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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  March 12, 2020 1:29pm-5:30pm EDT

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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for west virginia. mr. manchin: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: it is. mr. manchin: wish to vitiate the
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quorum call. i will -- i am doing so because i believe he is well qualified for the job. he has been the commission's general counsel for the past two and a half years. he understands the complex legal issues that come before the commission. i voted to report mr. danly's nomination both last november and last week on the strength of his qualifications, not on politics. i urge my colleagues to do the same. but the position to which mr. danly has been nominated is one of five seats on the federal energy regulatory commission. by law, no more than two of the five seats can be held by one party. only three of the seats are now filled. two by republicans and one by a democrat. the other democratic seat has been vacant since last august. traditionally when both a republican seat and democrat seat has been vacant, the president -- past presidents
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have sent nominations to fill both at the same time. i am deeply disappointed this has not happened this time. the politics involved in this town is outrageous. truly outrageous that even proper decorum, simple civility, just a little bit of procedure is not even considered anymore. the white house has had a highly qualified candidate to fill the democratic seat for over a year. totally vetted, gone through all the processes that we had, but the president and his staff has still not filled the nomination. i hear that she is a very bright, very articulate, very intelligent person. she knows the issue and is well respected in her field. by breaking the long-standing practice of pairing nominations and not sending the nomination,
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it undermines this structure. i said i would support mr. danly because he is wul qualified and i will vote to confirm him. two wrongs don't make a right here, but this has got to stop and both sides have to stand up and say, mr. president, this is a tradition. this is what we do. this is customary of what's been done and it gives us a five-member ferc which is extremely important for our energy, our country, and the reliability that we depend on. as i told my colleagues on the energy committee, when we voted on mr. danly's nomination that i will not support another nominee unless we get both. it has to stop. i'm asking my colleagues on the republican side to please help us put some kind of structure and some kind of procedure back into the operation. we need to start acting as a senate and not be guided by the politics and the toxic politics and this tribal men talt. -- mentality. i want the president to send us
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the nominations so we can have a fully functioning committee. so, with that, i ask all of my colleagues to -- to, please, let's vote for the qualifications of the person, not the politics of the person, but also let's medicare sure that we have a complete working commission and not just a partial commission that is overweighted. with that, i see an absence -- i yield the floor. the presiding officer: -- on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote are or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 52, the nays are 40. the nomination's confirmed. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent that with the company to the -- respect to the dally
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nomination -- dally nomination the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: i ask that the senate proceed to morning business with senators permitted to speak up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: i have six requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate, they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. thune: mr. president, last week congress provided billions in funding to address the coronavirus outbreak. these funds will help support virus research, testing and medical care. congress is now looking at other measures that may be required, including measures to address the economic impact of the virus. the house may consider an economic response measure today, but my understanding is its bill doesn't yet reflect an agreement with the white house which will be needed november any stimulus
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package. i want to echo the leader's comments from yesterday. this is not a time for partisanship and it is very important that we work together on matters related to the coronavirus so that we can get needed legislation passed in a timely fashion. more americans are testing positive for the virus each day, including eight people in my home state of south dakota, continue is it our responsibility, as members of congress, to work together to ensure that our country has the resources it needs to combat and defeat this disease. mr. president, there's doubt that things are stressful right now. americans are understandably worried about their own health and the health of loved ones. but we have a lot of dedicated people working to keep americans safe from nurses to doctors to public health officials. everyone is focused on making sure that we do what we need to do to limit the spread of this virus. and all of us, of course, can help in that effort by paying attention to the guidance we're
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given, whether it's advice about washing our hands or avoiding large gatherings or requests to stay home for a bhiel. -- for a while. mr. president, it's a challenging time but america has been through challenging times before and emerged from them stronger, and i'm confident that if we pull together that's what will happen again. mr. president, i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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wathen gar quorum call:
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mr. cardin: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: mr. president, this women's history month we have the opportunity to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment of the constitution which gave the right of women to vote. we recognize the countless women who put their own safety and comfort on the line in order to make this country more just, democratic, and inclusive. these include heroes like margaret brent, a daughter of maryland who was the first to demand a vote for women in the colonial legislature, and sojourner truth who advocated for a more diverse and transsexual women's sufficient froth movement. thanks to their bravery and many other activists, our nation witnessed the largest suffrage
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in history. we ought to celebrate that monumental achievement, the ability to vote has been empowering women to demand a government that represents them and their interests and they have taken their power seriously. women have voted in higher numbers than men in every national election in the last 5 a 5 -- 55 years. we saw the results in 2018 that can happen when women raise their voices and fight mo more inclusive democracy. as a record 117 women won election to congress across the united states. we cannot overstate how dramatically the adoption of the 19th amendment changed our country for the better. but it's also incumbent upon us to take stock of the progress that still needs to be made because just a few years after women won the right to vote, a suffrage name alice paul introduced another critically important constitutional amendment, one that would go enfurther in guaranteeing an equal status of women. it was called the equal rights
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amendment or the e.r.a. it reads as follows. equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the united states or by any of its state on account of sex. that's it. it's just 24 words. but those 24 words had the power to correct a 250-year silence in our constitution when it comes to recognizing and protecting women's equality. the e.r.a. was ratified by the u.s. congress if 1972 -- in 1972. with virginia's ratification this past january, enough states have adopted the amendment to meet the threshold for it to be added to the constitution. so what's the holdup? why isn't it part of the constitution yet? well, when congress ratified the equal rights amendment, they imposed a deadline for state legislatures to ratify and that deadline has passed. but there should never be a deadline on equality.
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the constitution does not call for time limits for ratification of amendments. and there is precedent for amendments being added to the constitution as long as 200 years after they were first proposed. and most importantly, just as congress as the how we are to impose and extend the deadline by resolution, we had the power to remove it through the same means. that is why i've introduced a resolution with senator murkowski to remove the ratification deadline for the equal rights amendment. representative jackie sphere introduced a companion resolution that has already been passed by the house of representatives. we are closer than ever to making the equal rights amendment a reality. this measure has historically enjoyed bipartisan support. the vast majority of americans, 94% of them, are in favor of a constitutional e-- constitution equality amendment. perhaps it's because they understand this is an issue not of politics but of basic human
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rights. if you have any doubt about that, just look at the rest of the modern world. every constitution written around the globe since world war ii recognizes in the constitution equal stature of men and women. ours does not. that's shameful. among those who have hesitated to support the e.r.a., one of the most common arguments is that it's not necessary. people argue that women already enjoy equal rights and protection in our society. so what's the need to write it down. to them i say think again. through the wage gap between men and women has narrowed over time is still -- still exists today. in 2019 women eastern only 7 -- earn only 79% as much as their male counterpart fossil lar work. this disparity is even worse for women of color and affects women their entire lives. it also affects their retirement. recent data showed that women over 65 are twice as likely as
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men to live below the poverty line. we owe it to america's women, to our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, to recommendty this societal failure -- remedy this societal failure. women in the united states have no gender recourse. the courts have allowed police officers to refuse on defend victims of domestic abuse and have even struck down the protection offered by the violence against women's act. the equal rights amendment will require the federal government to prohibit and penalize this type of discrimination. justice ruth bader ginsburg once said that if she could choose an amendment to add to the constitution, it would be the came rights amendment because she would like her granddaughters when they pick up the constitution to see that notion that women and men are persons of equal stature. as a basic principle of our society. as a grandfather to two granddaughters myself, i couldn't agree more.
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i want them to know that in america, they will enjoy the same protections and opportunities as anyone else. i want every young person to grow up understanding that her dreams are within reach. and her autonomy is respected and that her life is significant. snored to make that a reality, women need more than the right to vote as fundamental as that is. they need a promise that they will be free from all forms of discrimination and injustice. that's why men, women, republicans and democrats must come together in order to correct that silence in our constitution that speaks volumes. we must all unite to support the equal rights amendment. mr. president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator for arkansas. a senator: i ask the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to honor h.u.d. springs police officer first class brent scrimshaw who was killed in the line of duty on tuesday, march
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10, a native of malvern, arkansas, he graduated from malvern high school and henderson state university. officer scrimshaw was an exemplary member of law enforcement. he served on the police force for a number of years and was recognized as the department's employee of the quarter just recently. in acknowledgment of his unique dedication, work ethic, and professionalism. attorney general leslie rutledge also named him the southwest region officer of the year in 2016 which according to media reports he earned in part because of his life-saving action to help control the bleeding of a stabbing victim. scrim was known for trading his brothers in blue as well as those he encountered while doing his job with kindness and
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dignity. he also enjoyed being outdoors hunting and fishing. he deeply loved his wife and two children who are now left behind to go through life without the devoted husband and dad they adored. our hearts break for them, the rest of his family, and friends, and his entire family at the hot springs police department. his death is a tragic reminder of the risk that our law enforcement officials face each time that they put on the uniform. i send my deepest condolences to the officer's loved ones. we honor his service and his sacrifice and pray all those fortunate enough to have known him will find comfort in his legacy and in the outpouring of love and support from so many. on behalf of all arkansans, we
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celebrate officer skrimshaw's life and example of courageous, willing and selfless public service. may he rest in peace. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. cornyn: i'd ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, earlier today as the senate
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knows now, leader mcconnell announced that we would cancel our state work period so we could continue to work on legislation here in washington, d.c. to help families and our communities get through the economic effect of the coronavirus' spread. i'm glad he made that decision, and i look forward to continuing to work on those issues for the benefit of our constituents and the nation. this situation calls for an all-of-government response, and it will allow us additional time to hammer out a bipartisan agreement to respond to the ripple effect that this outbreak is having in texas and across the country. as we continue our discussions on this legislation, i would just urge my colleagues that this is the time to put partisanship aside and stop playing politics, if there ever was one.
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there is actually precedent for that. at the height of the ebola crisis in 2014, republicans in the senate worked with our democratic colleagues and president obama to ensure we were ready to treat texans and other americans who needed care from that particular disease. we need to come together to do the same now, not to use the opportunity to attack or score political points or to try to damage our opponents. unfortunately, that seems to be the first impulse of some of our friends across the capitol chamber. most of the public concern is focused on the elderly, on cruise ship travelers and those with underlying medical conditions, but we need to think of every family, every college student, and to make sure that everyone worrying about how to make ends meet during this particular crisis because they had to stay home
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and miss work, that their concerns are addressed as well. this virus could disrupt everyone's daily routine in one way or the other. and as we've seen from the departure of some of our colleagues for self-quarantining, we are truly in this together. i'm glad we'll be staying in session to try to bring as much relief and reassurance as we can in this uncertain time, and i look forward to all of us, republicans and democrats, the house and senate and the white house, working together to get every american ready for what is to come. it's not just the senate that's altering its plans due to the coronavirus. across the country serious measures are taking place out of an abundance of caution to keep the american people safe. some schools are choosing to close their doors. nursing homes are barring visitors. and major events like south by southwest in austin are
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canceling. on the global scale, we're seeing an unprecedented action, including all of italy, some 60 million people, going on a complete lockdown. for many americans, it seems like this public health crisis has escalated incredibly quickly. we went from never having heard of this new virus to constant news coverage about its growing reach within a matter of weeks. but this outbreak began long before the average american even knew that it existed, and it was no accident that chinese officials kept the rest of the world in the dark. one of the first people to sound the alarm about the novel virus -- that's what they call it, the novell coronavirus -- was 34-year-old chinese dr. li win ong, who sadly became a victim of the coronavirus. on december 30 last year, after
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seeing several patients that he believed at the time to have sars, another type of coronavirus, dr. li messaged a group of medical school classmates to let them know that he had seen something new and different and potentially dangerous. dr. li told them that these were confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, but the exact strain was still being subtyped. he also urged them to have their families and friends take protective measures. but these messages were soon shared much wider than the intended audience, and the chinese communist party and the government quickly stepped in to stop this information from being spread. chinese police reprimanded dr. li and several others for, quote, spreading rumors about the virus. in the chinese government's efforts to carefully conceal information about the rapid spread of symptoms throughout the city of wuhan, this
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amounted to a big threat. they continued to take extreme measures to assure the chinese people that there was no need for them to be concerned. they even refused to acknowledge the risk of human-to-human transmission which is responsible for the global spread of this virus. while this is a novel coronavirus strain, the underlying story is familiar. chinese officials learn about a deadly outbreak of a new virus. they try to conceal the news. they aren't transparent with their own people, much less other countries. and when the word begins to spread beyond their borders, they try to down play the seriousness, even going so far as to manipulate data about the number of cases or fatalities. we saw this story line play out with the bird flu in late 1990's and again with the sars epidemic in the early 2000's.
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this is just the latest example of the chinese communist party's failure in the face of a public health crisis. they continue to deny the facts and put their pride before public safety. it's a symptom of a much larger centralized censorship that we've come to associate with the chinese government, one that represents a threat to the rest of the world. imagine if the situation were different, if the government had listened to dr. li's initial warnings, if they'd reached out to international aid organizations and asked for assistance to pour additional resources to hospitals in wuhan and told the chinese people to exercise normal caution. now there's no way to be sure, but i imagine the current situation would look somewhat different.
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china's censorship summer handicapped -- seriously handicapped global response to this virus and continued to release misleading statistics about the current state of the virus. they've reported that the number of new cases continues to decrease, but i ask you, how can we possibly trust this data? how can we know this isn't just the latest attempt to down play the crisis? while china's lack of transparency on the coronavirus has without a doubt had the greatest global impact, it's not the only country guilty of misrepresenting the nature of the threat in the rest of the world. we also suspect a massive censorship from iran, which is battling one of the world's largest outbreaks. according to the coronavirus resource center, which is operated at johns hopkins
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university, iran has more than 9,000 cases. for reference, out of more than 120,000 cases worldwide, china has far and away the greatest number with more than 80,000. italy is a distant second with more than 10,000. but iran is not far behind. just as china sought to keep initial reports of the virus quiet and down play the impact, so did iran. the leadership in iran urged the iranian people to vote in last month's sham election saying rumors about the virus were being peddled by the u.s. to suppress voter turnout. they mocked the concept of quarantines. they even exported their masks to china expecting that the coronavirus would have no impact on their country. as we predicted then and now know, the iranian leaders were absolutely wrong.
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they're now in the throes of trying to control the spread of the virus which has claimed the lives of more than 350 people in iran, and that's just the ones we know about. it's widely believed that iran, like china, is expressing data to make the situation seem less dire than it really is. it's not just the civilians who are being impacted. yesterday's report surfaced that iran's senior have want and two other cabinet -- senior's vice president and two other cabinet members have the coronavirus. that comes after former officials being admitted to hospitals and at least two deaths. mr. president, the actions taken by the leaders of these countries, iran and china, have without a doubt contributed to the rapid rise and spread of the coronavirus. they've concealed information, they've misrepresented the facts, and they've lied to their own citizens and the global community all in their
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self-perceived interest. the reflex of censorship from china and iran put the rest of the world at greater risk and have handicapped our preparation for ways to address it. as our leaders, health officials, scientists and doctors continue to work around the clock to contain this virus, we have to have transparency and we have to know the facts. if we're going to have any success on a global scale dealing with the coronavirus, we need honesty and transparency from all countries. mr. president, i yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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you
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to suspend the
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quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: mr. president, they spied on the president of the united states. they used the appar are the us of the u.s. -- they used the apparatus of the u.s. government's superb government agencies to spy on then-candidate donald trump, now president of the united states. they did so in a way that was entirely predictable, entirely foreseeable, in some ways avoidable, if in fact we had the right laws on the books. we don't. that needs to change. that's why this moment -- a pivotal moment when three provisions of the foreign intelligence surveillance act are about to expire this sunday, the 15th of march. we've known this day was coming for many years. in fact, it was in 2015 when congress last reauthorized the three expiring provisions not on any long-term basis.
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the three provisions -- the last of threes two provisions -- 215 -- i'm directing most of my remarks. 215 is only the beginning and not the end of the portion of the foreign intelligence surveillance act also known as fisa that needs reform. we need reform across the board. but the expiration of 2015 gives us a unique opportunity to do better. so we reauthorized it in 2015, knowing that it would come back again for reauthorization in december of 2019. in december of 2019 we were in the middle of doing other things, so an agreement was made within this body that we would extend 215 and the other two provisions until this coming sunday, march 15. so absent action by this body, between now and sunday, march 15, those three provisions of law will expire. those three provisions of law should not have to expire
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because we ought to be able to reform fisa. a umin of us have been working on this not just for days or weeks or months but literally years. i'm now in my tenth year in the united states senate basically my entire time working on reforms to fisa, figuring out where its weak spots are. we have to remember what happened with the church commission -- the church committee. the frank church committee a few decades ago looked at the use of intelligence gathering and concluded that in every administration basically from wilson through nixon -- who was the president immediately before the church committee did its investigation and issued its report -- u.s. intelligence-gathering agencies had abused its -- abused their authority for partisan political purposes, basically to engage in
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political espionage. we know that this is dangerous. we know that this is bad. we also know that this is just the beginning and not the end of the opportunities for abuse. consider this -- given the breadth, the wide scope on the authority provided under fisa, and given the fact that the foreign intelligence surveillance court is able to operate in secrecy and for the most part without any type of appellate review, any type of judicial review -- these are provisions that are in fact vulnerable, susceptible to abuse. so it's not just the president of the united states who has reason to be concerned about this. if the president of the united states has a reason to be concerned about it -- as he does, as reminded just in the last few hours issuing a statement this morning indicating that he still has
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concerns with fisa and that many senators are pointing out the flaws in the reform package passed by the democratic-controlled house of representatives earlier this week, that many have encouraged him to veto that legislation on that basis. but, if the president of the united states himself has reason to be concerned about fisa, what about the rest of americans? this is just the episode that people know about. in connection with the abuse that took place in the carter page investigation. had donald trump not become president of the united states, we might well not know about this particular abuse. because of the secret manner in which this law operates and the fail tour to provide special protections for known u.s. citizens, we all stand vulnerable, every american citizen, whether they hold office or not, whether they are famous for not, whether their
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rich or poor, what part of the country they hail from. and so,mr. president, what we're seeking here are a few modest reforms, a few modest reforms to make sure that it's a little bit harder to abuse this law. we know that human beings are flawed and fallible and we've to rely on human beings to run governments. it would be nice, as madison said, if men were angels. we wouldn't need all these rules surrounding the extent of the power of government, to protect us from the inherent risk associated with the accumulation of power in the hands of a few. but alas we are not angels, so we have to rely on rules. the rules that we're proposing are not excessive. they're not extreme. they're actually very mild.
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among other things, we'd like to see more robust amicus provisions, meaning provisions allowing for a third party advocate in the fisa court to be called in under certain circumstances, especially involving a sensitive investigation, involving, for example, a political campaign or candidate, an officeholder, a church, media establishment, something like that that operates with express constitutional protection. an amicus ought to be appointed to represent an absent contrasting viewpoint, to represent american citizens, where american citizens' rights might be in jeopardy. understanding, as we have, since 2015 that these provisions would be expiring first in december of 201 and then we reauthorized
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them for a short period of time to give us more time to address these amendments, i have for years been working on proposals and revisions to fisa, with this specific expiration deadline in mind. i have not been, nor have any of my colleagues who have concerns about this, been unreasonable in our demands. for me personally, i'd be fine with two of the three provisions being reauthorized without any further modification. lone wolf and roving wiretap, let them get reauthorized. that's fine. let's deal with 215 separately. section 215, if it doesn't go away, it just reverts back to a previous version of 215. a previous version that still gives the government the ability to gain being a seas to some business -- gain access to some business records. it is just a narrower category.
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we can argue about whether that earlier provision would be adequate or n incidentally, inspectors general have looked at this and concluded that the 9/11 attacks were not the fault of the inadequacy of 215. they were the result of mishandling of information that they did in fact gather but were able to gather. in any event, i'd love to be able to have that conversation separately without all three of these provisions being held hostage simultaneously. i've made that offer. that offer has been rejected. i also think another appropriate approach in this circumstance might well be to give ourselves a 45-day extension t45-day extension would give us -- a 45-day extension would give us a little more time to deal with the coronavirus-related crises that we face right now and then consider and debate and vote on some additional amendments, some amendments that have never had the opportunity to see the light of day. keep in mind, this provision --
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getting back to the expiring provision that i have concerns about, section 215. it existed prior to the moment when it reached its current formulation, when it existed in that formulation, it really did what the government needed it to. no one really argued that it had been inadequate. there were some people i'm told -- i wasn't in the senate or in congress at that time -- that it came to be. i'm told that among its advocates included robert mueller, included jim comey and others who just thought it would be a good idea to give the government more power. we have seen since then what happens when you give jim comey and robert mueller and other people in the government more power, and we've seen that there are some risks associated with this, not just if you are a president of the united states or a candidate for the presidency of the united states. but we know that all americans are potentially vulnerable.
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and so we fast-forward to earlier this week. less than 48 hours ago we received the legislation that was passed by the house of representatives yesterday. that legislation was negotiated without involvement, without direct input from anybody in this body. the majority leader himself has stated publicly that he was not involved in the negotiation of that measure. that measure was passed within about 24 hours when it was introduced. it's now coming over here. now, i'm not saying that it shouldn't be considered. in fact, i'm kind of saying the opposite of that. i'm sailing, i'm happy to consider it, but we need the opportunity to actually consider it. the world's greatest deliberative legislative body -- or so it calls itself -- the senate, is supposed to be the cooling saucer. the cooling saucer where the hot
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tea spills out and is allowed to cool before it is consumed. in these is in particular where rights are at stake, rights that are at stake that are potentially threatened by provisions that under this bill, this bill introduced by representative nadler, supported by representatives schiff and pelosi and others, have supported -- hasn't had the opportunity to be independently reviewed in the senate or to be debated or discussed or amended in the senate. bipartisan amendments from people who have reached across the aisle in an effort to make
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so, mr. president, for those reasons that i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the senate bill at the desk, providing for a 45-day extension of fisa. i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. further, that at a time to be determined by the majority leader in consultation with the democratic leader, the senate proceed to the consideration of h.r. 6172 and that the only amendments in order be six amendments offered by the following senators. senator lee, senator leahy, senator daines, senator wyden and senator paul. i further ask that upon disposition of the amendments the bill as amended, if amended be read a third time and the senate vote on the bill as amended if amended with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection?
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the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: mr. president, reserving the right to object. i want to thank my colleague. he's shown more interest in this bill today than he has ever in the history of tools that keep us safe. i remember paul harvey on the radio. he always came on and said, now for the rest of the story. senator lee has never supported this bill, never supported giving any of these authorities to law enforcement. and let me explain what they are. roving wiretap, lone wolf, that individual out here that pops up that we can find that's not tied to an international terrorist group but is homegrown wiretapping. we're going to take roving wiretaps away from the federal bureau of investigation and we're going to take away for terrorism, but since 1960 they
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have had roving wiretaps for organized crime. think about that. and business records. their access to business records to find those clues that we need to keep america safe. and senator lee talked about us holding hostage. we're not hold be anybody hostage. he's holding hostage to get amendments, some of which shouldn't even be considered under the reauthorization of section 215. the fisa reforms being taken up by the senate judiciary committee and that bill that came over from the house, the one pelosi, schiff, and nadler, it's actually a bipartisan bill with 63% of the republicans in the u.s. house of representatives having supported it. it's leader mccarthy.
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i won't go down the list of them. but it's easy to make this out as the bogeyman but to my colleagues we don't play national security risks bogeyman games against the american people. we err on the side of providing as many tools as we possibly can to make sure our oath to keep america safe is as robust as it possibly can be. now why do we need to do this? because we need to provide law enforcement the certainty of knowing that they can continue to use these tools. if not, we're going to have cases that they're working on today where they have to stop in midstream and at some point later on start over. the question is will they be able to or will they have lost the coverage that they need on a certain individual? now what happens if it's gone?
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well, we've been there. this is the creation of trying to create guardrails. because the president under 12 12-333 authority can do all of this without congress' permission, with no guardrails, with no ability to go in and stay within this. that authority exists. and the thing that i hear the most is we want the ability for an amicus to go in and represent somebody in front of this foreign intelligence court. well, let me tell you something you're never going to be told. the court itself has the authority today to assign an amicus to any case that comes before the court. and what a better judge as to whether an individual that there's an application on for fisa coverage than the court itself to determine is this a
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person, an individual that needs to be represented by a third party. no, it's not good enough to let the courts do it. they want to make sure that everybody does it. and when everybody does it, we slow down a process because that's what they're there for. we slow down a process that's there trying to be ahead of the security risk that might have been presented. so personally, i'm ready for a big debate. we're going to have it next week. we can have a debate on every one of senator lee's and the list that he gave amendments. and i think that they will be kicked down. but i'm not going to have a 45-day extension. i'll let us go dark. i'll let us go dark. and if there's a need, the president by executive order can do it for whatever period people think they're willing to let it
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expire. i will make every attempt to try to get this process of reviewing fisa, not 215, in the judiciary committee where it should come out of, where the folks on the judiciary committee who are experts on the interactions with the court have an opportunity to input. these amendments may never come out of the judiciary committee. they may never come out. yet, they want to expedite them and bring them right to the floor on a bill that is not necessarily appropriate to put them on. why? because they know by themselves they will never become law. they will have a tough time. so they will hold up those tools that we use for national security in an effort to try to
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get some changes. well, i'm holding the changes. this is not a straight reauthorization. this is a bill that's carefully been crafted by the attorney general, the speaker of the house, the minority leader of the house. 63% of the republicans, and not as many percent of the democrats supported it. i think it was 270-some votes out of the house of representatives. and truthfully, the senate should by unanimous consent today approve what they passed. but we won't because somebody wants to demand all of these amendments. so for that reason, mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. lee: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, i appreciate the care, attention, and detail shown by my friend and colleague, the distinguished senior senator from north carolina.
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i disagree with him for ten independent reasons. number one, as to the suggestion that the proponent of the unanimous consent request now be for this body, that is the very simple clean reauthorization of the expiring provisions for 45 days giving the senate an opportunity to spend just a few weeks to debate and consider these amendments after dealing with the coronavirus crisis and suggesting that i as the proponent of this measure have, i think the words were never supported any of these tools. never in my entire time in the senate lifted a finger to support these tools. that's curious because i was the author, the lead sponsor of the u.s.a. freedom act which in 2015 extended and reauthorized these
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very same provisions. his first argument is factually incorrect. secondly, he points to the lone wolf and roving wiretap provisions as things that he's concerned about. i understand that. they want those. now lone wolf isn't used, but it's sort of a security blanket. people like knowing that it's there within the government and willing to let that go. roving wiretaps, it is used from time to time, willing to let that go. in fact, i've offered repeatedly, i'll offer again right now if it's helpful. i'm willing to reauthorize that right now without a single modification, without a single limit beyond what's already been put in for the other provisions. i'm willing to do that free of charge on anything. those arguments are, frankly, disingenuous. number three, the suggestion that i'm somehow holding this bill hostage, you, sir, have it wrong. you have it precisely backwards. what i'm doing is saying let's preserve the status quo. we've got a crisis to deal with
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with the coronavirus. it is of great frustration to me that this body, through its majority leader, through its other leadership has known for years, i put them on notice for years, for basically the entire pipeline i've been in the u.s. senate that i'm concerned about these provisions, made known since 2015 when we authorized the provisions in issue that i would want more reforms. why we waited until the final days before the expiration of that period is beyond my ability to understand, but it is factually incorrect and manifestly unfair to suggest i'm the one holding this hostage. it is quite the other way around, sir. as to the suggestion that these are fisa reforms, not patriot act reforms, well, yes, they're all part of this package that we refer to collectively as the foreign intelligence surveillance act. the provisions, especially the one i'm most concerned about, section 215 as we call it, section 215 of the u.s.a.
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patriot act, i'd give them that one but that doesn't address the substance of the problem here. as to senator burr's argument that we should err on the side of keeping americans safe, i absolutely agree with that. no dispute there. i also agree with the findings of the civil liberties and privacy oversight board that concluded a few years ago that our privacy and our security are not at odds with each other. this is not a zero-sum game between those two objectives. our privacy is in fact part of our security. one of the reasons we don't fly the union jack or wear wigs or robes in court has everything to do with the excessive abuse of the rights of glesh -- english subjects, including those on this continent while we were existing as british colonies. our privacy and our security are not at odds with each other. they are in fact part of the same cohesive whole.
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number six, the argument made by senator burr that this provides uncertainty for law enforcement, let me tell you why that's the case. the only reason there's uncertainty for law enforcement on this, for our intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies who handle this stuff has everything to do with the fact that he just objected to this unanimous consent request. we could right now eliminate their uncertainty. we could likewise at any point in the months leading up to this, at every point at which i would have been willing to debate and discuss these things, and i have had for years reforms on the table that we could have considered, we could have brought those up. we could have done it then. it is not me that is creating the uncertainty for law enforcement. it is instead the unreasonable objection to receive any of my offers, including passage of the leahy-lee bill, including passage of lone wolf and roving wiretap independently, including simply l extending,
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cleanly reauthorizing the expiring provisions for 45 days giving us a chance to consider a handful of amendments. don't talk to me about being the one who has created uncertainty. that, sir, is you. number eight, -- number seven, rather. senator burr argues that the president of the united states can do all of this in any event without the three expiring provisions on the books. well, my response to that is that's kind of curious. if that's the case, why are you fighting so hard for these provisions? why should anyone be concerned about their expiration? you suggest somehow that we would not have guardrails, any guardrails in place if in fact these were allowed to expire. if they were allowed to expire, i am not familiar with any
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authority that would provide language identical to that found in lone wolf or roving wiretap or 215. so if that's the case, perhaps you, sir, would rather have them expire. i really don't know and i don't think that i've answered your argument. number eight, a suggestion that these amicus provisions, one of six amendments i would like to propose and the senate to consider, that the foist has the -- fisa has the authority to appoint amicus. the court does have that authority, but it doesn't mean it happens as often as it should. in fact, as we saw with the abuse that we took place criticizing the president of the united states when he was a candidate. in many cases, the fisa court judges are not themselves terribly careful. perhaps it would be beneficial
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to have someone else in the room. i don't know why we're so afraid of that. number nine, to the extent anyone is going to let this program go dark, and if that concerns you, then you ought to agree to this this unanimous consent request. this unanimous consent request would result in it not going dark. i had made it entirely foreseeable i would want to have amendments debated, discussed and considered before we got to this moment. it's not unreasonable for me to ask. i'm not asking that you accept these amendments, that you incorporate them into existing law. i am simply asking that we be given the opportunity to vote on them. finally, number intend. mr. -- number ten. mr. burr argues it was carefully crafted by the attorney general, spoark of the house and other -- speaker of the house and other officials, and some 270 members of the house voted for it.
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good for them. that is their per ogtive. i serve in a different legislative body. i'm aware of no obligation on my election certificate that requires me to defer to the pelosi-nadler-schiff bill. i refuse to do that. had the founding fathers wanted to create this type of legislature, they would have done so, had they wanted to create the senate of the united states as a rubber-stamp p of the house of representatives, and have a retireeo yes or no, an open or close, binary reaction to what the house of representatives did, they could have and would have and should have done so. they did not. we have our own independent obligation to review this legislation. i have done so. i find it inadequate. i'm not demanding all that of my amendments be accepted as a condition for my willingness to keep these from going dark. all i'm saying is that i want the opportunity to have
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amendments considered -- bipartisan amendments. i will modify this request. mr., i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the senate bill at the desk providing for a 45 day extension of fisa. i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, further, that at a time to be determined by the majority leader in consultation with the democratic leader, the senate proceed to the consideration of h.r. 6172, than the only amendments in order be five amendments offered by the following senators, senators lee, leahy, daines, wyden and paul. i ask that the bill be amended, if amended, be read a third time, that the bill be -- that the bill, as amended, if amended, be read a third time and the senate vote on the bill, as amended, if amended, with no
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intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. burr: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. lee: you might notice a pattern. this pattern will continue because this is unjust. this is unrealistic. this is unsustainable. this used to be a body that prided itself on being the world's the greatest deliberative legislative body. it's a body that has its own unique protections attached to it. article 1 makes clear that it will consist of two members representing each state. the one and only kind of constitutional amendment that is preemptively unconstitutional that cannot be adopted is that type of amendment that would undo this fundamental sacred prince many of equal representation of those in the senate.
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you cannot do that. it did it with a distinct purpose in mind. we would have the ability to represent the states as states. we would not just be a roving commission on what was satisfactory or whether the house of representatives had done its homework but that we would be our own independent legislative body. we would be betraying our oath to the constitution and those whom we represent if we didn't do this. this used to be place for that very reason -- until very recently it was a place where any senator could have any amendment considered on any legislation. basic standards of collegiality, decency, and respect for each other and the rule of law itself convinced members over centuries, littery centuries, to -- literally centuries to depose and vote on amendments. we have seen this deteriorated. we have seen it deteriorated sadly under republicans and
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democratic -- republicans and democrats alike. we've seen it deteriorate at the expense of the representation of each individual state. this simply isn't acceptable that we would get to this point in legislation, we would be unable to vote on or consider basic amendments to so important a law. they are asking us to reauthorize these expiring provisions, provisions with profound implications not only for national security but also for privacy which are part of the same cohesive hall, and they are asking us to reauthorize those until september of 2023 with minimal reforms, reforms that are modest at best, perhaps well intentioned in some ways, but the pelosi-nadler-schiff bill doesn't cut the mustard. it doesn't do the job. i just asked for six amendments. that was too many. i asked for five amendments, and that was too many.
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surely they are not suggesting that we can't ask for any amendments because if they did they would be patently ridiculous, that would be uncivil, that would be unsenatorral. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the senate bill at the desk providing for a 45-day extension of fisa. i ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time and passed, and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. further, i ask that at a time to be determined by the majority leader in consultation with the democratic leader, the senate proceed to the consideration of h.r. 6172 and that the only amendments in order be four amendments offered by the following senators, senators lee, leahy, daines, wyden and paul. i further ask upon disposition of the amendments, the bill, as amended, if amended, be read a third time and the senate vote on the amendment, if amended, with no intervening action or
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debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. burr: i object. the presiding officer: objection heard. mr. lee: mr. president, this is the natural product of the american people being asked again and again to simply accept that this is how things will operate. the american people were told to just settle -- settle for budgets that don't balance or come anywhere close to it, to settle for a government that spies on you, that lies to you, that overreaches, and a legislative branch that is somehow all too content and seemingly eager and willing to propound those authorities. this is unacceptable. we shouldn't settle. we shouldn't settle for an overreaching government. we shouldn't settle for a senate
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in which the individual rights of senators, a bipartisan group of senators that have been trying for years to just have a vote on a few reasonable amendments to be shut out. we should expect a open, robust debate and amendment process. we should expect more. we should all expect freedom, we should all expect debate, liberty and the protection of your fundamental rights as american citizens. so we'll try this again. rolling the number down to an absolute bare minimum of three, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the 45 extension of fisa. i ask unanimous consent that the bill be read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. further, i ask at a time to be determined by the majority leader in consultation with the democratic leader, the senate proceed to the consideration of h.r. 6172 and that the only
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amendments in order be three amendments offered by the following senators, senators lee, leahy, daines, wyden and paul. upon disposition of the amendments, the bill,ing as amended, if amended be read a third time and the senate vote on the bill, as amended if amended with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: there objection? mr. burr: i object. the presiding officer: objection heard. mr. lee: mr. president, earlier today when the president of the united states issued a statement about the pelosi-nadler-schiff bill purporting to but utterly failing to meaningfully reform the three expiring intelligence provisions at issue, the president expressed grave concern over the process. he expressed grave concern over the content of the ploy-nadler-schiff bill, which the senate reviewed, voted on,
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passed without amendment, without adequate debate, violating the house of representatives own 72-hour rule in order to get there. perhaps he was talking about that or perhaps he was talking about the fact that the pelosi-nadler-schiff bill really doesn't fix the problem. in fact, look at the fact that there was overt politically motivated targeting that took place against the president of the united states. look, i know -- i know those were different provisions under title 1 of the foreign intelligence surveillance act. i get that. but it is still part of the same legislative package. it is still part of the same set of laws that we're concerned about here. and the only time when we had the meaningful opportunity to take a deep breath and debate, discuss, and possibly amend these provisions are when they accept to expire. i refer to the u.s.a. freedom act which i sponsored and
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authored with the senior senator from vermont back in 2015. that was brought about as a result of and during a moment when we were approaching the expiration of these very same provisions. that's how we bring about reforms. in fact, we brought about some reforms in that very legislation. they were outside the narrow context of the three expiring provisions in question. there is no provision, no law etched in stone, written into the rules of the senate that the constitution, or anything else, that tells us that we cannot, that we may not, that we should not had it were amend or reconsider any provision outside the narrowing provisions that we're facing with fisa. we have a pattern and practice in the past established that this is the way we do things. now, look, in fairness, i wish we debated and discussed and amended these things a whole lot more because these laws are
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really messed up. we ought to be reviewing them and updating them a lot more often not because the people implementing them are bad. maybe some of them are. i don't know them. they've done some bad things, some of .they. i'm sure there -- of them. i'm sure there are those who are well intentioned, well educated and highly specialized. i'm willing to assume most of them fit that description and would not intentionally violate that law. the fact is no law has been violated. there are very few instance that's we know about. why? because this whole thing operates under the veil of secrecy. some light ee liewm naits and also -- illuminates and some disinfects. and when a court limits the rights of the american people, u.s. citizens operates in secret. i devoted my career prior to
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coming to the senate to litigation. i specialized primarily in appellate litigation and dispositive motions in court. one of the things about the u.s. court system, despite its laws, i would put it up against any other system anywhere in the world. and the reason is it's done with very few careful exceptions under the light of day. rulings, decisions, judgments are made public are subject to appeal, usually on multiple levels. it's not how the foreign intelligence surveillance court operates. it operates in secret. and so it's one of the reasons why we ought to be reviewing and updating this stuff more often. we know there have been abuses. we know from the breadth of these statutes, some of which were written, by the way, in the immediate wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. now, as i mentioned earlier i
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was not then a member-this body. i was not a member of the senate or the house of representatives where in fact i never served over there. the senate is the first place and only place i have held elected office. but i was an adult by then and i was licensed practicing attorney by then. i remember watching as congress was passing the patriot act. i wondered why they were acting so hastily to put so many words and so many pages into a single bill. i remember wondering whether they might, in the process of doing that, trample over the fundamental rights guaranteed by the u.s. constitution without the american people knowing it. it has come to fruition over time. we've seen that it has been abused. we know what the certainty is, as sure as we know that the sun will come up tomorrow in the
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east, that this will continue to happen. whether or to what extent is continues to happen or how long it is allowed to is in many respects up to us. as i said earlier, governments are run by human beings. human beings, while redeemable, while generally good, are flawed, and they make mistakes. but that's right a much more prone to make mistakes -- but they're much more prone to make mistakes under the cover of darkness, when they don't have to answer to anybody. that's what's going on here. that's why i'm so concerned about this one. that's why i consider it so -- i guess i'd say disappointed, mr. president. it's disappointing that this the body, some of the most talented people i've ever had the pleasure of working with, 100 members from 50 different states, each with his or her own story, with his or her own unique perspectives, that we should be asked to succumb to a
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process that doesn't allow us to have any input into a bill like this. in this case, it arose in connection with the pelosi-nadler-schiff bill, a bill that i consider inadequate. it draws near to the constitution with its lips, met foreically speaking. but its heart is far from it. it pays loose homage to the notion that american citizens have rights worth protecting, and yet its provisions are malleable and easy to circumvent. it functions in much the same way as carbon monoxide might operate in the human bloodstream, where the human body might recognizing is, mistaking it for oxygen. that, by the way, is, i'm told,
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why carbon monoxide is so deadly. your body will tend to recognize it mistakenly for 02 and sometimes prefer it to 02, thus, starving the body of actual oxygen. when we accept something that looks like it does the job and it in fact doesn't, it can do a whole love the harm in the process. why? well, because the american people and their elected representatives in the senate and the house and in the white house then have the opportunity to say, well, it looks like that was fixed. we can go on to look at something else. it's easy to do here because, after august, we've got no -- because after all, we've got no end to problems we could be worrying about. even if this problem disappeared and any five others that are at the top of the list, we'd still have thousands of the others that we could worry b that's exactly why it is such a problem. to have a bill like the pelosi-nadler-schiff bill rammed down our throats and told that we've got to accept this, told that the president of the united
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states, who himself has had his rights violated, who himself was politically targeted under the fisa framework, it's insulting to every american that after something like that happens, we know it has happened, we know it continues to happen, we know it will continue to happen, to tell us that we have to accept the pelosi-nadler-schiff response to that is simply insulting. we shouldn't put up with it. president trump sure shouldn't put up with it. and the american people shouldn't put up with it. this is no respecter of political persons or political parties. many of my best allies an this issue are and have been democrats. democrats were pretty early to acknowledge the flaws in the patriot act and in the provisions of fisa. ever since i got here in 2011, i've been working across the
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aisle with senator leahy, with senator durbin, and with others to try to find solutions to these problems. one of the things that's happened in the intervening years -- this is my tenth year in the senate -- is that this really has become a bipartisan issue. it used to be me and a handful of democrats and senator paul worried about this. we've now got a pretty broad coalition of republicans and democrats who are concerned about this. they're worried about it because if it can happen to the president, it can happen to anyone. the american people have been influenced in so many ways by our own history, and our own history extends back many centuries, not just on this continent but back in the united kingdom, because, after all, it
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hasn't been that many years since we became our own country. we existed as colonies for almost the same period of time that we have existed as a free, independent, constitutional republic. in both sets of experiences, and in experiences even predating the american experiment in its entirety, we have seen that there are good reasons to require things like search warrants. when the government wants to get information from you, when it wants to search through your papers, your possessions, your personal effects, or when it wants to seize you or your possessions, the government really needs to get a warrant. it needs to establish probable cause supporting that warrant, and it needs to outline with
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particularity the things that it wants to search or seize. and it needs to do so from an independent magistrate. and all of these things matter. they matter not just because they're in the fourth amendment. not just because they were a good idea when they were nut there back in 1791. but because long before we became a country these were part of the rights of english subjects, part of the rights that american colonists had as english subjects and that english subjects had even back in england. now, they, too, had a government that was run by mere mortals. the none arc was also -- the monarch was also mortal, as were the persons occupation position -- occupying positions in parliament, and officers elsewhere in the government. that's why from time to time these rights would be abused. we saw instances of english pay
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trouts like john wilkes, whose rights were violated and who sought legal recourse after he was subjected to unreasonable warrantless, open-ended searches and seizures. john wilkes became respected on both sides of the atlantic because he didn't put up with it, even though it cost him dearly in financial terms, socially, even politically, even though it costs him great pain. he fought, he aggressively litigate what had this happened to him -- what had happened to him. and it is one of the reasons why he became a hero on both sides of the atlantic. we look to people on both sides of the atlantic, people like john wilkes, notwithstanding the fact that he was an english subject, not in earthquake in, he understood the -- not in america, he understood the bill
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of rights, he understood core rights that were incorporated and preexisting long before the fourth amendment. things like the warrant requirement of the fourth amendment are rights that everyone should be entitled to in every country. it violates logic and reason and principles of decency and kindness to suggest that a person can be arrested or have his or her house or effects searched or seized without due process of law and without a validly issued warrant bearing particularly, backed up by probable cause. with what then does this have to do with fisa? it has a lot to do with it. the foreign intelligence surveillance act, as the name suggests, was created not to go
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after u.s. citizens but to go after foreign spies and terrorists, not americans. sadly, over time, as a result of the advocacy of people who weren't all that afraid of big government, the advocacy in defense of people like jim comey and robert mueller, we got a sort of morphing of fisa into something that wasn't focused entirely, necessarily anymore on foreign intelligence gathering, on agents of a foreign power. on terrorists. but could be used even with respect to u.s. citizens. this isn't right. in our hearts, we know it's not right. in our hearts, we should certainly know that it's not right when we've got the
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opportunity to consider some amendments -- one of the amendments that i've proposed, and a key part of the lee-leahy reform, would provide something that i don't think would be shocking to any american citizen. in fact, i think any american citizen would be shocked not by the fact of it be introduced but by the fact that it's not already law. it would say that if they want to go after an american, if they know that the subject in question, that the target of their investigation is in fact an american, there ought to be added procedural protections attached to their investigation of that person. that if they get a court order under section 215, allowing them to search for and gain access to any p, quote-unquote, tangible things, business records, they really ought to have to satisfy a different, slightly higher
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standard than they would if the person were a spy from a foreign country. or a foreign terrorist or something like that. there are certain rights that do inher in the fact that you are an american. that's not unreasonable. i'm not sure i know any american citizen outside of washington, d.c., who would even have a moment's pause with that, other than to say, why on earth is that not already law? most are convinced that -- most americans would respond to the beefed-up amicus cure yea provisions, a latin term that means friend of the court. it refers to the fact that within the foreign intelligence surveillance court, you have no jury, you have no opposing counsel, you don't have a court
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reporter that's going to report anything in public. you instead have total secrecy. so our fisa provisions would expand our -- our amicus cure is the a -- must appoint a friend of the court just to argue the other side. this doesn't really limit their power. it just says, let's bring somebody else into the room. somebody else who can be trusted, who's got security clearance, but who can provide a different perspective. most americans -- in fact i'd say probably every american i know outside of washington, d.c., would say there's nothing unreasonable about that, and in fact what's unreasonable is the fact that that would require an amendment, a change to existing law. another one of the provisions
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that we want to amend deals with what we call exculpatory evidence. the government shoot have a responsibility to disclose when applying for a court order to disclose evidence that would be exculpatory or that would show that the person being investigated might not have actually done the thing that they did, or that they might have flawed information on their hands. we know, mr. president, that some of this has occurred, where government agents have gone before the foreign intelligence surveillance act and failed to disclose meaningful, material facts that, if known, would have at least been material to the court and probably been determinative and resulted in the court's unwillingness to issue the order in question. i don't think i know anyone
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outside of this town who would say that that's unreasonable to request. senators paul and wyden have a few other amendments, one dealing with limiting the government's ability through section 215, to gain access to your browser history. another addressing the power of the attorney general to make some of these approvals. those are amendments that have been proposed by senators wyden and daines. then we have an amendment from senator paul that would propose that across the board in all of the different provisions of the foreign intelligence surveillance act, whether it's 215 or 702 or title 1 or some other provision, that if you're investigating a known american
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citizen, yo you've got a higher standard and you probably need to go to a regular court rather than a secret foreign intelligence surveillance court that in most respects doesn't even meet the definition of court. now, in response to some of these, opponents, defenders of the deep state might well glibly conclude, well, there's no reason for you to impose a higher standard. for you to impose anything remotely resembling probable cause because after all, in other context the government can gain access to business records without showing probable cause. well, while this is true in many circumstances, first of all it ignores the fact that recent jurisprudence from the supreme court of the united states, including from the carpenter case, makes clear that just because something is a business
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record maintained in the ordinary course of business doesn't mean the person to whom it pertains has no reasonable expectation of privacy in it. in some cases it does. we're no longer dealing with the old jurisprudence of smith versus maryland, recent doafts like carpenter. under smith they were dealing with the collection from a pen register, the collection of an old style land line telephone that spat out the numbers that were called -- being called to and from the number of the line in question. modern business records disclose a heck of a lot more personal detail than that. i suspect if smith versus maryland, the one dealing with the pen register at the land line, telephone business records, if that were decided today, i think it might well have been decided very differently today than it would
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have been then. but certainly with respect to many categories of business records, there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. there is some expectation of some privacy buried within that and we can't conclude otherwise. secondly, second and apart from developments in the law that ought to cause us to view with some suspicion the government's open ended ability with the mere subpoena to show relevance to and therefore access to certain categories of business records, unlike those circumstances where someone could go into a regular court, whether in civil or in criminal proceedings, and get a subpoena based on a mere relevance standard without probable cause, in those circumstances at least, there's more of an opportunity for somebody to respond. in many cases that somebody might be the custodian of the records, the business entity in
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question, whether it's the mobile telephone services operator, the internet services provider or the owner of the car rental facility, the steward's unit facility, whatever it is. there is some opportunity for that business enterprise to go into court to try to squash the subpoena, to argue that the government doesn't in fact have a need for it, that it doesn't need to produce it. to defend its own business interest if not those also of its own customers. and in some circumstances there's also an opportunity for the person in question to be notified independently to object to, or in other wa ways -- one y or another respond to the government's desire to gain access to those business records. by contrast under the foreign intelligence surveillance court, you don't have that ability.
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that's why we need special protections here. now look, it's not hard for the government to have to follow basic principles of due process. it's not hard for the government to have to show probable cause. and most circumstances this can be done in a matter of minutes. no one has ever demonstrated to my satisfaction why -- especially whereas in the case of my probable cause amendment, the requirement that they satisfy that standard only when they're in the foreign intelligence surveillance court and they're going after a record pertaining to a known u.s. person, that is, it would still allow them to go over -- go after other records pertaining to other people without that knowledge, and if they didn't know someone was ahs person, they wouldn't have to satisfy it. but even that, these are apparently unacceptable to the self-proclaimed masters of the
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universe who now dominate the united states senate and refuse utterly to recognize the article 6 mandated expectation and constitutional mandate of equal representation among the states in the senate. this is unacceptable. we've reached a point where we don't have the expectation that we can rely on what comes out of committee because very often what comes out of committee isn't even what's considered here. we had this pelosi-nadler-schiff bill come out tuesday night. it was passed the next day by the house of representatives. now, i understand why a simple majority of the house of representatives might well decide to defer to speaker pelosi and gerry nadler and adam schiff. after all pelosi, nadler, and
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schiff themselves run a very substantial portion of the democratic party's operations in the house of representatives. i understand why a whole lot of members would like to defer to them. what i don't understand is why, number one, republicans in the house of representatives would also want to defer to pelosi and nadler and schiff. nor do i understand why even if some republicans in the house of representatives would foolishly defer to pelosi and nadler and schiff, why that in any way, shape, or form binds me or anyone else in this body to do what pelosi, nadler, and schiff decided to do. we're not a rubber stamp. we're not a rubber stamp for the house of representatives. we're certainly not a rubber stamp for the deep state. this gives me some hope, i suppose, gives me some hope that
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given the fact that the president of the united states is willing to acknowledge that fisa isn't perfect and that the pelosi-nadler-schiff bill passed by the house of representatives yesterday without having gone through any terribly thorough process, without members of the house of representatives having had access to it for more than about 24 hours when they passed it, the fact that the president of the united states was willing openly, publicly today to call into question the wisdom of the pelosi-nadler-schiff bill gives me some encouragement, mr. president. gives me some encouragement. one, that some of my colleagues here in the united states senate might see fit to claim that privilege attached to their election certificate, to recognize that we are not all just functionaries of our respective party leaders.
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in the house and in the senate. that we're answerable to our own constituents to defend the constitution in the manner we deem appropriate and necessary under the circumstances. i hope, i expect that this body will do the right thing. i think it would be a shame, i think it is a shame to let these three provisions expire and just let them hang out there with the uncertainty that senator burr so thoughtfully pointed out will be the product of these provisions expiring. we don't need to do that. we've had years and years and years toll address this, and we have refused, we have deliberately declined, we have been recklessly indifferent with respect to the need to reform these provisions. if not us, who? if not now, when? i have no interest in continuing to pump this thing over and over and over again. this is like charlie brown going after that same football with the same lucy who moves the darn
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football every time he gets close to it. this isn't acceptable. i've got great confidence in my colleagues that a few of us, republicans and democrats alike, will come forward and say no, not on my watch. not anymore. this is not how the senate is going to operate. this is within just a few days of when we've seen a few other unfortunate things happen, things that are themselves symptoms of the same underlying problem. and i don't mean fisa specifically. i'm talking about something much broader than fisa. talking about the deviation from the norms of courtesy that have come to define this body over the centuries. my friend and distinguished colleague from louisiana, senator kennedy, had an amendment that he wanted considered and voted on last week in connection with the energy bill. now, i disagreed with that amendment. i would have voted against it. in fact, i would have voted against it and spoken against it on the floor.
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i really didn't like it. but he had an amendment that he wanted considered. he was shut out unfairly, unreasonably. he was denied the opportunity to have that amendment considered. he wasn't even given notice, adequate notice of his procedural rights that would come into play when the person, the senator who had introduced an amendment, came down to the floor to amend her previous amendment and to use it basically as a manager's package keeping senator kennedy's amendment out of that package thus denying him the opportunity to receive adequate consideration of his own amendment. he wasn't given notice because he wasn't given notice, he missed out on the opportunity to do what he ineverybodiably could have done -- inevitably could have done. supposedly he could come down with ten senators and the combined 11 senators sustaining
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him for his procedural right to call for the yeas and nays on the original amendment introduced by senator murkowski. we could have voted on that amendment and she wouldn't have been able to insert that manager's package on her own without that intervening call for the yeas and nays on her original amendment. this is one of many examples that while probably painfully boring to the average american should be deeply disturbing to any american who knows about, who cares about, who yearns for the freedom of government, that people who make laws will actually be participating in that process and not simply dictated to by two leaders, one republican and one democratic in each house of congress.
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yet another manifestation of that, one that has sadly become sort of one installment in many series, set of sequel movies. what happens basically every time we have a spending bill. to cite one example that occurred nearly two years ago, we had for many months been waiting to see when we'd have the opportunity to debate, discuss, amend, and vote on a spending bill in the early months of 2018. it would be the first real spending bill that we had the opportunity to consider since the 45th president of the united states had been sworn in in january of 2017. we had been told by our respective party leaders in both houses of congress wait for it. you'll get the chance to review it. you'll get the chance to debate it and amend it.
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and then one evening on a wednesday in march of 2018, i received an e-mail. it was 8:37 p.m. that e-mail was from republican leadership addressed to republican senators saying attached is a spending bill. a spending bill that we're going to be addressing. and i thought good, this is what we've been waiting for for months. i'll finally get to see it. i opened it up. it was 2,232 pages long. it spent, as i recall, $1 boy 2 -- $1.2 trillion or $1.3 trillion. i immediately distributed to members of my staff who worked through the night splitting it up, figuring out what each provision meant, recognizing that a 2,232-page senate appropriations bill doesn't read like a fast-paced norv willing.
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-- novel. it doesn't read like a newspaper. it's very slow and cumbersome process, one that involves countless cross references to statutory provisions that wouldn't be recognizable to most ordinary americans. so it takes a lot of time to review it. my staff after working through the time, through the next day on it was shocked as i was to see that the house of representatives passed that bill, the same 2,232-page long bill that most members saw for the first time at 8:37 p.m. the previous night. the house of representatives passed that bill before lunch the next day. the senate, this body, convened in the middle of the night that following evening and passed it. not one amendment, not one change, not from one member of
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this body. when we outsource things to the so-called four corners -- the republican and democratic leader of each house of congress, everybody else gets shut out. you know, this might be really good for you if you're from one of those states represented by one of those four corners. it's really bad for everybody else. and i don't mean the members. i mean every single person represented by someone else other than those people. at the end of the day, mr. president, it's not their fault. it's not the fault of the four corners so much that it's our fault. they're doing what they've got to do. they're doing the job the way they know how to do it, the way they've learned how to do it, the way we have trained them to do it, sadly enough. we let them do it that way, so they do.
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i'm sure it's not that it's easy to do it that way, but it's probably less hard than every other way out there. in that respect, i don't blame them for doing it that way. i blame us. shame on us for passing that bill without any one of us having had the opportunity to read the whole darned thing except for maybe four members between 435 representatives and 100 senators, you maybe had 4 members total who knew what was in there and had control over it. shame on us for passing it anyway and shame on us if after the house of representatives sees that pelosi, nadler, schiff bill purporting to reform fisa while failing to actually doing so in a meaningful way, after seeing it for the first time less than 24 hours before they vote on it, they pass it, shame on them. but if we pass it over here, shame on us. the shame is especially acute if
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we don't even try, which is what we're being asked to do here. we're being asked to defer, let somebody else do the legislating. and, by the way, just as we were told when approaching that spending bill and most other spending bills in the nine years i've been here, that, you know, you've got to leave this to the experts. don't worry for them. that's for the appropriations committee chairman and subcommittee chairman and for the majority and minority leaders from the two houses of congress and basically no one else. leave it to the experts. just as we were told then leave it to the experts, now we're being told leave it to the experts here. it begs the question what meaningful role do we play. have we really rendered ourselves that insignificant
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that we're not even willing to defend our own right to raise our own ideas and our own concerns with something as profoundly significant and potentially impactful on the liberties of every single american old and young, white and black, male and female, of any station, rich or poor. these provisions, make no mistake, have the potential to affect every single one of us. shame on us if we don't even try to make it better. so i'm not going to blame this one on pelosi, nadler, and schiff. they can choose to pass an unwise bill that doesn't fix the problem if they want to. but i don't work for pelosi or nadler or schiff. i work for the people of utah. i was elected by the voters in the sovereign state of utah who expected me to come here and represent them.
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this, by the way, is an issue that's neither liberal nor conservative. it's neither democratic nor republican. this is not a partisan issue. in fact, the amendments that i'm talking about here are bipartisan. this is simply an american issue. it's a constitutional issue. it's an issue per tank to an in -- pertaining to and inextricably intertwined with the basic dignity of the eternal human soul. we can't pass this thing while pretending to be concerned about the rights of the american people, not at least unless we at least try to pretend like we're doing our job. not unless we at least try to pretend to make it better. even if you think fisa has been abused, but i respect your
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right to be wrong, i respect your right to agree with pelosi and nadler and schiff on that front if that's how you feel. but even if you feel that way, there have got to be other ways in which you might acknowledge you can make this bill better. maybe you're somebody who trusts the government way too much. maybe you are somebody who thinks the government ought to be given more power. maybe you're somebody who wants the government as long as they can make allegations that somebody is an agent of a foreign power or working for an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist, or has had some unkind thoughts toward another person. even if you trust government that much -- you shouldn't -- and what you should be suggesting would be unconstitutional, but if you were, shame on you for not wanting to make this bill even more aggressive toward giving the government power. it is simply too grand a
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proposition to suggest that it's mere coincidence. the exact magical combination of factors of provisions that should have been included in this law, in the minds of every member of the united states senate happened to materialize under the umbrella of the pelosi-nadler-schiff bill passed by the house of representatives yesterday. that's just absurd. i mean, come on, you're telling me that you can't find a single provision that you think could have been written better. some in that position still opposing it might say, yeah, but we've got other things to do. that's true. that's exactly why i'm trying to provide 45 additional days for us to debate and discuss other issues first and then fix fisa later.
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i'd be willing to cleanly reauthorize the three expiring provisions so nobody has to deal with any uncertainty and the american people don't have to be put in jeopardy, neither their security nor their privacy which are part of the same cohesive continuous whole. neither one of them has to be undermined. and yet that's what they insist that we do. so they insist that. so the argument might go we've got other things to do. well, if we've got other things to do, then let's pump this 45 days and let's just agree that we're going to vote on some things. but that's too much for them to suggest. to the extent they're arguing that we're too busy to do this right now, i'd ask this question, why? what are you doing right now? what better thing does any member of the united states senate have to do right now at this moment, at 4:54 p.m.,
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than stand up and defend and debate the rights and the significance of the rights of the american people? i genuinely would like to know what is so compelling that makes it so we can't even debate these things right now. in fact, in the time that i've been speaking today, we could have easily voted on these very same amendments. we could have brought them up. we could have, and i would have agreed to limit our debate to only a few minutes a piece. as we saw during the impeachment trial a few weeks ago, we're actually capable of casting votes and completing them within six, seven, eight minutes if we stand at attention or sit at our seats and we listen as our names are called and then vote. so what i would ask is so compelling that people got an appointment for a haircut or a
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manicure or they have to go to the dog groomer. i really would like to know what's so compelling that makes it so we can't debate something as fundamental as how to improve the safety and privacy of the american people. i want to close by pointing out something that my friend, the distinguished colleague, the senior senator from north carolina, said a few minutes ago. about the fact that he almost ensured that the program at issue, the program supported by the three expiring provisions will go dark by objecting to my series of unanimous consent requests and about the fact that as a result of his objection, not only is he essentially guaranteeing that these programs will now go dark, he's also
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guaranteeing that when we come back just a few days from now, because whatever it that we've got to do in the next few days is apparently so important, i really would like to know had a that is, is so important that we can't do this, when we come back next week we're going to have to turn to this when we could have gotten that done today instead of turning to other pressing issues in front of us, issues dealing with emergencies created by the coronavirus. could have, should have, otherwise been able to turn to those things immediately. instead we'll be stuck on this. this can end up taking many days, a week or so if it's drawn out sufficiently. the program goes dark and we lose the opportunity to debate, discuss, and enact other legislation all because we've got colleagues who decide that they know better. not so much that they know
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better but that representatives pelosi and nadler and schiff know better. their bill, everybody else just voted for it, now we're all asked to vote for it, and we're told to mind our own business, to butt out because our big brother brooding omnipresent federal government knows better, he can be trusted. trust big brother. sure, he's going to spy on you but his interventions are good. sure he's going to spy on you, but he's really just hoping to go after the bad guys, so you don't have to worry about the fact that he's spying on your neighbor, on your constituents, on innocent americans. even if i'm wrong, let's say from -- that somehow i'm mistaken in concluding that any
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of this will ever be abused, you can't really get around the fact it has been abused. we know of circumstances where it has been. we know that the president of the united states has himself been the target of abuse on this. but set that aside for a minute. even under the absurd proposition that none of this will ever be abused again and that pelosi and nadler and schiff have somehow found a magical formula that will forever guarantee these expiring provisions from being abused again, why wouldn't we still want to make the bill better? why would you be willing to let those provisions go dark? why would you be willing to postpone the consideration of other pressing business before the united states senate? is it really that important to shut your opponents who happen to disagree with you out of debate? and what does this say for the next thing we consider or the next thing after that? this, mr. president, doesn't end well. we know it doesn't end well. it never ever works to push u.s.
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senators to the point that they are told they're not entitled to their own opinions and to the extent they happen, they may express them but only in a brief period of time. then they have to run off and be good little boys and girls and let the adults take over. no. i know that's the way it's been working for awhile. it's not going to any more because the american people are demanding more, demanding better. things sometimes have to get a little worse before they get better. that's unfortunately the position in which we find ourselves. they've gotten worse but gotten worse in a way the american people are now noticing and they're going to say don't do this any more. don't lock us out of the process. don't tell us we don't matter. don't tell us our own elected senators don't have a voice and they won't get a vote and can't debate it. madam president, the president of the united states has been tafergget -- targeted by the deep state. we have the opportunity to fix that to make sure that doesn't happen to this president, any future president or any u.s.
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citizen rarlings of -- regardless of how rich, poor, powerful or powerless. our oath to protect the united states requires this. the american people deserve more. they deserve better. and we must provide it. thank you, madam president.
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: in a moment democrats will ask the senate's consent to take up and pass several measures that would immediately help american workers and american families cope with the impacts of the coronavirus, including paid sick leave for workers, emergency unemployment insurance, and much-needed assistance to states overburdened by medicaid costs. these provisions are all
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included in legislation that will soon be passed by the house. many of these policies have already been enacted by other countries dealing more successfully with the coronavirus than our country is. these policies are targeted directly at the workers and families impacted by its spread. they are not going to the big, wealthy corporations or powerful people or wealthy people. they are going right at the workers and families, average working people who need the help. now, the republican leader this morning called these provisions, quote, an ideological wish list. president trump referred to them as goodies. if helping a construction work who is laid off as a result of the virus is part of an ideological wish list, then god help those who believe that fvment giving infected -- ifing
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giving in -- if giving infected workers paid sick leave is a goody, god help those who think that. if making sure states, localities, hospitals and first responders are compensated for their efforts is ideological, is a goody, those who believe those things have lost touch with the needs and aspirations of the american people and they need to talk to some real people who have been impacted by the coronavirus instead of sitting in their ideological towers. with the comments made by the president and the republican leader, they have revealed their own ideology, that even in a time of public crisis and need, the president and the republican leader are more willing to entertain corporate tax cuts and bailing out industries than
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helping american workers and families. the senate should pass these bills today. the republican leader should not be sending the senate home for the weekend without taking action to help people who are or will soon be really hurting. and so, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the schumer bill that is at the desk, that the bill be considered read three times and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mrs. fischer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: mr. president, reserving the right to object. this concept is under discussion and it is a centerpiece of negotiations between the house democrats and secretary mnuchin
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which is ongoing, the senate will take needed actions to appropriately respond to the coronavirus. i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. 3497, submitted earlier today, that the bill be considered read three times and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mrs. fischer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: mr. president, reserving the right to object. this concept is also under discussion and a centerpiece of negotiations between house democrats and secretary mnuchin which are ongoing. this chamber will be in session next week to ensure that we are taking needed actions to appropriately respond to the coronavirus. therefore, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard.
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the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, this is simple. we need people who are sick to stay home if we have any hope of slowing the spread of this virus, but today one in four private sector workers in our country cannot stay home from work without losing a day's page or potentially losing their job. mr. president, we've got to fight this virus with everything we've got, every single one of us, and that means we have to have policies in place that help people make the right choices for themselves, their families, and their communities. our bill will give all employees 14 paid sick days immediately, today, not next week, not the week after, today in public health emergencies like this one in addition to yowg them to -- allowing them to accrue seven.
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i urge senate republicans. treat this like the public health crisis it is. allow parents, families, businesses, communities to have the peace of mind to know we are acting today and take this urgent needed step. this is nothing short of a chance to save lives and buy desperately needed time to fight this virus. please don't waste it. therefore, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the help committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 3415, this is a bill that will allow americans to earn paid sick time so they can address their own health needs and the health needs of their families. that the senate proceed to its immediate consideration, the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mrs. fischer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska.
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mrs. fischer: reserving the right to object. we have a paid family leave provision in law already and the rules are in place from treasury. we received those in september. i worked on this provision during tax reform and i would certainly be happy to work with the senator from washington and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle in a bipartisan manner to extend the program that we have in law already that will help families. this is a public health emergency. it is ready. it is there. we need to work on it together. therefore, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: mr. president, i rise up today to call be and
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pass legislation to keep americans safe. the number of coronavirus cases in the united states is now over 1,000, including ten confirmed cases in my home state of nebraska. in china, there are over 80,000 cases and over 3,000 people have died. the hobay pro vince which contains -- province which contains the city where the virus started, has been under lockdown, qairn teening an unpress -- quarantining people. italy, a country of 60 million people is completely shut down. the world health organization has declared this health outbreak is a pandemic, meaning it will likely spread to all countries on earth. dr. fauci echoed this yesterday before the house oversight and
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reform committee. we will see more cases and things will continue to get worse. as the virus spreads, our health care providers and emergency responders are at the forefront of this health crisis. when someone tests positive for this disease, our emergency responders are the first ones transporting them to the hospital. at the hospital, medical personnel, doctors, nurses, technicians, they are all working around the clock to provide lifesaving care and treat this illness. these people, our health care providers and emergency responders, need access to the proper equipment so they can stay healthy. we can take action right here, right now to make sure that that happens. i introduced this bipartisan bill with the senior senator from arizona.
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it would update our current law to ensure health care workers and first responders have access to respiratory protective devices, specifically standard m-95's. under current law, the federal government can give targeted liability protection to people and entities to make, distribute, and administer certain drugs and protected equipment that are needed in a public health emergency. while surgical m-95's are eligible for this protection, standard n-95's are not. that doesn't make sense and it doesn't make sense for two reasons. first, these devices are the same when it comes to protecting against airborne contaminants like we're dealing with for coronavirus. and, second, the c.d.c. has issued guidance listed standard
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n-95's among recommended products for use in this emergency. this makes it difficult for people in the entities supplying, distributing and manufacturing this equipment to do so and we need to change that. we need to make sure that these devices are readily available, and this legislation, it has bipartisan support in this body. it has bipartisan support in the house. it was introduced by my colleague from nebraska, congressman don bacon. the white house supports it. vice president pence said on tuesday this legislation is, quote, important to ensure that our health care workers are properly protected and outfitted. i mentioned that this bill has bipartisan support, and i want to be clear that our hard-fought
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progress on this legislation would not have been made if it weren't for the tireless work of my good friend, the senior senator from arizona. so i thank her for her efforts and her partnership. mr. president, we know the coronavirus is moving fast, and we owe it to america's health care providers and our first responders who are fighting to stay ahead of this. therefore, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on help be discharged from further consideration of s. 3372 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. i ask unanimous consent that the fisher substitute amendment at the desk be agreed to, the bill amend be considered read a third time and passed and that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon
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the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: mr. president, i certainly appreciate what my colleague from nebraska is trying to do. we are all working to do what we can to make sure that our medical professionals and facilities and the public have all the necessary equipment that they need to address this pandemic. my concern with my colleague's proposal, as i understand it, is that it would provide immunity for respirator manufacturers from this point forward. yes, this is a public emergency and we need to respond accordingly and we certainly need to make sure that respirators are widely available. but let's do this with safety in mind. i think we can come up with a bill that provides a more tailored approach to what my colleague is trying to do. so, for example, the house
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coronavirus package includes language which tracks the covid-19 emergency countermeasures declaration issued by h.h.s., which would extend through -- which would extend covered countermeasures protections through 2024 rather than being open-ended. i hope my colleague will work with me to expand the access to this important equipment. but for now i must object. and i certainly would like to count myself as among those who will provide bipartisan support for this measure. but for now, because it is totally open-ended, i must object. the presiding officer: 0, is heard. the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: mr. president, this bill is something i think we should all agree upon. other medical device facilities, manufacturers currently have this protection when there is a public emergency. they currently enjoy this
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protection. but this thin band of manufacturers, this thin band that provide these n-9 5's, which our health care providers need. i spoke with my first responders, firemen and told them about this bill. they said, we need this bill. we are transporting people to hospitals. and in omaha, nebraska, the omaha fire department has picked up flights of american citizens who were flown from china to be at camp ashland, a national guard facility between lincoln and omaha, and quarantined there. fortunately, all are healthy. all are fine. omaha also received 15 -- i think it was 15 people from the a cruise ship, and all those people were not fine. and these first responders, these firemen from omaha,
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transported them to the a world renowned facility, the university of nebraska medical center, but they did not have the proper protection because we're arguing over something that other medical device providers currently have protection on during a public health crisis. i understand that my friends on the other side want to make progress on this issue, on other issues, but that shouldn't stand in the way of getting this done. there is a shortage of respirators, and the united states senate has an opportunity to fix it. we have an opportunity to ensure the american people stay protected and healthy during
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this public health crisis. but my colleagues on the other side just stopped this from moving forward. and the american people need to understand what just happened here. as a result of this objection, i get to tell my omaha firefighters that their safety and the health and safety of our health care providers in nebraska and across this country are at risk. the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: in response, i'm certainly not arguing that there is not a need for respirators. so let me be very clear that this provides immunity for respirator manufacturers from this point on-ward. so again i need to reiterate this has nothing to do with recognizing the need for respirators. what i am arguing is that there should be a time frame for this
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because this protection is supposed to be during a public health crisis. and i am saying that the way the house is approaching this is, they would like to provide this protection for respirator manufacturers for a period of four years. we can certainly evaluate it at that point. so clearly my objection does not mean the death knell for this amendment. it means that we should work it out so that we can provide an appropriate time frame. so i once again reiterate my objection to this form -- the current form of this amendment. mrs.mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of a bill that is at the desk. i further ask that the bill be considered read three times and passed and the motion to
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reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mrs. fischer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: reserving the right to object, the legislation that's offered by my colleague, it is too narrow in scope; it does not cover all respirators currently recommended by the c.d.c. for health care professionals who are treating patients with covid-19. my colleagues know that. this is inadequate. the legislation that the senior senator from arizona and i have offered covers all c.d.c.-recommended respirators. moreover, our bill is not limited to this specific public health emergency. but, rather, responsibly addresses future public health respirator needs. we're looking at what's going to
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happen in the future. and right here, right now the senate does have this opportunity to address these current emergencies and, yes, future emergencies by making sure that we can provide lifesaving equipment to the american people. so, accordingly, i object. mrs. fischer: objection is heard. ms. hirono: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: so once again i repeat that this has nothing to do with stopping these respirators for this particular crisis to be included as a necessary equipment under the current statute. so i do think that we ought to be able to come together to come up with a reasonable approach that can be supported in a bipartisan way. thank you, mr. president.
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mrs. fischer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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