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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  August 9, 2021 12:00pm-4:00pm EDT

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in for the day and they're trying to complete the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. currently a final vote on the measure at 3:11 a.m. eastern on tuesday morning and unless they can reach an agreement taking you live now to 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 god, you rule forever.
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lord, we see change and decay in our world but your power and might continue to sustain us. great is your faithfulness. you remain our shelter by day and defense by night. today, surround our lawmakers with your generous blessings as they seek to honor you, provide them with the wisdom to keep our nation strong. lord, bless them with your compassion, mercy, and love as you continue to answer their prayers. we pray in your strong name. amen.
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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 9, 2021. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable michael bennet, a senator from the state of colorado, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 3684, which the clerk will report. cloim calendar number 100, h.r. 3684, a federal fund to highway programs, transit programs and for other purposes.
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mr. schumer: mr. president, are we in a quorum? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. schumer: now, mr. president, it may have taken all weekend, but the senate is now finally on the precipice of passing major bipartisan infrastructure legislation. last night, an overwhelming bipartisan majority of senators voted to surmount the final few procedural hurdles and put the bill on a glide path for passage tomorrow morning. the bill will represent a substantial down payment towards the level of infrastructure investment our country needs, and for the first time, the senate has come together around such a package in decades. i will have more to say about it before final passage. now, all summer, i have spoken
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about how the senate would proceed along two tracks when it came to infrastructure. the bipartisan bill we'll vote on tomorrow as well as the budget reconciliation bill that will allow democrats to make historic investments in american jobs, american families, and efforts to reverse climate change. in order to achieve such an ambitious legislative effort, i laid out two clear goals for this summer work period -- pass the bipartisan bill and a budget resolution to set up the second track of our process before we leave for august recess. many folks called that two-track process unrealistic. many others said it's unachievable on such a short timeline and in such a slow-moving chamber, but we have managed to steer two trains at the same time. there have been some bumps, there have been some delays, but the senate is on track to finish
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both tracks. earlier this summer, i suggested the two-track strategy to president biden and speaker pelosi. we all agreed it was the best way to move forward, and we are working in concert to make it happen. this morning, senate democrats unveiled our budget resolution with reconciliation instructions which is the first step in unlocking the legislative process for a budget reconciliation bill later this year. several members, many members, had a hand in crafting this package. we worked closely with our committee chairs. but i want to especially thank the chair of the budget committee, senator sanders. he kept his nose to the grindstone and led our caucus on the budget. he always kept the thoughts and needs of american workers and families at the top of his mind. as a result, the democratic budget will be the most significant legislation for american families since the era of the new deal and the great
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society. it is big, bold change, the kind of change america thirsts for. i want to thank other members of the budget committee. like senator warner, who worked closely with the white house and chairman sanders to develop a framework and senators murray and wyden and stabenow and whitehouse and merkley and kaine and van hollen and lujan and padilla. all of whom came together, even though each had different views on different issues to produce this result, and a great result it is. i want american families to understand what this legislation will mean for them. four simple things to put -- to keep in mind. and i'm borrowing senator stabenow's chart for this. it will lower costs for americans. it will cut taxes for american families. it will create millions of jobs while tackling the climate
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crisis. and it will pay -- be paid for by wealthy paying their fair share. these are four goals. the american people support every one of them overwhelmingly. and in all phases, we will concentrate on communities that have been too often neglected, including communities of color and native americans by making education, child care, health care, and housing more affordable, we can give tens of millions of families a leg up. by making sure that we can get our children out of poverty -- and i thank you, mr. president, for your leadership on that issue. we can provide ladders to families that haven't had them before and help them climb into the middle class. many of the policies we're proposing were in president biden's american jobs and family plan, but some go beyond, like expanding medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing
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benefits, something that was left out of medicare at the beginning and never should have been, and we can rectify it now. by cutting taxes for tens of millions of american families, we can expand opportunity and make it easier for parents to pass on a better life to their children and their grandchildren, by making further investments in infrastructure, we can create tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs. and by finally tackling climate change, we can spare our country and our planet the most devastating effects of global warming. just this morning, a major new report from climate scientists at the united nations concluded that the nations of the world have only a small window to, quote, prevent the most harrowing future, prevent the most harrowing future in the words of the "new york times." without immediate and bold action, we are staring down
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ever-worsening floods and heat waves, droughts, and sea level rise. the future of our planet looks bleak until we do something right now, and the budget reconciliation bill will do more to combat climate change than any legislation ever, ever in the history of the senate. that is a promise. and while my republican collgues regurgitate the same, tired talking points about a democratic spending spree, let me remind america that we plan to pay for this package by making the wealthy pay their fair share. when our republican friends held the majority in this chamber, they chose to use the same process democrats are using now, budget reconciliation, to give corporations and the wealthy a massive tax break. at a time of egregious income inequality, the former republican majority rammed through a bill where 83% of the
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benefits went to the top 1%. 83% of the benefits. i have nothing against the wealthy. god bless them. they're doing fine already. but it's time to cut taxes for american families, middle-class families, not multinational corporations. to make our tax code more progressive and more fair, that is what democrats are going to do. under this plan, there will be no tax increases on small business or american families making under $400,000. we're going to help small businesses create many, many, many jobs. we're going to give american families a fair shot. we're going to tell middle-class families we're going to make it easier for you to stay there with your increasing costs of things like child care and school, college, and so much else. we're going to tell poorer
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families you're going to make it easier for you to climb into the middle class with things like the child tax credit and better health care and so much more. and we're going to confront the generational challenge of climate change head on. we're not flinching. we're not wincing. we're going right at it. and as bad as covid was this year -- and it was horrible -- five or ten years from now, every year the climate -- of climate change will make things worse and worse and worse than it was in covid. because when climate changes, it's such an overwhelming force, that unless we do something now, we may not be able to stop it down the road. so taking a step back, mr. president, at its core, the democratic budget is about restoring the middle class in
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the 21st century and giving more americans the opportunity to get there. unfortunately, the past 20 years in america have been a story of middle-class decline. we have all watched as globalization and technology transform the way our economy works. industrial manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas. a global financial crisis cost americans their homes and their wealth. giant conglomerates wiped out mainstream businesses from arizona to arkansas, from michigan to maine. the cost of raising a family, everything from child care to college tuition, has become exorbitant, almost unaffordable, even for those solidly in the middle class. and now, after the worst pandemic in 100 years, american families are just starting to climb out of the rubble and looking towards the future. we want them to look towards
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that future with hope and with optimism, not with sourness and anger that we have seen throughout the land, exacerbated, played upon by the previous president. what the future looks like in large part depends on what we do here now. these next few months are crucial for the future of our country, even for our democracy. what we -- what we need to do in congress is to give our workers, our businesses, our families a chance to prosper in a rapidly changing world, a chance to have hope, a chance to restore that american dream which simply says if i work hard, i will be doing better ten years from now than i'm doing today, and my kids will be doing still better than me. when americans lose that faith, lose that hope, that sunny american optimism that has been part of our character for
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centuries, bad things happen. bad things happen to our democracy, to our relationships with one another, to just about everything. the social contract in america relies on the fundamental promise of economic opportunity, the chance through hard work to do better for yourself and give your children and grandchildren a better life than you had. that's what america is all about. that's what we are trying to restore and revivify here. when that promise is broken, when that american dream is no longer shining brightly in the sky, when faith and economic opportunity evaporates, we are not the america we were meant to be. we are not optimistic and entrepreneurial and forward-looking. instead, we are bitter and angry and backward looking. as a result, much more prone to
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the sway of demagogues like donald trump. the divisions in our country and our politics today have their roots in the decline of economic mobility. now, the american people don't expect one piece of legislation to solve all our nation's ills. no single law can do that. but we have to start in a bold, strong way, rebuilding the basic social contract for middle-class american families and for everyone struggling to get there. a promise of equal opportunity and equality, helping middle-class americans stay in the middle class. building ladders to help others climb in that middle class. at its core, that's what this budget is all about, and we are going to take the first steps towards passing it very, very soon. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further he proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: last election cycle, americans elected a 50-50 senate, a closely divided house, and a president who
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promised unity and moderation. what have washington democrats done in response? they've set out trying to tax and spend our country into oblivion. they have added the keys to domestic policy making to senator sanders and some socialist house members. in the spring they passed a massive inflationary liberal spending bill that democrats bragged was the most liberal bill in american history. now this week, just a few months later, they want to start ramming through trillions more that will make that disaster look like child's play. they call it $3.5 trillion in spending. nonpartisan experts say those plans would more likely cost americans about $5.5 trillion. trillions more borrowing and trillions more spending when
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inflation is already sticking american families with higher costs. new permanent welfare with no work requires, when small businesses are already struggling to find workers. sweeping amnesty when the southern border is already in crisis. green new deal regulations when americans' gas prices have already shot up, crushing tax hikes for family businesses and farms as they fight to recover from the recession. so apparently tragedy and comity really are two sides of the same two sides of the same coin. the tragedy is that democrats want to inflict all this pain on middle-class families. here's the comedy, they won't let republicans have any say in this monstrosity but they want our help raising their credit
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card to make it happen. democrats want republicans to help them raise the debt limit so they can keep spending historic sums of money with zero republican input and zero republican votes. so imagine a friend tells you he's flying off to las vegas to blow all of his money. he doesn't care that you think it's irresponsible. you aren't invited to come along. but he wants you to cosign a loan for him before he leaves. now i understand the administration sent out the treasury secretary to argue that historically both parties have addressed the debt ceiling together. of course it's our senate democrat colleagues who have no interest in what is historically normal. they're borrowing and spending are historically abnormal. democrats keep boasting about how wild and revolutionary their partisan vision is.
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so our friends across the aisle should not expect traditional bipartisan borrowing to finance their nontraditional reckless taxing and spending spree. that's not how it's going to work. democrats have all the existing tools they need to raise the debt limit on a partisan basis. if they want 50 lock step democratic votes to spend trillions and trillions more, they can find 50 democratic votes to finance it. if they don't want republicans' input, they don't need our help. it couldn't really be simpler and it really couldn't be more fair. besides, i thought that i colleagues were literally thrilled to present another reckless taxing and spending spree to the american people. i thought middle-class families were supposed to be delighted with their socialist shopping
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list. so shouldn't democrats be proud to own all the debt it requires? our colleagues seem confident that chairman sanders' vision is worth sticking our kids and grandkids with a massive bill. they deserve to have total ownership of that decision. now, mr. president, on a totally different matter, when the biden administration announced its reckless retreat from afghanistan in april, i made my opposition perfectly clear. but i wasn't alone. one of the most prominent liberal editorial boards in the country responded to the president's move with this headline -- biden takes the easy way out of afghanistan: the likely result is disaster. the administration's own top intelligence experts made a
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similar prediction. , quote, the taliban is likely to make gains on the battlefield, and the afghan government will struggle to hold the taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws its support. the director of the c.i.a. told senators that withdrawal would make his agency's job harder. and needless to say, the last time a democratic administration tried a hasty retreat from the region offered a cautionary tale. reality was clear to everyone, but the very top of the biden administration. from their bizarre choice of a symbolic september 11 deadline to the absence of any concrete plan, the administration's decision appears to have rested on wishful thinking and not much else. the notion that afghan forces might be able to stop the taliban's advance with only over the horizon support, that's
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proven to be wishful thinking. that the taliban might respond to the diplomatic plying of the international community, wishful thinking as well. as the administration's withdrawal proceeds at full speed, expert warnings have become deadly realties. the afghan people, their democratic institutions are literally being ripped apart by murderous theocrats. nearly 1,000 afghans have reportedly been killed already by taliban death squads in the province of kandahar alone. in the last two months the militants have taken more territory, more territory in the last two months than they have held since 2001. and in just the last four days the taliban have raised their flag over six -- six --
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provincial capitals, including northern cities far, far from the group's historic face of power. militants are engaged in a campaign to assassinate crucial members of the remainings resistance from military pilots to top government ministers. all across the country women and children are already suffering, in particular. one recent report claimed taliban militants beat a child to death because his father -- listen to this. beat a child to death because his father served in the afghan armed forces. what's more, the prospect of an emboldened al qaeda capable of threatening not only the region but the american homeland is now a near certainty. no matter what the biden administration tells itself about the state of that threat today.
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and yet, the state department still mouths unbelievably naive platitudes like, quote, expectation is that the taliban will work toward political settlement. even as the taliban spokesman asserted that the most recent attacks are just, quote, the beginning of retaliatory operations. so, mr. president, does this sound like a group committed to peaceful means? goodness sake, get a grip. this willful denial isn't just costing afghanistan. it's already costing the american people and our interests. it's forced loyal coalition partners to second-guess whether we can be trusted to finish what we start. it's led brave afghans who earned promises of assistance to fear they would be abandoned
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admit our incompetent, completely incompetent retreat. it's even left overwhelmed embassy personnel to urge remaining americans in afghanistan to leave immediately by any means available. so, mr. president, this morning i attended a classified briefing from administration officials about current conditions on the ground. look, needless to say that briefers faced some tough questions about an entirely avoidable, entirely avoidable situation that is deteriorating faster every single day. and they'll certainly face more as global terrorists feed from the rise of an extremist government in afghanistan. i for one have warned repeatedly that those who seek to harm us, our friends, and our interests
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simply do not abide by our political timetables. they do not care if our leaders get tired of the task at hand. and this is not what victory looks like. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, i attended the same classified briefing as the republican senate leader, and i listened carefully as the administration presented the realities of afghanistan. and i was drawn to an historical analogy that was best captured in a short verse by rudyard kipling. it goes like this -- when you're wounded and down on the
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afghan plain, and the women come out to cut up your remains, just roll on your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your god like a soldier. that stark verse was a description of what happened to the british empire when they felt that moving into afghanistan would be part of their record of conquest. they learned otherwise. the retreat from kabul was repeated over and over, but it basically was a retreat that killed every british soldier, save one, they wanted one person, the afghans did to return to queen victoria when they threw the british out of afghanistan. a similar story can be told by russia when they occupied afghanistan with visions of
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changing that country forever to a russian communist mode. they left bitterly disappointed paying a heavy price. so 20 years ago, in the wake of 9/11, with 3,000 innocent americans dead, we debated the issue on this floor as to whether the united states would follow the british and the russians into afghanistan. i was here. i was asked to vote, and i remember why i voted yes. it was simple. those responsible for 9/11 and the deaths of 3,000 innocent americans were hold up in afghanistan, building their forces to strike us again. would we respond? the answer was obvious, yes. no one gets away with that sort of an attack on the united states. and i voted for us to send our forces into afghanistan. i dare say that neither i nor
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anyone else who voted for that decision ever dreamed that 20 years later we would still be in afghanistan having lost more than 2,000 american lives of the brave women and men who serve in our military there. tens of thousands of people injured, trillions of american dollars spent with virtually nothing to show for it. what we learned, the bitter lesson for america, as it was for great britain and the russians is that afghanistan has no appetite for outsiders. we tried to bring them dramatic, positive improvements in their culture and education, liberation of women, creating new opportunities and maybe we had some marginal success. but it's a battle when you try to change a nation's ethic and we learned it the hard way. at the briefing today one of our
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colleagues, whom i respect very much, senator kaine from virginia, i thought asked the most important question about the current situation in afghanistan. he said it was his understanding that the united states had spent billions, maybe more, in the training and equipping of the afghan military forces, supporting the government and that we had, in fact, trained and equipped over 100,000, maybe as many as 300,000 of these afghan security forces, and now they are losing territory and melting away into the landscape when they are attacked by the taliban. and senator kaine said i understand that there are only tens of thousands of taliban and hundreds of thousands of afghan security forces and it appears we cannot hold our ground despite all the training and all
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the money. was this a failure of training or more? and those representing the administration were very candid. it is not a failure of training. it is a mission that, frankly, cannot be accomplished. so when i hear the senator from kentucky coming to the floor and begging us to stay -- to what end? for what purpose? senator kaine, myself, and others invited him and the entire senate to openly debate this question on the use -- on the authorization for use of force in afghanistan. there was resistance and the idea of actually finally leaving afghanistan after 20 years wasn't an original joe biden idea. if you will remember it was republican president donald trump who actively engaged in a negotiation picking a target date for our troops to be gone. he tried and wanted to achieve that before he left office. he didn't, but it was clearly his intent. so to blame the biden
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administration for this decision, frankly, it's a decision that has been obvious for almost ten years. there comes a point when we have to acknowledge we cannot ask another american to die to turn afghanistan into a modern nation. it will only come when they reach that conclusion. mr. president, i ask to speak on a different topic. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, you know well and i do too that usually we aren't in session in this week of august. it's usually a time to head back only and meet with our constituents, eat our way through our state fairs, and enjoy some downtime with our families. this year i was looking forward to a visit by some of my grandkids to springfield where loretta and i have a week or two getting to know the kids again. we didn't get to see them much last year because of covid-19
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and i was looking forward to the opportunity this year. but because we're in session, i was unable to. i hope maybe in a few days that changes. i think about those grandkids, all of my grandkids, six of them at this point, i'm proud to say, and what kind of world we're going to be leaving them. a new school year is right around the corner and along with all the normal supplies they'll be buying face masks. for a young child, this pandemic must be confusing and scary. as a parent, you want to be honest with them, but you want to reassure them that everything's going to be okay. that goes for all the challenges of our day. starting with climate change. this morning u.n. governmental panel on climate change introduced its first report in eight years. it's an alarm bell to the world warning that our climate is
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changing much faster than we anticipated. i'd like to read a couple of paragraphs from this morning's "new york times" because they summarize these u.n. reports and do that summary so well. nations have delayed curbing their fossil fuel emission ps for so long -- emissions for so long, they can no longer stop global warming from intensifying over 30 years, though there is a short window to prevent a harrowing future, a major new united nations scientific report concluded. the planet is heated by two degrees fahrenheit largely by burning coal, oil and glass across the country. the consequences can be felt. blisering heat waves have killed hundreds of people in the united states and canada, floods devastated germany and china,
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wildfires have raged out of control in syria, turkey and greece. what do we say to our kids about this? dad, grandad, what are you doing about this? how do we reassure our kids that the planet they inherit is still going to be livable? words aren't enough. denial certainly isn't a plan. we need to do something and we need to do what generations of americans before us have done, face reality, face the challenges squarely. so i asked myself, and all of us, what are we doing to make sure that my grandkids and all of america's kids will be okay? we're going to have a chance to answer that question this week. as the senate begins debate on a proposal that will define the world my grandkids and everyone's kids will grow up in. president biden's plan to build back better is the most
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ambitious investment in america's future in a generation. and much of that plan is included in the budget blueprint that will -- that we'll be considering in a very short time. this budget blueprint will strengthen our nation's economy and ensure that working families have a fighting chance and receive a fair share of the wealth that their work produces. it will help close the income and opportunity gaps between the wealthiest among us and working families who are struggling to make it. and most importantly, it will give american workers the tools they need to outcompete any country in the 21st century. i listened to the criticism of the plan by the senator from kentucky, and i thought if we don't embark on an ambitious plan to deal with climate change and to move in economy in the right direction for working families in this country, then, frankly, we're ready and prepared, some are, to accept the second-place finish for the
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united states of america. i think that's tragic. i don't think it's consistent with who we are as a people. the proposal by president biden will build on a winning economic strategy. we started earlier this year with the american rescue plan. mr. president, you remember that american rescue plan. i do too. because last year in the year 2020 when we were facing this pandemic on two, three, or four separate occasions, emergency bills came before us, proposed by the trump administration, negotiated with a democratic and republican congress, presented to us on the floor and there was virtual unanimity. both parties stood together in the midst of a pandemic crisis to do what was necessary so that america could move forward and then came the election and then came the big lie and then came the disintegration of this bipartisanship. when it was joe biden's turn to
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come up with an american rescue plan, not a single republican senator, not one republican congressman who vote yes. not one. what was in the plan that was so objectionable? could it have been the money invested so that we would administer the covid, coronavirus vaccines to every american successfully? that was in the plan. how about more money that we put in that plan for businesses so that they could reenlist their workforce and start up again at the end of this pandemic? that was in the plan. how about the money that we promised american families, $1, 400 cash payment, promised by trump, delivered by biden, and not a single republican would support it. not one. all of a sudden rescue plans became a partisan measure in the united states senate and the house. the republicans walked away from it. well, let me tell you what the american rescue plan has done. it has revived our nags' -- nation's economy.
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we're on a course for an historic recovery. in the first six months president biden's rescue plan added 700,000 jobs a month on average. during the first part of the year, our economy grew at nearly the fastest rate in nearly 40 years. the american rescue plan, not a single republican supported, worked because it provided financial relief to the people who needed it the most, working families and that benefited everyone. as part of that package, and you know full well, senator, because you were one of the awth os, we -- authors, we enacted a child tax credit that will cut childhood poverty in america by half. think about that. with a build back better plan president biden plans to have a reduction in child poverty. it is not just a shiks-month commitment as it was in the
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rescue plan, under the new plan it becomes permanent. that enhanced tax credit is already changing the lives of tens of millions of families across america. in my home state of illinois, there are hundreds of thousands of patients who are now able to fill their gas tanks and buy groceries because of it. let me tell you about one. lydia. here's what she wrote. with the child tax credit i'll be able to buy my kids school supplies, clothes, what they need to get back to school and put groceries on the table. in the wealthiest nation on earth, no parent should have to choose between clothing their children and feeding them. president biden's plan to build back better is a blueprint for america's future. a future where every family knows the safety and dignity of financial security and every child can reach their full potential. i look forward to a vigorous debate in the senate on these and other proposals in the budget blueprint, but right now
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i want to speak specifically to the funding the budget resolution provides for the committee i chair, the senate judiciary committee. i see the chairman of that budget committee has come to the floor, senator sanders, and i thank you for crafting this important bill. this proposal will make historic investments in fixing our broken immigration system. madam president, it's been 36 years -- 36 years since we've had any meaningful changes in our immigration law. you go back to ronald reagan as president, that was the last time. simpson monoly, names that we remember, but most people don't, i'm afraid. that was the last time. is there anyone who can say with a straight face we don't have a broken immigration system in this country? we do. the proposal would give us historic investments in fixing it. these reforms have the potential
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to generate more than a trillion dollars in economic growth over the next decade. i listened as the senator from kentucky, the republican leader, dismissed this whole conversation as blanket amnesty. blanket amnesty. and kor rated -- correlated all immigration problems to the current challenge -- and it is a challenge that we face at our southern border. the reforms we have in mind will provide a pathway to citizenship for dreamers. excuse me if i take this one personally, but it was 20 years ago i introduced the dream act in the united states senate. as i say jokingly at the time, if you asked people who are the dreamers, they would say a british rock group, right, led by a fellow named freddie. maybe they were right then, but 20 years later when you say dreamers, and people say it frequently, you know who we're talking about. kids brought to the united states by their parents who grew up in this country, pledged
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allegiance to that flag every day in their school classrooms, believed in their heart of hearts they were american to the core, only to learn when that he parents worked up courage to tell them when they were teenagers that they were undocumented, they were kids without a country. the dream act said we're going to give you a chance here young man, young woman. you can earn your way to legal status and citizenship. keep your nose clean, don't get in trouble with the law. pay the necessary fees, and wait, and we'll give you that chance to become part of america's future. and even with that uncertainty in their lives, with the inability to qualify for even federal government loans to go to college, they have written some dramatic stories. we all know that. those of us in public life have met them. they are doctors and nurses and dentists. they are on the front lines of fighting the covid-19 pandemic. they want to enlist and some already have enlisted in the
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military. they are lawyers. they are entrepreneurs. they are amazing. and they did it all, never certain that they were going to be accepted in america. according to senator mcconnell, they are part of this blanket amnesty of these immigrants who want to come to our country. forgive me, senator. they are much more than that. they also take care of temporary protected status people. we have people in the united states who came here because of a crisis in their own countries. we accepted them. they have lived here for 20 years. and now frankly they are caught in the middle. we give them a chance to earn their way to citizenship. and farm workers. madam president, do you know we have 2.4 million farm workers? these are men and women who get out and do the dirty, dangerous, hot work that americans will never queue up to do, and they do it because we want fruits and vegetables on our table, we want meat and poultry processed safely, and americans won't do
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the work. let's just be very candid about it. and i know this based on all the people who have come to my office. these farm workers have been used by our country for years to pick our crops and deliver them safely to our tables, and we have a bill that we put together with the growers and the workers in total agreement that gives these farm workers a path to citizenship. when we had a hearing on this, the senate judiciary committee, one of the republican senators said oh, just what we need. instant amnesty for farm workers. do you know what that instant amnesty is like? you have to show that you have spent ten years of your life working in the fields before you even qualify for the nine-year process that can bring you to citizenship. 19 years. instant amnesty? no, it isn't. and again, other essential immigrant workers who have been saving our lives and keeping our families fed during this
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pandemic, they're called essential workers, but the categories that created these essential workers were created by donald trump, not us, not democrats, and we believe essential workers who we thank profusely during this pandemic if they are undocumented should have a chance at citizenship. those are the groups we are trying to work to bring into america and a full-time status. they would expand funding for commonsense measures that make our systems safer for everyone, by improving the process of asylum claims, will reduce immigration court backlogs, and start to secure our southern border. more than 200,000 daca recipients are essential critical infrastructure workers. tens of thousands of these young people have been saving our loved ones' lives as nurses and doctors and medical professionals. hundreds of thousands of undocumented farm workers who account for about half of our nation's farm workforce do
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back-breaking labor every day to put food on our tables. these members of our communities have more than earned their path to citizenship. i'm going to get into the weeds a bit here, but i want to say under a senate rule known as the byrd rule, any provision including reconciliation must have a substantial and direct impact on the budget, and this impact cannot be merely accidental. that's kind of the road map for this budget resolution. i'm sure the senator from vermont knows it well. let's be clear. a pathway to citizenship as part of our immigration package on the budget reconciliation bill would have a substantial and direct impact on our budget. a pathway to citizenship for dreamers and immigrants with temporary protected status would have a budgetary cost of approximately $42.4 billion over ten years, according to the congressional budget office. this is a critical component of our economic recovery. there is no world in which this
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budgetary impact is merely accidental. $42.4 billion. creating a pathway to citizenship, though, is not just a matter of cost. there are also benefits. it would boost our nation's g.d.p. by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. it would create 400,000 new jobs and increase every american's annual wage by an estimated $600. win, win, and win. there is ample precedent for passing this important legislation through budget reconciliation. republicans have used this process to open up the arctic national wildlife refuge in alaska for drilling and enact a $1.9 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest americans and corporations. in addition, in 2005, senate republicans used reconciliation to dramatically increase the number of lawful permanent residents by an estimated 3.2 million over ten years.
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now they are saying it doesn't belong in reconciliation. in 2005, they put it in. this is the exact same immigration status we are proposing to give dreamers, t.p.s. holders, farm workers, and essential workers. i have tried for many years to pass a path to citizenship. republicans have obstructed bipartisan immigration reform time and time again. including filibustering the dream act at least five times. this year, i convened bipartisan immigration negotiations that dragged on for months. republicans made unreasonable demands and insisted on attaching partisan provisions that would actually cut legal immigration. republicans have rejected commonsense measures to help secure our border. it is clear that the only viable option for passing immigration reform is through the reconciliation process. for those who claim they are concerned about our southern border, here is your chance, here it is, to invest billions
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of dollars in smart and effective steps to improve border security. we need to provide a path to citizenship for dreamers and others who are contributing to our economy every day and will help grow it for years to come. madam president, i'm going to close by thanking the senator from vermont. i don't know when i first approached him with this notion of including immigration, but from day one, senator sanders has been supportive of the concept and now has given us our chance. millions, millions of people who make america better are watching and hoping that in the next days and weeks, we can achieve our goal and give them a chance to find a path to citizenship and become an important part of america's future. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: madam president, let me thank senator durbin for his leadership in so many areas,
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including the understanding, as he just indicated, that the time is long overdue for comprehensive immigration reform and a path towards citizenship for millions of undocumented workers and families in this country. thank you very much, senator durbin. madam president, as a former mayor, i do understand how important physical infrastructure is. roads, bridges, water systems, waste water plants, and i am delighted that finally we are beginning to address our long-neglected physical infrastructure. frankly, it is rather incredible that year after year, we ignore crumbling bridges and roads, and as we address our physical infrastructure, we can create a whole lot of good-paying jobs.
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so that bill that we are discussing right now is enormously important. but, madam president, i will tell you what is even more important, and that is to address the long-neglected needs of the working families of our country, of the children, of the elderly, of the sick, of the poor, whether they are black or white or latino, native american, asian american. these are needs that congress has ignored for much, much too long. now, i understand that senator mcconnell, the republican leader, and others are really shocked by this bill. they cannot believe it. imagine, just imagine that the united states senate is addressing the needs of working
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families and is going to stand up for ordinary americans rather than just the wealthy and powerful. what is this world coming to? don't we understand that here in the senate, we are supposed to take campaign contributions from the drug companies and the insurance companies and the fossil fuel industry and from the 1% and do their bidding? isn't that the way it has always been done here in the u.s. senate? well, senator mcconnell, things are changing. for once in a very long time, the united states congress is going to stand with working families and not just the rich and the powerful. further, above and beyond the economic crises facing working
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families, congress has ignored the great existential threat of our time, and that is climate change. you don't have to believe me. maybe some of my republican colleagues might want to take a look at the ipcc report which came out today which said that if we do not act boldly and immediately all over this planet, the world that we will be leaving our children and grandchildren will be increasingly unhealthy and uninhabitable. but you don't have to just read the ipcc report. open up your eyes. look at what is going on in california, the fires in oregon, the fires in greece, the drought that is impacting countries all
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over the world, which will mean a decrease in food production and water supply. madam president, we have got to act now in order to save the planet. there is no choice. we cannot go home and look our children and grandchildren in the eye if we do not act now and lead the world. we can't do it alone. we're going to have to work with china and india and europe, but we cannot continue to ignore this existential threat. madam president, the gap between the very, very rich and shall -- everybody else is wider today than it has been in 100 years. the people on top are doing
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phenomenally well. in fact, we have two people in america today who own more wealth than the bottom 40%. the top 1% owns more wealth than the bottom 92%. and since 2009 the wall street collapse, 45% of all new income has gone to the top 1%. and incredibly, during the pandemic that we are experiencing now, billionaires in america have seen their wealth increase by $1.8 trillion during this pandemic while at the same time thousands of essential workers died providing the goods and services we needed. billionaires become richer. ordinary people have to go to
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work. public transit, grocery stores, hospitals, and thousands die. while some of our multi, multibillionaires are spending some of their enormous amounts of money flying off into outer space, today and in the coming days, we are going to address the crises facing working families right here on the ground on planet earth. and that is why, madam president, as chairman of the senate budget committee, i am proud to introduce a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that we will soon be considering. i expect tomorrow. this is a budget resolution that will allow the senate to move forward on a reconciliation bill that, in my view, will be the
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most consequential and comprehensive piece of legislation for working people, for the elderly, for the children, for the sick, and for the poor that this body has addressed since franklin delano roosevelt, the new deal in the 1930's. madam president, this is a budget resolution that will address the needs of working families because we understand if our republican colleagues do not, that there is something fundamentally wrong when real inflation accounted for wages for working people has not gone up for almost 50 years. we have seen in recent years, as everybody knows, an explosion in technology, an
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explosion in worker productivity and yet in real inflation accounted for dollars, while the very, very rich become much richer, real inflation accounted for wages for workers has not gone up in almost 50 years. what does that mean? it means the cost of health care has soared. the cost of education has soared. the cost of housing has soared. and yet, real workers, real working families of this country are earning in real dollars the same wages that they did decades ago, which means that many of them are struggling right now to keep their heads above water economically. madam president, when the richest country in the history
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of the world, half of our people should not be living paycheck to paycheck, worried about how they're going to pay their rent or provide food for their kids. and this legislation in so many ways begins to address the working families of our country, but one important way, maybe the most important, is as we address the needs of our people in health care and education and climate, we are going to create many millions of good-paying, good-paying jobs that the american people desperately need. madam president, i want to say a few words today about the budget resolution that we are introducing and what is going to be in the reconciliation package that we will soon be undertaking
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for a start, one of the questions that everybody is going to ask is, well, how is this going to be paid for? expensive bill, $3.5 trillion, that's a lot of money. it is. well, i happen to think -- and i know that you do as well, madam president -- that maybe, just maybe the time is now for the wealthiest people in this country and the largest corporations who are doing phenomenally well, but in a given year many of them have not paid a nickel in federal income tax. the average joe, the average mary out there, they're working, they're paying their fair share of taxes. but if you're an amazon, if you're a jeff bezos, if you're one of these multibillions, you've got lobbyists, you've got accountants, you've got lawyers, and you can avoid paying your fair share of taxes.
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what some of us are saying is that maybe, just maybe, even if you are a billionaire, even if you are a large profitable corporation with all kinds of lobbyists and accountants, maybe you should start paying your fair share of taxes. our republican friends say we're going to be raising taxes. yeah, you're right, we are. but we're going to be raising taxes on the wealthiest people in this country, something which is long overdue. and yet nobody in america earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a nickel in taxes, and many, many will actually be paying less in taxes my republican friends can complain all that they want, but i do believe and the american people do believe that
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the time is now for the wealthy, the powerful, the large profitable corporations to start paying their fair share so that in fact we can lower taxes for working families in this country. madam president, i think the american people have already begun to see what good public policy for working families can mean. in vermont, in massachusetts, and all over this country working families, the vast majority of our families are now receiving a $300-per-month check per child. and this is long, long overdue. some say this is a radical idea. it's not. it is exactly what countries all over the world do, because they understand and we understand how
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difficult it is today for working families to raise children. and i am enormously proud of the fact, and everybody in this chamber should be proud of the fact that at a time when the united states has one of the highest rates of childhood poverty of any major country on earth as a result of the work in the american rescue plan, which must be extended in the reconciliation bill, we have reduced childhood poverty in america by 61%. 61%, because we're now getting the resources out to moms and dads that they need in order to adequately and decently raise their kids.
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madam president, i hear a lot of talk about how we love our kids or the future of our country. well, if we love our kids, we have to love their parents as well, and we have to make it easier for parents to raise their kids. but it's not just the child tax credit. i suspect that there are very few people in this country who do not understand how dysfunctional our child care system is. we are not living in the 1950's where dad goes out to work and mom stays home with the kids. that's not the case anymore. that's not been the case for a very long time. dad is out working and mom is out working because families all across this country need two breadwinners in order to pay the bills. mom's working and dad's working, who is taking care of the kids? and that is in fact a major,
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major crisis in this country, and the current system just is not working. in my state, it costs -- the state of vermont -- it costs $15,000 a year, which is about the national average -- to send your child into child care. what does that mean? it means that if you're making $60,000 a year, you're spending a quarter of your income just to make sure that your child is well taken care of while you go to work. if you have two kids, forget about it. it doesn't spay to go to work because you're spending so much on child care. everybody understands that. that is not a debate. so the time is long overdue not only to protect the needs of working families, but also to provide well for our children. psychologists after psychologists told us that the most important years of human
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development are zero through four. and yet, so many of our kids all over this country -- little kids are sitting in front of tv sets not getting the kind of nurturing emotionally and intellectually that they need. this legislation begins to change that. under our proposal, no working family in this country should be paying more than 7% of their income for child care. working parents, did you hear what i just said? no more than 7%. not 30%, not 25%. and that is what we should be doing. and we have so much work to do with child care. and i know the presiding president understands that. we've got to build new facilities for kids because once we open the door for affordable
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child care, the truth is we don't have enough space to accommodate the children. and we have got to start paying child care workers the wages they are due for the enormously important work they are providing. we've got child wear workers in america today making less than mcdonald's workers. not an insult. how wrong is that? this legislation is going to provide increased subsidies for working families to afford child care. we're going to pay workers in child care living wages and benefits. and we're going to build the new facilities that we theed to accommodate the families who will now have the opportunity to take advantage of child care. but in terms of our children who we have ignored for so, so long, we're going to do even more than that. we are going to make pre-k education for three- and
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four-year olds free. god didn't create an education system that begins in kindergarten. it was created by human beings, and the world has changed. and what we have got to understand now with so many of our parents working, that we've got to make pre-k education for three- and four-year olds free, and that's what we do in this legislation. and, by the way, not widely reported, but when we revolutionized child care and pre-k so that moms and dads know that their kids are in quality and affordable facilities, we're going to see more than a million women able to go into the workforce because they no longer have to stay home to take care of the kids. they want to work, we will give
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them the opportunity to pursue their careers. madam president, you know and i know that there is something a little bit absurd that the united states of america is literally one of two nations in the entire world -- and i'm talking about poor nations -- that does not guarantee paid family and medical leave. what does that mean? what it means, that there are workers today who are auto work when they're significant. maybe they're spreading the virus or some other illness. there are working families that have to make a choice. does mom go to work and leave her sick child at home alone or does she stay home and maybe lose her job? i have talked, and i'm sure the
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presiding president has spoken to women who gave birth to a baby and a week later, a week later were forced to go back to work because they had no income coming in. i know this may shock some of my republican colleagues, but there are countries all over this world who understand that it is enormously important that parents be able to bond with their babies. and in countries around the world, women get four months, five months, eight months, or with full pay or with a significant part of their paycheck in order to stay home with their newborn babies. so finally, finally we are beginning, beginning, beginning to end the international embarrassment of
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the united states being the only major country on earth not to guarantee paid family and medical leave. madam president, i know you have been involved in this issue. i have, and a number of our colleagues have. and understanding is? the contemporary global economy, in our young people are going to go out and get decent-paying jobs, shock of all shocks, they need to have the skills and the education in order to purchase those jobs -- to purchase those jobs. so -- to perform those jobs. so you have a situation where people don't have the skills. now, i personally believe we should do what other countries are doing and we should make all public colleges and universities tuition-free and should forgive all student debt. that is not in this bill. but what is in this bill is a
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beginning, a beginning, and that says that we will make community colleges in this country tuition-free. now, what does that mean? it means a couple of things. it means that if i go to community college, i can learn a skill, whether it is nursing, whether it is construction trades, whatever it may be, i can learn the skills that i need to go out and get a job that pays me a living wage, and that is enormously important, because especially as we rebuild this country, as we begin to pay attention to health care and to child care and to taking care of our parents and the disabled people, we need skilled workers. and making community colleges tuition-free for two years is an important step forward in allowing people to gain those
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skills. but also, for those people who want to go to a four-year college, those two years of community college credits are transferable. so your tuition is paid for the first two years. my hope is that we will soon be able to pay for the next two years as well. but this is a real start in allowing millions of young people to get an education today that previously they could not afford. madam president, two blocks away from where we are in the nation's capital, there is an encampment of homeless people. all over this city, you can't drive down the nation's capital and not see people sleeping out on the street, and that is true in virtually every major city in america. once again, richest country in the history of the world and some 600,000 americans are
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homeless. and then on top of that, you got about 18 million households where people are spending 50% or more of their limited incomes to put a roof over their heads. now, how do you survive economically if you're spending 50% of your income on housing? this legislation will create a huge number of good-paying jobs by the largest investment in american history in low-income and affordable housing, and i see the chairman of the banking committee here, and i wasp to thank senator brown -- and i want to thank senator brown for his important work in that area. just a few days ago i had a chat with a gentleman whose wife is seriously ill -- he works and i
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pays for the home health care that she needs, and it's an expensive proposition. what we understand is that an aging society and at a time when we have so many people with disabilities whose needs are not being met, that it makes eminent sense to bring skilled home health care workers into the home rather than to force people to go into a nursing home, which, by the way, is more expensive. and this legislation -- the reconciliation bill that we will soon be working on -- will make historic investments in home health care and make sure that those workers, like child care workers, who do such important work, are adequately compensated.
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madam president, ipcc today reported what all of us know, and that is if we do not begin in an extremely aggressive way transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel, the planet that we will be leaving our children will be increasingly unhealthy. it really does take your breath away to look at those photos, whether it is oregon, california, whether it is greece right now and see flames consuming entire communities. and if anybody out there thinks that, gee, isn't this too bad that it's happening this year, you've got it wrong. it's only going to get worse if we do not act and act boldly, which is why this legislation will pour hundreds of billions of dollars in the fight to transform our energy system away
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from fossil fuel, including a civilian climate corps, which will give the young people of this country the opportunity to roll up their sleeves, get accident pay, get educational benefits in order to do what is so much in their hearts, and that is to combat climate change. madam president, i wish that i could tell you that my republican colleagues understand the crises facing working families and that they understand the moral imperative of us having to address climate change and that we are working together to do in fact what the american people want -- create millions of good-paying jobs, addressing the needs of working families, and climate change. i wish i could tell you that, but i can't. as we go forward in all
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likelihood we will not get one republican vote. we're going to have to do it on our own with 50 democratic votes here in the senate, plus the vice president of the united states. now, some of my republican friends will say, well, that's such a bad idea. why aren't you more bipartisan in terms of reconciliation? well, i would remind my republican colleagues that they didn't have a problem with reconciliation when they gave almost $2 trillion in tax breaks to the very richest people in this country and the largest corporations. no problem doing that. they didn't have a problem with reconciliation when they tried to throw 30 million people off of the health care they had by abolishing the affordable care act. so that's where we are. we are facing a crisis facing working families. we need to create millions of
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good-paying jobs. we need to tackle the existential threat of climate change. we need to expand health care. and medicare -- so that elderly people have dental care, eyeglasses, and hearing aids. we need to lower the cost of prescription drugs and have medicare negotiate prices with the pharmaceutical industry. we need to make sure that we get doctors and nurses and dentists into underserved areas. so, madam president, tomorrow begins one of the very important debates that we have ever had, and the question is not complicated. do we have the courage to stand up to powerful special interests and tell the corporate world and the one percent, yeah, you are finally going to have to pay
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your fair share of taxes so that we can create millions of good-paying jobs for working families, so we can protect our children, protect the elderly, and address the threat of climate change? that is the issue. and i have absolute confidence that we will in fact rise to the occasion and do what the american people want, and that we will pass the budget resolution tomorrow. and with that, a madam president, i yield the floor.
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mr. brown: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i first thank senator sanders for his passionate support for housing. he understands, having traveled the country and connected with so many people, that there is almost nothing more important -- maybe nothing more important to people's lives, to the material lives than having a safe, accessible, affordable house, place to live. and senator sanders mentioned that 25% of renters in this country pay half their income in rent -- in -- for housing costs and one thing goes bad in their lives, their car breaks down, their child gets sick, they miss a few days of work because of a minor injury, and their whole
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lives can turn upside down. senator sanders recognizes that and the legislation we beginning -- we begin later in the week is such an important step. we're going take that position on housing. i ask that my staff be granted floor frivolous for the remainder of the session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you. i rise today for a longer speech than i norm ailly give but in support of legislation that will make generational -- the infrastructure investment we should have been making for years. we remember four years ago -- all of us on this floor, all three members on this floor -- with were all ready to go with president trump to move forward on infrastructure and the president and the majority changed its mind.
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instead of investing in jobs, investing in infrastructure, investing in people, they gave -- they used that trillion-dollar-plus in a huge tax cut, 70% of which went to the wealthiest one percent. so this time we didn't let that that happen. i thank the members that held together and negotiated this very complicated bill. this investment is about jobs, creating good-paying union jobs, rebuilding bridges, replacing lead pipes, manufacturing next-generation energy-efficient buses. it is about better connecting people with jobs through transit and bridges and highways. it's about getting people in rural kansas or western massachusetts or southeast ohio or inner city cleveland, the broadband they need to go to school and prepare for otojobs of the future. supporting manufacturing jobs throughout my state, which this bill does, including at
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cleveland cliffs, in cleveland, and a.k. steel in southwest ohio, and newcorps through the strongest ever -- the strongest ever buy-america standards, negotiated working with senator portman, legislation that we worked on with senator baldwin, making steel and iron and other components in ohio for these projects. taken together, these are a recipe for job creation in communities large and small, rural and urban, ohio, from appalachia to the shores of lake erie. for too long, washington has ignored these places while wall street has preyed upon them. that ends now. we invest in people and places that make this country work. i hear from mayors of both parties and towns all over ohio about their vision for their community and the projects they want to undertake a they know the opportunities we can unleash. they need the investment. it's time for all of our communities to share in this country's prosperity. that's what this legislation
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does. i want to focus on a few key provisions that will be central and critical to ohio. right now, there are more than 3,200 bridges across ohio that need repairs to make them safer and reduce congestion so people can get to work, kids can get to school, farmers and businesses can move their products and support ohio jobs. i remember as a kid, i worked on a family farm just outside lexington, ohio, north central ohio. i used to drive grain to the market. we'd take hay wagons to the barn. we would cross some of these small, little bridges that cross creeks -- or some of us called them cricks -- and i know how some of those bridges even then looked to be in disrepair. many know the brent spence bridge talked about in all kinds
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of national infrastructure stories between ohio and kentucky. it carries unbelievably or not 3% of the country's g.d.p., either north to ohio for south to kentucky, across the river% of the country's g.d.p. every day. but it's dangerously outdated. it was completed, i believe, in 1960. many of us fought for years for federal investment, one of the first news events, community events i did when i became -- came to the senate in 2007 is go to the brent spence bridge and express my commitment that we needed to do something. it was not quite -- it wasn't as -- it wasn't in the shape then that it is now, but it clearly needed support and needed help. three and a half years ago i introduced the bridge investment act to put ohioans to work, repairing and upgrading bridges with american iron and steel. this week we're on the verge of getting it done. it will provide a grant to pay for half the cost of replacing
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brent spence and the additional funding in the package will support the remainder of the project. we expect ohio to get at least $9.8 billion for federal aid highway assistance including $480 million of formula funds for bridge replacement to supplement the bridge investment act. it's not just brent spence that needs help. it's the western hills viaduct in hamilton county. it's i-70 in columbus and franklin county. it's u.s. 30 in richland county and north central ohio. it's the broad street bridge in columbus. it's major projects and smaller bridges on rural farm listeneds that -- farmlands that let farmers get goods to market. i talked with 81-year-old howard krueger. he lives in wyoming, ohio, outside of cincinnati. he's retired from prosecute ter and gamble. as he was -- a piece of the western via duct fell on his windshield. he got out of his car, picked up
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the rock about as big as his fist, a little bigger. took it with him. we talked about it in a radio news conference we did. it's a pretty visceral example of what we all know. our nation's infrastructure is literally crumbling. we need this investment. think about the economic potential waiting to be unleashed when we fix these crumbling bridges. the kind of bottlenecks that frustrate commuters and farmers and businesses in ohio every day. madam president, i want to thank our bipartisan cosponsors of the bridge investment act, senators wyden, the chair of the senate finance committee, senator whitehouse, senator inhofe from oklahoma, senator whitehouse from rhode island. early partners in this effort. i want to thank chairman carper and ranking member capito just across the river from southeast ohio from west virginia. the e.p.w. committee for their continued support. madam president, the banking, housing committee also provided a major part of this infrastructure package. it includes record, record
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investment in public transportation. the presiding officer sits on this as a prominent member of this committee. she knows as i know that through her career and through my career for almost -- for a decade and a half, as long as i remember, this committee is just referred to by the media and senators as the banking committee. it was all about wall street. it was little about community banks. it was almost nothing about housing. that's changed. this committee now we all refer to as the banking and housing committee. some refer to it as the housing and banking committee. and in this committee we take our job with public transit seriously. this package contains historic funding. $90 billion over the next five years. $40 billion increase for public transit, the largest ever. it will connect people with better jobs. it will promote equity. it will help our planet. the banking and housing committee held extensive hearings this spring on infrastructure and transit. we heard from ohioans like daryl
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hailley who heads southwest ohio regional transit authority. we heard from the mayor of akron. we heard over and over again what we need to revitalize these essential systems, whether in cleveland where i live or youngstown or toledo or anywhere in our state. we provide a billion and a half dollars so that cities like cleveland and ranking member toomey's biggest city in his state, philadelphia can replace rail cars that unbelievably date back to the reagan administration or earlier. this bill ensures that public transportation receives more than 20% of the new investment from the highway trust fund. it's consistent with historic -- senator shelby once chair of this committee retiring after 30 -- i believe 36, 37 years on this committee, he talked to me about that 80/20 split that's been here as long as he's been here, a tradition that both parties have respected. this bill takes a huge step toward electrifying the transit
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bus fleet. providing over $5 billion for the low and no, no emission, low emission program. it will mean taking off -- taking those buses -- modernizing the bus fleets in every city in america. these funds will also retrain workers who maintain our current diesel fleet. every electric bus purchase will keep and create good-paying jobs. this bill will support investments in flood mitigation, an important issue that members of the banking and housing committee especially senator menendez but a number of senators in both parties who represent coastal states from massachusetts, the presiding officer's state, all the way to louisiana, senator kennedy's state. i want to thank the members of the committee, banking, housing committee including ranking member toomey who worked to reauthorize federal transit programs. i particularly want to thank our housing and transit subcommittee chair tina smith from minnesota
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and the subcommittee's ranking member senator rounds from south dakota. i've worked with both of them. i've been to their subcommittee. their efforts have been especially important to improve rural transit, including in india country. we're going to keep working to help rural transit agencies even more. we had hearings under the leadership of -- of chairman crapo three or four years ago where i heard stories from rural -- senators in smaller states, mostly republican, talking about the importance of rural transit where someone who lives out in the country, a bus, a paratransit bus picks her up, takes her to her dialysis treatment and takes her back. that's different from city, urban, big city bus transit but equally important to families. i thank our democratic members for their strong focus on transit. senator menendez from new jersey, senator reed from rhode island continue to be leaders in fighting for a fair share of funds for transit.
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senator tester from montana, senator warner from virginia played a key role in ensuring the committee's transit title move forward in the bipartisan negotiations. our committee, the banking, housing committee owe them special thanks. senator warner and senator van hollen from maryland fought to reauthorize funds for ohio -- for america's subway, the washington, d.c. metro system serving millions in this region. and senator van hollen's legislation to improve agency safety plans and give workers stronger voice in safety matters as a big victory for labor. the chair of the labor committee just walked in and her work on these issues, in this case bus safety but safety of workers overall is so very important. we know that bus drivers are often a special target and protecting them is essential. senators warnock and ossoff, our newest mechanics on the committee from georgia helped us
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fight for better rapid transit. something that metro atlanta cries out for and they've been loud, strong voices on that. senator cortez masto contributed provisions with housing needs. i want to thank the presiding officer, senator warren, and other members of our caucus who kept advocating for zero emission buses, not just for boston but for the whole country. these buses help fight the climate crisis. they help clean the air in neighborhoods plagued by air pollution. people in inner cities more often than not, the quality of the air they breathe is -- that's partly because there aren't many trees. it's partly because of public transit. it's part lir -- it's a whole host of issues but this takes a major step in dealing with that i want to thank senator duckworth. the americans with disability act became law 20 years ago but some of our rail stations still remain inaccessible. my friend senator casey who sits
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next to me on the floor, chair of the aging committee, we were proud to cosponsor her proposal. her bill provides almost $2 billion for accessibility grants. senators duckworth, casey and i will continue to push for more resources until every transit station is accessible. i want to thank senator sinema, also a mechanic of our committee, and -- member of our committee and senator portman for bringing this momentous infrastructure package together. madam president, it's obvious how some of the job creation this package will happen, you build a bridge. you lay down rail tracks. you hire american workers to do it. none of these jobs ever in an infrastructure plan can be shipped overseas. but this investment, madam president, is different from those that have come before it. for the first time every single one of these projects will come from the strongest ever, the strongest ever buy america rules. it means we get more job creation from wichita to seattle to boston to cleveland. we get more job creation for every single dollar of taxpayer
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investment. throughout my time in the senate i've worked to strengthen our nation's buy america laws at every opportunity, and there have always been interest groups in this town that have written loopholes into these laws and weakened these laws. for instance, one of the most expensive bridges in american history, the bay bridge, in northern california, a loophole enabled it to be made entirely of chinese steel from a company owned by the chinese government. think of that. we talk -- you know, we talk all the time about china. our corporations lobby to get tax breaks and trade agreements to outsource jobs to china. we don't see the hypocrisy there. we don't see the hypocrisy in letting china make the steel for the bay bridge. but nonetheless, those days are behind us. we know how much steel can go into a bridge and how many steelworkers in cleveland or middletown or gary, indiana, can be employed to make this steel.
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i've worked with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to strengthen buy america laws in the highway bill and defense authorization act and the water resource and development act. these efforts have been piecemeal. that's piecemeal. that's why i asked senator portman to join me and senator baldwin in build america, buy america, a bill we introduced on president trump's inawtion ration -- inauguration day. we worked with other leaders on buy america and will continue to. i especially call our senator baldwin. four years later now we're finally -- took four years. we're finally getting it right. we're putting in place a clear, comprehensive standard american tax dollars should support american jobs, period. american tax dollars should support american jobs, period. these historic investments will support ohio manufacturers and knock their foreign competitors. with potential for hundreds of bridge repair projects alone, this investment in ohio combined with our strong buy america rules means job creation in every region of my manufacturing
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state. it keeps the promise i've made to ohioans my entire career that i'd fight for the dignity of work. when you love your country, you fight for the people who make it work to ensure the industrial heartland would be the engine of opportunity that drives us into a 21st century economy. finally, i'm supporting this bill and excited for all the investments it will make in ohio communities and ohio jobs. i'm disappointed that my -- that a number of my colleagues rejected the idea that we should pay for this bill by enforcing our country's tax laws. i oppose the provision forcing home buyers to pay more each month to help fund investments that wealthy tax cheats should pay for. the money that home buyers pay should be going towards keeping our housing system stable, making sure that everyone has an affordable home. we can do more. we will do more in the coming months to address affordable housing. you all heard those that were in the chamber heard senator sanders talking about the importance of housing and the
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reconciliation bill. ly come down to the floor later today and talk in some detail about that. finally, madam president, i would be remiss if i did not thank my staff for their hard work on this effort. many of them had planned august vacations. it's the only time of year where they really get sort of untram balanced, -- untrammeled, unrestricted time with their families. all of them have given up something already this month in july. their -- they're public servants for sure. they understand commitment. they do this without complaining. their hard work has been so obvious to me and so obvious to people that pay attention not necessarily obvious to my constituents. and i want to call them out. homer carlisle was intra emergency in helping negotiate and craft the transit title and the bridge legislation. ben lockshan, a fellow from the federal transit administration assisted in these efforts. i want to thank rebecca higgins and mary francis rip consist co
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and senator carper's staff. my staff works closely with them. robert andraz with chairman wyden. chairman wyden is chair of one of the most important committees in this congress and has been a leader in wanting the wealthy to pay their fair share and wants to make sure it's large corporations that share the taxpayer bill and -- the tax burden and pay their fair share and less burden on small business. aaron goldner formally -- formerly with senator whitehouse and leah hill. they all made the bridge legislation possible. in my office beth cooper provided technical assistance on the very complicated flood mitigation portion of this bill. megan cheney and chad bolton, elijah and cory fryer provided the analyses and guidance on matters related to the bill's pay for. care lina young new on my staff making her mark. and abigail worked on the buy america provisions.
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my staff has worked with others on buy america over the years but sam with senator portman's staff, brian with senator baldwin have been particularly helpful. i want to recognize my former aid nora todd who led our efforts for much of a decade on buy america. through all of this, joining me on the floor is laura swanson respecting my staff director, who works unbelievable hours with a small child and continues to be a terrific mother and wife and an amazing staff director, and i say exactly the same about our legislative director, jeremy, who is not a terrific mother but a terrific father with his family and has worked so very, very hard holding all of this together for over a decade. so i thank my staff. i thank my colleagues. this legislation -- i remember saying to senator casey on march 6 when we passed the american rescue plan, i turned to him
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because of the child tax credit and what we did with pensions and so much else that senator murray had work on too, i turned to bob and said, this is the best way of my legislative life. well, this bill today is almost as big in its scope and is so very important to this country. and i am pleased to add my support to it. i yield the floor. mr. moran: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: madam president, thank you. i joined the bipartisan infrastructure group of 22 senators. i am one of the originals. and i did so for a number of reasons. one, how important infrastructure is to kansas and to the country. i'd highlight the importance of
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infrastructure investment to my state. we're in the middle of the country, where our manufactured goods and agriculture commodities need to be able to compete in the world economy, and how efficiently and effectively we get those goods and those commodities to market has a huge consequence to the ability for kansans to earn a living. across our state, from southeast kansas to southwest kansas, from the suburbs of kansas city and johnson county and wyandotte county, all across kansas shall the demand for improved roads, greater safety is there. there is a great desire to see that roads and bridges are erepaired. county commissioners and trustees of our townships have called to say, we have a bridge. could you help us do something about that? so i'm -- i entered this group of 22 senators -- i was one of the 11 to provide some input and to see that kansas priorities, that we had a seat at the table and to help negotiate a deal
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that didn't raise taxes, that didn't spend trillions of dollars and focused on actual, traditional infrastructure and to avoid what i fear is to follow, what i would describe sasse a democratic wish -- what i would describe as a democratic wish list. i wanted this to be a smaller, more affordable, paid-for package that was not excessive in scope, didn't add to the national debt and did not raise taxes on the american people. this package includes a number of priorities of mine, including an historic increase in investment in broadband and does provide critical resources to repair our roads, bridges, and airports. so desire for a seat at the table, a desire to invest in infrastructure, and i also would add a desire to see that this united states senate, republicans and democrats, can work together for a beneficiary product, a beneficiary -- a beneficial product to the american people. however, from the very going up,
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i outlined criteria that would need to be met for my support on any final outcome of the negotiations. my priority was that the bill be paid for and, therefore, not raise the national debt. half of the new spending in this bill is not offset, is not offset with reduced spending or increases in nontax revenues. the congressional budget office scores this bill as adding a quarter of a trillion dollars to the national debt. my view has been from the beginning, if we can only find offsets to pay for a certain amount. in this case, about a half of the increased spending included in this bill, then the size of our bill should be half of what it is. if you could only find a way to pay for half of what you're spending, then spend less money, spend half as much less money. that, of course, was not the outcome of these negotiations. additionally had i'd hoped that this bipartisan plan would dissuade democrats from pursuing their own partisan $3.5 trillion
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tax-and-spend spree. the democratic plan to immediately follow this bipartisan infrastructure bill with their own spending bill significantly undermines the bipartisan effort to deliver a good outcome for people of this country. i had hoped that if we reached a bipartisan agreement -- in fact, i had hoped that bipartisan agreement would be reached among the 22 senators, but pretty early in the negotiations it became clear that there was a significant input in direction from the biden administration and from the majority leader, the democratic majority leader in the united states senate. so instead of negotiating with my colleagues and seeking an outcome that we supported, it had to be run by those who are in the white house and those who are in the leadership of the democratic members of the united states senate. so my desire to see that we pass or reach an agreement to pass a
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bill that would be paid for did not occur, was not met. that criteria was not met. and the desire to see democratic senators say that if we do this together, we're not going to do something else on our own. and in fact some of the things we negotiated in or out of the bipartisan package will now be included in the broader package of the democratic wish list. so it didn't make -- doesn't make a lot of sense to me to reach an agreement, only to discover that in a succeeding bill, one that immediately follows, the things that we negotiated in or out are now included or taken out. so the bipartisan nature of the agreement is, in many ways, offset by the bill that follows. reaching an infrastructure deal in a bipartisan way would send a great message that we're capable of working together, and i certainly indicate to my colleagues -- i'd particularly
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indicate to senator sinema, the senator from arizona, how much i appreciate her efforts to pull us together and to lead our meetings with a productive way. and i would say again that i'm open to those opportunities. i'm saddened by the fact that this did not reach an agreement that i can support. but i certainly indicate to my colleagues that i'm willing to work with republican and democrat members of the senate to see that in other instances we can come together in a way that's -- that provides hope for the american people, that we can work together in a better product than we were able to reach in this instance. unfortunately, to sum up, there is too much spending, too much debt, and, therefore, there will be too much inflation. my efforts to reach a compromise were honest and sincere, and i regret that we were unable to arrive at a bill that i can support. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. president. recently francis collins, who is the current director of the national institutes of health, said in an interview, and i quote, we call on china to really open up, something that they've not done, and to be more transparent about what could lie -- what could be known there, end quote. he was, of course, talking about the origins of the covid-19 pandemic. i couldn't agree more with dr. collins. the world is entitled to know what happened in wuhan. however, we have a saying in tennessee, i think this applies here. what's good for the goose is good for the gander. of course, my question to dr. collins is, when will we see transparency from the n.i.h. about its role in the origins of
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the pandemic? on june 28, along with my colleagues senators marshal and grassley, i wrote to dr. collins asking him to open up the books on the n.i.h.'s relationship with chinese researchers. and, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to submit the record -- the letter for the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. blackburn: this letter asks dr. collins about news reports that chinese researchers were allowed to delete data from a genetic database managed by the n.i.h. the data they removed included information about the novel coronavirus that caused the covid-19 pandemic. dr. collins has not responded to the letter, but this isn't the sort of allegation the n.i.h. will be able to ignore into nonexistence. we need a response. we need to know what happened.
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we need transparency from the n.i.h., just as the n.i.h. is asking for transparency from china. dr. collins must reveal what definition of gain of function research n.i.h. used when it approved funding for the wuhan institute of virology back in 2016. we now know that the research we paid for helped chinese researchers engineer different versions of coronaviruses. we also need to know why the wuhan institute of virology was allowed to do dangerous research with american taxpayer dollars in a biosafety level-two lab. if in case you're not familiar with this designation, one scientist compared the safety and security levels of a biosafety lab 2 to that of a
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dentist's office. in 2017, n.i.h. reversed the ban on gain-of-function research. why was n.i.h. allowed to make such an important decision unilaterally? i was relieved to hear dr. collins express about transparency from china, but getting answer out of beijing won't end the investigation. the american people have suffered for almost two years under the threat of illness and economic collapse. i.t. not too much to demand that their own government live up to the same standards we all agree we should hold our research partners to. tennesseans want answers from the n.i.h. they're also still reeling over the price tag of this infrastructure bill, over the past few days, i've gotten a lot of calls and text messages from people back home. i've stood right here and i've
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spoken about how tennesseans are confused about this process. i want to amplify something for those who may not have caught my remarks. tennesseans aren't talking about process or pay-fors. they don't follow the senate rules. what they're confused about is why my democratic colleagues are in such a rush to spend money we do not have on projects the american people never asked for. now, i don't want my democratic colleagues to make a mistake and accuse tennesseans of not caring about infrastructure. they couldn't be further from the truth on that one. tennessee is a logistic state. roads, bridges, rivers, runways, railways -- believe me when i say tennesseans care about infrastructure. they are ready to invest in
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infrastructure. indeed, the surface transportation bill we passed out of the committee, they like that. but cobbling together a trillion-dollar vehicle for campaign promises and calling it infrastructure is not something that passes muster with them. several of my republican colleagues who were allowed to negotiate this bill have emphasized that this is a bipartisan compromise. we thank them for their efforts. they want us to understand that it's not a perfect bill -- no bill is ever perfect -- and all of that is true. we understand that. we appreciate the efforts that have gone into this. but as my colleague from kansas said, it's not the compromise that's the problem. it's not the efforts. we appreciate those. it is the fact that this is a bill that is too expensive to afford. the minority leader said it best a few months ago when he
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compared this bill to a trojan horse. it looks like one thing but it's hiding something you don't want getting past the front door. for months, the democratic party has been very public about their intentions for the bill. the word "infrastructure" no longer has any meaning when can it comes out their mouths because everything has been infrastructure at some point. child care for a while until it took a back seat to court-packing, now climate action is infrastructure. back home we deal in truth and consequences. tennesseans have spent the fast few days looking at everything hunkered down inside this package. and they know it's not all about infrastructure investment. i am talking to county mayors, i'm talking to state reps, i'm talking to state senators. so they're concerned about 25%
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of the bill being for infrastructure and the rest, other projects. i've spoken numerous times about the ways president biden and his faithful lieutenants in congress have tried to diminish freedom from the name of progress, but i am compelled to remind my colleagues once again that the decision to increase government spending is a decision to increase government involvement and eventually government control. you cannot have the one without getting the other, too. this isn't investing in the future. if anything, this pattern of reckless spending will ensure that the version of the american dream so many of us have enjoyed disappears before our youngest generations are old enough to sign the dotted line on their driver's license application. my democratic colleagues aren't paving the way to prosperity for
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our children and grandchildren with this type spending. they're building the gateway to socialism. and this bill can be seen as a downpayment. later this week if all goes according to plan for my colleague from new york, we'll take a vote on a budget that's going to make the american people think they got a discount on the infrastructure package. it's another day, another fight over a multitrillion dollar spending spree that defies common sense and rejects all notions of accountability. if the infrastructure bill was the downpayment for that gateway to socialism, this budget rips the gates off the hinges and invites the big spenders and central planners to roll right on through. for the low provides of $3.5 trillion they'll have it all. a laundry list of incentives for
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government dependency, a foot in the door to our homes and families, and an excuse to seize power and centralize it right here in washington. my democratic colleagues really enjoy using the words free and universal to describe their government handouts. we have universal pre--k. tuition free community college, universal health care and even a fee path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. the american people see this for what it is, though. it's bait. in exchange for your freedom and your autonomy and all your hopes and dreams, you, too, can become a client of the state. you, too, can live the life of julia as depicted in the ramley pann cartoon the obama administration created. the left always signals where they're headed, and for them this is their goal, their
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utopia, total control from daylight to dark. 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the rest of your life. our public debt is set to hit $45 trillion by 2031. $45 trillion. deficits are on track to hit $1.8 trillion. yes, indeed, that's every year. and no budget gimmick on the books can change that. president reagan's warning about the fragile nature of freedom rings especially true after hearing those numbers. here's would he said. freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. it has to be fought for and defended by each generation. what does that mean? it means we, each of us individually, collectively together have a duty to future
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generations to pull out of this skid before we tip the scales away from freedom and toward levels of government dependency and control. you can't unravel affixing a four-year mistake. i yield the floor. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington state. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. you know, when a disaster strikes, a tornado or an earthquake or a wildfire, the first thing we do is work to keep people safe. but that's far from the last thing we do when the storm has passed. we rebuild. we rebuild homes and schools, hospitals, businesses, communities. and if we're doing our job right, we build them back even better so we are ready when the next crisis strikes. that's exactly what this budget is about. rebuilding our country now, stronger and fairer. we need to pick up where the
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infrastructure package leaves off by making bold investments in all of our infrastructure. in addition to building roads and bridges and even broadband, we need to build our public health infrastructure and help our local health departments expand their capacity and modernize their data and lab systems and more. we need to build our affordable housing infrastructure to make sure every family can keep a roof over their head and doesn't need to break the bank to do so. we need to build our school infrastructure to make sure schools don't have lead pipes or mold and do have adequate lighting and electricity and a.c. systems, not to mention so many other resources students need to learn to grow, like libraries and gyms. and we need to build our climate infrastructure. the climate crisis is here and it is an existential threat.
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if we don't take this opportunity to protect our planet for current and future generations, we may not get another one. of course rebuilding is more than just about infrastructure. we have to build a stronger, fairer country for our workers and our families, too. our nation is stronger when no worker has to choose between a paycheck and taking care of themselves, a child, or a loved one who's seriously ill. and every worker can afford to take time off after giving birth, a partner's delivery or adopting a child which is why we must establish a national paid leave plan. our nation is stronger when every parent can get quality, affordable child care, every young learner gets a strong start with quality learning programs and every adult learner can pursue a higher education which is why we need to expand quality affordable child care and establish universal pre--k and why we need to open the doors of higher education to
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even more people starting by providing tuition-free community college. our nation is stronger when older americans and people with disabilities have the care they need to live independently in their communities, which is why we need to invest in home and community-based services and make sure the workers that provide that critical care get fair pay and better benefits. our nation is stronger when health care is truly a right and not a privilege, which is why we need to extend the huge health care expansion we made in the american rescue plan which has already helped 138,000 people in my home state of washington save an average $90 on their health care coverage. and we need to keep pressing for further progress towards universal coverage. and of course our nation is stronger because of contributions of so many hardworking immigrants which is why we need a fair pathway to
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citizenship for the more than 11 million undocumented residents living here, including dreamers, farm workers, those with temporary protected status, and the many essential undocumented workers who do so much to keep our country running. you know, after a wildfire would we leave the fire department in ashes or the schools or the businesses or the homes? of course not. so after ap pandemic and an economic crisis, shouldn't we rebuild our public health departments? shouldn't we rebuild our economy? shouldn't we address the deep seated inequities that have made things so much worse for people. shouldn't we help families get child care and paid leave and health care and housing and citizenship? shouldn't we build back our nation stronger and fairer? that is not a trick question and it shouldn't be a hard one either. the answer is obvious to anyone
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who has been listening to people back home. mr. president, democrats are listening. we know what families are going through. we know they want us to act, and that is exactly what we are going to do. thank you and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. a senator: thank you, mr. president. mr. crapo: mr. president, i rise to speak about the devastating tax and spend policies we will shortly be debating here. first i want to differentiate between the bipartisan infrastructure legislation we're currently debating and the separate looming debate on my democratic colleagues' $3.5 trillion reckless tax and spend proposals. senators on both sides of the aisle have long agreed to the need to modernize and expand our
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hard infrastructure, including transportation systems and broadband networks. we've done so in a bipartisan manner. infrastructure investments have traditionally been accomplished through bipartisanship and regular order. traditional hard infrastructure investments include funding of roads and bridges, transit, rail, airports, drinking water, and wastewater infrastructure, ports and inland waterways, water storage, and broadband infrastructure. the bipartisan infrastructure bill we are considering dafoe cusses on those core elements and is built around several vetted unanimously consented committee-passed bills. it includes a number of priorities important to idaho. including billions of dollars for roads, highways, and bridges, funding for high-speed internet and broadband
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infrastructure deployment. millions in water infrastructure, including for ground water storage and conveyance. funding for resiliency against natural disasters like wildfires and droughts. a reauthorization of the secure rural schools program and much more. it does not raise taxes. yet repray -- it reprioritizes certain unused covid relief funds from previous spending bills away from bailouts and idle funds and towards supply-side investments that will provide benefits to the american people for many years. because this infrastructure spending focuses on long-term productivity rather than near-term demand, it will not be inflationary. in fact, it will counteract the inflationary pressures we are now seeing as a result of the excessive spending in this
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congress. this is especially critical right now as rising prices are impacting families and small businesses across america. in june the bureau of labor statistics reported that consumer prices were up 5.4% over one year ago. the largest increase since august 2008. consumer price inflation has been accelerating since the beginning of the year and american families pay the price. in the past year gas prices have increased 45.1%. the cost for major appliances has increased 13.7%. airfares have increased 24.6%. and the list goes on. a recent university of michigan survey showed that consumers expect prices to rise 4.8% over the next 12 months. and the national federation of
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independent business survey found that 47 % of companies are increasing average selling prices, up 7 percentage points from may. and the highest share in four decades. economists on both sides of the aisle have warned that excessive nonproductive spending could put us in this position. and despite these warnings in march, the democrats passed a nearly $2 trillion in purported covid relief spending on top of the nearly $4 trillion that had already been spent. a fraction of this $2 trillion was actually pandemic related. that poorly targeted package has grown the national debt, spurred inflation, and discouraged workers from returning to the workforce. now democrats are proposing to spend an additional $3.5 trillion to balloon the federal
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government even more. and that's just the advertised price. according to the nonpartisan committee for a responsible federal budget, the democrats' new legislation will actually cost closer to $5 trillion to $5.5 trillion over the next ten years. democrats intend to couple this runaway spending with job and growth-killing tax hikes to create and establish their reckless spree of tax and spend policies. they intend to go it alone with this social spending spree through another budget reconciliation process in a 50-50 tied senate which is willfully partisan. yet amazingly, despite having the tools to raise the debt limit within this process, democrats want to ignore the debt implications of their reckless budget. if the democrats are going to cram down this massive tax and spending spree, they will have
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to deal with the debt limit themselves. yet they don't include dealing with their irresponsible growth of our debt in their bill. what about offset proposals. the democrats' budget proposals include provisions that will cause immediate and long-term damage to our economy and send many of our most successful businesses and the jobs they provide abroad. one, they propose increasing taxes on all kinds of businesses, large and small, leading to lower wages, fewer jobs, and higher prices for consumers. two, they would allow and encourage rival countries to change the international tax system for the worse. three, they want to raise our taxes on our businesses in hopes that other countries may raise theirs sometime in the indefinite future while ceding
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u.s. tax rights to our competitors. four, they seek to include the family death tax. five, they want to substantially increase taxes on investors, entrepreneurs, savers and retirees. six, they want to drastically expand the powers of the i.r.s. while limiting its accountability and turn banks into private investigators monitoring law-abiding americans. seven, their taxes will raise taxes on middle-class individuals and families, and not just those earning over $400,000. at the very same time they want tax relief for the wealthy living in ht high-tax -- high-tax and spend states. they are seeking pharmaceutical
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controls on the pharmaceutical industry that will stifle them. business taxes, democrats plan to increase the tax rate. including corporations, ignoring the fact that a significant portion of the taxes is paid by the workers. as the u.s. chamber of commerce notes, most businesses are small businesses, with more than 80% with fewer than 20 employees of as to those who actually bear the burden of a corporate tax increase, estimates say that workers share anywhere from 20% to 70% of this burden. a higher corporate tax rate would hit the nest eggs of everyone saving for retirement. this stealthy, but very real tax hike would hit retirement savers across the spectrum, falling most heavily on the middle class
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and the elderly through retirement accounts an pensions and violating president biden's pledge not to tax anyone making less than $400,000. any tax increase will directly hit the very small businesses and workers that the administration claims it wants to help. international taxes. the democrats tax plan would reverse the smart policies of the tax cuts and jobs act adopted in 2017, once again raising the relative cost of doing business in america and punishing american businesses selling their products or services overseas. they fail to acknowledge that the tax increases in their plan will rocket the united states back into the outlier position that it once occupied compared to peer nations. once again, we will have the highest tax rates of anyone in the developed world many we are near the top. the democrats are trying to win
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a race trying to get to the international tax rates. their tax rates would 0 more than double the rate on u.s. businesses on their foreign earnings to a 22.65%. this hike far outstrips the 15% inmum rate promised -- minimum rate promised by our international competitors at the oecd. if they want to benefit american workers an savers, why is it sharply increasing taxes on its global businesses when no other business even levies such taxes? the administration's international tax proposal seems designed to reignite the foreign acquisitions of american companies that the obama administration faced. there is no reason to tax our businesses into moving abroad as the democrats proposals will do.
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family farms and small businesses. today family businesses passed down at death are subject to only a state tax and not an additional income tax. instead, a business' tax basis is increased or stepped up to fair market value, sparing the next generation a large captain of capital gains tax bill. president biden wants to create a double death tax by eliminating this stepup basis, including small businesses, farms, and ranches passed down from one generation to the next at death. more insidiously the biden plan would tax the businesses on simple inflation, sticking them with a bill for reckless inflationary tax and spend policies enacted by politicians in washington. capital gains tax. for decades the republicans and democrats have recognized the importance of encouraging people to save for their future goals.
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including starting a business, saving for retirement, achieving financial independence, or even buying a home or a car. members of both parties have long agreed on a key tool to encourage these goals for all americans, specifically a lower tax rate on long-term capital gains. president biden wants to nearly double this tax rate from 23.8% to 43.4%, which will be the highest rate, and hear me on this, the highest rate in a century. in many cases when combined with similar state taxes, the government would take more than half of an asset's appreciation in taxes. this is the appreciation that lower-income, middle-income and all income categories of workers in the united states would have to pay.
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this super-sized tax hike would be a powerful disincentive to small businesses, savers, and retirees and entrepreneurs and innovators who power our economy and harm all americans, regardless of their financial circumstances or goals. i.r.s. funding and bank monitoring. the biden administration has proposed nearly $80 billion in additional i.r.s. funding of which $72.5 billion would be accountability hinder mandatory spending, nearly doubling the i.r.s.' budget without increasing its accountability, opens the door to repeating and supercharging the agency's past abuse of power. further, the administration's proposal would press financial institutions, private sector financial institutions into reporting the deposit flows of their customers' accounts of
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greater than $600 billion in value. think about it. it is not just big corporations or corporations, it's individuals or businesses who have a financial account that has more than 600 --s -- $600 in it. this will be a drag net pulling law-abiding americans into it. this will burden financial institutions and burden the growth of shadow banking. what a huge violation of the privacy of all americans. as if this proposal could not be worse, the data provided to the i.r.s. would have almost no value in fighting tax invasion. the era of big data should not be viewed as an opportunity for big brother. the salt deduction cap. while my colleagues are proposing reckless across the board tax increases on businesses and families, they are simultaneously proposing to
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expand a tax deduction for the wealthiest, those living in high-tax states. democrats are fighting to reverse the cap on state and local taxes or what is call the salt tax, these deductions, stoking a tax break for the very wealthy. democratic silence on who benefits from their proposal is telling. per a 2020 brookings institute study, 96% of its benefits would go to the top quintile of earners, 57% would go to the top 1% of earners, and 25% to the top one-tenth of 1% of earners. a huge tax break for the wealthy. and, finally, price controls on pharmaceutical manufacturers. thanks to the genius of science and the success of operation warp speed, america is ready for
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its comeback. unfortunately, my democratic colleagues are proposing sweeping governmental price controls on the very innovators who have enabled our return to normalcy. under the guys of negotiation, the government would have to have a set price for drugs and apply bureaucratic standards that therapies and cures bring to american lives. as the non-congressional budget office confirmed, this type of scheme will lead to fewer new medications, threatening access to lifesaving health care options for our most vulnerable citizens. one of these foregone therapies could create pancreatic cancer, another could cure a.l.s. while every patient should be able to afford lifesaving medications, their proposal has the potential to eliminate the existence of these very
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inventions and innovations. congress should come together in a bipartisan way to make all health care services, including prescription drugs, more affordable and accessible and i've introduced legislation to do just that. we do need to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, but using the savings from this misguided government price control scheme to pay for partisan priorities is not the answer to the high cost of health care. before the pandemic, a combination of reduced regulatory burden and pro-growth policies, including the 2017 tax cuts and jobs act helped to create one of the strongest economies of our lifetime. with all-time high median household income, a 50-year low unemployment rate and real wage gains month after month, especially and most for the
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low-income workers. inflation adjusted weekly median earnings grew 4.9% for the two years between 2018 and 2019, the fastest two-year growth rate in real earnings since 1998 and 1999. polling showed that americans' general satisfaction at the highest level in 15 years. we would do the american people a disservice if we mortgaged their future while undermining the foundation of their past successes. and, sadly, this is the approach that many of my colleagues are seeking to take as we move into the next step of this debate. we should instead be building on time-proven pro-growth policies, not reversing them to fund a reckless spending spree. thank you, mr. president.
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the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mrs. gillibrand: i rise today to join my colleagues in support of the build back better plan budget resolution, which recognizes that care infrastructure is critical infrastructure. we know that our economy has not been working for working families. then we saw a pandemic make a precarious situation even worse for families across the entire country. our economy cannot fully recover and will not survive another pandemic or health emergency if people can't keep their jobs or get back to work. that won't happen until we start providing the economic support that we've actually needed for decades. support like child care,
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universal pre-k and universal paid leave. paid leave is what allows people to keep their jobs when they get sick, it allows parents to stay home with their children who are ill or forced to learn remotely. it let's hardworking people care for their aging parents. and right now far too many people don't have access to it. more than eight in ten workers lack access to paid leave and they are often left to make the very impossible choices of do i care for my loved one, do i stay by the bedside of my mother as dying or earn a paycheck and feed my children? those are choices that we should not force the american workforce to have to make every single day. this budget reconciliation will help the united states have the united states as the only
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industrialized country that doesn't have paid and medical leave for all workers. i have been working for years to pass the bill. our bill is called the family act, the model for the build back better plans paid leave program which would provide nearly every worker up to 12 weeks of paid leave. it will provide stability to workers, to families, to companies, and to our u.s. economy, and now this is the moment that we can actually make it happen. this budget also recognizes the essential nature of the child care industry. nearly 27 million people rely on child care just so they can go to work and feed their children. first, child care is not readily available. child care deserts and shortages across the country leaves families without local options.
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before the pandemic in new york, there was one slot for every four children that wanted access to affordable high-quality day care. after the pandemic, there was one slot for every eight children that wanted access to affordable quality day care. in new york, a year of child care is often more expensive than a year of in-state college tuition. those problems were exacerbated by the pandemic. staffing at child care centers, which was already a problem prepandemic, is now down 15%. this budget will help us make the critical investments that are so long overdue. child care investments ensure families have access to high-quality care that cost low and middle-class families no more than 7% of their income. it also recognizes the nature of child care as essential work.
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child care providers are our essential workers, and they deserve a long overdue raise. this investment is critical to our economic recovery and will help working parents get back to the office, get back to their jobs, and know that their children are safe and having access to that critical early childhood education. every parent in america knows that if their child has the chance from zero to 5 to be in early childhood education, every dollar you put into early childhood education results in over $11 of benefit to society for that individual child over their lifetime. it is such an important investment. the build back better plan invests in universal pre-k. it will not only help more parents of young children return to work, but it also ensures that those children get that early access to early childhood
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education, that high-quality learning to give them access to understanding their numbers, their letters, early reading, early math. that is essential for them being able to thrive. these forms of care infrastructure are what make the difference between a family surviving or a family thriving, and that's what this country needs to actually recover from this global pandemic. these investments are just as important as our investments in roads and bridges and sewers and clean water and clean air and high-speed rail and rural broadband. all of that matters. and together that's how we recover from this economy. this is the moment to make this once in a generation investment in the future of our families, the future of our middle class, the future of our economy. and this is something that we can do together. so i ask all my colleagues to join us in getting the build
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back better plan over the finish line. it's about our families, it's about our economy, and most importantly, it is about our future. i yield the floor. ms. collins: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, at long last, tomorrow morning, i expect that the senate will approve the bipartisan infrastructure investment and jobs act. for far too long, any discussion of transportation infrastructure in this country has been accompanied by the adjective crumbling. the backlog of needed repairs and upgrades and replacements in my state of maine and throughout our cup is simply enormous.
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americans know far too well the consequences of the chronic underinvestment in our infrastructure. poor road conditions cost them on average hundreds of dollars each year in vehicle repairs and wasted gasoline due to congestion. structurally deficient bridges often require lengthy detours when they have to be posted. slow or nonexistent internet connections create barriers to work, health care, and education. the recent pandemic has certainly laid bare the inequities and access to high-speed internet in our country. every administration in recent memory has identified improving our infrastructure and
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transportation networks as a priority, but time and time again, we have seen those ambitious goals thwarted by partisanship. well, mr. president, the senate has finally broken through the political gridlock and is on the verge of passing a landmark infrastructure package that amounts to a major victory for the american people. i have worked with my colleagues from across the aisle and across the country to produce this legislation. it will be picture most significant investment in american infrastructure since the establishment of the interstate highway system in the 1950's. this bill will provide concrete benefits for american families,
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as well as for our economy by making historic investments in our nation's roads, highways, bridges, airports, seaports, waterways, rail, water treatment systems, and, of course, broadband. and, mr. president, this is important not only for american families, it's important for america's place in the world. many other countries on a per capita basis invest far more than our country does in the infrastructure, including china. so this bill will help to improve our competitiveness, create jobs, and improve our productivity. it represents the culmination of months of bipartisan negotiation
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and truly is transformational. for example, the package includes $110 billion to address the growing backlog of deficient bridges and roads. this includes $40 billion to improve our nation's bridges. in my state of maine, there are 315 deficient bridges, and nearly 1,500 miles of poor roads. this package provides $25 billion as well as frebilitr airports so they can pursue the projects such as rebuilding or extending runways and taxiways or expanding their terminals. this funding will benefit airports of all sizes. the package also bolsters our
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rail network by including funding for programs that support crucial capital and rail safety projects. we also included funding for amtrak's national network to help address its deferred capital needs and to bring new train cars to state-supported routes like the down easter in maine. mr. president, i'm also excited that the bill provides an additional $95 million to support the university transportation center program. this program harnesses the research and development expertise at our institutions of higher education to improve our infrastructure. the university of maine, i'm proud to say, participates in
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this program. it is leading the way by pioneering cutting edge materials to build more durable environmentally friendly roads and bridges at a lower cost. i recently participated in a bridge dedication that used the new materials and techniques that have been developed at the university of maine. this bridge will last far longer it has -- because of the materials used to build it, it has a far lower carbon footprint, and it is a really exciting development. this is -- this program will be better supported by the funding in our bill. the energy title of our bill will provide critical investments in clean energy demonstration projects and help to protect and harden our electric grid.
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notably, $355 million that's included for an energy storage pilot program which was authorized through a law i authored known as the best act. i'm really excited about this because i believe that energy storage technology will be the breakthrough that we need in the fight against climate change as far as allowing us to integrate more renewables such as wind and solar into the electric grid. that will in turn help to reduce emissions, but it will also improve the resiliency of our tech grid. the funding for coastal resiliency included in this bill will help protect our nation's coastline and coastal communities from rising sea levels, including those in the
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state of maine. there is member of congress that is included for noaa's coastal resiliency fund to help minimize the impacts of storms on our coastal communities and lessen flooding that has been so devastating in many areas of the country. to further address the infrastructure needs for our ports and our waterways, $7 billion is included for the army corps of engineers to address the large backlog of authorized projects that have yet to receive funding. there is also $2.25 billion for the port infrastructure development program. madam president, maintaining access to clean, reliable drinking water is essential to protecting the health of our
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public, our environment, our families, our economy. our agreement includes investments in drinking water and waste water infrastructure. although maine is home to some of the cleanest sources of water in the country, the increasing and troubling prevalence of pollutants like p-fas chemicals, the so-called forever chemicals, require action to keep our drinking water safe. there has been contamination in maine in both public and private water systems from p-fas. that's why i worked so hard with senator shaheen of new hampshire to provide funding to help clean up this source of pollution. finally, and in my view one of the most important features of
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this bill is the broadband investment. i want to reiterate the significance of our historic $65 billion investment in broadband. senator shaheen and i worked literally night and day to negotiate this section with our colleagues here in the senate and with the administration, particularly secretary raimondo at the department of commerce. this will make a real difference in the lives of americans, particularly those living in rural areas who do not have access to internet service at all in some areas or who have access only to unreliable, very slow service. it has become increasingly clear in recent years and especially in light of the pandemic that
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broadband is no longer a luxury. it is a necessity. and, madam president, i can't tell you how many people i have talked to in maine about this problem. i have talked to a selectman on swans island who was telling me that the residents of swans island were unable to participate in the telemedicine programs during the height of the covid pandemic because they simply lacked access to high-speed internet. that's an example where health care is affected. there were families in other rural areas of the state where schools had a hybrid system, where families had to drive their children to the library to find a hot spot in order to connect with the internet for
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online education. one family in northern maine told me it would cost them $15,000 to be connected to the internet. they can't afford that. most people in my state would be unable to afford $15,000 to be connected to the internet. i also talked to town managers who told me of employers who had decided to locate their businesses and employ people elsewhere because of the absence of high-speed reliable internet service. so this is why that $65 billion investment is so important and will have such an impact on people's lives. and we have both a deployment section and an affordability
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section in -- and both are a necessity. ultimately, madam president, this bill is about reinforcing the connections that make our country more united. the investments in our roads and bridges will better connect our communities. the investments in our airports will better connect rural and urban regions. the investments in our highways and seaports will better connect manufacturers and their customers and their workers. and the investment in high-speed internet will better connect family, friends, coworkers, employers, health care providers, students, and educators. madam president, this investment package is good for
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america. it represents a far too rare example of the two parties working together to produce real results for the american people. i want to take just a final moment to thank those who were particularly involved. i want to thank all of my colleagues for their contributions, but particularly i want to log the work of senator rob portman and senator krysten sinema who led our group of ten senators -- five democrats and five republicans. the other republican members in addition to myself were senators murkowski, cassidy, and romney. on the democratic side, in addition to senator sinema, were senators manchin, shaheen, warner, and tester.
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and all of us worked very hard, and we're grateful for the ideas and the input that we had from so many of our colleagues. i also want to thank and day. they haven't had a weekend off in a very long time. so, madam president, it is essential that we make this historic investment, and i urge all of my colleagues in voting tomorrow morning for final passage of this long-awaited, much-needed, bipartisan legislation. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mr. padilla: madam president, i rise today because my home state of california ■isonfire nearly half a million acres have burned in the last month by the dixie fire alone. that's more than ten times the size of the district of columbia. it's larger in size than the city of los angeles. thousands of californians have been forced to flee their homes with only the clothes on their back and the belongings they can carry in their cars.
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entire towns have burned to the ground. as of sunday, dixie is the largest single-source fire in california's history. and california is not alone. the entire western united states is on fire. colleagues, this morning the ipcc, the world's foremost body of climate scientists, presented a new report. i'm hoping you've seen it. 195 countries, including the united states, agreed on every statement that it makes, and the verdict could not be clearer. climate change is happening, and we must act now. as the report says, in more than 1,000 centuries, the earth
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has never seen a decade as hot as we have seen in the last ten years. scientists can show that particular disasters are fueled by climate change. the heat wave that is fueling fires, destroying crops, and sending areas across california into drought, that is on us. devastating floods from texas to central europe, those are on us. we have pushed our planet to this point. and if we continue to stall, the pace of record-breaking catastrophe will only increase. this is planet earth's ten-alarm fire. and yet, my republican colleagues pretend that they can't see the smoke blowing
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across the country, smoke that's visible from space. but the good news is we have a democratic majority, and we know how to fight this fire. if we race to zero out our carbon emissions, we can slow the pace of climate change. we can even bring down temperatures by the middle of the century. but our path to avert a catastrophic cycle is narrowing by the day. we must act boldly and with urgency to tackle this crisis head on. across the country, across industries, and across the world, we need to end our dependence on fossil fuels. we also need to aim high and fully fund transformational
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infrastructure that will allow us not just to survive this transition, but to come out better than we were before. on a zero emissions school bus, students won't have to breathe dirty air in an economy rebuilt to meet this challenge, millions of americans will work in high-paying, sustainable jobs. madam president, sometimes i worry that we've grown numb to the idea of the climate crisis. if we truly understood the meaning of those words, how could we even contemplate business as usual? if my colleagues across the aisle were to listen to scientists, how could a single one of them argue that we need to spend less on climate?
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as many of you know, my wife and i are raising three sons, trying to raise three gentlemen, madam president. today they are age 14, 8, and 6 years old. trying to get them ready to go back to school. protecting them and giving them every opportunity to thrive is the cause of my lifetime. but the ipcc report makes clear that we will blow through the 1.5 degrees of global warming by the year 2040. it's right here. no matter what we do today, come 2040, my sons will be ages 33, 27, and 25. i think about what their lives
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will be like at that stage. just starting their careers, maybe starting their own families. what will their adulthoods look like? if we act now, we have a chance to turn the tide to begin the planet's recovery as my childre- reach middle age. if we fail, they will face exhilarating disasters, up to four degrees of warming, the report says. four degrees. now as an engineer, i understand how deadly serious it is to upset the delicate balance of our environment. but if four degrees does not sound significant to you, just listen to the scientists' warning of what four degrees of
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warming will create. global conflict over food, water, and safe shelter. millions of climate refugees and desperate migrants. madam president, failure is not an option. i refuse to tell my boys that we knew what to do but could not muster up the political will to act. i refuse to leave to them a world where their lives are defined by climate disasters, where they fear that every summer will bring the fire or drought or storm that consumes their home. i refuse to leave that world for my children or for anyone's
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children. that means time is of the essence. climate cannot be on the chopping block of any budget. it's nonnegotiable. so let's rise to meet the challenge of our generation. we cannot, we will not let our home burn. thank you, madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: last week ... what's his request?
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mr. padilla: thank you, madam president. on a different topic, i rise to speak today on the budget resolution that will soon come before us and the opportunity that it represents to finally provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of our neighbors, friends, and family members. madam president, i rise today on behalf of the people who are the subject of our immigration debate, the immigrants who have lived and worked in communities throughout the united states for years, sometimes decades, while stuck in a limbo that congress has created. our nation depends on the labor of immigrants. there has been bipartisan agreement on this for
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generations. but while our nation depends on the labor of immigrants, we do not provide the pathways to citizenship that these individuals and their families have earned. today we stand on the biden administration of an historic opportunity to -- today we stand on the brink of an historic opportunity to make reforms to our immigration system. i rise to share just a few stories of the people on whom our nation depends on the one hand for whom we must act. madam president, in may i had the honor of welcoming rose tillis to testify before the senate judiciary subcommittee on immigration, citizenship is and border safety, the subcommittee which i chair. now, rose was born in haiti but fled gang violence and political instability at the age of 17.
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alone in an unfamiliar country, she dreamed of becoming a nurse. but rose's immigration status kept that dream out of reach. for ten years she sustained herself working as a housekeeper and as a babysitter to make ends meet. but rose's life changed in 2010 when a devastating earthquake in haiti allowed her to obtain a work permit under a program called temporary protected status, or t.p.s. now, she seized this opportunity to return to school and fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse and going on to serve and care for others in nursing homes in hospitals, in community health centers. now, while rose's story is the story of the american dream, her
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legal status in this country remains all too temporary. our nation's economy has always depended on the dreams, the dedication, and the contributions of immigrants. no state knows this better than my home state of california, which also represents the fifth-largest economy in the world, where nearly a quarter of america's immigrants call home. immigrants make up 27% of california's population and, yes, they are essential to our success in every industry, from farm workers in the central valley to tech innovators in the silicon valley to construction throughout the state to nurses and teachers and more. in fact, the covid-19 pandemic has made us as a country rely
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even more on the essential work of immigrants. more than five million undocumented workers have held jobs that the federal government deems essential during the pandemic. t.p. holders like rose who care for our loved -- t.p.s. holders like rose who care for our loved ones. era, a medical assistant who works helping to distribute covid tests and lifesaving vaccines. farm workers like jacinto vague as who stocks food. as has been the case since the founding of our nation,
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immigrants are serving at the heart of the american story. an overwhelming bipartisan majority knows that people like rose, erica, and vicente have earned the right to live here without fear of deportation. 70% of americans support creating a pathway to citizenship for t.p.s. holders, for dreamers and farm workers. that includes a majority of democrats and republicans and independents. colleagues, right now we have an opportunity to provide stability and security for the very workforce that the department of homeland security, beginning during the trump administration, has deemed essential to our nation's economy and security. so as we write a reconciliation
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bill to create an equitable and sustainable economic recovery, we must include immigration reforms. we have strong arguments and precedent from this very body in our corner. the logic is simple -- providing a pathway to citizenship is a direct government action, not some carrot-and-stick approach involving private businesses and private actors. newly eligible immigrants would pay fees directly not u.s. government. and as part of this direct-government action which would then be processed by government employees. every step of this process involves direct government action and direct government revenues, expenditures and personnel.
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and by expanding pathways to citizenship, we will grow our economy and improve the workplace for all. and that's precisely the spirit and the intent of the infrastructure investments that we are developing as part of the budget reconciliation bill. research by the center for american progress shows that providing a pathway to citizenship for dreamers, t.p.s. holders, farm workers, and all essential workers will boost g.d.p. by $1.5 trillion over ten years. it will raise wages for all americans workers. it will create 400,000 new jobs, and it will generate billions of dollars of spending and tax revenue, fueling our economic recovery.
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madam president, we have more than just an opportunity; we have an obligation to pass meaningful immigration reform as part of the upcoming reconciliation bill. for rose, for erica, for vicente, for the millions of essential workers and long-term residents who lack permanent status, for the bipartisan majority of americans who support reform for their immigrant friends, families, and neighbors, and for every one of our constituents because all americans will see the economic benefits of immigration reform. [speaking spanish]
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[speaking spanish] [speaking spanish] madam president, i recently met with president biden in the oval office to discuss california's immigration needs. and i'm so thankful for president biden's and vice president harris' unequivocal support for including immigration reforms in the budget reconciliation process.
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as i said, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to bring security to millions of federally recognized essential workers and their families. i urge my colleagues to join me in recognizing the essential work and economic contributions of immigrants by opening the pathway to citizenship and the american dream. thank you, madam president. i now yield the floor. mr. grassley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: last week judiciary staff interviewed jeffrey rosen, trump's former acting attorney general, and
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mr. rosen's deputy at the justice department, rich donahue. these interviews were done as part of the democrats' never-ending series of investigations into former president trump. their obsession with him has been very consistent. i'll give them that. so, too, are the democrats' public comments that grossly mischaracterize -- at least for now -- the state of the evidence. i'll start with a little history. this country has had to deal with democrats' obsession with destroying trump for much too long. in the process, i fear my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have done and will do lasting damage to our political
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system. for example, in may 2017, then-ranking member feinstein and i met with then-director comey about crossfire hurricane. at that classified briefing, comey said trump was not under investigation. but that didn't stop the democrats from publicly saying that trump was under investigation. and because comey kept the answer classified, he couldn't and didn't rebut it. but democrats knew it was a lie. and they kept on saying that lie until trump fired comey because comey wouldn't make the fact that trump wasn't under investigation public. unfortunately, the democrats'
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big lie eventually got them what they wanted, because comey then helped orchestrate an investigation over his firing. day after day, year after year, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle misled the country about the true facts relating to the crossfire hurricane. in doing so, they undermined their credibility, but somehow they kept investigations going along with an all-too-supplicant press. my staff has participated in these staff left interviews that have occurred in the last week, and i have been briefed on the matters at hand. i was also at the rosen
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interview. within hours of saturday's rosen interview, the democrats were already on television and in papers talking about the substance of the interviews. in their public comments, they provided politically slanted mischaracterizations about where the investigation currently stands. and i'd like to specifically note that the chairman of the committee, senator durbin, said, in part, to cnn on sunday about the rosen interview that, quote, the justice department had set it up for us and said we're waiving any privilege. he -- meaning these people being interviewed -- can speak to any
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issue. we're not holding back, end of quote. at the donahue interview on friday, the justice department, contrary to what i just stated to you, objected to my staff's questions on several occasions and prevented donahue from answering. so, to go back to what i said from the quote on cnn, it had been set up for us and said we're waiving any privilege; he can speak to any issue. but when it comes to some of the questions my staff was asking, that wasn't true. the same happened at least once in the rosen interview. and i believe the justice department made an objection
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even to a democrat-led question in donahue's interview. so we were not able to ask any questions as we were promised. so when the democrats say these witnesses can -- quote, unquote -- can speak to any issue, well, apparently that's not the case. the biden administration and its justice department waived executive privilege for these witnesses to speak about close and intent intimate interviews that the president had with his advisers. if you get even a little bit away from trump then in your questioning, well then the justice department doesn't want congress to know the facts.
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you see what i mean by saying justice objected to some of my staff's questions. mind you now the justice department and other executive agencies consistently refused to produce records to congress claiming what we call deliberative process. when it comes to trump, the usual order doesn't apply. given the new executive privilege position that biden administration has created here, it's entirely possible that at some point in the future we could all be talking to president biden's closest advisers about their internal deliberative process. or is there a double standard? i have to laugh a little bit at
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that possibility knowing how my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will complain about how such a decision to seek information is political in nature. with respect to trump and what was said at these high-level meetings, those are the types of meetings where all kinds of things are discussed. that's the whole point. the president has every right to discuss ideas and strategies with his closest advisers, the president, whether that president is democrat or republican should feel unrestrained to bring ideas to his closest staff for robust discussion. eventually the facts will come out and trump will have to address them good or bad depending on the fact at hand.
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however, the essential question that should be asked, what was the final decision. and that is my major concern about the recent public comments coming out of these interviews i've discussed relating to this new trump investigation. unlike my democratic colleagues, i won't discuss the evidence publicly at this point in time. but let me remind the american public with a couple of already public points. did trump fire acting attorney general jeffrey rosen? no, did not fire him. did trump fire rich donoghue, rosen's deputy? no, he did not fire rich donoghue. also, on september 7, 2021, cnn
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article states, quote -- now this is about those interviews that i've been talking about that happened in the last week from cnn. quote, the man testified that in their interactions with trump, trump -- i better start over again or i'll get this wrong. quote, the man testified that in their interactions with trump, he didn't order them to do anything illegal and eventually accepted their advice that the justice department couldn't take action to claim fraud when it had no evidence of it. in other words -- that's the end of the quote. i just want to interpret.
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claim fraud in the last presidential election because there was no evidence of fraud. incredibly, one of the same committee democrats who spread the trump lie today said criminal prosecutions could come out of this investigation. if the facts eventually fit the democrats' narrative that they so badly want to be a true of their narrative, then they fit. it is what it is. but i haven't seen anything backing up their misleading conclusions from either what i saw at the interviews or what my staff has reported to me from those interviews over the last week.
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now, until that point comes that the democratic narrative proves out to be what they want it to be, the democrats should quit trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and they need to stop violating committee rules and protocols. why? because of this, why would any witness want to testify now at the risk that their words being leaked and twisted to satisfy a partisan agenda? facts and evidence matter, not speculative partisan cheap shots. i yield the floor. no, i don't yield -- i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. i am here to talk about the
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build back better proposal and the budget resolution that we will shortly take up. but let me just respond briefly to my good friend and colleague from iowa's remarks on the interview that was conducted with jeffrey rosen on saturday and the previous interview with rich donoghue. i agree completely that the fact and the evidence are what's important here. and this investigation is supremely significant. and i hope that we will join in a bipartisan basis to follow the facts and the law where they lead and encourage voluntary cooperation bill the witnesses and collect all of the documents and other evidence that is necessary to fairly and fully
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present the truth to the american people. they deserve to know what we have heard so far, which amounts to a chilling and shocking picture of the president seeking to corrupt the department of justice and overthrow an election. that much has been clear from the evidence that we've seen. but i agree that we should not talk about the specific facts at this point because it is an ongoing investigation, and i hope that we will join in a bipartisan way not only to encourage voluntary cooperation but to seek testimony and
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documents by subpoena where necessary, where as a matter of resort if that evidence is denied, we need to do so because the interests of our nation are best served by the truth. and all of it should be made public. eventually these transcripts from interviews and other evidence should be made public so that the american people can see the truth. and i know that my colleague from iowa has been a staunch and steadfast champion at whistleblowing, of making available the truth to the american people. nobody in this body has been a stronger advocate of whistle-blowers and protecting them so that the american people could see the truth than my colleague from iowa. so i'm hopeful that we will work
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together toward that end. the build back better proposal that will soon be coming before the senate is literally a milestone for this country. the bipartisan infrastructure proposal that we will shortly pass is transformative for our nation and for connecticut. it will enable us to do long overdue work on our roads and bridges, our railroads, and broadband on the physical assets that are essential to this country creating jobs and remaining competitive around the globe. this work has been too long delayed, and i will be proud to support it. i thank all of our colleagues on
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both sides of the aisle that have contributed so critically to making this vote possible. final passage of a measure that will enable the bridge across the connecticut river to be truly safe and reliable. the mix master in waterbury so-called because it mixes several roads at once to be finally done. a proposal that will enable, we hope eventually, the tracks between new haven and new york to be really reliable, to be maintained properly. but on every one of those transportation byways, there are
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people who depend on them, people who are going to work or visit their family. those people are at the end of the day what this infrastructure serves and the freight that will be on railroads or the goods and produce transported on our highways go to people. they serve our economy. they create jobs. we need to do much more for those people. just today in "the new york times" in the business section, there is an article about a young mother who wants to go back to work, reenter the full time work force -- full-time workforce but she has two children. one is awaiting the beginning of school and the other she feels needs and deserves day care
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before she can go back to work. that road that enables her to drive or the railroad to commute won't be a link to the workplace for her until she has day care. our economy is interconnected in ways that we understand intuitively when we look at individual people, but too often we have mounds of paper no longer for all of us truly paper, but mounds of print and numbers and statistics. the real story is in that young mother whose account is so important to us, the human story. so universal day care, paid
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family leave, affordable medical care and housing, they are also the stuff of human needs. they're part of our human assets. seniors need dental care and eyeglasses and hearing aids so that they can appreciate all of the benefits that we're trying to bring them through this infrastructure program. people needs jobs so that they can afford prescription drugs and the cost of prescription drugs need to be lower so they don't have to make these choices that we describe day after day between paying the mortgage and putting food on the table and clothing our kids. the pandemic has affected health, food, shelter, financial and overall security of families across the country. it has taken a toll on small
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businesses. they, too, need help. the restaurant vitalization program should be replenished, and small businesses given a lifeline that they need because they have been so direly injured and threatened. we need to build back america. and the assets, the roads and bridges, but also the systems that serve americans and we need to build it back better. so i am proud to support this budget resolution that will make investments for working families, the elderly, our environment. over the past year i have spoken to countless families who need that child care and providers who furnish it across the northeast. child care is critical not only
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to those jobs and the people who fill jobs but also to the emotional and educational development of children, allowing moms and dads and grandparents to go back to work but also to allow children to have the basics in education, the support they need. by establishing a universal day care system and providing families with incentives like the child care tax cuts to help them afford care, we can ensure that children are prepared for success and parents can go to work. but it isn't enough to ensure that families can just afford child care. we have to ensure they are able to live healthy lives. we know health care is complicated, it's confusing, it's expensive, especially for our aging seniors and people
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with disabilities and our fellow americans with preexisting conditions. over this past year, we learned clearly and dramatically how resourced deprive our health care system has become. individuals forced to make choices between keeping a roof over their head or going to the doctor or paying for medications. no american family should be forced to make shows choices and we need to invest. it's not about spending, it's investing in our health care system. this budget proposal will accomplish exactly that goal. lower prescription drug costs, lowering those burdens, providing broader access to medical providers, including that dental care, hearing aids,
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and vision for individuals -- all individuals on medicare should be our paramount goal. and it's critical that home health care workers and patients understand their value. individuals with disabilities left struggling to find affordable home and community-based services throughout the pandemic. we need to appreciate the home care worker and pay them adequately just as we need to pay that home care for seniors who need it. health care is more than access to care. it is the basic system that provides that access. and there should be no delay when we're talking about the air we breathe and the water we drink because those assets also are essential to health care.
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rail will be supported -- better railroads, tracks, cars by this proposal that we are passing today or tomorrow. but there is more that needs to be done to ensure that high-speed rail. right now the link between new haven and new york is slower than it was 50 years ago. we need to make sure that it is quicker, not just more reliable but faster and more reliable and safer. too often the impacts of unsafe air and unhealthy drinking water fall on minority and low-income communities. they have disproportionately faced adverse impacts from public and environmental health
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rent and they are counting on our leadership that support clean energy resources, climate change is an enemy that we must conquer just as we are working to conquer the pandemic. in the senate i've worked with the administration to meet the goal of conserving 30% of our country's land and 30% of our waters within the next decade. that goal is ambitious, but it's a vital effort that takes an important step toward reducing environmental injustice and ensuring healthy lives for all. this proposal is comprehensive and that is exactly what is needed now, a comprehensive support -- comprehensive program that deserves our support and our leadership. we must invest in our country's leadership by putting the
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american people and what they need, child care, healthy homes and environments, put it first. i'm proud to support this proposal and i look forward to advancing it on the senate floor. thank you, madam president. and i yield the floor. mr. portman: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i appreciated the comments from my colleague from connecticut and he talked about both the bipartisan infrastructure bill that is on the floor of the senate will be voted on tomorrow morning and he also talked about the budget proposal that is also going to be considered by the senate this week. i want to start by just being sure that those two are distinguished because there's a big contrast between them. the bipartisan infrastructure pack yablg, i believe, -- package, i believe is a sensible approach to restoring our nation's infrastructure, as
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we'll talk about in a moment and that legislation, again, is meant to be voted on tomorrow morning. the other proposal is the 350 -- i'm sorry. $3.5 trillion, or more, budget resolution that will be partisan, not bipartisan, that's being proposed by the democrats which is a tax and spending ex straj gansa and my -- ex extravaganza and my concern is that not only does it spend on say sets we don't -- assets we don't have and raises taxes substantially. in fact, it raises taxes more than taxes were cut back in 2017 which created such a strong economy going into the pandemic. and i really do worry about what's going to happen to our country should we do that. the bipartisan infrastructure package has no tax increases.
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the budget resolution has huge new taxes. most economists believe that the tax reform and tax cuts back in 2017 led to not just an incredibly economy but an inclusive economy. going into the pandemic, february of 2020, we not only had historically low levels of unemployment for certain groups in our economy, blacks, hispanics, and others, we had a 50-year low unemployment overall, we had the lowest poverty rate ever recorded in the united states of america. we started recording it back in the 1950's. we also had wages that were going up consistently, more than 3% annually for 19 straight months going into the pandemic. that was fantastic. in my home state, we saw flat wages when you take inflation into account for years, probably a decade and a half.
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so things were working. and even coming out of the pandemic, most economists thought that, wow, we have a darn resilient and resurgent economy here and you see the economic growth numbers last month and this quarter, the economy is doing just what we hoped it would do coming out of the pandemic. to raise taxes now and to get rid of the tax cuts and tax reforms, importantly tax reforms as well that created this strong economy, is a huge mistake. so i would just draw a very distinct contrast between what my colleague and friend from connecticut talked about, he mixed the two. one is bipartisan and new taxes and the other is social spending that we cannot afford and on top of the huge new tax increases. so i hope that we will choose to vote tomorrow on the infrastructure package in a bipartisan way because it is larnd marc and -- landmark and
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needed legislation in fixing our roads, railroads, our ports, electrical grid and more. i'm proud of what was done on that. it will be a lasting achievement. it will improve the lives of all americans. it's long-term spending to repair and replace and build assets that will last for decades. in doing so it does make life better for people. it improves the life of the mom or dad who commutes to work and gets stuck in rush hour every day who would rather spend that time with their family. it improves the lives of people who are tired of those potholes. we all want to fix those potholes. we all hate them. one quick story there. when i'm asked how i got into public service, i often relate a story that when i was 7 or 8 years old, i remember driving on a rough road and telling him,
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some day, mom, i'll going to fix these potholes. she loved that story. that is my first exposure to public service, being able to fix potholes and then it went on to public service at the federal level and to the white house and i never got to fix any potholes. maybe this legislation is taking it full circle because it will be fixing potholes and it will make driving more safe. there's a story i want to relate recently in cincinnati, ohio, a guy named howard kruger was driving along i-75 south, and a big piece of concrete fell down. it is a crumbling concrete. thank god it didn't kill him, but it shattered his windshield. he actually pulled off the road to find the concrete to get it,
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and talk to the work crew. there was no work crew. it was just concrete falling from the bridge. infrastructure, it matters to people. it is about safety. the truck driver who leaves the family to go on a long haul, he wants to have a road and bridge that is safe. we recently had another accident in ohio, it was on the brent bridge, it was carrying twice the number of vehicles it was meant to carry, twice. it was functionally obsolete yet we talked about it for 20 years and nothing happened. after 20 years of talking about it, it's time to get something done. here in this town we talked about infrastructure being improved for long -- long, long time, longer than 20 years. every president in modern times has proposed a big infrastructure package, yet we never seemed to get it done. donald trump proposed a
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$1.5 trillion infrastructure package, this -- he is a developer and understands that we need to make investments in hard assets because it comes back to help the economy. whether you're the truck driver or mom or dad or somebody who lives in a rural and underserved area of our country because you don't have access to broadband and you can finally now get it for your schoolwork or your work work or for your health care, this is going to make a difference. it improves our overcapacity ports. right now our seaports, ships are backing up. if you're trying to get a product and you're a consumer and wonder why you might not have gotten it, that's why it invests in the southern border land ports with $3.85 billion to g.s.a. and customs and border protection. so for those of you concerned about this other border and what's happening there, this
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infrastructure bill does help. it helps with our land ports and seaports and therefore helps customs an border protection. we also have for more water infrastructure in this legislation, clean drinking water, lead pipes is a big issue in my home state of ohio, as it is in other states, that is dealt with here, remediation of the lead pipe structure and risk. there is a lot in here that helps people, helps makes their lives better. also it makes the economy more efficient by fixing that bridge by fixing that port. when the economy is more productive, you have higher g.d.p., and when you have higher g.d.p., you have more taxes. that's what happens were infrastructure if it is done right. this is something that actually brings our country together. according to a cnbc poll, 87% of americans think it's important that we invest in improving our crumbling roads and bridges. a month or so later a cbs poll
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found that 87% of americans supported more spending on roads and bridges, a poll found that 80% favored plans for increasing -- pipes that supply drinking water. of course it's popular because it affects their lives, and they know it. and we need the investment right now. the american society of civil engineers gives our infrastructure a c-minus and projects our economy stands to lose more than $10 trillion in g.d.p. by 2039 should we fail to invest in repairs. we have fallen to 13 in the world in a report card on infrastructure while china continues to spend much more than we do as a percent of their g.d.p. on infrastructure. why they want to have a more efficient economy. we want to be able to compete and win the global competition. we, too, should be sure our infrastructure is up to speed. the need

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