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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  November 2, 2021 2:15pm-7:07pm EDT

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[background noises] [background noises] >> we are breaking away from this program to go live to the u.s. senate and keep over for your commitment to bring you live coverage of congress. the senate about to gavel back in following recess for the weekly party caucus munches. senators considering a handful of executive nominations throughout the day. live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. favorably from the environment and public works committee 12-8. yesterday i received an interesting letter from a bipartisan group of four former
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e.p.a. general counsels representing the trump administration, the obama administration, the administration of george w. bush and bill clinton. they were basically conveying the same message. they support the confirmation of jeff prieto to serve as general counsel of the environmental protection agency. that doesn't happen every day. we get letters of support from nominees, different parties, different agencies from time to time. but to have four former e.p.a. general counsels from two republican administrations of late and two democratic administrations all in support of the nomination of jeff prieto to serve in this important role, that got my attention, and i hope it gets the tension of all of our -- gets the attention of all of our colleagues.
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the four who wrote to us point out -- this is their words, not mine -- uniquely qualified for position of general counsel for e.p.a. this go on to say mr. prieto has been a long-standing champion of human health and environmental protection for all americans. the letter continues, quote, he is fair, he's just, he's ethical. he will make decisions based on facts, science, and the law. we expect he will be ready to serve on day one. madam president, there's no order. madam president, there's no order in the senate. the presiding officer: the senate will come to o# -- come to order. mr. carper: i agree with their sentiments. having come to know mr. prieto following his nomination by president biden, i believe he will be an outstanding e.p.a. administrator. he comes from a proud family with military service. he has the intellect, temperament to serve in this
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important role. six years ago this body saw fit to confirm jeff prieto for the same position, general counsel, at the department of agriculture. we should confirm him again today for this post. he was the right choice then. he's the right choice now. and i encourage our colleagues to join me in supporting his nomination. with that, madam president, i yield back. thank you. i ask unanimous consent that the scheduled vote occur immediately. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. 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 the debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 360, jeffrey m. prieto of california, to be assistant administrator of the
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environmental protection agency signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: the mandatory quorum call has been waived. is it the sense of the snags that debate on thes nomination of jeffrey m. prieto of california to be assistant administrator of the item -- of the environmental protection agency shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are ordered under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote: vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote?
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if not, the yeas are 56. the nays are 43. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, environmental protection agency, jeffrey m. prieto of california to be an assistant administrator. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 191, rajesh d. nayak of maryland to be an assistant secretary of labor signed by 17 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 rajesh d. nayak of maryland to be assistant secretary of labor shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll.
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change his or her vote. the yeas are 53, nays are 46. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of labor, rajesh d. nayak of maryland to be an assistant secretary. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: i have now come to the senate floor 12 times to speak against president biden's unconstitutional and unwise vaccine mandate. i've introduced 12 bills to counter and limit the mandate.
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each time i've asked for one of these bills, each of which should be uncontroversial, and tried to get the senate to pass them, one senator or another from across the aisle has objected. some of these bills have required only transparency. other bills would have ensured that religious and medical exemptions be honored. others still would simply require apparently consent before vaccinating children. far from the right answer of empowering americans with all the information to make the decision themselves on when, whr and what circumstances to receive a covid-19 vaccine, these commonsense bills would make the situation better. each one of them would make it better. each one of them is and properly should be uncontroversial. throughout the process, i've
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been criticized by those on the other side of the aisle. i've been accused of attacking science and our institutions and somehow perpetuating the virus. nothing could be further from the truth. nothing. i'm for the vaccine. i've been vaccinated. every member of my family has been vaccinated. i've encouraged others to be vaccinated all along. nevertheless, madam president, my support for the vaccine cannot, must not, and will never supersede my sworn oath to uphold, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states, nor can it supersede the rights of americans who should in any free society, in any fair society be at liberty to make their own properly informed medical decisions. this right has been recognized and it's been rightly celebrated throughout american history. another principle deeply
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enshrined, embedded, built into our constitution that has been wholly ignored in implementing this mandate and countless other infringements on the rights and freedoms of americans is the separation of powers. checks and balances require that all ministers, councils and officers of the united states be confirmed by the adviceant consent of the senate. some of us take that responsibility very seriously here. any commissioned officer in the military being promoted to o4 rank or higher requires senate confirmation. that of course is the equivalent of a major in the army. in other areas of government, positions such as members of the advisory board for cuba broadcasting, the board of the african development foundation, members of the national councils on the arts and humanities, members of the national science board and board members at the corporation for national and
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community service all require senate confirmation. every one of them. oddly, one position that has exerted huge power over the american people, particularly in recent years, does not require senate confirmation. the director of the centers for disease control and prevention manages over 10,000 employees and has requested over $15 billion for the center's f.y. 2022 budget. the c.d.c. in recent months, in recent months has suspended property rights nationwide. it has provided capricious recommendations that local and state officials used to limit freedoms across the country. the c.d.c. has shown through its own actions and the effects of those actions just how powerful it is, the sheer immensity of
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the c.d.c.'s power has been demonstrated over and over and over again on wide public, very prominent display for the american people to see and witness and experience. we can and we should debate the authorities of the c.d.c. here in congress because congress is, of course, the branch of government most accountable to the people at the most regular intervals. it's why the most dangerous powers really are lodged here because of the fact that we stand accountable to the people at the most regular intervals. every member of the house stands for election every two years. a third of the senate stands for reelection every two years. so we should debate and discuss
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the authorities of the c.d.c. here in congress for that very reason. i look forward to that discussion which we need to have more of. but the matter at hand today is much simpler. we must consider whether the c.d.c. director ought to be confirmed by the united states senate. it's absurd to think that someone so powerful can assume this office with no say whatsoever from the legislative branch. it's even more absurd to say that the senate confirms members of an advisory board on broadcasting in cuba, you know, to protect the interests of the american people, those we represent, those who elected us, but that it has no business confirming someone to be the director of the centers for disease control and prevention. my bill would fix that problem.
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the restoring trust in public health act would require the c.d.c. director to be confirmed by the senate. this bill is cosponsored by senators blackburn, tuberville, sullivan, braun, tillis and scott of florida. i appreciate their support for this long-past due measure. in order to increase trust in the vaccine and trust in government, we must return transparency and accountability to the process. this bill, in the spirit of the constitution, would provide an important check on government power and give the people a say in the c.d.c. now today i planned to ask the senate to pass this bill by unanimous consent. however, just in the last few hours i have learned that negotiations are now underway and a deal may well be struck in order to make this proposal or
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something very similar to it law. a lot of that development -- in light of that development i withhold my u.c. request for today but note if progress isn't made on such a deal i'll be back soon, certainly before the end of the year to allow this body to take up and pass s. 2734. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor.
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-- mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: we're not in a quorum call. the senator is recognized. mr. durbin: mr. president, next week our nation will commemorate veterans day. it will be the first time in a generation that we will honor that day as a nation no longer at war. with the conclusion of the war in afghanistan, the longest war
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when our history, thousands of american troops have finally come home. and these heroes have returned to our shores just as this veterans day stands as a reminder of everything we owe them as well as every american who has served this nation in uniform. more than 2,400 americans perished in the war in afghanistan. thousands more returned home with wounds visible and invisible, wounds that will stay with them for life. words are not enough to honor that sacrifice. we need to ensure that our veterans and families have access to the best health care in the world, affordable housing, programs that support them as civilians, whether as students, employees, or business owners. to serve our nation in uniform takes a special measure of courage and devotion. for some members of our military, it also takes a great deal of persistence and determination. let me tell you about one.
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i'm speaking, of course, of those members of our military who were born in other nations and want to serve america. over the years i've shared the story of one of these heroes. his name oscar vasquez. when oscar was 12 years old, his family made the journey across the border from mexico to america. they settled in arizona. from the time he was a child, oscar dreamed of serving america in the military. he studied hard in high school, even joined high school rotc. but during his junior year, he ran into a problem. he tried to sign up for basic training, but the recruiter informed him that he couldn't serve in the u.s. military without a u.s. birth certificate. it was a tough setback but oscar was determined. he was awarded jrotc officer of the year by his high school and led a group of students in an
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underwater robotics competition. they squared off -- these high school students squared off with college students from schools like m.i.t. guess what? they won. the victory led him to arizona state university where he earned a degree in chemical engineering. he got married and had a child but his undocumented status still prevented him from reaching his full potential. so he moved back to mexico, a country he hadn't lived in since he was a young boy. to apply for legal entry into the united states, he would have been barred from reentering the united states and separating from his family for ten years without a special waiver. so he decided to call my office. he reached out to us and said can you help me get a waiver. when the department of homeland security finally granted it, oscar came home to ■america. what was the first thing that he did? he got his paperwork in order and enlisted in the united states army.
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within six months of returning to the united states, he was off to basic training. oscar served our nation with honors as calvary scout in afghanistan and today he's finally an american citizen. we spent so much -- we spend so much time around here talking about immigrants in negative terms. you look at oscar and the sacrifice he made to serve our nation in the military. this man who came to the united states as a little boy knew what his goal was, and it was to risk his life for this great nation. when i hear some of the speeches given on the floor, one yesterday about how the united states is going to give a million dollars to every one of these undocumented people, i think to myself, these preposterous, outlandish, exaggerated stories that are told about these immigrants belie the real determination which many of them have to come to this country and make a difference in their lives and a difference in our future. oscar is a living example.
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oscar, like so many others, fought for our nation and every war in our history. but even those who are ready to risk everything for america, for them our immigration system still is broken. during this pandemic, thousands of daca recipients and undocumented immigrants have actually helped save lives across america. they didn't enlist in the army. they used their skills as doctors and nurses and paramedics and respiratory therapists. they may have saved a member of your family, these immigrants. and on farms throughout the country, thousands more have performed back-breaking labor to put food on our table. donald trump's administration classified them as essential workers. i think for once the president donald trump was right. the pandemic has proven how much we depend on immigrants. as members of the military, first responders, and ag workers, we couldn't function without them. that's precisely why reforming
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our broken immigration system is an integral part of president biden's building back better. and as the senate finalizes the budget reconciliation package, we must include protections for immigrants like oscar vazquez who have given everything they can to america. if we want to rebuild our economy and drive its growth for years to come, we should begin by ensuring take immigrants can earn their place in the american story. how many examples do each one of us know in our own families and other families where these immigrants came to america with literally nothing, many of them couldn't speak the language and went hard at work to establish a life, a family, a community, a business that ended up helping the entire nation. immigration reform could boost our nation's g.d.p. by more than a trillion dollars over the next ten years. hundreds of thousands of new jobs. and don't buy this theory that it's zero sum when it comes to the creation of jobs.
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we have found over and over again that a determined, hardworking person takes a job and helps create a new job in the process. it happens with the creation of business and the creation of jobs over and over again. it's far past time to refer -- reform our immigration system. with the build better back -- owe build better package, we can finally get it. on the topic of budget reconciliation. we're on the cusp of a historic accomplishment. this build back better is part of a american tradition. resources and ingenuity to build a better future for our country. this is the strategy that drove our victory in world war ii and the cold war and our dominance now in the age of information. but years of gridlock have left us at risk of falling behind. our competitors on the global stage like china sense an opportunity. they look at the same statistics we view and those statistics tell a sobering story. for example, america used to
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lead the world in the best roads and bridges, but today according to the world economic forum, we rank 13th. how is that for a slogan? our nation has also fallen behind when it comes to educational detainment. we rank 35th out of 37th major countries when it comes to investing in early childhood education and care. and our economy is the most unequal it's ever been since the gilded age leaving behind millions of american families who are struggling to pay their bills. the build back better agenda inspired by joe biden's administration is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore the american promise. it will create millions of jobs and ensure every family has a chance to live in dignity and protect our children and grandchildren's future. sadly, like the american rescue plan, we still don't have a single republican who will step up and join us. i hope that changes. in my home state of illinois, the build back better package is life changing.
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it will fund high quality child care for more than 750,000 children. i've told the story before of how when my son paul learned that his wife tanya was going to have a baby. they called the graindz parents right a-- grandparents right away. the next call was to a day care center to enlist their little boy they didn't know was a boy or girl, as earliest as possible in their neighborhood day care center. that shows you the kind of demand there is for quality day care. we also need to make preschool a reality for more than 250,000 additional children in illinois with this panel. that's a million children combined between child care and preschool that will finally be able to access high quality care and education. the build back better package will also prevent hundreds of thousands of kids from going hungry and it will give low-wage workers in my state a tax cut of up to $1,500 a year. how is that for a change? four years ago under the trump administration, the republican
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priority was a tax cut for the highest income americans. our priority, the democratic biden priority is a tax cut for working families and lower-income families to give them a fighting chance to make ends meet. these are just a few of the provisions included in the build back better package. and i might add something that is often misstated. what i have just described to you is fully paid for. we pay for it by making certain that those who are making the highest incomes in america and the corporations that are most profitable pay their fair share of taxes. this is policymaking at its best. fair and fiscally responsible. yet when our republican colleagues hear how these investments will ease the burdens on working families, they seem to have one takeaway. it's the one thing we hear from them over and over. socialism. i mentioned the build back better agenda is part of the great american tradition. that word socialism is part of the american tradition too on
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the republican side but it's one that hasn't stood the test of time. let's look back at history to how many times the word socialism has been thrown around. during the great depression, president franklin roosevelt proposed social security to protect the elderly from financial ruin. in response one republican lawmaker declared roosevelt, quote, the first communist president of the united states. and accused him in advance of quoting a socialist platform. sound familiar? 30 years later a similar debate played out over the creation of medicare. the american medical association even recruited a future president ronald reagan to cut a television ad and record an album warning the public about the dangers of, quote, socialized medicine. more than a century later, the vast majority of americans are still covered by private health insurance but medicare is one of the most popular perhaps in america. can you imagine where american seniors and families would be today if we'd listened to those
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socialist enunciations of social security and medicare? one more example from the great depression. joblessness in america reached 25%. congress was considering the creation of america's first unemployment insurance system. a congressman named samuel dixstein decried unemployment insurance as, quote, an out-and-out communist program. now you need to hear the rest of the story because years after he made that declaration, it was discovered that he was a soviet spy. time and again, the claim of socialism has been bandied about to oppose commonsense policies that help working families get by. now as then, these claims have no basis in reality. it's a smear tactic that is once again being used to frighten americans and distort and derail a meaningful debate. let's get past the name-calling and get down to basics. do you support yet another huge
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tax cut for massive corporations or is it at long last time to support working families? our republican colleagues answered that question when they were in charge. they took on nearly $2 trillion of debt in america to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy. it seems they're happy with that brand of socialism, so long as it benefits major corporations and those well off. democrats believe in putting working families first, which is why the build back better package includes the biggest tax cut -- let me repeat that. it includes the biggest tax cut for working and middle-class families in american history and we believe in making smart investments in good-paying jobs. we have an opportunity to do all this by enacting president biden's build back better agenda. let's continue this great tradition and fight off the charges that we're somehow lapsing into socialism. i yield the floor. mr. blunt: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: mr. president, there are lots of things we
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disagree on here on the senate floor, but the one thing we all agree on is the importance of getting the right people to help us do these jobs. and i rise today to honor one of my outstanding staff members, derrick coats. derrick has recently been awarded the great griffin award by his alma mater, missouri western state university in st. joseph, missouri. the great griffin award to i have goin' to -- is given to those alumni who have given great contributions to society or to missouri western. after graduating from missouri western in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in political science, derrick began his service in the united states senate in the office of my predecessor, senator bond. he served on senator bond's staff through 2010 rising to the role of district office
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director. when i came to the senate in 2011, i asked derrick to join my team. since then he's served as my state director and deputy chief of staff, overseeing day-to-day operations across five statewide offices. derricking arely spends his days traveling the state, meeting with missourians and hearing their issues and concerns. the information he shares with me from those visits ensures our work in washington aligns with the critical needs and priorities of our state. to provide just one of many examples, this information assisted in my efforts to work with others to restore year-round pell grants to commun colleges and all colleges and universities in our state, and that of course included derrick's alma mater missouri western. derrick's knowledge and experience are incredible asset to me and to our entire team. the work he's done in the senate has touched the lives of so many
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missourians, and our state is all the better because of it. missourians and i have benefited from having derrick on our team, and i'm glad he's being recognized for his hard work. he has so much to be proud of, as does his wife, kelly ann, and his son, carter. it is my pleasure to join the university in recognizing derrick coats for his service to the state of missouri and for his service to the entire country. and i would yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, are would in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. cornyn: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, watching from the sidelines and since we're not directly involved, because democrats decided to go it
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alone, our democratic colleagues appear to be playing a game of whac-a-mole to keep their reckless tax-and-spending spree from falling apart. after months and months of intra-party negotiating -- again, talking among themselves, not to us -- they hit the gas pedal last week when they knew that president biden was going to the u.s. -- was going to the climate -- u.n. climate summit in glasgow, scotland, and they wanted to give them something that he could actually deliver on. so last friday they finally settled on a framework, but the cracks quickly began to show. we don't even have a price tag on this proposal, but some have estimated its cost at $1.75 trillion, an absolutely staggering amount of money. the truth is, no one knows because the bill hasn't even been finalized yet, much less
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scored by congressional scorekeepers. unsurprisingly, yesterday one of our colleagues, the senator from west virginia, expressed some of his skepticism about the proposal, and i imagine more are in the wings wringing their hands in private. after all, this bill spends trillions of dollars on radical priorities that are out of step with where most americans are -- expanded health care subsidies, handouts for labor unions, government-funded child care, and an all-out attack on american-made affordable energy. on friday the president touted the $555 billion this agreement would put forward to support clean energy efforts. but these, upon further
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inspection, are subsidies for corporations and the well-off. i'm reminded of france's yellow jacket protest in 2018. hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in paris to protest -- protect a hike in gas taxes. at the time, president macron said the increase was critical to pushing the french people to buy cleaner vehicles. but for most hardworking families, pricey electric vehicles simply were not and are not an option. the yellow jackets felt disenfranchised by the urban elite saying leaders were talking about the end of the world while they were worried about the end of the month. sounds pretty familiar. here in the united states, families are being pounded by inflation. prices are going up on everything, from groceries to home appliances, gas prices alone have gone up 60% from just
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one year ago. and families are doing their best to prepare for an expensive winter. energy bills are expected to soar by as much as 54%. despite the serious financial strain families are feeling, our democratic colleagues are pushing policies that would drive up those costs even more. but here's the real kicker -- often under these proposed policies, the wealthiest of americans will stand to benefit the most on the back of hardworking american families. one of the most clear-cut examples is the aggressive push toward subsidizing electric vehicles, which are among the most expensive cars on the market. now, with 280 million cars on the road, only 80% of which are electric vehicles, this will not benefit most hardworking
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american families. it will benefit those who can afford those expensive vehicles, and the cherry on the top is the $12,000 -- up to $12,500 taxpayer subsidy that will help those wealthy americans buy these expensive vehicles that are out of reach for most hardworking families. well, it doesn't matter if the vehicle is completely or substantially made in china, for example, or if the buyer makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. they're still eligible for the tax credit. but the most generous benefit is reserved for vehicles built in, you guessed it, union shops. we know the labor unions are among some of the biggest supporters of our friends on the other side of the aisle, and they're set to receive their reward. buyers could receive up to a
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$12,500 tax credit for purchasing an electric vehicle from a union shop. i have nothing against union shops. i support people who choose to be part of a labor union. but this idea that taxpayers should have to underwrite a benefit that goes exclusively to one part of the electric car business to me is offensive, and it's just unjustified. i haven't seen any evidence either that union-made electric vehicles are somehow more green than their nonunion-made competitors. but those companies are certain to gain financial benefits because of these generous taxpayer-funded handouts. wealthy americans and big labor win. hardworking american families, not so much. then there's a long list of government handouts to make
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homes more energy-efficient. similar to those electric vehicles, the high cost of retrofitting a home makes it infeasible for most families, certainly the middle-class families. outfitting a home with solar panels will cost you well over $10,000, and of course the bigger the house, the more the cost. and the biden administration is once again happy to let taxpayers subsidize these expenditures. the democrat proposals include billions of dollars in rebates and grants to help cover the cost of retrofitting homes, even for the well-to-do, which will be the ones that will primarily be able to afford, even with these subsidies, this sort of retrofit. at the end of the day, the family with the means to spend thousands of dollars on these products will spend less on their monthly electricity bill, which i assume is the point. but everybody else will pay more
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in taxes, without the benefit of a lower electricity bill. if our colleagues on the other side of the aisle get their way, monthly electricity prices are likely to increase on everyone else. as i mentioned, gas prices are up significantly from last year. if you filled up your pickup truck a year ago, today you'll find out that you will spend about $3 3 more each tank of gas that he pump. and energy prices for homes this winter expected to go up as much as 54%. these are incredible numbers. this is what happens when you throw so much money at limited goods and services. the prices go up. inflation goes up. which is a silent tax on people who must pay for these goods and services and have nowhere else to turn.
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with this as a backdrop, our democratic colleagues have proposed to raise taxes on energy companies and drive those prices even higher. now, only in a fantasy world can you impose greater costs through tax increases on a business and not have them transferred directly to the consumers that buy their goods and services. they're going to passed along to people who pay for these goods and services. this bill will include a new methane tax which would require oil and gas producers to pay hefty fees if they emit more methane than the government allows. natural gas accounts for 40% of our electricity, double the amount as renewable sources, hitting those companies with a methane fee and other proposed tax hike isn't going to change the fact that we need natural gas to keep the lights on. and by the way, we need natural gas in order to produce the
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electricity that you use to charge your electric vehicle with. and as we hope to move to cleaner forms of energy, obviously coal being the one that most of us believe commits the -- emits the most emissions, moving to natural gas just makes sense. as a matter of fact, the united states has reduced our emissions, not by banning any access to any particular energy source, but by producing more natural gas. if we need an example of what a natural gas shortage in america would look like, just take a look at europe. supply shortages caused electricity prices in europe to skyrocket, plus the fact that they have banned the use of coal and even nuclear power, which is emissions free but after the
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fukushima nuclear meltdown and úeug up on any additional nuclear production. so natural gas prices which are going to sustain the greatest demand will go up about 600%. since the start of the year they have. the situation is so dire that utility companies have switched from natural gas and now begin to burn coal and fuel oil because they simply don't have access to enough natural gas. this is a problem with the push to quickly move away from fossil fuels before we're ready to transition into other types of energy sources. and when you punish the producers of that affordable energy. renewables, as laudable as they are -- and in texas, we are an all of the above state. we produce more electricity from wind turbines than any other
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state in the nation. but renewables don't come close to generating enough energy to power our world. if the u.s. and our allies scale back production to pursue arbitrary emission benchmarks, that leaves the world turning to countries like russia, an organization like opec led by saudi arabia to provide that energy. so it's no wonder that russia is a no-show of the u.n. climate summit. they are actually the ones that will stand to benefit the most if other countries eliminate fossil fuels from their fuel mix because other countries around the world will have no choice but to buy more and more russian energy. in his remarks yesterday, president biden said we should view the current price volatility as a call to action rather than a reason to back off our energy -- clean energy goals. well, i disagree. families are being pummelled by high prices across the board.
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we don't need to increase that burden by driving up costs or potentially adding an energy crisis to the mix. as i said, texas has always been a proud supporter of the all of the above energy strategy. we're often recognized for the might of our oil and gas sector, but a lot of folks don't know, as i said, that texas is a leader in wind energy. well, we produce about one-quarter of all the wind energy in the united states. if we were a country, it would be the fifth largest wind energy producer in the world. and we don't plan on stopping there. we're also making serious strides in energy innovation through cutting-edge carbon capture and storage projects. texas is proof positive that we can strike a balance between conservation, productivity, and economic power, and you can embrace low-emission energy
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sources without hammering the middle class. but those are not the type of proposals that we see from the tax-and-spending spree bill now pending before the house of representatives. this bill would simply drive up costs for hardworking american families, hurt our energy independence, and benefit our adversaries. this may impress president biden's peers in glasgow, but it's sure to fall flat with the american people. mr. president, i yield the floor and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: during my time in the senate, i have always tried to honor the work of whistleblowers. those who speak up about government wrongdoing ought to be rewarded and not sidelined and punished. but that is exactly what happened in the indian health service, according to a recently released internal report. now, this goes back a few years, but it still is a constant reminder of how whistleblowers aren't listened to and bad things happen. so according to this internal report, august, 2006, a dr. mark
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butterbrote wrote to his superiors about a fellow doctor. over the course of years, he repeatedly made extremely serious whistleblower complaints alleging that his colleague, a dr. stanley weber, was sexually assaulting his young patients. he was not alone because other staff tried to report weber to those at the very top. his behavior was described as an open secret. it is even alleged that the standard orientation for new nurses included a warning to never leave dr. weber alone with young boys.
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the response from the indian health service senior staff was silence, so the crimes continued. over a decade after the first whistleblower report, dr. weber continued to sexually assault young boys who came to the indian health service for help. instead of removing the man who had been repeatedly credibly accused of sexually abusing his patients, they punished the whistleblower. too often in government, we see the people that report wrongdoing being punished. numerous senior officials broke the law by failing to report allegations to law enforcement,
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so the crime could continue. instead, what did they do? they promoted dr. weber to a -- to manage those who witnessed his crimes. by contrast, the report states that dr. butterbrodt was ban shished. the -- was banished. the word banished are in quotation marks, to a very remote and rural facility in belcourt, north dakota. so the doctor that was the patriotic american reporting crimes eventually resigned, and that was shortly after he was banished to the very remote and rural facility.
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this shameful response by the indian health service leadership had a direct impact on future whistleblowers. if you've got an environment that discourages whistle-blowing , what are you going to get? less whistle-blowing. this internal report states that, quote, nurses told dr. butter -- dr. butter boat that now they can see why he never speaks up. it is unconscionable that these whistleblowers were ignored and a pedophile was allowed to act with impunity. that is why i recently sent a letter to the acting director of indian health services to ensure that future patients and
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whistleblowers do not face the same treatment. i want to make sure that processes have been put in place so that this doesn't happen again. dr. butter brodt and those like him were right to blow the whistle. we need to make it easier, not harder, to do the right thing. there's a pattern about whistleblowers. they tend to be treated like skunks at a picnic. they usually end up doing what's patriotic to hurt themselves professionally, maybe even becoming unemployed just because they do what most civil servants want to do -- just have the government do what the law requires or how the money is spent according to law.
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so i take the advantage every time a cabinet person, a subcabinet person comes to my office for their usual interviews before confirmation, i advise them whether they run an agency that maybe has 3,000 or 4,000 people to an agency that has, i suppose like the veterans administration, i think has 400,000 people, you're head of that department. you don't know what's going on by everybody underneath you that you should listen to whistleblowers. they all assure me that they will. but somehow the culture in our government doesn't seem to change. then on another point, i've spoken many times about the importance of our first amendment freedoms.
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our commitment to the open discussion of ideas is one reason why america has been successful. unfortunately it's become increasingly difficult to have these conversations and open discussions in our universities. it seems like every week we hear new stories about speakers being shouted down or new limits being placed on academic freedom. that's why alumni need to speak up. and so my remarks today are about an organization called the alumni free speech alliance. anyone who sees a radically different school than they graduated from needs to be willing to say so.
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today i highlight the work of this organization, repeating their name again -- the alumni free speech alliance. this group was created by graduates of several colleges who noticed that their alma maters were becoming more hostile to freedom of speech and academic freedom wasn't being followed. the alliance, the alumni free speech alliance partnered with organizations of alumni at each of their former colleges to pool their resources. by working with those who support open discourse, they hope to make it easier to create these alumni groups at more colleges and grow the ones that exist. they are right that alumni are
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often best suited to speak out about liberalism on our campuses. it is understandably hard for students and faculty to speak out about the atmosphere of intolerance they live and work in. you know, they're shamed, embarrassed, all of those things that are tools that shouldn't be used in any university that brags about academic freedom. so that's where the alumni come in. alumni can have an outsized voice in this atmosphere of lack of tolerance at some of our universities. this is one reason why i recently joined the senate campus free speech caucus.
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this senate caucus aims to bring together members who are interested in defending the rights of students on college campuses. in addition, i was proud to cosponsor campus free speech resolution which urges greater first amendment protection at public universities. just as with private alumni, senators need to be willing to speak out and shine a light when students' rights are being infringed. i've heard countless examples of universities putting an emphasis on superficial definitions of diversity that focus only on physical characteristics, the benefit of having people from different backgrounds is that they bring different viewpoints. but that whole concept of diversity is turned on its head
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if only one point of view is ever allowed to be spoken. universities do a disservice to their students if they just tamp down any idea that their loudest activist disagree with. colleges should be places of debate and discussion, not enforced intellectual rigidity. alumni need to be willing to speak out about these issues because too often people that are on that campus can. my definition of a university that i've used throughout a lifetime is it's a place where controversy runs rampant. it's a place where we ought to have civil discussions, respecting each other's points of view. i don't know how many of my
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colleagues run into what i run into too often in iowa at my town meetings. people proudly stand up and say, you know, there's two things i never talk about -- religion and politics. well, if you're a religious person and god is going to have an impact on your life, why shouldn't you be willing to discuss that? you may be discussing with a baptist and a catholic or with an atheist and with a baptist or a christian. why shouldn't you be able to discuss that in a civil way? because it's important to your life. and we all know the role of big government in our society, and we know the principles of representative government. why shouldn't you be able to talk about politics, republicans and democrats, or socialists and communists versus conservatives, or whatever the case might be? you ought to be able to do it in a civil way, disagreement. and it's the same way on the
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university campuses. i yield.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. moran: thank you for recognizing me. i rise in the memory of the former kansas congressman, dennis moore, a man who lived a life of service to our nation.
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he was a friend, and i am sad to hear of his passing today. dennis, above all, was a kind man. he was a loving husband to his wife stephanie and a doting father and grandfather. he was born in anthony, kansas, and went on to earn degrees from the university of kansas and washington university school of law. he served our country with the u.s. army reserve and then kansas for 12 years as the johnson county district attorney. he was known for integrity and for a strong moral compass which he carried with him to the halls of congress when elected in 1998. dennis' approach to politics was one on one, person to person, and oftentimes with his ■iconicu
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with the congressman's own words and he said this, alzheimer's is a bipartisan issue and i urge my colleagues to unite behind it, allotting the resources for millions of american families just like mine are facing. dennis was a genuine, warm, decent man that led an inspiring life that we can all learn from. his legacy will lead the way to give others courage and hope. robin and i extend our heart fel condolences to his children and grandchildren and to stephanie his wife and all those who knew
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him. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. barrasso: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: are we in a quorum call at this point? the presiding officer: no. mr. barrasso: i come to the floor today to oppose the democrats taxing-and-spending spree. on capitol hill president biden came to meet with democrats. before he got here, economists sounded the alarm once again
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about the economy our nation is facing under president biden. economic growth slowed to just 2%. now, this is the slowest its been since the post-pandemic recovery began. this was also significantly lower than even the experts expected. so there was a disconnect. it was really low and even lower than they expected. growth is slowing down, hiring is slowing down, and shelves are empty all across america. we have a growing supply chain nightmare. prices continue to go up. i heard about it all across the state of wyoming this past weekend. so what did president biden do in response? well, he ignored the alarm bells. he gave his blessing to the latest version of this reckless taxing-and-spending bill, and the new version looks a lot like
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the old version, just as radical, just as reckless and just as unpopular with the american public. nothing really knew in -- new in the bill except more budget gimmicks and it's interesting that nbc news this weekend came out with a poll that 22%, only one in five americans think that joe biden and the democrats that the country is on the right path. 71% said that the country is on the wrong path. and the bill being proposed by the democrats is about 2,500 pages long and still contains the worst parts of the old bill. what's in the new one? here are a couple of things. it still supersizes the i.r.s. this bill would still give the internal revenue service $80 billion to hire an army of i.r.s. agents. now, democrats know this is
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unpopular, yet they continue to defend the proposal. why would that be? the american people have spoken out. they complained to congress. democrats don't seem to care. that's because democrats need to squeeze working americans for more of the hard-earned money they make. why do they want it? so that democrats can spend it. what do they want to spend it on? well, the largest part of this bill has to do with energy. it would spend half a trillion dollars for parts of the green new deal. that would be for something they call tree equity. it still includes enormous handouts for those who buy electric luxury vehicles. we give billions and billions of dollars in subsidies to electric carmakers and owners. this would be more. this would go to households
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making more than $100,000 each. democrats say that's not enough. this bill would still give $12,500 to couples making up to $800,000 a year to buy luxury electric vehicles. the bill still includes the $1,500 payout to people who buy electric bicycles. it's a mystery to me how electric bicycles can be better than regular bicycles. it shows this is not about the environment, it's about payouts to democrat elites and to the big cities. that's why this still includes the civilian climate corps. this is an army of full-time taxpayer-funded climate activists. they would get paid generous stipends and salaries and what would they get paid to do,
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protest american products. yesterday, people stopped people from going to work or taking their kids to school. they had to sit in traffic because of professional protesters and this administration wants to hire up to a million of them. now, democrats know this isn't popular. that's why they changed the name of the climate corps in the new bill, but they didn't change the purpose. now they are trying to call it the land corps. it sounds like a harmless group. it's the same civilian climate army, a green army to attack american oil, gas, and coal. now, this name change alone is an admission that this idea is very unpopular. democrats know the american people don't want to spend billions of dollars to subsidize protesters. a recent poll found 90% of americans are unwilling to pay
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more than $100 a year to fight climate change. we're already paying more than $1,000 a year in energy costs to drive and to heat our homes due to joe biden's energy policies, this is $1,000 more than we did last year. at home this past weekend in wyoming, i noted and talked to folks while filling up that gas was $1 a gallon more than -- after joe biden took office, more than half the families use natural gas to power their homes. this bill also increases taxes on american energy production. democrats specifically targeted a new tax on natural gas production. so this would raise taxes for families who are already this winter facing a seven-year high
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on the cost of natural gas and they are trying to decide this winter if they are going to be table to heat or to eat. that is becoming a concern of families all across america under joe biden's agenda and economy. one in five american families have cut their families to pay for their energy bills this year. the american public and people are paying too much for joe biden's energy agenda. they don't want to pay a penny more. they are tired of it. fed up. democrats know that their agenda is unpopular with the american public, that's why this bill would also permanently change the makeup of the country. the new bill would give amnesty for millions upon millions-new immigrants. the parliamentarian said that democrats couldn't pass amnesty in the last version of the bill, yet democrats want amnesty so badly they will try it all over again. apparently version c is coming
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soon. this is supposed to be a spending bill not an immigration bill. they want to do an immigration bill, they ought to introduce an immigration bill. yet democrats know they don't have the votes to pass the kind of immigration bill that they want to pass, not at a time when we have a flood of illegal immigrants coming across the southern border with more on the way. so they are trying to cram it into this spending bill. they are hoping that the american public won't notice. democrats have their way, this would be the most consequential immigration bill in half a century. the bill would give millions of illegal immigrants amnesty and then taxpayer money because this bill includes new permanent welfare programs with no work requirements, none at all, and no citizenship requirements. that's what the democrats are proposing. it is no wonder that we have a border crisis at our southern
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border. a flood of illegal immigrants. with this bill, democrats are promising amnesty as well as free child care, free preschool and even free college to illegal immigrants. this is in addition to the $300 checks they already sent to illegal immigrants with the spending bill that democrats passed along party line votes in march. democrats seem to do everything that they can to reward illegal immigration. the "wall street journal" reports that the biden administration wants to give millions of dollars to families that came here in 2018 and were detained for illegal entry. the number reported is that the biden administration wants to give them $450,000 a person. now, this is more than six times the annual income of a typical american family, mr. president.
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it is more than 50 times the per capita income of el salvador. $450,000 per person will mean millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars for families who came here illegally. you talk about an incentive for people to come here illegally, this is exhibit a. the total payout could be more than a billion dollars. let me contrast that number of $450,000 with the fact that those who lose their lives defending the country, like a young marine from wyoming, reilly mccull om -- mccollum who was killed in afghanistan, the united states sends to those families $100,000 and joe biden is promising four and a half times that much for people who came here illegally. mr. president, democrats say
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this is a new bill. it's the same old democrat agenda, high energy costs, amnesty for illegal immigrants and this is the bill endorsed by the president of the united states. it is no wonder that 71% of americans this past weekend said this country is heading in the wrong direction. it's the wrong direction under the democrats and under joe biden. democrats want to listen to the american people, people are furious with this administration. listen to the sirens blairg with the poor -- blaring with the poor economic numbers reported last week. it's time to stop making the biden economy worse, stop the free fall, and stop the taxing and spending before there is no damage to our economy and our country. thank you, mr. president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: i ask unanimous consent to speak for three minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you. last week i was expressing about the things i heard last week while home and the odd things seemed to be that they were things i would never expect to be true and often that's the case over the years, you hear something from a constituent or read on the paper or see on the internet and think this can't be true and the one this week is this intention by the department of justice homeland security and health and human services to pay up to $450,000 per person of families who illegally crossed our border and detained separately. biden biden
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administration should reject as out of browndz for -- out of bounds for common sense and damaging and something that is very damaging to the citizens of this country but also to those who make the humanitarian challenge of traveling it through central america, mexico to our southern border. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the davidson nomination. the question occurs on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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vote:
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vote:
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vote: vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: the yeas are 88, the nays are 10. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table. the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration
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of the harris nomination. the senator from north carolina. a senator: as if in legislative, i ask unanimous consent that calendar 50, s. 13444, the lumbee try recognition act -- tribe recognition act be referred to the committee on indian affairs. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. menendez: mr. president, i rise today to seek unanimous consent for eight to nine nominees to critical state department posts. each of them moved to the senate foreign relations committee with bipartisan support, and the only reason the senate has not confirmed them is due to the political obstinacy of a couple of my republican colleagues. and the evidence of that is that when we have a vote, as we had earlier today for the assistant administrator of a.i.d., it
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passed 59-40. 59-40. we heard many complaints about the management of the state department and the conduct of u.s. foreign policy in recent months. and while the state department is not a perfect institution -- for that fact, no institution is -- it's leadership was decimated by the prior administration. the assistant secretaries and ambassadors who should be participating in the rebuilding of the institution and the development and implementation of u.s. foreign policy are instead languishing on the senate floor. dozens, dozens, nominees who should be the face of the united states at international organizations, like the united nations, nato, the organization for security and cooperation in europe, are instead waiting for the senate to act. the government of the people's republic of china is watching. even though the majority of this body has recognized that the government of china represents the greatest geopolitical
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challenge to the united states, we are letting china eat our lunch on the world stage. our republican colleagues have spoken at length in opposition to this administration's handling of the situation in afghanistan, but they refuse to allow the senate to vote on nominees who are critical to dealing with the refugee situation resulting from the u.s. withdrawal and the much-needed stabilization efforts. by the way, a withdrawal that was already precooked by the trump administration when it made a surrender deal with the taliban that said we will leave on a date certain, we will release thousands of taliban prisoners, which they did, to the taliban who became fighting soldiers. we ultimately will not only leave at a date certain, but we have done nothing to get any of the promises that the taliban made enforced.
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and we reduced our troop level dramatically. that's what president biden inherited. now i heard a lot about the handling of the situation in afghanistan, but my colleagues refuse to allow the senate to vote on nominees who are critical to dealing with the refugee situation rulting from that withdrawal and stabilization efforts. nominees include the assistant secretary of state for population refugees and migration, assistant secretary for conflict and stabilization operations. that cannot stand. and for all this talk, how does holding our nominees to be the u.s. ambassador to israel or the u.s. ambassador to canada actually advance u.s. interests? it does not. it is seriously detrimental to our national security. therefore, i ask unanimous consent -- before i ask unanimous consent, i understand
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that senator schumer would like to speak prior to the u.c. requests. i'm heaped to yield to the majority leader. mr. schumer: i thank my friend, the senator from new jersey, who will move to have a number of our nominees fosh national security -- for national security. and his passion for this issue comes from a desire to have us have the greatest strength abroad diplomatically and geopolitically as well. so i can't thank him enough. and, mr. president, of all the mandates of the government, the most important is protecting the american people from threats, foreign or domestic. to do so, the president relies on an army of dedicated public servants, diplomats, under secretaries, assistant secretaries who play a critical role in our government. for months senate republicans
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have gone to great lengths to place pointless holds on nominees. the consequence empty desks in the department of treasury and state departments and other agencies. these nominees are not controversial. they are routinely confirmed by consent in this chamber. until a few people decided that they wanted to make a big show of this for no reason, no one every did this. no one did this. maybe an individual nominee here and there, but not all the nominees, so risking the security of the united states. by this point in the trump administration both sides worked together to confirm 32 ambassadors by voice vote. most didn't like the trump administration or the people he appointed, but we had enough integrity and enough faith in the future of this country not to let this -- right now republican obstructionism has
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meant that four nominees have been agreed to. bottom line is let me be clear, the republicans holding up these nominees is making harder for our country to respond to threats at home and abroad. we hear a lot of talk about national security on the other side, but when it comes down to there are 32 state department nominees and ten defense nominees for quick confirmation. that is wrong and i would hope -- i would hope that they would think about it and let these fine people go through the way that it has been done under democratic and republican administrations in the past. i thank my colleague from new jersey once again for yielding. ask unanimous consent my entire statement be read into the record at this point . the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: thank you, mr. president. with that hope, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of the following nomination, calendar number 239, michele jean sison, of maryland, a career member of
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the senior foreign service class of career ambassador to be an assistant secretary of state for international organizations. that the nomination be confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: is there objection? the senator from missouri. mr. hawley: reserving the right to object, mr. president. i understand that multiple of my colleagues have objections to all of the nominees that the senator from new jersey is going to offer this evening, so i will be here to object on their behalf and also on my own behalf with regard to a few of them. i want to address one of those nominees, julianne smith, to be ambassador to nato. this is a nominee to whom i
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object myself. i want to explain why. before i do that i have to make one comment on the senate majority leader's remarks about his own inability to get these nominees confirmed. now, i agree that many of these nominees are important and that is, in fact, one of the reasons we should have a vote on them. the ambassador to nato, as i'm about to argue, is a very important position and the positions that she takes, the arguments that she makes are very important which is why we ought to go on the record and have a vote. but the senate majority leader's comments as if he has no control over the calendar, he's the majority leader of the united states senate. he decides when we vote. he decides what we vote on. what are we doing now? the floor's empty. we could be voting. what are we doing later this week? he's gaveling us out of session to members across the aisle can go on a field trip to glasgow. it is getting a really rich to
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hear the majority leader talk about how we brought up the defense bill, no action, no action from the senate majority leader. if these nominees are so critical, he ought to put them on the floor for votes. he doesn't want to do that because apparently he doesn't control the floor or doesn't want to work very long or very hard. i believe that to him. but it is -- it is quite ridiculous for him, the majority leader, to blame republicans who cannot prevent votes. can i just be clear. republicans do not have the ability to prevent votes on the nominees. the filibuster on the nominees doesn't exist. we can vote whenever the majority leader wants. it's his decision when to bring them to the floor. i want to comment on julianne smith, one nominee to whom i object. this is the president'sle nominee to be the next -- president's nominee to be the next united secretary to nato.
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i want to take a minute to say why i think it is important and why i think we need to vote, actually vote on her nomination. you know, a decade ago, almost, 2014, after the russian invasion, incursion into ukraine, nato allies finally recognized that they were not spending enough, our into the allies, on their own defense and on our common defenses so they pledged as a group to claim 2% of their respective g.d.p.'s to their own defense and meet that target by 2024. so far large numbers of them are not on track to do so. in fact, ms. smith said in response to my own questions about this, she said it is clear a group of allies will fail to deliver on this pledge by 2024 and currently another group are not close to meeting it although they say they hope to mick up the difference. -- make up the difference.
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the security situation has not improved. it has deteriorated. russia is still menacing ukraine and china is menacing taiwan. the united states is facing hard choices and we will face harder choices yet about how we allocate our forces, how we structure our force posture in a world that is more dangerous and the china threat in particular is one that will force us to make particular choices about what we prioritize in the asia-pacific versus europe. we need our allies to not only meet their 2% commitment. we need them to do more in europe to do their own defense because we must focus on the deteriorating security situation in the indo-pacific, in the asia-pacific with regard to china and its imperial ambitions in taiwan. i asked ms. smith to press the
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nato allies to meet their 2% commitment and revise that commitment so we can have a truly common defense in this era of multiple challenges and deteriorating security. she has refused to give me that commitment. i can't block that nomination but i can ask to take a vote on it. when senator menendez brings her nomination to the floor, i will object and ask for a vote on her in particular and i will, as i said, object to others on behalf of my colleagues. with those comments on behalf of my colleagues and myself, i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. menendez: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: it's disingenuous to suggest that this can all happen by the majority leader and 60 votes. there were no calls when republicans controlled this chamber for votes on each and
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every nominee. on the contrary, as the leader said, large numbers of trump nominees to the state department for ambassadorial or state department positions were passed on voice -- they were passed on voice. and i don't know in the case of nato, i think the nominee made it very clear before the committee, i know that our colleague is not a member of that particular committee, but she made it very clear before the committee that she was advocating for all of our allies to reach their 2% commitment. and what better way to achieve it than to actually have an ambassador at into the to -- nato to pursue that goal. but if you don't have anybody there, guess what, you can't pursue that goal. let me try again. i want to ask that it be in order to make the same request with respect to executive
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calendar 327 and anne a. witkowsky of maryland to be secretary of conflict and stabilization operations. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: on behalf of my colleagues and myself, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. menendez: we will continue to have conflict and stabilization without anybody in charge. i ask to make the same request with respect to calendar number 318, christopher p. lu to be the rank of ambassador to the united nations. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: on behalf of my colleagues, i object. mr. menendez: here's an example, here we want reform at the u.n. but we can't put the person in there in charge of helping us reform the u.n. i ask that it be in order to make the same request with
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respect to calendar number 4662, juillette, to be assistant secretary of state. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: on behalf of my colleagues and myself, i object. mr. menendez: i heard a lot of my colleagues talk about how we should get more s.i.v. people from afghanistan. this is the person who could help us do it. i ask that it be in order to make the same request with respect to calendar number 437, julianne smith with a rank and status of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: mr. president, i object. mr. menendez: i ask that it be in order with respect to calendar number 461, bernard
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maurice to be director general of the foreign service. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: on behalf of my colleagues and myself i object. the president pro tempore: -- the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. menendez: i can't wait to hear about the next one, nomination for israel. i ask the same request with are 51, thomas a.nyed to the state of israel. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. hawley: on behalf of my colleagues, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. menendez: so we will have no ambassador in israel as we deal with the challenges of iran and others in the region, it is -- it is mind-boggling, all of those who get up here and talk about the importance of the state of israel but we won't have an ambassador to help us meet the challenges that israel has. i ask that it be in order to
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make the same request for calendar number 443, michael carpenter to be the u.s. representative to the organization for security and cooperation in europe with a rank of ambassador. the presiding officer: is it there objection? mr. hawley: mr. president, on behalf of my colleagues, i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. menendez: let's see if we can get a lucky one. i ask that it be in order i withdraw that. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of the following nomination, executive calendar number 453, david m. cohen, of pennsylvania, to be ambassador extraordinary to canada, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate that no further motions be in order to the nomination, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's actions. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report.
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the clerk: nomination, department of state, david l. cohen, of pennsylvania, to be ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the united states of america to canada. the presiding officer: the question appears on the nomination. mr. menendez: yeas and nays. the presiding officer: all those in -- all those in favor will say aye. opposed nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. mr. menendez: thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. portman: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: mr. president, since the democratic leadership and the biden administration first proposed the massive tax and spend legislation called reconciliation seven weeks ago, i have come to the floor every week to explain what's in this massive tax-and-spend proposal and why i believe it's wrong for the economy and at a time of high inflation, low economic growth, and record levels of
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debt. before i talk about that, though, i think it's important to consider where we've been, how things could be better. before the pandemic began back in february of 2020, largely thanks to commonsense pro-growth tax reform that was passed in 2017 by republicans here in the congress and the trump administration, we had one of the strongest economies we'd ever seen. we had 19 straight months in february of 2020 of wage growth over 3% on anage basis, 19 straight months of wage growth, real wage growth above inflation. by the way, mostly benefiting lower and middle-income americans. we had the lowest poverty rate in the history of our country since we started keeping track of it back in the 19 50es. blacks -- 19 50es. blacks and hispanics had the lowest unemployment rate ever. overall we had the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years. it was an opportunity economy. we need to get back to that.
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then of course as everyone remembers, we had to deal with the effects of covid-19, including shutting down much of the economy. luckily we now have vaccines that are making it possible for us to return to a relatively normal lifestyle. but there's one big problem. while the pandemic has finally starting to fade, the economy is being seriously challenged by extremely high inflation. don't take my word for it. here's what the data says. the latest consumer price index jumped to one of the largest increases in 13 years to 5.4%. that means people are paying more for everything. the latest producer price index went up, too. that means the folks who produce the goods are paying more to put them on the shelf. real wages are actually down because adjusted for inflation, wages are down by an average of 1.7% during the biden administration. so people back home tell me i've got a wage gain, rob, but i'm
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not feeling it because inflation is eating up all the gain i've got. wage increases may be out there but they're not above inflation. the response by washington has been unprecedented what's called stimulus spending. it's like adding fuel to the fire. stimulus spending at a time when demand was already increasing and the economy was already rebounding has been a recipe for inflation. that's exactly what's happened. and unfortunately contrary to what the white house has said, which is this is going to be transtoar, -- transit toar, in other words, temporary, it looks like it's here to stay for a while and middle-class families are feeling the squeeze. we're paying 42% more at the pump, 42% higher this year than last year. it now costs almost a hundred bucks to fill up a pickup truck. i know that because i filled up mine in ohio recently, $85. i just can't believe that here in congress we're thinking about
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passing additional legislation to make inflation even worse. everything is up. natural gas is expected to rise in that 40% range just as the winter heating season kicks go high gear. it's not just fuel costs. it's groceries. it's furniture. it's everything. thanksgiving is just around the corner. here's the report from "the new york times." and i read their lead. quote, thanksgiving 2021 could be the most expensive meal in the history of the holiday. end quote. they're saying that because everything has gone up. the cost of turkeys has gone up double digits. the cost of pumpkin pie, the cost of everything that people are having to buy for thanksgiving. unfortunately, the actions of this democratic congress are a big part again of why this inflation is so high. back at the beginning of the year, democrats passed a $1.9 trillion covid relief bill that mostly did not deal with covid, but it did provide the most stimulus spending to our economy
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ever in the history of the congress. this stimulus spending essentially primed the pump on an economy that was already recovering nicely. multiple nonprofit -- i'm sorry, multiple nonpartisan groups including the congressional budget office here on capitol hill told us that the economy was improving already. in fact, c.b.o. said that the economy was recovering and it would recover to his prepandemic levels by midyear. that was by june 30 of this year. many of us tried to warn that if we overheated the economy, spent more money to prime that pump, that it would result in more inflation and it wasn't just republicans. larry summers who served as the treasury secretary under president clinton and the economic adviser for president obama basically said that. he warned that injecting so much money into the economy would lead to inflation. and of course it's lower income and middle-income americans who
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get hurt the worse. it's basically a hidden tax. as i mentioned earlier thage inflation rate last month was 5.4% but everything i'm seeing is double-digit inflation this year compared to last year. if your wage rate is below that, if your wage increase is below that, maybe you received a 3% wage increase, it actually ha be harder for you to be able to afford what you need for you and your family. in other words, not too long after he enjoyed a record stretch of wage growth prepandemic that primarily benefited low and middle-income workers, we're now seeing just the opposite. a pay cut for everyday americans. what do we need to do to address this? well, stop the stimulus spending. because that's helping to fuel this inflation. there are two major bills that congress is considering right now. one would help and one would make matters worse. what are they? well, the first is the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
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it passed the senate in early august with significant bipartisan support. that's unusual around here, particularly for a bill as significant as this but we worked to ensure that the bill was one that both sides could support. and it makes too much sense for it not to become law. it will help fix our nation's crumbling infrastructure. it will fix our roads, our bridges, our rail systems, our ports which are particularly important right now given the supply chain issues that our country is experiencing. it will also help upgrade our digital infrastructure. high-speed internet will now be available to kids so they can learn, so people can get their health care online, so people who want to start a business can do so. it will boost our nation's ability to provide that kind of high speed broadband particularly in our rural areas. importantly, thoughtful conservative economists like michael strain at the american enterprise institute and douglas holtekan at the american action forum will tell you this bipartisan infrastructure bill is counterinflationary.
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it will push back against inflation. why? because it adds to the supply side of our economy as they'll say. it contributes to our nation's long-term growth because it makes long-term investment in hard assets. think of that bridge in your state or your community that needs to be fixed. that spending won't happen in the next year but it will happen over five, ten, maybe 15 years. and it will lead to a more efficient and productive economy. it also will make us more competitive against countries like china which currently spends more than four times as much as we do on infrastructure as a percent of their g.d.p. why? because they want to get ahead. the bipartisan infrastructure bill also has no tax increases. let me repeat that. unlike the second bill we're going to talk about, the bipartisan infrastructure bill has no tax increases on the economy. it's no surprise that pulling data from cbs news, cnbc and others show that the vast majority of americans, in this case 87% in these two polls, support investing and improving
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our infrastructure. for these reasons the house of representatives needs to pass this bill without delay and help us achieve this win for the american people. it's been almost three months since the legislation passed here in the united states senate. almost three months. it passed by a vote of 69-30. it's now being held up by progressives in the house of representatives who want the second bill, the massive tax-and-spend bill, the reconciliation bill more than they want the infrastructure bill. so they're holding the infrastructure bill hostage thinking somehow it will enable them to get more moderate democrats to support the massive tax-and-spend bill. i don't think that's going to happen. but meanwhile they're hurting the american people by holding it hostage. the second bill that democrats are contemplating which is the reconciliation bill, a massive tax-and-spend bill, would inject at least $2 trillion more in largely stimulus funding into an already overheated economy in order to try to pay for it.
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it also includes significant tax increases that will hurt economic growth and jobs. democrats claim they are taxing the rich and corporations to pay for it. but we shouldn't be fooled. the middle class will bear the brunt of what they are proposing as they always do. as an example, the proposed medicare surcharge on active investment income will hit the millions of small businesses that strawct tur themselves as -- structure themselves as pass-through entities as a vast of them do with an across-the-board increase on all income. proposed corporate tax increases will hit american workers based on the analyses of the nonpartisan congressional budget office and the nonpartisan joint committee on taxation. it's very simple. when you tax a company, the workers end up taking the brunt of it. about 70% of the benefit of the tax cuts and about 70% of the detriment of the tax increases goes to worker wages and benefits. costs will be passed down to
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working families in the form of even lower wages and even more inflation which means higher prices for everything. that's bad for the families that i represent. any objective analysis will show that. this massive tax-and-spend bill will actually cost a lot more than advertised. why do you say that? because it uses some budget gimmicks to be able to make the cost of the bill look like less. based on a new study that just came out by the penn warden folks if benefit programs put in place by the bill, let's say the child tax credit, increases and are not sunset in the ten-year window, then the cost goes from 1.7 trillion -- $1.75 trillion to $3.98 trillion. if you just assume we're not going to sunset things like the child tax credit, the cost goes to almost $4 trillion. democrats are proposing to end these new benefits partway through their ten-year window to help keep the costs down knowing
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full well historically benefit programs like this are not ended but always extended. so taking away the budget gimmicks, the cost of this massive tax-and-spend bill, it gets it closer to $4 trillion. by the way, that's more than twice as much as congress has ever spent on a spending bill in the history of our country. i strongly urge president biden and democrats in congress to slow down this process at a time of high inflation, record debt, and consider the devastating economic consequences of what they are proposing. this increased spending combined with job-killing tax increases could lead to the kind of st stagflation as they call it that we had in the 1970's. low growth, high interest rates, high inflation. we never want to go back there. yet if we don't change course, we could be heading in that direction. here's a better solution. just pass the right bill.
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the bipartisan pro-growth infrastructure bill that's been stuck in the house of representatives for almost three months. president biden has said he will sign it into law. it will be a victory for the american people. stop holding it hostage. instead of holding it hostage, do something good for our infrastructure everyone relies on. good for our economy, good for american families, and good for the country right now. as we approach the thanksgiving holiday, it would be a needed bipartisan victory for which all of us, republican and democrat alike, could give thanks. i yield back my time.
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mr. peters: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that all postcloture time on the harris, coleman, prieto, and nayak nominations be considered expired. further, that at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, wednesday, november 3, the senate vote on confirmation of the harris and coleman nominations, and at 5:15 p.m. on
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the confirmations of the prieto and nayak nominations, all in the order listed. and finally, if any nominations are confirmed during wednesday's session, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding -- the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. peters: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to -- to executive calendar 501 and that the senate vote on the nomination without intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: john gene kaine to be lieutenant general. the presiding officer: the question is on the nomination. all those in favor say aye. all opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it.
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the nomination is confirmed. mr. peters: i ask consent that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table all without intervening action or debate that no further motions be in order to the nomination, that any statements related to the nomination be printed in the record, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. peters: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session and be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. peters: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 436, submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 436, honoring individuals fighting and the individuals who have fallen responding to wild land fires during the ongoing
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2021, wildfire season. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. peters: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. peters: i ask unanimous consent that the veterans' affairs committee be discharged and the senate now proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 2093. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 2093, an act to direct the secretary of veterans' affairs to make all fact sheets of the department of veterans' affairs available and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mr. peters: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. peters: i know of no further
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debate on the bill. the presiding officer: is there further debate? hearing none, the question is on passage of the bill. all those in favor say aye. all opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill is passed. mr. peters: i further ask that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. peters: i ask unanimous consent that the veterans' affairs committee be discharged and the senate now proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 1510. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 1510, an act to direct the secretary of veterans' affairs to submit to congress a report on the use of cameras in medical facilities of the department of veterans' affairs. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mr. peters: i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to
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reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. peter peter i ask unanimous consent that the -- peter peter i ask unanimous consent that the homeland affairs committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate proceed to senate resolution 410. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 410, supporting the goals and ideals of cybersecurity awareness month and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mr. peters: i ask unanimous consent that the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. peters: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m., wednesday, november 3, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date,
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the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morning business be closed. that upon the conclusion of morning business, the senate proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the santos nomination. further, that notwithstanding rule 22, at 2:15 p.m., the cloture motion on the motion to proceed to s. 4, the john lewis voting rights advancement act ripen and the senate vote on cloture. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. peters: there will be two roll call votes at 11:00 a.m., and two roll call votes at 2:15 and at least two roll call votes at 5:15 p.m. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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>> u.s. senate has gaveled for the day after voting van the executive branch nominations and during the session they can from jonathan davidson to serve as deputy treasury undersecretary, wednesday, the majority leader chuck schumer plans move forward with the vote to begin debate on the john lewis voting rights advancement act, 60 senators we need to vote yes to start the debate and always you can follow the senate live right here cspan2 come up with a return. >> cspan is your unfiltered view of government, funded by these television companies and more, including cox. committed to providing eligible families access to internet and through the connection compete program and switching the digital divide one connection at a time, cox, keeping us closer.

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