tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN January 20, 2021 4:29pm-7:11pm EST
sunday three wise men from marine brother survived. watchful to me this weekend on c-span2. >> looking at the u.s. capitol here, president biden's inauguration earlier today, the senate is about to dabble in after swearing in three new democratic senators, chuck schumer will become the leader mitch mcconnell moves into. with a 5050 split, kamala harris and the president of the senate will pass the tie-breaking vote. that way he will become, replacing report chuck grassley said, and schumer have set the
limit between democrats national and oaxacan from 2001, being used as a guide. if to the floor of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will open the senate with prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. god of our forebears, author of liberty, we lift our hearts in
praise. thank you for the opportunity to witness a renewal of democracy and an orderly transition of power. lord, we know this orderly transition was not inevitable, for your grace saved us. mighty god, let the healing begin, bless our incoming senators. give wisdom and courage to presages of r. biden and vice president kamala harris for the living of these days. and, lord, long may our land be
bright with freedom's holy light. protect us by your might, great god our king. we pray in your sovereign name. amen. the president pro tempore: will you all please join me in the pledge of allegiance of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the democratic leader.
[applause] mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the vice president: the chair lays before the senate two certificates of election for the state of georgia, and a certificate of appointment to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former senator kamala d. harris of california.
the vice president: the certificates, the chair is advised, are in the form suggested by the senate. if there be no objection, the reading of the certificates will be waived, and they will be printed in full in the record. if the senators-elect and senator-designee -- senator-designate, will now present themselves at the desk, the chair will present the oath of office. the clerk: mr. ossoff. mr. padilla. mr. warnock.
the vice president: please raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear that you will support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that you take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter, so help you god? the group: i do. the vice president: congratulations. [applause]
leader. mr. schumer: just to let the members know the order of business, we will first install senator leahy as president poe tell pour. we will then have some other sort of mechanical business. i will then give my major speech as majority leader of the united states senate. [applause] mr. schumer: and then we will hear from senator mcconnell. there may be a vote this evening. i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 6 submitted earlier today. the vice president: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: senate resolution 6, to elect patrick j. leahy, a senator from the state of vermont, to be president pro tempore of the senate of the united states. the vice president: is there objection to the proceeding or the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. schumer: madam president, i
ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the vice president: is there an objection? without objection, so ordered. the senior senator from vermont will be escorted to the desk. the vice president: please raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear that you will support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic? that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. and that you take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of
mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. s. resolution 7 submitted earlier today. the president pro tempore: without objection, and the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: senate resolution 7, expressing the thanks of the senate to the honorable chuck grassley for his service as president pro tempore of the united states senate and to designate senator grassley as president pro tempore emeritus of the united states senate. the president pro tempore: the clerk will report the -- is there objection to proceeding to the measure? and without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, and that the motion to reconsider be made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the president pro tempore: is there objection? there is none.
without objection, so ordered. mr. schumer: mr. president. the president pro tempore: the majority leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 8, submitted earlier today. the president pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: senate resolution 8, notifying the president of the united states of the election of a president pro tempore. the president pro tempore: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, hearing none, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. schumer: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to and that the motion to reconsider be made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the president pro tempore: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. schumer: mr. president. i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 9, submitted earlier today. the president pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: senate resolution 9, notifying the house of representatives of the election
of a president pro tempore. the president pro tempore: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the president pro tempore: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. schumer: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 10, submitted earlier today. the president pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: senate resolution 10, electing gary b. myrick of virginia as secretary for the majority of the senate. the president pro tempore: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? hearing none, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate. the president pro tempore: is
there objection? not hearing objection, so ordered. mr. schumer: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 11, submitted earlier today. the president pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: senate resolution 11, electing robert m. duncan of the district of columbia as secretary for the minority of the senate. the president pro tempore: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? hearing none, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, and the motion to be -- to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the president pro tempore: is there objection? hearing none, without objection, so ordered. mr. schumer: mr. president. the president pro tempore: the majority leader. mr. schumer: mr. president, i
need to catch my breath, so much is happening. a few hours ago, on the west front of the citadel of democracy, joe biden and kamala harris were administered the oaths of office to the presidency and the vice-presidency of the united states. we have turned the page to a new chapter in the history of our democracy, and i am full of hope. i would challenge anyone not to feel hopeful today after listening to amanda gorman, the amazing 22-year-old poet, wise far beyond her years, who told us that, quote, somehow we have weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken but simply unfinished. the hope she spoke about, strong and happy hope, the hope we feel today, is a hope, of course, that's tempered by reality. this was an inauguration unlike most others.
the crowds that customarily line the national mall were absent, a reminder that our nation is still in the throes of a deadly pandemic. the presence of thousands of national guardsmen, police, and secret service was a reminder that two weeks ago, in this very room, and on those very steps where president biden took the oath, a mob of violent criminals tried to dismantle our democracy, our sacred democracy, brick by brick, and would try again if they could. but as president biden said a few hours ago, today democracy has prevailed. the will of the people was heeded, the peaceful transfer of powerful filled. it takes more than a band of hiewl -- houligans to bring our democracy down. our democracy, though tried and
tested shall long endure. let it be a message to those terrorists who desecrated this temple of democracy that they will never prevail. joe biden is now the 46th president of the united states. kamala harris is now the 49th vice president of the united states. but of course in more ways than one she is not the 49th but the first. the first african american woman, the first asian american woman, the first woman, period, to hold the office of the vice presidency in our nation's history. today the threat to our democracy from the presidency itself has ended but the challenges we face as a nation remain. in the wake of violence and division, hatred and mistruth, in the shadow of disease and economic hardship, a warming planet, an unequal society, we begin the work of the 117th congress. in his inaugural address,
president biden spoke to this moment, a moment of great challenge, and told us two simple truths. one, that our responsibilities are numerous. and, two, it will take unity, unity of spirit, unity of purpose to fulfill them. president biden, we heard you loud and clear. we have a lengthy agenda, and we need to get it done together. president biden pointed the way to our nation's recovery and renewal. he reminded us of who we are and where we need to go. but we must now turn the spirit of his words into action. the senate must immediately set to work on the mission president biden described -- restoring the greatness and goodness of america. this will be an exceptionally busy and consequential period for the united states senate. there is much to do, and we are
ready to get to work. now not to upstage our new president and vice president, but theirs has not been the only swearing in today. a few moments ago the senate welcomed three new members to this chamber. i can now happily and proudly call them senator padilla, senator ossoff, senator warnock they join senators kelly, hickenlooper and lujan as part of the six-member class of democratic senators and a new democratic senate majority. i mention the historic nature of vice president harris' ascendance but let's not forget that her successor alex padilla is the first latino senator to represent california, that
raphael warnock born while georgia was represented in this chamber by two staunch segregationists, is now the first african american senator georgia has ever elected. and that jon ossoff is the first jewish senator from his state, sworn in today on a book of hebrew scripture once owned by the rabbi who decades ago formed a bond between the jewish and african american communities of georgia. as president biden said in his inaugural address, don't tell me things can't change. with the r swearing in of these three senators, the senate will return to democratic control, for which i deeply thank my colleagues. will turn to democratic control under the first new york-born majority leader in american history, a kid from brooklyn, the son of an exterminator and a
housewife, descendents of victims of the holocaust. that i should be the leader of this new senate majority is an awesome responsibility, awesome in the biblical sense, as the angels that trembled before -- that trembled in awe before god. today i feel the full weight of that responsibility, a sense of reverence, of awe at the trust placed in me. i intend to honor that trust with all of my energy and with joy. and as the majority changes in the senate, the senate will do business differently. the senate will address the challenges our country faces head on and without delay, not with timid solutions, but with boldness and with courage. the senate will tackle the perils of the moment, the
once-in-a-generation health and economic crisis and strive to make crisis on generations long struggle on racial justice, economic justice, equality of opportunity and equality under the law. and make no mistake, the senate will forcefully, consistently, and urgently address the greatest threat to this country and to our planet -- climate change. this senate will legislate. it will be active, responsive, energetic, and bold. and to my republican colleagues, when and where we can, the democratic majority will strive to make this important work bipartisan. the senate works best when we work together. we have no choice. the challenges we face are great. the divisions in the country are real. we have no choice but to try to work together every day to
reward the faith the american people have placed in us. so let us begin. i yield the floor. the president pro tempore:the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, today before the american people and the world, the peaceful transfer of power that has helped define our nation for more than 230 years was carried out. we swore in the 46th president and the 49th vice president of the united states. president biden and vice president harris are both alumni of the u.s. senate. they're well known to us in this chamber. they begin their terms with both
challenges and opportunities before them, and with the prayers of our whole nation at their backs. president biden made unity the major theme of his inaugural address. he pledged to be a president for all americans, to work as hard for the many millions of americans who did not support his candidacy as he will for the millions who did. so i congratulate my friend from delaware, look forward to working with him as our new president wherever possible. our country deserves for both sides, both parties to find common ground for the common good everywhere that we can and disagree respectfully where we must. last fall the american people chose to elect a narrowly divided house of representatives, a 50-50 senate
, and a president who promised unity. the people intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power to shape our nation's direction. may we work together to honor that trust. were earlier today i was honored to present our former colleague vice president harris with a flag that flew over her historic swearing in as our nation's first woman vice president. this groundbreaking achievement elicits national pride that transcends politics. all citizens can applaud the fact this new three-word phrase -- madam vice president -- is now a part of our american lexicon. so once again our sincere
congratulations to our former colleague from california on this day. i also join my colleagues in warmly welcoming our three newest senators -- senator padilla of california, senator ossoff and warnock of georgia have been sent here by their home states to represent their neighbors and to serve our nation. we have plenty of senate business to discuss at length in the days ahead, but for now i just want to congratulate each of our new colleagues. i look forward to working alongside them. the president pro tempore:under the previous order the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each.
mr. grassley: mr. president. the president pro tempore:the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: two minutes to speak please for two purposes. one, to congratulate my friend patrick leahy for once again assuming the position of president pro tempore after six years of absence, i believe, and also to express my working relationship with him in the 40 years that he and i have served together in the united states senate. but also to the fourth estate, because we always read about rancor on television, radio, and print. they never speak about how senators get along. we've seen a peaceful transfer of leadership position in the united states senate from a senator from kentucky to a senator from new york. now for the second purpose of rising, because most of my colleagues don't know when
there's nobody on the senate, and i open the senate up for prayer and for the pledge of allegiance, i usually give a one-minute speech, and i'd like to give my last one-minute speech as president pro tempore, not saying i won't take advantage of that opportunity when nobody else is around as well. four years ago our nation's capital was full of people who had come to celebrate a new president's inauguration and it was full of people who came to protest the winner of that election. this biden inauguration was different in that respect. but this year, just like four years ago, there are americans who question the election outcome and did not want the inauguration to proceed. since election day, i have urged americans to have faith in our constitutional system and let the constitution work the way it has for 240 years, work
its course. today was a culmination of that process. like four years ago, i know that many americans are not happy with how it turned out. that is absolutely fine, just like four years ago was fine for those people that resisted. in our country, nobody is obliged to like or support a president, but hopefully people will really respect the office of the presidency regardless who holds it. however, while the presidents change hands, i hope we will retire hashtag resist. you wouldn't know it listening to partisan commentators from the right or left, but you do not have to make a choice between giving your president unqualified support or total opposition to the president.
as a legislature, -- sledges sledges -- colleges slater i would be doing a disservice to those i represent if i had total opposition to a democrat president. in my work, on behalf of iowans, i have to engage with the administration of the day if i want to be a responsible senator. as i have with every president, i will seek to find common ground with president biden wherever possible, but i will strongly oppose policies that i think are not good for iowa and all americans. that will be on input that i receive from my fellow iowans. i yield.
mr. durbin: i ask that the quorum call call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator will be in order. the senate will be in order. mr. durbin: mr. president, earlier today i was proud to join my colleagues in witnessing the inauguration of president joe biden and vice president kamala harris on the west front of the united states capitol. i remembered as i walked away from that inauguration ceremony the experience i had four years ago. there was a luncheon, traditionally there's a luncheon given for the new president and vice president and that luncheon was my first opportunity to meet president donald trump. i had never met him before. and i went up to him at the head table and i introduced myself and said, i just want to tell you that i'm working in the united states senate for the dream act. i believe that these dreamers deserve a chance to become part of america's future.
president donald trump, minutes after having taken the oath of office said, senator, don't worry about those young people, we'll take care of them. that was my first conversation with president trump. what transpired afterwards is a matter of record in the history of this country. we know also what happened in this capitol building just two weeks ago. that's why this inauguration was so different. we were battling a deadly virus and possibly adeadly attack by -- a deadly attack by american terrorists, the united states capitol was as closely guarded as i have ever seen it. we estimate that 25,000 soldiers, national guard and activity duty soldiers were in sown from all around the united states, including 260 from the state of illinois, i'm very proud to announce. they did their job and did it well. i thank them for their service
and sacrifice and separation from their families. but at the same time we are facing a deadly virus. the -- in the midst of a global pandemic, today's celebration had to be tempered in where they sat and where they gathered. president biden and vice president harris understands our nation faces a unique set of circumstances, they also understand we are a unique nation. what makes us special is that from all over the world come to our shores to become americans, not because of their race or ethnicity but because they embrace america's values. never before in america's history have those ideals been tested as they have been in the last four years. a hallmark of the former administration was a relentless attack on immigrants. one of the main targets were the very dreamers that i spoke to
president trump about, young immigrants who came to the united states as children. mr. president, i ask that the senate be called to order. the presiding officer: the senate is not in order. please take your conversations elsewhere. mr. durbin: mr. president, it was 11 years ago take i joined with then-senator dick lugar of indiana on a bipartisan basis to call on president obama to use his legal authority to protect dreamers from deportation. our argument was simple. these young people were brought to the united states as children. their parents made the decision to come here. they grew up here, went to school here, pledged allegiance to that very flag every day in their classrooms and believed they were part of this country. usually sometime? their teenage years their parents sat down with them and told them the grim reality. they have no country, not the one they left, nor the one they currently live in. and so i introduced legislation 20 years ago, the dream act, in
an effort to give them a chance, a chance to earn their way to legal status and citizenship. buttive abeen unable to -- but i've been unable to enact that into law in both the house and senate in any given year. i've been stymied and stopped by the filibuster too many times. but president obama knew that when he was a senator here, before being elected to the president he was a cosponsor of any dream act so i knew where his heart was and appealed to him. could he do something and he did. he created daca. daca by executive order provided temporary protection from deportation of dreamers if they register with the government, pay a fee, pass a criminal national security background check. they could have a temporary right to work here in the united states and be free from deportation. more than 800,000 dreamers came forward with president obama's daca. daca unleashed the full potential of these dreamers who were contributing to our country
this very day as soldiers, teachers, business owners. in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic, more than 200,000 daca recipients have been characterized as essential infrastructure workers during this pandemic. that wasn't my designation. it was the designation of the trump administration. among those essential workers are 41,700 daca recipients in the health care industry, doctors, intensive care nurse, paramedics and respiratory therapists. well, on september 5 of 2017, former president trump repealed daca. hundreds of thousands of dreamers faced losing their work permits and being deported to countries they barely remembered if remembered at all. last summer the supreme court rejected president trump's effort to end deportation protection for dreamers. in an opinion by chief justice john roberts, the court held that the president's attempt to rescind daca was, quote,
arbitrary and capricious. today in one of his first official acts, president joseph biden signed an executive order to restore daca. i am eternally grateful for president biden. courage and commitment and keeping his word. without daca hundreds of thousands of talented young people who have grown up in our country cannot continue their work and risk deportation every single day. but the resumption of daca is just the first step toward long overdue justice for dreamers. only legislation passed by congress can provide a path to citizenship to the dreamers. i first introduced the bipartisan dream act 20 years ago, as i mentioned, and i'll continue to do so until it becomes the law of the land. i am honored that i had the chance to serve as chairman of the senate judiciary committee in the 117th congress. as a child of an immigrant
myself, i never dreamed that i'd be blessed with the opportunity to lead the committee that writes our nation's immigration laws. to all of the dreamers out there, i've told you many times i've never given up on you. don't give up on me. i'm going to pass the dream act. over the years i've come to the floor with the most persuasive approach i can think of to pass the dream act and make it the law of the land. i tell their stories. these stories show what's at stake when we consider daca and the dream act. it is not a theory. it is not just a law. these are real human lives. to tell -- today i want to tell you about henna navid, she is the 127th dreamer whose story i told on the senate. she was born in pakistan, came to the united states if due bye when she was ten years old, grew up in fall river, massachusetts. she sent me a letter and here's what she said about growing up. i had a pretty typical
experience navigating a new country and new school system. it wasn't until i turned 16 and my peers were getting their permits to drive and their first jobs that i really felt the impact of being undocumented. she was an excellent student. high school she was president of the national honor society and key club. she graduated salutatorian in her class with a 4.0g.p.a. she received the outstanding vocational student for health cares award and overall vocational student award. she went to the city university of new york, college of statton island, associate's agree in liberal arts and nursing, bachelor's of science in nursing, studied at law school where she graduated with a law degree and thanks to daca, hina became a registered nurse. she worked as director of health services for a nonprofit community-based organization in new york. her department provides health care services for children and foster care, many of whom are victims of medical neglect. she's also a member of the new
york city medical reserve corps. at the height of the pandemic she volunteered on weekends at a hospital and at a residential facility with covid-19 patients. hina wrote to me about her plans. i want to work on health policy reform on a local and state level in an effort to achieve health quality for all. this pandemic has highlighted health disparities that long existed. i want to be part of making change. i want to see it and experience it. here's what hina said about daca and what it meant to her. daca has been life changing. it has allowed me to drive a car, work, achieve fiscal independence, continue higher education, contribute to my community more than i could otherwise. however, it is temporary and with the benefits it provides, it casts a shadow over my life. i have to plan my life in two-year increments. well, let me start by saying thank you to her. to hina naveed for her service on the front lines of the
coronavirus pandemic. all of us are in awe of our health care heroes. she is an immigrant health care hero. she is a daca health care hero. she's put herself and her family at risk to protect others. she also shouldn't have to worry about being deported tomorrow. and her family facing division. will america be a stronger country if we just upped and deported her? or if she became an american citizen? i think the choice is clear. hina and hundreds of thousands of other dreamers are counting on those of us who serve in the senate. so here's where we stand. the senate judiciary committee will soon organize i hope very soon. and i'll have an opportunity to appeal to my colleagues on both sides of the table. join me in a bipartisan effort to pass the dream act. president biden has made it his clear priority and i share it. i want this to be the first measure that we consider in the
area of immigration. but i know we live in a 50/50 senate and it's possible that once again i'll need to muster 60 votes to pass this on the floor. so whatever we do, it has to be bipartisan. that means it won't have everything in it that i want or everything that maybe hina or the advocates want. but we have to take a step forward once and for all to help these young people. as long as i am a senator, i will continue to fight for hina naveed and for people who have come to this country just to make it better. it would be an american tragedy to deport this brave and talented health care professional in the midst of a pandemic. we must assure that she and hundreds of thousands of our essential work force are not forced to stop contributing whether the need for their service has never been greater and we must give them the chance they deserve to become american citizens. i cannot express my gratitude enough for president biden on the first hours that he was in
office to recognize the needs of the daca recipients and the dreamers. i want to work with him and work with both parties across the aisle to make this dream come true for so many who deserve it. they've waited long enough. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. cotton: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: for the information of all senators who wanted know if we'd have a vote tonight on avril haines to be director of national intelligence. i was the last person to object to holding that vote. i no longer object. i want a question answered for the record. my question was responded to. i want to thank senator warner. specifically in the open session yesterday, she had an answer in response to senator wyden that suggested the intelligence community might reopen investigations into detention and interrogation of programs from 2001 to 2006. she clarified in the private setting that we had that she had no intention to open up those
investigations and expose operations officers inside the c.i.a., to criminal prosecution or adverse employment action or even holding it against them and potential future promotions or placements. she's confirmed that in the written record. i'm glad to see we're not going to reopen that period. i want to thank miss haines for providing the answer. most important i want to thank our brave operation and paramilitary officers in the c.i.a. for what they do always to keep this country safe. so i'm ready to vote on this nomination. i believe the rest of the senate is as well and i yield back the floor. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rubio: at noon today joe biden was sworn in as our new president. i never served with president biden when he was a senator, but i can tell you that from direct and firsthand experience that he is a man of tremendous empathy. i've witnessed it. and so i pray that god will bless him with strength, with health, with wisdom because i don't need to tell anyone that we and our nation are living in troubled times.
you know, president trump was elected and then in this last cycle received 75 million votes, in part because he spoke to and was brutally honest about some of the grievances and the fears that are now dividing our country. it's important to understand, he didn't create them, and that's why his exit alone is not going to make america normal again. the troubles we face, the things that now divide us real lay aren't so much about politics or ideology. if you look into them, they're really more about the things that are at the core of our identity as a nation and a people. people want a country where you can -- everybody has the opportunity to find a good job, to get married, to live in a safe neighborhood, to not go into debt because you have a baby, to send their kids to a good school and one day to retire with dignity and security. but we have millions of
americans who increasingly feel that that kind of life and those kinds of things are out of reach for them. and they're really frustrated that neither those in government or either political party seems to be doing much about it. people need a sense of belonging and purpose. but the places that we used to get this from -- our families, the community groups we join, the synagogue, the churches -- many of them are in collapse. and so now you have millions of people that feel isolated or alienated and some who are turning to hyper partisan politics and even online conspiracy cults to fill the void that those institutions once filled. the overwhelming majority of americans reject racism, bigotry, and discrimination, but they also reject identity politics, which constantly seems to want to divide us against and apart from each other on the basis of race and ethnicity and
gender. we are a nation that is proud of our heritage as a nation of immigrants. but millions of americans, i would say the majority, also believe we're a nation that has to have immigration laws. they need to be followed and they need to be enforced. most americans accept that our country, our society is changing, and they understand that there are people with different views and different ways of life. what they do resent is efforts to demonize and to persecute those who hold the traditional values that are inherited from our judeo-christian heritage. most americans believe decency and morality requires everyone is entitled to dignity and to respect. but there are also many growing increasingly tired of walking on the eggshells of political correctness and forced to undergo sensitivity training because everyone seems to be so
easily offended by everything. people understand. we've got to do something -- it's a problem. we got to do something about people who use social media to spread dangerous lies, to instigate violence. but i think they also have a right to be very troubled that five c.e.o. of technology companies, five people in five companies elect by no one, accountable to no one, have the power if they so choose to wipe out, to silence anyone, even a president. and i would tell you almost without exception, they were horrified -- horrified -- about what happened here two weeks ago today. they want those people in jail. but they also wonder where was that outrage when this summer in multiple cities across a number of months there were people setting fire to police cars and breaking into police stations and attacking courthouses and
looting private property? and i'll tell you, they see firsthand every day the extraordinary damage being done by this terrible pandemic and the damage being done by our bitter divisions. which as i, i think most americans will never understand why most americans will ever understand why the first thing we're going to do here potentially is the impeachment trial of a president that isn't even in office anymore. what happened today was incredibly important, the pageant tricks the rituals -- the pageantry, the rituals behind it. it matters a. for the 59th time in our history, we peacefully transferred power from one leader to the next. i think the fact that that happened on the very steps of this capitol where just two weeks ago on this day we saw an unimaginable attack on democracy, that should serve as a reminder to all of us in this country and a powerful message to the world that our republic
remains resilient. but now the hard work of self-government begins, and these anxieties i've just described -- the tensions of millions of americans, they -- the tensions of millions of americans -- the tens of millions of americans need to be addressed. if they are allowed to fester, it will leave us not just a nation that is paralyzed and can't take action on important issues; we're going to be left a nation that remains vulnerable to those who are willing to exploit and stir the most destructive impulses. today president biden struck important tones of national unity and i believe that they were sincere. but pursuing a radical agenda in a country so divided does not serve the cause of unity. it will only serve cynicism that destroys trust.
by the same token, continuing to fan the flame of grievances or in the alternative pursuing vengeance disguised as accountability will not serve the cause of unity either. that is nothing but the politics of resent piments and retribution which only leads to a fractured nation of people who literally come to hate each other. demanding that the other side in a debate on a topic on a principle that they agree with you on everything, that isn't unity. that's the arrogance of believing that any of us, we are the sole holders of the truth. anyone who agrees with us is good and anyone who disagrees with us is wrong -- not just wrong but actually evil. the truth is, real unity isn't everyone having the same ideology or the same views or same ideas. the unity we need actually comes from remembering -- remembering who we actually are.
we americans are not a racist or nativist people. we are a good and compassionate people. and the overwhelming majority do not ask about race when they donate unwrapped toys so that no child has to wake up on christmas morning with no present under the tree. they don't ask where a soldier or sailor or airman or woman's parents came from when they put together and send care packages to them halfway around the world as they defend us. we americans are bold people. in our veins, literally runs the blood of pilgrims, of settlers, of exiles, of immigrants, of people who overcame slave slavery and then -- slavery and then segregation. we are the descendants of people who refused to surrender to fear and to abandon their hope of a better life.
we americans are not the inheritors of an american dream that some prize that we have to fight against one another for in some winner-take-all competition. we are the inheritors of an american dream which anyone can achieve without it being denied someone else. this is who we were when this country inspired and changed the world, and i hope that this is who we will be again. a people who disagree over principle, who argue over policies. that has to happen because our republic depends on every view having a voice and every voice having a place to be heard. but also people who now understand that the choice before us is we will either find a way to share a nation and a future or we will all share the condemnation of history and the rebuke of americans yet to come.
mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. wyden: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senior senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i rise to discuss the nomination of avril haines to be director of national intelligence. i think my colleagues know that in a few minutes, the senate will be voting on her nomination for this key position. i briefly intend to outline where i think things stand on several sensitive agencies with the 17 agencies that make up the intelligence community. the biden administration and msy
and a duty to turn the page on the cover-ups and lawlessness of the outgoing administration. that is why i asked ms. haines at her confirmation hearing whether she would abide by a law that i authored. requiring an unclassified report on who was responsible for the killing of "washington post" journalist jamal khashoggi. jamal khashoggi was a u.s. resident who was lured to the saudi consulate in istanbul and brutally murdered. despite press stories stating that the saudi arabian leader
was responsible for the killing, the trump administration stayed mum, just stonewalled. for a whole year, the trump administration just ignored the law that i wrote. so i asked ms. haines at our hearing whether she would follow the law and provide that unclassified report on who was responsible for jamal khashoggi's murder. ms. haines' response was straightforward. she said she would provide the report and comply with the law. that statement, as frankly modest as it was, was a sea change, colleagues, from the
obstructionism and stonewalling of the trump administration. the trump administration has basically taken the position on laws like this transparency measure that it was kind of optional for the executive branch to comply. so ms. haines' direct commitment to making that key report on the role of m.b.s. saudi leader in the murder of jamal khashoggi, in my view, was a real step forward for the rule of law, for accountability, for human rights. and i will say as a journalist's kid, it was a real step forward for freedom of the press everywhere. the second subject i discussed with ms. haines was a particularly troubling aspect of the c.i.a.'s recent history.
the c.i.a. spied on the staff of the senate intelligence committee when the staff was writing the torture report. as deputy director, ms. haines didn't hold anyone accountable. in my view, this abuse, this spying on the senate select committee on intelligence basically, colleagues, turns the whole concept of overhead on its head. the united states congress is supposed to do oversight on the executive branch and not vice versa. in response to my questions at the hearing, ms. haines admitted that the spying on the committee was wrong. she also agreed that she supported recommendations to
expand accountability and would apply that expanded accountability to the intelligence community at large. and when she was asked about the c.i.a.'s baseless efforts to have committee staff prosecuted, she agreed there ought to be guardrails against that happening again. the third area i explored with the nominee was the need to rebuild trust in the intelligence community, which in my view requires a new focus on transparency and openness. for example, there ought to be transparency so that the american people know what kind of surveillance is being conducted on them. the president of the senate knows about the important vote we had on that amendment that i offered, the bipartisan amendment with senator daines, because we ought to get history
on whether the government is spying on the browsing history of the american people. so this is really a critical and growing concern because we're all seeing data brokers and others selling people's data, and it's especially important that the american people are told if the government is using legal loopholes in the law and the warrant requirement of the fourth amendment. so i asked ms. haines about circumstances in which the government, instead of getting an order, just goes out and purchases the private records of americans from these sleazy and unregulated commercial data brokers who are simply above the law.
literally above the law. i believe this practice is unacceptable, and soon i will be introducing legislation to make it clear that the fourth amendment is not for sale. now, for congress to tackle the topic is vitally important there be an informed public debate, and what the government is collecting right now and what it believes is a legal basis for the collection, and i was encouraged by how ms. haines responded. to that question i asked, she said it was critical that the american people have an understanding of when and under what authorities the government is buying their private data. now, ms. haines made a number of other commitments related to transparency issues, many of which relate to a problem i have come to describe as secret law. and to my colleagues, i see our new members here. people think when a law is
written, they go to a coffee shop in atlanta or or athens or tucson and they read about a law and they think it's what the public law says, but secret law is based on the proposition that after the public law is put in place, the government often reinterprets the public law in secret and keeps the new interpretation secret under the pretext that these reinterpretations are just so key to keeping americans safe. the reality is that the interpretations of public law ought to be transparent and public as well, and it comes down to a very straightforward principle. i am a strong opponent of secret law. i'm a strong supporter of
transparency. and i intend to remind director haines what she told me just a few days ago about transparency, and to push hard for the public release of as much information as possible when americans deserve to see it and they can see it when it's consistent with their safety and well-being of their households and their loved ones. i also intend to push the director of national intelligence to fix a broken declassification system for years of flood of new digitally classified information has overwhelmed an obsolete paper-based classification system. this system is so out of whack that in order to get a document declassified, government officials actually have to walk the document around washington from agency to agency. i actually said at our open
hearing, i wonder if it's getting to the point where to get a document declassified, someone who works for the government has got to pack a lunch, put the document in their big black briefcase, and then make their way all over the nation's capital. so i have introduced with senator moran bipartisan legislation to authorize the director of national intelligence to fix the problem. ms. haines has acknowledged the seriousness of the problem, and the d.n.i.'s role in fixing it. it's my intent to make sure that this also is not allowed to just continue as business as usual. some of the starkest differences between the actions of the outgoing administration and the positions taken by ms. haines here a couple of days ago relate to the crucial area of whistle-blowers. the outgoing administration broke the law when it was --
when it withheld from congress the complaint of the ukraine whistle-blower, the whistle-blower who had identified abuses that resulted in the first impeachment of donald trump. this lawlessness undermined both the whistle-blower system and the independence of the intelligence community inspector general who had determined that the complaint ought to be submitted to congress. ms. haines has been clear the law requires that when the inspector general determines that a whistle-blower complaint is urgent, the director of national intelligence cannot keep it from the congress. she made other commitments to whistle-blowers. there are whistle-blower protection laws, including some that have been approved by the senate intelligence committee, that need to be enacted. there are procedures already required by law that the outgoing administration just didn't issue, they just stonewalled. after all the damage done by the
trump administration with respect to trampling on the public's right to know and transparency where the information can be made public to the american people without compromising sources and methods, i'll tell you, the biden administration has a lot of work to do to repair and improve whistle-blower protections. they're going to have a lot on their plate. the country has massive cyber vulnerabilities that we saw just a couple of weeks ago. there is more to do in terms of preventing foreign interference in our election. we have to ensure that other surveillance programs provide security without sacrificing our constitutional rights. i'm going to close by way of saying i don't assume that i will always agree with the incoming administration. that has been true for me with democrats and republicans on these issues. when we disagree, we'll have a
vigorous debate, as vigorous as when i disagreed with the trump administration. ms. haines, the d.n.i., ambassador burns, the c.i.a. director, are beginning to shape up as a team that will be more open with the public, respect the law, and work with the congress to repair the vast damage of the outgoing administration and respect what ben franklin talked about so many years ago. liberty and security aren't mutually executive. smart policies get you both. not so smart policies get you less of both. and that's our challenge. tonight because of her answers to me at the open intelligence hearing a couple of days ago, mr. president, i want to say i'm going to to be supporting
ms. hain's nomination to be the director of national intelligence. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session and the intelligence committee be discharged from further consideration of p.n. 7810, the nomination of avril haines to be directive of national intelligence, there be ten minutes on the nomination equally divided in the usual form, that upon the use or yielding back of time the senate vote without intervening action or debate. that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection,so ordered. the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, director of national intelligence, avril
haines of new york to be director. mr. warner: mr. president, i rise in strong support of the nomination of avril haines to be director of national intelligence. i'm going to speak for a few moments, but i want to, first of all, thank members of, in particular the intelligence committee on both sides of the aisle. my good friend, the senator from oregon, the finance committee chair, is someone who has deep and passionate concerns about the civil libertarian issues in our country. he's part of the ying when there's some yang on that committee. he raised, i think, important questions with the nominee. i appreciate his courtesy in allowing this to move forward. but i also want to thank, at least until tomorrow, the chairman of the committee,
senator rubio, and my republican colleagues as well. when we discussed moving on this nomination in a very timely manner, particularly chairman rubio and senator senator burr, worked with all the members of the committee. i want to thank my friend, the senator from idaho, for his courtesy as well, and very proud of the fact that the first nomination to be considered under the biden administration is going to be ms. haines. i think that reflects the approach of the intelligence committee. and again, i see the chair of the committee on the floor now. i again want to thank him personally, senator rubio, while he's on the floor, for that courtesy. i think part of the reason why we were able to move so quickly is this position is of such
critical importance to the country that it is only appropriate that it be the first nomination to be confirmed by the senate. and avril is extraordinarily qualified for the role having worked in national security for most of the last two decades. after working for the state department, ms. haines came here to the senate where she worked on the foreign relations committee as deputy chief counsel. following another stint at state she moved to the white house where she served three years as deputy assistant to the president. in june of 2013, president obama chose ms. haines to serve as the deputy director of the c.i.a., making her the first woman to hold that office. ms. haines served at the agency until 2015 at which point she moved to academia and the private sector. she was a senior researcher at columbia university, a senior
fellow at johns hopkins, applied physics lab, and a member of the national commission on military national and public service. avril haines has all the qualifications we would want for a d.n.i. but more than that, i believe she is firmly committed to rebuilding the office of the director of national intelligence and reestablishing the role of that office as not only the coordinator of our nation's intelligence community, but as an add -- advisor to the president and congress that will not shy away from telling the hard truths. since ms. haines was nominated for this role by president biden i spent time talking to her about her future as the director of national intelligence and the job she'll be taking on. in our conversations and in her confirmation hearings, ms. haines was a strong, was strong and thoughtful about the future challenges our country will face. my first question to her was
about china. her answer was equally clear-eyed pointing out the many ways in which china is an adversary to our nation by stealing i.p. or hacking our systems or undermining our security, while also pointing out there are many places where we'll have to engage with china as a partner like on tackling climate change. she had equally focused answers about the role of iran as a state sponsor of terror and the need to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. for every question she was asked by my colleagues on the committee, she demonstrated that she understood not the challenges of the coming future, not only the challenges of the coming future but the i.c.'s roles in understanding those issues and meeting them head on. i've also been impressed from the beginning and continue to be impressed by her understanding of the important role of the d.n.i. and the i.c. and her
commitment to making sure that the i.c. tells policymakers what they need to hear, not only what they want to hear. the last four years have been hard on the intelligence community. you only have to read a newspaper or turn on a tv at some point to know that. since the 2016 election, the i.c. has faced false accusations of trying to undermine the then-president, in seeing many of their leaders fired for simply doing the right thing -- speaking truth to power. it should surprise no one that all of this has led to some damage within the i.c., particularly to morale. i believe that avril haines is the right nominee to repair this damage. she will support the men and women of the i.c. and protect them from political pressure. she will insist that they tell us their best analysis and not shy away from telling decision-makers that their
cherished beliefs are wrong. she will insist on telling truth to power. ultimately this is why i urge my colleagues to send a strong message of support for the men and women of the i.c. and to support avril haines for d.n.i. she is capable, qualified and will undertake its serious responsibilities with a clear-eyed sense of promise. thank you. and with that, i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. i ask unanimous consent to yield back all time. the presiding officer: is there objection? the question occurs on the nomination. mr. warner: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: is is there any senator wishing to change his vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 8 had the nays are 10, the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action. mr. van hollen: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. van hollen: i ask that the senate proceed to a period of
morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. van hollen: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 12:00 noon thursday, january 21. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. finally, that following leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. van hollen: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until descended is done for the day, three new senators were sworn
in in california democrat. the 1117th senate has 50 republicans, 48 democrats and two independents who caucus with the democrats, with kamala harris as president of the senate casting tie-breaking votes bryn mawr live senate when lawmakers return on cspan2. >> tonight the presidential naugle committee wrapped up inauguration day for event called celebrating america. hosted by actor tom hanks and featuring performances like bruce springsteen, john bon jovi and many others. watch live coverage beginning at 8:30 eastern on cspan2. online at c-span.org or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> earlier today vice president's kamala harris were in the new members of the u.s. senate. georgia democrats jon ossoff and raphael warnock, and california democrat. phone there mark senator
schumer gave his first speech as majority leader and senator mcconnell delivered his first remarks as minority leader. [applause] [applause] [applause] [applause] consent. [inaudible] select the chair lace before the senate to certificates of election for the state of georgia and a certificate of appointment to fill the vacancy createdy