Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  March 11, 2014 10:00am-4:01pm EDT

10:00 am
quorum call:
10:01 am
10:02 am
10:03 am
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mr. mcconnell: as a survivor of polio as a child --. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call, sir. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: as a survivor of polio as a child, i've always empathized with children battling life-threatening or disabling disorders. i also have a special place in my heart for those who work day in and day out to help kids who are battling childhood diseases. that's especially true in these researchers and physicians are working with children in my home state of kentucky at places like the university of louisville, university of kentucky, and cosair chops children's hospital. that's why i've long been a
10:04 am
supporter of peed yatd trick medical research. i cosponsored and helped shepherd the child cancer act of within 2008 through the senate. i voted for the combating autism act of 2006 and as republican leader helped to secure its reauthorization in 2011. these weren't partisan initiatives, they were areas where the two parties have generally worked together to advance the common good. maybe that's why we don't hear a bunch about them but i think we all agree there's more that can be done. late last year the house passed bipartisan legislation which i strongly support to shift funding from lower priority programs to pediatric research, including childhood cancers, autism, down din astronomy, fragile x and the countless diseases that affect our children and don't yet have a cure. these efforts could be paid for by using taxpayer funding of the republican and democratic
10:05 am
political conventions and, frankly, it's hard to imagine there would be any objection to moving these funds to do something we can all agree is a very high priority and that's pediatric research. thanks to the leadership of house majority leader eric cantor, the gabriela miller kids first research act which was named in honor of a young girl from virginia passed with a majority of nearly 300 votes. i asked my colleagues on the republican side to pass it and send it to the president for his signature because i saw the positive impact designating these funds would have on peed yatd trick research. all republicans agreed to pass this bill on january 7 and today marks the 63rd day that senate democrats have failed to act although i must say i understand it has now cleared and i think that's excellent. it's past time we passed this bill out of the senate and i believe we're about to do that. this is the type of bipartisan
10:06 am
legislation that should move easily through the senate. we should be able to pass the measure today, it's my understanding we will be able to do that and therefore, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to immediate consideration of calendar number 289, h.r. 2019. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 289, h.r. 2019, an act to eliminate taxpayer financing of political party conventions and reprogram savings to provide for a ten-year pediatric research initiative and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? mr. reid: mr. president, reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president, we on this side accept this measure but i do have a few things i want to say before saying there's no objection. the sense of sequestration cut
10:07 am
$1.6 billion from n.i.h. last year, $1.6 billion, with the omnibus we passed, we gave them current level function but that hole, $1.6 billion, is still there and we -- the n.i.h. has lost huge amounts of money over the last few years, the way that we have struggled to get financing for our country. we in the past have been the guiding light for research on diseases, and conditions, and we're still there, but we're losing ground. every country in the world looks at the n.i.h. as a place they would like to be. now, this is a small amount of money, but it will be extremely helpful to the n.i.h. i would hope my republican colleagues would join with us in increasing funding for the national institutes of health. senator durbin is going to introduce a bill today that will
10:08 am
fund n.i.h. at levels that they need to be funded. it's going to be -- it had to be paid for, but it is so very, very important that we not claim victory for the n.i.h. because of this. it's a small victory and i accept that. i think it's extremely important that we understand that the n.i.h. has billions of dollars short of being able to maintain the place they've had in years past. i repeat, they've been losing ground the last five years has been extremely tough for them, but we need to do better for the national institutes of health. we have scientists around our country who want to do good things, they want to devote their lives to medical research, but they're not applying for these grants. so many of them are turned down, they're basically, well, maybe i won't even bother trying.
10:09 am
so i'm glad to hear the republican leader move forward on this, it's something that is a small step forward to help children which badly need help in the ways of these diseases which are so difficult for the kids, of course, for the parents and families and certainly our country. and, mr. president, again, before we leave this issue, i would hope that the appropriation process we're going to go through this year will help us get money that we've -- this we've done today is only an authorization and the public out there should understand it's only an authorization until money is appropriated, there will be nothing go to pediatric research at the national institutes of health. we have to carry forward and not have all these banner headlines the kids are going to suddenly get help that they deserve.
10:10 am
that will not happen until we appropriate money for this. the presiding officer: without objection the senate will proceed with the measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the bill be read a third time and past, the motion to reconsider be made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: let me just reiterate what we've just done. h.r. 2019 which will go to the president for signature, the original author of which is majority leader eric cantor in the house will eliminate taxpayer funding of conventions and provide for a initiative for the common fund administered by the n.i.h. now, mr. president, on another matter, our friends on the other side who run the senate
10:11 am
spend a lot -- spent a lot of time talking last night. i'm not sure what any of it accomplished. the reviews seem to be pretty terrible. the a.p. dubbed the talk-a-thon a lot of hot air about a lot of hot air and said the speeches were about little more than theatrics. many many, many some speculate they're trying to please the left coast billionaire who plans to finance so many of their campaigns was the talking senators didn't really introduce any new legislation. i didn't hear them announce votes on bills already budget pending before the senate. they basically just talked and talked and tossed out political attacks at a party that doesn't even control the democratic-run senate. no wonder the american people have such a low opinion of congress. the so-called talk-a-thon perfectly illustrated something else, too, the einess of today's washington democratic --
10:12 am
emptness of today's washington majority. i remember time when democrats could say with some legitimacy they were the party for working people. those days seem to be receding further and further into the rear view mirror. because whether it's addressing the opportunity gap in the obama economy or building the keystone pipeline or last night's whatever that was, washington democrats keep opting for the empty political stunt over the reasonable, substantive solutions for the middle class. and here's the thing -- we need two serious political parties in this country debating serious ideas. when we see washington democrats throwing seriousness out the window like this, it's just bad for everybody. so if washington democrats are actually serious about all the talk last night, they should follow it up with action. democrats control the senate. bring up, bring up the cap and
10:13 am
tax bill and let's have a debate. put it on the agenda. let's debate it. but as the a.p. noted despite all the bravado democratic leaders made it clear they have no plans to bring a climate bill to the senate floor this year. so are what was all the talking about? our friends on the other side set the agenda. call up the bill. and the reason they won't isn't because of obstructionism or whatever else they might want to claim. it's because too many members of their own party would vote against it. remember, washington democrats couldn't even pass that bill when they controlled the senate with a filibusterproof majority back in 2009 and 2010. more importantly, the american people don't want a national energy tax that would make their utility bills even higher than they already are. look, americans have widely differing opinions about how washington should be approaching environmental policy. that much is very clear. but one thing we should all be
10:14 am
able to agree upon is this -- imposing massive restrictions on our own economy, devastating the lives of our own mining families and imposing higher energy bills on our own seniors, that makes about zero sense, while huge carbon emitters like china and india continue to ramp up energy consumption. global carbon emissions would hardly be affected any way but minneapolis of lives here certainly would be. the american middle class would be deeply and adversely affected. so left, right, and center, we should all be able to agree this is simply nonsensible. -- nonsensicle. we should be working for an all-of-the-above energy strategy that will utilize domestic resources to create jobs and meet america's energy needs. it's a smart and focused approach that accommodates both our economy and our environment and one that republicans
10:15 am
strongly support and democrats should as well. democrats should also work with us to pass the legislation that would allow congress to actually vote, actually vote on environmental regulations to ensure washington's rules strike the right balance between protecting the environment and creating jobs. that legislation is so important to my home state of kentucky. case in point i spent this past weekend with hundreds of coal miners and their families at a rally in eastern kentucky. and i heard from them how the administration's war on coal is hurting so many who struggle every day just to get by. it's a war that's taking away hope and destroying jobs. and let's be honest. the most immediate crisis in the obama era is the jobs crisis. the jobs crisis. it always has been. if only our friends on the other side were willing to talk a little less and work with us a little more, there's so much we could get done on that front.
10:16 am
there's so much wect be doing to create -- we could be doing to create jobs and grow the middle class today. we could build the keystone pipeline that would create thousands of american jobs right away. we could increase u.s. exports and expand american jobs with trade legislation. we could reform our tax and regulatory structures to free small businesses so they can grow and hire and enrich their communities. and we could pass the dozens of house-passed jobs bills just sitting on the majority leader's desk, so many that even house democrats are starting to complain. these are the kinds of things we could get done once washington democrats show they're ready to work with us. talk is cheap. we know that. and america's middle class is tired of all the talk. they want action. let's provide it on jobs. mr. president, i yield the floor.
10:17 am
mr. mcconnell: suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
10:18 am
10:19 am
10:20 am
10:21 am
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, request that proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. officer without objection. ms. murkowski: thank you, mr. president. with the very unfortunate events of ukraine in the headlines and the ukrainian people very close in our hearts, i rise today to speak to a topic that has significance not only for that european crisis and for our own well-being butter als but also a little bit on the longer-term subject of climate change, which, of course, was a big discussion here last night. this morning i am speaking to the american energy renaissance and its broadest benefits to us all. today american technology and know-how are delivering energy abundance, keeping energy
10:22 am
affordable, enabling energy to be cleaner than the next most likely alternative, permitting us to rely on ever-more diverse energy sources and, finally, improving energy security for our people here in this country and around the world. america's overall production of nearly every type of energy is rising. the efficiency of just about everything, whether it's our vehicles or whether it's our buildings is increasing. and in comparing our supply with our demand, we are rapidly approaching a self-sufficiency rate of 90 firs%. the american energy revolution has generated a variety of welcome benefits. it's created jobs, it's generated revenues, it's helped reduce both energy prices and price volatility. and as our nation imports less, the simple fact is, there is more energy available for others. and that, in turn, is creating
10:23 am
the kind of supply conditions in the world oil market that allows all of us to deal with the bad actors from a position of relative strength. there was a recent essay in "foreign affairs" that argued that energy has been viewed as a strategic liability in the united states since back in the 1970's. now energy is becoming a strategic asset, a strategic asset and one that can boost the u.s. economy and grant washington newfound leverage around the world. it's really hard to disagree with that, mr. president. but the question then becomes, what will we to with this strategic asset? how will we use our newfound position? there was a survey of responses to russia's disregard for ukrainian sovereignty, and of those -- of prudent areas that
10:24 am
the united states might go, energy is clearly among the most major strategic asset that we possess. and how we use it to bring about geopolitical stability can really define our leadership in the world. but on first real challenge as a nation is how do we keep this american resurgence going. there are two specific areas that -- where we have to make some decisions here and that's whether or not to grant new access to new lands and new markets and that will go a long way in determining whether we actually do that. as i noted, america's total energy production has increased dramatically within three years but within their numbers there's a disparity. the entire gas production has occurred on the state and private lands, not the millions of acres that are managed by the federal government. and despite the discussion of
10:25 am
"all of the above" and no small amount of credit taken by the administration, combined fuel production on federal lands actually fell from 2008-2012. and that, mr. president, is a disappointing view that in my view needs to be reversed. consider, for example, the opportunity that we're missing in my state of alaska. 30 years ago, march of 1984, the alaskan crude oil production stood at 1.6 million barrels per day. the transamerica pipeline system was completed earlier. there were debates of opening new areas open for production and even allowing exports of crude oil from the state. but the federal government did not act at that time, it did not seize alaska's most best and obvious opportunities. production peaked at 2.1 billion barrels of day since 1988. it's been on a general decline ever since that. alaska's production has dipped below the half million barrel
10:26 am
production. this is nearly a fall of 75% back from its hope. keep home we keep talking about a pipeline that's less than half full. the difference here is not only geography, it's also policy. our federal policies are not working as they should. and state policies combined with state effectiveness, powerful as they are, cannot overcome the federal barriers. in north dakota, where we see a booming energy market, only 4% of that state is federally held. in texas, it's just 2% of federal lands. in alaska, 62% of our lands are federal, and most of our untopped resources are in these federal areas. alaska's falling production is a missed opportunity, a musd opportunity to create jobs, stabilize revenues, to stabilize world energy prices, to
10:27 am
diversify energy supplies, and it's not the only place where potential growth is going unrealized. we're passing up tremendous opportunities off the atlantic coach, off the eastern gulf of mexico and in the rocky mountain west. we also have increasingly burdensome regulations that slow the space of development on the federal lands that are open. and all of this highlights the need to reexamine our federal energy policies and really reorient them for a new century. and that leads us to the subject of exports. back in january i laid out the case why we need to renovate the architect pure of the u.s. energy trade. we have substantial opportunities for exports of coal, petroleum products, natural gas, natural gas liquids, we newable technology, nuclear -- renewablnewable tech, nuclear technology. i have called for the lifting of the ban on crude exports as a
10:28 am
preemptive effort. and we need to lift it to produce future losses of production and jobs when our trade restrictions inevitably collide with this surge of light oil and the con scen condensate production that comes out. the conversation that i hoped to frame last year in january when i submitted my energy 2020 report is really very underweight. my point is that we must increase the value of energy as an american strategic asset for global security and price stability. now, mr. president, i want to say just a couple words here -- maybe more than a couple -- but a few words about climate change. many groups have formed to go on the feighansive to -- quote -- "wake congress occupy the issue of climate." they want to force the nation to talk about the subject no matter what the issue of the day might be. unfortunately, they also seem to want to blame republican members
10:29 am
and somehow also to adopt policies that this body has rejected year after year. so much of the climate change conversation seems to be defined by old ideas that have been rejected. it seems that if you're not supportive of yet another regulatory edifice, either through cap-and-trade, a carbon tax or letting the e.p.a. expand its authority without any checks by the people's representatives in congress, then somehow or another you're against the environment. i reject that. i want to see greater balance. i know that we can achieve it. and i think it's important that, again, we reframe the cofertion here. i think finding agreement on environmental party, it's hard but it's not impossible. i think what you need to do is kind of pull back and change the conversation that we're having here.
10:30 am
what i want to remind my colleagues, though, is that part of the opposition that i have had to some of the ideas that i've heard from folks is base the on what those policies would mean for our affordability of energy. and here i mean not just for americans who are energy insecure, including residents in my state, in some of our remote areas who already face exorbitant energy costs. but also, mr. president, the 1.3 billion people across the globe with no reliable access to electricity. worldwide families are struggling to obtain the basic necessities of life. although many portray climate change as our most pressing moral issue, i would suggest to you it is but one of many. energy poverty and energy insecurity are others, ones we simply cannot ignore and we
10:31 am
should certainly not make worse. another part of my opposition to cap-and-trade or a carbon tax is based on what we've seen in europe as compared to what's actually happened here in the united states. without climate legislation but with the advent of increased domestic production buy shale gas production, our greenhouse gas emissions are now 11% below our rate of emissions in 2005 yet our friends across the atlantic who actually did pass cap-and-trade several years ago, they haven't exactly seen the expected results. in the face of weak growth, high unemployment, high debt, some european nations are now dialing back the extremely expensive subsidies they have offered and at the same time many of our nato allies are clamoring for the cheap and the abundant natural gas that we are now producing on our state and our private lands and they are importing our abundant and affordable coal. the unfolding situation in
10:32 am
unanimous consent also highlights -- in ukraine highlights the importance of energy security, something neither a carbon tax, or cap-and-trade or any climate bill in the senate has properly accounted for. then there's the approach that the president seems to want to take. earlier this year he threatened to use his executive authority to regulate greenhouse gases if congress failed to act. it's really quite a choice here. he suggests either pass legislation that we don't like or he will enact regulations that we don't like. either way, to be carried out under the clean air act, just not according to the clean air act. it's difficult to really -- to really consider whether or not this is a serious offer. what we can say, though, mr. president, is that this threat and the rule motorcyclings that will follow -- rule motorcycle --
10:33 am
real making that will follow forgoes the protections of the legislative process and curbs the debate needed to ensure fair and balanced policies particularly in this area we need to ensure that they are fair and balanced policies. to effectively combat climate change, we have to safeguard our economy. prosperity is key to the resources that we will need to make progress. the nation has to pursue all forms of energy, and stress energy security. we cannot exclusively count on reniewnls to achieve a low-carbon environment. emission free nuclear energy has to be part of the solution. technology must play a role in reaching the goals that we set for our country. and finally, as we discuss the issues and the approaches to these issues, we have to do so with humility, keenly aware of the unintended consequences that
10:34 am
could be bothers wors than no action at all. climate change is a global issue that requires global acknowledgment of the issue and global action. but through it all, we must be deeply concerned and always aware about the impacts of our actions on the individual family. i spend a lot of time, mr. president, in the rural parts of my state. we don't even call them rural. we use the terminology "bush" because it is just so remote. and these are areas where the only way to access these communities is either by air or by boat, up the river by barge. supplies are brought in two times a year if you live on the river system. you look around, you -- you may be able to see the impact of climate change, and that is -- that is an awareness that the
10:35 am
people in this region have. but first and foremost these people need to be able to live. this is where they have lived for thousands of years. but when you appreciate the costs that they are paying for their energy right here and right now, i can't support anything that is going to increase the energy costs for the people in my state who are already paying some up to close to 50% of their income goes to stay warm in the wintertime. i have one letter here that i received just last week from a village by the name of quigillingoc, this is an area out in the coastal villages region. but in this letter from their tribal council they state the current cost of heating fuel is $6.02 per gallon.
10:36 am
gasoline is $6.52 per gallon. and mr. chairman if i were to suggest to the fine people in this village that in order to arrest what we may be seeing with increased emissions around the globe that your energy prices are going to double, that the cost of your heating fuel is going to go from $6.02 per gallon to $12, how do these people live? we have to be ai wear, we have to be aware of the energy insecurity, the energy poverty in far too many places in this country and truly, rather than the world. so as we discuss these very important issues about energy and how we do right by all, again, let's do so with a level of humility and a level of respect for people all
10:37 am
throughout our nation. with that, mr. president, i see my colleague from texas is here, another fine producing state, in fact, a state that is really doing quite well right now when it comes to our energy and our energy resources. through the efforts of states like texas, north dakota, california, we are seeing a true resurgence in our energy production and i think an opportunity for us as a nation to, again, not only provide for our energy security as a nation but to provide for security and stability on the global scene as well. with that i thank the president and yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i thank the senator from alaska for her wise words. i wasn't here for all of her remarks but i was able to hear the percentage of her state that
10:38 am
is owned by the federal government, which is extraordinary, and i think she cited roughly 2% in texas. that was a deal we cut in the 1845, it turned out a as a pretty good deal because texas lands are overwhelmingly private lands rather than government lands and i think part of the point that she was making as well is while we've seen a resurgence of activity on private land, particularly when it comes to the shale gas and oil plays on public lands we haven't seen that same sort of productivity and if the federal government would simply take some of the same approach that the private sector is taking when it comes to developing these god-given natural resources, it could really boost our economy further and lower unemployment. so i thank her for her wise words this morning. mr. president, i'd like to ask unanimous consent that i be
10:39 am
allowed to speak in morning business for up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: before i begin, i want to ask siewk sciewk that my -- i ask unanimous consent that my marine corps fellow, captain james hoalt, be granted floor privileges for the remainder of this legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i want to talk about a number of subjects starting, of course, with the fact that millions of americans have lost their health insurance because of the unintended consequences of the affordable care act or obamacare. we also know that in addition to losing the coverage that they had, that they were told they could keep, many have been now forced to pay higher premiums, the sticker shock has been something we've been reading a lot about, or whether it's higher sticker shock because of the premiums, what many people have been finding is their deductibles are huge, making them effectively self-insured up
10:40 am
to $5,000 of their health care costs, not something they were promised as a result of obamacare. we also know that roughly 10 million people, about 10.5 million people remain unemployed in america, and that 3.8 million of them have been unemployed for more than six months. since the recession ended -- of course, the recession is technically speaking two consecutive quarters of negative growth, but i think you ask most americans today, many of them would feel like we're still in a recession because of what -- what's happening to them personally. but we know since the recession ended, americans' median household income, one measure of economic health in the country, that it's gone down by $2,500. so at the same time that people are experiencing higher costs for health care, for groceries, for gasoline, other
10:41 am
necessities of life, they're seeing their median household income has declined by $2,500. a double whammy. according to the joint economic committee analysis, if the obama economic recovery had been as strong as merely an average post-1960 recovery, we could currently have millions more private-sector jobs. i had the pleasure this last weekend of hearing a fascinating debate by larry summers, former president of harvard university, a brilliant economist, and another brilliant economist, senator phil gramm, who taught at texas a&m but making the point, senator gramm making the point if we had had a typical recovery after a recession it would have been a v shaped recovery and we did not get that. the economy continues to grow slowly, unusually slowly and they were exploring the reasons for that. a lot of it has to do with
10:42 am
uncertainty about the role of the federal government when it comes to taxes, when it comes to regulation, when it comes to our escalating national debt. now over $17 trillion and what that might mean in the future. but add all that up and americans are continuing to feel increasingly pessimistic about the state of our economy, the state of their personal health care relationships with their doctors and hospitals, and the future of the country and that's something all of us ought to be concerned about profoundly. and yet rather than promote real health care reform that actually deals with the unaffordable care act -- unaffordability of health coverage or something that that will get the economy growing again, my friends across the aisle, many of them spent last night, all night, talking about climate change. that's right climate change.
10:43 am
so the message to millions of people out of work or who have lost their health coverage or to people who are living from paycheck to paycheck because median household income has declined, is that what america really needs right now is more taxes and more regulation. and the big government that goes along with it. you know, it's easy to see why many people think that washington is just out of touch with the concerns of average hardworking american families, and last night was an example of that. it's hard to square the message with the genuine concern for the middle class and the middle-class prosperity. if we're really concerned about hardworking american families that are working from paycheck to paycheck just to make ends meet, i doubt we would have an all-night debate on climate change. if my friends across the aisle
10:44 am
really did believe that job creation should be our top priority, they wouldn't have wasted precious time with last night's political stunt. for that matter, they wouldn't be opposing the keystone x.l. pliern which -- pipeline which would create thousands of well-paying american jobs. i realize many people have good-faith concerns about long-term -- the long-term implications of rising greenhouse gas gas emissions. over the next three decades worldwide emissions are projected to surge but that has almost nothing to do with the united states and almost everything to do with developing countries like china. as a matter of fact, the ranking member of the energy committee, the senator from alaska and certainly the senator from wyoming knows this very well, one of the reasons why carbon emissions in the united states are going down is because of the natural gas renaissance we've seen because of
10:45 am
unconventional shale gas exploration in places like texas and all around the country. so we are finding ways to reduce carbon emissions for those who are worried about those as a result of taking advantage of the resources that we have here in the united states together with the innovative technology that's used to develop them. so those of us who oppose bigger, more intrusive government in the form of cap-and-trade legislation or higher taxes like carbon taxes or other job-killing greenhouse gas regulations are not denialists. i prefer to say we're realists. we understand america's contributions to global emissions over the coming decades will be relatively minuscule. we understand that the economic costs of the -- of president obama's regulations through the environmental protection agency would vastly outweigh the environmental benefit. so why do we want to put a big wet blanket on the economy and
10:46 am
on the aspirations and dreams of hardworking american families in order to pursue policies which will be vastly outweighed -- the negative will vastly outweigh the positive benefit to american families. in fact, the obama e.p.a. itself admitted its proposed greenhouse gas rule would not have a notable impact on u.s. carbon emissions until the year 2022. i also note, mr. president, that despite having members of his party talk about climate change all night, that's all it was -- talk -- there's no legislation that they're offering, nor will the majority leader, who controls the agenda of the united states senate, bring that legislation to the floor to actually vote on it. so it is just talk or perhaps i could say it was just a lot of hot air.
10:47 am
so our colleagues across the aisle, including the majority leader, controls the agenda on the floor here in the senate, seems to be content letting the president use his pen and his phone and skirt the legislative process, not engage with congress to try to do things that actually are the priorities of the american people, but instead to rely on unelected e.p.a. bureaucrats. so i would think it's pretty much a consensus in america -- i could be surprised, but i would surprised to learn if the consensus in america wouldn't be that we should be focusing on policies that create jobs rather than destroy jobs and punish families in return for meager or nonexistent benefits. speaking of destroying jobs and punishing families, the congressional budget office, which is the official budgetary scorekeeper for congress, recently estimated that the president's proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would actually destroy up
10:48 am
to a million jobs. you know, i think sometimes here in washington people think that the people who actually create jobs can absorb regulation and taxes and other economic burdens together with the uncertainty that many of those policies cause, and it will have no impact on their ability to continue to create jobs or grow jobs or to grow the economy. but the congressional budget office says, stated what should perhaps be intuitive, which is if you raise the cost of doing business on businesses they're going to have to find someplace to cut. and what that means is they're going to have to cut more people from their jobs. so up to a million people, they estimated, would lose their job if you raise the minimum wage 40% to $10.10 an hour. so you remember the president's state of the union message. he said that a minimum-wage hike like that would help low-income families. now it's certainly a mystery to
10:49 am
me how it would help a low-income family who's relying on that wage earner to provide income when they end up losing their job as a result of the policy. so the president's definition of help is unique to say the least, because any policy that destroyed up to a million jobs would be an absolute disaster for low-income families. so the president also made his pitch for higher minimum wage in the context of his concern about income inequality. he claims to be greatly concerned about income inequality, yet his policies actually threaten to make it worse. but don't take my word for it. a news report from a major labor union argues that in its current form, the president's health care law -- quote -- "will heighten the inequality that the administration seeks to produce." these are not the political adversaries of our president and
10:50 am
his political policy. these are the supporters of the affordable care act who said if not changed the health care law will heighten the inequality the administration seeks to reduce. the report also notes that obamacare -- quote -- "threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours and a shift from part-time work and less comprehensive coverage." i would think those would be very troubling words to the president and his allies who passed the affordable care act, or obamacare, but so far they have fallen on deaf ears. so this report, again, just in terms of its credibility, it was not issued by some republican or conservative organization that was opposed to obamacare from the beginning. it was issued by a labor union that supported obamacare, who's now found that what was promised has not actually been delivered in terms of its implementation. so what union members and their
10:51 am
families are learning the hard way is that the promise of obamacare was very different from the reality. we were promised that obamacare would actually expand coverage, that it would reduce costs, that it would help our economy, all without disrupting existing health care arrangements. in reality, the law has forced millions to lose their coverage and forced millions to pay higher premiums or higher deductibles, effectively being self-insured. meanwhile the congressional budget office projects it will effectively shrink america's labor force by 2.5 million full-time workers over the next decade. remarkably, the administration now wants us to believe it's actually a good thing that many people are reducing their hours of work in order to keep their government-mandated health care. for example, chief white house economist jason furman has said that working less to keep
10:52 am
obamacare benefits -- quote -- "might be a better choice and a better option than what they had before." close quote. of course they don't have a choice to keep what ned before because -- to keep what they had before because they have been forced into obamacare. and if you don't buy the government-mandated insurance, then you're going to be fined by your friendly federal government. but think about it. the white house chief economist is celebrating the possibility of a dramatic decline in american work hours eufpltd remind mr. work hours. i would remind mr. furman america's labor force participation is already at an historic low, as low as it's been for 30 years. the percentage of people looking for work in america is at a 30-year low already and mr. furman is celebrating the further depressing impact of obamacare on work in america. all else being equal, a reduction in work hours means a reduction in economic growth;
10:53 am
certainly means a reduction in income for the people working. and we know that a further reduction of economic growth will make it harder to create new jobs, improve living standards and achieve broad-based prosperity, something i know that we all hope for in america. this is a dangerous cycle and it's definitely not something we should be celebrating. it's something we should be fixing. so, mr. president, a truly compassionate agenda, not one that focuses on things that are largely irrelevant to the lives of americans' working families, but a truly compassionate agenda would be one that would seek opportunity. a truly compassionate agenda would place a much higher value on the dignity and self-reliance of american workers by making sure that they have jobs. for that matter, a truly compassionate agenda would aim
10:54 am
to dismantle obamacare and replace it with patient-centered alternatives that encourage work and encourage job creation. the type of agenda that i've described is pretty much the exact opposite of what we've seen over the last five years, and the results speak for themselves. there's absolutely no reason why we have to accept the status quo. with the right mix of economic policies, america can turn this ship around and restore strong growth rates and robust job creation like we enjoyed in the 19800's and 1990's. we will continue on this side of the aisle to continue to promote such policies and we look forward to working with our colleagues across the aisle when they finally come around to the realization that the path we're heading on now is not one the american people are happy with or that they have to settle for. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i'd like to congratulate my colleague from texas on his comments.
10:55 am
and i agree with his concerns. those are the same concerns i hear at home in wyoming. i was in buffalo, wyoming, at a health fair this past weekend. hundreds and hundreds of people from the community turned out. they had concerns about the health care law. they had concerns about their take-home pay. they had concerns about their jobs. and wyoming is an energy state. i'm the only republican senator who is both on the energy committee as well as the environment and public works committee. and so i think about the three e's: energy security, economic growth and environmental stewardship. we need energy security for our country, economic growth for our citizens as well as to protect the environment and be good stewards of the land. and i believe in wyoming, we continue to do all of those. the american people have made it very clear that what they want from washington is a focus on jobs and the economy. that's not what i've heard, though, over the last 24 hours from the democrats on the other side of the aisle. the american people that i talk to, they want to make it easier for them to get back to work, to
10:56 am
provide for their families, to get the kids off to school so they can go off to work. people's jobs are really, i believe, linked to their identity, to their dignity, to their self-worth. and i think more of these regulations make it just harder for people to have a job, to keep a job, to provide for their families. so we had an all-night talkathon. what did it accomplish? the only accomplish to me was a waste of time and more hot air. it seemed to me to be a dog and pony show to satisfy their big liberal donors. and the majority leader spent part of the weekend in california with a big liberal donor who promised $100 million to the democrats on the issue that they decided to hold an entire night talkathon on, having five or six different democrat senators who were out there at this man's home in california basically saying, yeah, we want your money.
10:57 am
we want your money. that's what the democrats did. so they put on an entire dog and pony show, showing that the democrat and their leadership, including the majority leader, is beholden to that liberal money who want to hold the tune for this senate. it's astonishing that that would happen in the united states. the majority leader of the senate would take a number of democrat senators to california specifically to go to the home of somebody that says, i want to give $100 million to promote what he said his agenda -- his agenda -- and make the majority leader dance to that tune. and that's what we saw for the last 24 hours. the majority leader could call a vote tomorrow -- he could caught it today on a national energy tax. i think everybody on this side of the aisle is ready and prepared to vote on that. but for most of these folks, they wanted to just talk all night.
10:58 am
they don't actually want to do anything. they just want to talk. the democrats control the agenda. they control the majority. they have changed the rules in terms of approving nominees. they have it all lined up. but it's astonishing that the most vulnerable democrats who are running for office this year, they didn't show their faces last night. they wanted nothing to do with this at all. so we hear about regulations that are going to crush jobs, make it harder for people to go to work. and as a doctor, i will tell you having taken care of people who are out of work for a long period of time -- and i'm sure the president of the senate and his community and his service knows people like this. you know that being out of work impacts their identity, the way they view themselves, their human dignity. in fact, it affects their health as well. i wrote as a doctor, put together an entire report "red tape making americans sick," a report on the health impacts of high unemployment. and what we know is studies show that the e.p.a. rules, the
10:59 am
rules, the regulations, the red tape, they cost americans not just their jobs but also their health. we know that for people that are chronically unemployed, higher rates of cancer, higher rates of suicide, higher rates of heart disease, higher rates of stroke, higher rates of abuse whether it is substance abuse, child abuse, all of these things add to illnesses, premature deaths all in communities where there is high joblessness. it is because of regulations that continue to come out of the e.p.a. that are burdensome, that are expensive, that are time-consuming; the costs are real. the benefits are theoretical. but yet, that's what the democrats on the other side of the aisle were talking about all night last night. so i would say instead of spending 24 hours on extreme regulations that result in a national energy tax, democrats ought to be listening to the american people, focus on jobs, focus on the economy.
11:00 am
it's too bad the democrats would rather talk about a national energy tax for 24 hours than vote on the president's budget, a budget that never balances, than vote on the keystone x.l. pipeline, a pipeline that, his proposal would bring, according to the state department, 42,000 more individuals in our country into the workforce. or each discuss and vote on other job proposals. well, they don't want to continue to talk about job creation ideas. i'm going to continue to do that in terms of the keystone pipeline and exporting liquified natural gas. we have an abundance that have in the united states. it would be helpful to our country and jobs and helpful in the foreign policy as we work for not just energy security but global security as well. so thank you very much, madam president. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: madam president, i want to compliment my colleague from wyoming and before him my colleague from texas for talking about the issues that are
11:01 am
important to the american peop people. people in this country care about jobs and the economy. i think one of the more reasons there weren't more democrat senators is a lot of those, as someone pointed out, hi hit the snooze button and didn't want to come down and talk about an issue that they realize ranks very, very low in people's assessment what's really important in their daily lives. and i think that's probably why most americans by and large tuned out the all-night session that we had here on the floor. but we did have a number of senate democrats came down and engaged in what they referred to as a talkathon on climate change. i don't know who coined that to describe the event but it's a perfect term. it really fits. since the event was all talk and no action. in fact, writing ahead of the talkathon uta u.s.a. today wrot-
11:02 am
"the tawcathon is somewhat of a hollow effort because there's no timetable for action this year." well, that's exactly right. last night's filibuster was not designed to advance any legislation nor -- nor was it a protest about the lack of legislation, since after the democrats control the -- after all, i should say, the democrats control the chamber and can bring up a bill any time they want to. no, last night's event may have had all the trappings of significant senate action but it was nothing but talk. if democrats really think government action on climate change is so important, one would assume that they would have used last night to debate a bill or at least to try to persuade their leadership to bring one up on the floor. but they didn't. because it's an election year and democrats are already deeply worried about their election prospects. and they know very well that the american people don't like the climate change legislation that they've offered up.
11:03 am
the climate change bill democrats have proposed almost invariably involve tax hikes that would drive the cost of energy sky-high for ordinary families and kill jobs, all extremely for -- for extremely dubious environmental gains. the last time congress debated the cap-and-trade bill was in 2009. that bill was estimated to troy 2.5 million -- to destroy 2.5 million jobs. perhaps that's why democrats who represent energy producing states didn't make it to last night's talkathon. they might be tired of defending more job-destroying policies. and for families who are already struggling with reduced income and high health care costs that have characterized the obama economy for the past five years, increased energy prices and more job losses are the last thing that they want to face. so, madam president, democrats know that climate change legislation is a non-starter in an election year, but they still have their radical environmental
11:04 am
base to worry about, the same base that is pushing the president not to approve the keystone pipeline despite five separate environmental reviews that found that its impact on the environment would be negligible. last night's talkathon, designed for maximum medium exposure, allowed democrats to assure their donors that they're focused on climate change without actually having to do anything, anything that would be difficult or politically damaging, like going on the record and actually voting for a specific bill. madam president, last month, gallup released a poll on america's top concerns. climate change didn't even make the top 10. jobs and the economy, on the other hand, came in at the very top. not surprisingly. the american people i think have a very good assessment of what's important. and gallup polling shows that those two issues have been among americans' top five concerns for most of the past six years.
11:05 am
despite this, however, democrats have shown very little inclination to take real action on the economy. in fact, most of their policies are making our economic situation worse. and the policy that's doing the most economic damage is obamacare. any way you look at it, obamacare means bad economic news for just about everybody. millions of americans have had the plans they like canceled and far too many of them have found that their obamacare alternative will cost more and offering them less. families around the country have enrolled in exchange plans that have left them wondering how they're going to be able to afford the plan's $10,000 and $12,000 deductibles. low-income seniors enrolled in medicare advantage are wondering how will they afford the premium hikes or the benefit reductions that will soon hit them thanks to obamacare's medicare cuts. and 11 million small business workers are not sure how a bill that promised more affordable
11:06 am
health care is actually raising, raising their health care costs. and then there are the businesses who are changing their plans to hire new workers because obamacare's mandates and fees mean they can't afford to expand. and the workers who are having their hours cut because obamacare means that their employer can't afford to keep them on as full-time workers. the congressional budget office recently estimated that obamacare will mean 2 1/2 million fewer full-time workers and approximately $1 trillion in lower wages. well, madam president, that is a lot of lost economic opportuni opportunity. but you don't have to take my word for it because republicans are not the only people who are worried about obamacare's effects on the economy and on the middle class. a lot of the president's allies are worried, too. democrats that are running in red states are running scared and starting to talk about the need to amend the law. and then, then there are the
11:07 am
unions. unions are, of course, historically democrat supporters and they were instrumental in getting obamacare passed in the first place and helping to get the president reelected. but now unions are rethinking their support. at the end of last week, unite here, which is a huge union with over a quarter of a million members from all over the hospitality industry, published a white paper on obamacare which they called "the irony of obamacare: making inequality worse." and what does the document say? well, it says what republicans have been saying all along, that obamacare is going to make things much, much worse for the middle class. and i want to quote from the first page. it says this, "ironically, the administration's own signature health care victory poses one of the most immediate challenges to redressing inequality. without smart fixes, the affordable care act threatens the middle class with higher
11:08 am
premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage." that's from a white paper put out by one of the nation's major unions. in 12 pages, that document demolishes the administration's claims that the bill will help the middle class. it takes aim at the administration's ridiculous assertion that the law will not discourage business expansion or result in employers cutting hours. worker hours, the union points out, have already, already been cut at nearly a third of u.s. franchise businesses. other businesses have chosen to replace full-time workers with part-time workers, and still others have announced their intention of staying below 50 employees to avoid being hit by the worst of the law's mandates. the union also points out the likelihood of employers dumping employee health plans thanks to
11:09 am
the law's requirements, leaving employees to obtain health care in the exchanges. and here's what the union has to say about dropped employees. and, again, i quote -- "for dropped employees being pushed on to the exchanges will mean a major loss of income or health benefits. families moving to the exchanges may lose between 4% and 25% of income to maintain equivalent benefits." again, that's from the union white paper on obamacare. major loss of income or health benefits. "families moving to the exchanges may lose between 4% and 25% of income." between 4% and 25% of income. now, we're not talking about rich families here. we're talking about families who are making $40,000 and $50,000 and $60,000 a year. even a 4% income loss would make a huge dent in these families'
11:10 am
budgets. a 25% income loss for a family making the amount of money -- that amount of money, madam president, would be devastating. and finally, the union concludes by pointing out a study in the brookings institution -- again, not exactly a bastion of conservatism -- that shows that those making below $20,000 will get some benefit from the affordable care act but that those right above them, families with incomes of $20,000 to $38,000, will lose income. only in washington, the report concludes, "could asking the bottom of the middle class to finance health care for the poorest families be seen as reducing inequality." and again that's a quote from that report by unite here, a labor union. i want to remind everyone that this is not a republican document. it's a document produced by some of president obama's biggest supporters.
11:11 am
in fact, unite here was actually the first union to endorse then-senator obama in 2008. so this isn't an organization seeking to damage the president politically or to provide republicans with talking points. but like so many americans around the country, unite here has been forced to an inescapable conclusion and that conclusion is that obamacare just isn't working. it is doing the opposite of what it was intended to do. it's making health care more expensive for families. it's discouraging employees from hiring. it's reducing americans' health care choices. madam president, i ask for an additional minute. unanimous consent. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: it's reducing americans' health care choices, and it's encouraging employers to cut hours and benefits. our health care system may have needed reform but this was not the way to do it.
11:12 am
even the president's strongest supporters are having buyer's remorse. and, madam president, a lot of americans are hurting right now thanks to the president's health care law. as we hear from more and more americans, more and more south dakotans, people all across this country who are struggling under the law's burdens, i hope that democrats here who i believe privately are rethinking their vote for this law, will have the courage to publicly join us in calling for its repeal. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: thank you, madam president. last night the majority party had a all-night session talking
11:13 am
about energy but there's no specific action plan with legislation drafted and introduced that let's just, instead of talking about it here on the senate floor, let's do it. let's start voting.
11:14 am
let's pass it. let's put solutions in place for the american people. now this isn't one big mono lithic one size fits all federal plan, federal approach. instead it's a series of bills sponsored, as i say, by members on both sides of the aisle that would truly creates an all of the above energy approach. things like my good colleague said let's improve the keystone pipeline. the administration has been working on it for five years. maybe they're going to work on it for another five years. i don't know. well, let's just approve it here in congress. let's act. another bill, the domestic energy and jobs act, a bill i already introduced, already been passed by the house. it's a series of 13 different pieces of legislation that would help us produce more energy in this country both onshore and off. the kpwoer states act -- the
11:15 am
empower states act that would address hydraulic fracturing which is producing new areas of energy production in our country. or the coal ash recycling bill that not only would help us recycle coal ash but provide better standards to make sure we are storing ash that isn't recycled in environmentally sound ways. addressing a problem that e.p.a. is working on, has to come up with a solution by the end of the year, and we've worked with e.p.a. to come up with a commonsense solution that also encourages recycling coal ash to use on highways, buildings and for other construction purposes. and a domestic fuels act, another piece of legislation that not only helps us market at the pump traditional fuels like, you know, traditional oil and gas products, but also renewable fuels, biofuels, biodiesel,
11:16 am
ethanol, other types of energy that we're working to develop renewable fuels. let's make it easier to give consumers a choice at the pump and more competition that will help reduce their costs. this is the same kind of comprehensive plan we developed in north dakota when i was governor. we called it empower north dakota. of course the whole idea was to unleash the energy resources of our state, all of our energy resources. i'm not just talking about oil and gas, traditional sources of energy, but all, traditional and renewable that have truly made our state an energy powerhouse for the country. we did it at the state level. we can do it at the national level. so how does it work? quite simply, it empowers states to build on their relative strengths. so it does so by giving them the primary role or the primary
11:17 am
responsibility in terms of regulating energy development and growth in their state. that may be oil, gas, nuclear, biofuels, hydro, wind, solar, biomass, or whatever else may be an area of strength or expertise for their respective state. think about it. think about it. this approach builds on the tkaurb. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. hoeven: i'd ask the chair for two minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: thank you, madam president. if you think about it, it builds on the very foundation, the very concept of how our country works. the united states is the laboratory of democracy; right? the states are the laboratories of democracy. well, let's make them the laboratories of energy development in this country. why not? let's make them the laboratories of energy development in this country. whether it's wisconsin,
11:18 am
michigan, north dakota, south dakota, you name it, different places have different strengths. so when it comes to producing energy, let's empower them to produce the types of energy that work best in their respective state. it's a concept, if you think about it, that is bipartisan, that is inclusive, that includes not only the federal government, it includes the federal government in a way where they're working with the states and building on the very strength of our country. i know my time is limited. i will be back today to talk about it some more. but i want to leave with this point. it's not just about energy. it is about better environmental stewardship because we unleash the very investment that drives and deploys the new technology that produces more energy and do so with a better environmental stewardship. it's about a growing economy that creates revenues without raising taxes to help address the deficit and debt. and it creates jobs, good-paying jobs that we need in this country.
11:19 am
and it is about national security. think about what's going on in europe right now. is the european union going to join with us and impose sanctions on russia? are they? do they have the willing? are they willing to? or are they concerned that 30% of all the natural gas that comes to europe comes from russia and half of it goes through the ukraine? and are they so concerned about their energy future that they're not willing to stand with us and to do the things we need to do to make sure an aggressor like russia doesn't invade another sovereign country? so energy is very much about national security. and we can be energy secure in this country in very short order with the right approach. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, madam president. there are currently 89 judicial
11:20 am
vacancies in federal courts across the country, including four on the district court for the eastern district of michigan. two of these are considered emergency vacancies because they have been vacant for over 19 months. with so many vacancies, the case backlog isn't getting any smaller. it's a real problem. and the good news is that today we have an opportunity to vote to move forward on four excellent nominees to fill vacancies in the courts. our michigan nominees are highly qualified and represent some of the best legal minds we have. three of the nominees are sitting judges. the other nominee is currently in private practice at one of michigan's top law firms. throughout the confirmation process, they have all proven to be thoughtful and prudent stewards of the law.
11:21 am
so not only are they excellent nominees, but, madam president, they are ready to go to work. let me just tell you about each of them. first, judith levy has served as an assistant u.s. attorney in the eastern district of michigan since 2000. she was a cum laude graduate of the university of michigan law school. she has served numerous -- she has received numerous awards for her legal work. ms. levy clerked for the honorable bernard friedman, the former chief judge on the united states district court for the eastern district of michigan. he was in fact a reagan appointee. she is nominated to fill a judicial emergency vacancy created more than 18 months ago. ms. levy is an excellent nominee, and the people of michigan deserve to have her on
11:22 am
the bench, and she will serve with great distinction for all of us. second, we have judge laurie michelson. judge michelson served as a u.s. magistrate judge in the eastern district of michigan since 2007. prior to appointment to the bench she spent nearly 18 years in private practice where she specialized in media law, intellectual property and white-collar criminal defense. she earned her law degree from northwestern university in 1992, served as a law clerk to judge cornelia kennedy on the u.s. court of appeals. judge kennedy, as you may recall, was selected by president reagan for his short list of supreme court candidates to replace justice potter stewart. judge michaelson is an excellent nominee and again the people of
11:23 am
michigan deserve to have her on the bench, and she will serve with distinction. next we have judge linda parker. judge linda parker served as a judge on the third judicial circuit court of michigan since 2009. judge parker has served in state and federal government for over a decade. before that, she worked in private practice as well. she earned her law degree from george washington university and began her career as a law clerk in the district of columbia super kwror court. she's been recognized for her commitment to the community through pro bono legal work and as a board member of an organization that provides assistance to underserved academically gifted children. judge parker also is an excellent nominee, and the people of michigan look forward to her service.
11:24 am
matthew leitman. mr. leitman is a principal at the law firm of miller cantfield in troy, michigan we're handles criminal defense and appellate matters before state and federal courts. prior to joining miller cantfield in 2004 he spent ten years in private practice. he earned his law degree magna cum laude from harvard law school and began his career as a clerk to justice charles levin on the michigan supreme court. mr. leitman's nomination will also fill a judicial emergency vacancy which has been open for nearly two years. mr. leitman is also an excellent nominee, and the people of michigan, again, deserve his service on the bench, and we very much look forward to his service and to the service of all four of those that we will
11:25 am
be voting on. we have four excellent nominees for the u.s. district court for the eastern district of michigan. they are thoughtful. they are prudent. they are ready to get to work. and i would encourage and ask all of our colleagues to join together today in a strong bipartisan vote to be able to move forward these nominations and bring them to the place tomorrow for the final vote. we are very, very pleased with the president's nominees, with their qualifications. and we are very confident of their service to the courts and to the people of michigan. thank you very much. i would yield the floor and at this point suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
11:26 am
quorum call:
11:27 am
11:28 am
11:29 am
11:30 am
11:31 am
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mr. kaine: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session. under the previous order, there are now two minutes of debate equally divided prior to our cloture vote on the leitman nomination. leitman nomination. who yields time? assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: i ask consent to yield back the time under the rule. the presiding officer: without objection. all time is yielded back. the clerk will report the phroegs to invoke -- phroegs toe
11:32 am
cloture. the clerk: we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of matthew frederick leitman of michigan to be united states district judge of the eastern district of michigan signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is is it sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of matthew frederick leitman to be united states district judge for the eastern district of michigan shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
11:33 am
11:34 am
11:35 am
11:36 am
11:37 am
11:38 am
11:39 am
11:40 am
11:41 am
11:42 am
11:43 am
11:44 am
11:45 am
11:46 am
11:47 am
11:48 am
11:49 am
11:50 am
11:51 am
11:52 am
11:53 am
11:54 am
11:55 am
11:56 am
11:57 am
11:58 am
the presiding officer: does anyone wish to vote or change their vote? if not, the votes are 55 ayes, 43 nays. the motion is agreed to. under the previous order, there are now two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a cloture vote on the nevaday nomination. -- the levy nomination. the senator from michigan.
11:59 am
will the senate come to order. the senator from michigan. mr. levin: madam president, i want to assure our colleagues these nominees from michigan have been selected, obviously, by us but it was following a very, very thorough screening committee which is broadly based recommendation. and these -- all these four nominees are highly qualified, have judicial temperament and senator stabenow and i can recommend them highly to the senate. i thank my colleagues who are voting for cloture and then hope that the next vote after cloture we will see them confirmed. again, we want to provide that assurance to our colleagues that this is a broadly based screening committee that we appoint which has recommended these nominees. i thank the chair. the presiding officer: all time has been yielded back.
12:00 pm
the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of judith ellen levy of michigan to be united states district judge for the eastern district of michigan, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent the mandatory quorum has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that the debate on the nomination of judith ellen levy of michigan to be united states district judge for the eastern district of michigan shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rules. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
12:01 pm
12:02 pm
12:03 pm
12:04 pm
12:05 pm
12:06 pm
12:07 pm
12:08 pm
12:09 pm
12:10 pm
12:11 pm
12:12 pm
12:13 pm
12:14 pm
12:15 pm
vote:
12:16 pm
the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not, the ayes are 56, the nays are 52 and the nomination is agreed to. the motion is agreed to. under the previous order, there are now two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a
12:17 pm
cloture vote on the michelson nomination. is there objection? without objection all time is yielded back. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of laurie j. michelson of michigan to be united states district judge for the eastern district of michigan signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that the debate on laurie j. michelson to be judge for eastern district of michigan shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
12:18 pm
12:19 pm
12:20 pm
12:21 pm
12:22 pm
12:23 pm
12:24 pm
12:25 pm
12:26 pm
12:27 pm
12:28 pm
12:29 pm
12:30 pm
vote:
12:31 pm
12:32 pm
12:33 pm
12:34 pm
the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not the ayes are 56, the nays are 43 and the motion is agreed to. under the previous --
12:35 pm
the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent at 2:15 today the senate proceed to morning business until 6:00 p.m. tonight with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. madam president, i yield back any time on the subsequent -- on that nomination we're about to proceed on. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. without objection, time is yielded back. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of linda parker of michigan to be united states district judge for the eastern district of michigan, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory
12:36 pm
quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion on the nomination of linda vivienne parker of michigan to be united states district court judge for the eastern district of michigan shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
12:37 pm
12:38 pm
12:39 pm
12:40 pm
12:41 pm
12:42 pm
12:43 pm
12:44 pm
12:45 pm
vote:
12:46 pm
12:47 pm
12:48 pm
12:49 pm
12:50 pm
12:51 pm
12:52 pm
12:53 pm
the presiding officer: are
12:54 pm
there any senators wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not, the ayes are 56. the nays are 42. and the motion is agreed to. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: madam president, i request permission to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: thank you, madam president. i am happy to be on the floor here this morning to give the announcement and the update about the running of the 42nd iditarod in my state of alaska, an extraordinarily famous and fabulous sporting event where man and dog test the elements over the course of almost 1,100 miles, beginning in willow, alaska, and going all the way to nome. this year there were 69 times that started out. staed out. the first team crossed the
12:55 pm
finish line at 4:00 a.m. alaska standard time this morning. and it was one of those races that truly came down to almost a photo finish with the leaders trading off literally in the last several hours a situation that we honestly haven't seen in quite some time with the iditarod. with that build-up, i am pleased to announce that this year dallas cevey has become the winner of the 42nd winner of the iditarod winning by 2 minutes and 26 seconds. he and ali zerkel battled it out in the last battle of the race not even understanding that the front-runner who had been in place of aly and in place of dallas, jeff king, had had to
12:56 pm
scratch because of a ground blizzard on the ground that forced him off the trail, losing his sled and effectively having to call and ask for assistance. a very, very dramatic ending to a pretty fascinating race. the weather has been problematic throughout. we had warm weather conditions at the outset of the race, and then to have the weather be really the number-one opposition at the end made it something that we're going to be talking about for years here. madam president, you have had the opportunity to attend the ceremonial start of the iditarod. you know the excitement when you have 60 to 70 dog teams mushers and all of their supporters around handling the dogs, literally 1,000 dogs in the
12:57 pm
downtown area of anchorage. it is really quite exciting. it is a fabulous way to come to understand the history of the iditarod, but more importantly, to understand the mind-set of some of these mushers and the dedication that they have to this sport and the passion that they have for their dogs. this year i was in the chute, and i like to visit with each of the mushers as they're coming down. dallas cevey was there in the chute and i'm talking to him, and he was really excited about the course because he said this is going to be fast. it is going to be the quickest course that we have seen. and he said it's just perfect for someone like me who is young and fit and can stand up on his sled and literally be running next to his sled the whole way. three mushers later is jeff king, and jeff is telling me this is the perfect race for us older guys. jeff is my age.
12:58 pm
he says it's perfect because it takes the maturity and the wisdom and having been through a series of these iditarods to know exactly how to handle a course like that. well, madam president, i think both of them were right. when we saw truly the energy and determination of young dallas cevey. dallas, two years ago when he won for the first time, was the youngest musher to win. he demonstrated a level of energy and determination that truly just knocks your socks off. but what jeff king was able to do really with his methodical planning and the strategy that goes into that race is certainly to be embraced. and then of course aly zerkel, 44-year-old woman, demonstrating once again that tough, independent female spirit. by gosh, she was in there all the way. this is the second year now that she has come in, actually it's not the second year that she's
12:59 pm
come in second. she has come in second more times apparently than any other musher out there. dallas seavey broke the iditarod record this morning at 4:00 a.m. coming in at eight days, 13 hours, 4 minutes and 19 seconds. he shaved off almost five hours from john baker's previous win back in 2011. so a lot of firsts, a lot to be celebrated. there are still more out on the trail. when i talked to dallas just about an hour ago to congratulate him, he said -- i said you must be pooped. are you ready to go to sleep after eight days? and he says, well, i'm going to wait up for my dad. his dad, mitch sea have -- his dad mitch seavey is in third place. i said isn't it nice to know after all the years your dad waited up for you, you get to
1:00 pm
wait up for your dad before you take a break here? alaskans are pleased with the outcome. we are happy again to celebrate amazing athletes both human and canine doing amazing things in an amazing state. so pleased to be able to announce today's results and thank the indulgence of the chair. and with that, madam president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence -- no? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate the previous order, the senate
1:01 pm
>> i have asked for an apology but have not gotten a response. the search may have also violated the fourth amendment. reports emerged earlier this month that the cia has access to senate intelligence committee shared hard drive to see if staffers had copies of a review of bush era enhanced interrogation techniques. that from the hill web site. here's her entire speech. >> morning. over the past week, there have been human rouse press articles -- numerous press articles written about the intelligence committee's oversight review of the detention and interrogation program of the cia. specifically, press attention
1:02 pm
has focused on the cia's intrusion and search of the senate select committee's computers as well as the committee's acquisition of a certain internal cia document known as the panetta review. i rise today to set the record straight and to provide a full accounting of the facts and history. let me say up front that i come to the senate floor reluctantly. since january 15, 2014, when i was informed of the cia search of this committee's network, i've been trying to resolve this dispute in a discreet and respectful way. i have not commented in response to media requests for additional information on this matter. however, the increasing amount of inaccurate information circulating now cannot be allowed to stand unanswered. the origin of this study, the
1:03 pm
cia's detention and interrogation program, began operations in 2002. though it was not until september 2006 that members of the intelligence committee other than the chairman and the vice chairman were briefed. in fact, we were briefed by then-cia director hayden only hours before president bush disclosed the program to the public. a little more than a year later, on december 6, 2007, a new york times article revealed the troubling fact that the cia had destroyed videotapes of some of the cia's first interrogations using so-called enhanceed techniques. we learned that this destruction was over the objections of president bush's white house
1:04 pm
counsel and the director of national intelligence. after we read, excuse me, read about the tapes, of the destruction in the newspapers, director hayden briefed the senate intelligence committee. he assured us that this was not destruction of evidence, as detailed records of the interrogations existed on paper. in the form of cia operational cables describing the detention conditions and the day-to-day cia interrogations. the cia director stated that these cables were, quote: a more than adequate representation, end quote, of what would have been on the destroyed tapes. director hayden offered at that time during senator jay rockefeller's chairmanship of the committee to allow members or staff review these sensitive
1:05 pm
cia operational cables. that the videotapes -- given that the videotapes had been destroyed. chairman rockefeller sent two of his committee staffers out to the cia on nights and weekends to review thousands of these cables which took many months. by the time the two staffers completed their review into the cia's early interrogations in early 2009, i had become chairman of the committee, and president obama had been sworn into office. the resulting staff report was chilling. the interrogations and the conditions of confinement at the cia detention sites were far different and far more harsh than the way the cia had described them to us. as a result of the staff initial report, i proposed -- and then
1:06 pm
vice chairman bond agreed, and the committee overwhelmingly approved -- that the committee conduct an expansive and full review of the cia's detention and interrogation program. on march 5, 2009, the committee voted 14-1 to initiate a comprehensive review of the cia detention and interrogation program. immediately, we sent a request for documents to all relevant executive branch agencies; chiefly among them, the cia. the committee's preference was for the cia to turn over all responsive documents to the committee's office as had been done in previous committee investigations. director panetta proposed an alternative arrangement, to provide literally millions of pages of operational cables,
1:07 pm
internal e-mails, memos and is other documents -- and other documents pursuant to a committee's document requests at a secure location in northern virginia. we agreed but insisted on several conditions and protections to insure the integrity of this congressional investigation. per an exchange of letters in 2009, then-vice chairman bond, then-director pa theta and i -- pa theta and i agreed in an exchange of letters that the cia was to provide a, quote, stand-alone computer system, end quote, with a, quote, network drive segregated from cia networks, end quote. for the committee that would only be accessed by information, technology personnel at the cia who would, quote, not be permitted to share information
1:08 pm
from the system with other cia personnel. except as a otherwise authorized by the committee, end quote. it was this computer network that notwithstanding our agreement with director panetta was searched by the cia this past january and once before, which i will later describe. in addition to demanding that the documents produced for the committee be reviewed at a cia facility, the cia also insisted on conducting a multii layered review -- multilayered review of every responsive document before providing the document to the committee. this was to insure the cia did not mistakenly provide documents unrelated to the cia's detention and interrogation program. or provide documents that the president could potentially
1:09 pm
claim to be covered by executive privilege. well, we viewed this as unnecessary and raised concerns that it would delay our investigation. the cia hired a team of outside contractors who otherwise would not have had access to these sensitive documents to read multiple times each of the 6.2 million pages of documents produced. before providing them to fully-cleared committee staff conducting the committee's oversight work. this proved to be a slow and very expensive process. the cia started making documents available electronically to the committee staff at the cia-leased facility in mid 2009. the number of pages ran quickly to the thousands, tens of
1:10 pm
thousands, the hundreds of thousands and then into the millions. the documents that were provided came without any index, without any organization toal structure -- organizational structure. it was a true document dump that our committee staff had to go through and make sense of. in order to piece oght the story -- together the story of the cia's detention and interrogation program, the committee staff did two things that will be important as i go on. first, they asked the cia to provide an electronic search tool so they could locate specific, relevant documents for their search among the cia-produced documents just like you would use a surgery tool on the internet -- search tool on the internet to locate information. second, when the staff found the document that was particularly important important or that
1:11 pm
might be referenced in our final report, they would often print it or make a copy of the file on their computer so they could easily find it again. there are thousands of such documents in the committee's secure spaces at the cia facility. now, prior removal of documents by cia. in early 2010 the cia was continuing to provide documents, and the committee staff was gaping familiarity with the information it had already received. in may of 2010, the committee staff noticed that the documents had been provided for the committee -- that had been provided for the committee's review were no longer accessible.
1:12 pm
staff approached the cia personnel at the off-site location who initially denied the documents had been removed. cia personnel then blamed information technology percent knell who were -- personnel who were almost all contractors for removing the documents themselves without direction or authority. and then the cia stated that the removal of the documents was ordered by the white house. when the committee approached the white house, the white house denied giving the cia any such order. after a series of meetings, i learned that on two occasions cia personnel electronically removed committee access to cia documents after providing them to the committee. this included roughly 870 documents or pages of documents
1:13 pm
that were removed in february 2010. and secondly, roughly another 50 that were removed in mid may 2010. this was done without the knowledge or approval of committee members or staff. and in violation of our written agreements. further, this type of behavior would not have been possible had the cia allowed the committee to conduct the review of documents here in the senate. in short, this was the exact sort of cia interference in our investigation that we sought to avoid at the outset. i went up to white house to raise the issue with the then-white house counsel. in may 2010 he recognized the severity of the situation and the grave implications of executive branch personnel
1:14 pm
interfering with an official congressional investigation. matter was resolved with a renewed commitment from the white house counsel and the cia that there would with no further unauthorized access to the committee's network or removal of access to cia documents already provided to the committee. on may 17, 2010, the cia's then-director of congressional affairs apologized on behalf of the cia for removing documents. and that, as far as i was concerned, put the incident aside. this event was separate from the documents provided that were part of internal panetta review which occurred later and which i will describe next.
1:15 pm
at some point in 2010, committee staff searching the documents that had been made available found draft versions of what is now called internal panetta review. we believe these documents were written by cia personnel to summarize and analyze materials that had been provided to the committee for its review. the panetta review documents were no more highly classified than other information we had received for our investigation. in fact, the documents appeared based on the same information already provided to the committee. what was unique and interesting about the internal documents was not their classty case level -- classification level, but rather their analysis and acknowledgment of significant cia wrongdoing.
1:16 pm
to be clear, the committee staff did not hack into cia computers to on to tape these documents -- to obtain these documents as has been suggested in the press. the documents were identified using the search tool provided by the cia to search the documents provided to the committee. we have no way to determine who made the internal panetta review documents available to the committee. further, we don't know whether the documents were provided intentionally by the cia, unintentionally by the cia or intentionally by a whistleblower. in fact, we know that over the years on multiple occasions the staff has asked the cia about documents made available for our information. at times the cia has simply been
1:17 pm
unaware that these specific documents were provided to the committee. and while this is alarming, it is also important to note that more than 6.2 million pages of documents have been provided. this is simply a massive amount of records. as i described earlier, as part of its standard process for reviewing records the committee staff printed copies of the internal panetta review and made electronic copies of the committee's computers at the facility. the staff did not rely on these internal panetta review documents when drafting the final 6,300-page committee study. but the it was significant -- but it was significant that the internal panetta review had documented at least some of the very same troubling matters
1:18 pm
already uncovered by the committee staff. which is not surprising in that they were looking at the same information. there is a claim in the press and elsewhere that the markings on these documents should have caused the staff to stop reading them and turn them over to the cia. i reject that claim completely. as with many other documents provided to the committee at the cia facility, some of the internal panetta review documents -- some -- contained markings indicating that this were, quote, deliberative, end quote and/or, quote, privileged, end quote. this was not especially noteworthy to staff. in fact, cia has provided thousands of internal documents to include cia legal guidance and talking points prepared for
1:19 pm
the cia director, some of which were marked as being deliberative or privileged. moreover, the cia has potentially provided such documents to the committee here in the senate. in fact, the cia's official june 27th, 2013, response to the committee study which director brennan delivered to he personally is labored -- labeled, quote: deliberative process, privileged document, end quote. we have discussed this with the senate legal counsel who have confirmed that congress does not recognize these claims of privilege when it comes to documents provided to congress for our oversight duties. these were documents provided by the executive branch pursuant to an authorized congressional oversight investigation.
1:20 pm
so we believe we had every right to review and keep the documents. there are also claims in the press that the panetta internal review documents, having been created in 2009 and 2010, were outside the date range of the committee's document request or the terms of the committee study. this, too to, is inaccurate. -- too, is inaccurate. the committee's document requests for not limited in time. in fact, as i have previously announced, the committee study includes significant information on the may 2011 ohs -- osama bin laden operation which, obviously, postdated the defense and interrogation program. at some time after the committee staff identified and reviewed the internal panetta review documents, access to the vast
1:21 pm
majority of them was removed by the cia. we believe this happened this 2010. but we have no way of knowing the specifics. nor do we know why the documents were removed. the staff was focused on reviewing the tens of thousands of new documents that continued to arrive on a regular basis. our work continued until december 2012 when the intelligence committee approved a 6,300 page committee study of the cia's detention and interrogation program. and sent the executive report to the executive branch for comment. the cia provided its response to the study on june 27, 2013. as cia director brennan has stated, cia officially agrees
1:22 pm
with some of our study but has been reported the cia disagrees and disputes important parts of it. and this is important. some of these important parts that the cia now disputes in our committee study are clearly acknowledged in the cia's old internal pa metareview. to say the least, this is puzzling. how can the cia's official response to our study stand factually in conflict with its own internal review? now, after noting the disparity between the official cia response to the committee study and the internal panetta review, the committee staff securely transported a printed portion of
1:23 pm
the draft internal panetta review from the committee's secure room at the cia-leased facility to the secure committee spaces if the hart senate -- in the hart senate office building. and let me be clear about this. i mentioned earlier the exchange of letters that senator bond and i had with director panetta in 2009. over the handling of information for this review. the letters set out a process whereby the committee would provide specific cia documents to cua reviewers -- cia reviewers before bringing them back to our secure offices here on capitol hull. the cia review was designed specifically to make sure that committee documents available to all staff and members did not include certain kinds of information. most importantly, the true names
1:24 pm
of nonsupervisory cia possessor them -- personnel and the names of specific countries in which the cia operated detention sites. we had agreed up front that our report didn't need to include this information, and so we agreed to redact it from materials leaving the cia's facility. keeping with the spirit of the agreement, the portion of the internal panetta review at the hart building our safe has been redacted. it does not contain names of nonsupervisory cia personnel or information identifying detention site locations. in other words, our staff did just what the cia personnel would have done had they reviewed the documents. there are several reasons why
1:25 pm
the draft summary of the panetta review was brought to our secure spaces at the hart building. let me list them. one, or the significance of the internal review given disparities between it and the june 2013 cia response to the committee's study. the internal panetta review summary, now at the secure committee office in hart, is an especially significant document as it corroborates critical information in the committee's 6,300-page study. that the cia's official response either objects to, denies, minimizes or ignores. unlike the official response,
1:26 pm
these panetta review documents were in treatment with the committee's -- this agreement with the committee's findings. that's what makes them so significant and important to protect. when the internal panetta review documents disappeared from the committee's computer system, this suggested once again that the cia had removed documents already provided to the committee. in violation of cia agreements and white house assurances that the cia would cease such activities. as i have detailed, the cia has previously withheld and destroyed information about its detention and interrogation programs including its decision in 2005 to destroy interrogation videotapes over the objections of the bush white house and the director of national intelligence.
1:27 pm
based on above, there was a need to preserve and protect the internal panetta review in the committee's own secure spaces. now, the relocation of the internal panetta review was lawful and handled in a manner consistent with its classification. no law prevents the relocation of a document in the committee's possession from a cia facility to secure committee offices on capitol hill. as i mentioned before, the document was handled and transported in a manner consistent with its classty case -- classification, redacted appropriately, and it remains secured with restricted access in committee spaces. now the january 15, 2014, meeting with directer john paren man. brennan.
1:28 pm
in late 2013 i requested in writing that the cia provide a final and complete version of the internal panetta review to the committee. as opposed to the partial document the committee currently possesses. the december during an open committee hearing, senator mark udall echoed this request. in early january 2014, the cia informed the committee it would not provide internal panetta review to the committee, citing the distributive nature of -- deliberative nature of the document. shortly thereafter on january 15th, 2014, cia director brennan requested an emergency meeting to-me and vice chairman chambliss that without prior notification or approval cia
1:29 pm
personnel had conducted a search, that was john brennan's word, of the committee computers at the off-site facility. this search involved not only a search of documents provided by the committee -- by the cia, but also a search of the stand-alone and walled-off committee network drive. finish containing the committee's own internal work product and communications. according to brennan, the computer search was conducted in response to indications that some members of the chief staff might already have had access to the internal panetta review. the cia did not ask the committee or its staff if the committee had access to the internal review or how we obtained it. instead, the cia just went and
1:30 pm
searched the committee's compute cers. the cia has still not asked the committee any questions about how the committee acquired the pa theta review. panetta review. in place of asking any questions, the cia's unauthor z hissed search of the committee computers was followed by an allegation which we now have seen repeated anonymously in the press. that the committee staff had somehow obtained the documents through unauthorized or criminal means, perhaps to include hacking into the cia's computer network. as i have described, this is not true. the document was made available to the staff at the off-site facility, and it was located using a cia-provided search tool, running a query of the information provided to the committee pursuant to its investigation.
1:31 pm
director brennan stated that the cia's search had determined that the committee staff had copies of the internal pa metareviews -- panetta review on the committee staff's shared drives and had accessed them numerous times. he indicated at the meeting that he was going to order further forensic investigation of the committee network to learn more about activities of the committee's oversight staff. two days after the meeting, on january 17th, i wrote a letter to director brennan objecting to any further cia investigation due to the separation of powers, constitutional issues that the verge raised. i follow z this with a second letter. on january 23rd to the director. asking 12 specific questions about the cia's actions.
1:32 pm
questions that the cia has refused to answer. some of the questions in my letter related to the full scope of the cia's search of our computer network. other questions related to who had authorized and conducted the surgery and what legal basis the cia claimed gave it authority to conduct the search. again, the cia has not provided answers to any of my questions. my letter also laid out my concern about legal and constitutional implications of cia's actions. based on what director brennan has informed us, i have grave concerns that the cia's search may well have violated the separation of powers, principles embodied in the united states constitution. and including the speech and
1:33 pm
debate clause. it may have undermined the constitutional framework potential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function. i have asked for an apology and a recognition that this cia's search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. i have received either. besides the constitutional implication, the cia's search may also have violated the fourth amendment, the computer fraud and abuse act as well as executive order 12333 which prohibits the cia from conducting domestic searches or surveillance. days after the meeting with director brennan, the cia inspector general, david buckley, learns of the cia search and began an
1:34 pm
investigation into cia's activities. >> i have been thissed that mr. buckley -- that mr. buckley has referred the matter to the department of justice. let me note, because the cia has refused to answer the questions in my january 23rd letter and the cia inspector general is ongoing, i have limited information about exactly what the cia can did in conducting its search. weeks later i was also told that after the inspector general reviewed the cia's activities to the department of justice -- excuse me, referred the cia's activities to the department of justice, the acting counsel general of the cia filed a crimes report with the department of justice concerning the committee staff actions.
1:35 pm
review by the cia itself. as a result, there is no legitimate reason to allege to the justice department that senate staff may have committed a crime. i view the acting consul general's referral as a potential effort to intimidate
1:36 pm
this staff, and i am not taking it lightly. i should note that for most, if not all of the cia's detention and interrogation program, the now-acting general counsel was a lawyer in the cia's counterterrorism center. the unit within which the cia managed and carried out program. this program. from mid 2004 until the official termination of the detention and interrogation program in january 2009, he was the unit's chief lawyer. he is mentioned by name more than 1600 times in our study. and now this individual is sending a crimes report to the department of justice on the actions of congressional staff. the same congressional staff that researched and crofted a report that detailed how cia
1:37 pm
officers, including the acting general counsel himself, provided inaccurate information to the d. of justice about the program -- to the department of justice about the program. mr. president, let me say this: all senators rely on their staff to be their eyes and ears and to carry out our duties. the staff members of the intelligence committee are dedicated professionals who are motivated to do what is best for our nation. the staff members who have been working on this study and this report have devoted years of their lives to it. wading through the horrible details of a cia program that never, never, never should have existed. they have worked long hours and produced a report unprecedented in its comprehensive detail in the history of the senate. they are now being threatened with legal jeopardy just as the final revisions to the report are being made so that parts of
1:38 pm
it can be declassified and released to the american people. mr. president, i felt that i needed to come to the floor today to correct the public record and to give the american people the facts about what the dedicated committee staff have been working so hard for the last several years as part of the committee's investment -- investigation. i also want to reiterate to my colleagues my desire to have all updates to the committee report completed this month and approved for declassification. we're not going to stop. i intend to move to have the findings, conclusions and the executive summary of the report sent to the president for declassification and release to the american people. the white house has indicated publicly and to me personally that it supports declassification and release.
1:39 pm
if the senate can declassify this report, we will be able to insure that an un-american, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted. but, mr. president, the recent actions that i have just laid out make the a defining moment for the -- this a defining moment for the oversight of our intelligence committee. how congress and how this will be resolved will show whether the intelligence committee can be effective in monitoring and investigating our nation's intelligence activities or whether our work can be thwarted by those we oversee. i believe it is critical that the committee and the senate reaffirm our oversight role and our independence under the constitution of the united states. mr. president, i thank you very much for your patients, and i yield the floor -- patience, and
1:40 pm
i yield the floor. >> mr. president? >> senator from vermont. >> mr. president, while the distinguished senator from california is on the floor, i would tell her through the chair i've add the privilege of serving this body now my 40th year. i've heard thousands of speeches on this floor. i cannot think of any speech by any member of either party as important as the one the senator from california just gave. what she is saying is if we're going to protect the separation of powers and the concept of congressional oversight, then she has taken the right steps to do that. i think back, mr. president, the very first vote i cast in this body was for the church committee which went into the excesses of the cia and others
1:41 pm
of our agencies, everything from assassinations to spying on those who were protesting the war in vietnam. there's a famous george thames picture where then-chairman of the armed services committee, john stennis, was berating senator frank church for proposing this committee, saying that he, senator stennis, could find out what he wanted to find out but doesn't really want to know -- but didn't really want to know anything. i was standing behind george thames when he took that picture at my first caucus. there's pressure on junior members, new members -- and i was the most junior member of the senate at the time -- not to voter church committee. senator mike mansfield told me as senator fritz mondale did, others, that the senate is bigger than any one senator. we come and go, the senate lasts. and if we do not stand up for
1:42 pm
the approximate of the separation of -- the protection of the separation of powers and our ability to do oversight especially when conduct has happened that is in all likelihood criminal conduct by part of a government agency, then what do we stand for? we are supposed to be the conscience of the nation. the senator from california, senator feinstein, has spoken to our conscience, to every one of us, 100 senators, men and women, or both parties. she has spoken to our conscience. now, let's stand up for this country. let's stand up as a united states senator should and as the senator from california has. >> cia director john brennan today responded to senator feinstein saying, quote: nothing can be further from the truth. here's a look. >> as far as the allegations of, you know, cia hacking into, you know, senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. we wouldn't do that. i mean, that's, that's -- that's
1:43 pm
just beyond the, you know, the scope of reason in terms -- >> she says that there are potentially illegal and unconstitutional breaches by the cia. >> well, appropriate authorities right now both inside of cia as well as cia -- >> the justice department. >> -- are looking at what cia officers as well as staff members did. and i defer to them to determine whether or not there was any violation of law or principle, and i referred the matter myself to the cia inspector general to make sure that he was able to look honestly and objectively at what cia did there. and, you know, when the facts come out on this, i think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong. >> you said at your confirmation hearing you wanted to restore the trust between cia and the overseers in the senate. this is a pretty major gulf. if it's proved that the cia did
1:44 pm
do this, would you feel that you had to step down? >> i, i am confident that the authorities will review this appropriately, and i will deal with the facts as uncovered in the appropriate manner. i would just encourage some members of the senate to take their time, to make sure that they don't overstate what they claim and what they probably believe to be the truth. these are some complicated matters. we have worked with the committee over the course of many years. this review that was done by the committee was done at a facility where cia had the responsibility to make sure that they had the computer wherewithal in order to carry out their responsibilities. and so if there was any inappropriate actions that were taken related to that review either by cia or by the senate
1:45 pm
staff, i'll be the first one to stay we need to get to the bottom of this. and if i did something wrong, i will go the president and explain exactly what i did and what the findings were. he is the one who can ask me to stay or to go. >> gentleman from tennessee. >> mr. speaker, on this historic day the house of representatives opens its proceedings for the nurse time to televised -- first or time to televised coverage. i wish to congratulate you for your courage in making this possible and the committee who has worked so hard under the leadership of congressman charles rose to make this a reality. television will change this institution, mr. speaker, just as it has changed the executive branch. but the good will far outweigh bad. from in this day forward, every member of this body must ask himself or herself how many americans are listening to the debates which are made. when the house becomes comfortable with the changes brought by television coverage,
1:46 pm
the news media will be allowed to bring their own cameras into this chamber. in the meantime, there is no censorship. every word is available for broadcast coverage, and journalists will be able to use and edit as they see fit. the solution for the lack of confidence in government, mr. speaker, is more open government at all levels. >> find more highlights from 35 years of house floor coverage on our facebook page. c-span, created by america's cable companies 35 years ago and brought to you today as a public service by your television provider. >> the senate remained in session overnight with democrats speaking about the dangers of climate change. here's a look at remarks from senators sheldon whitehouse and brian schatz, two organizers of the overnight session, and then a look at the response from minority leader mitch mcconnell. >> the other point i wanted to mention is that a lot of these
1:47 pm
winter sports are part of winter olympics. and there was just a study done by the university of waterloo that took a look at all of the different locations in which there have been winter olympics all the way up to sochi, here. and the green shows that from 1981 to 2010 all of those locations for winter olympics were climate reliable for snow conditions. then they run a couple of different scenarios. 2050 with low emissions, 2050 with high emissions. 2080s with low emissions, 2080s with high carbon emissions. and one by one the sites of previous winter olympics fall away as reasonable sites.
1:48 pm
if you go to the 2050s low emissions scenario, there goes sochi, there goes grenoble. you go a little bit further, vancouver, squaw valley, share jay slow are in trouble. and when you get down here, the majority of the sites where we've had winter olympics are now no longer climate suitable for winter olympics, including lillehammer and nagano, innsbruck, sarajevo, vancouver, grenoble and on. so the people who are involved in these winter sports know about this, and a hundred athletes at the sochi olympics from ten different nations wrote a letter saying we have got to take climate change seriously. and they particularly focused on the small towns in the mountains where skiers and snowboarders
1:49 pm
train and where the economy is based on snowboarding and skiing and winter sports and the devastation that would happen in those small towns if that economy collapsed because of climate change. if you want to go ahead now, senator? >> sure. i thank the senator from rhode island, and i'd like to offer a personal story from a young lady in hawaii, because i think that it's really important to think of this in generational terms. and her name is cara tanaka, and she is a senior at a school, and she wrote me a letter, and i want to read it into the record. this is kara tanaka. recently i read hawaii is one of
1:50 pm
two it's nations being considered for the world conservation congress. the international union for the council of nature brings together nations to discuss conservation on a global scale. as this meeting has never been held in the u.s., hawaii hopes to be selected as the host location. for many reasons hawaii is the perfect place to hold this meeting. hawaii is the most remote set of islands this the world and has the most concentrated examples of nor rah and fauna that are in jeopardy in the united states. our islands could be subjected to the rising waters caused by global warming. the outer reefs that protect our shores will be in crisis if the current environmental challenges are not addressed and solutions acted upon. i've been blessed in growing up on the north shore of oahu and have experienced the beautiful scenery of nature which surrounds me. as a first generation japanese-american, my
1:51 pm
92-year-old grandpa loves to tell me stories about spending his youth living on the plantation fields. during our early morning hikes up peacock flats and lunches on the beach, my grandpa enjoys telling me about all of the edible plants we walked by and identify all the animals that we hear and see. my grandpa also shares with me the things that are no longer around; dry streams, less wildlife and lower water levels. although there may be other factors affecting the environment, i truly believe that climate change is a major reason causing these changes. for both my grandpa and me, climate change is real. he sees the change. it's a very important thing because hawaii's wildlife is very sensemental and beautiful part of -- sent meant l and beautiful part of our life. of the effects of climate change could be catastrophic. for example, the rising temperatures will cause loss of
1:52 pm
habitat, there will be changes in water supply, and it could push certain species to the endangered species list. the animals my grandpa and i look and hear for may soon no longer be there at all. in addition, i can't even imagine how it would be with like if our coral reefs die from global warming. beach erosion will multiply rapidly, and people's homes will be prone to destruction. hawaii's beaches could be gone. not only would in this affect hawaii's beauty, but it would affect hawaii's economy because of the heavy reliance on tourism. climate change is real and in need of full attention. i've seen many programs for sustainability in my community from the recently-built wind turbines by my house to programs in elementary schools like ima in the schools that have raised the awareness of climate change. i believe there needs to be more research about climate change and its effects on the
1:53 pm
environment. when i become a parent, i hope i can share the same sounds and sights that my grandpa has shared with me, to experience wildlife with my children rather than teach them how the environment could have been or was like before. mr. president, kara's words spoken from her heart reflect the deepest feelings of her generation. not only in hawaii, but throughout the united states. and i repeat the most resonant of her thoughts. when i become a parent be, i hope i can -- a parent, i hope i can share the same sounds and sights that my grandpa has shared with me. indeed, hawaii has a remarkably beautiful environment, and yet i think we all agree that all of our home states are worth preserving. these thoughts from kara inspire me, they -- i think -- inspire all of us. there is a kara tanaka in every community that inspire us to
1:54 pm
take action. it is time to wake up. that is why we are up for climate, that's why we are in this fight. >> if i may, let me ask people who are listening to think back in time. think back this in time to -- think back in time to many, many years ago when abraham lincoln was president of the united states, when this room was just under construction and soldiers coming down occupied it, camped here, camped in the lounge and actually made fires in the lounge across the way to cook their bacon. you could hear cannon fire from the capitol. the civil war was happening in america. and when that took place, there
1:55 pm
was a scientist named john tindall who delivered a paper that showed that when you added carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, out warmed the earth. it warmed the earth. that's how long it's been that we've known that when you add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, it warms the earth. and since that time we've probably added close on 2,000 gig a tons gig a tons to the atmosphere. and what happened when you do that? what happens when you do that? this goes back to 800,000 b.c., by the way, this is noorly a million years. and you see that in the time we've mentioned here, 800,000 years, there's within a very clear range of carbon concentration in the planet. and we kicked in around 200,000 years ago as human beings.
1:56 pm
this is about where homo sapiens showed up. so long before there was homo sapiens, the earth stayed between about 170 and 300 parts per million of carbon dioxide. and for every single year that human beings have inhabited this planet, we stayed within that window. but then that 2,000 gig tons started to kick in, and here it goes. up through 250, up through 300, up through 350 and for the first time, it hit 400 parts per million. so that's pretty real. and the people are worried about deniers out there, you can't deny tindall's theory. nobody denies it, that when you add carbon dioxide to the
1:57 pm
atmosphere, it has this effect. nobody denies that we've put about roughly close on 2,000 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere since then, and nobody denies these measurements. these are measurements. this isn't theory, this is measurements. it's one thing if the republican party wants to be the party that's against science. i doubt they want to go so far as to be the party that is against measurement. but here we are at 400. and sure enough, some strange behavior is sewing up. and this -- is showing up. and this shows where all the land and ocean temperature anomalies are showing up. and if you look starting back here in 1880s, it goes from blue, the cold anomalies, to red. and you can see a very, very distinct line, and people who look at it say, well, that's that undeniable climate change
1:58 pm
happening. that's that 400 parts per mill. that's that -- per million. that's that increase in carbon dioxide. and how many people think that? well, about 14,000 peer-reviewed articles think that. 24 reject global warming. that's the red line, if you're comparing the two. the blue is the universe of peer-reviewed articles on climate change. that tiny little red line is the 24 out of 14,000 that reject climate change. i asked my friends on the other side of the aisle, you are betting the reputation of the republican party on your current de facto premise that climate change isn't real. do you really want to take a 24 out of 14,000-article bet? is that the smart place to put reputation and the honor of the republican party? i don't think so. that's another reason that i'm confident that we can get to a bipartisan solution here.
1:59 pm
i don't think that it is smart for republicans to take the reputation and honor of their party and bet it on a theory that is 24 out of 14,000. and you look look -- look a little bit behind the climate denial can operation, you see that it's actually a pretty sketchy thing. it's a pretty sketchy thing. a lot of these organizations have a tradition of denial. they denied that to zone hole was -- the ozone hole was growing. they denied that tobacco caused cancer. heck, some of them probably denied that seat belts made auto travel safer. that's been their industry. they have been in the denial industry. but this is a dangerous place to be, particularly because the oceans don't lie. the oceans tell the story, ask
2:00 pm
and they tell it -- and they tell it in ways that you can't deny. and it's big, what happens in the oceans, because 93% of the heat goes into the oceans. and what do you see? you know perfectly well what happens to liquids when they get warmer. that's a law of science. it's called law of thermal expansion. when liquids get bigger, get warmer, they get bigger. and sure enough, when the ocean gets bigger, the sea level rises. and here's a time series showing the sea level rise taking place. so we have the principle of carbon dioxide warming the temperature of the earth, we have the addition of the carbon dioxide, we have the measurement in the atmosphere of the effect of that addition. we have the laws of nature that show what happens when the ocean warms and rises, and then you go
2:01 pm
back out and you measure, and you see exactly coming through just as predicted. and by the way, it's 93% of the heat, but it's 30% of the carbon. and you can go into a regular chemistry has been, and you can do the experiment of adding carbon dioxide to saltwater and watching its acidification go up. and sure enough, you can go to the ocean and you can do this as well. and, again, this isn't theory, this is measurement. does the republican party want to be the party that doesn't just deny science, but denies measurement? i don't think so. there's no future in that. responsible people who back the republican party need to bring their party back from the brink of one of the most embarrassing fiascoes that any political party could get itself into. >> if i may, the senator from
2:02 pm
rhode island, i think, has elucidated the problem with respect to climate change deniers. let me read you a few quotes from members of congress, unfortunately, and they would be funny if they weren't so alarming. these are direct quotes from members of congress who are denying the reality of climate change. first quote, is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rain forests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases? second quote, we don't know what those other cycles were caused by in the past, could be dinosaur flatulence, you know? or who knows? global warming is a total fraud, and it's being designed because what you've got is -- >> may the record reflect that this is, perhaps, the first reference in the history of the united states senate to dinosaur
2:03 pm
flatulence. >> i would hope so. global warming is a total fraud, and it's being designed -- because what you've got is you've got liberals who get elected at the local level, want state government to do the work and let them make the decisions. but at the state level, they want the federal government to do it, and at the federal government they want to create global government to control our lives. here's one. about global climate change, it could just be a shift on the axis. i don't even know what that means. and they're a little bit humorous except that these are sitting discussion makers. and it really is time to wake up. it is time for those folks who are denying the reality of climate change to move off of their position, for those who are quietly agreeing with us about the science but not stepping forward and showing leadership to show leadership and, frankly, i think it's time for those of us who have been passionate about this issue to
2:04 pm
work together and to redouble our efforts. but i have 20 or 30 pages worth of quite alarming quotes and, again, they would be funny if they weren't from sitting decision makers who have real authority over this question. >> the one we hear the most often right now is don't wore toly, climate change -- don't worry, climate change has leveled off. global warming and the temperature increase has leveled off. well, as you just saw, 93% of the heat goes into the ocean to. so if you're measuring just the atmosphere, a tiny wobble in the 93% share that the oceans take up will make a massive effect in the atmosphere. but more to the point, the graph -- if you take a graph, here's the leveling that they show over the last 15 years. the problem is be you go back through the data, you can show that it leveled here and then it leveled here, and then it
2:05 pm
leveled here, and then it leved here, and then it leveled here, and then it leveled here. there are constant levels in an upward-going staircase. and if you cherry pick the data, you can say, okay, it's gotten level for that period, but if you really look the at the trend of the data, that's the actually trend line through the data. when somebody comes to you and says ignore that trend mine. instead, look at it having gotten flat. and by the way, forget all those other times it got flat before. what do you think about somebody who made an argument to you like that? it's a ridiculous argument. it ruins the credibility of the person who makes it. and how you can believe that is astonishing. >> well, and i think you're exactly right. and in some ways that's a more dangerous argument than some of the the other denier arguments, because it sounds like science. it's really not, but it sounds like science.
2:06 pm
but the most recent, this my view, most absurd -- and we have now, i think, seen it for three or four winters is every time there's snow, somebody -- at first i thought it was just sort of a little, a little, you know, a little jab, a little rhetorical joke. but they're actually saying that because it was snowing last week that there must not be climate change. that is an argument that they're relying upon i think because in the face of actual evidence, they're now having to rely on anecdotes, on the fact that it's icy this antarctica or there was a snowstorm in d.c. or it was unseasonably cold for a weekend in georgia or whatever it may be. but to rely on individual anecdotes about the weather, i think, is pretty tough stuff to take. and i just want to make sure that we don't let that stand, that idea that you get to look out the window and understand what's happening with the
2:07 pm
climate is a lack of understanding about the climate. climate is, are long-term patterns over large swaths of land or ocean. the weather is you get to check it on your iphone app tomorrow morning. that's the weather. that's not the climate. it may or may not be hot or cold tomorrow. that doesn't tell you a thing about what's happening with climate change. and to the extent that somebody wants to puck off a day and -- pick off a day and say, look, it's 32 degrees in seattle and, therefore, climate change is not real, i don't think anybody actually believes that argument, but it's important that the american public realize how speshes that claim is. >> and climate science doesn't tell you that every day is going to get a tiny little bit warmer. climate science tells you that putting that extra energy into the system will make the weather extremes worse both warmer and colder.
2:08 pm
and so the fact that there have been cold snaps is actually perfectly consistent with climate science. so not only does that argument ignore the difference between weather and climate, it also takes advantage of people who haven't drilled into the climate science because be you knew -- if you knew the least little bit about the underlying science, you'd know that the point made no sense because that's exactly what the people who predict global warming predicted would happen. if anything, it confirms the argument that people are trying to rebut. so it's really, really a dishonest argument. >> our friends on the other side who run the senate spent a lot of time talking last night. i'm not sure what any of it accomplished. the reviews seem to be pretty terrible. the ap dubbed the talk-a-thon a lot of hot air about a lot of
2:09 pm
hot air and said speeches were about a little more than theatrics. senate democrats are just trying to please the left coast billionaire who plans to finance so many of their campaigns. because the talking senators didn't really introduce any new legislation. i didn't hear the talking senators announce votes on bills already pending before the senate. they basically just talked and talked and tossed out political attacks at a party that doesn't even control the democratic-run senatement no wonder the american people have such a low opinion of congress. the so-called talk-a-texas hon perfectly illustrated the emptiness of today's washington democratic majority. i remember a time when democrats could say with some legitimacy that they were the party for working people. those days seem to be receding further and further into the rearview mirror. because whether it's addressing the opportunity gap in the obama
2:10 pm
economy or building the keystone pipeline or last night's whatever that was, washington democrats ceept opting for the empty political stunt over the reasonable, substantive solutions for the middle class. and here's the thing, we need two serious political parties in this country debating serious ideas. when we see washington democrats throwing seriousness out the window like this, it's just pad for everybody. it's just bad for everybody. so if washington democrats are actually serious about all the talk last night, they should follow it up with action. democrats control the senate. bring up, bring up the cap and tax bill and let's have a debate. put it on agenda. let's debate it. but as as ap noted, despite all the bravado k democratic leaders made it clear they have no plans, no plans to bring a climate bill to the senate floor
2:11 pm
this year. so what was all the talking about? our friends on the other side set the agenda. call up the bill. and the reason they won't isn't because of obstructionism or whatever else they might want to claim, it's because too many members of their own party would vote against it. remember, washington democrats cobb even pass that bill when they controlled the senate with a filibuster-proof majority back in 2009 and 2010. more importantly, the the american people don't want a national energy tax that would make their you adult bills even higher -- utility bills even higher than they already are. look, americans have widely differing opinions about how washington should be approaching environmental policy. that much is very clear. but one thing we should all be able to agree upon is this: imposing massive restrictions on our own economy, devastating the lyes of our own mining -- lives of our own mining families and imposing higher energy bills on our own seniors, that makes about zero sense.
2:12 pm
while huge carbon emitters like china and india continue to ramp up energy consumption. global carbon emissions would hardly be affected anyway, but millions of lives here certainly would be. the american middle class would be deeply and adversely affected. so left, right and center we should all be able to agree that this is simply nonsensical. what we should all be working for is an all-of-the-above energy strategy that will create jobs and meet america's energy needs. it's a smart and focused approach that accommodates both our economy and our environment. and it's one that's republicans strongly support and democrats should as well. democrats should also work with us to pass the legislation that would allow congress to actually vote, actually vote on environmental regulations to insure washington's rules strike the right balance between
2:13 pm
protecting the environment and creating jobs. that legislation is so important to my home state of kentucky. case this point, i spent this past weekend with hundreds of coal miners and their families at a rally in eastern kentucky, and i heard from them how the administration's war on coal is hurting so many who struggle every day just to get by. it's a war that's taking away hope and destroying jobs. and let's be honest, the most immediate crisis in the obama era is the jobs crisis, the jobs crisis. it always has been. if only our friends on the other side were willing to talk a little less and work with us a little more, there's so much we could get done on that front. there's so much we could be doing to create jobs and you the middle class -- grow the middle class today. we could create the keystone pipeline that would create thousands of american jobs, we could increase u.s. exports and expand american jobs with trade
2:14 pm
legislation, we could reform our tax and regulatory structures to free small businesses so they can grow and hire anden rich their -- and enrich their communities, and we can pass the dozens of house-passed jobs bills just sitting on the majority leader's desk, so many that even house democrats are starting to complain. these are the kinds of things we could get done once washington democrats show they're ready to work with us. talk is cheap, we know that. and america's middle class is tired of all the talk. they want action. let's provide it on jobs. mr. president, i yield the floor. >> the senate is back from its weekly party caucus break, reconvening majority leader harry reid has not announced the schedule for this afternoon, saying only that the floor will be open for general speeches until 6 p.m. they could start work on a bill that reauthorizes a federal program that provides grants to states for child care for low
2:15 pm
income families. tomorrow the senate will take final votes on the judicial nominees advanced this morning. live coverage at the senate here on c-span2. order. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 6:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each.
2:16 pm
2:17 pm
mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: madam president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call. mrs. murray: i ask unanimous consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: madam president, i want to take a moment to recognize our republican colleagues in the house of representatives who last week cast the 50th vote in their
2:18 pm
effort to dismantle the affordable care act. their 50th. and i know it's a tradition to gift gold in celebration of a 50th milestone. i instead would like to gift my colleagues on the other side of the aisle with a reality check. more specifically, today i'd like to talk about a certain group of people who arguably stand to lose if their antics continue. so i've come to the floor this afternoon to set the record straight on the affordable care act and how it is working for women of america. madam president, it's not much of a stretch for me to say the affordable care act is probably one of the most significant pieces of legislation for women in my lifetime. not because of the battles we fought to get it to the president's desk. not necessarily because of the size or scope of the law. but because of the tangible and positive impact it has had and will continue to have on the
2:19 pm
health and well-being of women in america. madam president, four years ago health insurance companies could deny women care due to so-called preexisting conditions by pregnancy or being a victim of domestic violence. four years ago women were permitted to be legally discriminated against when it came to insurance premiums and were often paying more for coverage than men. four years ago women did not have access to the full range of recommended preventive care, things like mammograms and prenatal screenings and more. four years ago the insurance companies had all the leverage. and four years ago too often women were the ones who are paying the price. that is why i'm proud today to highlight just how far we have come for women in the past four
2:20 pm
years. since the affordable health care act became law, women have been treated fairly with increased access to affordable health insurance benefits and services. deductibles and other expenses have been capped so a health care crisis doesn't cause your family to lose their home or their life savings. women can use the health care marketplaces to pick quality plans that work for them and their families and if they change jobs and have to move, they're able to keep their coverage. starting in 2012, we saw these benefits for women expand even further. additional types of maternity care are now covered. women are now armed with proper tools and resources in order to take the right steps to have a healthy pregnancy. women now have access to domestic partner violence screening and counseling as well as screening for sexually transmitted infections. and now women finally have
2:21 pm
access to affordable birth control. madam president, as public servants here, it's our job to help our constituents access federal benefits available to them, particularly when it comes to health care. and since 80% of women are not only making health care choices for themselves but also their families and loved ones, it is our responsibility to serve as a guide when it comes to understanding how to best access these benefits. it might mean putting them in touch with a navigator to ensure they're getting the most affordable health insurance available or making them aware of an enrollment event where they can get information on available coverage options. but our responsibilities don't end there. it is our job to have an open, honest discussion about what the affordable care act means for our constituents and to talk about ways to responsibly improve it. instead, as we saw in the house last week, others have spent the better part of the last four years trying to take away the
2:22 pm
critical benefits that i just talked about and trying to score cheap political points on an issue that can literally mean the difference between life and death. madam president, i can understand why some of our colleagues disagree with certain parts of this law or maybe how it was implemented, but what i can't understand is why anyone elected to congress would decide to simply ignore real-life stories of their own constituents whose lives were changed the day this law took effect. people like susan wellman. she lives in bellingham in my home state of washington. she is self-employed. she has had to pay for individual insurance, and every year she has watched her health care costs rise higher and higher and higher. it got to the point where she was paying $300 monthly premiums with an $8,000 deductible, all for a plan she described as paying for nothing.
2:23 pm
so as soon as susan could access health care through the washington state exchange, she jumped at the chance. she spoke on the phone with a real live person and she was able to sign up for an affordable plan in a matter of minutes. now susan is on a plan that costs her $125 a month instead of $300. it's a plan that has a $2,000 deductible that actually pays for things. and guess what? she can afford to go to the doctor not just in the case of an emergency, but for a physical or a mammogram that could save her life, not to mention thousands and thousands of dollars in health care costs. that kind of preventive care is good for women like susan. it's good for her family and it's good for this country because when more people have access to preventive care, it makes health care cheaper for every single one of us. it's also good for women like
2:24 pm
cary little. she's a certified organic farmer that lives in washington. a few weeks ago she was working outside when one of the rams on her farm attacked her, leaving her with bruises and a broken leg. fortunately, because of her new health plan, her visit room to the emergency room was painless, or as painless as it could be with a broken leg. but her hospital bills, her cast and her visits to the orthopedic physician were paid in full. until last year cary had been spending half her income for catastrophic only health plan, forcing her to pay out of pocket for even the most basic of care. cary wrote an op-ed and she said in it -- and i want to quote from it. she said "what a welcome relief that my new health plan coverage preventive care, like mammograms, immunizations and yearly doctor visits, i can keep
2:25 pm
the primary care doctor i've been seeing for years and i no longer worry about family members getting kicked around due to preexisting conditions. thank goodness. and agriculture profits and losses shift like the weather. so for our community, it is crucial that health premiums stay affordable." unquote. or, madam president, women like ingrid gordon. ingrid is a sphaus business owner from -- a small business owner from seattle who enrolled in coverage when it became available. after an hour on the web site with minimal technical difficulties ingrid was enrolled and received her insurance card in the mail a few days. since her insurance coverage on january 1, ingrid had her first exams in 14 years. she secured a skin disorder. she scheduled a colonoscopy now
2:26 pm
that she's 50 and finally had her bothersome knee operated. all of those exams, visits and prescriptions would have cost ingrid thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket just one year ago. but thanks to the affordable care act, ingrid paid a grand total of zero dollars in co-pay. so, madam president, thanks to the affordable care act, women like susan and cary and ingrid are now fully in charge of their own health care, not their insurance company. that's why i feel so strongly that we can't go back to the way things were. while we can never stop working to make improvements, of course, but we owe it to the women of america to make progress and not allow the clock to be rolled back on their health care needs. now, as we all know, unfortunately, there are efforts underway all across the country, including here in our nation's
2:27 pm
capital, to severely undermine a woman's access to some of the most critical and lifesaving services that are provided by the affordable care act. and no provision of this law has faced quite as much scrutiny than the idea of providing affordable quality reproductive health services to the women of america. we have seen attempt after attempt to eliminate access to abortion service and low-cost birth control all while restricting a woman's ability to make personal decisions about her own case. i guess we shouldn't be surprised, madam president. the truth is that the tide of these politically driven extreme efforts continue to rise. in 2013 our nation saw yet another record-breaking year of state legislatures passing restrictive legislation barring women's access to reproductive services. in fact, in the past three years
2:28 pm
the united states has enacted more of these restrictions than in the previous ten years combined. that means that now more than ever it is our job to protect these kinds of decisions for women, to fight for women's health and to ensure that women's health does not become a political football. and for this reason, i was very proud to lead members of my caucus in filing a brief with the supreme court of the united states in the case of sebelius versus hobby lobby stories, inc. where a secular corporation and its shareholders are trying to get in between a woman and her health. and just like the many attempts before this case, there are those out there who would like the american public to believe that this conversation is anything but an attack on women's health care. to them, it's a debate about freedom, skpepgt of course for women to access their own care.
2:29 pm
it is no different than when told attacks on abortion rights are about religion or states rights or when told that restricting emergency contraception isn't about limiting a woman's ability to make her own family planning decisions. it's about protecting pharmacists. or just like last week when an alaska state senator said he didn't think there was a compelling reason for the government -- and i quote -- "to finance other people's recreation." end quote. in reference, of course, to contraception coverage in health care. in fact, after doing some research, this state senator concluded that since birth control costs about -- quote -- "four or five lattes, the government should have no reason to cover these costs for women." well, madam president, the truth is this is about contraception. this is an attempt to limit a woman's ability to access her own health care.
2:30 pm
this is about women. allowing a woman's boss to call the shots about her access to birth control should be inconceivable to all americans in this day and age and takes us back to a place in history when women had no voice and no choice. in in fact, contraception was included as a required preventive service in the affordable care act on the recommendation of an independent nonprofit institute of medicine and other medical experts because it is essential to the health of women and families. and after many years of research we know ensuring access to effective birth control as a direct impact on improving the lives of women and their families in america. we've been able to directly link it to declines in maternal and infant mortality, reduced risk of ovarian cancer, better
2:31 pm
overall health outcomes for women and far fewer unintended pregnancies and abortions which is a goal we all should share. but what is at stake in this case now before the supreme court is whether a c.e.o.'s personal beliefs can trump a woman's right to access free or low cois contraception under the affordable care act. every american deserves to have access to high quality health care coverage regardless of where they work. and each of us should have the right to make our own medical and religious decisions without being dictated to or limited by our employers. contraceptive coverage is supported by the vast majority of americans who understand how it is important it is for women and families. in weighing this case my hope is that the court realizes that women working for private companies should be afforded the
2:32 pm
same access to medical care regardless of who signs their paycheck. we can't allow for-profit secular corporations or their shareholders to deny female employees access to comprehensive women's health care under the guise of a religious exemption. it's as if we're saying because you're a c.e.o. or a scheuerholders in -- shareholder in a corporation your rights are more important than the rights of your employees who happen to be women. that is a slippery slope that could leave to employers cutting off childhood immunizations or prenatal care for children born for unmarried parents if they think that's wrong or blocking access to h.i.v. treatment. madam president, i was proud to be joined in filing the brief by 18 other senators who were here when congress enacted the religious protections through the religious freedom
2:33 pm
restoration act in 1993 and who were also here when congress made access to women's health care available through the affordable care act in 2010. they are senators who know congress did not intend for a corporation or furthermore its shareholders to restrict a woman's access to preventive health care. in the coming weeks as the supreme court prepares to begin oral arguments in this case, these senators and our colleagues who support this effort will echo those sentiments because we all know that improving access to birth control is good health policy and good economic policy. it means healthier women, health wrer children and healthier families and it will save money for our businesses and consumers. now, madam president, i know many of our colleagues here believe that repealing the affordable care act and access to reproductive health services is a political winner for them but the truth is, this law and
2:34 pm
these provisions are a winner for women, for men, for our children, and our health care system overall. so i'm very proud to stand with my colleagues who are committed to making sure the benefits of this law don't get taken away from the women of america because politics and ideology should not matter when it comes to making sure women get the care they need at a cost that they can afford. thank you, madam president. and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. pryor: madam president, i know i have others waiting, so i'll make some brief remarks about something that is very important to me. madam president, i rise today to discuss s. 2087, the medicare protection act. over the past few years one thing we've witnessed here is
2:35 pm
unfortunately an irresponsible few who are trying to turn medicare into a voucher system and raise the eligibility age for benefits. this would not only have a catastrophic effect on seniors' health but also on their financial security. it would force seniors to pay more for their doctor visits and for prescription drugs and people in my state, i figure this out, i recently got a little note from phillip in jonesboro and he said raising the medicare eligibility age would shift thousands of dollars of costs to seniors and drive up premium costs. he got it exactly right. that's what it will do, what pretty much every study that i've seen at least says it will do. in arkansas alone we have well over 500,000 seniors who depend on medicare. and i would encourage all my colleagues to look at the numbers this their states. my guess is every one has a large number of seniors in their state and they understand --
2:36 pm
the seniors understand how vitally important it is that we protect medicare. turning medicare into a voucher system or fundamentally changing it in any way by using some sort of voucher or they call it like premium supplement, i don't know they have a different word for it sometimes, but raising the eligibility age or cutting benefits would really be detrimental to the people in my state and i'm sure in all 50 states. as rebecca from fayetteville said, she said raising the medicare age would simply force seniors such as my mother and me to pay more out of pocket. we need responsible, commonsense solutions to keep medicare strong. i agree with that. that is exactly what we need. we need these responsible, commonsense solutions -- hope 234reu they're going to be bipartisan solutions, that's how you get things done in washington is working in a bipartisan way, and i'm hoping over time this medicare
2:37 pm
protection act will become a great bipartisan vehicle for us to protect medicare. it really does two things in a nutshell. first, it aamends the congressional budget act to a fine any provision that makes changes to medicare to reduce or restrict eligibility criteria as extraneous and improper use of the reconciliation process. and i know that's technical and that is kind of getting down to the weeds but that's i think a very smart way to do it is to use the congressional budget act to protect medicare. secondly, it expresses the sense of the senate that medicare eligibility age should not increase and that the medicare program should not be privatized or turned into a voucher system. again, if you look back over the years there have been attempts to do this, most of them originated in the house of representatives but we've had a few of those attempts here but
2:38 pm
as herbert humphrey once said the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children, those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly, those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped. the medicare protection act is the right thing to do and i hope my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will look at this legislation, give it serious consideration and join me in supporting this critical piece of legislation plaij. it's a great way -- piece of legislation. it's a great way to protect our medicare system. with that i yield too much. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i want to express my strong support for the nomination of carolyn b. mchugh for the 10th circuit. judge mchugh received her undergraduate and law degrees from the university of utah. she is exactly the kind of outstanding nominee, very legal
2:39 pm
experience that i set out to find to fill this vacancy. she has both practiced and taught law. she has practiced in both state and federal courts. she has extensive experience both before and behind the bench. she has served the county and state bars as well as the state judiciary on committees and on commissions. and she's been widely recognized and awarded for her distinguished legal career. some somehow along the way judge mchugh has found time to serve her community with groups such as big brothers big sisters, voices for utah children and catholic community services of utah. judge mchugh 22 years of litigation experience were almost evenly split between state and federal court. in nearly a decade on the utah court of appeals, currently as the presiding judge, she has heard more than 1,100 appellate, civil, and criminal cases that ultimately reached judgment. when she is confirmed to the 109 circuit i think judge mchugh
2:40 pm
may have one of the shortest learning curves on record of any judge in any circuit court of appeals in this country. when we have a judiciary vacancy in utah i spend a lot of time talking to lawyers and judges and so does senator lee. we both work together on these nominations and i appreciate the input that he has and what a great deal of legal experience and understanding he brings to these matters. judge mchugh received praise from many things, but perhaps the most common description was simply that she works harder than anyone else. her former law partner said it, judges said it, over and over the same thing came up, she works incredibly hard. madam president, i've been doing had a long time and have participated in the confirmation -- nomination and/or confirmation of more than half the judges who have ever served on the 10th circuit
2:41 pm
court of appeals. i know a first-rate nominee when i see one. judge mchugh's varied experience, her intelligence and her work ethic make her one of the very best. the judiciary committee approved her nomination without opposition and i expect the same result in the senate. i do have to say, madam president, that this nomination could have been confirmed months ago. despite some controversies over the few, over a few nominees the confirmation process was working well. in his first five years, president obama appointed 24.6% of the federal judiciary, compared to 25.8% in president george w. bush's first five years. the congressional research service says that the senate confirmed a higher percentage of president obama's appeals court nominees than it did for president clinton and did so faster than it did for president bush. in president bush's first five
2:42 pm
years democrats conducted 20 filibusters of appeals court nominations compared to only seven in president obama's first five years. filibusters were much less of a factor in the confirmation process under president obama than they had been in the past. but that was not good enough so last november democrats abolished nomination filibusters altogether. for more than two 200 years the minority in the senate no matter what their plail political party had a real role in the confirmation process. the possibility of a filibuster had two effects -- first, it suggested to the president he might want to send more moderate nominations to the senate. second, it prompted the minority to cooperate in confirming noncontroversial nominations. the new confirmation process process that democrats created has no real role for the minority. as a result neither of these -- of those positive effects exists
2:43 pm
anymore. the president has no incentive to choose more moderate nominees to consult with home-state senators or look for consensus. and the minority here in the senate has no incentive to waive rules or to agree to shortcuts. there used to be balance in this process. the minority could filibuster a few of the more stream extreme nominees so the minority helped process the large majority of noncontroversial nominees. that balanced approach was apparently unacceptable to the current oart majority. democrats took that approach away leaving a process if it can be called that that only the majority controls. democrats have not -- do not want the minority's process, a process that has some give and take if in it. democrats amounted a process that is all take and no give give. and so here we are. part of the process we used to have would have been confirming additional nominations before adjourning the first session of
2:44 pm
the congress. the nomination before us would have been confirmed that way months ago. as well as a whole raft of other judges that we're now voting on ad seriatum. instead we're forced to do things in new way. judge mchugh is the same highly qualified noncontroversial nominee. there is no reason the majority will want to take months longer to confirm a nomination like this but this is the process that the democrats created. they got the control they wanted and i believe that this distortion of the process harms the senate as an institution. by creating unnecessary controversy and delay this new process also harms the other branches to which nominations have been made. it did not have to be this way. it should not have been this way. i might add that i wrote a law review article a number of years ago that i did not believe we
2:45 pm
should filibuster judicial nominations at all. that's why i voted present on so many of the present judges. but there's no reason for me to do that anymore because democrats have changed the rules. they've broken the rules to change the rules and so i might as well vote no along with the rest of the republicans on some of these nominees just as an expression that we don't like the way the democrats are handling this matter. so i've been just in the last few days changing from present to no or yes depending upon -- upon the person. now, madam president, i'd like to take a few minutes to talk about the senate democrats' latest effort to grab headlines and to energize their base. the business on the floor has been officially -- has officially been nominations, my friends on the other side of the aisle came in overnight to talk about climate change and the
2:46 pm
supposed need to change the way we produce and consume energy in this country. we've heard a lot of talk about science and the supposed refusal on the part of republicans to acknowledge the -- quote, unquote -- truth. what we haven't heard is a plan for lowering energy costs or for putting americans back to work. the fact is, madam president, when the democrats talk about climate change, more often than not they're advocating policies that would do exactly the opposite. the funny thing is they've got to know it by now. they've got to know that's what they're doing. they're talking about proposals that would increase energy costs for american families and businesses. they've got to know that. and they're pushing policies that will put even greater stress on our economy and make it more difficult for our citizens to find an even keep a job. that's why we have an
2:47 pm
underemployment rate of over 12%. for example, last year the president announced his -- quote -- "climate action plan" which directs the e.p.a. to implement and impose new impressive regulations on the energy industry that will have a significant impact on jobs and the pocketbooks of the american people. increasing the cost of energy, which this plan would surely do, will not only make our struggling manufacturing sector less globally competitive. it will impose costs directly on the american people in the form of higher prices on electricity and other costs as well. put simply, in order to create jobs and improve our global competitiveness, we need to find ways to help businesses reduce the amount of money that they spend on energy. unfortunately, this president is trying to do the exact opposite. at the same time we should be exploring ways to make raising a family more affordable. unfortunately, the president's
2:48 pm
plan would increase the cost of living for every household in america. talk about inequality. very interested in one of the leading unions that was one of the first to support the president said he's caused more inequality than anybody. when i say "he" they mean the president. unfortunately the president's plan would increase the cost of living for every household in america. this, madam president, is the height of irresponsibility. at a time when so many people are still feeling the impact of the great recession, the administration, not to mention its allies in congress, wants to put in place regulations and mandates that will cripple american businesses and cause direct harm on american families trying to make ends meet. i thought it striking that throughout all the lectures we've seen on climate change sites here on the floor over the
2:49 pm
past few days, none of my colleagues appears to be willing to acknowledge the very real impact of their preferred policies. thousands of communities across the country depend on the responsible development of our nation's natural resources for a living. and access to abundant and affordable energy is attractive to domestic development and provides high-paying jobs in our local economies. we can develop these resources in an environmentally friendly way. but my colleagues on the other side of the aisle don't appear to be willing to have that conversation. instead they want to demagogue the use of fossil fuels and impose costly mandates and regulations on the harvesting of our resources and oupbt production of our -- and on the production of our energy. what's interesting is they're doing it to a lot of people in a lot of the states that used to support them. we need to be pushing an all-of-the-above, inclusive
2:50 pm
approach to the development of energy if we're going to become a global leader in energy production. it is not the job of the government to pick winners and losers. yet, with all their talk about climate change and the need for republicans to -- quote -- "wake up" that is precisely what my friends in the other party want to do. madam president, i would hope that given all the challenges facing our nation from sluggish economic growth to lackluster jobs creation to less than 30-hour work weeks, on and on and on, i would hope my colleagues would devote more of their time trying to find real solutions for the american people instead of trying to please their liberal base with alarmist rhetoric about climate change and false promises about the future of energy production in this country. we all know that some of their preferred production of energy is not producing it. we all know that it never will produce enough to really solve
2:51 pm
our problems. we all know the people have lost jobs time and time again in this country because of a lack of energy. we all know that it's made us a weaker country. and yet, we have this blind faith that they're right and everybody else is wrong. i think jobs are the conversation the american people want to really talk about here. yeah, we'd like to keep things clean and good and orderly. on the other hand, you can't do that without jobs. you can't do that without people being able to make -- earn a living. you can't run our inner cities and towns without energy. and we're giving in to some of the most radical theories that i've ever seen in the whole time that i've been here.
2:52 pm
well, you know, we've got to get rid of false promises and we ought to do the very best we can. clean up our environment in every way we possibly can without destroying the energy and the energy capacities that we know we have and losing all the jobs that come from that. that's a conversation the american people want to hear, and i hope that eventually that's a conversation we can have here in the senate. this is one where my colleagues are very sincere. i don't want to disparage any of them. on the other hand, in many respects, they're sincerely wrong and they're costing americans greatness. one of the problems i have with our president, our current president is that i don't believe he believes in american exceptionalism. and he's doing so many things that are destroying our
2:53 pm
exceptionalism. the rest of the world knows it, but our folks here in america are having a rough time grasping it. i think it's a desire to always treat everybody well and to try and support our president, which certainly we ought to try and do. but there's a reason why we're starting to slip. there's a reason why the average wage in it country has gone down $4,000 to $5,000. there's a reason why, according to the joint committee on taxation just a few years ago, 51% of the american people are not in the process of paying one dime of income taxes. and i'm the last one to want them to pay income taxes who shouldn't. but, my gosh, you can't run a country this way. we're going to have to start facing the music that the greatest country in the world is losing its nerve. it's losing its verve, v-e-r-v-e. and there's no excuse for it.
2:54 pm
no other country in the world can even compare with us. so why are we doing things that are making us less and less and less and less? madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to end the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: thank you, madam president. madam president, i rise to again advocate that we move forward, we come together across the aisle as democrats and republicans to agree on what we do agree on and to do some things constructively specifically to help veterans across our country. madam president, there are 27 community-based v.a. clinics that are on the books at the veterans administration ready to go.
2:55 pm
the v.a. is ready to break ground, move forward and build these expanded community-based clinics to serve areas around the country and veterans around the country in a much better way. i'm particularly interested because two of those 27 clinics are in louisiana. in lafayette and in lake charles. madam president, all of these clinics have gotten stuck in the mud through several rounds of bureaucratic delays at the v.a.. funding delays, authorization delays, and a dispute about whether moving forward with these clinics was kosher under the budget rules or not. we have solved all of those problems. we have figured out solutions to all of those problems that satisfies everyone, and the u.s. house of representatives has taken those solutions, put them together in a bill and passed it
2:56 pm
overwhelmingly out of the u.s. house, with over 400 votes in support. virtually unanimous. now we hear on the senate floor, and all we have to do is take that bill, adopt a simple noncontroversial amendment and pass it through the senate. no one in the senate disagrees with the substance of this bill. no one disagrees with the substance of the amendment we would add to this bill. no one disagrees with the importance of moving forward with these 27 v.a. clinics. and yet, still we're finding it difficult to move this simple noncontroversial matter through the senate. why? why? because, quite frankly, some of our colleagues who have a much bigger, broader veterans package want to hold this hostage for their veterans' package. well, i applaud their sincerity.
2:57 pm
i applaud their passion. but i think we should agree on what we can agree on, move forward with what we agree on and not get bogged down and defeat 27 very important community-based veterans clinics because there are major and sincere disagreements about the much broader package. i also think it will build goodwill to resolve some of those issues and come forward with a compromise version of a larger package if we do that. so, madam president, in that spirit, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 3521, which was received from the house, that my amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, that the bill as amended be read a third time and passed, and that the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection?
2:58 pm
mr. sanders: reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: i appreciate senator vitter's interest in this very, very important issue. senator landrieu of louisiana shares that concern, as do senators from many, many states in this country. because as senator vitter indicated, this bill will authorize the v.a. to enter into 27 major medical facility leases in 18 states and puerto rico. so this is in fact a very big issue. as senator vitter knows very well, two weeks ago this very same provision was part of a comprehensive veterans bill supported by the american legion, the veterans of foreign wars, the disabled american veterans, the vietnam veterans of america, the paralyzed veterans of america, the iraq and afghanistan veterans of
2:59 pm
america, and virtually every veterans organization in this country. because the veterans community today is facing a host of problems. senator vitter points out one problem. he's right. but there are many, many other problems. and i say to my friend, we could have resolved this problem two weeks ago if i could have had four more republican votes, including the senator's, to pass this legislation. madam president, what this bill does, and the reason why it is supported by millions of veterans all over this country, is that it addresses the major problems facing our veterans community. and i say to my friend from louisiana and any other senator, if you're not prepared to stand with veterans in their time of need, don't send them off to war. if you don't want to pay for the care that veterans need, don't
3:00 pm
send them off to war and then tell us it's too expensive to take care of them. the legislation that, again, is supported by virtually every major veterans organization in this country expands the caregivers program, improves and expands dental care, provides advanced appropriations for the v.a., something that many of us feel is terribly important, takes a major step to end the benefits backlog, deals with the very serious problem of in-state tuition assistance for post-9/11 veterans, addresses the horrible problems that women and men who are sexually assaulted in the military have. we address that issue as well.% this legislation addresses the issue of reproductive health. 2,300 men and women who served in iraq or afghanistan were wounded in war in such ways that
3:01 pm
they're unable to have babies. they want families, can't have babies. we help address in this bill that issue through in vitro fertilization and adoption and other ways to have families. that's what this legislation does. so i look forward to working with my colleague and friend from louisiana to get that legislation passed tore sit down and work on a compromise piece of legislation. but i would say to my friend from louisiana, today you can be a hero. today you can get your concern passed and the concerns of veterans all over america by supporting my unanimous con -- consent to pass the bill that came up two weeks ago. so madam president -- or mr. president, we see a change on the chair -- i object to senator vitter's proposal but i
3:02 pm
ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 297, s. 1950. that a sanders substitute amendment, the text of s. 1982, the comprehensive veterans' health and benefits and military retirement pay restoration act, be agreed to, the bill add amended be read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: first objection is heard to the request from the senator from louisiana. is there object to the request from the senator from vermont? mr. vitter: mr. president, on behalf of 43 members of the senate -- 43 -- i object based on substantive disagreements about this very broad-based bill. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. vitter: mr. president, reclaiming the floor and my time. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: i think this is
3:03 pm
really regrettable. the senator from vermont and i can talk about the substance. i'll be happy to talk about the substance of his big bill. but the bottom line is 43 members of the senate disagree with him about serious substantive issues. so there is major disagreement, almost half of the senate, 43 members of the senate, he's going to block moving forward with 27 clinics to serve country about which there is no disagreement. on my bill, as amended, there is zero disagreement because of the supstanyce. and because he can't get his way, he's going to take the bad and go first base, second base, third base and go home. i don't think that's the spirit
3:04 pm
the american people want us to work in. i think the people want us to agree when we can agree. i think we should bend over when we agree and actually establish concrete superficial things. and we would be move forward by these 27 community-based clinics. and oh, by the way, i think we would be moving smarter on a comprehensive package so. really commend that approach again to my friend from vermont. i think they should come together where we agree and accomplish things and continue to work on a broader package. but taking these 27 clinic isn't only is not positive, is not conducive on a broader package, and at any time properly servicing the american people.
3:05 pm
thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: mr. president, i would remind my colleague from louisiana that the vote on that bill was 56-41. there's a 15-point plurality. there was no one that wasn't here that would have voted for it, so 57 votes. because of the budget request for a budget point of order so we needed 60 votes. so a month jart o majority of ss support this, and i intend to work out to the senator from hugh lieu and to see that we get these three loops so they can have the coa comprehensive billo address it. mr. president, this is not a complicated issue. on veterans day and memorial
3:06 pm
day, every member in the senate and house dpz back t goes back r district and tells them how much they respect them and love that. and that's all fine and well. speeches are sporntd. are important. but at the end of the day, serving our veterans. it means voting for mams that will improve our lives. and i will not of disagree veteran programs are also expensive. they are expense sivment when somebody goes on its to bed and goes back without any legs or arms or dealing their hearing injury or p.t.s.d. or sexual suffering halt? you know, it is an expensive to make as well as possibly can.
3:07 pm
if eefer want prepared to september the men and women who come bang before nor, don't them very off in the neuter. so i hope very much i will be successful in work on an agreement with the senator from virginia colleagues so we to -- that we can do bumy pot is. so, mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
3:08 pm
3:09 pm
3:10 pm
3:11 pm
3:12 pm
3:13 pm
3:14 pm
3:15 pm
quorum call:
3:16 pm
3:17 pm
3:18 pm
3:19 pm
3:20 pm
3:21 pm
3:22 pm
3:23 pm
3:24 pm
3:25 pm
3:26 pm
3:27 pm
3:28 pm
3:29 pm
3:30 pm
quorum call:
3:31 pm
3:32 pm
3:33 pm
3:34 pm
3:35 pm
3:36 pm
3:37 pm
3:38 pm
3:39 pm
3:40 pm
3:41 pm
3:42 pm
3:43 pm
3:44 pm
3:45 pm
3:46 pm
the presiding officer: the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent the qurk in progress be
3:47 pm
vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: mr. president, i spoke last night in anticipation of this all-night session that was going to take place and i wasn't surprised at the general topics that were covered. there were probably five altogether but they were stated over and over and over again. and i would like just to clarify a couple things that probably are worthwhile this morning. one is, my good friend from california -- and this is a quote, and we took it down -- said, "when 97% to 98% of the scientists say something is real, they don't have anything pressing them to say that other than the truth. they don't have any other agenda. they don't work for oil companies. and i will tell you as chairman of the environment committee, every time the republicans chose a so-called expert on climate, we have tracked them down to special interest funding.
3:48 pm
those 3%, they know where their bread is buttered." that's kind of an interesting and a timely statement to make because what they're not telling you, and i'm talking about the senator from california and the other democrats, is that the hedge fund billionaire and climate activist tom stiyer, plans to spend a hundred million dollars through his nexgen pac. that's his political action committee and he's made the statement that he is going to be spending $100 million in the midterm elections of 2014 and is going to be looking very carefully to make sure that all the democrats go along with his activist agenda. so that was actually a statement that is made and it's been written up. that was the article that we had all documented. in fact, i'm going to submit for the record at this point all the
3:49 pm
newspapers articles -- the "the washington post," "the washington times" and others -- that talked about this climate activist, tom stiyer, who is going to be spending a hundred million dollars in the next election. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: so what i'd like to also do, is just kind of cover the points that were made. they were made over and over again, different people saying them. same talking points. i'm sure that tom styir's people had the talking points well prepared and moveon.org and george source and michael moore and the hollywood elites and that crowd all had their talking points to sound real good. and i noticed that so many of them were reading these points and were not really familiar with the issues. but last night many of the -- my colleagues pointed to weather as the reason for manclimate change yet they failed to quote meteorologists in their speeches. let me read to you what
3:50 pm
meterrologists are saying about climate change. a recent study by george mason university reported -- that was over 400 tv meteorologists -- they reported that 63% of the weathercastors believe that any global warming that occurs is the result of natural variation and not human activities. now, that's a significant 2-1 majority. another study by the american meteorological society last year found their members, nearly half of their -- of their members, nearly half did not believe in manmade global warming. further month, the survey found that scientists who professed liberal political values were more likely to proclaim manmade climate change than the rest of their colleagues. and i think we can name names here. certainly one of the more prominent names is heidi cullen. she was with the weather channel. she spent most of her time with a background of very liberal thinking and a liberal agenda talking about this until she's
3:51 pm
no longer there anymore and with right now one of the -- one of the groups -- the very liberal groups. this is a good one here. lifelong liberal democrat, his name is dr. martin hertzberg. he's a retired navy meteorologist with a ph.d. in physical chemistry also declared his dissent of warming fears in 2008. and this is a quote from this dr. martin hertzberg. "as a scientist and lifelong liberal democrat, i find the constant regurgitation of the an he can total fearmongering clap trap about human caused global warming to be a disservice to science," hertzberg wrote and still quoting, he said, "the global warming alarmists don't even bother with data. all they have are half-baked computer models that are totally out of touch with reality and
3:52 pm
have already been prove hel proe false." cnn, not exactly a bastion of conservatism, had another of its meteorologist dissent from global warming fears. chad miers, meteorologist for 22 years and certified by the american meteorological society. spoke out against anthropogenic capital gaiclimate change on cnn december. he said -- quote -- "you know to think that we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant." and last night -- but since they're talking about the weather, here are a few facts that aren't mentioned on droughts and hurricanes. several of the people came to the floor during the evening and talked about the increase in droughts, the increase in hurricanes and all that. according to noaa, the hurricanes have been in decline in the united states since the beginning of records in the 19th century. the worst decade for a major
3:53 pm
category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes was in the 1940's. severe droughts in 1934 covered 80% of the country. while the current one, the one a year and a half ago, was 25% of the country. then they talked about last night. the ice caps are melting and all that. my colleague, senator feinstein from california, pointed to melting ice caps as prove of climate change. yet reports on what's not melting show a different story. this past december, a research expedition of climate scientists got stuck in deep ice in the an art particular. we all remember that. i shall talking about that and showing pictures here on the floor when that took place. that was a bunch of people that were going up there to try to solidify their case on global warming and they were stuck in the ice for weeks on end. and it took a couple of weeks and a couple more icebreakers getting stuck before the
3:54 pm
research vessel was finally freed. a paper published in october "journal of climate" exams the trend of sea ice extent along the east antarctic coast from 2000-2008 and finds a significant increase averaging 1.43 -- that's 1.5% a year -- of increased ice in the antarctic. greenland, the ipcc -- now, keep in mind, i talked yesterday about the ipcc. that's the united nations intergovernmental panel on climate change. that's the one we'll show in a minute how they're discredited. but in greenland, they said and they admitted that in 2001, to melt greenland, the ice shoot would require temperatures to rise by 5 1/2 degrees celsius and remain for a thousand years. the ice sheet is actually growing by 2% a year. now, that's what's going on
3:55 pm
right now, this very ice sheet. everyone's concerned about greenland, you know, and yet it's actually growing, not decreasing. in january 2010, "time" magazine, the himalayan melting, how a climate panel got it wrong. glacier-gate is a black eye for the ipcc and the climate science community as a whole. in december of 2008, al gore said -- now, this is good -- al gore said, the entire -- that's a little over five years ago -- al gore said, "the entire north polar ice cap will disappear in five years." well it's now five years and one month past the deadline of december of 2013 and the arctic ice is actually doing pretty well. just la month, bb -- just last month, bbc reported that the arctic ice cap coverage is close to 50% more than in the corresponding period in 2012. so contrary to what al gore predicted, that it would be gone by now, that it did not
3:56 pm
disappear. i had a good quote there about richard lindzen talking about -- richard lindzen is one of the foremost authorities, scientific authorities, on climate anywhere in the world. he's m.i.t. and he's been quoted extensively. he said, talking about gore, "to treat all changes as something to fear is bad enough. to do it in order to exploit that fear is much worse." i mentioned last night that "the new york times" designated al gore as perhaps the first environmental billionaire in the united states. well, the -- the -- he said the entire north polar ice cap would disappear in five years. it's actually increased by substantially. last night the -- they talked about the ipcc as the gold standard of climate science. senator whitehouse defended the credibility of the ipcc despite climate-gate, saying -- quote -- this is last night -- "so after
3:57 pm
all that, after six published reviews whose results confirmed that there was nothing wrong with the science as a result of these e-mails" -- we're talking about climate-gate now -- "for people to come to the floor and to suggest that the e-mail chains revealed some flaw in the data or some flaw in the science, it's just flat untrue. simple as that. it's just not true." but we know this is not the case. the e-mails are very clear that the scientists were manipulating the data to generate a result that they wanted. and this is what some of the e-mails disclosed. one of the scientists said in theethe e-mail disclose was thec was distorting the facts, or cooking the books to cover up the date that didn't tell the story that they wanted everyone to hear and to develop the impacts of changing climate to help drive people into action.
3:58 pm
here are a quite a few examples. i've read them all on the floor of the senate. but here are a couple of examples of how the ipcc was cooking the science. the ipcc said that the himalayans would melt by 2034. of course that's not true. yet it was put into their fourth assessment report. the assessment report is a report that the ipcc has, the media picks up and the public consumes. according to the "sunday times" -- that's in the u.k. -- this claim was based off of a brochure that was used by the world wildlife fund to promote dploarglobal warmingtivism. and they put it on a brochure after finding a paper from a little-known scientist in india. that scientist was wrong. according to "the times," the himalayan an glaciers are so thick and at such a high
3:59 pm
altitude that most glacierologists believe it would take several hundred years to melt them at the present rate. more alarming, from the east anglea university climate research university, that's the c.r.u., disturbing evidence was revealed that i climatologists had been intentionally cooking the books. one leaked e-mails from 1999 -- keep in mind, these are the guys giving the science to the ipcc -- quote -- "i've just completed mike's nature trick of adding the real attempts to each series for the last 20 years." in other words, from 1981 op wards and from 1961 for keiths to hide the decline. in other words, they were falsifying the increase in the temperatures. and what he's saying is that he changed the numbers to show that warming has -- is happening when it really hasn't happened. and mother e-mail that was -- and another e-mail that was revealed in 2009, the fact is -- quote -- "the fact is, we can't
4:00 pm
account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. our observing systems is just inadequate. despite this, ipcc has continued to say that global warming is continuing to happen." the media outcry from these e-mail leaks was surprising because you didn't hear as much about it here in the united states as you did in the u.k. and other places. it seemed to be the mainstream press organizations who have been partners with the global warming activists, alarmists began to question their competence in the whole premise. here are some quotes. keep in mind, these are from legitimate organizations, publications, major publications that are credible. christopher booker, the u.k. telegraph, "the u.k. telegraph" is one of the largest papers in the united kingdom. they said what has

89 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on