tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 17, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EDT
then there would be several more confirmations expected by voice vote including ambassadors to namibia and zambia. later in the week lawmakers are expected to take up a short-term government spending bill through december 11 which includes an amendment to armed syrian rebels against isis. and now to live senate coverage here on c-span2. our guest chap, reverend canon andrew white of st. george's church, baghdad, iraq. the guest chaplain: lord god, to you do we submit the affairs of this new day the work of this senate as it takes it role in leading in a broken world. today may you give this place great wisdom. may this senate be the channel
of your healing, the source of your glory. from this place may there flow the wisdom of not just humanity but of the almighty. oh lord, we the people of faith in iraq, jews, christians and muslims, give thanks to you for the way this land and this place has stood with us in our terrors and trials. through this house, we thank you that we have not been left alone. may your glory be on this land and may you, oh god, bless america.
the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. 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. reid: mr. president? the president pro tempore: the majority leader. mr. reid: i extend to our chaplain an appreciation for the guest chaplain today. that was a very moving prayer, and appreciate very much the work that our chaplain does in always giving us courage and helping build our faith. mr. president, following my remarks and those of the republican leader, the senate will be in a period of morning business until noon today.
during that period of time, senators will be allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the time will be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. following that morning business, the senate will proceed to one roll call vote on confirmation of john bass to be ambassador to the republic of turkey, followed by several voice votes on executive nominations. mr. president, nevada is a relatively small state population-wise, very large area. we're a state of about three million people, and we take pride in our home state, as we should. and even though we're, we've grown a lot in the last couple of decades, we're still a big family. today nevadans are celebrating two of our home state's native sons after the washington nationals clinched the national league east division crown.
there's a lot dissension here on the senate floor and a lot of talks back and forth, but one thing that you never hear often enough is the republican leader and i love watching baseball, and we share often our views of the team and how if we were there we may do things a little differently but we still are a booster for the team. mr. president, the reason i mention this today, two individuals who have their deep, deep roots in nevada helped clinch the national league east division for the washington nationals. in his first season as manager of the team, matt williams from carson city, nevada, led his team to the division series. he has a stunningly powerful
record athletically and just being a nice person. he was a baseball and football start at carson city high. carson city is the capital of the state of nevada. matt williams played baseball collegiately where he was a star. he was good enough that he played in 16, played 16 years in the major leagues. played for the giants, the indians and the diamond backs. every one of those teams he played in the worls for each of -- world series for each of them. he's a five-time all star, four time golden glove award winner. he supports world series championship rings from the diamond backs. bryce harper had his picture on the front of "sports illustrated" when he was 15 years old for hitting a home run
more than 500 feet. he's a fine young man, wonderful family. he's been -- he came to the major leagues when he was 18 years old. he may have been 19. i think he's going to turn 22 soon. he of course had a, his rookie year had a serious injury. what was the injury about? he was running full speed and ran into the wall at dodger stadium and it hurt him, and it took away from his stellar year, but he still did okay. he was rookie of the year on the all-star team that first year. the second year, mr. president, he played las vegas high school in high school, and of course he left high school and went to junior college, community college, as a 17-year-old. and of course because of his
power, and they went to the national junior college world series. he's a two-time all star. he's in his third season. he was, in 2012 he was rookie of the year. and he was hurt again this year because of his enthusiasm for the game, his never-ending hustle when he was, he hit a triple and went into third base and messed up his thumb, required surgery, and so he missed much of this season. but he's having a good season in spite of that. we're very proud of our baseball athletes this year, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, greg maddox was of course on the first ballot, made a member of the baseball hall of fame.
this unassuming young man has been an example for how people should be athletes. not a lot of talk other than when he does talk, he has a lot of humility. great athlete. so, mr. president, i want to wish matt williams, bryce harper and the rest of the team the best of everything when the playoffs get underway. it should be an exciting divisional series. mr. president, what would be great in my estimation, i also follow the baltimore orioles. until the nationals showed up that's about all we had in the area. and they've got a great team. their owner is a tremendous trial lawyer. he still works every day practicing law. and they've got a tremendous team. they have had a few bad breaks. their very young third baseman was hurt. he lost a lot of this season as he did last year. so anyway, it would be a great
world series to have baltimore playing nationals. that would be something i would really look forward to. and, again, mr. president, it was exciting to watch them all year. two or three games ago bryce harper hit one of his towering home runs that they're still talking about how far he hit it. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i join my colleague, the majority leader, in congratulating the washington nats on winning the eastern division of the national league. pretty exciting developments with a lot of nevada connections. on another matter, it's no secret that the obama administration policies have been extraordinarily harmful to job creation and retention.
and from the perspective of my home state of kentucky, there is no greater example of the ill effects of these policies than the president's war on on coal. given the unhealthy economy the senate should be regularly debating and to overturn antijobs policies and pass bipartisan reforms to help grow our economy. but under the current majority, that, sadly, is not the case. the majority leader instead has refused to permit any amendments on preserving coal and coal-fired power all year long. none whatsoever. no votes at all. even though the obama administration's anticoal rules not only adversely affect states with republican senators such as kentucky, but states represented by democratic members as well. the senate's failure to address coal is reflective of the
chamber's dysfunction. while the house is passing bipartisan jobs bills, senate democrats' priorities are show votes. let's review where we are and how we got here. in 2008 candidate obama said -- quote -- "if somebody wants to build a coal power plant, they can. it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that's being emitted." i'd have to say he's been true to his word. americans have seen a barrage of regulations and red tape from the president's environmental protection agency, strangling the coal industry. one of my home state's most important sources of jobs and economic development. kentucky miners and thousands more from the commonwealth as jobs rely on mining are feeling
the pain from the president's efforts. the regulations and lack of certainty in the coal industry that this administration has caused have contributed to a loss of 7,000 kentucky jobs in that industry since president obama took office. 7,000 lost jobs. that tells me that the overregulation that this administration's e.p.a. keeps piling on is contributing in a major way to the job decline in my home state. those of us who represent coal states have made numerous attempts to rein in the e.p.a. but the majority leader and fellow democrats here in washington have blocked us at every turn. last september i introduced the saving coal jobs act. the bill would have ended the abuse of the permitting process by the e.p.a. by requiring the agency to approve or veto mining permit applications within 270
days of their submission. simply a time limit to make a decision. this legislation is necessary because the e.p.a.'s tactic of choice is to sit on permits, effectively killing them. my bill also included language prohibiting any new carbon emission standards on new or existing power plants as mandated by federal agencies without -- without the approval of congress. after all, congress, not the executive branch, is supposed to write our nation's laws. unfortunately, what happened when i introduced this legislation is something that's become all too familiar. when i made a motion to proceed to the bill, it was blocked by the majority leader. so, mr. president, this april i offered my saving coal jobs act as an amendment to the then-pending unemployment insurance bill before the senate. this motion was blocked by the
majority leader as well. in may i again offered the saving coal jobs act as an amendment to the then-pending energy efficiency bill. once again it was blocked by the senate majority leader. a few days later in may i offered legislation to stop the e.p.a. from moving forward with its anticoal carbon regulations. my amendment introduced along with senators vitter and hoeven would have halted the administration from moving forward with new regulations on coal-fired power plants until, until the technology required to comply with the regulations is commercially viable, which currently it is not. once again this commonsense measure on behalf of kentucky coal miners and their families and jobs was blocked by the majority leader. and that bill was originally sponsored by a colleague on the other side of the aisle, on the
democratic side. it fared no better under the majority leader than do republican pro-coal bills. moreover, the majority leader isn't just blocking pro-coal legislation on the senate floor, he's also willing to shut down the committee process for fear of pro-coal amendments having the votes to pass. in june, he had the senate democrats prevent the energy and water appropriation bill from being marked up when they learned i had the votes for my amendment in reining in government regulations on coal-fired power plants. once it was clear the votes might be there in committee, they shut down the committee process. earlier this year, the president's e.p.a. announced new regulations it wanted to enact on existing power plants that would be a dagger to the heart of my state's middle class and constitute the single worst load on kentucky's economy in modern
times. the proposed regulations on existing power plants would close jobs and raise utility rates across the state while making the transmission of electricity less reliable. the regulations would adversely affect kentucky power plants that account for literally thousands of kentucky jobs. these regulations are why this june i introduced the coal country protection act, legislation to block the president's proposed regulations on carbon emissions from existing power plants if those regulations eliminate jobs, cost our economy dollars, increase electricity prices or jeopardize electricity reliability. those requirements are just common sense, and yet once again the majority leader refused to allow a vote on my legislation. the importance of my coal country protection act is reflected in the findings of a recent government accountability office or g.a.o. study.
my colleague, senator murkowski from alaska, requested this study which found that as a result of e.p.a.'s existing and proposed regulations, the number of coal-fired power plants closing across the country is even higher, even higher than what was originally estimated by the g.a.o. in 2012. these coal plant retirements are largely due to e.p.a. red tape. current proposed regulations from carbon regulations to proposed lower ozone standards will only make this number increase if they move forward. these shutdowns mean higher electricity prices. sadly, e.p.a. bureaucrats don't understand or don't care about how the abundance of coal in kentucky permits the state to benefit from relatively low energy rates which makes our businesses more competitive and makes it easier to attract jobs.
and as we saw during last winter's cold snap, our country needs coal and ready access to it. coal allows us to generate affordable power when there is an uptick in electricity used combined with spikes in natural gas prices. but as the e.p.a. uses the administrative fiat to terminate existing and future coal-fired power plants, there will be less coal when we need it the most. when we need a source of affordable power. families throughout the country that rely on coal for electricity could find themselves in a tough spot in the near future with the current administration in office. so, mr. president, those are the facts about this administration's war on coal, but let me provide a more vivid picture about kentucky coal itself. kentuckians have been mining coal for generations, for generations.
kentucky coal helped power the industrial revolution. it transformed our economy into the largest and most prosperous in the world. kentucky coal has even contributed to the struggle to defend our nation in times of war. kentucky's coal miners have done so much for our nation. the senate should not be turning its back on them now. jimmy rose of pineville, kentucky, is well known to many as the voice of coal country. jimmy is a veteran of the u.s. marine corps who served in iraq, a former coal miner and a finalist from the television show "america's got talent." he's famous for his song "coal keeps the lights on." i think jimmy put it best when he said coal keeps the bills paid, the clothes on the backs and the shoes on the feet. i'm not going to stand idly by while this administration and
this e.p.a. try to wipe out the lifeblood of my home state. the senate was created to be a deliberative body, one that would debate and legislate on the great issues of the day. instead, the senate as it is currently run does all it can to avoid important subjects such as the war on coal. it doesn't have to be that way. the senate can still reclaim its mantlal as a body of -- its mantle as a body of vigorous debate and legislative achievement and the kentucky coal miner can still do an honest day's hard work for good pay because after this administration is out of office, the coal will still be in the ground. after this administration leaves office, the coal will still be in the ground. so i'm going to fight for that kentucky coal miner to hold onto our state's birthright. this war on coal is not over, not by a long shot.
now on another matter, mr. president, i just explained why the war on coal has been so damaging to the people of my state. it's clear to me at least that we need to work together toward sensible, all of the above energy policies. the good news is that the republican-run house is set to present us with another perfect opportunity to work across the aisle and do just that this very week. the house plans to pass and send over a bipartisan legislative package that would create jobs while helping to make energy more affordable and more abundant. among other things, this energy package would finally approve the keystone pipeline. this is a project that's safe, shovel ready and could create tens of thousands of jobs right away. it's just unacceptable that the administration has now spent six years, six years dragging its feet on the keystone pipeline.
i want to commend my colleague from north dakota, senator hoeven, for bringing attention to that fact and for his strong vocal leadership on this issue. while some on the other side of the aisle claim, claim to be supportive of keystone jobs, they failed to stand up to the majority leader who has blocked this effort time and time and time again on behalf of the obama administration. we need to approve the house legislative package and finally get this pipeline built and these keystone jobs created, but the house's energy package would do a lot more than just that. it would also modernize the permitting process, allow for more energy exploration and increased exports of american energy and it would help us fight back against the obama administration war on kentucky coal jobs in several different ways. one bill would prevent the
administration from developing more job-killing coal regulations and another from representative whitfield would push back on the coal regulations that have already been issued. so this package is common sense. i applaud our colleagues in the house for their efforts on this issue. it presents a perfect opportunity for our democratic friends if they're willing to support it to prove that they are serious about real solutions for middle-class families, that they have a real agenda beyond just designated to fail bills.
madam president, this morning, i want to share with my colleagues the story of a brave kentucky airman who loved his country so much he defended it at the cost of his life. u.s. air force staff sergeant daniel n. fannin of morehead, kentucky, was killed in the crash of his reconnaissance plane near kandahar airfield in afghanistan on april 27, 2013. it was just a few weeks after his 30th birthday. for his service in uniform, staff sergeant fannin received several medals, awards and decorations, including the national defense service ribbon, the global war on terrorism service medal, the air medal with two oak leaf clusters, the
air force commendation medal with one oak leaf cluster, the air force achievement medal with one oak leaf cluster and the bronze star. daniel's mother, sherry jones, recalls this of her son. daniel flew on this earth as an airman, she says. his faith has earned him angel wings now. he died serving others, serving his country and serving god. this mother is blessed, she said. daniel grew up in morehead and attended round county senior high school from which he graduated in 2001. he enlisted in the air force shortly after graduation, and at the time of his death was a
12-year veteran. i frequently told daniel he was my hero, daniel's mother sheri remembers. benjamin disraeli says the memory of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example. these words epitomize my son. his name will be remembered and his works are indeed great examples. he was then and will forever be my hero. i used to tell daniel that it didn't matter what he did as a career in life, but i expected him to be the best that he could be no matter if he was a ditch digger or a c.e.o. those are the words of daniel's mother sheri.
he did me proud by doing just that. he was the best man that he could possibly be. as daniel grew up, he had to learn how to do chores like laundry, cleaning and cooking. like all kids do, he complained constantly and sometimes it was a battle getting him to do those things, said his mother. i was fortunate enough to get to attend his air force basic training graduation ceremony in san antonio. during liberty, he took me aside and said mom, i want to thank you. what for, son? he said for making me do all those things you made me do, like laundry. it sure made things a lot easier for me here. some of these guys didn't even know how to turn a washer on. daniel was an avid reader from his early childhood. the hardest form of punishment for him was not to allow him to read, says his mother sheri.
daniel's wife, sonia fannin, certainly agreed. he could read a 400-page book in a day or less, she says. now, daniel met sonya while stationed in oklahoma city. one of my favorite stories to tell was that on our first date, he wept to the flower shop to pick a bouquet, sonya says. he spent hours in the shop. he said before finally picking two dozen white roses. when he presented them at the door, danny didn't know that those were my favorite flowers, but that was the moment i knew. daniel loved to go camping, hiking, biking and fishing. he loved the outdoors. on his and sonya's five-year anniversary trip to maui, danny's favorite activity was a submarine ride 170 feet below sea level. he liked to say he had been to the depths of the ocean and flown to the highest heights after that trip.
daniel was assigned to the air force's 552nd squadron at tinker air force base in oklahoma city. he was an airborne censor operator and a qualified air force air surveillance instructor who served with distinction at tinker air force base. in his dozen years of service, daniel deployed on three towers as an e-3 airwacs or airborne warning control system air surveillance technician. he was also an mc-12 censor operator. while in afghanistan, daniel was assigned to the 361st expeditionary reconnaissance squadron as a member of the 451st airics pe digsary wing at kandahar air base. after his death, multiple superior officers told me how
respected he was says his mother sheri, how well daniel performed his duties and that he was compensational at mentoring young airmen personally as he was professionally. daniel was a very devout man. many have said that he led them to christ or reconnected them with the lord. his wife sonia agrees. he was a christian man of christian values and morals. he served god in all that he did. daniel liked to laugh with family and friends. sonia says he went by many nicknames: dan the man, dan dannon. and my dad's favorite, lieutenant dan. my dad would always ask, lieutenant dan, have you flown much lately? and danny would stick his arms to each side and say he'd been flying as much as he could. after daniel's death at a park located next to tinker air force
base where he had been stationed danny's memory was honored with a replica e3-awac aircraft. inscribed on the tail honoring daniel are the words "service before self." one of the air force's course values and he lived by them. she spoke to the crowd of about 300. this memorializes daniel's very essence, his giving spirit in a way which those in the public can see. she said. memorializing danny here in this public park, a place in which our civilian friends and family can visit and heal on their own time, is truly special. madam president, daniel's family members and friends are foremost in our thoughts as i recount his
story for my senate colleagues today. they include his wife, sonya fannon, his mother, his grand peants, henry and fern, and many other beloved family members and friends. i'd like to close with some words from daniel's mother sherry on her son. sheers what she said. -- here's what she said. "i know that there are many who continue to grieve deeply over daniel's passing of the to them, i would say take the things that daniel shared with you, learn from them, and pass them forwa forward. give others who he gave you. in that way, he will live forever." i couldn't agree more with such a heartfelt sentiment. i'd like the family of staff sergeant daniel fannon to know that members of the united states senate do, indeed, recognize the things daniel gave to his country.
namely, his service, his life, and his sacred honor. we will be forever grateful. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 12:00 noon with senators permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes each and the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. >> yoa senator: i ask unanimous consent that priz of th privilee floor be granted to shinkula lea of my staff. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered.
mr. coons: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i ask that proceedings under the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: madam president, i come to the floor today my heart heavy with a challenging task which is to convey to you the remarkable, the special, the powerful spirit of a friend who passed just three weeks ago in a tragic accident in india. matt haley was a remarkable delawarean. matt haley was a gifted and accomplished chef and entrepreneur. matt haley was someone who touched so many lives in my home
state of delaware. in 2012, matt won the delaware restaurant association's cornerstone award, a lifetime achievement award recognizing restauranteurs who dedicate their lives to humanitarian effort. matt owned eight different restaurants all across the beach region so well-known to folks here in washington. matt owned restaurants in rehobeth beet, lewis, ocean view, bethany beach, feighanwicd was involved in dozens of other enterprises in other states of the and in 2014, matt had the best year he'd ever had in terms of the reach and scope of his potential and his vision and his recognition by his profession. he won the national restaurant association cornerstone humanitarian award, and i was thrilled to be able to join in that celebration here in washington. he won the international association of culinary
professionals humanitarian of the year award. and he won the james beard humanitarian award in a remarkable celebration in new york. he won all three major recognitions, major awards from the restaurant and culinary industry, the triple crown, as it were. having never met him, you might think that this man, having been so successful as an entrepreneur and a businessman and so recognized and celebrated in all these different ways, would have been puffed up and filled with himself and with pride and with a sense of accomplishment and success. matt did have a sense of accomplishment and success but it came from a very different place, and his spirit, his personality was profoundly different than that brief resume might suggest. because matt, you see, was someone who had had a second and a third chance at life. and so he embraced it with a passion and an open-heartedness i have never seen anywhere else.
matt was 53 years old and had been sober for 24 years. and matt, not many years before this remarkable year of success he had this year, had been riding the bus to work as a minimum-wage dishwasher as he was reinventing himself. matt spent four years in prison on a 13-year prison sentence. and matt, as he memorably remarks in a ted talk he gave just days before he left on this trip to india, had had just life-altering, terrible experiences as a child. matt had managed to grow up in an environment and circumstances and have experiences that would mar, that would cripple any human person, any spirit, and had become someone who was violent and was addicted and inevitably as a consequence of a lot of his actions ended up in jail. he was exactly the sort of
person that so many would be willing to write off. yet matt found an opportunity through the culinary arts, through the simple and powerful skill of cooking for others, he found a pathway back and a roadway up. matt was someone who cooked not just well but was gifted at pulling together completely unrelated items and making something simple and tasty and powerful. and matt understood what a remarkable pathway towards success and independence restaurants can be for those who start working at the very lowest end of the scale in our country in terms of pay and skill and yet can steadily grow up to be successful managers or even restaurant owners. matt was someone who also had just gotten a positive diagnosis after struggling with a nearly life-ending bough bout with can.
matt had nearly died to this world once as a young man in prison and then had nearly died to us a second time through cancer. and i was blessed to have gotten to know him just in the last few years and to have been touched by the power of his energy. matt had a hunger to connect with and touch and help love others in the world who hadn't yet seen the possibilities of this world. matt would go anywhere any time to help someone in need in delaware. and the stories are legend of what matt did, spontaneously and powerfully, to reach out and touch folks in our home state and around the world who needed his special gift. not just his resources but his energy and his kindness. matt's business partner, scott, shared with me a story i think well-known in delaware that he was literally driving down the road and came across a van from the delaware adolescent
prevention initiative, from dapi, a van for a program that helps young moms both complete school and be healthy and successful mothers. their van was broken down by the side of the road. and learning more about the program and its impact and its importance and seeing their dilapidated and outdated van, he literally bought them a new one on the spot. matmatt was someone who, having never traveled before in his life until recent years when he became successful, first found himself challenged and enlivened and then a flame and passion for traveling around the world and hearing from and ceblghting with young people and their needs. and he tells much more powerfully than i can the story of his becoming connected to young women, to girls in nepal, victims of trafficking, victims of sexual abuse, who were hungry and lonely and who he was able to help provide food and shelter
and hope. he later also connected with a whole community in central america and he traveled regularly to india and nepal and to central america as well as up and down my state. he volunteered in our prisons. he worked with our food bank. he spent time and gave resources in india and nepal and in central america and literally the last time i spoke to matt, i had just had -- excuse me. i had just had an opportunity to meet a young woman who was truly struggling to find opportunity in our home state. she was a recovering drug addict and came up to me at an event in dover and, frankly, said she never believed that someone in my position would care and would work and take any risk to help someone like her find employment. and she was interested in possibly working in a restaura restaurant. and as we talked at greater length, i told her matt's story. i told her how this young man,
full of anger and of abuse and of difficulty in his young life, had ended up an addict and in prison, and yet through his own determination and through the kindness and partnership of others, had managed to go on and be an incredible success, an employer to hundreds, even thousands, and a contributor and a leader to groups like la espiransa and the food bank and to support public school teachers and to support folks coming out of prison. and i asked if she'd be interesting in hearing from him. my last conversation with matt, a man incredibly busy as he was finishing up several business projects and about to get on a plane and go to india to meet a long commitment to a group of girls in need, said, absolutely, i'd love to talk to her. get her on the phone with me. he made time the very next day to meet with her, to encourage her and to invite her to come with him to the food bank presentation he was making.
matt, to his very last breath, was passionate about touching and changing the lives of othe others. his very last initiative was to fund teachers in schools in southern delaware and help provide supplies for them in their classrooms. and his very last day was spent riding a motorcycle on one of the highest and most dangerous roads in the world in the himalaya to personally deliver supplies and engagement and support to girls in a remote village, in a difficult and distant part of the world. matt haley's compassion, his spirit, and his energy touched me and so many others deeply. his determination to do everything he could with every day he had and to make every difference he could in the world should inspire and challenge all of us. and he has left a significant amount of his accumulated resources to his global delaware
fund, which will continue his great work in these many places. it is my hope, my prayer that all of us whose lives have been touched by matt and by his unique and infectious humor and spirit will continue his remarkable lifetime of work. and that all of us will remember that in this nation every person has value and every person has potential, no matter where they're from or where they are today. their path forward can be lifted if we just continue to carry forward the remarkable passion and spirit of matt haley. thank you. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: i ask unanimous consent that major casey courtland who has been a military fellow in our office be
allowed privileges to the floor for today's session of the senate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blunt: it is a good day for major courtland to be here because another thing i want to talk about today is the air force itself and to pay tribute to those in the air force. this is the anniversary of the 67 years of service and sacrifice for our nation, clearly the air power in the history of the world, the first place we turn when we want to make an immediate difference in a chaotic situation in the world. and we're talking this week again about how the air force can make a difference, whether it's those based at whiteland air force base in missouri, based all over the world, and the air force continues in so many ways to project the strength and our commitment to a more peaceful world by using the
power that we do have in a way that ensures that in some cases the playing field is more fair because we keep people on the ground rather than let despotic governments get their weapons in the air, or in some places were able to intervene as we did recently in conjunction with peshmerga to allow the recapture of the dam in iraq which is essential and beyond that could have itself been used as a great weapon if that dam would have been allowed to be breached and the flood that would occurred because of that. the air force was created in 1947 under president harry truman's leadership. prior to that it was called the u.s. army air corps. i'm proud to stand today at one of the desks that senator truman used here in the, on the senate floor, a desk later used by
other missourians, by senator eagleton, by senator danforth, by senator bond. but a desk used by president truman as he served in what he said were the best years of his working life, his team as a senator. but he faced lots of hard challenges as president, and one was how we moved forward in a new and different world after world war ii and how we used our technology in different ways. and one of those was to recognize that the u.s. army air corps had risen to a place that it really deserved to be recognized for what it was: the air force. the first secretary of the air force, another missourian, senator symington, stuart symington, who later would serve in this body as a senator. certainly we benefited in our office from having kelly courtland, major k.c. courtland,
who has been helping us this year in my responsibilities on both the armed services committee and the defense appropriating committee. this is actually her anniversary as well as a member of the air force. she now completes 24 years of air force service on exactly the same day that the air force was established 67 years ago. 24 years ago major courtland enlisted in the air force, and again for the last year she's helped us fulfill the responsibilities in our office that we have, and the number-one responsibility, the federal government. the one thing that almost no one would argue we could do for ourselves, and that's the responsibility of defending the country. hoping that we see major courtland stationed in missouri one of these days, but she's from lunnington, michigan. she will be running her 88th marathon this weekend, the air
force marathon. she values her military training. she enlisted to now her role as a major and has been unbelievably helpful to us at this time. and as we think about major courtland and all the others that served, we want to be very mindful of their service, their willingness to step forward to defend our freedom, to be willing to defend our freedom at a time where once again we're talking about those who would threaten our freedom and what we will do about that and how we're looking to be sure that the strategy we have and the resolve we have is a resolve that allows us to convince our enemies that a peaceful world, a world where people can pursue their own values, where they're able to pursue their own right of conscience, where they're able to look within themselves and determine their own religious convictions rather than have someone tell them what those convictions are and demand that
everybody follow exactly the same path in the way they view religion and the way they consequently would be required because of that one view to view society and how people would live together. so hopefully those who defend us will get the kind of support and the kind of thoughtful consideration and determination they need from people in the senate and the house, from people in the defense department and the administration, from people in the white house, from the office of the president himself on down who are going to be making decisions that will put others in harm's way as we try to prevent greater numbers of americans, frankly, from being in harm's way. and i clearly would count myself among those that believe that this is a real danger to us. the location of this isis threat, the understanding from the secretary of defense that somewhere between 100 and 200
americans are there fighting alongside this genocidal group. and many times that from europe fighting alongside this group, people with passports that allow them to come to the united states, to not worry about coming in the border, just to worry about buying a plane ticket and coming in that way. of course there are those who say, as i agree, if we know who they are, we should take their passports away. it is easy if you know who they are to invalidate the passport. pretty hard if you don't know who they are to invalidate that passport. in fact, it just can't be done. and not only americans coming back but others from visa waiver countries who simply have a passport from their country, and they buy a plane ticket. and suddenly those who have become steeped in this wrongheaded view of the world, who have become conditioned to the idea that a life, if it
doesn't agree with you, doesn't matter would be able to come into this country and into european countries in ways that we have not seen before, and still have access, as terrorist groups have had before, to many other countries, to poison the minds of people who are looking for an answer. and i can assure you this is not the right answer. and so i wish my colleagues well as we make these important decisions. and we're going to be looking at whatever we decide to do in the next couple of days. then over the next 75 days or so, and we'll have a chance to revisit that decision as we look at how force is being applied, how our hopes are being met and what we -- and we'll see what the president thinks will happen as a response to what we're doing here is actually what
appears to be happening later this year. also, madam president, i've come to the floor almost every week -- i think i've come to the floor every week it was possible to be on the senate floor over the course of the last year to discuss the changes we've seen in health care. we're now approaching the one-year anniversary of everybody would agree disastrous launch of obamacare, and most americans now agree not only was the launch disastrous, but actually the changes in our health care system have not been what they would have hoped for. what the administration has delayed the 2015 open season to sign up for health care until the middle of november now. interestingly, the middle of november is right after the election. i assume that's not a coincidence that the administration doesn't want voters to be reminded between now and election day of what the
problems are in just trying to sign up and what the new costs and new deductibles may be. but for whatever reason of the many delays, the many determinations by the administration, over and over again, no matter what the law said, the administration decides, well, we can actually change that. there is no justification for november 15 except the first tuesday in november, and i think we all know that. no matter how many things we delay, though, the health care plan continues to get less and less popular. yef -- every month as i look at those numbers, fewer americans have confidence in the direction we're headed in health care than we did before. earlier this week c.m.s. began sending notices to consumers enrolled in exchanges that have income-related discrepancies
that don't match the federal data. apparently about 363,000 individuals are receiving those letters. and if they don't respond by september 30, the subsidy that they thought they were having for their policy will not be there. in august, c.m.s. began to reach out to people for required proof of citizenship. apparently too much trouble to have proof of citizenship to take to the polls with you, but not too much trouble to have citizenship proof if you're going to participate in this program that taxpayers pay for and voters ultimately, by who they send here and who they send to the white house, are responsible for. on monday it was announced that around 115,000 individuals, 1,700 of them were missourians, were notified that their coverage would end by september 30 unless they could provide that verification of citizenship. not a very good notice to get
with two weeks and a couple of days of notification that, by the way, you're about to lose your health care coverage unless you can provide documents and provide them right now. "usa today" reported that healthcare.gov still remains so glitchy, according to them -- quote -- "remains so glitchy" that some people are being forced to send their information multiple times. many can't access their accounts. and now the well-understood concern that that information may not be nearly as secure as we would want it to be. circo, a company that was hired to provide services for processing paper applications, we found out just a few days ago after months of waiting, the federal government finally responded to a st. louis television station, kmov's freedom of information request that they submitted in march. it takes a long time to get one
simple question answered. and the question was: how many paper applications are actually being processed at this processing center in missouri? how many applications were processed between october of last year and march of this year? the number wasn't so big that it should have been that hard to count. it was less than 5% of the anticipated number that that workforce was put in place and was -- and the company was paid to process. about 271,000 people over that several months period of time. the director of the project testified in september that the company, he said, was prepared to manage an estimated 6.2 million paper applications between that period of time. and instead they managed
271,000. quite a -- when you've got a workforce in place to do 6.2 million applications and they do about a quarter of a million, no wonder people from that workplace were coming forward. numerous whistle-blowers, according to kmov, saying we're playing board games, we have library books stakdz -- stacked up on the tables. we're told every once in a while to push the button that refreshes our computer so that it at least appears that the computer hasn't just gone away. and one of many miscalculations of how this was going to work. a g.a.o. report released on tuesday confirmed that people who had had concerns about this bill because it would use federal funding for the first time to lead to taxpayer-funded abortions -- and many of my colleagues in the house that voted for this voted for it only because president obama
repeatedly promised that the health care law would not lead to american tax dollars being used for this purpose. it's a long-standing policy. it's a policy that americans have strongly supported for a long time. unfortunately÷ -- unfortunately, this new report by the government itself indicates that that was one more government promise not kept. so we're on the verge of entering the second year of healthcare.gov. we're on the verge of entering the second year of this new federal involvement in people's health care decisions, and i think, madam president, there is a reason that every week -- every month when missourians are asked by the kaiser foundation and others about this, this is less popular than it was the month before. hopefully when we come back here next year, we'll look for ways to make health care work better and we'll begin to see people have more confidence if we will
senator from west virginia. politburo manchin: madam president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. manchin: madam president, i ask to speak for up to 15 minutes or until my remarks are complete. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. manchin: madam president, i rise today to discuss the gravest and most important issue that we can debate in congress. i'm here today to talk about america's involvement in the middle east and president obama's plan to defeat isis. and make no mistake, madam president, we must defeat and destroy isis. but how we destroy them is what we must get right. i applaud the president for presenting a plan to the american people. i support air strikes against isis. i support providing humanitarian aid. i support cutting off terrorist funding sources. doing these things has already helped prevent genocide and has begun to roll back isis's gains in iraq. i also support engaging the world community, but most importantly turkey and arab league nations. unfortunately, i have not seen
signs from the region that tell me that we have their full support. madam president, this should be an arab ground war and a u.s. air war, but i cannot and will not support arming or training the syrian opposition forces. i did not come to this decision easily. i spoke with military and foreign policy experts. i attended classified briefings and asked questions of this administration. but most importantly, i studied our history, madam president. we have been at war in that part of the world for the past 13 years. if money and military might could have made a difference, it would have by now. in iraq alone, we spent the better part of eight years training, training iraq police and military forces of a 280,000-person army at the cost of $20 billion to the american people. $20 billion. and the first time they had to step up and defend their country, their people and their way of life, what did they do?
they folded in the face of isis abandoning their equipment and facilities to the enemy. so i ask my colleagues and the president why do we think that training the rebels would turn out any differently? in west virginia, we understand the definition of insanity. we get it. and, madam president, the first principle of war is to know your enemy, and we certainly know our enemy. isis is a barbaric terrorist with no respect for humanitarian and they -- for humanity and they deserve to die. i have seen the videos, and like every american, i was disgusted and outraged. but as most important, it is to know your enemy. it is equally important to know our allies, and i am not confident that we know who our allies are. and to illustrate that point, i refer my colleagues to press reports that moderate syrian opposition forces sold american journalist steven sotloff to
isis who beheaded him and put the video on the internet. are those people our allies? who are our other allies in this fight? as of today, we have only hints of military support from eric countries. who themselves face a greater threat from isis than any one of us. madam president, serious neighbors, syria's neighbors have the technical ability and the financial rors to support and train the syrian opposition forces. if that is correct -- the correct course of action that we should take, they have the wherewithal to do it. in the 1991 iraq war, we had commitments from our allies around the world but most importantly from the arab community. we had a total buy-in. i know the secretary of state kerry has been working tirelessly to build a similar coalition and recruit support from iraq's neighbors because it's their neighborhood and theirs to defend.
and i hope it is successful because as our intelligence community has said repeatedly, isis could soon become a direct threat to the united states of america. but i strongly believe that if our military arms and trains syrian rebels, we will be involving ourselves in a ground conflict that we cannot resolve where potentially everyone involved is our enemy. to my mind, the reasons not to arm syrian rebels today are very clear. point number one, first the weapons we give to moderate opposition may not remain in their hands. if my colleagues have seen the videos of isis shipping united states army humvees and m-raps out of iraq that we gave to the iraqi army, they will understand what i mean. number two, i have seen no evidence that the syrian rebels we plan to train and arm will remain committed to american goals or our interests.
the vast majority of national level syrian rebels groups or islamists, none of whom are interested in allying with the united states. this is not in their best interests. and none of whom we should be associating with. further, the opposition fighters that we will train care more about overthrowing assad's regime than they do about defeating isis. assad is evil, make no mistake about it, but he is not a threat to america. if the moderate opposition has to choose between defeating assad and defeating isis, why do we believe -- think about this, why do we believe that they will choose our priority over their own? why would we even think that? how do we know that they won't join forces with isis if it helps them overthrow assad? in their main objective? third, authorizing military
support for syrian rebels will inextricably draw us into a civil war that we have no way to end. we have seen this picture unfold before. our fight is against isis and islamist terrorist groups who threaten the united states, and the limit of that fight should be doing what we need to do to protect americans and prevent genocide. every further step we take from the basic principle, protecting americans and preventing genocide, takes us back down the road of middle eastern nation building. that means we should support others with counterterrorism forces, intelligence gathering, air power and diplomatic efforts, and it means stopping the flow of illicit oil, money and fighters across syria's borders. we do not need to arm and train syrian rebels to protect americans. i would ask my colleagues to consider america's history of intervention in the middle east. it's not been a successful one.
interventions have failed in lebanon, somalia, libya, iraq and afghanistan is on the brink of failure. what have we learned from our actions? certainly not that going into muslim countries to restore order or establish democracy is a winning strategy for us. now, i have been very clear. we have every right to and we must, we must defend ourselves and protect american citizens and interests against terrorists anywhere in the world, anywhere in the world, so i again voice my strong support for the counterterrorism efforts already ongoing to protect americans, but we have proven by blood and treasure already spent that we have not made a difference with american boots on the ground in this part of the world. some have used the examples of our garrisons in germany, japan, korea and the balkans and examples of where the united states successfully established rule of law with residual military forces. but such comparisons have little
basis in history. once our mission was achieved and occupation began, our troops did not face the threat of violence from the same people we just defended and liberated. others have said that if we had kept a residual force in iraq, that isis would never have taken hold, and i just respectfully disagree, madam president. how can i fault the president for pulling troops out after eight years, billions spent and thousands of lives lost with no end in sight? again, we trained in iraq a military of 280,000 persons at a cost of $20 billion, and when they faced their first test, they folded, and that was a fraction of the total cost of our wars in iraq and afghanistan. let me give you a rundown of where we stand today. in iraq, conservatively, we have spent $818 billion. in afghanistan, we have spent $747 billion, and that is continuing to grow.
total cost of our recent wars, $1.6 trillion, and that's growing, and that doesn't include, madam president, the cost of long-term care of wounded veterans, over $50,000. but the cost in money is nothing compared to the cost of lives. in iraq, 4,400 dead, 36,000 wounded. in afghanistan and still counting, 2,200 dead and 21,000 wounded. madam president, i know that my vote comes with a price, i know that. it is my understanding that the same vote we make to fund and train the syrian opposition forces will also be one to pass a c.r. to fund our government. madam president, i did not believe that we should be forced to decide between funding our government and arming our syrian rebels in the same vote. we should be ashamed for failing to pass appropriation bills to finance government operations for the fiscal year that starts two weeks from now, absolutely ashamed of ourselves for inaction, and more ashamed that
for the sake of expediency, expediency because of an election coming up that we are using a stop-gap continuing resolution as a vehicle for authorizing major military activity. major military activity that will have repercussions for generations to come. asking us to make this choice is a disservice to the american people, but if that is a decision i am forced to make -- and i will tell you if that's a decision i am forced to make, it is one that i'm committed to making. i understand that my vote will likely not be the deciding vote, but even if it were, i would still cast the same vote. i believe that these votes should be separate and debated. we owe that to the american people. we have this time to do it. i believe with all my heart we have more than enough time to do this. i am prepared as some of my colleagues, madam president, to stay in session so that we can get the american people the debate and transparent decision that they deserve. madam president, we must learn
from our past mistakes and we must not repeat them. i believe that our country deserves this debate. let me make it clear, i believe isis is a grave threat to the region and could become a direct threat to the united states. we must confront and defeat them. i just do not believe that arming the syrian opposition forces is the correct approach. because i can foresee a senate debate a few years from now, not that far off i can see this coming about how to defeat the next group of islamist terrorists that we helped to train and install. i have not come to this decision easily, and i know it comes with consequences, but i believe the people of west virginia sent me here to make tough decisions and vote to do what is best for not only all west virginians but for every american. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor.
mr. sessions: madam president, i would ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: it brings me no pleasure to make the remarks that i feel compelled to make today. it's important for the senate of the united states i think and for us to understand how we are operating here. the senate, the legislative body
heralded by the late robert byrd, senator byrd, as the second great senate in history -- the first being the roman senate -- is being eroded beyond recognition really by the tactics utilized by senator -- senate majority leader reid and those who support him in that process. today is constitution day. 10 years ago today, senator robert byrd moved the legislation to declare today constitution day. and it creates two bodies in the congress, the house and the senate, and the senate's always been known as the body where great debates are held and open ability to amend and -- and discuss the great issues of the day are laid out. that's what we are about. it has changed dramatically
since i've been in the senate 18 years ago. it really has. not for the better. not for the better of the american people. might be good for politicians but not good for the american people. not good for the public interest, in my view. this is what is being happening time and again, and once again we're seeing today, at the 11th hour, we're being asked to vote for a spending bill. before we recess. we have to recess, you see. why? so senators can go campaign. but we're being paid whether we're here or back home or vacationing or whatever. why don't we stay here a few days longer, if necessary? oh, no, we have to get out of washington and go back home and campaign. and these spending bill, this massive continuing resolution
that no member can fully comprehend at this late hour, nobody can meaningfully analyze, scrutinize or investigate it. once again we're being asked to fund the entire government of the united states in one catch-all bill with no opportunity for a single amendment. being blocked. there's no way to improve the legislation or really to engage in meaningful consideration of our financial status. are we facing a crisis financially? hasn't the congressional budget office told us we're on an unsustainable financial path? are we going to discuss that at all? no. we're going to bring up this bill, vote it through and go home and campaign. this denies the american people the opportunity to know what's
being passed and to analyze and hold their elected representatives accountable for their actions. the american people can't comprehend or study what's in this massive bill either. so once again this huge bill is being rushed through under the threat of a government shutdown. a government without a funding mechanism would shut down october 1 if we don't pass an appropriations bill to fund it because the united states government cannot operate and spend a dime congress hasn't appropriated. that's a fundamental constitutional power. so, yes, there's a problem out there. how did it happen we're getting toward the end of the session and nothing has been done? i'll talk about that. well, what is -- why is this happening? is it because we don't have ti
time? no, it's not because we don't have time. the problem, the reality -- and i'll say this and i've not been contradicted on it by any member of this senate, to my knowledge -- it is not a lack of time. we haven't voted, done anything this week or last week and we've got next week and next week, if need be. we can vote 20 times a day. it doesn't take a lot of time to vote. people can have their ideas to improve legislation and bring them up and argue for them and get an up-or-down vote "yes" or "no." why is this happening? the purpose really is to protect members from having to cast votes that their constituents might disagree with, to protect them from being placed on record one way or the other on
important issues facing the nation. that is the problem. it's politics first. it just is. so we've not voted on a single appropriations bill in the senate this year. not one. not one of the 12 appropriations bills that are required to fund our government each year has come before the senate. committees are being bypassed. secret deals rule the day. millions of americans are thereby robbed of their ability to observe and participate in the legislative process. they're denied the ability to write their senators and say, "i hear you've got an amendment coming up on thus and so. vote for it or vote against it." that's all being eliminated in this process. so it's -- it's been so long since we've followed the regular order.
it is necessary for me i think to share with the people and our colleagues what's supposed to happen and is not happening. each year congress is supposed to pass a budget resolution which outlines the spending goals and limits for the upcoming year. then based on the spending levels contained in the budget resolution, individual committees, the authorization committees, are to report out authorization bills. bills. review the justice department. we don't do that any more. we normally do a defense authorization bill. but it hasn't been done this year. to authorize certain spending and policy changes and utilizing the expertise of the members of the committees. many of them know a lot about this. to shape where the spending is supposed to go. laying out priorities, setting -- making decisions about what we can afford and what we can't afford, evaluating whether programs are effective
or not, and to serve the citizens of the united states. isn't that what we're supposed to do? and this is the way you eliminate waste, fraud and abu abuse. that's the way you stop it. well, after the authorization committees do their reports, the appropriations committee actual is the one to fund the -- actually is the one to fund the government. they are tasked to -- the subcommittees of the appropriations committee -- to produce appropriations bills for each area of the budget with which -- which are to be individually brought to the floor of the senate, debated and amended on the floor in the light of day, before the american people. each year the senate is supposed to consider individually the 12 appropriations bills. this gives each member and their constituents a chance to review
and analyze every line of the bill and to offer suggestions for saving money, improving efficiency and better serving taxpayers, which we are failing to do and we need to do. we don't have a dime to waste and we are wasting money regularly throughout our government, as anybody who's studied it knows. but under the tenure of senator reid, the budgeting process has been dismantled. we've only passed one budget in the last five years, although the law -- budget act says we should pass a budget by april 15th every year. our committees stand idle and the floor is one run not for the high purpose of legislative debate but as an extension, frankly, of the democratic political campaign committee. so the senate has ceased consideration of appropriations bills altogether, relying more
and more on autopilot resolutions and catch-all continuing resolutions and ominous -- and omnibus spending packages. when i first came to the senate, almost every single senate spending bill was debated, it was brought to the floor. a senate was embarrassed if they didn't bring every bill to the floor. sometimes we'd have two or three that couldn't work -- weren't completed. they would be cobbled together at the end and passed as an omnibus bill and people would complain. now none of them are passed. zero. so we go year by year without debating a single stand-alone spending bill on the senate floor. what are we here for? one of the worst tactics that the majority leader has used has suppressed senators' rights and blocked open debate and that is the technique called filling the tree. under that tactic, he uses his
majority rights to keep senators from offering amendments, as representatives of their states and the american people. what are we? a senator. a bill's coming on the floor and you can't stand up and give an amendment? right. you cannot. he fills the amendment tree. you can't file another amendment and he refuses to allow amendments to occur. his majority, having written the bill with president obama, they move the legislation and there's no real ability to challenge it. it's not the way the senate was supposed to be set up. the senate was always to be set up to allow individual senators and the minority rights to be able to influence legislation and to highlight what's in it. so blocking amendments presents -- prevents this body from working its will, prohibits legislation from being improved, and protects senators from being held accountable by the voters on the great issue of the day.
i don't think there's any doubt about that. and that's the reason it's being done. it's not time. it absolutely can be done. it just turns into a real debate and people get to push for the agendas that they believe in and advocate for their position. who knows ten years today and agenda not popular today will be popular then. that's the way we're supposed to to be. it keeps the senate from being the critical sounding board for the issues of the day. our the majority leader has used this tactic, filling the tree, 90 times during his tenure. to put this in perspective, the six previous majority leaders filled the tree only 49 times all total. senator reid has filled the tree almost 40 more occasions than all six previous majority
leaders did and cumulative over their tenures. this stops amendments from being voted on and that's what's happening. he shut down one of the most important functions that senators exercise to defend and advance the interest of their constituents. but it doesn't stop there. the senate is supposed to to be washington's cooling saucer. that's why on many important and controversial matters, 60 votes are required to adopt the measure or to confirm a nominee, and importantly to change the rules of the senate requires a two-thirds vote. that is to bring -- two-thirds vote to change the rules of the senate. thus, two-thirds vote threshold is critical because it ensures that the rules have meaning, they have power, and they apply
in years to come will not be lightly changed and protect minority rights in the senate. they will apply when a party is in power and when they're out of power. to change senate rules requires a broad consensus across the body. this protects the rights of individual senators to be heard on the issues of the day, it's a key component of the senate's heritage of discussion and debate and openness. yet senator reid in an exercise of brute political force changed the senate rules by a simple majority. he ignored the counsel of the senate's parliamentarian, who ruled his tactic was contrary to the rules of the senate, and he used -- the parliamentarian is our preeminent protector of senate practices and over the years they've done a agreed to
good job. and in one stroke, the majority leader changed the nature of this august body perhaps forever. so today, the democratic senators who empower him and senator reid and the senators who give him power and support him are not even allowed to consider important legislation, either, effectively. republicans or democrats cannot offer amendments. they cannot even fully debate the issues. huge bills are rushed through in the waning hours of a session. systemically the rights of senators to provide equal representation to each state is being dismantled. but it gets worse still. as we know, president obama has promised that after the midterm he would issue -- midterms he would offer executive amnesty to
immigrants illegally here, unlawfully entered the united states. this executive ordered, presidential ordered fiat, amnesty, would include work permits for millions of illegal workers along with photo i.d.'s and social security numbers. and it would include more guest workers, so businesses could bring in even more guest workers at a time of high unemployment and falling wages. the president and the immigration lobbyists and business groups and activist groups are meeting secretly in the white house trying to implement through executive action the same disastrous wrong policies that were rejected by congress through the house of representatives. they said no to this. once the public learned what was in the senate amnesty and guest worker bill they declared no,
no, no, and the house heard it. so the president is now conspiring to go around the congress and what does mr. reid say? my duty is to represent the congress and we are a co-equal branch with the executive branch and the executive branch doesn't have the power to change the immigration law that's in a law in effect. the law of the united states says you can't work in the united states, flat out, you can't be hired if you are in the country illegally. the president doesn't have any power to change that. when we come back to the senate and advocate and see if he can pass it. the senate hand changed that. you shouldn't be able to work in america if you're not lawfully here, taking a job from a lawful immigrant. this is just fundamentally at its most bottom wrong. so what does senator reid say about this?
does he defend the prerogative of congress, the united states senate? he tells the president to go real big, close quote, mr. president. bypass congress. do the biggest amnesty you can do. majority leader reid has blocked this senate from considering the house plan legislation. the house ph.d. legislation legislation ---passed legislation sitting at at the desk that would stop the president from doing this. it would use legitimate congressional power to deny funding to execute any such bogus unlawful amnesty plan. really the constitution, the american people's interests are at stake here. but senator reid has determined to ensure that executive amnesty happens anyway and he's determined to do whatever he can to see that it does happen.
so the principles that govern our political system, separation of powers, and public debate, are not important here. under this time, but colleagues, i would note that we have to recognize senator reid does not operate all on his own. he's -- he operates with the support and empowerment of the democratic congress that allows this to occur. so we saw all this vividly when i made a motion that would allow us to take option -- action, some weeks ago, to stop the executive amnesty. i moved that we strike his filling the tree to remove that, clear the amendment tree and now a new amendment to be brought up. and that would have been to bar the executive action. and every senate democrat voted
with senator reid except senator from west virginia, senator manchin, and that would enable the president to go forward with his unlawful amnesty decree. it's unbelievable. so right now, the posture we're in is the house has passed a bill that would stop the president from going forward, clearly, it's already passed the house of representatives, it's sitting in our desk and the majority leader will not allow it to be brought up. why? if he has the votes, why doesn't he just bring it up and vote it down? well, the reason is he wants to protect his members. he believes in this policy, he's advocating this policy, but he thinks if he brings it up for a vote, his members might find out that the people back home are not happy about three-fourths of the american people plus believe the president is exceeding his authority if he goes forward
with this executive amnesty. so why can't we have a vote on it? because of politics. protect our members. they don't need to take tough votes. let's get out of washington and go home and campaign and play politics in our home states. so nobody in the senate democratic congress has spoken up to support the house bill. some pretent -- pretend -- hope the president won't do that. what does that mean? nothing. let's vote. you're either for it or not. so every member that supports senator reid -- and we'll have another vote on this -- is as much a supporter of president obama's unlawful amnesty if they were sitting in a room helping him sign the
order. this is the time, it's either stopped now or it may never be stopped. and we need to vote on it. and people need to be held accountable and every american needs to know where their senator stands on the president's unlawful assumption of power to violate plain law of the united states, to carry out a political agenda that he has that the american people reject. it's just that simple. and it's about power and it's about politics, and it's not about what's best for america. all of us owe our constituents a full, open, and deliberative process where the great issues of the day are debated with their scrutiny and the people's scrutiny and that we receive their input with our rights respected, our responsibilities honored and our senate strengthened in the process. and respected in the process.
the democratic process is messy sometimes. sometimes contentious. and often difficult. but it is precisely this legislative tug of war, this back and forth which forges a national consensus. and people have to stick their necks out and say what they believe on important issues facing america. it is the process that our founders utilized, men of the enlight enment that they were to find what truth is. truth they believe and i believe is an objective reality. words have meaning. principles are valid. things are true, and things are false. and that theory was you have a full and open, robust debate, and everybody says -- and more through that process, it's the best way for you to tell what the truth is and based on what the truth is, you can make a good judgment for what's best
for america. it's the same theory we use in jury trials. cross-examination of witnesses, bring in evidence, 12 good men and women true judge the evidence in an attempt to find what the truth is. some of this crowd today this postmodern group they don't even believe in truth if you want to know the truth. while secret deals may appear to keep the trains running on time, they also keep them running too often in the wrong direction. only through a renewed open legislative process carried out in the full light of day can we clean up this government, forge a real national consensus, confront the difficult choices we face, achieve accountability in washington, allow our senators and congressmen to be there on the front lines and sink or swim on how they
perform. we're not guaranteed office. the american people don't work for us. we work for them. and it returns power thereby to the everyday citizen. it's time for us to restore once again the great senate of the united states. i would thank the chair and would yield the floor. madam chairman, i note the absence of a quorum. . the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tougher: i -- mr. tester: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tester: i have 12 requests for committees too meet during today's session of the senate. i ask unanimous consent these requests be agreed to and these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tester: thank you, madam president. madam president, some of my colleagues will be coming to the
floor later today and talk about the land and water conservation fund and i'm sorry i'm not going to be able to join them, but it is so very important especially to montana i want to make my voice heard today this morning. lwcf turned 50 earlier this month, pasted in the johnson administration it harkens back to a time when folks reached across the aisle to conserve our treasured lands. treasured lands that exist in all corners of our nation. it has contributed to protection of well-known places like rocky mountain national park and the appalachian trail. but it's also supported lesser known but equally spectacular places -- it's also supported lesser known but equally spectacular places like cherokee national forest in tennessee,
sawtooth recreation area in idaho, and the flathead national forest in my state of montana. america is filled with amazing lands that make us stand in awe of their beauty, make us want to go out and explore, want make us want to hunt and fish and camp. we must make sure that these are preserved for future generations to enjoy them as we've been able to. from from hunters and anglers to sporting goods store owners, it is simile a program that works. it uses the funds from offshore oil gansd receipts for a widing range of conservation programs. some of these programs increase access to public lands. others preserve natural resources. the lwcf is also good for the economy. when people want to get out and enjoy the outdoors, they buy fly rods and tents, hiking boots, the list goes on and on. simply put, lwcf is an comig
driver. america's outdoor economy generates nearly $650 billion each year and it supports nearly 6 million direct jobs in many of this nation's smallest communities n montana, state with only one million people, outdoor recreation contributes nearly $6 billion each year to our economic output. it supports some 64,000 jobs in montana. outdoor recreation is a part of who we are as montanans, and when i drive across the state, i often see vehicles with stickers in the back window saying "get lost." what those stickers are really saying is, i'm heading to a trail head and i'm going to get lost in some of the places of big sky country. this is passed down from generation to generation and the lwcf helps us keep our outdoor heritage alive. we have come to expect an outdoor economy and amazing
places to see, but this didn't happen by accident. as one of my many heroes said, teddy roosevelt, "we are prone to speak of the resources of this country as being inexhaustible but this is 0 not so." madam president, we invest in our majestic national park system. we spreeive lands from alaska to florida, and we have millions of people dedicated to sceftion nationwide. lwcf is a critical part of our conservation effort, and it is not -- and if it is not authorized, it will run out at the end of this fiscal year. as of right now, lwcf will stop strengthening our economy as of october 1, 2015. we must fund and reauthorize lwcf so our treasured places can be preserved for another 50 years and well beyond.
there is still time to make sure this critical initiative continues and receives the full funding it needs. full funding for lwcf is supported by both republicans and democrats, and i want to commend senators burr and lindsey graham for their work on lwcf and i look forward to working with them. i also push my legislation that requires 1.5% of lwcf funds to go to increased public access to our public lands. making public lands public is a smart bill. i will continue to fight for it. there is a strong coalition lined lwcf and i believe we can get this done by working together, along with leaders in both of house and the senate, we will show the american people that we are still capable of working across the tile preserve our treasured lands and support our local economy. madam president, montanans have favorite places to camp and fish
and hike. they may be the crazies but we all love the outdoors and we all want to make sure that our sons and daughters can enjoy the same beautiful outdoor places that we do today. this is our legacy. lwcf is a critical part of making sure all americans can continue their outdoor traditions. it must be around for another 50 years and beyond. with that, i want to thank you, madam president. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. inhofe: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call in process be vitiated. officer sphe without objection. the presiding officer: without objection,. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nominations, department of state. john r. bass of new york to be ambassador of the united states of america to the republic of turkey. eric t.schultz of virginia to be ambassador to the republic of zambia. thomas frederick daughton of arizona to be ambassador of the united states of america to the republic of nam namibia. david pressman of new york to be although representative for special political affairs in the united nations with the rank of