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tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Coons Hatch Pay Tribute to Sen. Mc Cain  CSPAN  August 30, 2018 11:33am-12:00pm EDT

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across the aisle to try to find solutions for america's broken immigration system, even as his own party railed against him, we spent almost a year together, eight senators, four democrats and four republicans led by john mccain to write a comprehensive immigration reform bill. it was one of my proudest moments in the senate. it is why i ran for the senate. it was what john mccain told us over and over was to be our mission in life as senators -- solve the problems facing america. don't be worried about taking some heat. he took a lot of heat, as a republican who stepped up and offered a real solution to our comprehensive immigration challenge. we put together a bill over the course of a year. i think it was an extraordinary effort. we all had to compromise. john compromised, i compromised, but we ended up with a bipartisan bill that passed overwhelmingly on the floor of the u.s. senate. there hasn't been another moment like that in the time that i have been here, and john led the
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way. and he look a lot of grief for it. his poll numbers were not that good, particularly among the most conservative republicans, but john knew we had a problem to solve and he stepped up and did it, and i was just honored to be part of the small group that worked night after night, week after week to put that effort together. of course, what i remember now more than anything is that middle of the night vote a little over a year ago. he walked through that door just having spoken on the telephone with president trump, and he came to the well of the senate and he stood right next to that table, and because he had limited motion in his arm because of that plane crash and torture in vietnam, he barely lifted his right arm and pushed his thumb down and said no. with that no vote, he preserved health insurance for millions of americans, and he invoked the ire of conservative republicans who will never forgive him for
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that moment. it was one of the proudest, most courageous votes and moments in the history of the senate. i was honored to be here and to have a chance to thank him personally that night. i also remember when he came to the floor and spoke at that desk, which is now bearing the vase of roses as a tribute to john mccain, and reminded all of us why we run for this office. sure, it's a great title and a lot of americans never get close to a title like united states senator, but to john mccain and to many of us, it's much, much more. it is not only a great honor, it is a great challenge for us to do something with this title, to solve the problems that face this country. i didn't always agree with john, but i always respected the fact that he wanted the senate to be an institution which was serving the people in this country and solving the problems that we face. john was principled and
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courageous time and again. there were times when we had our differences. i can recall when he came to illinois to campaign against me. he was campaigning on behalf of a state representative in illinois named jim durkin. not durbin, but durkin who had been john's supporter for president in the state of illinois. john returned the favor by campaigning for jim durkin against me. you might wonder in this world of politics how you react to a person who is trying to take your job away, which john was doing. well, i understood it and i expected it. jim durkin was loyal to john mccain, john mccain was loyal to him and came in and campaigned for him. after the election was over, the people of illinois decided i should be the senator. it didn't deter john mccain one bit from working with me from that point forward. there is an empty space in this chamber without john mccain. there is an empty space in
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america without his spirit. he will be missed, but he certainly will never be forgotten. i endorsed the proposal to rename the russell senate office building in honor of lieutenant commander and senator john mccain. like senator schumer, i hope that decades from now, children who are visitors to the capitol grounds will ask, well, who was this mccain they named the building after? they will discover he was a man worthy of our respect, a man who was in his heart a public servant, a man who was an american hero. madam presidimous consent that l proceedings under the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, i come to the floor today to speak in honor and memory of our colleague, senator john sidney mccain iii. i asked myself a series of questions as i was trying to prepare for today's comments.
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first, who was he? who was john mccain? john was a man deeply in love with his country and its promise, a man optimistic that tomorrow would be better than today, and a man grateful for the chance to serve a cause greater than himself. his humor was rooted in that hopefulness, the sometimes sharp sting of his words in debate rooted in his passion for his pause and his love of the fight and his restlessness rooted in an impatience to get on with it, to get busy defending liberty or make a difference in the world, to help soften the burdens of millions not yet free. john was both a romantic and a cynic, as some have said, in love with and passionate about the causes he fought for, yet clear-eyed about the long odds he often faced in a world hostile to our ideals. in trying to summarize john, just reviewing a few of his
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titles barely capture the complexity of this man. naval aviator, p.o.w., captain, congressmanman, senator, chairman of the commerce committee, chairman of the armed services committee, presidential nominee of his party, statesman, hero. john also treasured deeply two titles rarely mentioned here: husband and father. he clearly loved his family and was every bit as privately passionate about them as he was publicly passionate about the causes he fought for here and around the world. so to cindy and to all of john's family, thank you so much for sharing him with us, for sustaining him in his service over 60 years, his remarkable service to our nation. i was so honored to get to know john first as a colleague and then as a traveling companion
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and mentor, and in recent years to be able to count him a friend. we didn't always agree or, frankly, often agree on a very wide range of policy and political issues. on one thing in particular, i deeply admired and followed his lead as best i could. john was convinced that what makes america great, what has always made america great is its values, its principles, that we stand for something in the world, not the example of our power but the power of our example. that only when we fight for those values, when we fight for the values that define us apart from other powerful nations, for human rights, for freaked --ing freedom of speech and religious expression, for the foundations of democracy as guarantors of liberty, only when we do that do we best use our power in the
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world. what impact did john mccain have on those of us here in the senate and on our country? john commanded this chamber when he spoke like few others i have ever known, and he commanded it precisely because he called us to our better selves. to put down the tools of petty partisanship so often on display here and to work together, to fashion better solutions to the problems of our day. it was a the great honor to be his cosponsor on his last immigration reform bill earlier this year, a bill which offered not partisan promises, but a way forward, to fix our immigration system which has for far too long been badly broken. indeed, from immigration to health care, national security, to foreign relations, john challenged us, pushed us to act in ways more worthy of this place and its history as the
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greatest deliberative body on earth, as a full equal to the executive, our president, as a group elected and empowered over longer terms to know each other, respect each other and engage each other in the real and hard and good work of advancing america's values here at home and abroad. what impact did john mccain have on me, a junior senator from delaware? well, first, my predecessor, former senator and vice president joe biden let me know for my first day here that john was a treasure and a challenge and that i would in serving alongside him have a unique opportunity to learn from someone whose scope of experience was in many ways unmatched among our current senate colleagues. i had the honor of traveling with john, of seeing him at his absolute best, of seeing him show compassion for syrian refugees at a camp in jordan, hearing him confront corrupt
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foreign leaders and encourage our men and women in harm's way and visiting vietnam to see the genuine warmth with which the vietnamese people and their people regard him. i first encountered john overseas on my very first codel congressional delegation, a trip a few months in my term in 2011. i was traveling with senators corker, sanders and manchin and we had visited jordan and israel, quite a group and memorable trip. it was our last day in israel before returning home and i spotted joe lieberman, former senator joe lieberman of connecticut at dinner at the citadel hotel and he waved me over. he and mccain just finished a long dinner and lieberman asked me to sit down and talk about our trip and experiences and recent developments in pakistan and afghanistan. mccain barely acknowledged my presence with
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ith him, many of us got to know him not just as a war hero and statesman, but as a colleague and friend. john's temper was quick and fierce, and more than one occasion, he peeled the paint off the wall behind me. but more often than not, he
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would apologize, came around, listened, even considered. he was that breed of senator, too rare today, who knew how to fight passionately yet not make it personally. who i could respect even when i thought he was deeply wrong. who pushed me relentlessly to defend and explain my own decisions an votes. he showed unusual kindness to my children and mother and stepfather when they visited and i was struck by the delight he took in visiting with seniors. he also took wicked delight in teeing, testing, and working with rnl -- with journalists. most importantly, senator john mccain was genuinely humble. not the false modesty of a popular politician who if these he should feign indifference to the years of a crowd, no.
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john's humility was real. of one who knows he is a flawed human, as we all are, and was accountable for his shortcomings. john, remarkably, wrote, spoke about, and acted on the ways in which he fell short. in an excellent recent hbo biography, mccain subjected himself to accountability for chapters he would rather have left forgotten in history. in talking about the 2000 primaries, rather than blaming the opponents and their dirty tricks for his loss, john took responsibility, for standing up in south carolina against the practice of flying the confederate flag over the capital. and he addressed the association with the keating five scandal. he was cleared, but he viewed that as part of the larger and
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growing problem of campaign finance that has threatened the ethics of all who served here. and rather than moving past it, he owned it and acted on it and worked relentlessly with senator feingold until they passed the mccain-feingold campaign finance reform bill. john used his hardest personal experience to make some of his most important contributions, having himself survive imprisonment at the hand of his vietnamese captors, he could have easily returned home after five and a half years in captivity to serve out his time in comfort, instead he continued his cause in serving our nation and while here worked tirelessly to champion those imprisoned around the world and against dictators. and we, on the senate human rights caucus, intend to carry forward that work.
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after 9/11, when our own country was engaged in enhanced interrogation techniques that could only be called tortured, senator mccain was irate and insisted we and he practice he knew was of limited value and demeans the torture and those tord -- tortured. he felt the pain and deeply felt the episodes of a -- of the prison. what will it mean to no longer have senator mccain here with us? we will not see another member of john's stature join us, and his demonstrated willingness to put country over party. he earned his mavic title and it would serve all of us well to remember that even as his principled stands cost him the
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support of -- many in his party and his home state, he won the accolades of many more here and millions abroad delighted to see someone willing to risk reaching across the aisle and around the world from those hoping -- hoping we will continue to fight for the values that best define america. what should we do? what should we do to honor the memory and legacy of senator mccain? first fight the dread disease that took him from us. as with my friend bowe biden -- beau biden, who was taken it too young and with senator ted kennedy who was lost at a time when he was most needed. brain cancer has robbed us of our best and brightest and we must work harder to end this disease. we should rename the great senate building in which john served for decades that we might keep his memory alive for future generations, and i think we
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should strengthen and invest in national service, in expectation that all young americans would serve their country in some way, military or civilian, which will take effort and investment, but service as a young man helped john fall in love with our nation at a time of great division. i can think of nothing greater to remind us of the spirit of service of which john lived his life than to make it possible for the hundreds of thousands of young american who want to serve, whether in teach for america, habitat for humanity, the peace corps, or the military by expanding those opportunities for them to learn skills, commit themselves to our community and country and earn tuition funds for college through service. we must stay engaged internationally and lead by the power of our example. john would say this requires us to advance not just america's interests but our cherished values, to stand against authoritarian leaders from russia, china, north korea, and
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iran, and to stand with our democratic partners and allies like those in nato. last, we have to continue with john's spirit of working across the aisle. i was struck in hearing his remarkable speech in philadelphia at the national constitution center where my predecessor, vice president biden, spoke movingly in introducing him and senator mccain in accepting that law, which should be mandatory viewing at every high school in america. it is clear these two men who served decades alongside each other genuinely knew each other, knew each other's families, knew each other's values, even though they could disagree. we have to demonstrate that we can work together and be cheerful and grateful in our service. it caught my breath when i walked in this chamber yesterday to see john's desk draped in black velvet and white flowers
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rather than his remarkable stature and punctuated speech and his call to action that rang through this space. john, i won't soon meet another man like you, and i only hope to some day deserve the friendship you extended to a young and inexperienced senator and to follow your example of genuine humility, dedication and passion in tirelessly serving the greatest nation on earth and the best hope for freedom in our world. rest well, dear friend. may god himself hold you in the palm of his hand and give peace to you and your family. thank you, mr. president. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to be able to complete my remarks here today. from without objection. mr. hatch: i rise to pay tribute to an american hero, a powerful leader and a dear friend,
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senator john mccain. after decades of dedicated service to this nation, john was taken from us over the weacd. the good -- weekend. he fought his battle with brain cancer as he did with every battle in his life, with toughness and tenacity, with grit and with grace. this week i joined millions in mourning the passing of a beloved patriot. over a lifetime of selfless service, john came to embody the very pinnacle of american virtue, courage, commitment, integrity, and sacrifice. these are the precepts he lived by and by which he will always be remembered. no one is more worthy of the word hero than john mccain. the senate, instead -- indeed, id should say, the nation will miss the steady, guiding presence of a singular statesman. by now the biographical details
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of senator mccain's life has been covered at length, the son of a four-star navy admiral, he knew great exings -- expectations at an early age. he went to the navy academy, and fought for freedom, which he did. what is exceptional of john mccain is that he not only met the heavy expectations placed upon them, he far exceeded them. few have ever risen to the position of influence that john mccain did. fewer still have done so and kept their character in tact. but senator john mccain did. indeed, he never parted from it. as a prisoner of war in vietnam, john was offered release on multiple occasions, yet he refused each offer until the p.o.w.'s incarcerated before him were also released. greater love has no man than
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this than a man lay down his life for his country, for his friends. john possessed such love providing time and again his willingness to lay down his life for his brothers in uniform. as a captain, john mccain personified selfless sacrifice, offering himself as a bargaining chip to secure the freedom of fellow countrymen. each day for more than 2,000 days, he endured horrors that few of us could imagine, solid terry confinement, forced starvation, repeated beatings, and the constant threat of death. yet he stayed the course, finding strength in the love he felt for his fellow servicemen, and most of us, the love he had for his country. when john was released in the spring of 1973, he came home a living scarf vietnam.
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the cartlilage in his knees was all but gone, the bones in his body broken by endless beatings. he was a walking testament to the brutalities of torture and the depths of human depravity. but the hell of war was not enough to stop john mccain from being a happy warrior. upon his return, he continued the same mission he started in vietnam, looking out for the safety and welfare of his fellow sailors. few remember that before john was elected to congress, he was the nef's -- navy's senate liaison. it was in this capacity that he and i first became friends. even then john impressed me with his sense of mission, going incredible lengths to ensure that our service men and women had the resources they needed to keep us safe. he would carry that same commitment with him when he was elected to the house of representatives in 1982 and five
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years later when he joined us here in the senate. the pentagon had no closer ally than john mccain. they also had no fiercer critic. like an admiral who demanded only the best of his sail os, john -- sailors, he wanted to be sure that our service men were living up to their standard. he never hesitated to call out runaway spending in military ranks. our men and women in uniform were stronger and our nation more safe because of his efforts. no one commanded more respect than john mccain as the chairman of the senate armed services committee. john constantly put others before himself as a prisoner of war, and he did the same as a sena


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