tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN August 5, 2021 10:29am-2:30pm EDT
the give-and-take of negotiations work. it's not have compromise works. you give and you get there and the fact is that new hampshire and the united states are going to get a whole lot in this infrastructure package. we also know that legislation that has broad bipartisan support stands a better chance at lasting longer without r threats being repealed or reversed. president biden supports this package and we have received strong support across the aisleh to the procedural vote that we have had so far. i'm proud to have worked with my colleagues to help craft this bipartisan bill, and over the coming days i know that i will work with even more people in this chamber as we try and do the legislation through the senate. thank you. >> the use senate returns this morning to continue work on e $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill providing funding over several years for road and bridge projects, public transit, rail, water projects, airports,
broadband internet, and electric vehicle charging stations. votes are expected throughout the day. lawmakers will work on the nomination of the u.s. court of appeals judge for the second circuit. live now 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. eternal spirit, our counselor and guide, give our lawmakers the faith to believe in the ultimate triumph of truth and
righteousness. lord, teach them to do things your way, embracing your precepts and walking in your path. provide them the wisdom to not become careless about their spiritual and moral growth, as you provide them courage and grace to do your will. inspire them to expect to live satisfying lives as you enable them to replace their fears with faith, their confusion with clarity, and their discouragement with optimism. we pray in your sacred name. amen.
the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. 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, august 5, 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. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership
lockshin be granted floor privileges for the remainder of today's session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: secondly, madam president, before my remarks i ask unanimous consent that the cloture vote on the lee nomination occur today. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection,so ordered. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president. now all we week, as we all know, senators have worked together to move forward on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. since the text of the bipartisan proposal was finalized on sunday, both sides have had extensive opportunities to offer amendments. senators have certainly taken advantage. so far the senate has considered 22 amendments on this bipartisan piece of legislation. we considered 14 amendments yesterday alone. of the 22 total amendments, more than half have been offered by our republican colleagues.
clearly the democratic majority has given members who are not part of the bipartisan group a chance to make their mark on this important bill. taking a step back, this senate has operated much differently under democratic leadership this year than it did under republican leadership over the past six. we have had bipartisan bills on the floor open for amendment, and all 100 senators are participating in the legislative process. the anti-asia hate crimes bill, the useca bills were both major bills that worked with amendments, as is this bill. we've taken more amendment votes this year than nearly any year in recent memory. in fact, we've had more roll call votes on amendments this year, only halfway through, than during the past two years where the republicans were in charge combined.
in other words, one half of the year in 2021 where democrats got in charge, we've had more amendments than in all of 2019 and 2020. so any talk that we are not working the senate whenever we can in a fair, bipartisan way is just wrong, just wrong. consider this -- at this point in the calendar year in 2017, the first year of a republican president and a republican senate majority, a one to one comparison to our current political configuration, the senate held roll call votes on ten amendments. ten, at this point in the first year of the trump presidency. on this bipartisan infrastructure bill alone, the senate has held roll call votes on 17 amendments. in seven months the 2017 republican majority allowed roll call votes on only ten
amendments and we've done almost double that number in the past seven days alone. this is how i promised the chamber would function under a democratic majority. i promised it while we were fighting to get that majority, and we're fulfilling that promise now that we have it. legislators should actually have a chance to legislate. no one can deny that we have kept our word here in the democratic majority. today we will consider even more amendments, and then hopefully we can bring this bill to a close very shortly. our goal is to pass both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution during this work period, and we will stay here to get both done. on another matter. climate. president biden announced this morning that he will sign an executive order to significantly escalate our country's fight against climate change. specifically, president biden's executive order will set an ambitious goal to make half of all new cars sold in america
zero emissions by the end of the decade. he will announce further steps to address several of the worst climate-warming rules that were put in place under the trump administration. i applaud president biden for taking necessary steps to put our country on a path to substantially reduce our carbon pollution. climate change is the defining challenge of our times. we have no choice but to reduce our country's greenhouse gas emissions very quickly to reach the targets that will spare our country and our planet the worst effects of climate change. and we cannot do it without dealing with carbon pollution from cars we drive. transportation is the biggest source of carbon pollution, accounting for nearly one-third -- or roughly one-third of america's carbon output. so president biden's executive order is an important step in the right direction, and i'm happy and proud to say it dovetails with an evident i have long advocated here in the
congress, even before the biden presidency. it's called clean cars for america. in fact, president biden generously adopted our clean cars america plan and placed it in his build back better. my clean cars for america proposal -- and i have worked closely with senators stabenow and peters and others on this proposal -- would help our country make the transition that president biden is talking about today by making electric cars more affordable, expanding our charging infrastructure, and creating incentives to manufacture batteries and electric vehicles here in america. it's good for climate. it's good for jobs. and it's good for america to become the center of electric car manufacturing in the world, as we have been with the traditional type of automobile. the proposal -- i'm proud to say we worked hard to make this happen. clean cars for america, now as i
said largely adapted in the biden build back better plan is supported not only by the environmental community but by the major labor unions and several of the major car manufacturers as well. it's the first time on a major piece of climate legislation we've gotten such broad support. the transition to electric vehicles, of course, is already under way, but it's not happening fast enough to reach the targets that president biden announced today. clean cars for america is the way to super charge the transition to electric vehicles and large parts of it will be -- some of it was put in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, but large parts of it we hope to add in the reconciliation process. put another way, if president biden's executive order represents the destination we need to roach on the horizon, our clean cars for america is the road to get there. president biden's announcement combined with our clean cars
proposal represent the bold level of action we need to tackling carbon pollution from cars. when democrats assume the majority, i instructed my committee chairs to find climate-reducing policies to incorporate into the legislation we work on. earlier this year, the senate passed the first major climate legislation in years when we reversed the trump administration's methane emissions rules, and as we continue working on a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution, i have committed -- i am committed we will make historic investments in reversing climate change. i'm proud to say our clean cars for america is going to be a very big part of that. democrats promised action on climate, and we're going to make it a vital part of the legislation we work on in the weeks to come. it's a big challenge, but one we must meet. it is so important for the future of our planet, for our children, and our grandchildren,
even more than for us. one final matter. evictions. earlier -- mr. schumer: earlier this week, the biden administration announced that the c.d.c. will adopt n an eviction moratorium as our country continues its path toward full recovery. i applaud everyone who made it happen from the president to the c.d.c. to speaker pelosi and senator brown as well as several of my democratic colleagues in the house, including a brave band of new yorkers, including congress member cortez and congressman jones. above all, representative cori bush gets huge credit, one person who changed things for tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people,
and everyone who stood with her as well. as i explained yesterday, while this moratorium is an important safeguard to protect millions of american families in danger of ee -- evictions, it is not the only piece of the puzzle. once the moratorium comes to an end, whenever that is, there is still a fundamental challenge of making up for a year of lost rent and lost mortgage payments. congress considered this problem very early this year. i pushed for and we passed along with senator brown and so many others substantial rental and mortgage assistance in the american rescue plan. unfortunately, state governments have been really uneven about distributing that crucial assistance. a few states, the state of illinois, the state of texas, has done a pretty good job, but many have not. unfortunately, one of those that has done a very poor job at distributing this money is my
home state of new york. simply put, state governments, especially new york, must do a better job of distributing the $47 billion congress appropriated for emergency rental assistance. the money is there, but far too little has gone out the door. in new york specifically, congress sent more than $2 billion to help renters in new york. inexplicitly, some reports indicate that less than .05% of new york's allocation had been received by tenants and landlords just as of a week ago -- less than a week ago. so today i'm sending a letter with colleagues in the new york delegation to the new york state office of temporary and disability assistance calling on that office to hurry up to fix the inexcusable delays in rental assistance and immediately begin disbursing these funds. we need to understand why new
yorkers are having such trouble navigating the process to get the money they need. there have been reports of frustrateing crashes and glitches on the online application process, confusing instructions, and very little support to help the applicants, even though the money has been there for several months. the clock is ticking to fix this mess. the state moratorium expires in less than a month, and the c. c.d.c.'s moratorium will give one more month of protection after that. new york state needs to act quickly. we expect a response by august 9 on how we can get a handle on these delays and most importantly get the money to new yorkers faster so they can pay the rent. by the way, many landlords, particularly small landlords depend on this as well. if you worked hard and you own a three-tenant house, when the tenants don't pay you, you don't have any cushion and you have to pay the mortgage. this will help to go with that
as well, this proposal. so right now there are 6.5 million americans who are behind in their rent. according to the "new york times," over 400,000 renters in new york city alone owe a collective debt of $2 billion. congress did its job by making sure that we have money in place to help these americans avoid evictions. now the states need to step it up to make sure that this money gets into the hands of renters as soon as possible. and i yield the floor.
>> this earns the support of only about half of americans, far less than the three quarters who supported full mandates as recently as december. that's from the washington post. there was a cnbc poll done at the end of july, on the issue of mandates. here's what they found. they found that 49% of the folks say they surveyed favored vaccine mandates, 46 opposed those mandates. 63% of vaccinated americans support vaccine mandates. 54% of those supported mask mandates on airplanes. 46% for concerts and large
events. and 40% mask mandates in the workplace. that's our opening question for you this morning on what you would support, what level of support you have for mask mandates. leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. mcconnell: earlier this week, the senate proudly and unanimously passed a resolution awarding the congressional gold medal to the u.s. capitol police. along with other law enforcement personnel who helped defend this institution on jaiks. today d january 6. today president biden will pass this into law and the brave men and women today will receive the highest honor the congress can bestow. with the home of our representative democracy literally under attack, the officers of the capitol police, their colleagues from the d.c. metropolitan police, and others,
made huge, huge sacrifices to keep all of us safe. on january 6, congress got a first-hand reminder of a reality that many american citizens face every day, that the brave men and women of law enforcement really are the thin blue line standing between peace and chaos. i'm so proud we're adding our own colleagues in blue to the list of extraordinary americans that congress has honored with its gold medal. so thank you and congratulations. now on a completely different matter. we're more than a year from the technical end of the covid-19 recession. there are more than nine million job openings in the country. the most in american history by far. three safe and effective vaccines are easily available
all across our country free of charge for any adult who wants one. medical contradictions are rare and c.d.c. data tell us that once somebody is fully vaccinated their risk of dying from covid-19 absolutely plummets right down to the normal range of risk that we implicitly face on a daily basis. vaccines may not magically eliminate the virus overnight, but the evidence tells us that vaccines can eliminate the degree to which the virus represents a unique crisis. we may not be entirely out of the woods, the delta uptick makes that clear, but it's time to stop governing as if we were trapped in a permanent economic meltdown. it factually is simply is not the case. but the democratic party's far-left flank is resisting this
simple fact. they were counting on this terrible, but temporary, pandemic to be their trojan horse for permanent social i. they don't want to admit the vaccines are transitioning covid from a crisis into a challenge. case in point the surreal episode that has unfolded this past week over evictions. for a year and a half now, government has basically told landlords they have little or no recourse if tenants stop paying their rent. this isn't just about massive corporations that something could eat losses forever, family businesses who own one or two units have had to keep paying their bill, their taxes, and their mortgages the whole time. congress already sent billions of dollars to states for rental assistance. the problem is with state
governments who have been pathetically slow to get the money out. but when some socialist house members fail to convince their own fellow democrats to extend this nationwide socialism through legislation, they somehow prevailed on president biden through p.r. stunts -- p.r. stunts. one day before the president's announcement a senior advisor had said the president had double, triple, quadruple checked to see whether he had the legal authority to do this and he did not. the president himself said that legal scholars find this untenable, but he still caved and did it. the far left wants to turn this pandemic into a trojan horse for permanent socialism and the administration is letting them call the shots. in just a few days our
colleagues will start ramming through yet another -- another reckless taxing and spending spree, trillions more in inflationary spending when families just want good jobs and stable prices. but there's something funny happening. even as democrats crow about how all this spending is so good and so needed, they are petrified to vote for the credit limit increase that would make it possible. democrats are about to tell republicans to go take a hike and start teeing up trillions more dollars and borrowing and spending, of course, without a single republican vote. at the same time they are extolling the their virtues of their latest shopping list, they are afraid to up the limit on
their credit card. they want -- the debt bomb that they will detonate with zero input from us. our colleagues are so mixed up on this it's almost comical. the sums that we borrowed and spent through 2020, through last year, through the last administration, through the actual economic emergency were largely covered by the previous debt suspension that just expired. but democrats want a new debt limit increase for the new borrowing and the new spending that they willfully piled up since they took power. about $2 trillion back in march, trillions more sometime soon. so they want to unleash another reckless taxing and spending spree with zero republican
input. oh-- oh, when the bill comes they say it's time to split the check. when the bill comes, it's time to split the check. initiating another budget reconciliation process in a 50-50 senate is as willfully partisan as go it alone as it gets. especially in a senate that keeps proving we can do bipartisan work. so, look, if our colleagues want to ram through yet another reckless taxing and spending spree without our input, if they want all this spending and debt to be their significant legacy, they should leave it at the -- leave at the chance to own every bit of it. so let me make something perfectly clear. if they don't need or want our
input, they won't get our help. they won't get our help with the debt limit increase that recklessly that these reckless plans will require. i could not be more clear. they have the ability, they control the white house, they control the house, they control the senate. they can raise the debt ceiling and if it's raised, they will do it. now on another matter. this week senate republicans are saying good-bye to some all-star staffers. nick rossie, the chief of staff to our whip, senator thune, has spent 15 years maggsering -- mastering the ins and outs of the senate. he has used his harvard law
horse power to steer our offices and committees and entire conference in the right direction. our whip has had a whip-smart right-hand man. i won't be able to top his boss' wonderful tribute remarks from yesterday, so i won't even try. but i do want to try my own brief thanks and congratulations. i have seen nick's work upclose, senator thune and i have a chance to meet on what we will do for the week, it's a small staff and nick was in the room and every time i was glad he was. it is a rare thing in washington to meet someone who is almost the smartest person in the room but also never let's you know it. nick combines brilliance and humility in just that way. so my staff and i join senator thune and the whole senate in
bidding nick a fond, if reluctant farewell. thank you, sincerely for your fine, fine service. now, mr. president, on one final matter. when you served in the senate as long as i have, you get to hire and work with a lot of talented people. and when you find rock stars, you try to hang on to them. as a result, when a key staff member moves on it often means reflecting on an extended set of career of many years -- extended set of career of many years, including old war stories going back ages. andrew ferguson is a different case. it was only two years ago that i hired andrew to be my chief counsel. he's only been in the senate about three years. by the standards of this place,
he's a spring chicken. but it's only taken andrew this short time to leave a stunningly outside imprint on my work, on our conference, on the judiciary, on everyone who's gotten to work along side him as well. so a few days before andrew concludes his senate service, i'm both happy for the opportunity to share how this happened and really, really sorry that i have to do it. the chief counsel in my leadership office handles a portfolio that is comically large, judicial confirmations, law enforcement and crime, immigration and border security, some constitutional questions that intersect with the separation of powers, others that intersect with national security, sometimes arcane
senate history. it takes a lawyer's lawyer with expertise in our laws and constitution and someone who can feel out the politics, the percents -- personalties and shades of gray that drive a political body. one look at andrew's resume told me qualification was no problem. u.v.a. law, clerked on the d.c. circuit, clerked for justice thomas, experience in the private sector. a lawyer anybody would be glad to hire. oh, but what about the second qualification? like i said, andrew wasn't a long-serving senate hand. he arrived at the judiciary in time to help chairman grassley notch a win for the country and the sanity of the senate with the confirmation of justice
kavanaugh. he had only just been pro mode to grassley's top nomination counsel when i poached him. well, andrew stepped into this complex role and, boy, did he flourish. he became a go-to leader for committees and offices across the republican side, a key senate liaison to both the executive and judicial branches. he added to his lawyerly chops and grew into a strategic advisor of the first rate. our republican conference is a big tent with a range of visions, but senators from across the conference have come not just to trust andrew's judgment but they seek it out. andrew's impact has been truly dramatic. i do not believe any other senate staffer played a more crucial role in the last two supreme court confirmations
combined. he was our side's field general in confirming justice barrett. our majority spent three years rebuilding the federal judiciary that our constitutional order requires, andrew played an indispensable part. the last couple of years have brought all sorts of unusual national challenges. the two years andrew spent with us felt more like ten. we faced scenarios that sounded like wild law school hypotheticals. who would have guessed that we would be fighting to protect america's religious freedoms while america battled an airborne virus, but our chief counsel brought us up to speed on whatever the day would bringg heart, and great humor, and if
the topic was new to him, a big stack of library books were on his desk. it might sound like andrew was just very dedicated to his job. that's not totally unusual but that doesn't fully capture. i've come to believe he is this intense about absolutely everything. andrew takes work very seriously but he also takes his faith seriously, he takes his family seriously. he treasures the upbringing his parents provided for him and his two brothers. he takes his interests seriously, his hobbies. there is an intense, infectious enthusiasm to all of it, a kind of good-natured aggression. now, as his colleagues will attest, all this intensity can yield actually entertaining
results. if, for example, you took a stroll by andrew's desk, you'd often hear him shouting excitedly at a colleague, but you genuinely have no clue whether he's strongly disagreeing with a person or just agreeing with him with great gusto. he could be discussing the law, but it might also be roman history or the protestant reformation or the merits of some tv comedy or his weekend plans involving the lawful exercise of his second amendment rights. whatever the subject, you'd get maximum enthusiasm, maximum force of nature, and everybody in earshot usually learns some new fact and shares a big line.
different people enjoy this line of work for different reasons, but for andrew, i think politics and policy matter so much because ideas and principles matter so much. that's why one of the most darkly funny and cynically people on our team has also been one of the most earnest and idealistic. everything's worth thinking through, everything's worth taking seriously because principles matter, the rule of law matters, and our country matters. that's why we come to work every day. a lot of people first come to washington with a warrior mentality, but the rhythms of this city sometimes lull folks into a somewhat calmer mixture.
but believe me, as i suspect the entire senate can attest by now, we need not worry that andrew ferguson will be lulled into a calmer anything. so, my friend, you may be leaving the trenches for now, but we both know there is no chance you'll be able to stay away forever. you're going to miss the good fight, and i can say with personal certainty that the fight is going to miss you as well. thank you for the law lectures. thank you for the laughs. thank you for standing for our country. job well done.
the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 3684, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 100, h.r. 3684, an act to authorize funds for federal aid, highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. cassidy: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that elizabeth kay, an intern in my office, be granted floor privileges today, august 5, 2021. the presiding officer: without exception. mr. cassidy: thank you. mr. durbin: mr. president.
the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, this week the senate will vote on eunice lee's nomination to serve on the second court of appeals. if confirmed, ms. lee would be the only, the only black womannened a the only former public defender to serve on the second circuit. with her nomination the biden administration and senate democrats are continuing our efforts to build a federal judiciary that looks like america. i'd like to take a moment or two to discuss ms. lee's qualifications and what she will bring to the bench. a perspective that is sorely needed. ms. lee has dedicated her entire legal career to public defense work. most recently as an assistant federal public defender with the federal defenders of new york. graduating from ohio state university and yale law school, ms. lee began her legal career clerking with the southern distributor of ohio and then with the -- southern district of ho and sixth circuit court of appeals. she joined the office of the
appellate defender where she spent more than 20 years advocating for indigent people at the new york federal court system. during that time she taught and mentored a new generation of lawyers when she served as adjunct assistant professor of clinical law at new york university. she then joined the federal with defenders of new york where she's briefed and argued criminal appeals on the second circuit, a court to which she is now nominated. in short, ms. lee has dedicated her entire life to upholding the sixth amendment right to counsel, representing defendants who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. some of my republican colleagues have claimed without any evidence that as a former federal public defender, ms. lee would be biased as a judge in favor of defendants. it's curious to me that these concerns over bias didn't seem to crop up over the decades when former prosecutors were nominated to the federal bench,
and for good reason. it's a flimsy argument as it is offensive to the lawyers who represent defendants, a representation mandated under the constitution. let's be clear, both prosecutors and public defenders play essential roles in our justice system, and their jobs give them extensive courtroom experience which is something we demand of all judges. additionally, ms. lee has made it clear she understands the difference between being a lawyer and a judge. as a lawyer, she's an advocate. as a judge, an arbiter. at her hearing about the judiciary committee, ms. lee explained she quite critically recognizes the importance of being a fair decision-maker. what's more, 70 former partners, the women and -- prosecutors in the southern and eastern districts of new york, the very prosecutors that she squared off with in the courtrooms have stressed the
importance of having her perspective as a public defender represented on the second circuit. in a letter to the judiciary committee, these prosecutors wrote, quote, we enthusiastically support ms. lee not just because of her sterling credentials. we believe that after a career as public defender serving indigent clients in criminal cases, ms. lee would bring a unique and underrepresented perspective to the job of hearing and deciding federal appeals. then they added ms. lee was, quote, an incredibly talented lawyer and public servant whose career representing the most vulnerable among us will bring a critical, unique perspective. finally i want to share a passage from a recent op-ed written by clark nealy, a scholar at the cato institute and debbie rowe, a scholar at the macarthur justice center. they wrote i don't, quote, judga greater diversity of experience would improve decision making
overall. it spans the legal professional and will be best equipped to handle diverse range of cases of issues presented to them. legal experts across the spectrum agree. professional diversity on the federal bench is beneficial to our system of justice. with eunice lee's confirmation, the senate can continue bringing balance to our nation's court and elevate a professional perspective severely underrepresented today. i'll vote for ms. lee's nomination. i urge my colleagues to do the same. and let me just add in closing, i want to thank the members of the senate of both political parties for proposing nominees to the biden white house for consideration for lifetime appointments to the federal judiciary. they have brought those nominations to the senate judiciary committee where i chair the proceedings, and it's remarkable the women and men who come to us prepared to serve, make a lifetime commitment to
serve our federal judiciary. the diversity in that group is amazing, remarkable, and the quality is without exception. all of them have found at least well qualified unanimously by the american bar association in many cases, certainly in others very positive reports as well. i want to continue bringing these women and men to the floor of the senate. i pleaded even this morning with the majority, senator schumer, who has the toughest job in the world trying to move all the things we want to do on to this calendar and off again. i thank him for his cooperation. and, mr. president, i'd like to say a few words on a separate topic. i listened carefully to the senate republican leader this morning, senator mcconnell. i struggle to understand one aspect of his speech. he referred to the notion of
helping those who are facing eviction as some form of socialism. what we are doing of course is to try to make certain that all of these people have a roof over their heads, and some of them are going through extraordinarily difficult economic challenges and extraordinarily difficult public health challenges. the money that we're sending their way is not just for them obviously, but also to benefit the landlords, the people who own the property that they occupy. now that is not unusual for this congress in the midst of this pandemic to step up and help small businesses like landlords who are trying to pay their mortgages during this difficult time, when they have tenants who are going through economic distress. i don't think that's socialism. it wasn't socialism when we created the p.p.p. program in 2020 on a bipartisan basis with record-breaking sums of money to give to small businesses to help them through this treacherous
times of this pandemic. it was just common sense. our economy was taking a hit, and they were too. we wanted the day to come when we could deal with this pandemic effectively and also that they could return to their businesses. was that socialism, that we would have that kind of an effort? i don't think so. and as a matter of fact, when it came to passing that legislation, it was bipartisan and virtually unanimous. president trump supporting it as well as speaker pelosi when it all came to pass. it's an indication of bridging the vast political differences in this country when an emergency demanded it. i don't think that's socialism. when it comes to those tenants who are trying to struggle to get by in these difficult times, helping them and the landlords whose property they occupy is not socialism. it's what america is all about. it is of course an involvement of the government, and we all voted for that, but it is in a specific context of helping people.
what the president has now proposed beyond this infrastructure bill that we're facing is that we look at other aspects of family life where we can help families cut the cost of the basics that they face, whether it's child care or sending a child to college. i don't think it's socialingistic to say we want two additional years of education for the graduates of high school in america so they're prepared to compete in the 21st century. that's just common sense. socialism? i don't believe it's even close to socialism. it's really preparing them for a competitive entrepreneurial economy and for success in life. that to me is a noble goal whatever party is behind it. when it comes to the debt ceiling in this country i hope we can find a way to deal with this responsibly. it has always been a political football depending on which party is in power. to risk the possibility of default on america's debt at this moment in our economic history is a dangerous,
dangerous undertaking. we need to do the right thing. we have to concede the obvious. certainly the previous president, trump, didn't win any accolades for fiscal conserving -- conservatism. the important thing is the nation move forward to an economy that is expanding. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. carper: for the -- the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: before the democratic whip leaves the floor, i just want to thank him for raising three words -- ohio state university. and as a proud buckeye, -- no, we want to be humble. my he ears picked up. i used to be a navy rotc midshipman there for a number of years. i have great memories of being part of the student body there
and part of the navy rotc unit. i later had the opportunity, as my colleague knows, i joined forces in the u.s. house of representatives in 1982, one of the largest freshman classes ever. it seems like yesterday. and i went on to -- he went on to serve in the senate. i went on to serve as governor. one of the things i never thought about as governor is the job of governor to nominate people to serve on courts. i never thought about it. as it turns out, delaware, given the positions we have in corporate law and other parts of our economy and business, judicial appointments are oversized. they are really extremely important. while i haven't given -- i remember i had i think 45 joint appearances with my republican opponent when i ran for governor. 45 in the year 1992. and not once did anybody ever ask of either of us what would you look for in nominating
judges? it turned out to be very important. in economics, got an m.b.a., but i don't pretend to be an expert on legal matters. i felt it was important to have a judiciary that was diverse, that looked like delaware. i think the same is true here for our country. district court judges, appeals courts, and the supreme court. i always wanted to nominate people who were bright, who were smart, intellectually curious. i wanted to nominate people who were hardworking, who brought a diversity of experiences to the bench. and mostly, i wanted to nominate people who were able to make good decisions, even tough decisions, and were fair and treated everybody and their courts before them with fairness. the reputation of the nominee that you have referred to, i think she checks all those boxes. i just want to thank you for raising her before us here today. thank you. i would also like to have our colleague from louisiana who is here with us today.
he has worked hard along with 21 of our colleagues to fashion a bipartisan consensus to build on the work of, among other, the environment and public works committee on infrastructure. we worked hard in our committee. shelly capito, our lead republican and myself and 18 others to report and to vote on legislation, water infrastructure here, drinking water, waste water sanitation legislation. we voted on it a couple of months ago. we have to report it unanimously out of committee. 89-2, the same bill came up here 89-2. we have used that as one of the building blocks on which the bipartisan infrastructure package is fashioned. we also had in the environment and public works committee to support the leadership of our ranking members, senator capito and the participation of every single united states senator who gathered input to help us fashion legislation on our committee, on water, drinking
water, waste water, on roads, highways, blidges, climate. in order to be able to put together a foundation, if you will, in which the gang of -- what's affectionately called the gang of 22 has built this infrastructure, along with the help of the administration, a lot of other folks who have participated. i go back and forth on the train. i literally went home last night to delaware, back here this morning. a bit weary, but i was encouraged. so many times over the years people say to me, as i wait to catch a train in wilmington, waiting to catch a train to go back home at the end of the day. people say to me why can't you guys just work together? why can't you work to get stuff done for this country? i think they would be encouraged by what they would have seen and the work of not just the environment and public works committee, but the work of the commerce committee, the work of
the banking committee, the work of the energy and natural resources committee. rather extraordinary. every one of them, democrats, republicans, a couple of independents working together to fashion legislation that's going to help strengthen our economy, make our economy work better, and help provide employment opportunities to literally millions of people at a time when we -- when we need that. and yesterday, i think we had the votes -- correct me if i'm wrong, but more than a dozen votes. we had this week more than a score of votes on amendments to this package, this infrastructure package. one of the things i love about it, a bunch of those amendments were bipartisan. it wasn't just all democrat amendments or republican amendments. they were amendments we offered together. interestingly enough, we had any number of instances that yesterday including late last night when we didn't have long dragout debate or recorded
votes. we actually voice voted a number of the provisions that were being offered to us, amendments being offered. i'm encouraged by that. i note tomorrow morning a lot of us -- i'm not sure how many, but maybe a third of the united states senate will join together and get on a plane. i think an air force plane. we'll head for gillette, wyoming, to say goodbye, say goodbye to a dear friend. and that's -- i talked about mike enzi last week on the floor. i will be brief about him here. mike enzi would have loved what we are doing. he would have loved to be a part of this. he taught me about the 80/20 rule. when i asked him why mike enzi, one of the most conservative republicans we had here in the senate. ted kennedy, one of the most liberal senators we had here in the united states, how could they work together on the health, education, labor,
pension committee and get so much done, and get so much done? and i'll never forget what he said. he gave a speech on the floor here when i was presiding as a brand-new freshman senator 20 years ago. he spoke of the 80-20 rule. i asked him when he finished speaks what is the 80/20 rule. he said it is the secret to ted kennedy and i being successful on the health, education, labor, and pension committee being so successful and taking on legislation and coming up with principled, bipartisan solutions. and he says that ted and i agree on 80% of the issues that come before our committee. we disagree mainly on 20%. what we do on the health, education, labor, pension committee is we focus on the 80% where we agree. we set aside the 20% where we don't agree to another day. come back to it and we will deal with that later on. it worked for them. he would be delighted -- i guess is he is tuned in today somewhere up there. but he would be delighted to see
that this week the 80/20 rule that mike enzi epitomized is alive and well on both sides of the aisle. and i hope that the spirit that has infused our work leading up to the work of our committees, committees of jurisdiction providing the function on which the gang of 20 and the administration went to work i hope is that is -- hope that spt of bipartisanship and mike enzi's 80/20 rule will continue to infuse our work this week and into the later part of this evening. hopefully not too late into the evening. maybe we could wrap things up here in short order. with that, i'm going to yield the floor. i just want to say to everyone who is working hard to make this a productive week, productive mission. say a real thank you. not just to the members of the relevant committees i have been mentioning but everybody, all the folks who serve here, and especially our staffs. i would like to say people ask me sometimes, i say this my
friend senator cassidy from louisiana who is a truly brilliant person and a great colleague to work with. i'd like to say that about senator thune with whom i will be joining in a bible study later again today as we join with the chaplain every day. there are a lot smarter in the united states senate than me, but i am smart enough to hire really smart people. they work hard, i work hard, and we get -- most days, we get a lot done. for all the staff here in this body, in this building, and the staff, committee staff across the capitol and around the world, we especially thank you for your efforts. with that, i yield the floor. mr. thune: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: mr. president, i want to associate myself with the comments of my colleague, the
senator from delaware, with regard to senator enzi. senator enzi who will be laid to rest tomorrow in wyoming was a wonderful public servant and someone who there weren't any pretensions about him. he was a what you see is what you get type of individual, somebody who worked hard every day, was solutions oriented, results oriented, and brought with him a humble spirit and demeanor that we all benefited from here and something i think all of us could aspire to here as well. i was reminded, as my colleague from delaware was speaking first in the old testament book of micah where it says he has told you old man what is good and what does the lord require of you but to do justice and have
kindness and walk humbly with your god. i think that certainly describes senator mike enzi. as we think about him and his family and keep him -- them in our prayers as they prepare for that ceremony tomorrow. mr. president, as a senator from a rural state and a member and former chairman of the senate commerce committee, expanding broadband access to rural areas has long been a priority of mine. given our economy's increasing reliance on broadband in the digital age, it makes sense as part of this infrastructure bill we are prioritizing expanding broadband access to unserved areas. but i have to soy, mr. president, i am concerned because a lot of the money allocated for expanding access, more than $42 billion, would be fund not through -- funneled not through the federal communications commission but through the commerce department's national telecommunications and information administration or ntia which has previously fumbled attempts to bring broadband access to more communities. back in 2009, a government
stimulus bill allocated $4.7 billion to ntia to expand broadband access in rural and underserved areas. it didn't go very well. the agency struggled with implementation. there were serious issues with a number of the projects the agency approved. in fact, 14 projects were either temporarily or permanently halted. other projects resulted in a significant amount of overbuilding, meaning that they resulted in the construction of additional broadband infrastructure in areas that already had access to reliable broadband. a government accountability office report found that the national telecommunications and information administration lacked the data that it needed to determine whether areas were genuinely underserved. more recently, just last month, the ntia called for volunteers, volunteers to evaluate grant proposals. that's right, mr. president. the ntia has called for volunteers to help determine how to allocate the $1.5 billion congress has provided to ntia
over the past year to improve broadband access. now, mr. president, we should think long and hard before giving an agency the authority to administer more than $42 billion in grants when it has to call on volunteers to help allocate a tiny fraction of that money. ntia simply has not demonstrated its ability to administer a grant program of this size and complexity. a much better alternative would be to put the federal communications commission in charge of disbursing broadband funds. in contrast to ntia, which is just 157 employees, the federal communications commission employs more than 1,400 people. it has the staffing resource it needs in house to administer this grant program. the f.c.c. also crucially has the necessary expertise to identify truly unserved areas so that federal dollars go to communities with the most
significant lack of broadband access. mr. president, i propose an amendment to the infrastructure legislation before us that would strike the ntia grant program and redirect that money to bipartisan legislation that i have introduced, the rural connectivity advancement program act. the rural connectivity advancement program act would mandate the net 10% of any proceeds mandated by the federal government go to building out broadband networks with the goal of strengthening connectivity in rural and tribal areas. redirecting the proposed $42 billion in grants to this program would allow the federal communications commission to administer these funds, which would make it more likely that this funding would actually go to meet the broadband needs of unserved communities. on a related note, i've also introduced an amendment to strike a provision of the infrastructure bill that would allow ntia to make changes to the formula that congress is providing to determine what areas of the country are eligible for grants.
why is congress bothering to put funding guardrails in this legislation if it's going to allow ntia to change them at will? as i have said, ntia lacks adequate expertise when it comes to identifying what areas of the country are truly unserved. i'm not sure why we would give ntia to change congress's guidelines and possibly further diminish the chance that this grant program. offered by the ranking member of the commerce committee that would have provided critical safeguards should ntia establish this program. there were reportedly assurances from the secretary of commerce about how ntia will implement the bill. if this bill is enacted, the secretary should expect close scrutiny from the commerce committee and how she will
prevent a past missteps. there have been problems in the past with broadband dollars going to overbuilding of broadband that already have a substantial amount of access and i'm concerned that this bill could result in the same problem. in addition to the ntia grant program, the infrastructure would authorize the department t of agriculture to approve grant funding in areas where 50% of the homes lack adequate accesses to broadband services. while this sounds like an appropriate percentage, the truth is a grant for building out broadband in an area where 50% of the homes that have access will likely result in significant overbhilding at taxpayer -- overbuilding at taxpayer expense. we seem to have forgotten this should be limited. there are areas where there is almost no broadband infrastructure to build on. and those are the first places where we need to direct available government funding,
which is why i'm offering an amendment to change the formula that proposed grants cover an area where at least 80% of homes lack broadband access. this bipartisan amendment deserves a vote. mr. president, i'm also concerned that we're advancing this bill without many of the provisions, particularly the broadband components going through regular committee consideration. commerce committee has a long history of advancing consideration for broadband services. rushing this and the subject matter expertise that they offer could lead to billions of dollars being spent with little to show. mr. president, i'm appreciative of the efforts of the bipartisan negotiators who crafted this bill. i know they share my goal of targeting broadband resources to those most in need. and i'm very pleasedded that my telecommunications skilled workforce act amendment received a vote the other day and passed the senate by an overwhelmingly
bipartisan margin. this amendment would help ensure that we develop the workforce necessary to meet the demands of the next generation of mobile broadband internet 5g. i hope, mr. president, that we'll also have a chance to vote on my other amendments, those i just mentioned and amendments being offered by my colleagues. infrastructure legislation is tremendously important to our economy and we need to take the time to get this legislation right. and that means giving senators who are not part of the working group adequate time to offer amendments and hopefully improve this product. we made some progress on that front this week and i hope we'll make more before finishing this bill. mr. president, i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: mr. president, i just want to say -- i was almost at a loss for words and i know i'm not standing where i normally stand as a result. this week you gave your first speech, your first speech and i -- not everybody was able to hear it. a lot of people, democrats and republicans were here. i just want to say again how much i enjoyed it. old navy guy and not so old navy guy, we're very proud of your service in uniform and also proud of your service here. delighted that you're a member of our environment and public are works committee as we have done really good work. and thank you for your help and contributions. i have a couple of unanimous consent requests.
mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to submit to the record a list of studies presenting a strong basis of evidence for the conclusion that discrimination against minority and women-owned businesses continues to affect the construction and architecture and engineering and related service transportation contracting markets nationwide. these disparity studies contain regular statistical analyses to determine whether business discrimination, whether it is based upon race or gender continues to exist and review of these studies reveal that the answer is sadly a resounding yes. therefore the current disadvantaged enterprise provisions are still warranted, and i would ask to submit to the record those disparity studies. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: thank you. also, mr. president, i have a second unanimous consent request i want to mention, and that's a request to place letters of support for electric school
buses into the record. and, mr. president, i want to ask unanimous consent to submit for the record two letters. one from three american school bus manufacturers and another from 125 nonprofit foundations, business, health, and scientific organizations and advocacy groups in support of electric school buses. it highlights the fact that no other school bus manufacturer has more emissions than electric school buses and both letters highlight that it will drive demand for electric school buses and -- message from these diverse groups to congress is clear, investing in electric school buses supports american workers and american manufacturers. not only that, it cleans up our air, protects our kids and our
planet on which we live. that's my unanimous consent request, mr. president. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: mr. president, i showed up at pensacola at the age of 21 to be a navy mid-shipman, before they put us through airplanes, they put us through a rigorous physical regimen. i worked out six or seven days a week then and i come close to that today. i like to run outside. this last week we have done a lot of work, not on the senate floor, but behind the scenes on electric school buses to make sure we would be able to provide funding for a lot of it going forward and one morning i went out running and it was still almost dark and i was almost run over by two electric buses and i said, no, wait, i'm on your
side. i had a nice chat with a couple of drivers and so i live here to present this -- this message and these unanimous consent requests today. i also want to say we did go to work yesterday, democrats and republicans working together, much of the amendments were adopted, one or two not, but a good spirit last night well into the night. and good work has been done, has continued into the evening and again this morning on both sides of the aisle to find some additional compromises. i'm told several amendments are ready to be brought to the floor. i would just say to my colleagues, bring them. if you got something you think is ready for prime time, if it's democrat, republican, a combined bipartisan amendment, bring it. let's hear about it, let's have a chance to discuss it and to vote on it. we're going to be up -- we could be late into the night, we're going to be up really early in the morning, 7:00
flight out of andrews, at least we leave here for andrews, to at trend a memorial service for senator enzi tomorrow. i think we do as much as we can this morning and, it's noon, high noon, get started now and i think we'll be glad that we did. with that, i yield the floor and notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: i rise today to some --. the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i rise today with some sad, some horrible news. about the passing of a great friend, rich trumka, who left us this morning. the working people of america have lost a fierce warrior at a time when we needed him most. just yesterday rich was lending his support to the striking miners in alabama. following in his father's footsteps, he worked in the mines. he went to penn state, earned his law degree, didn't practice, didn't go to some fancy place. went right to work for the united mine workers, which he led for so many years, and then he became head, first secretary
treasurer in the afl-cio. he had in his veins, in every atom of his body, the heart, the thoughts, the needs of the working people of america. he was them. rich trumka was the working people of america. he never had any airs. he never put it on. and he cared about his fellow workers so. he was a great leader. he knew that the working -- that the labor movement and working people had to expand and be diverse. one of his passions as a labor leader was immigration reform, which i talked to him about repeatedly, because they were working people too, no matter where they came from or what they looked like. it's just horrible news.
i'll have more to say about it later, but i wanted to inform my colleagues that we have just lost a giant, and we need him so. we will remember him forever, and his memory will, i know, importune all of us to do more, even more for the working people of america, who rich trumka so dearly and deeply loved. i of why. -- i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: are we in a quorum call, mr. president? the presiding officer: we are not. ms. stabenow: mr. president, i just wanted to lend words in support of what majority leader schumer just said about rich trumka and send my prayers and love to barbara and his family. everyone in the labor movement, what a strong, vibrant, committed leader. we've worked together on so many different issues, and it was always about is this going to create good-paying jobs? are workers going to be able to have their voice in the workplace? is there standard of living going to increase? what are we doing for folks? are we bringing jobs home? are we creating jobs here? what are we doing for the backbone of our country, which
are working men and women? so i just want to indicate my profound sadness and shock, and my love and support for all of those who i know are very sad and grieving at this moment. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: mr. president, i rise today to highlight an important component of the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that we are now debating.
this legislation includes new investments that will help communities in michigan and across the country address the serious risk posed by severe flooding, shoreline erosion, and other natural disasters. as a result of climate change, we're continuing to experience an increase in the frequency and intensity of severe weather events. in june, southeast michigan faced yet another severe flooding event that tragically led to two deaths, damaged small businesses, and thousands of homes and devastated families. the federal government has spent many billions of dollars to help respond to and recover from disasters. however, until very recently, we chronically underinvested in mitigating the effects of disasters before they occur,
despite the fact that it protects lives, safeguards property, and saves taxpayer dollars. in fact, studies show that every dollar invested in hazard mitigation or prevention saves as much as $6 for the taxpayers. this package provides critical investments to a number of mitigation programs, but i want to highlight just one in particular, the storm act. last year, i authored bipartisan legislation to create a new revolving loan program to be overseen by the federal emergency management agency, or fema. in january of this year, that bill was signed into law establishing a new program to help our communities tackle this rising threat. as the senate crafted this important bipartisan infrastructure package over the past few weeks, i was able to work with my colleagues to
secure $500 million in initial funding for this program, the first federal investment that will kick start loans for communities all across our country to begin addressing this serious problem. with this down payment, states will receive funding to create revolving loan funds, to support local government investments in hazard mitigation projects that will help reduce natural disaster risk. the low interest loans provided by this program will offer critical resources to cash-strapped local communities. over time, repayment of those loans at an extremely low interest rate will provide states with a self-sustaining fund that they can use to continue improving resill yens -- resiliency in other localities. because the revolving loan funds are managed at the state level, each state will have the authority to prioritize funding for these projects with the
greatest needs rather than having the federal government make those decisions. this flexibility will allow states to focus on protecting vulnerable communities which are particularly hard hit by extreme weather events. additionally, unlike other mitigation programs, the storm act is the first program to allow states to invest in projects to mitigate shoreline erosion, rising water levels, and severe rainfall that can wreak havoc on public and private property alike. this is especially important for my home state of michigan where great lakes communities have endured flooded campgrounds, streets, and basements because of storm water drainage issues, boating problems due to sub merged structures and the destruction of beaches and homes from high water levels. funding for the storm act, along with other mitigation funds
provided in this legislation, will help transform our country into a more resilient nation and save us money in the long run. i urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this critical investment in mitigation and enacting the bipartisan infrastructure investment and jobs act. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
measure, which senator shaheen has joined me in sponsoring, builds on an initiative in which the two of us worked together in 2016. entitled the survivors bill of rights act that earlier legislation cleared the senate judiciary committee in june of 2016 during my tenure as a chairman. the house of representatives introduced a similar package of rights some months later and that version was enacted in the fall of 2016 with my strong support. the 2016 statute provides very important rights for victims of sexual violence, but that act only accomplishes those cases that are federal. such rights include, for
example, the right to know the results of your forensic exam, the right to have evidence preserved for a certain period, and lastly, the right to knots before your forensic -- right to notice before your forensic kit is destroyed. amanda wynn is leading the effort to persuade other jurisdictions to adopt the same rights for all sexual assault victims. one of those jurisdictions is my home state of iowa which this summer adopted a package of rights that closely modeled after the federal survivors bill of rights. i want to take the opportunity to again thank amanda, who arrived in my office six years
ago and convinced me the importance of working with her on this important initiative. amanda also later testified before the judiciary committee not once but twice at my invitation about the importance of protecting the rights of victims of sexual violence in our criminal justice system. amanda worked with senator shaheen on this same legislation as well as this senator, and i'm pleased to partner with senator shaheen again in introducing today's measure that will affect -- hopefully affect more states adopting this legislation. this bill that we sponsored then gives each state a financial incentive to adopt new rights
for survivors in all sex crime cases, modeled on the same rights that victims in federal cases now enjoy. each state that extends these same rights to survivors of sexual violence would then be eligible to receive a federal grant under the legislation that we've introduced. the amount of each state grant would be calculated based on the formula that is used to calculate stop grants funding to states under a program that's authorized by the violence against women act. finally, this measure that we have introduced would authorize $20 million annually for each of the next five fiscal years to support the implementation of
the new grant program established by this bill. so once again i want to thank senator shaheen for joining me in leading this legislation and for her commitment to working to increase protections for victims of sexual viebles. i also -- violence. i also want to thank the national alliance to end sexual violence for working with us on the bill's development. finally, i thank congresswoman jackie spear and kelly armstrong for initiating this measure in the other chamber. i urge my colleagues to join us in cosponsoring this bipartisan, bicameral legislation. i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. we're in a quorum call. mr. young: i move to vitiate the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. young: mr. president, when i first ran for congress in 2010, then-vice president biden was on a recovery summer tour. you see, on the heels of a $1 trillion stimulus package, he argued millions of jobs would magically appear. happy days are here again. when that summer ended, the unemployment rate was 9.4%.
280,000 jobs vanished. if ever there was a show that did not deserve a sequel, this was it. but that's exactly what the american people are living through right now. when they passed their $1.9 trillion son of stimulus package earlier this year, the president and his friends in congress promised millions of jobs and another summer of recovery. like the original, this sequel is a flop. that's because once again our friends across the aisle are confusing taxpayer priorities with a liberal wish list. i see at home the cost of living is rising for hoosier families and job creators.
you take a trip to my hometown grocery in greenwood, indiana, the cost of steak and chicken and bread have all increased. and across the board, the cost of putting food on the table is going up over 5% since last year. it's not just groceries. the cost of gas and energy and housing and household goods are at historic highs, all while america endures a nationwide crime wave and our borders are overrun. now i know my democratic colleagues don't want to use the "i" word, but let's call it what it is -- inflation. taxation without legislation. and inflation is at its heist
heist -- at its highest level since 2008. we know they want to raise taxes on americans, including those in the middle class, but this is probably not what democrats had in mind. but the president evidently, he's not worried. he says the rising cost of living is only temporary. it's transitory. now look, this is easy for him to say. his pocketbook isn't impacted by inflation. he didn't buy any groceries at the local grocery store or a new fridge for the white house. he's not gassing up the presidential limousine. maybe that explains why he's urging congress to spend another $3.5 trillion taxpayer dollars, $10 billion here for environmental justice, $174
billion there for electric cars. a massive expansion of medicare and medicaid, and trillions more in taxes on american families. as we emerge from a global pandemic. now trust me, i can tell you hoosiers don't want any of that, and nor do the majority of the american people. no more trillion-dollar tax-and-spend rescue plans. they aren't rescuing americans. they're raising their cost of living. don't take it from me. take it from larry summers, president obama's economic advisor. he's warning president biden about inflation, has been for a number of months. in fact, he described recent fiscal macroeconomic policy, including the last round of nearly $2 trillion in stimulus as, i'm quoting here, the
least responsible fiscal macroeconomic policy we've had in the last 40 years. with friends like these, but you know he speaks the truth. i wish the president would listen to secretary summers. he certainly won't listen to us. we're not arguing for inaction, though. in fact, we're willing to collaborate. we know there's need for targeted and responsible government spending tied to actual results on core infrastructure, on workforce training, on cutting-edge technology. we just believe that every taxpayer dollar is a sacred trust and we should treat it accordingly. if we're going to invest it, the american people better see
returns. what they're seeing in the democrats' $3.5 trillion budget proposal is a rerun of a failed trillion-dollar tax-and-spend spectacle from just a decade ago. the final act to that show, by the way, was not recovery. it was the american people handing control of the house of representatives over to the republican party. the president should keep that in mind. the president should keep that in mind. mr. president, i yield. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i rise with -- i don't know if i've actually said this on the floor. i rise with a heavy heart because of the death earlier today of longtime friend rich
trumka who was longtime president of the national afl-cio. i call him a friend because my wife connie and i, who is in the gallery with our grandson clayton, my wife connie and i walked picket lines with rich trumka, done rallies with rich trumka, spoken on behalf of workers with rich trumka. he was a son of our part of the country -- pennsylvania, west virginia, ohio. coal miner, not just the son of a coral -- coal miner. i believe he told me once the grandson of a coal miner. he embodied the soul of the labor movement. he understood workers. he was for them and of them in ways that our unusual and america in the 21st century. he understood and lived and fought for the dignity of work, the idea that hard work should pay off for everyone.
he understood what a woman from southern west virginia said to me some weeks ago at a dignity of work hearing in the banking, housing, and urban affairs committee that i chair. she said the words working and poor should not be in the same sentence. think about that. the words working and poor should not be in the same sentence. rich trumka understood the dignity of work, if you work hard, whether you punch a clock or swipe a badge or work for salary or work for tips or take care of children or grandchildren or children or grandparents, that hard work should be rewarded, that no one that works hard should not have a decent standard of living. few in this country have done more for workers than rich, giving workers a voice has been his life's work from his days in the mines when he an outspoken advocate for trade unionism. he understood it was unions that carrying a union, that carrying a union card was about
empowering workers. if you join a union, you make better wages, you get better benefits, you get health insurance, you have more power over your schedule, you have a safety net often when tragedy strikes. rich understood that. he understood that unions help build careers and provide for families. our hearts are with barbara, his wife, and their son. with all the workers around the country. i can't even imagine how many workers rich trumka touched. i looked at the impact of just the work he did with me let alone with so many in this body, the work he did fighting for pensions and with his support leading the charge, really, a million families in the united states, more than a million families had their pensions restored back in march when we passed the american rescue plan. he understood the importance of the child tax credit. he understood the importance of
the affordable care act. he understood the importance of the protecting the right to organize, which 47 senate democrats are cosponsors of. he knew that he was even yesterday going to call with workers in alabama helping to encourage them to organize. he knew that his job as a labor leader was to represent the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of members and their families, but to always try to recruit new people to join the labor movement, and he knew that it was an uphill fight because of the way that the system is rigged towards corporations and towards employers. we -- he would say if he were here, he would say how important it is to carry on with or without him, carry on his life's work by standing in solidarity with all the men and women of the labor movement who built the strongest middle class the world
has ever seen. we see that middle class shrinking day by day, slowly shrinking. and the reason is because we see the number of union members shrinking. and he knew the way to turn that around was protecting the right to organize act. he knew the way to turn that around was to get more people organized, more people, give them the option -- half of america would like to join a union, surveys say, at least half if they have the opportunity. most don't because of the outmoded, outdated, rigged against them labor laws in this country. but rich understood that. he understood people staying in the middle class, the union card help. people join the middle class, expanding the middle class. also one other point, mr. speaker, is -- mr. president, i thought of what rich trumka did. one of the things i worked most of my career on was a better fair trade policy. we have seen -- i voted against every single trade agreement
that came in front of me until two years ago, and that's because rich trumka played a major role in changing nafta, changing the the united states-mexico-canada agreement and put in language that senator lankford and i worked on. mr. president, the way that rich trumka understood government is if you put workers at the center of our policy, workers at the center of our trade policy, workers at the center of our tax policy, workers at the center of everything we do here, call it the dignity of work, call it the dignity of putting workers at the center, you do that, everything right will flow from there. we will have a more just society, a more prosperous society, we will have more opportunity for our children. that's what rich trumka was, that's what he stood for, that's what he was all about. that's the fight, mr. president, that we need to carry on on his behalf and in his memory. thank you. i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from nevada. ms. rosen: mr. president, before i begin, i want to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of richard trumka, just as my colleagues have been speaking of him so wonderfully. you know, during his time leading the afl-cio, he was a tireless defender of workers and the rights of working americans all across our country. he recognized the capability of what americans, what they could achieve by working together. he fought fiercely to help build something better for our country and for our country's workforce. my thoughts are with his family and his loved ones, and let us all take an inspiration and lessons from the trail that he blazed. which is why i rise today to discuss a bill that would also
help to build something better for our country as well as our country's workers, the infrastructure investment and jobs act. this bipartisan bill is an opportunity for the united states senate to make a major investment in our communities, in our states, in our country. the goal of the g-22 bipartisan working group which i was proud to join earlier this year has been to develop full, comprehensive legislation that will make a real meaningful difference in people's lives, and now, now we are close to seeing that goal achieved. this bill has been years in the making. during my time in congress, we have gone from one infrastructure week to the next with never much to show for it until now. it's not hyperbole to say that our bipartisan bill will be the most significant investment in american infrastructure since we built the interstate highway
system. and i know that for my state, for nevada, these investments, well, they're going to make a real difference because this bill takes steps to support our traditional infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our rail, our transit. you know, in nevada, there are over 1,000 miles of highway in our state that are in need of repair, and well over two dozen of nevada's bridges that need to be restored. we have all experienced driving on cracked roads and broken down bridges. we know the toll it takes. and this degradation, it poses serious safety concerns. it increases commute times. it costs nevada drivers hundreds each year in costs, maybe thousands, due to poor conditions. and now, right now, we have an opportunity to make critical upgrades and repairs, both for those who call the silver state home and for the millions, millions of travelers that visit us from far and wide.
our bill would also provide funding to expand our roads, bridges, highways, in nevada and across the whole country, mr. president, from your state of maine all the way down to us in southern nevada. as a member of the group that negotiated this bipartisan legislation, i'm proud that our bill provides flexible funding to states and communities to address their unique challenges. in nevada, that means meeting the needs of a growing population and making our state accessible to visitors who contribute to our economy and support our job-creating businesses. the infrastructure investment and jobs act, well, it meets that need by providing growing concern states like mine, nevada, critical funding for surface transportation investments. the bill would also make significant investments in accessible public transport and rail systems to ease travel for people in our cities and to
connect our rural and suburban communities to our urban cores. and through the bill's investment in western water systems, we can transport water across communities to better meet needs swiftly and develop important water recycling and reuse projects that will go a long way to providing greater access to water, something especially needed in my state and so many others as we deal with the current historic drought conditions. but beyond traditional infrastructure investments, this bill is also forward thinking in its scope and in its intent. the infrastructure investment and jobs act, well, it just doesn't invest in solutions to our current problems. it will help invest in the success of our nation's future and our ability to overcome emerging problems through energy and cybersecurity infrastructure like my cyber sense act,
bipartisan legislation that is included in this legislation to ensure the cybersecurity of technologies used in our bulk power system. you know, addressing these emerging challenges, it took hard work and it took compromise exactly what our constituents expect of us, but which congress far too often fails to deliver. many of you know that the process of bringing this bill together involved numerous meetings, long hours, and many discussions across party lines on all the issues involved, and i was proud to take part in helping put this bill together because i wanted to be the voice at the table for nevadans, that voice at the negotiating table that they need me to be. and i wanted to make sure that we addressed the issues important to our state. and i'm here to say that this bill does just that.
this bill includes investments that will uniquely benefit nevada now and for years to come by increasing access to broadband, by upgrading our state's airports. two sections of the legislation that i took a leading role in drafting. i don't have to tell anyone, but fast, reliable access to the internet is critical for all of our daily lives, and it has been for decades. the pandemic, well, it only put a spotlight on our current digital divide and the challenges that far too many americans face getting connected. during covid-19, many nevadans went online, well, to conduct business, seek medical care, or pursue education, but our state's broadband disparity limits many nevadans from rural and tribal communities to our underserved areas in our large cities from using or even having the most basic of internet
services. the infrastructure investment and jobs act is going to bring background to communities that have long gone without access. it makes an unprecedented investment in building out broadband infrastructure. never before has congress taken such a bold step to get all americans connected. our bill includes over $42 billion for state broadband deployment grants to connect unserved and underserved communities to high-speed internet. and finally, we will tackle the last mile of challenges that have plagued so many of our communities for years. this bipartisan legislation also includes my middle mile broadband deployment act which i drafted to fund critical broadband infrastructure that connects internet carriers to local networks and community institutions that will serve as
a launching off point and connector for getting broadband out to all the households in their area. it would also make the cost of broadband more affordable to nevada families, providing low-income households support to help pay for this service via the new infrastructure that we are building. initial estimates are that our bipartisan legislation will make broadband access accessible to more than 120,000 nevadans who currently lack it, and it will provide subsidies to about a quarter of our state's residents most in need so that they can afford it. through this bill, we are taking steps to get nevadans connected for success in the 21st century and beyond. the infrastructure investment and jobs act, well, it's also going to help support a key industry of the silver state, travel and tourism. it does so by providing
much-needed funding for airports to expand and upgrade their terms and facilities. as we prepare for a postpandemic world, these critical investments will allow us to bring in travelers and tourists in even greater numbers, and as they come, these visitors will support our state's local businesses, they will boost our communities and our economy. as chair of the senate subcommittee on tourism, trade, and export promotion, i made it my priority to fight for nevada's travel, tourism, and hospitality economy as a member of the g-22, and i will continue to do so. in addition to securing robust funding for our airports, i'm also proud that this legislation includes my bipartisan tourism act which requires that the department of transportation to update its national travel and tourism infrastructure's
strategic plan to develop an immediate term and long-term strategy to use the infrastructure investments that we make today, that we're going to make this week possible to revive the travel and tourism, not just in nevada but of course all across this nation as we come out of a deadly pandemic. through the investments provided in this bill, nevada's travel and tourism industry and hopefully all of our tourism can soar once more. and to make all of these things happen, this bill, our bill, invests in creating jobs, jobs that will help repair and strengthen our infrastructure and jobs that will build our country's new foundation. with the infrastructure investment and jobs act, we can rebuild, we can revamp, we can work through all of our infrastructure, and through that we will create good-paying jobs,
and we will improve lives of hardworking families in communities all across this country. i urge all of my colleagues to choose, to choose to make this investment with us. join us, please, in investing in our families and investing in our communities and investing in our states and in our country's future. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call::
requiring them in public 13% disagreed. even republicans agreed with mandates 58-27. as vaccinations took hold, health officials somewhat surprisingly relaxed those mandates and guidelines. now as they attempt to ramp them up again in response to outbreaks, the flooding is looking much tougher. a new poll shows that only a little more than half of americans are instituting facemasks and social distancing guidelines in your state it displayed is 52% in favor versus 46% opposed and a partisan divide while 85% of democrats support this, about one third agree. emphasizing it is considerably lower bar than a mask and a. merely reinstituting mask and social distancing guidelines.
you can lead to mandates in some areas and coincided with mandates and places such as washington, d.c., sacramento, los angeles, kansas city and new orleans. supporting full mandates as recently as december. that is from the washington post done at the end of july. 49% of the folks say they surveyed favored maxine -- vaccine mandates. 63% of vaccinated american support vaccine mandates, 54% of those supported ask mandates on airplanes. forty-six for concerts and large events. 40% mask mandates in the workplace. that is our opening question for you this morning on what you would support.
mr. carper: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes we are. mr. carper: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: for almost two decades i worked on policies to
clean up diesel dirty engines. i was a governor as was the pro siding officer. during a normal school year i'm told more than 25 million american children ride a school bus every day, or at least every school day, to school. 95% of these buses are powered by diesel fuel and the majority are old, dirty engines that pollute the air, in many cases make our kids sick and impact our climate. when we clean up school buses, it's a win-win situation. our kids get healthier air to breathe, our businesses get the message that it's time to invest here in america on the latest and cleanest technologies and we add to our toolbox tackling
climate change. electric school buses make this win-win possible. school buses have a set route and can be predictably recharged. school buses, unlike other heavy duty vehicles, do not often travel more than 150 miles a day and therefore do not have a range issue with current battery technology. however, electric school buses today are expensive compared to diesel buses. too often buying an electric school bus is hard for schools that are already strapped for cash, especially schools that serve low income and minority populations. the e.p.a. diesel emission reduction act, known as dera, the original cosponsors was john voinovich, of ohio, and yours truly, will help replace diesel
engines with electric vehicles. with the death of john voinovich close to a decade ago, gym jim inhofe has taken up the torch to champion through diesel emission reduction act the problems of replacing dirty diesel engines, including for school buses. however, the deer ra program is woefully underfunded and is not structured to meet school needs. deer ra also does not -- dera also does not prioritize low-income schools. with a new e.p.a. clean school bus program, we can learn from the lessons and make it easier for schools to buy zero-emitting school buses and other school buses certified to meet emission standards.
through this new school -- clean school bus program, we also will use the federal purchasing power to increase the demand for electric school buses, buses that are manufactured here in america in places like, among others, georgia which in turn will help bring down the overall cost of electric school buses for everybody. here's what the clean school bus language in this legislation does. clean school bus program amends the e.p.a. clean school bus program that was originally authorized in the energy policy act of 2005 but never funded by congress or implemented by e.p.a. 16 years ago. e.p.a. has authorized to create a national program to fund the replacement of existing school buses with zero-emitting school buses and other clean school buses through grants and
rebates. the clean school bus program place as priority on schools that serve low-income students or on tribal lands or located in rural areas. and the program can fund up to 100% of the cost of a new school bus. the legislation provides $5 billion in funding for this new clean school bus program over five years. $2.5 billion is allocated exclusively for zero-emission school buses. the remaining $2.5 billion can be used for buses that run on liquefied natural gas, on compressed natural gas, on hydrogen, on propane or biofuels, and can be used for zero emission school buses. my environment and public works committee staff and i along with the administration worked hard to ensure that zero-emitting school buses had dedicated funding in this program and would be eligible for all
program funding. and this agreement does just that. i expect e.p.a. to work to implement this program in a way that focuses on pushing zero-emission technology out into the market, technology that uses fossil fuels that's readily available and economic today and should not be broadly subsidized by taxpayer dollars. my hope is that this is just a downpayment and that congress will invest in the future even more in zero-emitting school buses. our kids and our climate can't wait. they deserve it. and we need to deliver for them. and with that i yield to the senator from iowa. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: on january 27 of this year, the biden administration put out a wide
ranging executive order on tackling climate change. tucked in that executive order was a line directing secretaries of agriculture, interior, and commerce to develop a plan to conserve at least 30% of our lands and waters by 2030. this plan is commonly referred to as the 30 by 30. to reach the biden administration's goal of 30% of the land and conservation by 2030, the federal government will have significant work ahead of them to accomplish that. this is what 30% means. 30% of the land would mean that we'll need $440 -- 440 million
additional acres in permanent conservation. to put 440 million acres of land into perspective, it's the equivalent of taking the state of iowa and putting all of iowa's land into permanent conservation, but that's still not enough to get to 440 million acres. you'd repeat that 11 more times to reach the biden administration's goals of 30% of the land in conservation by 2030. this is not really an attempt to conservation. it's an attempt to confiscation, even though the confiscation would be rewarded presumably by annual payments from the federal government. between the 30 by 30 land grab and the waters of the u.s.
rewrite, it's clear that this administration simply does not understand rural america. if they did understand, then they would realize that farmers are the first and best conservationists because it's good for their pocketbook and good for the environment. if the united states decides to go forward with the 30-by-30 plan, we already know what will happen. this rhetoric empowers our nation's corn and soybean competitors to increase their output. now, brazil is the best example of our corn and soybean competitors. so let's look at brazil. this week the brazilian house of representatives advanced a bill that their president supports
that allows the squatters on public lands in the amazon rain forest to more easily receive deeds to their property. there's nothing wrong with deeds to property but what this is going to do is allow squatters to burn the forest to plant corn and soybeans. let me tell you how significant this burning is. and this was a few years ago i read this but i read from the astronauts in our space station circling the globe. they said there was two significant things that stand out on the earth's surface when you look down. number one is the great wall of china and number two is the smoke coming from the burning of the rain forest. now, brazil has already plowed under more than half of the
tropical savannah. it is a vital storehouse for carbon dioxide. that has been disappearing at the rates faster than even the amazon rain forest. if we tie the hands of american farmers, our competitors in -- like the ones in brazil will continue to meet the needs of a growing hungry world. and by 2050, the world population will grow to nine billion people and you're going to have to feed them. and i don't think the united states should creed our leadership in production agriculture to other countries that already have a poor environmental standard. so what you're saying in this sore -- soranno where the carbon
is already sequestered, that somehow we ought to have a policy here to store more carbon by more conservation but let them plow up more in brazil. the five-year farm bill already does a great job of encouraging farmers and land owners to preserve fragile lands enhancing the environmental benefits for all americans. these farm bill provisions are referred to as working lands programs, programs like the environmental quality incentive program that goes by the acronym equip or the conservation stewardship program we call c.s.b. these programs provide incentives to help producers adopt management practices on their ground that allows the
land to stay in production while improving environmental outcomes. if the biden administration focuses on these long-time conservation programs, my speech today would be praising those efforts, but instead this administration has proposals that take productive farm land out of production, placing the u.s. at a competitive advantage. and we've learned from the conservation reserve program, c.r.p. as we call it in agriculture, the c.r.p. program we've had around for decades, about 24 million acres is in c.r.p. now. but we learned a lesson from the early days of the c.r.p. that you take too much land out of production in one local area and it hurts the small business people that either serve farmers after their products leave the
farm or serve the farmers with input into agriculture. so later on we had to put a requirement that no more one county, 25% of one county can be put into the c.r.p. and even doing that, we have counties in southern iowa that have 25% of their land in c.r.p. and we know even there that limit of 25% still we have lost a lot of small business people that work with farmers and you ruin the small communities of states that have that problem. so we -- i would be praising these efforts if this is what the administration was satisfied with, but instead they have these proposals to take productive farm land out of
production putting our competitors at a financial disadvantage. these idea also make it harder for new and beginning farmers to compete on rental rates and gain access to land. another lesson we learned in the years 2013, 2014, and 2015, we changed it in the 2018 farm bill but we learned in 2014, 2015, and 2018, when they are being paid more to take their land out of production, is the going rate for cash rent in those areas when the government becomes an unfir competitor -- unfair competitor pay more, then the landlords put their land in c.r.p. and the farmers that were farming that land can't farm it anymore because they can't afford to compete with what the government is paying. now there's a limit that that cash rent from the government can't be more than 80% of the
average cash rent in a particular county so we kind of overcome that problem. but if you're going to have to pay farmers now to put 30% of the land in production, you're going to lose a lot of small farmers that are cash renters. and we shouldn't be having the government be an unfair competitor against the farmers that pay cash rent. so these farmers understand how conservation sustainable agriculture affects productivity and generational prosperity. it's important for us to leave the land better than we found it for our children and grandchildren. so far the biden administration has said their 30-by-30 plan focuses on voluntary measures. well, farmers can make a choice to do it or not, but to get to 440 million additional acres in conservation, you'd be foolish
to think that voluntary measures are going to get to the goal that this administration wants. instead of focusing on taking more land out of production agriculture, let's work on a strategy that allows farmers to continue to farm their land while improving environmental outcomes. i yield. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator for maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. president. i came to the floor today to make remarks in support of the bipartisan infrastructure modernization plan, but before i do that, i do want to take a moment to remember a real giant
of the american working people and that's richard trumka, the head of the afl-cio, somebody who got up every single morning thinking about how to make life better for working people in america. he was passionate about it. he was a fellow marylander. we're going to miss him but i know that we will continue to be inspired by his example and his understanding that when working people ban together to form a union, that is the best way for them to be able to bargain for better wages and better benefits and a better retirement, a better life. and so i know that we will all carry on in his memory. and as we take up this bill to modernize our infrastructure, it was something that he worked with us on to ensure that, as we
modernize our infrastructure, we also create good-paying jobs. and i do think that this bill will modernize our infrastructure and generate millions of good-paying jobs for the american people. now, mr. president, it was just about six months ago that i came to the floor to urge my senate colleagues to heed the call of the american people and pass the american rescue plan. at that time, the country was being ravaged by the covid-19 pandemic. the economy was in a slump. the country was hurting, the american people were hurting. the american rescue plan was designed to accelerate the deployment of vaccines to defeat the pandemic, to extend a hand to those who had been hardest hit, and to boost an economic comeback. we knew we had to be bold, we had to be quick, and we had to be decisive in our actions or risk a drawn-out recovery and a
weakened public health response. that legislation, the american rescue plan, promised immediate action to meet the urgency of the moment, and that's exactly what it did. thanks to the american rescue plan, we jump-started the deployment of the coronavirus vaccines in faster and fairer ways, distributed around the country. thanks to the american rescue plan, millions of american households received a new round of direct payments, bringing their total relief payment, including the december relief bill, to up to $2,000 per person. the american rescue plan also expanded the child tax credit that cut child poverty nearly in half this year, with millions of american families receiving up to $300 each month for each child. and because of the american rescue plan, state and local governments are receiving the direct funding they need to keep
frontline workers on the job and continue essential benefits to lift up our communities. and thanks to the american rescue plan, we secured federal funds to keep restaurants and small businesses afloat, assist children with disabilities, get our kids back in school more quickly and more safely, and bolstered child care, helped more people get connected to the internet during this time when we had to experience so much social distancing, and much more. that plan was a victory. it was a victory for our families, for our workers, for small businesses, for communities, for the country. and while we know we have more work to do to defeat the delta variant of the virus, today more than 70% of the adult population has gotten at least one shot of the covid-19 vaccine. and last quarter our economy grew at an annualized rate of
6.5%, and our gross domestic product rose for the first time from the beginning of the pandemic to the point where it had been before that started. thanks to the american rescue plan and the resilience of the american people, we are building back from this crisis. but while building back is good, it's not good enough. as president biden has said, we need to not just build back but build back better. and building back better means not only growing our economy bigger and faster but providing for more inclusive growth and more shared prosperity. we cannot accept an economy where the already-rich grow every richer while everyone else is running in place or falling behind. a rising tide must lift all
boats, not just the yachts. president biden has laid out two important pieces to advance the better part of the build back better agenda. one is the american jobs plan. the other is the american families plan. both of these plans and more are key to building an economy that works for everyone and not just those who are already at the top. the bipartisan infrastructure plan that we're considering now contains many elements of the biden american jobs plan. and while i wish it included even more, it is a very important start, and i strongly support it. and i appreciate the bipartisan cooperation that helped advance this plan, including the efforts of the presiding officer. these combined efforts have produced a plan that will make
key investments in virtually every part of our infrastructure. it will include investments in our transit systems and railways and help repair our roads and bridges and tunnels and more. it makes the largest investment in clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in american history. and, very importantly, this legislation includes essential investments to build the backbone of a modern 21st century economy, including funds to expand broadband so we can bridge the digital divide and funds to start building out our clean energy grid and the deployment of electric charging stations. mr. president, i was proud to work with my colleague and friend from maryland, senator cardin, to secure some key elements that will directly support our home state of maryland and people who live there, and i'd like to take a
moment to discuss the impact of this legislation here in maryland. starting with the funds that it provides to repair and restore our roads, our bridges, and our tunnels, under this plan, the state of maryland will receive $4.1 billion for federal highways and $409 billion for bridge replacement and repairs over the next five years. these funds will be absolutely vital as we work to restore 273 bridges and over 2,000 miles of maryland highway that are in poor condition and in desperate need of repair. this plan also makes an historic investment in public transit and rail systems in maryland and the d.m.v. area. maryland will receive $1.7 billion over five years to improve public transportation options across our entire state, and this legislation will make
an important down payment on our amtrak passenger rail systems by addressing the big repair backlog along amtrak's northeast corridor and by supporting projects like the b.n.p. tunnel in baltimore, which is used by nine billion travelers every year but has faced fire safety concerns for far too long. restoring this tunnel could slash the time it takes to get from baltimore to washington down to just 30 minutes and create 30,000 jobs, and it's a shining example of the type of projects that could be funded by this bill. and we expect will be funded by this bill. mr. president, as you know, we're not just talking about heavy rail. this plan also authorizes transit moneys, and importantly it continues the $150 million
annual federal contribution to the washington area metro system known as wmata. we call it the nation's metro system. this bill will extend the federal authorization at $150 million for another eight years. this is especially important since that authorization has now expired. it's also important because this new version includes provisions to strengthen wmata's inspector general's authority in order to improve oversight and passenger safety. it's a big win for passengers and transit employees alike, and i'm delighted to see that five-year -- excuse me, eight-year authorization in this bill. that's good news for this part of the region and for this part of maryland that's covered by wmata, but, mr. president, in the baltimore area, many residents don't have easy access
to accessible, affordable transit that can get them where they need to go around the city or the region when they need to go there. that's why we also secured a provision in this bill to keep alive future federal funding for the baltimore red line metro system. this is a project that had been years in the making, and if completed would boost jobs and economic growth, reduce travel times in the baltimore region, alleviate congestion, and reduce air pollution. the maryland delegation fought for years to get this project to the front of the line, and in 2015 we were pleased to secure $900 million in federal funds for the baltimore red line project. but then something happened. the maryland governor pulled the plug on the entire red line project, turning down the jobs
and improved transportation network for the baltimore area. area cities and regions around the country were celebrating when they got those funds instead of baltimore. senator cardin and i have not given up, and while the federal government cannot by itself bring this project online, this bill states that the federal government is still a willing partner on the red line when state and local officials signal that they're ready and willing to move forward again. at the end of the day, the transportation investments made in this bill will facilitate people and products moving more quickly throughout their regions and throughout the country. it invests in airports and ports , including $17 billion in ports like the port of baltimore and others around the country. this funding will benefit our port, the port of baltimore,
which is a key asset in our state and a powerful engine for economic and job growth. it's currently a hub for 15,000 jobs with room for growth that can be fueled by this bill. i was pleased to join others in welcoming our secretary of transportation, pete buttigieg, to baltimore last week. this legislation helps us make good on that commitment. and i partnered with colleagues over the years to secure over $500 million in federal funds for that port, including funds to dredge channels in the chesapeake bay and the baltimore harbor so that they're deep enough to accommodate the biggest ships. speaking of the chesapeake bay, every marylander knows that the health of the bay is deeply
bound to maryland's local economy and maryland's environmental well-being. and i'm secured pleased that we secured money for the chesapeake bay program to help us meet the pollution-reduction targets that are spelled out in the most recent multistate chesapeake bay agreement as part of this legislation. madam president, while this legislation provides foreign investments to modernize the infrastructure for this century, we, the federal government, should also take responsibility for the elimination to help eliminate some of the past projects that rather than helping unite communities, divided and harmed them. and there's no clearer example of such a project than what is known as the highway to nowhere in west baltimore. as many marylanders know,the highway to nowhere was a project
conceived in the 1960's as a way to link baltimore with the growing u.s. interstate highway system. instead, it tore west baltimore apart. developers started dividing up the community to make way for the highway. residents were evicted from their homes. businesses were shut down. a black community was split down the middle. -- by that highway to nowhere. it's estimated that 971 houses and 62 businesses were destroyed and over 1,500 residents were displaced. and that has been the story of several other federal infrastructure projects from the 1960's, projects that too often placed pavement over people. madam president, i'm pleased that this bipartisan plan makes at least an initial down payment for the first time to put federal dollars towards removing
harmful infrastructure projects like the highway to nowhere, so we can reconnect these communities and make them whole. this provision was based off a pilot program i authored in 2019. i want to thank my colleagues, senator cardin and carper, for making this a reality and for president biden including it as part of his american jobs plan. while we didn't get the full amount of funds that we'd like, this is a very important first step. and as we dismantle some of the harmful legacy from the 1960's and 20th century projects, we must build out and meet the new needs for the 21st century, like universal affordable access to high-speed internet. and i'm very pleased that maryland will receive a minimum of $100 million from this legislation to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the at least 148,000
marylanders who currently lack it, they're not connected, and it will provide over one million marylanders access to the affordability connectivity benefit plan to help lower-income families afford internet access. it doesn't do you much good to be connected to the internet if you can't afford to use it. this bill also will make important progress a first step toward building out clean energy grid and a network of charging stations to facilitate long distance travel and provide convenient charging options for electric vehicles. madam president, in short for all these reasons this bipartisan bill is an important step to helping us build back better and stronger than before the pandemic. thatat work starts here with ths bill, and i strongly support it. but while that work starts here, it does not stop or end here.
to pass this legislation and then call it quits would be to leave a big part of our job undone. we still have urgent work to do in our mission to enact all of president biden's build back better agenda and address the profound challenges facing our communities that have been exacerbated by this pandemic. and while this bill provides important downpayments in many areas, it does not do everything we need to do. that's especially true when it comes to infrastructure in the area of clean energy. we need to make sure we take up the other big pieces of the clean energy agenda in president biden's american jobs plan and other proposals that many of us have put forward here in this body, including the clean energy standard, including a clean energy accelerator financing
system, and many other provisions in order for us to be true to the science and really confront the climate crisis that is upon us. and as we take those next steps to fully modernize our physical infrastructure, we also have to dramatically expand opportunities for every child and every family and every worker in america. and much of that is laid out in president biden's american families plan, including universal access to early education so every single child regardless of zip code has a chance at a good start in life. making workforce training more affordable and college more affordable, whether it's two years of community colleges or more. and we also have to make sure that we continue to provide support for families in the form of affordable child care and very importantly extend the child tax credit payments that
so many families are now receiving of up to $300 a month. that ends at the end of this year if we don't extend it. and while it's always a good thing to reduce child poverty in america, that reduces it by about half. that would only be true to the end of this year. we need to finish the job and keep going. we also need, madam president, to reduce the costs that are squeezing the pocketbooks of every american family. we need to reduce the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs. we need to reduce the costs of child care. we need to make sure that families don't have to spend more than 8.5% of their budget on their annual health care premiums. and we need to provide more security for everybody, including our seniors by expanding medicare coverage to cover dental and vision and
hearing needs. those are just some of the additional things that we need to do as part of the american families plan and as part of passing the overall build back better agenda. and i look forward to working with my colleagues to do all of that. but every journey begins with a big step, and this is a very important big step forward on that build back better agenda. so, madam president, i'm pleased to join many of my colleagues and i urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan infrastructure modernization bill as part of a very important first step to implement the build back better agenda and make sure that we truly build an economy that works for every american. and i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming.
mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. i come to the floor today to comment on statements made by the majority leader earlier today on this senate floor, and he made those after president biden this morning signed another expensive executive order relating to climate change. the president at the time said it was his goal of making half of all new cars emission free in less than a decade. in practice that means making half of all new cars electric. well, after the president signed his executive order, the majority leader came to the floor and he talked about his own plans to give more of american taxpayer dollars to the manufacturers and purchasers of electric vehicles. he said, quote, we hope to add large parts of the plan. where does he want to add it? he wants to add it to the reckless democrat tax and spending plan.
madam president, the american taxpayers are already giving billions and billions of taxpayer dollars to electric vehicle manufacturers and owners. electric vehicle makers have been given free tax dollars for 30 years. the truth is electric car buyers don't need more taxpayer money. they have plenty of their own. today the market for electric vehicles is very well established. there are more than a million electric vehicles on the road today. they've -- they're being made by everyone. general motors, mercedes-benz, u.s. manufacturers, foreign manufamanufacturers. they're being made all around the world. it's projected that sales of light-duty electric vehicles is going to reach four million by the year 2025. and electric vehicle makers are
doing just fine. they're also receiving free money from just about every state. so who benefits from these taxpayer handouts to electric vehicle makers and users? well, customers are usually wealthy. they don't need more money. seniors on a fixed income certainly in wyoming are not trading in their cars for expensive electric vehicles. middle-class families who are trying to make ends meet, are dealing with inflation that's hitting them every day under the biden economy, they're not going out to buy expensive new electric vehicles. seniors and middle-class families are hurting right now because of inflation hitting them when they buy gas, when they buy groceries, when they buy other goods. this is all triggered by massive democrat spending, including the borrowing and spending that has occurred under the last coronavirus, so-called
coronavirus relief bill. so democrats aren't looking out for them under the proposal. oh, no. nearly 80% of tax credits for electric vehicles go to households that earned at least $100,000 a year. let me repeat that. nearly 80% of the tax credits for electric vehicles go to households that have earned over $100,000 a year. not to mention the fact that these drivers don't pay for the use and the abuse that occurs to the roads from them driving on the roads. the rest of us do. anybody that put gasoline in their carpes the gas tax -- car pays the gas tax. it goes to the highway trust fund. it goes to repair damage done to the roads. so, madam president, we're in a debate over infrastructure. will ec trick vehicles, no gas tax. that's the ordinary source of funding to do repair of our roads and our highways.
even though tesla puts as much wear and tear on the road as a ford focus, the tesla driver pays next to nothing to fix the roads. they contribute nothing to the highway trust fund. one more democrat giveaway to the rich. electric vehicle owners don't need our tax dollars. they have enough. they should pay fair share for the use and abuse that they do of the roads on which they drive. that's why i've introduced legislation called the elite act. it stands for end lavish incentives to electric vehicles. we need to make sure to end these incentives to electric vehicles. the bill would end the billion dollar giveaways to electric vehicle makers. you know, according to the manhattan institute, my bill would actually save taxpayers $20 billion. and at a time when middle-class families are hurting from inflation caused by democrat spending, it's unconscionable
that democrats want to raise taxes to give more handouts to the rich. certainly bad economics and it's bad news for hardworking american taxpayers. rather than increasing the giveaways, we should be bringing them to an end. we should stop this wasteful -- waste of taxpayer dollars, any waste of taxpayer dollars is wrong. and this is certainly a case where taxpayer dollars are not necessary to be spent. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. i subject the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: