tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN September 4, 2018 3:00pm-7:20pm EDT
they got a sense of what it feels like -- >> we leave the remaining moments of this discussion on missile defense. we go live now to the u.s. senate. senators considering nominee. a procedural vote is at 5:3 5:30 easter today. the senate will continue with consideration of a number of judicial emanations. now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray.
gracious god, thank you for the gift of yourself and for teaching us how to live and serve. forgive us when we take your grace for granted. forgive us also when we fail to treat others as we ourselves desire to be treated. lord, transform our lawmakers into instruments of your glory, enabling them to strengthen our nation and world. remind them that fierce winds bring no anxiety to those who keep their eyes on you. imbue them with your wisdom that they may know the road to take.
sustain them in all of their endeavors, keeping them from stumbling and slipping. carve tunnels of hope through mountains of despair, and let your peace reside in their hearts. we pray in your mighty name, amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication
to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., september 4, 2018. to the senate: under the provisions
of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable ron johnson, a senator from the state of wisconsin, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g. hatch, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved.
mrs. ernst: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mrs. ernst: thank you, mr. president. today i rise to honor a
dear, dear friend of the senate, a dear, dear friend to me. this weekend many of us had the honor of joining the family of john sidney mccain iii as we walked through his life and shared memories of such a man, a true patriot, an american hero, a wonderful senator, a father, and, again, a wonderful friend. the first time i met senator mccain was in 2014, and he was
larger than life. i was engaged in my primary for the united states senate, and i had the opportunity to visit washington, d.c., and sit down with senator mccain in his office and just visit with him about what it was like to be a united states senator. and immediately i felt that bond with john mccain as a fellow veteran. and it was one thing, but he was truly -- and it was one thing he was truly interested in. he had been through the political stuff with a lot of other stuff engaged in the united states senate. what it was like to engage in a campaign. what he really took an interest in was my experience in the war in iraq, and he asked me about my service, talked to him about the national guard. all of those things he truly understood and connected with, and he really enjoyed that aspect of our discussion.
so it was that first meeting -- again, meeting with somebody that to me was larger than life, someone that really had truly served his country, and we felt that connection. so the months progressed and i got through the primary campaign and moved on into the general election cycle and during that time a number of senators came into iowa. they'd hop on my bus, which we fondly called the squeal mobile, and we would travel around the state of iowa. and john mccain -- he is so well who known for his codel, hs congressional delegation visits to other countries. i've heard many of my colleagues refer to those kugels as the -- to those codel as the mccage death marches because he is going from sunup to sundown. he is visiting with world leaders, all over further our
american interests. well, my bus tour was a lot like that in the fall of 2014. and john came out. he graciously agreed to come out and spend a day on the road with me in the squeal mobile. and that day we were doing eight different events in eight different counties in iowa, and we were going from sunup literally to sundown. and we were traveling in this big r.v., and i just remember having a conversation with him. we were sitting at a little table. i was facing the rear of the bus. he was facing the front. and it was late at night. it was dark. the sun had already gone down. this was the last stop of the day that we were heading to, and we were approaching bloomfield, iowa, which again was the last
stop for the day. and all of a sudden out of nowhere as we were having this conversation, boom! and he -- we hit something. the bus. and john mccain, in true john mccainism, says, what the -- fill in the blank -- was that? and i didn't even have to turn around. i knew immediate lay -- again, it's iowa. it's the fall. it's after dark. i said, john, we hit a deer. that deer took out the front end of the bus. the bus was going no further. but immediately john was up. he was at the front of the bus ready to get out the door, and he's, like, i've got to see this! the enthusiasm and the energy that man had. it was a unique experience for him being in the squeal mobile
and, again, the eighth stop of the night. but john was used to the go, go, go -- not just in campaign cycles but in anything that he did -- and he was committed to finishing out that last stop of the night. so we got out of the burkes which again was incapacitated from that deer and we hopped in a car that had been following us from one event to the next and went on to bloomfield to the diner where he talked about service and commitment to country. we did a lot of veterans' stops that day and i will always fondly remember that and how many iowans lives he had touched sharing his stories and his thoughts about how we should do better for the our american servicemen and women. so after that incident, i made sure that anytime somebody supplied me with deer jerky from iowa, i made sure that john got a little of it, and he always loved that. so when i was elected and i entered the senate end of 2015,
one of the very first things that senator mccain did for me and for several others that were freshmen was to make sure that we secured seats on the senate armed services committee. this is one of the most important committees in my estimation for the united states senate, and one again because i am a veteran -- i grew up as a soldier. it is very important to me. so he took the time to make sure that senator tom cotton, senator dan sullivan, and i each had a seat on that committee. he thought of us as the new era veterans, those that could really bring real world experience to the table from our time in iraq and for tom and dan, their time had in afghanistan. and that we did. and, again, under the mentorship of a wonderful american and patriot, a true warrior, john
mccain. he valued our input. he valued our time, and he encouraged us to get involved and stay involved. and i loved that. now, again, going back to the mccage death marches, the congressional delegations that john would plan for those of us who served on the armed services committee, there was a trip that i took in 2015 that was very important to me. and that was a trip that i did with senator mccain and senator dan sullivan to vietnam. senator mccain took many, many senators to vietnam. and, to me, it was such an incredible trip and probably one of the most treasured times i had with john mccain in the united states senate. during that trip to vietnam, of course, one of the usual stops for him was a trip to hanoi
where he took us to the hanoi hilton where he had been imprisoned so many years ago by the north vietnamese. now, i found this time very sad, thinking about the pain and the agony that senator mccain had gone through at the hands of his north vietnamese captors. but, at the same time, what i experienced from john was something that i will never forget, and that is a sense of forgiveness. having endured so many years of torture and hardship in vietnam, what i found truly remarkable about senator mccain is the fact that so many years later he had spearheaded the efforts to normalize relations between the united states and vietnam.
he forgave. he forgave. and there we were in hanoi walking through the very place that i estimated had been so evil to him. and yet in those moments, he found a sense of humor. and if anybody had spent time around senator john mccain, they know of his sharp wit and his humor. and as we walked through the museum portion of the hanoi hilton, he would stop and in front of a picture he would look at it and we'd all look at it -- dan and i, we'd look at it with john -- and there would be a picture of american servicemen standing around a christmas tree with smiles on their faces. and he would look at it, look it
up and down, and he'd say, bull -- fill in the bleep. and he'd laugh and move to the next picture. and the next picture, american servicemen playing sand volleyball, having a great time at the hanoi hilton. and he'd look at it, he'd shake his head and say, bull -- fill in the blank. and there we'd move to the end of the room and in this glass case with a plaque was a naval flight suit, flight helmet. on the plaque it said, john mccain's flight suit and helmet. and he looked it up and he looked it down. and he said, bull -- fill in the blank. he said, that's not my flight suit.
that's not my helmet. but this grand display at the hanoi hilton to show what a wonderful experience it was for our servicemen and women, and we know that it wasn't, but through all of that, john mccain forgave. he forgave. and he helped bring our countries closer together. we still have a long, long journey ahead to totally repair relations between vietnam and the united states. but because john mccain found it within himself to dig deep and forgive, we're on that path. we're on that path. now, later that evening, after having been to the infamous hilton, john took us all to super. we were able to share
traditional vietnamese dishes. he shared a lot of stories with those of us that were on that delegation trip, stories that you won't find written in books, but things that were very personal and intimate to him and his experience. but he knew that dan sullivan and i, also being veterans, would understand the thoughts and the experiences that he had had in vietnam. and i will treasure that time with john mccain forever. so a little over a year ago, john was diagnosed with brain cancer. i know for me personally, that was very hard, and i think for a lot of other folks, they were shocked. again, because john's persona was so big, larger than life. he had lived through so much in his lifetime.
only to be diagnosed with something that we knew would be very difficult to overcome. john stayed the course, though, working very hard here in the united states senate, and i do remember there were times that he would take votes that i totally disagreed with, and we got into a heated argument over one of those votes, as many of us have experienced with john and his temper. man, he got after me. i took a vote that he didn't agree with. he yelled at me. he was all over me. and i wouldn't let it go. he knew my personality. i wasn't going to let it go. you know, so after he had got on me and i tried to explain my position to him and he would just walk away, and for days after that incident, he would avoid me. i would be tracking him down, and he would avoid me. he would go down a hallway or
try to get away from me. i finally caught up with him. i'm like john, i love you. we need to talk about this. and he was like oh, joni, i can't stay mad at you, and then life went on as normal. just a great man, a great man. and we knew that we could disagree, but we would get beyond it. we would get beyond it. so in the senate armed services committee, we always teased each other. he would -- he would call me colonel, and i would call him admiral. now, the funny thing is he served in the navy, he retired as a captain. he did not achieve the rank of admiral. i served in the iowa army national guard. i retired as a lieutenant colonel, i did not achieve the rank of colonel. but we would tease each other. he would call me colonel ernst. i would call him admiral mccain. we would just have a good
chuckle over it. he loved the time as a naval aviator. that was very significant to him. a very, very important part of his life. i had the wonderful experience in november of 2017 having gone to oceana, down to norfolk, and i was able to go through swim physiology and take my first flight ever in an f-18 with a naval aviator. i was able to bag some traps out on the abraham lincoln. after that weekend, i had a number of photos from that time. it was a great experience. i had been working on some issues with physiological episodes with some of our naval aviators. and i came back and was in votes that next week, and i sat down with john here on the floor and
i pulled out those pictures, and he ate them up. he just continued flipping through those pictures, flipping through them. you could just see the light in his eyes. and i could tell that john was reliving some of the memories that he had in the cockpit. the times that he had, the times that he loved, the times that he enjoyed, doing what he did as a naval aviator, fighting for the united states of america, doing what he believed to be true and worthy. and that was a precious time to share my -- my tiny, tiny experience in the air with senator john mccain. so again, i just wanted to share with everyone, with my
colleagues, with my constituents the fact that i valued the time that i spent in the united states with senator mccain. he taught us all a lot, about love of country, duty, honor, commitment, service, leadership, patriotism, forgiveness, how to love your brother and your sister, regardless of who you are and where you come from. i will treasure that time. i will treasure the man. and to his family, they have my deepest sympathies in the loss of their husband, their father, their brother, their son, their uncle. i think we will all feel the hurt of the loss for a long time
his spirit will live on with us in this chamber. every time i walk into an armed services committee meeting, i will always think of john mccain and how he strove to be a great leader for all of us, the mentorship that he provided. john, i know that you are with us, and it is my turn to say thank you for everything that you have done, for your great state of arizona, for all of us who have served in the united states senate, and of course for these great united states of america. we honor you, john. we thank you. god bless you. thanks so much, john. thank you, mr. president. i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, the judiciary committee has begun hearings to consider judge brett kavanaugh for confirmation as associate justice of the supreme court. one of the tkweurbt professionals asked -- distinguished professionalled -- professionals asked to introduce him is lisa bl att. in a recent op-ed ms. blatt laid out the case for why democrats should support judge kavanaugh. last week she spearheaded a letter that 41 veteran appellate
advocates wrote to the committee. here's what they said: based on our experience with judge kavanaugh and his work over 12 years of distinguished judicial service, we're confident that he possesses the character, temperament and intellect that will make him an asset to the nation's highest court. our colleagues on the committee also received a letter from bob bennett. like her, he is a democrat and served as a personal lawyer to one of america's most prominent democrats, president bill clinton, during a particularly acrimonious time in recent history. and yet, bennett concluded in a letter to our colleagues that judge kavanaugh is, quote, the most qualified person any republican president could possibly have nominated. he went on to say, quote, were the senate fail to confirm
brett, it would not only mean passing up the opportunity to confirm a great skwraoufrt -- jurist but undermine civility in politics. those who know his temperament come away impressed. so has the american bar association, an association our democratic friends called the gold standard. they deem judge kavanaugh to be unanimously well qualified, that's the highest possible rating they can give. unanimously well qualified. many of our democrat colleagues have been determined to oppose judge kavanaugh's nomination no matter what since the day he was nominated. and some of our democratic colleagues opposed him and anyone else -- anyone -- before he was nominated. but they're running out of options. they can't find any substantive reasons why he doesn't deserve confirmation. that explains the hyperventilation and
orchestrated antics at this morning's hearing where they talked about almost anything besides his distinguished record. our colleagues keep falling back on the same process complaints that have failed to persuade anyone for weeks and weeks. so let's review the facts. the judiciary committee has received half a million pages of materials with respect to this nomination. this is by far -- by far -- the knowest -- most materials provided in support of a supreme court nomination in our nation's entire history. in fact, it is more material than was produced for the last five supreme court nominations combined. combined. and of course this record-shattering tower of executive branch documents is all in addition to judge kavanaugh's 12-year record on the d.c. court of appeals, obviously the most relevant part
of his record. again, that judicial record was something our democratic friends said was the best way to evaluate a judge back when it was the supreme court nominee of a democratic president whom the senate was considering. judge kavanaugh has issued over 300 opinions from what the legal community widely considers the second-highest bench in the country. by any objective standard, by any fair metric, any senator who is actually willing to give judge kavanaugh full and fair consideration is more than ampley prepared to do so. many of our democratic colleagues haven't been interested in doing that. many senate democrats made up their minds instantly upon judge kavanaugh's nomination that they would oppose him no matter what, no matter his qualifications, no matter how many opinions are in the public record, or how many pages of documents were provided. many senate democrats were never going to give this nominee a
fair hearing. there could be a million pages of documents or 5 million or 10 million, for that matter. nothing would change the fact that one democrat who serves on the committee declared she would oppose any nominee, any nominee before judge kavanaugh was even announced. nothing would change the fact that the very same night he was announced, two more democrats on the judiciary committee publicly announced they'd finish their consideration and would vote against him. nothing would change the fact that the very next morning the democratic leader stood up and said, quo, i will oppose him with everything i've got, end quote, and more and more democrats have followed suit. our colleagues will have the opportunity to thoroughly examine this nominee during this week's hearings. and afterwards, he will receive a vote here on the floor. no amount of partisan opposition or political theater will stop the senate from doing its job.
mr. mcconnell: morning business is closed -- the presiding officer: morbid is closed. under the previous order the senate will resume consideration of the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination. securities and exchange commission. elad l. roisman of maine to be a member. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i have one request for a committee to meet during today's session of the senate. it has the approval of the
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: . the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: i ask that any pending quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: i'm very grateful to my colleague from new mexico, senator udall, for joining me today for my 218th time to wake up speech. senator udall is a formidable advocate for protecting endangered species, helping to ensure that future generations
will inherit a healthy and beautiful planet. these lands and creatures that senator udall fights to protect are under direct attack from the current administration and the heavy hand of industry that guides it, both true regulatory rollbacks and other efforts to weaken protections for special places and special wildlife. these species and places are also under siege from the consequences of climate change. just last week, both "the washington post" and "the atlantic," reported in a recent study, "science." the titles of their -- climate change could render many of the ecosystems unrecognizable from "the washington post" and no ecosystem on earth is safe from climate change from "the
atlantic." they looked at temperature records to predict how global warming will transform our world. dr. steven jackson a scientist with the geological survey told "the atlantic," anywhere you are on the globe, the more you change climate, the more you will see ecological change. having this kind of change at such a massive scale in a short period of time will create unprecedented challenges. dr. dorothy petite, a researcher from nasa, commented on the article, said that there are notable changes we are seeing today and they will probably be much more exacerbated in the future. from the mountains to the sea, from the north pole to the south, climate change is wreaking havoc on our natural systems and the living creatures.
a study from global change biology found, a strong association between rapid climate warming and declines of bird and mammal populations showing that population declines have been greatest in areas that have experienced most rapid warming. birds are often seen as sentinels of an echosystem's health and are especially vulnerable to climate change. migry tribirds rely on a delicate balance of temperature cues and food availability to successfully make their impressive journeys. here on the east coast, delaware bay enjoys an annual visit from the red knot, a bird with a body not larger than a tea cup but whose wings carry it on a more
than 9,000 mile journey, from the southern tip of south america to the canadian arctic. and then after spending that summer nesting in the north, they make their return trip back south to winter in the southern hemisphere. on the northward journey, the knots make a straight leg from the coast of brazil to delaware bay. think about that. they take off from the coast of brazil, this tiny little bird and they fly all the way to delaware bay. they lose as much as half their body weight on this arduous trip, but mother nature provides a bounty for them upon their arrival. delaware bay is the largest horseshoe crap spanning area in the world and each may millions of horseshoe crabs take part in
a mating ritual that precedes the dinosaurs, they can lay up to 90,000ation and they make excellent fuel for little birds relishing a pause in their long journey. but warming waters and shifting seas has threatened to knock the timing of both species cycles out of whack. if the environmental signal comes too early or too late and these little birds fly all that way and get to delaware bay and the horseshoe crabs aren't there, that will shake the species. predictability and seasonal changes affects survival of much of the world's wildlife. in 2014, the national audubon society looked at 600 american bird species. more than half are at risk of losing more than 50% of their
current range to climate change by 2080, around a quarter of the species studied could see their range shings shinning that -- shrink that much by 2050. mr. president, may i interrupt my remarks for a moment. i see the minority leader on the floor. if he seeks recognition, we have a chance to do a pair of climate speeches. i'm happy to interrupt. yes. okay. at the conclusion of the leader's remarks, i be recognized and resume my remarks and at the end of that senator udall be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: first, my friend who did an outstanding job on the judiciary committee, for his graciousness and thoughtfulness and also my friend from new mexico as well. today the senate judiciary committee began hearings on
judge brett kavanaugh's nomination to the supreme court. democrats on the committee have pointed out that over 40,000, 40,000 of judge kavanaugh's documents were handed over to the committee last night. it's the latest insult in what has been an insulting process for reviewing the nominee's record on the issues. not just insulting to democrats in the senate, insulting to the senate as a whole and insulting to the american people, like, you know we can jam this through and it doesn't matter what you think, what you need to know. more than 90% of the nominee's record has been shielded from public scrutiny. the chairman keeps claiming, well, there are several hundred thousand pages made available. that is not the point. if only 7% of the documents are made available, the question is what looms in the other 93%. it's the percentage that matters. because we want to know what's hidden. furthermore, we have no knowledge of why we were given these documents and not given the vast bulk of the documents.
what is the rule? is there some objective rule finding? they should make it public. why? they haven't. the reason is simple. the obvious conclusion. can't prove it because we don't have the documents is the 93% have things that they don't want to be made public. otherwise there would be a set system and they'd say here's why you're getting this and not getting that. again, it's not the number. it's the percentage. almost everything the republicans requested with elena kagan and sotomayor when they were in the minority, our position now, were granted. very little of what we requested has been granted. and the question looms, what are they hiding? i commend my colleagues sincerely and strongly for standing up and raising these issues this morning. the judiciary committee members were lending their voices to a large and growing chorus of
people out in america deeply concerned about how this process has been run. every member of the judiciary committee was eloquent and forceful, clarifying just how far republicans have gone to keep judge kavanaugh's record a secret. here for the highest court in the land with huge power over every one of our lives in many different ways we're hiding what he really thinks. and maybe it's because they don't want the american people to know what he really thinks. nonetheless, the judiciary committee proceedings are going forward, even though the republican majority has taken great pains to shield a great bulk of kavanaugh's record from the american public. since they're in the majority, they can do this against the will of all the democrats and probably much of the american people, but it is so wrong. let's review what we already know about this nominee. for the bulk of his career,
brett kavanaugh has been a loyal republican foot soldier who has consistently found himself near the center of the most heated partisan legal fights of the past two decades. from the star report to bush v. gore and through the myriad controversies of the bush whitehouse, brett kavanaugh was front and center representing the political interests of republicans. his service as a partisan warrior was rewarded with a judgeship where he immediately began to establish a jurisprudence far outside the judicial mainstream. as a judge, he ruled against commonsense gun safety measures. he ruled against commonsense environmental protections. he consistently ruled against rule making powers of independent agencies, going so far as to claibl the cfpb, the consumer financial protection bureau unconstitutional. and he's praised the dissents in both ro west and -- ro west and casey, two landmark cases.
remember, we can't forget. brett kavanaugh was selected from a preapproved list of candidates vetted by the federalist society and the heritage foundation, two hard right groups dedicated to the destruction of our health care law and the repeal of roe v. wade. he was selected by a president who explicitly promised to pick judges who would do those two things exactly. so unlike former nominees, brett kavanaugh has a special burden to explain his views on these crucial issues. the president didn't just say i'm going to choose the best legal mind available. he said i'm going to choose someone who will repeal roe. i will choose someone who will overturn much of the health care protections that we have, as in the a.c.a. so he had this special obligation, and when i interviewed him in my office, he ducked. i asked him if he believed
planned v. parenthood which affirmed roe was correctly decided, not whether it's precedent. that doesn't matter. precedence changes. supreme court justices do it. whether it was correctly decided. he refused to say. he refused to say whether any restriction on a woman's reproductive freedom constituted an undue burden. there was nothing, nothing that i heard from judge kavanaugh in our interview to dispel the presumption created by president trump's litmus test that a justice kavanaugh would vote to overturn roe and protections for americans with preexisting conditions. judge kavanaugh will no doubt refuse to answer these important questions in the committee hearings as well. we're not going to get clear answers. that's what judge nominees have been taught to do. but given how he was chosen, coming from a preapparented list -- preappointed list, that makes, number one, his obfuscate
-- obfuscation even more troubling but two, it makes the need for documents all the more compelling. another examination this week should be judge kavanaugh's views on executive power and accountability. during his time in the white house, it seems that judge kavanaugh developed anage laition for powers of the presidency. he said that presidents should not be subject to investigations of criminal or civil wrongdoing while in office. he said that a president can refuse to enforce any law that they deem unconstitutional, even if a court ruled otherwise. in our meeting, he refused to say that a president must comply with a duly issued subpoena. judge kavanaugh also wrote that presidents should be able to hire and fire the heads of independent agencies at will. in brett kavanaugh's jurisprudence, the executive of the united states is near a king than a coequal branch of government. at a time when the president of the united states routinely tests the bounds of power of his
office, at a time when the president disdains and routinely despair rarnlgs rule of law, at a time when the president has been named a coconspirator in a federal criminal case, brett kavanaugh's views on executive power are more than dangerous. they're disqualifying. this week the judiciary committee has the task of scrutinizing kavanaugh. i'd remind my colleagues there is no legal standard, rule, or logic prohibiting nominees from answering questions that don't involve immediate and specific cases that are or could come before the court. i remind my colleagues that cases of solemn promises to respect precedent have been hauled before the committee before and generally have little bearing unfortunately as to whether or not the nominee will abide by those principles on the bench. only a few months ago, judge
gorsuch reminded of that with his ruling in the janis case. as justice roberts reminded us with his ruling in citizens united. justices will overturn decades of well worn precedent given the opportunity. the debate about the future of the supreme court this week may get wonky and technical, but what's at stake is not abstract. it's real. it's concrete for americans whose lives, health, happiness and freedoms are on the line at the supreme court. closely divided decisions recently have meant that the difference between the ability to marry the person you love or not, to have your right to vote protected or not, to make personal choices about your health care or not are all at stake. the stakes in this nomination debate could not be higher. the need for openness and lack of secrecy is as high as it's ever been. the responsibility of the judiciary committee this week is to drill down and examine judge
kavanaugh's views to the extent that he'll share them and to point out those areas where he fails to be forthcoming. the american people have a right to know who may become the deciding vote on issues ranging from women's reproductive rights to civil rights to labor rights to voting rights, to lgbtq rights and more. i believe the judiciary committee's proceedings this week will reveal to the american people a nominee unfit for the job of associate justice. and one more issue, mr. president. yes, president trump's unconscionable statement politicizing the justice department. yesterday the president made the following statement. quote, two long running obama era investigations of two very popular republican congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge just ahead of mid terms by the jeff sessions justice department. two easy wins now in doubt because there's not enough time.
good job, jeff. unquote. that's the president speaking. or -- yeah, i think he spoke, didn't tweet. for so long, president trump's actions have suggested that he views the justice department not as an independent law enforcement agency but as a tool to prosecute his enemies and protect himself and his friends. president trump's statements yesterday comes right out and says it. trump is chastising the attorney general of the united states for enforcing the law. for announcing two indictments backed by ample evidence because it may hurt members of his political party from winning elections. how outrageous is that? so i say to president trump, america is not some fiefdom in which the lord of the manor gets to decide who the law applies to and who it doesn't apply to the beauty and the great nses of -- greatness of american democracy
is that we're all equal in the eyes of the law. republicans, democrats, and, yes, even presidents. president trump, you do not seem to understand or choose not to understand the basic principles of rule of law which has governed our great nation since its founding. president trump seems to think he's above the law so it's no wonder he selected judge kavanaugh who believes sitting presidents should not be investigated to sit on a potential jury in the mueller probe. i yield the floor and again thank my colleagues for their courtesy and i might note, very proud of the job the senator from rhode island and all his colleagues on judiciary committee did this morning. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, as i resume my remarks, we'll head west ward to the tallest peaks of the rockies where the northern rocky mountains have been warming more than three
times as fast as the global average over the past 100 years. a 2014 union of concerned scientist report warns that the rocky mountains will, quote, become even hotter and drier leading to increased wildfire, reduced snow pack, and declines in the keystone trees that define the rocky mountains' forests. a recent std by u.s. forest service and researchers found that species like the piggy rabbit and snow shoe hare that have specific habitat requirements will be particularly vulnerable. some mountain amphibians are even at risk from a harmful invasive fungus that thrives in these warmer temperatures. increased spread of disease and invasive species is a recurring theme of climate change. animals and plants already stressed from depleted food and changing temperatures are more
susceptible to disease. and stressed ecosystems leave openings for invasive species to move in and take over. after hitting u.s. shores in the early 20's in wood packing material, the invasive and injurious emerald ash borer has spread to 30 states and destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in its wake. in july my rhode island department of environmental management discovered this invasive species in our state. we look seaward from rhode island and coastal states like ours are facing a red menace in their waters. the harmful algae blooms known as red tide. florida is battling a devastating toxic algae bloom that has, according to quarts, killed massive fish, 12 dolphins, more than 500 manatees, 300 sea turtles,
countless horseshoe crabs and a whale shark as of august 22. and that's just the ones whose bodies came ashore. locals and tourists alike are greeted with decaying marine life along the docks and beaches and air tainted with the algae's toxins. quarts writes that this year's red tide in florida doesn't just make the issue of global warming visible, it is an all-out sensory onslaught. though algal blooms occur annually in florida this year's bloom is a harbinger of the shifting reality of climate change. "the washington post" notes, as air and ocean temperatures increase, the environment becomes more hospitable to toxic algal blooms. in addition to these warmer temperatures, climate change also spurs heavy downpours which
wash more fertilizer from farms and lawns into the water, providing nutrients that spur the growth of the algae. and sea level rise expands the area of shallow coastal waters where warm temperatures and ample sunshine bollster growing algae. the oceans are experiencing marine heat waves. according to a recent review in the prestigious scientific journal "nature" these periods of elevated sea temperatures have caused changes in biological production, toxic algal blooms, regime shifts in reef communities, mass coral breaching, and -- bleaching, and mortalities of commercial fish species with cascading impacts on societies. that's sciencese for pretty tough conditions.
the algal -- killing about half of the reef since 2016. in recent weeks, san diego recorded its highest sea water temperature, around 80 degrees fahrenheit since measurements started in 1916. the nature study attributed 87% of modern marine heat waves to human-caused climate change. they warn that these heat waves will become very frequent under global warming, probably pushing marine organisms and ecosystems to the limits of their resilience and even beyond. couple these extreme heat spells with ocean acidification, the oxygen -- deoxygenation and changes in ocean circulation and currents and you are looking at at perfect storm for coral reefs, fisheries and ocean wildlife.
marine and atmospheric heat waves are contributing also to the rapid opening of being a particular sea ice. the images of starving polar bears have brought this concern home for many, but sea ice also provides protection for n.r.a. office, and provides an interstate highway of sorts for wolf and fox populations. it is a crux of the arctic ecosystems, this ice, and it is falling apart. for the first time since scientists started monitoring the arctic sea ice in the 1970's, the waters north of greenland are breaking through the usually permanently frozen ice cover. this area until now had been assumed to be the arctic's ice strong hold, the strongest and oldest ice plain in the arctic. but spikes of warm temperature early in year allowed the
weakened ice to be pushed from shore, leaving it vulnerable to wind and waves. dr. walt meyer with the snow and ice data center called this loss of sea ice a pretty dramatic indication of the transformation of the arctic sea ice and arctic climate. a researcher with the norwegian meteorological institute called it nice and scary. mr. president, i will now yield to my friend, the senator from new mexico, in the hopes that at some point this body will find the sense and the courage to address this problem as we see its manifestations from north to south, from pole to pole, and from the depths of the sea to our highest mountaintops. i yield the floor.
mr. udall: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. udall: mr. president, thank you for the recognition. i ask unanimous consent that wolu bukulobayu and other congressional fellows in my office be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the 115th congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: thank you, mr. president. and, mr. president, i just want to tell you how proud i am to join senator whitehouse today on the floor, and i want to thank the senator from rhode island for his continuing to bring the urgency of combating climate change to the attention of this
body. i admire his passion and his intellectual clout, which has been brought specifically to climate change a number of times here on the floor of the united states senate, and he has been a great advocate for his state of rhode island, where we all know there are going to be very serious impacts -- sea level rise, one of the major ones, but many others as a result of how climate change and global warming are playing out. let's state several things here that are clear, and one is the science is clear. the earth's atmosphere is warming at an alarming rate. human activity is the principal cause. what we see with our own eyes every day -- extreme weather events around the globe -- is clearer and clearer.
but worst and most clear is the harm being done to millions of americans and people all around the world as a result of the destructive effects of climate change. people are losing their homes, their lands, their farms. we now have a new kind of refugee -- climate refugees displaced from their homes by catastrophic weather disasters including drought and floods. in 2017, roughly 68.5 million people were climate refugees. and that number is expected to double to over 140 million by 2050. hundreds of thousands are losing their lives. the official death toll in puerto rico from hurricane maria is now 2,975. and there are even higher estimates that have been done
about those losses in puerto rico. climate change is the most pressing moral issue of our time. it is an existential threat. as the people in puerto rico know all too well, as the people of rhode island know well, as the people of new mexico and all of our states and territories. yet in the words of the late, great senator john mccain -- and i'm quoting here, as the presiding officer knows, he was always an outspoken gentleman -- we are getting nothing done, my friends. we're getting nothing done. end quote. and i know that senator whitehouse was an honorary pall bearer at senator mccain's funeral here at national
cathedral and we had four days celebrating the john mccain that spoke up about core issues that america really faced. john gave us that deserved chewing out that i just mentioned there on the senate floor on july 25 of last year for not working together and for not working in a bipartisan fashion, for not reaching across the aisle here. and on climate change, we are certainly not getting anything done, and we are not working across the aisle, as john told us to do. the west that john mccain so loved and worked to protect is getting hit hard. we have less precipitation, less snowpack, and the snowpack we have is melting earlier. rivers and reservoirs are running at historic lows. some river segments are drying. we now have the abnormally dry conditions in every western
state, and we have extreme weather drought in parts of new mexico, arizona, california, utah, colorado, and even oregon. in my home state of new mexico, every single county is in abnormally dry or drought conditions. here are the drought maps of the west from the last week and from the same time of year in 2000 when the federal government first began keeping track. this is the map here of 2000, first -- the federal government's first keeping track. now let's look at the contrast, which is very, very stark. on the first map we didn't see the extreme form in exceptional drought at all. and here 18 years later we can see very, very stark contrast in just 18 years.
these dry conditions are creating more wildfires that are burning more acreage and threatening more homes and threatening more lives. in california, the mendocino fire complex is the largest fire that state has ever experienced. since it began in late july, it's burned over 450,000 acres, taken one firefighter's life, and destroyed 157 homes. after two months, it's still not fully contained. in my home state of new mexico, about 20 miles of the rio grande south of albuquerque and through the bosca dillly wild patch refuge were were dry, months earlier than in typical years. marms if the middle rio grande area in my state started getting warned that the water stored for
their crops was almost gone. months before irrigation season ends in october. as of two days ago, elephant butte reservoir was only 4.6% full -- 4.6%. back in the 1990's, the reservoir was 27 miles in length. today it is about 10. here are the aerial maps of the elephant butte from 1994 and 2013. these photographs show that climate change is here and now. here you can see elephant butte in 1994, and here a very dramatically shrunken elephant butte in 20 is 13. -- in 2013. elephant butte provides water to over 90,000 acres of farmland in
southern new mexico and west texas. it's an economic engine for sierra county and the rural county where it's located. we can't afford for this reservoir to be at 4.6%. john mccain's beloved arizona is in its 21st year of drought we've measured the animus river in colorado for 106 years. two weeks ago in durango it was at its lowest measured points for this time of year ever -- ever. utah's temperature has warmed two degrees fahrenheit over the last century. the state's $1.3 billion ski industry has seen warmer winters, less snowpack, less powder. ski resorts that have never had to make snow have to make it
now. alaska is under singular threat, a warmer atmosphere is rapidly melting the arctic snowpack and glaciers. the seas are rising to unprecedented levels. animals that depend on ice to survive, like the polar bear and walruses, are struggling to survive. the iconic polar bear has been listed as a threatened species since 2008, a direct result of climate warming. during the last past half-century, alaska has warmed twice as fast as the global average. native villages along the sea are under siege. there are at least 31 alaska towns and cities at imminent risk of destruction. two native villages have voted to relocate -- inuitak, a village along the river to feeds to the bering sea is literally
collapsing into the water. and it is already relocating. their relocation will cost $ 100 million. this year congress gave them $15 million. -- toward that effort. the fact is native americans and other marginalized populations are more vulnerable to devastation -- to the devastation of climate change, but no one is immune from this. mr. president, i would recite a thousand statistics that show how climate change is hurting the american west, its people, and its lands. the statistics are there, the science is there, the american people are there. congress needs to get there. "the new york times" magazine recently ran its longest article ever. it was on climate change,
entitled losing earth, the decade we almost stopped climate change. the article showed that between 1979 and 1989, we came to understand the causes and dangers of the greenhouse effect. during that decade, we had the opportunity to take action to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, but we failed. in 1998, one of the leading climate scientists then and now, james hansen, working for nasa, told congress it was 99% certain that the global warming trend was not a natural variation but was caused by buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. he told congress 30 years ago that climate change was here, here and now. during that decade, there was more opportunity for consensus than today. the oil and gas industry was more receptive to taking action.
politicians' views weren't as set in concrete. but that generation failed to act on the science, failed to protect president and future generations. there was another opportunity in the early 2000's for congress to act. john mccain wanted us to act, but we didn't. as chair of the senate commerce committee, he held ground breaking hearings in 2000 on climate change. he brought the science of climate change into light in the halls of the senate. then he and senator joe lieberman crafted the first major bipartisan climate change legislation, cap-and-trade legislation modeled after similar and successful legislation to curb pollution from acid rain. senators mccain and lieberman forced a vote on the floor of the senate on their legislation in 2003. john began his speech on the
floor in support of his bill quoting from hemingway's the snows of kilimanjaro. and i quote here. kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain, 19,700 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in africa. its western summit is called the house of god. john warned then in 2003 all too prehe is ently that snow on kilimanjaro may someday be relegated to the realm of fiction. some senators who sit here today voted on the mccain-lieberman bill. the bill had a chance to succeed but failed 43-55. kilimanjaro's glaciers, in fact, have receded dramatically since that vote. the ice sheets depend on snowfall which is affected by the indian ocean currents. the indian ocean's warming due
to climate change has changed moisture delivery to kilimanjaro and hemingway's snow is disappearing. congress has had a few more bipartisan efforts at addressing climate change, including my own cap-and-trade bill in the house of representatives with republican representative gentlewoman petri, but after the mccain-lieberman bill and those efforts failed, we turned to the obama administration to take on climate change in earnest. the obama administration passed the clean power plan to limit carbon emissions from power plants and put the brakes on new coal-fired power plants. passed regulations to control methane, a super-potent greenhouse gas from oil and gas operations. joined with 190 countries in executing the paris agreement. all these initiatives are now under assault by the trump
administration and industry. the u.s. alone, the u.s. alone is the only country in the world who walked away from the paris accord. turning our backs on climate change means ignoring the national security threat it represents. large groups of displaced people and scarce resources create conflict. the u.s. military, especially the navy, recognize the threat. that's why they created the madea program in the early 1990's to analyze the security threats of climate change, and that's one reason john mccain once worked toward a bipartisan solution to climate change. neither party can claim they have done enough to tackle global warming, but climate action demands the republicans step up, like senator mccain once did. the destruction to property and
lives wrought by global warming does not distinguish between parties. this is a bipartisan problem that demands bipartisan solutions and demands them now. mr. president, the west is right in the bull's-eye of climate change, but the west has great potential to be part of the solution. the west potential to generate renewable clean energy through solar, wind, and geothermal is immense. new mexico, california, arizona, colorado, and nevada have some of the highest potential for solar generation in the country. and virtually all the western states have immense potential for geothermal power. we should be harnessing this potential, creating sustainable jobs, growing our rural western economies and industries that
are the future, industries that will help tackle the greatest challenge humanity faces. the american people want congress to meet the challenges of climate change. they want to protect future generations, their children, and their grandchildren. we can do this, but we must do it now. as we must -- as our late and very great colleague from arizona urged us, do this on a bipartisan basis. let all of us show the courage, resolve, and independence of john mccain and do right by today's generation and future generations. let us all commit to doing what it takes to reduce our carbon emissions, meeting the goals of
ms. warren: i ask unanimous consent that steven wall, a fellow in my office be granted floor privileges for the rest of today's session. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: thank you. i rides to pay tribute to an american hero, my friend and my colleague, john mccain. to know john was to know a man who was fiercely devoted to his family, his constituents and his country. my thoughts and prayers are with his family and his loved ones during this difficult time. as a nation, we all share in the sense of emptiness his passing has left behind. but we also share a profound sense of gratitude for the life john lived and the legacy of service and unwavering commitment he's left us to cherish. many americans felt a personal connection to john mccain. our men and women in uniform always knew he was on their side. he was one of them. john understood better than anyone what it meant to send people into combat. so much of his work in this
senate was devoted to making sure that our troops got the training, the equipment and the pay that they needed. last year i had the honor of traveling with john to one of his final trips to the middle east. i had the chance to see how deeply revered he was by everyone in uniform. they all knew the story. they knew how john mccain the war hero spent nearly six years as a prisoner of war in north vietnam, how when offered abrupt release less than a year after his navy jet was shot out of the air, john mccain refused to be released while his brothers were still in captivity. how he was isolated, tortured and beaten so badly that he carried the physical consequences of his loyalty to our country with him for the rest of his life. how he could have avoided it all, but endured out of love and loyalty to his fellow service members. they knew the story, and every single service member we saw
treated john like a celebrity rock star, and that's because he was. john was a deeply principled man. i had the honor of working with john closely in the fight to reinstall glass-steagall, and boy, was it a fight. throughout the entire battle, john would tease me about pulling my weight and getting this thing done, as he would say. show some fight, girl. don't tell me you're afraid. get in there. throw some punches. that was john's approach to life. if you're going to be in a fight, you better give it your all. don't get me wrong, john and i disagreed on many things, and sometimes quite forcefully. but even when we disagreed, i always respected that his heart was focused on doing what he believed was right for the american people. i remember expressing to john my views on the most effective strategy in iraq and afghanistan, and that there are simply some problems that cannot be solved through military
action alone. we can't simply fight our way to peace, and we need to bring our troops home. respectfully, john would disagree and then proceed to energetically walk me through why he believed in the benefits of staying longer. democrat or republican, foreign leader or president of the united states, john mccain would go toe to toe with anyone to fight for what he thought was right. he applied these principles to his service to our country and his commitment to the people of arizona and in his abiding love and defense of the american people. and at a time when character and integrity are under siege, the entire nation mourns the loss of a public servant who lived his life with courage and conviction. john ran the armed services committee with an iron fist, but also with respect for the importance of bipartisanship and
a basic sense of fairness that no one could ever ignore. if he came to the table ready, prepared to work, john made sure that you were heard. there were so many occasions where john would jump in while i was questioning a witness because john was listening and he would hear how the questions were being dodged and disregarded. his admonishment to the witness was like a whip. if you can't come up with better answers, what are you here for? i count it as a blessing to have had the honor to have served with senator john mccain in the united states senate. if there ever was a true american patriot, john mccain was that patriot. i'll miss his strength. i'll miss his maverick spirit. but most of all, i'll miss his kindness. i yield the floor.
mr. cassidy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. cassidy: mr. president, i rise to speak about i'll miss his maverick spirit. judge kavanaugh's nomination to be justice kavanaugh on the supreme court. let me begin, mr. president, by saying the senate has been hard at work vetting and confirming good judges to the bench. so far the senate has confirmed 60 of president trump's judicial nominees, an historic pace that includes 36 circuit judges, 33 district court judges and kneel gorsuch to the supreme court. this week we'll confirm even more as the confirmation process continues for president trump's second nominee, judge brett
kavanaugh. in the last week or two the democratic minority has been very cooperative with this, appointing good conservative republicans to the district and circuit courts. but let me continue about judge kavanaugh, first let's just say that he is well regarded by his peers. he's a mainstream independent jurist well regarded across the political spectrum. look at his professional career to see why. his record at the supreme court is stellar. excuse me, as a circuit court judge with -- i'm sorry. at a circuit court judge which was then reviewed by the supreme court. the supreme court adopted positions advanced by his opinions at least 13 times and overruled him only once. on the d.c. circuit court, democratic-appointed skwrublgs were just as -- judges r just as likely to join judge kavanaugh's majority opinions in full as his
republican appointed colleagues about 88% of the traoeupl. -- time. two of president obama's solicitor generals praised judge kavanaugh saying he is incredibly brilliant -- he's an incredibly brilliant, careful person who is, quote, very gracious on the bench and off. one says, quote, he carries out all phases of his responsibilities as a judge in the way you'd want, in an exemplary way. so that said, judge kavanaugh is acknowledged as being highly qualified. and even though they're on the opposite side of the aisle, these legal figures respect judge kavanaugh's qualifications and depth of experience. lisa blatt who worked in the attorney general's office during the clinton, bush and obama administration said sometimes a super star is just a super star.
this is the case with judge brett kavanaugh who has long been considered the most qualified nominee for the supreme court if republicans secured the white house. the senate should confirm him. she also said, quote, i expect my friends on the left will criticize me for speaking up for kavanaugh, but we all benefit from having smart, qualified, and engaged judges on our highest court, regardless of the administration that nominates them. i have to say on a personal level that when i met judge kavanaugh in my office, i was incredibly impressed. we talked about his views on the role of the judiciary, original intent, the importance of interpreting the constitution as written, and it was clear that he had a deep and thorough grasp of the law and these issues. but you don't have to take my word for it, and you don't have to take lisa blatt's word. she is not the only one who has attested that judge kavanaugh is
a legal super star. recently over 100 students, alumni and faculty at yale college wrote that judge kavanaugh is, quote, distinguished -- a distinguished jurist with deep conviction and integrity. the american bar association, which democratic leaders have called their gold standard of judicial evaluations, unanimously rated judge kavanaugh as well qualified. last week 144 law professors from around the country wrote to the judiciary committee in support of judge kavanaugh, saying that they, quote, all agree that he displays outstanding scholarly and academic virtues and that he would bring to the court an exceptional record of distinction in judicial service. these 144 law professors also state that they are, quote, impressed by judge kavanaugh's long record at teaching and
mentoring students of diverse backgrounds. as an example perhaps, members of the harvard law school chapter of the black law students association have been vocal in their support for judge kavanaugh, citing the positive impact that he has had on their chapter. they know his character. it is the same humility and generosity we all saw just a couple days after he was nominated in july when he was spotted serving hot meals to the needy alongside other volunteers with catholic charities, a ministry he has been part of for a long time. now i will also say that he is one of the most transparent nominees in history. and this is the nominee that senate democrats label extreme. please. we know most of them announced their opposition to judge kavanaugh before his confirmation even started. we also know many of them
announced their opposition before he was even named. and we know they did so because they want a supreme court full of liberal activists who will help them create law instead of following the law. that's not judge kavanaugh. he's a mainstream independent jurist who respects the constitution. he doesn't try to rewrite it for political reasons, to fit his own opinions about the way it should be. and that's apparently why democrats are concocting a new reason every day to explain why they wish to block him. their latest excuse is they want more time to see documents. now let's be absolutely clear, judge kavanaugh's professional record is the most transparent record the senate has ever had for a supreme court nominee, and it's not even close. the senate judiciary committee has received more pages of executive branch records for judge kavanaugh's nomination than for the last five confirmed
supreme court nominees combined. the committee has reviewed more than 144,000 -- excuse me -- 440,000 pages of documents submitted from judge kavanaugh's time in the executive branch, the largest volume of records for any supreme court nominee ever. during his time on the bench, judge kavanaugh authored more than 300 opinions and heard more than 2,000 cases, no less than nine senate democrats cited their review of his opinions when they announced weeks ago that they would oppose him. they said they had seen enough of his record and now we're supposed to believe that they want to see more of his record. it's obvious that this art is not in good faith. indeed, i think it's fair to say that the democratic senators' disruptions show desperation. and, if you will, we see this
desperation in some of the most shameful political theatrics that we have seen and those were from the senate democrats in the committee hearing today. it is clear they are desperately trying to disqualify this nominee. today we learned that the democratic minority leader plotted a coordinated protest strategy over the weekend with his members and they all agree to disrupt and protest the hearing. they would like to think it was a spontaneous outburst of outrageous anger and it was a strategy in order to draw attention to themselves. i would remind my colleagues on the other side of the aisle this is the united states of america, not a third world legislative body where they throw chairs an punches in order to thwart the legislative process. those who are interested in
preserving and protecting our democratic process and institutions should shun the chaos senate democrats appear intent upon creating. in this country, we debate and evaluate ideas on the nominee's merits. i urge my colleagues to do just that. if they do, i'm confident they will understand the broad support, justified support that judge kavanaugh has for his nomination to the supreme court. i yield the floor. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. a senator: mr. president, i rise today -- the presiding officer: the senate's in a quorum call. a senator: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. crapo: i rise today in support of elad roisman. on june 1, 2018, president trump announced his intention to nominate elad for the securities and exchange commission for a five-year term. he serves as chief counsel for the banking committee, and i can attest to his qualifications for this position. he has an impressive command of securities law, a keen intellect and work ethic and exhibited a steadfast commitment to doing what is right. these attributes were manifested
during his nomination testimony a few weeks ago. he was subsequently voted out of the committee by voice vote with unanimous bipartisan support. as many on the banking commit know -- committee know, he is familiar with the s.e.c. having served as chief counsel at the nyseure know net. he is an especially qualified candidate. the s.e.c. has an important three-part mission, protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. each part of this mission is equally important and should not come at the expense of the other. in his nomination hearing, elad echoed the importance of this commission and furthering it. he stressed the need to promote investor confidence in the
markets and the s.e.c. itself and the importance of disspepg that markets are -- dispelling that markets are inaccessible or rigged against the little guy. he is committed to ensure that the s.e.c. has a strong enforcement program, one that holds regulated entities and individuals accountable. elad also emphasized that the s.e.c. must listen to small business owners and investors, many of whom do not make it to washington regularly, whose perspectives are incredibly important to the s.e.c.'s work and its continued improvement of capital markets. the u.s. financial system and markets are preferred -- the preferred destination nor investors throughout the -- for investors throughout the world and the s.e.c. has as important role in ensuring that it remains so. capital markets drive innovation and job creation and access to them is the lifeblood of our economy. elad has consistently demonstrated a commitment to ensuring our markets remain the
envy of the world and i'm confident that he will work hard to make sure that the u.s. financial markets can thrive while also protecting investors. i personally want to thank elad for his tireless service to the senate and for being a trusted resource and ally of mine. i urge my colleagues to vote yes on the cloture motion and to support his nomination so that he can quickly get to work for the american people. mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, request that the proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president, there have been many words that have been spoken about our friend senator john mccain, and i want to join with the many words, the tributes that have been shared in these recent days since his passing. we all know the background, we all know the bio. john mccain served our nation for 60 years starting as an officer in the united states navy, as a prisoner of war in unspeakable conditions and, of course, during his terms in the house of representatives and here in the senate for some 30
years. that's -- that's the biography of -- of the man, but it really is just the start of who he was and the mark that he made, that he made not only on the lives of us here in the senate but, really, on the lives of americans all over the country. john mccain was a beloved colleague. he was a patriot. he was truly -- he was truly an american hero. he had remarkable intellect, he had a -- an iron will, most certainly, unquestionable integrity, courage that was absolutely unwavering. when i think about john and how john approached issues, john -- john was one who did what he
thought was right and -- and when he thought he was right, there wasn't much arguing with him. he was right. but even then we would -- we would engage. we would go back and forth and i think oftentimes it was those arguments that caused us to -- to certainly either gain greater respect or perhaps greater fear depending on where you were in the process. but john was one of those guys who favored straight talk, and so i don't think he would have any hard feelings about any of us scriepg our relationship -- describing our relationship with him over the years. we didn't always agree, and sometimes we maybe didn't even get along, but the truth of the matter was john mccain would always make sure that you knew where he stood. and john was -- was very clear
that you had to earn his respect. respect was not just something that came with a title because you were a united states senator, it didn't mean that -- that you had earned his respect. and i know because i felt that in my early years here in the senate. i came -- came through an appointment. i think john mccain was just going to wait to see if i was able to prove myself. and he ultimately decided, apparently, that i had. came up to me one day. we were actually walking down the aisle. he comes up and he says, you know, you're okay, kid. for that, that was high praise. now, we all have heard some of the legendary stories of when
individuals kind of came head to head or toe to toe with john mccain. certainly there were scenarios where we disagreed. we had a little bit different view on earmarks. and that was not just my relationship with senator mccain but previous alaska senators as well. i think we all agreed that our disagreements were principled in nature. i remember one very interesting and heated exchange over the merits of essential air service. and john was on one side of the issue and i was an advocate for essential air. i said, we're literally nose to nose. don't you understand when it's called essential air, it's because it's essential, because we don't have roads to these places. and he kind of growled at me. well, i don't know why we need to have it.
legendary back and forths. and sometimes you won. sometimes john won. but it was always -- it was always with a great deal of passion that these exchanges moved forward. then there was the other end of the spectrum. those times when john and i were voting together, sometimes against the majority of our own party. health care and the a.c.a. vote last year is certainly a prime example of that. that was a tough vote. that was a tough vote for our conference. it was a difficult vote. i will tell you it was comforting to have some solidarity with my friend john mccain, even when it was clear that we may have disagreed with many of our colleagues. but john was one that when he
had made his mind up, he had made his mind up, and you respected that. john had visited alaska, and it helped validate his view that climate change is real, it's something that we have to deal with, that we have to take practical steps to address it. and i agree agreed with -- agreed with john. i don't need convincing on that and i will be proud to help achieve that goal. i valued john's work on campaign finance reform and comprehensive immigration reform. i was never part of the gang on immigration, but my votes clearly marked me as a fellow traveler. we also had a strong respect for our native peoples, both arizona and alaska have many tribes and large concentrations of indigenous americans, and his
decades of work to advance the cause of native people were really legendary. and because john accomplished so much during his time here, we all talk about his time spent on the international front, working on defense issues, but i think oftentimes the issue area with native americans and indian issues was overlooked. let me comment on that for a moment. back in the 1990's john joined with senator inouye on amendments of the self-determination act providing for tribal self-governance compacting and this opened up a whole new era of opportunity for alaska tribes. it laid the groundwork for alaska tribes to take over the delivery of native health care from a failing federal bureaucracy. and now around the state, whether you're up up or down in
ketchikan, they enjoy award-winning, world class health care in a system that the native people control. and that really would not have been possible without people like john mccain fighting for our native people. i think that john -- john would have been proud of me on the afternoon that he passed. i was in the village, a small community, about 800 people on saint lawrence island, about 40 miles from russia, in the bairn sea -- baron sea, one of the remote places in alaska and i was there to conduct a field hearing on the indian affairs committee on overcrowding housing where our native people are forced to live in extraordinarily difficult homes with difficult sanitation problems in these very remote communities. john was really a champion for ending the third world living
conditions that too many of our native people still endure. and we got a lot of work -- a lot of unfinished work on that front. and i plan to attack it with the same vigor that john brought to the fight. i mentioned john's love for our military, for our veterans. he will long be remembered for his efforts to bring our military back from years of neglect and devastating pain of sequestration. the story that we all know, john working on major defense budgets and been an extraordinary advocate for all of our defense, my story and how it intersects with a very, very small group of elderly alaska warriors i think demonstrates that this big,
strong, gruff guy who was truly taking on the world had a very soft spot in his heart and the kindness that he showed to these few elderly alaska native guard veterans is something that is worthy of sharing. after senator stevens left the senate in 2009, the pentagon had tried to cut off the pensions of two dozen, just two dozen elderly men who served in the alaska territorial guard during world war ii. and stevens had worked really, really hard to get their service counted as military service and to grant them veterans status. and not unlike the way ted did things, he took care of it in the appropriations process. so it was an earmark.
and over the christmas holiday, the pentagon kind of worked to reinterpret that earmark. needless to say, ted is gone. this is an important issue again to these 24 elderly veterans. so i moved an amendment on the defense appropriations bill to reverse it. i talked to john. he was pretty skeptical at first because he says it's an earmark. but then he asked. he asked whether or not these native guardsmen, these eskimo scouts had actually seen war. and i was able to share with him the story of those who had stood lookout on the homeland in the alucia islands, the reminder that in alaska, we were the only american soil okay piped by the
japanese in world war ii and it was these native warriors who were standing guard, standing lookout. so long story short, john knew that supporting these elderly veterans was the right thing to do. so many things that we can share about john, but really when i think about -- i think about his legacy going forward, whether he's project maverick as my friend from south carolina has said or however we choose to remember him, i do hope that history will remember john as an institutionalist in the highest tradition of the senate. he was committed to thoughtful debate and regular order. he was effective committee chairman respecting the interests of members on both sides. he managed his bills on the floor working hand in hand with the other side. these were tough bills.
the annual defense authorization bill draws something on the order of 600 amendments. he was always protective of committee prerogatives. he was known to put his foot down when appropriators sought to muscle out the authorizers and he was always looking to bipartisanship. and he fought for our institution because he never lost sight that it is a coequal branch. he took no guff, we all know, no matter who was in charge. that wasn't because john liked to flex his senatorial muscle. it was because he was a true believer in the constitution and in its checks and balances. he was a true believer in the institution, of government -- institutions of government, and a true believer in democracy. john certainly made his share of history. he's earned his place in it. and i think we all know how much
we will miss him, his passion, his courage, his loss leaves a sad but at the same time i think -- leaves us sad, but at the same time i think it offers us a beacon of hope in the senate as we reflect on his life and his contributions. senator graham has observed that john will not be replaced by any one senator. it's going to take all of us working together. it's going to take all of us to really accomplish what john knew we were capable of. and by coming together, respecting one another's principles, even when we disagree and working through these disagreements to compromise, that's how we really honor john's legacy. there's a lot of words, and
these words will come and go. buff the way to truly honor him is to live out what he believed this senate is capable of doing. we were reminded that there's a little john mccain in all of us. i think it would be good for us to remind one another of that, to urge the inner john mccain in each of us to present itself, to present itself in a way that betters our institution. so on behalf of the people of the 49th state, the great state of alaska, i thank you, john mccain. i thank the family for the years that you gave him to us, to his country. we will take it from here inspired by your service, john mccain, by your intellect, by
the presiding officer: the senator from new york. without objection. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of elad l. roisman of maine to be a member of the securities and exchange commission for a term expiring june 5, 2023. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of elal roisman of maine to be a member of the securities and
the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 83, the nays are 14, and the motion is agreed to. the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i ask that my following remarks about senator mccain be included in the congressional record along with other eulogies presented by senators. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: thank you. i'm glad i traveled to phoenix for john mccain's funeral. you learn a lot more about a united states senator in his hometown than in washington, d.c. what was clear in phoenix last thursday is that john mccain and the state of arizona were well connected with one another.
i had wondered about that, frankly, because it's a long way to phoenix, five-hour flight. sometimes john took a connecting flight, and then he must have taken hundreds of trips around the world, so i wondered if he was really connected there as he was to the united states senate. you shouldn't have any doubt about it because you're not going to get elected six times in a primary and six time in an election where both the primary and elections are competitive without being well connected to your state. he obviously is. listening to those who remembered john in phoenix, it was clear that john mccain kept his feet on the ground in are arizona. the former attorney general grant woods spoke first. he was very good. he captured john perfectly. he had been his chief of staff, he had been the attorney general
of arizona, and grant woods captured john's erratic drying and mercurial percent in his remarks. tommy espinoza, a friend of john mccain, helped us understand, again, thought how john thought that his job was to serve everybody, whether they were republicans or democrats or from whatever walk of life. we all knew that john mccain was a sports nut, and i don't guess any of us were surprised to see larry fitzgerald, who's ending his 15th year in the national football league speak. but i was impressed when larry fitzgerald talked about having so much respect for john mccain that he, larry fitzgerald, flew to hanoi, went to the lake where mccain crashed his plane and then went to the cell in hanoi where he
spent nearly six years. joe biden brought the only touch of washington, d.c., to phoenix on last thursday, but it really wasn't that big of a touch, because what joe mainly talked about was his friendship with john mccain, and their relationship, which all of us know is the heart and soul of the senate. the service in the big baptist church would conclude with frankcy gnat -- frank sinatra singing myway. those of us who eulogized john usually are honest enough to say that he was an equal opportunity insulter. he took the hit off almost every one of us in the united states senate at one time or another. he was filled with passion for every issue he touched.
and that often led to explosions. he would say after the ex explosions, after the -- comploaksz, after the -- explosions, after the inevitable apology, that i never expected to be mr. congeniality. i chalked it up to those six years in captivity in hanoi and all of us wondered how someone who suffered such pain could have such a productive life and be so useful to our country. he brought the same passion and generosity of spirit that he had with issues to his friendships, inwas glad to be included as one of those. and he extended that generosity of spirit to people he didn't know, who he just met in many walks of life. i can remember when he was campaigning in tennessee with me and he was spending the night with me at our home in east
tennessee, it was late when we got there, 10:30 or 11. my son had a group of nashville songwriters. they were eager to let john hear their number one hit. he stopped, he listened, he spent some time with them. and one of them said to me last week how thrilled he still is that he got to meet john mccain. eugene, who is a craftsman in our town, was going to work, and there was john leaving, and it turned out eugene had been in town at the same time john had been. eugene told me this past week how much he valued those few minutes with john mccain. john mccain came to the senate in, i think, 1976 or so. and he got his hair cut by mairo
dea ngelo. i saw marrow -- mario the other day and he said when john mccain was running for president and some interviewer asked him, sitting there with his wife cindy, he thought for a moment and cindy said, well, there's mario. and mccain said, mario the butcher, he's responsible for all of these scars on my face. mario laughed and said, that's what he always called me, the butcher. but he was my buddy. when he knew i was going to phoenix, he said say good-bye to my good friend john mccain. that's how ma rirch o felt -- mario felt. we heard so much about john mccain last week one would wonder if there was anything
else left to say. what i want to say is not something different, but i'd like to emphasize something and that is the commitment that senator john mccain had to the united states senate as an institution. his devotion to the senate as an institution is, by far, not his most newsworthy accomplishment, but it underlay many of his most important decisions. he said he voted against the obamacare repeal because it didn't go through the regular order, the kind of order an institution ought to have. the last chapter in one of his books is entitled, "the regular order." in 2005 when democrats bobbinged george w. -- bocked george w. bush's nominees and seeking to change the senate into an authoritarian institution and they worked in sort of a gang to make sure that didn't happen. he wanted to make sure to
preserve the senate as an institution. i worked with him for many hours in 2011, 2012, and 2013 on the same thing. we saw the difficult that president obama at that time had getting his nomination confirmations confirmed. we wanted to ensure that the presidents could get their nominees approved in a reasonable time. we worked with senator carl levin, for example, he insisted that we needed to be successful or else we would have a nuclear explosion that would change the nature of the senate, make it an authoritarian institution and senator levin said at the time and senator mccain and i both agreed, that a senate in which the majority can change the rules at any time is a senate without any rules. when senator levin might -- what
he might also have said is a senate which a weaker institution deserving less respect. a few years ago in a speech in morristown, new jersey, the late justice scalia said this, the reason that america's basic freedom has endured for 200 years is not because of the amendments to the constitution but because of the constitution itself. justice scalia said that. every ten-horn dictator in the world, every president for life has the bill of rights. that's not what makes us free. if it did, we might as well live in zimbabwe but you wouldn't want to live in most countries of the world that have a bill of rights. what has made us free, justice scalia said, is our constitution. think of the word constitution, it means structure. that's why scalia continued,
america's framers debated the structure of the federal government, the genius of the american constitutional system is the dispersal of power. once power is centralized in one person, justice scalia said, or one part of government, the bill of rights is just words on paper. john mccain understood that. he sensed that especially a nation as fragmented as ours has become and this internet democracy in which we live today, especially needs strong institutions. and the most important institution designed to reach a consensus, a compromise, an agreement, the kind of agreement that most americans will support and the kind of agreement that will last a long time, the institution most suited to do that is the united states senate. that is our job, just as it is
our job to weigh in against the excesses of the popular will and the excesses of the chief executive. and if we don't do our jobs, justice scalia said, we are risking creating in our country an authoritarian government. the united states senate is a representative body so some senators stand out above others. and they're -- and there usually is one senator who stands out over all the other senators. and for the last few years, that has been john mccain. and for me one of the most enduring contributions john mccain made to this institution has been his continuous efforts to help strengthen the senate as an institution, to see to it that we do our job, providing checks against the excesses of the popular will, excesses of the executive, and that we work hard to find the kind of compromise
and consensus and agreement that most americans can support and that can last for a long time. i thank the president. i yield the floor. mr. sullivan: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: mr. president, it's tuesday afternoon. usually i come down on the floor of the senate on thursday to talk about the individual in alaska that makes my state such a great place, what we call the
alaskan of the week. and we haven't been able to do that for a couple of weeks so i not i'd just move up the timeline a little bit today and talk a little bit about some people in my state who really have made an incredible difference. it's one of my favorite speeches i give throughout the year, throughout the week because it talks about people who help their community, help their state, help their country. and oftentimes they're not always recognized. so today we are going to talk about two, not one but two individuals who are our alaskans of the week. we actually made our poster board today to be a little bit more specific on what just transpired in our great state a couple of weeks ago. the two alaskans are john row --
john royan and eric isaacs. as i mentioned we have a beautiful, beautiful incredible state. i was reminded again of just how awe inspiring the great state of alaska is. i've been home pretty much every weekend this summer but had the opportunity to visit 12 villages in the western part of our state and meet with my constituents, some of the most generous, resilient and very importantly patriotic people in our great nation john rowan and aaron isaacs are part of that tradition. mr. president, alaska has more veterans per capita than any state in the country, and alaskan natives serve at higher rates in the military than any
other ethnic group in the country. so this is very special patriotism, particularly with regard to the a-- alaska fative population in our state. what have they done? what did john rowan and eric isaac -- owe aaron isaacs do? they live in a community in southeast alaska. this community now has a 37-foot toe team pole -- totem dedicated to those who have served our country in the military. that totem pole now stands tall because of the dedication and skill of john who is the carver and mr. isaacs, a highly respected aalaskan native elder who had the idea and the vision and raised the money to make it happen. so let me talk a little bit
about both of these alaskan patriots. john was raised in klawock. he was in eighth grade. when he was in eighth grade, he saw an ad featuring a group of men in uniform on zodiacs at night, recon marines on a mission and he was very struck by that. he said he wanted to be a marine, wanted to be like them. shortly after he graduated from high school, he contacted a recruiter whose name he still remembers, gunny joynes and in 1982 he left his village to become a united states marine. four years later he was back home and met his future wife, patricia. they were soon married and he and patricia have been happily married ever since and have raised two fine daughters. along the way john worked as a
logger. then got a job as a janitor in the local high school and he had a passion for carving. he had a passion for carving. and the -- in the native tradition. carving was something he had done since he was a child. he continued it throughout his life, and he became the native arts and teacher and master carver at his local high school. about this time -- and remember, mr. president, this is about 30 years ago -- he was approached by mr. isaacs who talked to him about his plans to carve a giant totem pole in tribute to our service members. now totem poles in southeast alaska, native culture, are revered, and they're often carved and razeed in -- raised in ceremonies commemorating
significant people and events. they're very, very special. and as you can see in the pictures we have here, this is what they were working on. a smithsonian researcher once wrote that such totem poles in alaska are, quote, as beautiful and interesting as the parthenon of the ancient greeks, and they are truly awe inspiring pieces of art and pieces of culture. so 30 years ago, mr. isaacs and john, my fellow brother marine, talked about this. john liked the idea but he kind of shrugged it off. he knew all the work that went into building a totem pole. he knew how expensive it was. he didn't know where the funds would come from. but mr. isaacs was determined. he had a dream. he had a vision. so mr. isaacs who is now 80
years old but didn't look it -- you see him in some of these photos. he also grew up in klawock. his father served in the territorial guard. these are the alaskan natives who signed up by the thousands to defend alaska which a lot of americans don't realize was actually the site of major battles during world war ii against the japanese. mr. isaacs had two brothers who also served in the military, one in the army, one in the marine corps. and in 1961 he was drafted and became a paratrooper in the storied 82nd air airborne -- airborne division. you're getting a sense of what i'm talking when it comes to alaskan natives and serving in the military. it's an unbelievable tradition and special patriotism. when mr. isaacs got back from
his duty with the 82nd airborne, he turned to carpentry, something he was trained in and built many of the buildings in klawock. he married betty, his wonderful wife, and in october, next month, they'll be celebrating 52 years of marriage. they raised a family and built a wonderful life. over the years he became more involved in helping his fellow veterans. he and a hand of other veterans began talking about this idea, creating a totem pole as a tribute to the so many veterans in southeast alaska. he knew that if it was going to be done right, he and the community had to do it themselves. so they began to raise money. 30 years ago, dollar by dollar, quarter by quarter, he held his first fund raising breakfast at his wife's restaurant where fellow veterans would donate the
bacon and egg eggs and pancake mix. it was slow going but he didn't stop. mr. isaacs said, quote, we had been struggling and struggling but it was a handful of veterans who kept us going and we had the vision. he began to put more energy into raising funds. he sent letters. his fund raising efforts began to spread throughout southeast alaska. he reached out to companies, corporations, the department of defense even. eventually his efforts began to pay off. the funds started to come in and all told he raised $61,000. it was a labor of love, he said, but i loved every bit of it. think about that. $61,000 almost over 30 years of fund raising. talk about perseverance for one idea and vision. so after many setbacks,
mr. isaacs and the prince of wales veterans association were able to procure a giant, and i'm talking giant red cedar tree through the assistance of the u.s. forest service and alaska's specialty wood helped to harvest and transport this massive log. john with the help of his students got to work on the log. about a year ago i was in klawock and we saw the hard work they were doing. they were carving. it was unbelievable. and when i was invited to come to the raising of this totem pole, i said i wouldn't miss it for the world. so, mr. president, just two weeks ago in this wonderful town of about 800 people on alaska's prince of wales island, hundreds, hundreds gathered after a three-day ceremony to
raise this massive and lovingly carved totem pole that pays homage to our veterans, all of our american veterans. let me give you a little description of the totem pole that you're seeing here. at its face is a folded flag which is a flag a family receives at a veteran's funeral. when you're going up the totem pole a little bit more, there are two soldiers on each side, one an ain vent warrior holding a dagger and a pick and the other is a 1960's era u.s. army soldier complete with a pack of lucky strikes tucked in his helmet. going further up, you can see it here is the emblem for our p.o.w.'s missing in action,
military members and then further up is the insignia for the five different branches of the u.s. military, positioned so that you have to walk around the entire totem pole. and at the very top, mr. president, are an eagle and a raven. of -- of course, there is the alaska native cultural significance here, but also john, the carver, wanted the eagle and the raven back to back on the totem pole. for the veterans, this is us watching each other's back, he said. mr. isaacs praised john's work. it's beautiful, it's perfect. you get a sense -- here is mr. isaacs right here. you get a sense how massive, massive this totem pole is. 37 feet, but several tons. so, mr. president, it's not easy
raising one of these totem poles. you see all the ropes here. it involves ropes and pulleys and dozens and dozens of people pulling this giant totem pole up into its place of honor into this wonderful community. like i mentioned, i had the honor of being there. i also had the honor of bringing our new commandant of the coast guard, admiral schulze, with me. we were part of the -- of the group -- there is the admiral, there is john, my fellow marine. there is the totem pole being raised. but it was an unbelievable, unbelievable ceremony. several hundred were there watching something, the division of which began 30 years ago by two veterans who wanted to honor
all american veterans. john was there with his wife and two daughters. a master artists, a veteran, an alaskan, an american, a marine filled with gratitude for the part he played in helping mr. isakson' dream, -- mr. isaacs' dream, an army veteran, airborne soldier, helping that vision come true. mr. isaacs family was also there with him, including his son who was a paratrooper in the army. again, you get the point. this community is so patriotic, they serve their country generation after generation in the military. i don't care who sees me, mr. isaacs told a friend next to him, a korean war combat veteran. i'm going to cry when that
beautiful totem pole goes up. and, mr. president, for all of us, it was very emotional. so i want to once again congratulate john and aaron isaacs. thank you for all you have done. thank you for your vision, thank you for your hard work, thank you for your military service, for your country, for your community, and veterans not just in alaska but veterans all across america when you come to alaska, when you come to southeast alaska, come to kawouk and see a massive totem pole that these two wonderful men spent 30 years putting together, raised in the honor of every american veteran and military member who has defended freedom in our great nation. i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. yesterday, americans gathered around the country to honor the women and men who built our economy and continue to power it today, american workers. almost every year, the week we return after labor day, i speak about american workers, those who work with their hands and their shoulders and their arms and their brains because all work has dignity, all work matters to our country. martin luther king said all labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance. he told local 1199 hospital workers more than 50 years ago no labor is really menial unless you're not getting adequate wages, something that's too often the case today. let me talk a little about that. all work has dignity. that's what labor day is all
about. over the last week, i have traveled all over ohio meeting with workers who power our state and support our families. last week i talked with mine workers and teamsters in cambridge in eastern ohio, in appalachia. they are fighting to protect the pensions they earned over a lifetime of work. one retired coal miner, john vargo, there with his wife linda, give me a coal black beer stein that was given to his father. 5,000 of those steins were given out to umwa members 40 years ago. the front features a miner with a pick ax doing his job working through a black tunnel. then description on the bottom says it represents the long struggle historically for humane working conditions. yesterday, i talked to -- on saturday -- sunday, i talked to firefighters and steelworkers and so many others, several hundred workers in lorain -- auto and steel and iron workers and carpenters and other tradespeople, machinists,
service workers, seiu, and ascme and others. yesterday in cleveland, i spoke with workers at the 47th annual labor day parade and festival. this event was started nearly a half century ago by mayor carl stokes, continued by -- continued by his brother lou stokes and stephanie tubbs jones, carried on today by my friend, congresswoman marcia fudge. a reminder, this historic connection between the civil rights movement and our labor movement. both are movements for justice. they are about treating americans no matter -- treating americans no matter whether you work in a hospital, whether you punch a clock, whether you work construction, whether you are an hourly wage worker, whether you work for tips, treating all americans with dignity and respect. this morning, i met with a group of firefighters, several of them retired, union firefighters and fire chiefs in shaker heights, lakewood, and cleveland. all of whom talked to me about
how firefighting -- we know that when -- when there is a fire, firefighters rush into danger while all of us as civilians flee and rush out. what we don't think about enough and we know the dangers of those jobs, a collapsing roof or a walking -- floor falling in. what we don't think enough about is the chemicals they are exposed to. that's why we push legislation here and then the dollars to go with it for a cancer registry so we can figure out why so many firefighters are dying from cancer, why so many have developed cancer after 10 or 15 or 20 years on the job exposed to these chemicals. all these workers, all these workers, retired firefighters, mine workers, teamsters, steelworkers, all of them are part of the struggle. my lapel, mr. president, i wear this pen depicting a canary in a bird cage. it was given to me from workers
in lorain, ohio. at the turn of the last century in 1900, mine workers took a canary in a cage down to the mines. if the canary stopped singing, if it died from toxic gas or lack of oxygen, the mine worker knew he had minutes to get out alive. he didn't have a union strong enough to protect him. he didn't even have a government that cared enough to protect him. american workers in the labor movement changed all that. workers organized. they ended child labor. they pushed through congress the 40-hour workweek and overtime pay. they helped to create social security and medicare. they fought for workers rights and women's rights and civil rights. the economy grew and workers' wages grew along with it. profits were up. compensation for executives went up. productivity went up. and workers' wages pretty much went up with it. that was then. american workers have been the engine behind all of that success. you build an economy from the middle out, not from the top down, although from the tax bill
this congress passed, you would think my colleagues believe if you shovel enough money to the rich, it will trickle down and help the middle class. it never has really worked that way. when i say workers, that workers are the engine behind that success, i mean all workers. whether you punch a clock, whether you swipe a badge, whether you earn a salary, whether you make tips. but today this hard work isn't paying off. corporate profits have gone up. executive compensation has exploded. stock prices have gone up. workers are evermore productive. but wages have barely budged. wages have actually defined this year in spite of this -- in spite of the administration singing its own praises for a growing economy. at the same time, you know what else has gone up? health care costs have gone up. health care costs go up while executive compensation goes up, while profits go up, but workers' wages have simply plateaued. workers are getting squeezed at both ends. paychecks aren't growing fast enough. workers' budgets are being
stretched thin with the cost of everything, particularly housing, particularly prescription drugs, particularly college tuition. we need to think differently about the american economy. corporations don't drive the economy. workers do. as i said, we grow the economy from the middle class out. if work isn't valued, americans can't earn their way to a better life for their families, no matter how hard they work. millions of americans work long hours but struggle to get my. and they don't feel like anyone notices or anyone cares. that feeling was captured pretty well by my friend, ohio indiana rita lewis. she is the widow of teamster butch lewis. she has become an advocate herself, fighting for the pensions her husband and other teamsters earned. not long ago, rita said it's like we are invisible. too often she is right. for too many millions of americans working too many hours for too little pay, you may be invisible to most members of the senate, you may be invisible to
washington, you may be invisible to the corrupt state government in columbus, ohio, but you are not invisible to me and you're not invisible to some people in this body. we see you, we hear you, we fight for you. we fight for paid family leave. we fight for paid sick leave. we fight for the overtime pay that you earn. we fight to give workers a say in their job. we fight to save america's pensions and give people a break, make it a bit easier to save for retirement. we work to encourage companies to invest in their greatest asset, you, the american worker. that's what we'll fight for not just on labor day, two days ago -- or yesterday, not just on labor day, but the next day and the day after that and every day throughout the year. if you love this country, you fight for people who make it grow. you fight for people who make it work. i encourage my colleagues to reflect this week on what we do to honor american workers who make our country great. mr. president, i ask -- i ask that the next part of my remarks be in a different part of the
record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. last week we were reminded again of the important work that journalists do in their communities, breaking stories that affect ohioans. we know what comes out of the white house as the president calls journalists, reporters enemies of the people. last wednesday, i saw something again to underscore and illustrate how wrong that is. the chillicothe gazette -- it's a town 50 miles south of columbus -- reported that 28 people at an ohio correctional institution were sent to the hospital after being exposed to a mysterious substance. prison guards and inmates alike. the reporters talked to the ohio highway patrol. they were able to confirm that the incident began when an inmate began showing signs of an overdose. they learned that more than 20 staff members had potentially been exposed and were sent to a hospital for treatment. they reported that some received a drug -- naloxone which is used
to treat an overdose. the reporters were able to confirm it was fentanyl-laced heroin that sent those workers to the hospitals. reporters talked to one corrections officer who told them we were trying to keep up with everything. it was a form of controlled chaos. the journalists at the gazette did what everyday reporters in this country do, what good reporters do in a rapidly unfolding incident like this one. they talked to witnesses, they reached out to the institutions involved, they established a hotline, they tracked down a pair of 9/11 calls tracing at 8:45 on wednesday. they didn't stop there. they published multiple follow-up stories, they found the institution had a history of high drug use. they tracked down the most recent prison report. they found that ross correctional led the state in positive random drug tests in 2015. like so much good reporting, these stories were a team effort among journalists at the gazette. mr. president, i happened to be at the gazette that morning
around the time this story broke. i talked to mike thrown, the editor. mike thrown understands, as all of his reporters do, as all of that paper, that as the community does, that people don't see the chillicothe gazette. people don't see these hardworking reporters, not paid a lot of money, not paid anything close to what they earn, frankly. they don't see them as enemies of the people, frankly. they see them as serving their community. these reporters do their job. they were informing us, the citizens of the state and this country, they were serving their communities in chillicothe and bornville and circleville and waverly and all over southern ohio. they, mr. president, deserve our president. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar 1069, 1070, 1071, 1072 and all the nominations placed on the secretary's desk in the air force, army and marine corps and navy, that the nominations be confirmed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order, that any statements related to the nominations be printed in the record, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak
therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the following calendar bills en bloc: calendar 420, h.r. 1109, calendar 469, and s. res. 186 -- s. 186. the clerk: calendar 420, h.r. 1109, an act to amend section 203 of the federal power act. calendar number 469, s. 186, a bill to amend the federal power act and so forth. the presiding officer: without objection the senate will proceed to the measures en bloc. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the committee-reported amendments be agreed to, the bills as amended be considered read a third time en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i know of no further debate on the bills as amended en bloc. the presiding officer: the question is on passage of the bills as amended en bloc.
all in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bills as amended be passed en bloc. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, all en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar 550, s. 3021. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: khreupbd 550, s. 3021, a bill to designate the united states courthouse located at 300 south fourth street in minneapolis, minnesota, as the diane e. murphy united states courthouse. the presiding officer: without objection the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the bill be considered a third time, passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection.
mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 551, h.r. 5772. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 551, h.r. 5772, an act to designate the j. marvin jones federal building and courthouse in amarillo, texas as the marilou robinson courthouse. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the bill will be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 5385 which was received from the house. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 5385, an act to amend the public health service act to reauthorize the program of payments to children's hospitals that operate graduate medical education programs, and for other purposes.
the presiding officer: without objection the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of ÷. res. 621. submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 621, done congratulating the honolulu baseball league on winning the world series championship. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i further ask the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no rint veeng action or debate. -- with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 394, s. 994. the presiding officer: the clerk will report.
the clerk: calendar number 394, s. 994, a bill to amend title 18, united states code, to provide for the protection of community centers with religious affiliation and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the committee-reported substitute amendment be agreed to, the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the committee on finance be discharged from further consideration of s. 2553 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 2553, a bill to amend title 28 of the social security actern so forth. -- act and so forth. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged. the senate will proceed to the
measure. mr. mcconnell: i further ask the stabenow amendment, at the desk, be considered agreed to, the amendment to time. which is at the desk be agreed to and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until noon, wednesday, september 5, further, following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morning business be closed and following leader remarks the senate proceed to executive session for the consideration of the roisman nomination and that notwithstanding rule 22, the senate vote on confirmation of the nomination. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the the presiding officer: the
>> today the senate voted to advance the nomination to serve on the securities and exchange commission. later in the week they are expected to consider the money eight judicial nominees. i covered the senate returns. off the floor spin court nominee brett kavanaugh appeared before the senate judiciary committee for day one of his commission hearing. the hearing ran for more than seven hours at night we bring it to you in its entirety. starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on c-span2. tomorrow is day two of the confirmation hearing and picks up at 930 a.m. eastern. you can watch it live on c-span3 or should live on our website, c-span .org and on the free c-span radio app. c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's table television company.
today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court in public policy events in washington dc and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. in arizona governor doug ducey announced former senator john kyle will replace the late senator, john mccain. he will serve in the senate until her placement is elected in a special election scheduled for 2020. here's the governor's announcement. >> we had just concluded a very difficult week for our state and our country. john mccain was an american hero and we were very blessed to have