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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 27, 2021 10:00am-2:46pm EDT

10:00 am the u.s. senate about to gavel in and 111:00 eastern laiment are expected to start a series of votes on u.s. district court nominations and for justice department posts for u.s. senator general. now live coverage of the u.s. senate on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, teach us the mystery of life. help us not to be victims but victorious in this season of
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challenge and shame. lord, lead us to a place of understanding in spite of trials and tribulations. empower us to triumph because you love us. today instruct our lawmakers as they seek to do your will. inspire them to focus on the priorities of your providence. lord, show them your truth so that they will be instruments of your purposes. transform their lives from a hurried succession of days into a walk with you that brings enduring peace.
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we pray in your mighty name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the president pro tempore: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved.
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mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, 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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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: mr. president, today the senate is going to continue focusing on confirming even more of president biden's highly qualified nominees, both
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to serve in his administration and for lifetime appointments on the federal bench. yesterday, we confirmed three more district judges through this chamber, each with bipartisan support. we're going to continue today with two more nominees, and i hope we can see continued bipartisan cooperation. in less than a year, senate democrats have worked swiftly and decisively to fill vacancies on the federal bench with qualified, mainstream, and dedicated jurists. we are well on our way to making today's federal bench the most diverse in a long, long time. through september, at least three-quarters of president biden's circuit-level nominees have been people of color. let me say that again because that makes me proud. through september, at least three-quarters of president biden's circuit-level nominees have been people of color. nearly a third of all president biden's nominees are former public defenders, and several of them have impressive backgrounds
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as civil rights lawyers, voting rights champions, and experience outside the well-traveled path of federal law or prosecution. by focusing on confirming judges that bring both personal and professional experience to the judiciary, we are expanding the possibility -- possibilities of who merits consideration to the bench at all. judges obviously are an essential component of a healthy democracy. we will strengthen the public's trust in a fair, independent judiciary of the bench that better reflects the rich diversity of this country while adhering to the rule of law. one confirmation at a time, democrats are swiftly restoring balance to our courts, and we are full steam ahead to confirm more mainstream and qualified and diverse judges as they become available. now, on build back better. mr. president, yesterday was another productive day as we make progress towards finalizing president biden's build back
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better plan. after another vigorous, spirited caucus lunch, meetings continue with senate colleagues and members of the white house as well as with the president. an agreement is within arm's length, and we are hopeful that we can come to a framework agreement by the end of today. but we must, we must continue working a little more to make sure it is the best deal possible for the american people. i am working especially hard to strengthen medicare and make prescription drugs more affordable. senator sanders has worked hard to push for many of these medicare provisions, and i support them. at its core, the goal of build back better -- the goal to build back better are about restoring the middle class in the 21st century, helping people who are in the middle class stay there, helping people who are struggling to get to the middle class to get there. and and give -- and give more americans the opportunity for good, fulfilling lives and
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better lives for their kids. and, of course, we must take bold action to tackle the climate crisis which would overwhelm our globe all too quickly if we don't act. it's an agenda that favors not those at the very top but everyday americans who are struggling to achieve the american dream in the 21st century. unfortunately, the past 20 years in america have been a story of middle-class decline, even before covid. the federal reserve estimated that over 40% of americans in this day and age would still, still have trouble covering an emergency expense of just $400, which you can easily incur if you have to fix your car, make repairs at home, or visit your doctor. a few decades ago, the story was very different. for much of the post-war era, most americans had confidence that if you were willing to work hard, you could save a little and you could leave something behind for your loved ones. nobody was guaranteed riches,
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but the basic bargain in america was that those who put in an honest day's work would be able to make ends meet. build back better is precisely, precisely about rekindling that faith in the american dream. that's no easy task. americans face serious, severe challenges today that did not exist in the past. raising a family is more difficult than ever. the challenges of finding and affording child care and pre-k have grown exponentially. seniors are struggling to afford basic health care and prescription drugs. mr. president, these are not luxury items. these aren't handouts or entitlements. these are essentials. they're essentials that families need in order to work and get ahead, and they are oftentimes much, much harder to afford than they were in the past. that's what we mean by providing ladders to the middle class and helping families stay in the middle class. that's what we mean by reviving
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that sunny american optimism which this country has lost in the last few decades. we have got to get it back. and the only way we can get it back is by bold action that gives people renewed hope in their futures and the future of their children. the work we do right now will echo far into the 21st century. this is the best opportunity we've had in a long time to make sure that the decades to come will offer the same or even greater opportunities that americans enjoyed in the past. and if democrats keep working together, if we keep our eye on the ultimate goal and we keep negotiating to find that legislative sweet spot, then we will succeed in rewarding the trust that the american people have placed in us. i yield the floor.
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knowledge mr. president? the presiding officer: the
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republican leader. mcconnell in a few days president biden is set to gas up air force one and jet to scotland for a global conference about the climate. mr. mcconnell: according to press coverage, the president's agenda is clear. quote, biden wants to show the world he's serious about cutting emissions. joe biden gets real on climate change. what we're talking about here is a meeting to review a plan that failed to get its own signatories to meet its unenforcement commitments, a deal that couldn't compel the world's largest carbon producer, china, to commit to any less than another nine years of rising emissions before it starts -- starts -- to turn things around. this is a country with single
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companies that emit more carbon than nations the size of canada. let me say that again. china is a country with single companies that emit more carbon than nations the size of canada. and all the while the united states from outside the deal cut our emissions more than any other country inside the deal. we cut our emissions more outside of the deal than any of the countries inside the deal. the biden administration is desperately chasing bad deals to win applause from foreign leaders. that's what this is about. signing the american people up for self-inflicts pain for no meaningful gain. the only thing that's serious about president biden's environmental agenda is the trouble it's already causing right here at home. our adversaries like russia are salivating over windfalls while
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working american families are already feeling the pain. remember, on day one this administration put a freeze on crucial development of domestic energy and killed the keystone x.l. pipeline along with over a,000 jobs. combined with democrats' flood of inflationary spending, it's no wonder that consumers are facing the highest prices at the pump in seven years. the most expensive home heating forecasts in more than 12 years, and soaring prices on the household goods that are costing u.s. manufacturers more to make. ah, but wait ... there's more. when president biden jets off to next week's summit, the democrats will be busy applaudings yet another -- applauding yet another taxing-and-spending spree. they want to create new taxes on the more reliable and affordable forms of american energy that would put producers out of
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business, workers out of jobs, and make home heating even pricier this winter. they want to put billions more into environmental and social justice block grants, whatever that means. they want to subsidize the favorable products of blue-state elites like electric cars and even, listen to this, electric bicycles. democrats also want to pour billions of dollars into a made-up government work program they're calling a the civilian climate corps, the civilian climate corps. this is pure socialist wish fulfillment. we've already got a worker shortage and record numbers of open jobs. but democrats want taxpayers to put aside $8 billion for makework programs for young liberal activists that they admit wouldn't necessarily reduce emissions. and under their latest batch of proposed regulations, states that fail to keep pace with
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heavy-handed emissions targets would face, quote, consequences, end quote. freezes on funds for major transportation projects that employ lots of american workers. they want to bully every state to become more and more like california. washington democrats are plowing ahead with all of this precisely as the ghost of christmas future is providing with us a cautionary tale from across the atlantic. all across europe natural gas prices have-upped -- have jumped 400% since the start of the year. countries are scrambling to rediscover and reactivate the reliable systems they left behind to follow the latest fads. thanks in part to the biden administration's own inaction, putin's russia has turned its controlling share of european gas production into a political
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weapon. but instead of heeding this cautionary tale, president biden seems to want to follow suit. his regulations have squandered the energy independence we enjoyed before he took office. u.s. imports of russian oil have doubled. as gas prices soar, his administration is reportedly -- listen to this -- asking opec to cut us some slack. as one academic summed it up, quote, biden policy promotes a multiyear, multi-dollar windfall for adversaries -- you heard it -- like russia. quote, to raise energy prices while enabling moscow to tighten its grip over europe's energy supply is to turbocharge a russian regime that was staggering and showing its age. pain for the american people. payoffs for our adversaries so that president biden can receive
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cheers from the crowd in glasgow. small comfort for his own citizens. energy policy isn't the only place where the biden administration's decisions are hurting americans. the president's retreat from afghanistan continues to have dangerous and disastrous consequences. yesterday one pentagon official gave senators a new estimate of how many americans the administration has left behind. the count secretary austin claimed last month -- last month -- was less than 100. that's now risen to 450 americans left behind enemy lines. the biden administration spent weeks insisting they only left about a hundred americans behind in afghanistan when the truth was multiple times that. the administration has also failed to continue to keep its promises to brave afghan allies. meanwhile, as many warned, the terrorist threat is growing in the wake of our retreat.
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the same pentagon official acknowledged that afghanistan-based isis-k and al qaeda terrorists have the intent and are acquiring the capability to strike the united states. isis-k could threaten our homeland in as little as six months, and the biden administration still doesn't have basing or access agreements in neighboring countries or its supposed plan to hit terrorists from over the horizon. no wonder our adversaries are testing this president's resolve to protect american personnel and american interests. a complex attack against u.s. forces in syria last week may well have been carried out at the behest of iran. the administration isn't saying. they need to come clean about who was responsible and how they intend to respond.
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we know tehran barely wants -- badly wants the u.s. and its partners out of syria and iraq. and to continue to threaten israel and other u.s. partners. what we don't know is what the biden administration plans to do about it. even where progress should be easy, this administration finds ways to actually mess things up. for example, this strong bipartisan agreement about the threat the people's republic of china poses to international security and specifically to american interests. case in point -- beijing's recent publicly reported efforts to test hypersonic weapons and advance their nuclear capabilities. china is also dramatically expanding the naval capabilities that they openly use to harass other nations. both republicans and democrats
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would welcome a clear and coherent china strategy from this administration, but all we're getting is a muddled mess. a few days ago no sooner did president biden offer comments on his own taiwan policy than white house rapidly walked it back. so it makes you want to ask, mr. president -- who's in charge over there? the president or the press secretary? american administrators have a tradition of handling taiwan with something called strategic ambiguity. i'm afraid the biden team is taking that a little too literally. even they themselves seem to have no idea what they're doing. president biden likes to say something like, show me your budget and i'll tell you what you value. but president biden's own
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request for the defense budget didn't even keep up with president biden's inflation. the white house proposed to cut defense funding after inflation. and here in the senate, democrats' partisan appropriations process seeks to shortchange defense in favor of runaway domestic spending. even their ostensibly china-focused bill from earlier this year would not have included any funding for the kind of defense capabilities we need to keep pace if it weren't for an amendment offered by senator sasse. even the ndaa is stuck in limbo. the defense authorization bill is our most basic opportunity to shape security policy. it is a core duty for the senate majority, the bare minimum. but democrats have completely neglected the ndaa and the traditional robust and real floor process that it will need. they're too busy debating how
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much socialism to unleash on the country, to look out for our troops, our veterans, and our national security. this unseriousness will leave americans less safe. it's just that simple. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. 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, the judiciary, omar antonio williams of connecticut to be united states district judge for the district of connecticut.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. i come to the floor today to seek unanimous consent to proceed to the consideration of two very qualified nominees to usaid, the kind of nominees that in previous congresses would have been approved without debate through voice vote. i'll make the motion expecting, unfortunately, objection and then i'll proceed to comments on why i think this is incredibly damaging to the united states to not proceed forward with these nominees. thus, mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that the senate consider the following
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nominations, calendar 323, calendar 337, that the nominations be confirmed, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order, the nominations -- that any related statements be printed in the record, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. marshall: mr. president, equal health alliances received hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer grants and contracts, including $65 million from usaid. this company and their research may well hold in their hands the smoking gun to get to the bottom of covid's origins. and millions of families who lost loved ones deserve closure. any federal agency that's given them money must be transparent
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and what they used that money for. we asked do this information months ago. usaid has failed to do so and that's why i'm here to object to these two unanimous consent requests. therefore, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. murphy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: mr. president, i have just asked for unanimous consent for two incredibly qualified, noncontroversial administrators at usaid. isobel coleman is to be deputy administrator. she is a seasoned professional. she's been nominated by the president to oversee and provide strategic leadership over the agency's programs. she has been revel confirmed by this body by unanimous consent. there are, as far as i can tell, no objections to her candidacy based upon the merits of it. and there were no objections to
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her candidacy to serve as our ambassador to the u.n. for management and reform in december of 2014. she's a former ambassador. she's spent 20 years in the study and practice of global development. she's worked in the public and the private sector. i also asked for her unanimous consent to proceed to the nomination of marcela escobari, the nominee for usaid assistant administrator for latin america and the caribbean. ms. escobari is a regional expert on latin america and the caribbean. she's previously served in the exact same role at the agency, and she has done really incredible work reinforcing u.s. support for peace columbia. she's been heavily engaged in a long-term development plan for haiti as well as in congress' plans to double funding for central america to try to stem the root causes of migration. and i think it's incredibly
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concerning that this blockade of capable diplomats, professional diplomats continues on the senate floor. by this time of the trump administration, president trump had 22 ambassadors that had been confirmed by the united states senate, 17 of them by voice vote. thus far president biden is at four ambassadors confirmed. today i was asking for consideration not of ambassadors but of professionals who oversee the expenditure of u.s. taxpayer dollars abroad. there's nothing that senate republicans can do to stop the expenditure of taxpayer dollars in the caribbean or latin america. what they are preventing is the appointment and seating of individuals who oversee that funding, who represent us ab abroad. and this blockade, this unprecedented blockade, never happened before in the history
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of the senate, this kind of obstruction, standing in the way of the president's diplomatic team being seated, it compromises our national security. it makes us weaker as a nation. as the president heads to the g20, he doesn't have ambassadors seated to most of the countries in which he's going to be conducting diplomatic negotiations and relations. usaid today only has two senate-confirmed positions leaving most of its top leadership positions vacant. and so forgive my sense of outrage when i listen to the minority leader come down to the senate floor and chide the biden administration for not having a strong enough policy in the middle east when his minority is using their power to block ambassadors to the middle east, is using its power to stop an assistant secretary to the middle east from being seated. you can't have it both ways. you can't come down to the senate floor and eviscerate the
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president's foreign policy and then deliberately stop him from having the personnel to conduct that foreign policy. it's like tying your buddy's hands behind his back and then criticizing him for not fighting back against a bully. usaid is at the center of our covid response. there's no way to protect this nation from this pandemic or future pandemics if we don't have individuals who are conconfirmed at the top echelons of usaid. i understand senator marshall's objection to be over questions he has about gain of function research that may or maif not -- may or may not have been conducted in wuhan. what is marcela escobari, the
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nominee have to do with gain of function research in china. first of all, i can show you fact-check after fact-check that suggests these allegations about gain of function research being funded in china are false. but even if the senator thinks there is a legitimate question, what does that have to do with our ability to efficiently spend taxpayer dollars in latin america and the caribbean? we just had two massive national disasters happen in haiti. usaid is managing that response. it's spending taxpayer dollars right now. why wouldn't we want to have somebody overseeing that spending? why is that a responsible exercise of u.s. taxpayer dollars to deny our taxpayers the ability to know that there is someone confirmed by the senate overseeing the expenditure of their money in places like haiti? how do you complain about the border and then deny the president the personnel
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necessary to oversee migration from the northern triangle northward to the u.s. border? one of the nominees we snuck through was the assistant secretary for the western hemisphere, but usaid right now is engaged in programming, design to stabilize the economic and security environment in the northern triangle. i think both parties agree that that is a key component of our strategy to prevent migration that ends in crises at the border. but once again republicans are denying the president the ability to have personnel in place that will address the border crisis. once again the minority is denying the president to have people in place who can oversee our covid response. once again the minority is denying the president the ability to have people in place would will oversee our strategy in the middle east.
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this is an attempt to decapitate american diplomacy. this is an attempt to stop the president from being able to conduct the business of the executive branch. never before has this happened. never before has the minority used this amount of its power to slow down the confirmation of ambassadors. yes, we can spend floor time on every single one of these assistant administrators, but we've never done that before. when it comes to somebody like marcela escobari or isobel coleman, people who are nonpolitical, who are unquestionably qualified to do these jobs, we have approved those kind of nominations through unanimous consent. they have proceed by voice vote. because to require hours of debate on every single one of these nominees would be to gum
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up the works of the united states senate. that's why we have had this informal agreement over the years in order to move these kind of noncontroversial, nonpolitical nominees expeditionly -- expeditiously. that agreement obviously has fallen apart and the cost not only comes to the reputation of the united states senate but the security of the nation. you cannot complain about this president's foreign policy as republicans if you are the same -- if you are at the same time using extraordinary powers to deny the president the ability to have diplomats abroad to represent us. it is making us weaker as a nation. and it should stop immediately. i'm very sorry that the senator from kansas has come to the floor to object to two incredibly qualified, noncontroversial nominees to usaid. i hope this blockade comes to an end soon. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? mr. murphy: i'd note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. thune: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican chip. mr. thune: the senate is in a quorum call? the presiding officer: it is. mr. thune: i would ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted and i be able to complete my remarks before the start of the vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, it's another day and another really bad idea coming from the democrats to fund their reckless tax-and-spending spree. it seems like to fund this massive amount of spending, they're trying desperately to come up with new revenue sources, so much so that as of yesterday still under
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consideration was a tax on unrealized gains. in other words, on income that people haven't received yet. and to just put that into perspective, if carried to its full conclusion, if that became a precedent as part of tax policy in this country and it never has been before, you could -- to put it in terms so people can understand, a lot of people participate in a 401(k). they have some sort of retirement plan from their employer, that if there was a gain in a particular year, say that that -- the total value of their portfolio of assets in that retirement plan and 401(k) went up by 20%, they could be taxed on that 20%, even though they haven't received the income yet. that's what is being talked about here in terms of the precedent. never before has that been attempted or tried or implemented in american history where you would actually have a
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tax on income before people actually ever receive the income. and of course if you carry that to its natural conclusion, as we all know markets go up, markets go down. if you h -- if you had a year where your total value went down by 20%, then what? do you get a refund from the federal government? my understanding is that they would offer some sort of a tax credit in a case like that if you had a year when you had losses. but, i mean, just think about the precedent that that would establish, mr. president, and what that could mean for the american people if at some point the government literally could tax you, tax you on income that you hadn't received yet. that's the latest really horrible idea, which i think is being shot down by democrats because they recognize what a horrible idea that is. but it's a good example of the desperate lengths to which democrats are trying to come up with new ways to fund this
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reckless taxing-and-spending spree that they seem to be insistent on trying to force through congress with an evenly divided senate and evenly divided house of representatives. it's hard to imagine that you could do something that radical, but this entire proposal is that radical, which is why they are having such a hard time getting even people on their own and their own caucuses to agree to it. mr. president, two years ago, democrats introduced their original green new deal resolution. while the guiding principle of the green new deal was climate change and energy, democrats didn't limit themselves to these issues. they outlined a radical, comprehensive, socialist revamping of our society with the federal government asserting itself into nearly every aspect of american life. while democrats haven't advanced one all-inclusive bill to implement the green new deal, probably because of the absolutely staggering price tag for a comprehensive piece of legislation like that, the green
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new deal's socialist vision has rapidly become an organizing principle of the democratic party. for proof, look no further than the taxing-and-spending spree democrats are contemplating with its massive expansion of government and radical climate agenda. mr. president, one major problem with democrats is that they never seem to fully consider the cost of their legislation, whether it's the actual dollar amount or other costs their proposals might impose. and nowhere, nowhere is that more true than with democrats' tax-and-spending spree. mr. president, i spend a lot of time on the floor talking about the way this bill will further drive up inflation and the dangers it imposes for economic growth. today i want to address some of the costs of the green new deal-esque energy provision starting with the cost to american families. mr. president, we know some energy prices are increasing due to the rising demand from the lows of the pandemic. yesterday's average price for a gallon of gas was $3.38.
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that's compared to an average price of $2.16 per gallon one year earlier. meanwhile, natural gas prices recently hit a seven-year high, and there are mounting concerns about supply. americans are paying a lot more to drive their cars, to heat their homes, and to cook their food. the high cost of gasoline and natural gas are two more reasons why americans are finding that their paychecks don't stretch as far as their days. mr. president, given the situation, you would think that finding ways to lower energy costs would be among democrats' top priorities right now. but you would be wrong. democrats' taxing-and-spending spree isn't going to lower energy prices. it's going to drive them even higher. the new energy policies that democrats are considering would drive up the cost of electricity, natural gas, and gasoline and subsidize democrats' preferred technologies with americans' tax dollars. and the icing on the cake is that americans are likely to be
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paying higher electric costs for possibly worse electric service. a lot of americans are familiar with the problems of california's electric grid, namely blackouts. well, democrats have their -- if democrats have their way, americans around the country will be able to enjoy california-style electricity. in other words, expensive and inconsistent electricity delivery along with higher gas prices. mr. president, this is what i mean when i talk about democrats not fully considering the cost. nobody, nobody questions the -- that clean energy is a good thing. i have been a strong supporter, strong supporter of clean energy innovation. my state of south dakota leads the way, whether it's wind energy, biofuels, hydropower, majority. most of the energy generated in the state of south dakota comes from renewable sources. in 2020, 83% of the electricity
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generated in my state of south dakota came from renewable sources. but clean energy policies need to be realistic and practical for each region of the country. we have to, for example, understand that we're not yet at the point innovationwise where we can rely mostly on intermittent renewable sources to power electric grids. we need reliable power from sources like clean natural gas and nuclear, additionally forcing older electric plants to close before the end of their remaining useful life, especially the most modern and efficient ones, will strand those assets. our utilities make long-term investments, and when they can't recoup those facility investments, they pass the cost on to consumers. overreaching clean energy policies that place heavy burdens on working families are unacceptable. wealthy democrat politicians and the wealthy donor class that supports them may not have to worry much if they have to spend more on their electric bill or
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an extra $20 to $25 filling up their gas tank. but that's a big deal, mr. president, to a family on a budget, especially when that family is also dealing with the increased price of food and other basics. thanks to inflation and other pressures on gas prices, americans are already having to spend a lot more money to fill our gas tanks. and in democrats' tax and spending spree, many working families would end up unable to fill their gas tank when they need to due to a diminished oil and gas sector. maybe that's the goal of some of the more extreme members of the democrat party. but it's an unacceptable one. mr. president, working families are likely to have a tough time thanks to the energy provisions in democrats' taxing-and-spending spree. wealthy families, they could do a little better, should do a little better. not only are they more likely to be able to afford increases in the price of electricity and gas, but they will also be able
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to claim a tax credit from the federal government. if they want to purchase an expensive electric vehicle. democrats' taxing-and-spending spree will offer tax credits of up to $12,500 for the purchase of an electric car or truck with the biggest credit naturally going to those who purchase union-made vehicles. that's right. only electric vehicles produced at facilities under a union-negotiated collective bargaining agreement would be eligible for the $4,500 plus-up which would take the credit up to $12,500. and anyone making up to $400,000 a year will be able to claim this credit. that's right. under democrats' legislation, you could be making nearly half a million dollars a year and still receive a substantial tax break for the madam purchase ofn electric car. meanwhile, more accessible and
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readily available clean energy technologies, notably biofuels, take a back seat in this bill. electric vehicles are democrats' chosen winner in the transportation sector, no matter how impractical they may still be for a lot of working americans. speaking of impractical, if you want an electric bike to go along with your electric car, democrats will also give you a tax credit for that as well. yes. democrats' bill contains a tax credit for electric bicycles, a credit that would go to bicycles that can cost up to $8,000. now, maybe it's just me, but if you can afford an $8,000 electric bike, i'm not sure you need a tax credit for it from the federal government. also while electric bicycles may have their appeal in urban and maybe some suburban communities, they are a completely impractical option for most individuals in states like south dakota. when you live 20 miles away from
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the nearest grocery store, an electric bicycle is not going to be your vehicle of choice for getting around. and i'm pretty sure that south dakota agricultural producers will back me up when i say that electric bicycles are not going to be much use for getting out to check the fences in the far corners of the ranch. however, mr. president, i've got to say that tax credits for electric bicycles are far from the most wasteful use of government money in this bill. that honor might have to go to the new tax credit for higher education institutions for teaching environmental justice programs. that's right. i'm sure americans will be relieved to know that democrats are planning to create a new tax credit for higher education institutions, including ivy league schools and other well-funded universities so that they can teach courses on environmental justice, whatever that is. you would think colleges that
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charge students tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition could perhaps afford to fund their own environmental justice programs. but again, i guess you would be wrong. and then there is the $3 billion the bill provides for tree equity. tree equity. now, i support and encourage the planting of trees, and i have introduced a straightforward bill to rapidly expand tree planting across the country without any federal spending, but i'm fairly sure the federal government cannot afford to spend $3 billion on tree equity, especially when democrats need to save money for their civilian climate corps, a new government program to provide government jobs and subsidize housing to climate activists. so much more. mr. president, the word is that
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democrats will soon be releasing a new version of their taxing-and-spending spree. and i can only hope that it will be less extreme than the current version. because if the bill's current green new deal-esque provisions go into effect, americans are going to be looking at a future of higher energy costs, diminished energy resources, and weakened energy independence. not to mention a lot of wasted taxpayer dollars. once again, mr. president, it's abundantly clear that the green new deal is a bad deal for american families. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the nachmanoff nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, michael s. nachmanoff
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of virginia to be united states district judge for the eastern district of virginia. the presiding officer: the question occurs 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: the yeas are 52, the nays are 46. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the senate will presume consideration of the nagala nomination. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, sarala nagala, of connecticut, to be united states district judge for the district of connecticut. the presiding officer: the question occurs 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: the yeas are 52. the nays are 46. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be needly notified of the senate's actions. 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 bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 367, omar antonio williams of connecticut to be u.s. district judge for the district of connecticut signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense
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of the senate that debate on the nomination of omar antonio williams of connecticut to be united states district judge for the district of connecticut shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: the yeas are 52. the nays are 46. the motion is agreed to. the senator from rhode island is recognized. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i have 11 requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted.
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mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i rise today to discuss again the scheme by right-wing donor interests to capture and control our supreme court, just like big industries have captured and controlled regulatory agencies through history. in these speeches, i've covered the origins, motivations, and central players in the scheme. and today i'm here to respond to a little bit of counterprogramming from the scheme. so obviously job one, if you have captured an agency, is to pretend it's not captured; it's still legit. well, on thursday, the minority
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leader, senator mcconnell, one of the principal operatives of the court hispanic -- of the court-capture scheme, traveled to the heritage foundation, one of the central dark money groups in the court-capture scheme, to toast justice clarence thomas, one of the most ardent justices in pursuing the scheme's donors' goals and purposes. senator mcconnell opened by lauding justice thomas for his campaign it to overturn decades of precedent protecting women's constitutional right to abortion. that's an important point to note because the court is set up -- set to take up not one but two cases offering the new 6-3 republican majority a chance to
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tear down roe v. wade. but his other mission was to defend the court-capture scheme, and that's an important mission right now because the court just hit ran -- hit an all-time low on gallup's national approval survey. according to a poll out this month, about two-thirds of americans think politics guides the supreme court's decisions, & and that's not a partisan opinion. republicans and democrats share that view in equal proportion. and americans aren't wrong. when big republican donor interests come before the court, they win. it looks like every time. i've shown the pattern.
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i've published an article on it. it's currently at 80-0. lawyers would love to take evidence like that, an 80-0 record, into court as patterned evidence of bias. so when the evidence is bad, what do you do? you blow smoke. there's an old, old propaganda technique of accusing your adversary of the exact wrong you are committing. it's such an old propaganda technique that it even has a latin name. the tu koqua fallacy, latin for you too. the oxford dictionary defines it
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as retorting a charge upon one's accuser, a rhetorical trick. at heritage, senator mcconnell used this trick retorting a charge that critics like me were trying to criticize the court. that is a pretty hefty version of this rhetorical trick because it's an accusation of something that we did not do coming from people who actually did that. we have all seen in plain view the mischief done by senate republicans to capture the court for big special interests. they weren't even subtle. so the tucoque rhetorical trick
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says to accuse us for what they did. the republican leader's rhetorical charge stood on a supreme court brief that i wrote along with a number of my colleagues, and in that brief, we quoted a quinnipiac poll. that quinnipiac poll showed that a majority of american voters believe the court is, and i quote the poll here -- motivated mainly by politics. motivated mainly by politics. and the poll continued that those voters believed the supreme court should be -- and here i'm quoting the poll -- restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics. that's the language from the poll question. and in our brief, we quoted it precisely. in his telling, senator mcconnell leaves out the
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quotation marks and turns what was essentially an uncontested observation of fact of what that poll said, using the language of that poll, into what the right wing has constantly replayed and cooked up as a threat to the court. he also suggested that i had called for expansion of the court which i have actually not done, but never let the facts get in the way of a good story, huh? in his telling, the minority leader's telling, it is democrats who are up to no good at the court. let's look at what that telling leaves out, because it masks a lot. first, it masks the court's partisan record, the record
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i've described. justice thomas and his fellow appointees in the 5-4 and now 6-3 majority on the roberts court have handed down over 80 partisan 5-4 decisions benefiting easily identified republican donor interests. like i said, by my reckoning, it's an 80-0 record for the big donors. his telling masks all of that. it also masks the entire republican court-packing operation that yielded three donor selected justice and hundreds of lower courts during the trump presidency. it masks the big donors nominations turnstile at the federalist society, where they decided who would and tbhot
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become a justice. it was in-sourced to the white house for it to vet and select trump nominees. it masks the dark money political attack groups which used massive anonymous donations to apply political pressure on behalf of the donors' nominees. and it masks leonard leo and the shady $250 million web of dark money groups outed by "the washington post" for packing and influencing the court. what else does it mask? it masks the influence operation built to steer those justices' attention to right-wing donor priorities. it masks the armada of amicus
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cure ray, so-called friends of the court, of the orchestrated dozen funded by dark money. it masks the dark money front groups that comb the country for cases that can catapult selected controversies before the court to help the justices change precedent. it masks the special interest fast lane those front groups have established to get cases quickly before the court, a fast lane the court in indulges. and it masks the hothouse dark money so-called think tanks like the heritage foundation, where senator mcconnell spoke, where legal theories benefiting big-donor interests are planted and watered and fertilized and
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propagated for the court to adopt. and last, it masks what republicans did, shredding norms and rules that the senate had long relied on to manage judicial nominations. the scrapping of the supreme court filibuster, the scrapping of the circuit court blue slip, the acceptance of preposterous assertions of executive privilege to hide nominees' records, the refusal to grant merrick garland so much as courtesy visits, let alone a hearing, the convention of the so-called garland rule about not confirming justices near election, the mad rush to confirm brett kavanaugh under the cloud of barely examined sexual assault allegations. and then the hypocritical full
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180, reversing that so-called garland rule to jam a right-wing justice on to the court eight days before an election. this was all done in plain view. this was not subtle. you've got to be gaslighting really hard to not pay attention to all that evidence. and i tell you what, we weren't the only ones watching. the american people were watching, and they are fed up with all of this. they trust their noses, and they know this wreaks. senator mcconnell and i do agree on one thing. there are, as he said, storm clouds swirling around the court and i also agree with him when he said this. he said one of our country's two major political movements has
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decided they're fed up with trying to win the contest of ideas within the institutions the framers left us and would rather take aim at the institutions themselves. that statement is exactly true. it's just that senator mcconnell got exactly wrong which party is the guilty one. against that litany of interference and influence and dark money all around the court that i just described, one misquote from a brief, it's not even a contest. here's a final quotation to set next to senator mcconnell's. it comes from lewis powell a few months before he took his suit on the united states supreme court. in a memo, he wrote to one of the most significant forces in
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republican politics, the u.s. chamber of commerce, a memo, by the way, that was never disclosed to the senate during his confirmation proceedings. here's what he wrote -- under our constitutional system, especially with an activist-minded supreme court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic, and political change. powell branded the courts a major element of what he called the neglected political arena, that big business and right-wing ideologues should move in and exploit. exploiting that is exactly what the right-wing donor scheme did. it mired the court in dark-money influence. it packed the judiciary with judges selected to rule in the
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big donors' favor. it won an 80-0 rout of partisan decisions benefiting big-donor interests, and it is steering the court to protect the dark money that was the prime vehicle for capturing the court this the first place -- capturing the court in the first place. mr. president, oh yes, indeed, the court has been politicized, but look at the evidence. we weren't the ones who did it, and no amount of smoke can obscure the evidence of how this court became the court that dark money built. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from texas is recognized. mr. cornyn: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we're not. mr. cornyn: i appreciate that, mr. president. after months of, well, i won't call it in-fighting. i'll call it intra party ne negotiating, our democrats colleagues are still trying to reex agreement on -- reach agreement on that taxing spree legislation. they've yet to agree on how much
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money they want to spent. our colleague from vermont started at $6 trillion. now we're hearing it may be more on the order of what the senator from west virginia said was his cap of $1.5 trillion. we still also don't know how much they are willing to raise taxes to cover the costs or how far they want to move america into a european welfare state. still, our colleagues are trying to reach a deal in a matter of days. our colleagues are rushing to -- the largest peacetime tax hike in american history and see how much government overreach those hard-earned tax dollars can buy. some experience buyers remorse before swiping the taxpayer's credit card, so they are trying
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to -- we read, we don't know, but it's been reported that they cut certain programs like free college, which, despite the name, we know that free programs actually cost money because somebody that's to pay for it. we also read that they are scaling back other plans, included paid leave and the expanded child tax credit tro reduce the short-term cost and hope for more money down the line. and i think if truth be told, once these policies are established, they are difficult to repeal later on, which is why they are trying to establish a toehold even for ar short -- even for a short period of time. there is still plenty of government overreach to go around. one of the biggest dreams of our democratic colleagues is government-run health care. we heard the left embrace medicare for all as its rallying
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cry. well, the senator who popularized that policy is now chairman of the senate budget committee, senator sanders, and he weeldz a lot of power -- wields a lot of power when it comes to this particular tax-and-spending bill. it's no surprise that his top priority is an expansion of medicare. initially we read that our colleagues wanted to lower the age of medicare availability by five or ten years, making tens of millions of younger americans eligible for this benefit. this comes at a time when medicare is in financial trouble already. in just five years, the trust fund for medicare part a is scheduled to go insolvent. it hardly seems like while your boat is in danger of sinking, you add more and more people into the boat. instead of fixing those problems or providing stability for
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medicare, our colleagues want to spread those waning dollars even thinner. the sky-high cost of expanding eligibility seems to have eliminated that provision, again, this is based on reporting since no one has actually seen the documents. but a massive expansion of benefits apparently is still being scuffed. the -- discussed. the congressional budget office has estimated this expansion would cost more than $350 billion in the fist ten years. we'll see if -- first ten years. we'll see if the chairman of the budget committee will keep it off the chopping block. this is only part of the plan to put the government in greater control of our daily lives -- of all americans' daily lives. another big ticket item which certainly must poll well is free child care. again, nothing's free, it just
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means somebody, not you, is having to pay for it. but free programs, as it turns out, don't come cheap. in this case the original price tag was pegged at $450 billion. the american people won't just pay more in taxes to cover this program. many families will end up spending more on child care. one left-leaning think tank analyzed the impact of this free child care bill and found that it's likely to have a devastating impact on middle-class families. according to the people's policy project, the democrats' child care plan would cause middle-class families to pay more than $13,000 more a year in child care. that's not just a price increase for the top 1%. that's for people who earn more than their state's median income, which in texas is just
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under $62,000. it's hard to imagine a family of four that brings home $62,000 a year having an extra $13,000 to spend on child care, especially when they are already being pummeled by inflation and rising costs. we'll see whether -- all the ways that president biden was wrong when he said my build back better agenda cost zero dollars. of course nobody believes that, but the president keeps saying it over and over and over again, but the american people are pretty smart and they understand when the wool is being pulled over their eyes or when they are being sold a bill of goods by saying, yeah, we're going to spend $3.5 trillion, but it's actually going to cost zero. it's really an insul to their intelligence -- insult to their intelligence. our colleagues across the aisle
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have a litany of tax increases to cover part of the cost of the massive spending bill. they hope the increase in the size and power of the internal revenue service will make sure that big brother doesn't miss anything. the administration wants to double the size of the internal revenue service by increasing the number of agents by 15% every year for the next decade. well, we've already seen what a politically motivated i.r.s. can do. we know about the leaking of taxpayer information recently and we remember the i.r.s. targeting controversy during the obama administration. i.r.s. bureaucrats subjected conservative groups to a double standard when it came to -- came to scrutiny when it came to left-leaning groups, nonprofit groups, and it looks like the biden administration might want to dust off that old playbook. the administration also wants to
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give the i.r.s. unprecedented power to snoop in your bank account. the administration proposed requiring banks to give the i.r.s. data on accounts with more than $600 in annual transactions. so that means every time you bought a washing machine or a refrigerator, you paid your rent, maybe your mortgage, maybe bought a car, that that information would be reported to the i.r.s. the i.r.s. already knows how much you earn because that's reported but that's apparently not enough for the i.r.s. surveillance. they want to make sure that the i.r.s., like big brother, knows everything you do, everywhere you go, and who you -- who you associate with. well, this was a $600 annual transaction minimum and of course that's for an entire year. it's easy to see how that would
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swoop up virtually everybody in this new government surveillance program. this is obviously not designed to catch millionaires evading tax responsibilities. it's hard to imagine anyone who wouldn't get caught up in that over the entire year. $600 is -- well, we know what happened. the blowback was so fierce that our democratic colleagues said, well, it's not going to be $600 a year. we'll up it to $10,000 a year, but, yeah, we'll continue the surveillance of your personal private financial information just so we are sure we don't miss anybody. well, even at a threshold of $10,000, a widow who gets a monthly stipend from social security for $1,500 a month
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would obviously be a target of i.r.s. snooping under this proposal. it's pretty obvious this is a huge violation of personal privacy. and people are rightfully angry about it. i think people are angry because they don't want to be presumed to be a tax cheat by their own government. i received letters from nearly 60,000 of my constituents who are opposed to such massive government overreach and invasion of their privacy. and we know it's also an incredible financial and paperwork burden on financial institutions. community banks, credit unions, and the like. imagine the time and the people and the hours necessary to comply with this new surveillance by your own government. transmitting the sensitive financial information of almost every customer of a bank or
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financial institution to the i.r.s. would involve a lot of time and a lot of money that these banks -- or credit unions may or may not have. i cosponsored a bill with senator tim scott from south carolina to prevent the i.r.s. from monitoring american citizens' private financial information and i was pleased to see our colleague from west virginia, senator manchin, cast doubt on the future of this controversial and unnecessary provision. the truth of the matter is it doesn't matter if the price tag of this bill is $5.5 trillion or $3.5 trillion or $1.5 trillion, it is to transform america and the role that government plays in our every day lives, whether it's through the health care system, child care or the
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i.r.s., there's no line too sacred to cross in pursuit of this ideological nirvana, they are looking at how much socialism they can force on the american people. we still don't know how much this bill will cost. again, nobody has seen it outside the small group of democrats who are actually negotiating it and how much harm it will actually inflict. but we do know one thing that this is not what the american people bargained for in the last election. the american voter elected a 50-50 senate and reduced the democratic majority in the house and took president biden at his word when he promised to work in a bipartisan fashion across the aisle. this is not what the american people bargained for. they did not vote to make joe biden the next f.d.r. and they
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did not vote to have this buy -- build back better bill, the next new deal. we will continue to do, once we are able to find out precisely what's in this bill, to do everything we can to fight against this irresponsible taxing and spending bonanza. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia's recognized. mr. kaine: mr. president, i rise to speak in favor of the john r. lewis advancement act, when the body proceeds to debate, to proceed to debate in a forum before the american public with an offer to our republican colleagues to offer amendments, offer improvements, offer adjustments. this is incredibly important.
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we had a vote on the freedom to vote act last week, a bill that i am proud to be a cosponsor of, along with the presiding officer, and i'm proud to be a cosponsor of the john lewis voting rights advancement act. what does the john lewis bill do? it basically does two things. first, it restores a vigorous preclearance environment that was part of the original voting rights act section 5 that was struck down by the united states supreme court in 2013 in the shelby versus mississippi opinion. the supreme court in shelby said you could have a preclearance requirement but you couldn't apply that requirement only to the geographic jurisdictions covered in the 1965 act, congress would have to analyze and come up with a new set of criteria for who should have to get preclearance done. the second thing the john lewis bill does is it responds to a
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supreme court decision that was decided in burn vich and the democratic committee to specifically layout a claim under the voting rights act, a claim that a local practice deliewts, -- dilutes the strength of the minority voting. as a former mayor and governor of virginia, i lived under preclearance requirements, and i will talk about what that is like because it is pretty easy and helpful. the way the john lewisville fixes the shelby problem is it says, okay, starting now, we're not going to treat the south differently than anywhere else in the country the we'll treat every part of the country exactly the same. you are subject to a preclearance requirement as a state government or local government if you have had a
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pattern of voting rights act violations during the previous 25 years. if you had just one, there isn't enough. there has to have been a pattern and if there is a pattern of voting rights actions violations, you are subject to preclearance, you have to submit proposed electoral changes to the justice department and you have to keep doing that until you have had ten years in a row where you haven't been subjected to voting rights violations. it doesn't penalize the south. every zip code in this country, north, south, east, west, midwest is only subject to preclearance if there has been a pattern of violations, a significant pattern over the last 25 years and as soon as you're ten years without a violation, you can, quote, bail out of preclearance and you don't have to submit your electoral changes to the justice department anymore unless you commit new violations. how reasonable. how reasonable. we would want to have additional
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scrutiny of jurisdictions voting rights practices if they've exited voting rights vie -- committed voting rights violations. i was a city councilman and mayor of richmond from 1994 until 2001. and every time we changed a polling place or did redistricting after a census, or contemplated new rules about the timing of primary elections, we had to submit it to the justice department for preclearance because richmond, the capitol of the confederacy, had a documented history of suppressing the minority vote for a very long time. i was the governor of virginia, lieutenant governor and governor from 2002 until 2010 and the same thing at the state level. when we did redistricting after censuses, when we contemplated in our legislature new voting rules, we had to submit to the justice department the pree cler rans requirement -- preclearance requirement. we would send it to them 90 days before the prepared change would go into effect. the justice department would analyze the change.
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and then they in almost every instance in my experience would reach back out and say that's fine. your change is fine. you can go ahead and implement it. sometimes they would reach out and say we have a question or could you think about this. might you make an adjustment. so it was a dialogue. and that dialogue was productive. and then the justice department would give richmond or virginia a green light and we would make those changes and we would make them with some assurance. it was actually helpful. it was helpful to run a change by the justice department and have it looked at by voting rights experts to make sure that we weren't unwittingly, we weren't intentionally but that we weren't unwittingly doing anything that would suppress anyone's votes. once we got that preclearance queen light, we would move ahead with the voting changes with confidence. it was simple. it was easy. it was a standard practice that we were all used to. it didn't impose any additional burden or time on the city government or the state
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government. and so it deeply troubles me that colleagues of mine now are reluctant to go back to a vigorous preclearance requirement for jurisdictions that have had an established pattern of voting rights violations. this preclearance fix in the john lewis act is extremely important. two more points, mr. president. i want to plead my -- plead with my colleagues in the g.o.p., the republican party, on this bill. and then i want to express my sense of urgency about it. by my reading of our history, the republican party throughout most of its life has been a great voting rights party, a great voting rights party. in the aftermath of the civil war, it was the republican-led senate and house that passed the 15th amendment, the
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constitutional prohibition against any jurisdiction using race to disqualify a voter. i would like to say that the democrats in the late 1860's were supportive of those provisions. it was the republican party, frankly, that got the constitution improved by passing the 15th amendment. the 19th amendment, pages guaranteed women the right to vote. now, that was done in a democratic administration. president woodrow wilson, at a time when congress was majority democrat but it was done with the full support of the republican party. the 19th amendment had strong republican party support. voting rights act of 1965 which the john lewis bill goes in and amends, it was done at the time that democrats had the majority in this body, but it -- it would not have happened without senate republicans. in fact, senate republicans were more supportive of the voting rights act than were senate democrats in 1965.
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so there's been a pattern. 1870, 1919, 1965 of the republican party being a party through much of its life being a party that was interested in expanding the franchise and encouraging more people to vote. it happened again when richard nixon was president, the 26th amendment, pages, giving 18-year-olds the right to vote. changing the federal voting age in federal elections from 21 to 18. that was done under president richard nixon again with both republican and democratic support. the voting rights act after it was passed in 1965 had to be reauthorized every five or ten years, and it was often reauthorized by unanimous vote with republican senators largely being on board. it really only was about the time of the beginning of the obama presidency, frankly, that the g.o.p. which had been rock solid stalwarts for expanding the franchise began to change.
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when the shelby decision was reached in 2013, it was just a couple of years after the voting rights act had been reauthorized with solid and overwhelming republican support. and this particular fix in the john lewis bill to say, ong, -- okay, preclearance, we're not going to put a scarlet letter on you if you're in a southern state. we'll have everyone preclear if you've had a pattern of demonstrated voting rights violations. we went to republican colleagues with that in a bill nearly immediately after the shelby decision and were not able to find even one, even one republican in the house or in the senate that would sponsor a fix to this bill. mr. president, it's my hope that when we call this vote up in the next couple of days, that colleagues of mine in the grand ole party who have had this -- more than century-long tradition
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of being a party willing to expand the franchise and encourage people to vote will reclaim their own heritage and decide to be a proa voting rights -- pro-voting rights party. lastly, sense of urgency, mr. president. i was not only the mayor of richmond and governor of virginia with a significant african american population and a state with a notable history, a challenging history, a painful history, a triumphant history as well like most history. our virginia history is so mixed. there's so much pain and tragedy and triumph and hard to make sense out of it. but i've always been passionate for voting rights because of my understanding of our history and particularly the disenfranchisement that african americans, women, and others have faced. one thing i've never faced, though, i've never faced this disenfranchisement. i've been a supporter of voting rights of those who have. i was a civil rights lawyer. i did voting rights cases.
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so i've been a supporter. i've been an ally. i've been an advocate. but never in my life, never in my life did i feel like tim cane, a caucasian male born in 1958, that somebody was trying to disenfranchise me. i had that experience for one day of my life. and as passionate as i was before that one day, i now understand it a completely different way. that day was january 6, 2020. as we're here in the capitol and the capitol is under attack by people who are attacking to try to stop the certification of the november 2020 election, they were basically trying to disenfranchise 81 million people who had voted for joe biden and kamala harris. and my overwhelming reaction that day was complicated. i was having a hard time figuring out what i was feeling. even when we heard gunshots, even when we were being escorted and could see the ram age not --
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rampage not far from us, i was not afraid. i was furious. i wasn't feeling fear. i was feeling anger. and i realized later that that anger stemmed from the fact that at age 62, almost 63, for the first time in my life just for a moment, i had a sense of what it meant to have someone else trying to disenfranchise me. many of my friends and constituents in richmond, they have felt that sense for their entire lives. they felt it very personally. they feel it very personally. they hate that feeling. they want us to be that small d democracy where everyone can participate. i had never felt that personally. but on that day i did. and that day gave me just a glimpse, just a glimpse of how devastating, demoralizing,
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frightening, angering it is to know that society is trying to keep you away from participation. so that experience which was just for a day because on january 7 i was back to my norm where no one was trying to disenfranchise me. and yet those actions that are being taken in statehouses around this country to take away people's rights to participate, they mean something different to me than they did on january 5 because i had that one moment where i felt like this is me. i sort of hated that day but if it took that day to help me realize the importance of this issue, then that day had a purpose in my life that was not just a negative purpose. a positive one. and it is my deep hope that both parties as we have before, democrats and republicans, will join together to protect people's rights to participate in this greatest democracy on
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earth. i look forward to this debate. i look forward to getting a voting rights protection measure that is meaningful through this body as has happened before. if we can do it here, it will be honoring a history where even when it's been tough, we've been able to do it, and we can do it again. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas is recognized. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. president. beginning in his first days of office, president biden paused all gas and oil on federal lands and then killed the thousands of jobs supported by the keystone xl pipeline. fast forward to today, prices at the pump are more than 40% increased from a year ago. home heating costs have increased by more than 20% going into the winter.
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under president biden's new policies, instead of reducing this burden on hardworking arkansans, president biden has made it clear that his agenda trumps the need of american families and is doubling down with his new reckless energy-destroying spending bill that will only increase these costs. this far-left democrat wish list makes the undeliverable promises proposes to dramatically drive up costs for every american. it would eliminate thousands of jobs in the energy sector and would accelerate our already rapid inflation. this is not a realistic approach to address our country's environmental energy needs. heavy-handed rules that reduce energy supplies or likewise are counterproductive. we should not turn our back on the existing energy sources that we have in north america that lower gas prices and reduce our
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dependence on oil from unstable regions. american manufacturers need long-term access to affordable energy so our country can compete globally against nations with much lower environmental standards. also in the event of a national security or an energy crisis, for example, access to our resources will be essential. bureaucratic overreach and unwarranted spending will not only drive up energy costs on consumers but will also do the most harm to low and middle-income families. think of the impact this would have on single moms and seniors on fixed incomes. these families are most affected by burdensome regulations and can least afford a costly, unworkable energy policy. we must continue to use an all-of-the-above approach to diversify our nation's energy portfolio. working to increase exploration
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and production of natural gas and oil, continuing the development and use of coal, along with support for renewable and nuclear energy should all play a role in our national energy strategy. america's energy supply should be diverse, stable, and affordable. president biden is pushing hard to get congress to agree to his plans in time for this week's climate summit. it's fitting that the summit is in scotland. as european nations have shown us the dangers in addressing climate change the wrong way. poorly conceived mandates to eliminate fossil fuels have resulted in a carval cade of problems for agriculture across the continent. surging natural gas prices have resulted in fertilizer plants closing, created a food-grade co2 shortage crisis that is hurting pork and poultry
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processing. beverage producers are also facing the same challenge getting co2 leading to the likely scenario of widespread disruption across the food and beverage sector. and our friends in the u.k. went heavy on wind power only to have the wind stop blowing forcing energy companies to stram balance for gas -- scramble for gas reserves and consumers to face much higher bills. as ranking member on the ag committee, i take these warnings very, very seriously. the president's plan would be an absolute gut punch to our nation's family farmers and rural america as a whole. especially as inflation continues to skyrocket under this administration's watch. the cost of farming is on the rise. land, fuel, seed, fertilizer, and livestock feed prices are all increasing. the soaring cost of input has come at a time when the farm economy had only recently begun
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to turn the corner. now with further increases, farmers once again face the possibility of a downturn in the farm economy as profits dwindle. propane, heavily relied upon in rural america for agriculture production and home heating, has seen prices almost double this year. in fact, market experts are predicting a, quote, armageddon as we head toward the winter. now president biden and his allies in congress would enact policies that double down on economic hardship by eliminating affordable sources of energy, particularly those relied upon in rural america. much of the president's agenda comes directly from the green new deal, a far-left agenda that most americans have roundly rejected. working with president trump, we successfully fought off the green new deal. now president biden wants to
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resurrect it and rebrand it as build back better. given the troubles democrats have had writing their bill, it seems america doesn't want it either. and with that, i yield. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: madam president, a number of us are down on the senate floor here talking about the disastrous biden administration policies that from day one, day one have sought to increase energy prices and put american workers out of work. how have they been doing that? they are shutting down the production of american energy. they are going after -- all over the country, they are going after infrastructure, particularly pipelines. they are not allowing those to be built. they have energy or climate czars not confirmed by the
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senate, john kerry, gina mccarthy, who are going to financial institutions in america saying don't invest in american energy. and then we're hearing reports that john kerry is going to countries in asia saying don't buy american l.n.g. you can't make this stuff up. then just two days ago in "the washington post," another story, john kerry is saying to president biden hey, we have got to be softer on china so we can get them to maybe commit a promise that they will never keep in scotland. you can't make this up. let's -- the chinese are mad about us raising issues about hong kong and taiwan. john kerry is saying maybe we should tone that down to get the communist party of china to agree to some empty promises on climate. can't make this up. so what we're seeing, madam president, is spiking energy prices at the pump, for
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working families, and here's the question -- everybody -- here's the question everybody should be asking. i hope our friends in the media ask it, certainly the biden administration. is this intentional? are you really trying to drive up energy prices that's hurting working families? well, my view is i think the answer is yes. the president had a town hall last week. he seemed to not have a clue about a bunch of issues, but particularly on energy prices. and then just yesterday, there was an article about how gina mccarthy was quoted as saying there will be opportunities with these high energy prices. quote, soaring commodity prices stemming from a surge in energy demand and limited supply should accelerate the move to renewables around the world. this is a senior biden administration official saying hey, we're actually trying to drive these prices up. sorry, working families in america.
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winter's coming. you're really going to be hurting. so maybe the world will move to renewables. you can't make this up. to me, this is one of the biggest betrayals of working families and working men and women in u.s. history, an administration coming in on purpose to drive up energy prices -- gina mccarthy says so -- knowing it's going to hurt working families. heck, i wouldn't be surprised if president biden will be calling on our citizens to wear a jimmy carter-style cardigan soon. what they are doing is building back better to the 1970's. high inflation, gas lines, high energy prices, empty shelves, lack of workers, energy-producing adversaries like russia empowered, begging opec to produce more oil. that is literally what's going on. so, madam president, we have a much better plan.
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in the next few weeks, some of my colleagues, senator cramer, senator lummis, a number of others, we're going to be putting forward a plan on what's working. we need to build on what's working in america. and let me give you a couple of statistics that matter. since 2005, the united states has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by almost 15%. more than any other major economy in the world. that is a fact. you don't hear it from president biden. heck, the secretary of energy thinks we're the sinner. they don't recognize china as producing almost three times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions than we are. estimates are that 100% of the increase in global greenhouse gas emissions are going to come from nonindustrialized countrie, others.
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and yet, they are putting all the pain on americans. if we export and continue to export clean-burning american natural gas, as we currently do, to india, to china, to korea, to japan, that could have a huge impact on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. so what we're going to be doing is we are going to be working with others. we certainly want some of our democratic colleagues to join the commonsense approach, the american energy jobs and climate plan that's focused on all of the above energy, using technology. yes, building out the renewable sector in conjunction with our other energy that we currently have, empowering american workers, not giving him and her pink slips, which is the biden way. enacting reform. knowing that we need other resources like critical
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minerals, that we have an abundance in alaska and america for the renewables sector. permitting reform so we can bring all energy projects online. oil, gas, renewable, nuclear. all of the above. that's the power. and of course using our resources to leverage our foreign policy advantage over our allies. madam president, as we start rolling out our plan, we need to compare it with the biden green new deal. we need to compare it with the biden green new deal. just look at the comparison. what we're going to be doing over here in the blue with our plan and what the president and his team -- no offense to some of my colleagues, led by a number of them, on the green new deal. we'll create millions of jobs. they're putting people out of work as we speak. we have the ability to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. they're going to china to get
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empty promises from dictators. not going to work, no matter how much john kerry kowtows to the communists. we're going to restore energy dominance. they want to crush it. we want to invest in manufacturing and other elements that will produce millions of jobs for working class americans. right now, they want to rely on china to source everything we have in america. and, of course, we want reasonable energy prices, and as i already mentioned, madam president, gina mccarthy and others are trying to drive up american energy costs on americans' backs. so they can go to europe, drink a glass of wine, and tell them how well they're doing in terms of crushing our energy sector. the american people don't want that. our plan is what's supported by the american people, not this crazy green new deal policies
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that's hurting men and women, particularly working families and energy sector workers more than any other policy of any administration in the history of the country. i'm glad a number of my colleagues are down here to continue this discussion, and i look forward to participating with them. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i ask unanimous consent that senators barrasso, kaine, lee, and myself complete our remarks before the previously scheduled roll call votes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. hoeven: thank you, madam president. i'm pleased to be here and follow my good friend, the senator from the great state of alaska, a state that produces an incredible amount of energy as does my state of north dakota. of course we're here to talk about how this administration's policies are harming america's energy producers and leading to skyrocketing energy prices.
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americans are paying more for energy, whether it's at the gas pump or their monthly utility bills. this week, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in my home state of north dakota is $3.19. that's up from $2.27 in january. so that's an increase of almost a dollar, about a 50% increase. every consumer pays that when they pull up to the pump. of course that hits low-income people disproportionately. north dakotans are also facing higher home heating costs for this winter. with the price of natural gas having almost tripled. same thing. think about hardworking men and women who now are paying that higher utility bill as a result of these policies. higher energy prices drive up the costs of everything we consume, and lower income americans, as i say, are disproportionately impacted when a larger share of their paycheck
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must go towards covering higher energy costs. last week, the president blamed opec for higher gas prices. but why is our country a global energy powerhouse in this situation? just a decade ago, north dakotans helped crack the crack the code on zest energy production in the bakken, helping the united states become the largest oil and gas producer. we unleashed the potential of our abundant energy reserves and as a result our country became a net exporter in 2019. americans benefited from our energy independence through record low energy prices as well as strengthened economic and national security. energy security is national security. yet, since january, president biden has been saying no to america's energy producers. the president is blocking new energy leases on federal lands, stifling the opportunity to
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harness our abundant taxpayer-owned energy reserves. the president also killed keystone x.l. pipeline and is actively discouraging needed private sector investment in new oil, gas, and goal production. yet, this administration allowed completion of russia's nord stream 2 pipeline, which of course moves gas from punitive's russia to -- into germany and europe. and instead of supporting our own domestic energy workforce, the biden administration is asking russia, saudi arabia, and the opec nations to pump more oil. why on earth are we asking foreign countries with less stringent environmental practices to produce more energy when our own domestic producers are ready and willing to answer the call? despite this administration's failed policy and corresponding higher energy costs, the president and democrats are
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doubling down on their green new deal agenda. the democrats' reckless tax-and-spend bill will only worsen today's high energy prices by making energy production more expensive and less reliable. the president's policies will not only increase the pain at the pump, they are threatening the ability to keep the lights on. these climate policies will accelerate the grid's reliance on intermittent renewable sources of power at the expense of always-available base load generation from sources like coal and nuclear power. we need to maintain our base load sources of electric generation that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of weather conditions to keep the lights on and homes warm as we enter the winter months. and rather than turning to opec with less stable -- and less stable places in the world, our adversaries, in fact, like
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russia, an adversary, we should be empowering our american energy workers to develop our abundant -- our abundant energy reserves here at home, using the latest and greatest technologies to do it with better environmental stewardship. more supply of energy means lower costs for consumers. it's as simple as that. the president needs to work with us to support our domestic energy producers and their work to provide low-cost, dependable energy to our homes and businesses. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. mr. barrasso: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. first met me commend my colleague, the former governor from north dakota for his very
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thoughtful comments. i come to the floor today as well to talk about energy prices which we know are speaking all across the country. as the president is soaring off to a climate conference in scotland, energy prices are soaring here at home. this year alone we have seen energy costs spiking for families all across this country. energy prices have gone up not just a little, they've gone up a lot. the cost of filling your tank with gas is up about $1 a gallon today compared to the day that joe biden was sworn in as president. so as a result my constituents in wyoming are paying about $25 to $30 more pertaining every time they fill up did every time they go to the pump than they would have done in january when joe biden was sworn in. and it's not just gasoline prices that are up in our cars and trucks. it's natural gas that prices are
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up, a seven-year high for gas at the pump. a seven-year high for natural gas. and all of these things are impacting people, especially as winter is coming. people use natural gas to heat their homes, to cool their homes, they use natural gas to cook. well, you know, madam president, it really shouldn't be this way where we see these skyrocketing prices because, in america, we have the largest energy resources in the world. much of them are in my home state of wyoming. under the last presidential administration, america became the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world. yet what we have seen on the first day of his administration, president biden declared war on american energy, on energy produced here at home in america when on that very first day in office he killed the keystone x.l. pipeline. that action immediately ended the jobs of thousands of individuals at the height of a
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pandemic. president biden didn't stop there. he went further when he shut down exploration of oil and gas in the arctic. he banned oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters. it was ruled illegal, and he did it anyway. president biden's radical anti-american energy agenda, it is hurting our economy and people in every state of the union are paying the price and feeling the pain today. they're feeling it with higher energy bills. anytime they pay an energy bill, they're paying more. so what do the democrats want to do about this? well, it's pretty obvious. they want to make it worse. nancy pelosi and chuck schumer are pushing a $3.5 trillion reckless tax-and-spending spree. last month in the energy committee, of which i am the ranking member, one commissioner of the ferc, the federal energy regulatory commission, had
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something to say about this. he said it would be -- this is the $3.5 trillion spending bill. he said it would be like an h-bomb, an h-bomb on america's electric markets. that's because the bill that the democrats are trying to push through on a party-line ballot is actually just the disastrous green new deal with a new name. so what's in this bill? well, it would effectively kill coal, oil, natural gas permitting on federal lands. it would replicate california's unreliable electric grid and it would do it on a national scale. the result would be what they've seen in california -- rolling blackouts. service that's less reliable and costs that are even higher. the democrat bill would impose punishing new taxes on natural gas producers. what happens to that? well, of course, these fees
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would be passed along to the consumers. and where will they see it? well, in their energy bills. would create a new tax on mining firms based on how much dirt they moved. democrats literally in their legislation with 40 different taxes on it now have a dirt tax. the bill would waste $27 billion on a slush fund for environmental activists. now, it's not clear exactly what all this $27 billion would be used for. $27 billion. but we can be sure that taxpayers won't be getting their money back. taxpayers will never see that money again. how they actually dish out the money is completely open-ended. but what we do know is it can be used to hire armies of lawyers to protest because their goal is
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to shut down energy in our industries, and the energy economy, harming families, throwing people out of work. and then finally, this large bill would give huge tax breaks to rich people who want to buy electric vehicles. the democrats' spending bill would give up to $12,500 to married couples who make as much as $800,000 a year. they'd get a tax break -- to get a tax break, all they'd need to do is buy a luxury electric vehicle. you know, madam president, the american people are already paying high energy prices. they're doing it because president biden is blocking american energy. but, you know, there isn't enough supply to meet the demand, and the democrats have complained about it. so how do they make the situation worse? well, they impose punishing fees. they waste billions of taxpayer
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dollars. they shut down the abundant and affordable energy sources that fuel our economy. and, of course, all these are good-paying jobs. american families can't afford the democrats' reckless tax-and-spending spree. so here we are made with the president off to scotland. he'll be there for halloween and people around this country will be suffering the nightmare of high energy costs. not that long ago we were a nation of energy wealth and energy dominance. but this president and this administration has changed it. we are a nation of energy weakness and a nation we are now dependent upon others for energy. the american people wouldn't believe that we are today using
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more energy, more oil from russia than we are from alaska, but that's what this president has brought to this country. a jackpot for vladimir putin and energy workers out of work here at home. it's a disgrace. madam president, thank you. i yield the floor. mrs. capito: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mrs. capito: thank you, madam president. today i join my colleagues to talk about highlighting some of the things, what we see as a dubious environment and energy provisions included in the democrats' reckless tax-and-spending proposal and what that would mean to the american public. this week the u.s. energy and information administration, a nonpartisan governmental group, forecasted that americans' cost of natural gas bills will go up
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30% this winter. we're getting ready to get into the cold winter seasons. that means american households will spend an average of $746 on gas heating in the months from october through march. 30% more than last year. now, maybe to some people that doesn't sound like much. if you're on a fixed income, that is having to make difficult decisions. also natural gas, the primary heating fuel for american homes, nearly half of the country, this has huge implications for our families. just think of retirees in west virginia on a fixed income. that 30% increase is huge and unmanageable. people already struggle to pay their energy bills in normal times. but with this increase, difficult decisions will have to be made in many households. think of a family of four just trying to get through, trying to get through the school year and
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have just enough to buy the necessities for their children. and now their heating bill is 30% higher. that is a big hit to that family. americans who rely on propane will face an even greater price crease, and that's as -- price increase. and that's a lot of americans. they are expecting a 54% increase in winter. so with americans facing eye-popping increases in home heating, congress should be considering legislation that lowers those costs while producing more energy here at home. but instead the house energy and commerce committee reported legislation to impose a methane tax, which would really be called a natural gas tax. this regressive provision would make already-high heating costs even worse this winter and beyond and low- and middle-income families would suffer because we know those costs always get passed on.
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the natural gas tax would put jobs in the energy sector in my home state at risk. this week we saw reports that this tax may drop out of the reconciliation package. good news for me, which would be good news for states like ours. but even without a natural gas tax or the devastating clean electricity payment program, which also is rumored to be on the chopping block, the remaining provisions in the democrats' legislation wastes taxpayers' dollars and includes broad, new regulatory policies that would change this country. for example, the greenhouse gas reduction fund. it's a $27.5 billion slush fund for democrat states and progressive organizations to finance whatever so-called green projects they may want. apparently, our colleagues are concerned that the over $200 billion we have in renewable energy tax credits is not enough to encourage the private sector
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to finance projects. therefore, billions of tax dollars are required to provide even more public financing for their wish list. two other provisions tucked into the house bill that have not received much attention could have major policy implications. first it the house bill -- first, the house bill includes a $50 million fund to create a new greenhouse gas emissions regulation at e.p.a. like president obama's clean power plan. i kind of question the way e.p.a. is funded why they would need another $50 million to create a new program. but this provision allows e.p.a. to develop overly burdensome regulations. at the request of 26 states, the u.s. supreme court stayed president obama's clean power plan because e.p.a. lacked the statutory authority. yet this $50 million provision tucked into the $3.5 trillion behemoth bill isn't only about giving more money to the e.p.a.
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it's designed to give the administration the ability to say that future climate rules were specifically authorized by the congress. these rules could regulate energy production, manufacturing, agriculture, and really any sector in the u.s. economy and place countless jobs at risk. another separate $50 million provision directs the federal highway administration to come up with a greenhouse gas emissions performance measure. what is that? states would then be required to set emissions reduction targets based on that performance measure. federal highway administration is also directed to impose consequences on states that fail to meet these targets. how much of a reduction in emissions do states have to achieve to get their targets? what actions will states have to take or not take in order to meet their targets? more importantly, what consequences will the federal
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highway administration impose on our states that fail to meet their targets? will they lose their federal highway dollars? will states have more restrictions on building new roads? will there be new requirements to direct highway funding to other activities that reduce emissions? all of those questions are left unanswered. this $50 million open-ended provision reported by the house transportation and infrastructure committee could jeopardize the ability of states to build new roads and bridges. these are just a few of the erratic environmental provisions in this reckless taxing-and-spending spree. their provisions have not had the careful consideration that they need to have, and they have not vetted these new ideas that i think programs such as this would need. but the package is much broader than that. it is really a lot of wasteful spending. it is regulatory overreach that
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will make energy and goods more expensive. we've talked on and on about the rising costs of goods and particularly gasoline. it is a progressive wish list rolled into $3.5 trillion that inserts government into nearly every phase of american life, from cradle to grave. the reconciliation bill should not pass. i will continue to come to the floor along with my colleagues to shine a light on the harmful provisions and help inform the american people about what really is in this package. thank you, madam president, and i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: madam president, in politics, on television, and on social media, and pretty much everywhere, it seems that people are decrying the surge of misinformation, false information, and dangerous
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ideas exist. but the cure to factions, factions of falsehood and the kinds of harms coming from them was something that was prescribed in very early days of our republic. james madison wrote in federalist number 10 of the value that our large union would always possess in defeating self-interested and dangerous ideas and philosophies and specifically factions. the answer is simple. our free society, with free exchange of ideas, allows for a multiplicity of viewpoints, perspectives and opinions to be heard. and then the true, correct, and useful ideas can rise to the top. madison wrote, quote, the increasedded variety of parties
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exriemed within the -- compromised within the union increase security, close quote. at this point i would add the definition of parties here is best understood to encompass information, ideas, and opinions. all things tend to unify people around one faction or another, one party or another, one group of people or another. but how many have lost their way since then, be it for mandates, censorship, cancel culture or something else, it seems like this dialogue of ideas or information is being rejected by many segments of our society. what a shame that is. it's an even greater shame that often this is the result of government action. yesterday i came to the senate floor with one of my dozen bills to try to counteract president biden's vaccine mandate. this bill that i offered up yesterday required only that the
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secretary of health and human services provide the information the department already has on adverse covid-19 vaccine effects to the public. already got this information, we just wanted them to share it with the public, with the american taxpayer, those who have been footing the bill all along. regrettably, the senior senator from washington objected to the bill and described it as a waste of time, one that would somehow undermine trust. my response to that simple. why would we ever want the federal government hiding help information from americans? if we want to build confidence in these vaccines -- and we do, i certainly do -- then the federal government must get out of its own way and build trust and confidence with concerned americans by sharing information.
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now, allow me to be abundantly clear. i'm very much against the vaccine mandate, but i'm for the vaccine, and i've been vaccinated. i've encouraged others, including my family, to be vaccinated, and they have done so. i believe these vaccines are miracles. they're helping many millions of americans to avoid the harms of voarved. -- harms of covid-19. but there are many americans who are deeply concerned with the vaccine. they are not going to be people who are simply convinced by cruelty or by extortion. i've heard from over 300 utahans who are at risk of losing their livelihoods due to this damaging, senseless, and immoral mandate. these are not our enemies. they are mothers and fathers. they're neighbors. they're our military service members. they're our friends. they deserve more respect than
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being fired, brushed aside, and permanently relegated to unemployable outcast status, which is the inevitable consequence of this mandate is where it naturally leads. now, many of these people would appreciate more information from the covid research that their taxpayer dollars are already paying for. one would expect the amount of research should be pretty darned extensive considering that as of may 31, 2021, a few months ago, congress had supplemented the u.s. department of health and human services with approximately $484 billion in covid-19 funds. that's a lot of money. that's almost a half a trillion dollars. keep in mind that $1 trillion represents, last i checked, roughly $3,000 for every man, woman, and child in america.
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not every taxpayer, not every worker, but every man, woman, and child in america. this is roughly half a trillion, then we're talking somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,500 for every man, woman, and child in america. this is their money, these are their funds, it's money that they worked really hard to produce. and so it should be their information that they have access to. but lamentably, as recent news has shown, the national institutes of health often feels the need to hide information about its activities from the public. so today i've come to the senate floor for now the tenth time on the vaccine mandate with a solution that should be entirely noncontroversial. my bill, the transparency in covid-19 research act would simply require that the secretary of health and human services publish all the studies and findings that the department
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has supported regarding covid-19. the bill provides for the privacy of researchers and study participants. the bill would better inform americans about the covid-19 vaccines. the american people deserve to have this information. after all, they've paid for it. and after all, they're now routinely being subjected to it whether they want it or not. again, this whole exercise should be about building trust and confidence in the covid-19 vaccine. that is, after all, what we want. you're never going to get that through threats, intimidation, extortion. in any event, it's an immoral action that's not something we can justify. it's not a way to treat our friends, our neighbors, our service members. i'm grateful to my colleagues, senators braun, lummis, and
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tuberville who agree and join me as cosponsors of the bill. look, if we want the american people to be comfortable with the covid-19 vaccines, we should be more than comfortable providing the research that led to their development and their approval. if we want americans to trust our government, we should be clear, it does not hide important health and research information from them. if we want our republic to function properly just like james madison hoped for, we need to have an open dialogue with all the information. the bill would be a positive step for each of these ends, and i encourage my colleagues to support it. and so, madam president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on health, education, labor, and pensions be discharged from further consideration of s. 2844 and that the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. further, i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made
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and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: reserving the right to object, we need to leave science to scientists and researchers, our public health agencies, including the c.d.c. and n.i.h., already released their studies publicly, and it's important that they have control over the release of this information. forcing researchers to put out studies on an arbitrary timeline, this bill requires all studies to be released within 14 days from the passage of the bill, could force release of studies before data collection is complete, before they're done analyzing and reviewing the data, before it's peer-reviewed. it might force them to put out studies that were funded that came to inconclusive results that might be confusing to the public. so i think having a bill that would force release of material based on a date when a
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particular bill passed rather than when the science is done and it's ready to be released could be a recipe for disinformation and distrust. the bill seems to imagine a scenario where there's critical science being hidden away or stonewalled, and i have no reason to believe that is true. and that would be a dangerous suggestion at a time when we are trying to encourage people to follow the guidance of these agencies and the agencies are working around the clock to provide lifesaving cures and up-to-date information about how people can keep their families safe for covid. based upon those reasons, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from utah. mr. lee: madam president, it's disappointing that we weren't able to take this step today to restore trust and confidence of
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the american people and the research they have spent a half trillion dollars to have conducted. i understand the impulse, as my friend and colleague, the distinguished senator from virginia, put it, to let scientists handle science. that doesn't mean, that shouldn't mean, that must never mean that we exclude the american people from the right to access the findings of their own government, a government that's used their own taxpayer dollars to the tune of $500 billion just from h.h.s., and through trillions more on over covid-19-related efforts. we should be able to trust the american people to access that information, and when we hide it, it erodes trust and confidence in the very vks that president biden is -- vaccine that president biden is trying to force on all of us even at the pain of losing their job. thank you, madam president. 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
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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 347, matthew g. olsen to be assistant attorney general, signed by 18 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of matthew g. olsen of maryland to be assistant attorney general shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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