tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN September 8, 2020 2:59pm-6:33pm EDT
important agencies what direction either before or after the omb letter that you received what direction can suggestion come , had you receive from the administration in terms of diversity training and possibly suspending or or in think somef it? i will start first with treasury, director cole. >> yes. to date we have not received any instructions in terms of our diversity training. either that came out i guess late friday and as of this point we don't have any definitive instructions about how to move forward. >> thank you -- >> we will be leaving this to keep our commitment to live congressional coverage. you can continue watch this and live on her website c-span.org and we will have the complete program for you later in our program schedule.
u.s. senate is about to gaveling to get the week started lawmakers considered a a judicl nomination with a limited vote set for 5:30 p.m. eastern. and now live to the senate floor here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. black, will open the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, our hope for the years to come, empower our lawmakers to live with integrity. inspire them to permit their words
to be matched by their deeds. as they strive for this ethical congruence, strengthen them to examine their hearts with the goal of seeking to glorify you. living by your precepts, may they aspire to be faithful to the noble calling of serving you and country. we pray in your majestic name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. grassley: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask to speak for one minute in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: in august, i held 49 county meetings as part of my
annual 99-county set of meetings in iowa. at every meeting, the format is the same. iowans set the agenda. challenges from the pandemic and storm recovery were among their top concerns. i'd like to explain that maybe as far as the storm recovery, about once every ten years, there is a big wind storm called a derecho going across someplace in the country. that path was about 150 miles long in iowa, 34 miles wide, and it destroyed the crops for this year in that area. other issues came up as well. biofuels, unemployment insurance, the farm economy, access to child care, and school reopenings were frequent points
of discussion. i had the chance of visiting in 15 different locations with about that many school superintendents, and they were very optimistic about the coming school year. this was my 40th year holding my 99 county meetings. i started this tradition when i was first elected to the senate so iowans in every corner of the state would know i care about their opinions. it is an honor to serve iowans in the united states senate and uphold my end of representative government. i look forward to more q and a's across the state this year and starting my 41st year of 99 county meetings in 2021. i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: our nation has spent the last six months fighting the medical, economic, and social effects of this pandemic. the senate's historic rescue package from back in march, the
cares act, has gone a long way to help american workers and families endure these incredible challenges. it delivered the extra federal unemployment benefits that helped laidoff workers make ends meet. it created a paycheck protection program which has helped millions of small businesses keep their lights on and keep employees on payroll. it sent resources to the front lines of the health care fight. and it invested billions in the race for treatments and for vaccines. but, madam president, this relief is never going to last forever. today enhanced federal unemployment benefits are only still available because of action by president trump. the paycheck protection program has closed to new applications and the funds it has delivered are being exhausted.
and this last month has brought a whole new challenge, how to get teachers and students safely into a new school year. these are the challenges the people i represent are facing every single day. kentuckians and all americans know this unprecedented crisis is not through with us yet, and so they expect that congress isn't through helping yet either. senate republicans have been fighting for months to deliver another round of covid-19 relief. in july, we proposed the heels act, a sweeping package totaling more than $1 trillion that would have led right to bipartisan talks. but speaker pelosi and the democratic leader said no. they said they would block our trillion dollars for kids, jobs, and health care unless we doubled the cost to accommodate an endless wish list of
non-covid-19-related list of priorities like tax cuts for blue state millionaires. so republicans tried another way to break the logjam. in august, we proposed narrowing discussions to some of the most urgent, most bipartisan subjects that seemed especially ripe for agreement. but speaker pelosi and the democratic leader blocked that as well. now they claimed it was too piecemeal, to piece meal they said to get any help out the door until democrats and republicans had settled every disagreement on every front. the democratic leaders have spent months playing these goldilocks games. they have complained about every single thing we put forward, but they have produced nothing of their own with any chance whatsoever of becoming law. meanwhile, after all their blustering that congress should never do anything piecemeal,
speaker pelosi came rushing back to washington to pass the most piecemeal bill you could possibly imagine, legislation that solely helped out the u.s. postal service and did nothing at all for american families. when republicans tried to help american workers keep their jobs, speaker pelosi and leader schumer said it was piecemeal. but when house democrats' fears about mail-in voting made them think maybe their own jobs could be in jeopardy, that argument suddenly disappeared. that's the score, madam president. democrats are all for piecemeal bills when they concern their own reelection, but when it comes to bipartisan aid for kids, jobs, and schools, democrats say it's either their entire wish list, all of it, or nobody gets a dime. well, republicans see this quite differently. we don't think this crisis cares
about partisan politics. we think people are hurting, and congress should do its job. we want to agree, where bipartisan agreement is possible, get more help out the door, and then keep arguing over the rest later. that's how you legislate. that's how you make law. you find agreement where agreement is possible and keep arguing over the rest later. so republicans are making yet another overture. today we're releasing a targeted proposal that focuses on several of the most urgent aspects of this crisis. the issues where bipartisanship should be especially possible. i'm talking about policies like extending the additional federal unemployment benefit for jobless workers, providing a second round of job-saving paycheck protection program for the hardest hit small businesses to prevent layoffs.
sending more than $100 billion to help k-12 schools and universities reopen safely and educate our kids. dedicating billions more for testing, contact tracing, treatments, and vaccines. onshoring manufacturing capacity for critical medical supplies and rebuilding our national stockpile. giving all kinds of families more choice and flexibility to navigate education and child care during the crisis. providing legal protections for schools, churches, charities, nonprofits, and employers so they can reopen. providing more help for the postal service. our proposal would do all this and more. now, here's what our bill is not. it's not a sweeping,
multitrillion-dollar plan to rebuild the entire country in republicans' image. it does not contain every single relief policy that republicans ourselves think would help in the short term. i'm confident the democrats would feel the same way, but the american people don't need us to keep arguing over what might be perfect. they need us to actually make a law. so democratic leaders are perfectly free to come out here and keep up their playbook from these past months, just blast away, blast away in bad faith, call names, and complain about the infinite number of things this proposal does not do. maybe they will bring back their goldilocks act and say our multihundred billion-dollar proposal is too small or too skinny, even though democrats just passed a piecemeal bill for the postal service that ignored
everything else. a peace he will bill for the postal service that ignored everything else. democrats can do all that if they want to, madam president. i understand they have already been criticizing this bill today before they had even read it, before it had even been put out. more of this would just reinforce that only one side of the aisle seems to want any bipartisan outcome at all. it's easy to tell in washington whether somebody's end goal is political posturing or getting an outcome. one way or another, what democrats do will be revealing. the senate's going to vote on this targeted proposal. we're going to get the stonewalling of democratic leaders out from behind closed doors and put this to a vote out here on the floor. and it's going to happen this
week. senators will not be voting on whether this targeted package satisfies every one of their legislative hopes and dreams. that's not what we will do in this chamber. we vote on whether to make laws, whether to forge a compromise, whether to do a lot of good for the country and keep arguing over the remaining differences later. a few weeks ago, madam president, more than 100 house democrats spoke out publicly. they asked speaker pelosi to stop stonewalling and let the house vote on targeted covid relief short of, short of her entire wish list. the speaker ignored them, ignored her rank and file just like her piecemeal postal bill ignored american families. over here, i'll make sure our
democratic colleagues get a chance to walk the walk. every senator who has said they want a bipartisan outcome for the country will have a chance to vote for everyone to see. senators will vote this week, and the american people will be watching. now, madam president, i understand there are three bills at the desk due for a second reading en bloc. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the titles of the bill for the second time. the clerk: h.r. 3, an act to establish a fair price negotiation program, and so forth and for other purposes. h.r. 51, an act to provide for the admission of the state of washington, d.c., into the union. h.r. 1425, an act to amend the
patient protection and affordable care act, and so forth. mr. mcconnell: in order to place the bills on the calendar under the provisions of rule 14, i would object to further proceeding en bloc. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bills will be placed on the calendar en bloc. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, i ask consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration
of the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, brett h. ludwig of wisconsin to be united states district judge for the eastern district of wisconsin. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i thank the chair. madam president, we are, as we all know, in the middle of a public health crisis. the american people are hurting from every state in our country. nearly 190,000 people, our fellow citizens, have died. millions have lost their jobs. and they're struggling to make ends meet. people are being evicted from their homes. they're struggling to feed their families. and the virus is still not under control. we know there's a need for another emergency funding bill,
the need to address the covid crisis is clear. this is something actually we could have done in july if we'd been willing to actually do our job and vote on the appropriations bills after the house of representatives had already shown the way. but four weeks ago the trump administration and the senate republican leadership walked away from the negotiating table. the democrats had offered compromise. republicans said my way or the highway and left down. -- and left town. just walked away from the capitol when we add all these things -- we had all these things that needed to be done. here we are back four weeks later. is the situation better? of course not. across the country families are sending their children back to school without the necessary
resources to ensure they're safe. still more students are learning from home but often without reliable access to the internet. evictions are rising. families are struggling to find child care. unemployment is at the highest level i can remember and certainly unacceptable levels. states are preparing for november's elections without the resources they need to make sure people can safely vote. the postal service needs a serious injection of funding to deliver mail in a timely manner. inaction has consequences. now, -- to negotiate. i was four weeks ago. i've been throughout the time the senate has been out of session i've been prepared to come back and negotiate.
but now we find no, the republican leadership woants negotiate. -- won't negotiate. senator mcconnell says he's prepared a so-called skinny covid bill to put before the senate. but he put it before us on a take it or leave it. no amendment, no debate. this proposal isn't skinny. it's anemic. why are they afraid to vote? let's have amendments. vote them up or down. can you -- is there any question why the american people is wondering what's going on when the republican leadership will not even allow a vote? what are they so afraid of? it's democracy. vote up or down. republicans have the majority. if they don't like the amendments that come up, vote them down. but at least vote them. don't hide behind platitudes,
tweet, campaign ads, which you can do because you never actually have to take responsibility. you have to vote. now, the bill hasn't been made public but details are beginning to emerge. and the details that have emerged show it's woefully inadequate to meet the needs of the country. if fact, it provides even less relief than the smaller trillion dollar package the trump administration put forward before the senate adjourned a month ago. now, i don't know where republicans spent the last month but i know where i was. i was all over the state of vermont. talking to the republicans and democrats and independents, hearing what's on people's min minds, not lobbyists, not special interests, but the people have to pay the bills
will have to face the consequences. and i became even more convinced, not less, we have dire needs this this country because of the coronavirus pandemic and we have to address them and soon. now, how any senator went back to his or her home state and returned convinced even less assistance is needed than we left last month is baffling to me. that's why i'm saying every senator can say where they stand, but the way they prove where they stand is to vote. let's have the courage to stand up and vote yes or no. not a take it or leave it package that will be decided by one person and nobody else will be able to vote anything differently. what are we? what are we? a bunch of ducks in a row? or are we u.s. senators?
and adding insult to injury we now find the bill also provides sweeping liability shields for corporate bad actors who fail to do their part to keep consumers, employees, and patients safe. it tells you everything you need to know about the priorities of this republican package. big corporations, struggling american families. instead of the person who it trying to pay the bills, send their children back to school, who's making out in this bill? why, the lobbyists for multibillion-dollar insurance companies. they're already making billions of dollars. they don't have to worry about paying the bills. they don't have to worry about their children going back to school. they don't have to worry about jobs. and this bill gives them one more gift.
how can we possibly say we support that and then go back home and say we're on the side of our people. the majority leader wants to put the so-called skinny bill including with a giveaway to the multibillion-dollar insurance companies, well do it the right way. bring it here. set up a real debate of the bill. debate what the country deserves and i think the majority of republicans and democrats would want. open it to amendment. no limits. let the process work. not a process that only rewarpeds high -- rewards high-paid lobbyists for multibillion-dollar corporations, that a-- but allow senators on both sides of the aisle to say here's where i stand with the people in my state, the people in my state have to pay the bills, have to send their kids back to school,
who are trying to keep their jobs or keep their farms going or whatever it might be. let members raise issues important to their constituents from any of the 50 states and then vote on those issues. funding for state and local governments who are facing the brunt of the covid response. money for schools so we can safely educate our nation's children. or rental assistance and eviction protections to help keep people in their homes. food assistance for hungry families so they don't go hungry in the wealthiest nation on the earth. funding for our elections so we can assure people can safely vote and we can trust the results of the vote. big investments in testing and contact tracing because we know
we can't begin to do the amount of testing and contact tracing we need to do today. our economy is only going to come back when the american people are confident the virus is no longer a threat. i know the president said last winter of course the virus will go away in the spring. well, everybody in this chamber, republican and democrat, know he wasn't telling the truth on that. of course it didn't go away. but we're not growing to make a recovery until we have confidence that the virus is no longer a threat. my friend, senator mcconnell's skinny bill doesn't provide that confidence. so i say put these issues up for a vote. take each one of these issues and vote them up or down. let the american people see where each member of this chamber stands.
i know where i would stand. do as republican leaders in the past have done. howard baker, bob dole and others of the great leaders. you might not like some of the amendments. they would say okay, we'll vote them up or vote them down. why don't we do that? that's the way the senate was designed but this majority leader will not do what his predecessors have. and why? because on many of these issues he knows he would lose. no too many would be willing to vote for his giveaway to the lobbyists, for the large insurance companies. so a vote simply to move to this bill is just for show. it doesn't provide us an opportunity for a real debate. it doesn't solve the problems facing the country. show votes do nothing to combat the virus or give the american people the confidence to reopen the economy. in fact i suggest just the opposite. the american people see us do
just political show voting votes here, they're going to have even less confidence that things will come back. perhaps a real debate in the senate which clearly the other side of the aisle is afraid of, republicans have to come back to the negotiating table. we start bipartisan, bicameral talks on a comprehensive covid relief package that can pass both chambers. you know, i hear senators say, well, we can't vote on this, we can't vote on that because it might not be popular at home. my response in a case like that is why do you want to be here? we've had nearly 2,000 senators in this country. the senator that voted the most in the nation's history was
senator bob byrd, one of the longest serving senators. he voted around 18,000 times. willing to stand for his vote. now those 2,000 senators, the senator comes in second with the most votes is this senator from vermont. i don't say just for longevity but it means i voted for things i knew would hurt me politically but i thought it was the right thing to do. i was willing to state to the people of vermont here's where i stand. you can agree or disagree with me but you know where i stand. why have we -- one of the reasons the senate is held in such disfavor in this country is that we don't vote. we don't have a real debate. it's all one way or that way alone. absent a real debate in the
senate which clearly the republican leader is afraid of, why don't republicans come back to the negotiating table. we start bipartisan, bicameral talks on a comprehensive covid relief package that can pass both chambers. we actually were prepared to do this in july. why don't we bring up all our appropriations bills of the republicans have the majority. they can vote them down if they don't like them but let's bring them up and have a vote on them one way or the other. but, no, we couldn't do it. now senator mcconnell says he wants to do this piecemeal. pass a little bit now, a little bit later. trust me, we can do that. well, as ronald reagan would say, trust but verify. let's have a real vote. let's vote on all of it. because we know that the
majority leader will adjourn the senate later this month to go home and campaign. and it appears all he wants is a show vote, a woefully inadequate bill, that he knows can never become law and then get out of here. that's not a plan for action. that's not a real plan to pass a bill for the american people. it's not acceptable. why don't we admit the most important thing before us is what's happening with covid and how we address it. i know a lot of republicans have some very good ideas. i know a lot of democrats have some very good ideas to address it. let's bring them up. let's vote on them. vote for them for vote against them. don't say they've got to stay there. we're not going to allow a vote because we don't time. we've got plenty of time. we got plenty of time. let just stay they're every day,
go through the weekends, if need be, and just vote. vote up for down. we're running out of time. right now the majority leader intends to adjourn the senate in just a few weeks. well, the american people don't have that luxury. they can't just go home for a few weeks knowing their bills are being paid, their salaries are being paid. they need our help. why don't we do our job. vote these things up or down. have the courage to say what you stand for. we can have easily 40 or 50 amendments, realistic amendments, from both democrats and republicans, vote them up and down and then have a bill that can go to conference. every one of us knows we should have done that in july. we didn't. we could have done that in august. we didn't. in september let's at least now
do our job and uphold our oath of office and pass the bill. let's not be afraid of how we vote. i know out of those 16,000 votes of mine, somebody can find votes they agree with. so what? i had the courage to vote. i call on my fell will he senators. have the courage -- i call on my fellow senators, have the courage to vote. we're supposed to be the conscience of the nation. let's try to be. i see other senators on the floor eagerly awaiting their chance to give us their views, and so i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. wicker: i take to the floor of the senate this i do not have noon -- this afternoon to call senators' attention to
the worsening crisis in intercountry adoptions. and i must say, madam president, it saddens me to have to do this because much of the crisis in foreign adoptions or intercountry adoptions is happening as a result of policies of our own federal government. i'm fortunate to have had two loving families, two loving parents and a loving family. my dad is 96 years old. i visited with him yesterday. my mom, sadly, passed away several years ago. but i was fortunate -- i was among the fortunate people on the face of this planet to have two loving parents and a loving family. that's not the case around -- all around the world.
internationally in particular, there are countless children who have no mom, no dad, no family, no extended family to care for them. they reside in the most deplorable conditions in orphanages and as wards of the state. americans have always been compassionate for these children without a forever family. and that compassion extends to children not only orphaned in the united states but also outside of our borders. for decades, americans have led the world in welcoming children from around the globe to come to the united states and be part of a forever family. as a result, more than 150 children adopted from foreign
countries are now growing up in the united states. 150,000. these children and their adopted families are examples of america at its best. but i'm here to say to my colleagues today, madam president, that intercountry adoption is in real trouble, and much of the reason that intercountry adoption is in trouble is coming from our own federal policies, from unelected bureaucrats, particularly at our own department of state. the number of international children finding an american home has plummeted in recent years. and listen to this statistic. in the year 20 h-, americans adopted 23,000 children from foreign countries. 23,000. last year, 2019, that number had
fallen below 3,000, an 87% drop. from 23,000 only 15 years before to 3,000 in 15 short years. now, we are well aware, people who've been looking into this issue are well aware of what's causing the decline, and one of the reasons is russia. because of foreign policy disagreements, russia has shut its doors to intercountry adoption. we've pleaded with the russian government about the this, and we've not made much progress. but that's one of the factors, not the only factor, and not even the principal factor. but that's on the russian government. it saddens me to think they've done that. but the biggest reason for the decline in intercountry adoptions by americans comes
within our own government, our own state department. for years the state department and its adoption-accrediting entity have democrat strategied a clear and -- have demonstrated a clear and consistent bias against intercountry adoption. it saddens me to say this -- it's unbelievable that i have to say this -- but career bureaucrats in the state department have deliberately obstructed the adoption process with new fees, new requirements that amount to red tape, unrealistic standards on foreign governments, and these bureaucrats have placed burdensome regulations on adoption provider agencies. these regulations make it nearly impossible for adoption providing agencies to maintain accreditation. and this has been done by
design, and the results are devastating. in the last year and a half, more than 30 adoption providing agencies have left the intercountry adoption space, and we are losing more agencies every month. our federal government's state department's bias against intercountry adoptions adoptions unmistakable. in 2018, for example, the department directly intervened to prevent three well-respected adoption agencies from being reaccredited. a federal judge dismissed the department's reasoning as, quote, quite unconvincing, unquote, and, quote, simply illogical, unquote. that's what a federal judge had to say about the reasoning of this little part of the state department that seems determined
to end foreign adoptions. during in that same year, a journalist quoted an a a state department employee that the o.c.i. in the state department is biased against intercountry adoption. why they would take this position, madam president, is beyond me. adoption advocated followed up by requesting freedom of information act documents about this claim, this claim by the journalist who quoted the state department insider, but the department of state has resisted this freedom of information act request and is still yet to release any documents two years after the statutory foia deadline has passed. there are plenty more examples. last year the state department
posted an adoption -- hosted an adoption symposium that may as well have been caused the international anti-adoption symposium. this is funded at our state department by our own taxpayer dollars. our own tax funds -- funded a conference that featured radically anti-adoption speakers who openly denounced the practice of international adoptions. it's hard to believe, and it's hard to imagine a worse use of taxpayer dollars. the adoption community has voiced concerns about the state department's anti-adoption bias, but it seems that government has not listened. and now i will say, this is -- this has been a problem in state
departments headed by republican secretaries and by democrat secretaries. when adoption providers privately shared their concerns about the accrediting agency, the department responded by issuing a public letter threatening the future of intercountry adoption. madam president, the office of children's issues, o.c.i., is slamming the door in the face of thousands of orphans who need a family, and they're saying no to willing american couples who are pleading to gift these international -- to give these international children a forever family here in our great country. it seems that o.c.i.'s priorities are out of step with their statutory mandate and also they're out of step with the values of this country and basic
morality. we need to change the policy of the state department in this regard, i had say to my colleagues. i call on my colleagues on the foreign relations committee to hold an oversight hearing to review the state department's role in intercountry the adoption. and to examine the ales of bias against intercountry adoption and to hear from accrediting agencies and other state department employees about their experience working with the department of state and its accrediting entity. i think such a hearing would be revealing, and i think the results would be troubling to members of the congress. i also call on the senate permanent committee on investigations to investigate allegations raised against the u.s. approving accrediting entity and the state department's office of children's issues. it's time actually to transition
the u.s. central authority from the department of state to a more receptive and more compassionate, more understanding home, such as the department of health and human services. this would allow experienced child welfare professionals to oversee intercountry adoptions. madam president, we have a great secretary of state. i've known mike pompeo for years. i think he's got all he can preside over, and i don't for a minute think that the secretary of state understands what this small entity in his state department is doing. i think he must have no idea that this is going on. but i think the solution is to move this function from the state department. but i would call on the secretary of state to put a hold
on planned changes down in this little agency populated by unelected bureaucrats who are hostile to adoption. i think we should put a hold on planned changes in the accreditation compliance system. until there has been a full review of o.c.i.'s bias against adoption. the competence of their staff needs to be investigated, and we need to look -- we need to give an open assessment, shining the light of day on the impact that this small group of bureaucrats is having on something that i think most americans support. madam president, the american people believe in adoption. they believe in giving orphans anywhere in the world an opportunity to have a forever family. they believe in giving couples here in the united states the
opportunity to provide a home for these children who are less fortunate than most of us have been and most of us within the sound of my voice have been. i think this -- i think the american people believe in a change, in this inexplicably anti-american and antifamily policy. and so today i am down on the floor of the united states senate to shine a light on this tragedy, on this outrage. i would ask my colleagues to remember the teaching of the psalmist. give justice to the weak and the fatherless. maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. i think americans believe in the sentiments of the psalmist in that regard. i think we are ready to heed the
the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: what is the pending business? the presiding officer: the clerk will report the pending business. the clerk: house message to accompany s. 178, an act to condemn gross human rights violations of ethic turkish muslims, and so forth. mr. mcconnell: i withdraw the motion to concur in the house amendment with amendment 2499. the presiding officer: the senator has that right. the amendment is withdrawn. mr. mcconnell: i move to concur in the house amendment with amendment 2652. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, moves to concur in the house amendment to the bill s. 178 with an amendment numbered 2652. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk for the motion to concur with
amendment. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. 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 to concur in house amendment to s. 178, an act to condemn close human rights violations of ethnic turkish muslims in xinjiang and to end harassment of these communities inside and outside china, with further amendment -- provided i ask that the mandatory quorum call be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to executive session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to.
mr. cornyn: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, each year, during the month of august, i look forward to traveling across my state, my very big state, to spend time with my constituents. it's the best way to learn firsthand how the laws and programs that we enact here are working. and to receive the feedback on legislation being considered by the congress in the future, and what i can do to better help the folks back home. now, a typical state work period involves dozens of face-to-face events from every corner of my state, covering all ages, professions, and walks of life. last august, i spent time talking with my constituents about everything from the debbie
smith act and g.i. benefits for student veterans to project safe neighborhood grants and the u.s.-mexico-canada trade agreement. but as we all know, 2020 has been anything but typical, and this august was no exception. these big in-person events have been replaced with virtual ones, face-to-face meetings which now involve wearing masks, social distancing, and a heavy dose of hand sanitizer. instead of the broad range of policies we might normally discuss, almost every one of them centered on the impact of covid-19. no big surprise there. i've heard from mayors, teachers, food bank employees, health care workers, restaurant owners, energy workers, and countless others about how the resources that we have been providing them have helped them through this pandemic.
from the rio grande valley to amarillo, opposite ends of our state, from tyler to orange in the east -- eastern part of the state, and all points in between, i masked up and met with texans who are working overtime to keep their communities safe and to provide for their families. all the while, i continued to hold virtual conversations and telephone town halls to hear from my constituents and share information about what we are doing to be helpful to them. these conversations, as i said a moment ago, always helped me better understand the effectiveness of the legislation we passed and provide valuable feedback about what is needed in the next coronavirus relief bill. with the school year now officially under way in most of texas, additional support for our students and teachers is one
of my top priorities. i have had the chance to speak with k-12 students and teachers in odessa, lubbock, and canyon, and college students and suppliers at angelo state university in st. angelo, as well as at texas tech university and texas tech health science center in amarillo. some joined us socially distanced on campus and others connected virtually. i was able to hear from both students and teachers about this unprecedented school year and the challenges -- the extra challenges brought on by covid-19. whether in person, online, or some combination of the two, education looks a lot different this year, and we need to provide fools schools with the funding to keep kids in the classroom safe and those at home on track for a great education. congress has already passed
$30 billion in emergency relief for education, including more than $2.6 billion for texas. this funding has helped our school districts, colleges, and universities prepare for the fall, but to be honest, more is needed. for those learning in person, additional funding can cover cleaning services and equipment to permit children -- prevent children from catching and spreading the virus. for those learning virtually, it could provide additional hardware and internet hot spots so that they could do their studies online. i visited one high school in neck for county, that's odessa, texas, where they are using a blended, hybrid and in-person online instruction county. they began with online instruction for students who have internet access at home and in-person instruction for those that did not. of the roughly 33,000 students in the district, about 4,200
were in the classroom on the first day. and i can assure you it's not the only school district in texas whose students have difficulty accessing the technology needed to learn from home. more than two million texas households don't have reliable internet access, and it's leaving our students on the wrong side of the digital divide. internet access is no longer a luxury or just a convenience. it's become a necessity, and we need to do more to ensure that students across texas and across the nation have access to reliable broadband. now, the cares act which we passed in march provides some relief on this front. it gave libraries $50 million in grants for digital connections. the demand for these funds was much higher than was available, and it became obvious we need to
do more to help those who are on the wrong side of the digital divide. the senator from west virginia, senator manchin, and i teamed up to include and introduce the access internet act which would provide funding to both the department of education and libraries to make reliable internet a reality. in addition to supporting virtual learning, this would also make access to telehealth more available to families. this has really been one of the most surprising positive developments out of this pandemic, and that is actually greater access to health care through telehealth, both physical and mental health services online. our bill includes funding for health care providers, including the department of veterans' affairs, to get more patient connected so they can utilize these telehealth services.
as we make a push for progress on the next relief bill, i'll continue fighting for resources for our students and teachers, and that includes reliable access to the internet. despite this august work period looking much different from years prior, i was still able to connect with tens of thousands of texans virtually and over the phone and safely meet many of them in person. as i traveled, i was able to see how schools, our health care facilities, our food banks, local governments and more have been able to use the federal coronavirus funding provided for in the cares act. the feedback and insight that i received was invaluable to my work here in the senate, and it's more important than ever as we continue negotiations on the next coronavirus relief bill. this is going to be a busy month in the senate. we need to pass legislation to
bolster our response to this virus, support our students and teachers, help those in need of financial assistance and ensure that our health care response remains robust. we're just three weeks away from the end of the fiscal year, including a government shutdown, unless we can reach an agreement on a funding bill. complicating matters even further, we are at the peak of hurricane season, which may not seem like as big a deal here in d.c., but i guarantee we have our eyes on these tropical storms out in the gulf of mexico that could well end up on shore. hurricane hannah, for example, struck south texas in july and hit our farmers and producers hard, as well as flooding out many, many homes and displacing families. and then a couple of weeks ago, hurricane laura tore through the
gulf of mexico. although the brunt of laura hit our neighbors in louisiana for which we are very sorry, we are very glad that it did little damage in southeast texas, but it still did some significant damage. i was able to join the lieutenant governor and senator cruz for a visit to orange to survey the damage and speak to local officials about the impact of the storm. madam president, i'm committed to providing my qebts in texas -- constituents in texas with the resources needed to recover from whatever this hurricane season may bring. and i'll be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast on what has already been an active hurricane season. so, madam president, we have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks, though we weren't able to make progress on a coronavirus bill in july, i was on almost virtually daily conference calls with the white
house and secretary mnuchin talking about the way forward. and i'm more optimistic today than i have been to this point that we will ultimately reach an agreement. i hope my colleagues have also heard from their constituents about how important relief is and that we can come together at such a critical point in our fight against covid-19. madam president, i yield the floor and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
schumer madam president. the presiding officer: the -- mr. schumer: madam president. welcome back. i ask that the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: in the three weeks since the senate met, america eclipsed -- nearly 190,000 americans died by covid-19 and
those totals climb each day. too many businesses remain closed. schools begin the year under a dark cloud of uncertainty and our economy faces the greatest crisis since the great depression. the united states is 11.5 million jobs short of where we were at the start of february and the number of jobs that have been permanently lost is rising at an alarming rate. all of this reflects a tragic reality. president trump has led the worst response to covid-19 of any nation on earth. it is what it is. the economic pain of the pandemic was mitigated by our action in march when democrats insisted on a robust stimulus bill that became the cares act. one of our policies included in that bill, enhanced unemployment benefits, has kept nearly 12 million americans from poverty.
those benefits have now mostly expired and the stimulus provided by the cares act has been exhausted. the pandemic and economic hardship for millions of american workers and families, however, is ongoing and painful. speaker pelosi and i have been trying to negotiate with the white house in another round of relief. it's been arduous. democrats offered to meet our republican colleagues in the middle, but the white house has refused to make any significant compromise. near the senate, the republican majority leader has kept the senate on pause while the nation suffered. when they tried to draft a relief package in july, senate republicans flailed for two weeks before announcing a series of separate incoherent proposals that lacked the support of, surprise, senate republicans. it was so unpopular within the republican conference, leader mcconnell never even brought it up for a vote.
now, after more than four months of long inaction, after sitting on the sidelines while we tried to negotiate with the rekals trant whitehouse, -- white house, senate republicans are realizing the mcconnell pause has done to the american economy and our nation's health. as they scramble to make up for this historic mistake, senate republicans appear dead set on another bill which doesn't come close to addressing the problems in our country. republicans are going to cut their original inadequate $1 trillion skinny bill in half, maybe more and put it up for a vote this week. of course it had no input, zero input from democrats, completely partisan. and this chamber where you need
bipartisan to get anything done. republicans call this a skinny or targeted proposal, but it would be more appropriate to call of it emaciated. shockingly as the pain from this pandemic gets bigger and bigger, republicans think smaller and smaller. they're moving backwards. their proposal is completely inadequate and by every measure fails to meet the needs of the american people with no money for rental assistance, nutrition assistance, the census, safe elections, and so many other things. the bill amazingly will do almost nothing to help state and local governments that have already been forced to cut a million jobs since the pandemic began. this bill actually goes backwards from the last republican proposal. it does not even allow states to use existing relief funds to cover lost revenues. even worse, this latest and
sorriest republican proposal is laden with poison pills that our colleagues know democrats would never support. the bill doesn't provide enough funding to help our schools reopen safely, not close to what school superintendents say they need, but it includes funding for a partisan school choice program long pushed by hard-right conservatives and secretary devos. it provides immunity to corporations who put their workers in harm's way which sadly seems to be the only thing that republicans can consistently agree on. it even includes a provision that could fast track coal mining operations because god forbid our republican friends miss an opportunity to reward corporate polluters in their coronavirus relief bill. the republicans call their -- the republicans call their bill
targeted. make they mean it's targeted to corporate donors. the presence of these poison pills should remove every shred of doubt that the true intent of this bill is anything but political. if leader mcconnell and the republican majority were trying to achieve a result, they wouldn't draft such a lame, partisan bill loaded with poison pills and rush it to the floor. could we have order please. the presiding officer: yes, sir, mr. leader. be careful not to impugn the motives of another. you suggested corporate donors. that -- "was checking on how to warn, just to issue that warni warning. mr. schumer: the truth is if you want to draft a bill that is certain to fail, this is it. this is one of the most cynical
moves i have ever seen. we all know what's going on here. lead every mcconnell -- lead every mcconnell had to create the most paltry, partisan cynical bill because he had 20 members of his caucus who don't want to support anything by his own admissions they want zero dollars. so leader mcconnell keeps whittling down the republican proposal until he can find something, anything that he can claim his party supports. he had to throw in the right wing's favorite goodies to sweeten the pot, to even approach the number of votes in his caucus to make it look like a republican bill that had broad support. leader mcconnell knows this bill won't pass. he knows that most of his members don't want it to pass. and amazingly, he seems happy with that situation. this is one of the most cynical
moves i have ever seen in the middle of a pandemic when americans are crying out for relief. the political exercise on the republican side bears no relationship to the needs in our country. it has nothing to do with our states, our workers, our families, opening up schools safely, or what health care workers really need. it has everything to do with finding the bare minimum that senate republicans can support. facing the greatest economic crisis in 75 years and the greatest health crisis in a century, leader mcconnell isn't searching for bipartisan progress. he is looking for political cover. as we begin the final work period before the november elections, democrats will keep
pushing for a bipartisan, bicameral agreement that actually meets the urgent needs of the american people. for the good of the country, i hope, i pray my republican colleagues will join us in that effort. on another matter, tens of millions of americans rely on the post office every day for their medication, veterans benefits, food, and paychecks. this year tens of millions of americans will also rely on the post office to vote in our national election. as president trump deliberately attempts to erode americans' confidence in voting, in voting by mail, his handpicked postmaster general mr. dejoy, a long-time republican fund-raiser and trump donor, faces serious questions about politicizing the post office during an election year. during his shorten your, mr. dejoy instituted drastic
service changes to the postal service which caused enormous backlogs and delays in mail delivery. only a massive public outcry from both sides of the aisle caused him to reverse his course. and now reports came out over the weekend alleging that mr. dejoy while he was c.e.o. of new breed logistic may have been involved in an illegal straw donor scheme in which he pressured employees into financially supporting republican candidates using company bonuses as reimbursement. if these reports are true, they constitute a serious violation of campaign finance law. the house has already announced it will investigate these claims. so it is time to state the obvious. the postal board of governors should suspend mr. dejoy as postmaster general while these serious allegations are under
the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johnson: mr. president, it is my privilege to recommend the honorable brett h. ludwig to be united states district judge for the eastern district of wisconsin. judge ludwig passed the senate judiciary committee with bipartisan support, and i look forward to the full senate voting to confirm him today. since 2017, judge ludwig has served the people of wisconsin on the united states bankruptcy courts for both the eastern and western districts for wisconsin. judge ludwig was born in rural north central wisconsin and
spent his childhood in the city of colby, the birthplace of the cheese that bears his name. his grandparents and great grandparents were dairy farmers, instilling in their children and grandchildren the values of hard work and dedication that wisconsin's farm families are known for. brett's father, duane ludwig, worked nearly 40 years at a factory making corrugated container boxes. his mother, connie, worked as a receptionist, secretary, and medical records clerk. they raised him to have a strong work ethic and to appreciate the importance of education. judge ludwig graduated from kolbe high school in 198 -- colby high school in 1987. he attended university of wisconsin stevens point graduating with highest honors. he then answeredded the university of michigan law school at a -- on a merit-based scholarship. he excelled in his class work again, grading on, unquote, to
the minnesota law review. he ultimately graduated magna cum laude, was named to the order of the coif, and clerked for the honorable george g.faig on the appeals court for the eighth circuit. following his internship, he returned to practice at the largest law firm in wisconsin and one of the oldest law firms in the united states. in 2003, that law firm made him a partner, and he spent the next 14 years building a successful commercial litigation practice. in addition to trying more than a dozen complex multimillion-dollar cases to judgment, he played a crucial role, joining the milwaukee officers recruiting and pro bono committees. his leadership and contribution to his field extended far beyond his firm. he was hired by the marquette university law school to serve as adjunct professor teaching insurance law. he was active in the eastern
district of the milwaukee bar association. he was also active in marshalling the efforts of milwaukee's largest law firms to commit time to pro bono representations in the district court. in 2017, brett left private practice when he was selected to serve as a bankruptcy judge where he presided over more than 12,500 bankruptcy cases, issued more than 20,000 orders, and adjudicated dozens of evidentiary hearings and trials, all while earning the respect of debtors, creditors, and their lawyers through his strong judicial temperament, empathy and compassion. judge ludwig has also shown a strong commitment to the rule of law. his written decisions reflect a judge that is committed to faithfully applying the bankruptcy code and rules as they are written. he has demonstrated he is not and will not be an activist judge. judge ludwig lives just outside milwaukee with his wife melissa
blydorn, their children madeleine and rhine and a black lab chloe. i would like to thank senator baldwin for her support of the bipartisan nomination commission that has once again selected an excellent jurist. i would also like to thank the hardworking members of this commission for their dedication in finding and register judge brett ludwig who will serve the nation and the people of wisconsin's eastern district with distinction and honor. judge ludwig has my full support, and i urge all of my colleagues to vote yes on his confirmation. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor.
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 the nomination of brett h. ludwig of wisconsin to be united states district judge for the eastern district of wisconsin signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of brett h. ludwig of wisconsin to be united states district judge for the eastern district of wisconsin shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll.
vote with respect to the ludwig nomination occur at 11:15 a.m. tomorrow. if cloture is invoked on the wiegand nomination, the senate vote on the jarbou nomination, and if cloture is invoked on the jarbou nomination, the postcloture time expire at the time to be determined by the majority leader in consultation with the democratic leader on thursday, september 10. further, that at 2:15 p.m. tomorrow, the senate vote on the confirmation of the wiegand nomination and following disposition of the wiegand nomination, the senate vote on the cullen and gujarati nominations in the order lists. finally if any of the nominations are confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's acts. the presiding officer: without objection.
mr. lee: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to legislative session for a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m., wednesday, september 9, further, following the prayer and pledge, the the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. further, following leader remarks the senate proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the ludwig nomination under the previous order. finally, following the cloture vote on the jarbou nomination, the senate recess until 2:15 p.m. for the weekly conference meetings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
>> the u.s. senate has gambled out now today, lawmakers command the nomination of ludwig to be the judge for the eastern district of wisconsin. the final vote is expected this week along with debate and votes on other judicial nominations . also this way, likely thursday to vote to begin work on coronavirus economic aid and relief. on the bill introduced by senate republicans. negotiations with the house and president trump continues off the floor. plus off the floor work on 2021 federal spending. congress will need to pace pass legislation by symptom or 30th in order to avoid it government shutdown and follow the senate live on "c-span2" when lawmakers return. you are watching "c-span2". your unfiltered view of government. created by americans cable television company is a public service . brought to you today by your television provider.
see spans washington journal, every day we are taking your calls alive in the air on the news of the day. and discussing policy issues that impact you. coming up and was morning, national journal, senate recorders zach: tell us what's in the senate republicans to scale down covid-19 relief bill. and then demand justice cofounder ryan, talks about the progressive groups push for ideological balance to the supreme court and federal judiciary. in heritage action for american executive director jessica anderson on their top campaign 2020 issues . watch see spans washington journal, live at seven eastern on wednesday morning. be sure to join the discussion with your phone calls facebook comments, text messages and tweets. wednesday, nih director doctor francis collins and surgeon
general, doctor jerome adams test plan vaccines. in front of the senate health education, labor intentions committee. life coverage begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. pres. donald trump: shameful roll call of blunders buried in her lifetime. he has spent his entire career on the wrong side of history. >> failed in its most basic duty to the nation. he has failed to protect us . he's failed to protect americans. and my fellow americans, that is unforgivable. >> the first presidential debate between presidential donald trump and vice president joe biden, 9:00 p.m. eastern on tuesday . watch live coverage on c-span, watch live streaming on
demand at cspan.org. or is live free c-span radio app. >> on thursday, the senate could take a procedural vote on the coronavirus economic aid relief introduced by republicans . for about that legislation as well as ongoing negotiations with the house and present trump, the majority leader mitch mcconnell. tre's a look. >> our nation has been the last six months fighting the medical and economic and social effects of this pandemic. the senate is a rescue package from back in march the cares act has gone a long ways to help american workers and families endure these incredible challenges. it delivered the federal unemployment benefits of laid-off workers to make ends meet they created the paycheck protectiro