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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 15, 2021 10:00am-3:38pm EDT

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confirmation of president biden's nominees for treasury undersecretary of domestic finance and veterans affairs deputy secretary. live senate coverage is here on c-span2. 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. god of mercy and light, we are in your hands 4.today, show mercy to the members of this
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lord, we are grateful that you have promised never to leave us. in the challenge of decision-making, with its fluctuating intricacies, give each lawmaker a deeper appreciation for cultivating a conscience void of offense toward you and humanity. today, show mercy to the members of this legislative body. lord, let your sovereign hand be over them and your holy spirit be with them directing all their thoughts, words, and works for your glory. we pray in your merciful name. amen.
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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.
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the president pro tempore: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. and 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 the treasury, j. nellie liang, of maryland, to be an under secretary. the president pro tempore: the senator from nevada is recognized and the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call: mr. schumer: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: are we in a quorum? i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: now, madam president, every senator from every state has witnessed the hollowing out of the middle class over the past few decades. globalization, technology have changed the way that americans work and compete. productivity increased wages -- sorry. productivity increased but wages for the bottom 70% stagnated in this century. this 20 years. income equality spiked as well
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for -- as wealth went to the top. the financial crisis and the covid pandemic keep additional hardship on middle-class families that were already falling behind. the changes in the world, the swirling changes, economic and social have made it harder to stay in the middle class, have made it harder to get to the middle class. we democrats feel an obligation to make it easier for those in the middle class to enjoy that middle-class life and stay there and for those struggling to get into the middle class, to have those ladders so they can climb up to get there. these are exciting and fundamental times to be here in the senate. in short we have a lot to do to restore the fundamental american promise of opportunity and economic mobility. the faith that through hard work any american can build a better life for themselves, their
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families, their children and then pass even greater opportunity on to their children, that's the american dream. it's been fading. and that's allowed demagoguery and nastiness and divisiveness to become too great a part of our politics. we want to restore that sunny optimism that americans have always had. and that's why we're so intent on moving forward this month. the idea, the idea that americans can build a better life for themselves and pass greater opportunity to their children is at the heart of what democrats are trying to achieve this year through the american jobs and families plan. helping middle-class facility stay in the middle class and breathe easier. helping poor americans climb that ladder to get there. and nothing, nothing will do more to advance that goal than
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the bill we're working on this year. the budget resolution agreed to by democrats on the budget committee this week is the first step down a long road towards enacting a transformational change in our economy. it will allow us to pass the most significant legislation to expand support for american families since the era of the new deal and the great society. if not quite roosevelty in scope, it is certainly near rose velyian. it's a dramatic change to help average families do better. the best way to understand the emerging legislation is in through categories. jobs which will come through major infrastructure investments. families and climate. we're going to create thousands upon thousands of good-paying jobs by investing in infrastructure and the training and apprenticeships that will
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help more americans, including many of those who have been left out, get those jobs. we're going to expand and convention then the programs -- strengthen the programs that support american families and introduce new ones, like paid family leave and a robust expansion of medicare to cover vision, dental, and hearing. i salute senator sanders for putting it on the map and now making it a real possibility to happen. and we're going to act on climate in a bold and comprehensive way to reduce emissions, make our infrastructure more resilient, and create the green jobs of the future, to meet the president's goals of an 80% reduction -- of 80% reduction in dirty carbon that goes into energy production and a 50% overall reduction in the carbon we send to the atmosphere. when republicans held the majority in the senate,
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unfortunately their signature legislative achievement was a massive tax break for corporations and the wealthy. from one report i read, the top 1% got 83% of the benefits when the republicans had power. what a difference when democrats are in power. you know what the top 1% got in the a.r.p. bill? zero, nada, nothing. they don't -- god bless them. they're doing great. they don't need it. democrats instead are strengthening the backbone of the middle class and that's what we're going to do in this jobs and family plan. american workers, american families are going to benefit while we address the generational challenge of climate change. and as i've said from the start, madam president, as i've said from the start, the two tracks of infrastructure are going to move in tandem. we're making good progress on both tracks. we in the democratic caucus
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heard from the president yesterday on the budget resolution. the meeting was wonderful. the excitement was pal paable. the opportunity to do so much good for so many american families was in the air in that meeting. it was exciting. and as that happened, the bipartisan working groups had many meetings on the bipartisan infrastructure framework as well. today i'm announcing that i intend to file cloture on the vehicle for a bipartisan infrastructure bill on monday of next week. senators will have until wednesday of next week before the initial vote on cloture on the motion to proceed. everyone has been having productive conversations and it's important to keep the two-track process moving. all parties involved in the bipartisan infrastructure bill talks must now finalize their
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agreement so that the senate can begin considering that legislation next week. and i am setting the same deadline next wednesday for the entire senate democratic caucus to agree to move forward on the budget resolution with reconciliation instructions. the time has come to make progress. and we will. we must. now on another issue, marijuana. 20 years ago roughly a third of the population supported the decriminalization of marijuana. today that number is almost 70%. even deep rooted south dakota voted to legalize the adult use of marijuana. americans' perception of marijuana has justifiably changed. and it's time that congress caught up and reformed our laws to reflect the popular wisdom and the science.
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so yesterday i joined with senator booker who has been such a leader on this issue for so long and chairman wyden who has been active on this issue as well. our finance chairman. to introduce the cannabis administration and opportunity act which represents a monumental change because at long last it would take steps to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs. it would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge the criminal records of those with low-level marijuana offenses. many states are rapidly moving toward legalization, including my home state of new york. the legislature did that in this past session. these states show the potential for new industries that can give opportunities to long forgotten entrepreneurs. our law would establish a fair administration so small business and communities of color can get their fair shake in the marijuana business.
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and we would deal with expungement, the tragedy of a young person being arrested because they have a small amount of marijuana in their pocket, but because of the historic overcriminalization, they have a permanent, serious criminal record that prevents them and inhibits them from moving forward in their lives. now i am the first majority leader to say it's time to end the federal prohibition on marijuana. and as majority leader i'm going to push this issue forward and make it a priority for the senate. in short, the cannabis administration and opportunity act would help the federal government catch up with what much of the country already understands. that we need to rethink our approach to marijuana and end, end decades of overcriminalization. and on a final matter, the c.t.c. i have al little chart here.
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-- i have a little chart here. over the past 20 years, the cost of raising children in america has become ludicrously expensive. everything from diapers to housing to health care to college tuition has risen in price. some of it rather steeply and dramatically. and wages, unfortunately, have not kept pace. putting strain, ever more strain on american parents. the cost of child care alone can be roughly equivalent to buying a new car every single year. that's a big burden for so many families. the pandemic, of course, made life even harder on americans -- on america's families. so in the american rescue plan democrats made sure that it included a dramatic expansion of the federal child tax credit to give families a little extra help during the once in a century crisis and today, today
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i'm very proud to announce that tens of millions of americans are going to see extra money land in their bank accounts. the first of monthly checks that will be disbursed through the expanded child tax credit. let me say that again. because of this law passed by senate democrats, sadly, unfortunately not a single republican voted for this much-needed measure that will help the middle class and the poor. a vast majority of americans because of what we did, we senate democrats did, will begin receiving a monthly check of $300 for each child under six years old. they will also receive $250 every month for each child between 6 and 17. combined with the credits that apply next tax season, these payments total up to $3,600 for
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every child under 6, $3,000 for every child 6 to 17. in short, it will amount to a substantial and potentially life-altering tax cut, tax cut for american families. if you're a middle-class mom or dad. this money will help defer the cost of groceries, rent, child care, maybe diapers if you have an infant. boy, they're expensive. i remember when my kids were little compared to today, the cost. you can spend that money on something else if you need it and it's going to go a long way to reducing the burdens that families face. it also helps those kids in poverty. the expanded child tax credit will cut childhood poverty in nearly in half. four million american children they expect will be lifted. and when you're a child born into poverty, no fault of your own. you may not have proper
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nutrition and food. you may not have proper education or health care or housing. and by the time you're 14 or 15, you're in a big ditch. now many to their credit climb out on their own but this will prevent so many from going -- falling into that ditch. so it helps the poor and it helps the middle class. we're proud of that. to all of america's moms and dads, check your bank accounts this week. check your bank account. you play not even know this is happening. if you file taxes -- filed taxes in either of the past two years or in both of them and you qualify the credit, you'll see this money automatically. if you didn't file taxes in either of the past two years, you can go online. irs.gov/childtax credit and sign up. let me repeat that. go to irs.gov/child dx taxcredit
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and sign up. it's simple to sign up. as long as you have a social security number, you can get it. republicans for a very long time claim to be the party of tax cuts. but when you read the fine print, it turns out that the republican party is the party of tax cuts for the wealthy and the well connected. democrats are sending this check, american parents, for the child tax credit $300 per month courtesy of president biden and senate and congressional democrats. again, unfortunately, every republican voted no. and i want to give a lot of credit to senators bennet of colorado and senator brown of ohio and senator booker of new jersey and senator wyden of oregon and so many others who fought for this issue and helped make it a reality that today is
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going to happen. so we say to the parents of america, starting today help, real help, significant help is on the way, not just for the wealthy as the republicans like to give it but to the poor and the middle class. i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: madam president. the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: throughout my career i've been proud to amplify the voices of freedom fighters around the world. brave men and women working to secure the blessings of liberty that we enjoy here in america. and i've repeatedly shined a flood light on the oppressive
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regimes that stand in their way. i championed the pro-democracy in burma, the brave advocates for freedom in hong kong. right now the loudest cries for liberty are coming pretty close to home. after dealing with socialist tyranny 90 miles from american soil, the people of cuba are telling the world they've had enough. had enough. they've had enough of a regime that stolen their dreams for decades, they've had enough of the standingle hold on information and on prosperity. they've had enough of its intimidation and its repression. the past week's demonstrations in the streets of havana should demonstrate a moving point. the regime's failed communist ideology has saddled generations of cubans with a backward
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economy, inadequate services and no means of justice for dissent. now some naive americans on the left seem intent on once again running interference for the cuban regime had they still buy the propaganda that cuba is a socialist paradise with a model health care and education system that we should actually emulate. but the cuban people see a different reality, an open-air prison that communism has run right into the ground. since the 1950's, the blight of castro rule has had many cubans flee to the united states. generations of immigrants and their descendants are living out american dreams of prosperity, achievement and service. we are blessed to call them femo -- fellow americans.
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senator rubio said that the only country on the planet where cubans are not successful is cuba. my hometown is one of the has one of the largest cuban populations of any city outside of florida. this vibrant community has rallied by hundreds in support of cuban protesters. as one of these fellow kentuckians of mine put it, quote, the only voice they have is us. the brave men and women who have taken to the streets in cuba are demanding freedoms they have been denied their entire lives. they deserve, madam president, our strong support. i'm proud to cosponsor a new resolution of senator -- with senator rubio and several other colleagues to communicate precisely them. now, on another matter, this week democrats on the house appropriations committee are doing something so radical that
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it hasn't been done for decades. they are advancing an annual funding bill that leaves out the hyde amendment, the commonsense prohibition on portion -- on fog taxpayers to fund abortion. since the 1970's, abortion has claimed the lives of nearly 60 billion unborn children. the hyde amendment has ensured that taxpayers' hard-earned money is not funneled into this practice. a broad coalition aagreed that the taxpayer should not be forced to underwrite this nightmare. a strong majority of americans still agree with that proposition. for decades nearly his entire career, then-senator joe biden was a reliable supporter of hyde protections. one letter to a constituent read like this. quote, those of us opposed to
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abortion should not be compelled to pay for them. but a couple of years on the presidential campaign trail, our former colleague changed his tune. he let the demands of the increasingly radical left overcome a principle he had held literally for decades. so earlier this year the president's budget request obligingly proposed ending this long-standing protection, yet another way in which the administration has sold itself as moderate and unifying is now spiraling way, way to the left. and this week the house is following through. in today's democratic party there is no room to dissent from the far left's culture war, even in the modest, most standing, most popular ways. senate republicans are going to continue standing up for life, standing up for taxpayers, and standing up for the conscience rights of millions -- millions
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of americans who don't want the government laundering their hard-earned money to abortion providers. republicans will stand with the majority of the american people even if our colleagues across the aisle have given in to the most radical voices. now, on one final matter. le earlier this week, new june figures confirm what working families across america know all too well. runaway costs are hitting the american people where it hurts. sadly, this was 100% predictable. even top democratic experts like larry summers warned that the jaw-dropping $2 trillion that democrats borrowed and spent back in march might unleash inflation and do more harm than good. the economy was already packed with dry powder, households already had record savings, supply chains and inventories
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were already strapped. american families did not need a grand socialist experiment. they just needed the government to let things finally -- finally get back to normal. the president, the speaker and the democratic leader still slapped another $2 trillion on the country's credit card and it's bout us -- bought us a level of inflation that is unprecedented in recent memory. costs for working families have shot up. inflation is running so high that even though american workers have seen a 3.6% pay increase on average since last year, it's been completely swamped, wiped out and then some by inflation. in real terms, american workers' pay has actually gone down -- down nearly 2% since last july. so let me say that again. on democrats' watch inflation has turned a 3.6% annual pay
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raise for americans into a nearly 2% pay cut. and, yet, in a spectacle that could only occur in washington democrats picked the very same week to announce they want to tax, borrow, and spend yet another -- listen to this -- $4 trillion in the coming weeks. yet another budget-busting socialist package twice as big -- twice as big as the last one. i'm sure this is just what working americans want to hear. they are already struggling to keep up with the soaring cost of gas, groceries, diapers, housing, automobiles, you name it. and now the democrats' big idea is to try and inflate their way out of inflation. inflate out of inflation.
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that will be one wild ride for working americans, middle-class families and anybody with any savings. for good measure, democrats say they will probably pair the spending spree with a set of massive tax hikes dumped right on top of our economic recovery. our colleagues need to take this summer and think very carefully about what they are discussing. it would be hard to imagine a proposal less suited to the conditions of our country at this point. americans cannot afford another socialist borrowing, taxing and spending spree that will kill jobs and raise costs for working families. mr. durbin: madam speaker.
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president. i'm sorry. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. durbin: i just heard the republican leader refer to the rescue plan as a grand socialist experiment. remember that plan? that was president biden's response to the covid-19 pandemic. how many republicans voted for it? not one. not a house member nor a senate member of the republican party supported it. so what was in this socialist experiment? well, the premier piece was to make sure that we distributed covid-19 vaccines to every american. some people think that's socialism. i think it's common sense. the more and mosh americans -- the more and more americans who were immunized, the more we escaped the pandemic. 99% of those admitted to the hospital today with serious covid-19 symptoms are unvaccinated. so this was socialism?
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i don't think so. how about the aid we gave to small businesses to stay open or reopen? that was in the american rescue plan. that was biden's plan. there was not a single republican vote for it. money to help businesses to reopen is socialism? is that what the senator from kentucky is suggesting? or how about the fact that today we're going to see across the united states of america help to families, middle-class families, low-income families to raise their children. so when donald trump writes a check for $2,000 to every american family, that's just fine, but when the democrats and biden want to give money to families raising children, particularly those who are struggling to raise children, that's socialism? i think not. it's common sense. if we really value families, we're going to invest in their future and the money that's being sent starting today to these families will lift over
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half of the children in poverty in america out of poverty for the first time. that is a dramatic achievement. it should be a bipartisan achievement, sadly it is a democratic achievement because republicans boy kotd the vote over and -- boycotted the vote. there is one thing the majority leader failed to mention when he talked about the budget resolution. maybe two things. first ising this budget resolution, which we're going to bring to the floor next week, according to the leader will do dramatic things in terms of pre-k education and two years of community college and the like and in this circumstance it is paid for. it is all paid for. to say it is inflationary is to suggest it is not paid for, it is adding to the debt? who pays for it? those making over $400,000 a year in income and corporations. that's who pays for it. the net result of it? the biggest tax cut in the
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history of the united states for middle income and working families. i'm going to yield the floor. i see the senator from south dakota is on the floor and wants to speak. i yield the floor, madam president. mr. thune: madam president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: no. mr. thune: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that i be able to complete my remarks before the vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: madam president, it
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didn't take long, just a year since defund the police became a rallying cry and cities started cutting money from police budgets, crime is surging. at the beginning of june, "the new york times" reported that homicide rates were up more than 30% on average last year and up more than 20% at the beginning of this year. homicides are up in new york city, philadelphia, chicago, los angeles, columbus, and the list goes on. and it isn't only homicide rates that have risen, during the first four months of the year los angeles saw a 73% increase in shootings. as of the end of may, portland, oregon, ravaged by violent riots over the past year was on tract to receive 1,000 shootings this year as compared to 889 in 2019.
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a washington examiner piece, new york city saw an 81% increase in shootings, the highest number of shootings during the same period since 2002, robberies, grand larcenies and felony assaults have increased in april and may compared to last year. end quote. san francisco has seen a surge in car break-ins among other crimes. the "san francisco chronicle" reporting in june that, quote, last month, the police department central station saw a 733% increase in auto burglaries compared to the previous may, end quote. in oakland, california, carjackings are up almost 88%. shootings are up 70%. and homicides are up 90%. madam president, unfortunately, i could go on all day. the crime surge is real, and it
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is frightening. i have quoted a lot of statistics and percentages, but there are real people behind every one of those crimes, people whose lives have been cut short or ravaged by violence. people whose sense of safety has been destroyed. it turns out, madam president, that, surprise, defunding the police is a terrible idea. it's no coincidence that -- it's know coincidence at all that cities that have slashed their police budgets have seen huge increases in violence. some of them are even recognizing the mistake that they have made in seeking to restore the funding that they cut. a fox business piece reports, and i quote, cities like new york city, oakland, baltimore, minneapolis, and los angeles are planning to reinstate tens of millions for the construction of new police precincts, increased police department budgets, among other plans to bankroll more efforts to confront the uptick in crime, end quote.
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unfortunately, mr. president, the problem won't necessarily be fixed that easily. because defund the police rhetoric has not just resulted in smaller police budgets. it's also resulted in police demoralization and left departments worried about deploying officers to do their jobs. and it's resulted in a wave of police retirements and resignations. as "the new york times" reports, quote, thousands of police officers nationwide have headed for the exits in the past year. a survey of almost 200 police departments indicated that retirements were up 45% and resignations rose by 18% in the year from april, 2020, to april, 2021, when compared with the previous 12 months, end quote. again that from the "new york times." the city of asheville, north carolina, has lost a third of its police force. a third, mr. president. and it's not surprising. it turns out that when you spend
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months vilifying police officers and demonizing them for doing their jobs, some of them no longer want to stay. and this is perhaps the worst consequence of the defund the police movement. cutting police budgets is not a good idea, but resources and equipment can be built back up again, sometimes fairly quickly. it's a lot harder to replace good, seasoned officers with years of experience protecting public safety. and while it would be hard to replace them at any time, it's particularly hard today because it's difficult to imagine why anyone would want to become a police officer right now. why would good men and women sign up for a job where they are regularly characterized as the worst kind of criminals? why would they sign up knowing that they may be prevented from or punished for doing the job we ask them to do. mr. president, violence against police officers, always a
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danger, is up, and the sickening scene of protesters shouting death to police outside a hospital where two ambushed law enforcement officers were fighting for their lives has to be emblazoned on the minds of police officers nationwide. again, i ask why would anyone want to join the police under these conditions? the defund the police movement is not only costing us many good officers today, it's depleting the pool of good officers for the future, and that, mr. president, that is the travesty. mr. president, the unfortunate truth is the democrats bear a substantial amount of responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in because this is a party that either actively contributed to the defund the police rhetoric or implicitly endorsed it by largely staying violent. -- staying silent. not to mention the less than
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censureious attitude that democrats frequently displayed when it came to the violence and property destruction of the last year. california representative maxine waters said protesters in minneapolis this april should get more confrontational. more confrontational should the verdict in the chauvin trial not go their way. and far-left members of the house of representatives spent the past year making statements like, and i quote, policing in our country is inherently and intentionally racist. no more policing incarceration and militarization, end quote. now, more mainstream democrats have become wise to the fact that their party's association with the defund the police movement may threaten their electoral chances next year. as polling has demonstrated, americans are squarely against the idea of defunding the police. so the president and other democrat leaders have all of a sudden announced their concern about surging crime, but they
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are still trying to have their cake and eat it, too. because missing from their messaging is any real condemnation of defund the police rhetoric and the terrible toll it has taken on our cities and police departments. in fact, president biden who is currently trying to reinvent himself as tough on crime filled key roles in the department of justice with individuals who have gone on record with their support for defunding the police. president biden's secretary of labor actually cut police funding while serving as boston's mayor, and as secretary of housing and urban development has suggested we should consider decreasing police budgets. democrats' actual crime-fighting plans are long on punishing gun dealers and gun manufacturers and short on actually going after criminals. the president's nominee to head the bureau of alcohol, tobacco,
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firearms, and explosives appears more interested in targeting law-abiding gun owners than dealing with the surge in gun crime. mr. president, i have one last point to make about the defund the police movement, and that is its fundamental injustice. are there bad police officers out there? of course there are. there are bad teachers out there, too. and bad social workers, and bad small businessmen. but just as it would be outrageous to demonize all teaches because of the few bad apples in their profession, it is outrageous to demonize the hundreds of thousands of dedicated men and women defending public safety in this country because of a handful of bad officers. the truth is we owe our men and women in law enforcement a great debt, a debt we can't even fully comprehend. these men and women go out and risk their lives every day of the week, every month of the year, to keep us safe, but they
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don't just risk their lives. they also bear a heavy physical and emotional burden. most of us go about our daily lives without having to confront much evil because our law enforcement officers go out every day to confront it for us. they confront violence so that we don't have to, and they pay a price. it's tough to have to see evil on a daily basis, to spend years rescuing children who are in trouble or supporting victims of violence or bringing rapists to justice, but it's a price most of them are glad to pay. they signed up to protect the innocent, to keep the public safe and evil at bay. and they're proud to do it. and we owe them and their families our profound gratitude. it is abhorrent that antipolice rhetoric has become such an
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accepted part of our national conversation and has been winked at or endorsed by so many democrat leaders. we owe our police officers much better. mr. president, i hope the belated realization among some that police officers are essential to keeping our communities safe will spell the end of the defund the police movement. it's time to focus on protecting public safety and honoring the men and women who spend every day working to promote it. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: on this vote the ayes are 72, the nays are 27. the nomination is confirmed. the clerk will report the next nomination.
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the clerk: nomination, department of veterans affairs, donald michael remy of louisiana to be deputy secretary. the presiding officer: 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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the presiding officer: on this vote, the yeas are 91, the nays are 8. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motions to reconsider are considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. schumer: i move to proceed
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to executive session to consider calendar number 195. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. all opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. colombia nomination, department of justice, kenneth allen polite jr. to be assistant jurn. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: do here by move -- cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22, do hereby bring to a close debate on it kenneth allen polite, jr., signed by 17 senators as follows: mr. schumer: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. all opposed no. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to executive session to consider
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calendar 246. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, national labor relations board, jennifer ann abruzzo of new york to be general counsel. mr. schumer: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 246, jennifer ann abruzzo of new york to be general counsel of the national labor relations board, signed by 18 senators as follows -- mr. schumer: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: finally, i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum calls for the cloture motions filed today, tuesday, july 15, be waived. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection.
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the senior senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, our democratic colleagues have begun to lay out the groundwork for a partisan reconciliation bill totaling $3.5 trillion. what used to be an absolutely astonishing amount of money, we don't have many details about how that money could be spent, but based on everything we've heard from president biden and our democratic colleagues over recent months, there are some safe assumptions. medicare expansion, green new deal-era climate initiatives and a range of free programs that we know aren't free at all. college, child care, you name it. to pay for these runaway spending habits, our democratic colleagues will lean on job-killing tax increases and excessive borrowing from future generations.
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as a reminder, this is only one half of the dual-track strategy they are pushing this month. the other half is more than a trillion dollars' worth of infrastructure, and i would note that while there is strong bipartisan support for an infrastructure bill, that the democratic leader is apparently intending to file for cloture on a motion to proceed to a bill that hasn't even been written yet. much less had a congressional budget office score to see whether the pay-fors are meaningful or phony. as i see it, our friends on the other side have made it even more difficult to convince our colleagues, let alone the american people, that this type of spending is necessary. after all, they have already developed a spotty record this year. at a time when our debts were piling up, they added even more unnecessary spending.
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back in march, democrats spent nearly $2 trillion without the support of a single republican. they claim that all of this in the name of covid-19 relief, even though less than 10% directly supported our pandemic response. the rest was a grab bag of irresponsible spending. one case in point is the blue state bailout. democrats spent $350 billion more in aid to state and local governments, many of which were not even facing any sort of budgetary shortfalls. democrats said the jobs of everybody from police officers to teachers would be in jeopardy without this funding. republicans offered that this huge sum of funding wasn't needed since many states were operating -- were not operating in the red. even liberal economists and nonpartisan groups like the committee for a responsible
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federal budget agreed. but as the old saying goes, time tells all, and it didn't take much time for us to see how completely unnecessary this $350 billion payout was. take california as an example. california has more than $100 billion budget surplus. that's with a capital b. governor newsom is using that money to dole out stimulus checks and provided medical coverage for undocumented immigrants. new jersey has had so much extra cash lying around that it has made its first full payment into the state's pension system in more than 25 years. but they didn't stop there. they exceeded that payment by more than half a billion dollars. this was exactly the kind of reckless spending of supposed covid-19 borrowed against future
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generations that we advocated against because we saw a tidal wave of funding going to the states that were not even operating in the red. one recent "politico" article read states face financial ruin, now they are swimming in cash. "the wall street journal" editorial board asked didn't states say they were broke? at a time when our spending already mirrored war-time expenses, democrats handed states piles of cash to erase debts and add to the rainy day fund, not to provide for covid-19 relief. this money could have been used to invest in our roads and bridges to have credible pay-fors for the bipartisan infrastructure bill that is currently being considered or to increase broadband access in rural communities, or to support the response to the immigrant crisis occurring on our southern
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border, or a number of other priorities. but rather than repurposing the surplus funds from the first spending bonanza, our democratic colleagues are trying to double down on reckless spending. more irresponsible borrowing, more unnecessary spending, and more burdensome taxes. this multitrillion-dollar spending spree comes at a time that is already an unstable one for our economy. last month, mr. president, inflation hit a 13-year high, and average prices are up 5.4% over the last year. now, this is what happens when so much money starts chasing limited goods and services, that the price of those goods and
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services goes up. that's what causes -- helps to cause inflation. and consumers are the ones feeling the sting of rising prices for virtually everything they buy. fruits and vegetables are up 3.2%. electricity is up 3.8%. and dining out costs are up 4.2% over a year ago. for families operating on a budget, unlike the federal government that can simply print money and borrow more money and impose that burden on future generations, for families operating on a budget, especially those who battled job losses and other tough financial circumstances during the pandemic, those dollars -- those expenses add up awfully quick. those account for only a few of the price increases that families are facing. for example, if you want to purchase a washer or dryer for
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your home, you're going to be met with some pretty serious sticker shock. prices are up 26% over last year. for folks hitting the road for maybe a little time off during the summertime or maybe even just commuting back and forth to work will have to budget quite a bit more for the gasoline necessary to get them there. they are paying 45% more at the pump than they did just one year ago. and anyone heading to the used car lot is bound for a big surprise. over the last 12 months, used car prices are up an eye-popping 45.2%. we know one contributing factor is the shortage of semiconductors necessary to run these computers on wheels that we now call cars. without a steady supply of these chips, automakers haven't been
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able to manufacture the normal number of new vehicles, making used ones a particularly hot commodity. this is another reason why the house needs to take up the bipartisan u.s. innovation and competition act which passed the senate last month. it can take literally years to get new semiconductor foundries or manufacturing facilities up and running, and time is of the essence. getting this bill signed into law will help bolster domestic chip production and safeguard against similar shortages in the future. but getting back to these rising costs depicted here on this chart, these kinds of across-the-board cost increases are simply unmanageable for many families. i know it's easy sitting here in washington, d.c., getting a government salary to think that, well, people can manage, but if you're a working family, particularly one coming off of layoffs or reduced hours as a
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result of the covid-19 mitigation efforts, these are -- these are real, and they bite into the economics of these families. as bad as inflation is, it's only one part of our economic woes. of course we're also seeing trouble getting people to go back to work. in february of last year, before the pandemic hit, the unemployment rate was 3.5%. the economy was hitting on all cylinders. but within two months, unemployment went from 3.5% to 15%. since then, thanks to our investments and bipartisan cooperation and our great scientists, we've made steady progress in getting workers back on the job, but unfortunately our democratic colleagues have seen fit to incentivize men and women to remain on the sidelines
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of the labor market. the partisan bill they passed earlier this year extended, bolstered unemployment benefits through the end of september long after we expected our economy to reopen. it was literally true with the $300 federal supplement to state unemployment benefits. people receiving unemployment benefits in my state, 80% of them got more from unemployment than they did from their former jobs. that's simply the wrong kind of incentives to try to incentivize people not to work. we need to incentivize and facilitate people getting back to work so they can support their families. so it's no wonder our economy is still struggling to rebound. a partisan, go it alone strategy has not led to positive results for our country. it's driven up debt, deficits, borrowing, and spending. and for what? the american people are spending
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more of their hard-earned money on everyday items. workers are sitting on the sidelines in the labor markets. and our national debt is at a higher level than it was following world war ii. in the last election, contrary to perhaps the belief among some circles here in washington, the voters did not give our democratic colleagues a mandate. they didn't sign off on the far-left agenda or give a green light to spend trillions and trillions of dollars on unnecessary liberal programs. but they wanted bernie sanders multitrillion-dollar budget, they would have elected him president of the united states, but we know that did not happen. voters elected a 50/50 senate, lessened the democratic majority in the house, and took president biden at his word that he promised to work across the aisle. this far-left, hard left turn is
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not what the american people voted for. republicans will continue to fight this irresponsible spending bonanza once again, and i hope, i hope some of our democratic colleagues will stand with us. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i see a very different country, apparently, from my colleague, whom i respect, senator cornyn. i -- i sat, -- mr. president, i sat at this desk on march 6. we had been voting, as the presiding officer from hawaii remembers, we had been voting all night. it was a saturday at about 12:30. we had voted for about 11 hours. we defeated by one vote an amendment where senator grassley and my colleagues from the finance committee and the senate republicans tried to take out
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the -- tried to delete the child tax credit from the american rescue plan. we then took a second vote around noon on saturday, after, as i said, 11 or 12 hours of voting, where we passed the american rescue plan by one vote. so two different times, the republican party, which always votes for tax cuts for the richest people in the country, always on party-line votes, always under the very discredited theory that tax cuts, the dollars trickle down to workers and to the middle class and to the rest of the country, they will always vote for a big tax cut for rich people, but they opposed twice, unanimously opposed, every single one opposed the child tax credit. today is the magic day. i remember saying to senator casey when we passed the american rescue plan, this is the best day of my career in public service because we're going to reduce the child poverty rate by 50%. this isn't a tax cut for rich
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people so they can buy another home or another yacht or another vacation place. this is money in the pockets of working class and middle class and struggling people from maine and ohio and texas and iowa and all over the country. so today, today people should start checking their bank accounts, looking at their phone, checking their bank accounts. loot at -- look at their mailbox starting today. today, saturday, monday, the great majority of american families will see this tax cut, will see this $250 or $300 a month. they're going to start receiving it. you'll be $250. if the child is 6 or over, there will be $250, 6 to 17. 5 or under, $300 per month per child. july 15, august 15, september 15, october, november, december. then the second half of the tax cut they will get lump sum starting next year when they file for their -- file their taxes.
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92% of kids in my state, 92% of children under 18 are eligible for this. you know, this is -- these are all numbers and these are all statistics. but here's what it means. i did a series of round tables in cleveland, in columbus, and dayton, cincinnati and toledo and youngstown, in fremont and bryan, defiance, ohio. and here's what i heard. one woman said, you know, my son for the first time in his life i can send him for a week at summer camp because of this child tax credit. a father said, i can buy the equipment for my daughter to play fast pitch softball now. another said, you know, i am so anxious -- i heard this many times -- so anxious at the end of every month, the last week, how am i going to cobble together the money to pay my rent. often i have to choose between buying enough food and paying my rent. others said now i can -- i can work more hours because i can
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afford day care for my children. a few said things like, you know, now per child, my babies are 3 and 4 years old. i can put $100 a month aside for each of them so they can go to lorraine community college or sinclair or ohio state university or dennison. they can get a start. why wouldn't we want to do that? we talk about infrastructure. infrastructure is building a foundation so families can launch their children to a better life. and giving families, providing families $250 or $300 a month, month after month after month gives those families, gives those kids opportunity they never would have had. why wouldn't we think that's the best day this congress has had in 25 years when we do that? it's pretty simple. you know what i really like about this, mr. president? and i know that you appreciate that in maine. what i really like about it is senator king in maine, senator grassley, i don't -- we don't
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make the decisions what these parents should do. we provide them the dollars. they spend it best. whether it's a family indebuke or a family in cleveland. i don't know what's best for them. we provide the dollars. they make the decision what's best for their child. diapers, softball games, saving for college, just having enough to eat, occasionally getting to go out to a diner down the street. all of those kinds of decisions let the parents make. we're giving them that. if we care about family values, if we care about our families, give them a little more help. you will make a huge difference in their lives. that's why this is so important. it starts today. then next month and the month after for a year. we need to renew n. we need to make sure it's permanent. we do that it's going to launch a whole generation of kids, give them more opportunity. what's not to love about that. mr. president, i yield the
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floor. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator for iowa. mr. grassley: why is there such an increase in violence crimes in american cities? in new york city the murder rate is up 37% from two years ago. in atlanta 53% from 2019. in portland, oregon, murders have increased over 500%. so everybody is asking what is going on. well, if you were to ask president biden, he will say the usual rhetoric about how we need more gun control. the white house recently put out a so-called strategy to reduce crimes. what's the first thing that the president wants to do about this
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issue? go after rogue gun dealers. well, we all know gun dealers must follow the law, like doing background checks. we all agree on that. but i don't think anyone truly believes that legal gun dealers are responsible for the sudden spike in violent crime, including our own department of justice. so referring to a department of justice 2019 report, inmates who committed a gun crime most likely got their weapons from the black market. no background checks there. in fact, according to this report only about one in 50 federal inmates got a gun from a legal firearms dealer. speaking of which if democrats
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really want to protect americans from illegal gun sales, they should support my bill, the protecting communities and preserving the second amendment act which would actually do that. but getting back to the recent crime wave, the real problem is what everyone knows. but many of my friends on the left dare not say. the real problem is that for the past 14 months, police officers across the country have been vilified for doing their job, which has led to many of those same police leaving their job. in addition, liberal communities and everybody knows most of our big cities of america are run by democrat mayors, they've reduced the police forces and even reduced prosecutions.
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the result is, in san francisco for example, as you see on television shoplifting appears to be a way of life. some police have pulled back from making sure that we're all safe because in too many cities elected officials don't have their backs. last year attorney general barr enacted operation legend which appeared -- paired federal law enforcement officers with police in nine cities where crimes were soaring. this led to the arrest of 6,000 violent criminals by the end of last year, including hundreds of murderers. now does this white house have the will to support law enforcement so the police can
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make our streets safer? does the president have their backs? recently the president's spokesperson said it was the republicans who wanted to defend the -- defund the police, not the democrats. and that's just plain untrue and everybody knows it. what they are trying to say is that republicans didn't support the democrats' irresponsible spending bill back in march. that's not defunding the police. that's just being fiscally responsible. it's not republicans who say things like, quote, no policing, incarceration, or militarization. you can't be reformed or words like, quote, defunding the police means defunding the police. let me give you another example.
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the push to take resources away from law enforcement is alive and well over in the house. a couple of weeks ago the senate passed three bills that would support police. first one is protecting america's first responders act. that bill makes sure seriously injured first responders or their widows and children get the benefits that they're entitled to. the second bill, the cops counseling act, creates a zone of privacy for police officers so that they can have counseling sessions for traumatic experiences and protect their privacy. a third bill, the federal officers protection act makes it clear that killing a law
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enforcement officer overseas is a crime in the united states. the senate passed these bills because when it comes to law enforcement, we've got their backs. right now democratic leadership in the house is preventing a vote on these bills. why? i don't know. they're bipartisan bills that should easily pass with resounding support. if you're with me on funding the police, i know you'll support these bills. if the president wants to reduce crime, he will tell our police go out there, patrol our streets, we've got your back. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. tuberville: thank you. mr. president, members of the senate were all home last week for two weeks during our state work periods. it was a good time to get back, get back to reality as i call it because we all know here in washington people aren't always operating in reality. if we were, we wouldn't be seeing some of the policies that's coming out as we speak. these state work periods are a great time to hear directly from the people we represent, and that's who we work for. what we care about, and how they're affected by what is happening here in our nation's capital. and this is what folks back in alabama were talking about. they're talking about small businesses, can't find people to
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work because the government's paying more employment benefits than folks make on the job. and that's understandable. we've got to understand that and we've got to understand the problem and how we reblght identify that -- how we rectify that problem. but we need workers in the state of alabama in the worst way. almost in every business and manufacturing. they were talking about an economy that's hurting, really hurting hardworking americans. they're talking about the real cost of rising inflation, rising on price and goods, services that the average family possesses. while driving around i fill my truck up with gas. the cobbs was double -- the cost was double what i spent just a few months ago. and that affects every american in this country. and by the way, in june consumer
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prices increased 5.4%. i got an earful. i got an earful from people about bread, eggs, milk all across the state of alabama. and i'm sure that people of alabama are not alone in their concerns. this didn't happen by accident. you know, this is a direct result of us up here spending way too much money, flooding the country with money that is out -- i call invisible money, out there just going into people's pockets that either they're saving, putting in the stock market, or spending on goods. this makes the timing of the president's proposed tax increases even worse. simply put, president biden's proposal is launching an all-out assault on the working americans in this country, people that work hard for the money they put in their pocket to pay for the
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things that their family needs. all together president biden has called for 30 -- let me repeat that -- 30 different tax increases on the american people that total over $3 trillion. this is the worst time -- the worst time -- that we could be push be a new tax increase, especially during this pandemic, which we thought was coming to a close, but it looks like we're not even close to that. so this would be the worst time for us to be raising taxes. businesses and families have worked very hard to make progress after a very, very tough year and a half. and it's been tough. higher taxes would set most, if not all, back even further. the president's budget laid down a marker. they lay out straight the
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priorities of the administration. they spotlight areas where the american public can expect a political emphasis. well, with his budget, president biden has telegraphed the types of tax increases that congress can deply -- deploy to pay for these progressive policies. we're sure to see a few in the new package. let's take a look at some of the big tax increases that president biden is is going to propose. president biden wants to raise the corporate rate from 21% to 28%. that was lowered just a couple years ago, that put money in people's pockets all across the country. now we're going to it raise it from 21 pour to 28% on -- from 21% to 28% on corporations. that's not a tax on corporations. that's a tax on people who work across this un, especially for
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the corporations. if our democratic colleagues get their way, communist china will have a lower corporate tax rate than the united states. let me repeat that. if our colleagues pass this tax, we will have a higher tax rate, corporate tax rate, than china. take a moment to think about that. the biden budget targets certain industries that our democratic colleagues don't like -- the oil and gas industry, which supports more than 10 million good-paying jobs in this country, would face nearly $150 billion in industry-specific tax increases. that's in addition to the already massive corporate tax increase. once again, the president is
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undoing the progress made over the last few years. the united states became fully -- and i mean fully -- energy independent for the first time in decades and a net exporter. we exported oil and gas and natural gas. what are we doing now? we're buying it. since biden has come into office, we have become increasingly dependent on saudi arabia, opec, and russia for oil and gas. my colleagues on the left want the government to subsidize solar so we can put oil and gas out of business. and we're all for natural energy but you can't do it all at one time. you cannot do it all at one time. just look at the people on the keystone pipeline who are out of
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work. they were told they would get shovel-ready jobs. i hear from them every day. there's no jobs out there for them like they had o. working on the keystone pipeline. many other preferred green energy sources require critical minerals that only china produces. forcing their new green new deal on americans, our democratic colleagues are forcing us to be more dependent on china for key resources. i want to say one thing about what's going on in china. they're getting ready to use a reactor that we invented years and years ago that we decided not to use. now they're starting to build them, and we're helping. we're helping china. we're helping china become energy independent off of coal in the future because of these nuclear reactors. we invented it, and we shut it down, and now we're going to
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help china with the progress of putting these in all over their country. all of this will effectively be a tax on regular-working and middle-class americans since their energy bills will go sky high as a result of this all-out assault on oil and gas. it makes no sense. no content -- not content with raising taxes at home, the president wants to implement a 21% global -- 21% global -- minimum tax on income u.s. businesses earn overseas. now, they're going to pay taxes overseas already. and we're going to turn around and tax them 21% more. again, this is basically a double tax on the companies with international operations, since they already have to pay taxes overseas, too, this tax would destroy american competitiveness. it would incentiveize u.s. firms
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to headquarter overseas and move production offshore. we've got to rethink that. we've got to rethink it. again, we are working for the american people, not for us here. president biden is also calling for a 15% global corporate minimum tax based on misguided assumption that other world powers will play fair. well, i can guarantee you one thing -- russia and china are not going to play fair. we cannot count on anybody other than our allies. everybody else is on their own. and even for the countries that do play fair, this international rate is lower than the 28% rate that companies headquartered in the united states would have to pay. so what does that mean? it means versions are going to spread like wildfire. large businesses and corporations are going to move
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their headquarters overseas. we cannot allow to -- we cannot allow that to happen. we are going to lose jocks. what's more, the president's budget calls to increase the i.r.s.' budget of $80 billion over the next decade and add thousands of new agents. the president wants even more tax collectors to knock on your door and shake you down for all you're worth. i don't know if you've ever been audited -- i have several times. it ain't a lot of fun. so what we're going to do is add even more people. if you get a tax return, you're going to get audit. they're coming. and we're talking about the same agency that aggressively targeted conservative groups and individuals during the obama administration. now, that -- another democrat in the white house, the i.r.s. is up to their old tactics again.
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we cannot -- we cannot politicize the i.r.s. again. in just the past few months it the past few months, the i.r.s. has leaked tax returns on american taxpayers to other groups. now, to me, that really needs to be investigated. it all goes down in the wash. sore some reason, nobody is looking at this. even more outrage you news recently broke that christian organizations based in texas which denied tax-exempt status by the i.r.s. they were denied. why? because the i.r.s. for some reason thinks the bible is too close and too closely associated with the republican party. that is ridiculous. absolutely ridiculous. it's sad commentary on where america is today. what's next is the i.r.s. going to start pulling tax-exempt
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status from churches. i hope not. but we're adding all these other agents, we're going to run into more and more problems. before congress even thinks about giving the i.r.s. a dime more, the agency must demonstrate that it treats all americans -- and i repeat, all americans -- equally and protects their personal tax information. individuals responsible for the most recent leak must be prosecuted. we have got to get control of the i.r.s. for some reason, they are out of control. sadly, there's more. the president's administration also has its sights on small business owners. and this is huge in my state and a lot of other small states in this country, especially in farming communities. business owners, family farmers, middle-class americans who would
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like to pass on to their children what they have worked so hard to build, by ending the long-standing stepped-up basis rule, the president would force anyone who inherits something to pay capital gains tax on that asset at the time of inhere -- inheritance. i want you to think what that's going to do toless -- to millions of family members. it would slam middle-class folks who inherit family farmland or a house or a small business, and i'm going to say this -- campaigning for two years, going throughout my state of alabama and talking to our farmers, if we lose our family farms in this country, the big corporations, we're going to be in huge trouble. and this is exactly what this is going to do.
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if we tax them at the time of inheritance, we are going to have huge problems. many would have to sell their businesses just to pay taxes. it would destroy american jobs in the process. we need to give incentives to small businesses, farmers and the like, to make sure they understand and i know that they can work toward and pass it down from generation to generation. opposition to this particular tax increase is bipartisan. congressman david scott of georgia, chairman of the house agriculture committee, and a democrat, wrote to president biden saying, the step up in basis is a critical tool enabling family fartherring operations to -- family farming operations to continue from generation to generation. the potential for capital gains to be imposed on heirs at death of a landowner would impose a significant financial burden on these operations. this is a terrible -- i mean, a
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terrible tax on small business and the american people. so i agree with the congressman. the american dream is about working hard so that your kids can have a better life than you did. that's why my parents worked so hard to give me an my brother and sister a chance. my dad never made over $is15,00a year. we thought we were rich. we were actually poor. they never gave on to that. they worked hard to health us go on to school, get an education and try to make something of our self. i know millions of mothers and fathers across the country feel the same way. so when you boil it down, the tax plan is really just a tax on the american dream. we cannot take away the american dream from the american people. that's what we've lived off of. that's what we believe in. so why do we need to raise taxes
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so badly? in order to obviously finance all the money that in the last year and a half or two years that we've pushed out into the public and for what we're going to do in the future. we've got a tax. i keep hearing people say, well, we're not going to raise taxes. let me tell you. money doesn't grow on trees. we better find some way to understand that in the very near future or we're going to lose the future of our kids in this country. we can't let any of these tax proposals creep into the legislation that we're saying we can't let them do that. we can't let, you know, our policies overtake the things that will overcome our kids' future. not just our kids. i used to say it is our kids and grandkids. heck, it is us, too. we're getting to the point now of no return. but we're looking at a package in the next few weeks that's going to be $3.5 trillion or
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possibly even more. that's unfathomable to me. it's hard to understand. we've got to get this country back, going again after the pandemic. let the american people do it. we don't need to do it in this building. that's not our obligation. our obligation is to give the people of this country a job. growth and prosperity is what made this country great. the problem is that a lot of people think that they can spend the hardworking people's money better than they can. they say, trust us because big government knows best. folks, big government is going to put us under. six feet under. governments have been making that argument to people for centuries, and i would say this -- growing up, look at the things that we as the government have
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taken control of and you name me one thank that's been most sperrous. -- that's been prosperous. i thought long and hard about that a we try to put people to work through the federal government. it doesn't work. we've got to allow it to happen through small businesses and corporations. kings and queens would demand more money from the people, but the monarchy felt that they were entitled to it. that was normal throughout the world until the united states was formed. we formed this country because of kings and queens saying we know how to spend your money. we know how to spend your money more than you do. so the founders wanted a country that was of and by and for the people, and that is why the united states of america was formed, because the people built this country, not government. thankfully they set up a system that allows us to voice our opposition to taxes through
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democratic means. when the government tries to raise taxes, the american people have the opportunity to let their voices be heard at the ballot box. just remember that when you earn, grow, and work hard to preserve your money, it is your money. not the government's. our president would do well to remember that he serves at the will of the american people and not the other way around. i notice the absence of a quorum, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: this week the senate is going to consider tiffany cunningham's nomination. this is truly historic. once confirmed, ms. cunningham will be the first, the very first african american judge to serve on the federal circuit. she'll not only bring diversity
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but an amazing set of credentials to the job. you see, the federal circuit is unique among federal appeals courts. the jurisdiction of other appeals courts is based on geography -- in other words, where the case arises -- but the federal circuit is a specialized court with jurisdiction over particular legal issues especially patent law. this court place a critical role in ensuring our innovation economy can continue to flourish. it requires judges who understand the complicated law in this area and understands americans from all walks of life. ms. cunningham received her graduate gree from chemical degree from m.i.t. ms. cunningham boasts years of experience that will serve her well. for almost two decades she worked as an intellectual property litigator in my home state of illinois.
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in that role, ms. cunningham cultivated an in-depth understanding of every aspect of patent litigation, from the filing of the case, through discovery, trial, and appeal. she's also represented clients across a number of the fields, including motorcycle -- mechanical engineering, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotech and the automobile industry. ms. cunningham's clients include high tech and fortune 500 companies. given her experience representing plaintiffs and defendants she understands the law even handedly. her deep knowledge of patent law and 20 years of experience as an intellectual property litigator earned her a unanimous rating of well qualified from the american bar association. she received broad bipartisan support in my committee with five republicans joining all democrats in voting to advance her. as judge on the federal circuit, ms. cunningham will
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offer a perspective shaped by personal and professional experience that reflect the diversity of our nation. given her years of experience working on issues germane to the federal circuit she'll be ready upon confirmation to hit the ground running. mr. president, at the end of her hearing, i said to her, why did you want to do this? why would you go into public life? it seems like things are going pretty well for you as a lawyer. she says it's always been my dream to serve on this bench. i hope her dream comes true and the senate helps her reach it. i urge my colleagues to join her in confirming ms. cunning l ham's nomination -- cunningham's nomination. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mrs. gillibrand: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. gillibrand: mr. president, i have eight requests for committees -- mr. president, i have eight requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. mr. president, i rise again today to call for every senator to have the opportunity to cast their vote on the military justice improvement and increasing prevention act. it's time for us to look at this
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issue to move serious crimes like sexual assault and murder out of the chain of command and put them in the hands of well-trained military prosecutors who are independent, impartial, and highly trained uniformed prosecutors. this is an issue that deserves urgency. i began calling for this full floor vote on may 24. since then it's an estimate that 2,912 service members will have been raped or sexually assaulted during that time. more will have been victims of other serious crimes. many will not even report these crimes because they have no faith in the current system where decisions about whether to prosecute are made by commanders and not trained lawyers. and yet, this vote continues to be delayed and denied week after week. while i'm glad to see that more of our colleagues have acknowledged that we must move sexual assault out of the chain of command, it's not enough.
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it doesn't address the fundamental flaw in the military justice system which is that it asks commanders to act as judge, jury, in highly complex crimes that they are not trained to do. in fact, the training commanders get includes just a few hours at the most on legal topics like military justice and unlawful command influence. no one could be expected to learn in a few hours what it takes lawyers to have years of study and decades and experience to master. that's why this bill would move serious crimes to the purview of those lawyers who have had the time to properly prepare for the job. today i would like to outline exactly which crimes this bill would move out of the chain of command. opponents have tried to misrepresent these crimes the bill addresses. it does not, for example, deal with larceny under $1,000 or
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destruction of government property. those crimes would stay with the commander. the bill includes a finite list of crimes. i will read them all now. recruit maltreatment, nonconsensual distribution of visual images, murder, manslaughter, murder of a pregnant mother, child endangerment, sexual assault, obscene mailing, sexual assault of a child, voyeurism, major financial crimes, major fraud, robbery, bribery, graft, kidnapping, arson, extortion, aggravated sexual assault, maiming, domestic violence, stalking, perjury, obstruction of justice, and retaliation. that's it. that is the list. those are crimes that have punishment of more than one year associated with them. i ask those who oppose this reform to tell me why they would expect a commander with as little as a few hours of training to be prepared to try cases on obscene mailing or to
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be well versed on the elements of extortion. tell me about the commander who understands the intricacies of using false documents to claim benefits or has the time to investigate complex financial frauds. tell me about what leaves our commanders prepared to being the a as judge and jury in a murder trial or a kidnapping case. our bill simply recognizes that these are serious crimes that require legal expertise to properly review and prosecute. by moving these crimes to independent military lawyers, this reform allows commanders to focus on what they are trained to do -- preparing our troops to fight and win our nation's wars. additionally, the chairman has said that this bill would remove from the chain of command, quote, crimes that have been handled by the military chain of command effectively for years and years and years. but actually that's not the case. they haven't been handled effectively. just this week in the military times, reported on the case of
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private jonathan latour who is alleged to have shot and killed jason lindsey in june 2019 when lindsey entour latour's home in an in an attempt to intervene in a situation of domestic violence. his chain of command at fort bliss was aware of the killing but they did not inform the army's criminal investigation division. instead they quickly reassigned him to fort stewart where he continued to assault his wife. "the military times" report, quote, army investigators had no idea that the shooting had even occurred, much less the domestic violence. latour's fort bliss chain of command did not inform the c.i.d. of the shooting, nobody did, until a domestic violence investigation in 2019 by fort stewart cid learned that latour killed a man who was attempting
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to rescue his wife, end of quote. that is how the current system handles alleged murder and domestic violence. it's not only ineffective, it's actively concealing information and hampering justice. that is why the current system is unacceptable. we have to reform the system. the military justice and increasing prevention act is supported by experts, by service members, and by a bipartisan filibuster-proof majority of senators if we bring it to the floor. mr. president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that at a time to be determined by the majority leader in consultation with the republican leader, the senate armed services committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 1520 and the senate proceed to its consideration, and that there be two hours for debate equally divided in the usual form, that upon the use or yielding back of
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that time the senate vote on that bill with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mrs. gillibrand: mr. president, i suggest an absence of a quorum. mrs. gillibrand: mr. president, i withdraw my suggestion of an absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: i thank the senator. 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, do hereby bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 193, tiffany p. cunningham, of illinois, to be united states circuit judge for the federal circuit, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory
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quorum call has been waived, the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of tiffany p. cunningham, of illinois, to be united states federal judge for the federal circuit, shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: on this
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vote the yeas are 63. the nays 34. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, tiffany p. cunningham of illinois to be united states circuit judge for the federal circuit. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana is recognized. mr. kennedy: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today on my own behalf and on behalf of my colleague, senator bill cassidy. the last -- i know this has been true for states besides louisiana but the last 18 months from a weather perspective, louisiana has been a fantastic
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impression of hell. we've had three hurricanes. we've had -- depending on how you define them, probably ten different heavy rain events. and when i say heavy rain event, that doesn't sound very serious. i can assure you it was. when you get six, eight, 10, 12 inches of rain in a short period of time, you're going to flood. i don't care if you're living on pikes peak, you're going to flood. the water has got to go somewhere. and of course we were part of the bad, debilitating freeze as well that also hit texas very hard. my people, mr. president, are very resilient. and they're tough, but they are
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tired. most americans when they think of a natural disaster at least in connection with louisiana think of hurricane katrina. and certainly it was a bad one. i was there. we never would have recovered without the help of the american people. i will never be able to thank the american people enough for putting forth their hard-earned tax dollars to help us recover. these new hurricanes and rain events impacted probably close to a third, maybe 40% of my family. the worst part of it but not the only part that was hit hard was southwest louisiana. at last count about 1,000 -- a hundred thousand -- excuse me, 100,000 homes were damaged,
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flooded, or blown over. they're still running the numbers. the damages are in the billions and billions and billions and billions of dollars. my people need help. and the purpose of my bill today is to authorize help for them. my bill today and senator cassidy's bill today -- as i said, i appear on behalf of senator cassidy as well -- would authorize $1.1 billion to help my people recover. now, i want to emphasize, mr. president, some people when they think of flooding and hurricanes, they think of wealthy people with second homes, with multimillion dollar dwellings on the beach. that's not what i'm talking about. i'm not putting down anybody who has a nice, expensive beach house but that's not what we're
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talking about in louisiana. the people that were hit by these weather events through no fault of their own are just good, honest middle americans who get up every day and go to work and obey the law. they pay their taxes. they try to do the right thing by their kids. their biggest investment is their home. and many completely lost their home. many of them had flood insurance but it didn't -- many of them had homeowners insurance and both but it just didn't cover their losses completely. so we're talking about middle america here. and i want to make that clear. now, mr. president, i'm sure you're thinking because i know you well and you're a smart man, okay, we're spending $1.1 billion. where are we going to get it? well, i come to you today with a problem, but i come today with a
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solution. i don't want to digress too much, but at -- as you know, we're trying to build out 5g in america. and 5g operates through radio waves through the air called spectrum. and the f.c.c. is in charge of those radio waves. a couple of years ago -- and those radio waves, by the way, belong to the american people. the f.c.c. licenses them out to companies to use in wide use communications. a few years ago the f.c.c. was about to give away what's called the c-ban spectrum. these particular radio waves that would allow for 5g to
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become reality in america. and a number of us objected. we said, you know, you don't own these radio waves. the american people own these radio waves. why are you giving them away? and after some lively discussions, we finally turned the f.c.c. around and they decided to auction those radio waves to the highest bidder. they brought in $80 billion. $80 billion and i'm very proud of that. that money is sitting in an account in the department of treasury. senator cassidy's bill and my bill would authorize the use of $1.1 billion of that $80 billion in cash to be used through community development block grants to help my people
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recover. and, mr. president, i can assure you i wouldn't be here today asking for this if i -- my people didn't desperately needed it. they're hanging on. they're happening on -- they're hanging on with every ounce of strength they have but they're human. and as i've said, they are tough but they're tired. for that reason, mr. president, on behalf of senator cassidy and myself, as if in legislative session i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. 2359 which is at the desk. i further ask that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. excuse me.
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is there objection? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky is recognized. mr. paul: reserving the right to object. we have now crossed $28 trillion in debt. we borrow more than $2 million every minute. the deficit last year was over $3 trillion. the deficit this year will be over $3 trillion. there's a frill dollar wish list out there for everybody. everybody wants something and somebody says oh, there's money in the treasury. guess what? there's not. there's a hole, a big, black hole in the treasury. $28 trillion worth. so we do have this one asset. and when we sell it we should do it to pay down the deficit. we shouldn't do it to expand government further. so i object to that because we're $28 trillion in debt. we don't have any money and we should be fiscally conservative as we profess to be. the presiding officer: the objection is heard.
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the presiding officer: the senator from nevada's recognized. ms. cortez masto: i ask
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unanimous consent that all postcloture time on the kungsham nomination -- cunningham nomination be expired and at 5:30 p.m. on monday the senate vote on the cunningham nomination and if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection, it is so ordered. ms. cortez masto: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session and be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cortez masto: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the appointments at the desk appear separately in the record as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cortez masto: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 73, s. 658. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 73, s. 658 to authorize department of homeland security to work for
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training and other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. ms. cortez masto: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cortez masto: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. resolution 306, which was submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 306, to authorize representation by the senate legal counsel in the case jennifer grapple. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. ms. cortez masto: i further ask that the preamble be agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cortez masto: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business
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today, it adjourn until 3:00 p.m. monday, july 19, that following the prayer and pledge, morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cortez masto: if there is no further business, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order following the remarks of cruz and lee. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cruz: madam president.
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the presiding officer: the senator from texas is recognized. mr. cruz: madam president, i rise today to discuss the protests we've seen erupt in cuba over the past several days. on sunday, shouts of freedom were heard in dozens of cities and towns all over cuba as people took to the streets to protest the communist government that has had a stranglehold hon that nation for -- hold on that nation for 62 years. this socialist regime has tortured, killed, silenced, denied freedom, and driven into exile generations of cubans, forcing many, including my family, to flee or to be murdered. it has cut off cuba from the rest of the world. it has destroyed its economy so
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that today cubans stand in long lines for food, for medicine, for basic supplies. they endure energy blackouts and government officials can shut off their censored internet service at a whim. as they did sunday when the regime panicked about the protests. this battle for freedom is personal to me. when batista staged a coup and became a dictator, my father fought against his regime. my dad was imprisoned and tortured. his captors broke his nose and bashed in his front teeth so they were dangling from his mouth. my father fled cuba, the country he had fought for and had been
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brutalized trying to save. and in 1957, my father came to the united states, he came to texas with $100 sown into his underwear. he had nothing. he attended the university of texas on a student visa and got a job washing dishes maig -- making 50 cents an hour. after castro are taken over, my father went back and was horrified by what he saw. it was quickly evident that castro was worse than batista had been. my father's sister was still there and she became part of the counterrevolution against castro. like her brother, she was thrown in prison and she was tortured by castros goons.
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my brother and i used to sit at the feet of my dad and hear stories about their fight for freedom, hear their stories about battling in cuba just like the heroic protesters on the streets are doing today. the freedom of america was the dream that allowed them to endure the brutality of cuba. america was and is a beacon of hope for all of those who, like them, have endured oppression, and that is why we saw so many protesters in cuba flying american flags on sunday because the american flag is a symbol of hope in havana, in hong kong, and all across the globe. america must respond. over the past few days the world has seen that the american
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people, we stand squarely with the men and women of cuba in their noble fight for liberty. worryingly, however, the biden administration has stopped short of strong, clear support for the brave protesters marching in the street and has been reluctant to issue clear and unequivocal condemnation for the communist dictatorship that oppresses those people. in statement after statement, as protesters swept into the streets literally risking their lives to stand for freedom, administration officials have issued luke warm and guarded statements. after being shamed and -- into finely taking stronger positions, president biden finally put out a statement saying the protesters were
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exercising their right to peaceful assembly, but even that is wrong. in cuba they have no right to peaceful assembly because the cuban dictatorship is arresting the protesters, it is imprisoning the protesters right now. they are speaking with great courage and the communist dictatorship is doing everything it can to silence what they are saying. the biden administration has also said the protests are about covid-19 vaccines. that, unfortunately, doesn't even pass the laugh test. just this week the white house press secretary said the protests were about misadministration in cuba, mismanagement. the last i checked the
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protesters in the streets weren't chanting manage better. they were chanting liberty. freedom. they were chanting down with the dictatorship. america has a unique role in the world, a role to provide leadership, a role to speak the truth and at times of inflection, at times when people are risking their lives for freedom, the leadership of america matters. here's what president biden needs to say to the cuban people, to the cuban people, we stand with you. to the cuban people, you are right that you have a right to liberty. you have a right to speech. you have a right to worship. you have a right to live your
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lives and raise your children and be free of oppression and torture and murder. and president biden needs to go on to say the communist dictatorship that oppresses you is evil. period, full stop. in my senate office, i have a large painting of president ronald reagan standing in front of the brandenburg gates, and above the gate, in the style of the graffiti that was on the berlin wall are the words, mr. gosh, tear down this wall -- mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. american leadership matters, and it is heard in the darkest recesses. some years ago, i sat down with the famed soviet dissident taransky. he and i sat down and he told me when he was in a gulag in the
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soviet union, that prisoners would pass from cell to cell notes. did you hear what reagan said? evil empire. ash heap of history. tear down this wall. presidential silence is heard in cuba, and presidential clarity is heard in cuba. i want to close by reading a text that i got this week from my mom. my mom and our family is in communication with family friends still in cuba. here's what a close friend of the family said. things are much more serious than what is reported on tv. this friend of the family described that she has no food. same for almost everyone. yesterday, she had a bowl of
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thin soup, nothing more. she was asking for help for the first time. no way to get money to cuba. banks are closed. five protesters were killed in santiago. radio stations are being taken over by protesters. internet shut down so no further contact available. matanzas, where my father was born, is a hot spot for covid, and it sounds as though desperate times are generating desperate measures. to the people of cuba, i want you to know your message is being heard. your bravery is being seen. and it's worth it. this is potentially an inflection point. and america should stand up and speak boldly on the side of freedom. there is a reason those protesters carry our flags. there is a reason they look to
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america as a beacon of hope and freedom across the globe. to the people of cuba, we stand with you. you have a right to be free, and your courage is inspiring. we are inspired by you and the evil thugs who are on the street brutalizing you. they, too, will end up in the ash heap of history. the oppression in cuba will fall and we will once again see a free cuba, thanks to the courage and heroism of the cubans in the streets. i yield the floor.
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mr. lee: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah is recognized. mr. lee: for far foo long, the federal government has simply been spending and borrowing more money than it should. it has been borrowing and spending money that it doesn't have. now, for individuals, for businesses, even for states and local governments, this kind of conduct is not just inadvisable, which it clearly is, but it's also impossible. i mean, sure, people can get away with that for a short period of time, but the laws of mathematics very quickly are able to catch up with them.
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and so they can't do it. but the federal government is unique in this regard. there is something about the size of the u.s. economy coupled with the status of the u.s. dollar as the world's reserve currency. it's a combination of factors that has given the federal government this ability that is somewhat unique. you see, because it has access to essentially what amounts to a printing press in washington, d.c. that prints out more and more money with reckless abandon. more and more money in a way that would be impossible, not just for any individual, any family, or any business, or any nonprofit, but also most governments in the united states and the world could never dream of, but this government has been able to get away with it because of these unique factors and unique features that exist here.
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and so the federal government just spends more money as if the laws of mathematics did not apply. now, in recent history, the federal government has been spending something in the range of about $4 trillion a year. tragically, this is a massive sum of money, but tragically that has represented about a trillion dollars a year more than we bring in, so we have added to our debt at a rate of about a trillion dollars a year. this is stunning, especially when you consider the fact that we have been at the top of an economic cycle over the last few years. we had not been in a state of a recession, and we were spending this money even with a booming economy, we weren't able to bring our outlays down to match our revenues coming in to the federal government. so it's been about $4 trillion,
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more or less, over the last few years, but last year with covid-19, we spent a total of $6.6 trillion. that includes our covid relief packages. this is an enormous volume of new additional borrowed money, on top of the trillion dollars a year or so that we were already spending, already borrowing, that we were already deciding to spend above and beyond what our revenues would allow us to spend. and then now the democrats have announced a plan to spend another $3.5 trillion just this week, and on top of that, there is another trillion-dollar infrastructure package in the works. and earlier this year, there was a $1.9 trillion package that was passed. and so all of this is occurring
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in a year when we already have a staggering $28 trillion debt. the reality is that the federal government does not itself feel the consequences of this. the people do. in other words, the federal government can get away with it because of this unique status that we have. the dollar being the world's reserve currency, the size of the u.s. economy. it's gotten away with it without adverse consequences that the federal government and its officers themselves feel directly. it does, however, produce consequences. they are felt by the people. now, we've known for a long time that this was presenting something of a threat to future generations, something that we knew would really come to haunt our children and our grandchildren and their children after them. we have always known this. but at the rate when we have
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accelerated our massive deficit spending and the degree to which we have extended it, this is no longer just a problem for the future. this is, you see, is affecting us right now. for a long time, i and others have talked about how it would affect our children and our grandchildren, and all this still will be a very real consequence. they will still have to face that debt. they will still have to pay it back. it will still be unpleasant. but they're not just in the future. they're caught up with us already. the problem is no longer generations away. it's now reached its hand into our wallets to our families and in to our day-to-day lives. so what happens when too many dollars are produced out of thin air, when we just print more money? i mean, i know there is an intermediate step there. technically, it's borrowed money. the money that we don't have
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isn't just printed. it is borrowed, as the u.s. treasury bills are sold, and we borrow that money knowing that we're going to have to pay it back later, but it has the effect of just printing more money. when we just print more money, those dollars, which have now multiplied, they are still chasing more or less the same quantity of goods. so what that means is that the same quantity of goods with more dollars results in each of those goods being able to command a higher price. just inflation. when you dump more money into the economy, it doesn't make things easier for people. it just raises the cost. now, if this hurts poor middle-class -- now, this hurts poor middle-class americans especially hard. it especially hurts those living on a fixed income, on a fixed wage or fixed salary. those who aren't wealthy and
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can't use a large amount of money to invest to make sure that as price inflation occurs, maybe they can make some money off of it, too. this hurts the poor middle-class american families the most. you see, because they have still got the same amount of money to spend, but everything is more costly. this isn't fair to them. it's causing, our own government is causing the increase in costs that hardworking families across utah and throughout america are already feeling. every day as a result, it's getting harder to fill cupboards and refrigerators and bellies and gas tanks. every day it's getting more expensive to drive to work or to the doctor's office or to see your family and friends. from the price of housing to cars to food, we're seeing the general level of inflation increasing at a higher rate than we have seen in many, many years. the u.s. bureau of labor
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statistics has produced data, the data for may that saw the biggest 12-month consumer price index increase in 13 years. this follows the april number which was 4.2% higher than april of last year. the data from may also showed that gasoline prices are up over 50% from last year, that used vehicles are on average costing 30% more over last year, and that food bought outside the home has seen a jump of 4%. chicken prices are soaring. boneless, skinless chicken breast is trading at $2 a pound compared to the $1.30 a pound that it averaged over the last decade. some packages of diapers that cost about $25 as recently as last year now cost around $40, and there are fewer diapers inside the package, further
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emphasizing the nature of the problem. by the way, these higher prices disproportionately impact the poor and middle class who don't have the luxury of investing their income and don't have the luxury of having that added buffer. and we in utah are feeling the pinch. according to a recent survey, 85% of utahans are worried about inflation. so what does this mean? well, sadly, it means hard choices. are in front of us. hard choices that we're going to have to face sooner than we might wish. but we will have to face them whether we want to or not. this means that we'll have to say no to some hard things, things that, while not necessarily bad in and of themselves, things that might be good, things that others are incorrectly presenting as necessary and affordable when they're not.
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but we have to say no to them so that we can say yes to what is necessary. so what's truly necessary? well, being able to buy groceries and put food on the table, being able to pay your rent or your mortgage. being able to turn on the heat or the air conditioning in your home. being able to buy gasoline to drive to work, to the doctor, or to take your kids to school. being able to pay for school clothes and field trip fees, not to mention baseball uniforms and soccer cleats. and you can forget about that trip to see that relative you haven't been able to embrace in 16 months. these are all things that are necessary, and they're all things that have one thing in common. they're all being jeopardized because of the government's reckless spending and acting outside of its proper scope. this, you see, creates a vicious
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cycle. it's a cycle that's all too convenient for many in government who are making the decisions. who makes the decisions ultimately, well, that's congress, the senate, and the house of representatives. you see, under our constitutional system, you can't spend any money through the treasury of the united states without congress authorizing, without congress appropriating it, so we have to do all of this by law, and it ultimately comes down to us. that dynamic i described earlier of -- an effective printing press, it's a little more complicated than that. it's effectively a case that we just print more money. it's compounded by the fact that culturally within the congress of the united states, among republicans and democrats alike, among senators and members of the house of representatives alike, we've grown too accu
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accustomed to a pattern, a dangerous pattern that's good for the political class, maybe favorable in some ways for a small handful of elected politicians but bad for everyone else. you see, the way it works in this town, the way the news media tends to report on these things, you dent to get praised if -- you tend to get praised if you vote yes. there's always someone you can point to who benefits from the bill that gets passed, from the money that gets spent. very often does anyone get anything but criticism for voting against those things even if, even though, even when by their very nature those things tend to impoverish albeit in increments, increments that are sometimes difficult to observe at any given moment, the purchasing power of poor and middle-class americans. so what this means is in many ways we're trading one thing for another. we're trading the ability to be praised as an elected official, an elected politician one day in
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order to spend money. you get praised for that but poor and middle-class americans are paying the price. for a long time we've been able to sweep this under the rug. for a long time washington has avoided getting blamed for this because it's been incremental, it's been direct, it's been something that's perhaps explainable in some cases through other mechanisms. not everyone immediately connects inflation to out-of-control spending decisions by elected senators and congressmen. but we've ratcheted up t this te spending levels so much over the last year and a half and, yes, this has been under the direction of republicans and democrats alike, we've turned that up so much so quickly that
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people are feeling the effects more directly, more immediately, more unmistakably than ever before. and, yes, it is our fault because, yes, we have put our own political convenience ahead of the interests of poor and middle-class americans. and that's to our shame. that's to our shame, especially if we don't recognize that we're doing it and seek to correct it. when it comes to voting on large spending packages, there is this trend that politicians voting yes and being praised and politicians voting no and being criticized. look, it will be of little comfort to the poor and middle class of this country who feel the buying power of their seemingly dwindling paycheck shrink each week just so that politicians can vote yes on large spending packages for a short term -- short-term amount of praise and political gain.
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at times i've been accused of being reflexive no vote on things that some of my colleagues are willing to explain away or justify or defend wholeheartedly. but here's an important point that i would like to make. i vote no not by reflex but through reason. i vote no when i see how the consequences will affect those i represent in real everyday life, not just the intended consequences of legislation that might indeed have a good goal and might indeed accomplish good things, but the unintended negative consequences also. i vote no if it will mean saying yes to what really matters, what really counts for making everyday life better for utahans and hardworking americans across the country. i vote no so that utahans can say yes to the things that they
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need. because if we don't ever say no, we're hurting them. if we always say yes, we're putting them in a position of having to say no to the things that matter most to them and to their children and their families. look, this government's reckless spending is notorious. and it's finally catching up with us. this problem exists because the federal government and the politicians in washington, d.c. work hand in hand with our central bank to spend enormous amounts of money that we simply do not have. this has been facilitated by so many who are so willing to call on it even though this results in the dangerous accumulation of power and money in the hands of a few at the expense of the poor and middle class. we are feeling the consequences of these things right here and right now. it's up to us to take action, to
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pump the brakes and steer our government -- stare our government back in a fiscally responsible, sustainable, and sane direction. the consequences will only get worse if we do not and if we do not do so very fast. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until the thursday confirmed the secretary of domestic finance the reference of her deputy secretary and later advance nomination of getting him to be a u.s. court of appeals judge for the federal circuit. for find information will be held monday with us senate returns for elect coverage of the senate is here and "c-span2".
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>> c-span is your unfiltered view of government, funded by the television companies and more including comcast pretty. [inaudible]. comcast is partnering with a thousand community centers to provide wi-fi. so the low income families can get the tools they need to read comcast supports cspan is a public service, along with these other television providers giving you a front row seat to democracy. weekend is on c-span to bring you the best in american history, and nonfiction books. on saturdays, american history explores the nation's past 2:00 p.m. eastern on the presidency. what eisenhower grandson david talked about demand in his leadership during world war ii. the brian whose grandfather served as chief of the until event printed intelligent printed in the army's european
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