian intervention. in addition to be morally indefensible and strategyally shortsighted, the trump
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administration's unconditional support for the saudi coalition including billions of dollars in on sales risks dragging the united states into yet another war in the middle east. mr. sanders: these are the reasons i strongly support the resolution of disapproval offered by my colleagues and their effort to block some of these arms sales to saudi arabia. but, mr. president, i also think it is long past time that we begin to take a very hard look at our relationship with saudi arabia. this is a country that is run by a hereditary monarchy, hereditary monarchy in which women are treated as third class citizens. i would just like to mention for
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a moment the case of lujane lul, a human rights activist who was arrested on june 4. she has been an advocate for women's rights in saudi arabia. in 2014 she was arrested for defying the country's ban -- are you ready for this? -- on women drivers and imprisoned for 73 days. in 2015 she ran as a candidate in a local council election, the third in the nation's modern history, and the first in which women were allowed to both vote and run even though her name was never added to the ballot. more recently, lu criticized a saudi-sponsored government
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women's empowerment summit which was attended by ivanka trump, for its lack of inclusiveness. while she has now been released from jail -- and i'm very glad to hear that -- this is no way to treat a peaceful dissident. mr. president, the human rights organization amnesty international reported that during her detention, hath lu was not allowed access to an attorney nor was allowed to speak to her family. mr. president, finally and perhaps most significantly, it is important that here on the floor of the senate we begin to discuss the decades' long effort by saudi arabia to export an ultra reactionary form of islam throughout the world. a recent piece in the boston
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globe by stephen kinsup, a journalist who covered the middle east for many years -- and i would like to ask unanimous consent to have that article put into the journal, mr. president. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: this articles by mr. kinsup used the example -- this is just one example -- of indonesia to demonstrate the incredibly negative impact that saudi financing has had in many places around the world. and i will quote from his article. saudi arabia has been working for decades to pull indonesia away from moderate islam and toward the austere with a had -- the austere wahibi form that is state religion. the saudi campaign has been multifaceted and lavishly
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financed. it mirrors others they have waged in muslim america. saudi arabians have assured that saudi arabia is our friend and wishes us well, yet we know that osama bin laden and most of his 9/11 hijackers were saudis and as secretary of state hillary clinton wrote in a diplomatic cable years ago, quote, donors constitute the most significant source of funding to sunni terrorists worldwide. recent events in indonesia shine a light on a saudi project that is even more pernicious than financing terrorists. saudi arabia has used its wealth, much of which comes from the united states, to turn entire nations into hotbeds of radical islam. by refusing to protest or even
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officially acknowledge this far-reaching project, we finance our own assassins and global terror. end of quote from that excellent article from "the boston globe." mr. president, we all understand that there are times when we must work with problematic governments in order to advance our security goals. but for far, far too long we have been giving a pass to a government in saudi arabia that supports ideas and policies that are fundamentally at odds with american values and that have been extremely -- and that have led to extremely negative consequences for american security. i think the time has come for the united states congress to take a very, very hard look at
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this relationship and assess whether it is actual lilg -- actually serving the interests and values of the american people. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: the presiding officer: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: the senate is. mr. graham: i ask unanimous consent to terminate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. graham: thank you. i take the floor today to
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strenuously argue against the proposition being pushed by senator paul and murphy and others to deny arms sales of about $500 million to the kingdom of saudi arabia. the package that they're trying to exclude from the $110 billion arms deal is precision-guided munitions that would be used by the f-15's, the package of joint direct attack munitions, pave laser-guided bombs for aircraft. the bottom line that the package that we're talking about of precision weapons that the saudi air force and military could use in operations against iran's proxy in yemen and other threats that the kingdom faces. the flaws of the saudi government are real. they're known to me, but my
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friends on the other side, particularly senator paul, constantly put saudi arabia and iran on the same footing. i think that is a very unwise analysis to suggest that saudi arabia is as bad as iran is just missing the point big time. the iranian theocracy is the most destabilizing force in the mideast. they have aggressively pursued military action through proxies and directly been involved in military action in syria. iran's efforts to dominate iraq, lebanon, syria, and now yemen have to be pushed back. here's what secretary mattis said about this proposal. i asked him a question. how would iran view a passage of this proposal limiting precision-guided weapons to
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saudi by the congress? i believe iran would be appreciative of us not selling these weapons to saudi arabia. that's pretty direct. iran would be really happy. and i would say this. on september 21, 2016, 71 united states senators supported a tank sale to saudi arabia by 71 votes to 27. in other words, 71 united states senators rejected rand paul's proposal to stop the sale of tanks. i would argue that a tank is not nearly a precision weapon as the weapons we're talking about here to be given to the air force. if you're worried about collateral damage in yemen, i understand your concern. precision weapons would help that cause, not hurt it. and you've got to understand who we're dealing with in yemen. we're dealing with iran. saudi arabia has a border with yemen. the iranians are backing a force
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called the how hi -- out his to bring down a government in yemen. from a saudi perspective, everywhere you look you see iran encroaching throughout the mideast. the theocracy in iran is the biggest threat to world order and that is saying a lot given the world as it is. and i say that with confidence because what iran is trying to do is destabilize the mideast in unprecedented fashion and our allies are tired of it. now is the time to stand with them, with their imperfections, against iran with their hostility. so this $500 million chunk of the $110 billion weapon sale is absolutely essential that the saudi air force get these weapons not only to minimize casualties but when the fight against the aggressive nature of iran and yemen and other places. i don't know where we're going with iran but the president said that the current nuclear deal is absolutely a terrible deal. he is right. this deal locks in a march toward a nuclear weapon by the
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iranians. if they don't cheat, they don't have to cheat. in 10 or 15 years the agreement allows them to enrich and reprocess without limitation. so this deal has to be replaced. i hope we don't go to war with anyone, but if we go to war, i want allies who are capable to help us in the fight. we complain about our arab allies not doing enough when they want to do more we say more to them. guess what? no wonder people believe that america is an unreliable partner. you say one thing and you do another. all i can say to my democratic colleagues, you are okay with voting to help president obama increase the capability of the saudi army at a time it was in our national security interest. what's changed between september 21 and today? what geo political situation has changed so that all of a sudden iran is no longer the threat they were in september of last year and saudi arabia is less reliable?
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nothing other than the election of donald trump. i have been a critic of donald trump, president trump, when i thought it was necessary for the good of the country. all i can say is this wholesale defection by democrats really is disturbing. it is undermining, i think, our national security interests when it comes to containing iran. it is sending the worst possible signal we could be sending to our arab allies at a time we need them the most. and i don't question people's motives. i question your judgment. and here's my problem. i had no problem helping president obama because i believe saudi is a bulwark against iranian expansion that our allies in saudi arabia are in perfect -- are imperfect but they do share intelligence with us. they're in the fight and we need to help them because it's in our interest to help them. you had absolutely no problem helping them when it was president obama's idea. everything trump you seem to be against. that is absolutely disappointing
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and quite frankly despicable. to my republican colleagues over here, rand paul has been consistent. i respect his consistency. i just completely disagree with him. if you don't think containing iran and keeping them from toppling yemen, iraq, syria, lebanon is not in our national interest, you're making a huge mistake. the last thing we want is the iranian ayatollah to march through the mideast and start spreading his form of radical shiteism in the backyard of our arab allies. i could not urge this body more to reject this ill-conceived idea. it's $500 million out of a $110 billion package but it's the kind of weapons that will matter on the battlefield. it will lessen civilian casualties which is a noble goal and it will also give capability to the saudis to more
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effectively contain iran ho is marching -- who is marching through yemen through their proxies, the out his -- the houthis. all i can say is secretary mattis has it right. iran would be appreciative of us not selling those weapons to saudi arabia. we're going to sanction iran this week, i hope, for what they've done scout side the nuke -- doneout side the nuclear agreement. since the nuclear agreement was passed they have humiliated our soldiers, our sailors. they captured them on the high seas and humiliated them. i don't remember saudi arabia doing that. they are test firing missiles in violation of u.n. resolutions that could destroy israel and one day reach us or our allies throughout the mideast and europe. they're spreading their form of radical shiteism through the world, through the mideast. the money they receive from the nuclear deal is not going to
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build roads, bridges and hospitals. it's increasing the lethality of the iranian combatant units and what we're trying to do, what president trump is trying to do is give our allies the ability to contain the threat which is in our interest. so sanction iran and denying saudi arabia the weapons they need to defend themselves and others against iran is pretty inconsistent. all i can say is there's a military necessity for these weapons that will change the equation on the battlefield. it is in our interest that iran -- we have to remember these are the same people, the iranians, who built lethal i.e.d.'s and interjected them into iraq and killed many soldiers. this is the same regime that took over our embassy, that
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humiliated our sailors and chance death to israel on a regular basis. we are contemplating not helping an ally who will fight the threat of iran. in 2016 almost every democrat saw this as a good move to help saudi arabia. now almost all of you are voting against an arms package and the only change is that we've got a new president who you hate. i wasn't a big fan of president obama, but when i thought it was right, i stood with him. president trump is right to do this to deal with the iranian aggression. there it is no bigger threat to the middle east than this iranian regime who is a religious ayatollah who is really a religious nazi. i hope you will vote for what is best for america, which is to empower our allies to contain
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threats that we commonly enjoy. we enjoy the experience of being in the cross hairs of the ato tella. -- ayatollah. they want to destroy israel and they want to destroy us. the idea of not helping an ally willing to fight is inconceivable. the idea that we are going to vote for an arms package because trump is president and all of you voted yes before is disappointing. to my republican colleagues, if you really think that iran is a threat, don't vote with senator paul, because you are sending a wrong signal. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: there is a different president today, but there is a different policy and that's what this resolution is about. let me be very clear about what we are talking about here today.
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senator graham would have you believe that we are about to vote on the entirety of the $110 billion in arms sales that was proposed, that was unveiled by president trump during his visit to saudi arabia. that is not the case. we are voting today on $500 million of that $110 billion sale. you can still be friends with saudi arabia and sell them $119.5 billion or $109.5 billion worth of arms rather than $11 0 billion worth of arms. the arms we are talking about, precision-guided missiles that will be used to perpetuate the saudi arabia bombing campaign in yemen were the specific set of weapons that the obama administration refused to transfer to the saudis at the end of 2016.
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we did not take a vote on this in 2016. we took a vote on a different arms sale, but it is not simply that there is a new president and democrats are objecting to arms sales that president trump is moving forward with. it is that we have a new policy. this specific set of munitions that president trump is asking us to consent to, president obama would not sell. the policy is different, not just the personnel. and let's talk about why the policy is different. what is happening today in imlen is a -- in yemen is a humanitarian crisis. there are four and one of them is in yemen and only one of those four is caused, in part,
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by the united states. the united states supports the saudi-led bombing campaign that has had the effect of causing a humanitarian nightmare to play out in that country such that eight million people, right now in yemen, are in starvation or on the brink of starvation. last week we received word that 100,000 people in yemen now have cholera, all of this a direct result of the civil war. and the reason that the obama administration decided not to transfer the precision-guided munitions to the saudis is because the saudis were using the weapons that we were giving them to deliberately target humanitarian infrastructure and
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civilian infrastructure inside yemen. the saudis have made it pretty clear that time is on their side, that they can wait out the yemeni population and them to the motion to table. they suggest that the humanitarian catastrophe accrues to their benefit because it will eventually push the houthis into supporting a better deal than they would otherwise for the saudis. let me give you some direct evidence of how this bombing campaign is leading to the humanitarian crisis. this cholera outbreak that has been covered in the news began, in part, because the saudi airstrikes were targeting water treatment fale silties -- facilities. this is independent reporting from relief agencies that operate on the ground inside yemen. they tell us that the saudi
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bombing campaign targeting civilian infrastructure, in this case water treatment facilitieses has led to the cholera outbreak. they continue. the bombing that is leading to this catastrophe continues. and the reason that the obama administration wouldn't sell them this specific set of arms is because they did not have confidence that the arms would be used to hit purely military targets. and so what we are asking for is to hold off on selling these precision-guided munitions until we get some clear promise, some clear assurance from the saudis that they are going to use these munitions only for military purposes and that they are going to start taking steps -- real steps, tangible steps -- to address the humanitarian crisis.
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senator young has been very articulate on the things that the saudis are doing to stop -- to halt, to slow the flow of relief supplies into yemen today. there are some proactive things that the saudis could do that they are not that could save millions of lives inside yemen today. more broadly, mr. president, i think this is an important moment for policy in the middle east. the saudis are our friends. they are an important -- they -- they are an important stabilizing nation in the middle east. they cooperate with us on counterterrorism measures, they share intelligence with us. clearly we have an important economic relationship, but they are an imperfect partner.
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this body should have a debate as to whether it's in the united states national security interest to get drawn more deeply into the set of proxy wars that is playing out in the region between the sunnis and the shia. that proxy battle plays out in yemen, it plays out in syria, it plays out in other ways in places like lebanon. just because you have a friend doesn't mean that you have to back every single one of your friend's fights. my friend asks me to hand them a rock to throw at the neighborhood kids, i'm not going to do it. if he wants me to help him stand up to the neighborhood bully, then maybe i'll be there for him. even with your friends, you decide what fights you join them in and what fights you don't. in yemen, it's not just me that's making the argument that
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civil war is accruing to the detriment of u.s. national security interests, it's a broad swath of foreign policy experts, middle eastern experts in this city and across this country and across the globe. why? because this civil war is radicalizing the yemeni people against the united states. they don't perceive this bombing campaign as a saudi bombing campaign, they perceive it as a u.s.-saudi bombing campaign. get your intelligence briefing and look at the difference in the amount of space that aqap controls today. aqap, which has the most capability to hit the united states, has grown exponentially in terms of the territory it controls. isis has grown as well. they took advantage of the civil war.
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if our priority is really about defeating this, our civil war is not helping in that effort. civilians are dying, extremist groups are growing, the yemeni population is being radicalized against us, and to exacerbate matters, the trump administration walked away from the process. secretary kerry was actively involved in trying to bring the houthis and saudi-backed government together. he got close to an agreement, but it fell apart. this administration has not restarted that process. and so for those that want to throw more arms into this contest, i think it's hard to believe that ultimately that will lead to any cease-fire or any peaceful transition to a new
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government if the united states is totally absent from the negotiating table, as we are today. so this is not about objecting to the entirety of the sale. this is not about delivering a broader message to the saudis. this is about saying that this specific conflict in yemen, it's not going well and it's hurting the united states. and until we get some real assurances from the saudis that they are going to pay attention to the no-strike list, until we get some commitments from the saudis that they will let relief supplies flow into imlen to address the -- flow into yemen to address the crisis there, then let's look at this arms sale. i'm proud to join with senator paul and others and i hope that my colleagues will see fit to support it when we vote in about
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an hour and a half. thank you, mr. president. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: are we in a quorum? the presiding officer: we are. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: mr. president, before we recess for caucus
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lunching, i would like -- lunch, i would like to speak to president trump's recent arms sale. i will vote on the resolution of disapproval. first, the humanitarian concerns have been well documented with respect to yemen. yemen's story in the middle east is a tragic one. their previous president ruled the country for decades with an iron fist, fleeced the country of its resources for his personal gain and allowed terrorists to enjoy safe harbor in yemen. today yemen is on the verge of famine and over 100,000 cases of cholera. this humanitarian is worsened, selling the kingdom the weapons could exacerbate the crisis.
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second is an are -- the saudi government continues to aid and abetter -- abetter rich, support funding of schools. saudi arraign bests support goes back decades. it's responsible for much of the radicalization of muslim youth in the middle east in north africa. in the past several months, we have witnessed lone wolf attacks in london and tehran and elsewhere around the globe. though the nature of terrorism is changed, many of the sources are the same. the propagation of rahabbism continues to fuel radicalism and terrorism around the globe. so if we want to get serious about cracking down on terrorism, the united states should focus -- one of the focuses should be on countering the spread of rahabism. the white house has not clearly
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articulated how the u.s. will put pressure on saudi arabia to end their support of rahabi schools. even as the president's visit was focused on curbing terrorism. the administration has not efficiently assured congress that the weapons will not fall into the wrong hands. mr. president, you look at pakistan, it's become a radical place. it wasn't 15 years ago in good part because of saudi-funded, saudi individuals who are a good part of the government, some who are friends with the government of these madrases which taught radicalism to the pakistani people. look at indonesia, one of the largest countries in the world. it had usually practiced a form of islam that was mild and tolerant. the schools are flourishing. it's becoming a radical place of danger to us.
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we have to send a message to saudi arabia. they do some good things. i support them putting pressure, for instance, on the palestinian authority to finally make peace with israel, but they do a lot of bad things and there seems there's almost been a rotten deal between the saudi monarchy and the wahhabi clerics to work together. it's got to end. my vote for this resolution of disapproval hopefully can send a message to the saudis that their behavior in regard to wahhabism must change. it's hurting the world and will eventually hurt them. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum -- no quorum. okay. i yield the floor. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate the previous order, the senate
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live coverage of the senate here on c-span2. >> senators now headed to the weekly party lunch meetings at c-span capitol hill producer tweets republicans will be focusing on health care today. 13 senators met with president trump and vice president pence at the white house, and the vice president will be attending the republican lunch meeting. if there's any reaction we will bring that to live around 2 o'clock eastern shortly before the senate returns to session. deputy attorney general rod rosenstein was on capitol hill to explain the justice department's budget request. you can find the hearing on he was asked about speculation that special investigator robert
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mueller who is investigating russia's involvement in the 2016 election may be fired. here's his response. >> why is it jeff sessions you today? >> -- why isn't? my disdain is consistent with what was in his letter. i don't know of any other reasons beyond what he said forth publicly. >> okay. 13 june, do you know of any reason for cause to fire mr. miller as of the state? >> no, i do not, senator. >> and that would be your decision if that ever happen, right? >> that's correct. >> and you're going to make it, nobody else? >> as long as i've indisposition it would be my responsible to make that decision. >> i'm glad you're indisposition. is giving political donations of reason to disqualify somebody for serving in the special counsels office? >> no, senator, it is not disqualification. it is not. >> aas a matter fact, many stats
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the judges and prosecutors are actually elected, donations are part of that system, is a correct? >> yes, that's true. >> when you get disqualification for somebody in the special counsels office who had represented ms. clinton in the past to serve? >> it would depend on the facts and circumstances. as a general mental i think the answer is no. >> and isn't that much closer to comfort of interest? >> i don't answer hypothetical. an footings to make a determination based upon the facts and -- >> how would you did it before the special counsel? what process could a member of the senate use to inform the special counsel that you have a concern about hiring somebody that represented clinton? >> we have process when the department of justice so i would encourage you if you have those concerns to race in with the director mueller or teresa with me and i will make -- >> should i do it to you or to him? >> you could do to both and we have career -- >> i don't know if i would do


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