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tv   U.S. Senate Pays Tribute to Vice President Joe Biden  CSPAN  December 24, 2016 1:25pm-3:42pm EST

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that exist between members, just because they are people. so we take the human element out of it, and we interpose this rather -- i don't even know how the describe it. but it is counterintuitive, certainly, because your intuition is to make friends and develop relationships. and this process of campaigning interferes dramatically. i think -- there is no turnover in the house or very little. i'm one of the few turnover people. i come from a significant --well, plus four or five republican district. so it is always going to be a tough districts for democrats anyway. so i don't see what anybody gains by these kinds of tactics. >> what has been the toughest part, hardest part, about being a member of congress? rep. ashford: i suppose the hardest part mainly is just the slowness of the process and the not being able to -- i'm used to 16 years in nebraska unicameral, where big issues where dealt with. never perfectly, because
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perfection is the enemy in legislating, but the fact that we could not do an infrastructure bill and immigration bill. we need infrastructure reform. or infrastructure focus. we need tax reform. we need to think about how we're going to look at the world globally. what kind of trade relations we should have. those are huge issues that affect jobs today. and we don't do anything about it. it is unbelievable to me. i mean, we did not shut the government down, so we are conscious that. >> lastly, what is next for congressman ashford? rep. ashford: i would love to come back some day. i love doing this. i love legislating. that's what i do. so someday, maybe the opportunity will arise when i can continue to serve in a legislative capacity. i just love serving my state and my people and my constituents. it is gratifying. i love it. i love the issues. so someday. if not, i have always been
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engaged in public service in omaha, one way or another. so i am sure there is something they need me to do when i get back. >> congressman brad ashford, best of luck and thanks for being with us. rep. ashford: thank you very much. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies, and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. now on c-span, christmas at the white house. whitew you the official house christmas tree arrival, followed by a look at this year's holiday decorations. then, first lady michelle obama speaks to military families from the east room and joins the children for christmas crafts. after that, you look at the first family of the national christmas tree lighting ceremony on the national mall. all of these events took place
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just after thanksgiving. ♪
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mrs. obama: what do you think? >> it's great. michelle obama: it's great. should we accept it? >> yes. mrs. obama: i think we're good. these are our replacement kids. [laughter]
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this is what happens when you get teenagers. one is asleep -- these two are up. [laughter] it's what we got now. good job, guys. christmas begins. the holidays start. we're ready -- our last one. we're excited about it. congratulations to our award winners here. thank you, guys. all right, our work here is done. >> that was easy. mrs. obama: it's easy. the easiest part of the holiday season. all right, you guys. happy holidays. happy thanksgiving. we'll see you around. ♪
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mrs. obama: hi, everybody. look how good you guys look. are you ready for some action? are you sure? i don't know. you sound like you don't want cookies or anything like that. you think you want some cookies? you think so? we will get to it, but first, i want to thank everyone to the white house. i want to start by thanking hazel for that wonderful introduction and for all of her service and hard work in helping to make this home so beautiful. i want to give a huge thank you to all the volunteers, as hazel mentioned, who travel here from 33 states, d.c., and puerto rico, to come here and put up these beautiful decorations and transform this white house into this holiday wonderland. i am so grateful to you all. and as we celebrate my family's last holiday season in the white
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house, i'm thinking back to when we first came here to washington. we promised to open up this house to as many people from as many backgrounds as possible. and we truly wanted to make the white house the people's house. particularly during the holiday season. over the past eight years, through the seasons, we worked hard to achieve that goal by welcoming almost a half million guests to this house during the season. and thanks to our amazing volunteers, we are adorned the white house with about half million ornaments for our guests to enjoy. and way brought smiles to the faces of all those who enjoyed the 200,000 holiday cookies prepared by our outstanding pastry chefs. you all will get to have some are those today. that will make 200,020 or so.
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looking back, i'm proud to say we did our very best during the holidays to make americans of all backgrounds and walks of life feel comfortable and welcomed here in our nation's house. and we do all of this with the help of our extraordinary staff. yes, we have wonderful volunteers. though we have folks who, each year, take a very limited budget and very little resources and they make miracles happen in this house. so for our final holiday preview, i want to take a moment to highlight just a few of the amazing folks who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. i don't know they know if they are -- if they know i am calling them out. felicia dyer, the office -- our social secretary. there you are. [applause]
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thank you. and you are going to see chris, referred and susie morrison, our executive chef and our executive pastry chef. i want to thank them both, as well as the chef and the staff in the kitchen who worked so hard to do everything possible to make these holidays terrific. i want to thank all of our ushers, who never get credit. i know they are around here working away, but they are the people who greet you and make sure that things are moving like they should in this house. our florists, who are tremendous. and i rarely get to thank our electricians, and our carpenters, because they make sure the chandeliers are moved and structures are built so that we can put things on them. and they do this in a matter of days. they turn this house upside down. and to our calligraphers. you will see all of their
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handiwork throughout the ornaments. and i always want to thank our incredible marine band, who you hear from throughout the season. i has been's free rate musical -- favorite musical grew is -- my husband's favorite musical crew is our own marine band. on behalf of the entire obama family, me, barack, malia, sasha, grandma, sunny, bo. we are grateful for everything you have done for us over the years. so let's give them a round of applause. [applause] so before i get choked up, let me officially kick off our final white house holiday season. and as always, today, we are celebrating with our extraordinary military community, and our military families.
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we have our service members. we have veterans here. we have wounded warriors. we have our military spouses. [applause] you go, spouses. and of course, we have our outstanding, handsome, beautiful, smart, talented, engaging military kids. are there any here? [laughter] oh, here they are. let's give them a round of applause. [applause] for the past eight years, celebrating the holidays and having you all be the first that see the decorations, this has been one of our favorite white house traditions. it reminds us that, between all the shopping lists and the travel plans and all those big meals, that we cannot forget what the holidays are really about annual help us. our military families, like all of you remind us what matters. you serve this country in uniform or you hold everything
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together here at home as a military spouse or you prepare to attend another new school as a military kid. and there's that one back there talking about i don't know what. [laughter] but there is a little one back there who has a lot to say. but you all find time to contribute to your communities into this country. you do it all. you volunteer at local food banks. you coach sports teams on weekends. many of you have even cut your thanksgiving holiday short to come here and decorate the white house. just another example. we have hazel up here. but one of our volunteers, jaclyn james from redlands, california -- is jaclyn here so we can really embarrass her? she is probably still working. we will do a reception for our volunteers later. but let me tell you about jaclyn. during her husband's 22 years in the military, her family spent the holidays in five different states and even on a base
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overseas. during that time, they managed to raise seven kids. two weeks ago, they celebrated the birth of their 15th grandchild. but their family service to this country did not end when jaclyn's husband retired. they watched two of their sons do tours in both iraq and afghanistan. and even though jaclyn does not consider herself the most artistic decorator, she volunteered at the white house this year because -- and this is what she said -- she said, if patriotism is an art, she said then i am a master. [laughter] it's that kind of commitment to serving others. that is what the holidays are truly about. and that is what we honor with our holiday decorations every year at the white house. and this year's holiday theme is the gift of the holidays. and as usual, we will be celebrating our country's
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greatest gifts with special decorations celebrating our military families. down in the booksellers, when you walk in, the visitors that come will see a tree and a flag display composed of pictures of military families who my husband and i have met on bases and in communities around the world over the course of our time here. the tree is hung with a gold ornaments honoring america's greatest heroes. the men and women who have given their lives for our country. and right next to those displays is an ipad station that allows guests to send holiday wishes to our service members. and we are hoping that each of the 68,000 guests that are going to visit during the holiday season will take a moment to pause and send a message to express their gratitude. after that, they will move on to see a number of other
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decorations that celebrate the gifts we share as a nation. for example, in the library, we are honoring the gift of a great education, which is important, right? school, college, all of that. and we have trees in the library made out of crayons and pencils. you have to check that out if you have not already. and raise awareness about the millions of young girls who are not able to attend school. we've got two trees that are decorated with special ornaments, each of which has the word "girl" in one of a dozen different languages. so when guests head upstairs to this floor, they will see that, in the green room, it is filled with decorations representing the gifts provided by our white house kitchen garden, with trees hung with ornaments in the shape of bees and fruits. we have air 19 foot tall christmas tree. it's really big.
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they have to take out the chandeliers and rearrange everything just to get the tree in the house. that is in the blue room. in the state dining room, you will spot the official white house gingerbread house. so when you see it, everything on it is something you can eat. and our pastry chefs have worked very hard to make this house possible. it is beautiful. it has a replica of the new white house garden and bo and sonny and lots of cool stuff. the trees in that room, there are 56 lego gingerbread houses, representing every single state and territory in america. and somewhere in the house we have supersized replicas of bo and sonny guarding their presents because we don't let them have their presents. [laughter] i'm just kidding. they get to have them. people who come through these halls over the next few weeks will see about -- how many
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ornaments do you think are in this house? six? [laughter] 10? [laughter] 100? getting closer. 9000? let me tell you. it is 70,000 ornaments. i was pretty shocked at that. so we can't wait. that's a lot of ornaments. but we can't wait to start welcoming people into their white house this holiday season. and to everyone who created these stunning displays, all our volunteers, all the folks who helped make this happen, i want to -- i want to once again say thank you. you did a phenomenal job once again in turning this house into a magical place. those of you who are here today and those around the world, i want to once again honor you for your service and your sacrifice and your love of this nation. it is a love that my family and i share along with you.
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it has been such a complete pleasure to support you in this time. so i want to wish everyone a happy, healthy holiday season. all right? and with that, we get to have some fun, ok? are you guys ready? i'm just talking to the kids here. [laughter] you guys don't get to have fun, but here's what you get. we will take your children from you for a moment. [laughter] [applause] don't applaud too loudly. they are still here. they can hear you. [laughter] and you can enjoy some cider and some cookies. and you guys want to come with me. when get some surprises in the back. and your parents will be here. we will try to bring them back in one piece. i cannot guarantee that they will be neat. there is dye and food color. sorry.
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[laughter] all of it is washable. are you ready to come and join me? thank you all so much. come to the white house. it's really cool. take care. [applause] [indiscernible conversation]
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[indiscernible conversation]
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>> how's it going? did you get everything? [indiscernible conversation]
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>> see later. -- see you later. [applause] ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> hello, good evening. you guys staying warm? all right. welcome to the president's park here in washington, for the 94th annual national christmas tree lighting. what an amazing night we have here across for the most heinous -- famous house in america. family ande about tradition, and tonight, as we get ready to light this magnificent tree and listen to great music, we are not only mindful of our own families, but
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also, the families of the men and women serving in uniform all around the world. your service and sacrifice remains an inspiration to all americans. millions of americans will be celebrating the season with their own holiday traditions, but tonight, we're glad you enjoyed all of us here for a terrific night of music and so much more. speaking of music, let's hear it for the united states air force airman of note. [applause] now, it is my great honor to welcome the first family of the united states. please welcome, president obama, mrs. obama, and saw show. -- sasha. ♪ [applause] ♪
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obama: hello, everybody. happy holidays. to all of you. eva longoria, thank you for the wonderful hosting. kelly clarkson, we love everybody who is here tonight and everybody watching at home. it is now officially the time to light this tree. [applause] president obama: are you ready to count down? we start from five, are you ready? >> yes. president obama: are you sure? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. [applause] president obama: merry christmas, everybody. ♪
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[applause] >> i'm pleased to be joined by the national director of the national park service, jonathan jarvis. director jarvis, happy holidays. director jarvis: happy holidays. this year, the national parks department turned 100. we have lost initiative called find your park, designed to help americans find their nearest national park, one of 413 parks across the country, including big end and what alumina mountains national parks in your home state of texas. >> that is so great. i also understand that a lot of people don't know where the new parks are. how do they find out about that? parksor jarvis: our new tell a much more complete story about america's diversity, including new national monuments in honor of the illusion of civil lights -- civil rights,
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the lgbtq movement, and women's rights. >> that's awesome. big round of applause for director jarvis. ntsmore information, visit .org. collects now by this -- >> now by this, faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love. heavenly father, we thank you for the faith, hope, and love it brings to the country and the world. we thank you for the great gift of this time-honored tradition, the national christmas tree lighting ceremony, and pray that every light is a reminder of that precious light you delivered more than 2000 years ago, in a manger, in bethlehem.
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thank you for that precious light that guides and protects ,ur military men and women whether by land, by sea, were in the air. thank you for the precious light that leaves and guides president obama, the first family, and all government officials. hope thatte a blessed keeps inspiring us to give love that moves mountains, that knows no boundaries, and calls us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. tonight, we celebrate a nation, the blessings of hope, a precious hope that has the audacity to show up and bring joy to the world. an abiding hope that has the beautiful audacity to bring good tidings of great joy. a wonderful hope that has the audacity to beckon the faithful to come joyfully and triumphantly. tonight, we pray for peace on earth and goodwill toward all mankind.
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in this spirit, for unto us a child is born. unto us, a son is given. and his name shall be called counselor, the mighty god, the everlasting father, and the prince of peace. light, andssings of life, and love for you this season and beyond. amen. >> ♪ hallelujah, hallelujah o'night when christ was born night divine
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when christ was born night ♪ >> god bless you. [applause] every weekend, book tv brings you 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors. here is what is coming up this weekend. today at 5:45 eastern, the photographer tells the stories behind his series of photos of abandoned schools, factories, zoos, and beachfront communities across the u.s. in his book
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"abandoned america." at 8:00 eastern, joseph beck talks about his book, a lawyers fight for justice in 1930's alabama. he spoke in nashville. hopkins, the johns professor looks at new farming methods and technology and the impact on consumers, the environment, and workers in her latest work. the professor is interviewed by the former u.s. secretary of agriculture. >> most people in really live on a farm. maybe they go to the county fair. but they do not know what it is to be a farmer, which is not a romance. there is this kind of romantic view of agriculture which i find exasperating because it makes it
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impossible to think about agriculture clearly. a.m., megyn 11:00 kelly talks about her life and career as a journalist in her book. she spoke with the bbc world news presenter. p.m., they discuss their which examines essays on famous figures written by christopher buckley's father. the event was moderated by the executive editor of "the national review." 6:15, the relationship between the u.s. and saudi arabia in her book. .org for the complete we can schedule. >> earlier this month, vice president joe biden presided over the senate in one of the final days before the winter
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recess. at the time, majority leader mitch mcconnell, minority leader harry reid, and several other senators paid tribute to the vice president and his long career in public service. this is just under 2.5 hours. the vice president: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: mr. president, is the senate in a quorum call? the vice president: it is in a quorum call. mr. coons: i ask unanimous consent to engage in a colloquy with the following members -- the vice president: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. coons: forgive me. the vice president: is the senator seeking -- mr. coons: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be vitiated. the vice president: without objection. the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i ask unanimous consent that the following senators be recognized for up to four minutes each. senators who wish to speak in honor of the presiding officer. myself, the majority leader, senator mcconnell, minority leader senator reid, senator
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schumer, senator hatch, senator leahy, senator mccain, senator durbin, senator isakson, senator feinstein, senator collins, senator mikulski, senator kirk. mr. reid: i am asking the senator from delaware if he would amend his request for senator mcconnell. i will use our leader time. that won't count against his hour. the vice president: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the senator from delaware. mr. coons: thank you, mr. president, and it does bring me some joy to call you mr. president. i'm honored to be here today with so many of our colleagues, and i am grateful to majority leader mcconnell and leader reid for their support in pulling together this bipartisan tribute. i'm honored to be joined by my senior senator from delaware, tom carper, who will make the closing remarks this afternoon. before we begin, i'd like to remind my colleagues that there will be a reception for the vice president in the mansfield room after we conclude here, beginning sometime after 4:00. we have many senators who wish to speak, and so we will move quickly through the order.
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and i encourage my colleagues to submit their remarks for the record, those who are not able to speak in the next hour. their remarks will be combined with all the other remarks given on the floor and the resulting speeches printed, bound and presented to the presiding officer. mr. president, in a place known these days for some disagreements, my colleagues, our colleagues, republicans, democrats and independents, are all here today because we agree on one powerful and simple thinr the difference that you've made in your decades in public service. the greatest honor of my life is to serve in the seat that you held for 36 years, and not just literally this seat in the senate but also a seat on the 7:15 amtrak train down from wilmington every morning. you logged over two million miles on amtrak and millions more traveling around the world fighting for our country, and as long as i have the privilege of representing our state in the senate, i'll be humbled by the challenge of living up to your legacy, of fighting for and
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making a real difference for the people of our shared home. like so many americans, i've long been inspired by your loyalty to your family, and i'm so glad to see so many familiar faces in the gallery today. this job requires a strong partner and a teammate, and to dr. bidden, to jill, your unwavering support of your family, for delaware and your country, is something for which we are all deeply grateful. mr. president, as the son of delaware and of katherine and eugenis and joe sr., you've never forgotten from whom you came and for whom you are fighting. even as vice president, our fellow delawareans have the blessing of a surprise visit week in or week out of a surprise visit at columbus day. whether meeting personally with world leaders you've known for decades. whether chairing the judiciary or foreign relations committees or just stopping by claimont diner, there is universal
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agreement about what you have brought to this work, your passion, your heart, your character and your integrity. that's because you generally listen to people. you ask them questions and then you lift them up. we know that when you give us your word as a bidden, you mean -- a biden, you mean it and you will keep it. through challenging times, you always worked across the aisle through eight presidents. you were willing to reach across to anyone willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work for the american people. mr. president, so many families across delaware and this country and i myself, as we've struggled with loss, maybe the loss of a job or loss of hope or the impending loss of a loved one, have experienced the incredible personal comfort and power of a call from you. when it comes to providing advice and inspiration that touches our hearts, it makes a real difference. no one, no one is better than you. we know you will share our challenges. you will give us meaningful comfort and encourage us, and that you will fight for us.
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as we look ahead to next year and beyond, i know you and jill have so much more great, good work to do, starting with the fight to cure cancer through the cancer moonshot. this next chapter will be every bit as exciting and meaningful as the life of service you've led for 44 years. what an honor to see you in the chair earlier this week as the majority leader led the senate in a unanimous vote to rename a title of the 21st century cures cancer initiative after beau. that bill which we passed finally just an hour ago would not have happened without your leadership. now, mr. president, let me close with a line that you know all too well, a line you shared with me and many others countless times, sometimes from this very dedesk. as the irish poet shamus haney once wrote, history says don't hope on this side of the grave, but then once in a lifetime, the longed-for tidal wave of justice can rise up and hope and history
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rhyme. no one, sir, no one has done more to make hope and history rhyme than you. thank you, mr. president. for your service, your counsel, your advice, your friendship and your leadership. it's now my pleasure to yield to the majority leader, senator mcconnell, of kentucky, who has been so generous with the floor time and support this afternoon. the vice president: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: it's great to see the presiding officer back in the senate. good news for everyone when he is in the chair. good news for him, because as senator coons pointed out, the rest of us have to call him mr. president. good news for the rest of us because he has to let everyone else talk. the amazing thing is the man we honor today wasn't always a talker. he suffered from a debilitating stutter for most of his
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childhood. he was teased for it. but he was determined to overcome it. and so he did. with hard work, with determination, with the support of his family, it's classic joe biden, he's never stopped talking since. he cites overcoming that stutter as one of the most important lessons in his life. it led him down a path few might have foreseen -- winning election to the county council, securing an improbable victory for the u.s. senate, becoming our nation's 47th vice president. now, the presiding officer would be the first to tell you that he has been blessed in many ways. he's also been tested, knocked down, pushed to the edge of what
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anyone could be expected to bear, but from the grip of unknowable despair came a new man, a better man, stronger and more compassionate. grateful for every moment, appreciative of what really matters. here in the senate, he heeded the advice of mike mansfield. here is what senator mansfield had to say. your job here is to find the good things in your colleagues, and joe, never attack another man's motive because you don't know his motive. look for the good. don't attack motives. it's the basis of a simple philosophy and a very powerful one. vice president biden says his
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views -- he views his competitors as competitors, not enemies, and he has been able to cultivate many unlikely friendships across the aisle. with jesse helms, with strom thurmond, with me. over the years, we've worked together on issues of mutual interest like burma and regarding the vote we just took a few moments ago, 21st century cures and the cancer moonshot. we have also negotiated in good faith when the country needed bipartisan leadership. we got results that would not have been possible without a negotiating partner like joe biden. obviously, i don't always agree with him, but i do trust him implicitly. he doesn't break his word. he doesn't waste time telling me why i'm wrong. he gets down to brass tacks, and
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he keeps in sight the stakes. there's a reason get joe on the phone is shorthand for time to get serious in my office. the vice president is a likable guy, too. he's got a well-developed sense of humor. he doesn't take himself too seriously either. when "the onion" ran a mock photo of him in a transam in the white house driveway shirtless, america embraced it, and so did he. i think it's hilarious, he said, but by the way, i have a 1967 corvette, not a transam. so you see what i mean. joe biden may exist in the popular imagination aboard an amtrak, but this son of a used car salesman will always be a muscle guy at heart.
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and what a road he has traveled. from new castle to the naval observatory, from scranton to the senate. his journey in this body began by the side of those who loved him. hand on the bible, heart in a knot, swearing the same oath he now administers to others. it's a journey that ends now by the side of those who care about him still, those like his wife jill who understand the full life he's lived. here's a man who's known great joy, who has been read his last rites and who has never lost himself along the way.
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champ, his father used to say, the measure of a man is not how often he is knocked down but how quickly he gets up. that's joe biden right there. unbowed, unbroken and unable to stop talking. it's my privilege to convey the senate's warm wishes to the vice president on this delaware day as the next steps of his long journey come into view. there are many here who feel this way in both parties. i'm reminded of something the presiding officer said when he addressed the university of louisville several years ago. it was one of the mcconnell center's most popular lectures ever. and as i sat beside him, he offered his theory as to why that might be. i think you're all here today -- remember, these are young people, students.
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i think you're all here today because you want to see whether or not a republican and a democrat really like each other. well, he continued, flashing a smile, i'm here to tell you we do. it was true then and it's true today. so i hope the presiding officer won't mind if i conclude with some words directed to the chair. mr. president, you have been a real friend. you have been a trusted partner. and it's been an honor to serve with you. we're all going to miss you. godspeed. the vice president: the minority leader. mr. reid: to everyone listening, joe biden's life has been the material of which movies are made. joe was born in scranton, pennsylvania, to joe and jean
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biden. he was the first of four children. as a young man, as you have heard today, and i have heard once in a while, not very often, senator biden talks about his stammering. he didn't get any professional help, no therapy. he did it on his own. long hours of reading, mostly poetry. he would stand in front of a mirror, recite the poetry time after time after time, watching himself, make sure he didn't contort his face when he stammered or stuttered. this wasn't easy for a young man. people made fun of him. but he knew he could do it on his own. he felt that, and he did it. he worked hard. he developed a rhythm and a cadence of speed that helped him
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overcome his stutter that helped him become one of the united states senate's all-time great senators, without any qualifications. joe was an outstanding high school running back, wide receiver. his coach said he never had seen anyone with such hands. his coach saw in joe what we all see -- a hard worker who refuses to fail. his coach said, and i quote -- "joe was a skinny kid, but the best pass receiver i had seen in my 16 years as a coach." close quote. in college, joe continued to display his at lettic prowess prowess, -- athletic prowess, playing football for the university of delaware. during his spring break in his junior year, it's quite a story. joe and i were traveling from indianapolis to reno, nevada, and he talked to me about this. just the two of us. i'll never fo
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-- i'll never forget that conversation. he and one of his college buddies had gotten a tax return. they were taking a little vacation away from the cold delaware. they went to florida. they frankly didn't like it. they had a few dollars left over from their tax returns, and they went, i believe it was to the bahamas, and they got kind of an inexpensive hotel. i was going to say cheap but let's say inexpensive hotel. right next to them was an exclusive hotel. and they noticed when the people came out of the fancy hotel off that private beach, many times they would lay their towel on the fence. so joe and his pal said, well, those towels aren't even wet. so they went down to that private beach and it was there that he met a young woman by the name of neelia, neelia hunter.
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i'm sure just like jill, she must have been a knockout to look at. she went to the university of syracuse. she was on the dean's list. she had been homecoming queen. that was the beginning of a relationship that they had. joe had been smitten. after graduating from the university of delaware, he moved to be closer to her. the story of their relationship is stunning. i repeat, it was something that miew sister are made of. without being too personal, but i'll say it the way it is, but it is a wonderful story because i can identify with it so well because of landra and me, there
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came a time when her father came to her and said he's not that much. he comes from a family that is not like ours, and she said, dad, stop because if you make me choose between you and joe, i'm going to choose joe. that was that relationship. as i repeat, landra and i understand that story quite well they were married a short time later. they had three children: beau, hunter and naomi. after starting his law practice and starting as city councilman in new castle, delaware, joe stunned and embarrassed a few of his friends and relatives by saying he was going to run for the senate. you're going to run for the senate against a two-term
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incumbent? i think i can do it. i'm sure he said to himself, a lot of people said i couldn't overcome certain things, and i did. and i'm going to do my best to overcome this race i'm in -- i'm sorry -- way behind. joe and his family went at this as hard as they could. canvassed the entire state and pulled off an incredible upset. joe biden was elected to the united states senate. in every respect joe's life has been unique. it's been special. his election to the senate was no different. the great constitution that leads this nation stipulates a person must be 30 years old to be elected to the senate. joe was 29 on election day. he turned 30 two weeks after the election. just a few weeks later -- a few
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weeks later -- tragedy struck and struck really hard. neilia and their three children were injured in a terrible accident just days before christmas. he had not been sworn as a senator yet. his wife was killed, baby girl was killed and beau and hunter were grievously injured, hospitalized of course. to say joe was grief-stricken is an understatement. how can you describe how he felt i'm sure, as i've heard, he didn't know what to do. he had two boys to raise. he wasn't a man of great means.
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he strongly considered, i shouldn't be sworn in to the senate. i can't do this. but he had friends, people who didn't know him who were senators, who treated him as fathers. and with the help of valerie, his sister, joe biden's life may have been completely different, because with the support he got from her, the encouragement he got from democratic and republican senators, and the fact she moved in and took care of beau and hunter to replace their mom, she was there for four years helping with those boys. joe is a remarkable man. when i was in the house of representatives, he agreed to come to the house in nevada for me. this is a big deal that this
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senior senator could come to nevada. he came. every place he traveled, he had one of his boys with him. with his sister's support and other members of his family, joe embarked upon a long, storied 36-year career that was productive and unsurpassed in the history of the senate. but that's not the end of joe's difficulties. joe was, as you can see now, a very, very well-conditioned man. he always has been. but as a senator here, he suffered a massive bleed in the brain, and he was hospitalized for a long time. he didn't come to the senate for a long time. when i got hurt, one of the first people to call me was joe. he said, look, the fact that
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you're going to be missing a little time in the senate doesn't mean you can't be a good senator. and that was the example that joe biden set. he recovered and became chairman of the senate judiciary committee, foreign relations chair, author of many pieces of legislation. violence against women and too numerous to mention. he also met a woman who has been by his side for 40 years. a love story unsurpassed. jill biden, an incredible, incredible love story. joe says it was love at first sight. his boys, it was the same with them. joe remembers the day that beau and hunter came to him with the recommendation. daddy, we're talking. we think we should marry jill.
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not he should marry jill. we should marry jill. direct quote. joe and jill were married. and before long beau and hunter had a new sister -- ashley -- and a new mom. there's not a family that i know of that's any closer, more tight knit than the bidens. joe biden loves his family above all else. he's a good senator, terrific vice president, but he's a family man. for the last eight years as vice president, he's traveled the world. dignitaries, trouble spots on behalf of this country. ofttimes at the direction of president obama. and he has done it with dignity. more than a million miles.
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but as we've heard from the junior senator from delaware, that pales in comparison to the miles he's traveled on amtrak. more than two million miles on amtrak. he took every night home to delaware. every night he took the train home to delaware. if we worked here late he would go to a little hotel down here. he would have gone more than two million miles if it had been necessary to take care of his boys and to be with jill. vice president biden's service has been historic. he's been the president's rock, his confidante and his friend. i've been told that not by joe biden but by the president. joe has had a stellar career as vice president of our great country. he's used his skills, his
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experience to help shape american diplomacy. vice president biden is helping lead the quest for a cure for cancer. his moonshot initiative is the most ambitious plan ever to accelerate cancer research. and i say through the chair to my friend, lamar alexander, this would not have happened but for the good man from tennessee. and we know that joe and jill know firsthand the pain and heartache caused by cancer and the toll it takes on families. tragically just last year beau, somebody i knew well -- iraq veteran. didn't have to go to iraq. he did. attorney general of the state of delaware. he was diagnosed with terminal cancer which took his life.
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beau was a light to everyone who knew him, but especially his family. beau's passing broke joe, hunter and jill's heart and of course their sister. but with all the other challenges and setbacks, joe biden continues his life's work. he's still the same kid that his coach praised, his number-one asset, he works hard. he does the best he can. joe biden continues to serve his country. he'll continue after january 20. he continues to do what is right. above all, he continues to love and care for his family. i've been gratified to call senator biden a man of the senate. senator biden, vice president biden, joe, he's an honest man. so steven spielberg,
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hollywood, you should be listening. joe biden's life is the stuff of which movies are made. i yield the floor. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: well, it is such a pleasure and honor to rise to recognize a great son of scranton, sitting next to me another son of scranton. the grandson of ireland. sitting in this chamber are many grandchildren of ireland. and a syracuse university graduate. how many others in the room can say that? but more importantly than any of those, one of the most dedicated public servants, one of the most successful public servants i've ever had the pleasure to serve with during my time in washington. everyone knows joe's proud of his ancestry. his ancestors came from ireland, as many millions have. he's deeply proud of being an irish american. like so many others from the
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emerald isle, our vice president inherited the gift of gab. and thank god for that, because he's used his booming voice to speak out on so many issues. we only have a little time today. i know my colleagues are eager to speak. so i'll just focus on a couple of the, one of the issues that senator biden then led the charge on and changed america. i worked with him on the assault weapons ban and the brady law when he was a senator and i was congressman and we were each head of the crime committees. but maybe the thing he was proudest of was the violence against women act. it sounds like a different world, but a few years ago, a few decades ago rape and domestic violence and abuse were considered in many ways lesser crimes, crimes in which the victim was as much at fault as the perpetrator. it was disgraceful. if you were beaten, abused, sexually assaulted, you faced a
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hostile, skeptical criminal justice system. that got at joe biden and his sense of justice. and so he exploded the myths behind domestic violence. i remember hearing the speeches against sexual abuse and put together the strongest ever violence against women law on the books. not only did the laws make women safer, it made men better, it moved our society forward. our work on these issues is not nearly over, but there are, i am certain, literally millions of women who have avoided pain and suffering both physical and mental because of the courage, the steadfastness and the brilliance, the legislative brilliance of the then-senior senator from the great state of delaware. now, i could go on and on.
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you could almost write a book on accomplishments like that where joe really, almost single handedly changed the world. but it was also just a great friend and leader to so many of us. i'll conclude with one little story. i was elected to the house, to the senate after 18 years in the house. an issue i wanted to get going on was college affordability. long -- i had run for the senate on the promise of making college tuition tax deductible. so i get to the senate and introduce my bill and make my speech. get ready to lead the way on what i thought was my issue. we've all experienced this. and a call comes if my office from joe's chief of staff. of course i spoke to him. mr. biden has been working on this issue for ten years. go work on something else. that was the nice version.
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of course me and my brand new office were in a panic. i was -- i didn't know what to do and sitting on the floor feeling really forelorned. why did i come here. i'm senior member of the house and i feel an arm on my shoulder and i look up. there is the revered and exalted senator joe biden. he says to me, i understand you have your college tuition tax deduction bill. go ahead. take the issue. i know what it's like for new senators to carve their own path. how many times can any freshman say any senior senator have said they can say that to them. they can't. because he's unique. not only is he a towering figure and a superb man, but he has a good heart and he looks out for
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the members of this body. always has, does to this day, and always will because i know in joe's heart with all his accomplishments, he's still a senator, our senator. so, mr. president, i say to mr mr. vice president, thank you. thank you for your heart and passion. thank you no bringing every ounce of yourself to public service, and thank you for that lesson of humility and leadership you taught me when i first came to this chamber. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the vice president: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, it's an honor for me to rise and talk about our friendship and what you've meant to this country. i lies today to pay tribute to a dedicated public servant, the distinguished leader and a dear friend, vice president joe biden. for more than three decades i had the distinct privilege of serving alongside joe in the united states senate.
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as anyone who worked closely with joe can tell you, he was no where near a senator. he had boundless energy and undeniable charm. he paired a work ethic with a disarming smile that dared you not to smile back. joe's innate ability to befriend anyone and i mean anyone including his fiercest political opponents was critical to his success as a legislate tur. his genuine si sincerity indeerd him to his tran seconded partisan boundaries. even in the most polarizing debates, joe never let politics stand in the way of friendship. one minute joe could be scolding you from the senate floor. the next minute he could be hiding you in the hallway, cracking jobs and asking about your grandkids. i of course am speaking from plenty of personal experience. it's no secret that joe and i often found ourselves on opposite sides of almost every major issue. that's not quite true. we agreed on a lot of things.
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but in legislative battles, joe proved himself to be a worthy political opponent and an able sparring partner. whether on the senate floor or in the judiciary committee hearing room, joe and i locked horns on a number of occasions and sometimes on a daily basis. indeed we were at odds about as often as we were on c-span. but at the end of the day i couldn't help but admire the man. you see, mr. president, joe biden was beloved by everyone in this chamber, even those he drove crazy from time to time. and i count myself among that group. through his ability to forge friendship, even amid conflict, he embodies the ethos of a noble generation of legislators, a generation that embraced the virtues of comity. i believe this body, indeed this
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nation could learn from joe's example of kindness, courtesy, and compassion. for 17 years then senator biden served as chairman and ranking member of the judiciary committee overseeing some of the most significant court appointments of our time. mr. president, chairing the senate judiciary committee is no easy task. i know because i've been there. the committee boasts some of the biggest egos on this side of the potomac or this side of the milky way for that matter. it takes a certain kind of political genius to navigate the assertive personalities and lofty ambitions of its members, but joe was more than up to the task. as both chairman and ranking member, he was tough and tenacious but also decent and fair. and through his trademark work ethic, he won the respect of every member of that committee. joe also served admirably as the chairman and ranking member of the foreign relations committee. in this capacity he played an
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indispensable role in shaping american foreign policy. when president obama tapped joe to be his vice president, the senate lost a seasoned statesman but our nation gained a wise and capable leader with unparalleled experience in public affairs. joe was the administration's bridge to congress often serving as an intermediary between the president and legislators. on more than one occasion his close relationships with lawmakers and his deft negotiating skills helped our nation overcome some of its greatest obstacles. he was the president's trusted emissary and an invaluable asset in helping congress resolve the fiscal cliff dilemma in late 2012, something i wasn't sure we could resolve. he was also a brilliant ambassador for our country leveraging his foreign policy expertise in meetings with leaders across the world. mr. president, i am 2k50e7ly grate -- deeply grateful for my
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friend joe biden. i've long admired his devotion to his family as well as his grace amid suffering and he did suffer and i know it. i was here. having experienced tremendous loss in his family life, he draws from a rich reservoir of empathy to connect with every day americans. ask anyone. vice president biden has served. when you speak, joe listens, he loves and he cares. he is perhaps the only -- let me put it this way. he's perhaps the most personal public figure in american politics today. mr. president, in the nearly eight years he has served as vice president, joe biden has become a fixture of american public life. today i wish to join my colleagues in thanking vice president joe biden for his dedication to the american people. and although his tenure as vice president is drawing to a close, i am confident that his service
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to our nation will only contin continue. this is said by a republican who loves joe biden, who believes that he's one of the truly great people who served here in this body. i just want joe biden to know that we all respect him. and i think most all of us love him and most of us really appreciated him from time to time. when he put politics aside, put his arm around us and spoken the truth. joe biden is a wonderful man and i wish him the absolute best as we go into the future, and i'll be there to help if he needs it. god bless joe biden. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the vice president: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i enjoy calling you by that title.
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i hope you do, too. because you know that you could easily hold that title as president of this body or president of the united states, you've shown your qualification for either one. but let me speak in your role as president of the senate. it makes you a member of this body, a body that can be and on some occasions has been the conscience of the nation. you have served longer in this body than any other member here. i look at 9 fact you serve -- at the fact you served here two years longer than i have and so as the other longest serving
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member, i look at you as my senior senator, and i'm delighted -- i'm delighted to be your junior. i think back to some of the things we did together, mr. president. i remember when i was running for the senate in vermont in 1974 and people told me i was far too young to get elected to the senate at 34 years old. my predecessor was somebody who had been elected here when i was born and served there till i arrived. you put your arm around me and you said, you know, it would be nice to have an older person that i could look up to. i believe you were 32 and i was 34. but that helped of course but little did i know till i came
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here how closely we had worked together. we served on the judiciary committee throughout that time. we worked on such duties as the supreme court nominations, civil rights, criminal justice system, and then when you were chairman of the foreign relations committee and bringing to the rest of the world american values which happen to be joe biden values, how much i enjoyed traveling with you. i think of the time, mr. president, when you and i and our wives jill and marcel traveled together. we'd been good friends throughout all that time. i'll take the liberty of telling one story. when the four of us were in paris, we'd gone out to dinner.
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it was a cold, winter night. we're coming back. i think marcel mentioned that the eiffel tower lights up on the hour. and you and jill stood on a bench and were hugging each other. the eiffel tower behind you. i snapped a picture. now, we had a close friendship. we never lied to each other, but that was one time i lied to you because you asked me where is the picture. i said, i think i've lost it. i apologize. we were conspiring to print out that picture, and i know your wonderful wife gave it to you for a wedding anniversary present with words to the effect that you light up her life. well, you lit up many, many lives. i think of our irish bond of friendship, stories i can't tell. some of those closed door
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sessions with chris dodd and ted kennedy, when we would have some holy water together. somehow it came from ireland. it was usually at least 12 years old. and we would tell irish stories. and after 42 years, i know the rules well enough, i can't repeat any of those stories here. but they were good ones because it was a friendship and we worked together. we learned we bring in others from both parties. and, mr. president, i remember you and the others showing all of us how you found common ground, and we did things together. and i respect you so much for that. i must admit i learned something else on the judiciary committee. i learned the amtrak schedule
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because if we had a meeting that was going on a little bit long, we were reminded what time the train was going to delaware. i know you kept in good shape because you could run in three minutes to the station and get on the train where you'd go home to beau and hunter and later jill and ashley. because even though you were a leader in the united states senate and later as vice president, you were first and foremost father and a husband. you and i and marcel talked about that this summer when you came to vermont for the cancer moonshot. and i told you what an important
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part of our lives you've been and hope we of yours. you've gone through tragedy and glory, but you've remained yourself throughout all of it. and the memories of those evenings when you let this irish-italian boy come in and set as a member of the irish and we speak of our values, we speak of america, we speak of friendship. and that's why i admire you, mr. president, and i'm glad to be here on the floor with you. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona -- the vice president: the
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senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i join my colleagues in express ago few thoughts to the occupant of the chair to commend his long and honorable service to the united states and to thank him for his friendship. i know how much you enjoy me calling you "mr. president," you and i have served in this body for three decades. we've been friends for almost 40 years, since i was a navy senate liaison and used to carry your bags on overseas trips. i joked recently that i've resented it ever since. [laughter] but that was part of my job description, escorting and handling logistics or senate co-dells, including making certain everyone's luggage arrived at our destinations. back then, some senators -- unlike the 100 egalitarians who occupy the senate today -- could be a little haughty and high-handed.
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some exceeded the esteemed that their colleagues and constituents held them in. if they paid a tenths to staff, it was only because we had annoyed them somehow. but not my friend joe biden. he was fair and courteous to everyone, even people who didn't always deserve it. he was always an example of how a powerful person with character and class treats anyone in a subordinate position. he treats them with humility, as god's children, with dignity equal to his own. in the book "the nighin nighinge song," one military officer escorting a codel to athens. he joined some of the members in a tavern for a little after-hours merriment and was later observed dance on a table sm top with senator biden's lovely wife jill. i don't recall witnessing such
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an event myself and i can't testify to it having actually happened near the can i imagine the temerity of that rascal, whoever he was. he was lucky the senator whose spouse he made endure the awkward moves he euphemistically called dancing was joe biden. few other senators would have seen the humor in it. many years have passed and many veafntses have trans-spierksd personald and public, that enriched our lives with the rewards and disappointments, blessings, and challenges. we were still young then when we came to the senate. we're old men now. and although you can't tell from looking at you the vice president is actually a little younger than me, though we both passed the biblical free scoring tent. this place -- this place, the united states senate, has been central to both our lives.
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here we work together on our quun's challenges. here we fought, argued over the country's direction. here we compromised and joined forces to serve the public interest. here we watched history made and made our small contributions to it. near the of us is the shy and retiring type. we both have been known to hold a strong opinion or two, and when circumstances warrant, we would rather make our points emphatically than eliptyically. i know that -- eliptically. i know that joe appreciates the adage that i tried to follow in my public life: a fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed. when we've had differences over the years, we've managed to make our positions crystal clear to each other, perhaps in the persistent triumph of hope over experience, we both still cling to the expectation that we can
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persuade the other that he is mistaken. i think deep down we probably know better. in addition to being regularly mistaken, here's what i've also known about my friend and occasional sparring partner: he is a good and decent man, god-fearing and kind, a devoted father and husband, and a genuine patriot who puts kowrn before himself. i know, too, that it has been a great privilege to call him my friend. mr. president, if i haven't made clear to you over these many years how much i aappreciated your friendship and have admired you, i beg your forgiveness. we both have been privileged to know members of this body who were legends in their own time and are remembered as important, historical figures. but i haven't known one who was a better man than you.
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you are an exemplary public servant, a credit to your family, the senate, and to the country. on behalf of the country and the senate, thank you for your lifetime service to america. thank you for your example of how to represent your constituents with honor and humility and how to remain the same good guy that you were when you first got here. and thank you, most of all, for your friendship. my life and the lives of many have been enriched by it. thank you, mr. president. mr. durbin: mr. president? the vice president: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, there's a story about an irishman walking down the street. he passes two guys who were fighting and he asks them, is this a private fight or can
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anybody get moo it? -- get into it? well, you know a little bit about that, don't you, mr. vice president? in 40 years or more, you've always been ready to fight thor those who need -- fight for those who need add champion. never walked away from a good fight for a good cause. your career has been marked by so many amazing victories but also by unbearable losses and sorrows. you've had immense accomplishment. the list of your achievements has been recounted on the floor today. one of them i'm sure you are most proud of is the violence against women act. you made a big difference in the lives of so many people you'll never meet. and protecting them and giving them hope in a hopeless circumstance. between 1993 when your bill passed and 2010, the rate of violence against intimate partners, almost all women, declined by 67% in the united
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states. we often wonder when bills we take to law are passed and signed by the president whether they can makes make a difference. we know that your unsparing effort when it came to violence against women made a significant difference. i had that in mind nine years ago when i was writing -- riding around florida in a recreational vehicle. it was with my fellow senator from illinois by the name of barack obama. he was running for president and we were in the back of this r.v. as he was cruising through florida and we were talking about potential running mates, someone who could be his vice president. we went through a short list, and we came to your name, and i said to the president -- soon-to-be president, then senator, my colleague, he couldn't pick a better person than joe biden. i know his heart and you'd be blessed to have him on your
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team. he made that choice and even though at the beginning i'm sure both of you wondered, is this going to work? -- it did. it did for your purpose and for his and for america's. i'm reminded of that famous poet shamus haney, "don't hope on this side of the grave. but then once in a lifetime, the long tidalwave of justice can rise up and hope and history rhyme." obama-biden, hope and history -- certainly did rhyme. the things you have been able to achieve with this president have made a difference in america in millions of lives. whether we're talking about exphg out of a-- coming out of a recession where we're losing 800,000 jobs a month, making sure that wall street didn't make the same mistakes again at
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the expense of families an businesses across america, or making sure that some father didn't face the heartbreak of a sick child with no health insurance, you made a difference in their lives and just this week the cancer moonshot. who know, mr. vice president, what will happen as a result of that investment in your son's name? but i sense that something good is going to happen for a lot of people around this country. and i'm glad that the biden name is closely associated with it. mr. president, there's an old story, a joke, about the pope and the story goes that the day came when he said to his driver, us know, i -- you know, i haven't had changes to drive the car in a long time. why don't you sit in the back and i'll drive. the pope started driving the car and started speeding and got pulled over. this policeman looked inside the car and looked out again and looked back, said "ex-s us could me.
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"-- excuse me. he called the police station. i've got an extraordinary circumstance here. i've just pulled over a car with swrun important in it. he said, well who is it? i don't know who it is, but he's got the pope for a driemplet -- driver. the reason i remember that sthoar is that one time i was on air force ii with vice president joe biden and we flew you home to delaware and i was to catch an amtrak train at wilmington and i asked you to drop me off and you said, no, i'm going to take umto the train. so we get up to the train and the train spuling into the station and you look what the i have for a ticket. you said, that ticket is not good. you need a real ticket. you grabbed it and took off running with the secret service trailing behind you as the train pulled into the station. and i'm thinking, am i going to make this train? is he going to make it back? you came running up the steps with the secret service trailing behind you. the train was stopped an and alf these passengers were looking as the vice president of the united
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states ranup to me, handed me a ticket, said go ahead and get on the train. the people on the train had no idea who i was. but they knew if the vice president was carrying my ticket, i must be somebody important. leet me say one personal word. you and your wife jill really embody what i consider to be the befort of public life. not only your commitment to people who are less fortunate around the world but your genuine sense of caring and your good heart -- both of you. i can recall when my colleague marti russo had a son who was sick with cancer. there was one person who called every day to make sure that he was doing well. well, that's the way you not only build a friendship but you build a reputation as not just a glad-handing politician but as someone who really, really cares. i have been honored to count as a friend and i'm honored that the president that i love chose you as his vice president, and
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i'm honored that we've served in the senate together and i can tell my kids and grandkids. i wish you the best, whatever life brings you next. the vice president: the senator from georgia. dakota zach i rise to pay tribute to a person h's a had a tremendous impact on my life and my career in the senate and also a tremendous impact on my country, the united states of america. mr. isakson: i still remember to this day the time mitch mcconnell called me and said, hey, we got an opening for a republican on the foreign relations and nobody will take it. will you take it? i didn't know if that was a benefit, a perk or whatever. i said anytime you're offered a gift, don't look a gift horse in the face so did i t two days later joe biden saw me and said irk i'm glared a joining our committee. i've got an opening on the africa subcommittee. will do you it? i aid, mr. biden, i've never been to africa. i've been to africa 12 times since. i give vice president biden a lot of credit for the influence
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he had on that. i also remember the day when the mock swearing-in took place on the second floor. i had my nine grandchildren here to watch me sworn in to the senate. the mock signing ceremony, joe stood there. we all raised our hand and repeated the mock ceremony we had done on the floor. then joe greeted each one of my grandchildren one by one as they walked by. when little jack, then 7 years old stopped, joe biden said, jack, what do you like about the capitol? and jack said, well, mr. vice president, there's no lego store. joe said, the next time you come here, there will be one. i want to tell the vice president that he' he is i'm cog to see me swore in again. i'm going to tell him that vice president joe made sure he had legos when he came back to the capitol. the rear character and credit to a man is what spliewns he has on children. i can tell from you that story that's just one of many that joe biden has had. on
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me personally, i will never forget the day joe biden called me as vice president of the united states and said johnny, i have the mayor of baltimore going with me to panama city next week to look at the deepening of the panama canal. i know savannah's port is important to you. i know you have been fighting for the authorization you need. how about going and let's take a press conference together. i did and he did and we did and today the port of savannah is being deepened to 47 feet, there will be sailing through it in four more years. i'm confident it would not have happened at the level of administration without joe biden, the vice president of the united states and more importantly my friend. joe, i don't have the words adequate to tell you how much i appreciate you as a person and a leader, but there is a little poem i know that says more about what you really are than i could say. i would rather see a good person than hear about one any day. i would rather have a good person walk with me than merely point the way. for my eyes are better pupils and more willing than my ear,
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and fine counsel is confusing but examples always clear. and the best of all the people are the ones that live the creeds and to see the good in action is what everybody needs. i'll be very glad to do it if you let me see it done. i will watch you in action but your tongue too fast in running. i would rather get my lectures by observing what you may do, because i may misunderstand you and high advice you give but i will never misunderstand the way you act and the way you live. joe, you live the life of a patriot, you act like a gentleman. you're my friend. god bless you and your family. thank you for your service to the country and your friendship to me, and i yield back. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president, and it is a pleasure to say that. some may know him as the guy in the a.f.c.iators deboarding air force two or the man in the 1967 corvette in the viral internet video, dpleeful as he had the
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rare opportunity to drive himself around in his favorite car. mr. president, it's so clear the american public has embraced this grinning, approachable, unstoppable life force known as vice president joe biden. but little do many americans know of the heart of our vice president. they have caught glimpses of it in 1972 when his wife and daughter were killed in a terrible car accident and his two sons severely injured. it's hard to imagine that kind of devastation. and joe picked himself up and was sworn in to his first term in the u.s. senate from his sons' hospital room. or maybe they saw it last year when joe's son beau, following in his father's footsteps to be an extraordinary public servant and more importantly a wonderful father, lost a long and hard battle with cancer. i know as a mother and grandmother myself, i'll never understand what joe went through. mr. president, again, joe picked himself up and continued to
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serve our country as a strong, dedicated vice president in the midst of a raucous election season when americans needed him the most. joe's life, his commitment to his family, his struggles and his service encompass what it means to be not just vice president and a brilliant husband and a father but an american. joe grew up in a middle-class family who worked hard for everything they had. he was just 29 years old when he ran for a seat in the united states senate. mr. president, he might have been young but he had already seen what divided people in delaware, but he also knew that people across the state also held the same hopes for themselves and their families and believed he could work through those despairities, and in an upset victory, he won a seat to the senate in november of 1972. since his swearing in, joe has worked every day on behalf of
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families in delaware and for the entire country, especially the last eight years. when joe lost his son to cancer, he launched a moonshot for this generation to end cancer as we know it today. he's now working on behalf of every family who ever lost a loved one to cancer to push forward on medical innovations and discoveries, and i'm so proud that joe's moonshot is included in the final cures bill that we just voted on this afternoon. and even more so that the senate renamed the provisions to support cancer research in that bill to honor beau and calling it the beau biden cancer moonshot. we will now use those investments to fight to cure cancer so we can look forward to a world where no family has to go through what the bidens did and the devastation that millions of other americans have experienced after being touched by cancer. mr. president, back when i was
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serving with the presiding officer, joe, my friend, in the senate in 1994, i had the pleasure of working with him to pass the violence against women act, vawa, as we know it. it was a landmark piece of legislation that changed the way our country responded to domestic violence and sexual assault. joe has come out as a strong advocate for ending violence against women through his campaign one is too many, spreading awareness and working to help reduce dating violence and sexual assault among students and teens and young adults. and it's on us -- and his it's on us campaign has been a wake-up call to the epidemic of campus sexual assault across the country. women are safer today in this america than they were 20 years ago, due in part to joe's fearless leadership on this issue that affects too many in our nation. despite everything he's been through or maybe because of everything he has been through, he gets back up, he fights on
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and he fights on behalf of every family in our country, and that's heart, that's heart. the way he always wants to make people happy, no matter what the circumstance. last time he was in seattle, he brought a little stuffed animal, a little dog to give to my granddaughter. now, she is very shy, but the second he smiled and handed her that little dog, she became his best friend ever. and she keeps it by her side, joe. that's why he's going to be missed, by his colleagues, by this entire country, because of his humanity. that's the joe biden i know, and i want everyone else to know that, too. it has been an honor to call joe a fellow senator, mr. vice president, but mostly a great friend. i want to thank joe for what he's taught me and all of our colleagues through his service and thank him for his
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extraordinary and inspiring leadership throughout his life in the best of times and in the worst. joe and his aviators will be sorely missed. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. in 1974, a freshman senator from delaware named joe biden was identified as one of "time" magazine's 200 faces for the future. that priestient pre-- that appreciateient prediction was before the decades of contributions that followed. joe biden served six terms in the united states senate and became vice president of the united states. but he is exactly the same
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person today as he was more than 40 years ago when he took that first train trip from wilmington to washington to be sworn in as a united states senator. he is everybody's friend but nobody's fool, and while joe biden changed washington, washington never changed him. it is an article of faith among those of us who know and love joe biden that nothing is more important to him than family. it is therefore irony that this good and decent man has faced so many family tragedies during his long and fruitful career in public service. although he has been sorely tested by several wrenching
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losses, vice president biden's irrepressible spirit has never been broken. he is as optimistic about his country today as he was in 1972 when, as a county councilman, he defeated a long-serving senate incumbent and began the journey that ultimately led him to the second highest office in the land. and with his cancer moonshot initiative, joe biden once again has turned personal tragedy into a public cause that undoubtedly will save lives. to know joe biden is to admire him. his warmth, his devotion to friends and family, his
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commitment to all things delaware, and his fierce loyalty to his party that somehow never alienated those of us on the other side of the aisle. perhaps that is due to the many thoughtful gestures that the vice president demonstrates every day. how well i remember bringing my younger brother to the white house holiday party one year and running into the vice president just as he was leaving after a long day of work. he instantly stopped and asked if we would like him to give -- if we would like for him to give us a personal tour of the west wing of the white house, and for the next 45 minutes, instead of
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being driven home, the vice president of the united states took my brother and me on the best tour of the white house that anyone could ever have. i still remember the shocked look on the face of the marine at the situation room when we arrived there. another wonderful memory that i have was of the time that joe biden and i were named irish americans of the year by the american ireland fund, and i thought it was so telling that both of us brought our family members to the celebratory dinner, and both of us talked about our irish mothers. now, i do remember that joe's speech was considerably better than mine, but mine was much,
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much shorter. in a time of almost suffocating partisanship, joe biden is a breath of bipartisan fresh air. people may disagree with joe on one or two or even ten issues, but nobody finds him disagreeable. it is often said that if you don't love joe biden, it is time for some serious intro speck section. you may have -- introspection. you may have a serious problem. no one can say with certainty what lies ahead for vice president joe biden, but this much is certain -- he will face the future with unbridled
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enthusiasm, extraordinary energy and an unwavering commitment to his family, his friends and his country. i thank the vice president for his outstanding service to our country, but most of all, i thank him for his extraordinary friendship to me. i wish the vice president and his wonderful family all the best. thank you, mr. president. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the vice president: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: thank you very much, mr. president, mr. vice president. mr. president, we all take pleasure in calling you that. mr. vice president, senator, foreign policy guru, the senator who was tough on crime but a
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soft touch when it came to compelling human needs. a long-time colleague, but most of you will, i know you as my friend, joe. my friend, joe. and it's not only that i know you as my friend, joe, the people of delaware know you as my friend, joe. the fact that your colleagues, both present and past, are here feel the same way about you, and so do the american people. you have a unique ability to make a visceral connection to people. you actually connect to them. not only on the be a tracks of big -- on the be abstraction ofg ideas, but heart-to-heart. i think when you talk with people, that's why you have this visceral connection. sure, you can debate the great ideas, but
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it is that heart connection that you're able to make that has been, i think, one of your great, great signatures. weigwe in maryland know you as a neighbor, the delmarva gang from delaware, maryland, and virginia. and we also know you as amtrak joe. i think that's so fitting because not only have you been a champion of amtrak and rode the train so faithfully, which has now become the stories of fact and fiction, but also "amtrak joe" is right, because really the way of a lived your life, conducted yourself in public service, you have kept america on track and going on the right direction because you knew what your destinations were. and i salute you for that. you've done a great job in everything you've undertaken. i know you because while others just go for the porch and they
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love the -- go for the pomp and they love the policy. if i hear one more "i'm going to go deep in policy," i'm going to shake my head. i believe we need policies that help our people, keep our nation safe, and make sure that there is an opportunity structure here. but we're here tog to be champions of the people and that's what you have done, whether a champion of the people and you have been a steady friend. when i arrived in the senate, i was the only democratic woman and i've often said, though i was all by myself, i was never alone. i was su surrounded by the good mening of the senate, and particularly the democrats reached out their hands and helped me. of course, my very good friend paul sarbanes, who is here today, was here, who was my
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senior senator when i came, and was my colleague and my champion. but you were right up there at the top of the list, too. and i call the men who were just so incredibly helpful to me gallahads, because you help me in every way you can. in my time in the senate when i reached out to you, you were always there. when i reached tout fight for women to be included in the n.i.h. protocols, thrurp to help me -- you were there to help me. when i reached out to fight against the skim parliamentary inquiry and smart money for breast cancer research, you were there to help me. when we organized the women of the senate, the democratic women, to fight then bush on the privatizing of the social security, when we said we shouldn't rely on the bull of political promises while we feared a bear market, you joined right there with us, side by side, shoulder to shoulder. whether it was equal pay for equal work or so many issues,
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you were always there when we called upon you. and you were always of such just tremendous help. and i was also there to try to help you. i remember a day in the mid-1990's when i got a call from you. maybe you remember that, but i remember that. you said you really wanted to stop violence against women. you knew of my social work background, my advocacy for what was then called battered wivment and you you said, can you help me kind of go over this legislation to make sure that the money goes to people who will help those women and not to people who just want to get grants? so we worked together. we talked about the need for shelters. we talked about the reform of police and courts and so on. and then you came up with that fab lurks fabulous idea to have a hotline so whether -- it
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didn't matter whether you lived in delaware or in des moines or in san diego. there was always help on the other side of that line. i was so happy to work with you and to support you, as you led that battle through -- as only a good man could -- to stand up for women who were being battered in their own home and facing danger. i checked lately on the statistics on that hotline. joe biden, since that hotline legislation passed, over 1.5 million have called that hotline. many of them were in lethal danger -- lethal danger -- and because of you, joe biden, there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of women and children alive today because you had the foresight and the fortitude to
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create this legislation. that in and of itself would have been enough for a career but, oh, you did so many other things. and now we know that you're advocating the national cancer moonshot. you've been a champion on fide finding the cure for cancer for a long time. whether for women with breast skerred and others. i am so pleased that in that cloture vote we're going to include $352 million for that. in issue after issue and issue, we've been there. now, i know you've been a great leader, but i also know that behind great men there's also very terrific women. and i think we owe a salute to jill, just a wonderful woman, a leader in her own right, a belief in higher education, a belief in working at the community college level so that people who might not -- who had big dreams in their heart but not a lot of money in their pocket could be able to go on to college, and what a champion she's been there and also what a
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champion she's been for our veterans and for our wounded warriors. wow, she's just terrific and i know she's been at your side. there are so many stories i could tell, but i want to wrap up with just one. i met your mother. she was spunky. she was feisty, a delight. if there's anything more spunky, fistier or delightful than an irish mother, it is a polish mother. i wish you could have met mine. those two would have been kindred spirits. now, do you remember when the pope came to baltimore? so the pope was coming to baltimore and i told my mother i wanted to greet the pope in polish. my mother's response was "oh, my god." now, i grew up in a family that before world war ii was bilingual. i was bilingual as child but during world war ii we stopped
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speaking all foreign language. so my pronunciation is really awkward. so my mother made me practice polish words. how to say hello to the pope and how to say goodbye to the hope. you and i were at the baltimore washington airport. there goes the pope in his pope-mobile. he's heading up, getting on shepherd ii and you're saying, goodbye, goodbye your holiness. i say, no, say it in polish. you have a large polish community. i taught you how to say one simple phrase. "stomacz." in the tongue of my ethnic hair tang, when you say that you say, "may they live 100 years." so, joe, stovat." the vice president: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i just warr wanted to recognize the presentation in the chamber of five former
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senators, bayh, harkin, sarbanes and to thank other senators who have asked their comments be placed in the record. former senato senator kerrey has provided lengthy remarks. senator cardin has asked that his comments be entered into the record. we've five senators remaining who have asked to speak briefly. senator alexander, senator cardin, case circumstance kaine and my senior senator tom carper will conclude the session today. i yield the floor to the senator from ten teen. mr. alexander: mr. president? the vice president: there is a reception coming up. i will try to set a good example. the author of roots once told me after hearing a speech, he said, "may i make a suggestion?" i said, yes. he said, if when you make a speech you would say, instead of making a speech, let nile story. someone might actually listen 20 what you have to saivment i've
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always remembered that. let me tell one short story about a vice president who knows thousand get things done. nearly two years ago you and president obama-and-invited senator corker and me to be to noville with you when the president announced his community college program. and before that we had lunch privately. and we talked about many things. but the president talked about his interest in precision medicine. he said, mr. president -- i said, mr. president, we're working on something we call 21st century cures. why don't we fold that into your precision medicine interest and we'll do it together. a year later at the state of the union address, the president talked about the cancer moonshot and announced that joe biden would be in charge of that. so i talked to you and said, we'll just fold that in as well. well, it wasn't moving along as fast as i like because as you know, it's full of difficult issues. f.d.a., safety, moving things
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through, drug companies incentives and then the funding issue on both sides of the aisle. so i called you and i said, joe, we're not moving like we should. and you said, wcialg le well, lt me sea what i can dovment you held a meeting of the democrats and republicans in the house, senator murray and me, and you moved us along pretty well and off we would g you didn't take credit for that. nobody knew much about it. you were the dhee that. -- key to that. then it got stuck again. i called you again. joe, i feel -- i said, i've got the precision medicine, the cancer moonshot, we've got the brain initiative, the opioids money. but i can't get a response. i feel like the butler standing with the silver platter outside the oval office and no one will take the order. and you said, if you want to feel like a butler, try being vice president. well, the fact was, you went to work again, the president called, he went to work, speaker
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ryan went to work, senator mcconnell went to work, and today that legislation on which you worked so hard passed the senate with 94 votes. that's an example of a man who understands the issues, who knows how to get things done, and who has the respect of nrve this body. -- of everybody in this body. this is pearl harbor day. pearl harbor day reminds us of the greatest generation, men and women who cared about the country, didn't care about the credit and resolved their differences and realized that diversity is important but turning that diversity into one america is even more important. you're not of that generation. but you show the same spirit as that generation did and your work on 21st century cures and the fact that the cancer moonshot section is not only something that is your initiative -- was 2345*eu8d named -- was named for your son,
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that's important not just to you but for all of us. we honor you today. we're delighted that you came down to let us tell a few stories about your fctiveness as vice president of the -- your effectiveness as vice president of the united states. mr. cardin: mr. president? officer. the vice president: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i also want to join in thanking you for your service. senator mikulski talked about a lot of things you have done. the two of us represent the state of maryland. there's no other senator other than the two of us who has spent more time in maryland than the vice president. now, admittedly, most of that time has been spent on an amtrak train, but we consider you to be a resident of maryland. we've tried to find a way to tax you, but we'll let you get by. but we very much appreciate your interest in our entire region, in our entire country. when i was elected to the senate in 2007, i talked to senator sarbanes, the person who i was replacing in the senate, about committee assignments and we
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talked about senate foreign relations committee. and he says, get on the committee. joe biden is an incredible leader. anytime you can spend with him is going to be time well-spent. i talked to senator mikulski and she told me the same thing. and i was honored to be able to serve on the senate foreign relations committee and saw firsthand your extraordinary leadership on behalf of our country. but bringing us together, that committee, you didn't know who the dems and who the republicans were. we worked together as a unit for the best interest of our country and that was -- was a model for all ever us. later i became rank member of the committee and we had some extremely challenging issues that could have divided us. and you helped me through that period. i just really want to thank you for that. your extraordinary leadership in helping us resolve some very difficult issues, you're just
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openness and willingness to listen, and your ability to find a way to go forward was incredibly helpful and allowed, i think, the senate to do the right thing on that issue as far as the oversight, and i just thank you very much. but that wasn't your only opportunity to help us resolve issues. you've heard members talk about the violence against women act and how important that was, the cancer moonshot is going to incredibly valuable, each one of our families have been affected by cancer. the and we know through yiefortses we're -- and we know through your efforts we're going to find an answer for this dread disease. what you have done in so many different areas of law enforcement, the list goes on and on and on. last year i was in central america. i think there you could easily run for office and have -- they know what you have done. give them a hope to give them a future. and you take an interest in an area and find way to be helpful that i think has made our country stronger and you've
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given hope to people all over the world. you have a love for people. you hear that. you hear that often. it was will rogers who famously said he never met a man he didn't like. well, that's joe biden. and it's incredible. i remember when i was being sworn in the ceremonial, in the old senate chamber, you not only talked to the members of the senate, you talked to every member of our family. i don't know if you had the best staff work or not, but you know every member's family. and my grandchildren to this day talk about the conversation that they had with you during that swearing-in ceremony. you really care about people. and that really shows. this is a family here, and you have really shown that to us. and myrna and i look at you and jill as just people that are part of our family. i have made my lifetime in serving in public life. you have made that profession an honorable profession through the
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manner in which you have conducted yourself, your integrity, who you are, the type of way that you bring people together, and i'm proud to have served with you here in this body. congratulations. a senator: mr. president? the vice president: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, it's an honor to be here today. i was thinking about what i would say today and make it as -- as brief but as personal as i could, but i have to say on a day like today, it's difficult because we all have the privilege of being able to go to this floor on a regular basis to talk about issues, to talk about our country, to talk about the world, but we also have one of the great privileges to talk about those with whom we have served and for whom we have great respect. and this is one of those moments, and it's -- it's of great significance for me that
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i'm able to stand on the floor of the united states senate as a native of and as a resident of the city of scranton and lacawana county to talk about a son of scranton. and i know this is a pretty big day for delaware. delaware's number-one citizen, and on this historic day for delaware, but i have to say i'm so grateful to be able to say on behalf of the people of scranton and lacawana county in northeastern pennsylvania how proud we are today to be able to pay tribute to vice president joe biden. there is so much to say about that history, so much to say about what it means to be able to stand on the floor and talk about his -- his record, his life, his achievements, but mostly to talk about who he is. when i consider what he has contributed to our country, to
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his state and to the world, it's difficult to encapsulate. i tried to -- to jot down a few notes to remind myself of how best to encapsulate that life. i decided to start with the word integrity. it may be a word that we take for granted, but a word that has to be part of the life of a public official. i would say in the case of joe biden, he he has the kind of integrity that is uncommon, uncommon because -- not because it's -- not because it's a rare trait, integrity, but uncommon because it's so much a part of his whole life. he was a public official with integrity. we hope he is again when he might consider public office again. but he's also a person of great integrity when it comes to
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the -- the fights that he's had to wage on behalf of people without power, the work that he's had to do as a public official infused with that kind of integrity. at the same time the kind of integrity that you would expect from a family member and a friend. so i would start with that wound. certainly, the word compassion comes to mind. every one of us can tell a story. i was just hearing stories yesterday from a colleague yesterday about a phone call that the vice president made in the last couple of years to someone who was grieving, who was in the depths of the darkness of grief, and the phone call that he -- that he made to that person. i've heard stories over the years about not just phone calls but visits with people, stopping in to a funeral home for a long lost friend who had lost a loved one. letters that he has written. i know a personal friend who lost his wife and his sons who
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lost their mom and what the vice president wrote to them just this summer. over and over again, he's demonstrated that kind of compassion. i can remember it in my own case in a very personal way. it was only an election loss. i ran for governor of pennsylvania in a primary. as many of you know, primaries are particularly difficult. i lost badly. no one called on wednesday after tuesday. one reporter showed up at my door, and i opened the door and really couldn't say much to this reporter, but i was grateful she was there. but i got one phone call on wednesday. maybe a couple family members. i come from a family of eight. i think my wife was talking to me, but other than that, the only person who called me was joe biden. and he made some kind of grand prix dicks. i thought he was just being nice, that i would somehow come back. but you know what? he was right, and he made me feel much better that day, and he pba


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