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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  January 5, 2022 1:59pm-5:49pm EST

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travel because of the variance and in recent months its borders have been more than opened in the lead up to winter 2020 and experts point to a decline in lieu vaccine uptake despite the country's high rates for vaccination. about 17 percent of israel's total population received a flu jab this year compared with 24 percent in the same period last year and 20 percent in 2019 according to the ministry of health . add that to the mix as well as you tell us about your experience . let's hear from m cindy in north connecticut, hello. >> caller: i don't know anybody whose life has not been changed dramatically because of covid and everyone's experience is going to be different . my daughter is seeing such horrible things and i know from her experience as an icu nurse. >> we will be this program for live coverage of the u.s. senate. editors returning from recess
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2:15 eastern on the confirmation of and caskey to the secretary of state for conflict and stabilization operations . live coverage of the senate here on c-span2.
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set that kind of record. what's most concerning about this is many people who are concerned with catching the virus or who think they may already have it can't get access to test. i just heard earlier today on a call that the administration was providing information that they have asked for -- requested for information about who can provide a test and maybe a request for proposals about who might be able to provide tests. but we're way down the road to be asking about who can provide
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tests. congress has provided more than $80 billion for covid testing. if you look at the size of the defense budget, this is a pretty big percentage of the defense budget. we've lost track, i think, of how much money a billion dollars or a trillion dollars or $80 billion is but the administration has had $80 billion. over half of it, $47 billion they got in march in the american rescue plan. this is supposed to cover everything from research and development of new rapid tests to manufacturing and purchase of these tests, funding for state and local governments to distribute these tests. and near we are nine months later and concerned we don't have tests because we don't have enough tests. for the last month americans have faced long lines attesting centers. -- at testing centers.
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they've gone to places where they thought they could purchase a rapid test to find empty shelves. the question i really have is the same that many americans have is what went wrong. why are we facing such a shortage of tests now? how could we possibly have had $80 billion available for a minimum of nine months and now we're back in a testing problem. i think the answer surely is not a lack of funding. but i think more fundamentally a lack of strategy, a lack of priority, and a failure to anticipate the ongoing testing needs by the administration. when this administration came into office, their covid-19 policy could have been called vaccines first. and while i've been vaccinated and while i've urged all americans to get a vaccine unless your doctor tells you not to, it's always been clear to me that the vaccine was only one part of the process. in fact, if you remember, from
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the very first the vaccines were at a level that indicated that roughly one out of ten people had had a vaccine would also get covid. now, what we know now is that that person that gets covid that had a vaccine is not going to be incredibly affected by it in all likelihood, but it should -- it shouldn't have been a shock that many people who got a vaccine would also get covid and would also want to know if they had covid. yet for a full year the administration has focused almost exclusively on one thing, and testing and treatments have not had the attention they should have had or now that they must have. that failure has come at a steep cost. today americans can't found over-the-counter tests and the nation lacks a comprehensive, reliable testing infrastructure. early in the pandemic former senator lamar alexander and i were on the phone nearly every day with officials from the
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department of health and human services to get a better understanding of how to fight the virus. he was the chairman of the appropriating committee. i was the chairman of the authorizing committee. we thought we had come up with a plan that if carried out would work just right. in fact, the result of those conversations was a twofold testing response. first we started a program at the national institute of health called red x which we kind of based roughly on the tv program the shark tank where people brought ideas in about how they could produce a test in ways that those tests were not being produced. over a billion dollars was invested directly with a dozen different companies that are producing today almost all of the tests that are available in stores, but obviously being sure that they were producing them at the volume that they needed to be produced was something we
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should have been paying attention to. we wanted to bring more tests to the market. we want to do it as quickly as possible and provide the necessary government intervention to do so. so in the first six months of the red x program, at the end of that six months they were delivering two million tests a day and 100% of all the -- all of the tests that were available for at-home testing. secondly, senator alexander and i thought that testing should be a widespread and easily available, easy to take as we pushed to reopen schools and keep them open. we want to do the things that have a test that is frequent, that's inexpensive, and makes sense. we went on. we appropriated more than $30 billion for testing activities in the first five bipartisan bills to deal with covid. later in the american rescue plan, an additional $47.8
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billion for testing activities was made available. now, remember this legislation that was partisan in nature, no republican voted for it. it had easier transfer authority from category to category than any appropriations bill in the last ten years. and frankly, we sent a letter to the secretary of h.h.s. this week, senator burr and i did asking exactly where this this money get spent on. i'm afraid we're going to find out not nearly all of it got spent on testing. the lack of funding has not been a problem. i think we need to know what happened to the money and what we need to do to make the kind of investment now that we thought that $80 billion would surely have made. when people asked last month about the difficulties in getting tests and why the administration wasn't making tests free and available, the
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white house press secretary said she just dismissed the idea as out of hand. then less than three weeks later they did an about face and announced they distributed rapid tests to any american that wants one. that's a bold idea, one the europeans have been using throughout the pandemic. but let's look at what the administration actually did. they'll spend $3 billion for 500 million rapid tests. that would be about one and a half tests per person. they're also saying right now that really to have faith in the rapid test, you probably need to take two of them so the one and a half per person doesn't do quite what it needed to do. the approach to the -- to our testing shortage is not to spend -- to send 500 million tests to the american people. these tests haven't been purchased yet. they haven't been produced yet.
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they haven't been distributed yet. and what do we do in the next weeks as we wait for even that to be done. finally, the administration says that the at-home tests are less sensitive to the omicron variant than they need to be. i hope that's not the case. it's time the administration began to recognize that vaccines are a powerful weapon, that we need to continue to focus on them but we also need to have a broader strategy. that strategy has to include people finding out whether they have covid-19 or not. this is a wake-up call. i hope we wake up.
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i ask unanimous consent that the roll call vote be announced. the presiding officer: is there objection? seeing none, the roll call -- the clerk will call -- the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: vote:
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the presiding officer: have all senators voted? does any senator wish to change his or her vote? if not, the yeas are 61. the nays are 26. and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from delaware. mr. carper: madam president, one year ago tomorrow, one year ago tomorrow a violent mob attacked our capitol, this capitol. five americans died, hundreds sustained injuries in what has been described as the worst attack on our capitol since the war of 1812 and the worst attack on our democracy since, literally since the civil war.
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the mob assaulted and maimed police officers, desecrated our beacon of democracy and using force, using force sought to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power in this nation. one year later as we recall the chaos and the bloodshed of that day, more than ever i'm convinced that we must fully understand what happened and make sure that is never happens again -- that it never happens again. the 2020 election was hard fought but was not especially close. not one example of widespread fraud found or any evidence present thad would have altered the outcome. let's take a moment and look at the facts. there were 81.2 million votes for joe biden last year, 81.2 million. there were 74.2 million votes
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cast for donald trump, 74.2. that's about 51.3% of the vote for joe biden, 46.8% of the vote for donald trump. 306 electoral votes for joe biden. 232 electoral votes for donald trump. ironically, joe biden earned the same amount -- same number of electoral college votes as donald trump in 2016. why is that relevant? well, in 2016 donald trump declared that his 200 -- his 230 electoral votes was -- no, 306 electoral votes. he got the same number of votes -- joe biden got the same number of votes in 2020 as donald trump did in 2016 when trump won with 306 votes, oh, it was a landslide. when biden wins by the same number of electoral votes,
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donald trump says no, it's not a landslide. it's a theft. you've stolen the election. despite these fakes, donald trump -- donald trump pressed ahead. many of the claiments were downright bizarre and many were unfounded. madam president, more than 60 federal and state courts involving more than 90 judge, many of whom were nominated by republican presidents, including donald trump and they all agreed no evidence of widespread fraud, wrongdoing or other irregularities were uncovered subsequent to the 2020 election. none. allow me to quote one of them, judge beavis, a long time member of the conservative federalist society whom donald trump actually nominated to serve the third circuit court of appeals. in ruling against donald trump's baseless claims of fraud in pennsylvania, judge beavis said, and i quote him, he said calling an election unfair does not make
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it so. let me he peat that. calling an election -- repeat that. calling an election unfair does not make it so. rather than accept defeat at the ballot box and in the courtroom, the former president embraced conspiracy theories and outright lies. the january 6 insurrection occurred because these lies -- let me repeat it -- lies were a call to action for white supremacists and other domestic extremists. as someone who grew up in danville, virginia, the last capitol of the confederacy, i've seen confederate flags before, a lot of them. but i never expected to see any of them in this capitol or in this chamber. on january 6, the former president incited a mob at the national mall and sent them to attack this capitol. he lit a match. fanned the flames of violence. he did nothing to extinguish the fire. he was deservedly impeached for
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the second time for this heinous offense against our constitution which he was sworn to defend. one year later i'm standing in a sacred chamber thanks in large part to the heroism of countless officers from the u.s. capitol police and the d.c. metropolitan police department. over 150 police officers were injured that day. over 150. tragically, five police officers subsequently lost their lives in connection to the january 6 attack, including, tragically, four by suicide. one of the officers who defended our capitol will carry the wounds of that day both physical and mental with them for years to come. in response, we must remain committed to their health and safety for years to come. they showed remarkable courage that day. they risked their lives. an unyielding commitment to the
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oath that they took to protect our constitution and this capitol. one of those officers was officer eugene goodman. officer goodman is a u.s. army veteran who was raised right here, right here in the district of columbia not far from where we're gathered. he saw combat in the iraq war fighting with the 101st airborne division until he returned home and signed up with the capitol police in 2009. he's shown valor in uniform before in a war zone. i'm certain that officer goodman never imagined that he would be called on to fight a battle to defend our constitution in the u.s. capitol, not far from his own backyard. just outside these doors officer goodman distracted the mob and helped to save 100 united states senators and many of our staff members from harm, as well as members of the house of representatives and their staff, too. the brave men and women of law enforcement, like officer
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goodman, put their lives on the lint that day to protect not just the members of congress inside the house and senate chambers but our very constitution. ultimately, the insurrectionists and the former president failed to overturn the election because democrats, republicans, and republican vice president michael pence returned to the house and senate chambers and after order restored, we did not accept mob rule. instead, we certified the votes of millions of americans because that's what our democracy and our allegiance to it demanded of us. we've learned a lot over the past year that puts that day into better context. there's still much to learn, but january 6 was far from a random event. it was a premeditated, coordinated and in the end violent effort to overturn an election. in other countries we would call this an attempted coup.
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one year later i am alarmed and appalled by the attempts to rewrite the history of january as a peaceful protest. these conspiracy theories continue to fuel the same misinformation and hatred that led to january 6. my colleagues, we need to lead by our example. we must choose truth over the big lie. we must choose the constitution over the mob. and we must choose the rule of law and mutual respect for one another over hatred and division. thomas jefferson once said -- this is a pair ray phrase, but something along these lines. he said, if the people know the truth, they won't make a mistake. i love that. if the people know the truth, they won't make a mistake. well, we returned that day to this very chamber to certify the votes of millions of americans because we wanted the american
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people to know the truth. joe biden and kamala harris won the 2020 election fair and square. we must now make sure that every american knows the unvarnished truth related to january 6. over the past several years i've mentioned time and again the wisdom of our framers, of our constitution. in the hot summer of 1787 they gathered and debated a new form of government, a constitutional republic with an intricate system of checks and balances. little did they know but that document, first ratified by delaware, would become the longest-running experiment in democracy that the world has ever known. i have sworn an oath no fewer than 12 times to protect the constitution of our country, first as a 17-year-old navy rotc midshipman at ohio state, four years later when i was commissioned to become a naval
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flight officer during the vietnam war, again as i relinquished my regular commission and assumed a reserve commission, and then another -- gosh -- eight, eight times as a house member and here as a senator. we have a sacred obligation to protect our constitution from enemies, both foreign and domestic. madam president, in his second inaugural address at the end of the civil war, president lincoln addressed a deeply divided nation. all told, more than 600,000 americans would die in the bloodiest conflict our nation's history. still, president lincoln called on the nation to come together, to bind up our wounds and begin to heal. i believe that these words, which are etched inside the lincoln memorial, can guide our nation in this moment.
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colleagues, in order to truly bind up our wounds related to january 6 and heal a deeply divided nation, we must continue seeking the truth and holding those responsible to account. more than 700 individuals have already been charged with crimes related to the attack on our capitol. moreover, the bipartisan house select committee must finish the work it has begun and provide us with the facts of that day and the days that preceded it. armed with those facts a, of us who serve in this congress must make sure that the american people know the truth, that everyone responsible for the plotting, for the planning, for the execution of an attempt to overturn an election in the united states of america is held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. our democracy demands no less. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor at this time.
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thank you. mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, earlier this week, the majority leader sent a letter to our democratic colleagues which has been widely distributed in the press, even though he didn't send it to folks on this side of the aisle. we've all know had a chance to read it, and he's outlined what the next few weeks on the senate floor might look like. now that the so-called build back better or what some have called the reckless tax-and-spending spree bill have been sidelined due to lack of
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support, senator schumer has shifted his focus to another dangerous and unnecessary bill. this time, rather than an attempt to spend trillions of dollars and to raise taxes on the american people, he is proposing that we overhaul the very foundations of our democracy. our colleagues on the democratic side don't trust their own state legislators to pass voting laws which are in compliance with the voting rights act and the laws of the land. the reason i say that, as shocking as it may sound, is why in had the world would they want to preempt their own state voting laws by passings a law that would preempt their own state laws? well, this power grab would give the federal government unprecedented four make decisions about how elections are run in all 50 states.
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this is the first -- this isn't the first time our friends across the aisle have shown an interest in hijacking america's elections. we've seen various versions before. each one relying on a slightly different marketing strategy. at one point it was touted as a necessity of election security. then when that didn't work, they said, well, this is about instilling in the voters confidence in our election laws. and then when they failed to muster the political support necessary to pass that bill, they tried to figure out another way to sell it, and they said, well, really what we need to do is remove obstacles that prevent people from voting. well, the 2020 elections saw an unpress deathsed turnout -- unprecedented turnout. in my state, there were 11.3
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million people who cast their ballot -- hispanics, african americans, other minorities voted in historically high numbers, and 66% of registered voters in texas voted in the 2020 election, making it the highest voter turnout in 120 years when you look across the great expanse of this country. so now our colleagues across the aisle are going to have to come up with a new sales pitch. as we know, in the wake of the 2020 election and concerns about some of the irregularities in those various states, states have passed legislation to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. i can't imagine why we wouldn't all embrace that approach, make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. senator schumer has described
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these state laws as reprehensible and the most sweeping attack on the right to vote since the beginning of jim crow. well, based on those extraordinary statements, you might think that the states have restored literacy tests. you might think the disgusting and subjected determination of good moral character before someone was allowed to vote, the kind of prohibitions that existed after the civil war, had been reinstated. the truth is different than senator schumer would portray. many of these changes in state laws were designed to reduce opportunities for fraud or roll back temporary protocols that were put in place during the pandemic. the new texas law, for example, requires voting systems to be
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tested before an election is held to ensure there are no technical difficulties. it's not unheard of that voting machines break or need to be repaired, and that just makes sense. the new texas law also requires that voter rolls be kept up to date. in other words, that people who are no longer alive, that their names would be removed from the voter rolls. texas is no stranger to voting irregularities. in fact, the story of a foxed hen in duval county, texas, was supposedly the reason why lyndon baines johnson beat koch stevenson in the race for united states senate many, many years ago. strangely enough, the votes on the voting rolls tended to go through the local cemetery and
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go in alphabetical order, providing l.b.j. the votes he needed in order to beat koch stevenson in that election. so removing dead voters from the voters rolls strikes me as a pretty good idea. other changes the state legislature made in texas expanded voting access. we already offered two weeks of early voting in person, and the new law didn't make any changes to that. but it did extend voting hours in more than 60 texas counties and clarified that voters who were in line at the polling place before polls closed will still be able to cast their ballot. and the texas law was not the only one to actually improve voter access. georgia, for example, expanded early voting in person to 17 days, which is more generous than what's offered in many democrat states.
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in new jersey, by contrast, early voting only lasts nine days. nine days in new jersey, 17 days in georgia. has the attorney general sued new jersey for somehow suppressing the right to vote? no, he hasn't. he has sued georgia, and he has sued texas, and i'll make a prediction right here today that he will lose both of those lawsuits because the facts simply don't support the litigation. if you're from new york, you have ten days before early voting in order to cast your ballot, less than you see in georgia and texas. and this year for the first time in president biden's home state of delaware, you can have ten days before election day in which to cast your ballot. before that time, including the 2020 election, in delaware, if you wanted to cast your ballot before the election like you can
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in texas, georgia, new jersey, and new york, you couldn't even do it, because in president biden's home state of delaware, they did not allow early in-person voting until this year. well, contrary to what senator schumer said these changes are far from reprehensible, they are common sense. you don't hear senator schumer claim that delaware is trying to suppress the right to vote by not having any early in-person voting before this year. so it's very politically convenient for the majority leader to attack those states where democrats aren't doing quite so well in the elections. because it doesn't align with their goals here. what are their goals? well, it's purely partisan political advantage. our democratic colleagues have tried to spin this narrative of a blatant attack on the right to
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vote. how you could make that claim in terms of the historic turnouts in the 2020 election is beyond me. i'll just give you one personal example. when i was last on the ballot in 20 h 14, there were 4.8 million voters. in 2020 when i was next on the ballot -- that was the last time i was on the ballot, 2020, there were 11.3 million voters so we more than doubled the number of people who cast their ballot in texas in six years. the story can be told in other parts of the country like florida and others where more and more people are voting, which is certainly something we endorse and we embrace. but we also want to make it harder to cheat. our colleagues have tried to spin this narrative of voter suppression, but the myth of widespread voter suppression in 2022 is a myth. well, why is that?
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well, in 1965, congress passed something called the voting rights act which was an historic piece of legislation that said you cannot deny people access to the ballot on the basis of race or ethnicity. and the good news is over the intervening years is the voting rights act has worked magnificently. in fact, many states that previously were subject to preclearance requirements under the voting rights act because of historic discrimination actually had, now have greater participation by minorities in their elections than other states that were not so covered. and right now the law of the land is, under section 2 of the voting rights act, is that if any state or political subdivision tried to suppress people's right to vote based on race or ethnicity, they would be sued by the attorney general, as they should be. and it would be declared illegal.
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that law, section 2, has been part of the voting rights act for more than half a century, and no one is proposing to change it because it's worked exactly the way congress intended when we passed it in 1965. but democrats are falsely claiming assaults on the right to vote for one reason, and one reason only, and it's to achieve political ends, because the facts simply do not support their arguments or their proposals. now it shouldn't be of any surprise that republicans don't want to turn over their elections to washington, d.c., and to the biden department of justice. so the path forward for the majority leader is to try to eliminate the 60-vote requirement, known as the filibuster, in order to pass legislation. in his letter earlier this week, senator schumer concedes that the senate was designed to
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protect minority rights, but those rights, he said, have, quote, been warped and contorted to object instruct and embarrass the will of the majority. i can tell you from experience that the majority is always frustrated by the 60-vote cloture requirement known as the filibuster, but it's designed for a very specific purpose. it's designed to force us to do what maybe does not come naturally which means to work together on a bipartisan basis to build consensus legislation that will stand the test of time. but what senator schumer is proposing to do, because we have a 50-50 senate is to change the rules so that democrats and democrats alone can dictate what these new laws will look like. that's it. it's not any more complicated than that.
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senator schumer is frustrated, no doubt, by everything that he and the democratic colleagues in the senate have been unable to accomplish, what they've promised and what they've delivered. but this is by his own design. he sets the agenda. he knows if he brings a bill to the floor like the infrastructure bill that passed earlier this year or the national defense authorization bill, that there's broad bipartisan support and the chances are they will pass with broad bipartisan majorities, as both of those did. but when they try to jam through things like so-called build back better, which has zero support on the republican side and actually doesn't even have unanimous support on the democratic side, it should be no surprise that they're unable to get that passed, as we've seen in recent weeks. so senator schumer sets the agenda. if he decides to continue to set the agenda on partisan
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legislation that doesn't even enjoy majority support of his own political party, he can expect the same results over and over again. he himself is the reason why the president's agenda has not succeeded, because he's given up on bipartisanship and consensus building in a 50-50 senate. the reason why it's important to build bipartisan consensus when it comes to legislation is because they will endure no matter what happens in the next election or the next election or the next election. this is good policy, so people can plan. it also assures that the states that elect senators who happen to be of the minority party will have their views listened to and accommodated where possible as part of that consensus-building process.
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the filibuster, which the american people probably did not widely hear much about before but have heard a lot about, was designed to ensure that each of these things occurs -- bipartisan consensus building, legislation that will stand the test of time, and legislation that will not change with each fleeting majority. that's what the 60-vote requirement known as the filibuster is designed to address. now, what's been so remarkable to me is how senator schumer's views on the filibuster have changed. back in 2005, he said eliminating the filibuster would be the doomsday for democracy. he was in the minority then. he said eliminating the filibuster would be the doomsday for democracy. more recently, when it suited
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his political interests, he argued to protect it and said that we should -- well, this is before he was in the majority. he argued that we ought to build a fire wall around the legislative filibuster. during his days in the senate, president biden, who served a long time in this institution, said this nuclear option -- that's what he called eliminating the 60-vote requirement to close off debate, known as the filibusters nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. it's a fundamental power grab by the majority party. that's what he called what senator schumer is trying to do today. he called it the arrogance of power and he called it a fundamental power grab by the majority party. our friends across the aisle use the filibuster numerous times to
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block majority-proposed legislation when they were in the minority. they filibustered countless bills on everything from pandemic relief to police reform. now when it's politically convenient and expedient, they flip-flopped. they've gone from defending this consensus-building rule to declaring it public enemy number one. i could use a lot of examples, but i'll just use this one from our colleague, senator durbin, the majority whip. just a few years ago senator durbin, a distinguished member of this party and part of the democratic leadership, said that if the filibuster were eliminated, it would be the end of the senate as it was originally devised and created going back to our founding fathers.
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that was just in 2018. last year he said the filibuster is not the guarantor of democracy. it's become the death grip of democracy. i guess we can be forgiven if we get whiplash trying to reconcile those two conflicting positions in a short period of three years. the truth is this isn't about some noble endeavor saving our democracy. this isn't about just policy differences. this is about gaining permanent partisan political advantage by nationalizing our state-run election laws which, by the way, i believe would be unconstitutional. democrats simply think it's in their best interest to eliminate the 60-vote consensus-building rule and to secure an easy path for legislation, and that may
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be true for now. but what we've learned from hard experience is that there are inherent consequences to changing rules in a place where your power or your majority is never guaranteed. elections happen. majorities come and go. presidents change political parties. in less than a year's time republicans could hold the majority in either/or both chambers. in three years a republican could be in the white house as well. just ask yourself this -- would our democratic colleagues still support eliminating the filibuster were that to occur? if republicans were in the majority in the house and senate and there was a republican in the white house, would they support eliminating the filibuster? not on your life. would they believe that the
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minority party should be silenced as they apparently are arguing for now? not on your life. we don't have to speculate on hypotheticals because we've seen this scenario before. less than a decade ago our democratic colleagues went nuclear. that's using the terminology that president biden used when he was in the senate, the nuclear option. the rule change to breaking the rules in order to change the rules. less than a decade ago democrats went nuclear and eliminated a 60-vote threshold for judicial nominees. this was a precedent that they themselves had established. at the time leader mcconnell said, who's been here for awhile, who's seen majorities come and majorities go, he said you will regret this, and you may regret this a lot sooner than you think.
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unsurprisingly he was right. under the previous administration a republican-led senate with a republican in the white house confirmed more than 230 federal judges, all thanks to the democrats' nuclear option rule change. if senator schumer were able to convince senator manchin and senator sinema to blow up the senate and to break the rules along with others -- and that's a big if -- it might clear the way for the legislation they want right now. but when the balance of power shifts, as it surely will, this rule change they are proposing today could make it easier for republicans to pass legislation that our democratic colleagues simply abhor. legislation that protects the right to life, legislation that secures the border and controls
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illegal immigration, legislation that balances the federal budget, protects our second amendment rights or, take your pick, any o -- any other changes democrats would certainly oppose. that would be possible if they were to get their way temporarily. i've heard this argued, well, this is just going to be a carve-out. there's no such thing as a carve-out under the senate's rules and precedence. this would be applied broadly and allow republicans to turn the tables and to pass legislation democrats dislike by a simple majority if they were to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster requirement. the truth is, madam president, is in the senate the shoe is always on the other foot eventually. which is why no party has ever been so short-sighted as to eliminate the legislative filibuster in the history of the united states senate.
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fortunately, the senate's designed to allow for deliberation and debate and cooler heads usually prevail. and i hope the senators who, along with senator manchin and senator sinema, will remain steadfast, and i do believe that there are other senators who are similarly -- of similar views, that it would be short-sighted and foolish to eliminate the filibuster, but simply haven't attracted attention to themselves and let senator manchin and senator sinema take all the slings and arrows. but i hope those who oppose changes in the legislative filibuster will remain steadfast in their opposition to such a dangerous change. a completely partisan overhaul of america's elections is hardly an effective way to improve public confidence in our elections. it's just the opposite. a partisan change in our election laws, by nationalizing
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them, won't lead to improved public trust or more secure elections. it's a recipe for fraud, abuse, and partisan distrust. this rules change in the legislative would fast track, may make some activists in the democratic base happy, but it would instill lasting instability and distrust in our institutions, including our elections. i would simply encourage our democratic colleagues to reconsider their current position based on their past position, and to consider the grave consequences before leading our country down this dangerous path. madam president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. warnock: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: no, we are not. mr. warnock: madam president, i come to the floor today to honor a friend, our late senator from georgia, my predecessor, senator johnny isaac felon. -- johnny isakson. i mourn this great loss with the rest of georgia and people all across our nation. and since his passing, i know i've joined many of you in reflecting on the countless memories and moments that we shared with johnny isakson. without a doubt, senator isakson cared deeply for georgia, and he cared deeply for our country. he was a patriot, a public
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servant, and there are members of my staff, i'm proud to say, who used to work for johnny. and they will tell you that he never hesitated to show up. i often talk in my other job about the ministry of presence. sometimes half a job is to show up. and he knew how to show up for people. whether it was paying a visit to an ill patient, ill parent of a staffer, or seeing a disabled veteran. senator isakson dedicated years of service to our beloved state, to our veterans, our families, and our children. and he always made it a point to join us at the ebenezer baptist church for the annual service and commemoration of martin luther king jr. i always smiled when i
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considered the fact that not only did he show up -- a lot of politicians show up -- he always stayed for the whole service, and i'll tell you, it's no short service. senator isakson was there the whole time, as we recognized and celebrated georgia's greatest son, martin luther king jr. johnny isakson was my friend. in fact, when this country elected its first black president, he recognized a historic significance, although he was in a different party, called me on the phone, he thought i might want to be there. and so i witnessed in person the inauguration of the -- the first inauguration of barack obama as a guest of johnny isakson.
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and then a few years later, when we were at a flash point, a flash point of division in this country and there were some as we were approaching a state of the union address, who were saying we should not have the same kind of partisan scene, where one side stands up, the other one sits down. we ought to try to find the ways in which we're connected. and the folks who work here were all trying to find somebody. you might remember that. johnny isakson reached out to me, and i was his guest sitting in the house, witnessing for the first time in person a state of the union address, and the very first time i stood on the floor of this chamber, i came as johnny isakson's guest, as chaplin of the day, opening the
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senate in prayer. he was my friend, which is why i was not surprised when he called me up, and he said raphael, i'm retiring. i want to say goodbye, and i want to come by your church. and so, on a sunday morning, senator isakson and his wife and other members of his family came by. we enjoyed conversation in my office, and then i shortened my sermon that morning so he could say hello to the people of ebenezer. he left a gift to support our ministry to veterans, because he was so committed to those who give so much for our freedom. johnny isakson always showed up, and he was unafraid to work across ideological differences, political differences in our state and our country, and i'll
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never forget that example of public service. and so this morning, with great appreciations and admiration, for senator johnny isakson, for a friend, i introduced a bipartisan resolution with senator ossoff honoring the life and legacy of senator isakson that is cosponsored now by all of my 99 senate colleagues. it brings us together in death the same way he did in life. meese a -- he's a model of public service, a example to future generations of leaders on how to stand on principle and make progress while also governing with compassion and a heart for compromise. i hope we can all remember the lessons of senator isakson's service, always looking for ways to make friends, to move our state and nation forward.
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and when that doesn't work, looking for how we can make, as he called it, future friends. i bring these lessons and other advice senator isakson gave me to my work for georgia here in the senate, and i'm already looking forward to next year's bipartisan barbecue, which senator isakson started and we carried on this year in his honor. and i look forward to continuing to work with all of my colleagues, all of them, for the love of the people we serve and the spirit of our beloved friend, senator johnny isakson. my my predecessor and friend live forever in our hearts and spirits. he was an upstanding elected official, and an even better man blessed are they which die in the lord's sense of spirit, may they rest from their labors and their deeds do follow him.
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god bless his memory, and bless his family with the peace of god that surpasses human understanding. as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 484, submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senator resolution 484, honoring the life and legacy of the late senator johnny hardy isakson. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. warnock: madam president, i i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection?
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without objection. mr. warnock: thank you very much. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the junior senator from florida. mr. scott: madam president, last month i was proud to see the senate come together in a bipartisan efforts and pass a congressional review act measured to overturn president biden's unconstitutional federal vaccine mandate on private businesses. in that bipartisan vote, a majority of u.s. senators sent a clear message that these job-killing mandates are wrong. they have no place in our country's fight against covid-19. then, just days after christmas, president biden said something very interesting. while he was talking with gofertion about the covid-19 pandemic, he admitted, i quote, look, there is no federal solution. this gets solved at a state level, unquote. this is president biden's message -- states should be leading the effort. now, that doesn't mean there isn't a role for the federal government, but we have seen from the biden administration no
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progress, just worsening cases and the horrible job-killing consequences of his unconstitutional mandates on private businesses. i want to be clear, his unconstitutional mandates are job killers. back in october, the federal reserve reported that vaccine mandates were widely cited by businesses as a reason for low labor supply and hiring and retention oh. it was a fight my republican colleagues and i have worried about for months before their report, and it's directly tied to inflation. when the labor supply is reduced, prices go up. and families, super bowl those on low and fixed income, suffer. wrawnts, grocery stores -- restaurants, grocery stores, restaurants, all have to charge more. i heard about a restaurant owner in florida that had to take certain items off the menu because they simply cost too much and he can't pass the cost on to his customers. he's even seeing the cost of frying oil and boxes more than double. i talked to a operate ofor of --
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operator of a food bank in florida who has seen upwards of 70 families. food prices are through the roof. it's more expensive to get food to her people hurting at the time demand is up. this is the reality for families and small businesses all across america. the vaccine mandates do nothing but make these worse. i can't imagine why just when our country is working to get back on its feet the president of the united states would be pushing policies that kill jobs. but that's exactly what he is doing. now, lockdown-loving dr. fauci and president biden want to double down on insane mandates and are considering forcing every american who wants to into i to show proof of vaccine before boarding an airplane. this is another orwellian response from the biden administration and radical democrats, and it does nothing to protect the american people. providing information about the virus and providing tests, supporting vaccine and therapy developments and getting the economy back on track should be
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the only role of the federal government in this pandemic. congress has to take a stand and protect the american people from these communist china style policies meant to i did vite us. that's why i introduced the prevent unconstitutional vaccine mandates for interstate commerce acts, to prevent the department of transportation and commerce from requiring proof of vaccination for companies trying to do business across state lines. importantly, it would block the federal government from making airline passengers show proof of vaccination before catching a flight, which is exactly what dr. fauci wants to do. the bill also protects truckers, to ensure the biden administration can't rule our supply chains even more. our truckers are the key to fixing biden's supply chain crisis, and we should do everything to protect them. president biden has shown his track record of failed policies and man date for -- mandate for domestic airline passengers would only add to the growing failures and blame shifting.
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we saw it in the failed and deadly withdraw from afghanistan. we saw it in the failure to handle the crisis on the southern border and every day in president biden's inability and unwillingness to fight inflation by stopping reckless spending. we continue to see his failure and complete void of leadership in how this administration is fighting covid-19. now, i'm sure my democrat colleagues will say this legislation isn't needed because at this moment there is not an exact mandate to fly on a plane. they said the same thing last year when we tried to preemptively block vaccine mandates for private businesses. they claim the president has committed not to do that. we know the president broke that promise. the american people deserve better than politicians who continue to mislead them on the federal government's failures to fight covid properly. the back and forth has to end. we must end these ridiculous unconstitutional vaccine mandates and focus on getting our economy back on track. that's why as i mentioned earlier, the senate passed a congressional review act measure
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to invalidate president biden's vaccine mandate on a bipartisan basis. the senate along with the majority of americans don't believe the federal ge. should force people to force people between choose between taking the vaccine or losing their job. that's why i'm again demanding the federal government stop trying to force the american people to follow draconian job-killing mandates that hurt families. this is the second time i've come to the floor to try and pass this bill and protect the rights of american families and businesses. i'd like to thank senator cynthia lummis, ron johnson, mark lee and roger marshall for joining me in introducing this urgently needed legislation. this is a commonsense bill i hope all my colleagues will support. as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on commerce, science, and transportation be discharged from further consideration of senate 2895 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration, i further ask that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection?
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the junior senator from washington. ms. cantwell: reserving the right to object. my colleague is right. he's been to the floor to talk about this issue and i don't think, though, that he has all the facts right. we just had a major transportation hearing in the commerce committee before we left for the holiday recess, and we heard from airline executives, some who had implemented their own vaccines, some who had implemented other mandates and systems on their own. others who basically responded to the federal government's desire to say that passengers would be required to wear masks. all of them said that this was a big success. all of them said that that along with the federal dollars that went into preserving the airlines allowed us and our economy to recover better than other nations had, basically that when the upswing of transportation got to the point
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where people felt it was safe to travel, that those mechanisms themselves, those mechanisms themselves helped us have an airline sector and industry that could respond so that we literally by thanksgiving were up to 85%, 90% of where we had been the previous year. so my colleague i think would like us to predetermine today exactly everything we're going to do on this issue, that we would prohibit the president, the department of transportation and amtrak and the transportation security administration from making these decisions in the future. now, i can just tell you i get up every day and i read the press. i also went to the gym today. the first thing they said is where is my vaccination card or we're not letting you in. so the fact that businesses, the airlines, small businesses are using this as a tool even though d.c. has the highest explosion of covid cases of the nation on
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a percentage right now, i understand in the neighborhood that i live in was a pretty hearty new year's leave but everybody has to show a vaccination card to get into those businesses. those businesses decided they were going to stay open. those consumers decided they were going to participate. not the choice i would have made but they decided to do that and showed their vaccination card. so these businesses, the ones that the federal government is involved in, amtrak and our transportation system, they also might have further issues in the future that they want to look at. so why pass a bill today that restricts them from showing proof of covid vaccine in order to travel? the proposals that were made at the time, we didn't really know two years ago now what was going to happen. but i can say and that's why we had our most recent hearing that we were right, that the transportation sector was going to be critical to helping us fight the pandemic. it was going to be critical for
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us to respond in our economy. it was going to be critical to providing essential services to some areas of the united states. and the things that we did allowed that air service to respond. and those business leaders showed up. in fact, one of them made a little mistake and said oh, you know, i think help pa filters have -- help filters had really good responsens and we don't need those things. he corrected it the next day. oh, by the way, i believe in the mask mandate and still do. and the airline executive that got questioned by some of my colleagues who said why did you implement your own vaccine mandate of your employees? he said because i wanted to have a workforce, and this is the best way i could get this workforce. so this isn't a clearcut issue, but i know right now why should we prohibit amtrak or anybody from a decision that some of these small businesses are making right in this
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neighborhood here in d.c. or probably baltimore or my colleague has just joined us on the senate floor. these people are making these decisions. all we're saying is the federal government instead of passing senator scott's bill should also have that decision in the future in their toolbox if they so choose and why? because the movement of commerce and transportation is so important to our infrastructure, so important to us as a nation to keep it going. i don't want to preclude any of the tools in the toolbox at this moment. so, therefore, mr. president, i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. scott: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. scott: first off, i want to make sure my colleague understands what this bill would do. the bill would prevent federal agencies like the department of transportation and department of commerce from requiring proof of vaccination for companies trying to do business across state lines. so what this bill does is say the federal government is not going to mandate this. if a private business wants to say that you have to have a
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vaccine to come in, that's a decision of the private business gets to make. but government shouldn't be in a position to tell the business they have to require a vaccine. that's not what you do. what this says is it's killing job. it's killing jobs of people who worked their tail off in the prior 12 months. now, i don't know why this is controversial. the ?a on a bipartisan basis just passed and struck down the vaccine mandate. we don't believe what the president is doing. we got families and businesses all across this country that are struggling to keep up with the cost of inflation. and the government should be doing everything they can to reduce inflation and get the economy going. look, i know what it's like to go hungry because groceries cost too much. i watched my mom and my dad struggle for years. when prices rows, my mom took odd jobs. when she struggled, we didn't have as much food on the table. it's the responsibility of the federal government to improve the economy and help families
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get ahead. we know the vaccine mandates, they are absolutely causing prices to rise. when prices rise, people are getting hurt. and they're making interstate commerce much more difficult. so instead of taking action to help families curb inflation, the biden administration is taking every possible step to make it harder for them to put food on the table and afford to live in this country. the president has already said that this must be handled at the state level. i agree. and the federal government can take a step in this direction by ensuring vaccine mandates and passports won't be required for interstate commerce. they shouldn't be required to be on a plane. they shouldn't be required to carry goods across the state line. even nation's health care providers know mandates don't work. they stopped doing it in most cases. last month we saw hospitals across this country delay or suspend their vaccine mandates because they knew it was killing jobs. we know that biden's unconstitutional mandates are going to make it more difficult to retain staff and deliver quality care to their patients. i don't understand why my
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colleague wants to give the government more power, more power, more power. upholding regulations that are causing prices to rise and forcing people to choose between keeping their job and getting a vaccine. we ought to give people the freedom to live their lives, do exactly what my colleague just said. if a business wants to require a vaccine, they should require that. but if they don't, the government shouldn't be doing that. let people -- our government should be giving people good information. let them make the decisions they want to make. i trust american families. i trust american businesses. they're smart enough to make informed decisions about their health. but my colleague's objection is bad for american families, bad for business owners, and i hope she'll reconsider her objection. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, mr. president. tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of one of the
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darkest moments in our nation's history. one year ago tomorrow a mob attacked this building, a mob of americans incited by a sitting united states president who was determined to prevent the peaceful transition of power that is the hallmark of our representative democracy. a mob of americans savagely attacked and overwhelmed the men and women of the united states capitol police and the metropolitan police departments. smashed their way into this sacred space and disrupted the joint session of congress fulfilling its constitutional duty to count the electoral college ballots awarding the presidency to joe biden. january 6 like december 7 and september 11 is a date which will live in infamy. i refer to u.s. capitol as sacred space because it's so much more than a building where the senate and the house of representatives meet and conduct
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business. it is the embodiment of our ideals, our aspirations and hope. not just to americans but also to all of humanity. in the 1960 essay on national purpose for "the new york times" and "life" magazine, archibald malishe wrote, there are those who say that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind is nothing budget a dream. they are right. it is the american dream. insurrectionists desecrated the sacred space and everything it stands for, including liberty, self-government, and the rule of law. the architect of the capitol can measure the damage they did to this building and millions of dollars. the damage they did to our moral standing in the world is inestimable. i want to take the moment top acknowledge and pay tribute to the thousands of people who work
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in congress or cover for the press and continue to suffer from the trauma of january 6. i'm talking about the brave police officers who protected us. they engaged in a battle, one officer described as medieval. 140 of them, including metropolitan police department officers suffered physical injuries. one of them officer brian s sicknick died. i imagine all the officers who defended the capitol bare the scars of the attack. four officers, jeffrey smith, begun friday hashida and carl defreytag committed suicide in the aftermath. i'm also talking about the staff who work here in the capitol, in the senate and house chambers. the door keepers, the parliamentarian's office, the bill clerk, the congressional record staff, the floor and cloakroom staff and so many others. many of them had to shelter in place. they had to barricade themselves
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and offices hoping the police would get to them before the insurrectionists did. i'm talking about the committee on legislative staff and our d.c. offices and back in our state and district offices who watched the attack in horror and disbelief and feared for the safety of their friends and colleagues who answer the phones and hear death threats and obscenities. i'm talking about the food service workers, cution toad yal -- custodial staff and other architect of the capitol and sergeant at arms employees who were caught in the mayhem and then immediately went to work cleaning up the mess, repairing the damage and providing other essential services, all in the midst of a raining pandemic. -- raging pandemic. i'm talking about the reporters who documented the insurrection, a great personal -- at great personal peril after donald trump spent the three previous years alling them enemy ever the people and urging supporters to attack them at his rallies. congress could not function without the community of patriotic and hardworking
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americans. on this community is hurting. on new year's day, "the washington post" ran an article entitled shaken by the january 6 attack, capitol workers quit that once made them proud. quit jobs that once made them proud. what a terrible thing, what a loss to our nation. the danger our nation faced on january 6 has not dissipated. as "the new york times" editorial board stated a few days ago, the republic faces an existential threat from a movement that is openly contemptuous of democracy and shown that it's willing to use violence to achieve its ends. the leader of this moment of course is donald trump. the organizing principles is the big lie that democrats stole the election. the mindset is what historian dorian hoff stet letter -- hoffstetler produces -- striving
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for evidence to prove the unbelievable is the only thing you can believe. the response is nearly nonexistent. voter fraud is to engage in massive voter suppression. the objective is not election reform. it's election repeal. it's important to understand that the insurrection on january 6 was not a spontaneous event. as ed gill goodes gore -- ed gillgore wrote, trump's long campaign to steal the presidency, a time line. the insurrection was a complex year-long plot, not a one-day event ant it isn't over. -- and it isn't over. right-wing personalities and conspiracy followers stoked the movement for their own gain. elected republican officials fearful of donald trump's wrath are eager to curry favor with
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him enabled it. in 1950, republican senator margaret chase smith of maine issued her declaration of conscience in response to another authoritarian bully, fellow republican senator joe mccarthy of wisconsin. senator smith was no fan of the truman administration, but she said, to displace it with a republican regime embracing a philosophy that lacks political integrity and intellectual honesty would prove equally disastrous to the nation. i do not want to see the republican party rise to political victory on the four horsemen of calamity, fear, ignorance, bigotry, and smear. i doubt if the republican party could do so because i do not believe the american people will uphomed any political party that puts political aspiration above national interest. i do not want to see the republican party win that way.
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it might be a fleeting victory for the republican party, it would be a more lasting defeat for the american people. surely it would ultimately be suicide for the republican party and the the two-party system that has protected our american liberties from the dictatorships of a one-party system. mr. president, i urge my republican colleagues to follow the example of margaret chase smith. there is nothing conservative about advocating force over the rule of law. there is nothing conservative about pledging loyalty to a man over upholding the united states constitution. i understand that many americans are disinclined to believe that the president of the united states would blatantly lie to them. but it's exactly what donald trump has been doing since he claimed that millions of people who voted illegally cost him the popular vote majority in 2016 election. in fact, his lies go back even further to his vial birther
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claims -- his vile birther claims about president obama. we have the opportunity and the imperative for a course correction to save our republic, and that is to restore, expand, and protect voting rights. the senate must consider s. 2747, the freedom to vote act, and s. 4, the bipartisan john lewis voting rights advancement act. on multiple occasions, senate democrats voted unanimously just to begin considering these bills to protect people's right to vote, which has come under sustained assault. each time we have tried to proceed to these measures, every republican senator has voted to sustain a filibuster. senate republicans put gridlock and partisanship before the rights of voters. they are blocking the senate from having a chance to consider options and amendments and do what the founding fathers intended us to do -- debate and legislate. within the next few days our
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republican colleagues in the senate will have yet another opportunity, a chance to do the right thing. many senators have worked diligently to come up with compromise legislation that still preserves the essential elements of s. 1, the for the people act, and the house of representatives has already passed. president biden is absolutely correct that we need to enact voting rights legislation to repair the damage the supreme court did to the voting rights act. president biden rightly calls efforts to limit ballot access across the country as the 21st century jim assault. he warned americans that the republican efforts to restrict voting rights as a result of their selfish challenge of the 2020 election results represent the most significant test of our democracy since the civil war. in many states, republican legislatures and governors have responded to the falsehoods of the 2020 election by restricting voting accessibility.
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donald trump's big lie has directly led to disenfranchisement and suppression of the right to vote on millions of americans. i urge my colleagues and my fellow american citizens to reflect on the state of our democracy and rights we hold so dear. a blatant attempt to falsify an election and persistent efforts to deny the american people access to the ballot box has eroded american democracy to a dangerous level and undermined the freedom and liberty that so many americans have fought to defend in advance. after elections are over and we win, we celebrate. if we don't win, i think many of us have been involved in campaigns where our candidates have not been successful. we go to work and try to attract more voters in the next election so we can celebrate a victory. that's what participation in a free society is all about. that's what democracies are about. and repressive, autocratic
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regimes never accept the will of the people, so they look at ways in which they can undermine the voting record, what the voters want and the voters' will. we should all celebrate the record number of people who cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election. more americans cast their votes for the presidential candidate than ever before. after the election, both democrats and republicans conducted numerous reviews of the federal, state, and local levels. those reviews verified the simple fact that there was no widespread corruption or election fraud, that the will of the people prevailed, and joe biden and kamala harris were duly elected. congress and vice president pence counted the electoral votes for president and vice president and did their duty under the constitution on january 6, notwithstanding the armed interrecreation at the capitol. -- insurrection at the capitol. but that did not stop donald trump from promoting the big lie and that in turn has prompted
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republican-led states to make it harder for people to cast their votes. the brennan center has pointed out that we are in had the middle of the worst assault on voting rights since jim crow. so what are these laws doing in? they're making it more difficult for people to register to vote. they're making it for difficult to vote by mail. they're making it more difficult to vote in person. republicans apparently believe that democratic trends will help them in elections. they are attacking people, mostly people of color, that they believe will not vote for them. there's been no indication of fraud in voting by mail but some states have shortened the time for requesting mail-in ballots, making it more difficult for individuals to vote by mail. they're making it for difficult for people to deliver their ballots but limiting the availability of ballot drop boxes all because they think they'll be utilized more by
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people who will not vote for them. they want to make it harder for people to vote in person, too. stricter signature requirements, reducing the number of places to vote, purging voter rolls simply because a person didn't vote. the list goes on and on, all of these making it harder to vote. some of these states are even opening up the possibility that election officials can substitute their judgment for the will of the people. the freedom to vote act provides a basic federal floor on protecting the right to vote. the legislation includes common sense items such as automatic and one-line voter registration, same-day voter registration, voting by mail and drop box standards and uniform standards for voter identification. the freedom to vote act ends political gerrymandering by creating restricting commissions, requires voter-verified paper bottoms and
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reliable audits and ends the dominance of big money in political systems by increasing disclosure and transparency. s. 2747 includes two provisions i authored. first it includes the democracy restoration act which deals with laws in in this that many states -- that many states passed at the end of the civil war that disqualify a person convicted of a felony from voting for the rest of their lives. the capability of these laws fall disproportion -- the impact of these laws fall disproportionately on people of color. we need to removie the disequalfication on voting. i am proud that is also includes my deceptive practices and voter intimidation act.
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intimidating the elector keeps individuals, particularly black americans, and racial minorities from voting. advancement in communications including the rise of social media platforms have made it easier for bad tax breakers to use these strategies. my provisions prohibit individuals from knowingly deceiving voters about the time, place, eligibility, or procedures of participating in federal elections. it criminalizes intentional efforts to hinder, interfere with or prevent another person from voting, registering to vote, or aiding another person to vote or register to vote. the late john lewis of georgia was a dear friend and former colleague. we first won election to the house of representatives on the same day. he recalled an important lesson that he learned from reverend martin luther king jr. when he said, each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak
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up, speak out. when we see something that is not right, you must say something. you must do something. democracy is not a state. it is an act and each generation must do its part. well, mr. president, we need to follow congressman lewis' admonition. we can do our part by passing the bipartisan john lewis voting rights advancement act, s. 4. congress has an historic and bipartisan tradition of coming together across party lines to safeguard and strengthen the right to vote, which is the bedrock of our democracy. congress passed and the states ratified the 15th amendment after the civil war which declares that the rights of citizens of the united states shall not be denied or abridged by united states or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition servitude. the 15th amendment also states that congress, congress has the power to enforce this article by
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appropriate legislation. that's exactly what the senate is trying to do with the john lewis legislation. the bill restores key provisions of the voting rights being a of 1965 that the supreme court severely weakened in the shelby county v. holder decisions. particularly of racial language minorities. between the postwar period and the 1960's. s. 4 would require the federal preclearance for certain changes to voting laws and procedures. it would block changes that restrict the right to vote, particularly changes that disproportionatelydisfranchise minority communities the bill would allow plaintiffs and the justice department to bring lawsuits that deny or abridge the votes rights of minority voters and restore legal tools needed to enforce nationwide permanent federal bans on voter
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suppression efforts targeting minorities. we cannot pass voting rights legislation as long as the senate republicans continue to filibuster, even just to proceed to s. 2747 and s. 4. inaction on voting rights is not an option, as we prepare for our 2022 elections, which must be free and fair so that the american people have faith in our elections and their outcomes, particularly after the insurrection of the u.s. capitol on january 6. we need to change the filibuster rule. as president biden just said before the holidays, if the only thing standing between getting votes rights passes and not getting it passed is the filibuster, i support the exception of voting rights for the filibuster. i agree with president biden. we cannot take action to safeguard voting rights if we don't start right now. states are already drawing their 2022 political boundaries to
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comply with population changes from the 2020 census, and we cannot start our work unless my colleagues allow us to proceed to this floor of the united states senate. i urge my colleagues not to filibuster the right of the united states senate to start the debate on protecting voter integrity where each member will have the opportunity to debate the issue and offer amendments. many senators have offered suggestions about how we can improve these two voting rights bills. collectively we have a chance to come together for the american people, something they elected us to do. we will not reach a consensus if we cannot even proceed to the bills. i will support changing the senate rules, returning the senate to its historic role of debating and voting on critical issues. voting rights legislation needs to be debated in the senate, and voted upon by majority vote in the united states senate.
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our noble experiment, representative democracy, is in grave danger. let us come together and protect the integrity of the senate, respond to the threat we saw on january 6 last year, and take up and pass voting rights legislation. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mrs. warren:i am deeply grateful to the capitol police for their heroic acts on that dark day. the american people will always remember the sacrifices that they made to protect our democracy, but marking this date has another purpose too.
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the january 6 insurrection made painfully clear that american democracy is seriously at risk. ms. warren: in november 2020, american citizens braved a deadly pandemic to cast their ballots, but following that election the defeated president refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. instead he falsely sowed doubt about the legitimacy of the election and inflamed his most dangerous supporters to attack this capitol. his attempts to cling to power through lies and violence were a violation of his oath of office and a grave abuse of power that can never be tolerated in a free and democratic society. we mark this anniversary not only to reflect on that dereliction of duty, but also to call out the ongoing efforts
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to undermine our democracy. threats to our democracy are not new. for years in state after state, republican legislatures have passed laws making it harder to vote all on a purely partisan basis with simple majority votes. they have imposed strict voter i.d. requirements and purged voter rolls to disenfranchise minority voters. they have made it harder to vote by mail and to renal ster to vote. -- and to register to vote. they have gerrymandered districts for partisan political gains. over the past year these shameless efforts have become even more brazen. just as the former president was clear that he wanted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, trump and his allies are entirely transparent about their goal of overturning future elections. today republican opponents of democracy are exploiting every
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possible avenue to allow their party to maintain control, even if that means overturning the will of the american people. rather than putting a stop to these attacks on voting rights, the supreme court has enabled them. the roberts court gutted the core of the voting rights act, which is why republican legislatures right now can pass anti-voter laws with ease. last year they destroyed what was left of the country's landmark voting rights law, making it nearly impossible to block laws with racially discriminatory effects. they twice overturned key protections against dark money in our elections and they gave a green light to partisan gerrymandering. the senate must not turn a blind eye while the federal judiciary and state legislatures lead an all-out assault against free and
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fair elections in america. it's clear that donald trump's republican party is embracing an increasingly authoritarian movement. in 2020 -- in 2006, the voting rights act was reauthorized unanimously in the united states senate, and yet today only one republican supports the voting rights act and none have endorsed the freedom to vote act. the senate filibuster means that mitch mcconnell gets to veto and congress cannot protect the sacred right to vote unless politicians agree while undermining our democracy in state after state. my view on this is simple. we did not swear an oath to protect a procedural rule like the filibuster, which has been the tool of racial segregation
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and jim crow. no. we swore an oath to defend the constitution. when the senate rules stand in the way of voting rights legislation, then those senate rules must change. a year after an insurrection at our nation's capitol, we must do more than speak up about the importance of democracy. now we must act. it is time to end the filibuster, time to protect voting rights, and time to defend our democracy. mr. president, i waive. mr. grassley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa.
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mr. grassley: thank you, mr. president. all the republican members of the senate judiciary committee sent attorney general garland two letters about the justice department's involvement in local school board matters. the first one was in october. then in december we asked why the f.b.i.'s counterterrorism division was getting involved in parents expressing their concerns at school board meetings. now just to be crystal clear, there's no excuse for real threats or acts of violence at school board meetings, but if there is such threats, these should be handled at the local level, and the attorney general should withdraw his memo that started this whole thing off. well, a couple days before
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christmas the justice department responded to us republican members of the judiciary committee with a single-page letter. in that letter, the department of justice had nothing to say about why the f.b.i.'s counter terrorism division was involved in local school board matters. the department of justice just simply said, quote, we're not going to withdraw the memo, end of quote. so the feds may be keeping track of school board meetings, even if it creates a horrible, chilling effect at those meetings, and maybe even discourage people from coming to those meetings. and of course the f.b.i. looking over your shoulder would then have a chilling effect. now, next week the senate judiciary committee will hold a hearing on domestic terrorism,
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and i hope the committee will be focusing on the serious threats facing our country, and i hope no one thinks the focus is going to be on our nation's parents. school boards have to be accountable to the parents and the taxpayers that they serve. some school boards across the country are still shutting down classes, even though vaccines have been available for a long time and dramatically reduce the chances of major illness to teachers. meanwhile millions of kids across the country are struggling to catch up. they're under enormous stress from being separated one kid from their friends in the classroom or in the school building. schools are seeing far more behavioral problems than they ever have before.
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parents then are right to be concerned about these situations in their local schools, and it is their right to ask questions. they should be telling their school board districts that they want to see changes. but will they see changes or will they be afraid to speak up at school board meetings? will the f.b.i.'s counter terrorism division be keeping track of them as parents ask for changes from their school boards? the department of justice owes the american people a better answer than just a single-page letter that says nothing about why the f.b.i.'s counterterrorism division is involved in local school board matters. now more than ever parents
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should be their kids' strongest and the kids' best advocates. they have a god-given right to do so. and of course the justice department ought to be doing everything it can to protect that constitutional right, not scare these parents out of exercising their constitutional rights. attorney general garland then should withdraw his memo and he should take congress' oversight and concerns for parental rights more seriously. then on another matter, mr. president, and the last issue i'm going to speak to, i want to visit one of my colleagues on the continuing rise of violent crime across the country. we've all heard about the
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unprecedented 30% spike in murders that began in the summer of 2020. it continues to this very day. over a dozen cities set new homicide records in the year just past. the rise in violent crimes coincides with the defund the police movement and widespread depolicing. depolicing. cutting police budgets, combined with an anti-police sentiment, fostered by local elected officials has led to violence against our police officers. so we've seen a dramatic increase in on-duty deaths in the last year. so i want to quote the fraternal order of police.
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that organization says 63 officers were murdered and 346 officers were shot. this organization also reported ambush-style attacks on law enforcement officers spiked 115% from 2020. the f.b.i. has reported that unprovoked attacks against officers in which the officers had no official contact with the offender prior to the attack. and i want to quote -- continued to outpace all circumstances of felonious officers' deaths, end of quote. other forms of violent crime are also up as police are forced to retreat from the streets, including carjacking. chicago saw a 1,646 carjackings
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compared to 603 is incidents in 2019. minneapolis police report carjacking shot up 537%. carjackings in new orleans have doubled since 2019. oakland police say carjackings increased by 85%. washington, d.c. reports a 141% increase from last year. in louisville, kentucky, carjackings have increased 185%. and similar reports come out of cities across the country. so, you see, criminals are emboldened by what's going on in our country either through not showing respect for law enforcement or from efforts to cut the budgets of police
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departments. flash mobs, another sort of new lingo that is just new because of the increase in crime, smash mobs have made organized smash-and-grab robberies a way of life in many cities. you've seen this on television. break down the doors, go in with the hammers, steal everything you can, do it within two or three minutes, and get out of there. so in los angeles, san francisco, chicago, new york, boston, houston, atlanta, sacramento, baltimore, las vegas, and seattle, groups of dozens make off with hundreds of thousands in merchandise. i've requested a briefing from the department of justice and the department of homeland security on these organized
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retail crime groups. this rise in violent crime ought to be unacceptable to everybody, and i'm stepping up to find solutions to these issues. this past december, chairman durbin, of the judiciary committee, held a field hearing in chicago concerning gun trafficking and violent crime. i submitted questions for witnesses concerning the crisis level of car jackings, terrible attacks on police, like the murder of chicago police officer ella french, and failed policies in blue cities that allow violent crime to continue. i hope the judiciary committee will hold a full committee hearing here in washington on the spike in violence and the challenges that law enforcement is facing, including ineffective bail policies, cumbersome
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restraint on police officers, and the impact of the progressive prosecutor movement. every minority member of the committee, led by myself as rank ing member, has written to the chairman to why that we do have this hearing. i look forward to working with him on setting that up. so, i hope my colleagues will join me in looking for ways that we can do more to combat violent crime, from car jackings to organized retail crime, to unspeakable rise in murders, and murders of police officers. let's have a hearing where we can learn more about these trends and how we can support police officers. let's look for ways, then, that we can strengthen federal criminal laws and agencies to fight this violent crime. we can't continue down this path
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or it's going to lead to vigilante law enforcement. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: mr. president, i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it.
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the motion is agreed to. mr. schumer: now i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 612. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will record the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of commerce, alan davidson of maryland to be assistant secretary for communications -- mr. schumer: i send the cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of executive calendar number 612, alan davidson of maryland, to be assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information, signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. schumer: i ask consent the
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reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 465. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all in favor say aye. all opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will record the nomination. the clerk: nomination, department of transportation, amitabha bose of new jersey to be administrator of the federal railroad administration. mr. schumer: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to
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bring to a close debate nomination executive calendar number 465, amitabha bose to be administrator of the federal railroad administration. mr. schumer: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the mandatory cloture calls for the motions filed today be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. marshall: thank you, mr. president. it was two years ago this month i stood on the floor of the united states house of representatives and was the first person to speak about a novel coronavirus, soon to be called covid-19. two years ago.
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i had been reading about this virus for several weeks, and something in my gut, as a physician, told me this was not going to be a common cold. i chatted with the c.d.c. and implored them to start doing research on the origins of the virus, asking was it from nature or from a laboratory, and that we needed to work on vaccines, therapeutics, and testing. as we all know, the development of a miracle vaccine, thanks to operation warp speed, was successful. the testing, as we know, the c.d.c. fumbled it, but the private sector saved us, and therapeutics, not so much. therapeutics have never been a priority for this administration. as we return to our nation's capital, i venture to say that very few americans didn't have somebody in their families catch omicron, and my family was no different. we shared the same experience as
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millions of other americans did. despite being vaccinated, one of my loved ones with underlying healthcare conditions caught the omicron virus. as i saw my loved one start having asthma, wheezing, short of breath, i did what every spouse would do and said, well, we need to go get testing. we need to talk to a doctor. so we drove to self-testing sites, and we had the options of standing in line for three or four hours. with sick people. if we didn't have the omicron, certainly we would have by the time we left. we called around, and finally were able to get an appointment the next day for testing. i'm not sure if you've ever seen a person with asthma, but you can see the distress in their face as they wheeze, as they become short of breath, and this is something i've seen all too familiar. i've taken care of thousands of women pregnant women, with asthma, been in the emergency
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room with them, having to admit them to the i.c.u. and i knew that was the road we were headed to. i called around, hoping to find some monoclonal antibodies, a place where we could go and get monoclonal antibodies. then there's the new miracle of antiviral therapeutics out there. i thought maybe we could get those, but none were to be had. watching my wife continue to suffer, i decided, you know, i think we need to do some type of telemedicine. we called a doctor and set up a telemedicine visit, someone that had taken care of thousands of patients with the coronavirus. we did the appointment, and he prescribed ivermectin for her. after the first tablet, it was a miracle. within an hour her labored breathing had settled down. by the next day, her second dose, she was almost completely better, right before my eyes.
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again, i remind everybody, it's been two years since this pandemic started, and we still have limited access to therapeutics. again, as we all know, the biden administration's approach to this is to put all their eggs in one basket. they believed in a one size fits all approach. vaccine mandates, masks, and testing was their prescription to get us through this pandemic. and all of those have had a place, and all of them have had some successes. but when a million people in one day are testing positive, it's not surprising we can't keep up with the testing, and that's why we need therapeutics. in fact, the federal government has allocated over $80 billion for testing. $80 billion for testing, and only $15 billion for therapeutics. this is simply unacceptable. two years into this pandemic, and we've only spent $15 billion on therapeutics. the biden administration should have already established an operation warp speed approach to
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the development, manufacturing, and distribution of therapeutics. and just always seems like this administration has been a day late and a dollar short. for example, in mid 2021 we saw the delta wave coming. we all knew it was coming, and we had real-world evidence in the summer of 2021 to subject that a booster shot would be helpful for seniors and at-risk individuals. it was in june of 2020 that i asked the c.d.c. and f.d.a. to consider letting physicians meet with their patients and prescribe a booster ahead of the delta wave. again, summer of 2020. and unfortunately, the f.d.a. waited until september 22 to approve the booster. between june and september, more than 11,000 seniors died from breakthrough infections, while more than 230,000 people tested positive. no doubt, a booster and/or therapeutics could have made a
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big difference in these seniors' lives. it's easy to talk about the mistakes we've made with this virus. i want to spend a moment talking about solutions, though. we need to unleash our community health centers and our county health departments in this covid-19 fight. they've been the backbone of vaccination and treatment for communicable diseases for decades. once the biden administration agrees to prioritize therapeutics, we need community health centers and county health departments to take over the telemedicine visits with trained nurses and implement treatment protocols across the united states. in kansas alone, we have over 200 community health centers and clinics funded with federal dollars along with over 100 local health departments that are accustomed to dealing with infection disease -- infectious diseases on a daily basis. these folks who implement these protocols based upon triaging individuals and starting early treatment. this will prevent many trips to
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the e.r. as well as hospitalization. early treatment is what works. final lir it goes without saying -- finally, it goes without saying that i trust these nurses to make necessary referrals to the emergency room. they can do this. how do i know it? i've worked with these nurses for 30 years. i help sponsored -- was the medical director for three county health departments for almost 30 years. they do an incredible job. they're well equipped to handle this effort but they need the biden administration to move on therapeutics and move fast. the medicines you could get for less than a hundred dollars can oftentimes prevent hospitalizations and i.c.u. visits. we need to get doctors the options of using therapeutics along with steroid, antiinflammatories and other standard protocols that have been developed by these physicians who have treated literally thousands of covid-19 patients. certainly if we had better access to monoclonal antibodies railroad these knew mire cal
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antiviral agents were available we could use them as well but please, let's empower physicians and health departments and community health centers, these experienced nurses to do their job. time is precious. we cannot afford additional delays. we cannot afford more confusion, more mixed messages and more mixed management -- mismanagement. the biden administration must let patients and decisions decide what's best in their unique health care situation, not somebody sitting on the throne in washington, d.c. would seldom sees patients in the real world. thank you, madam president. i yield back.
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mr. brown: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i thank the presiding officer from minnesota. i start -- want to start by thanking my colleagues, leader schumer and senator klobuchar for their work to honor the capitol police officers who risked their lives to protect their country one year ago tomorrow. in the year since that dark day, we've learned more about all that those officers endured from the terrorists who stormed the capitol, the racist slurs, the physical abuse, the mental injuries. we know things were so much worse than they appeared in the original reporting as more and more details have come out. these terrorists gouged someone's eyes out. they killed a capitol police officer and injured 140 others. they threatened to kill the vice president. they brought a noose to the capitol and paraded symbols of white supremacy. in fact the people that broke
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into the office upstairs from my office in the capitol used -- we have this on film -- used flag poles with confederate flags and trump flags attached to them. they brought equipment to take hostages. it wasn't only capitol police officers who endured this attack and put their lives on the line serving our republic on january 6. workers throughout the capitol risked everything that day. workers who do the radio and television broadcasts and work in the media center, workers who work the floor, workers who clean up, workers who do food service. they often don't get noticed like the capitol support staff. every day capitol janitorial and maintenance and other workers, essential workers, essential workers do their jobs with skill and dedication and dignity. they show up -- they've shown up for work during this pandemic.
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those workers were here on january 6 doing their job when the insurrectionists, when the rioters, call it what you want traders stormed into this building barging into this chamber acting as if no one would ever hold them responsible or accountable for their violence, for their disregard for american values and for u.s. law. when the rampage was over, we know it was the largely black and brown custodial maintenance workers who were left to restore dignity to the capitol. their work continued -- their work, first of all, allowed us to continue to come back and continue our work at 8:00 that night certifying the electoral votes and securing our democracy. as we know, domestic terrorists destroyed black and brown custodians cleaned up, and maintenance workers, carpenters, painters, union members rebuilt. today we honor them. some of the most enduring moving
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images of that day are the pictures of these workers sweeping up the mess that terrorists made in the people's house. that night after we voted, the senator from minnesota was there. we were all there voting in this chamber. after the police had -- and the national guard and the d.c. police, the capitol police, the washington -- others, after they cleared the terrorists out of this building, we came back at 8:00 and voted. i spent the night in the basement in my office. i live a 20-minute walk away. i really didn't want to walk home that night but i walked around about midnight, walked around this building over in the house, the senate. i saw the destruction. i saw the window right upstairs from me, the half moon window that terrorists with their flag poles, with their confederate flags and their trump flags attached broke through that window. when i was back there at midnight that night, already the cleanup from the custodians had started, cleaning up after they had been threatened, after they had been called names as black
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women, as immigrant women, after they had been called names by the terrorists, they were back at work cleaning up. already a carpenter had taken a piece -- cut a half moon piece of ply yood and nailed it to -- plywood and nailed it to that window to keep safe this building and keep the elements out. we honor those people today. some of the most -- it's what service looks like, it's what love of country looks like. it's what the dignity of work looks like. it tells you a lot about what's wrong with our economy. these buildings of essential workers, the people who prepare the food, the people who clean up, the people who provide security, the essential workers like so many of their fellow service workers around this country, they don't make a lot of mommy. they don't get -- of money. they don't get attention. they don't get much reward, they don't have much power. we simply don't value and respect all work the way we should. i think of the words of dr. king. one of my favorite dr. king quotes. if a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep
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streets even as michelangelo or beethoven composed music. he should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say here lived a great street sweeper would did his job well. dr. king said no work is insignificant. all labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance. no job -- he later said no job without -- with adequate compensation is menial. or look at the words of pope francis a few days ago in his christmas eve address or think back a hundred years, 120 years to pope leo, the labor pope when he first introduced at least in my view, first introduced the term -- i assume in latin but the term dignity of work. pope francis on his christmas eve address just a few days ago said god reminds us of the importance of granting dignity to men and women through their labor and also granting dignity to human labor itself.
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no work is -- those are pope francis' words. no work is insignificant. all labor has dignity. we ought to treat it that way starting with honoring these workers. last year i joined my colleagues in a resolution to honor all the workers who risked their lives that day, custodian, maintenance workers, capitol police officers, journalists, the floor staff, the workers in this country. all of them serve our country and risked their safety to preserve our democracy. all of them deserve our gratitude. today, though, for tomorrow actually but i will ask tonight because my colleagues -- because of senator isakson's funeral, many will be there tomorrow. i ask my colleagues to join me and senator klobuchar and schumer and senators casey and booker in a resolution honoring specifically the capitol, janitorial and maintenance staff, all essential work information their bravery and their service to our country on january 6. one of my favorite parts of this job and the presiding officer knows this because we've had
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these conversations and her appreciation for work and for the people who work so hard and get so little, one of the joys of this job is to do what abraham lincoln used to say when a staff wanted him to stay in the white house and win the war and free the slaves and preserve the union. lincoln said no, i've got to go out and get my public opinion bath. one of the joys of this job is to talk to the workers here just about their lives or about what happened january 6. one custodial worker and i were talking. she's been in this country for 30 years. she has been a citizen for 20 years. and worked -- she's worked in this job for 30 years. she's been a citizen for 20 years. and she and a number of others were locked in a room where people were -- where terrorists were pounding on the walls and were screaming racial epithets and were making anti-immigrant -- were screaming anti-immigrant utter, all of that. yet she still works here.
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she was one of the ones that had to clean up after them. as i said, as i said, the terrorists destroyed the black and brown maintenance workers cleaned up, and the trade, the union trades people rebuilt. this resolution that i am going to offer tomorrow, this resolution reaffirms the senate's commitment to strengthening their rights as workers, providing support and resources to ensure their health, well-being, safety and protection from further attacks. their support should include higher pay. it should include collective bargaining rights for all of them. it should include paid sick leave and vacation leave. it should include comprehensive health insurance with mental health resources. don't think that many of these -- you all understand many of these police officers, many of these custodial workers, many of the movers and the p plumbers ad the others who were locked in their rooms or offices or buildings during this, many of them -- i'm not a mental health
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expert at all, but many of them i'm sure suffer from issues of nightmares and other kinds of ants that we need on owe anxieties that we need to help them. i hope my colleagues will join us not as democrats and republicans but as americans. these workers allowed us to do our work for america that night after we essentially were run out of this room and were safe for several hours. they allowed us because of their work to come back here and be safe and do our jobs that we took an oath of office on january 3, 2021, to do. this building wouldn't function without them. no one should have to endure what they did at the hands of domestic terrorists. to the capitol custodians and service workers who come to work in this building each day to ensure our democracy functions, thank you, thank you, thank you. i have this resolution honoring the capitol's essential workers, applauding them for their service. i intended to try and pass this resolution by unanimous consent
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tomorrow but i recognize that many of my colleagues are out of town at the funeral honoring one of the really good men or women, one of the good men that served in this body, senator johnny isakson from georgia. i hope we can take this resolution up and passion this commonsense resolution next week when we return. thank you, madam president. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, madam president. i'm pleased and honored to follow my colleague from ohio and to join in supporting the
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resolution that he is offering to pay homage and to express gratitude to the essential workers in this building, in the capitol complex, in this temple of democracy for all they have done not only on january 6 but in the aftermath of that brutal assault on our democracy. we talk in abstracts now about the institution and the assault on this institution, but the lasting and enduring trauma for those workers that we will recognize in this resolution is tremendously important. it is important to them, but it is important to us as well that we recognize our duty and our obligation to them for the
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dignity of their work and what they did to enable us to come back on that evening, january 6, and do our duty and do it in a bipartisan way, coming together on that day. we were all witnesses to a brutal crime. we were all witnesses to an insurrection and a riot that stands as a dark and terrible milestone, the anniversary tomorrow of probably the most abhorrent attack on our democratic institutions. and all of us who were witnesses can never forget the horror of that day, the sheer physicality of the attack, the blood in the hallways, the sights and sounds of rioters with bats and pipes,
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bearing trump banners and confederate flags and seeking to do physical harm to us, to kill the vice president. that kind of physical, brutal, cruel attack with the hope -- in fact, intent -- of killing and injuring had its effect. in fact, people died. our capitol police bravely defended us with determination and courage, and so did many other heroes of that day, the national guard and the d.c. police. but let us never forget that that mob was called here to this very chamber by the former
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president in a cynical bid to keep himself in power through a coup that was subvert the will of the people on election day. and we were here. we were all standing and then sitting at our desks when we were rushed from this chamber because of the threat of physical assault on us. in the end, their efforts were thwarted. congress certified the election results that night, as planned. we were undeterred, undaunt by the violent and deadly attack on the capitol and our democracy. but that day was not a one-off. it was not an isolated or aberrant incident. in fact, it was a symptom and a symbol of a deeper destructive violence of violent extremism, a
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virus of domestic terrorism that continues to infect our nation. in fact, the most persistent and lethal threat to our national internal security, according to the intelligence committee and the f.b.i., is violent extremism and white supremacy. that attack left scars and wounds that remain unhealed, the lives that were lost, and many of our staff, many of those maintenance workers, many of the cafeteria and janitorial staff struggle with lingering trauma from the violence that they faced on that day. the attack reminded us of how fragile and endangered our democratic institutions are when our leaders, when we as leaders fail to protect them.
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the mob that assaulted our capitol were fueled by the big lie, the baseless falsehood that massive fraud occurred during the 2020 election. that big lie was propagated and supported by the president and his enablers, and they have continued to fuel those delusions. donald trump has incited continually the kind of falsehoods that lead to a sharp rise in threats against lawmakers in the capitol here and a higher comfort level with violence at every level -- in school boards, in statehouses. the big lie has now become a pretense. it has become a pretense for
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some republican leaders and state governments across the country to pass legislation making it harder to vote, meaning that fewer people have fewer times and fewer places to cast their votes. at least 19 states have passed 34 new laws that restrict voting rights based on that big lie, the bogus false claims of fraud. and republicans in a number of states are vesting the power to overturn election results, literally, to deny the results of the vote count rather than respecting the will of the people, whether it is the vote canvas boards or legislative committees or other state officials having the power to strike down and overturn the
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results by refusing to certify them or literally disregarding them. all of this voter suppression is poisonous, it is toxic to our democracy. and we have an obligation on this solemn anniversary of that horrific attack to recommit ourselves to holding accountable those domestic terrorists and violent extremists who stormed the capitol and hunted us lawmakers and others, ransacked the halls that we regard with so much reverence, defaced and debased, not just the building, but the concept of democracy. and we should pursue not only prosecutions against the 700 or 1,000 people who can be held criminally responsible for
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defacing the capitol or illegally entering or other acts of violence but everyone who aided and abetted them. they must be held accountable, no matter what their rank or their office, no matter how high the facts and the law will go. i urge the department of justice to pursue them, to prosecute them, to make sure that they are held accountable. we also need to fortify those institutions, and that's why passing the freedom to vote act and the john lewis voting rights act -- advancement act have to be among our priorities. and change ago the rules -- and changing the rules to make that possible. my colleagues and i will bring to the senate floor for a vote in the coming weeks -- no later than january 17 -- those
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measures and an effort to change the rules to enable their passage. we need to do whatever is necessary to pass those measures, including limiting the filibuster. there is a direct through line from the big lie and the january 6 assault incited by donald trump to violent extremism and domestic terrorism to voter suppression and the overturning of elections, eventually to the destruction of our democracy. during the peaceful transition of power that eventually did take place last january, president biden reminded us that a better world is not something that is given to us; it requires hard work. unity is not inevitable. it is achievable through what we
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do to make it possible. democracy is not a spectator sport. values and norms and institutions of our democracy are fragile, as threatened now as they are precious, and they depend on people fighting for them in times of adversity. and truly now we are in a time of adversity. what haunts me, as i think back on january 6, is how close we came to losing our democracy, how close we came to shattering the traditions and norms -- much as the windows of this building were shattered, and how a few people continue to believe that they could demagogue and enable
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trump to stage that coup. there's no forgetting what some of our colleagues did. there's no denying it. but we have sought to work together because we come here and we are sent here for a common purpose, which is to meet the needs of americans, especially in a time of pandemic and economic hardship. this past year has truly been one of hardship and heartbreak for so many. and as we think back to that day a year ago, we need to redouble our determination to hold dear the democratic values and institutions that mean elected representatives truly represent the people.
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that is what elections do. that is why every vote should count and every vote must count. and that is the purpose of the freedom to vote act and the john lewis voting rights advancement act. we have our part to do. we need to do it. and i hope my colleagues will not only relive and remember but act on it, the common purpose of that day when we came back to count the vote to make sure that we can come together again, not just to honor the people who enabled us to do it but also to honor the people of america who elect us to do it. thank you, and i yield the floor.
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mr. murphy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you, madam president. why january 6? why were thousands of trump supporters here in washington on that specific date, january 6? they were here on january 6 because that was the last possible day that donald trump and his followers could overturn the election in which joe biden had just beaten the sitting president soundly 381 million votes to 74 million votes. the gap in the electoral college was much bigger, 306-332. but trump adds his followers decided that they were not going to just give up power just because their candidate lost an election. and their decision to put power ahead of the rule of law is
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frankly totally understandable. over the course of human existence, thousands of second-place finishers either through election or by the dynamics of power succession have refused to bend to the rules. most recently, russia briefly flirted with democracy until vladimir putin and his cronies rigged the rules to set him up in power permanently. and throughout history, many slighted princes origin or genes have wanted power and have been willing to do anything to get power. it's as old as civilization. and that's why all those people broke into the capitol a year ago tomorrow. they were called to washington by president trump to pressure congress and state legislators and vice president pence to suspend the rules of succession.
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void the election and install donald trump as president, even though he lost. let's not pretend that anything else happened. senator cruz and many other republicans were on january 6 frying to get congress -- trying to get congress to delay to overturn the will of the voters. the rioters came to the capitol to use violence as a last resort to try to pressure congress to adopt the cruz-hawley plan. they stormed the building, and many of them were explicit when they were here that day that they were inside the l building to support president trump to support senator cruz. by the end of the day dozens were killed or badly injured. it was a coordinated attempt to use violence or at least the threat of violence for many to void the 2020 election and install donald trump as an
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unelected leader of the united states of america. history has seen this play a million times before. but i think here in the senate we often get lulled into a little bit of a sense of complacency because the last vestiges of the pre-trump era republican party still exist here in the senate. in the senate, only seven republicans voted for senator cruz and hawley's attempt to void joe biden's victory. and senator mcconnell and some others here said the right things that day and in the days afterwards. behind closed doors many of our veteran republican colleagues often whispered to us how awful and vulgar the trump rioters are and how dearly they support the rule of law. but almost never do those republican colleagues say those things out loud because the new mainstream of the republican party, the trump republican
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party, does not believe that joe biden won the 2020 election. pick your conspiracy theory, but seven out of ten republicans, literally tens of thousands of americans believe that somehow pakistani intelligence operatives or italian satellites or venezuelan communists were involved in secretly switching millions of votes from donald trump to joe biden. but maybe more importantly, what leads these republicans to believe these wild conspiracy theories is a more insidious belief, a belief that if a democrat wins an election, it must be by definition illegitimate. that's why this many republicans believe joe biden didn't win, even though they have zero evidence to back up this claim. they don't need evidence because they just believe that democrats are evil, that democrats are
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illegitimate in governance. and if democrats win, it just cannot be allowed to stand. defeating democrats is for the trump republican party, more important than maintaining democracy. we know this because some of the most popular and revered national republicans are calling openly for the suspension of democracy, if democracy keeps electing democrats. congresswoman marjorie tailor green called foor states with the republican governors to disallow people from voting if they showed an inclination to support democrats. senator rand paul said efforts to convince people to vote if those votes resulted in democrats winning should be illegal. sensible senate republicans, the ones that exis per the sense
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things to us claim that marjorie taylor green is an outlier. but she's exactly the opposite. she is the main streevment -- mainstream. she doesn't believe joe biden won the 2020 election just like seven out of ten republican voters. the fact that she's willing to say the quiet things out loud, it doesn't make her fringe. it makes her royalty. the best attended republican event in my state since the 2020 election was an event headlined by marjorie taylor green. she and rand paul and their ilk are the republican party right now. they are the healthy trunk of the tree. sensible senate republicans who believe joe biden is a legitimate president are the dead limbs bound to fall off soon in a slight wind. the mainstream of today's republican party believes that beating joe biden and other
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democrats is just more important than preserving democracy, so that's why they are methodically working to clean up their mistakes from 2020. they couldn't declare joe biden's win illegitimate because they just weren't ready on january 6. that's what january 6 was about, an attempt to postpone the certification of electors so that they could get ready. in 2022 and 2024, they're going to be ready. at the heart of this plan is an attempt to just make it a whole lot harder for democrats to vote by eliminating voting sites and and -- in democratic neighborhoods or eliminating days to vote, days that typically democrats vote on. but republicans are also preparing a secret weapon, a backup plan if on election plan their plans to suppress democratic turnout don't work
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out. and this backup plan is all about changing who counts the votes. it used to be that even in republican majority states, democrats had a role in counting the votes either through bipartisan panels or through the ability for cities and counties to choose their own election officials which often meant that in democratic counties, you had democrats in charge of counting votes, and in republican counties you had republicans in charge of counting votes. this has been a long-standing foundation of our democracy, making sure that no one party had the monopoly on vote counting. if both parties are engaged in the process, then there's just a lot more incentive for both sides to play it safe and play it straight. but no more. in republican-controlled state after state, the rules are being changed to put republicans and only republicans in charge of counting the votes. and more consequently deciding which votes count. and trump and his followers are making sure that only
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republicans that are 100% loyal to trump will be the chosen few republicans in charge of vote counting. everybody heard that phone call from 2020 in which president trump personally lobbies the georgia secretary of state to disqualify just enough democratic votes in order to shift the state's electors to trump. i just want to find 11,780 votes, trump pleads in that phone call. and during that hour-long call, he makes it exactly clear what he wants. he wants 11,780 or more democratic votes to be disqualified through vague, made-up claims of fraud in order to flip the election. he tells you exactly what he wants on that phone call. votes to be disqualified on zero basis of fraud in order to flip the election to him. the new state laws and the purge of straight shooters like the georgia secretary of state from the party will make sure that in
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2022 or 2024, if an election is close enough to flip to republicans, the obstacles that were in place in 2020 will be gone. now i know that every republican senator, even a few democratic senators, think this scenario that i just outlined is hyperbolic. they think it's a scare tactic. but why would you think that? trump and his allies aren't even trying to hide what they did or what they're doing. trump lost the election. he lost the election by seven million votes, and he didn't care. he did everything in his power, including using violence, to try to stay in power despite the fact that he lost. since then, he has cheerled all these changes in state laws. do any of you really think that he's doing this because he believes in good governance or clean elections? of course not. he's told you in words, in
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deeds over and over what his goal is, and his goal is to achieve power, whether or not he actually wins the election. he's not hiding it. his supporters, leaders of the republican party are now openly calling for states to strip from democrats, and democrats only, the right to vote or the right to campaign for election. this is all happening in front of our eyes, out in the open, right now. and only we, the 100 of us, have the ability to stop this. january 6 was just a preview. it was what happened because trump and his minions hadn't done the necessary planning ahead to steal the election. they panicked and they brought violence upon this building. they may not need a physical
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rebellion in 2022 or 2024 because they will have changed the rules to make sure that republicans loyal to trump are installed in power regardless of whether they win or lose the election. none of us are helpless here in the united states senate. we can pass laws that take away from states the power to disenfranchise any voters or the ability to put only one party in charge of vote counting. a few of my democratic senate colleagues think that they're saving the senate by preserving republicans' right to stop these reforms. they're wrong. if we don't take steps right now to stop trump's plan, there won't be a senate left to protect. that's not hyperbole. if the loser of an election for the united states senate gets seated as a member of this body
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in 2023, then our democracy is effectively dead. it's time we started actually listening to what trump republicans are telling us over and over again, out loud that they are getting ready to do. they have made their choice, and they've chosen power over democracy. i get it. it's always easier to do nothing and hope that the threat will just go away. just shut the door, box your ears, cover your eyes, hope for the best. but we're the united states senate. we're the ones that are put on the watch. we're the ones that are supposed to meet the threat head on and stop it. i yield the floor.
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: first i would ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to legislative session and be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: second i'd ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of s. con. res. 25 which was received today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate concurrent resolution 25, authorizing the use of the rotunda of the capitol for the lying in state of the remains of the honorable
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harry mason reid jr., a senator from the state of nevada. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. murphy: madam president, i'd ask unanimous consent that the concurrent resolution be agreed to, that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: next i would ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. con res. 26 which was received today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate concurrent resolution 26 providing for the use of the catafalque situated in exhibition hall of the capitol visitors center in connection with memorial services to be conducted in the rotunda of the capitol for the honorable harry mason reid jr., a senator from the state of nevada. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will
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proceed to the measure. mr. murphy: madam president, i ask unanimous consent the concurrent resolution be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: madam president, i have two requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. murphy: finally i'd ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 10:30 a.m. thursday, january 6. that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and morning business be closed. that upon the conclusion of morning business, the senate proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the bose nomination. further that at 12:00 noon there be a moment of silence in observance of the events of january 6, 2021. finally that the cloture motions filed during today's session
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ripen at 5:30 p.m. on monday, january 10. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i'd ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order under the provisions of s. res. 484. the presiding officer: under the previous order and pursuant to senate res. 484, the senate stands adjourned until 10:30 a.m. on thursday, january 6, 2022, and does so as a further mark of respect to the late johnny isakson, former senator from georgia.washington"
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continues.om georgia.washington" host: joining us is mark joining us now is mark montgomery senior director of cyber technology innovation and senior adviser for this cyberspace solarium commission. thanks for joining us. a couple of things about your organization what is the foundation defense of democracy particularly when it comes to cyber issue what's your main point of interest? >> reguest: it's a nonpartisan nonprofit think tank in washington that looks at a number of security issues and specifically it has three centers one on

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