tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN March 15, 2022 9:59am-12:36pm EDT
office of management and budget. ms. young has been in acting capacity since last march. continuing coverage of the u.s. senate on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, the reverend dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. .almighty god, the center of our hope, as the russian war against ukraine reaches its 20th day, we keep our eyes on you s. we
thank you for your might, majesty, and power. you are the source of our strength and the hope for all our tomorrows. .as our lawmakers strive to do their best for freedom, make them worthy of their high calling. may the lure of expediency never tempt them to betray the highest principles. .lord, use our senators to build a better and more peaceful nation and world. may they maintain the fidelity of those to whom much has been given.
.we pray in your sovereign name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c, march 15, 2022. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable raphael warnock, a senator from the state of georgia, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive
the gao recently conducted a report looking at u.s. capitol security following the january 6th attack. what was the scope of your report? >> good morning and thank you for having me. we wanted to get a a better sense and a better understanding for how the capitol police officers themselves what their expenses were on that day. we had four questions we are interested in. the first question we wanted to know was what worth the preparations like, how did the capitol police prepare their officers for crowd control techniques or any kind of large-scale demonstration. we wanted to see what that was
like before january 6th kaz depending upon what the training and what the preparations were for any demonstration that's what we would've seen on that day. the second question we were interested in looks at the uses of force that happened on january 6th. so what the police, what types of forced the police officers engaged in on that day. the third question we're really interested in getting the perspectives of the capitol police officers. we wanted to know from the people who were on the ground like what their experiences were, what the observations were here the fourth question we wanted to get a sense for now that the event has happened, what has the capitol police put in place to better prepare their officers for any type of future events. those who are for research objectives for this report. >> host: without a wanted by our views to call in. you heard the question from the gao asked wendy started the research for this report.
we are dividing the lines regionally. the lights are on your screen. stockpiling in. you can ask your own questions for my guest this morning. let me read from the report, gretta goodwin for prior to the january 6th attack, cdu provided training, the cdu provided training did not specifically cover large-scale demonstrations such as what was seen during the january 6th attack. when many demonstrators were noncompliant or violent. according to capitol police officials, while the trend discusses the possibility for crowds to become violent it focuses on the types of crowds the capitol police typically see. crowds may be large over 1000 demonstrators that are generally peaceful, with only a few noncompliant participants. what did you hear from the police officers about this training and then what they actually encountered that day? >> guest: we surveyed all capitol police officers who were
on the capitol complex and january 6th of 2021. 315 completed our survey. we heard from 315 officers were on the ground that day. what we heard we asked them about the training they received we asked them whether they thought the trading with sufficient. some of of the things we heard we got mixed reviewed about how well prepared they felt the were for the crowds that showed up on that day. we did hear that there were concerns from the officers about what types of use of force they might engage in. we heard that some of them felt that there was a discouragement like managers might have discouraged there using force against any kind of demonstrators, and so if they felt that way, then january 6 happened and they are hesitant to use force. we also heard from the officers that there was concerns about morale, not feeling like they have been hurt, not feeling they had been listened to. also not feeling that the capitol police leadership had
shared enough information. part of what we look at in this report is in addition to the preparation how the officers felt about 50 munication that happen on that day, , the coordination that happen on that day. >> host: will talk more about but sticking with this idea what type of force you use, the direction that the officers felt that they got from their leadership about not using certain type of force, was that specific to what was happening that day, or was it to any demonstrations on capitol grounds leading up to that day? >> guest: it was to any demonstration, and that speaks to the first question we had. depending on the training they received or the expectations they might've had for any demonstration, that of course came into play on january 6th. officers told us they felt they were being discouraged from using force. so that's happening before large-scale event such as
january 6th. and on the date they were really hesitant about using force. >> host: on that day whatsoever communication are they getting from their leadership, and are beginning communication about what type of forced to use? >> guest: the capitol police officers in the survey felt like it was not a lot of key medication, not a lot of good guidance. some of them as you see in the report felt like there out there by themselves. that's some of the things we talk about in this report. it also speaks to some of the recommendations we made in the report, and i can go into those or whatever you want me to do. >> host: please. go ahead and give the recommendations. >> guest: we made a total of five recommendations, and the first recommendation we are asking that we made the recommendations to the chief of the capitol police but, of course, it speaks to all of the police leadership. we made the first recommendation that the capitol police better understand the perspectives of the officers and get some
insight into what the officers think about, what the officers know and understand about the expectations and the guidance on use of force. once the capitol police leadership get that, then they might need to make changes to policy, to training, to guidance based on what they're hearing from their officers. so that's the second recommendation. the third recommendation speaks to the training itself. so when the officers joined the capitol police force they go through pretty extensive training. but then they don't always get the types of refresher courses that would be needed. so the third recommendation speaks to the capitol police providing refresher courses specific to crowd control. and also to use force. and then the fourth recommendation that we made speaks to the type and the way the training is delivered. so one of the things we found when we did the report some of the training is in class, some
of the training is online. the capitol police officers requested that to be more hands-on training, more in-person training to help them, more situational based training. and then the fifth recommendation that we made really does speak to morale. we are asking that the capitol police better understand the underlying causes for low morale, better understand the underlying causes. if the officers think they can't use force, where does that come from? and so having a better understanding for any type of underlying factors that affect with the capitol police officers told us in the survey. >> host: deadly force was used that day by an officer inside of the chamber. a woman was killed. was that specific incident analyzed in your report? >> guest: it was, and all of the incidence of use of force,
when the capitol police, they reviewed it, and allies did and they deemed it all to be justified. there were about 293 incidence or reports of use of force and those range from like pushing or shopping, trying to control the crowd. it ranged from use of their batons and the use of chemical spray. >> host: and the gunshot the killed the woman inside the capital, that was also examined and deemed justified. tell us why. >> guest: so the case, what the capitol police do is a look at the circumstances of every case of use of force, ore of thes judicial and administrative nominees. yesterday, i filed cloture on 12 additional nominees, setting up a busy rest of the week here on the floor. absent an agreement to expedite the process, and unfortunately we have seen all too few of those coming from our republican
colleagues, members can expect to begin voting tomorrow morning, and we will work through all 12 nominees until we have a path to getting them confirmed. due to the months of obstructive holds by a few, just a handful, of republicans, in addition to judicial nominees, we also must use up floor time to confirm u.s. attorneys, something practically unheard of in the senate. these republicans who have delayed our u.s. attorneys are actively making our communities less safe, and it's regrettable they've chosen to obstruct the senate for their own personal political interests. so my colleagues out to -- ought to be prepared for a busy few days on the floor. among the nominees we'll consider are two great nominees from new york, i'm proud to say. one will continue -- we'll consider judge ally nathan, nominated as a judge for the second circuit. she's a brilliant jurist with a decade of experience as a
district judge. i was proud to recommend her to sit on one of the most important courts in the nation. i'm also pleased that the senate will also vote on hector gonzalez to serve as district judge for the eastern district of new york. born in cuba, raised in queens, a fulbright scholar who became one of new york's top attorneys, mr. gonzalez is the very embodiment of the american dream. like judge nathan, i'm glad to have recommended him to president biden. i'm also glad to note, under senator durbin's leadership, judge nathan and mr. gonzalez received bipartisan support in committee. so i look forward to the senate confirming them in short order. but first the senate will look to make history once again later today by confirming shalanda young to serve as president biden's director of the office of management and budget, a cabinet-level position. she would be the first black woman ever confirmed by the senate to lead the o.m.b. it shouldn't have taken this long to confirm someone as
obviously qualified as shalanda young. she's been leading the o.m.b. for nearly a year. she knows the budget and appropriation processes like the back of her hand. she's proven capable of working with republicans and democrats alike. it was through her guidance the administration notched some of the biggest victories, including passage of the bipartisan infrastructure law. shalanda young is one of the most effective cabinet leaders to have the label of acting in a very long time. but it's long past time for that word to drop from her title, from her job title. i look forward to the senate officially confirming ms. young as o.m.b. director later today. now, on the omni. later this diswrafer noon, i will join -- this afternoon, i will join with a number of colleagues in attending a signing ceremony at the white house for the 2022 omnibus signing bill. one of many significant and bipartisan accomplishments of the senate in recent weeks. in a 50-50 senate it's no small
feat for this chamber to pass the boldest and most significant funding package that congress has seen in a long, long time. under this new package, students, parents, working families, small businesses, veterans will see costs go down and greater investments go their way. our troops are going to get a much-needed raise. student loan borrowers will see their maximum pell grant awards increase by the largest amount in over a decade, impacting seven million students, not to mention their families. we're giving parents more help for affording child care, and seniors more help to receive care at home. for the first time in years, the violence against women act, one of the most important pieces of legislation in the last 30 years, will finally be renewed, offering lifesaving resources for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. and of course, we're keeping our promise to ukraine by providing
nearly $14 billion in humanitarian and military aid. this means food and shelter for the millions trapped in war, we leaf -- relief for the now three million refugees fleeing the country, and funding to transfer jaflins, stingers and other antiaircraft weapons to the ukrainian fighting forces. the u.k. rue people are not alone in -- the ukrainian people are not alone in their fight against vladimir putin and his savage war. i commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who accelerated the passage. i again commend president biden for his handling of the crisis to date. as i said weeks ago, the president deserves immense credit for keeping the allies together against putin, imposing crippling sanctions on russia, and responding to a turbulent conflict with clarity and strength. some were pushing the president to do too much too soon, risking an escalation of the crisis and risking that our allies would not join us. but so far, the president's
approach has been right on target. thanks to the president's approach, putin is now one of the most reviled and isolated leaders that the world has seen in a very long time. for this ran alone -- reason alone, signing the omnibus into law is a major accomplishment, and i thank the president, senators leahy and durbin and all our appropriators and members of both sides of the aisle for getting it done. now, on scotus, mr. president, what do retired conservative judges, a group of 80 current and retired state attorneys general, the u.s. black chambers and the international association of police chief all share in common? you might ask yourself that question. well, they are just a few, just a few of the many, many groups and individuals that have endorsed judge ketanji brown jackson for the supreme court. when i met with judge jackson a few weeks ago, it was immediately clear why so many different groups have sung her praises. on top of her brilliance, on top
of her experience, she is unusually gifted at seeing and apreeshating both sides -- appreciating both sides of an argument. little surprise then that in the course of rendering nearly 550 decisions as a federal district judge, she was rarely reversed by higher courts. in fact, she's been reversed perhaps around a dozen times out of 550 decisions. that's about 2%, 2% of the time. this week, members from both sides of the aisle will continue meeting with the judge. i believe under senator durbin's leadership every member of the judiciary committee has had the chance to meet with her. i'm confident that any new conclusions my colleagues make about her will keep pointing in one direction -- judge jackson is brilliant, she is bewho have had, she belongs on the -- she is beloved and belongs on the supreme court. this is worth repeating, brilliant, beloved and belongs.
the senate this week will continue fulfilling its constitutional duty to confirm more of the president's judicial and administrative nominees. yesterday i filed cloture on 12 additional nominees setting up a busy rest of the week here on the floor. that's an agreement to expedite the process and, unfortunately, we've seen all too few of those coming from all republican colleagues, members can expect to begin voting tomorrow morning and will work through all 12 nominees until we have a path to getting them confirmed. due to the months of obstructio obstruction, obstructive whole but if you come just a handful of republicans, in addition to judicial nominees we also must use up more time to confirm u.s. attorneys come something practically unheard of in the senate. these republicans will delay our u.s. attorneys are actually making our communities less safe and it's regrettable they have
chosen to obstruct the senate for the own personal political interests. so my colleagues ought to be prepared for a busy few days here on the floor. among the nominees we consider our two great nominees to new york i'm proud to say. one will consider allie nason, judge nathan nominated to serve as judge for the second circuit. she is a brilliant jurist with a decade of experience as a district judge and i was proud to recommend her to sit on one of the most important course in the nation. i'm also pleased that the fed will also vote on hector gonzález to service district judge for the eastern district of new york. morning kubo raised in queens a fulbright scholar who became one of new york's top attorneys, mry embodiment of the american dream. unlike judge nathan i'm glad to have recommended him to president biden. i'm also glad to note under senator durbin leadership judge nathan and mr. gonzalez received
bipartisan support in committee so i i look forward to the see confirming then in short order. but first the senate will look to make history once again later today by confirming shalanda young to serve as president biden's director of the office of management and budget, a cabinet level position. she would be the first black woman ever confirmed by the senate to lead the omb. it shouldn't have taken this long to come from someone as obviously as qualified as shalanda young. she's been leading the own before nearly a year. she knows the budget and appropriations processes like the back of her hand. she is proven capable of working with republicans and democrats alike and it was through her guidance the administration notched some of its biggest victories including the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure law. shalanda young is one of the most effective cabinet leaders to have labeled, two of the label of acting in a very long time. but it's long past time for that
word to drop from her title, from her job title. i look forward to the senate officially confirming ms. young as omb director leiter today. now on the omni. later this afternoon i will join with a number of my senate colleagues and attending a signing ceremony at the white house for the 2022 omnibus funding bill. one of many significant and bipartisan accomplishments of the sin in recent weeks. in a 50-50 senate it's no small feat for this chamber to pass the boldest and most significant funding package that congress has seen in a long, long time. under this new package students, parents, working families, small businesses, veterans will see costs go down and greater investments go their way. our troops are going to get a much-needed race. student loan borrowers will see their maximum hell grant awards increased by the american strength secures
deterrence and peace. it is american hesitancy and weakness which our adversaries see as an invitation. it's a simple fact. we've relearned it the hard way many times in our history. it should form the cornerstone of any administration's foreign policy. but every day brings new distressing signs that the biden administration forgets this lesson. president biden hesitated and waited to reinforce our nato allies with more american troops out of fear that it might provoke putin. president biden hesitated and waited to send stingers to the ukrainians out of fears that it might provoke putin.
president biden declined to send support and training to ukraine in december because he feared it might provoke putin. here's a headline from earlier this week. pentagon push to send more trainers to ukraine was strapped in december amid white house fears of sproacking russia. last week president biden publicly split from our ally poland and scrapped to get airplanes to ukraine because the administration feared it might, you guessed it, provoke putin. predictably putin has not pulled his punches as a thank you to president biden for pulling his punches. american strength is not the provocation. american weakness is. we need to help get air defense
systems to ukraine without wasting another second, but meanwhile the biden administration is replaying this philosophy with another adversary. iran watched our humiliating botched retreat in afghanistan, they watched the biden administration squabble with our middle eastern partners. iranians have taken the measure of this administration. this weekend, even as the biden administration is reportedly putting the finishing touches on an agreement deal that would massively favor iran over america, they unleashed an audacious, audacious missile strike into the kyrgyzstan region of iraq that came very close to hitting our u.s. consulate. how will our commander in chief respond?
the record is not encouraging. deterrence of iran has steadily eroded under his tenure. the worse iranians behave, the more desperate the biden administration seems to be to give them concessions. judging by public reports, the deal that president biden is preparing would impose fewer, weaker, and shorter restrictions on iran than even the deeply flawed 2015 deal, while giving major and lasting relief from sanctions. the deal would reportedly not even touch iran's ballistic missile program. so iran lobs missiles towards our facilities, and we gave iran a huge influx of cash and relaxation of pressure. iran clearly does not fear they will pay a price for threatening american interests.
they must be made to think again. yesterday senate republicans sent the administration a letter expressing our grave concerns, they're preparing once again to give away the store. republicans stand ready to work together on a real tough agreement at that blocks iran's path to nuclear weapons constrains its missile programs and confronts its report for trivment but if the administration continues down the path they are on, they will find the stiff opposition that that path deserves. on another matter, there is bipartisan senate opposition to sarah bloom raskin, president biden's radical and unacceptable nominee to the powerful federal reserve board position of vice chair for supervision. runaway inflation is hammering american families. democrats' reckless policies
have backed the fed into a very tricky corner. just this morning the new producer price index reports showed that wholesale inflation is up 10% -- 10% -- over 12 months, tied for the worst year ever. at a time like this, the fed's independence is paramount, but president biden's nominee for this powerful seat has spent years campaigning to turn the fed from a nonpartisan central bank into a far-left super legislature that voters cannot get rid of. explicitly and repeatedly she has called for the fed to go about picking winners and losers in accord with liberal ideological goals completely unrelated to the fed's core duties. the far left chaired ms. raskin's nomination for the same reason that senators from both parties opposed it. she wants to take radical policy aims that liberals can't achieve
through congress and hard wire them directly into our financial system instead. president biden was literally asking for senators, a central banker who wanted to usurp the policy making power for herself. ms. raskin who have been a vice chair who sought to raise gas prices, raise home heating costs, and undermine the very institution the federal reserve in the process. it's not surprising there's bipartisan senate opposition to such a radical nominee. even before one considers the unanswered ethical questions to which the banking committee has not been able to get straight answers, president biden's selection wildly, wildly missed the mark. it's past time the white house admit their mistake and send us somebody suitable. on one final matter, what can
the senate conclude about a supreme court nominee from the nature of their fan club. that's a question the democratic leader answered very clearly a few years back. in 20015, senator -- in 2005, sr schumer accused john roberts of, quote, being embraced by some of the extreme ideologues in america. that gives rise to the question some are asking -- what do they know about you that we don't know. that was senator schumer questioning the chief justice. there was nothing strange about groups like the federalist society but given democrats' principle that the senate ought to examine nominees' fan club, let's look at judge jackson.
before the 2020 election, one far left dark money group put judge jackson on their supreme court short list. well, not at first. she was left off their first version, but shortly thereafter the judge published a fiery 118-minimum -- 118-page opiniont won praise from pundits. one tv host observed judge jackson's opinion was not standard legal writing but was written with, quote, a broader audience in mind. not long after judge jackson was added to the next version of the activist short list. practically as soon as president biden was sworn in, this group against -- began spending big sums of money boosting judge jackson's profile. they paid for billboards pushing
justice breyer retire. this is a far, far-left group. they drive around town trying to harass justice kavanaugh. they filed a frivolous ethics campaign against former d.c. circuit judge tom griffith. last week on television one of their board members said our constitution -- listen to this -- our constitution is kind of trash. this group's entire purpose and fund-raising model is waging war on the legitimacy of the judiciary itself. and for some reason, these people desperately wanted judge jackson in particular to end up on our highest court. why? well, senators will need to explore that. a representative from this radical outfit told "the washington post" they like judge jackson for reasons that include her work as a public defender and on the u.s. sentencing
commission. we're in the middle of a violent crime wave, including soaring rates of homicides and carjackings. even last summer when the pandemic posed a bigger challenge, more americans said violent crime was a big problem than said covid was. amid all this, the soft on crime brigade is squarely in judge jackson's corner. they wanted her above anyone else on the short list, and they specifically cite her experience defending criminals and her work on the sentencing commission as key qualifications. as leader schumer once asked, what do these folks know that senators may not? i hope the vigorous senate process ahead, including all the necessary documents and records from judge jackson's time on the sentencing commission, may begin to shed more light.
mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. durbin: mr. president, i'm glad i was on the floor to hear the republican leader's comments about our supreme court nominee, ketanji brown jackson, because there are a couple of elements that he obviously inadvertently missed that he should have reported when he was talking about the support which he's received from across the political spectrum. he made her out to be a product of creation of some far-left political cause or movement but she's much more than that. and he went on to say that judge thomas griffith of the d.c. circuit was harassed by this same special interest group that supports judge jackson. he missed one key element. i just received a letter within
the last two weeks from judge thomas griffin, a well-known r retired conservative federal judge endorsing ketanji brown jackson. how about that? it doesn't sound like a special interest group to me. it sounds like a republican-appointed judge who saw her in action and wants to make sure that she gets a chance to serve on the supreme court of the united states. it makes a big difference because if you take a look at what he had to say about her, he wrote, judge griffith wrote, judge jackson has a demonstrated record of excellence, and i believe based upon her work as a trial judge when i served on the court of appeals she will adjudicate based on the facts in the law and not'nt partisan. exactly the opposite point being made by senator mcconnell. she has the the support across the political spectrum. he failed to mention she's been endorsed by the fraternal order of police, mr. president, although she's supposedly suspect of being too liberal. i can tell you she's a person of
quality, integrity and value yens and has the support across the political spectrum to prove it. i believe she's going to be an extraordinary justice on the supreme court and president biden made a good choice in selecting her. moving to a different topic, mr. president, what does courage look like? what does the face of courage look like? we see it every day on television out of ukraine. we see individuals leaving their regular lives, grabbing a rifle to defend their nation, and being prepared to die in the process. that's the face of courage. we see the face of courage in the president of ukraine, an extraordinary individual who was once a rising standup comedian, now is a rising standup president for his nation of ukraine, risking his life every day to stay in kiev and to be there to inspire his people to
resist putin's barbaric invasion of that country. we're going to see that tomorrow in a joint session of congress. it's the first zoomed joint session of congress that i've ever been in attendance, and i'm glad we're doing it. for the last several weeks i've been in touch through zoom conference calls with president zelensky. he is a courageous man. but courage is not limited to ukraine. an event occurred yesterday in moscow which bears our approval and consideration. on state-run television in moscow, a woman was reading the propaganda that was on the show when an employee of that same channel burst on to the set and interrupted the news broadcast. her name -- and i'm going to try to pronounce her russian name here, marina oxysankova.
that's her holding a sign saying no war. this woman, a national editor at channel 1 in moscow, shouted stop the war, no to war. their sign says don't believe the propaganda. they're lying to you hear. it was cited in english, russians against war. this might have been the kind thing viewed as a disruption, but in russia under putin, her actions constitute a crime. what has happened to her? well, we don't know. she disappeared shortly after this appearance on television. under a new law, she could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for using the word war to describe russia's invasion of ukraine. but she was unbowed.
before her protest, she recorded a video which has been released through a human rights group. i want to read to you what she said in this video. regrettably for a number of years i worked on channel 1 and worked on kremlin propaganda. i'm very ashamed of this right now, she said. ashamed that i was allowed to tell lies from the television screen, ashamed that i allowed the zombification of the russian people. we were silent when this was beginning. we did not go out to protest when the kremlin poisoned alexei navalny. we were silently watching this anti-human regime and now the world has turned away from us. she told her country men and women, and i quote, only we have the power to stop all this madness. go to the protest. don't be afraid of anything. they can't imprison us all.
mr. president, i believe if more ordinary russians knew the truth about what vladimir putin is doing in ukraine, they would join her protest. russian media aren't reporting the truth that russia has lost more soldiers in the first 20 days of its invasion of ukraine than america lost in two wars in iraq and afghanistan. and russian media aren't reporting on russia's war crimes in ukraine, like the horrific shelling last week of children in maternity hospital in mariupol. yesterday, we learned that the injured woman on the stretcher in this photo had died. as had her baby. it was a type of outrage which the american people will never forget, and shouldn't. this was an intentional target, this maternity hospital, by putin. he's bombed health clinics and
hospitals across ukraine. that's the type of person he is. that's the type of war he wages. that's the type of war criminal he is. every one of these attacks is a violation of international law. at least three facilities that serve women and children have been subject to attacks and innocent civilians have been killed. throughout ukraine, continued explosions and the threat of shelling have forced hospital staff to move critically ill children and other patients into bomb shelters and into basements. children suffering from cancer, wartime injuries, and other serious conditions have been forced to move to western ukraine by bus and train. throughout ukraine, critical medications -- insulin, cancer drug, and other infusions -- are in short supply. but the world is responding. we've seen an outpouring of revulings against putin and his
war crimes, but we've also seen an outpouring of compassion as governments and ordinary citizens step forward to aid ukraine. last wednesday, a group of nine doctors and nurses from the chicago area flew to poland to volunteer to help ukrainians fleeing the war. they brought with them 167 suitcases filled with medicines and medical equipment. advocate christ medical center in oaklawn, illinois, donated nearly $500,000 in equipment, all paid for in donations raised in just 72 hours. the group included ukrainian americans, lithuanian americans, polish americans, syrian americans, and pakistani americans. the trip was organized by a nonprofit group called net global. it was founded by a man who is my friend, and i'm proud to say that, an amazing syrian american doctor named dr. zahir salul. over the years, this organization has been to syria,
birma and other places torn by the conflicts that do emerge in these areas. on this trip, the doctor and nurse spent two days in lviv providing medical care alongside ukrainian doctors. they then returned to the polish side of the border to provide aid to refugees in local honestly. -- local hospitals. let me say a word about the refugees in ukraine and leaving. the estimate now of the nation population of 40 million, ukraine has more than three million refugees. let me put that in perspective for a moment. three million refugees in a matter of 20 days of war. can you imagine? if it were in the united states, and a similar proportion of the population, it would mean moving the state population of the state of texas out of the united states in three weeks. that's what's happening, because of the terrible war and invasion
of vladimir putin. providing medical assistance doesn't stop with what i've read into the record. chicago's also blessed with one of the finest pediatric hospitals in america, lurie children's hospital. they've shipped 1.25 tons of medical supplies and medical equipment to ukraine. staff at lurie's children are now exploring with federal officials who you to bring some of ukraine's most critically ill children to the united states for needed medical treatment. a hospital spokesman called me last week to say she was initiating an effort nationwide in the united states to ask every children's children's hospital to pitch in. if there are kids in ukraine or out of ukraine now as refugees who are in desperate need of medical care, america is going to be there. i'm so proud of lurie children's and all the other children's hospitals across the united states. they're exploring the same
opportunity and challenges. i applaud america's children's hospitals for answering the call over the next several days to provide medical support for pediatric patients in critical need. i urge our federal paight sis tn logistical challenges. together, we can save these children's lives. tomorrow morning, a truly heroic leader, ukrainian president volodymyr zelensky, will address this virtual joint session of congress. he will ask congress and the american people to stand with ukraine, to defend democracy and human dignity, and to bring this horrific war to an end. we must answer that call. this fight is not ukraine's alone. this is a fight for democracy and the right of people to choose their own leaders, decide their own destiny. i'll close with these thoughts, one from gary cass -- gary
kasparov, chess master, russia expatriate, fierce critic of vladimir putin. i quote, letting putin crush ukraine will redefine the world order. so would stopping him. we choose by action or inaction which world we want to live in. america should choose to stand with ukraine. slava ukrani. one last point. zelensky made a very important point when it came to putin and his future. i don't know if there are enough brave russians to stand up to him. i hope there are, to depose him from power in that country. if they don't, you're naive to believe that ukraine is the end of his conquest agenda. he wants to restore the soviet union, and many of us know what that means. the baltics, that means lithuania, latvia, estonia as
president zelensky reminded us, would be the next target. they're small, they're near russian populations, they're near belarus which has become a pawn of vladimir putin. and they're vulnerable. the only thing standing between the baltics and subjugation by vladimir putin is the document known as the nato charter. it's an agreement of an alliance where every nation under that flag will stand to defen the -- defend the other under abeing at that. most of us don't remember, but after 9/11, 2001, the nato aeyes came together and say that the united states had been attacked under article 5 and they were willing to defend us if the terrorism continued. that's the kind of solidarity we needed then and which the world needs now. the not alliance was unfortunately weakened under the last president, but they've come around now to become a powerful
force. just last week, on thursday, ten of the ambassadors from european nations gathered in a room and talked to us about their solidarity behind our effort to support ukraine. it was a positive meeting, a good feeling, and i'm glad that the nato forces understand their responsibility and are prepared to defend these countries that are involved. one last point i want to make, because it is so outrageous i believe it should be reported. the question really comes down to an interview of donald trump, the former president of the united states, by janine pierro on fox television. he called putin's invasion of ukraine a project to rebuild a soviet empire that had been, in the words of donald trump, quote, full of love, closed quote. full of love? a soviet empire? unfortunately, the former president has no knowledge of
history, nor does he have any understanding as to what happened to the united states under the subjugation of the soviet empire, how they were forcefully brought into that alliance, which they never wanted to be part of. he obviously doesn't recall that four million ukrainians died in the famines of the 1930's under josef stalin's soviet rule. at one point, ronald reagan calmed the soviet union an evil empire. for donald trump, it is, quote, full of love, closed quote. how can he be so far wrong and not see the obvious, that putin is not the spiritual man he was once identified as. he is a ruthless war criminal and innocent people are paying the price for his outrage rages. mr. president -- outrageous. mr. president, there is something else going on on the domestic front i'd like to enter into the record and i ask unanimous consent they be placed in a separate part. the presiding officer: without
objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, each of us kind of defines our career in congress, what's important to us, and when i came to the house of representatives i had little planning behind the decision to take after the tobacco companies. my family was touched by tobacco death, as so many families are. i lost my father when i was a sophomore in high school. i was 14 years old. he was 53. he died from lung cancer. two packs of camels a day did it to him. i decided in the house of representatives i would start to take what action i could to stop the tobacco companies and their deadly march across america. so one of the things i did was to ban smoking on airplanes, put the law into effect, and it's changed dramatically, not just air travel but life in america. i had no idea that that was a tipping point, and once we banned smoking on airplanes, people would say, well,y didn't you include schools or office
buildings or hospitals or veterans facilities or buses or trains? and the dominoes kept falling. now, it is peculiar, it is strange should someone walk into a room and light up a cigarette. it just doesn't happen. so that much was done. the tobacco companies didn't stop, even after they were proven to be liars under oath before the united states house of representatives when they were asked whether or not tobacco caused cancer. my new cause, again, against the tobacco companies, relates to e-cigarettes and vaping. mr. president, it's been six months, six months, that's how long past a court-ordered deadline for the food and drug administration to finish its public health review of e-cigarettes. six months. as an attorney, if my client were six months late in meeting a court order there would be major consequences. for the f.d.a., it appears to be business as usual. mind you, this is not some
bureaucratic squabble. the issue is whether or not the food and drug administration will do its job to prevent children in america from getting hooked on e-cigarettes that are being peddled by big tobacco companies in violation of the law. you see, the tobacco control act law of the land requires the tobacco products be reviewed by the f.d.a. before they can even be sold. the law says tobacco companies must prove to the f.d.a. their product is, quote, appropriate for the protection of public health. they can't meet that standard. everyone knows it. if they don't meet it, they're not supposed to be sold in the united states, period. that's the law. instead of doing its job, the f.d.a. turned a blind eye for years at everybody cigarettes and vaping, many funded by the largest cigarette corporations, like r.j. recommended and altrea. they flooded the market with flavored e-cigarettes meant to look our kids. the result? millions of children became addicted to i- -- to everybody
cigarettes. they targeted with trendy advertisements and fruit or candy-flavored product. these actions and the failure to regulate were a flagrant violation of existing law. in 2019, a federal judge stepped in and called the agency out for its abdication of responsibility. the judge found that the food and drug administration, quote works decided not to enforce the premarket review provisions at all, end of quote. so the federal court gave the f.d.a. a deadline. listen carefully. it required the f.d.a. to complete its review of the legality of all e-cigarettes being sold in the united states by september 9, 2021. with enthat deadline arrived -- when that deadline arrived six months ago, f.d.a. announced it had denied millions of applications for e-cigarettes that had no business on the market. that was important and long overdue. however, a new trend emerged.
vapeing companies, including many whose products were denied by f.d.a., were trying to circumvent the law by reinventing their products, using so-called synthetic nicotine. we know nicotine. it's the habit-forming drug that is included in tobacco cigarettes. so they decided that if they made nicotine not out of tobacco but out of other chemicals, they would escape the reach of the law. the day after the f.d.a. ordered texas-based vapor salon to remove its product from the market, the company announced, quote, vapor salon is switching to tobacco-free nicotine. the main purpose is to be diswrowt side of the f.d.a. regulation. they wanted to hook our kids with synthetic nicotine and were arguing the government couldn't stop them. e-cigarette is the most -- that e-cigarette is one of the most popular with children. one of the products is known as puff bar. it uses synthetic nicotine to
escape the reach of the f.d.a. they peddle these addictive cigarettes to our kids in flavors not designed for any adults. listen to the flavors. blue raz, lemon ice, watermelon. f.d.a. is asleep at the wheel. but congress recognized this problem recently and did something about it. the 2022 omnibus bill that passed last week contains a bipartisan provision that i worked on with senators collins and murray. it closes the synthetic nicotine loophole. when president biden signs that law today, we'll see this law go into effect and clarify the f.d.a. to regulate synthetic products. congress is saying clearly that we will not allow predatory vaping companies to target kids for profit. now it's the f.d.a.'s duty to do the same.
i recently voted for the new director, dr. califf. and i said i'm going to watch you and be on you like a hawk. you have a federal, legal responsibility to stop e-cigarettes from being sold to our kids. don't waste time. i hope he doesn't. i hope the f.d.a. will use the authority. joule and puff bar are most responsible for fueling the youth vaping epidemic. they use these kid-friendly flavors and tactics. why has the f.d.a. not removed them, why are teens getting hooked on e-cigarettes? they have the authority to clear all untharsed -- authorized e-cigarettes and it is their responsibility to prove that their product is appropriate for the public health. good luck. they are not going to be able to do that and we know it.
i wrote a letter with senator romney, and said, finish the review of e-cigarettes immediately, reject e-cigarettes, especially kid-friendly flavors. last month when the senate approved dr. califf, i wanted it clear that i wanted him to treat the matter as an urgent product and clear the backlog. congress has given him every tool he needs and today marks one month as his tenure as commissioner. will he keep kids from after lifetime of addiction? it time for the f.d.a. to do their job and keep kids from vaping tobacco and e-cigarettes. mr. president, i yield the floor.
mr. thune: mr. president. the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. thune: thank you, mr. president. is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. thune: mr. president, friday marked the anniversary of the so-called american rescue plan, which is the democrats' partisan $1.9 trillion spending spree. fittingly, the anniversary arrived one month after february's release of numbers. why do i say fittingly, the
anniversary of the american rescue plan is basically the anniversary of our inflation crisis. while reopening of economies after covid's shutdown created certain inflationary pressures, the reason for today's inflation is democrats' decision to pass the american rescue plan last march. mr. president, the definition of inflation is too many dollars chasing too few goods and services. and that's exactly the situation democrats helped create with their so-called american rescue plan. democrats came into office mere weeks after congress had passed a fifth -- fifth bipartisan covid relief bill totaling almost $1 trillion and meeting all pressing covid needs. our economy was well on its way to a healthy recovery. and the majority of states had
the money they needed to deal with the pandemic. in short, it was abundantly clear that we were not in immediate need of trillions more in government spending. but that didn't stop democrats. now that they were in charge, they were eager to take advantage of the covid crisis to implement their big government vision. so in the name of covid relief, they pushed through a massive partisan $1.9 trillion spending piece of legislation filled with unnecessary spending and handouts to democrat interest groups. less than 9% of that $1.9 trillion spending bill was earmarked for actually combating covid. the rest went to priorities like $350 billion slush fund for states, a bailout for union pensions, rental assistance far
in excess of anything that was needed. and the list goes on. despite being build as essential covid relief, a substantial portion of the money appropriated will not be spent until 2022 or later, and despite the pressing need for workers to fill the need for job openings, democrats created inventives for americans to stay on unemployment instead of returning to work by extending enhanced unemployment benefits until december of 2021, long after they were likely to be needed. so the end result of this was entirely predictable. democrats flooded the economy with unnecessary government money and the economy overheated as a result. and you don't have to take my word for it. here's what steve ratner who served in the obama administration had to say in november, and i quote, the
original sin was the $1.9 trillion american rescue plan passed in march. the bill, almost completely unfunded, sought to counter the effects of the covid pandemic by focusing on demand-side stimulus rather than on investment. that has contributed tearily to today -- materially to today's inflation he levels. end quote. let me repeat that, mr. president. this, according to steve ratner, who worked on the obama administration about inflation and talked about the legislation passed by democrats last year. he said that this has contributed materially to today's inflation levels. or as another obama administration official put it, we have the most advanced economy in the world said jason
furman with the obama economic advisory. he said the difference comes because the united states stimulus is in a category of its own. end quote, that, again, from another former obama administration economist jason furman. mr. president, inflation started to rise almost as soon as the ink was dry on the american rescue plan and it just keeps rising. february 7.9% inflation is the worst inflation since january of 1982. january of 1982, 40 years ago. and americans are struggling. just going to the grocery store is taking up a larger and larger portion of americans' paychecks. ground beef is up 13%. eggs are up 11%. citrus fruits are up 16%.
chicken is up 13%. milk, up 11%. bacon and related products are up 18%. and on and on and on. in fact, one american quoted in "the new york times" noted that bacon is now as expensive as filetmignon used to be. more and more families are struggling to afford basic grocery items. a "washington post" columnist noted that a number of the prices recorded for february were the highest february increases ever recorded for those items, including an 8.4% increase in the price of baby food and an 11% increase in the cost of lunch meat. mr. president, in a speech to house democrats last week, the
president suggested that he was, quote, sick of people saying that democrats' reckless spending had helped cause our inflation crisis. this is what the president said last week, president biden. and i quote, the american people think the reason for inflation is the government is spending more money. simply not true, he said. well, mr. president, there are a lot of economists who would disagree with him, including the two democratic economists i already quoted and president biden himself actually admitted in november that his stimulus checks helped increase the demand fueling inflation. i'm sorry, that president biden is sick of having people point this out. but you know who else is sick and tired of things, mr. president? the american people. they are sick and tired of facing massive price everywhere
they look. they are sick of increasingly -- having to live paycheck to paycheck as they wonder just how much further their grocery prices are going to go up. they are sick of wondering if they'll be able to pay all of next month's bills. and whether president biden likes it or not, his so-called american rescue plan is responsible for a substantial part of the economic distress that americans are now experiencing. and while president biden may be sick of it, we need to keep talking about this because the president is still -- still trying to double down on the spending strategy that helped create this inflation crisis in the first place. just two weeks ago in a state of the union address, he discussed the hopes for massive new amounts of government sperng -- spending -- spending that would
unquestionably take a bad inflation situation and make it even worse. it's nice that the president and congressional democrats are now talking about our inflation crisis, but it would be even nicer if they would realize that it was their spending that helped trigger this crisis in the first place. otherwise, we will continue to see democrats push forever bigger increases in government spending with correspondingly devastating price increases for american families. mr. president, the american rescue plan was a bad deal for americans. let's hope that democrats do not have the chance to double down on this legislation and make our current inflation crisis even worse. mr. president, i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. ms. ernst: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. ernst: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, there are very few things that possess the power to change the course of history almost instantaneous. information is one. consider right now citizens in ukraine are holding one of the most ruthless autocratic and powerful men in the world, vladimir putin, accountable for his barbaric assault on their country with their firsthand
accounts being live streamed from behind the battle lines. putin is attempting to censor coverage of the bloody conflict by threatening to jail journalists and russian citizens who dare use the word war to describe his unprovoked attack. even the united nations instructed its staff not to refer to russia's military assault on ukraine as a war or invasion. yet, every day ukrainians are bypassing this blockade of information and exposing the russian tyrant's atrocities in realtime by sharing images of civilians standing up to the heavily armed russian invaders,
the innocent victims and destruction caused by the bombing, and the company -- and captured russian soldiers in tears testifying that they were lied to and misled into attacking a peaceful country. as a result, the people of ukraine have rallied the world, including many russians, behind their courageous struggle to preserve freedom and democracy against the largest military assault in europe since world war ii. this is the power of information. authoritarians like putin cannot hide their dirty deeds in the dark as long as light can shine to expose the truth.
it should serve as a reminder to every single american how important it is that we uphold and defend the fundamental principles of our nation that make us so great. in particular, our first amendment. we should never take these american freedoms for granted. that's why it's important we celebrate the freedom of information every year during sunshine week. with widespread distrust in government and the media and big tech controlling what facts and opinions can even be shared, it's becoming increasingly important that each one of us has the power to access facts unfiltered. to arm us with information over the past half century, a number of important laws have been passed by congress to increase
openness in government and give our citizens the right to know. these include the freedom of information act or foia chm allows be -- which allows access to government documents, and the federal funding accountability and transparency act which provides a detailed accounting of how, where, why, and by whom taxpayer dollars are being spent. to demonstrate the importance of these laws, let me give you a relatively simple example with potentially profound implications. in the early days of the covid-19 pandemic, i teamed up with my friends at the white coat waste project to use a combination of these transparency laws to follow a trail of u.s. taxpayer dollars
to china's state-run wuhan institute of virology where they were being used to pay for dangerous research on coronaviruses. the world is now demanding to know if these studies could have been the source of the covid-19 pandemic that shut down our planet for the past two years and claimed the lives of millions around the globe. regretfully we still don't know the whole truth because communist china refuses to cooperate and is instead destroying evidence and coercing investigators to dismiss any suggestions that the virus might have escaped from the lab. even many within the free press
of our own country, the scientific community, and big tech fell for the communist misinformation campaign smearing anyone who even suggested the lab could have been the source of the outbreak as spreading conspiracy theories. we refused to be intimidated by this communist party propaganda and continued our search for the truth. we followed the science and the money and discovered the world was being told a story that was very much different from what was transpiring behind those closed doors. thanks in part to a transparency law requiring the disclosure of details on projects paid for by u.s. taxpayers. we knew n.i.h. was funding a group called ecohealth to
conduct experiments on coronaviruses that were obtained from bats in china. and that they were doing so in collaboration with the now infamous wuhan institute. white coat waste project then used foia to obtain internal n.i.h. e-mails which revealed the agency was funding controversial gain of function research on coronaviruses at the wuhan institute in 2016. they also revealed dr. fauci was told as early as january 2020 that covid-19 looked engineered. was this project paid for with your tax dollars somehow related to the release of the covid-19 pandemic which just happened to
begin in the vicinity of the lab in wuhan? ecohealth might know the truth or even provide some clues, but the group's president refuses to answer questions. in fact, he organized a disinformation campaign to discredit scientists who dared to ask that question. ecohealth also evaded a number of federal transparency laws requiring the disclosure of how our tax dollars are being spent. as a result we still aren't even entirely sure how much of our money was sunk into subsidizing the unsafe state-run lab in communist china. folks, we really deserve the answers. and if ecohealth won't cooperate
voluntarily, then that information will be obtained with subpoenas when republicans are back in control of congress. you can mark my words. this troubling situation demonstrates both the power and the shortcomings of transparency laws. armed with information citizens with uphold the government and make them accountable and expose malfeasance but only if the laws are followed. and right now many of these laws are all bark and no bite. so what can a civic minded iowan do to get answers from inside the d.c. beltway bureaucracy? well, if you know what they say, if you want a friend in washington, get a dog.
that is why i have introduced the watchdog act which will establish within the white house a new, a new director of openness. yes, you got it. d.o.g., director of openness in government. d.o.g. who will be the taxpayers' best friend. this top dog will hound our government bureaucrats to fetch the facts for our taxpayers. agencies that are not providing information in a complete and a timely manner would be dogged until they do. in contrast to russia where the government controls and censors information, my bill creates a transparency czar to open government and spread information. folks, we can't have gatekeepers
of truth in a free society. that is why under my bill those who censor information rather than those who share it will be held accountable. the best way to restore trust in our public institutions and to discredit misinformation campaigns is by shining a light on what's really going on in washington. and with the sun now setting an hour later every day, we're all reminded what a big difference a little bit of sunshine can make. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mrs. blackburn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president. are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mrs. blackburn: i ask we dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president. last week the senate passed a $1.5 trillion funding bill that the democratic majority insisted was full of must-pass -- must pass, got to have it, can't live without it provisions that the american people were demanding. unfortunately the reality of of what made it into that bill doesn't match the fantasy my democratic colleagues conjured up for the cameras. in reality this $1.5 trillion package was another spending
spree. it was complete with 4400 earmarks. 4400 earmarks. now, these earmarks don't have any federal nexus. they're not connected to your military post, to your federal highway. these are things for shopping centers and parks and city renovations and you name it, pet projects. so, mr. president, that is not government funding. that's a big government windfall that the american people simply can't afford. but as we all know, an inability to pay for these programs has never stopped this democratic majority from shoving through their radical and increasingly destructive agenda. by their own admission the
out-of-control spending habits have contributed to decades high inflation. imagine that. what we know is in tennessee, i'm talking to people every day. they can't afford food and gas and to pay all the monthly expenses, but for some reason my democratic colleagues think taxpayers will be happy to pay for their pet projects back home. all 4400 of them. you just can't make this stuff up. the american people are really confused by this. they're also completely appalled by joe biden's refusal to secure the border, his refusal to invest in american energy independence, and his willingness to keep our economy entangled with the chinese communist party.
every one of these points worry them. but what really scares them is the president's refusal to discuss any of it. just don't talk about it. it will go away. inflation, that's transitory. if gas is too expensive, go buy yourself an electric vehicle. this is just so disrespectful of hardworking men and women. joe biden has cause add lot more problems than he involved during the first year of his presidency, and his constant pivots away from life-or-death problems have destroyed what little trust the american people had left in his ability to get the job done. they like to think that the president cares about what
happens to them, the american people, the citizens, but they haven't seen any evidence to suggest that he is thinking about them. last week i was up on the plateau in tennessee talking to tennesseans about what's going on here in the senate. most of what they tell me boils down to one simple truth -- from where they're sitting and the news they're watching and the papers they're reading, it's clear that the democrats have a very aggressive agenda, but they have no vision for the future of this country. they feel like what the democrats want is control over their daily life, not a vision of a country filled with open doors and opportunity for all. they're not seeing that.
-- they're not seeing that out of this agenda. why, they asked me, do their elected representatives take such drastic measures to do things that make their lives harder, that make their situations worse? they can't figure it out. since joe biden and the democrats took control, inflation has skyrocketed, we've become energy-dependent on russia, we've abandoned not one but two embassies. we hightailed it out of there. two embassies, cut and run. our border patrol, they're apprehending known terrorists and ms-13 gang members who are coming into this country. if they're apprehending them, mr. president, we're getting some but not all.
and now we're hearing about russia going out, going to iran, saying let me have your soldiers for hire, let me have your proxies. the wagner group, which is closely aligned with vladimir putin -- and all the time tennesseans are saying, well, what about these terrorists trying to come over the southern border? are they mercenaries? are they soldiers for hire? people are raising these issues, and this is all part of what the democrats have accomplished this year. the american people tolerate quite a bit from their government, but one thing they won't accept is a president who shrugs his shoulders, runs from the podium, who claims to be a victim of circumstance, who is weak-kneed and refuses to lead.
even former obama white house officials have come forward begging the biden administration to stop the spin, face reality, show some leadership, deal with the situation. this has to be getting embarrassing, even for them. mr. president, the american people have spent the past year watching joe biden abandon the policies that kept the country from collapsing under the weight of the pandemic. and what has he replaced those policies with? mandates, lockdowns that have made the country poorer, increased regulation that has stopped oil and gas exploration, increased regulation that's making it tougher on manufacturers, a push for higher taxes. that's what they're doing.
and, you know what? it makes people less hopeful. it makes people less free. it gives people fewer options. see, mr. president, that's what they're seeing. the democratic agenda is all about government control of your life. it is an agenda. it is not a vision for this country, for our children, for our grandchildren that is rooted in opportunity for all. there's only one way to undo this damage and to stop this train that this administration is pushing as hard as they can toward socialism. the president needs to stop the spin. he needs to start listening to what people are saying. people across the country.
here's the thing -- they don't want this president to fail. they don't want him to fail. they don't want this country to fail. so it means that the president is going to have to stop bowing to all of this environmentalism as a religion and climate change as a god. they need to stop that. they need to see, yes, we need to have an operation warp speed to be energy-independent, pull everybody together, federal agencies, the private sector. we are the united states of america, and if we had the desire, we could do this. we could be energy-independent once again. we could stand strong. we could stand strong against
russia, against iran, against china and the chinese communist party. what that is going to require is an administration and a democratic party that has a vision for the greatness and goodness of this country. i think that what we have to do is, mr. president, we have to lead the way in saying, it is time to show respect for the american people, to listen to what they are telling us and to make certain that we stand for this country, standing strong for future generations. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
quorum call: something practically unheard of in the senate. these republicans will delay our are actively making our communities less safe and it's regrettable they have chosen to obstruct the senate for their own personal political interests. so my colleagues ought to be prepared for a busy few days here on the floor here among the
nominees will consider a two great nominees from new york i'm proud to say. one will consider allie nathan nominated to serve as judge for the second circuit. she is a brilliant jurist with a decade of experience as a district judge and i was proud to recommend her to sit on one of the most important courts in the nation. i am also pleased visit will also vote on hector gonzalez to service district judge for the eastern district of new york, born in cuba raised in queens a fulbright scholar who became one of new york's top attorneys. mr. gonzalez is the very embodiment of the american dream. unlike judge nathan i'm glad to have recommended him to president biden. i'm also glad to note under senator durbin leadership judge nathan and mr. gonzalez received bipartisan support from committee so i i look forwardo the senate confirming them in short order. but first the senate will look to make history once again later today by confirming shalanda
young to serve as president biden's director of the office of management and budget, a cabinet level position. she would be the first black woman ever confirmed by the senate to lead the omb. it shouldn't have taken this long to come from someone as obviously as qualified as shalanda young. she's been leading the omb for nearly a year. she knows the budget and appropriations processes like the back of her hand. she's proven capable of working with republicans and democrats alike and it was through her guidance the administration notched some of its biggest victories including the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure law. shalanda young is one of the most effective cabinet leaders to have labeled -- to have the label of acting in a very long time. but it's long past time for that were to drop from her title, from her job title. i look forward to the senate officially confirming ms. young as omb director later today.
now on the omni, later this afternoon i'll join with a number of my senate colleagues and attending a signing ceremony at the white house for the 2022 omnibus funding bill. one of many significant and bipartisan accomplishments of the senate in recent weeks. in a 50-50 senate it's no small feat for this chamber to pass the boldest and most significant funding package that congress has seen in a long, long time. under this new package students, parents, working families, small businesses, veterans will see costs go down and greater investments go their way. our troops are going to get a much-needed raise. student loan borrowers will see the maximum pell grant awards increased by the largest amount in over a decade, impacting 7 million students, not to mention their families. we are giving parents more help for affording domestic violence
and sexual assault. and, of course, we're keeping our promise to ukraine by providing nearly $14 billion in humanitarian and military aid. this means food and shelter for the millions trapped in war, relief for the now 3 million refugees fleeing the country, and funding to transfer javelin, stinger and other weapons to the ukrainian fighting forces. ukrainian people are not alone in their struggle against vladimir putin's savage war. i can in my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who accelerated the passage of this emergency funding and i again command president biden for his handling of the crisis to date here as i said weeks ago, president deserves immense credit for keeping the allies together against putin, posing
crippling sanctions on russia and responding to a turbulent conflict with clarity and with strength. some were pushing the president to do too much too soon. we've seen an escalation of the crisis and risking that our allies would not join us. but so far the president's approach as been right on target. thanks to the president's approach, putin is that one of the most reviled and isolated leaders that the world has seen in a very long time. for this reason alone signing on the best interlock is a major accomplishment and i think the president, senator leahy senator durbin on all our appropriators and members of both sides of the aisle for getting it done. now on scotus, mr. president, what he retired conservative judges, a a group of 80 curret and retired state attorneys general, the u.s. black chambers and the international association of police chiefs all share in common? you might ask yourself that question. well, they are just a few, just
a few of the many, many groups and individuals that have endorsed judge ketanji brown jackson for the supreme court. when i met with judge jackson a few weeks ago it was immediately clear why so many different groups have sung the praises. on top of her brilliance and on top of her experience she is unusually gifted at seeing and appreciating both sides of an argument. little surprise that in the course of rendering nearly 550 decision at a federal district judge she was rarely reversed by higher courts. in fact, she has been reversed perhaps around a dozen times out of 550 decisions. that's about that's about 2%, 2% of the time. this week members from both sides of the i will continue meeting with the judge. i believe under senator durbin so leadership every member of the judiciary committee has had the chance to meet with her. i'm confident that any new conclusions my colleagues make about her will keep pointing in
one direction, judge jackson is brilliant, she is beloved, she belongs on the supreme court. it is worth repeating this over and over again, brilliant, beloved, belongs. because those three are, those three words are undoubtedly true and apply to judge jackson. i yield the floor. >> mr. president? >> republican leader. >> america's strength is not a provocation. american strengths secures assurance and peace. it is american hesitancy and weakness which our adversary see as an invitation. it's a simple fact. we have we learned it the hard way many times in our history. it should form the cornerstone of any administration's foreign
policy, but every day brings new distressing signs that the biden administration forgets this lesson. president biden hesitated and waited to reinforce our nato allies with more american troops out of fear that it might provoke putin. president biden hesitated and waited to sin stingers to ukrainians out of fears that it might provoke putin. president biden declined to send support and training to ukraine in december because he feared it might provoke putin. here's a headline from earlier this week. pentagon pushed to send more trainers to ukraine was scrapped in december amid white house
fears of provoking russia. last week president biden publicly split from her allied polling and scrapped the plan to get airplanes to ukraine. because our administration feared, you guessed it, provoke putin. predictably, putin has not pull his punches as a thank you to president biden for pulling his punches. american strength is not provocation. american weakness is. we need to help get their air de systems to ukraine without wasting another second, but meanwhile, the biden administration already replaying this mistaken philosophy with another adversary, iran, watched our humiliating botched retreat in afghanistan. they watch the biden administration's squabble with our middle eastern partners
while removing sanctions from iran's own terrorists proxies in yemen. having said taken the measure of this administration. this weekend even as the biden administration reportedly putting the finishing touches on an agreement deal that would favor i ran over america, unleashed an audacious, audacious missile strike into the kurdistan region of iraq that came very close to hitting our u.s. consulate. how will our commander-in-chief respond? the record is not encouraging. deterrent iran is steadily eroded under his tenure. the worst iranians behave, the more desperate the biden administration seems to be to give them concessions. judging by public reports the deal that president biden is preparing would impose fewer,
weaker, and shorter restrictions on iran than even the deeply flawed 2015 dl while giving the major and lasting relief from sanctions. the deal would reportedly not even judge iran's ballistic missile program. so i ran lobs missiles towards her facilities and we give iran a huge influx of cash and a relaxation of pressure. i ran clearly does not fear they will pay a price for threatening american interests. they must be made to think again. yesterday sent republicans sent the administration a letter expressing our grave concerns they are preparing, once again, to give away the store. republican stand great to work together on a real tough agreement the blocks iran's path to nuclear weapons and constrains its missile programs,
and confronts its support for terrorism. but if the administration continues done the path they are on they will find the stiff opposition that that path deserves. now on another matter there is bipartisan senate opposition to sarah bloom raskin president biden's radical and unacceptable nominee to the powerful federal reserve board position of vice chair for supervision. runaway inflation is hammering american families. democrats reckless policies back the fed into a very tricky corner. just this morning the new producer price index shows wholesale inflation is up 10%, 10% over 12 months. tied for the worst year ever. at a time like this the fed independence is paramount, but
president biden's nominee for this policy has spent years campaigning to turn the fed from a nonpartisan central bank into a a far left super legislature that voters cannot get rid of. explicitly and repeatedly, she has called for the fed to go about picking winners and losers in accord with the liberal ideological goals completely unrelated to the feds core duties. the far left cheers the nomination for the same reason both parties oppose. she wants to take radical policy aims that liberals can't achieve through congress and hardwired them directly into our financial system instead. president biden was literally asking for to support the central banker, a central banker who wanted to usurp policymaking power for herself. ms. raskin would've been a vice chair who sought to raise gas
prices, raise home heating costs and undermine the very institution of the federal reserve in the process. it's not surprising there's bipartisan senate opposition to such a radical nominee. even before one considers the and answered ethical questions to which the banking committee has not been able to get straight answers, president biden's selection wildly wildly missed the mark. if passed on the white house admit their mistake and send someone suitable. now on one final matter, what can the come what can the senate conclude about a supreme court nominee from the nature of their fan club? that's a question that democratic leader answer very clearly a few years back. in 2005 senator schumer accused john roberts of quote being embraced by some of the most
extreme ideologues in america, end quote. our colleague continues that gives rise to question many are asking. what did he know about you that we do not know? that was senator schumer questioning the chief justice. of course there was nothing extreme about then judge roberts nor about mainstream scholarly groups like the federalist society. but given democrats principal that the senate ought to examine nominees fan clubs, let's take a look at the loudest cheerleaders for president biden's nominee, judge jackson. before the 2020 election, far left group put judge jackson under supreme court shortlist. well, not a first virtuous left off the first version but shortly there after the judge published by everyone hundred 18 page opinion and it politically charged case that one attention and praise from liberal pundits.
one cable tv host observed that judge jackson's opinion was not standard legal writing but was written with quote, a broader audience in mind. not long after judge jackson's added to the next version of the activists shortlist, practically this group began spending big sums of money boosting judge jackson's profile. they put her face on posters around the senate. they paid for billboards pushing justice breyer to retire. this is a five far left group. they agitate for partisan court packing. they drive around town trying to harass justice kavanaugh. they filed a frivolous ethics complaint against former d.c. circuit judge john griffith. last week on television one of their board member said our constitution listen to this, our constitution is kind of trashed.
this groups entire purpose and fundraising model is waging war on the legitimacy of the judiciary itself. and for some reason these people desperately wanted judge jackson in particular to end up on our highest court. why? well, senators will need to explore that. a representative from this radical outfit told the "washington post" the like judge jackson for reasons that include her work as a public defender and on the u.s. sentencing commission. where in the middle of a violent crime wave including soaring rates of homicides and carjackings. even the summer when the pandemic posed a bigger challenge for americans that violent crime was a big problem, then said covid was. amid all this the soft on crime brigade is squarely in judge
jackson's corner. they wanted her above anyone else on the shortlist, and they specifically tighter experience defending criminals and work on the sentencing commission as key qualifications. as leader schumer once asked, what do these folks know that senators may not? i hope the vigorous senate process had include all the necessary documents and records of judge jackson's time on the sentencing commission may begin to shed more light. mr. president? >> the majority whip. >> mr. president, i'm glad i was on the floor to hear the republican leaders comments about our supreme court nominee ketanji brown jackson. because there are couple elements obviously inadvertently missed. they should've reported when he is talking about the support which she has received from across the political spectrum.
he made her out to be a product of creation of some far less political cause or movement but she's much more than that. and he went on to say that judge thomas griffith of the d.c. circuit was harassed by the same special interest group that supports judge jackson. he missed one key element. i just received a letter within the last two weeks from judge thomas griffith, a well-known retired conservative federal judge endorsing ketanji brown jackson. how about that? doesn't sound like a special interest group to me. it sounds like a republican appointed judge who saw her in action and must make sure that she gets the chance to serve on the supreme court of the united states. it makes a big difference because if you take a look at what he had to say about her, he wrote judge griffith wrote, judge jackson has a domestic record of excellence, and i believe based upon her work as a
trial judge when a stroke on the court of sident, i'd also unanimous ask unanimous cot i be able to complete my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection o. mr. cornyn: thank you. mr. president, as all america knows, prices at the gas pump are skyrocketing. over the weekend, the average gas price in texas exceeded $4 a gallon, and we typically have some of the cheapest gasoline in the country. but we didn't even cross that line during the great recession of 2008. but we know that gas prices are not the only commodity that is growing and that family budgets are strained by. consumers are also paying more for everything from groceries to clothes to appliances. folks in texas and across the country want to know what is
president biden's plan to address high gasoline prices. last week the president was, appropriately enough, asked this very question. his response? he said, can't do much right now. russia is responsible. that's a quote. russia is responsible. well, people across the country know that the price of gasoline, the spike that we're experiencing now, was preceded -- or preceded the invasion of ukraine. folks across the country can't afford to fill up their gas tanks to get to work, and the president points the finger at vladimir putin. well, there's no question that the war in ukraine exacerbated what was already an existing problem with the price of gasoline, but certainly it was not the cause of it. but the president conveniently omits the fact that gasoline
prices were a problem long before ukraine was attacked. for example, the week the president took office, americans were paying an average of $2.38 a gallon. month after month those prices steadily climbed. the average price exceeded $3.10 a gallon. and by thanksgiving, it was $3.30 gallon. just as a reminder, this was months before russia invaded, which did not happen until february 24 of this year. even in the last full week before the invasion, gas prices were painfully high at $3.50 a gallon. so, yes, prices have risen since the invasion, and there's no question that the russian aggression is a factor behind price jumps in the past few weeks, but this was a
preexisting problem, for which apparently the president had no solution. it is disingenuous for the administration to blame record-breaking prices entirely on russia. during biden's first year in office, from january of last year to january of this year, gas prices increased 40%. 40%. those increases had nothing to do with president putin and had everything to do with president biden. one of the president's first actions on taking office was to cancel the keystone x.l. pipeline. this pipeline would have given canadian fraud a quick and affordable path to refiners and processors in the united states and then to global markets through the gulf of mexico. this increased supply would add to the domestic markets and top off the strategic petroleum reserve and even make its way to
our friends and allies overseas. given the state of the world's energy security today, it's easy to see how the keystone x.l. pipeline would have helped, if the president had i have goin' it an opportunity. this project would have also brought serious economic gains in the form of good-paying jobs right here in america, increased tax revenues and benefits along the pipeline's route. but with the stroke of a pen, the president killed the keystone x.l. pipeline and the many benefits that would have been provided in terms of our energy security and price of gasoline at the pump. and, unfortunately, that was the beginning but not the end of the administration's flawed energy policies. just a few days later, the biden administration placed a temporary moratorium on all new leasing permits on federal lands, effectively sending more
business to russia and opec producers who he actually called upon to produce more oil. that's right. before the russian invasion, president biden called on opec, of which russia is a member and of which saudi arabia is a dominant producer, to produce more oil overseas rather than to unleash american energy right here at home. well, administration later attempted to set the social cost of carbon, as it called it, at $51 a metric ton, an arbitrary figure designed to hamper fossil fuel production right here at home. then it suspended oil and gas production in both alaska and new mexico. the administration even took aim at refiners. the u.s. relies on an expansive network of refiners to supply gasoline, diesel fuel, and other petroleum products.
the renewable fuel standard requires refiners to blend a certain amount of renewable fuel, which is simply untenable for many small refiners. and small refiners disproportionately produce gasoline, which means that the pressure on these small refiners has a disproportionate impact on higher gasoline prices. what the environmental protection agency has the authority to grant temporary exemptions to small refiners, if compliance would cause it to suffer serious economic hardship. those exemptions used to be pretty standard practice. president obama and president trump each granted dozens of exemptions while in office. but so far president biden has refused to grant a single exemption to small refineries. small refineries are hurting, and unless president biden finally grants some of these
exemptions, some of them may be forced to close their doors, exacerbating, again, high energy prices. if fewer refiners are operating, gasoline prices will go up. not down. president biden and his administration is not the only ones who have taken aim at oil and gas production here in america in the last year. many of our colleagues who have argued that oil and gas production is somehow unnecessary or obsolete and could be replaced today with solely renewable energy have been misleading the american people in believing that we could make that transition today. or anytime in the near future. while renewable energy is an important part of our energy sources, in texas we produce more electricity from wind than any other state in the nation.
we believe in an all-of-the-above energy policy. but i actually have heard mammograms of -- members of the administration say one of the solution for eliminating the importation of russian oil would be to move entirely to renewables. well, the energy information administration, which is the official spokesman on these matters for the u.s. government, says that by the year 2050, 74% of our energy sources in america will still be fossil fuel. that's four times the amount of energy that can be produced by renewables. now, that doesn't mean we're going to stay stuck on where we are now. we'll continue to look for new and innovative ways to add to our energy diversity and improve our climate and environment at the same time. but to suggest disingenuously to the american people that one way we can deal with cutting off
russian imports is simply to do away with oil and gas in america is a ludicrous statement. well, other regulatory measures promoted by the administration have also discouraged american energy production, like the reckless tax-and-spending spree to pile even more costs and regulations on american oil and gas. for example, a methane tax on energy companies, banning offshore drilling, increasing on-shore royalty fees, and putting domestic oil and gas producers in a choke hold. now that gas prices have gone through the roof, some of our colleagues have come up with another unhelpful solution. they want to temporarily suspend the gas tax through november, which happens to be the elections. that is no coincidence.
this idea has been soundly is rejected by -- a number of times over the years by both republicans and democrats. in 2008, gas prices were soaring and then presidential candidate barack obama attacked his opponents for endorsing a gas-tax holiday, as many of our colleagues here in the senate have endorsed currently. at the time candidate barack obama, senator barack obama said this isn't an idea designed to get you through the summer. it's an idea designed to get you through an election. in short, this isn't a fix for high gas prices. it's a talking point for political campaigns and candidates. this is a gimmick to create the illusion of action while really doing nothing but draining the highway trust fund that we rely upon to build our roads and bridges. still a few of our colleagues in the senate have offered a bill that would suspend the gas tax
through the end of the year. i'm sure it comes as no surprise that a majority of the bill's sponsors are on the ballot this year. for more than a year now republicans have warned about the potential consequences of the attack on domestic energy production. we've highlighted the way the policies could drive up prices, harm our energy security, and threaten that of our allies. even as gas prices rose month after month, the biden administration did nothing. they didn't attempt a midcourse correction. they didn't open this topic up for debate. they just stayed the course. back in november, the secretary of energy was asked about increasing u.s. oil production. she literally laughed and said that's hilarious. well, it certainly isn't funny
now. gas prices are now averaging $4.32 a gallon, and our allies are frantically trying to reduce their reliance on russian oil and gas, which in many cases is their sole source. president biden has tried to pin these problems squarely on russia and vladimir putin, but the american people are smart. they know the truth. they know that high prices predated russia's invasion of ukraine, and they know about the war being waged on domestic energy production by some of our colleagues across the aisle. and they are smart enough to know that you can't believe president biden when he says you can't do much about it because russia is responsible. mr. president, i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate >> and the senate now in recess until 2:15 p.m. eastern for the weekly party caucus lunches. later senate lawmakers are expected to vote on the confirmation of shalanda young to be the director of the white house office of management and budget. that vote has been set for 4 p.m. eastern. also coming up this week the senate is expected to consider a number of president biden's judicial nominations. as always you can follow live coverage of the senate when lawmakers return here on c-span2. >> now available for preorder in the c-span chupp, c-span's 2022 congressional directory. go there today to order a copy of the congressional directory. this comeback spiral-bound book
is your guide to the federal government with contact information for every member of congress including files and committee assignments. contact information for state governors and the biden administration cabinet. preorder your copy email@example.com or scan the code with your smart phone. every c-span shop purchase helps support c-span nonprofit operation. >> on wednesday ukrainian president zelensky will give an update to congress remotely about the russian invasion as the war in his country intensifies. watch live coverage at 90 90 eastern on c-span, online c-span.org or watch full coverage on our our free vi. c-span now. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more including media,. >> the world changed in an instant but mediacom was ready.
in the traffic soared and we never slowed down. schools and businesses went virtual a and we powered a new reality because at mediacom we are built to keep you ahead. >> mediacom support c-span as a public service along with these other television providers given to a front row seat to democracy. >> the democratic national committee help this winter meetingnd here in washington, d. recently. vice president harris addressed the gathering along with dnc chair jaime harrison massachusetts senator ed markey and a state legislator from north dakota. this is about an hour. >> take your seats everyone. people in the back please have a seat. now my friends, i want to turn
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