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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  February 1, 2016 3:00pm-7:01pm EST

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the democrats you on c-span2 and republicans over on c-span. tablet and now there's an entity continued work work on a bill dealing with u.s. energy policy would change permitting for gas exports, energy efficiency standards for commercial buildings come int and it will require upgrades to the u.s. electric grid. will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal spirit, the center of our joy, you're the source of all of our blessings. thank you for your unfailing love that provides us each day with the privilege of glorifying your name. lord, help us to remember that you are
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an ever present help for all our troubles. today, inspire our senators to trust you to direct their steps. as they are pressed by many issues, help them to slow down long enough to seek your wisdom. cheer their hearts with the knowledge that in everything you are working for the good of those who love you, sustaining them by your grace. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america
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and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c, february 1, 2016. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable bill cassidy, a senator from the state of louisiana, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: orrin g.hatch, president pro tempore. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: the senior senator from alaska knows that reform is urgently needed to modernize america's energy policies for a new era with new challenges and new opportunities. the energy committee under her
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leadership has worked hard the past year to achieve that aim. the committee convened listening sessions. the committee held oversight hearings. the committee worked hard and worked across the aisle focusing on areas of common ground that can move our country forward. that constructive and collaborative process ultimately resulted in a broad bipartisan energy bill, the energy policy modernization act. it cleared committee with the support of more than 80% of the senators, republicans and democrats alike, including the top energy committee republican, the senator from alaska, and the top energy committee democrat, the senator from washington. both recognize the importance of preparing our country for the energy challenges of today and the energy opportunities of tomorrow. they are also committed bill managers. i ask colleagues continue working with them as they have
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amendments. talk to the senator from alaska and washington and get your amendments dealt with. this is bipartisan legislation. it provides a commonsense approach to help americans produce more energy, pay less for energy, save energy, all without raising taxes or adding to the deficit. so let's keep working to move the process forward. let's keep working to pass this bipartisan bill. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 2012 which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 218, s. 2012, a bill to provide for the modernization of the energy policy of the united states and for other purposes. mr. mccain: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to address the senate as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president, last week senator tillis and i agreed to a wager on the n.f.c. c championship game. the terms of that friendly wager is that the loser would deliver a congratulatory speech on the senate floor, wish the winner luck in the super bowl. unfortunately, even tragically, this is what brings me before you today. it's also why i'm wearing this unsightly blue tie which i'm sure is an assault on the senses of c-span viewers all over the world. it is with all sincerity that i wish the carolina panthers luck as they play the denver broncos in super bowl 50. the 15-1 n.f.c. champion season
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has been nothing short of remarkable led by head coach ron rivera and cam newton the panthers have been a dominant force all season long. i have no doubt we'll see the panthers explosive offense continue in super bowl 50. i would like to take this opportunity to congratulate my arizona cardinals on an exceptional season that included numerous milestones. the cardinals wide receiver larry fitzgerald wrote recently that the cardinals -- quote -- "broke the mold of what kind of football people expect to be played in the desert. witnessing this team achieve a franchise record 13 regular season wins and the number 2 seed in the n.f.c., arizonaans
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couldn't agree more. it is perhaps no better example of their toughness than their thrilling january 16 overtime win over green bay. after a hail mary touchdown pass from green bay quarterback aaron rogers to send the game into overtime, the cardinals boosted by two amazing and memorable plays by the legendary larry fitzgerald scored the game winning touchdown to advance to the championship game. i've been proud to count myself among loyal and spirited cardinals fans and i'm confident arizona will continue to see super bowl performances in the season to come. congratulations to the arizona president, the head coach and the members of the 2016 yard cardinals. i want to recognize larry
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fitzgerald, justin bethel and tyrone matthew none -- known as the honey bear for being selected to represent the cardinals in the pro-bowl this year. all season long these two teams stood among the best in the nfl. on any given sunday anything can happen. unfortunately for my cardinals, last sunday was not their day. senator tillis, you may have gotten the best of me this year, but i have the feeling this is not the last time that one of us will stand before the body to offer our congratulations. you'd be wise to get a head start and purchase a cardinal red and white tie now because you will be standing in my shoes this time next year, i guarantee it. to carolina panthers head coach ron rivers -- excuse me. to carolina panthers coach ron
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rivera, the nfl probable mvp cam newton and every member of the carolina panthers football team, good luck on sunday. and to my beloved cardinals, thanks for an exciting season. i look forward to bringing a super bowl trophy home to the valley next year. go cards. mr. president, i gladly yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, request that proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president, before i begin my remarks, i want to welcome the new pages to the united states senate. we said goodbye to a great group of young men and young women from around the country, their last day was friday, and here we are monday and we have a whole new batch. so to you all -- through the chair, of course, welcome and
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know that you are here at a most exciting and interesting time. we rely on our pages a great deal. it's always nice to see the young ambassadors come to us from around the country and serve us here in the united states senate. so welcome. mr. president, i want to give kind of an update here as to where we are on the status of our broad bipartisan energy bill. last week, we started out a little rough because of the blizzard, the snow days, but once we began the debate, we heard some very strong statements in support of our energy policy modernization act. we heard it from members on both sides of the aisle, and that was very encouraging. we heard members put in provisions that relate to supply, to innovation, to efficiency, the whole gamut. and we began an open amendment process, as we promised, that
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has already drawn close to 200 proposals now. last week, we accepted 11 amendments. we had three roll call votes, and we had eight voice votes. those amendments, i think it's important to recognize, were sponsored by ten different senators. they were cosponsored by many, many others. and they really add, too, to the members that we've seen their priorities incorporated in the energy bill through the process that we had in committee. so the benefit of really getting back to regular order where you have good, strong, robust committee work and then being able to come to the floor, go through the amendment process and then gain input from other members, it's kind of good old-fashioned governing. i kind of like the fact that we are back to it. we agreed to boost our efforts to develop advanced nuclear
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energy technologies. this came to us by way of an amendment from a very diverse group. some might not have anticipated the -- the collection of senators that this advanced nuclear energy technology measure brought together, but it was the two senators from idaho, risch and crapo. we had senator booker. we had both senators from illinois, kirk and durbin, as well as senator hatch and senator whitehouse. so really all different perspectives in terms of political perspectives as well as geographic. we also agreed to a proposal from senator daines and senator tester that will help facilitate the use of clean renewable hydropower in their state of montana. among others, we agreed to an amendment from senator capito and senator manchin to study the feasibility of an ethane storage and distribution hub here in this country.
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i think that's a real possibility as a result of the shale gas revolution. so we moved through 11. 11 is a good number, but honestly, i had hoped that we would have been able to process more amendments last week. so what we're going to do this week -- and i'm just putting everybody on notice -- we're going to redouble our efforts. i want to move forward and process even more over these next couple days. our staffs have been extraordinarily busy over this weekend, as have i and as has senator cantwell, my ranking member, kind of going through all of the amendments that have been offered to the bill, determining which ones we can clear, which ones we need to bring up for a vote, which may not be offered at all, and we are moving right along, and that's good, and we need to keep moving right along because we know that time on the floor is not unlimited. where we -- as important as the
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energy bill is and as important as modernizing our energy policies are, we're not the only show in town here. there are other members, there are other committees that either are on deck or want to be on deck waiting for their turn to move their bills. so if we have any members that are still thinking about filing amendments, i would strongly encourage that that be done today. we've got dozens of options to vote on, so at this point, unfiled amendments are really at a disadvantage, just given all that we're dealing with. knowing that we're going to process as many amendments as possible, but the window for -- for really advancing them is closing rapidly. many of the amendments we're seeing would address opportunities for challenges -- opportunities and challenges from across the energy spectrum, and i really am thankful for the senators that have come forward with very, very constructive
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suggestions, and really for their work to make this bill even better. as we resume consideration of this legislation today, i also want to explain how the provisions that are already within the energy policy modernization act will help our country, and i want to do that today, spend a few minutes this afternoon by explaining how it will benefit my home state of alaska. how it will help alaskans produce more energy and more minerals. how it will help alaskans pay less for their energy. and how it will boost alaska's economy at a time when we really need a boost. the most obvious place to start is with supply. alaska has -- alaska, as all my colleagues know, is a producer for the rest of the country, really for the rest of the world. that's our legacy. it's also our future.
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and that's because we're blessed with an amazing abundance of resources that most states and really even most countries can't even -- can't even dream of. you name the resource, and there's a pretty good chance that we have it. in fact, there is a pretty good chance that we have a lot of it. so how will our bill help alaska produce more energy and minerals? for starters, it boosts hydropower development. hydropower right now provides 24% of our state's electricity, which is good, critically important. but we have more than 200 promising sites with untapped hydropower potential. so our commitment to this clean renewable resource and our efforts to improve the regulatory process for it could benefit communities throughout the southeastern part of the state where i grew up, south central, where i'm living now,
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southwest. it provides benefit for all. our bill also streamlines the approval process for l.n.g. exports. the presiding officer knows full well the benefit that this will bring to the country. but it also will ensure that in alaska, our efforts to market natural gas will proceed in a timely manner without federal delay, which is very important for us as we move forward our efforts to move alaska's natural gas. it will also help alaskans harness more of our geothermal potential. we have enormous quantities of geothermal, but we have -- we have some challenges, as you know, with our extensive geography. but looking to develop a renewable resource that could potentially, potentially help power one quarter of our state's communities, particularly in some very remote high-cost
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energy states. our bill reauthorizes a program to advance the development of electricity from ocean and river currents as well as tides and waves. i've mentioned before, we have got some 33,000 miles of coastline. that's a lot of area to harness the power of the tides, the waves, but then our river systems are extensive also. so working to do more with our marine hydrokinetic and our ocean energy could really provide a boost to projects that are showcasing some new technologies like those that we have proposed in igiaga, yakatak is looking at a project, a project south of kenai. we also within the bill promote the production of heat and electricity from the tremendous biomass resources within our forests which could help the development of technology to aid the construction of -- of wood
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pellet plants across the state. again, taking that resource that is there and helping to reduce our energy costs. it will also renew our research program to develop alaska's immense resources of frozen methane hydrates. this is something that they sometimes call fire eyes. it has significant promise as a secure long-term source of american energy, but making sure that we're able to move out on that research is going to be important. and then there is a subtitle on minerals, a very important part of our bill. i spoke on this on thursday, that we have incorporated much of the text of my american mineral security act, which is designed to focus on our nation's deepening dependence on foreign minerals and the concern that we don't want to get in the same place where there are minerals that we once saw with
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oil, where we are reillini on foreign sources to supply the things that we need. -- we are reliant on foreign sources to supply the things that we need. we are obviously known in alaska for our oil production, but alaska also has nearly unparalleled potential for mineral production. we had a hearing last year before the energy and natural resources committee, and we had the deputy commissioner of the department of natural resources at -- resources, ed vogel, come and testify. he said if alaska were a country, we would be in the top ten in the world for coal, copper, lead, gold, zinc and silver. and he also noted that we have the potential to produce many of the minerals that we import from abroad. just one example. our state government has already identified over 70 deposits of rare earth elements just within the borders of the state.
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and as i mentioned last week on the floor, we use -- we use rare earths for everything from renewable energy technologies and smartphones to defense applications, but right now this country, we are not producing any of that supply, none of that supply on our own, and yet we have the potential up north. if we pass this bill, our nation will begin to place a much greater priority on resource assessments so that we can really understand what is it that we have? if we haven't done an inventory, if we haven't done an assessment, how do we really know the extent of our mineral resources? we will finally make some commonsense reforms to improve our notoriously slow federal permitting system which could really benefit some of the projects that we have -- that we'd like to get moving on. we have a project down on prince of wales island called bokan mountain that has rare earth potential. we also have a graphite deposit
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near nome, and making sure that we are able to help facilitate some of the changes that we see within this bill will be important. as we produce more of our natural resources, alaskans will benefit significantly. we'll see new jobs created, new revenues will be generated for our state's treasury, and local energy costs, which is this next area that i want to focus on, will decline, allowing alaskans to keep more of their money for other purposes and needs. this is -- this is an issue where when i am at home and i'm talking to alaskans about what their number-one concerns and priorities are, i don't care what part of the state i'm talking to folks in, it's all about the high energy costs. what can we do to make a difference, what can we do to bring down our energy costs? so the energy policy modernization act will not only boost our energy supplies --
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this is a supply bill, but it's also designed to help lower the costs of energy and to help lower the costs of energy for alaskans. we are an energy and a mineral producer in the state, but due to our vast geography, energy is still extremely expensive in so many parts of the state. it's always an eye popper for people to do a comparison of what's going on with energy costs. right now, in the lower 48, people are enjoying going to the filling station and seeing prices that are less than two bucks a gallon. i was in nome, alaska, just a few weeks ago and they're paying over $5.50 a gallon at the pump. it's not unusual that in many of our communities around the state, we're still -- we're still looking at $5 a gallon for
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your fuel. and this is not only fuel for your vehicles or your snow machine or your four wheeler to move you around or for your boat, it's also your stove oil, how you're keeping warm. so it's moving around, it's keeping warm, and you're paying extraordinarily high costs. our electricity costs are in many cases two to three times higher than in most other states. and when you think about what that means, when you're living in a community where effectively 40% to 50% of your household budget goes to stay warm and to keep the lights on, what does that leave you with for he ha educating your kids, for feeding your kids, for retirement? it doesn't leave you with much when you're spending half of what you have coming in to stay
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warm and to keep your lights on. so this is -- this is part of our reality in alaska that every day we work to address, every day we work to make a differen difference. state senator lymon hoffman is from the bethel region and he's really been a voice of rural alaska, and he sent me a letter about this issue last year. and he wrote that -- quote -- "the high cost of diesel and home heating fuels are just crushing in rural alaska." and that he believes the energy situation is the single most important problem facing the lives and well-being of rural alaskans. and i agree with him. i agree with him, mr. president. and that's why we've worked so hard within this energy policy modernization act, to make sure that as we are modernizing our energy policies, we're working to do everything that we can to lower the costs of energy for
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americans and for alaskans. we reauthorized the weatherization assistance program which provides our state with funding to provide energy efficiency for low-income families' homes. we also renewed the state energy program which allows alaska to invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy, emergency preparedness and other priorities. we have, as you've seen and we've heard talked about on the floor, we've got an entire title of the bill, senator portman, senator shaheen have been working on this, devoted to efficiency. from everything from voluntary building code improvements to the rerow fitting of -- retrofitting of schools. and as our vez our appliances -- vehicles, our appliances, our homes are also becoming more energy efficient, that, in turn, works to reduce energy consumption as well as energy costs throughout the state. the bill also has a provision to promote the development of
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hybrid microgrid systems. this is -- this is a part of the bill that i get excited about because i can see the direct application in my state. it allows communities to utilize local resources and storage technologies. microgrids are really critical within the state of alaska. we've got -- we've got dozens -- we've got more than dozens, multiple dozens of isolated communities that are not connected to anybody's grid. in fact, there ar --, they're hf miles from anything that could even be considered a grid. so how do they get their energy? they're basically burning diesel to meet their electricity needs. and so what we're seeing come together are these energy solutions where you take a little bit of wind and perhaps a little bit of -- of hydro , marine hydrokinetic, you couple it with battery and some storage and we're finding some
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solutions. and it's innovative. in fact, it's so innovative, we've got a hearing scheduled over the president's day recess up in alaska in bethel to bring members up so they can see what we're doing when it comes to energy innovation and coupling things together to make them work. because we're never going to be part of a big energy grid in many parts of our state. we've got some great successes. kodiak, the huge fishing port, now produces 99.7% of its electricity from renewables. so they -- they have wind, they have hydro, they've got a storage system that has just allowed it to work. but think about it. this is a major fishing port which during the summer needs a lot of energy when you're processing the fish. during the winter months, you've just got the local people there and you don't have as high
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energy needs. so how you even this out, how you make it -- make it meet during the highs and the lose, this is what kodiak has -- and the lows, this is what kodiak has done. and they've taken themselves that was a community that was once 100% dependent on diesel for their energy needs, to being 99.7% on renewables. one of the best provisions in the bill to help address energy costs is a modification of -- that we make within d.o.e.'s loan guarantee program. instead of only allowing major corporations to apply, what we do is we allow states with energy financing institutions to seek funding and allow them to advance a range of energy projects. so just to kind of give a little context here, if the bill becomes law, the state of alaska would be able to apply for a loan guarantee and then use those funds to help the marine
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hydrokin et he i can technical nothings and these -- hydrokinetic technologies. and instead of these top-down government-driven programs, whas the state d.o.e. programs and other elements contained within this energy policy modernization act really leveraging the innovation of the local people, leveraging the innovation of alaskans, the american people and the private sector to improve our energy landscapes. mr. president, these are just a few of the ways that this energy policy modernization act will help alaskans. it will help us produce more energy. it will help us save energy and it will reduce local energy costs. and in the process, the extra
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gain and benefit is we create new jobs, we generate new revenues, we provide other economic benefits that we sorely need right now. and i've talked about alaska and the impacts to my state as a result of modernizing our energy policies. but know that as alaska benefits, other states benefit as well. many of the provisions that i've mentioned in this -- in this -- in my comments this afternoon are just as applicable to louisiana or to maine or arizona or montana as they are in my state. this bill fairly will bring economic benefits to every state. and as it brings economic benefits, the energy security that stems from the economic security that leads to the national security makes us all stronger. yet another reason why i encourage the senate to work
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with us, work with senator cantwell and i, over these next couple days to move forward this broad bipartisan effort to modernize our nation's energy policies. mr. president, i know that we have members who are anxious to speak this afternoon. again, i will make the same request that i made earlier, that if members are interested in submitting any amendments to the energy policy modernization act, now is the time because we are going to be moving and hopefully moving quickly so we can proceed with some expediency and efficiency throughout this week. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. udall: thank you very much,
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mr. president. and i ask unanimous consent that jack gardner, a member of my staff, be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the 114th congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: and i would also like to echo the comments that senator murkowski made in terms of the new pages. we welcome all of you. we are excited about having you here. it's a big change to go from the previous pages to the new pages and so we're -- we're excited about how things are moving along. you know, the pages end up doing great things, as many people tell you around here. i've served in the house, served in the senate. there are members of the house that started as pages and there are members of the senate that started here as pages. so we are proud of you and expect good things of you. mr. president, it's been over eight years since we passed a
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comprehensive energy bill. a lot has changed since then so i first just want to thank senators murkowski and cantwell for their leadership and hard work. i know both of them work very hard to find common ground. senator murkowski is my chairman of the interior department appropriations subcommittee and she's always trying to find a way for us to work together to move that appropriations bill forward. and i think the same thing is very true of senator cantwell's very good leadership on the energy committee. they both had a very tough job and they've crafted an energy bill that i believe moves us forward. this legislation isn't perfect but it is bipartisan and it's moving us in the right direction. i'm pleased that my bill, the small energy and water efficiency act, was included in this legislation. all too often treated water is
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lost. a lot of it is wasted because of leaks and broken pipes. my state and many states have had historic droughts. we need every drop of water we can can get. we can't afford leaking pipes. we have to do better and we can do better. this bill supports federal pilot projects to develop water and energy efficiency technology. we can create a smart grid of technology to detect leaks in pipes even before they happen. this is critical to communities all across our nation. saving water is saving energy. treating and transporting water is energy intensive. the more we waste, the more we pay now and later. i also plan to file an amendment that i have been working on with a number of other senators. this amendment, like the house
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energy bill, authorizes the water sense program of e.p.a. the water sense program is a water efficiency -- it's about water efficiency. what the energy star label is to energy efficiency. products and services that have earned the water sense label have to be at least 20% more efficient without sacrificing performance. it promotes smart water use and helps consumers decide which products are water efficient. by authorizing this valuable program, we will make the water sense program permanent and help consumers save water, energy and money. mr. president, we face great challenges and one thing is very clear -- our energy future depends on investment in a clean energy economy.
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we have to be bold. we have to be innovative. and we have to encourage investment. in the kind of creativity and enterprise that changes the world and moves us in the right direction. and so today i'm proposing a new initiative that will help us make those investments clean energy victory bonds. during the first and second yea- during the first and second world wars, our country faced threats we had never faced before. we rose to the challenge. we gave it everything we had. everyone contributed. for many that included investing in victory bonds. they helped pay for the costs of war. $185 billion, over $2 trillion in today's money. folks lined up to buy those bonds. that is the spirit of the american people, to pull
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together. and it was true then and it is true now. today we face a very different threat but it also requires us to come together to face our challenges and to fight. national security experts tell us that rising global temperatures are one of our greatest security concerns. 2015 shattered global temperature records, records that were set just the year before. climate change threatens agriculture, public health, water resources and weather patterns. we're already feeling the impa impacts. in new mexico, temperatures are rising 50% faster than the global average. not just this year or last year but for decades. we've had historic drought, we've had the worst wildfires in our history. the science is clear, the threat is growing, and sometime running out. -- and time is running out. we must act.
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governments are working together to reduce emissions, as we saw in paris last month. the u.s. is leading with commitments from over 140 nations to reduce their emissions. this is providing a major signal in the marketplace and is driving up interest in investing in clean energy. over the next five years, 20 nations will double their renewable energy research to $20 billion. industry is stepping up to the place as well pledging to invest at least $2 billion in clean energy start-ups. this is progress. this is momentum. our job now is to keep it going. investment, public and private, is the key. mr. president, my amendment is very simple: it directs the secretaries of treasury and energy to submit a plan to congress, to develop clean energy victory bonds,
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bonds that all americans could invest in. these bonds would raise up to $50 billion. that money could leverage up to $150 billion to invest in clean energy technology. and it would create over one million new jobs. people across the country want to do their part. they want to invest in a clean energy future and to help fight climate change. but most of them can't afford clean energy mutual funds. with a $1,000, $5,000 minimum, many can't afford $25 or $50. we must invest in jobs and healthier communities. clean energy victory bonds will provide that opportunity. we can do this without any new taxes on individuals or businesses. bonds are completely voluntary, and they're an opportunity for ordinary americans who see the challenge and who want to do
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something about it. here's how it works: like war bonds, clean energy victory bonds would be u.s. treasury bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the united states government. investors would earn back their full investment plus the interest that comes from energy savings to the government. and loanrepayments for solid projects. the investment would make a critical difference in our energy future. i urge my colleagues to support this effort. we face a great challenge, and we have a great opportunity. now is the time for action. the american people want to pitch in and do what they can to fight global warming and to help ensure that the united states leads the world in the clean energy economy. support of this amendment, support for this amendment is growing with groups like the american sustainable business
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council and green america. americans are already asking where they can purchase these bonds. mr. president, this energy bill is a good step, but it is a modest step. our energy and climate challenges demand much more. but, again, i want to thank chairman murkowski and ranking member cantwell. they have managed to move a bipartisan bill and keep the process on track. i urge them to accept my amendment and to further strengthen this bill. and i yield the floor. mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president, i appreciate the leaders who've worked on this bill, senator murkowski and cantwell, and the good work they've put into the it. i have served on the energy committee and now serve on environment and public works. those are important committees, as we wrestle with how to
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produce energy at lower prices that is helpful, healthy for our nation. but as we consider this energy policy modernization act, i want to focus on a critical part about public policy and what is a primary goal of the united states of america. we're in a very competitive world. energy is a big part of how we compete on manufacturing, production, jobs, and the american people want us to focus on that. in addition, energy impacts everybody when they fill up their tank, when they drive to work. it's important when it comes to paying the electric bill or the heating bill at home. is it expensive or not so expensive? the price of energy has a
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dramatic impact on the quality of life for the american people, to the degree that is almost impossible to ascertain. when the price of gasoline is cut in half and somebody has a real commute every day, they may have $2 $200 a month in gasoline bills, and now it is $100. they have $100 extra in their pockets, without insurance, with taxes, with house payments tock paid -- payments to be paid out of that that they can use to take care of their own personal needs. their family, their vacation, going out to eat, or just paying down that credit card that's been run up too high. so for decades, republicans have called for producing more american energy, and our democratic colleagues have attacked those proposals that would increase the supply of energy, claiming that these
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efforts are part of some corrupt deal with big oil companies to make them rich at the expense of the taxpayers and the american citizens. that's been the argument. you've heard it for the last 30 years. but is that the correct way to analyze the challenges that we face? is that the way to establish good, sound public policy that will produce more american energy and bring down the cost? our colleagues objected to the keystone pipeline. we had a umin onumber of votes a number -- we had a number of votes over a number of years and the president turned it down. was it good or bad for big texas oil companies? bad. made it harder for them to get a
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higher price. this was not a corrupt deal to try to benefit some big oil company but a way to make the supply more plentiful, to bring down the cost of energy for american people. that's what we were fighting for, and it baffled me to no end that the president even finally vetoed it at the end, after the american people so clearly favored that. the federal ban on drilling in the gulf of mexico. we had a deepwater horizon disaster in 2010. there's no doubt about that, and this country really focused on it. great effort was placed into finding out thousan how it happw we could prevent it in the
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future, and eventually the obama administration said they were reopening production in the gulf. i thought longer than necessary. there's now on site, according to a government official, a cap that if the horizon disaster were to occur again, that cap, within a matter of days, could be taken out and it would have successfully stopped that blowout well. we didn't have it in advance. we should have had it. but that's fixed. the president said we're going to open up drilling in the gulf of mexico, but it wasn't so. they referred to it as a de facto moratorium. we lost a lot of production that went to other places in the globe.
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so more production means lower prices. more american oil means more american jobs. more revenue for the federal and state governments that benefit from that and a smaller wealth transfer from americans to some foreign country that may be hostile to us who we have to buy our oil from. that's the kind of direction we should look to head. additionally, the obama administration placed a moratorium on new leases for coal mined on federal lands. i believe the administration has bypassed congress and the will of the american people by draftindrafting regulations that seriously constrain the use of coal as an energy source. we just i have to use coal. nags any oit is a magnificent ey source and we are doing it -- we are doing it cleaner and cleaner year after year.
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it increases the cost of everyday living for americans and it certainly lays off and causes economic dislocation where mine after mine after mine are being closed and the united mine workers are being laid off. so i've always believed and fought for increased energy production for the american people, not for big oil companies, but because greater production brings down price. we know now that's true because we've seen a worldwide increase in supplies which has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the price of oil, an amount below what anyone might have suspected. this price collapse affects americans at the gas pump every day. gas prices are the lowest they've been since 2008. $1.84 is the national average,
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as of last week. this is half of what it was a few months ago. this has been my goal and the goal of my republican colleagues and a lot of members on both sides of the aisle. in addition, we've increased oil production throughout the country with new fracking technologies, and we've had battle after battle over that, but we've never had water supplies that have been impacted adversely by fracking, and it is a highly efficient technology, and it also helped collapse the price of oil. efficiency breakthroughs -- and there's some in this legislation, and we've had good, bipartisan support for efficiency breakthroughs over the years -- they've caused us to have a car that uses a little less gas, houses to be more efficient, and other energy sources being more efficient. as a result, we've needed less oil.
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that also helps increase the supply as the demand increases. so that's been a positive step towards seeing the collapse in prices. but if big oil were so powerful, how is it the price of oil has gone from $140 a barrel to $30 a barrel? people, they dictate the price, they can set the price whatever they want it to be. not if the supply starts coming in in large numbers. the price has begun to decline. it was at $140 a barrel. now it is at $35-$30 a barrel. the industry supports 9.8 million jobs which represents 8% of the economy. low energy costs are critical. without affordable and efficient and reliable energy sources american companies cannot supply their factories and employees with the kind of production we
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want to see. standard & poor's, in one of their recent invest reports, wrote that affordable energy is critical to give u.s. manufacturers -- quote -- "a competitive edge over overseas competitors." we do have lower energy prices than europe, than japan, and south korea. that's an advantage, and we want to keep that advantage. we need more american jobs, not less. we need to see fewer offshore incidents than we've seen. we need to have some onshoring, some return of manufacturing to america. if we can keep our energy prices low, it's a way that our businesses can take advantage of that and expand their production of various products, many of which can be sold around the world. the president's agenda, i have to say, which he's carried on
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since the beginning, has had the effect of really helping foreign countries by keeping our prices higher than they should be and blocking efforts -- reasonable efforts to add more production in america. instead of american energy being promoted at home and abroad, iran, for example, is now able to export oil freely, thanks to the flawed nuclear deal. instead of promoting the general welfare of the united states, the president has limited the production of domestic oil, further increasing costs for consumers. regulators have delayed american production many, many times. so these are important dynamics, along with, let me say, nuclear power. i believe that's a very valuable part of the american energy production. i've been a strong advocate of nuclear power for years, and republicans have, too.
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it is a direct competitor to big oil, to carbon fuels. and we need more of that. so i think we need to remember that. yes, wind and solar is getting more competitive, but it still remains for the most part more expensive than in most places in the country. and i hope that it will continue to drop in price. maybe it will, but i can't imagine we'll see dramatic increases any time soon. if we were to shift america immediately to a total solar and wind power system, prices would go through the roof. it would hammer americans far more than we've ever seen before. so i think this bill has many good qualities. it helps improve efficiency. it helps improve innovation.
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and maybe we can build on it in a way that brings america to the point that we can produce more american supply, keep the price down, help revitalize our manufacturing base and put this country in a position it can compete far more effectively on a world marketplace. mr. president, i thank the chair and would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, i ask consent to speak up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: mr. president, before the senator from alabama leaves, i am here to speak about the florida everglades, but since the senator has just raised the issue of the gulf of mexico, which is for the senator from alabama, certainly an interest, as it is the presiding
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officer, the senator from louisiana, i just want to make sure that the senators understand that that part of the gulf of mexico which is off limits to drilling up to and through 2022, and it's off limits to drilling has nothing to do with the obama administration. it has to do with a law that senator martinez and i passed in the last half of the laugh decade -- of the last decade. now why did we do that? well, it would be nice to say that we were prescient and that we understood that when the gulf oil spill occurred off of louisiana, that even though
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relatively to the whole spill, little oil got to florida. it did cover up pensacola beach. it did get into perdido bay, into pensacola bay, into the chuta hatchee bay. as far east as the panama city beach, these sugary white beaches that so many come to, as far as east as panama city beach, just tar balls. but what happened was a whole tourist season was lost not just for pensacola and destin and panama city beach but the entire coast of florida down to clear water beach, down to sarasota, fort myers, all the way down to naples and the far most beaches
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on the west coast of florida on the gulf. now if that were not enough, i just want the senator to understand why we are so opposed in florida to drilling off of florida. if that were not enough, clearly there is that economic reason, there's that reason of so many of the critters that get into the estuaries and the environment that got messed up. but here's the ringer, and especially the senator from alabama appreciates this because he has at times been my leader on the armed services committee. the gulf of mexico off of florida is the largest testing and training range for the united states military in the world. and every admiral and every general will tell you -- and it
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has been stated by secretaries of all the branches as well as of defense, that you simply cannot have drilling activities where we are testing and training some of our most sophisticated weapons. so why do we have all of those training and tests and evaluation activities at eglin air force base, at tyndall air force base, at the naval training center in panama city? i didn't even include pensacola and whiting field. that test and evaluation for all of the department of defense. and why when we shut down the united states navy's testing range of viegues off of puerto
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rico, when that was shut down where did the atlantic fleet of the united states navy go? it came to the gulf. and they will send squadrons coming down to key west naval air station and they'll stay there for a week or two because when they lift off the runway at boca chinca, within two minutes they're over protected area so they can get into their training and testing activities. i would finally say to my frient he has ever been able to see this through the eyes of someone who is trying to protect the defense assets at the state of florida. mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida -- mr. sessions: the senator from florida is a great friend and we've got a couple good battles
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going on right now where we stand shoulder to shoulder. but for the most part my concern was the areas that have already been approved for production were shut down until the problem with the deep water horizon is fixed rather than than expanding that into florida, where the florida waters that senator nelson has been an effective advocate for not allowing drilling there. and i do believe that we've got a situation, improve to a degree that the kind of problem we had would not occur now. i do believe its a tremendous advantage of america that we produce more energy with our workers, creating american jobs, not have to send money abroad. senator nelson, thank you for your good comments. you're highly informed on this issue. it's a pleasure to serve with you. mr. nelson: and i thank the
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senator, and he knows how affectionate i am toward him as a friend, and i appreciate that friendship and that willingness in a bipartisan way. back when we had all kind of thorny issues such as national missile defense, ten years ago in the armed services committee, how the two of us could work it out. well, mr. president, i wanted to talk about the everglades. i need to start by saying that the army corps of engineers began releasing water from lake okeechobee into the two rivers on either side of the lake. the problem is that we've got a dike, not like it, that mother nature intended. the whole surrounding of lake okeechobee, which is the largest lake in florida, was nothing but
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a marsh. that's how mother nature had. but as people moved in and in the late 1920's, the hurricane that drowned 2,000 people, we came in there, we diked it all the way around. well, the dike is only so structurally sound, so that as the water rises in the lake, there's more water pressure on the sides. and if you start getting above 15 feet of depth of the lake, we have to worry about the dike collapsing and all the flooding of the surrounding towns and people and farm lands and so forth. you get the picture. so what the army corps of engineers has to give some relief. so they release water to the east in the st. lucie river and
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to the west in the calluhasa river. and as a result it relieves the dike pressure problem, but since lake okeechobee is so polluted until we can get it cleaned up up -- and there is an effort -- what happens when it goes into these pristine estuaryies to the east, st. lucie, to the west callushatchee, you get much nutrient content into those estuaries. the salinety in those estuaries goes down which is harmful to things like fish, and the nitrogen and phosphorous, the pollutants, come up. and what happens?
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algae grows. and when algae grows, it sucks up the oxygen from the water and it becomes a dead river. and the mullet can't jump because there is no mullet and the fish hawk can't dive because there's no fish. and it becomes a dead river. now, that's why it's so necessary that we proceed with the everglades restoration projects that will help us clean up the pollution in lake okeechobee and at the same time when the dike structure gets threatened, that we have a place to send that water instead of directly into those two estuaries. that is presently being built on
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the east, a storage area. and that is to be built on the west over near la belle on the callusahatchee river. well, it's just another reason why many of us are fighting so hashed to complete these everglades restoration projects, so that impossible decisions that face the corps of engineers, like right now, that either they threaten the dam and hold it back or they release the polluted water and kill the rivers; it's not a good choice that the corps has to make. it's certainly not a good choice for our environment and all the people that live in the surrounding area. and so, everglades restoration
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must move forward aggressively and without delay. and that's why i'm going to be -- this senator is going to be introducing legislation tomorrow to exe -- expedite that process. it's going to be called the everglades for next generation act. it would authorize all of these everglades restoration projects that the army corps of engineers has deemed ready to begin, it would allow the corps to begin work on them immediately instead of having to wait around for us to pass another water bill. remember we just passed a water bill. when was the last time we passed a water bill? it was seven years ago. we just can't wait that long. there's too much at stake, and this is why we want to get these all bundled up so the army corps
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of engineers can proceed. so as the everglades for the first three-quarters of the last century that was diked, drained and diverted, now we're trying to bring back as much of that plumbing and reverse it so that it would flow much more like mother nature had intended it and did for ei don't -- for eond eons. so it's a monumental task. we've got to look at what we're doing to protect this land that we love that has been called the river of grass. we've got to do everything that we can to protect it. but, mr. president, right now beware.
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the national park service has in front of it and is evaluating a proposal from a texas-based company for drilling and fracking activity. this company is looking to conduct -- this is what they say. oh, this is just a seismic survey. first on 70,000 acres, but it's just the first part of seismically mapping the entire big cyprus national preserve. this is a preserve, a national preserve of 700,000 acres, and where is it located? it's located right next to the
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everglades national park, which is 1.5 million acres, but it includes hundreds of thousands of other acres that are part of this water discharge area where we are cleaning up that water as it is coming south. now, they will say oh, this is just a seismic survey, but why do you have seismic surveys for? to drill. and oh, by the way, this is a company in texas that not only drills for oil, it also fracks for oil. now, why in the world would we want this to happen? why would we spend hundreds of millions and billions of dollars to restore the everglades and then suddenly turn it around and hand it off to a texas wildcatter to go out there and
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drill, a wildcatter that is also a fracker. now, this senator has nothing against fracking, but where is our fracking done? it's done in the hard shale rock of the dakotas, of oklahoma, of texas. they go down under high pressure and shoot water and chemicals to break up the shale rock. it's solid rock. what does the state of florida sit on? it sits on a porous honeycomb of limestone that in that porous rock is filled with freshwater near the surface. so if you go in there and start
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doing high pressure fracking that we do successfully to shale rock of which was done by the dan hughes company, given a permit by the state of florida until the county commission of collier county found out about it and started raising cain and suddenly the pressure of what that fracking with the high-speed chemical going into that porous limestone would do, not only to the water supply of florida but to the very foundation of florida. if you ever look -- envision a piece of coral that our divers go down in some of the national reefs, you've seen that beautiful coral and it builds up.
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that's very similar to how florida was formed. it was over years, over and over those court of appeals and shells and -- those corals and shells and skeletons and limestone that created this sub structure that holds up the state of florida and contains a bubble of water which is our floridian aquifer. now, you know, such -- some people would think well, now, seismic survey, that's no big deal, but watch out. it's just like the proverbial camel getting its nose under the tent. watch out, that camel is pretty soon going to be in the tent. so why conduct a huge, prolonged seismic survey if you don't have the plans to extract the resources that you find?
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why would the federal government approve risky behavior like fracking and a brand-new type of seismic survey equipment in an area that we have spent decades trying to restore? remember, i said the everglades national park, a million and a half acres. right next to it to the west is the big cypress national reserve, another 100,000 acres. to the north, all those protected lands of the water recharge area, hundreds of thousands of acres. well, all of this is why i wrote to the interior secretary asking her agency to complete a real thorough environmental review of this proposal. and it's interesting. i wasn't the only one that responded. the national park service told me that they had received about
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8,000 comments on the public comment period. it seems to me that's a pretty clear sign that there is a great deal of concern and controversy out there in the public interest. and especially those in collier county, you can't imagine the political backlash when this dan hughes oil company, not the one that is applying for the seismic, but they were a wildcatter and also a farrakhaner, that dan hughes company, you can't imagine the political backlash that occurred from people of both parties -- and i can tell you especially of the republican county commission in collier county when they found out that there was fracking going out there without their knowing about it and without any of their input into whether it should have been done.
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now, fortunately, the outcry was so fiscal year that the state of florida finally revoked the permit and they had to pull out. they had that company performed an unauthorized acid stimulation procedure, which is a glorified term for fracking. and so we rose up, we fought that. again, i say to the senate, this senator does not have a problem with fracking done environmentally well, but fracking and all of our oil reserves have been found in the shale rock. that has -- that is what has turned us to where in a few years we will be able to completely eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. this senator has no problem with
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that. this senator is thankful for that. when you try to perform that procedure on a different kind of substrate, a porous limestone filled with water, then you are courting economical and environmental disaster. but i must say this didn't stop in the state legislature of florida who are determined to open up parts of florida to companies looking to drill, to make sure that all this local opposition doesn't get in their way, state legislators in session right now in tallahassee have proposed a bill that would prohibit a county, a city or any other local government from limiting fracking within that city or county's borders.
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such a decision under this proposed legislation would be left up only to the state. it's not hard to figure out how that's going to turn out, especially in light of it was the state of florida that gave a permit to do the fracking that there was such a reaction to two years ago. this is one of the most pristine areas on the planet. i want to urge my colleagues to join our efforts to protect this unique environment for generations to come. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, the founders of our great land believed in transparency of government because they believed that only an informed citizenry were in a position to consent to what the government was doing on their behalf, and the very legitimacy of our government is based on that informed consent. it's also important for the voters to be able to hold elected leaders politically accountable, and of course they can't hold their elected leaders accountable for something they don't know about or something hidden from their view. now, it's no understatement to say that the american people's confidence in the federal government is at if not an all-time low certainly a new low
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in recent memory. unfortunately, they see the president acting unilaterally where he should be working in a collaborative and cooperative basis with congress to pass legislation rather than to try to do things by executive action. and then we see where elected officials and members of the administration have made blatant misrepresentations of the facts only to be proven wrong and not to even be embarrassed by it. so it is important to have transparency in government, to have an open government. the american people need to know what their government is purporting to do on their behalf so they can approve or disapprove as they see fit. that's the foundation of our democracy and our republic. back in october, i toad on the
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floor of the united states senate and outlined concerns that i had about the evolving scandal involving secretary clinton's use of a private unsecured email server during her service as secretary of state. i said at the time that her behavior not only violated the president's promise to be the most transparent administration in history, i remember him making that statement during his first inaugural address, but it also represented a violation of the public trust, and now we learn of very, very serious national security concerns which i am going to speak about in just a moment. because we know that the department of justice is headed by the attorney general, a political appointee of the president of the united states who serves at the pleasure of the president, because of the conflict of interest by asking attorney general lynch to
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investigate and perhaps even prosecute somebody in the obama administration, i called upon the department of justice and the attorney general in particular to appoint a special counsel to investigate the matter, given those obvious conflicts of interest. of course, we read in the paper and understand from his testimony before the senate judiciary committee just recently that director comey of the f.b.i. is -- if the f.b.i. is conducting an investigation into this matter, as they should. for myself, i would say that the f.b.i., notwithstanding what i have said about the federal government's poor reputation generally, that the f.b.i. is still very widely respected for its integrity, as it must be. but the f.b.i. cannot go further and convene a grand jury to
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consider potential violations of the criminal law. that can only be done by a court at the request of a prosecutor with the justice department. if we're going to be true to the promise of equal justice under the law, those are the words carved above the entryway to the united states supreme court, if we are going to be true to that promise, we have to be able to demonstrate that the same rules and the same laws apply to everybody in this country, whether you're the president of the united states or you're among one of our nation's humblest citizens. we are all equal before the law, or at least we should be. and it is a violation of the public trust when people act as if the rules that apply to everybody else don't apply to them. well, so far the attorney general has declined to appoint
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a special counsel, but i think even in the interim since i first made that request and it has been declined, we see why it is even more important today than it was back in october. the administration, the obama administration, has demonstrated time and time again precisely why we need the decision making in this case as far removed from white house politics as it can possibly be. for example, the president in october went on television and publicly opined on the results of the ongoing criminal probe. he said -- and i quote -- "i don't think it posed a national security problem." that's the president of the united states. well, based on his comment, one might reasonably conclude that the white house was somehow privy and in consultation with
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the f.b.i. about their ongoing criminal investigation. now, subsequently i had a chance to ask director comey whether in fact that was the case and he said, absolutely not. and i believe director comey. but it's not a little matter when the president of the united states is saying, i don't see a problem here, when he actually doesn't even know the facts, and it might appear that he's trying to influence the conduct of that investigation. that's a real problem. in fact, the president's comments were out of line. the president offering his opinion on what the results of an ongoing criminal investigation might or should be. well, since that time we found out that secretary clinton had 18 e-mails between her and the president on her private e-mail
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server. i don't know whether the president still feels like this is not a problem but it is a big problem. i earlier outlined the publicly reported evidence and explained the very real likelihood of criminal violations on the part of secretary clinton and her staff. since then my concerns that the information held and sent by secretary clinton, that they contain some of the most sensitive classified information that the u.s. government has, those concerns have been confirmed. just two weeks ago, several of my colleagues received a letter from the inspector general of the office of the director of national intelligence, the agencies whose core mission is to integrate all the intelligence operations of the united states government. that letter was sent in response to one from the chairman of the select committee on intelligence
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and the chairman of the foreign relations committee about the security of president clinton's private e-mail server. what the secretary-general said should give us all pause. he said that there were -- and i quote -- "several dozen e-mails containing classified information." of course, as we know, there are several different levels of classification for government correspondence, some more sensitive than others. but the inspector general went on to say that these e-mails were -- and i quote again -- determined by the intelligence community element to be at the confidential, secret and the top secret/s.a.p. level." now, that s.a.p. term may be a new one to a lot of people but it's an acronym that means "special access programs." it's among the most sensitive
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classified information known to the united states government. and it's at a classification even above top secret. access to special access program information is so highly restricted because it, in part, exposes information about programs that are incredibly sensitive to national security, such as how intelligence was gathered in the first place, sources and methods. some of whom would be jeopardized of individuals killed if it was known that they were providing a source of intelligence for the united states government. and in the case of special access programs from an intelligence agency, that means exposing this information would put intelligence collections, and as i said, potentially human sources at great risk.
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but on friday, mr. president, more news regarding the type of information that was on secretary clinton's server was announced. it was widely reported for the first time that the state department admitted that it had categorized at least 22 e-mails found on secretary clinton's server as top secret. that's the agency she was responsible for said 22 e-mails top secret. so i think it's pretty obvious, even based on these public reports, most of which are generated from information produced as a result of freedom of information lawsuits in federal court, i think it's pretty obvious that her e-mail server did contain information that jeopardized our national security. now, let me just digress here for just a second, mr. president, to talk about a new development that really is
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raised -- a new concern that was raised by this information, that some of these different classifications of information were contained on her private e-mail server. the fact of the matter is, there are three different government e-mail systems. there's a secret internet, protocol router network known as a cipranet used by the defense support, and some other government agencies, which is separate and apart from the internet. it's also separate and apart from the usual government system called the nonclassified internet protocol router network, the nipr net. the cipra which is secret and separate, and nipr net which could be used to send e-mails outside the government on a government e-mail server. and then there's a third type of
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system known as jwics. this is a joint worldwide intelligence communications system. which is even more sensitive than the information contained on the cipr net, which i mentioned earlier. if somehow, as it appears to be the case, that information got from cipr net or jwics on to a nipr net system or on to a private e-mail server system, it would have to be physically transferred because they are not connected. part of their security is that they're maintained as independent systems. so somehow the concern is that highly classified information from cipr net or the super secure jwics somehow jumped from
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those closed systems to the open system and turned up in at least 1,340 clinton home e-mails. in an article in today's "new york post," the author points to secretary clinton's staff, her chief of staff, cheryl mills, or deputy chiefs uma abadine and jake sullivan. because in one of the e-mails that has been made public, clinton pressured sullivan to declassify cable remarks by a foreign leader. quote -- "just e-mail it, she snapped, to which sullivan replied 'trust me, i share your exasperation, but until ops
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converts it to the unclassified e-mail system, there is no physical way for me to e-mail it.' "in another recently released e-mail, clinton instructed sullivan to convert a classified document into an unclassified e-mail attachment by scanning it on to an unsecured computer and sending it without any classified markings. quote -- "turn into nonpaper with no identifying heading and send nonsecure. ." she ordered. well, one former -- or one gentleman associated with judicial watch has been one of the entities which has filed the freedom of information litigation which has produced these huge volume of e-mails contained on secretary clinton's server, said receiving top secret s.a.p. intelligence outside secure channels is a
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mortal sin, he called it. so as you can see, mr. president, these are not trivial matters. these are very, very serious matters. and it's important to remind folks that this issue is even made worse because it's likely some of our adversaries had access to and monitored her private e-mail server. we've heard many of our nation's top national security and intelligence leaders indicate that it's likely. recently, secretary gates, whose long service to our country includes as defense secretary under president george w. bush and president barack obama, as well as high-level jobs in the c.i.a. he said -- quote -- "i think the odds are pretty high" that russian, chinese and iranians had compromised secretary clinton's server.
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and here we are now, knowing that information on that server not only included classified information but information classified at the highest leve levels, known to the federal government. on friday, given these reports, president obama's press secretary, his chief spokesman, josh earnst, was asked about the status of the investigation and if he believed secretary clinton would be indicted. it would have been easy enough for him to say "no comment," or "we're not privy to the investigation because it's being conducted by a law enforcement agency and that's wait these things are done." but instead he said -- and i quote -- "some officials have said that she is not the target of the investigation and that an indictment "does not seem to be the direction in which it is trending."
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so as with the president's reckless remarks on television in october, either the white house has information that they should not have about the status of this ongoing criminal investigation by the f.b.i. or they're sending a signal to the f.b.i. and the department of justice that they want this to go away. it's hard for notice interpret these comments, both by the president and by his press secretary, as anything other than trying to influence the f.b.i. and the department of justice on the outcome that the administration prefers. that, mr. president, is completely inappropriate. it is outrageous. and it's got to stop. so today i'm back on the senate floor where i started months ago to make the very same point but
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with a greater sense of urgency and with a lot of new information that's come to lig light. i believe that secretary clinton has likely violated multiple criminal statutes. for a second of state to conduct official business, including transmitting and receiving information classified at the s.a.p. level on a private, unsecured server, when sensitive national defense information would likely pass through it is not just a lapse of judgment, it's a reckless -- it's reckless disregard for the security of the american people. not to mention the lives of our intelligence professionals that are involved in gaining this important intelligence that's important for us to protect ourselves against our adversaries. in light of the unprecedented nature of the case and the multiple conflicts presented to the department of justice, i can see no other appropriate course of action than for attorney
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general loretta lynch to appoint a special counsel to pursue this matter wherever the facts may lead. that need is underscored by the apparent inability of the white house to resist the temptation to try to influence or, at worst, obstruct the current investigation. so i hope the attorney general seriously considers my request to appoint a special counsel, given the conflict of interest and the extraordinary circumstances of this case. because in the end, it's the right thing to do for the american people. and if the u.s. government, including congress and the administration, are going to regain the trust and confidence of the american people, they need to know that the chips will fall where they may and that our law enforcement officials, like the f.b.i. and the department of justice, they will pursue these
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cases wherever the facts may lead. and that there isn't a separate set of rules for high government officials like a secretary of state and then you and me. mr. president, i yield the floor, and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that proceedings under the call be dispensed with.
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the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise to speak on an amendment that i introduced last week, amendment number 3140, which is a tripartisan amendment to the energy policy modernization act, which is the pending legislation. i introduced the bill -- the amendment last week with senators klobuchar and king as my lead cosponsors. our amendment would support the role that the forests in this country can play in helping to meet our nation's energy needs. the carbon benefits of force biomass are clearly established, yet current policy uncertainty
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could end up jeopardizing rather than encouraging investments in working forests, harvesting operations, bioenergy, would products, and paper manufacturing. biomass energy is sustainable, responsible, renewable, and economically significant as an energy source. many states are already relying on biomass to meet their renewable energy goals. there's a great deal of support for renewable biomass, which creates the benefits of establishing jobs, boosting economic growth, and helping us to meet our nation's energy needs. federal policies across all departments and agencies must
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remove any uncertainties and contradictions through a clear policy that forest bioenergy is part, an essential part, of our nation's energy future. with these goals in mind, i've offered a very straightforward amendment with a group of colleagues that spans the ideological spectrum. they include, as i mentioned, senators klobuchar and king, as well as senators ayotte, franken, daines, crapo, and risch. i'm very pleased to have all of these colleagues cosponsoring my bill. our amendment supports the key role that forests in the united states can play in addressing the nation's energy needs.
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the amendment echos the principles outlined in the june 2015 letter that we sent, which was signed by 46 senators. as the presiding officer knows, it's very unusual for 46 senators on both sides of the aisle to come together in support of a policy. specifically, our amendment would require the secretary of energy, the secretary of agriculture, and the administrator of the e.p.a. to jointly ensure that federal policy relating to forest bioenergy is consistent across all departments and agencies and that the full benefits of forest biomass for energy, conservation, and responsible forest management are recognized. the amendment would also direct
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these federal agencies to establish clear and simple policy for the utilization of biomass as an energy solution. these include policies that reflect the carbon neutrality of forest bioenergy, that recognize biomass as renewable energy source, that encourage private investment throughout the biomass supply chain, that encourage forest management to improve forest health and that recognize state initiatives to use biomass. the carbon neutrality of biomass harvested from sustainably managed forests has been recognized repeatedly by numerous studies, agencies, institutions, and rules around the world, and there has been no dispute about the carbon
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neutrality of biomass derived from the residuals of forest productproducts manufacturing, d agriculture. our tripartisan amendment would help ensure that federal policies for the use of clean, renewable energy solutions are clear and simple. i am in conversations with the two managers of this important bill, the chairman, senator murkowski, the ranking member, senator cantwell, about our amendment, and i hope that it will be adopted, and i would encourage our colleagues to support its adoption. mr. president, as i mentioned, senators klobuchar and king joined with me last week in introducing this bill.
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i would ask unanimous consent that senator ayotte, senator franken, senator daines, senator crapo, and senator risch be added as cosponsors to the amendment as well. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. i would yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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ms. warren: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. ms. warren: i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: thank you, mr. president. two weeks ago senate democrats announced our commitment to end the crushing burden of student loan debt. our campaign is called "in the red" because we agree with what president obama said during his final state of the union: no hardworking student should be stuck in the red. my special guest at president obama's final state of the union address highlighted exactly this point. alexis gloss is a student at
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umass. she wants to get a master's degree so she can become a public schoolteacher but she has already taken on over $50,000 in student loan debt. think about that. smart, hardworking students who want to build a future for themselves and who want to teach the next generation of kids are weighing the benefits of more education against the fear of an unmanageable debt load. now, i don't think alexis will quit, but i want my republican colleagues to explain to me, how is america any better off if a young woman doesn't get a master's degree and become a first-rate math teacher? how is this country any better off if young people get scared by debt, quit school, and take a job that requires less education? what alexis and hundreds of thousands of other people like her end up doing will be affected in part by decisions we
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make right here in this room. and if congress does nothing, then alexis and hundreds of thousands of other students just get squeezed harder. the debts get bigger, they grow faster, and the decision to give up is just a little closer. 70% of students now need to borrow money in order to make it through school. democrats are here to say, enough is enough. and that's what this "in the red" campaign is all about. the democratic plan has two basic parts: debt-free college and refinanced student loans. now, there are a lot of ways to bet to debget to debt-free coll. we can make community college tuition free. we can increase pell grants, hold colleges more accountable for keeping costs low and providing a high-quality education that will help students get ahead.
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we can also cut the debt outstanding. some student loans are charging 6%, 8%, 10%, and even higher interest rates. we could cut those interest rates right now. democrats are ready to go. but the republicans are blocking us every step of the way. instead of lowering the cost of student loans, they support the status quo where the united states government turns young people who are trying to get an education into profit centers to bring in more revenue for the federal government. in fact, congress has set interest rates so high on loans that just one slice of those loans -- those you shalled from 2007 to 2012 -- are now on target to make $66 billion in profits for the united states government. this is obscene.
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the federal government should be helping students get an education, not making a profit off their backs. now, the main response from republicans in congress has been to claim that refinancing wouldn't save students that much money. really? there are more than 40 million people currently dealing with student loan debt. when their interest rates are cut, many will save hundreds of dollars a year and some will save thousands of dollars a year. that's money that can help someone out of a hole or money to save for a down payment on a home or money to pay off those student loans faster. but republicans say that money is trivial? i mean what comes next? do republicans say, let them eat cake? and where are all those republicans who think washington takes too much of our money? these artificially high interest rates are a tax that we impose on students to fund government.
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a tax that keeps hardworking young people from buying homes, from starting businesses, or from saving for retirement. the republicans may not want to tax billionaires or fortune 500 corporations, but evidently they don't mind squeezing students who have to borrow money to pay for college. mr. president, for two years now democrats have tried to get a bill through congress to lower the interest rate on student loans, and for two years the republicans have blocked this bill. and as the republicans have said no, hardworking people who are just trying to build a life have paid and paid and paid. so i'm here to ask the republicans, what's your idea? what's your plan for how to deal with existing student loan debt? democrats have put a proposal on the table to make college affordable, but i don't hear
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anything from the republicans except, no, no, no. well, it's time for change. debt-free college and lower interest rates on student loans, that's what senate democrats are fighting for, and together that's what we're going to win. thank you, mr. president. i yield. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, on wednesday of this week, in the dead of the night, at least here, the president intends to have his trade representative sign the trans-pacific partnership massive trade agreement for our pacific trading partners. it's the product of the fast-track procedure that cleared the senate. it will then presumably at some point be advanced to the congress for confirmation. the advancement will be the result of the president filing
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enabling language that will move the bill forward. even though the president regards this deal as one of his signature accomplishments, he has not, he is not making the trip. instead he's deputized the trade representative michael froman to sign the agreement in new zealand on behalf of the united states. new zealand is a long way away. we haven't had much talk about this event, and the reason is the american people are very uneasy about it. the american people are not happy with this agreement. the american people, i believe, fully oppose it, and even more so would oppose it if they knew more about it. and they will learn more about it. so i think there's been an effort to not talk about it, to keep the language low and see if it can't be brought up some way and be passed. i think that would be a mistake. this trade agreement is 5,554
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pages long and stacks three feet high on my desk in my office. so i'd like to point my colleagues to examples of what the deal will do. the american automobile policy council recently issued a report which stated that the t.p.p. would threaten 90,000 american automotive jobs because of its failure to include strong currency protections. this is just one of the problems that we have, and it's got to be dealt with. currency manipulation is exceedingly dangerous. it has very large impacts. and on a $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 automobile, we're talking about thousands of dollars difference through currency. and the american industries across the board are beginning to oppose t.p.p.
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it's conventional wisdom that all the businesses are for it, bru not many -- but not many of the manufacturing businesses who are struggling to get by under current circumstances and would see their future even more problematic with this treaty being passed. fourth, released a -- ford released a statement opposing the deal because they argued that the t.p.p. does not adequately open foreign markets to u.s. goods. so we're going to further open our markets to foreign goods, but we're not going to make the kind of progress that must be made to help our exports, which is what we're told -- which is why we're told this agreement should pass. because it's going to open up markets for us. ford says no. then last week, ford announced they were leaving the japanese market, japan being the key country in this agreement,
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pretty certainly the key country in the agreement, because they say that japan has nontariff barriers that has limited their ability to sell cars in the united states -- in japan. for example, in 2015, ford sold fewer than 5,000 cars in japan. ford is an international manufacturer. they sell large sums of -- large numbers of automobiles in europe, mexico, south america, but they cannot penetrate the japanese market. hyundai, a superb south korean manufacturer, hyundai also gave up not too long ago trying to sell automobiles in japan, and it's not tariffs, it's nontariff factors that make this happen. given this effort, one would hope that the united states would be able to negotiate a deal that would support american
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manufacturing and american workers, but that is not the case with the t.p.p. or get this. this is the world bank evaluation. the world bank, which favors these kind of trade deals, has concluded that japan would see an extra economic growth of 2.7% by 2030 while the united states can only expect an additional economic growth of .4%. the white house's own study, a study they commissioned and they cited with pride, although they omit many of the facts that are set forth in that report, their study conducted by the petterson institute for economics claims that t.p.p. will decrease the growth of manufacturing in the united states by 20% by 2030. in other words, without this
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deal, manufacturing in the united states would grow 20% more than if we sign the deal. is this good for america? manufacturing jobs are high-paying jobs. manufacturing jobs that demand resources from the community, and all kinds of people support those manufacturing jobs, and then the products that are manufactured are sold in the united states around the world, money is brought home, it pours into that community to buy more products, more machines, more gasoline, more electricity and pay the workers who work in those plants. you've got to have manufacturing in this world. the nation cannot get by with no manufacturing. a nation that has the greatest economy in the world, a nation that has the greatest military in the world must maintain a manufacturing base. this 20% reduction in potential
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growth as a result of the t.p.p. would result in around 120,000 fewer jobs than would have been created otherwise. that's a very large number. 120,000 high-paying good jobs in manufacturing plants. but the president's study, that's his group that they got to give the results he wanted. and trust me, we're going to show this over time, the predictions for these trade agreements have fall en massively short of what the -- they said. however, a more critical study by the economists at tufts university, that prestigious university, recently found that t.p.p. would cost up to 400,000 jobs in the united states. so we're supposed to sign this deal and it's supposed to make
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america better and it's going to cost us jobs? that's what the other deals have done. i think this one is likely to do the same. i wish it weren't so. we need better trade deals. we don't need to enter into trade deals that don't protect the legitimate interests of american workers and american manufacturers, and our trading partners, good countries, good people, japan, south korea, philippines and others, they're tough trading partners. they are mercantilists. they are not free traders, really. they're out to maximize their exports and to export market -- and the export market they lust after the most is the united states market. that's where they want to export their products and bring home american dollars. and we haven't done a good job of defending our interests.
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the united states has already had trade agreements that measure asian nations, many of them now. how have they turned out? didn't we study that? has anyone talked about that? and we had hearings on how well they have worked out before? no. we haven't done that because we don't want to talk about that. what we want to stay in the united states senate -- the united states house of representatives is trade deals are good. anybody that's got a trade deal, be for it. that's not a sound way to proceed. our trade deficit for south korea last year -- south korea is a good ally of the united states, it's a good country, but they are tough competitors. our trade deficit with south korea last year from january through november was $26 million. that country alone by the end of
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the year will be about $28 billion-plus. they have not published the december numbers yet, but estimates suggest that the 2015 trade deficit will be 15% higher than last year, 2014. is that a good deal for the united states? trade deficits reduce u.s. g.d.p. it's products that americans consume that were made from abroad instead of being produced here as part of our gross domestic product. it's not good for economic growth. the fourth quarter of this year, our growth fell way beyond -- way below expectations, .7%. something -- some think we could be heading into a recession. many people are seriously discussing it. who knows what will happen? we are not in a booming economy. there is absolutely no doubt about it. and wages are down.
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job prospects are down. we have the lowest percentage of americans in the working years actually working sips -- since the 1970's. it's not a healthy environment. in 2010, president obama promised that the south korean trade deal -- he said this when he signed the agreement. if they can promise these kinds of things in advance, he passed, he signed the agreement. i voted for it, i acknowledged. i voted for most of these deals, but it's time for us to be honest about that, to evaluate how well they're actually turning out. so when he signed the deal, he promised it would increase american exports to south korea by $11 billion a year. well, that was nice. we'd like to have seen that. however, in the 11 months of last year, the united states only exported $1.2 billion more
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than we did when the deal was signed six years ago. and the year before that, it was $.8 billion export increase. not even $1 billion. but what about korean exports to the united states, what we import from korea? well, that rose nearly $20 billion. so since 2010, our trade deficit with south korea has risen nearly 260% from $10.1 billion in 2010 to more than $26 billion this year. well, that's a very serious amount. i am very concerned about these loss of jobs. i think the american people need to know what's happening, and the trans-pacific partnership agreement not only fails to deal
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with manufacturing jobs in general but it also fails to include any kind of serious measure that would address currency manipulation. the former president of the federal reserve during the time president reagan was president, the economy went through a tough period, but it rebounded under his leadership, paul volcker, reagan's leadership put us on a path that went all the way through the 1990's of sound, solid growth. mr. volcker said just a few days of currency manipulation can work -- wipe out years of trade agreements with a trading partner. currency is a huge thing. that's why the american automobile council is concerned about it, why ford and other
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manufacturers care about it, why we had a series of votes on the senate floor to try to do something about currency, but the powers that be had the ultimate victory. so we got to vote for a bill that wouldn't become law, that would push back and allow us to resist currency manipulations. we got to vote on that one. they made sure it didn't get on the bill that's going to become law, the trans-pacific partnership agreement. so it was a show vote. the president was not going to execute it and vetoed it. so "the wall street journal" on november 5 wrote -- quote -- "mexico, canada and other countries signaled that they were open to the currency deal when they realized it would not
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include binding currency rules that could lead to trade sanctions through the t.p.p. so these countries want to be able to manipulate their currency, but obviously they agreed to go forward with the trade deal because they knew there were no binding currency rules. absolutely. in fact, last year, the japanese finance minister, taro aso, said that -- quote -- "there will not be any change" -- close quote -- in japan's currency policy because of the provisions included in the t.p.p. so some milquetoast language got in the agreement, senators were able to say they voted for a bill that had teeth to it, but that was in a separate bill that would not become law. it will be vetoed, never going to become law. and so japan and others say it's
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not going to make any change in our currency policy. japan just devalued the yen again recently, significantly. china has devalued its currency by 6%, and many expect that they will devalue it even further. i just have got to say it's time for the united states of america to understand something. we're the largest economy in the world. we have the greatest military in the world. and we need to demand the people who sell in our markets, whose exports to the united states are critical to their economic well-being, we need to tell them you don't get to do this if you're not playing by the rules, and you don't get to manipulate currency, you don't need to subsidize your manufacturing, and we're not going to use nontariff -- we're not going to allow you to use nontariff barriers to prohibit the imports of american products.
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that's what we need out of the leadership in this country, not an agreement that allows continued manipulation of currency, that does not deal effectively with -- with the -- the nontariff barriers and subsidies that these countries have used to take market share. what happens to an american business? u.s. steel just closed a plant and laid off a thousand workers in birmingham last year. oh, that's just free market, you know. it's not free market, not if they have manipulated their currency. it's not free market if they subsidize the exports. and is that plant going to reopen? we'd like to think so, but i doubt it. once these american plants who get no support from their government to compete abroad, once those plants are closed, they don't reopen. and our competitors know that
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and they take market share. and they get to sell more in the united states and bring home strong american dollars. well, i just think it's time for us to slow down on this. we're going to continue to look at how these trade agreements have worked, and i don't think they work very good for the american worker. they haven't done very good for american manufacturing. i believe -- and i think few would really dispute that this nation can be prosperous without manufacturing. one time they said you could do with a service economy and high-tech economy. i just saw a report in " "barron's" this week, saturday's, they reported on a study that has been done about our high-tech companies that arf and we hear so much talk about.
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what about the job prospects they have for this year? are they going to add more jobs to high-tech computer companies in america? no. this analysis said that the information technology companies in america would reduce employment 330,000 people this year. i've got to tell you, you lose automobile manufacturing, you lose steel plants, these people are not going to work in computer companies. that is one of the biggest misrepresentations economically i've ever heard of. the facts are becoming very clear on that. microsoft laid off over a hundred thousand the year before last. we've had a continual decline in high-tech job creation. oh, yes, some plant somewhere is adding jobs but more are laying off jobs. so, mr. president, there's an
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election going on out there. people need -- people are concerned about their future. they need to know about the trade agreement. they need to be asking their representatives and their presidential candidates how they feel about it. which side are you going to be on? let's hear the reasons why you're for or against this agreement. and after they've heard that, i think they'll be in a better position to decide how to cast their votes. i thank the chair and would yield the floor. ms. cantwell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i come to the floor, we're moving forward, as many of my colleagues know, on this energy package. and i want to thank my colleagues who've come to the floor already today to talk about it and certainly the senator from alaska, senator murkowski, as we work through these many different proatals by our -- proposals by our colleagues. we were able to clear some amendments last week by voice
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and hopefully we'll be able to move on forward with the next 24 hours by getting some votes locked in. so some of the things we're going to talk about this week continuing on the underlying premise of the bill, which is energy efficiency and creating jobs and making our economy more competitive by holding down the cost of energy. and many of us know that for centuries, the use of energy has been a very important factor in our economy. i mentioned last week how the northwest economy, built on a hydro system and cheap hydropower has work for us over and over again, as companies that use a lot of electricity have moved to the northwest. and we have stored everything from apples to now soft war byts because of the huge efficiencies that we were able to pull off with cheap hydro power. so as my colleague from alaska will say, energy costs are high in alaska and she wants to make sure that we're making it more affordable and getting distributed generation, as she
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just mentioned earlier today, and make sure that we have a microgrid to do that is a key component to how she's going to successfully diversify their economy. so each of us here, as debate this -- as we debate this on the senate floor, are thinking about the regions of our county, how do we make sure we're dealing with energy and how do we do it importantly. one of the things i want to discuss is that in 2007, for the first time in our history, the united states actually delinked economic growth from energy growth. that is, the lines actually crossed. now our economy is producing more in goods and services and yet using less in electricity. i think the chart behind me demonstrates this. this is a very important point for us because it shows that we can still grow our economy while consuming and using less energy. this is very important whether you're a homeowner and you want to have more efficiency in your home while still having all those apps and all those devices
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and all the electricity that make your life easier, and it's also important for businesses, as they want to compete in a global economy, they want produce goods and services and yet do so in a cost-effective manner. and so the more you can drive down energy costs by driving down consumption, the better. so if we want to continue to compete in that global economy, what we must continue to improve are energy productivity and that is exactly what title 1 of this bill does. the policy modernization act. it is to help ensure that the nation is eliminating energy waste and making improvements in new technologies that will improve our competitiveness for the 21st century. energy efficiency is the cheapest and most affordable way for energy resources because it is one-third of the cost of new production. that is, by saving energy at home, by using what we already have more efficiently -- and there's all sorts of smart ways to do this -- you can actually have one-third of the cost of
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what it would take to get new production on-line. so in the last 40 years, since the oil embargo and since energy efficiency became an integral part of our energy policy, we have learned that efficiency is not like most other resources that are depleted and consumed. instead, we've found that as we keep making progress on efficiencies, that we've created new technologies, that these have become the most cost-effective ways to cut waste and they have been the most cost-effective ways to, as i would say, take the low-hanging fruit that is available in front of us and help businesses and homeowners in the kinds of paths forward on energy that we would like to see. two examples of this that we've had a hand in here. one, automobiles and lighting technology. now, both of these are things that in the previous 2007 energy bill that we had a hand in, average automobile fuel economy has improved dramatically from
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15 miles per gallon when we had the cafe standards in effect in 1978, to 28 miles per gal felonn 2016. that's something we pushed here and the fact we pushed that made our automobiles more efficient. and with respect to lighting, the latest light emitting diode technology is three to seven times more nisht energy -- efficient in energy and can last at least 25 times longer. so in 2012 alone, nearly 50,000 l.e.d.'s were installed in the u.s., saving an estimated $670 million in annual electricity costs. so what we are saying here is that we want to continue to move forward on energy efficiency. it is saving money for businesses and homeowners and we want to continue the advancements of these technologies. and, of course, we want to make sure that they're the right investments. so i want to remind my
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colleagues that there are going to be several ways in which we're going to try to improve on this, that energy efficiency must be a major part of our policies here and i know that many states across the country are also making investments in this. so tomorrow i expect us to have a vote on the federal energy efficiency resource standard, or it is called eers. and since its establishment, the department of energy has implemented successful energy efficiency programs that develop new technologies and promote best practices within the major sectors of our energy economy, and yet many states have used their role to also establish energy efficiency. and i think behind me you'll see the number of states who have already developed these incentives for investments between energy efficiency and new production by giving utilities an incentive to invest in low-cost-efficient say programs before investing in more expensive new energy
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production. so you can see that many of these states across the united states have taken these initiatives, these 25 states, with energy efficiency standards have democrat sphrait demonstrae more interested in cutting waste and adding to productivity than states without eers. now, why is that important? well, it's almost like once you start down the path of the energy efficiency and the ethos of that and you continue to make your energy grid more efficient -- which is something california has done. california made a huge investment as a marketplace for energy efficiency and now they continue to be on the cutting edge. cutting edge of more efficiency. so they have continued to grow as an economy and yet use less energy. and, in fact, the 19 states with the greatest energy savings in the nation all have energy efficiency resource standards. so to me, this is an area of the
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bill that i think we would like it to improve on because states are the laboratories of democracy and because 25 of them have demonstrated the benefits of this, i believe it's time that the federal government should also establish a national energy efficiency resource standard. my colleague, senator franken from minnesota, will be offering an amendment to do just that on this bill. the federal government could require states to do their part in reducing the waste and in increasing our nation's energy productivity, producing more goods and services with less energy and by establishing an energy resource standard that would promote investments in efficiency. everything from cost-effectiveness in new buildings and production capacity. and the proposed eera would really set a very modest, easily achievable energy savings target that electrical and natural gas must meet as it is already required in half of these states. so the american council for energy efficiency economy
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estimates that implementing the federal ee are rs -- eers would save $130 billion, or about $1,000 per household, by 2040. the adoption of this eera amendment would more than triple the energy efficiency savings nefits of this act that's before us today. and it would not only se every american money but it would reduce their energy -- by reducing their energy bill but it would also strengthen our nation's economic competitiveness by improving our energy productivity and maintaining our leadership in the commercialization of these products. this is something that i learned in my time the private sector. any time you can make something that is a value to everybody more efficient, like energy, you are on the winning path. that is, if you become the experts of constantly knowing how to make everything more efficient, whether you're talking about development in china or whether you're talking
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about development in europe or in other parts of asia, the fact that we are experts on energy efficiency by deploying this here in the united states gives us waning hand on deploying it around -- us a winning hand on deploying it around the world. so any time you can be more efficient, you're also being more cost-effective, you're also saving dollars. and that's what we're pushing in this bill by moving us forward on energy efficiency. and as we have seen in energy efficiency, and i'm sure senator franken will talk more about this tomorrow, not only is it commonsense economics, it also has the ability to focus on some of the cleaner sources of energy that we have been discussing too. the federal government has had a history of promoting energy efficiency and the government itself, being the single largest energy user in the nation, could benefit from this. and we hope that when we look at
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the federal government, that we will also be talking about energy efficiency products. and one of the examples of how congress directed the federal government to lead was in the enactment of section 433 of the energy independence act of 2007. this provision established a federal leadership role in the development of high-efficiency, low-emission commercial buildings by requiring the federal government to phase out the use of fossil fuel energy in federal buildings and renovations. so the u.s. government, as the single largest occupant of federal buildings in the nation, should continue i believe to demonstrate their energy efficiency as well. i know in the pacific northwest, we have the bullet center, which is the greenest commercial building in the united states. we have a hospital in isaquaw that is supposedly the most energy efficient hospital in the united states. and we have other businesses that are developing these
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buildings that are smart buildings that are driving down the costs. and what does that mean? it just means that other investments and other aspect of business can go into the r&d or into the manufacturing of goods or into the promotion of ideas instead of into the cost of that business spending it on energy. and i would say that for us in the pacific northwest, someone might say, with the cheapest kilowatt nations in the nation, why would everybody spend so much time on energy efficiency? we spend so much time on energy efficiency in the northwest because we know it pays dividends. we know it gives us a competitive edge and we know it continues to put us in the driver's seat with technology. so even though we have the cheapest kilowatt rates, we continue to make an investment. these buildings were designed to show what's now technologically possible and to change the way architects and builders actually think about high-performance
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buildings. the buildings feature state-of-the-art ground source heating and cooling, both photovoltaic and thermal solar energy collection. computers that automatically adjust the building systems to keep comfortable and efficient. the building has an elevator that converts kinetic energy from breaking into usable electricity. all of these things are just about the next cutting edge. the bullitt center and other buildings like it demonstrate that it's technologically feasible to phase out the use of fossil fuel-generated energy in new federal buildings within the next 14 years, as required by this -- by current law. so these aren't radical policies. these laws, which were required in 2007, are things that i know people here would like to strike and repeal, but we want to continue 0 to move forward -- to move forward on these ideas. and let me just mention another
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one that we'll likely hear about, which is the save act, offered by our colleagues from georgia and from colorado. s senators likely will offer this bill -- the senators likely will offer this bill that was not offered in committee to sensibly account to value energy. while these are important votes, like the ones that we had with thshaheen-portman, this would hp homeowners account for the energy efficiencies of their home during the mortgage and underwriting process. i know that the average homeowner pays more than $2,000 annually for the energy in they are home. this is typically the second-largest cost in buying and owning a home, but it is not accounted for in the mortgage underwriting process. many of us have gone through this process of buying a home, getting a mortgage. so why can't a homeowner on a voluntary basis have its home
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audited and have that accounted for in the energy process? i think this will be one of the things that we will hear about tomorrow and one voafts w votesl be having. owners of more efficient homes are lease leare less likely to n their mortgages. those improvements will actually be accounted for in their underwriting process for their homes. organizations as diverse as the u.s. chamber of commerce, the national association of manufacturers, the alliance to save energy, the u.s. green buildinbuilding council, all sut this amendment. so that is another idea that's not in the underlying bill that we will have discussion on. so today we're here with many amendments. last week added to this legislation -- i think all my
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colleagues on both sides of the aisle -- i thank all my colleagues on both side of the aisle for their hard work on that and for continuing to move forward with my colleague, the senator from alaska, senator mor cow skew, and -- senator murkowski, in continuing to move forward. i know my colleagues want to discuss this legislation, like i do, but we also know there is a limited time that we will be able to be on it legislation. so i urge my colleagues to bring any amendments to the floor tonight that they would like to have considered, if they haven't already filed them today. we need to continue to build on the success of the last 40 years and continue to cut our energy waste and to link our economy so that we can make sure we continue to grow and dproa in the most cost -- and grow in the most cost-effective way and continue to produce these jobs that these new renewable and technology-efficient opportunities are creating fours. if we can, i think this legislation will help give us another foothold towards that
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future economy that is cleaner, more efficient, and a better driver of u.s. competitiveness on an international global basis for the types of energy solutions that we will -- that we think will help the world as well. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor, and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent that the quorum call be success spengded.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin:man, the senate is cengtszly considering a bipartisan energy bill that could lead america on a pathway to rebuilding our nation's economy in this century. it has been nine years since we passed an energy bill and a lot of things have changed. the bill we're considering contains important provisions to build domestic clean energy sources. strengthen energy efficiency measures, modernize our electric grid. it represents a compliment to basic science research at the department of energy. i believe we can do more than what the bill proposes. we need more for research, the kind of research that costs too much and takes too long for any individual company to undertake. we need to invest in medical and basic science research. the investment will pay off for generations to come. i cochair the senate national lab caucus and i know if we
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invest in research in our national labs it will lead to breakthroughs that will help keep america competitive and create good-paying jobs. at firme national lab in illinois the development of super conducting wire technology enabled the manufacturer of magnetic r.e.s. nens -- resonance imaging. sometimes it is time for scientists at these labs to explain in simple words what they're doing and why it is important. this is an example. they were working on wire technology that probably didn't mean much certainly to me or to many people. when they finished they came up with an m.r.i., a brand-new way of imaging our bodies to detect illnesses and plot a way to cure them. in the 1970's the scientists drove cutting edge research until super conducting wire fabrication. rather than patent these advances, firmee lab made them
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freely available to the public and private sector opening the door for large-scale super conducting wire manufacturing b private industry. since m.r.i. machines rely on super conducting wires, this made the commercialization possible. today m.r.i. machines are widely used to image the human body. using m.r.i.'s nearly eliminates the need for exploratoryry surgery which of course means it's cheaper in the long run and safer. last month a new generation of m.r.i. machines at the illinois neurological institute saved the life of a 27-year-old farmer from canton illinois, cody kulack. he had a tumor located in the part of his brain difficult to image using old technology and it would have relied on surgery and guesswork. using the new m.r.i. machine, his doctors were able to pinpoint exactly where the tumor was and exactly how much to rue move meaning -- remove meaning
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cody recovered more quickly. another example of the disoavment -- department of energy success can be found at photon source allowed scientists to see how viruses such as h.i.v. replicate and how cancer grows. this understanding led to the discovery of new drugs for aids therapy, a drug called coletra, now the most prescribed drug in its class for this deadly disease. it has also led to the development of a drug celberaf to treat melanoma. this drug has been used on 11,000 patients worldwide, is approved now in 43 countries. the research at this national lab really paved the way. building and operating a facility like the advanced photon source is too specialized for any single company to do. only investment by america in its own department of energy can make something like this
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possible. let me give you one final example on how the department of energy's office of science has had an impact on every american life. researchers from northern illinois university, firmee lab in oregon teamed up to give a tenfold boost to normal c.t. scanning capabilities. the result was a next generation c.t. scanner that limits a patient's exposure to radiation while giving better images that allow doctors to more accurately detect and treat cancer and save lives. this research also led two u.s., to two u.s. patents and spurred an illinois start-up company through the national institutes of health small business innovation research grant. these are only some of the department of energy's national lab success stories. but they are examples that show that this investment which cannot be effectively made by most businesses in america can really make america safer, healthier and pave the way for new businesses and jobs.
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america's place as a world leader in cutting edge research is at risk if we fail to make the necessary investments in basic science research. i want to commend my colleagues in the senate, particularly senator roy blunt, a republican from missouri; senator lamar alexander, republican tennessee; senator patty murray, democrat state of washington. they have stepped up when it came to n.i.h. research, national institutes of health. in this year's budget, we're going to have virtually 5% real increase in research, $2 billion of new money going to n.i.h. i'm willing to stake my future in the senate and tell you that that investment in the n.i.h. this year in research will ultimately lead to break breakthroughs that will save lives. this is another area that is equally promising. i remember visiting the department of energy a few months back with ernest moniz,
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our secretary whom i respect. i told him how i'm committed to n.i.h. basic biomedical research. i said one example is alzheimer's. i was surprised when my staff said one american is diagnosed with alzheimer's every 67 seconds. i said go back to the drawing board. that can't be true. they went back and came and said no, senator, that's exactly right. once every 67 seconds on average an american is diagnosed with alzheimer's. i told that story to ernest moniz, the secretary of energy. i said that's why we need this n.i.h. research. he said senator, my office of science in the department of energy is developing the imaging techniques so is that we can detect alzheimer's in living human beings. currently the only confirmation of diagnosis is coming through autopsy. if we can find early onset of alzheimer's we are in a better position to respond to it. that's why if you're interested in curing diseases, in finding
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ways to avoid expensive surgery, reducing the cost of medicine but still protecting america, we need, as this generation of lawmakers, to make a commitment to science research. i've already thanked my colleagues by name who have done that for the national institutes of health, and i'm going to be offering an amendment here with senator alexander of tennessee that is going to help increase our commitment to research in the energy bill which is before us. the 4% growth in the bill is good, but unfortunately it does not protect against inflation. so what we're calling for is 5% growth over inflation in this department. i can guarantee you, the breakthroughs that will come from this research will make life better and create more opportunities for people living in this country. we need to have sustained funding to ensure that cutting-edge research can bear fruit and we're asking that they maintain this growth period of 5% real growth for five years.
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congress needs to help america's best and brightest do what they do best. this amendment represents an investment that will save lives. mr. president, i'll just say parenthetically this morning i made a trip to atlanta, georgia. every two or three years i go down to visit the center for disease control. this agency is not well known or well understood by most americans. the center for disease control in atlanta, georgiais the first line in america's national defense when it comes to public health threats. we now have a mosquito called the zika mosquito spreading virus in brazil to the point where women are being warned now is not the time to be pregnant. if one of these mosquitoes should sting you, and some of the virus be in your body, it could cause a miscarriage or some terrible defects in your baby. that's how dangerous it is. the front line of defense for the united states of america is
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the center for disease control in atlanta, georgia. as i walked through there and met with the pathologists, the doctors, the veterinarians and others who worked there, i saw this amazing array of extraordinary talent, people who were excited about their work, about making our country safer and the world safer. the zika virus, of course, is our current threat, but there are many more. they face the ebola crisis in africa and luckily it did not spread beyond the few countries where it was first reported. so when we talk about investments in research by the united states federal government, it's research that's good for us and our families, and it's good for the world. i'll be offering this amendment probably this week with senator alexander and others to increase this commitment to research. it's an investment that will lead to new breakthroughs in this bill on energy, in scientific discoveries, energy innovation and national security.
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this amendment strengthens the bill before us, helps us move toward our 21st century economy and a better world. i urge my colleagues to support it. mr. president, i am prepared to yield the floor unless someone is seeking recognition. i don't see anyone so 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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quorum call:
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ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: request that proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president, we have had an opportunity to have a few speakers here this afternoon. senator cantwell and i have come to the floor, urged our colleagues to help us as we work to advance the energy policy and modernization act. and we have, for the information of colleagues, an order in terms of several -- a couple votes tomorrow. and i would ask at this time unanimous consent that it be in order to call up the following amendments. amendment number 3023 by lee and amendment number 3115 from franken. and that on tuesday, february 2, at 2:30 p.m., the senate proceed to vote in relation to the above amendments in the order listed,
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vote with -- with no second-degree amendments in order prior to the votes and a 60-vote affirmative threshold required for adoption. further, that the time between 2:15 and 2:30 be equally divided in the usual form and there be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to the vote. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president, we are now ready to process a handful of amendments with a series of voice votes. i would ask unanimous consent that the following amendments be called up and reported by numb number. number 2970, gardner. number 2989, reed. number 2991, inhofe. number 3119, daines. number 3019, murphy. number 3066, hirono. number 3137, udall. and number 305, flake, with modifications. the clerk: the senator from alaska, ms. murkowski, proposes
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for other senators, amendments numbered 2970, 2989, 2991, 3119, 3019, 3066, 3137 and 3056, as modified. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate now vote on these amendments en bloc. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i know of no further debate on these amendments. ms. cantwell: mr. president, if i could just say that i so appreciate our colleagues working in such a bipartisan fashion to work through these eight amendments and set votes for these amendments tomorrow. and so we're making good progress on this legislation. i hope that our colleagues will give attention to these matters so tomorrow we can move further on some more votes to clear up
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the remaining issues before us on these bills. but i appreciate all our colleagues working in earnest and the chair of the committee to make sure that we've made this progress so far today. so thank you. the presiding officer: hearing no further debate, the question occurs on the adoption of the amendments en bloc. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the amendments are adopted. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i would now ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 458. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of defense, ricardo a. aguilarra of virginia to be assistant secretary of the air force. ms. murkowski: mr. president,i know of no further debate. the presiding officer: is there any further debate? hearing none, all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no.
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the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i ask consent that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order to the nomination, that any statements related to the nomination be printed in the record, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: and, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 354, s. res. 347. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 354, senate resolution 347, honoring the memory and legacy of aaani a guitar and condemning the attack in mali on december 20, 2015.
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the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding? without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tuesday, february 2. following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. following leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business until 11:00 a.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each. further, that following morning business, the senate then resume consideration of s. 2012. finally, that the senate recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. to allow for the weekly conference meetings. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mrs. measure: mr. president, if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until
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senate stands adjourned until
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and not. >> and i think it is a great way for us. >> shares my colleagues to vote for this amendment. me when i go back today they will say i saw you on c-span. >> good morning. >> there is so much more that c-span does in terms of programming to make sure that people know what is going on inside the beltway. >> i announce my candidacy. >> i will officially running for president of the united
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states. >> as a reporter who covers politics and for so many stories c-span has been part of the research. >> so many within the political bloc is fear in the policy areas are covered >> how many nuclear warheads does russia have? >> and then to do the decision making it. >> good morning. the interaction with collars on c-span is great. >> i am your mother. i disagree all families are like ours. i don't know many families.
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>> a wonderful way to access the work. >> to become american history as a history junkie you have to watch whether we're talking about a congressional hearing there is so much information that you can convey if you have that kind of programming whether at the space on the campaign trail. to capture history as it happens. it brings you inside these chambers to let you have a seat at the table. you cannot find that anywhere else. i and a c-span fame and.
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>> that is the power of c-span. poll that she conducted. so we will get more of your calls coming up here. we have e io >>host: on the phone is the theabou i.r.a. of -- i was secretary ofcuse state so let's begin with voter registration. where does that stand right now?
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>> we have seen a serious uptick in jiri. typically there is not a big adjustment but we have seen one now as the numbers have gone up the independence as a ship the -- shifted over.ra but there are some independence and will join the ranks tonight. >>host: what do you expect? in new people registering to vote tonight? how does thatat work? >> with more independence joining the and brandy people who have never registered. but whether a democrat or to republican if they are not they will be asked to do so at the event and it will be filed with our offices for processing later. they have to have that done
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prepared and do you think you will see first-time caucusan goers tonight? >> certainly. this is an open election cycle with the term limits republican party stand some very aggressive campaign the polls are showing that. and in iowa you get three tickets out that means at is coupler trying for those spots. >>host: what is your role tonight? >> i am the state commissioner of the elections but this is the party building function. live is really on the voter registrationn side to make people are registeredss
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properly i and to provide that to localfter parties or we will watch how the trend will go because you'll probably be more active as they go to the next cycle. >> youou put out a statement critical of senator ted cruz. why did you feel the need to put out a statement?se >> i try not to get in the middle of the caucus with the party buildingngma process but the campaign sent out a mailer that made it look likem my it was coming from my office in the sense as part of my official documents that they were violating guidelines by not
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participating and gave them a letter grades and use voter registration lists it is legally is just the way they utilize them. giv just to clarify it did not come from my office and we do not give people letter grades and don't use the tactics which to see your neighbors participation level as well. i a understand how the gold but it was definitely not the spirit of goodatio campaigning. >>host: will there be any ramifications or in investigation?
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>> i don't think there will be because i don't thinke there was a lot broken but this was not an official document that did not come from the do office and we don't grade people on participation. after that my personal comment. >> working with microsoft onav their cell phones so every neighborhoodepp o leader will
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have an application on their phone at the completion of poll they can cap afford the role -- the poll results from their telephone to capitol square in downtown des moines iowa over 1600 national media are there to cover it with the big board on line on their web site.y. my office will be sharing that information as a courtesy but not as a formality. >>host: the hill newspaper sayschan microsoft is in the hoe seat is a change from 2012 mint mitt romney was mistakenly declared thethis winner and it was rick santorum is that why? >> is a part of it. also is the 21st century. we need to embrace it andfe this isct a way to do more
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effectively. we need more formally elections and to put that an main information em back to westst so we do have an electronic process will not the telephone app. is is a tool in a chance breast to use it. >>host: would be watching tonight i on? account any are coming outti that are first-timeci participants and how many independents we pull off the bench by choosing a political party. that will translate into the november eruption in my job is to encourage participation. i am looking forward to seeing folks have their voice heard. >> any new predictions? >> higher trends for sure.
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with a personal observation the sanders campaign in clinton has work to do good is watching you will take second and third is pretty polt.ht the fit is going to be rubio or dr. carson or ted cruz. they are battling for the second and third place. >>host: we appreciate your time. >> very good joining us. will be a few blocks from where we are located is historical building. one of the exhibits on display
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>> one of the exhibits on display is lookingam at how i would became first in the nation looking back at 1972 the surprising winners including this bit of trivia. undeclared came in first. >> the name of the exhibit first in thehe nation, how did he feature that manyha candidates in one exhibit? >> we have been first in the nation for the caucuses. that is important to violence and across the country so we selected just over 160 artifacts of thousands in the collection to tell that kim story how i would became first in the nation.arti >> including the one behind you over yourou, shoulder
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showing some of the creative ways that people in iowa q participate. >> it was created by a woman sigourney iowa.l she is 92 and tried to meet over every candidate and sign a square foot to make into a largege quilts and a raffle that at theom democratic convention in atlanta. the man who won it was from australia and he gave it back and she gave it to west in >> what is the role of the state historical society when so many come to des moines and the rest of the state to participate? a >>lw people don't understand what death caucus are or how they became first in the nation.ju and how they might participate for the first
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time but p also people coming into iowa that want to learn about the first public election and who people look to for that story.. >> there is 150 pieces in this exhibit where do you store all the memorabilia? >> we have over 100,000 total collection items in a vault in though lower level of the state historicall building. >> first in the nation shaping presidential politics since 1972.ator >> the senator from maine was the presumed favorite is senator george mcgovern does better thanc no expected to go a and get the democratic nomination so even at that time i will was shaping presidential politics.iowa
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>> representative john cox came to iowa hoping to catch fire and handout bags of butwe it - - potato g chips with stickers and we have an example of that. >> what is the story how they end up in youro collection? >> but even those that don't make things to us. and active in the jesse jackson campaign we also have a 1988 press packet. a c showing how things have changed. >> take us through thefu marketingn. >> from the post to thousand era you will see items like
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a baseball mitt, standard t-shirt for bill bradley and rudy guiliani. and the press package related to the candidates today.its we have those sorts of artifacts as well. >> the caucuses are run by v each party so they're veryal grass-roots and these are two examples of ballot boxes from the precinct in warren county just south of des moines. the republican party captain just grabbed a couple. . .
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