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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 18, 2022 2:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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out at the moment. take a look at ohio. j.d. vance did go because of trump's endorsement. he went from fourth to first and the won the primary. 65% of the republican primary voters did not vote for the trump backed candidate. we are seeing that right now in the state of pennsylvania. in idaho, we saw trump's candidate for lieutenant governor lose. i have
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mr. padilla: mr. president, for many people, not just here and around the capitol but across the country, the past few weeks have been a wake-up call, a wake-up call to see the stakes of our fight for a fair judiciary, from abortion rights to free speech, to gun violence, federal judges make countless decisions that impact our daily lives. we've been reminded of that in a very significant way. but our current federal bench is not representative of the diversity of our country and our democracy, and we have a lot of
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work to do to rebuild the judiciary in a way that deserves the faith of the american people. to build a judiciary that reflects and represents the diverse nation that it serves. we talked about it before. we've been chipping away at it not just through the judiciary committee, but through a number of circuit court judges, district court judges across the country, including in california. i'm certainly proud of the significant step that we took recently with the confirmation of soon-to-be justice ketanji brown jackson. but for all the progress we made this last year, we still have a lot of work to do, especially at the lower court level where almost all federal cases are heard, and many are decided there, and that's it. that's why i continue to work closely with the biden administration to recommend and
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support talented nominees for california's district courts, nominees who will bring a wide range of professional and lived experiences to the federal bench. so today i rise to highlight three outstanding nominees to california's district courts. first, the senate will soon vote on the confirmation of judge tree in -- trina thompsono become a judge for the northern district of california. she has deep roots serving the community of alameda county. after earning her graduate degree and her j.d. from u.c. berkeley, she began her legal career with the alameda county's public defender's office and built a successful solo practice in criminal defense. over the next decade, she handled dozens of criminal trials and she continued to work
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with the county public defenders office to take on pro bono clients in the community. a legal trailblazer, judge thompson became the first black woman to win election to serve as a judge in alameda county. she's continuously demonstrated her sense of fairness, her commitment to justice and her dedication to the rule of law. and i know that judge thompson will continue to pave the road for equal justice of the northern district bench, and i urge my colleagues to support her nomination. second, the senate will also soon vote on judge sunshine sykes' confirmation to become a judge for the central district of california. a member of the cie i don't -- e kyoto -- cie i don't see tee path clan, she has worked for
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those who have been left behind by the legal system. she earned her graduate degree and j.d. from stanford university. after law school she chose to begin her legal career working for the california legal indian services. there she built a tremendous represent it ation as skill advisor and advocate for tribes on legal matters on addressing domestic violence and preserving cultural resources. she developed important expertise in juvenile dependency cases under the indian child welfare act. recognizing judge sykes' outstanding work, then-governor jerry brown appointed her to the superior court in 2013 and in
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the past few years presided over nearly 1 00 cases. she'll bring a work ethic and appropriate sense of empathy to her judgeship in the central district. and if confirmed, judge sykes will also be the first native american to ever serve on a federal court in california. i remind us that california is home to more federally recognized native american tribes than any state in the nation. so i look forward to her distinguished service in the central district. and finally, i would like to speak for a moment as well about judge sherilyn peace garnett, who was confirmed last month to serve on the u.s. district court for the central district of california. judge garnett brings an outstanding record as a lawyer, as a jurist, and a public servant committed to equal justice. judge garnett earned her undergraduate degree from u.c.
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riverside and her j.d. from harvard law school. after starting her career in private practice, judge garnett became an assistant u.s. attorney for the central district of california. she spent 13 years serving in that office, earning numerous awards and rising to a number of leadership positions. recognizing her hard work and record of excellence as a litigator, governor brown appointed judge garnett to the los angeles superior court in 2014. and for eight years she served with distinction as a superior court judge and as justice pro tempore on the california court of appeals. she now brings this experience to the federal bench as a judge for the central district. voices like hers and the voices like that of judge thompson and judge sykes who have been left out of the judiciary for far too
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long, all three of these nominations, outstanding women, women of color, represent important progress. and so i celebrate each of these jurists, and i thank them for their willingness to serve. with each of their confirmations, we take another important step closer to the fair judiciary that this nation deserves, towards a justice system that our democracy deserves. mr. president, i'm so proud of the progress we've made in california and look forward to working with you, our colleagues, and with the biden administration to continue this important work. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you,
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mr. president. i rise to honor our brave hardworking men and women in law enforcement as we celebrate their service during national police week. this week thousands of law enforcement officers and their families will visit our nation's capital to honor those who serve and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our communities safe. over the past year, north carolina has tragically lost three law enforcement officers in the line of duty. this doesn't include the numerous law enforcement officers who have also lost their life over the last year due to other causes, including some due to covid-19. but i'd like to take a moment to honor the three officers who lost their lives while protecting those they served. last october, we lost ryan hayworth of the nightendale police department after his patrol vehicle was hit by a drunk driver. officer hayworth was only 23
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years old and he had already established a distinguished record of service. he was in the u.s. army, in the national guard. he answered the call again by becoming a police officer following in the footsteps of his father who was a longtime chief of zebulon police department and his brother who is a firefighter. last december, only two days before christmas, in my home county of mecklenburg, we grieved the loss of cmpd officer of officer danielle figuaroa goodwin, tragically killed when a tractor-trailer hit her patrol car as she was working to keep drivers safe following a previous crash. officer figuaroa goodwin served cmpd for six years. she had a beautiful family survived by her husband and three young children, including
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a four-l month-old baby. in january we lost north carolina state trooper john horton in a tragic accident with another patrol vehicle as the area was faced with icy and dangerous driving conditions. the accident also tragically took the life of another driver. trooper horton had served for 15 years, and he is survived by his wife and six children. the incredible sacrifice of our brave men and women in blue can take many forms. last month an act of incredible bravery by a north carolina state patrol trooper, cody tao captivated north carolinians when a suspected drunk driver's car was barreling the wrong way down a highway exit ramp. trooper tao bravely put himself and his patrol car in the way to stop the driver from hurting or possibly killing others. instead of speeding the wrong
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way on the highway, the suspect was stopped by trooper tao's split-second decision to angle his car and let the car hit his patrol car. this act was filmed by trooper tao's dash board camera, and his bravery has been broadcast literally to the world. trooper it tao's selfless decision undoubtedly saved lives and serves as a reminder of the danger our law enforcement community faces each and every day to keep us safe. i am deeply encouraged by the outpouring of support from north carolina communities for our brave, hardworking law enforcement officers, and i should say that i'm happy to see the same across states, across all states in the nation. but there are some folks who want to talk about antipolice policies, and i don't think people back home in north carolina, across the united states are buying it.
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i believe most people back home and across this beautiful country respect and support law enforcement. the american people understand that law enforcement officers make our communities safer and stronger. they understand the proposals to abolish and defend the police are out of touch with reality. the reality is that rhetorical attacks on law enforcement only serve to encourage physical attacks on law enforcement. f.b.i. director chris wray raised the alarm just a few weeks ago when he told the american people that violence against law enforcement in this country is one of the biggest phenomenon that i think doesn't get enough attention. i agree with director wray. and while attacks on our brave men and women in blue may not get enough attention in the national press, our local communities recognize the tremendous sacrifice given by those who protect and serve, and we must stop the tide of violence against law enforcement
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in this country. and that's why i'm proud to have introduced the protect and serve act. this commonsense legislation would make it a federal crime to intentionally assault a law enforcement officer. this bill has also received bipartisan support in the past, and i believe would make a strong statement to criminals that assaulting law enforcement is inexcusable. with the protect and serve act, criminals would be on notice that an assault on law enforcement is an assault on all americans. so each year we take this week to celebrate those who serve and protect public safety. these heroes deserve our gratitude 24/7, 365. i hope that my colleagues will help me fight for the men and women in blue. they need us more than ever. and as i often say when i'm back in the state of north carolina, you've got an opportunity to see a law enforcement officer
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today, thank him for their sacrifice. thank you, mr. president.
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we will not tolerate any aggression during this process. there are practical measures we can take along those lines secretary also will coordinate.
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>> to questions, one on your trip. when the initial nato sanctioned happened, there's a huge debate with it was a good idea or not and they were in the favor of it. was there a similar debate that went underway here whether or not bringing finland and sweden and was a good idea or whether putin and tell us what you know on the evidence north korea may attempt either nuclear test, hard to imagine what they would accomplish, or a missile launch and what your preparations are. >> on the first question, president biden posed the question to national security team, his cabinet and supposed to cover national security to whether they support -- in a qum
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call. the presiding officer: we are not. ms. ernst: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, etched in marble above the chair you're sitting in is the latin phrase e pluribus unumening out of many, one. despite the differences, the union among our respective states is a single nation expressed by this motto has endured for nearly 250 years. the principles of liberty and equality upon which our nation was conceived have not only survived but continue to flourish and expand from one generation to the next. many of us who are members of this body would not have been eligible to cast a vote much less serve in congress not so long ago. we stand here as real life proof that the american experiment in
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self-determination has been a success unlike any other in history. this triumph has been made possible by the institutions established by our founders to serve as guard rails to ensure liberty and maintain order while preventing tyranny. today more than ever those institutions are under attack by the intrusion of awoke counterculture that has taken over the democratic party. they condemn america as culpable rather than exceptional and embrace socialism, a system in which government controls everything. under the spell of these radical elements, the democrats have unleashed a strange multiverse of madness in which reality no longer has meaning and the foundations upon which our
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nation was built are being turned upside down and inside out or destroyed all together. the left tell us to trust the science and to believe all women, yet they can't even define what a woman is and that criminals are victims and the law enforcement officers who risk their own lives every day to protect us are somehow the real perpetrators of injustice. and now they want washington to be the arbiter of truth. that's right, folks. the department of homeland security which should be focused on securing our borders is now trying to police what the biden administration deems
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disinformation. sounds like a novel idea, and by that i mean george orwell's noarvele of 1984 in which the ministry of truth pushed state propaganda which was the exact opposite of truth. this amendment to control what you can and cannot say is not only an attack on our first amendment which guarantees the freedom of speech and the press but an assault on truth itself. we don't need anyone in washington, especially joe biden who is factually challenged himself telling us how to think or what to say. that may be how things are run in socialist countries like russia and china but not in america, the land of the free. the senate itself is a prime target of this effort to undermine america's institutions
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by silencing opposing views. the democrats are determined to end the senate's long tradition of unlimited debate that has long guaranteed all voices can be heard. senator schumer once said that eliminating the filibuster would be a doomsday for democracy. he then ignored his own apocalyptic warning by voting to nuke the filibuster for executive and judicial nominations. in doing so the democrats minus joe manchin threw away the only leverage the minority party in the senate has to influence presidential appointments, including lifelong terms on the court. you would think they would have learned their lesson about how shortsighted that decision was, but they haven't. now senator schumer is determined to do away with the
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legislative filibuster so he can push through the democrats' radical plan to remake america by giving washington control of how voters select their representatives and stacking the supreme court with liberal justices who will legislate from the bench rather than interpret the law through the lens of the constitution. democrats have long been working to discredit and undermine the independence and legitimacy of the supreme court. the senate majority leader himself has publicly issued personal threats against specific justices warning that if they do not rule as he desired, they, quote, will pay the price. end quote. earlier this month for the first time ever, a draft opinion of a pending case before the supreme
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court was leaked to the media. chief justice john roberts called the unprecedented breach of the court's confidential deliberations a betrayal of the confidences of the court intended to undermine the integrity of our operations. and following the cues from the majority leader, radical activists are harassing supreme court justices in an effort to intimidate and influence their verdict. folks, this madness has got to end. this woke crowd is living in an alternate universe that is devoid of reality where our nation and those who founded it are now the enemy. it's all very strange because no serious study of history can look at the impact made by our great nation, especially in the
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last century and conclude that the world is not considerably better off as a result of the american revolution. america led the world to end fascism, defeat communism, and counter terrorism. at home we expanded the right to vote and ended segregation. and there are countless brave men and women from all walks of life who have answered the call of our nation who are stationed around the globe at this very moment ready to sacrifice all to defend freedom and stop tyranny. our system of self-government has lived up to and surpassed the promise of our founders to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure
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domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. all of this will be lost if we give in to the demands of the angry, woke mob which seeks to destroy the foundations that have long guided us and held us together as one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. lee: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, the basic purpose and function of the united states constitution is to protect the american people from the dangerous accumulation of power in the hands of the few. you see, that kind of protection is necessary to make us free. it is the structure of our
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government, set forth in the constitution, that truly makes us free. it is the bulwark of what would harm us. through the centuries of this great american experiment, it's been the structure of our government, not simply the bill of rights or other substantive provisions. it's been the structure that's been the most effective protection from waves of oppression and the whims of dictatorship. tragically, under the auspices of c.r.t., unrestrained progressively and a false sense of national destiny,the modern left has embarked on a campaign of sorts to condemn the founders, to tarnish the constitution itself and deface the structure and institutions that protect our liberty. progressives have been astoundingly, shockingly effective.
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unfortunately, this effort to seize power to enact a radical agenda, no matter the cost, is not a new tactic of the democratic party. president franklin d. roosevelt engaged in an institution-shaking campaign to pressure the supreme court to consent to and accept with constitutional infirmities his radical new deal agenda. he wanted to pack the supreme court by increasing the number of justices to a point his own political loyalists who would then do his bidding. his threats to the structural constitution of the united states led to the infamous switch had time that saved nine. now, roosevelt's plan to pack the supreme court failed as a legislative matter. when it got to this body, when it reached the senate floor, it didn't go anywhere, but it left
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a mark and it's not been a favorable one. legal scholars, historians, politicians and people of every stripe and political persuasion have since then condemned this. for example, his court-packing campaign has been called a bad idea just in the last few years by the late-justice ruth bader ginsburg. it was then cold a bone-headed idea by the then-senator joe biden. yet today many democrats are returning to that object l. re-- rejected notion. the supreme court has consisted of nine judges since 1869, over 150 years. it's a settled number that most americans agree should stay. not one person has argued that we need to increase the number of justices because of a human resources problem or workforce
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problem. no, it's not that. it's rather that they want to influence the outcome of decisions. they want to politicize the court. tragically, the independence of the judiciary is thus being threatened, and it's being threatened, i would add on several fronts. you've got misguided groups like roof sentis by protesting at those justices' homes or places of worship. when you show up at the home of a public official, especially if that person is a judge or justice, it's unlawful -- 18u.s.c. section 1507 plainly prohibited that because you're trying to influence them. that's a federal felony,a serious you know at that. -- it is a federal felony, a serious one at that. it is a serious offense because
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when you show up at the home after federal official like that, despite whatever else you might say or the signs you have might have printed on that, the last thing is we know where you sleep. that's animalis the threat of -- that's an implicit threat of physical violence. you've got certain members of congress, including some members of this body, who are willing to place the court's independence at this risk -- at risk. you've got some members of this body, including the senior senator from massachusetts, who went out and screamed with some of the same protesters in front of the supreme court and has written an op-ed for a local paper stating her intent and her desire to pack the supreme court while pioneering the hashtag -- #expandthecourt. i would venture that the court is much more popular nationally than is her agenda.
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but popular acclaim and the support of the constitutional structure of the united states is, of course, not the get of the modern left. -- is not the goal of the modern left. their goal is power. fittingly enough, the ambition of individuals is precisely what the constitution is designed to restrain. it is working as intended. james madison wrote of the constitution in federalist 51 -- quote, if men were angels, no government would be necessary. if angels were to govern man, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. in framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this -- you must first enable the government to control the governed and then in the next place oblige it to control itself. close quote. i pray that my colleagues supporting this dangerous effort will exercise the self-control
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of our constitutional forum -- that our constitutional form of government requires. we've all sworn an oath to that. and that observation, i think, requires us to take -- and that oath, i think, requires us to take into consideration. the unprecedented treatment of republican-nominated nominees to the court including the public high-tech condemnation of clarence thomas and the similarly unfounded attacks on brett kavanaugh, on sam alito, and on other republican nominees to the court. senator schumer's very public attempt to intimidate the court by standing in front of the supreme court building during oral arguments in the louisiana abortion case, june medical, shouting, i want to tell you, gorsuch, i want to tell you, kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. you won't know what hit you if
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you go forward with these awful decisions, close quote. the constitution, mr. president, is structure. it is a process and an organization. when democrats threaten another branch of government for political ends, they threaten that structure itself. it is dangerous. it is wrong. and i pray for the sake of our nation that it never succeeds. to that end, every member of this body should be condemning these efforts and condemning the efforts of those described in the axios article that ran today explaining that the department of homeland security is now having to investigate serious credible threats of people wanting to burn down the supreme court of the united states, people wanting to assassinate supreme court justices and law clerks. we must all condemn them, and i hereby do so in the strongest terms i'm capable of
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communicating. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: mr. president, in late 2016, soon after the presidential election of that year, there was a significant portion of the political left that began referring to itself as the resistance. apparently these people are bent on fighting whatever the new president might try to do only because of who the new president was. there were signs in yards, there were people who painted their signs with the resistance on the garage door. they weren't arguing against specific policies, they weren't making a rational argument to win support for their side. they are just trying to throw sand in the gears of the executive branch and interfere with how the government serves the people. one senator on the floor of the senate said the resistance starts here. now, they did it while trying to cloak themselves in maybe the
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compelling language of the resistance as if they were, in their minds they were starring in a world war ii movie "casablanca" where the resistance was the heroes, as they were all over world war ii. the damage the resistance was willing to do to the executive branch of our government was bad enough. on the floor of the senate virtually every nominee the president nominated, the minority insisted on 30 hours of debate. finally had to change that rule to two hours of debate, which those in the majority now know is a big enough challenge without 30 hours of debate. and i think the average time used was closer to 20 minutes during that 30 hours than 30 hours. but the 30 hours still had to be set aside. no other business could occur. people were nominated early on for ambassadors to countries, for instance that they eventually got to serve one year
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in because that resistance element appeared right here as well. then a group of political activists began to insist that we degrade the legislative branch as well trying to change the senate to get rid of the motion to proceed. and, frankly, ever since democrats got control of the senate by the smallest margin possible, there's been a constant discussion of why we should change that rule. of course, many of us understand the so-called filibuster rule is what makes the senate. president biden said when he was a senator, quote, at its core, the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or a bill. it's about compromise and moderation -- end the quote that he made at the time that i agree with knew. many of the people who have been calling to end the filibuster
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changed their tune, not just something changed in america, because they're now in charge. without the filibuster we'd see wild swings in policy that different parties would take control of a majority of the senate, and we sea that constantly in the -- and we see that constantly in the house now. a lot of bills pass. very few of them get to the president's desk t when the other party gets into control, they pass bills that reverse what the earlier majority passes and frankly very few of them get to the president's desk either because the senate has to take a little more time to think about what direction the country really wants to go in. in the last 20 years or so, complete control has happened four times, alternating between democrats and republicans. that's a lot of time for the pendulum to swing and the potential for bad ideas to become law without something to make us think about that before we head in that direction.
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at a time of razor-thin guidelines. there are efforts to fail so far because there aren't enough senators from both parties who are willing to make that change but that doesn't mean they won't keep trying. in fact, i'm confident we'll continue to hear that, and i'm also confident their position will change as soon as they are in the minority and don't get what they want. this brings us to the disappointing effort we've seen to damage the third branch of government, the judiciary. for more than year, we've seen some people on the left try to apply political pressure on the court to rule in a particular way. senator -- the senator from utah just gave an example of that. i'm going to repeat it. it's probably worth repeating. in march of 2020, the democratic
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leader of the senate spoke to a crowd in front of the supreme court building and he said, quote, i want totem you, gorsuch, i want to tell you, kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. now what would that possibly mean? if you're in the senate, you've got a lifetime job -- i mean, if you're in the supreme court, you've the got a lifetime job. so the price clearly was not losing your job. what price was the democratic leader suggesting and saying on the steps of the supreme court you'd have to pay? and this is while the court was inside hearing arguments on the case and the leader added, you won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions. that kind of language has no place and really no legitimate purpose. this is not the kind of language that we need to use. our colleagues on the other sides of the aisle have talked about -- introduced legislation to add new judges to the court,
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to pack court. judges should rule based on the law, not on their partisan allegiance. that's not a new idea, but countries rarely manage to put it into practice. the american judicial system became the envy of the world precisely because of its independence. renowned historian of the american revolution, gordon wood, has described it as the creation of judges who are, quote, agents of the sovereign people somehow equal in authority with the legislators and executives. an independent judiciary is a critical element of the unique balance of power that the constitution created. justices have frequently ruled against presidents and parties that put them on the court. some of them, of the most prominent politically sensitive supreme court cases in history, have involved judges ruling against the parties that put them in power, including u.s. v. nixon in 1974 and harry truman,
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whose desk is signed -- but the his name on the desk that i'm speaking from, would certainly have preferred not to lose the so-called steel seizure case of youngtown steel v. sawyer. but he accepted it without threatening any of the judges, without plotting to increase the size of the court. even though the vote against it by, for instance, if fred vinson, chief chief justice, who had been his secretary of treasury and lifelong in terms of senate service friend, and his nominee to be the chief justice, voted the other way. the supporters of these changes are calling very loudly, but just like the damage that they sought with their resistance of the executive branch their efforts to break the senate, they could do lasting, even permanent damage to the judiciary. once the court's been clearly
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politicized, it would be hard to ever bring it back. i'm concerned about the anti-institutional fervor we see going on today. i hope it does not produce the stated results and goals. i'd yield back. mr. grassley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask unanimous consent that senator fisher and i be allowed to speak up to five minutes each before the vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: when democrats blew up the filibuster for nominees some eight years ago, republicans warned then that they would regret that move when the tables were turned. it seemed like such a short-term thinking on the democrats' part. but i've said before that progressive ideology has many democrats convinced that they are, so to speak, on the side of
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history in the long run. if you believe history is heading only in one direction, and that direction is your way, you don't worry about the pendulum swinging back. that explains why they broke from 200 years of precedent to filibuster conservative judges nominated by president george w. bush, and then expressed shock and outrage when their own precedent was used against them under president obama. that ideology also explains why democrats can passionately defend the filibuster one day, as a vital protection for the minority, and then just months later, after taking control of a
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50-50 senate, thanks only to the vice president's tiebreaking vote, call the filibuster racist. the phrase dem og raphy -- demography is destiny as applied to politics today is another version of progressive ideology. the assumption with dem og raphy is -- demography is destiny is that ethnic minorities that can vote democrats are bound to vote that way forever. so they support an open-border policy, with a push for amnesty, even if it green lights human trafficking and lets the lethal fentanyl to pour into the bloodstreams of young americans, driving down life expectancy in
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our country. progressive democrats assume more hispanic citizens mean more votes for them, and then somehow a permanent majority. let me remind you that republicans thought that after the elections of 1994 and 2010 that we would have a permanent majority. it didn't work out that way. just like the irish and italians of the late 1800's and early 1900's, hispanic citizens who have assimilated into the fabric of our nation do not vote as a bloc. so, just maybe that's why the left seems increasingly desperate to stoke identity politics and racial division. such thinking leads to counterproductive calls.
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as an example, to defund the police, followed by a desperate attempt to do a 180-degree turn when crime spikes and the very communities they sought to pander then end up suffering. remember how so many prominent democrats felt compelled to defend and justify rioters they deemed to be on their side. now democrats insist not just on prosecuting january 6 rioters, as we should with all rioters, but on weaponizing that horrible day for political purpose. they decry disinformation. they decry conspiracy theories. on the right, about the election. while perpetuating conservative conservative -- or conspiracy
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theories on the left. remember, then, the absurd claim that because postmaster general supported president trump, absentee ballots wouldn't be delivered in the 2020 election. it caused a lot of unnecessary worry for many iowans who vote absentee. democrats call for supporting our elections, while at the same time touting false claims of systemic voter suppression, deeply undermining faith in our democracy. democrats do not seem to support america's democratic institutions for those democratic institutions' own sake, but if the democrats are convinced that they're not just right but on the right side of
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history, institutions are only worth preserving so long as they can be used to advance their own agenda. you cannot have respectful disagreement with someone on the wrong side of history. in fact, you demonize those people. this kind of thinking pits neighbor against neighbor and drives wedges within our communities. this sense of division comes up in every one of my 99 county meetings in iowa. i sense iowans are fed up with this poison. i yield. mrs. fischer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to voice my concern about attempts to undermine american institutions. there is a difference between constructive efforts to ensure
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public institutions are accountable in trying to cut down these foundational institutions at their core. recently, our country commemorated national police week, and it was an opportunity to show our gratitude and appreciation to the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep our people and our communities safe. and yet we continue to see those on the left trying to villainize all law enforcement in this country. president biden and speaker pelosi, scared about their party's dropping poll numbers, can keep trying to muffle their colleagues' destructive comments, but what the democrats have already said has harmed our nation's law enforcement. we heard defund the police from many, too many democratic elected officials. during a cnn interview in june 2021, a massachusetts congresswoman said, quote, i
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support a radical reimagining of community safety and public safety, which means reallocating and not further investing in a carceral state. end quote. a new york congresswoman has called for the federal government to apply pressure to disrupt the system in reference to police departments. others have said time and time again that we must completely reimagine what policing looks like in our country. and what effect is this antipolice rhetoric having on those who swear to serve and protect? not surprisingly, we are seeing a drain on law enforcement agencies. numbers of law enforcement officers rose from 2014 to 2020. however, over the past two years, retirements and resignations are climbing, while recruitment numbers are down. many of our law enforcement
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agencies are receiving far fewer applications. this is something that i directly discussed with sergeant tony connor, the president of the omaha police officers association, when we met recently. application numbers for some nebraska law enforcement agencies, they are down 75% or more compared to just a few years ago. contributing to -- contributing to these challenges, police officers' jobs have also become increasingly dangerous. last year we saw surges in violence and aggression towards officers. 346 police officers were shot in the line of duty. 130 of them were targeted and shot in ambush-style attacks. in a recent cbs/60 minutes
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interview f.b.i. director christopher wray said there had been a 59% increase in the murders of police officers, with 73 -- 73 officers killed in 2021. that's a rate of about one officer killed every five days. without a doubt, democrats' antipolice rhetoric has diminished morale and eroded public trust in law enforcement. maybe that was the goal, but dwindling application numbers to join the force also are contributing to rising crime all across this country. a report by the council on criminal justice found that the national violent crime rate has increased 44% from 2019 to 2021.
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a recent "wall street journal" editorial discussed efforts to address rising crime in one of our nation's cities, seattle. according to the editorial, seattle city attorney ann davidson's office found that 118 individuals were responsible for more than 2400 crimes in seattle over the past five years. and yet her efforts to hold repeat offenders accountable are being stymied by some. because of a 2019 agreement signed by davidson's predecessor certain classes of misdemeanors in that community go to the community court. this court releases the accused after referring them to certain support services. as the editorial states, quote,
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seattle criminals get four tries in the community court before they flunk out. each can encompass multiple charges. repeat offenders see the lack of consequences as an invitation to commit more crimes, end quote. davidson is currently trying to renegotiate that deeply flawed 2019 agreement. but despite the rising crime in seattle, these negotiations are at an impasse. problems like these aren't confined to the emerald city. in l.a., minneapolis, chicago, washington, d.c. and other cities, liberal prosecutors often fail to hold violent criminals accountable. and the impact on public safety is clear. cnn reports the following about with the increase in carjacking, the number of carjackings has
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quad quadrupled over the past four years. in chicago, more than 1800 carjackings were reported in 2021. and here in the nation's capital, metropolitan police confirmed that carjackings have tripled since 2019. the administration's efforts to address the rise in this violent crime are weak. i'm supporting a resolution led by the senior senator from louisiana that actually gets at what we should be doing. it demands that the president work with congress on a comprehensive strategy that encourages the department of justice, the department of homeland security, as well as state and local law enforcement officers to counter the rise in violent crime by reinforcing strong criminal justice policies. the senate should pass this. our law enforcement officers who wear the badge deserve our gratitude and our support. the sacrifices they make and the
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sacrifices their families make keep us safe. we stand with our men and women in blue. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the question occurs on the leaf nomination. second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote: is vote:
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the presiding officer: have all senators voted?
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does any senator wish to change his or her vote? if not, the yeas are 54. the nays are 44. and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table anded president will be immediately owe and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. 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 687, elizabeth schoff watson of maryland to be an assistant secretary of labor signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of elizabeth schoff watson of maryland to be an
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assistant secretary of labor shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule and the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote: vote:
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the presiding officer: the yeas are 50, the nays 47, and the motion is agreed to. the clerk will record the
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nomination. the clerk: department of labor, elizabeth schoff watson of maryland to be an assistant secretary. mrs. murray: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, this is a dark and raging moment for our nation. i've made that clear already, and so have so many of our democratic colleagues. but i'm speaking on the floor today because we cannot back down for a minute. we cannot lose sight of the terrifying reality that republicans want to end the right to abortion, and they are within weeks of accomplishing that goal. very soon the supreme court is set to overturn roe v. wade and
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fulfill republicans' decades-long goal of controlling women's bodies and rolling back everyone's fundamental right to decide whether or not to start a family. let me say that again because it's shocking and it is true. in a matter of weeks women across the country will lose a constitutional right they have had for half a century. the steady march forward to secure women's rights that generations before us fought for will be reversed, and my daughter and granddaughters will have fewer rights than i did. women will be forced to carry pregnancies to term when it is not right for them, and republicans will be responsible. this is the future they have been fighting for. this is the america that they want, and they're not done yet. republicans are hellbent on rolling back the clock.
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last week they blocked our bill to protect roe and the right to abortion. but they are not going to stop at overturning roe and shredding patients' rights to make decisions about their own bodies. in states across the country, republican lawmakers are banning abortion without exceptions. they're targeting people who help a woman get an abortion, doctors who are providing essential health care, friends and family members who are just supporting a loved one, and even the drivers just doing their jobs and helping patients get to a medical appointment. republicans are working around the clock to make it harder for women and families to control their own futures. they're coming after the birth control and i.u.d.'s that tens of millions rely on to plan a family on their own terms. they are coming after plan b. they're even putting patients' ability to get the i.v.f. care
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they need to help start a family at risk. and my republican colleagues right here in the senate have made clear that they have their sights set on something really extreme. they want a nationwide ban on abortion. republicans aren't content with some states banning abortion and creating health crisis that spill across state lines. they want to eliminate the right of every woman in america to get an abortion. in washington state and everywhere else. it is not hypothetical and it's not some far-off worry. it's appalling, and it is completely backwards. republicans want to force us all with them into their time machine, but we are not going to let them. democrats are fighting republicans increasingly extreme policies at every step of the way. in the coming weeks we are going to remind each and every
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american of the rights that republicans want to rip away. we won't allow republicans to run and hide from the reality of their extreme agenda. we're going to be on the floor each week highlighting how republicans are doing everything they can to hit rewind on our rights, highlighting every protection and freedom that republicans are ripping away from people across the country, and we're going to show the country how republican policies hurt everyone. we are going to expose the republicans' radical and unpopular views on everything from abortion to family planning to sex ed. we're going to make clear who is hurt most by their extremism. this fight did not end when republicans blocked the women's health protection act last week. far from it. people across the country are fed up with republican attacks on their rights. they are fired up.
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they're fighting back. so am i, and so are my democratic colleagues. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. scott: last week president biden tried to blame me for the current inflation crisis. in a speech where he couldn't even get my state right -- i probably represent florida -- i proudly represent florida -- he attacked me and tried to blame the record inflation he created on republicans. i guess he's also forgotten that he's the president, that his policies have created this mess. and, by the way, democrats are in control of the house and senate. what's clear to the american people is that joe biden is to blame for the inflation that is hurting them and costing them more every day. families i talk to in florida are sick and tired of this president's failures, sick and tired of seeing an incoherent, confused man ramble on in the white house with no plan but to
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blame everyone else for the problems he created. last week the biden administration reported that the consumer price index, our main measure of inflation, increased 8.3% year over year. the latest producer price index showed wholesale inflation in april increased 11% over the year. these price hikes hurt real families and they're impacting every industry. we see in the price of groceries, like milk, eggs, and meat. we see it in the price of gas at the pump and electricity for your home. we see it in the price of used cars and the cost of transportation. everything is going up and some products like baby formula are nearly impossible to find, causing families to make impossible choices. a census bureau report found over the last year 24% of americans reduced or went without basic sigh tems as a way to afford energy bills. in my home state 24% of floridians had to make this
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impossible choice. the financial pinch families are facing, the supply chain crisis families are facing are because of the radical spending agenda being pushed by president biden and democrats in washington. their reckless government spending has sent our economy into a downward spiral. our debt has grown to over $30 trillion, and biden wants to push it up to $45 trillion even as our g.d.p. is contracting. inflation has risen to the highest levels in 40 years. it's wrecking our economy. we need both action to fix this mess and help families keep up and i came to the floor today to stop the insanity and introduce a budgetary point of order. my bill will stop any nondefense discretionary spending that would increase the deficit over the ten-year budget window when the average inflation is 3% or higher. the target for inflation is 2%. the point of order is 50% above
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this target is reasonable. my point of order would not apply during time periods when inflation is at or slightly above the federal reserve's target. we need flexibility for emergencies so my bill would allow this point of order to be waived if two-thirds of the senate agree that deficit spending during elevated times of inflation is needed. my point of order would not apply to funding our armed services nor would it apply to mandatory spending such as medicare or social security. mr. president, this is commonsense legislation. this bill would put in place the same scrutiny that families, especially poor families, use to stay on budget. it is the amendment is kind of careful examination that small business owners have to do to make sure they can pay their employees and make ends meet. the inflation we are seeing right now is unsustainable. i.t. time for action. i hope that we can all come together to agree to this point of order. as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of senate 4249. i ask that the bill be
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considered read and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. leahy: reserving the right to object, mr. president -- the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: if the senator from florida's bill were to pass it would make routine domestic spending bills nearly impossible to pass in the united states senate, freezing spending at current levels. i warn that the senator from florida believes the false impression that inflation does not impact the millions of americans who benefit from nondefense discretionary programs. these are people that have to go to work every single day and try to figure out if they're going to have enough money to put groceries on their table. this bill would make things worse for the american people, not better. an example -- this year the cost of the veterans medical care system is expected to grow by
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$21 billion. we've all heard the patriot o.i.c. speeches of how we -- we've all heard the patriotic speeches of how we stand behind our veterans when they thence the call. but i wonder how many v.a. hospitals and clinics in florida would have to be closed if this proposal was approved? i know there's a lot all over the country that would have to be closed. natural gas costs have grown by 35% this year. do any of us who may be from a state where the weather can get warm want to tell our constituents that rely on the liheap program to cool their homes that, no, you don't need air conditioning because the money is not going to be there?
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if florida is struck by another hurricane this summer and the senator from florida and his constituented look to fema for -- constituents look to family ma for food, fuel, and water, will the senator tell his constituents inflation is too high. you're on your own, we can't respond to that emergency. now, in 2017, members -- many members of the other side of the aisle lined up to vote for $1.9 trillion tax cut for the wealthy, a tax cut that i believe has contributed to the inflation we now see in the country. there's nothing in this request to roll back those tax cuts. so i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. scott: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. scott: mr. president, i disagree with my colleague's objection. i think this issue is too
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important to not try to get something done today. so instead of enacting this point of order when c.p.i. reaches 3%, how about we raise it to 8%. our current c.p.i. level is at 8.3%. we see how bad things are right now. when the c.p.i. gets close to where we currently are, inflation levels that we haven't seen since the 1980's, that's when this point of order would take effect. at 8% inflation we've reached a crisis point. it only stands to reason that congress start looking closely at every bill that increases the deficit. such deficit-increasing bills should onliing passed by congress when absolutely needed. this point of order could be waived and the senate with two-thirds majority. i think it is reasonable and we owe it to the american families to start holding congress accountable for reckless spending. as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of senate 4250 which is at the desk. i further ask that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to
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reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. mr. leahy: i object. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. leahy: i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. scott: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. scott: well, i was hoping we could arrive at a deal today. so let me try it one more time. if 8% is really high, i'm just here to see if we can get that will control ex-seat spending. i want to give democrats a chance in congress to step up and fight for families all across america that are being devastated by rates of nation. there is no reason not to get this done. i colleague objected to setting this a 8%. but certainly no one can object to sayings that at 12% things ought to change. it would be an even bigger emergency. we haven't seen c.p.i. that high since jimmy carter. things are really bad now. is it% inflation would be a 50% increase over already high sky-high prices we are seeing today. we started at 3%.
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i offered a point of order that can only be triggered at 12%. as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of senate 4251, a which is at the desk. i further ask that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there 0,? mr. leahy: reserving the right to object -- and i will -- you know, i think back over the years of some of the debates. i remember during the reagan administration when we heard so many speeches from president reagan and his supporters how they had to balance the budget. they did this at a time when they doubled and tripled the national debt, all the time telling everybody how they were balancing the budget. but then i heard the objections
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to president clinton's budget by saying it didn't do the wonderful things that the reagan budget did, even though, of course, it gave the u.s. the first surplus that it had had in decades. every so often reality catches up with rhetoric, and because of that i object. the presiding officer: objection heard. mr. scott: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. scott: i'm clearly disappointed that we've had three opportunities to try to do something here that was going to try to stop the reckless spending that's causing this inflation. i think all of us know that inflation is way too high and we also know that reckless spending is driving up the cost of inflation all across this country. i hope that the democrats in washington will start to figure out how we can get inflation
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under control and it starts by living within our means. it starts a by making sure we live within our budget and we stop wasting money. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: one of the with a is to try to save money -- one of the ways to try to save money is, again, not rhetoric but reality. i would urge everybody to join with us on both sides of the aisle. we're working to get our appropriations bills together where we can reflect the actual needs and go forward with that. again, rhetoric is easy. reality is a tad more difficult. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. hagerty: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. hagerty: i ask permission to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hagerty: thank you, mr. president. with the president of the united states soon departing on his first ashah trip, i rise today to speak about united states policy in the indo-pacificification an area of the world that i know very well, having served as u.s. ambassador to japan prior to joining the united states senate. while u.s. foreign policy in recent months has focused largely on eastern europe, we cannot take our aa way from our greatest strategic adversary -- namely, the chinese communist party. confronting china is the essential policy of our time. as the china challenge and how the u.s. and our allies respond to it will determine whether freedom or autocracy defiance
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the 21st century. that's why i'm pleased to see president joe biden investing the time and injuring to travel to south korea and to japan this weekend. i can tell you just how critical i believe this trip is because i made a trip similar to this just last month. in april, i led the first congressional delegation to visit japan since the pandemic began. i was joined by my colleague, senator ben cardin of maryland, and senator john cornyn from texas. herring our six days in -- during our six days in japan, our delegation met with the country's top leaders, including the prime minister, parliamentarian leaders and top leaders from japanese industry. i think it's fair to say that our delegation returned with a great sense of optimism, optimism about the opportunities that lie before our two nations to increase our cooperation diplomatically, militarily, economically, and technologically and by so doing strengthening our alliance.
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while i certainly have policy disagreements with the current administration, i am hopeful that this is one area in which we can find common ground. the fate of our nation and the world depend on it. this challenge, quite frankly, is just far too important to get wrong. and so i'm hopeful that president biden will seize upon the opportunities presented to him in the region to confront the china challenge head-on and that this trip will provide him with greater perspective to do so. i'm pleased to see this administration maintain a focus on the indo-pacific region, a focus that president trump began and i personally was proud to help lead from my diplomatic post in tokyo. i also applaud president biden for the actions that he's taken to engage the quad at the leader level. much more can be done. in terms of strengthening our diplomatic cooperation, the united states should warmly welcome japan's proactive leadership in response to recent international crises.
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japan is the world's third largest economy and a major financial player on the world stage. japan is a member of the g7. in the days after russia's unprovoked and unjustified invasion of ukraine, the government of japan joined by imposing strong multilateral sanctions is against vladimir putin's war machine. japan's support on sanctions is as important as it is necessary. i saw this firsthand when, as u.s. ambassador to japan, i worked with then-prime minister abe and his administration to comply fully with u.s. secondary sanctions to end japan's purchases of iranian oil in 2018. with japan's help, we dramatically reduced iran's revenue stream and its ability to fund terror at that time. we see japan's importance today with regard to sanctions against russia. going forward, the united states must do its utmost to ensure that japan always has a seat at the table on major international issues. indeed, i was very
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pleased to see foreign minister hyashi become the first japanese government member to attend a min sterile when he -- ministerial. i'm pleased to learn prime minister kishida will attend the nato summit next months. i am -- when i made the suggestion to secretary of state antony blinken during a senate foreign relations hearing in early may, i was glad my suggestion was well-received. the second opportunity that i see somewhere in the area of improving defense and deterrence in the indo-pacific. the united states and japan must further increase coordination on defense planning and pro ciewrm, as japan looks to -- procurement as japan looks to significantly boost spending on defense. japan has started rewriting the national security strategy and related national defense
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strategy. at the same time, leaders in tokyo see growing support from the japanese people to roughly double japan's defense spending to 2% of g.d.p. these developments come at a critical moment. xi jinping and the communist chinese party have their eyes set on taiwan and they're surely learning from russia's invasion of ukraine. at the same time, north korean dictator kim jung un go develops intercontinental ballistic missiles as he gathers grave threats to the united states and allies in the region. our nations must act with great urgency to strengthen defense and deterrence in the indo-pacific, in particular the united states must encourage japan to use their increased spending to field as rapidly as possible new defense capabilities that are mobile, lethal and interoperable. japan must also significantly improve cybersecurity capeables
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and -- scapabilities and -- capabilities and it's critical that the american and japanese militaries expand joint training exercises with one another. i've had the honor of witnessing firsthand the success of the joints training exercises, and i encourage our nations to expand this invaluable training. the third area where i see an opportunity is on energy security. an area in which we should be working together. this was a message that i heard last month in japan as leaders expressed concerns with america's current energy policies. several years ago i worked hard to encourage japan to make significant investments in l.n.g. infrastructure to allow greater l.n.g. imports from the united states to strengthen our nation nations' national security and energy security. i hope the president's visit will underscore the strength of the nation as an energy exporter to enhabs the security of -- to enhance the security of our allies. india is the world's biggest
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democracy, now has an opportunities to decrease its energy and military reliance on russia. australia is a significant energy exporter. when secretary blinken recently testified before the senate foreign foreign relations committee i pointed out that the quad has a high-level working group working on covid-19 vaccines, infrastructure, critical and emerging technologies, space, cybersecurity, and environmental matters. but my argument to him was that adding a new working group in the quad, one focused specifically on energy security, makes strong strategic sense as energy security is continue ex trickbly linked to economic security and to our national security. frankly, it's surprising that the quad hasn't made this issue a primary focus. secretary blinken appeared to appreciate the suggestion, and i emphatically urge the administration to take this idea to heart and dedicate time and nernlg to -- and energy to discussing energy security in our quad strategic grouping.
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the fourth area of opportunity is in technology. the united states around japan already cooperate closely in the space. that was a point that i sought to underscore in many meetings with japan's private sector leaders. i see growing opportunities for our quad partners to ensure our respective technology sectors continue to work together. and to generate trusted alternatives in 5-g, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and other strategic technologies of when i served as u.s. ambassador to japan i helped the united states and japanese governments coordinate closely to counter china's heavily subsidized companiesened and to clear them from the 5-g market of our respective companies this was important, because chinese companies pose grave and growing espionage risks. our u.s.-strategies prevented chinese-directed technology firms from dominating international markets
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also created openings for firms in the united states, japan, and partner countries to pursue trusted 5-g alternatives in supply chains, including software-defined networks and oran technologies. with each passing year, the technology competition with champion is -- with china is only intensifying. the jumplet-japan -- the u.s.-japan alliance and the quad must reson to technological competition. the fifth opportunity is in economic opportunity. when president biden visits the region i expect him to speak more about the indo-pacific framework. it's clear many allies and partners in the indo-pacific are eager to see more u.s. economic leadership. as the next step, the u.s. should take the indo-pacific economic framework's data provisions and turn them into a standalone sector-specific free trade agreement. the executive branch should look closely at the u.s.-japan digital trade agreement of 2019 as a good starting point.
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this is the most high standards agreement addressing ding tal trade barriers. i was help to -- i was proud to help negotiate this and other bilateral agreements with japan. our efforts brought about a more fair and reciprocal trading relationship, helping not only our economies, but also workers. the biden administration is rightly maintaining the trump administration's tariffs on china, as important leverage to upmold fair trade -- uphold fair trade. this is a critical tool in the arsenal, and i hope the current administration continues to use it. there certainly are other areas where the administration must hold the line against china. the administration could do more to hold communist china accountable for unleashing the covid-19 pandemic. it also needs to press beijing to stop the deadly flow of chinese origin fentanyl from flowing across our southern border, killing more than 100 ,000 -- more than 100,000 americans a year through dover dover -- through overdoses.
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the last administration set a high standard on countering china, and i hope the current administration builds on that. i believe there's strong bipartisan consensus in congress when it comes to the indo-pacific. when it comes to the rising opportunities that we see before us to further strengthen the u.s.-japan alliance and the quad. i urge president biden to seize these growing opportunities that i've outlined when he travels to the indo-pacific. as the only former american ambassador serving in this body and a member of the senate foreign relations committee, i stand ready to work with him as he does. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, madam president. i take this time to review with my colleagues s. 4008, the small business covid relief act of 2022, legislation that senator schumer has set up for action
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tomorrow. i want to start which saying that this bill and the underlying bill it deals with, the restaurant and revitalization fund, was a bipartisan product in which democrats and republicans worked together to help an industry that was in desperate need, the restaurant industry. it provided relief for their revenue losses, and we were proud that we were able to get that passed. the challenge was that after it was enacted, we provided $ 28 billion for the restaurants under the restaurant revitalization fund. in reality, that was not enough money to cover the demand, and we found that we're close to 100,000 restaurants were able to qualify and receive funds under that program, 170,000 were shut out, through no fault of their own. so we went to work, democrats
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and republicans, in an effort to rectify that inequity and help an industry in desperate need. we filed legislation in august of last year, and i am proud that it was bipartisan, joined by many of my democratic colleagues and republican colleagues. i want to single out senator projer wicker, who has been -- senator roger wicker, who has been a real champion making sure we worked in a bipartisan manner. we were joined on the republican side by senator murkowski, ernst, cassidy, hyde-smith, collins, and blunt, and others joined us during the process. i want to take you back a little before we filed that bill in august of last year. there was legislation filed that would replenish the funds at $60 billion, because we thought $60 billion was going to be needed to complete the funding. i think senator sinema led the effort in file that legislation.
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-- in filing that legislation. the difference between the bill filed for $60 billion and the bill that we are going to be considering tomorrow is the bill tomorrow is $48 billion less. we were able to reduce the amount of dollars that were needed in order to carry this out, some restaurants have closed, we have tightened up the rules, and we can not only do that for $12 billion less than initially thought was going to be possible when we had bipartisan support last summer, we're now able to expand it to other related industries, all of which has had bipartisan legislation in this body to provide relief. these are industries that were shut down as a result of covid-19. they had tremendous revenue losses, and incurred tremendous debt in order to stay in business. so we went and provided in this
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bill for the same $48 billion, we include help for our gyms, help for minor league professional leagues, we provide money for the music venues, we provide money for border businesses, we provide money for the bus industry. we were able to do all that and we're still less money than the original bill that was filed last summer. but we did a couple more things in order to make sure this was done in a very fiscally conservative way. we were able to find some offsets. there were mo offsets in the other bills -- no offsets in the other bills. we found about $5 billion of offsets in the bill. we did something else no the in the original act. we required the s.b.a. to bring in all the applications before they allocate any money. we had them already in the restaurants. these are ones that qualified before. but in the other areas that receive all the applications,
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and before they issue any checks, they have to make sure that they have adequate resources. if they don't, there's a pro rata reduction. there's no further need to be concerned about replenishing the funds. all that are improvements made on the original bipartisan legislation filed, that is more considerate of the needs, less costly, and more efficient. now, we have other protections built into this legislation -- a restaurant cannot double dip, they have to subtract the money received under paycheck protection programs, either first or second round of funds from what they would otherwise be qualified to receive. they have to have revenue loss they can document. so there are protections in the bill. i want to go to what is the major issue why we really need to make sure we get this done. because of the way that this was
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administered, partly as a result of a court action, you have you to restaurants -- you have two restaurants side by side, identical in their needs, filing their applications on the same day. one was funded, one was not. the restaurant that was not funded, if it's still in business today, it's very likely that that restaurant owner has taken out loans in order to stay in business. it's still trying to be competitive to that restaurant that's next door. it's very possible that restaurant is having trouble getting help, as all restaurants are having trouble getting help, but cannot compete in salary with that restaurant that got the help and now has to compete and try to get workers, even though they didn't get the same financial assistance. so, it's a matter of basic fairness. i want to go one step further. we in the congress tried to prioritize those restaurants in
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underserved communities, in traditionally underserved small business owners. we set up a priority line for them to be able to get their help under the restaurant revitalization fund. the court blocked that line. and we now have small business owners who are literally discriminated against because they were veterans or underserved communities. as a matter of fairness, we really need to get this done. the need is there. we all know how restaurants are operating at less than full capacity today. they're still hurting as a result of covid-19. this has gone back and helping them in regards to their first year of losses, something we should have done a long time ago but something desperately needed to get done. i really wanted to explain that to our colleagues, why we are in need to get this done. we finally have an opportunity. now, what are we going to be doing? we're going to be working on the
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motion to proceed. now, this is not unprecedented. let me remind my colleagues that the original bill that funded the restaurant fund was emergency funding. so it patterned itself after the relief we gave to the general small business community under the paycheck protection program, which was also emergency funding. the original bill under the paycheck protection program was also underestimated by hundreds of billions of dollars. and we came back, democrats and republicans, in a bipartisan way and replenished that fund literally overnight. hundreds of billions of dollars of emergency funding without offsets. and now we're trying to finish what we started in regards to the restaurants. it should be no question about
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emergency funding, but we are again trying to be as careful as possible, so we've even found some offsets in order to make this easier for our economy. there are some who say they're worried about what impact it's going to have on our economy. i think keeping small businesses open is pretty important for our economy, but we can tell you the restaurant association has informed us that a large part of these funds are going to be used to pay off debt the small business restaurants had to take out in order to stay afloat. we're going to keep restaurants open, and they're going to be able to pay off their debt, and they're going to be able to add to our community. that is what is at stake here, and that's why we are so protective of making sure we try to get this done. this is a motion to proceed. i've listened to debate on this floor about how we have to have
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the senate work. this is a bipartisan bill dealing with small business on a motion to proceed that will allow us to have the debate on the floor of the united states senate. i don't understand any of my colleagues believing that this is appropriate to filibuster and not give us the 60 votes we need on a motion to proceed. there's a lot of my colleagues who are always talking about reforming the rules in this place. i understand when we get to an emotional issue, it gets difficult for us to work together. but if we can't work together on a small business bill that was developed by bipartisan members, democrats and republicans, that is consistent of what we've been doing in helping small businesses generally, and we now have an opportunity to bring it to the floor for debate, it will be open to amendment. those who say, gee, is there
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other ways we can make this more affordable? well, come forward. we've been working on this for a year, close to a year, and, yes, that's why we've gotten good suggestions from democrats and republicans in order to try to make this work. but if you don't allow us to debate the bill on the floor of the united states senate, i really don't understand that. if you profess you want to see this place work, there is not a philosophical problem here of helping small businesses. why can't we move forward? i don't even know why we need a cloture motion. we should be able to pass a motion to proceed on this bill and have a debate and go to amendments, and senator wicker and i made it clear that we'll act as traffic cops. we'll try to figure out the best way to consider this bill in order to make it work for all. madam president, small businesses have a special way of
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filling our cities and towns and make them irreplaceable when they're gone. i think we all recognize that. they drive our local economies. they give us our neighborhood character. they make us proud of where we come from and where we live. if we allow them to disappear through inaction, they will leave holes in our community that we cannot easily fill. if we cannot pass one last round of aid, it will mean certain restaurant owners who have pending loans are going to close their doors forever. those holes will exist in our community and we'll not be able to fill them. i ask my colleagues, all of us understand the importance of small business. we understand they are the growth engine in our community and innovation engines in our community. we made a commitment to help them through covid-19, and we've honored a large part of that commitment. this is the last chapter to complete that commitment, and i
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hope my colleagues will join us in allowing us to have this debate on the floor and support the help for our small businesses that are in desperate need. with that, madam president, i would yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: madam president, i rise today to lay ... madam president, i rise today to lay out exactly why i intend to vote for the aid package to provide our ukrainian allies with the weapons and support
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they need to fight vladimir putin's invasion. first, it's important to understand why, thanks in large part to president joe biden, that we're in this dangerous situation to begin with. what is maddening about russia's invasion of ukraine is that it was utterly preventable. this did not have to happen, and it was caused by p two specific mistakes by biden and his administration. the first mistake was biden's catastrophic surrender and withdrawal in afghanistan. the second mistake was biden's weakness and appeasement on display in his capitulation to putin on the nord stream 2 pipeline. putin didn't wake up today and decided he wanted to invade
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ukraine. in 2014, putin previously invaded putin but stopped short of invading the entire country. why is that? the reason is simple. russia's principal source of revenue is oil and gas, which is transported via pipelines that go directly through ukraine. putin knew that when the nord stream 2 pipeline was complete he could invade ukraine and not have to worry about potentially destroying ukrainian energy infrastructure because he would have in place an alternative pipeline to get his gas to market. last spring president biden formally waived the sanctions that congress had put in place on nord stream 2, sanctions that i authored, bipartisan sanctions that passed this body twice and that president trump signed into law twice.
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last summer president biden surrendered to putin, lifted the sanctions, allowed putin to build the pipeline and announced a deal with germany to allow the pipeline to be completed. when he nounsed that deal, thatd that deal, that capitulation, the governments of both ukraine and poland put out a joint statement saying, mr. president, if you do this, vladimir putin will invade ukraine. in august, biden surrendered in afghanistan. in september, nord stream 2 was physically completed, and then putin began building up his forces on ukraine's border. even then our ukrainian allies pleaded with us, sanction nord stream 2 now so that putin will
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know he can't turn it on later. the president, prime minister, parliament and civil society of ukraine all said so again and again and again. i authored a new set of sanctions mandating immediate sanctions which the ukrainian government formally called on the senate to take it up and pass it. the biden administration fought tooth and nail against those sanctions in january. i remember standing right here and saying, mr. president, if you do this, we will see russian tanks rolling towards the streets of kiev. sadly, 44 democrats voted with president biden against sanctions on russia, against sanctions on putin, and the appeasement from the white house
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and 44 democrats led within days to the invasion of ukraine. that being said now, the difficult question is what should we do now that this war is unfolding? and specifically, whether it is in america's vital national security interests for ukraine to fight and defeat putin's invasion. my conclusion is that, yes, it is. there's no doubt $40 billion is a large number, and although much of that spending is important -- in fact some of it is acutely needed in the military conflict -- i would have preferred a significantly smaller and more focused bill. but our ukrainian allies right
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now are winning significant victories with the weapons and training that we provided them already, and it is in our national interest for them to keep doing so. they will not be able to fight putin and have any chance of prevailing if we cut off military assistance. so why is this in america's national security interest? the answer lies in some questions that my fellow americans are rightly asking. they're asking, what would russia's invasion of ukraine mean for our problems here at home, including, for example, food and energy? they're asking is the cost of this bill really necessary? they are also asking isn't china our biggest long-term enemy? these are all entirely legitimate questions. they're important to ask. they are the same questions i asked myself before deciding how to vote on this bill.
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another question americans are rightly asking is, why aren't we doing anything about our problems here at home? i emphatically agree that president biden and congressional democrats have failed on the issues here at home, that texans and americans rightly care about and we should fix. right now we have a raging border crisis that president biden won't do a damned thing about. we have skyrocketing inflation. we have gas prices at record highs. we have a baby formula shortage that has left parents all over the country scrambling to try to feed their babies. these are real problems that the democrats caused and now refuse to even try to fix. and in multiple instances, such as the gas prices, these are problems that democrats have
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deliberately made worse, inflicting pain on millions of americans. all of that can be true at home, but it doesn't mean the world has suddenly become safe and that our enemies do not mean us harm. at the same time we need to secure our border to address the domestic crises, we also need to stand up and confront the very real threat posed by russia and by china. we can't let the fact that biden and the democrats have created massive domestic and economic failures, cause us to ignore threats to u.s. national security posed directly by putin's invasion of ukraine. on the question, why is what russia does in ukraine relevant for our national security? i want to answer this by making four points. number one, what putin is
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trying to do is to reassemble the soviet union, and beyond the soviet union the russian empire from even earlier. if putin succeeds in doing so, it would be disastrous for global stability and for american security. the cold war between america and the soviet union was incredibly costly and incredibly dangerous. we don't want to see russia become the soviet union once again. when the soviet union was big and strong and mighty with a much bigger military, the lives of americans and the lives of our allies were in much greater jeopardy. it is overwhelmingly in america's interest to prevent putin from reassembling the soviet union because we do not want our enemies to become
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stronger and use that strength against us. number two, putin is trying to seize control of energy. if he's successful, it will be felt by americans filling up their cars with gas or trying to heat their homes in the winter. we've already seen what putin has done with nord stream 2 and he's not going to stop there. we don't want to see a world where putin controls energy. number three, the united states made a formal commitment to help ukrainians defend themselves. why is that? well, after ukraine successfully declared independence from the soviet union in 1991, the united states signed an agreement called the budapest memorandum on security assurances. under the terms of the agreement, ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in exchange for explicit assurances that the
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united states would protect ukraine's territorial sovereignty. ukraine had the third largest nuclear arsenal on the face of the planet, and they voluntarily willingly gave it up and we made a promise in exchange for that. and number four, if we don't provide ukrainians with weapons and they don't defeat putin, putin will be emboldened and may well eventually invade a nato country that the united states has a treaty obligation to defend. -- to defend. that would be an incredibly serious escalation that nobody wants to see. some have further asked, why should america keep these commitments? why should we keep our commitment in the budapest memorandum? why should we keep our treaty commitments to the nato countries? and the answer is because one of the ways we protect american
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national security is when we make an agreement with a country, when we make a formal agreement, a treaty, we honor our commitments. we want countries to know that america stands by our friends, and that we stand by our word and that our treaties mean something. if countries learned that under weak and feckless presidents our formal binding documents aren't worth the paper they're written on, it undermines the ability of any president of the united states to negotiate agreements with our friends and allies to keep americans safe. another question i've married is, why -- i've heard is why so much money? sure, it's important to help ukraine win, but why should we spend so much? again, i would have preferred for this to be a smaller bill, but in fact enormous amounts of
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money are both justified and necessary. of this $40 billion, there's $9 billion for replenishing our own stockpiles, american stockpiles which have been badly depleted in recent months as we sought to help our ukrainian allies. we already are beginning to see the risks it affects of depleted stockpiles. just a few weeks ago taiwan's ministry of defense announced there would be dramatic delays in the delivery of some weapons, including howitzers and stingers. making sure we have the weapons we need to defend ourselves is incontrovertibly a good thing and $9 billion of this $40 billion, i do not know a senator in this body who could reasonably object to replenishing our own military stores and weaponry to keep america safe with america's military.
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there's also $10 billion in this bill for ukrainian weapons and training. and all together $24 billion in military funds in this bill. ukrainian weapons and training, the very things they've been yag to defend themselves and -- been using to defend themselves and if we don't replenish will cause them to collapse. the ukrainian military right now is using tens of thousands of artillery rounds and ammunition every couple of days. already last month there was a growing concern that ukrainian forces engage in heavy ground combat against russian units would quickly go through that amount of ammunition. they have largely burned through the stockpiles of russian-style ammunition they're familiar with and used in the opening weeks of the war. and last month u.s. officials assessed that 40,000 rounds of
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artillery were only expected to last a few days. new efforts to resupply our ukrainian allies are critical. there's also about $5 billion for food in this bill. ukraine is rightly known as the breadbasket of europe. it's the sixth top exporter of wheat in the world. and there is a growing risk of global famine because of the disruption russia's invasion is causing in ukraine. devoting money now to stop countless people from starving to death and famine is a wise and prudent investment for america's national interests. then there's $9 billion in economic support funds for the ukrainian government. will a certain portion of that money be wasted? absolutely. will there be corruption?
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almost certainly. if it were up to me, i would cut that amount from this bill. might some of it end up funding a yacht for an oligarch? very possibly. but unfortunately this is what happens when democrats have control of congress and write the bill. when you have a bill authored by a democratic white house and a democratic senate and a democratic house, the result is you get waste and corruption and pork and fat and bloat in a bill. so the question facing each of us republicans is whether you're willing to cut off the missiles and cut off the bullets that we're sending to ukraine and allow putin to win simply because there's a portion of this bill that is waste and corruption that the democrats have insisted on.
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the reality is that a putin victory in ukraine will be much, much more expensive for american taxpayers in the long run than this bill. let me underscore that point. if putin wins, the consequences for america and american taxpayers will be hundreds of billions of dollars. from a purely fiscally conservative view, ensuring that the ukrainians have enough military equipment to defend themselves and to give putin punishing defeats is overwhelmingly in our interests. let me underscore as well it is the ukrainians doing the fighting. i do not want to see u.s. service men and women in harm's way. there is a reason i have vocally opposed a no-fly zone in ukraine. because that would unreasonably increase the chances of an
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american pilot, an american jet engaging in combat with a russian pilot and a russian jet, and that escalation is not justified. but ensuring the ukrainians have the weapons to defend themselves is very much in our own national security interest. you want to talk about a question that many americans have not necessarily been asking but that is of staggering importance to our national security. and that is, what does the war in ukraine have to do with china? the answer is an enormous amount. last summer we watched the catastrophic withdrawal from afghanistan unfold. we watched the surrender to the taliban from joe biden. we watched the incompetence of this administration in abandoning americans and leaving them behind, abandoning bagram airfield before we evacuated it.
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when that happened, all across the globe america's enemies looked to washington and took a measure of the man in the oval office and tragically they concluded that president biden was weak and feckless and ineffective. and a weak american president is dangerous. when the catastrophic withdrawal from afghanistan happened, i said publicly that the chances of putin invading ukraine just rose ten fold. i also said at the same time the chances of china invading taiwan just rose tenfold. we've now seen the first of these two things happen because putin understood the disastrous surrender and withdrawal in afghanistan to mean that president biden was weak. and weakness is provocative. if putin wins in ukraine, it will confirm to xi and communist china that he can confidently
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invade taiwan and that america will be too weak and feckless to stand with our allies. but if ukraine defeats putin with the help of american weapons and military aid, xi will see aggression as a recipe for failure and that the united states has the strength of will to stand by its allies to ensure that they have what they need to defend themselves. china is, mark my words, the most dangerous geo political adversary of the united states for the next hundred years. china has the military might of the soviet union with a much, much stronger economy and an economic engine. china also carries out policies of murder and torture and genocide and slavery and lies and deception. a chinese invasion of taiwan would be catastrophic for
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american national security. right now today, over 90% of the world's most advanced semiconductor chips come from taiwan. if china were to conquer taiwan, it would give the chinese communist party a stranglehold on the global supply of semiconductors. after that if xi wanted to turn off the supply of semiconductors to americans, he could do so instantly. it is simply irresponsible to allow that to happen and it is impossible to overstate the catastrophe it would impose on americans. overnight it would be impossible to acquire and repair pretty much everything we rely on in modern life, cars, planes, medical devices like pacemakers, clean water, refrigerators all
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rely on semiconductors. so do vehicles, boat, tank, missiles that we rely upon for our national defense. and even if china didn't turn off the supply of those chips, they would be able to control what went into them, including potentially planting spy ware and espionage directly and immediately threatening american security. and it goes without saying the chinese communist party would also immediately control the price of semiconductors and what they go into, which would drive up the cost of pretty much everything to americans. you think $40 billion is a lot of money. just wait and see the disaster if the chinese communists lock up semiconductors on the world stage and use them to extract monopoly profits from americans while simultaneously spying on us using those same
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semiconductors. just as we don't want to see a world in which putin controls energy, we should not want to see a world in which xi controls semiconductors. i began this speech by talking about the consequences of failing to stop nord stream 2. i very much wish that these consequences had not come to pass. with the terrible reality -- but the terrible reality is that president biden failed in afghanistan and failed again with nord stream 2 which played the decisive role in shaping the current crisis. the reason we should help the ukrainians defeat putin by giving them weapons is the same reason we need to keep our thumb on china. and it's not what some of my colleagues on the republican side have said, it's not to defend democracy across the globe. it's not to defend international norms.
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that's sort of empty nonsense, the sort of things john kerry says. the reason we should support our ukrainian allies who are fighting and killing russian soldiers is because it protects american national security, it keeps america safer, and it prevents our enemies from getting stronger from threatening the safety and security of americans and from driving up the cost, the economic damage to americans by hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars. america needs to be strong, strong enough to stand up to putin, strong enough to stand up to communist china, strong enough to defend the greatest nation in the history of the world. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i came to speak to the senate about police week, as we honor the law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. before i do that i ask that those remarks be in a different part of the record if my remarks in response in part to senator cruz. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you. we know that putin was shocked by two things. he was shocked by the amazing resistance and the strength and the resiliency of the ukrainian people and the effectiveness of their fight back. he was -- putin really couldn't believe that happened. the other thing that putin was shocked by was the skill by which -- with which president biden put together this international coalition of germany -- i mean, countries that were not part of this in the past, part of somebody. germany, switzerland, sweden,
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finland, countries that, now, a couple of them, wasp to be in nato. and that really is the skill of president biden. i know in spite of the senator from texas' comments, i know most mainstream republicans support what president biden has done, support the -- his work on putting together sanctions on first providing aid for the ukraine kwan people, the humanitarian aid -- the ukrainian people, the humanitarian aid, refugees going to moll did a have a, going to other parts of central and southern europe, and the skill at which he has gotten -- the success with which he has gotten weapons to the ukrainian people and the skills which he put together sanctions. the presiding officer is a member of the banking committee and has been part of that and it's really made a difference in keeping these countries together at the fastest pace we could do it but keeping them together. so most republicans support what president biden has done. but, you know, madam president, i'm not saying that the senator from fairfax is part of this, but -- the senator from texas is part of this, but i have heard
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congresswoman cheney, who is nothing if but a conservative republican, activist in the republican leadership, he talks about the putin win wing of the republican party. i'm not saying that she includes the senator from texas in that category -- i don't know if she does or doesn't -- but i do know that she thinks that a number of republicans are part of this putin wing of the republican party. and it's despicable, but it's true and it -- it's disappointing to all of us. and i would add, too, that the senator from texas maybe missed the news as he was talking about chips, computer chips, about semiconductors, that intel made a huge announcement that they're coming to ohio. they're going to invest billions of dollars. they're going to hire 5,000 building trades people, 5,000 trades people over a ten-year period to build these fabs.
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imagine the size of that. i've never seen anything like that. so i'm excited what we're doing, and that's why it's so important senator wyden, the work that senator wyden and others are doing when making sure that we pass the usica, the innovation and competitiveness act. it is so important to our country. we're finally putting workers at the center of our economic policy. that's a thrill. as president biden said on the senate floor, we're finally burying the term of rust belt. we're burying it in columbus with intel, we're burying it in northwest ohio with solar manufacturing, we're burying it in southwest ohio with a new generation of jet fuel and jet engines. we're burying it in cleveland with what we're doing with nasa. we're burying it in youngstown with our manufacturing camps and all we're doing for miracle works. mr. cruz: will the senator
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yield for a a question? mr. brown: certainly. mr. cruz: the senator made reference to the alleged putin wing of the republican parliamentary is is it accurate that the senator from ohio and 43 of his colleagues in january of this year voted against sanctioning nord stream 2, sanctioning russia, sanctioning putin despite the fact that ukraine begged the senate to pass those sanctions and putin invaded ukraine just days after 44 democrats sided with russia and putin? mr. brown: i take back my time. i've heard no democrat talk about -- i've heard nobody talk about putin wing of the democrat party. no democrat believes that. i hear just down the hall 100 yards congresswoman cheney talk about the putin wing of the republican party. i am not into interparty fights.
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we expect to vote soon after:00 and i want to get -- soon after 6:00 and i want to get back to my remarks. we honor during police week the law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. this year we'll add the names of ten ohioans who laid down their lives last year. officer brandon stalker, deputy donald gilbreadth iii, officer scott dolly, deputy sheriff robert craig mills, deputy sheriff wayne blake, david reynolds, corrections officer joshua christec, patrolman sean van denyberg, each of these losses is a tragedy for a family, for a community, for all of law enforcement officials in this country. we know in too many places right now the trust between law enforcement and the community is
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toot often frayed or broken. these ohio lives are a reminder of the ideals we strive for, women and men who are true public servants in the best sense of the world. people who give themselves to their communities and these ohioans gave so much. let me mention each one briefly. officer brandon stalker, 24-year-old father of two, devoted to his fiance. his first partner said he had a constant smile and unfailing sense of humor. he added that every single day brandon was all about trying to serve the community, wanted to make the community a better place. that comes from his patrol colleague. before joining the force, the toledo native coached baseball, passionate about mentoring young players, he gave his life last january protecting his community. officer stalker, rest in peace. jason lagor was a chill kathy native, a devoted father of two sons. those who knew him talked about
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his love of job and commitment to help people. when he joined the department of natural resources in 2005, he persuaded his bosses to let him bring in and train traininger, his first k-9 partner. over the years he grew the program showing the department how successful k-9 teams could be and the department now has k-9 units all across the state. lieutenant hoffer watched his friend build the program from the ground up. he did it all himself. we couldn't have have a better person. a patient, all-around good person. knew what he was doing. last february officer lagore and his k-9 partner sargewere helping when he suffered a heart attack and fell into the lake. he was 36 years old. ohio department of natural resources posthumously honored him about the award of valor. because of his courage, there's
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no one more deserving of this honor. rest in peace, officer la gore. officer scott dolly served in athens. his death last august in a three-vehicle crash responding to a call was felt across town. one lifelong resident said of him, he loved this community. the community loved him back. the outpouring of grief and support was overwhelming with. he had just gotten married in april. making a blended family of nine. he was a devoted father. he coached hissons baseball team. his wife said one of her happiest memories was watching her 9-year-old daughter give him a makeover, complete with finger and toenail polish. officer dolly, rest in peace. officer shane bartech was killed during a carjacking on a westside apartment not too far from my house on new year's eve just 28 months after he joined
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the cleveland division of police. his family said he always wanted to be an officer. his twin sister summer talked about how officer bartech loved to participate in the annual shop with a cop event during the holiday season. allowing a child who's been touched by law enforcement to buy and give christmasent prosecutes to that family. one colleague said he would tell how much he wanted to touch other people's lives so he could actually make an impact and he did that. last year we also lost six officers to covid-19. officer bar tech, rest in peace. last year we also lowest six officers to covid-19. deputy sheriff blake, corrections lieutenant reynolds, officer christech vandenberg. many of us were distancing from home. grocery store workers, nurses, technicians, food service people -- all on the front lines, all essential workers, even though many were not paid like it,
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risked their own health to keep our community safe. we can't begin to repay the debt we owe these officers and their families. we work to better support officers in the communities they swear an oath to protect. that's why i'm working with colleagues of both parties on legislation to support them as they do their jobs. i join my colleague, senator grassley, to introduce the fighting post-traumatic stress disorder act. would increase mental health support for police, fire, emergency, medical and 911 personnel. they deal with some of the most tense and life-threatening situations in car accidents, fires, people in mental health crises, society often our police don't have the resources to offer comprehensive mental health support. the grassley-brown bill will help douse that a i also introduced the expanding health care options for early retearees act, a bill that would allow retired police officers and other first responders to buy
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into medicare beginning at age 50. police officers, other first responders wear their bodies out protecting our families and communities. they should have access to affordable health care when their service comes to an end. the simple solution would ensure access to health care for police officers who are forced to retire but aren't yet eligible for medicare. i'm working across the aisle with senator thune and others to fix outdated i.r.s. rules that prevent public safety officers from making tax-free withdrawals from retirement accounts to cover health care premiums. we need to make sure police and fire can retire with dignity. part of dignity of work is retiring with dignity. at the very least that means they should be able to afford the health care they need. this police week, let's offer more than empty words. let's honor the memories of these women and men who laid down their lives in service of their communities by getting their fellow officers the tools they need, the training they need to do their jobs and to
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build trust with the communities they're sworn to protect. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask unanimous
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consent that at scheduled vote be called immediately. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the question occurs on the watson nomination. mr. brown: madam president, i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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