tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN June 22, 2022 2:15pm-6:16pm EDT
if not, the yeas are 50, the nays are 48. the motion is agreed to. the nomination is placed on the calendar. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the boyle nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, consumer product safety commission, mary t. boyle of maryland to be a commissioner of the consumer product safety commission. the presiding officer: the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: pursuant to senate res. 27, the judiciary committee being tied on the question of reporting, i move to discharge the judiciary committee from further consideration of her nondevaier of california to be united states district judge for the central district of california. the presiding officer: under the provision of s. res. 27, there will now be up to four hours of debate on the motion equally divided between the two leaders or their designees with no motions, points of order or amendments in order. mr. schumer: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president. i yield the floor.
a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senior senator from arizona. ms. sinema: thank you, madam president. i rise today at a time in which families in arizona and across america are scared. for too long they've seen unacceptable levels of violence in their communities and it threatens their sense of safety and security. the morning after the tragic, horrible activity at robb elementary school in uvalde, texas, we all felt that fear. we felt it when we spoke to our neighbors and our friends and checked on our loved ones to ensure she were okay. for decades parents have lived with the unnerving uncertainty of what might happen when they send their children to school or attend worship services, go to the grocery store, or even simply let their kids play outside. for too long political games in washington on both sides of the aisle have stopped progress towards protecting our
communities and keeping families safe and secure. commonsense proposals have been tossed to the side by partisan lawmakers choosing politics instead of solutions. elected officials have made a habit of insulting one another for offering thoughts and prayers, for blaming violence on strictly mental illness or video games or particular kinds of weapons or any cause that didn't align with and confirm their own predetermined beliefs. casting blame and treating political barbs and attacks became the path of least resistance, but the communities across our country who have experienced senseless violence deserve better than washington politics as usual. our communities deserve a commitment by their leaders to do the hard work of putting aside politics, identifying problems that need solving, and working together towards common
ground and common goals. on may 24, as news spread of the shooting in uvalde and the 21 beautiful lives cut short, my friend and colleague chris murphy came to the senate floor and he asked the senate one simple question. what are we doing? why are we here if not to solve a problem as existential as this? i'm grateful that colleagues on both sides of the aisle have answered chris' question by resolving to do the hard work, build consensus, and find solutions. senator murphy you a tireless advocate for families in connecticut, reached out to my friend, senator john cornyn of texas, offering his condolences and assistance. senator cornyn was in uvalde comforting families who were experiencing the unthinkable,
and senator murphy had sadly been in a similar place ten years before at sandy hook. that same day i reached out to senator cornyn and senator thom tillis, two friends i've worked with to craft lasting bipartisan solutions managing the crisis at our border and helping ernst veterans access the benefits they've earned. we all planned to get quickly together to identify realistic solutions. within one day, we all representing diverse states across the country sat down and started working together. that same day we met with a larger group of 12 bipartisan senators, all of whom were eager to sit down, work together, and find a path forward. those meetings started a four-week process considering and working towards a host of solutions that would save lives, make communities safer, and
protect americans' constitutional rights. as we wrote our bill, we viewed our conversations as collaborations, not negotiations. we refused to frame our work as giving something up to getting something in return. and we stayed laser-focused on our shared goal of reducing violence and saving lives across american communities. we acknowledged that the root of violence plaguing our communities is complex. it can be partly attributed to criminals with dangerous weapons and attributed to a mental health crisis affecting young people in cities and towns across america. we spent hours carefully considering policy provisions, ensuring that we got the language right and that every policy included in our bill would help save lives, help children learn and grow in healthy, supportive
environments, and make the our communities safer, more vibrant places. it was hard work, and it was worth it. together we put aside our differences, focused on our shared values, and crafted a bill that expands resources in schools to help kids grow and learn, where they feel connected to their communities and where they know they can seek help if they need it. we boosted mental health resources through more community behavioral health clinics and increased access to telehealth services, ensuring that i had cans and families have being a -- that kids and families have access to care no matter where they live. it includes evidence-based resources and programs that i saw help reduce violence when i was a young social worker in phoenix. our provisions to protect more survivors of domestic violence will reduce the impact of trauma in children's lives all across
the country, ensuring that more kids and families grow up in safe homes, free from violence and free from the peter of violence. -- and free from the fear of violence. acknowledging the fact that the overwhelming number of gun owners are law-abiding steps, we crack down on criminals who illegally sell sore purchase guns and ensuring that court consistent with due process rights can keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of people who are dangerous to themselves and others. i'm the sister of a police officer, and i grew up in a family of gun owners. i know firsthand how fundamental the second amendment is to families across arizona. arizonans have a constitutional right to bear and keep arms, and that right will not be infringed upon. instead, our bipartisan safer communities act ensures that our
background check system works effectively and includes those who have committed dangerous crimes as juveniles or who have a who are of danger violence. protecting the rights of law-abiding americans while reducing familial violence and occurrences of childhood trauma. all of these tools together will give families in arizona and across our country more peace of mind so they can trust that their communities are secure and their schools are safe and,ically you the broad -- and critically, the broad bipartisan support of well over 60 senators from across the political spectrum, including both the democrat and majority majority , ensuring that our bill will stand the test of time. over the past few years we've been told time and time again that bipartisanship just isn't possible.
and even after proving bipartisan success with our investment and jobs law last year, we continued to be asked by pundits and political purists to accept a new standard by which important policy can only come together on a party line. but that just isn't true. what could be more important than keeping families and children safe and secure in their communities and in their schools? the truth is, americans are far more united than today's politics would have you believe. ask our constituents. in arizona, connecticut, texas, north carolina, and every state in between. ask them what they want to see in washington and they'll tell you -- an ability to work together, to solve problems and help them build better lives for themselves and their families. our bipartisan group of senators
rejected the notion that legislating must be a zero-sum game with winners on one tally sheet and losers on another. together we provided an example for how washington can and should work. we got out of our comfort zones, we built broad coalitions with unlikely allies, and we refused to demonize each other when things got tough. and i sincerely thank senator chris murphy for his passion, senator john cornyn for his leadership, and senator thom tillis for his pragmatism. each of my friends and colleagues brought a unique perspective and expertise that allowed us together to craft the most holistic approach to community violence in nearly 30 years. i also want to thank all of our staffs, especially my legislative director, michael
brownley, and my counsel chris voisten, for their tireless hours, including working straight through father's day, to get this bill right. you know, their efforts will save lives, help families across our country feel more secure, and make our schools safer. i promised arizonans that i would be an independent leader for our state and that i would ignore the chaos of washington and instead just focus on getting things done. it won't surprise anyone who might be listening today when i tell you that washington hasn't always liked my approach. but our bipartisan bill demonstrates the difference that elected leaders can make in the lives of our constituents when we choose to heal our divisions instead of feed those divisions. our historic legislation proves that bipartisan solutions are
possible when we just stay focused on what we were sent to washington to do -- to solve problems, help americans thrive, and ensure that our country remains a safe and secure place to call home. and on this particular bill, my colleagues and i join together with a special sense of purpose -- to honor the lives that were tragically lost to senseless violence in uvalde, in buffalo, in tucson, in parkland, in charlestown, at sandy hook, and in communities all across our country. our plan will make american communities safer, and we will help return a sense of security to everyday american families. i couldn't be more grateful for this moment. thank you, and i yield the floor.
the gallery right now listening to the senate debate on the bipartisan safer communities act is one of my interns. her name is sari kaufman. i'm glad to have her as an intern in my office this summer, but sari has a story to tell because she is the survivor of a mass shooting. she was a student at marjory stoneman doug has high school when a fineman entered that campus and -- when a gunman entered that campus and shot and killed her friends, her classmates. she remind us that she went to more funerals in a matter of a week than many adult dozen in their entire lifetime. she was in debate class when the shooting started and she ran for her life, as did hundreds of other survivors of that horrible day.
no student in america should have to experience what she went through. no young person should have the burden that she bears to come to washington and argue for changes that will make sure that other students don't go through the same thing. and no parent should have to go through the grief that parents day after day do, mass shooting after mass shooting, urban homicide after urban homicide, as we lose a generation of kids, of young people in this nation to an epidemic of gun violence that can be stopped. -- can be stopped by better public policy. i've been on this floor hundreds of times pleading with my colleagues to do something, and i am so grateful that senator cornyn, senator tillis, and a
handful of their colleagues on the republican side this time stood up and sat down with senator sinema, myself, and other democrats to find the common denominator. i'm here on the floor to talk a little bit more about what our piece of legislation does. but i agree with nor sinema. this is a moment where we have shown this country what is possible here in the united states senate. i talked last night about the fear that families in connecticut and all across the country felt in the wake of buffalo and uvalde and that twin fear about what fate awaited their children but also what fate awaited our democracy if we were unable to tries this moment to deal with this existential challenge, the loss of life in schools, in shopping malls, in supermarkets. and while this compromise was
hard-earned, every single day of the last four weeks proved to me what can happen in this body if we decide to come out of our political corners. and met me say -- and let me say that this moment that we are in today on the precipice of passing the most significant piece of antigun violence in the last 30 years would not be possible if it were not for senator sinema, would not be possible if it wasn't for her decision to sit down and help us find a path to what was possible. but it is also clear without the leadership -- but it is also clear that without the leadership of senator cornyn, and senator tillis, a strong supportert of second amendment rights but also somebody who believes in this place finding a way to that common demom narrator, this day -- denominator, this day wouldn't be possible either. so i want to talk about what
this bill does. because there will be a lot of folks that focus on what it doesn't do, certainly doesn't do all the things i think are necessary to end the epidemic of gun violence in this nation. but it will save thousands of lives. there's no doubt about that in my mind. in fact, i can make the argument that every single one of the provisions in this bill, in and of themselves, will save thousands of lives. we don't get to do that very often in this place. we don't get the chance very often to pass pieces of legislation that have this kind of impact. so if you want to focus on what's not in this legislation, you can. that's your prerogative. but i want to spend a few minutes talking about the difference this legislation will make in people's lives. senator sinema, senator cornyn rightfully focused, i put it right at the top, this major, historic investment in mental health access.
i made no secret in my belief that you can't solve america's gun violence epidemic simply through mental health funding, but there's no doubt that there is an intersection, and there's no doubt that our mental health system is just broken, period, stop. whether you believe it has any intersection with america's gun violence epidemic. there are far too many kids and adults in crisis in this country who cannot get access to mental health services. in my state, kids are stacked up in mooms, in -- in emergency rooms, in hallways, waiting days, if not weeks, for inpatient beds. $11 billion in this bill to unlock pathways of treatment for kids and adults, all across this country. funding in this bill for school and community safety. $2 billion to make our schools safer, not just through better door-locking mechanisms, but also in programs inside these schools that can try to identify kids in crisis early, building
supportive school environments that cut down on the pathways to violence. but also money for community-based interventions, what we call violence interruption programs. we have them in connecticut, where you'll intervene when a shooting victim comes to the hospital. you'll make sure that that incident doesn't spiral into retribtive violence in the community. funding for school safety and community safety in this bill. and then the parts of the bill that probably get the most attention, the changes in our gun laws. these crisis intervention orders, they do work. not every state has them, and it was important for senator cornyn for money to go to every state, regardless whether they have red flag laws. if you have a red flag law or want to pass one, you will get funding through this bill, significant funding, to allow you to implement that red flag
law better. there are states that have them, but they don't work very well. people don't don't know how to access them. police officers, first responders don't know what to do when they see somebody in crisis or threatening violence this themselves. now we'll have funding to help those states implement these laws that will allow for the authorities, with court orders, to be able to temporarily take deadly weapons away from people who are threatening to kill themselves or threatening mass violence. we're going to keep guns away from domestic abusers. and we know that in states that make sure that every domestic abuser is not allowed to purchase or possess guns, that there is a significant impact on domestic violence. and so, our bill makes it a national policy that if you have carried out an act of domestic
violence against your partner, whether you are married to them or whether you are in a serious dating relationship, you are not going to be able to have guns in your home. but, because this is a compromise, we built in a process by which, for those who have no previous records and those who keep their records clean, subsequent to the offense, can get those rights back. that made sense to us, especially give than if you're convicted of a felony you have a pretty clear pathway in your state to get your rights back, your voting rights or your second amendment rights. so we set up that process for those convicted of domestic violence dating misdemeanors. enhanced backgrounds ground checks for young buyers. whether we like it or not, that 18 to 21-year-old profile, those are the mass shooters right now in this country. and so we want to make sure that we do a more significant background check, to make sure
that these are responsible gun buyers, including a check with the local police department. the shooter in uvalde was known to local police. he didn't have an offense that would have prohibited him from buying those weapons, but ask yourself what would have happened if the local police department had gotten a phone call as part of that background check, had been alerted that a young man who they knew to be in some form of crisis was going to buy ar-15 style weapons on his 15th birthday? would there have been an opportunity for an intervention? possibly. maybe that tragedy could have been annoyed voided by better public policy. in this bill we also have new penalties for drug tasking -- trafficking and straw purchasing. why hasn't the united states of america had a law banning gun trafficking at the federal level, or banning straw purchasing, when the main way guns get into the flow of
illegal traffic is through straw purchasing and through complicated gun trafficking networks? now our federal law enforcement signature ace -- agencies are going to have available to them new tools that will i a lou -- that will allow them to cut down on the flow of illegal weapons throughout the country, but in particular, most importantly, into our cities. lastly, we'll do more background checks because of this bill. we clarifiedfy in this bill the definition of a federally licensed gun dealer to make sure everybody that should be licensed as a gun dealer is. in one of the mass shootings in texas, the individual who carried out the crime was mentally ill. he was a prohibited purchaser. he shouldn't have been able to to buy a gun. he was denied a sale when he went to a bricks-and-mortar gun store. he found a way around and went online and found a seller there who would transfer a gun to him without a background check.
that seller was engaged in the business, but didn't believe the definition applied to him, because the definition is admittedly confusing. well, we simplify that definition and my belief is this will result in more frequent online gun sellers registering, as they should, as federally licensed gun dealers, which then requires them to perform background checks. each one of these provisions, arguably, saves thousands of lives in and of themselves, but cumulatively this is a groundbreaking piece of legislation. a true compromise. not as much as i would like to do, but certainly more than some republicans would like to do. and it is a message to this country that there is a path forward in this body to address the epidemic of gun violence. it is a message to the
activists, like sari kaufman, who have been coming to this place, who have been going to their state legislatures asking time and time again for change, that speaking truth to power works, that legislators do listen. and i hope it is an invitation for us to find more ways like this to work together in the future. my belief is that those who vote for this, even those who have been on the outside of these negotiations in the past, will find that when they get back to their states there will be unfamiliar supporters showing up at your events indoors, people who are cheering you on, because we were able together to take this existential issue, the fear of death from gun violence, more seriously than we have in 30 years. and so i'm glad to share in a little more detail than i was
last night what is in this package. i think that this is a week to focus on what we have done, not what we have left undone, and to accept this as an invitation to find other ways that we can come together around difficult, vexing issues in this country. i have a fourth grader. the same age as those kids in uvalde. and i do not want him to grow up in a world in which he and his classmates have to worry about their survival when they walk into their school every day. i do not want to live in a world where survivors of these tragedies, in school after school, have to become advocates and activists in this cause. and while this bill doesn't solve america's gun violence epidemic, it certainly shows we have a potential to work
announced an agreement on legislation to protect our children and communities from the pandemic of gun violence. in the days since then this bipartisan group, led by senators murphy, cornyn, sinema, tillis, and others, have worked to move this agreement forward. we took a test vote last night. our first senate floor vote on the package. it was a strong bipartisan roll call. let's be clear -- this bill is a compromise. in a 50-50 senate, you expect nothing less. it doesn't accomplish everything i want. it certainly doesn't accomplish pferg which the republican colleagues who voted for it want either. but the reforms and investments made in this bill represent an important step toward making our nation safer. it won't end gun violence, but it will help reduce the number of shootings and killings, which number about 100 americans each
day, and end perhaps guns as the leading cause of death among our children. let me highlight a few important provisions. $250 million in grants for community violence intervention programs, which have shown great promise in communities in my state. this would double the current an annual -- annual justice department funding for these programs. the bill makes dramatic investments in mental health infrastructure, providing for behavioral health clinics. it gives an additional $28 million to trund the trauma support in school program and h.h.s. this a pregram that senator capito, republican of west virginia, and i created in 2018 to help break the cycle of trauma and violence. the bill will also provide $ 750 million in burn jag grants to help states administer crisis
intervention programs, like the extreme risk protection order laws in illinois and 18 other states. the bil -- the bill takes significant steps in closing the boyfriend loophole keeping guns out of the hands of dating partners convicted of violent offenses. this will crack down on the illicit flow of guns into cities like chicago. again, this bill is a compromise. there are provisions i'd rather change and some i'd rather do without, but overall it marks the most significant gun violence reduction legislation in nearly three decades. i commend the bipartisan effort that led us to this point, and we should pass this bill without delay. i want to call particular attention to two sections of this bill that i mentioned. one is to stop straw purchases. straw purchases are when a person with a clean criminal
record or no criminal record goes to buy a gun for the sole purpose of giving it to another individual who has a criminal record and couldn't legally purchase a gun himself. that happens. it happened last year in chicago. there was a straw purchase of a gun, and the gun was handed to a felon who turned around and used it to kill a chicago policewoman named ella french. ella french was 29 years old. she was a remarkable young woman. she had a great future ahead of her, and she was unfortunately shot and gunned down with a straw-purchased gun. the same gun was used against her partner in his police vehicle. he lost his sight in one eye. he survived. but that just shows you that these straw purchase guns are being used by people against police and innocent people on a regular basis. we need to make straw purchasing, buying a gun with a clean record to hand over to someone who has a felony
conviction, should be treated as a serious violent crime. this bill does that. the second thing that we desperately need is to deal with counseling. i know there's a traditional political argument where republicans say guns are not the problem. it's mental health or other issues. and democrats say it's guns. and if you don't include guns in the package, you're not going to get the job done. my view, it includes both. you have to believe that if half of the gun deaths in america each day are suicides, that the people who are the victims of those suicides needed at least some point in their life mental counseling. this bill provides counseling, and i hope it comes in the nick of time for people to turn their lives around and to restore hope in their p future so that they don't resort to the desperate decision towards suicide. but mental counseling for them is important. secondly, of course we read about the mass shooters at theaters and supermarkets and
schools, and we realize that they too should have been counseled at some point in the hopes that you could try to divert them from this vicious path that they are about to follow. that's an important issue. the third group is one that i am more familiar with. those are those people involved in gun violence in our cities like chicago and st. louis and so many other cities. these are young people who have diverted their lives away from what we consider normal because of a traumatic experience. trauma is more than physical trauma. it can involve the types of post traumatic stress that really lead to fight-or-flight syndromes and involvement in gangs and the use of guns without a feeling of guilt towards anyone that you hurt. these people need help, and we can reach them at an early age in schools, we might be able to turn their lives. if we don't try, unfortunately the violence will only continue in our streets. this bill that we are
considering, this community safety bill that we are considering provides resources to school districts to counsel young people. i think that's long overdue and desperately needed not just for those who have been through serious trauma in their life but for those facing other mental challenges. our kids, many of them coming back to school after covid, need a helping hand and someone they can counsel with. this bill starts providing those valuable resources. i believe it will make an important difference in the future of our country. on another topic, mr. president, inflation is the word on everyone's mind. we see proof of it plastered on gas stations throughout the country and in the aisles of our grocery stores. too many families are struggling to pay bills. just last week the federal reserve launched its most forceful broadside against inflation, the largest increase in interest rates in nearly 30 years. as lawmakers, we owe the american people an honest,
sober assessment of how we can start to bring down prices and help alleviate stress at the checkout lane. but sadly, the inflation conversation has been twisted with dishonesty and deflection by some political critics. instead of passing legislation to help reduce the cost of essential goods and services like prescription drugs and child care, many are pointing the finger of blame at the biden administration as if he invented inflation or isn't doing his best to end it. despite the fact that it was former president trump who urged the federal reserve to keep the money printer running at the start of the pandemic and that republicans opposed a bill that would prevent big oil companies from price gouging, we see arguments that are made totally on a political level. the bad-faith arguments we've heard from across the aisle ignore an essential truth. inflation is not just an american problem, it's a global problem. it's happening in advanced
economies like the u.k. and france. that is largely due to disruptions in the supply chain. the frayed supply chain didn't mean much to america a fuel months ago but now we know it's an important part of our challenge. this began two years ago with the pandemic and it's been aggravated by vladimir putin's barbaric invasion of ukraine. it's caused the cost of everything from food to energy to spike. in the words of one conservative commentator at the "wall street journal", quote, quo war in ukraine fans the flames of global inflation. so it's crucial to recognize the united states can't solve these global drivers of inflation on our own. there is one driver of inflation that is within our control -- labor shortages. we have twice as many jobs that need to be filled in this country as unemployed people to fill them. what can we do? the chart tells you part of the story.
this chart indicates that under the policies of the previous administration and due to covid-19 pandemic as well as lengthy backlogs, america experienced a marked decline in immigration and it's had a direct and detrimental impact on working families. according to coni fact, i quote, net migration to the united states has significantly declined over the past five years due to the policies of the trump administration, processing backlogs, the pandemic, and other factors. this slowdown has implications for the number of workers available and for fiscal sustainability. by the end of 2021, there were two million fewer working-age immigrants in america than there would have been if the pre-2020 migration transit continued. now perhaps your first instinct is, well, that's a good thing. that means more jobs for american workers. but the reality is not that at all. this decline in immigration is hurting working americans and
contributing to inflation. there are a number of industries in america that rely on foreign-born labor to provide affordable goods and services to our country. industries like construction, agriculture, transportation, to name just a few. consider the health care industry. nursing homes depend on a reliable supply of immigrant workers to provide care to the elderly and disabled. but since 2019, nursing homes have lost more than 15% of their workforce. today nearly every nursing home in the country, 99% according to "the wall street journal," is experiencing staffing shortages. as a result, many of them have had to limit the number of new clients they accept. in the words of one leader in the industry, quote quote we're just liking for people to fill the roles that we need and time and again we find it's the immigrant population that tends to respond to us. so it's our grandparents who end up paying the price for the shortage of working-age immigrants.
and they're not alone. if you're in the market for a new home, you may have noticed prices are prohibitively high, and these skyrocketing costs aren't just hurting potential home buyers. they're hurting renters as well. the cost of rent is actually outpacing inflation in america. one obvious way to bring housing costs back down to earth is by expanding the supply of homes in america. there are plenty of home builders willing to help fill the void, but they've got a problem -- not enough workers. down in dallas, texas, one home builder named joshua corea has been forced to delay home construction projects force months because he can't hire field crews. in his own words, immigration is very important for our workforce in the united states. we're feeling the shortage the workers. and if we're feeling, the consumer pays the price. from building new homes to providing health care in our homes, we rely on immigrants to
proil critical roles. in the absence, we as customers end up paying higher prices. if we want to solve america's worker shortage, we need to drastically increase the number of immigrants we welcome into this country. don't just take it from me. the c.e.o. of the chamber of commerce of america has called for doubling the legal immigrants into this country. in her words, and i quote, if we can alleviate the worker shortage, it might be the fastest thing we can do to impact inflation. and that's just a short-term benefit for fixing america's broken immigration system. in the long term, comprehensive immigration reform would drive america's economic growth for years to come. according to the economic policy institute, undocumented immigrants already pay nearly $12 billion in state and local taxes annually, but many of them are not on the books. by providing them a path to legal status, we could double the amount of federal tax revenue our nation collects from this group. that's money that will fund the
construction of roads and bridges, make social security, medicare, and medicaid payments. that's especially important when you consider the growing number of senior citizens in america who rely on these programs. by the end of this decade, more than a fifth of our population will be over the age of 65. these americans need a reliable, working-age tax base to support them. the path to legal status for undocumented immigrants also would boost our nation's g.d.p. by more than $1 trillion over the next ten years and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. passing immigration reform will also help keep america on the cutting edge of innovation. despite our former president's destructive immigration policies, america is still one of the top destinations in the world for innovators and entrepreneurs. in fact, more than half of our nation's p $1 billion start-ups were founded by an immigrant. let me repeat that. more than half of our nation's
billion-dollar start-ups were founded by immigrants. every day that we fail to enact immigration reform, we're allowing a generation of potential innovators and skilled workers to fall through the cracks. i want to briefly share the story of one of amazing person who almost fell through the cracks. his name is dr. alfred o quinone se, more commonly known as dr. q. today he is the chair of neurologic surgery at mayo clinic. decades ago when he first arrived in the united states as a teenager, he was an undocumented farm worker. he earned little more than $3 an hour picking crops in san joaquin valley in dravment. -- california. he began p working as a welder and suffered an injury. when he woke up in the hospital, dr. q. decided to pursue his passion. he enrolled in the university of california at berkeley and wrote his honors thesis on
neuroscience. that cawpt the attention of the admission officers at harvard medical school where he was accepted as a student. he studied hard considering his calling -- neurosurgery, and today he removes about 250 brain tumors every year. outside of the o.r., dr. q. devotes countless hours to pioneering research. he has a very modest goal -- cure cancer. and he's exploring novel methods like using human fat cells to fight brain cancer. how many other dr. q.'s are out there hiding in the shadows of our immigration system? isn't it time we find out, mr. president? in the meantime i'd like to pose a simpler question to my republican colleagues -- if you genuinely are interested in addressing inflation, will you help us move forward on this issue before the election? your willingness to work on immigration reform will reveal the answer. it's one of the most
the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come to the floor today to talk about this joe biden-caused economic crisis that's impacting our country. last week joe biden said his spending is, quote, changing people's lives. well, for once i'm in complete agreement with joe biden because i've been traveling the state of wyoming this past weekend and talking to lots of people, and joe biden's policies have been changing people's lives. joe biden's inflation is changing people's lives for the worst. it's costing american families about $5,000 more this year than it did last year just to keep even. joe biden's inflation is driving families to the breaking point.
right now working families all across this country are hoping for a summer break. this year's summer break might just break working families. inflation remains at a 40-year high. prices are going up everywhere. gas station, grocery store, and even paying rent. household staples like ground beef and chicken, highest prices ever. inflation for eating at a restaurant, highest ever recorded. families are paying $100 a week more than they did just a year ago just to stay afloat. according to a study from the university of michigan, this is the biggest decline in disposable income since herbert hoover was president. joe biden, herbert hoover. families' savings accounts are depleted. we now have the lowest savings rate since the great recession.
household debt is breaking records. families are being forced to cut back in ways they didn't think possible. the fastest inflation of all, of course, has been on energy. overall inflation has been merely 9%, but inflation for gasoline under joe biden is more than doubled, over a hundred percent. price of a gallon of gas has more than doubled since joe biden walked into the oval office. high energy costs mean high costs for everything else. high gas prices means it's harder to get goods to the market. diesel prices arele at record highs. america depends on farmers. farmers depend on diesel. that's just the fact of life. it's why america needs energy now more than ever in spite of the policies of joe biden. rather than producing more
energy, what does joe biden do? he's producing one excuse after another. he continues to tighten his stranglehold on american energy making it harder and harder to produce american energy, which is making american energy even more expensive. so last week joe biden, president of the united states, sent a threatening letter to american energy companies. now, he claims he wants more energy. but his actions speak much louder than the words he writes or speaks. because joe biden has done just about everything possible to keep american energy buried in the ground. he's blocked so many different ways to get american energy out of the ground and to refineries and to export or to production. in fact, his secretary of the interior explicitly made that a campaign promise when she was running for congress. the secretary of interior confirmed by the democrats, opposed by me promised to keep
american energy in the ground. well, that's exactly what joe biden is doing and having her do. by one estimate joe biden has taken more than a hundred actions since he's been president restricting american energy. it all started his first day in office. in the first few hours as president, joe biden killed the keystone xl pipeline, killed it flat, and then bragged about it. the keystone pipeline would have meant 800,000 barrels of oil delivered to this country each and every day coming in from canada. but that wasn't enough. no, a few days later joe biden made another announcement of his anti-american policy. he announced he was going to put a pause on all new oil and gas leases on federal land. bragging about keystone, announcing the pause on leases on federal land, and now here we are after 17 months in offices,
none but barack obama by this time had done 44 federal energy leases. not a single one by joe biden. no, not one. now, he's also shut down energy exploration near the arctic. all you need to do is talk to the senior senator who i share time with on the energy committee, senator murkowski, about what's going on there. and she will tell you how joe biden has shut down energy in the arctic. he's kempt more than -- kept more than 4300 drilling applications collecting dust on his desk. his energy agenda is far, far to the left of any previous american president. his energy agenda amazingly is far to the left of hillary clinton's agenda when she was running in 2016. further to the left than hil hillary. this is the most anti-american agenda in american history and
joe biden owns it. when he says he wants us to produce more, no one believes him. no one believes this president. you look at any poll numbers, people do not believe joe biden when he speaks and people have stopped listen -- have stopped listening to him. the american people believe with their own two eyes and their empty wallets. they drive by the gas station, look at the price up there, and say it's only gone up. if you want to know what joe biden really thinks, just look at what he does. just listen to the people he surrounded himself with. his anointed climate spokesman, and i mean anointed, is one john kerry. john kerry said last week, we absolutely don't need more oil, gas, and coal. absolutely don't need. that's the position of this administration and the president
of the united states. he's happy with high prices. john kerry thinks he can just get rid of fossil fuels immediately. these people are living a fairy tale. they're in a cacoon of self-delusion. that's what's going on at this white house. joe biden's fantasy of ending oil and gas is just that, a fantasy and he wants every american in an electric vehicle. there are not enough batteries. don't have enough charging stations. don't have enough of these vehicles. and even the secretary of transportation. so he bought one of these, bought it from mexico, according to the news reports, and it got recalled along with 49,000 other electric vehicles because the battery didn't work. the battery was not reliable. pete buttigieg went to filling potholes in a small town in
indiana to become the world's highest paid salesman of electric vehicles. but yet his own one failed him. the biden administration is convinced they are making, quote, an incredible transition. this isn't science. this is science fiction. last week joe biden's press secretary was asked why the president wasn't going to, quote, drill more here at home. after all, that's what the american people are calling for. that's what the economists say is a problem. why aren't you drilling more at home? she says oh, we don't need to do that. they don't seem to care how high energy prices go, what the cost of gasoline is because they live in a pure level of electric vehicles. earlier today the president requested a pause on the gas tax until right before the election. this is the tax that funds our
federal roads and bridges. as a former member of the environment and public works committee, i know how important the highway trust fund is. it helps repair roads, bridges, builds highways. joe biden doesn't seem to care about that part of it. he said no, let's just call a pause, 18.5 cents a gallon. it's a gimmick. it is a gimmick that won't have very much effect on gas prices because gas prices would still be double what they were when joe biden took office, even if you take off 18.5 cents. let me remind the american public that today gasoline prices on average, $4.95 a gallon. it's more than double it was the day he took office. we're up about $2.50 for each and every gallon and joe biden thinks, well, you remove 18 cents and we'll call it good. what a fantasy. so democratic economist larry
summers has called this idea by the president of the united states -- and let me point out larry summers was bill clinton's secretary of treasury, economic adviser to barack obama and president of harvard university. he says what joe biden is doing, he called it shortsighted, ineffective, goofy and gimmicky. that's about what we're getting from this president of the united states. goofiness and gimmicks. back in 2008, even president obama said the idea was a gimmick. you ought to have credibility with the democrats, you'd think joe biden might have listened tom. he was his vice president. president obama said this idea isn't designed to get you through the summer. he said, this is designed to get them through an election. so what about the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi? she's a big joe biden fan. this is what she said of the idea. the thing that the president proposed today she said is very show biz, very show biz.
she says it looks like you're doing something but it is not necessarily landing in the pocket of the consumer. so joe biden wants to look busy. it's not what the american people are seeing and in so many ways they have tuned him out. the american people see the price of gasoline. they see it every time they drive by a gas station. the same time senate democrats want to raise taxes on american energy. that's what we hear from the senate democrats. what's your solution? well, we're going to raise taxes on american energy. oh, sounds good. higher taxes mean higher prices. it's that simple. higher taxes on producers of oil and gas ultimately get passed on to the consumers. not sure what people understand about that. nancy pelosi admitted that as well. a few months ago she admitted, quote, a tax on production, she says the consumers will pay for that.
democrats are so desperate to try to do something throwing one hail mary pass after another, they're now ennying the laws of supply and -- now denying the laws of supply and demand. senate democrats act like these prices come out of thin air. prices are the result of supply and demand. and right now the supply is too low to meet the demand of the american people. you want lower prices, you have to increase the supply. and we can do that by producing american energy. high energy costs are driving up inflation all across the country. it's triggering a cascade of crises. stock market is down 20%. seniors and retirees are watching their savings evaporate, melt away. last week the federal reserve raised interest rates for the third time since march. each increase has been larger than the last one. this latest increase is the largest increase in the federate in 30 years.
oh, there's no question this is going to slow down the economy. so why is the federal reserve doing something that's going to slow down the economy? well, there's one reason. inflation under joe biden and the big spending democrats, that is the reason that the inflation is running rampant. trillions of dollars thrown on to the fire of inflation, inflation denied by the president, ignored by the president, dismissed by the president for month after month after month. and now the american people are living with inflation that they cannot escape. so the federal reserve is only one choice. it is throwing the emergency brake. it may still be too late to prevent a crash. the economy is barreling toward recession. economists on both sides of the aisle say that. and joe biden the other day said oh, he's not worried about that
coming along. a recession is a complete halt to economic growth for half a year. if you have a recession, you still have higher prices with lower economic growth. still have higher prices, and people won't have the money to pay them. right now the federal reserve is taking desperate measures to counteract what democrats have done. as a result, mortgage rates have already doubled this year, mortgage applications have been cut dramatically, older americans are delaying their dreams of retirement, younger americans are giving up on their dreams of owning a home. it's no wonder consumer confidence in joe biden and the nation right now is at an all-time low. joe biden, who earlier had been compared to her better hoover -- herbert hoover, he has an even
lower rating of approval than jimmy carter. joe biden wants to blame everybody but himself. yet the american people are right when they point the finger and blame joe biden. with record inflation, record debt, looming recession, now is not the time to do what at democrats want to do, which is raise taxes. democrats need to reverse course, stop the reckless spending, and, above all, unleash american energy. joe biden should rip up his letter to energy companies and get to work, hold energy lease sales, approve the 4,300 drilling applications still sitting in limbo in the biden white house, approve more pipelines, speed up the approval process. the american people right now are feeling stuck and stressed and squeezed, and the best this president can do is say, let's take a holiday from gas taxes
for three months. and prices are up over $2.60 a gallon from the date he took office, and he wants to alleviate 18 cents of pain. it's time for the democrats to reverse course. we'll see if joe biden listens. the democrats are refusing to listen. americans are paying a very high price today, and the democrats across the board are going to pay a very high price in november when people go to the polls. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor.
president. in march, i spoke here on the senate floor about the highest recorded gasoline pricings ever. at that time, according to triple a, the average price in west virginia, my home state, was $4.12. well, today, today west virginia's average is up to $4.90 while the national average is $4.96. last week the national average for a gallon of gas was more than $5, more than $5. think about that a and, worse, these high gas prices hit our hardest-working americans the hardest. as axios reported, americans who earn less than $50,000 a year are currently spending 10% of their credit card bills on gas compared with 6% for those households earning $125,000. these prices are not sustainable for the american families,
especially when you consider not only gas but with out-of-control inflation, they're battling gas, electricity, groceries, and other necessities. as "the new york times" reported, quote, prices climbed climbed.6% in the year through -- 8.6% in the year through may, a reacceleration that makes it increasingly difficult for consumers to afford everyday purchases. so people ask me, how did we get here? unfortunately, we shouldn't be surprised. even if it's hard to imagine that things would get this bad. from the earliest days of his presidential campaign, president biden promised to be anti-american energy. as president, his policies and personnel choices have delivered on his campaign promises, and high prices are just part of the bargain, as they would say a the administration has canceled
pipelines, rescinded previously issued approvals for other pipelines, and raised barriers to building new ones. a frozen oil and gas leasing and proposed raising royalties costs that are passed on to every consumer. and, remember, those hardest-working americans who are now paying 10% of their income. they're revising the nepa process, which is the environmental review proficiency undoing the streamlining that was done during 2020 to speed up project delivery. that means faster pipelines, faster infrastructure development of all kinds. biden's e.p.a. has harmered small refineries including the one in my state by denying hardship relief that could immediately help lower fuel prices. and biden's e.p.a. has also recently announced a proposal under section 401 of the clean water act to make it easeiers for activists to work to -- easier to for activists to work
to prevent projects. then there is the regulation on the power sector. e.p.a. has publicly announced plans to slam the electricity specter, already the most regulated sector by the e.p.a. about a fresh new slate of requirements. the damaging policies i have laid out have led to the energy crisis and skyrocketing energy and electricity prices that we face today. these policies are going to continue to fan the flames of this crisis, making it worse, not better. as costs continue to climb and energy production gets more expensive, thanks to this regulatory assault, utility operateors are warning warning of blackouts. they're already under strain things to the biden administration's policies. what has the white house done to address this crisis? well, i think gas buddy petroleum analyst patrick dahan
said it well -- quote -- white house begs all companies to improve situation. can we drill? we'd rather you not. can we build a refinery? we'd rather you not. can we build a pipeline? we'd rather you not. just make it better, end of quote. so it's no wonder that all of these mixed messages have industry and investors confused. i am confused. the american public is confused why nobody woke up to you what was going on to the president president's 0 white house? it hasn't started to abate the steady rise in gas prices. they've pointed fingers at energy producers and refiners with claims of price gaging. they've pointed the finger at vladimir putin despite the fact that gas prices were steadily rising months before the invasion of ukraine. the white house is content to keep finger-pointing while
refusing to take responsibility for their own actions. they know their actions are causing pain. they know with these policies and pledges from our climate czar, john kerry, to stop using ours own american fuels, they are chilling investments that we need today. for example, who would make a billion-dollar 40-year investment in it the refining capacity when we desperately need today more refining when john kerry promises that oil and gas investments will p be stranded assets? nothing the white house has promised will fix these kinds of issues. the president himself says energy producers should take immediate action to increase the supply of gas. yet his advisors in the white house are counseling everyone otherwise. this is going to make things worse. this administration is fiercely determined to kill the oil and gas sector and baseload power supply in this country rule by rule, executive action by executive action, and those
hardworking americans are paying for it at the pump. you know,the american people are really smart. they see what's happening here. the democrats want to layer on more regulations and legislation that will keep passing more and more costs onto those consumers, those hardworking americans who are paying 10% monthly from their monthly earnings. all the while the biden administration is working as hard as it can to shudder coal and natural gas production and electricity. you know what? without a 100-degree turn on several of the actions i laid out, we can speck costs to stay high and blackouts and brownouts to occur. americans deserve better. i'm an optimist. americans deserve better. i asked the administration to reverse course on some of these policies i've outlined and to put the livelihoods and quality of life of our constituents first. i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senior senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, madam president. i take this time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the enactment of title 9. it was passed and enacted onegin 23, -- on june 23, 50 years ago, when president nixon signed it into law, which explicitly added the folating sex discrimination provisions into the law. no person in the united states shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program activity receiving federal financial assistance. bradley speaking, title -- broadly speaking, title 9
prohibits any from discriminating against students is or employees on the basis of sex. today i would like to reflect on how far we've come in terms of combating sex discrimination in the united states and how far we still need to go and what steps we can take as we strive to guarantee equal rights and equal justice under the law for all americans, regardless of their gender identification or sexual orientation. sex discrimination comes in many forms, and historically has included discrimination based on pregnancy or sex stereotypes. we've seen sex discrimination that includes sexual harassment in our schools and the workplace, dating violence, and sex-based stalking. such sexual harassment and discrimination often leads to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts with the women affected and can lead to higher rates of dropping out of school. congress responded in part by
passingless violence against -- passing the violence against women act and recently reauthorizing it and strength strengthening it in 2022. title 9 is seniorly is responsible for much progress women have made in the last half a century. today women earn nearly 60% of the doctoral, masters, bachelor's and associate degrees conferred in this nation. a suborn disparity still exists, however, with respect to women and particularly women of color earning science, technology, engineering and math -- stem -- degrees. in terms of sports, you have seen an enormous increase in women and girls participating in athletic activities with more than a 1,000% increase in high school-level sports and a 600% increase in collegiate-level sports is, an increase that helped them to develop team work and leadership skills, in some cases earn athletic scholarships
and become professional athletes. in professions, women represent a majority of employees, women are still held back from obtaining leadership positions. for example, women represent more than three-quarters of the entire health care workforce, yet just 27% of chief executive officer positions in our hospital system. looking at title 9 progress and the road ahead, the national coalition for women and girls in education, the national women's law center, and others recently released a report "title 9 at 50." the report takes a look at title 9's impact other the last half a century, celebrating the progress while recognizing the would, that remains to be done. let me quote from that report. despite the tremendous progress towards gender equity in the last 50 years, students today
continue to be deprived of their education because of sex discrimination. schools are not adequately protecting students from sexual harassment, sex, and race-based discipline and discrimination based on their sexual oration, gender identity or parenting statistic us a. 20% of girls have been victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault while in high school. and one in five women and one in four transgender or gender nonconforming students are sexually assaulted on college campuses. women and girls in the lgbtq continue to face discrimination in athletics and careers in technical education programs and in sex segregated classrooms in schools. we still have progress that we need to achieve. i support the u.s. department of education's effort to undo the trump administration's weakening of civil rights protection for student survivors and to ensure
the protection of the lgbtq community and students in the face of mounting violent threats, hateful rhetoric, and cruel attacks from state officials. as the women's law center commented recently on the enhanced title 9 protections, and i quote, we urge the swift release of a robust proposed rule by the department of education by the 50th anniversary of title 9 on june 23, 2022. students are protesting across the country, demanding that their schools meaningfully address sex-based harassment. they are in desperate need of title 9's full protections. the proposed rule is critical to begin the regulatory process for undoing the harmful changes made to the title 9 rule in 2020 by the trump administration and to address mounting threats to the lgbtq-i plus community. while sex based harassment in schools remain pervasive, the
2020 rule pushes schools to ignore many instances of sex-based harassment leaving scores of survivors without recourse which are harmful to student survivors and deter reporting. these harms, especially fall on women and girls of color, disabled survivors and lgbtq sufficer, all of whom face discrimination as less credible when they file a report. we still have a road ahead of us. let me close by saying when it comes to equality for women in our laws and constitution there should be no deadline on equality. most americans already think the equal rights amendment is already part of our constitution. the needed 38 states completed their legal ratification. we have now need to remove any ambiguity and finally complete the ratification of the 28th amendment to our constitution. i've introduced bipartisan legislation with senator
murkowski, senate joint resolution 1, which would rescind the e.r.a.'s arbitrary ratification deadline. the house has passed its legislation and it has 51 cosponsors in the senate. after the equal rights amendment itself was first passed by the senate in 1972, congress changed the he seven-year deadline to ten years setting precedent for such activity and authority. there is no deadline in the e.r.a. itself. legal enactment of the equal rights amendment to the constitution should take place two years after two-thirds of the house and senate and three-quarters of the states ratify. nevada ratified the e.r.a. in march of 2017, illinois in 2018 and virginia in january of 2020. article 5 of the constitution contains no time limits for the ratification of amendments. the states finally ratified the 27th amendment in 1992
regarding congressional pay raises more than 200 years after congress proposed it in 1789 as part of the original bill of rights. that amendment is now part of our constitution. the e.r.a. time limit was contained in a joint resolution, not the actual text of the amendment. the e.r.a. would simply provide the equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the united states or by any state on account of sex. the amendment also provides congress shall have the power to enforce by appropriate legislation the provisions of this article. just like with title 9, women are not asking for privileges. they are simply asking to be treated equally under the law and to be affordedded the same legal rights as men under the law. with that, madam president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
to protect our children epidemic of gun violence. in the day since then this bipartisan group led by senators murphy cornyn, sinema, tell us and others have worked to move this forward. we took it test vote last night are there for senate a senate floor vote of the package. it was a strong bipartisan roll call. let's be clear this bill is a compromise in a 50-50 senate you'd expect nothing less but it doesn't accomplish everything i want and it certainly doesn't account this everything which the republican colleagues want either. but they were forms of investments made in this bill represent an important step to making our nation safer. it won't end gun violence. objec. mr. cardin: i ask unanimousbjec. consent that the senate vote at 6:00 p.m. on the motion to
in the gallery right now listening to the senate debate on the bipartisan state or communities at is one of my and turns. her name is sara kaufman. i'm glad to have risen entered my office this summer. she has a story to tell. she is a survivor of a mass shooting. she was a student at marjory stoneman douglas high school when a gunman entered that campus and shot and killed her friends, her classmates. she reminds us that she went to more funerals in the matter of her week and many adults do in their entire lifetimes. when the shooting started she ran for her life as did hundreds of other survivors of that day.
no student in america should have to experience what she went through. no young person should have the verbiage she bears to come to washington and argue for changes that will make sure that other students don't go through the same thing. and no parent should have to go through the grief that parents day after day do come a mass shooting after mass shooting, urban homicide after urban homicide because we lose a generation of kids, of young people in this nation to an epidemic of gun violence. i've been on this for hundreds of times meeting with my colleagues to do something. and i am so grateful that senator cornyn, senator tell us
and a handful of their colleagues on the republican side this time stood up and sat down to -- with senator sinema myself and other democrats to find a common denominator. i'm here in the florida top were about what this legislation does. i agree with senator cinema -- sinema this is a moment where we have shown the country what is possible here in the united states senate. i talked last night about the fear of the families in connecticut and all across the country felt in the wake of uvalde and that's when fear for their children but also our democracy if we weren't able to rise to this moment to deal with this existential challenge the loss of life in schools and shopping malls and supermarkets. and while this compromise was
hard-earned every single day in the last four weeks proved to me what can happen in this body if we decide to come out of our political corners. and let me say that this moment that we are in today on the precipice of passing the most significant gun legislation in the last 30 years would not be possible if not for senator sinema. it would not a possible as it was her decision to sit down and help us find a path to what was possible but it was also clear that without the leadership of senator cornyn who sat through way too many of these tragedies in the state in senator tell us a strong supporter of 2nd amendment rights and somebody who believes in finding a way to that common denominator this day would not be possible. i want to talk for a few moments about what this bill does.
because there are folks that focus on what it doesn't do. it certainly doesn't do all the things i think are necessary to end the epidemic of gun violence in this nation. but it will save thousands of lives. there is no doubt about that, in my mind. in fact i can make the argument that every single one of the provisions in this bill in and of itself will save thousands of lives. we don't get to do that very often in this place. we don't get the chance very often to pass the piece of legislation that has this kind of impact so if you want to focus what is not in this legislation you candidature prerogative. i want to spend a few minutes talking about the difference this legislation will make in people's lives. senator cornyn focus and put it right at the top is major historic investment in mental health access.
in my belief you can't stop an epidemic simply through mental health funding but there is no doubt there's an intersection and there's no doubt that her mental health system is broken. there are far too many people in crisis he cannot get access to mental health services. in my state kids get stacked up in emergency rooms and hallways days if not weeks waiting for inpatient beds. $11 billion in this bill unlocking treatment for kids and adults all across this country. funding of this bill for school and communities of $2 billion to make our schools safer not just through better door locking mechanisms but also programs inside the schools that can try
to identify kids in crisis early building supportive school environments that cut down on the pathways to violence. but also money for community-based intervention, what we call violence interruption programs. they have them in connecticut where you will intervene when a shooting victim comes to the hospital treaty will make sure that incident doesn't spiral into violence in the community, funding school safety and community safety in this bill and the bill that will get the most intention is the changes in our gun laws. these crisis intervention orders to work or not every state has them in his important senator cornyn put every money to go to every state regardless of whether they have red flag law's. if you have a red flag law or you want red flag law or you want to that's when you'll be able to get funding for this bill, significant money to allow you to implement that red flag
law better. the states that have them police officers and first responders don't know what to do when they see somebody in crisis and they see somebody threatening violence to themselves. now we will have something to help in the law that will allow for those authorities with court orders to be able to temporarily take deadly weapons away from people or threatening to kill themselves are threatening mass violence. we will keep guns away from domestic abusers. and we know in states that make sure every domestic abuser is not allowed to purchase or possess guns that there is a significant impact on domestic violence and so our bill makes it a national policy that if you have carried out an act of
domestic violence against your partner where do you are married to them or whether you are in a serious dating relationship you are not going to be able to have guns in your home. that because this is a compromise we have built in a process by which for those who have no previous records of those who keep a record clean subsequent to the offense can't get those rights back. it makes sense to us especially given if you are convicted of a felony you have a pretty clear pathway in your state to get your voting rights back or your 2nd amendment rights. we set up the process for those that are convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors. enhance background checks for young buyers. whether we like it or not that 18 to 21 your profile or the mass shooters right now in this country. so we want to make sure that we do a more significant background
check to make sure these are responsible gun buyers including a check with the local police department to the shooter in uvalde was known to local police. he didn't have an offense that would have prohibited him from buying those weapons. ask yourself what would have happened if the local police department would have gotten a phonecall is part of that diagram checked to be alerted the young man they knew to be in form -- some former crisis was going to buy ar-15 style weapons. would there have been an opportunity for an intervention? possibly. maybe that tragedy could have been avoided by better public policy. in this bill we have held for gun trafficking in straw purchases. why an earth hasn't the united states of america had a law banning gun trafficking at a federal level or purchasing when the main way the guns get into
the flow of illegal traffic is through complicated gun trafficking. now a federal law enforcement agency will be available or it will have available to them new tools allow them to cut down on the flow of illegal weapons throughout the country. most importantly into our cities. lastly we will do more background checks. we clarify in this bill the definition of a federally licensed gun dealer to make sure that everybody should be licensed as a gun dealer is and when the mass shootings in texas the individual carried out the crime was mentally ill. he was a prohibited purchaser and he shouldn't have been able to buy a gun. he was denied a sale when he went to a. to a brick-and-mortar gun store but he found away around the background check because he went on line and found a seller there who would transfer a gun to him without a background check and
it turned out that seller was in fact engaged in business. didn't believe the definition apply to him because the definition is confusing. we simplify that definition and i believe it will result in more of a frequent on line sellers registering, as they should come as federally licensed gun dealers that it will require them to perform background checks. each one of these provisions arguably saves thousands of lives and of themselves but she miserably it's a groundbreaking piece of legislation a true compromise not as much as i would like to do and certainly more than some republicans would like to do. and it is a message to this country that there is a path forward in this body to address the epidemic of gun violence. it is a message to the activist
like sari kaufman who had been going to their state legislatures asking time and time again for change in speaking truth to power works. that legislators to listen. and our hope is an invitation for us to find more ways to work together in the future. my belief is that those, even those who have been on the outside of these negotiations in the past will find when they get back to their states there will be unfamiliar supporters showing up at your events indoors, people were cheering you on because we were able together to take this existential issue the fear of death from gun violence, more seriously than we have in 30 years. and so i'm glad to share a
little more detail than i was last night what is in this package. i think this is focusing on what we have done and not what we have left undone and to accept this as an invitation to find other ways we can come together around difficult issues in this country. i have a 4th-grader. the same age as those kids in uvalde. and i do not want him to grow up in a world in which he and his classmates have to worry about their survival when they walk into their school every day. i do not want to live in a world where survivors of these tragedies in school after school have to become advocates and activists and while this bill doesn't solve the gun epidemic it shows we have the potential
to work together on these difficult and vaccine challenges in a brand-new way. i yield the floor. >> i rise today to time in which families in arizona and across america are scared pray for too long they have seen unacceptable levels of violence in their communities. and it threatens their sense of safety and security. the morning after that tragic activity at robb elementary school in uvalde texas we all felt that here. we felt it when we spoke to our neighbors and our friends and checked on our loved ones to ensure that they were okay. for decades parents have lived with the unnerving uncertainty of what might happen when they take their children to school to worship at services or go to the grocery store or simply letting the kids play outside. for too long political gains in
washington on both sides of the aisle have stopped progress towards protecting our communities and keeping families safe and secure. commonsense proposals have been tossed to the side bipartisan lawmakers choosing politics instead of solutions. elected officials have made a habit of one another are offering thoughts and. blaming violence on strictly mental illness or video games or particular kinds of weapons for any cause that didn't align with and confirmed their own beliefs. casting blame and trading clinical -- became the path of the least resistance but the communities across our country who have experienced senseless violence deserve better than washington politics as usual. our communities deserve a commitment by their leaders to do the hard work of putting
aside politics, identifying problems and working together toward a common ground and a common goal. on may 24, as news spread of the shooting in uvalde and 21 beautiful lives were cut short my friend and colleague chris murphy came to the senate floor and he asked the senate one simple question. what are we doing? why are we here if not to solve the problem existential is this? i am grateful that colleagues on both sides of the aisle have answered chris' question and resolving to do the hard work to find solutions and build consensus. senator murphy a tireless advocate for families in connecticut reached out to my friends in john cornyn in texas offering his condolences. senator cornyn was in uvalde
comforting families who are experiencing the unthinkable and senator murphy has sadly been in a similar place 10 years before in sandy hook. that same day i reached out to senator cornyn and senator thom tillis, two friends i've worked with to craft a lasting bipartisan solution managing the crisis at our border and helping veterans access the benefits they have earned. we need to get quickly together to identify realistic solutions for the one-day percentages were the cornyn tillis and myself all representing states across the country sat down and started working together. that same day we met with the larger group of 12 bipartisan senators all of whom were eager to sit down and work together and find a path forward. those meeting started a forward process considering and working towards a host of solutions that
would save lives, make communities safer and protect america's constitutional rights. as we wrote the bill we viewed our conversations as collaboration. we refused to frame her work is giving something up to getting something in return and we stay laser focused on our shared goals of reducing violence in saving lives across american communities. we acknowledged the root of violence plaguing our community is complex. he they can be partly attributed to criminals with dangerous weapons and attributed to a health crisis affecting young people in cities and towns across america. we have hours carefully considering policy provisions come ensuring that we got the language right and every policy included in our bill could help save lives.
children growing in support of the marmots in making our country safer or more vibrant places. it was hard work and it was worth it. together we put aside our differences focused on our shared values and crafted a bill that expands resources and schools to help kids grow and learn to feel connected in their communities and to seek help if they need it. we have boosted mental health resources or behavioral health clinics and increase taxes to telehealth services ensuring kids and families have access to care no matter where they live. our mental health and school support proposals include evidence root resources and programs that help reduce violence. when i was a young social worker serving at elementary schools our provision to protect more survivors of domestic violence
will reduce the impact of trauma in children's lives across the country ensuring more kids and families grow up in safe homes free from violence and free from the fear of violence. and acknowledging the fact that the overwhelming number of gun overs -- owners are law-abiding citizens we crack down on those illegal -- illegal seller purchase guns and give them -- to make sure dangerous weapons are kept out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves and others. i am the sister of a police officer and i grew up in a family of gun owners. i know first-hand help on the myth of the 2nd amendment is to families across arizona. arizonans have a constitutional right to bear and keep arms and that right will not be infringed upon.
instead our bipartisan safer communities act ensures that her background checks can work effectively -- who committed crimes as juveniles or have a history of domestic violence, protect and the constitutional rights of law-abiding americans while reducing familial violence and occurrences of childhood trauma. all of these tools together will give families in arizona and across our country more peace of mind so they can trust that their communities are secure in their schools are safe and critically the broad bipartisan support of well over 60 senators from across the spectrum including both republican and democratic senate leaders ensures when our bill is signed into law he will stand the test of time. over the past two years we have been told time and time again by partisanship just is impossible.
even after proving bipartisan success with their historic and for structure investment. againt this body take immediate action, action needed to address our nation's massive baby formula shortage. for months american moms and dads have been scouring supermarkets and drugstores looking for baby formula. anxiety-ridden parents are pleading with family and friend, trying to figure out how to ship, purchase, and otherwise procure baby formula. still, some families must hospitalize their babies because they can't find formula. yes, they're hospitalizing them for that reason alone. inexcusably, the crisis has only gotten worse. in may alone, reports show that the out-of-stock rate jumped from 43% to a staggering 73%
nationally. in utah, my state, the state with the largest families, the most children per capita and the heightest birthrate in the nation, reports should he that out-of-stock rate to be as high as 89.9%. desperate parents are resorting to places like facebook marketplace buying from unknown sellers at exorbitant markups. the failure of the biden administration's policy has not so much as put a dent, even a tiny dent in this problem. the white house said that parents should ask your pediatricians who may have formulas or alternatives, as if that were somehow a solution. this hollow non-response was embarrassing enough but the administration's response has not improved with time since that time. when the question came up again, the white house press secretary
spent nearly 20 seconds flipping through a bidener only to re-- binder only to real estate spond with, i don't have anything new, close quote. madam president, that response is simply unacceptable. it is unacceptable for the american people generally and especially for those families dealing with this inexplicably, needlessly prolonged crisis. by failing to act, we're leaving parents in an unimaginable situation. during one of the most stressful and impactful times of life. worse, they've received no discernible answers from their elected officials. the white house's website lays the blame solely on abbott's plant closure in michigan, quote, due to safety concerns from the f.d.a. but this is a very limited, narrow line of thinking. the f.d.a. regularly recalls other food products but none of those recalls happens through a
result of shortages of this magnitude or significance with such weighty consequences on youngest of americans. look, it doesn't have to be this way. there are a lot of weighty problems we address in the united states senate that are seemingly unsolvable, intractable or at least very difficult to solve because they involve things that very often are beyond our ability to control. this is not one of those problems. this is within our grasp. it's within our control. in fact, government is the problem. government caused it and by turning certain levers, government can relieve this problem and do so in a very short period of time. this suffering is unnecessarily being prolonged by the government itself. so the senate can help these families, these american families struggling with this crisis, by immediately passing this bill called the formula act. this bill responds to the crisis in three simple ways to help solve the crisis at hand and feed american babies. first, my bill would suspend
tariff collection on currently-allowed formula imports. we tax imported farm la at a rate of about 17.5% upon entering the united states. it can roughly double to about 35%, depending on the circumstances of the shipment. we can help ease the skyrocketing prices and encourage companies to import as much baby formula as possible or at much as demand within the market requires by simply suspending for a period of six months this tariff collection. look, the administration has okay knowledged that there are appropriate times to suspend the collection of certain taxes. for example, it's currently proposing suspending the gasoline tax for a period of three months. surely it's not the biden white house's position that gasoline is more important than feeding
infants. second, my bill would temporarily allow formula imports from several safe countries, like those in europe. this would enable us to access plentiful formula supply from abroad and to meet our current needs with that a now, allowing these imports is not going to endanger american babies. the manufacturing plants in question are already approved and are already regulated by their home countries, and the only plants operate in countries subject to authorities that are comparable to those imposed by our own food and drug administration. these are countries from which we already import pharmaceutical products. the fact is that parents have already begun taking mats into their own matters a -- matters into their own matters a, often with dire consequences. we're hearing reports of parents resorting to online homemade recipes for formula that they then need to their infants.
infant hospitalizations due to malnutrition are correspondingly increasing as a direct result of these activities and the shortages from which they stem. doctors have voiced their concerns that homemade formulas can lead to liver and kidney issues and in some cases even heart failure. some families have tried diluting the formula that they are able to access with more water, which can lead to brain developing and organ failure. some doctors refer to the shortage as, quote, the worst crisis they've experienced in their careers, close quote. they have to place dehydrated children on i.v. fluids which isn't of course a long-term solution. it is cute and dire response to a life-threatening emergency brought about through an artificial government restraint on the market. these short-term consequences are scary enough.
they're scary enough to say nothing of the horrors the infants experience in the process. we still don't know what the long-term effects of these might be to the babies. those worried about the formula quality may find solace in the fact that my bill retains the f.d.a.'s authority to recall foreign formulas in the very unlikely straighten these safety issues arise. remember, these are formulas produced in facilities in countries from which we already import pharmaceutical products based on our country's trust and confidence that their safety and quality standards are as secure as if not more stringent than our own. additionally, my bill only calls for importing formula that's lawfully marketed and approved in select foreign countries. again, private citizens are already doing this. the law already allows the
personal importation of baby formula, meaning somebody can jump online and order it on their own. parents are voluntarily choosing to do so because they've done the research and they trust that it's safe for their baby. they understand, as we do, that babies in france and switzerland and in the united kingdom are not different than the babies in the united states of america. formula that works for them, that's saved and healthy for them, that has proven health and safety and effective for them for many, many decades is also going to work with respect to american babies. my bill would make it more effective and ease certificatier for -- easier for parents. it's really expensive to do it. they can't buy in bulk and it requires extra shipping and handling costs that makes this prohibitively expensive for many people, even the lucky ones, who become aware that its even an
option. my bill isn't making something legal that's currently illegal. it's simply making it more affordable. it's making it so that we no longer limit access to these foreign formulas, foreign top-quality formulas from places like france and switzerland and the united kingdom. they'll be available to poor and middle-class families and not just the wealthy. final lay, my bill would allow w.i.c. program recipients to buy whatever brand of formula is available with w.i.c. vouchers. my bill will allow these parents to buy from available stock and feed their children and guarantees greater flexibility. the existing formula crisis has been ex- acerbate by the fact that the w.i.c. beneficiaries are given avoucher. they of course that voucher limits then to procuring only that brand of formula specified on the voucher itself which in many instances might be out of stock. this would eliminate that problem.
madam president, keeping american infants fed should be one of the least controversial proposals imaginable, especially because this is something that can be done easily. we can bring about almost immediately relief to these parents and to their babies by not causings the problem anymore or at least waiting a few months before causing this problem again. in the meantime, the hope and the expectation is that the american formula industry can retool, revamp, and get back in the practice of producing sufficient quantities that they'll be able to meet with demand. but we need six months in order to do that. american babies are going hungry and the federal government is the problem. the federal government is causing these babies to starve and otherwise suffer. my formula act will help solve the formula crisis and ensure that american babies do not go unfed. look, there is a reason why we see this crisis here but not in
any of our neighbor countries, not in any of our peer countries. itiess here because it is a feature of u.s. law. we can fix this problem. we can help solve this crisis today. we can make sure american babies' crisis do not go unanswered. we can and must pass my formulaage of and so, madam president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 372, s. 4261. 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 objection? mr. casey: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: i rise to object to the senator from utah's request. i understand his concern and the concern of people in both parties, both sides of the aisle here in the senate. -- to take action on this infant formula challenge that so
many families are suffering through right now. the unfortunate part about this proposal is, this will put babies at risk in ways that we don't even fully understand right now. there's bipartisan concern, and the evidence for that is the action of committees, bipartisan work in several committees, including the agriculture committee as well as the health, education, labor, pensions committee. bipartisan work to meet this crisis. and the focus of that work has been to get formula on shelves as soon as possible. madam president, it's important to remember how our nation's formula crisis began. abbott's recall, the manufacturer, the recall and closure came after as many as nine infants died from contam nailted formula -- contaminated formula. that's how this started,
contaminated formula. we can and should get to the bottom of the abject failures that led to contaminated formula hitting the shelves. i've been working on this for months, many months before this crisis came to a head. but we can't forget our top priority here when it comes to protecting infants. we've got to keep our nation's most vulnerable, these infants, safe. and it's pretty clear that the food and drug administration bears responsibility for dropping the ball in so many ways in terms of inspections, but still, even despite that failure, the f.d.a.'s standards are the best in the world. as i mentioned, the agriculture and help committee has already done bipartisan work. and i think when you look at the, you saw the hearings that took place especially in the health, education, labor,
pensions committee, bipartisan condemnation of the food and drug administration. bipartisan calls for accountability tep food and drug administration. and they should be hit very hard in terms of the accountability that should be imposed and must be imposed on the f.d.a. unfortunately this bill will completely disregard the f.d.a.'s standards for safety, which have put our children at risk. i'd also mention the help committee's work marking up a bill last week, an f.d.a. bill, amendments allowing importation during a shortage with appropriate guardrails to ensure formula is safe for our nation's infants. these bipartisan amendments represent a more appropriate path forward than this approach today. to limit the f.d.a.'s ability to protect our infants. now is not the time to
completely abandon safety standards. we need to do everything we can to get formula back on shelves, but we can't compromise safety at any cost. here's just some examples. go to the f.d.a.'s website. under the food and drug administration center for food safety and applied nutrition, here's a few examples from their database. july 2016, four-week-old baby in the u.s. was fed a stage 1 infant milk product approved in nearly all the countries described in the senator's bill, but not in the u.s. after consuming that formula, the baby experienced diarrhea, fever, vomiting and lethargy. the baby ended up in the emergency room where he was diagnosed with salmonella infection. second, one-month-old baby similarly.is sond by a product -- a product approved. that baby began vomiting. january 2019, a five-month-old
p began experiencing upper abdominal pain, diarrhea after consuming another such product. that's just a small example. these concerns are why the american academy of pediatricians, american academy of pediatrics for years has warned against importing formula from europe. of the academy has published articles highlighting the dangers of buying imported baby formulas and advising against doing so. so despite all this, the senator and others want to go forward with this bill. here's the good news, the only good news in the short run. here's the good news -- we don't have to compromise safety standards to increase the supply. we already know that the administration's operation fly formula is bringing formula into the united states at a pretty rapid clip. 32 flights, 19 million eight-ounce bottle eqif p latins of form -- equivalents of
formula. the f.d.a. right now the is using enforcement discretion to allow the importation of additional select formula through national, through normal distribution channels bolstering the domestic supply of safe and nutritious formula by over 220 million eight-ounce bottle equivalents. add the two together, you have almost 240 million bottles that are going to be, and many of which have already been imported safely. the administration is also taking other steps to increase formula production domestically by invoking the defense production act to prioritize critical ingredients in manufacturing supplies for infant formula production. so steps are being taken, but we cannot, when we're invoking the powers of the executive branch or enacting legislation, we cannot compromise on safety. we have to have the highest safety standards in the world,
which we do, and we've got to make sure that we adhere to those safety standards. so i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, i appreciate the insights, always thoughtful p counsel of might -f my distinguished friend and counsel, the senator from pennsylvania. he's a voice of reason and a delight to work with. i do feel compelled to respond to a few of his points. yes, it's true there are ambitious plans to fly formula over. they used the defense production act to do that, to have the government to act. the ambitious plans that he describes have yet to materialize. what we have to look at is the bottles that shall available now, that have been -- that are available now, that are available now, it's about 13 million bottles. you know what the average daily consumption of bottles in
america? nine million. this buys us a day and a half of formula. that's not a solution. as to the objection related to the f.d.a. regs, he points to the safety concerns and highlights a few adverse incident report not necessarily linked to the formula itself but things people experienced as they were switching formulas. a lot of symptoms he described, including lethargy, diarrhea, and some of those have been linked to babies switching formula. yes, when a baby switches formula, when it's from one american brand to another or american brand four-week-old a european brand it's not uncommon during this transition period for babies to react this way. i wish it weren't necessary for them to switch to begin with. this was unnecessary to make them switch. another point i need to refute, he made at the outset about formula being responsible for the contamination, for foodborne illness.
it was income tax not -- it was in fact not the formula that caused that. the f.d.a. investigation revealed it wasn't the formula. it was a source of bottled water that had itself been contaminated. it was that bottled water that the parents were mixing with the formula that turned out to be contaminated by no fault of their own but also by no fault of the manufacturer. we have to keep straight what happened here and what didn't happen. finally, with regard to the safety risks, i understand this, and it's important that we be safe in doing this. we have to remember these are countries from which we currently import pharmaceutical products because we trust that their equivalent of the f.d.a. is safe and is effective. so if we don't trust them with respect to baby formula, i would submit that we shouldn't trust them elsewhere. in fact we can trust them in these areas. none of those adverse incident reports, to my knowledge, have been linked to a defect or contamination in the formula
itself. finally, it's important to remember that we have a massive health crisis faced by these babies who are unable to get formula. children being hospitalized because they are dehydrated. these can have lasting consequences. they are occurring at a time when the baby's brain development is on a very critical timeline. you don't want to interrupt that. you don't want a supply chain disruption to lead to a disruption in the baby's developmental growth. it's unfortunate my friend, the distinguished colleague, the senator from pennsylvania, has objected to this very reasonable, rational, sensible response that lifts the government's impediments. i wish this were not the case because this would deliver meaningful reform, unlike the 13 million bottles, the day naval worth of formula -- day and a half worth of formula, this would solve the problem and solve it for at least six
months, long enough for our domestic production capabilities to resume. it's unfortunate. i wish it were not the case. of in the spirit of comity and compromise, i'll modify my request. again, the formula act would have included these three legs -- a regulatory component, lifting the regulatory restrictions, and import tariff restriction, and also lifting some restrictions in the w.i.c. program. so i'm going to counter offer with another amendment that would remove the waiver of the f.d.a. regulations for the imported formula. that, after all, is the concern he is expressed, and so that should allow us to deal with it. it would keep the tariff and the w.i.c. waivers from the formula act intact and therefore shouldn't raise any concerns not addressed by my friend and distinguished colleague. so, mr. president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 372, s. 4261. i further ask that the lee
substitute amendment at the desk be considered and agreed to, that the bill as amended be considered read a third time and passed, and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. casey: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, i object. let me walk through why. my friend from utah, in the spirit to try to work something out here, is offering a counter proposal. the problem that i have with this is the amendment, now we're talking about the department of agriculture, which plays a role here. i'll get to that in a moment. but in this case, the amendment would direct this agency, the department of agriculture, to allow formula to be included in the women, infants and children's nutrition program that does not meet usda standards. now we have a concern that i initially raised about f.d.a.
standards. now we have usda standards for safety and nutritional adequacy. i'd also add that this amendment is unnecessary because of action that was taken by the leaders of the committee on agriculture and nutrition and forestry. that committee passed a bipartisan bill, the access to baby formula act that the president just signed into law. this already provides the agency, the united states department of agriculture, with the discretion it needs to expand the products available to w.i.c. parents and babies. right now, that's the law. while also continuing to meet those high nutritional needs of the babies. so again, the concern here are standards, safety standards for
those infants. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. lee: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, i find this too unfortunate. i wish we could adopt all three of these reforms. again, we've got regulatory reform, an import tax reform and a w.i.c. reform. he's expressed objections to the regulatory reform and the w.i.c. reform. in the spirit of comity and cooperation and compromise, i'd like to modify again. i'll take out the w.i.c. restriction, the w.i.c. component of the bill, leave in only the tariff waiver. that at least would remove some of the, some of the protectionist problem that we've got in place that's currently prohibiting people from being able to import this stuff. leaving it available really only to wealthy, well-connected parents who know how to find the stuff and can pay the higher price for it. this would at least allow people to buy it in stores if we could lift that restriction and do so
in larger quantities while adhering to the labeling and other regulatory requirements. so, mr. president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 372, s. 4261. further i ask that the lee substitute amendment at the desk be considered and agreed to, that the bill as amended 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 objection? mr. casey: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: i object. in this case on a much more limited ground. here's the reason. the senator from utah is trying to work something out here, and we appreciate that. the democratic side has not had the opportunity yet to review this amendment, so we would seek, in the interest of comity, more time to review it. on that basis, i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. lee: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: i find it most unfortunate that as american
babies are starving and being admitted into hospitals for malnutrition because of the a government created problem, we can't get to a solution here. i'm determined to find one and not to take no for an answer. to that end, i'd like to modify my last request, shorten it from 180 days, six-month suspension, to a -- down from 180 days to a 90-day suspension this is the exact time frame that mirrors the biden administration's proposed time window for gas tax alleviation. the president raised this, asked us to act on that immediately. look, i happen to think baby formula is a lot more important and urgent than gasoline. we can at least do this. i'm going to modify my request to move it down to just 90 days. we should be able to do that for 90 days. i'm certain we can. mr. president, as as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 37
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