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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 18, 2020 9:59am-2:00pm EDT

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see it right here on the floor of the united states senate. so, thank you very much. i'm proud to be with my colleagues and with that, i yield the floor. ♪ >> c-span has unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events. you can watch all of c-span's public affairs programming on television, on-line, or listen on our free radio app and be part of the national conversation through c-span's daily washington journal program or social media. c-span created by america's cable television companies as a public service and brought to you today by your television provider. provider. >> and the senate about to gavel in to consider the nomination of justin walker to be a judge on the d.c. circuit court of appeals. a final confirmation vote set
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for later today at 1:30 p.m. eastern. we also expect more floor speeches on policing reforms after senate republicans introduced their bill yesterday. now, live to the senate floor. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr black, will open the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, our hearts are steadfast toward you. lead us safely to the refuge
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of your choosing, for you desire to give us a future and a hope. lord, provide us with grateful hearts to appreciate your mercies that are new each day. today, give our senators the power to do your will, as they realize more fully that they are servants of heaven and stewards of your mysteries. give them your perspective on their daily tasks and every decision they must make. remind them that people usually
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don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. may faithfulness to you become the litmus test by which they evaluate each action. we pray in your powerful name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting 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.
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mr. grassley: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask permission for one minute in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: once again i'm proud to come and tell you something about the history of iowa, and i do this during a hectic time of covid-19 crisis. that crisis has been for american occasional system quite an impact. so at this time it's important to highlight some successes. the 2018-2019 school year saw the highest four-year graduation rate in iowa's history, and that
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percentage was at 91.6%. in 2017, iowa had the highest graduation rate in the entire country, and with this achievement we appear ready to do it again. during my time representing iowa in the united states senate, i have been in many of our state's classrooms, seeing first hand the dedication of iowa's educators. i would like to congratulate all of those involved with iowa schools on their fantastic work and do it and congratulate them for doing it at all times. but over the past few months in particular because of all the situations they've run into because of the virus pandemic. i yield the floor.
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mr. mcconnell: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: the senate has been confronting issues of historic importance on the home front. just since march we sent historic resources to the health care fight against covid-19 on
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an overwhelming bipartisan basis. we passed the largest rescue package in american history on a bipartisan basis. we just passed a generational bill for public lands also on a bipartisan basis. yesterday the junior senator from south carolina introduced a major proposal to promote racial justice. if our colleagues across the aisle can put politics aside and join us in a real discussion, then on this issue too we should be able to make law on a bipartisan basis. the senate has led and is leading the way towards serious solutions. but at the same time, madam president, developments around the world continue to remind us that the safety and interest of the american people are also threatened from beyond our shores. two weeks ago i explained how the chinese communist party have used the pandemic they helped worsen as a smoke screen for ratcheting up their oppression
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in hong kong and advancing their control and influence throughout the region. it hasn't stopped. they have stepped up their menacing of japan. in the skies chinese jets have intruded into taiwan airspace, on land for the sake of graping territory, the p.l.a. has incident debated the worst clash since they went to war way back in 1962. needless to say the rest of the world has watched with grave concern this violent exchange between two nuclear states. we are encouraging de-escalation and hoping for peace. but the world could not have seen a clearer reminder that the p.l.c. is dead set on challenging and remaking the national order to include literally redrawing world maps. of course, this is not exactly
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breaking news to any of us who have been paying attention. earlier this year the senate passed legislation to give the administration new tools to directly punish the c.c.p. for its egregious treatment of the uighur people rand the modern day gulag it has constructed there. the president signed it into law yesterday. and going back to the u.s.-hong kong policy act which i wrote back in 1992, the senate has maintained a keen interest in the freedom and autonomy of our friends in that city. unfortunately, beijing has continued to tighten its grip there as well. more and more hong kongers facing an agonizing disis. can they remain in the city they love or must they flee elsewhere if they want their children to grow up free? as i've said often, every nation that cares about democracy and
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stability has a stake in ensuring that beijing's actions in hong kong carry consequences. so, i encourage the administration to use the tools congress has given it and to work with like-minded nations to impose those costs, but punishing the p.r.c. cannot be our only priority. we also need to actively help the people of hong kong. led by the prime minister boris johnson, the united kingdom says they are willing to offer visas to millions of hong kongers, in digs to supporting assistance, we must consider ways to welcome hong kongers to america. chinese americans have formed part of the backbone of our nation for about two centuries. against headwinds of racial prejudice, chinese immigrants helped build modern america as we know it. generationings of chinese americans have enriched our
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society and fueled our economic prosperity. not surprisingly, i'm particularly partial to the secretary of transportation whose parents led communist rule. she has served her country across four presidential administrations including as the first chinese american to ever serve in a president's cabinet. if some of the same brave hong kongers who have stood up for liberty waved our american flag and singing our american national anthem would like to come here and join us, we should welcome them warmly. of course, the senate is not only acting with respect to china. earlier this year at my urging the senate enacted the civilian protection act and this week the senate is -- the administration is using these tools. with the help of russian air power, iranian advisors and
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manpower from hezbollah terrorists, assad has military control of most of the territory he lost during nine years of civil war. but he has effectively destroyed his own country in an effort to save his regime. assad faces renewed protest across the country, in-fighting within his regime and family and a syrian economy that is in free fall. because of this administration and this congress, the cash flow to these butchers is going to shrink, and the price that leaders and businessmen in beirut and cairo will have to do to pay business with the regime will grow. these new steps will create leverage for our diplomats and our partners on the ground to create a political solution and finely end the war. to maintain this pressure, we
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should keep our physical presence in syria. we should work to bring our nato ally turkey back on the right side and pursue the deterrent that president trump has built against iran to keep checking their influence in syria and throughout the middle east. now, one final matter. later today the senate will confirm judge justin walker, of kentucky, to join the d.c. circuit court of appeals. now, as i've noted in just the last several weeks, judge walker has be given the senate several new reasons to support his nomination to the second-most important federal bench. in testimony before our colleagues on the judiciary committee, he demonstrated an impressive grasp of legal precedent. at his current post, as district judge for the western district of kentucky, he eloquently applied this standing to uphold americans religious liberty and
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he earned the approval of the american bar association with a rating of well qualified. but, of course, judge walker's credentials were already sterling. long before this nominee began practicing and then applying the law he was applauded for his excellence at studying it. judge walker, as i mentioned before graduated from duke university summa cum laude, harvard magnum cum laude. he led clerkships for judge brett kavanaugh and anthony kennedy 57bd then back home to the university of louisville law school. he quickly became a star faculty member producing distinguished scholarship on a wide range of legal issues and once he took his current seat on the bench for the western district of kentucky, he wasted no time to build an equally strong
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reputation for the fairness and open-mindedness that americans deserve from their judges. in one letter from colleagues on the judiciary committee, 100 practicing lawyers from across kentucky said, quote, if judge walker is confirmed, we could give our clients an assessment for him for which any judge he's tried. he is sharp, fair, and will follow the law. in another letter, 16 different state attorneys general told us, as someone outside the beltway with a commitment to the rule of law, we know judge walker will listen to the advocates appearing before him, that he will weigh the facts against the law as it is written and not as he wish it's to be and that he will fairly decide these cases based upon controlling precedent. these glowing assessments are not from elite corporate counsel, these are from men and women from across kentucky and across america who have seen
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this man work and watch his career. republican presence have a proud tradition of looking beyond washington to freshen up the d.c. circuit with diverse perspectives from across america. president nixon thought this crucial court could use the expertise of a texan and minnesotan. president reagan chose legal minds from colorado and north carolina. president bush 41 chose a south carolinian. and president bush 43, a californian. so when the senate confirms judge walker to this vacancy, we will not just be promoting a wildly admired legal expert and proven judge to a role for which he is obviously qualified, we will also be adding to a time-honored tradition of finding men and women from all across the country to help ensure that this enormously consequential bench here in our nation's capitol is refreshed with talent from all parts of america.
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my fellow kentuckians and i are sorry to part with this son of the bluegrass, but mostly we are proud because judge walker will be putting his legal brilliance and his exceptional judicial temperament to work, not just for his home state, but for our entire nation. and in even more consequential ways. i look forward to voting to confirm judge justin walker, and i would urge each of my colleagues to do the same. i understand there is a bill at the desk due a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. the clerk: s. 3985, a bill to improve and reform policing practices, accountability, and transparency. mr. mcconnell: in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule 14, i would object to further proceedings. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bill will be placed on the
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calendar. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. 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, the judiciary, justin reed walker of kentucky to be united states circuit judge for the district of columbia circuit. mr. mcconnell: i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: are we in a quorum? i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: madam president, i cried tears of joy a few minutes ago when i heard the decision of
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the supreme court on daca. these wonderful daca kids and their families have a huge burden lifted off their shoulders. they don't have to worry about being deported. they can do their jobs, and i believe -- i do believe this -- someday, someday soon, they will be american citizens. i have met so many of these beautiful children and their families. now many have grown up. they came to america as little kids, and all they want to be is americans. they work hard. i met many -- i met some of them during the covid crisis in new york, risking their lives to deal with the health care crisis we had. i have seen them enlist in the armed forces and go to college, and some of our best colleges and law schools and climb that american ladder that has been around for so many years, and
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some people want to rip away. so this is a wonderful, wonderful day, for the daca kids, for their families, and for the american dream. we have always believed in immigration in america. we have had some dark forces oppose it in recent years, but we believe in it. it's part of our soul. every one of us cares about immigrants, and so many of us are descendants of immigrants. wow. what a decision. and let me say this. in these very difficult times, the supreme court provided a bright ray of sunshine this week. with the decision on monday preventing discrimination in employment against the lgbtq community, and now with this daca decision. to me, frankly, the court's
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decisions were surprising but welcome and gives you some faith that the laws and rules and mores of this country can be upheld. wow. the decision is amazing. i am so happy for these kids and their families. i feel for them, and i think all of america does. now, -- on some other issues. but again, i cannot -- the supreme court. who would have thought would have so many good decisions in one week? who would have thought? wow. okay. now let's get to some other very important issues as well. two weeks ago, the house and
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senate democrats introduced a bill, the justice in policing act, to bring sweeping change to the nation's police departments. the bill would comprehend -- would bring comprehensive and enduring reforms. the most forceful set of changes to policing in decades. the house judiciary committee approved the legislation yesterday, and it will pass the full house next week. here in the senate, republicans led by -- put forward their own proposal yesterday, led by the senator from south carolina. we welcome our republican colleagues to this discussion. it's something they have resisted for so long. but merely writing a bill, any bill is not good enough at this moment in american history. it's too low a bar to simply say we'll write any old bill. and that's good enough -- isn't good enough for so many people,
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many of whom are marching in the streets to get real justice. we don't just need any bill right now. we need a strong bill. we don't need some bipartisan talks. we need to save black lives and bring long overdue reforms to institutions that have resisted them. and the harsh fact of the matter is the legislation my republican friends have put together is far too weak and will be ineffective at rooting out this problem. the republican bill does nothing to reform the legal standards that shield police from convictions for violating america's constitutional rights. it does nothing on qualified immunity which shields even police who are guilty of violating civil rights from being sued for civil damages. the republican bill does nothing to encourage independent
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investigations of police departments that have patterns and practices that violate the constitution. the republican bill does nothing to reform the use of force standard, nothing on racial profiling, nothing on limiting the transfer of military equipment to local police departments. and what the republican bill does propose does not go far enough. unlike the justice in policing act which bans no-knock warrants in federal drug cases, the republican bill only requires data on no-knock warrants. breonna taylor, first responder in louisville, kentucky, was asleep in her bed when she was killed by police who had a no-knock warrant. more data would not have saved breonna taylor's life. unlike the justice in policing act which bans choke holds and other tactics that have killed black americans, the republican bill only purports to ban choke holds by withholding funding
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from departments that don't voluntarily ban them themselves, and only those choke holds that restrict air flow but not those choke holds that resist blood to flow to the brain. and the ban only applies unless the use of deadly force is required. who determines when the use of deadly force is required? usually the police themselves and courts defer their judgment. i don't understand. if you want to ban choke holds and other brutal tactics that have killed black americans in police custody, why don't you just ban them? now i like my friend from south carolina, senator scott. i know he is trying to do the right thing, but this is not about just doing any bill. this is not about finding the lowest common denominator between the two parties and then moving on. this is about bringing sorely needed change to police departments across the country, about stopping the killing of
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african americans at the hands of police, and bringing accountability and transparency to police officers and departments that are guilty of misconduct. unfortunately, the republican bill doesn't go nearly far enough on prevention, doesn't go nearly far enough on transparency, and hardly brings even one ounce of accountability, and that matters a great deal. we have to get this right. if we pass a bill that's ineffective and the killings continue and the police departments resist change and there is no accountability, the wounds in our society will not close. it will widen. this is not about making an effort or dipping our toes into the waters of reform. this is about solving a problem that is taking the lives of black americans. let me say that again. because it's so important for my colleagues across the aisle to hear. this is not just about making an
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effort or dipping our toes into the water of reform. this is about solving a problem that is taking the lives of black americans. if the bill would not have prevented the death of george floyd or breonna taylor or ahmaud arbery or michael brown or eric garner, it won't stop future deaths of black americans at the hands of the very people that are meant to protect and serve them, then it does not represent the change we need now. as drafted, the republican bill does not rise to the moment. the democratic bill, the justice in policing act, does. and of course, while democrats are glad that leader mcconnell felt the pressure and heeded our call to put policing reform on the floor next week, it won't be before the republican leader asks us to confirm two more
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hard-right-wing judges to the federal bench. today the senate will vote on justin walker, a 38-year-old with less than a year's worth of experience as a district court judge to sit on the highest court in the country for the rest of his life. the temerity of doing that. he is just on the court for a few months, but he is friends with leader mcconnell, so he gets rushed to this very high court without the necessary experience and maturity of judgment. the republican senate approved his nomination to the district court on october 24 last year after the a.b.a. rated him not qualified. now eight months later, leader mcconnell wants to give justin walker, a former intern of his, a promotion to the d.c. circuit. even in his extremely limited time as a jurist, walker made news by calling the supreme court's decision to uphold our health care law catastrophic and an indefensible decision. i'd like leader mcconnell to
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go home to kentucky and tell the citizens of kentucky why he nominated someone who wants to repeal our health care law when the covid crisis is hurting people there as it is everywhere else. in the middle of a national health crisis, the republican senate majority is poised to confirm a judge who opposes our country's health care law. there is no reason to do this nomination now. there is no stunning number of vacancies on the d.c. circuit. we're in the middle of a global pandemic and a national conversation about racial justice and police reform. this is about the republican leader and his relentless pursuit of a right-wing judiciary. usually my friends on the other side of the aisle vote in lockstep on these judges, so it's an indication of mr. walker's caliber or lack thereof that at least one senate republican has announced opposition to his nomination. after mr. walker, again before
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we move to policing reform, leader mcconnell will put forward the nomination of mr. cory walker to the fifth circuit court of appeals. even by the very low standards of trump's nominees to the federal bench, mr. wilson is appalling. he called our nation's health care law illegitimate and perverse and advocated the repeal of roe v. wade. worse still wilson strongly supported restrictive voting measures, including voter i.d. lays and has opposed in this day and age toward minority voting rights. there will be a massive split screen in the senate next week. as we prepare to debate legislation to reduce racial bias and discrimination in law enforcement, senate republicans will push a judge who has a history of fighting against minority voting rights. the hypocrisy is glaring. it's amazing to me the temerity
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sometimes that the majority leader shows in talking about trying to bring racial justice and putting someone on the bench who has fought against racial justice in terms of voting rights throughout his career. again the hypocrisy is glaring. and now on china. my colleagues know how long i have pressed administration, of both parties to be tougher on china's rapacious economic policies. for a time i even praised our current president for talking about going after china's trade abuses but like on so many other issues, president trump talks a big game and then completely folds. owe. after a few months of negotiation, president trump announced phase one trade deal with china which lifted tariffs on chinese imports in exchange for a few short-term agricultural purchases. it was clear at the time that president trump sold out.
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i argued strenuously with the trade representative mr. light heiser -- lighthizer about the phase one deal and excerpts from mr. bolton's book hits the press, we see why president trump caved to china so completely. the former national security adviser wrote that president trump decided to drop all of our major demands on china because he wanted agricultural purchases from states that would aid his reelection. mr. bolton alleges that the president wanted the support of farmers in key states so he sold out the national interest for his personal political interest. sound familiar? my senate republican colleagues? sound familiar? ironically, of course, american farmers aren't even getting the benefit because president xi has reneged on purchasing american soybeans and wheat. when president trump was so craven to bring this up, it was a signal to xi. you can stand strong and the
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president won't do anything, won't do anything. that's what happened. so no one won. american manufacturing, american jobs were lost out in a weak deal to china. wand then even the farmers who were supposed to get benefit of course from trump's political interests didn't get any benefit. while i would have preferred mr. bolton who have told these stories under oath at the impeachment trial, they're quite illuminating nonetheless. it seems he should have titled his book the real art of the deal. president trump's failure to secure an end to china's predatory intellectual property theft is now explained. president trump's ridiculous praise of how xi handled the coronavirus is now explained. president trump's silence on human rights abuses and the protests in hong kong is now
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explained. and even more revolting, mr. bolton alleges that the president approved president xi's plan to place up to a million wee gears in concentration camps. china is america's competitor for this generation and the next and this president's insecurity and weakness and vanity and obsessive self-interest is a threat, is a threat, a real threat to our economic security and our national security. president trump cannot be trusted to deal with china policy any longer. and before i yield the floor, i spoke earlier about the daca decision. and i thought first of those wonderful kids and their families and the burden that is off their shoulders. but after a few minutes i dialed 217836. i won't give the last four numbers of my dear friend senator durbin. he has waged this fight since i
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believe it is 2002 -- 2000. he has been passionate and unrelenting in fighting for the daca kids and their families. he talks about in our caucus every week. he did just this past week. and now while our work is still not done, we must all work so that these kids can veantsly -- eventually become american citizens. at least they are free, free at last and in good part that's because of the work of the senior senator from illinois who met them, got to know them and love them, and took his amazing legislative acumen to help them. and i believe that in part the decision across the street occurred because of senator durbin's effective and unrelenting passionate advocacy for the daca kids. i yield the floor to my dear friend and a happy man this
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morning, the senator -- the senior senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president, i want to thank my friend, colleague in both the house and the senate senator chuck schumer, the democratic leader, for his kind words. he has been such a valuable ally in this battle. and as leader on the senate side, chuck, i just can't thank you enough. mr. schumer: the thanks go to you. thanks go to you. mr. durbin: time and again, we did things here to fight for these young people that were difficult politically, difficult politically. and i just want to thank all the senators on both sides of the aisle who were part of moving this issue forward. they did it at great political risk. i can remember as sure as i'm standing here watching one of my
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democratic senate colleagues walk down and vote for the dream act, return to her desk in the corner, put her head down and sob realizing she'd probably cost her own reelection with that vote. over and over again people stood up for these young people. this morning minutes ago the supreme court brought a smile and a sigh of relief to more than 700,000 young people in the united states of america. this morning the supreme court ruled that the september 2017 recision of the daca program by the trump administration was to be stricken as arbitrary and capricious. so what does it mean? it means for these 700,000 daca-protected individuals, they
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can continue to live, to work, and to study in america without fear of deportation for the moment. daca, of course, is a program created by president obama in 2012. it was a program that frankly was our answer to the failure to enact the dream act as the law of the land. the president used his executive authority to create the daca program and here's what it said. just basically mirroring the standards of the dream act which i introduced 20 years ago. it basically said if you were brought to america as a child, if you have lived in this country, gone to school, don't have a serious problem with the law, you should have a chance to live here without fear of deportation. now, the dream act said you should have a chance to become a citizen of the united states which is, of course, our ultimate goal.
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but the daca program opened up el ability -- el gentleman ability and almost 8,000 came forward. they had to go through a criminal background check but for many of these young people, it was a turning point in their lives. at that point finally, finally, there was a chance they could stay in the country they called home, the united states of america. they seized that opportunity and did remarkable things. they enlisted in our military. they went to schools and colleges to pursue an education. they took up jobs as teachers. they finished medical school. they did things that were unimaginable before daca. and of course when the administration changed and a new president came in, there was a real question as to whether he would continue the daca program. the very first time i ever spoke
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to president donald trump was the day of his inauguration. within an hour or two after he was sworn in at a luncheon. and i said to him then, my first words were, mr. president, i hope that you're going to help those young people, those dreamers, those protected by daca. he looked at me and he said, senator, don't worry. we'll take care of those kids. well, sadly, that didn't happen. in september of 2017 there was a decision made by this administration to eliminate the daca program. and at that point were it not for a court challenge and a protective order by the court, those young people might have been subject to deportation. many, myself included, believed that the process used by president trump was flawed and if challenged, it would fall in court. well, it took from september 2017 until today just minutes ago when the supreme court ruled that the administration's
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approach to eliminating daca was wrong and would be stricken. i want to say for a moment who these young people are because many people don't know them. they don't wear badges or uniforms to proclaim that they're daca protected. but this is who they are. of the 700,000, 200,000 of them are essential employees. you may see them every day in many, many callings across america as we face this national health emergency. over 40,000 of them are health care workers. so if you're a patient at a clinic or a hospital today fighting covid-19 and your doctor or nurse just walked in the room with a big smile, it's because the supreme court said to that health care worker, that health care hero you can stay in america. we need you. but of course that could change. and i want to raise this issue because it's an important one. the trump administration can
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decide that they're going to reinitiate this effort to rescind daca, try to do it right this time by the supreme court standards. that would be a terrible tragedy if they made that decision. not just for those 700,000 but for their families as well. the front page story on the "chicago tribune" this morning was about such a family. both husband and wife protected by daca, both of them working in america trying to buy a little home in aurora, illinois. she works in a cancer clinic. he has a job as well. they have two beautiful little kids. they're both daca protected. because of the supreme court decision they have another day in america. they have a sigh of relief this morning. but what about next week? what will the trump administration do to them next week? i'm calling on the president and those around him, i beg them
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give these daca protectees the rest of this year until next year at least before anything is considered. let's protect them now through the election. and let the next president, whoever it may be, make a decision. and i hope before that happens we will do our part here in the united states senate, the second part of what we can and should be doing, calling on the president not to rescind daca again, not to put these young people and their families through this all over again. but secondly, that we do our job in the senate. i listened to senator mcconnell earlier talking about bipartisanship, talking about our legislative accomplishments. and he's correct. the lands bill we passed yesterday was historic. i'm glad we did it. the coronavirus relief bills that we passed are historic. i'm certainly glad we did it on a bipartisan basis. and i sincerely hope when it comes to justice in policing, we
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can do the same, a bipartisan effort to enact good law. but let me add to this list which unfortunately doesn't include a lot of legislation, something that is now critically important. the house of representatives months ago passed the dream and promise act which would take care of the daca issue once and for all. we could enact that law and say to these young people, now you have your chance to stay and earn your path to citizenship in america. that's what we ought to be saying. everybody knows our immigration laws are a mess, hard to explain, impossible to defend. we have a chance to do something about that on a bipartisan basis. and i'm calling on senator mcconnell and all the leaders on his side of the aisle let's join together and do that. let's have a hearing in the senate judiciary committee. let's bring this bill to the floor of the senate this year so that once and for all we can deal with a problem we have been
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looking at for 20 years and approaching in so many different ways. but in the meantime for today, at least for this weekend, and i hope for long beyond that we will be celebrating a supreme court decision which gives a new lease on life to 700,000 young people who have one goal in mind, to be part of america's future. they were educated in our schools, they stood in our classrooms and pledged allegiance to the same flag that we pledge allegiance to. they have their children, they have their families and they have their hope and future and they are making a good thing in the life of america. it is up to the president and up to us to solve this problem once and for all to do the right thing for them and for the future of america. madam president, i yield the floor and 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. merkley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: mr. president, i ask the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: thank you. this morning, we received news that the supreme court has ruled in regard to our dreamers, our deferred action childhood arrival children who came to america knowing no other country, and now the court has said that president obama did have the authority to establish a daca program and that president trump does not have a basis in law for ending it. hundreds of thousands of
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dreamers now have full legal authority to continue their lives in america, the country they know and love, pursue their dreams, and we must celebrate that today. mr. president, i come to the floor on another issue of freedom. president johnson said freedom is the right to share fully and equally in american society, the right to be treated in every part of our national life as a person equal in dignity and promise to all others. it was 1996 when president -- when senator ted kennedy brought the issue of ending discrimination in employment to the floor of the senate, and in that year, not so long ago,
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virtually everything was simple majority in the senate as designed by our founders as written in the constitution. and the vote failed 49-50 because senator david pryor was at the hospital attending to his son, the future senator mark pryor, who had cancer. it was a moment where the senate nearly took a big stride forward, ending discrimination in employment in america against our lgbtq community. then in november, 2013, i brought to the floor the same bill ending discrimination in employment, and this senate voted in a bipartisan majority
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to end that discrimination. in fact, the vote was 2-1, 64-32, but that bright moment here in the senate where we stood for the vision of freedom was not acted on by the house, and the bill did not make it to the president's desk. now we stand here today in 2020, and the supreme court on monday in bosstock versus clayton county in a 6-3 decision has proceeded to act to end discrimination in employment. in writing the opinion, justice gorsuch said in title 7, referring to the 1964 civil rights act, in title 7, congress outlawed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
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today, he wrote, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. everyone looked to the next paragraph, and what would the answer be? and gorsuch wrote this -- the answer is clear. an employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned if members of a different sex. sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in that decision, exactly what title 7 forbids. well, let the bells of freedom ring. here in this chamber and across america. on sunday of this last week, the day before the supreme court decision, discrimination in employment against gay and
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lesbians, transgender, bisexual americans was still legal in 29 states, the majority of states in our country. and on monday, that discrimination ended. it is now illegal in all of these states in america, in all territories of america to discriminate on the basis of who you are or who you love. the court took a long, powerful stride toward the vision carved above the doors of the supreme court -- equal justice under law. no longer ca mental health down lor named gary bostock be fired from his job at a child welfare service department for playing in a gay softball league. no longer can a skydiving instructor named donald zarda be fired because he is gay. no longer can a police officer in southern oregon named laura
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elana calvo, with commendations for pulling people from burning cars, delivering babies on the side of the road, saving lives and more, be fired because she was a transgender woman. and so employment discrimination ends in america let us savor that victory for freedom. let us celebrate that victory for equality and opportunity. it is a long, powerful stride forward on the march for freedom , but a long stride forward in a march, however significant, does not mean that the march is over because, as wonderful as that victory on monday was, as wonderful as it
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is to have a discrimination end in employment across the land, we still have a long ways to go before lgbtq americans are treated in every part of our national life as a person equal in dignity and promise to all others. the protections on monday involved employment, but those protections do not extend to the titles of the 1964 civil rights act that address other issues, issues of education, issues of splik accommodations, and they don't extend to credit, financial transactions, transactions covered by the credit act. they don't extend to jury service. they don't extend to federal funding of programs.
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meaning it is legal for states to discriminate or cities to discriminate or counties to discriminate on the basis of federal law against participation in federal programs. it's unbelievable that we are still in that state, but that is where we are. that's where we are right now with discrimination ended in employment but not ended in all of these other categories. now, there is a couple possible passports. one is litigation that continues on the same premise on which the supreme court acted on title 7 of the 1964 civil rights act, and that means litigation in each of these categories, case after case, slowly making its way through the courts, slowly making its way to the supreme court, meaning discrimination continues for year after year after year while the courts deliberate on this. i've heard a number of senators say the court acted, but
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congress should have done it. well, now we have the opportunity to do it. we have the opportunity to do it by putting the equality act on the floor of this senate, putting it on the floor of the senate today, having a debate today, having a vote today on whether to extend the very premise at the heart of the supreme court's decision in employment to all the other key areas of discrimination that are still suffered across this land. let us put the equality act on the floor. let us debate it. let us pass it to sul fill the vision thomas jefferson put forward when, in the words he crafted for the declaration of independence, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit
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of happiness. let us put the equality act on the floor of the senate. let us debate it. and let us pass it to act on the premise that senator ted kennedy expressed. the promise of america will never be fulfilled as long as justice is denied to even one among us. let us put the equality act on the floor of the senate and debate it and pass it to fulfill the promise of freedom, the promise of freedom that president johnson so well expressed, the right to be treated in every part of our national life as a person equal in dignity and promise to all others. we have the power to ring the bells of freedom here in this chamber. let us not miss this opportunity. i am so pleased to be here with my colleagues, colleagues who have fought for this vision of freedom and equality and
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opportunity, colleagues tammy baldwin from wisconsin, colleagues cory booker from new jersey, who have been champions in leading this fight, a fight envisioned by now a tremendous number of senators endorsing and cosponsoring the equality act. let us put that act on the floor. and i yield to my colleague from wisconsin. ms. baldwin: mr. president, i rise today to recognize an enormous step forward for our country that happened earlier this week on monday. once again, on a morning during pride month, our nation came closer to realizing the promise of equality for lesbian, gay, by sexual, trans-- bisexual, transjenner, and the queer community. the supreme court has made it clear that workplace discrimination against lgbtq people is wrong, and our
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nation's civil rights laws prohibit it. while this is a joyous day and a joyous week, i want to take a moment to acknowledge the untold number who have suffered in this country for years without a recourse. i want to recognize those brave lgbtq people who received pink slips, were passed over for promotions, suffered harassment and bullying in break rooms, or never got that initial interview, all simply because of who they are or who they loved. i particularly want to thank the plaintiffs who brought this case. gerald bostock, amy stevens, and donald zarda, as well as the families and friends and lawyers who supported them. sadly, amy and donald did not
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live to see this transformative moment for our country and our community. but we will remember them and honor the efforts that they and so many others have made to get us here and we'll commit ourselves to continuing the push forward for full equality for them. op monday the supreme court -- on monday, the supreme court affirmed what many federal courts, the equal employment opportunity commission, and so many of us has recognized for years that title 7 of the civil rights act of 1964 is properly understood to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. as justice gorsuch wrote for the majority, and i quote, today we
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must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. the answer is clear. an employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions that it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. sex plays a necessary and indisguisable role in this decision, and that's exactly what title 7 forbids. this decision is far from radical, but it is transformative. it means that at long last in every corner of this nation, in big cities and small towns, lgbtq people are waking up in a fairer country. they now know that they have
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recourse if an employer discriminates against them simply because of who they are or who they love. and employers know unambiguously that they have an obligation in every state to judge all of their employees on merit, not sexual orientation or gender identity. while we have taken another big step forward, and it is a big step, in the march towards full equality for lgbtq americans, we are not there yet. lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people face discrimination in many more aspects of their lives than the workplace. our country needs to send the message that treating people unfairly because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is wrong and it won't be
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tolerated, period, whether that's while buying a house, going out to dinner, shopping in a store, serving on a jury, or seeking help from a government program. so while the court told us on monday that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is necessarily sex discrimination, those cases were about employment. and while i would expect that any administration would now take a long, hard look at this -- at its wrongheaded efforts based on the legal arguments that the supreme court has just rejected to write lgbtq people out of sex descraims protections, ed -- discrimination, education, health care and other areas, i do not have confidence that this administration is going to do so. and there are areas of federal civil rights law like those
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governing public accommodations and federal financial assistance which don't even yet prohibit discrimination based on sex. and that is why the senate must take up and pass the equality act. senators merkley, collins, booker, and i introduced this bipartisan measure to ensure that lgbtq people had the same nondiscrimination protections as other americans by adding sexual orientation and gender identity alongside all protected characteristics, like race and religion to existing federal laws. it would ban discrimination in a host of areas including housing, public accommodations, jury service, access to credit, and federal funding as well as employment. the bill would also strengthen our civil rights laws by adding
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protections against sex discrimination to the federal laws where they have not been included previously, including those addressing public accommodations and federal funding. more than a year ago a bipartisan majority of the house of representatives passed the equality act. unfortunately, like so many other pieces of legislation that would improve the lives of the american people, it has been ignored by the senate majority leader and placed in his legislative graveyard. the equality act cannot be ignored any longer by the senate. and lgbtq people should not have to wait any longer to enjoy the full protections of our nation's civil rights laws. i urge this senate to build on the supreme court's decision and act today to bring our nation
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closer to the promise of equality by passing the equality act. finally, i want to close by acknowledging the extraordinary moment in which our nation finds itself today. thousands upon thousands are demanding the country confront racial injustices and systemic racism. they rightfully call for change and they righteously call for change. and it is my hope that congress will take an important step in righting some of those wrongs by passing the justice in policing act of 2020 without delay. but we must do so much more. and today i'm keenly aware of the black and brown lgbtq people
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who experience discrimination and injustice in this country not just because of sexual orientation or gender identity but also because of race or ethnicity. as we approach another anniversary of the stonewall riots that sparked the modern lgbtq movement for equality, i'm also mindful of the leadership of marcia p. johnson and sylvia rivera, transgender women of color, in that historic moment. i hope the brave, courageous legacy of these leaders and the urgent needs of black and brown lgbtq people will inspire us to take another step to strengthen the civil rights promise for all americans and pass the equality
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act. and i would now yield to my colleague from michigan, senator stabenow. stab sphab mr. president? the presiding officer: -- ms. stabenow: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you. first i want to thank my wonderful colleagues for their leadership, senator merkley and senator baldwin for not just being on the floor today and speaking out but speaking out every day, for introducing the equality act of which i'm very proud to be a cosponsor, and for continually standing up for the rights of all americans. in 2013, a michigan funeral director wrote a letter. it said what i must sell you is very difficult for me and is taking all the courage i can muster.
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i have felt imprisoned in a body that does not match my mind. and this has caused me great despair and loneliness. she told her coworkers from now on she was choosing to live her truth. from now on she would be living and working as a woman. unfortunately she paid dearly for her courage and two weeks later she was fired. that woman was aimee stephens of redford, michigan. this week's aimee's courage literally changed history, literally changed history. in a 6-3 decision, the supreme court ruled that what happened to aimee was illegal. it was illegal, period. employers cannot fire or otherwise discriminate against employees simply because of who
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they are or who they love, period. sadly, aimee didn't get to celebrate this landmark victory. and we all wish she was here right now to be able to join and lead the celebration. she died last month at age 59. she will go down in history as someone who took a stand for equality, for basic fairness, and made our nation a better place, and so many people have joined her in this fight getting to this victory. it's now time to further honor her courage and the courage of so many others by passing the equality act. and we can do it today. that's the good news. right now on the floor today we can do that together. what a great way to end this
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week, this month of june, this pride month. would a great way this would be. the equality act is pretty simple. it protects people against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in all aspects of their lives. unfortunately, this legislation, as my colleagues have said, which has already passed the house, has been sitting on mitch mcconnell's desk gathering dust for nearly 400 days, 400 days since the house of representatives took action. it is time to shake off that dust and get this thing done. for aimee and for everyone who has fought alongside her and continues to fight today to make our nation a more equitable
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place. now, our republican colleagues, however, are more interested in pushing through extremist judges who have no interest in lgbtq equality. later today and next week we'll be voting on two judicial nominations, justin walker and cory wilson. it's frankly insulting that these two nominations are even coming to the floor. insulting to the american people that they are coming to the floor. justin walker is opposed by 275 outside groups, including the leadership conference on civil and human rights, the national center for transgender equality. as for cory wilson, he supports h.b b. 1523, the so-called
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protecting freedom conscience from sexual discrimination act. it would give permission to deny services based on sexual orientation and gender identity. both of these nominees, both of them would overturn the affordable care act which has made lifesaving differences for so many members of the lgbtq community and americans all across our country. justin walker wants the courts to throw out the entire a.c.a., including protections for people with preexisting conditions. he called the supreme court decision upholding the a.c.a. indefensible and catastrophic. millions of people getting their health care through the affordable care act. everyone who has an insurance policy being able to do that and
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get covered even if they have a preexisting condition because of the affordable care act. cory wilson used even more colorful language. he called the law illegitimate and perverse. providing people health care he thinks is perverse, and this is somebody that the republicans are going to put on the courts. he even opposed expanding medicaid coverage in mississippi, a change that would literally save lives in the middle of a pandemic. we know what we need to do because aimee showed us. we need to pass the equality act now, today. we can do that today. wouldn't that be wonderful on a bipartisan basis to pass this today. and we need to vote no on two
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judicial nominees who are far out of step with the basic american ideals of equality and fairness. aimee stephens was courageous. 400 days is way too long for millions of americans to wait for the united states senate to step up and do its job. it is time for all of us to truly stand up for equality for the lgbtq community and set the foundation that we believe in equality for all americans. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, before she leaves, another good idea from senator stabenow --
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pass the equality act today. too logical, i guess, but it's another good idea. and i thank my colleague for it. i also want to commend my partner from oregon, senator merkley, who's been leading this fight for years now, and wisconsin often partners with oregon, going all the way back to our shared ownership of wayne morris. i just want to thank my colleagues for the great work they've been doing and just take a couple of minutes to talk about my pride in standing with them to fight for the passage of the equality act. we've come together during the middle of pride month, and in 2020 with the pandemic continuing to spread, pride month looks a little different than it has in the past. no parades, smaller celebrations. but it still has been an historic month when it comes to lgbtq rights, perhaps more so
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than any other since marriage equality became the law of the land in june 2015. a few days ago the supreme court ruled that the civil rights act of 1964 protects lgbtq americans against discrimination in the workplace. the majority said, an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law. now, this ruling was a little bit of a surprise. i mean, it was absolutely correct in that it recognized that the law offers equal protection for lgbtq americans, a fact that should never have been in doubt. i also want to say on the floor today, we're going to have to continue to be on guard that this administration's judges will use the approach
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underpinning this ruling as cover to strip equal protection from other people in future rulings. when you get the wrong approach resulting in the correct ruling, we've got to be vigilant -- vigilant, vigilant, and more vigilant in fighting for the correct results again and again and again. the ruling came just a few days after the trump administration tried to take america in exactly a different direction, announcing that it was green-lighting health care discrimination against transgender americans, an ugly, shameful action to take. how cruel that the administration actually said, senator merkley, we're going to announce this during pride month. we're going actually going to -- we're actually going to use pride month to be cruel. it was a reminder to a lot of people that the fight for lgbtq
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rights didn't end with the victory on marriage equality. for every landmark ruling that moves the cause forward, there's someone like do not who's always -- like donald trump who's always looking for a way to drag us back to the days when discrimination was usual. that was in more than half the states, mr. president. but that injustice is now a thing of the past. we can't count on this week's supreme court ruling against workplace discrimination to bring on the end of discrimination in other parts of life in our country. the senate can't wait for any other court cases to move forward before we take real action on this floor. that's why my colleagues and i are here today. we want to call for the immediate passage of the equality act.
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if discrimination against lgbtq americans is illegal in the workplace, then it is illegal in housing, it's illegal in education, it's illegal in public services and more. that's what the equality act is all about. it's about recognizing the dignity and the humanity of lgbtq americans and, most importantly, enshrining it into the law. it's the next step that will move the cause forward. there's bipartisan legislation that reflects the will of an overwhelming majority of the american people. the senate ought to come together and pass it now. justice kennedy wrote -- and i'll close with this because it sums up what's in my heart today -- the constitution promises liberty to all within its reach. there's much to be done on delivering's delivering on that -- delivering on that program outlined by justice kennedy. so we're going to be back here
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on the floor of the senate fighting for the passage of the equality act. senator stabenow was spot-on. we ought to have done it today. we're just going to be back here again and again and again in the weeks and months ahead until we have that promise of equality in every corner of the land. mr. president, i yield the floor. i yield the floor to senator bennet. mr. bennet: thank you, mr. president. mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. bennet: thank you. i want to thank my colleagues from oregon, senator wyden for his remarks, senator merkley for his leadership on the bill, and senator baldwin for her extraordinary leadership and service to our country. it is a great privilege to be here today -- my friend cory booker from new jersey, who's been fighting for these issues for his whole career and who knows, as i know, that anyone who studied the history of our
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democracy knows it's always been hard to make progress. this struggle has always been a battle of our highest ideals and our worst instincts as a country. it's been true since our founding when the same people who wrote that all men are created equal also perpetuated human slavery and denied equality to so many others. in fact, i don't think it's too much to say, mr. president, that our history is a story of our struggle with that contradiction between the promise of equality and reality of inequality in america. between our highest ideals and our worst instincts. we struggle with that today. since he took office, over and over president trump has called on our worst instincts in almost everything he's done, including
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his attacks on access to health care, housing, and education for lgbtq americans. just last week he went out of his way to strip transgender americans of their access to health care. but just as president trump was depriving hard-won rights, dragging us backward again, in colorado on the very same day, colleagues, our state legislature passed a law to make it harder to wage violence against lgbtq people in my state. and listen to this -- the vote was 63-1 in the colorado house. it was 35-0 in the colorado senate. notwithstanding president trump's anti-civil rights,
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anti-civil liberties agenda, in colorado, a western state, a purple state, republican and democratic-elected officials in their legislative season are fighting for our highest ideals and rejecting our worst instincts. in fact, my state passed our version of the equality act over a decade ago. it's why we banned conversion therapy which makes it easier for transgender americans to change their name in government documents. it's how we've elected our state's first openly gay governor and our first transgender state legislator. it's why we were one of the first states in america, i say to my colleague from new jersey, to pass real accountability for police brutality, with a bill led by colorado's first lgbtq
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state legislator of color. this week we passed that bill 52-13 in the house and 32-2 in the senate. it contains many of the same reforms that senator booker and senator harris are leading on here. so i'm here to tell you that more and more, colorado and the country understand what equality has come to mean in america, how to resolve some of these contradictions in the year 2020, and this week even the united states supreme court seems to understand it. just in the last week, a republican-appointed justice rejected donald trump's arguments and wrote for a majority of the court affirming equality for lgbtq americans. and this morning, mr. president,
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the court overturned president trump's malicious attack on dreamers, reaffirming the rule of law and for the moment protecting three-quarters of a million people who know no other country but the united states of america. and now it's time for the senate to do our work finally and pass the equality act. the house passed the equality act 13 months ago, and we've not acted in our typical fashion. that's another 13 months when lgbtq americans could get married on a sunday and fired on monday. another 13 months when our neighbors could be denied housing, denied health care, or be turned out of a store because of who they are.
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mr. president, americans understand that no good comes from hoarding freedoms and equality. when we take the opposite view, we act against our traditions. as a nation, we will never flourish if we choose to depend on a permanent underclass deprived of some or all of the rights and freedoms that others enjoy. free people do not remain free by denying freedom to others. we should vote on the equality act and pass it today. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i join my colleagues today in the middle of pride month to celebrate the supreme court's landmark decision this week in bostock v. clayton county protecting lgbtq rights, protecting people from discrimination in the workplace
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and urging all of our colleagues to secure and extend those protections by passing the equality act. something else big happened in the supreme court, and that was today, with the supreme court's decision on daca, on dreamers, allowing them to stay in this country and asking the administration to open up the application process for citizenship. that's relevant because it's about civil rights. but it's also relevant because the supreme court, the supreme court, this conservative court, has had to step in because this body has not been doing what it should -- passing the equality act, passing comprehensive immigration reform. so let us remember that as we celebrate the decision in the bostock case and also as we move towards equality. i'd like to thank senators merkley, baldwin, and booker for her leadership 0en this important bill and for bringing us together today. over the last few decades, we
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have made progress in the fight for equality. we stood up for what is right, and we worked hard to make this a country where people can safely, proudly, and legally love who they love. it wasn't long ago that a person could be prosecuted for being gay. don't ask, don't tell was the lawsuit of -- was the law of the land when i came to the senate and states were allowed to deny couples to get married under the defense of marriage act. this week our country took an important step forward with the supreme court's decision recognizing that the civil rights act of 1964 which prohibits employers from firing an employee because of sex protecting lgbtq people in the workplace. today we can celebrate that justice was delivered for aimee stephens, who was fired when she informed her employer that she was transgender and for donald zarda and gerald bostock who
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were fired when their employers learned their gay. but of course this is more than about three people. as mr. bostock said, this fight became so much more than me. their courage to stand up in the face of injustice will forever change this country for millions of lgbtq people, their families, and it makes our country a more just nation. although monday's decision is a landmark victory, we still have miles to go because it's not right when the commander in chief tells brave transgender americans who want to serve and defend our country in the military, it's not right. it's not right when the -- when they are trying away the hard-won rights of health care and education. it is not right you can drive across the united states on a cross country trip and the laws and restrictions could be different at every rest stop you
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make. that's why i was proud to cosponsor the bipartisan equality act the day it was introduced with my colleagues who are here today and why i am calling on my colleagues across the aisle to pass this bill. this bill which already passed the house by a vote of 236-173, will go a long way to protect lgbtq americans from discrimination. the equality act would build on the supreme court's decision and make nondiscrimination protections ex police i. it would affect the equal credit opportunity act and to ensure that all americans are entitled to equal access to housing, education and federally funded programs regardless of their sexual orientation or sexual genter identity. we should not wait any longer. nearly two-thirds of lgbtq report discrimination in their personal lives. these problems are compounded by
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race and income, emfor trans -- especially for transwomen of color and it has been a year since the bill passed the house. in 2000, when i was the county attorney in our largest county in minnesota, i was invited to the white house to introduce president bill clinton in the event to pass hate crimes legislation. we had an african american young man who was shot by a guy who said he wanted to go out and kill someone on martin luther king day. that happened. we had an employee that got beaten with a -- with a board in his workplace by the foreman for simply speaking spanish, and i had taken on a number of these crimes and so i was invited by the congress to urge congress to pass the matthew shepard hates crime legislation that covered a wide range of hate crimes.
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during that event at the white house, my first time ever there, i got to meet the investigators in the matthew shepard case. they were these two burly cops from wyoming and they talked about the fact that until that investigation, i think senator baldwin is nodding her head and probably met them as well, she really hadn't thought about what matthew shepard's life was like or the lives of other lgbtq people. and then as they started to investigate what happens, and we all remember how he was left hanging on a fence post and the first people that saw him thought he was a scarecrow, these police officers got to know the family in the case, they got to know his mom and got to know his friends. in the course of their investigation as they began to understand what life was like for matthew shepard, their own lives were changed. i think this is happening right now around this country after the murder of george floyd in my
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state, and i know it's been happening when it comes to our lgbtq community. and that is why that day way back we are in the white house to introduce that bill. nearly ten years after that event at the white house during my first year as a u.s. senator, i got to be one of the deciding votes to finally pass that hate crimes bill. so i say to my colleagues who are fighting for justice, who are fighting if for justice in policing, who are fighting for justice for our lgbtq community, who are fighting for justice for our immigrants, that change happens, but we can't wait ten years for all of this change to happen. the people of this country are demanding that it happens now. we need to come together and finally pass the equality act and do all of these good things right here right on our desks and we should do them
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immediately. not next year, not waiting. now. thank you. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. booker booker thank you -- mr. booker: thank you, mr. president, for the recognition. i thank my colleagues for not only the work done here but for those in the house of representatives for the work done on the equality act. i want to make clear, we in this body, you look at history, you see that the fundamental equality of all americans has been denied in so many generations. women who fought for equality under the law, the right to show, african americans who fought for equality under the law. we have seen from our founding, our struggling to make real on this promise of a nation, this promise of an ideal that we are all equal under the law. our founders, these imperfect
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geniuses enshrined these ideals. this nation was not founded in perfection but in aspiration. the very founders themselves referred to native americans as savages. it talked about women not being equal citizens. it denied african americans full and equal citizenship, yet these aspirational documents were so profound that every generation of americans has called to our founding ideals to overcome the inequality that was inherent in our country. susan b. anthony calling to the founding documents for her equality and the equality of women, martin luther king on the mall calling to that check promissory note, calling that it was time. and here we are in the year 2020 still calling for tt full equality of all american
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citizens when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender americans. and i think back to my own family, grandparents and great grandmother who would talk about the excuses that were used to deny them equality. there were religious excuses. i'm a big believer in religious freedom. but people sought to deny blacks and whites from marrying. in fact, when love v. virginia passed, the majority of americans were still against international marriage in this country, but somehow people who were using religion to shield from the fundamental ideals from establishing the fundamental ideals of this country, we overcame that. these types of reasons were given for the dehumanizing treatment to native americans, these kind of cueses were --
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excuses were given about african americans. we came together, multiracial, multiethnic, diverse coalitions to overcome. this week i was so grateful to see the decision the supreme court, but i was of mixed feelings about it. why would it take an action of the supreme court to justify what already is, equal humanity, equal dignity? why would it take so long for a country to say in this nation the majority of states cannot discrimination against you -- discriminate against you, you cannot be fired just because of who you are. i hear the echos of my own ancestry growing up in a country where children see clearly before them being told and enshrined in laws that are bigoted and bias that you are not an equal citizen even though when we stand up in our grade
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schools we have to say those words, liberty and justice for all. what does it mean to a child that is denied those things? i see us in a country now where we're raising children who are in danger. lgbtq kids are almost five times as likely to their straight peers to attempt suicide. lgbtq kids admit missing school because of fear foretheir safety in america -- for their safety in america in 2020. black transwomen dying at unacceptable, unconscionable rates. i say dying, being murdered. 15 gender nonconforming people
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have been murdered. and last week alone two transgender black women were killed, dominique fells and ryan milton. we have work to do in this country to establish the fundamental ideals that have been said from the founding of this country that we will all be equal under the law. the fundamental of the ideals from the founding of this country that we are a nation of liberty and justice for all. and here we are at the crossroads of history forcing our fellow americans to come and ask for what is fundamentally theirs already, equal dignity, equal rights. this equality law is -- the equality act is too late already. it's too late to do what was ordained by the founding of this nation. we are too late already to save the lives of children who have
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been forced to live in a nation that doesn't recognize their equal dignity. we're too late already to protect the shame of people who have been fired just because they are gay who have been denied accommodations just because they are gay. the humiliation that i dare say so many in this body know from their family's stories. so we come here to the floor today to ask for what is overdue. to ask for us to establish in law what is true in the spirit of this nation, to echo the words of our ancestors great suffrage yachts, -- surge yachts and civil rights leaders who come to this capitol who say this is who we are, equal citizens under the law. so to my colleagues who are with me today, ill tell you that no
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matter what -- i tell that you no matter what happens with this unanimous consent, justice will come to this country no matter what person stands against this equality act, they stand on the wrong side of history. the arc of the moral universe is wrong but it bends toward justice. it never bends automatically. for too many in this country, justice delayed is justice denied. and so we will not give up. we will not yield. we will not equivocate. we will not retreat. this will become the law of the land. we have made some steps in the right direction of justice but we are still in the foothills, we have a mountain to climb, but i know we will make it to the mountain top. i know that this nation will fulfill its promise to its -- to all of its people and indeed
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become the promise land. thank you. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: mr. president, i appreciate the powerful words, the passionate delivery of stories, the defense of freedom, the defense of equality, the advance of justice, and the presentations of my colleagues from wisconsin and michigan, my partner from oregon, my friend from colorado, the senator from minnesota, and senator booker from new jersey. their words speak to the heart of what our nation is about, equality, opportunity, justice, and freedom. i will therefore ask that we bring this bill about equality to the floor.
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that we go forward in the great tradition of this chamber, this senate to debate issues that involve the -- the opportunity for every individual to thrive in our nation. we've held those debates before time and time again. we held them in 2013 on the employment non-discrimination act. i understand some colleagues come to the floor to object to this, that come to the floor to obstruct the opportunity of this chamber to engage in a dialogue on this important issue so vital to the life of millions of americans. i ask them, reconsider. have the courage to debate this issue on the floor, to bring in the great tradition of this country an issue vital to freedom to be considered here.
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one colleague responded to the supreme court decision on employment nondiscrimination earlier in week by saying, this judicial rewriting of our law short-circuited the legislative process and the authority of the electorate. well, let no member of the senate today short-circuit the legislative process by objecting to this important debate on the floor of the senate. madam president, on behalf of equality and opportunity and freedom, i ask unanimous consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 5 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration; further, that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is
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there objection? mr. lee: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: madam president, reserving the right to object, there is a single thread that runs through the supreme court's decision in the bostock case earlier this week and all the way through the legislation now under discussion on the senate floor. and that principle deals with nondiscrimination, the principle that as americans we believe that people shouldn't be treated differently on the basis of factors, characteristics, straights that have nothing to do with their job. i think most americans with agree with that, and i think most americans can agree that an individual shouldn't face such discrimination in the workplace based on his or her sexual orientation. the important thing that we have to remember is that much of where the law is found and much of what we can perceive from a position of justice and equality and fairness relates to where the exceptions are found.
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i've got two principle concerns. the first relates to exceptions related to religious employers. neither the bostock decision or the equality act takes the care to ensure that religious employers will be treated fairly under this approach. to be -- we need to be mindful of the need of a religious employer to maintain its doctrine and its teachings, not only in the hiring of its ministers but also in the hiring of other people who work toward moving forward that religious institution's teachings, in the way they live their lives, in their beliefs and in their willingness to teach those things to others. this legislation doesn't do that. and i think any legislation that we move forward on this needs to have it. secondly, neither this legislation nor the bostock decision makes into account some
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significant distinctions between sexual orientation on the one hand and gender identity on the other. in the case of gender identity, the law needs to take into account certain questions regarding what impact the law might have on girls and women's restrooms and lockerrooms. girls and women's athletics, single-sex safe places for people who are, for example, the victims of domestic or sexual abuse. this law, like the bostock decision, doesn't operate with a lot of precision and sort of takes a meat cleaver to the issue without taking into account exceptions for religious entities and distinctions between sexual orientation and gender identity. on that basis, i have concerns. i decline to object, as of this moment.
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because i have colleagues that washington to speak. mr. hawley: i would like to observe that it was just over 20 years ago and this chamber and our analogue chamber across the way in the house of representatives passed almost unanimously a statute called the religious freedom restoration act. it was sponsored in the house by then-representative schumer, and it was sponsored in this chamber by senator edward kennedy and signed by president bill clinton into law, who upon its signing referring to religious liberty as our first freedom -- those are his words -- and he later pointed to the act as one of his proudest accomplishments as president of the united states. its cosponsors in this body included senators feinstein and murray and leahy. it was bipartisan is my point. to put it mildly. and yet today this short time
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on, the legislation that is offered on this floor now that has not gone through the normal process of committee referral, debate on the floor but would be passed now without any further discussion guts key provisions of the religious freedom restoration act. this coming on the heels of a supreme court decision just two days ago that rewrites entire statutes in american law and in its 33 pages has nearly nothing to say about religious liberty or religious believers in this country. in fact, the only thing that the opinion does say of any consequence is this -- and i quote -- how the court's doctrines protecting religious liberty interact with title 7, as rewritten by the court, are questions for future indications. -- cases. now, i respect very much my colleagues across the aisle and their passion for this issue and their sincerity in this cause. i would only ask that the rights
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of well-meaning, sincere religious believers not be steamrolled and overlooked and shifted to the side as part of this process. we should be able to come together and stand together in the effort to see all people be given their constitutional rights, have their constitutional rights protected. but the effects of this bill, forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions, forcing doctors and nurses to perform abortions against their will, forcing faith-based hospitals and clinics to perform abortions. h.r.5, this bill here, would supersede existing restrictions on abortion, including funding, including health and safety standards, and other regulations that the states have passed. it would force faith-based adoption agencies, some of which have been helping birth mothers find a safe and loving and permanent home for more than 100
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years, it would force them out of business. it would coerce those who don't want to speak or who hold different beliefs into adopting this set of practices and principles and beliefs at work. these doctors, these nurses, these faith-based agencies. i submit to you that this is not the way to find consensus in america. this shunting aside of the constitutional rights of sincere, well-meaning people of faith is not the way to proceed. and this gutting of the religious freedom act -- and i say that because h.r. 5 explicitly carves out of the religious freedom act, it explicitly carves out of its safety provisions all of those requirements i just menged. it rolls back the liberties afforded to people of faith, all faiths, by the way. one of the beauties is that it covers people of all faith, any faith, and this bill would roll those protections back, and it
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would do it without the chance for debate, it would do it without -- outside of our normal procedures. and so for those reasons, madam president, i express these reservations. i again want to thank my colleagues on the other side of the aisle for their work on this issue, their passion for this cause, and their sincerity in what they believe. and i hope that we might find a better way to go forward together. but, madam president, i do not object. mr. lankford: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: reserving the right to object, no person should be discriminated against in america. no one. it's a basic constitutional principle. we're all equal under the law, all of us. we have different ideas about music and food. we have different ideas about sexual assault, we have different ideas about occupations. we have different skin colors.
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we are the tapestry that we talk b we are working to make a perfect union. i absolutely believe that no person should be discriminated against in america. the equality act doesn't just make everything equal, though. it has a great title. who can oppose equality? no one. it is a basic principle of american values. we don't oppose equality. but we do oppose going through legislation, you take the rights of one and dismiss the rights of others and say, your rights don't count; only this group counts. only this person counts. we in america have tried to work together, in all of our differences, for over two centuries to learn better how to be able to hear the rights of another one, to be able to accommodate and to be able to find those spots where the
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rights collide of two individuals and to be able to work it out among each other. the equality act does not do that. i wish it did. it changes things dramatically. met me just give you a few examples. it reaches into high school sports and says, for male and female sports that individuals' sexual orientation, gender identity can move between those. there is no standard for moving through transition surgery. floss standard at all set on it. it opens it up for any male, biological male, to step into female sports on the high school level or in the college level or in the pro-athlete level and to be able to move into that sport. that grossly disadvantages girls in sports. but their rights are denied.
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we've already seen this in several states. where state record holders for track, for instance, someone that was a biological male competing in women's athletics denying the other girls that were competing in that from opportunities from scholarships to college, to be able to move on to their athletics. their rights were ignored because that's rights were prioritized. in adoptions -- we need more adoption areas. we need more foster care in america, not less. the equality act says that if you are a he a faith-based apublic option -- if you're a faith-based adoption areas that only places children in the home where there is a mom and dad there, then you either have to change your faith or close. you have no other option. it's the equality -- the equality act says to that institution, i would rather have fewer adoption agencies in america than have you open.
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that's not protecting the rights of all americans much that's not us learning to accommodate together. why can't we have adoption agencies that do adoptions in willing will willing homes and some that don't. why can't we accommodate both? the equality act does not do that. the equality act treats every job in america exactly the same and says that an individual that is qualified nor that job should be able to take that job regardless of any issue. so let me give you a first example of that. if you're an individual going through t.s.a. -- and what a lovely experience that is senator all of us -- this would say when your alarm goes off and you have to get the full-body pat-down, a transgender individual could be your t.s.a. individual giving you the full-body pat--down. that would be required to not prohibit that. now, for some people they'd be like, i don't care.
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for other people, it would be, like, there's a reason that t.s.a. has done patdowns a man for a man hand a woman for a woman because there are many people uncomfortable. maybe you can call them prudes, but we have honored their rights. the equality act does not. it ignores their rights and says, you no longer have the right to disagree with this. you have to just accept it. it also dramatically changes hiring in america in a way that is unexplored. there's a reason that we send bills through committee, not just bring them to the floor and demand that they pass on the same day they land on the floor without going through committee. there is a reason we do that. because this bill changes the way hiring is done in america in a way that has not been tested. for everyone. this adds a new feature to title 7, where it says in title 7 that
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you can't discriminate based on race, on sex -- that's now been redefined obviously by the courts -- on religion, age, all of these things. it clarifies, you can't discriminate based on that. but it adds a new phrase -- perception and belief is the new phrase. so this is how that would be applied in the courts. if i go to interview in a job and i'm not hired, i can sue that employer because i perceive they were thinking i was gay and so they didn't hire me. or because it applies to all of it, i could actually -- because this does expand this significantly -- if i go in to get a job and i am not hired, i could sue them because i perceive i was a christian and they didn't hire me. i perceive that it's because i was white they didn't hire me. i don't have to prove anything. it's based simply on my perception or belief.
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that is an untested expansion. now, this term perception or belief is lifted out right of our hate crime statutes but hate crime statutes are all about the motive for it. you're trying to read into a crime the motive for that crime. now we're trying to literally read someone else's mind in a hiring situation and to say i perceived it so if you don't hire me, i can sue you. why are we doing this? that opens up litigation all over the country on every area, not just on this issue of lgbtq rights. on every situation and every hiring because it's very expansive. we probably should slow down and look at that before we open that floodgate in america, but this does not. today is about demanding that it passes right away. interestingly enough, as some of my colleagues have mentioned, the religious freedom
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restoration act is wiped away in this and ignored. interestingly enough, the supreme court stated just this week that on this issue, that congress should apply this. let me read what justices ginsburg, breier, sotomayor wrote this week along with roberts and gorsuch. they said this -- separately, the employers fear that complying with requirements in cases like ours may require some employers to violate their religious convictions. we are also deeply concerned with preserving the promise of free exercise of religion enshrined in our constitution that guarantee lies at the heart of our pluralistic society. it goes on to speak of we will have a case dealing with the act. the equality act says never mind, supreme court. i know that you're concerned about religious freedoms, ginsburg, breier, sotomayor, gorsuch, roberts, but never
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mind, congress is not concerned with religious liberty like you are. come on. let's work together. we don't want anyone to be discriminated against, anyone. but we can do this in a way that accommodates everyone. we can actually work towards agreements. but to say in the words of j.k. roweling this past week where she wrote all i'm asking, all i want is for similar empathy, similar understanding to be tax and spend to -- to be extended o the many millions men and women whose sole crime is wanting their concerns to be heard without receiving threats or abuse. let's work together to get equality. this bill does not do it in this form. therefore, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. merkley: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: madam president, i
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am disappointed that my colleagues have come to the floor to stand in the way of a debate in this esteemed chamber over issues of freedom, issues of opportunity, issues of equality that affect millions of lgbtq americans. and what did we hear in their conversation? my colleague from utah says there's no chance for debate. has my colleague forgotten that bringing a bill to the floor brings it to debate? is that such a lost art in the senate that my colleague thinks debating a bill on the floor somehow squelches debate? it's a mystery to me how one could make the argument that bringing a bill to the floor kills debate. my colleague from oklahoma
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laments there's no committee action. well, my colleague might be reminded that for 400 days, his party has controlled whether or not there is committee action on this bill. it's a majority that decides whether or not a committee addresses the issues before it. is not 400 days of inaction in committee an argument to have the conversation here as a committee of the whole? isn't that what we are asking for, a committee of the whole to debate these key issues? my colleagues also refer to how somehow this bill affects religious rights, and i am taken back through the history of the conversation and dialogue about equality and opportunity in america, how every time we seek to end discrimination, someone
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says but wait, religious rights. remember that this was the argument against black and brown americans from having equality here in the united states of america, because their religion said they're not equal and they shouldn't be let in the door, and i should have the right to not let them in the door. i should have the right to discriminate. and isn't that the conversation we heard around the opportunity for women in america to play a full role in our society? that people had a religious foundation for discriminating between men and women. well, i tell you, this nation, although imperfect, was founded on a vision that everyone is created equal and has a full chance to participate. and we have worked over hundreds of years to get towards that
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goal that every child can thrive in america, no matter their gender, no matter the color of their skin, no matter if they identify as gay or lesbians or bisexual, no matter if they're transgender. that is the conversation we should be having here. i feel the injury of a senate that's no longer a senate where people tremble in their seats over the idea of having a debate. what happened to this esteemed body that that should be the case? so let us not rest. for those colleagues across the aisle who have said the supreme court shouldn't have acted this week, that it should be the legislature that acts, and yet come to the floor and don't argue, fail to argue that we
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should, in fact, act, isn't that obstruction of the legislative process? so i encourage my colleagues who say there are important issues to be considered to go to their leadership and say let's get the committee that has this bill, the equality act, to start doing its job. hold the hearings, hold the conversation. because to fail to argue that it should be done in committee while you lament on the floor that the committee hasn't acted is certainly an argument with no integrity. madam chair, i yield the floor to my colleague from new jersey. i yield the floor. mr. booker: madam president, i rise today -- the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey.
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mr. booker: thank you very much, madam president. i apologize. madam president, i rise today to discuss the confederate monuments that are in our hallowed halls of congress and would like to make a live u.c. request, but preceding that request, just to make a few very brief remarks. the national statutory hall where these confederate statues are in the capitol, it's intended to honor the highest ideals of our nation. it's intended to honor the spirit of our country and those who exhibited this spirit with heroism, with courage, with distinction. it is a rare honor. every state gets to put two people out of the entire history of the country, to pick two people who so exemplify the values, the spirit, the honor of
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america. there are only a hundred statues, just 100 statues, two from every state. between 1901 and 1931, 12, 12 confederate statues were placed in the national statutory hall, were placed in that hallowed hall. during the vast majority of that same period from 1901 through 1929, after a vicious period of voter suppression and violence against african american voters and a stripping de facto of their rights and often de jury, not a single african american served in either chamber of the congress. in fact, the exact same year the first confederate statue was placed inside the capitol, 1901, was also the year that the last african american person would serve in congress for almost 30 years. almost 70 from just the south. this is a period that we don't
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teach enough about in our country. it's a period of untold violence, of domestic terrorism, of the rise of the klan and other white supremacist organizations that from the late 1800's to about 1950, literally thousands of americans, about 4,400 well-documented cases were lynched in this country. we cannot separate the confederate statues from this history and legacy of white supremacy in this country. indeed, in the vast history of our nation, those confederate statues represent four years, roughly four years of the confederacy. in the entire history of our country, held as heroes people who took up arms against their own nation, who sought to keep and sustain that vile
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institution of slavery, who led us into the bloodiest war of our country's history, who lost battle after battle until they were defeated soundly. the relics of that four-plus-year period, giving the sacred space to these traitors upon our nation is not just an assault to the ideals of america as a whole, they are a painful, insulting, difficult injury being compounded to so many american citizens who understand the very desire to put people who represented four-plus years of treason, the very desire to put them there in
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an era of vast terrorism was yet another attempt at the suppression of some of our citizens in this country. the continued presence of these statues in the halls is an affront to african americans and the ideals of our nation. when we proclaim this to be not just a place of liberty and justice for all, but as we seek to be a more beloved nation, a kinder nation, a nation of equal respect and equal dignity. it is an assault on all of those ideals. and so i would like to ask for unanimous consent, but before i do so, i would like to yield to the democratic leader, chuck schumer. mr. schumer: thank you, my friend. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: first, i want to thank my dear friend, the senator from new jersey, our caucus, the american people are lucky to have him as such a champion, not only for this
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proposal, but for all his work in recent years on legislation related to police reform, racial justice, and so many other issues. in a moment, my friend will ask to pass a bill that will do something very simple and indeed long overdue. it will remove the statues here in the capitol of men who would rend this country apart by war in order to strengthen, perpetuate, and extend the vile institution of slavery. there is a movement in america rhett now that demands we confront the poison of racism in our country. we must do this in many ways, both substantive and symbolic. this bill is just one of many steps we must take to acknowledge the painful history of america's original sin, slavery, and to clarify for all generations that the men who defended it shall hold no place of honor in our nation's history books. state and localities are removing confederate statues in their federal parks and
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municipal buildings. nascar has banned the confederate flag at its events. we will soon debate renaming military installations after confederate generals. why should the capitol, of all places, the symbol of the union, a place where every american is supposed to have representation, continue to venerate such ignoble figures? proponents of the bill -- opponents of the bill will say that removing these statues is akin to forgetting or trying to erase history. no, it is not. remembering history is a lot different than celebrating it. we teach history in our schools and universities and museums. no doubt, the civil war will continue to merit study, but statues and memorials are symbols of honor, and we need not reserve them for men who represent such a dishonorable cause. now, leader mcconnell has ducked this issue and has said that the states should continue to decide who to send to the capitol. candidly, i don't think it would
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be too i am posing to ask -- too imposing to ask our states not to send statues of people who actively fought against this country. you know, there is a reason that connecticut doesn't send a statue of benedict arnold to the capitol. we have a lot of work to do to unwind centuries of racial injustice embedded in our laws and institutions. one of the simplest things we could do is to haul out the statues of a few old racists in the building in which we now stand. this, my friends are, is the easy part. let us pass this bill today and send a message to the american people that we are seriously -- serious about dismantling institutional racism piece by piece, brick by brick, statue by statue, starting with our own house, the people's house, the nation's capitol building. and i yield again to my colleague. mr. booker: madam president? the presiding officer: the
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senator from new jersey. mr. booker: thank you very much, madam president. as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent the rules committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 3957 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration; i further ask that the bill be read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: reserving the right to object, let me just say we just got this bill assigned to the rules committee. it would have the effect of abandoning agreements that we have entered into with the states and the states have entered into with us. i'd certainly like to have some time to decide if we should have a hearing on this. i'd like to see -- get the
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opinion of people who are taking similar statues out of the building. i'd also like to find out what other states have in mind as their part of this agreement. the democratic leader just said states and localities are removing these statues. each of these states would have the right to the remove these statues, and some are. this is an agreement with the states. it goes back to 1864. by 1933, statuary hall was full and the congress again authorized this program by saying, these statues could be placed in the capitol. by -- it took until about 2000 until there were 100 statues from the states. there were 150 statues by 2000. at this point, the congress passed another law providing a
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way that the states for the first time could take a statue out. and even in 2000, no suggestion then or before then that the congress would decide whether the statue that the state wanted to put in could be put into the building. as a matter of fact, madam president, your state, nebraska, just recently replaced william jennings bryan with chief standing bear under the provisions made to do that. the congress has been very prescriptive in how this happened. the state would have to pass legislation. the governor would have to sign it to put a statue in the building. the congress would only determine if the statue met the requirements that the other statues had been held to. and up until now that's been the congressional part of this agreement with the states.
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to take a statue out of the collection and replace it with another one, my state, missouri, is replacing thomas hart benton with harry truman. the legislature had to agree, they had to agree what statue would go out, what statue would come in and the congress would then accept that statue, if it met the standards. now, we can do away with that program. we could do a lot of things. but we've entered into that agreement. the minority leader mentioned the forts. the fortes are named totally by the congress. i expressed my belief that it would be absolutely appropriate, in my view, to review the names of the -- the forts have been named after, including the forts that are named after confederate
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military leaders and to change those names. and we can do that all on our own. we haven't told north carolina that a fort has to be named after general bragg. we haven't told texas that a fort has to be named after confederate general hood. we can change those. i'm verytope us looking at that -- i'm very open to us looking at that and likely doing that. i just think for my friend from new jersey that this is a more complicated arrangement than activity on the floor today would suggest. i'd also point out that since in 2000 the congress said you can replace statues with another statue, you have to take a statue out to put a statue in, but you can replace statues, eight of those statues have already been replaced. eight more are in the process of being replaced. and i think four or five of the
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statues that have been replaced or would be replaced are in the standard of the confederate statues. i'm encouraged that states are looking at their history, that they're looking at who has come since they put those statues in. arkansas replaced milton rose, a confederate statue, with a civil rights leader. florida replaused edmond cur by smith with bethune, a presidential advisor and civil rights leader. arkansas is in the process of replacing one of these statues. i think that today's action would violate our agreements with the states. i think frankly think my friend from new jersey, encouraging the governors, encouraging the speakers of the house to do what they have every right and the congress in fact in 2000 gave
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them the right to do, the minority leader was the chairman of the committee that determines all of this just a handful of years years ago and took no actions to do what the congress -- the senate is talking about doing today. and so with that in mind, madam president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. brook brook madam president, if i may just -- mr. booker: madam president, if i may just respond. my colleague has a well-earned reputation on both sides of this body for his decency and honor and i take his words to heart. that this is often not a good forum to try to push a piece of legislation that might have controversy on both sides. i understand his sincere concerns with that. and i guess you also understand the sincerity with which i bring this up, the hurt, the pain that these statues represent in a place where millions of americans come to the capitol
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and see this as their body and because you said there are complications in this and that there are issues that we would have to work through as a senate, i guess the one last appeal to your more senior status and maybe your friendship is, would you join me at least in a letter to the appropriate committee asking them to at least have a hearing on this issue so that we could have a full vetting of all the complexities and have a real discussion on something that is a pressing concern. i note that you know it is a pressing concern because some states are already taking action. you see this action being taken across different -- various points of our country. you see this issue being pushed into the national consciousness. you see republicans and democrats, from nikki haley to my dear friend who is the former mayor of -- or the mayor of -- mayor landrieu of new orleans. i think it would be just and right that perhaps you and i, as a show of bipartisan concern and sincere awareness of the
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complexities of these issues, could just join the two of us on a letter asking the committee to take up this issue in due time so that we could have an appropriate discussion from all perfections on this issue -- perspectives on this issue. mr. blunt: well, agency i said, this -- if i could have chance to respond here -- mr. booker: of course. mr. blunt: this bill was just assigned to our committee. this is a discussion that appropriately we might have had before i was asked to come to the floor to exert rights of the committee to have the opportunity to think about that. i don't know that i want to negotiate that right here. but as i said, and my friend heard just a moment ago, i'd like to hear how the states that are replace being statues -- i'd like to hear the states that are thinking about replacing statues. is this a problem in the process of under the current structure solving itself. but i'm glad to have continued
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discussions about this and i certainly don't impugn my friend's motives. you can question someone's decision to maybe bring a bill this quickly to the floor without giving us a chance to talk about it, but i have no interest in impugning my friend's motives and understand some of the concerns my friend would have on this topic. mr. booker: thank you, sir. that's generous of you. if i may, i will make the personal appeal then individually for a hearing on these matters. i hope that we can do that in due time. i know the pace at with which the senate often works. but i am grateful nor this dialogue, this -- but i am grateful for this dialogue, this open dialogue. i know you had to adjust your schedule. thank you.
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mr. cornyn: madam president in. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, eight years ago, almost to the day, president obama announced the deferred action for childhood arrivals, otherwise known as daca. at the time, i remember the conversations that a number of us had with president obama saying please give us a chance to try to work this out by passing appropriate legislation in the congress. he heard those pleas, but in spite of the fact, he numerous times said he did not have the authority to do, he proceeded to
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issue a memorandum that gave rise to the daca program. so rather than rolling up our sleeves and working together to create lasting immigration policy, president obama chose to do this through an executive memorandum, and it is that executive memorandum that has made its way through the courts over the last eight years and now finally to the united states supreme court. unfortunately, this is the bitter fruit of what president obama did when he attempted to usurp congress in a way to provide some certainty and comfort to hundreds of thousands of young people, a goal that we all share. but to do so in a way that ultimately created more harm. it sent them on a years' long journey that is not over with
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the supreme court's decision today. basically what the supreme court said is under the administrative procedure act, you didn't do it the rye way. so go back and try it again and get it right this time. well, i think these young people deserve better. the debate over president obama's authority has held these individuals hostage, leaving them wondering if they might be ultimately even deported to a country they have no memory of and forced to leave their families, their jobs, and the opportunities they've worked so hard to build here in the united states behind. so make no mistake about it, today the supreme court ruled that the department of homeland security didn't follow the proper procedures to rescind the daca program and, thus, allowed the program to continue for now. but this is just a temporary measure.
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daca recipients must have a permanent legislative solution. they deserve nothing less. these young men and women have done nothing wrong. they came to the united states as children and, madam president, in america we don't hold children responsible for the mistakes of their parents. in this case, the mistake of not going through the legal immigration process. so these kids, young people, i should say, are innocent. texas is home to more thank 100,000 -- more than 1 100,000 daca recipients. they've defended our freedoms in the united states military.
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many of these young people are in their 30's now with careers, families, plans, hopes and dreams of the their own. so the uncertainty about their status and what will happen to them is no less terrifying for them than it would be for any of us. it is simply unfair to these young people who again through no fault of their own find themselves in this situation to rely solely on an executive memorandum instead of a law passed by congress. i believe that when president obama rejected our request that he work with congress to come up with a permanent solution, i believed it then and i believe it now. i believe the supreme court has thrust upon us a unique moment and an opportunity. we need to take action and pass
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legislation that will unequivocally allow these young men and women to stay in the only home in the only country they've known. in the past i've supported a number of bills that would have allowed these individuals to remain in the united states without fear of a court decision hanging in the balance. but each time partisan disagreements have prevented us from turning anything into law. madam president, when it comes to immigration laws, congress on a bipartisan basis never fails to fail. well i hope we can all agree given this opportunity that it is not time for politics as usual but it's time to provide some certainty, some compassion, some support for these young men
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and women. after years of being yanked around from courtroom to courtroom, these young men and women deserve that certainty. they deserve to know that when they apply to college, grow up their families, live their lives, and do all the things everybody else wants to do, that they can do so without a dark cloud hanging over their plans. but as usual in order to come up with a solution, it's going to take buy-in from the senate, the house, and the white house. i've been having conversations -- i've been having conversations for years about this topic. but most recently, i've been having conversations about the most efficient and effective way to protect these young people in the long term. and i'm willing to work with anyone, republican or democrat, who's interested in solving the
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problem. not grandstanding, not posturing, not acting like you care when you really don't and you elevate politics over a solution, i'm not interested in that. but if anyone is interested in solving the problem and providing support for these young people, i'm all in. over the years i've engaged with the texas hispanic chambers of commerce, loulac, catholic bishops and a number of other individuals and organizations that share my commitment to providing certainty for these young people. i hope we can come together and help them. these folks want nothing more than to continue to be part of the american dream. i hope we can deliver. madam president, on another matter, one of the most defining
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days in our nation's history was when president lincoln issued the emancipation problem came nation on january 1, 1863, finally freeing all slaves in confederate territory. but slaves in texas would learn -- wouldn't learn this life-altering news for two and a half years. i know it's hard for us to understand. now we can tweet. we can communicate instantaneously but it took two and a half years for the slaves in the south to learn that they were free. and that day came on a day we now celebrate as juneteenth. that was the day that major general gordon granger and the union troops arrived in galveston, texas, and shared the news to all formerly enslaved people that they were now free. these free men and women set out to spread this news, as you
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would expect, with many traveling toward houston. and eventually reaching more than 250,000 slaves throughout texas. as we do every year, tomorrow texans will celebrate juneteenth and the 155th anniversary of the end of slavery in our state. it's an opportunity to reflect on our history, the mistakes we have made, but yet how far we've come in the fight for equality and a reminder of just how far we still have to go. that is especially true this year. over the last several weeks americans of all races and backgrounds, of all ages have raised their voice in the fight against inequality and injustice
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that continues to exist in our society. especially those in our criminal justice system. as the list of black men and women killed by police officers in custody grows, the calls for action are getting louder and louder as they must and as they should. there is a clear and urgent need for leaders at every level to come together and to deliver the change that we need to deliver in order to match up with our ideals. i've said, others have said before slavery was the original sin of the united states of america. we said we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, at the same time we embraced the system that did not acknowledge african americans as being fully human.
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that was a sin. and we've been paying the bitter price throughout our nation's history. and while we have come a long way, we know there is more we need to do. in the context of police reforms, our friend senator tim scott from south carolina has introduced a bill which i've cosponsored, as have many other members of the senate. it's called the justice act, and it will reform our police departments and provide much needed transparency and accountability. it takes aim at a number of practices and policies that have led to tragic deaths that have ignited these nationwide protests and captured our conscience. to prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place, this bill emphasizes things like de-escalation training. as i looked at the video of the
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police officer, the two police officers in atlanta waking up somebody asleep in a fast food line and then interrogating him for 45 minutes before then it broke out into a violent confrontation, i thought they could have used some de-escalation training. maybe, just maybe a life would have been saved. maybe they would have said give us your car keys, take a cab, go home, and sleep it off. but that's not what happened. we also need training for police officers that don't otherwise -- haven't had that training or don't know when they need to intervene, when they see another officer exert excessive force.
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we need more transparency, things like body cameras, and we need more information on things like use of force and no-knock warrants so we can hopefully come up with a set of best practices that police departments all across the country could employ. to gain a better understanding of the problems that exist throughout our criminal justice system, and this is just one of them, the bill establishes two commissions. one to perform a top-to-bottom review of our criminal justice system and another to study the challenges facing black men and boys. this legislation would also make lynching a federal crime. it takes aim at the dangerous practice of choke holds, and it strengthens minority hiring. and i could go on and on. but i believe these changes have the potential to create real and lasting change in america's
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police departments and begin to repair the broken relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. beyond the merits of the bill itself, there's another quality worth noting and that is that it includes a number of provisions which have bipartisan support. in other words, there's a lot of overlap between what democrats want to do and what republicans want to do. and we just have to learn how to take yes for an answer. you know, we all want to get a hundred percent of what we want. but as a practical matter, you need to follow the 80/20 rule sometimes. that is, if you can get 80% of what you want, the republicans and democrats can agree on, then you need to grab it. that's what we need to do here, not focus on the differences but focus on the commonality, on the
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overlap. by the way, when i first got to the senate, teddy kennedy was one of the great liberal lions here. i asked one of my conservative colleague, actually the senator from wyoming, the senior senator from wyoming, who worked very productively with him how they did it. one of the most liberal members of the senate, one of the most conservative members of the senate. senator enzi, our friend from wyoming, said it's easy. it's the 80/20 rule. that's how they were so productive. that's how they got so much done. they didn't focus on what separated them. they focused on what they shared in common. and that's what we need to do, particularly now at this time to demonstrate to america that we are -- we hear you, we
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understand the reason for the protests. we understand the reason for concern. we share your anguish when innocent lives are lost. madam president, as we brep to debate -- prepare to debate the justice act on the floor next week, finding that common ground is more important than ever. but i'm worried that the same old partisan dysfunction which hijacks so many good ideas here in the congress, that that may dominate over our need to actually pass legislation. so i hope our colleagues on the other side of the aisle will allow us to get on the bill and hopefully we will have an amendment process that will allow them to contribute, maybe even make the bill better. that's what we should do.
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that's what we used to do here in the senate. we had debates. we offered amendments, and then we voted. we didn't shut it down before we even got started, which is what i know at least based on press reports. senator schumer, senator harris, and others are considering doing, voting no and not allowing us to get on the bill in the first place. well, this is an important moment, and we'll begin debating this legislation on the floor of the senate next week. and we will demonstrate whether we have risen to the challenge, whether we have set aside political and partisan differences in order to find the common good or not. so i hope our discussions will prove more productive than what
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we've seen reported so far. and as we continue to try our best to deliver for the american people, i encourage all of us to remember the importance of the 80/20 rule. there is a lot more that unites us and divides us. i know the news, social media, maybe even in our debates we seem to focus on what divides us, but that's not who we are, what divides us. we are what unites us. and there's a lot more that unites us. tomorrow i'll be privileged to be in the still of my birth, houston, texas, with mayor sylvester turner and a number of community leaders for a roundtable to talk about these very issues. i was in dallas last week doing the same thing with my friend,
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the mayor, eric johnson. and it's really a great opportunity to do something that members of the senate don't do enough, myself included. and that is to listen so i'm excited to report on what we're doing here, but more importantly, i'm eager to spend some time listening and learning from the people closest to the problem and then bringing that knowledge back here to the floor of the united states senate so we can deliver real results for the american people. madam president -- i would ask unanimous consent that it be in order for grassley, portman, brown, and cruz to be recognized and complete their comments before the vote on the walker nomination. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. grassley: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator for iowa. mr. grassley: first of all, i ask unanimous consent to submit additional material for the remarks of my first comments. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: in recent months a lot of attention is focused on the nation's inspector general. it like a good idea to take a few minutes now to remember what inspectors general are and why congress created them in the first place and how we got here. congress first established offices of inspectors general in 1978 to, quote, create independent and objective units in the federal government, to do three things, conduct audits and investigations, two promote efficiency and deter fraud and abuse and keep agency heads in congress fully informed about
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the problems that i.g.'s find. in short, congress designed inspectors general to shine a bright light on waste, frawd, and abuse throughout the federal bureaucracy with hope that the executive legislative branches could work together to do something about those problems. so i.g.'s are then the original swamp drainers and an equal important point for those during the time it was created, the support for creating these offices was breathtakingly bipartisan. the vote in the house of representatives when i was then a member was 388-6. now, more than 40 years later, we have 75 offices of inspector general working to stop fraud and abuse. their actions also save the taxpayers billions of dollars.
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in 2020, so far, i.g.'s have identified $20 billion in potential savings through their audits, reports, and recommendations, $20 billion, and this year is not even half over. on, you can find the latest figures on these watchdogs contributions as well as investigative and audit reports on every kind of topic you can think of -- of i.g.'s have found everything from blatant government employee misconduct to procurement fraud, and, of course, much more. it's all there in black and white. in the public domain for all to see, these inspector general are helping congress watch over the people's business and ensure the
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fidelity of agency action. we in congress cannot perform our constitutional mandates of oversight without i.g.'s. the i.g.'s work makes government more transparent and more accountable and that strengthens the public trust in our democracy. that's a good thing for congress and a good thing for the presidency. in this way these watchdogs serve an indispensable function in our system of checks and balances. so what makes a good inspector general? if i've learned anything about oversight, it's that this type of work is not for the faint hearted or the thin skinned or the thick headed. you need a strong code of professionalism to withstand pressures to go along to get along, you need a real backbone to ring wrongdoing from the
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bowels of bureaucracy and you need to discern truths are from half truths and lies. and the law says that i.g.'s are supposed to be objective and independent. they have to be fierce watchdogs, not lap dogs. they can't bow to personal agenda or political and not subject to inappropriate political pressure from any corner whatsoever. when i.g.'s are working hard, staying independent and shining the light on waste, fraud, and abuse, they should stay, but when they don't put in the work, when they pull the punches, and when they became political hacks or when they compromise their
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vital independence, then i.g.'s must go. for many years i've been investigated and held i.g.'s accountable from both democrat and republican administrations for these very failures. in 2003, i pushed health and human services i.g. to resign over whistle-blower complaints over poor staff managements, i investigated allegations of poor work product, coressive management decisions and questionable hiring practices by the watchdog at the federal finance housing agency. i pushed hard to get to the bottom of whistle-blower complaints of about an ineffective commerce i.g., but the media doesn't seem to care about that despite bipartisan concerns and briefings from my
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staff. alternatively when i.g.'s come under fire for doing good work, this senator has their backs. in 2009, i shined a light on a sudden departure of the amtrak i.g. to signed a gag order in exchange for significant payout. when the obama administration blocked a broad swath of i.g. community from assessing records needed for oversight, i worked across the aisle and introduced and finally passed the inspector general's empowerment act in 2016. in short, i've gone to the mat my whole career to ensure inspectors general do and are able to do, accomplish their work with support, independence, and integrity. and because this work is so critical to congress and our
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oversight role it on the public trust -- and to the public trust, i've worked hard to ensure that any effort to remove an i.g. is for a darn good reason. that's what congress required in the i.g. reform act of 2008, a law that then-senator obama not only voted for but he cosponsored. that law recognizes two things. first, it is the president's constitutional prerogative to manage the executive branch personnel, the president can fire an i.g. second, it is congress's intent in that law to support i.g. independence and maintain public trust. i.g.'s then should not be removed for blatant political reasons. this requires that presidents tell congress and the people their reasons for removal of an i.g.
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the i.g. reform act codified those principles by requiring the president to submit to congress a notice of intent to remove an i.g.30 days in advance and to explain why. now, the executive branch, under two successive presidencies of both political parties, has sought to ignore the law and keep congress in the dark. both presidents provided congress then with paltry excuses of, quote, unquote, lost confidence. in july of 2009, less than a year after congress passed the i.g. reform act, then-president obama removed the corporation for national and community services inspector general gerald walpon, from his post and placed him on administrative
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leave. obama's white house informed congress merely that president obama lost confidence in mr. walbon. my colleagues and i made clear that a vague reference to loss of confidence was insufficient and did not satisfy the requirements of the very law that president obama voted for and cosponsored when he was a senator. this then began a bout of negotiations that resulted in the hold of presidential nominees and eventually a bicameral congressional investigation. in that case, i pushed for compliance with the statute, held up a nominee's to obtain information and disagreed with the stated reason for mr. walpon's removal. now, mr. walpon was never
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reinstated. in mr. walpon's case, the court found the law doesn't require more than what president obama gave us. any other greater detail beyond its quote, unquote minimal statutory mandate to justify the removal of mr. walpon. now fast forward to the last several months when the current president followed the court's incorrect ruling and the obama precedent by removing two senate-confirmed i.g.'s, placing them on administrative leave and telling congress only, as obama once did before, that he had lost confidence in them. in response i did exactly what i had done before in the obama administration. i and several colleagues wrote asking for a better explanation.
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when we finally got a response from the white house counsel, we were left without substantive reason for the i.g.'s removal so, like before, i notified the majority leader of my intent to object to the two administrative nominees until the white house coughed up some form of rationale for the removal. i finally got those reasons this week. i don't agree with all of them and i'm working to better understand others, but because the president has finally fulfilled the law, both congress and the public, can look and see for themselves what happened. this, of course, was the intent of the law all along. we took the long road to get here and we could have avoided all of this if both presidents obama and trump had just
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followed the statutory notice requirements in the first place, but we're here. these episodes have convinced me that the executive branch, regardless of what party's in charge, just doesn't get it. from one administration to the next, democrat or republican, it makes no difference to me. this isn't about politics. it's about the separation of powers, checks and balances, public trust. it's clear that congress can't rely on any white house to get it right so we need to change the law. we need to be clearer and we need to be better -- to better safeguard the independence of these i.g.'s. that's why i've been developing bipartisan reforms to sharpen the independent authority and
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recruitment of those hired and confirmed to serve as inspectors general. we're not going to enact a clearly unconstitutional law that fringes on the presidential authority to manage personnel and that would surely result in lengthy court battles. but we're going to clarify once and for all this the law's notice requirement means that presidents have to give clear substantive reasons for removing an i.g. and that they can't put an i.g. on administrative leave without a good reason. to fully safeguard statutorily required i.g. independence, we're also going to make sure that the president cannot place political appointees with clear conflicts of interest into acting i.g. roles and we can't have individuals with political day jobs simultaneously in
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charge of confidential independent i.g. matters, including substantive and sensitive audits, investigative work, and whistle-blower information. today i have introduced that legislation with my colleagues, senators peters, collins, feinstein, lankford, carper, romney, tester, portman, and hassan. i want to thank ranking member peters for working with me on this and his input has been insightful in crafting this bipartisan legislation, and his staff has been diligent in furthering these efforts. whether you have been following the important work of inspector generals for many years or you have just tuned in for the last few, we welcome your support. i hope that support continues well past the current administration.
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if we don't update the law, we can only expect future administrations to -- to continue to do what has been done lately, not giving congress good reasons. on another matter, in three weeks, america will celebrate independence day. for 244 years, americans have fought, marched, voted, petitioned, legislated, published, protested, and died to defend and build our blessings of freedom. the american experiment has plenty of battle scars and growing pains handed down from one generation to the next. the first half of 2020 shows us there is plenty of historical wounds to heal and challenges to overcome. in the interest of public health, stay-at-home orders limited individual freedoms that many americans take for granted, including the right to earn a living or to worship with fellow
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believers. just as the economy began to reopen, the shadows of racial injustice darkened america's doorstep. all people are created equal, but all -- not all people are creeded equally. -- are treated equally. the unconscionable suffocation of george floyd at the knee of a police officer in minneapolis struck a chord of unity to end racism in america. hundreds of thousands of people have gathered to exercise their first amendment rights. they marched to protect racial injustice and police brutality. unfortunately, some exploited the peaceful protests to riot, loot, vandalize and burn. these criminal acts were not protected by the constitution. it's obvious they aren't protected. they were antithetical to the laws of the land protecting life, liberty, and domestic
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tranquility. all of this led one of my colleagues, the junior senator from arkansas, to submit an essay to the "new york times." in his opinion piece, he advocated why he thought the president ought to use his authority to deploy active duty military forces to uphold the law and public order as had been done by presidents in past instances of civil unrest. the "times" op-ed pages accepted his column and published it online under the headline, quote-unquote, bring in the troops. within hours, the newsroom was in a frenzy. the left wing rallied their troops to stop the press. "the new york times," as we know, prides itself as the paper of record.
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since 1851, it has served as an influential platform together and report the news and to hold governments accountable. policemen keep the public peace. journalists are policemen of our political system to keep the political system honest and open and transparent. "the new york times" opinion pages ostensibly provide a space for free exchange of ideas and thought-filled conversation on issues of the day. i have long counted journalists as the constables of the fourth estate. they serve a very vital role in bolstering our system of checks and balances. they have a responsibility to set the tone for open dialogue. last week, "the new york times"
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flunked this standard. the gray lady ghosted senator collins' opinion piece after a meltdown in the ivory tower when this ivory tower work force hyperventilated. it's certainly reasonable to disagree on the merits and to debate if recent events rise to the level of past riots that justified invoking the insurrection act. i certainly think we should be hesitant to deploy our mill forces domestically, even in difficult situations, but the overheated reaction by alleged journalists, even to have this debate, raises the question do they consider themselves nuclear reporters or activists of a
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certain world view? even a casual reader is able to read between the lines and know that the "new york times" ascribes to a left-leaning ideology, but the mutiny in their newsroom seems to cross the line from journalism with a left-wing bias to political activism and ideological conformity. sadly, last week, "the new york times" lowered the bar of journalistic integrity. it snubbed a voice of dissent and rebuked the free exchange of ideas. the first amendment protects five fundamental freedoms that sets america apart as the leader of the free world -- freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. the constitution does so because
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the expression of diverse opinions is necessary to preserve liberty. within four days of publishing senator cotton's come meantary, "the new york times" caved to an ideological revolt in the newsroom. under mob rule, the casualty among its ranks was none other than the editorial page editor. he was forced out of his job for having the audacity to publish an opinion of a u.s. senator. at first, the publisher made a feeble effort to stand on principle, defending, in his words, openness and a range of opinions. within a few days, the publisher threw james bennett under the bus. it's a sad day for journalism, a sad day for the free press. these actions damage the wall
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dividing the newsroom and the opinions desk. they solidified their silo of left-wing thought, canceling dissenting views is a very slippery slope. sooner or later, it mutes the exchange of ideas in a free society. as a student of history, i know that freedom has often been threatened by those who are convinced their views were on the right side of history. i offer a bit of wisdom without valleys -- without malice to the "new york times" -- don't back down from the first amendment. swapping your free press for party-line propaganda and punishing dissent is not a good look. ask the people of north korea, china, and iran. on independence day 2020, i encourage members of the media
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and all americans to step out of your comfort zones and seek to understand other viewpoints. before we can expand america's promise, end racism and beat the virus, we must come together as americans. no matter one's race, politic, creed, wealth, celebrity, remember we are bound together by self-evident truths that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. i want even a left-wing newspaper to be a responsible policeman for our political system. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: before senator portman, i ask unanimous consent. i can't believe what i heard. senator grassley going to the floor and talking about the media that way when his
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majority, they owe their majority to rush limbaugh and fox news and they swear allegiance to a president of the united states who is allowing -- who is lying thousands of times and then attacks the media every time they disagree with him or call him out, attack the media as fake news, it is just -- just shocking to me. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for ohio. mr. portman: mr. president, today i rise to request unanimous consent to pass s. res. 623, which is a resolution commemorateing otto frederick warmbier and commemorating the north korean regime for their continuing rights abuses. otto warmbier was a native of my hometown of cincinnati, ohio. he was also a young man of great spirit, intellect, and promise. he attended the university of virginia. in 2015, he flew to north korea on a cultural trip.
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he went with a tour group. at the end of his brief visit there, he was unjustly arrested by north korean security officials at the airport as he was departing, and he was imprisoned for 17 months on trumped up charges relating to a political poster. during his captivity, he was badly mistreated and was returned to the united states on june 13, 2017, only after falling into a comatose state. he never recovered. otto died on june 19, 2017, six days later and three years ago tomorrow. senator brown from ohio and i have introduced this resolution to remember what happened to him, to keep the memory of otto alive and to hold the north korean regime accountable for their gross mistreatment, their human rights abuses. many others in addition to otto warmbier have been subject to those human rights abuses,
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including the north korean people whom they continued to repress, even starve and mistreat. our resolution calls for the united states to continue to use our voice, including at the united nations and other forums to speak out against the human rights abuses of the north korean government. it calls for the sanctions enacted under the otto warmbier north korea nuclear sanctions and enforcement act of 2019 to remain fully implemented. but most importantly, this resolution honors and remembers otto warmbier, lest we forget what the north korean dictatorship did to him. his parents, fred and cindy, have channeled their grief into constructive efforts to expose the human rights abuses of the north korean dictatorship, and i commend them for that. no parent should have to endure what they have gone through. jane and i plan to visit with them at their home in cincinnati tomorrow on the third yifer of otto's death, and i hope to be able to hand them a copy of this resolution and to be able to say that the entire united states
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senate voted to approve it. this resolution is the right thing to do, and i encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass it by unanimous consent. and i yield to my colleague from ohio. mr. brown: mr. president, thank you. i want to thank my friend, senator portman, and the rest of my colleagues who have been steadfast in their memory in the remembrance of otto warmbier, whose life was cut short by the north korean regime's awful human rights abuses. i take this moment to recognize i never knew otto but i have gotten to know his parents and his family, and i especially thank cindy and fred for their advocacy and memory of their son and turning their grief into something so positive for the country and for the world. last year, we worked together on sanctions legislation to send a clear bipartisan signal that the u.s. is serious about maintaining strong economic and diplomatic pressure on north korea to give up its nuclear weapons and to stop its human
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rights abuses. those abuses took the life of otto warmbier. we must continue to shine a light on what the regime does to its own people and to others, and i thank senator portman for his leadership. senator portman. mr. portman: thank you. mr. president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the foreign relations committee be discharged from further consideration and that the senate now proceed to s. res. 623. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 623, commemorating otto frederick warmbier and condemning the north korean regime for their continued human rights abuses. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. portman: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection.
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mr. portman: thank you, mr. president. mr. cruz: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator for texas. mr. cruz: mr. president, today's decision from the u.s. supreme court and department of homeland security versus ree jentses -- regents of the university of california is disgraceful. judging is not a game. it's not supposed to be a game. but sadly over recent years more
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and more chief justice roberts has been playing games with the court to achieve the policy outcomes he desires. this case concerned president obama's executive amnesty, amnesty that president obama decreed directly contrary to federal law. he did so with no legal authority. he did so in open defiance of federal statutes. and of course he was celebrated in the press for doing so. obama's executive amnesty was illegal the day it was issued and not one single justice of the nine supreme court justices disputed that. not a one.
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chief justice roberts wrote the majority opinion joined by the four liberal justices on the court. this is becoming a pattern. the majority assumes that daca, obama's executive amnesty, is illegal. and then bizarrely holds that the trump administration can't stop implementing a policy that is illegal. think about that for a second. in fact, it's even worse the majority explicitly concedes of course the administration can stop an illegal policy. all parties agree -- that's a quote -- all parties agree that,
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quote, d.h.s. my rescind daca. okay, easy. everyone agrees, d.h.s. can rescind daca, right? not so fast. the clever little twist. the majority says, you know what? the agencies -- agency's legal explanation wasn't detailed enough. yeah, you've got the authority to do it. everyone agrees. there's no argument that you don't have authority to do it. but we're checking your homework and, you know, the memo you wrote explaining it just didn't have all the detail we need. just a touch more so start over. it's interesting, mr. president, is that is exactly the sleight of hand that chief justice roberts did almost exactly a year ago today in another case where the chief joined with the
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four liberals from the court and struck down another one of the trump administration's policies. in that case a year ago the commerce department which is charged by the constitution with conducting a census every ten years, the commerce department wanted to ask a commonsense question. the course of the census, are you a citizen of the united states. that's a question that has been asked in nearly every census since 1820. it ain't that complicated asking somebody in the course of a census are you a citizen. but in today's politically fraught world, the democratic party has decided they are the party of illegal immigration as is the press. so what did john roberts do a year ago? same thing. wrote an opinion saying oh, of course, the commerce department has the authority in the census
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to ask if you're a citizen. of course they have. we've done it since 1820. for those who are matt im-- are math impaired, that's 200 years ago and steadily since then to every ten years over and over and over again but no, no, no, john roberts, a little twist of hand. you know what? the commerce department didn't explain their reasoning just clearly enough. we looked at their memo announcing it, announcing that they were making a policy decision, they question legal authority to do but bill clinton had asked that question, the bill clinton administration. but john roberts and the four liberals are going to strike it down because they say it wasn't explained clearly enough. mr. president, this is a chara
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charade. last year they pretended it was just about the agency could go back and do it again. they knew full well there wasn't time to do it again, that they had to start the census. so they got the result they wanted. they didn't like as a policy matter asking this. there was no legal reason, no legal authority to strike it down so they played a little game. go back and start over and of course now we're doing the census without asking that question. that's the same game here today in daca. they don't like the policy so they say just go back and do it over, just give a little more explanation, just start over. everyone knows the game they're playing. they're hoping that in november in the election, that there's a different result in the election, that there's a new administration that comes in that decides amnesty is a good thing. and so this sleight of hand is
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all about playing policy. five justices today held that it was illegal for the trump administration to stop breaking the law. that's bizarre. and the reasoning is because the obama administration violated federal immigration laws for now, wink, wink, let's pretend because that's what they're doing is pretending, trump has to continue violating the law and behaving illegally. mr. president, chief justice roberts knows exactly what he's doing. we saw earlier this week a decision rewriting title 7 of our civil rights laws, rewriting title 7 the prohibition on sex
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discrimination, on discrimination against women or against men, rewriting it to add sexual orientation or gender identity. now as a policy matter, there are a lot of people that support that. indeed, legislation to do that has passed the house of representatives twice. it's passed this body once. but the court just rewrote it. the court just engaged in legislation plain and simple, as justice alito powerful wrote in dissent. by the way, chief justice roberts again in the majority signed that majority. this is gamesmanship. chief justice roberts knows exactly what he's doing. the fact that elites in washington don't see a problem with illegal immigration doesn't answer the reality for millions of working men and women who do.
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and these kind of games ultimately make a mockery of the rule of law. they make a mockery of the constitution and bill of rights. it's the -- we saw chief justice roberts do several years ago upholding obamacare where again just with a little flip of the wrist he changed a penalty into a tax. that's not clever. that's lawless. this decision today was lawless. it was gamesmanship. and it was contrary to the judicial oath that each of the nine justices has taken. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: all postcloture time is expired. the question now occurs on the
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nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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