Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  February 16, 2022 1:59pm-5:59pm EST

1:59 pm
of billionaires, 745, became more than $2 trillion richer. and when we talk about the growth of oligarchy in america, not a lot of people, but i do, but when we talk about oligarchy in america, it's not just the very rich are getting richer. that's one thing. but the reality is that tens of millions of working-class people, lower-income people in the wealthiest country on earth are suffering today under incredible economic hardship, desperately trying day to day to survive. 745 billionaires in the pandemic, $2 trillion increase in their wealth, tens of millions of americans struggling
2:00 pm
hard just to survive. today, nearly 40 million americans live in poverty, and tonight almost 600,000 people will be sleeping out on the streets or in homeless shelters. they have no apartments, no places in which to live. and here's an important fact to remember -- in our country today, the average average worker is making $42 a week less than he or she made 49 years ago. in other words, when you try to appreciate the anger that exists in this country, the discontent, it has a lot to do with the fact that the average american worker is worse off in terms of real inflation weekly income than was the case 49 years ago. now, think about that. think about how crazy that is.
2:01 pm
think about all of the increase in technology and productivity that we have seen, where workers today are producing a lot more than they used to because of the new technology. and yet, because of a huge transfer of wealth and income they are worse off than they were in 1973. half of the people in our country today are living paycheck to paycheck, and tens of millions are an accidents -- an accident, a i divorce, illnes or layoff away from economic devastation. america today, we remain the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare as a right. the result of of that is we have a system in which over 80 million americans are uninsured or underinsured, and tens of thousands die each and every year because they don't
2:02 pm
get to a doctor when they should. while many public schools throughout our country lack the. and here is something else that we don't talk about. we have a habit here, i'm
2:03 pm
afraid, in the senate, and in the house, we talk about a lot, but often not the most important things in the country, and that is that i suspect that as part of human nature, every person, in america and around the world, would like to live long and happy and productive lives. that's pretty basic human nature. but in america today, the very richest people live on average 15 years longer than the poorest americans. so, when you talk about income and wealth inequality, it's not oh, this guy has a nice house, this person doesn't have a nice house, big car, no car. that's one thing. if you are poor in america, you are dying at a significantly younger age than if you are wealthy. president, the polls sm
2:04 pm
to show that more and more americans are giving up on democracy. they work long hours for low wages. they worry about their kids. they can't afford healthcare. they see their jobs going to other countries. meanwhile, the people on top are doing better than at any time in american history. and they wonder -- hey, we elect these guys to the house, the senate, governors. what are they doing for us? do they understand? do they live in the world? -- in the real world? do they understand what's going on in our lives, or are they too busy going out, raising campaign contributions from the rich and the powerful? i believe, madam president, that the time is long, long, long
2:05 pm
overdue for the congress to start addressing the needs of the american people. and i know it is a radical idea to suggest that maybe, just maybe, we should do what the american people want and not what wealthy campaign contributors want. when 83% of the american people want us to lower the cost of prescription drugs, you know what -- it might be time for the senate to do that. when 84% of the american people know there is something wrong with elderly people, can't afford dental care, hearing aids, or eye glasses, 84%, maybe, just maybe, we may want to expand medicare to cover those basic healthcare needs. when overwhelming numbers of the american people know that it is beyond absurd that some
2:06 pm
billionaires in large, profitable corporations don't pay a nickel in federal income tax, maybe, just maybe, we might want to change our tax system so that the rich and the powerful start paying their fair share of taxes. when 76% of the american people understand that our home healthcare system is a disaster, that many elderly people, disabled people would rather stay home rather than be forced into a nursing home, maybe we should expand home healthcare. when we remain the only major country on earth not to have paid family and medical leave, the only major country on earth, maybe it's time that the congress pass paid family and medical leave now. when we have a dysfunctional child care system, in which in my state, not different around the country, working parents are paying 25%, 30% of their income
2:07 pm
for child care so they can go to work, maybe we should reform our child care and pre-k system so that it is affordable to all parents in this country. and maybe -- i know this is another radical idea -- a piece in the paper today about the impact of climate change, sea levels are going to rise by a foot in the next few decades. we're looking at drought, floods, extreme weather disturbance. here's a really radical idea, madam president -- maybe at a time web the -- when the scientists tell us that it is questionable in terms of the kind of planet we're going to leave our kids and future generations, whether or not it is going to be habitable or liveable, i know it's a radical idea, a lot of fossil fuel money coming into this place, but maybe, just maybe, we stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them their short-term profits are not more important than the future of this planet.
2:08 pm
so, madam president, we have a lot of work to do. i'm not sure that we will do it. i'm not sure that members of congress have the willingness or the courage to stand up for the powerful -- to the powerful special interests who control the economic and political life of this country. but this i will say, if we do not do that, in terms of the economy, in terms of climate, in terms of healthcare, in terms of education, future generations will look back at this congress and say where were you? thank you, mr. president. thank you, madam president.
2:09 pm
a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. i come to the floor today to specifically talk about americans' need for more american energy. for the last year, the american people have been suffering from ongoing joe biden inflation. they're paying the price. they're feeling the pain.
2:10 pm
and it all started on day one of the biden administration, when he took out his executive order pen and he killed a pipeline bringing energy from canada to the united states. and as this war on american energy has continued, we are now at a point where inflation is the worst it's been in 40 years. so, it's no surprise that the president's approval rating has dropped to a low of only 40%. in america. well, this incredible rise in prices for energy, as well as all of the other components, whether it's gas, whether it's groceries, but if energy gets more expensive we know that it costs more to manufacture things, costs more to grow things, costs more to transport things from where they're grown or manufactured to market. so much of this inflation has been brought on as a result of
2:11 pm
the joe biden policies related specifically to american energy. when you look at the laws that he's promoted, the executive actions that he has taken from day one, going all the way up to a speech he gave just yesterday, this is a president who is dancing to the tune of the climate elitists and wants to keep american energy in the ground. energy prices are up overall about 30 cents on the dollar since joe biden took over. they've gone up eight months in a row. gasoline prices are up by about a dollar a gallon, if not more so, since biden took office. i was in a high school in gra grabal, wyoming, started talking about energy prices. i asked if they knew what the cost of a gallon of gasoline was. the student body knew, to within
2:12 pm
nine-tents of a penny how much the cost of gas gasoline was in their hometown. you could see it right up there, and people know the price and they have been watching since joe biden took over, the price of energy going up, and we've also seen joe biden's approval going down. this isn't a coincidence. this is a direct result of the anti-american energy policies of this president and the democrats in this body and this administration. on his first day in office, his very first day in office, joe biden killed the keystone pipeline. he blocked new oil and gas leases on public lands. he's gone after energy exploration in alaska. and for the senior senator from alaska to come to the floor and go to a energy -- an energy committee and say it's hard to believe, but we're using more energy in the united states today, she said, from russia
2:13 pm
than we are from alaska. that's a result of the actions of this administration. so, what's happened with all of this? what's the impact been to american families? well, they're struggling. they're suffering. they have to change the way they drive, the way they eat, the way they live. people can't keep up. wages aren't keeping up with costs. they're just not. people's dreams are being crushed because they have to take the savings that they've been saving for different items they're wanting to do and they have to use it to just get by. where it costs about $275 a month now, this year, to just get by compared to last year. just to maintain a standard of living, people are having to pay
2:14 pm
$275 more each and every month. just to maintain, not to get ahead. apparently, according to the majority leader, the democrats finally, finally yesterday at their lunch, were going to talk about inflation. it's now february of 2021. be -- february of 2022. joe biden came into office january of 2021. said inflation was going to be temporary. a month, he said, after month after month after month, and now ten months into a very serious situation, still don't hear any practical solutions coming from the democrats. we do hear gimmicks. oh, we do hear gimmicks. joe biden in september had his national security adviser unbelievably beg open ek and russia -- beg opec and russia to
2:15 pm
produce more oil. we're using twice the amount of crude oil now from russia than we were a year ago. vladimir putin who may any day, even this day, may invade ukraine, is still exploring -- exporting five million barrels of crude oil a day. the price of oil is $90 a barrel. probably going to a hundred. the biden and democrat policies have been a jackpot for vladimir putin. so in november of he tried the effort to beg putin to produce more energy and sell it to the united states, the president went to another trick, his bag of trick, another gimmick. and he said let's release some energy from the strategic petroleum reserve. so he said how much he was going to release.
2:16 pm
secretary of energy was asked at a press conference well, how much is that relative to how much we use in the united states? didn't have any idea. turned out it was about two and a half days worth and the impact of the release dropped the price by two cents a gallon. two cents. oh, democrats padded themselves on the back -- patted themselves on the back and then prices went up again. complete failure. now prices are expected to g goeven higher. as i said, maybe a hundred dollars a barrel soon. many experts are predicting $4 a gallon when you go to fill up this summer. and now we hear another gimmick coming from the democrats. this time it's a temporary pause in the gasoline tax until after election day. so "the new york times" had a story about it today. democrats with an eye on mid
2:17 pm
terms search for ways to bring down rising prices. not because americans are suffering, not because people at home, if the democrats ever go home, not because people at home are telling them how hard it is, not because they have an understanding of the needs of the american people. no, none of those reasons. the democrats with an eye on the mid terms have introduced this legislation. you look at the list of the cosponsors and it's interesting that so many of them are people who are listed as vulnerable come the elections in november. this might be the gimmick to end all gimmicks. suspending the gas tax -- oh, and by the way, bringing it back right after the election. it's all election driven.
2:18 pm
going to need less energy after election day? going to need more expensive energy after election day? that's what we get. i found it interesting to see one democrat stand up and comment on this. it's larry summers. he was an economic adviser and secretary, cabinet member working both the clinton and the obama administrations. what did he call it? shortsighted, ineffective, gfy, and gimmick -- goofy, and gimmicky. thank you, larry summers, for pointing out to the democrats in this body what the american people already see. your efforts are shortsighted, ineffective, goofy, and gimmicky. of course the gas tax is the way that we pay in this country for roads and bridges. if the gas tax went away today,
2:19 pm
the american people and the kids in the high school who can do the math, would know the gas tax is 18 cents a gallon, federal gas tax, know that the increase in the cost of gasoline and what they're paying at the pump is still about a dollar a gallon higher today than it was the day joe biden became president of the united states. this newest proposal by the democrats, it's not about affordable energy. it is a cheap political trick. might sound good at a press release. the kids in wyoming know it's not going to help them. democrats desperately want to look like they're starting to do something after ignoring inflation, denying it was even there in the first place. yet after months and months and months of the american people suffering, the american people know a gimmick when they see it. so democrats have tried to spend
2:20 pm
five months passing their billion dollar reckless tax an--tax-and-spending bill. the president called it build back better when he was spoag to county commissioners. the bill includes electric vehicles so they get subsidized. electric vehicles don't pay gas tax because they use electricity. they don't subsidize in any way or pay to use the roads for the wear and tear on the roads that they drive. and yet the democrats are calling for billions and billions of additional dollars of subsidies for those drivers. nearly every democrat in this body still supports this taxpayer giveaway. nearly every democrat in the senate still supports joe biden's war on american energy. the war on american energy is raising the cost on american consumers. they say we're going to take 18
2:21 pm
cents off the cost of a gallon of gas when it's already up a dollar a gallon or more and by summer will be a lot higher than that. it's like putting a band aid on a bullet hole. joe biden once again yesterday talking to these county commissioners, promoting his so-called build back better which includes the green new deal which has increased taxes on american energy, increased regulations on american energy, increased penalties on producing american energy, the american people get the fact that that will raise the cost for them to drive their car, to heat their home, to grow crops, to get items to market where shelves are still bare and they were this past weekend at the grocery store in casper, wyoming. democrats still are delighted that we've ended the keystone xl
2:22 pm
pipeline. the secretary of energy was supposed to caught with a report about how many jobs were lost by that. still waiting for the report. hohomework is past due. will we ever see the report from the secretary of energy who doesn't want to point out the specific impact that joe biden has had on this country in terms of killing jobs and raising energy prices. the american people see through all of this. that's why only three in ten americans today support the president of the united states on what he is doing about inflation. that means that just about every republican and every independent and a whole lot of democrats don't like the fact that joe biden is ignoring them, refusing to focus on the issues that are important to them and their
2:23 pm
lives and their families and their future, that their dreams are being stolen and ripped from them. if they've been having savings that they wanted to use for something they've been planning for years. and what we see, another gimmick coming from the democrats only because their eyes are on the mid terms. their eyes ought to be on the people at home who sent them here in the first place. there is a solution to the high cost of american energy, and that's to produce more american energy. let us make it here. we have it. oh, we have it in abundance. we have it in wyoming. we have it all across the country. produce american energy, use american energy. vladimir putin knows how to use energy. he uses it as a weapon and he's using it as a weapon right now. he's holding europe hostage. germany has fallen into his trap
2:24 pm
with nord stream 2. he knows how to use energy. we have been in the united states an energy super power. we are. we have the capacity to do it. we've gone from energy dependence to energy independent to energy dominance. we need to return to the day when we're using american energy. we are much better as a country and safer as a country and stronger as a country. if we sell energy from the united states to our friends rather than follow the joe biden route of begging vladimir putin to sell some of his energy to us. that weakens america. it weakens us. it weaks our future. -- it weakens our future. madam president, we have the resources here in america. we have the k know-how. we have the individuals wanting to work, producing american energy. we need an administration which
2:25 pm
will allow us to do so, and we don't have that with the leadership in the white house and in the majority party in the house and the senate right now. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor.
2:26 pm
2:27 pm
2:28 pm
2:29 pm
2:30 pm
2:31 pm
russian people in the united states and nato, ukraine wants a war. they will not shrug or stand idly by if he tries to invade his neighbor marie dropped the map with deadly force. we've spent time russia's security concerns and not enough time examining legitimate concerns of russia's neighbors. many of whom have a long history of being invaded by moscow. the concerns of these sovereign states matter as well. they will do well to amplify
2:32 pm
their voices and historical experiences, it's fine for biden to engage in diplomacy provided we are skeptical about this contingents. whose behaviors proving how little can be trusted and interested in diplomacy. anything other than a gambit to divide the west or pretext for war. the u.s. must keep sending strong messages verbally and concrete actions both right now, before any hostilities and devastating force if putin does plow ahead. u.s. and partners should waste no time helping ukraine prepare for war. weapons, material, advice, logistics and intelligence, we should build the infrastructure to help ukraine sustain resistance to russian aggression
2:33 pm
if and when it comes. i welcome the additional territory of nato allies situated along this. i recommend taking actions months ago and i'm grateful to kentuckians in the 121st airborne division joining reinforcement nato in eastern europe. as our diplomats work to halt russian aggression, it's the brave men and women of u.s. military give the words addict weight. i'm hopeful president biden will rise to the occasion bipartisan group of colleagues and i made clear in a segment yesterday the president would have overwhelming bipartisan support to use existing executive authorities or sanctions against russia in the event of conflict. we should acknowledge prudent use of energy and reference.
2:34 pm
the president is serious about providing relief for americans in the manipulation of the energy market he will stop his administration anti- energy policies that make it harder for our producers to explore, produce and export energy and allies. while allies have consistently taken a clear eyed approach to their own defense, time for america to invest more meaningfully in our military capabilities demand our allies in western europe follow suit. whether the administration is serious about competition with russia and china will be clear in the fiscal 23 budget request, our allies and adversaries will all be watching in a different matter while the world's eyes are fixed on the present foreign policy crisis troubling facts are continuing to surface surrounding the administration's
2:35 pm
previous self inflicted crisis, botched retreat from afghanistan. last week journalists published the findings are 2000 page autopsy, army officials compiled following the chaotic withdrawal from kabul. the report hammers home the damning fact known for months. the biden administration received clear warnings from commanders on the ground i should have been heated. this was foreseeable, forcing and avoidable. the army's conclusion on the report for special inspector general to declassify last month. president biden in his advisory still cling to the notion they got mistaken advice were caught off guard, these reports
2:36 pm
suggested nonpartisan experts knew and predicted afghan military would likely collapse and spend months trying in vain to get the administration to pay attention. commanders reported trying to get state department officials to engage an entrance evacuation plans was like pulling teeth. ". the national security council was not seriously planning for an evacuation. among peers in uniform, everyone clearly saw some of the advantage of holding barbara as the top u.s. commander on the ground during the evacuation put it, policies makers have not paid attention to the indicators of what was happening on the ground. this report from our own u.s. army could have chastised the biden administration and should
2:37 pm
be an occasion or apology, reflection and accountability. but last week president biden tried to simply break away our own armies without evidence. he was asked, are you directing the conclusion or the accounts in the army report? he replied yes, i am. were they not true? i am rejecting them the president said. no evidence, just handwaving denial. frankly a bizarre performance. i retrieved from afghanistan seriously damaged america's credibility, it made confronted terrorist threats that much harder from over the horizon and
2:38 pm
invited more testing -- e're not in a quorum call. mr. durbin: thank you, madam president. i rise today to speak about a critical role played by u.s. attorneys and united states marshalls in keeping america safe. law enforcement is a team effort, and we need officials at the federal, state, and local level working together to stop crime in this country and to keep people safe in their homes and in their neighborhoods. it was only two months ago that i came to the floor of this senate to request unanimous consent for the senate to take up and confirm five u.s. attorney nominations. despite the outstanding credentials of all these nominees, one senator, the junior senator from arkansas, refused to allow the senate to confirm five nominees for u.s. attorney positions by a voice vote, a tradition in the senate. that senator's objections have nothing to do with the nominees. he said so. nothing to do with their records and nothing to do with their
2:39 pm
qualifications. well, after he was confronted on the floor of the senate, he lifted his objection. we were able to get those u.s. attorneys confirmed and put them to work, and there's work to be done in every state in the union to make this a safer nation. we believe in law enforcement. we believe in it at every level. and when it's delayed, putting professionals in place, that delay can cost lives. you can stand up and say, i don't want to the defund the police, and then refuse to fill vacancies when this comes to law enforcement? that's inconsistent. sadly, we find ourselves in the same position trade two months later -- today two months later with the same senator from arkansas. he is again objecting to the swift nomination of u.s. attorney and u.s. marshal nominations. in short, the same senator making it increasingly difficult for us to prosecute violent criminals, track down fujitives, protect americans from gang
2:40 pm
violence, cybercrime, terrorism, and fraud. it is worth taking a moment to consider what u.s. attorneys and u.s. marshals dox the positions that they hold are nearly as old as the nation itself. both u.s. marshal and u.s. attorney positions were created by the judiciary act of 1789, passed by the first congress, signed into law by president george washington. the specific responsibilities have changed over time, but the core function is the same. this is the federal answer to enforcing the law, prosecutor crimes, and protecting our communities. u.s. attorneys are charged with prosecuting all federal criminal offenses. u.s. marshals have the responsibility of risking their lives to protect federal judges in courthouses, tracking down fujitives and assisting and locating and recovering missing children, just to mention a few. in short, u.s. attorneys and u.s. marshals play a critical role in enforcing the law, promoting public safety, and protecting our communities. so it's sad that the same junior senator from arkansas is
2:41 pm
blocking the confirmation of six u.s. attorneys and two u.s. marshals today. doing so threatens public safety across america and puts millions of americans at risk, including the most vulnerable. despite all the tough talk we hear from many of these senators on the other side of the aisle about their dedication to law and order and keeping america safe, it is a republican senator who refuses to take up and confirm these nominations in an expeditious way. before i ask for consent for the senate to confirm the nominees, i'd like to recognize the majority leader. mr. schumer: thank you to the majority whip as chair of the judiciary and for your talk on this issue, and i thank the senator from minnesota, who has been passionate about getting this done as well. i rise to join with my democratic colleagues in support of these u.s. attorneys and marshals who have
2:42 pm
single-handedly been delayed for weeks by one senator, the junior senator from arkansas. for decades, decades, democrats and republicans have regularly cooperated to swiftly confirm the many, many individuals selected by each president to serve in their administration. regardless of the party in the white house, both sides have long agreed that a president deserves to have his or her administration in place quickly. that doesn't mean we don't disagree, but it does mean when nominees are held up, opposed, or blocked, it's for a legitimate purpose, not for leverage and partisan games, to score political points at the expense of public safety. most of us still believe that -- in that principle. but, sadly, not all of us. on the other side of the aisle, a small group of obstructionist republicans have spent the last year hijacking the rules of the senate to place an unprecedented number of holds on presidential appointees. met me repeat, this isn't about a -- let me repeat, this isn't
2:43 pm
about a few moms here and there. we're talking about hundreds of nominees. in this case, my colleague from arkansas is holding back six u.s. attorneys and two u.s. marshals, vital roles in preserving public safety. the level of partisan obstruction is a new low for the senate. when president trump was in office, every single u.s. attorney and u.s. marshal, every single one, was confirmed by this chamber with unanimous consent. yes, we had deep, deep problems with the trump department of justice, but never did we demand a roll call vote just to confirm nominees like these. the last time the senate had to hold a roll call votes -- listen to this. the last time the senate had to hold a roll call votes to confirm a u.s. attorney was half a century ago, nearly half a century ago, 1975. and it's not hard to see why. u.s. attorneys and marshals aren't political positions. their job is literally to keep americans safe. they're federal prosecutors,
2:44 pm
they're federal law enforcement. if my republican colleagues on other side truly care about public safety, why are they obstructing the appointments of individuals whose jobs would precisely be to maintain public safety in the first place? it's alice in wonderland logic. now, this isn't just about breaking precedent. right now communities across the country still don't have their u.s. attorneys on the job because of obstruction here in the senate. districts in georgia, 0 he owe, nevada, minnesota, michigan, illinois, they're all still waiting for u.s. attorneys. sadly, the families who live in these communities shouldn't have to pay the price for what a very small number of republicans are doing here. but, sadly, that's what is happening. it's a textbook example of why americans are frustrated with the senate, frustrated with their government. on the other hand, i want to thank my democratic colleagues
2:45 pm
for advocating on behalf of u.s. attorneys and marshals. i thank my friend, senator durbin, chairman of the judiciary, for speaking passionately. i thank senator klobuchar for coming to speak to -- for coming to the floor to speak. one way or another, these nominees will be confirmed by the senate. republican obstructionists can try to delay but they cannot stop these individuals from ultimately going through. if the holds on these nominees are not dropped, i'll be filing cloture on them and we will schedule votes to advance them until the job is finished. if that means more late nights, then more late nights are coming. if it means votes series with six or seven or eight votes in a row, then that's what we'll do. most of us don't want to go down that road and we don't have to. the overwhelming majority of democrats and republicans want to preserve the decades of precedence and comity that enabled us to work together on
2:46 pm
nominees. let meet say for one last time, delaying the appointment of u.s. attorneys and u.s. marshals over cheap partisan games ultimately makes americans less safe and weakens law enforcement. i urge my republican colleague to drop his obstruction or else he can explain to his colleagues why we have to schedule a dizzyingly large number of roll call votes just to push these nominees through. i thank my colleagues for their work and yield to senator durbin. mr. durbin: i thank the majority leader and would like to just add there must be those following the debate are wondering what's the basis for the junior senator from arkansas opposing these eight nominees? there must be something wrong with them. there must be something in their background that doesn't add up. i mean consider the variety of individuals who are being held up by the junior senator from arkansas. ryan k. buchanan of georgia to be u.s. attorney for the
2:47 pm
unfortunately district. jason furman of nevada tor u.s. attorney for the district of nevada. andrew m. luger of minnesota to be u.s. attorney for the district of minnesota and the senator from from minnesota will speak to that. mark a. totten of michigan to be u.s. attorney for for michigan. marisa darden. deal i -- -- delia smith. eddie m. frizell to be u.s. marshal for minnesota. madam president, we looked especially at our own very closely to make sure that they were qualified to take on this federal position. several of my colleagues are going to come to the floor today to speak about the nominees being held up by one senator. so rather than delving into the records of all the eight nominees, let me just focus on the one in illinois, chief la
2:48 pm
don rern noldz nominated to serve for the northern district. chief reynolds served for nearly 30 years, joined the oak park police department, rising steadily through the ranks until appointment in 2019 as chief. in addition to his service at the oak park police department, chief reynolds serves on the law enforcement training board, illinois commission on discrimination and executive board of the illinois association of chiefs of police. in short, chief reynolds is eminently qualified to serve as u.s. marshal for the northern district of illinois. there is simply no valid basis to delay his confirmation, and i have yet to hear the senator from arkansas come forward with a bill of particulars of why he has decided to single out the people that i just mentioned to deny them an opportunity to make communities safer across america. at a time of high cream and the need for -- high crime and the need for a coordinated effort at
2:49 pm
every single level, there is absolutely no valid explanation of why these individuals are being withheld from their responsibilities in these communities. we need to have law enforcement taken seriously and respected. holding up nominations for no particular reason other than a political issue that may bother the senator is certainly no reason for us to jeopardize the safety of innocent people living in these communities who depend on these federal law enforcement officials to do their job. at this point i'd like to make a unanimous consent request. madam president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of the following nominations en bloc. calendar number 660, 661,
2:50 pm
662, 6 of 63, 739, 740, 741, 742, that the senate vote on the nominations en bloc without intervening action or debate, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that any statement related to the nominations be printed in the record and that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: reserving the right to object, which i most certainly will do, i'll just address what the senator from illinois said. he said he's heard no explanation for why i'm objecting to every department of justice nominee moving forward on a fast-track basis. that's false. he's heard my explanation repeatedly. he may not like it, but he's heard it. i'm taking this stance on behalf of four brave u.s. marshals who defended the federal courthouse in portland from left-wing street militias associated with
2:51 pm
the b.l.m. movement and antifa. in december of 2020, this is part of riots all across our country. but in portland, these riots were particularly dangerous. marshals were targeted with lasers to blind them, with ball bearings, with fireworks. there were efforts to barricade them inside the courthouse and set it on fire to burn them alive. these marshals are heroes, and they should be celebrated. anyone who says they support law enforcement should be defending these marshals. not surprisingly left-wing activists and left-wing organizations like the aclu are coming to the defense of the left-wing street militia that attacked these marshals and tried to burn down the portland courthouse. suing marshals on frivolous
2:52 pm
grounds. many of these marshals are being defended by the department of justice, as is the department of justice's long-standing custom and practice to either provide representation for its law enforcement officers when they are sued in court or if there is some conflict, to reimburse them and pay their legal fees. four marshals are not being defended, though. these four marshals are gs-11's, gs-13's. they have been be serving our country for a lifetime. many of them are veterans, veterans of foreign wars. they face financial bankruptcy and ruin because the department of justice won't represent them. in many cases won't even give them an answer or explain why the representation was denied.
2:53 pm
when i learned of this, i demanded answers. the department of justice had no answers. so if my colleagues think that i'm going to just roll out the red carpet for department of justice nominees to be confirmed to politically connected positions while gs-11's and gs-13's are hung out to dry, they have another thing coming. some of you may say, maybe there's investigations underway. maybe these officers engaged in misconduct. we don't know. they won't give us an answer. but here's what we do know -- all four of them, all four are currently on unrestricted active duty. unrestricted active duty. and i would add all four, all
2:54 pm
four are in the special operations group for the marshal service, which means to say they are the marshals who are most likely to be deployed nationwide and put in circumstances that risk their lives and call for them to use violence to include lethal violence. i don't know the circumstances that led to the denial of representation of these four marshals or why some of them are being strung along, but i have to assume, i have to assume that if they are on unrestricted active duty in the special operations group for the marshals service, that merrick garland and vanita gupta can't have any doubts about their fitness to serve or their action for all those weeks in portland when they defended the courthouse from left-wing street militias.
2:55 pm
now, i understand my colleagues want to get their u.s. attorneys or the u.s. marshals confirmed. maybe there's people at main justice they want to get confirmed as well. that's very simple. we could do it today. we could hear from merrick garland or vanita gupta that they will defend these four u.s. marshals in court. or we can har a satisfactory -- hear a satisfactory answer of why they won't defend the marshals in court. is it because they were standing up to a left-wing street militia? is it because they were taking a stance to defend federal property from antifa? i don't know. we can't get an answer. maybe my democratic colleagues could get an answer. but to think that i'm just going to roll over and allow the senate to fast-track nominees to the department when gs-11's and
2:56 pm
gs-13's law enforcement officials are being hung out to dry? sorry. these are people -- and i've talked to them -- who are worried about buying christmas gifts for their children last year because they were going to have to pay legal fees, who worried about paying the mortgage next year, next month, who worry about sending their kids to camp. sorry if your lawyers have to wait for a week or two to get confirmed to the u.s. attorneys position. i'm worried about four heroes who defended federal property from left-wing street militias. so, yeah, i do object. mr. durbin: madam president. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. durbin: try to follow that logic, if you will. the senator is so committed to law enforcement, he is so committed to u.s. marshals, he won't let us appoint people to fill vacancies. he takes the case in portland, oregon, where he wrote a letter to the department of justice
2:57 pm
within the last two weeks asking for the status of their defense of these 74 individuals. now he knows and we all know that before we can take any action for anybody, we need a confidentiality waiver, a privacy statement. that's routine in all of our offices. each one of these individuals, despite the interest of the junior senator from arkansas, has their own legal right to determine whether or not they want to waive any privacy so that they can tell the public or discuss even with the senator their plight and how they want to address it. there is also something called the attorney-client privilege, which the senate i'm sure is aware of. that too is a privilege which allows the individual to deny ordinary access to information if they so choose. it's their decision. so the complication of this situation is ignored by the senator from arkansas. he is valiantly standing for u.s. marshals that he won't appoint. he believes they're important and give their lives to their
2:58 pm
country, and many have, and yet he won't let them stand up and do that on behalf of our communities. he wants an answer to his letter, and until he gets an answer to his letter, then we're not p going to be able to put law enforcement in place to deal with crime in this country. we can make all the statements, run all the ads, make all the speeches on the floor about a concern for safety in our communities, and then the junior senator from arkansas says i want you to be safe in your community but you can't have a u.s. attorney to prosecute those would-be terrorists, can't have a u.s. marshal for fugitives of justice, can't have one to protect the courthouse for men and women who go there and risk their lives for the administration of justice. we're talking about 74 individuals, the department of justice has said they are going to defend 70 of them. one is a question, i assume, whether he was acting in the scope of his employment, and three are under review. and for that reason, this
2:59 pm
senator has decided to stop the administration of justice in these jurisdictions or at least slow it down. that makes no sense whatsoever. the basis for objecting to these individuals has nothing to do with their individual qualifications. he didn't raise a single question. all he said is your lawyers are going to have to wait, as if these were just lawyers waiting for a fee. these are men and women willing to serve as he serves, in public service. it's more than just lawyers, not that there's anything wrong with that category of americans, but it's individuals who are willing to engage in public service. why are we in such a hurry? we're in the second year of this president's administration. it's time to fill these vacancies. as senator schumer said earlier on the floor, there are several on the republican side who just want to drag this out interminably in the hopes they can stop the biden administration from filling these vacancies. my colleague from arkansas asked whether the d.o.j. is representing federal law enforcement personnel who protected the federal courthouse in portland. the fox news headline about his
3:00 pm
letter said, quote, cotton places hold on d.o.j. nominees after refusal to defend u.s. marshals involved in portland antifa riots. here's the reality. the department of justice often represents or pays private counsel to represent federal employees sued in their individual capacity. but there are some constraints and i've mentioned them. for example, regulations require the department of justice can only represent employees for actions within the scope of their employment. for exam -- for example, protecting the portland courthouse and the department of justice can represent them in doing so would be in the interest of the united states, it would be if they are defending against terrorists. the senator knows this. why you know -- you know why? because they responded to his letter. he didn't like the response. the department said the department of justice strongly supports the representation of federal officers in the line of
3:01 pm
duty and that they've paid for counsel for several of these employees who have been sued while denying a single request for representation. i don't know the facts of that denial. i don't know if there's a privacy waiver signed. i don't know if this individual said i have an attorney-client privilege and i don't have to tell the senator from arkansas or anyone what the circumstances are. the senator from arkansas is now demanding to know why the department of justice denied this one request for representation and why it's still reviewing three others. that's right, he's blocking the confirmation of critical law enforcement officials across the united states until he gets an answer that he likes. the d.o.j. has already explained that it cannot comment further and here's what they said. in light of significant confidential amount really interests and applicable privileges. as i mentioned earlier, the privacy laws and attorney-client privilege. d.o.j.'s regulations make it clear that communication about
3:02 pm
an employee's request for representation are protected by the attorney-client privilege and the privacy act prevents d.o.j. from disclosing the personnel record of an employee and that's as it should be. let me be clear, this protects the imriefs of the very law enforcement personnel who the senator from arkansas claims to represent. my republican colleagues frequently claim to be party of law and order, but in this matter and others they are the ones playing politics with law enforcement. because the department of justice will not snap to the senate's request and violate standard laws because they won't ignore those laws of privacy and attorney-client privilege, he is prepared to endanger the communities and law enforcement. i heard my colleagues claim time and again that the biden administration and democratic mayors are responsible for violent crime. they claim the increase of
3:03 pm
violent crime has nothing to do with the farkt that america is -- the fact that america is awash in crime. the violent crime started under the last administration, president trump, it is affecting communities led by both republican and democratic communities. statistics show that 70% of homicides were committed with guns. in comig that number is it higher. 93% of homicides last year in chicago committed by gun. we face a gun-vines crisis. the judiciary committee heard five hearings last year on ways to reduce it. if we're going to address this crisis, we're going to need senators from both parties to show some courage and commit that gun violence in america is a real problem. we need republicans to stop defending the violent insurrection that took place in this chamber on january 6, 2021.
3:04 pm
the senator was present. all of us were. five brave police officers lost their lives as a result of what the republican national committee calls legitimate political discourse. this is nothing new. last year congress passed the american rescue plan. $350 billion for state and local governments. we made sure that funding was going to hire good law enforcement officials an -- and invested in communities. not a single republican lawyer approved it. there are areas where we are working in a bipartisan. i hope my republican colleagues will take a lesson from today. if we're going to stand together, then let us all stand behind the federal law enforcement team. when president trump asked for his team, democrats in the senate cooperated and gave those people to him. they weren't the people we would have chosen, but he was
3:05 pm
president and had the right do his best to protect this nation, so does president biden. president biden has called for significant increases for our police in the burn justice program and the cops hiring program, but this important funding has been delayed by debate over appropriations. we shouldn't delay the appointment of these key law enforcement officials either. again and again democrats are working to support law enforcement and to keep americans safe. sometimes we are joined in these efforts by republicans, and other times not, but there is no benefit to law enforcement when senators block the confirmation of well-qualified attorneys and u.s. marshal nominees as we see today. i urge the senator from arkansas to stand up for law enforcement, a political story on fox is not worth undermining the lives of innocent americans. we've got to end this obstruction and let these nominees protect and serve and i now yield to senator klobuchar.
3:06 pm
mr. cotton: madam president. the presiding officer: the junior senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: i'm surprised the senator from illinois continued to refer to this as a political issue or story when we have career law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line to defend their communities, and they -- and that they can send their children to summer camp or put braces on them. i don't consider that a political issue. every deputy marshal around the country who forms the backbone of the marshal service, the backbone of the marshal service all across the country who have to wonder if maybe they are going to be the next one hung out it to dry by the department of justice, if they confront a rioter with the wrong politics. it's not a political issue. now, the senator from illinois continues to speak about confidentiality and attorney-client privilege as if this is all information
3:07 pm
communicated these four marshals and they don't want to share in the senate. that's not the case. three of them haven't heard anything in a lawsuit that's almost 18 months old, they've been told nothing yet. that's why they had to go and retain their own counsel. one of them was denied representation with no more basis than saying, it's not in the interest of the united states of america. well, forgive me if i don't trust ms. gupta what is in the interest of the united states when it comes to defending law enforcement. these marshals were told that these determinations are final and there is no recourse, well, i'm the recourse now. the senator from illinois talks about the urgent law enforcement needs. in his own state of illinois, i would point out that the position that is empty has been empty since 2008. if it was -- 2018.
3:08 pm
if it was urgent, he could have cooperated with the trump administration. president biden fired all u.s. attorneys a year ago. if it was so important to have senate-confirmed u.s. attorneys in position, he could have asked them to serve until he found suitable replacements. the senator from illinois said senator cotton got his letter responded to. i'm not looking for some courtesy exchange of letters here. i'm trying to protect four u.s. marshals who defended the portland courthouse from a left-wing street militia who have been hung out to try, imperialing the confidence of all marshals across the country in whether the department of justice will back them up when they are in a controversy. and the department still won't answer that. they won't take any steps to
3:09 pm
answer it. they simply hide behind aftionality and -- confidentiality and privilege just like they are hiding behind it with these four u.s. marshals, after 18 months. what's so complicated? the senator from illinois said they are representing 70 others. what makes these four so different? maybe they engaged in misconduct. is that possible given the fact that they are all on unrestricted duty, the element the marshals most likely to have to use, including lethal violence, would ms. gupta or merrick garland sent them back on the streets if they engaged in misconduct in portland? these marshals deserve better and they could get better in the department of justice would just agree to represent them or if they would give a satisfactory fact-based answer about why they
3:10 pm
are not representing them. maybe some of my democratic colleagues could call merrick garland or ms. gupta and ask for such an answer or ask them and say, why don't you represent these four marshals? that seems like the obvious satisfactory outcome here. u.s. marshals are represented in court as they should be and we can fast-track department of justice nominees. but until ee get to that out -- until we get to that outcome, we will not fast-track department of justice nominees, because i will stand up for these brave men from law enforcement who deserve better from this department of justice. klobuchar madam president. the presiding officer: -- ms. klobuchar: madam president. the presiding officer: the senior senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: madam president, i rise today in support of the two nominees from my state, andy
3:11 pm
lugar who is nominated for the district of minnesota and eddie vanelle who has been nominated to be the u.s. marshal and i was sitting here thinking to myself as i listened to senator cotton, that there were a lot of things i disagreed with the trump justice department -- many, many things, but never once did i think about holding up the u.s. attorney of arkansas or of arizona or of illinois because i disagreed with donald trump. why? because as someone who used to be in law enforcement, i understand how important these positions are. and i don't think they should be held hostage simply because he happens to have a disagreement about something the justice department is doing. because there were so many things that i disagreed with
3:12 pm
bill barr and his associates with, and not only did i support the nominee for minnesota that donald trump put up for both the marshal and the u.s. attorney and voted for them, but i actually issued a public statement saying that they were qualified. and i worked with them and i talked to them ahead of time and i actually liked them because they might not have been, as the senator from illinois pointed out, my first choice, but there was something larger than politics and my first choice. my first choice was our justice system, our country and safety of our citizens. right now in my home state they do not understand why a senator from arkansas is holding up law enforcement in the state of minnesota. as a chief federal law enforcement for their respective districts, u.s. attorneys are
3:13 pm
critical to ensuring that american communities are kept safe. this role is so vital that the founders created the position during the very first congress during the federal judiciary act of 1789. this is the same act that created the attorney general and the structure of the courts. today in my state the u.s. attorney leads a team of nearly 130 dedicated law enforcement professionals, including 65 assistant u.s. attorneys. the office is responsible for bringing to justice those who commit a range of federal crimes, including drug trafficking, child exploitation, cyber crimes and national security matters. after 9/11, it was the u.s. attorneys office in my home state of minnesota that was involved in what was known as the hijacker that got caught, a citizen turned him in and it was our u.s. attorney's office that worked with new york on that case. it was our u.s. attorney's
3:14 pm
office that took on the second biggest white collar case next to madoff and won. it was our u.s. attorney's office and our nominee, andy luger, who took on the most infamous case, and i know the pro pro siding -- presiding officer knows of this case, a sad tragic case and he was able to put together the puzzle pieces because of his vast experience of working as an assistant in the state of new york, working in minnesota in this very office as an assistant and working his way up and he was able it to put together that case with local, state, and federal law enforcement and solve it and bring some justice and bring some closure for the wederliny family. this is a guy who took on a sex
3:15 pm
trafficking case on his own and brought the case to trial. this is someone who has reached out to our communities, our native american communities and gotten things done. and this is someone, based on my discussions, senator cotton, with the trump white house, that they would have actually, after firing all the u.s. attorneys, would have had him back. he decided to go to the private sector for a while, and now he is ready to come back. so, this is someone who i have gotten calls about since you put this hold on all the u.s. attorneys, from republican members of congress, who think we need him in place. i have gotten calls from republicans across my state who want to put this guy in place. we have double jeopardy here for my state because you are not only holding up, senator cotton, the u.s. attorney for the state of minnesota, you are also holding up the u.s. marshal.
3:16 pm
andy luger, the u.s. attorney nominee, as i noted, previously led the u.s. attorney's office for the district of minnesota from 2014 to 2017. his proven experience is exactly what is needed to handle the challenges facing law enforcement in minnesota today. he has been waiting since january 1 to get this done, because he figured it went well before the committee. so he's waiting. he's waiting to serve our state, as is our u.s. marshal candidate in addition to the u.s. attorney's office for over 160 years, the u.s. marshal service has helped keep minnesota safe, protecting public servants, tracking down and apprehending fugitives, and operating the witness protection program. president biden's nominee to serve as u.s. marshal for the district of minnesota, as i noted, is eddie frizell. chief frizell was recommended by a selection committee, as was
3:17 pm
andy luger, that senator smith and i convened. it included leaders in minnesota's law enforcement advocacy and league communities. eddie frizell brings nearly 30 years of experience in law enforcement in my state, including serving as a chief of police for the metro transit police department. as i noted, he's also a 30-year veteran of the minnesota army national guard. i once met him coming off a plane after his deployment. i'll never forget that moment. as these braves soldiers are getting off the plane, i thought i know that guy. i was a senator now. i knew him as a police officer, i was the county attorney. 30 years, veteran minnesota army national guard, including two overseas deployments. went to bosnia and another to kuwait and iraq. throughout his career he has led by example, immersing himself in the community and becoming what our newspaper called a model of persistence.
3:18 pm
his proven experience is exactly what is needed. so why haven't we been able to confirm these two nominees, both of whom moved through the judiciary committee on a voice vote, with broad bipartisan support, after i proudly supported president trump's nominees, who by the way they wanted their jobs, and they did their jobs? that's how we do law enforcement. that's how it's supposed to work. this hold has nothing to do with the quality fixes of the nominees from my state. instead, as senator durbin has just noted, senator cotton has put a indiscriminate hold on all department of justice law enforcement nominees, stalling appointments for critical positions in illinois, georgia, nevada, michigan, ohio, the virgin islands, and yes, my state of minnesota. and i'm sure if he continues this, and if senator schumer as noted has to call up votes for positions where all during the trump administration went
3:19 pm
through with consent, during the trump administration. these nominees in these states are ready to serve millions of americans, including 5.7 million people in my state who need the leadership of a permanent u.s. attorney and u.s. marshal. senator cotton is seeking information from the department of justice, and i hope that his questions are answered, but i cannot stand by and let him use critical law enforcement nominations as leverage. i note, and i will end with this, the time tables. during the last administration, erica mcdonald, the u.s. attorney i mentioned, former judge, appointed by tim pawlenty, who i met in my house to make sure we moved her nomination quickly, she was confirmed by the senate, senator durbin, to be u.s. attorney the same day her nomination was reported by the judiciary committee. on may 24, 2018. tom he felfenger was nominated
3:20 pm
by two president bushes, the first and second president bush. when he was nominated by george w. bush to be u.s. attorney, his nomination was received by the senate on september 4, 2001, he was reported favorably by the judiciary committee on septembey the full senate the next day. his entire confirmation process took ten days. by the way, when he retired from his position, he then served on my selection committees. the u.s. attorney who had served under both president bushes. this is how law enforcement is supposed to work. before him, todd jones, who became the head of the a.t.f. he was nominated by president bill clinton to be u.s. attorney for minnesota. his nomination was received in the senate on october 7, 1998. he was reported favorably by the judiciary committee the next day, and confirmed by the full senate on october 21, 1998.
3:21 pm
his entire confirmation process took only 14 days. finally, there was james rosenbaum, nominated by president ronald reagan to be u.s. attorney for minnesota. his nomination was received by the senate october 21, 1981. he was reported favorably out of the judiciary committee that day, and was confirmed by the full senate that day. his entire confirmation process happened in one day. i hope we can get back to this tradition of cooperation and recognition that these law enforcement leaders aren't pawns in a political game. they are needed to help keep our communities safe and they deserve to move through the senate expeditiously. we expect sound judgment from federal law enforcement. our constituents expect sound judgment when it comes to confirming top federal law enforcement officers for a state. and it's time to do the right thing by confirming not just mr. luger and mr. frizell, but the other law enforcement
3:22 pm
officers that have been held up. and i am happy to come back here day after day after day until we get this done. the people that work in the u.s. attorney's office, marshal's office, and my constituents deserve to have people in place. thank you. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senior senator from illinois. mr. durbin: in the interest of allowing the senators wishing to speak an appropriate amount of time, and within the confines of our upcoming vote, i ask unanimous consent that there be 40 minutes equally divided between the majority and minority, that on the majority side recognized in the order of rosen, cortez masto, duckworth, and brown. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the junior senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: i feel like we're ships passing in the night here. i could go on and on about the exploits of these deputy
3:23 pm
marshals when they were rangers and green betteras and what they did -- berets and what they did in combat, but my democratic colleagues aren't getting the heart of the matter. why they are being denied representation for defending the courthouse in portland. i'll direct a question to the senator from minnesota through the chair. does she believe these four u.s. marshals should be represented in court, like all other marshals are being represented? ms. klobuchar: : madam president. being that i'm the senator from minnesota, and i am not on the staff of the attorney general of the united states, and i have nothing to do with the state in which this happened, i'm not aware of all the facts of this, and i think it would actually be inappropriate for me to be involved in justice department policy. i'm here on behalf of the people in my state, and i want to get someone in place, and i have made the case, senator cotton, that at no time did i not only hold up the u.s. attorneys or
3:24 pm
the marshals under donald trump, i actually supported the ones in my state. i'm just asking for that same courtesy for the people of my state. we have talked about this before. and i simply believe that we should be able to get our u.s. attorneys and marshals in place, and you can do what you want to complain about what's going on in the justice department, to make your case to them, to go on tv about it, to make speeches in this chamber, to write letters about it, to advocate, to gather your friends who might support you on this, but you shouldn't be hurting the people of my state while you do it. the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. ms. rosen: madam president, i urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to allow these highly qualified federal law enforcement nominations to move
3:25 pm
forward. in my state of nevada, the position of u.s. attorney has been unfilled for nearly a year. this position, while it plays a vital role in maintaining the rule of law and making sure that justice is carried out in our state. the continued obstruction of these critical nominees, well, it impacts the public safety of nevadans. it impacts their ability to see justice served. we have a highly qualified nominee to serve as u.s. attorney, jason frierson. he's a graduate of the university of nevada reno and the boyd law school at the university of nevada las vegas. he's a former nevada supreme court clerk. and he served in the district attorney's office as a public defender and as deputy attorney general for our great state. in addition, mr. frierson has a
3:26 pm
long track record of fighting for hard-working nevadans as speaker of the nevada assembly. i know he will lead in his role with integrity and a deep commitment to upholding the law as the top federal prosecutor for our state. there is absolutely no basis to delay his nomination, and the nominations of other u.s. attorneys and marshals around the country. holding up these qualified nominees does not help americans. it only leaves them unprotected. we must rise above partisan politics and do our duty to allow these key roles to be filled. for all of the people from my state of nevada, i urge my colleagues to allow the nomination of jason frierson and the other nominees in this block to finally move forward. thank you.
3:27 pm
mr. cotson: -- mr. cotton: madam president. i feel like ships passing in the night here, not getting the point. i will address the question to the senator slight slightly differently from what i did to the senator from minnesota. if officers are returned to active duty on this special operations group, does the senator believe they should be represented for past incidents of alleged misuse of force? ms. rosen: i will reiterate what my colleague from minnesota said. i do not serve in the judiciary committee, and i do not serve in the department of justice. therefore, i am not privy to the information that has been provided in privacy to the department of justice. those marshals, if they would like to divulge their
3:28 pm
information, they are free to do so as united states citizens. but there are privacy agreements with attorney-client privilege that is clearly not being able to be pursued in this fashion. so my opinion does not matter. what matters is the law. i do not serve in the department of justice. therefore, i cannot answer your question. mr. cotton: unfortunately, i don't have any information to divulge. that's part of my point. the department of justice won't tell them why they're not being represented. the presiding officer: the senior senator from nevada. ms. cortez masto: thank you. madam president, i join rise to join senator rosen and my other colleagues in urging our friend and senator from arkansas to allow the nomination of these candidates for u.s. attorney, u.s. marshal to move forward. let me just start by answering the question that you have posed to both of my colleagues,
3:29 pm
because i think it needs to be refrained. -- reframed. i think the premise really is this, there's no doubt that your ultimate goal here, and you have an ultimate goal that you're trying to achieve, and i don't question that, i do question, though, the procedure and the means by which you choose to succeed in your goal, and that's what we're talking about, senator cotton. because at the end of the day what you're trying to do is literally stand for u.s. marshals while at the same time harming the u.s. marshal service by not allowing two nominees to go before and get appointed to the u.s. marshal service. likewise, you're adding to that u.s. attorneys across the country, including one in the state of nevada, who are on the front lines of the law and order that we need in this country, as
3:30 pm
you well know. u.s. attorneys work with u.s. marshal across the country to address violent crime in this country, to prosecute it, to address drug trafficking, human trafficking, murders, and so on. the means by what you're trying to achieve here is actually harming law and order across the country. and i don't think you intend to do that. i hope not. but that's what we're questioning right now is the means by what you're trying to achieve there. so what we are asking for you is to reconsider. because at the end of the day -- i heard you earlier and i think you made some comment about saying sorry in your lawyer -- and your lawyers have to wait to get confirmed in a week or to. you know better. these just aren't lawyers. you know u.s. attorneys across this country are on the front line also of law and order. they are key to prosecuting essential crimes that we need to address in this country, including working with our u.s.
3:31 pm
marshals along with the f.b.i. and other essential federal agencies. so i would ask that you reconsider the means by which you're trying to achieve your goal because in nevada the position of u.s. attorney has been vacant for a full year. the president has nominated jason frierson for that role and senator rosen and i support this excellent candidate. the senate needs to confirm him and let him get to work. he's qualified for this position and i'm not hearing from you that you have concerns about his qualification, but he is essential to ensure that we get somebody in place, confirmed very swiftly so that he can get to work on behalf of the people of the state of nevada and be on the front lines of addressing and ensuring we have law and order not only in nevada but across the kin and these other
3:32 pm
-- across the country and these other states. my question to you, senator cotton, is would you reconsider the means by which you're trying to achieve your goal so you are not harping those men and women who are on the front lines of law and order across the country including here in the state of nevada that we're talking about, and you will hear from some of my other colleagues. so i pose the question to you, senator, through the chair. mr. cotton: the question to me then, so i reject the premise of your question. i'm not harming law enforcement. i'm standing up for law enforcement. once again if you deny four u.s. marshals legal representation because they stood up to the left-wing street militias may be -- which may be unpopular in certain corners of your party, you cause every law enforcement official in the country to doubt whether they'll be defended in the future. if you don't have -- if you want to have a broader debate, we can. but we'll be here a long time. it's your party who voted for
3:33 pm
the lockstep, who allowed felons on the street who have now committed innumerable violent crimes. it's your party who chanted in the streets for defunding the police. it's the democratic floor leader who blocked my resolution in the summer of 2020 to condemn the defund the police movement. you all voted in lockstep to confirm vanita gupta, the associate attorney general who is responsible ultimately for these decisions, even though i and other republicans cautioned you she would use her position to wage a war on the police from the department of justice. that's what's happening now. and i'm standing up for law enforcement. ms. cortez masto: madam president? mr. durbin: would the senator from nevada yield for a point. ms. cortez masto: yes. mr. durbin: the step act, the republicans were in the majority. it was a bill sponsored by senator grassley, durbin, lee, and many others and who signed it into law? donald trump signed it into law, the so-called democratic
3:34 pm
measure. the presiding officer: the senior senator from nevada. ms. cortez masto: madam president, i'm disappointed because i hear my colleague that es -- but he's not listening. he's continuing to use the same talking point that he's defending law enforcement when at the same time he's harming law enforcement across the country. this really is nonsensical. it does not make sense to not only me and my colleagues but to the general public that's watching. when we are talking about pointing positions -- appointing positions to the u.s. marshals service, to u.s. attorneys office across the country, they're essential to addressing what we see across the country and ensuring that there's law and order. so it's the means by which you're trying to achieve your goal which we would ask you to consider. and unfortunately i'm not hearing from my colleague from arkansas that he's willing to reconsider it and stand up for law and order across this country. and support the u.s. attorneys offices and the marshals that
3:35 pm
need to be appointed. i yield the floor. mr. cotton: madam president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: to respond to the senator from illinois, yes, it's true that president trump signed the first step act. it was the worst mistake of the trump administration. yes, it's true that a number of republican senators voted for it. they were wrong. they didn't start demanding that we defund the police in the summer of 2020. they condemned that. they stood up with law enforcement. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the junior senator from illinois. ms. duckworth: thank you, madam president. i join my colleagues, the senators from nevada, minnesota with my frustration as to why we're here today. today i'm joining them and urging my colleagues to join me in calling for the swift confirmation of chief ladon reynolds to be the u.s. marshal for the northern district of illinois. as a seasoned law enforcement officer, chief reynolds is more
3:36 pm
than ready to take on the challenges of this important leadership role, including paying a key part in addressing the rising violent crime devastating our communities in northern illinois. and yet the only reason he's not already confirmed to this position is because of a hold from senator cotton, a hold that is completely unrelated to chief reynolds' immense qualifications. these qualifications include serving with distinction as the chief of police of oak park police department for nearly 30 years, teaching law enforcement officers about the importance of community oriented policing at the illinois law enforcement training and standards board executive institute, and working to protect communities from rising hate as a board member on governor pritzker's commission on discrimination and hate crimes. senator durbin and i carefully reviewed chief reynolds experience and expertise. it's clear to us and the white house that he is the best fit for the job. what we're asking for now is simply to let reynolds get to work. let him take charge of an office
3:37 pm
that has already gone without senate confirmed leadership for four years. we need to have a confirmed u.s. marshal leading federal law enforcement operations to secure our federal courthouses and capture violent fugitives in the law. -- of the law. as u.s. marshal reynolds would also play an important role in the biden administration's multijurisdictional strike force to investigate and prosecute gun traffickers, channeling deadly weapons into the city of chicago. every day there are new stories of horrifying and often deadly impacts of rising violent crimes in the northern district of illinois. in fact, last year was one of the city of chicago's deadliest in decades. but statistics alone cannot fully describe the devastation our communities have endured. for so many chicagoans, the presence of gun violence is a constant source of trauma and grief in their day-to-day lives. it is painful and gut-wrenching to see this sort of senseless violence happen again and again. we cannot wait any longer to
3:38 pm
advance reynolds' confirmation, especially not for his nomination to be used as a pawn in senator cotton -- for senator cotton to expedite a response to his unrelated pending -- to the u.s. department of justice. instead we must act to make sure that the northern district of illinois u.s. marshal's office has the leadership it needs to fulfill its mission of administering justice and enforcing the law. if senator cotton is serious about tackling violent crime and making our communities safer, then we must move forward with confirming ladon reynolds to be the next u.s. marshal for the northern district of illinois now. chief reynolds' nomination has my full support and i request that senator cotton lift his blanket hold on the u.s. attorney and u.s. marshal nominees pending consideration before the senate, including reynolds' nomination. thank you and i yield back. mr. cotton: madam president? the presiding officer: the junior senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: we keep hearing that this is unrelated as if i'm
3:39 pm
upset with something the coast guard did, or the corps engineers want to improve some water project in arkansas. these are department of justice nominees and right now the department of justice is not standing up for law enforcement officers by hanging these four marshals out to dry. that's why i'm not agreeing to fast-track these nominees. i'm not going to agree to fast-track political nominees while the department of justice hangs out to dry career law enforcement officers. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senior senator from ohio. mr. brown: fast-track? fast-track? senator cortez masto said it's been a year since they've had a u.s. attorney confirmed, city in nevada. in ohio it's been -- let me count the days. 404 days since they last had a
3:40 pm
permanent u.s. attorney leading the office. senator cotton with his demagoguery comes down here and talks about fast-track. i don't know what speed they move in arkansas but i would not consider what we're trying to do fast-track. they've been -- senator portman supports this nominee. let me talk about that. so we know the pandemic has caused an alarming rise in violent crime, especially gun crimes. the northern district of ohio which includes toledo, cleveland, akron, canton, youngstown, mansfield, warren, cities in basically the north half of the state. the u.s. attorney -- the highest caseload in the last 30 years, without a full time confirmed u.s. attorney. even before the pandemic the district had a staggering caseload. after reaching a record low in 2016 with only 363 new cases
3:41 pm
through senator cotton, i might add, through the obama administration. the number of new cases began to climb in 2017 at the beginning of the trump administration. if you want to play those games, senator cotton. the number of new cases rose to 706 in 2018, has kept climbing since. last year 170 homicides in the city of cleveland where my wife and i live, another 30-year record not to mention a surge in carjackings. we need to fill key law enforcement positions in ohio as senator cortez masto said, as senator durbin said and in their states and senator rosen and senator duckworth. we need to fill these key law enforcement positions. i hear from ohio police officers. they're in desperate need of help while we through -- senator cotton and others accuse democrats of undermining police or whatever term they use, a term that none of us use. and when we have supported local governments with more dollars so
3:42 pm
they can hire more police while you oppose those same positions as we know. so we're working with local police to get them that help. whether it's confirming u.s. marshals, whether it's confirming u.s. attorneys, thankfully we have an extremely qualified nominee in ohio that's ready and eager to serve. the only thing standing in her way is the u.s. senate and apparently the only thing standing in the senate's way is senator cotton although i'm sure somebody else would be willing to take his place. marisa is a lead attorney in both civil and criminal cases, has an assistant u.s. attorney in the northern district. she was recognized for her work on several cases involving highly complex legal issues. she received the national high intensity drug trafficking award for an opioid effort in 2016 for outstanding investigative effort in 2019. listen to what some people have said. federal district judge bah net
3:43 pm
take pierson, you can be assured that ms. darden will fiercely enforce the law while treating all, attorneys, staff, community with appropriate sensitivity. justin herdman, nominated by president trump, supported by senator portman and me both, u.s. attorney justin herdman, the last confirmed u.s. attorney in the northern district he was, described her as an attorney of outstanding ability and unquestionable integrity. he said she's a leader who has a proven track record delivering results inside and outside the courtroom. first assistant public defender jacqueline johnson. this was her first recommendation for u.s. attorney in 38 years of practicing in the northern district. she said she based her recommendation, her belief that ms. darden possesses the intellect, vision, temperament and judgment needed to lead the u.s. attorney's office during this perilous season. d.e.a. special agent in charge keith martin, 26 years of
3:44 pm
experience, she's one of the best he's ever encountered, he said. he explained she is phenomenal in her interaction with law enforcement, cooperative, stands on her principles. i can't imagine a better choice. these qualifications, i repeat, that senator portman also supports ms. darden's nomination. confirmation would also be historic making her the first african american woman to ever serve as a u.s. attorney in ohio. unfortunately senator cotton blocks this nomination in addition to the eight other law enforcement nominees by his own admission his objections these nominees have nothing to do with their qualifications. i support his desire to get answers from d.o.j. he should get them but the solution for his disagreement with d.o.j. is not to -- not that the six million ohio citizens pay a price or the millions of citizens in illinois or nevada pay a price or minnesota or anywhere. the last thing i'll say, madam president, last week i spoke with police officers, one of the many kind of round table zooms i
3:45 pm
do around the state. police officers from around the state. one officer conveyed his frustration -- college frustration with politics today. he told me that officers in his department have begun leaving letters on their lockers that say if they're killed in the line of duty, they want no elected officials invited to their funerals. he said, democrats or republicans? no elected officials. the reason for that is the gamesmanship we see right now, that we're not willing to confirm u.s. attorneys, u.s. marshals, in many cases federal district judges just because somebody's been offended by the lack of a letter or something somebody at the justice department said to them. the fact is we need to do this. it will help our states, it will help our country combat crime. let's heed this officer's warning and come together to get qualified and talented law enforcement officials and professionals on the job. thank you, madam president. mr. cotton: madam president.
3:46 pm
the presiding officer: the junior senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: contrary to what the senator from ohio says, i'm not offended by the lack of letter, i'm not offended by something someone said. i'm offended that four u.s. marshals, four u.s. marshals have to decide whether they're going to have enough money to buy christmas gifts for their kids, pay their mortgage next months, put braces on their kids, send them to summer camp because that's the position that the department of justice put them in. to recap, four u.s. marshals were among dozens deployed to portland last summer to guard the courthouse from left-wing street militias. they were targeted with blinding lasers, ball bearings, fireworks. there was an effort to barricade them into the courthouse and set it afire to burn them alive. now left-wing activists and left-wing organizations like the aclu are suing them and the department of justice won't provide them representation, won't tell them why they're not providing them representation.
3:47 pm
maybe they engaged in some kind of misconduct, maybe it was excessive force? that would be strange because all four of these deputy martials are back on unrestricted active duty with the special operations group of the marshal service, the element most likely to be sent into the most dangerous circumstances and have to use violence, and include lethal violence. it would be pretty it strange to send them back to the special operations group with no restrictions if they engaged in some kind of misconduct in portland. that's what this is about and what it does to undermine the faith and confidence of every career law enforcement professional in the department of justice. so, no, i will not agree to fast-track political nominees to the department when the department leadership is hanging out to dry career law enforcement officers.
3:48 pm
mr. durbin: would the senator yield for a question? i ask a question through the chair. has the senator been given a privacy waiver by the one marshal that the department of justice is not going to defend? mr. cotton: no, i have not, but i know the response that marshal received was that the denial of representation was not in the interest of the united states. mr. durbin: madam president, how much dominion do we have? sorry, go ahead. mr. cotton: no more facts, like the three waiting for determination have been waiting for a year do not have any fact-based explanation. mr. durbin: madam president, how much time do i have remaining? the presiding officer: one minute and 13 seconds. mr. durbin: that last admission by the senator from arkansas tells the whole story. he doesn't even know why the department is turning down representation of one person out of 74. they have agreed to represent 70 of these u.s. marshals, employees, and they've said they will represent them. and three are under review.
3:49 pm
one has been turned down, and he hasn't received a privacy waiver, so he doesn't know why. i don't know why either. but you know who's paying a price for it? millions of americans who are asking for federal law enforcement to be adequately staffed to do their job. the u.s. attorneys and the u.s. marshals that want to keep us safe and be part of the team to do that. and because this senator suspects there may be something suspicious about this, he doesn't have a privacy waiver, he's going to hold up those officials throughout the united states and put their communities in peril. tell me that that is devotion to law enforcement. mr. cotton: madam president. the presiding officer: the junior senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: this is exactly the point. the privacy waiver or not, what does it matter? here's what we do know, that none of these four know why they were denied representation or why they haven't had a determination. we know that, and we know that they were sent back on unrestricted active duty to the special operations group. i think the department of justice political leadership owes these brave law enforcement
3:50 pm
officers an answer before it hangs them out to dry and exposes them to risk financial ruin and bankruptcy. the presiding officer: is all time yielded back? mr. cotton: i yield back. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question occurs on the wallander nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote: vote:
3:51 pm
3:52 pm
3:53 pm
3:54 pm
3:55 pm
3:56 pm
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
4:00 pm
4:01 pm
4:02 pm
4:03 pm
4:04 pm
4:05 pm
4:06 pm
4:07 pm
4:08 pm
4:09 pm
4:10 pm
4:11 pm
4:12 pm
4:13 pm
4:14 pm
4:15 pm
4:16 pm
4:17 pm
4:18 pm
4:19 pm
4:20 pm
4:21 pm
4:22 pm
4:23 pm
4:24 pm
4:25 pm
4:26 pm
4:27 pm
4:28 pm
4:29 pm
4:30 pm
4:31 pm
4:32 pm
the presiding officer: the yeas are 83. the nays 13. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the question occurs on the honey nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
4:33 pm
4:34 pm
4:35 pm
4:36 pm
4:37 pm
4:38 pm
4:39 pm
4:40 pm
4:41 pm
4:42 pm
4:43 pm
4:44 pm
4:45 pm
vote: vote:
4:46 pm
4:47 pm
4:48 pm
4:49 pm
4:50 pm
4:51 pm
4:52 pm
4:53 pm
4:54 pm
4:55 pm
4:56 pm
4:57 pm
4:58 pm
4:59 pm
5:00 pm
5:01 pm
5:02 pm
5:03 pm
5:04 pm
5:05 pm
5:06 pm
5:07 pm
5:08 pm
5:09 pm
5:10 pm
the presiding officer: the yeas are 94, the nays are 1, and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately night of the senate's actions.
5:11 pm
5:12 pm
5:13 pm
5:14 pm
5:15 pm
the presiding officer: could we have order on the floor, please. mr. grassley: thank you, madam president. i have come to this floor before for the same subject, but i now come to express my concerns once again about the rise in crime in america. now i want to express what that rise in crime means for everybody, if we don't stop it. if we don't act soon and don't
5:16 pm
reverse the trend of tolerating crime, a generation of americans will see the greatest cities fall once again into decay. we've seen it before and it's not something we want to see again. so to stop it, we must allow the police to enforce the law and demand that prosecutors do their job. a couple of generations of americans have now grown up not knowing how dangerous some of our biggest cities used to be. the two that come to mind are new york and washington, d.c. first, let's look at new york 20, 40 years ago. when asked what they think of
5:17 pm
times square in manhattan, most younger americans would probably say that it's a tourist trap. but it wasn't always that way. in the 1970's, times square was an open sore filled with adult theaters, drugs, and rampant crime. back then the new york city subway looked like something from some dystopia -- dystopian horror movie. in other words, you avoided new york city subways if you could. now let's turn to washington, d.c. in the late 1980's. its decay could almost be traced back entirely to one person. just a few blocks from here where we're standing right now,
5:18 pm
a drug dealer named rave edmund ran the most notorious crack cocaine operation in the country. by 1989 he was bringing 1700 pounds of cocaine into d.c. every month. he used to -- he used -- he put snipers on rooftops near his headquarters. police suspected his operation was involved in 30 homicides. during that time the city's murder rate doubled. washington had the nickname the murder capital of the world. then something great happened. mayors and prosecutors got
5:19 pm
serious about dealing with cr crime. they sent rayful edmond for life. -- to jail for life. people living in cities felt more safe. pervasive fear gradually lessened because police took criminals off the street. the crime rates in new york and washington plummeted. young families moved to urban neighborhoods that war far too dangerous just a few years before. this was wonderful obviously. the block where edmond -- rayful edmond once put his snipers on rooftops is now a very normal residential street. our cities, everybody knows,
5:20 pm
should be places where we want to live. we should enjoy going there to see other people. we shouldn't avoid cities because we're afraid of getting harassed on the streets or carjacked at the worst. but that's what's beginning to happen again. all over the country our biggest cities are starting to look dangerous and empty. history repeats and repeats. cities are evolving into what they were just a couple of decades ago. homicides in 22 major cities have gone up 44% since 2019. carjackings are up double, even triple and worse in some cities.
5:21 pm
thieves are stealing if stores with impunity. when that happens, those businesses shut down leaving neighborhoods with empty store fronts and a recipe for urban decline. crime is up because of the permissive approach by too many so-called progressive prosecutors. one prosecutor in san francisco has said that if you steal less than $950, you won't be prosecuted. no wonder people are committing more crimes. these prosecutors see criminals as victims, releasing them back into the streets shortly after being arrested. this sows fear in local
5:22 pm
residents. common sense ought to tell everybody that. common sense says it kills growth. common sense it hurts neighborhoods. common sense says it endangers regular people who want to live their lives peacefully. america as a nation -- america is a nation of progress. we are a nation of progress moving forward. our current backward slide to urban decays in the 1970's and 1980's is tragic. working class families and those who can't afford to move somewhere safer will bear the brunt of it. the solution here is not very complicated. a recent poll showed two out of every three people know what some of these blue city mayors
5:23 pm
haven't figured out yet. more police equals less crime. when prosecutors list a whole bunch of crimes that they don't -- won't prosecute, it encourages law breaking. also we need to stop the crusade to defund the police. we need to stop progressive prosecutors. you know, i know there's prosecutorial discretion. we all know that not every crime can be punished or prosecuted. but if you were a smart prosecutor who didn't want to encourage more crime, you wouldn't tell the whole world
5:24 pm
that certain crimes aren't going to be punished and others will be punished. because that's inviting those laws to be broken. that's why you see dozens of people rushing into a retail store grabbing everything they can that's under $950 and leave. prosecutors ought to keep their mouth shut and just do the job. and if they use discretion, keep it to themselves, not to punish some crimes. so we need to make sure that repeat offenders and those who are a threat to society don't get bail. otherwise younger generations of america will learn all over again the harsh lessons about how quickly our greatest cities can fall into decay. i yield the floor.
5:25 pm
the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
5:26 pm
5:27 pm
5:28 pm
5:29 pm
5:30 pm
quorum call:
5:31 pm
5:32 pm
5:33 pm
5:34 pm
5:35 pm
5:36 pm
5:37 pm
the 5.7% gdp growth rate and 6.6 million new jobs. as fast as our economy has grown perhaps 1984 and the new jobs added to the economy were the most ever for a president's first year. it after former president trump botched her national response to covid america is on the right track under president biden. we face serious challenges in that demand action from congress for the cost of living has come up for families across the country and around the world as well. destruction unleashed by covid is decimated supply chains and the labor supply and the effects of global pandemic that began two years ago still reverberate today. these challenges demand action and democrats remain laser
5:38 pm
locust on lowering costs for american families. yesterday our caucus met for our weekly lunch and we had a spirited and enthusiastic discussion about ideas from our members to take action. we talked about how we can continue working to over job costs prescription drug costs and semiconductor costs and price increases across across a wide party products. lowering costs will continue to be a caucus wide effort to we are all on the same page that we need to tackle the issue head on. that's the difference between democrats and republicans. rising costs of course impact all of us whether we come from blue or red states that democrats are the ones laser locust on showing where we stand and offering solutions that aim
5:39 pm
squarely at the problem. republicans seem to have no solutions, just rhetoric. the other side sadly seems oftentimes motivated by something else. rather than working with us in a bipartisan spirit our republican colleagues seem more comfortable giving speeches that go on and on about rising costs without offering any solutions. complaining about the problem doesn't make inflation better. proposing solutions does and that's precisely what democrats will continue focusing on. over the next month and beyond members from our side will continue offering a number of solutions, solutions that will lower costs and leave more money in people's pockets. we need to help working families build wealth after the pandemic and lower the cost of medications like insulin which is $600 a month. we need to relieve supply chains and increased domestic manufacturing on things like chips and on that front i'm hopeful we can take bipartisan
5:40 pm
action soon. our republican colleagues will won't join us in these efforts. our members would welcome it. we have come a long way from the start of covid that we still have work to do. democrats goals are to make sure that job creation and wage increases last year kerry into this year. we will keep working on this this spring and i hope to see her colleagues from either side work with us to improve the lives of the american people. if we can keep wages growing and get costs down the average american will have more money in his or her pocket to live a better life. on the cr, mr. president said in a republican colleagues must come to an agreement with democrats for passing the continuing resolution to keep the government open until march march 11. this extension is necessary in order to give appropriators more time to arrive at and on the bus. on the one hand bipartisan
5:41 pm
negotiations on the year-long spending bill continue to go well a credit to everyone working on this issue from both sides of the aisle. i think chairman leahy ranking member shelby and my house colleagues. on the other hand right now the responsible thing to do is to pass the cr before the deadline on friday. democrats are united in approving it for just as it was approved was the bipartisan support in the house. nobody wants a republican government shut down and republicans prefer not not to have not to have the republican shutdown. republicans must work with us to move quickly on a cr. democrats are working in good faith and we will meet soon with our republican colleagues and they have every reason in the world to arrive on an agreement quickly so i my colleagues on the side to keep working with us to get it done. on nominations later today the senate is scheduled to advancing
5:42 pm
confirm a pair of critical department of defense nominees. one of them is celeste moliterno nominated to serve as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. the veteran of the national security ms. wallander is one of our top russian experts and a deeply experienced foreign-policy adviser and as tensions persist in eastern europe ms. wallander's expertise is urgently needed and her nomination must be approved as soon as possible. frankly it should have happened weeks ago. the moment she was reported out a committee with support from both sides. ms. wallander has remained -- because one member of this body does one republican has objected to were swift passage intentionally delaying the confirmation of a qualified expert on russian affairs at a time like this. it's and making the american people less safe.
5:43 pm
remember the senate to insist on those hold only serve to undermine our defense efforts. it's unacceptable and the definition of. let me say it again, to intentionally delay the confirmation of the critical department of defense nomine and a russian expert at a time when tensions persist in ukraine in eastern europe is supremely and making the american people less safe. while this nominee has been delayed she will nonetheless be confirmed by the senate for the vast majority of senators understand that certain nominees are out of bounds with typical partisan politics so we are going to do our jobs and confirm this nominee and as long as republican holds continue on a the vast number of other important nominations that will keep voting as long as it takes to get them through. if it means voting late like we have done in recent weeks then
5:44 pm
that's what we must do. i will return later to join with my colleagues to speak further on increasingly holds the damage our security both domestic and national that we are seeing on the other side. >> madam president biden address the country on the ongoing crisis and that russia has created on its border with ukraine. there was much in the president's remarks that i appreciated. he was right to remind the russian people that neither the united states word nato nor ukraine want a war. he was right to emphasize the world will not shrug or stand idly by as vladimir putin tries to invade his neighbor or redraw the map of europe with deadly force. he spent much time discussing russia's alleged security concerns and not enough time examining the legitimate
5:45 pm
concerns of russia's neighbors many of whom have a long history, a long history of being invaded by moscow. the concerns of these three sovereign states matter as well and the president would do well to amplify their voices and their historical experiences. it's time for president biden to engage in good-faith diplomacy provided we are skeptical about putin's intentions. putin's behavior is proving how little he can be trusted and how little he's interested in diplomacy. anything other than a gambit to divide the west or a pre-tax for war. the u.s. must keep sending the strong messages verbally and with concrete actions both right now before any hostilities and then with devastating force if putin does indeed plow ahead. the u.s. and their partners
5:46 pm
should waste no time in helping ukraine prepare for war. weapons, matériel, advice, logistics and intelligence. we should be building the infrastructure to help ukraine sustained their resistance to russian aggression if and when it comes. i welcome the president's deployment of additional forces to the territory of nato allies situated along our alliance on the eastern flank. i recommend he take such action months ago and i'm particular grateful for the kind 101st airborne division leaving fort campbell to join nato reinforcements in eastern europe. as the diplomats work to hault the train of russian aggression it is the brave men and women of the u.s. military to give words added way. i'm hopeful president biden will rise to the occasion as a
5:47 pm
bipartisan group of colleagues and i made clear in a joint statement yesterday the president would have overwhelming bipartisan support to uses existing executive authority with tough sanctions against russia in the event of conflict. we should have knowledge putin's use of energy as a weapon and if the president is serious about providing relief for americans at the pump with putin's manipulation of energy markets he will stop this administration's energy politics that make it harder for our own producers to explore, produce and export energy to vulnerable allies and while the eastern allies have consistently taken a clear-eyed approach to their own defense it's time for america to invest more meaningfully in our own military capabilities and demand better alleys and western europe actually follow suit. whether the administration is serious about competition with russia and will be clear when
5:48 pm
the fiscal 23 budget request. our allies and adversaries will all be watching. now one a different matter while the world's eyes are fixed on the presence of foreign policy threats continued service rounding the administration's previous crisis the botched retreat from afghanistan. last week journalist published the findings of the 2000 page autopsy that army officials compiled following the chaotic withdrawal from kabul. the report hammer some the facts we have known for months the biden administration received cleared bands warnings from commanders on the ground that should have been heeded. went ignored. as i warned at the time we had a confirmation this disaster was foreseeable, foreseen actually
5:49 pm
and avoidable. the army's conclusions toked on a report from special inspector general which was declassified last month while president biden and is quizzical -- cling to the notion that they got mistaken advice and were caught off guard both of these reports suggest nonpartisan experts knew and predicted afghan military would likely collapse and spend months trying to get the administration to pay attention. top commanders reported that trying to get state department officials to engage in advance of evacuation plans would quote was like pulling teeth end quote the national security council was quote not seriously planning for an evacuation. and among peers in uniform everyone clearly saw some of the advantage of holding bagram.
5:50 pm
as the top u.s. commander on the ground put it policymakers is not paid attention to the indicators of what was happening on the ground. the staggering report from our own u.s. army chastises the biden administration and should be an occasion for us to reflect and on accountability. last week president biden instead try to simply wave away our own armies conclusions without evidence. he was asked are you -- or the accounts in the army report? they replied, yes i am. i am rejecting them the president said. no evidence just hand waving denial. frankly it was a bizarre
5:51 pm
performance. mr. president i retreat from afghanistan seriously damaged credibility and make confronting terrorist threats that much harder over the horizon and it invited more like what we are enduring in eastern europe. president biden and his team were warned of all these dangerous events and their own military that our commander-in-chief seem to have flat out ignored our commanders. this has been an unbelievably difficult lesson of the biden administration should never of had to learn even once. let us all hope we won't need to learn it twice. on one final matter parents and kids need a swift end to pandemic disruptions that ignore the incredibly low risk to
5:52 pm
children. i am proudly joining senator thune and many of our republican colleagues on a resolution that would overturn the preschool mask mandate which the biden administration has tied to head start funding. more than 1200 doctors and health professionals have signed a public statement about quote the urgency of normal end quote, the urgency of normal. the medical and moral urgency of returning normalcy to children as fast as possible. republicans at the local state and federal level are standing with the parents. we are going to keep fighting against these disruptions to family life caused by rules and mandates that are not at all based on science.
5:53 pm
two years of needless school closures and unscientific force child masking for two years to many. unfortunately pandemic policies are not the only reason in recent years there have been one giant advertisement for school choice and parents rights. we have also seen far less bureaucrats trying to inject radical faeries of ideas into teacher training in k-12 classrooms. everybody has heard jaw-dropping and from school districts across the country and last year the biden administration tried to take money from civics education into a wall propaganda like to debunk 1619 project.
5:54 pm
they only backed down when senate republicans called out secretary cardona directly. meanwhile the far left national teachers union about the beneficial resolution and approved extra money for their fight to make structural racism and critical race theory and to central tenants and kids schooling. this nonsense is absolutely pervasive. just a few weeks ago north carolina parents had to call out their statewide office of early learning refunding training materials that talked about deconstructing whiteness. deconstructing whiteness. these materials were for preschool teachers. in san francisco the school board >> 2021 focused on renaming schools instead of reopening
5:55 pm
schools. they decided george washington and abraham lincoln were insufficiently woke namesakes and tried to change me or the standards into a non-married based the lottery in the name of equity. not surprisingly parents are watching this nonsense and demanding change. for example just yesterday a multiethnic multilingual recall campaign to unseat three of those san francisco school board members wanted overwhelming victory with voters. american parents are speaking out. instead of listening to them the political left is lashing out. president biden's education secretary solicited an outside
5:56 pm
group to send a letter to president lightens attorney general that referred to concerned parents as potential domestic terrorists. one part of the biden administration set up another part of the biden administration with a pretext to investigate and harass concerned parents. one far left advocates recently complained to npr quote school transparency is essentially this big or other type regime. what a. the nationwide teachers union boss randi weingarten personally tweeted out the claim that quote races are showing up in droves to school board meetings. even the liberal aclu which used to care about individual rights and transparency asked jection. mr. merkley: thank you. i'm on the floor today to talk about the nomination of
5:57 pm
ambassador julieta valls noyes to serve as assistant secretary of state for the bureau of population refugees and migration. originally nominated last july, ambassador noyes' nomination was reported favorably out of the foreign relations committee in october. since then she has waited in limbo for all of us to act. ambassador noyes has a distinguished 35-year career with the state department, serving in important and challenging roles. many of those roles tied directly to the work she would be doing at the bureau of population refugees and migration, often referred to as p.r.m. as ambassador to croatia, she presided over the final stages of a refugees resettlement program after the balkan wars while hosting regional
5:58 pm
conferences and trainings for prosecutors, police and judges on this refugee-related issues. as deputy assistant secretary in the bureau of european and eurasian affairs, ambassador noyes oversaw relations with 11 western european countries and european union, some of our country's most critical partners. from 2005 to 2007, ambassador noyes was director of multilateral and global affairs in the bureau of democracy, human rights, and labor, where she ran international negotiations on human rights, both at the united nations in new york and in geneva. in that capacity, she also held consultations with the european union with the african union, with other partners, and she was a member of high-level delegations that presented periodic reports to the united nations on u.s. compliance with major international human rights treaties. she has been recognized as a
5:59 pm
strong manager. she has overseen large teams. she has administered huge budgets. in addition to all of this, she is the daughter of cuban refugees who directly benefited from the work of the bureau of population refugees and migration. so she has a personal connection to the importance of the bureau's work. when you think about that list of qualifications, she is really the ideal person to lead p.r.m. what's the rush, some may ask. p.r.m. hasn't confirmed, hasn't had a confirmed assistant secretary since the days of the obama administration. all the more reason that it should have one more. it shouldn't be a rudderless organization when addressing so many important issues for our nation.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on