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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 28, 2020 2:15pm-6:15pm EDT

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the total likely include some back payments and the century foundation estimates 25 million workers are poised to lose the 600 supplement after july 31. what is the impact of this on the economy? >> guest: we do establish on appointment insurance has been a ughuge for the u.s. in terms of its response to this pandemic. in at least three ways, the first is for public health it has allowed, as you said, somewhere in 25-30 million people to stay home -- >> we take you live now back to the u.s. senate where work is excited to continue on judicial and exhibited confirmations as senators also continue negotiations on the revoke and one chilean dollar coronavirus response plan. life to the senate.
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mr. perdue: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. perdue: thank you, madam president. i have nine requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. perdue: madam president, throughout all of human history, in every generation, there are a handful of people who rise to the level of greatness. despite adversity, danger, and sometimes impossible odds, these great men and women fight for what's right, push our society
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forward, and make america better for the next generation. that's been true for the last 230 years. representative john lewis in our generation, who just passed away last week, was certainly the embodiment of this type of greatness. john was a titan in the struggle for civil rights and the equality of all races. because of him, more americans can enjoy their god-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. john's lifelong fight against injustice began at a very young age, as we now know. when his local library banned african americans from checking can out books, a teenage john lewis wrote a petition requesting and demanding equal access. from that point forward, john lewis never backed down from a fight, for what is right. he always remained peaceful, despite receive physical violence and going to jail for
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his protest. this commitment to nonviolence served as a guiding force in john's life. he formed a committee for nonviolence across america. he participated in the freedom rides. john's determination for equal rights only grew stronger and more effective over time. at age 23, he was one of the big six leaders of the march on washington where dr. martin luther king jr. shared his dream for a better future for everyone. later john bravely marched across the edmund pettus bridge in selma, alabama, where he was beat non-what was called bloody sunday. -- where he was beaten in what was called bloody sunday. the efforts of john and others finally paid off with the passage of the voting rights act of 1965. it pushed our country forward.
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that incredible victory may seem like the end of john's struggle for equal rights. in reality, it was just the beginning. for the rest of his life, john lewis never lost sight of what the real fight involved. during his time in the atlanta city council and later in congress, he never gave up the fight for justice. today our country is mourning a hero and a truly great american and a great georgian. as we continue to say our good-byes, we should also take this time to reflect on his life and what he stood for. we should take this as a call to action, to continue the effort to which he dedicated his life. the stain of injustice still marks our country. just this year there have been horrible tragedies that have shaken all of us to our core. though john lewis is no longer with us, we can still carry on his legacy.
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thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. and -- sorry, madam president. as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 660 submitted earlier today and that the text be read in full. the presiding officer: is there an objection? without objection. the clerk will read the resolution. the clerk: senate resolution 660, honoring and commemorating the lived and legacy of representative john lewis. whereas the senate mourns the loss of john lewis, a titan in the struggle for sill rights and colloquy quality for all races and commemorates his life and accomplishments; whereas john lewis was born during the era of jim crow in a segregated community in which racism and discrimination ran rampant; whereas john lewis' moral clarity and unwavering commitment to nonviolence made
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his first passions preaching in ministries; where as he fought his first battle when he was just a teenager authoring a petition for equal access to his local library, where african americans had paid for the construction of of the facilitis but were banned from checking out books,; whereas he organized sitness at segregated theaters. ; bringing him to the forefront of the struggle of the united states for civil rights. whereas john lewis participated in the 1961 freedom rides which were a series of trips that tested a new desegregation order of interstate transportation facilities and resulted in multiple beatings and the firebombing of the bus that john lewis was supposed to be riding;
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whereas at 23 years of age, john lewis served as the youngest member of the big six, which planned the 1963 march on washington and worked alongside martin luther king jr., james farmer, a. phillip randolph, roy wilkins and whitney young to seek for racial equality and justice for all; whereas john lewis courageously led protesters across the edmund pettus bridge in selma, alabama, bravely bearing violence from the police to embody the struggle of the united states to live up to its founding ideals of equal justice under the law; whereas the bravery of john lewis during bloody sunday, like congress to pass and president lyndon b. johnson to sign into law the voting rights act of 1965 ensuring that african americans had the right to fully participate in a democratic process in the united states; whereas john lewis faithfully served the city of atlanta between 1977 and 1981 embodying
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his election fight promise to bring a sense of ethics and moral courage to the atlanta city council; whereas john lewis faithfully served the fifth congressional district of georgia in the house of representatives between 1987 and 2020 serving as the conscience of the congress by continuing his pursuit of justice in truth in the capital of the united states; and whereas the senate commends john lewis for his life and for embodying the spirit of love and dignity through his unseasing advocacy for reconciliation, justicers and the equality of all mankind. therefore now be in resolved that one be shall the senate has heard a with profound sorry and deep regret the death of the honorable john laurence a member of the house of representatives, and, b, respectfully requests the secretary of the senate, one, communicate this resolution to the house of representatives and, two, transmit an enrolled copy of this resolution to the family of john lewis and, two,
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when the senate aadjourns today, it stand adjourned as a further mark of respect to the memory of the honorable john lewis. mr. perdue: 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, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. perdue: mr. president, i further ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding the provides of rule 22, the senate vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the kan nomination at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow. further, if cloture is invoked on the kan nomination, the postcloture time expire at 2:45 p.m. tomorrow. further, that the cloture motion with respect to the kaplan nomination ripen following the designation position of the kan nomination and if cloture is invoked on the kaplan nomination or, the postcloture time expire at 4:45 p.m. tomorrow. i further ask that if either of the nominations are confirmed,
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the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. finally, i ask that the cloture motion with respect to the mcferran nomination ripen at 11:30 a.m. thursday, july 30. if cloture is invoked on the mcferran nomination, the postcloture time expire at 1:30 p.m. thursday. if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. perdue: i ask unanimous consent, madam president, that the roll call votes scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today begin now. the presiding officer: without objection. the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? seeing none, the yeas are 55, the nays are 42. the nomination is confirmed.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report the next nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of housing and urban development, dana t. wade of the district of columbia to be an assistant secretary. the presiding officer: the question occurs on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: any senators wishing to change their vote? seeing none.
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the yeas are 57 -- the yeas are 57, nays are 40. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motions to reconsider are considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action.
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. first i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session for a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes
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each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. madam president, i come to the floor today as our senate works on the next phase of pandemic relief and recovery legislation. the country is it united in combating the coronavirus. the senate's top priority is protecting the american people, and we are working together to save lives. america is fighting a war, a war against a deadly disease. there is no retreating, no giving up the american fighting spirit. we will finish the fight. the key to victory is to control the virus spread until we have a vaccine. a successful vaccine is vital to beat the virus and to return to normal life. the race for a covid-19 vaccine is as important as putting a man on the moon. we have made incredible progress. vaccine development is well ahead of schedule. the administration's
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public-private partnership, operation warp speed, started phase 2 and phase 3 vaccine trials much sooner than expected. these are human trials. if all goes well, we hope to have a vaccine ready by the end of this year. senate republicans will make sure americans have a safe, effective vaccine as soon as possible. it will be the most accessible vaccine in the history of the united states. meanwhile, we should all do our part to slow the spread, and we know what that means. it means socially distance, use good hygiene, and wear a mask. this is the time for all of us to come together. but instead of fighting the virus, democrats are waging a never-ending bidding war for more government spending. people want and people need and people deserve real leadership. they expect us to slow the spread of the virus and to
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protect the vulnerable. we have made tremendous progress on testing. we have tested over 50 million people already, and we are close to conducting a million tests, a million tests every day. we also have better treatments for the disease, and we're taking care of our most vulnerable citizens, seniors and people with chronic medical conditions. at the same time, the economy is bouncing back. we had record job growth in may as well as in june. that's because the senate responded quickly to the health and economic crisis. the senate's historic cares actress cue package has helped this country weather the storm. we have come far since the spring lockdowns. still, some believe that the worst of the virus may be yet to come. the senate has put together a commonsense plan to aid the recovery. this week, senate republicans introduced a framework bill for the next coronavirus relief
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legislation. it's the capstone to our pandemic rescue operation. our plan focuses on getting people back to work and kids back to school and doing it safely. as well, of course, as defeating the disease. the senate proposal provides even more resources for testing and health care. this means more for hospitals, more for treatment, and more for violent crimeses. our package includes over $100 billion for schools to open safely plus funding for child care. the senate plan provides liability protection. we shield the medical community, k-12 schools, and colleges and universities and small businesses from frivolous lawsuits. our plan includes another round of p.p.p. loans, helping the hardest hit small businesses. we also send a targeted second round of direct payments to individuals. the senate package extends unemployment benefits in a way that encourages, not
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discourages, work. we cannot continue to pay people more to stay home than they would make at work. so we end this $600 weekly benefit bonus. that's in contrast with speaker nancy pelosi's $3 trillion and growing bill, her so-called heroes act. the pelosi package actually makes it easier for the economy to stay closed and much harder for the economy to reopen fully. the senate is focused on health care, on kids, and on jobs. democrats, it seems, have other priorities. endless bonus checks for staying home, loaded bailouts for mismanaged cities and states. runaway spending unrelated to the challenge before us. prepandemic, we had a booming economy, we had record job growth and record low unemployment. we are working to restore americans' confidence. a solid majority of americans
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now say they see their finances as stable. so i urge my senate democratic colleagues to come to the table. it is time to find common ground and to finish the fight. together, madam president, we will make sure that america wins the war. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. a senator: i ask that the quorum
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call be vitiated, please. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. perdue: thank you, madam president. madam president, the word bipartisanship gets tossed around a lot in this town. unfortunately, we don't often see bipartisanship put into action. however, as we have faced an unprecedented crisis recently, i believe that we have seen the senate prove that it can, in fact, get done, people can come together and real bipartisan solutions can actually happen in this body. it's actually encouraging to me and it's simply a function of what i have known since i was a kid that americans deal with a crisis better than anyone else. in many ways, we put things aside and we get together for what's good for the people back home. since the covid-19 crisis began, we have passed three phases of relief packages to help our country weather this covid-19 storm. in these three phases, we have ramped up testing in support of our health care workers. we have helped americans who are
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struggling financially. and we have created the paycheck protection program which has saved millions of jobs and many businesses. today as we debate a fourth covid-19 relief package, it is absolutely critical that we continue to find common ground and bipartisan solutions to bring our country together again. the health care workforce resiliency act -- resilience act is a real bipartisan solution to a serious problem our country faces today in our health care delivery system. this bill is first and foremost a health care bill that will help our hospitals deal with this covid-19 crisis. it's absolutely critical that we include it in the next covid-19 relief package. today in america, many communities are facing severe shortages of doctors and nurses, particularly hospitals and clinics in rural areas and communities of color are badly understaffed and are struggling to fill crucial positions.
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my home state of georgia has been especially majoritied by this particular crisis. while georgia is the eighth largest state by population, it ranks 39th in the number of active physicians per capita. 39th, madam president. over half of georgia's 159 counties have been designated as primary care health professional shortage areas. the georgia department of public health has stated that georgia's nursing shortage is a full-blown crisis. this is also true in most other states, actually. they have warned that georgia is not able to recruit the nurses or doctors our hospitals need. but we can change that. the covid-19 crisis did not short the -- start the shortage of health care workers but it has exacerbated it dramatically. since this crisis, i have held conference calls with thousands of constituents across georgia
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over the last four and a half months. i have heard directly from health care workers who have explained the dire situation they are facing. nurses and doctors are working longer hours. retirees are being asked to come back to work. many health care workers have contracted the virus themselves. in fact, once they found that health care workers account for nearly one -- one study found that health care workers account for nearly one in five covid cases. in many areas, hospitals have city not had enough staff to handle the covid-19 patient increase. albany, georgia, was one of the first hardest hit areas in the country, right there in south georgia. at one point, nurses and doctors from all over the country had to be flown in just to take care of those who fell ill in albany. in many cases, the patients had to be exported to other hospitals in the state. as this virus continues to spread and threaten our communities, many hospitals are still in danger of being overwhelmed as we see this recent surge in new covid-19 cases, particularly among our younger people. health care workers have been
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true heroes since day one. there is no question about that. right now, we have the opportunity to give them the support they desperately need. the health care workforce resilience act is a bipartisan solution that gives our hospitals the support they need to get through this crisis. our bill simply recaptures unused green cards to give highly skilled, foreign-born nurses and doctors the opportunity to work in our country and help solve this crisis. it will recapture approximately 25,000 unused visas for nurses and 15,000 unused visas for doctors. this bill would cut red tape and give our hospitals critical support quickly as america continues to reopen our economy. it will ease the pressure on health care providers and help save american lives. this proposal will not increase -- and i want to emphasize this -- it will not increase current legal immigration limits, displace american workers, or negatively
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impact health care worker wages. look, i have always been a supporter of a merit-based immigration system, and many people on the other side of the aisle do as well, and we all continue to work in that direction. we believe that a merit-based immigration system can strengthen our economy and protect american jobs at the same time. this is a policy that president trump and the majority of congress have long supported on both sides of the aisle, actually. the health care workforce resilience act is fully aligned with these merit-based policies. these immigrant nurses and doctors have already been hired and approved to work in our country. many of them live here already. the only thing preventing them from saving lives is bureaucratic red tape and the backlog it creates. these folks are highly skilled, well qualified, and extremely well motivated to be on the front lines in the fight against covid-19. they are all ready to go in the areas that need the most help. the bill -- this bill is truly
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bipartisan. i'm very proud to say that today, madam president. it has 36 cosponsors from both parties. i give the lead sponsor on the democratic side, my friend from illinois, senator durbin, a lot of credit for that. he has long been a champion for this sort of help in this area. this bill reflects what the american people want. it provides what our health care system needs. it has bipartisan support. actually, in 2005, congress passed a similar bill. that bill recaptured unused visas and helped to address a nursing shortage that existed at the time across the country. it passed with overwhelming and nearly unanimous support. the coronavirus has put our country in a similar position today. there is no time to wait. the deeper our nurse and doctor shortage gets, the more americans we are putting needlessly at risk. president john f. kennedy once said, and i quote, in a time of
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domestic crisis, men of goodwill and generosity should be able to unite, regardless of party or politics, end quote. i don't think that that comment has been any more timely than it is today in the midst of this crisis, madam president. we are indeed in a time of crisis. we have already shown that we can unite and find meaningful solutions. it's time to do it again. let's get this bill across the finish line and support our health care workers and save lives in america. now, madam president, i yield the floor to my colleague from illinois, senator durbin, the lead democratic cosponsor of the health care workforce resilience act, and i want to thank him for his tireless effort in this regard and his strong leadership to help the men and women on the front lines of our health care delivery system. mr. durbin: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president, let me thank my colleague, the senior senator from the state of georgia, for joining me in this bipartisan effort.
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as he mentioned, we now have some 36 sponsors and cosponsors of this legislation. immigration can be a divisive issue, but this is an immigration measure that is not divisive. it is unifying us on a bipartisan basis, as it should. we are talking about the health care workforce resilience act. we are talking about men and women who as we speak on the floor of the senate in the safety of this chamber are literally risking their lives. last week we sent a bipartisan letter urging congressional leaders to make this bill part of any covid-19 relief legislation currently pending before the senate is a negotiation with the white house, the house, the senate, democrats and republicans to make sure that we continue to move forward to fight this pandemic and to restore the vibrancy of our own economy. the letter we sent was cosigned
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by senators leahy, young, and coons as well as congressman schneider, fink enheadquarter and begman who are the lead cosponsors of the house bill. we have 18 republicans and 19 democrats and the window is open for those who want to join us in this bipartisan effort. they won't regret t our bill is a temporary stopgap measure, but it's designed to strengthen our health care workforce and improve health care access for americans in the midst of this crisis. consider this reality when it comes to fighting the covid-19 virus -- one in six health care and social workers in the united states, 3.1 million, one in six, of the 18.7 million are immigrants. and yet our broken immigration laws prevent many of these immigrants from contributing more fully to the battle against this pandemic.
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under current law, there are not enough immigrant visas, which we also call green cards, available each year. as a result, immigrants are stuck in crippling backlogs for many, many years. the green card backlog, which i have debated with senator lee on the floor many times, but this green card backlog includes thousands of medical doctors currently working in our country on temporary visas. this backlog puts them and their families at the risk of losing their immigration status and being deported. and it hinders their ability to fight against covid-19 because these doctors face many restrictions due to their temporary status. for example, many of these doctors cannot take shifts at hospitals in covid-19 hot spots where they are desperately needed. the act which we bring to the floor would reallocate 25,000
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unused immigrant visas for nurses and 15,000 unused immigrant visas for doctors. these are visas congress has previously authorized but were never used. it is important to note that our bill requires employers to attest that immigrants from overseas who receive these visas do not displace the employment of any american workers. we want to ensure the beneficiaries of this bill complement, not replace, the american health care workforce. i'm going to tell you the story of one of these doctors who is practicing in downstate illinois in the quad cities area in moline. as a downstater myself, there are many areas that are rural, small-town and cannot bring in the specialists that are needed. that's why these doctors become so important when they step in and provide their services.
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let kneel but this doctor. his name is dr. banu bakalanka. he september me a letter and -- he sent me a letter and told me a story and he told me to help pass this piece of legislation. he and his wife, dr. sassy waruh, met in medical school in india and came to the united states 15 years ago in 2005, 15 years ago. at the time, their children -- a young boy and girl -- were five and three years old. before they came to the united states, they had trained and worked for ten years in england. both achieved great professional success. but they were drawn to move to the united states. they were drawn to our freedom, our equality that really is our
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trademark in the world. this is when the doctor told me about his family's move to the united states, and i want to quote his words. it was not an easy transition, he wrote. we had to start all over again as residents. it was challenge ago to take care of two -- it was challenging to take care of two young children in the middle of our working hours and paltry working hours with no one to fall back on. but we had not come this far to give up easy. he now works for the health system in moline, a well-respected institution. dr. waruhu is a family physician in bloomington, illinois. a long drive between the two, moline and bloomington. here is what he told me about his life in america. despite the initial hardship, we fell in love with the united states soon after we came here. people were welcoming and generous.
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we were made to feel like we were part of this society from day one, and we felt that this is where we belong. we felt blessed, happy, and proud to be able to live here, raise our children and call it our home. let me tell you, he tells me how fortunate he was. i believe we are the fortunate ones. fortunate to have two exceptional physicians and their children as residents of my home state. unfortunately, dr. vakalanka, and his wife, dr. waruhu, are two of thousands of doctors stuck in a green card backlog. they've lived in the united states for 15 years. their green card petitions were approved nearly a decade ago, and yet even today after more than ten years they are not lawful residents. why? because the backlog of people seeking these green cards, these
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immigration visas, is so large. in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic, the temporary immigration status of this family puts them at real risk. why? if, god forbid, they would contract covid-19 and become disabled or die, their family would instantly lose their immigration status and be forced to leave the united states. 15 years ago they've waited. ten years they've been on the actual queue, the waiting list for green cards. if one of them cannot work, they could all be deported. now their children, who were five and three when they arrived in the united states, are 20 years old and 18 years old. this is significant. they grew up in this country, but they're at the risk of aging out in this bureaucratic system. if they reach the age of 21, these two children who have lived here virtually all of their teenage and adolescent
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life, if they reach the age of 21 and have not received a green card, they are subject to deportation. can you imagine how devastating it would be for this doctor and his wife to think that their children, after all these years, would be deported from the united states? it is a very real risk. dr. vakkalanka told me, our children waiting for 15 years or longer for their turn. they laughed and cried with us for all these years. it is not fair to kick them out of line through no fault of their own. they have nowhere else to go. this country is their home, their only home. dr. vakkalanka and dr. waruhu makes it clear why congress needs to include the health care resilience act in the next coronavirus relief legislation. these two good doctors from india and thousands of others like them would finally receive their green cards under our
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bill. they and their families would get the permanent immigration status they deserve and be able to us a their skills to serve on the front lines of the pandemic, wherever they are needed most. let's face it. this pandemic is testing us as a nation. testing us as to whether or not we have the endurance and the determination to get through this pandemic but equally testing us as to whether or not we care for one another. certainly we care for our families. we spend a lot of time with them. we worry about not being able to be next to our children or grandchildren because of fear of infection. and it's a real test. but it's also a test of the our values of who we are. this man, after giving 15 years to the united states, practicing medicine in areas where he's desperately needed, is simply asking for a chance to become a citizen of this country, a legal, permanent resident of the united states. it's not too much to ask. for all he has given us and his
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wife as well, we owe it to him and his family to give them the peace of mind that they have a future in the united states. they have proven that they are deserving. i hope we can come together in congress to quickly aid these immigrant health heroes much i commend my colleague from georgia. he had to step away from the floor at this moment. but i thank him for joining me. let's get this done. let's do the right thing for this doctor, for his family, and for so many others. mr. president, i ask consent to speak on a separate issue at a different place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, the great writer james baldwin told us, not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. the national discussion on race and racism in the wake of the death of george floyd in
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minneapolis has really opened the eyes of many americans and people around the world. many people are seeing more clearly, some perhaps for the first time in their lives, the extent to which injustice has embedded itself in parts of america. we see how some of our laws and institutions don't match our stated and professed belief that all men and women are created equal and endowed with the same inalienable rights. later today john lewis will make his last departure from the united states capitol. he's going home, after a long and noble life of service, a life that has helped us to live up to our ideals. how often did we hear john lewis say, when young people tell me that nothing is changed, i tell them, come walk in my shoes. he was so right. america is different. america is better. because of the enormous
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sacrifice of courage of men like john lewis. reverent c.t. vivian who passed away as well last week, martin luther king jr., coretta scott king, daisy bates, elijah cummings and of course my friend, the current house democratic whip, james clyburn. so many leaders of the modern civil rights movement -- just too many to name. we are a more perfect union today because so many ordinary men and women and children whose names are mostly forgotten by history risked their lives for dignity and democracy in little towns like selma and birmingham, alabama. and chicago, marquette park neighborhood. thank goodness we are b but the work -- thank good water resources development act
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better. most americans today are appalled, almost incredulous that only decades ago young people like john lewis and diane gnash were accosted by angry mobs for simply having the audacity to sit at a whites-only lunch counter or to ride on a segregated bus. we reject racism as individuals, but many of us are only beginning to understand the existence and the correspondent row sis consequence -- and the corrosive consequence of racial injustice. this is helping us to see how old, discredited ideas about race that have been rejected by most still linger in the minds of many individuals, regardless of the laws that have been passed. i believe that most americans believe very deeply in fairness.
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it is one of our defining values as a people. i also believe maya angelou was right when she said, you do the best you can until you know better. then when you know better, you do better. how can we do better to reduce systemic racial injustice and heal the wounds and divisions, the false notions of racial superiority have caused in our nation in our fellow citizens? john lewis told us often, achieving great, genuine equality is the work of a lifetime. but let me suggest briefly a few ways that this senate can beginning that works. first, -- and this is so easy ad obvious -- let the senate debate and vote on the justice in policing act. the president can send unidentified federal agents as to as many cities he's likes, but the calls for justice in our streets will not end until we
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make a clear stand against policing tactics that killed george floyd, breonna taylor, laquan mcdonald and too many other men and women and children in america. our republican colleagues have acknowledged the need for policing reforms when they brought up the bill that included certain changes but the bill did not proceed and it should. this senate can and must do better. this belief is shared by a majority of civil rights organizations in our nation. the justice in policing sponsored by senators kamala harris and cory booker has passed the house of representatives, and i'm proud to be a cosponsor. the house, in passing this version with a bipartisan vote, gave us an opportunity, senator mcconnell, to debate the justice in policing act which passed the house. here in the senate, we should. second, let the senate debate the economic justice act that's been offered by senator schumer. third, martin luther king
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called for racial disparities in health care as one of the most shocking of all racial injustices. that was more than 50 years ago that he said it, and yet the disparities persist to this day and may be worse in many ways. this pandemic has laid them bare for us to see. black and brown americans are three times more likely to become infected with coronavirus than white americans and twice as likely to die from covid-19. the affordable care act has done more to reduce racial disparities in health care than almost any act since the creation of medicaid. it's hard to believe that there are many on the other side still trying to kill the affordable care act in the midst of a pandemic that has already taken the lives of 145,000 americans. many more have been sickened, and it's still burning out of control in large parts of our nation. think about what it would mean if we had no affordable care act and doubled the number of
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uninsured people in this country. how could that bring us any consolation or confidence that we could continue to make this battle? for the african americans, latinx americans and all mrns who rely on patient protections, it's time to put an end to this endless assault on the affordable care act, and i hope that my colleagues, especially my colleagues who speak passionately about protecting mothers and babies, will join me in passing a bill i've introduced to reduce the shocking high rate of maternal and infant mortality among african american women and their babies. it is inexplicable that in the united states of america we see so many black women dying in childbirth and so many babies dying as well. it's unnecessary. it's time for us to focus the great resources, health resources of america on this issue. in america, a woman of color is three to four times more likely than a white woman to die as a
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result of pregnancy. why? the answers are very obvious. we need better, more focused, more understanding medical care. i'm sad to say in illinois the situation, the numbers are that bad, if not even worse. the u.s. is one of only 13 nations in the world in which the infant mortality rate is worse than it was 25 years ago. in the united states of america, we are one of only 13 nations in which the infant death rate is worse today than it was 25 years ago. how in the world can we explain that? i've introduced a bill called the mama act. my companion in this effort is my congresswoman from chicago, robin kelly. let's get that debated, senator mcconnell. it won't take long. i'll bet it passes easily. we owe it to many across america to show the initiative and to bring it to the floor. fourth, because our friends across the aisle could not agree
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among themselves on what would be in the next coronavirus relief bill, critical protections included in the cares act have now or will soon expire without replacement. these protections include payments for the jobless. tens of millions of americans have lost their jobs in this pandemic. it wasn't because they were lazy. it was bad luck. as well as the federal moratorium on evictions for families who had difficulty in paying their rent because of economic devastation brought on by covid-19. unless we extend this moratorium, as many as 28 million americans could lose their homes in the next three months. i can't imagine the devastation that would bring to a family, losing your home and perhaps having no place to turn. for the sake of those families and for our ability to fight this virus, we must extend the moratorium on evictions and help families who are struggling to pay rent. senator warren introduced a bill
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i'm going to cosponsor to extend this critical moratorium through march. it's called the protecting renters from eviction and fees act. i'm proud to cosponsor a bill with senator brown that provides $100 billion in emergency rental assistance to help families and individuals pay their rent. let's keep these families in a safe, quality living environment. the crisis of affordable housing didn't start with this pandemic. the shortage of safe, affordable public housing has been building for decades, and it disproportionately harms african american families. senator harris of california has introduced a bill which i'm proud to cosponsor called the housing infrastructure act. it would invest $100 billion to repair or current stock of public housing and to build new units of safe affordable public housing. i could walk you through a map of the state of illinois and the public housing that i have visited and witnessed that is in desperate need of repair. it's time you think to call the landlord and say what are you
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going to do about this housing unit that you own that's falling down? except it turns out we're the landlords. the federal government owns this property. the federal government has the responsibility to fix it. last week president trump moved to repeal an obama-era rule meant to ban discriminatory housing and zoning laws and policies. it's not surprising from this president but it's wrong. we need to move forward and not backwards. the housing infrastructure needs to move in the right direction. and finally, once again in the name of john lewis, i believe that the right to vote was almost sacred in his words, and i share that feeling. but that right is now threatened by a series of misguided decisions in recent years by the supreme court and other courts. the house passed a bill last year to restore the voting rights act to its original intent. that bill is being reintroduced in the senate this week by senator leahy, in the house by congressman clyburn.
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the difference? they're naming it in honor of congressman john lewis. john lewis did not risk his life in selma and so many other places so that people would praise him in speeches or name things after him. he did not risk his life for the right to have a bridge named after him, although it is a fitting tribute. he risked his life over and over again to protect the right of every american to vote. america's faith in our electoral system, a cornerstone of our democracy, continues to be under attack by entities that wish us ill. for those who gathered in the rotunda just a few days ago to honor his memory and to stand in silent respect for all the work of his life, i say to my fellow senators who were there, let us pass the voting rights act in the name of congressman john lewis. let us make it clear that his life was worth this and so much more. when you know better, you do
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better. our eyes have been opened, and now it's time for us to act. mr. president, it's my honor to serve in the senate, but i'm sorry to say that when it comes to production of important, meaningful legislation, this institution has fallen far behind. we seldom take up bills of great importance and magnitude. we just passed the defense authorization bill, a very important piece of legislation which i believe was passed in 59 straight years in congress. i'm glad it passed again. but now you see an empty floor and an empty chamber where we are not taking up the issues that we should. there's one person who controls the agenda and the schedule of this chamber, and that is the republican majority leader, senator mitch mcconnell of kentucky. let's not waste this opportunity to make america a better place. let's do things that make a difference. america is counting on us in the
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midst of this massive health crisis with covid-19. perhaps the worst health crisis our nation has faced in over 100 years. with the state of our economy and so many tens of millions of people out of work, shouldn't we be acting together on a bipartisan basis as we did in march of this year to pass legislation? the reports we have is that the other side of the aisle is in disarray. well, i might remind senator mcconnell that the best legislation that passes here is bipartisan. and this measure, covid relief moving forward should be bipartisan as well. for it to be bipartisan, we need people of both parties to sit down together and negotiate. that has to continue along with the participation of the white house in order to achieve these goals. first and foremost, we need to restore unemployment assistance to the millions of families that will see it end in just a few
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days. i cannot imagine having lost your job, worried about whether there's another one waiting or whether one will be available and then have to worry about whether you can make that rent payment, the mortgage payment, the utility bills, food, health insurance, the basics. and to be told that congress just let unemployment assistance expire, which happens in just three days, what are these families going to do? i sincerely hope that every member of the senate will reach out to one of niece unemployed families and listen -- one of these unemployed families and listen quietly to their stories. i've seen them as they come to the food pantries, i've seen them come and ask for help which they never dreamed they'd have to do. it must be heartbreaking doing through that experience. let's stand by them now. they need us now more than ever. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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mr. thune: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senior senator from south dakota. mr. thune: mr. president, is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, yesterday i was privileged to be able to pay my respects to representative john lewis as he lies in state in the capitol rotunda, a fitting place for an american hero.
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his death is a loss, but his dauntless courage and deep conviction have carved out for him a permanent place in american history. when we tell stories of those who have made america greater, john lewis' name will always be among them. mr. president, yesterday senate republicans introduced the next phase of our coronavirus relief effort, the health economic assistance liability protection and schools act, or the heals act. this bill has been carefully targeted to address the most pressing issues facing our nation right now. getting kids back to school, getting workers back to work, and ensuring that we have the health care resources necessary to defeat the virus. the heals act will provide economic incentives to help businesses retain workers. it will give additional support to hard-hit small businesses. it will provide checks to american families to help them weather the economic challenges that they're facing. it will give schools more than
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$100 billion to help them safely reopen so that kids and college students aren't missing out on the academic, social and emotional benefits of in-person learning. it will direct funds to diagnosis, vaccines and treatments. it will ensure medical prob fecials and school districts don't face frivolous lawsuits from predatory trial lawyers. it will provide incentives for manufacturing personal protective equipment in the united states so we will never face the kind of shortages we've seen with the coronavirus, and more. now it's time for democrats to come to the negotiating table so we can arrive at a bipartisan bill. i was disappointed to hear the democratic leader's -- i appreciate his ability with a straight face i might add simultaneously characterize
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republican relief efforts as insufficient while touting a house bill that mentions the word cannabis more often than the word job and actually contains less money for schools than the republican bill. mr. president, no one is going to get everything they want with this bill, and democrats are not going to be able to implement their socialist wish list, but if we work together, we can get real relief into the hands of americans. mr. president, i hope the democrats will join us. mr. president, during new york's toughest moments during the pandemic, medical professionals from around the country came to hard-hit new york city to help. they formed an essential part of the city's medical response and they undoubtedly saved lives. they are deserving of new york's profound gratitude. and apparently of something else, tax bills. that's right. in may new york governor andrew
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imhoa announced that new york would revenue income tax on money they made while there. they can generally receive income for tax paid in another state. but since new york has one of the highest income taxes in the country, a lot of these medical professionals will be facing a higher than normal tax bill on any money that they earn in new york. the situation is even worse for residents of states without an income tax like my home state of south dakota. medical professionals from those states will simply have to absorb the full cost of this unexpected bill. mr. president, the health care workers who traveled to new york are not alone in facing a complicated tax situation. for americans who regularly spend limited time working in different states throughout the year, the situation can be even wore. traveling nurse, for example, or
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a corporate trainer might work in not just one but several additional states during a given year. and navigating the resulting income tax situation can be incredibly complicated. some states like new york aggressively tax individuals that they deem to have earned income within their borders even if the income in question is just the salary they earned from their employer while attending a two-day training conference in the state. other states allow nonresidents to work for longer periods, as long as 60 days in some cases before they require the individual to file an income tax return. navigating different states' requirements can be a real burden for both employees and employers and discourage interstate commerce. it's particularly challenging for small businesses who frequently lack the in-house tax staff capabilities of larger organizations. mr. president, this situation eyes out for a solution.
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and for the past four congresses i introduced legislation, the mobile workforce state income tax simplification act to create a uniform standard for mobile workers. under my bill, if you spent 30 days or fewer working in a different state, you would be taxed as normal by your home state. if you spent more than 30 days working in a different state, you would be subject -- you would be subject to that state's other -- that other state's income tax in addition to the income faction from your -- tax from your home state. having a universal rule like this would make life a lot easier for workers and for employers. in june i introduced an updated version of my mobile workforce bill, the remote an mobile worker relief act, which i'm pleased to announce has been included in the heals act, the phase four coronavirus relief package that republicans introduced yesterday. like my original mobile workforce bill, this new bill
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would create a uniformed 30-day standard governing state tax liability for mobile workers. my new bill goes further by dressing some of the challenges due to the coronavirus. the act would establish a special 90-day standard for health care workers who travel to another state who helped during the pandemic. this should ensure that no health care worker faces an unexpected tax bill for the contributions he or she makes to fighting the coronavirus. my new bill addresses the possible tax complications that could face remote workers as a result of the pandemic. during the coronavirus crisis, many workers who usually travel to their offices every day have ended up working from home. this doesn't present a tax problem for most employees but it does present a possible problem for workers who live in a different state than the one that they work in.
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workers who live in a different state from the day -- from the one that they work in are subject to income tax from both staitsz, but under -- states, but under current state tax law they pay the majority of their income taxes to the state they live in rather than the state of resident. now that some workers have been working from home, there's a risk that their state of residence could have the resulting income taxable by it as well and that could mean a higher tax bill for a lot of workers. my bill would preempt this problem by could the fying -- codifying the prepandemic quo. if you worked from home in south carolina, your income would be taxed as if you were going into the office in north carolina every day just as it would have been had the pandemic never happened. mr. president, release leaf for mobile workers is a bipartisan
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idea. a version of my original mobile workforce bill has passed the house of representatives multiple times. the only reason it hasn't advanced in the senate is because of the opposition of a handful of states that aggressively tax, you've got it, temporary workers. now that the pandemic has highlighted the challenges facing mobile workers and the potential workers facing remote workers, i'm pleased that my legislation will be considered as part of the broader coronavirus relief package that we will pass in the next couple of weeks. i'm grateful to chairman grassley for his support of this legislation. it is unconscionable, mr. president, unconscionable that would we allow health care workers who risked their own lives to care for individuals in coronavirus-stricken states to be punished with unexpected tax bills. and we need to make sure that are americans who work from home to help slow the spread of the
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virus don't face a complicated tax situation or an unexpectedly high tax bill as a result. americans have faced enough challenges over the past several months. let's make sure tax problems are not among them. mr. president, i yield the floor i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, i ask consent that the quorum call be vitiated are. the presiding officer: without objection. -- vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i rise this afternoon to talk about long-term care and a number of related issues that con -- challenges, i should say, that confront our country, especially at this time. one of the most horrific numbers in all of the horror that we've seen in the aftermath of the onset of the virus and covid-19 disease and the jobs and economic crisis that have followed it is the number of deaths in long-term care settings. when you combine the deaths of residents in nursing homes and other similar settings,
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sometimes called long-term care or even -- when you combine the deaths of residents with the deaths of workers. we know that the number now exceeds -- exceeds 59,000 americans. about 40% of all the deaths is either a resident of a long-term care facility or a worker in those facilities. so we're talking about those americans today, those families, when we consider what we do next. but because no one here -- i don't think -- i don't care what side of the aisle, what point of view, who you are, what state you're from, no one in this body or in the house would want to accept the idea that, say, four months from today or five months or six months that another 59,000 or 60,000 people have
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died in those settings. we know a lot about how to get those numbers down. it's not one of those things where you can throw up our hands and say there's little we can do. there's a lot we can do because americans are smart and innovative and caring, and they figured out -- a lot of smart people have figured out how to get those numbers down. so 59,000 -- more than 59,000 americans is unacceptable. also 40% of all the deaths going forward is also unacceptable. about a month ago i came to the floor with some of my colleagues and we pressed for a vote on the solutions we need to save lives in nursing homes and also protect the workforce. the majority blocked the vote, and then since then the united states senate has done nothing when it comes to this issue that has impacted so many families in
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so many communities. we have a chance now. i realize sometimes when a bill gets blocked that that isn't the end of the story and the individual or the party blocking might have a different idea, a better idea, a different solution of -- a better approach. and if that is the case with the majority, we need to hear it, and i would hope that a solution, a remedy, a strategy to get the 59,000 death number down, i would hope that that would include the resources to do it because this isn't a circumstance where you can just wish it away. this isn't a circumstance where you can just move a little bit of policy around. we need resources, and i'll talk more about them. now, we know that yesterday senate republicans released their plan for the next piece of
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legislation relating to the -- to covid-19 and the economy. this proposal is two months, a full two months after the house passed the heroes act to bring relief to the millions of americans who are suffering, families suffering, not only in the context of long-term care, having lost a loved one, a resident or a worker and their family, but they are suffering for other reasons as well. we know the unemployment rate is intolerrably too -- intollably too high. my home state of pennsylvania, just imagine this, it was 1 million plus people out of work in april. thankfully that number went down in the month of may, but it only went down to 8,00, 049 people out of work.
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we hoped that the june number would fall. so 849,000 people would go into maybe the 600,000 and it would keep going down from there. unfortunately the month of june, it went from 849,000 to 821,000, 821,000 people out of work. i don't think i have seen unemployment numbers like that in my home state in my lifetime. the 13 -- right around 13.4% unemployment in may dropped, but it only went down to 13%. just by way of comparison, in the great recession of just roughly a decade ago, pennsylvania's unemployment rate, as it did in a lot of states, went way up, but it stopped at 10%. some counties were above 10%, 11% or 12% or higher, but statewide, it never really went above 10%. so we are now in our third month
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of unemployment rates well above 10%. about 16% in april. almost 13.5% in may. and now almost 13% exactly now. so we have a lot of work to do. but for purposes of today's discussion, i wanted to talk about what we can do in the long-term care context. the republican proposal of yesterday makes no meaningful investment to save lives in nursing homes, and the policies that address long-term care in this proposal are insufficient, and i think that's an understatement, but i will let that go for now. there is no investment in home and community-based services, and there is no funding to reward the heroes on the front lines. some people might say what do you mean by home and community-based services? i don't understand that. i'm not sure what you mean. well, we know that in the united states, we have a number of settings where care is
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delivered, care for older citizens, older americans, and care for people with disabilities. in the nursing home context, of course, that's skilled care in a facility, in a so-called congregate setting. in the united states, we have got -- depending on which number you believe, i think 1.3 million and 1.5 million americans there. we also have a lot of americans who are getting their care, very important care for a senior or for someone with a disability in a home setting or a community-based setting. but the funding doesn't flow in that direction very often, so we're trying to change that, because obviously if you're an older american and you might be of a -- might have certain conditions that make you more susceptible, more vulnerable in the context of covid-19, in many
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cases it will be preferable to have you in a home setting or community-based setting. but if you're in those settings, we have got to have -- we have got to invest in the workers who do that heroic work in both nursing homes and home and community-based settings, because the care is not going to be what it needs to be if we're not helping the workforce. i think most people agree with that. so just as we cannot allow another three or four months to go by with 59,000 people dying, we also cannot allow the -- the conflict here in the senate to stop us from making progress on long-term care. we've got to help nursing homes at the same time as we demand for of them, and we need to invest in what we know works. i've got a bill, senate bill 3768 introduced with senator whitehouse. the name of the bill is the
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nursing home covid-19 protection and prevention act. it would dedicate $20 billion in emergency funding for proven practices. spending $20 billion to get that death number down and also to get the case number down, we're concerned as well about the high number of cases. and if we invest in best practices that some long-term care settings we're investing in early way back in early march, and some long-term care facilities got much better results. fewer cases, lower numbers of deaths because they were investing in these best practices. but to invest $20 billion in emergency funding for these proven best practices i think is a bargain, to get the death number down and to get the case number down. this bill will help nursing homes get -- become a lot better
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and become more proficient at a practice called cohorting. real simple, it just means separating in the nursing homes, separating the residents with covid-19 from the residents who don't have it. that basic practice when it's in place, when it's operative, is something that a lot of places need help with. obviously there are costs involved in that. there may be costs because you may have to do retrofitting. there may be costs in terms of needing additional staff. but that's only part of it. the bill also allows nursing homes to provide their workers, theorheroes, who are on the front lines every day, and obviously if you're on the front lines every day, you're an essential worker, all these phrases and descriptions of these workers, those who are at the front of the front line are those in health care because
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they are not only going out every day and providing an essential service, but they are closest to the risk, and that includes folks who work in hospitals and other settings, of course, that's for certain, but it also includes people who work in nursing homes and home and community-based service settings. so those folks that we call heroes -- and it's nice to call them heroes. it's nice to say they are doing great work, it's nice to pat them on the back, but what we should do is start paying them more for the sacrifice that they are making for the country. and the analogy, of course, is the g.i. bill. i've got a bill that would add a similar education benefit to those frontline workers, those heroes. but at a minimum, they should get premium pay and overtime pay. they should also have essential benefits, and we should help them with their child care. we can't say you have got to be
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on the front lines, you have to be at the front of the front line, and you have to go to work every day because we need your essential still to work to care for the most vulnerable, but you're on your own for child care, good luck. we haven't done much to help them with that. my bill also includes strong resident protections, resident meaning residents of nursing homes, to prevent evictions to homeless shelters and to provide an extra check on nursing home quality. now, all these things i just recited in the bill their republican proposal doesn't have. i think the time is long overdue for congress to take action to deal with what can only be described as an american tragedy, a preventable american tragedy. no one would argue -- i certainly would not argue that that 59,000-plus number could be zero. it's not what we're saying.
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what we're saying is we can bring the number down. and if we bring the number down even a little bit, it's worth it to save lives and to reduce the number of cases, but i think we can do a lot better than that. last week, a coalition made up of representatives from the nursing home industry, direct service professionals, aarp, the alzheimer's association, catholic charities, the ark and the service employees international union all came together to write senate leadership to demand this action and more. now, let's just think about that group. that's not a group that is always on the same page. they have often direct conflicts on a lot of issues, but they have all come together to support the residents in nursing homes and those in other settings and the workers, because that's how dire it is. groups that are often in conflict on legislation are
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together on this. here's part of what they wrote to the senate leadership. quote, the urgent need to save lives prevent -- lives, prevent the spread of the virus and give the services and support older adults and people with disabilities need cannot be overstated, unquote. so in addition to nursing home supports, this coalition calls for dedicated funds for home and community-based services under medicaid that i have described earlier. i've got a bill to do that. the house-passed heroes act, in fact, does that. remember, heroes passed two months ago. and her here in the senate. i sent a letter with 28 of my colleagues yesterday to urge leader mcconnell to over 2.5 min older adults and people with disabilities depend on these services to be able to continue living in their own homes.
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these 2.5 million seniors and people with disabilities are folks who are not in a nursing home or other congregate setting. they are by definition in their homes or in a community-based setting. they are receiving -- they are receiving their supports services in their homes where they are less likely, less likely to be exposed to the virus and often are able to see their families. just give you one example. michelle mitchell of allentown, pennsylvania, on the eastern side of our state, almost at the new jersey border. michelle is a person who benefits from these services. she has got a lifelong disability, cerebral palsy, which affects the use of her arms and her legs. she holds multiple degrees and is a full-time faculty member at a local college. every single day, michelle mitchell has the benefit of a
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personal care attendant who helps michelle get out of bed, helps her to bathe, helps her to dress, and helps her to eat. without medicaid's home and community-based services, thousands of people with similar needs to michelle would not be able to live at home and work and interact with neighbors and friends. home and community-based services keep michelle safe, they keep her healthy, and they keep her engaged. but the agencies that provide these vital services are facing barriers. a survey of home and community-based service providers conducted by the group anchor found that 68% of providers have had to close some of their services to people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. this same survey found that over half of the agencies have faced significant additional expenses
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because of pandemic expense. we know that life has changed for so many americans, so many institutions. this is one of them. these agencies that do such good work. some of the expenses they face include increased levels of overtime, purchases of personal protective equipment, and additional training for workers. perhaps most unsettling is that the agencies that provide essential services to older adults and people with disabilities don't have tough funding to keep offering services for more than one month if payments stop. this lack of cash on hand illustrates how fragile the home and community-based services system is. yesterday morning, administrators in pennsylvania said that if home and community-based services were not available, thousands of additional people, thousands, would need to enter nursing homes, which again is a congregate setting where the
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likelihood of contracting the virus is higher than a lot of other settings. that, of course, would put them at greater risk of contracting the virus and much greater risk of dying because of this horrible pandemic. so when we talk about investing in home and community-based services, that is tied to the goal of getting not just the case number down but the death number down. the proposal by republicans yesterday makes clear that they are not focused on this crisis. there is no investment in home and community-based services at all, and the response on nursing homes is wholly insufficient. the level of funding provided in the proposal, in my judgment, is an insult to older americans, it's an insult to people with disabilities and their families, and it's an insult to the workers who support them. claiming that people with disabilities and seniors are supported in this legislation is
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just not true. and on top of the lack of funding, the bill blows a hole in the protections provided by the a.d.a., the americans with disabilities act, for people with disabilities. to ensure that seniors and people with disabilities are kept safe and healthy during this public health crisis, we need to ensure strong policies are in place to keep nursing homes safe and we need to ensure that there is dedicated funding for home and community-based services. so what i'm calling for is investment in both settings, home and community-based services for seniors and people with disabilities, as well as investments in proven strategies that we know will help nursing homes and also get the death numbers down. to meet our responsibilities to those who are most at risk, the most vulnerable among us, the senate should include these provisions that i have described in the next covid-19
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legislation. one more item to address, madam president -- mr. president, before i relinquish the microphone. we know that yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the signing of the americans with disabilities act that i just referred to, the so-called a.d.a. this is legislation that congress should be very proud of because of how much it has ensured that millions of americans with disabilities were able to exercise their rights as americans. we still got some work to do on the goals of the a.d.a., but it's a good anniversary to remember and to celebrate. so in honor of the anniversary, mr. president, i offer for unanimous consent this resolution celebrating the 30th anniversary of the signing of the americans with disabilities act. so i'll just read the script. i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. res. 661, a
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resolution recognizing the importance of independent living for individuals with disabilities made possible by the americans with disabilities act of 1990 and calling for further action to strengthen home and commun-based living for i had haves with disability -- for individuals with disabilities which was submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: recognizing the importance of independent living for individuals with disabilities made possible by the americans with disabilities act of 1990 appeared calling for further action to strengthen home and community living for individuals with disabilities. the presiding officer: is there any objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. a senator: thank you, mr. president. i know of no further debate. the presiding officer: if not, all in favor say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it.
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the resolution is disagreed to. a senator: thank you, mr. president. i further ask that the preamble being agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: thank you, mr. president. i would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president, i congratulate our friend from pennsylvania who's demonstrated that bipartisan is not dead in the united states congress. in fact, i learn add long time ago that bipartisanship, collegiality and cooperation don't really make much news and so people do get at sort of a misimpression sometimes on how congress functions. mr. cornyn: let me just say there are plenty of people on both sides of the aisle who are actually interested in some
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offing some of our nation's biggest problems. again, they don't necessarily -- they aren't necessarily the ones you see on cable news or grabbing headlines. but they're doing important work, and i'm proud to be part of a body that does bipartisan work and solves problems working together. mr. president, over the weekend, as texans continued to battle covid-19, in parts of the -- and parts a of the state came to face -- and parts of the state came to face another disaster at the same time. it seems like the challenges keep coming. first we are in a pandemic. then george floyd lost his life unnecessarily and raised the -- our consciousness of the racial injustice that still exists in this country. and then we have a natural disaster like a hurricane. hurricane hana made landfall in texas and brought heavy rains
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and high winds to communities already grappling with the pandemic, especially in the rio grande valuely. on sunday, nearly 300,000 homes were without power in south texas and power is still being restored in a a number of those communities. navigating dangerous floodwaters and downed power lines is difficult under normal circumstances, and when you add a highly contagious virus to the mix, it presents a host of logistical challenges, as you can imagine. i first want to thank the first responders and emergency crews who've been working overtime these last few days to get our neighbors to safety and to restore their power as quickly as possible. there's a strong sense of community in south texas in the ryeio grand valley, and i have no doubt these communities will pull together and come out of this crisis stronger than before. i've been talking to a number of
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the leaders in several of the counties affects, and we'll continue working with them to ensure they have the resources they need to sustain their responsive recovery efforts in the short term and to address those critical infrastructure needs in the long term. i've also heard from a number of farmers and ranchers and agricultural producers whose crops have been flooded, and i expect to hear more in the coming can days about how we might be helpful, especially, again, at this already challenging time. as i said, mr. president, the number of covid-19 cases in the rio grande valley in south texas has surged in recent weeks and flute the state as well -- and throughout the state as well. a couple of weeks ago texas reported more than 10,000 new cases in a single day. that happened five days in a row. it certainly was a wake-up call for many who hadn't taken the
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most effective precautions seriously, things like social distancing, good personal hygiene, wearing a mask if you can't socially distance, and staying home if you're sick. it's amazing what we can do as individuals to stop the spread of this virus by doing those simple things. yet unfortunately some people let their guard down, simply didn't follow those protocols and so we saw a huge uptick in the number of cases. thankfully, though, i think the message has been received and understood, and we've seen a gradual and encouraging decline in cases recently. but as the war against covid-19 wages on, we can't afford to lose any additional ground, whether from a public health perspective or from an economic recovery perspective. so i believe it's time for congress to pass additional legislation to strengthen our
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fight, and that's why my colleagues and i have introduced the heals act yesterday. this legislation builds on the significant progress we've made already in four bipartisan bills that have already passed the congress and been signed into law by president trump and la sustain our effort to defeat this virus and recover economically. this legislation will ensure that workers who had the rug pulled out from under them earlier this year will -- early this year will continue to receive especially hanced unemployment benefits. it will provide funding to help k-12 schools, colleges, and universities safely and effectively educate their students this fall, whether that means a combination of online or in-person instruction. it will send additional and needed assistance to our farmers and farmers and ranchers ranchers and producers who are
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keeping our families fed in the midst of a pandemic, and it will give states the flexibility they've requested and that they need to use cares act funding where it's needed most. in the coming days i'll talk more about how this legislation supports the workers and institutions hit hardest by this virus, but today i'd like to focus on the ways it bolsters our fight against the virus itself. and one of the most important ways wreck do that is through testing. -- we can do that is through testing. the ability to the identify positive cases as early as possible is the key to stopping the spread of the virus. but as we've learned, there are massive numbers of people who have the virus and don't even know this and they don't even experience any symptoms. in short, they don't even feel sick. whether it's in multigenerational households or whether the people who are most vulnerable to this virus -- mainly the elderly and people with underlying health problems
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-- that they cannot be properly isolated unless we identify people who are carrying the virus, even though they themselves may not be suffering any symptoms. the first coronavirus package we passed made testing free. that removed the cost barrier that could prevent those who need add test from receiving one. and then again the c.d.c.'s recommendationth the center for disease control said if you're asymptomatic, they didn't recommend that you try to get a available. but if you were not suffering any symptoms, you're probably not highly motivated to get a t you may have the virus. you may not know you need one p. well now we are testing a lot tp and congress has provided anotheanotrr $26 bli conducted n
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average of 145,000 tests a day in early april to more than 780,000 in midjuly. that's a dramatic improvement. we know there's more we need to do. the heals act that we introduced yesterday provides an additional $16 billion for testing efforts. when combined with the $9 billion that still exists from the heaves bills, it would make another $25 billion to strengthen our testing nationwide. this will help improve testing strategy and capacity and reduce the block that has left some texans waiting more than two weeks for tests. these tests simply are not very useful if it takes two tweaks get the results. but because we ramped up the number of people being testing, the lab companies that were analyzing the tests ended up getting backlog. we've taken corrective measures
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in cities like nashville to get other testing available and bring that number down, but this is a constant -- has been a constant challenge. it needs to be as quick and easy as possible for folks not only to get a test but to get the results, and this funding will help make sure there are serious strides in support of that goal. i know that there are testing protocols that are being a analyzed right now that may even make this easier and may even make the results quicker. i know that some of our college and university systemed in texas -- for example, i know a texas a&m system, chancellor sharp said he's contracted for 16,000 tests a month for students who return home on campus and then a is being a&m system. in his view, he said those students will probably be save
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campus than they were at home. especially if they go to a bar and don't properly social distance or wear a mask. but beyond testing, we need additional spout for the health care providers who've been on the front lines. i know in my state the governor has asked a number of the hospitals to defer elective surgery. as i've come to learn, as the presiding officer no doubt knows, that's where hospitals pay the bills because many of the people that show up either get charity care or the payment through medicaid or medicare is less than private health insurance would be. and so hospitals need a mix of elective surgery and other treatments where they have full insurance coverage in order to make their overall balance -- to overall balance their books. congress mass already provided $175 billion for a health care provider relief fund, which has
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given hospitals, clinics, and physicians the resources they needs to continue treating covid-19 patients and stay aflute financially. so far more than 20,000 hospitals if and health care providers in my state alone have benefited from that funding with over $4.1 billion coming to t the heals act will supplement that fund with an additional $25 mill to help navigation of the cases and maintain critical supplies like masks, goffs, and ventilators. if our hospitals don't have the equipment to protect the frontline staff, the resources to treat patients or the funding to keep their doors open, we will be in a bad, bad shape. this legislation will go a long way to make sure we don't ever reach that point. in addition to supplementing if
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the health care provider relief fund, this will also support some of our most critical health resources. we know hour community health centers are an important part of the safety net when it comes to access to health care. this bill will provide $7.6 billion to our community health centers who usually serve people on a sliding scale based on their ability to pay. some people have full insurance coverage. others are covered by medicare or medicaid and some simply don't have the means to pay at all. but all are welcome and are treat the at our community -- treated at our community health centers. we also sent $4.5 billion to mental health and substance abuse disorder service. we all know that the mitigation effort we have been engaged in -- staying in our homes and not leaving for a period of time, as instructed by public health and other government officials -- that it's exactly the very
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difficult toll on families, particularly on people who had nowhere to go to escape somebody who is abusing them, a domestic violence scenario, or people who are feeling a sense of isolation and challenging their mental health. they're won -- they're wondering how they're going to take care of somebody in a nursing home and they haven't been able to see because of the isolation efforts. then we know people will self-med indicate with alcohol or drugs so this $4.5 billion is important to help provide the mental health, suicide prevention and substance use disorder services that are going to be needed not only right now, but in the indefinite future. we also provide an additional
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$15 billion to the national institutes of health for research, an additional $26 billion for vaccine research. we know our front line health care providers have gotten much, much better and saved many more lives by coming up with treatments that actually have been effective. some of these are common prescription drugs that are used for other purposes that have been repurposed for treatment of covid-19 symptoms. we know that convalescent plasma taken from people who have had the virus who develop immunities, when they donate blood, that plasma can actually be used to help treat patients with serious covid-19 symptoms. and we know that there are other, other treatments in progress along with the race to get a vaccine. ultimately we know that the vaccine is going to be important
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to our ability to defeat and live with this virus. but in the meantime, we know we need to live, learn to live with this virus in a way that protects our public health and allows us to safely reopen our economy. so the last thing i want to mention, mr. president, is liability protection. why is this so important? well, as many nonprofits or businesses think about reopening, thinking about kids going back to school safely, whether online and transitioning to in-person or colleges and universities, we know that there are going to be a lot of lawsuits filed second-guessing why people didn't do something different when in fact this pandemic has surprised all of us in so many ways. and what this does is provides a safe harbor from legal liability for those individuals who
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followed government guidance in good faith. it can't be the fact that you would subject a front-line health care worker who had no choice but to put on personal protective equipment and go to work to treat patients. it would be a cruel joke to say now we are going to come back and file lawsuits against you and sue you for money damages because you didn't somehow know exactly what you were dealing with. we know that that, front-lieb health care workers are performing a physically and mentally taxing job made only more difficult by the fact this novel virus, we didn't understand exactly what we were dealing with, and we're still learning more. well, i learned, for example, about a rural hospital where test kits are in short supply, a fact that was especially true in the early days as testing
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infrastructure was being stood up. but i mentioned that a moment ago. i learned about a hospital in a rural community outside wichita falls that only had 12 tests available. because of the limited resources, a physician made the difficult decision not to of test an e.r. patient for covid-19 because the patient didn't meet the criteria set out by the centers for disease control. the following day that same patient went to wichita falls and received a test and in several days found out that they tested positive. imagine you're that physician. you follow the c.d.c. guidelines for testing. you tried to conserve the limited resources available in your community, but there's nothing stopping the patient from heading to the nearest lawyer's office and filing a lawsuit against you for somehow refusing them a test. all of a sudden you're scrambling to defend yourself in a lawsuit that, quite frankly, should not have been filed in the first place.
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but i spent enough time in courtrooms to know that many times lawsuits are not filed with the goal of actually prevailing on the merits. they're filed in order to gain a settlement because the cost of defending yourself can be large indeed. in fact, if you're a business that's been hanging on by a thread, just the threat of that kind of litigation, the expense and energy it takes to defend that case, even though it lacks merit, could well cause you to throw in the towel or put you out of business. so we have introduced as part of this heals act, legislation that will provide that safe harbor. it will not provide blanket immunity. it will not protect against intentional or reckless misconduct. but it would establish clear guardrails like those in a number of states. as a matter of fact, 30 different states have passed similar protections for their health care workers. other states have done it in
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other categories, but it's important, i believe, for us to provide clear authority so that people know what they're dealing with. and i would note, for example, that some of these same guardrails are very similar to those enacted by executive order in the minority leader's home state of new york. i know the legislature has now sent governor cuomo another bill basically with the same framework, and he has not yet made a decision to sign that. but overall, the heals act will help provide the resources texas hospitals, clinics, and health care providers need to sustain and win this fight while protecting our heroic health care workers from a second epidemic in the courtroom. so i hope both sides of the aisle wil work together as we have in the past on covid-19 response legislation and make sure we get a bill to the president's desk on a timely basis that delivers these and other necessary changes at a
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critical time for our country. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. lankford: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: i'd ask for unanimous consent to viscerate the --. the presiding officer: quorum call. mr. lankford: the quorum call, thank you. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lankford: how many times have i gone through that?
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the presiding officer: that's okay. mr. lankford: madam president, senator durbin and i have worked for months on an issue on rural health care, whether it is in rural illinois or in rural oklahoma, there is a challenge dealing with rural hospitals and sustaining their viability. so he and i partnered together to be able to determine what is the best way to be able to get a solution that is a long-term solution to what they're currently facing with covid-19. while covid-19 has impacted all types of businesses, rurlg hospitals have uniquely dealt with some very difficult challenges both with getting p.p.e. early on in the process, much more challenging for rural hospitals than it was for urban. keeping doctors managing separation, getting airflow areas in hospitals to be able to manage the flow of the virus through areas, and also managing just patient count. where for many rural hospitals they just shut down because all elective surgeries stopped and
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such and so they lost all of that income, though they still had all the employees, an exceptionally challenging thing. but it's challenging on top of the challenges they already faced for decades in just surviving in rural america. so what senator durbin and i have brought is a reasonable nonpartisan solution to how we can deal with not only covid-19 but the health of rural hospitals long term. decades ago congress established something called the critical access hospital to make sure those hospitals that were designated as critical access hospitals would receive proper reimbursement from the federal government for health care services. many individuals in rural areas, in fact, the dominant proportion in many rural areas receiving health care receiving it through medicaid or medicare. we want to make sure that those providers providing those high-need areas are reimbursed appropriately. but in 2006 congress shifted the
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designation for critical access hospitals and took away something called the necessary provider, giving the flexibility to the states. as a result of that action in 2006, we've seen the closure of 118 rural hospitals nationwide since that time period. the critical access hospital designation was created because of a string of hospital closures in the 1980's and early 1990's. but yet we've not responded in the way that we should from the change in statute in 2006. simply what we're frying to do is to able to give that flexibility back to states again that if they have a hospital in a rural area that is the only provider in that community that is medicare-dependent hospital, is a very small hospital with fewer than 50 beds, that area has to be an area designated as a rural area. it can't just be any suburban area or any other type of hospital. it has to be a rural hospital in particular. it has to have a high percentage relative to the national average
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of individuals with income below the poverty line. those hospitals in those locations could be designated by their states as a necessary provider and be treated as if they are a critical access hospital. what would that do? that would be a lifeline for reimbursement, because now we have some rural hospitals designated as critical access and some hospitals that meet all the other criteria but they may be 34 miles away from another hospital, that hospital and that county dies, the other hospital survives. or in my state where we have a critical access hospital 34 miles away from a hospital across the border in texas. so the hospital in oklahoma can't get the critical access designation and can't survive because 34 miles away there's a hospital in another state that has the critical access. we need the flexibility in our
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states to be able to renew this kind of designation. for senator durbin and i we've run this through a lot of places and a lot of people and gotten a lot of technical input in it to ensure it works for our rural hospitals and make sure it is not just a short-term survival due to covid-19 but is long term. this is something that we should do together to make sure we stabilize those rural hospitals. they are a lifeline to people in rural america. they are a lifeline of employment and they are a stable feature in every community. and without it, those communities dry up because people need access to health care and this is the way that they can get it. so i'm glad to be able to partner with senator durbin on this issue, and it is our hope to be able to get this into the next bill dealing with covid-19 in the days ahead. quite frankly, it was our hope to get it into the last one and
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we didn't get it, and into the one before that. and surprisingly enough everyone seems to be nodding their head on both sides of the aisle that's a good idea, it seems to be effective. we want to move it from that's a good idea to done for rural hospitals across the nation. with that, i would yield the floor. mr. durbin: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president, i thank my friend from oklahoma and i couldn't say it any better or effectively than he just did. like oklahoma, downstate illinois has small town communities and many of them are lucky enough to have a great hospital and they love their hospitals. they are not only important sources of medical care, they are a major part of the local economy and they really are a rallying point for many communities. the auxiliaries and volunteers and so many people make these hospitals the focal point when
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you visit these communities. they are so proud of them. of course we're worried about what this current pandemic is going to do. i've had calls -- conference calls from leaders from almost 20 hospitals across illinois. i invited members of congress in so we could have bipartisan exchanges about the state of affairs. one hospital in crawford county told me he used to pay 22 cents for a surgical gown and he now pays $1 to $20 for each one. hospitals are facing limited access to swabs and supplies that they need. the heroes act would direct the administration to utilize the production act to help solve that problem. and i commend senators murphy and baldwin. one of the most profound consequences from the pandemic is the impact of the insolvency across illinois. rural hospitals are the heart
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and soul of community. otherwise people drive literally for hours to get medical care sometimes in emergency situations and they are part of the local economy. we think downstate hospitals generate $5 million into our local economies. and i don't doubt it. prior to this congress, they were facing -- part of this kroits, they were facing financial uncertainty. half rural hospitals were operating in the red. one in four were at risk of closure and as the senator from oklahoma mentioned, 120 have closed across the nation in the past decade. we've done and fared a little better in illinois but we're worried about the future. when a rural hospital closes, not only doctors disappear, but doctors disappear and businesses struggle to stay. the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated and compounded the strains we face. we believe the hospitals are losing $1.4 million each month. many of those like nursing homes
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are like -- or like meat processing plants. all have been forced to cancel outpatient and elective sources. in illinois, 70% of rural hospital services are from out patient services. nationwide rural hospitals have an average of only $33 cash on hand. there's an immediate need to stabilize and that's why we've come up with this bipartisan plan. senator james lankford and myself have introduced the rural hospital closure relief act. it is supported by the national rural health association. it would update medicare's hospital designation to provide flexibility around the 35-mile distance requirement so more rural hospitals would qualify for additional payments from the federal government. we project six hospitals in iowa, scores more in illinois, new york, and kentucky would qualify for this financial lifeline securing their stability and we do it in a
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restrained, cost-effective matter, focusing on the hospitals that have faced financial losses. it's common sense. this bipartisan bill is a priority for us. we want to make it a priority for the senate and we hope to do so. we know that we come to this discussion with a good, encouraging conversation with senator grassley today and the support of the iowa rural health association, the c.e.o. and leader of the kentucky rural health association projects more than 18 rural hospitals in that state are at high risk of closure and we hope to make that point very clear to the majority leader. several of them will be helped by our legislation. with a spike in covid cases across rural america, we've seen hospitals reaching capacity and we need to make sure that our hospitals, the ones we're talking about in rural areas, survive. the health and economic toll of these crises demands, i hope that the democrats and the republicans in the senate include this in any bipartisan package. the cost of inaction is
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disastrous. senator lankford and i are prepared to seek passage of this bill by unanimous consent today but we've been encouraged to continue to negotiate with our colleagues to see if we can make it part of a package -- timely part of a package in the near future. i hope that's the case and we will hold off any unanimous consent request because of that hope. madam president, i'd like to raise a separate issue at this point in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, last month in a landmark decision, the supreme court rejected president trump's effort to repeal deportation protections for dreamers. those are young immigrants who came to the united states as children. in an opinion by chief justice john roberts, the court held that president trump's attempt to rescind daca, deferred action for childhood arrivals was, quote, arbitrary and capricious. more than a month later the trump administration has refused to restore the daca program
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despite the supreme court decision written by the chief justice. the administration is now in open defiance of the to the supreme court when it comes to the daca program. the stakes are so high both for the rule of law and the lives of these young dreamers for us to ignore it. republicans and democrats in congress need to come together to compel the president to immediately comply with the supreme court mandate. on june 4, 2019, the house of representatives passed h.r. 6, 2019 they passed h.r. 6, the dream and promise act. this legislation would give dreamers a path to citizenship and it passed on a strong bipartisan vote. the dream act has been pending on the desk of senator mcconnell for more than a year the last month i signed a letter signed by all 47 democratic senators calling for the majority leader to schedule a vote on the dream and promise
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act. as of today senator mcconnell has not even replied to this letter. since senator mcconnell refuses to take any action to address the plight of these dreamers, i ask unanimous consent at this point for the senate to pass the bipartisan dream and promise act. madam president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 112, h.r. 6, the american dream and promise act. further, that the bill be considered read a third time and passed, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. lankford: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: reserving the right to object. madam president, as senator durbin knows very well, a unanimous consent is trying to get all 100 senators to agree on something. senator durbin has done remarkable work for years advocating on the issue of immigration, and he knows exceptionally well what a difficult issue this is. he's been involved in countless
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debates and negotiations dealing with this issue, and there's certainly not 100% agreement on a house bill that passed in 2019 on how to be able to solve immigration. so it's not going to pass. i will certainly object in a moment to this. this bill far exceeds just deal with daca, and as this body knows very well because there were four separate votes dealing with immigration in february of 2018. and at that time three of those dealt with the issue of daca. none of those actually were able to get # 0 votes to be able to -- 60 votes to be able to pass. the trump administration was very engaged in those negotiations and the white house itself brought a proposal on what to do with daca and multiple issues with immigration. that failed to get 60 votes to be able to move in 2018. and then the court at that time scooped it up and said they wanted to be able to look at it. now, two years later, the court
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finally responded, putting back into -- it back into the administration's hand and, quite frankly, back in congress's hand. i wish the court had not engaged in 2018 because there was a lot of engagement from the trump administration, from the senate, and from the house to be able to come to a point of resolution. but that has to begin again with bipartisan negotiations through a very complicated issue. president trump has stated numerous times in public interviews and in private conversations that he wants to do something to be able to take care of those kids in daca, but that's not what this particular bill does. this particular bill far exceeds just the daca population. in fact the daca population is defined as the group that was 16 years old and in the united states before june 15, 2017. this bill deals with 18 years old in the united states just four years ago and before.
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greatly increasing the population in the conversation here. this is not just a daca conversation, this is much larger bill than just a daca bill in that sense. so while i do agree, we do need to continue bipartisan conversations and president trump has expressed a desire to engage in that, i think this is something the white house, the senate should work out and not have all 100 senators agree on something on the floor today that has not gone through the proper debate and does not have all three parties engaged in the process. so, with that, i would object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president, i regret the fact that the senator objected. i'm not surprised. i understand his statement. i do hope he feels, as i do, that we should be working in a bipartisan fashion to find an answer to this challenge. i've been working on this dream act for a number of years, over 780,000 young people have signed
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up for daca and many more are currently eligible and i'd like to address their plight in just a moment here on the floor. but i thank the senator from oklahoma for the encouraging words to continue this effort. it is long past time for us to find a bipartisan answer to this situation. it was, in fact, ten years ago when i joined with senator richard lugar, the republican from indiana, on a bipartisan basis to call on president obama to use his legal authority to protect dreamers from deportation. president obama provided the daca program. daca provides temporary protection for dreamers if they register with the government, pay a fee and pass national and security background checks. i got started in this 20 years ago. now i know you have to be patient to serve in the united states senate, but i am losing my patience, not for my own plight and situation, but for
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these young people. we know their circumstances. they were brought to this country as infants, toddlers and little kids and they grew up thinking this was home. it was home. they went to our schools, they pledged allegiance to our flag, they counted themselves as just another american kid and then sometime when they were teenagers, mom and dad sat down with them and said we have a serious discussion to have with you. it turns out you are undocumented. technically you are illegal in your presence in the united states, and let us warn you, at any moment you could be stopped, arrested and deported. in fact, you might drag many members of the family with you if that circumstance should apply. imagine growing up with that as a teenager, all the things you're worried about in your adolescence, worried about a knock on the door of deportation that might drag other members of our family along. that's how these kids lived. that's how they grew up.
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one of them came to my attention in chicago. her name is tereza lee. she came to the united states originally from korea, but through brazil. came to chicago with her family on a visitors visa at the age of 2. her family stayed. most of them reached legal status, but they never filed any papers for tereza. she didn't discover until she was in high school that she was an undocumented person in america. she happens to have an extraordinary talent as a musician. she signed up for a program known as the merit music program. they taught her how to play the piano, which she already started learning, and she was phenomenal, so phenomenal that by the end of her high school years, her instructors said why don't you apply to the great music schools of america, juilliard, the manhattan conservatory of music. she started to fill out the application with her mom and came to the section where it said citizenship, and she said what are we supposed to put there, mom? her mom said i don't know, we better call the office of
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senator durbin. they called us, and we learned for the first time tereza lee's situation. under the law of america, despite the fact that this 2-year-old girl who arrived in the united states and now was 18 years of age, under the laws of the united states, she was compelled to leave the united states for ten years and apply to come back in. how could you do that? she didn't choose to come to this country. she didn't choose not to file for the right legal papers. she was the victim in this situation. and so on her behalf, i introduced the dream act, and over the years, i have tried my level best in every way imaginable to pass it, make it the law of the land. so young people just like her could have a chance to earn their way to permanent status in the united states and ultimately to citizenship. i often fail to tell the end of this story, and i want to tell it because many people say whatever happened to tereza lee? well, the fact is she was accepted by the manhattan
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conservatory of music, and some wonderful people in chicago including my dear friend joan harris said we will pay for her education, she is so good. they did. she finished. she married an american jazz musician and became an american citizen by virtue of that decision. they now have three children, and she just e-mailed me last week, she just got her ph.d. in music. she has performed in carnegie hall. she is an amazing, amazing young woman. she was the first dreamer. now, that's not a unique story. i have come to the floor over 100 times and told stories just like that of young people brought to the united states who are remarkable and who could really add so much to this country. there have been some 800,000 dreamers who have come forward to sign up for daca, the program we discussed earlier. daca under president obama by executive order unleashed the full potential of many of these dreamers for the first time. they could be public about their status, go to college, do things that they have dreamed of.
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many of them today are contributing to this country as soldiers and teachers and owners of small businesses and health care workers. more than 200,000 daca recipients are essential, critical infrastructure workers. that's not my term. that's a term of the donald trump department of homeland security. that's how they are classified classified -- essential, critical infrastructure workers, 200,000, a fourth of the daca recipients. among them are 41,700 daca recipients in the health care industry. doctors, intensive care nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, and health professionals like the one i will talk about in just a moment. but on september 5, 2017, despite his assurances to me and so many others that he would take special care of these young people, these dreamers, president trump repealed daca. hundreds of thousands of dreamers faced losing their work permits and being deported out of the united states to
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countries that they didn't even remember. federal courts stepped in and ordered the trump administration to continue the daca program while they resolved in court whether the president's actions were proper. however, daca -- pardon me. however, dreamers who had not received daca protection had been blocked from applying for this protection now for almost three years. for example, children cannot apply for daca until they reach the age of 15. the center for american progress estimates that approximately 300,000 dreamers have been unable to apply for this program since president trump abolished it or tried to on september 5, 2017. 55,000 of those young people have turned 15 in that period of time. since the supreme court decision more than a month ago, the trump administration, the trump administration has failed to comply with the chief justice of the supreme court, john roberts'
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orders, order rejecting the repeal of daca and requiring the trump administration to reopen the program. the trump administration is knowingly avoiding and violating the order of this court. two weeks ago, i joined with senator kamala harris in leading a letter from 33 senators to the acting secretary of homeland security, chad wolf. our letter called on the trump administration to immediately comply with the supreme court decision and reopen daca for those who want to seek admission or at least protection under that program. so far, of course, we have not received a response to our letter, but that's not unusual with this administration. ten days ago, a federal judge issued an order for the trump administration to follow the law and follow the order of the supreme court and begin accepting new applications for daca. so earlier today, the acting secretary, chad wolf, of the
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department of homeland security, finally responded. here's what he said. the department of homeland security will take action to thoughtfully consider the future of daca policy, including whether to fully rescind the program. he said, quote, in the interim, the department of homeland security will, quote, reject all initial requests for daca. that is an open defiance of the order of the supreme court in the decision issued by chief justice john roberts, open defiance by the president and his administration. what on earth is this supposed to mean? if the trump administration wants to repeal daca again -- and i pray that they wouldn't -- they could certainly try, and they could see if that action would be arbitrary, capricious or would somehow withstand legal scrutiny. but under our system of separation of powers, the executive branch of government does not get to, quote, thoughtfully consider, close
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quote, whether to comply with the supreme court order for some undefined period of time. let's be clear. the supreme court rejected the repeal of daca. that means daca returns to its original status, and the trump administration must reopen the program, and they must do it now. instead, mr. wolf is saying the d.h.s. is going to turn away 300,000 dreamers eligible for daca who have not had a chance to apply because the case has been in court. mr. wolf claims the administration's following the law, but it is notable that the department of homeland security website still features a statement from a d.h.s. official saying the supreme court's decision, quote, has no basis in law, close quote. after the supreme court decision, president trump tweeted, quote, i have wanted to take care of daca recipients better than the do-nothing democrats, but for two years, they have refused to negotiate,
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close quote. well, here's the reality and it is the president's tweet. the president has rejected numerous bipartisan deals to protect the dreamers. take one example. february 15, 2018. the senate considered bipartisan legislation by republican senator mike rounds and independent senator angus king. the bill including a path to championship for dreamers was supported by a bipartisan majority of senators. it failed to reach 60 votes that it needed to pass the senate because president trump opposed it. remember when he said that the democrats were at fault here, there were no bipartisan measures to solve the problem? here was a bipartisan measure that he openly opposed. on the same day, the senate said i will send my proposal. the trump plan failed by a bipartisan majority of 39 to 60. over the years i have come to the floor of the senate many times to tell the stories of dreamers. these stories tell the whole
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story as far as i'm concerned as far as what's at stake with the future of daca and the dream act. let me tell you the story today about this young man, juan alvarez. 125th dreamer that i have come to the floor to introduce to the senate and the people who are watching. came to the united states from mexico at three -- at 3 years of age. grew up in compton, california. a great student. from a young age, he wanted to get involved in health care, but because of his immigration status, undocumented, he was unable to attend medical or nursing school. instead, he went to the california state university in long beach where he completed a bachelor of science degree in nutrition and dietetics. today thanks to daca, juan is working as a dietitian at an acute care hospital in los angeles. he sent me a letter, and here's what he said. i never imagined i would be able to work in the field that i love and am passionate about, but thanks to daca, that was possible. simply said, daca has opened doors for me that i once thought were bolted shut and completely
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out of reach. now juan alvarez is on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic. he is part of his hospital's critical care team treating patients with coronavirus. juan's role is to ensure the patients receive adequate nutrition during their hospital stay so they survive. here's what he said about this experience. quote, i am in constant fear of being infected and then infecting my family, but as an essential health care worker, i continue to show up for work and put myself at risk so that i can continue to serve my patients. while i do it to continue to help my patients and make sure they are well nourished and strong enough to fight off the virus, i cannot set aside how worried i am myself. i want to thank juan alvarez for his service. he is an immigrant health hero. he is a daca health hero. he is putting hips and his family at risk to save the lives of other americans. he shouldn't have to worry about
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whether he's going to be deported. will america be a stronger country if we tell him to leave? if we send him back to mexico, which he doesn't even remember, or if we allow him to become a citizen and to use his skills and education and training to continue to help others. i think the answer's clear. juan and hundreds of thousands of other dreamers are counting on those of us who serve in the senate to solve this crisis that president trump has created. i'm sorry there was an objection to the dream and promise act today, but so long as i'm a united states senator, i will continue to come to this floor day after day, week after week, month after month until the senate gives juan alvarez a chance to become part of america's future. it would be an american tragedy to deport this wonderful and talented young health care worker who is literally saving lives as we meet today in the senate. we must ensure that juan and hundreds of thousands of others in our essential workforce are not forced to stop when their
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need for service has never been greater. we must give them the chance they deserve to become part of the american family. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. durbin: i notice 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. cramer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cramer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 662 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 662, supporting the goals and ideals of national public health week.
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the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. cramer: i know of no further debate on the measure. the presiding officer: if there's no further debate, the question is on the resolution. all in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the resolution is agreed to. mr. cramer: i ask unanimous consent that the preamble be agreed to, and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cramer: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s.40o.4346 introduced earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 4336, a little to anti-criminal anti-reform act to repeople the senate pricing. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection.
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mr. cramer: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cramer: i know of no further debate on the bill. the presiding officer: if there is no further debate, the question is on the passage. bill. all in favor say aye. opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. ed bill is passed. mr. cramer: ask unanimous consent that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cramer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. wednesday you july 29. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and that morning business be closed. finally, following leader remarks, the senate proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the kan nomination under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. cramer: if there is to further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under provisions franchise s. res. 660, a as further mark of respect for the late-john lewis, congress man from the state of georgia. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. on wednesday you july 29 and so as a further mark of 29 and so as a further mark of this and confirmed to a product prison transaminase. u.s. district judge for the western louisiana and data for with assistant hud secretary federal housing administrative commission. tomorrow more nominations as negotiations continue on the republicans trillion dollar coronavirus a plan. live coverage when the senate returns on "c-span2".
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c-span has unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court. and public-policy events. you can watch all of cspan's public affairs programming on television, online, or us and our free radio app. be part of the national conversation through cspan's daily washington journal program. or throw social media feed. cspan, created by americans people television company. as a public service, brought to you today by your television provider. >> i, for the committee to make sure that there is a fair factual record of what happened lafayette square is on what i saw and experienced firsthand. i especially wanted this committee to residents of the washington dc, and the american people to know that the dc national guard utmost professionalism and integrity. they full to our constitution, under the most challenging circumstances.
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on june 1st, i served as a liaison between the district of columbia national guard in the park lafayette square. the role of national guard to support the operation, clear demonstrators from the vicinity of lafayette square. the immediate objective of this clearing operation was to install a larger security barricade on the street along the northern edge of lafayette square. the dc national guard is not actively engaged rather we would follow behind the units help secure and expanded security parameter once established by the park police. national guardsmen are outfitted with standard and nonstandard right here, shin guards, pathans for defensive purposes but no national guard were armed with legal or non- legal emissions. from what i observed, the demonstrators for behaving peacefully exercising their first amendment rights.
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around 6:20 p.m., are police issued the first three morning announcement to the demonstrators directing them to disperse pretty i do not expect so early in the curfew was knocked to go effect until 7:00 p.m. that evening. minutes later. authorities were conveyed using a microphone . statue of president andrew jackson approximate like that yards from the demonstrators party from where i was standing, approximate 2 20 yards, the announcements were barely audible no indication of the demonstrators are cognizant of the warnings to disperse. approximately 6:30 p.m., the park police began operation led by the civil servants unit. no national guard personnel participated in the bush or engage in any other use of force against the demonstrators. the clearing operation began, and saw smoke he is to disperse protesters. park police liaisons officers told me that these potions were stage smoke and no teargas was being deployed against the demonstrators. i can feel irritation in my eyes
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nose base of my previous exposure teargas training americanized irritation as effects consistent with teargas. later that evening i found spent teargas canisters and street nearby. as part police pushed the demonstrators further down the street, demonstrators purse gathering as park police charged fort carson. i observed people falling to the ground and some of the police use their shields offensively as weapons print is a walk behind them, but also observed and identified law enforcement personnel behind our national guardsmen using paintball like weapons to discharge what i later to be preferable into the crowd. as demonstrators continued. after the street had been clipped onto the position on 16th street near st. john's church. i wrote seven oh five, i said the president walking underweight street from lafayette square pretty near st. presence arrival was a surprise
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because we have not been freed that he would intersected. installation for the clearing operations, images did not arrive on scene on a street until 9:00 p.m. that evening. it is not completed until later on. members of the committee, the event at lafayette square on june 1st were deeply disturbing to me. based on my training and experience, that no time did i feel threatened by protesters process them to be violent. based on established u.s. military protocols concerning force and dealing with civil disturbances, both within the united states and overseas, it was my observation that the use of force and of the demonstrators in the clearing observation was an unnecessary escalation of the use of force. for my observation from those demonstrators are fellow american citizens and quite engaged in the peaceful expression of their first amendment rights yet they were subjected to an unprovoked escalation and excessive use of
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force pretty late rep. john lewis said, we see something that is not trite, not just, not fair. no moral obligation to say something. to do something. military officers support and defend the united states constitution, the bedrock and guiding principle. foundation of the trust safely placed in the armed forces by the working people. and it compels me to say something. to do something. about what i witnessed on june 1st at lafayette square. >> district of major adam demarco testified earlier today regarding recent incident in washington dc's lafayette square. where protesters were forcefully removed prior to president trump's follow-up in a church. watch the entire hearing tonight nine eastern, on "c-span2". reaction to the 1 trillion-dollar senate republican coronavirus response plan continued on the senate floor this morning. the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell calling on depressed to start negotiating


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