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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 21, 2020 7:59pm-12:04am EST

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parts of the department. and there could be more. all the reporting indicates that the hackers are affiliated with russian intelligence. russia has proven itself both capable and willing to invade and exploit our digital infrastructure for its own ends. while secretary of state mike pompeo confirmed that russia was behind this damaging breach of our systems, president trump is casting doubt, and that might be an understatement. even in the waning days of his administration, our national security continues to suffer at the hands of the president's deference to vladimir putin. and i have to say for the record, i hope this never changes, but only about ten republican senators have expressed concerns. i hope that number grows
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exponentially in the next couple of days. i have to ask what if this breach occurred under a democratic president? president obama, for example. would there be more than ten statements or 11 or 12? this should be categorically, roundly condemned by every united states senator of either party. these hacks renew the urgency for additional resources for defensive cybersecurity across our government. this need is not a new one. in fact, the cybersecurity infrastructure security agency known as cisa was stood up within the department of homeland security in 2018 precisely to shore up the united states government's defenses against such hacks, such intrusions. however, as we all know, just days after the 2020 presidential
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election, president trump fired cisa's director chris krebs for contradicting the president's own false claims regarding the election. the president has failed to take this act, this attack on our security, this attack on our government, he's failed to take it seriously. this hack raises serious questions about the nature of cyber espionage and what constitutes hostile acts by another country. these are questions i look forward to exploring as we learn more about the scope and nature of this latest breach. while both of our countries certainly engage in espionage, we must be vigilant in the protection of our own data and technology from foreign interference, and we need to hear more from senators on both sides of the aisle about this --
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about this attack. the second and related issue is the reporting just in the last day or so, reports that the president may be seeking to invoke the insurrection act to impose martial law and refuse to step down from the presidency. now, come on. the reporting indicates that these discussions took place in the oval office. i would argue, i think most americans would argue that even the mere discussion of martial law, the mere mention of it, the mere invocation of the whole notion of martial law is both harmful and dangerous. republican senators so far have not condemned these actions that blatantly violate democratic norms. maybe one, maybe two. i hope that number grows as
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well. but the silence from the majority party in the senate on this report is definite. i would hope that every senator would roundly condemn the mere mention of martial law. attempting to seize election machines. that would be the effect of the invocation of that -- of martial law. if it were operationallized. election machines in a number of states seized by the government of the united states. you have got to ask the question, in america? in the united states of america, is that what the white house is really discussing? all that america expects -- and it's not much -- all that america expects is that senators of both parties would condemn in the strongest possible terms even the discussion of martial law. the army secretary and the army
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chief of staff released a joint statement clarifying based on these dangerous actions proposed by the president's team that, quote, there is no role for the u.s. military in determining the outcome of an american election. it's hard to believe that those officials in our -- in our government that helped defend our country would even have to say that. based upon what the reporting indicates. mr. president, i hope that even in this holiday season that it's made clear by every member of the united states senate that this will not be tolerated and has to be condemned. we can't just say oh, well, it's another outrage, another insult. it should be condemned, just like the actions of the russian government should be condemned as well.
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mr. president, i ask consent that the remainder of my remarks appear in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: i just want to make a couple of brief comments about the legislation we're going to be voting on, we hope, tonight. i'll talk about not the -- for purposes of time not the spending bill -- or the spending portion of the so-called omnibus. i will talk about the covid-19 relief provisions. i won't go through all of them, obviously, but a lot of good news for many americans in this legislation. the consensus on unemployment benefits will help a lot of americans, $300 per week for all americans receiving unemployment benefits through march 14. the pandemic unemployment assistance program is extended to help self-employed individuals, gig workers, and others in nontraditional employment. the economic impact payments for
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americans across the country of $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 a year, and $12,700 for couples making up to $150,000 per year, as well as a $600 payment for each dependent child. that means a family of four would receive $2,400 in direct payments. the paycheck protection program, so-called p.p.p., $284 billion for the first and second p.p.p. forgivable loans. there is more money for transportation, more money for health and particularly money for the procurement of therapeutics and vaccines as well as money for distribution. education is funded for more than $80 billion. emergency rental assistance, $25 billion. the postal service, $10 billion. child care $10 billion.
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both very important. the one i am especially grateful for, even though a lot of these i would vote for higher numbers, a lot of us would, the nutrition provisions, $26 billion in agriculture and nutrition funding. half of that will be used for direct payments to farmers who have suffered losses due to the impact of the pandemic. the remaining 13, the other half of the 26, $13 billion would be used to combat food insecurity which is on the rise due to the economic impact of the pandemic. mr. president, there is a lot in here that is positive for american families, for workers, for small businesses and for so many other needs. it took way too long. this is months overdue. there are gaps in it. i think this is a three-month bill to help folks get through january, february, and march. i think we will need another bill after that. and obviously, i'm very
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disappointed we don't have dollars in here to help nursing homes, which i fought very hard for. we'll keep up that fight. it doesn't have the direct help to state and local governments even though there are provisions that will help states but not nearly enough. so it is far, far from perfect, but i think it's important we pass it to provide direct help to people that have challenges with -- whether it's employment or running a small business or supporting their families. the last point i will make on this, mr. president, is we gather here today and we hope the vote will be tonight before midnight, but we don't know, but it's just ironic that today is december 21, the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. i was noting this weekend elizabethdiaz wrote an op-ed, a very thoughtful op-ed in "the new york times" about winter and
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all of the ways different cultures have dealt with the darkness and the severity of winter, but here's what she says, and i hope it provides a context for what we're about to pass and what we must do in the months ahead when the virus is still raging and the death number keeps climbing. quote, here is what elizabeth diaz says. quote, the great irony of winter is that the moment darkness is greatest is also the moment that light is about to return. each year, the winter solstice comes with the promise that the next day will be brighter, unquote. we hope and we pray in this season of hope, in this season of -- this holiday season, we hope and we pray that this legislation will bring some light to people's lives, that it will give them a sense in addition to having a vaccine available now, give them a sense that brighter days are ahead,
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but we can't underestimate the darkness that has engulfed so many families, but we hope tonight that we provide at least a measure of light to all the darkness that some of these families have faced. mr. president, i would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: i ask unanimous consent to engage in a colloquy with my friend and colleague from the state of delaware, senator tom carper. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. i have just recently been talking about a number of pieces of legislation that have come through the environment and public works committee, the water resources act, the use it act, the act called deera to eliminate and reduce emissions from diesels, as well as additional legislation on h.f.c.'s. my partner in all of those is here on the floor now. i would just like to ask him, if he wouldn't mind, since he has been such a great partner for the last four years that i chaired the committee, to talk about this as an accomplishment for the environment, for the committee, and for the senate and for the country.
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so i am just kind of curious from your standpoint where you see things as a sign of success. mr. carper: if my colleague will yield. before the senate leaves, i think your point about the longest night and every day that follows will be brighter. some of the provisions that senator barrasso and i along with john neely kennedy have quoted in this major, major budget piece of legislation ensure that it will be brighter. and the legislation, one of the pieces of legislation, as senator barrasso knows, the deal is worth a phasedown of h.f.c., they are a thousand times worse for climbing than carbon dioxide. under the legislation that we have phased down their utilization for the next 15 years by 85%. what is that worth? it's worth a half a degree celsius. this is one thing, one provision. a lot of people on this planet think the biggest challenge that we face on this planet right
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now, an existential threat is the fact that our planet is getting watermelon and we need to do something about it. in this legislation, we do take a big bite out of it. my hope is what it will be. it will serve as a source of encouragement for other democrats and republicans, maybe an independent or two, to take other steps as we come back in the new year with the new administration and make further progress. one of the great things i love about our h.f.c. legislation is that it shows that you can do good things for our planet and create jobs. that's what i said. do good things for our planet in the battle against climbing and create jobs. how many jobs? tens of thousands of jobs in this country. in this country. billions of dollars worth of economic growth in this country. and at the same time doing good
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things with respect to the climbing. interesting. it's not every day you find legislation supported by the national association of manufacturers, u.s. chamber of commerce, most major environmental groups, and cosponsored by, gosh, two-thirds of the senate, democrats and republicans alike. in that case, we have done it, we have threaded the needle. i just want to thank the chairman for his leadership and for his patience, his staff in working with us. our thanks to rich russell, your staff leader on the majority side. the staff leader on our side and everybody that worked with her. gosh, a decade or so -- more than a decade ago, i remember saying to my colleague, john barrasso, i remember standing right over close to where you are standing tonight. a guy named george voinovich came up to me from ohio. he and i had been governors together for a number of years,
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loved the guy. he said i'm looking for a democratic cosponsor for a bill. he said do you want to think about it? i said what is it? he said it's a proposal that fosters collaboration between businesses, folks who have buses with diesel engines, trains with diesel engines, boats with diesel engines, trucks with diesel engines. it uses some federal money, some government money in order to use technology that's available to reduce the emissions from those diesel engines by more than 80%. i said tell me more. he told me more. and about a day or two later, we signed on, introduced the legislation. he was kind enough to be the democratic lead. one month later, it was enacted. i mean, i have been here 20 years. i have never seen legislation with that kind of effect go through just like that.
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it was pretty amazing. and every so often, we reauthorize it, we increase the authorization, and we have done it again with respect to reauthorizing diesel emission reduction act. one of the things i love about it, it gets a lot of different stakeholders involved, and for a limited amount of federal dollars, we can have a multiplier effect and it can be for every federal dollar, five, six, seven, eight dollars that come in from the private sector, so that's the way we ought to do it. the last one is use it. not many people think delaware is a farm state but we raise a ton of chickens. i think for every person in my state there are like 300 chickens or more. those chickens, they eat corn and soybeans. we raise corn and soybeans. our farmers, they have land that's close to the beach. we have five-star beaches in delaware, rehoboth, dewey and
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others and there is pressure for development, developers trying to buy out the farmers, pave paradise and put up a parking lot. and what we have figured out how to do, we haven't figured out through this legislation, the so-called use it act, but what we do is, the idea is to take carbon out of the air and to use it for a better purpose. one of those better purposes is to replenish the soil. in my state, in wyoming, in montana and other places so that our farmers will be less inclined to leave the land. they'll stay on the land. they'll be able to make money, support themselves and their family. it creates a sirte with us cycl. i called him to give him a heads
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up, john kennedy from louisiana was a big part of the work we did on h.f.c.'s. i want to say in his absence a real big thank you to him. i want to thank 70-plus senators, democrats and republicans alike, who cosponsored, who sponsored our h.f.c. bill. i want to thank our leadership especially on our side for pushing to make sure these three bills would be included in the final compromise. in addition to all the other things that were accomplished, and senator casey and others talked about that, we've actually done some good things about our planet. senator barrasso is going to move over and be the senior republican on the energy and natural resources committee come january. i will remain on environment and public works to be the senior democrat. but i want to say this has been a wonderful, a wonderful partnership. just a wonderful partnership. fun, funny, serious when we
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had to be, collegial, and really focused on getting things done for wyoming, for delaware, for the other 48 states as well. so you're not going to get to far. i'll still be around. it's been a joy to work with you on these three items and hopefully in the future we'll have many, many more. mr. barrasso: thank you so much, senator carper. i appreciate it. it was interesting, senator alexander gave his farewell address and he said sometimes politics is a like a split screen television set. on one half you see the fighting and tension and dysfunctional side. on the other side of the screen you see the functioning side, but not many people look at that functioning side. what we've been able to do as a partnership on the environment and public works committee was function in a bipartisan way, coming up with solutions. as you mentioned, over 70 cosponsors on the one piece of legislation. all of them, i think, got through the committee unanimously.
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that's something that it made no news because there wasn't a fight. it was cooperation for the betterment to make sure we protected the economy, and at the same time preserved the environment. and that's what we need to do, is to continue to make sure that we can protect both and continue with economic development as well as environmental stewardship for our nation. thank you, mr. president. with that, i yield the floor. mr. carper: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: i ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cantwell: that you want. i come to the -- thank you, mr. president. i come to the floor to talk about the provisions coming from the house of representatives and on our way to us. obviously our colleagues here are, i think, relieved that we've been able to give relief to the american people, that we've been able to extend unemployment benefits and add bonuses to those unemployment benefits in the event of $300 extra a week. that we've been able to expand the cobra tax credit program to help people who have been unemployed and not been able to continue their insurance, be able to continue health insurance. this is very important for laid off workers in the state of washington, like the aerospace workers. very glad that we were able to
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give a stimulus check of $600 per individual and $1,200 per married couple. that we were able to get the p.p.p. program that helps small businesses so that they can continue to try to make ends meet as we continue to work our way through this pandemic. the fact that we've been able to give $9 billion to health care workers who are stretched so thin on these battle lines that need every support that we can give them. so i want to talk too about the rental assistance. we're at a point where if we didn't act tonight, if we didn't act before we left here, many more people were going to be without homes. so it's so important for us to have these provisions and programs like snap, the additional money for broadband, for health care in broadband and other things that are essential in helping to communicate during this pandemic for both health care and for education. but i also wanted to mention work that was done in tandem with this legislation,
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specifically on the affordable housing tax credit. the affordable housing tax credit was always important. affordable housing was always important, but in a pandemic, in a covid crisis, it becomes even more important. the affordable housing tax credit is something that senators young and myself worked on with senator wyden and senator isakson. and we wanted to say that we needed to do more than what our current tax code could do in helping build more affordable housing. the affordable housing tax credit is provisions that have been in law since 1986, but actually using the tax credits and how they work have been a fluctuating rate, and so the consequences, the historic rate of what people could get to use the tax credit has ranged, and this legislation will put a floor of 4% in to give investors
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a bigger idea of what this development can do for the market -- what this investment can do for the market. we believe it will add in the state of washington more housing that's needed immediately, more housing that's needed on the national basis, and help us stabilize things in the near term so that we can work on affordable housing and how we can put more incentives for people to build affordable housing. people know affordable housing doesn't just get built. people don't go out and say i'm going to build housing at this low rate. the tax credit incents them to do it by giving those borrowers the ability to work with the tax credit. but the american people have been grateful impact by the facy the fact that so many trends, baby boomers reaching retirement age, not being able to save, people pushed out in the last economic crisis to a rate of unaffordability.
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it really has been a dramatic increase. according to the hudson institute 60% of our affordable and low-cost housing were lost from the housing stock between 1985 and 2013. that is the housing that we had that was affordable, basically the time period ends, they end up being swallowed up like so many places in puget sound. literally people are pushed out of their housing and then there is no other affordable housing in the region. so these tax credits can help us build more affordable housing for the long run. over the next decade, nearly 500,000 low-income housing tax credit unions and 655 other subsidized units will reach the end of their affordability period. like i was saying they're going to get to a point where they're no longer in the protection of affordable housing, and the consequence is growth and demand is pushing us even higher. for example, seniors, 10,000
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baby boomers retire each day. so that means that those low-income seniors, those woefully inadequate to pay for increasing housing costs are going to be growing every single days and putting more demand on the system. for veterans, nearly 2.5 million older veteran households, almost a quarter of men and women who helped protect our country, are cost burden. that means they spend more than 30% of their income on housing. so the lack of affordable housing in our country has been a long stand crisis, but the coast guard crisis has made it much worse. one in five renters are behind on their rent, and the eviction moratorium expires in less than two weeks. as i said, i'm pleased that we're voting tonight, hopefully , on this legislation that includes a one-month
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eviction moratorium and $25 billion for l rental assistance and that we will continue to work on these issues. and i'm glad that we are working on the p passage of not just the low-income housing tax credit fix of a 4% floor, but also that we'll continue to work across the aisle on this legislation moving forward. at a minimum, the 4% could increase affordable housing production by at least 130,000 affordable homes over the next decade. that's critically important. 130,000 more affordable homes over the next decade. it could help with job growth. 162,000 jobs and about $18 billion in wages and impacts to the economy. so building more affordable housing helps us solve lots of problems. we have an increase in domestic, as i just articulated , investing in affordable housing is very good for us in helping our economy
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grow and putting a roof over people's head. i'd also like to mention as part of the paycheck protection program package, a provision mentioned by colleagues to help make sure we can continue to get local news and information out to the public. people understand that local news has been threatened ever since the transition to an information age and certainly been challenged by what i think are unfair practices by tech companies and the compensation for material and proper reimbursement on tiring. -- on advertising. the issue for us is that covid has created an environment where we absolutely need to get the news and we absolutely need to get the local news. so it is imperative that we do what we can in this legislation to help small newspapers, small
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broadcasters, small radio stations that didn't get previously helped in the last covid package so they can continue to communicate important local news to people throughout the united states. i want to thank senators schumer, cardin, and obviously i want to thank specifically senator boozman for working so hard on this legislation with me and introducing legislation. i want to thank senators klobuchar, ernst and many of our other colleagues who signed on to that legislation as well as our house colleagues, representatives very has -- velasquez and sensenbrenner. these provisions are important to making sure large public institutions like the university of washington and others continue to get information out to the public. this news information, local information isn't going to to go away with the help and support
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of this bill, but it may be a lifeline to helping us continue to make sure that we have critical public health information available to the public at all times and hopefully we will then go on to really understand what's happened to local news and information and do something in the future congress to help fix the inequities that are existing today. i also if i could, mr. president, just mention -- i mentioned quickly the issue about broadband. this legislation that we're going to be voting on includes $7 billion for more broadband priorities, $1 billion for activity issues, for tribal country. as the presiding officer knows, indian country needs a lot of connectivity. so getting a lot of broadband into these communities would be very helpful. the covid package also contains money -- additional funding that i know senator wicker and others
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worked on for telehealth, a critical path during the covid crisis to make sure that communities have the ability to get expert advice into our homes, into our communities to connect people with information. so this tellly health grant -- so this telehealth grant, which is a very important program in the state of washington, i think we probably got something like $8 million previously from telehealth. and this will help us continue. i am disappointed that we did not include priorities in here for the e-rate program to help close the homework gap. this is something that senator markey and others worked on very hard, and it's very disappointing that we can't come to an agreement on something as important as e-rate. this legislation provides the ability for hotspots for people who may be going to college and not going to classes but in or around a university, and i think
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that that is a good idea. but we were prohibited from doing the same thing for students at the k-12 level. if one thing the pandemic has showed us, it is that students are at home and need to be able to connect, to stay connected to their education schedule, to do their homework, and be part of the education system. so i hope that we will address this inequity in the bill in the future. i am pleased that we were able to, working with senator wicker, include language that gives the federal trade commission the ability to work with scams and deceptive practices. you probably think this is something that was already on the books. but in reality, the way they are opted, they had to give a warning fairs, almost like a cease and desist. the next thing you know, the same thing would pop up over here, somebody making a claim about how safe their product was or how this would stop covid or something of that nature.
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in my home state alone, the f.t.c. reports that consumers have been scammed out of nearly $5 million since the pandemic. the number is over $200 million nationwide. these scams can range from straightforward identity theft to making all sorts of accusations, you know, on people during the quarantining period. so i want to thank senator wicker for working with us on this important legislation. now the f.t.c. will be able to go after and find these people on first-time offenses. and i think this is so important to do to make sure that we are policing an environment where public health is so important. and i also want to thank our -- representative cha cow ski for leading this effort on the other side of the capital. and, mr. president, i also with aens to talk about very important aviation legislation that we were able to include as
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part of the larger omnibus package that is moving through the house, as i said, tonight. it is so important that we make safety a number-one priority in the united states. if we want to be number one in aviation, you have to be number one in aviation safety. and chairman wicker and i worked with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to produce important legislation that improves the safety reforms needed at the f.a.a., the safety reforms of oversight of manufacturing and the certification process and reforms that will help us here in congress better stay on top of the information as far as the certification process. this is so critical after the crashes of lionair 610 and ethiopian, both involving the boeing 77377 max aircrafts.
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i can never say how painful this incident has been for those families. i can never say how much they have suffered in this horrific tragedy that has befelled them. but i know that these reforms are what are needed and their help and support in passing this legislation has been critical. i want to thank all of the families who helped us in communicating why these safety reforms are important. but i want to thank particularly michael stumo and his wife nadia, who lost their daughter sam estumo in the ethiopian aircraft. to let them know that even though we are put putting a big down payment on safety reforms by passing this legislation, this process does not stop with the passage of this legislation. we need to continue to do more
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to improve aviation safety and to continue to act even on a global basis to be leaders -- the united states leading a way on what aviation safety needs to be. i also want to the thank our staff, doug anderson, ron allman, lawrence wildgoose, jonathan hail, melissa porter and david strickland for for their work and on the other side of the aisle, james m az. l, simple money perez, and john keist. many members participated in the formation of this legislation. i with aens to thank senators duckworth for -- i want to thank senator duckworth for her work with us on the ntsb recommendations and flight deck alert system that were part of this package of bills to reform the f.a.a. and the f.a.a. process. i want to thank senator moran for his focus on helping us
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build those standards that we're talking about as far as the f.a.a. going to say that these are the continued standards for improvement in aviation safety. i want to thank senator blunt for his leadership on the air grant program, a very important program that we think will help build up the expertise and knowledge of very, very technical subject certification for people here throughout the process of oversight and legislating and the executive branch. and i want to thank senators cruz and blumenthal for working on such critical elements in the legislation as to how the certification process itself works and what we needed to do to continue to bolster it. so tonight we're sitting one step closer to reforms that really will be meaningful. it will return the f.a.a. to being in charge of what are the oversight members --
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manufacturers who are doing the work of the certification process. it is clear the individuals that are part of this unit report to the f.a.a. they are supervised by the f.a.a. you no longer can have incentives at the f.a.a. for expediting work. you basically now have a new whistle-blower protection, thanks to my colleague, senator wicker, and his incredible work on this legislation. you have better accountability on misconduct. you create new safety reporting standards for the f.a.a. employees. we repeal authorities that would permit a certification by industry, the industry could continue to make recommendations about the certification process, something in specific provisions that are repealed here. and we also prohibit interference with f.a.a. designees. that is, no one can try to
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influence a manager or someone directly involved in the certification of the process. we also tried to make sure the process itself worked better. and, again, many of my colleagues played critical roles in this. we required safety system analysis on any plane coming through the process, whether it was new or a derivative. you still have to do a safety system analysis. you have to have regulations that are the most up to date as it relates to making sure you comply, as we said in this legislation, with the ntsb recommendations on flight crew alert systems and to mandate a safety management system for manufacturers. this is something that is long overdue and in some instances people said, oh, the o.m.b. and executive branch don't think we need to do these things. oh, these things are cost prohibitive. these are regulations we don't need to put in place. trust me, having a safety
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management system is essential and we should make sure that this is in place, as it legislation requires, within the next few years. this legislation also requires disclosure of safety-critical information. this was something, as i said, our colleagues senator cruz and blumenthal worked on as part of this legislation. it also provides expert teams of panels at the beginning of any kind of certification process. the f.a.a. will be assisted by the best experts in aviation, whether they come from nasa or the air force or outside individuals who understand the latest and greatest technology. why do we have that? because we know that we are in an era of unbelievable technological change in which now the human interface with technology is so critical. whether you're going to be in driverless cars or whether you're amtrak with positive train control, or you're the
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flight deck of an airplane and the software that's working with it, we need to understand how people are going to respond to human factors. that is -- it's -- you know, we all get frustrated with our own computers and our own software. but we need to put safety first when it comes to a pilot interacting with that software in the cockpit of an airplane. it also helps us make sure that the process for the certification appeals are strengthened and to make -- a new process for -- that we tighten the process. we need to listen to the engineers on the ground. the engineers are telling us what we need to do. and we need to listen to them. i hope that the leaders both within manufacturing and the f.a.a. will do that. as i mentioned, this legislation
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establishes a national air grant program. some of you can think of it here on capitol hill as similar to the c grant program, a program that was long established to i have go us technical expertise on ocean and maritime issues here in congress. we want the same thing for aviation to exist. it's too important of a sector and safety is too important to not have a technical skill set here that can stay on top and replace individuals as retirements happen throughout the aviation system. it requires disclosure of -- to congress of post crash assessments. that is, if the f.a.a. goes and investigates a crash, you have to at least notify congress of that information. why? we want to stay more on top of that information. it requires an identification of safety trends. i have no doubt we're are going to hear when it comes back, as these annual reports or at least
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for the next several years we're going to hear that this issue of human interaction in a technology cockpit is going to continue to be the largest safety trend issue, just as it is going to be in the automotive area and just as it is going to be in transportation. so, mr. president, those are just some of the highlights of a very comprehensive safety reform legislation. i want to thank my colleague, senator wicker, for his help, his leadership, his most recent report on whistle-blower activity and helping us get this legislation over the goal line. i also, as i said, want to thank again those families. our hearts and sympathies are still every day with you, as you continue to face moving forward. we are not going to forget. we are going to continue to put
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safety as the biggest priority for us here in the united states congress and continue to move forward on a process that puts the individual engineers on the line responsible for safety to make sure everyone continues to listen to their directives and their recommendations. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. mr. moran: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you. i rise this evening out of respect and in memory of the gove county shire riff, alan
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weber who served faithfully over the last two decades. he was born and raised obstruction of justice his family's farm near park kansas and went on to marry his high school sweetheart, connie. the couple has three children, andrea, brandon and corey, and those who know alan, he was always -- it was always clear that his family meant everything to him. his many grandchildren were his pride and joy. in 1996 he ran for gove county sheriff and served his community faithfully for two decades since first elected. the county is flat, it's windy, it's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. it's farmers and ranchers. it's often a struggle to earn a living in gove county. i know the county well, and despite those challenges, it's made up of people who work hard, care for each other, and
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try to make a good life for themselves and their families. in rural areas like gove county, the sheriff oftentimes wears multiple hats, and sheriff webber was no different. in addition to serving as sheriff, he also was the public information officer and the emergency operations center community liaison. kansans also never fail to step up to help their neighbors in hard times and alan did the same. after the death of a county sheriff he stepped up to serve as the interim sheriff in sheridan county making him the first sheriff to serve two counties as sheriff at the same time. he saw his brothers and sisters in blue as part of his extended family and he held them in highest regard. his colleague in law enforcement, his colleague tim morse, the jackson county sheriff on the other side of the
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state, wrote this. he said kansans has lost a great sheriff. gove county sheriff alan webber has spent the last couple of months fighting covid-19 in a denver hospital. today he was escorted back to gove county by colorado and highway patrol and countless officers for one last time. sheriff webber was an honorable man who was respected by all, and he will be greatly missed. he respected those in blue and those in blue respected him. he was a dedicated public servant both in his home community, at the state level he served as the kansas sheriffs association as its board and president. i talked to the kansas sheriffs association today and they wanted me to recognize the sheriff's dedication and tell me
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he served president of the association for two terms which is a rare circumstance and speaks of the admiration his colleagues held for him. his community also loved and respected him. they came together to welcome him home one last time with an honor parade down highway 212 in quinter this past saturday night with hundreds of cars and people lined up to recognize his service and sacrifice over a lifetime. his wife connie said it was such a beautiful homecoming. i know he was bursting with pride and love. after the november election, he woke up in the intensive care unit, i told him he was sheriff for the next four years, and he gave me a small smile and nodded his head. connie says he loved gove county and was always ready to give the ultimate sacrifice if he had to. there were times that his heart
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broke doing his job, but he always did what was right. he lived day -- he lived life day to day and enjoyed it and everyone. he worked hard and loved gently. he will be missed by many. the outpouring of love and support shared memories on the quinter community facebook page speaks of the interconnectedness of a small community. i should tell you that the population of gove county is about 2,612 and the county seat, gove, population 70. it's places like quinter, like gove county where the sheriff is known by everyone and the sheriff is interwoven into the life of the community and the county. so many of his friends and family have remarked on alan's contagious smile, how ornery he
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was but most importantly, the selfless way he served people. those of us in public service ought to look to alan as a role model in that selfless service of others. sheriff alan webber embodied so many values in kansas -- faith, family, fellowship, service, and good old-fashioned hard work. he will be missed by many, and rob and i extend our deepest sympathies to his family, above his loved ones which includes one of my staff members chelsea ladd, his cousin and his brothers and sisters in blue. may god bless alan webber. may we praise him for the life he lived, and may we look to his role model to see that we do, try to do what he has done.
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mr. president, i offer my condolences and respect on behalf of the united states senate to the family of sheriff alan webber, and i yield the floor.
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ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president.
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madam president, later tonight the senate will vote on comprehensive legislation to fund the government throughout the remainder of fiscal year 2021 and to provide additional long-overdue funding to address the ongoing emergency needs of our country during the persistent covid-19 pandemic. i am proud to have helped lead a bipartisan, bicameral coalition that literally worked night and day to develop a commonsense plan that provided the foundation to this final agreement. there are many important components of the package before us, including assistance for struggling families, additional funding for testing, vaccine
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distribution, and health care providers, resources to help our schools operate safely in a covid environment, aid for the postal service and for airlines, airports, mass transit, and motor coach companies that keep our country moving. i come to the floor tonight, however, to focus on one aspect of the agreement, and that is the extension and expansion of the paycheck protection program. it is better known as p.p.p. mr. president, as the presiding officer well knows, the p.p.p. has been a critical lifeline for more than five million small employers, at one point helping to sustain the jobs of upwards
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of 50 million americans. it was one of the most successful programs in the cares act. it was so successful that it went through the initial allotment of money in just 13 days and then we had to pass additional legislation replenishing it. in the state of maine, the p.p.p. has provided nearly $2.3 billion in forgivable loans to 28,000 small businesses. that's three out of four of the small businesses in my state, and that is helped sustain more than 250,000 jobs. mr. president, in its original form, the program provided one-time loans sufficient to support eight weeks of payroll
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plus a limited amount to help cover certain overhead expenses. all of this was completely forgivable as long as the borrowerrers retained and paid their -- borrowers retained and paid their employees and kept within the other parameters of the program. our whole purpose was to help our small businesses save jobs and pay their workers, keeping the employer-employee relationship alive so that they could reopen and americans could quickly return to work when the pandemic subsided. when chairman marco rubio and i, together with senators ben cardin and jeanne shaheen, put the p.p.p. together at the on-set of the national emergency, none of us could have
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imagined that the pandemic would still be forcing shutdowns and curtailing operations and that extreme mitigation measures would be necessary these many months later. yet, sadly, the virus is still spreading and many of the steps taken to fight it, though they may be necessary to protect public health, threaten catastrophic damage to many of our small businesses and their employees, small businesses that have now spent their p.p.p. loan funds but are still unable to return to normal operations. i talked with a restaurant owner in bangor, maine, where i live, who told me that he, because of the size of his restaurant and to comply with the public health spacing and social distancing
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guidelines, can only have four tables a night. and because the governor of maine has imposed a 9:00 p.m. curfew, he can't turn over those tables to compensate for the reduced number of people he can serve at one time. it is so tough, and i could hear the pain in his voice when he talked about having to lay off some of his long-standing staff in order to just stay alive. that's why the $284.5 billion provided in this bill to extend and expand the p.p.p. is so vital. the program improvements in this bill are the result of months of work on the part of chairman
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rubio, ranking member cardin, senator shaheen, and myself. i'm pleased to see that so much of the continuing the paycheck protection program act that chairman rubio and i introduced this fall is reflected in this final bill. the final bill also reflects the very hard work that our bipartisan, bicameral coalition put into assistance to small business. senator jeanne shaheen and i had countless meetings, zooms, and phone calls to work out the details in conjunction with the rest of the members of our group. i'd like to take a moment to outline a few of the key features that are included in this package. first, the bill will allow the
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hardest-hit small businesses to receive a second forgivable p.p.p. loan. to ensure that assistance is targeted to those most in need, eligibility for these second loans is generally limited to small businesses with 300 or fewer employees that have seen their gross revenues drop by 25% this quarter this year compared to an identical quarter in 2019. second, recognizing the severe impact that the covid-19 mitigation measures have had on our restaurants and hotels, the bill maintains the general terms for the loans for these entities but with an important enhancement. the maximum forgivable loan size for hotels and restaurants is
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increased to 3.5 times their average monthly payroll costs compared to 2.5 times for other borrowers. this increase in the loan amount will be so critical to the very survival of businesses, like simona's hotdog stand and restaurant in louiston, maine and the angler family's seafood restaurant which has locations in hamden, seresport and newport. these small businesses all received forgivable p.p.p. loans during the but first round. but faced with continuing dining restrictions and a long, cold winter, they are really worried about their survival and ability being able to retain and pay their valued employees.
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third, mr. president, forgivable expenses under the program are expanded in very common sense ways. supplier cost-sharings -- supplier costs and personal protective equipment needed to operate safely during the pandemic will now be part of the forgivable overhead expenses. this is especially important to restaurants struggling to adapt, dining restrictions, or to get a high-quality food supply because through no fault of their own they've fallen behind on their bills. fourth, the bill extends the p.p.p. to small 501-c-6 organizations that are not lobbying groups and that have 300 or fewer employees, such as local chambers of commerce and
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economic development organizations. fifth, and i want to give credit to our colleague, senator kramer, for this concept -- the bill greatly simplifies the loan forgiveness process for small borrowers, with loans of no more than $150,000 and directs the small business administration and the treasury department to develop a simplified loan forgiveness form for these borrowers. mr. president, i remember when the first form came out and it was 14 pages long and so complicated that you would need an advanced degree in economics or a c.p.a. to help you figure it out, even if you had a very small loan. the bill to guard against fraud and abuse also provides the s.b.a. with $50 million in
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additional audit funding. finally, mr. president, the bill sets aside funding for smaller businesses and borrowers in underserved communities to ensure that they get the help that they need, through, for example, cdfi's and minority business associations and depository institutions. it also includes $25 million for the minority business development agency. mr. president, the paycheck protection program is the result of a bipartisan commitment to support our small businesses and their employees, to keep them afloat, businesses afloat, the employees paid during this pandemic. it has been, by any measure, a tremendous success. but many of these hardest-hit
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small businesses require more help now in order to survive. and this bill aims to provide that help. before i close, mr. president, i want to talk briefly about another provision of the bill, and that is the grant assistance provided for live venues, museums, and movie theaters. now let me make clear that i support funding for our community-based live venues. i know they have really been hurt. they have had to cancel their seasons. they've lost all their ticket revenues. they are in real danger. and i enjoy these through the maine like the owe -- ogonquit playhouse. they are the heart and soul of our smaller communities. but i was disappointed to see
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that the final bill has stripped provisions from our bipartisan, bicameral group that we included in our package to try to keep the focus of these grants on these smawrm -- smaller entities. specifically, our proposal would have limited the grant amounts that related entities could receive to no more than $10 million and excluded museums with endowments larger than $75 million. commonsense safeguards. now i do appreciate that the legislation sets aside $2 billion for entities with 50 employees or fewer. but i'm concerned that as drafted, many venues and museums with significant
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endowments and other resources could be the largest beneficiaries of this section because of the safeguards that were stripped out by the negotiators. for example, a museum in new york city, say, with a $1 billion endowment could receive an outright grant as long as the aluminum has an auditorium and meets the other eligibility requirements. mr. president, that surely does not seem like an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars to me and was clearly designed to help large city vn news that will survive without our help nevertheless, mr. president, i am pleased to support this
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package. this covid relief is vitally needed for our struggling families, for our hard hit small businesses, for our challenged schools, for our stressed health care system to promote the distribution of the vaccine and more testing and to help our overwhelmed postal service. i urge support for the package and i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent to complete my remarks before the vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: with the senate poised to complete some major business for the country and wrap up a most unusual year, i want to express some gratitude to the men and women behind the
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scenes who make our work possible. passing an historic rescue package and a full year funding bill would be a serious undertaking even in ordinary circumstances, and of course this pandemic year has brought anything but ordinary circumstances to the senate, just like everywhere else. for about ten months and counting, covid-19 imposed new challenges on hundreds of people who were already plenty busy enough. after much of the senate worked remotely in april, we came back to work in early may, like the essential institution that we are. month after month we've taken smart and careful precautions and remain an exemplary safe workplace. and all along we've not just continued to govern, but completed landmark confirmations and historic legislation for the american people. none of this would have been possible without many people
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beyond the 100 of us with our names on these desks. i want to thank the office of the secretary of the senate led by julie adams and mary suit jones. this team encompasses everyone from the talenteds professionals who sit on the dais to the officials reporters of debate to disbursing and many other offices. thanks to our parliamentarian elizabeth mack -- macdonough. she won the admiration of chief justice roberts before we reclaimed her as the senate's own. thanks to the senate sergeant of arms and jennifer hemingway and their whole team from the doorkeepers to the i.t. team that stood up enormous telework capabilities almost overnight to the workers who clean offices, move furniture and keep this
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place running in hundreds of way. our architect of the capitol assumed his role just before the pandemic hit. he never missed a beat. his team tackled cleaning in a way that exceeded industry standards, reconceived the food services and again physically kept the capitol functioning. of course very special thanks are due to our attending physician dr. monahan and the entire team that he leads. believe me, they already had a full-time job caring for members of congress and the supreme court. we've leaned on dr. monahan in countless ways all year long. his expertise and wise counsel have been a credit to the senate throughout the pandemic. here in the chamber i want to thank our cloakroom teams led by gary myrick on the democratic side and robert duncan on ours. duncan only stepped into his current role when the crisis began to unfold.
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he navigated about ten years worth of big challenges in his first ten months in the top job. thanks to him and his capable deputy chris tuck. another key group these past months have been our rules committee led by chairman blunt and his staff director fitzhugh elder. the committee has run point on coordinating many of the challenges, changes and adaptations that helped keep this body safe. he they've done an outstanding job without enough recognition or thanks. we're grateful to the men and women of the capitol police who stood their post even when most of the rest of us have worked remotely. they stood strong during this pandemic, during protests, both peaceful and otherwise, and during the other daily operations that they handle with courage and professionalism. and across the board i want to thank all of our senate staff both the smaller footprint who
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have continued physically working at the capitol and those who kept up their hard work remotely have confronted all kinds of novel challenges. our institution and our country are grateful to you all. last but not least i want to thank my own team, my personal office led by the parting chief of staff phil maxin fought every day for kentuckians needs and priorities throughout this crisis. our state office is steered by terry carmack, kept us connected to our constituents in new ways. my communications director robert stuart and all their colleagues who staff these operations are invaluable to me and to kentucky. here in the capitol, my leadership staff has given incredible amounts of themselves to me, to our team, and to the senate the entire year. remember this is somehow still the same calendar year that began with an impeachment trial, continued through the cares act, other major legislation over the summer, a
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supreme court vacancy, and confirmation this fall, and finally the all-out legislative sprint since thanksgiving. first, my two deputy chiefs of staff, steff makaw runs our operations in incredibly historically complex time to handle operations. she has worn about ten different hats all year long as usual. and scott rav handles policy, led his staff through a year like no other through mammoth negotiations and historic rescue packages to our most historic priorities and everything in between. we've leaned on scott heavily and he's been indispensable. beneath him within our operation are a lot of talented folks i'm lucky to have. i want to name them very briefly. my chief counsel andrew ferguson offers brilliant advice from
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impeachment to policy to the judiciary. robert karum, my defense policy expert, has brought critical institutional leadership as 2020 tested everything from national security to continuity of government. jane lee handles her massive portfolio and more besides with incredible effectiveness and calm under fire, and she sings the best christmas carrols in the office. terry van dorwan is a policy master who delivers for kentucky and the country every time. erica flores and jim neil advisors who keep meal connected inside the senate. steve donaldson, my point man during all things election law. john chapes, a seasoned veteran who picked quite the time to join our team and cover economic policy. jody wright tries to get good people in good positions with
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good cheer. andy quinn, master of words and ideas. david popp, my press team, he he, do you doug and res keeps my message front and center. alex jenkins manages my office with great humor and greater professionalism. moon keeps our technology system running and spirits high. i have to mention our health care expert who worked remotely this spring while expecting her baby boy and has been cheering us on while on maternity leave. thanks to grace and peter openheim who senator alexander shared from the help committee staff to help us. rounding out our leadership team are robert hudson and david
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holtman, skilled commune -- communicators. our front line troops, the jack-of-all-trades to keep everybody in line, victoria mason, elise stevik. at the head of this entire team is our fearless leader, our chief of staff, sharon. everybody on capitol hill and everybody in washington knows that sharon is one of the smartest, most dedicated and most effective staff leaders working at any level in any branch of government. she's my first call and my last call on every subject. she was in the leader's office before i was. she supported both trent lott and bill frist. so i count my blessings on a daily basis that i am lucky, number three. sharon carries the weight of the world on her shoulders and not
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only delivers, but somehow prioritizes, lightening everybody else's load while she's at it. a walking master class in leadership. i'm proud of all that we've accomplished for the country in this challenging year, and i couldn't be glader to be heading into 2021 with these talented professionals at my side. so i thank them, mr. president. i thank them one and all. the presiding officer: on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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the presiding officer: on this vote, the yeas are 48, the nays 47. the nomination is confirmed.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to legislative session and be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask the chair to lay before the senate the message to accompany h.r. 133. the presiding officer: the chair lays before the senate the following message from the house. the clerk: resolve, that the house agree to the amendment of the senate to the bill h.r. 133, entitled an act to promote economic partnership and
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cooperation between the united states and mexico, with an amendment to the senate amendment. mr. mcconnell: i move to concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 133. the presiding officer: the motion is pending. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent there be 60 minutes of debate equally divided between the leaders or their designees, and that following the use or yielding back of that time, the senate vote on the motion to concur without further motions or amendments in order and that 60 affirmative votes be required to adopt the motion to concur. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota.
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mr. hoeven: mr. president, north dakota is an energy powerhouse. our late-night producers work around the clock to ensure homes and businesses in the midwest have affordable and reliable access to power when it's needed most. but the p.t.c., the wind production tax credit, is creating artificially low prices in markets for power generation. qualified wind projects are receiving up to 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour from the taxpayer. these subsidies distort the market and are forcing out the critical coal-fired generation we need to keep the lights on. since congress attend a wind production tax credit in 1992, wind power has been able to transition from an emerging technology to a multibillion-dollar industry that is clearly commercially viable. that's why we worked on a bipartisan agreement in 2015 to
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phase down and sunset the wind tax credit at the end of 2019. we had an agreement to do the phaseout, and the wind industry agreed to it. my work with senator thune and the american wind energy association and others to do it. and they agreed. we had an agreement. that's why we are opposed to extending the p.t.c. and offer an amendment to strike it. we saw what happened in california over the summer, and we can't afford to have blackouts and brownouts during the coldest of winter weather months. we instead must strengthen grid resiliency and reliability by keeping diverse sources of generation available at all times, including when the wind isn't blowing or the sun isn't shining. that means base load.
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instead of extending the production tax credit, we should be working on making technologies like carbon capture and sequestration commercially viable. the american wind energy association states on its website that, quote, growth in the wind industry is expected to remain strong when the p.t.c. is fully phased out. why then are we considering another extension of this credit when the leading trade association expects to see strong growth for the wind industry without the credit? we need to bring back a level playing field for competition in our electricity markets and reverse the trend of taxpayers continuing to subsidize our mature multibillion-dollar wind industry. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and ensure that the wind production tax credit sunsets. and with that, i'd like to ask for some words from my cosponsor on the amendment, senator cramer. mr. cramer: mr. president.
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the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: thank you, mr. president. i rise to join my colleague, senator hoeven, in offering this amendment and urging our colleagues to support the amendment to strip the wind production tax credit from this massive bill. mr. president, i feel like i'm living in an episode of "the twilight zone," and i wish i could say that i'm surprised, but i'm not, because here we go again. despite numerous requests and appeals and deals with the leader and the chairman of the finance committee, to not jam this body with the 13th extension of the wind production tax credit, here we are with another one in front of us. since the credit's inception in 1992, and for a lot of those years, i was a utility regulator, it has always been promised that it would be temporary and would expire. last year, we got jammed at the last minute with another extension, and rightly, the people back home are really, really upset with us. and i didn't -- it didn't sit very well with me either. that's why in april of this year, i sent a letter to leader
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mcconnell with colleagues from west virginia, wyoming, and georgia, saying it was time to finally level the playing field and get rid of this market-distorting atrocity. in july, i led another letter to chairman grassley with even more colleagues from west virginia, wyoming, tense, oklahoma, and pennsylvania with the same message -- let this credit expire. and here we are again. the requests have fallen on deaf ears, and we have simply been given another bitter pill to swallow with the extension today. some in this congress have pointed to an extension of carbon sequestration threat, 45-q and 48-a as if they were an equal trade. they are not. despite years of pleading the treasury department, yes, this treasury department still has not finalized regulations so an extension of 45-q is moot if there is no way to actually monetize the credit. of equal importance, financial investors have said if renewable credits are extended, they will absorb whatever tax appetite exists because they are predictable, and those deals
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have been done many times. just to reiterate, they can't even utilize 45-q because treasury hasn't finished the regulations three years after congress expanded the credit. more to the point, there are some great proposed carbon sequestration projects planned in north dakota that benefit is targeted while in contrast, hundreds of miners and local communities they built are being hurt by the extension of the production tax credit. i strongly support carbon sequester projects, but to assume that the potential benefits of 45-q or 48-a are equal to the unilateral harm of the wind credit is disingenuous at best. and i had heard from utilities who actually use the wind p.t.c., but they said they don't need it because the market is so awash with wind credits, they can't even monetize them. it's completely upside down. in fact, the p.t.c. credits are actually taking money away from other clean energy projects like
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nuclear clean coal. taking emissions-free energy right off the grid. just a few days ago, "politico" said this -- the simplest option for tax extenders would be to let all 33 that are scheduled to expire at the end of the year to be renewed. i have a simpler plan -- let them all expire. k street wouldn't like it, but it would be one less section in this giant package. so, mr. president, one final point. in all my time in congress -- and that has been eight years now -- the wind production tax credit has never been extended through regular order or an open discussion or even hearings. despite our objections or promises from the wind industry that it should expire, in the 11th hour with a government shutdown looming, it gets dropped into the members' laps. that alone should be a red flag that the only time it has enough chance to pass is when it rides the coattails of our national defense and the government operations. it's shameful, mr. president.
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i support the amendment from senator hoeven, and i urge my colleagues to support it as well. let the wind p.t.c. expire. i yield my time. mr. hoeven: mr. president, i thank my colleague, senator cramer, and turn to my colleague, senator lankford. mr. lankford: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: mr. president, i will be brief. i did what many of us did today. we spent the day digging through a 5,600-page bill trying to find out what's in it. we broke it up into hundreds of pages of chunks and separated it among our staff and just started reading through it as quickly as we could trying to be able to pull out the details. we found a lot of things that we really like. we found a few surprises as well. so help us, we found right in the middle of the document on tax policy a zombie. the wind production tax credit, something that we had heard had died. in fact, something that we had heard died two years ago. in fact, something that we had heard died six years ago when all of us agreed it should die.
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in fact, the plan was take it down a little bit each and every year until it finally got to zero. the problem was when it got to zero, some lobbyists lobbyist helped somebody get it back in last year, and it suddenly after going to zero reand. -- reappeared. and then so help me it reappeared again. so this temporary credit that distorts the market, that literally changes the prices in all of our energy, whether that be oil or gas or coal or solar soar hydroelectric or nuclear, it gives a special perk to one, and all of the rest of them get furious, but for whatever reason, the simple credit can't seem to go away. when we agree to something, we should probably stick to it, and we agreed years ago to phase this out. to get this zombie -- but yet
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this zombie keeps reappearing and wawpg the halls of the senate. our simple challenge is this -- let's put this zombie in the daylight. let's have the real argument over it and determine is this distorting the energy market for everybody else, including all of our renewables? is it something we need to keep? now, i live in oklahoma. if you know our song, you know the wind comes sweeping down the plains. we have been called the saudi arabia of wind power. i promise you can't drive very far in oklahoma without seeing a field of windmills. we've got lots of wind power, and we think it's a great energy source. but it's a mature energy source, and it does not need the wind production tax credit. so let's sunset it. with that, i'd yield. mr. hoeven: mr. president, i'd like to thank my colleague, senator lankford. also we'd like to thank senator
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lamar alexander, senator barrasso, others that support this legislation, and with that, i ask unanimous consent that our motion to concur with the amendment which is at the desk be agreed to and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. wyden: reserving the right to object, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, and colleagues, i am going to be brief. i just want to give the senate a sense of where we are with respect to this renewable energy issue. in front of us now is a bipartisan agreement to extend a variety of approaches that are going to allow us to promote greener energy that reduces carbon emissions. and when i talk to colleagues on both sides of the aisle, there is enormous support for that, enormous support for the effort to reduce carbon emissions. now, i can look around this
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chamber and i can see colleagues starting over in that corner with senator heinrich who has worked for years on renewable energy and literally go around the chamber and point out colleagues who have worked with me and others on the renewable energy provisions that are part of this bipartisan agreement. this includes not just the credit for wind but solar and renewable energy, and i would submit this is the best approach to what we have today, which is a need to make sure that critical investments are not missed out on now. now, for the future, we do have a plan, and that is to have a technology-neutral approach that would avoid picking winners and losers and basically taking this
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mess of a tax code with more than 40 separate energy provisions, throwing it in the trash, and saying we're going to focus on one thing -- reducing carbon emissions. we aren't there today. that's what this issue is all about, but what is here today is climate change, and that is why it is so important that we pass the legislation that is in the bill and reject this amendment. so with that, i want to thank my colleagues from north dakota. i remember enjoying going to north dakota with the sponsor of this amendment. i will tell you if you're over six-feet tall, make sure you exercise before you go to north dakota because you will be in the smallest airline seat in the history of aviation. but john hoeven is a very good and caring man. i'm looking forward to working
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with him on these issues in the future, and, mr. president, with that, i would object. mr. hoeven: mr. president. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i would ask my colleague from oregon -- and i did have him in north dakota. we had a great time, and i appreciate him coming out to see the energy we produce in our great state. and i would ask the gentleman for his help on carbon capture technologies. we put funding in place to advance those carbon capture technologies. and i ask for his help and his colleagues' help in that deven. mr. wyden: i would just say to my colleague, i'm always interested in working with him for the future. i would just say that the focus after we pass this bill, and particularly these important provisions which are going to meet immediate needs, let's set
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at our lodestar reducing carbon emissions. you and i served on the energy committee together. that's an approach that brings together republicans and democrats. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. hoeven: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i thank my cosponsors on this amendment and our efforts with till. -- will continue. with that, i yield the floor.
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mr. wyden: i'd note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: could we have order in the senate. the presiding officer: the senators will please take their conversations off the floor. the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask the chair to lay before the senate the
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message to accompany h.r. 1520. the presiding officer: the chair lays before the senate the following message from the house. the clerk: resolved, that the house agree to the amendment of the senate to the bill h.r. 1520, entitled an act to amend the public health service act to provide for the publication of a list of licensed biological products, and for other purposes, with an amendment to the senate amendment. mr. mcconnell: i move to concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment, and i know of no further debate on the motion. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, all in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion to concur is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h. con. res. 128, which was received from the house. the presiding officer: the clerk will report.
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the clerk: house concurrent resolution 128, directing the clerk of the house of representatives to make a correction in the enrollment of h.r. 1520. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask that all time be yielded back. the presiding officer: is there
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objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there is. the question is on the motion to concur. the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote. the yeas are 91, the nays are 7. the 60-vote threshold having been achieved, the motion to concur is agreed to. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent that the senior senator from south dakota and the senior senator from kansas and the senior senator from missouri be authorized to sign duly enrolled bills from december 21, 2020
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through january 3, 2021. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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