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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  February 4, 2016 10:00am-12:01pm EST

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was blind, but now i see.♪ [applause] >> we will lead the prayer breakfast as the senate has gaveled in continuing with their sixth day of debate on the bill setting energy policy. lied to the senate floor.use ouo -- alive to the senate floor. on earth. deliver them from ungodly pride and
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ungenerous judgments, as you inspire them to seek your wisdom and to follow your precepts. give them the wisdom to labor to mend broken hearts, to repair shattered dreams, and to leave the world better than they found it. lord, teach them to cherish the things that endure, remembering always their accountability to you. bless also the many members of their staffs who work faithfully behind the scenes to keep america strong. we pray in your precious name. amen.
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the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: when americans hea u.f.o., they often think of bob hope. he's lifted the spirit of countless men and women in uniform. but the u.f.o. impacts military personnel in a number of important ways, something it's been doing literally for decades. in fact, 75 years to the day. i think every colleague will
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join me in commemorating this impressive 75-year history. our men and women in uniform sacrifice a great deal to defend us. so do their families. one of the things the u.s.o. excels at is helping them stay connected, connected to home towns, connected to loved ones, connected to the simple joys in life. from providing deployed soldiers, sailors, air men and marines with the opportunity to phone home, to providing world class entertainment, to helping service members find meaningful employment once their service is complete, the u.s.o.'s mission is broad in scope and made a lasting and porveght positive impact on many since it was conceived. much of that is due to america's willingness to volunteer. our military personnel, especially our deployed armed units willingly trade the
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comforts of home for harsh living conditions. they often forego life's precious moments like celebrating a child's birthday or a first day of school. and they're willing to put everything on the line for us. the u.s.a. provides -- the u.s.o. provides one more platform to say thank you for that service, show gratitude for that sacrifice, to let men and women in uniform know what they mean to us. congratulations to the u.s.o. to 75 years of service to their troops and their families. we hope you continue important work for many years to come. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that not withstanding rule 22, the cloture vote with respect to murkowski amendment 2953 occur at 11:30 a.m. today and the cloture vote with respect to s. 2112 volume in the
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usual form and the additional time be equally divided. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: i want to join my republican colleague, the distinguished senator from kentucky, in underscoring everything he said about the u.s.o. and just a point of personal privilege. one of the successors of bob hope was wayne newton. president bush selected him to lead the u.s.o. which he did for many years. there's never been a more successful nightclub entertainer than wayne newton. he's known all over the world for his voice and his performances. he's traveled the world during his -- during the time he was that person chosen by the president to represent the u.s.o. he's the most, one of the most patriotic persons i've ever known, and i admire him very much. i want to make sure that the
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record reflects his friendship to me and all the veterans of america, and certainly i appreciate very much joining in the celebration of the birthday of u.s.o. mr. president, 100,000 people in flint, michigan, have been poisoned. sadly, the republicans are doing nothing. 9,000 children all under the age of six have been poisoned. their brains have been attacked. still republicans refuse to do anything to help. for the last two weeks the senators from michigan have worked on a an amendment that would allow federal funds to establish the water crisis. senators stabenow and peters have worked hard to negotiate with republicans but almost having an agreement in place isn't an agreement. we need republicans to work with us to reach an agreement and let the people of flint know that
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help is on its way. otherwise senate republicans will continue ignoring flint. and if that's the case, and i invite my republican colleagues to come to the floor and explain to the people of this country why this manmade disaster in flint is not worthy of republicans' attention. tell us why 100,000 americans should be forced to drink polluted water, bathe in poisonous water. one mother told senator stabenow , "i was doing everything i could for my children, and i want to make sure they stop drinking soda pop. and so they didn't have soda pop. they drank water. but it was horrible water, and it's affected my children's lives." she said i'm responsible for poisoning my children. i've listened to statements made by the assistant republican leader earlier this week, and here's a direct quote -- "we all have sympathy for what's
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happened in flint, this is primarily a local and state responsibility." close quote. i don't know if outrageous is sufficient to describe that statement. after all, it was the assistant republican leader who just last year welcomed federal disaster assistance for the people of texas because of the terrible flooding that was taking place. again in 2013 in the town of west, which is the name of a town in texas, suffered a catastrophic explosion the a a fertilizer plant, another manmade disaster. the senator from texas was quick to seek federal assistance. here's what he said, another quote, "l we'll aggressively pursue this matter with fema and pursue all appeals and remedies available to us. this was a disaster and failure to acknowledge it as such is inexcusable. we're going to get the residents of the west the assistance they need." close quote. the junior senator from texas, one of the many republicans
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running for president, was just as eager to accept federal funds. here's what he said -- and i quote -- "i'm confident that texas congressional delegation, senator cornyn and i, will stand united as texans in support of the federal government fulfilling its statutory obligations of stepping in to respond to this natural disaster." according to senator cruz, the federal government has an obligation to help texas. he's right. we had an obligation and we fulfilled that be 0 -- fulfilled that obligation. we also have an obligation to help flint, michigan. i ask my colleagues from texas and other republicans here in the senate, why are floods and explosions in texas disasters worthy of federal support, and not the help needed for 100,000 employees and the people of flint, michigan? why do texans deserve federal assistance but not the people of flint? what could the reason be? the sad thing is this sort of
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hypocrisy isn't limited to just the senators from texas. the junior senator from florida, one of the many running for president on the republican side, is doing the same thing. last year florida was hit with extreme flooding. senator rubio appealed for federal assistance. he wrote a letter to the president. here's what he said, "floridians continue to reel from the effects of last month's torrential rain and flooding. i request you consider governor scott's appeal for individual distance for -- individual assistance for the five impacted counties." that's what he wrote to president obama last year. but like it always is with the senator from florida, that was then and this is now. here's what he says now, the junior senator from florida -- and i quote -- "i believe the federal government's role in some of these things is largely limited because it involves federal jurisdictional issues."
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that's a buzzword for saying good luck, flint. according to senator rubio, floridians deserve disaster assistance but not the people of flint. this senator hopes to become president, yet he refuses to treat all americans the same. there are plenty of other examples. whenever their states have been hard hit, quindz will run -- republicans will run here to the senate floor and demand federal aid, as well they should. the federal government should help in times of disaster. but there has to be a bit of consistency from republicans. we must be fair to everyone. the people of flint are just like every other american. they're deserving the federal government's help. mr. president, i have here a letter from the congressional black caucus. i'm not going to read the whole letter, but i'm going to ask consent that it be made part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: here's what is said in the final two paragraphs.
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"republican senators have routinely requested this type of assistance when disasters occurred in their states. the people of flint deserve nothing less. republicans must join democrats in meeting our moral obligation to protect the health of our children. " this is what is said by congressman butterfield who is chair of the congressional black caucus. the final paragraph of the letter says senator mcconnell, we're asking for your leadership to ensure your republican colleagues do not condemn the people of flint to more pain and suffering by blocking these amendments. i would hope that my republican colleagues will look in the mirror and ask themselves a simple question: what would i do if 100,000 of my constituents were poisoned? so i urge my republican colleagues to join us in addressing this critical issue. at a conference held in las
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vegas, nevada, yesterday, one of the foremost experts dealing with water, pat mullroy, said and i quote the stupid stunt has dealt a blow to public confidence in water systems everywhere, even in places like southern nevada where lead pipes are not an issue. it has given a black eye to water management not just in michigan but just in the united states, but around the world. she went on to say i was angry. i was very angry. they did it to save money, but was it really worth a few bucks? it affected children's lives forever. she also said complaints about the water began a month after the switch, but officials waited for almost two years. by then tests showed elevated levels of lead which causes brain damage. finally, the finger pointing is going to be endless for awhile especially as lawsuits begin to emerge. i think there will be criminal
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charges. i don't know if there'll be criminal charges, but all this is -- there will be pretty egregious actions taken by the state of michigan. she says ready access to clean water is something most americans take for granted, but something like this can cast doubt on the whole system. now there is a crack in that trust relationship, she said, and in flint, it's gone, and that is certainly true. so, mr. president, i would certainly hope -- and my republican colleagues will understand that it's important that we do something now to help those people. we have something that can be done, it should be done, and republicans should stop it. it isn't something that is a local issue or a state issue. finally, mr. president, i would ask this very brief statement i'm going to give appear at another place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: yesterday, president obama visited a mosque in baltimore, maryland. it was a powerful expression to
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counter the divisive, hateful rhetoric used by too many republicans and to emphasize the importance of giving all americans the respect and dignity they deserve. for years, right-wing extremists have attacked the religion of islam and stoked fear about the presence of muslims in our country. some of those same extremists attacked president obama for visiting the mosque yesterday. that's an attack on millions of american citizens that are being slandered. mr. president, i was so gratified that you, the presiding officer in this body, had the courage to show solidarity with muslims and the state of arizona and the country by visiting a mosque a short time ago. you were attacked by right-wing supremacists for this visit. i'm sorry about that, but i admire what you did. when hateful extremists set their sights on attacking one religion, they're attacking the core value of the american society on which our nation was
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founded. president obama could not have made this point more clearly yesterday. he said, i quote, an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths. religion liberty is a priceless american value that should be perished. you can't allow the threat of menacing radicals to change who we are and how we treat our fellow citizens. as president obama also said yesterday, and i quote, we're one family, an american family that will rise and fall together, close quote. so i applaud the president for his courage and willingness to to -- combat the detestable hatred that leading republicans have embraced, and far too few republicans have spoken out against the hateful rhetoric, especially in the presidential election of my republican colleagues. as defenders of democracy, we must stand against bigotry wherever it arises. doing so is the only way to ensure that we stay true to our fundamental values. as election season begins to kick in high gear, i encourage the american people to heed the
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haul president obama made yesterday at the islamic society of baltimore when he closed by saying we have to reaffirm that most fundamental of truths. we're all god's children, all born equal with inherent dignity. would the chair announce the business before the senate today? 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. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 11:30 a.m. will be equally divided between the two managers or their designees. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, what happened in flint, michigan, is incredible. in the 21st century, in the most developed country on earth, to think that 100,000 people
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were exposed to contaminated water, to think that 9,000 or 10,000 children were exposed to lead poisoning. it was not a natural disaster, but the results are disastrous. it was a disaster created by those who were in charge of managing the city of flint. the governmental agencies and those who work for them made what they considered to be the right budgetary decisions, but they certainly made the wrong decisions when it came to the health and the well-being of the poor people who were victimized by their wrongdoing. every time i hear the story, the same question comes to my mind. who's going to jail for poisoning 9,000 children? think about the circumstances here. a knowing decision by a city manager to switch to a water
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supply which was contaminated and endangered the health of thousands of children, tens of thousands of citizens. if that isn't the grounds for at least investigation, i don't know what is. and so the senators from michigan, senator peters, senator stabenow, have come to the floor of the senate and said to america will you help flint, michigan? and it's right that they do so. i have been fortunate to serve in the house and the senate for many years, and i can't tell you how many times senators from states all across the nation have asked that same question -- will you help us in louisiana? will you help us in alabama? will you help us in texas? there's hardly a state that hasn't come to the floor of the senate asking for help. and yet for reasons i can't explain, the republican majority in the united states senate is resisting this idea.
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almost 100,000 people were forced to live without access to clean water in their homes. they couldn't turn on their faucets in the morning, make breakfast or take a shower like all of us do. they started their day by waiting in long lines for bottled water to feed and bathe their kids, to take showers and to stay healthy. they started rationing the water. the elderly and disabled that couldn't make it to a pickup location for bottled water are left with the option of continuing to use water they know is poisoning their bodies. this is a disaster by any definition. i can't understand why there isn't more understanding and empathy from my colleagues when it comes to flint, michigan. it could happen anywhere. and if it happened, would you hesitate for a moment as a member of the united states senate to ask for help? 9,000 children exposed to lead poisoning has been called an earmark by the critics of our
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senators from michigan. they said it's just special interest legislation to try to help these children or these victims. that's hard to imagine they could reach that level in criticizing this effort. just like those who suffered from tornadoes and hurricanes, these families did nothing to deserve it. just as the federal government always helps when americans are hit by disasters, we should do it in flint. there were no complaints last may when the federal government declared an emergency and reached out to the residents of disex to help them rebuild their lives after a tornado hit. so i'm wondering if the republican presidential candidate from texas is willing to step up, the junior senator from texas, and ask for the same level of officer assistance for flint, michigan, that he asked for his own state. this crisis is not the fault of the kids, the pregnant women that still call flint home. their only crime is living in a
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city that was so poorly mismanaged by the michigan state government. their only crime, if there was one, was being the victims of cheap, dirty water. these kids and pregnant women are the most vulnerable when it comes to lead contamination. we aren't going to know for years the extent of the damage, but we know there will be damage. many of them live in homes that have been found to have ten times the e.p.a. limit for lead in drinking water. the senator from michigan, senator stabenow yesterday told us that some of the lead samples reached the level of toxic dumps, so far beyond the level that's acceptable for human consumption. this means that a generation of flint's kids are in danger of suffering, brain damage, developmental delays and behavior issues for the rest of their lives. and to add insult to injuries, when mothers came to the state
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nurse to fight for their children, they were met with apathy and listen to what they were told, and i quote -- "it's just a few i.q. points. it's not the end of the world." this is supposedly a quote from a state nurse. the flint water crisis truly is a tragedy. we need to step forward. and it doesn't just mean funding. it reminds us of the importance of clean drinking water that we all take for granted. when i think of all the efforts on the floor of the senate here to dismantle the environmental protection agency and to remove their authority to deal with issues involving clean water, it is hard to imagine that they could envision what happened in flint. because having access to clean water shouldn't be determined by your zip code or your governor. i hope my republican colleagues will work with us on a bipartisan basis, the way we always do, when it comes to disasters that have hurt innocent people. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a
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quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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ms. stabenow: mr. president, i would ask if we are in a quorum call and i would ask for the suspension of the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. stabenow: thank you very much. mr. president, as all of our colleagues know, we have been working very hard to come together around a reasonable path to provide some support and assistance to the people of flint, michigan, who got up this morning. if they took a shower, it was with bottled water. if they were getting breakfast for their children, if a mom was mixing baby food formula, it was with bottled water. that has gone on now for some people 18 months or more. i mean, originally, they were
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told the water was safe and they were drinking it and found incredibly high lead levels in their children, and now it's bottled water. we have businesses downtown who have gone to the spence of creating their -- expense of creating their own water systems that are totally safe, but no one will come and doors are closing. we have small businesses in neighborhoods. we have a revitalization effort in downtown flint that's been really quite extraordinary. the chamber, a wide variety of organizations, university of michigan-flint, a whole range of groups investing in downtown flint. and this is all collapsing because of the fact that people are afraid to come and to drink the water or to eat food mixed with the water, even though our businesses downtown are doing things to rectify this right now. and the citizens of flint,
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rightly, are in a position where they have been told that the water was safe to drink, they gave it to their children, it wasn't, they're poisoned, and now they're in a situation where they have great despair and great anger, and i share with both of those feelings, a multitude of feelings, as does my friend and colleague, senator peters. we are joined together in our commitment on a whole range of efforts to be able to help the children and families of flint. there was one report -- and by the way, this is what the water looks like. brown. smells. there was at least -- there was one story on the news of a house where they went to talk with folks and looked at the lead levels, and it was above toxic waste dump levels. i talked to a mom who talked
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about -- and i heard another mom as well on -- being interviewed, saying, you know, i took my children off of what we call pop in michigan, other people call soda, coke, pepsi, others. i was told that was not healthy for my children. so when my children were playing last summer, i told them to drink water to hydrate because i didn't want them getting the extra sugar, the ingredients from pop. and now i know i was poisoning my children. i can only imagine what that mom feels right now. we have a lot of infrastructure problems around the country, no question, and we have colleagues on both sides of the aisle working together on various proposals that i support to deal long term with infrastructure, but, mr. president, this is way
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beyond that. this is an entire city, 100,000 people, who have poisoned water, who because of decisions that none of them made -- and we can talk later about whose fault it is. and there is certainly culpability and accountability, but right now, we are focused on helping the people who had nothing to do with creating this. 100,000 people, the entire system has lead in it, some levels thousands of points higher than is acceptable. no lead is acceptable, but some of it higher than a toxic waste belt. so we're here asking to help the children of flint by doing what we do all the time, which is step up as americans and help a community rebuild their water system. there's a lot more to do.
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we are so grateful for colleagues that have reached out to say we want to help in a variety of ways. there are education needs, nutrition needs, health care needs. but the basic issue is fixing the water system so that the people of flint have the dignity that we have of knowing when they turn on the faucet there's going to be clean water. and you've probably seen the picture, but in "time" magazine, this is an example of a child whose mom was bathing their children, and there are rashes. we have seen rashes and sores and hair falling out and lead levels because a community system, drinking water system has been decimated. americans responded across the country sending bottled water, and people are very grateful for
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that. but we also know americans join in supporting us saying bottled water is not enough. this baby cannot be bathed every day for years and years and years in bottled water. i had one senior citizen say to me, ma'am, i can't take a shower in bottled water. we have to support fixing the infrastructure. we do that all the time. and so what we have done -- and i appreciate the chair of the energy committee working with us. she spent a lot of time, as the ranking member has, who's been ferociously supportive, and we are so grateful, trying to figure this out. mr. chairman, we thought we had a path forward originally. then there were procedural issues that came up. and yesterday we thought we had another path forward that would give us bipartisan support on a solution that we could get done
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here, passed here, and then that was paused. i'm not sure exactly why that happened, but that was paused. so we are asking today for colleagues to give us some more time. we have very key people in this chamber who are now stepping up to give us additional ideas on how we could get this fixed. and we can do this quickly if there's the will to do that. so we are asking colleagues to give us more time. the cloture today is to basically shut off, as we know, shut off amendments and go to the next step and third reading. we're saying give us some time. there are other issues that need to be resolved as well. certainly issues with working men and women around davis-bacon laws. there are other issues. we know that we can come to a resolution if there's the political will and a little more time, so that it's not just some
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bogus proposal. we have had things thrown out that don't solve the problem. we're not looking for something that just gives somebody political cover. we have resisted a lot of folks who would love to make this a political issue. these children should not be a political football. i think members of this body know that senator peters and i are people who want to get things done. we work across the aisle every single day. if we wanted to blow this up as a political issue, believe me there would be a different way to do it, and the story writes itself. we are asking to care and see these children like you see your own children. these children, these families have been ignored and not seen. we see them. their faces are burned in my
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memory. we're asking colleagues to see them, to hold them with as much value as you would children in your own family and in the states that you represent. that's what we are asking. nothing more, nothing less. we have not proposed that the federal government take full responsibility on cost. far from it. in fact, we've been told by colleagues we have not proposed enough. we have been willing in fact to come to an agreement on something that's less than half of what we originally asked for. but these children deserve the dignity of knowing we will step up and help them. too many of these children -- 9,000 of them under the age of
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six -- a whole lot many more thousands over the age of six, are going to be setback and not have the opportunity to be all they can be. how many scientists and doctors and business people and teachers are we going to lose because of lead poisoning in this community? it doesn't go away. i learned more than i ever wanted to know about lead. and i didn't know that once it enters the body, it never goes away. so the children that are poisoned are going to have to live with this, and the best we can do is help them mitigate it through nutrition and through other strategies. but they deserve to know that we're going to fix this. and we can't begin to deal with it unless the water system works. so, mr. president, that's all we're asking for. and today, because we know there's a path, people of goodwill have been trying to get
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it done, we need a little more time. and i think these children deserve a little more time. i think these families deserve a little more time. let us get this together. if we vote next week, next tuesday, we'll be okay. how many kids, how many bottled water -- how many bottles will be used between now and next tuesday by the people of flint while we're -- we can take a couple extra days to do something that will dramatically change the opportunity for a future in a city that's important, that's as important as any other city in our country. so that's what we're asking for, and we are grateful that our colleagues are standing with us, that our colleagues on our side of the aisle, to give us more time. and we're hoping that the
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leadership will decide to give us that time so that we can say to this child, we see you, we hear you, we care about you. and we're doing our part in the united states senate to make things better. thank you, mr. president. mr. peters: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. peters: mr. president, i rise today to urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to oppose the upcoming cloture vote
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on the energy policy modernization act. this is not because i think this is a bad bill. in fact, i know that this bill is the result of months of hard work on both sides of the aisle and contains many important provisions that will move our economy forward. and i appreciate the efforts of chairman murkowski and ranking member cantwell, including their willingness to include bipartisan legislation that i authored with senators alexander and stabenow to support the development of next generation clean vehicle technologies. and while i sincerely hope that we're able to advance this bill out of the senate, it is simply too soon to cut off debate and invoke cloture. senator stabenow, senator cantwell and i have been negotiating with our republican l colleagues to secure critical assistance for the city of flint, michigan, whose residents are continuing to suffer from a manmade disaster. nearly two years ago an
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unelected emergency manager appointed by michigan's governor changed the city of flint's water to a source of the flint river in an attempt to save money while the city prepared to transition to a new regional water authority. after switching away from clean water sourced from the detroit water department, flint residents began to receive improperly treated flint river water long known to be contaminated and potentially very corrosive. brown or yellow water poured from flint faucets that tasted and smelled terrible. this water wasn't just disgusting, it turned out to be poisonous. this corrosive water leeched lead from aging but previously stable infrastructure. a generation of children in flint are now at risk of severe effects of lead exposure which can cause long-term development proms and decreased bone and muscle growth.
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even though flint is no longer pulling its water from the contaminated river and is back to drawing safe lake huron water, the recently damaged pipes and infrastructure contaminate the water before it pours from the tap. flint residents are unable to use their showers. they need to wash themselves with baby wipes. some walk as far as two miles to pick up bottled water to drink, the same bottled water they use to cook and to brush their teeth. this is simply not sustainable. flint needs the support of all levels of government to overhaul its damaged water infrastructure and help the children of flint who will be dealing with the health effects of lead schoa -- exposure for decades to come. what makes america so exceptional is its resiliency and the unity of our people in the face of a tragedy or crisis. while flint has faced decades of economic hardship, they are now facing a full-blown crisis, and
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now, now is the time for all of us to pull together. on monday i heard from a woman who was on the verge of tears as she discussed her fears of the health conditions that her children face. yesterday i met another mom from flint who brought a baby bottle filled with brown water that she poured from her tap and brought it to washington to show my colleagues in congress just how immediate public health threat this crisis truly is. this image, this image that appeared on the cover of "time" magazine is clearly a haunting cry for help. i ask my colleagues to look into those eyes and to hear that cry, to see that cry for help. mr. president, i believe that if any of my colleagues saw this tragedy like we're seeing in our home state, senator stabenow and
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i, they would be standing here doing everything in their power to deliver assistance whether the crisis was natural or manmade, it simply doesn't matter. this is a crisis. it is also important to know that this crisis has raised questions about the safety of our nation's infrastructure. it is possible that other communities could be affected. while other communities may not suffer a crisis like flint, across the country communities are learning about the vulnerabilities of their own water supply and what may happen in the future. i should also reiterate that the proposal senator stabenow and i have been negotiating would proil funding for any -- would i funding for any state that has had an emergency declaration related to lead or other contamination in public drinking water assistance. it's not just about flint. this is about any community that is suffering from contamination of their drinking water. and while we often talk about crumbling roads or bridges,
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hundreds, if not thousands of american cities and towns and villages have aging water infrastructure and lead pipes. mr. president, should one of our colleagues' communities experience a similar crisis in the coming months, this funding that we are fighting for today will be available to them as well. now is the time for action to help the families of flint. i hope that we can reach a resolution on our negotiations with our republican colleagues, but we are not quite there yet. and i urge all of my colleagues to oppose cloture on this bill until we have a deal. whether in flint or elsewhere in america, we have a responsibility to care for our children. we must repair the trust flint residents have lost in the ability of government officials to protect them and provide the most basic of all services. i strongly urge my colleagues to
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join us in our effort to help flint recover from this unnecessary manmade disaster. standing up for the children of this country is not a republican or a democratic issue, and i hope that today we show the american people that we can come together in times of crisis. this is common ground on which we can stand together and stand up for the people and children of flint. mr. president, i yield back. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: thank you, mr. president. i see that the distinguished lady from alaska has come to the floor, the manager of the bill. i have a statement that i wish also to give, but i didn't know if she needed to say something. mr. president, i rise today to add my heartfelt and impassioned
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voice to call for action to help the people who live in flint, michigan, to help them with this emergency situation and the fact that we have to be in it to deal with the emergency today and the long haul for tomorrow. this is of catastrophic, almost arm get on proportion, that an american city has been poisoned because of a situation that has been self-induced and self-inflicted. what is happening in flint, michigan, is appalling, it is a tragedy, it is a disgrace, and it will be for a long time. we need to fix the pipes right away, but fixing the human beings is going to take a long, long time.
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now, let's get real. we are now bogged down in parliament inertia. we are now bogged down in washington wonky budgeteer talks. where's the offsets? what is this? what is this? are we human beings? we take an oath to defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, but sometimes an enemy is a tragedy. it comes from god knows a hurricane or a tornado. we rush in to help. and if this had been a terrorist attack, oh, my gosh, we would be willing to go to war to defend america. well, we need to go to the edge of our chair to help flint. my gosh. the senators from michigan are looking for $400 million. that is no small amount of money
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but i bring to my colleagues' attention it is the price of one f-35. one f-35 that's supposed to protect america. good for that. but right now, i think the people of michigan would say they would like to have the help that they need. if we are talking about a threat to the people, the threat is here. now, where are we? we've got to deal with this. and i am the vice chair of the appropriations committee. i say to my colleagues, guess what, gang, all this budgeteer stuff, all the battles with sequester and so on, we have only $800 million for safe drinking water. less than a billion dollars. flint today is asking for $400 million. we know it's a down payment. i say to my colleagues from michigan, this could happen to
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any state. it could happen to any state because our infrastructure is not only aging in place, it is becoming dysfunctional in place, and it is becoming dangerous in place. $800 million. the horror stories you've already shared. gosh, you've done a great job speaking up for the people. i really compliment your advocacy. but you know what? we are all flint. we are all flint. and the facts will speak for themselves as you talk about how the flint water is contaminated because its pipes are permanently damaged. i understand that replacing flint's corroded water infrastructure will cost anywhere from $700 million to $1.5 billion. approximately 500 miles of old iron pipe and thousands of lead service lines. it is an untold, it is a big cost. but i want to speak about the
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children. i want to speak about the people. my gosh, what are you going through? i don't know how you could run a family. well, you can't run a family on bottled water. you can't run a business on bottled water. you can't run a city on bottled water. i don't know how you wash. i don't know how you take care of your children. i wouldn't go anywhere in flint unless i personally prepared my food or washed my clothes or saw what i was doing. i would be scared to death. and i bet those parents are, too. and what are they aflayed of? we need to get there. now, i want to talk about the children. and the human cost. i say to my colleagues both from michigan and here, senator cardin and i, we know a lot about lead poisoning. we have lived through really difficult problems in baltimore
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because of lead paint poisoning, a legacy of paint used during world war ii. we know what it does. it lowers i.q.'s. it causes significant developmental delays. you have behavioral issues, including attention deficit disorder. it is a lifetime. that little boy or girl that's 6 years old, god willing that they live until their 80's, they're going to carry this in their blood unless there is incredible medical breakthroughs for the rest of their lives. senator stabenow and i have discussed possible medical breakthroughs, but gosh, we've got to get on it, we've got to get on it, we've got to get on it. so the effects of poisoning could take, again, the lifetime. what i know about lead paint in baltimore, it goes back to my days in the city council where the paint was from the poisons.
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there were kids coming into johns hopkins medical center, kids just so sick. i remember a story about a little boy who was so weak and depleted, on his way to school, he laid down in the middle of the street, he was so depleted because of the consequences of lead paint. so that's why i support the leat to provide $800 million in loans and grants. also to provide $20 million at h.h.s. to bring together the best thinking, to have the best response to the human infrastructure. i've worked on this issue for a long time. going back to senator kit bond, my pal and partner when we had the old va-hud committee. senator bond was a real champion on this. this can be a bipartisan solution, and let's make it an american solution. this isn't about you. it's not about the democrats. it's about us. as the vice chair of the
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appropriations committee, i want to work with certainly my colleague and so on on how we could do this, but let's get the lead out of the pipes, let's get the lead out of the water, let's get the lead out of the way the senate is functioning and move to begin to make a down payment on this. mr. president, i really want us to understand we've got to solve this problem. and i'm going to conclude with this. i just want to say something to the mothers of america. we need you right now. the mothers of flint need you. the mothers of flint need you. the fathers of flint need you. the mothers and fathers of flint need you. if you're a mother or father anywhere, you could be a mother or father in flint. let's organize ourselves in the most effective way to solve this problem, and let's begin to deal with critical infrastructure so we begin to prevent this
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happening in any other american city. mr. president, i yield the floor and ask unanimous consent that my full statement be in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, the energy committee has worked really hard over the past year to develop the broad bipartisan energy legislation that's before us. members in both parties focused on areas of common ground, worked across the aisle and developed legislation that ultimately earned the support of more than 80% of their colleagues, republicans and democrats alike. here's what some of the democratic -- our democratic friends have to say about the broad bipartisan energy policy modernization act. the junior senator from new mexico said this bill is critical to protecting his state's treasured public lands and outdoor heritage.
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the junior senator from minnesota pointed out that several key measures he wrote are in this bill and the bill represents a good step forward. the junior senator from hawaii noted that her proposals in the bill will boost energy reliability and security in her state. the senior senator from west virginia said he was able to include critical measures in the bill to help coal jobs and low-cost electricity in his state. it's critical for america to establish an all of the above energy portfolio that includes all of our domestic resources, he said. and i truly believe that this bipartisan bill will bring us one step closer to achieving u.s. energy independence. that's the senior senator from west virginia, a democrat. and the stop democrat on the energy committee said that if we want to continue to compete in the global economy, we must continue to improve energy
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productivity, and that's exactly what this bill does. the energy policy modernization will help ensure that the nation is eliminating energy waste and making improvements in new technologies that will improve our competitiveness for the 21st century. that's the ranking democrat on the energy committee. she worked hard with senator murkowski on the energy committee to develop this bill, and they have worked together to manage it here on the floor as well. under their leadership, more than 30 amendments from both democrats and republicans have already been adopted. for example, one of our democratic friends offered an amendment that he said would strengthen this bipartisan energy bill and help us move towards a 21st century economy. the senate adopted it. another of our democratic friends said that his amendment would empower us with knowledge and help us make informed decisions to protect consumers,
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key sectors of our economy and our energy security. the senate adopted that amendment, too. there is a lot for both parties to like in this bill. the energy policy modernization act is the result of a year's worth of constructive and collaborative work. so let's not risk that progress. let's keep working together and vote today to advance this measure. if we want to help americans produce more energy, let's vote to advance the measure. if we want to help americans pay less for energy, let's vote to advance it. if we want to help americans save energy, let's vote to advance it. and if we want to help bolster our country's long-term national security, one more time, let's vote to advance it. i'd note one more thing. the top democrat on the energy committee recently said sometimes we can get cynical about this place and what we can get done. then all of a sudden, we have a
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great opportunity to move something forward, she said. this is a milestone for the senate, the fact that we are considering energy policy legislation on the senate floor in a bipartisan bill or any bill for the first time since 2007 is a question milestone. that's the ranking democrat on the energy committee. so let's bring this bill to the finish line. now let's vote to bring america's energy policies in line with today's demands so we can prepare for tomorrow's opportunities, too. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: mr. president, i, too, want to, as i did before, commend those working on this bill and share the majority leader's feeling that there has been a lot of positive progress that has been made. we're just not done yet. and so while i commend and have
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commended the chair and the ranking member, we have important issues in an energy bill that deals with energy and water and all kinds of issues, certainly addressing what's happening in flint, michigan, the catastrophe is appropriate, and we just want to know that we have an agreement -- not votes, but an agreement to get this done. thank you. the presiding officer: time is expired. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senatorú suz -- the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i have appreciated the comments from my colleagues raising attention to the issue in flint, michigan. i think we have had good, constructive discussions not only very intensely yesterday, but working with the two
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senators from michigan on this issue for several months right now. and as the senator says, the discussions are still ongoing, and i want to speak to kind of where we are in that process. but i'd like to start out my comments this morning recognizing that we are very close to the time that has been set for this first cloture vote on this broad bipartisan bill, and as we approach it i want to follow on the majority leader's comments in terms of reminding members of what we have incorporated within this measure to reiterate the strong bipartisan support that our bill has drawn and really to lay out what i believe is our best path to final passage. this energy policy modernization, as i have mentioned, is more than a year's worth of hard work by those of us who serve on the energy and
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natural resources committee. it's been the result of listens sessions, legislative hearings, bipartisan negotiations and we had a marathon three-day markup in july. at the end of that markup, we moved it out by a vote of 18-4, pretty strong support. ten republicans, eight democrats in favor. the reason the bill passed out of the committee on such a strong bipartisan basis was not just because of our commitment to good process. we matched that with an equal commitment to good policy. and i think that's important to recognize. it was processed but it was also policy and we worked together to include the priorities from members on both sides of the aisle as well as from within the committee and outside the committee. we agreed to include a bill to streamline l.n.g. exports that was written by senator barrasso and 17 other bipartisan members. we agreed to include a major
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efficiency billheaded up by senators portman and shaheen and 13 other bipartisan members. we agreed to improve our mineral security, an effort i lead with senators risch, heller and crapo. we have agreed to include a clean renewable source. we agreed to the permitting of natural gas pipeline. this was an effort led by senator capito. we agreed to a new oil and gas permitting pilot program, one of several ideas that senator hoeven contributed. we took a proposal from senator collins to boost the efficiency of schools. we agreed to approve our nation's cybersecurity based on legislation from senators risch and senator heinrich. we also made innovation a key priority to promote the development of new technologies. and as part of that, we agreed to reauthorize many of the
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energy-related portions of the american kapitz act. we agreed to take commonsense steps to promote geothermal energy, which is a key issue to senator wyden, certainly myself and so many others. we agreed to promote vehicle innovation based on a bipartisan measure from our friends from michigan, senators peters, senator stabenow and senator alexander. we agreed to reauthorize the coal r&d program at the department of energy based on yet another bipartisan proposal from senator manchin, capito and portman. and in the context of our broader bill, and only in the context of the broader bill, we also agreed to reauthorize and reform the land and water conservation funding. what we came away with was a good, timely bipartisan measure that has a very real chance of being the first energy bill to be signed into law in over eight
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years. it's a measure that will help america produce more energy. it will help americans save money. and it will help ensure that the energy can be transported from where it is produced to where it is needed. it will bolster our nation's status as the best innovator in the world, something that we should all aim to support. it will boost our economy, especially our manufacturers. and it will cement our status as a global energy super power. and as i said, it does all this without raising taxes, without imposing any new mandates and without adding to the federal deficit. and i think because of all of that, that's why you've seen the good, strong support for this measure. that was our base bill. that was where we started. and then when we came to the floor, it just got better. our starting point here at the senate floor was good and strong. and since we've taken up the
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debate for a week now, we've continued, again, to work in a very open, very bipartisan, sometimes a little bit lengthy and tedious prods, but it works -- process but it works. we committed to an open amendment process, and most members have held back on, whether you call them gotchas or give-me's or poison pills but there's been a great deal of cooperation. we voted on 38 amendments now. we've accepted 32 of the 38. we've added even more good ideas from even more members to an already bipartisan bill. and i'll just recount a few of the things that we have done with that. we agreed to boost our nation's efforts to develop advanced nuclear technologies. this was a great amendment led by senators crapo, whitehouse, risch, booker, hatch, kirk and durbin. we voiced our strong support for carbon capture and utilization storage technologies thanks to an idea from senators heitkamp,
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capito, booker, whitehouse, manchin, blunt and franken. and we have reaffirmed the need for consistent federal policies that recognize the carbon neutrality of forest biomass. this was an effort that was championed by senators collins, klobuchar, ayotte, king, franken, daines, crapo and risch. you don't often see, mr. president, these large groups of senators coming together in a way that we have seen on this bill. some would look at the names that i just read off and say i didn't know they had anything to work on. but these issues have brought them together. this has truly been a team effort with members reaching out to one another, lining up behind each other's ideas, working with senator cantwell and i to ensure their adoption. and the best proof of that is simple review of our bill. right now the energy policy modernization act includes
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priorities sponsored or cosponsored by at least 62 members of the senate. when was the last time we saw that level of cooperation and collaboration? 62 members. think about it. more than three-fifths of the senate has contributed something to this energy bill. and we're not done processing the amendments yet. we're not done with that. my staff, and the staff of senator cantwell have been comparing notes about the feedback that we've been getting outside the chamber. and what we found is that from the very time that we started working through the committee process to our time here on the senate floor, a very wide range of individuals, businesses, groups have come out and supported the bill, or certainly pieces of it. we've had provisions endorsed by major associations whose membership account for hundreds of companies and millions of american workers. this includes u.s. chamber of commerce, american chemistry council, national electric manufacturers association, alliance of automobile manufacturers, just a few there.
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we've also heard from labor groups on north american building trades iewn, united auto workers, united brotherhood of carpenters have weighed in. we've got a huge coalition from the alliance to save energy to seattle city light that has welcomed the work we're doing on efficiency. i've gotten good strong support from the alaska natural resources, crystal bay native association, car dough about a cooperative -- cardova, a whole lot more. we heard from the people who keep the lights on, who produce materials that make modern life more enjoyable whether it is the american petroleum institute, national mining association, american exploration and mining, the business council for sustainable energy, american power association, edison electric and others and others. the reality is those who have
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weighed in and supported this measure are too many to name this morning, but that's a good problem to have when you're legislating that you run out of time in outlining the coalitions that have come together in support. and just so i don't get in any trouble here this morning, i want to be clear that many of the groups and the entities that i have listed have endorsed parts of the bill -- not all of it. i'm not suggesting that everyone who likes our work to streamline l.n.g. exports is automatically supportive of what we're doing to clean up the u.s. code. and that's entirely fair. not everything in this is going to appeal to everyone. and in a lot of ways, that's how things work in a place like the senate. not everyone likes every provision of this will bill. i don't like every provision of this bill. not everyone is getting everything that they want. it's pretty tough to find a situation where you get 100% of
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everything that you would want. this is not the bill that i would have written on my own, but it is the bill that we have written together first as a committee of 22, now as a senate working together. our work has produced a good bill, a good bill worth debating, worth advancing and worth passing. and that brings us to the point where we are at with the cloture vote that we will soon take. this vote is on the first of two cloture motions that we will need to approve before we can move to final passage. there's two votes. there's one on the substitute and there's one on the underlying bill. this means that this is, this vote that we will see very shortly is a means to advance debate, not to conclude it on our energy policy modernization act. and it's also a choice so i think it's important to lay out clearly to members where we are, what we're voting on this
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morning. by voting for cloture, members will be ensuring that we remain on this bill for at least another 30 hours of legislative activity. you will be voting to continue this process, to continue this debate, and to continue processing amendments whether by voice as we have done so many of them or by roll call vote that we hope to set up. you will also be giving us the time that we need to focus on matters that are simply not settled yet. and as we have heard from our colleagues from michigan, there are some matters that they wish to have resolved that are not yet settled. but this allows us that time to do that. but to do this in a way that is going to be acceptable to the majority of our members. and the reality is if you aren't comfortable with where we are 30 hours from now, you can still vote against the next cloture motion that comes up. that's one choice, and that's
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going to be my choice. but here's the other. if you vote against cloture, you will be effectively voting not to prolong debate but to move us off of this bipartisan bill. you will be voting to effectively be giving up on so much of what we have done, a year of process, agreement on almost 50 energy bills that we have incorporated into this base bill. and the strong approval of 32 separate amendments, and counting, that we have advanced to the floor. and i believe you will be voting to give up our best opportunity, certainly our most immediate opportunity to address the issue to help the people of flint, michigan, and in other parts of the country that may have
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similar issues. every time i leave the senate floor, at least this past week, i'm kind of swarmed by reporters who want to know what's going on, what's the latest discussion, what's going to happen with flint? is flint going to bring this bill down? so i want to speak directly to this this morning to ensure where members -- let members know kind of what has gone on. because we haven't been out here on the floor all day yesterday, hashing things back and forth. we've been discussing very earnestly -- and again i believe very constructivively -- constructively, what are our options mplets how how can we find a path forward that will yield a result to help the people in michigan? the first thing i will say is that i share the concern, the heartbreak for what the people of flint, michigan, have faced
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and are facing. it's a crisis, it's a tragedy. it is heartbreakingly avoidable. and unfortunately, we look at how we got here, and it is a failure of local, state and federal government po regulate and monitor that city's water supply. and what has happened in flint has hurt people. it is hurting children. and it has damaged property. it has left families in a horrible, horrible predicament through no fault of their own, where they can't, they can't drink their tap water. they can't bathe their children. and there is plenty of blame to go around here, and i know that my colleagues from michigan would agree with me. but our job here in the united states senate is not to play this blame game. it's to own up to what that federal role is, because i
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believe that there is that federal role. and then on that basis, do what we can to help, make sure that our response is proportionate to that role. so why then, why then consider all this in the context of the energy bill, you might ask? and it's a fair and legitimate question. well, it's because it's the first piece of legislation that's on the floor since the extent of the crisis in flint became clear to us. senator stabenow and i began discussions about the situation in flint in very early december as we were trying to move through an omnibus bill to see if there wasn't something that we might be able to address through the appropriations bill. but since that time, again, more has been learned, and we are here today with legislation that
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allows us an opportunity to consider it. so i didn't shy away from this discussion as hard as it was. i didn't say hey, that's going to be a poison pill, i can't deal with it. i said let's try to figure this out, because if we don't address the situation, whether it -- it's not going to go away. we've got a role here. let's figure out what that responsibility is and engage. and senator cantwell and i have been fully engaged, most directly with the senators in michigan, trying to find a responsible path forward. and the negotiations have been earnest and in good faith and ongoing. but i think that there has been a little bit of confusion about the status of the negotiations. i want to outline where -- where i believe we are right now. we have made headway on federal assistance, something that we know can't be borne by our energy bill alone. we have found programs that
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could be good fits to provide aid. we also recognize that this is not flint's burden alone, that there are other communities in other states, including my state, that face similar crises as a result of government failures. and we hear about them. we as members talk about the situations. the senator from maryland i think used the phrase we are all flint. i think we all have situations, maybe not to the crisis proportion, but they have with a presidential declaration in michigan, but we have recognition that we all have issues that are troubling us a great deal when it comes to how we provide for -- for safe -- safety, safe drinking water for our families. our problem is not about whether we should offset the costs of this assistance. it's how we do so in a manner that does not destroy the underlying energy bill, does not
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violate the constitution or the rules that we have here in the senate. and i made very clear when we began the outset of the debate on this measure that we've got to make sure that we don't have scoring issues with c.b.o. and that we have to make sure there are no other issues because that will kill the bill. that will kill the bill. then nobody wins. then we don't have an energy bill, then we haven't addressed the situation in flint. so this morning, i filed a second-degree amendment to provide support for the people of flint, and what my amendment will do will make up to $550 million available, including $50 million immediately for the people of flint. what we're seeking to do here is bridge the gap between what has been proposed and what i believe the senate can agree to.
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it requires 90% of the money that we provide to be paid back over time. its cost is fully offset with a pay-for that we have been working back and forthwith c.b.o. and are confident that they accept. it includes provisions that we have been working with the senators from michigan on as it relates to e.p.a. notification and loan forgiveness and language that i think has been in all different iterations of measures that have been going forward. i'm told that on the house side, they are looking at that as well. but kind of that's where we are at this time as we're going into a cloture motion. i think we have made progress. i believe we have made progress. we're working constructively to help the people of flint, and what we would do with this second-degree would be able to provide $550 million available to them.
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it's been challenging. it's involved a lot of hard work to get to this point, but i think we owe it to every american, whether you are in flint or somewhere else, to do that work, overcome that challenge. so, mr. president, we have -- we have -- we have gotten to where we are in the discussion again. we've got the cloture motion going forward. we have been trying to make the good progress. we have been trying to conduct an open and fair amendment process. we want to process more amendments this morning so that we can move to complete the bill. and so i would ask at this time unanimous consent that it be in order to call up the following amendments to make them pending, and that would be the stabenow amendment 3129, a murkowski second-degree on flint 3282,
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cantwell 3242, flake 305, flake 3050, murkowski-cantwell 3234, isakson 3202, markey 3232, and cassidy 3192. the presiding officer: is there objection? ms. stabenow: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you. reserving the right to object, i first want to again thank the chair. she lists a lot of bipartisan efforts that have gone on. i know a lot of work. nowhere in that list of folks whose needs have been -- whose needs have been addressed are the children of flint. the presiding officer: the senator will state her objection. ms. stabenow: we want to get this solved, not just have votes that go down. i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. cornyn: would the chairman of the energy committee yield for a question? ms. murkowski: yes. mr. cornyn: mr. president, the chairman of the energy committee has done tremendous work with the ranking member, senator
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cantwell, to try to find some way to address the concerns, the legitimate concerns that we all share and have with what's happened in flint. but it's my -- i just want to clarify some basic facts. it's my understanding -- and i just ask for a comment or an answer from the distinguished senator from alaska -- isn't it true that there is not yet a comprehensive assessment and plan in place by the state of michigan or flint as to how they might even spend this money at this point to address the concerns about lead in the water supply in flint? ms. murkowski: it is my understanding that there is an assessment and analysis that is due out, i believe, towards the end of next week, if not the end of next week, that the state has aggressively been working to do to determine the cost as well ad
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move forward with an action plan. that's my understanding. mr. cornyn: so, mr. president, if the senator will yield for another question? so since there is no plan yet announced or in place, it strikes me as putting the cart before the horse to say the senate ought to vote on a $600 million emergency appropriation to deal -- to pay for a plan which is not yet -- which has not yet been created and disclosed to the -- to the american people. i would just ask the senator, isn't it a fact that the state itself has already appropriated $40 million to deal with this issue on an emergency basis, and the obama administration has made available another $80 million through the e.p.a. that's available to the state of michigan to help flint deal with this problem. so a total of roughly $120 million already made
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available. ms. murkowski: i can't speak to the accuracy of exactly how much has been made available by the state. it is my understanding that the state has received through the e.p.a. the -- the state's annual receipts from the -- the e.p.a.'s clean water fund that they receive on an annual basis. so i don't know if that is specific to flint or whether that is the state's -- the state's share as the state of texas receives and the state of alaska receives, but it is my understanding that the president did make that announcement. ms. cornyn: mr. president, if the senator will yield for another question? ms. stabenow: if i might ask the leader to yield for a question, and possibly we could certainly share the information? mr. cornyn: mr. president, the senator is out of order. i would ask the senator from
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alaska -- the presiding officer: the senator from alaska has the floor. mr. cornyn: i would ask the senator from alaska if she would yield for one last topic on this question? the presiding officer: will the senator yield? ms. murkowski: yes. mr. cornyn: i would ask the senator from alaska, isn't it true that after the senators from michigan made this demand for a $600 million earmark, in effect, before a plan was actually put together by the state of michigan or the city of flint, either to analyze the problem or what the solution might look like and how much it might cost, that you in your capacity as the bill manager have undertaken an effort to try to come up with some compromises. that, in fact, i believe you mentioned a compromise which would include some up-front funds, $50 million, plus a loan in effect that could be paid back over time. but i would just ask the senator, doesn't it make sense that because there is no plan in place, because there is money already available for flint and michigan to begin to address this problem, wouldn't it make
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sense for us to take our time and to handle any additional requests for funding from flint or michigan through the regular appropriations process? i believe the senator is the chair of the ranking -- is the chair of the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over these issues, and i'm just wondering whether that wouldn't be a more orderly, more responsible process than at $600 million earmark for a plan -- before a plan is even in place? ms. murkowski: well, to the senator's question, i have been working, i think, aggressively and constructively with the senators from michigan to try te can provide for a level of response. i don't doubt the -- the anxiety, the urgency that the people in flint must feel.
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to be in this situation is not a place that any of us would want any of our constituents to be. and so there is i think an imperative from those that are seeking this assistance that given that there is a federal role, how can we help to facilitate the appropriate response on the federal side? and so if there is a way to help expedite funding to move towards a solution, i think that that is appropriate. i think the senator's question is are we jumping -- jumping ahead here if we don't know how much? i think it is fair to say that the original estimates were based on the declaration -- the disaster declaration the state had requested. i think it's going to be not only critical to understand what
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the cost is that we will hopefully learn next week -- i know they have been working aggressively to determine that -- but also kind of the spend plan because we do know -- we saw this with the stimulus, that you can get almost too much money, if that's possible, too much money going and you can't spend it out in the way that is best needed. i think we want to be thoughtful stewards, responsible stewards of the taxpayer dollars in recognizing that, and i think we also want to recognize that the role that we should have should be a proportionate role, so how we can be working to advance that is something that we have been attempting to do. i think the solution that i -- ms. stabenow: would the senator yield for a question? ms. murkowski: just one moment. the solution that i have put down this morning that i think recognizes that there is -- is assistance that is needed, and this is where the opportunity to access loans through the program
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that will be available not only to the state of michigan but to other states should they be in a similar situation, so that -- that avoids the earmark because i, too, want to make sure that we have a situation that we don't allow to continue but we also don't want to -- in michigan, but we also don't want to see it in other states as well. so we do that through opportunities for loans through withia. but the direct assistance that would come which would be $50 million in addition to what may be out there already from e.p.a. and through the state i think is a reasonable approach, and again it is one that is paid for, legitimately paid for, and i think that that is an important part of our responsibility here as well, to make sure that we can not only address the urgency of a situation but also the
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responsibility that we have not only to the people of flint but to all of our constituencies. and, mr. president, if i can just -- the presiding officer: all time for debate has expired. ms. stabenow: would the distinguished leader yield for a question? mr. president, i have been asking for the opportunity to ask a question. i would ask consent to be able to ask a question. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. stabenow: is the chair aware that the dollars that we have asked for require a comprehensive plan from the state and that at this point only $28 million, most going to health, has been allocated by the state? ms. murkowski: through the chair, i am aware that what you have required as well as what we have been working on jointly does require a -- an action plan that describes the spend-down and how that would be allocated.
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and it's my understanding that it will be very helpful to have that -- that analysis from the state that will be forthcoming hopefully next week. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on senate amendment number 2953, the substitute amendment to s. 2012, an ornlg bill to provide for -- original bill to provide for modernization of the energy policy of the united states and for other purposes. signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is: is it the is he of the amendment that debate on amendment number 2093, offered by the senator from murkowski, so s. 2012, shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory
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under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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quorum call:


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