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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  January 11, 2022 2:15pm-8:35pm EST

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suppression laws and make it easier for americans to vote. i and by the way to get i remind my colleagues, that's been the grand tradition of america. when the constitution was written, no states, you had to be a white male protestant property owner to vote. no one says let's go back to those days. >> you can see the remainder of this floor speech on the c-span video app or at right now we take you back life to the u.s. senate which this afternoon has votes on nominations to the commerce and transportation department. live senate coverageor here on c-span2. for health care, how important it is for education, how important it is for people to have the flexibility in all parts of the united states to have access to the ability to connect and to connect with people around the world. we have long talked about the need for an ntia administrator who understands the public
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sector and understands the private sector, and mr. davidson does that. he comes to us with a wealth of experience in both sectors, and he comes at a time when my colleagues have been asking for more leadership from the administration on broadband issues. that is to say, many of my colleagues like senator wicker, senator klobuchar and many others have asked for the coordination between ver just programs that exist within the department of commerce, the department of agriculture, and in the issues in coordination with the f.c.c. and oversight of their programs to better maximize the delivery of broadband. the presiding officer knows how much money is now on the table for broadband. we all know that this implementation is going to take a very skilled hand at trying to address both the issues of affordability and access. but, more importantly, we will be get be with mr. davidson
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somebody who understands these issues well and will help us strive to get america better connected as quickly as possible. we can't say enough about how important that is, as the covid-19 continues across the united states of america with different variants. i'm not saying it's going to be the new normal and continue for the next several years, but we know this. we need mr. davidson's help. we need his help effectively and speedily to get broadband deployment to both secsters of our economy, those who are unserved and those who are underserved. so we look forward to advancing this nominee, putting him to work as quickly as possible, and i personally look forward to working with him on these very important issues. there is much to do to leverage the dollars that we have made available, but we have to work cooperatively with all parts of the united states to make that a reality. nothing could be more important
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now to upgrading the united states' infrastructure than getting fiber deployed, getting broadband to american homes, and making our grid more secure. all of these things i look forward to working with mr. davidson on, and i appreciate his comments to me about his commitment to those issues as well. i thank the president. i yield the floor. madam president, i ask that the scheduled vote occur immediately. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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vote: the presiding officer: on this
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vote the yeas are 60. the nays are 31. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider can considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's actions. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 465, amitabha bose of new jersey to be administrator of the federal railroad administration 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 amitabha bose of new jersey to be administrator of the federal railroad administration shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: on this vote the yeas are 61, the nays are 29, and the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of transportation, amitabha bose, of new jersey, to be administrator of the federal railroad administration. mr. durbin: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois and the majority whip. mr. durbin: madam president, 20 years ago today, a c-141 star lifter made its final dissent toward the naval base. as the plane landed, there was a swarm of
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military humvees and a large con tingt of armed soldiers. the plane door opened and the passengers were offloaded. heads shaifn, -- shaven, legs shackled, the passengers were removed from the plane one by one, each wearing the name outfit, an orange jumpsuit, matching ski cap, and some were wearing blackout googles over their eyes to completely deprive them of any sensory experience. this was the scene as the first 20 detainees were hauled off to guantanamo bay. four months to the day after september 11, and the hideous terrorist attack. that afternoon, former
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secretary of defense donald rumsfeld, assured the public and made a statement. listen to his words carefully. this is what the secretary said. we do plan for the most part to treat the detainees in a manner that is reasonably consistent with the geneva conventions. madam president, that orwellian double talk kicked off a 20-year saga at guantanamo bay, a chapter in american history that is time to close. as we ■now know, th detention facility at guantanamo bay was deliberately created to avoid the requirements of the geneva conventions and other time-honored treaties that america used to brag about being party to. in the words of one
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senior official in the bush administration, guantanamo exists, quote, as the legal equivalent of outer space. close quote. it was designed to be a legal black hole where detainees could be held beyond the reach of laws and scrutiny and subjected to torture and unspeakable abuse. is it where due process goes to die. perhaps the most shameful lies surrounding the creation of guantanamo's detention facility was that it would help deliver justice to the thousands of families that died in 9/11. in march of 2002, then-george w. bush delivered a speech before congress where he said that the terrorists would not escape the justice of this nation. yet, two decades later the families who lost loved ones that day are still awaiting justice.
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the case against the alleged 9/11 coconspirators has not been resolved. in fact, it has not even gone to trial 20 years later. and at this very moment, those terrorist suspects are sitting in cells in guantanamo without any resolution in sight. think about how the world has changed since september 11, 2001. osama bin laden has been hunted down, the nation longest war is over. four presidents -- four different presidents have presided over the facility of guantanamo bay. but despite all of these changes an all this history, one tragic truth remains. america has failed to provide closure to the families of the victims who suffered unimaginable losses on september 11. and that is simply
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because guantanamo was never intended to deliver justice. if justice delayed is justice denied, guantanamo speaks for itself. and the documented history of guantanamo bay cannot be disputed. last month the judiciary committee, which i chair, held a hearing on closing guantanamo bay, finally, once and for all. one of the witnesses, particularly touching, was colleen kelly whose brother bill died in the north tower. she said that those who were responsible of supporting the 9/11 attacks, today, 20 years later, a trial has not even begun. instead family members have heard years of arguments and pretrial hearings hsm these hearings have -- hearings. these hearings have produced no legal justice for 9/11.
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they have not had anything to do with the 9/11 prosecution. at the end of her testimony, my brother bill was killed in likely the most public event in human history. my family does not have any of my brother's remains. she said directly to us, i'm asking this committee and the biden administration to deliver the next best thing, a resolution to the 9/11 military commission that provides answers to our questions, accountability for unlawful acts, justice too long denied and a path to closing guantanamo. when ms. kelly spoke before the committee, she wasn't just speak for her family, she was speaking for our nation. for 20 years guantanamo bay has defied our constitutional values and the rule of law and weakened our national security. it cost us dearly, morally, monetarily. listen to the subsidy
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which american taxpayers give to guantanamo bay. it is a subsidy that subverts justice. today, most americans couldn't answer this question. how many detainees are there in guantanamo? 39. and taxpayers spend $550 million a year to keep that facility open. do the math. that's almost $14 million per year on each prisoner. moreover, two-thirds of the remaining prisoners have never been charged with any crime. that's right, never charged, and yet they are being detained indefinitely in violation of our basic constitutional principles. of the 27 uncharged men, more than half of them have already been approved for transfer. think of that. some have been approved for years. another was approved just yesterday.
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these individuals are languishing in guantanamo for no justice final reason -- justifiable reason. every day guantanamo remains open is a victory for our nation's enemies. it is a symbol of our failure to hold terrorists accountable and to honor the sacrifices of our service members, these failures should not be passed on to another administration, they should end with the biden administration. last fall i introduced an amendment to close guantanamo. it was ambitious, i know, but it was a goal i felt most consistent with who we are as americans and what we say about justice. i was disappointed that the senate didn't take up any amendments, literally, or this amendment particularly. instead it voted to prohibit the use of federal funds to transfer guantanamo detainees to the united states and made it harder to transfer
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detainees to countries willing to accept them. that just delays the guantanamo experience even longer. but let me be clear. even with these legislative restrictions in place there is more the biden administration can and must do to accelerate the closure of guantanamo. first, the administration should repatriate or resettle of 14 detainees cleared for transfer. there is no excuse, none, for any further delay, which is why president biden should appoint a special envoy at the state department to negotiate transfer agreements with other nations. additionally, the biden administration should appoint a senior official within the white house who will be accountable for leading the process of closing guantanamo. and finally, the justice department should bring its legal positions in alignment with president biden's stated goal of close aring guantanamo in his first term. the department has yet to close course on a number of troubling legal positions, including failing to acknowledge our
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constitution's due process clause applies to prisoners held at guantanamo. it's time to stop hiding from our values. our federal courts have proven more than capable of handling even the most serious and complex terrorism cases. they've done so swiftly and efficiently. since 9/11, hundreds of terrorism suspects have been tried and convicted in our federal court system. many are now being held safely in federal prisons. meanwhile, as i mentioned, the case against alleged conspiracies in the 9/11 attacks still has not come to trial. in the face of unimaginable horror, such as the attack on the world trade center, the pentagon. we must turn to our system of justice to hold our enemies accountable. legal black holes like guantanamo are anathema to american values and accountability. one of the military officials who testified at last month's hearing was michael leonard, he
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was the very first commander at the facility of guantanamo. where does he stand today on that that facility? he is calling publicly for its swift closure. during his testimony, general leonard said, quote, most of america has forgotten about guantanamo, but hear me when i tell you that our enemies have not. closing guantanamo responsibly restores the reputation of america, it the general said, ensures accountability for those who have committed crimes against us, and provides closure for the families of those who have been harmed. by allowing guantanamo to remain open, we are giving our enemies the power to define who america is. it's time to reclaim that power and prove to the world that america is not a nation defined by our darkest moments. we're a nation defined by our values. let's start living up to them. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi.
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mr. wicker: mr. president, a few years back, i was watching a television news show, and i saw video that struck me as strike. it was a video taken by a security device outside of a residence, and basically someone is knocking on the door, multiple doors in this particular apartment, and the person knocking on the door basically said this, i am a volunteer for the democratic party, and i'm here to collect ballots from those who wish to vote democrat in the next election. i found that strange until i learned that that practice, called ballot harvesting, is perfectly legal in the state of california. in other words, it's all right
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for me, as a volunteer for my party, to go knock on the door and say, i'm here to collect your absentee ballot, but only if you're going to vote for the candidate i'm for. that's perfectly legal. it's called ballot harvesting. you hope my colleagues can see the opportunity for abuse in this particular practice, and i think most state legislatures who have prohibited this sort of practice see the opportunity for abuse. what is to stop me from saying, knock, knock, knock, i'm a volunteer for party x and i'm here to collect ballots for people who like to vote for candidates of party x? getting those ballots, and then perhaps forgetting to turn them in, or perhaps losing them or not turning them in at all? that sort of practice is rife for abuse, and i think it's the reason that most states prohibit
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that. soon we will be taking up a bill, which i'm told if it comes to us in the form that it is now, would allow that sowrt sort of -- that sort of ballot harvesting. to me, if california wants to try this, that's their right. i think it's rife for abuse, and i wish they wouldn't do it. but to impose these sorts of requirements on the rest of the nation, our friends on the other side of the aisle propose this week to vote on destroying a provision that has served this senate and this republic well for over two centuries. and that is what's known as the filibuster, but what i call the consensus building 60-vote rule.
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this is a time-honored way that this body has been unique, and it has enabled us to craft some of the most long-lasting and widely accepted legislation in the history of this republic -- the civil rights act of 1994 was passed with consensus because this senate had to have 60 votes or more. in that case, it may have been a 66-vote rule. the voting rights act of 1965 was passed with that consensus-building technique. medicare, social security, time-honored legislation that has served this republic and its citizens has been passed with this consensus-building tool. and the leadership of my friends across the aisle would bring a
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measure to the floor later this week to repeal that and make us just like the house of representatives, just make us just like every parlment -- parliament in socialist countries around the world. majority rule. 51 votes, you get it. destroying that one tool that makes us come together and reach compromise. and it wasn't just bills passed decades ago. in recent years, during your term and mine, mr. president, we passed major, major veterans legislation, with johnny isakson on one side and bernie sanders on the other side, coming together to build more facilities for veterans, to provide more choice for veterans. senator murray of washington and
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former senator alexander of tennessee came together with a major rewrite of education bills. and we did it with the filibuster in place. we had to come to an agreement. we had to get over 60 votes. and the bills were better because of that. for that reason, in april of 2017, when a republican president, a president i voted for, said we ought to think about abolishing the filibuster, 28 republicans signed a letter saying let's don't do that. they were joined by 32 democrats and by one independent who caucuses with the democrats. and if i might take the time to read the two short paragraphs to the majority leader, mcconnell, and democratic leader schumer, we are writing to urge you to support our evers to preserve -- efforts to preserve existing rules, practices, and traditions as
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they pertain to the right of members to engage in extended debate on legislation before the united states senate. senators have expressed a variety of opinions about the appropriateness of limiting debate when we are considering judicial and executive branch nominations, regardless of our past disagreements on that issue we are united, said these 28 republicans and 32 democrats and one independent, we are united in our determination to preserve the ability of members to engage in extended debate when bills are on the senate floor. and now, mr. president, i'm told, unless i've been sadly misinformed, that every senator from across the aisle, save two, save two, are prepared to go against what was specifically said in this letter, and on election laws say that we're
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going to make all the decisions in washington, d.c. and take that away from the states. now, i heard the distinguished majority leader say earlier today, and i had to ask about it , i heard the distinguished majority leader say georgia has, of all things, made it a felony to give water to people standing in line to vote. and i sat listening to the majority leader in astonishment. how could that possibly be? well, it turns out that if a charitable group or if a neutral person wants to come give somebody water in line in georgia, that's all right. what's against the law in georgia is for me as candidate x to come up with a bottle of water that says vote for candidate x and give it to somebody in line. apparently, the people in
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georgia in a decision-making role have decided once you get in line to vote, you're no longer fair game. politicians should leave you alone once you get in line to vote. it's not a matter of giving somebody water. it's a matter of electioneering, hi, i'm roger wicker, running for senator, here's a bottle of water, hope you'll remember me in another 50 feet when you get into the polling place. the people of georgia in their wisdom have decided that's going too far, and i'm told, perhaps the distinguished majority leader could come to the floor and correct me, and i would stand corrected if he did, i'm told that it's against the la you in new york to do the same thing. once you're in line in new york, somebody comes to hand you something that advocates for one candidate or another, that is forbidden, not only under georgia law but under new york law, and i can see the wisdom of that.
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two months ago, mr. president, there were two amendments to the new york constitution that were presented before the voters, the november 2 election, 2021, in the state of new york. one would have deleted the current requirement that a citizen be registered to vote for ten days. now, in my state you got to be registered for 30 days. in new york state it's ten days. the law is you got to be registered for ten days or you can't vote. a proposition was put on the ballot, eliminate that, allow same-day registration. guess what the voters of new york did on that proposal a short two months ago. they voted 56.3% no, against that. are we to assume that the voters of the state of new york are jim crow on steroids? as the president of the united
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states would suggest. or can we probably assume that they thought a ten-day period before voting was appropriate and that we should keep it that way? i choose to think that we want 30 days in mississippi, if maine wants same-day registration and if the voters of new york say ten days is all right, by a double-digit marge gin, they have the right to do that. and again, if the distinguished democratic leader can prove me wrong, i would accept that and apologize to him for that. there was another issue on the ballot, and i hope not to take too much more time, because i see my distinguished colleague from louisiana here, the amendment would have deleted the requirement that an absentee voter give an excuse. these are the excuses you've got
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in new york right now -- you have to be able to -- unable to appear because of absence from the county or because of illness or physical disability. that's a requirement in new york. somebody put on the ballot, delete that requirement. guess what the voters of new york decided. they decided to keep that requirement. by vote of, again, double digits , 55.03% of new yorkers voted no on that. i don't condemn them for doing that. i'm sure they had a reason for doing that. but i think the leadership of the state of new york and the voters of the state of new york had a right to do that, and i don't condemn them for doing it, and i would not -- i would certainly not break a two-century consensus-building
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provision that has withstood the test of time to tell new york they can't do that. to tell all the 50 states that they must conform to an election law that we devised here in washington, d.c. this is a pivotal peek, mr. president -- week, mr. president. this is a week that will decide the future not only of the senate but the future of our government, our representative government and the future of our republic. i urge my colleagues think twice about this. sometimes i've had to stand up to my party and say i can't vote with you on that one. i know you want me to. i know i will suffer some reproach for not going with the team, but i am begging members of both parties to search their
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hearts and decide in this case we're going to preserve the one consensus-building, compromise-encouraging provision that has withstood the test of time. i hope that happens. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. a senator: mr. president, and hey, folks, did you hear about the attempt to steal an ele election? ms. ernst: maybe you heard this about a year ago or so, big attempt to steal an election. just last year we had washington insiders colluding to overturn the will of the people in a fair and free election. yes, you heard it right. an attempt to steal an election.
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but it's probably not the election that you are thinking about. speaker of the house of representatives nancy pelosi attempted to steal a seat in the house, iowa's second district congresswoman won her election in 2020 and was certified by iowa's secretary of state, 24 county auditors of both parties, and the bipartisan state board of canvas. and she is here with me today, representative ma miller meeks. thank you for being here with me
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today, representative. in a blatant political power grab, the speaker of the house spent over $600,000 of taxpayer money in an attempt to unseat the duly elected congresswoman miller meeks. even some members of the democratic party sounded the alarm bell on this brazen attempt to reverse the election results. representative dean phillips said at the time, quote, losing a house election by six -- yes, by six votes is painful for democrats. but overturning it in the house would be even more painful for
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america. voters in iowa and across america should choose their representatives without interference from politicians in washington. guaranteeing both the right to vote as well as the integrity of our election system ensures fair and free elections, which are the foundation of our republic. the attempt to overturn the iowa election results was the opening salvo in the less ongoing rush to take over elections. democrats' proposals are seeking to limit voter i.d., legalize ballot harvesting, provide taxpayer money to campaigns, and weaponize the federal election
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commission. using fake hysteria they are trying to blow up the senate and fundamentally change our country. however, their very effort is unpopular, unnecessary, and unacceptable. mr. president, i served as a local county auditor and commissioner of elections. my home state has seen various commonsense election reforms throughout the years. in fact, in 2017 the iowa legislature modernized our laws which also included requiring voter i.d. at the time of its passage, democrats warned the law was dangerous and an unnecessary hurdle and a significant barrier
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for anyone who is not a white male. they could not have been further from the truth. three times since the new iowa voter law was implemented, the state has seen record high turnout for elections, record high turnout. huge voter participation. this includes record high absentee voting during the 2020 presidential election. the 2021 elections also boasted record off-year turnout. record off-year turnout. my friends on the other side of the aisle will have you believe that voters are being suppressed in red states all over this country. the irony here is that new york,
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home of the democratic leader, and delaware, home of president biden have some of the most restrictive voting laws in the entire country. and iowa, because it has modernized our elections in the course of the number of past years has been demonized by democrats when oddly enough iowa's election laws are much more progressive than delaware and new york. just this past november, new yorkers overwhelmingly voted down a ballot initiative to allow no excuse absentee voting. new york voters also rejected a proposition that would have allowed individuals to register to vote and cast a ballot on
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election day. by the way, iowa had same-day voter registration. thank you. now the senior senator from new york is threatening to destroy the senate to override the wishes of the residents of his very own state who voted against the policies he is trying to impose on every other state. does that sound like democracy to you? it's not. while the media will have you believe that senate republicans are blocking the democratic leader's ageneral today, it's really -- agenda, it's really the voters of his own state. liberal states have some of the most restrictive election laws in a country. and don't take my word for it. an expose recently published in the atlantic found some states that the democrats control in the northeast make casting a
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ballot more difficult than anywhere else. and that the voting bill being pushed in congress would hit some blue states just as hard if not harder. now, that's office the atlantic." the red states are limiting the right to vote. and i'll remind you iowa is much more progressive than these states. plain and simple, washington democrats are gaslighting the american people. there is not a voting crisis in this country. it is manufactured. their push to blow up the senate and take over elections isn't about voter access. it's about power. the same power that liberal elites in washington abused in their rush to steal iowa's second congressional district.
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now held by congresswoman miller-meeks and silenced iowans' voices. mr. president, what happened in iowa, what was attempted in iowa should never be allowed to happen anywhere ever again. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. kennedy: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, my friend senator
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schumer and some of my democratic friends would like to change one of the enduring institutions of this insti institution. they want to get rid of the filibuster and i call it the 60-vote threshold. and a reasonable person might ask, well, why not? institutions change all the time. change is the law of life. i'll tell you why not, mr. president. i want you to hear these words of wisdom. we are on the precipice of a crisis, a constitutional crisis.
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getting rid of the filibuster. the checks and balances which have been at the core of this republic are about to be evaporated by the nuclear op option. getting rid of the filibuster. the checks and balances would say if you get 51% of the vote, you do not get your way a hundred percent of the time. if you get 51% of the vote, you do not get your way a hundred percent of the time. in the united states senate. that is what we call abuse of power. there is, unfortunately, a whiff of extremism in the air. those are words of wisdom. by senator chuck schumer, may
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18, 2005. mr. president, if we change the 60-vote threshold, if we change this institution which is part of the institution of the united states senate, it will gut this body like a fish, like a fish. and everybody in this body knows that if that is accomplished, our institution will look like a scene out of mad maxx. america is a -- god, what a wonderful place. it's a big, wide open, diverse,
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sometimes dysfunctional, oftentimes imperfect but good country with good people in it. and i want to emphasize the diversity part, mr. president. what constitutes the good life in my state may not constitute the good life in connecticut or in california or in florida or in maine. and that's one of the reasons that we have and have had the institution of the 60-vote threshold. if you're growing to make a law that's going to impact the entirety of this big, wide open, diverse country, then you ought
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to have 60 votes. because if you only have 51 votes, 51% of the vote does not get your way a hundred percent of the time. and it's worked for a long time. now, mr. president, i don't want to sound like i'm lecturing, because i get it. i get it. i get that my democratic friends -- and some of my republican friends who frankly are probably thinking about this. but i get that my democratic friends get -- they want to serve their president. we all want to serve our president. but you especially want to serve your president when the president is of your own party. i remember when president trump -- now like president biden --
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said get rid of the filibuster. i can't get my bills passed. we said no. and by we, i mean republicans and democrats. here's the letter right here. it was led by senator collins, a republican, and senator chris coons. i signed it. we said no. now president biden wants to do the same thing. that's what presidents do. they try to pass their bills. so i get it. and to my democratic colleagues and any republican colleagues that are thinking about voting for senator schumer's change of heart, i want to tell them, i get it, too. i get it. i know the frustration. i have felt it. i've talked about it on this
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floor before. you know, we all come up here for one reason -- to make this country better. and we're ready to go to work, and we want to debate and we want to decide. we didn't come up here for delay. we didn't come up here for stultification. so i get it. i get the frustration. but you don't satisfy those aims by not following these words of wisdom by senator schumer. now, once passions have cooled, i don't want my words to be construed as an assertion that everything about our body is
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perfect. there are changes once passions have cooled and the filibuster is intact, the 60-vote threshold is intact. i use 60-vote threshold because filibuster to some has negative connotations, and it's a positive rule, not a negative rule. but once passions have cooled, there are a lot of questions that we need to sit down to talk about, and if my democratic friends with aens to -- friends want to talk about them, i will be there. i'll pounce on it like a ninja. there are questions we need to be asking ourselves about this body, how we can make it better. do we give our majority leader too much authority? it's not personal. do we give our minority leader too much authority? it's not personal. but that's a fair question.
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every member of this body knows about the diminution of our committee system. why do we even have committees anymore, for god's sakes? i mean, you go work your committee, you get a bill out. it's a bipartisan bill and you're feeling all toasty and ready to go, and you learn pretty quick around this place that doesn't matter. it's probably as dead as fried chicken if the majority leader doesn't want to bring it up. and that's true whether the majority leader is republican or democrat. we need to have an honest conversation about the diminution of the committee process. our amendment rules -- my god, there's not a single member of this body that really understands those rules. i mean, if you ask -- pick ten senators at random and say, tell
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me the truth, now, downed the rules of the senate about how -- do you understand the rules of the senate about how to offer an amendment? nine out of ten will tell you no and the tenth is lying. we ought to have an amendment process that looks like somebody designed it on purpose, and we don't. we ought to talk about that. and we ought to talk about the fact that this body -- it didn't happen just yesterday -- has ceded an enormous amount of our power under a madisonian system of separation of powers to the executive branch and to the administrative state. and after this is over, if any of my democratic friends with aens to the have that talk and see if we -- friends want to have that talk and see if we can't come up with a way to improve this body and ask some hard questions, i will be there
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-- happily. and i hope we can make progress. but to my colleagues i say, please -- please don't do this. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mrs. fischer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: thank you, mr. president. president biden wants to pass a new new deal. in fact, in some ways the reckless spending the president is pushing for actually dwarfs the new deal. but joe biden is not f.d.r., and we are not living in the great depression. the new deal passed the house and the senate on the back of huge democratic supermajorities. today americans have elected a 50-50 senate and a razor-thin
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democratic majority in the house. the american people voted for bipartisanship and compromise in the united states congress, not a blanket mandate for progressives to reorganize american life as they see fit. but some democrats in congress seem to think they did. and because they haven't reached out to republicans to work together on important issues, they haven't been able to pass their build back better plan. so they've turned their attention to another kind of federal government overreach -- overhauling the way our country runs elections. their argument is that lawmakers in red states are trying to make it harder for people to vote, and so it's necessary for washington democrats to take over election administration in all 50 states.
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one important point -- the first part of that is simply not true. the right to vote is not under assault. according to pew research, 94% of americans believe that voting is easy. in my home state of nebraska, we achieved a record 76% voter turnout in the 2020 election, in the middle of a pandemic, because of all the different ways that my state made it easier for nebraskans to vote, including expanded early voting and no-excuse absentee voting. but democrats still want to pass a federal takeover of elections. and because the rules don't allow them to pass every single law they would like to in a
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50-50 senate, many of my democrat colleagues are flip-flopping to oppose the filibuster. president biden, who defended the filibuster during his nearly 40 years in the senate, now wants a special carve-out for democrats' election takeover. but who says it's going to stop there? the majority leader said in 2005 when democrats were in the minority that doing away with the filibuster would, quote, wash away 200 years of history and mean doomsday for democracy, end quote. today, no one is pushing harder to end it than he is. and democrats were perfectly happy to use the filibuster hundreds of times during the four years of the trump presidency, when the majority
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leader was the minority leader and republicans had even larger majorities in congress. this isn't some debate about some arcane senate rule. this is about protecting the rights of the minority in our democracy. this is about providing stability and certainty to our people. if the majority is able to constantly push through their views and policy every few years, drastic swings in policy will take place -- tax policy, social policy, health policy, foreign policy, defense policy. the laws of the united states will start to just whip back-and-forth following where the power lies in this chamber.
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and those shifts will weaken our nation, both here at home and abroad. in 2017, the senior senator from maine and the junior senator from delaware led a bipartisan letter urging senate leadership to preserve the 60-vote threshold for legislation. and while i appreciate their efforts, i did not sign that letter. i was concerned that many democrats only signed it because they were afraid the g.o.p., the republicans were going to end the filibuster. i believe that many of my democratic colleagues would soon turn against the letter's own arguments and they'd go back on their word. i believed that because a few
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years earlier i had listened to reasons they gave for changing the executive filibuster for presidential nominations when they were in the majority, and i had then watched them reverse those positions when they were back in the minority. i felt they would flip again for political reasons as soon as they returned to the majority. mr. president, of the 61 senators who did sign that letter, 30 were democrats, 28 are still in office, and i am sorry to say that they have proved me right. but when republicans were in the majority, we said we wouldn't abolish the legislative filibuster, and we've kept our word. the truth is that some of my
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democratic colleagues want to remake the american system only in their own image, not considering the views of about half of our citizens. and to do that, they have to take an axe to the filibuster. but i urge them to think about the consequences that their actions may have. without the filibuster, any senate majority would be free to ignore the other side to pass their own agenda. bipartisanship? well, it would become a relic of the past. i know that democrats don't want that to happen. i don't want it to happen either. and that is why i have consistently supported the senate filibuster, no matter who is in power.
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i urge my colleagues to think beyond the passions of the moment and to do what is best for this country in the long term. leave the filibuster in place. democrats may want to use it again as soon as next year. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. young: thank you, mr. president. in a letter written in 1789, thomas jefferson declared, earth belongs to the living, not the dead. relationships between generations, he explained, are
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but that of a distant set of independent nations. mr. president, i don't know how many of my democratic colleagues still admire mr. jefferson, but they're certainly taking his words to heart. there's little concern about one side of the chamber about the impact of our actions beyond our own time here. there's a belief that the importance of this hour's partisan ambitions outweighs the values of centuries-old institutions. abandoning the 60-vote threshold to seize control of america's elections isn't simply shortsighted, it's clueless. it's the exact opposite of what the people who sent us here want. back home in indiana, i hear
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from anxious hoosiers because these are anxious times. i knows what's on their mind. rising inflation, cost of putting food on their table and gas in their tanks. i hear from them about paying to heat their homes. many are struggling to pay next month's rent. they are tired of and still worried about a pandemic that president biden promised to shut down. and they are angry. many are angry about a southern border that this president has left wide open. in the middle of all this, an affordability crisis, an ongoing pandemic, a broken border, changing the senate rules to nationalize indiana's elections, to repeal popular voter i.d.
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laws, to use tax dollars to fund political campaigns are not high mong hoosier -- among hoosier priorities or the priorities of the american people. you know what is though? congress coming together, finding compromise, actually addressing in a collective way our shared national challenges. it's one of the most widely ignored messages of the last election. every year one of my colleagues should take note. if america wanted a radical extreme partisan set of changes put forward, they wouldn't have evenly divided the united states senate. believe it or not, they want us to collaborate. and we've shown them we're capable of doing that. let me remind my colleagues, we formed a united front against china when it comes to
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competitiveness and trade policy. we helped american workers and small businesses hurt by the pandemic. we gave our troops a pay raise. now, these and so many other achievements are really important. they are achievements that will benefit america now and in the years to come. we need to do more. working together. now, look, i've been around here long enough, i understand that my democratic colleagues are frustrated. i say to my colleagues, you've had less success with your reckless multitrillion-dollar social spending bill than you would like. i understand that. you're proposal to federalize and politicize america's elections has been a tough sell. i understand that.
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as a result, america's democracy, we are told, is in peril, and the only way to save it is to kill the 60-vote threshold. but the 60-vote threshold is not the source of our nation's dysfunction. i say to my colleagues, your democratic radical agenda is driving much of the angst, the anxiety and frustration among the american people. the so-called legislative filibuster is not a threat to our democracy, ending it is. my advice is to rethink your priorities. if you want to end gridlock, do the difficult work of actually building coalitions of support, introduce bills to be referred to the committees of jurisdiction that republicans can actually vote for. allow for an open amendment
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process -- open-amendment process, as we did with the china bill. now, this is the entire point of the 60-vote threshold. it's a forcing mechanism during fraught times like these that gives the minority a say in the process. it forces majorities to find ways to compromise. it incentivizes bipartisan collaboration among senators representing diverse parts of our nation with differing values, disenfranchising priorities -- differing priorities. america wants us to go through this hard work of finding common ground of reconciling their differences. that's our job. and, yes, it is an obstacle to simple majority rule, it is an obstacle to one party, either party, raising our institutions
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by the slimmest of margins, but need i remind my colleagues, this is not a direct democracy, this is a republican small r form of government, frustrating as it may be, the filibuster, in its way, is a source of and sometimes the source of order and even unity in congress. now, if you think our current political division is troubling, colleagues, torch the filibuster, foist your unpopular partisan priorities on all americans and then check the health of our democracy. pour gasoline on this raging fire. don't be shocked by its sorry state after you do so. i'll close with a familiar
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caveat. majorities, no matter their size, never endure. looked at in the light of human history, all of us, even the most long tenured are here for little more than a hiccup in time. yes, what one party sows today the other will reap tomorrow. clearing the path for every grandly ambitious democratic priority aimed at reshaping our country would only clear the way for a future republican effort to repeal and replace it with one of our own with even greater scale. beyond this, though, as much as i admire thomas jefferson, i do not believe that the earth belongs only to the living. no, citizens place both their trust and their destiny in a set of shared institutions.
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in america this forms a compact that stretches across centuries and generations and includes those in the grave and those yet unborn and for the moment we, republicans, democrats, independents, we are its custodians. if we give in to temporary passions, if we tear our institutions to shreds rather than work through them to serve the people, rewriting the rules when we don't win the game, we're failing in our jobs. we're breaking that compact. so i said it in my first speech on this floor standing right over there and i'll repeat it until my last speech, we are, above all else, the custodians of the common good -- the common good. remember that, colleagues,
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before you take a hammer to one of the senate's signature means of advancing it. i yield. mr. boozman: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. president. i've had the privilege of serving arkansans in the u.s. house and the u.s. senate in the majority and minority so i understand how important it is to protect the rights of minorities and individual states, especially those like arkansas that are more rural and less populated. that's what our country's founders had in mind when they formed the senate. the senate is referred to as the world's greatest deliberative
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body. the key word being deliberative. it was not crafted to quickly approve or reject legislation passed by the house as a mere formality. instead it has equal representation to each state and a procedural process that incentivizes and rewards consensus, allowing individual senators to secure, and just as importantly, stop dramatic policy changes, is what sets this body apart. the filibuster provides each of us leverage that must be preserved. unfortunately, many of our colleagues on the other side have succumbed to short-sighted political calculations and endorsing changing the senate's rules in order to jam through their legislative priorities. however the ability to prevent changes that would sow uncertainty is invaluable.
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as such i intend to continue protecting the filibuster. our democratic friends, with some exceptions, are now abandoning their previous support for the filibuster, which while in the minority they argued was indispensable and was utilized with zeal to great effect. even president biden who exercised his right to stop or hamper nominations or nominees he had concern with has decided to embrace the filibuster is no match for the loudest voices in his party demanding to discard it. the justifications joint in one -- point in one direction, keeping power. today the biden administration and democrats believe this requires abandoning the minority party's ability to pump the brakes on the excesses of one party control in washington. worse, the grave threat to the
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fabric of our society and experiment in self-governorring, they are -- self-governing it amounts to state legislatures reining in policies that were enacted during the covid-19 pandemic. things like reasonable limits on absentee voting, commonsense legislation rules and practical deadlines. they want to bring the full weight of the government down on states like arkansas that have sought to protect election integrity by blocking ballot harvesting or ensuring the accuracy of voter rolls of this is not an -- this does not warrant breaking the senate or being unconstitutionally super seeded. most members of the majority are
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singing a different tune when it comes to tinkering with longstanding rules of the senate to achieve partisan ends. i think it's important to applaud our colleagues on the other side of the aisle who remain committed to protecting the filibuster and by extension the very integrity of this institution. they have come under intense pressure, yet i recognize, and they recognize, how important this tool is, the harm that would come from abandoning or undermining and the majority -- and that majorities in the senate do not last forever. should the senate go down this path, it would result in exceedingly scorched earth where consensus is even harder to find and shifting majorities implement drastic policy transformations when a president is willing to you -- to rubber-stamp whatever congress approves. i have opposed this from my own side of the aisle in the past and understand it's not always
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an easy thing to do. my colleagues and i will not acquiesce on this question and i hope the senate can move on in a bipartisan way to address the challenges our country is facing and find solutions that actually help americans facing real-world problems instead of spending any more time on partisan threats to spend -- upend this body's traditions that would ultimately diminish its unique and necessary place within a government that is truly the envy of the world. and, with that, i yield. mr. barrasso: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you,
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mr. president. i comb to join my distinguished colleague from arkansas as i agree with everything he said about this latest power grab by the democrats in the united states senate, their efforts to change the rules, to rewrite the rules, to force through an agenda, which i see, as do so many americans, which is radical, extreme, dangerous and scary. what the democrats are proposing right here is that they muzzle the voice of half of the country. so why are they doing this? well, really has nothing to do with the priorities that are the priorities of the folks from my home state of wyoming or the previous speaker's home state of arkansas or the next speaker from west virginia. oh, no, has nothing to do with that. has nothing to do with the priorities that the gallup poll tells us or polls of concerns all around america. coronavirus and the crisis we face there. the crisis at the southern board
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border, almost 2 million illegal americans coming into the united states, crimes in the cities with murders up year after year, amazingly up this year. and then, of course, the raimg rage -- the raging fires of inflation, cutting into people's paychecks so that the money doesn't go as far. when families in home states are looking at the fact they're going to be paying about $3,500 more next year than last and the year before that, just to keep up, to maintain the quality of living, they got a lot of concerns, and what the democrats are trying to do isn't even one of them. because the democrats are trying to take a federal takeover of elections. that's what they're trying to pass. they want to cram through a bill that they know otherwise would not pass. so what's in the bill? well, democrats want to do things like ban voter identification. in my home state of wyoming, i know in the previous speaker's
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state of arkansas and the soon-to-be speaker from west virginia, we know that people believe if you want to get a ballot, when you want to vote, you should have to prove you are who you say you are. in the home states of the presiding officer, the former presiding officer, many states, you want to go to a restaurant, you have to show your papers to prove you were vaccinated, to go into a building, to go to a sporting event. and yet, the democrats are proposing that you shouldn't have to show anything to prove you even are who you say you are in order to vote. one of the incumbents who want to vote for this, did we mention that there are taxpayer dollars going to incumbent members of congress to pay for their political campaigns? no wonder so many of the democrats have voted for this. money into their own pockets. democrats want washington, d.c. to micromanage elections across
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the country. they want to rig the rules of the senate so they can impact and enact this unpopular bill to take over elections in america. american people aren't asking for this. this recent gallup poll that i alluded to asked people what they thought were the most important -- was the most important issue facing the country. voting laws didn't even crack then top 20. in a list of 23, it came in as 23rd. it is the democrats' number one priority, and it is the last priority of the american public. it wasn't even an asterisk. it didn't even get 1% of the vote. if democrats take over the senate to take over elections and break the rules of the senate, there will be no stopping them from passing the rest of this dangerous and extreme agenda.
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democrats know that there's an election coming in november. they can read the polls. they know it's not looking good for them. they know there is a very unpopular president in the white house. they know their numbers are sinking, their ship is sinking, and they will soon be in the minority in both the house and the senate. frankly, the election for the democrat and the election after that doesn't look so good either, because it only took one year for people all across the country to recognize that the current president of the united states, joe biden, is both overwhelmed and ineffective as president of the united states. there is no denying that. changing the rules, as the democrats are proposing to do, really is their last chance to pass their left wing fringe ideas. it's a last chance to pack the supreme court.
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democrats in this body introduced legislation to pack the supreme court, add four democrats to the court. last chance to add new states to the union. last chance to give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. last chance before democrats lose control of the congress. so why do they want to change the rules? it's because their agenda is so unpopular with the american people. i understand one democrat said to another, we got to do it now because it's our last chance to force socialism on the american people whether they want it or not. instead of changing the rules, democrats should change their agenda. democrats should focus on what the american people say is important to them. it is our constituents that determine what's important to them. they are to communicate it to
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us. we are to represent them. what's important to them? well, it's getting ahead of the coronavirus. it's securing the border. and it's really to stop adding fuel to the fire of inflation, when paychecks can't keep up with the cost of gas and groceries. "wall street journal" story yesterday about all the democrats that signed a letter saying money from new england, members of this body, who said energy costs are so high the government should do something about it. this is after joe biden killed the keystone x.l. pipeline, stops gas and oil exploration, and their own home states are blocking pipelines which could carry inexpensive energy to the people living there. yet, the democrats want the government to do more. the government has done enough damage already. there are lots of ideas that could pass the senate and the house and be signed into law that would actually help the
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american people. those are the things the american people are asking for. the american people are not asking for a blatant democrat power grab to force through a very liberal agenda. people don't want to be muzzled. they don't want to have their voices silenced. they want real solutions. they don't want the democrats' radical agenda. if thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: i would ask unanimous consent that the senate vote on confirmation of the bose nomination at a time to be determined by the ma joort leader -- majority leader in consultation with the minority leader. is there objection? there is no objection. the senator from west virginia. mrs. moore capito: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to deliver i think one of my more posh speeches i -- more important speeches i
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will give as a member of this body, that is to defend the long-standing rules of the united states senate. we are at a critical moment, make no mistakes of with the slimmest of majorities, the democrats haven't been able to pass their wildly unpopular agenda, so they are considering using the nuclear option, just think of the term, nuclear option, to show you how draconian it is to eliminate the senate's 60-vote threshold for legislation. they're doing it under the guise of protecting voting rights. make no mistake, this power grab is not about voting rights. instead, it is about advancing one party's agenda. so i'd like to take a look back at what democrats, including president biden, have said on the issue and why they are changing their tune. we can also debunk the arrangement that, if given the chance, republicans would change the rules and eliminate the filibuster, as the democrats wish to do now.
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finally, most important to me, i'm going to talk about how this short-sighted move would impact west virginians, those that i represent here in the senate. they're the ones who will ultimately be hurt by this reckless and irresponsible change, and it's my responsibility to do what i can to stop it. so, as president biden is in atlanta today taking the bully pulpit to protest a state's law that he does not like as a reason to end the filibuster, he even says this is one of those defining moments. it really is. people are going to be judged where they were before and where they are after the vote. interesting he would say that, because i would like to remind president biden where he was when he was senator biden and what he had to say about eliminating it the filibuster on this very floor in 2005. he said, and i quote, it's not only a bad idea, it upsets the
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constitutional design and it disservices the country. well, senator biden, i couldn't agree more, but he's not the only one who has done a complete 180 when it comes to the filibuster. majority leader schumer once said it would be doomsday for democracy. that sounds pretty bad, dooms day for democracy if the filibuster were to be eliminated, and he's right. more recently he called the filibuster the most important distinction between the house and the senate. again, i couldn't agree more. from my home state of west virginia, the late senator senator robert byrd, a longtime democrat, was unequivocal in his defense of preserving senate rules. he wrote in 2010 that, quote, the senate has been the last fortress of minority rights, and freedom of speech in this republic for more than two centuries. i pray that senators will pause and reflect before ignoring that
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history and that tradition in favor of the political priority of the moment. what would he say today? so, again, this is not about voting rights. it's important to note that we did have a record turnout in 2020, more people voted than ever before. more than 158 ballots were cast in 2020, which is a 7% increase from 2016, and we didn't have this voting rights legislation. in west virginia, we had thousands more people vote than voted in 2016. as a matter of fact, the total number of ballots cast in 2020 was more than any election in our history, with one exception, the 1960 election of president john f. kennedy. so don't believe the hyperbole. don't believe the rhetoric. don't take the bait. the partywide flip-flop we are now seeing has nothing to do with voting rights. instead, it has everything to do
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with paving the way for an aggressive and progressive agenda that the democrats wish to enact. one of the arguments from the other side i hear all the time is, well, the republicans would do the same thing and change the rules if given the chance. guess what -- we could have done that. unfortunately, that argument doesn't carry much weight. leader mcconnell, sometimes under intense pressure to do this, he never wavered, and we protected this institution. we didn't change the rules on the legislative filibuster when we didn't get our way. we could have, but we didn't. again, again, he knows, just as president biden and leader schumer know, that if you can't get what you want, changing the rules is no way to govern. i certainly wouldn't run my household like that. it's no way to govern, because it ultimately hurts those who sent us here to represent them. my home state of west virginia, you know what they want?
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they want us to work together, like they saw us do on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. i hear this all the time. bipartisanship is critical to making good and better policy, and if the senate rules are changed it would be a relic of the past. we just passed and was signed into law the infrastructure bill that i worked tore negotiate -- to negotiate. we've also passed the cares act, the opioid, the great american outdoors act bipartisan. we can do this. but if we change the rules to where only 50 votes are needed to pass legislation, there will be zero incentive for motivation for the two sides to work together. just as badly, legislative accomplishments could be done or undone, redone and done, over and over, with just one flip of a senate seat. policies harmful to my state could be enacted. the green new deal, court-packing, federalizing our elections. by the way, 54 of my 55 county
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clerks oppose that legislation. packing the senate with new states. defunding the police. attacking the second amendment for law abiding americans and more. we don't even have to imagine what democrats could do, or would want to do, we just look at new york and what they just did. they just allowed -- they're going to allow 800,000 noncitizens to vote. to put that in context, in my state of west virginia, we only had 794,000 voters who voted for president in 2020. ramming radical policies through congress without even attempting to gain consensus is not what our founders envisioned, and it's not how americans want us to operate. rest assured, those willing to change the rules to benefit themselves will do it again and again and again. today, supposedly, it's voting rights. tomorrow it could be gun control. the next day it could be open borders. i can only imagine.
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i'm asking my fellow senators on the other side of the aisle, don't do this. you'll come to regret it, i think, if you do. but i think that we need to preserve the rights of the minority. we need to preserve the chance for bipartisanship. we need to preserve the traditions of the senate. if you destroy this tradition, unfortunately the country will suffer the consequences. thank you. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. a senator: i ask unanimous consent that the following interns in my office be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the congress. frances prosper, jared sacked, emily irsac and taylor whitmore.
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the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. marshall: i may be one of the senate's newest members but that does not mean i don't understand the purpose of the filibuster to this body or this nation as a whole. like senators before me, i've observed the practice from the other side of the capitol as a member of the house and i've heard the calls from a frustrated majority to eliminate it for the sake of jamming through an agenda and cashing in on the political gain that would come from doing so. but anyone who has an appreciation for our founding knows the purpose of the filibuster is indeed to frustrate the majority, to serve as an additional check in our government, and drive consensus and cooperation. its purpose is to protect the rights of the minority and prevent the tyranny of the majority. in short, to save us from ourselves. the senators supporting the majority leader's effort to eliminate the 60-vote threshold
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seem to once understand this, too. just a few years ago 25 of them cosigned a letter opposing, quote, any effort to curtail the existing rights and prerogatives of senators to engage in full, robust, and extended debate. end quote. sadly we're now witnessing the most blatant, hypocritical policies which we've ever seen as many current democrat senators and the president have abandoned these principles. this flip-flop appears to be on the name of greed and power. they want to break the filibuster so they can break other institutions such as the supreme court and state elections to rig the political system that their favor because they can't win on their own radical, socialist policies. without the filibuster, we will see tax laws, immigration rules, and more major policy go up and down like a roller coaster. negatively impacting our
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economy, creating uncertainty, and making it impossible for long-term business planning. the filibuster is meant to force both parties to work together to come up with long lasting policies which will help all americans. take, for example, voting legislation. i want to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat, easier to vote, harder to cheat. with nancy pelosi's power grab act and other radical election proposals, the democrats want to let the federal government take over elections which is unconstitutional, make it easier to commit fraud, pave the way for mass ballot harvesting, let felons vote, take integrity out of elections process by prohibiting voter i.d., something i'm proud to say kansas requires. voter end indication. -- voter end indication, -- identification and it's working and route taxpayer dollars
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toward funding political candidates they may not agree with. i hope members of this body can come together in a bipartisan way to tackle the important issue of election integrity without destroying the 60-vote threshold in the senate. we've shown in recent weeks we can work together in a bipartisan fashion. the senate vote 88-11 to pass annual defense authorization bill in december. the help committee is currently working through a bipartisan bill to help tackle future pandemics. we can still tackle major issues in the senate without abandoning our principles. the right to extend a debate for members of this body has been preserved for two centuries. longer than the constitutional method of electing senators via their home state legislatures, which was ended with the 17th amendment was ratified. it's a dark day the senators are being forced to come to the senate floor to defend the 60-vote threshold. it would be one of the body's darkest days if 51 senators
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changed the rules and removed our rights to robust debate and the right of our home states to have equal representation in this most distinguished legislative body. and it will come back to haunt them. the answer to these partisan times is not to double down on partisanship and blow up the filibuster. i pray cooler and wiser heads will prevail. and we'll maintain this important function of the senate. otherwise our nation is destined to become a winner takes all system where the rights of the minority will never again be considered and our nation will suffer for it. thank you. i yield back. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to express my opposition to the majority leader's plan to change the senate rules. it would open the door wide for
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the filibuster to be eliminated for all legislation moving forward. the bottom line is very simple. the ideologues in the senate want to turn what the founding fathers called the cooling saucer of democracy into the rubber stamp of dictatorship. they want to because they can't get their way. they want to wash away 200 years of history. they want to turn this country into a banana republic where if you can't get your way, you change the rules. it would be a doomsday for democracy. these are strong words and these are wise words but they're not my words. they're direct quotes from senator schumer back in 2005 when he was a staunch opponent of weakening the filibuster. that's because during that time the then junior senator from new york at his -- and his democratic colleagues were making unprecedented use of the
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filibuster to derail president george w. bush's judicial nominees. the majority leader at one point profoundly admitted that, yes, we're blocking judges by filibuster. that's part of the hallowed process around here of the founding fathers saying the senate is the cooling saucer. but things have certainly changed two decades later. president biden, the majority leader, and their democratic allies are intent on ending the filibuster the second -- were intent on ending the filibuster the second the democrats won the senate last january. the majority leader's latest attempt is to force a carve-out of the filibuster for what he claims will be just for one piece of legislation. but he knows where it leads. the full elimination of the filibuster. and sooner rather than later. i thought my friend, the senior senator from west virginia, put
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it perfectly last week. he said the problem with carve-outs is that you end up eating the whole bird. there's no such thing as a carve-out when it comes to the filibuster, and we all know it and i'll talk a little bit about that later. but for more than a century, the filibuster has served as a safeguard for our republic. it's prevented one party from ramming through an ideological agenda when that party controls both the white house and congress. without the filibuster, both the far left and the far right would have free rein. with both parties regularly trading control of congress, laws can just as easily be overturned and replaced, promoting the cut of chaotic, confusing policymaking we see in some european parliaments. by requiring 60 votes to end the debate in the senate, the
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filibuster promotes stability. it necessitates bipartisan compromise to pass legislation. that's something we need more of, not less. i saw it firsthand when i was a proud participant in the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. that's the way this chamber needs to work. that's why when president trump demanded that i think some 30 times that the republicans should eliminate the filibuster in 2017, 61 senators joined together in a letter making it clear that we would not let it happen. 32 were democrats. and 29 were republicans. i was one of them. and even though i received my fair share of push back from my side of the aisle back in north carolina, i was proud to sign that letter in 2017 and i'd be proud to sign that letter today. unfortunately, this modest display of political courage has not been reciprocated by many of
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my friends on the other side of the aisle. 27 of the senators who signed that letter are still in the senate. 26 of them are now supporting the full elimination of the filibuster. what changed? nothing. except the party in power. democrats staunchly defended and used the filibuster when donald trump was president at an unprecedented level. but democrats are suddenly against the filibuster now that joe biden is president. many of my democrat colleagues are practicing situational principles putting their own party's short-term interests ahead of what they know are the best long-term interests for the senate and the nation. it doesn't get more politically cynical than that. president biden served in the senate for 36 years. he was known as a strong defender of the institution, including the filibuster. in this very chamber 21 years
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ago, senator biden declared that defending the filibuster was about defending compromise and moderation. he noted that his speech was one of the most important he would ever give. but now he favors destroying compromise, modernization, and the institution he had long cherished all for the sake of political expediency for the next 12 months until republicans take back the house and most likely the senate. as i noted earlier the majority leader also shares a partisan double standard with the president. in a dear colleague letter just earlier this month, he wrote, senate democrats must urge the public in a variety of different ways to impress upon their senators the importance of acting in reforming the senate rules. if that becomes a prerequisite for action to save our democracy. the senate rule change ■herefers to is carving out the filibuster in order to pass one of the far left's priorities. that's the voting bill that many
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of my colleagues have talked about today. but in 2018 the then senate north leader struck a different tone. he said the legislative filibuster is the most important distinction between the senate and the house. without the 60-vote threshold for legislation, the senate becomes a majoritarian institution like the house. no senator would like to see that happen. what's the difference between today and only a few short years ago? again it's the parties' in power. -- it's the party that's in power. the same pattern of principles also apply to the majority whip. i went on national television when donald trump was president to warn that eliminating the filibuster would be the end of the senate as it was originally devised. that's senator durbin. but less than four years later after democrats won control of the white house and the senate,
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the majority whip has a much different take. he recently declared that the filibuster is making a mockery of american democracy. he made that statement after he and his fellow democrats used the filibuster a record breaking 328 times between 2019 and 2020 when president trump was in office. that level of hypocrisy is audacious, even by washington, d.c. standards. and i know democrats have been pushing back on this claim, claiming they're not trying to end the filibuster. they assure us that this is a one time deal that will only apply to this one bill. i'd refer them to newton's third law of physics. for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. it most definitely applies to senate rules as well. in 2013 senate democrats invoked the nuclear option to end the 60-vote clsht requirement on
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judicial executive nominees other than the supreme court. all republicans and even a handful of democrats, including the senior senator from west virginia pleaded with the democrats not to do it. minority leader mcconnell warned democrats at the time you'll regret this and you might regret it even sooner than you think. but they did it anyway and indeed there was that reaction. four years later republicans controlled the senate and we used the nuclear option to finish what our democratic colleagues started on the executive calendar. we ended the 60-vote requirement for supreme court nominees. there's a clear president on what happens when we change the senate rules on a partisan basis for political expediency. it produces long-term consequences that i believe both sides will ultimately regret. democrats invoked the nuclear option to get more district judges, but by doing so, they paved the path for justices gorsuch, justice kavanaugh and
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justice barrett who now sit on the supreme court today. what do we think now if the democrats nuked the filibuster for just one bill? the senate rule change, the majority leader is pushing is really a proxy vote for ending the legislative filibuster altogether and turning the senate into the house full stop. so i ask my democratic colleagues to consider this -- when president trump called for ending the filibuster, a large majority of republican senators stood up to preserve bipartisanship and to protect and respect this institution. now the roles are reversed. president biden and the majority leader are demanding that you give them your vote to weaken the filibuster so it can ultimately be ended. to my democratic colleagues who signed on to the very same letter i did in difficult circumstances, i ask you, will
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you stand up for the principles that you stood for just a few years ago and respect and defend this institution? thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. romney: mr. president, i prepared some remarks to give this evening, but i had the occasion to watch president biden as he spoke in georgia just a few minutes ago, and he said quite a number of things that simply weren't true. he also accused a number of my good and principled colleagues in the senate of having sinister, even racist inclinations. he charged that voting against his bill aligns us with bull connor, george wallace and jefferson davis. so much for unifying the country
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and working across the aisle. more troubling, however, he said that the goal of some republicans is to, quote, turn the will of the voters into a mere suggestion. and so president biden goes down the same tragic road taken by president trump, casting doubt on the reliability of american elections. this is a sad, sad day. i expected more of president biden, who came into office with the stated goal of bringing the country together. now our country has defied the odds for a democratic republic. it has survived and thrived for over 200 years. the character of the american people deserves most of the credit for that, but close behind are our vital institutions.
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over the last several years many recoiled as institutions have been repeatedly demeaned. the judiciary was charged with racial bias. the press was called the enemy of the people. justice and intelligence agencies were belittled. public health agencies were dismissed. even our election system was being a cuesed of being rigged. the united states senate is one of our vital democratic institutions, and the power given to the minority in the senate and the resulting requirement for political consensus are among the senate's defining features. note that in the federal government, empowerment of the minority is established through only one institution -- the senate. the majority decides in the house, the majority decides in the supreme court. the president, of course, is a majority of one. only in the senate does the minority restrain the power of the majority. that a minority should be afforded such political power is a critical element of this
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institution. for a lot of paths in the senate, it must appeal to senators in both parties. this virtually assures that the bill did not originate from the extreme wing of either one, and best represents the interests of the broadest swath of americans. the senate's minority empowerment means the policies tack towards the center. president biden, quote, at its core the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or bill. it's about compromise and moderation. consider how different the senate would be without the filibuster. whenever one party replaced the other at majority, tax-and-spending parties would change. safety net programs would change, national security policy could change, cultural issues could careen from one to the other creating unpredict
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ability for families and employers. the need for 60 votes requires compromise and middle ground. it empowers the minority and helps to keep us centered as a nation fostering the stability and predictability essential for investments in people, in capital, and in the future. abandoning the principle of minority empowerment would fundamentally change a distinct and essential role of the united states senate. but today's democrats, now with the barest of majority in a 50-50 senate conveniently ignore their own impassioned defense of the filibuster when they were in the minority. let us be clear that those who claim the filibuster is racist know better. for president obama to make an absurd charge after he made an extensive defense of the filibuster a few years ago is both jarring and deeply disappointing. after all, i don't recall a single claim from democrats that
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employing the filibuster hundreds of times over the last several years when they were in the minority was in any way racist. over the course of my life, i've found that when presented with a matter of personal advantage that would require abandoning principles, the human mind goes to work overtime to rationalize taking that advantage. only a few months ago, some of my senate colleagues, democrat colleagues rationalized that the senate couldn't function and therefore they had to get rid of the 60-vote rule. then the senate functioned quite well when it passed the infrastructure bill, armed services legislation and a bill on innovation. so a few months later some of these colleagues argued that in order to raise the debt ceiling the 60 vote rule has to go. then with bipartisan cooperation, the senate raised the debt ceiling. so now the democrats' latest rationalation is the new
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election law must be passed but democrats have filed these voting bills numerous times over numerous years all without seeking republican involvement in drafting them. any time legislation is crafted and sponsored exclusively by one party, it is obviously an unserious partisan effort. let me note two more truths. the country is sharply divided right now. despite the truth spoken by a number of good people in my party, most republicans believe that donald trump, they believe his lie that the 2020 election was fraudulent, stolen by democrats. that's almost half the country. can you imagine the anger that would be ignited if they see democrats alone rewrite, with no republican involvement whatsoever, the voting laws of the country. if you want to see division and anger, the democrats are heading down the right road.
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there is also a reasonable chance republicans will win both houses in congress and that donald trump himself could once again be elected president in 2024. have democrats thought what it would mean for them, for the democrat minority to have no power whatsoever? finally, mr. president, i offer this thought -- how absurd is it to claim that to save democracy, a party that represents barely half the country must trample on the rules of our democracy's senior institution. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president,
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with my distinguished colleague from utah here, before i get to my remarks, i suggest there may be an exception to his rule that when a piece of legislation is only sponsored by members of one party, it can't be serious legislation. in my view, that would include climate legislation, where it's been extremely hard to get republicans to cosponsor any serious climate bill, and i think that has nothing to do with the seriousness of the legislation and everything to do with the influence of the fossil fuel industry. with that said, mr. president, i'm here to speak for the 11th time in my series discussing the scheme through which a bunch of big anonymous donors captured our supreme court today i'm going to talk about the biden
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supreme court commission, which could have done a useful, even authoritative investigation of the scheme and all its terrible effects at the court, but which regrettably ended up as an exercise in ineffectual time killing. mr. president, i've laid out the scheme in detail in earlier speeches in this series. in a nutshell, there is a very well studied phenomenon of regulatory capture, sometimes called agency capture, there which big industries try to capture and control the regulatory agencies that are supposed to be policing them. well, in the same way, big, right-wing donor interests set out to capture the supreme court and they did it. it worked.
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now the court's 6-3 big-donor chosen supermajority is delivering massive wins for those donor interests. and the american people can smell what justice sotomayor aptly characterized as the stench of a captured court. the problems of the court are real, and they demand action. enter the court commission. charged with thinking through solutions to the court's many problems, the commission was perfectly positioned to report on the scheme and offer a blueprint for restoring the court. but it's final findings released last month offered instead what i have called faculty lounge
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pablum. sure, yes, they gestured toward the need for a code of ethics for the justices which makes sense because supreme court justices have the lowest ethics standard of any top federal official, but pointing that out is a little bit like pointing out a flat tire on a totaled car. consider the facts the commission ignored. a private, partisan, anonomously funded organization, the federalist society, handpicked the last three supreme court justices. president trump and his white house counsel admitted they had in sourced, their word, the federalist society to the white house to choose their nominees. senator hatch, our former colleague, former chairman of the judiciary was asked if this
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role was outsourced to the federalist society and he said damned right. no other democracy in the world has had such a ridiculous system for selecting judges. that's bad. it gets worse. anonymous donations helped right-wing front groups mount a $400 million push to capture and control the court, with zero transparency into who gave the money. or more importantly, what matters they had before the court whose justices they were installing. that's disgraceful. and trust me, nobody spends $400 million without a motive. there's more. orchestrated flotillas of amicus
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curiae, so-called friends of the court, funded by dark money, instruct the court which way to rule, and they score virtually perfect success with the republican appointees whom dark money ushered on to the court. the court has even allowed peculiar fast lanes for dark money groups to speed cases to the court for justices to decide favored politically helpful cases. in some cases the justices even invited the case to be rushed to the court. and this mess culminates in a notable, troubling statistical record. the roberts court delivered more than 80 -- 80 -- partisan 5-4
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decisions benefiting big republican donor interests. the record in that category decision was 80-0. and that's before the court's new 6-3 donor chosen supermajority. mr. president, that's a lot for the commission to lead out and commissioners cannot claim they did not have fair notice. several of us wrote to the commissioners to point out the scheme's footprints. the commission even received testimony about another pernicious issue, the court's reliance on fake facts supplied by dark money amicus curiae, especially in politically important cases for right-wing
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donors like shelby county and citizens united. somehow none of this made it into the commission's discussion. ducking all these facts was no small feat. as the presiding officer knows, you get a case and you're asked to go through it and list all of the potential issues that it raises, spot the issues. well, these issues all sat in plain view before the commission, yet the commission flunked the rudiment ri law school -- rudimentary law school test of issue spotting. part of it was conflict of interest. many argued before the court in need of goodwill for its bread
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and butter, others are law professors supplanting their students. for many reasons, rocking the boat could have unhappy consequences. clearly, though, some commission members tried and failed to get these issues considered. two members, retired federal judge nancy gurtner, from the presiding officer's home state and laurence tribe had an op-ed ready for print the day the report was released. they called for a serious overhaul of the court due to what they called, i'm quoting, the dubious legitimacy of the way some justices were appointed, due to that stench of bipartisanship justice sotomayor
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has observed and due to the anti-ee gal -- of the voting rights and dark money. judge gartner and professor tribe wrote, though fellow commissioners and other voiced concern about the impact of a report implicitly politicizing the supreme court might have on judicial independence and thus judicial legitimacy, we do not share that concern. far worse are the dangers that flow from ignoring the court's real problems, of pretending conditions have not changed, of insisting improper efforts to manipulate the court's membership have not taken place, of looking the other way when the court seeks to undo decades
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of precedent relied on by half the population to shape their lives just because given the new majority it has the votes. judge gurtner and professor tribe rightly warned we cannot afford more decisions like shelby county and citizens united which would put the court on what they called a one-way trip from a defective but still hopeful democracy toward a system in which the few correctly governor the many. something -- govern the many, between atoc -- think about that, people distinguished enough to be appointed to this commission by the president feel that this court is on a one-way
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trip from america being able a defective but still hopeful democracy toward a system in which the few corruptly govern the many. they concluded by saying this. instead of soifg as a guard -- serving as a guardrail of going over that cliff, our supreme court has become an all too willing accomplice in that disaster. end quote. all of that was kept out of the report. the fact is evident that dark money political forces had a controlling and anonymous role in the makeup of the present court. you can't dispute that. it's not surprising that the donor interests who accomplished that should want their due. as i said, you don't spend
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$400 million on this scheme for nothing. just a few days before the commission unveiled the final draft of its report, and right after oral arguments in the big abortion cases that are pending before the court, there was a telling incident. fox news host laura ingraham lost her cool and she said on plain television the quiet part out loud. here's what she said. we have six republican appointees on this court, after all the money that has been raised, the federalist society, all these big fat cat dinners, i'm sorry, i'm pissed about
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this -- excuse me for that language, but it's a direct quote. if these six justices can't do what is right, we should do what robert bork said we should do is circumscribe this court and blow it up and that's the way to change things finally. end quote. let's deconstruct that little outburst for a second. first, it basically admits to the scheme. all the money that's been raised. that's the $400 million that i talked about. the federalist society. that's the big donor-controlled turnstyle for -- turnstile to the supreme court, and all these big fat cat dinners, i would be like to know more about that, we do know that justices have taken
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undisclosed vacations in the company of people with interest in the court, so what's a little big fat cat dinner among friends? second, that little outburst is a flat-out threat to the court. decide the big abortion cases the way we want, the six of you, or we, quote, circumscribe the jurisdiction of this court, quote, blow it up, quote, change things finally. mr. president, there's a particularly thin-skinned federalist society justice who's been giving speeches condemning an imaginary threat i supposedly made to bully the court in a brief maybe read by a couple00 people -- couple hundred of
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people. it didn't actually happen that way, but never mind, as i said, he's particularly thin-skinned. but now here comes this plain threat, circumscribe the jurisdiction of this court, blow it up, change things finally if we don't get the outcome we deserve, after all of our money spent through the federalist society. so i'm waiting to see what reaction from this justice there is when this real threat comes. but from the right-wing fox news channel. the fox news outburst was particularly rash and indiscreet, but the republican justices get marching orders like this all the time at the fat cat dinners, on junkets with the right-wing donor class, from
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the orchestrated flotillas of dark money amici curiae that encircle the court by big cases launched by the big donors, the justices are constantly reminded of who propelled them to the court and what they are supposed to deliver. and the truth is the record reveals, the statistics make plain, the republican justices do deliver over and over and over again. more than 80 partisan wins for scheme donors in those 5-4, and now we can expect 6-3, partisan
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decisions. so the biden court commission missed its moment. it ducked all of this. so on we must go through the stench of partisan capture of the court and on i will go exposing the scheme that did it. to be continued. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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ms. murkowski: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator should be informed that we're in a quorum. ms. murkowski: request that proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from alaska. muks muks murkowski -- ms. murkowski: i ask that mia becker be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the congress. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president, there's been a lot of discussion on the floor certainly today and the days leading up to this as we talk about the importance of protecting minority rights here in the senate and the consequences of weakening the
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legislative filibuster to a 50-vote majority serving threshold. so there's a lot to say and there has been a lot said already. i was here listening to the comments from my friend from utah and have had an opportunity to hear much of what has been said throughout the course of the day. but i'm here, perhaps as the sole senate republican who will vote to begin debate on the john lewis voting rights advancement act because i believe it is important to focus on improving our election laws, but i also believe very, very strongly that the way to do that is through the regular order process. it might sound kind of boring, but that's actually how you get the good work, the enduring
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legislation done. now, i'm also here on a -- i guess a senior member of the chamber now. i've been around for almost 20 years. i have spent time in both the majority and minority, but i'm also here because i care -- i really care about legislating. i understand what it takes to work across the aisle to bring good policy into law. and one of the things that i can tell you from first hand experience is it's hard -- it's hard work. it's hard work to bring people together, particularly on some of these challenging and difficult issues that we have. when the problems are hard that means usually the solutions are equally hard, but that's our job
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as legislators, to bring sides together, to find that -- that common ground. that's what legislating is all about. and so with all of that in mind, i -- i tell you, mr. president, i believe that weakening the current 60-vote threshold would be a major mistake, a damaging mistake, especially in light of the already deep divisions that we have within our country. and within the divisions that we have represented in this body today. so the nuclear option that's reportedly coming our way to change the threshold for cloture on legislation, on legislation to 50 votes and to do this with just 50 votes.
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but, mr. president, i would suggest to you that this will do nothing to cure what actually ails the senate and, therefore, we should reject it. i mentioned that the job that we have as legislators is to come together to debate the good ideas from one side with the other, to really build that consensus that will allow for enduring policy and enduring laws. gutting the filibuster is not going to do anything to bring both sides together. it will not help bring the parties together. it will unfortunately just serve to push them further apart, split us further apart. it would not lead to better or
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consensus legislation. it effectively -- it effectively allows the majority to do what it wants to do when it wants to do it, how it wants to do it without the minority. it effectively allows you to ignore the views from the minority. this rule change would not restore us as the world's greatest deliberative body. i know that there are those that would suggest that we're far, far from that. but i would suggest that if we do this, it really obliterates that reputation forever. there's been a lot of talk about the differences between the house and the senate. we are different. we were designed different. the framers designed the senate as an institution where the rights of individual senators as well as minority groups of
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senators are protected. their ahigh -- they're highly protected. that's what our rules reflect. and that's why, why we can hold the floor, why an individual, one person can register objections, why we can place holds and offer motions and filibuster legislation when we deem it necessary. and i know we don't like it when it's being used against us. we don't. because it slows things down. it's frustrating. but it is part of what has been built into our institution. some may say, well, it's obviously not working. it's obviously not functioning because i can't get my priority through. perhaps we need to focus on how we're bringing people together
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to advance that priority. this body, the senate was never meant to be the house of representatives. senator robert byrd who served both as the majority and the minority leader so i think he had a pretty good perspective on things, he also reminded us about the saucer and the role that the house played -- excuse me, that the senate plays. the senate is the proverbial saucer intended to cool the cup of coffee from the house. nobody likes it, particularly the guys in the house. they don't like it when they say oh, you're so slow over here. but we were meant to be deliberative. the more we become like the house, the less relevant, in my view, we are as an institution and the farther we will have strayed from that balance, that careful balance that the constitution envisions for our
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branch of government. so we've been here before. as i was walking over, i was thinking this is kind of like deja vu all over again. how many times we've had these battles over the filibuster. should we exercise the nuclear option. should we pull this trigger. well, back in 2017, i signed a letter along with 60 other members of this chamber. there were 28 republicans, 32 democrats, one independent. and we came together as a pretty representative group of lawmakers, and we urged both republican and democrat leaders to preserve the 60-vote threshold for legislation. for legislation. because we knew where we had come from. the republicans had used the nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster for supreme court
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nominees after the democrats used it in 2013 for eliminating the filibuster for confirmation of lower court and executive branch. so it's kind of one of these where they did it so it's okay for us to do it. far be it for me to suggest that sometimes the analogies are like what we have when we got the kids in the back of the car and somebody says well, he started it. and the other one says no. well then i get to do it. my response is knock it off, both of you. maybe we just need to have a detente here on whether or not we blow up the filibuster. maybe we need to just step back from this and realize what it means to all of us because those of us that are in the minority
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today will one day be in the majority. and those that are in the majority today will one day be in the minority. and so making sure that there is a balance, that it works, that minority rights are respected, this is -- this is why we're here today. i know that there are several senators who signed that letter back in 2017 that are now seeing their words repeated against them. that's got to feel pretty uncomfortable. i don't want to be one of those who feels like i have to eat my words, that what was good for me when i was in the minority is no longer good for me when i am in the majority or vice versa. it has to work both ways, mr. president. so when as republicans in the
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majority we were urged mightily by former president trump to get rid of the filibuster, i was one of those that said no. no, we should not do that. and that's why my advice today to the majority is be careful. be careful what you wish for because you may look at this and say this may help advance the immediate legislative agenda, what they're talking about now is voting rights. you may be able to advance immediate legislative agenda there, but the long-term effects might look pretty different. and i think we've seen a little bit of a suggestion of what that could look like when you don't have the protections in order for the minority. so i think it is good for us to be having this open discussion.
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i think it's important that we be thinking about the practical effects of weakening the filibuster. what will happen if it no longer protects the minority and instead only serves to benefit the majority? a 50-vote threshold would allow the majority to push through, to rush through legislation without consideration of the minority views. and keep in mind that we may in the minority now, a 50-50 minority, pretty skinny north, but a -- skinny minority, but a minority that is elected with support from major portions of the country. removing the filibuster would reduce the need for the parties to work together to reach the broad consensus on policy, again, that can endure across elections.
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and i think that's important for us to just stop and take account of. because when you don't have legislation that is enduring, when you move legislation that is wholly partisan, what happens when the tables are turned? the new majority spends all of its time trying to undo what the old majority got passed on a wholly partisan basis. now we're not -- we're not giving seforts to the -- giving certainty to the nation. we're not helping the economy move along. it's a whip saw. it is policy whiplash. who is going to be investing in policies if they just think that what was just passed into law is going to be undone in the next -- in the next congress? we owe it to our constituents, we owe it to the country to give them some certainty with policy and that comes about when you're
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working to build consensus. eliminating the filibuster would make primary elections into fealty tests, even more than they already are, as each party sets its sights on candidates who are probably unlikely to act independently once in office. i mean, why bother? but again, it would whip saw the country on policy and as i think about the state of our economy right now, where we need to be investing in -- we've got a great infrastructure bill that we're all poised to try to advance. lots of good things coming for that. we don't want to be undermining investment in our ability to address major challenges if we're looking at a situation where again with a new majority coming in they just work to reverse the work of their predecessors. these aren't good outcomes for a
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divided nation and they only take us further from what should be our goal. we've got to be focused. we've got to be focused on finding more ways to work together, and we've got good examples. we had an energy bill we advanced in 2020, a good bill. we've been working on that for a long time. but it was a very bipartisan product. i mentioned our bipartisan infrastructure bill. we had the cares act as another example. so many measures have shown us that this is absolutely possible. as part of that when we consider changing the rules, we need to focus on incentivizing bipartisanship, pushing members to reach across the aisle, not making it less of a priority. let's think about how we do that in a positive sense, how we're
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pushing one another to work to build things rather than dividing one another and just throwing things at one another. mr. president, i'm -- i will vote against any motion to weaken the filibuster or create carve-outs within it. legislation and legislating in and of itself as i mentioned at the outset, it's not supposed to be easy. we don't have that red easy button on our desk here. it's dlibtively hard -- deliberatively hard. but, as i learned from somebody a couple of weeks ago, i don't want to come to talk about the problems without offering up some solutions at the same time. i do have some suggestions for how we could perhaps move forward on voting rights legislation, potential changes to our rules. so for voting rights, the senate doesn't need to change its rules
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here. the majority needs to change its approach. you've got me basically me alone at this point, willing to debate one of the measures that was written. it was written on a partisan basis but i did my homework. i looked at it. i weighed in. i worked with colleagues on the other side of the aisle and made some good solid suggestions. i think we've had some good dialogue there. i think it's important. i want to reach a compromise on it. i think that that would be important. but i've acknowledged that there need to be some changes that would need to be made to that. and i have worked to suggest it. but what that does for right here right now is it makes it abundantly clear that we don't have agreement right now on voting rights legislation. so it's no wonder that the legislation is being blocked. partisan bills don't suddenly become partisan just because they've hit the floor.
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so instead of looking for ways around consensus, we've got to go back. we've got to actually start building it. so let's take this back. let's take it to the committee process. let's look for areas of agreement, like the suggestion out in the past couple weeks here, reforming the electoral counteract. i don't know how far that can take us, but when something like this is put on the table let's take a look at this. let's work through some of these proposals, rather than just summarily dismissing it out of hand. let's take that time, put in the effort, build a product that can pass, and hopefully by more than just the smallest of margins. we did that before, with voting rights act historically. we've demonstrated that it can be done. as far as rule changes, i agree.
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we should be having the debate. but how we do the debate, i think, is also important. we want to have a thoughtful discussion, both sides need to be involved. any member who wants to participate should be doing so. but these discussions need to focus on the problem, and the problem is that there's not enough consensus building across parties. that's what we need to be focusing on, rather than focusing on eliminating the need for it altogether. so instead of targeting the filibuster, one of the things that i have suggested to several folks is the development of a consensus calendar. now, i'm not saying it's going to solve everything, but if you have strong bipartisan bills that have made it through the process, they've demonstrated that good, strong show of support, there ought to be a way
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that we can move things through on a expedited process and expedited consideration. there's also been a lot of talk about eliminating the filibuster on the motion to proceed. so these are areas where again i think you've had thoughtful people willing to sit down and say, can we reform our processes around here? can we be more efficient? can we still be that cooling saucer, that deliberative body, but be more efficient? i would argue, mr. president, that no rules changes should take effect this year. whatever we can agree to, let's set the effective date as january of 2023. make these decisions based on what any majority in any year should have to govern. we need to make sure that if we're changing the rules we do it for the right reason. we do it because it's the right thing to do for the senate, no matter who is in charge. and i think that's just a matter
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of fairness there. we all know, we all know that filibusters can be so very, very frustrating, and those in the majority feel it directly. i know of which i speak. i've been there. it can be agonizing. it's like you're up against a brick wall. as i mentioned when we were advancing my energy bill several years back, i can't tell you how many times i felt like i'd had the rug pulled out from underneath us. but it was a good legislative product, and so we didn't give up. we kept working at it, and in fairness i think we actually worked to improve the legislation. as difficult as it might have been, it was through that
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process that we were able to come to some terms on h.f.c.'s, probably as a significant an effort that we have made when it comes to reducing emissions, and that came about as a result of that very deliberative process that you wanted to pull your hair out over, but it actually worked to advance that legislation. but i think what happens is this forces us, this forces us as members to work together, and to remember we can overcome these. in these partisan times, they prevent the majority from simply running over the minority, which only serves to worsen our political divide. the 60-vote threshold for legislation requires consensus to be part of the legislative strategy. changing it to 50 votes to serve
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the narrowest possible majority will lose that essential benefit, it will have lasting consequences for the senate and for the people that we serve. so, mr. president, i absolutely think we can do better than this, better approaches for both voting rights legislation and rules changes. they're available to us. we just have to work. neither side is going to get everything that it wants out of them, but i absolutely believe that we will be better served, our country will be better served, if we have a bipartisan path working together. with that, mr. president, i thank you and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: i come to the floor to congratulations and commend the remarks by the senior senator from alaska, who certainly knows from which she speaks. i remember so well the discussion that she just mentioned with regard to the energy bill, and h.f.c.'s and
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the effort for a cleaner environment, and it was through the process that we were able to come up with legislation, and we all believe was a better result for the nation and for the environment. it took longer than any of us wish it would have taken, but it was through that process. had we been in a situation without the ability to filibuster, we would have never gotten to such a good result, because a 50-50 senate is basically a mandate to move to the middle testimony i commend the senior senator from alaska. she knows from what she speaks. she has institutional memory, more than many members of this body. when she says what goes around comes around and the shoe is at another time on the opposite foot, she knows what the implications of those are, and why what the democrats are proposing now is in the wrong direction for the country. so, i believe it's misguided and i concur with her comments.
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mr. president, i come to the floor today on another matter, and that's to support sanctions on vladimir putin and his nord stream 2 pipeline. this body will be voting on that very issue in the next day or so, and i am urging my colleagues to support s. 3436, which is known as protecting europe's energy security implementation act. let me explain why this is so important, mr. president. it's important because right now vladimir putin has mobilized close to 100,000 troops near the border with ukraine. they are nearly encircling the country of ukraine. our intelligence community warned of a potential russian invasion of ukraine in the next month or so. so why is this happening? well, vladimir putin has always wanted to control and dominate ukraine. this is nothing new. he invaded in 2014, illegally
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annexed crimea, and continues to occupy crimea today. now he wants more. and he is now also flush with cash. with joe biden in the white house and democrat energy policies, vladimir putin has hit the energy financial jackpot. you don't have to take my word for it. take it from the biden administration. joe biden's under secretary of state for political affairs is one of his top russian experts. for our own state department, and she has spent her entire career working on issues related to russia, ukraine, and europe. well, in december she testified before the foreign foreign relas committee. she testified about increasing russian aggression on the ukraine border. she said, quote, energy is the cash cow that enables these kinds of military deployments.
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she said vladimir putin needs the energy to flow as much as the consumers need it to flow. well, why is that? well, it's because of russian energy that putin is able to pursue these dangerous military ambitions. the late senator john mccain, with whom i traveled on several occasions to ukraine, used to say russia is a mafia-run gas company disguised as a country. energy is the only successful sector of the russian economy. natural gas is what's propping up the russian military and the entire putin regime. vladimir putin uses energy as a geopolitical weapon, and he knows how to use it. he uses energy to coerce and to manipulate our allies and our partners in europe. they don't do something that putin wants, or they do something that he doesn't like, he can turn off the power and turn off the heat.
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we just saw an example of this in november when russia threatened to cut off gas flows to the small and neighboring country of mal dova. maldova had to declare a state of emergency. under joe biden's energy policies europe will soon be in a state of energy emergency as well. because europe already gets almost half of its gas imports from russia. with the nord stream 2 pipeline from russia to germany, the imports will only need to go up, and they will request go up -- will go up. the under secretary told the senate foreign relations committee, quote, we have been counseling europe for almost a decade now to reduce its dependence on russian energy. a decade. a decade includes the administrations of both president trump and president obama. yet, joe biden has done everything he can to cripple american energy production. what happens with that? well, it makes our allies more dependent on russia for energy.
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it gives more power to putin. under joe biden american energy production hasn't really recovered yet to the 2019 levels. this is a direct result of the anti-american energy policies of this white house. on his first day in office joe biden killed the keystone x.l. pipeline. he then blocked new oil and gas leases on federal lands. we're now producing 1.4 million fewer barrels of oil each day than we were before the pandemic we are in.u.s. now using more oil imported from russia than we are using oil from our own home state of alaska. it's a natural national disgrace to be dependent more upon russia for oil than we are from our neighboring state of alaska. joe biden's national security advisor even pleaded with russia
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to produce more oil, hard to believe. hard to believe that the national security advisor for joe biden in the white house would plead with russia to produce more oil. for the administration actually put the russian energy request on the white house website. joe biden would rather have america buy energy from our enemies than sell energy to our friends. joe biden would rather have european nations dependent on russian energy than increase american energy production and exports from home here to our allies. it's completely backwards. under joe biden, american energy production is down and energy prices, as any consumer knows, is way up. american families are caught paying the price for these policies of the democrats and the biden administration. in november, we saw the biggest new york ranger price increase in -- the biggest energy price increase in ten years.
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cnbc reports one in five american families can't afford to pay an energy bill this year. roughly the same percentage have kept their home at an unhealthy low temperature because they can't afford the cost to heat their home. people who travel for christmas just faced some of the highest christmas day gasoline prices in history. american families are getting squeezed and putin is getting rich. joe biden is against american pipelines, but in may he gave a green light to vladimir putin's pipeline between russia and germany. this is a betrayal of american energy workers. it is a betrayal of america's allies in europe. if the nord stream 2 pipeline is completed it will double the amount of russian natural gas flowing into germany. putin will be able to manipulate the price and the availability of energy to european nations in the middle of winter. they'll be able to hold half of
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europe hostage. stopping this pipeline should be an area of bipartisan agreement in this body. in fact, it it was an area of bipartisan agreement until joe biden became president. even joe biden said that he was against the pipeline, well, until he was for it. many democrats voted for the sanctions against the pipeline on more than one occasion. but when joe biden flip-flopped, so did they. senate democrats now are running interference for joe biden. democrats just spent four years talking about russia, russia, russia, obsessed with russia, spent four years going on tv, spreading conspiracy theories, all of which were false. yet now, the democrat caucus is attempting to protect the kremlin's greatest political, geopolitical weapon. for the democrat party, this is a return to tradition. democrats were soft on russia during the cold war, soft on
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russia under the obama administration, hillary clinton give the russians a big red reset button, president obama was caught in a hot microphone moment telling the russian president at the time that he would have more flexibility, he said, tell vladimir i'll have more flexibility after i'm re-elected. democrats talked tough. they did under the last administration, that is. but now we're back to the old democrat playbook. this is the kind of washington, d.c., partisanship the american people hate. the same thing democrats did with iron when barack obama was -- with iran when barack obama was in the white house. an american president must always negotiate from a position of strength. democrats tend to think if you give putin or the ayatollah something they demand that they will then play nice. it's not how the real world works. vladimir putin is cunning. he's opportunistic. it is aggressive. he sees an opportunity and he
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takes it, and he can smell weakness. he respects strength, not statements. the nord stream 2 pipeline from russia to germany will be an enormous transfer of wealth from our allies to our enemy. it will make our allies weaker, and of course it will make vladimir putin strong. when putin gets stronger, he gets even more aggressive. history should not be kind to those who gifted putin a pipeline. pointed like a gun into the heart of europe. this vote to support sanctions on the nord stream 2 pipeline is sour chance to undo a great mistake. it may also be our chance to prevent an even greater mistake. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to honor the 2022 football championship subdivision national champions, the north dakota state university bison. this past weekend north dakotans once again filled toyota stadium in fisheries co-, texas, where the ndsu bison earned victory over the montana state bob cats by a another of 38-10. i had the opportunity to join bison nation in frisco to cheer on the team and, as always, the fans created an overwhelming atmosphere of support and team spirit. at the same time the bobcats should come away from the game with pride having capped off a successful season. the bison have now won nine of
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the past 11 s.c.s. championships. this followed a strong sigh son for the bison where they had a winning record, a decades' worth of excellence and skill. since 2011, the ndsu bison have had 149 wins, totaling 12 losses -- to only 12 losses. which includes a evacuee of 39 consecutive wins. such a record stands as a testament to the hard work and dedication to the players and staff, including head coach matt ence. i am joining with my colleague senator came area to introduce a resolution honoring the ndsu bison's achievements. we congratulate all the players, coaches, and university leadership including athletic director matt larson and others
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on building this tremendously successful program. and we recognize the important support of bison nation which helps drive this team to victory year after year. the ndsu bison are the pride of north dakota. their accomplishments and work character represent the very best of our state and we say congratulations again to the national champions and, as always, we say go, bison! now before i turn over -- and of course i present the resolution for the record, mr. president. and i ask that it be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: thank you. before i turn to my colleague, senator kramer, i want to mention, i was at the national championship game. it was just faunists stick. as i say, bison nation, which is all of our bison fans, the coaches, the staff, the president and of course the great student athletes that had
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such a wonderful game. they turned out in frisco, texas. our fans traveled down there so well, fill the stadium, and they did once again and it was just a wonderful atmosphere. it was on national television so they performed on the one hand a national stage and people from across the stage got to watch a wonderful game. but leading up to that game in the semifinals, they played james madison university, which has a tremendous football program as well. that was on a friday night. it was the friday night where we were last year several weeks ago voting until about 2:00 in the morning. and the reason i bring up the story is because we must have had -- you were there, mr. president. we must have had north of 20 votes at least. we started in the early evening and went until about 2:00 in the
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morning, thereabouts. but the semifinal game was on between the bison and james madison dukes that fry friday evening. before votes we were going into the cloakroom and had it on television there and between votes all the senators -- at least in the republican cloakroom we had it on and were watching the game. and it was a lot of fun and helped, you know, with the long evening. but it really demonstrated how this program has done so much in terms of -- for the state and ndsu and really providing an awareness nationwide of these great student athletes nationwide that we have. we commented on the caliber of the it be that our team plays. it was a hard-fought game. james madison had a class operation. the bison won in a hard-fought
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game. but we've a dome up there called the bison dome -- go figure -- that's bison, but it's a z when you say it properly. but they showed all the fans having fun and the noise in the dome which makes it so hard to come up and play north dakota state in our dome. and everybody is dressed in the green and gold. but what -- just an incredible sports atmosphere. so for anyone that likes collegiate athletics, this is one of the most iconic, greatest venues in the country, and again it is bison nation. it's the fans. it's everybody, the coaching staff, president bushanni, and the faculty and most of all the student athletes. i know you, mr. president, coming from michigan, know what great sports teams are all about. but their commitment, their hard
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work, their passion, the support of bison nation, all these things just make it a joyous and wonderful thing. and i can't say enough about these young people, the commitment they make, the hard work that they do, many of them actually end up in the professional ranks so they're playing at an extremely high level. but the they're just wonderful young people, and i can't say enough great things about them. so once again, now nine out of the last 11 years, national champs. again, congratulations and go bison! and with that, i would like to turn to my colleague, senator kramer. mr. cramer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: thank you, mr. president. thank you, senator hoeven. and let me fully associate myself with every word that senator hoeven said and every thought that he has in his heart. john hoeven is not just a senator that represents the
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state that the bison play in, he is a fan. to say the least, he is a fan. and senator hoeven did a great job, as has espn and everybody else talking about and highlighting the legacy of bison nation, the nine out of 11 national championships. one of the things that i've really appreciated about coach mike ence, named the coach of the year, his second coach of the year, national coach of the year in the last three years. he's been the coach for three years. but as he likes to point out, while it is in fact the ninth national championship in 11 seasons for the bison, it is the first one for this team. a fact that we sometimes forget, that excellence over time requires one excellent team after another. i want to focus just a little bit not so much on legacy but on this particular team. remember, this -- as senator hoeven said, they beat the bobcats 38-10, and it became
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38-10 after getting ahead 35-0. that's not a minor thing in collegiate football. but the victory tied for the fourth largest margin in history. and it matched their victory over you toson to cap the 2013 season. it was the first time they have won the championship by 26 or more points. north dakota state's 108 rushing yards in the first quarter and 160 in the quarter marked the third and fourth times in the play-offs that the bison ran for 100 yards in a quarter. imagine that. twice they did in the same game. 103 in the first quarter, 116 in the second quarter. their 28-0 half-time lead was the largest half-time margin in championship game history.
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passing the 24-0 bison lead over jacksonville state. in other words, this team, this one team, is excellent among excellence. and several other -- i mean, they had 378 yards rushed by -- out of the 504 yards a of total offense. the most by the bison in the f.c.s. passing game. surpassing a rushing performance against sam houston state in 2012. and 488yards in the 2018 see song. we have to talk a little bit about the fullback, who was voted the most outstanding player of the game. he tied a career high with three rushing touchdowns, the first three of the game, one shy of the championship game record by bagwell in 1985. this team, this excellent -- one excellent team out of dozens of excellent teams over the years,
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and this one excellent player obviously stands out along with their one excellent coach who, as i said earlier, matt ence named the national coach of the year. and i think it's really important. i love that senator hoeven consistently refers to these players as student athletes because remember, before they're football players, they're students. and i think it's worth noting what exceptional students they are. ndsu's cole iznetski had the highest grade point average participating for each of the championships. but he's not just -- he's one among many. five student athletes were named to the football all-academic team. linebacker jackson heincke was named to the missouri valley football conference all-academic
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team december 14. now, just -- i think it's important to highlight some specifics about these guys. heinke is from park river, north dakota. a pretty small place. he has an undergraduate degree not in basket we've. not even in physical education, but rather in agricultural economics, and he was selected to the first team with a 3.636 grade point average. here are the other four -- hunter luepke, outstanding player of the game. has a 3.42 g.p.a. in finance. elie mostart has a p h.3.773gpa, the senior defensive tackle has
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a 3.857 gpa. great athletes are smart athletes. all right. to continue that, this is a tribute -- while take the stage son espn and on game day and various programs, it's important to point out that north dakota state's -- north dakota university's athletic teams achieved a remarkable semester last fall with a 3.418 grade point average among all 427 student athletes. three bison teams are in the highest ever g.p.a. the statistics are incredible. they're incredible in terms of academic achievement of these outstanding athletes throughout all of the sports at the university, not just football. but they definitely lead the charts.
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to wrap up, talking again a little bit about the dynasty. one of my favorite quotes, and i use it a lot when i talk about the bison football is aristotle who said we are what we repeatedly do. excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit. it's not an act but an antibiotic. 9 out of 11 championships alone, before that they were in division 2. they repeatedly win national championships. that makes winning habitual. it's habitual. they made its ninth appearance in the championship game, the most of any fsc team. they won them all. they have 17 football national championships in history. they won their last 13 title game appearances. it's kind of remarkable. and they improved to 41 and 3 in
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fcs playoffs. excellence is not an act but a habit. i salute the president, the entire coaching staff, the entire faculty, every student athlete, every parent that got these student athletes to college. it's a remarkable thing to be able to represent this level of excellence. and i join senator hoeven in saying horns up baby. go bison. mr. hoeven: i want to thank senator cramer for his comments. one other point i want to make that goes to the excellence of this program, the last national championship they won, the quart back -- quarterback was a wonderful player. he played one year and could have easily been playing this
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year which would have been probably his sophomore, maybe his junior year. the reason he wasn't able to quarterback the team is because he was quacking -- quarterbacking the san francisco 49ers to a win. they win it with another player. but again, it just shows even as they lose some of these players, sometimes to the transfer portal, sometimes to the nfl, as senator cramer says they keep bringing in excellent athletes. he mentioned a number of them. it's not just that they are excellent athletes, they are student athletes. that goes to the quality and character of the program. we commend all of them. senator cramer, thanks for joining me. also with kelly armstrong in the house in recognizing a wonderful
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group that truly deserves it. all of bison nation. anything else, senator cramer? all right. we yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: thank you, mr. president. i want to congratulate the north dakota senators, on the great job with their football team. go bisons, well done, north dakota. mr. president, i want to come down here like many of my colleagues today and talk about a really important topic, and that's the future of the filibuster and the issue of voting rights, both of which are very important in this country and we are going to be focused a lot, perhaps with some major votes, historic votes in the u.s. senate this week on these topics. there's a lot of talk recently from my democratic colleagues about getting rid of the
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filibuster. this, as many of my colleagues have mentioned, this would be an action that would fundamentally transform this institution and this country. the irony, mr. president, is that until very recently the vast majority of our colleagues here, republicans and democrats, were in agreement on this topic, in essence, the getting rid of the filibuster, which has been part of the u.s. senate for decades, centuries in many aspects, if you look at our history, would not be a wise move for the senate, would not be a wise move for america. this has been a long-standing bipartisan view. let me just give you a couple quotes from some of my colleagues. my colleague from montana, senator tester said last year, i'm a no. changing the filibuster, i'm a no. the move would make the senate like the house and i think that's a mistake. my colleague from delaware,
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senator coons, in 2018 -- i am committed to never voting to change the legislative filibuster. that's what senator coons said. my colleague from illinois, senator durbin, in 2018, also said, i can tell you getting rid of the filibuster would end, be the end of the senate as it was original devised and created going back to our founding fathers. we have to acknowledge respect for the minority. and that is what the senate tries to do in its composition and its procedure. wise words from senator durbin. and of course there's a trove of quotes from the majority leader, senator schumer, who has vehemently opposed getting rid of the filibuster in the past, when he was in the minority. let me highlight just a few of them. here's one he said in 2005 -- the bottom line is very simple. the idealogues in the senate want to turn what the founding fathers called the cooling
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saucer of democracy into the rubber stamp of dictatorship. we will not let them. they want to make this country into a banana republic, unquote. never one for subtlety, that's our majority leader right now. then he went on to say it would be doomsday for democracy. again, not too subtle there -- majority leader. doomsday for democracy if we get rid of the filibuster. here's another senator, very famous around the world, became president -- barack obama. he said with regard to getting rid of the filibuster in 2005, what they do not expect is for one party, be it a republican or democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet. unquote. and since we're reaching back, mr. president, let me quote the late senator robert byrd of west
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virginia on this issue. here he is in 2005 -- the filibuster must go, they say. in my 53 years in congress, i have never seen a matter that came before the congress, before the senate or the house as a matter of fact, that is so dangerous, so out of the mainstream and so radical as this one. i pray that senators will pause and reflect before ignoring that history and tradition in favor of the political priority of the moment. that was senator byrd. of course it's not just senators. here's what the oregon of the democratic party, also known as "the new york times" editorial board said in 2004 about the filibuster -- republicans see the filibuster as an annoying obstacle, but it is actually
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one of the checks and balances that the founders who worried greatly about the concentration of power built into our system. so this has been a view that's been widely held. don't get rid of the filibuster. senator manchin, in an op-ed recently talking about how he would not, no circumstances, would vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster, gave a really important reason why, which as alaska's senator, i feel very strongly about. he noted in that piece that the current rules with regard to the filibuster and the 60-vote threshold guarantee, quote, that rural and small states and the americans who live in them always have a seat at the table in the u.s. senate. well, i think that's enormously important. it's enormously important for
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alaska, but it's enormously important for the senate as a body, which was how we were designed by the founding fathers. now, mr. president, you know, there's charges of hypocrisy that can be leveled at this institution and the members in it. many times there are examples when members of congress say one thing when they're in power and they have authority, and then they say another thing when they're out of power. but i will tell you on this issue, mr. president, that's been not the case for the republican senators here. what do i mean? in 2017, 61 u.s. senators in this letter wrote the majority leader, then senator mcconnell and the minority leader, senator schumer -- 61
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senators, 33 republicans and 30 democrats, saying in essence, don't get rid of the filibuster. 30 democrats four years ago wrote this letter saying don't get rid of the filibuster. that's when the republicans were in the majority, and there was a republican in the white house. and there was pressure, i will tell you, on republicans, like there is now on democrats, from certain elements in the white house and other places to get rid of the filibuster. and we didn't do it. we did not do it. for all the reasons that we've been discussing. and yet, i guess we're going to see a vote, first time in history, i believe, in the u.s. senate, where the majority leader of the u.s. senate is going to actually move forward to start getting rid of the filibuster. i'm pretty sure that's never happened, the legislative filibuster, in the history of
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the united states of america. it's a big deal. so look, my democrat colleagues are clearly cognizant of how vulnerable they look with regard to being hypocritical on the issue. as i mentioned, 31 of them just four years ago signed a letter saying don't get rid of it. when republicans had power in the senate and in the white house. and we didn't. but now they're like we're going to flip-flop and say we should get rid of it. you may have seen, mr. president, there are already these filibuster flip-flop cards. i won't name the senators, but it shows them wearing flip-flops. the president is there. but it's already out there. this is a big, big flip-flop not on some small issue. on one of the most fundamental issues in the u.s. senate. and my colleagues know this. so what's their response?
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what's their response? how are they looking at their previous statements, like the senate majority leader, who made a lot of statements -- i just read a few -- and saying that doesn't matter. i didn't really mean it. what's the argument? well, here's the argument. here's their argument -- the senate filibuster must be nuked because american democracy must be saved from republic state legislators and republican members of congress and their so-called jim crow 2.0 schemes. this is their new language. everybody from the president and majority leader schumer are using this talking point. just yesterday and today the majority leader was going on about republican jim crow 2.0 schemes and the need for
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democrats to protect and defend american democracy. and joe biden, that unifier, that great unifier, uses the jim crow 2.0 charge against republicans on a very regular basis. as a matter of fact, he did it a few hours ago again down in georgia today. mr. president, it's all historically inaccurate and it's insulting to millions of americans. and of course it's stated with a smug, moral superiority, their arguments that voting rights laws -- just listen to them, listen to them -- that voting rights laws in democrat states are good and nobody and are protecting american democracy, while voting rights laws in republican states are bad and even racist. gym -- jim crow 2.0, that's
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their arguments. listen to the president, they're making those arguments as late as today. all these years saying don't get rid of the filibuster. now we have to get rid of the filibuster. so here's the key question, mr. president -- are these arguments accurate? are their claims actually true? now, mr. president, i do not assume to know the details of other states' voting laws. and here's the truth -- you've had a lot of u.s. senators in the last couple of weeks, couple of months, even today coming down on the senate floor claiming they know all about these other laws in other states on voting rights. they don't. trust me. for those watching, they don't. i don't claim to know the details of voting rights laws in other states, but here's what i do know, mr. president. i know a lot about alaska's laws. a lot about alaska's voting laws. in
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fact, when i was attorney of attorney general, i was in the trenches defending the right to vote for all alaskans. i'm proud of that part of my record. i know a lot about alaska voting rights laws. a republican state. and here are some very important and rather inconvenient truths and facts about my state's laws. in three critical areas of voting rights -- early in-person voting, automatic voter registration, and no-excuse absentee voting, my republican state, the great state of alaska, has voting laws that are significantly more expansive than the laws of new york, than the laws of delaware, than the laws of connecticut, than the laws of massachusetts, and the laws of new hampshire, just to
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name a few. that's a fact. president biden in his speech today talked about facts. well, mr. president, these are facts, and i'm going to talk a little bit more about these facts. but here's my point -- those states i just named, new york, delaware, connecticut, massachusetts, are those states jim crow 2.0 relative to alaska? well, by joe biden's reasoning they are. so i want to go into a little bit more in detail on some of these issues. these are important areas with regard to voting rights. let's start with early in-person voting. alaska, 15 days. other states, less so. new jersey, d.c., ten days, seven days.
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new york ten days. massachusetts 11 days. haven't met my state yet. that's okay. look at connecticut, no days. no early in-person voting at all. new hampshire, no early in-person voting at all. why don't these states want people to vote early? is it jim crow 2.0? now, look, mr. president, i wouldn't make that claim against those states maligning their elected officials. i'm sure they have their reasons, but again, by president biden's logic they are. let me do another area of important voting rights laws. voter registration. my state, in essence, has automatic voter registration. probably one of the most
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forward-leaning of any state in the country. and as i speak right here on the senate floor, there is no automatic voter registration in pennsylvania, in minnesota, in arizona, in new hampshire, in delaware. president biden's state. or wisconsin. none. none. none of these states have automatic voter registration. are these states jim crow 2.0 relative to alaska? my republican state? i wouldn't say that. but again, by president biden's logic they are. let me give you one more, mr. president, pretty important one as well. this is the issue of no-excuse absentee voting.
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there are many other expansive provisions in alaska's laws as it pertains to voting, but here's one that we think's important. for some reason you can't make it down to the polling location and you want to vote absentee, you can. you don't need an excuse to vote absentee. we've been doing that for years and years and years. let's look at other states. delaware, you have to have an excuse. new hampshire, you have to have an excuse. connecticut, massachusetts, new york. by the way, all the senators from these states are down here, jim crow 2.0, republican states. what about this issue? this is a really important issue. are these states jim crow 2.0 relative to my state? well, according to joe biden's
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logic they are. i wouldn't make that claim. let me focus on new york, connecticut, and massachusetts for a little bit longer. on their laws. because i did look into this. i -- and actually what does not constitute an excuse. again, in my state, there's no excuse. you want to vote absentee, you can. these states, you've got to have an excuse. but here's the deal -- in new york, connecticut, massachusetts, age is not an excuse. not an excuse. you can be 90 years old, 95 years old, fought in world war ii, maybe it's hard for you to get to the polling place. nope, not in new york, not in connecticut, no the in massachusetts -- not in massachusetts. that's no excuse. sorry, world war ii veteran, can barely walk. let me give you another example of those states. actually, the states of new york, delaware, connecticut and massachusetts, and
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new hampshire. if you're a victim of stalking or domestic violence, you don't want to leave your home or go to a public polling place, you don't wants your address on a public document. is that an excuse that you can get a absentee ballot? nope. nope. you must leave your home, go down to the polling place. that's not an excuse. domestic violence victim. let me remind the listeners, new york doesn't allow that as an excuse. majority leader is from new york. delaware doesn't allow that as an excuse. the president of the united states is from delaware. now, to me, madam president, these election laws seem particularly egregious. as egregious as any of the examples offered by the other side about voting restrictions in other states that we've been hearing about, ones that are now shamelessly and ridiculously, compared to jim crow 2.0 by our
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own president, the un unifier. but i wouldn't tell new york it must change its voting laws. i don't understand the people who live in new york, who don't want to give a world war ii veteran an excuse to vote absentee. and for that matter, madam president, new york actually doesn't want to change their own voting laws to be more expansive of voting rights like we are in alaska. how do i know this? new york just had a statewide referendum to have same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting like my state. guess what -- the people of new york voted against that. the people of new york had an opportunity to meet the level where we are in alaska, a
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republican state, and the people of new york rejected it. i don't know what's going on in new york, why the good people there rejected these provisions, but it's going to be interesting. we'll see if leader schumer is consistent and accuses his own constituents of supporting jim crow 2.0 as he has millions of his fellow americans. you going to do that? they just rejected what my state already has. no-excuse absentee voting. new york rejected it. are the new yorkers jim crow 2.0 relative to alaska? i don't think so, madam president. there's reasons in their state i'm sure they would make for not doing what we do in alaska. but again, by president biden's own logic they are.
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i'm confident the good people of new york have a reason. but here's the thing, madam president, and it's a serious issue, the jim crow era, we know, was a horrible blight and stain on our country. some of the most heinous laws that were passed to prevent african americans from voting. it was a horrible era. but it is remarkable how casually the president of the united states and the majority leader now throw out their jim crow 2.0 insult. at republicans, at republican states. and the president and majority leader do this when their states don't even closely measure up to mine. on critical voting rights issues
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and laws. pretty remarkable. pretty hypocritical. but it's not just me making this argument, madam president. here's an article from "the atlantic" came out recently entitled "the blue states that make it hardest to vote." and here's the subtitle, "democrats are criticizing republicans for pushing restrictive voting laws, but states such as joe biden's delaware can make casting a ballot difficult." i'd like to submit this for the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sullivan: here's a little bit of what this article says -- president biden has assailed georgia's new voting laws as an atrocity akin to jim crow in the 21st century. but even once the g.o.p.-passed measure in georgia takes effect,
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georgia citizens will still have far more opportunities to vote before election day than their counterparts in the president's home state. that's "the atlantic. " not known as a republican magazine or anything. "the atlantic" article goes on to say, delaware isn't an anomaly among democratic strongholds, and its example presents the president's party with an uncomfortable reminder. although democrats like to call out republicans for trying to suppress voting, the states the democrats control in the northeast make casting a ballot more difficult than anywhere else, unquote. than anywhere else, unquote. madam president, here's the point i'm making, i'm not trying
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to say that every other state should be like alaska, that we need to federalize elections so every state has the same voting rights issues. i'm proud of where my state is, and i'm certainly not going to let any smug argument on the other side somehow accuse my republican state of jim crow 2.0 meet the standards in my state before you make those arguments. but the point is we're not all going to be the same. i have a state that's one-fifth the size of the lower 48. we have very unique voting issues. and the founding fathers strongly believed that election laws for that reason should be crafted state by state. this is in the constitution,
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quote, the times, places, and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives shall be prescribed in each state by the legislation thereof, that the congress may at any time, by law, make or alter such regulations. yes, this congress may make laws and regulations, but a whole sale -- a wholesale federal takeover of every state's elections law is not what the constitution contemplated, and it's not what would be good for each citizen of each state in our country. my invitation to the president and other members, we're fundamentally -- who are fundamentally demanding that we fundamentally alter this body by getting rid of the filibuster, save your smug jim crow 2.0 insults. go back to your own states, undertake voting rights legislation that are as
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expansive as my state. take care of your own states first before you come here and tell us what you need to fundamentally reorder this body and this country by getting rid of the filibuster, an issue that almost everybody agreed on just a few years ago was not a good idea for the senate and for america. i yield the floor. mr. braun: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. braun: before i ran for the senate, i ran a business that started in my hometown.
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oftentimes you get criticized when you try to draw the parallel between a business and this place, and i guess it's so different, so it would be easy to make that argument. but in the real world, if if you've got a bad idea, you can't just change the rules. you got to outcompete, you got to offer another product. only here with the results that we produce over time would you want it even easier to generate bad ideas, put them into law. the comparison between state government and here, i think, is valid. in almost all state governments, there's a constitutional amendment or a statute that says you can't spend more than you take in. there are certain guidelines whenever you try to put any legislation forward that you run it through regular order.
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we don't do that anymore. that takes too much time. that takes too much effort. and when you try to get rid of the things that work in other places and double down on bad performance, that's what my democratic colleagues are trying to do. when the radical build back better agenda failed and now instead of changing their agenda, running it through committees, making it more palatable to get at least one republican vote, they want to change the rules. changing the rules of the senate to enact their failed agenda is just the beginning. they want to completely take over our elections. senator sullivan just said a moment ago, in the constitution it couldn't be more explicit that that is the domain of the states. their plan is to silence those
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who stand in their way, to campaign the fundamental change in this country in election law, and i don't think the country is going to have it. thankfully, my democratic colleagues can't even get all of their own members on board. i think that was the same problem with the build back better agenda. this is just going for something even more extreme, more impactful. it would have a ripple effect for who knows how much and how long down the road. hoosiers should not have their voice in d.c. watered down by power-hungry politicians who will do anything to get their way. the for the people act should be called the for the politicians act. that would be a better name because that is what we're enabling here. states like indiana, states like
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alaska conduct their elections fairly. and, by the way, where were any complaints pre-covid? didn't hear of any. you change the rules. then you want to homogenize it across the country. that doesn't make sense. election integrity measures like voter i.d. are extremely popular with a photo i.d. every state likes that. that polls in close to the 80% range, which is unheard of around here. americans are fed up with the top-down approach, one-size-fits-all. it would be different if we were knocking it out of the park to begin with. we certainly aren't. we ought to work on the issues we can agree on, and the
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beautiful system was built, when you can't, don't feel the only way it can get done is by doing it here. turn it back to the laboratory of the states. another thing that irks me, three years ago $18 trillion in debt, approaching the record level which we have now eclipsed post-world war ii. the difference then and now is we were savers and investors then. we're consumers and spenders now. and this will open the floodgates for even more heavy burden on our kids and grandkids. we shouldn't be change ago the rules -- we shouldn't be changing the rules to make it easier to legislate or spend money when we produce the results that have been produced
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here, now for decades. we cannot allow president biden and the democrats to change the rules and take over our elections to save their radical failed agenda. madam president, i yield the floor.
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mr. lankford: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: madam president, we're in the same spot in the senate we've been at five times before in the past 12 months. my senate colleagues are bringing up a bill on voting to federalize our elections. but this time is different. this time their demands have changed. it's not just vote for my bill or take a vote. it is, if you don't do this, we
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will blow up the senate permanently. oh, that's a different thing. so let me set some context on this. because this requires some conversation about where we are, what this conversation is all about, and what this really means for the future. so first let begin -- so first let me begin with the bill itself. there's no question that all 100 senators here have been through an election process. we've walked through it in a way that most americans have never walked through before. we're passionate about fair elections. we're passionate about the people that actually vote. those are the people who actually engage in our society. as we have lots of people who check out, don't care, don't vote, we have people that do care, do vote.
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the laws in each state are different. i.t. not something new. that's actually written into the united states constitution. it's been that way since 1789. they've always been a little bit different n1965 -- different. in 1965, our nation took bold step to make sure we protected the rights of every single individual to be able to vote because there was a season in american history where black americans were being pushed out. there were poll taxes, jim crow laws, things that pushed people away from voting. so in 1965 our nation passed the voting rights act. i will take a little bit about that more in -- i'll talk a little bit about that in a moment. that stands today. if a single person or group of people are suppressed in their voting, are prohibited from voting, federal courts today
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have the right to be able to step in on any jurisdiction, any state in america to be able to protect the rights of individuals to be able to vote. i bring that to this body as a reminder because for some reason an enormous portion of this body on the left side of this room are running around the nation and saying, if we don't do something right now, there'll be voter suppression in america and we have to change that. when they all know in 1965 we passed the voting rights act, and that act still stands today to be able to protect the rights of individuals. i hear people wander around the nation and get on news channels and say, the voting rights act has been kicked out by the supreme court when they know that is a lie. they know it is. one section of the voting rights act the supreme court took out several years ago, it was the section that required what's
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called preclearance. it created a formula for states that had done a lot of oppression against black americans. it created a certain formula for them, if they made any changes in their voting laws, they had to get preclearance for that. it stayed in place for decades, even though their state had cleaned up their voting laws and had changed for decades it stayed there, until the supreme court looked at it and said, you can't hold this over these states a generation later for something that a previous generation did. and so the supreme court kicked that one section out but kept everything else, including protecting the rights of every single american from voter suppression. every law in every state in america could be challenged in a federal district court, circuit court, and to the supreme court to make sure that the rights of individuals are protected. now people here may not know
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that that still exists based on the bay that the news has talked about voting of late. and based on all the conversation about voting. but that is the law of the land right now. so what's being brought to this body to be able to vote? a long list they want to be able to address and to be able to say they want to change voting in america to remake it in their image. except it's not in the image of their states because many of my democrat colleagues don't actually have in their own state the things that they're actually putting into this federal legislation, meaning literally they're taking over from officials in their own state, telling their own governor, their own legislature that they're wrong and that they're going to set them straight. we have a disagreement on some of these issues, i'll grant that. some of the areas in their bill we look at and go let's talk
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about. most of the areas in their bill we look at and go are you kidding me? we disagree on this. things like same-day voter registration where a person could literally walk in, say i've never registered to vote before, tell them their name and then vote on the spot. honestly, i have a problem with that because there is no way to be able to validate that they didn't vote in oklahoma city and then go vote in tulsa and then vote in muskogee, oklahoma. there is no waive to vote and they -- there is no way to know. they just voted and there is no way to validate that person is even that person. they include in their bill undermining state voter i.d. laws. the combination of the two is pretty powerful. you can't call for i.d. but you can register on the spot. that is a formula for fraud. it's not just my opinion. it's the state of new york's opinion. the state of new york does not have same-day voter registration.
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in fact, this last november it was on the ballot in the state of new york, and the people of the state of new york overwhelmingly said that's a terrible idea and voted it down. yet senator schumer stands right over there and tells every state, including his, that just voted this down, no, you have to do this. we're going to require it because some people in this body think it should be required. we have a disagreement on that. that's a real disagreement we should be able to debate and talk about, but instead my democrat colleagues are saying if you disagree with me on this, i will blow up the rules of the senate. and will get what i want no matter what. can we not have a disagreement that same-day voter registration may be a bad idea when even the state of new york and the people of new york think it's a bad idea? they have a mandate for using ballot drop boxes. i don't have a problem with
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ballot drop boxes, but their ballot drop box issue is you can't provide security. if you have it, you have a security setting for it or any kind of chain of custody requirement, that's going to be oppressive and suppressive. i think it's a good idea if you're dealing with a ballot that you actually know where it went and if anyone changed it, if people dropped off multiple ballots when it is legal to drop off one. i think that's important to know if you're going to verify an election. we have a disagreement on that. we have a disagreement on the issue of felons voting. each state makes that decision whether they're going to allow felons to vote, but in this piece of legislation democrats are bringing, they're saying no, felons have to be given the right to vote when they get out of prison. now, i understand we may disagree on that, but i want you to stand what they're saying. my democrat colleagues are saying i will blow up the rules of the senate and change 250 years of history in the senate
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to get my way if you don't allow rapists, convicted murderers, and convicted sex offenders to be able to vote. they are so determined that sex offenders get the right to vote, they're willing to blow up the rules of the senate to get it. can we not have a disagreement on whether to force states to mandate that convicted murderers, sex offenders and rapists get to vote again? in this piece of legislation they provide government funding, taxpayer funding for members of the house of representatives, just down the hall over there. here's the way they set it up. if you're running for the house of representatives and you raise small dollar donations, then taxpayers will fund your campaign on a six to one match. it gets even better because you
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as a candidate could actually take a salary from that as well and actually be paid by the taxpayer to be able to run for office if you're running in the house of representatives. can we not have a disagreement on that? i don't meet many people in oklahoma that say they want to fund house members running in new york state or california or illinois or even in oklahoma. they don't want to fund them with their tax dollars. if their tax dollars are going to education or to roads or to national defense or to border security, they're all in. but if they're funding a political campaign with their tax dollars, i just don't meet very many people that are very excited about that. but my democrat colleagues are saying if you don't support that, i will blow up the senate and i will destroy 250 years of history in the functioning of the senate to get my way, because to them, having federal funding for elections is so
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important, they're willing to blow the senate tradition up so they can get their way. there's a general counsel that works for the federal election commission. you've never met him. you don't know his name. he's an attorney that works for the federal election commission. their bill gives that attorney a tremendous amount of power to oversee elections in america. do you know who he is? i don't either. but if this bill passes, it's a pretty powerful individual. can we have a disagreement about that, or is this about if i don't allow someone no one even knows their name in the federal election commission attorney to be able to run elections in the country, i'll blow the senate up. there's a section of it in this
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bill that talks about preclearance. we actually don't know how many states would fall into preclearance on this. many of my democrat colleagues say it's not very many. you have to have some sort of violation in the past to be able to get it. if you read the fine print in the bill, it says if there's been a consent or an out-of-court settlement on things related to an election any time in the last 25 years, you would suddenly now be in preclearance. so literally 20 years ago, if your state made some agreement on elections, if there was some settlement that was done with d.o.j. during that time period, didn't even go to court, you just settled to resolve it and you said that was a mistake, that was done, now that's going to come back to haunt a future generation and states will get drawn into preclearance, which let me describe what that means. preclearance means your state legislature can no longer pass legislation on elections until
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you contact the attorney general of the united states and ask permission first. so now your state legislature works for the attorney general of the united states, whoever that person may be in the future. it actually gives them the ability to be able to control anything on election law in your state. even though we don't even know who that is and we don't know how many states are included. what i've heard over and over again from my democrat colleagues are if we don't do this right now our elections are destroyed in the future, because have you seen the things that republicans are doing all over the country? have you seen the terrible laws that have been passed since 2020? actually i have. my state is one of them. and i was surprised when i saw my state on the list of 34 different laws that are out there that have been passed that are terrible for america. so we've got to be able to
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federalize all elections. i was surprised to see my state on the list. and so when i looked on the list to see what was the terrible thing that passed in my state, here's what i discovered -- our bill, our state passed house bill 2663. house bill 2663 did a couple of things. it added an extra day of early voting for the general elections. added an extra day of in-person early voting. and it said if you request an absentee ballot, you have to do that 15 days prior to the election. do you know why we did that? because the united states postal service contacted every state and asked them to do that, because the postal service said we can no longer guarantee we can get something mailed to a person and give them time to get it actually mailed back in time for the election. so to make sure people's votes
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actually count, we did what the united states postal service actually recommended to us. we moved our requests for an absentee ballot to 15 days before the election to make sure every vote would count. you want to know something fun? so did the state of new york. they made the exact same change. so apparently the state of new york is also into voter suppression the same as the state of oklahoma is. but you know what's really happening? my democrat colleagues are running around the nation getting on the news saying there's 34 new laws passed by republicans, they're destroying the right to vote. and apparently no one in the media is saying list one because if they would have listed one, they would have listed the state of oklahoma added, added an extra day of in-person voting and did what the united states
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postal service asked us to do, the exact same thing the state of new york did. let me give you other things that happened in other states. in florida there is a requirement that voters provide the last four digits of their social security or their dliefers license number or -- driver's license number or florida i.d. number when they request a mail-in ballot to make sure it is actually them. it's pretty straightforward. that doesn't sound like voter suppression. that sounds like just verifying that a person is asking to vote by absentee is actually the person voting. they made it very simple. they're not even showing i.d. they are saying you you just give the last four digits of your social security, which everyone has. all they're just trying to make sure is that person is actually there and is actually who they say they are. but they're listed as being voter suppression there. arizona is requiring a voter's signature on early ballots as do a lot of states already. that's not been a big issue on that. in louisiana, this is a really
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big one in louisiana. louisiana and utah -- i understand why democrats are challenging this. in louisiana and utah, they require that deceased voters be taken off the voter rolls. those that are deceased, they're taken off the voter rolls. that's being listed as voter suppression. i have to tell you, i have a friend of mine that said to me when i die, would you make sure that i'm buried in a blue state because i want to make sure i can continue to vote. it's a running old joke about i want to keep voting when i'm dead. the state of louisiana and the state of utah, all they did was say we want to be able to clean up our voter rolls to be able to take off the names of people we know and have verified that they're actually dead. but that's considered voter suppression, and my democratic colleagues are running around the nation saying there's 34 new
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laws that are suppressing the rights to vote, when this is the kind of stuff that's actually been passed around the country. they'll say, you can list those. i understand those. but there are a couple of them that are really egregious. i've heard several folks say do you realize that the state of georgia, the state of georgia and the law that they passed won't allow people to be able to pass out water to people in line. that is voter suppression. well, did you know that new law in georgia has been the old law in the state of new york for years so that you couldn't campaign in line? people that are actual poll workers that are volunteers there, they can pass out food and water. but the state of georgia did a law just like the state of new york already has. i haven't heard senator schumer
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say that's voter suppression in new york. but he declared that to be voter suppression in georgia. in fact, even georgia senators here stood up to be able to protest that they were playing bawmbl -- bawmbl -- baseball in georgia because of it. the state of new york already has it. i've also heard folks say there are some of the things that these states have passed that they're actually removing the ability of the state chief election official to administer elections. that's dangerous because then just the legislature can just declare whoever they want to declare. that sounds horrible. if true, that would be terrible. it just doesn't happen to be factually true. but it's just getting spun like crazy. that republican states are out there taking away their rights of their people to be able to vote and their vote be counted. it's just not factually true.
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they'll go to georgia and say they stripped the secretary of state's authority to oversee elections. here's what georgia actually dif state is still the chief election official for the state of georgia. they still oversee all election activity in the state. nothing changed on that. but georgia did replace the secretary of state on the state election board with a nonpartisan chair, making the secretary of state a nonvoting member. that did happen. the law did provide new authority to the board to suspend county or municipal election superintendents and to appoint superintendents to oversee the jurs dick. that's part of the law -- jurisdiction. that's part of the law. that would only happen after an investigation by performance review board, a hearing by the state election board, the board then must determine that the election administrator in the jurisdictions committed at least three violations of state election law or has demonstrated malfeasance, gross negligence
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and the administration of elections. the law also prohibits the board from suspending more than four superintendents. it allows for suspended superintendent to petition the state for reinstatement. it has a whole process of due process that gets carried out. why do they do this? because there were actual examples in the election of election workers that were fired by the county elections directors for shredding voter registration applications. that's a crime. so they set up a process with full due process not to overturn elections, but to make sure county election officials actually are following the law. that doesn't sound like voter suppression to me. that just sounds like running free and fair elections. oh, but arizona. arizona has a new law that
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provides that the attorney general has the authority to defend the state's election laws in courts, rather than the secretary of state. so they just shifted their responsibility of who defends state election laws. secretary of state is still the chief election officer in arizona, but doesn't go to court. their state attorney general does. that kind of makes sense to me. but apparently, my democratic colleagues don't agree. they've spun this whole web of myth and said we have to federalize every election in america. we have to take over every state voting system in america. washington, d.c. needs to be the one to be able to run everything. or else, if we don't, we'll destroy the traditions of the
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senate. and get our way no matter what. can i just read to you from the voting rights act of 1965, the law still in place in america? it says, no voting qualification or prerequisite to voting or standard practice or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any state or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the united states to vote on account of race or color. voting rights act of 1965, still the law of the land. and should be. so what's happening now with this? well, there's two big issues here. one is this fight over voting, whether states make decisions on voting or whether washington, d.c. democrats make states on voting for their
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states, even if it's a democrat state. and then the next big issue is are the democrats in this room actually going to destroy the filibuster and silence the rights of the minority in america? now, if you would have asked me four years ago, i would have said no way. that's not going to happen. because a group of democrats and a group of republicans joined together and said, we are committed to not destroying the legislative filibuster. why? because it's what makes the house and the senate different. the house and the senate are not just ones bigger and one is smaller. the house and senate operate differently. the senate has been the place for 2 1/2 centuries where the
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debate occurs in the rights of individual senators to be able to debate the issues, defend their state, talk about the rights of americans. this happens in the senate. the majority rules the show in the house. if they have 218 of 435, they don't care what the other side thinks. people, when they talk about bipartisanship, never bring up the house of representatives. they just don't. bipartisanship doesn't happen in the house of representatives the way it happens in the senate, but the reason it happens in the senate is because of this thing called the filibuster. it was interesting, when i was first elected into the senate in 2014, the people that called me between my election and when i came were almost all democrats. almost all of them. they wanted to introduce themselves. they wanted to say what are you interested in? because in the senate we have to work together to be able to get things done. so i had all these democrats that reached out to me to say let's find common ground. we'll disagree on lots of
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things, but let's find the things we're going to agree on. because we have to come to consensus because we're the united states senate. that's commonly understood by senators, which is why in 2017, in the middle of the year, a group of republicans and senators wrote a letter, this letter, to mitch mcconnell and chuck schumer in this letter, i'll read it here, it says we're mindful of the unique role the senate plays in the legislative process and we're steadfastly committed to ensuring that this great american institution continues to serve as the world's greatest deliberative body. therefore, here's their request, therefore, we're asking you to join us in opposing any effort to curtail the existing rights and prerogatives of senators to engage in full, robust, and extended debate as we consider legislation before this body in
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the future. this group of senators in 2017 wrote to mitch mcconnell and chuck schumer and said do not allow any changes. we are fully committed to making no changes in the filibuster. don't allow it to happen for legislation. don't allow it. here were those that signed this document and said this is what we believe -- kamala harris, vice president of the united states. chris coons, who led the letter among all democrats. patrick leahy, the person who's held this institution together. diane feinstein, amy klobuchar, kyrsten gillibrand, cory booker, michael bennett, joe manchin, angus king, mark warner, bob casey, martin heinrich, jeanne
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shaheen, shared brown, brian schatz, maria cantwell, macy hirono, john tester, tom carper, maggie hassan, tammy duckworth, tim kaine, jack reed, ed markey, debbie stab stabenow, shelden white house, bob menendez. all said don't change the legislative filibuster. in fact, they asked me, along with everyone else, to join them in opposing the efforts to make changes to the filibuster. it didn't just stop there. there were lots of other conversations that happened during that time period. there were lots of interviews and dialogue about it. let me just read some of the comments that were made during that time period. george stephanopoulos on abc's program asked dick durbin, the
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number two leader for democrats, asked dick durin what do you think about doing away with the filibuster? dick durbin replied this in 201u that would be the end of the senate as it was originally devised and created going back to our founding fathers. we have to acknowledge our respect for the minority, and that's what the senate tries to do in its composition and in its procedure. that's dick durbin in 2018. john tester was asked in 2019 about the legislative filibuster, and he said i don't want to see the senate become the house. he then said, asking about the filibuster changes, i'm a no. that would be a mistake. senator angus king made this comment in 2020 -- he said, i know it can be frustrating, but i think legislation is better
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when it has some bipartisan support. senator diane feinstein in 2020 said, filibuster is part of the senate tradition, which creates a sobering effect on the body, which i think is healthy. one more comment from angus king, angus king was asked about it on cnn about the filibuster, and he replied back he's 100% opposed to killing the filibuster. 100%. senator cory booker responded about the filibuster, he said, my colleagues and i, and everybody i've talked to, believe the legislative flib should stay there, and i -- filibuster should stay there, and i will personally resist efforts to get rid of it of chris coons when asked about this in 2018 replied i'm committed to never voting to change the legislative filibuster. never. it senator jacky rosen in 2019 was asked about this, she replied, i think we should keep
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the legislative filibuster. it's one of the few things that we have to left in order to let all the voices be heard here in the senate. shes are said -- also said we have to look at not just when you're in the majority, but what does it do when you're in the minority? you have to be mindful of that of jeanne shaheen was asked on cnn about the legislative filibuster in 2021. and she answered just simply -- no, i would not support eliminating the 60-vote threshold, would not do it. senator jack reed was asked in 2017 during the same time period this letter came out, which he was a signatory for, he said the filibuster's not in the constitution. or in the original senate rules. but we have a bicameral system for a reason, and this legislative tool serves a critical purpose in ensuring the functioning of our democratic republic. yes, it sometimes slows the process down, and some have
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abecaused or -- abused or subverted it, but it remains an important part of our system of checks and balances. i agree. i agree with that jack reed. senator bernie sanders even was asked about the filibuster in 2019. he just replied -- no, i'm not crazy about getting rid of the filibuster. senator hirono from hawaii said i'm not particularly in favor of getting rid of the filibuster, because that means majority rule, and that's what happens in the house. senator bob casey was asked in 2019 about the filibuster, and he just replied -- i'm a yes on keeping the filibuster. one of my favorites, senator shared brown -- share -- senator brown was asked, he replied i think there are ways to get through conk with a legislative filibuster in place. it just takes a chief executive that knows what she or he is doing.
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listen, this is not some trivial exercise. this is 250 years of history my democratic colleagues are planning to flush down the toilet because they don't get their way, on a bill we rightfully have very strong philosophical differences on. hey, i don't agree on giving rapists and sex offenders or convicted felons voting rights when they get out of prison. i'm not alone in that. i don't agree in federal tax dollars being used to be able to pay for political campaigns. i'm not alone in that. that's not that crazy. i don't agree that my state should have to go play mother, may i with some future attorney general because they want to add another day of voting. i'm not alone go that. -- not alone in that. but to say if you don't do this now, i'll dough stroi the senate senate is a toxic shift for our
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republic. it's a violation of what you have said before in public. in fact, written to the leadership of the senate, and said please don't do this. and we will not do this. and now, years later, go, it's not convenient. that was when we were in the minority, we had one opinion. now we have different core beliefs because we're in the majority. interestingly enough, joe biden today stood in georgia and made this statement. he said, today i'm making it clear to protect our democracy i support changing the senate rules, whichever way they need to be changed to prevent a minority of senators from blocking action on voting rights. when it comes to protecting majority rule in america, the majority should rule in the united states senate. well, that's fascinating. now that he's president of the united states it is my way or i'll destroy the whole place.
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when he was senator joe biden, he had a different opinion. senator joe biden wasn't about i'm the president, so i get what i want. senator joe biden said this statement. folks who want to see the change and eliminate procedural mechanisms guaranteed for the expression of individual rights, they undermine the minority point of view in the heat of majority excess. but now he says, no, i'm in the majority. i should get my way. senator joe biden said, well, i've been here 32 years, most of the time in the majority, he said. whenever you're in the majority, it's frustrating to see the other side block a bill or nominee you support. i've walked in your shoes, and
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he get it. getting rid of the filibuster has long-term consequences. if there's one thing i've learned in my years here, once you change the rules and surrender the senate's institutional power, you never get it back. senator joe biden said, simply put, the nuclear option would transform the senate from the so-called cooling saucer our founding fathers talked about to cool the passions of the day to a pure majoritarian body like a parliament. we've heard a lot in recent weeks about the rights of the majority and obstructionism. but the senate is not meant to be a place of pure majoritarianism. is majority rule what you really want? that's what he said as a senator, but as president, his demand was, majority rule or we'll break every rule in the senate to get what we want. senator schumer, in his public statements, has been very clear.
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it would be doomsday for democracy, he said, if you changed the filibuster. this is the statement senator schumer made in 2017. the same senator schumer that has spent the last 12 months trying to find a way to tear down the filibuster. in 2017 when there was the debate going on around this, senator schumer said on the floor of the senate, standing right there, i hope the republican leader and i, he said, can in the coming months find a way to build a firewall around the legislative filibuster, which is the most important distinction between the senate and the house. without the 60-vote threshold for legislation, senator schumer said, the senate becomes a majoritarian institution like the house, much more subject to it the whims of short-term electoral change. no senator would like to see that happen, so let's find a way
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to further protect the 60-vote rule for legislation. that was senator schumer in 2017, but now it is, i'm in power. i'm going to do what i want. this is not a flippant issue. as i've spoken to some of my democratic colleagues, they seem to believe, we'll just take this vote and no one is is going to care. in fact, some of my democratic colleagues are saying, we know we're going to lose. senator manchin and senator sinema have already made public comments. they're not going to go with this. we're going to take this, make a statement, our progressive base wants us to do this. it's not going to pass anyway. so we'll just do it. except they're forgetting five
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years from now, ten years from now. there will be another time just like this, and maybe democrats will be in a slightly larger majority. and maybe senator sinema and senator manchin won't be here at that moment and the majority leader, democrat senator at that point, will step forward and say, you voted on this in 2022, it's time fors to vote on it now. democratic activists will rush at you and will say, don't you dare change what you did. tear the place down. let's get what we want. i've spoken to so many of my colleagues and said, don't do this. and they've quietly responded back to me, i don't want to do this. i am know at -- i'm not here to attack my colleagues. you each make your own
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decisions. but these are decisions that matter. these are the decisions that 100 years from now will still guide the direction of the senate. these are the decisions that will direct our republic. we are the only body that has a protection for the minority voice. i think the only legislative body in the world that's designed like this. it's been part of the secret sauce of america, that the minority in america, however large or small it is, has a voice. my democratic colleagues are now saying, we no longer want the minority to have a voice in america. if you're in the minority opinion, you don't count.
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sit down, shut up, we're in the majority. that has never been the american way, not in 250 years. this has been the place where we've argued, debated, and where, yes, i've talked to house members who've said good bills went to die, but the senate has been the spot where all americans get to speak. and my democratic colleagues are seriously considering this week saying, no more because we want to pass a voting bill that gives federal dollars to house candidates and gives felons the right to vote and takes away voter i.d. what in the world, what has this body become that people who
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signed this document, page after page of them -- i mean, i could bring out page after page of senators who have signed this that have said, do not take away the legislative filibuster, that now are just flipping and flippant and saying it won't matter. yeah, it does. 100 years from now this week will still matter. i encourage my democratic colleagues to think carefully on this one because this one counts. counts.
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test area. about the basic facts of state voting laws he was called out and debunked might listen to this, the "washington post". sitting president of the united states pledged to lower the temperature and unite america that hatred of segregation to a smear, to smear estate his due voting law are more accessible than for example delaware.
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ten days of early voting and exclusive absentee is just fine. but 17 days of early voting and no excuse absences and george is racist or pretend it is a civil rights crisis. more absentee balancing this is misinformation. it is a big lie designed to reduce the faith in our democracy justify top-down election take over and justify smashing the senate itself. some years back the veteran democratic senator explained the nuclear option is ultimately the arrogance of
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power to transform the senate to the so-called cooling saucer of our founding fathers talked about to a pure majoritarian body. that was then senator joe biden. he continued the filibuster is not about the filibuster is about compromise and moderation. before he reverse this position he held for decades, he was in very good company. senator robert byrd of west virginia the seventh senate as situational is just crucial traditions fiercest defender. the current democratic leader tried to invoke senator byrd in support of his push to vandalize the sentence. this is more information. he went out of his way to
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rebut leader shimmers arguments years in advance. as a direct quote from senator byrd proponents of the so-called nuclear option cite several instances in which the in accurately allege torrid and inappropriate change in senate rules. they are dead wrong since senator byrd dead wrong. they draw analogies were none exist and create cockeyed comparisons that do not withstand scrutiny". that is how thunderbird fell about it. down to his final public statements before his death in 2010 senator byrd was completely quote i face closer by simple majority would immediately destroy the uniqueness of the institution minority rights would cease to
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exist in the u.s. senate". senator byrd shortly before his death. the democratic leader knew how to serve and protect the senate. that democratic leader knew how to serve and protect the senate. this democratic leader once power so badly he will help some guidance thunderbird successor senior center for west virginia has eloquently restated the very same points. our colleague senator manchin published explaining why there is no circumstance in which i would vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster. senator manchin. he pointed out finding compromise across party differences in differing regional interest was never supposed to be easy but is the work we were elected to do. he noted current roles
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guarantee rural and small states and the americans who live in them always have a seat at the table. our colleague also points out the 60 vote threshold keeps federal lot durable and predictable. "as the filibuster is eliminated or budget reconciliation becomes the norm, a new and dangerous precedent will be set to pass sweeping partisan legislation every time there is a change in political control. a notion may never see stable governance again. this has been a key point for senators on both sides going back generations. in his farewell address before retirement of former colleague lamar alexander put it this way, the senate rules exist to force a broad agreement on controversial issues that become laws that most of us will vote for and that a
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diverse country will accept. in other words, major changes need major buy-in. otherwise every policy would ping-pong wildly whenever the gavels change hands. this is a point to a chart calling the senior senator from arizona has explained powerfully as senator sinema wrote just a few months ago the 60 vote threshold compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings and radical reversals. sometimes the effect of the filibuster is to block bills outright. republicans are using the tool to stop one party election takeovers. in 2020 republicans use it to kill senator tim scott's police reform bill. but as president biden ordered decades ago, the filibuster is
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about more than what it blocks, shapes almost everything the senate actually does pass. it gives all kinds of citizens and all kinds of states a meaningful voice in nearly everything we do. by breaking the senate's, this democratic leader was to silence the lost millions and millions of americans pretty wants to throw whole regions of the country into political power outage because the voters do not agree with his radicalism. we will see which centers have the courage and principle to put a stop to it. finally on a more practical level i want to make something very, very clear. fifty republican senators, the largest possible minority have been sent here to represent the many millions of americans whose leader schumer wants so
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badly to leave behind. so, if mike cut being in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i understand there's a bill at the desk. i ask for its first reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the built for the first time. the clerk: s. 3480, a bill to prohibit the use of funds to reduce the nuclear forces of the united states. mr. schumer: i now ask for a second reading in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule 14, i object to my own request. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. schumer: madam president -- the presiding officer: the bill will receive its second reading on the next legislative day. mr. schumer: madam president, i have five requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders.
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the presiding officer: dual noted. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar 152, s. 2520. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 152, s. 25250, a bill to amend the homeland security act of 2002 and so forth and for other purposes. mr. schumer: the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the committee report a substitute amendment be withdrawn on the peters substitute amendment at the desk be considered and agreed to, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of clearn clearched 15 -- calendar 153 s. 2201. the clerk: 153 s. 2201, a bill to manage supply chain risks and so forth and for other purposes.
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the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the committee reported amendments be withdrawn, the peters substitute amendment, at the desk, be considered and agreed to, the bill as amended be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: finally, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it recess until 12:30:00 p.m. wednesday, januarr and pledge the journal of proceedings be approved for date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for use later in the day, and morning business be closed. upon conclusion of the morning business, the senate proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the bose nomination post-cloture. further, the vote on the nomination -- vote on the nomination of bose at 3:30 p.m.. finally, if any nominations are confirmed wednesday, the motion to re-- the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and and the president will be immediately notified on these actions. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: if there's no further business before the senate, i ask that it stand in
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recess under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands in recess until senate stands in recess until >> the u.s. senate today confirmed alan davidson to the nelly national telecommunication. the senate is now considering the nominee to have the federal railroad administration also this week we could see debate on legislation dealing with a russian gas pipeline at a potential rule changes have voting right legislation for be filibustered bright earlier than eight centers debate a potential filibuster rule change on the floor by the senate returns to session will have live coverage here on cspan2. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government funded by these television companies and more including cox. cox is committed to providing eligible affordable internet.
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cox keeping is close over along with these other television providers giving a front row seat to democracy. >> now testimony from federal reserve chair jerome powell talks about recent inflationary trends to combat them a senate banking is on part of the renomination process to continue as chair of the federal reserve system for another four-year term. this runs just shy of two half hours.


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