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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 16, 2022 9:59am-2:00pm EDT

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[inaudible conversations] >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government who are funded by these television companies and more, including media com. >> the world changes in an instant, the media com was ready, internet traffic soared and we never slowed down. schools and businesses went virtual, and we powered a new reality, because at media com, we're ahead. >> media com supports c-span along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> the senate today continues debate on legislation expanding access to va health care and
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disability berths for veterans exposed to toxic substances, mainly from military burn pits. a vote on passage is expected today. lawmakers will be working on executive and judicial nominations. live now to the floor of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. a, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o god, our refuge and strength, give us reverence for your greatness. guide our senators around the pitfalls of their work, enabling them to have hearts sustained by your peace. may they surrender their will to you as they trust you to direct
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their steps. lord, give them the wisdom to receive your reproof with the understanding that you chastise those whom you love for their good. make their lives productive for the glory of your name. and, lord, bless ukraine. we pray in the name of our redeemer. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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the president pro tempore: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 3967 which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 388, h.r. 3967, an act to improve health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances and for other purposes.
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the presiding officer: the senator from. mr. leahy: -- senator from vermont lea lea madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum call. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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>> the best way to avoid dying or getting critically ill requiring hospitalization from covid is to be up-to-date on . and if you didn't get infected and your highest risk, these new therapies offer additional protection against being dead or in a hospital. just like heart attack patients
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who die without proper treatment, to open the blocked artery, a person dies of covid without appropriate vaccination and treatment is an unnecessary loss of life. i've evaluated therapies for four decades now and this is among the most robust data for saving lives that i've ever seen. it's not too late to get vaccinated or boosted so that your up-to-date with your vaccinations. more than two years into this pandemic we continue work around the clock will not compromise in our scientific standards. we continue to monitor changes in the pandemic. using our finite resources we are supporting the expansion of the countries arsenal of safe and effective vaccines and treatments and accurate and reliable tests that will protect the american people as a virus continues to evolve. we continue to face challenges particularly in the area of access to the data we need to make the best decisions. it's imperative that with access to complete data in order to
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prevent shortages, , track advee events and evaluate safety and effectiveness of medical products that are critical to our response efforts. particularly since the virus continues to change leak and ongoing questions about the purpose of initial data that leads. we are constantly working to get the data we need to get the with our partners and very collaborative ecosystem but the fragmentation of our health system makes it difficult for us to access complete data needed to monitor key parameters. we can do better. i hope we can continue to work together to address issues like these and learn from the covid-19's response efforts. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. assistant secretary oconus. >> chair murray, ranking member, distinguished member of the committee it is another to testify before you today on efforts within to respond to the covid-19 pandemic. the administration continues to apply all of government approach to protecting americans from
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covid-19 and aspr leads the operational response with responsibilities for procuring and distributing many of the tools needed to fight the virus including vaccines, therapeutics and tess. thanks to the collaboration across hhs and with partners at dod and with private industries we have delivered more than 750 million doses of safe effective and free vaccine than 90,000 vaccination sites around the country contributing to 221 million people being fully vaccinated. we allocate boosters to sites nationwide. we are now preparing to support the distribution of vaccine for kids under five should fda authorize an cdc recommended vaccine for that population. we have made 10 million doses available to states, pharmacy, george pell centers and federal entities to order initially with more doses becoming available soon after. we are also preparing for the distribution of novavax is protein-based back vaccine
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should receive recommendation. this would provide those who are allergic to mrna vaccine or prefer a non-mrna vaccine the option to get vaccinated. while vaccines remain the best way to prevent severe illness caused by covid-19 we continue to have therapeutics available to prevent and treat infections. today we allocate four different products, two oral, one monoclonal antibody for treatment and one monoclonal antibody for pre-exposed or prophylactic for a new compromise people. we remain focused on making sure that providers and patients know these products are available,, the fear free and they can be found at approximately 50,000 locations nationwide. testing continues to be an important part of our covid response. we have made significant progress in increasing testing supply availability and affordability over the past year here contact we went from zero over-the-counter test in january 300 million available this winter.
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aspr has secured more than 900 million at-home test for distribution for free to american households through the u.s. postal service. so far we have delivered nearly 500 million tests to more than 70 million american households via the covid program. we have just opened our third round of ordering. since may 2021 aspr has shipped over 149 rapid antigen tests and 8.1 million point of care pcr tests pcr tests to our most vulnerable populations including nursing homes that are qualified health centers and long-term care facilities. in addition to the purchase and distribution of these tests aspr continues to work with manufacturers, , companies and laboratories to identify and proactively address any supply issues. aspr continues to start the strategic national stockpile inventory to at or above pre-covid-19 levels to ensure that we are prepared for the next wave of cases. we are doing so to the extent
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possible with domestically manufactured supplies and equipment. the sns currently has 42 times a number number of n95 respirators, 8.5 times number of surgical procedural face masks, 12.5 times the number of counts and coveralls, 272 times the, 272 times the number of gloves, and ten times the number of insulators and we had prior to the start of the pandemic. while covid has been anything but predictable, today we're in a much better position to respond then we were a year ago. a big reason is because congress on a bipartisan basis provided the resources needed to make sure americans had these free and widely available tools to protect themselves. unfortunately without additional funding our ability to prepare for whatever comes next is a very limited. last week the administration notified congress in the absence of new funding it was repurposing $10.2 billion in covid supplemental funding taking different critical programs in order to secure more of our most important tools,
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life-saving vaccines and therapeutics. the difficult decision was made to divert funds from our testing program and the sns at a time when both programs i finally better position and better prepared than they have been at any point in this response. they require funding to be maintained and strengthened in order to say that way. with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: now, madam president, today is a historic, long-awaited day for our nation's veterans. in a few moments, the senate is finally going to pass the pact act, the most significant expansion of health care benefits to our veterans in generations. it is officially called the s.f.c. heath robinson honoring our pact act, because heath robinson was one of the many who succumb to the poisons of toxins that he was exposed to fighting for america. for too long our nation's veterans have faced an absurd indignity. they enlisted to serve our
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country, went abroad in good health, and came back only to get sick from toxic exposure endured while in the line of duty. as many as 3 1/2 million veterans have been affected by burn pits since 9/11. yet approximately 80% of all disability claims connected to burn pits have been rejected by the v.a. so many of our veterans have been fought by the v.a. after they fought for us, as they tried to get health care benefits. many of them had to hire lawyers just to prove their illnesses. and then make a -- do a complicated legal dance to show what everyone knew, that toxic exposure from burn pits caused all kinds of cancers and other diseases. that was so, so wrong. the indignity, the callousness of forcing veterans who got sick
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as they were fighting for us, because of exposure to these toxins, to have to fight for years in the v.a. to get the benefits they deserveed, well, that will soon be over, praise god. to these american heroes who have carried on without the benefits they deserve, i have one thing to say -- no more. today, the senate finally takes action to right this profound wrong. the pact act will finally change outdated rules at the v.a. that have been in effect for far too long, that prevent our veterans from getting the care that they need, the care they need to treat health complications that cause -- caused by burn pits. it will expand eligibility for v.a. medical care, to make sure veterans get the help they need. and there's even more good news in the pact act. it's not just about burn pits, as important as they are.
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the pact act will expand coverage of health issues exacerbated by agent orange, by over-- which over the years i have strongly pushed for in this chamber. i want to give deep thanks to senator tester and moran, who worked for months to push this bill over the finish line. their leadership on this issue has been extraordinary. i want to thank my colleagues -- this is another bipartisan action that is accomplishing something very significant, and i want to thank my colleagues from both sides of the aisle who supported the bill through its consideration. and most importantly, i want to thank the many veterans, the veteran service organizations, advocates, like jon stewart and john field, who never gave up on making this change happen. because of their advocacy, our veterans will finally get the dignity and care they rightfully deserve. if you want to take the measure of any nation, look no further than the way it treats those who sacrificed everything in the line of duty. today, the senate is making sure
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we treat our heroes the way our heroes deserve to be treated -- with dignity, with gratitude for everything they've done to protect our way of life. gone are the days when veterans will have to struggle to prove that they get -- to prove and fight to get benefits that they deserve. i thank my colleagues for their work, and i urge all of us to vote yes on this long overdue legislation. now, let me talk about something that just happened in the judiciary committee. as we await the exrietion of thn safety bill, there's another step the senate will take today to protect our communities from gun violence. we can move to confirm steven dettelbach as the director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives. i want to thank senator durbin and the judiciary committee for moving this nomination expeditiously. and later today, i will move to discharge the nomination of mr. dettelbach from the
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judiciary committee after his nomination resulted in a tie vote. based on his record and qualifications, debtingback unquestionably -- dettelbach unquestionably deserved bipartisan support, but either way he's going to move forward. the a.t.f. has not had a permanent director since 2015. so confirming mr. dettelbach is one of my top priorities before the end of june. we need to fully functional, fully staffed a.t.f. in order for that agency to fulfill its mission of keeping our communities safe from gun violence. obviously, the legislation we're talking about that is being negotiated is very important, but so is having a fully functioning a.t.f. it is critical we have a fully functioning, fully staffed a.t.f. for the agency to carry out its mission of protect, our communities from gun violence, and what they do is very, very important. sometimes it's quiet. sometimes it's not noticed.
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but their ability to deal with gun traffickers and so many others who poison our streets with illegal guns that take the lives of our children, the a.t.f. is essential in stopping that, curtailing it, and having a strong, qualified nominee like mr. dettelbach will certainly help reduce the scourge of gun violence in this country, particularly because the a.t.f. has not had anyone at the helm since 2015. so i'm going to make sure his nomination moves as quickly and speedily through this chamber as possible. now, on the other issue, the debate on gun safety, this week, the senate is making progress on a subject that has frustrated this chamber for decades, meaningful gun safety legislation. last night, i spoke with senator murphy on the latest round of bipartisan negotiations. both sides met well into the evening, and will be meeting again this afternoon. the work's not finished.
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no one will pretend that this has been easy. but both parties are still working towards a final product. i urge both sides to keep going at it. this is so important to the american people. i am hopeful that we'll come to an agreement on a bill text soon. once we have the language for a gun safety bill i'm prepared to make it the next legislative matter considered on the senate floor. we want to move quickly and decisively to make sure we don't let this opportunity slip away. just a month ago very few could have predicted that this chamber would make as much progress as we have on a gun safety compromise. given our recent history, it's hard to blame americans who feel hopeless that change can happen on this issue. but that's why you never give up, never give up, even after facing so many disappointments. no matter how many times gridlock has taken hold in the past, survivors of gun violence, gun safety advocates, people who
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have lost loved ones, children, have fought and fought and fought. they have visited our office every year, many times. because of them, we are closer to making real progress than we have been in a long, long time. the work is not done, but i remain hopeful that we're going to get it done, and i want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for continuing their work towards a compromise. now, on the big lie, today the house will continue its public hearings on the capitol attack of january 6. i urge all americans to tune in and listen to the strong case our house colleagues are presenting. the dangers of the big lie transcend the capitol attack. this week many hard-right candidates who deny the 2020 elections and have little faith in the fidelity of our elections, and may well move to undermine them, have won primaries, and will be on the ballot in november. if you want to know what our
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country could turn -- if you want to know what our country could turn into if they win, look at what's happening right now in new mexico. right now, a county commissioner in that state is refusing to certify the results of his county's primary elections because of debunked conspiracy theories involving dominion voting machines. the votes of over 7,000 people are no you in jeopardy, and the state supreme court has been compelled to step in. this is the results of the big lie spread by donald trump. he cannot accept the fact that he lost. his ego is so huge and infantile that he is undermining american democracy, and too many, often out of fear of trump and the primary voter acolytes that trump has, go along with this, and it's happening in too many states. it's a real danger to our democracy. in nevada, for instance, secretary of state candidate jim
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marchant has said if he had been in office in 2020, he wouldn't have certified joe biden's victory. that is dangerous stuff. to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, do they realize that? this undermines the democracy sacred to all of us, democrat, republican, independent. america needs to be watching what's happening in states like new mexico and nevada, because if we're not careful it will be a preview of greater hor yo, to come -- greater horrors to come. it's not a partisan argument. it's simply about democracy versus authoritarianism. many of the things said by some of these office holders who won were said by people who then led their country to authoritarian regimes. doesn't matter if you're a democrat or republican or independent. democracy is at risk if we elevate individuals who don't believe in the sirchghtity of elections -- in the sairveghtity
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of elections. i urge the american people, regardless of party, to reject these candidates. our democracy is literally on the line. on the ocean shipping bill, today is an important day. president biden will sign the ocean shipping reform act into law. 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 will help small businesses and consumers alike. our ports need help. the cost of sending a container across the pacific ocean is up a thousand percent. who pays that? the consumer and the american exporter. our ports need help. our supply chains need relief. with today's signing we can now say help is on the way. i thank president biden for signing this bill quickly. i thank my colleagues, senator klobuchar, thune, and cantwell, for their leadership in the senate. i thank speaker pelosi and my
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house colleagues for approving the bill earlier this week. and i'd say to our friends in the media, no, this has been bipartisan, there hasn't been conflict, but it's important. please pay some attention to it. things are getting done to deal with the scourge of inflation. i yield the floor.
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to indicate that the case. i believe the recommendation that was made was based on the assumption that if you look at the mortality of children within each of the age groups, you know, zero to five --
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>> so there are no studies and american should all know this, there are no studies on children showing a a reduction in hospitalization or death with taking a booster. the only studies that were permitted, the only studies that were presented her antibody studies. so they say if we give you a booster you make antibodies. now, a lot of scientists would question whether or not that is proof of efficacy of a vaccine. if i give you ten or if i give a patient can mrna vaccines and then make protein each time or the make antibody each time, is a proof we should give ten boosters, dr. fauci? >> no. i think that is somewhat of an absurd exaggeration. >> that is the proof that you use. your committees and use that. that is the only proof you have to tell children to take a booster is that make antibodies. so it's not an absurdity. you are already at like five boosters for people. you had two or three boosters.
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it's like where is the proof? there is probably indication for older folks that have some risk factors. for younger folks there is not. but here's the other thing. there are some risk factors for the vaccine. so the risk of myocarditis with the second dose for adolescent boys 12 to 24 is about 80 in 1 million. this is both from the cdc and from the israeli study. it's also in another study remarkable similar for voice much higher in boys than girls and much other than the background. the background is about two per million. so there is risk and are risks and are telling everyone in america just blindly go out there year, experts warned that such reckless spending would not just raise prices for working families but could also trigger a full-on recession. in february of 2021, for example, a prominent economist testified right here on capitol hill that democrats' runaway
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spending might back the federal reserve into a corner. it might leave the fed no choice but to sharply raise interest rates, and that would not just slow down our economic recovery but potentially actually shift it into reverse. sound familiar? that's exactly what's happened right before our eyes. yesterday, a few days after the far worse than expected inflation rate for the month of may, the fed announced the biggest interest rate hike in 28 years, the biggest interest rate hike in 28 years. and they signal more increases may be on the deck soon. the fed acted too slowly on the incorrect presumption that inflation would fade away. now that hasn't happened, they
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have to make up for lost time. the stock markets that carry americans' retirement savings have been in freefall. the s&p 500 has lost a fifth of its value in just six months. americans' consumer confidence just nosedived to its lowest point ever recorded. worse than at any point during the 2008 recession, worse than the early panic over covid. the percentage of small business ownerrers who say they're optimistic about the future has never been this low in the entire 48-year history of that survey. and signs suggest this may be just the beginning of the pain for the american people. just three months ago, the fed predicted we would not have to see rising unemployment until 2024. yesterday, however, they
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announced they now see unemployment increasing this year, next year, and -- and -- the year after that. just between march and may, their official estimate for our country's economic growth in 2022 plummeted -- listen to this -- by 40%. it looks increasingly like democrats may have driven america toward a full-on recession. may have driven our country toward a full-on recession. the term stagflation was invented to describe the most painful economic condition for workers and families. it means the worst of three worlds at once -- high inflation, slow growth, and rising unemployment. unless something changes, we all hope it does, this appears to be exactly the trajectory on which democrats' policies have put our country. the last time we had a unified
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republican government, our policies created low inflation, robust growth, and record-low unemployment. sole democrat party control has produced something quite different. but unbelievably, the same washington democrats who dug this hole seem unwilling to put away their shovels. they want to keep digging, with our economy trending towards a possible recession, some of our colleagues are trying to restart discussions about massive trillion-dollar-plus tax hikes. it really begs belief. democrats spent 2021 trying to respond to inflation with even more -- even more -- reckless spending, and now they are spending 2022 trying to respond to a looming recession with gigantic tax hikes. this utter nonsense. unbelievable.
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democrats are quite likely -- democrats have quite likely inflated their way into a recession and now they want to pile on historic tax hikes and make it worse. in every poll, in every survey, the american people make their views of the democratic economic policies crystal clear. for the sake of the country, let's hope our colleagues remember the first rule of holes and stop digging. now, on a related matter, tomorrow president biden will host the major economies forum on energy and climate. meanwhile, working americans will continue to face the consequences of his disastrous energy and climate policies. while president biden and his team have declared a holy war on america's domestic production, average gas prices have soared over $5. by august they're projected to hit $6.20.
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diesel, which literally drives our economy, is now at an all-time high. natural gas is up 30.2%. fuel oil is up 106.7%. groceries, which overwhelmingly rely on diesel semis to get to supermarket shelves, are up nearly 12% compared to last year. these eye-popping numbers are the predictable results of democrats' inflation nature policies and specifically their war on affordable american energy. well, the american people continue to tell democrats they're not interested in buying fantastic green boondoggles when they can barely afford the essentials today. according to one recent poll, more than half americans are very or extremely concerned about how grocery prices are affecting their households financial situation. nearly two-thirds feel that same way about gas prices. but washington democrats are
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still in staggering disarray over how and even whether to clean up the mess they've made. some, like the administration's climate czar john kerry, are still in denial. he said recently, quote, we slowly don't -- john kerry -- we absolutely don't need to ramp up oil and gas production. instead, he insisted we have to transition to electric vehicles about 20 times faster than we are now. americans continue to report that just affording gas has become a daily hardship. from the former senator from massachusetts, he says folks in places like kentucky, the solution -- just buy an expensive electric car. now, some administration officials are willing to acknowledge the problem, just not its source. the american people continue 0 to hear about a so-called putin
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price hike, even though the gas was already up nearly 50% -- 50% -- since president biden took office at the time russia launched the war. some members of the president's party seem more clear-eyed, one said, quote, i'm calling on the president to sit down with domestic oil and gas companies and find way to lower prices. the president needs to bring everyone together. that was a democrat in the house. the biden administration still appears to be jaw-droppingly naive about the consequences of its war on affordable domestic energy. as energy prices continue to skyrocket, earlier this year, the white house reportedly insisted that production could just be turned back on with the flip of a switch. according to one analyst, quote, they thought shale oil production could grow sharply in
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the near term, like in a matter of months or quarters. they were shocked to learn that that's like asking for blood from a stone. of course, democrats' misunderstanding hasn't stopped them from trying to use american energy producers as a scapegoat. yesterday the white house press secretary insisted, quote, we've done our part, she said. we need oil companies to act. really? that doesn't pass the laugh test. in a letter yesterday, one of america's biggest domestic producers asked the biden administration for three things -- clear and consistent policy that supports u.s. resource development;, regular and predictable lease sales; and support for infrastructure such as pipelines. notice that this is precisely a summary of what president biden hasn't -- has not -- been doing since he took office.
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since day one, the biden administration has been outright hostile to u.s. resource development, freezen certain new development leases, and canceled a pipeline project that would have expanded efficient energy transport and created american jobs. the american people are bracing for a very pricey summer, from the gas pump to the grocery store, and they know exactly who to blame. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president, i recently read an article published by a woman who is very
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credible on the issue of energy, which i'd like to share after the statements recently made by the republican leader. the question is whether or not our production of crude oil during president biden's presidency was higher or lower than in the trump administration. to encourage production -- and i quote -- hedger conform ridgerton -- biden administration has issued more permits on land than in the trump administration's three years. only 10% proliferate all u.s. drilling takes place on federal land by the bureau of land management confirms that more than 9,000 drilling permits on public land are currently approved. not all would be productive if they were developed and none of them could start producing immediately, but this undercuts the argument that gas prices are high because the biden
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administration has choked off permits. she goes on to say, what appears to be driving u.s. gas prices is the pressure investors are putting on oil companies whose officers answer to their inventors. limited production creates higher prices, driving record profits. in a march 2022 survey of 141 u.s. oil producers asking them why -- why they are holding back production, 59% said they were under investor pressure. only 6% blame government regulation for their lack of increased production. oil companies are seeing huge profits and are using the money for stock buybacks to raise stock prices. bp, shell, exxonmobil, total energy will get between 38 and 41 billion dollars to shareholders to buyback programs this year. that's a little different picture than was just painted by the republican leader.
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there is cultability here when it comes to the oil companies and blaming president biden is ignoring the fact that he has on federal lands which is written a percentage of our production in this country, expanded permits beyond the levels offered by the previous administration. this is certainly a more complex issue than was suggested by the senator from kentucky. on another topic, mr. president, i would say that we've learned a lot from the covid-19. we learned that this particular pandemic targeted more than ever those among us who are up in years, seniors. they were the most vulnerable to the attack of covid-19. and many folks in their senior years were threatened by and some succumbed to this terrible pandemic. we knew that it was a problem for our senior citizens and still do.
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yesterday we had a hearing in the senate judiciary committee that called to mind the real question before us. what if this pandemic had targeted our children and babies? what if we knew that the next pandemic was going to be particularly vulnerable -- make them particularly vulnerable? well, i'll tell you i believe this country rightly so would rally behind an effort to do everything we could to protect our children from this looming potential cause of death. mine is only a hypothetical when it comes to pandemics but it's not a hypothetical when it comes to the number one cause of death among children and teenagers in america. the c.d.c., centers for disease control, just announced within the last two weeks that the number one cause of death is not a pandemic but guns, firearms, gun violence and gun deaths.
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yesterday we held a hearing in the judiciary committee on the leading cause of death for children in america. guns. in 2020, the most recent year statistics are available, more than 4300 american babies, children, and teens died from gunfire. during the hearing we heard from a chorus of witnesses, health care witnesses, law enforcement, community violence prevention. they agreed on one basic thing. gun violence is traum traumatizn entire generation of american youth. lawmakers in congress have a responsibility to stem this tide of violence. one of the witnesses was a young college student from northeastern university in boston. he actually grew up on the west side of chicago. his name was earnest -- ernest wellingham. he isn't 20 years old yet but his testimony sounded like the testimony of a person wise in years. he's already experienced one
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gun-related tragedy after another. mr. willingham told the members of our committee i have seen my brother, my father, my cousin and my best friend become victims of gun violence. this is something that young people should never have to prepare themselves for, yet it remains the lived experience of so many children and youth around our nation. he continued. we are better than this as a country, and we can solve this crisis. and then he made reference to one basic fact. he says most kids who grew up with me spent more time attending funerals than weddings. that is a sobberring statement. and it puts into perspective not only the threat of gun violence and the toll that it's taken but also the trauma that is visited on so many who are affected by this gun violence. the families of the victims, trauma goes far beyond that. it extends to families, to witnesses, to so many others
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whose lives are affected. mr. president, two weeks ago in chicago, lori children's hospital convened a group of young people from gun-infested neighborhoods who agreed to meet with me on a private off-the-record basis. we closed the door and i looked at their 20 or 30 faces and said, tell me what i need to know as u.s. senator about what it means to grow up in your neighborhood. i can tell you there was an outpouring of statements from every one of them, talking about how guns had become such a sad and tragic part of their lives. how many of them had either been shot or lost a family member or a loved one or a friend to gun violence. and they talked about the basics. one young man said, senator, we need home training. i said what do you mean by home training? he said, we need parents to tell us what's right and wrong, tell
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us what to do. there are no rules. the only rules i find are the rules of the gang on the street. i know what their rules are. but i don't know what the rules are in terms of my own life. i think back on my childhood. rules, oh, i had plenty of rules and most kids do. clean your plate. clean your room. do your homework. take out the trash. walk the dog. the rules were coming at me all the time and then i went and attended catholic grade school and believe me, they had even more rules to play by. but the statement by many of these young people is that their lives are adrift in the earliest stages. some of it reflects parents who are facing poverty, struggling to make ends meet. some working two jobs just to get enough money to keep food on the table. they can't be at home and nurturing and guiding these young people as much as they should because they're struggling from paycheck to paycheck. that's a reality of poverty in
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these neighborhoods. some families aren't that lucky, and eye that in quotes. some -- use that in quotes. some are dysfunctional. you'll have one parent who is a drug addict and another parent who is inclined toward violence or alcohol and the child suffers as a result of it. the point i'm getting to is this. that hearing yesterday on gun violence highlighted the reality of what life is like for too many kids in places around america. and it highlighted the importance of doing something. we had a doctor there who was the chairman of the american academy of pediatrics, and she said that she sent an e-mail in preparation for her testimony to a number of pediatricians and said can you share with me any personal experiences with kids who are victims of gun violence. she received 300 replies which we put in the record of the senate judiciary committee.
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sobering statements by doctors of what they faced with kids who had either been victims of gun violence or witnessed it and were trauma victims as a result. that was reality. ernst wellingham that i mentioned earlier talked about what it meant to have this as an integral part of your life growing up. he was one of the lucky ones. he was able to break free from this terrible experience and really start down the path toward a college education. we have the chief of police from phoenix, arizona, chief williams, who came in. she's a 23-year veteran of the police force and she is from a -- for a major city and she talked about guns and kids and what they face in her city where she just recently had a number of her policemen who were injured in the line of duty. she thought -- i spoke to that and said last night there was a shooting and luckily they survived or i wouldn't be here today. that's the reality of guns in america. and we focus with her on the guns like ar-15's that are
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showing up at these shootouts and massacres. ar-15 is a, quote, semiautomatic weapon which means it fires ammunition every time you pull the trigger. but it can be converted into an automatic weapon where you can hold the trigger and just -- and it just sprays ammunition at people who are victims. how many of these exist in the united states today, these ar-15 assault weapons that we're seeing in so many of these massacres and shootings? we're not sure. it's somewhere between 10 million and 20 million, 10 million and 20 million. and i asked what kind of damage is done by these guns to the pediatrician. and she told us. it's devastating. some of the stories that are coming back from these mass shootings now are horrific. i just even hesitate to repeat them, but they have been reported widely in the news, the damage that is done to these poor little bodies in the
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classroom when these weapons are turned on them. now, there is no earthly purpose for such a weapon other than the use in the military. it isn't used for sport. it isn't used for hunting. it can't be used for self-defense very effectively. but so many, millions are being sold across america. from my point of view, we should be dealing with that issue directly and the high-capacity magazines that allow these to happen. but unfortunately we can't at this moment. we don't have the political will to do it in the united states senate, 50-50 divided. we do have the will to take up the framework which is being worked on at this very moment. it isn't what i want to see and it isn't what many of us want to see but it is a step forward. i commend the senators, the democrat chris murphy, the republican john cornyn for assembling a group of some 20 senators, democrats and republicans, who are working on this legislation. it is critically important that
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they're successful. i know they're having drafting challenges. that's common around here. we have plenty of talented people. and if the members in goodwill sit down, they with work out their differences. i urge them to do so. senator schumer and senator mcconnell publicly support this undertaking. it's one of the rare bipartisan events in the united states senate, and it's on a critical issue of gun safety. i hope that by next week we can consider this on the floor. and there's another matter that will come before us as soon as today. and it was a matter that was raised in the judiciary committee this morning. today we can start by discharging from the committee a proven battle-tested leader to head the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. his name is steve dettelbach. the presiding officer knows him well. he served as a mechanic of his staff as a detailee. he has an exceptional record. it's been seven years since the
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senate confirmed a director to the a.t.f. at a moment when guns are killing our kids at a devastating rate, this office cannot roadway main -- remain vacant any longer. how many times have we heard we don't need any laws. we need to enforce the laws on the book. one of the agencies that has major jurisdiction is alcohol, tobacco and firearms. there's no coincidence it's been seven years there's been a person in charge of that agency. you need someone to guide the agency to enforce the laws to keep our streets safe. that's very basic. we made a gesture toward that this morning with a vote in the senate judiciary committee. today we voted for discharge. the senate will take a critical step toward confirming mr. dettelbach. he is the kind of leader our nation needs to get a handle on the crisis of gun violence. later today we'll have a vote on the floor here. i hope that we can get bipartisan support from mr. dettelbach.
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members of law enforcement, mayors across america, and former federal prosecutors all agree it's time that this man, steve dettelbach, become the director of a.t.f. more than 140 former justice department officials including multiple trump administration appointees have stepped forward to voice their support for mr. dettelbach's nomination. the judiciary committee has also received letters of support from multiple former directors and acting directors of the a.t.f. it's no surprise as a career prosecutor, mr. dettelbach has devoted decades of his life to working alongside law enforcement, including a.t.f. agents, to combat gang violence, gun crimes, and hate crimes. in every role he's held, mr. dettelbach has been squarely focused on protecting the lives of law enforcement officers and the families that they serve. in his own words, quote, politics can play no role in law enforcement. he's earned the trust of an
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amazing list of law enforcement organizations. listen to the groups that support him taking on this job. the national sheriffs association, the international association of chiefs of police, the major county sheriffs of america, the national organization of black law enforcement executives, the federal law enforcement officers association, women in federal law enforcement, the hispanic american police command officers association, and many, many more. when a mass shooter tears apart a community like buffalo, new york, or uvalde, texas, a.t.f. agents are among the first federal officers to respond. let us not wait a minute longer in providing these heroic agents the leader that they deserve. yes, let's enforce the laws that are on the books. let's put together the leadership at the a.t.f. to make sure that is done. i hope my colleagues will join me in voting for steve
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dettelbach's confirmation on the floor of the senate today. it is timely. it is important. and it's long overdue. mr. president, i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i understand we are in a quorum call. the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be sus pended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: i would further ask unanimous consent that i be permitted to speak up to 15 minutes, senator moran up to seven minutes, senator tester ten minutes prior to the scheduled roll call votes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: thank you, mr. president. before i begin, i'd like to take at that brief moment to wish the united states army a happy 247th birthday. i had the special honor this morning to fall in with
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secretary of the army warmuth, army chief of staff mcconville, sergeant major of the army grinston, many other leaders and soldiers for some morning p.t. i appreciated the opportunity to join in the army tradition a birthday formation run. it was especially humbling to run through the hallowed grounds of arlington national cemetery. anytime are you in arlington or any national cemetery in the states, like the black hills national cemetery in south dakota, or overseas, like the normandy american sementory, you are reminded of the sacrifice and legacy of our nation's war fighters. every name and pair of dates on a headstone tells a unique story of selfless service to our nation. running over the hills and around the turns this morning, you get a better sense ever the magnitude of the more than 400,000 americans who are honored at arlington, and the
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collective sacrifice of all of america's heroes. today, the united states army proudly carries on the heritage and legacy established on june 14, 1775. our soldiers and all our men and women in uniform stand guard and the world to protect our freedoms, and they make any adversary think twice about threatening them, as the us army has done for the past 247 years. thank you for all of your service to our country, your professionalism, and determination, and thank you for including me today. happy birthday to the united states army. mr. president, as a longtime member and former chairman of the senate commerce committee, and resident of a rural state, i have long been focused on expanding rural broadband access and ensuring the benefits of the next waive of mobile broadband 5
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g are fully realized in rural communities. this has been embraced on both sides of the aisle and congress appropriated billions of dollars in recent years to ensure rural communities can access broadband. it is encouraging to see members on both sides of the aisle supporting this goal. but there are problems. while congress has appropriated billions of dollars toward this goal, the federal government lacks and i overarching broadband strady. as -- strategy. as a recent report highlighted, funding is spread out over 15 separate agencies and more than 130 separate programs in our government. that doesn't exactly make for outstanding efficiency or coordination. what it does make for is wasted taxpayer dollars and slower progress in ensuring our rural communities have access to broadband. last week the senate commerce
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committee's communication subcommittee, which i serve as ranking member, held an oversight hearing on one of the leading agencies charged with expanding rural broadband access and promoting wireless access, the national telecommunications and information administration, or acronym ntia. i appreciated assistant secretary davidson testifying before the committee. last year, congress passed the infrastructure investment and jobs act, providing billions to ntia to deploy broadband services to unserved areas throughout the united states. at the time the bill was debated, i raised a number of concerns about ntia's ability to manage such substantial funding, given ntia's past history on expanding rural broadband services. the last time congress provided ntia with broadband funding, a fraction of the funding now responsible for, the agency strug rld with implementation -- struggled with implementation and ended up overbuilding
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existing networks, resulting in billions of dollars spent with little to show. i have to say, mr. president, i've not seen a lot to convince me ntia will do a better job this time around. last month, ntia released its notice of funding opportunity for the broadband equity access and deployment, or bead program. the ideas contains a number of troubling components. i am concerned ntia is planning to base funding allocations on maps that don't accurately reflect which areas of the country are unserved. this creates a substantial risk in misallocating the funding, and once again overbuild be existing networks at the taxpayers' expense. ntia's notice also makes clear when it comes to expanding networks they are planning to favor certain applicants. specifically government-run networks and nontraditional broadband providers.
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entities with no proven track record in deploying broadband networks. what ntia should be doing is taking a neutral approach that allows equal participation from all types of broadband providers, as long as they meet the technical, financial, and operational standards to deploy networks. finally, especially at a time of record-high inflation, the last thing any agency should be doing is pursuing extraneous political goals that ultimately increase the cost for providers deploying networks. i'm disappointed that ntia, like other federal agencies under this administration, is seeking to score political points with certain constituents, in this case by leaning into net neutrality requirements, promoting burdensome labor standards, and focusing on climate change initiatives. ntia's focus on requiring broadband providers to use a unionized workforce or project labor agreement not only puts
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providers who do not use union workforces at a disadvantage, but it is unworkable for providers in rural communities, like in south dakota, who simply don't have access to a unionized workforce. earlier this month, i heard firsthand from the folks building out networks in south dakota about the challenges they face with respect to supply chain shortages and increased construction costs. including unnecessary requirements in broadband contracts will only exacerbate that problem. i will continue to urge ntia to work with states to reduce, rather than increase, regulatory burdens so the funding congress provided can be used to provide broadband access to as many americans as possible. i also continue bo work on -- to work on other measures to expand broadband access in rural communities, including the reforming broadband connectivity act, which i joined with both parties to introduce last year.
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this will guerin fee a stable if you can -- guarantee a stable functioning stream to promote universal access to broadband and other telecommunications services. i am hoping, mr. president, we can get this legislation enacted into law this year. mr. president, having reliable rural, fixed broadband services is also key in ensuring that rural communities are able to access the next wave of mobile broadband internet, 5-g. i'm committing to smoothing the path. 5-g offers tremendous potential for rural communities, whether better access to tele-health or the opportunity to implement precision agriculture. we need to ensure that we build out 5-g networks not just in cities and suburbs, but in rural communities across the united states. i've introduced a number of bills to help keep the united states at the forefront of the 5-g ref use and ensure that 5-g makes its way to rural communities.
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my streamline act would expedite the deployment of the small cells needed for 5-g installation while respecting the role of state and local governments in making deployment decisions. and importantly, it would make it more affordable to bring 5-g to rural areas by addressing the cost of small-cell deployment. on the spectrum side, this year i introduced the spectrum innovation act along subcommittee chair senator lujan to free up additional mid band spectrum, an action that will simultaneously improve 5-g coverage and bring in revenue for deficit reduction. since freeing up additional spectrum requires coordination, i joined senators wicker, blackburn, and lujan to introduce the improving spectrum coordination act to ensure that our federal partners are effectively managing our nation's airwaves. on the workforce side of things,
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my telecommunications skilled workforce act, enacted into law last year, is designed to help increase the number of workers enrolled in 5-g training programs and identify ways to grow the telecommunications workforce to meet the demands of 5-g. i will continue to work to support every part of the 5-g equation, from physical technology to spectrum to a 5-g workforce so that the united states can stay at the forefront of this internet revolution. i will also continue to make fixed broad babd and 5-g access in rural communities a priority. mr. president, too often rural areas like in my home state of south dakota have lagged behind when it comes to getting the most modern internet technology. and i'm committed to ensuring that the full benefits of next generation technologies make their way to rural communities. mr. president, i yield the floor , and i suggested the
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absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: will the senator withhold? mr. thune: the senator would, yes. i withhold that request. withdraw that request. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you for that emfat tick recognition. in the next few minutes, the senate will vote on the sergeant first class heath robinson honoring our promise to address comprehensive toxic act of 2022.
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this is a significant, i would say historic, moment. this bipartisan legislation not only is it significant and important because of the content, but it's also significant and perhaps historic because of the cooperation that has been put, that has garnered to put this act together, and presumably pass it and send it to the president of the united states. this bipartisan legislation is the most comprehensive toxic exposure package the senator has ever delivered -- the senate has ever delivered to veterans in our country's history. generation after generation, americans one by one have answered the call of duty with the promise that we, the united states of america, the citizens of this country, would take care of them and their families after their time in uniform. yet, generation after generation , veteran after
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veteran, these servicemembers returned home only to be met with a piecemeal process as they worked to coble together the care that they earned and the benefits they deserved from the department of veterans affairs. veterans have spent years fighting bureaucracy to get the care they need, and sadly there are those who have been fighting up to this point, who are no longer living to receive the benefits that this legislation will provide. chairman tester, the senator from montana, and i made a commitment to get to this point today, and i'm proud that we are doing so together, in a way and most importantly this bill will deliver health care and benefits to thousands of veterans who are ill due to their exposure to burn pits and other toxic exposure. there's no doubt that the cost of taking care of our veterans is high, but the truth is
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freedom is not free. we say that. this is evidence that we believe that on the passage of this legislation. there's always, always a cost to war. is always high. it's always dramatic. it's always something that costs people their lives. but we make a decision when we send those servicemen and women to war that we'll care for them. the decision is made when we send someone to war about whether we're going to spend money to care for them when they return. the cost of war is not fully paid when the war is the over. we are now on the verge of honoring that commitment to america's veterans and their families. back home in kansas, major general lee tafaneli said this legislation, i quote, him, will have a great impact on the lives of our veterans long after their
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service. the knowledge of the obstacles formerly in their way will now be streamlined, will provide peace of mind as our veterans move on with their lives. i spoke on memorial day in a cemetery in kansas and a navy veteran came up to me after my remarks and said, i served in the navy. my dad served in the navy. we both encountered toxic substances, and we're fortunate we have no symptoms that they caused any problems in our lives, but that doesn't mean we don't think about it every day that what happens if we do have those consequences in the future and there's nothing there for us, and more importantly, for our families. this legislation provides some level of certainty. i'm sure every member of our service when they serve our nation recognizes they run risks, but i doubt that any of
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them believe that they are creating risk for their spouses or their children. they share that burden, they carry the burden for themselves, but there is also the necessity of caring for their families, particularly if they get to a point in which they cannot do so. not only will this legislation provide long overdue health care and benefits to the 3.5 million post-9/11 veterans who were exposed to burn pits, but this legislation will deliver care for all generations of veterans, including vietnam veterans suffering from exposure to agent orange. i'm at an age in which you would think the vietnam war was a long time ago we need we would have taken care of those who served. but we have those who served in vietnam who are still waiting for their benefits. sergeant first class heath robinson pact act would not be
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on the floor today without the hard work of numerous veteran service organizations, veteran families, survivors, advocates, and the veterans themselves who came to washington to meet with senator tester and with me and with every member of the united states senate to tell their story. and thinker the most effective -- and they are the most effective advocates there could be. many of them and others testified before our senate veterans' affairs committee. this legislation is not just a product of senator tester and i, it is a product of so many. it's so much more and perhaps -- no offense to senator tester -- but perhaps our role is really insignificant when you look at the people who have encountered these challenges but used those challenges as an opportunity to fight not just for themselves but in most instances more likely to fight for other veterans in similar circumstances. i thank them for their service.
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i thank them for their work in helping us deliver long-lasting solutions, comprehensive reforms for those who served. and i especially want to thank heath robinson's family, who turned their own loss and hardache into action -- and heartache into action. this bill will help many veterans like heath face the challenges that he faced that ultimately ended his life. i thank senator tester, the chairman of the senate committee on veterans' affairs, and for all the members of our committee, republicans and democrats, i remind my colleagues and i remind the american people that this -- the original version of this bill passed the senate veterans' affairs committee unanimously with every republican and every democrat voting yes. after the passage of that legislation, we worked further to find consensus but, more
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importantly you to find better solutions and a path forward that would allow us to be at the point where today. secretary mcdonough deserves our gratitude as well. i thank him for his input, his testimony and the numerous, numerous times of telephone calls. i appreciate his vase and it made this -- his advice and it made this bill better for veterans. once we pass this, the implementation of this will fall to the department of veterans affairs. but we as a committee and we as senators need to make certain that we do the appropriate oversight, that we make certain that this is not just words on paper but the results that we're looking for is finally delivered. too often i think the moment of glory comes on the passage of a bill or the press release announcing the passage of a bill, the signing of a bill, but whether or not it works still remains the most important
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aspect of our work. a lot of work remains, and the v.a. has significant challenges as it moves forward to help these veterans. the real work is still ahead of us. and i stand ready to do all i can to make certain that we're able to deliver the intended results contemplated by this legislation. a long list of thank yous to my colleagues, certainly to my colleagues in the committee, my colleagues in the senate, but especially to folks in the v.a. community, the v.s. o'community, shane leerman, lawrence montreal pat murray of the v.f.w., alex moraski, bob kerry, independence fund, tom porter, caitlin hendrick, jennifer birch, burn
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pit 360, jon stewart and john feel and i thank the kansas leaders who over a long period of time -- i don't know what year it was but the vietnam veterans of america held a conference in wichita, kansas, in which i attended in which the topic was toxic exposure and it that is to be at least 10-12 years ago and i thank them for in that part of time -- point in time sticking to the fact that there's work to be done. lee heresy, the commander of the v.f.w. in kansas, william turner, eric owens, lee tafaneli, david dennis, general dodson, colonel timothy malar, and colonel buckley. all of whom are kansans working on behalf of other veterans in our state to see that we get to this right. and nothing in this body gets done because senators do all the work.
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senators have ideas and occasionally a few words here and there, but we are surrounded by people who every day make those words and those thoughts come to life on a piece of paper called a bill. and my staff on the senate veterans' affairs committee and in my office has been unending in their efforts to get this right and to work to find an agreement that could become law. lindsey dearing leads that list, asher alman, michelle payne, emily blair rubric, kelley baron, emily brady, brian mann, david sherman and our leader, john towers. and senator test every, tony mcclain, his chief, and simon coup. i hope this will be a resounding victory not for senator tester, not for jerry moran, but for
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veterans of america who served our nation admirably, did what they were asked to do and encountered things they should not have encountered that have lasted, the consequences of which have lasted throughout their lives. we're here to fulfill a commitment and a promise and we begin that, we move forward on that today. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank senator moran for his comments. i didn't hear everything you had to say, but when i came in, one of the things you said is we may not be the most important people in this process. and you are 100% correct. we are simply the conduit that was utilized to get this bill put into law. there are way, way too many people to thank on this legislation, and i'm going to get to that, and i'll forget a bunch of folks, and i apologize right now. but the truth is, we today, the united states senate today has
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the opportunity to make history by passing the sergeant first class heath robinson honoring our promise to address comprehensive toxics act of 2022 this is not a new issue. generations after generations of americans have gone to war backed about i promise that we made to them when they signed up, that we would care for them when they got home. unfortunately, that didn't happen in the case of toxic exposure. we failed them. this bill is about righting a wrong that has been ignored for just way too damn long. it's about will thompson, sergeant first class heath robinson. it is about every american who's lost their lives to toxic exposure because of the duty that they have performed for this country. sadly, it's too late to do right by will and heath and so many others, but today this body has
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a chance to do the right thing by their families and future generations of our all-volunteer military by passing the sergeant first class heath robinson honoring our pact act. the days of ignoring the wounds from toxic exposure, wounds not seen until years after those days are gone, conditions like hypertension found in veterans like robert hunter, a proud montanan who served in the army as an engineering officer during the vietnam war. he was exposed to agent orange during his service. he's one of the 66,000 veterans in montana that would become eligible for relief underneath this bill. not to mention every post-9/11 veteran in this country who would automatically receive v.a. health care. this includes more than 3.5 million post-9/11 combat veterans exposed to burn pits in iraq and afghanistan. this bill would also remove the
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burden of proof conditions caused by toxic exposures from cancers to lung disease. it would codify a more transparent framework to establish future presumptions, of service connections to ensure future generations of veterans are treated more fairly and the last and probably most importantly, it will allow the v.a. to make the decisions on toxic exposure instead of an act of congress. in short, the pact act will allow hundreds of thousands of veterans across the country to access the v.a. care that they have been denied and give them the benefits that they have earned. make no mistake, the v.a. will be given the tools it needs to hire more medical professionals and claims processors, establish more health care facilities, and improve claims processing, ensuring we're meeting the needs of our veterans today, tomorrow, and in the future. the bottom line is this country
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is very capable of recognizing the physical obvious wounds of war -- a lost limb, a chemical burn. we're taking the steps to recognize the mental wounds of war. but we haven't been recognizing the toxic wounds of war, that will end today with the passage of this bill. the chairman of the senate veterans' a fairs committee, and i've said this many times to the veterans service organizations, i take my cues from them, veterans they represent. when i first introduced the cost of war act last year, together we set out with a clear goal -- a goal to right the wrongs of decades of inactions and failure by us, by our government, to provide all areas of toxic supposed veterans the v.a. care and benefits benefits that theyd have earned. we put together a package that took care of our past, present, and future veterans.
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folks always talk about good friends on the senate floor. sometimes they mean it. sometimes they don't. i mean it. thank you to my good friend, ranking member jerry moran, for working with me, with the committee, for creating an environment so our staffs could create together to create this new bipartisan, toxic exposure strategy. for my senators on the committee, particularly friends like john boozman and sherrod brown, thank you. i'm thankful for the leadership of president biden and v.a. secretary dennis mcdonough, along with house veterans' affairs committee chairman takana. and so many, many others that are here today. this bill is the legislation we envisioned when we set out to right the wrongs of our toxic supposed vets. this bill recognizes the cost of war. it's the bill our veterans and
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their families deserve and are counting on and cannot wait any longer for. veterans and veteran service organizations and advocates have understood this for a long time. and they have been incredible partners since the beginnings. and i look forward to thanking reached and every one of them in the did a -- thanking each and every one of them in the days and weeks to come. i want to speak directly to them now. i am grateful for your efforts. i am grateful for your voices, for never taking your foot off the gas and continuing to push members of congress to simply do the right thing. i also want to acknowledge the countless hours put in by the staffs from both sides of the aisle. senator moran is exactly correct, we take credit for their good work, and they do good work. staff from my office like staff director tony mclean as well as this guy to my left, sigh
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moon -- simon coon, james cho, tess resinky, volia votoyvich and liz simmons. but also folks across the aisle like lindsey dearing and john towers, asher almond and tom brant and pat mcgougan, michelle dominguez -- i wish they had names like tester and moran -- and mike jones. by sitting down in a bipartisan way to get this bill crafted, we were able to have success and get the job done, and that's what the folks who sent us here expect us to do. america's veterans and their loved ones would be better off r as a result this work today, and the result of that, it will make this country a better
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place. there is always a cost of war and that cost is never fully repaid when the war ends, so i've got one question -- are we willing to show these millions of veterans that we have their back, that the united states government has their back? are we willing to admit that we didn't live up to the promise of veterans like will thompson and heath robinson? but the fact is i believe today will show that we can put party politics aside and honor america's bravest. we can honor the plea of heath's eight-year-old daughter brielle and the fight for heroes who fought for this country and pass my dad's act, the sagget first class -- sergeant first class heath robinson pact act and begin settling our debts to millions our veterans and their families today. the last thing i want to close with is that the work is not
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over with, assuming this bill passes today. the ranking member is 100% correct. we're going to have a lot of oversight to do to make sure that the veterans get the health care and the benefits that they have earned and that they deserve. that is the congressional intent that we have with this bill. so oversight will be critically important. i yield the floor. mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: mr. president, this is the greatest advance in veterans health care in decades. it wouldn't have happened without jerry moran and the amazing work of chairman jon tester, who persisted through so many different turns and twists and difficulties. every veteran in america, every american deserves tremendous thanks -- should give tremendous thanks to senator tester and senator moran. i yield the floor and urge a vote. the presiding officer: under the
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previous order, all postcloture time is expired. the clerk will read the title of the bill a third time. the clerk: calendar number 388, h.r. 3967, an act to improve health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances, and for other purposes. the presiding officer: the question occurs on the passage of the bill as amended. mr. schumer: 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: s
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the presiding officer: on this vote the yeas are 84. the nay, are 14. the bill as amended is passed. 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 969, ana isabel de alba of california to be united states district judge for the eastern district of california signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived.
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the question is, is it the sense nomination of ana isabel de alba of california to be the united states district judge for the eastern district of california shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: on this vote, the yeas are 52, the nays 43, and the motion is agreed to. cloture having been invoked, the senate will proceed to executive session. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, ana isabel de alba, of california, to be united
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states district judge for the eastern district of california. the presiding officer: 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 919, mary t. boyle, of maryland, to be a commissioner of the consumer product safety commission, 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 mary t. boyle, of maryland, to be a commissioner of the consumer product safety commission, shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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