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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 28, 2021 2:15pm-7:54pm EDT

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anymore so you know, take it as you well, talk amongst yourselves, i wish we had third, fourth, fifth and sixth candidate group with real numbers to back their side of it. >> thanks for the call, he pointed out the german elections, called to join the opposition after loss, germany's chancellor was underway monday in the wake of national elections, leaders of two partiess -- >> the senate is about to dabble in and continue workne on executive nominations. now live to the senate floor. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. i come to the floor to offer brief remarks in the wake of the armed services committee today on the evacuation of afghanistan
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and to u.s. troop presence there. i watched it with some interest. i watched it knowing that three out of four americans support president biden's decision to bring u.s. troops home from afghanistan. we learned some new things today in the hearing. others were confirmed. first, we learned once again of the extraordinary bravery and capability of our diplomats and our soldiers who worked under incredibly difficult conditions for a period of weeks to airlift almost 130,000 individuals out of afghanistan. that is absolutely remarkable, especially given, as we heard today in testimony, that the goal at the outset was to get 60,000 to 70,000 to 80,000 people out. in the end the united states military got 130,000 people out. we heard also about the impossible position that president biden inherited, that there was a commitment made to
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withdraw american troops by president trump but no plan with which to do it safely. we heard about how the doha agreement decreased the readiness of the afghan forces and how it weakened their position internally. we heard about the choice that faced president biden when he came into office. we heard about the fact that had we chosen to stay, we would have had to surge troops that the taliban having gotten to the precipice of capitals would have engaged in urban warfare that would have required the united states to increase our troops there. to the extent that republicans view this as a political game and they were looking for points to be scored today, i guess the one point they feel they scored was an admission by the general
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that testified that some had recommended staying in afghanistan. now, i have tremendous respect for our generals. i think they get it right more than they get it wrong. they provide very able advice to the commander in chief. but for 20 years in afghanistan, our generals recommended staying in the face of mounting evidence year after year that it was going to be impossible to be able to stand up an afghan military that could protect the country and an afghan government that could govern the country, our generals recommended staying year after year after year, month after month after month, despite the fact that analysts told us that if beleft, the -- would leave, the taliban would take over. our military is bred to believe that anything is possible, it
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speaks to the military ethos that there is nothing that they can't do. but the task they were given by president after president was one that could not be carried out. to believe that the general said stay another year or stay another five years, this commander in chief should have listened despite the fact that it could have been proven that the mission that we were given in that country is impossible is to compound an unnecessary mistake that the united states engaged in for far too long. my hope, mr. president, is that moving along this congress will engage in real oversight. there's no doubt the evacuation could have been done better. there is no doubt that if a different situation, the biden people would have done things differently. the real question is why did we stay in afghanistan for this
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long? why did we believe we could build up a military that is capable of defending the country. it is time that we have a deep inquiry in this senate about the limit of the military overseas and how badly resourced we are when we spend tens more in military power than anything else. and the cost of getting bogged down in places like afghanistan or iraq. it is not a coincidence after withdrawing from afghanistan, we were able to announce a new partnership with australia to protect our interests in the pacific theater. it is because when the entirety of the u.s. defense and foreign policy and infrastructure is so untrained in unwinnable contests in far-off places like afghanistan, it doesn't let us design new systems and new
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structures with which to protect the country. china celebrated every single year we were bogged down in afghanistan, russia celebrated every time the united states doubled down on that. now we can address fights that truly matter. we learned some things in the committee hearing, i think the decision president biden made to pull the troops out was a right one. it is a decision are supported by the american people because it allows this country to focus on fights that are winnable in reality, not just on paper. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: who yields time?
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if no one yields, time will be charged equally to both sides. .
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mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: mr. president, last night senate republicans voted unanimously to make a default and a shutdown far more likely and in doing so, solidified themselves as the party of default. the party that says america does not pay its debts. now despite yesterday's stunning display of obstruction, the fact remains that we need to raise the debt ceiling. and in a few moments i will offer a way forward for us to avoid causing unnecessary and catastrophic default on the debt. over the last two days, the republican leader has repeatedly cited an instance in the mid-2,000's during which republicans held full control of the government and voted by themselves to increase the debt
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limit. here's what he said. that is exactly the same situation we're in now. exactly the same situation we're in now. now, the senate was able to raise the debt ceiling at that time because the then republican majority leader made a consent request to this body that cleared the way for the senate to increase the debt limit by a majority threshold instead of requiring 60 votes to break a filibuster. the minority party under this agreement was able to vote no. which is what they claim they want to do. and the majority party was able to approve a debt limit extension and prevent a catastrophe. so we are proposing the same thing today, the same thing the leader cited and said the situation is exactly the same. simply allow for a simple majority threshold to raise the
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debt ceiling and avoid this needless catastrophe that republicans have steered us toward. we are simply asking senator mcconnell to live by his own example. we have given the republicans what they want, and now the ball is in their court. let's see if republicans truly want what they say they want. we're not asking them to vote -- we're not asking them to vote yes. if republicans want to vote to not pay the debts they helped incur, they can all vote no. we're just asking republicans get out of the way. get out of the way when you are risking the full faith and credit of the united states to play a nasty political game. we can bring this to a resolution today.
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using the drawn out and convoluted reconciliation process is far too risky, far too risky. to many -- too many american families are at stake. far better for us to solve this problem right here and right now. and so, mr. president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that at a time to be determined by the majority leader following consultation with the republican leader, the senate proceed to the consideration of s. 2868, a bill to suspend the debt limit which was introduced earlier today, that there be two hours for debate equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, that upon the use or yielding back of time, the bill be considered read a third time and the senate vote on the passage of the bill with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the
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republican leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, my colleagues want to discuss precedence from a decade ago. but he and his colleagues have spent all year boasting that what democrats are doing to the country and the economy is completely without precedent. i agree. what they're trying to do is completely without precedent. there's nothing normal, nothing normal about democrats using reconciliation multiple times to blow a $5.5 trillion hole in the deficit without a single vote from our side. debt limit increases like the one we saw in 2006 were not -- i repeat -- not precursors to a massive blowout reconciliation package that republicans were just waiting, waiting to shove down democrats' throats. my colleague is trying hard to make this complicated.
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it's actually simple. i've said for more than two months that we will not help this unified democratic government raise the debt ceiling. democrats will not get bipartisan help borrowing money so they can immediately blow historic sungs on a partisan, taxing, and spending spree. democrat leader knew this request would fail. there is no chance, no chance the republican conference will go out of our way to help democrats conserve their time and energy so they can resume ramming through partisan socialism as fast as possible. this democratic government has spent months boasting about the radical transformation they're ramming through. they're proud of it. they have no standing whatsoever to ask 50 republican senators to
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make the process more conv convenient. when the democratic leader was recently in the minority, he made us file cloture on matters that weren't one-tenth as controversial. we had to invoke cloture on nominees who went on to be confirmed with literally zero votes in opposition. but now the democratic leader wants us to skip that step on something this controversial. this controversial? of course, that's not going to happen. all year long democrats have wanted to control government spending all on their own. they wanted to be in a position they're in right now. they requested it from the parliamentarian and won extra flexibility to redo reconciliation. so if democrats want to use
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fast-track party-line processes to spend trillions of dollars and transform the country, they'll have to use the same tool to raise the debt ceiling. now, here's what republicans will do. for the sake of the full faith and credit of our country, i'm about to propose a different consent, one that will allow democrats to start the budget process they will need to use to race the debt ceiling. our democratic colleagues will need to do this alone, but i'll propose an agreement to ensure the process can begin as soon as democrats accept that this is the path they need to take. therefore, mr. president, i ask the senate to modify the request that has been made by the majority leader so that in lieu of this proposal, if the budget
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committee reports out 304 instructions to raise the debt ceiling or is in charge of such resolution, the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: does the majority leader so modify his request? mr. schumer: reserving the right to object. the republican leader has offered virtually nothing. he keeps the same risky process in place. he is totally doing an 180-degree turn from what he has offered time and time again. democrats vote yes without any republican help, but he refuses to do that. he refuses to do that. our proposal is fair. our proposal is not risky, the way the republican leader's and his doesn't change a darn thing and so therefore, i object. the presiding officer: is there objection to the original request? the presiding officer: i object.
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the presiding officer: objection is heard. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, senate democrats just gave republicans yet another opportunity to do the right thing, to make sure the united states government pays its bills like every working family in our country does. now, senate republicans have acknowledged that even though default would be catastrophic for our economy, they would not vote to prevent it. no republican votes or help to prevent an economic catastrophe. and now they've kicked their brinkmanship up another notch by blocking democrats, for a truly
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democratic vote. this makes no sense if you care about our families and hard-won economic recovery. their -- they only make sense if they are so willing to put politics first that you put the american economy on the line and that, mr. president, is apparently what the republican party stands for today until proven otherwise, economic sabotage and politics first no matter who gets hurt. this is a disgrace, it's an embarrassment, but it's not going to stop democrats from fighting to protect our economy from the devastating consequences of default because let me be clear, republicans may think this is some obscure fight right now, but it will not be if it hits american bank accounts and they are fooling themselves if they don't know -- if they think people don't know who is responsible. thank you, mr. president.
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i yield the floor. ms. klobuchar: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: suspending the debt ceiling isn't about generating new spending, it's to make sure that the government can pay for our spending. since 1960, congress has done this, raised the debt ceiling approximately 80 times. it's not unusual or uncommon or unaccept. what is unacceptable is that our colleagues won't even allow us to do it, the 50 of us are united in this and i say where are our republican colleagues? they know the fact. a default will impact everyone, the government will need to decide between sending out social security checks, ensuring we keep our propses to our -- promises to vets, paychecks to our active military, it's disasterous to our economy and small business. this year neil bradley said failing to act responsibly and increase the debt limit would
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endanger our economy. it would cause global markets, of course, to loose kdz h confidence -- looses confidence in the full faith of our country. our families, our workers, our seniors deserve better, democrats are united to stand by their side and we say to our republican colleagues, where are you? mr. merkley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: rub goldberg -- we heard from mitch mcconnell that he wants to emulate rub goldberg and put our economy at risk and the simple task was laid out so clearly in 2006, the minority leader said we're in
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exactly the same position now as we were then. well, yes, republicans asked the democrats to not filibuster so that they could raise the debt limit. the tables are turned, the simple same courtesy takes away the risk to our economy and the risk is great for disaster relief, for medicaid, for payments to our veterans, for payment to our currently serving forces, and there's broader risk, risks that mark zandi has laid out saying a recession could result in the loss of millions of jobs, that it could result in loss of half a billion dollars in family wealth, that it could be -- or $15 trillion in household wealth, $15 trillion. mr. president, there are moments when the political games have to stop. the partisan warfare has to stop. the democrats did what the
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republicans suggested in 2006. we also took an alternative method that mitch mcconnell suggested in the past, which was to let in 2011 to raise the debt limit. we have twice worked with republicans at their request for a simple moment. in is not the time for a rub goldberg disaster putting the wealth and health of americans at risk. thank you, mr. president. ms. collins: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that following my remarks senator lankford and senator scott of south carolina be recognized to speak and to complete their remarks prior to the vote. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president.
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mr. president, the debate on president biden's massive plan to expand social programs has focused primarily on its enormous costs. remarkably little attention has been paid to the content testify those -- content of those policy changes. yet the expensive entitlement programs the administration is proposing would have profound implications for people's lives and for the values that are among the pillars of our society. for they would break the connection between work and a brighter future. mr. president, from antiquity to our time, great thinkers have observed that work is about more than just putting food on the
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table, important though that is. it has a profound value that enables people to build lives of self-reliance and meaning. as dr. martin luther king jr. once said, no work is insignificant. all labor that uplifts humanity has dignity. under the president's plan, assistance checks sent from washington would have no requirement that a recipient work or pursue education or training or participate in programs to remove barriers that prevent him or her from working. these unconditioned checks would sever the link between government assistance and work,
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education, or other requirements. no one would help a family identify obstacles to a better life. in essence, the biden administration would reverse the pledge and reality of president clinton's reforms when he promised to end welfare as we know it. robert dorr, who oversaw assistance programs both for new york governor george pataki and new york city mayor michael bloomberg described what has long been a bipartisan consensus. he said, the way to help people escape poverty is through a combination of work and government aid, not work alone and not government aid alone but the two together.
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why is that combination so powerful and so successful? government assistance provides a handup and aids families that are struggling to overcome barriers to a better life. work not only provides the economic pathway out of poverty but also an equally important, in parts dignity, self-reliance and confidence. it allows people to provide for their own families. it instills a sense of belonging and pride. it strengthens our communities. let me give you two examples, mr. president. i first met adais when she was enrolled in the federal job corps program in limestone,
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maine. as a teenager, she had been homeless and wanted to get as far away as possible from the terrible circumstances in her life, thus her choice of the job corps in northern maine. after completing this program in limestone, adais earned her degree in nursing from hussen university in vangore. today, due to her own perseverance and hard work and government-supported very difficult time, she has a good life working as a nurse and providing for her three sons. she can take much pride in the life that she has built for herself and her family. the second example involves women i met at the arusta county
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community action program. they have benefited from a holistic approach to poverty, one that focuses on the needs of both the children and their parents, a two-generation together approach in order to end intergenerational poverty. this two-generation approach identifies obstacles to work and financial independence and then provides the necessary coaching and supports to help parents succeed in their goals while also meeting the needs of their children. mr. president, these mothers recounted to me with great pride their very moving stories of climbing the economic ladder out of poverty and into the
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workforce, providing a much better life for themselves and their children. mr. president, what these stories have in common is the dignity of work. as stephen hawkin observed, work gives you meaning and purpose. securing getting jobs changed of lives of these parents and the lives of their children. now let me be clear that i have supported providing additional help to assist low-income working families. for example, i worked with senator rubio to successfully double the child tax credit and expand its refundable portion as part of the 2017 tax reform act.
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but this credit was tied to work until the biden administration changed the rules in the american rescue plan earlier this year. given the pandemic that will may well have been justified as a temporary measure but now the administration wants to jettison the work requirement permanently and the house democrats' bill removes all means testing for a new child care entitlement program so even very wealthy families would qualify. mr. president, shouldn't we look carefully at the consequences of sending checks from washington untethered to any work or other
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requirements. shouldn't assistance prioritize those with the greatest needs but in ways that position them to achieve self-reliance? mr. president, there are certainly times when it's appropriate for government to step in, and no one is arguing that people who cannot work, who may have disabilities, for example, should not receive government assistance. of course they should. and in a time of crisis, certainly we should do all we can to help those who are in need through no fault of their own. and that's what happened during the pandemic.
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there were many temporary programs that were instituted to help as our economy shut down and people were laid off. i along with three of my colleagues authored one of them, the paycheck protection program. the rationale was to allow employers to receive funding so that they could continue to pay their employees and keep intact that bond between employers and employees so that the workers could return to the workplace once the economy reopened. that program was successful and temporary, but that is not what this administration is prop proposing. rather it is creating entitlement programs untethered to work that would fundamentally
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change incentives for our families, our communities, our society, and our economy. depriving people of their dignity and eroding their ability to provide for themselves and their families. absent a pandemic or other crisis, washington should not simply write monthly checks creating dependency among those whof could -- those who could have a better life. the federal government's obligation is not fulfilled by simply sending a check, washing its hands of any responsibility to actually help people achieve self-sufficiency. it appears that this administration is moving toward the left's proposal for a
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guaranteed minimum income regardless of one's ability to work. never forget that the first version of the green new deal included a guaranteed income for those unable or unwilling to work. mr. president, we must not go down that path. we will not build a more prosperous, just, and equitable society characterized by opportunity, dignity, and meaning just by issuing government checks. the time-tested way to achieve those goals for american families is by supporting and rewarding work. it is by recognizing the dignity
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of work. and that is the tradition that we must continue to embrace. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: it is one of the most basic questions that we get in almost any setting. what do you do? common conversation back and forth between adults or teenagers or college students alike, what do you do? it's a philosophical issue, though, that really has to be addressed. interestingly enough, it's become a greater divide between republicans and democrats of late. it didn't used to be that way. the simple conversation about what do you do and encouraging people to be able to be engaged in productive work and would
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they do seemed to be something that was unifying. democrats and republicans alike rallied in the 1990's. as bill clinton declared, we're ending welfare as we know it. a 60-year experiment of sending out checks to individuals saying we're going for help -- to help people escape poverty by sending a check to individuals, and if we give them a check, they'll rise out of poverty. bill clinton stood before the nation and said, i campaigned to end that. because that experiment didn't work. and he focused in a whole different direction. encouraging as he spoke often on deadbeat dads, individuals that should pay their child support need to pay it and he highlighted how many people weren't doing it because those namcy were left exposed. he talked about the dignity of work and to help people to be able to escape from poverty, we need to incentivize work and stop sending just a check to individuals but instead attach that to work. the nation stood and cheered and
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rallied around a moment to say let's help people, but let's help people actually rise. as the statement that i heard often, even during that time period, let's not make welfare a hammock. let's make it a trampoline, that they can get assistance for a moment and be lifted out and to be able to rise to other things. i thought that was a settled issue. until just last year. i suddenly started hearing president biden on the campaign trail and now in office with my democratic colleagues in the house already passing something over there in their committees saying we want to actually go back to welfare as we knew it. we want to be able to go back to that failed experiment when we used to just mail checks to people and so people in government would feel good to say we took care of childhood poverty. i've already heard people even today in this body say if we pass this $3.5 trillion proposal, we will cut childhood poverty in half.
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that was a statement that was made pre-1990's when government believed if i just mailed a check, suddenly children will rise out of poverty because the numbers are right. but actually what we discovered was inflation would rise as checks were mailed out and families were trapped in permanent levels of poverty because there was a disincentive to actually engage in work. now again this used to not be a republican-democrat thing. this was just a thing that we could look at the data. brookings institute which is a left-leaning think tank -- i think we can all commonly agree with that the brookings institute has year after year gone back to be able to look at how people actually escape poverty. how does it happen? what are the features that are there that people -- it's true in their life they escape poverty. they've identified three areas that if these three areas are true, you'll escape poverty. number one, graduate high school. people that graduate high school much lower level.
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number two, have a full-time job. any income. if you actually are working full time and number three, if you wait until 21 to be married and then have children after marriage. if those three things are true, the brookings institute said only 2% of the people actually are in poverty. 70% of those folks -- 75% of those folks in poverty that graduate high school get a full time job, have children after marriage. if those three things are true, 75% of them rise into the middle class. this is not rocket science in some ways. it's just human nature. but the bill that's being set in front of us, that is $3.5 trillion in entitlements, and just to be able to put it in perspective how large that s. if you combine the budgets of all 50 states, the total budget of all 50 states, it's $2 trillion.
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this new entitlement bill is $3.5 trillion that's being proposed. $3.5 trillion of new entitlements that would go to individuals that removes things like an incentive to work. so you can get child care tax credits even if you're not working. that know matter if you're working or not in the current limit, by the way, don't forget is only $2,500 of income in a year. if you'll do at least $2,500 worth of income in a year, then you get additional assistance. it's the encouragement to say the state will come alongside of you, but we've got to help you to be able to rise out of this spot. even that is taken aware. there is -- owe away. there's a marriage penalty included in this. if i read from the brookings institute if you want to help people rise out of poverty, there's a marriage penalty in this where it actually punishes. so we seem to be punishing work and punishing marriage rather than encouraging people to be able to rise.
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listen, this statement should be common for us. what do you do? it's not just meaningful for individuals and for commune di -- communities. it's meaningful for children. because in school children will be asked what do your parents do. and if it's nothing, it matters to a child. a child has the example that's set in front of them. and it becomes a generational issue. we should encourage each generation to be able to rise and be a part of our society, not to be disconnected but to be engaged with all of our society. that develops community between the individuals, that helps our economy grow. it's what made us the most powerful economy in the entire world because we had what we called the american work ethic. the american work ethic was a very simple principle that everyone should have the
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opportunity to be able to do whatever job they choose to be able to do, to be able to have access to the economy. and if we find any individual or any group that's blocked out of the economy, government steps in and clears the path to make sure there's a level path to be able to be engaged. so that everyone has that option to be able to engage in the economy, that everyone has the chance to be able to rise. that does not get better by telling people oh, sit down, you don't have to work. oh, sit down right over there. we'll take care of all your kids all the way through. you don't have to engage. it sounds nice unless you're living in it. and then it traps people in generational poverty. urban, rural, across the country. it traps people in generational poverty. that doesn't help families. that doesn't help children.
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that doesn't bless families and help them to be able to rise out of poverty. it keeps them trapped in it. we have a philosophical difference. how do we help people in pov poverty? i believe we help people in poverty by clearing out every opportunity and making straight-level pass, setting that in front of individuals and saying you're an american. go after the american dream. apply the american work ethic. try. graduate high school. get a job. get married, stay engaged, bless your children. i believe that's the best way to be able to help our nation. apparently others believe that it's better just to be able to say no, you can't do it president sit down. i'll -- do it. sit down. i'll send you a check. i don't think that casts a vision for their children and i don't think that helps our
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nation. if you want to make it straightforward and simple, we have 21 million children who have a parent that lived out of the house told in 2018. 30% of those children were in poverty. three times the rate of children in households where both parents were present. i can read the brookings. i can read the census data but i think we all know it in our gut that we provide purpose and meaning to people when they can answer the question what deyou do -- the question what do you do and it matters to our country and to them as a family. with that i yield. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. scott: thank you, madam president. i thank my colleagues, both senator collins and senator lankford, for their comments today. what we're talking about today is not about simply a $3.5
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trillion spending bill. we're talking about something more fundamental to what it means to be an american. i am proud to be an american. i am proud to live in a country where upward mobility is a reality, that we can, by hard work and a strong education, change our fortunes in this country and not only change it for ourselves but change it for the generations that follow us. as senator lankford talked about the three important ingredients of escaping poverty, i will say that as a kid who stumbled in high school, who did not do well as a freshman, who did not see the opportunities that america had available, who did not believe always that there was a way that a poor kid in south carolina could ever escape
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poverty -- i am thankful i met a mentor and had a powerful mom who believed in me in a way that i could not believe in myself. i am thankful to live in a country where the american free enterprise system provided a pathway forward, and if i could just see it and believe it and work towards it, it was possible for me to achieve the outcomes that we're sitting here trying to defend. i am thankful that as the kid who then finished high school and went on to college and experienced the american dream, that we are here together to defend the american dream for the next generation and the challenge, of course, is when you look at the $3.5 trillion package, it makes it harder for a kid trapped in poverty, as i was, to find a path forward. madam president, i will simply
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say that while we discussed this $3.5 trillion package, the content of this package is more concerning than the cost of this panel. i am certain that some on the other side will figure out that taking ten years of funding and making it five years of funding cuts it from $3.5 trillion down to $1.75 trillion. i am not confident that we can preserve the american dream in all of its glory if the content of this package becomes law. i think about how unfortunate it would be in a nation that is nearly divided 50/50 that we would find ourselves, because the democrats control the white house, there is a 50-50 split in the white house that requires the vice president to break a tie. and a five-seat majority that
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the democrats have in the house. and with those slim majorities, they want to do something so fundamentally transformative that it scares me for the future of the kids trapped in poverty. -- all over america. i don't know how we continue to be able to preach the good news of economic opportunity and economic freedom when you're on the road to socialism. the the two are antithetical. they don't go in the same direction. we as a nation has to choose the fork in the road. and, unfortunately, the democrats who have the slimmest of majorities have the votes to fundamentally weaken the greatest economic engine in world history through taxing and
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spending policies that bring us so much closer to socialism. the democrats actually want you to believe what they say more than what you see with your own eyes. you see, the breadcrumbs of this package can be seen by the level of inflation. if you put too much money in the economy too quickly and the supply remains about the same, it leads to inflation. what inflation means to kids living in single-parent households and to people living and working paycheck to paycheck, what it means is it means a tax. it means even with a small, marginal increase in your income, with the rate of inflation being over 5.5%, your spending power goes down. and so when you pull up to the gas station, as i did and so many americans do every single day to go to work, and you look at the price her gallon and it's
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over $3 a gallon, which represents over a 40% increase in the cost of gas, on a fixed income, as our social security recipients is and our golden americans are, on people working paycheck to paycheck, a 40%-plus increase in the cost of gas deprives them of some of the luxuries, the margins in their paycheck. then you stack on top of that a 20% increase in the cost of your utilities. it is impossible -- impossible to recognize the devastating impact that the biden inflation is having already on middle-income americans, on paycheck-to-paycheck americans,
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on people living in poverty. and in single-parent households. but worse than the inflationary effect, which of course is a precursor to the $3.5 trillion, is what the content does. think about this. in america today, if you spend -- write a check for $10,000, the i.r.s. wants to know where you're writing it to. under this proposal, imagine, if you will, the i.r.s. spying on your bank accounts for every transaction over $600. imagine four tires, more than $600. so the i.r.s. wants to know why where you're spending $600 on tires. imagine if your engine runs hot and you have to take your car in to get it checked -- more than
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$600. imagine trying to find the money, scraping the resources together just to be able to buy the school clothes for your kids. if you have a couple of kids, a couple pair of shoes, some pants, dresses are up 18%. imagine that $600 expense being taken out of your account and the i.r.s. is looking into your accounts to see what you're spending the money on. the content of this legislation is more dangerous than the amount of the legislation. and i got to tell you, $3.5 trillion is pretty dangerous. but more dangerous than the $3.5 trillion is having the i.r.s. empowered to take a look at every single transaction -- not only the $600, but imagine doubling the number of i.r.s.
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agents with the $80 billion in this package, doubling the number of agents to come take a look at your family businesses, your family accounts. destructive. go beyond that. think about the average farmer in south carolina who spent their entire lives farming, who have more land than money. and because of this package and its impact on family businesses and family farmers, because of the way they want to refigure the death tax or the estate tax, as we say it when we're being polite in mixed company. here's what it means. it means that you jeopardize the ability to pass your family farm to the next generation. this is not theoretical. you can talk to a farmer named
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whit player in st. matthews, south carolina, who had been farming for decades. ask them about the impact of not being able to pass the family farm or small business to the next generation. think about punishing the farmers and still providing a check for $12,500 for someone making $800,000 a year to buy a luxury vehicle -- electric vehicle, and you're going to give them a tax credit, even though they make $800,000. imagine a part of the bill where union workers at an auto factory are able to sell their cars with a $4,500 tax credit, but the
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volvo worker in south carolina, the b.m.w. worker in south carolina who don't work at a union factory, their cars don't get the $4,500 tax credit. and bet p.g.m. a unique -- embedding a unique form of bias into this bill just doesn't feel right. or restoring the tax credits for the state and local taxes for millionaires and billionaires across this country and putting that burden back on the backs of working people, middle-class working people. i won't even go into raising the corporate tax from 21% to 28% or 26.5%. i won't go into eliminating for
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pass-throughs, small businesses, mom and pop increases. i won't get into that because we don't have enough time. i won't get into the raising taxes on individuals. i won't get into the capital gains tax going up. i won't get into that all now. i will say this. the democrats' plans exceeds the american dream that i am able to live right now. i fear that kids stuck in poverty today will be stuck in a cast system of socialism tomorrow. madam president, thank you for your time. and your patience. i'm just concerned about the greatest nation ever designed in the history of the world. thank you.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question occurs on the medina nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: the yeas are 61, the nays are 36, the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider sr considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be notified of the senate's actions. the clerk will report the next nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of state, mary catherine phee, of illinois, to be an assistant secretary, african affairs.
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mr. cruz: mr. president.
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the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: mr. president, over the last several weeks, i have talked at length about the damage that president biden and his administration are doing to the national security of the united states and to the security of our allies in europe bill giving vladimir putin a multibillion-dollar gift in the nord stream 2 pipeline. today i'm going to talk about the staggering diplomatic damage that the president is doing by allowing and indeed facilitate this project proceeding. it's well known that nord stream 2 is opposed across europe as an enabler of and indeed an example of and a weapon of russian expansionism and aggression. europeans have good reason for their opposition. they know firsthand what the costs are.
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they know that completing nord stream 2 will leave the entire continent vulnerable to putin's blackmail and aggression and that nato's ability to act will be severely constrained while billions will flow into the kremlin's coffers. what is sometimes underappreciated, however, even by the people who are familiar with this issue is the all but complete unanimity of the opposition in europe. in 2018 the european parmment voted -- parliament voted by 143-105 to oppose the nord stream 2 pipeline. the pipeline proceeded nonetheless until it was halted by the bipartisan sanctions passed by this congress in december of 2019, sanctions that i authored along with democrat jeanne shaheen.
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the pipeline was halted the very day those sanctions were signed into law. then in january of 2021 after vladimir putin tried to murder alexie knoll von any, the european parliament voted against to oppose nord stream 2, 518-50. so i want you to pause for a second and reflect on the fact that joe biden and looked at that vote and said the president of the united states is with the 50. member mind the 581 in the european parliament. the biden administration was going to side with russia on a 90% issue where the biden white house is on the losing side. throughout all this process, there were plenty of voices in germany who were opposed,
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especially after of this vicious attempt on navalny's life. the parliamentary leader of the greens said, quote, the blatant assassination attempt by the mafia-like structure of the kremlin can no longer leave us merely concerned. it must have consequences stating we need a clear answer that will make clear nord stream 2 is no longer something we can complete with russia. mr. president, my request to senate democrats, my request to president biden, my request to kamala harris is listen to the greens. that's not a sentence i've uttered on the floor of the senate before, nor is it one i anticipate saying in the future. but the greens in germany are telling you this is a bad idea yet today's democratic party
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that exalts climate change as the greatest issue in the cosmos when it comes to kissing up and surrendering putin decided to tell the greens to go jump in the lake. former nato secretary-general anders knock ross massen issued a statement that, wet, -- quote, germany is asking for nato solidarity in response to despicable navalny poisoning. they will get it. but an honest answer from putin is unlikely. time has come for germany to halt nord stream 2 construction before it's too late. mr. president, if senate democrats mean what they have said for years on nord stream 2, then listen to the former secretary-general of nato. listen to the greens in germany. but now bizarrely, after joe
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biden has ignored the greens, after joe biden has ignored nato, after joe biden has ignored our central european allies, all of this was done in the hopes of getting goodwill and support from angela merkel. the biden white house. the political geniuses that presided over the surrender and failure in afghanistan, the greatest foreign policy catastrophe a generation, their plan was let's pass the -- piss the whole rest of the world off so we can make friends with angela merkel. by making friends with anle merkel, let's -- angela merkel, let's let putin complete his pipeline. perversely, president biden and merkel issued their statement as
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a declaration for support of our eastern european allies. boy, with support like that, who needs enemies. i'd like to read a joint statement from our polish and ukrainian allies in response to the laughable statement that biden add merkel put out. here's what our polish and ukrainian allies said. quote, the decision to build nord stream 2 made in 2015 mere months after russia's invasion and illegal annexation of ukrainian territory created security, credibility, and political crisis in europe. quote, this crisis is significantly deepened by the resignation from attempts to stop the launch of the nord stream 2 gas pipeline. by the way, as an aside, that resignation would be joe biden's abandoning of u.s. law sanctioning russia. the letter continued, quote,
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this decision has created political, military, and energy threat for ukraine and central europe while increasing russia's potential to destabilize the security situation in europe, perpetuating divisions among nato and european union member states. let me read that again. this decision, joe biden's political genius, surrendering to russia has, quote, created political, military, and energy threat for ukraine and central europe. that sounds bad. it is bad. while increasing russia's potential to destabilize the security situation in europe, perpetuating divisions among nato and european union member states. the letter continued, quote, ukraine and poland will work together with their allies and partners to oppose nord stream 2
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until solutions are developed toll address the security crisis created by north stream 2 -- nord stream 2, to provide support to countries aspiring to membership in western democratic institution and to reduce threats to peace and energy security. mr. president, what do our friends in ukraine and poland tell us? that joe biden's decision has created a, quote, threat to peace and energy security. but even then, biden-harris officials insisted that they had worked out security arrangements. it was all perfectly taken care of. they would ensure that russia would never ever ever use nord stream 2 for blackmail. mr. president, that's their promise. that's joe biden's promise. fear not. they got it figured out and they
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have commitments that russia will never use nord stream 2 for energy blackmail. mr. president, how long do you think those commitments lasted? if you have a stop watch, i'm not sure the stop watch can measure increments of time that small. because russia didn't even give a decent interval, didn't let the ink dry on the biden white house press release before they immediately began doing the thing that biden promised russia would never do. biden white house said we've got an agreement to make sure russia never uses it for energy blackmail. and what did putin say? excuse me, we're in the middle of energy black maim. so we don't even have to -- blackmail. so we don't even have to wait a year, two years. we don't have to wait a week. we don't have to wait a day to know if the biden properly middle was true or -- promise was true or false, that russia
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would never engage in energy blackmail. why? because they're doing it right now, this instance as we stand here. just one week ago the kremlin and its gas barons, the oligarchs, the corrupt mafia oligarchs that run russia said if europe wants reliable gas as we approach winter and, gosh, did we mention it gets cold in europe? that having gas to heat your homes and prevent your grandmother from freezing to death might be a nice thing? well, the kremlin and the gas oligarchs said it's very simple. if they want to have heat, all they need to do is rush through the activation of nord stream 2. they said, quote, undoubtedly the earliest possible commission of nord stream 2 will help balance the natural gas prices in europe. undoubtedly. russia is literally reducing the supply right now, today.
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exercising its blackmail in september. mr. president, you live in the northeast united states. september is a beautiful time of year. the autumn leaves are turning. the breeze is crisp. you're not right yet shivering to turn on the heat at night. the same is true in europe. but fast forward to november. fast forward to december, to january, to february when the bitter cold starts setting in, when having gas or not and having heat or not is the difference between living and dying. what do the russian oligarchs say? they say very simply, quote, undoubtedly the earliest possible commissioning of nord stream 2 will help balance the natural gas prices in europe. and, of course, the response from biden and from germany has been crickets. remember, biden and merkel said
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if they try that, those dastardly russians, we will stand up boldly to them. we will hold them to account. mr. president, where's joe biden? i mean that seriously. where is joe biden? nowhere. maybe in the white house basement. i don't know. but he's not doing anything to stand up to the russian energy blackmail happening right now. by the way, neither is merkel. their promises just weeks ago have already been demonstrated to be completely hollow and empty. the protections of their bogus deal were on their face a bluff. they were on their face empty. but how often is it in politics that such an empty promise gets revealed as a lie minutes after it's made. well, in this case putin was only too happy to oblige. that's why we called the -- we
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call the pipeline the biden-putin pipeline. but of course the punch line of all of this, so the biden administration has managed to take off -- tick off europe, tick off the european union. they managed to tick off ukraine. they managed to tick off poland. they managed to tick off the european, the eastern europeans. they've also independently managed to tick off the french so much that they pulled their ambassador home from the united states. but they did all of this, they said, in the deep gravelly tones of the foggy bottom establishment, they did all of this to build lasting relationships with angela merkel. and that would pay dividends, never mind a generation of billions for putin and russia, never mind a generation of energy captivity for europe,
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never mind thousands of high-paying jobs in america, union jobs, good union jobs destroyed by biden, never mind that. the benefit of making angela merkel is worth it. and, mr. president, there's an old saying that god has a sense of humor. that was illustrated this weekend. because this weekend there was an election in germany. the people went to vote and what happened? the german voters went to vote and merkel's party didn't win the election. now the social democrats will be looking to form a coalition with the greens, which greens? oh, the very same greens that are passionately opposed to nord stream 2, that cried vociferously to kill the pipeline and joe biden said go
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jump in a lake. the new coalition -- and by the way, just about every electoral scenario that comes out of that election will empower the greens in germany and the political geniuses in the white house have just alienated and antagonized the greens. biden's supine giveaway -- isn't that a good word, supine? it describes the biden policy for america. be flat on your belly and give our enemies what they want. biden's supine giveaway to putin was all for nothing. it literally produced nothing for the united states. it alienated our friends and it emboldened our enemies. mr. president, if you're xi in china and you see joe biden
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rolling over and surrendering to vladimir putin, giving him everything he wants, giving him a pipeline that will enrich him for generations to come, what do you think xi is thinking? i can tell you what xi is thinking. xi's is thinking, this is a president who's weak, who will surrender to me, too. we saw that demonstrated just in recent days where the biden administration surrendered on a senior executive from huawei, allowing her to go back to china, giving communist china exactly what it wanted, and once again what does xi take, what do the chinese communist leaders take from that? that this president will roll over, will surrender. and, you know, as a striking irony, these catastrophic decisions and failures are
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particularly jaw-dropping, given that president biden ran on a platform of restoring diplomacy. you remember the refrain, the adults are back? it was said with this moral superiority that the biden guys were coming to come in and no more of this american strength. uh-uh. the adults know better. here's what he said on february 4. quote, the want the world to hear today, america is back. america is back. diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy. we will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday's challenges but today's and tomorrow's. biden spoke specifically about russia. he said, quote, american leadership must meet this new
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moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the determination of russia to damage and disrupt our democracy. and biden added that we, quote, must start with diplomacy rooted in earthquake in's most cherished -- rooted in america's most cherished democratic values. defending freedom and championing opportunity. you know, if irony had ever been alive, that speech killed irony. if irony were dad and buried -- if irony were dead and buried, that speech made irony roll over in its grave. literally every world of that speech, every syllable of every
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word bound to and and thee has been proven false. america is back, biden told us. diplomacy is back. we will repair our alliances. mr. president, how has that gone? have we in fact repaired our alliances? with nord stream 2, biden has missed off the french, the polished, the ukrainians, the european union. has biden repaired our alliances? has biden engaged with the world once again? well, if engaged with the world means surrender to putin, give him everything he wants, then i guess so. and to meet not yesterday's challenges, but today's and tomorrow's. how is biden giving putin a massive natural gas pipeline? how is that meeting tomorrow's challenges, unless the challenges are how to fund russia's military?
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those are the challenges he's talking about, then congratulations, joe biden, you actually lived up to that. he spoke about russia. american leadership must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism. how did joe biden and kamala harris meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism? by funding it. every year putin will cash a check, a couple billion dollars courtesy of joseph biden. what should we use this couple billion dollars for? how about advancing authoritarianism. biden said, we must start with diplomacy rooted in america's most cherished developed values -- defending freedom. mr. president, let me ask you something. whose freedom did joe biden defend with this pipeline? certainly didn't defend the
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freedom of the ukrainians. didn't defend the freedom of the polls. didn't defend the freedom of europe, didn't between -- didn't defend the freedom of france. he didn't defend the freedom of the men and women of georgia, of the baltics, of all the former soviet republics whose safety and security is now jeopardized because biden has decided to be a principal funder of the russian military. that's not defending freedom. he certainly didn't defend america's freedom. on his first day in office, joe biden shut down the keystone pipeline. he killed 8,000 jobs, including union jobs.
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he told them, learn to code. you silly dirty worker who wants to work on a pipeline, no, no, no ... sit down at a macbook instead. how is it that the same president that kills american jobs on an american pipeline created russian jobs on a russian pipeline? i don't know what you call that, but you don't call it defending freedom. you don't call it championing opportunity. and, you know, i have to say, some years ago i traveled to europe -- i was in ukraine; i wasness poland, i was in estonia. and when i was there, i met with the leaders there and i asked them about russian aggression. this was years ago. i asked them about standing up to russian aggression. and to a person when i asked them that, the blood drained out
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of their face. because for the poles, for the ukrainians, for the estonians, russian tanks in the streets, that's not a hypothetical. that's not a scenario they're wondering what that would be like. those of us old enough to remember it, as they sat at the table with me, they remembered it. they remembered those russian tanks. vladimir putin has said in perhaps the most candid moment of his life that the he considers the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 21st century to be the dissolution of the soviet union. a natural corollary of that is that his foreign policy objective is to re-create the soviet union and to sub-goo debate -- sub-you go debate the former soviet republics. one of the most dangerous
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consequences of this pipeline, of the biden-putin pipeline, is that if this pipe shrine allowed to go online, i fear we will see russian tanks again on the ground in ukraine. mr. president, you and i both serve on the senate foreign relations committee. if and when that happens -- in six months, in a year, in two years -- mr. president, i'm going to ask you to remember these remarks. if and when we see russian tanks on the streets in ukraine. because putin is no longer afraid that ukraine is needed to transit energy, that putin now has his own pipeline, the biden-putin pipeline, to circumvent ukraine. if we see that subgugation of
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our ally and liberty, i hope you and i hope every member of this body, and i hope the american people remember right now that joe biden in february said we must start with diplomacy rooted in earthquake in's most -- in america's most cherished democratic values. he has an opportunity to do so -- by the way, let me point out something. the biden administration has a fantastic opportunity for a reset. let's assume somebody in the administration realizes they screwed up on this pipeline. when they're losing votes in the european parliament by a vote of 500-50, that ought to be a signal. particularly for people who pride themselves on their foreign policy prowess on the adults being back, losing a 10-1
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vote in the european parliament is not indicative of diplomacy being back. by the way, when they lose a vote in this body in both the house and senate when we've addressed nord stream 2, every time we've done it, it has been virtually unanimous. the margins in the u.s. congress has been bigger than 550-50. let's say somebody in the white house is something second thoughts. i don't know if they are. maybe they're so committed to their policy, that facts be damned, no second thoughts are allowed. but let's say someone is. then joe biden has been given a gift. he's been given a gift of the recent german election. there's been only one argument that the biden white house has put forward for surrendering to putin on this pipeline and that is to make the german government happy. it is a bad argument. it is a -- it is an argument
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you've rejected, i've reject, virtually every senator in this body, democrat and republican, has rejected it as a bad argument that hurts america, that hurts europe, and helps putin. but for sake of argument, let's give the biden white house the benefit of the doubt. let's assume they really believe that. well, this weekend gave them a gift. if the lone benefit they achieved was this will make the german government happy, what do we know now in this makes the german government unhappy. as we stand here today, the ledger of cost and benefits is very simple. there is one winner on the biden-putin pipeline, and that is vladimir putin. that is russia. that is the russian army. everybody else is a loser.
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so i would say to the biden white house, they have an easy gift. reverse course. by the way, the biden state department, secretary blinken, fought to impose these sanctions. and political operatives in the biden white house overruled the secretary of state. secretary blinken, you have a fabulous opportunity -- the secretary of state is unhappy that i have holds on nominees to the department of state. the presiding officer is unhappy, as he sends repeated tweets expressing his dismay that i'm using the leverage of a senator to try to stop this pipeline. well, i have good news. the german electorate has given you an answer to this problem. the biden white house has an easy excuse. the german government is change. so their only benefit, make the
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german government happy, has disappeared. if all they care about is making the german government happy, if they don't care about the rest of europe, if they don't care about ukraine, if they don't care about the european union, if they don't care about american jobs, if they don't care about putin getting richer and stronger, if the only criteria is to make the german government happy, you know what they should do today? sanction nord stream 2 a.g. follow the law. if they do that i'll lift the holds and these nominations can proceed very, very quickly. the german voters have given joe biden a gift. the only question is if anyone in the white house is paying attention. if anyone wants to accept the gift? or are they too stubborn. they picked their course, damn
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it it and they're going to go down with the ship even if it hurts america. there is still time to stop this pipeline. the question is, does anyone in the white house care? i hope and pray that they do. because if joe biden and kamala harris persist in their decision to completely and totally surrender to vladimir putin, that will harm the united states, not for a year, not for ten years, but for 30, 40, 50 years going forward. mr. president, the german voters have given you a gift. you should take it. i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: mr. president, i rise today to express my deep concern with president biden's disregard for american freedom. president biden's strong-arm push to force americans to choose between their health and decisions affecting their health on the one hand and providing for their families on the other hand is wrong. i simply do not believe the federal government has any business mandating a covid-19 vaccination for all americans. now, let me be clear. i believe that vaccines, broadly speaking, have provided immense benefits to society. nearly eradicating measles, polio, smallpox, and more in the
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united states. i've personally received the covid-19 vaccination, as has my entire family, and i view the rapid development of effective covid-19 vaccines as a miracle, one that safeguards the vulnerable from severe illness and from hospitalization. i believe that the f.d.a.'s expedited approval process is effective at efficiently reviewing and producing generally safe drugs and devices for americans' use. additionally, i believe the emergency use authorization can make drugs available to americans more quickly, which in some cases can mean the difference between life and death so even with the speed by which covid-19 vaccines were developed and made available, i very much believe that they are generally safe. however, receiving the vaccine is a decision that americans should make with all the facts in front of them.
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in consultation with their doctors, and with full consideration of their own current health circumstances. however, president biden made his intentions clear when announcing his federal mandate, saying, quote, this is not about freedom or personal choice, close quote. look, we've got to remember that any time someone, someone who is serving as the president of the united states, while they are showing a sweeping federal mandate, insists that this is not about freedom or personal choice. it is, it necessarily is. it unavoidably is. the fact that he made this statement is troubling. the statement highlights the fact that the president does not understand the key relationship between citizens and government under our constitution. every mandate, regulation, tax, or any other government
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imposition comes necessarily at the cost of freedom and personal choice of americans. the trade-off we make with government. use of overwhelming government power without even considering the implications on freedom is precisely why our founders thought the declaration of independence, a revolution, and our constitution were necessary. i've heard from many utahans who are at risk of being unemployed if they choose not to get the vaccine. in fact, within the last week alone, my office has heard from no fewer than 144 utahans in distress for this very reason. allow me to share just a few of their stories. a young woman in utah has two auto immune diseases. she was told by her doctor that she should not get vaccinated because of her existing health conditions, yet her employer has informed her that contrary to
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her doctor's recommendations, she must get the vaccine. or be fired. get the vaccine or be fired. those are the only two options she is left with. a soon-to-be mother who has been advised not to get the vaccine because of her pregnancy has been told by her employer that she must choose between receiving the vaccine and receiving a paycheck. without her job, she will not have the means to care for her child. a disabled veteran who now spends his time working for the v.a. because he loves helping his fellow veterans has been informed that he must be fully vaccinated within the next 65 days or lose his employment. this ultimatum imposed by president biden is making him choose between receiving an unwanted medical procedure on the one hand or on the other hand being unable to provide for his pregnant wife and their child. after businesses have weathered
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the economic impacts of covid-19 and the corresponding shutdowns that have led to so many closings and bankruptcies, president biden now wants to force employers to act as a sort of medical police force. they must impose a vaccine mandate on their workforce or be forced to pay a heavy fine. this mandate is constitutionally dubious, and that's putting it mildly, and it's not reasonable and it negligence the interest -- neglects the interests of business owners, families, and individuals alike. while threatening the employment of millions of americans in making employers become enforcers, is not how our country will return to normal. it's not even how you will make more people decide to get the vaccine. these steps will only erode meaningful relationships that americans have with one another. the utility of such a sweeping
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mandate is also in question. in fact, a recent study from three hospitals in israel shows that natural immunity was, quote, 27 times more effective than vaccinated immunity in preventing symptomatic infections, close quote. this mandate completely ignores existing evidence-based data lending credibility to the reality that millions of americans may not need to be vaccinated because they have acquired natural immunity from previous covid-19 illness. further, the mandate dismisses the reality that there are outstanding questions regarding the covid-19's safe administration to those who are immunocompromised or who have certain other health-related concerns, or how to accommodate any who have may have objections rooted in religious or other sincerely health beliefs. a decision to engage in a medical procedure, you see, is personal, is deeply personal.
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and even the idea that it can be forced upon citizens by the federal government is offensive. if particular american citizens do not feel that the receipt of the covid-19 vaccine is the right decision for them or their children, then they're entitled to that belief. a mandate by the biden administration to be vaccinated against covid-19 under threat of unemployment will not quell americans' concerns. instead it will likely further erode the little trust that may currently exist. i don't believe that the federal government has been as transparent as it must inists effort to get as many people vaccinated as possible, it's neglected the responsibility to inform americans of any adverse effects that some may have experienced. these unfortunate instances of harm following the administration of covid-19
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vaccines must be acknowledged, even if they are rare. the fact that instances of adverse reactions to the covid-19 vaccines are not being shared with the public or even in many cases the medical community causes me grave, grave concern. it's left those who have been adversely harmed with almost nowhere to turn. it's caused distrust in the unvaccinated that the government may have something to hide. when openly and transparently informed, i believe that each and every american is able to handle the responsibility of weighing the risks of getting vaccinated or not getting vaccinated. i honestly believe that most americans, after speaking to their doctors, will make the decision that's best for themselves, for their families, and for our country. finally, while i've not seen the final regulation for president biden's covid-19 vaccine mandate, nor do i know
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definitively even what statute hes claiming provides him with this regional authority, i doubt this unilateral action is constitutional. but frankly, i don't think the president cares. president biden knows the effects his announcement and even a temporary regulation will have, even if it's later ruled unconstitutional. and even if a mandate is never fully or ever implemented, it still could get him what he wants. businesses across the nation are yielding before the awesome might of the federal government and complying with this executive mandate before it's even been legally drafted, let alone enforced. but according to the vague outline that president biden's speech provided, a business would risk going under if even a
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small percentage of its workforce were unvaccinated at the time enforcement begins. this is a scare tactic, a scare tactic of the absolute worst sort. and it's working. people are scared, and i'm here to defend them. today in this bill, the senate has the opportunity to protect those in the minority, those americans who sincerely believe due to religious conviction or otherwise that they should not receive a covid-19 vaccine. this bill would not prevent businesses from imposing their own mandates or establishing rules for their own workplaces. all this bill would do is to ensure that the federal vaccine mandate provides an exemption for americans whose sincere beliefs prevent them from receiving the vaccine. furthermore, mr. president, nothing in federal law provides president biden the authority to
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institute the vaccine mandate on private-sector employers or on the public at large. and today congress has the opportunity to rectify this situation for the american people. now i want to be clear. this is not the end of my discussion here. i have 12 of these bills, and i will be back tomorrow and the next day for as long as it takes to win the fight against this sweeping mandate. and so, mr. president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on help be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 2850 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? mrs. murray: mr. president.
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the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president, reserving the right to object. this unnecessary bill will undermine our efforts to end a pandemic that has killed over 685,000 people and counting. we are fighting a highly contagious virus. if people don't get vaccinated, variants like delta will continue to spread, undermine our economy and take lives. getting people vaccinated is one of the most important things we can do to stop covid-19. and let's be clear, immunization requirements are nothing new in this country. state and local governments and school districts have required vaccination against diseases like polio and measles for over a century. taking similar steps against covid is just common sense. tailored exemptions for legitimate religious and medical considerations already exist in
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current law and are included in president biden's policy. this bill could undermine existing protections and create a massive loophole that would lead to more unnecessary and preventable deaths. mr. president, it is so frustrating to know how scared people are of this virus, to know how many people it has killed, to know how hard people are trying to do the right thing and how eager they are for this to end, only to have republicans offer ideas that would create political division, prolong this crisis, and cost more lives. so i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. lee: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: i want to be very clear about something. there are no exemptions built in to the mandate because the mandate doesn't yet exist. as far as i can tell, this may be a feature, not a bug.
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you see, because he gave a speech, gave a speech talking about the fact that he was going to issue the mandate. didn't release a legally operative document, didn't disclose precise authority to do this, authority which i highly doubt even exists. so there is no document to challenge. no one can sue to challenge the document because the document doesn't exist. but businesses everywhere fear and indeed know that it's coming, and so their general counsel's offices, their human resources departments or employers with 99 employees in this country are scrambling to get ahead of it. many are already adopting, some i'm told are moving forward with enforcing or preparing to enforce those same policies. and so what will happen is that those employees who have these sincerely held objections will be without recourse.
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my friend and colleague from washington makes the point that these exemptions are there are there. it's a legal and factual impossibility because the mandate doesn't yet exist. the document isn't in there, which begs the question if it already exists, what would be her objection, or anyone's objection, to merely adopting a measure that says any such mandate, if and when it's issued, must contain such an exemption, an objection that my friend and colleague from washington assures us already exists. it's difficult for me to understand how this would be objectionable. without these protections, you see, president biden is telling many religious minorities in the country that they need not apply for a job. and if they've got a job already, that that job is in
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jeopardy. freedom to make one's own medical decisions is fundamental to our system of liberty. the economic impact of the mandates is going to hamper our economic recovery as workers are forced to make hard decisions. here, we're talking specifically about objections rooted in religious or other sincerely held personal beliefs. if in fact that exemption already exists, that protection is already there -- which it isn't because it can't be, because the document itself doesn't exist -- then why not embrace it? why not accept it? why not acknowledge it in law? i struggle to imagine what harm could come from protecting religious minorities in this country. i find it very discouraging,
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very distressing that this body, the united states senate, wouldn't want to do everything we possibly could to make that happen. another word about the fact that it doesn't yet exist, the mandate isn't there. because it's not there, employers with more than 99 employees around the country are being forced to guess as to what it might mean. and a whole lot of them are already preparing their own policies. in some cases already adopting them and enforcing them based on their own anticipation of what the mandate might be. what this means as a practical matter is you can't sue any administrator in the biden administration or elsewhere in the federal government who is going to be enforcing there because you don't know what they are going to be enforcing. there isn't a dispute ripe for adjudication in any court
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anywhere because we don't know what that is. for many people, this entire exercise could be rendered moot in the meantime. not just moot in the sense that the court would lack article 3 jurisdiction to entertain the disputed question, but moot in the sense that they might lose their job, moot in the sense that they are going to have to face this awful hob sons choice between maintaining their ability to provide for their family, on the one hand, and on the other hand, receiving a medical procedure that they would deem harmful and objectionable based on their religious or other sincerely-held beliefs. this, mr. president, is not american. this, mr. president, is not acceptable. and this, mr. president, is not and cannot possibly be constitutional. we should be able to do this. i'm going to be back tomorrow, the next day, and as long as it takes to keep addressing this issue.
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freedom matters and the constitution matters. president biden has ignored them both. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: the yeas are 67, the nays are 31. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. the clerk will report the next nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of state, todd b. robinson of new jersey to be an assistant secretary, international narcotics and law enforcement affairs. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey.
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mr. menendez: mr. president, we heard over the course of many hours last week and indeed over the many nonts that foreign affairs nominees have been languishing on the senate floor. the concerns of the junior senator from texas related to the nord stream 2 pipeline. we have also heard from members of this body about the humanitarian situation in afghanistan, the junior senator from missouri. as i have said publicly and repeatedly, i share my colleagues' concerns about the nord stream 2 pipeline. he put up a series of my quotes. they're all true. i'm still of that view. but i'm not of the view that you stop the national security apparatus in order to pursue a policy difference and create a whole host of other serious risks for the united states. i believe and have said that the evacuation from afghanistan was
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fatally flawed. in fact, the foreign relations committee held a hearing and heard from secretary blinken about the situation in afghanistan. the foreign relations committee is holding a briefing tomorrow about the administration's efforts to bolster european energy security to counter russia's efforts in this area. and i intend to continue oversight of the situation in afghanistan and why over the course of 20 years we have failed. what i fail to understand is the relationship between the foreign affairs nominees pending before this body and those topics. these individuals are critical to confronting numerous other global challenges, promoting american values, and advancing the safety, health, and economic well-being of america. we need them confirmed today, today. i therefore will rise to seek
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unanimous consent for the confirmation of ten nominees, including seven career diplomats each of them moved through the foreign relations committee with bipartisan support. there is no reason for republicans to block their confirmation. let me speak to them for a minute or two. this is especially the case at the u.s. agency for international development. the administrator of usaid, samantha power, is the only member of that agency's senior leadership that has been confirmed by this body. ambassador power needs her senior leadership team in place, yet her two deputies are languishing on the floor because of republican holds. this agency is grappling with the impact of the covid-19 pandemic and other humanitarian emergencies that are ravage be the globe.
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it simply cannot function at its best without senior leadership. so why is it that republicans insist on blocking two highly qualified nominees to serve as usaid deputy administrators? let me take a moment to one again raise haiti. we have heard a lot about haiti here on the floor, particularly from our republican colleagues and the challenge at the border. well, in august, a massive quarterback in haiti killed more than 2,200 people, injured 12,000 more, destroyed tens of thousands of buildings. this comes after the assassination of haiti's president. but here again, republicans are holding a senior member of ambassador power's team, marcela escobari, the nominee to be the
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senior administrator for latin america at usaid. escobari who will handle our response to the haiti earthquake once confirmed held this very job in the obama administration and guess what? she was confirmed by voice vote then. now, we want to deal with the challenge of haitian refugees come to the border and other refugees in the hemisphere coming into the border. let's confirm the usaid deputy administrator who will deal with that issue so we can deal with the root causes. how do we create stability in haiti? how do we provide relief for the haitian people? how do we create feeding for the haitian people so they are not fleeing their country? but no, we're going to stop this nominee who was going to be at the very heart of that. so when you see a new group of haitian refugees, blame
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yourself. we spent many months in this body talking about the challenges posed by the government of the people's republic of china. the u.s. innovation and competition act passed by this body in june and the strategic competition act which passed almost unanimously out of the foreign relations committee 21-1 are proof of that. we have collectively come together on this much, recognized china as the greatest geopolitical and geoeconomic challenge for united states foreign policy, and we have rightly focused on effectively confronting chinese maligned influence. and yet we are failing to ensure a fundamentally critical element of that strategy. that is empowered leadership in our diplomatic corps across the world. our former colleague, senator ken salazar, is the only -- hear me -- the only biden administration nominee who has been confirmed to serve as a
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country ambassador representing u.s. interests abroad. the only one, in the ninth month of this administration. let me be clear. holding up diplomats is effectively ceding influence to china and actively undermining u.s. national security interests. people come to the floor and talk about china. well, they are empowering china by not having our people in position to counter their influence. it's a fact that congo and angola owe over 40% of their entire national debt to whom? to china. so i ask my colleagues, why are we not yet confirmed a career foreign service officer as our ambassador to angola. why have we not confirmed eugene young, another foreign service officer, as our ambassador to the congo? china and somalia have recently
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entered into a new fishing agreement, and chinese vessels are increasingly accessing somalia's waters and strategic coastline adjacent to the red sea. why have we not confirmed larry andre jr. as our ambassador to somalia? china's influences spread across the continent of africa including through its belt and road initiative, which is granded as a development initiative but being used by china to advance its own interests. why have we not yet confirmed elizabeth aubin and maria brewer, two career foreign service officers, as our ambassadors to algeria alasoto respectively? i have spoken on the floor several months ago about china's influence in cameroon. we have not had an american ambassador in cameroon in over a
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year. why have we not yet confirmed christopher john lamora, a career foreign service officer, as our ambassador to cameroon? vietnam sits on the border of china. it's on the front lines of chinese coercion in the south china sea. why have we not yet confirmed mark knapper, a career foreign service officer, as our ambassador to vietnam? colleagues, each of these nominees i mentioned deserves to be confirmed today, and our national security interests demand it. so in pursuit of what i hope will be a recognition of that -- because at some point, something's going to happen here in the world, in one of these countries or one of these regions, and when it happens and we didn't have our representative there, i think the member who is objecting is going to have to live with that reality. so let me ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to
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consider the following nomination. executive calendar number 336, paloma adams-allen adams-allen, to be a deputy administrator of the united states agency for international development, that the nomination be confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be made -- be in order, i should say, in terms of the nomination, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. hawley: reserving the right to object. i appreciate the earnestness on this issue of my friend, my colleague, the senator from new jersey. he mentions about something could happen in the world. something will happen in the world. something i submit to you has happened in the world, and today we have been learning about it. i'm talking about the crisis in afghanistan. the debacle in afghanistan. all day, the senate has been hearing testimony in the armed services committee from
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secretary austin, from general milley, from general mckenzie about how it came to be that 13 american service members are dead, 169 civilians killed, hundreds of americans left behind enemy lines there as we still speak. the greatest foreign policy crisis that this country has úar. those are the words, the comparison of the members, the democrat members of the committee who repeatedly referenced today vietnam, the fall of saigon. what accountability has there been for this crisis, mr. president, for this debacle? because crisis isn't even quite the right word. that sound like a natural disaster, like it just accidentally happened. that's not the case. no, this is a debacle. this is a failure of leadership of the first order, and what accountability has there been for a? who has resigned? who has been fired? who has been relieved of
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command? nobody. what actions has the administration taken? none. what did secretary austin say today? he said well, we will take a hard look at ourselves and we'll ask some tough questions. well, mr. president, that is not nearly good enough. americans are dead. americans are stranded behind enemy lines. our foreign policy is in a state of collapse. our national security is in a state of collapse. enemies around the world are watching what's happening in afghanistan and are seeing an opportunity as the united states shows weakness and disarray and chaos, there must be accountability. let me say something more about what we have learned today because we did learn quite a lot, and all of it is frightening. we learned that the president of the united states lied. he lied. what he said to the american people in an interfere on television just a few weeks ago that he was never told by any of his military advisors, never told that a draw drown on this
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timetable, his timetable would result in catastrophe. he was asked by george stephanopoulos and now i'm quoting, but your top military advisors warned against withdrawing on this timetable. they wanted you to keep about 2,500 troops. president biden, no, they didn't. stephanopoulos, they didn't tell you that they wanted troops to stay? president biden, no. stephanopoulos, so no one told you, your military advisors did not tell you? no, we should just keep 2,500 troops? president biden: no, no one said that to me that i can recall. today we heard from general milley and general mckenzie and secretary austin, who each of them said that they advised the president, it was their considered military judgment that the president's plans were mistaken. they advised against it. they advised him against it.
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and yet, he said no, no one ever told me. i'm not responsible. no one ever told me. we also learned this. we learned that the president lied when he said that he had no idea that the taliban would take over the country in such a short time period. from the same interview, george stephanopoulos said -- this is to president biden -- you said a taliban takeover was highly unlikely. was the intelligence wrong or did you down play it? biden said, no, i think that there was no consensus. if you go back and look, they said this is not going to happen. stephanopoulos: you didn't put a timeline on it when you said it was highly unlikely. you just flat-out said it's highly unlikely the taliban would takeover. biden says yeah. but p we learned today that in fact his commander on the ground, general miller, warned
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as early as march, march of this year that the military situation in afghanistan was deteriorating rapidly, that the taliban was on the offensive, that the drawdown of american troops would likely result in the collapse of the afghan government and the afghan security forces sooner rather than later. it was going to come fast is what general miller said. and yet, the president says no one ever told him that. he never knew about it. in fact, his own commanders on the ground warned him about it. and what was the consequence of this? well, the president is either forgetting or ignoring or outright lying about what he was advised by his own commanders. his administration was failing to plan for the collapse of the afghan security forces. we learned that today too. secretary austin said we just didn't plan for a scenario of afghan security forces collapse. we didn't plan for it. why didn't they plan for it?
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why isn't somebody being held accountable for it? the special i inspector general for afghanistan has been warning for years that the afghan security forces were not ready, not well equipped, were not trained, would not likely stand on their own. we know the commander on the ground shared the same assessment, and yet the administration did not plan for the -- by their own admission, did not plan for the collapse of the afghan security forces or the collapse of the afghan government, which also meant that they did not order the evacuation of american civilians in time. they dillydallied, they waited, they dithered, they did not order the evacuation in time. they waited until the middle of august to undertake an evacuation of civilians in earnest, after american troops had withdrawn from the country. no wonder there was chaos in kabul. no wonder there was a total
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disaster. that's the administration's fault. they waited because they hadn't planned. they waited because apparently they were fighting among themselves. the state department, the defense department, and the white house all fighting because president biden wasn't leading. it's a total debacle. it's total chaos. my friend, the senator from new jersey, quite reasonably wants to know what's the connection. why am i objecting to these nominees? why do i want a vote? here's the connection, it's about accountability. no one has been held accountable. i know the senator wants to hear from secretary austin and his committee. he should hear from the secretary and his committee because what we heard today contradicts quite a lot of the testimony that the secretary of state gave to the senator from new jersey in his committee earlier. quite a lot of contradictions, so he's quite right to want to hear from secretary austin. but we need to do more than hear from him. we need to have accountability
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for what has happened. until we get that accountability, until someone is held responsible, until there is some turn, some change, some shift in policy -- and i've called for the resignations of general milley, secretary austin, secretary blinken and the national security advisor, until there is accountability i think the least the senate could do is actually vote, take at least a vote on this floor for nominees to leadership positions at the state department and the department of defense. so, mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: i ask that it be in order to make the same request with respect to calendar number 337, isobel coleman.
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the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. menendez: i ask it be in order to make the same request with respect to calendar marcy. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. menendez: i ask it be the same request for a career member of the foreign service and to serve as the ambassador to the democratic republic of saltone and principe. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. menendez: i ask for the same request for eugene s. young, career member of the career foreign service to be ambassador of the united states to the republic of congo. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: i object, mr. president. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. menendez: i ask it be in order with respect to calendar 223, larry edward andre jr. of
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texas to be ambassador of the united states to somalia. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: i object. mr. menendez: i ask it be in order to make the same request with respect to calendar 234, elizabeth moore aubin, to be ambassador of the united states to algeria. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: i object, mr. president. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. menendez: i ask it be in order to make the same request with respect to calendar 235, maria e. brewer a career member of the foreign service to be ambassador of the united states to the kingdom of lesetho. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. menendez: i ask it be in order to make the same request with respect to calendar 236, christopher john lamora to be ambassador of the united states to cameroon. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. menendez: i ask it be in order to make the same with
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respect with respect to calendar 317, marc evans knapper, a career member of the senior foreign service of the united states to be ambassador to vietnam. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. menendez: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: the senator from missouri wants accountability. that's fine. but a slew of career foreign service officers who had absolutely nothing, nothing to do with whatever decisions were made in afghanistan, that's where the accountability is going to come from? these are people who have committed their lives to serve the united states of america. they've committed their lives either in republican or democratic administrations, it doesn't matter.
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they carry out the mission of the united states and its foreign policy as dick a tated by -- as dictated by the president and the congress. they had nothing, nothing. princepe, somalia, congo, algeria, lesetho, cameroon, vietnam, had nothing, nothing, nothing to do with the decision in afghanistan. yet they are the ones who we are going to extract a pound of flesh of accountability on people who had absolutely nothing to do with the decisions on afghanistan and who have committed their lives to the career foreign service. these aren't political nominees. these are career foreign service officers. i heard my colleague talk about that our enemies around the world are emboldened. well, guess what? they're really going to be emboldened when we have no ambassador to counter them in
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these countries, because they got clear sailing. they can do whatever they want. they can talk to those heads of state. there's no american ambassador to go in and talk to that head of state and say, mr. president, mr. prime minister, whatever the title may be, don't make that choice. it would be a bad choice. we offer you a different alternative. we offer you a different set of principles, different set of values, one that would inure to the benefit of your country. but, no, there's no one from the united states of america who is going to be able to go into those countries and say any of that because we're going to extract -- when i say we, i should retract that. the presiding officer: the senator --. mr. menendez: the senator from wants to extract accountability on people who have done absolutely nothing as it relates to making these decisions. when we have problems in this hemisphere with migration, i want my colleagues to know who are objecting that they will bear a significant part of the
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responsibility because if we can't deal with the root causes to stop people from coming to our southern border, whether they be from haiti or central america or any other place, then we're going to continuously have a flow of people as they avoid disaster, civil conflict, authoritarian governments. but if we had people in place to develop the plans and the programs and implement them so we could stop the flow so we could create stability in haiti, guess what? we're less likely to have people come to the southern border. but no, we're going to extract accountability on people who have absolutely nothing to do with afghanistan. not only this shortsighted, for those who stand on the senate floor and talk about the national security of the united states, this hurts the national security of the united states. it hurts the national interests of the united states.
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so i hope that there will be a reflection -- maybe there are better targets to pick than career foreign service officers in countries that had no decision, no policy making on any of these issues that my colleague has a problem with. maybe there are better -- better ones to pursue. but in the absence of that, i can tell you there will be a rude awakening. mark my words, i have been doing foreign policy for 30 years between the house and the senate. it will happen sooner than you think. and you will remember this moment and wish you hadn't objected to some of these people. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. cruz: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: mr. president, i have spoken throughout these last several days about how the nord stream 2 pipeline, the biden-putin pipeline runs counter to everything that the
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biden administration professes to stand for. and indeed, much of the democrat party, what they have been insisting on for the last half decade, are the most important issues in the country. we have, of course, spent four years during the trump presidency listening to democrats say russia, russia, russia, over and over again. it was a newfound discovery. some of us are old enough to remember barack obama turning to mitt romney in the 2012 presidential election when mitt romney was advocating for strength in dealing with russia for taking on putin, and some of us remember obama looking at mitt romney and saying mitt, the 1980's called. they want their foreign policy back. that was 2012 when the democrats thought it was passe to stand up to russia. then 2016 happened. donald trump was elected president. suddenly the democratic party
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got religion. suddenly russia was bad. now, i thought russia was bad before. i thought russia was bad when trump was president. i think russia's bad now. i don't like dictatorial thugs like vladimir putin, who is a k.g.b. thug. but interestingly for our friends on the democratic side of the aisle, their outrage against russia is situational. it applies only in the situation that a republican is in the white house. when a democrat is in the white house, when joe biden is there, suddenly putin is hunky-dory. suddenly democrats don't have much of a problem with joe biden defying federal law, ignoring federal law, and giving a multibillion-dollar gift to putin. suddenly the democrats who have given all these speeches on russia -- who passed the legislation that imposes mandatory sanctions on russia to
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stop a president who refuses to impose those sanctions. well, joe biden is in defiance of that. do you see a single democrat standing up saying mr. president, obey casa. clearly the world is going to come to an end without a deputy assistant of whatchamacallit. if my democratic colleagues believe their rhetoric of the last four years, we would see democrats stand up with me and say joe biden's multibillion-dollar gift to putin is a mistake. but they're not. one of the ironies, in addition to the russia, russia, russia thing -- and the truth of the matter is most of the democrats never believed russia, russia,
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russia. to go back to the soviet union, if you go back to the reagan administration, democrats had spent decades as apologists for soviet communists, as apologists for russian dictators. but for four years, i've got to say our democratic colleagues can give a good speech. they sure sounded genuine when they said russia, russia, russia. but if they believed those words, then they would look at joe biden and kamala harris, and they would say russia, russia, russia, because, by the way, they didn't like donald trump's rhetoric on russia. and by the way, i didn't like a lot of the things president trump said on russia. i wish his rhetoric had been stronger, but it's worth noting trump had the courage to call out germany for nord stream 2. trump had the courage to impose sanctions under the bipartisan sanctions legislation we passed into law, the cruz-shaheen
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legislation passed in 2019 and the second wave of cruz-shaheen bipartisan legislation passed in 2020. president trump imposed. what did joe biden do? waived it. what did joe biden do? ignored the law. what did joe biden do? give a multi-billion-dollar gift to putin. so if any democratic meant a word they said about russia, we ought to see them standing here. you will note the democratic side of the floor is largely empty. but not only is joe biden's rhetoric and the democrats' rhetoric on russia not matched by their action, but we also know that biden's actions don't meet the democrats' rhetoric on climate.
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now, what i want to address now is environmentalism and climate. which president biden and the left tells us are existential issues. there is nothing mattering more, they say, than climate change. that if we don't fight climate change, nebraska is going to be under water, they tell us. they say we need to follow the example of our european allies and agreements like the paris accords. but the nord stream 2 pipeline will grind any european energy transition to a halt by making the europeans even more dependent on russian gas. now, some proponents have argued that the natural gas delivered by nord stream 2, it would be kind of a transition technology. but the german institute for economic research's senior energy expert described nord stream 2 on these issues as,
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quote, unnecessary and inefficient. more analysis, published again just last week, projected that the nord stream 2 pipeline would admit over 100 -- would emit over 100 million metric tons of co2 per year, because methane. the gas that nord stream 2 would deliver compares very badly to the alternative, and that is l.n.g., liquid natural gas. in 2019, the u.s. national electronic energy lab, said that u.s.-l.m.g. has 41% less life cycle emissions than if it were received from another predominate producer like
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russia. listen to that again. because our democratic colleagues love to pound the table how carbon is the greatest threat on the planet. well, joe biden is saddling europe with an energy option that produces much more co2 than american l.n.g. american l.n.g.41% less carbon dioxide. if you believe their rhetoric, you would see democrats standing up for joe biden. if joe biden believed joe biden, he would be standing up for himself. if john kerry believed his rhetoric, in between his private jet, in between him pontificating american workers they just need to learn to code, if john kerry believed climate
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was an existential disaster, he would be standing up saying president biden, why are you defying congress, defying the european union and giving putin a multibillion-dollar gift that produces more co2? there's no argument from the left or the right under which nord stream 2 is a good idea. but especially on the basis of what the left tells us are their most important issues, russia, russia, russia, it's a disaster on russia, russia, russia. co2, it's a disaster on co2. you know, twitter today has lit up with a certain european teenager who's fond at lecturing the world about insufficient
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response to climate and she responded to american leaders who, to use her words say blah, blah, blah when it comes to climate. mr. president, i've got to say, our democratic colleagues, this democratic administration, when it comes to nord stream 2, their only answer is blah, blah, blah. they don't have an answer that they are resulting in -- what was the figure again? let's actually get that figure right. 100 million metric tons of co 2 per year. congratulations. the next time you give a speech saying you want to double america's electric bill, you want to bankrupt working families because of co2, remember, you didn't seem worried about it when it was the
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russians producing co2 in the way that it hurts allies and hurts america. i get it. people want to support their party. when there's a republican party, republicans support them genuinely, when there's a democratic president, democrats support them genuinely. that's -- generally. that's not shocking. but is it asking too much for even one of the democrats to believe what they've said for the last five years? throughout the course of these remarks, you know who i've quoted more than anyone else, senate democrats. i've quoted their own remarks. senate democrats understand nord stream 2 is a disaster. they understand it's harmful. they understand it's bad for america. they just can't -- don't have the courage when it comes to
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standing up to a president. to be clear when donald trump was president, i pressed the administration hard on nord stream 2 even though we're the same party i was not shy about pressing the trump administration. there are 50 democrats in this chamber. is there one who believed russia, russia, russia? or was that all empty politics? is there one who believes their hyperbolic rhetoric on co2 and climate or is that all just blah, blah, blah? it's real simple. the biden administration has a chance to fix this. just this weekend the german people voted out the merkel government.
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the entire reason joe biden went down this foolhardy disasterous path was to kiss up to angela merkel. you know what, she's gone, her party's gone. they are out of power. and so joe biden and kamala harris have been giving a present, a chance to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat. we had victory from 2019 to 2020 when we shut down the pipeline. republicans and democrats together in congress had come together and shut down the pipeline, putin had lost, america had won. joe biden comes into office, and now putin wins, america loses. that ain't good. that ain't good in michigan, it ain't good in arizona. it ain't good in any state in
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this country. and joe biden can fix it. -- fix it if he simply accepts the gifts the german voters have given him. reverse his course and follow his u.s. law. let's stop the biden-putin pipeline. let's give an opportunity for president biden to pull his name off the pipeline. by the way, if he were to do so, i'll come to this floor and sing joe biden's praises for doing the right thing, for following the law, for standing up for america, for standing up to russia, for defending our european allies. sadly i'm not holding my breath. i think the hubris of office, stubbornus is likely to keep the biden administration digging in. in the senate i'm going to use every tool i have to try to press them to change their minds, and i would call on, is
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there even one democrat with the courage to take on russia? time will tell. i yield the floor. note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. barrasso: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you,
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mr. president. mr. president, i come to the floor today to point out the failures of the biden administration's foreign policies, and specifically president biden's failures in addition to that of his administration. because president biden ran for president based on basically two things. what he described as competence and as his foreign policy expertise. he has failed miserably at both. it's been nearly a month since president biden withdrew from afghanistan. what about the taliban? well, right now they are more powerful than ever. they have billions and billions of dollars worth of high-tech military equipment. it's beyond their wildest dreams. where did they get the weapons? well, they got them from the united states of america. as we hear on nightly news
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broadcasts and as we know from what we're hearing at home, there are hundreds of americans still stranded behind enemy lines. the administration doesn't want to admit a number, but there are hundreds of americans stranded behind enemy lines, if not more. the detrimental consequences for america is only beginning. our friends are furious and our enemies, they are emboldened by what has happened in afghanistan. earlier this month i visited with our nato allies. our allies are enraged and a host of foreign policy mistakes by president biden, in my opinion and in theirs, are irreversible. here are just a few examples. angela merkel's designated successor called the afghanistan withdrawal the biggest debacle in the history of nato. president biden didn't mind --
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he gave vladimir putin the green light to build the nord stream 2 pipeline. we heard senator cruz talk about that. this is something that will be used to hold our european allies hostage. hostage for money and hostage for energy. the president of poland said recently the nord stream 2 giveaway is grounds for reflection on relations with the united states. france was so offended with president biden at one point they recalled their ambassador. it never happened in american history. go all the back to the 1700's. france is a nuclear power, is one of our closest allies. this is presidential incompetence on an unprecedented scale. our allies see the incompetence. our enemies not only see it,
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they can smell it. china has publicly -- has said said -- has said so publicly, afghanistan shows americans cannot defend our allies anymore. now, china is threatening taiwan and building more than 200 missile silos, iran has its nuclear program. according to iran they are two weeks away from having enough material to build a nuclear weapon. on the 20th anniversary of september 11, 2001, american troops in iraq were attacked. russia is preparing to test a cruise missile, north korea is expanding uranium enrichment and north korea tested two ballistic missles. in every area and region of the world, our nation, america's
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interests are in retreat. our enemies are on the march. america has grown weaker under joe biden. our enemies have grown stronger under joe biden because of president biden's incompetence, mismanagement, and weakness, we are all, as citizens of this country, less safe. when think of -- when i think of the last eight months, i'm reminded of something former secretary of defense robert gates said -- and remember he was secretary of defense under president obama. he said joe biden has been wrong -- wrong -- joe biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue of the last four decades. 40 years of being wrong on nearly every major foreign
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policy and national security issue. at the time he said that, it had been four decades. now joe biden is president of the united states and it is five decades. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: i ask unanimous consent to end the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cotton: last week president biden went to the united nations and he announced his capitulation to the communist chinese party. the message was clear from what he did and did not say. in joe biden's 30-minute monologue on the state of the world, he never once even said the name of the world's greatest -- to peace stability, china. never said it once. he refused to even say the word china. nor did he mention tibet, hong kong, taiwan, or practically any of the victims of chinese
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communist aggression. now, president biden did mention the, quote, targeting and oppression of minorities in jing jiang province in china's northwest. yet he left mysteriously vague who is responsible for all the targeting and oppression. he blithely lumped in xinjiang with other abuses around the world as if it's one area of deep concern among many. but the concentration camps in xinjiang are not just another problem. perpetrated by one of the most advanced and powerful regimes on earth, personally approved by the chinese communist leader xi
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ping. it's made clear that he's responsible for the ethnic cleansing. let me explain how brutal it is. the chinese communist party are sterilizing women in xinjiang province so they cannot procreate and create more of their ethnic minority. if they can't do that, then they are being brutally raped by chinese men. that's what's happening in xinjing province. in addition to the internment of millions of ethnic minorities. it's not just your run of the mill targeting and oppression. president biden also referred to china implicitly since he didn't say the word on another occasion in a speech which he said the united states is, quote, not seeking a new cold war. of course we're not seeking a war of any kind, cold or hot. that is the last thing the united states would ever want.
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but still that's an astonishing assertion because whether we seek it or not, china has been waging a cold war on america and our workers and our factories and our militaries and our way of life for decades. the only question is whether we will win or lose. under president biden we're losing. i -- a strong leader, a competent leader would seek to win this cold war thrust upon the united states in the manner of those who went -- facing enemies like nazi, germany and soviet russia. instead in the manner of apiecers the world over, president biden hopes to make peace with china by indulging its aggression, by refusing to even say his name. if you think this is restoring some norm of long-standing providence, you don't go to the
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united nations general assembly and speak the name of your adversaries who are committing acts of naked aggression and crimes against humanity, i would point out that barack obama repeatedly, repeatedly called out russia by name in 2014 for its invasion of ukraine. let's just say that president obama was not exactly a cold war yore. now, as a result, chairman xi is issuing orders and the biden administration is rushing to fill them like a short order cook at a diner on saturday morning. early in the administration president biden lifted restrictions on confucius institutes which are little more than spy outposts on our universities. he gutted trump-era rules protecting our electrical grid from chinese influence, and he shut down a state department investigation into the origins of the wuhan coronavirus.
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then in july china's foreign minister handed two lists of new demands to deputy secretary of state wendy sherman stating that the united states must stop so-called wrongdoings in order to get back in beijing's good graces. similarly when the so-called climate czar john kerry asked for china's help, the communist party responded that it would consider polluting a little less if the united states would shut up about china's campaign of genocide and other human rights abuses. now any self-respecting administration that believes in america's strength, pride, and honor would have told chairman xi he's in no position to be making such demands. instead this administration is going down the page like an obedient underling. when a reporter asked john kerry if the administration repressed china on its horrific human rights abuses, kerry responded that, quote, life is always full
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of tough choices. end quote. pathetic. around the same time biden's commerce secretary called for robust commercial engagement into mitigate any potential tensions between the united states and china. she even promised to bring delegations of u.s. business leaders to china to pad the communist bottom line even further. she calls to mind which is attributed to lennon that capitalists will sell a communist the rope they used to hang us all. pathetic. over the weekend in his most recent act of pathetic weakness, the biden department of justice surrendered wallway's criminal c.f.o. and princess without punishing her for abating u.s. sanctions. she received a hero's welcome when her plane touched down in china. moments after her release, china released two innocent canadians that had taken hostage to secure her release.
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so beijing's host package -- hostage taking worked as planned. pathetic. all of this self-inflicted humiliation was avoidable. the fact is that china is in no position to deliver ultimatums to us. it's america -- it's america that ought to be making demands of china. here's a few things that would actually pave a path to true reconciliation. first and foremost, we ought to demand that china finally admit what almost everyone knows is certainly true that the coronavirus pandemic started in a lab in wuhan. xi jinping should then give a graveling televised apology to the world agreeing to end research using deadly pathogens and pay damages to his victims around the world who have died or suffered because of his regime's incompetence and that lev ens. we ought to demand that china agree to rebid the 2022 winter olympics until the chinese
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regime ends its ethnic clea cleansing, slave labor, mass murder, mass sterilization, and systematic rape of ethnic and religious minorities. it is too morally tainted to host a such a prestigious event. third, we ought to demand that china end its spree of intellectual property theft. today china is responsible for all to 80%, 80% of the intellectual property theft committed against the united states. it's the subject of nearly half of all f.b.i. counterintelligence cases for economic espionage. this theft has to stop. fourth, we should demand that china renounce its imperial ambitions. it must agree to stop the road initiative, disclaim its ambition of conquering taiwan, abide by its treaty obligations
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regarding hong kong and end its sinister and provocative military buildup. these conditions are met and china will be on the path of making amends for its many crimes. it's up to america to hold china accountable for these crimes. after all, we are the global leader, not china. we don't require china's forgiveness or favor. our conscience is clean. our nation is great. we're the nation that threw out the shackles of a -- saved a world and then saved it again. and again. the united states has been the greatest enemy of tyranny the world over. we do not cower before tyrant. we -- tyrants. we look them in the eye and call them by their true name and tell them what they really are, evil. president biden ought to remember that the next time he speaks to the world on behalf of
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the american people. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: all time has expired. the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: the yeas are 53. the nays are 41. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's actions. the clerk will report the next nomination.
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the clerk: nomination, department of state, jessica lieu wills of ohio to be assistant secretary, political military affairs. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. those opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. schumer: i move to have proceed to executive session to consider calendar 354. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. all opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, bureau of consumer financial protection, ra himent chopra of district of columbia to be director. mr. schumer: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to
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bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar 354, r rohit chopra to be direcr signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. schumer: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar 293. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. all opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of the interior, tracy stone-manning of montana to be director of the bureau of land management. mr. schumer: i send a clo -- i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture.
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the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of of the rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate dob hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 239, tracy stone-manning of montana of the bureau of left-hand management. mr. schumer: i send a cloture motion to the desk. i ask consent the reading of the names be wavered. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the mafned tore quorum calls for the cloture motions filed today be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session and be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 392 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 392, recognizing and supporting the goals and ideals of national
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forensic science week. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and that motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of senate res. 393 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 393 designating september 2021 as national spinal cord injury awareness month. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. schumer: i know of no further debate. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, all those in favor say aye. all opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the resolution is agreed to. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the preamble be agreed to and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no
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intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i understand there are three bills at the desk and i ask for their first reading en bloc. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bills for the first time en bloc. the presiding officer: s. --. the clerk: an act to protect a person's act to determine whether to continue or discontinue pregnancy. h.r. 5323, an act making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending 2030 and for other purposes. mr. schumer: i now ask for second reading and i object to my own request all en bloc. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. is the bills will be read for the second time on the next legislative day. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the appointment at the desk appear separately in
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the record as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: finally, madam president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 9:30 a.m., wednesday, september 29, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and morning business be closed. that upon the conclusion of morning business the senate proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the lewis nomination and that at 10:30 a.m. the senate vote on the confirmation of the nomination. further, that upon disposition of the lewis nomination, the senate resume consideration of the anderson nomination, that cloture motions be filed during yesterday's session ripen at 2:30 p.m. and that the cloture vote on the meyer nomination occur immediately after the anderson nomination. if -- the president be
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immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. is it. the presiding officer: the the presiding officer: the get c-span on the go. watch the biggest political events live on demand anytime, anywhere on a new mobile video app. access top highlights, listen to c-span radio and discover new podcasts all for free. download c-span today.
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