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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 4, 2021 2:59pm-6:53pm EDT

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and be ready to demonstrate that you bring value if you're confident, you bring valueyo and you present that forward to the world. there's always going to be challenges but with a passion to do what you want to do, you can go pretty far. >> any final thoughts? >> no, thanks learned a lot. as too your patient analysis and your great intellect, we appreciate it. thank you so much, thank you. ♪♪ >> you spent on the girl's on demand anytime, anywhere on our mobile app. c-span now, access highlights, discover new podcasts all for
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free. download today. ♪♪ >> today's senate lawmakers resume debate on the house passed bills to suspend the debt ceiling through december 16, 2022. later this afternoon, they expect to hold a confirmation vote for jonathan meyer to be general counsel of the department of homeland security. ... the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. king of the earth, we worship you. your majesty and might sustain us, as we meditate upon your grace and mercy. increase our faith.
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lord, guide us until we reach the destination you desire for us. today, provide our lawmakers with your peace. snatch them from the powers of evil, as you fill their hearts with gratitude for your blessings. may they honor you with their thanksgiving. lord, stagger the enemies of freedom with your power, and permit your purposes to prevail. we pray in your loving name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands,
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one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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he you quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, let me say at the outset i will yield the floor if either leader comes. i know they are busy in their offices. i will be prepared to give them whatever opportunity they need. madam president, this week the senate will consider laura king's nomination for the u.s. district court for the western district of washington. ms. king is an incredibly qualified jurist with experience as a lawyer and a judge. if confirmed, she will make history.
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the first native american federal judge to serve in washington's western district, which is home to more than 25 federally recognized tribes. ms. king received her undergraduate degree from the university of washington, her law degree from the university of virginia, and for more than 12 years she has been a litigator in private practice. she has handled cases involving intellectual property, commercial contract disputes, construction litigation, tribal hunting and fishing rights. in addition to her work in private practice, ms. king has served the public as an appellate court judge in the northwest intertribal court system. she has also advocated for her community as a member of the seattle indian health board which provides care to native americans and alaska natives. ms. king has long been recognized as a leader in the legal community. she served on the board of the northwest tribal court judges association, has chaired both the federal bar association's indian law section conference and the washington state bar association's indian law section.
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how was she rated by the american bar association? well qualified. ms. king has the strong support of her home state senators, murray and cantwell, bipartisan support in our judiciary committee, and ranking member grassley and senator graham also joined us in supporting her nomination. her nomination has been endorsed by dozens of tribes and tribal organizations throughout the united states, including the national congress of american indians, native american rights fund, and the midwest alliance of sovereign tribes. ms. king has given back to her community every step of her career. with her confirmation, the members of the senate can continue to finally -- the vital work of building a federal judiciary that really reflects the diversity of this nation. i urge my colleagues to support her nomination. mr. president, i ask that the following statement be placed in a separate part of the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: today is the first monday in october.
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it's the date that marks the start of a new term for the united states supreme court. all indications are this term will be of major consequence. the court has chosen to take up a number of cases that have the potential to dramatically change america as we know it. for example, the court has decided to hear cases in which it is being asked to overturn roe v. wade, as well as strike down state laws regarding the carrying of weapons in public places. these are among the momentous issues on the court's first term. madam president, i would yield the floor to the leader. he has asked me to carry on for a little bit here. back to my statement. these are wrong the momentous decisions the court -- the issues on the court's merits dockets this term. but the court has been also very active on another docket, a shadow docket.
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most people are not familiar with that term, don't know what it means. we learned this in the senate judiciary committee. it refers to the decisions issued by the supreme court outside of the regular routine merits docket. these decisions are often rendered on a very short timetable without full briefing, public deliberation, detailed explanation, or signed opinions. historically, shadow docket orders were mostly noncontroversial. they typically involve routine or procedural questions, such as establishing deadlines for parties to file briefs, but that has changed in recent years. not only have the orders from the supreme court's shadow docket become more substantive and controversial, they have also taken an increasingly clear ideological bent. consider the weeks leading up to the start of this new october term. the court's conservative majority used the shadow docket to block the biden administration's covid eviction moratorium and to reinstate the
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trump administration's cruel remain in mexico policy that unfortunately blocked families and children fleeing persecution. the court's majority also used the shadow docket last month to allow texas law s.b. 8 to take effect, a law that effectively bans abortion after six weeks, directly violating the constitutional protections of half a century from roe v. wade. these and other shadow dockets from the court's conservative justices are having a profound consequence for millions of americans. last week, the senate judiciary committee, which i chair, and the presiding officer has joined as a member, held a hearing on the court's use of the shadow document. we heard from a number of experts about the increased use of the docket and the increasing ideological nature of its use. they pointed out, for example, that president trump's justice department, for years, requested the court take emergency action on the shadow docket a
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record-breaking 36 times in four years. the court granted 28 of those requests. what about previous presidents? in contrast, the justice department only requested emergency relief eight times total, eight times in 16 years of george bush and barack obama, and on only four occasions was the shadow docket approved, the request was approved. at this point, i'm going to yield the floor and ask consent that when i return to the floor i be able to resume these remarks, but i want to yield to the majority leader. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: i thank my dear friend, our majority whip, and the senior senator from the state of illinois, as well as someone who was my roommate for -- well, decades, i guess. okay. mr. president -- madam president, on the day that this majority commenced its work, i promised that this chamber would meet the challenges that face our nation,
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not with timid solutions, but with boldness and with courage. now the 117th congress stands at a pivotal moment in our pursuit of this goal. over the past few months, both chambers have dedicated themselves to passing two transformative, once in a generation pieces of legislation. the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the build back better agenda. doing big things in congress is always hard, but we didn't choose -- but we didn't choose elected office just to pursue the easy things. in the days and weeks to come, senate democrats will remain focused on passing the agenda we promised, no matter how hard the task. all last week, i held extensive talks with the speaker, the president, and my senate colleagues to bring us closer to a final agreement on our build back better agenda. we made important progress, but there is more work to do.
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so this week, i will continue meeting with my colleagues in an effort to produce a bill that all of us can get behind. last friday, president biden spoke to house democrats about the path forward for passing our ambitious agenda into law. his message was simple -- if we stick together, if we work to find a legislative sweet spot that we can all support, then we will succeed. he's right, and that's exactly what we're going to do. as i explained this morning in my dear colleague, our new legislative goal must be to get both the infrastructure bill and the build back better agenda done by the end of october. the reason is simple. the infrastructure bill, for all its historic investments, is also a reauthorization of the highway trust fund. we passed a 30-day patch over the weekend to keep vital programs going, but as it stands, the trust fund is set to run out of money by the end of
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october. if we're going to meet this deadline, democrats must arrive at a final agreement on the details of the build back better agenda as soon as possible. preferably within a matter of days, not weeks. it's the only way we can give committees enough time to draft legislation, to ensure its privileged status in our chamber, and complete the reconciliation process before the end of the month. now, none of this is going to be easy. it will require sacrifice, compromise, and finding common ground. nobody is going to get everything they want. but no matter what, our final proposal will deliver the core promise we made to the american people. we will take bold action on climate change while creating millions of jobs. we will expand health care opportunities and lower costs for working americans, and we will cut taxes for the working and middle class while asking the wealthy to pay their fair share. i am confident we'll be proud of
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the end result, a bill that will dramatically improve the lives of every single american, not just for today but for generations. a bill that will rebuild ladders for working people to get to the middle class, help people stay in the middle class who are there already, and rekindle, rekindle that sunny american disposition so central to our national identity but seems to be fading a bit in the last while. this is worth a couple of hard days. this is worth many hard days. again, we didn't come to washington to take the easy way out. we came here committed to work every day, to reward the faith that the american people have placed in us. we came here to get big things done, and that's exactly what we will do in the weeks ahead. now, on the debt ceiling. before the end of this week, the senate must, must get a bill to
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the president's desk to address the acute crisis of the debt limit. president biden was crystal clear in his speech this morning. if republicans don't get out of the way and let the senate take action now, our government will in all likelihood enter default for the first time ever. sadly, the republican position as the party of default has become so extreme that they blocked every single team to prevent a default from happening, putting our country in serious, serious danger. they've gone so far as rejecting their own requests for how the debt ceiling should be raised. their own requests, we're putting those in action, they are now saying no. why do you think? why do you think? now the republican leader has repeatedly stated that the democrats must raise the debt ceiling on our own and he's directly cited precedence of
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2003, 2004, and 2006. when the senate voted to race the debt ceiling by a majority vote. but what he conveniently -- repeatedly and conveniently ignores, knows better, he knows in each of those examples, the minority allowed an up-or-down vote without -- without a partisan filibuster. in other words, the other side said get us the 50 votes and we won't make you get to 60. that's just what we're asking for now, we're proposing the same offer now which leader mcconnell has cited. let us vote to raise the debt ceiling without a partisan filibuster. in fact, this was the thrust of my consent request last week which would have resolved this republican-driven default crisis with an up or down our vote. republicans could have gotten their chance to vote no and we could have all put an end to the
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needless impasse. given the easiest way out of the mess, republicans refuse to take yes for an answer. now our country is on the brink of a crisis whose consequences will reverberate around the world. the bottom line is this congress must pass legislation to avoid a default. i will file cloture on a house-passed cloture to suspend the debt limit until 2022. we aren't asking republicans to support it when it comes time for a vote. we ask that they get out of the way just as the majority party did in the early 2000's. if republicans want to stop payments from going to social security recipients or veterans, be my guess, but they -- guest, but they ought to get out of the way and let the senate pass the legislation. we don't have the luxury of waiting until october 18 to pass
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the debt ceiling. every day we delay taking action, we increase the chances of doing damage to our global financial system and trust in our country's ability to pay its debts. so, again, we will need to get a bill extending the debt ceiling to the president's desk by the end of this week. we aren't asking republicans to vote yes even though it's debt that they incurred. we are simply asking that they get out of the way. i yield the floor and thank my colleague for his courtesy.
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the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i want to begin today with a quotation. quote, because this massive accumulation of debt was predicted because it was foreseeable, because it was unnecessary, because it was the result of willful and reckless disregard for the warnings that were given and for the
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fundamentals of economic management, i'm voting against the debt limit increase. now, madam president, that was then-senator joe biden in march of 2006 right before every single democratic senate voted against raising the debt limit and made a unified republican government do it alone. here's another quote. today's fiscal mess is the inevitable outcome of policies that consistently ignored evidence and experience. my symbolic vote against raising the debt limit would have been a protest of the policies that have brought us to this point and a demand that we change course. end quote. well, that same speaker, then-senator biden, two years earlier in 2004.
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as senate republicans made clear since last july and as i reminded the president in a letter just this morning, his sentiments then were our -- are our sentiments now. his sentiments then are our sentiments now. for the last few weeks washington democrats tried to decide to forget that they lined up to oppose debt limit increases during a unified republican government. they pretended these votes were always bipartisan. well, that was simply not true. so now our colleagues have moved on to yet another new argument that is equally flimsy. now they claim they'd be perfectly happy to handle this responsibility with 51 votes done one way but they'd risk the nation's credit than doing it
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with 51 votes a slightly different way. two different ways to achieve 51 votes. i'm not kidding, this is the position they are taking. the president said it today. the reconciliation procedure would be slightly more inconvenient, they said, a few more days, a few more votes they'd rather duck. the democratic leader's -- leaders running america are saying with a straight face that the entire u.s. economy should live or die based on the procedural convenience -- convenience of washington democrats. now, i've got no problem using the party-line process over and over and over to spend trillions and transform the country. but now with this purpose only they suddenly and mysteriously find it unappealing.
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democrats could not be more capable of handling this on their own. just months ago the democratic leader won new powers to reuse reconciliation over and over. they don't even need our consent to set a vote at 51 instead of 60. they need even less help raising the debt limit than majorities needed in the past. so, trust me, madam president if republicans were sitting on a hidden veto power to stop sudden reconciliation bills, you would have heard about it way back in the springtime. the majority doesn't need our vote. they just want a bipartisan shortcut around procedural hurdles they can actually clear on their own. now, they want that shortcut so they can pivot right back to partisan spending as fast as possible. they want a bipartisan shortcut
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to get right back to more partisan hardball. and republicans have spent two and a half months -- this is no surprise -- two and a half months ago explaining that this is the way they needed to go forward on the debt ceiling. this unified democratic government is having trouble governing. they couldn't even pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill which the president negotiated and the speaker of the house promised would pass last week. the majority needs to stop sleep walking toward yet another preventable crisis. democrats need to tackle the debt limit. we gave them a road map and three month's notice. i suggest that our colleagues get moving. now on an obviously related matter, speaking of democrats'
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reckless taxing and spending, this unified government is behind closed doors brain storming ways to make inflation even more painful for american families. their next reckless taxing and spending spree is packed with radical left-wing policies and the biggest tax hike on the american people in half a century. so far the bill is more than 2,400 pages long, but it can be summarized in just four words -- hurts families and helps china. hurts families and helps china. wasting trillions and trillions of dollars on socialism would be a bad idea any day, but it's a uniquely bad idea at a time when american families are already being hammered by inflation and soaring costs. the government's own data continue to indicate that the
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historic and painful inflation that began to take hold of our economy this spring isn't going anywhere any time soon. the chairman of the federal reserve acknowledged last week that rising prices have become increasingly broad and structural problem. last week the commerce department reported that inflation has continued to rise faster than at any time since 1991. the democrats' inflation is so bad that even though the average american worker has gotten a multiple percentage point pay raise over the last year, their actual purchasing power has actually been cut. their paychecks have gone up but their buying power has gone down. wholesale inflation just marked the steepest 123-month -- 12 mf month jump on record.
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even dollar stores are having to raise their prices. just ask any american family about the last few trips to the supermarket, gas station or toy store. heaven forbid if they had to participate in the housing market or auto market any time lately and the democrats are uniting around another multimillion dollar taxing and spending free. i guess our colleagues think they can spend their way out of inflation. that will be a painful expe experiment for the -- painful experiment for the middle-class families of our country. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved, morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the house message to accompany s. 1301, which the
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clerk will report. the clerk: house message to accompany s. 1301, an act to provide for the publication by the secretary of health and human services of physical activity recommendations for americans. mr. durbin: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, i listened closely to the speech by the republican senate leader and i heard speeches made over the weekend on television, and i think this is a moment where we might consider just a minute or two on senate 101 so there's an understanding of where we are and why we are at this place it there are 100 members of the senate. currently there are 50 democrats and 50 republicans. under the ordinary course of business, which has become extraordinary in this chamber, a
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majority rules. so 51 votes will pass an amendment or a bill in most cases. however, there's a creature in the senate known as a filibuster and a filibuster requires that 60 votes be found in order to prevail on a motion or a measure. the filibuster raises the requirement from a simple majority to 60 votes. the senator from kentucky knows that as well as i do. he's been here longer than i have. that filibuster makes all the difference in the world. so to argue the democrats have a majority, why don't they just take this majority and do this business is toig nor the obvious -- is to ignore the obvious. would the republicans have decided to do is for the first time, perhaps ever -- i don't want to say that without checking the record for sure -- but certainly in modern history to require when we pass the debt ceiling, we need to have 60 votes on the floor of the senate.
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well, it's no great revelation that with 50 democrats we would need 10 republicans and the senate republican leader has made it clear he ain't giving us a vote, not one. so we've cot to a standstill. we're two weeks away from a default. for the first time in the history of the united states that we would default on our debt, it's as if america had a big home and a big mortgage and decided one month not to pay on the mortgage. well, let's hope the day would come when the payment would be made but in the meantime there's a serious question then raised about the credit reputation of the united states, and that is exactly the fire that the republicans are playing with by imposing a filibuster on this simple measure. they know that they can stop us as long as 60 votes are needed and they give none. one of our colleagues, senator whitehouse, made an interesting observation at our caucus lunch last week. i hope he'll forgive me if i try to paraphrase it.
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he said many people argue that we need a filibuster because it really encourages bipartisanship. you've got to come together. you've got to look for a compromise. well, how do you compromise when the debt ceiling question is whether you do it or don't do it? and that's what's at stake here. are we going to acknowledge the debt of the united states to its creditors, far and wide, and continue the business of this economy and this government? the republicans say no. we'd rather play fire with it but they leave out that one element that is so critical. it is their decision, their filibuster that stops this. i believe that senator schumer and the democrats will offer them this opportunity again this week. senator schumer has said as much. but it really troubles me that we're at a point in our history recovering from this pandemic. business is getting back on their feet. employees that need to get back to work and the republicans have taken this strategy of defaulting on the national debt. and as far as characterization
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of what reconciliation will do, senator mcconnell continues to come to the floor repeatedly and say it will hurt families. well, one of the provisions in the reconciliation bill which i hope survives our compromise negotiation will help families find affordable, quality day care. when you look at the fact that the mass -- the vast majority of those who are not returning to work are women, you understand the circumstances. many of them question whether or not school is going to be in person or by zoom. they question whether or not they can find affordable day care in any direction, and they question whether they can afford it once they find it. if we took that worry off the family plate and said we are going to make sure that you have accessible, affordable family care for your children, think of the relief it would give and the fact that many would return to the workplace. according to the senator from
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kentucky, senator mcconnell, that hurts families. hurts them? it helps them in ways that many of us don't even understand. can you imagine frantically leaving a child at home in the care of someone you don't quite trust because you have no alternative but to go to work and try to earn a paycheck to feed that child and pay the rent? i wouldn't wapts be -- want to be in that desperate situation. i wouldn't want my family to face it. to say it hurts families to do that it certainly wrong. it would help them if reconciliation includes that measure. we also have a pre-k program to give kids who struggle a helping hand and a fresh start. we know the head start program that was created, i guess, almost 60-plus years ago has had positive results in preparing people to go to college. yes, head start programs when they were young children, 3, 4, and 5 years old can make a difference in their lives, how they learn and what they do.
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so we want to make that the official policy of this country, that we have two years of pre-k education available to families. i think they'll thank us for it and in the future, generations that help us with this will thank us as well. the notion of extending the school year from k-12 through k-14 to put two years of community college without cost to families is an extraordinary commitment. there was a time in the turn of the 19th to the 20th century when america decided to make a big, bold experiment. it was called high schools. up until that point most families were lucky to get kids through eighth grade. the rich families, the ones in well -- the ones well positioned would take them to high school. we decided to make high school a universal national experience in america so you wouldn't quit at the eighth grid. you'd finish in the 12th grade. did it result in anything good for us? take a look at the 20th century.
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with an educated, motivated workforce, america led the world. it's no extent that extending education brought us to that moment. now joe bide:and many of -- joe biden and pane of us agree the 21st century is a brand new set of challenges, and putting two more years that you don't have to worry about going deep in debt or affording on to a person's education gives them a better chance. some will go to college. some will develop skills that they need to get into the workforce and succeed. and some will have an experience which changes their lives. that's what this additional two years will be. senator mcconnell thinks an additional two years of free higher education hurts american families. what is he thinking? i don't know what it's like in the commonwealth of kentucky, but just north of it in illinois, we appreciate education and how it liberate, motivates and educates young people to be part of the future. i would say to senator mcconnell, understand senate
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101. your filibuster is stopping the extension of the debt ceiling. and that's stopping -- the extension is going to jeopardize our credit rating, raise interest rates, and cost six million american jobs according to best economists. why would we do that to america at this moment if history? -- in history? we should be doing just the opposite, everybody we can to help. madam president, i ask consent to return to my statement that i was making earlier when i voluntarily surrendered the floor. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you. i noted that the shadow docket in the supreme court was the subject of a hearing? the senate judiciary committee last week. it's one of those esoteric subjects you wonder if anybody will notice. we thought it was important to talk about it in light of the texas abortion statute. we noted the fact that in the last four years there were 36 times when the trump administration asked for the shadow docket to be used. the court granted 28 of those trump justice department administration requests.
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in the previous years under george w. bush and barack obama, 16 years, eight requests. four were granted. four versus 36. you can tell that something is happening in the court. the day after our hearing, someone happened to notice that person was justice samuel alito. he made headlines for a speech he gave at notre dame law school criticizing lawmakers. i suppose that's myself and the presiding officer. journalists and scholars who raised concern about the court's croo of a shadow -- use of a shadow docket. there doesn't appear to be a publicly available transcript or the full speech given by justice alead to. i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record an article from the hill newspaper required alito bristles over criticism of supreme court shadow docket. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you. in his speech justice alito reportedly zeroed in on our senate judiciary committee hearing last week and criticized
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one of the experts would testified. university of texas law professor steve laddick. he also reportedly criticized an article by a respected journalist who writes about the court frequently for a major magazine. justice alito derided the phrase shadow docket as a, quote, catchy and sinister term meant to convey something sneaky and dangerous. in fact, the phrase shadow docket was coined by a university of chicago law professor william bode who incidentally clerked for chief justice roberts and has spoken more than 30 times at federalist society events. justice alito dismissed concerns about the shadow docket. he said the media and political talk about the shadow docket is not serious criticism. what he failed to mention, however, is that some of the strongest wordings -- warnings about the court's change and use of the shadow docket have come not from politicians like ourselves or journalists, but
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from justice alito's colleagues on the court. our hearing in the judiciary committee highlighted how justices kagan, sotomayor, breyer, and even chief justice roberts sounded the alarm about the supreme court's shadow docket ruling on the texas abortion ban. justice sotomayor said, quote, the court's order is stunning. presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny. a majority of justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand. quote from justice sotomayor. how about justice kagan. expressed alarm that the court shadow docket decision making, quote, every day becomes more unreasoned, inconsistent, and impossible to defend. the justices have made it clear that the court shadow docket
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handling raises urgent concerns that american people should be aware of. that's why we had the hearing. chief justice roberts noticed that texas has now created, quote, a model for action in his words showing how states can undermine constitutional rights by using that bounty hunter example enforcement scheme that avoids judicial scrutiny thanks to the shadow docket. lawmakers in a number of states are eyeing this procedure to try to copycat texas' enforcement model. that ought to trouble anyone who cares about our constitution. with its order on the texas abortion ban, the court's majority has also shown it's -- willingness to use the shadow docket to allow flagrantly unconstitutional laws in the words of justice sotomayor to take effect. at least when the laws align with the majority's ideological beliefs. as a result millions of texans have had their constitutional rights stripped away and the
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rights of all americans are less secure. that is a major change that demands serious discussion. justice alito may bristle as perceived criticism of the court's practices but that doesn't mean the court should be immune from scrutiny from the american people, a free press, even the legislative branch of government. historically congress has played an important and essential role in debates over the proper functioning of the courts. first and foremost is the senate's advise and consent that results in the appointment of men and women to the supreme court. in addition, many aspects of the supreme court's operation including the starting date of the court's fall term are established by an act of congress. in fact, much of the court's jurisdiction is set by congress. congress is asked regularly by the judicial conference to pass new legislation gomping the operations of -- governing the operations of the term judiciary and justices have routinely come before congress to discuss the request and a wide range of
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other matters. in march 2019, for example, justices kagan testified before the house appropriations committee about such topics as whether the judicial code of conduct should apply to the supreme court. with her that day was none other than justice alito. the senate judiciary committee has frequently and proposely been the forum for many -- appropriately been the forum for many debates over the supreme court's operations. i remember in 2011 when justices scalia and breyer appeared before the judiciary committee for a wide range of discussion under the constitution. our committee also has robust debates about appropriate degree of transparency and the court's operation. earlier this year the committee approved bipartisan legislation to allow cameras in the supreme court so that all americans can see what's going on. we're going to continue this debate in judiciary committee over the shadow docket. it's not politicizing the court to do so. and republicans have no standing to accuse democrats of politicizing the court,
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especially after their unprecedented politically motivated blockade of president obama's supreme court nominee in 2016 and their haste to confirm a third trump justice mere weeks before the 2020 election, both acts of raw political power. madam president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from alabama.
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mr. tuberville: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tuberville: thank you. madam president, in the winter of 2010, american intelligence picked up the chatter of afghan fighters in pakistan. why are you back, asked the taliban leaders? you are supposed to be fighting the americans. yes, one of the fighters said, but the americans run toward the bullets. that story captures the american fighting spirit. if you ever find yourself questioning the greatness of this country, i encourage you to go talk to one of our young service members. i'm not talking about our older generals or warhorses you often see on tv or around here on capitol hill. they won't renew your faith in america. they may even worry.
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i'm talking about the young people. it's the doorkickers, the tank drivers, the trigger pullers. some of them are still just kids. i'm talking about the ones fresh out of college, ones hoping to pay for college by signing up for our great military. these young people are america's future. they are the americans who fought so hard for us in afghanistan over the last 20 years. and they are the ones so disappointed today of how we abandon our -- abandoned our mission in afghanistan. many of them did not remember the bright blue morning on september 11, 2001, when evil itself boarded four planes here on the east coast and took the lives of 2,977 of our fellow americans in just a matter of
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hours. they were just infants when president trump -- excuse me -- president bush demanded the taliban hand over osama bin laden and shut down the terrorist training camps that littered afghanistan. and when the taliban refused, the united states and our most loyal ally, great britain, invaded afghanistan. we were soon joined by 46 other nations. it was the first time article 5 of nato had been invoked, which states an attack on one is attack on us all. america in her righteous might launched operation enduring freedom and rained hell on the taliban on october 7, 2001. we lost 12 brave american
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soldiers. but by december 17, we controlled a country few americans could have found on the map months before. to call afghanistan in 2001 stone age would be an insult to the rocks on the ground. we saw diseases only found in textbooks. 85% of the population was illiterate. no girls were allowed to attend school. cell phones and computers were nonexistent. we were not there to conquer. we didn't want to nationbuild. our presence was needed because we wanted to keep afghanistan from yet again becoming a training sanctuary for every would-be terrorist on earth. after all, the united states and our politicians of the 1990's looked the other way and failed
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to recognize afghanistan as a threat. 30 years ago, afghanistan was a training ground for some 20 to 30 terrorist groups. from afghanistan, al qaeda, attacked the world trade center in 1993, two of our embassies in africa, and a bombed u.s.s. cole, a ship that was docked. the clinton administration thought it could handle al qaeda and their thrift threat with over the horizon capabilities. september 11 showed us that strategy doesn't work. but unfortunately, the biden administration has forgotten those lessons of our past. during world war ii, my father landed at normandy and fought the nazis in europe.
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hitler in germany had the will to win, but thank god america and our allies had more will. from the time my dad landed at normandy to when he reached berlin, he earned five bronze stars and a purple heart. he was lucky. more than 400,000 of our americans would never return home. their blood, sweat, and tears saved europe and the free world. yet the work of the greatest generation didn't end on may 8, 1945. americans stayed in germany. we stayed to prosecute nazi leadership. we stayed to build and rebuild their businesses and banks. if you drive a b.m.w. today, it's because america worked to change the behavior of millions of nazis who were still living
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in germany after the war. and we are today still in germany. in the same success story -- it's the same success story in japan and in south korea. america's commitment to freedom and democracy didn't end when the shooting stopped. today germany, japan, and south korea are some of our most vibrant economy is and democracies across -- economies and democracies across the world. those nations are also among our closest allies. that, ladies and gentlemen, was our hope for afghanistan. every american wants to see war come to an end. war is ugly. war is brutal. war robs lives and destroys property.
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but freedom is certainly worth fighting for. like world war ii, our war in afghanistan was completely justified. we took the fight to the enemy who started it, taliban and al qaeda. our war in afghanistan ended in 2014. operation enduring freedom transitioned to a supporting role called operation resolute support. that support trained the afghanistan army, intelligence, and police forces to fend for themselves. it allowed a greater educational opportunity for young boys and girls all throughout afghanistan, and as the afghan security forces became increasingly capable, america withdrew her forces. by january, 2021, we had reduced our presence to just 2,500 from
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a high of 98,000 in 2011. president trump also wanted to go to zero, but his military advisors said it would be unwise so president trump listened and maintained troop levels at 2,500. president biden claims he doesn't remember his generals telling him to keep 2,500 troops in afghanistan, yet the president's principal military advisor, general mark milley, says he wanted to see 2,500 troops in afghanistan. the top commander for the middle east, frank mckenzie, said he wanted to see 2,500 troops remain in afghanistan. the top longest serving and most decorated commander in afghanistan, general scott miller, wanted to see
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2,500 troops in afghanistan. that clearly told president biden that to remain stable and protect the u.s. and our allies, afghan needed a small american presence of 2,500 troops. so when the president says he doesn't recall or he doesn't remember, is he telling the truth? well, i don't know, but what i do know is that president biden didn't listen to his military advisors. he didn't listen to troops on the ground. he ignored military advice and instead made a political decision. you can't run a war from washington with an 8,000-mile crew driver.
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if you do, you will screw it up. $85 billion in equipment captured by the taliban. valuable air bases abandoned in the middle of the night. american citizens still left behind enemy lines to this day. journalists and aid workers abandoned. innocent afghan partners and allies left to the will of our enemy. chaos and disorder at kabul airport, desperate afghans falling from our aircraft as people across our nation and the world watched in horror. 13 american soldiers dead. none of this should have ever happened. but now we must reckon with the worst foreign policy decision ever made. our credibility has been eroded
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and respect from our allies has been destroyed. america must return to the peace through strength leadership that has guided us throughout history. it's made our enemies fear us, our allies value us, and what it means to have us as a partner on the world stage. madam president, i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mrs. blackburn: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, madam president. are we currently in a quorum
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call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mrs. blackburn: i ask that we dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. blackburn: thank you, madam president. many artists have staked their claim to fame by bending the rules which defines their craft but not many can claim to have made an impact on american culture that is at once musical, political, and spiritual. this month my friend and fellow tennessean lee greenwood is receiving well-deserved recognition for doing just that. next week he will celebrate the 40th year of one of the most significant and successful careers in country music history. on behalf of the entire tennessee delegation, i want to thank lee for his artist ri --
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artistry, his patriotism, his belief in the power of a song to heal our deepest wounds. we thank him for his friendship, for his commitment to our great state of tennessee and we wish him even greater successes in his career. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the remainder of my remarks be placed separately into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. blackburn: over the weekend, my democratic colleagues put on a terrific show for the american people arguing over which multitrillion-dollar spending bill that they wanted to pass first. not if they were going to pass one, which one they wanted to pass first. and from what i was hearing at home in tennessee, they are saying we don't want either of these, none of this should ever
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be passed and signed into law. those that i spoke with also wanted me to pass on a message. it doesn't matter if they were democrat, republican, independent, libertarian, they said what happened here in washington over the weekend was just about the most tone deaf and disrespectful thing that they had seen take place in washington in a long time. all year tennesseans had been asking themselves why is it that the democrats are pushing so hard to spend more than a trillion dollars on a so-called infrastructure package that really isn't about infrastructure. why are they fighting so hard for a multitrillion-dollar social spending package that prioritizes all the wrong things? tennesseans have caught on to this insanity.
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they know with absolute certainty that every time joe biden's government steps in to take control over an aspect of their lives the goal is not to make their lives easier. the goal is to complicate their lives. the goal is to take away some of their individual freedom, some of their choice. there's no other explanation as to why they would do this in the face of some of the issues that we have like serious supply chain vulnerabilities, unsustainable inflation -- no, it is not temporary -- and levels of divisiveness and mistrust that have made even the most unplugged a-political people that i know sit up and
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speak out. the fact that more people are paying attention is really a problem for my democratic colleagues. they know that there's no chance that the majority of the american people will just go along with what it is that they are proposing. as i said, it doesn't matter if they are democrat, republican, independent, libertarian. they are looking at this and they are saying, hey, wait a minute, these guys that are over there, every one of them, what are they trying to do? they are trying to drive this socialist agenda, tear down our institutions and build it back as a socialist state, which is exactly why the democrats are opting for a power grab rather
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than an honest debate by seizing that control and taking away that freedom, they are slowly but surely setting themselves up to redefine the relationship between the people and the government. eventually this will allow the democrats to destroy our most important institutions and remake them in the image of the grand socialist future that they are so desperate to build. if you can't beat them, as the democrats haven't been able to beat the people, then what do you do? they go about, the democrats, and they just move the goalposts. they've shown this intent time and again over the course of decades, but let's start with more recent events, the federal health care takeover destroyed the concept of the
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doctor-patient relationship and replaced it with layers of bureaucracy and now rationing. over the last three leagues my democratic colleagues have tried multiple times to force through an election takeover bill that would federalize voting. that is right, not local control like you have had, federalizing elections, intentionally expose conservative donors to an unhinged and violent opposition and make the ballot box vulnerable to fraud. that is what they are trying to do. earlier this year we discovered that the democrats thought that opening up everyone's pocketbook for scrutiny by the i.r.s. would be an acceptable way to pay for their so-called infrastructure package. it's a neat trick. it's also completely and utterly
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despicable and people are not buying what the democrats are selling. they do not want socialism ruling their life. they do not want the united states of america to be a socialist nation. the majority in this chamber have accused the republicans in this chamber of many things, and most of them untrue. but what is true that we are indeed getting in the way of this reckless, destructive agenda, that is because it is our duty to protect this country, to protect our freedoms. joe biden and the democratic party control the entire u.s. government. that's right. we had an election and you're in charge. that government has already made it clear that mandate or no mandate they have their eye on the prize and that prize is to
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take away your freedom, give that over to the government, and leave you living in a socialist nation. all it will cost is all of your money, all of your principles, all of your freedom. that's right. that is the future that they, the democratic party, envision for you and your family. they, the democratic party, making all the decisions. they, the democratic party, winning all of the elections because they federalize them and let the federal government decide who wins with them in charge. if the democrats wish to make those sacrifices, they are more than welcome to go about trying to do it because the american people are not buying the agenda that they are pushing.
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every day i talk to tennesseans, what they want, freedom, balanced freedom that allows them to experience their version of the american dream, that allows their children to dream big dreams and then live in a country where they can work to make those dreams come true. preserving that is a worthy fight. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. paul: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the following interns in my office be given floor privileges until december 17. paris winn and seth rickets. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. menendez: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: madam president, in may of this year, terrorist
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groups in gaza launched more than 4,000 rockets at innocent israelis. for 11 days, hamas and others fired off thousands of various rocket systems with little guidance into heavily populated areas across israel, with no regard indeed, likely with the intention of killing civilians. in the face of this the barrage, once again israel deployed the iron dome missile defense system which intercepted 90% of these incoming attacks. because of this purely defensive system, israel is able to protect its own citizens and also direct its response to more carefully target those in gaza who are responsible for launching this brutal attack. now, i have been clear. we should all mourn the loss of innocent israelis and
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palestinians during this conflict. hamas further endangers palestinians by hiding their stockpiles and themselves in densely populated areas. but i'm not here today to relitigate thousands of years of conflict. i'm here to point out two simple facts. hamas as a terrorist 0 that routinely threatens innocent civilians. iron dome, a purely defensive system that protects civilians. it saves lives regardless of religion or ethnicity, period. furthermore, by saving those lives, iron dome also preserves diplomatic space for de-escalation, communication, and further negotiations about israelis and palestinian long-term security and the future of a negotiated two-state solution. there is no conceivable reason why anyone in this chamber, on either side of the aisle, should stand in the way of u.s. support
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for this lifesaving defense to be fully ready for the next attack. i strongly urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join the house of representatives in passing this funding on a broadly bipartisan effort. so therefore, madam president, 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 calendar number 140, h.r. 5323, that there be up to two hours for debate, that upon the use or yielding back of time, the bill be considered read a third time and the senate vote on passage of the bill without intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. paul: madam chairwoman, madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: reserving the right to object, i join the chairman of the foreign relations committee in being supportive
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iron dome, but i think it should be paid for. i think the american taxpayer dollars that pay for it should come from money that could come from the taliban. the money i think could be spent on the taliban if we do not rescind that money. the justification for my proposal for paying this is simple. only in economically -- only an economically strong united states can be a strong ally of israel. i support israel. i voted for hundreds of millions of dollars to support iron dome. i am glad the united states has a strong bond with israel. but the united states cannot give money it does not have, no matter how strong our relationship is. the united states is approaching $30 trillion in debt. our out-of-control spending added $3 trillion to the debt just in this fiscal year. a day of reckoning is coming, sooner than you think. interest on the debt will be larger than what we spend on national defense in just a few years. in the debt weakens us to the
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point where we have difficulty funding our own military needs, how can the united states continue to be a reliable ally to israel? getting our fiscal house in order does not mean we are failing to support israel. far from t the billion dollars under consideration today is on top of the more than $1.6 billion the u.s. has already given for iron dome, and that's not all. the u.s. destroys -- the u.s. provides israeli with $4 billion in aid an iually. in addition to iron dome, the u.s. has helped israel fund other missile defense systems as well. we spent $2 billion on david's sling and $3.7 on arrow programs. iron dome is an indispensable defensive tool that not only
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saves israelis lives but palestinian lives. i want an israel strong enough so it does not have to rely on american support. all i ask is that we make sure the aid is paid for. my amendment would rescind $6 billion in afghanistan reconstruction money that otherwise might go to the taliban. secretary blinken said as recently as two weeks ago that this money may well go to the new taliban government. under this arrangement, we would devote $1 billion to israel's iron dome and return the rest to treasury. this is clear to all of the republicans. so it needs to be very clear today that republicans support paying for iron dome taking away money that would go to the taliban. i ask for unanimous consent that the senator modify his request so that instead of his proposal, the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar item number 140,
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h.r. 5323. further, that the only amendment in order be my substitute amendment, which is at the desk, i further ask that there be two hours of debate equally divided between the two leaders or her designees. upon the use or yielding back of time, the paul amendment at the desk be agreed tox the bill, as amended, be considered read a third of time and the senate vote on passage of the bill, as amended, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: does the senator so modify his request? mr. menendez: reserving the right to object, while i respect the senator from kentucky's consistent approach to foreign aid spending, his substitute to h.r. 5323 is problematic for the following reasons. this amendment would unleash an array of adverse consequences for our broader foreign policy and national security objectives. this amendment ultimately proposes to rescind funds from the departments of state and
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defense, and this amendment would not reallocate funds that would allegedly go to the taliban, as the senator from kentucky suggests. the reality is that u.s. dollars are not going to the taliban, nor will they. let me be clear and echo what the administration has said. no u.s. foreign aid will go to a taliban-controlled afghan government. this does not mean that we remain any less committed to supporting the afghan people. on the contrary, u.s. humanitarian aid could be routed through highly vetted partners like the world food programme that we trust to put the interests of the afghan people first. so let me be clear. senator paul's amendment would actually raid the funding that delivers lifesaving humanitarian aid to the afghan people and they need it more than ever. secondly, afghanistan is in the grips of a dire humanitarian crisis. the economy has collapsed. one in three afghans don't know where their next meal will come.
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people are frayed to leave their -- are afraid to leave their homes. this amendment would also slash refugee assistance being used at this very moment to evacuate and resettle u.s. allies and partners who served alongside americans in the war on terror. likewise, senator paul is proposing we rescind the funding that supports important bipartisan priorities, like promoting regional security, countering chinese influence, and ending this pandemic. and that's not all. the amendment also jeopardizes funding being used to recover and secure u.s. military equipment. we may no longer be funding the afghan national army, but we still urgently need these repurposed funds to keep american equipment out of the wrong hands. senator paul's amendment would undermine u.s. national security. it would abandon the afghan people in their darkest hour, and it would betray the american
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people's commitment to supporting our afghan allies. finally, let me just say that this body overwhelmingly supports the swift passage of iron dome. despite what others may have said, even on this floor, democrats in the senate are not holding up this critical funding. in the house there may have been a very small handful of bipartisan opposition and the only reason it's being held up in this body is because of this amendment. it is not a member of the democratic caucus. this is a defensive lifesaving system built on years of cooperation with our ally, israel, i'm disappointed we're in this situation, but because of all these reasons, i must object to the senator's substitute amendment. the presiding officer: objection to the modification is heard. mr. paul: madam president? the presiding officer: does the senator withdraw the request? is is there objection to withdrawing the request? mr. paul: reserving the right
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to object, i think it is clear and very important that it be clear that i have offered to fully pay for the iron dome system with an extra about dollars. the objection is coming from the democrat side. they're objecting to it being paid for. we're offered this fund of $6 billion. we've offered to modify and make it less, so there would still be some remaining money in the system. we've offered other funds. we've offered a basically open invitation to the other side that we think it ought to be paid for. so the objection from the other side is to paying for iron dome, to paying for the billion dollars. interestingly, aid is already going to afghanistan while the taliban is in charge. allegedly that aid is going to charitable organizations. but the history of the taliban has been to withhold, control, manipulate, and corrupt charitable organizations as well. i think it's a mistake to have money already flowing into the new government under the taliban and charitable organizations because it basically makes their
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job easier. it will make the people less happy if the money is destroyed and it's chaos. in some ways you do help to destabilize by sending more money in. but secretary blinken was asked this very question. can you guarantee that the $ billion will not be released n.i.h. time to the taliban. he said no. he sees this $6 billion going to the taliban. i think it is a big mistake. this as big issue. iron dome is a big issue. it is also a big issue whether we send money to the tail pap. they already have $80 billion worth of our weapons. i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. menendez: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: let me just say, this is a fig leaf. we could have today passed iron dome as the house of representatives passed it, sent a billion dollars and make sure
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that israeli and palestinians would be safer. there is to reason for this. i know my colleague has not been particularly supportive on foreign aid in general. and in this case in particular. but the reality is that we have an opportunity here. now, i'm convinced that iron dome will get done. we will get the resources to our ally, the state of israel. but it is a shame that we have to have the uncertainty that is pending as a result of the objection that has been had. we don't need to find a pathway in this particular way, which you know is only going to undermine our own national security interests as it relates to afghanistan. with that, i'd yield the floor. a senator: in p? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: madam president, i request that i'm able to make my remarks prior to the vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. peters: madam president, i
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rise in support of jonathan meyer's nomination to be general counsel at the at d.h.s. mr. meyer understands the unique challenges facing d.h.s. and he has the legal and management experience and vision needed to succeed in this important role. throughout the confirmation process, mr. meyer has demonstrated that he understands the complex legal issues facing d.h.s. and the importance of ensuring the department cooperates with congressional oversight. d.h.s. has not had a senate-confirmed general counsel for over two years. d.h.s. needs qualified, senate-confirmed leaders in place to effectively carry out its critical mission of safeguarding our nation. mr. meyer is an accomplished lawyer and dedicated public servant who is well-qualified to serve as the department's chief legal officer. i urge my colleagues to join me
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in supporting the confirmation of jonathan eugene meyer to be general counsel for d.h.s. thank you, madam chair. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of homeland security security, jonathan eugene meyer of ohio to be general counsel. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: on this vote, the yeas are 51, the nays are 47. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president of the united the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action.
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. those opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar 340. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, sarah a.l. merriam of connecticut to be united states
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district judge for the district of connecticut. mr. schumer: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 340, sarah a.l. merriam of connecticut to be united states district judge for the district of columbia, 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 in favor say aye. those opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. schumer: i have a cloture motion at the desk. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to concur in the house amendment to s. 1301, an act to
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provide for the publication by the secretary of health and human services a physical activity recommendations for americans, and for other purposes, 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 ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum call for the cloture motions filed today, october 4, be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that s. res. 357 be star printed with the changes at the desk. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, tuesday, october 5. that following the prayer and the pledge, the morning business be 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
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proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the adams-allen nomination as provided under the previous order. further, that the senate recess following the cloture vote on the adams-allen nomination until 2:15 p.m. to allow for the weekly caucus meetings, that all postcloture debate time on the adams-allen nomination expire at 2:15. finally, if any nominations are confirmed on tuesday, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until today the senate confirmed jonathan meyer to be general counsel of the homeland security department. other nominations are expected this week including deputy administrator for the u.s.
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agency for international development. also this week the senate considers whether to raise the federal debt ceiling after the treasury department indicated the u.s. would reach its borrowing limit by october 18 the house passed the bill last week that would suspend the debt ceiling until december 2222. that belt now requires least 60 votes to move forward in the senate under procedural messenger. but minority leader mitch mcconnell has warned republicans will not support that path forward. suggesting democrats use the reconciliation process instead to get the debt ceiling raised which would only require a simple route as always for the senate live when they return here on cspan2. >> republican later. >> i want to begin today with a quotation. quote, because this massive accumulation of debt was predicted, because it was foreseeable because

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