tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN July 24, 2018 2:15pm-8:24pm EDT
but he's still relatively calm he still fairly young and has a very young family and so i do know he's ready to move, ready personally to move up. the groundswell for democrats change it's getting pretty loud and again i don't say that as a criticism of her. it's just a reflection of the bible picking up when we talk to and the candidates trim we welcome our c-span radio audience. our guess is charlie cook -- >> we are going to leave this and take your life back to the senate working on a package of spending bills, five including the department of treasury, and transportation and housing and urban development. tax assistance program better known as vita by $5,000,000 for the next fiscal year. building upon the success of the tax cut and jobs act, it's important that we take additional steps to ensure that nevada families are fuflly able
to realize the benefits of the new tax laws and plax mize their return -- maximize their returns. the program is one way to do that. it offers free tax help to lower ndz middle -- and middle-income taxpayers, those who often need the most by helping them prepare and file those income tax returns. every year the program helps tens of thousands of nevadans, million, of taxpayers nationwide keep more of their hard earned money. as a statistic, in 2015vita sites helped nearly 23,000 nevadans file their returns and process refunds that exceeded $25,000,000. that's why i would urge all my colleagues to join me and senator brown in supporting hardworking american taxpayers and voting yes on this bipartisan amendment heller-brown amendment 405. with that i yield the balance of my time to the senator from ohio. mr. brown: mr. president, this is a big deal for americans
making $15, $20, $30,000, $40,000 a year. they will get a refundable tax credit if they can figure out how to claim it because sometimes it's too complicated. they can get $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 sometimes a little more than that in the refundable tax credit. that's money in their pocket to buy school clothes, money in their pocket to fix a car that's brown out, money in their pocket so they can take their kids to restaurant occasionally. fiefling taxes is complicated for everyone. it can be particularly challenging for those claiming the i.t.c., wall street c.e.o.'s, big companies have armies of accountants. this is for working class families making $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 a year. i thank senator heller. i ask support for the heller-brown amendment. it will matter to so many working families in mansfield and toledo and sandusky and all over ohio. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois.
mr. durbin: mr. president, senator wicker of mississippi and i have a bipartisan amendment that means a lot to thousands of people who use amtrak. it's been ten years since we asked the inspector general amtrak to do a study on on-time performance. ontime performance has a direct impact on the number of people who ride on amtrak trains, how frequently they use them and how much they rely upon them. but there's a problem. amtrak owns very few railroad tracks in america. they share the tracks with freight trains and the freight trains have been pushing ahead of them and making the amtrak trains wait. how long did they wait? between one year, 2,016 and 2,017, 17,000 hours of delay on amtrak trains directly attributable to freight trains that didn't yield the way to the amtrak trains. that's just one factor. so senator wicker and i have asked the inspector general to do a report on on-time performance that we can consider in making amtrak more efficient,
more profitable and popular with america. i hope our colleagues will support our bipartisan amendment. ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, i rise in support of senator durbin and wicker's amendment. it would direct the amtrak inspector general to update a report from ten years ago that examined amtrak's on-time performance. and some amtrak route, particularly along amtrak's national network are experiencing frequent delays which makes train travel a less dependable option and discourages ridership. ten years ago the i.g. report found that the delays were the result of railroad dispatch, track maintenance, speed restrictions, insufficient track capacity, and often external
factors beyond the host railroad's control. the information that the amtrak i.g. will collect in this report will be used to identify ways to improve coordination between amtrak and the freight railroads. i commend the authors for their amendment. and i urge my colleagues to support it. the presiding officer: the question occurs on the heller amendment. ms. collins: the yays and nays, i ask for the yays and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote: vote:
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 98, the nays are 1. the amendment is agreed to. the question now occurs on the durbin amendment. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: is there any senator in the chamber that wishes to vote or change his or her vote? if not, the ayes are 99, the nays are zero. the amendment is agreed to. the senator from utah. mr. hatch: is it okay if i proceed with my remarks? the presiding officer: yes, the senator is recognized. mr. hatch: i thank you sir. i rise to speak on the latest efforts to derail the nomination
of judge brett kavanaugh to be associate justice of the united states supreme court. i'd like to focus today on a few areas where attacks have come up. judge kavanaugh's critics faced with an exceptionally baseball-loving, car-pool driving nominee to try or stop his confirmation. let me focus today on a few areas where their attacks have come up short. it seems that some folks can't mention judge kavanaugh without suggesting in the same breath that his confirmation would be the death knell of -- death nil of special counsel mueller's investigation. it is -- it's worth taking a closer look to set the record straight. it was hard to miss the
headline. brett kavanaugh once argued that a sitting president is above the law or the article that suggested judge kavanaugh has been an open advocate for precisely the sort of imperial presidency that the fours of -- founders of the american experiment feared. unquote. democrats soon piled on, but nowhere in the law review article that spurred -- spurned this hysteria did judge kavanaugh suggest that a president would be immune from civil or criminal liability. rather, he suggested that as a policy matter it might be wise for congress to enact a law that would defer such legislation until the president leaves office. and, of course, congress could accelerate that timeline through impeachment. judge kavanaugh's law review article presents an interesting
policy proposal and one that's worth noting that he offered while a democrat was this the white house. the critics' attempts to equate his policy recommendations with prosecutions of sitting presidents are simply wrong. if anything, judge kavanaugh's recommendation that congress enact a law suggest that in the absence of any such legislation a sitting president can be investigated, and perhaps even prosecuted. then there was the hoopla over judge kavanaugh's statement that he would, quote, put the final nail, unquote, in the ruling that upheld the constitutionality of independent counsels. never mind the fact that the independent counsel statute expired nearly two decades ago and was described by eric holder as, quote, too flawed to be renewed, unquote.
today special counsels like robert mueller are appointed pursuant to department of justice regulations. it does not represent the same constitutional concerns as the independent counsel statute. by conflating independent counsels and special counsels, judge of judge kavanaugh -- judge kavanaugh's critics ignore his own record on the matter. in a dissenting opinion he wrote last year, judge kavanaugh himself observed, quote, the independent counsel is, of course, distinct from the traditional special counsels who are appointed by the attorney general for particular matters, unquote. but democrats just figured that the average american would gloss over the distinction between independent counsels and special counsels and tune out legal experts who say judge kavanaugh's views on the independent counsel law have absolutely nothing to do with
the mueller investigation. and by the time we're on to them, democrats will have already moved on to a new line of attack. the latest was the minority leader's suggestion that judge kavanaugh, quote, would have let nixon off the hook, unquote, based on comments that judge kavanaugh once made about the supreme court's unanimous decision in the united states v. nixon that found president -- that forced president nixon to turn over the watergate tapes. but those comments read by some to suggest that judge kavanaugh thinks the case was wrongly decided ignores the context of those specific remarks and the mountain of evidence that judge kavanaugh agrees with the court's ruling in nixon. there's the law review article in which judge kavanaugh wrote that there was, quote, no need to revisit, unquote, nixon, and
that the case, quote, reflects the proper balance of the president's need for confidentiality and the government's interest in obtaining all relevant evidence for criminal proceedings, unquote. more recently, he has cited nixon as one of, quote, the greatest moments in american judicial history when judges stood up to the other branches, were not cowed and enforced the law. unquote. those sure don't sound like the words of a judge who is critical of the court's decision in nixon, much less a judge who would vote to overrule it. but this more fulsom look at judge kavanaugh's writings on the issue is at odds with the democrats' campaign to paint judge kavanaugh as an existential threat to the mueller investigation. so they're content to cherry-pick and mischaracterize
judge kavanaugh's record. on the subject of judge kavanaugh's record, i would also like to talk about democrats' fixation on the issue of judge kavanaugh's documents from his years of service in the executive branch. it's only been two weeks since president trump nominated judge kavanaugh and yet democrats seem more interested in using their time talking about documents they do not yet have rather than carefully reviewing the unprecedented number of documents that are already available to the senate and the american public. specifically, we aren't hearing much from democrats about the more than 300 opinions judge kavanaugh has authored during his time on the circuit court of appeals for the district of columbia. in these opinions, judge kavanaugh has addressed a vast array of hot button issues
democrats claim to be so interested in, separation of powers, administrative law, national security, religious liberty, immigration, and so many more. something judge kavanaugh told me when i met with him recently really stuck with me. he told me that he hoped people would actually read his opinions, not just articles about his opinions but actually read the opinions themselves. so i would urge my senate colleagues to endull j,-- indulge judge kavanaugh on this point. these opinions are gold for any senator making an honest effort to evaluate judge kavanaugh's philosophy. judge kavanaugh has spent the past 12 years in public service and as a federal appellate judge. and now he has been nominated to be -- you guessed it -- a
federal appellate judge. i can think of no better evidence of judge kavanaugh's judicial philosophy or his qualifications to serve on our nation's highest court than the thousands of pages of opinions he authored during his time on what is arguably our nation's second highest court. if democrats actually took the time to follow judge kavanaugh's advice and read his opinions, not just articles about them or summaries prepared by staff, they might be disappointed to learn that there's nothing to suggest that people will die if he is confirmed. and they might actually learn how judge kavanaugh interprets the constitution and the laws passed by congress. isn't that what all this commotion is about? it's about documents.
isn't that really what it's about? i would suggest that judge kavanaugh's opinions should be more than enough to assess his qualifications and judicial temperament, not to mention that thousands of pages from his time in the executive branch that are already publicly available. and i understand that this represents just a fraction of the documents that the senate will ultimately receive. likely to be far more than those received for any other supreme court nominee in history. senator grassley has pledged that relevant records will be made available through a fair and thorough process. but for some, it's never enough. we've heard democrats claim they are not demanding every scrap of paper that crossed judge kavanaugh's white house desk. they have also said that the standard for determining what is relevant and subject to production should be whatever
senators, in other words democrats, think is relevant. and some have even claimed that all the documents are, quote, extremely relevant, unquote. well, if democrats think the standard for document production should be whatever senators think is relevant and they think everything is relevant, then it sure sounds like they're asking for every scrap of paper. now, it is true that republicans sought white house documents for justice kagan's nomination, but these two nominations, kagan and kavanaugh, are hardly comparable. at the time of her nomination, justice kagan had no judicial record to speak of whatsoever. having never served as a judge at any level. she had no written opinions. there was almost nothing we could use to assess her judicial
philosophy. the white house record was among the very limited information we had to gauge her fitness to serve. so, of course, we asked to see it. by contrast judge kavanaugh has 12 years of experience on the circuit court of appeals for the district of columbia, the second highest court in this country. and he has -- that's not even to mention over 300 opinions. again, thousands of pages have been written clearly outlining judge kavanaugh's views on the constitution. if judge kavanaugh's extensive record is not enough to paint a clear picture of his judicial philosophy, then what is? what more do democrats need to know that this is a man who is eminently qualified to serve on our nation's highest court? i can only think of one reason why a senator would need every scrap of paper to evaluate the
qualifications of a judicial nominee. any nominee for that matter. and that is if they're going on a never ending fishing expetition -- expedition which is clearly what the democrats have been doing since the day judge kavanaugh's nomination was announced. i would urge my colleagues to follow judge kavanaugh's advice. read his opinions. you undoubtedly will learn something about how judge kavanaugh interprets the constitution and the laws passed by congress. then by all means continue your fishing expedition but at least you will have consulted the record that matters the most. now, mr. president, all i can say is that this man has an excellent record. there's plenty of things to look at. the more you look at them, the more you realize this fellow really does belong on the supreme court. and he'll make a difference in the future.
now, mr. president, on another matter, i wish to speak today in celebration of pioneer day, a holiday that my home state of utah observes each july 24 to commemorate the arrival of the mormon pioneers to the great salt lake valley. on this special day, utah and communities in other states remember the extraordinary history of the mormon pioneers who endured tremendous hardship in search of religious freedom in this great country that is set up for religious freedom. but they were mistreated and fought against from day one. in honor of pioneer day, i introduced a senate resolution recognizing the sacrifices of the mormon pioneers in their pursuit of religious liberty and their invaluable contributions to the settlement of the american west. i hope the senate will join me
in commending the pioneers for their example of courage, industry, and faith that continues to inspire people throughout the world. in the years following the establishment of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints in 1,830, the latter-day saints or mormons as they are more commonly known encountered much religious persecution in this freest of all ends. they suffered physical assault, threats of violence, death in some cases, and imprisonment, rape, and murder. violent mobs damaged their homes and businesses stole their property and drove them from their homes. especially devastating was the martyrdom of their leader and beloved prophet joseph smith who was shot and killed with his brother as well by an armed mob.
despite the discrimination and abuse they endured, sometimes at the hands of government officials who should have protected them from violence and injustice, the latter-day saints remained a patriotic people who loved and revered the constitution of the united states. still they recognized they would need to seek refuge in an unknown territory to live in safety and practice their religion free from hostility and abuse. in search of such a haven, the mormon pioneers fled illinois in the winter of 1,846 and proceeded westward on a journey that would cover more than 1,300 miles of wilderness across arid deserts, jagged mountains, and turbulent rivers. along the way, the mormon pioneers erected bridges, built ferries, and cleared trails to
assist those who would follow their path. they established communities, planted crops, and expanded trade posts that provided the crucial supplies necessary to survive expeditions onward. they learned how to irrigate and make the desert blossom as a rose. and irrigation principles have been frommed all -- have been followed all over the world. they set up trail markers and charted maps that guided thousands of settlers westward. the united states certainly has a debt of gratitude to those pioneers for their contributions to our nation's settlement of the west. their service to our country did not come without significant personal cost. throughout the arduous trek, the pioneers battled harsh climates, illness, hunger, and exhaustion.
many lost their children, spouses, parents, and friends to exposure, disease, and starvation. yet they confronted crippling sorrow and hardship with incredible grace and a steadfast trust in their heavenly father. they expressed gratitude for the strength to surmount each challenge and gloried in life's daily miracles. what could have broken their spirit only fortified their convictions and drew them closer to the divine. upon entering utah's great salt lake valley on july 24, 1,847, their new leader brigham young announced, quote, this is the right place, unquote. this prophetic declaration foretold how the valley would
become home to many latter-day saints and their posterity. i'm familiar with the area and with few resources at their disposal, the pioneers worked together to plant their crops, irrigate fields, and build houses and businesses thus transforming the bare rant desert -- baron desert into a thriving set of communities. two years later on july 24, the latter-day saints first commemorated their arrival to their new home with a procession to salt lake city's temple square for a special devotional followed by a feast of thanksgiving. today pioneer day is one of the largest regional celebrations in the united states where we remember the early settlers with parades, flag ceremonies, reenactments, devotionals, sporting events, dances, concerts, festivals, rodeos, and
fireworks. the rich heritage of the pioneers are shared not only by utahans and those of the mormon faith but with people throughout the world regardless of religious affiliation. these pioneers demonstrated what can be accomplished when industrious and resilient people join together as one to build a brighter future. their determination and ingenuity encourages our own pioneer spirit caution us to strive towards further progress and innovation. to try to empower over adversity and press forward with unconquerable faith and undoubted hope. on pioneer day this july 24, i hope we not only remember these remarkable pioneers but reflect on what we can do to follow in their footsteps and he sure their legacy lives on in us and in further generations.
i'm proud to be a descendant of these pioneers. my family were part of the pioneers, and, yes, i was born in pittsburgh, but i couldn't wait to move to utah. love pittsburgh, but i love utah more. and i have to say, part of that is because of my pioneer heritage and my desire to see that utah continually improves itself and continually makes its case on how important these pioneers really were and are, even to us today. mr. president, i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: mr. president, a lot of praise has flowed in for judge kavanaugh since his nomination. but i think the tribute that has struck me the most the letter from his law clerks. these individuals have worked closely with judge kavanaugh and have a special insight into his temperament and philosophy. and here's what they have to say, and i quote -- it is in his role as a judge on the d.c. circuit that we know judge kavanaugh best. during his time on the d.c. circuit, judge kavanaugh has come to work every day dedicated to engaging in the hard work of judging. we never once saw him take a shortcut, treat a case as unimportant or search for an easy answer. instead, in each case, large and small, he masters every detail and rereads every precedent. he listens camely to the views
of his colleagues and close, especially when they differ from his own. he drafts opinions painstakingly writing and rewriting until he is satisfied each opinion is clear and well-reasoned and can be understood not only by lawyers but by the parties and the public. we saw time and time again that this work ethic flows from a fundamental humility. judge kavanaugh never assumes he knows the answers in advance and never takes for granted that his view of the law will prevail, end quote. mr. president, those are the words of 34 of judge kavanaugh's law clerks. every one of judge kavanaugh's clerks who was not prohibited by his or her job signed this letter. these clerks represent a diverse group. they wrote, and i quote, our views on politics, on many of the important legal issues faced by the supreme court, and on judicial philosophy are diverse.
our ranks include republicans, democrats, and independents, but we are united this in this -- our admiration and fondness for judge kavanaugh run deep. for each of us it was a tremendous stroke of luck to work for and be mentored by a person of his strength of character, generosity of spirit, intellectual capacity, and unwavering care for his family, friends, colleagues, and us, his law clerks. mr. president, this letter is a pretty significant tribute, and it confirms what has been clear from the beginning, and that is that judge kavanaugh is the type of judge who should sit on the nation's highest court. his clerks describe a judge who takes the weight of his responsibility seriously, a judge who is committed to reaching the right decision in every case and who does the hard work necessary to get to that decision. a judge who approaches each case
with an open mind, looking for what the law says, not the outcome that he wants. mr. president, as chief justice john roberts famously said, judges are likewise. their job is to call the balls and strikes, not rewrite the rules of the game. as justice roberts said, umpires don't make the rules, they apply them. mr. president, it is essential that a judge understand this. if you are a he a judge, your job is to rule based on the law and the constitution and nothing else. your job is not to make policy. it's not to revise the law according to your personal feelings or your political principles. no, your job is to figure out what the law says and to rule accordingly. and why is this so important, mr. president? well, it's because the rule of law and equal justice under the
law only exist as long as judges rule based on the law. once judges start ruling based on their political opinions or their feelings about what they'd like the law to be, then we've replaced the rule of law with the rule of individual judges. mr. president, as the testimony of his clerks and many others makes clear, judge kavanaugh understands the role of a judge. he understands that his yob is to interpret the law, not make the law, to rule based on the plain text of the statute and not on his personal opinions or political beliefs. in a 2017 speech at notre dame law school, judge kavanaugh said, and i quote, i believe very deeply in those visions of the rule of law as the law of rules and of the judge as umpire. but that i mean a neutral,
impartial judiciary that decides cases based on settled principles without regard to policy preferences or political allegiances or which party is in on which side -- or which party is on which side in a particular case, end quote. mr. president, i'll say it again. that is the kind of judge that we want on the supreme court. and i hope that this senate will take very seriously the responsibility that we have to give fair consideration to this nominee. 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:
mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, you couldn't follow this president's tweets with a road map, a g.p.s., 0 flashlight and a program.
it's impossible to understand the policy of this administration or this country. and when you too i to follow his actions instead of -- and when you too i to follow his actions inned it of -- and when you try to follow his actions instead of his words, it is even more confusing. it has been headspinning, even for him. to recap, he insulted or best allies of 70 years, then turned around and lobbied for russia at a recent g-7 meeting and again bullied our colloquy allies at a -- our key allies at a summit on nato. he then met privately with russian president putin and then held a press conference with him in which president trump blamed america and defended putin's words over the expertise of his own government intelligence agencies. keep in mind, he also inexplicably met privately with president putin at the g-20
summit in hamburg last year, an event which he initially denied. why all these private meetings between president trump and president putin? why wouldn't he let his secretary of state sit in the room? why wouldn't he let his national security advisor witness the conversation? i don't know the answer to those questions. neither does america. then the president tried to back-pedal from some of his most outrageous statements and at the end of the day, after trying that and deciding it wasn't worth the effort, he backed around again and decided to side with president putin. it's impossible to keep track of where this president has been or is going. president trump then questioned the bedrock nato alliance, asking why the united states should come to the defense of one of its members. incidentally, that is the heart and soul of the nato alliance, article 5.
we stand together. when the united states was attacked on 9/11, it was the nato alliance that stood with us when we struck back at afghanistan and al qaeda. they stood by us because of article 5, the very basis of the nato alliance which this president has questioned. he said, no u.s. president has been harder on russia than president trump. he argued, i think president putin knows that better than anybody. he then said -- then he says he wanted to invite president putin to the united states as his special personal guest. go figure. as president trump weakens a great military alliance like nato, bullies our allies of seven decades, co-subsidies up to a -- co-subsidies up -- cozies up to a foreign dictator and talks in circles about his bizarre tweets and actions, what
has been the priority of the republican party on the floor of the united states senate? since the summit, the disastrous summit at helsinki? well, the republican leader, senator mcconnell, has not spoken on the senate floor on this issue since the helsinki summit, not even one time. why aren't we urgently moving legislation to protect america's membership in nato, ensure the integrity of our upcoming election, and fully implement last year's russian sanctions bill? i can't answer that. i don't think the republican leader can answer it either. those are national security priorityies. maybe it isn't surprising because when senator mcconnell was told by the russian intervention in our last 2,016 election by the top intelligence officials of the united states government and asked to make a bipartisan statement condemning it, he declined. why would a congressional leader
not want to join in a bipartisan effort to warn a foreign power to stop its attack on democracy? and why the silence on this floor on that side of the aisle since the helsinki summit conference? there is not absolute silence. i will commend my ailing but often respected and quoted colleague john mccain in arizona who sends messages from his home back to this chamber to the united states senate. what did he call the helsinki summit? quote, one of the most disgraceful performances by an american president in memory. close quote. john mccain has never been one to mince words, and i have to say that quote hit the nail on the head. and i want to put another word in here. every time i hear politicians and all the smartest people on earth on television referring to
what happened in the 2,016 election as the russians meddling in our election -- heard that term? -- meddling in our election? if a seasoned criminal broke into your home to case it for a later burglary, would you say that burglar was just meddling? no. breaking and entering might be the proper term. that's what happened with the russians in the 2,016 u.s. election. they broke and entered our election machinery across the united states. the reason i know that, the first target happened to my home state of illinois. they found a way to sneak into the computers of the illinois state board of elections and put at risk a half a million voters in my state of illinois. the state discovered it and sent out warnings to all the voters be careful. something might have happened to your identity in the election. you might run into a problem when you turn up to vote. was that meddling?
not in illinois. those were fighting words. that was a cyber attack by the russians on the state of illinois' board of elections, and they followed up by hitting 20 other states as well. meddling? give me a break. this is a cyber act of war by the russians and our intelligence officials of of the trump administration like dan coats, the director of national intelligence, have warned us the red lights are brinking again. -- are blinking again. they're coming back. what are we doing about it? nothing. well, there will be a chance for my republican colleagues to join the democrats in a bipartisan effort to take this seriously before it's too late. what do we have left? 105 days until the election? it's not much time. and the question is whether we'll do something to try to protect our election machinery. every member of this chamber will have an opportunity to vote to ensure that state and local election officials have the
resources to stop any other effort by the russians to interfere in our election. earlier this year we came together and passed a bill, a bipartisan bill that provided $ 380,000,000 in fiscal year 2,018 omnibus spending for states to modernize and secure their election systems. the funding gave the states flexibility to tackle the most critical priorities, replacing outdated voting machines, for example, that have no paper trail, updating election computer systems to address cyber vulnerabilities. the election assistance commission reports that 55 different e. -- entities including all the states and territories have requested funding from this grant program. that was an important first step. it was bipartisan. it should be done. it was done. but it's not enough. after the 2,000 election and months of news coverage about hanging chads and butterfully ballots, congress passed the help america vote act to address the outdated election infrastructure in america.
we authorized $3.8,000,000,000 to respond to this issue. a few months ago we authorized one-tenth of that to respond to the russian threat. well, we need to respond to that threat in a much more robust manner. i've received a memo from our election authorities in illinois specifying what they need to do to be more certain that their election operations and machinery are intact and virtually every state can provide me with a similar memo. we need to respond to this threat in a meaningful, robust manner. we know full well in illinois what the russians could have done to us. if they had taken those 500,000 voters inches d.'s -- voter i.d.'s and simply changed one number in the street address of each voter, let me tell you what would have happened. when i turned up to vote in springfield, illinois, and listed my home address, they would have said no, that address doesn't match our records. you can vote a provisional
ballot if you wish. we'll look into it later. that could have happened thousands of times. thank goodness it didn't but that's the extent of our vulnerability. it is a suggestion of what we might face again from the russians according to our own intelligence agencies. last year the department of homeland security notified election officials in 20 other states that russians attempted to hack into their systems, including texas, iowa, florida. mr. president, your home state of arizona, oklahoma, alabama, pennsylvania, alaska, colorado, north dakota, wisconsin, and ohio. we have to make sure that we're prepared for future attacks on our democracy. that's why i've joined senator leahy on the floor with me today and senator klobuchar preparing an amendment to the appropriations legislation we're going to consider, offering an additional $250,000,000 in election security grants to our states. when a similar amendment was offered at committee markup last month, we heard it was too early to talk about additional funding, that we need to wait and see if the $380,000,000
earlier appropriated would be spent. well, we know the answer. it's been spent. at a recent senate rules hearing, noah pretz explained that the $380,000,000 was greatly appreciated but more resources are desperately needed. given the cost of regular technology refreshes and support for resources with cyber capacity, the needed investment is very large. end of quote. last week, when asked if the $380,000,000 was enough to address the problem, the president of the national association of secretaries of state said, quote, no, no to put it bluntly, congress needs to come up with some kind of a funding mechanism that is sustainable year in, year out, not once every ten years. and just yesterday a bipartisan group of state attorneys general asked congress for increased funding because many states like the resources and tools that they need to protect their
polling places. i urge the adoption of the leahy-klobuchar amendment. mr. president, it's also time for the majority to heed former senator bill frist's advice when he wrote recently in the "washington post," patriotism should always take priority over party. mr. president, i know you know that personally and you've proven it. senator frist went on to say, staying silent is no longer an option. i yield the floor. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i appreciate what the distinguished senator from illinois just said. i'll speak about the same amendment. we'll be offering this amendment. it does provide $250,000,000 for state election security grants. it provides it to protect our upcoming elections, attacks by russia especially but from many
other hostile foreign power. we don't do this as a -- as an exercise. we know the attacks have been there in the past and they're coming in the future. look what our intelligence community -- they unanimously said that russia interfered in our 2,016 election. and after the intelligence community unanimously said they interfered, congress came together. we appropriated $380,000,000 for state elections security grants in the fiscal year 2,018 omnibus. now, since that time, we had 55 eligible states and territories. they requested funding.
a hundred percent of these funds have been committed to the states. as of yesterday 90% of the funds have been dispersed to the states. it's pretty remarkable and fast action considering the 2,018 omnibus was signed into law just four months ago. so i've asked what the funding was used for. and i'm told it's aimed at improving cyber security. they replaced outdated election equipment. they've undertaken other anty cyber efforts. that's an important first step, mr. president. i would hope that all of us and i know all of us do not want a democracy attacked by a foreign
aggression. but more is needed, certainly needed before the november 2,018 elections. i might say even afterward. states need post-election audit systems. they have to be able to verify the accuracy of the final vote tally. they have to be able to upgrade election-related computer systems if our department of homeland security identifies vulnerabilities. i believe the state and local election officials should undergo cyber security training. they should start using established cybersecurity best practices. these efforts are all essential to the security of our elections. my amendment would enable them to go forward. in fact yesterday, 21 states
attorney general signed a letter. they urge congress to appropriate more funding for the states to help them meet their election security needs. let me quote from their letter. additional funding for voter infrastructure will not only allow states to upgrade their election systems but will allow for comprehensive security risk assessment. unfortunately, past practices have shown that the existing election assistance commission grants are simply insufficient to provide for the upgraded technology needed. more funding is essential to adequately equip states with the financial resources we need to safeguard democracy and protect the data of voting members in our states. i'd ask, mr. president, unanimous consent that the end
of my remarks include the letters signed by the 21 attorneys general. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: thank you, mr. president. it's clear that congress and this involves everybody in the congress, republicans and democrats alike, we have to serve as a bulwark against russian aggression. i say this because our president has time and again proven he's either unable are unwilling to do so. standing on the world stage with everybody watching, he was there with vladimir putin. president trump repeatedly refused to condemn russia's attack on our democracy. he almost graveled to the authoritarian putin and he praised and defended putin's,
quote, strong denial, close quote, of russian interference. and then to make it worse, president trump attacked our own law enforcement institutions while standing feet away from the very foe our institution works so hard to protect us. so here all our intelligence, -- intelligence communities, law enforcement, have the sworn duty to protect all americans from foes like russia and the president stands next to the president of russia and attacks the same law enforcement institutions that protect us. now, this brought about not unexpectedly bipartisan outrage over the helsinki fiasco.
so the president the next day tried to walk back his comments. but in typical fashion, he tried to have it both ways, he repeated the baseless claim the attack could be other people also. then the very next day when asked if russia is still starting the united states, the president inexplicably said, no. it was roughly 48 hours after his own director of national intelligence issued a statement reaffirming that russia is engaged in ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy. without going into any of the classified material, just go by what our intelligence agencies have said publicly, russia is engaged in ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our
democracy. when the president is asked if they're targeting the united states, the answer is -- the answer isn't no; it's yes. some have argued that this is an initiative for the states to deal with entitle on their own. the federal government should not involve themselves in the states' electoral systems. but our states were attacked in 2016 by a foreign adversary, and their election systems were hacked by russia's foreign military service. if any one of our states was attacked by a foreign government, would we stand by and say, well, that's a state's problem? no. we wouldn't say, well, it's not my state, it's not my problem, you're on your own. of course not. an attack on any one us is an
attack on all of us. we are the united states of america. we'd come together to protect that state. we'd provide the federal resources to help them out. that's what we americans do. the same standard applies here in helping states strengthen and protect their election infrastructure. so we senators in both parties have a choice. we either heed the fact-based warnings of our dedicated law enforcement and national security professionals or we do as president trump has done and say, well, we'll take vladimir putin at his word. i don't. we either choose to act as a coequal branch of government, defend our democracy, or leave that responsibility to a president who doesn't see the threat -- in fact, he embraces the threat even when it's
standing right beside him. as i said to my fellow senators, if you believe that russia is fully intent on destabilizing our democracy yet again in november, something every one of our national security and law enforcement officials do, the people read all the classified matters every single day, the people who know our intelligence backward and forward, they believe that russia is fully intent on destabilizing our democracy -- let's stand up for our democracy. let's stand up for our intelligence services. have this amendment as chance to take action. more than anything else, to stand up for america, stand up for our democracy. mr. president, i don't know if there's others seeking the floor
sorry, mr. president, i was going to suggest the absence of a quorum, but i see the distinguished senior senator from minnesota, and i yield to her. ms. klobuchar: thank you. mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: and thank you to the senator from vermont for his leadership, and i'm pleased that senator durbin has brought us together. i also see the senator from delaware here and the senator from oregon, and i also appreciate the work that we've seen on the other side of the aisle on so many of these issues regarding elections and russia, including the presiding officer's support for moving forward on a number of these things. so our next elections are right across the corner -- right around the corner. in fact, this coming saturday marks 100 days from the 2018 elections. and as we prepare for the midterm elections, two things are clear -- one, we must hold russia accountable for the
attacks against our democracy in 2016. this isn't meddling. this isn't just sending a few little tweets. no, no. this was an actual cyber attack on our democracy, and we have to call it what it was. secondly, we must do more to deter russia and safeguard our democracy against future attacks. so as complex as all this is, that's really quite simple. the first thing is, you got to figure out what happened and hold the people accountable. that's what's happening some with the mueller investigation. that's what's happening with the intelligence committee investigation and other committees as well. then, secondly, you have to protect our own democracy in the future -- from russia, from other foreign entities, from anyone who might try to take away our democracy. and that's exactly what happened in this last election. over the last 18 months, i have come to the floor time and time
again to make this point -- election security is national security. efforts to interfere in our domestic politics a tack our election infrastructure -- and attack our election infrastructure represent a threat to our democracy and our security. we know that russia coordinated an attack against our democracy that launched cyber attacks against at least 21 states, including my own. the latest updictment from special -- the latest indictment from special counsel mueller's investigation revealed that they hacked the information from a state board of election and stole the information of roughly 500,000 voters. so you have them not only potentially trying to influence what the vote is, you have them trying to steal the information of voters, which is another way of deterring voters from wanting to vote. russia's efforts to also included sophisticated weapon
information warfare designed to weaken americans' confidence in our election system. hardworking men and women in our intelligence agencies from both democratic and republican administrations have confirmed this. the heads of all of our major intelligence operations under president obama and under president trump have said this has happened. in fact, director coats months ago said not only did it hangars but the russians are getting, in his words, bolder. yet this month in helsinki president trump was asked if he stands by the conclusions of the u.s. intelligence community or the denials of vladimir putin. he chose to go with putin. he stood there in front of the world and he called putin's words extremely strong and powerful. that is why so many in this chamber -- republican and democratic members of the senate -- have come out and called him on it and affirmed the united states intelligence conclusions and denounced the president's
actions. there is no substitute for presidential leadership. we know that. but in its absence, congress must act. we need to make strong, bipartisan commitments to defend our elections and show unwavering support for our intelligence agencies. among other things, today senator graham and i introduced a bipartisan resolution that reaffirms strong congressional support for our intelligence agencies and our diplomats. this is supplemental to the work, of course, that senator coons and senator flake have been doing. and it declares that an attack on our election system by a foreign power is a hostile act that should be met with a swift and forceful response. passing this resolution sends a clear message to russia. we are united in our commitment to make sure that you pay a heavy price for attacking our elections, and we are prepared to exercise our authority to impose even stronger sanctions. if this administration won't
act, congress must. in order to safeguard future elections, state and local officials on the front lines of this fight must have the tools and resources they need to prevent cyber attacks. we recently voted to provide $380 million in election security funding to states. that was an important first step. all the states i've talked to say that that was just a beginning, that they would need more resources, but it was an important first step. and i've worked on that with senator lankford as well as senator coons and senator leahy. i would note that $380 million is just 3% of one aircraft carrier. that's what it is, 3% of one aircraft carrier. yet you look at a foreign government that has been trying to attack our elections. we must do more. during a recent rules committee hearing, state and local officials testified that more resources are needed. last week vermont's secretary of state and the president of the national association of secretaries of state, jim condos, called on congress to provide additional funds on an
ongoing basis, not just when a crisis happens. and this week nearly half of our country's states attorney general sent a letter urging congress to appropriate more funding for election security. that is why today senator leahy, coons, and i will be offering this amendment to the appropriations legislation that is before us this week that would provide additional funding for election security. i am continuing to work with senator lankford on our secure elections act, which along with senator graham and senator harris, has now ten cosponsors, democrats and republicans equally divided. and that bill is important. and senator blunt has agreed to a markup in august. that's very, very critical to us moving forward to have legislation that puts some parameters in place, puts best practices in place, requires audits, all of that must happen. but for now, we can't wait. we are almost 100 days away from this election.
director of national intelligence coats recently reaffirmed the threat russia poses. he said this -- today the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack. it was in the months prior to september 2001 -- this is his quote, coats, when according to then-c.i.a. director george tenet, the system was blinking red and here we are nearly two decades later and i am a here to say, the warning lights lights e blinking red again. i will close with this. something that happened 95 years ago. in 1923 joseph stalin was asked about a vote in the central committee of the party. stalin was unconcerned about the vote. after all, he explained, that who voted was, quote, completely unimportant, end quote. what was extraordinarily important, he said, was who would count the votes and how.
now nearly 100 years later we have someone in the name of vladimir putin trying to control who counts the votes and how in our own country. but this time it's now and it's in our elections. those are the stakes. election security is national security, and it's time to start acting like it. thank you, mr. president. mr. wyden: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, as senator klobuchar noted, democrats and republicans are here to talk about this critically important issue, and that is protecting the franchise for our people. and i want to begin, mr. president, by saying the ink is barely dry on the indictment of the russian hackers who tried to undermine our democracy, and
the president of the united states is trying to deny that it actually happened. just put your arms around that one for a moment, colleagues. the indictment of the russian hackers is just days old. the president's own intelligence officials are telling him that an attack on you are a democracy -- on our democracy is a near certainty, and he has just not been willing to step up and prevent it. in fact, he continues to refuse to accept the basic facts of the attack -- the russians perpetrated in 2016. the fact, however, is americans are learning more and more about what actually happened. and it is becoming increasingly clear that what the president calls a witch hunt is turning up
a lot of witches. the attack on our democracy was plotted and perpetrated by agents of the russian government. it came from the very top. it wasn't perpetrated by some other unidentified country. and it wasn't some random fellow in his mom's basement. it was russia. and somehow the president is too mesmerized by vladimir putin to admit that. now, the public learned from the indictments unsealed in the last several days that russian intelligence officials hacked into the computers of the democratic national committee, stole data, and planted surveillance software. they were basically hoovering up
voter data that belonged to a half million americans. they targeted our election infrastructure and searched for vulnerabilities that might have allowed them to get and effect the results. a russian national with ties to russian intelligence used what was called a, quote, gun rights organization to infiltrate conservative circles and sway our political judgments. those are the facts, mr. president and colleagues, and no matter how the president twists himself into a pretzel to try to describe it otherwise, those are the realties. and our election system and our digital infrastructure are still exceptionally vulnerable to
attack. the president's director of national intelligence, our former colleague, has said, and i quote, -- not months ago, recently -- the lights are blinking red. so our colleagues senator leahy and senator klobuchar are looking at an important investment of funds to assist the states, and there is no question in my mind looking at this challenge, this will be a challenge that benefits from the additional funds since this is a national problem. the director of homeland security said in response to my question, you know, we don't ask delaware or oregon or small towns if you're dealing with an attack on your democracy, we don't say to a small town in delaware or ourg, well, you --
or oregon, you figure out how to do it. we treat it as something where we come together as americans to tackle the problem. so we are going to need additional funds for attacking this extraordinarily important challenge. and i'm going to be heading home for town hall meetings. we have these sessions, throw open the doors, everybody's welcome. and folks are going to hear about what we're talking about in election security, and folks are going to say, ron, what are the best ideas out there for stopping the russians from hacking our elections? and i will say to my colleagues -- we're going to talk some more about this -- cybersecurity experts are
overwhelmingly united on what is best for stopping the russian hackers, overwhelmingly this country's cybersecurity experts, people who aren't democrats and republicans, they are people who are knowledgeable in this field, say the two things you need most are paper ballots and risk-limiting audits. those two things -- paper ballots and risk-limiting audits tens of millions of americans today have no choice but to vote on unsecured machines that might as well have the words scrolled on them "please hack me, comrade" in russian. that's pretty much what you get
with these unsecured voting machines. now the voting machine industry -- i think i talked about this with my friend from delaware -- has basically considered themselves above the law. they have refused to share vital information about their operations with me, the intelligence committee, even basic questions, what are really called issues relating to cyber hygiene. but what we know is some of these voting machines have actually come preinstalled with remote monitoring software which the cybersecurity experts will tell you is a recipe for disaster. the experts also will tell you that barcode, ballot marking
devices are not the part of a solution to really secure elections. and when you ask the companies that manufacture these machines, they are ducking and weaving when they're asked even the most basic and straightforward questions about how they're protecting american voters. so, colleagues, as we move to start this extraordinarily important debate, i want to be clear about what i think the most important challenge is. our most important job is to build a new partnership between the states and localities and the federal election officials
that actually protects american voters from getting hacked by the russians. that's what this is all about. actually making sure we provide that added measure of assistance and security for american voters. in the name of supporting that cause, i proposed legislation called the pave act that in effect says we've got to build around common sense and what the independent cybersecurity experts say is important. paper ballots and post election audits. that, in my view, is the heart of what we ought to be looking for ways to support. if a polling place starts
election day with a line of people out the door, it ought to end the day with a stack of paper ballots that is hack-proof, a verifiable system that the russians cannot touch. the united states is going to go along with business as usual on election security status quo of paperless machines and not very many audits, not effective audits are almost leaving ballot boxes on street corners in red square. so i'm going to close this way. when you have a debate this important about election security, what it's really about is whether americans can trust the control of our democracy is
actually in their hands. the easiest way to destroy what has certainly been waning confidence americans have in our elections is to leave election systems vulnerable attack. that is practically a sure-fire way to limit voter participation and it certainly is going to generate a new firestorm of conspiracy theories in every american election from here on. so what i'd say to my colleagues and nor -- senator coons, who really is the gold standard for working with colleagues trying to bring people together, find approaches that make sense for
our people. he and i have talked. i think we've agreed, we'll take a good idea from anyone in sight. there's a good idea on this side of the aisle, we're interested. if there's a good idea over here, we're interested. the good idea here in terms of protecting the votes of the american people, the american people who have been threatened by russian hackers with the evidence as recently as a few days ago with the indictments, the best way, according to people who aren't in politics, that are knowledgeable in the field is to have paper ballots and risk limiting audits. and as long assist honor to represent oregon in the united states senate -- and we'll be sure be talking about this at town hall meetings this weekend -- i look forward to working with my colleagues on
both sides of the aisle to advance that kind of approach, which i think is the surest path to block those russian hackers from doing again and again and again what they did to us in this past election. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i rise to speak in support of an amendment i look forward to advancing. as a member of the subcommittee, in fact the ranking democrat, i was pleased to have the opportunity to work in a bipartisan way to secure $380 million in the last fiscal year that's been distributed to the states to secure our elections. and as you may have heard from some who oppose this in the appropriations committee when we took it up and debated it, they asked a few simple questions i will try to address quickly. isn't elections -- aren't elections a state and local
responsibility? why should the federal government be providing funding for states and localities to secure their elections? that's true. elections are overwhelmingly run at the state and local level, and the costs of securing and modernizing our voting machines and our voting systems will be overwhelmingly borne at the state and local level. second, this $380 million, it was just made available, and i don't think it's even gone out yet. have they used it well? have they used it properly? and, third, why is this something we need to do now? is there any indication that our upcoming elections are actually a threat? let me briefly speak to those three. this morning it was publicly reported that the united states department of homeland security, outside a classified setting for the first time, revealed that not one, not two, not a dozen but more than 100 american power
utilities had been successfully hacked by russian military intelligence and that air gatt control rooms, meaning control rooms that are designed so they're not connected to the internet in power generating or distributing utilities around the country had been compromised by russia. a level of sophistication at their invasion and interference in our physical infrastructure that's matched by their sophistication in interfering in and intruding in our election infrastructure. so i think the present danger is very clear and very real. and as my colleagues have stated at great length, our current director of national intelligence, dan coats, a former colleague has said recently and repeatedly that our election infrastructure is at risk. on july 13 special counsel mueller indicted 12 russian military intelligence officials for cyber attacks on our 2016 election, and we know those attacks are coming again.
michael chertoff is the former bush department of homeland security secretary and grover norquist, long known as an advocate for reduced federal spending jointly wrote an editorial earlier this year -- i think it was "the washington post" -- where they said, and i quote, we can replace all paperless voting machines in the country for less than the cost of an f-22 fighter jet. as senator klobuchar has said repeatedly and correctly, election security is national security. and chertoff and norquist concluded with this thought: it is not practical to expect state and local election administrators in, say, rural missouri or small town maine, my state of delaware or in my colleague's state of iowa to go toe to toe with the premier government-backed cyber mercenaries of russia or china or north korea. just as federal agencies prudently provide support for state law enforcement in dealing with terrorism, federal
officials should give guidance and support with the election cybersecurity threat. my home state of delaware is one of five with no paper trail for our elections systems and our elections systems are air gapped. i received a letter from our official that makes clear that with the $3 million already distributed through the money made available last year, they will begin to make a down payment on replacing our current antiquated election machinery with those that will have a verifiable paper trail. i have many more examples i could cite, but i will be brief because i have a colleague who's waited long for his opportunity to speak. all states have now requested the funding, 90% of the funding has disbursed. the e.i.c. is working with states to make sure that they are addressing cybersecurity issues, and in particular replacing outdated and antiquated systems. i'll give you one of many
examples. in the state of louisiana, they last purchased voting equipment in 2005. their 10,000 voting machines are antiquated with spare parts dwindling and no longer manufactured. the secretary of state of louisiana estimated the replacement cost would be between $40 million and $60 million, a $3 million down payment of federal money is just barely enough to get them started, not enough to complete the job. let me close by saying this. election security is not a partisan issue. it's about protecting who we are as a nation, free and fair and regular elections define us as a democracy. democrats, republicans, and independents, all americans who want to know that their votes are counted and our elections are free and fair should care about a federal role in supporting states an localities as they work to ensure that that our election systems are protected and our equipment can't be compromised.
folks, this is an issue, not just for the november 2018 elections, but for the 2020 elections. the amendment we're going to call up today should not be controversial. this is about protecting our democracy. thank you, mr. president. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i want to bring my fellow senators up-to-date on a subject that was sparked by the remarks made this morning by the minority leader. and i also want to add some additional context that the minority leader left out. he spoke on the nomination of judge kavanaugh to the supreme court. unfortunately he didn't come to the floor to talk about the
judge's excellent qualifications, the judge's well-regarded temperament or the judge's judicial philosophy. he didn't come to the floor to announce that he would finally extend the courtesy of a meeting to the judge, which is customary in this body. he came to speak about what he thinks will satisfy left-wing outside groups. he demands that i sign a letter that would put the american taxpayers on the hook for a democratic fishing expedition, and i'm not going to do that. now i agree that we should have a thorough vetting process for the nominee, and we will, and that we should review materials that will reveal judge kavanaugh's legal thinking. that's our job.
we're not going to be a rubber stamp. fortunately for us we have immediate access to the most valuable documents that are out there that reveal judge kavanaugh's legal thinking. we have access to more than 300 opinions judge kavanaugh authored in his 12 years on the d.c. circuit as well as 100 -- as well as hundreds more opinions. in this these opinions he addressed some of the most significant opinions in the past decade from the second most powerful court in the land. this morning the minority leader brought up a statement that i made in 2010 in connection with justice kagan's supreme court nomination. at that time this senator was
interested in reviewing documents from her time in the clinton administration. what the minority leader neglects to mention is unlike judge kavanaugh justice kagan hadn't served as a judge before being nominated to the supreme court, besides her federal government service at the time she was nominated, she was dean of a law school. other than kagan's materials that she submitted as part of the senate judiciary questionnaire for her nomination, her white house counsel's office and domestic policy counsel documents were some of the few categories of documents that could shed light on her legal thinking since she didn't have any judicial
writings. meaning as a judge. justice kagan had written or joined a grand total of zero judicial opinions before her nomination. as for us in the senate judiciary committee to carry out our constitutional advice and consent as senators we needed to understand her legal thinking and potential jurisdiction. judge kavanaugh, by contrast, has offered over 300 judicial opinions in his 12 years on the bench. that's over 300. that doesn't include the hundreds of her to decisions where he joined an opinion or some sort of order. when you add those to the mix,
that's thousands of pages of judicial writing that the american people have access to at this exact moment. you don't have to wait to get this information about judge kavanaugh. now, to the contrary, justice kagan, of course, had zero pages of judicial opinions. that is -- this is in addition to the 6,168 pages of records judge kavanaugh included in his response to the senate judiciary questionnaire which we put on the website last weekend for the whole public to view. if they want to know everything about judge kavanaugh as a judge and things that he spoke and wrote documents about other than
just judicial opinions. now despite the fact that judge kavanaugh's judicial record is much more are substantial than justice kagan's was, i agree that we should still ask the white house for documents pertaining to judge kavanaugh's time in the white house counsel's office. my democratic colleagues say that they want the white house records. well, i'm pleased to let them know that in the coming weeks the senate will receive what will likely be the largest document production in history for a supreme court nomination. i expect that the senate could receive up to a million pages of documents related to judge kavanaugh's time in the white house counsel's office. we will also see the white house
nomination files for judge kavanaugh's 2006 nomination to the d.c. circuit where, as i told you, he now sits, and also records from judge kavanaugh's time in the office of independent counsel. by comparison, we received less than 180,000 pages for justice kagan's time in two white house offices. so let's recap. we have more than 300 of judge kavanaugh's actual judicial opinions to justice kagan's zero. we could have up to five times as many pages for his time in the white house than we got for justice kagan. and we will have those documents despite the fact that they are
less necessary now than they were for justice kagan. in short, then, there will be much more transparency in this supreme court nomination process than ever before. now, i'm ready to send a letter to the national archives requesting relevant white house counsel documents. i'd like to do this with the ranking member, but unfortunately she has declined this request. this is unfortunate. both sides agree the white house counsel documents are relevant. i'd like to get them over here as quickly as possible so we can review -- begin reviewing them. but, as i noted, the democratic leadership has already decided to oppose judge kavanaugh's confirmation. they'd like to slow down the
process as much as possible. i think that explains why the ranking member won't sign a letter requesting documents that both sides want. i've heard that some of my democratic colleagues would like to request all of judge kavanaugh's records from his time as white house staff secretary, but these documents are both the least relevant to judge kavanaugh's legal thinking and the most sensitive to the executive branch. the staff secretary is the inbox and outbox of the oval office. passing through the secretary's office are a wide range of communications requesting things like flying the flag at half
mast to somehow including daily lunch menus to draft speeches to sensitive national security papers. the staff secretary's primary charge is not to provide his own substantive work product. the staff secretary makes sure that the president sees memos and policy papers produced by other offices in the white house. it's a very important job. it requires someone who is smart, someone who's hardworking, and someone who's talented, but the documents passing through judge kavanaugh's office while he was staff secretary are not particularly relevant to his legal thinking and for consideration of whether he should be on the supreme court. it's like saying in a sense the
senate clerk, someone who has a very difficult and demanding job, is responsible for all the positions taken by each of the senate offices. it's absurd. the senate should focus its efforts on reviewing his tens of thousands of pages of judicial opinions and other legal writings. not only would a broad review of staff secretary documents be a waste of time but also a waste of taxpayers' money. moreover, staff secretary documents contain some of the most sensitive information and sensitive advice that went directly to president bush from a range of policy advisors. back in 2010, both democrats and republicans agree that justice
kagan shouldn't produce internal communications while she was solicitor general because of those documents sensitivity. if we're going to talk about a kagan standard, then we need to talk about taking sensitive communications off the table. that's what all sides agreed to in 2010 and what i'll insist on now. so i appreciate the minority leader's efforts to ensure some transparency and thoroughness, but let's get right down to brass tacks. i don't think the minority leader actually wants to read millions of pages that crossed judge kavanaugh's desk way back in 2004 and probably the three years that he held that position of secretary.
the minority leader said he'd fight this nomination with everything he's got, and this proved what i've been talking about, and his request, proves it because this bloated document request is part of that fight. this is not about anything other than obstruction. to bury us in millions and millions of pages of paper so we cannot have a confirmation vote on judge kavanaugh this year. liberal dark money, outside groups wants to drag this confirmation out just as far as they can to the end of time. i won't let them. this confirmation process should focus on judge kavanaugh's qualifications, not become a
taxpayer-funded fishing expedition. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. kennedy: mr. president, i'm almost embarrassed to talk about what i have to talk about today. we find ourselves in the united states congress once again only days away from causing a lapse in the national flood insurance program. now the majority of members of the united states senate and of the united states house of representatives understand the importance of extending this program, but sadly, some don't.
you can lead some people to water but you can't make them think. without congressional action, ordinary americans -- the people who get up every day and go to work and obey the law and pay their taxes and try to do the right things by their kids -- are going to suffer. these kids work pretty hard to earn money it to cover their mortgages, to pay their insurance premiums, to put food on the table, and hopefully have a little extra when all is said and done. the united states government made a promise to these people, mr. president, these tax-paying americans, that if they pay their flood insurance premiums, we'll have their backs when they flood. mr. president, we're about to tell them we lied. you know when you lie to congress, it's a felony. when congress lies to you, it's
just politics. and that's not right. unless we do something, mr. president, the national flood insurance program -- we call it as you know the nfip -- is going to expire on july 31. now unless you're a rock, only dumber, that's in eight days, including today. every once in a while congress seems to just decide to keeping our promise to the intern taxpayer isn't worth -- to the american taxpayer isn't worth the effort. what planet did we parachute in from that we can't even maintain the status quo on something that affects the lives of millions of people and helps more than 22,000 communities across this great country. mr. president, i'm standing here today because the reauthorization of the nfip has never been more urgent. let me say it again. we have eight days until
disaster. if the nfip is allowed to expire on july 31, congress is going to be sending a clear message to the 5 million hardworking americans who count on this program, and that message is three words: we don't care. we don't care. and the unfortunate thing is that i think some -- it's a small minority, but some don't. last september, when texas and parts of louisiana were still reeling from hurricane harvey, one member of the united states congress actually said, and i quote, the federal government is encouraging and subsidizing people to live in harm's way. at some point, he said god is
telling you to move. give me a break. are you kidding me? the fact is that 50% of our country's population and 50% of our country's jobs are along our coasts and waterways. you really think they ought to just move? living near water is an economic necessity. people have been doing it since the beginning of time. it's as true for us now as it was in biblical times that our economies and our livelihoods are tied to water. you take the mississippi river which runs through my state. each year it sustains 1.3 million jobs and generates more than $405 billion in revenue. how many jobs are tied to the
12,000 miles of u.s. coastline? what do you think would be the economic impact if everyone who lived near one of the 1.3 million miles of rivers in this great country just picked up and moved tomorrow, as if they could afford to do so? give me a break. i hope we never have to find out what would happen, mr. president, but one thing is certain. nobody's going to move before july 31, when the nfip expires just because some members of congress erroneously think they ought to. i want to make two other points, mr. president. first, if congress allows the nfip to expire, it's going to stall thousands and thousands and thousands of home closings. that's right. many lenders, because the law requires it, many lenders require homeowners to carry
flood insurance. no nfip, no flood insurance. no flood insurance, no home sale. the last time congress chose to do nothing and let the national flood insurance program expire, mr. president, the nfip lapsed for a total of 53 days. that was in 2010. over those two months each and every day 1,400 home sales were canceled. that's every day. that's not total. that's every day. think about how that's going to impact our economy. isn't that special? just when we finally get the united states economy moving again, we're going to step on it by letting the national flood insurance program expire. no wonder many americans say -- and i hear it all the time -- yes, there are some good members of congress.
we just can't figure out what they're good for. mr. president, i'm also tired of hearing that the nfip is being abused by rich people for their beach homes. i hear it all the time. that's a bunch of bovine waste, mr. president. 98.5%, almost 99% of all nfip policies are in counties with a median household income of less than $100,000. 62% are in counties with a median household income below the national average of $54,000. the reality is that for those who live in a coastal state like louisiana or otherwise in a floodplain, you don't have to live near a body of water if you
get 22 inches of rain in two days. you're going to flood even if you live on pikes peak. but the reality is for those who live in a coastal state like my state or elsewhere in a floodplain, the nfip is the only place you can turn to protect your property. floods are the most common and the most costly natural disaster and the damage that's done by hail and fire and wind or a falling tree is covered by homeowners insurance, but not if you flood. if you flood, it's not covered by your homeowners policy. mr. president, the federal government made a promise. we promised more than 5 million americans, half a million in my state alone, that we would have their backs. we promised them if they would pay their hard-earned money into the national flood insurance program through premiums, if they flooded, we would cover it.
it's time we get our act together and keep that promise, mr. president. the nfip is just too important to be used as a political football. for millions of people in this country, in my state and elsewhere, this program is the only way they can protect their most valuable asset -- their home. and at a minimum we owe those hardworking americans some peace of mind. so i urge my colleagues, mr. president, to support my bill and the bill senator bill cassidy, the senior senator from louisiana, senate bill 3128. it will extend the flood insurance program for six months through hurricane season. that's all it does. it just maintains the status quo. it doesn't change anything. it just says the national flood insurance program that we have today is going to be extended for six months to get us through
hurricane season while we in the senate and in the house continue to work on a reform bill that would rework the nfip and turn it into a program that looks like somebody designed it on purpose. that's all my bill and bill's bill does. we simply can't afford to let the folks in our at-risk communities down, especially those exposed during hurricane season. and truthfully, they deserve better from us, mr. president. mr. president, for my remaining remarks, i would ask unanimous consent that those remarks appear in a separate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kennedy: mr. president, i'm going to speak very briefly about a friend of mine who's been nominated by president trump for a very important position in the federal government. this friend's name is john fleming, and he has been nominated by the president to be
assistant secretary for the economic development administration at the department of commerce. dr. fleming currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary of health, i.t. reform at the department of health and human services, and he's done a wonderful job. he's done such a great job that the president has asked him to take on this important program at the department of commerce. dr. fleming is a public servant's public servant. he's a four-time -- four-term member of the united states house of representatives. he's a physician, went to the university of mississippi undergraduate and to medical school. he's an entrepreneur and businessman. his businesses, aside from his family medical practice, support about 600 jobs in my state.
after dr. fleming finished at ole miss and finished med school, he enlisted in the united states navy. he served there in the medical corps. during his time in the house of representatives, dr. fleming was a champion of our economy. he was a champion for families and he was a champion for our veterans. he's a skilled physician. he's an experienced entrepreneur. and he's a good guy. i know dr. john fleming and his family well, and i am honored to be able to endorse his nomination. just to show you, mr. president, that he's well rounded -- i forgot this -- john also has a black belt incrat -- in karate. i'm not sure when he was time but he's a well-rounded guy. i have no doubt that dr. fleming
is more than qualified to be a very fine assistant secretary of economic development in the administration, and i endorse his nomination categorically and unconditionally. thank you, mr. president. with that, i suggest the absence of a quorum. a senator: will the senator withhold his request. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you very much, mr. president. mr. president, we are on the verge of the one-year mark since the united states senate attempted to take away health care from 30 million americans and was told no by the american public. for virtually the entire time since the passage of the affordable care act, republicans in the house and the senate engaged in an exercise that was futile while president obama was in office but then was made possible by the election of
donald trump. that was the repeal of the affordable care act, which extended care to 20 million americans who didn't have it, guaranteed that health insurance would actually cover the things you need and protected people who were sick or people with preexisting conditions from discrimination. when republicans finally took over, they realized that they had spent a whole lot of time criticizing the affordable care act but not a lot of time figuring out what would come next. and most of 2017 was spent in an embarrassing series of proposals that, according to the congressional budget office, would uninsure somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 million to 30 million people. finally when a vote was called on the floor of the senate, just enough republican senators chose to side with the american people who want to maintain the protections of the affordable care act and work to perfect it, but the bill failed by one vote.
that one-year mark will occur this weekend, on saturday. and so a few of us want to come to the floor today to talk about what's happened since that fateful vote a year ago, that was, frankly, celebrated all across this country as folks who were deeply fearful that their health care was going to be ripped away from them by the united states congress realized that they might be able to rely on it for at least another year. but let me set the stage first by reminding people the promises that were made. this is president trump shortly after his election, just before his swearing in. he said, we're going to have insurance for everybody. people covered under the law can expect to have great health care, much less expensive, and much better. now, that's a clear promise that the president made. everybody's going to have insurance, it's going to be less
expensive, and it's going to be better. more insurance, less expensive, better quality. the vote that took place a year ago saturday would have done exactly the opposite. it would have kicked 30 million people off of insurance. it would have driven up costs for millions of americans, especially those people with preexisting conditions, and coverage would have been much worse, not much better, in part because people with preexisting conditions wouldn't be able to access care. so this promise never came true because of the vote that we took a year ago this saturday. but occasionally the president does say something that's true. this is a picture of the celebration that the house of representatives had at the white house the day that they voted on a proposal that would rip away health care from 30 million americans before the vote that took place here in the senate.
a lot of smiling faces of members of congress who were so excited that people who had cancer or people who had diabetes would be unable to get health care insurance. this quote is not actually from this press conference, it's from a rally that the president held just a few weeks ago. he was talking about the fact that john mccain and some others voted against that proposal on the senate floor that caused it to fail, but he said -- this is the president's words, it's all right because we've essentially gutted it, the affordable care act, anyway. it's all right because we've essentially gutted it anyway. so that summarizes what happened since the failed vote on the floor of the senate a year ago. president trump and his republican friends in congress, all smiling behind him, have gutted the affordable care act, not because they want better health care for people, but
because they are just angry that they couldn't get the votes to do it here in congress and so they are doing it another means. and so a few of us are going to be down on the floor to talk about what has happened in that last year. now, listen, i actually think that most of my colleagues do want better health care for their constituents but i don't understand how any of what has happened, either through legislative act or through administrative action, gets us there -- gets us to that promise that president trump made in january of 2017. because here's what's gone on. first the president set an executive order saying that all of his agencies should take their own actions to unwind the protections of the affordable care act, then he stopped the marketing for the affordable care act so that less people would know about the options that were available to them,
then the president came to congress and worked with republicans to take away one of the most important pillars of the affordable care act, a requirement that healthy people buy insurance, that action alone will result in 13 million people losing insurance and rates going up for 10 million americans. most recently the president authorized the junk insurance plans across the country, plans that don't have to cover mental health, prescription drugs, or maternity care. he then cut funding even deeper for the personnel who help you find what insurance is right for you and instructed the people that remained to push americans on to the junk plans. then the president sent his lawyers to court to argue that congress can't actually protect people with preexisting
conditions because it's unconstitutional, which would wipe out all of the protections that people enjoy today. and so it's really no mystery as to why, as the 2019 premium increases are coming out, they are catastrophic. 14 states have premium increases of 10% to 20%. connecticut is one of those. five states have requests for premium increases of 30% or more, and -- think about that for a second, 30% or more. who can afford a 40% increase in premiums. one insurance company requested a 90% increase in rates. of the 21 companies that had rates filed, the reason they are passing along enormous premium increases is because of the
sabotage run by the president and this congress. all -- most of it occurring since the failure of the repeal vote a year ago. it's all right, says the president. we didn't need to repeal the affordable care act. that vote that we're marking the one-year anniversary of doesn't really matter because we've essentially gutted it, the affordable care act, the american health care system anyway. and so, finally, before i turn this over to the ranking member on the health committee, i just want to talk about the next phase of the sabotage campaign. if republicans in congress can't get the american people to support a legislative act to repeal the affordable care act, the next hope is for the courts to do it. and so that's why the nomination of brett kavanaugh is so critical to this continued campaign of trying to undermine
the affordable care act because you probably can't get the majority of members of congress to wipe away protections for people with preexisting conditions, but maybe you can get the supreme court to do it. there's a case that i just referenced that the trump administration is supporting moving its way through the courts that would constitutionally invalidate prohibitions -- protections for people with preexisting conditions, it is cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, pregnancy, high blood pressure, high cles roll, mental illness, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and president trump said that he wouldn't pick someone who would uphold the affordable care act, he would pick judges that would rule with him who would not support the affordable care act. that's why he went to a
political group like the heritage. and so the -- heritage foundation. so the expectation is that judge kavanaugh will deliver one of the five needed votes to protect people with preexisting conditions. the supreme court could take away your health care if you have a history of any of these diseases. and if that happens, the results are lethal. if you have metastatic cancer and you don't have the protection in the law that says that insurance companies can't charge you more because you're sick, insurance companies show that you will charged a rate $142,000 higher than what you pay today. if you're an individual who has diabetes, your increase could be 137% higher than now. these are -- this is what is at
stake as we prepare to vet on judge kavanaugh's nomination and it is all in service of this very intentional, very deliberate, very planful campaign of sabotage. a year ago this saturday the american people got their way and this body decided not to repeal the affordable care act because people liked the fact that 20 million people have insurance, people liked the fact that people with preexisting conditions are protected. that night the american people got their way, but since then the president and this congress have been working to undermine it and the next step in that plan is the elevation of brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. it's important for us to come down to the floor and explain what the stakes are. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mrs. murray: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president.
mr. president, i want to thank the senator from connecticut, and i too join him in being very proud, as we were a year ago, to see congress stand with families across the country who didn't want to see their health care rolled back. a year ago, as he said, president trump tried to make good on his campaign promise to repeal the affordable care act and jeopardize the health of millions of people. congress tried to jam this through congress that would have gutted medicaid and scrapped protections for people with preexisting conditions which would put families back at the mercy of big insurance companies. but people across the country stood up, they spoke out, and they made it absolutely clear they did not want president trump to take away their health care or give power back to those insurance companies. and during that debate i heard personal stories from patients and families all over my state
of washington who wrr concerned about -- who were concerned about trump care because it would make it harder to get the care they needed. i heard stories like julie. julie has a genetic condition, and as a result of that, she has had four -- four different types of cancer. she has had four different organs removed during treatment and she has had her diet severely restricted and her life dramatically changed. but she is a fighter and she had excellent care and she ultimately won each of those four battles with cancer, however, without protections for people with preexisting conditions, her health care costs could skyrocket. if president trump had his way, julie could not get the care she needed, and by the way, she's not the only one. i her from families like a woman named vanessa. when she was pregnant, she learned her daughter would be born with significant health
challenges. in fact her daughter had her first surgery when she was just 20 days old and she would have two more before her very first birthday. even though her daughter was born with preexisting conditions that will be costly to treat for years to come, vanessa, her mom, was able to get insurance through our state exchange and get her daughter the care she needed. if president trump had his way, that might not be possible. last year during the trump debate i shared her story and i have heard more that i would love to share. and people in other states across the country were also reaching out letting their senators know how damaging trump care would be for their families and urging them to vote against it, and it worked. last year we came together and gave president trump's health care scheme a big thumbs down. unfortunately that has not
stopped president trump from doing everything he can to sabotage families' health care from the oval office. when he couldn't jam through trump care, instead he had a partisan tax bill that gave -- paid for drug companies that his secretary confessed would drive up premiums. he slashed investments that helped people get health care coverage. he handed power back to the health insurance companies by expanding loopholes for junk plans and making it easier to ignore protections, especially for women, seniors, and people with preexisting conditions. the trump administration is even refusing to defend preexisting protections in court by ignoring the people of the country who want them to fight for these
protections. while president trump has broken a lot of promises, it's cleared he has never wavered in his promise to undermine health care for our families, and he has never failed to put insurance companies ahead of patients, which is why his decision to nominate judge kavanaugh to the supreme court is such an alarming oh,men for -- omen for team's health care. as a candidate president trump said that he would nominate far-right supreme court judges who would strike down the affordable care act and p jeopardize care for millions of families. and to be sure candidates met that extreme ideological standard, he had them vetted by extreme ideological groups. we know that president trump chose kavanaugh because kavanaugh will make it harder for people to get the care they need. we know preexisting conditions
protections are on line. we know stopping kavanaugh's nomination is not a matter of partisan politics, for many families in our country it's a matter of life and death, and we know we can stop it if people across the country do exactly what they did to beat trump care. stand up, speak out, make sure that families who didn't want their health care stripped away last year don't want it stripped away this year either. i have heard from so many families concerned about this and i know they are sharing their stories as well, so i hope our republican colleagues are listening even more closely than they were last year. and that more of them will join us on the side of patients and families, not the preps on the side of -- president on the side of insurance companies. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. a senator: i want to thank my colleagues from connecticut for being here and spepg out and being so -- speaking out and being so remarkable in their
persistence in defending america's concerns about health care. mr. coons: i want to add my voice. i look back eight years when i first joined the senate in 2,010. at that point the affordable care act was barely a year old. since then in the early years of the affordable care act, we saw some very positive patterns. more americans gained access to health insurance, health care costs growth slowed, insurance markets put in place under the a.c.a. proved to be resilient despite repeated challenges. and as a result of the a.c.a., 20,000,000 more americans, including 38,000 delawareans gained access to high quality comprehensive health care coverage. it's through the a.c.a. exchange that my own family and i get our health care and so many others in delaware have had a chance to get access to health care. the 190,000 people in my little state of 900,000 people who have preexisting conditions no longer had to worry about being denied coverage and lifetime caps were a thing of the past.
this matters. it saved lives. just listen briefly, if you would, to the story of nicole from my little hometown of hoak -- hoak hoe seen, delaware. her 3-year-old daughter was born with cystic fibrosis, a horrible disease that robs children, people of the ability to breathe. nicole's 3-year-old daughter with cystic fibrosis spend at least an hour a day getting breathing treatments from her mother and $5,000 a month getting her medications, not cheap. inic coal was confident without the a.c.a. she would have exceeded her caps and medical expenses before the end of the year. nicole reaching out to me made it clear. without the consumer protections of the affordable care act, she would have had one of three choices. hoped she qualified for medicaid unlikely due to her income, go into debt to pay for her daughter's treatment or stop giving her daughter some of the medication she depends on to
save her life. all that's assuming that her daughter's cystic fibrosis wasn't considered a preexisting condition preventing her from getting any insurance at all. because of that circumstance, nicole's story exemplifies the life changing gains and positive trends the a.c.a. provided. unfortunately there were some other challenges as well, which i'll summarize quickly. that have developed over time. let me transition to where we are today, forgive me. today we're in a place where just a year ago consistent, repeated efforts after the 2,016 election by republicans in congress to repeal but without a plan to replace the a.c.a. resulted in a place where, as my colleague from connecticut has laid out. the trump administration has done its best to roll back these ways in which progress was made, to extend quality, affordable health care to more americans. after a number of efforts to repeal the law failed last year thanks to the american people who stood up and had their
voices heard, the administration has decided to take a different approach. a slow and steady unraveling and undermining of the protections that made the a.c.a. work. it started with a decision to stop cost-sharing reduction payments which help working families afford their premiums and access care. it continued when they changed the rules and encouraged people to sign up for plans that didn't have all the benefits and consumer protections of the a.c.a., really junk plans which made possible bringing back discrimination against women and those with preexisting conditions. and it culminated last month with something that was done in a fly by night way and may not have been visible at all to my constituents and viewers, a decision to no longer defend the core components of the a.c.a. in court, including protections for those with preexisting conditions. in a lawsuit brought by 20 state attorneys general from states that overwhelmingly oppose the a.c.a. this decision was so shocking,
three career justice department attorneys withdraw from itself case and one with over 20 years experience resigned from his job. make no mistake, this was the administration sabotaging the a.c.a. and our health care system. president trump even admitted in a campaign event just cited by my colleague from connecticut that he had gutted the a.c.a. this may resonate with the president's base. it may resonate with people he hopes will vote him back into office in the future election, but for millions of families across the country and in my home state, losing protections against preexisting conditions discrimination is a death sentence. it would be devastating for nicole and her daughter who i described before. it would be devastating for kim from my hometown and residence, wilmington, a thyroid cancer survivor now able to get insurance because her cancer isn't considered a preexisting condition under the affordable care act, she's not subject to preexisting condition discrimination. in my home state of delaware, gutting protections for
preexisting conditions would leave one in five at risk of skyrocketing health insurance costs or losing coverage all together. this lawsuit impacts every corner of america's health care system and that our administration is not defending the law of the land is a shocking development. it impacts not just those who get their health care through the a.c.a. exchanges. it would impact 150,000,000 americans who get their health insurance through their employer because it would eliminate protections against lifetime and annual limits on care. it would impact seniors on medicare who would see increased prescription drug costs. it would impact americans who depend on free preventive services, cancer screenings and flu shots because those policies, components of the a.c.a., would be eliminated. and it impacts young people who would lose their right to stay on their parents' health insurance until age 26. these are just a few of the devastating impacts of the texas vmplets u. lawsuit is successful
in ripping out what is left of the protections of the a.c.a. it would have a real and tangible impact on families in my state of delaware and avoss our country -- across our country. that's why i'm glad to support a resolution proposed by my colleagues to defend the constitutionality, preexisting condition protections in our health care system. this is critical to the well-being, to the health of the families we represent. my democratic colleagues and i know that the a.c.a. was not perfect when passed. i have heard from small business owners in my home state about some of the limitations and the increases in costs and the ways in which they wish we had a more robust tax credit for small business, ways they wished we'd work together to perfect the a.c.a. that's why i came to the floor time and again in my first four years here seeking colleagues across the aisle willing to work with us to make the affordable care act better. instead of working to tear down the a.c.a., we should have been working to address challenges
with affordability and coverage, increasing tax credits for small businesses, and making it stronger and more sustainable. instead of sabotaging the care millions of americans have depended on, we should ensured that there is more competition in the marketplace, especially in small states like my own. i wish we had instead taken a path of pursuing commonsense regulatory reforms and cost containment efforts to slow the rate of growth of health care costs. it is not too late for that. it is still not impossible that we could set aside the divisive partisan rhetoric that this administration will abandon its underhanded attempts to sabotage this health care law and instead focus on pursuing constructive and bipartisan fixes. the bottom line is the affordable care act has helped millions of americans like nicole and kim whose stories i shared with you live healthier and more secure lives. i am not optimistic but i insist on remaining hopeful that there is still yet time for us to do our job on a bipartisan basis
and secure health care for all of america. as happened a year ago roughly last month, the floor of this senate can still be moved by the voices of americans who would say to this administration stop your refusal to defend the a.c.a. let's move forward in a positive way together. thank you, mr. president. with that i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, today i join my democratic colleagues to condemn the trump administration's efforts to sabotage the affordable care act. not so long ago donald trump ran for president promising better, cheaper health care for everyone. but instead of making anything better, president trump is making everything in this regard worse. big corporations are raking in trillion dollar tax cuts while the forgotten americans the
president promised to protect are drowning in higher premiums, higher deductibles and higher prescription drug costs. it's time to call out who's responsible for the soaring health care costs. make no mistake, while the media is riveted on the president's every tweet and the russian investigation's every turn, the trump administration is doing everything it can to make health care less affordable and less accessible to the american people. when you turn on the news, you don't hear about the millions of americans who lost their coverage under president trump's watch. you don't hear about how prices for the top ten diabetes drugs have spiked over 25% despite the president's wild claims that drug companies will voluntarily lower their prices. you won't hear about the administration's cynical efforts to destabilize our insurance markets and send premiums
skyrocketing, like the health and human services department recent freezing of the risk adjustment program. look, health care policy may be complicated, but there's nothing complicated about the idea that health care is a human right. there's nothing controversial about the idea that cancer patients shouldn't be gouged as they battle the worst illness of their life and there's nothing radical about the idea that in the most prosperous country on earth, every american deserves quality, affordable health care. now, i know my republican colleagues have no desire to remind voters how they spent the past year, but the american people aren't going to forget it. they aren't going to forget how many times republicans spent in a year pushing policies that would have left 32,000,000 people uninsured. vote after vote after vote to
repeal the affordable care act. they aren't going to forget how republicans tried to defund planned parenthood and deny millions of lower income women access to basic care. they aren't going to forget how trumpcare would have slapped older consumers with a punishing age tax and eliminated the affordable care act's essential health benefits provision which requires all health plans to cover basic things like prescription drugs, maternity care, and visits to specialists. they aren't going to forget how trumpcare slashed tax credits that helped middle-class families purchase coverage or how it would have ended medicaid as we know it, abandoning seniors in nursing homes, pregnant women, disabled americans, and the most vulnerable. nor will americans forget how president trump turned his back
on patients with preexisting conditions which basically means someone had an illness in their life or born with a birth defect and, therefore, had what insurance companies considered a preexisting condition that you could discriminate against and either not provide insurance coverage or have skyrocketing costs in order to get the coverage. as a candidate and then as president, trump promised again and again that he'd uphold protections for preexisting conditions. he went so far as to say that trumpcare would be, quote, every bit as good on preexisting conditions as obamacare. so much for that. the trump administration is now, as we speak, arguing in a federal court that these protections are unconstitutional and you can guess what republicans -- republican colleagues in congress are doing
about it. absolutely nothing. instead of working to make health care more affordable, they're -- their cheerleading efforts by the trump administration to push junk insurance plans on consumers, ignoring the attacks on our health insurance markets that have sent premiums skyrocketing, and standing in silence as the trump administration makes the case that the affordable care act's preexisting conditions are unconstitutional. republicans' reckless abandonment of families with preexisting conditions is even more concerning giving president trump's nomination of judge brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. this is a judge with a long history of ruling against consumers, siding with corporate interests, and assailing the constitutionality of the affordable care act. if republicans were really concerned about protecting patients with preexisting conditions, they'd put the
brakes on this nomination. instead they've left the health and financial security of millions of patients with preexisting conditions in the president's hands. there are nearly 3.8,000,000 people in my home state of new jersey with preexisting conditions. i've had the opportunity to meet with some of them in recent months. they're outraged that we're even having this debate and they are a frayed this president could take us back to a time when having a history of asthma or diabetes meant being denied coverage or dropping your plan at any moment. let me tell you about the folks i met with recently in belleville, new jersey. i heard from ann, who is a survive of sexual assault and today suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder pentagon. if president gets his way, insurers could once again charge her more for coverage. i can't think of a clearer
instance of victim blaming than charging victims of sexual assault higher premiums because of the trauma that they endured. then there's renali, who was seven months pregnant when she suffered her first stroke. years later she suffered another stroke while carrying caring for her -- while caring for her autistic son. without the affordable care act, insurance companies could deny coverage to moms like her who had complicated pregnancies. and of course this 4-year-old ethan, who is more concerned about which dinosaur to play with than the pacemaker that's keeping him alive. before the affordable care act, children like ethan were blacklisted from insurance companies for life. how do you tell a 4-year-old that his president no longer believes in protecting children like him? i wish my republican colleagues could answer that question for ann, morali, ethan, for that fact for all of us.
fortunately, the american people are smarter than the majority gives them credit for. they know what's at stake. they know who is responsible for soaring prescription drug costs, for sky-high deductibles, for shrinking paychecks and soaring insurance premiums. it's the people in charge. the republican congress had ample time to deliver better, cheaper health coverage to all americans. instead, they used every moment to try to force consumers to pay more for less conveyor. they refuse to protect patients with preexisting conditions. they have shown zero interest in helping struggling families pay their bills. and they've handed trillion-dollar tax cuts to big corporations and wealthy c.e.o.'s. the big corporations aren't using this windfall to raise wages. health insurance companies aren't using this money to reduce premiums. drug companies aren't using this known lower prices.
republicans said that tax cuts would grow paychecks and solve all of our economic problems. but thus far corporations have spent $650 billion buying back their own stock while workers' pages shrink in the face of soaring costs. republicans promised the sun and the moon with these tax cuts, but here on planet earth, we know that trickle-down economics just doesn't work. in all my years serving the people of new jersey, i have never seen a corporate tax cut cover a colonoscopy or cover a cancer patient's prescription drugs. americans deserve real solutions that will protect their patients from rising premiums and the cost of prescription drugs. we've always been crystal clear mr. what motivates our work on health care. we believe that all americans deserve affordable care, no matter how many money they make or where they live.
i won't stop until we achieve universal coverage for every man, woman, and child across this great nation. and in 2018, voters are going to remember who fought to protect affordable health care and who worked relentlessly to undermine it. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the following amendments be called up en bloc and reported by number -- schatz number 3407 and kennedy number 3430. i further ask consent that following the remarks of senators baldwin, durbin, schatz, and kennedy, the senate vote in relation to the schatz and kennedy amendments in the order listed and that there be no second-degree amendments in order to the amendments prior to the votes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. murkowski: for the information of all senators, we expect -- the clerk will report the
amendments by number. the clerk: ms. murkowski for others proposes amendments number 3407 and 3430, en bloc, to amendment number 3399. ms. murkowski: mr. president, for the information of all senators, we expect these votes to occur shortly after 6:00 p.m. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. ms. baldwin: mr. president, i rise today to join my colleagues because this week marks the one-year anniversary of senator mccain's casting the deciding vote against the health care repeal legislation. i, too, voted against that legislation, as i did a number of very partisan efforts by president trump and congressional republicans. i did so because the people of
wisconsin did not send me to washington to take people's health care coverage away. they have consistently sent a clear message that they want us to work across the party aisle to make things better and not worse. as i have said throughout last year's debate and to this day, the people of wisconsin want both parties in congress to work together to make things better by stabilizing the health insurance market, making health care more affordable, and taking on the rising prescription drug prices. i strongly believe that if both parties look past the partisan debate in washington, we can find common ground on solutions that work for the american people. each and every one of the health care repeal bills that were pushed by the president and congressional republicans faced opposition by the american
people because they would have done all -- all of them would have done the same thing -- take health care coverage away from millions of americans and make people pay more for less care. they would have gutted protections for those with preexisting conditions. it would have forced older adults to pay an age tax. they would have cut benefits for medicaid for most -- our most vulnerable people like senior citizens and even our veterans. put simply, this would have taken us back to the days when insurance companies set the rules. wisconsin families and families across our entire country let their voices be heard to the congress. like chelsea from seymour, wisconsin, whose daughter was born with a congenital heart defect and had to have
open-heart surgery within five days of her byrne. -- of her birth. chelsea wrote to me and said, i'm pleading with you as a mother to fight for the kids in wisconsin with preexisting health conditions. so, together we fought to protect the guaranteed health care protections that people depend on. together we fought the repeal plans to cut and cap medicaid, putting care at risk for everyone who depends on it, from a loved one who depends on medicaid for nursing care to a disabled child who relies on medicaid funding at school. and together we fought repeal plans that would increase the number of uninsured americans. but even defeating the legislation -- legislative efforts that would have made things worse for our families didn't end the threat to the
american people. president trump has been trying to do what congressional republicans couldn't. he has been sabotaging our health care system by undermining the guaranteed health protections and access to affordable care. he ended the critical cost-sharing reduction payments that make health care more affordable for almost 90,000 wisconsinites. his administration again slashed funding to states for outreach efforts to help more people sign up for health care, trusted navigator programs like those in wisconsin have had their funding cut by nearly 90% in the last two years. this will mean fewer people in rural wisconsin will receive the support they need to obtain affordable coverage. and president trump's sabotage of the health care market has
created severe instability and already contributed to a 36% premium spike in wisconsin this year. this damage is not enough for trump's administration, as it has also proposed a plan to allow insurance companies to sell what we call junk plans that could increase costs and reduce access to quality coverage for millions of americans. harm people with preexisting health conditions and force premium increases on older adults. these junk plans once again let big insurance companies write the rules and could exclude basic care, including hospitalization, prescription drugs, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and maternity care. mr. president, it still does not end here.
legislative repeople efforts and -- legislative repeal efforts and executive branch sabotage have now moved to the judicial branch. wisconsin's governor and attorney general have sued to strike down the entire affordable care act last month -- and last month the trump administration supported this repeal effort by going to court to take away guaranteed protections and raised costs for americans with preexisting conditions. if the lawsuit succeeds, insurance companies will once again be able to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions by denying them coverage or charging exorbitant premiums. president trump is threatening guaranteed and affordable health care coverage for more than 133 million americans and over 2 million wisconsinites with
preexisting conditions. in fact, as a kaiser health report made clear last week, if the affordable care act's protections for people with preexisting medical conditions are struck down in court, wisconsin is among a number of states that has the most to lose. according to kaiser, one out of every four wisconsinites has a preexisting condition. and they cannot afford to have the health care they depend on threatened. when i was a child, i was branded with the words preexisting condition after a serious childhood illness. so i am going to continue fighting to make sure that no family would have to choose between helping their child get better or going bankrupt. again, the people of wisconsin did not send me to washington to take people's health care away, and i will continue my fight against these relentless efforts
to make things worse for wisconsin families. this issue is personal to me, and i know it's very personal to the individuals and families in wisconsin. no parent, no grandparent, no foster parent should lay awake at night wondering if the health care they have for their child today will be there tomorrow. and that's why i will continue my work to protect it. last year the american people sent a loud message to washington. i heard it, and they are sending the same simple message today -- protect our care. i yield, mr. president. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: it is interesting. i listened to my colleague from wisconsin, my neighboring state, talk about her personal and family experience with health care. i think every one of us has a story. it's our own personal story --
or certainly know somebody, don't we, in our families who has a medical history, tells a story of whether or not they had the proper care at the proper time, whether the family could afford it, and then the big question -- can you buy health insurance? if you have a child with diabetes, if you have a wife who has suffered with cancer and survived, you know, can you buy health insurance? and the interesting thing -- i bet you found this because you're traveling all over your state of wisconsin -- this issue doesn't go away because people's worry over it doesn't go away. they're worried about whether they can afford to buy good health insurance. they're worried about whether they can afford to buy prescription drugs. it is that insecurity, that economic insecurity about health care that really continues to make this the biggest issue year in, year out here in america. i thank my colleague from wisconsin for telling her story and for really giving my speech. so i'm going to condense it and just say a few things she might
not have touched on, and i thank her for her contribution earlier today. it happened in my life at a very early age. my wife and i got married. i was in law school. god sent us a beautiful little girl and she had a serious medical problem. we were living here in washington, d.c., and didn't have health insurance. and and i want to tell you, you never felt more helpless in your life than to be a new father with a brand-new baby who desperately needs medical care and not have health insurance. i'll never forget it as long as i live. i lived in such fear from that point forward of not having health insurance coverage that i did crazy things getting health insurance two different places of employment just to make sure i never lost it. it scared me that much. and i still remember that fear, and i wonder if the people who are debating this issue about the affordable care act ever lived through it themselves. because if they did, they
wouldn't be standing here saying we can do away with the affordable care act. we know what happens if you eliminate the affordable care act. millions of americans lose their health insurance. millions of americans find health insurance not affordable. millions of americans are desperate for protection no longer have it and can't access the most basic quality health care that every american should expect. so we had this debate. a new president came in and said the first thing i'm going to do is get rid of obama care, get rid of the affordable care act. the obvious question was could he do it? it looked like he might be able to. the republicans controlled the house and senate. when they were in the majority with the democratic president, at least on 50 or 60 different occasions the house republicans voted to abolish obamacare. it was pointless because the senate wasn't going to take it up and the president would never sign that bill into law.
but you knew what the sentiment was. werp getting rid -- we're getting rid of it. we heard about that year after year. we passed the affordable care act in 2010 and for year after year all the republicans would could say was get rid of it, get rid of it. then came that moment when figuratively the dog caught the bus and they had an opportunity to present on the floor of the united states senate an alternative. what is it that you want to replace the affordable care act with, we said to our republican friends. you're elected to this body as legislators. let's see your legislation. it turns out they didn't have any. they just wanted to make sure obamacare was gone. they couldn't find a replacement. and they couldn't answer the basic question as to how they would provide health insurance or affordable health insurance for the millions of people who would lose coverage. i remember the night, early in the morning it was when we had the vote -- the vote -- on whether to eliminate obamacare.
two republican senators had already voted with us, but the critical third vote walked in that door, and his name was john mccain, stood in that well and gave a no sign with his thumb, and that's it. the affordable care act lived for another day. thank goodness he did it. thank goodness he and two of his colleagues had the courage to do it, to stand up and say if you can't replace obamacare with something better, for goodness sakes, stick with it. fix it. that didn't happen. after that vote there was a determined effort at every level of the trump administration to do away with obamacare. if they couldn't kill it on the floor of the senate they were going to kill it in many different ways. they limited the period of time when you signed up to renew your health insurance. they wanted to have fewer and fewer days available, hoping fewer and fewer people would take advantage of it. they eliminated the navigators, the advisors who helped people pick the right health insurance plan. they didn't want to give advice. they closed down the telephones
to the agencies where people would call saying what's my right here under the affordable care act? they did everything they could think of to eliminate obamacare and make it more difficult for people to sign up for it. but still people signed up. many people realized it was their only chance, their only chance to get health insurance. so the trump administration and republicans in congress are determined to this day to get rid of it and they have a new approach. if they can't kill it outright in the senate and they can't kill it by president trump's tweets, they're going to kill it in court. here's what they decided to do. 20 attorneys general, starting with texas -- and i see my friend from texas on the floor -- the leading attorney general is from texas, filed a lawsuit. here's what they said. it's unconstitutional to say that you cannot discriminate against people because they have preexisting conditions. now those are three negative words, so let me try to
translate this helsinki style as something you might understand. what they basically said is we don't believe the constitution can stop an insurance company from discriminating against people with a medical history, and we're going to court to prove it. and they have, with the support of the trump administration. they're trying to find a way to eliminate the protection of people with preexisting conditions so that they can buy affordable quality health insurance. what an amazing mission that these attorneys general and this administration want to find a way to deny health insurance coverage to millions of americans, or make it so expensive they can never afford it. what are they thinking? don't they represent the same flesh and blood americans as everyone else? don't they represent families as i do and all of us do, who have someone in their family with a medical history? i guess a third of american families qualify for that, and
yet they want to say those people should be discriminated against. why? because of the misfortune they had of being born with a congenital birth defect or the problem they had because they conquered cancer but always worry about it coming back. these are the things that my republican friends say, well, that's the way it goes. good luck in the insurance market. we're not going to protect you. and they say what it's all about is choice. it's pretty easy to have good choices in life when you're healthy or wealthy. but if you don't fit in those two categories, your choices are extremely limited, and people find themselves with only bad choices if they're not healthy or wealthy, and they don't have the protection of the law. they find health insurance premiums they cannot afford. and when they find a premium they can afford and start to look at the health insurance policy, it turns out it doesn't cover much. they also find themselves in positions where, as i mentioned earlier, someone in the family has a medical history, the wife
has a medical history. you can't buy a family plan that you can afford for the rest of the family. that is the reality of the world the republicans envisioned us moving to. it may be some great economic market model but it doesn't work in reality. not in the reality of people who are born with illnesses they have no control over and who would spend their lives fighting them and need a helping hand. the affordable care act gave them that helping hand. trump administration and republicans in congress have been determined from the beginning to put an end to this protection, to eliminate health insurance for more and more americans, and to make it unaffordable for so many families. is that why they ran for congress? is that why they ran for the senate? to go home and say, sorry, folks, but because of my principles, you don't get health insurance. you can't afford the health insurance that's being offered to you. or you can buy a junk policy that just won't be there when you need it. is that what america's all
about? interesting to me, and i'll close with this, the chicago medical society represents the doctors in the greater chicago land area. i've come to know it. it's one of the best medical associations in our state. more progressive than most, more thoughtful than most. i really salute them time and time again. they did a poll of their members and asked where do you think this is going? first they said we believe people that right to quality affordable health care. these are doctors -- a right to quality affordable health care. second, they said there are programs that work like medicare, programs that people trust. the premise behind medicare is very basic. if you are eligible age, you get health insurance. we make sure of it. and we guarantee to you that you're going to get the quality care through a government-run insurance program. there are a lot of republicans that would like to see medicare and medicaid go away too, but america wouldn't. america believes in it. and i believe in the principle behind both of those plans that as americans, we should care for
one another, give each and every family a chance, and make certain at the end of the day that health care is not just a privilege for those who happen to be wealthy. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. kennedy: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i want to talk for a second about an amendment i have to the minibus appropriations package, and i'm going to talk very briefly about the amendment. but first i want to respond to some of the comments of my friend, the senator from illinois, for whom i have great respect. i just disagree with him on this subject of the affordable care act, and i wanted to respond briefly. let me tell you what republicans believe, at least most of the republicans that i know. most republicans i know believe what americans believe. and that is that in our country if you're hungry, we feed you.
if you're homeless, we house you. if you're too poor to be sick, we will pay for your doctor. and we in america, republicans and democrats, put our money where our mouth is. we spend $1 trillion a year helping people who are less fortunate than we are. and that separates our country from every other country in the world. and, frankly, that's why so many of our neighbors across this great planet want to come to america. it's because we care about other people. i mean, when's the last time, mr. president, you heard of anybody trying to sneak into china? or russia? that's why they want to come to america. but, mr. president, when a government program, though well-intended, isn't working, we
owe it to the american taxpayer to explain to them why. and the affordable care act has not worked. i wish it had. i had the highest hopes. i remember, i remember when the senate debated it. you know, call me a nerd but i watched it on c-span. and i wanted it to work. and we were promised, look, we're going -- as a result of this act we're going to make health insurance access eublg and we're going to make it affordable and i said, man, i'll take a dozen of those. we've been trying to do that for 50 years around here. maybe this time we'll get it right. and it was offered with the best of intentions. you will never hear me criticize president obama for a lack of patriotism. he was very well intended. he wanted it to work. it wasn't a question of bad motives. it was just a bad idea. you know, 150 years ago doctors used to believe their patients
with the best of intentions but they stopped doing it because it was a bad idea. now we could do better. i agree with the objectives from the senator from illinois and let me say it again, i have great respect for him. but the american people deserve a health insurance program that looks like somebody designed it on purpose, and that's not the affordable care act. i wish it was. but it's not. we can do better. now let me hit a lick, mr. president, about my amendment to the minibus appropriation package, h.r. 6147. here's the problem. we have a lot of foreign seafood imported into the united states. and some of it is very dangerous. i'm afraid to say a lot of it is very dangerous. i'm unhappy to say that. our f.d.a. is in charge of
making sure that this foreign seafood is safe. it spends $11.9 million a year to do that. my amendment would give the f.d.a. an additional $3.1 million, and here's why it's important. last year in the united states we imported $21.5 billion worth of seafood. not million. $21.5 billion. now the f.d.a. is supposed to inspect it to make sure it's safe before you eat it. and the f.d.a. does the best it can, but they're only able with the small amount of money, relatively speaking that it has, to test a very small sample. 2%. so 98% of the foreign seafood coming in is not even tested. when it's tested, the f.d.a. often finds that it contains
salmonella. it contains listeria. it contains dirt. and it contains illegal drugs like antibiotics. what does that mean? well, aside from if you eat enough of this stuff, aside from the fact that you could grow an extra ear or glow in the dark, if you eat enough of it, then you develop a resistance to antibiotics. so if you eat bad seafood, particularly shrimp, full of these antibiotics, and you get sick, you get an infection, maybe an abscessed tooth and you go to the doctor, the doctor gives you antibiotics, they don't work anymore. now, mr. president, remember we're only examining 2% of all seafood imports. if you run the numbers, you'll see that barely 0.2% of seafood imports are rejected every year. the vast majority, 98%, were --
we're not even checking. this isn't just about public safety, though that's important, it's about public policy. american shrimpers, let me tell you what you -- they have to coe against in my state and other states. with foreign fishermen unfairly subsidized by the federal government that face little to no environmental regulations, little to no quality controls. they fish where they're not supposed to. they ignore international quotas. they pump much of their fish full of illegal drugs. and they don't look out for the health of local ecosystems like our domestic fishermen and fisherwomen do. and the result is dangerous. it's unsafe to the american people and it's unfair to the american shrimpers that do it the right way. i don't want my family eating it. i don't want my son eating it. i don't want my wife eating it. i don't want my dogs eating it. and to the american people that are listening, be careful if you
their vote? if not, the yeas are 87, the nays are 11. the amendment is agreed to. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: mr. president, last week the senator from delaware, senator coons, and i introduced a resolution commending the don't of justice for its investigation in the 2016 presidential election and maintaining that the russian federation should be held accountable for its actions. this simple resolution simply expressing support for our intelligence community and showing them that we are behind them and that we agree with them, we have trust in them, and that we reject the words of a dictator, vladimir putin, who
denies that -- that they interfered at all. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senator from arizona. mr. flake: and the resolution denies the words of a dictator, vladimir putin, who maintains that there was no russian interference in the election. russian interference in the election is not a debatable fact. this occurred. we have evidence. anybody who has seen simply what is public recognizes that this happened. any of us in this body who sat through classified briefing on this surely know that it happened, forensic evidence, digitally and otherwise, is simply not debatable. the reason for this resolution was that in helsinki it appeared that our president seemed to take the word of a dictator over the world of -- word of the
intelligence community. he later walked that back, but then still later, the next day, again talked about election interference as a hoax. so this resolution is nothing more than simply to say it happened, we node it -- we know it happened and we stand with our intelligence community who has said over and over again consistently that there was election interference. last week i cited george orwell's 1984 where he said the party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. today our president said what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening. we need to let the agencies of government here know that we in the senate stand behind them, that we understand that there was election interference, and
by doing this, by knowing this, we can prepare ourselves better for election interference that we know is coming because it is still in the works as the director of national intelligence dan coats said, the red light is blinking. this interference occurred and it continues. so by knowing the truth, then we can better prepare for what's to come. so, mr. president, unanimous consent that the foreign relations committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate now proceed to s. res. 583. i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. tillis: re -- mr. perdue: reserving the right to object. we need to focus on funding the federal government and
confirming this president's nominees. right now we have just 23 working days the way the senate operates between now and the end of the fiscal year, 23, mr. president. meanwhile we have 329 nominees. these are presidential nominees waiting for this body to confirm them. we need to stay on track. this resolution is nor more than -- no more than political theater. this resolution was previously objected to by senator cornyn just last week. it will continue to be objected to again because it is unnecessary. the senate, house of representatives, and our intelligence community have all thoroughly investigated this matter. in fact, the senate intelligence committee has held 16 open hearings dating back to january of 2017. they all found that russia did, in fact, attempt to interfere in u.s. elections. we all take that very seriously. however, let's be crystal clear, they also found that there is no
evidence that this interference impacted the outcome of the presidential election in 2016. this president and this body have consistently been tough on russia. i have personally cosponsored strong sanctions on russia and introduced sanctions for russian military -- we are debating additional economic sanctions to hold russia further accountable and we will continue to do so as long as their nefarious activities continue. what we don't need is more political distraction and that's all this is. therefore, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. coons: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: mr. president, i just want to offer my response to the very disappointing renewed objection that senator flake and i have attempted to move through this body twice. last week senator flake and i
came to speak clearly in support of our intelligence community and state that russia's attacks on our democracy will not be tolerated and we will take action in a firm, bipartisan, and swift way. some have said this is a simple or symbolic message, and i'll say there are powerful symbols that motivate our nation, like our flag, that although symbolic are substantive in their consequences. after the narrow objection from one senator last week, tonight we hear another objection saying what we should be focused on is on the president's nominees and funding the federal government. i frankly don't get the point. if this symbolic resolution, which calls on this sandt to act on -- senate to act on imposing sanctions in order to push back on russia's attack on our democracy cannot find two
minutes to adopt by unanimous consent this simple resolution, then i worry we continue to have a problem, a problem of lack of clarity about what actually happened in 2016 and what may happen in 2018. i'll remind you briefly that president trump's own director of national intelligence has warned that russia's attacks on our digital infrastructure are meant to undermine our democracy, close quote. i know i don't need to remind you is that what defines us as a democracy is free, fair, and open elections that our people find credible. this morning the department of homeland security publicly released that air gapped control centers for utilities had been penetrated successfully by russian military intelligence. the threat to our 2018 election continues to build. the clarity that we have been attacked in our 2016 election continues to build and the
sanctions that our president could be fully exercising were passed by this body by a vote of 98-2 through the countering americans sanctions act. this resolution is simple because of a lack of clarity at the helsinki meeting between putin and president trump, it includes the impact of that meeting in helsinki and the full implementation of the sanctions adopted by this body by a vote of 98-2. either we mean it or we don't. either we care about knowing what happened in helsinki or we don't. either we get the threat to our upcoming election or we don't. and in my view, we continue to face threats to our elections, to our critical infrastructure, and it is long past time for congress to work together to secure our democracy. mr. president, i want to close by thanking my colleague and friend from arizona for being a
partner in this effort, foreseeing clearly what is happening, and for standing up and asking this body to act. he gave, i think, a haunting opening quote from 1984. i am concerned that if our president thinks it is appropriate to invite president putin of russia, to meet with him in our white house or our nation's capitol, that he might not fully get the point. i am encouraged that speaker ryan and majority leader mcconnell to say that president putin is not welcomed in this building where this congress meets. i wonder what more it will take for there to be clarity on the part of the administration that president putin is our adversary, has attacked our election, is a threat to our democracy and should not be welcomed in this nation's capitol as a whole. i call on my colleagues to
support this resolution and stand with our intelligence and law enforcement communities and against this dangerous foreign adversary russia and, again, i thank my colleague from arizona for joining me in this important effort. with that, i yield the floor. mr. flake: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: i thank the senator from delaware for his very forceful articulation for the reason for this resolution. again, i repeat what was said by the president today, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening. continually the -- the topic of election interference is being muddied and being further clarified and then further muddied. that's why it's important for this body to stand up and say we know what happened, and we don't want it to happen again. that's what this resolution is all about. the senator who objected noted that we have a lot to do in congress, and we can't waste our time with resolutions like this. if this simply passes, it's
done. we have stated what we came here to state. but as it stands now, since it's been objected to, we'll bring it back. and so if we're really concerned about the agenda for the rest of the year, let's simply agree to it and say -- and let the intelligence community know that we stand with them. that's what we're doing here. why object to it. there is not one sentence in here, not one word that says anything about whether the election interference by the russians was dispositive or not, if it had any impact on the election. that's not implied in any way by this resolution. it simply states what is obvious, what the senator who objected acknowledged that has been repeated again and again by this body, by the house intelligence committee, and by every intelligence agency that we have. why not because there was
because there was such a muddied statement in helsinki, why not state in the senate here that we in the senate know what happened and that we stand with those in the intelligence community who have brought this forward. with that, i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 15 minutes, as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: i'm here i guess for the 214th time to urge that we wake up to the effects of carbon pollution on the earth's ocean and atmosphere and
climate. one obstacle to action on the threat that we face from climate change, however, is the manufactured doubt that so often surrounds this issue. we find this manufactured doubt a fossil fuel industry product, just as oil and gas are fossil fuel industry products flowing even from the editorial page of one of our nation's leading publications, "the wall street journal." whenever the issue is harmful industrial pollutants, "the wall street journal"'s editorial page has a long record of misleading its readers, denying the legitimate science, and even ignoring its own news reporting.
all for the polluting industries. a pattern of science denial repeats itself in the editorial pages of "the wall street journal" on environmental issues. issues like acid rain and depletion of the ozone layer and now and for years climate change. this editorial page has persistently published editorials against taking action to prevent man-made climate change. in june, 1993, the editors wrote that there is, quote, growing evidence that global warming just isn't happening, end quote. in september, 1999, the editorial page reported that, quote, serious scientists, end quote, call global warming one of the greatest hoaxes of all time. if that's what they are saying, i suspect that what those
scientists are serious about is the money they get from the fossil fuel industry. in june, 2005, the page asserted that the length between fossil fuels and global warming had, quote, become even more doubtful. this is judge, 2005. and "the wall street journal" editorial page is questioning whether there is a link between fossil fuels and global warming? even more recently, a december 2011 editorial said that the global warming debate requires what the page called more definitive evidence, having essentially all the serious scientists in the world lined up on this, i guess, is not serious enough. and in october, 2013, the editorial board of "the wall
street journal" warned that in addressing climate change, interventions make the world poorer than it would otherwise be. i guess if the world of exxon shareholders is your world, then it does make it poorer, but in any real world, that just ain't so. you would think that as the evidence mounted over the past several decades, "the wall street journal" editorial page would have at some point woken up and begun to publish editorials based on real science and data. to put it mildly, that has not been the case. instead, the editorial page has doubled down on climate denial. just last month, the journal published a piece titled the sea is rising but not because of
climate change. this piece is riddled with readily fact-checked scientific errors, and it ignores all the legitimate science on climate change and sea level rise. not surprisingly, the author of this article, fred singer, is a notorious and long-standing climate denier who has for years been affiliated with or funded by the heritage foundation, the heartland institute, the cato institute, and others. he has been funded by a rogue's gallery of climate denial front groups that have themselves been funded by exxonmobil and the koch brothers network. dr. michael mann and dr. andrea dutton, both actual legitimate
climate scientists, wrote a response to the "wall street journal." their article titled simply water's rising because it's getting warmer directly addresses the factual problems with singer's piece. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to submit that for the record at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: in response to singer's claim that ice sheets are getting bigger, the actual climate scientists write no, ice is not accumulating on earth. it is melting. no, antarctica isn't too cold for melting. warming oceans are eroding the ice from beneath, destabilizing the ice sheet. and no, legitimate scientific conclusions are not reached in op-ed pieces, but through careful peer-reviewed research.
climate denial, by the way, tends to avoid peer review like the plague. it goes straight to fox news, straight to hearings, straight to the talk shows because there it gets the audience it wants without having to face the rigor it would not survive. singer also erroneously claims that sea levels are not rising due to warming temperatures. in response, drs. mann and dutton explain researchers show that sea levels are rising and humanity-caused climate change is the cause. don't take our word for it. help yourself to the mountain of scientific literature showing as much. when water warms, it expands. when ice warms, it melts. to deny these facts is not just to deny climate change. it is to deny basic physics, end
quote. but in the spirit of climate denial, there is very little that these denialists won't say. the trump administration's own climate science special report issued by the trump administration found that, and i quote, it is virtually certain that sea level rise this century and beyond will pose a growing challenge to coastal communities ' infrastructure and ecosystems, end quote. the climate science special report will serve as the scientific backbone for the fourth national climate assessment which is due later this year. the author's list, the author's list is a who's who -- the authors list is a who's who of top university scientists, many from universities in the home states of senators here in this
body, and experts from noaa, the e.p.a., nasa, our national labs, and the national science foundation. by the way, those nasa people, they have got a rover driving around on mars. they may know a little something about science. and the report is backed by the department of -- departments of agriculture, defense, energy, commerce, interior, and state. in all, 13 federal agencies and departments. or you can believe the editorial page of "the wall street journal" and its phony baloney fossil fuel-funded scientists. the "journal" actually continued its climate denial spree in june, publishing another piece, this one titled 30 years on, how
well do global warming predictions stand up? in this one, patrick michaels and ryan maui argue that dr. james hansen's 1988 climate change warnings were overestimated. well, let's start by pulling the curtain back on these two characters who wrote the piece. you will quickly see that they are, to put it politely, aligned with the fossil fuel industry. patrick michaels is a senior fellow at the koch-founded and koch-funded cato institute. michaels at one point admitted that 40% of his funding came from the fossil fuel industry. his co-author also joined the koch-funded cato institute last
year. believe it or not, yes, the fossil fuel industry still pays for this nonsense. even as fossil fuel c.e.o.'s claim to recognize climate science is real and we support a carbon fee, that, of course, being the latest chapter in the fossil fuel industry's long and ongoing campaign of fraud, now pretending that they support a carbon fee when all of their political apparatus is dedicated to opposing the very result they seek -- they claim to seek. so 30 years ago, hansen's testimony outlined three scenarios. remember, this is 1988. the first scenario was business as usual, a projection with accelerating emissions yielding 1.5 degrees celsius warming by
2017. the second scenario showed drastic emissions cuts yielding 0.4 degrees celsius warming by 2017. and hansen proposed a middle scenario of continued but not accelerating emissions resulting in 0.84 degrees celsius warming by 2017. in his testimony, dr. hansen stated that the middle scenario was the most likely. michaels and maui claim that the scenario with the least amount of warning -- warming turned out to be correct, and therefore hansen was wrong, and therefore climate models can't predict climate change. unfortunately for them, the facts are otherwise.
hansen's analysis projected global surface air temperatures would increase by approximately 0.84 degrees celsius between 1988 and 2017 in his middle scenario. the one that he said was most likely. once you account for the effects of a slight cooling that resulted from the success of the montreal protocol phasing out chloro floor row carbons chloroflocarbons the warming is.276 by 2017. that in blue is the projected hansen projection. i don't think you can fault him for not predicting the montreal
protocol that happened after his prediction. so it's fair to adjust his prediction for the montreal protocol and the effect of reduced chloroflorocarbons. once you do that it shows the reserved temperature in red tracks pretty darned well with his projections. if that were my work, i'd be pretty proud of it. here it is 30 years later and we're off by a gap that my finger can cover on the graph. michaels and maui did not bother to mention that hansen also predicted which parts of the globe would warm more quickly than others. 30 years ago he calculated the arctic would warm faster and that there would be more warming
over land masses than over the oceans. all of these things are happening. even hansen's early climate models were accurate and reliable. and global warming is proceeding just as the scientists have warned. as "the wall street journal" editorial page continues to publish its fossil fuel-funded nonsense, stuff that is written by pseudo scientists, funded by the industry with a massive conflict of interest about this question, while that goes on, it's been 30 years since the warnings of hansen. and despite all of the evidence that has piled up consistent
with his warnings, despite the regular litany of current events driven by climate change now, congress has been taking no action. we have been stilled by the forces of the fossil fuel industry. the real irony here is that the "wall street journal" claims to be the news source for businesses and financial investors. well, off the editorial page, out in the real world of business and finance, real decisions are being made by real executives backed by real money. are they buying what the "wall street journal" editorial page is selling? no. no indeed. they are telling their clients and their companies, you must
take climate change seriously and you must take carbon pricing seriously. in the real world, businesses are demanding better climate policies, and investors are demanding better reporting of climate risk. the giant investment firm black rock led a group of major investors and broke the back of exxonmobil's opposition to answering to his shareholders about climate change. they are demanding this. many companies are even setting their own internal price on carbon to account for the real-world costs of climate change. the business community, the investment community, they're acting because they know climate
change is real, is affecting their prognosis for their company, and that carbon pricing is a key part of the solution. increasingly economists and financial regulators warn that we are actually hurtling towards an economic disruption, that we need to prepare for a possible crash of what they call the carbon bubble. this carbon bubble collapses when fossil fuel reserves now claimed as assets by the fossil fuel companies turn out to be useless as renewable energy sources grow more competitive and those useless assets become what are called stranded assets. how much gets stranded?
a publication by economists in the journal "nature" estimated the following impacts in a 2 degree celsius world. i quote: stranded assets around 82% of global coal reserves, 49% of global gas reserves, and 33% of global oil reserves. end quote. imagine that. 82% of global coal reserves gone, wiped off the balance sheets. 49% of global gas reserves gone, wiped off the balance sheets. and 33% of global oil reserves gone, wiped off the balance sheets, because they are no longer economically producible. is this nuts? even the bank of england, in an
official statement, has warned, and i quote them, investments in fossil fuels and related technologies may take a huge hit. end quote. mr. president, at some point there has to be a grown-up in the room. the fossil fuel industry obviously is not capable of being that grown-up. they still pay for denial and obstruction. "the wall street journal"'s editorial page is obviously no use. that page is still yapping on the industry's leash. now there is some good news. this week two house republicans at long last spwhraoused a bill that would put a -- introduced a bill that would put a price on carbon emissions. but we still await one
republican in the senate, just one, anyone who will face up to this problem, who will stand up for science, who will acknowledge what their own home state universities are teaching and take some real action. climate denial is a dangerous and ultimately doomed game, and "the wall street journal" editorial page should know better. mr. president, it's time to wake up. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. rounds: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. rounds: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rounds: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session for the en bloc consideration of the following nominations, executive calendar 467 and 858. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the nominations. the clerk: nominations, national transportation safety board, bruce landsberg of south carolina to be a member.
jennifer l.homi nddy to be a member. mr. rounds: i ask that the senate vote on the nominations en bloc, if confirmed, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table en bloc, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, no further motions be in order and any statements related to the nomination be printed in the record and the senate resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. the question is on the nominations en bloc. all in favor say aye. all opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nominations are confirmed en bloc. mr. rounds: mr. president, i ask consent that the senate be in a period of morning business with the senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rounds: mr. president, i ask
unanimous consent that the senate now road to the en bloc consideration of the following senate resolutions which were submitted earlier today, s. res. 589, s. res. 590, and s. res. 591. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the resolutions en bloc. mr. rounds: i ask unanimous consent that the resolutions be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table all en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rounds: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate now road to s. res. 578. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution
578, honoring the men and women of the drug enforcement administration on the 45th anniversary of the agency. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. the presiding officer: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rounds: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of the senate and now proceed to s. res. 580. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 5880, recognizing and supporting public awareness of the importance of trademarks and so forth. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is
discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. rounds: unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. rounds round i ask unanimous consent -- mr. rounds: mawb, i ask unanimous consent that the -- i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of s. 2278. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 344, s. 2238, a bill to amend the public health service act to provide grants to improve health care in rural areas. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. rounds: unanimous consent that the committee-reported amendment be agreed to, the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time and passed, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon
the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that it be in order to call up the following amendments to amendment number 3399, moran, 3433, udall 3414. i further ask consent that at 2:30 p.m. on wednesday, july 25, the senate vote in relation to the moran and udall amendments in the order listed and that there be no second-degree amendments in order to the amendments prior to the votes. the presiding officer: without
objection. mr. daines: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. wednesday, july 25. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and morning business be closed. further, that following leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of h.r. 6147. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. daines: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. >> the senate's been debating 2019 spending for five departments; interior, treasury, agriculture, housing and urban development and transportation.
as well as a number of independent agencies. work on that funding will resume when senators return live here on c-span2. >> there are lots of people who feel like i don't want my kid to read stories that are sad, disturbing, downbeat, whatever, right? and so that's not a totally illegitimate thing to say, i want to choose as a parent when my kid understands stuff that might bring them grief. but there's also a certain point beyond which it's like, well, they're 14 now. like, when are you going to introduce them to the idea that not everything is perfect outside of your all-white suburb, right? and so all of those factors, i think, swirled together to create the perfect dumpster fire. >> science fiction writer corey -- [inaudible] will be our guest august 5th at
noon eastern, walk away, down and out in the magic kingdom plus 14 other novels. interact with corey doctorow sunday august 5 live from noon to 3 p.m. eastern on booktv on c-span2. ♪ >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning from statuary hall in the capitol, members of the agriculture committee from both sides of the aisle discuss how president trump's trade and tariff policies are impacting their bottom line. on the program kansas republican congressman roger marshall, massachusetts democratic congressman and subcommittee on nutrition ranking member james mcgovern, then montana republican senator and agriculture, nutrition and forestry committee member steve
daines. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at seven eastern wednesday morning. join the discussion. ♪ >> tonight on c-span2, president trump speaks at the vfw national convention. then a house hearing on election security followed by a hearing looking into thed a manager's policy -- administration's policy of deploying national guard troops to protect the border with mexico. >> today president trump spoke at the veterans of foreign wars convention being held this kansas city. he talked about trade, national security and immigration. he also expressed his support for josh hawley who is seeking the republican nomination in this year's missouri senate race against the incumbent, claire mccaskill. this is an hour. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back to the stage vfw national commander keith harmon. [cheers and applause]
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