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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  November 12, 2019 2:59pm-7:04pm EST

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that if a person is in a deferred action category, that person may be given, and there's federal regulations and federal statutes, that person may be given authorization if they apply for, if they meet all of the standards and it makes perfect sense to someone that the administration has decided is not going to be deported is in a position to support himself or herself or her family and be part of the community rather than the depend upon the cover. so once the decision is made to our statutes and regulations that authorize the application for permission to work. those laws which the government has even challenged. >> we are going to leave the remaining moments of this news conference with daca recipients. you can see it in its entirety if you go to our website right now live coverage of the u.s. senate. lawmakers are meeting today to consider the nomination of chad wolfe to be homeland security
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undersecretary for strategy, policy and plans. and now live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. gracious god, our rock of ages and life's shifting sands,
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give our lawmakers this day the abiding assurance of your presence. may they strive to be your instruments, accompliing your will and being concluded by your glory. enable them to experience your contentment and peace, facing life's chaos with quiet hearts and vibrant faith. lord, refresh their spirit, quicken their thinking, reinforce their judgment, and empower them to fulfill your purposes on earth.
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we pray in your mighty name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in the pledge of allegiance. 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: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved.
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mr. grassley: madam president, i'd like to -- madam president? the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. mr. grassley: i ask permission to speak in morning business for three minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: i come to the floor today to recognize the accomplishments of an organization that has done great service to communities and veterans across the united states. this month marks 100 years since the american legion received its charter from congress and formally adopted its constitution. when it was established in paris in march of 1919, the american legion stated its aims in part, quote, to perpetuate the opinion pells of justice -- the
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principles of justice, freedom, and democracy for which we fought. end of quote. the accomplishments of the american legion since that time are numerous and profound. they include successfully lobbying for the creation of what was then called the veterans bureau which we later became the v.a., the department of veterans affairs. the american legion also conducted pioneering research into ptsd and drafted the original g.i. bill that helped to educate so many world war ii veterans after that war and gave a big boost to the expanding united states economy post-world war ii. the american legion members complete over three and seven tenths million hours of community service each year. i happen to be a member of the
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sons of the american legion. as part of that organization, i'm blessed then to have the american legion making meaningful impact in my life. when i was a young high school student in iowa, i was proud to participate in boy state where i learned the right, privileges, and responsibilities of citizenship and the american legion still does that every year, at least in iowa and i suppose in every state. iowans are fortunately -- fortunate to have the enduring presence of the american legion in our communities. this august two iowans were recognized nationally for their dedication to the american legion, bruce f.y. erbach of keystone was elected national vice commander of the american legion and nicole clapp of gladbrook was elected national
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president of the american legion auxiliary. many more accomplishments are sure to come from the american legion's iowa department. i congratulate the american legion on this 100th year of service and thank all members for their dedication to iowa and to our nation and i want to point out that there was a major general mcknighter, mason city, iowa, who was the fourth national commander of the american legion and probably one of those early dedicated to establishing this organization. i yield the floor.
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mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i was privileged to spend a good chunk of the day yesterday with the hardworking men and women of north american stainless in caroll county, kentucky. they're a high quality stainless steel manufacturing firm that is actually the largest fully integrated stainles stainless sl producer in the entire united states. they produce one-third of all u.s. stainless. the company brings 1,500 jobs to its rural community, that's kentucky's eighth largest manufacturer by total employment. i joined them yesterday to celebrate an important legislative accomplishment that i was able to spearhead back in july. the long overdue senate ratification of a bipartisan tax
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treaty protocol with spain. by passing this new protocol, we cleared away a mess of confusing and unfair double taxation, the threat of which had stunted growth and investment right here at home. i got to hear again firsthand what a significant difference the approval of this simple bipartisan tax treaty will make for this american manufacturer. and i was happy to hear the c.e.o. announce that the company can now move forward with a major $30 million capital investment in developing its facility and its workforce as a direct result of the ratification of that treaty. it was just another reminder that the economic policies we vote on here often on a bipartisan basis make an enormous difference for workers and job creators in each of our states. but while we applauded the spain tax treaty and the new prosperity it will unlock, it was impossible to overlook the
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fact that usmca is still being blocked over in the house of representatives. by one analysis, 12 million american jobs are dependent upon trade with mexico and canada. together they make up a $500 billion market for u.s. exports. so it's no surprise that updating our trading relationships with both of our north american neighbors would stand to have a major positive effect on our economy. to be more specific, according to data from the international trade commission, the usmca would generate about 176,000 new american jobs. it would pump nearly $70 billion into the u.s. economy. and the already massive markets for u.s. products would be expected to grow by tens of billions more. for months speaker pelosi and house democrats have been
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claiming they support this agreement and want to get to yes but month after month this happy talk has seeming will i led to no tangible progress, just more heel dragging. hardworking kentuckian, people like our farmers and cattlemen keep writing to me and asking congress to pass the usmca, but speaker pelosi won't make time for it. house democrats have enough time to continue their three-year-old obsession with impeaching the president but they cannot find the time to pass a landmark trade deal that would create 176,000 new american jobs. just saying their priorities outloud indicates how backwards they are. on a totally different matter, hong kong has been rocked by more violence as citizens continue resisting the chinese communist party's encroachment on their ough -- their autonomyd
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freedoms. on monday it appears the local police shot a 21-year-old protester at nearly point blank range. the police have arrested hundreds of demonstrators reportedly as young as 12 and as old as 82. tear gas, rubber bullets, and other violent measures have now become standard fair. a few days earlier a number of democracies supporting hong kong legislators were swept up a government -- up in a government crackdown. these elected officials were either arrested or given summons just a few weeks before local elections. these continuing government escalations are inconsistent with the hong kong basic law, with international agreements, and with the will of hong kongers. realizing their own people will not circumvent the core issue here, beijing's insatiable thirst for control.
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i've abdicated for hong kong since i wrote our nation's hong kong policy act back in 1992. i know many of us in this body now want to extend and expand that law in a targeted manner that focuses pressure on the chinese communist party and its agents who are responsible for undermining hong kong's autonomy while minimizing the collateral economic damage to the very hong kongers we want to help. i'm eager to continue to working with colleagues such as senator risch, senator graham, senator rubio and others toward a strong and procedurally workable solution. meanwhile, i appreciate statements by administration leaders, such as vice president pence and secretary pompeo that show a clea clear-eyed perspectn china's orwellian tactics and bad intentions. i urged at managers to use the leverage and authorities it has to hold individuals accountable. hong kong is not only -- is not
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the only recent reminder that we live in a dangerous world in which america's interests, allies, and ideals are constantly a threat. press reports this morning indicated that israel is suffering yet another round of terror, including more than 160 rocket launches fired against civilian targets in israel. this comes after israeli forces appear to have eliminated one high-ranking leader in the terrorist group palestinian islamic jihad in gaza and targeted another terrorist in damascus, syria. the united states stands with our ally israel against p.i.j., hamas and terrorists who have long sought to erase the jewish state. if these reports are accurate, it will be no surprise that one of these terrorist leaders will hold up in damascus. syria under assad stands alongside iran as the chief patrons of anti-israel
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terrorism. this is just another reminder that the united states and some of our closest allies have a strong stake in the future of syria and that a victory for assad will be a victory for iran and for terrorism. so every hour seemingly brings more evidence of our troubled world, but just as with the trade agreements, madam president, critical legislation in this area is currently frozen in place. another casualty of democrats' apparent inability to make headway on anything besides fighting with the white house. for the second time in two months, senate democrats recently voted once again to filibuster the annual funding for our armed forces for our men and women in uniform, and while senate democrats block appropriations for defense, house democrats are now slow-walking the authorizing legislation, the ndaa. since the first ndaa was passed way back in 1961, congress has never failed, never failed to
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pass a bipartisan ndaa by the end of the year. not once. yet with house democrats fixated on impeachment, i understand that chairman adam smith and his fellow democrats are now dragging their heels on the conference committee that needs to complete this bill. these house democrats passed a uniquely partisan ndaa earlier this year. unlike the senate's bipartisan version, and now they are slow-walking the conference committee. these are among our most basic governing responsibilities, madam president, passing an ndaa, funding our armed forces. the united states of america cannot operate at less than full strength on the world stage because democrats are too busy, too busy impeaching the commander in chief. now, on one final matter. while our democratic colleagues continue to block the senate from moving forward with defense funding here on the floor, we use this time to confirm more of
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the president's well-qualified nominees to the executive branch and to the federal bench. later this week, we'll consider the nomination of steven j. menashi to be u.s. circuit court for the second circuit. mr. menashi is a graduate of dartmouth college and sanford university law school. he has accrued an impressive record in private practice and earned clerkships on the d.c. circuit and with justice alito. but first we'll consider the nomination of chad wolf to serve in a senior leadership position at the department of homeland security. mr. wolf's experience at the department dates back to the immediate aftermath of of the -- of the september 11 terrorist attacks. he has had a hand in arranging our nation's homeland security security infrastructure. he has been called a proven, thoughtful, and principled executive, end quote, and a former assistant secretary at the department said, quote, chad
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knows the issues cold. i hope my colleagues will join me in advancing each of these nominations later this week. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of homeland security, chad f. wolf of virginia to be under secretary for strategy, policy, and plans. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent -- are we in a quorum? the presiding officer: we are. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: now, madam president, today the supreme court heard oral arguments in the case against the president's decision to cancel daca, the program which grants legal status to over 600,000 dreamers who were brought to this country through no fault of their own. who voluntarily came forward and registered with the government in exchange for protected status, who work in our factories, in our hospitals, teach and learn in our schools, and serve in our military. before the highest court in the
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land, president trump and his administration cruelly argued that these dreamers did not belong in america and must be ripped away from their families and sent back to countries that many of them do not even remember. the president once tweeted, quote, does anybody really want to throw out good educated and arizona accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? really? and now he is saying -- same president, dreamers are -- that some dreamers are, quote, very tough hardened criminals and his administration has argued that they should be deported. donald trump's hypocrisy when this comes to dreamers knows no bounds. after flip-flopping again and again and again on the issue, after failing to lead an effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform, it's
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objectly shameful that president trump is trying to get the supreme court to do his curt l. dirty work and put the dreamers under threat of mass deportation. when the daca program was established in 2012 under a long tradition of administrative discretion, it changed the lives of thousands and thousands of dreamers for the better. it made our country better. but because of president trump and his relentless scapegoating of immigrants, his cynical use to try and tell too many of the american people that the dreamers are the reason that they're not doing well is despicable. these hardworking and patriotic americans are haunted by the possibility they could be forced to leave this country at any moment, be pulled away from their families, their jobs, their homes. it's cruel, it's counter productive, it undermines
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american values and all that america stands for. thankfully one of the first things that house democrats did after winning the majority was to pass a permanent legislative solution for daca recipients and t.p.s. holders. it is legislation i wholeheartedly support. now, it's up to the supreme court to defend the program. it's up to majority leader mcconnell to bring the dream and promise act to the senate floor. my good friend, senator durbin, who has been a champion for dreamers for as long as i can remember, will ask the senate's consent to take up these bills this evening. i thank him for his moral and continued strong leadership on this issue. and i could not agree more with what he's trying to do. it's time to do the right thing for dreamers and enshrine daca into law. we'll see how my republican friends respond. after all, the house has done
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its job. where are the senate republicans who claim to stand with the dreamers? well, we'll see this evening. madam president, from my home in brooklyn, i can see that great lady in the harbor who welcomed my ancestors many years ago. if america is to remain the greatest nation in the world, a beacon of hope and freedom for people everywhere, a light among nations, we must live up to our best values, and that means we must stand totally and wholeheartedly with the dreamers and all the 11 million who now live in the shadows. on nominations, madam president, we're here at the beginning of another week in the senate. as is the norm under leader mcconnell, we'll not be debating legislation like the dream act to improve the lives
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of average americans, but instead we'll vote on another slate of controversial trump administration nominees. first is the nomination of chad f. wolf to serve as under secretary at the department of homeland security. mr. wolf has had leerm roles within d.h.s. through much of trump's presidency and his troubling ties to president trump's disastrous family separation policy, the muslim ban and the national declaration at the southern border. despite testifying he was not involved in the family separation policy, mr. wolf reportedly suggested the policy in a memo he sent to then-attorney general sessions. he's ashamed to admit. he knows its wrong but he did it anyway. that man does not deserve to be an under secretary at d.h.s. and the circumstances of mr. wolf's nomination are also very strange. wolf is not only already serving
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as an under secretary in an acting capacity, president trump has named him the incoming secretary of d.h.s. in an acting capacity. president trump nferl bothered to -- never bothered to nominate a replacement for departing d.h.s. secretary mcaleenan, who left yesterday so the senate is being asked to confirm someone for a job they're not going to perform. if mr. wolf is confirmed we may never vote on who will be the actual secretary at d.h.s. this is completely unacceptable. the administration is having trouble finding people to fill these jobs. they know the cruelty that they will be asked to enforce. they know that donald trump will treat them poorly, so we can't find anybody to take these positions and hence we have this awkward game of musical chairs. rather than work with congress
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to find a d.h.s. secretary that we can support, the trump administration is trying a legal end run that subverts our constitutional duty to advise and consent. regardless of your ideology or views on immigration, my fellow senators should oppose wolf's nomination on constitutional grounds. and after the senate considers mr. wolf, we'll consider the nomination of steven j. menashi to serve on the second circuit court of appeals. i have rarely met a nominee as low as mr. menashi. he has a troubling record on race, women's equality, lgbtq rights and the rights of immigrants. his conduct before the judiciary committee was insulting. and recent poor reports describe how during his tenure working at the department of education, he played a leading role in designing an illegal effort to deny debt relief to thousands of
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students swindled by the for-profit colleges. that's right, the senate is going to be asked to confirm someone -- mr. menashi -- to be a judge who designed an illegal scheme to deny debt relief to defrauded students. the man has no principles, no conscience, no morals. he should not be on the bench. finally about our veterans and agent orange. yesterday our nation observed veterans day, a chance for all of us to say thank you to the millions of brave americans who served our country. it's a day to not only celebrate their achievements and express a deep and abiding gratitude for their service, but also to recognize that for many veterans, sacrifices come as a result of military service and those sacrifices are not yet over. today i want to shed light on one particular issue. there are now hundreds of thousands of veterans who suffer from diseases linked to agent
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orange, a chemical used by our military during the vietnam war. ex-poash to agent orange can lead to complications like diabetes, leukemia and more and the v.a. long provided benefits for veterans suffering from these conditions like health care to defer the hardship they still face years after they were on the battlefield but are suffering wounds gotten on the battlefield back then. in response to more recent studies, v.a. secretary shul skin decided in 2017 to add bladder cancer, hypertension and hypothyroidism to the list of agent orange conditions eligible for benefits. that would have improved the lives of 83,000 vets. shockingly, once again this cruel administration -- they don't even care about our veterans -- it was reported that o.m.b. director and white
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house chief mulvaney has decided to block benefits for these new conditions because he's worried about the cost. it's disgraceful. let me repeat. mulvaney, despite the recommendation of president trump's v.a. secretary and the recommendation of the national academy of medicine, has decided to block health benefits to sick veterans. many of these veterans are retired. many don't have a steady income. these benefits could make the difference between life and death. but mick mulvaney, the same mick mulvaney who thought $1.5 trillion was an acceptable cost to give billionaires and corporations a giant tax cut, creating a huge deficit, now he believes that the cost of helping 83,000 sick veterans is just too high. this is inexree -- this is cruel.
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when are the american people going to wake up and see what the trump administration is doing. tax breaks for billionaires, no aid for veterans? my home state of new york has 240,000 veterans from the vietnam era. many of them were exposed to agent orange without realizing it. just yesterday the buffalo news profiled the life of dick gable who was drafted into the army at age 19. in approximately two years of service he was shot in the leg, recovered, sent back to the war, losing many of his closest friends along the way. when he came home, dick worked with kids in his hometown to make veterans day an annual highlight and bring together hundreds of veterans to volunteer at local schools. just last year he was diagnosed with leukemia possibly because of his exposure to agent orange. there are likely thousands, thousands of veterans in new york like dick who are fighting
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illnesses directly linked to agent orange and their military service in vietnam. but because they got the wrong disease, the trump administration is blocking their health benefits. so today, a day after millions of americans, myself included, marched in parades across our country to honor our vets, i demand, demand that chief of staff mulvaney reverse this cruel and unfair decision immediately. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, madam president. i want to start by thanking the
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democratic leader for his leadership in raising those important issues before the senate this afternoon. i want to bring another issue before the senate, and that is my strong opposition to president trump's shameful decision to invite turkish president erdogan to the white house tomorrow. it's a decision that has alarmed our allies and comforted our adversaries. it's a decision that undermines our values and our national security interests, and it's a decision that sends a terrible message to the world about how to get invited to president trump's white house. in just the last five weeks turkish president erdogan has taken the following actions. one, launched an attack on a key ally of ours, in fact the key ally in our fight against
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isis terrorists, the syrian democratic forces led by the syrian kurds. two, president erdogan and his forces have killed over 200 in these attacks, displaced over 300,000 and enabled the release of over 100 isis prisoners. three, erdogan is using jihadi proxies that include a lot of al qaeda elements, and they are committing gross human rights abuses, including what the trump administration has acknowledged are war crimes. there are also reports that the turkish-backed proxy forces are using chemical agents, white phosphorous. four, erdogan and his forces have violated the so-called safe
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zone agreement that was reached by vice president pence in ankara a few weeks ago. and after president erdogan entered into that agreement with vice president pence, which has been violated, he turned around and decided to cut a separate deal with putin and russia, thereby giving russia even more leverage than it already has in syria. in addition, erdogan has boasted, boasted that he organized a hit squad to assassinate the top commander of our syrian kurdish allies. the commander is general masloom, and president erdogan did that even after president trump acknowledged that our syrian kurdish allies had given us important information that helped us kill isis leader
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al-baghdadi. in fact, erdogan compared the military leader of our syrian kurdish allies, those who bore the brunt of the fight against isis, with the isis leader that we just killed, al-baghdadi. and president erdogan did all that in just the last five weeks. so what does president trump do? instead of calling upon the house and senate to pass the economic sanctions bill that had been introduced, he rewards erdogan for all those actions with a coveted white house meeting. madam president, that is not the way we should be treating somebody who just spent the last five weeks thumbing his nose at the united states, undermining our interests, endangering our
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allies, strengthening russia, assad, and iran, and increasing threats to our ally israel. it sends a terrible message to the world. go ahead and undermine the national security interests of the united states and the president of the united states will invite you over for dinner. i've teamed up with senator graham and others on a bipartisan basis, and i want to thank the presiding officer for her support on that legislation. sanctions legislation to hold turkey accountable. here's what senator graham said about president erdogan just three weeks ago, and i quote. if you want to get erdogan's attention, you have to treat him like the thug he is.
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unquote. that's senator graham speaking. and, yet, erdogan, time and again over the last five weeks and before, has essentially spit in the eye of the united states and now he's coming to washington for a white house meeting. madam president, this is very difficult to explain. i'm not sure any of us has the answer as to why president trump is doing this. "the washington post" had an article on october 17, headline, in turkey's president trump seems to have found a soulmate. and if you read through the article, you can see that president trump does seem to have an affinity of president erdogan of turkey and clearly president erdogan likes to get on the phone with president
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trump because whenever he does, president erdogan seems to get his way and now he'll come for a face-to-face meeting and i'm sure that president erdogan expects to get his way again. and why would he think that? well, it's because the last time they talked president erdogan clearly took away from the conversation that it was just fine with president trump if turkey attacked our syrian-kurdish allies. president erdogan clearly believed he had the green light. in fact, after he hung up from that phone call, president erdogan sent his forces and used proxy forces to attack our syrian kurdish allies an president trump tweeted out we were withdrawing some of our special forces from the area, special forces that had helped deter turkish aggression against our syrian-kurdish allies.
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you know, madam president, it's very rare for retired senior military leaders in the united states to criticize a sitting commander in chief, but the betrayal of our syrian-kurdish allies and the terrible message that it sent around the world about the unreliability of the united states compelled many of those former leaders to warn about the consequences. and i think it's important for the senate just to hear some comments from people that are all respected for what they've done for our country. admiral william mcraven, former commander of the u.s. special operations command who worked with our syrian-kurdish allies in the fight against isis said, quote, he, referring to president trump, he obviously left our allies, the kurds, on the battlefield.
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we feel like we've betrayed them. he's undermine our nato allies, the international community has lost faith in america. that's from admiral mcraven. general joseph vatel, former commander of the u.s. central command, also somebody who had personal experience working with our allies. said, quote, this policy abandonment threatens to undo five years of fighting against isis and will severely damage american credibility and reliability in any future fights where we need strong allies. general pet pettus, former commissioner in afganistan and iraq. quote, i think we've abandoned
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our syrian commander partners, they took 10,000 losses as the defeat of the islamic state was carried out. secretary james mattis, secretary of defense under president trump and former commander of the u.s. central command said, and i quote, in this case if we don't keep the pressure on then isis will resurge. secretary mattis made it clear that by banning our syrian-kurdish allies we gave more oxygen to isis. in fact, we learned over the weekend that isis was claiming responsibility for the murder of an armenian catholic priest and his son. their funeral services are today. another former high-level u.s. military commander has spoken
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out is general james strafitis he is the nato supreme ally command in europe. here's what he had to say, quote. this is heartrendering for anybody who has shed blood, who has deployed forward. i'm getting so many inputs from all around the military. they know how this hurts at a very personal level. it's not only the betrayal of the kurds, it is the way it is going to allow those embers on the floor of the forest fire that we thought were out to kind relief reflash. end quote. in other words, giving more oxygen to the isis embers that we were working towards extinguishing. and general john allen, former commander of nato international assistance security forces in afghanistan was even blunter.
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quote. there is blood on trump's hands for abandoning our kurdish allies. unquote. madam president, those are from former top u.s. military leaders, patriots who fought with our syrian-kurdish allies in the fight against isis. there's also a statement from a brett mcgurk. he is the presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter isis. he had that position under the previous president and for president trump for a time. and here's what brett mcgurk had to say. quote, i worked for three presidents and participated in a number of foreign leader calls. i cannot recall a president that seems to believe and then parrot
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whatever a foreign leader tells him on the phone. such information is often false, intended to influence more than inform. and, yet, what we saw was when president trump hung up on that phone call with president erdogan, he essentially green lighted that operation, and that is why president erdogan likes to get president trump on the phone directly or talk to him directly, which he's going to get a chance to do tomorrow. madam president, probably the most damming of all the comments i heard, and this was not unique, but it was unique in the way it was characterized, came from the mother of a cadet at the naval academy. and what was interesting is she's been a loyal supporter of
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president trump. she supported him, she voted for him, she stuck with him, but after the betrayal of our syrian-kurdish allies, she said that she no longer could trust him and that she worried that her -- her son at the naval academy would essentially be left to the whims of a commander in chief that she could no longer trust. and that was all before president trump invited president erdogan to the white house. what we should be doing, madam president, is passing tough economic sanctions. what we should be doing is holding turkey and president erdogan accountable for undermining our security and helping to give new oxygen to isis. that's why the house of
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representatives passed a bipartisan sanctions bill by a whopping veto proof vote of 403-16. that's why senator graham and i have introduced a bipartisan sanctions legislation in the united states senate with more than 14 bipartisan cosponsors, and growing, and i do want to thank the presiding officer for her efforts to hold president erdogan accountable with this legislation. there's also other legislation introduced by senator menendez and senator risch. here's what i know. the most important thing is that this body, the senate should act right now. we have the house bill sitting at the desk. we have the bill introduced by senator graham and myself sitting at the desk. right now we should pass those sanctions bills and send a
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message to president erdogan that while he may be going to the white house tomorrow, he does not have support in the united states congress. now, madam president, i've talked about erdogan's actions for the last five weeks. i would like to take us back five years from the period we're in right now. in the fall of that year was mid-september 2014, isis terrorist forces were encircling the syrian-kurdish town of kabani. it's on the turkish-syria border. isis was laying siege to that town. they had already taken a lot of the surrounding villages and they were closing in on this last syrian-kurdish stronghold. the syrian kurds were totally
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outnumbered by isis. and the syrian kurds asked the united states for help. it took us a little longer than it should have. it took us weeks, not days, but we agreed to help supply our syrian-kurdish allies with weapons and equipment in a fight against isis. and we asked turkey -- we asked turkey if they would help us supply weapons to the syrian kurds because kabani is right there on the syrian-kurdish border. turkey refused. president erdogan said no. so the united states, at greater risk to our own forces, had to air drop weapons and supplies into iraq from u.s. aircraft, and with that help, our syrian-kurdish forces were able to stop isis from taking over kabani and began to push them
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out. and, again, with our help primarily from the air, pushed them out, and in that fight over the last five years, the syrian kurds have lost over 11,000 men and women, soldiers and others. that's what they've lost in the fight with us for isis. turkey, on the other hand, not only did not lift a finger in that fight, but for the past five years, and even more the years before, they had turned a blind eye to isis fighters transiting through turkey so isis was growing stronger as a result of that negligence. madam president, i just want to close by responding to those who say, well, you know what, turkey is a nato ally and so we should invite president erdogan over to the white house. and i see on the floor my friend
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and colleague, senator durbin from illinois, and he, along with myself and others, has made this point repeatedly. we would like turkey to be a strong nato ally. over the years of nato alliance, they have in the past been a good partner, but under president erdogan's leadership they've taken turkey in a very different direction. so the issue is not does the united states want turkey to be a member of nato. the question is, does turkey really want to stay in the alliance? because everything they've done shows that they are violating the values and principles of our alliance. president erdogan decided to purchase the russian-made s-400 antiaircraft system against our strong objection. this is a system that would have put our f-35 pilots at risk and
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undermine nato security. president erdogan said he didn't care. he went ahead with the s-400 purchase and those s-400s are sitting in turkey right now. he was willing to work with russia, iran, assad so undermine our interests in the area. we've talked today about how he attacked our syrian-kurdish allies. he has repeatedly threatened the european parliament, the european union with releasing refugees if they don't cooperate with him and don't turn a blind eye to the fact that he has locked up more journalists than any other country on earth including iran, egypt, north korea, and saudi arabia. so, madam president, the fact that the president of the united states has invited erdogan to
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the white house after everything erdogan has done to undermine our values and security is a shame on the united states. it will undermine our national security interests. it is already alarmed our allies and heartened our adversaries. it's important that all of us, all of us in this house and senate on a bipartisan basis speak out as we have been doing against this shameful chapter in our american foreign policy and national security. and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: today i'm here to discuss the critical need to protect american businesses and consumers from dangers of counterfeits, particularly
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counterfeit goods sold online. counterfeits do incredible damage to our country's economic competitiveness. they harm intellectual property right holders and the reputation of online marketplaces, undermine the integrity of our supply chains, and even threaten the health and safety of consumers. so it is congress' responsibility to use its oversight and legislative authority to identify ways to prevent these illicit goods from entering our borders. over the past year, i have worked with finance committee ranking member wyden to investigate how counterfeiters use e-commerce to sell their phony goods to consumers.
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last week we concluded our investigation and issued a report detailing our findings. based on the information presented to senator wyden and this senator by trade associations, e-commerce platforms, and common carriers, we made five findings in this report and we identified two legislative recommendations for congress in this report. i believe these recommendations will enhance existing efforts within the federal government to prevent the sale of counterfits online. i will talk briefly about our findings today, and i look forward with working -- working with my colleagues both republican and democrat to identify additional areas for
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congressional action. as chairman of the senate finance committee, i recognize the value of intellectual property rights and their impacts on society and the economy. intellectual property rights allow businesses to generate new ideas and develop creative solutions to everyday problems that can make our lives healthier, safer, and more productive. i also understand businesses and innovators rely on those rights to help drive and recoup their investments. in my home state of iowa, intellectual property represents more than 14 and four-tenths billion dollars in annual exports for the state, more than 94,000 jobs, and supports more than 2,000 small businesses with less than 500 employees.
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however, counterfeits are increasingly threatening these achievements and the hard work of the people that innovate. it has been estimated that international trade for counterfeit goods in 2016 accounted for $509 billion of world trade. counterfeits are found in both physical and online marketplaces and almost every industry is affected. scam artists target electronics, automotive parts and even children's toys to rip off consumers and to make a profit. counterfits can also harm consumers. many consumers do not know that counterfits can be dangerous and that some have been found to contain lead, excessive small parts, and even unsafe chemica
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chemicals. in 2018 the government accountability office or g.a.o. as we know it around washington, examined how e-commerce marketplaces are further enabling the sale of counterfits. g.a.o. found that counterfitsers use online marketplaces to sell fakes to consumers because they can hide their identity by using false or incomplete names. counterfeiters also post legitimate photos or fake views for their projects -- reviews for their projects which makes it harder for consumers to determine whether they're buying a legitimate or fake good. the grassley-wyden investigation showed that the breadth and variety of goods sold online makes it nearly impossible to
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prevent the sale of all counterfits. right holders also told us that their enforcement efforts are hindered in part because the u.s. customs and border protection shares very limited and often heavily redacted importation information with these right holders but right holders need imfor are taition information to identify counterfeit sellers and report suspected counterfeit listings. counterfits also pose a threat to commerce and to common carriers. counterfits smear the reputation of e-commerce and threaten the integrity of a common carrier supply chain network. as such, these parties are
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critical partners in the fight against the sale of counterfeit goods. however, customs and border protection doesn't have the authority to share importation information with these parties when it identifies a counterfeit at our border. during our investigation, these parties told us that this information would give them the ability to better protect our country's intellectual property and allow them to remove more counterfeit listings and block counterfeit sellers. we must look at this problem holistically and with the understanding that right holders, e-commerce platforms, and common carriers are critical partners in the fight against the sale of counterfeit goods. and those counterfeit goods being sold online. by sharing more importation
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information, these parties can better protect the intellectual property rights of our innovators as well as the health and safety of e-commerce consumers. our investigation is but a first step. i will continue to use my oversight authority to look for innovative solutions to protect intellectual property right holders and consumers from the negative effects of counterfits. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president, i was honored today to attend the second hearing that i've attended in the supreme court of the united states. if you stand right here on the floor of the senate and look east, due east through these glass doors, you can almost see the supreme court building. it's directly across the street.
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the supreme court is many times the last stop when it comes to human rights and civil rights. after all the work that's been done by the congress, by the president, many times it's the supreme court that has the last word. in the case of plusy versus ferguson, when the supreme court held that segregation was constitutional, that last word was a disappointment. in core mats decide versus the united states, when they upheld the internment of japanese americans during world war ii, it was another disappointment. but other times it has risen to the challenge. the famous case of brown versus education which struck down the concept of separate but equal. ogre felt versus hodges where the supreme court recognized the right of marriage equality. today the supreme court faced another human rights issue involving another group. just a few hours ago that street
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between the capitol and the supreme court was literally filled with thousands and thousands of depend straighters -- of demonstrators. the issue before the court today was the fate of daca,s deferred action for children's act. this measure daca is one that i've worked on for many years, many years. 19 years ago i introduced the dream act. before that the term dreamer was hardly ever applied in the conversation about immigration but now it's become standard and really defines a group of americans, people living in america. in their case they came to the united states brought here by their parents when they were children. they may have had legal entry into the united states, but at some point in their lives, they no longer were legal. they became undocumented in the
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words of the law. most of these young people never knew that status until they reached their teenage years and their parents finally told them the truth of their legal condition. they had no control over the decision of their parents to come to this country or to file the necessary papers. frankly, many of them were shocked to learn that they were undocumented. they went to school with our kids. they grew up in our communities. they played on the sports teams. they probably attended the same churches and temples and synagogues as our own kids. they were just part of the group. but they knew, they privately knew they weren't. they knew that they were one knock on the door away from being deported from the united states. it was because of one of these young people that i decided to introduce that dream act legislation 19 years ago.
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her name is teresa lee brought to the united states at the age of 2 from korea by her parents to chicago. she grew up in a family that struggled to make ends meet. her father wanted to be a minister but never quite put that church together. her mother worked in a dry cleaning establishment to feed the family. she went to public schools. as luck would have it, there was a program at one of these schools called the merit music program that gave her a chance to learn how to play the piano. she started playing which she followed her father around at these churches. but then she took it seriously and she became an amazing pianist to the point when they finished public high school, she was offered an opportunity to go on for a music education at the manhattan conservatory of music. when she filled out her application and reached the point where they asked her nationality and citizenship, she said to her mom, what am i supposed to put here. her mom said i'm not sure.
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we better call senator durbin's office. they did. and we checked the law and the law was very harsh. for teresa lee who had lived 15 or 16 years in the united stat states, beat the odds by finishing high school and developing this great talent at the piano, the law told her that she had to leave the united states for ten years and apply to return. that's the law. it seemed unfair to me that a young woman brought here at the age of 2 should face that as her only legal choice. so i introduced the dream act and said if you were brought here as a child, raised in the united states, went to school, had no criminal record of any significance, that you should be given a chance, a chance to make it in the united states, to eastern your way to legal -- earn your way to legal status and citizenship. that's what the dream act is all about. we passed it several times in the house, several times in the senate but never in the same congress. so it's still not the law of the land. it was eight years ago when i
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appealed to my former colleague in the senate, barack obama as president to try to help and he did. by executive order he created this daca program which said that young people like teresa lee could apply, go through a criminal background check, fill out the necessary form, pay the filing fee, and be allowed to stay in the united states for two years at a time, renewable, not to be deported and to be able to legally work. after president obama came up with this daca program, over 7 780,000 young people came forward and became protected by daca. it -- it really changed their lives. for the first time in their lives, they had some government-recognized status. they were no longer just undocumented. and amazing things happened. they went on and pursued an education, a career, a life, a future. they started realizing their dreams. it was a good and positive thing
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all around. and then president trump came into office. initially, he was very complimentary of dreamers, saying positive things about them. but unfortunately, over a period of time, he changed his attitude about this issue, and on september 5, 2017, president trump announced that he was going to end the daca program, end the protection for these young people. it was a sad day, a challenge for us to decide what to do, to try to pass legislation in the congress that would protect these young people, we rolled up our sleeves and put together several bipartisan measures in the senate. president trump rejected every single one of them. he wasn't going to have it. he was opposed to our enacting legislation that dealt with it. that repeal of the dream act -- pardon me. repeal of daca has created
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uncertainty for hundreds of thousands. the lawsuit was filed in an effort to try to protect them, and the court said that their protection would continue while the case was being argued. the case worked its way through the courts and ended up this morning at the u.s. supreme court across the street. i was proud to lead 172 current and former members of congress on a bipartisan amicus brief in support of daca, and now it's clearly up to the justices and the supreme court to follow the law and to reject what i consider to be president trump's illegal repeal of daca. but only congress can provide a permanent solution for dreamers. the u.s. house of representatives has responded to president trump's cruel decision to repeal daca by passing the dream and promise act on a strong bipartisan vote of 237- 187. this legislation is based on the dream act i originally introduced 19 years ago.
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this bipartisan legislation would give dreamers a chance to earn their citizenship. the bill passed the house, it's here. it's now up to senator mitch mcconnell of kentucky, the republican leader, to call the dream and promise act for a vote in the united states senate. mr. president, i want to make a unanimous consent request in relation to that measure and ask for consent after we debate my u.c. request to complete my remarks. i see a senator on the floor who i believe is here to object, and i want to be courteous to her because she has been in the chair for a while. can i have unanimous consent to return to the debate after i make my unanimous consent request? the presiding officer: is there objection? without -- a senator: reserving the right to object. and i do object.
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mr. durbin: mr. president, i am making a unanimous consent request for clarity here so that we would bring to the floor the dream and promise act for a vote in the senate, a measure which would address the very issue that was before the supreme court today. so i'm making this on behalf of senator schumer, senator leahy, senator rosen, senator tim kaine, senator menendez and senator cardin. as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 112, h.r. 6. further, the bill be considered read a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mrs. blackburn: i am reserving the right to object, and i will object. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president.
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i would like to articulate the reason for the objection to the legislation that is brought forward by my friend, the senator from illinois. once again, i have found it necessary for the good of the order to object to a unanimous consent request brought by our friends in the majority because, once again, they are attempting to bypass the senate's rules on behalf of a piece of legislation that this body has had -- not had the time to debate, to deliberate, or to consider in committee. the american dream and promise act passed the house of representatives by a near party-line vote. unsurprising, considering the bill addresses the contentious issue of immigration law. this bill supported by the senator from illinois would offer temporary legal status to
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2.5 million undocumented immigrants. those affected immigrants have tried to remain in the u.s. under the deferred action for childhood arrivals or the daca program, a backstop made possible by nothing more than an executive memo that was signed by former president barack obama. and, you know, mr. president, i think this is important for us to realize. it was an executive memo that put this program in place. it is not a federal law. president trump ended the daca program in 2017, arguing that the obama administration's attempt to subvert immigration law on such a massive scale was unlawful and possibly unconstitutional. soon after president trump offered a path to legalization
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for daca recipients, but our friends in the minority refused to take him up on that offer, and we've to remember this. there was a path to legalization for daca recipients that was offered by president donald trump, and our friends in the minority said no, no. we do not want that. they continued with the issue. i will tell you every dreamer in the country should be outraged by the minority's refusal to come to the table and negotiate on an offer that was on the table. i encourage my friends on the other side of the aisle to remember that the supreme court affirmed a lower court decision to maintain an injunction on the
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nationwide dapa program, a scheme similar to daca but aimed at parents as opposed to children. although that decision set no legal precedent, it did open up an opportunity for the new administration and for each and every one of us in the senate to rebuild various fixes in our immigration system without running afoul of existing legal barriers. as my friend, the senator from illinois, likes to point out, senators from both sides of the aisle have been working on this issue that has been with us for years. it is imperative that we find a consensus solution. if the minority wishes to offer peace of mind and a path forward to dreamers, they should do it in such a way that allows the
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american people to hold each and every one of us accountable for repercussions. we should do this through regular order. i reiterate my objection to the minority whip's motion, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: does the senator object? mrs. blackburn: yes, mr. president, i do object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. durbin: mr. president, for the record, how many pieces of legislation did we consider in the senate last week? none. the week before? none. how many months has this measure been sitting here in the senate? the republican-controlled senate, four months. and for four months, the leader,
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the republican leader has not considered it worthy to even come before the senate for debate. i don't control the agenda. senator mcconnell does. and he's decided that this measure is not worth debating on the floor of the united states senate. so when i come to make a unanimous consent request to bring this measure to the floor, it isn't as if we are taking away an option which the minority leader -- pardon me, the republican leader is using. he's not. and when we look back to the debate -- or at least the effort to find a compromise with president trump on this issue, it is next to impossible. he is surrounded by people who are completely against daca and dreamers. steven miller is a good illustration of one. it used to be jeff sessions. he is no longer with the administration. but every time the president starts to lean toward daca and the dreamers, these people intervene and stop him and the negotiations come to an end.
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it's time for us in the senate not to wait for a permission slip from president trump but to pass legislation. i'm prepared to bring this matter to the floor and to accept the decision on the amendments on the floor, and we're in the minority. we'll lose some of these amendments. so be it. let's let the senate be the senate and deliberate these measures. but to argue that i shouldn't be asking to bring it to the floor because it has to go through regular order, the obvious question is when is senator mcconnell going to pursue regular order on a measure that has been sitting here for four months? and let me say a word if i can while we're on the subject about the people who are involved. we can talk about senate procedure and law all we wish, but what we should do is discuss the real people who are involved. in a thousand days in office, this president has issued 11,000 tweets. no surprise, is it? five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten a day. well, they issued one this morning about the young people
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who are in question here. i would like to read president donald trump's tweet this morning as this case was headed to the supreme court. here is what he tweeted, and i quote -- many of the people in daca, no longer very young, are far from angels. some are very tough, hardened criminals. president obama said he had no legal right to sign order but would anyway. if supreme court remedies -- if overturned, a deal would be made with dems for them to stay. may i address one particular aspect of the president of the united states' tweet on this subject affecting the fate of 780,000 young people living in the united states? probably the best thing is not to do it generically, but to talk about specifics. so let me tell you a story about two daca recipients, both attending loyola university in chicago, a city i am honored to
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represent. they both came to washington, d.c. today and sat in the supreme court during the argument. i'm going to leave it up to my members and colleagues here in the senate, as well as those who are following this debate, to reach their own conclusion about these two that i'm about to tell the story of. you decide whether this man is a tough and hardened criminal. his name is cesar montelongo. he grew up in the state of new mexico. he was a pretty good student. in fact, excellent. graduated from high school with a grad point average of 4.0, ranked third in his class. he wept on to new mexico state university where he was a triple major in biology, microbiology, and spanish, as well as two minors in chemistry and biochemistry. cesar graduated with a 3.9 g.p.a. this hardened criminal then went on to earn a master's degree in
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biology with a minor in molecular biology while working as a teaching assistant. then daca came along, and for the first time in his life, he had a chance to apply for medical school. he never thought that was going to happen. he applied and was accepted at loyola university's chicago s stritch school of medicine. quite an achievement. the presiding officer, also a medical doctor, i'm sure understands that. but he did one better. he enrolled in the md-phd program at loyola university. he was just in my office upstairs. he hold me that in a matter of two or three years, he will have completed his ph.d. in microbiology, and then he can go on to complete his medical degree. and his residency. this tough, hardened criminal, according to the president, has designs on becoming a medical researcher in the united states of america. when he completes this highly
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competitive program, he'll have a medical degree and a doctorate degree in science. he is one of dozens of daca recipients at the stritch school. my hat's off to loyola university. they have admitted more daca students to their medical school than any other medical school in the united states. they're amazing students. i've met them. and many, if not all of them, have promised to come back to my state of illinois, having had this chance to go medical school in chicago, and serve in underserved areas after they become practicing doctors. loyola doesn't give special treatment in the selection process. they're not eligible for any federal financial assistance. i just want to thank them and say to the president of the united states, before you put out a tweet calling caesar and people like him a hardened criminal, mr. president, take a minute and meet these young people. and while you're at it, meet this young lady, too.
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she was just in my office. her name is fernanda. when she was 2 years old, her family brought her from mexico to the united states. when she was seven, her family was forced to leave a city in alabama when her father lost his job due to his immigration status. the family settled in gadsden, alabama. when she was 10, her parents opened a restaurant. every day after school, she went to the restaurant to wait tables and help run the restaurant, doing her homework in spare sometime. dure her junior year in high school, alabama passed the harshest immigration law in the country. her family was forced to shut down the restaurant. she was able to attend a private school, sanford university in birmingham, alabama. her parents worked hard to pay
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tuition. she qualified for no assistance. her dad worked 80 hours a week at a chicken plant so she could go to college. she graduated from sanford in 20 1-7d and her experience has drove her to become an immigration activist. she worked at the alabama coalition for immigrant justice. after president trump repealed daca in 2017, she came-to-washington for a four-day hunger fest with other daca recipients on the capitol lawn. last year she was admitted to the loyola university in chicago school of law. but this spring her mother was pulled over in georgia for driving with a broken taillight. her mother is now in deportation proceedings. it's tough enough to go to school without federal financial help. it's tough now work your way through t it is tough enough not to know how the supreme court is going to rule tomorrow or the day after and whether it'll
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change your fate. it's tough enough to know that any knock on the door could mean deportation for members of your family. yet she has persevered. a hardened criminal, mr. president? fernanda's dream is to become an immigration lawyer. she wants to help people just like her mom. without daca, caesar will not become a doctor. fernanda will not become an attorney. will america be a better country if they are forced to leave, if they are deported? i don't think so. caesar, fernanda and hundreds of thousands of other dreamers are counting on the supreme court to do the right thing and reject president trump's repeal of daca. they're also counting on those of us who serve in the senate to stop making excuses and solve this crisis. a bill has passed the house. i tried to bring it to the floor of the senate and there was an objection today.
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it isn't because we're overwhelmed with work, as you can see. we spend a lot of time making speeches. since senator mcconnell refuses to take any action to address the plight of the dreamers, i am going to continue to make this unanimous consent request. i don't know what the excuse will be next week that we're not following regular order. but, in the meantime, i hope the senate judiciary committee will take up this measure, as they have so many times over the last 15 years or so, bring it to the floor of the senate. for once and for all, request we be the united states for a -- can we be the united states fora week? can we actually consider a piece of legislation here that addresses an issue that is critically important to hundreds of thousands of people living in the united states of america? what a relief it would be to see this senate actually, as a senate. to see members on the floor debating over issues. i'm not going to win over every
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debate. but i'm prepared to accept the outcome. let's do what the senate was selected to do. i'm sorry that there was an objection today. as long as i am a united states senator, i'm going to continue to come to the floor of the senate to advocate for caesar, fernanda and all of the dreamers. it would be an american tragedy to deport these two promising young people. now it's in the hands of senator mitch mcconnell, the republican majority leader, to give the dream and promise act a vote and to say to those 780,000 who do not know what their future will be just days or weeks from now, there is an answer. we want you to be part of america. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i know my friend from illinois, senator durbin, is sincere in his desire to get some relief
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for the daca recipients whose case is now pending before the united states supreme court. i share a desire to get them some certainty, and that's why i supported what president trump offered in february of 2018, which was a pathway to citizenship, not only for the individuals who had applied for and received deferred action under president obama's administration but for all those who were eligible who did not -- but did not apply. but what continues to confuse me is how our democratic colleagues will routinely vote against that offer, which was incredibly generous. i don't think any other president in my lifetime would have had the boldness, would have had the courage to offer a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million daca-eligible young people. but president trump did.
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and our democratic colleagues turned it down. that leads me to wonder about their sincerity. would they like -- do they like this political issue rather than desire to find a solution to the problem? i agree that these young people, who through no fault of their own, came to the united states because their parents brought them here are the most simple pathetic and deserving cohort of immigrants in the country. i wish we could work together to come up with a solution, but at some point you have to wonder whether our democratic colleagues prefer not to solve the problem but to try to portray this as a political football for partisan advantage in the run-up to the next election. that is tragic, toying with the lives of these young people,
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stoking their insecurity, telling them that you're on their side but, on the other hand, voting against an offer to provide them a pathway to citizenship. i don't know how you reconcile those two positions. mr. president, on another matter, i introduced a bill with our colleague from connecticut, senator blumenthal, to address the rising costs at the pharmacy counter. now, senator blumenthal is a democrat. i am a republican. he is from connecticut p. i am from texas. but we've both heard the same thing from our constituents -- prescription drugs, and particularly the out-of-pocket costs to consumers, is too high, especially with the huge deductibles and the huge co-pays under the affordable care act. over the last several months, we've dug into the reason behind
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those high costs, and it's safe to say there's a lot that concerns us. one of the most egregious forms of abuse we've seen deals with the patent system. now, under the patent system, if you come up with a new lifesaving drug, then you're guaranteed the exclusive right to make and to sell that drug and you're protected from any competition for a period of time. but after that period of time expires, what's supposed to happen is that generic alternatives are then available to compete and bring down the price to consumers. and that's the case for 90% of the prescription drugs that we take. our country offers the most robust protection in the world for intellectual property. we know companies are unlikely to pour extensive time, money, and resources into developing these new cures unless they're at the end of it, there's some reward.
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i get that. and i support that. but the patent system is designed to provide a limited time period where the manufacturer can be the sole seller on market before generic alternatives can become available, before competitors can enter the market. and what's happening is some companies are abusing that system, extending that period of exclusivity by filing tens, sometimes in excess of 100 patents, where in one case involving a drug called humira, one of the best-selling drugs in the world, there are four competitors in europe approved. in the united states, humira has in excess of 120 separate patents designed to crowd out and prevent any competition while maintaining their exclusivity in the marketplace. so this is what's called patent
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thicketing. it involves using intricate webs of patents to keep competition at bay for as long as possible, meaning that your profits and your exclusive right to sell this drug, your profits are high. there's also something called product hopping, which occurs when a company develops a reformulation of an existing drug about to lose its exclusivity and then pulls the original product off the market. this is done not because the new formula is more effective necessarily but because by pulling the original drug off the market before it loses its exclusivity, it prevents generic competitors. this is something called product hopping. the bill we introduced, senator blumenthal and i, aimed to stop these anticompetitive behaviors and allow competitors to come to market sooner and to bring down prices for consumers. the affordable prescriptions for
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patients act streamlines the litigation process by limiting the number of patents companies can use when they're litigating their patent rights. we believe ultimately -- and i believe it's born out by the congressional budget office score -- we believe this would allow competitors to resolve patent issues faster and bring those generic drugs to market sooner. this is how we improve competition and lower prices without getting in the way of lifesaving innovation. the added benefit to this bill is that federal savings it would provide for taxpayers. the congressional budget office says a -- that this bill would lower federal spending by more than a half a billion dollars over ten years. that's not a panacea, but it is a good start. and this is just savings to the federal government for medicare and medicaid. there would undoubtedly be more savings for consumers who get their health coverage through private health insurance. so it checks every box. it checks innovation, it
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increases competition, lowers prices for patients, saves money for taxpayers, and on top of that, this bill has a raft of bipartisan cosponsors. it's not a partisan bill. this is a bipartisan bill. in addition to senator blumenthal, five other democrats have endorsed the bill including both the democratic whip and the assistant democratic leader. i'm sure it comes as no surprise that this bill sailed through the judiciary committee without a single senator voting against it. it was unanimous. during simpler times, it would have quickly passed the full senate and moved on to the house for their consideration and then gone to the president for his signature. but we all know things aren't quite that easy these days, and even bipartisan bills get caught up in the political crosshairs. according to a report in
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"politico," the minority leader from new york, senator schumer, is blocking this bill from passing in the senate. he's blocking one of his own member's bills and one to lower prescription drug prices, of all things. while the american people suffer from the crush of high costs at the pharmacy, he stonewalls. and it's to the detriment of just about everybody, except one group. i know there's some drug manufacturers that must be thrilled with his blocking the bill that would reduce their compensation and increase more competition. you see, the army of special interests who have been fighting my bill since day one when it has been introduced, they are ecstatic that the democratic leader is blocking this bill. but i'm not. and i don't think the rest of the senate is either. because this is a noncontroversial, bipartisan bill.
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so the only thing that democrats are doing by continuing to hold up this bill is carry water for one of washington's most prominent special interest groups. and as long as they do, it will be to the detriment of the american people. i know this frustration is bipartisan because my friend, our friend senator blumenthal is just as frustrated by this ridiculous holdup as i am. we tried to reason with the minority leader, tried to negotiate. we tried to get him to allow our bill to come to the floor but with no luck so far. last week i came to the senate floor to ask unanimous consent to pass this bill, and what happened next felt like a scene made for a bad made for tv political drama. the minority leader who was unwilling to come to the floor to block the bill himself tried to have one of the cosponsors of my bill do it for him, the senator from illinois.
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he'd rather force his own member to block a bipartisan bill that happens to have my name on it than to allow it to happen on its own. that didn't go very well and so now it was on to plan b and wanted to link the fate of our bill which passed unanimously from the judiciary committee with another bill which hasn't even passed out of committee. the other bill was introduced from our friend, senator grassley and durbin and aims to provide greater transparency on drug prices, something that's definitely needed, and i don't object to it. but these bills are in very different places in the legislative process, and some members on our side have concerns about a bill coming to the floor that hasn't even been through the committee with jurisdiction. the minority leader -- this is just another creative way to stop passage of a noncontroversial bill. attach a free rider on the bill which in essence is a poison
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pill. the result is the same, nothing passes. as i said, the bill senator blumenthal and i have introduced is bipartisan. it's not controversial. it went through regular order. every member of the judiciary committee had a chance to vote on it, and no one voted against it. we've checked on our side, there is no objection. we've run a hotline on the democratic side only to find that the democratic leader is the one himself who's blocking it. well, unfortunately politics once again has overwhelmed our collective good judgment and good sense. i know the democratic leader doesn't want any bills to pass that republicans can use to tell their constituents that they're listening to their concerns and acting on their concerns in the run up to the next election. he doesn't really care about the merits of the legislation or
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that it would help new yorkers. it's politically inconvenient, and that clearly is his top priority. mr. president, the american people deserve better. with the house working day and night to remove the president from office and the next election less than a year away, the opportunities for us to pass any sort of bipartisan legislation are getting slimmer and slimmer. so, mr. president, i plan to return to the floor later this week with my colleague from connecticut to ask unanimous consent that this bill be passed. if the democratic leader is going to block the bill, i want it to be clear to the american people, the people who would benefit from the passage of the bill being signed into law, i want them to see him do it and to hold him accountable for his misguided politics. so i hope the minority leader will rethink his decision to block this bill so that we can all work together to deliver
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bipartisan results for our constituents. mr. president, i yield the floor, and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: i ask unanimous consent to dispense of the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from nevada. a senator: i rise today in opposition of chad wolf to be under secretary for strategy, policy and planning at the
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department of homeland security. ms. rosen: i stand here today opposed not only to mr. wolf's nomination, but also to the way in which this administration is circumventing the constitutional requirement of advice and consent to make mr. wolf the head of the third-largest department in the federal government. by the president's own admission, mr. wolf is slated to immediately be appointed to serve indefinitely in the position of acting secretary of homeland security. thus, our votes tonight and tomorrow are effectively to confirm chad wolf to be acting secretary of the entire department of homeland security despite limited vetting, no committee vote, no confirmation hearing for this position. but this is about more than just an egregious attempt to bypass the senate's role of advice and consent for cabinet nominees. rather this evening's vote will
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advance a nominee who played an integral role in this administration's cruel family separation policy, and tonight's vote is about the refusal of this administration to address as treatment of detained children. that is why i was so disappointed to see cloture filed on chad wolf's nomination. i placed a hold on mr. wolf's nomination to be under secretary as a result of the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the southern border which began and grew during mr. wolf's tenure as chief of staff to d.h. secretary nielsen. between july 2017 and june 2018, while mr. wolf held the position of chief of staff, 2,800 migrant children were separated from their parents and held in d.h.s. custody under this administration's cruel so-called zero tolerance immigration policy. even today we don't know the
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extent of the damage. just last week reports identified 1,500 more children who were separated from their parents during that time. we do, however, know from e-mails that chad wolf played a leading role in developing, suggesting, and implementing this inhumane policy. but when i asked him if he had help to develop the administration's family separation policy, he said know ma'am. when i asked him if he had concerns with the policy of separating children from their parents, mr. wolf said, and i quote, my job wasn't to determine if it was the right or wrong policy. when i asked him how he became aware of the policy, he stated that he learned about it in april of 2018. e-mails now show that mr. wolf had been participating in meetings discussing family
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separation as far back as december of 2017. and the e-mails show that there wolf provided then-secretary knee -- nielsen a list of 16 options to limit immigration, one of which was to separate families. even before these e-mails came to light, i found mr. wolf's failure to take responsibility for his direct involvement in the administration's cruel family separation policy to be both misleading and disingenuous, which is h why i voted against his nomination in committee. i also placed a hold on both mrt of d.h.s. c.f.o. nominee troy edgar until the inhumane and substandard conditions for children at c.d.p. processing and detention facilities improve significantly.
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reports from journalists, attorneys, and advocates detail ongoing horrific conditions, making it clear that d.h.s. was not taking the actions needed to care for and treat migrant children at the southern border. and then i witnessed these conditions firsthand. when i toured detention facilities at the border earlier this year, what i saw was entirely consistent with the news and d.h.s. inspector general reports about the horrific and inhumane conditions there. children freezing, scared, unsure of what would happen to them next. the children didn't know if they would ever see their parents again. even the parents didn't know when their next meal would be, when their next shower would be, how long they would be there. the anxiety, the despair, it was palpable.
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amidst this crisis at the border i placed a hold on mr. wolf. my requests to the department were simple. that every child under the care of the united states of america be treated humanely. i requested that d.h.s. hire more pediatricians for c.b.p. facilities, bring on child care professionals to care for and provide services to the children in c.b.p. custody and that they increase n.g.o. access to c.b.p. facilities. regarding these specific requests, d.h.s. has not adequate lir addressed -- adequately addressed the concerns. this is why i've maintained my hold on mr. wolf's nomination and why my hold on mr. edgar will remain until these conditions improve. with this in mind, we cannot allow a nominee like mr. wolf to
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move forward, especially when we know he's going to be moved right up to acting secretary, a position where the president can keep him indefinitely without a confirmation hearing, without the advice and consent of the united states senate. it's an end run around our constitutional role, one of the most important checks we have on the executive branch. it is also not the process we should accept for filling a cabinet-level position in the third largest department in the federal government, one charged with the critical job of protecting our homeland. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote against cloture on mr. wolf's nomination tonight and against his confirmation tomorrow, and i pledge to work with all of you and the administration to identify nominees to lead the
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department whom we can all support. i suggest the absence of a quorum. a senator: will the senator hold on that? ms. rosen: i'm sorry. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: i ask the senate to confirm mr. chad f. wolf to be under secretary for the office of strategy, policy and plans for the department of yiewrt. the under secretary for the department of policy and plans leads 150 employees with an annual budget of over $37 million to develop and implement d.h.s. policy, long-term goals and strategic plans. chad wolf has extensive experience in homeland security policy starting in 2002 working as chief of staff working to stand it up to the f-911 and as the assistant administrator for that agency. he left government and spent over a decade working on
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homeland security policy issues as consultant in the private sector. mr. wolf returned to public service and the department of homeland security in 2017 serving as chief of staff to t.s.a., chief of staff to the secretary, and now as the assistant secretary for strategy, plans, analysis and risk. since february of this year he has been the senior be official performing the duties of the under secretary of the office of strategy, policy, and plans, the office for which we are now considering his nomination. the senate committee on homeland security and governmental affairs proved his nomination on a bipartisan basis on july 24. as we all know the department has a number of senate confirmed leadership positions vacant. currently 7 of the 18d.h.s. offices requiring senate confirmation are vacant. three of those vacant positions have nominees that have been languishing on the senate floor for months after being approved
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by my committee with bipartisan support. mr. wolf's nomination has been pending for nine months. all nominees were approved by my committee with bipartisan support. we're holding a hearing to consider mr. peter gainer for the president's nominee to head fema this week. dedicated americans serving at d.h.s. in acting positions are doing admirable jobs under oftentimes difficult circumstances. i trust that chad wolf will do the same if he is asked to step aside from his role as under secretary to serve temporarily upon kevin mcaleenan's departure but i expect the president to appoint a permanent secretary for homeland security. when he does, my committee will consider the nominee expeditiously.
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we need confirmed leadership at d.h.s. to help direct the department as it works to keep americans safe. i'm grateful to chad wolf for his willingness to serve in this position and i encourage my colleagues to support his confirmation. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. peters: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: mr. president, i move that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. peters: thank you, mr. president. today i rise to oppose the nomination of chad wolf. officially we are considering mr. wolf's nomination to serve as the department of homeland security's under secretary for strategy, policy, and plans.
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in that role mr. wolf would lead the d.h.s. policy office, an important but little known part of the department. however, that is not the role that mr. wolf will actually have. we have recently learned that the president has much bigger plans for mr. wolf. the president plans to make mr. wolf the next acting secretary for the entire department of homeland security. instead of running the policy office, which has a taf of -- staff of about 160 people and an annual budget of $135 million. mr. wolf will lead all of d.h.s., the third largest executive agency, with 134,000 workforce and a budget of over $75 billion. let's be clear for all intents and purposes, we are essentially about to vote on the confirmation of a new secretary of homeland security, a position
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responsible for protecting this nation from vast and evolving array of threats. despite the importance of this position and this vote, we have not been given a full opportunity to meaningfully examine mr. wolf's ability to take on this profoundly important and challenging role. based on my evaluation of his qualifications to serve as under secretary, i do not believe mr. wolf has the experience needed to lead this critical cabinet department. i would like to recognize that mr. wolf does have several years of homeland security policy experience. in his current role within the department's policy office, mr. wolf has engaged in productive dialogue with homeland security committee. in particular, i have personally appreciated his willingness to recognize the growing threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacist violence and the need for the department to do
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more to keep our communities safe. however, mr. wolf's tenure as chief of staff to former d.h.s. secretary nielsen, raises serious concerns about his judgment, and in particular, his involvement in some of this administration's most misguided and harmful policies. as part of the senate's constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent, i have repeatedly asked d.h.s. to provide documents directly related to mr. wolf's time as secretary nielsen's top advisor. however, the department has failed to comply, leaving congress without the information needed to fully and fairly ee val way wait -- evaluate mr. wolf's qualifications to serve as under secretary let alone to run the entire department of homeland security. unfortunately this disregard for congress's constitutional role as a check on the executive branch is not an isolated
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occurrence. it appears to be a defining feert of this administration. the constitution requires that the president hold key positions and receive the advice and consent of the senate. the framers knew this was necessary to ensure that those who hold the most powerful and influential positions in government are accountable, not solely to president, but to congress and, most importantly, to the american people. however, this president has shown a willingness to abandon the foundational principle of advice and consent and to test the limits of his legal authority to unilaterally install acting officials at his choosing. this has resulted in far too many critical positions going unfulfilled. at the department of homeland security all three top positions, secretary, deputy secretary, and under secretary for management have been vacant for more than seven months and the president has yet to name a
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nominee for any -- any of those roles. other key components have seen leaders come and go for months, for years, without a nominee for the senate to consider. this president has declared that he prefers, quote, acting officials because, quote, it gives him more flexibility. leadership turnover and acting officials are part of every administration. but widespread and slibt reliance -- deliberate reliance on temporary leaders defy the constitutional principle of advice and consent, harms the department's critical national security, and puts the american people at risk. the dedicated men and women of d.h.s. who will working tirelessly to keep our country safe deserve much better. the american people deserve much better. to his credit, i believe mr. wolf recognizes the untenable situation caused by
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the president's refusal to submit nominees to the department's highest office. when asked about the impact of vacancies across the top ranks of d.h.s., he stated, quote, i believe having senate-confirmed leaders in the senior levels of any cabinet agency is a benefit to the morale of the workforce and the success of the agency. end quote. i continue to encourage the president to nominate qualified leaders. i remain committed to work with my colleagues both sides of the aisle to carry out our constitutional duty to provide advice and consent by promptly, fairly, and thoroughly vetting the president's nominees. i am also committed to working across the aisle in congress to ensure the department of homeland security has the resources and authorities they need to keep americans safe and to provide oversight -- robust
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oversight of the department's actions and use of taxpayer dollars. i have sought to fully and carefully weigh mr. wolf's qualifications for policy under secretary, unfortunately, due to the lack of transparency in mr. wolf's involvement in very troubling department decisions, i cannot support his current nomination, much less his elevation to acting secretary. if he is confirmed, i will do my part to support mr. wolf and help him be successful in an incredibly important job while also working to hold him accountable. but today i will voting no on his confirmation. and, mr. president, i urge my colleagues to do the same. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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ile suggest the -- i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: then the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: 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 chad wolf of virginia to be under secretary for strategy, policy, and plans for the department of homeland security signed by 17 senators.
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the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of chad f. wolf of virginia to be under secretary of strategy, policy, and plans, department of homeland security, shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk shall call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: any senators in the senator wishing to vote or change their vote? the yeas are 54, the nays are 40. the motion is agreed to. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, madam president. over the past few months pro-democracy protesters in hong kong have captivated the american consciousness with one of the most stunning mass protests in recent memory. hong kong people are no strangers to suppression.
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they're used to the censorship, digital stalking and persecution embraced by their overlords in beijing. and they've seen firsthand the dangers of tyranny. watching these protests play out got me thinking about the core values that we as americans share with the hong kong people and with so many others around the globe. there's really an interesting dichotomy at play. you can turn on the tv right now and see an entire population fighting desperately on behalf of free speech, self-expression and the right to question their leader's decisions. meanwhile, just a few countries away, the loudest voices in the news room are begging for just the opposite. here in the u.s., americans are
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constantly being asked if freedom is really worth the fight. is it worth the never-ending battle to maintain it? the answer is absolutely. when americans look at the protests in hong kong, they don't see a foreign policy gray area. they see stories of revolutionaries fighting an evil regime. they identify with the disrupters and they cheer for the underdogs who don't pull their punches, which is why in 2016 they sent one of the disrupters to the white house. they watched the hysteria that is cable news commentary and get the sense that the people on the screen have completely missed the point. the fight is not, never will be about one person or one movement. it is about the decision to protect liberty tor let liberty die, to protect justice or to
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let it die. to dismiss this point is to disparage the most important feature of the collaborative american psyche. when asked if freedom is worth fighting for, the answer will always be yes. the calculus flows into discussions on almost every aspect of american life, most recently at home and in this chamber debate has centered on the ideological makeup of the federal judiciary. we repeatedly ask ourselves will the judges we're confirming protect and respect the core values of the american people, and the answer is yes they absolutely will. this isn't the first time the american public has swung back around to consider our first principles. we talked about them in the early 1990's and again perhaps more passionately in the early
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2000's. last week i was fortunate enough to attend an event at the white house celebrating our success in confirming well-qualified constitutionalist judges to the federal bench. we filled 158 vacancies since 2017, and we're far from done. i'm sure, however, that my friends in the minority wish we'd give it a rest, but we won't. after all, they have had to work overtime trying to convince the american people that our job is to impose by judicial decree policies that were rejected at the ballot box. they want to do this without the benefit of legislative debate or public comment, which means that confirming constitutionalist judges is far from being in their best interest. so here they come, insisting that constitutionalists is a dog
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whistle for racism, sexism, homophobe i can't and holding regressive and extreme ideas. what a ridiculous strategy. the bipartisan nominees this body has confirmed proven they're capable of resisting the urge to get creative with the law when it suits the loudest voices in the room. instead they apply the same foresight employed by the founding fathers. these judges know that for -- permitting the government more power than it needs to mold and manipulate society will give rise to a government that will never resist the temptation to overstep its bounds. our courts are not courts of public opinion, and my friends in the minority will do well to remember the cost of treating them as such.
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constitutionalism is our legacy and our inheritance. i urge my colleagues to remember this because we're going to vote to confirm judges who have proven themselves committed to defending our core values and the rule of law in the united states of america. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. inhofe: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that i be recognized as if in morning business for such time as i shall consume. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: thank you. madam president, i'm here today to talk about an important vote that i took 19 years ago, a vote about free trade in china. now you might say i'm a little
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out of character coming down to the floor and talking about free trade in china because normally i'm down here talking about how china is investing their military at unprecedented rates or how they're passing us up in terms of our military which we saw during the last administration. the reality is that when it comes to china, which is entirely controlled by a tyrannical communist party, you can't separate their trade behavior from their military like you can in a democratic government. china asserts its power both economically and militarily to the detriment of the free world. so 19 years ago i came down to the senate floor and took a stand against the tyrannical regime in china. the vote was on whether or not to allow chinese government normalized trade relationships with the united states that would pave the way for the china to join the world trade
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organization. at that time i wasn't popular -- it wasn't popular for any member of the senate who stood in the way of free trade agreements to, much less a republican, but as i saw it then, the vote did much more than open up trade. it granted favors to an authoritarian regime despite their openly predatory actions without demanding concessions in return. my colleagues claim that opening china to free trade would cause them to change -- china i'm saying -- to change their behavior. clearly that didn't happen, but i'll get to that in a minute. filled with the false hope of empty promises, the trade agreement sailed through the senate 83-15 and was signed by then-president clinton. now i'm the only one of those 15 no votes still serving in the united states senate.
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today, 19 years later, we've seep the reality of what i -- seen the reality of what i thought would happen at the time and i said -- i'm quoting from my speech 19 years ago -- we cannot allow the pursuit of dollars to bind us to certain realities about ruling communist regime in china, including -- keep in mind i'm going to read all eight of these that i mentioned 19 years ago. repeated threats against the united states and taiwan still going on today. massive military modernization and build-up still going on. proliferation of dangerous weapons to rogue states. theft to u.s. nuclear secrets still going on. demonstrated strategy to exploit commercial relations to acquire advanced military technology, that's still going on today. attempts to corrupt the u.s. political system. violation of international agreements. brutal repression of dissidents. we know that's happening.
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and i continued, quote, to ignore these actions in the brief that they -- in the belief that they can be separated from what we do in our standing relations is dangerously misguided. china's trade surpluses are helping to finance the regime's military build-up and aggressive foreign policy while strengthening its hold on economic and political power. i don't take any pride in being right because the outcome has been devastating for the american workers. china has stolen our technology and personnel secrets and taken millions of u.s. jobs over the past two decades. the facts show today -- let's go quickly through a few of what we predicted two decades ago and see where we are today. first, threats against the united states and taiwan. that's pretty clear. just look at china's reaction to
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a recent routine arms sale to taiwan of tanks and missiles. keep in mind china has known since 1979 that we sell arms to taiwan to aid in their self-defense. everyone knows that. they threatened that they were prepared to go to war to defend their, quote, unity and territorial integrity over a routine arms sale. in the past year alone bay shin has frequently threatened to use force against any who opposed the communist party posts designs on taiwan. despite free trade china has not stopped their threatening behavior toward the united states and taiwan. secondly, massive military modernization in the build-up, we know that's still going on. it's obvious to everyone that china hasn't changed their behavior on this because of free trade. it's emboldened them.
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china has become more aggressive as our free trade system has subsidized their economy. some key facts over the last decade, the chinese government has grown their military spending -- now look at the chart here when i read this, has grown their military spending by 83%. that's over the last decade. meanwhile, during the first five years, or the last five years of the obama administration we decreased our military spending by 25%. we decreased our military spending while china had increased theirs by 83%. and that's why today china is building naval ships at a faster rate than we are and is on the, on pace to surpass the number of vessels by 2030. that's why china is investing heavily in cyber capabilities, aviation, artillery, hypersonic weapons, hypersonic
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weapons, the most sophisticated new weapons they have, weapons that move at five times the speed of sound. actually before the obama administration, we were ahead of both china and russia. at the end of that administration we're behind, tnd we're catching up now. each capability, if not superior to ours, has the poa tensionerral to do -- potential to do us harm. in 2019 i visited southeast asia where i saw the military buildup in the south china sea myself. you remember, madam president, the islands that they created -- this is not taking over territory, it's creating territory. they have islands in the south china sea. the chinese, last count, i believe was seven island, and each one has the capability that when you go in and look at it, you become convinced that they are preparing for world war iii.
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i also went to djibouti where i saw the first international military base -- by the way, china prior to that time, this was three years ago, china had always done their military on their home territory, it's always been in china, until they went to djibouti in the northern part of africa and now they are down to tanzania in that part of the world. the department of defense official expects the chinese to open more bases in the middle east and southeast china, all strategically important locations. when i talked to allies in the pacific, they are concerned, and many are beginning to hedge their bets because they see what china's doing. we're talking about the south china sea and our own allies and have historically been our allies and they are starting to
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have second thoughts. they see what china's doing. after eight years of president obama's weak leadership, it's more difficult for us to prove to them that we're actually interested in standing up to china's aggression. the third, the theft of u.s. secrets. we know about that. there's no saying in what china doesn't have, it steals. that is even more apparent today than it was in 2000. china is actively pursuing and still stealing military secrets. they hacked a navy contractor and stole massive amounts of data. that didn't new, but it has impacts on our ability to get ahead of china militarily. we're seeing an alarming rise in how china steals industrial secrets. they do it out in the open. for example, by forcing any american business who wants to operate in china to form a partnership with a chinese
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business. they've been doing that for a long period of time and we've been going along with it. sadly these partnerships are nothing more than a way for the chinese communist party to access and steal proprietary ideas and technology. they also do it in nefarious ways, through exploiting educational rips on -- relationships on college campuses or stealing biomedical reap search -- research during the peer review process. this is not a small thing, one in five companies have been victims of chinese intellectual theft. that means that nearly 80% of our economy is based on intangibles, the very things that the chinese are stealing. this is another area where the regime in beijing has been emboldened by free trade at the expense of american innovation an economic growth.
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china hasn't changed its position on exploiting commercial relationships either. for the past two decades china has taken advantage of companies, weaponizing their debt and working to control ports and infrastructure and other territory, posing a real threat to united states interests. there's no place where this is more apparent than in africa where i keep hearing, quote, america will tell you what it needs, china will build it for you. of course they don't follow through and talk about how they use all chinese resources to do this. they use chinese labor, but of no value to africa. i've been in africa probably more than any other member. i've been very active in that area and have seen some of the threats that face us in that continent and i've seen the chinese what we refer to as debt trap harbor -- hobble more promising governments. it goes far beyond the
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developing world and extends right into our own backyard. just look at the recent issue with the nba where the general manager of the houston rockets tweeted a message in support of hong kong protesters. the backlash was swift. china stopped airing rockets games or streaming them online and their online retailers pulled merchandise from online stores. we also have seen the u.s. hotels, aviation companies, even the gap being forced to edit the self-censor to remove any reference that even tangentially refers to taiwan, tibet or hong kong not being a part of the -- part of china. tiffany, the jewelry company, was pressured to remove an
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advertisement of a woman covering her eye because images of a protestor in hong kong with a wounded eye got international attention. we live in a democracy and we don't dictate to private businesses what they should or should not do. this is not the case in china. yet, if we continue down the road of self-censorship, the party's demands will escalate and it will be heard and -- harder and harder to exercise freedom of expression. and, fourth, lastly, brutal repression of dissidents. that's -- that was true 19 years ago and it's true today. more than anything i would like to say this was an area where free trade had forced the chinese communist party to change its behavior. that's what we were all told would happen, but it didn't happen. we know it's not true. we all know that atrocities of what is going on in -- in the
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province where the government is -- is forcing the muslim minority to concentration camps, although they call them reeducation centers, we know this is going on in hong kong where beijing is repressing a demonstration of brutal tactics. i can remember being in hong kong at the time that china reasserted their leadership, their ownership to hong kong and it has been on and off all these years and right now that -- that effort -- the disagreement is still taking place. and outside the areas of that, despite china's best efforts have attracted interpatient in attention -- international attention. we still know about the atrocities the chinese communist party quietly inflicts on journalists, christian minorities, and house churches and communities across china every day.
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now, i've just painted a very bleak picture of u.s.-china relations and how unrestricted trade didn't force the ruling party in beijing to change its behavior, but the good news is help is finally on its way. after the trade deal was enacted and i'm talking about president trump's trade deal, i kept speaking out against the chinese communist party, calling attention to their human rights abuses, their military buildup, and their manipulative trade tactics and their economic bullying. i pushed every president until -- until now to stand up to the economic powerhouse before it was too latin they out -- late and they outmatched us. i sacrificed that -- i tried that with republicans and democrats alike and now we have a president who takes china seriously, president trump. he's clear eyed about the regime in beijing.
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he knows our trade relations have been unfair and unbalanced and he understands that we need permanent fixes in order to have any long-term stability. this is something that has been going on for a long period of time and he is now changing this. he is getting criticized obviously, and i have to say this, it hurts our farmers in the state of oklahoma, however i would say they are very understanding that someone is finally willing to take on china. he has effect ily applied -- effectively applied tariffs to punish the china government and to support companies in the united states. the result, china's economy slowed to its slowest point since 1992 and that is if you believe their official numbers. these are their numbers. it has slowed their economy down. this has not happened before. the economic pressure brought on them to table -- to make a real
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deal, one is -- one that is fair and accountable. so far we've gotten phase one, a preliminary first deal and our outcome is good for farmers in oklahoma and across the country. for the first time china has agreed to purchase 40 to 50 billion worth of america's agricultural goods. the fight against china's economic manipulation and influence is not over. it cannot just be limited to shrirnging the efforts. future parts of any agreement need to be sure that address the concerns presence of both parties neglected for both parties, including theft of intellectual property, forced transfers, and subsidies to
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chinese's state-owned enterprises, and all this needs to be placed into a proper context of the communist party's ambitions on the world stage to rewrite the rules of the international system to make the world safe for authorities to suppress democracy and abuse human rights and to achieve global minority superiority by mid-century. president trump's stand on china against trade has provoked discussion about our competition with china. you are -- you have to remember this is not a competition against china but for influence, the kind of influence world our kids and grandkids will live in. next week my wife and i will celebrate our 60th an verse. -- anniversary. and we have 20 kids and
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grandkids. in this competition we can't afford to be naive. the chinese government party has a different investigation of -- vision of the world it would like to create. even as we talk about the tariffs, we have to remember that our values that is america's most valuable commodity. that is what must guide us. every part of the speech i gave on the senate floor 19 years ago has become a reality and president trump knows this. maybe we better listen to him. with that, i will yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: madam president, i'm going to yield the floor.
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mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session and be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 1865, which was received from the house. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 1865, an act to require the secretary of the treasury to mint a coin in commemoration of the opening of the national law enforcement museum in the district of columbia and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that the blunt amendment at the desk be considered and agreed to, the bill be amended and considered read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection?
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without objection. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of senate res. 419. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 419, permitting the collection of clothing, toys, food, and houseware during the holiday season for charitable purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. inhofe: i ask that the the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that the senate's action placing s. 2731 on the calendar be vitiated and the bill be considered introduced and held at the desk on october 29, 2019, and then indefinitely postponed
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today. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: i understand that there is a bill at the desk and i ask for its first reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the first time. the clerk: s. 2840, a bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2020 for military activities of the department of defense for military construction and for defense activities of the department of energy, and for other purposes. mr. inhofe: i now ask for a second reading, and in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule 14, i object to my own request. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will be read for the second time on the next legislative day. mr. inhofe: and, madam president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. wednesday, november 13. further, that following the prayer and the pledge that the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of the
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proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders will be reserved for their use later in the day, morning business be closed, and the senate proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the wolf nomination, with the postcloture time expiring at 11:00 a.m. further, if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action of the -- of the senate's action. finally, that the senate recess from 12:30 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. to allow for conference meetings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order following the remarks of senator menendez. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. menendez: first let me
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congratulate the senator from oklahoma on the upcoming 60th anniversary, that is a hallmark under any set of circumstances, and we wish him much health and happiness with your bride for a lot more longer time as well. congratulations. madam president, when president trump welcomes turkish president erdogan to the white house this week, he will be welcoming a known authoritarian, human rights abuser, and friend to putin whose behavior increasingly runs counter to the interests of the united states and our allies. it's yet another strategic mistake and a terrible misuse of the power of the presidency. in recent years, the president of turkey has made a series of decisions to part ways with nato, with the united states, and with the basic principles of democracy. make no mistake, erdogan's actions are intentional, and it's stunning to think that any american president would legitimize erdogan's harmful policies by welcoming him to the
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oval office. mr. president, this meeting is a mistake, plain and simple. and i can only hope that instead of yielding to erdogan's policies that are so squarely at odds with the united states' interests, president trump treats this misguided meeting as more than just a photo op with yet another dictator. the president should instead use this visit to actually stand up for america, for our principles, and for our allies, and he can do this by raising the many serious questions that turkey has yet to address. and i'd like to use this opportunity to outline ten critical questions, each of which deserve real answers. question number one. will turkey reverse course from erdogan's decision to buy and receive the s-400 air defense system from russia? the president's national
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security advisor claims that the administration is very, quote, upset about turkey's purchase of russia's s-400 weapons system. well, upset is not a policy, and it falls well short of the trump administration's legal obligations. under the caatsa sanctions law, turkey's purchase of the s-400 is a significant and sanctional transaction. she is sanctions should have been imposed in july when turkey first took delivery of the s- s-400. by failing to implement the legal requirements, president trump has done lasting damage to the u.s. credibility, to the integrity of our sanctions, and to the rule of law. is it too much to ask the president of the united states to policy the law? he can start by i am posing caatsa sanctions when erdogan is in washington. question number two. will our president sanction the
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activities of holkbank, a turkish institution that surfaced the biggest evasion of iran sanctions in history. the biggest evasion of iran sanctions in history. we know that the justice department has finally brought charges in the case, but if the administration followed the law, they would have already imposed sanctions on holkbank and sent a message to other actors who seek to evade iran's sanctions. i understand that one of erdogan's top priorities for his visit to the white house is to secure relief for holkbank. madam president, this is the opposite of what the law requires, and i hope that president trump shows some backbone when erdogan asks him for yet another favor. let's not forget that president trump's personal attorney, rudy giuliani, represented one of the players in holkbank's sanctions
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evasion. it seems the president likes to talk tough about his sanctions policy on iran, and yet all the tough talk suddenly stops when the interests of his authoritarian pals or his personal lawyer are on the line. question number three. will the president accept the commission of war crimes in syria by turkish-backed forces. the war crimes that he in effect invited turkey to commit when he greenlighted its invasion of syria. the u.n. reports that more than 200,000 people have been internally displaced from the so-called safe zone controlled by the turks. some of those misplaced -- i'm sorry. some of those displaced have reported turkish-backed forces had beaten civilians and conducted kidnappings and summary executions. with the pullout of american troops, turkey was effectively given license to commit these abuses and unleash unspeakable crimes. that is ethnic cleansing.
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so many in this chamber have said never again to this kind of horror in the past. can we depend on trump to do the same? last week, i introduced a binding resolution that would require the state department to report on turkish human rights abuses in syria. states' findings can have a direct bearing on arm sales to turkey. meanwhile, we have additional legislation to hold turkey accountable that's been waiting for a vote for weeks, but where are we? did we pass the risch-menendez bill on turkey? no. did we pass the house version of that legislation? nope. day after day, week after week, we sit on our hands, too timid to act on any legislation that might upset erdogan while he is in town. whatever happened to standing up for our american values? this weekend, national security advisor robert o'brien declared
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that, quote, there's no place for ethnic cleansing for war crimes in the 21st century, close quote. will president trump deliver that message to erdogan on wednesday? will he seek to maintain any shred of dignity and u.s. credibility on human rights issues, or will he let erdogan engage in these horrific human rights abuses without consequence? question number four, will our president stand up to turkish aggression against its neighbors throughout the region? turkish naval ships routinely violate the exclusive economic zones of cyprus and may take measures in formagusa that would set the peace process on the island back even further. turkey also routinely violates airspace that belongs to greece, brazenly disregarding greek sovereignty and the safety of greek pilots and those on the
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ground below. has president trump uttered a word of support for our greek friends and nato allies? would he affirm america's relationship with greece during erdogan's visit to the white house? the e.u. has developed a sanctions framework that would address turkey's actions in the cypriot economic -- exclusive economic zone. will donald trump follow suit? question number five. will our president condemn or accept erdogan's warming relationship with the russian federation? in addition to buying the s-400, turkey is now in talks to purchase the russian sikhoy aircraft. last month, erdogan felt the need to coordinate with president putin prior to coming to the united states. according to reuters, he said he would hold a phone call with the russian president over the weekend to, quote, form the
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basis of his talks with president trump. imagine this. a nato ally, nato comprised primarily to defend against the russian federation. a nato ally is going to have conversations with putin to form the basis of his conversation with president trump. aside from perhaps hungary, i can't imagine any other leader in nato coordinating with putin before a conversation with an american president. some say that we need to tread carefully with turkey lest we push it into russia's arms. well, push? it seems to me that erdogan has jumped into putin's arm long ago with no provocation from us. question number six. will president trump call out erdogan's assault on the democratic process in turkey? will he stick up for civil society groups, university
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professors, and others who have been unjustly detained? will he stick up for journalists there even as he demonizes the free press here at home? more journalists are imprisoned in turkey than in any other country in the world. in the world. under article 2 of the nato charter, member countries commit to a certain set of democratic principles. this is the basis of the alliance. at its core, this is why we commit to the mutual defense of these allies. they share our values, our belief in human rights, in freedom, in democracy in the rule of law. yet all of erdogan's actions over the past few years run afoul of the democratic principles that define the nato alliance. i know that the president does not like to stand up for democracy at home or abroad, but i hope this meeting will be different and that he will finally come to understand what was clear to so many presidents
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before him, republican and democratic alike, that how a leader treats his own people is indicative of how they will act on the world stage. an authoritarian at home is an authoritarian abroad and both should matter to the united states. question number seven. will president trump ignore the violent attacks by erdogan's security detail in 2017 against peaceful protesters and d.c. police? the last time erdogan visited in 2017, his goons did just that, resulting in criminal charges against more than half a dozen members of his security detail. during his meeting, president trump should insist that erdogan hand over those guards implicated in the 2017 attacks. it's clear that erdogan's visit will again attract demonstrators, and rightfully so. while erdogan may not believe in the right of peaceful protests in his home country, but i hope that erdogan learns his lesson that here in the united states,
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the right to peaceful assembly is enshrined in our constitution and core to our democracy, and i hope that president trump clearly reminds them of this fact. question number eight. will president trump accept efforts by turkey to convert the largest greek orthodox church in the world for more than a thousand years into a mosque? will he advocate for the religious freedom of the ecumenical patriarch bartholomew to -- who continues to live and work under pressure from the turkish government. i hear a lot about religious freedom. well, this is one glaring example where the administration has been silent. question number nine. will president trump ignore erdogan's violation of the u.n. arms embargo on libya? now, to be fair, turkey's not the only country funneling weapons to clients in libya, in clear violation of u.n. security council resolution 1970.
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but the grinding, protracted conflict heightened by these weapons is destabilizing north africa and allowing for the trafficking and exploitation of desperate migrants and refugees. will president trump call on all outside powers, including turkey, to engage in libya with diplomacy rather than weapons transfers and to encourage the warring parties to find a political solution to the conflict? and finally, question number ten. will president trump call out turkey's relationship with hamas, the palestinian organization that continues to terrorize israel on a daily basis? will he stand by our ally israel or will his personal interests and affinity for strongmen win out once again? the president says he wants to put america first, yet on every one of these ten issues, the president has cowered to the
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demands of russia and moscow. president trump can meet with erdogan. that's his decision and prerogative. but on these and so many other issues, president trump's actions do not represent the values of the american people or their representatives here in congress. it does not represent those who support holding russia accountable. he does not represent those who stand against war crimes in syria. he does not represent those who want to see a democratic turkey. despite our objections, president trump willlike erdogan to the oval office. but at the same time it's worth pointing out that so many months into the controversy surrounding ukraine, president trump has yet to set a date for an oval office meeting with uconn's president zelensky. president zelensky is a true friend of the united states, on the front lines for democracy in his country. else a. standing up to russian aggression and corruption. he's respected the free press.
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he's working to strengthen democratic institutions. president zelensky, put simply, is everything that president erdogan of turkey is not. and yet it is turkey that president trump continues to admire, and ukraine that he continues to demonize. something is wrong here, madam president. something is wrong. we should not have to cross our fingers and hope that any american president stands up for our values, holds our adversaries accountable, and does the right thing when it matters most. it should not be a question -- it should be a given, and yet all i can do at this time is hope that president trump will reverse course and challenge the bad behavior of an authoritarian like erdogan rather than celebrate it. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate
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