tv U.S. Senate Sen. Majority Leader Schumer on Gun Legislation Veterans... CSPAN June 15, 2022 2:11am-2:21am EDT
for ten years of work with debbie dingell in the house has not gone for not. perseverance matters in this place and i'm pleased with the final negotiarity leader. mr. schumer: i ask -- mr. president, as we speak, the united states senate is working on something not seen since the time we passed the brady bill i authored nearly three decades ago. a bipartisan effort to draft meaningful gun safety legislation. for decades, the rhythms of the gun debate in congress have followed a disspiritting pattern. a mass shooting takes place in america. innocent people are slaughtered. families grieve and demand action but gridlock takes over and nothing, nothing gets done. this was the cycle in action after sandy hook, las vegas,
orlando, charleston, parkland, el paso, atlanta, pittsburgh, and so many others. but after uvalde and buffalo, perhaps, perhaps this time could be different. to many senators on both sides, this debate certainly feels different. with sunday's announcement of a bipartisan framework for gun legislation, we are farther down the road to gun safety reform than we have been in a long time. i spoke with senators cornyn and murphy this morning, and they updated me on their progress. they are working with the urgency the situation demands, and they are hopeful the legislative text can be finalized in the coming days. i have assured my colleagues that once we get legislative text to a gun safety bill, i will move to hold a vote on the senate floor as soon as possible. i hope that in the very near future, democrats and republicans can take the real momentum of the past few weeks and translate it into something
that's escaped this chamber for decades, voting on and passing long-sought gun safety reform. it's a rare opportunity for the senate. so in order to reach our goal, we have to keep working with the same urgency and good faith that has carried us this far. for sure the bipartisan framework is far from perfect. but if passed it will unquestionably save lives and would be the most significant action on guns that the senate has taken in nearly three decades. if passed it would enhance background checks for those under 21. it will help states with their red flag laws preventing shootings before they happen. it will make it harder for domestic abusers to acquire a weapon by closing the boyfriend loophole. significantly, this framework also calls for new punishment for gun traffickers. we all know one of the biggest weaknesses in our country's gun laws they are today is that
anyone can buy a gun in one state and simply smuggle it into another. we could begin to fight against that with the stiffer penalties on gun trafficking. of course, this framework will help lower crime and reduce gun violence in our neighborhoods by increasing funding for mental health as well and even on its own, the funding for mental health with great increases in mental health problems that we see after covid is very much needed. taken together, the policies outlined by the bipartisan framework would be an important first step to saving lives. it would lay the foundation for a more sensible approach to gun safety in the future. it is certainly not everything democrats want, but if we can save even one life, one life, our efforts would have been worth it. i hope that very soon the senate can break the cycle of violence, grieving, and gridlock that has held firm for far too long.
this is the best chance we've had in years to finally tell the american people that, yes, after the horrifying tragedies of uvalde and buffalo, this time, this time will be different. we have more work to do so i urge my colleagues not to let this precious opportunity slip away. now, on the pact act, today the senate will continue consideration of the honoring our pact act, the most ambitious and important expansion of veteran health care benefits that we have seen in decades. yesterday we invoked cloture on the substitute amendment to the pact act with a very strong bipartisan vote, 78-17. 78 votes, a clear indication that both sides want this bill passed through the senate. there's no reason to delay that outcome. today we'll continue working with our republican colleagues to see if we can speed up consideration of this legislation. with republican cooperation, we
could be done with the pact act as soon as tomorrow. we need to pass the pact act asap because our veterans have waited long enough for their health care benefits to treat complications from toxic exposure. over the last two decades, an estimated 3.5 million servicemembers were exposed to dangerous chemicals while in the line of duty while risking their lives for us. burn pits were a common method of eliminating all sorts of waste throughout iraq and afghanistan, from everyday trash to hazardous and poisonous materials. after returning home, many veterans developed terrible diseases because of their exposure to these toxic waste dumps. but even so, nearly 80% of all disability claims related to burn pits have been denied by the veterans administration. what an indignity. what an injustice. no veteran should ever have to
carry the burden of treating complications from toxic expose sure alone. and we can change that with this bill. there's every reason in the world to get the pact act done quickly. both parties want it. our veterans deserve it. and the time is hong past for us to make -- long past for us to make a change at the v.a. and on shipping. last night finally the house overwhelmingly approved the senate's ocean shipping reform act, the most significant maritime reform law passed by congress in years. the inflation fighting shipping bill now goes to the president's desk for signature. finally providing relief to american exporters and consumers alike. shipping reform is exactly the kind of bill that can make a difference to the american people. it fights inflation. it relieves our supply chains. it helps small businesses and consumers alike. not too much has been written about this bill because sadly the way our world and media work, if there's not a big conflict, they don't write much
about it. but this is very important. if high prices are our number one nemesis, one of the main reasons is the ships piled up at our ports. we've all seen the pictures outside the ports of l.a. and seattle and savannah and norfolk, and new york-new jersey. this is causing people to pay more. it's no one's fault. it was covid related. and now there's a big rush to make up for the delays that covid caused. but we have to do something about it, and we have. there are many frustrating reasons why prices are going up right now, but one of the main ones is abuses from ocean carriers. over the course of the pandemic -- listen to this, folks -- over the course of the pandemic, unfair shipping practices led carriers to increase prices by as much as 1,000 percent increase in prices in shipping.
and who is paying that? the average family in america and the average exporting business. even worse, foreign carriers often time refuse even transport u.s. goods overseas and by now we're seeing the results. backlogs at the ports of l.a. and seattle and georgia and new york and new jersey and other major hubs. and this is not just a problem for the coasts. when backlog occurs at the ports in los angeles, it hurts farmers in minnesota or wisconsin. it hurts truckers and tech companies and manufacturers and mom and pop shops all over the country. and most of all, it hurts american consumers. our shipping reform bill will fix this by making it harder for ocean carriers to unreasonably refuse american goods at our ports while strengthening the federal mayor time's commission powers by stopping abusive practices by carriers. i want to thank speaker pelosi and house colleagues who worked
to pass this bill and special thanks goes to senators klobuchar and thune for authoring the legislation as well as chairman cantwell who used her legislative skills which are indeed very, very fine. and she shepherded the bill through this chamber. because of the hard work of these folks, shipping reform will now become law. american consumers will soon feel the benefit. i yield the floor andut objection. mr. mcconnell: a few months ago, from this desk, i talked about the results of a recall election in san francisco. in february, a multilingual, multiethnic coalition in san francisco stood up for common sense and rejected three members of the far left school board that had prioritized woke lunacy over the basics of education. well, last week,