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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 13, 2021 9:59am-12:54pm EDT

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we will win in '22. thank you, god bless america, god bless every one of you, god bless our values. bye-bye. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> the u.s. senate about to gavel in are going to spend the day on president biden's
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nominees. this morning the undersecretary of state for security, democracy and human rights with confirmation vote scheduled for 11:30 eastern time then deputy labor nomination. take you live now to the senate floor. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. listen to our prayers, mighty god.
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we look to you with the vibrant expectations that you are willing to do for us more than we can ask or imagine. lord, we're grateful that our lawmakers can fulfill your purposes for our nation because of the strength they receive from you each day. show our senators your compassion. give them peace that will provide them with an anchor for life's storms. lord, provide them with the wisdom to face life's challenges believing that nothing is impossible for you. we pray in your powerful name.
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amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. 6. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. wicker: mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum.
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press pro tempore: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader is recognized. mr. schumer: i have my remarks but first i will do a little bit of housekeeping here. the presiding officer: the senate's in a quorum call. the presiding officer: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum shall dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. now, mr. president, i understand there are two bills at the desk due for a second reading en
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bloc. the presiding officer: the senator is correct. the clerk will read the titles of the bills for the second time en bloc. the clerk: s. 2311, a bill making emergency supplemental appropriations for 2021 and for other purposes. h.r. 3684, an act for funds for highway safety programs an transit programs and for other purposes. mr. schumer: in order to place the bills on the calendar under the provisions of rule 14, i would object to further proceeding en bloc. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bills will be placed on the calendar. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. now, mr. president, in a democracy, no right is more sacred than the right
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giving partisan election bodies more control, even firing members of county election boards, this is what republican legislatures are doing. mr. schumer: not for fairness. not for bipartisanship.
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but to jaundiced elections, and if the consequences, americans of all parties feel that the elections are not fair, what is going to happen to this sacred and wonderful democracy? republicans are actively dismantling all the barriers that prevented donald trump from subverting our elections in 2020. imagine if they hadn't been in effect, imagine. all of these efforts have an orwellian logic. under the guise of, quote, election integrity, republican legislatures are sowing more doubt about our elections through phony audits and fact-free claims of voter fraud. they are lying. i just saw on tv this morning how the trump lawyers are being lambasted in court and even rudy giuliani has lost his license to practice because they lied about the election. that they perpetrated the big lie in legal documents.
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the same thing is happening everywhere. what is happening to this republican party? what is happening when donald trump, the biggest liar we have ever had as president, sets the tone and they follow in those lies, repeat those lies, sometimes even embellish on those lies. what is happening to that party, the party of abraham lincoln? falsely claiming that the election was stolen, republican legislatures are making elections easier to overturn, even under the falsest and biggest of lies. and what happens here? our republican friends here in washington have chosen a path of supine compliance, refusing to stand up to the big lie, bowing down before it, bowing down before donald trump, the biggest liar that we have ever had as an american president, except when the capitol building is literally under siege.
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and by the way, just parenthetically, i commend to my colleagues and to all measures the -- americans "the new york times" did a video of the siege. they even had some -- they showed the siege, they showed the violence, and they had some republican congressmen saying it was like tourists. it was incredible. i recommend everyone should watch this. and i hope republican colleagues, just watch it. you were there. just watch it. i commend "the new york times." they did a great job on it. anyway, the effort to fight this wave of voter suppression and republican election rigging is strong and growing. i want to be very clear about that. in texas, where the republican governor has called a special session to reconsider one of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation, democrats are doing all they can to block the dangerous partisan bill. they are brave, they are bold, they are courageous, and history
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will show them on the side of right, and the republican governor, i saw him on tv this morning, on the side of deep, dark, ugly wrong. many of these lawmakers from texas have come to washington. i will be meeting with a group of them today. it's a flat-out strategy and to praise them for what they are doing. president biden will also address the issue of voting rights in a major national address in philadelphia, using the bully pulpit to draw the nation's attention and announce ways in which his administration can defend americans' fundamental rights. and next week, senator klobuchar, always on the ball on these issues, will lead the senate rules committee to the state of georgia, your state, mr. president, for their first field hearing in 20 years. it will be an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the consequences of the big lie and show the american people just how far republicans have gone in
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order to make it harder, harder for people to vote in the 2020 election. the bottom line is this -- democrats will not stop fighting to protect voting rights and defend our democracy. as i said, the vote in june was the opening gun, not the finish line. last month, all 50 democrats, all 50 senate democrats united for the first time this congress to move forward on a strong voting rights bill. shamefully, shamefully republicans refused to even allow debate on voting rights legislation. hiding behind some of the exact same states' rights arguments, very similar arguments that southern senators used in the 1960's to oppose the voting rights act. how do you feel about that, republicans and republican leadership? how do you feel about using the same arguments that were used by some of the arch segregationists to stop voting rights in the
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senate in the 1960's? last month, as i said, the vote represented the starting gun, not the finish line, in the fight to protecting voting rights. as majority leader, i reserve the right to bring back voting rights and democracy reform for another vote on the senate floor. now, on another issue. infrastructure. climate. over the past few weeks, we have seen an awful heat wave hit oregon and washington. those states in the beautiful northwest, always known for their cool summer breezes, had temperatures like 115 degrees. it was just astounding. not just a little temperature bump. dramatically unusual. temperatures in the pacific northwest climbed so high that power cables melted and roadways cracked in two. at the same time, in the american southwest, the lack of rainfall and depleted reservoirs have led to a historic lack of water.
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according to the national drought mitigation center, more than 77% of the great state of new mexico is in a state of severe drought. as climate change continues to worsen, extreme weather like this unfortunately is only becoming more common. putting our agriculture, our infrastructure, our economy, and our people's health at great risk. that's why i have made addressing the climate crisis in a bold way the primary focus of our upcoming debate on infrastructure. we're working with great urgency to make this happen. and we're going to do it in two ways. first, climate change has forced us to repair and rebuild our infrastructure in a way that takes into account our new reality. our infrastructure must become more resilient to extreme weather. in new york, i insisted that the hurricane sandy aid, which new york, new jersey, got $60 billion, focus on
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resiliency, and as we rebuilt from hurricane sandy using those federal dollars, we've done it in a way that makes flooding in downtown new york city and long island less likely. we've needed to repeat -- reneed to repeat that effort across the country to deal with heat waves, droughts, wildfires, more powerful hurricanes, and even more. but second, we must use infrastructure investment to combat climate change itself. not just make ourselves more resieveient. if it keeps getting worse, resiliency dollars up, global warming goes high, resiliency up. we need to have this to go down. it is so, so important. what are we doing? in president biden's proposal and in the proposal democrats are putting forward, we're investing in green infrastructure and clean and renewable power and electric vehicles and charging infrastructure and retrofitting our economy to reduce carbon
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emissions and slow climate change in both urban, suburban, and rural areas. investing in both llts, resiliency and green infrastructure, that will create thousands upon thousands of good-paying union american jobs in the process. so as discussions continue on both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution, senators of both parties must understand that the issues of climate change and infrastructure cannot, cannot be separated from one another. i yield the floor.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the republican leader is recognized. mr. mcconnell: three months ago, president biden northbound his intention to completely withdraw u.s. forces from the ongoing fight against terrorists and tristen ablers in afghanistan. -- and terrorist enablers in afghanistan. i said then this was a shortsighted decision, and sure enough, sure enough, our reckless rush for the exits is becoming a global embarrassment. just take the reports that our forces slunk away from the strategically vital bagram air base in the middle of the night without a plan for our afghan
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partners to secure the base, or even to keep the electricity on. president biden remains defiant. he has rejected warnings that the government in kabul will fall to the taliban. he's ignoring the truth unfolding before our very own eyes. afghanistan is unraveling. since april 13, the taliban has retain administrative districts all across the country at a truly alarming pace. with military victory in reach, the group is hardly even pretending to seek a negotiated solution. it's wasted no time dragging large swaths of afghanistan back under its repression. but president biden appears unmoved. he says he bears no responsibility for the flight of the afghans who fought with us.
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back in 2019 when his predecessor was contemplating a quick withdrawal from syria, then-candidate biden called that notion, quote, the most shameful thing any president has done in modern history in terms of foreign policy. well, look where we are today. the taliban is hunting down the u.s.-trained pilots who helped defend the afghan people. it's wiped out scores of special forces resisting its advance. as the taliban moves toward threatening kabul, the biden administration seems to have no plan to efficiently process special visas of the afghans who helped us and no plan to get those people -- get them safe passage to our embassy or for that matter out of the country. the dangers facing the afghan people, especially, especially women and girls, are
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heartbreaking. the humanitarian crisis may well be historic. but this is also an awful bungled mess from the perspective of our own national security. the president's own c.i.a. director told senators this decision would be certain to inhibit our ability to collect intelligence. general frank mackensky of central command confirmed this very week that intelligence cletion was -- collection was already suffering. the president's top advisers understand the taliban is capable of retaking control of afghanistan in just a matter of months. this wool allow al qaeda to recobbs institute -- reconstitute. so analysts are debating not if, not if but whether, but when al qaeda will again threaten the u.s. from afghanistan. and just wait until we see
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russia and china rush in, exploiting our retreat to expand their power and influence in central asia. just wait until the botched retreat and lingering threats end up requiring a large, ongoing presence of our military and surveillance forces in the region rather than freeing up resources for the endo pacific. just wait -- indo-pacific. just wait until the biden administration ends up consumed with this catastrophe in afghanistan and its destabilizing effects rather than focusing on building coalitions to counter chinese or russian aggression. yet amid all this, president biden isn't reconsidering. instead he's flooring it. the administration actually sped up the withdrawal so it can accomplish it even before the darkly ironic deadline of september 11.
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so, mr. president, i've forcefully opposed efforts of presidents of both parties to cut and run from our work in syria or afghanistan. i've warned of the huge strategic price america would pay if this administration pretends, pretends that tourists will play nicely -- terrorists will play nicely with their political time line. as one recent headline put it, we might be done with the jihadis but they're not done with us. president biden and his team are desperate to duck hard questions about afghanistan. but the american people deserve answers. they deserve to understand the risks of this trajectory and how the commander in chief plans to keep us safe against the terrorist enemy that his own senior advisers admit will be allowed to regroup thanks to the president's actions.
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i hope that even in this democratically controlled congress, our national security committees will uphold their obligation to see this unfolding debacle and its implications. end are our presence in afghanistan there not end the terrorist war against us. sadly, the opposite is likely to be true. this self-inflicted wound could very well make us struggle even more -- make this struggle even more difficult and even more dangerous. now, mr. president, on a totally different matter, senators have just spent two weeks traveling our home states and hearing what's on the minds of working families. i got to spend time with all kinds of hardworking kentuckians across the bluegrass. there's no question we're in better shape than we were a year ago. thanks to the genius of science, the success of operation warp speed and the bipartisan rescue
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packages the republican-led senate passed in 2020, the year 2021 was primed and set up for an american historic come back well before the new democratic congress or the new democratic administration were even sworn in. but democrats still wanted to rush ahead with a huge borrowing and spending sprees they had promised their far left. top economists including famous democrats warned our colleagues to think again. even liberal experts tried to warn our colleagues that the socialist ideas they drew up in 2020 were not suited to what americans needed in 2021. overspending and overborrowing would unleash inflation. slow rehiring and hurt small businesses. all that was predicted. but democrats rushed ahead. they rammed through what the white house bragged was the most
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left-wing legislation in our nation's history and now democrats want to follow up with even more absurd summer sequel. well, let me tell you, mr. president, i just spent to weeks hearing from my fellow kentuckians and they're already paying, already paying a heavy price. manufacturers are still absolutely hammered by supply chain shocks. employers large and small say democrats' special bonus for workers who stay unemployed is badly hampering their ability to fully reopen and to serve their customers. most of our surrounding states have already put a stop to this awful idea but kentucky's governor rethreatfully hasn't. it isn't just -- regretfully hasn't. it isn't just for-profit businesses having trouble getting people back to work. i heard from one treatment center for pregnant women and new moms grappling with
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substance abuse. they said because of the generous federal bonus for staying home, they've had trouble finding enough support staff to even reopen one of their facilities post-covid. about 80% of the people who schedule an interview don't even show up. these backward bonuses have also invited heaps, heaps of fraud. in california, for example, a significant share of the state's covid unemployment benefits were paid out fraudulently. billions and billions of dollars to people who shouldn't have gotten it at all. and now, get this, democrats want to give the florida labor secretary who is in charge of that nightmare a promotion. in fact, we're scheduled to vote on her confirmation today. to a leading position at the department of labor. you really can't make this stuff up. and then there's inflation. just this morning we learned the runaway inflation has continued
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to hit working families and hit them hard. consumer prices spiked in june considerably more than had been forecast. inflation is up 5.4% year over year. the fastest jump in 13 years. stunningly it's up .9% just month over month. families are feeling it everywhere, from the supermarket to the gas pump to the housing to the used car lot and beyond. all thanks in part to the democrats' half baked spending spree from this springtime. and now they want even more absurd, even more damaging summer sequel? what democrats say they want to force through this summer through reconciliation would make our current inflationary mess look like small potatoes. nobody seriously thinks our country needs another gigantic overdose of overborrowing, overspending, and overtaxing. and this isn't what the american
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people voted for either. our distinguished colleague, the junior senator for vermont, the chair of the budget committee, has been very transparent about his socialist ideology for decades. very upfront about it. but the country didn't elect a 50-50 senate and a president who claimed to be a moderate so that chairman sanders could turn america into a socialist country. working americans know that's not what they voted for. this summer they'll see who wants to borrow and spend trillions more dollars for no reason. and who would rather help them get their jobs back. their stable prices back. their small businesses back. and their lives back.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of state, uzra zeya of virginia to be an under secretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip is recognized. mr. durbin: mr. president, last night i had an interesting dinner. senator chris coons of delaware and i joined two republican senators and we met for dinner with eight ambassadors from central and south america. it was a rare occurrence which we haven't seen in the last year and a half, the kind of dialogue and communication which i think is an important part of my job, an important part of understanding the world today. and they had one consistent message. despite the fact that they felt
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a closeness to the united states that had been built up over decades and generations, there was a new factor in central and south america which each one of them repeated as significant in the future of that region. the new factor is the arrival of china. in each one of these countries, large and small, china has become a player, a force. they have invested their resources in developing an economic relationship with these countries, have provided them with covid-19 vaccines when others would not, and were becoming larger and larger factors in the future of the economies of these countries. senator coons said at one point, and i certainly would agree with him, we have to take this seriously in the united states. we can't assume that long-term relationships and friendships will see us through.
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we need to be actively engaged in strengthening and creating alliances with these countries in our hemisphere. and he added -- i'm glad he did -- the united states has chosen over recent history to literally spend trillions of dollars on military efforts and those overseas commitments which is money china wasn't spending for the same purpose. china was spending trillions of dollars to develop economic relationships, to loan money for infrastructure projects in developing countries. the united states was spending its money in other places which takes me directly to the statement that was made earlier by the republican senate leader, senator mcconnell about afghanistan. you see, mr. president, i was here on the floor of the senate when we voted to invade afghanistan. and i voted for it. we were told al qaeda was
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waiting there in hiding for the next opportunity to strike america, and that if we didn't do our part to go after osama bin laden, there would be more american innocent victims. overwhelmingly on a bipartisan vote, unanimous bipartisan vote in the senate chamber we voted to invade afghanistan. and i was one of those votes. let me quickly add that i was one of 23 who voted against the invasion of iraq. i didn't think the case had been made by the bush administration, still don't. but going into afghanistan was with the exception of one member of the house a unanimous bipartisan verdict at that moment in american history. as we look back on it now, i don't think a single person who voted for the invasion of afghanistan would have ever guessed that we were voting for the longest war in the history of the united states. yes, that's what it turned out to be. over 20 years in a war in afghanistan.
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well, decisions have been made to change that. and they were not made by president biden alone. they were first made by president trump. if you'll remember correctly, he was negotiating with the taliban for an exit strategy, a timetable to leave afghanistan. and they were reaching an agreement on that fact. the senator from kentucky didn't dwell on that fact but it's an important one. the decision had been made by the republican administration to leave. biden inherited and accepted it. and he's been going forward with that. keep in mind we are not leaving without an effort. it is a supreme effort for more than 2,000 americans who lost their lives in that effort in afghanistan. and more than a trillion dollars, much more than a trillion dollars being spent in dedication to that effort over the years. and so after all that effort, it was clear this long-term war was
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going to be longer still and the senator from kentucky came to the floor today with a plea that we should have continued that war in afghanistan. to what end and on what timetable i have no idea. but it's interesting when he mentions the fact there were afghan citizens helping the united states who are not being treated properly. senator leahy has an emergency security supplemental bill which he's trying to move quickly. it's already passed the house. it pays for the expenses of january 6 and the mob that invaded the capitol after being inspired by president trump, but it does more than that. it provides resources for those afghans who did help us in that war to protect them. i would vote for that in a second. but that emergency supplemental has been bogged down by the republican side of the aisle and then the republican leader comes and says we're not doing enough for the refugees.
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i commend to him to read the leahy supplemental appropriation. resources are there for those same refugees. i support that, he should support, and should instruct the republican leader on the appropriations committee to join in the effort. the second issue that the republican leader raised this morning is worthy of note. when we passed emergency supplemental bills in the midst of the economic crisis, they were bipartisan in nature. i was happy to support them. we were facing an american national public health crisis. our economy was suffering gravely. families and workers the same. democrats joined with republicans during the trump years to provide resources to businesses and individuals across america to get through that terrible time. i'm glad we did it. that's the kind of
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bipartisanship people expect. so now what happens when president biden alives on the scene and comes -- ariefts on the scene -- arrives on the scene and comes up with an american rescue plan. not one republican senator would vote for the american rescue plan. and senator mcconnell this morning explained why. because it was filled with what he called socialist ideas. let's take a look at the biden american rescue plan just rife with socialism. let me tell you what senator mcconnell is including, billions of dollars for the administration of covid-19 vaccines across the united states. no, president trump didn't leave office with a plan for that to happen, president biden had to create it in the american rescue plan. is that socialism to provide vaccines for millions of americans to protect them against covid-19? apparently senator mcconnell thinks it was. here's another one of his
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condemned socialist ideas. providing money to businesses to reopen and hire employees back. that's socialism? i don't think so. that is part of restoring a market economy that was badly damaged by covid-19. the list goes on. money that was given through the american rescue plan without a single republican vote to help units of government that had lost so much revenue because of covid-19, restore essential services. president biden has said, among those services, is protection in the street, funding law enforcement, responsible law enforcement, to stop the killing. well, i want to tell you, i'm glad that he said that. it's not socialism in the city of chicago where on the 4th of july of weekend 104 people were shot -- 104 people were shot in chicago, 19 killed, including two police officers who were
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shot, i might add. and the president said we should take the resources from the american rescue plan and dedicate them to restoring order in neighborhoods across america. my city of chicago is not an exception, sadly, it is a pattern that is showing up in cities across america, large and small. so these america rescue funds, for that purpose, far from socialism, are really basic to what we expect in this country. i know that the senator from kentucky returned to the commonwealth over the break, he did an interesting dance saying that he was glad that money was coming into kentucky but he didn't vote for it. we've heard that from republicans across the nation. i wished they would have voted for it. wouldn't it have been nice if biden -- president biden enjoyed the same level of bipartisan support that we gave to president trump on the democratic side in the midst of this pandemic crisis? maybe it's too much to ask from
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a minority leader who has publicly announced that he's 100% opposed to the biden agenda. not a very constructive approach of the i want to speak on a different topic at this point, mr. president. as i walked into the capitol, i took a look around and saw something that i had been waiting for, families were walking across parking lot in right in front of the capitol, enjoying themselves. children were out of in the grass running around. people were crowding together to snap selfies. that used to be so routine around here, but since january 6, it's not been the case. behind all of these families visiting their nation's capitol building was this beautiful dome of the capitol. majestic, unobstructed for the first time in six months. over the weekend capitol workers removed the remaining metal fencing and concrete barriers
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that have surrounded this building since the mob attack on january 6. my special thanks to those workers. that security fencing stood as a reminder of what happened on january 6 when former president donald trump summoned an agitated mob to washington and then sent them on a mission to storm the heart of democracy. well, trump is gone but our democracy is still here. in the smiling faces outside the capitol this week are a testament to the resilience that many americans share today. i want to thank president biden for helping to unite this nation. he brought us together by appealing to our shared values and our shared identity. his steady, nonconconfrontationl approach has been a breath of fresh air after the stifling storm of hateful, decisive --
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divisive tweets of the trump years. president biden's leadership has allowed us to open the capitol. so every visitor to the people's house can experience this historic value. but even as we celebrate the walls around our capitol coming down, it's important to recognizing that there are still many unanswered questions about january 6. our nation suffered a deadly, shameful, infamous -- infamous security breach on january 6. you would think that every member of this senate would be demanding to know what was behind it, because caused it, and to find a way to make certain it never happens again, especially since it left 140 capitol police officers and other law enforcement officers injured and one dead. sadly, most republican lawmakers actively opposed investigating what happened on january 6. even worse, some of them are whitewashing the events. republicans lawmakers in the
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house have called the insurrectionists patriots. patriots? have you seen the video? those were patriots marching through these halls with confederate flags? trump flags? one house member who barricaded his doors, he called the insurrectionists a tour. donald trump threatened, listen to this, he's going to share sensitive information about the officers who defended members of congress from an insurrectionist who attempted to storm the speaker's lobby. these despicable efforts to somehow lionize those who participated in it and den denigrate those who defend
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this -- it is a slap in the face of every officer who who protected this building from a murderous mob. our officers deserve answer force what happened that day and they deserve to know who is responsible for it. more than people have already been arrested appeared many -- and many have ties to domestic terrorist organizations. how did they plan this attack on our democracy? who funded their effort and planted pipe bombs? what contacts, if any, did members of congress have with these insurrectionists in the days leading up to the attack. we don't have a full accounting, yet last month republican senators filibustered the creation of an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the january 6 insurrection. senator mcconnell pleaded with his caucus to block this
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commission. well, congressional democrats are determined to give the officers who defended this capitol and the american people the truth about january 6. we're not going to tolerate whitewashing this attack for political purposes. i strongly support speaker pelosi's decision to form a bipartisan commission to investigate it and i look forward to its findings. and as the house moved forward with its own investigation, we need to ask ourselves why the republican senate leader and all but six republican senators voted to prevent the senator from finding out the truth. not only does the republican leader oppose efforts to find out what happened on january 6, he is -- house and senate democrats have put forward good-faith proposals to provide emergency funding to deal with the ongoing security issues at the capitol and give the capitol
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police and staff here the resources they need to do their job. if this senate fails to approve that supplemental funding package, the capitol police department may have to start furloughing dozens -- maybe hundreds -- of officers at the end of this month. let me be clear. no one -- no one has paid a heavier price for the insurrection than our capitol police officers. -- police force many they will carry that with them for the rest of their lives. they keep us safe and secure the capitol complex for the people who visit. the least we can do is at least make sure they receive their paychecks. patrick leahy introduced an updated version of the supplemental package, it would pay our capitol police officers salaries and provide additional funding for the capitol complex
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and would deal with the impacts of the pandemic on the capitol. over the last year the pandemic and the insurrection put a financial strain ton this institution. keeping the capitol and the people who work here in a safe situation is a new environment that will cost money. so far republican colleagues have been unwilling to face the reality we find ourselves in today and to spend the money needed to respond to the real threats we're facing. their proposal pharmaceutical short of the -- fall short of the needs of the moment. senator leahy's proposal will address the issues facing the capitol complex. don't we owe it to the men and women who protect our staff and our visitors to support our work and pass this bill? when a filibuster prevents the senate from even investigating an attack on the senate itself and another filibuster may be used to threaten paying our police officers who protect us, we have to ask a basic question,
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who really benefits from the misuse of a filibuster? does the current overuse and misuse of this filibuster benefit our democracy? absolutely not. the republican leader has used the filibuster in a way never seen in the history of the senate, to prevent us from even starting debate on legislation that would make it easier for americans to vote. you know that, mr. president, better tan anyone because -- better than anyone because your state of georgia is going through that debate at the moment. does the filibuster in its current form benefit america? how could it? last year the filibuster was -- preventing from discriminating against women in the workplace. it is the one of the many policies supported by a broad majority of the american people of both political parties. unfortunately, those ideas as good as they are, as popular as
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they are, as needed as they are, are dead on arrival thanks to senator mcconnell and his filibuster. again i ask, what benefits do we derive from grinding our government to a halt? it's a small club that benefits. you know who is in it, the wealthiest individuals and the richest corporations. the elites are the only ones who benefit from the broken political system. it stops progress all together. the framers of the constitution never intended for one half of one branch of government to be equipped with a kill switch. the filibuster doesn't promote bipartisanship, it is preventing bipartisan progress. as i said, the proposal to form an independent commission to investigate the january 6 insurrection have broad bipartisan support in the senate. six republican colleagues had
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the courage to stand up and join all the democrats in calling for this january 6 commission, but a minority of senators, all republican, refused. this is not how our legislative process is supposed to function. our nation's founder wanted to give each senator a voice, not a veto over every piece of legislation. that is how the filibuster is being misused today. as we celebrate the reopening of the capitol grounds, let's take a moment to appreciate the fact that our democracy has survived, but it cannot protect itself from future attacks. that responsibility falls on our shoulders. no wasting time on delay tactics. it's time to do the work we were sent to washington to do. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. thune: mr. president. the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. thune: is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, last month, speaker pelosi was asked if she thought a 15-week-old unborn baby was a human being. she declined to answer. a few days later, the president's press secretary was asked if the president thinks a
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15-week-old unborn baby is a human being. she also declined to answer. mr. president, in case the president and the speaker are in any doubt, let me just clear things up for them. a 15-week-old unborn baby is a human being. that baby has a human mom and human dad. and human beings have other human beings. that's not a complex moral or philosophical question. that's biology 101. of course i'm pretty sure the reason that the speaker and the president's press secretary declined to answer this question is not because they are confused about the answer. i don't think there is anybody out there who isn't aware on some level that unborn human beings are human beings. the moment of birth is not magically -- does not magically confer humanity. no, the speaker and the president don't want to admit
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unborn children are human beings because admitting it would make it hard to defend the fact that they support the right to kill these babies. if you support abortion, it's much easier to pretend an unborn baby is just a clump of cells rather than a separate human being with his or her own fingerprints and d.n.a. it's a lot easier to defend killing that baby if you pretend that baby is just a part of the mother instead of a unique, separate, unrepeatable individual. that's why the speaker of the u.s. house of representatives and the press secretary for the president of the united states have declined to answer a question that any 10-year-old could answer, whether a baby inside his or her mom is a human being. mr. president, the end of may, president biden released his budget. it was a slap in the face to pro-life americans. the president's budget abandons decades of bipartisan compromise
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and calls for the elimination of the hyde amendment which protects taxpayers from having their tax dollars go to fund abortions. and that's not all. the budget contains a whole host of pro-abortion measures that would, among other things, direct taxpayer dollars to fund abortion providers here at home and overseas. and this isn't just some theoretical proposal. democrats in the house of representatives have already acted in committee to exclude the hyde amendment and other critical pro-life measures from appropriations bills. mr. president, if we can't agree that unborn human beings deserve to have their human rights protected, we should at least be able to agree that taxpayers should not be forced to fund the killing of unborn persons. the american people don't think taxpayers should be forced to fund abortions. in fact, nearly 60% of americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions. the president himself as recently as his presidential
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campaign supported the hyde amendment, but there is one interest group that controls the democrat party, it's the abortion industry and its supporters, and i guess the president figured that he needed to sacrifice his support for the hyde amendment if he wanted to win the election. and now democrats and the president are following through by attempting to force taxpayers to pay for abortions. mr. president, to hear democrats talk, you would think that abortion on demand without limits up until the moment of birth was a standard position of this country and the world, but it's actually not. the united states is one of only a tiny handful of countries in the world, in the entire world that allow elective abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy. americans are squarely to the right of the democrat party on abortion. a strong majority of americans believe abortion should be illegal or there should at least
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be some restrictions on abortion. and that has been the position of the american people for a long time. despite democrats' best efforts, americans still aren't convinced that unlimited abortion on demand should be the law of the land. and it's really not surprising. no one has ever heard the thump, thump, thump of an unborn baby's heartbeat really thinks that we're just talking about a clump of cells. no one who has ever looked at an ultrasound screen and seen an unborn baby waving her hands or kicking her feet is in any doubt that that baby is a human being. and at some level, every person, every person, mr. president, knows that human beings have human rights and that human beings deserve to be protected, even when they are small and weak and vulnerable.
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especially when they are small and weak and vulnerable. and so no matter how hard the abortion lobby pushes, they can't convince the majority of americans that abortion is an unqualified good. unfortunately, however, they have succeeded and turned the democratic party into their legislative arm. president biden and democrats in congress are obediently pursuing a radical abortion agenda that puts them squarely at the left of the majority of the american people. and it's not limited to taxpayer funding of abortion or abortion providers. president biden nominated a radical pro-abortion crusader, the secretary of health and human services. in may, secretary becerra appeared before a house subcommittee where he chose to answer a question on federal abortion law by indulging in a game of semantics. not only did he fail to commit to enforcing the partial-birth abortion ban act, he refused to even acknowledge its existence, even though he voted against the law repeatedly during his time
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in the house of representatives. and then there is the so-called equality act. democrats' unprecedented assault on free speech and religious liberty that would also erode conscience protections on abortion as well as restrictions on federal funding. under the equality act, doctors and nurses who have a moral objection to participating in abortions could be forced to participate or lose their jobs. and i haven't even mentioned the women's health protection act sponsored by almost every democrat in the senate which would threaten even the mildest state limits on abortion. mr. president, it is deeply disheartening that making sure unborn children are deprived of their human rights has become a defining cause for one of the two major parties in this country. we can do better than this. we have to do better than this. congressman henry hyde, for whom
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the hyde amendment is named, once noted that abortion, which, as he said, denies an entire class of human beings the welcome and protection of our laws, is a betrayal of the best in our tradition. and he was right. what kind of a message does it send to our children when we tell them that an entire class of human beings is not worthy of protection? when we deny human rights to the most innocent and vulnerable humans among us, we have to do better. and to my democrat colleagues, i would say we cannot act today to secure justice and human rights for unborn if we cannot act today to secure justice and human rights for unborn human beings, let's at least stand for the great american tradition of freedom of conscience and protection and rights of doctors and nurses to decline to participate in abortions.
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let's at least spare americans who oppose the taking of innocent human life from having their tax dollars go to fund abortions. and at the very, very least, we should be able to agree upon that. mr. president, as i said, i am saddened and disheartened that a major political party in this country has made depriving unborn human rights of their rights a defining cause, but the right to life will not be ignored. while democrat leaders may deny the humanity of the unborn, there are a lot of americans out there, a lot of americans who recognize it. and i have faith sooner or later this country will live up to its founding promise and the best of its tradition and extend the protection of its laws to every human being born and unborn.
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mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: i would ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to finish my remarks, roughly ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: thank you. well, just when you think you have seen it all, mr. president, something new happens here in washington, d.c. all eyes are now on d.c.'s newest asylum seekers, the members of the texas house of representatives, the democratic representatives. but the only oppressive force that these men and women are facing is the expectation that they would actually do their jobs in the texas legislature, the job they campaigned for and were elected to do.
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following unsuccessful attempts to pass an election integrity bill during the regular legislative session earlier this year, governor abbott has now called a special session for the texas legislature to consider that and other matters. that special session kicked off last tuesday -- excuse me, last thursday, but the chamber is already being held hostage by a minority of house members who are unwilling to do their job. now, democrats have raised concerns about the current draft of the bill. and make no mistake, that's why the legislative process actually exists. that's why it's important that they be there and debate the issues and actually vote on a bill. the purpose, of course, is for all sides to be able to debate, potentially amend, and vote on legislation. but rather than do their jobs in
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texas, yesterday house democrats abandoned both our state and the millions of texans that they represent and they decamped to washington, d.c. when faced with the prospect of defeat and for better or for worse, the legislative process is all about arithmatic. you're not always going to win every debate you're involved in. but that doesn't mean you leave the state and refuse to do your job. but that's exactly what they did. they got on two chartered jets, maskless with at least one case of lite beer and hopped on the jets to come to washington, d.c. the problem is and really what's so sad is i don't think these
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legislators realize the irony in the situation. they are using their collective power as the minority party to stop a bill they oppose from becoming law. while doing so, they came to washington to try to convince the president and senate democrats to nuke the very senate rule that protects the rights of the minority. in other words, you might say a filibuster for me but not for thee. and as a reminder, this is the second time they've denied the legislature a quorum this year. i think it's pretty obvious that this is nothing more than a political stunt when these lawmakers skipped town with no plan for when they will return to their jobs in texas. and, frankly, the president under the texas constitution --
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i mean the governor under the text constitution can -- text constitution can continue to call as many special sessions he wishes without limitation. so we all know who you this will end. they will eventually go home after the cameras leave and after the press loses interest in this political stunt. they'll go home and they will participate in the process. but it's telling that these democrats and this house of representatives chose to race toward tv cameras in washington rather than present their arguments in the legislature. and, mr. president, this is not without some risk to them. i'm advised that they were on federal property and referred to a website this is actually a fund raising site for their efforts. we all know that there are limits, in fact strict limits on any fund raising on federal property. so they may have crossed a line
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unwittingly or not. but this is simply an embarrassing dereliction of their duty and a shameful political stunt, as i said. they can't win so they're doing the equivalent of i'll take my ball and go home. or in this case i'm simply running away. but as texans standing up to a fight is part of who we are, even if you know in the end you may not prevail. but instead they turned their backs, hopped on a private jet, and ran from this fight. like our democratic colleagues in congress, texas state lawmakers have tried to create a false choice between voter access and election security. i think it boils down to this. we should be making it easier to vote and tougher to cheat, plain and simple. it's disingenuous and downright
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false to claim that any effort to prevent fraud is an availed attempt at voter suppression. we know that minority voters, voters of color voted at unprecedented envelopes in the 2020 election owe owe levels in 20 election. we had 60% of voters vote and the highest of african american and hispanic voters. so the idea that somehow people want to be able to vote can't vote, even though we ordinarily have two weeks of early voting before the general election. we have mail-in ballots for people who are disabled or over 65 or otherwise will not be in town on election day. and of course we have election day voting as well. in 2020 we had 11.3 million texans cast their ballot. like i said, 66% of registered
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voters. the last time i was on the ballot in 2014, we had 4.8 million voters, 4.8 to 11.3 in six years alone. so believe me, there is robust voter participation and nothing the texas legislature is considering will deny people with the legitimate right to vote an ability to cast their vote. and that's appropriate that they should do so. there are other additional items on the governor's call for this special session, including things like bail reform, family violence prevention, and, of course, our -- the democrat house members by fleeing town and by coming to washington in this political stunt are abdicating their responsibility to deal with these other issues as well. it's not just about election law reform. it's about these other issues, like bail reform and family
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violence prevention. i believe firmly, and i'm confident i'm in the majority of my constituents, my 29 million constituents, that they actually expect us when we run for office and when we get elected, they expect us to show up for our jobs and not take part in a highly orchestrated and ethically dubious act of political theater. mr. president, i yield the floor. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: mr. graham: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: the yeas are 73, the nays are 24. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. the clerk will are invoke the mowing to invoke cloture. the presiding officer: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22, do hereby bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 63, julie su, of california, to be deputy secretary of labor, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. is it the sense of the senate that debate of the nomination of julie su, of california, to be deputy secretary of labor shall be brought to a close?
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the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rules. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer:le yeas are 50. the nays are 47. the and the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: department of labor, julie a. su of california to be deputy secretary. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m. >> the senate will continue work on president biden's nominees when they return at 2:15 p.m. eastern. senators are heading to the weekly lunch meetings to discuss newsweek's party policy. live coverage when they gavel back in here on c-span2. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these
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television companies and more including mediacm. internet traffic soared and we never slow down. schools and businesses with virtual and we powered a new reality because at media, we are built to keep you ahead. >> media, support c-span as a public service along with his other television providers giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> peter oz knows has published hundreds of nonfiction books in his career as founder of the new york-based public affairs book. he has now written a memoir about his own life called an especially good view, watching history happen. the national book review rights he has not written a a memoiro much as a report from the front, make that many fronts. the great news events of the
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past half-century. we talked with him about his time in vietnam and the soviet union, among other things. >> reporter editor and publisher peter oz notes on this episode of booknotes+. listen@c-span.org/podcast or whatever you get your podcasts. >> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday you will find events and people that explore other nations past on american history tv. on sundays booktv brings you the latest and nonfiction books and authors. it's television for serious readers. learn, discovered, explore. weekends on c-span2. >> dr. jonathan mezzo is with vanderburgh university. he's with the director of the department of medicine health and society also the author

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