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UNITED STATES SENATE 2200
01/06/2021
ABC
DCU055130
FS102 SENATE FLOOR 2200 SENATE FLOOR DEBATE: The Senate convenes and proceeds to a period of morning business, disposing of objections to the Electoral College ballots of Arizona and Pennsylvania. The Senate reconvenes after Pro Trump supporters breached secrity and entered the Capitol building trying to disrupt the counting of electoral college votes The senate then moves back to a Joint Session of Congress in the House chamber 220057 CLERK>> Miss Harris. HARRIS>> No. CLERK>> Miss Hassan. HASSAN>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Hawley. 220106 HAWLEY>> Aye. CLERK>> Mr. Heinrich. HEINRICH>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Hickenlooper. HICKENLOOPER>> No. CLERK>> Miss Hirono. HIRONO>> No. CLERK>> No. Mr. Hoeven. [whispers] I got excited. HOEVEN>> No. CLERK>> Mrs. Hyde-Smith. HYDE-SMITH>> Aye. 220130 CLERK>> Mr. Inhofe. INHOFE>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Johnson. JOHNSON>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Kaine. KAINE>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Kelly. KELLY> No. CLERK>> Mr. Kennedy. KENNEDY>> Aye. CLERK>> Mr. King. KING>> No. 220200 CLERK>> Miss Klobuchar. KLOBUCHAR>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Lankford. LANKFORD>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Leahy. LEAHY>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Lee. LEE> No. CLERK>> Mrs. Loeffler. LOEFFLER>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Lujan. LUJAN>> No. CLERK>> Miss Lummus. LUMMUS>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Manchin. MANCHIN>> No. 220231 CLERK>> Mr. Markey. MARKEY>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Marshall. MARSHALL>> Aye. CLERK>> Mr. McConnell. 220243 MCCONNELL>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Menendez. MENENDEZ>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Merkley. MERKLEY>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Moran. MORAN>> No. CLERK>> Miss Murkowski. MURKOWSKI>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Murphy. MURPHY>> No. CLERK>> Mrs. Murray. MURRAY>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Paul. PAUL>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Peters. PETERS>> No. 220318 CLERK>> Mr. Portman. PORTMAN>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Reed. REED>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Risch. RISCH>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Romney. ROMNEY>> No. CLERK>> Miss Rosen. ROSEN>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Rounds. ROUNDS>> No. 220340 CLERK>> Mr. Rubio. RUBIO>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Sanders. SANDERS>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Sasse. SASSE>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Schatz. SCHATZ>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Schumer. SCHUMER>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Scott of Florida. RICK SCOTT>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Scott of South Carolina. TIM SCOTT>> No. 220407 CLERK>> Mrs. Shaheen. SHAHEEN>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Shelby. SHELBY>> [inaud] CLERK>> Miss Sinema. SINEMA>> No. CLERK>> Miss Smith. SMITH>> No. CLERK>> Miss Stabenow. STABENOW>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Sullivan. SULLIVAN>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Tester. TESTER>> No. 220434 CLERK>> Mr. Thune. THUNE>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Tillis. TILLIS>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Toomey. TOOMEY>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Tuberville. TUBERVILLE>> Aye. CLERK>> Mr. Van Hollen. VAN HOLLEN>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Warner. WARNER>> No. CLERK>> Miss Warren. WARREN>> No. 220505 CLERK>> Mr. Whitehouse. WHITEHOUSE>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Wicker. WICKER>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Wyden. WYDEN>> No. CLERK>> Mr. Young. YOUNG>> No. 220520 [TABULATION]v [10:11:26 pm] PENCE>> On this vote the Yeas are 6. The Nays are 93. The objection is not sustained. The secretary will notify the house of the action of the senate informing the body that the senate is ready to proceed to joint session with further counting of the electoral vote for president and vice president. The majority leader. Mr. Mcconnell: Mr. President. Colleagues, here's where we are. We have a few more speakers now as we wait for the house to finish their debate and vote. We expect the house to finish voting on Arizona between 11:30 and midnight. I ask unanimous consent the senate be in a period of morning business with the following senators permitted to speak therein for up to five minutes each. Senator Toomey, senator Rubio, senator Collins. Mr. Schumer: On our side senators wyden, hirono and [10:12:27 pm] coons. Mr. Mcconnell: Following their remarks, the senate stand in recess subject to the call of the chair. Is the senate be in a period of morning business with the following senators permitted to spook for up to five minutes -- to speak therein for up to five minutes each. Toomey, Rubio and Collins. Mr. Schumer: Wye den, hirono and coons. The presiding officer: Is there objection? [10:15:22 pm] TOOMEY>> Mr. President? PENCE>> The senator from Pennsylvania. The senate will be in order. The senate will be in order. The senate will be in order. Please take your conversations out of the chamber. The senator from Pennsylvania. Mr. Toomey: Thank you very much, Mr. President. And I appreciate the indulgence of my colleagues allowing me to speak twice today. But my understanding is that later this evening, objectors will object to the certification of Pennsylvania's electoral votes because they disapprove of the process that my state used in the last election. The presiding officer: Will the senator suspend for a minute. Please take your conversations out of the chamber. The senator deserves to be heard. [10:16:22 pm] The senator is recognized. Mr. Toomey: Thank you, Mr. President. In light of my expectation of this objection, I'm -- I rise to defend the right of my citizens, my constituents to vote in the presidential election. Let's be clear. That's exactly what this objection is about. It's what it would do. It would overturn the results of the presidential election of Pennsylvania, and it would thereby deny Pennsylvania's voters the opportunity to even participate in the presidential election. Mr. President, even if congress did have the constitutional responsibility to judge the worthiness of a state's election process, which it does not, rejecting Pennsylvania's electoral votes would still be wildly out of proportion to the purported offenses and very damaging to our republic. Let me go through a few facts about Pennsylvania. First, some of the objectors and in fact even the president of the United States this morning have observed that the [10:17:25 pm] Pennsylvania supreme court disregarded existing law when it ruled that mail-in ballots could be counted even if they arrived up to three days after the election day. Now, the objectors are right about that. In my view the supreme court of the United States should overturn that illegal decision. But, Mr. President, only 10,097 ballots arrived in Pennsylvania during the three days after the election and those 10,097 ballots have been excluded from the vote count that resulted in President-Elect Biden winning Pennsylvania by about 80,000 votes. What greater remedy could the objectors possibly want than the complete exclusion of the late-arriving ballots? How could we possibly invalidate the entire Pennsylvania el election, over 10,000 votes that were not even included in the vote count? A second charge we heard and the senator from Missouri alluded to it this evening is a 2019 [10:18:26 pm] Pennsylvania law that allows mail-in ballots for any reason, that that might violate the Pennsylvania constitution. Well, first of all, as senator Casey observed, this was a bipartisan law passed with nearly unanimous Republican support. Clearly the state legislators and the governor believe it is consistent with the Pennsylvania constitution. Secondly, this law was not challenged when it was passed. It wasn't challenged when it was applied during the June primary election. It was only challenged after president trump lost the general election. But 2.6 million pennsylvanians voted by mail-in ballot in the general election. Over 37% of Pennsylvania voters in good faith relied on a law to cast their votes as they had done previously. Now, I understand you can make a theoretical argument about whether this is consistent with Pennsylvania's constitution and that needs to be resolved for future elections but because of [10:19:27 pm] this constitutional question that some people have, the objectors want to prevent Pennsylvania voters from participating in the presidential election entirely. That would be an outrageous remedy to this purported offense. A third charge we've heard is that Pennsylvania officials did not properly implement painlz election law -- Pennsylvania election law in a variety of other ways. But the trump campaign has shown that many of these issues have -- well, first of all none of these issues would have changed the election outcome but more importantly, the campaign had many opportunities of which it availed itself to litigate these issues. They did time and again and they lost repeatedly, often in unanimous bipartisan decisions. Now, some of the objectors also cite congress' own failure to investigate allegations of election irregularities, and that's their justification for refusing to certify the election results. But the allegations of election irregularities and fraud have [10:20:28 pm] been investigated. They've been adjudicated. They were adjudicated in the states of which they were alleged to have occurred. In paindz the trump -- Pennsylvania the trump campaign took their election irregularities in the courtroom of Matthew brand of federal district court. He's a conservative Republican societyist member. Here's what he said. This court has been presented with strange legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter let alone all the voters of the sixth most populated state. End quote. So the campaign then appealed judge brand's decision to the third circuit and they drew a three-judge panel, all Republican appointed judges, one appointed by president trump. The panel concurred with judge brand. Mr. President, certainly there were irregularities in this [10:21:29 pm] election. There always are but there's no evidence of significant fraud, conspiracies or even significant anon-anomalies that cast any serious doubt on who won the election. One way you can tell is look at the big picture in Pennsylvania. Look at what happened. In 2016 president trump won Pennsylvania by eight then ts of 1%. In 2020 he lost Pennsylvania by a little over 1%. Is there anything at all that's implausible or surprising about a 2% change in the election outcome? Relative to 2016 in Pennsylvania the president lost a little ground in most of the rural counties he had carried. He lost a lot of ground in the big suburbans counties and slightly narrowed his large loss in Philadelphia. There's no surprises here. This reflects a pattern that occurred all across the country. My colleagues, as I've said, it is not our responsibility to sit in judgment of state election [10:22:29 pm] procedures in the first place. But if it were, there would not be nearly sufficient reason to deny my constituents their right to participate in this presidential election. Mr. President, Joe Biden won the election. That's not what I had hoped for but that's what happened. It was an honest victory. With the usual minor irregularities that occur in most elections. We witnessed today the damage that can result when men in power and responsibility refuse to acknowledge the truth. We saw bloodshed because the demagogue chose to spread falsehoods and sow distrust of his own fellow Americans. Let's not abet such deception. Let's reject this motion. The presiding officer: The senator from Oregon. Mr. Wyden: Mr. President, with just a few minutes to speak, I'm going to get right to the point. Gunfire in the halls here, [10:23:33 pm] I.e.d.'s on the capital grounds, I will say to my colleagues I've been stunned that with the domestic terrorists roping the halls just a few hours ago, I'm stunned that this debate is actually going forward. And that's because, colleagues, this is a fake debate on electoral certification. That's because it lends credibility to the bogus idea that the congress can actually toss out the results of the election. And as we saw today, it serves to fuel insurrection. Now, contrary to what some of my aye voting colleagues believe by votes cast just a few minutes [10:24:35 pm] ago, this debate has never been about setting up some kind of routine election tribunal. This isn't about election security. If the Republican majority for the last two years had actually been interested in election security, they would not have worked relentlessly to block my legislation to secure our 2020 elections with hand-marked paper ballots and post-election security audits. By the way, those are the kinds of approaches that are part of the Oregon system where for 25 years we voted by mail. I'm the nation's first mail-in United States senator. The second -- and I see my colleague from Maine and Alaska [10:25:35 pm] here because they're very fond of him like I was -- Gordon Smith, a Republican was the second mail-in United States senator in our country. That's because we do the job right. It's efficient. Our late Republican secretary of state Dennis Richardson actually told president trump there was no evidence of fraud. So if Republicans had been interested over the last two years and actually working with me and colleagues on both sides of the aisle and secretaries of state, we could have had an approach that would have empowered the Oregon idea to go national. Instead we're now debating tonight an idea of a discussion grounded in total fiction, [10:26:39 pm] brewed in caldrons of conspiracies online. These colleagues are fever dreams, fever dreams laundered by people with election certificates and real power. And I will tell you it's been painful to watch colleagues sidle up to some of those sprirs -- conspiracies that would inflict so much -- inflict so much damage to the American experiment. I will close with one other point. We saw today an effort by domestic terrorists to try to punch our democracy to the ground, to the ropes. And I'm going to close by simply saying something that hadn't been said tonight. And that is Donald Trump can do enormous damage to our country in the next two weeks. In the next two weeks, colleagues, Donald Trump can do [10:27:40 pm] enormous damage to our wonderful country. This afternoon -- I don't know if my colleagues saw it -- the national association of manufacturers, an organization with thousands of businesses, thousands of companies, and not exactly a left-wing outfit, they called for moving forward with the 25th amendment. All over the news already, colleagues, this afternoon. The national association of manufacturers. That's what we're seeing in our country with respect to the fear of Americans having watched what happened here. So I'm just going to close by way of saying I believe that for the next two weeks we have an enormous responsibility to watchdog Donald Trump day in and day out, to do everything [10:28:42 pm] possible to prevent the kind of abuses that we saw today where an American lost her life. And we saw the fear among our citizens at what went on. Let's do everything we can as leaders, Democrats and Republicans, to make sure in the next two weeks Donald Trump's abuses are checked. We do everything we can to protect this wonderful nation of ours. Mr. President, I yield the floor. >> Mr. President? [10:29:43 pm] PENCE>> The senator from Florida is recognized. RUBIO>> Mr. President, over the last weeks and days leading up to this vote here today, I've heard from a lot of people. About this vote. I guess I want to address as much to them as anybody else. And these are people I know. These are friends. These are neighbors. These are long-time supporters, generally people on my side of the political aisle. And they're upset. They're upset. They look at the media and the media, they censored stories that might have been negative toward Joe Biden and social media companies helped them out. They saw how some states tinkered with or mutilated election laws and they have doubts that the election was legitimate. And it gives this country this extraordinary crisis of confidence, which is very dangerous because democracy is very fragile, and it's not held together by elections. Democracy is held together by people's confidence in the election and their willingness to abide by its results. And so the notion was we need to [10:30:44 pm] do something, we need to fight. Several of my colleagues have adopted the idea -- and I respect it -- that they're going to object. Now, listen, it's important to understand something. Even the people objecting in the senate recognized that it's not going to pass. It's not going to change the outcome, but it's going to send a message, and it's going to make a point. The problem is, I think it's a terrible idea at this moment. Just hours ago, a young lady died in this capitol. That means somebody somewhere in this country got a phone call that their daughter was dead. Their daughter was going to a political rally. She is dead, died in this capitol, somewhere not far from where we are standing. We had police officers, the men and women that we walk by every single day that guard the doors and we say hello to out there with riot gear getting spit on and attacked. Today, not ten weeks ago. Just a few hours ago. [10:31:46 pm] And I think it's important to think about all those things on a night like tonight and everything that's happened. You know, I wouldn't even be here today, I doubt very much would I even have been interested in politics had it not been for my grandfather. He died when I was 14, but I grew up at his knee. He would sit on his porch, smoke three cigars a day, and he loved history. He was born in 1899 in rural Cuba. It was still governed by the United States. It was protected. Three years later, it gained its Independence and became a republic. During my grandfather's first 60 years of life, he saw his country have an armed insurrection after a contested election, multiple presidents go into exile, two military coups, and the rise of a marxist dictator. The -- my entire life, my entire life, I have lived with and next to people who came to America because their country was chaotic and their country was [10:32:48 pm] unsafe. What I saw today, what we have seen looks more like those countries than the extraordinary nation that I am privileged to call home. And I think about the mockery that it makes of our country. A lot of people, China, let me just say something. In all modesty, no one has worked harder on the issue of China. They hate my guts. Sanction, I don't know what they are sanctioning, double sanctioned, and I can't travel there. I wasn't planning to anyway. China is laughing. They're loving this tonight. In beijing, they are high-fiving because they point at us and say this is proof the future belongs to China, America is in decline. Vladimir Putin, there's nothing Vladimir Putin could have come up with better than what happened here. It makes us look like we're in total chaos and collapse. Not to mention the ayatollah who is probably bragging, if he has buddies, to his buddies look [10:33:48 pm] what's happening to the great Satan. I think politics has made us crazy. Everybody in this country has lost their minds on politics, and we have forgotten that America is not a government. America is not a president. America is not a congress. Let me tell you what America is. America is your family. America is your faith. America is your community. That's America. That's what our adversaries don't understand, and that's what we need to remember. That is how we're going to rebuild this country and turn the page and how the -- and have a future even brighter than our past. So that's why I feel so strongly about this and why I hope those who disagree with me will understand. I yield the floor. The presiding officer: The senator from Hawaii is recognized. [10:34:49 pm] Ms. Hirono: Mr. President, it has been hard at times to find the words to describe the full harm Donald Trump has inflicted on our country. We can spend hours dissecting on his policies that have made us less safe, less healthy, but his presidency has also been a profound moral failure. Let me tell you a story. A few years ago, a father from Hawaii joined me at one of my talk-story sessions in my office, and he asked me a question that struck me hard at that time and has stuck with me until today. He said how can I tell my son that lying is not okay when the president of the United States lies every single day? I struggle to answer his -- struggled to answer his question then, and I'm not sure I could offer an adequate answer now, [10:35:50 pm] but this conversation remains a clear example of how we do not live in normal times. How is it normal as we and the world watched in horror as an angry mob stormed the united States capitol. Blood was shed. People were hurt. Vandalism occurred. It is not normal when we have a president who lies every single day, and even in the face of this vandalism, this mob, he really doesn't have much to say except I love you, you should go home now. It's not normal when in the middle of a pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 350,000 Americans, which is nearly the combined population of the islands of maui and the big island, we have a president who only seems to care about spreading conspiracies to [10:36:51 pm] undermine confidence in our elections and our democracy. And it's not normal when duly elected senators who took an oath to uphold the constitution pull a stunt to try and nullify millions of votes in six states so that Donald Trump can remain president. I call this effort a stunt because it is doomed to fail. We have a strong bipartisan majority as noted in the vote that we just took, and both chambers of congress who reject this stunt and courts have ruled against trump and his allies in more than 60 cases. So whenever this farce ends, the result will be the same. Donald Trump will have lost the election, and Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States. You can tell a lot about a person from the way they handle defeat. [10:37:52 pm] The way Donald Trump has handled defeat says a lot about who he is. Watching so many of our colleagues indulge the president tells us a lot about them, too. We don't have to look back very far in history to find examples of candidates who lost tough races but demonstrated their character in defeat. Our colleague, senator Romney, graciously conceded his defeat to president Obama and noting that, quote, at a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work, and we citizens also have to rise to the occasion. And in 2000, during an election, with substantial irregularities and partisan innovation from the supreme court, Al gore nevertheless put his country first, and he said let there be no doubt that while I strongly disagree with the court's [10:38:52 pm] decision, I accept it, and tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. As I reflect on the service of these distinguished public servants and the acts they took to maintain our democracy, I'm also drawn to remarks president Obama made four years ago in his farewell address to the nation when he warned that our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. It is a particularly sage warning as we contend with the president of the United States seeking to nullify a free and fair election simply because he lost. We have to stand up, speak up, and fight back because our democracy itself is at stake. American democracy has endured over the centuries in large part because our institutions serve as guardrails to keep us from going over the cliff. As elected officials, we can [10:39:54 pm] strengthen these guardrails by listening to our own conscience in moments of peril by having what our friend John Lewis called an executive session with myself. Before making a big decision, John would say listen, self, this is what you must do. This is where you must go. Today we can follow John's example. Listen to our conscience. Stand up for our constitution and do what's right. I yield the floor. The presiding officer: The senator from Maine is recognized. Ms. Collins: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, let me begin my remarks tonight by expressing my hard felt gratitude to the members of the law enforcement community and the National Guard [10:40:55 pm] whose hard work and courage made it possible for us to resume our deliberations tonight. We return to this chamber tonight undeterred by the violence we witnessed and strengthened in our determination to fulfill our constitutional duty. Mr. President, the constitution is the foundation of our American democracy, and the constitution is what must guide our decisions on the presidential election. The process the constitution sets forth for electing presidents through the electoral college is straightforward. The people vote. Electors are close. The electors vote. [10:41:56 pm] Then congress counts the electors' votes. That final step in the process is why we have convened today. Counting the votes of the electors, a function that the 12th amendment assigns to congress, is an administrative and largely ceremonial act. Our job is simply to count the votes certified by each state. Nothing more. We should not attempt to usurp the roles of the voters, the states, or the electoral college. Mr. President, the American people have done their job turning out in record numbers to vote in the midst of a frightening pandemic. Indeed, as a percentage of the [10:42:57 pm] voting-eligible population, the turnout was the highest in 120 years. Similarly, in the midst of this pandemic, hundreds of election officials and volunteers have done their job staffing polling places and faithfully counting and often recounting votes. The states have done their job by certifying the election results. Now, Mr. President, I've heard the proponents of these objections raise questions about whether the various states conducted their elections properly. When disputes over elections arise, candidates are able to appeal to our legal system, not congress, for recourse. [10:43:58 pm] In the two months since the 2020 election, the president's lawyers and allies have had the opportunity to make their arguments and challenge election results before the courts. Notably, every one of nearly 60 lawsuits that they brought forward have been rejected. In fact, the supreme court has twice refused to hear their election challenges. Mr. President, we must abide by these rulings. The time has now come for congress to do its job. We should affirm the certified results of each state by counting the votes of their [10:44:58 pm] electors. Mr. President, altering the results of the electoral college would set a terrible precedent in which the party in control of congress could override the will of the voters and overrule our courts to unilaterally choose the next president. One senator tempted such a maneuver after the election in 2004, and the senate overwhelmingly rejected that effort. The senate has demonstrated by its vote tonight that it will follow that precedent and do so again. Today -- tonight, Mr. President, I will continue to vote to [10:45:59 pm] reaffirm the foundation of our democracy, the constitution of the United States, and I will reject these challenges to the electoral college. Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Merkley: Mr. President? The presiding officer: The senator from Oregon is is recognized. Mr. Merkley: Mr. President, I invite all of my colleagues to cast your eyes upon these three boxes sitting on the table in front of the dais. These three boxes contain the certified results from every state in our union regarding how that state voted, how their electors have voted for the president of the United States of America. You know, you cast your eyes on these three boxes, and you know that there's something special. [10:47:00 pm] You see that there are straps on them holding the top on and straps around the side, and they're engraved, beautiful handle, beautiful ledger work. Crafted in the cabinet shop of our very senate. To say that the would recalled that their cargo is -- to say that the would recalled that their cargo -- to saithe the world that their -- to say to the world that their cargo is precious. So many states were celebrating this process that they started to use very large forms, very large envelopes, very large seals to put those ballots into and, thus, a third box was needed. These boxes contain the voice of the American people weighing in, as they have election after election after election. They've been used, these two smaller boxes, in the last 149 elections -- 14 elections. [10:48:01 pm] They are transported through those doors to the house of representatives where the senate and house gather to witness the opening of the envelopes to determine who will be the president of the United States. It is our constitutional responsibility to witness the counting. That is what the constitution calls for. Tonight when this senate chamber was under attack by domestic terrorists, we were held here in this room, doors locked to protect us with the help of the capitol police. They did an excellent job, and then they escorted us to a safe room. And that announcement came. When aens moment came, our -- when that announcement came, our senior assistant parliament organized a team to rescue these boxes and keep them safe. Now, thank you to her and the [10:49:02 pm] entire team that rescued the voice of the American people. Had they not done so, then the hooligans outside, disrespecting the constitution, would have come in here and opened these boxes and burned the ballots, destroying the voice of the people symbolically. And I know no one in this chamber wanted something like that to happen because we're here to defend the constitution, to defend the integrity of the election process, not to allow it to be destroyed. But, colleagues, although we are 100 senators or 99 actually now because there are only 99 of us that are duly elected at the moment, 99 senators united across party defending these ballots from the hooligans outside, there's more than one way that these ballots can be destroyed, and that is for this [10:50:03 pm] chamber and the house chamber to vote that one of those envelopes representing the state will be shredded, will be burned, that those votes will be discounted. We just held a vote on whether or not the envelope containing the electoral votes from Arizona should be burned. We defended these ballots against the hooligans outside. But there are those in this chamber supporting the destruction of the voice of the citizens of Arizona. Six voted, and we are coming back later tonight to vote on whether to shred or burn the ballots for the people of Pennsylvania. So we have to stand together to say absolutely not. The constitutional responsibility is for us to defend the process, not to proceed to destroy these [10:51:03 pm] ballots. Now, in spite of all the troubling things that have happened in this chamber this evening, something beautiful happened, and that is we set here in this chamber all of us listening to each other, five-minute speeches, hearing each other out, diverse views, wrestling with a complicated issue. It's really the first time that's happened in the 12 years I've served in the senate. We need to restore the process of struggling with America's issues together on the floor of the senate. That's the senate I saw when I came here as an intern from my home state senator in 1976. That's the senate that I saw when I worked for congress in the 1980's. That's the senate that has disappeared. There is a conversation going forward between Democrats and Republicans to restore the ability to hold debate on the floor, to restore the ability to have amendments on the floor so that we deliberate and wrestle with in a very public and [10:52:05 pm] transparent fashion the big issues. So let's take this moment when we're rethinking how to restore the institutions of our government to restore and improve how this senate operates, to deal with the issues ahead of us, so that this moment is a moment where we come together rather than be divided, where in a bipartisan fashion we craft a strategy to restore issues to the floor -- bills and amendments an debate and decisions before the public. So out of a dark moment can shine a bright light, a renewal, and it is a moment much needed now, a moment much needed in the executive branch as we on the 20th of January welcome new leadership. And it is a moment much needed for us to restore the senate to [10:53:07 pm] being the deliberative body once renowned and respected around the world. Let's defend these ballot boxes, both from the hooligans outside and those who would vote to destroy the ballots from any given state, and let us come together and restore the senate and fight for the vision of our we the people republic. I yield the floor. Mr. Carper: Mr. President? The presiding officer: The senator from Delaware is recognized. Mr. Carper: Thank you. Free and fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. I think we'll all agree. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations, and then they require proof. We have neither here. [10:54:07 pm] Those are not my words. Those are the words of a judge on the U.S. Circuit court of appeals for the third circuit rejecting president trump's legal challenges to the Pennsylvania election. I might add, a judge who was a longtime member of the conservative federalist society and was nominated to the bench by none other than Donald Trump. Mr. President, the 2020 presidential election was hard-fought, we'll all agree, but the American people spoke clearly and they spoke decisively. 81.2 million voters voted for Joe Biden. 81.2. 74.2 million voted for Donald Trump. 51.3% of the vote went for Joe Biden. 46.8% of the vote was for Donald Trump. [10:55:09 pm] 306 electoral college votes for Joe Biden, 232 electoral college votes for Donald Trump. Just four years earlier Donald Trump referred to that kind of outcome as a landslide for him. And he lost the popular vote. -- By three million votes. But accepting the outcome of an election can be difficult when our political party doesn't win. We've all felt that before. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. More than 60 federal and state courts involving more than 90 judges, many of whom were nominated by Republican presidents, including Donald Trump, are all in agreement. That's pretty amazing, isn't it? All in agreement. No evidence of widespread fraud, wrongdoing, or other irregularities have been uncovered during the 2020 election. That's -- that is a victory. [10:56:11 pm] -- For democracy, for our democracy. Unfortunately, some of our colleagues today ask us to do the same thing that Donald Trump asked of the secretary of state for the state of Georgia, to overturn the results of the 2020 election without specific allegations and, more importantly, without any proof. Our colleagues are asking us not to abide by the will of the people but to bend to the will of one man -- one man, Donald Trump. In 1787, delegates from the 13 colonies convened in Philadelphia to debate the future of what would become the United States of America. Our founders disagreed on a lot of things, but, you know, they all agreed on one thing for sure -- they did not want a king. They did not want a monarch. Many of them had been there, done that. They didn't want to see it and feel it again. And they set up this intricate [10:57:13 pm] system of checks and balances to ensure that we would never have that all-powerful king in this country. That system of checks and balances is being pushed to a dangerous limit here today, but that system will prevail. Along with it, our democracy. These are just some of the claims that Donald Trump and the his legal team have made and that our colleagues lend credence to her today. That Venezuela, Cuba, and China rigged our country's voting machines in favor of Joe Biden. That dead people voted in this election and they only voted for Joe Biden. That poll watchers and election observers who risked their lives during this pandemic to uphold the integrity of our elections, that stuffed ballot boxes with [10:58:14 pm] Biden votes and then they shredded trump votes. Not one -- let me repeat, not one of these things is true. There is no evidence -- no evidence -- to back up these ridiculous claims. Many of these absurd claims from Donald Trump and his legal team are nothing more than conspiracy theories circulating online. This misinformation and dangerous rhetoric from the president and his allies, including calls for violence, have polluted our discourse and imperiled our peaceful transfer of power. When our colleagues show indifference to outright support for these unsubstantiated claims and conspiracy theories, they lead our nation and our constitution down a dangerous, dangerous path. [10:59:16 pm] All of us who serve here swore an oath to support and defend our constitution. I swore that same oath as a naval flight officer many times as a midshipman before that. But all ofs here have -- but all of us here have sworn to support and defend our constitution, not our political party and Vern I not any individual -- appeared certainly not any individual candidate. Colleagues, for the safety of our citizens and republic, we must turn the temperature down. It was a hard-fought campaign, but the campaign is over. The votes have been counted. The count have been certified in all 50 states. And in two weeks on January 20, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as president and vice president of the united States. As they should be. We have serious and urgent challenges that will require [11:00:17 pm] working together with our new president and new vice president with one another in this chamber, independents and Republicans and with our colleagues in the house of representatives. What's on our to-do list? We can start with making sure that hundreds of millions of Americans get vaccinated, that we get off the dime and start vaccinating. We vaccinated four million people last month many we were supposed to vaccinate 20. How are we going to get to 250 million at this rate? What else? We have kids who are unable to get on the internet, unable to participate in classes, they don't have adult supervision at home. They are behind and we need to help them. What else is on our to-do list? Getting their parents back to work, just to name a few things. Think of all the millions of people who lost jobs and they don't have skills anymore to fill the jobs that are needed. [11:01:18 pm] They need our help. They need to be retooled and retrained. It's time to stop trying to overturn the will of the people and get back to working on their behalf. Mr. President, Abraham Lincoln has been quoted a couple of times here tonight, but he observed at the end of the gettysburg address that ours is, quote, a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Even in the midst of a civil war, president Lincoln put his unwavering faith in the people to chart our nation's course. We would be wise to remember Lincoln's words at this moment, at this special moment in our nation's history. We're not a the government of trump, by trump, and for trump. We're a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And the people have spoken. [11:02:19 pm] The people have spoken. Our job here today is to listen to them. I intend to do that and I trust that my colleagues will join me in doing that as well. Mr. President, I yield the floor. A senator: Mr. President. The presiding officer: The senator is recognized. Mr. Markey: Mr. President, first I want to thank all of the first responders who helped to protect this chamber and protect those electoral college ballots. Today is a special day, a day when 2,500 or more Americans will lose their lives to the coronavirus, 130,000 will be hospitalized because of it, businesses that will close their doors and put thousands of Americans out of work. We are not getting more vaccines into American's arms or how to [11:03:22 pm] put $2,000 in their pockets, we are using the first days of the senate to give time to our Republican colleagues of election fraud in an attempt to keep Donald Trump in office in violation of the United States constitution. There's a word for this. It's called sedition. All of this is seditious, they are nothing short of against the established order of our republic. This is an historically shameful day for the senate and for our country. To be clear, the notion that there are any meaningful voted -- voter fraud that has been identified in the 2020 presidential election is a dangerous anti-democratic treasonist fiction, Joe Biden won, Donald Trump lost, period many but that hasn't stopped the president and his supporters from making allegations of voter [11:04:23 pm] fraud in -- in some 60 legal challenges, heard by 90 judges, including trump judicial appointees. Not one succeeded. Not one. Despite this reality, my radical Republican colleagues claim we must have a commission to investigate the fraud. Well, we do know one of the most undeniable instances of substantial election fraud ever, we even have a recording and a transcript of it. It's president trump talking like a Moffa boss to the Georgia secretary of state, a Republican, no less, pressuring and threatening him to fix the election in trump's favor and holding out the prospect of criminal prosecution if he doesn't. Find me 11,780 votes, well, someone should find trump a real lawyer and measure him for an [11:05:25 pm] Orange jump suit, because this -- the president's words on that phone call, indeed, his conduct since the election demand a serious response, one much more serious than the sham before us today. First, federal and state law enforcement authorities should investigate Donald Trump for election fraud, extortion, conspiracy and whatever other charges fit the bill and if warranted indict and try him for any crimes he has committed. Second, we must recognize that Donald Trump is and will remain a danger to our constitution and our democracy. So while time is certainly limited, we should impeach trump again and bar him from holding office in the future, and, finally, we should abolish the electoral college, it is the vestige of a Jim crow America and we have outgrown it. Every person's vote in every state should count just the same, one person, one vote. [11:06:28 pm] Election fraud and reform are very serious issues. Election reform absolutely should be debated in congress, which is why instead of today's kabuki theater, I invite my Republican colleagues to stand you and say, yes, we need to protect voting rights and election security. We need automatic voter registration, we need online voter registration, we need same-day voter registration. We should make election day a federal holiday. We should restore voting rights to people with prior felony convictions, we should support independent redistricting commissions. Not spending how to reduce the influence of big money, to slow the revolving door between government officials and lobbyists, that's the real election reform that we should be debating and supporting, not these shameful, baseless [11:07:29 pm] objectionists. More than 350,000 Americans have died because of the -- from the coronavirus. That is the truth. Nearly eight million people have fallen into poverty because of the economic crisis caused by this crisis. -- Virus. That is the truth. Wearing a mask saves lives, vaccines are safe and effective. That is the truth. Joe Biden won. Donald Trump lost. That is the truth. I urge all my senate colleagues to vote against these objections, afirp our -- affirm our democracy and that Kamala Harris and Joe Biden will be sworn in on Jan 20 as the president and -- January 20 as the president and vice president of the United States. The presiding officer: The senator from Connecticut is recognized. Mr. Blumenthal: Thank you, Mr. President. Today was a stomach-turning, gut-wrenching moment in our [11:08:30 pm] history, and truly it was an assault on the heart of our democracy and I want to join in thanking the first responders and police, but I also want to thank others who have been heroes of our democracy unsung in many instances. First all of the election officials, all the poll workers, all of the members of boards of election who actually counted the votes, who went to the polls and made sure that votes could be cast and who ultimately stood firm for the integrity of that voting system, I want toking thank the judges -- I want to thank the junction. There are now about 90 of them who, except for one or two who ruled the other way on a technicality, have stood firm for the integrity of that voting system. In those 60 to 70 cases, except [11:09:30 pm] for that one ruled on a technicality, they went with the integrity of our voting system and the rule of law. Today was, indeed, disgusting and sickening. It was shocking and despicable. It was heartbreaking, but it was not surprising. In fact, today's assault on our democracy, the mob violence, the riots, the thugs and goons who were inspired and incited by the president of the United States all were of a piece with these past four years of a president who has no respect for the truth or the rule of law. Donald Trump's presidency is coming to a close in the very same way it began, with an [11:10:31 pm] attack on our democracy. In 2016, the trump campaign welcomed hostile, foreign interference with our election, and the president refused to acknowledge that he would accept the results of the election if he lost. And then again and again and again he demonstrated his contempt for the rule of law and for the laws themselves. He obstructed justice and he would have been charged with it had he not been the president of the United States. He invited a foreign government to interfere in our elections and find dirt on his political opponent. And most disturbingly these actions by a president who [11:11:34 pm] demonstrated that contempt for the rule of law were met with silence from many political leaders, our colleagues here in the senate among them, silence in the face of that contempt for the rule of law and disrespect for the law enforcers. So we could have seen today coming. In fact, we did. I warned about it, others did because the fantasies and falsehoods that drove those rioters, not protesters, the mob who assaulted the temple of democracy, were fueled by the president's misstatements and lies and contempt for the truth. And he was enabled. He had enablers. So today we are stopping in one [11:12:41 pm] instance that enabling. But we must also make sure to stop it going forward and the political stunt that brought us here today offers who great solace that it will. These stunts have consequences. We say words have consequences and the actions today will have significant consequences. They are an attack on our democracy that undermines the core tenets of our American government and a disrespect for the will of the people and a peaceful transition of power and the political stubts themselves -- stunts themselves driven by opportunism blaze a path that can be followed by more competent challenges, just as the democratic to offerral [11:13:44 pm] in -- dictatorial instincts and actions of this president can be followed by more effective and would-be tyrants intent on destroying our republic. Yes, we have more important tasks that we should be addressing as well, the pandemic, the economic revival, but today we must be mindful of the threat to our democracy that we face down and we come together on a bipartisan basis, but silence is never excusable in the face of lawlessness at the very top of our political structure. Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor. A senator: Mr. President. The presiding officer: The senator from Delaware's recognized. Mr. Coons: Mr. President, I have a question for all of my colleagues this evening, which is what happened here today? And how is it different from what we expected as we assembled [11:14:45 pm] in this chamber early this afternoon? Much -- sadly, much like the impeachment trial of just a year ago, I think as many of us slogged our way to the nation's capitol and dutifully filed into this chamber, we expected hours and hours of debate and discussion knowing the outcome, knowing that what was being engaged in by a handful of our colleagues was a political stunt, feeding the ego of our president who is chasing conspiracy theories about how he actually won the election two months ago that he lost and indulging his belief that somehow -- somehow the congress could still at the last moment snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Even in the last day president trump had been haranguing his own incredibly loyal vice president Mike pence as if [11:15:46 pm] somehow Mike pence would simply declare him president today. We knew that president trump had been stirring up the spirits of thousands, urging them to come to Washington. We had an inkling that he might go out and speak to them, but I don't think as we filed into this chamber any of us, any of us expected that for the second time in our republic's history the perimeter of this capitol would be breached, members of the senate would be rushed to safety, that not just the capitol police but U.S. Marshals and F.B.I. Officers and fully combat-geared soldiers would be in the United States capitol taking it back from a riotous mob of thugs. Just a few moments ago I went to the rotunda to see the litter and the trash, the residue and the remnants of those who took over this building today and to say thank you to the men and women of law enforcement who helped secure it after it fell [11:16:47 pm] to an angry mob. But, folks, we have to think about the consequences of what happened here today, why this happened and what it means and what it teaches. Because, frankly, tonight, now the whole world is watching. The entire world is watching a montage of scenes, of folks calf -- cavorting in the capitol, half-naked men taking that seat scrawling on surfaces, paradeing with a trump flag and in other ways signaling that they had done something significant. No, in fact, what they've actually done is weakened our democracy, showed some of its fragility and encouraged our opponents around the world. In the last two months since the election, we have one man who has abandoned his post, who has mostly spent his time golfing [11:17:48 pm] and tweeting and indulging himself in conspiracy theories and been less and less attuned to our national security and to a raging pandemic. And another man, our President-Elect, who is preparing to take over the responsibility for leading this country out of this pandemic and out of its current state of deep, deep division. President trump has abandoned his post. He does not deserve to be president any longer, and he poses a real and present threat to the future of our democracy. But let me also say this to my colleagues, half of whom changed their intended vote today after seeing what happened in the capitol. There were, as we began, roughly 13 senators, Republicans, who said they were going to vote against the certification of the election. And when we actually finally called the roll, it was just six, seven of them having been [11:18:49 pm] chastened by the events of today. But two who continue on this quest clerked for the supreme court chief justice, are deeply schooled in the law, know better than what they did today. And in a count, in a debate going on in the house, even now more than 100 house Republicans continue with this effort. On this floor earlier today, this evening, there were strong and clear and brave speeches by Republicans and Democrats alike. So I have a question as we move forward -- when will this fever break? When will we finally say to each other enough is enough, of indulging and following populism and demagoguery? Is it time to finally show who the leaders are and to uphold our constitution, that every one of the house members and a third of us swore to uphold just three days ago? I will tell you as I look ahead that I am confident that two weeks from now Joseph Biden will [11:19:53 pm] be sworn in as the next president, Kamala Harris sworn in as the next vice president, and we have a unique moment in my lifetime. Because as presidents and leaders in the senate of both parties over the last decades have observed, the senate has steadily shrunk in its significance, role and power and the presidency has steadily grown. Not in my lifetime, not since L.B.J. Have we had an incoming president who spent 36 years in this chamber. We have a chance with Joe Biden, a President-Elect who ran on bringing our country together, a President-Elect who ran on turning the page from our moment of national division, a President-Elect who respects, honors and understands the significance of this body. So we have to take this opportunity to heal, to hear each other, to compromise, to work together, and to see the real challenges facing the [11:20:53 pm] American people and take this last best moment. What happened here today should leave all of us gravely concerned about the health and the future of our democracy and the opportunity we will have two weeks from today is one we should not let pass us by. Thank you, Mr. President. With that, I yield the floor. Ms. Warren: Mr. President. The presiding officer: The senator from Massachusetts is recognized. Ms. Warren: Mr. President, more than 35,000 of our loved ones -- 350,000 ones of loved ones died from a terrible disease, small businesses have gone under never to reopen, millions have lost their jobs and too many families don't know how they're going to pay the rent or put groceries on the table. It is tough out there, but Americans are fighters. And despite all the challenges, in November they did what Americans do when they are unhappy with their leadership. They voted for change. They turned their backs on a [11:21:55 pm] sitting president who fans the flames of hatred while bodies pile up in the morgue. Instead they elected a new president who wants to save lives, to save our economy, and to save our democracy. Even as the pandemic raged, Americans showed up for democracy. States worked overtime to set up safe systems. Ballot drop boxes and early voting and gallons of hand sanitizer. Voters mailed their ballots earlier, put on masks and stood in lines at the polls. The election of 2020 shattered voting records. So here we are on the floor of the United States senate in the aftermath of an historic election held in the middle of a pandemic. People are suffering, and we should be working to get them the help they need. Instead we are here because [11:22:56 pm] Donald Trump wants to overturn the results of that election. The Republicans objecting to the results of this election will be judged by history, but the rest of us will be judged as well. It is our responsibility to stand up for our democracy even while other senators work to undermine it. Losing is hard. I ran for president myself. It was a hard-fought primary. But Joe Biden won and I lost. I am not the only one to live through that. A number of senators in this room have run for president. None of us was successful. And when we lost, we conceded and we got out of the race, because that is how democracy works. None of us lied about the results. We didn't throw temper tantrums. [11:23:56 pm] We didn't tell our allies in congress or the states to overturn the results. We didn't feed poisonous propaganda to our supporters. We didn't urge people to March on state capitols or to descend on Washington. We accepted the will of the voters. And it's not just us. It's everyone who has run for president since the beginning of America. Only once -- once -- in America's history have the people who lost tried to burn down our democracy on the way out. They caused a civil war that nearly destroyed our nation. Make no mistake, the violence we witnessed in this chamber today was the direct result of the poisonous lies that Donald Trump repeated again and again for more than two months. [11:24:56 pm] His words have consequences. Our democracy has been grievously injured by this lying coward. This effort to subvert our democracy is not nearly one last presidential tantrum. This effort is designed to knock out the basic pillar on which democracy is founded. The idea that the voters, not the sitting president and not the members of congress, but the voters decide who will lead this nation. A democracy in which the elected leaders do not bend to the will of the voters is no democracy. It is a totalitarian state. And those who pursue this effort are supporting a coup. I urge my colleagues to vote no on this effort to overthrow our democracy. [11:25:58 pm] I yield, Mr. President. The presiding officer: The senator from Alaska is recognized. Ms. Murkowski: I ask that the senate stand in recess subject to the call of the chair. The presiding officer: Without objection. Recess
Archived Unity File
}