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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 30, 2020 9:59am-2:00pm EDT

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about in 1945, and he talked about the choice of using the bomb in apocalyptic terms and he said it was terrible and compared it to the bible. chris wallace cen span q & a. >> during summer months reach out to your congressional officials with the directory containing the contact information to stay in touch with members of congress, federal agencies and governors. order your copy today at c-span store.org. >> the senate meets in just a moment, lawmakers will be considering president trump's nominee for deputy director of the white house budget office, a vote on confirmation is set for 1:30 eastern this afternoon. in the meantime, negotiations
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continue off the floor and the republicans $1 trillion economic aid plan in response to the covid-19 pandemic. senators have been staking out their positions with floor speeches. now, live to the floor of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. black, will open the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o god, our refuge and strength, give us reverence for your greatness. guide our senators around the pitfalls of their work, enabling them to have hearts sustained by your peace. may they surrender their will to you,
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as they trust you to direct their path. remind them that leadership can work miracles with cooperation, but rarely accomplishes much with conflict. inspire our lawmakers to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. help them to strive to live with such integrity that they give you the honor do your name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance.
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i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. grassley: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i'd like to speak for one minute in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. grassley: motor coach industry has been particularly hard hit by the covid-19 pandemic and the economic turndown as a result of it. iowa has many motor coach operators, several of which are really family owned and some of them for two or three generations. i've been in frequent communication with these iowans, and i'm learning that they are quickly coming to the point of making a decision of whether or not they can even stay in business. motor coaches provide transation services to all americans, providing over 600 million passenger trips annually across the country. by comparison, airlines provided service for 925 million passenger trips in 2019.
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while most other modes of transportation have received specific funding to help through the pandemic, the motor coach industry has not. what they are really referring to when they talk to me, they seem to feel that they've been left out when we've given several tens of millions of dollars to help the airline industry. so i spoke with senator mnuchin about this matter and have relayed the concerns from these iowa companies to committees here in the united states senate. the government relies on motor coach industries to help move troops and also ee evacuate peoe to safety during our national disasters. however with passenger bookings being nonexistent and few charters being scheduled, this leaves little hope of rebound
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this year. the industry may not survive to provide this service in the future if they don't receive support. i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: on monday senate republicans released a starting proposal for another major pandemic rescue package the here's what we want to do. continue a federal supplement to unemployment benefits that is otherwise about to expire. send thousands of dollars more in cash to american families. keep funding the payroll protection program to prevent more layoffs. subsidize rehiring to get laid
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off workers their jobs back and create new incentives for workplace safety. give k-12 schools, colleges, and universities funding to reopen safely, more money than the house democrats have proposed. support health care providers in the latest hotspots and keep supporting the race for vaccines. provide commonsense legal protection so that schools, hospitals, and other employers can reopen without being buried in lawsuits. that's what we put forward, a trillion dollars for kids, jobs, and health care. a framework that is more generous in key areas than house democrats totally unserious proposal. a framework that could have kept the federal additional payments to workers flowing instead of expiring this week. but there's a fact of life here in the united states senate.
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it takes 60 votes to legislate so the american people cannot get any of the additional relief that republicans want to give them unless democrats at least come to the table. either our democratic colleagues come to the table or the american people won't get the help they need. that's why i said this week we come down to one key question. will the country get the democrats who showed up back in march to pass the bipartisan cares act or will the country get the democrats who showed up in june to block plimple and keep that issue a -- police reform and keep that issue alive through november. unfortunately, three days in it hasn't been a close call. the speaker of the house and the democratic leader refused to let anyone speak on their side. the democratic leader has forbidden his own members from talking and negotiating with their republican counterparts
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who are spearheading the different components. so you see, madam president, bipartisan member-level discussions might actually generate some progress and progress does not appear to be something the leaders on the other side want. on monday the speaker of the house claimed she could not wait to start negotiations, but then on tuesday she said her discussion with the administration, quote, isn't a negotiation, and then the speaker said the appropriate thing for the senate to do is pass a bill and then we can negotiate with them. meanwhile the democratic leader is over here making sure that cannot happen. this is quite the partnership, madam president. the house speaker moves the goalposts while the democratic leader hides the football. they won't engage when the administration tries to discuss our comprehensive plan. they won't engage when the administration floats a narrower proposal. they basically won't engage,
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period. the speaker and the democratic leader are playing rope-a-dope with the health, welfare and livelihoods of american families. with benefits expiring, with the paycheck protection program winding down and millions unemployed. the democrats are saying my way or the highway with a socialist wish list that was laughed off by everyone from journalists to economists the instant they introduced it. this is what reporters had to say about speaker pelosi's proposal back in may. quote, the more than 1,800-page bill makes a long wish list for democrats. quote, neither this bill nor anything resembling it will ever become law. even the speaker's democratic members knew it was a choke. -- a joke. privately several house democrats feel it is to apiece the most liberal members of the caucus. end quote. yet, this is what they are holding out for. this is what -- what they are
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holding out for. let's recall some of the specific items. these are the things over which democrats are blowing up negotiations enforcing a lapse in extra unemployment benefits. tax increase on small businesses, tape-funded checks for illegal im -- tax-pair funded checks for illegal immigrants and their ongoing obsession with something called the local tax or salt which would be a massive giveaway for high earners in blue states. in other words a tax cut for high earners in blue states. so let me say that again. democrats are holding up help for struggling people over special tax breaks for rich people in blue states, an idea that's been criticized by economists from all sides. republicans want to get more help to families right now, but speaker pelosi says, let them
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eat salt. let them eat salt. they also want to spend another trillion dollars bailing out state and local governments that have only spent, listen to this, 25% of the money we sent them back in march. state and local government have only spent 25% of the money we sent them back in march. and the speaker and the democratic leader want to send them another trillion dollars. this is silly stuff, madam president. none of it should be stopping negotiations and none of it would be if our democratic colleagues actually wanted to get an outcome. let's talk about unemployment insurance. both republicans and democrats agree that in these extraordinary times it makes sense for the federal government to provide historic additional help on top of normal unemployment. republicans don't want this aid to expire. our plan continues it, but the speaker and the democratic leader say they won't agree to
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anything unless the program pays people more -- more to stay home than to work. prominent democrats have publicly said they agree with our position, the democratic governor of connecticut said he wants to continue the benefit at a more targeted level. multiple members in the senate and the majority leader of the democrats said they are open to negotiating this. but the speaker and the democratic leader have cut all their colleagues out. they are standing alone saying our way or the highway and so people are going to suffer. i understand the democratic leader said he felt offended when i noted that some people are suggesting democrats' strange behavior is explained by politics. yet, some people think that democrats are behaving like national suffering would only help president trump. now the democratic leader pointed that accusation at
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republicans during the obama presidency on multiple occasions. i know memories can be short around here when it's convenient. but more broadly, madam president, actions speak louder than works. democrats said that the senate should act on police reform. but when it came up, they blocked action. and now so far the sequel. democrats talked a big game about wanting to provide more assistance but now it's go time, they show zero appetite for any bipartisan outcome at all. this is personal for me, madam president. kentucky is not finished fighting with the coronavirus and the federal government must not be finished helping kentuckians. laid-off kentuckians need more help. kentucky schools need more help.
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and under our proposal kentucky alone would receive $193 million for testing and contract tracing to fight the sprefd of the disease. this should be just as personal for every single senator. none of our states deserve the democrats' rope-a-dope. no american family deserves it. don't my distinguished ranking member democratic colleagues want to be involved with our chairman like back in march and not watching from the sidelines as their leader shuts down talks on tv. do they really think the democratic leader's tactics are serving the common good of their states? republicans have put forward a framework that would do huge amounts of good for huge numbers of american families. if democrats ever come to the table, we'll be able to bridge our differences and actually
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make a law. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the speaker's time is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, executive office of the president, derek kan of california to be deputy director of the office of management and budget. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. schumer: madam president.
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the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: now, madam president, the senate will soon acknowledge a moment of silence for the 150,000 americans who have now died from covid-19. more lives than our country lost in world war i. this national tragedy is more keenly felt because it has not and cannot be properly mourned. one of the most deaf stating consequences of -- devastating consequences of this disease is that it keeps us apart, even in death. there is no final clutching of the hand of a loved one, no funeral to remember them by, grandchildren wrapped in protective gear wave goodbye from across the hospital room. 150,000 americans have died. more than any other nation on god's green earth. more than our allies and more than our adversaries. more than the most populous nations and those with mere fractions of our wealth and power. and more, so many more than the
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nation where this virus originated. we will debate the reasons for this ugly truth. we must, if we are to avoid compounding our errors and keeping sorrow -- and heaping sorrow upon sorrow as the virus continues to rage throughout our country. but now we spend a moment to acknowledge how much our country has suffered already. we have lost friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons. a beloved professor at howard university, a civil rights pioneer, a renowned psychiatrist, a brooklyn doctor 62 on the verge of retirement who in the early weeks of the crisis in new york worked day shifts at the i.c.u. and night shifts at the hospital center across the street before finally succumbing to the disease himself. we have lost so many in so short a time. unable to grieve them in the manner they deserve, we respect this moment of silence, this
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moment of sorrow. so, madam president, i ask unanimous consent that there now be a moment of silence to recognize the more than 150,000 american deaths from the novel coronavirus. the presiding officer: without objection. there will now be a moment of silence to recognize the american deaths from the novel coronavirus. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president. now, --
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mr. schumer: as the coronavirus -- as covid-19 continues to spread through dozens of states, our country is dealing with multiple crises at this time. today we learn that the most recent quarter was the worst on record for our economy. the problem is not new or surprising. millions of newly unemployed americans cannot go back to work, cannot afford the rent, cannot put food on the table. small businesses are waiting to see if the federal loan program that kept them alive will be renewed. parents are worried sick about their kids returning to school in the fall. state and local governments who fought this disease on the front line when the trump administration refused to give them help are deep in the red and slashing public services, teachers, firefighters, and
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more. and throughout america, people wait days and days, even weeks, for the results of their tests, rendering the tests almost useless because we don't have an adequate testing program at the national level. this is the greatest public health challenge in a crisis and the greatest economic challenge in at least 75 years. we need to confront all of these crises. senate republicans hardly want to address any of them. they dithered for months and then produced a half-baked, half-hearted proposal of half measures, a proposal that their own caucus and their own president doesn't fully support. just last night, the republican leader confirmed that 20 republican senators want to do nothing in the face of the historic problems we face, and because senate republicans couldn't get their act together, two weeks have now gone down the
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drain, and three months before that, because republicans are wedded to a twisted ideology that the federal government shouldn't help people even in a time of national emergency. as the country is about to careen over several cliffs as a result of the republican delay, dithering, and disunity, our friends on the other side are now scrambling. it's dawning on them now, not a week ago, not three weeks ago, not two months ago, that we're facing a cliff on unemployment, although we have faced cliffs or issues as well right now. today i understand that a few of my colleagues on the other side will ask the senate to pass a reduction of the enhanced unemployment benefit from $600 a week to $200 a week, or even worse, a smaller percentage of a worker's wage than republican proposed in their bill earlier this week.
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an already stingy republican proposal has gotten even stingier as the week has gone on. i have made it very clear why the proposal by the senator from wisconsin is terrible policy for four main reasons. first and obviously most, first and most obviously, it would hurt the unemployed. 1.4 million americans filed new claims for unemployment last week. the number is going up again. our economy is still shedding jobs. americans are losing their paycheck through no fault of their own. and republicans want to take $1,600 out of their pockets every single month? give people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own a 24% pay cut? shocking. inhumane. wrong. second, it would exacerbate poverty. our enhanced unemployment benefits have prevented nearly 12 million americans from slipping into poverty.
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republicans want to slash and burn that poverty-preventing policy. let's have more people go into poverty. that's what this amendment would do. third, it would devastate our economy. one of the few bright spots over the past few months has been consumer spending in no small part because of these unemployment benefits go to those americans who need to spend it as soon as they get it. no wonder respected economic forecasters project that the republican policy on unemployment insurance would cost us over a million jobs this year and three million more next year. and finally, we know that this policy is impossible to implement. when our office called state unemployment offices to ask them about the republican proposal, they said their implementation would be a catastrophe. one office said simply this would cause chaos. so this is not a serious
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proposal. we all know it will never pass the house and doesn't have enough votes to come close to passing in the senate. large numbers of republicans will vote against it. this effort appears to be an effort to provide republicans some political cover because they can't get their act together and force the country over these cliffs. we are trying to negotiate with the white house and would welcome negotiations with our senate colleagues, but the reason negotiations are going nowhere right now is republicans are divided. who is leading the effort on the republican side? chief meadows and secretary mnuchin. is senator johnson and senator braun's effort to pass reduced unemployment benefits a real offer from republicans or just a stunt? leader mcconnell has said that
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democrats won't engage. i would remind him he refuses to go into the room when speaker pelosi, secretary mnuchin, chief of staff meadows and i sit in there. once again, senator mcconnell engages in alice in wonderland tactics and speeches and words. what he says is exactly the opposite of what is true. we're trying to negotiate. the senate republicans are not. next, it's clear that senate republicans don't have a unified position on anything. the main thing we hear from leader mcconnell is that he would torpedo all relief americans are counting on unless there is a giant corporate immunity provision attached, and he says he won't even negotiate on it. who's holding things up? who's standing in the way? leader mcconnell and his
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republican caucus certainly at the top of the list. and president trump is all over the lot. he himself called the republican senate proposal semi irrelevant. when your own president says your proposal is semi irrelevant, as the president has said to the senate republicans, you know that they are tied in a knot and can't get anything done. the president seems to endorse a different policy every time he finds a microphone. the one thing we're sure he supports is spending taxpayer dollars on a new f.b.i. building to boost the value of his hotel. and yesterday we learned the president asked for nearly $400 million in renovations to the white house in the republican covid proposal. seriously? the president proposes no help for americans to stay in their houses but wants the taxpayers to fork over nearly $400 million to help him renovate the white house?
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simply put, negotiations with the white house and senate republicans right now are like trying to nail jello to the wall. we're trying to work with our counterparts, but it's immensely frustrating to deal with a negotiating partner that can't say what they support on nearly any issue. now we're hearing the president and his representatives have floated the idea of a skinny bill to address one program, to extend unemployment insurance at much lower rates which hurts the unemployed. but while the nation waits, desperate for comprehensive relief, they leave everything else out. what about improving testing where people have to wait in line, wait for hours and weeks, days and weeks to get their tests back? what about helping state and local governments who have to lay off firefighters and bus
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drivers? what about dealing with people who might be evicted? what about dealing with people who can't feed their kids? the list of issues goes on and on and on and they're all immediate and urgent. so to have this bill which is inadequate on unemployment benefits alone, cuts them to the bone and not include any of the other issues and hope to escape and then do nothing more? forget it. won't pass the senate. won't pass the house. it's a stunt. even if the white house would agree to another extension of enhanced unemployment at its current level, which many if not most senate republicans will refuse to support, there are just too many things left out. opening up our schools safely,
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health care testing and reducing the wait to get test results, state and local governments, so much more. and even if the white house finally comes around to the position, we should extend the moratorium on evictions, that wouldn't be enough. it makes no sense to extend the moratorium on evictions without helping americans actually afford the rent. we can prevent landlords or banks from kicking americans out of their homes for another few months, but then what? the same americans would be six months behind on the rent and have no hope of making up the difference. so let's look -- here's where we are. americans are worried as this awful pandemic rages on. the lifelines we passed here in congress to protect families, small businesses, renters, schoolkids and so many more are
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expiring and our republican colleagues dither. we have a comprehensive bold proposal. they have virtually nothing. let's remember recent history. that may give us some hope that we can get something done. back in march and april, republicans were late to the game just as they are now and proposed stingy and sufficient legislation in response to covid-19 just like they're doing now. each time democrats were not bullied by republicans into passing something that wouldn't work and be insufficient but we demanded that our colleagues sit down with us and negotiate a bill that meets the needs of the american people. and that's what we did. and in the second, third, and fourth phases of covid relief, our negotiations produced much better legislation, legislation that passed both houses with
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near unanimity. it's never easy and it's never painless, but it can be done. we just need our republican colleagues to get their act together, roll up their sleeves, understand the gravity and depth and breadth of this problem and negotiate with us in a serious way. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: thank you, madam president. today our colleague, onlewis -- john lewis will be laid to rest. what an incredible legacy he leaves behind. i was blessed to serve with him in the house of representatives. the two of us were elected in the same class to start serving in the house of representatives in 1987. we became friends and he was certainly an inspiration to all of us. i particularly mention his name today because of the challenges we're finding to the rights of our first amendment to peacefully protest. john lewis frequently talked about good trouble. that all of us have a responsibility to speak out when we see something that's wrong and to do it in a peaceful way. madam president, it's interesting that his last public appearance was with the protesters with black lives matter here in d.c. as he wanted
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to be there and was proud to see the diversity of the group that was there, the protest, the -- to protest the brutalities we've seen in america, the systematic racism we've seen in our country. and we all not only have the right but the responsibility to speak out when we see these injustices. the first amendment to our nation's constitution is key to the foundation of our country's democracy, including the right of people to peacefully assemble and petition for redress of grievances. the president of the united states ordering unidentified agents of the department of homeland security to arrest and detain protesters is a flagrant breach of trust and potentially a violation of the law. congress must speak up in a unified bipartisan voice and tell the president that such an escalation in militarization of our city streets without
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provocation or invitation from local officials must stop and must stop now. i am bravely concerned when federal law enforcement agents are deployed in this manner, that their presence has increased tensions and caused more confrontation between demonstrators and police. indeed, local, state, and even federal officials, including the u.s. attorney, have criticized the federal agents intervention tactics in portland. i share the concerns of many of my colleagues concerning the misuse of resources and personnel, particularly when law enforcement officers are used by political purposes by the president to violate the civil rights of our constituents. we should all be concerned that the justice and homeland security departments are misusing their emergency authorities and are actually aggravating the situation in portland and elsewhere. i have cosponsored legislation that would place an important limit in oversight on the use of
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federal officers for enforcement operations and arrests relating to protests, including making sure that law enforcement officers are clearly identified. i recently voted in the senate to place further limits on the transfer of excess military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies, and i will continue to demand that america reform the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. after the shocking death of george floyd in police custody in minneapolis, congress must address the systematic racism, systemic racism and police brutality through the passage of the justice in policing act. while this legislation has passed the house, senator mcconnell has still refused to bring it up in the senate, condemning it to his legislative graveyard. now more than ever, we urgently need to rebuild trust with our communities and change the trump administration's mentality from a warrior to a guardian approach
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for law enforcement. news reports indicate that federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown portland and detain protesters since at least mid july. in some cases, citizens could not tell the difference between law enforcement and far-right extremists in the region who wore similar military gear. mr. president, this reminds us of the most radical images that we have seen in authoritative, repressive regimes, how they violate the rights of their citizens. federal officials have been reported as grabbing americans in dark, not providing any form of identification, and arresting, searching, and detaining individuals themselves before properly reading their miranda rights. there is also widespread reports of federal agents not having any probable cause before making these arrests. not only are these violations
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actions irresponsible and dangerous, it is a violation of our constitutional rights. america's strength is in the ideals that we believe in. we are the global leader in democratic values, in the rule of law. these actions weaken our nation, and these actions weaken america's credibility in global leadership on behalf of democratic values. i am pleased that last week the inspector general of the department of homeland security and justice agreed to investigate how their agents used force to detain people and conducted themselves in confrontation with protesters in portland, oregon, and washington, d.c. recall in washington, d.c. that attorney general barr used force to clear a peaceful protest at lafayette park just outside the white house. attorney general barr took this action so that the president could hold up a bible for a photo op outside of a church. this was unacceptable, a breach
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of faith in the constitution, and breaks the trust between our law enforcement and our citizens. defending democracy and the rule of law are the very freedoms we hold as a nation so dear is hard work. it is made harder when the very individuals sworn to uphold the law work so hard to undermine it. the justice department is the only cabinet agency named after an ideal, and mr. barr has forfeited his ability to effectively lead it. in particular, the justice department and the inspector general will investigate how u.s. marshals have used force in portland and other parts of the justice department such as the f.b.i., drug enforcement administration, the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives were used in the nation's capital. the inspector general of the department of homeland security has said open an investigation into allegations that the custom and border protection agencies improperly detained and
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transported protesters in portland and that he would review the deployment of d.h.s.'s personnel in recent weeks. america is not under siege as the president would like citizens to believe, except by a president who freely uses aggressive law enforcement as a prop to distract the country from the flailing response to the pandemic that has crippled our nation. citizens are rightly concerned that the administration has deployed a secret police force not to investigate crimes but intimidate individuals it views as political adversaries. several former secretaries of homeland security have sounded the alarm as well. michael chertoff, secretary of homeland security under george w. bush, recently said that the trump decision to intervene with the heavy hand, unconventional means, and inflammatory political rhetoric has contributed to the growing
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public distrust, particularly of the department of homeland security. critics of the department are now rightly worried that its law enforcement agents may be increasingly deployed by president trump to score political points or even interfere with the november elections. secretary chertoff concluded these actions endanger our democracy, undermine the nation's safety by hurting the department's ability to carry out its core mission of protecting americans from genuine threats to our security, end quote. tom ridge, the first secretary of homeland security after its creation said that the presence of federal authorities in portland, oregon, as protests continue in the city is not consistent with the department of homeland security's mission. he noted that the first words of the department's vision statement that he helped establish are preserving our freedoms. secretary ridge continued when
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they appear to be quasi military rather than law enforcement, i think it's like pouring a little bit of gasoline on the fire. preserving the right to dissent is something very important. now, i know president trump has threatened to send additional federal officers to baltimore and other cities to quell any further dissent or protests. let me remind president trump that the protests in baltimore after the death of george floyd in police custody have been peaceful, so we don't need additional federal agents designed to crack down on free speech and peaceful protests. nor do we want federal agents to come to baltimore with the purpose of escalating tension with the community or trying to provoke or incite violence or discourage the lawful right of citizens exercising their first amendment. instead in baltimore, we want to continue working cooperatively with our federal partners like our u.s. attorney to address the
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stubborn problems of violent drug gangs and the high violent crime and murder rates. ensuring the safety of our communities requires all-hands-on-deck approach. in baltimore, we are using a task force known as the baltimore organized crime drug enforcement task force strike force which is made up of local, state, and federal partners. this task force only works due to the continued transparency, collaboration, and engagement with the community throughout its process. together, the citizens of baltimore will keep working with our law enforcement authorities to improve safety in our neighborhoods and on our streets. the city of baltimore and the u.s. department of justice are continuing to work closely together along with our u.s. district court for the district of maryland to implement fully the consent decree to bring constitutional policing to baltimore residents. so that the police adopt a guardian instead of a warrior
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approach. instead of spreading divisive rhetoric and taking escalatory actions against our citizens, tactics recently employed by president trump, you should focus on working constructively at the federal, state, and local level to promote proven strategies and solutions like the strike force that effectively reduce crime and improve safety. mr. president, i look forward to the findings of recommendations of the inspector general of those two departments and make clear that what went wrong and take steps to make sure this type of federal law enforcement authority is never abused again in the future. i would hope that all my colleagues would recognize the threat of these actions to the protections in the first amendment of our constitution, and we will work together as one body to protect the lawful rights of our citizens to protest their disagreements with government in a peaceful way.
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with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i am vice chairman of the department of defense appropriations subcommittee. it's an awesome responsibility and assignment. we end up dealing with over 50% of the discretionary domestic spending each year in the united states. i work with my chairman, senator
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shelby. i have worked with others in the past. trying to keep up with a changing environment in the world and a changing agenda in washington. many of the briefings which i receive are open and public. many are also classified. last week i met with the top united states commander in europe, general todd walters. general walters provided for me and senator shelby a classified briefing on the trump administration's plans to remove almost 12,000 american troops from germany. yesterday, the secretary of defense mark esper made a similar briefing but publicly to the press. i'm extremely concerned by both the classified and unclassified information i have been given about this plan and by the differences in the briefing i receive compared to the public
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announcements from the secretary of defense yesterday. let me start off by saying this plan makes no sense. while some are framing this as an improvement of our military posture in europe, i don't buy it. nobody else should either. germany now spends 1.3% of its gross domestic product on defense along with the majority of nato members, germany has agreed to to reach a goal of 2% of g.d.p. on defense. germany ought to make good on its word, that's for sure. but to be clear many, including president trump, failed to appreciate that there is much more to nato's importance than simply meeting a spending goal. in fact, there are many important ways to evaluate this historic nato alliance and judge the commitment of each member, including the political will of its leaders, its shared vision
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and values, and the interoperability of our military through regular training. all of these things add to nato's deterrence. but president trump is clearly just using this argument about the percentage contribution and insufficient spending to drive a petty and personal grudge against germany. how do we know this? because -- listen to this. the countries that would be receiving our troops transferred out of germany also do not meet the 2% goal. president trump was reportedly angry that german chancellor merkel declined an invitation for an in-person g7 summit in the u.s. in the middle of this global epidemic. think of that. she was worried about the health consequences of such a meeting.
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we are canceling gatherings right and left in america because of a genuine concern we have for the well-being of one another. chance letter merkel's position is hardly unreasonable. it makes sense. many of the statements and conduct from the president do not. amidst this snub to our nato ally, president trump continues to try to bring president putin and congress into the g7. even after reports about russian bounties being put on american soldiers in afghanistan and the president's failure time and again since this has been disclosed to raise the issue with vladimir putin. during the briefing last week, i understood there would be a deliberative process for planning how these troops would be moved and when they would be moved. we would discuss the infrastructure that needs for be built in the united states as well as in europe.
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and we'd be in close consultation with our allies in the process. in contrast, the vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general heighten explained yesterday there is a planning process occurring but also he went on to say, we'll start moving right away with forces moving right away. really? without the planning? it sounds like this general is snapping to the attention of a president who is determined to poke the german chancellor in the eye. shouldn't our highest priority be the defense of america rather than a spite match? if i'm confused about how quickly this plan has unfolded, i bet the rest of our nato allies are as well. i might also say that i received a preliminary cost estimate on how much american taxpayers will have to pay for this political adventure by president trump. this figure is still classified. i'm sorry that it is, but i can
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assure you the costs are substantial. secretary esper was dismissive yesterday of this cost. he should not be. it is substantial. hiding the cost of troop realignment plans brings to mind the president's campaign promise that mexico was going to pay for our border wall. in reality, the department of defense paid for a large part of it because the president diverted funds appropriated for our national defense to this captain qig venture of his on our southern border. the defense department should make cost estimates of this plan public today. let the american people know what the president expects us to spend in order for him to get the last word with angela merkel. the american people ought to decide for themselves whether this is a cost worth bearing. and let me tell you what's been conspicuously absent from both public and private briefings,
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and that's whether our commitment to our real allies in europe, in nato is really designed to address the front line of potential russian aggression and provocation. i know what that front line is and most people do as well. the baltics in poll lad, litt win ya, estonia and poland. here are four countries who have the most to lose if putin chooses a path to war. each of them meets and exceeds the spending goals for nato. but this plan for the reallocation and reassignment of u.s. troops does not help these four countries. i went through the briefing. those four countries weren't raised in the briefing. i raised them in a question afterwards. why are these countries being overlooked if we're moving troops to make europe safer. instead the department of defense yesterday threw in as an aside a vague assurance, maybe
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just a possibility that sometime maybe in the future more american troops might rotate through those countries for short periods of time. and major parts of the plan that i saw and was part of the plan that was released yesterday thrill move american troops and nato allies further away from russia. well, vladimir putin is getting the last laugh again when it comes to this president. vladimir putin fears a united nato. sadly, president trump has done everything he can to divide and diminish that nato alliance. president putin believes that as long as that nato alliance is divided, he's in a stronger bargaining position. sadly he's right. nato is the most successful alliance in american history. instead of strengthening it, the president of the united states is weakening it. instead of leading, he is undermining. the best way to reassure our
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allies that we are with them is to scrap this plan now. if this administration is so confident about how good an idea this is, tell the american people how much it's going to cost and explain why we're not reallocating our forces in europe to the real front line in poland and the baltics. instead of pulling back our troops, we should be withdrawing this half-baked plan and start over anew with a focus on stopping aggression from vladimir putin and standing behind our traditional allies. mr. president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: question. mr. carper: i ask unanimous consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. carper: good morning, colleagues. i rise today to speak on the nomination of derek kan to serve as second in command at the office of management and budget. i.t. not every day that i stand here, mr. president, and endorse a nomination -- the nominee of the current president. i do not want to have a heart attack, but i do want to stand up sand say this is a good nomination. i wish we had more like him. and i'm pleased at least we have this one today to consider. but derek kan served is previously as under secretary of
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transportation for policy as the department of -- at the department of transportation, where he served as principal advisor to the secretary and provided leadership in the development of policies at the department. and i have a couple of quotes here to my democratic colleagues that referenced his time at the department of transportation. one of them -- one of our democratic colleagues here in the senate said these words. mr. kan from your time at the department of transportation, i know you for a talented and thoughtful leader who can work collaboratively with congress and others to find common ground. think about this word. who can work collaboratively with congress and others to find common ground. another of our colleagues, democrat colleagues, said of derek kan,der connection is a serious, smart person and a vast improvement over the previously mentioned names. that's a quote -- i'll say it again. derek kan is a serious, smart
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person and a vast improvement over the previously mentioned names. now, that's not damning praise. that's praise. i think it's well-earned. he's been nominated to serve by this nomination in a number of positions, and he's gotten support of democrats and republicans -- not unanimous support. i wouldn't get unanimous support if i were nominated for something that came through here either, mr. president. but he's gotten strong support for the most part. and i was pleased to be able to vote in favor of his confirmation to this particular position, and he was confirmed i think by -- at that time i think it was the department of transportation, under secretary -- i think he was confirmed by a vote of 90-7. and prior to his appointment by mr. kan to serve on the amtrak board of directors, he was unanimous confirmed to that position by this same body.
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he doesn't know this but he and i have something in common. i was confirmed to serve as the lone director on the board of directors. that slapped through but that's something we share in common and he understands well the important of passenger rail service in this country -- in this century. mr. kan is also experienced as a policy advisor to our current majority leader and chief economist for the senate republican policy committee. and to put it bluntly, i think he possesses the necessary qualifications and experience for this position. i had the pretty big of serving as the senior democrat in the homeland security committee. this committee -- with the presiding officer, rather. and this committee has responsibility for vetting individuals who've been nominated to serve at the office of management and budget. and during confirmation process, i had the pleasure of speaking
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with mr. kan and to know -- get to know him a little better and understand better his goals for this important position. mr. kan clearly showed that he's intimately familiar with the issues that he'd be tasked with managing at o.m.b. and he showed that he is willing to learn and work with others to ensure that he is doing everything he can on behalf of the folks that sent us here to represent them. mr. kan committed to work collaboratively with congress to help us fulfill our oversight role. that is shared responsibility. oversight, we all need to be interested in oversight. you don't need to serve on a committee that's focused on over-advise and consent -- homeland security, government affairs -- you don't need to serve son a senate subcommittee, as senator portman and i do on the permanent subcommittee on investigations, in order to be interested in oversight. you don't have to be elected to the u.s. senate or the house to be interested in oversight. this is something that we all ought to be interested in, all of us ought to be focused on.
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we need do it in a way that's collaboratively so that we sort of marry our fortunes together and end up with a synergistic effect where the sum is greater than the parts thereof. but i was pleased with the words of the commitment he made to work collaboratively with all of us, democrats and republicans, our taxes he also committed to work with the g.a.o. to help them fulfill their critical oversight responsibilities. g.a.o., which is a watchdog, does great work, as the presiding officer knows. they have been faced with enormous undertaking, enormous challenges with respect to the covid-19 legislation we passed and the need for resources to be able to do a good job and being the watchdog that we need. i would just call on all of my colleagues to keep that in mind when we fashion the next covid legislation and figure out how much money do we need to provide for g.a.o. to do the enormous job that's in front of them.
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well, mr. president, it is not often we get a nominee -- and administration is open to working with both sides and understands the need for the executive branch to be responsive to executive oversight from this administration. in fact, mr. kan committed to responding to all oversight requests from the homeland security, government affairs committee, including requests from democrat senators. he also committed to ensure that o.m.b. responds to all requests from g.a.o. i know these commitments ought to be standard operating procedure in our democracy. it's built on the system of checks and balances. but they certainly have not always been the case in this administration, especially for folks nominated to positions like the one he's been nominated for. mr. kan's willingness to work with congress and his clear qualifications to serve in this role are a welcome change in the trump administration that deserves to be recognized. the welcome change that deserved to be recognized. and for those reasons, i intend
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to support derek kan for -- he is been nominated for this important position at o.m.b. i urge my colleagues, democrat and republican, and an independent or two, to do the same. i had the privilege, mr. president, as serving as senior democrat on the environment appeared public works committee in our oversight role there over the environmental protection agency, we asked a lot of questions. we asked a lot of questions of that asian the leaders of that -- of that agency, the leaders of that agency. in some cases we get no respond, for days, weeks, months. and in previous administrations, the republicans may have been in the minority and they may not have gotten the kind of response they deserve either. but i think we're doing better now getting information out of the e.p.a. i think the kind of spirit i
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sense in derek kan, we could use that kind of spirit from other folks who are serving in this administration and maybe keep them in mind when some day we have a democratic president and democratic majority in the united states senate. that is vote that i think we're going to take in a very short while and i hope when people come here to vote, they'll keep in mind some of the words i said, and some of the words i quoted from other democratic senators, and find a way to vote yes in this case. and we'll hold him up to high standard. i think if he gets confirmed, i think he will. it's important that he continues to demonstrate the sort of values that i found favoring today. with that, mr. president, i just wanted to acknowledge that it's not every day a democrat gets to hold a gavel at a committee hearing and yesterday senator grassley had to -- had some other business, he had to come over and vote on the floor appeared take care of some -- and take care of some other business and there was no other senator to take the gavel and
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conduct the hearing. and he called on a senator from delaware to assume the gavel, take the gavel, and pound us all the way to the finish line in yesterday's hearing. my wife said to me last night, senator grassley -- chuck, she said, what was the highlight of the day? i said there were many highlights of the day yesterday. that was probably number one. with that, i yield the floor to my friend from iowa, senator chuck grassley. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: and i do thank the senator from delaware for bailing me out, as we sometimes say in iowa. two reasons for speaking this morning -- number one, very shortly this week is the 30th year of the americans with americans with disabilities acts as the law of the land. there's plenty of license just to recognize that law -- there's plenty of reasons just to recognize that law for what it
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is and how it has helped people get more equality. but also i do it because former colleague of mine from iowa, senator tom harkin, working along with senator bob dole, worked real hard to get this landmark civil rights legislation signed into law. since that day, america continues to improve opportunities it, inclusion, and access for individual whose live with disabilities. as my colleagues and i work to beat the virus, heal the racial divide, lower prescription drug prices, and restore the united states economy, let's take a lesson from the passage of the a.d.a., very much a cooperative relationship between the republicans and democrats. let's work together in good faith and work out our differences for the good of the
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american people, whether it was the american disabilities act or now efforts to beat the virus and get the economy going. now, mr. president, i speak about an issue that each day, each year, every year for i don't know how many years i've spoken on this subject, and you'll soon find out why this is an important day to me as a n advocate for whistle-blowing and the protection of whistle-blowerrers. earlier this month, the senate unanimously declared today national whistle-blower appreciation day. every year we honor whistle-blowers on july 30. i want to tell you the history of that. it was on july 30, 1778 -- so i
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hope you heard that right -- july 30, 1778, at the heights of the american revolutionary war this the continental congress passed the first whistle-blower law. it did so in support of american soldiers who had decided to blow the whistle on their supervisor. that supervisor was an american naval commander. it seems this commander had not been following the rules of war and had been brutally torturing british soldiers. knowing his actions were against the navy's code of ethics, the soldiers decided to blow the whistle to congress. when they did blow that whistle, they got the full whistle-blower
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treatment, the kind that i hear too often, even today. they were sued for libel and were thrown into jail. now that doesn't happen to maybe a lot of whistle-blowers in 2020, but whistle-blowers are not treated correctly yet today. well, congress wasn't hearing of how they were being treated by being sued for libel and being thrown into jail. in response to what had happened on july 30, 1778, the continental congress passed the first whistle-blower law, stating its unequivocal support for the soldiers and arizona firming that it is -- and affirming that it is the duty of every person in the congress, not just government employees but every single person, to
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report wrongdoing to the proper authorities. congress even covered the legal fees of the jailed sailors. now, 242 years later, we find ourselves in the midst of another crisis, the covid-19 pandemic. and today congress and the american people depend on whistle-blowers to tell us about wrongdoing, just as much as our founding fathers did. in fact, we depend on them more because, as the government gets bigger, the potential for fraud and abuse at the same time gets bigger. so does the potential for cruel retaliation against our nation's brave truth-tellers but here's the good news for every rogue
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commander or manager, this country is filled with good, honest, hardworking people like those sailors, patriots who were unafraid to step forward and blow the whistle just for a simple reason -- to do the right thing, to get the government to do what the law requires, spend money according to how the law requires the money be spent. i can think of no better way of remembering and honoring the whistle-blowers than doing exactly as the continental congress did on that day back in 1778. by renewing our resolve and our commitment, here and now, to pass laws that encourage, support, and protect whistle-blowers, by telling whistle-blowers through strong legislative action that they are patriots and that congress and the american people have their
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backs. i, myself, have several critical whistle-blower bills pending before this session of congress that are especially crucial in light of the covid-19 pandemic. first and foremost, there's the legislation i've been working on to strengthen the false claims act. as we all know, the false claims act allows whistle-blowers to file lawsuits and sue fraudsters on behalf of the federal government now, the federal government should be doing that, but the federal government may not know about it, or if the federal government does know about it, they may have so many cases, they can't deal with. so we allowed the citizens, through keytam-type lawsuits to act in the place of the government. and this is what my amendments in 1986 to the false claims act
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did. and those cases since 1996 have brought $62 billion back into the federal treasury. and the false claims act has never been more important than it is right now this very year, 34 years after i got it passed. that's because the massive increase on government funding to address covid-19 crisis has created new opportunities for fraudsters trying to cheat the government and steal hard-earned taxpayers' dollars, and i heard some of this tuesday in my committee from people in homeland security that have been running down either costing the taxpayers money or just receiving bad-quality products to protect our health care people. so it's especially ironic,
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considering all this, that the department of justice has been continuing its recent practice of dismissing charges in many of the false claims cases brought by whistle-blowers without the department of justice even stating its reasons. this is definitely not the right approach. if there are serious allegations of fraud against the government, the attorney general should have to state the legitimate reasons for deciding not to pursue them in court. that's just common sense. my legislation clarifies the ambiguities created by the courts and reins in the practice that undermines the purpose of my 1986 amendments to the false claims act, which was to empower whistle-blowers. and, remember, you shouldn't
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weaken a piece of legislation that has brought $62 billion of fraudulently taken money back into the federal treasury. this legislation requires the justice department to state its reasons. what's wrong with telling people why you're dropping a case? and provide whistle-blowers who bring the cases an opportunity to be heard whenever it decides to drop a false claims case. now, these problems i'm bringing up with the department of justice reminds me of the initial carrying out of the false claims amendments that i got passed in 1986, that the department of justice resented some citizen coming in and being able to go to court and get justice for the taxpayers because it made it look like the department of justice wasn't doing its job.
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so what? we're helping the taxpayers. we're enforcing the law. now, i thought around 1992-93, they got over that and moved ahead with it. but even yet in 1992, attorney general barr then -- and i don't know whether he was attorney general then or just a citizen -- but he even claimed that the false claims act's amendments i got passed were unconstitutional. now, by the time he got 30 years later coming back into government and my questioning him about it, he did say that he felt that the false claims act was constitutional. so that's big progress from 1992 when you thought it was unconstitutional. so we still seem to have some problems with the justice
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department, but this bill should not be necessary. but i have to pursue it anyway at the present time. now, on another matter, during the pandemic, there's also been a dramatic increase in whistle-blower complaints filed with the s.e.c. whistle-blowers have been calling attention to scam artists peddling counterfeit and substandard medical goods and phony cures to the consumers. the whistle-blower programs improvement act, which i introduced last year, strengthens protections for s.e.c. and the commodity futures trading commission whistle-blowers. it requires the s.e.c. and cftc to make timely decisions regarding whistle-blower rewards. we're now waiting for the senate banking committee to sign off on the s.e.c. portions of the bill, which the s.e.c. supports, and i just had a conversation with the
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chairman of the s.e.c. on this very point within the last hour. i'm also working on legislation that will provide timely, critical protection to whistle-blowers working in our nation's law enforcement agencies. of course, i've been having a national conversation -- we all have been having a national conversation lately about the role of law enforcement in our country. i firmly believe that law enforcement officers play a critical role in maintaining our system of justice. they are there to protect the constitutional rights of our citizens and never, of course, to do harm or infringe upon those constitutional rights. for decades, it's been unlawful for law enforcement officers working at any level to infringe on the constitutional rights of men's. and whenever the attorney general has caused law
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enforcement is overstepping its grounds on the one hand infringing on those -- and infringing on those rights, he has the right to step in and stop the practice and hold those responsible accountability. of course, the attorney general can't prosecute when he doesn't know about, and it's law enforcement officers themselves who are out there on the front lines protecting all of us. congress and the american people depend on them to be vigilant and to speak up if they see something happening that they know is wrong. those who do choose to step forward and report violations in accordance with our federal law deserve federal whistle-blower protections. that's why i'm working to ensure that law enforcement whistle-blowers who report violations of the constitutional rights of american citizens to congress and the justice department are guaranteed simple
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whistle-blower protections that we give to a lot of other people. another whistle-blower bill currently awaiting passage is my criminal antitrust, anti-retaliation act. this legislation strengthens protections for private-sector whistle-blowers who report violation of antitrust laws. the bill was passed by the senate last october and has been pending before the house of representatives ever since. the house tries to argue the senate bill is the legislative graveyard. we hear that from people across the rotunda on almost anything and any day. but here's a case where it -- where its delayed action on this bill suggests that the senate isn't always considering this legislation. each of these bills fills a critical void in our current whistle-blower laws and each one
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ought to receive consideration and an up-or-down vote before the end of this congress. of course, if that's going to happen, congress needs to pick up its pace. it needs to take a cue from those strong actions taken by the congress -- continental congress, let me emphasize during the american revolution, a body that saw the need, took the time, and devoted necessary resources to stand up for whistle-blowers in the midst of a war, for the very existence of our country. so today let's all take a moment to reflect on the high standards that those early americans set for us back on july 30, 1778. and let's remember never to let excuses or partisan differences keep us from pursuing our common
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interests in passing strong, meaningful whistle-blower laws. i yield the floor.
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a senator: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: madam president, back in february 2020, before the covid recession, there were
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158.8 million americans employed. we've gone through a lot. covid has -- is probably the most significant event in my lifetime affecting people's lives, the tragedies that we've seen affecting our economy, affecting the federal budget. today, at the end of june, there are 142 million americans employed. that's a reduction of 16.6 million americans or 10.5%. i want people to remember that 10.5%. over the last month or so there have been a number of respected economists who have made forecasts of how much our economy is going to shrink. these are folks from the i.m.f. and c.m.o., federal board of governors, economists at morgan stanley and goldman sachs. the range of what they are predicting our economy will shrink is 4.6% and 8%.
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this is causing economic devastation, a real human toll on real people. and as a result of that, congress acted. we acted fast. we factd swiftly -- we acted swiftly. we acted massively. weeb wanted to provide financial help to individuals who were unemployed all of a sudden through no fault of their own. we wanted to help provide financial need to businesses that could possibly rehire and recover from the covid recession. we also wanted to make sure we provided enough liquidity to market so we wouldn't see ceasing up and real financial devastation. so the result of that within a very short period of time, by the end of april, we passed four different financial relief packages, totaling $2.9 trillion. we just held an oversight hearing in my committee two days ago. there's even dispute on that.
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some said it is $2.6 trillion. but i'm going to use mine, $2.9 trillion, and what that represents is three and a half percent of our economy. employment is down 10.5%, economists predict our economy will shrink between 4.6% and 8%. but we acted swiftly, massively. we knew what we would enact would be far from perfect. we all understood that. and it was far from perfect, but it worked and we had to do it. but we passed an amount equal to 13.5% of last year's g.d.p. less than a month later, speaker pelosi and her house democrats passed a fifth package out of the house worth $3 trillion. $3 trillion. now, i'm sorry, that's not a serious attempt at financial
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relief. if added to the $2.9 trillion, that would represent 27.5% of last year's economy. again, employment is down 10.5%, our economy will probably shrink more than 8%, yet, speaker pelosi and house democrats wanted to increase the amount of debt on our children bringing the relief package up to 20.5% of our g.d.p. it's not serious, and it's no surprise to no one when leader mcconnell and chief of staff meadows, treasury secretary mnuchin, as they tried to forge a deal with speaker of the house pelosi and minority leader schumer, that they couldn't reach a deal. that there was probably no goalpost that they won't move to make sure that that doesn't happen. but the problem with that approach, and i would call it a very cynical political approach, really playing with people's
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lives and livelihood, is that tomorrow the federal unemployment extension that we passed as part of the cares act because we realize we wanted to try and help everybody who was unemployed because of the covid recession, it expires. now, as i said, the cares act was far from perfect. one of the provisions i certainly did not want, i voted against. i actually supported the senator from florida's amendment to reduce this $600 flat payment, that's a real problem. because it represents something like $134% of average wages, and we are creating a very perverse incentive for people to remain unemployed when our economy is calling for more workers. i want to quote an economic advisor to presidents clinton and president obama, larry summers, he once stated the this would provide an incentivize and
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the means not to work. each unemployed person has a reservation wage. the minimum wage he or she insists on getting before accepting a job. unemployment insurance and other social assistance programs increase the reservation age causing an unemployed person to remain unemployed longer. we want to avoid that situation. we want to help workers but we want to avoid a situation where we prolong unemployment or create sniefs for people -- incentivizes for people to stay on unemployment insurance. according to a university of chicago study, 68% of people who collected unemployment made more in unemployment than they were when they were working. the c.b.o. estimates that five out of six people currently unemployment are making more not working than working.
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the bureau of labor statistics at the end of may said there were 5.4 million jobs open that were not being filled. we have a problem. we have two problems. we can't do a deal because i don't believe our friends on the other side of the aisle are serious about doing a deal, but we have unemployment expiring and the current provision was too generous and created a perverse incentivize. and so i introduced a piece of legislation, and i have it cosponsored by the senator from indiana and the senator from florida would also like to speak to this. it's called the coronavirus relief fair unemployment act. there's no fancy being a anyone. it extends -- acronym. it extends federal plusup to the end of the year. the covid recession is not ending any time soon. so rather than have to come back and do this over and over again and increase the anxiety in americans that is unemployed, let's extend this to the end of
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december. our -- september. our bill gives states the option of either a $200 fat plusup or a plusup equal to more than two-thirds of an individual's average wage, not to exceed $500. the states have the option. if they can't handle the $200 plus-up, they can have a standard mrs.-up -- standard plus-up. two-thirds of weekly wages is exactly what the house passed in phase two of the covid relief packages. two-thirds of average wages is what they set as the amount of money for paid sick and family leave. i also want to point out that $200 a week is eight times the amount the democrats back in 2008 and 2009 -- i think 2009
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passed as part of the great recession relief package. they passed $25 per week plus-up. so $200 per week plus-up is eight times that. again, we as republicans are trying to meet them already, more than half way to do a deal on unemployment. so, again, those individuals without a job, through no fault of their own, will have the comfort and relief they will have with assistance from the federal government. with that, i would like to yield some time to the senator from indiana. the presiding officer: thank you, senator johnson. the presiding officer: the -- mr. braun: thank you, senator johnson. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. braun: just five weeks ago we had businesses starting from main street that was lucky enough to grow over 37 years, three of my kids run it now. that was the reason i ran for senate was to make sure that we
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had that kind of atmosphere in place for the productive economy, the enter pridessers, the heart -- the enterprisers, the hardworking americans that work at companies on main street. since covid arrived, of course it shocked us all. we know it's a tricky foe. it's got pe kiewl alerties -- pe kiewlular, we have to get back to the economy that was raising wages for those most in need. was doing it in a real way and not through government. yes, government needs toe get involved -- needs to get involved now and then, and this was a case, like the senator from wisconsin stated, we move quickly, we did something. what i see on the other side of the aisle with this monstrosity, $3.5 trillion, is an effort beyond to just address the
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displacement from covid-19. i see it as an effort to try to replace main street and the productive economy. it doesn't work through here and we should have never, back in late march, had something that would have been incentivized not working. of course we tried to fix it. friends on the other side of the aisle did not agree with us. if we can't to get back to some form of a new normal and then sooner or later when we whip this foe, covid-19, back to what it was before, we can't do it through government t when you look at not only this bill they've got out, but the other stuff that we need to keep in mind lead into the election, we cannot afford it, it doesn't make sense, it's replacing enterprisers, main street, everything that makes this
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country great with a bloated federal government. when i heard that this bill coming from a quick-footed entrepreneur now here in the senate was out there, i didn't hesitate at all to get on it. we need to do this because we need to cut to the chase. we've got hardworking americans that are still unemployed, that got displaced out of that great economy. this takes care of that without putting into place something that is so broad, so expansive, that does not address the essence of what's at issue here. and that's to make sure there's a pathway so that we can get back to that trump economy, that economy that was working more for everyone than at any time ever before. and don't ask people that have been here in the business of government. why don't you ask people that have been running businesses, been on main street, been doing
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it. that's why we need to get this across the finish line. it addresses the key thing that we need to do transitionally to where we get back to where main street and the real economy is running things and not an attempt by the other side to replace what's been making the economy work. i yield back. a senator: madam president, i'd like to thank the senator from indiana for acting quickly. i'd like to yield some time to the senator from florida. mr. scott: madam president, i want to the thank the senators for their hard work to address the out-of-control spending of the federal government. and to find ways to assist americans who need help in the midst of this pandemic. the coronavirus is a crisis that's demanded action to protect americans. but if we're not careful, congress is going to create another devastating crisis down the road, one of our own doing. our national debt and deficits
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already at unsustainable levels have skyrocketed as congress has spent almost $3 trillion to address this crisis. even if you remove the paycheck protection program that's kept workers on payrolls, the tempt amount spend by congress to respond to the pandemic amounts to more than $50,000 per unemployed american. if you think any unemployed american has received anything close to'd 50,000 d. close to $50,000? of course not. every dollar spent by congress seems to be spent in the least efficient way possible. now congress has negotiate add new spending bill of at least $1 trillion without even understanding if or how the $3 trillion already allocated has been spent. you would never operate a business like that. you would never operate your household like this. government should not be able to get away with it. in june, senators johnson, cruz, and i asked all 50 states how they've allocated the trillions
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of dollars in taxpayer funding they've received for from the federal government for coronavirus response. the majority of states so far have refused our request. instead of telling us how they're being responsible with american taxpayer dollars, they want more money from the federal government. where is the oversight? and accountability? it doesn't exist in washington right now. i'm thankful that my friends, senators johnson and brawn, who are focused on protecting our future and reining in washington's excess, instead of just throwing money at every problem, my colleagues are actually thinking about the impact this spending will have on the future of our children and our grandchildren. and how we're impacting our ability to fund our military and safety nets like social security, medicare, and medicaid. over my eight years as governor of florida, we completely turned our economy around by making hard budgetary decisions, cutting taxes and regulations, and making sure we got the return on every taxpayer dollar.
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senators johnson and brawn and i had all come from business backgrounds and understand you can't just spend with accountability. you have to invest wisely. we have to start doing the exact same thing at the federal level because at some point somebody is going to have to pay for t our children and grandchildren are no longer going to have the same opportunities we've all had to live the american dream, and that's not fair. it's time we take this seriously. the best way to help people right now is get our economy reopened. support businesses by cutting taxes and regulations, ensuring that we have ample testing and p.p.p. across the country. i want to the thank my colleagues for their hard work trying to make sure we don't waste people's money but we actually take care of the pooh emthat need help right now. i yield back to senator johnson. mr. johnson: i'd like to thank the senator from florida nor for
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his words. as if legislative session, i ask consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of my bill at the desk. i further ask that the bill be considered read a third time and passed, that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there 0,? a senator: reserving the right to object -- the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i reserve the right to shut my phone off as well. the presiding officer: very good. mr. schumer: now, madam president, let's talk about how we got here. our republican colleagues for over three months have dithered, dalleddings and not taken seriously the most enormous health crisis we've had and economic crisis we've had. and now all of a sudden in the last day or two, they see the cliff. there are many cliffs, but they see the cliff of unemployment
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insurance running out. we've been asking them to negotiate this for a very long time. we've had knock. leader mcconnell, speaker pelosi -- we asked leader. mr. mcconnell: mcconnell to sit down with us almost a month ago. mr. schumer: we asked leader mcconnell sit down with us almost a month ago and he would not. so we got here because our republican colleagues couldn't get their act together. they still don't have their act together. now they're word. but instead of being serious in negotiating, they have created a stunt which shows oncerious the republicans are at coming to an agreement. i dare say, if this bill were voted on by the floor, a large new -- a large number of republicans, perhaps a majority, would vote against it. it would fail in the senate and would never pass the house. so unstead of engaging in this stunt to try and get the heat of america off their backs, they
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ought to do something real, which is sit down and seriously negotiate with democrats about this issue. this proposal, amazingly enough, is even stingier than the one the republicans introduced a few days ago. instead of giving workers who lost jobs through no fault of their own a 30% pay cut, they give them a 33 pay cut. it is just so wrong. and if you look at all the data rejected by the american people. my colleague from indiana, and i know he's sincere, says you can't solve this problem through the government. i have news for you. when you have the greatest economic crisis in 75 years, the greatest health crisis in 100 years, the private sector cannot solve this problem, and that's one. reasons you guys are all -- and that's one of the reasons you
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guys are all tied in a knot. because you must have the government get involved. you don't want to do that. i hear my friend from florida talk about the deficit. well, that didn't matter when we passed a $1.5 trillion tax break for the wealthiest people and biggest corporations in america. deficit didn't matter they were. but when it's helping working people who lost their jobs, when it's helping small businesses get on their feet, when it's helping feed children, when it's helping keeping people in their homes and apartments, then we hear about the deficit. so let we had tell you what's -- so let me tell you what's wrong with this proposal. one, it doesn't work on its own. as i said, number one, it is even stingier than the original proposal. they're moving backwards, our republican friends are. and giving workers even a greater pay cut than they had before. second, the pandemic
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unemployment insurance has kept millions out of poverty. we all work to keep people out of poverty. this has worked. cut it back, it is estimated millions will fall back into poverty. and millions will go in it. third, it's one of the few things we hear about get the economy going. you talk to our economists, liberal and conservative, and they will tell you the number-one thing preventing the economy from getting worse is consumer spending. consumer spending. this bill puts money in people's pockets, and they spend t and even conservative economists say it's very much needed to get the economy going. and, fourth, it can't work. we've called a whole bunch of state governments and the state unemployment offices. they cannot implement this plan immediately and many say it would take months. and i know the senator from wisconsin has given states is an
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option, cut the thing to $200 or get 67%. many states say they'll never be able to implement the 67% part. and people will be stuck with that big cut. but the main point on that is many states will not be able to implement this new plan for weeks and even months, and people will not have their money. so the number-one thing that's wrong with this proposal is just on its merits itself, it fails, by giving a big pay cut, by pushing more people into poverty, by taking money out of our economy that consumers can spend and because it's fdicly unwork -- and because it's fundamentally unworkable. but there's another reason. we have a lot of problems. in a few minutes, myself, the senator from oregon, the senator from michigan will ask unanimous consent to pass the heroes act. we have a the -- we have a lot
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of cliffs. as of thursday, hundreds of thousands and soon millions could be evicted from their apartments. this bill does nothing about that cliff. as of this week, next week, it's a new month, state and local governments will be running out of money, already $h.1.5 million state and local workers will have been laid off. more will be laid off. that's a cliff. what are we doing about that? testing -- you call anyplace in america, including the three states we're talking about here, people have to wait days, weeks, and some don't even ever get their test results back. we're not going to solve this problem until we solve the coronavirus problem. we all know that president trump and this administration has so failed on testing. every other western country -- or almost every other western
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country that has dealt with this country in western europe or east asia is way ahead of us. we should be ashamed. we've had a president who's dithered, who's not taken seriously the testing regime. the heroes act fixes that problem. we're not going to fix our economy until we fix the health care problem, my friends. the heroes act does many, many other things -- get back to school, not like do not says, push people back to school, even if it's not safe. well, remember what he did in arizona, in texas, in florida, he pushed the governors to get people back? now would look what's happened. the same thing will happen in schools if we're not careful. we have help there. which my good friend from wisconsin's bill doesn't even mention. that's another cliff. we've got a month before schools start.
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so this bill, skinny or stingy, not up to the moment, not even close to being up the moment. it is amazing that we have such a crisis in america, and our republican friends in the senate, in the white house, in the house cannot even face up to the problem. they're obsessed with saying we shouldn't spend any money. well, believe me, if we don't spend any money, things will get worse and we'll have to spend more later. that's the dilemma we're in. but it's being made so much worse by this president. we don't hear a peep from the other side about how the president has messed this up and instead we get this stunt to try and show they want to do something, which they know won't pass and know won't solve the problem. so i am going to offer a unanimous consent request in a
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few minutes to pass the heroes act, which has already passed the house, so it would do some real good. it covers all the areas i mentioned. and it does a far better job at dealing with the unemployment situation than my good friend from wisconsin's bill. i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: a quick response. the democratic leader is saying this is not adequate. again, i remind the senate that in 2009, when they passed federal plus-up for unemployment benefits, they passed -- this is total democrat control, $25 a week. so the $200 a week is eight times what they passed in 2009. apparently they felt that was adequate back then. there's also a study out of the university of chicago that $200 plus-up on state unemployment benefits coming from the federal government replaces 100% of wages for 80% of the workers currently unemployed.
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the other 20% actually get higher than the replacement. the option of two-thirds, it's exactly what the house passed in phase two of the coronavirus relief packages, two-thirds of weekly wages for paid sick and paid family leave. now all of a sudden it's inadequate. and, of course, their solution, what they are going to offer is another $3 trillion further mortgaging our children's future when we haven't spent but $1.2 trillion of the $2.9 trillion we already authorized. it's not a serious proposal which leader mcconnell could not negotiate because they are not negotiating in good faith. the democrats are being cynical. it's not a serious offer. this is more than a generous offer to help americans and alleviate the anxiety they are
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going to be feeling if the democrats simply decide to reject this. that is unfortunate but that's the state of play here in the united states senate. it's very sad. mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: first, before i do my u.c. -- i remind myself to take off my mask. i would remind my good friend that it took us ten years to get out of the crisis of 2008. unemployment stayed high. job numbers stayed high. looking at 2008 as a model for recovery is not anything anyone would want to do. okay. now, madam president, as -- i am in a few minutes going to offer the heroes act as a unanimous consent alternative. and i mentioned before the many things that it does.
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but let me just say in the larger sense we have enormous crisis in america. we have higher unemployment than we have ever had since the depression. we today 150,000 -- 150,000th death was recorded. and thus far the trump administration, followed by the republican senate, has been an abject failure at dealing with that crisis. it would have been much better if the president had done what chiefs of state and europe did, step up to the plate, implemented testing, put adequate money in people's pockets. and we might be more on the road to recovery like those other countries are. aren't my republican friends ashamed that europe and asia did better than us, the greatest country in the world? and you know why?
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because of the very philosophy my colleagues have mentioned. don't spend any money, and in president trump's view, ignore the crisis. it will go away. when the weather gets warm. everyone has testing, he said, back in march. we democrats feel the pain in america. we feel the pain of people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. we feel the pain of small business people who struggled to build their businesses for decades. my dad was a small business man, and then they lose those businesses. we feel the pain of parents who can't feed their kids. we feel the pain of moms and dads worried, can they send their kids back to school safely? we feel the pain of people when they get tested and they have to wait days, weeks to get a result when the test means nothing.
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and the idea -- and what we should be -- our responsibility, as democrats and republicans, is to get something done. something real, not a stunt, not something stingy and not something that's so far ino that it -- narrow that it only deals with one aspect of the problem and inadequately at that. so that's why we're offering the heroes bill. it's not perfect. there are a few things some people might add, but it's a heck of a lot better to meet this crisis than what we've seen from our republican friends, a bill that, as i said, moves backwards, is stingy, and probably wouldn't get the support of the majority of republicans if it was put on the floor, let alone any of us. so, of course, we have to do something. the heroes act is the right thing to do. but i want to make one
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prediction for everyone's who's worried about the future here. if the past is prologue, something very close to the heroes act will be enacted. look at covid two, covid three, covid 3.5. in each case the initial republican reaction was similar to the reaction we heard this morning. can't do it. we'll dare the democrats to block us. it didn't work. the public was on our side. but more importantly, once the republicans showed they couldn't bully anybody and couldn't put a proposal on the floor and -- inadequate though it was and pass it, they came to the table and negotiated. we are still waiting for leader mcconnell to go into room with mnuchin and meadows and pelosi and me. we are waiting for our republican senate colleagues to
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come up with a coherent plan that could get their support. we are still waiting for the president to understand the gravity of this situation and do something about it, for god's sakes. and i believe if this is objected to within a little while, our republican friends will feel the pressure from their constituents and from national need to realize that they have to come and negotiate in good faith on a bold, strong bill, comprehensive bill, that will pass. so before i ask consent for the heroes act, i will yield first to my colleague from oregon and then to my colleague from michigan. mr. wyden: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: madam president, this morning showed why we need the
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democratic approach to dealing with unemployment insurance and why the pain that was reported this morning would get even worse under the proposal offered by senator johnson. this morning americans learned that our economy cratered in the second quarter essentially g.d.p. dropped by 9.5% from april through june. that translates to a 33% annual contraction of the american economy. so what you have with today's analysis is a gross domestic product in free fall. if republicans slash unemployment benefits with this
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proposal, the gross domestic product is going to fall faster and the economy collapses. folks, the economists, people who aren't political figures, told us this morning, this is a five alarm fire. the biggest and fastest drop ever recorded, colleagues, wiping out years of economic gains in a matter of weeks. and the fact is when you take the kind of economic hammering that we learned about this morning, the democratic approach with respect to super channelinged -- supercharged unemployment, what we wrote in the finance committee, that secretary mnuchin signed off on, the $600 per week, and finally including those people who
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nobody even talked about in the 1920's, gave workers and part-timers and independent contractors, they got a fair shake. and the reason we thought it was so important to supercharge those benefits and why we feel so strongly about doing it now with $600 per week so that people can make rent and pay groceries, when all these folks out of work -- and we learned again about thousands and thousands of more workers in every part, you know, of the country getting hit again. when jobless americans receive unemployment benefits, it becomes one of the biggest booster shots for the american economy. jobless americans receive unemployment benefits, they spend it on food, they spend it
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on car payments, they spend it on rent, they spend it on medical bills. it's part of the gross domestic product and it makes no sense -- it makes no sense, colleagues, to take that support away as the senator from wisconsin seeks to do. one point -- 1.4 million people filed for unemployment benefits before the pandemic unemployment claims had never crossed 700,000 in a single week, not even during the great recession. they've now been 1.3 million or higher for 19 straight weeks. so here the senate is a few hours after seeing the worst domestic product report ever recorded, and what is the response of the senate
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republicans? to even slash unemployment more than they originally proposed to slash unemployment, yanking an economic lifeline from 30 million americans and delivering an economic wrecking ball directly into our fragile economy. the last point i want to make, and we've got senator stabenow, my seatmate on the finance committee, is to highlight the fact that from the beginning -- from the beginning senate republicans were hostile to the idea of trying to give a fair shake to these workers and these families who were hit so hard. eugene eskalia, the first thing he said after we did that work in the finance room, the first thing he said, oh, no, we've got to do our job in administering
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the benefit. the first thing he said is his big concern is unemployed people are going to be dependent on government. how preposterous. i see my friend senator brown here, probably who spends a big chunk of his waking hours talking about the dignity of work. so much for the dignity of work when you hear about eugene scalia. i hosted a nationwide town hall meeting just a couple of nights ago and senator stabenow, there were workers from the mid-west and he said, people are saying we don't want to work. if i get a job offer at night, i will be there the first inning the morning -- first thing in the morning ready to go. this is not about workers being unable to work, it's about scarcity of jobs just the way those figures this morning pointed out.
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so i think that we are going toking have further discussion of other issues, but, mr. leader, i just want to mention one last point before yielding. today we heard some remarkable comments about how donald trump, and i guess this was his musing, but whenever he muses, it actually is sometimes part of a strategy. you know, he talked about somehow putting off the election and the problem is that people would be voting by mail. now, there's not a shred of evidence, not a shred of evidence that this is a problem. the reason it's not a problem, and i don't just say it because i'm the nation's first mail-in united states senator, take the word of far-right conservatives, the late dennis richardson in our state, about as conserve ti as you -- could be conservative -- conservative as
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you get. one of the last things he did he pointed out there's no voter fraud in our mail-in election. he said it doesn't coming, a conservative. a rock-rib conservative. so we just heard that comment this morning, leader schumer. and of course the law says that he can't change the election, but it shows again why it's so important to have the elections provision from the heroes act that i was honored to work with speaker pelosi on be part of the way in which people vote this fall because they shouldn't have to choose between voting or their health. most of the poll workers in america are over the age 60. they shouldn't be put at risk which is obviously what donald trump would be willing to do. so the here owes bill -- owe
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heroes bill -- and we're going to talk now i believe about the nutrition parts which senator stabenow has championed so eloquently or important. i did want to take just a minute to focus on the economic numbers that came out this morning and how the republican proposal would make our ability to fight what was described a few hours ago worse and also talk about the fiasco of donald trump's effort every single day to chip away at people's opportunity to vote by mail and in other ways. madam president, i yield the floor. ms. stabenow: madam speaker -- madam president, excuse me. the presiding officer: you threw me there. ms. stabenow: i'm in the wrong house. madam president, i'm really proud to stand with a group of colleagues and leaders who understand what's happening to the american people and the
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hardships that they are facing and the fact that they just want some help and they want people to understand that. we're in the middle of a pandemic. it's not done yet. we know we've got to wrap our arms around what's happening in terms of the health care pandemic before we can do anything else. but in the meantime, we have an economic crisis and we have a hunger crisis in this country. and it is very hard to me to listen to folks, all of us -- none of us are worried about going hungry tonight, not one of us. my guess is we're not worried about our grandkids or going hungry tonight or our moms and dads. but there are 14 million kids right now who aren't getting what they need to eat and could very likely go hungry tonight. they need a safety net. you know, when i look at what's
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the priority here with senate republicans, you know who gets a safety net? wall street gets a safety net. the stock market gets a safety net. secretary of treasury, hey, what do you guys need? you've got it. we're backing you up. we've got your back. but for the families of our country who through no fault of their own have been put into a situation where they have to worry about a roof over their head and food on the table and dollars to be able to pay the bills through help with unemployment, our colleagues say we have the audacity to think that they ought to have a safety net, too, that the majority of americans ought to know that somebody's got their back. well, we're here to say we are the ones that have their back. and we hope that before this is done, that the senate and the house will come together to do
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that. right now there are senior citizens, a lot of them, who get a minimum amount of monthly help for their food. it's $16 a month. not a week. a month. and we have the audacity to stand here and want to pass the heroes act what would raise that to $30 a month. and our colleagues will object to a $14 a month raise for our poorest senior citizens. now, for everyone else, we're looking at about $1.40 per meal, $1.40 per meal. i would challenge any of us to try go get a meal for $1.40. $1.40 per meal is what the united states provides for someone who needs help right now. and we have the audacity to be
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asking that that be raised by a little less than a dollar a day. that's what a 15% increase in snap is. it's a little less than a dollar a day for somebody. and colleagues act like this is unbelievable, unbelievable that we would think that people should get 90 cents more a day to help with food. so that's what we're about in this package. it's about getting people help. it's about understanding the hardships that they face and knowing it's not over and not going to be over for too long. let me just stress in closing that one of the efficient ways we complain address stimulating the economy right now is putting money in the pockets of people who have to spend it. one of the best ways, in fact
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economists tell us the best way is giving somebody a dollar that they have to go to the grocery store and spend it on food. and if you give them a dollar, it translates into $1.70 in the economy. the grocery store, the processor, the farmer. so we need to get this done. we also are deeply concerned about the proposals that have been put forward on education that i will leave to another day. but it is time, it is time to recognize what people are going through and let them know that somebody cares and somebody is going to help them and that somebody is going to have their back. i would ask -- i would yield to my friend and colleague from ohio who has been such a leader on housing. mr. brown: thank you, senator stabenow. madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: senator stabenow and senator wyden, thank you. i will speak to or three minutes. senator schumer will make his unanimous consent request. think of what senator mcconnell wants to do. senator mcconnell is going to
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cut $400 in unemployment insurance to tens of millions of unemployed workers, hundreds of thousands in my state alone, in oregon, in michigan, in illinois, new york, minnesota, texas, in florida, and wisconsin. thousands of workers are going to lose $400 a week. think what's going to happen. around the country the moratorium on evictions is expiring. around the country in community after community, a moratorium on electric and water cut offs is about to happen. so workers lose $400 a week. they're going to face eviction. what's going to happen? we know what's going to happen. we know what's going to happen. what's going to happen is more people will lose their homes. more people will be in homeless shelters. more people will spend the night in their cousin's basement in the middle of a pandemic. it's cruel and it's just really stupid policy to cut their income for the millions of
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unemployed workers and then no dollars for rental assistance, no dollars for paying their mortgage, and no help for those workers. how can we -- we're the united states of america. how can we do such a thing? i yield to senator schumer. mr. schumer: madam president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: just two quick things. first, on what president trump said today. i know my colleague from oregon brought it up. the idea -- once again all he wants to do is divert from his abject failure in the coronavirus crisis. he says, oh, well maybe we won't have an election. that's up to the senate and the house. mr. president, president trump, the election will be on november -- in november on november 3, and you will not change it. stop diverting attention, president trump. that's what you've done for three months. as more people get sick, as more
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people get unemployed, as we see the numbers we saw today, instead of focusing on all these crazy egotistical and wronghea wrongheaded ideas, focus on covid. focus on testing. focus on unemployment. focus on getting the kids back to school. focus on the so many problems we face and understand the moment and the largeness of this crisis. i say that to president trump. and i say that to my republican colleagues. we're waiting. we're waiting for you to get your act together and understand the depth of this crisis, the breadth of this crisis, and do something real, not a stunt. so as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of -- which is at
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the desk. i further ask that the bill be considered, read a third time -- madam president, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar 455, h.r. 6800, the heroes act, that 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? mr. johnson: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: reserving the right to object. i first would like to respond to the senator from oregon about the economic news. yes, a rate from the downturn in the second quarter, 9.5%. but again i pointed out with respect to economists predicting a shrinking between 4.6% and 8%
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because we're in recovery. employment has dropped by 10.5%. we've already passed 2.-- $2.9 trillion. haven't spent more than -- haven't spent $1.2 trillion of that at least. so we haven't spent $1.2 trillion. and yet our democrat colleagues want to pass a bill that costs $3 trillion. we're already $26.5 trillion in debt. by the end of this fiscal year, that will be approaching $28 trillion. they want to pass a bill by unanimous consent worth $3 trillion when we haven't spent $1.2 trillion of the $2.9 trillion we've already passed. that massive amount would represent 27.5% of our economy when economists are saying it will shrink by probably no more than 7% or 8%. we don't need to authorize more money. what we need to do is help the american people who are unemployed. i know the minority leader
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called that stingy. the offer we're making, 200 flat payment does not provide an incentive to stay unemployed. it replaces a hundred percent of people's wages for 80% of the people currently unemployed. a hundred% wage replacement. that's according to a study by the university of chicago. for the other 20%, it replaces more than a hundred percent. what is stingy about that? why do our democrat colleagues want to propose continuing $600 per week plus up is preventing people, incentivizing people not to engage in the economy so our economy can recover. it makes no sense. and again, i'll point out the two-thirds option is the exact same amount that the house passed, democrat-controlled house passed, in phase two of the covid relief packages for paid sick and family leave. we tried to tailor this to protect those american workers .
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we tried to tailor this based on what democrats themselves have proposed in past and yet they would rather play politics. they would rather be cynical and object to my unanimous consent request because time is running out. i acknowledge that. so we're responding. but as in so many other debates whether it's gun control or whether it's immigration, it is their way or the high way. they simply won't take yes for an answer. it's very unfortunate they're taking this position, that they would want to indebt our children for another $3 trillion and won't say yes to a very reasonable proposal structured on things they proposed and passed in the past. very unfortunate but madam president, i have to object to $3 trillion of additional debt on our children. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: is the senator from
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minnesota seekin seeking recogn? mr. schumer: she has a u.c. mr. durbin: i see. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader has been recognized. mr. durbin: i believe there's a pending request here by several members. i don't want to try to preempt it. am i correct? a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: does the senator yield the floor? mr. durbin: i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: i thank the assistant democratic leader. we want to come back to the floor today, madam president, the senator from minnesota and i and reoffer a unanimous consent request that senator markey, the senator from massachusetts and i offered previously. after the death of george floyd and unfortunately similar incidents, it's become increasingly obvious that our
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country is in need of reconciliation. racial reconciliation, personal reconciliation. one of the things we could do to honor the memory of george floyd and to attempt to take one small step toward that reconciliation is to make juneteenth a federal holiday. we previously had offered this unanimous consent request and my friend from wisconsin has his reasons for objecting, but one of the major newspapers in my state said to me, try again. and so i'm coming to the floor to reoffer it. juneteenth has been a holiday in texas for 40 years, that's because of the distinctly texas connection. just to remind my colleagues, that was -- juneteenth was a day when the union army, major general graveson, told people in
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galveston and told people there they were no longer slaves two years after the emancipation proclamation. i believe in all sincerity we need to remember our history because, you know what, we learn from our mistakes. and if we don't remember our history, we will not learn from our mistakes. we will commit those mistakes over and over and over again. the tragic and brutal killing of george floyd earlier this year has shown a light on the injustices that still exist in our society. now, for somebody that looks like me, my experience has been much different from our friend tim scott, the senator from south carolina, or the experience of a pastor who i encountered in houston the other day, sylvester turner, the mayor of houston convened, so they
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could share their experiences. this pastor who was chairman of the local naacp told me, i honor the police. i respect the police. i support the police, but my son, he's afraid of the police. so, madam president, we clearly have a long way to go into treating all people the same regardless of the color of their skin. and when the perception is among some in the minority community that they are being treated differently, that is a problem that we should all try to address together. so, madam president, one way we could attempt to make a small step toward that reconciliation and continue to remind ourselves on an annual basis of how far we've come but how far we still have to go, it would be to take up this bill, pass it, and get it to the president's desk without further delay.
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this point, before i ask for unanimous consent, i would yield to senator from minnesota. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. smith: thank you, madam president. juneteenth is among the oldest celebrations of emancipation, and it is worthy of a federal holiday. madam president, i'd like to read an op-ed from "the washington post" written by the musician usher, which i think eloquently sums up why it is not only important to honor this day as a federal holiday, but it is also important to recognize that it is a part of american history, and i ask for unanimous consent to introduce the op-ed in full into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. smith: usher wrote, the issue june teentsdz -- juneteenth is a cause for celebration but it also reminds
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us on how equality can be delayed. on the shores of galveston, union general gordon granger arrived by boat to announce to enslaved americans that the civil war had ended and that they were now free. while president lincoln's emancipation proclamation was announced two years prior and the civil war ended in april of that year, it wasn't until june 19, 1865, that almost all of our an c.e.o.'sers were -- ancestors were free. and usher continues, recognizing june 19 would be a great gesture, it can remained us toward the -- about the journey toward freedom and the journey that america still has to do. we can celebrate both our first step toward freedom as black people in america and also the
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many contributions to this land. thank you to my colleague from texas. i'm glad to stand with you in making june 15 a federal holiday. the presiding officer: the senator for texas. mr. cornyn: as if in legislative session, i ask that the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration and the senate proceed to s. 3914, further, the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? the senator for wisconsin. mr. johnson: reserving the right to object. let me first state and make perfectly clear i think the emancipation slaves is a day worth celebrating. i have no argument whatsoever with the fact that we should probably celebrate it better than we have in the past, but there are other ways of celebrating, a resolution in the senate, creating a national day
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of celebration without declaring it a national holiday. the effective declaring it a national holiday is primarily one thing. it gives federal workers a paid day off. now, federal workers are compensated quite well, and i want to go through this again like i did last week. i've got some charts up here. if you take a look at just their wage, federal workers, on average, make about a little over $49,000 a year and in the average sector it is $63,000. 60% of what federal workers make. if you also include benefits, total compensation, federal workers make almost $136,000 per year, in the private sector it's about $75,000. 55% of what federal workers make. so if you just strip out only the benefits, which is what we're talking about with holiday
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pay and paid family leave and other things, federal workers, on average, get compensated about $41,000 annually versus the private sector dz, only -- sector, only 29% of what federal workers make. but we're talking about a paid day off. now, take a look at what federal workers get in terms of the number of days -- days off with pay. it's quite generous, particularly after the last -- last year's generous authorization rule. i've got two charts here. here's one, if a federal worker gets paid leave, it only happens a few times, but federal workers get ten paid holidays, that's probably about the max anybody gets in the private sector. in terms of paid leave, minimum they get 13 days off, maximum they get 26. by the way, 26 is more than five weeks paid off of basically paid
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vacation. they get four weeks after only three years. that's virtually unheard of in the private sector. very generous paid vacation in the federal workforce, and then paid parental leave, they'll get 60 days off maximum. so a federal worker taking advantaged of paid federal leave will get up to 106 or 109 days off or put another way, for every 1.4 days every federal worker works, they get a day off. let's look at people who are having a child or adopting a child. ten paid holidays, 13 to 26 leave days, 13 sick days from a total to 36 to 49 days of leave that is paid. a more senior worker, for every 4.3 days they work, they get a day off. basically a four-day workweek -- by the way, if they don't take
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the paid leave days, they can carry them over. so, again, in the private sector, it -- it's not even close to this generous. i'm not objecting to celebrating juneteenth. what i'm objecting to is the rest of america paying for another paid day off for federal workers. by the way, it costs about $600, the c.b.o. score is over ten years, that's over $6,000, and the sponsors of this bill want to incur that additional cost on the american economy, the american taxpayers without a vote. they just want to do it by unanimous consent, which is really what i'm objecting to in this process here. so, again, i've got a different proposal. we can either declare a national day of sell wraition, -- celebration, that would be fine, or we could declare it and make it a national holiday, but if we're going to do that, let's just take one of their paid days away. they come out whole.
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last week i was accused of taking something away from federal workers. not really, i'm still leaving them with the 96 to 109 days off. i'm saying it strikes me as kind of strange the only way we can celebrate properly juneteenth is by giving federal workers paid day off paid by every other american taxpayer to the tune of $600 million a year. so, again, what i would recommend is that modification, declare juneteenth a national paid holiday, but remove one of their paid sick leaves. and so i ask the senator to modify his request to include my amendment at the desk, the amendment be considered and aagreed to, and that the the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: does the senator so modify his proposal? the senator from minnesota. ms. smith: mr. president, reserving the right to object. it's notable to me that we're
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gathered here today while in atlanta we are celebrating the life of john lewis. and in this moment i think that it is worth remembering that when congress was debating whether to make a federal holiday honoring martin luther king jr., dr. king in the 1980's, people made this same kind ofle argument, about its poa potential cost -- about its potential cost. including president reagan. but president reagan came around and he signed into law this holiday and now it is celebrated just as the civil rights movement is honored in the history of this country so should be emancipation. mr. president, just as the argument that it is too expensive to give federal employees a day off was wrong for martin luther king, it is wrong for juneteenth. just as ronald reagan got on the right side of history, i think we will he get on the right side
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of history and we will finally have a full holiday to celebrate juneteenth, not as a half holiday, but as a full holiday. therefore, i object to this modification. the presiding officer: objection is heard. is there objection to the original request? the senator from wisconsin. mr. jeffries: mr. jeffries: i -- mr. johnson: mr. president. i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, if you want to know what's wrong with washington, take a snapshot of this day. take a snapshot of where we stand at this moment. in the midst of the worst health crisis in american history in 100 years, in the midst of the worst economic setback in 75 years, we are reached the point in the united states senate where we are going to adjourn until next week leaving in doubt
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whether or not 30 million unemployed americans will continue to receive support from the federal government. how have we reached this point? well, in anticipation of this moment, ten weeks ago the house of representatives passed a rescue package which not only addressed unemployment benefits but a score of other major concerns we have at this moment in our history, at this moment in our economy, ten weeks ago. and since then, the burden has been on the republican leader in the united states senate, senator mcconnell of kentucky, to pick up the challenge and to produce his own approach, whatever it may be, representing his caucus, the republican caucus on what to do with the economy and what to do with the pandemic. and we stand today, preparing to leave for three or four days, with nothing.
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nothing. so bad -- the situation is so bad that an individual republican senator decided to come to the floor and see if he could fix it. i disagree with his approach completely, but i respect the fact that he is as frustrated as we are all, waiting on senator mcconnell to come forward. here is the reality of what we face and reality that senator mcconnell should face. any solution coming out of the senate needs to be bipartisan. democrats and republicans need to agree. and we did on march 26. the vote was 96-0 for the cares act. 96-0. i went home to illinois and people would come up to me and say, i can't believe you did that. i didn't think you agreed on anything in washington, but you all agreed on one thing, the most significant economic rescue package in the history of the united states. well, we were challenged to do it again and we have failed miserably in the senate. under the current leadership with the republican majority,
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they cannot produce a bill to bring to conference or at least to a conference table between the house and the senate. and some of the arguments that are being made i would like to address directly. here is one that you have heard over and over again. i think it's an urban legend, and i want to say a word about it. here is how it goes. $600 a week, $600 a week, why, at that level, individuals won't even take a job. they will sit home on the couch and watch another round of netflix, binging, and they won't even want to go back to work. how many times have you heard that? $600 is just too much money. well, i can tell you $600 is the equivalent of $15 an hour which many of us believe is at least a minimum living wage. it is certainly not a luxury salary for anyone. and if you have lost your job, that $600 federal check, together with whatever the state sends your way, has to pay for a lot of things.
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rent, mortgage, car payments, utilities. did i mention health insurance? food. clothing for the kids. the debts you have already incurred leading into this on your credit cards. all of a sudden, $600 a week tends to evaporate. and what if you had health insurance where you worked and they laid you off or fired you, said it was over, they are closing down? if you tried to pick up the employer share of your health insurance, the average cost is $1,700 a month. $600 a week. $2,400 a month. and $1,700 of it is just going to keep the health insurance you had on the job? and then there is this abiding notion that people who are unemployed just aren't trying hard enough to get a job. you know, the jobs are out there, and these folks are just saying i'd rather not. well, let's take a look at the facts, and here are the facts. for every job that is available in america today, there are four
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unemployed people. so it isn't as if it's the other way around. four jobs for every unemployed person. it's four unemployed people for each job that is available. and to the argument by some employers, well, i just can't get them to come back to work, it turns out employers are filling jobs faster now than any time since 2012. there are people prepared to go back to work. and i happen to believe that many of these people see returning to work as the right thing to do for them economically. unemployment cannot last forever. they know that. and secondly, it may not be meeting their needs as their family requires them, and third, the job itself, maybe something they invested part of their life into and want to continue. and fourth, there may be benefits in that workplace that aren't available even through the unemployment system available today. so i reject the notion this urban legend that $600 a week is so much that people are turning down the opportunity to go back to work.
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it's not an urban legend. it's an urban lie. yale university just came out with a report from their economics department this week. i put it in the record yesterday. you can find it if you wish. it proves the point that i just made. they looked at the statistics. this is just not a viable complaint against the unemployment system. so what senator mcconnell has led us to is this moment, where when we return next week there will be no federal unemployment benefit, none. it will have expired. and what do we say to these millions of family members who are struggling at this moment? try harder, go take anything? that's what the future is for you. i don't believe that. i think we're a better nation than that. facing the worst economic -- worst public health crisis that we have seen in a century, realizing what it's done to each and every one of our lives and families, understanding how devastating it must be to lose a
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job in the midst of it, sometimes people for the first time aren't working, realizing how desperate these families are to keep things together, are we really going to walk away from them? i think it's time for senator mcconnell to sit down with the democratic leaders. there is no alternative to this. steve mnuchin, the wandering messager on capitol hill could do his job, i wish him well, but it's no replacement for grown-ups to sit at the table. sit down and compromise. we did it on march 26. we can do it again. we need to do it for these families. i will tell you something else. when we did reports about the state of the economy, i have heard numbers back and forth that on an annualized basis it's contracting from 29% to 33%, that's a big amount. one out of three businesses. a third of the goods and services in this country going away and disappearing. we have already seen evidence of that. what do you do to put life back
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into an economy? don't take my word for it. listen to the chairman of the federal reserve jerome powell. he said it again yesterday. we have got to deal with this pandemic. that means more testing. the republican proposal that's floating here and has not been offered is $26 billion more in testing. we're at $100 billion. i think we need at least $100 billion. why do we need it? so it's generally available, easily available to every person and family in america, that it's affordable, and i hope that means free, and most importantly, that it's timely. i ask people, i said i took a test. how long did it take to get the results on your covid-19 test? six days, seven days. that is not a timely test that you can use to make a plan. it's a piece of medical data. it's a piece of history. if we are going to hope to open this economy in a responsible way to get the contact tracing that really works, if we hope to open our schools so they are safe for the students and the
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teachers and administrators and everyone else, we need testing available and we need a system of testing that is timely. we have failed in addressing this pandemic. why do i say that? it sounds like an outrageous political statement. because the united states has 5% of the population in the world and 25% of the covid infections. 25% of the covid infections in the world are in this country. 5% of the population. other countries have handled this better. we know it. we should learn from them. and this president has got to get away from the medical quackery which he spreads around on his twitter account and his speeches. he has got to stop looking at these medical gurus which he discovers in some weird corner of the internet peddling their goods for the rest of america. he has to wear a mask more often so people understand that even trump republicans need to take into consideration what they are doing to the people around them. that to me is the only way to
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get out of this mess and do it quickly. otherwise, we're going to face this more. we should have done better. by this time, we should have had an alternative to what the house did ten weeks ago. we do not. by next week, we have got to do it. i will just say flat out, there is no point in considering going home at the end of next week unless we have solved this problem. and there is no excuse, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for south dakota. mr. rounds: thank you, mr. president. i rise todays to -- today to urge the senate to include the new markets for state inspection meat and poultry act in the covid-19 response legislation that we are considering during this work period. this is legislation i have worked on with my colleague,
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senator angus king of maine, for several years, long before covid-19 disrupted the safety and security of the american food supply. it has bipartisan support. covid-19 revealed the cracks in multiple industries, our food supply, permanent defense, and manufacturing in general. every american pays the price for foreign reliance. every american. and this is a moment in history when we can rebuild what america made and what made america great really means in the first place. that is, of course, american production and innovation across all industries, as consumers, as consumers of food. that's everybody, republican and democrat alike, independents included. as consumers, we should demand that we have this production capacity in the united states. every reliance on foreign
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production in manufacturing is a mistake, and america needs to see a renaissance of american production and ingenuity. just as an example, on july 29 of this year, it was announced that j.b.s., a brazilian owned company, intends to acquire the mountain states road and land grant in greeley, colorado. it has been recorded that j.b.s. will grind hamburger and cut steaks which unfortunately will eliminate the ability of this plant to process nearly 350,000 lambs within the united states. this is yet another example of a foreign company working to consolidate and to integrate the american food supply system to the detriment of u.s. ag producers. we just simply can't sit here and watch this occur on our watch. we're already paying the price of foreign ownership in our food supply system today. the time is now to aggressively
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pursue american options for production and processing in order to protect american consumers and our entire economy. right now, we are actually giving an unfair and unnecessary advantage to the large, sometimes foreign-owned, meat processing facilities. large facilities typically pursue licensing through the usda federal meat inspection process which gives them a certification allowing them to sell across state lines. however, smaller processors that are trying to inject competition into a market which is dominated by primarily big splairs, typically they pursue state inspector certifications which unfortunately today do not allow them to sell meat across state lines. the irony of the state process is that it needs to be -- the state processes that are out there, they also need to be federally approved to meet or exceed these federal inspection standards. so our smaller meat processors are achieving a certification of
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equal or higher standards but are given license with less ability to market their product. they have to stay within the boundaries of a state in which they are produced. in my hometown of fort pierce, south dakota, a beef processing company was announced to be opening in may of this year, 2020. this is the kind of american production that we want to see more of. but if this processor chooses to pursue a state-inspected meat license instead of a usda license, they will not be able to sell across state lines, even though south dakota's meat poultry inspection program has standards that meet or exceed federal inspection standards. this is unacceptable and is harming our small american processors' ability to compete fairly. this is why we should include the new markets for state-inspected meat and poultry act in our next covid-19 relief legislation. now, in recent months, partially due to the toll the covid-19
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pandemic has had on our meat processing facilities, we have seen renewed support for this particular effort. in the senate, we now have 12 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle. additionally, the companion legislation -- there was companion legislation which was introduced in the house of representatives by representative liz cheney of wyoming. i'd like to explain what our legislation does and why it's so important to include it as part of the federal government's response to covid-19. the new markets for state-inspected meat and poultry act will allow meat that has been inspected by a federally approved state meat poultry inspection program to be sold across state lines. currently, cattle, sheep, and swine that are raised in south dakota by some of the best producers in the world and inspected at a south dakota processing facility are limited to markets within the state, yet they meet or exceed federal inspection standards. this doesn't make sense, especially when there is high demand for locally sourced and processed proteins in a
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state-approved facility which by federal law has standards that meet or exceed federal inspection standards. our legislation would allow these products which pass state inspection standards to be sold across state lines, opening up new markets for producers and giving consumers greater choice at the grocery store. at a time when our food supply is in danger, this is a very easy first step. like so many sectors of our economy, the food production industry was ill prepared for the unprecedented changes needed to be made when the covid-19 pandemic hit. labor shortages and worker protection measures slowed down plants around the country and outbreaks even caused some of the facilities to shut down entirely. we saw this happen in my home state of south dakota where our sue falls smithfield plant processes 20,000 -- sioux falls smith field plant processes 20,000 hogs a day. at the peak of the crisis, hog
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processing dropped approximately 40% in may and beef production dropped approximately 35% in may when compared to 2019 production levels across the united states. at one point, there was a backlog of nearly one million cattle ready to be processed. meanwhile, grocery stores across the country began to see meat shortages on their shelves because of the chokepoint found in the concentration of beef processing at the big four packers where processing capacity had been curtailed. livestock producers were faced with one of the worst scenarios they could face -- having to euthanize their animals because they weren't able to get them into a processing facility. while we have been able to recover some of the production capacity since that time, it is far from being back to normal, and we are still unprepared to deal with the continuing pandemic. now, while we work to get meat and pork processing facilities back up and running at capacity, we should also be utilizing state-based solutions to help offset the backlog and provide
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additional capacity. specifically, we should include the new markets for state-inspected meat and poultry act in the next relief package. currently, 27 states operate state meat inspection programs. meat and poultry inspected at these facilities are already sold for public consumption in the states where they are licensed. today if you had meat or poultry processed at a south dakota inspected facility, you wouldn't be able to sell it across the border just a few miles away in iowa, but you could sell it several hundred miles away in lemon, south dakota. it doesn't make sense especially when meat and poultry facilities are required by law to be at least equal to federally inspected processing facilities with regard to their food safety standards. these products are safe for consumption and should be allowed to be sold nationwide. this will help offset the pressure from federally-inspected facilities during the ongoing pandemic and in the future as well.
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this is a commonsense solution that has bipartisan, bicameral support. it is time to end this arbitrary regulation restricting the sale of these products to within state lines and allow facilities inspected by state meat inspection programs to increase production and sell their product nationwide. including the new markets for state inspected meat and poultry act in future covid-19 relief legislation is good for producers and very good for consumers. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. lex mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator for tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, i ask consent to speak for ten minutes when the afternoon votes are concluded. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, all postcloture time is expired. the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second?
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there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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