tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN May 5, 2022 10:59am-4:35pm EDT
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>> the u.s. senate is about to gavel in for the day. lawmakers will be debating the nomination of catherine huff to be assistant energy secretary for a nuclear energy with a vote on a confirmation vote set for 1:45 p.m. eastern today. and now live to the floor of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. o mighty gd god. our refuge and -- o mighty god, our refuge and strength are going through turbulent times, thank you for setting stars of hope in life's sky, enabling us in the darkness to behold the brightness of your grace. lord, we praise you that through the darkness we see the light of
your presence that dispels the shadows. even in the valley we know that you are with us. today, remind our lawmakers that human flesh is as fleeting as fading flowers and withering grass. teach our senators to number their days not just laboring for time but for eternity. and, lord, protect the ukrainian people. we pray in your powerful name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the president pro tempore: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. and morning business is closed. and under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of energy, kathryn huff of illinois to be an assistant secretary.
despite the fact these very same companies are engaged in widespread massive violations of labor law and the question we're asking today is a very simpleone . should federal taxpayer dollars go to companies that violate label law and illegally prevent workers from exercising their constitutional rights to join a union. while corporations engaging in a legal activity is not new and it is widespread, this morning we're going to focus on one company, amazon who as we speak right at this moment is engaged in massive, well-funded antiunion activity. as i think all of us know just last month amazon workers in staten island voted to form the first union at amazon and amazon is one of the largest employers in the country, almost 1 billion
workers and this followed union organizing attempt at amazon warehouse in alabama. and organizing a union in bessemer alabama ain't easy and we thank those workers who are here with us today were joining from bessemer. from the very beginning of the union organizing efforts until today, amazon has done everything possible legal and illegal to defeat union organizing efforts. the national labour relations board nlrb found that amazon's flagrant disregard of the law infringed on workers legal rights who were for a free and fair union election in bessemer alabama ruling amazon's behavior was quote dangerous and improper. that is the next national labor relations board.
today there are currently 59 unfair labor cases against amazon pending at the nlrb. amazon is currently being sued by the lrp to reinstate a worker who was illegally fired forreinstating a union . several current and former employees allege amazon has engaged in harassment and discrimination based on race, gender and sexual orientation and that's not all. amazon has already been penalized for more than $75 million for breaking federal discrimination and labor laws. amazon does classifies delivery drivers and as independent contractors rather than employees to evade tax wageand benefits . amazon inadequate workplace safety policies also pose grave risks to workers and i hope to be able to discuss that a littlebit today .
if you canbelieve it , and mister graham this is really rather on astounding in fact. according to a new york times investigation amazon has 150 percent turnover rate. 150 percent. workers come into these warehouses. their work is hard ashumanly possible . often crushed. and all set of new workers that comes in to replace them . is that really the kind of business model that we should be rewarding with massive federal contracts. further in some locations amazon's workplace injury rates are more than 2 and a half times the industry average and that maybe understating the case because not all injuries are reported . last december 6 amazon
workers died after they were required to continue working during unsafe weather conditions at the warehouse that did not have appropriate safety facilities or policies . it is abundantly clear time and time again amazon has engaged in illegal antiunion activity. further, amazon cannot even come to grips with reality that the workers in staten island won their union election fairand square . in order to stall the process out there lawyers have appealed that decision to the nlrb. their strategy is obvious and i look forward to discussing that with ourpanelists . they're going to stall and stall. in every way possible they are refusing to negotiate a their contract with the amazon labor union. but today my question to jeff
pazo's who is the second wealthiest person in our country worth about $150 billion is a pretty simple one. and it really speaks to the kind of corporate greed and excessive greed we are seeing right now. mister basis you have enough money to buy a $500 million yacht. enough money to buy 175 million state in bed of beverly hills and a mansion right here inuc . given all of your wealth, how much do you need? why are you doing everything in your power including breaking the law to deny amazon workers the right to join a union so that they can negotiate for their wages. better working conditions. how much do you need? and the answer is not
complicated. but mister basis understands and what he is fighting is the reality that union workers in america earn about 20 percent more than nonunion workers on average. he understands that 79 percent of union workers have a defined benefit pension plan compared to just 17 percent of nonunion workers. he understands that union workers are half as likely to be victims of health and safety violations as a nonunion worker. and that is why mister bezos and amazon have spent $4 billion on unionbusting consultants and lawyers . that is why amazon is holding antiunion meetings. put a bunch of workers inroom and brainwash them with
antiunion propaganda . that is why amazon's and expired workers simply because they are prounion. now my message to mister basis is this and that is all over this country people are adding up and fighting back for economic justice. they are tired of seeing billionaires get much richer while they can't afford health care or childcare in fact in some cases the ability to feed theirfamilies . i'd say to mister basis.intimidation. stop the harassment, stop the coercion, stop the illegal behavior. start treating your workers with the respect and dignity they deserve. they are the people who make you billions. give yourworkers a seat at the bargaining table. give yourworkers the freedom to join a union if that is what they choose to do . during the presidential campaign , then candidate joe biden promised and i quote to institute a multi-year federal debarment for all
employers who illegally and oppose unions and to ensure federal contracts only go to employers who signed agreements, not to run antiunion campaigns. in my view that campaign promise was precisely right. and today i am reviewing my request to president biden to fulfill that promise. when you get on the campaign trail let's do it. president biden will more than any other president in my lifetime as far over and over again about being prounion. and i appreciate the president's words and i believe him to be sincere. he is prounion. in my view however the time for talk is over. the time for action is now. taxpayer dollars should not go to companies like amazon who repeatedly break the law
and were talking about billions ofdollars . no government not the federal government, not the state government and not any that the government should be handing out corporate welfare to union busters and labor laws. senator graham, i really enjoyed working with you as well. this committee is taking a very dangerous turn under your leadership to be honest with you. yours singling out a single company for your political agenda to socialize this country. every time i turn around you're having a hearing about anybody who makes money is bad. the government needs togrow beyond our ability to pay for it . you're going tohave an election on your ideas here soon and i can't wait . as the process is a process in this country if you feel like a law has been violated and your efforts to unionize
workforce you can file a complaint. people will have a hearing. there's a process to debar companies who engage in illegal behavior. there is aprocess . this is a political process here. this is an effort to get an outcome you want using the united states senate as your vehicle. it's very dangerous. you can have oversight hearings all you like but you've determined amazon is a piece of crap company. that's yourpolitical bias . there subject to the laws of the united states. theyshould be subject to this . if we get the committee back where not going to do this. we're going to talk about how to save social security, keep medicare from becoming insolvent. how to change the structural problems of our debt. i'll talk to you about climate change. what happens if you electrify all the vehicles in the
country, what does that mean for power producers? i'd like to work with unions. i've got a uncle who is a vice president of the union to bring jobs back into america. i'd like to work with unions and the private sector to become energy independent again. but i'm not here to demagogue the unions. there's a process in this country. i'm here to say if you're a business you can have a say to about your workforce. the idea that you can only get a government contract if you promise to be neutral is ridiculous . boeing is in south carolina making 787's. they spent efforts to unionize boeing, they lose. the people in that plant will make that decision. the idea that boeing can't argue the merits of a right to work environment for their business is ridiculous. i think patently illegal. this is a heavy-handed
approach with the most radical agenda in my lifetime. and it should be carried out at the ballot box and it will be. if we take this body back this demonization of individual companies that are subject to the law will cease . thank you. >> now we are going to hear from our panelists. and i thank them very much for being here. we have five panelists. mister christian smalls. mister greg roy. rachel bressler. mister glenn spencer. let me begin with mister christian smalls. mister smalls is the
president and founder of the amazon labor union. mister smalls has been organizing labor actions and amazon warehouse in staten island noticed if k8 since 2020 . jfk a warehouse voted in favor of unionizing with representation to the american labor union april 1. mister smalls thanks for being with us. >> you for having me. of all i want to address mister graham. it sounds like you've been talking about more of the companies and businesses in your speech but you forgot that the people are the ones who make these companies operate. and where not protected and the process for when we hold these companies accountable is notworking for us . and that's not what, that's
the reason we're here today. that's thereason i'm here to representthe workers . who make these companies go . and i think that it's in your best interest to realize that is not a left or right thing. it's not a democrat or republicanthing . it's a workers thing. it's a workers issue and we are the ones that are suffering and the corporations that were talking about with the businesses you're talking about and the warehouses you're talking about. that's the reason why i think i was invited today to speak on that behalf and you should listen because we do represent your constituents as well. so just take that into consideration that the people are the ones that make these corporations go. it's not the other way around . as to current interim president of the anti-labor union who represents 8300 workers and an independent worker led union left on
april 1, i'm going to tell you this. we organized for over a year. and throughout the course of that year amazon has made millions of dollars as set senator sanders. myself as well as a few other organizers outside for organizing. delivering food to their coworkers. when i want to reiterate that as well. the type of things that amazon is doing, breaking the law intimidation . these are real things that traumatized workers in this country. thousands of workers across this country are in the process of organizing with the society organized in the united states. we want to fill that we have protections.
and we want to feel that the government is allowing us to use our constitutional rights toorganize . the notion that people united in this democracy will outmatched tyranny is the oldest american ideal. it's clearly defined legal process to do this and workers like us have the rights to be protected by the first amendment and national labor relations act. however despite all of this our victory in staten island was lauded as newsworthy and inspirational for the thousands of workers across the country, hundredsof thousands of workers .us >> b
hardship for their families. fewer than one in five say the biden administration's policies have done anything to improve economic conditions. and yet, as we speak, with the economy already scuffling, washington democrats are proposing more reckless spending and the biggest tax hike in american history. for example, president biden is considering trying to buy up his sinking approval ratings by magically waving away $ 1.6 trillion in student loan obligations. so let's put a few things in perspective. more than a third of americans did not pursue education beyond high school. of the americans who did receive additional schooling, barely one
in four hold any student debt at all. in fact, an outright majority of the $1.6 trillion in federal student debt is held by professionals with advanced degrees. working people who chose to avoid taking on debt should not have to bail out high-earning doctors, lawyers, and dentists, or adults who borrowed six figures for an ivy league master's. president biden wants to effectively funnel money away from people who decided to learn a trade, away from people who chose community college, away from people who made tough sacrifices to actually pay off their loans. in order to buy more enthusiasm from one of the democrats' loudest and farthest left constituents, young liberal professionals with elite degrees and massive earning potential get a behind handout, and
working people in rural america get the bill. as one scholar from a left wing think tank puts it, quote, almost a third of all student debt is owed by the wealthiest 20% of households, while only 8% by the bottom 20%. he concludes, student debt is concentrated among high-wealth households and loan forgiveness is regressive, were mesh -- whether measured by income, educational attainment, or wealth. even among the small slice of americans who do have some student debt, the majority owe less than $20,000. but the senior senator from massachusetts has proposed a cap that would cover debt up to 2 1/2 times that amount. she is laser focused on giving the future lawyers and future doctors of cambridge, massachusetts, this massive gift
before this november. you literally have democrat state attorneys general writing the administration demanding the federal government exercise its authority to cancel federal student loan debt for every single borrower. student loan socialism would be a giant slap in the face to every family who sacrificed to save for college, to every graduate who paid their debt, to every worker who made a different career choice so they could stay debt free. now a little more than a year ago, president biden was saying, quote, i don't think i have the authority to do it by signing with a pen. speaker pelosi affirmed that, saying people think the president has the power for debt forgiveness, he does not. even the former general counsel of the obama education department concluded the executive branch likely does not have the unilateral authority to
engage in mass student debt cancelation. but apparently, lackluster poll numbers have the president considering breaking the law and plowing ahead anyway. so think about this very concretely. democrats want construction workers, police officers, and small-business owners in kentucky to effectively eat the student loans of surgeons, corporate lawyers, and people in new york city who choose to borrow $180,000 for a master's from the columbia film school with no plan whatsoever for paying it back. in addition to making inflation even worse across the board, this jubilee for the elites would do nothing to combat runaway cost in higher education, mindless subsidies
will just make the runaway costs even worse. i'd like to see one single democrat visiting the working people of kentucky and defend this proposal with a straight face. democrats' policies already have working americans facing the worst inflation in more than 40 years, as well as the risk of a recession. but instead of trying to help middle-class families, democrats are cooking up massive bailouts for ivy league graduates. you can hardly dream up something more unfair. now on an entirely different matter, more than two months into russia's war on ukraine, the free world has observed a few important dynamics. first, we saw the incredible resilience of the ukrainian people. and their resolve to win. second, we saw how ill-prepared putin's forces were to encounter
serious resistance. but most recently, we've been reminded of what a wounded bear is able and willing to do. the terrible destruction of mariupol, the constant barrages of towns in the east and the continuing long range missile attacks against cities far from the front are a stark reminder of the horrific costs of this conflict that may well continue for some time. our brave friends in ukraine are not out of the woods. as i've said repeatedly, america and our allies must be willing to help them win. if the outcome of this conflict is an emboldened russia or a fractured ukraine, there is no question that the risk to the united states, to nato, and to other american partners will grow. first and foremost, that means serious ongoing commitments to
deliver more of the sorts of lethal capabilities that have sustained their resistance thus far. the u.s. is rightly leading the supplier of military assistance to ukraine's fighting forces, but to the administration's credit, they are also increasing coordinating a growing international response. while the preponderance of our support should ensure that ukraine has the military capability to defend itself in the months ahead, we should also contribute to the multinational economic and humanitarian support kiev needs. we must also make new investments in u.s. capab capabilities, addressing munitions shortfalls and defense industrial bottlenecks to ensure we could more rapidly produce critical weapons systems that would prove essential for ukraine, vulnerable eastern flank allies, or our own
military in the months ahead. obviously there is broad bipartisan support for a robust aid package, but even a strong bipartisan bill will not mean much if we don't deliver on this promise soon. for this reason we cannot allow this bill to be a vessel for extraneous matters. this isn't about battling climate change. this is about helping ukraine defeat a military aggressor on the battleground. urgent assistance for ukraine's fight must move at the speed of relevance. every day this -- tied down in unrelated business here in washington is a day it's not helping kiev turn the tide. if the senate is serious about helping ukraine win, we need to show it by passing supplemental assistance. clean, no strings attached, and
contracts and development subsidies. in addition to the company's widely reported unfair labor practices that my panelists have discussed amazon or its subsidiaries have been penalized or sometimes by federal or state regulatory agencies or as a result of private litigation on workforce issues. five wage and hour cases totaling almost $82 million include a federal trade commission penalty and i'm quoting the commission now saying a final administrative consent order against amazon which agreed to pay more than $61.7 million to settle charges it failed to pay amazon flex drivers the full amount of tips they received from amazon companies over a 2 and a half year period.
amazon entities have been penalized dozens of times by the federal aviation administration and more than 20 times by the occupational safety and health administration for safety violations . when a company violates workers rights tofreely organize a union that contradicts the fundamental idea within economic development and public procurement . that idea being that public dollars should serve to raise living standards and reduce inequality, never to suppress wages or suppress benefits and thereby exacerbate any quality. otherwise why would we collectively favor a company with subsidies or contracts ? why would we pay pay a company to make any quality worse? corporate recidivism is a long-standing problem and many people have observed it continues because penalties are not stiff enough especially personal penalties for top executives. we would submit losing
government contracts and subsidies might get the attention of a company like amazon that is so wet to public dollars . iq . thank you. >> our next panelist is miss rachel kreisler was a senior research fellow at the heritage foundation. miss drexler's work focuses on retirement and labor policy such as social security, disability insurance, pensions and worker compensation. thanks very much for being with us. >> chairman, ranking member and members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to be here today. regarding the question of taxpayer dollars going to companies that violate labor laws the process is not an appropriate or effective way to address the parent concerns. it would do more harm to taxpayers to strip americans of vital services including
health care and national security than it would to penalize the targeted companies. moreover a federal judge issued an injunction against a similar obama order in 2016 and congress already struck down individual agencies similar blacklisting rules in 2017. a more relevant question for the budget committee in the $30 trillion federal debt, reckless spending, high inflation and an unprecedented labor shortage is how can policymakers promote a better functioning labor market with more people working with real incomes rising instead of falling. to that end up like to consider labor market conditions and evaluate two different labor approaches. today's labor market isunlike any before in history . massive government spending financed by fed spending of money has artificially increased demand while other government policies have discouraged work. that's contributed to arecord
high 11.5 million job openings, almost 2 jobs available for every unemployed worker . employers are responding by providing greater flexibility , expanded benefits including a 64 percent increase in workers access to paid family leave and also higher pay. in march alone 49 percent of employers reported they increased compensation. but despite the fact average earnings are up $3300 over the past year the average worker is $1600 poorer after inflation. the problem is that employers are forced to raise compensation without workers actually producing more than have to raise their prices and that adds to the inflationary cycle . similarly unions use a muscle as opposed to merit-based compensation increases leads to higher prices and fewer jobs . policies like protecting the right to organize act to prioritize union membership over workers desires would add to inflation, failed to meet workers needs and ultimately lead to a smaller
labor force and lower income. under the propac workers could lose a lot including their right to a secret ballot union election, privacy of their personal information, the choice of joining a union and paying union dues . the ability to be their own boss and opportunity to own a franchise business. most troubling to me as a mother of six young children is the proactive attacks on independent workers . 59 million americans participated in independent or freelance work this year. during the pandemic was a lifeline to many including 12 percent of the entire workforce that started freelancing in 2020. independent work is growing because people wanted. they report greater work life balance, less stress, better health and the same or higher incomes. for many people it's independent work or no work. half of those who freelance say they do it because they can't work for a traditional
employer. closing off opportunities for people to work in the way they want and need may increase union dues won't help workers and it won't help the economy grow. instead of attempting to re-create the workplace dominated by unions manufacturing and men congress should modernize labor laws. first policymakers should protect flexible and autonomous work by clarifying the law that people who control their own work can be independent contractors. progress should protect the franchising model by codifying the long-standing precedent of that franchise owners are the workers soul employer. the employee rights act includes these two provisions along with other important worker first policies like privacy protection, secret ballot unionelections and the right to earn a raise . congress could alleviate
worker and union classes by respecting both parties rights to choose . that is by ending forced unionization and also ending exclusive representation so that workers are forced to join unions and unions are forced torepresent workers that don't join them . finally policymakers should help expand lower costs and more effective education alternatives by reducing higher education subsidies and allowing things like industry recognized apprenticeship programs that are proven effective at helping workers. the future of work requires an agile and expanding workforce, not a one-size-fits-all model. so lawmakers goals should be to allow more people to gain the skills they need to work in the jobsthey want . to choose the employment arrangements that work best for them and earn rising incomes that allow them to pay for what they want and pursue what they desire. thank you thank you. our last panelist we will be hearing from virtually and
that is mister glenn spencer is the senior vice president of the employment policy division at the us chamber of commerce. in this role he oversees the chambers work on traditional labor relations and worker safety issues and state labor and employment among other issues. mister spencer thanks for being with us. >> chairman sanders, ranking member graham. i appreciate the opportunity to you today. us chamber of commerce directly represent 300,000 businesses and represents approximately 3 million more through ourfederation partners. these businesses take seriously their obligations to follow all laws including those involving labor and employment matters . these businesses devote considerable time talent and resources towards achieving compliance . the unfortunate truth is some laws are less than clear and
can be complex. the same applies to regulations that implement those laws. these laws and regulations sometimes overlap and there are additional laws and regulations at the state level. take exit independent contracting. there are multiplestandards just at the federal level. the irs, department of labor and labor relations board , all these different tests. in addition there are state tests and some states use separate test for wage and hour, workers compensation and employment insurance and the result is a confusing patchwork of laws that can be challenging to understand. this type of complexity which occurs across numerous areas is why we see so much litigation around labor unemployment issues . few people can look at the same factual situation and there are two different conclusions about whether a particular workplace policy is compliant. this is why it important not to jump to conclusionsabout whether a company is violating the law . on further review by agency officials or the court allegations can be found to be without merit.
all this leads to the question of whether an additional penalty structure for contractors up to and including debarment is an appropriate policy. as a general matter congress concluded it is not. statutes like the national labor relations act articulate a specific penalty structure that does not include restrictions on contracting or debarment. moreover congress has declined to pass numerous proposal to amend the penalties including labor law reform legislation 1978, the employee free choice act and recently to protect human rights organize act. where congress has affirmatively spoken on the question of contracting and has rejected that concept. in 2017 congress used the congressional review act to overturn the fair pay and safe workplace regulation who saw and sought in part to require contractors to report violations of employment laws . with the ultimate threat of the loss of federal contracts.
while there are undoubtedly many reasons congress has chosen this course of action one factor might be that while many businesses participate in federal contracting as many as 25 percent employers these businesses specialize in different services. preventing a company from participating in federal contracting would limit the ability of the government to seek out the most effective provider of a particular service and in some cases that service might not be available at all . some national defense products are produced this one lead supplier and they issue a particular look at our policy in the ukraine. administrations of both parties often use the federal contract process to impose policies they couldn't get through congress. for example provided administrator required contractors to pay a minimum wage of 15 per hour. the trump administration attempted to block contractors from diversity
training . the obama administration paid provided paid leave in the bushadministration provided contracts to post notices about union rights . without commenting on the wisdom of any of these policies theunifying theme is these were issues that did not receive congressional approval . the justification claim was the administrative services act
in china, which can further disrupt supply chains. in other words, the federal reserve chairman said two of the biggest drivers of inflation are really global. they're complicated and they aren't going to be solved by america alone. fortunately there are some simple solutions we can take to help families save money. let me tell you about three of them. the first is to cut gas prices. i can't think of a single cost of living that is more visible. every street corner in america has a sign declaring what the cost of the cost of a gallon of gasoline is.
people compare these in their mind as they drive down the road. some people make a hobby of it. anyone who filled up a gas tank has felt the sicker shock of vladimir putin's war in ukraine. a little over a month ago we announced that the u.s. would release one million barrels of oil a day from the strategic oil preserves. one million gallons a day for six months while oil companies ramp up domestic production to make up for the shortage caused by mr. putin's war. president biden has issued an emergency fuel waiver, allowing gas with a higher blend of ethanol, to be sold across america in the summer. normally e-15 isn't sold in the summer, but the white house estimates by allowing -- if we
are really interested in reducing the price of gas prices and reducing the power of putin, we can do that by investing more in domestic cars, clean energy sources that don't break the bank or the planet. here's another solution that can save millions of families hundreds of dollars every single month. let's agree to cap the monthly cost of insulin for diabetes at $35. in 1923, almost 100 years ago, researchers in canada were awarded the noble prize for the discovery of insulin to manage diabetes. they sold the patent -- listen carefully -- sold the patent for this drug discovery for $1. they wanted to make sure that no one would ever profit from this
lifesaving drug. fast forward 100 years, something has gone terribly wrong. the siem vial -- same vial of insulin that eli lilly sells for $40 in canada, sells for $350 here. the maker of mantilis has raised their insulin from $35 to more than $300 today. 26 price hikes in 22 years. the cost of insulin can range from a couple of$00 a -- hundred of dollars a month to a thousand dollars a month. who bears the burden of these costs? patients and families. there are 37 million americans who have diabetes. the number goes up every year.
senator warnock, of georgia, has introduced a critical bill, the affordable insulin now act to cap the monthly cost of insulin at $35 a month. i'm a cosponsor. many senators are. senator collins and senator shaheen are spearheading a similar bipartisan effort to support it. i urge more of our republican colleagues to listen to the people they represent. there are lots of people struggling to afford insulin in their states as well as the blue states. let's do this together. can't we agree on one thing in the united states senate that we're going to do to help america this year? i think this is a good project and a good goal. a third way we can reduce inflation is a little more complicated, but it's worth talking about. we need to rein in the excessive fees charged by visa and mastercard for their product. we had a hearing yesterday.
it was in the senate judiciary committee. it was on something called a swipe fee. and of course a swipe fee is the amount of money that has to be paid in order it to move that piece of plastic through the machine. most consumers don't know it exists, every retailer knows it exists. it was the first hearing that was held on this topic 16 years. i was there 16 years ago. i walked into the senate judiciary committee chaired by the senator from pennsylvania, arlen specter and the discussion was about swipe fees. i never heard of it before. what happened in that meeting was an exposition of the current situation for every store that you shop in, all the grocery stores, any store that takes plastic knows what a swipe fee
or interchange fee is. here's how it works. visa and mastercard control over 80% of the credit and debit card markets in the united states. starting point. it isn't as if you can walk away from these two companies and be a retailer in america. if you're going to take plastic, you're going to take one or both of these cards. and every time a card with a visa or mastercard logo is swiped, in other words at the retailer, visa and mastercard charge a fee and takes a cut of whatever the trans action amount turns -- transaction amount that turns out to be. most of it they keep themselves, most of it given to the bank that issues the card. the fee that visa and mastercard to pay, the card-issuing bank is the interchange fee. it is usually charged as a
percentage of the trans action, plus a flat fee. for example, 2% of whatever the transaction cost is plus two cents. how does that work? say you buy $100 worth of groceries, for merchants operating on tight profit margins, and that's most of them, these fees can add up to a big problem. laura ca wrench t was one of our -- carrot was one of our witnesses. she is the c.e.o. of a supermarket chain known as giant eagle. it is a regional well-known chain of grocery stores based in pittsburgh, pennsylvania. she said that her groceries operate on a 1% profit margin, so the 2% swipe fee wipes out
their entire profit. what do they do? there is only one obvious answer. they raise the prices to cover the high swipe fees required by visa and mastercard and customers end up holding the bag. remember, we started this conversation about inflation. make no mistake, what i described is inflationary. swipe fees are not just annoying to the retailers, they're anticompetitive. the witness told us the story april 22, she received the latest modifications of the swipe fees charged to her businesses by visa and mastercard. she said the modification was 300 pages long many almost unintelligible and handed it over to her accountants and lawyers and said make sense of it. what are they doing? the banks do not set the fees,
banks let visa and mastercard do the behind the scene works and fix the fees. that means that all of the thousands of card-issuing banks in the network receive the same exact schedule of swipe fees for merchants, regardless of whether they're efficient or inefficient, regardless of whether or not they're preventing fraud or victims of it. it is free money for the banks. when the fee rates go up, banks make more money every time people use plastic, debit, or credit cards and they issue more cards. that benefits visa and mastercard who take their part out of a network fee out of a swipe. they have incentive to raise fees. what can merchants do? you would think they would say we're going to bargain about this fee, we object to it being
raised and let you know if you're going to do business with our business, that's the way it about will -- it will be. that doesn't happen. this is noncompetitive. visa and mastercard control 84%, 85% of the credit card market. they say, take it or leave it. play by our rules or we won't play at all. visa and mastercard tell merchants if they want to accept payment from the thousands of banks they want to be able to accept payments from thousands of banks in their networks, the merchants must agree to visa and mastercard's fees and terms. take it or leave it. merchants can't leave it. visa and mastercard control 80% of the credit card and debit card market. the figures for 2020 show -- i'm
going to roughly approximate these. i will clear it up in the record, $80 billion of trans actions using debit cards, $$60 billion using credit card in 2020. how does that compare with cash and checks? cash was $28 billion compared to $140 billion for plastic. and what about checks? how many people are writing checks? it was worth $5 billion in trans actions compared to plastic which was over $140 billion. the reality is when swipe fees go up, and they do regularly, that cost gets built into the price consumers pay at the checkout counter and at the gas pump. remember those gas prices. you wonder why they're hitting $4 a gallon, $5 a gallon, they include the swipe fees, the credit card fees and debit card fees added on to the cost of
gasoline. take a look at this chart. in the 16 years of the judiciary committee meetings i attended on swipe fees and now, visa and mastercard have imposed $ 794 billion in fees directly to families and consumers. a staggering amount, $794 billion for the hidden fee you never see. and visa and mastercard raised these fees, again, two weeks ago. senator marshall sent them a letter saying this is exactly the wrong time to raise your fees. it's tough enough for these businesses to hire people and get back in business after covid-19, tough enough for families fighting inflation, why do you have to raise them now? you are profitable companies, and the banks are doing well. they did it anyway.
these fee increases are adding to inflation and the market can't fix the problem because the debit and credit card market isn't competitive. the retailers have no voice in what that fee will be. it's take it or leave it. visa and mastercard have what we call a duopoly, not a mon only, -- monopoly, but these two companies control over 80% of the plastic market. what can we do about it? at our hearing we talked about several responses. first, let's bring transparency to the market. the last thing that either visa or mastercard want to see is sunlight. people understanding what they're charging, why they're charging, the impact it has on prices, the impact on inflation. they want this continue to be a deep, dark secret buried in 300 pages of legal words they send
to their retailers. if visa and master card -- they might try to use a less costly card and there are some out there. it will be like giving the business a tip. and it would help bring down prices. why not require banks to show on the monthly statement they send to us with their credit card and debit card advance actions, how much of that was swipe fees, they would do it in a second. they wouldn't dare. they can't embrace transparency. that is not part of the process. it's all in secret and code and legal words. i bet it would open a lot of eyes if they saw how much we're paying in swipe fees. ms. car rot told -- carrot talked about her supermarket chain. she said the three main expenses that we have for the supermarket chains is, number one labor costs, number two, rent, and
number three, credit card and debit card swipe fees. she estimates it will cost a million dollars or more in her businesses based on what visa and mastercard just did to raise the cost. here's another way we can reduce inflation -- let's prevent visa and mastercard from hiking fees up to unreasonable levels. yesterday, i pointed out that in canada, the most commonly used debit card system, called en terch everyone rack -- enterack operates with interchange fees of zero. no fee. all the argues that the banks and credit cards make in this country, about why they have to charge these retailers these hidden fees, disappear in canada, because why? the government stepped in and said we're going to regulate this. we're not going to let the banks and crettity and -- credit and debit card companies dictate the policies. they're not alone. the european union did the same thing of there's a long list of other countries moving in that
same direction. it operates quite well in these countries, with low fraud and high consumer satisfaction. we don't have to eliminate interchange fees altogether. but for goodness sakes, we ought to make sure they're not ex and adding to inflation. there are two ways -- promote competition. do you believe in free market? i bet you believe in competition, don't you? no competition on these fees. it's take it or leave it. the companies dictate the terms to retailers that honor their cards. we can promote competition by giving merchants more options on each of the swipes or place reasonable limits on their fees. other countries, as i said, have figured it out. many countries around the world say that swipe fees are a fraction of what they are, the cost are a fraction of what they are here because those nations limit visa and mastercard. we're afraid to tackle the
giants. our government and the people that work in this chamber, many of them are frightened by the size of visa and mastercard. i didn't get that message. well, we can do better here. if we do, consumers and competition will benefit. the bottom line is this, if you're serious about reducing costs for american families, get serious about reigning in -- reining in swipe fees. visa and mastercard and swipe fees are adding to the fires of inflation every day, and in secret. is that what we want in our economy? is that what american families need at this moment in history? i think not. mr. president, i yield the floor, suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
programs continue programs or colleges. but you boys, my brothers and me, you guys need remember the artistry of these ironworkers is going to put all you guys to college. i just hope we might have an economy that people view themselves as on the same team. thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, mr. chairman. senator kaine, i don't think you are naïve. i think i came here today knowing that the wouldn't be many of us here, number one. coming from main street where 37 years prior to becoming a senator i ran a business and you don't have a high turnover if you have high wages. you don't have accidents at your business that are way out of norm if you run it like your own
family is working there. if you're conscientious for your employees it's kind of a moot point. sooner or later it works itself out. i had 15 employees for 17 years. lucky, finally it scale into a larger business. lived with low overhead, hardscrabble. all along the way and i mentioned at about nine years ago when i was awarded and entrepreneurs recognition, mentioned at that get-together that high wages and good benefits should be the hallmark of running a business, growing it and return on investment. i saw some kind of reaction out in the crowd which would've been mostly chamber of commerce, other entrepreneurs. but if you do it, you know, the union is probably not going to
be necessary but when you look at concentration in industries, you look at amazon itself. they have created the new mousetrap to have its own reconciliation terms of whether that can be scalable. it will not be scalable ultimately if you have 150% turnover rates or if you have accident rates way above the norm. so do we resolve it here? do we put regulations in place? sometimes you've got to but i do believe the system in the long run will take care of itself. when you have got big concentration in industries you are going to get folks like me from the entrepreneurial business side that don't like it. most of us don't have lobbyists. most of us don't business partner with the federal government like large companies do. so you have got to be careful that you don't stereotype i
think what's made this country great, which will be mostly main street entrepreneurs, many small businesses where there is blue-collar as blue-collar job would be working for a larger company because they make their earnings out of those businesses. so when you get situations where it's agreed just sooner or later you will be held accountable. standard oil did. the telephone business did. i have been railing along with the chair here about the healthcare industry. it costs too much. everybody in this day and age ought to be entitled to health care that you have got access to, whether it is provided by an employer, some have to turn to government, that doesn't cost you twice as much in some cases is what it does in other countries. that's why you have hearings like this. all of this has to blend
together here doesn't necessarily have to be mandated by government but when somebody does get out of line, when wealth gets too concentrated, when you've got 150% turnover rates, high accident rates you are going to have to have a medium to vent your grievances. and unions, vis-à-vis large companies, probably the only way he could do it. i've always been a believer you can organize but you can never let something get out of hand to where it gets too far the other direction. and never lose sight that what's made the country great. it's been based upon hard-working individuals, the town i come from is blue-collar, entrepreneurs. we all play together. we work together and we get along together. and when you pay the highest starting wages basically in the lowest unemployment areas your business prospers and your
employees do a long with you. i have always had a beef, too, a business. ceo pay of 150 times the average worker. that's not going to work. i never did in my own business. i would have been embarrassed embarrassed to do it. on the other hand, you want to make sure you don't squash innovation entrepreneurialism because that is what makes our country great. that's got to walk alongside workers benefiting along the way. that's my two cents. that's what i today. thank you. >> senator van hollen is with us virtually. >> i thank you, mr. chairman and let me thank all of our witnesses today. mr. smalls, you mention in your testimony that in addition to firing you, amazon also fired one of the other protests leaders.
amazon claim that he was fired for statements he made in argument with a coworker. but here's how an administrative judge described amazon's review of the conduct that led to his illegal firing. i'm quoting now from the judge. an ostrich like had in the ground investigation that seeks to avoid evidence which might disclose information mitigating the employees misconduct, unquote. in other words, amazon deliberately distort the facts, to liberally misrepresented the situation. and that's why the nlrb ordered amazon to reinstate him with back pay and found that his termination had been wrongful. so mr. smalls, you know mr. bryson. why do you believe, why did amazon fire mr. bryson? >> a few things.
number one, he's black. number two, he was protesting alongside with myself and others over covid-19 which was running rampant at the time. new york was the epicenter. so they wanted to once again silence the organizers that were advocating for that, myself included. i'm still unemployed as we speak. >> and when a company like amazon takes that kind of action, retaliation for a protest, does that make it more difficult for you to organize? >> of course it does. it's intimidation factor. they fire the people that are speaking up. everybody else wants to come for because they think it will happen to them. >> and here's the thing about our system. two years or longer than two
years for this particular case to wind its way through the nlrb and get a decision from a judge, nlrb judge, by that time the damage was already done not just to the person wrongfully fired but also to the organizing effort. we have just got to dramatically improve this system and that's when why want to provide additional resources to the nlrb and make other reforms. i chaired a hearing earlier this week in the appropriations committee. i chaired a subcommittee called the financial services general government subcommittee, and i discussed with the irs commissioner of the fact that we already prevent federal contractors who don't pay their taxes from getting government contracts. it makes sense if you're not paying your taxes on time you shouldn't benefit from a contract where the taxpayers are
funding it. we also will hear later from the gao witness on the second panel that federal contractors can also be debarred for violations of the service contract act, and existing federal acquisition regulations provide for debarring federal contractors for any offense indicating a lack of business integrity or honesty. mr. leroy, given that we already have these provisions in place for violating tax laws, service contract laws and other circumstances, why wouldn't we also say that for contractors who are engaged in serious violations of labor law that they would be prohibited from getting federal contracts, at least for some period of time? >> i wholly agree, senator and proud to say i'm a. and that you represent us very
well. looking at the department of criteria for some of the administration, , even state governments they all have procedures, we are simply saying we want to elevate labor law to the same magnitude and significance as tax law or integrity law or antitrust law and that's a very reasonable thing to do. it is saying we care about workers and we're not come to pay companies to degrade workplaces, suppress wages making inequality worse. >> just in my closing seconds here, mr. spencer, i mean, should we have a carveout? in other words, trying to find what would agree what is a a significant violation of labor law, right? would you agree that is the kind of violation that at least for a period of time should disqualify a contractor from getting taxpayer-funded contract? >> what i would say is i think i
agree with your point that there is a a procedure in place currently under the federal acquisition regulation to determine whether contractor suitable to receive a contract. i used to work in the federal government so i knew contracting officers when i was there. i still know some of them now antitrust those folks to use their best judgment when evaluating a contract as to the suitability of an individual contractor. i would point at one thing, not to talk about amazon, a one of the things they did during the pandemic there was a dramatic expansion in the unemployment insurance assistance to provide benefits for people out of work. aws helped some of the states do with computer upgrades that you do happen to make sure those benefits could be paid on time and to people who are earned those benefits. if you are limiting the ability of companies to provide those vital services that's going to inhibit the ability for people to click the benefits different. contracting officers can make
those evaluations, can use their judgment to determine whether somebody, a company is suitable to receive a contract. >> right. we should have a situation where gross violations of labor rights are actually treated differently than gross violations of other law or people from getting contracts. i see i'm over my time. thank you. thank you all. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator van hollen and with that let me thank all of our panelists for your presentations, very interesting. thank you all very much. and now we woodhill from thomas costa from the gao. -- we will hear from. mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. now, if a conservative majority on the supreme court proceeds with their abominable decision
to overturn roe v. wade, the rights and the freedoms of every woman in this country will face their greatest threat in generations. let's be clear. this is what the republicans want. it is in the laws politician -- republican politicians have passed across the country but the american people are not on their side. today i am announcing that next week the u.s. senate is going to vote on legislation to codify a woman's right to seek an abortion into federal law. let me repeat that. i am announcing that next week the u.s. senate is going to vote on legislation to codify a woman's right to seek an abortion into federal law. i intend to file cloture on this vital legislation on monday which will set up a vote for wednesday. all week we've been seeing republicans try to duck, dodge,
and dip from their responsibility for bringing roe to the brink of total repeal. that's what they've been trying to do for decades. next week the american people will see crystal clear that when given the chance to right this wrong, the republican party will either side with the extremists who want to ban abortion without exceptions or side with women, with families, and with the vast majority of americans. next week's vote will be one of the most important we ever take because it deals with one of the most personal and difficult decisions a woman ever has to make in her life. this is not an abstract exercise. my fellow americans, it's as real and as urgent as it gets. like my friend patty murray has said, this is a five-alarm fire. senate republicans spent years
packing our courts with right-wing judges. will they now own up to the harm they've caused or will they try to undo the damage? the vote next week will tell. let me say that again. republicans spent years under leader mcconnell pushing right-wing judges to lifetime appointments to the bench. they stole the nomination of merrick garland, changed the rules of the senate, and rammed through three hard-right, hard ideological judges to the bench. they spent years encouraging radical legislatures as they passed scores of cruel restrictions on abortion. one of those laws is, unfortunately, about to be upheld in the supreme court. republicans can run but they can't hide from the horror they've created. republicans can run but they
can't hide. they have two choices. they own it now or, miracle of miracles, try to begin to undo the damage. and again to my colleagues, to my fellow americans, this is not an abstract exercise in the slightest. you know why that's true? because the hard right is not treating it like an abstract exercise at all. in recent years they've been racing, bolting to pass unh unhinged, cruel antichoice legislation that would catapult women's rights back into the stone age. they've been preparing for this moment for years. the mississippi law before the supreme court, for example, has zero, zero exceptions for rape or incest, a position that would have been regarded on the
extreme of the extreme not long ago. imagine telling a woman that she's raped that some white male judge is going to determine whether she has to continue to carry the child. the fetus. in arizona the governor signed a law that could imprison anyone who provides, supplies, or administers an abortion by up to five years should roe be overturned. again no exception for rape, no exception for incest. the infamous law in texas meanwhile bans abortions as early as six weeks. many women don't realize they're pregnant until after six weeks and again no exception for rape, no exception for incest. and unfortunately these are not aberrations. 26 states have laws on the books that would begin the process of banning abortions if roe is
overturned. 13 of these trigger laws, meaning these bans would happen almost immediately after the supreme court decision. this it seems is what the hard right wants, forced pregnancies, no exception for rape, no exception for incest. republican politicians are telling america's women your body, our choice. we cannot allow this vision of america to succeed. come next week senate republicans will have to answer for everything they've done over the years to embolden the hard right's hostility against a whip's choice. they've tied to hide what they're doing. they've tried to downplay what they're doing. those days are over. you're coming clean. not clean really at all. everyone is going to know what you've done and how you feel.
leader mcconnell can duck at press conferences when asked if he's happy to see roe v. wade go by the wayside but he won't be able to duck it any longer. so our view, that america cannot allow this vision of america to succeed. come next week senate republicans will have to answer for everything they've done over the years to embolden the hard right's hostility against a woman's choice. they will not be able to hide from the american people and cannot hide their role in bringing roe to an end. the vote will tell next week. america will be watching. now, on a different note, last night the senate took another important step towards finalizing our bipartisan jobs in competition legislation that's been in the works for over a year. i thank all my colleagues last night for voting swiftly to
process 26 motions to instruct the conference committee. many of these were done by voice and i appreciate everyone's hard work. we sat in our seats. no one -- at noon yesterday with 26 motions to instruct thought we would finish by 10:00 p.m. or even at any point yesterday, but we have. that's good work. there's still a lot of work to do, of course, before we send the jobs bill to the president's desk. and i hope we'll see the same bipartisan good faith work we've saw in the conference that we saw on the floor of the senate last night. we know no one is going to get everything they want but if we keep working together, i'm confident we can come up with a strong final project. our jobs in competition bill is just what the doctor ordered, to boost our economy, bring manufacturing jobs back home, and most of all lower costs, lower coasts for american families. it's great news for american families who want to see lower
costs on daily essentials. it's great news for workers who want to see good-paying manufacturing jobs brought back from overseas. it's great news for our businesses would need to help strengthening our supply chains. and it's great news for our innovators, workers, scientists, universities, and creators who will help us create new technologies and generate the next wave of good-paying jobs this century. i thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who worked in good faith to help us reach this point. one final note. protecting pregnant working women. as we all continue reckoning with the implications of the supreme court's horrible decision, the one that seems to be coming down the pike, the senate must also support the needs of pregnant women facing discrimination in the workplace. recently the committee on health, education, labor, and pensions reported bipartisan
legislation that would prevent employers from forcing pregnant workers out of the job or deny them reasonable accommodations in the workplace. in the house a similar bill also passed with strong bipartisan support, and the senate should do the same. mother's day is just around the corner. happy mother's day to my mom of 93. mother's day is just around the corner so i call on my colleagues to finalize strong, bipartisan legislation that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of working pregnant women. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. thune: mr. president, is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. thune: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, it is national small business week, a week that's set aside to honor the contributions that small businesses make to this nation. small businesses are an essential part of our economy. 99% -- 99% -- of south dakota's businesses are small businesses, and almost 60% of south dakota employees work for small businesses. nationally, small businesses make up most of the businesses in this country and are responsible for 62% of net new job creation. and small businesses are not only an essential part of our economy, they're also an essential part of our communities, doing everything
from creating gathering spaces for community members to supporting local charities and sponsoring local sports teams. mr. president, during national small business week, i'd like to be able to report that small businesses around the country are thriving, but the truth is, while some are doing well, a lot of small businesses are having a difficult time right now, not because of covid, as democrats might like you to think, but because of inflation -- inflation, which has hit american families hard, is also creating major difficulties for small businesses. now, when i talk to small business owners in south dakota, one of the first things they tell me is how inflation is affecting their businesses. in a recent survey, 62% of small businesses reported that inflation is having a substantial impact on their businesses and 84% reported that they are experiencing lower business earnings due to inflation. and it's no surprise.
inflation has driven up the final price of goods and services. it's also driven up the cost of raw materials. the producer price index, which measures wholesale costs to sellers, hit 11.2% in march, it's highest level ever recorded. and small businesses are struggling with high energy costs which affect everything from production to the transportation of finished products to the cost of keeping a storefront open. farms and ranchersst ranches which make up a -- farms and ranches which make up a substantial part of south dakota small businesses are seeing huge prices in the cost of fertilizer while the price of diesel which powers farm equipment reached an all-time high this week. agriculture is already a challenging industry by its very nature. many farmers and ranchers in south dakota, for example, are currently dealing with a severe drought. and inflation is making things a lot worse, especially right now in the midst of planting season.
mr. president, we all know how we got here. democrats came into office last year, mere weeks after congress had passed a fifth bipartisan covid relief bill totaling more than $900 billion and meeting essentially all of the current pressing covid needs. it was abundantly clear that we were not in immediate need of trillions more in government spending, but that didn't matter to democrats. now that american people in charge, they were eager -- now that they were in charge, they were eager to take advantage of their vision. they pushed through a massive partisan piece of legislation filled with unnecessary spending and handouts to democrat interest groups. and the result was entirely predictable. the definition of inflation is too many dollars chasing too few goods and services.
and that was exactly the situation that democrats helped create. democrats flooded the economy with unnecessary government money and the economy overheated as a result. and there's no clear end in sight. it's small wonder that after months ants months of high inflation -- and months of high inflation, our economy shrank in the first quarter of this year. mr. president, unfortunately there is no easy solution to the inflation crisis democrats helped create. one essential thing, of course, is to do no more harm, and that means no more excessive government spending and no bloated build back better tax-and-spending spree, a spending spree that some democrats are still -- still -- advocating for. another essential thing is to unleash american energy production, and that includes conventional energy production. mr. president, i am a he a strong support -- i'm a strong
supporter of clean energy production. i come from a state that derived 83% of its energy from renewables. but the fact of the matter is the that our nation is nowhere close to being able to eliminate our reliance on traditional energy sources. clean energy technology has simply not advanced to the point where we can replace all conventional energy production with renewables. and cutting off responsible oil and gas production will do nothing but drive up oil and gas prices for american families and farms and businesses. unleashing american energy production, on the other hand, including, i might add, production of oil and natural gas, could result in relief for families and businesses and help ease our unnation crisis. unfortunately, the president has made his hostility to conventional energy production very clear. he set the tone. on day one of his administration when we canceled the keystone
x.l. pipeline, an environmentally responsible pipeline project that was already under way and that was pared with $1.7 billion in private investment in renewable energy to fully offset its operating emissions. mr. president, the keystone pipeline was set to be net zero when it comes to emissions. while the president $administration is finally conducting sales for on-shore leases after being ordered to do so by a federal judge, it has reduced the land available and increased the royalty rate sending a signal to american energy producers that the administration is reluctant to collaborate with them. meanwhile, the s.e.c. has
required publicly traded companies to comply with costly disclosures that would likely discourage investment in conventional energy production. in short, the biden administration is creating a recipe for sustained high energy costs can and a lot more pain for american businesses and families. but i and my republican colleagues will continue to do everything we can to unleash conventional energy production here at home and drive down energy prices for americans. mr. president, i'm grateful for all that small businesses contribute to our economy. and during this national small business week and every week, i will continue to work to mitigate the harm of democrats s. inflation crisis and -- of democrats' inflation crisis and advance policies that make it easier for our small businessmen and women to continue to drive the american economy forward. mr. president, i yield the
floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i know we're used to having a lot going on here in washington, d.c., but this week it seems like we've been hit by a whirlwind of activity -- a war in europe, covid-19 still lingering in parts of the world, and then the supreme court found
itself the victim of a unauthorized leak of a draft opinion, which has created a lot of furor and anxiety and misinformation. one of the things that it has demonstrated is the need to protect the independence of the court. justin antonin scalia used to say that you can read the constitution and bill of rights of a the love countries around the -- of a lot of countries around the world and they look great on paper. he mentioned that of the old soviet union, for example. but he said they're just words on paper without an independent judiciary to enforce them. and he was right. whoever leaked this draft document obviously intended to create a lot of public pressure
-- indeed, coercion -- on the sitting justices to either change their mind or to somehow garner a political issue that they would be able to use to divert the american people's attention from things like inflation, crime, the border, and the challenges to our national security and world peace. we have to get to the bottom of this, and i'm confident that chief justice roberts will pursue that until the person who leaked it is identified and held accountable. but this spotlight on the court, along with the reaction, the public reaction that we've seen, has raised another important issue, and that is the physical safety and security of the justices themselves and their families. in our increasingly polarized climate, the justices have been
villainiesed and -- villainized and subjected to public threats. people have even published their home address so they could show up and protest on the property, on their lawns. this decision, which is actually a nondecision, because the supreme court hasn't handed down its decision. but the leaker that is accomplished his or her goal, i suppose, by creating this hostile environment for the justices and their families. but, unfortunately you there are -- but, unfortunately, there are even people in this chamber that have contributed to that environment. in 2019, the democratic leader went to the supreme court steps and threatened two supreme court justices by name. he said, quote, you have released the whirlwind. this was the day the case was
argued in the court. the senior senator from new york, the majority leader, said, you were released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. you won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions. and he named justice gorsuch and justice kavanaugh by name. to have the senior democrat and senate majority leader from this chamber lobbing threats at sitting justices on the supreme court if they did not rule in a way he wished is dangerous. we've wondered before about the impact of some of the irresponsible rhetoric that occasionally occurs around here on vulnerable minds and people who might be tempted to act based on that incitement, based on that rhetoric. but to have this come from the
majority leader himself is just irresponsible. this is the branch of government which is supposed to be the adults in the room, to operate in a way that is respectful even with our differences. and the supreme court is the branch that's meant to operate free from public or political pressure. as chief justice roberts said at the time, justices know that criticism comes with the territory. it's a free country. people can express themselves within limits. but threatening statements, he said, of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they're dangerous, he said. well, chief justice roberts is right and subsequent events have
shown that threats against the justices aren't going away and are becoming even more intense. we need to take steps to improve the protection of the justices and their families against potential violence, and it can't wait until something bad happens. some political activists have already announced their intention to go to the private homes of the justices. this is an appalling violation of their personal privacy, and puts them and their families at risk. we currently have two justices with school-age children. once judge jackson joins the court, when justice breyer steps down, there will be three. the chief justices asked do think take appropriate action to increase protection for the physical safety of the justices and their families, and we need
to act and act with urgency. senator coons, our friend from delaware, a democrat, and i are introducing a bill, a bipartisan bill obviously, called the supreme court police parity act to strengthen security protection for the justices and their families. this will ensure they receive -- the justices receive the same protection and resources that article 1 and article 2 officers and their families enjoy. for our present purposes, that means they will be given the same authority that the capitol police already have here on capitol hill. i appreciate our friend, senator coons, working with me on this important legislation, and i hope the entire senate will vote on it soon. as far as the larger debate about the draft document that was released, it's important to remember we don't actually know what the supreme court is going to decide until it actually does decide.
the justices are still working through the deliberative process , and our respect for the independence of the court requires that we let it proceed without interference. while tensions and emotions may be high, it's important to note that overruling earlier supreme court decisions is nothing new. i look back and realized it was 1789 when the supreme court reversed its first prior decision. since that time there have been 232 instances where an earlier supreme court decision was overturned. i must say, thank goodness the court is willing, under some limited circumstances, to revisit its earlier decisions. the court's decisions overruling earlier precedents in some cases
is fundamentally altered major aspects of our society. without question, one of the most notable was brown v. board of education. brown v. board of education was a landmark ruling overruling a case called plessy versus ferguson which established the sameful separate but equal doctrine between blacks and whites in public transportation and public schools. brown said that's fundamentally discriminate yoar and will -- discriminating and will not stand because it does not meet the constitutional standards. it's tough today to imagine what our country would look like had the supreme court not reached its decision in brown nearly 70 years ago. classrooms, restrooms, water fountains, and even health care facilities would be designated by race. i'm confident i can speak for
everyone in this chamber when i say thank goodness the court overturned plessy v. ferguson and reached the ruling that it did in brown v. board of education. there are more modern examples where the court overruled precedent like lawrence v. texas. it was overruled in 2003 by the precedent established by bowers v. hardwick. it made it a crime to engage in same-sex conduct. so without a doubt, the court's decision to overturn its precedents has altered our society, and i suggest it has changed our society for the better in many of those instances. now i realize that given our political and ideological preferences, we might like or dislike the decision that the court ultimately makes, but
former supreme court robert jackson said years ago, he said the supreme court is not final because it's right. it's right, he said, because it's final. but there is no such thing as an inviolable decision or permanent decision by the supreme court. and again i say thank goodness. if prior decisions were set in stone, we would still be subject to egregious, shameful policies of the past like separate but equal. but the supreme court should always try to correct previously decided erroneous decisions, and they have criteria under the doctrine known as stare decisis for the circumstances under which they will revisit that precedent. the court understands that they can't willy-nilly overrule
earlier decisions, and there's a very elaborate and exacting process and evaluation of analysis by which they do so. but i believe it's our responsibility here in the senate not to be part of the mob cooler heads must prevail, and that means us. it starts with us. we have to stand for the independence of the court even when they render decisions we don't like. that's the only way to preserve the crown jewels of our form of government, which is the independent judiciary. the high court cannot be subjected to pressure campaigns by anyone -- elected officials, political activists, or anyone else.
mr. president, i yield the floor, and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. cornyn: i withdraw that request. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: it's my pleasure to celebrate with my colleagues the month of may as national beef month. and i come to the floor not just to say that we ought to eat more beef and help the farmers and cattlemen of this country. before i get to something else, though, iowa has the seventh-largest cattle inventory in the united states and ranks fourth in the country for cattle and calves on feed. while i usually focus on the need for a fair and transparent market for cattle producers, today i want to draw attention
to the job that cattle producers across the country have feeding america and the world. over the last 30 years the united states population has increased by 80 million people. in that same period, the world's population has grown by more than three billion people. in the face of a growing population, farmers across america have been faced with a challenging question -- how do we meet the growing demands for food while also lowering our environmental footprint? american farmers and ranchers have risen to that occasion. in other words, not just producing more food, but how to help the environment at the same time. farmers in all segments have expanded production to fulfill
increasing demand while protecting our environment. the united states is currently producing 80% more pork, 48% more milk, 18% more beef than just 30 years ago. now, you would think with all that increase in production, you would have more of an environmental problem. but despite the increases in production, per unit greenhouse gas emissions from pork production have decreased by 20% and 8% for beef production. nonetheless, environmentalists still seem to place unwarranted blame on farmers follower contributing to our changing and warming climate.
the recent narrative that the united states agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is simply not true. now get that. it's simply not true. according to the e.p.a., only 11% of the u.s. greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions contribute nearly twice as many emissions as the agriculture industry does. transportation contributes 27%. electricity contributes 25%. general industry is contributing 24%. so i'm here to set the record straight. for the last 30 years american
farmers have been reducing greenhouse gas emissions with each meal served by embracing efficiency and the adoption of new technologies. agricultural needs to have a seat at the table for these conversations, because farmers are the first conservationists and can help offset emissions from other sectors of the american economy. whether it's creating carbon sinks on farmland to produce biofuels or turning farm waste into energy, farmers have taken a very active role in reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. research from the u.s. department of agriculture shows that even if the entire world
was vee -- vegan, it would lower global emissions by less than .5% while losing access to high-quality protein, very much needed in the diets of human beings. however, the facts have mentioned -- that i've mentioned do not matter to radical environmental groups or the mainstream media. articles on food sustainability often focus on how eating insects and bugs can help save the planet. a simple search on the internet reveals some unsettling articles in our publications. a headline from "time" magazine read like this, quote, how
humans eating insects could help save the planet. then from the publication, "the atlantic," quote, unquote, to save the world, eat bugs. and from "the new york times" -- can you imagine "the new york times" -- why aren't we eating more insects? all of these stories have a very common thread -- to solve world hunger and to protect the environment, the american people and the world needs to eat bugs and insects. but as i have already laid out, you can just eat more beef and feel good about the environmental impact. now as for me, i'll be doing my part in may to honor national beef month. i will be eating juicy hamburgers or eating steak if the price isn't too outrageous.
and it is right now. i will be supporting cattlemen from iowa who produce the highest-quality beef in the world. farmers know firsthand the importance of clean and healthy environment. it is simply unfair to place the blame of a changing climate on the backs of farmers. as a nation, we must stand with the farmers across the country and work with them to promote a clean environment. i will continue working at the policymaking tables to ensure our cattle producers can continue raising high-quality beef for generations to come and that families can enjoy it at their kitchen tables at prices they can afford. i yield the floor.
another perspective on states of us media. ceo media matters america, media matters, what you do, how your pundit. it is a watchdog organization addressing theproblem of conservative disinformation so whether it's active disinformation or the enabling of it . we identify it, respond to it, pointed out and cover gaps incoverage . these days increasingly though we do a lot of work with social media because the information landscape is changing and one of the
things we've seen is the size of this information and misinformation and the platforms are enabling it so we got a lot of work not just enabling the challenge of the problem but zeroing in on some of the solutions platforms can do to solve it. it's just a broad mission 60,000 hours of tv, video year . under and a half more hours so there's pretty significant pieces of research to back up claims we make and that's what we do is try to improve the conversation and put value where we can >> i joined media matters in 2010 after i graduated law school and i was there as part of a campaign in that case about to either stop being so productive or to get fired. it was one of the other. there was the objective there so i came basically to continue that work. that's how i started. i continued to do advocacy work and then sort of worked
my way up. conservative misinformation gaps in coverage, let's talk about the media story of the week, the year so far, the leaked draft opinion from the supreme court. what conservative misinformation are you looking at and what are the gaps in coverage? >> both of this is bacon by news mediafor the last decade . we've been looking at this issue for a while which is if you look at broadly the coverage, it's been dominated by the right-wing so rarely does the mainstream media given any attention in a specific way which then allows the conversation to be dominated in that way. when the texas law went into effect the last fall there was only three dimensions of it on cable news over the first week after it was enacted. plenty on fox news, plenty on conservative talk radio and it wasn't really discussed. the alarm bell was wrongfor most people .
they only think about civic engagement for a few minutes a week and never appreciated what was happening and even before then herbalists were echoing a lot of the right-wing misinformation we are hearing so one of the things that catalyzed a lot of this later momentum was describing it these new restrictions. there's no fetal heart beat, that was made up by anti-choice extremists because it had better messaging but one of the challenges is that journalists echoed that right away so i start their not as a would have could have but a lot of thecoverage we're seeing right now is a consequence of gaps in coverage that have been lasting a few years especially for people that have a deep agenda . >>
coons and senator duckworth, also to taiwan. and so there is a long tradition in it the u.s. senate in a bipartisan way on all of us working together to address this question -- to what degree should we be supporting and defending taiwan against a very aggressive chinese communist party led by the dictator xi jinping? and why does it matter? why should we all be working together, as we've done for decades here in the united states senate -- democrats and republicans -- to deter a military invasion of taiwan? and what is happening in the next few weeks that i want to talk about mr. president, because i'm concerned about the direction of the biden administration, and i think every senator here should be concerned. so i'm going to ask my colleagues to lift up their
voices when they talk to the biden administration on a topic i'm going to mention here in a minute. but why does it matter? well, this issue of the potential invasion of taiwan could take place in a few years. the indopacom commander a little over a year ago in front of the armed services committee opined that the invasion of taiwan by an aggressive chinese party would manifest -- i'm quoting him here -- in the next six year. that was admiral davidson, former indopacom commander. and that's not a lot of time, mr. president. here's why i think it matters. right now taiwan is on the front line of freedom in asia. it is not a sideshow.
it is in many ways essential to freedom in that part of the world. like west berlin was during the cold war. a violent military takeover of taiwan by the chinese communist party would be a sea change in the way the entire world is ordered. it would change in the way like the way the guns of 1914 changed the 20th century. some see the support required from the united states because of the taiwan relations act -- again, led by this body -- some see this defense and support of this island democracy as a luxury that we can afford. i actually believe, mr. president -- and and i belie many senators believe the opposite -- that a taiwan under
china's control would decisively advance beijing's campaign to export its authoritarian model around the world, to separate the united states from our democratic allies, and would certainly be part of xi jinping's goal of excluding the united states from the indopacom theater. taiwan, a thriving, prosperous chinese democracy that holds free elections and bounds its power by the rule of law, is central to the free world and its future. and, by the way, if you're an american citizen, regardless of political party, you should take pride in the fact that this country -- or this island democracy is free because it wouldn't have happened without the sacrifice and resources of
the united states and our military. and that is a fact. so, mr. president, a few months ago i gave a speech on this topic, and i talked about how when you think of the defense of taiwan and deterrence, which is what we all want -- deterrence, nobody wants a war in the taiwan strait -- that it really -- there are really three layers of deterrence for the island of taiwan. first is taiwan's ability to militarily defend itself, so-called hedgehog approach or porcupine approach. right here, they are defending themselves, the way the ukrainians are defending themselves. senator roger wicker had a very good op-ed in "the wall street journal" today just on that very
topic. and we need to make sure taiwan has that capability. it's in the taiwan relations act that we have that responsibility -- to defend itself and is doing -- undertaking the right approach with regard to military weapons that they are buying from the united states and other places. the second level of deterrence you see here on this chart would be america's capability to defend taiwan militarily, should the president of the united states decide to do so if there is an invasion by the chinese communist party. and over several decades, mr. president, through many different crises in the taiwan strait, this layer of deterrence where the united states has shown up with military force has proven to be decisive in keeping the taiwanese people free and
our deep network of allies in the region. there's also a third level of deterrence. the third level of deterrence is often not discussed, but in many ways it particularly -- particularly now it could be more powerful than the first and second levels, and that is the level that relates to bringing the instruments of american power beyond our military, such as our global economic and financial strength, to deter china from an invasion. you see this third level -- economic and financial sanctions. so, mr. president, this is exactly what my bipartisan bill -- the stand with taiwan act -- would do. i'm working with several
senators on this bill right now. we've introduced it already, but we're going to recalibrate it particularly with regard to the lessons learned from ukraine. but one of those lessons that we learned from the brutal ukrainian invasion by the russian dictator vladimir putin in ukraine is that comprehensive economic and financial sanctions have the best chance of deterring a conflict when they are clearly articulated and ready to go before the conflict begins. that wasn't the case in ukraine and we'll never know if sanctions were already teed up and ready to go could have deterred that conflict. so we are trying with the stand with taiwan act -- stands for sanctioning -- sanctions targeting aggressors of neighboring democracies -- stand
-- the whole point of this would be to deter xi jinping from making the decision. that third layer of deterrence saying, okay, if you militarily invade taiwan, here are the massive sanctions that we and our allies are going to hit you with. and they will be devastating. so, mr. president, this bill makes it clear that we should be engaging with taiwan economically across the board, in many sectors. and this is where i have deep concern, and i believe many of my colleagues here in the united states senate, have deep concerns with what might be happening with regard to the biden administration. now look, i'm somebody who, you know, will be critical of the biden administration when i think they're not doing a good job on certain things, and i do that a lot, particularly in a topic i'm going to talk about here in a minute -- energy.
but other areas, particularly as it relates to the biden administration's relationship with regard to our allies and taiwan, i've been supportive of a number of their initiatives vocally, because i think they have strengthened american interests in the indopacom theater. what are those, mr. president? well, for example, the biden administration took this initiative from the donald trump, actually started in the bush administration, called the quad. that's the biggest democracies in the indopacom theater -- us, japan, australia, and india. they've taken that grouping, which during the trump administration was reinvigorated particularly by secretary pompeo and the biden administration has taken that to the leader level.
the president of the united states meets with the leaders of japan, india and japan on a regular basis. that is good. that's smart policy. they have also launched another very innovative policy, the australia-u.k.-u.s. agreement to work together on military and defense issues -- submarines, nuclear subs, a.i., quantum, computing. i think it's a really innovative initiatives and have been very, one of the most vocal supporters of it in the u.s. senate. the biden administration has been pressing the g-7 to do more as it relates to taiwan, the first time ever in the g-7. that's a good initiative. so in a lot of these areas, mr. president, i've been supportive. so what am i concerned about? this is a concern i have, but it should be a concern that every senator has.
the administration is getting ready to announce what they're calling the indo-pacific economic framework. this is going to focus on more economic engagement with our allies and other countries in the indopacom theater. i support that in general. we'll see what the details are. but right now, mr. president, that initiative, which we need in terms of an initiative with regard to economics and other elements of connectivity with our allies in the region, appears to be on the verge of missing two critical factors. number one, and the real purpose of what i wanted to talk about, right now we are hearing from administration officials that the indo-pacific economic framework is going to exclude
taiwan. whoa, whoa, that would not be a good thing. and i don't think many u.s. senators, democrats or republicans, would agree that the biden administration's first big economic initiative is going to exclude taiwan, a very important economic player, very important technical player in terms of chip fabrication. why would they do that? well, mr. president, it's not clear. and i've been pressing a number of biden administration officials saying you can't make that move. a, the senate is not going to like it. and we've had a lot to say about u.s. relations with taiwan for decades. and, b, it just doesn't make sense. now, some of the things that i've heard is, well, there's this argument that trade is really not national security, so it doesn't relate to taiwan. well, that's not correct. trade and economic issues are
clearly national security issues as it relates to our country, as it relates to our allies. and the other thing i've heard, mr. president, is that, well, some of the other countries in the indo-pacific framework don't really want taiwan in it. again, we're the united states. we are the leader in that part of the world. if another country is saying, hey, i don't want taiwan in it, you know, i think we need to politely tell them that too bad. they're going to be. so i'm primarily giving these remarks right now to let all of my senate colleagues, many of whom, democrats and republicans, i know care about this issue. i've been trying to raise the alarm with the administration saying bad idea. if your big first economic
initiative for the indopacom theater is not going to include taiwan. i hope other colleagues of mine will do the same. and let me give you one final area, mr. president, that this administration should be focused on as it relates to our partners in the region, and that is energy. that is energy. we have so many opportunities to do more with our allies, of course in europe, but also in asia as it relates to energy. i put forward legislation called the quad energy initiative. that would be an initiative dealing with the export and importation of l.n.g. think about the quad. the united states and australia, two of the biggest exporters of l.n.g. japan, probably the world's biggest importer. and india, who wants to be. to help their economy, to help
their environment. this is something else i've been pressing this administration on. it will help our trade deficits. it will help our energy security. and, mr. president, you know i've talked about this a lot. it will help global emissions. the united states right now, since 2005, has been the leader in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. right there. to climb by almost 15% since 2005. india, china, everywhere else, significant increases. more american clean burning l.n.g. to our allies in the region, the quad. but, heck, even china would help us, our national security, our workers at home, and our environment and the global environment. so, mr. president, i just want
to end with this. i hope all my senate colleagues in the next couple days can reach out to the biden administration and say, look, on a number of initiatives, the quad, you have been going in the right direction and you have strong bipartisan support. but the indopacom economic framework, led by the united states, if it's leaving out taiwan, that's going to be a huge problem. and i don't think many u.s. senators think that that would be a good idea, given our long history of leading in a bipartisan way on issues related to taiwan, i'm asking my colleagues to also reach out to the administration and say there has to be a better way. we cannot economically isolate and forget about taiwan when we
need to be supporting them now more than ever. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. ms. baldwin: on april 16, 2021, the house passed h.r. 1195, the workplace violence prevention for health care and social service workers act. that legislation, sponsored by congress joe courtney, passed the house 254-166, with the support of 38 republicans. this legislation directs the occupational safety and health administration to issue a standard requiring health care
and social service employers to write and implement a workplace violence prevention plan to protect employees from violent incidents. in the year since that legislation passed the house, we have been unable to generate the same level of support from our republican colleagues needed to pass this legislation in the senate. this is disappointing because the issue of protecting our health care and social service workers has never been more important. roughly three-quarters of all nonfatal workplace injuries happen to health care workers. while it is too early to have comprehensive data from the pandemic, evidence from health care organizations suggests that workplace violence has exploded during the pandemic.
nearing crisis levels for health care and social service workers. this workplace violence crisis is surely contributing to the staffing shortages that many health care employers have warned us about. in wisconsin, vacancy rates for health care employers -- for health care positions have been increasing, and threats against health care workers are viewed as the main culprit. these workers care for our loved ones and comfort us in our most trying times. they deserve to have the safe environment in which to do their work that this legislation provides. so as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the help committee be discharged from further
consideration of h.r. 1195 and that the senate proceed to its immediate consideration, that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. braun: reserving the right to object. i come from the business world, and know firsthand that employers care about their employees. if you don't keep your workplace safe -- we just discussed it today in the budget hearing -- they're not going to stick with you. and i think the question is about how you address those issues. i'm married to a lifelong business owner in our hometown downtown that would say the same thing. none of us that own businesses, unless you get very, maybe
large or you think you don't need to pay attention to basic common sense and rules, do you need something, i think, that addresses the issue from here. i think that so often when there is an issue, there is just a tendency to reflex to the federal government. what's not considered is the cost and how it might actually play out. in this case, i do acknowledge the issue, but i think the bill is in search of maybe a problem in a sense that we've got a mechanism that already works. i'll talk about that here in a moment. osha is there to find these issues and adjudicate them accordingly. and i think what this would do is not lend the marginal benefit, and it would end up like many bills, adding red
tape and cost. it has two budget points of order as well. those are complicated. i just believe there are better options. let me talk about this. i introduced the voluntary protection program act that has the same approach in mind, aiming at the same problem. i did it with my colleague from colorado, senator bennet. it allows osha to work alongside employers and workers to encourage businesses without going through the red tape or the dictate of the federal government. and it's been successful. it's not like we're trying to reinvent the wheel. it makes businesses exempt from bureaucratic requirements as long as in good faith they're trying to address the underlying
issues. look at this. in its current form, safeguards nearly one million workers, 700 local unions and 2,200 work sites. v.p.p. sites have shown injury and illness rates 50% lower than their industry averages. this is something we should be incorporating across the system because it's working and it's working with an enforcement agency and businesses, solving the problem before we give an overall framework from here down. it's been around for over 40 years, demonstrated its success. i think it would be a ger approach to a problem i acknowledge is not being used broadly enough. after all, it's the way i think things should work before you create a law. i will ask for consent here
shortly to pass the v.p.p. act. let me add one important note that is personal to many in this chamber. 116th congress was my fist as a u.s. senator -- first as a u.s. senator, i was signed to the committee on health, education, labor and pensions, and i had the great honor to serve alongside senator mike enzi, who was chair of the budget committee. this was his bill. senator enzi was known as one of the individuals here never to shirk an issue but come up with commonsense ways that wouldn't add further to our debt, add to our bureaucracy, and solve the issue. this is something that he cared about deeply that needs to be put into statute to where it's used more broadly. and i was honored to take the lead on this act, along with
senator bennet. my bill is a no-brainer. employers get the choice to participate. it has a proven track record and it makes workplace safer. it's a win-win for all involved. therefore, i do object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. ms. baldwin: i'm obviously very disappointed. and i would put out a voluntary message as my colleague on the help committee just described is not what we need when we step up to help protect our frontline workers in emergency rooms and in multiple settings where there is, sadly, an increasing pro --
likelihood for violence. i met with the people who work on the front lines and emergency rooms across the country as well as the emergency room nurses. one after another they shared stories of the violence they see and experience. i can't imagine walking into work every day knowing that this could be the day that someone was going to be struck or injured. a doctor talked about being strangled with his stethoscope. a nurse talked about hearing a fellow nurse being punched and then falling on the floor
unconscientious. and now with a concussion. i met a nurse several years ago from wisconsin who was beaten so severely by a patient that she can no longer work in nursing. we are not talking about studying a problem and coming up with a voluntary solution. we're talking about a crisis happening to our health care workers and at a time when they are also dealing with a pandemic. health care workers, social service workers, nurses, and doctors have been here this week. we will have more coming next week. these front line heroes who have endured so much deserve the protection of an enforceable osha standard, not just a voluntary program, which is already the status quo.
with that, i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator for indiana. mr. braun: as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on health, education, labor and pensions be discharged from further consideration of s. 1081, and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration, further, that the braun substitute at the desk be considered and agreed to, the bill at the desk be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? ms. baldwin: reserving the right to object. i suppose i prematurely gave my reasons for objecting as i responded to senator braun's objection to passing the health care workers and social service
workers health care protection act. this is pretty much the status quo. if it is a voluntary program, it is not an enforceable osha standard. and these front-line heroes who have endured so much over the past few years with the violence and the pandemic deserve the legislation that -- that i've sponsored, the workplace violence protection act for health care and social services workers act. the house passed it over a year ago and that's what we should be taking up and so i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: mr. president, i come to the floor today to support the nomination that we're soon to vote on and that is of dr. kathryn huff, she is
to serve at the department of energy on nuclear energy. i don't agree with her on many issues, she is a strong supporter of nuclear energy. she is well qualified. she holds a hfd p.h.d. she was at university of illinois at your banna champagne. and her nomination hearing, dr. huff testified, quote, it would be my honor to help the united states reclaim its global leadership in nuclear energy. it is critical that the department work diligently to make america energy dominant again. nuclear technology is essential to meet america's energy,
environmental and national security objec -- objectives. dr. huff is ready and able to take on this responsibility. russia's army is funded by the sale of energy, that includes uranium. russia accounts for one-third of the world's uranium conversation and half of the -- conversion and half of the world's enrichment capacity. it is the third largest supplier for us in the united states. russia's attack on ukraine has opened our eyes. we can't be reliant on russia. now is the time for the united states to stop buying russian uranium and now is the time for the united states to ramp up our uranium production. dr. huff is prepared to act. the department of energy needs to take need immediate -- take
immediate action to ensure that the existing reactors have the fuel they need. we can't let america's advanced reactor developers to be dependent on russia. the department of energy needs to take immediate action to develop an american supply of low-enriched uranium. we need experienced leadership in place at the office of nuclear energy. dr. huff is up to that task. i urge my colleagues to join me in supporting her nomination. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum call: a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for west virginia. a senator: i ask to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: i would like to speak up to three minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. manchin: thank you. two days ago it was my unhappy task to notify the senate that the committee on energy and natural resources had deadlocked on another nomination and on three important public land bills with ten all democratic members voting for each bill and all ten republican members voting against it. i strongly believe that the senate works best when we work together, find common ground and reach a consensus and that we fail the american people when we don't.
so this is with great pleasure that i come to the floor today to speak on a nomination of dr. kathryn huff to be the assistant secretary of energy for nuclear energy. i'm very pleased to say that dr. huff's nomination is one thing that democrats and republicans on the committee agree with completely. we reported her nomination last week without a single dissenting vote. i urge my colleagues to vote to confirm her today. my friend john barrasso is raving member and we work very close together and this is one we find total iew familiarity and she is the right person at the right time and place for this job. dr. huff is extremely well qualified for this important position. she has the academic training as a physicist and nuclear engineering. she holds degrees from the university of chicago, the university of wisconsin add madison. she has extensive postgraduate experience as a research
assistant and post doctoral fellow at berkley. she has extensive professional experience as a professor at the university of illinois for five years before joining the department of energy. she joined the department of energy a year ago as the principal deputy assistant secretary of nuclear energy. she served as the acting assistant secretary for nearly a year prior to her nomination. she has very -- demonstrated her ability to handle the job through her performance as the deputy acting assistant secretary of the past year. she also showed her firm grasp of the nuclear issues facing the department at her confirmation hearing. in short, dr. huff has earned the strong bipartisan endorsement of the committee on energy and natural resources. and i urge all senators to vote to confirm her today. it shows when we get the right person as qualified for the job that basically we'll come together and i would advise any administration to look deeply at the person that you're bringing
before us to make sure that they fit those requirements. this is a carbon copy of would i would continue to find people such as dr. huff to fill these very, very, very important jobs, that it takes that type of dedication but it takes a type of knowledge and experience that dr. huff has. so i urge total adoption of this by all members of our senate, 100 of us. so with that i notice the absence of a quorum. i'm sorry. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question is on the nomination. the yeas and nays have been requested. there's a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: on this vote, the yeas are 80, the nays 11, and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately informed of the senate's actions. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from nevada's recognized. ms. cortez masto: mr. president, on february 3 of this year at 4:00 a.m., callers told police that there was a car on fire on the shoulder of the interstate.
inside officers found the body of 23-year-old woman named anna ma ri scott -- marie scott. she had been murdered by an unknown assailant. this is anna. as you can see, a beautiful young girl. she was a beloved daughter and a sister and a devoted mother of two young children. she was also a member of the pyramid lake tribe and she joins a long and tragic list of native women who have gone missing or been murdered, leaving families desperately waiting for answers. families like anna's will tell you that one of the worst things about a tragedy like this is they never had the chance to say good-bye to their loved one of another is knowing that decades after -- decade after decade, the united states has not done
enough to protect native women, leaving families searching for answers. a national institute of justice study found that an unbelievable 84% of native women experience violence in their lifetimes, along with 81% of men. it also reported that native women are almost twice as likely as white women to have been the target of violence in the past year. these numbers confirm what native communities have known for years that native people are vulnerable. in 2020, i secured passage of two bipartisan bills with senator murkowski, who we all know is a tireless advocate for native communities, to finally create a national strategy to address the crisis of missing, murdered indigenous women and
girls. we need to address the nature of violence in native american communes and it is a commission made up of law enforcement, service providers, representatives of federal agencies, tribal leaders and survivors and family members. savanna's act requires the creation of guidelines from law enforcement on how best to keep native women safe and it includes reporting of violent crimes against native american people and strengthens access to databases, this will help curve violence against native people. but they cannot fulfill that mission if they are not implemented by the executive branch. and to date the administration has missed too many deadlines
for putting this in effect. i sent a letter with senators tester and murkowski to implement the key provisions of our bill. i'm thrilled to share that. today secretary holland announced the members of the not invisible commission that can begin their work. i appreciate this and other important steps the administration has taken to address this problem. but there is still more we need to do to implement the policies passed to make a difference on the ground for so many families. that includes issuing federal the guidelines to protect native communities. the work must continue because families continue to wait. just as i've called on this administration to do more, i am committed to doing more myself. my office is working to reduce
legislation that i -- reintroduce legislation that i cosponsored with senators tester and murkowski last year. mr. president, my congressional colleagues and i have this year once again introduced a resolution recognizing may 5 as a day of awareness for the crisis of missing and murdered native women and girls. but let's be clear. a day of awareness is for those who don't know about the problem. indigenous families in nevada and across the country are too conscientious of the risks -- of the risks they face. they are looking to congress for the long wait for justice and i will fight for that justice and
for anna. but i am here to say to our congress and administration, let's not have anymore annas. let's do the right thing for these families and individuals. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor and i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader is recognized. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to executive session to consider executive calendar 708. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion.
all those in favor say aye. all opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of transportation, ann claire phillips of virginia to be administrator of the maritime administration. mr. schumer: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 708, ann claire phillips of virginia to be administrator of the maritime administration signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. schumer: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to executive session to consider
executive calendar 773. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of energy, asmeret asefaw berhe of california to be director of the office of science. mr. schumer: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 773, asmeret asefaw berhe of california to be director of the office of science, department of energy, signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. schumer: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum calls for the cloture motions filed today, may 5, be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i yield the floor. and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the
are greatest threat in generations. this is what the republicans want. it is in the laws republican politicians have passed across the country but the american people are not on their side. today, i am announcing next week the u.s. senate is going to vote on legislation to codify a woman's right to seek an abortion in the federal law. let me repeat that. i am announcing that next week the u.s. senate is going to vote on legislation to codify a woman's right to seek an abortion into federal law. i intend to file cloture on this vital legislation on monday, which was set up a vote for wednesday. all week we've been seeing
republicans try to duck, dodge, and dip from the responsibility for bringing row to the brink of total repeal. that's what they've been trying to do for decades. next week the american people will see crystal-clear that when given the chance to right this wrong, the republican party will either side with the extremists who want to ban abortion without exceptions, or side with women with families and with the vast majority of americans. next weeks vote will be one of the most important we ever take, because it deals with one of the most personal and difficult decisions a woman ever has to make in her life. this is not an abstract exercise. without my fellow americans it is real and as urgent as it gets. gets. like my friend patty murray has said, this is a five alarm fire.
senate republicans spent years packing our courts with right-wing judges. will they now own up to the harm they have caused? or will they try to undo the damage? the vote next week will tell. let me say that again. republicans spent years under leader mcconnell pushing right-wing judges lifetime appointments to the bench. they stole the nomination of merrick garland, change the rules of the senate, and rammed through three hard right, hard ideological judges to the bench. they spent years encouraging radical legislatures as they passed scores of cruel restrictions on abortion. one of those laws is, unfortunately, about to be upheld in the supreme court. republicans can run but they can't hide from the --
republican can run but they can't hide. they have two choices. they own it now, or miracle of miracles, try to begin to undo the damage. and again, to my colleagues, to my fellow americans, this is not an abstract exercise in the slightest. do you know why that's true? because the hard right is not treating it like it it's an abstract exercise at all. in recent years they've been racing, bolting to pass unhinged, cruel anti-choice legislation that would catapult women's rights back into the stone age. they have been preparing for this moment for years. the mississippi law before the supreme court, for example, has zero, zero exceptions for rape or incest.
apposition that would've been regarded on the extreme of the extreme not too long ago. imagine, telling a woman that she is raped that some white male politician, that a white male judge will determine whether she has to continue to carry the child. the fetus. in arizona, the governor signed a law that could imprison anyone who provides, supplies or administers an abortion by up to five years, should roe be overturned. again, no exception for rape, no exception for incest. the infamous law in texas, meanwhile, fans abortions as early as six weeks. many women don't realize they are pregnant until after six weeks here and again, no exception for rape, no exception for incest. and, unfortunately, these are not aberrations.
26 states have laws on the books it would begin the process of banning abortions if roe is overturned. 13 of these trigger laws come mean these bands would happen almost immediately after the supreme court decision. this it seems is what the hard right once. forced pregnancies, no exception for rape, no exception for incest. republican politicians are telling america's women, your body, our choice. we cannot allow this vision of america to succeed. , next week senate republicans will have to answer for everything they have done over the years to embolden the hard rights hostility against the women's choice. they have tried to hide what you're doing. they tried to downplay what they're doing. those days are over. they are coming clean, not cleanly at all. everyone is going to know what you have done and how you feel.
leader mcconnell can duck at press conferences when asked if he is happy to see roe v. wade go by the wayside, but he won't be able to duck it any longer. so our view, that america cannot allow this vision of america to succeed. come next week senate republicans will have to answer to everything they have done over the years to embolden the hard rights hostility against a woman's choice. they will not be able to hide from the american people and cannot hide their role in bringing roe to an end. the vote will tell next week. america will be watching. >> now, in a different note last night the senate took another step towards finalizing our bipartisan jobs and competition legislation that's been in the works for over a year.
i think all my colleagues last night for voting swiftly to process 26 motions to instruct the conference committee. many of these were done by voice and i appreciate everyone's hard work. we sat in our seats. no one thought we would finish i can p.m., or even at any point yesterday, but we have. that's good work. .. quorum call:
days increasingly we do work with social media and platforms because the information landscape is changing and one of the things we've seen is misinformation on steroids and platforms are able to do a lot of work not just in identifying the challenge but zeroing in on some of the solutions that platforms can do to prevent this or salted. that's just the broad mission. we log about 60,000 hours of tv a year. the archive and analyze hours so we're have a pretty significant piece of research so that's what we do. we try to improve the conversation and add value where we can how long have you been with media matters? >> i joined in 2010 after i graduated law school and i was there aspart of a campaign . in that case it was getting funds back to try to stop being so destructive or two get fired. it was one of the other. that was the objective there so i came there basically to continue that work.
i continue to do campaign and advocacy work for a few years sort of work my way up. conservative misinformation gaps in coverage, let's talk about the media story of the week month and year so far. the leaked draft opinion from the supreme court. what conservative misinformation have you been looking at and what gaps in coverage ? >> most of this is baked in the cake for the last decade. we've been looking at this issue for a while which is if you look at broadly speaking the coverage of reproductive health it's been dominated by the right-wing rarely does the mainstream media real journalists give it any attention in a significant way which allows for the conversation to be dominated by the right. the there was only three mentions of it on cable news over the first week after it was enacted and plenty on fox news, plenty on conservative talk radio but it wasn't discussed.
the alarm bell wasn't wrong for most people when we talk about politics and civic engagement they never really appreciated whatwas happening and even before then . journalists were echoing a lot of the right way misinformation we were hearing one of the things that catalyzed a lot of this latest momentum was describing these new restrictions as heartbeat bills. there's no fetal heart beat, that was made up by anti-choice extremists but it has better messaging. but one of the challenges is that they journalists echoed that right away. i start they're not as they would have to have a lot of the coverage we are seeing is the consequence of gaps in coverage that havelasted for two years which is seating the ground to people who have this agenda and that we are starting to create a misimpression of misinformation . right now the right-wing media is focused on the leader itself and the weird thing about it although it's
not weird and you realize we're a pro-choice country, one of the things they refrain whether it's sean hannity to the most extreme talk radio host is to constantly point out this does not mean abortion is to is illegal. it just means it's going back to the states. there almost shying awayfrom celebrating the thing you would expect because they realize most people are actually disturbed . i mean, we are a pro-choice country so they're mostly distracted and focused on the leak itself . there's a lot of accusations of it being some sort of a liberal clerk. that's where they're focusing most of their ire, totally baseless of course but there's no discussion about the implications itself. >> what is the focus on the leak or the distraction? >> in the right-wing media i would say it doesn't matter. it can and should be a discussion but the thing that matters is the outcome of the case. that's what significant and newsworthy and when they find
the leak or if they do when they identify and have a story to tell there is a news story there but at this moment the real focus should be the substance of the leak and it is a little bit weird. there are plenty of leaks, that's what journalists miss sometimes. that's what journalists do, that's an important part of our civic discussion. if you go back in time and you look it major leaks that have created significant events it's rare for the initial conversation to be focused on the leader itself. there's always curiosity of course so it's not that but it's weird for that to be the dominant narrative and not to discuss the substance of the case itself. that is weird. >> in one of your stories on media matters the focus in the mainstream media on the process and the optics rather than the substance so give an example. >> one of the things they point out is this is going to help the election and that's where the rest of the news
media becomes a problem. i expect the conservative and ideological media to focus on the leader becausethey have an agenda . they're not adhering to general practice but when i look at journalists, their focus is on to assess the political impact of this. and that's a part of it but everything can be seen through the lens of politics. this is much bigger than that. this will not begin and end in november. this is a part of it but it's not the focus right now. the focus is on the people and i think if they had an intent to tell the stories of the individuals that have been affected by some of these laws, people that have been prosecuted, put in jail. sometimes accidentally or contrary to the law it's a really crazy example so far but they've not been looked up and that is a problem with journalism right now that as a consequence of now narrowing the frame of the discussion what they do is enable misinformation by not puttingthat information out there .
i would say the emphasis on coverage and how this affects democrats is a big part of this. the corollary is if you look at the discussion itself even that conversation has a problem with it because the focus is what are democrats going to do about this and that is a question but the flipside of this and you never see it is what about republicans who have to think about this who are acting contrary to what's popular in their states? there is time and again you see with the debt ceiling when they do narrow the frame they almost concede that republicans are not responsible or should be engaging and governing. there's like an acknowledgment in some way that we can't expect them to do anything about this challenge because of course i do think that's a problem with coverage around the horse race. >> let me give the phone numbers for viewers to join the conversation. democrats 202-748-8000, republicans 202 48 8001.
if folks are calling in, one copy, story, shaker in politico. he writes the court has long occupied a sacred and mythical place in the national consciousness. it conducts its work undera veil and depends on the press to fetishize the mysteries of the temple . the politico exclusive did the nation a service by ignoring the magic fairy dust that involves the court to take an overdue look at the decision-making process. the story was warranted because if we had a viable congress it would have sorted out the legality of abortion but we've shoved it to the supreme court the job of legislating what the law should be. if you from that angle the scope is less intrusion into the supreme court sanctified domain and it is
community in north america at point barrow, the sun is getting out longer and longer each day. now remember, three months ago it had no sun. zero, zilch. it gained more than 17 minutes of daylight from yesterday. isn't that cool? it's kind of amazing. the sun rose at 4:00 a.m. and will set tonight after midnight. four months ago there was no sun. so a lot going on in anchorage, the home of alison, our alaskan of the week. it's in the 50's, balmy this weekend. so it's a great time to be in alaska. there isn't a person who doesn't long to visit the great state
and join us up there. so please come and join us. so let me go back to alison kier, who is doing a great job in alaska, our alaskan of the week. she runs a very special organ called covenant -- a very special organization called covenant house, one of 33 covenant houses in the united states, canada, and latin america. covenant house's mission is to help with youth homelessness. that means of course helping provide short- and long-term housing for young people who are experiencing homelessness. but to really help our young people, all people get into a stable situation, whether that means to reunite with family or get into a permanent home, what covenant house does involves so
much more. at covenant house alaska, they offer so much more, and that's been alison's incredible legacy. so let me talk about alison who started with covenant house in 1997. so she is celebrating 25 years with the organization, a silver anniversary. way to go alison. we are so proud of her. she was born and raised in florida, went to college in texas. she arrived in alaska in 1994, armed with a graduate degree in health care management, a job at a local hospital in alaska, and big ideas about where her life would lead her. initially at least those plans did not involve covenant house. in fact, according to alison, they didn't involve alaska for
too long. she arrived, as she said recently to some of my team, as we were putting them together, in the last frontier with big hair, a couple of fancy suits, and a plan. she spent three years in alaska working at a hospital. she would probably get transferred to a city, a big city of her choice in the lower 48 to run a hospital of her own. so that was her initial plan, madam president. but like so many before her, her plan started to change. and like so many before her, the change of heart towards alaska started making her thing, maybe i'm going to stay here. maybe i have a great life ahead of me in the great state of alaska. it happened a bit slowly. alaska grew on her, as it does for so many people. she moved into a house with a
great group of people her age. she began to ski, enjoy the great outdoors, have fun, make friends, friends who eventually turned into her extended family. slowly alison began to question that earlier plan she had, that she was so committed to, and that started to lead to her thinking, i think i'm going to have a great life here in alaska. her best friend was the executive director of covenant house alaska. then, 25 years ago, it was a crisis shelter that offered few service, and to be honest, was struggling to actually stay open. her friend asked alison if she could volunteer a few hours of her time helping with grant writing. alison said sure, i'll do that, a little bit of time. and when her three years were
up, that same friend said to her, you know, alison, i think you should stay. i think you need a mission right here at covenant house. something about that rang true for alison. so in 1997, she started work at covenant house in development for $9 an hour. that's -- with no health insurance, by the way. so started kind of at the lower levels of covenant house and started to work her way up. and then the mission that she never knew she needed found alison. she tells the story about a thanksgiving celebration they were having at covenant house. there was a boy sharing the meal with them. someone whose own story was filled with unspeakable trauma, even horror. he talked about his family --
quote, i don't think my mom ever loved me, he told the group, but i'm glad that she had me because you guys here at covenant house love me. that's powerful. that's very powerful. that simple statement hit alison. she called her mother, mary woodmore, that evening, crying to her mom. you always love me, alison told her mom. when she internalized that and realized how important that love is, the concept of who she was and what she could be changed forever. and i would say it changed covenant house forever. because of the love her mom gave her, she realized too that she had a big enough heart for love, especially at that wonderful organization.
and alison spread that love, that devotion and commitment to thousands of alaska's youth since that time. her and her team, her rock stars, she calls them, at covenant house. when she started -- get this in terms of progress -- covenant house, as i mentioned, was a crisis shelter with a budget of about $900,000. under alison's leadership and the hard work of so many others, it's now an organization with a budget of about $15 million, with a new job training center and more education and employment services than ever before. great job, alison. and it has also become a nationwide model for helping youth. through sheer tenacity,
determination, and grit, and through deep partnerships throughout the communities -- not just in anchorage but even beyond -- alison has led that effort. roughly 200 kids a day from all over our state, thousands a year, are served by covenant house alaska. so how do they do it? let's say you're a team. i know our pages can't imagine being a teen. let's say you're a teen and you can't stay at home any longer. maybe there is abuse or family addiction or you've aged out of foster care, and you don't have a place to sleep. think about that. unfortunately a lot of teens have that problem in america. and in alaska, remember how cold it is, often below zero in the winter, and how horrible it is to sleep outside. so many of these kids are from
rural parts of our state and have had to travel hundreds of miles to get to anchorage. so now they're in the big city. they're likely to be traumatized, confused, lonely, it's bitterly cold outside. they have no place to go. these are children, and it's heartbreaking, whether you're in alaska or anywhere else in the lower 48. so imagine that. now imagine this -- enter covenant house alaska. covenant house has an outreach program, an incredible team of dedicated employees and servants to the people, to the kids who walk the streets, go to malls, to homeless camps, wherever the kids might be. they give them some food, basic essentials, and tell them about covenant house. that's what alison's team does.
they begin developing a relationship of trust because most of these youth have actually never had a trusting, stable adult in their lives. what do the youth find when they get to covenant house? first, there are people who welcome them, who smile at them, who treat them with kindness, who treat them with respect. if they're hungry, they get a warm meal and they get a shelter and if they're dealing with trauma, they get counseling. eventually, if they decide they need to finish school or earn their g.e.d., there's a classroom there. if they're pregnant or already have a baby, they'll learn positive parenting skills. covenant house alaska partners with several other amazing alaskan organizations on sites. this is a big deal, what they
call wrap-around services. so the kids don't need to go back on the streets. these different partners who work with covenant house offer everything a teen needs to learn about in terms of life skills that so many of us take for granted. and what's so amazing is that someone at covenant house will stay with you for as long as you need it. they provide those services evey important -- even after you leave the shelter, to help these teens navigate the system, apply for jobs, get an apartment, get transportation, get them through a crisis that they might be having, all the things that we as parents do for our own kids, covenant house does in so many ways for these kids. almost everything they might need to have a chance, an
opportunity, a bright future. now of course, madam president, it's not that easy. it sounds easy, but it's not easy at all. some of these youth have experienced unspeakable trauma. and i'm going to talk a little bit about a tough subject, but it needs to be spoken about. for far too many of these youth, especially the young women and even some of the young men, they have been trafficked by bad people and the statistics are horrific. a 2017 stoit -- study from loyola university found that 28% of the young people being served at covenant house alaska identified themselves as survivors of human trafficking. 28%. and a disproportionate number of
these teenagers are alaska native. young women, many of whom have been lured out of their village, with the promise of a better life, and they have been lured into trafficking. at covenant house the leadership has not shied away from these statistics, and i think that's a testament to al alison and her leadership. instead, they talk openly about it. they've studied it. they work tirelessly and diligently with law enforcement and other agencies in alaska to address this scourge, which of course we have in alaska but we have throughout america. importantly, they make these survivors, and all the young people who come to covenant house, feel safe. they call it, quote, creating sanctuary for the youth at
covenant house, and it works. it works. alison said there are countless stories of young people who qawkd into covenant house -- who walked into covenant house, alaska, in crisis, traumatized, scared, lonely, very hurt, who are now happy high school and college graduates, working with their own families, doing great things for the state. some have even come back to be staff at covenant house. i've had the honor of meeting a number of these young alaskans who are contributing so much. alison is the key reason why this is all -- this has all happened successfully. she's tenacious. she's smart. stubborn. that's not my language, by the way, madam president. that was her own language.
ambitious and loving for her kids. joe hemple, covenant house alaska's chief development officer called alison, quote, a visionary for kids. he's known her for 25 years, and joe said this about alison -- one thing hasn't changed in over 25 years. she has never taken no for an answer, and she still doesn't. but her heart leads. when you talk to her, she'll tell you that love is truly the answer for all that ails our communities and certainly for all that ails our young people in them. how great it is to create a space where someone can feel love, alison said, to take it and to give it. she continued, quote, it's the only thing that is truly -- that has truly changed communities, when you think about it.
homelessness is not a singular experience. it's about a void in relationships, it's about a void of love, unquote. again, alison credits her mothe, especially as we're approaching mother's day -- for helping her understand what love means, and how she can give it to others and how it can make a huge difference in all of our communities. so, i want to thank all the staff at covenant house alaska for doing such great work, day in, day out, 24/7, 365 days a year. as i mentioned, i want to thank you. my wife, julie, also wants to thank you. julie has had the honor of working at covenant house for several years, as staff and on the board, and she has seen firsthand all the great work
that alison and her team have done for our youth in alaska. so again, to all of covenant house, thank you for walking alongside our youth, who have not had love in their lives and yet who are resilient and working hard to find a positive path in life. the covenant house team is making that happen. and of course, thank you to alison for leading this exceptional team. by the way, alison, i know your birthday is coming up, so happy birthday. and most importantly, thank you again for being our alaskan of the week. #r i yield the floor.
so whether it's active distribution or the enabling of it by journalism and news media so we respond and will point out when there's concerted campaigns or gaps in coverage. we do studies to underscore it. these days we do a lot of work with social media platforms because the information landscape is changing and one of the things we've seen is this information on terrorists and the platforms were enabling it so we've done work in not only identifying the challenge of zeroing in on some of the damage platforms can do to preventit or solve it . we logged 60,000 hours of tv, media, radio year. we archive and analyze 1,000,000 and a half hours so it's a significant piece of research to back up the claims we make and we tried to just slightly improved conversation or perhaps add value where we can . >> howlong have you been with media matters ? >> i joined in 2010 and i was
there as part of a campaign about either stop being so destructive or to get fired. it was one of the other. that was theobjective so i came there to continue that work . ice continue to do campaign and advocacy work and worked my way up. conservative misinformation gaps in coverage, let's talk about the media story of the week, month and year so far. the leaked draft opinion from the supreme court. what conservative misinformation have you been looking out and what gaps ? >> most of this is begin by news media for the last decade. we've been looking at this issue for a while which is if you look at broadly speaking the coverage on reproductive health and abortion it's been dominated by the right way so and rarely does the mainstream media real journalists get attention in a significant way which allows for the conversation
to be dominated so the texas law went into effect and this last fall for example there was only three mentions of it on cable news over the first week after it was in an active and plenty on conservative talk radio but it wasn't really discussed. the alarm bell wasn't wrong for most people only think about politics and civic engagement for a fewminutes a week . and never appreciated what was happening and even before then journalists were echoing a lot of the right way misinformation we were hearing so one of the things that catalyzed this latest momentum towards these pushes were describing these new restrictions as heartbeat zones for example. there is no fetal heartbeat. it was made up by anti-choice extremists because it had better messaging but one of the challenges is that journalists echoed back right away so i start their not as a would have could have should have but a lot of the coverage we're seeing is a consequence of gaps in coverage that has lasted a
few years which is essentially ceding the ground to people that have the agenda and are trying to create compression so right now the right-wing media is almost entirely focused on the leaker itself and the word weird thing about it although is not weird when you realize we're approach was country one of the things they refrain whether it's sean hannity to the most extreme talk radio hosts is to constantly point out this does not mean abortion is legal. it just means it's going back to the states. they're almost shying away from celebrating the thing you would expect because they realized most people are disturbed by this because we are a pro-choice country so they mostly distract and focus on the leak itself. there's a lot of accusations of itbeing some sort of a liberal clerk . at least that'swhere they're focusing . >>
environment. one thing that the two of us did agree on was the value of showing up every day and searching for bipartisanship and for common ground. and we were able to do that sometimes defying the odds on the senate finance committee. and i'm going to briefly recount some of those accomplishments in honor of his memory. first, the landmark reauthorization of the children's health insurance program. for a decade the longest ever commitment to children's health since the program was created. and by the way, senator hatch was the coauthor of the original bill with his democratic partner, the late ted kennedy. what a success chip has been shown to be.
a wonderful state-federal partnership. more than 9 million kids have affordable quality health care thanks to chip. within two years of becoming law, 47 states had set up a chip program and today every state participates in chip. as my friend from nevada knows, sometimes it's hard to get the states to agree on whether you might buy a 7-up, all the states make. the chip program is a huge effort and what a remarkable accomplishment led by senator hatch in keeping kids covered and healthy. in fact, just five years after the program was enacted, chip reduced the uninsurance rate for children by a half. now, the road to a ten-year reauthorization was not exactly smooth. in fact the authorization actually expired for nearly four months. but despite the setbacks and, as
i said, taking on long odds, chairman hatch and i just kept at it, focusing on the impact that this historic legislation would have and the reason we all do public service, which is to make people's lives better. it was clear this was a real opportunity to make a lasting investment in the well-being of kids, and we were committed to doing that together. so now thanks to the leadership of chairman hatch, the health care for millions of america's kids is secure until 2027. and i know because i remember looking over just a few desks away to chairman hatch and wondering if we were going to be able to keep this effort bipartisan, we were going to be able to actually get it down. he would smile and look over at me in that kind of way, sort of
stick with me, colleague, because he so often treated me almost like a son. and it always made me feel that there was a chance, as i said, to show people that even in a very polarized and divisive t time, he would get something really important accomplished like standing up for kids. now, the next item that i want to mention involves transforming the medicare program. my friend from nevada knows, my roots with the great panthers, the senior citizens group. when i was coming up, medicare was a program for acute illness. if you broke your ankle, you had a horrible case of the flu, you went to a hospital, you saw your doctor. not medicare today in nevada and oregon. today medicare is about chronic illness, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, copd. that is overwhelmingly the
medicare program today. and when i briefly was chairman of the finance committee, i held the first hearing on updating medicare to place the focus squarely on updating what we always have called the medicare guarantee. medicare isn't a slip of paper. it's a guarantee. and chairman hatch graciously agreed to continue that effort. it began when i was the chair and it took the better part of two years and a lot of guts for chairman hatch to take that on because the rule, the rule at that time was you didn't even bring up, you didn't even bring up fundamental medicare reform because everybody went to opposite sides. that was the end of the discussion. chairman hatch said not on my watch. we're going to do something very
different. and there were groundbreaking developments in that chronic care bill that make a difference today for americans. throughout the pandemic it was clear that we needed to make bold reforms to increase the role and opportunity for telehealth to serve our people. all our colleagues would come back from a visit home. do something about telehealth. well, what happened was that the center for medicare-mid cade services was trying to move quickly, and they were looking for a model. and i remember then secretary of medicare and medicaid services, seema verma, called me up and said essentially would you mind if we used the model for expanding telehealth, what
chairman hatch and you led in the finance committee. we said we're thrilled, all in, let's go. and today that model continues to expand as my colleague from nevada knows in the recent major budget bill, we expanded it to audio only because we had so many rural communities where they didn't have broadband, where there was a big senior population. they wanted to expand telehealth. none of that's possible unless chairman hatch was willing to take on a big medicare reform undertaking, updating the guarantee, recognizing that the 21st century, it wasn't like medicare when it began. and it really is going to make a big, big difference. and as i say, we're going to keep expanding telehealth.
my colleague knows we're looking to have a major mental health reform effort in this session, -- session. a big part will be expanding mental health and covering mental health services. chairman hatch did so much to make that debate possible. finally, a third area -- this is all in one congress, three major bills. i could take another kind of prism and talk about the chairman but we passed family first prevention services act. what an incredibly important task that was. we saw with foster care families, there was a challenge in getting the care that people needed in those facilities. and we saw that many families that weren't in the foster care system were trying to make decisions about how to do what was best for their family.
maybe a loved one, a parent of a child had had some drug challenges, alcohol challenge. and the choice at that time, madam president -- i think you'll recall this -- was essentially two options. one, keep the child in a family situation that was far from desirable or two, send the child off to a foster care facility. that left something to be desired. some good foster care, some not so good. chairman hatch led the effort to a third path, facility first, so that now -- families first, so that now when you have families, there might be an older relative, a grandparent. it's called kinship care. the grandparent can step in and help the family as a parent might be dealing with that alcohol challenge. and states all over this country now are moving to use families
first. they're moving to make it possible for a grandparent to step in as a caretaker for grandkids. building flexibility into the system. as my friend from nevada and i often talk about, that's not a democratic or republican issue. that's just common sense. and often, often chairman hatch would say what is just a commonsense approach here. i'm going to talk for the remainder of my time about what a pleasure it was to be with senator hatch personally. we met almost every week. alternating between our offices. he would tell stories. he wore a mezuzah with great pride because he so valued his friendship with the jewish people. he told wonderful stories about
his childhood in pittsburgh, saving up money to take the trolley to the symphony, and fascinating stories about his friendship with mohammad ali which almost invariably led to putting his fists in the air and showing me a little bit about the shadow boxing that he did with his wonderful friend mohammad ali. and then of course you would always hear about his side career, a platinum record as a selling musician and composer. he was always so good to his friends, he almost invariably inflated their accomplishments to those he was with, such as he did with years with me about basketball. he loved talking about books,
especially history books. i gave him books that my father had written. he read them closely. he would often bring big books to the floor of the senate on a late night. and i see so many of our wonderful staff who can probably picture chairman hatch sitting right there. and i see the nods. with a big book reading, and that was a special moment as he made his way through a thick history volume and then told us a little bit about it. what an accomplished senator, would a good man. nancy and i send our condolences to elaine, to their children, to the many staffers who worked with chairman hatch over the years, and i want to close this way because this is how chairman hatch often closed a meeting.
we'd meet in each other's offices every week. and i remember often he'd stand up at the end of the meeting giving me one of those inimitable orrin hatch smiles. and he'd look at me and he'd go, so long, friend. that was orrin hatch today. thank you. i yield the floor, and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent that we vacate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session, be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the
appointment at the desk appear separately in the record as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president, i have six requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate proceed to s. res. 601. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 601, celebrating the 150's anniversary of arbor day. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent that the senate now proceed to the en bloc consideration of the following
senate resolutions introduced earlier today. s. res. 617, 618, 619, 620. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. is there objection to proceeding to the measures en bloc? without objection, the senate will proceed en bloc. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent that the resolutions be agreed to, the preambles be agreed to and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table all en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 621 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 621, honoring the life and legacy of the late senator orrin g. hatch. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the
measure? mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent that this important resolution --. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent that this important resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president, i would put in a quorum call, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
in the east and long-range missile attacks against cities far from the front are a stark reminder of horrific costs of this conflict that make will continue for some time. our friends in ukraine are not out of the woods. as i've said repeatedly, america and allies must be willing to help them win. if the outcome of the conflict is emboldened russia or fractures ukraine, there's no question the risk to the united states, nato and other american partners will grow. first and foremost, it means serious ongoing commitment to deliver more of the lethal capabilities that have sustained their resistance thus far. the u.s. is rightly leading a supply of military assistance finding forces but the
administration's credit, they are increasing organic growing international response. while our support should focus on ensuring ukraine has the military capability to defend itself in the months ahead, we should contribute to multinational economic humanitarian support kyiv needs. we must make new investments in u.s. capabilities addressing shortfalls and defense industrial bottlenecks to ensure we can rapidly produce critical weapons systems that would prove essential for ukraine. vulnerable allies or our own military in the months ahead. the aid package, even a strong bipartisan vote would not mean much if we don't deliver on this soon. for this reason we cannot allow the bill to be a vessel for
extraneous matters this is about battling climate change. it's about helping ukraine feed the military aggressor on the battleground. urgent assistance for ukraine's site must move at the speed of relevance. every day tied down and unrelated business in washington is a day it's not helping kyiv turn the tide. if the senate is serious helping ukraine when, we need to show it by passing supplemental assistance. clean no strings attached and soon.
mr. ossoff: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. ossoff: i move that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. ossoff: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that borsha lye be granted floor privileges. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. ossoff: mr. president, this evening i come to the floor of the united states senate in order to move that we confirm philip s. goldberg to serve as u.s. ambassador to the republic of korea. ambassador goldberg currently serves as the united states
ambassador to colombia. we saw just yesterday north korea test a ballistic missile. we've seen north korea continue to develop and test ballistic missiles that threaten not just south korea, not just our allies in the region, but the united states and the entire world. we need our ambassador in seoul. south korea is one of our most important trading partners. south korea is one of our most important security partners. our alliance with the republic of korea, mr. president, is among the most important bilateral relationships that the united states has in the world, and as the presiding officer knows in our home state of georgia a vibrant korean american community thrives, and georgia is a key destination for korean investment, bringing technology, jobs, talent, and
opportunity to our state and to the entire country. we need a u.s. ambassador to lead our mission in south korea. i had the privilege of leading an economic delegation to south korea the middle of last year. i sat at that time with now president-elect yeuen in when he was running for president. i congratulate him on his election. i look forward to working with him. i had the pleasure last month alongside senators sullivan and schatz to host his special delegation to washington and meet with foreign minister designate dr. park. this alliance is essential and we have to strengthen it in order to strengthen it, we need to confirm our ambassador to south korea. and so at this time, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations en
bloc, calendars number 897, 898. 900, 90 1-rbgs the senate vote on the nominations without intervening action or debate, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, that no further motions be in order to the nominations, that any statements related to the nominations be printed in the record, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report the nominations en bloc. the clerk: nominations, department of state, mark b. nathanson of california to be ambassador to the kingdom of norway. john n. king song of georgia to be ambassador at large to combat hiv-aids globally. caroline kennedy of new york to be ambassador to the commonwealth of australia. marykay loss carlson of arkansas to be ambassador to the republic
of the philippines. philip s. goldberg of the district of columbia to be ambassador to the republic of korea. the presiding officer: if there's no further debate, the question is on the nominations en bloc. all in favor say aye. all opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nominations are confirmed en bloc. mr. ossoff: mr. president, we look forward to ambassador goldberg's service in seoul. he continue his distinguished career in the foreign service. and we look forward to working with him. i now ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 3:00 p.m. on monday, may 9. and that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and morning business be closed. that upon the conclusion of morning business, the senate proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the phillips nomination. the cloture motions filed during
today's session of the senate ripen at 5:30 p.m. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. ossoff: if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask it adjourn offered the provisions of s. res. 621. the presiding officer: pursuant to s. res. 621, the senate stands adjourned until 3:00 p.m. on monday, may 9, and does so as a further mark of respect to the late orrin g. a draft supreme court decision overturning roe v. wade was leaked to the press. live coverage of the senate continues when they return next
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