tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN July 29, 2021 10:29am-2:30pm EDT
>> thank you, chair powell, and thank you all for coming. >> thanks very much. >> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday you will find events and people that explore our nation's past on american history tv. on sundays booktv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. its television for serious readers. learn, discover, , explore. weekends on c-span2. >> the u.s. senate is about to gavel on this thursday morning. lawmakers will continue consideration of a plan for more than $1 trillion in spending on infrastructure projects nationwide. senators passed the first procedural hurdle yesterday and today they are on a motion to bring the bill to the floor. a boat could happen today. also possible for a vote on
president biden's nominee to head citizenship and immigration services. and now live to the floor of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. precious lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations, sustaining us with your goodness and mercy. today, surround our senators
with the protection of your divine favor, enabling them to obey your command to be productive. lord, continue to strengthen them to follow your precepts, fulfilling your purposes as they find joy in your presence. keep them from the things that bring regret. increase their faith, providing them with courage to live for your glory. we pray in your strong name, amen. the presiding officer: 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. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., july 29, 2021. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable jacky rosen, a senator from the state of nevada, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore.
mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: madam president, well, as we all know, last night, the senate voted by a substantial margin to move forward with the debate on a bipartisan infrastructure bill. i want to commend the group of senators who worked with president biden to reach a deal. the agreement will ultimately dedicate over a trillion dollars to strengthening virtually every major category of our country's physical infrastructure. the vote last night also means that the senate is on track to reach the two-track goal i laid out for this chamber at the
beginning of the month. the first track is the bipartisan bill focused on traditional brick-and-mortar infrastructure projects. the second track is a budget reconciliation bill where democrats will make historic investments in american jobs, american families, and efforts to fight climate change. in order to start work on a reconciliation bill, the senate must pass a budget resolution first. and we are on track for that as well. it's been my goal to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution during this work period. some pundits have called that a tall order. i understand that. but because of the vote last night, the senate is now moving forward with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and we are on track to pass both elements of the two-track strategy before we adjourn for august recess. it took some prodding and a few
deadlines, but it all has worked out for the better. i want to take a step back and explain why these two bills are so important at this moment. for the past two years, at the end of the trump presidency, the country was angry, divided, plagued by covid, and our economy was stuck in the muck. the covid pandemic washed over our country like a plague and was met by staggering incompetence from the trump administration. america was sick, dying, our economy was in shambles. the discovery of the vaccine played no small part in our country's recovery, and we democrats pushed early on, last february and march, -- not this past one, but a year ago -- to increase funding for that and even then the trump administration was sort of being stingy about that money. but we got the money done and the vaccine, as i said, played no small part in our country's
recovery. but elections have consequences. i say that to the american people. elections have consequences. when we ran as senate democrats, when president biden ran, we promised we would get the vaccines out. we would get the country's economy moving again. we would give hope to the middle class and those struggling to get to the middle class. where hope had been a distant and hazy frame on their horizon previously. the biden administration came in, we came in as a senate majority, and we immediately set to work beating the pandemic with a relentless focus on getting the country vaccinated and getting our country back to normal. congressional democrats swiftly passed the bold, strong american rescue plan, one of the largest federal packages in american history to keep families, businesses, workers afloat until
the country could reopen. and we've done that. six months into the biden administration, and democratic majorities in the house and senate, the country has stabilized. and this morning, this morning, it was reported that in the second quarter, the u.s. economy grew at a rate of 6.5%, erasing all of the losses from the covid pandemic. it happened a lot quicker and a lot sooner than many anticipated. and let me repeat that because it is great news. under president biden and democratic house and senate majorities, the economy recovered so fast this year that we've already erased the losses in growth that we experienced as a result of the covid pandemic. that's very good news. it certainly doesn't mean every family is back on their feet yet. it certainly doesn't mean our work is complete. but the american economy is
back, it's thriving, and set for even brighter days ahead. and again, elections have consequences. such a difference between the bumbling, nasty, divisive last two years of the trump administration and a new democratic majority in the house and senate and a democratic president. vaccines are out there. as we promised to get them. there are still some people resisting taking a vaccine they should. we are getting some resistance from ideological right wingers, which is just awful. but vaccines are out there, money has been pumped into the economy through the a.r.p., and things are moving forward. but now is not the time to rest on our laurels. now is the time to press forward, to cement these gains and build on them.
we must continue encouraging vaccinations. we must keep a very close eye on the delta variant and take necessary precautions. but we also must address the underlying structural economic conditions that held back the middle class and those trying to get there, even before the pandemic. the american dream that if you work hard you will be doing better ten years from now than you are doing today and your kids will be doing still better than you is fading for the last 20 years. if you look at the economic statistics, they show that that dimmer view that the american people have was accurate in terms of economic circumstances. but now we need to get it bright and sunny again. we need to return to the bright, sunny american optimism that has been so much part of our character for more than two centuries. and how do we do it? we don't just sit on our hands. we don't just say let business take care of it.
they won't. they have a different mission. a massive investment in public infrastructure will create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. that's just what the doctor ordered. and we need to go beyond that to restore that bright, sunny optimism. we need to help american families keep up with the exorbitant costs of child care, health care, housing, college, and more. we need to press on and fight to reverse climate change because as bad as covid was, if we do nothing about climate change, a few years from now, each year will be worse than covid and each year after that will get worse and worse and worse. if we do nothing, the people several years from now, even people now, will say why didn't we do more? we democrats want to do more on climate. we must. the numbers show, madam president, the numbers show that the american economy has gotten back to where it was prior to covid. now is the time to go further
and build back even better than before. and we democrats, when we can in a bipartisan way, but on our own when our republican colleagues are adamantly against us, we will move forward on both tracks, both tracks. and i'm proud of my democratic caucus, every one of them voting yesterday for this bill and all pledging to go forward on the second track as well. on another matter. even during normal times, protecting the u.s. capitol is a difficult job. millions of people visit the u.s. capitol every single year. 535 elected officials and their staffs work here every single day. to keep the capitol complex safe, to keep it secure, we're lucky to have the best of the
best. our capitol police who stared down a violent mob on january 6 have been nothing short of heroic, heroic. when the smoke cleared after the attack of january 6, they came back to the capitol, helped piece together what the rioters had torn apart. in the aftermath of that dark day, the national guard helped keep watch day and night, 24/7. i walked the halls of this -- i walk the halls of this building early in the morning and saw the national guards men and women from our state and so many other states, camped out, helping us, wanting to make sure the capitol was secure. we owe the capitol police, we owe the national guard our deepest gratitude, but we owe them, madam president, more than just that. we owe them the resources they need to do a very difficult job and to do it well. unfortunately, the congress is on the precipice of failing
them. due to unforeseen expenses during the pandemic and the toll incurred by the attack on january 6, funding for our capitol police, security at the capitol complex, even our national guard has come close to running very dry. already the capitol police has had to delay vital training and the purchase of new safety equipment. soon salaries, bonuses, and new hiring would be on the chopping block. according to major general tom cardin who sent 1,200 members of the georgia national guard to the capitol after january 6, his unit is facing, quote, draconian cuts if congress doesn't replenish funding before this weekend. we must not, we must not let that happen under our watch. the chairman of the appropriations committee, senator leahy, has been working diligently to come up with a
bipartisan agreement, and now senator shelby has joined with him, and they have crafted a $2.1 billion supplemental appropriation bill to fill the shortfalls of our capitol police our national guard, and a number of our other vital defense operations. it's not everything that we wanted. the house bill is bigger and broader, but it does fill the need, and we need to fill it quickly. i want to thank senator leahy particularly for his relent relentlessness in pursuing this. i want to thank senator shelby for realizing how important this was and prodding members on his side of the aisle to move forward. and i also want to thank senators klobuchar and blunt, chairman of the appropriations -- of the authorization committee, the rules committee that deals with these issues. senator klobuchar in particular whose hearings and continued focus on capitol security helped pave the way for the agreement, deserves our kudos.
now is the time for the senate to take up and pass this bill on behalf of the brave police officers and service members who defended this very citadel of democracy. all 50 senate democrats fully support this crucial funding. all 50 democrats are ready to go. we are eager, insistent we meet our deadline. again, democrats are prepared to vote on this bill as soon as possible, with the cooperation of our republican colleagues, which we hope we will get -- the needs are dire -- we could pass this bill today. the last six months have pushed those who protect the u.s. capitol to the limits in the face of unprecedented adversity, they responded heroically. we must support them now as they so courageously supported us.
mr. mcconnell: yesterday i joined a number of my republican and democratic colleagues and voted to begin floor consideration of bipartisan compromise legislation for our nation's infrastructure. our country would benefit a whole lot from some targeted investment in the kinds of real projects that fit a commonsense definition of actual infrastructure. roads, bridges, ports, and waterways, airports, broadband , a bipartisan compromise to responsibly finance these kind of investments is guaranteed to be big and complex. it's guaranteed to be the kind of legislation that no member on either side of the aisle will think is perfect, but it's an important basic duty of
government. i'm glad to see these discussions making progress. i was happy to vote to begin moving the senate toward what ought to be a robust bipartisan floor process for legislation of this magnitude. this kind of focused compromise that our colleagues have been hashing out could not contrast more sharply with the multitrillion-dollar reckless taxing and spending spree that democrats hope to ram through on a party-line vote later this year. the spree is reckless on multiple levels. we're all familiar with the staggering $3.5 trillion bottom line. we all know it would only amp up the painful inflation already
hammering middle-class families in large part because of the spending deluge democrats rammed through a a fuel months ago. payments with no work requirements turned into a permanent dole. shoving through big chunks of the green new deal. government price-fixing that would leave us with fewer new medicines and new cures. then there's an effort to further inflame the biden administration's border crisis with a far-left amnesty. we've now seen the highest unaccompanied child arrivals on record. the biggest month for immigrant encounters in 21 years. and this month total c.b.p. apprehensions for the calendar year are expected to top a million, a million for the first time in 15 years, and we
still have five months to go. one might think my friends across the aisle would try to avoid repeating the missteps that created the crisis, that they would be careful to avoid doubling down on the perverse incentives generating so much suffering down at the southern border. but apparently washington democrats intend to do the opposite. their reckless taxing and spending spree would include an even bigger green light for this crisis. at the worst possible time. under the biden administration's unenforceable catch and release policy, just 13% of the 50,000 individuals who have been released into the united states since march have actually reported to assigned i.c.e. checkups. so in a sense, either intentionally or through incompetence, the administration is already practicing a policy that amounts to functional amnesty in many cases. what democrats want now is to make that explicit and, believe
it or not, permanent. they're effectively -- they'd effectively like our southern border to be even more open than it is now, even during an ongoing public health emergency that has federal, state, and local officials contemplating new batches of rules for american citizens. the message to americans appears to be put your guard back up, even if you're vaccinated. but to a jaw-dropping degree, the message to people arriving at the southern border seems to be, come on in, even if you're covid positive come on in. c.b.p. data are reportedly showing a huge uptick in positive covid tests in the rio grande valley sector. that's just one sector and that's just among whatever fraction of the individuals are actually being tested. and among individuals in i.c.e. custody, apparently one in
three, one in three are declining to receive a vaccine. yet it seems the biden administration doesn't consider covid diagnosis any reason to make an exception to catch and release. along with the reports of detainees being turned out into texas communities even have border state democrats sounding the alarm. i hope president biden is listening. maybe members of his own party will have better luck conveying what the american people have known for months. the situation at our southern border is a crisis. it deserves real attention and real solutions. not a reckless taxing and spending spree with amnesty policies that would make things considerably worse. now, madam president, on a completely different matter, for the second time this week the u.s. senate family must bid a sad farewell to a member of
its alumni society. only six different individuals have served as senate parliamentarian since the position was formally established back in 1935. it's a unique and remarkable position that seems to require unique and remarkable people. bob dove served two stints as parliamentarian from the early 1980's to the early 2000's. he passed away yesterday at the age of 82 after a long illness. i was a rank and file senator during bob's stints on the dais, but everyone in the entire senate knew all about bob's brilliance and his incredible experience. bob knew this body's history and its rules to the tenth decimal place. he was also a constantly jovial
person, as approachable as he was smart. his love for the senate was tangible. it was palpable. and it was not only a love for the institution itself as an abstraction, it was also a love for the human beings who comprise it. i understand that back in the day bob had a go-to one liner to help himself and his fellow professionals here on the floor through the tougher days. here's what he said -- you may love the senate, he would wryly declare, but the senate may not love you back. but a little rough sarcasm couldn't conceal bob's true affection. in fact, his enthusiasm for this place was so contagious that it swept up multiple generations of his family.
about a year and a half ago we said goodbye to bob's daughter laura dove. herself a long serving, well-loved and widely respected senate staff leader, as she left the post of secretary for the majority. even now, two of bob's grandchildren are spending their summers right here in the senate helping out in different positions. either bob dove's brood just cannot quit this multigenerational addiction to public service or perhaps it's the senate that can not quit them. so our condolences and our prayers go out to bob's wife linda, to laura and her brother and sister and to bob's grandchildren and extended family. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the
senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to h.r. 3684, which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to h.r. 3684, an act to authorize funds for federal aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the democratic whip. mr. durbin: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent to suspend the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: late last night there was a vote on the floor that was historic. i'll address it in aempt mo. but 17 republicans joined the democrats in an amazing commit to building america's infrastructure. i'll speak speak to the specifics of that in a minute. i wanted to cover another event this morning that was not as widely publicized but could be more than to many american families. if you ask families across the united states to list the top three things they're worried about in terms of pocketbook
issues and things that congress can address, i'll bet you that they end up putting the cost of prescription drugs on that list every time. they know what's happened, these prescription drug costs have gone through the roof. for many people it's a real hardship. i was looking this morning at some of the information we have about insulin, and you know for millions of americans that is literally a life-and-death drug. insulin was discovered decades ago, and the gentleman and those who did the research to find it basically gave away all their patent rights, the rights to make any money off of insulin, for a dollar. and they said, you can't take a life-and had of death drug and put a price tag on it. it has to be shared by people. jonas vaccinate lk did the same thing when it came to the polio
vaccine. he found this breakthrough vaccine and said, i don't want to make a penny off of this. this means too much to america and the world. bless both of those individuals for that kind of selflessness. and yet when it comes to drugs like insulin today, and san owe fee, one of the -- and sanofi, one of the largest producers of insulin in the year 2000 was charging $35 for a dose of insulin. it's now rised 25 times, the price, since then. the price of an insulin vial is $350, creating a real hardship and a real strain for many families who are dependent on insulin to keep themselves or their children alive. so this morning we had a meeting in the senate judiciary committee and we considered four pieces of legislation on a bipartisan basis.
let me understand that. bipartisan basis, and passed all four measures a unanimously with voice votes. i could tell you, having served on that committee tort over 20 years, it is a rare day that everything goes through with bipartisan support on an issue of consequence. today was one of those days. one of the bills stopped significant time-wasting abuse, limiting legitimate innovation of new generics, the stalling act by senator klobuchar and grassley was advanced bay voice vote. what we're finding is the pharmaceutical industry is designing new ways upon a regular basis to delay the surrender of their pa patents, as long as they have those patents, and most of those are 20 years, they have the exclusive right to sell that drug and no one can compete with them. at the end of 20 years, the nearry goes that the generic companies step in and the
consumer finally gets a break. you can imagine, the lawyers and businessmen and many pharmaceutical companies try to delay that moment when the generics step in as long as possible. and this bill that we passed this morning and will be coming to the senate floor addresses that. we want to have access to generics and biosimilar bills. we want to make sure that the loopholes and tricks that the pharmaceutical industry is using now to delay the generic markets coming on the market comes to an end. this was an amazing array of drugs that i think will have a direct impact on america and its future. speaking of impact, what happened last night was historic. as i mentioned, 17 republicans joined the democrats in passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill. it's rare that we come together on something that significant with that much bipartisan. -- with that much bipartisanship. we're now in the midst of debate on that bill, the cloture vote.
our time is running. i hope that soon we can get to the merits of the bill and enact it as quickly as possible. this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild our nation's roads, railways and bridges. to make clean water a reality for every home in america and to create millions of good-paying, family-supporting, and in many indications union jobs across the country. president biden said he wanted to build back better had it came to america. he sure showed it last night. we never could have reached that point without his leadership. the white house has been a partner in this bipartisan effort from the start. 67 members of the senate coalesced around this approach. this economy needs to work fairly for everyone, protect our kids and grandkids from climate catastrophe, and a major part of this bill addresses it. this couldn't come sooner. right now our infrastructure is
crumbling before our eyes. every week brings word of a new climate-related crisis, devastating drought and wildfires in the west, melting power lines in oregon, rolling blackouts in texas. and two weeks ago there was a bridge collapsing in my state of illinois. take a lock at this picture. let me describe what you're seeing here. this was a scene in the small town -- rural town in illinois of seneca, when a bridge on the rift road gave way to extreme flooding. as you can see, you can see down here the pavement comes to an end and you can see all the way through. when that bridge came apart, typically in good fashion a group of illinoisans stepped up as good samaritans and pulled the driver out of this vehicle.
straddling this break in the highway. a local police officer said the driver was, quote, really lucky that he didn't end up in the creek under the bridge. i'm grateful that nobody was harmed that evening. i thank the first responders as well. -- for coming to it the rescue. but now two weeks later that bridge is still broken, and the taxpayers of my home state are stuck paying the tab. repairs are going to cost over $1 million. this is just one example exampla failure to invest in our nation's roads and bridges that's costing us. every four years american society of civil engineers gives a report card on our roads and bridges and their safety. for decades it has been filled with grades you wouldn't want your kids to bring home from school. the overall grade this year was c-minus, for the wealthiest nation and the largest economy on earth. imagine. if we can continue to neglect the arteries of our economy, the situation will get worse.
the society of civil engineers estimates that continued underinvote. in our nation's -- investment in our nation's infrastructure could cost $10 million in loss. more importantly, a threat to our families and when they travel. this driver had no idea that he would at the end of the day be lucky to still be alive. nearly one in 12 bridges in america are considered structurally deficient. this was one of them. that means that they are at the risk of being compromised by extreme weather, which is becoming more and more common with climate change. any of us could become that man on the bridge in seneca, illinois, who was saved by his neighbors. the infrastructure proposal we're considering at this very moment would eliminate this threat across america, rehabilitate our roads and
bridges, keep our economy growing, make our families safe. with this historic infrastructure proposal, we are removing hazards from our communities, establishing a better foundation for our economy. let's take a glance at some of the achievements under this proposal -- this bipartisan proposal. the largest-ever investment in public transit in america's history. i called the mayor of the city of chicago yesterday and i said, i think i have some good news for you. we're going to be able to build that transit system out, make it more accessible for those with disabilities, and safer stations and expand the reach of transit in the city of chicago. i called down state to the springfield mass transit district and told them the good news as well. more buses, more fuel-efficient, electric buses, buss that acknowledge that he would need a response to the climate situation. an historic expansion in electric vehicle infrastructure is part of this bill.
electric vehicles are the future. don't believe me when i say it. just turn on your tv and watch the advertisements. the ford f-150 lightning is now -- this electric truck, this truck that is so popular in america, electrifying that and to say that it's available now is an overstatement. but it will be see. and they've put on the ad, if you look at the very end of it, if you want to reserve one of these trucks, here's the website you should contact. that's happening more and more. and electified mustang, for example. all of these suggest that the private sector is racing ahead of those of us in government. this plan will help automakers win the race worldwide to be the most important auto race in our history to make sure that electric vehicles have the american imprint on them. and this bipartisan plan is a move for the future. for families in illinois, the
funding means parents won't have to worry about a bridge collapse in taking their i kids to schoo, they can trust the water coming out of the facet to be clean and same for families in the city of chicago, with more lead lines than any city in the united states, it could be a lifesaver. these are the investments we need. by making them today with interest rates at now historic lows, we can reap the benefits for decades to come. moody's economist said that president biden's plan to build back better, i quote, will lift the economy's longer-term growth potential and ease inflation pressures, two things that all of us endorse. let pee say that again for my fellow senators. many on the other side of the aisle can't wait to give a looming inflation speech. this package according to moody's economists will lift the
economy's long-term growth potential and ease inflationary pressures. earlier this morning the bureau of economiccage sit reported for the first time our nation's economic output has surpassed the prepandemic high. we're back in the salted. thanks to the -- we're back in the saddle. thanks to the economic recovery, people are back out in the world. they're out no restaurants and travel ago. theincidents we're finding of hospitalizations and deaths are almost exclusively from people who are not vaccinated. not vaccinated. they're the ones who are most vulnerable and they make innocent people like our children more vulnerable because of their decision mott to be vaccinated. this growth in our economy reflects the simple truth -- relief for working families benefits all americans. and it drives our economy forward. we have a lot of work to do to build this economy, but this is where we should start. a-i want to thank the bipartisan group of senators that came together to produce this
package. in many ways it's miraculous. this agreement could do more than enable us to repair america's roads and bridges. it can show us the way a divided senate could come together for the good of this country. just remember, there wasn't a single infrastructure bill, major infrastructure bill, in the last five years under the previous president. not one. we're doing it now on a bipartisan basis. it's long overdue. i want to thank president joe biden for his determined leadership. nothing this big and important is ever accomplished with the president standing on the sidelines. joe biden promised to work with both parties to make america work for all americans, and he has. this is an achievement we can be proud of. let me conclude, madam president, by saying that the senate republican leader, senator mcconnell, came to the floor this morning to speak of immigration. i'm glad he did because it's a topic we cannot ignore and must not ignore. we have not passed a significant immigration bill in the united states of america in 36 years.
ronald reagan was the president the last time we addressed immigration. and when you come with a list of horribles with the current immigration system, it's almost endless. the unfairness of this system. but the senator from kentucky made -- took a position which i take exception to. he believes that if we allow any immigrant into this country, it is a green light, as he called it, for others to try to come in legally or illegally. i think he's dead wrong, because every year, every year in the united states of america, with a population of over 320 million, we legally allow one million new immigrants to become citizens of this country. every year. that's what america's all about. we are a nation of immigrants, and we understand the value of immigrants to our country. we had a hearing this week on farm workers. we have 2.4 million immigrants who pick the crops and process the food that we enjoy at every
single meal. 2.4 million. and sadly, many of them in horrible circumstances under our immigration laws. they are subject to deportation and arrest at any moment. for what? for being here, picking the crops that our kids eat for breakfast and things that we count on every single day. so the house of representatives took a step forward, a bipartisan step forward. 30 republicans joined the democrats to pass a farm worker bill. i want to give special credit to senator mike bennet who has been a leader in this area. we have the agreement in this bill for both growers and workers to give those who do the back-breaking labor day in and day out a chance and a path to citizenship. one of the critics came to our committee and said mass amnesty for farm workers, why would we want to do that? these people come in and pick a few crops and we're going to give them citizenship. i wish he would have taken a minute to read the bill. do you know how many years he
takes picking that farm crop to be eligible for citizenship under this bill? 19 years. 19 years. does that sound like somebody stealing across the border, pretending to be a farm worker to become a citizen? 19 years of your life, and then you're eligible. it's only common human decency for us to do that. and we need workers in so many areas. a hearing two days ago on meat processing. i asked the major companies that process meat in this country what percentage of your workforce processing that meat are immigrant labor. well, they weren't sure. i know the number. the migration policy institute tells us 40% of the people who are processing poultry and meat in this country are immigrants. why? why are they attracted to this job? because so few americans are no. they need to have immigrant labor to make up the difference. it is hard, hot, dangerous, back-breaking labor, and they do it every darn day so we can enjoy our meals.
and to say that we're going to ignore that reality, we don't need a single immigrant in this country who is mindless. i would just invite those who don't believe we need immigrants in this country going to work to make this a better nation, skip a few meals, because what's on your table is there because of immigrant labor. face the reality, be honest about it, be fair about it, and don't label all of these people who are working in our country as would-be terrorists who are taking away valuable american jobs. they are an important part of america's past and an important part of our future. madam president, i yield the floor.
border keep growing. last month, the u.s. customs and border protection encountered more than 188,000 individuals attempting to cross our southern border. that's not only the highest number seen so far this year, that's the highest monthly number in 21 years. 21 years, madam president. in all, customs and border protection has had more than 1.1 million encounters along our southern border so far in fiscal year 2021. and we still have three months to go. in fiscal 2019 by comparison, the year before covid, total, total encounters for the entire fiscal year were under 980,000 individuals. we have a border crisis, madam president, a crisis that president biden seems unable or unwilling to address. and, madam president, as massive as those numbers i've mentioned are, they don't take into account those individuals who
are sneaking across the border without being apprehended. some of them are no doubt individuals who are looking for a better life. others are almost undoubtedly criminals engaged in the kind of illicit activities that we have to combat along our southern border, human trafficking, drug smuggling, and others. in june, customs and border protection seized more than 1,000 pounds of fentanyl along our southern border, an incredibly dangerous drug that some have pushed to classify as a weapon of mass destruction. that's more fentanyl than was seized in that area in the previous three junes combined. what has the biden administration been doing to deal with the crisis along our border? well, not much. there has been no move to reinstate the national emergency designation for our southern border that president biden canceled after he took office. there's no meaningful plan for stopping the flood of illegal
immigration and enhancing security along our school southn border. there is no move to reinstate funding for the congressionally mandated border wall that president biden canceled. in fact, the president is apparently contemplating ending title 42 which has allowed the government to immediately remove apprehended individuals in order to help manage the covid crisis. that's right. at the same time the c.d.c. is expanding its masking guidance for americans, the administration is contemplating ending a measure to help stop covid-infected individuals from entering the united states. i haven't even mentioned the fact that apparently the administration has released tens of thousands of individuals into the united states without court dates, many of whom have failed to show up at immigration and customs enforcement offices as directed. madam president, the border situation is out of control. president biden bears a big part of the blame. immigration has helped build
this country, and i strongly support making sure that the united states continues to offer a chance for individuals the world over to achieve their dream of a better life. i also support temporary worker programs like the h-1b visa program that allows other individuals to come for a limited time to work for a limited economic opportunity and then return to their home countries. i also support a solution that would allow dreamers to stay in the united states if, if such a solution is developed in the context of immigration reform and enhanced border security. but, madam president, we cannot have endless floods of illegal immigration. no country can. it's a humanitarian nightmare and a serious security risk. immigration has to have limits, and most of all it has to be legal. we need to protect and encourage
legal immigration while cracking down on illegal immigration. unfortunately, democrats are going in the opposite direction. the word is that democrats would like to include amnesty in the budget-busting tax and spending spree that they are pushing to vote on later this year. that's right. with a serious humanitarian and security crisis along our southern border, democrats want to include amnesty in their spending plan. i can only imagine that this will encourage thousands more to make the dangerous trek to and across our southern border, not to mention how such a policy would undermine respect for the rule of law. madam president, i wish i could say that i see some light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the border, but if the biden administration continues along its current path, i fully expect this security and humanitarian
crisis to continue. i can only hope that president biden will recognize the problems his policies or lack thereof are causing before too many more individuals suffer the consequences. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. moran: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: madam president, thank you. i want to pay tribute to our colleague, mike enzi, and express my condolences to his family and pay my respects to him. senator enzi's long career in public service began when he was elected as mayor of his hometown of gillette, wyoming, in 1974. i can just see mike enzi, a
younger mike enzi being the mayor of a place like gillette, wyoming, and it brings a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart. and i can imagine how hard he worked to see that only good things happen to the citizens of his -- of his hometown. he then went on to serve in the wyoming house of representatives and the wyoming senate before being elected to four terms in the united states senate, beginning in 1996. prior to being elected to office, senator enzi served in the wyoming air national guard. in congress, senator enzi never wavered in his deeply held values, in his beliefs, and yet he was always held by all of us in high esteem by all of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. he had the ability for bringing consensus, to bring us together. that remained true even as this body became increasingly polarized. in his farewell speech to the senate, senator enzi --
unfortunately just a few months ago -- senator enzi spoke about the -- his 80/20 rule, a rule those of us who worked with him knew well. a rule which emphasized focusing on the 80% of issues we agree on versus the 20% of issues where we disagree. it allowed senator enzi to work with senators across the political spectrum on legislation that he cared so much about. senator enzi carried himself in a quiet and serious demeanor. he was interested above all in achieving good policy outcomes for the people of wyoming and the people of our nation. his leadership has been missed in this chamber this year, but his legacy as a statesman and his impact on the state of wyoming will live on forever. my thoughts and prayers are with his family and his friends during this time including his wife diana, their daughters amy and emily, and son brad, and
his grandchildren. senator enzi, may you rest in peace, and please know that your time in the united states senate, your time living on this earth was well spent, a role model for the rest of us. thank you. madam president, i yield the floor and notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
calling of the quorum be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: mr. president, i learned on friday that the department of justice has opted not to pursue a civil rights investigation into government-run nursing homes in several states about their response to the covid-19. earlier this year i urged the department to pursue this investigation and i today call on the attorney general to reconsider this decision that i learned about last friday. i do that in light of media reports suggesting that the obstruction of justice may have occurred in at least one of these jurisdictions. close to one year ago the department sought information from four states. those four states are new york, new jersey, pennsylvania, and
michigan. the information sought was about the number of covid-19 infections and deaths in their public nursing homes. the department's request for this information came on the heels of media reports suggesting that state officials in these jurisdictions had pressured nursing homes to accept patients regardless of their covid-19 status. it was reported that officials in new york also may have engaged in a cover-up by actively conceiling -- concealing from the public the actual number of covi covid-19-related fatalities in that nursing home. serious questions remain about whether the governors in new york and these three other jurisdictions helped fuel the covid-19-related death tolls in
nursing homes through the issuance of their own executive orders that went against the advice of jerry attritions. yet the department is declining to pursue the matter and in the case of new york, this is particularly troubling. new york's governor not only reportedly pressured nursing homes in his state to accept patients during the initial stage of the pandemic regardless of their covid-19 status but his administration did not provide an accurate picture of the actual death tolls to the public. this lack of transparency was done to avoid accountability so put very simply, the public deserves better. according to a report by "the new york post," a ton aide --
top aide to governor cuomo even apologized to a group of democratic state lawmakers during a phone call for reportedly withholding data on covid-19-related nursing home fatalities during this pandemic. the department's civil rights division won't investigate but at least the f.b.i. and prosecutors at the u.s. attorney's office are looking into the matter. these federal prosecutors review reportedly focuses on whether governor cuomo's administration underreported covid-19 deaths in the nursing homes in an effort to avoid negative publicity. at least someone is looking at this. however, i'm disappointed that the justice department's proper and attorney general garland have decided to pull their
punches. as i stated today in a letter to the attorney general, it would be a grave injustice to those who perished in these facilities during the pandemic to neglect to fully explore such widely reported and troubling allegations. and as others, too, have noted promoting more accountability and transparency is vital under these circumstances. it would not only help prevent similar missteps in the future but also maintain public confidence in the department which is waning under the department's current leadership. i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: as the distinguished presiding officer knows from all his involvement in the negotiations -- involvement the negotiations have been going on, we do have an emergency security supplemental issue before us and so i'm -- i'm speaking now to urge that the senate will take up and pass h.r. 3237 which is the emergency security supplemental appropriations act of 2021 which the house sent over and we had a leahy-shelby substitute amendment. and let me describe a little bit for my colleagues what the leahy-shelby substitute amendment is.
it's a result of bipartisan compromise between myself and vice chairman shelby. we've been working on this for weeks, weekends. our staff have been working late into the night. and i want to thank senator shelby both for his hard work and his friendship. this $2.1 billion package is designed to address the aftermath of the violent insurrection that took place on january 6 designed to heal the remaining scars of the covid pandemic on the capitol complex, and provides the resources we need to ensure the safety of our afghan partners as we include our mission in that country. and let me tell you why there is urgency in this, mr. president.
if we don't act, then the capitol police would deplete salaries funding in literally a matter of weeks. the national guard all over the country will be forced to cancel needed training to carry on their mission at home and ab abroad. we all remember when speaking to the members of the national guard from most of our states who were here to help with the security of the capitol in january. so we did nothing, maybe a sort of security crisis entirely of our own making and what it would do to the capitol police and what it would do to our national guard. but by acting we prevent that crisis. we provide the capitol police with $7.7 million in resources for over time pay, retention bonuses, mental health services,
and new equipment and training. let me tell you why this is necessary. since january 6, 73 officers have left the capitol police. that's not sustainable. we have to make a strong statement of support for those officers who defended this building and all it stands for on that terrible day. and this week the nation is hearing the testimony of the officers who fought the violent insurrectionist mob on that day and their trauma is real. anybody watching their testimony knows it cannot be brushed aside. we also provide $521 million to fully fund the cost of the national guard deployment to capitol hill. from around the country, including my own state of
vermont, the women and men of the national guard responded without hesitation to our call for help. we shouldn't hesitate to reimburse those costs. i remember during daylight hours and also late at night going around thanking members of the national guard not just from my state but from all the other states for what they were doing. but i think it takes a little bit more than just a thank you. we basically told them we'll pay for this. well, now we will. but that's not all we need to do. we need to secure the capitol complex. on january 6, the shattered windows, the doors were broadcast to the world laying bare that our seat of democracy is not some impren trabl --
empenetrable fortress. we can't just fix the doors and say everything is fix. thousands of public servants work and countless constituents visit. so our bill provides $300 million to hire accessible windows and doors to the capitol building and the senate and office house buildings and to install new security cameras around the complex. but our bill also fulfills our responsibility to support the dedicated public servants who work overtime, way overtime to clean up the mess left by a violent mob and diligently work to ensure our safety during the darkest hours of the pandemic. we must support those who supported us.
that's not just a political or economic responsibility. that's a moral responsibility. that means paying for the cost we've incurred protecting satisfy and members, the entire capitol community from covid including cleaning costs and personal protective equipment none of which has been paid for until now. we've covered the cost by robbing peter to pay paul. that's unsustainable. so our bill addresses this by providing $42.1 million to reimburse the cost of cleaning, personal protective equipment, and the salaries of employees and contractors who would have been laid off in the height of the pandemic. and finally in the leahy-shelby legislation, we stand with the
brave afghans who supported our mission through two decades of war. by now we've all seen the gruesome reports of men and women being summarily executed in the street. sometimes in front of their families. why? because they had supported us. that slaughter is only going to escalate. we have to provide resources for additional special immigrant visas, s.i.v.'s, for translators and other afghans who worked with americans over the past to decades as well as for additional humanitarian relief to afghan refugees. so our bill does just that. it provides $1.125 billion to
fulfill our commitment to the brave afghans. let me tell you what the funds would do. they would support emergency transportation, housing, other essential services to our afghan partners coming to the u.s. under pressure immigrant visas. and humanitarian aid for the inevitable flood of afghans fleeing to neighboring countries the united nations has estimated that could spell to 500,000 refugees in just the next few months. we're also increased a number of afghan special immigrant visas by 8,000, we've made improvements to strengthen the program and expand the reach of its protections. the reason we have this in the leahy-shelby bill is there is
bipartisan understanding this is an urgent need and we have as the united states of america, we have a moral responsibility to address it immediately. now, some have said we should just do the bare minimum and to take care of the most pressing needs now and look at this later, maybe. but i've served in the united states senate long enough to know that a promise to do something later is a promise to do nothing at all. i cannot accept that. they are facing us today, not some time we may think about in a few months or a year from now. vice chairman shelby has a proven track record of reaching bipartisan compromise and i would note that this agreement
does not include everything i want. i'm sure it includes some items that he would have preferred not to be included, but it's a strong bipartisan bill. we've come together to give the best piece of legislation possible for the united states senate, a pandemic happened, a violent insurrection happened, and the president announced a withdrawal of american troops from afghanistan. the needs are urgent. we must address them now. so i'm urging all senators to not only support the bill but actually pass the bill today because it still has to go back to the house of representatives this week. there's no time. there's no time left. it's a good piece of legislation. it's a necessary piece of
legislation. and some would say, at least on the afghan part, inevitable, both president trump and president biden said they wanted to withdraw our troops this year. well, they are withdrawing. now we've got to fulfill our responsibility. mr. president, i know that senator shelby will be on the floor to speak in a few moments so i will suggest the absence of a quorum but ask consent that senator shelby be recognized when we come out of the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll.
mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: majority leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with and i be allowed to speak for a few minutes, do my unanimous consent and then go right to senator shelby. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. and first, i want to just give my great thanks to senator leahy and senator shelby for bringing this vote here right now. the bottom line is very simple. this wasn't easy to get done. a u.c. on these kinds of issues should be easy but it's not. senator leahy persisted and
persisted and persisted and i want to thank him as well. senator shelby persuaded the members on his side that we had to move and they have come up with a good compromise. it's not something -- not everything we wanted. i want to thank senator klobuchar and senator blunt, their work on the help committee. the rules committee helped pave the way for this and they deserve a lot of credit. now, look, to keep the capitol complex safe and secure, we're lucky to have the best of the best. as i said earlier today, our capitol police risk their lives for us. they go all out for us. they are really, really important. and the national guard went all out for us, too, on that fateful day and then for months afterwards. i remember walking through the halls early in the morning thanking them as they were going
out of the capitol visitors center and everything else. now we're about to run out of money. already the capitol police have foregone some of the things they usually do in terms of training, in terms of other types of activities. and soon salaries, bonuses, and new hiring would be on the chopping block. similarly, many of our national guard units from around the country that sent troops here, soldiers here, men and women here are running out of money. so we can't let that happen. so passing this amendment is living up to our responsibility to keep this grand capitol safe, this temple of democracy, the citadel of democracy safe, and to make sure that the people who risk their lives for us and protect us get the help that they needed. it shouldn't have taken this long but here we are, and i'm glad we're on the floor and therefore i ask unanimous
consent that notwithstanding the rule -- i ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding rule 22, at a time to be determined by the majority leader following consultation with the republican leader, the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar 63, h.r. 3237, that the only amendments in order be the following, the leahy-shelby substitute, 2123, and the cotton amendment to the leahy substitute 2124, that there be six minutes for debate equally divided between the two leaders and their designees, that upon the use or yielding back of time, the senate vote in relation to the cotton and leahy amendments and that if a budget point of order is raised and a motion to waive is made, the senate vote on the motion to waive and that if waived, the bill as amended if amended should be considered -- should be considered read a third time and the senate vote on passage of the bill as amended if amended and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, all
without intervening action or debate with 60 affirmative votes required for passage of the bill. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. schumer: one more point. i hope that this will be unanimous. it's hard for me to believe that any member would not want to support our capitol police. for members to take umbrage at the capitol police when they did their job and protected us for some kind of crazy ideological reason would be disgraceful. i hope there will be a unanimous vote for this. i yield the floor. i ask consent that the agreement now be executed. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. thank you, senator leahy. thank you senator shelby. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: tltd number 63, h.r. 2337, an act making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2021 and for other purposes.
the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. shelby: mr. president, i'll just take a few minutes here. this is very important that we get this supplemental passed. i want to first thank my colleague and the chairman of the appropriations committee, senator leahy for the work he's done here, working together to get where we are today. this has been a lot of work, working together, but it also shows that we can work together in a bipartisan way and put the country first. and this is -- this is evidence here. what does this bill do? it sticks to immediate security needs, mr. president. it urge -- the urgently needed funding to safeguard the capitol, ensure national guard readiness and protect our allies in afghanistan. that's among other things. just over $2 billion total, more than half of which is for the department of defense.
out of the defense funding, $521 million to fill national guard shortfall and about $500 million to evacuate afghan allies. $600 million for the state department to fund afghan special immigration visas, and $100 million for our own capitol police here to fund that. and $300 million for security enhancements around the capitol. i strongly urge my colleagues to vote yes for this and again i want to thank senator schumer and senator mcconnell, our leaders on both sides of the aisle for helping bring this to where we are today. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. braun: so we do need to support our capitol police and we will. we need to repay our national guard and we will. and we need to protect our allies that kept our troops safe
and we will. emergencies arise and the biggest threat to dealing with them in my opinion is fiscal irresponsibility in d.c. we could have easily paid for the major parts of this legislation with offsets within the d.o.d. i think our spending process is broken at every level. we don't do budgets anymore. we vote that the rules don't matter. it seems like congress can only agree on one thing, deficits and debt don't matter anymore. but they do. in both -- and both parties are to blame. and they threaten our ability in the long run to respond to emergencies when they arise like the important ones in this bill, not to mention that everything we do here currently is on
borrowed money and literally from our kids and our grandkids. my point of order reference has my friend mike enzi's name at the top of it. now, i'm speaking here today for the reasons i just mentioned and in honor of him as well. mr. president, senate amendment 2123 would make new budget -- lea lea i ask consent that my amendment be -- mr. leahy: i ask consent that my amendment and senator shelby's amendment be called up. the clerk: proposes an amendment number 2123. mr. shelby: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. shelby: i call up amendment 2124 and ask it be reported by number. the presiding officer: the
clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from alabama mr. shelby for mr. cotton proposes an amendment number 2124 to amendment number 2123. brawn mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. braun: senate amendment 2123 would make new budget authority available for fiscal year 2021. the senate committee on appropriations has not filed its suballocations has required by the congressional budget act. therefore, i raise a point of order against the amendment pursuant to section 302-c of the congressional budget act of 1974. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, pursuant to section 904 of the congressional budget act of 1974, i move to waive all applicable sections of that act, any aother applicable budget
points of order for purposes of the pending amendment and i ask for it the yeas and nays. i ask unanimous consent first to yield back all time. the presiding officer: is there objection to time being yielded back? without objection. mr. leahy: -- the cotton amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: we're going to have a voice vote on the cotton amendment. the presiding officer: without objection, the question is on the amendment. all in favor say aye. opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is adopted. mr. leahy: now i ask for the yeas and nays on the -- my motion to waive. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
the affirmative, the motion is agreed to, and the point of order fails. the question is on the leahy amendment as amended. all in favor say aye. opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is adopted. under the previous order, the bill is considered read a third time. the question occurs on passage of the bill as amended. is there a sufficient second? there is. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
under the previous order, requiring 60 votes for the passage of this bill, the bill, as amended, is passed. mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, i thank my colleagues for joining both myself and senator shelby on the leahy-shelby amendment. there's been weeks of negotiation, mostly quiet, but weeks of negotiation going on in this. on this issue, i'm sure i can speak for both senator shelby and myself, we each might not have gotten everything that we wanted, but on this specific issue we got what the country needed. we got the improvements for the security of our capitol, the
symbol of our democracy. we showed what we can do to help take care of the damage to the capitol police, what we can do to help those who worked so hard here in the capitol, the men and women throughout the capitol complex facing the threat of covid. and thanks to bipartisan efforts, we had the issue of people who had worked with our military and our government in afghanistan, and now as we withdraw -- something that both president trump and president biden wanted to do within this time frame -- as we withdraw, they face retribution from the taliban.
we had to show our commitment to protect them and to save them. and there are money and laws that are in this that will help. all in all, madam president, it meant a lot of republicans and a lot of democrats had to come together. i've been here longer than anybody else in this body, and i've seen days when republicans and democrats come together and we accomplish something. and i've seen times when we don't and nothing gets accomplished. i've also found over these years that nobody gets every single thing they want, but you try and do things that will make the country better, that will help the united states of america, and will help the things that we stand for. this bill and the fact that it
has passed 98-0, is an example of that. so i thank my colleagues. i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i ask consent that the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: madam president, i ask consent that further remarks of mine -- that i able to add to the record, including so many of the people that needed and i
mr. sullivan: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: madam president, is it the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, it is. mr. sullivan: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sullivan: madam president, it's thursday. it is my favorite time of the week. i get to come down son the senate floor and talk about someone who's made an impact on their community, maybe the state, maybe the country and occasionally -- occasionally -- the world, and that's what i call our alaskan of the week. now, this is going to be a little bit of an historic alaskan of the week. i've been doing this, gosh, going on six years almost.
well, this is an historic moment because we've never made someone an alaskan of the week twice. it's never happened. we're making senate history right now. but you might know that we had an historic week in the olympics because our alaskan of the week a month ago who we talked about here on the senate floor, lydia jacoby, when she made the olympic team, she won gold. and for anyone who saw that race, that is -- that 100-meter breast stroke race a couple nights ago -- you'll probably never forget it. we're not going to forget it. and i guarantee you that lydia's hometown of seward, alaska, a beautiful, incredible town, 3,000 people, wonderful people, they are not going to forget it.
so, history right here on the senate floor. lydia jacoby, gold medalist, as "the washington post" called it in a headline, "an alaskan stunner" is our alaskan of the week for a second time. so, madam president, you know, i always talk a little bit about alaska before i do my alaskan of the week speech. a lot of people, particularly at this point of the summer, when they're visiting are curious about the light, if the sun ever sets in the summer, when it rises. so what i always try to do to people is say, come on up and see for yourself s we'd love to have you. we're having a beautiful summer. i'll give you a hint right now. in seward, alaska -- that's the home of our gold medal olympian athlete, lydia -- the sun will rise today at 5:32 a.m. and set around 10:35. that's a l