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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 11, 2018 9:59am-12:00pm EDT

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electricity of it all. and i -- you know what? instead of writing about the equals rights amendment and this disputed extension in its ratification deadline, why don't i instead right about this amendment that says, when members of congress want to adjust their salary, they have to wait until the next election? >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q & a. >> the u.s. senate is about to gavel into session, working on the nomination for the head of the justice department's criminal justice division with a confirmation vote set for 2 p.m. eastern. before that at noon, senators will vote on going to conference with the house on several 2019 federal spending bills, including energy and water, veterans affairs and military construction and the legislative branch. we could also hear more reaction to the president's nomination of brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. .
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the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o god, most holy, wise, and powerful, you are the governor of the universe.
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keep our lawmakers this day in health of body, soundness of mind, and purity of heart. infuse them with a spirit of courage that comes from believing that their times are in your hand. lord, strengthen them to labor for the fulfillment of your purposes, empowered by you to navigate through life's turbulent waters. direct them through every difficulty, comfort them in times of sorrow, and supply their needs according to the riches of your grace. we pray in your great name.
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amen. the presiding officer: 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. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c, july 11, 2018, to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable tom cotton, a senator from the state of arkansas, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, presidet pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. and under the previous order, the senate will proceed to
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executive session and resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of justice, brian allen benczkowski of virginia to be an assistant attorney general.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: majority leader. mr. mcconnell: yesterday i had an opportunity to meet with judge brett kavanaugh as we
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begin preparations for his confirmation process to the supreme court. it's really impossible not to come away impressed. judge kavanaugh is the real deal. he has an all-star legal resume, topflight academic credentials. his extensive judicial record is defined by fairness, thoroughness and analytical precision. i was already confident the pred had made -- the president had made an outstanding choice. now i'm even more confident that my colleagues here and americans around the country won't have to take my word for it. just look at one of judge kavanaugh's former professors at yale law school. here's what professor akhil amar wrote in "the new york times." it is hard to name anyone with judicial credentials as strong as judge kavanaugh.
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current faculty at yale law describe him as a, quote, true intellectual, and a wonderful mentor and thinker to our students. even at harvard, his alma mater's archrival, a scholar agrees that judge kavanaugh is, quote, a generous, honorable, kind person. or ask the legal professionals who clerked for him on the d.c. circuit. they are in a better position than most to speak to his writing as a jurist. in our letter -- in a letter to our colleagues on the judiciary committee, 34 of them shared that judge kavanaugh, quote, drafts opinions painstakingly, writing and rewriting until he's satisfied each opinion is clear and well reasoned and can be understood not only by lawyers, but by the parties and the public. so as the confirmation process gets underway, i have a distinct
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feeling this isn't the only testimony of this sort that we'll be hearing. judge kavanaugh seems to impress everyone with whom he crosses paths, at least those who haven't blindly announced in a fit of partisanship their opposition to this nomination before he was even named. i'm glad that president trump has made such a strong selection, and i look forward to when our colleagues at the judiciary committee will take up this nomination. now speaking of the personnel business, we're continuing this week to process president trump's qualified nominees for other important positions in the judicial and executive branches. yesterday we confirmed the 22nd circuit court judge since january of 2017. now we're considering brian benckowski's, the president's choice to serve as assistant attorney general for the criminal division at the
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department of justice. his resume includes distinguished service in five different leadership positions at the department of justice under three attorneys general. his nomination has won praise from a number of former justice department officials who served under presidents of both parties. their letter describes this nominee as a tireless worker, a fine leader and colleague, honest, and a straight shooter. i look forward to voting to confirm him later today and to continue to confirm more of the president's team. now on one final matter, last week the labor department released its monthly jobs report, and as has become a pattern it contained good news about the state of job opportunities across our country. in june alone, our economy created 213,000 new jobs with contributions from nearly every sector. that continues a prolonged streak of strong jobs performance, month after month,
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quarter after quarter the pro-growth, projobs policy of this united republican government from historic tax relief to regulatory reform are helping unleash this wave of new opportunity and new prosperity for america's workers and middle-class families. more than 600,000 americans entered the workforce last month alone, another sign that the obama-era stagnation continues to lose its grips on our communities. the rate of hiring reached its highest level in more than a decade. here's another promising sign, the rate at which americans are quitting their jobs voluntarily. economists tell us this is an important sign of a healthy job market because it indicates workers are moving upward, seeking better pay or superior benefits at a different employer. that number just hit its highest level in more than 17 years. more jobs, more opportunities,
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more americans coming off the sidelines and getting back into the workforce, more americans moving up the ladder to bigger and better things and opening up their current positions for other job seekers at the same time. helping to produce conditions like these is what republicans had in mind when we chipped away at the regulatory rust that kept american job creators from doing what they do best. that's what we had in mind when we used the congressional review act a record 16 times to relieve the bureaucratic bloat that forced job creators and entrepreneurs to cut back or close up shop. that's what we had in mind when we overhauled our tax code so it better rewards workers and more strongly encourages job creators to deepen their roots in american soil. republicans are proud of this driving job market and are proud our policies are playing a part in making it happen.
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mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, the world breathed a sigh of relief. for almost two weeks now we've had our attention focused on 12 children, thai soccer team players who were lured into a cave with their coach and were thought to be lost for days. they couldn't be found in this flooded cave. and then the good news that they were discovered. they were still alive. it was a miracle. but then came an extraordinary challenge, how to safely bring these children, these 12 children out of this trap that they were in, to bring them to
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safety. i cannot imagine the effort that was undertaken. it included countries from around the world and the united states coming together to provide extraordinary levels of assistance at great cost to save the lives of these 12 children, to bring them out of this trap that they were in, to reunite them with their families. but all the prayers and all the hard work, all the bravery and all the investment paid off. these children are safe, as is their coach. they are currently being attended to for medical care, but the day will soon come when they'll be back in the warm embrace of their families. it was a great illustration of the caring heart of people around the world for children they had never seen, children who through no fault of their own found themselves in a deadly circumstance, children separated from their families with really
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no hope when it came to the future. but people responded. it was a great moment for the world to reflect on those children. but i would like to reflect on some other children. i'd like to reflect on the 3,000 children forcibly removed from their parents' arms at the borders of the united states of america over the last several months. these children were victims of the zero tolerance policy of the trump administration, a policy which attorney general sessions announced that resulted in those who appeared at the border, whether they were there for legitimate claims of asylum or not, to be treated as criminals. and treated as criminals, their children were removed from them. i met with some of those children. it was two weeks ago in chicago, it was at one of the agencies that the health and human
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services department has used for decades to provide safe care for children who are unaccompanied at our border. historically those children came to the borders of the united states without an adult, but in this circumstance there were 66 children in chicago who fit a different definition. they were actually removed from the arms of their parents at the border by the united states government. of the 66 children in this chicago facility, 22, one-third of them, were under the age of 5. it's an important fact to keep in mind as we consider what has happened. mr. president, i come to the floor today to speak about the trump administration's shameful policy of forcibly removing innocent children from their parents. since our nation's tragic failure during world war ii to rescue jewish refugees fleeing
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hitler, generations of americans, leaders of both political parties, republicans and democrats, have tried to set an example for the world by providing safe haven to the world's most vulnerable people. ask the cuban americans which country opened its doors for them when they tried to escape the communism of fidel castro. it was the united states of america, and we are better for it. three members of the united states senate, cuban americans who can trace their lineage to that refugee flow from that island to our shores. ask the soviet jews who were persecuted under soviet rule who finally found freedom of religion and opportunity here in the united states whether the u.s. refugee policy was good for them. of course it was, and it was good for america. ask those who came out of vietnam who stood by our side during that bloody war and came to this country as refugees to escape persecution whether that was the right choice for them.
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it was. and the right choice for america. most certainly. now we face the worst refugee crisis in history, and what is the united states of america's official policy? the trump administration is doing everything in its power to prevent innocent victims of war and terrorism from even seeking safe haven in our country. the northern triangle countries of honduras, el salvador, and guatemala are the source of a vast majority of migrants arriving at our southern border. these people are driven to our borders by horrific gang and sexual violence, and what is at the root cause of that violence? the appetite for narcotics in the united states. the money that flows, the drug money that flows south from our border into next and central america. the firearms that flow by the thousands into south and central
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america from the united states of america, creating these gangs and creating these cartels that bring such violence on local people. these countries have among the highest homicide rates in the world. girls face a constant threat of sexual violence and rape, with little protection from local authorities. is it any reason that in desperation so many of them seek our shores and seek our country for the safety of their kids? this is why families are taking extraordinary risks to flee to our border. any parent would do the same to save a child. what has been the response of the trump administration to these families fleeing for their lives? the mothers and fathers trying to protect their girls from sexual violence and rape? on april 6, attorney general jeff sessions announced the trump administration adopted a new zero tolerance approach in prosecuting border cases, making
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family separation the official policy of the united states of america, declaring anyone presenting themselves at our borders, even those legitimately seeking asylum to be treated as criminals. the goal is clear -- white house chief of staff john kelly said separating families is a tough deterrent, close quote, to parents fleeing persecution, and kelly dismissed any concerns because, quote, the children will be taken care of, put into foster care or whatever. end of quote. under this harsh and harmful policy, thousands of children were forcibly removed from their parents by our government. they have been transferred to facilities all over the country, often thousands of miles away from their parents. the american academy of pediatrics and the american medical association have condemned this trump policy. in the starkest terms, the president of the american academy of pediatrics called it, quote, government-sanctioned child abuse. two weeks ago, on june 26, a federal court in south dakota
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mercifully stepped in. judge dana sabraw was appointed to the federal bench by republican president george bush. judge sabraw held that these family celebrations result in, quote, irreparable harm. he ordered the children separate interested the parents under the zero tolerance policy be returned to their parents. the trump administration has tried to paint a rosy picture of the situation. on june 26, health and human services secretary alex azar testified to the senate committee on finance that, quote, every parent has access to know where their child is, secretary azar said, and, quote, there is no reason why any parent would not know where their child is located. he also claimed that h.h.s. had 2,047 separated children in custody, but last thursday, that same secretary azar admitted that actually, quote, up to
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3,000, close quote, separated kids are still in their custody, and this has been documented in numerous heartbreaking reports, many parents of separated kids still do not know where their children are, and their attempts to contact them have been unsuccessful. while yesterday was the deadline imposed by judge sabraw for reuniting children under the age of 5, and what did we learn? the trump administration notified the court that it had identified 102 separated children under the age of 5, and that only four, four of those 102 children would be reunited before the deadline. the administration only has concrete plans to reunite about half of these 100 children. they have made no efforts to contact 12 parents who the government deported, and they can't even identify the parent of one toddler. we still don't know the fate of thousands of other children who were supposed to be -- who are supposed to be reunited in just
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a few days. this is an outrage. this is a toxic mix of cruelty and incompetence. the trump administration continues to try to shift the blame for this humanitarian crisis on to congress and the court, but judge sabraw said, and i quote, this is a chaotic circumstance of the government's own making. he went on to say in this morning's "new york times" defendants seek to light a matc. i'm reading from the wrong quote. these are firm deadlines, from judge sabraw. they are not aspirational goals, admonishing the government. in another federal courtroom, the administration's real plan was made clear. because of the backlash from the courts and the public, they are no longer separating families. instead, this administration wants to jail these families indefinitely. experts tell us that separation is child abuse and that jail is no place for children and that even short-term detention can do
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permanent damage to a child's health and well-being, but the administration asked the federal district court to set aside the flores settlement, a legally binding agreement to protect the best interests of kids that's been in place for over two decades. on monday, the federal court rejected this trump administration request saying it was, quote, wholly without merit. according to media reports, the trump administration plans to appeal, and they are asking congress to pass legislation overturning the flores agreement. so instead of putting social workers to work, reuniting families and children, the trump administration wants to lawyer up so that it can be spared from the standards the democratic and republican administrations have face in the humane treatment of children. the trump administration's goal is clear. in the midst of the world's worst refugee crisis, they want to make the situation for families fleeing persecution as
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painful as possible in order to deter them from seeking safe haven. let me be clear. this senator will do everything in his power to stop legislation that would authorize the trump administration to lock up migrant children in jail. it is immoral, it is shameful, it is un-american i call on my colleagues, republicans and democrats, join me in opposing the trump administration's cruel immigration policy. i yield the floor. mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: first let me thank my friend and colleague from illinois for his -- he is a lamn this horrible moment when children are separated from parents and we don't even know where they are. we don't even know who their parents are, showing both the inhumanity and incompetence of this administration rolled into one. he has been a constant and vigilant voice to reunite the families and bring some justice, some peace, some calm to these
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poor kids. so i thank him for the work he has done. now, mr. president, president trump's nomination of judge kavanaugh to the supreme court will bring up many issues. the next justice on the supreme court will have an ability to impact labor rights, women's reproductive rights, lgbtq rights, voting rights, civil rights, environmental rights, and so much more for generations to come. we need to know how judge kavanaugh views those issues. on the issue of women's freedom to make her own health decisions, for example, yesterday, while shepherding judge kavanaugh around the capitol, vice president pence said he wants to see roe v. wade overturned. this isn't some ancient belief that the country has pushed aside. there are people in high parts of the government, the vice president yesterday, the president constantly, and so many others who want to repeal
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roe v. wade tomorrow. americans should not be complacent. the vast majority of americans want to see roe in place, but there is an active movement here now personified by judge kavanaugh's elevation, potential elevation -- hope it doesn't happen -- to the bench, and we have to be vigilant. vice president pence's remarks that he wants roe overturned was a prescient reminder that both the president and vice president have explicitly promised to, quote, appoint strict constitutionalists to the supreme court who would, quote, consign roe v. wade to the ash heap of history, unquote. those are the words of the vice president. justice kavanaugh has also -- judge kavanaugh has also written some troubling things about environmental protections, consumer protections, commonsense gun safety laws, all of which should be carefully examined by this senate and by
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the american people before we have any hearings. his history as a republican partisan lawyer during the clinton and bush eras, documents, e-mails, writings need to be thoroughly examined, particularly his more recent writings about executive authority. giuliani kavanaugh argued that a president should not be -- judge kavanaugh argued that a president should not be subject to a investigation while in office, that a president should be above criminal and civil indictments, and that -- even going so far as to say that a president need not enforce a law that the president deemed unconstitutional. those are serious and dangerous beliefs. they are particularly dangerous, made even more dangerous now because we have a president who clearly wishes to aggregate all power to himself, regardless of separation of power, regardless of the norms this country has
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had for centuries, regardless of rule of law. senators from both parties need to scrutinize what judge kavanaugh has said because if he is the swing vote on any kind of rational check on this president, i worry. we should all worry. you know, conservatism has always believed in small aggregations of power, so that the individual would have more freedom. that's the core of conservatism, but when conservatives embraced donald trump who wishes to aggregate power and roll over any checks to his power and now chooses to get behind judge kavanaugh who seems to have almost a monarchical view of presidential power, we've got
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trouble. we have to be awfully careful here in this country. the senate is going to have to look at each and every one of these issues in due time. today, however, i want to focus on the issue that might have the most profound consequences for the average american most immediately -- health care and protection for americans with preexisting conditions. in a few minutes, i will be joined by some of my colleagues over in the mansfield room to discuss this issue at length, but right now here's what i'd like to say. prior to judge kavanaugh's selection, president trump promised to nominate a judge who, quote, would do the right thing, unlike judge roberts, on health care, unquote. those are president trump's words. he commissioned a list of judges from the heritage foundation, of far-right special interest group dedicated to dismantling government including and especially the health care law. that's the place where the government spends a lot of money, and these rich people who
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are behind the heritage foundation, the kochs and others, they don't want to pay any taxes, those poor folks. sore -- they are so struggling. and where do those taxes go more than any other? health care. because that's what the american people want. who wouldn't -- who wouldn't give everything they have if their spouse, their child, their relative was sick and needed a lot of money to be cured? that's why we have insurance and that's why we have the government involved with things like social security and medicare and medicaid. but the heritage foundation, the handful of rich people who fund them and the so many republicans who dance to their tune, they don't want that. they hide it from the american people because the american people don't agree with it. but they don't want it and they have pushed forward judge kavanaugh to be the torch bearer on the court for their mission.
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the list of 25 that president trump selected from was vetted and approved by this very heritage foundation. the heritage foundation would not give its stamp of approval to anyone who would maintain or grow our health care law, particularly for protection for americans with preexisting conditions. now the american people deserve to know where judge kavanaugh stands. this is a serious issue. this is not something that we can allow a nominee to hide behind and say i will follow existing law. we need to know their view of government's ability to be involved in people's health care, to help it be funded when the average person can't afford it given how high the costs are. right now several cases that challenge the structure and constitutionality of the court are winding through our courts.
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if one reaches the supreme court, i will say to my fellow americans your right to be protected, if god forbid someone in your family is at risk -- is sick, -- if someone in your family is at risk if judge kavanaugh ascends to the bench. that's probably the number one reason he's opposed by so many of us on this side of the aisle. can you imagine a supreme court thursdaying us -- thrusting us back to a time when you could be denied health insurance precisely because you needed it so desperately, to a time when a child who has cancer is made to watch her daughter suffer in agony because they can't get affordable health care because no insurer will insurance them with a child who has cancer in their family. do we want to go back to that?
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come on. this is not democrat or republican. this is what america believes in. and the hard right through subterfuge, and to their credit, long-term diligence, is getting these people on the court that could not pass such a law in the congress even with republican majorities. but the court, the unelected branch, that's where they are headed for and that's why we have to be so vigilant. up to 130 nonelderly americans have a preexisting conditions -- a third of america. for insurance companies it used to be the case that a condition as commonplace as az ma was -- asthma was justification to jack up rates. the law is potentially on the chopping block, in my view likely to go, if judge kavanaugh
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becomes justice kavanaugh. how can we afford that? american people should have their eyes wide open to the stakes. the supreme court could hear the challenge for those americans with preexisting conditions and president trump's own justice department is currently arguing in court that those protections are unconstitutional. i would like president trump at one of his rallies to tell the people at the rally he is taking away their protections when they have someone with a preexisting condition in their family. he wouldn't dare -- he wouldn't dare. but that is what his legal department in h.h.s. and justice is doing. the president doesn't tell people what he's doing. he brings these hard-right people in and says, i'm with you. he whispers, i'm with you. he doesn't dare tell the
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american people. that's why it's our job in the minority since the republican side by and large have shown little spine on this issue, it's our job to let the american people know the peril their health care is in. if anyone doesn't believe that president trump is still intent on tearing down our health care system, just look at what the administration did yesterday. the president decimated funding that helps people sign up for health insurance, cutting it to one-sixth of what it was two years ago. the funding is used to help people navigate the complex area of health care and select a plan for their family. trump mandated that it be directed into the junk insurance plans that don't cover basic essential health care. yesterday's news should remind us that president trump remains ruthlessly committed to tearing down our health care system.
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he won't admit it at our rallies, he won't dare talk about it. but that is probably the most important thing he is doing in terms of the effect on the american people, and we're not going to let him hide it. anyone who thinks president trump did not make this supreme court nomination without an end goal of furthering health care sabotage is kidding themselves. so while there are many rights and freedoms at stake on the supreme court, the right of all americans to be able to afford health care is at the very, very top of the list. the selection process for judge kavanaugh and -- in president trump's own words should motivate americans in all corners of the country to contact their senators and oppose this nominee. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come here again sadly -- the presiding officer: the senator will suspend. the senate is in a quorum call. mr. tillis: mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent that a quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tillis: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come here as a full philment of a promise -- fulfillment of a promise i made a couple of months ago to bring to the attention of the american an injustice occurring in turkey. i'm here to talk about american pastor andrew brunson. he's from a church, he's from western north carolina. he spent 20 years in turkey as a missionary. he started out just missionary work without a church. he built a very small church that maybe could house 100 people in euz -- izmir.
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in 2016 pastor brunson was apprehended and been in prison ever since. he was in prison for almost 19 months without charges. for the vast majority of that time he was in a cell designed for eight people and it had 21 in. without charges. and then back earlier this year there were charges levied against him that are just absolutely absurd. i know from firsthand experience. after the indictment was -- was issued, i heard through channels and through his wife noreen that pastor brunson was afraid that the american people were going to read this indictment, believe it, and turn their back on him. so it was important to me to go to turkey and let him know that that's the last thing we were going to do, that i was going to bring this to the american people's attention until he was released. i went back about a month later
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and i sat through a court proceedings in a turkish courtroom for about 12 hours. i heard some of the most absurd claims you could possibly imagine. they were charges that would not keep an american citizen or a foreign national in an american jail for the afternoon, and yet they have kept him in prison for 642 days. this afternoon, i'm going to be traveling out to brussels to be a part of the nato meeting that we have, and i'm going to seek to speak once again with the turkish officials to tell them that justice needs to be served. pastor brunson needs to go home, come home. and pastor brunson has a court date next week where he could -- it could be the last hearing, and he could be subject to a 35-year sentence. he is a little over 50 years old, which is effectively a life sentence. the charges are basically this -- he has been a missionary. he has been providing
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humanitarian relief to syrian refugees, to turkish people, and actually just offering and preaching the word to those who want to hear it. so i ask president erdogan and the turkish officials please, let justice be served. let andrew brunson come home. the last thing we're working on, and i hope it no longer has to be a provision in the n.d.a., if he doesn't get released, we have to rethink our relationship with a nato ally. we have to ask ourselves if a nato ally will hold people illegally, imprison them, sweep them up in illegitimate efforts to tamp down an illegal coup and hold him hostage. i hope i come to the floor in a couple of weeks thinking the turkish government and the turkish people and the turkish judiciary for having justice served, but the only way that i believe justice will be served is when andrew brunson comes home, and until he does, i will be back here every week to
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continue to bring attention to this issue. it should be important to every american and any american traveling to turkey. right now, i'm not sure i would because you could have a meal, you could have a light on for a couple of hours in your hotel room. these are the types of charges that have been used as a basis for saying that this man was conspiring to plot a coup and conspiring to support terrorist organizations, eating a meal that looks like a meal that certain terrorist organizations like, which incidentally is a very popular meal in the middle east. having a light on upstairs in a room incidentally that doesn't have windows that some secret witness said could only be on because they were plotting some nefarious activity. so, mr. president, again, i think the members of this body, some 70 to signed onto a letter expressing their concern with his illegal detention, and i promised pastor brunson and i promised any american citizen and some of those turkish citizens who worked with the state department that as long as i'm a u.s. senator, i will be
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bringing attention to this injustice until justice is served. mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that my following comments also be placed in a different part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tillis: i want to very quickly bring attention to something that i think people need to speak up on the other side of the issue. it's this movement now called end i.c.e., immigration and customs enforcement. we have people out there, we have a gubernatorial candidate in new york who said i.c.e. is a private organization. not isis, which is a terrorist organization, but i.c.e. men and women in uniform going out every day putting their life on the line to protect the american people. let me tell you what people who are part of the end i.c.e. movement are for. this is what they're for if you're for ending i.c.e. you're for ending -- this is 2017 numbers. you're for ending the arrest of
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some 143,000 people who have broken our laws. you are for ending the seizure of tons of fentanyl. and i'll give you an idea what that means in terms of potential human risk or human life. you're talking about gangs, some 5,000 gang members who were arrested last year because they were clearly related to gang activity. m.s. 13 being one of the first among them. you are for ending all of this and having all of this go unchallenged on american soil. if you're for ending i.c.e., you're for ending almost 7,000 pounds of heroin seized, and that's only a fraction of what these criminal elements are bringing to this country. i can't imagine if you come to this floor and you talk about fighting the opioid e.m.t. epidemic, i can't imagine anyone
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who is sincere about fighting the overdose epidemic saying they want more poison on the streets. they can't have it both ways. you are either for solving the opioid yept which e.m.t. epidemic which means we are for it or you are for poisoning people who are addicted to opioids. you can't have it both ways. if you want to end i.c.e., you are for this. if you want to end i.c.e., you're for people who have tattoos that clearly indicate that they are part of a gang on the streets. we have got gangs that actually as a part of getting initiated want you to kill or harm somebody to prove that you will when you're asked to. if you want to end i.c.e., you're for more of these folks on the streets, some 4,800 of them. again, if you want to end i.c.ep ahead because i also want to show a picture. if you want to end i.c.e., then you want to end people who have
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such a dangerous job that oftentimes when they do drug seizures, they have to wear hazmat suits because if they touch the fentanyl, they could die or go into an overdose. if you want to end i.c.e., you want that poison to be in the hands of a child or someone else who if they touch it are going to die or have a profound overdose. that's what ending i.c.e. means. and just to sum it up, if you want to end i.c.e., you want that seizure of a ton of fentanyl coming across our border, mainly from mexico, that has enough potency to kill 500 million people. now, i honestly believe that nobody in this body really means that they want to end i.c.e. or they want to call -- or they want to cause human traffickers, gun traffickers, drug traffickers, more of them, but you can't have it both ways. if you want to go on the stump and say you want to end i.c.e.,
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then add this to your stump speech. add this to the logical consequence of what happens when you insult the men and women in uniform in i.c.e. and you say you want to end what they are doing. because if you do, the negative consequences are clear. all you have to do is look at what i.c.e. has done over the last year and what they would not do this year if they really believe what they say, ending i.c.e. so i think they need to ice the end i.c.e. narrative and start getting smart about making sure that we -- maybe we make changes that we need to in any organization, but for you to go so extreme to say that you want to end one of the most important law enforcement agencies combating illegal immigration and illegal trafficking across our border, you better be honest on the stump. you better let them know what you mean, because that's what they mean. and, mr. president, i think it's important for our members to step up and let them know the consequences of this ridiculous
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rhetoric and to show the men and women in uniform, police officers, i.c.e. agents, and everybody else that people like me care about them, respect them for what they do, know that their assaults were up by three times last year. it's a dangerous job. many of them don't know if they are going to come home when they leave in the morning. and it is an insult for them, anybody on this body to come into this chamber and say that they need to be ended. they need to be revered, they always need to be improved. if you want to end i.c.e., you better own this. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. leahy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, today the senate is considering one of the most troubling executive branch nominations that this president has made to date, the nomination of brian benczkowski to lead the criminal division of the justice department. for years, they have studied the criminal division, and here it's
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an amazing, amazing nomination. i think it's enough to oppose mr. benczkowski's nomination because he is objectively unqualified for this important position. but there are also compelling reasons to believe that it would be uniquely reckless to confirm him to this position. now speaking about mr. benczkowski's lack of qualifications to this role is not meant to denigrate him. many of us know him, as i did from his service in the judiciary committee, as a staff director for the ranking member -- the then-ranking member jeff sessions. but the fact is this nominee to head the criminal division has virtually no criminal law experience. he has never -- at this age he has never tried a case. he has never served as a
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prosecutor. he has almost zero courtroom experience. instead his experience has been to serve as a political aide to various officials. now, as a former prosecutor, i know there's no substitute for actual courtroom experience, actually going in a courtroom and trying a criminal case, arguing criminal cases on appeal, determining whether you bring a charge or don't bring a charge. these are things an experienced prosecutor has to do. now, for the last several decades, under republican and democratic administrations, every head of the criminal division, which is probably the most importantly the gating arm of the justice department -- litigating arm of the justice department, has had substantial prosecutorial experience with the exception of one individual
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whose nomination i simply could not support. you know, this shouldn't be a partisan issue. i voted for nominees in republican administration and in democratic administrations because they were qualified and there are countless qualified prosecutors the president could select. so for this reason alone the senate should not consent to mr. but there are two other reasons -- aside from the fact that he has absolutely zero qualifications for this important position. it's like sending somebody in to do brain surgery when their main experience has been clipping hedges. you know, this is -- you have to have some experience in there, but aside from the fact that he
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has no experience, there are two other reasons why he shouldn't be confirmed. first, he has demonstrated, at a minimum, exceptionally poor judgment when it comes to perhaps our nation's most critical ongoing national security investigation, the russians attack on our democracy. we all know if we read the intelligence reports russia attacked the united states' democracy and ability to vote in the last election. now, after -- after serving on mr. trump's transition team, mra putin bank with the trump organization. alfa bank was at the center of the scrutiny, even making an
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appearance in the steel dossier. yet mr. benczkowski took on alfa bank os a client on an issue related to the russia investigation and he took it on at the same time he's being considered for a senior position in the trump justice department. totally blinded to the obvious conflict of interest. in fact, he continued to represent vladimir putin's connected bank until the day he was formerly nominated to lead the criminal division. now, some have said we -- should give mr. benczkowski the benefit of the doubt, but giving him the benefit of the doubt, you have to admit -- you have to at least it demonstrates an embarrassingly poor sense of judgment, an embarrassingly poor
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sense of judgment for somebody who is going to be nominated to lead the criminal division to look into the criminal activities of places like the alfa bank. and now we find that mr. benczkowski has refused to recuse himself from matters related to the russia investigation or the steel dossier. you can't make these things up. it is just -- it is conflict of interest 101. senator durbin and senator whitehouse have warned, as head of the criminal division, mr. benczkowski would therefore have visibility and be able to look into investigations of individuals related to the trump campaign. he could serve as a conduit of information to the attorney general about these sensitive
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matters. according to the department of justice, it is possible the special counsel's office, mr. mueller, will seek approval from the criminal division as required or may simply want to consult with subject matter experts in the criminal division as appropriate in the normal course of department investigations. and who would have availability to do that? mr. benczkowski. he could even be in a position to share secret grand jury information directly with the president. what is also concerning is that if mr. benczkowski were to be confirmed and deputy attorney general rosenstein were removed, the president under the federal vacancy format could simply install mr. benczkowski as the acting attorney general, the man
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who is representing the trump bank right up until the time he was representing -- representing the putin bank right up until the time he was nominated to this position. so what do we have? we have mr. benczkowski, under those circumstances, having direct control over the special counsel's investigation. he would even have the power to stop the special counsel's probe. gosh, you wonder. did that ever occur to somebody at the white house that he could suddenly stop mr. mueller from his investigations? well, on qualifications, a man who will be head of the criminal division has never tried a case, never handled any criminal matter, never had anything to do
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with criminal matters. he's really unqualified for this role by an objective measure. apparently the only equal indication mr. benczkowski has is his close relationship with and political loyalty to the attorney general and the president. in fact, that's likely the very reason he was nominated for this critical position. that's all the more troubling given his terrible judgment with respect to the russia investigation. we are putting somebody in who's been involved as a -- as an attorney for a bank that's involved in this russia investigation. now, many of my fellow senators, republican senators to their credit, have stated their commitment to ensuring that special counsel mueller is
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allowed to carry out his investigation independently and without political interference. i hope they'll keep this commitment in mind when considering mr. benczkowski's nomination. i hope they will join me in voting no. apparently his only equal indication is he's going to be put in a position where he could stymie the mueller investigation of russia. i voted for a lot of nominees, both republicans and democrats in this position because of their qualifications, not because of their ideology but their qualifications. no president of either party has ever nominated for this critical position who is less qualified. in fact, it's pretty hard to
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find anybody in this country less qualified. mr. president, i see other senators on the floor and so i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. perdue: mr. president, i rise today to talk about my opposition to the section 232 motion that will be voted on later today. i have utmost respect for my colleagues who are bringing this motion. i totally understand their logic, and i respect their point of view on this and many other issues. one of the great things about this deliberative body is that we deliberate. unfortunately i just don't understand sometimes why this body continues to tie the hands of this president at every turn. we all know that enacting tariffs on imports is not the goal here. this president is committed to
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creating a more level playing field for our workers and our companies here at home to compete in an unlevel playing field today that exists today in the trade word we know today. we need to give this president and every future president, frankly, room to negotiate. the 1962 trade expansion act was passed by congress to give the executive branches the authority and flexibility to negotiate on trade. it paved the way for negotiations on the general agreement on tariffs agreement. mr. president, most of my career i dealt within the gat restrictions. more than anybody else in this body, i think, i have actually transacted products across borders internationally. and i'm very concerned that in this era of entrenchment in congress where we are so paralyzed that we cannot even
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fund the government on time, which we have only done four times in 44 years, then in that environment that we get the authority on trade back that we won't be able to even hold a vote, have a debate and will hamstring any administration's negotiating efforts. mr. president, creditability in negotiating trade terms is absolutely critical. imagine head of state in another part of the world dealing with our head of state knowing that before he could make any deal he's got to wait on us in this body to act. i've been waiting three years to see this body act on health care, mr. president. we haven't been able to find a way to even solve one of the most dear crises that we all know exists today. so imagine what a world would like like if we're trying to do that in the trade environment. like me, president trump is an outsider to the political process. he's a business guy who has seen the impaict of unfair trade practices in the real world. for years he has seen how
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america has been treated unfairly when it comes to trade. now, mr. president, i know, and most people who have traded internationally for the last four decades, knows these rules were written by us. we wrote this these rules. it created an unlevel playing field that allowed the rest of the world develop. but guess what. in the last 40 years we have seen poverty reduce, while our poverty has not been reduced one iota. that is partly a function of our trade practices. this president has made it a priority to restore fairness and balance to this trade imbalance with our trading partners around the world. he needs creditability and flexibility in order to achieve that. looking at what we're up against today, it's easy to see why the president is insisting on getting america a better deal. today canada has a 270% tariff on u.s. milk, the e.u. keeps a
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10% tariff on auto, the -- china has a 15% tariff on american cars, the e.u. has a tariff up to 26% on u.s. seafoods and you can't sell potatoes in most of mexico. we know there's an imbalance in trade around the world. this is about making sure america is treated fairly and is in the best place to do business in the world. it's about making america more competitive and ensured. it is for the security of the next 100 years. the president is taking a different approach, sometimes controversial. but i believe he's a pragmatist, and i believe he only wants one thing for america and that's results and a level playing field for the rest of the world. i think we need to give the executive branch space to negotiate. we need to give him space to succeed for the american workers and american companies at home. with that, i ask that my
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colleagues oppose this motion and i yield back. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: thank you, mr. president. i rise in support of the corker-toomey-flake motion that we're going to be voting on soon. let me be clear, this is a motion that simply would reflect if it passes, would reflect the consensus of the senate that congress should have a role in determining the use of section 232 to impose tariffs. let me give it a little bit of context. first of all, i want to be really clear. free trade is enormously constructive, enormously helpful for our economy and our standard of living. the united states has been the leader in promoting free trade
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around the world for many decades, and that is part of the reason that we are the most affluent society on the globe by far, outperforming the rest of the world consistently. what it does is it provides our consumers with many choices and lower costs, and, therefore, a more affordable standard of living. and it provides our workers with foreign markets. 95% of the world's population lives somewhere else. i want to be selling to them. and we do that through an environment of free trade. take nafta for instance. since nafta was enacted in 1994, pennsylvanians have seen exports to mexico increase by more than 500%. that's what happened because of the reduction in the barriers that existed, barriers to trade that existed prior to nafta. of course, it all encourages investment in the united states, new plants, factories, and all the jobs that come with that. tariffs and quotas and ear
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obstacles to trade do the exact opposite. they reduce our consumers' choices. they raise costs. they limit our opportunity to sell our products, whether it's agricultural products or manufactured products, they reduce the opportunities to sell these abroad. and, of course, inevitably, the imposition of these barriers involve the government deciding which sectors and which industries will be winners and losers because very seldom are these broadly and uniformly applied. individual sectors are usually selected. where are we today? it's been 16 weeks since the president invoked section 232 of our trade law to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. first and foremost, mr. president, i have to say this is a misuse of section 232 of our trade law. section 232 is supposed to be invoked when there is a specific threat to america's national security. well, let's consider the case of steel. the united states produces
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domestically 75% of all the steel we consume. our defense needs consume 3% of total steel consumption. how could one possibly make the case that we don't have a plentiful abundance of domestically produced steel to satisfy our defense needs? it's not only that. for the other 25%, where are the biggest sources for that steel, that 25% that we consume but we don't produce ourself? well, that would be mexico and canada. that's -- those are the two countries that provide the most steel. and with both of those countries , we have a surplus of trade in steel. the canadians actually buy more steel from us than we buy from them. so do the mexicans. where is the security threat to america when my constituents choose to buy some portion of the steel that we consume from canada? we know the answer. there is no security threat.
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canada, mexico, the fact that they provide a modest percentage of our steel needs, that does not constitute a national security threat. we know it doesn't. and yet the administration invoked section 232 to impose this tax on american consumers when we choose to buy steel and aluminum from canada and mexico. and the european union, by the way, for that matter. so the harmful effects that we feared have already begun. we've got increased prices on u.s. consumers and a real threat to workers and businesses. i've heard from many pennsylvania manufacturers that happen to rely for some portion of their products on imported steel, and now their products are no longer competitive because they alone in the world are being forced to pay this additional tax when they import this steel. mr. president, i have to say, this is part of what looks like a pattern to me. it's one of my concerns. this administration moving away
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from support for free trade. first there was a sugar deal negotiated with mexico which is designed to artificially inflate the price american consumers have to pay for sugar. works out really well if you're unin -- one in a handful of people that produce sugar in the united states. it's a terrible deal for everyone else. then we had tariffs applied to solar panels and washing machines under a different provision. now we have an ongoing and apparently escalating trade war with china. this motion has absolutely nothing to do with china. i'm just presenting that as a matter of context. and we are hearing that the administration is threatening now to use section 232 again to misuse section 232 in my view to impose new taxes on americans who choose to buy automobiles that originate in europe. that would be terrible for our economy, for our consumers. it would be a bad idea. but we're told that that is under active consideration.
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so my view, it's about time that congress restores to congress the constitutional responsibility that we have to establish tariffs. the constitution is completely unambiguous about this. art 1, section 8, clause 1, the congress should have the power to allay taxes, duties, and excises. completely unambiguous. clause 3, congress shall have the power to regulate congress with foreign nations. mr. president, we made a mistake in recent decades when we ceded this constitutional responsibility to the executive branch. i think that was a mistake i've argued that for a long time. now we're seeing a price being paid as the administration, i think, is misusing this important tool. so what our motion does, is it would simply take a step in the direction of restoring this responsibility that the constitution assigns to us in the first place. this does not tie the president's hand at all.
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the president is free to negotiate better trade agreements if he can, and i think he should. what it does say, snow, if he wants to -- though, if he wants to invoke national security as the reason for imposing taxes on americans when they buy foreign products, when he wants to do that, congress out to -- congress ought to have a role. that's what this does. that's what this motion to instruct says. so i am very pleased to be working with senator corker from tennessee, senator flake from arizona. i think this is a very modest step. it takes us in a direction which would be degree constructive, which is just to restore the constitutional responsibility that we've been shirking. and i'm pleased that there is bipartisan support for this. i hope this motion to instruct our conferees will pass by a wide margin. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. a senator: mr. president, i rise to speak on the same topic my friend from pennsylvania just
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spoke. mr. corker: i want to thank him for laying out the rationale for this vote, for senator flake's effort. i snow senator eowe i know senator alexander will speak on this topic in just a few moments. i hope we'll have after overwhelming vote for this motion to instruct. it's just a step in the direction we'd like to go relative to congress' role. section 232 of the trade act was never intended to be used the way thissed a managers -- way this administration is using t. the senator from pennsylvania laid out that this certainly is not being imposed for national security reasons. as a matter of fact, the white house has said loosely on many occasions that they're only using section 232 in order to try to create some kind of leverage on nafta. i don't understand how putting tariffs in place on our allies in europe has anything to do with nafta. i don't understand how putting tariffs on our neighbors has
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anything to do with combating what china is doing and stealing our intellectual property. i know the presiding officer knows full well what's happening there. we do need to counter that kind of activity. i don't know if we're doing it in the best way now. but this is an abuse of presidential authority. it's an abuse of presidential authority. and what i hope is going to happen today is that in a bipartisan way, in an overwhelming vote, we're going to pass this motion to instruct moving congress into its rightful role as it relates to this issue. the reason the president, by the way, for those of you who may not be following this closely, is invoking section 232, is that under 232, no one has really an ability to oppose it. with the china tariffs -- and this has nothing to do with the
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china tariffs that are being imposed today and were recently imposed -- they go under different sections of the trade act where you have to actually make a case for what you're doing. the president used section 201 in january of the trade act, but he's going to make a case to be successful there. he's using section 301 recently on china tariffs. again, this has nothing to do with china tariffs, this particular motion. but he has to make a case for that. he has to deal with the world trade organization and i.t.c. section 232 basically he can just wake up and decide that he's going to use section 232, the way it's now written -- it's never been used in this manner by any president ever, but if you have a situation where we set up a rules-base society in dealing with trade and any executive officer of a country can wake up and one day decide that they have a national security issue and have to make no case, that in effect treaties
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relative to trade have no effect. you move into a place of not using rules to implement trade. as the senator from pennsylvania mentioned, our country has benefited greatly from trade. the state of tennessee is one of the destinations for foreign direct investment in our country it's a place where we export all around the world. and what the president is doing is shaking the very regime by not being able to even articulate where he's going. the senator from georgia is my friend, and he's worked all around the world. and i'm surprised that he would oppose congress having a role only when section 232 is utilized. but the fact is that congress should have a role. we gave this authority away in 19 -- in the 1960's and again in 1974.
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it was a mistake for us to have done that. we never expected the president of the united states to use 232 and the measure, the way it's being utilized today. and this is a vote for congress to assume its rightful role. it's a baby step. i hope to have legislation coming behind this where 15 senators, republicans, democrats, and an independent have come together on a piece of legislation to absolutely ensure that congress has a role. this is just a motion to instruct to say that we agree that congress should have a role when 232 is invoked. we will decide what that role is down the road. i urge all senators to support this measure and i yield the floor. mr. flake: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: mr. president, i join my colleagues.
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i thank senator toomey from pennsylvania, senator corker from tennessee especially for working this out. let's be clear. this a rebuke of the president's abuse of trade authority. the president has abused section 232 to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum impacting our allies like canada, mexico, countries of the e.u. can you imagine being in canada and being told that you're still an aluminum -- your steel and aluminum exports to the united states represent a national security throat. the prime minister trudeau rightly called the president's recent tariffs an affront to the long-standing security partnership between canada and the united states and he continued, kind of insulting. canada is the united states' largest consumer. it buys more goods from the united states than china, japan,
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and the u.k. combined. canadian companies operating in the united states directly employ 500,000 americans. canada and the united states share more than 5,500 miles of a peaceful border. close to 400,000 people across that shared border -- cross that shared border each day for business, pleasure, or to maintain family ties. canada has been our partner in the war on terrorism. since 2001, more than 400,000 canadian armed forces have served alongside us in afghanistan. between 2001 and 2014, canada has been our ally, our partner, and our friend. and now they're told that they're steel and aluminum exports to us represent a national security threat. that is an abuse of section 232
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of the trade act. i'm so glad that congress is finally, finally pushing back on this. we have neglected our constitutional role. we gave the president authority years ago under the 1962 act to exempt from that act imports that represent a true national security threat. these imports do not. this is an abuse of that authority. that's why congress needs to speak up today. this is a nonbinding resolution. this will not have an effect. it will actually give to the president in legislation. that's the next step and we need to go there. we've to go there. and those voting on this today need to know that that's where we will go. we have to the rein in an abuse of presidential authority and to restore congress' constitutional
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authority in this regard. i thank my colleagues for putting this to the floor, and i would urge all of my colleagues to support it. not just that, but once we go from here taking this symbolic step, this nonbinding resolution to take actual steps on legislation that will actually provide congress' -- congress or return the actual authority to congress once again to impose or to manage tariffs and duties. with that, i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. cassidy: mr. president, my motion to instruct conferees to h.r. 5895 is a simple six-month extension of the national flood
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insurance program currently set to expire july 31, 2018, in about two weeks. the same time line in this motion was passed by the senate a few weeks ago by unanimous consent during consideration of the farm bill. the national flood insurance program ensures -- insures programs in every state, insuring $1.12 trillion in assets s if the nfip is not extended, people will not be able to renew or purchase new flood insurance policies and more people would be without flood insurance during peak hurricane season. given the -- this is so kind of to the moment because given the series of emergency supplemental appropriations bills the senate has passed, and expiration of the nfip puts the u.s. taxpayer in the very vulnerable position of funding more uninsured losses
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in emergency supplemental appropriations legislation. now, i thank senators crapo and brown for their work in providing a path forward to a bipartisan long-term reauthorization of the nfip, which i dealey includes commonsense -- ideally includes commonsense reforms in flood mitigation, updated flood mapping technology, greater accountability and consumer choice. however, these discussions will not conclude in the next two weeks prior to the nfip expiration deadline. it is imperative that congress provides for a six-month extension of the nfip now so progress can continue on long-term authorization and reform of the nfip through the banking committee. i urge my colleagues to vote to protect the taxpayer, the homeowner and to support this motion to instruct.
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mr. alexander: mr. president? ifer officer the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: in the next few minutes, the senate will be taking the next steps on an appropriations process that is being conducted the way an appropriations process is supposed to be conducted. boy scouts shouldn't get a merit badge for telling the truth and senators shouldn't get a pat on the back for conducting an appropriations process the way it's supposed to be conducted, but it's worth noting that we're doing it since it's been a long time since we have done it. the right way means that we're moving ahead on three bills -- energy and water, legislative affairs, and military construction. the right way means that we've had hearings on all of these bills. we've consulted with senators. i know that in our energy and water bill, senator feinstein and i heard from 83 different senators and tried to respond to them in our bill. we marked up the bills unanimously in most cases, but what was missing was allowing the other 70 senators to participate on the floor. we did that this time.
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40 amendments, seven roll call votes. we got off the floor without a cloture vote. that is a motion to cut off debate. we're doing it the way it was supposed to do. that was done by showing something needs to be shown more in the senate -- restraint. restraint means that when you have a lot of freedom, that doesn't mean you exercise all of your freedoms all at once. because nothing will happen. so we avoided controversial riders. we even had 20 republican senators vote to table something that we agree with, which is the waters of the u.s. provision, because we thought this was not the appropriate bill for it. now we're moving to motions to instruct, which are nonbinding resolutions, important, though, because they give the senate a chance to say what senators want to say. that's why we're here. and one of those issues has to do with tariffs. the administration has imposed tariffs on alum unanimous and
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steel -- aluminum and steel provoking a response by tariffs on soybeans and other products grown and manufactured in our country. in general, mr. president, these tariffs are a big mistake. and using national security as an excuse to impose them is an even bigger mistake. i've urged president trump instead to focus on reciprocity. tell other countries, do for our country what we do for you. imposing tariffs as a way of achieving that is like shooting ourselves in both feet as a way of solving our problem. tariffs are taxes. they raise the price of what we buy and sell. tariffs reduce revenues, profits, wages, and jobs. the united states tariffs on aluminum and steel hurt 136,000
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tennesseans who work in more than 900 auto plants in 88 of our 95 counties. that's one-third of our manufacturing jobs. retaliatory tariffs hurt tennessee soybean farmers bite lowering prices and making markets disappear. our goal should be to persuade our trading partners to do for us what we do for them. shooting ourselves in both feet at once is not a good way to do that. there are better ways-to-a chief the goal. -- there are better ways to achieve the goal. there doesn't just hurt auto parts workers in tennessee. i was in springfield, tennessee, the other day. they had been ex-sooted about an -- they had been excited excitet an expansion of an electrolux plant. electrolux canceled it when word of the steel tariffs came even though electrolux, which makes washing machines, even though buy all their steel in the united states, tariffs on imported steel raised the price
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in the united states. bush brothers, they can about a third of all the beans canned in the united states. you wouldn't think that's such a big deal. that's a lot of people. that's a lot of beans. they say that 8.5% of their revenues will go down as a result of the tin-plated steel which are used for their cans -- not enough is produced in the united states. then we have bridgestone and hasn't cook. they make -- and hancook. they make steel in tires. none of it is produced in the united states. i've worked for 40 years, mr. president, to bring the auto industry to ten taxpayer. it's done more than anything that happened to raise the standard of living, to raise family incomes. tariffs will lower our standard of living. they will hurt our state more thank almost any other state. i've said to the president as respectfully as i can, mr. president, we can he we agree on taxes. we agree on regulations.
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we agree on judges. we're proud of having the best economy in 18 years, the lowest employment rate that anybody else can remember. but these tariffs are a big mistake. they will take us in the wrong direction. i have not been successful in talking with the president about this. but i intend to keep trying. there are other and better ways to persuade our trading partners to do for us what we do for them instead of shooting ourselves in both feet at once, which is what we do when we impose these tariffs. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. shelby: mr. president, before we vote here this morning, i want to express my support for the appointment of conferees and my belief that this is yet another encouraging sign of a return to regular
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order in the appropriations process. the package of appropriations bills that will be conferenced with the house received overwhelming bipartisan support here in the senate. this broad agreement was facilitated by a concerted effort from both parties to prevent partisan riders from poisoning the well. thus far, we've been able to translate bipartisan cooperation among members of the appropriations committee into success here on the senate floor. but this time -- at this point i want to recognize and to commend the continued efforts of the committee members in the process, especially the republican and democratic managers of this package. in particular, i want to thank vice chairman leahy for his strong partnership in this effort, and senator alexander, who's here on the floor, who has guided this process and will chair the conference complete. we will continue to consolidate
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critical mass and return to critical order. but we still have a long way to go, mr. president. this is another step in the right direction. senator alexander, vice chairman leahy and i will have a strong slate of conferees joining us. on the republican side, senators bozeman, daines, and lankford. on the democratic side, senators feinstein, schatz, and murphy. our objective will be to build upon the momentum we generated here in the senate by urging the same type of bipartisan cooperation in the conference. we will aim to return to the senate floor hopefully sooner than later with a conference report that reflects bipartisan agreement and merits the support of our colleagues. it is, mr. president, i believe the right thing to do for the american people. whatever partisan fights may ensue in the coming weeks, i believe, mr. president, that the
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appropriations process should not suffer those wounds and we should continue our hope and work. thus far it's been i am immune from such -- immune from such a fate. it is my hope that we continue on that path. that will be our goal in this conference committee it. i hope others will join us. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: we are not. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:


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