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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 22, 2019 9:59am-1:22pm EDT

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advisor to president trump, among others. president trump also asked president zelenskiy to quote, look into, unquote, joe biden's son and explain that, quote, a lot of people want to find out, unquote, about biden, a political rival who of course is running for president. after a memorandum of the phone call was released to the public, the house intelligence committee released a text message from the top u.s. diplomate in ukraine, who indicated that he thought it was quote, crazy for the president to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign, unquote. other officials have since come forward, some even resigning because of their serious concerns over the white house's handling of ukraine policy. >> and the u.s. senate is about to gavel in. senators will be voting today at noon eastern on whether to
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allow north macedonia to join nato. also on the agenda, debate on an executive nomination. now to live senate coverage here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. black, will open the senate with prayer. the chaplain: let us pray.
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come, mighty king, your throne stands firm, even in the midst of chaos. you speak and it is done. lord, your our strength and shield. our protection comes from you. today, guide our senators as a shepherd would lead the lambs. may our lawmakers find in you green pastures and still waters. lord, support us with your powerful hands until the shadows flee away. forgive all our sins and rebellion, empowering us to
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glorify your name in our thoughts, words, and deeds. we pray in your great name, amen. the president pro tempore: amen. please join me in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of americ, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask to speak for one minute, as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: recent research by historians have identified a person participating in the raising of the flag at iwo jima. that iconic photograph of marines raising the american flag at iwo jima is a testament to american strength and sacrifice. the marine corps has identified another one of the marines pictured in this photograph as corporal harold keller of brooklyn, iowa.
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keller never sought recognition or fame. he never mentioned to his children that he had helped raise that flag. he died in 1979, so he doesn't know what we know now -- or he knew it, but we know it now. 74 years later i'm proud that this iowan is finally recognized for his role in making history. i 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. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: later today the senate -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so, madam president, later today the senate will finally vote on get the appropriations process moving. if we take up the legislation, i intend to stay on it until we complete it. on both sides of the capitol our democratic colleagues have spent recent weeks insisting over and over that their three-year-old quest to impeach the president will not prevent them from the substantive work that american families need us to tackle. so far the early returns haven't been too encouraging. a few weeks ago we saw the unusual spectacle of senate
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democrats voting to filibuster defense funding due to political fights with the white house. democrats block add pay raise for our service members because they'd rather fight with the president. we know that across the capitol for months now speaker pelosi has been blocking the usmca and blocking the 176,000 new american jobs it would create. but this week offers another test. soon we'll be voting on appropriations, and we'll see whether our democratic friends really can put aside their impeachment obsession long enough to get some real work done on the side. actions speak louder than words. first, i hope we will tackle a package of domestic funding bills. after that we'll turn to a defense vehicle. i urge our democratic colleagues to drop the stall tactics that
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have left funding for our armed forces in limbo and deliver the funding that our military commanders need to keep us safe. so on another matter, madam president, i opposed president trump's decision to withdraw u.s. troops from syria, so i'm encouraged by press reports his administration is considering retaining a military presence in that country to keep the pressure on isis. since september 11, our nation has learned cephal key lessons -- several key lessons about the fight against radical islamic terrorism. the terrorist threat cannot be wished away. the terrorists mean us harm. and we cannot allow them to establish safe havens and solidify their networks. when they do, the bloodshed ends up right here on our shores. american leadership is essential. we've seen our partners and
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allies step up and take on important roles. in fact, as we speak, france is playing a leading role in the african. but just about every place that president trump tried to lead from behind provides reminders that there are certain kinds of leadership only america can contribute. but unfortunately, we're not in this alone. the huge progress we have won in recent years against isis and the taliban has come by partnering with local forces. with senator from a broad international coalition. america has only provided limited specialized capabilities to reinforce the local partners who do the heaviest lifting. this approach is sustainable. unfortunately, we know exactly what happens when america forgets these lessons and simply decides we're tired of sustaining the fight. abandoning afghanistan in the
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1990's have created the conditions for al qaeda's ability to grow and plan the september 11 attacks from a safe haven far from our shores. president obama's retreat from iraq allowed isis to arise from the still-warm ashes of al qaeda in iraq. if not arrested, withdrawing from syria will invite more of the chaos that breeds terrorism and creates a vacuum our adversaries will certainly fill. it will invite the brutal assad regime to reassert its impressive control over northeastern syria, repressing sunni arab communities and creating the same conditions that led to isis growth in the first place. russia will gain more leverage to amass power and influence throughout the middle east, project power into the mediterranean, and even promote its interests in africa. iran-backed forces could have
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access to a strategic corridor that runs all the way from tehran to the very doorstep of israel. so, madam president, where do we go from here? well, many of us in the senate were ahead of the game on the need to reaffirm american global leadership in the ongoing fight against radical terrorists. at the beginning of this year, a bipartisan supermajority of senators warned about exactly this course of events. the mcconnell amendment to s. 1 earned 70 votes back in february. we specifically warned against a precipitous withdrawal from either afghanistan or syria and noted the need for an american presence. congress should affirm -- actually, reaffirm the same truce today, and we should do so strongly. now, unfortunately, the resolution crafted by house democrats is simply not
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sufficient. it's not so much wrong as it is badly insufficient. it focuses solely on the kurds, ignoring the sunni arab community that suffered under both assad's regime and isis and vulnerable minority communities like the christian arabs of syria. and the house was silent on the key matter of maintaining an actual physical u.s. military presence in syria. perhaps the goal was to pay -- to pave over disagreements in the democratic party. after all, our colleague, the senior senator from massachusetts, recently told a national television audience, quote, -- this is the senior senator from massachusetts -- i think we ought to get out of the middle east. i think we ought to get out of the middle east, said the senior senator from massachusetts. and almost all of our democratic colleagues currently running for president refuse to sign on to the mcconnell amendment that
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earned 70 votes earlier this year. but we can't afford to dance around the critical question of u.s. presence in syria and the middle east for the sake of democratic presidential primary politics. the senate needs to speak up. we cannot effectively support our partners on the ground without a military presence. senators who thought we should withdraw from syria and afghanistan in february do not get to criticize president trump for withdrawing from syria today unless they go on the record, admit they changed their minds, and say it's too dangerous to quit. so today, along with chairman inhofe, chairman risch, senator graham, senator burris, i am introducing a stronger resolution that acknowledges hard truths and focuses on our strategic interests in the middle east. our resolution acknowledges the vital role that our kurdish and
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arab syrian partners have played in rooting out and destroying the isis cal fate. -- caliphate. it condemns turkey's decision to escalate hostilities in syria, warns against the abandonment of our allies and partners in syria, and urges president trump to rethink his invitation for president erdogan to visit the white house. it also acknowledges turkey's legitimate national security concerns emanating from the conflict in syria and the significant risk to the united states if such a strategically consequential ally were to fall further into moscow's orbit. it recognizes the grave consequences of u.s. withdrawal, the rising influence of russia, iran, and the assad regime, and the escape of more than 100 isis-affiliated fighters detained in the region. we specifically urge the president to end, end the
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drawdown, something that fortunately appears to be under way. we urge a reengagement with our partners in this region. we highlight the need for international diplomatic efforts to end the underlying civil wars in syria and afghanistan on terms that address the conditions that have allowed al qaeda and isis to thrive. we cannot repeat this mistake in afghanistan. so, madam president, i'm aware there is some appetite on both sides of the aisle to quickly reach for the toolbox of sanctions. i myself played a critical role in creating sanction regimes in the past, but i caution us against developing a reflex to use sanctions as our tool of first, last, and only resort in i am supplementing our foreign policy. sanctions may play an important role in this process, and i'm open to the senate considering them, but we need to think
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extremely carefully before we employ the same tools against a democratic nato ally that we would against the worst rogue states. do we know what the political impacts that sanctions will have inside turkey? will they weaken president erdogan or rally the country to his cause? do we know the impact sanctions will have on u.s. companies or on the economies of our closest allies who have deeply integrated their economies with turkey? if we're going to use sanctions against a democratic ally, we're going to have to be careful. we're going to have to be smart. we're going to have to be thoughtful and deliberate. we don't want to further drive a nato ally into the arms of the russians. serious conversations about the use of sanctions must involve our colleagues on foreign relations, banking, and finance
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committees to ensure that this tool is used correctly. the most important thing the senate can do right now is speak clearly and reaffirm the core principles that unite most of us, republicans and democrats, about the proper role for american leadership in syria, in the middle east, and for that matter in the world. we hope the damage in syria can be undone, but perhaps even more importantly, we absolutely must take steps so the same mistakes, the same mistakes are not repeated in iraq or afghanistan. i feel confident that my resolution is a strong and sorely needed step. i feel confident my colleagues will agree, and i would urge them to join me. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive
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session to resume consideration of the following treaty, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 5, treaty document 116-1, protocol to the north atlantic treaty of 1949 op the accession of north macedonia. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 12:00 noon will be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: are we in a quorum? the presiding officer: we are. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president.
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the leader in recent days has charged that because the house of representatives is now gauged in its constitutional duty to examine presidential wrongdoing, that somehow democrats are not interested in legislating. it's a curious criticism coming from leader mcconnell. democrats not interested in legislating? from the man who proudly calls himself the grim reaper. since the midterms, the democratic house majority has passed hundreds of bills with bipartisan support while leader mcconnell has deliberately focused the senate on anything but legislation. he has turned this chamber into a legislative graveyard. democrats want to vote on things gun safety, how about it? health care, how about it? infrastructure, how about it? democracy, improving our democracy. none of these -- on none of these things will leader
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mcconnell even dare to put a bill on the floor, let alone the house bills, which would have a chance of getting something done. this very week, we have an example of how democrats plan to work with our republican colleagues to advance legislation. the republican leader has indicated finally, at last, that he may bring several appropriations bills to the floor this week. democrats want to move forward and debate those bills in an open and vigorous fashion. now, there are several appropriations bills that don't have any bipartisan support. the republican leader knows why. we need to have bipartisan support on the 302-b's, the allocations to the various agencies to move forward on bills like homeland security and health and human services, military construction and defense. that negotiation to succeed must be bipartisan. that's what the history of this chamber shows. that's what common sense and logic shows.
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house leaders have suggested that a conference, democrats and republicans, house and senate, on these 302-b's, that's a good idea. if republicans are willing to engage with us on the 302-b's, we get negotiations back on track to fund the government. in the meantime, democrats want to move forward on the noncontroversial appropriation bills, the bills that have had bipartisan agreement, and we hope that leader mcconnell will allow a fair and robust amendment process. it would be nice to consider something on the floor besides an endless parade of right-wing judges who side with a special powerful interest time and time again, not working americans, and executive appointments. now, on syria, today the five-day pause on hostilities in northern syria is set to come to an end. what happens next is completely unknown. will erdogan continue his
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military incursion into syria? will the kurds facing another turkish offensive leave their posts guarding isis prisoners to once again defend themselves, allowing isis prisoners dangerous to america to escape? will presidents erdogan and putin cut a new deal that's bad for america and our allies? nobody knows the answer to any of these. what we do know is that the situation has rapidly deteriorated compared to just a few weeks ago. and what caused this deterioration? one thing. the president's abrupt decision to withdraw u.s. troops from the region after a phone call with president erdogan. when isis has been degraded and more than 10,000 detainees, many of them hardened isis fighters, were under lock and key to undo that, that's putting america's security at risk. that's what president trump has done. this so-called tough warrior
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backed off in a call with a much lesser power, erdogan. he has done this before. we don't know how many of these 10,000 detainees and their families have escaped. we don't know where they have gone. nor there sunny plan to get them back to detention facilities. these are dangerous people, dangerous to our homeland, dangerous to new york and miami and dallas and los angeles. we don't know where they are or what they're doing all because of president trump's precipitous action. i get excited about this, angrily excited, negatively excited because my city has suffered from a group 10,000 miles away who did such damage. as "the new york times" reported after isis had been run, quote, now president trump says, the
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islamic state has been handed its biggest win in four years. president trump has handed isis its biggest victory in four years. how can any american support that? how can so many of our republican colleagues and republican supporters of president trump shrug their shoulders? let me repeat. president trump's pullout has handed the islamic state its biggest win in more than four years and greatly improved its prospects. the president's incompetence with erdogan and syria has handed isis a get out of jail free card and put, simply put american lives in danger. for the sake of our national security, president trump and his administration need to get a handle on this situation. senators, i believe from both parties, have been trying to get the administration's top
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officials, including secretary of state pompeo, secretary of defense esper, general milley, to give the senate a briefing on its syria policy and a plan to contain and further degrade isis. they canceled a scheduled briefing last week, pulled a plug on a briefing that was supposed to be this afternoon and have so far refused to commit to a new date. we need that briefing to happen. secretary pompeo, secretary esper, general milley, c.i.a. director haspel have a responsibility to report to congress on what is happening on this dangerous situation, and once again this administration is withholding vital information. it's a disgrace. it's probably because they don't have a plan. they don't know what to do. but bringing them here may help formulate that plan or push them
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to get a plan. but in the meantime democrats are set to meet with brett mcguirk, former presidential envoy in charge of tracking isis at a special caucus meeting wednesday, so we should try to come up with answers even though it should be the administration doing that. the american people should be very concerned that the trump administration does not seem to have any plan to secure the enduring defeat of isis in syria. senate democrats will try to learn as much as possible from the experts available to us. folks like mr. mcguirk, but ultimately the president alone has the authority to correct our nation's course. so it is still very important for the senate to pass a house resolution condemning the president's decision to precipitously withdraw from northern syria. the president tends to listen when the republicans here in congress express their disapproval. that's what happened in the house, where over 120 republicans voted with democrats on a bipartisan resolution,
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including leaders mccarthy, scalise and cheney, hard war republicans but at least they knew how hard this was for america. i wish our colleagues would show the same courage. if the house resolution is tough enough for house republican leadership, surely it's good enough for the majority of senate republicans. so we'll keep trying to pass the house resolution here in the senate because it means we could send a bill to the president's desk that shows him a bipartisan majority of congress is against his reckless decision in syria. this is extremely, extremely troubling, and i am very angry, very angry. later this week senate democrats are going to use their authority under the congressional review act to force a vote to repeal the i.r.s.'s harmful rule that effectively eliminates state charitable tax credits all
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across the country. i know republican colleagues want to frame this c.r.a. vote as a vote on state and local tax credit cap they put in place in tax reform, and i do disagree. i vehemently disagree with that policy and will look to change it as soon as possible. it's hurt so many people in new york who are middle class, not wealthy, and in suburbs throughout the country. and, by the way, it's probably one of the major reasons the house flipped from republican to democrat. so many of those districts in new jersey and california, new york, and pennsylvania were affected by this cap and people rebeled throughout their republican congress and put new people in. but it affects other things as well. the regulation we'll be voting on impacts state charitable credits in virtually every state ranging in areas from education to conservation to child care and more. do not take my word for it.
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in kentucky, the community foundation of louisville, major philanthropic organization, has warned the i.r.s.'s rule effectively extinguished the endow kentucky program which has generated more than $31 million in charitable donations. look at south carolina where my friend senator graham has made clear this rule will have devastated consequences for the south carolina research authority which helps start up companies in his state to create new jobs. let's go to colorado where the boys and girls club of chafee county warned that these proposed regulations will severely limit the effectiveness of our colorado gild care contribution tax credit which they say will, quote, limit our ability to address an issue fundamentally through the economic health of the community. the list goes on and on. i'd ask my republican colleagues before we vote on the c.r.a. tomorrow to look how it affects their state not just in terms of state and local taxes but
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charitable contributions, education, homeschool and many other areas. the vote is about getting rid of an i.r.s. rule that hinders state programs like the ones i mentioned. my republican colleagues have always proclaimed that they are defenders of states' rights and the tenth amendment. here's an opportunity for them to walk the walk, stop the i.r.s. from making life harder on taxpayers and local economies. i urge them to vote with us to appeal this rule, and i yield the floor.
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mr. thune: madam president. the presiding officer: majority whip. mr. thune: is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we're not. mr. thune: okay. over in the house today the ways and means comtd is marking up speaker pelosi's prescription drug bill, the latest installment in the democrat campaign. like other government plans, the so-called medicare for all bill, the pelosi drug bill will ultimately leave americans worse off when it comes to access to care. madam president, there's no question that the american health care system isn't perfect. high drug costs are a problem, and one in four seniors reports difficulty affording medications. stories of patients being forced to ration pills or abandon prescriptions at the pharmacy coirnt are unacceptable. but spending the entire -- but
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upending the entire american health care system is not the answer. a strong majority of americans are happy with their health insurance coverage and the quality of the health care that they receive. and americans have access to treatments that individuals in other countries simply don't have access to. take cancer drugs, for example. between 2011 and 2018, 82 new cancer drugs became available. u.s. patients have access to 96% of those new drugs. in germany, by contrast, patients have access to just 73% of those new cancer drugs. in france, just 66%. and in japan, patients only have access to 54% of these new cancer drugs. in other words, japanese patients are missing out on access to roughly half of the new cancer drugs that emerged between 2011 and 2018. so why do americans have such
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tremendous access to new drugs while other countries trail behind? because the u.s. government doesn't dictate drug prices or drug coverage. that's also the reason why american companies lead the world in american innovation. back in 1986, investment in drug research by european drug companies exceeded u.s. investment by approximately 24%. but all that changed. all that changed, madam president, when the european governments stepped in and started imposing price controls. today european investment in drug research and development is almost 40% lower than u.s. investment. 24% higher in 1986, today 40% lower. speaker pelosi's bill would start the process of destroying the bill that has produced so much access and innovation for american patients. her legislation would impose government price controls on as many as 250 medications. if the progressives of her caucus have their way the bill
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would impose government price controls on all medications. either way the result is likely to look much the same as we've seen before. reduced access to lifesaving treatments and substantially reduced investment for the prescription drug breakthroughs of the future. under the pelosi bill americans could look forward to a future where we might be the ones losing out on a quarter or more of the new cancer drugs that are coming to market. madam president, there's no question that we need to find solutions to drive down drug costs. but the answer to the problem of high drug costs is not to destroy the system that has given american patients access to so many new cures and treatments. republicans want to develop bipartisan legislation focused on lowering prescription drug costs without, without destroying the american system of access and innovation. the senate finance committee, the senate health, education, labor, and pensions committee
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and the senate judiciary committee have spent a lot of time this year working on this issue, and work on truly bipartisan solutions remains ongoing. earlier this year house committees advanced drug pricing legislation on a bipartisan basis, but unfortunately house democrats have made it clear that they're more interested in playing politics than in cooperating on legislation to address the challenges that are facing american families. democrats know that the pelosi drug bill has no chance of passing the senate, but they have chosen to pursue this socialist fantasy instead of working with republicans to develop a bipartisan prescription drug bill that isn't just price controls and that might actually go somewhere. like the democrats' larger socialist fantasy in medicare for all, the pelosi drug bill would ultimately hurt the very people that it's supposed to help. in this case by restricting their access to lifesaving drugs
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and future prescription drug innovations. madam president, the pelosi drug bill is a bad prescription for the american people. madam 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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quorum call:
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mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: skilled that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, this congress i have the great honor of cochairing the congress on international narcotics with my colleague from california, senator feinstein. as our country continues to battle the scourge of the opioid epidemic, fight drug trafficking at our borders, and attack illicit drug sources abroad, the work of this caucus could not be more timely or more important. we must do more, i believe, to treat addiction, and we need to do more to stop americans from using illegal drugs in the first instance. earlier in year we had a hearing to examine the global narcotics
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epidemic and discuss our country's counter-narcotic strategy. that the first hearing we were lucky to have mike pompeo as a witness. and he spoke in depth about the scope of this problem and now the state department is working with our friends and allies abroad to curb the supply of these illicit drugs. we learned a lot from secretary pompeo and our other expert witnesses about the complexity of this problem and a need for a whole-of-government approach. it was a strong way to kick off our agenda, and i'm looking forward to our second hearing tomorrow that i want to talk about briefly where we'll have experts testifying on the public health effects of the most commonly used illicit drug, and that is marijuana. a 2018 report found that an estimated 43.5 million americans used marijuana in the last year. that's the highest percentage
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since 2002. while marijuana is still a prohibited drug under federal law, we know that more than half of the states have legalized it in some form, making the rise in usage not all that the surprising. now, there's no shortage of people who claim that marijuana has endless health benefits and can help patients struggling from everything from epilepsy to anxiety to cancer treatments. i might say, madam president, this reminds me of some of the advertising we saw from the tobacco industry years ago, where they actually claimed public health benefits from smoking tobacco, which we know as a matter of fact were false and that tobacco contains nicotine, an addictive drug, and is implicated with cancers of different kinds. so we're hearing a lot of the same happy-talk with regard to
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marijuana and none of the facts that we need to understand about the public health impact of marijuana use. we've heard from folks here in congress as well as a number of our democratic colleagues who are running for president about their desire to legalize marijuana at the federal level. but for the number of voices in support of legalization, there are even more unanswered questions about both the short- and long-term public health effects. between 1995 and 2014, t.h.c. concentration -- that's the active ingredient in marijuana -- t.h.c. concentration has increased threefold, making today's version of the drug far stronger and more addictive than ever before. and it is true that for some people that marijuana can indeed be addictive. there's been an effort throughout the medical and scientific communities to learn
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more about the public health marijuana use, but the results of these studies haven't provided any definitive evidence, and i must say, among all the discussion at the state and federal level about marijuana use and its benefits and its hazards, congress really hasn't had an opportunity to soberly and deliberately consider this question that hopefully we'll be enlightened about tomorrow -- and that is, what are the public health benefits of this trend in our country? a few years ago the national academy of sciences convened an expert committee to review the health effects of cannabis and cannabis-derived products. the committee members were experts in the field of addiction as well as pediatric and neurodevelopment, public health and a range of other areas. their findings were released in january of 2017, and while i
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won't read you the entire 46-page document -- 468-page document, i will tell you that it raised more questions than it provided answers. for many of the claimed medicinal uses of marijuana, the committee found there was insufficient evidence to conclude its effectiveness, a pretty basic question. and the benefits aren't the only thing clouded in mystery. so are the risks. there's simply a lack of scientific evidence to determine the link between marijuana and various health risks, and that's something i would think congress and the american people would want to know before we proceed further down this path. this is especially concerning when it comes to marijuana's youngest users, the impact, for example, on the adolescent brain as it develops. we don't know enough about how this could impair cognitive function or capacity or increase the risk of mental illness or perhaps serve as a gateway for
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for other drugs that are even more damaging to the health of a young person. with increasing use in the growing number of states giving the green light for marijuana use, we need better answers. at our hearing tomorrow, i'm eager to dive into this doubt and learn more from our -- into this subject and learn more from our witnesses that help us fill the knowledge gaps that exist when it comes in this subject. we're listened to have surgeon general jerome adams. he has raised concerns in the past about the increasing use of recreational marijuana among adolescents and its impact on the development of cognitive functions in a growing and developing brain. we'll also hear from nora volkov, director of the national institute of drug abuse. our second panel includes experts in the field of psychiatry, psychology, pathology, and epidemiology.
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so we'll get a holistic look at the health implications. there's simply too much we don't know about the risks and the claimed benefits of marijuana use, and i'm looking forward to hearing from our witnesses tomorrow to get a better sense of the facts, as connecticut templates -- contemplates -- as connecticut templates future legislation. i appreciate my colleagues, particularly the cochair of the international drug caucus, senator feinstein, so we can get to the bottom of the risks and benefits associated with marijuana use. and i believe tomorrow will get us moving in the right direction. madam president, i yield the floor and i would note the absent of a quorum. -- 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: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. ms. klobuchar: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i come to the floor today to urge the senate to take action on election security legislation immediately. it has been 1,005 days since
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russia attacked our elections in 2016, and we have yet to pass any kind of comprehensive election security reform. the next major elections are just 378 days away, so the clock is ticking. we must take action now to secure our elections from foreign threats. so let's review what happened here. in 2016, russia invaded our democracy. they didn't use bombs, jets, or tanks. instead, they spent years planning a cyber mission to undermine the foundation of our democratic system. this mission has been called sweeping and systematic by many, including special counsel mueller. our military and intelligence
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officials, as special counsel mueller made clear, from both democratic and republican administrations have confirmed over and over again that russia launched a sophisticated and targeted cyber attack that was authorized by president putin. this includes, by the way, former director coates who was president trump's intelligence hack. it includes director wray, the head of the f.b.i. it includes the head of homeland security. one by one by one, officials with the trump administration have, in fact, confirmed that this has happened. so what exactly did russia do? well, they conducted research and reconnaissance against election networks in every single state. we used to think it was just 21 states, but this year the f.b.i. and the department of homeland security under the trump administration issued a report that confirms that all 50 states
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were targeted. russia was successful in hacking into databases in illinois. the chicago board of elections reported that names, addresses, birth dates, and other sensitive information on thousands of registered voters was exposed. russia launched cyber attacks against u.s. companies that made the software we use to vote, and they tried to hack into the e-mail of local officials. local officials that had elections in their per view. investigations are ongoing, -- in they are purview. investigations are ongoing, but we know that russians hacked into the election systems in the presiding officer's home state of florida. and senator rubio has publicly confirmed that russian hackers not only accessed voting systems in florida but were in a position to change voter rolls. and these are just the attacks
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on our election infrastructure. so we should look at it this way. one, they tried to get into the infrastructure. two, what we know they did was spread propaganda about things. one of the main ways they did it was with social media. this month, the senate intelligence committee released a bipartisan report detailing russia's widespread social media campaign to spread disinformation and divide our country. so remember, you kind of have hacking into things at the local level and at the state levels, and then you have this disinformation campaign, two things with the same intent, to interfere in our democracy. think about what i just described. a foreign country attacks our democracy in multiple ways. our military leaders and law enforcement officials all say that russia hasn't paid a sufficient price for the attack,
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so they are now emboldened in the words of former director dan coates and former republican senator and continue their efforts to undermine our political system, and congress hasn't passed a law, aside from providing election equipment funding with no strings attached, to address the problem. this isn't just wrong. this is legislative malpractice. we have a common set of facts about what happened. now we need commonsense solutions to make sure it doesn't happen again. this week, a number of us are coming to the floor to urge the republican leader to bring election security legislation to a vote. that must happen. but much more must happen as well. today i'm going to focus on the need to improve transparency and accountability for online platforms like facebook and twitter, but before i turn to that, i would like to take a moment to describe why it is
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imperative that we update our election infrastructure. right now, the majority of states rely on electronic voting systems that are at least ten years old. in 2020, voters in eight states will pass their ballots on machines with no paper trail so there is no reliable record to go back and audit the election results. so if something goes wrong, if they hack in, there will be no paper ballots to back up what really happened. the problem for that state or that county, yes, but how about problems for a national presidential election? by the way, am i telling any secrets here? no, russia knows exactly what those states are and what those counties are that don't have backup paper ballots. 16 states have no statewide audit requirement to confirm the results of the election. these statistics are alarming because experts agree that paper
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ballots and audits are the baseline of what we need to secure election systems. f.b.i. director wray recently testified in the senate. i asked him whether he thinks having things like paper ballots makes sense in the event that russia or any other foreign country, for that matter, decides to go at us again. he said yes, that would be a good thing. maybe we should think of listening to the head of the f.b.i. and figure out what we could do to make this better. even the president has expressed his support for paper ballots, but i think we need more than words. i think we need action. i think we need this body saying to those states it is time to get your act together now and get those backup paper ballots. i have introduced multiple pieces of legislation, some of them bipartisan, that would secure our election by requiring paper ballots, mandateing close
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election audits and modernizing our election infrastructure. despite one of those bills, the secure election act being cosponsored with my colleague, senator lankford, and also cosponsored by the head of the intelligence committee, senator burr, as well as senator warner, the ranking member, as well as senator graham, who is, in fact, the chair of the judiciary committee, including and senator harris who has also been a cosponsor. in spite of all these leaders being on this bill, this bill was blocked last year. it was blocked by senator mcconnell who made calls to republican senators, as well as the white house, with the general counsel made calls to republican senators to ask them not to support the bill. this is wrong. and i am glad that my colleagues like senators wyden and durbin will be coming to the floor this week urging the senate to take up bills i have introduced like the safe act and the election security act that would nod --
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modernize our election infrastructure. remember, russia didn't just try to hack into our election system. they also launched an extended and sophisticated information war designed to divide our country and destroy america's confidence in our political system. russia also knew that our social media platforms would be easily exploited for that purpose. and this is a bill that i'm going to ask for unanimous consent on, a bipartisan bill that i lead along with senator graham, the chair, republican chair of the judiciary committee, also cosponsored by senator warner, the ranking leader on the intelligence committee. so why are we doing this bill about the social media platforms? well, the place that russia was most successful in undermining our democracy was right on your facebook page, right there in front of you. now we know that some of the
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brightest minds in our country built remarkable platforms where people can share information, like are -- pliek -- like twitter, google and facebook. they failed to build adequate protections against the bad guys, kind of like building the bank but not putting any locks on the doors, and our democracy is worse because of it. our social media platforms are not what regulated, in fact, they're hardly regulated at all and ripe for exploitation. countries like russia, iran, north korea, and china are taking advantage of that as we speak. the senate intelligence committee led by chairman burr and vice chairman warner, recently released its second report on russian interference in the 2016 election. this wasn't a partisan report. no one could call it that at all. the first report details attacks and threats to election infrastructure. this second report details a
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sophisticated disinformation campaign russia used to pit americans against each other and the committee found that russia's targeting of the 2016 u.s. presidential election was, quote, part of a broader sophisticated and ongoing information warfare campaign designed to sow discord in american politics and society. the report notes that russia conducted, quote, a vastly more complex and strategic assault on the united states than was initially understood. end quote. so what did they do? okay, they hired trolls. they hired buildings full of people to go online and pretend to be americans, and then submit things and buy things and buy ads that ended up on your facebook pages and your twitter feed. russia specifically focused on hot button issues and used
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falsified stories and means to foster distrust of our democratic institution. so maybe they would target a conservative person and put up a bunch of things that would make that person mad, but they were fake. maybe they would target a liberal person and they would put up a bunch of ads about rallies and about things like that that were actually fake. they targeted african americans more than any other group through individual posts, location targeting, facebook pages, instagram accounts and twitter. their internet research agency folksed on stoking division -- focused on stoking divisions around race. one of my best examples was an ad. they bought it in rubles. facebook let them buy it in rubles, and it was an ad that we didn't even see until months after the election. and it had an innocent woman's face on it. why do i know? because she called our office later when it came out in judiciary. she was just a woman, they
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found her face, african american woman, they put it on the ad, and the ad said this -- why wait in line on election day? you can text your vote for hillary clinton. and they gave the text number. that's a lie. it's more than a lie, it's a crime. they're trying to suppress people's vote and make them not go vote and instead text in to a fake number. that's a crime. people have gone to jail for simply jamming the lines on election day. that's what this is. it's a high-tech version of a crime. so why was no one prosecuted? because we didn't even know the ad existed that was targeted to african americans' facebook pages in swing states until way after the election. that's why. you can do the same thing on the conservative side of the aisle. that's why i am simply asking for some solutions because one time it's going to be one side and the next time it will be the other. why would the people in this
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chamber let this go on? why would we do that? we have sworn, taken an oath, an obligation to stand up for our country. that's what this is about. so it continues. intelligence officials are once again sounding the alarm that adversaries are using social media to undermine the upcoming elections. just yesterday facebook announced it removed a network of russian-backed accounts posing as locals, weighing in on political issues in swing states. it never ends. russia has a playbook, and they are using it to attack us. we have to stop them. so how do we do this? well, i have a very good solution. it's not the only solution. there's a lot of other bills we can do too, but it's called the honest ads act that i am leading with senator graham. the goal is simple, and i want to thank senator warner for all the work he did on this bill as well.
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the goal is simple. bring our laws into the 21st century to ensure voters know who is paying to influence our political system. right now the political ads that are sold on tv and radio and newspapers are disclosed so that the public knows what they are. they're actually kept either in an an archives so campaigns and reporters can go over and figure out what they are. they can go what is this ad? why was someone putting this ad against me. i believe in competitiveness in our election system, and if you disclose things, then you get more information about what's wrong with those things. the ads also have to say who paid for them. that's why you say disclaimers at the bottom or you see a challenger saying paid for this ad. my name is this, and paid for this ad. that's what that is. guess what? if those things go on radio or
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newspaper, you have to follow all those rules. if they end up on facebook or twitter or another large social media platform, there are no rules in place. sure a few of these companies are voluntarily disclosing it but there are no rules in place about how it should be done. when i asked them why they didn't favor the bill, they changed their minds, some of them and do favor them. when i asked them at the beginning they said they couldn't figure out what abissue of legislative importance is. it's about candidate ads that bug you all the time. they said they couldn't figure out what that was. i said really? my radio station in fief refer falls in minnesota can figure it out. please tell me you don't have the expertise to figure that out. that is why it's important that we pass this bill. it's about issue ads and it's also about candidate ads. and all it does, as we look at
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where the money is going to go in advertising, last 2016 presidential, $1.4 billion was spent on line on these kinds of ads. it's supposed to go to $3 billion to $4 billion. $3 billion to $4 billion in 2020. and there are no rules of the road. it is not only unfair, it is criminal if this continues. and it's so easy to do. this is something tbieks right away. -- fix right away. this is j john mccain led this bill with me. and when we introduced it, he said this, i have long fought to increase transparency and end the corrupting influence of special interests in political campaigns, and i am confident the honest ads act will modernize existing law to safeguard the integrity of our election system. this congress, as i mentioned, senator graham took his place. it is time to get this done. there are many other bills that
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i'll come back and discuss in the next few weeks which would help on foreign influence in our elections. but today i want to focus on this one because election security is national security, and it's well past time that we take action. the american people should expect nothing less from us. we should be able to get this done. therefore, i ask unanimous consent that the rules committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 1356 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. further, 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? a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senate majority whip.
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mr. thune: mr. president, there are some members who object to this who can't be here to object on their own behalf of. i object on their behalf of. and i would just say to the senator from minnesota that like her, i also want to do everything we can to ensure that our elections are fair and transparent in this country, and i think there are a number of solutions, as she pointed out, that are out there. i think there is a lot of good work that will continue to be done hopefully on a bipartisan basis. and as a former chairman of the senate commerce committee, i have worked with the senator from minnesota on a number of issues where we've been able to fashion solutions that are bipartisan in nature. and so i suspect that the work on this will continue. but as i mentioned, we have a couple of members on our side who do have objections at least to the bill in its current form, or at least in the process of trying to do it this way. but i do think there is a way in which we can come together and work towards solutions that will help do what i think all of us have as an objective, and that is to keep our election process
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in this country fair and transparent. ms. klobuchar: mr. president. the presiding officer: objection is heard. ms. klobuchar: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: i appreciate the words of my colleague from south dakota. i point out the honest ads act is a bipartisan bill with the other cosponsor being the republican chair of the judiciary committee. and i think we should be focused on election security instead of protecting the social media companies. i think we should be protecting the american people. we need to be a united front. and i appreciate his words, and i look forward to working with him to get this bill to the floor. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i note 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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mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: i ask the quorum call be suspensed. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you, mr. president. the mueller report made crystal
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clear that the russian government interfered in the election of 2016. they called it a, quote, a sweeping and systematic fashion, close quote, of interference. i know this better than some because in my home state of illinois, the russian intelligence service literally hacked into our state board of elections voter file, gave access to a database containing information of millions of voters in my state and the russians extracted the data. they went through election equipment and technology equipment vendors. federal law enforcement and intelligence officers have repeatedly warned us that these interfeern efforts will continue into the election of 2020. in fact, former kgb agent,
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vladimir putin, mocked us saying that russia would interfere again in the u.s. elections. congress cannot sit back and ignore this threat. we must take action to help state and local election officials prepare for the 2020 elections and those beyond. i'm pleased that leader mitch mcconnell, of kentucky, finally relented on his opposition to any further funding to assist state and local election officials with local security election efforts. but the $250 million included in the fiscal 2020 financial services and general government appropriations bill is clearly inadequate. we need to boldly invest in our election security. it is literally the cornerstone of our democracy, and we need to provide sustained funding to state and local election officials to respond to these threats that are far beyond any
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state's capacity to deal with. 40 of us have cosponsored the election security act, which senator amy klobuchar of minnesota introduced in may. i was proud to join her as one of the original sponsors. the legislation would provide critical resources to election officials through an initial $1 billion investment in the infrastructure followed by infrastructure maintenance. it would also require the requirement of verified paper ballots and establish accountability measures for election technology vendors. let me bring that done to earth in simple words. if we cannot trust the outcome of an election to accurately reflect the feelings of america, we have lost the cornerstone of our democracy. there are nations, including russia, which have proven they are doing everything in their
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power to stop us from having safe, accurate election counts. the question for this senate and for this congress is, do we care? do we care enough to spend the resources so our states can protect the integrity of voters? i'm not just talking about blue states from a democratic side of the aisle, every state, red and blue alike, would benefit from this legislation. if republicans want to demonstrate that they are joining us in putting country over party, they should join us today and protect our democracy by passing this legislation. i've been asked to make a unanimous consent request at this point before i finish my remarks and i thank the senator from louisiana for being on the floor. and so, as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the rules committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 1540, the election security act, the senate proceed to its immediate consideration, the bill be read a third time and passed and the
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motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. kennedy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. kennedy: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, reserving the right to object. and with all the respect i can muster, this bill has more red flags than the chinese embassy. i'm objecting despite my grave admiration for the senior senator from illinois,, for three reasons. the first reason i can best explain by telling you a story. an oil man was talking to his
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banker one day, and the banker said, mr. oil man, you know, the bank loaned you $1 million to rework all of your old oil wells and they went dry. and the oil man said, could have been worse. and then the banker said to the oil man, the banker said, mr. oil man, we loaned you a second million dollars to drill brand-new wells, and they all went dry. what do you say about that? and the oil man said, could have been worse. and then the banker said to the oil man, our bank loaned you a third million dollars to buy drilling equipment and it all broke down. what do you say about that? and the oil man said it could
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have been worse. and the banker said, what do you mean it could have been worse? we loaned you $3 million and you lost all of it. what do you mean it could have been worse? and the oil man said, it could have been my money. the cost of this bill is $1 billion. that's nine zeros. $1 billion. if i started counting to a billion right now one numeral a second, i wouldn't finish until 2051. i'd be dead as a door nail. i wouldn't make it a billion is a lot. we toss around a billion these
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days like it was a nickel. a billion seconds ago it was 1986, ronald reagan was president. that's how much a billion is. a billion hours ago the romance were conquering. that was a billion minutes ago, a billion hours ago neanderthals were roaming the earth. a billion is a lot. we have a 22 trillion-dollar deficit. that's 12 zeros. we've got to pay this money back. i'm running out of space and we're probably going to run out of digits if we keep borrowing. so my first concern is the money. now, if we had not given any
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money to our colleagues at the state level, that would be one thing. but as my good friend knows, we gave -- two years ago we gave states $380 million to combat election fraud. they haven't even spent it all yet. they haven't even spent it all yet. so, yes, i have concerns about the money. point two. we did have problems in 2016, and join the senior senator in wanting to do everything we possibly can from keeping it from happening again, and we did in 2018. we all had a classified briefing down in our room. i don't know the particular name of it, but it's in the visitors
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center. it's classified. you have to leave your phone and ipad outside. we had the director of national intelligence there, we had the f.b.i. director, i think we had every general on the western hemisphere, and we went over the 2018 elections. they went off without a hitch. they went off without a hitch. have you read any articles about us having any problems in 2018 like we had in 2016? no. do you think if we had had problems in 2018 that the members of our press would have pounced on it like a ninja? yes. but you haven't seen those articles because 2018 went off without a hitch in part because we gave the states $380 million to solve the problem. and they haven't spent it all.
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so if -- a reasonable person would wonder why we want to give them another billion dollars of american taxpayer money at this juncture. we also ask the director of national intelligence, the f.b.i., and every general who was there, are you ready for -- for 2020? every single one of them said cat forricly, unequivocally, unconditionally, yes. and every single senator, both my republican friends and my democratic friends walked out of that classified hearing impressed. the third reason i regretfully have to object to this bill, and i'm not ascribing this intention to the senator from illinois. i am not.
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but there's some of my friends on capitol hill who would like nothing better than to take over elections in america. to have our election system federalized. right now we don't have one election system. we have 50 election systems. every state runs its elections its own way. usually by the secretary of state. now, i believe that's a matter of federalism. i don't see anywhere in the united states constitution or in the federalist papers where it says the united states government ought to be running elections for states. number two, our states do a great job. yeah, we had a lot of activity on facebook and google and other aspects of social media, but we haven't heard one allegation or
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at least any proof of an allegation that any votes were stolen in 2016 much less 2018 are changed and that's because our secretaries of state did a good job. it's also safer to have every secretary of state and every state in charge of its own election system. because if a foreign government wants to hack your systems, they've got to go to 50 different states. they've got do it 50 times. if we nationalize, yet again give the federal government more power -- if we nationalize elections, all a foreign national has to do is hack one system. now, again, i am not ascribing this motive or this intent to my good friend from illinois. i am not. but there are some who -- who would like nothing better than
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to nationalize state elections and have them run by the federal government. and then the federal government, they could tell the states what to do, what kind of machines to use, whether you need paper ballots, how to order the ballots, what kind of -- if you have electric machines when you walk into a booth what kind of color -- you need. and before you know it, casting a vote would be like building a bridge. and it is a matter of federalism, mr. president. now, those who disagree with me will say, oh, kennedy, you're exaggerating. this bill doesn't do that. it doesn't federalize elections. yeah, it does. you know how we federalize things around here? we get the object of the
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federalization hooked on the money. those who want the federal government to run everything, never go right at it, they sneak up on them and say we're going to give you $380 million, and then they get a little addicted and say we're going to give you a billion dollars and then they get more addicted and then they say we'll give you more money and then the federal government's got it. that's what worries me about this bill. i'm going to offer another bill after we're done today that i hope my good friend from illinois will at least consider supporting. it's not going to cost a billion dollars, i can assure you, mr. president. this bill is going to require the chief election official of every state -- usually that's the secretary of state, as the senior senator knows better than me -- but it's going to require the chief election official of every state to disclose to the
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election assistance commission the identity of any known foreign national who has physically handled ballots, machines, or has had unmonitored access to storage facilities or tabulation centers used to support elections. or unmonitored access to election-related information or communication technology. what does that really mean? that means if a foreign national at any stage of the chain of custody has access to the machine, has access to the ballot, that's got to be disclosed. if you want to do something to stop foreign nationals from interfering with our elections, we don't need to spend a billion dollars. we need to pass this bill. mr. durbin: -- is there --
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mr. kennedy: i'm getting to that. for the reasons i described and with great respect to the senior senator from illinois, i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. durbin: mr. president, i ask consent to speak for five minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: first let me say this. i do respect the senator from louisiana. we have been cosponsors of important legislation. i hope we will again. we see eye to eye on many things but not on this thing. a billion dollars? the federal government spends $1.5 billion every year. is our integrity of our voting system worth a billion dollars? do you know what it's cost us to reach this point in our history where our democracy is reliable and respected around the world? it's cost more than money. it's cost the lives of men and women who went to war to fight for that. to make sure that we had the last word when it came to the future of our democracy. a billion dollars. oh, overwhelming number, right?
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divided by 50. and understand what's at stake here. what's at stake here is whether we care enough to invest money in our election process not with federal mandates. we say to the states you decide how to spend it. you have the authority over state election procedure, the color of the curtain on your booth, if you want to mandate that by state law. be my guest. but what it comes down to -- and i have to disagree with my friend from louisiana -- the money we sent to the states already has all been obligated and is going through the purchasing and procurement policies of each of the states. it isn't as if they can't figure out what to do with it. upgrading our voting machines to make sure that they reflect technology today makes a difference. have you bought a new cell phone recently? have you watched any ads on television talking about the security of your cell phone? have you listened to anybody talk about the privacy of you as an individual? it's because every single day,
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every single minute, and every second someone is trying to figure out how to get into your mind and into your life. and we're trying to keep technology up with this reality. now, what's the reality of the technology we use for voting? in my state we have paper ballots to verify what's actually cast. but our technology is 20 years old. the russians know that. the iranians know that. the chinese know that. and they're mocking us. they're laughing. if you were amused by the senator from louisiana's story -- and he's the best story teller in the senate -- think how amused vladimir putin is to listen to this debate. we can't afford to spend the money to ward off vladimir putin's next attack in 2020. that's what i hear from the other side of the aisle. i disagree. i think what's at stake here is so basic and so fundamental that shame on us if we want to -- we won't invest the money to make sure we keep up with the attackers. now people say well, 2018 went
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off without a hitch. it was not only the good work of state election officials, it was the hard work here in washington of our intelligence agencies and the senator knows that. we didn't sit back and say well, i sure hope they don't hit us again. we went after them. i can't be more specific because we're told not to be more detailed in our response. we invest a heck of a lot of money in stopping them from ruining the 2018 election and we're bound to do it again. and i hope we do. but to say we can't afford to protect the integrity of our vote, then what is a democracy worth? what is it worth? it's worth human lives and it's worth our investment in this generation to make sure that those votes count whether you live in a red state or a blue state. i'm not talking about just send this to democratic state officials. i'm talking about across the country. i want an election to truly reflect the way the american people feel about candidates and issues that are before them. and that's why i'm so disappointed by this senator's
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objection. yes, i will carefully consider his bill. maybe there's some room here, but when we say a billion dollars disqualifies you from being considered seriously when it comes down to the integrity of our voting system, a billion dollars is too much? turns out the republican leader has suggested one-fourth of that amount and nobody blinked. i happen to think a billion dollars is more realistic in terms of helping our voting system across this country. shame on us if the result of a presidential election is later find to have been tampered with by our enemies overseas. shame on us if we didn't do everything we were supposed to do in the senate, in the house, in this government to protect that god-given right for a democracy that we cherish so much. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. kennedy: mr. president, i agree so much with what the senator from illinois has said, but we're on top of this. let me say it again. we gave the states $380 million
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to address the problems in 2018. they haven't spent all of it. it's three gallons of crazy to give them another billion dollars. we have been assured by all the relevant federal officials that we're ready for 2020. and i'm going to repeat once again. we had no problems in 2018. if i thought for a second that our voting system was in jeopardy, i would be joining with my good friend, the senator. but i'm not much for just spending taxpayer money with a $22 trillion deficit just to be spent. thank you. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to speak up to 15 minutes followed by senators johnson, risch, menendez for five minutes each.
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the presiding officer: any objection? without objection. mr. paul: today we'll vote to whether or not admit north macedonia in nato. i think we already have dead wait and adding macedonia to nato adds absolutely nothing to our collective security. in his farewell address george washington stated that it is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world. this was echoed by thomas jefferson in his inaugural address who wished for peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none. as we watched the most recent developments in syria unfold, it is a good moment to remember the guidance which washington and jefferson attempted to pass along. turkey, a nation which we have been locked in permanent alliance with since the cold war, has launched an offensive, a war of choice by furthering invading syria. well, they're clearly acting in their own self-interest.
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their actions place our nation, one mistake or one small incident away from a hot war with at least one major global power. does it make sense for american men and women to potentially have to defend turkey over their war of choice? i believe that when jefferson spoke of entangling alliances, one could not pick a better example than how we have expanded nato. since 2004 we have expanded nato ever closer to the border of russia. in the process, we have added so-called -- the so-called military might of countries such as solvenia, albania, montenegro, and now today north macedonia. what benefit is it to the united states to add countries which barely have enough military might to defend themselves? i say that adding north macedonia to nato adds absolutely nothing to our national security. the best case scenario we can hope for with these countries is
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that an incident that triggers a major land war never occurs. if you think this is far-fetched, remember that world war i began when a serbian nationalist assassinated the heir to the hungarian empire. within months the very system of entangling alliances that our forefathers warned about turned europe into a killing field which ultimately killed upwards of 19 million people. adding yet another small country to nato does nothing to dissipate the chances of catastrophic war and in fact encourages that possibility. what military capabilities does north macedonia bring to the table? 8,200 active duty soldiers. additionally, in 2018 they spent a whopping $120 million a year on their military. by comparison, the chicago cubs spent $221 million on their payroll. additionally, 15 other major league baseball teams spent more on their roster than north
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macedonia spends on defense. even if north macedonia brought their military spending in line with nato guidelines, it would still only be $227 million. but if the goal of nato is to have these countries spend 2%, why don't we wait until they're spending 2% to admit them instead of admitting them and say please increase your defense spending. if they come up to 2%, they would only be spending $227 million which is $103 million less than bryce harper's contract with the philadelphia phillys. nato is supposed to be about mutual defense, not just blanket security guarantees to smaller states. how much would nato give in monetary terms to nato? how much would north macedonia give? less than a million dollars. we foot the bill. we pay for everything. we're going to get less than a million dollars of direct contributions from north macedonia. doesn't seem hardly fair, does it? it is clear that north macedonia
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adds little if any value to the nato alliance in terms of manpower or military capabilities which means that the only reason they're being added is to be a trip wire that would only ensnare us in a rapidly escalating wider war. to which they would not be able to carry their own weight. so i don't think northern macedonia add itself anything to our national security but they're out there on the edge of europe as a trip wire to ensnare us in a wider war. mr. president, if the recent events involving turkey were not enough to validate the guidance laid down by our founding fathers, then adding north macedonia to a tangled network of permanent alliances certainly is. we should be wise to revisit and heed our founding fathers who said getting involved in entangling alliance in europe does not add to our security. it threatens our security. i urge a no vote. i don't think we need to expand nato and we certainly don't need more people that the american taxpayer will be asked to pay for.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. a senator: i rise today to speak in support of north macedonia's accession to the north atlantic treaty organization. its path to nato accession has been a long one. despite being a leading candidate for membership, mass macedonia became a huge roadblock. disagreement over a country's name may not seem like a big deal to those looking in from the outside but getting over this hurdle required significant political courage. mr. johnson: in 2017, greece's prime minister and macedonia's prime minister displayed that level of political courage when they committed to settle the nearly three decades-long dispute. because of their leadership, these two nations signed the press agreement last year.
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greece agreed to remove its objective -- objection and approve macedonia's accession to nato exchange for macedonia agreeing to change its name to north macedonia. this dispute resolution between greece and north macedonia demonstrates that nato is not only an affected offensive alliance, it has been a tremendous force for stability in europe. north macedonia is poised to soon become nato's 30th member because it worked to resolve a long-standing bilateral disagreement. i support nato's long-standing open door policy and hope that the goal of nato membership will continue to guide other aspirants to solve long-standing disputes, fight corruption, and make difficult, necessary reforms. i would like to speak more broadly on how important nato is -- the nato alliance is to the united states. nato is based on the principle of collective defense. article 5 of the north atlantic
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treaty states that an attack against one member is an attack against us all. nato secretary-general stoltenberg detailed nato's value when he addressed a joint meeting of congress earlier this year and both started and ended his speech by saying, quote, it is good to have friends. i couldn't agree more. in the wake of the attacks of 9/11, our friend, nato allies, invoked article 5 for the first time in its history. our alliances stood shoulder to shoulder with us in afghanistan. they lost 1,000 of their sons and daughters by honoring their commitment by fighting alongside us. we should never forget our ally's contribution and sacrifice. a strong nato alliance is just as important and relevant today it was a in its founding in 1949. i am pleased that the full senate is taking up this measure to approve north macedonia's
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accession to nato and i ask that my colleagues vote in favor with a refounding yes. i -- resounding yes. i yield the floor, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: i come to the floor to express my opposition of andrew bremberg. he's not qualified for this position, and his views on women's rights and access to reproductive health care conflict with longstanding positions of the u.s. government and more than three-quarters of the american public. now, i take my position as ranking member of the foreign
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relations committee seriously. i have a duty to thoroughly vet all nominees that come before the committee, whether they be political nominees like mr. bremberg or career civil servants. i look at their foreign policy experience, their core values and whether they will be responsive and honest with congresses as we conduct our oversight. mr. bremberg fails even these basic criteria. he has no relevant foreign policy experience. ip repeat, the nominee to represent the united states of geneva has no foreign experiences. he has served as an advisor to the domestic department. when it comes to mr. bremberg's core values, his nomination hearing left me deeply troubled.
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our voice of geneva must stand up for the core principle that reproductive rights are human rights. mr. bremberg made clear he opposed access to reproductive health accesses to women and girls who are victims of sexual violence in conflict in the world. this view is totally outside the mainstream, not just of the democratic party, but the republican party and the american people at large. that's why 40 reproductive health groups wrote a joint letter opposing mr. bremberg's nomination. moreover in his position at the white house, mr. bremberg led an advanced divisive proposal such as the infamous order. mr. bremberg frequently cited confidentiality interest and
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declined to remark further. when asked by senators whether he was ex serting any form of privilege or executive privilege, he insisted he was not and yet he continued to refuse to answer questionses. clearly we cannot rely on this nominee to be honest and forthright with this body. beyond mr. bremberg's lack of respect for congress, there is the issue of his erroneous declaration on government documents. indeed, his nomination was significantly delayed because my staff discovered that mr. bremberg claimed to have terminated from his consulting company for which trump was a client when he did not. he did not terminate his political consulting firm until he was forced to as part of the foreign relations committee vetting process. the trump administration has not
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conducted the most cursory vetting to ensure that a nominee is fit to hold office. we have nominees with restraining orders, nominees who failed to nengs sexual harassment lawsuits, and nominees who should be disequaled from holding any office. unfortunately the trump administration has decided to advance unqualified and unfit nominees even as it with draws a number of civil servant nominees. the failure of the state department to stand up and defend qualified veteran ambassadors when they come under fire from the white house is nothing short of coward yes. one trump administration ambassador was so unprepared for his job that he actually posed a national security risk. mr. bremberg is cut from the
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same mold. if his performance before the committee demonstrate anything, is his views are outside mainstream america and is unprepared to represent our nation on the world stage and should not represent congress as a coequal branch of government. surely we can do better than this. the american people deserve better than this. i ask my colleagues to oppose his nomination and to demand the administration nominate an ambassador to the united nations organization in geneva who is worthy of representing our country on the world stage. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. oi
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the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. a senator: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. mr. risch: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that
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amendments 946 and 947 be withdrawn. without objection. mr. president -- the presiding officer: without objection. mr. risch: i have seven committees to meet during today's session of the senate, they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders and they are at the desk. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. risch: mr. president, i rise today to support the accession of north macedonia to the north atlantic treaty organization and to encourage my senate colleagues to vote in favor of this protocol. as you all know this past april marked the 70th anniversary of the nato alliance, the world's strongest and most successful political military alliance in the history of the world. in honor of this, the senate foreign relations committee held a hearing to reflect on the alliance's successful past and to consider its future.
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this senate also passed and recognized nato's many accomplishments, and the -- and the resolution i authored, senate resolution 123, did so. i am grateful to have another opportunity to demonstrate strong senate support for nato by welcoming north macedonia as a new member. this matter has been a matter in the works for a long time, as e all know. nato was founded by the united states and 11 other countries after the shock of the soviet blockade of berlin. the berlin airlift in 1948 made us realize the significant and real threat that the soviet union posed to peace and prosperity. that conflict is far behind us. but nato has remained a critical piece of the framework that supports our collective security. nato has worked to help the united states in afghanistan
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after the attacks of september 11 and has ended again sides and maintained -- genocides and maintained peace in the balkians, it has run air policing missions, it has helped end the genocide in darfur. and, most importantly, has maintained a period of unprecedented peace among the major european powers. nato has proven, not only to be a military success but a political and economic one. nato's security umbrella has provided the kind of stable environment necessary for economic growth and investment. former soviet block countries clamored for and continue to clamor for nato membership, not only for protection against russia that they sought and seek, but for the economic
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strength that membership could foster. u.s. trade with fellow nato members remains vital to the u.s. economy. nato allies remain the largest source of foreign direct investment to the united states. nato is not perfect. it faces several challenges from within. first is the need to invest more in defense. those of us who serve on the foreign relations committee have for many, many years urged our friends and colleagues, the majority of whom are not in compliance with the need to invest more in defense, but the number of allies spending 2% of their g.d.p.'s or 20% on equipment has increased, adding more than $100 billion in european defense spending. eight allies currently meet this pledge, but it is critical that all allies meet their commitment
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by 2024. second, nato faces different security threats in different parts of the alliance. southern europe is worried about migrant flows and others face domestic campaigns sowing disorders that we know russia has attempted to do in the u.s.a. and they have begun to think about the potential risks. tackling all of these security risks will be challenging, but if nato allies commit to the alliance and needed reforms, nato will be up to the task. mr. president, bringing a new member into the alliance also -- also prompts us to reassess the status of current members, and i feel compelled to address the growing discussion regarding
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nato allies who do not hold up the principles enshrined in the treaty. there are those allies whose democracies are weakening and whose recent behavior does not demonstrate a commitment to the alliance. to fix these issues, the alliance must work from within. there is no other alliance in the world like nato. china and russia do not have allies. they have short-term transactional only partners. they have bull -- they have bullied into cooperation. nato's strength and success comes from its commitment to the allies and through working through problems when they arise. on the expansion of nato itself, which is what we're here to deal with today, since 1949, nato has expanded seven times and includes 29 countries. the entrance of north macedonia
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will make 30, adding a 30th member during the alliance's 70th year sends a strong signal to our fellow allies and enemies alike of the continued strength of this alliance. the u.s. senate's consideration of north macedonia as a member of nato is a piece of long delayed and unfinished business. north macedonia was originally eligible for nato entry in 2008 and was to have joined the alliance alongside kroasha and albania. as we know an ongoing dispute of north macedonia's name prevented that from happening, but the leaders of north macedonia and greece demonstrated great political courage in concluding the prespa agreement earlier this year which has made today's decision possible. the courage of prime minister zied and the prime minister to
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move the balkans forward should be applauded. i thanked both leaders. not only does prepa pave the way for north macedonia in both into the and the european union, but it is an excellent example of how other conflicts in the region could be resolved. when the senate foreign relations committee considered north macedonia's eligibility for alliance, the committee heard strong and unequivocal testimony from top officials at the departments of state and defense that north macedonia will be a strong partner to the allies and is ready for the rieshts of nato -- ready for nato. u.s. and north macedonia officials, i am confident that north macedonia is ready to fulfill its nato obligations and benefit the alliance.
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it was ready in 2008 and is ready now. it has a plan to meet the 2% spending requirement by and is ready on track to spent 20% on equipment. it hosted a to topnotch army training facility that has been utilized by many u.s. soldiers. strategically north macedonia's membership would provide nato a direct land path to the adriatic sea facilitating military movements should they ever be needed. it will continue to contribute soldiers to nato's international missions as it has done in afghanistan and iraq since 2002. north macedonia isn't perfect. as a small country with a young democracy, it will certainly require further government reforms and military modernization as have most new nato allies. for example, it will need to continue its transition from legacy soviet equipment, further
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reform its intelligence services, and above all, resist russian interference and continue to strengthen its anticorruption efforts. i urge north macedonia to make these reforms and to continue on its positive path inside the alliance with the help of its other domestic -- or its other democratic nato allies. expanding nato to include north macedonia is about -- is about what the country will bring to the alliance and would the alliance brings to north macedonia. but it is not just about north macedonia and its qualifications for membership. but through its open door policy, nato has promised membership to any european country that fulfills the requirements of the alliance, accepting north macedonia as a new member is a strong symbol and a message for european countries with nato aspirations that with hard work and perseverance along with the
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willingness to make tough reform decisions, they can provide a better future for their people. as long as countries honor this commitment, nato's door should and will remain open. important to note this is a strong antirussian vote. i can tell you standing here today that the russians are very much opposed to this, not the least of which is exemplified by the way they resisted this and pushed back against this as north macedonia tammied to get this country -- attempted to get this done for their people. mr. president, colleagues, this day is a long time in the making. and i am pleased that it's finally here. i urge all of my colleagues to support north macedonia's bid to become our newest nato ally number 30 by voting in favor of this protocol. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the question occurs on the adoption
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of the resolution of ratification of treaty document 116-1. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not, on this vote the yeas are 91. and the nays are 2. two-thirds of senators present, a quorum being present, have voted in the affirmative. the resolution of the ratification to the protocol of the north atlantic treaty of the republic of north macedonia is agreed to. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: order. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. a senator: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate recess following the
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cloture vote on the bremberg nomination until 2:15 p.m. and if cloture is invoked on the bremberg nomination, the postcloture time expire at 2:45 p.m. and the senate vote on confirmation of the nomination. timely, if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of andrew p. bremberg of virginia to be representative of the united states of america to the office of the united nations and other international organizations in geneva with the rank of ambassador signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the
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nomination of andrew p. bremberg of virginia to be the representative of the united states of america to the office of the united nations and other international organizations in geneva with the rank of ambassador shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: is there any senator wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the ayes are 50. the nays are 43. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, united nations, andrew p. bremberg of virginia to be representative of the united states of america to the office of the united nations and other international organizations in geneva. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m.
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