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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  February 2, 2016 2:15pm-7:01pm EST

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[inaudible conversations] >> we have to leave this now, take you live to the floor of the senate for our gavel-to-gavel coverage.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona is recognized. mr. flake: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that two legislative fellows in my office, dr. lauren stump and mr. tom zazar -- carzinski can be granted floor privileges throughout the remainder of the year. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. flake: mr. president, i rise today in support of the lee amendment number 3023 which places commonsense limitations on the ability of the executive branch to unilaterally lock up large swaths of public land. specifically, the amendment provides congress and the applicable state legislatures a three-year window to approve presidentially declared national monuments, ensuring that land use decisions finally have an input from the various states, the impacted states. arizona knows all too well the effects of restrictive federal land designations.
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like most western states, a significant portion of arizona is under federal ownership. arizona leads the nation in the total of 21 national parks and monuments. like most, our federal land is a mix of single-purpose lands set aside for recreation as well as multiple use lands providing opportunities for grazing, mining and timber production. the ability of the -- the use of these lands for multiple purposes is critical. however, a national monument designation can take away that opportunity with one stroke of a president's pen. it's also worth noting that a monument designation has the potential to change the character of the water rights associated with federal lands, an outcome that i'm working to prevent with separate, stand-alone legislation. there is a real concern that the president will take unilateral action to increase the federal government's ownership of federal lands. in fact, one recent proposal
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would lock up another 1.7 million acres right in arizona to create yet another national monument. that's an area larger than the entire state of delaware. the negative impact of such a land grab would likely extend to activities such as hunting, livestock grazing, wildfire prevention, mining and other recreation activities. last night, smart mccain and i - last night, senator mccain and i sent a large to the president urging him not to unilaterally pursue this monument designation. this sentiment is echoed by a large number of individuals throughout arizona, including state and local officials, several municipalities and a wide range of sportsmen's groups. the lee amendment would give these stakeholders a voice in the monument designation process and i'm happy to be a cosponsor and to support this amendment on the floor today. i look forward to considering
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several amendments that i've introduced on this legislation as well regarding safeguarding hydro power production, reimbursing national -- national parks after a government shutdown occurs, and creating a database to increase transparency for wapa customers. thank you, mr. president. i yield back my time. mr. flake: mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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ms. cantwell: mr. president, we're about to vote shortly on the lee amendment and i wanted to rise to speak in opposition to that amendment and to just remind my colleagues this is a vote that we've probably taken last year at this same time. but the antiquities act is really one of our nation's most successful conservation laws. it was signed into law in 1906 and used by president theodore roosevelt to designate devil's tower in wyoming as its first national monument. and in the 110 years since its been enacted, the antiquities act has been used by 16 different presidents, eight republicans, eight democrats, to designate over 140 national monuments, including the san juan islands and the hanford reach in the state of washington. so nearly half our national parks, including the national icon such as the grand canyon,
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olympic national park, was designated as national monuments under the antiquities act. however, the senator from utah's amendment would effectively end the president's ability to use the antiquities act to protect these threatened lands. his amendment requires that the national monument designation will expire after three years unless congress enacts a law specifically approving the designation and the state in which the monument would be located would also have to approve the designation. so this amendment requires state and federal approval over a federal land designation which is unprecedented, giving away federal land management responsibilities to states and a veto over these conservation efforts. so i hope that as my colleagues look at this first vote, that they will oppose this amendment. as i said, i strongly do. and i hope that our colleagues will look at their past record on this as well because i'm pretty sure we're all on record in opposition on our side to this amendment in the past.
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with that, i know we're probably ready to proceed to the vote. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, i speak in support of my amendment number 3023. the purpose of this amendment is simple, to put in the hands of the people the right to decide whether a monument close to them will be designated. my amendment would leave intact the president's authority to designate a monument such that we could protect land from imminent destruction. but it puts a fuse on that. it puts a finite limit on that authority so that within three years that monument designation would expire unless both the host state has acted to embrace it and congress has affirmatively enacted the monument designation into law. the american people demand and deserve nothing less than to have decisions like these put in the hands of their elected representatives rather than simply hand it over to one
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single official who doesn't stand accountable to the american people. and i'd encourage my colleagues to support this amendment. the presiding officer: the question's on the amendment. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote: the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chaib wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? if not, the yeas and nays are recorded. on this vote the yeas are 47,s nays are 48. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. mr. franken: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: mr. president, i would like to call up amendment 3115 and ask that it be reported by number. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment
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by number. the clerk: the senator from minnesota, mr. frankening, proposes an -- mr. franken proposes an amendment numbered 3115. mr. franken: mr. president, i ask for order that my colleagues might hear my wise -- the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. mr. franken: mr. president, i call on my colleagues to support my amendment number 3115 that i offer with senators heinrich, warren and sanders. this amendment establishes a national energy efficiency standard that requires electric and natural gas utilities to help their customers use energy more efficiently. our amendment is modeled on the experience of minnesota and 24 other states that have already adopted energy efficiency standards, including states like texas, arizona, and arkansas. the state programs are working great, helping to reduce energy usage, saving customers,
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consumers and businesses money on their electricity bills, creating well-paying jobs and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. according to the american council for an energy efficiency economy, our amendment will generate more than three times the energy savings of the entire portman-shaheen energy efficiency title which, mr. president, is a great title in and of itself in the bill. by the year 2030, our amendment will generate 20% energy savings across the country and result in about 145 billion dollars in net savings to the consumers. we like to say that the states are the laboratories of democracy, and half our states have shown that this policy works. so it's time to build on their successes and bring this successful experiment to the entire country. i ask my colleagues to join me me and support this important amendment. thank you, mr. president.
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ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i would urge my colleagues to oppose franken amendment 3115. this amendment -- mr. portman: madam chair i ask for order in the chamber please. ms. murkowski: i would ask members oppose this amendment that would impose a on companies to reduce a certain amount of electricity or natural gas their customers use annually. we've considered this before. we've seen it. it's been under consideration for about a decade, most reasonability the energy -- recently the energy committed rejected this same proposal as we were moving forward in in bipartisan energy bill. this national mandate, like -- a national mandate like this eers depends on the behavior of end-use customers. the concern that you take a one size fits all policy that refuses to recognize very real regional differences that are in play out there with energy use
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is problematic. as the senator from michigan or -- minnesota -- excuse me -- has said, 25 states already have this in place. but by imposing a new federal mandate, what we do is we upend those existing state programs. we have a good bipartisan efficiency measure contained in this. that's why a federal eers has not worked before. so now is not the right time to move forward with it. mr. president, i would also ask unanimous consent that the votes in this series be ten minutes in length so we can move through the amendments that we have -- the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. all time is now expired. the question is on the amendment. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be so. the clerk will call the roll.
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vote: the presiding officer: are there any senators that need to vote or change their vote? on this vote, the yeas are 43, the nays are 52. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. rounds: mr. president, i would call up my amendment number 3182 as modified. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from south dakota, mr. rounds, proposes an amendment numbered 3182 to amendment numbered 2953 as modified. mr. rounds: mr. president? the presiding officer: there are two minutes equally divided. the senators will refrain from speaking. thank you. the senator from south dakota. mr. rounds: thank you, mr. president. conservation easements are an important tool when we talk about rural america. they are used on a regular basis. but when entering into a conservation easement with government, farmers, ranchers and landowners should be made aware of all of the options available to them, not just permanent easements. while there are many programs
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and options for landowners, all too often the landowner is not aware of these options and unknowingly will enter into a permanent contract with the government because they don't realize that there are also shorter term options available to them. this amendment will aggregate information for landowners that will allow landowners to choose from conservation options that are shorter term and are not a permanent contract with the government. i would ask for your support. thank you, mr. president. ms. cantwell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: this amendment would direct the department of interior to create a new education program to educate landowners about conservation programs and require that the interior department contacts the landowner about selling the property, the landowner be provided information about the federal conservation program available. so i think this is already publicly available, so i don't oppose establishing it as a conservation education program, and i'm happy to take this by a voice vote. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
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senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i appreciate senator rounds bringing this measure before us. it appears that we do have an agreement to voice vote the rounds amendment as modified. therefore, i would ask unanimous consent that the 60-vote threshold with respect to the rounds amendment numbered 3182 as modified be vitiated. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the question is on the amendment. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment as modified is agreed to. mr. barrasso: mr. president? i call up amendment 3030. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from wyoming, mr. barrasso, proposes an amendment numbered 3030 to amendment numbered 2953. mr. barrasso: i ask unanimous consent the reading of the amendment be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, we all want to reduce the flaring of natural gas and oil wells.
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to do that, we need natural gas gathering lines. these are small pipelines that capture natural gas from oil wells where it would otherwise be flared off into the atmosphere. this is a bipartisan amendment. i'm delighted to be here with senator heitkamp who is the cosponsor. this bipartisan amendment expedites the permitting of the gathering lines on federal land and subject to tribal consent also on indian lands. this is a commonsense solution that helps taxpayers, helps indian country, helps our environment, and i'd like to yield to my lead cosponsor, the junior senator from north dakota. ms. heitkamp: thank you, mr. president, and thank you to my great friend from the state of wyoming. many of you have talked about the challenges that you have in terms of seeing the flaring. if you want to stop waste, whether it's economic waste by lack of royalties both federal and state, if you want to stop flaring and waste, if you want to do a great environmental thing, you will vote yes on this amendment. what this amendment fundamentally does is shorten the time period for pipeline
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easements across federal land. easements where today it would take two or three weeks to get a private easement. it would take two or three weeks to get a state easement. it takes over a year. during that year period, we see flaring in western north dakota, we see flaring across the west. please vote yes on this great. it's a great environmental amendment, a great economic amendment. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: speaking in opposition to this amendment, basically it is like keystone lite. basically, they want to have no environmental review. so that's why we should oppose it. with two exemptions the gathering lines that violate the endangered species act or the national historic preservation, it would require the secretary of the interior or agriculture to approve the right to waive the pipelines. so i have consulted with the department of interior who has grave concerns about waiving this here.
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this amendment would limit the department's ability to gather relevant, scientific, technical information and the public views about how to manage our public lands. so i would encourage our colleagues to vote no. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: all senators voted? any senator wish to change their vote? on this vote the yeas are 52, the nays are 43. under the previous order
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requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: i call up 2996. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from alaska proposes an amend -- mr. sullivan: i ask consent the reading of the amendment be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sullivan: mr. president, we all know that our economy is overregulated, and this undermines our ability to grow our economy, create good jobs. i'm sure all the senators know that we just this last quarter grew at .7% g.d.p., can't even break 1% g.d.p. growth now. take a look at this chart. this is one of the big problems. federal regulations only grow. they only grow. year after year, they never go away. they're never sunsetted.
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even president obama recognizes that this is a problem. in his state of the union address, the president said -- quote -- "i think there are outdated regs that need to be changed. there is red tape that must be cut." mr. president, my amendment is an opportunity to do just that. it is a simple one in, one out requirement for agencies. if an agency issues a new reg, it's got to sunset or get rid of an old reg. now it's up to the agency to choose which reg it's going to get rid of, but it has to abide by the one in, one out rule. mr. president, this is not a partisan idea. in fact, this is becoming a consensus idea. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. sullivan: the u.k., canada are doing this. many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are very interested in this idea. i ask their support of this amendment. a senator: mr. president, the senate is not in order. mr. carper: the senate is not in order. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order.
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the senator from delaware. mr. carper: thank you. as the ranking member of the homeland security committee i rise in opposition to this amendment. our friend who is offering the amendment indicates that the federal aifnlings -- agencies promulgate regulations, we never retire them. five or six years ago, senator senator -- president obama said i want you to begin a top to bottom review of regulation. let's get rid of some. over the next five years that effort will bear fruit. it's not like saving a couple of million dollars. over the next five years it will save $22 billion. we actually have a process. this is provided by leadership from the administration. the other avenue is provided by our democratic leader who years ago when he authored something called the congressional review act. it gives us the opportunity -- it doesn't always work but it's actually a way to stand down
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regulations that we don't want to see stood up. so there's two ways to do this. we always have our opportunity, whenever regulations are proposed, we can speak to them. we can testify to them. we can urge they be changed while they're in production. i urge us to vote "no" in this instance. the presiding officer: the question is on the amendment. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: all senators voted? any senator wish to change their vote? on this vote, the yeas are 49, the nays are 46. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: mr. president, i call up amendment 3196 and ask that it be reported by number. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the number. the clerk: the senator from hawaii, mr. schatz, proposes an amendment numbered 3176. mr. schatz: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: this amendment is based on a very simple idea, that there should be a level playing field for fossil fuels and for clean energy. right now we have subsidies on both the fossil fuel side and on the clean energy side through our tax code. periodically we need to recalibrate our energy policy based on market conditions, fiscal circumstances and what's happening in the world. again, here's the idea. we should make sure to reevaluate tax preferences for
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fossil fuels and clean energy at the same time. if we're serious about creating a level playing field, then we should phase out incentives for fossil fuels as we phase them out for wind and solar power. majorities of both democrats and republicans support the repeal of these tax preferences and so i hope my colleagues will join me in a big bipartisan vote for putting our clean sources of energy on equal footing with their fossil fuel counterparts. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, we have seen an iteration of this before. it is groundhog's day but there is a -- there is a difference with the approach that has been taken with regards to targeting oil and gas production with this basket of fossil fuel subsidies where we're talking about the repeal of five very important tax provisions that are vital to our domestic small- and mid-sized operators. now, the sponsor is correct, it
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does tie the expiration of these provisions to the expiration of wind tax credits, which most of us should -- would agree should be phased out. i am in favor of reforming our tax coat to make it more straightforward and fair and i'd welcome that discussion for us to engage in broad-based tax reform here on the senate floor. but the energy policy modernization act is not the place to do it. it's not the appropriate venue for a tax amendment. as my colleagues know, all revenue raising measures must originate within the house. the adoption of this tax-related amendment would create an impermissible problem. so i would urge its rejection. the presiding officer: the question's on the amendment. ms. murkowski: ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote: the presiding officer: have all senators voted? does any senator wish to change their vote? on this vote, the yeas are 45, the nays are 50. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i call up amendment
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number 3095 and ask that it be reported by number. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the number of the amendment. the clerk: the senator from illinois, mr. durbin, proposes an amendment number 3095 to amendment number 2953. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, this bipartisan amendment which i'm offering with senator alexander would increase funding levels for the department of energy office of science to a rate of 5% annual real growth for five years. the office of science is an incredible operation. 24,000 scientists, 10 national labs, research at 300 colleges and universities in all 50 states. it was their work which led to the development of the m.r.i. and they are currently working on imaging systems to identify alzheimer's in its earliest stages. it's an incredible operation. this commitment will pay us back many times over. and i yield to my friend and colleague from tennessee.
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mr. alexander: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, i urge a yes vote because i think an important part of a republican pro-growth policy is support for government-sponsored research. that's how we got 3-d mapping and horizontal drilling that led to unconventional gas and oil. that's how we're going to get the cost of carbon capture low enough to make it commercial. it's how we're going to get solar panels cheap enough to make them useful. we can reduce wasteful spending on subsidies for mature energy technology and double energy research, and this would do that on a conservative path. at 5% a a year, it would take ten years to double the energy spending we have today. i urge a "yes" vote. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i understand that we have an agreement to voice vote the durbin amendment. therefore, i would ask unanimous
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consent that the 60-vote threshold with respect to the durbin amendment 3095 be vitiated. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. any further debate on amendment? hearing none, all those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is agreed to. mr. durbin: thank you, mr. president. mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator rhode island. house white house mr. president, i call up amendment number 3125 and ask that be reported by number. the presiding officer: the clerk will report by number. the clerk: mr. whitehouse proposes an amendment numbered 3125. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, this is, i think, our last vote in this trample o tranche of voi hope this can be a bipartisan vote. we, i think -- the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. whitehouse: we, i think, all understand that a shadow has
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fallen over this chamber since citizens united, and that is the shadow of dark money. the american public is sick of the special interests that have so much sway. they're even more sick of special interests having secret sway because of secret spending. this secret spending influences what we can and cannot do. it influences our deliberations. it has even constrained the shape of the very bill on the floor right now. as one kentucky newspaper said, it has also create add tsunami of slime in our elections. this vote gives us the chaiens to push back and to put a little daylight onto the secret money that is being spent in our elections. i very much hope that consistent with past republican support for sunshine and disclosure we can get a bipartisan vote in favor
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of disclosure of the big money donors who are now putting secret money into our elections. in this case, particularly in the energy sector. i ask for the votes of my colleagues in favor of this amendment. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: i do think that at some point in time it is if a irto discuss the closure when it comes to campaign finance and campaign finance sure. but what this amendment does is requires campaign finance disclosures from individuals receiving over $is million from fossil fuel activities. no other activities. well, what activities are we talking about here? it defines it as those included extraction production, refine, transportation, or combustion of oil, natural garks or coal. that's pretty broad. we're talking about refiners,perhaps even automotive industry, power plants and much else. we can have a discussion with campaign finance disclosure and what may or may not be appropriate. we defeated a similar amendment to this when we had the keystone
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debate last year. we tabled another. the time and the place to debate this issue is not in this energy policy modernization act, and, therefore, i will be opposing the amendment and encourage my colleagues to do the same. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, on this vote, the yeas are 43, the nays are 52. under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is not agreed to.
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ms. murkowski: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: madam president, we have just concluded this series of eight roll call votes. you combine that with the roll call votes that we had yesterday as well as the voice votes that we have taken and we are up to 27 amendments that we have processed. so we are moving rite along. i appreciate the cooperation of members on both sides and the staff that are working as we
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speak to see if we can't pull together yet another block of amendments that we'll be automobile to accept by voice votes. we will not have anymore roll call votes for the balance of today, but know that we are working aggressively to try to, again, process as many amendments as we can by voice and then set up a process tomorrow. we will notify members in terms of when we will be able to expect votes on amendments. but i thank completion for the good work -- but i thank colleagues for the good work today and again will encourage you to come down to the floor, speak to your amendments, speak to the issues that you are hoping to advance, and we'd like to get, again, this bill through to completion by the end of this week. so i thank members for their support and, with that, i would note the absence of a quorum.
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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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quorum call:
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quorum call: mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. mcconnell: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i sent a cloture motion to the desk for the murkowski substitute amendment numbered 2953. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to
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bring to a close debate on senate amendment numbered 2953, the substitute amendment to s. 2012, an original bill to provide for the modernization of energy policy of the united states and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk for the underlying bill s. 2012. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion -- debate on calendar number 218, s. 2012, an original bill to provide for the modernization of the energy policy of the united states and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: and i ask unanimous consent the mandatory
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quorum calls with respect to the cloture motions be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. i withhold. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. the crisis in flint, michigan, is a tragedy that was entirely preventable. this week, we have a chance to do something about it. senator stabenow, senator peters from michigan have been -- have introduced an amendment that i hope when we go back on the bill that we will consider. as we do so, it's important to remember that as bad as it was in flint, flint's far from the only community in this country where families face exposure to
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dangerous levels of lead. in sebring in northeast ohio near youngstown, we know there are troubling amounts of lead in the drinking water. families are scared that their drinking water isn't safe. they're afraid they're facing another flint. no parent should have to worry that the water coming out of their faucets might, in fact, be poisoning their children. pregnant women shouldn't have to fear their tap water. in sebring, just as in flint, families were left in the dark about the safety of their water. for months, local officials failed to notify residents about the lead and the e.p.a., the state e.p.a. failed to step in. i spoke this week with the mayor of sebring, i spoke recently -- just also this week to state representative vocherri and state senator shavoni representing sebring in that part of mahoning county about what our response should be. this amendment before us this week will help put a stop to the
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failure of michigan, the failure of the governor and other places, the failure in columbus, it appears to be the failure of the state e.p.a. requires the federal protection agency to notify the public directly if there is a danger in the lead from the water system if the state fails to do so within 15 days. no more arguing about whose responsibility it is while families continue drinking water that we know is not safe. no more finger pointing after the fact. this amendment says when there's a problem with the water, people have a right to know. it's the e.p.a.'s job to make sure that they do. the sooner we know about lead contamination, the sooner we know about lead contamination, the sooner we can get to work to fix it. that's why notification is critical but notification is just the beginning. the amendment before us this week will be just the beginning of our work to protect americans from unsafe levels of lead. the senators for disease control
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estimates that at least four million american households, four million american households with children are exposed to high levels of lead. we know what that does to their brain development. we know that impact it has for the rest of their lives. four million households in this country have children exposed to lead standards even though it isn't safe. this problem stretches far beyond flint, michigan, and far beyond just our water systems. corroded lead pipes are a major health hazard, but they are far from the only source of lead poisoning. too many of our children we know are exposed to lead, mostly in older homes, mostly in lower income homes, exposed to lead through paint in their homes and even through the dirt in their back yards. imagine that. the devastating effects of lead poisoning fall disproportionately on low-income children and on children of color. they're more likely to live in older homes closer to the city center and in rental housing that's poorly maintained.
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i've seen it firsthand in ohio. "the plain dealer" in cleveland conducted an investigation last fall. they found that some 40,000 -- 40,000 cuyahoga county children have tested positive for lead poisoning in the last year. think about that. 40,000 children in that community alone have been tested for lead poisoning over the past ten years and they have been tested positive. paint chips shed from molding and window sills in older homes, turning to dust easily ingested. sometimes kids pick up lead chips and chew on them because they are colorful when they are small babies, when they are infants. thus it's easily ingested or absorbed into toddlers' lungs. the danger hasn't subsided. 187,000 homes in cuyahoga county put their occupants at risk of lead poisoning. that's why our efforts can't stop with just this amendment and can't stop just this michigan and they can't stop just with lead in our water. the good news is we can combat
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this. we know we can because we've done it before. a number of my colleagues in 2012, senators franken of minnesota and casey from pennsylvania and merkley of oregon, wrote to the e.p.a. about the danger posed by former lead smelter sites in urban residential communities. i was in one of those neighborhoods, talked to people who had seen far too much lead in the dirt where their children play in front of or behind their houses. because of our efforts and some diligent reporting by reporters at "usa today," the e.p.a. has acted to reexamine hundreds of former lead factory sites, helping communities address and deal with this. think about this. you move into a home, you didn't know this neighborhood 40 years ago had a lead smelting plant that's long closed but has contaminated the soil all around it. your children play in it. you have no idea that that soil is contaminated from that lead smelter that closed decades ago.
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we also have worked to combat the threat of lead in our children's toys. in ashland in 2007, ashland university president -- ashland university professor jeff weedenhammer found that more than one in seven halloween toys that he purchased and tested through his classes contained dangerous levels of lead. one in seven halloween toys. most of them made in china. most of them painted by companies contracting with u.s. toy companies -- who is responsible for that? surely the chinese companies, subcontractors that put the lead paint on the toys, but certainly the u.s. toy companies that contracted with them and didn't care enough or know enough to check -- check the quality of these toys. following that shocking discovery, we worked with professor weedenhammer and other experts to pass the bipartisan consumer product safety improvement act in 2008. when the professor conducted the
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same test on toys in 2011, none of them tested positive for dangerous levels of lead. so in spite of the fact that many people sitting in this body won their elections by saying government can never do anything good, government can never have an impact on our lives, government is too big, that's what government did. we passed a consumer protection bill in 2008. two years later, we found these toys that used to have lead paint, these comparable toys now don't have lead paint on them. so we know we can make progress when we work together and strengthen consumer protections to ensure that agencies tasked with protecting children have the resources they need. we need to take the lead in our water and our communities, in our homes just as seriously as lead in toys. it's not enough just to respond to the crisis at hand. we should do that in flint. we should do that in sebring. we should do it in smaller communities in ohio with older homes. all of those things, but we have to -- but it's not enough just to respond once children have been exposed.
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the effects can't be erased. we have to do more to help protect families from being exposed to lead in the first place. we did the right thing in december when we funded critical programs at the c.d.c. and at the housing and urban development that helped prevent lead poisoning and moderate area lead levels in children. but we can't stop there. we're seeing in flint, we're seeing in sebring, ohio, we're seeing in cities across our country that current efforts aren't enough. senator stabenow, senator peters' amendment is a good first step. i hope we'll use this opportunity to examine what more we can do to protect our children, especially those young enough that their brain is developing and lead poisoning arrests much of their brain development, it affects the rest of their lives. we have to do whatever we can to protect our children from the terrible effects of lead poisoning. a senator: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: i ask unanimous consent to speak as though in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schatz: what is aloha? it's not a catch phrase. as it's commonly understood, it's synonymous with kindness, with love, with hospitality, with a hawaiian perspective, but it's difficult for those not from hawaii to fully understand its meaning and for those of us from hawaii to fully explain. but no one embodied the spirit of aloha more than state senator gil l kaheli who died suddenly last week. he was a living personification of the idea that we are all in this together, that it really does mean something to live together in an island state, in the most isolated populated place on the planet, in the most beautiful place in the world. senator kaheli devoted his life to public service but political office for him was an
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afterthought. gil was a veteran of the united states marine corps. he worked for the state department of defense for 33 years and eventually became the director of public works at the pohakaloa training area. gil took office in 2011 and dedicated his efforts to the people of senate district one. he was the chair of the tourism and international affairs committee. gil was committed to supporting the needs of his district and was instrumental in securing funding for the college of pharmacy at the university of hawaii at hilo. the circumstances of my election in 2014 were unusual in the extreme, and they brought me to gil. on election night, i was ahead by fewer than 2,000 votes, but there were parts of hawaii island, two precincts in particular, that were unable to vote because of a category four hurricane that hit the southern part of the big island, the puna
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district. as a result, the day after the primary election, we realized that we weren't quite done, and so we went to puna. but more than the election not being done, the people of puna were without water and power. their food was rotting. their roads weren't clear, and they had no working utilities. and so we went to work, not gathering votes but gathering provisions. not walking door to door to campaign but literally standing on the road, handing out blocks of ice for the folks in puna. we did this every day for a week with gil and the kaheli ohana until a sense of normalcy was eventually restored. for their family, this is just what you do if you are a person like gil kaheli born in a grass shack in a fishing village, a native hawaiian who served his country, his state, his community, his family the best way he knew how, with aloha.
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thank you, mr. president. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. wyden: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: ask unanimous consent to vacate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president, last year more acreage in our forests burned than ever before. i know the president of the senate understands what this has been like in the west over the last few years. and senator crapo and i have dedicated something like five
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years of our professional lives to coming up with practical approaches to deal with this mushrooming problem. now, there are a whole host of issues that go in to making a sensible forestry policy to make sure that we can protect our treasures in the west, have jobs in the woods that are sustainable and keep our forests healthy. and in order to do that, one of the most important reforms that is necessary is the one that senator crapo and i have been working on. i really began on this before i was the chairman of the energy and natural resources committee. and senator crapo and i literally have teamed up now for half a decade to end a
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particularly inefficient and harmful economic and environmental policy that we call fire burrowing. fire burrowing takes place when the congress fails to budget enough money to fight wildfires, forcing agencies to raid their other accounts, including accounts to prevent wildfires. now, obviously there may be some listening in who don't represent western communities, but what senator crapo and i have tried to convey to our colleagues is fire borrowing doesn't just threaten fire prevention and suppression, it is quickstand that is dragging -- it is quicksand that is dragging down all of the programs at the forest service. timber sales, stream restoration, recreation and
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trail restoration and many more. so senator crapo and i said that this was too important to have yet another issue that gets thrown around, batted around, you know, like another bit of cannon fodder for partisan kind of drills. and we have put together with 21 cosponsors in the senate, 145 in the house to end fire borrowing. and our legislation is supported by a coalition of more than 250 groups of anglers, sportsmen, environmentalists and timber companies. pretty hard to get more than a handful of people to agree on much of anything, mr. president, here in washington, d.c., and what senator crapo and i have been talking about now has more than 250 organizations behind it. despite the overwhelming support for this effort, the bill has
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just been stuck. and so tonight what senator crapo and i are going to talk about is how we can work with our colleagues to unstick this and to get it done. we felt that all along we'd been doing what it took to make this happen. we talked to our colleagues of both parties. we negotiated. we talked to house members. we talked to senate offic offic. we talked to the administration. we talked to timber and environmental people. and all we said is, it makes sense, even though there are a whole host of changes that you could pursue for a sensible fire policy, to end fire borrowing for good. end the erosion of the forest service budget and start focusing on prevention. because wouldn't it make more sense to concentrate on prevention, going in there and thinning out the forests and using sensible fire prevention
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strategies rather than to not do the prevention, have the forests get hot and dry and then we have lightning strikes in our part of the world and all of a sudden you have an inferno on your hands and they don't have enough money to put all these fires out and so you borrow from the prevention fund and the problem gets worse. and what senator crapo and i said is, we'll work with all of the budget authorities, we're very much involved with chairman enzi in this. and we could come up with some budget process issues that would be acceptable here in the senate and also to our colleagues in the -- in the house. now, there was a colloquy last week between the chairs of the energy and budget and agriculture committee that indicated that they very much want a resolution of the issue. and i'm pleased that they're
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interested in hearings and working on legislation and moving in march and february. and i felt that this was a promising start to the year because that's what senator crapo and i were after last july when we got a great many senators together and we said, we're going to try get this worked out so it could have been done last fall. and we all said we're going to get together and get this resolved. and obviously for a variety of reasons, that didn't happen. but i think what we heard last week, senator crapo, strikes me as a beginning to finally getting this thing unstuck. and i have been so appreciative of working with you on this now for something like five years. and i'd be interested in your reaction with respect to this situation.
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mr. crapo: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. crapo: mr. president, i strongly agree with my friend and colleague, senator wyden from oregon. he's absolutely right that we've been working on this now for probably five years as we have worked to identify the solution and then build the coalition of support to implement the solution that's necessary for this critical problem. i'm also very appreciative, as senator wyden has said, that we have the chairman of the energy committee, the chairman of the budget committee and the chairman of the agriculture committee engaging in a colloquy last week discussing the urgency of resolving this issue. and i believe that we are now getting to a point at which the understanding of how critical it is to resolve this issue has penetrated deeply into the political fiber of both the senate and the house. and now we need to take that
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momentum and continue to move forward. as we take stock of last year's fire season, the statistics are sobering. senator wyden referenced a little bit of it. let me just add to that a little bit. nationally, last year we had 68,151 fires that burned 10.1 million acres and cost over $1.7 billion in suppression operations. these fires accounted for the loss of roughly 4 4,600 stretchs and, most tragically, the lives of wildland firefighters. and this set of statistics is a set of statistics that is growing every year. we are seeing more fires and more catastrophic fires every year because we are not managing
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our forests properly and we are not dealing with the crisis that that is creating in forest fires. there's a very important statistic that i think everyone in america should understand about this critical issue. i just said there were 68,151 fires in america last year. 1% of those fires cost 30% of the fire fighting budget. those are the fires that became catastrophes. they became catastrophic. and the solution that we have come together with to help address this issue is to simply make a various -- a very obvious conclusion and put it into the law. and that is, that when we get a fire that is one of those 1% of the fires that cost 30% of the fire fighting and do so much of
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the damage, we do -- we declare that they are natural disasters. just like the earthquakes, the her cairngz the tornadoes and the floods and the other disasters that we acknowledge here in congress and deal with as disasters when we finance the efforts to fight them and to respond to them. with these numbers in mind, i want to again thank the committee chairman who came to the floor last week and engaged in a colloquy to express how serious this issue is. it's getting to a crisis point. as those senators last week noted, when it comes to how we fight wildfires, we are in a crisis. for more than a decade as fires have raged across the west, we have seriously underbudgeted for the necessary suppression costs with these disasters. and to make matters worse, the lack of resources to fight the
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worst of our annual fires has forced land management agencies into what senator wyden has ably described -- fire borrowing that results in less money for the very activity that can prevent the large, devastating fires from happening in the first place. what happens is our management agencies ans d those who deal with the wild lands and grasses that burn have had to borrow from all of their other friends so that -- funds s so they can't adequately manage the land so that we then end up with more bad fires. and every year the catastrophic fires grow. when the forest service is forced to borrow to fight fires, they are actually borrowing against jobs and against recreational opportunities and against proper forest management. the best way to think of forest fire borrowing is less timber,
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less jobs, less access to these beautiful lands because while it is fire borrowing, in many cases it delays the repayment in ways that actually cancel projects, undercut the ability to implement proper forest management, lose jobs, and reduce access to our public lands. perhaps the most destructive is the fact that less work in the woods means that the harmful cycle just gets worse. as senator wyden has noted, to address this problem we consistently introduced legislation for years knew would treat the devastating fires as the disasters that they are. well, there was broad agreement -- oh, by the way, mr. president, you might want to back up for one second. we talk about the fact that there's a cost that is not being provided for by congress and that this fire borrowing has to happen, but i think it's critical to note that our
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solution has been scored by both the congressional budget office and the o.m.b. at the white house as having zero budget impact. it will not increase the deficit because we don' do end up payino fight these fires. i.t. just that the way we end up paying to fight them is the way we end up paying for our catastrophic health care -- at the emergency room with the most expensive solutions and the worst outcomes. while there's broad agreement from leer leader leaders leaderf the ielg, there have been different solutions to the problem. now we are at the crisis point and now we need to move forward and put a final resolution in
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place. senator wyden and i have worked with these lawmakers and continue to work with them, and we will continue to to to d cot we are very pleased to so that the leadership of the committees in the senate and others so earn -- concerned about this issue are in agreement that we need to put this on the front byrne and engage with developing a solution and putting it into law. i look forward to working with senator wyden, with the schairn of our energy and budget and agriculture committees and all the interested stakeholders who senator wyden mentioned. 250 different groups from across the political spectrum. this is one of those issues on which those groups that so often have different perspective on how to manage our public lands are in agreement, and we need to take the support, the political agreement that's taking place, and the political awareness of the crisis that is happening and move forward to the implementation of a solution. so i appreciate the opportunity to come here to the floor
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tonight and talk with senator wyden one more time about this, as we move to the final stages of implementing this important legislation. mr. wyden: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i want to thank my friend from idaho, and in wrapping this up, i just want to convey what i think the bottom line really is here. senator crapo and i do not want to be back on the floor of the united states senate in the winter of 2017 once again talking about how somehow something got stuck, somebody didn't agree with somebody on one small aspect of this, and fire borrowing was still in place. what senator crapo and i are saying is we want to work with all sides. it's going to have to be bipartisan, and it's going to have to be bicameral.
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those are probably the most important words, mr. president, in this whole discussion. it's going to have to be bipartisan, it's going to have to be bicameral. we've got lots of committees involved here. we've got the n.r.c gnarring enl resources committee, the agriculture committee, the budget committee that both of us have been on. so we've got lots of committees here in the senate, and we've got partners in the house who also have got to play a meaningful role. i like to think that senator crapo and i were able to move that bipartisan, bicameral process a fair ways down the road at the end of last year, but what we're saying is, let's now vow as a body, working with our colleagues to make sure we're not back here in the winter of 2017, after yet another wh horrendous fire seas,
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once again saying, you know, this forest service practice is a textbook case of inefficiency, and we're explaining what fire borrowing is and how it does so much damage in the forest -- and to forest health. this is about the betterment of rural resource-dependent communities, especially in the west, but around the country. senator crapo and i have worked together on other past efforts to secure rural schools legislation, healthy forest restoration act. we were both involved in those efforts, and they were in fact bipartisan and bicameral. so tonight our hope is, as a result of this discussion, what we heard on the floor of the senate last week, that, in fact, after more than five years of effort on this issue, that this
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time the congress both sides of the capitol will come together, working with the administration, which indicated support for what we were doing last year. they will indicate support early on for efforts that are bipartisan and bicameral. and the sooner we can get on with that, the better. and that is why it is good news that the committees will be starting hearings and legislative consideration shortly. and we look forward to working with our colleagues. and, mr. president, i would yield at this time. ms. warren: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: mr. president, on thursday, 12 countries will sign a massive trade geament to -- te agreement to change the rules for 40% of the world's economy. but the trans-pacific partnership won't go into effect
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unless congress approves it. i urge my colleagues to reject the t.p.p. and stop an agreement that would tilt the playing field even more in favor of big multinational corporations and against working families. you know, much of the debate over this trade agreement has been described as a fight over america's role in setting the rules of international trade, but this is a deliberate diversion. in fact, the united states has free trade agreements with half of the t.p.p. countries. most of the t.p.p.'s 30 chapters don't even deal with traditional trade issues. no, most of t.p.p. is about letting multinational corporations rig the rules on everything from patent protection to food safety standards, all to benefit themselves. the first clue about who the t.p.p. helps is who wrote it. 28 trade advisory committees
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were formed to whisper in the ear of our trade negotiators, to urge them to move this way or that way during negotiations. now, who are the special privileged whisperers? 85% are corporate executives or industry lobbyists. many of the committees, including those on chemicals and pharmaceuticals, aerospace equipment, text stills and clothing and financial services, are 100% industry representatives. in 15 advisory committees, no one -- no one -- was in the room who represented american workers or american consumers. no one was in the room who worried about the enforcement of environmental issues or protection against human rights abuses. nope, day after day, meeting after meeting, our official negotiators listened to the
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whispers of the giant industries and heard little from anyone else. now, the second clue about what's going on is that it all happened behind closed doors. the u.s. trade representative, michael froman, says the u.s. has been working to negotiate this trade deal for over five and a half years -- five and a half years. but the text of the agreement was hi hidden from public view until just three months ago. and when i say "hidden," i mean hidden. the drafts were kept under lock and key so that even members of the united states senate had to go to a secure location to see them. and then we weren't allowed to say anything to anyone about what we actually had seen. a rigged process produces a rigged outcome. when the people whispering in the ears of our negotiators are mostly top executives and lobbyists and when the public is shuttle out of thshut out of thl
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proficiency the final deal tilts in favor of corporate interests. now evidence of this tilt can be seen in a key t.p.p. provision, investor state dispute resolution, isds. with isds, big companies get the right to challenge laws they don't like -- not in courts but if front of industry friendly arbitration panels that sit outside any court system. those panels can force taxpayers to write huge checks to big corporations with no appeals. workers, environmentalists, human rights advocates -- they don't get that special right; only corporations do. most americans don't think of keeping dangerous pesticides out of our food or koopg ou keepingr drinking wort clean as trade issues. but all over the globe, companies have used isds to demand compensation for laws they don't like.
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just last year a mining company won an isds case when canada denied the company permits to blast off the coast of nova scotia. today canadian taxpayers are on the hook for up to $300 million, all because their government tried to protect its environment and tried to protect the livelihood of local fishermen. and isds hasn't been a problem just for other countries. we've seen the dangers of isds right here at home. last year the u.s. state department concluded -- and president obama agreed -- that the keystone x.l. pipeline would not serve the national interests of the united states. it was a long fight, but the administration, applying american law, decided that the pipeline was a threat to our air, to our water, and to our climate and denied the permit. but the oil company that wants to build this pipeline doesn't think the buck stops with our
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president. now this foreign oil company is using the isds provision in nafta to demand more than $15 billion in damages from the united states, just because we turned down the keystone pipeline. the nation's top experts in economics have warned us about the dangers of isds. joe stege let, laurence tribe and others recently noted that if isds panels force countries to pay high enough fines, the countries will drop the health, safety, and environmental laws that big corporations don't like. that is exactly what germany did in 2011 when they cut back on environmental regulations after an isds lawsuit. everyone understands the risks
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associated with isds. in fact, the issue got so hot over tobacco companies using isds to roll back health standards around the world that the t.p.p. negotiators decided to limit the use of isds to challenge tobacco laws. that's a pretty bold admission that isds can be used to weaken public health laws. now, i'm glad that tobacco laws are protected from isds, but what about food safety laws or drug safety laws or any other regulation that is designed to protect our citizens? under t.p.p., every other company, regardless of the health or safety impact, will be able to use isds. congress will have to vote a straight up-or-down on t.p.p. we won't have a chance to strip
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out any of the worst provisions, like isds. and that's why i oppose the t.p.p. and i hope congress will use its constitutional authority to stop this deal before it makes things even worse and more dangerous for america's hardest-working families. thank you, mr. pr-- thank you, mr. president. i yield and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. a senator: i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: mr. president, i would like to take a moment to applaud the great work that chairman murkowski and ranking member cantwell are doing this week on the energy bill to get this bill to the floor, the energy policy and modernization act of 2016. mr. gardner: they have been leaders and have shown their commitment to developing and advancing what is truly a bipartisan bill. the bill -- the legislation is the result of nearly a year's work -- year's worth of work on the energy and natural resources committee with four legislative hearings leading up to a july markup. there have been many ours put into this base text and we had a strong bipartisan vote to report the bill out of committee 18-4. it's also nice to see that members over the past several days and last week as well having the opportunity to amend the bill on the floor, to make it even stronger through an open amendment process throughout this past week. the energy policy modernization act will lead to more energy
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efficiency, more energy generation and more jobs in the energy sector. promoting energy efficiency and clean alternative power sources is something that's been a focus of my service and i'm pleased that i've had a chance with my role on the energy and natural resources committee to continue shaping federal energy policy in the united states senate. we have before us this week an opportunity to really advance our national energy policy. and if you think about what a national energy policy means for this country, energy being the fundamental cornerstone of our economy, our security, it means more jobs, it means more growth and perhaps even one of the most potent foreign policy tools this nation has to offer our allies. so i'd like to take a little bit of time to highlight several provisions of the bill that i helped champion and sponsor to get included into the base of the text. section 1006 would encourage the use of something called energy savings performance contracts
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and utility energy savings contracts in federal buildings. it's a long name for something that probably doesn't fit very well on a bumper sticker. but what energy savings performance contracts do and utility energy savings contracts do, something very simple. they're tools that will allow innovative public-private partnerships to occur, that allow private companies to use private dollars to make energy efficient upgrades to federal buildings. the private companies are then reimbursed for upgrades once the federal building's energy costs are lowered. and so in essence what we're doing is we're taking private-sector ingenuity and know-how, private sect investments, putting it into federal buildings to lower the utility costs to make sure that we're doing a better job of heating or recall cooling or -- heating or cooling or turning the lights on, private sector funding, no cost to the taxpayers, resulting in taxpayer savings and of course thousands of private-sector jobs. last night we had an amendment
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passed by voice vote which requires agencies to implement these in federal buildings. for the past several years we've been doing federal energy audits for federal buildings. federal agencies were not required to implement these changes. so here we are where we would actually spend federal dollars to find out how we can save federal dollars but yet we would put that report on a shelf where it could gather dust and we actually didn't implement the taxpayer savings that the reports suggested. and we're not just talking about a little bit of savings. we're talking billions upon billions of dollars of savings that we could -- we could put upon the federal government simply by making the billions of square feet of office space this federal government has more energy efficient. all, again, by using private-sector know-how, private-sect it at the ingenuity with zero taxpayer dollars involved.
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this amendment that we added last night would make sure that those mandates -- excuse me, those studies, those requirements or those findings of energy savings are actually put into place instead of just gathering dust on the shelf, we're going to make them a reality. section 3002 of the bill would reauthorize a department of energy program for 10 additional years to provide funding to retrofit existing dams and river conduits with electricity generating technology. you know, it's estimated by the department of energy that there's up to 12 gigawatts of untapped hydropower development within the nation's existing dam infrastructure. 12 gigawatts. already there untapped. infrastructure -- and right now we estimate that only about 3% of the nation's 0,000 exist -- 80,000 existing dams are used to generate power. people are concerned about zero emissions. if people are concerned about carbon emissions, hydropower is one of the greatest opportunities we have.
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hydropower electricity is emission free. we've heard from the colorado small hydro association that new colorado hydroelectric projects benefiting from this program that were originally authorized in the energy policy act of 2005. these projects include new small hydro projects near uray, creed, grand lake and ridgeway, colorado. another measure that i've been working on over the past several years is section 2201 which expedites the approval of liquified natural gas export applications. i carried this provision, this measure in the house where we passed it with bipartisan support in the house. and now we're going to be able to pass it with bipartisan support out of the united states senate. you think about the foreign policy potential that expediting liquified natural gas has for this country and the world, it's truly significant because now we can send to our allies in eastern europe, around the globe, nations that are currently dependent on energy
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from tyrannical governments or governments that would use their energy contracts and pricing to try to gouge their neighbors or to manipulate markets for their own gain of -- of unscrupulous leaders. it's a foreign policy tool that the united states can now provide to our allies with abundant, affordable american energy. and this bill will allow that liquified natural gas permitting process to be expedited. nations can't wait to get their hands on u.s. energy. the department of energy has said that they can comply with the terms of this bill. it's a no-brainer. i also sponsored language in section 4101 of the bill to commission a study of the feasibility and the potential benefits that could be brought about by an energy water center of excellence within the department of energy's national laboratories. in colorado, we're home to the national renewable energy laboratory. we're also home to some of the most incredible waterways our nation has to offer.
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we're also home, of course, to the high plains arid -- arid areas of the western slope and the eastern plains that need more attention when it comes to how we are going to develop our energy sources while also making sure that we are protecting our water and making sure that we are being good conservations when it comes to our water. an energy water center of excellence would aid in efforts to establish a comprehensive approach for managing energy and water resources in the future. and section 3017, i worked to clarify that oil seed crops are eligible to qualify for the same research provisions as biomass, meeting future demand for energy and fuel will require a variety of sources and science and research indicate that oil seed crops have the potential to play a significant role. the central great plains research station in akron, colorado, is a researching -- is researching right now oil seed productivity under varying water vawbility. -- availability. meeting our energy needs in an
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increasingly drought-ridden area will only become harder and harder. and without the necessary research, we may not have an appropriate response. but with continued innovation, we will have a great one. oil seeds could hold the key to providing safe, clean energy that's water efficient, a key for the increasingly drought-ridden west. one of the things that we know we have to add to agriculture as farmers face historic, sometimes challenging and historic low commodity prices is to make sure that we are finding new ways to bring new value to the crops that they can raise. development of oil seeds, development of dryland oil seed technologies is an incredible way for us to bring value-added opportunities to rural america. mr. president, these are only a few of the provisions that i've worked to advance in this bill, and i want to thank again chairman murkowski and so many of our colleagues for including these provisions so important to states like colorado and the presiding officer's state of
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montana. what we have been able to do in this energy bill. and so we're spending this time on energy because it's so important to this country. why is it important? because it means jobs, it means the economic foundation, abundant, affordable energy means the opportunity for a small business to open up. it means the ability of our neighbors to be able to afford to cool or heat their home, to be able to turn on that light switch when they wake up in the morning or go home at night. and over the past year, we've looked back at the work that this senate has done and really the past year has been a very productive one in the united states senate for the american people weevment really focuse focused -- people. we've really focused on four corners, something i call my four corners plan. working on areas like education, passing a bipartisan education bill. areas like our economy, providing tax relief to small businesses, people around country. passing a bipartisan transportation bill to make sure that we're getting goods to and from the market. we've worked on the environment
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by passing the land and water conservation fund. in fact, that bill will address the great program of the land and water conservation fund which has benefited states -- all 50 states across the country, projects in every single one. and today, this vote, the energy act that we are work on today -- working on today, will address the fourth corner of my four-corner plan and that's energy. hundreds of thousands of jobs around colorado and the country directly or indirectly related to energy development and energy production. whether that's clean energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, traditional energy, transmission of that energy to and from consumers from where it's produced in the sparsely populated areas of colorado to the densely populated areas of colorado's front range and beyond. we've been able to take this bill, i hope that our colleagues will agree to support and pass this legislation so that it actually continues american leadership when it comes to energy policy.
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and so, mr. president, i thank you for your leadership. i know in montana this energy bill is an important step forward because it represents an all-of-the-above energy policy. and i want to thank the president for his leadership in montana and i also want to thank the chairman of the committee, senator murkowski, for her leadership as well. mr. president, i yield back my time. mr. president, i would 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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