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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 21, 2020 11:59am-4:00pm EST

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so it's very important and that's why the studies are ongoing to make sure that we have the right dose and direct safety profiles for this vaccine area expectation is they should be safe and effective, maybe at some age brackets, those could be lower than those in the older adults. and we're trying to do those as quickly as possible to have the labels and as you know the pfizer vaccine or the other labels are going down to 16 years of age. >> thank you, next question. >> your line is now open. >> thank you. as you know, ups and fedex are the primary transportation providers but they also work. >> we believe this event to continue our 40+ your commitment to congressional coverage . continue watching this at lawmakers are in a holding pattern as they always action
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on a parachute issues and providing government funding through september2021 . current funding expires at midnight eastern tonight and now live to the floor of the us senate here on c-span2. >>
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what you desire of them as you fill them with your wisdom. lord, manifest your power through their labors so that this nation will fulfill your purposes. may your angels guard us in -- in all our ways. we pray in your mighty name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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the presiding officer: the senator for iowa. mr. grassley: one minute for morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: history will look back at 2020 and find many lessons and even some silver linings to impact. the loss of more than 300,000 american lives so far will be worn for years to come, operation warp speed, which
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president trump launched turned out to be an historic public-private partnership. it's delivered a lifesaving vaccine in record time, shattering scientific benchmarks along the way. for the last nine months americans have pulled together and shared -- entershared sacrifice -- in shared sacrifice to do their part as the covid-19 moves through the country as it is right now, i encourage my fellow iowans to keep pulling together. when public health officials say it's your turn to get a vaccine, roll up your sleeve. i'll be doing the same when my turn arrives. getting immunized is the only way we'll beat the virus and get back to the normal way of american life. history will show americans turned the page on the pandemic
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when all of us roll up our sleeves. i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: yesterday leaders in the senate and the house appear the -- and the secretary of treasury reached a major agreement that struggling americans have needed for months. we're going to pass another historic rescue package to help american families through this pandemic. with we're going to pass a full-year government funding so the armed forces and federal departments have the resources and certainty they need. and we're going to do both of these things as soon as possible. senate republicans have been trying since july -- july to get more targeted bipartisan relief into the hands of the american people. back in july we proposed to send about $1 trillion to priorities,
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including a second round of paycheck protection program, direct checks for households, and funding for health care providers, testing in k through 12 schools back in july. democrats said no. they said they'd block anything short of their multitrillion dollar left-wing wish list. here was one headline that particularly underscores their view. $2 trillion or bust, democrats draw red line in coronavirus spending battle. $2 trillion or bust, democrats draw red line in coronavirus spending battle. so in july and in august when republican senators tried to extend expiring unemployment benefits, democrats blocked us.
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laid off workers lost their benefits. in september, and again in october, as people get hurting, the virus kept spreading every democrat voted for -- republicans voted for a package. democrats blocked the relee their view -- relief. their view was all or nothing. a few days ago with a preskt their own party, everything changed. democrats suddenly came around to our session to make a law where we can agree and get urgent help out the door. in a few days of hard work we have an historic bipartisan rescue package, just under $900 billion of relief targeted to our fellow are americans who need help the most. i'll begin where the pandemic
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will end, vaccinations. thanks to the genius of science and the work of president trump, operation warp speed has safe and effective vaccines. this rescue package provides many billions more dollars to expand vaccine purchasing and vaccine distribution. until we have one, we need to keep wearing masks and keep taking precautions, even so more americans will fall ill. so this legislation will continue to fund health providers and covid testing. the pandemic has fallen especially hard on children and parents. our legislation includes major funding, more than $80 billion for k-12 schools to reopen safely and get kids' educations back on track. there are billions more for child care providers to reopen safely as well and new investment in rural broadband
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will improve education and telehealth down the road. and then, mr. president, there are americans' personal finances, the imbobble kitchen table questions that millions of working families have faced this year through no fault of their own. back in march thanks to senators rubio, collins, we have the small business protection program, it saved small businesses and helped millions of american workers receive paychecks rather than pink seats. it would have been sanity for us to save the jobs all this time only to drop the ball with the end in sight. this bill will send more than $280 billion to reopen the p.p.p. for a targeted second round and we made sure that churches and faith-based organizations will continue to be eligible. of course millions have already been laid off. so months after republicans tried to stop benefits from
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expiring in the first place, this package will resume a temporary federal supplement to unemployment insurance and it extends other programs for self-employed and gig workers that would have expired. thanks to the particular leadership and direction of president trump and secretary mnuchin, households will receive a second round of direct relief checks, $600 per adult and per child. this is just some of the aid that will be heading americans' way in a matter of hours. no sprawling left-wing wish list, no uncon stained bailouts for state and local government with no connection to covid needs. just smart, targeted bipartisan policies, what senate republicans have been recommending since the summer. i cited a figure of $900 billion, but listen to this. the net new cost -- new cost is
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less than roughly $350 billion. we are recovering more than half a trillion dollars in unspent money that congress had already set aside and channeling it to these urgent needs. and thanks to our colleague senator toomey, this legislation winds down some of the temporary emergency powers we lent the federal reserve to make sure our financial system survived last spring. a lot of talented leaders helped make this happen. leader mccarthy has been an invaluable partner. white house chief of staff mark meadows has been central. colleagues such as collins, murkowski and portland have had bipartisan work. i just mentioned senator toomey. i want to give particular thanks to the secretary of the treasury, secretary mnuchin.
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before the pandemic, steven was already a crucial partner for the republican majorities in congress. we enacted the most consequential tax reform in a generation. we helped to create conditions for record low unemployment. our country had the strongest possible starting point to weather this storm. this year the secretary has been even more essential. he helped congress develop and pass the historic cares act in record time. it prevented a complete economic collapse at the hands of the virus. from drafting cares to implementing to implementing it to the intervening months to the latest package, secretary mnuchin has been an extremely capable and patient partner. he helped guide our nation through the dark period toward the day break that lies ahead. on behalf of the senate and the country i thank the secretary for his countless hours of work and his incredible effectiveness in extraordinary times.
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now, on a related matter. while this rescue package will dominate headlines, we're also set to fund the entire federal government object a bipartisan basis. we must not overlook the tireless work from chairman shelby, senator leahy and our appropriations committees in both chambers. their hard work goes beyond just avoiding shutdowns. full-year funding bills give our armed forces the certainty to make plans and budgets so we can continue to modernize our capabilities and keep pace with competitors like russia and china. this year's bills also tackle important domestic priorities. everything from agriculture research to the fight against opioid abuse to border secure and law enforcement are provided for. we aren't defunding the police or abolishing i.c.e. around here, not on our watch. federal law enforcement from the u.s. marshals to the border
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patrol will get the resources they need to protect innocent americans and uphold the rule of law. i want to especially thank chairman shelby and congressman granger. these bills have pro-lifeguard rails on funding, secure president trump's approach to title 10 and respect our citizens' second-amendment rights. the senator -- senate is about to cast impactful votes. none of us think this legislation is perfect but a big bipartisan majority of us recognize the incredible amount of good it will do when we send it to the president's desk. the american people have waited long enough. i'm glad for our country that we're now moving ahead together. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period
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morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for illinois. mr. durbin: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. durbin: i ask consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: before i say anything else, mr. president, i want to say happy winter solstice. 2020 is almost gone. it's an announcement i made to my family this morning, and i hope america shares it. we are turning a corner as a nation into a new year and a new season, and i hope a much better day for all of us across this country. mr. president, nine months ago, in march, we created the relief
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known as the cares act, and it passed the senate by a vote of 96-0. it was a measure intended to address the pandemic and the resultant economic downturn in america. i've heard various estimates of the total cost, but it's somewhere in the range of $2 trillion to $3 trillion. it was the largest single investment in our nation, in our history. it was a massive national response to a massive national health crisis, and it worked, at least on the economic front. i believe that it created demand in our economy that otherwise would not have been there and gave some businesses a chance to survive. sadly, all did not, and many are still suffering. but it was necessary, it was done on a bipartisan basis, it
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was massive, and i believe it achieved its goal. it started us on the course of dealing with the covid-19 coronavirus, and one has to look back and say it only had limited success in that regard. as of today, we have lost more than 317,000 american lives and millions have been infected, and our hospitals are still overrun with patients, but we did the right thing and we quickly realized what we did could make a difference. the unemployment compensation which we provided for millions of americans was not only the humane thing to do, but as economists will tell you it was the best single thing you could do to fight a recession. a person who is unemployed without a paycheck will spend
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virtually every penny they are given into the economy, not bank it away for another day. that spending created summer demand and gave some businesses a fighting chance. the paycheck protection program through the small business administration was the work product of many, but i want to single out senators ben cardin and marco rubio for their bipartisan effort. i later saw senator collins and senator shaheen working to give it another day, but here was a program which extended a lifeline to american businesses. forgivable loans if the money were spent on the necessities, utilities, rent, mortgage, and payroll. i will quickly add that we have a responsibility to taxpayers to make an honest assessment of how that program was implemented. i'm sorry to say that i have
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already heard evidence and anecdotal evidence that some of the loans were not carefully made. that is to be expected in something of this magnitude. but by and large, this program was essential. money that we put into health care made a difference. the cares act also protected those who were renting from eviction, delayed the payment of student loans, and a litany of other measures that made a difference. but that bill, the cares act of march, 2020, was really written with a notion that this was a short to medium-term challenge. many thought that by the middle of this year, we would be turning the corner. sadly, that was not the case. as of july, it was apparent that the worst was yet to come. speaker pelosi of the u.s. house of representatives introduced a
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measure known as the heroes act in an attempt to have a follow-on relief bill after the cares act. it was passed but was not considered in this chamber. the republican leader who spoke earlier today said at the time there were two things he wanted to make sure. first he wanted to measure whether it was needed a follow-on bill. and second, he was drawing a red line that said unless we provided immunity from liability for corporations and businesses, he wouldn't consider another relief act, and the matter stalled. the speaker went on to pass another bill smaller in size, but nothing happened. she went into conversation with mr. mnuchin and senator schumer on the democratic side here, but little was produced from the exchange. we were stuck, stalled. as of the election day of
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november 3, it wasn't clear that there would ever be another relief bill this year. and i want to say a word about what happened next because i know more detail about that than some. it was about four weeks ago when a republican senator and a democratic senator invited six of their colleagues for dinner. it was a bipartisan group. when senator mcconnell mentioned the participants earlier, he only mentioned the republicans. i want to let you know who was in on it on both sides, democrats and republicans. yes, it was senator collins, senator murkowski, senator cassidy, and senator romney at the initial meeting. on the democratic side, senator manchin, senator warner, myself, and senator shaheen. our ranks changed over the several weeks when we were debating to include maggie
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hassan of new hampshire, angus king of maine, rob portman of ohio. for three or four weeks, we tried to write a relief bill. we did it by phone, by zoom, and through staff work that was endless. and finally tuesday of last week we were able to announce it, an $800 -- let me get this number right, $748 billion consensus bill for relief. we were unable to reach a final agreement when it came to state and local funding, as well as the question of liability. we set those aside. but we produced this $748 billion bill, much of which is included in this relief package which we're going to consider today. i want to thank my colleagues, democrats and republicans, for their patience and determination
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to reach that point. i really believe that we ended up opening the conversation. the leaders, thank goodness, moved in to follow on and make it a reality. and today we are going to seriously consider a measure to keep america's economy moving and to give us a fighting chance against the coronavirus. i think this bipartisan effort, this grassroots, bipartisan effort by the eight of us -- soon to be 10 or 11, before it was all over -- will make a significant difference in this nation. we are going to come through with dramatic offers of relief across the board. it's in the range of $900 billion is the total -- i don't know the exact amount. but it's going to provide several more weeks of unemployment compensation. the final agreement, i'm told, reduced the number of weeks that
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we proposed -- and i am sorry for that. but it did the include a cash payment, which under the right circumstances -- i don't know all the details -- could be a godsend for many families across the united states who are desperately trying to survive in troubling, difficult times. it also extends the p.p.p. program that i mentioned earlier for small businesses to give them a chance for the kinds of loans and forgivable loans that might really give them an opportunity to see another day. money is there especially for the coronavirus vaccine distribution and logistics, testing, tracing, and the vaccine. and i would say this -- that in fairness, i agree with the republican leader, who gave credit to the trump administration for the warp speed program. that has been a dramatic success. to think that we have come up with not just one but two
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vaccines that work against this covid-19 is an amazing achievement. and i'm glad that it received the high priority that it deserved under this administration and particularly glad that the researchers and scientists who spent countless hours exploring opportunities for this vaccine were ultimately successful. america owes them a great, great debt of gratitude. what is going to happen next? there are some parts of this measure which, as we study it, we'll realize were inadequate. merely extending unemployment benefits for 10 or 11 weeks may not be long enough. we may have to return to take a look at it. whether or not we have enough money for logistical support for vaccines remains to be seen and whether the businesses of america need another helping hand, we also have to consider that as well. let us hope that in the new year, in the new president's administration that we will have
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a more positive, bipartisan approach. this experience this year was disappointing in some respects, but it tended well with the bill that we are going to consider this afternoon. i want to thank all of the colleagues in the senate who joined me in this bipartisan effort, that started the conversation on capitol hill last week. we have more work to be done. we're not out of the woods. we have to consider measures which will address the reality of the economy in the future. we want to make sure that americans have a chance to get back to work and businesses have a chance to survive in this time of covid-19. by the middle of next year, it's been estimated -- and it's -- this is not for certain, but i hope it's right. by the middle of next year, all americans who are seeking a vaccination will be able to receive one. and that will be a day when we can finally hope that we will have reached that magic number
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of herd immunity and turn the corner on this terrible pandemic. mr. president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum -- oh, wait. i thank senator schumer for coming to the floor and asking me to say a word or two more. i want to say this about the members of the senate, both democrats and republicans. there has been more activity on the floor of the senate in the last several days than i have ever seen, and it isn't just roll calls. it's members staying on the floor to discuss the details of this agreement. there were parts we were never going to agree on. that's for sure. but so many times i would step into a conversation on the floor where they would be hammering out the final details of an agreement. it was heartening. there's been so little of that activity on the floor in the past year or two. it is perilously close to legislating to have members of the senate from both political parties working toward agreeable
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language that can solve america's problems. let's hope we have more of that. unfortunately, this senate has drifted away from its traditional role of deliberation and legislation. this year, for example, we have only considered 29 amendments in the entire year in the senate, absent the impeachment proceeding. 29 amendments. the year before, 2019, 22 amendments. that's a waste of talent. the men and women of the senate should come together, hopefully in a bipartisan basis, but, regardless, should come together to debate the issues of the day and offer their best ideas. and having offered them, be given the chance to vote up or down. i think that appetite is strong on both sides of the aisle. on the democratic side, senator merkley of oregon has been a leader in discussing changes in the senate rules, and we've reached out to republicans as well to engage in that conversation. i think we're a better senate
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for it if we do it, and we're a better nation for it if the debate becomes relevant to the issues of the day for the people across america who are watching closely and see if we understand what has struck -- what they are struggling with economically and politically. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: first, i heard the senator from illinois' remarks. it is a -- it is our hope that we can do more on the floor.
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we haven't seen much give from some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, but hopefully that could and will happen. now, about remarks here, every day it seems for the past week or so, i come to the floor ready to talk about the merits of bipartisan legislation we've been drafting. not wanting to be critical at all. and then i listen to the republican leader. the leader's remarks just about every day this week, as he opens the senate, have been so nastily partisan and in so many ways false that i have no choice but to correct the record, as the democratic leader. the republican leader's accusation that the blame for this bill's delay lies totally on one side is just ridiculous. it is alice-in-wonderland
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thinking. then his comparetion that the agreement that -- then his comparison that the agreement we're voting on is -- it is so absurd. the two bills are nothing alike. i have had to point that out several times. i have a chart here -- and i'd ask unanimous consent it be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i am going to read from it comparing the bipartisan relief agreement from december 1. how about direct payments? this bill has $600 per individual, $1,200 per couple, $600 for independent. you know how much was in the leader's -- the republican leader's proposal? zero. unemployment insurance. this bill that we're voting on has $300 per week of enhanced
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u.i. and other program extensions through march pa 14s what does the republican leader's bill have in $zero enhanced u.i., program extensions end january 31e this bill has $13 billion in snap. the republican leader's bill zero. this bill has $25 billion in rental assistance. the republican leader's bill, zero. this bill has $45 billion in transportation for both airlines and mass transit and buses and airports and highways. what does the republican leader's bill have? zero. this bill has very importantly money for community development financial institutions and majority institutions, $12 billion. what does the republican leader's bill have? zero. s.b.a. grants, $20 billion this bill. republican leader's bill, zero. debt payments and enhancements for s.b.a.? this bill, $5.5 billion.
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republican bill, zero. samhsa funding for mental health, this bill, $4.25 billion. republican leader's bill, zero. n.i.h. covid research, this bill, $1.25 billion. republican leader bill, zero. broadband, so homes can get broadband, this bill, $7 billion. republican leader bill, zero. the list could go on. there is a dramatic difference between the two bills. and we all know as well that the republican leader, who blames democrats for delay, said for several months the senate should be on pause, as democrats were demanding more action. the republican leader was unmoved. the republican leader was that 20 republicans didn't wanting to nothing at all. when he finally proposed legislation, it was complete
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partisan and littered with poison pills. i toth to -- i forgot to add one thing -- the broad corporate liability provision. a poison pill. so when the leader fining legal alien proposed legislation -- so when the leet h. leader finally proposed legislation, it was partisan, no democratic input, zero. insufficient, much too little in so many areas, as i mentioned, and literatered with poison pills designed to -- and littered with poison pills designed to fail. leader mcconnell said on the floor that for republicans, corporate immunity was a red line and he blames democrats? as he did again today for why in bill is being debated now.
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it's just turning truth on its head. it is like alice in wonderland. and even if the recent negotiations, the republican majority made an 11th hour demand that had nothing to do with helping people during this pandemic. but rather sabotage add the incoming biden administration's recovery efforts and restrict the federal reserve's ability to save jobs and right the economy in a time of crisis. thankfully the agreement we reached contains neither the leader's corporate immunity provision nor senator toomey's last-minute provision to handy cap the -- to handicap the federal's ability. look, after months of tense and difficult negotiations, we have this agreement. it's not as longer as democrats want. it certainly is larger than what many republicans want. that's the nature of compromise. it does us no good to end the
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year with the kind of bitter partisan fighting that has defined too much of the year. in a new session and under a new administration, we can and should do better. because our job is far from over. the bill today is a good bill. today is a good day. but it is certainly not the end of the story. it companies be the -- it cannot be the end of the story. anyone who thinks this bill is enough doesn't know what's going on in america. anyone who thinks this bill is enough hasn't heard the desperation in the voices of their constituents, has not looked into the eyes of a small business owner on brink of ruin. by all rights, there should be direct assistance in this bill for state and local governments. the checks should be larger. while this agreement includes a new and larger forgivable p.p.p. loan for restaurants, we need to do much more for restaurants.
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we had bipartisan legislation to deliver the relief that's truly needed, the restaurants act, that didn't make it into this legislation. we must do all we can to save restaurants and i will not stop fighting until we pass the restaurants law into law. and this bill will not be the final word upon congressional relief from the coronavirus pandemic. this is a an -- is an emergency survival package and when we come back in january, our number one job will be to fill in the gaps left by the bill and get the economy moving with strong federal input. still, the significance of this package should not be underestimated. it will be the second-largest federal input in the history of our country. second-largest amount of federal dollars going to the people ever. the times demand it. even some of our conservative
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republican friends will vote for it. and it's good we have it. for much of the year it looked unlikely that it would ever get done and our success today, our ability to pass this bill today should give us confidence we can do more. we can end the year on a rare note of optimism. now, queen elizabeth every year gives a talk to her subjects about the status of the monarchy, of the british royal family and in a very challenging year, she called that year honest, a horrible year, unlike 1992 which was the year elizabeth referred to with the problems of charles and diana, this year has been a -- not just for great britain and the royal
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family that she was talking about, it has been a horrible year for the entire world. the global covid-19 pandemic has affected more than 70 million people across the globe. another 500 million have gone likely undiagnosed. 1.6 million people have died. 20% of whom have been americans. more than 315,000 americans, more than the entire population of pittsburgh or st. louis. more than all the american combat deaths in world war ii. the september 11 attacks to my fair city, shaped much of the first decade of this century in 2020, our dear country has suffered the equivalent of a 9/11 attack every day for 106 days in a row. we've lost so much.
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we have missed holidays and reunions, retirements and graduations, bat myth have aas and -- bar miss a have aa, trapped our in homes, our companions were isolation and loneliness and the faint glow of tiny screens. the image of seeing people on the screen watching their loved ones pass away when they can't be with them will stay with us forever. doctors had to stack ipads in waiting rooms for the end of life conversations. how tragic. how awful. cars lined up bummer to -- bumper to bumper for food assistance. grandchildren wrapped in protective gear waved good-bye to grandparents who crossed the
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silence of a hospital room. it has been a horrible year. and, yet, here at the very end, finally, there is hope. not just one, not just two but three strong beak orns of -- beacons of hope. one, soon many americans will have the vaccine, two, joe biden will become president. he has the experience and empathy to handle the covid crisis and will replace a man who has no interest in doing so. and, three, we're on the verge of passing another historic bipartisan relief bill to deliver emergency assistance during a time of national emergency. so three beacons of hope, the vaccine, a new administration, and a bill that will help in an emergency. very soon our country will close the book on the most chaotic
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president in recent history. joe biden, an experienced leader, a person of fundamental human decency will become the 46th president of the united states. kamala heirs will be the first -- harris will be the first woman, first asian american she will return compassion to the government after four long years of division and demonization that too many people have gone along with. even though this disease has not been over, there is a light at the end of the tunnel with a vaccine. it usually takes five and ten years to develop a new vaccine -- five-to-ten years, it took american doctors,
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biochemicallists and researchers less than ten months to produce not one but two viable vaccines for the coronavirus. the discovery of a vaccine in a single calendar year is the crowning scientific achievement of the 21st century. the medical manhattan project of our times. it's a reminder that when we work together and sacrifice for one another, nothing -- nothing is beyond our capacity as a nation. the same resilience and innovation and fortitude that saw our country through its darkest hours has emerged once again. covid-19 has changed our country but it has not changed our character. america is the night shift nurse, fashioning protective equipment from shoelaces and a sheet of vinyl, america is a restaurant owner who sent meals
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to the frontline workers for free. america is the home stitched masked sent to homes and family, it's the pots and pans celebrating essential worker, it is the plasma donor and lab technician late at night poring over the results of a clinical tests. it is a doctor who workeddor two -- worked two straight shifts before finally succumbing to the disease himself. last week, the first american, a nurse in queens was vaccinated against covid-19. many millions will soon follow. eventually our businesses will reopen, our economy will reopen. life will reopen. we will travel and worship and send our kids to school and see our friends and be together again. it won't be tomorrow. it won't be next week or even
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next month, but it will happen. not because we merely waited long enough, not because we were patient, but because we persevered. our job right now is to help the country get from the stormy present to that hopeful future, to survive the dark winter until the spring thaws the ice. our job is to do what's necessary, pass this bill, pass another stronger bill next year, whatever it takes, to hold our country together until -- until we eradicate the awful scourge of this disease. at the end of this horrible year let us give the american people another reason to hope. i yield the floor.
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mr. thune: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. thune: mr. president is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: it is not. mr. thune: mr. president, i am, like many of my colleagues, very pleased that we have reached an agreement on a final covid relief package, and none too soon. last week we celebrated in what will be a turning point in the covid fight, the first coronavirus vaccinations, we ought to build on that momentum and makes sure the vaccination goes as smoothly as possible. the covid-19 relief package will provide important funding for vaccine distribution, and it will help americans weather the rest of the pandemic, including a second round of paycheck protection program for the hardest-hit small businesses, money to help schools reopen and
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safely operate so our kids aren't left behind and more money for coronavirus treatment and other front line medical priorities. i'm very pleased, mr. president, the final package includes my paycheck protection program for producers act which will help more farmers and ranchers benefit from the paycheck protection program. the bill also includes founding allow the department of agriculture to provide additional assistance to farmers an ranchers. ag producers who are dealing with a tough economy before the pandemic hit and the coronavirus only made it tougher. i strongly advocated for including additional funding for farmers and ranchers in this legislation an i'm very glad that the final bill includes this support. the final package also explicitly makes biofuels like ethanol for usda assistance at the discretion of the secretary of agriculture. biofuel producers who suffered from the drop in fuel demand from the pandemic and i hope the secretary will ensure that they
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are able to receive assistance which will further help our ag economy recover. mr. president, i'm very happy that the covid relief package includes an extension of the thune-warner employer participation and repayment act. it allows employers to make tax-free contributions to their employee student loans up to $2,500 per year. this is a win for employees who get help paying off their student loans and it's also a win for employers as they look to attract and retain talented workers. our bill was included in the cares act, the major coronavirus relief package in march but scheduled to expire at the end of the year, under the coronavirus relief package our legislation will be extended for an additional five years. the covid relief package includes senator cornyn's protection act which i cosponsored. this legislation will ensure
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that small businesses that qualify for forgiveness and their loans can still deduct their ordinary business expenses on their taxes. the relief package includes legislation i introduced this summer with senator enzi that will establish antifraud measures in the pandemic assistance program so the beneficiaries are truly eligible for the program. mr. president, we addressed a lot of coronavirus priorities in this package and i'm pleased we are finally getting it out the door. republicans spent months pushing for additional, targeted coronavirus relief and i'm glad the democrats finally decided they were ready to work with us in a bipartisan way to arrive at this legislation. mr. president, the senate democrat leader was just here once again attacking republicans over their failure, the democrats' failure, to work with
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us to get a coronavirus relief bill sooner. we passed -- i should say we brought up on the floor multiple times legislation that could have passed if there had been a little cooperation from the democrats. and he pointed out that this bill that we're going to be voting on today looks nothing like the republican bill, which isn't the case. there are a lot of similarities, mr. president, between the bill that we put on the floor in september and again in october about $600 billion in targeted relief that addressed the most fundamental needs that the american people need right now. one is unemployment insurance, extension for those who are unemployed. the very amount that is in the bill that we will vote on today was in the republican bill that we brought to the floor in september and again in october and voted on here. thes vaccine -- the vaccine money, the money that is out there to help with the vaccines that are going to be so
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effective in trying to get this pandemic under control was also in the bill that was on the floor both in september and in october. the relief for small businesses who have been hit hard by this pandemic and have seen their balance sheets and their income statements get depleted by its economic impact also would have been funded with additional paycheck protection program relief in the bill that we brought before the senate both in september and again in october. that very assistance is included in the legislation that we will vote on today. money for schools, as i mentioned earlier, to help them reopen safely, something that was in the legislation that we voted on in september, again in october, and is in the legislation that we will vote on today. the only thing that is different, really, substantially different, mr. president, from what we brought up on the floor back then is the assistance checks that are included in this
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legislation, and that is something that was a priority. it was a priority for members on the republican side. it was a priority for members on the democrat side. it was a priority for the white house. and so it ended up being included in this and hopefully will bring some much-needed relief to people across this country who have been struggling with their personal finances and their family finances through the pandemic. so those are all things, mr. president, that we have discussed and debated previously. and i would point out that contrary to the assertions made by the democratic leader just now, there were numerous attempts to try and move this legislation previously. now, it's fair to say that the house of representatives did send the senate a $3.4 trillion package which was bloated, included lots of nonpandemic, non-coronavirus-relief-related items, things that were on their liberal wish list, and that wasn't realistic, and they knew
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it. that was a campaign document designed to try and help them at the time win an election. but i'm glad, mr. president, they have decided to get down and negotiate in a serious way. because the number that we are going to be passing today, a little under a trillion dollars, about $900 billion, is very close to what republicans put on the floor in september and again in october. it's a far cry from the $3.4 trillion bloated bill that the democrats sent over from the house, that the democrats here in the senate tried to advance and suggested that that should be what the senate should vote on. mr. president, we have said all along we need to address this in a targeted way, a fiscally responsible way, a way that recognizes the most critical needs out there, both on the health care front and also on the economic front, and we have moved aggressively to address those needs not once, but twice. legislation, a real bill brought
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to the floor, which received a majority vote in the united states senate. 52 united states senators in september and again in october voted here on the floor of the united states senate to do the very things that i just mentioned, but it was blocked from even being considered by the senate democrats. we all know here in the senate it requires 60 votes to invoke cloture. it's a procedural motion to get on a bill. the senate democrats gave us no support to even get on the bill. and so as a consequence, even though there was a majority support, 52 united states senators voting in favor of getting on and debating the bill because the democrats blocked it, we didn't even have an opportunity to debate it. not even to get on it, mr. president, let alone offer amendments and have a discussion and a conversation and work on legislation. if they had objections to it or things they wanted to improve or things they wanted to make better, they would have had an opportunity to do that if we had simply been able to get on the bill. so we are where we are today at
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this late hour in the year, mr. president, december 21, christmas week, doing this now because they didn't want to do it earlier, and some have publicly acknowledged that one of the reasons they didn't want to do it earlier is because there was a campaign under way. they had hoped there would be a new president, an opportunity to do it their way later. but nevertheless, mr. president, we have before us now finally, at long last, a piece of legislation that addresses the most critical needs that are out there. it is very similar in many ways, both in terms of the substance, the content, the features of the bill and the overall price tag to what republicans have brought on the floor of the united states senate previously. and so i'm glad that we're finally going to get this done, but i absolutely disagree with the statements that were made earlier by the democrat leader because they don't reflect reality. in fact, they don't reflect anything close to reality about what's been happening here in this chamber over the past several months when it comes to
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trying to provide much-needed relief to the american people who are suffering from this pandemic. mr. president, there are a couple of things that i would just mention briefly that aren't included in the bill, and i wish they were. i'm sorry that i have a bill called the remote and mobile worker relief act that was not included in the final bill. it is bipartisan legislation. it would have prevented unexpected tax bills and tax complications for medical professionals who travel to other states to help during the pandemic, and for americans who work from home to help slow the virus' spread. it's unfortunate that opposition from a handful of states with aggressive taxation policies like the senate democrat leader's home state of new york has so far prevented legislation like mine from getting through congress. but, mr. president, i will continue to fight for tax relief for remote and mobile workers. mr. president, it has been a difficult year for our country.
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there are way too many virus infections, way too many hospitalizations, way too many people who have lost loved ones from this dreaded virus. it's affected people in so many ways, their health, their confidence, their economic standing and status, their mental health, there are just so many, so many effects of this, mr. president, and this winter is likely to be very challenging. but the encouraging news is there is light at the end of the tunnel. there is a vaccine out there that will get more widely out there, and thanks to the resources that we put into the first coronavirus bill, the cares bill that passed last march, those vaccines have been moving forward at record speed, five times faster than any vaccine in history. light is at the end of the
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tunnel, mr. president. the vaccines are coming. they will be proven to be very effective. and there is additional funding in this particular legislation that we will vote on today to make sure that it gets distributed as quickly as possible. we're going to make it through this. and i look forward to sending the additional relief that's included in this legislation that we will move through the senate today and put on the president's desk where he can sign it into law. i look forward to seeing that additional relief get out to the american people. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to honor the life and service of concord, north carolina, police officer jason schuping who was tragically killed in the line of duty this week. officer schuping was only 25 years old and had served the
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concord police department for one and a half years with honor and distinction. officer schuping and officer caleb robinson were responding to a 911 call for a car crash and attempted carjacking. the two officers located the suspect and were prepared to bring him to justice. however, when officer schuping, officer robinson, and a third a.l.e. officer approached, the suspect immediately began opening fire. officer schuping and robinson were both shot. additional officers arrived on the scene and took out the suspect. while officer robinson is fortunately expected to make a recovery, officer schuping tragically passed away from his injuries. jason scuping was an outstanding police officer who courageously ran to danger to protect residents of concord. he was also a loving son and a husband to his wife haley. he was active in his community
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since his childhood. he attended high school in salisbury. he was an honor student and track and field athlete at u.n.c.-penbrook. he was a young man with a bright future ahead of him. described by those who knew him as a gentle soul who made an impact. his hometown paper, "the salisbury post" noted whether it was staying after practice to provide coaching to a youngster or coming back home from college to play the handbell at his church's ensemble, you could always count on jason schuping. it's no surprise to see the outpouring of love coming from the community of concord to honor his life and service. there has been a candlelight vigil and a touching law enforcement escort that brought many residents and a long line of american flags proudly displayed. as we gather with our families this christmas, my thoughts and prayers will be with the family of officer schuping. as well as the families of mount
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holly police officer tyler herndon and nash county deputy sheriff jared allison who also lost their lives this month in the line of duty. those families are going through an unimaginable period of grief, but they should know that the people of north carolina are forever grateful for the selfless service of their loved ones. and i will never forget the ultimate sacrifice they made in answering the call to protect others. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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ms. klobuchar: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i rise today to thank all of my colleagues who worked so hard on the bill that is coming to the floor today, the pandemic relief package. and we know all the top priorities in there, the vaccine distribution, and i want to thank senator schumer and the leaders and those on both sides of the aisle that put more funding into that. i want to thank the group that has worked so hard on this agreement and this negotiation and the senate for their work, including senator manchin and senator romney and senator warner and senator shah halloween and senator durbin, as well as all of the -- their republican colleagues, senator collins and murkowski, senator
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cassidy that worked so hard on this original agreement with many others that joined in as well. this bill contains such important priorities, including unemployment and help to our hospitals and help to our rural areas, housing, rent, small businesses, unemployment, the direct checks. i think we all know that there is more work to be done, including next year, including for our cities and our states, but it is so important that we get this done by the end of the year. and i wanted to focus on something that i have worked on for quite a while with senator cornyn from texas. we have done this on a bipartisan basis from the beginning, and it's the save our stages act. when we first introduced it in july, we knew that it was going to be a long road, and we also
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knew that the only way we would get this done is by sticking together as a team and by working with other members of congress from red and blue states, and by the end, this bill is included in full in this package. we had 57 senators that sponsored this bill out of 100, with many more supporting it. we had over 200 house members. we worked so hard to make this about america and american music and american theater and american cull tour. we all know that you can't go stand in a mosh pit in the middle of a pandemic. these live entertainment venues were among the first businesses to close, and they will almost certainly be among the last to reopen. and this was about, yes, nashville and new york, but it
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was just as much about the fargo theater or a small, small country music menu in texas. and while we see the light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine, we know that it will be quite a while before these businesses which operate on such thin margins as it is can keep going. and i think we also know the importance of the arts and music, not only as a cultural icon in america, but also as an economic driver. it's one of our number one exports when you combine all of it, and the fact that we were able to stick together with not only the nitty-gritty of this bill and this coalition and actually add partners as we went along is a tribute to all the musicians out there, all the venues, all the lighting operators, all the truckers,
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everyone that came together and said we're going to get this done, because i know when senator cornyn and i first introduced this, people kind of patted us on the head and said oh, this sounds nice, but i think when people started to hear the facts and how much this mattered to economies and even small towns, it made a difference. and in the end, to quote minnesota's own bob dylan from "times are a changing," congress mann, senators, please heed the call. no one block the hall. i with aens to thank my colleagues, and i want to especially thank the -- senator cornyn. we have led many bills together. we've had to go back-and-forth a lot. i with aens to thank dana frank who is head of first avenue in minnesota, made famous of course by prince.
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prince wouldn't be prince if not for first avenue. everyone in our state, when they think about first avenue, they think about prince. she is the height of the national venue association. she called me one night in the beginning of the pandemic and said, i just can't make it through this without some help. they got a p.p.p. loan but that was not enough for these venues because of the unique circumstance where they cannot partially open. you can't go to a theater right now and sit elbow-to-elbow with your friends and family. i also with aens to thank my -- i also want to the thank my legislative director, doug, who has worked on this from the beginning, including all the last month's late-night negotiations and did a wonderful job. i want to thank senators schumer, mcconnell, pelosi, and representative mccarthy for getting this over the finish
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line, senator mcconnell for putting it in his original bill and then senator schumer, who cares so much about this because of all of the great music and acts coming out of new york state. and it was certainly very, very helpful, and that would put it mildlyiings to have senator schumer in the room where it appears, where the last negotiations were made. i also want to thank senator shaheen and collins, who worked on this in the original negotiation, and senator cardin and rubio with the small business committee who made this a priority. and then our bipartisan house authors, senator welsh and -- representative welsh and representative williams for their work. so how this works, the small business administration will create a new $15 billion grant
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program to help venues cover six months of expenses and make it through this pandemic. we're very hopeful that once the summer comes that we're going to see more and more openings because of the vaccines, because of what i hope will be with a new administration an increased emphasis on testing, and that we'll see more and more venues be able to open. the grants can be used to cover all the major costs the venues have to pay to stay in business, including rent and mortgage, utilities, employee wages, key benefits, maintenance costs, state and local taxes, payments to contractors, purchases of protective i want request. venues that are at the greatest risk of closing -- and sadly we've already lost a number of our venues -- will have priority access to the majority of the grant funding. all venues will be able to apply within four weeks of the program's launch with the small business administration, but in
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the first weeks, those who have suffered 90% revenue loss will be the first to be able to apply for the grants. so we don't want to let the music die. and we don't want that to happen to any of our other places of culture in america either. that's why over the last month or so we have worked with the museums and with the zoos and i want to especially thank senator schumer for his work on that as well as senator blunt and many others who worked with us, and we wanted to make sure -- and as well as the movie theaters. we wanted to make sure if we expanded our coalition that we didn't hurt the originals, which were these small, small theaters and small music venues across the country. we did not do this. because this new program will be a lifeline for small
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entertainment venues across the country, like first avenue, like the blue stem amphitheatre in moorhead, minnesota. it will also help the millions of americans who work behind the scenes and who have been sidelined. from the engineers and truck drivers, to the ticket takers and designers and spot operators. it will help revive the local economies of neighborhoods and small towns across this nation. it is not every day that a coalition sticks together from beginning to end that they've kept with their original purpose, haven't been picked off, haven't gotten infighting. but this group did a it. and maybe it's because so many americans at home right now cherish music and entertainment, and that part of america like they've never done. but they are aide watching things alone. they're listening to concerts by themselves, listening to them with their iphones or they're
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listening to them on their computers. and it's not quite the same. and we also know all of these artists that don't exactly get a big boost up by themselves with huge funding when they first start out. so many of them start at these little venues, a country music band playing at the blue stem amphitheatre, a little local out that troupe trying out a new play in lanesborough, minnesota. today we celebrate the fact that we held together and not only are we passing this bill as part of this package, we actually brought in friends and partners, and we made it even bigger deal than it was to begin with. so, as i began which quoting the great bob dyl. a -- bob dylan, while i sing by
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night, wander by day, i am on the road and it looks like i am here to stay. finally, we are reaching out to this group of employees and these businesses and say, we want you to be here to stay. so thank you to save our stages and all of our colleagues that worked so hard on this and special thanks to my friend, senator cornyn. again, when we did this, we didn't know if we would be able to mount this grassroots effort. but it happened because artists and fans just wouldn't give up. so thank you very much. and i yield the floor. mrs. capito: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia.
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mrs. capito: i wish to thank the preceding speaker, senator klobuchar, for her effort to thank those venues. i certainly have some of those in west virginia, and i am pleased to say that the coronavirus package that we are putting together will help those folks and hopefully get them over the hump. you know, before i begin, i would like to wish everybody as much as they can a happy holiday, a joyful new year, turning the page of 2020 is something i think we're all pretty anxious to do. and it seems like sometimes it seems like the longest year and sometimes it seems like the shortest year, but it definitely seems like groundhog day a lot of the year. so i am very pleased that we had this relief package in front of us. while i'm glad an agreement have been reached, we certainly should have done this earlier and could have done this earlier. we have been working since july to deliver targeted additional
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relief through efforts such as we put forward in the cares act. and it's been voted down twice, once in september, once in october. to date, we, the republicans, have offered targeted relief legislation, voted in favor of enhanced employment benefits, more money for our schools which would have been great to have earlier september and should have had earlier september. we voted in favor of stand-alone emergency funding for the paycheck protection program, which we know is exceedingly important, more dollars for vaccine and testing so that we can get the great news of the vaccine that we see coming forward out to everybody in this country. and we've offered all kinds of ideas to the other side, but they blocked it -- all of this. and i'm glad to say that after all of this, we have finally joined together realizing that, yes, a deal is better than no deal.
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last week, unfortunately, a very good friend of mine passed away after battling coronavirus. at one point in her life she was a small business owner. and i've thought so much about her over the last several weeks. and i thought, what would she say? she knew that months ago as a small business owner we could have delivered the same help to her that we're delivering today. we have got to do better by the people that we represent. it is disappointing. the politics have gotten in the way. it is insulting, in my view, when i see the speaker of the house admitting to holding out on this relief because she thought it would be beneficial politically in the end. we can do much better than this. i'm also a proud member of the appropriations committee, and we've worked hard to get these funds and resources where they
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are most needed, especially in a year like this one. but due to delays, critically needed resources to combat the opioid epidemic have had to wait. investments to improve broadband have had to wait. research dollars into alzheimer's have had to wait. and the list goes on. this is so frustrating to me, as it should be to every american, and i know they're frustrated because they tell us they are. but here now we were able to include funds for things that are important to me in my state of west virginia, things such as fossil fossil energy research, our universities that call west their home. this legislation reflects our nation's priorities and funds the government, which is our responsibility as members of congress. within the omnibus appropriations act is the fy
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2021 homeland security appropriations bill. i chair that subcommittee, and it was with great pride that i can report to the american people and to west virginians that this title invests billions of dollars to protect our homeland. we maintain our commitment to border security through a border wall system to include physical barriers and enhanced technologies. we avoided a drastic cut to our cybersecurity capabilities that we see we need more now than ever, after all of the reports and the vicious cyberattack that we've uncovered that has been launched against many of those in our country, not just government but private sector as well. and we continue our commitment to use every resource at our disposal in the effort to prevent those opioids that are killing our people -- and we see the overdoses coming up and deaths from overdoses going up
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during this pandemic. we try to get the resources to our homeland security folks to prevent those drugs from entering this country at all. the men and women of the department of homeland security work constantly against threats both old and new, traditional and emerging, and deserve the support this legislation gives them. so while this is great news in the end, i'll repeat what i said he recall earlier, and that is, congress can do better. we could have done this earlier, and it should have been done earlier. so there's no reason we should be standing here several days before christmas discussing the items that were ready to go several months ago. but we are where we are. as we turn the page, gleefully into 2021, i think we should all pledge to one another and to the country that we will do better. we will work better with each
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other and prevent the politics from infecting every decision that could positively impact so many people in this country. and, lastly, i'd give a hat's tip to my friend who i will miss seeing and who is a great friend to our family, godspeed, and i know she's dancing up with with her mom and dad because they love to dance. thank you.
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the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: republicans like to mock modern monetary theory, the idea that government can print money with impunity, that government can spend whatever it wants without the need to tax. modern monetary theory is basically the dick cheney deficits don't matter crowd, with a new fancy title. most rightly lamb poorn this -- lampoon this quackery. today many of these republicans will make modern monetary theory look like child's play in comparison. this is not just a deficits don't matter disaster, it is
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everything republicans say they don't believe in. this bill is free money for everyone. proponents don't care if you're fully employed or own your own house or own your own business. free money for everyone, they cry. and, yet, if free money were the answer, if money really grew on trees, why not give more free money? why not give it out all the time? why stop at $600 a person? why not $1,000, why not $2,000, maybe these new free money republican should join the everybody gets a free guarantee income caucus, why not $20,000 a year, why not $30,000? if we can print money with impunity, why not do it? the treasury can keep printing money until somebody points out
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that the emperor has no clothes and that the dollar has no value. to so-called conservatives who identify the socialism of democrats, if you vote for this spending mon trosty, you are -- mon trosty, you are no better. if you give out free money, you lose your soul and abandon any moral or fiscal integrity. the next time you see republicans in high moralism and complaining about democrats spending and socialism, remind them that they supported this bill that really the difference between the parties is less adam smith versus marx and more marx versussingals. how bad is it in the government brought in $3.3 trillion and
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spented dz 3 -- $3.6 trillion. the deficit last year, $ 3.3 trillion. the coffers are bearing, we -- bare, we have no savings account, congress spent the money long ago. the economic damage is not the reason for it, this spending has been going on for decades, every year even before we get to all the extra covid-free money, we've been spending a trillion dollars we don't have. today's money is gone. so congress somebody spending tomorrow's money. the spending chart is a red line of red ink that goes on forever. when we talk about spending tomorrow's money, it's just not -- it's not just the money that we need next month, it's the money we might need in a decade. it's the money we will need in one, two, three generations from
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now. for national defense, for infrastructure, this is the money that your children and your grandchildren will pay back with interest. the deficit doubling and trimming under -- tripling, under george bush it went up, under president obama it end up and we are adding at a trillion dollars a year before we get to this covid budget-busting bailout. every taxpaying american already owes over $136,000 and they are staring at projectses into -- projections that show no end. we are $20 trillion in debt. how does a child have an economic opportunity when that crushing debt is their inheritance from congress? the numbers are mindboggling.
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it is hard to conceive what a misdemeanors is much less than a trillion dollars -- how big is million dollars is. how much is a -- a billion minutes ago jesus walked the shore, a billion hours ago, man still lived in caves, but a billion dollars ago was just 80 minutes ago. a billion dollars ago at the rate congress spends money was just 80 minutes ago. all of this should be setting off alarm bells, but the only alarm bells in congress are sounding the alarm for more spending and more debt. no cuts, no offsets, no pay-fors, no prioritization, just print it up. print up for money and give it to everybody because it's free money for everybody. it leads to a mountain of debt, spend all this money and let the future figure itself out.
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john caine was once asked, what about the long run? you can give money to everybody and his response was in the long run we'll all be dead, no concern for the future, only for the immediate. our budget deficit for 2020 was $3.3 trillion but this new spending package will also give us another $2 trillion in the next fiscal year. by refusing acknowledge the debt crisis, we are only hastening the day of economic reckoning. total debt was 55% of g.d.p. just 20 years ago. today it's 128% of g.d.p. so our annual -- our total debt is more than our g.d.p., 128% of our g.d.p. the world bank estimates there's a tipping point of debt debt to g.d.p. at about 77%. every percentage points costs
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another tenth or so of economic growth. so every year we give up 5% to 8% of growth every year because of this burden of debt. this is thousands of jobs every year, tens of thousands of jobs that we lose because of this burden of debt. we are borrowing and worsening this debt crisis, in part because too many governors and mayors have imposed heavy-handed restrictions that crush business. it isn't the pandemic that's killing the economy. it's the government's overzealous response that is killing the economy. the pandemic itself was disruptive, but congress is being asked to help perpetuate these lockdowns. the more money we give to the states, the more they keep us in lockdown. every bailout dollar printed and passed out to the governors only allows these dictators to perpetuate the lockdowns. their rules are arbitrary and unscientific.
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governors and mayors across the country are picking winners and losers. businesses, some that have been in families for generations, are being wiped out because they're not allowed to open. restaurants have to close their doors for indoor dining, but then they are told they can open and limit capacity. but then they are told they have to close again. then they are told they can open outside. then they are told they can't open outside. confusing doesn't even explain the half of it. bars are told that they can only serve alcohol if people are sitting and not standing and only if they have heavy foods on their menus. restaurants are told they can serve outdoors, then they have their permission revoked after they have sunk time and money converting their restaurant to outdoor services. but a caterer is told they can still serve outside. businesses are told they have to close at an arbitrary time determined by government officials as though the virus only comes out late at night. a business in one zip code can
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open but one in an adjoining zip code across the street has to close, as if the virus can't cross an imaginary line. airlines are allowed to fly, but hotels have to limit their occupancy. so you may not have anywhere to stay when you get there. mom and pop stores and specialty stores are forced to close, but big-box store competitors are allowed to stay open. how is any business expected to survive with this kind of arbitrary regulation that changes from day to day? meanwhile, many schools remain closed. despite overwhelming evidence showing kids can learn safely in person. which means parents can't go to work which forces parents to leave their jobs and take care of homebound kids. now, they have no income because the government forced them to leave their jobs to take care of their kids, and many kids are struggling with this improvised
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virtual school. the need for help is real. i hear it every day from kentuckians and across the country, but it's clear that government has worsened the economic damage and acted as the biggest obstacle to economic recovery. there is no free money that can get us out of this situation. the only thing that can save us is to open the economy. if we give these tin pot dictators, these governors more likely, they are less likely to open the economy. the answer is not printing up and distributing free money. it's opening the economy. we're not even debating the real answer to this. we're like just print up the money and shovel it out the door, the deficit be damned. the threat of the destruction of our currency be damned. we can choose to let our economies open with guidance and precautions, but not obstruction. let people rebuild their livelihoods, reopen our schools so our kids can return, parents can go back to work. congress should do away with
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automatic spending increases and scrutinize where in the budget we can find savings to pay for the pressing needs arising from the pandemic, but we shouldn't simply print out money and pass it out to everyone. or congress can follow the status quo. congress can continue to borrow from our kids. the same children we have locked out of our schools. congress can keep enabling and shutting down businesses by force, spend all of today's money and all of tomorrow's money, and then good luck. good luck figuring out how to pay for all of this massive debt. it doesn't have to be this way. there is another alternative. that won't be debated. that alternative is open the economy. it's not too late to change our course. cut unnecessary spending, eliminate waste, stop fighting a $50 billion a year war in afghanistan that hasn't had a military mission in at least a decade.
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make the hard decisions now. we can't keep pretending that more debt is a sustainable policy course. leadership is not passing on the problem to someone who can't protest. leadership is making the hard choices now. this is what we have to do. i will oppose this new debt, and i will continue to sound the alarm until we change our course. our country can be saved. we can survive this if we pull together, but adding more debt is a mistake. it is not the solution, and we should resist it. thank you, mr. president.
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mr. leahy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i see we are not in a quorum call so so -- and i was planning to speak in a few minutes. everything's been filed now appropriately. let me speak in my role not only as the senator from vermont but
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as the vice chairman of the senate appropriations committee. we've had months of delay and painstaking negotiations, sometimes those negotiations have gone all weekend long to midnight, 1:00, 2:00 in the morning, but this afternoon we'll have before us a spending package. it includes all 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2021. it also includes the vitally important covid relief package. those are the numbers and figures, but let's talk about what it means. it priestles funding for programs that -- it provides funding for programs that are critically important to the american people and i'd like to see it swiftly passed and on the president's desk. after all, it's not like we're suddenly rushing things.
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we're two months and 20 days into the fiscal year. it would be absolutely outrageous if we delayed further. as vice chairman of the appropriations committee, i worked hard to reach agreement on this omnibus appropriations bill that will fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year without relying on a long-term continuing resolution as has sometimes been done in the past. that was not an easy task. the budget caps were very lean this year and we had to stay within those. they provided less than 1% increase in nondefense discretionary spending and that's to meet the needs of a nation that is reeling from the worst public health pandemic in a century.
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now under normal circumstances that would be difficult but it's made even more difficult because of the global and economic crisis we face. but notwithstanding the tight top line, we provided a bill that includes important increases in programs that serve the american people and invest in our economy. and i think the bill finally drives a stake through the heart of the administration's effort to substantially diminish the role of government and helping americans in need and in promoting economic growth. now we all know that president trump's budget was to substantially cut government. he wanted to cut nondefense spending by 9%, 18% by 2021.
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he was -- he wanted to eliminate programs that millions of americans rely on every day. republicans and democrats in congress came together and we rejected these ill conceived arbitrary and reckless cuts. and this year i'll say to my colleagues who also worked hard with us on the democratic side, the republican side who came together on this, those especially who worked hard with us in the appropriations committee, we're going to do the same in rejecting these arbitrary cuts. now, this agreement is a product of weeks of hard work and compromise. it's not the bill i would have written on my own. it includes things i support and i must admit some things i oppose, but that's often the way legislation is. no one senator gets everything he or she wants, but together we
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can get things that country wants. an omnibus passage of the bill is unquestionably in the interest of the american people. let me talk about some things. the omnibus spending bill includes increases in education an early childhood programs. it provides more funding for substance abuse and mental health services. and i think every one of us know from what we hear back home, these services are of utmost importance in these extremely difficult times. it provides more for food assistance programs, both here and abroad. the assistance is desperately needed as many families struggle to survive during this pandemic. it includes increases for housing and homelessness
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services to help those who are the most vulnerable. these are all programs that my fellow democrats fought hard to include. now, i support this agreement. as i said, i appreciate those who have worked with us weekends, holidays, after midnight so many nights, but i'm deeply disappointed that the congress is so unforgivably late in completing our work. there's absolutely no reason whatsoever why this bill could not have been finished months ago. now, i thank chairman shelby and chairwoman lloyd and ranking member granger for their cooperation and partnership. we worked through our differences on the omnibus spending bill. as the big four, we realized we
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had to balance the needs and requests of all of our members. i urge all members to support it. as for the omnibus. now before us is a much-delayed covid relief package. it too is the product of bipartisan compromise. and while it falls short in some critical areas, i support the agreement. it's also long overdue. the american people have been waiting for help for far too long and i worry that our republican leadership took a wait and see approach. we were ready to go on this last summer, but for 270 days, majority leader mcconnell and the senate republicans have blocked every reasonable effort to provide desperately needed
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relief even as members of their party sit quietly, we wished we could do something. now, this package is far from perfect, but time is not on our side. we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. let's look at what the good things are in here. it provides much-needed investments in our economy with support for small businesses. small businesses like those in my state of vermont or those in the state of the presiding officer or anybody else here. it provides relief for unemployed workers by extending unemployment benefits into march. it makes investments in vaccine production and distribution. it supports health providers and educators and farmers and transportation providers. it provides critical investments to expand broadband in rural and
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low-income areas, access which is vitally important when many schools and many businesses are operating remotely. it i -- it includes another round of direct payments to millions of americans who are still struggling to pay their mortgage or their rent and feed their families and heat their homes and meet their monthly obligations. if they can't do all those things, now they will at least get help. and i urge that this bill also includes $4 billion in emergency funding for the gavi alliance. let me explain that. and i appreciate those senators who supported me on that money in the emergency funding for gavi. this is for the procurement and delivery of vaccines to countries around the world whose
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rudimentary public health systems are being overwhelmed by covid-19, whose economies are in freefall due to the virus. we cannot defeat this global pandemic and international travel and congress could not recover without fighting the virus overseas. just as we did during the obama administration, when we were faced with ebola, the administration and the congress came together and said sure, we'll protect here in the united states, but we will also work at getting rid of it in other countries because if it flourishes in another country, it's an airplane trip away from our country. so i support the package. i want to be very clear. this covid bill is only a first step. we have to do more.
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the american people need more. direct payments included in this package are a fraction of what we should have provided given the dire financial situation of millions of people across this nation. people are hungry. unemployment continues to plague our economies. we should have acted months ago. let's at least act on this today. families are struggling to pay their rent and put food on their table. i'll continue to fight for more. i have made hundreds of phone calls from my own state of vermont. i have talked to people that i have never met, but i know that they are people who are typical of vermonters. would they be typical of people in any one of the states we represent. and i hear the fear in their voice. i hear the concern they have. in the middle of the winter, the snow is coming down. do we heat or do we eat?
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how many meals should we as parents go without so we can make sure our children are fed? how are our children going to do school if they are hungry? now, look at state and local governments. around the country, they have laid off over 1,300,000 teachers, first responders, and other employees since march. they need our help. sometimes -- we talk about rates of child abuse and spousal abuse have increased during the crisis. we should be providing funds for the violence against women act, the child abuse prevention grants. just as republicans and democrats joined me a few years ago, greatly expanded with the help of senator mike crapo in a bipartisan fashion the violence
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against women act and the things we did, and none of us, even at that time, could have conceived of the crisis we are facing now in the country. in my state, vermonters are facing the coldest, darkest months of winter. they are struggling to heat their homes. their families need help paying their utility bills through the liheap program. we will help that program. you know, when it's 20 degrees below zero and you have had 15 inches of snow overnight, you can't really look at this as an abstract thing and say golly, maybe we should have a program to heat our home. you're going to die if you don't. and we're finally making progress in delivering a vaccine to the american people, but the pandemic is far from over. we know that notwithstanding a
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lot of the things said about this is on its way, everyone is going to get one, there are huge gaps in all parts of our country . i will be the first at the negotiating table to work with president obama in the 117th congress to address the many needs that remain unmet in this bill. the house will send this bill over to us. i would urge all members to vote aye when it comes here. again, i have to look back at the history of this body. i have to look at the people who have worked so hard on so many things over the years. and i know we have people in
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both parties that have tried to address the needs of our country. and i don't say this with pleasure but with sadness. i'm the dean of the united states senate. next year, i will start my 47th year in this body. i have seen us come together at a time when it's needed, but then i see one of the greatest needs i have seen in my years in the senate that we ignored for month after month after month. all of this could have been done in july or august or september or october or november. not at the very last minute. and why didn't we? we had to take time. we had to take time breaking all the traditions, all the promises that have been given by the other side. we had to take time to move one special interest-supported judge after another to lifetime jobs,
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but they will be paid well. they don't have to worry about paying their bills. while in all 50 of our states, we had people being tossed out of their homes, tossed out of their apartments, out of their jobs, unable to feed their children, and the fear and anxiety a parent has in telling their child i don't know what tomorrow will be like. i don't know what next month will be like. we'll pray and we'll hope, but i don't know. and we could have stopped that anxiety in june when the house bill came over here or in july or in august or in september or october or november. i ask every senator to search
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their conscience, wouldn't it have been better if all of us on both sides did something to say put everything else aside? put aside all the special interests nominations. put that aside, and let's care for the one special interest we should have. that's the american people. care for those men and women who elected us, either party who rely on us. i've never seen this country so split apart, having such fear except for a privileged few. maybe that includes us. well, i'm not here to represent me. i'm here to represent over
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600,000 vermonters to fulfill my oath to the whole country. 320 million americans. which we should be doing is saying never again with this kind of partisan politics and not allow this to go forth. we know -- and it's easy to say, we know now we should have taken the bill that came from the house of representatives last summer, brought it up on the floor, anybody that didn't like it, file an amendment, and change it. vote for it or vote against it. vote for or against the amendments. that's what we usually do. i know how to vote. i have voted over 16,000 times. why don't we just vote?
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if we had done that this summer, it may not be a perfect bill, but it would be better than where we are. every member, republican and democrat alike, would have had a chance to bring up the amendment. they could have made their case. either way they lose. we go to the committee conference and have the bill done. i say all this not just to be a techno accurate on what needs to be done but to say this is how you reflect the needs of the american people. we faced the threat of ebola in the last administration. we stood together, both parties. we helped the countries that were suffering from ebola, and in doing so, we protected the united states of america, and we helped those in this country who might face it. that was a shining moment. it was a moment of america at its best.
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this is not. i do hope we can do better next year. i know as senior democrat on the appropriations committee, i will fight to do better. i will also use my voice and what example i might give as dean of the senate to say to both parties here is what we do. i think of such examples as bob dole, one of the best leaders this senate had, a republican. came together with senator pat moynihan, one of the most brilliant senators i have served with a democrat. and that republican democrat -- republican and democrat came together, set aside their philosophical differences, cared
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for the country and saved social security. i could give so many more examples. that's when the senate acted as a conscience of the nation. and how did they do that? they appealed to our conscience. i just used that one example because people said they couldn't possibly do the difficult things necessary to save social security. democrats wouldn't give this and republicans wouldn't give that. instead, you had two senators of conscience that said we can do it, let's do it. and let's use our leadership and our conscience to bring others together. that distinguished republican, senator robert dole, and that distinguished democrat, senator daniel patrick moynihan came together and we saved social security. and those of us in the senate in both parties who voted for the final package knew we were going to have to vote for some things
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that would be unpopular with the constituencies. but instead of worrying about special interests or single-issue constituencies, we worried about the men and women of our states and what they would face if they didn't come together, and that's what we voted for, and we saved it. i sometimes say that we could not do the work without our staff, and i want to thank the staff who worked tirelessly to produce the bill. by tirelessly, i mean until after midnight many nights and weekends and holidays when the rest of the senate got home, they were still working. i know because much of the time i would be on the phone with them, i would be working with
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them, and finally i say it's so late, everybody should go to bed. when i woke up in the morning, there would be a memo sent to me at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning because they kept on working. so i'd thank chuck keifer, shannon mcinerney, jean isan, doug clapp, ellen murray, scott dance, rachel taylor, alice keiler, michelle dominguez, and all the staff of the senate appropriations committee on both bills, and i would thank chairman shelby's staff shannon heinz, jonathan grafael and david atkins. normally i would -- senators at this time might put these names just in the record. i wanted to say them out loud on the floor because they should
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hear their names said out loud and know how much i appreciate what they have done. not just for the united states senate, but for the united states of america. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. a senator: i ask unanimous consent to be vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. scott: mr. president, i rise today to encourage all americans to join the fight to support our nation and our jobs and stand up against a growing threat of communist china i've been saying buying american products is the number one thing we can do to support american jobs and stand up to our foreign adversaries. there's a new cold war occurring between the united states and communist china, and we must be crystal clear about the negative impacts of continuing to buy chinese-made products. general secretary xi is a dictator and human rights violator. he's yet another communist leader trying to be the dominant world power.
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the communist party of china is stripping hong kong of their freedoms as the presiding officer experienced when he was over there, cracking down on dissidents, militarizing the south china sea, surveilling its citizens and imprisoning more than one million uighurs in internment camps. communist china is stealing american jobs and technology and spying on our citizens. is this the kind of nation we want to be sending our money to? absolutely not. washington politicians have been too concerned with short-term political success and have long ignored the long-term threats of communist china to our way of life. but not any more. it's time to take action. now more than ever americans must remember that every time we buy a product, made in china, we're putting another dollar into the pocket of the people stealing our jobs and our technology, denying their
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people basic human rights and propping up dangerous dictators like maduro in venezuela. we cannot continue to rely on countries like communist china who lied about the coronavirus and refuse to be a partner in solving this crisis for critical supplies. this outbreak has shown why we need to end our reliance on foreign supply chains. as a nation we need to finally take a stand and demand that communist china is removed from hour supply chain. i'm proud to lead my colleagues in a bipartisan resolution calling on americans to buy products made in the u.s. whenever possible. buying american is not partisan, and i'm glad my colleagues from both sides of the aisle are continuing to come together to encourage americans to take a stand. i know it's not always easy but it's an important step we can all take at home to support american jobs, american producers and american manufacturers. by helping build up the u.s. supply chain. in my state, we take immense
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pride in products made in florida. it's a driving force that led to our incredible economic turnaround. a return to homegrown businesses and products ensures america remains strong as the undispute leader of the global economy. we all must do our part to support our nation and make it clear to communist china that the united states won't stand for their behavior. i'm committed to supporting american businesses over chinese products. i'm urging my colleagues to join me in this effort and pass this resolution today. i ask unanimous consent that the commerce committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate now proceed to senate resolution 625. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 625, encouraging the government and the people of the united states to buy american. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed.
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mr. scott: i ask that the scott amendment at the desk to the resolution be agreed to. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. scott: i know of no further debate on the measure as amended. the presiding officer: is there further debate? hearing none, the question is on adoption of the resolution as amended. all those in favor say aye. those opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the resolution as amended is agreed to. mr. scott: i ask unanimous consent that the scott amendment to the preamble be agreed to, the preamble as amended be agreed to, that the sco amendment to the title 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: without objection. mr. scott: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are.
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mr. cornyn: i'd ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, here we are, the 21st of december, four days to christmas, and congress is finally getting around to doing its duty on covid-19 relief as well as the omnibus appropriations bill which will keep the government open, keep the lights on through the end of the fiscal year next september. i have to editorialize here that i think this is a terrible process. it's a terrible process. i just saw one of the texas delegation house members saying i'm expected to review thousands of pages of an appropriations bill and a covid-19 relief bill in the next couple of hours and then vote on it this evening? we'll be in the same posture. but as terrible as this process
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is, it was intentionally created. i'm sure that the appropriation chairman, richard shelby, and leader mcconnell would have loved to have a regular appropriation process to vote out each of the subcommittee appropriations, pass them using regular order, giving the members of the congress a chance to offer amendments and maybe improve the bill, but we weren't provided that opportunity because essentially the democratic leader and the speaker of the house of representatives understands that this kind of broken process empowers them to the detriment of individual members of the congress and to the detriment of the people we represent. it empowers them, not the rank-and-file members. so i believe this is -- and the
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same thing is true on covid-19, of course, but we passed the cares act in march, we tried to come back and replenish some of those funds, were successful in doing so, for example, on the paycheck protection program. but there was obviously, there was more need on at least three occasions, maybe four, but at least three we offered another $500 billion in relief only to be blocked by democrats here in the senate. speaker pelosi was candid. she basically said, well, this is about politics. we don't want president trump to get credit for congress stepping up in a bipartisan way to provide relief to the american people in the run up to the election. so this is where we are. we know what we have to do. we have to prevent the government from shutting down.
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we know that there's genuine need across the country for more covid-19 relief, so we need to do that. but i would also point out we're going to do roughly $900 billion of additional covid-19 relief bills when speaker pelosi and the democratic leader in the senate, senator schumer, turn down a $1.8 trillion offer from secretary of the treasury mnuchin. so rather than accept twice as much earlier because it didn't fit their political playbook, now they're accepting half when they realize they've run out of runway. mr. president, the months-long stalemate is finally broken. yesterday evening the so-called four corners -- the speaker, the republican leader in the house, the democratic minority
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leader here in the senate, senator mcconnell -- they've reached agreement on a bipartisan package of bills to support the american people through the continued fighting against covid-19. and despite my comments about the process and what brings us here with so little time and ability to effect some of the content, i hope this legislation will pass and reach the president's desk in a matter of hours. i think we could all agree this bill could not have come soon enough. since this summer, republicans and democrats have been miles apart on the size and shape of the next covid-19 bill. democrats, as i indicated, wanted a $3 trillion, they call the heroes act, while we supported a more targeted approach. that's when speaker pelosi uttered those now-famous words,
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nothing is better than something. well, i've always believed that something is better than nothing. but the big picture disagreements prevented any progress from being made, even though we by and large agreed on about 80% of what needed to be done, and that is included in the bills that we will vote on here in the next few hours. well, after the election, the speaker and democratic leader here in the senate, i guess, decided that they no longer needed to hold the american people hostage because the election had now come and gone. so there were bipartisan negotiations that broke out which have led to targeted package bills -- to a targeted package that can earn the support of both parties and the signature of president trump. it's safe to say there could not be a more urgent need for action from congress. the last several days have
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proven that we are indeed at a turning point in our ongoing fight against this virus. one successful vaccine has already been administered to house of health care workers across the country. in my state alone, the governor estimates that a million people will be vaccinated by the ending of this month. that's something we should all be thankful for and applaud. friday evening the f.d.a. authorized a second safe and effective vaccine made by moderna, meaning that millions more doses will be reaching americans, and particularly our frontline heroes, in the coming days. these are developments that we've been waiting, hoping, investing, and praying for. but it's not a silver bullet. we're still battling this pandemic, and it's likely to be with us for the foreseeable future. but the good news is people who are particularly vulnerable because of their age or
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underlying chronic illnesses, will likely be able to get the vaccine no later than march. and dr. fauci said by june anybody in america who wants the vaccine can get it. mples this next phase of our fight will determine how quickly we will fight covid-19 and regrow our economy. this legislation will provide the needed support for vaccine distribution. not only is there -- has there been a modern day medical miracle in developing these vaccines, now getting it to 330 million people in america is just completely daunting. but it's happening. millions of doses have been delivered to hospitals across the country and in the coming months tens of millions more
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will be distributed as we launch this campaign. while the cost of the vaccine has been covered, the range of expenses that come with it have not been. from everything from transportation to infrastructure to temperature-low freezers to store them and our health care heroes to safely administer those, those costs have added up and need to be provided for in this legislation. this legislation will help cover these kinds of costs and the race to distribute these vaccines is as successful as the race to develop them. part of that is through relief through airlines which will transport the vaccines across the country. this assistance will enable our airlines to carry out the important role in the vaccine relay race all while keeping employees on payroll and preparing for a strong post
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pandemic rofer ri. these -- recovery. these two successful vaccines so far are moving us closer and closer to the end of this crisis but we still have a ways to go and the american people need and deserve our support in getting there. millions of workers have no way to earn a paycheck. food banks are experiencing depression-era lines each week. farmers and ranchers have lost their traditional markets, small businesses are sinking, and parents and teachers are still worried about a safe return to in-person learning for our students. this targeted relief package will send desperately needed support for each of these groups for each of these causes. those who had the rug pulled out from them earlier this year will receive federally enhanced unemployment benefits under the cares act that would otherwise
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expire the day after christmas and state benefits will be bolstered by $300 through federal benefits. we will provide a second, more targeted direct payment to the hardest-hit americans with up to $600 per individual. that means that a family of four making up to 150,000 will receive $2,400 in the coming days. this bill will ensure the basic needs of low-income households, school children and those in long lines at food banks will be met. it also provides $13 billion for a time-limited federal nutrition benefit increase as well as $1.5 billion for the coronavirus food assistance program at food banks. our farmers and ranchers and producers have lost significant or all the value of their crops will also receive $13 billion in
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agricultural assistance to strengthen the farm safety net which benefits us all. this has been a difficult year for millions of families in texas and across the country as parents have worried about how to pay bills and buy groceries let alone christmas gifts under their tree for their children. i know this will not erase all of the financial uncertainty but it will go a long way to provide some help to those whose livelihoods have been thrown into chaos. i hope it will provide reassurance for the parents and teachers who have worried about a safe return to in-person learning. this legislation provides $82 billion for education and will help our k-12 students, colleges, and universities get their education programs back on track. this relief bill will also extend additional support to texas small businesses. our small businesses continue to
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struggle with the arrival of winter weather that's been especially true for restaurants and other businesses that have relied on outdoor seating. many of these businesses utilize the paycheck protection program to help them cover payroll and other expenses earlier this year, but the program expired in august and our hardest-hit small businesses are in dire neefd more support -- need of more support. this legislation will provide another 28 -- $284 billion in the paycheck protection program. this has been an enormously successful program in my state with more than 17,000 loans that are convertible to grants under certain circumstances where it is $13 billion. this has been a lifesaver for many of our small businesses and the workers they employ. the hardest-hit businesses will be able to take a second draw of
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the p.p.p. and prie more stability for their businesses -- provide more stability for their businesses. this legislation includes a legislation for -- to pay for an average p.p.p. loan. the average p.p.p. loan in texas was $99,000 and without this change, those businesses that received that p.p.p. loan and grant would face a $36,000 tax liability. that would start to show up in january with the estimated taxes being paid by many small businesses who pay on a quarterly basis. that sort of unexpected tax liability would be a slap in the face for those businesses that saw this life ring and decided to grab hold of it. this change will ensure loan
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recipients arnt saddled with -- aren't saddled with a tax liability that could sink their business that has been hanging on by a thread. i appreciate senator grassley and ranking member wyden for including this change which will clarify these expenses should have been tax deductible all along. that's what congress intended in march when we passed the cares act. i'm also glad the omnibus was -- that's paired with this package includes other legislation that i introduced with our friend amy klobachar, the senator from minnesota, called save our stages, designed to help our small, independent entertainment venues across the country from closing their doors for good. these main street businesses were excluded from the original paycheck protection program even though they were among some of the hardest hit small businesses. event venues were the first to
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close when covid-19 hit and they are likely to be the last to open once it's gone. this funding will help them stay afloat until that long awaited day finally arrives. so i want to thank senator klobachar, who's been my partner in this bipartisan effort, as well as senator rubio, who has been a champion for these venues during the final critical stages of negotiations. the government funding legislation includes a number of other bipartisan bills which have nearly unanimous support in both the house and the senate, including a bill i introduced with our colleague bob menendez of new jersey. this legislation will finally, after 25 years or more, establish a national museum of the american latino that would improve latino representation within the smithsonian institution. this museum will honor the contribution of latinos throughout our nation's history
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and give their stories a brick and mortar home in our nation's capitol. i'm thrilled that generations of american will able to get a more accurate view of our nation's history when they visit this new smithsonian museum and i can't wait to be among its first visitors. there's no question there's additional measures i would like to see in the coronavirus relief legislation, and i'm sure that's true for every member, but this targeted package includes critical funding and support for texans and americans at this watershed moment and it will break the stalemate which has paralyzed congress for months now. the american people are suffering. it's not time for politics as usual. it's a time to come together to compromise and make good on our commitment to support them. i appreciate the work -- the work of our colleagues who fought for a deal that will give our country added strength during this next critical phase
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of our fight and i look forward to voting for this legislation. mr. president, i yield the floor and would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. cornyn: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on banking be
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discharged of s. 371 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 371, a bill to provide regulatory relief to charitable organizations that provide housing assistance and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the fischer substitute at the desk be considered and agreed to, the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on commerce be discharged from further consideration of s. 2429, and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 2429, a bill to reauthorize the coral reef
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conservation act of 2000 and to establish the united states coral reef task force and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the rubio amendment at the desk be agreed to and the bill -- as amended be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i know of no further debate on the bill, madam president. the presiding officer: is there further debate? hearing none, the question is on passage of the bill, as amended. all those in favor say aye. all opposed, no. the ayes app to have -- appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill, as amended, is passed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, i now ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of
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h.r. 3250, which was received from the house. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 3250, an act to require the secretary of the interior to conduct a special resource study and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i know of no further debate on the bill, madam president. the presiding officer: is there further debate? hearing none, the question is on passage. all those in favor say aye. all opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it, the ayes do have it. the bill is passed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 5472, which was received from the house. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 5472, an act to
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redesignate the jimmy carter national historic site as the jimmy carter national historical park. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: finally, madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on commerce be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 5126, and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 5126, an act to require individuals fishing for gulf reef fish to use certain descending devices and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i know of no


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