Senate leaders deliver remarks on Senate floor
Are still making the choice to open. Their hearts. And homes. To children, in need. Congress, has worked in the past. To reduce, barriers. That would be. That would be adopting, parents. Face. I will continue, my efforts to make sure. Adoption, remains, an option. For children in foster, care. Who can't be reunited. With their family. Women, facing, an unexpected. Pregnancy. And all parents willing and able to provide, a safe. And loving home. For kids. In need. There were over 100. Thousand, children. In the foster, care system. Waiting, for adoption. In 2019. That hundred thousand. Is approximately. One-fourth. Of the number of kids that are in foster, care. Congress, must work in a bipartisan. Way. As it has for many years. To make sure adoption. Can become a reality. Not just a dream. For all, of these kids. We must also, make sure that child welfare, agencies. Have the tools, and flexibilities. That need to serve. That they need to serve the families, in their communities. For years in the senate. I have worked to elevate. The voices, of. Youth. In the foster care system. These young people. Are their best. Own best advocates. And they can tell you. That the thing they want, most. Is a caring. And lovely, family. And a permanent, home. What would you expect, from any of these young people. That are moved from. Home to home maybe two or three times. In a given year. As i continue, to work in congress. Towards, the goal of, adopting. Of helping all children find their. Forever, family. I will always. Keep, in, the best interest, of children. At the forefront. I yield the floor and suggest, the absence of a quorum. The clerk will call her all. Mr. Alexander. Mr president. Senator for vote vermont, is recognized. I thank you mr president i asked for the. Quorum call to be dispensed, with. Without objection. Under the previous order the leadership, time is reserved. Morning business, is closed. Under the previous order the senate will proceed, to executive, session. To resume, consideration. Of the following, nomination. Which the clerk will report. Nomination. The judiciary. James, ray, knapp ii, of ohio, to be united states district, judge for the northern, district, of ohio. Mr president. Center's recognized. As i see the majority, leader, on the, floor and, while i have. Um, i have the floor of course as a matter of courtesy, i will yield to him if he has. Some comments, he wants to make. And ask that i didn't. Be recognized, for mine. Without objection. I understand. Before i do a year i understand senator schumer is coming. So i will uh, i think what i'll do i'll just. Yield the poor to accommodate. Our. Uh. Two leaders but then i would ask i'd be recognized. Without. Objection. Majority, leader is recognized. Mr edin last week. Record numbers of americans. Exercise, the right. Which generations. Risk, everything. To hand on to us. I want to spend a few minutes this morning talking about what we saw last week. Where we are now. And where our great country. Will go. From here. There's one aspect of last week, that has gotten, lost. That i want to single out right at the start. By every indication. The 2020, election, appears to have been free. From meaningful, foreign interference. There is no suggestion, that our foreign adversaries. Were allowed. To undermine, the integrity.
Of Our process. According to the director, of, the cyber security. And infrastructure. Security, administration. Quote. We have, no. No, evidence. Any foreign adversary, was capable, of preventing, americans, from voting. Or changing, vote, tallies. End. Quote. General paul, nakasoni. The head of the nsa. And u.s cyber. Command. Reported, tuesday night quote. The actions, we've taken against adversaries. Have ensured. They're not going to interfere. In our elections. End quote. The trump administration. And the senate spent, four years. Supporting, the state and local election authorities. On the front lines. New tools. And information, sharing partnerships. Unprecedented. Coordination. Hundreds of millions, in new, funding. New painful, consequences. For bad actors. Like russia. If they interfere. The absence of any reports, of foreign interference. Is a ringing, endorsement. A ringing endorsement, of our bipartisan. Work. And it slams, the door on the embarrassing. Irresponsible. Rhetoric. That some washington, democrats. Spent four years broadcasting. Too many voices, tried to talk down our progress. Urged americans. Actually, not to have confidence. And smeared, anyone as unpatriotic. Who opposed, far-left, proposals. To rewrite. Election. Well, mr president the people who push this hysteria, could not, have more egg on their face. Than they do. Right now. None of their demands, became law. None of them. The speaker of the house did not get to personally, rewrite. Election, law. And yet because of the sensible, bipartisan. Steps. That some of us championed. Our defenses. And countermeasures. Proved to be radically. In radically, better shape. Than back in 2016.. So it's, time let's talk, about where we are now. According to preliminary, results, voters across the nation, elected. And re-elected, republican, senators, to a degree. That actually. Stunned. Prognosticators. Likewise, the american people seem to have reacted, to house democrats, radicalism, and obstruction. By shrinking. The speaker's, majority. And electing. More, republicans. And then there's the presidential, race. Obviously. No states, have yet certified. Their election, results. We have at least one or two states that are already on track, for a, recount. And i believe the president, may have, legal challenges, underway. In at least, five. States. The core principle, here. Is not. Complicated. In the united states of america. All, legal ballots must be counted. Any illegal. Ballots. Must not be counted. The process, should be transparent. Or. Observable. By all sides. And the courts are here. To work through. Concerns. Our institutions. Are actually built for this. We have the system in place to consider, concerns. And president trump. Is 100. Within his rights. To look into allegations, of, irregularities. And weigh his legal, options. Let's go back 20 years ago. 20 years ago when florida came down to a very. Thin, margin. We saw vice president gore, exhaust. The legal system. And wait to concede. Until december. More recently. Weeks after the media had called president bush's re-election, in 2004.
Democrats, Baselessly. Disputed, ohio's, elections. Electors, and delayed the process. Here in congress. In 2016. Election law saw recounts, or legal challenges. In several states. If any major irregularities. Occurred, this time. Of a magnitude, that would affect the outcome. Then every single american, should, want them to be brought to light. And if democrats, feel confident they have not occurred. They should have, no reason. To fear. Any, extra. Scrutiny. We have the tools, and institutions. We need to address. Any concerns. The president has every right to look into allegations. And to request. Recounts. Under the law. And notably. The constitution. Gives, no role, in this process. To wealthy. Media, corporations. The projections. And commentary. Of the press. Do not get, veto power, over the legal rights, of any citizen. Including. The president. Of the united states. Now more broadly, mr president. Let's not have any lectures. No lectures, about how the president, should immediately. Cheerfully. Accept preliminary. Election results. From the same characters, who just spent four years refusing, to accept the validity, of the last election. And who, insinuated. That this one. Would be illegitimate. Too. If they lost again. Only if they lost. So let's have no lectures on this subject. From that contention. In late august secretary, hillary clinton said quote. Joe biden should not concede, under any circumstances. I think this is going to drag out. And he will win it if we don't. Give. An inch. That same month. Speaker pelosi, and the democratic, leader both stated, quote. President trump needs to cheat. To win. In october. When speaker pelosi, was shopping, some conspiracy. Theory about the postal, service. She recklessly, said quote. Listen to this i have no doubt that the president will lie cheat and steal to win the election. Now does this, sound. Like a chorus that has, any, credibility. Whatsoever. To say a few, legal challenges, from president trump. Represent, some kind of crisis. At this time last week small business owners in cities across america. Were boarding up their windows, in case president trump appeared to win. And far-left, mobs, decided, to reprise, their summer. Rioting. Suffice, it to say a few legal inquiries, from the president. Do not. Exactly, spell. The end. Of the republic. Here's two professors, from fordham law school. And new york law school. This is how they put it. Quote. For centuries. We've asked people who are unhappy with their fellow citizens, or government agencies, and institutions. Bring their claims to court. President trump is. Quote. A traditional, response, that affirms, rather than undermines, american, institutions. End quote. This process, will reach. Its resolution. Our system, will resolve, any recounts. Or litigation. In january, the winner of this election, will place, his hand. On a bible. Just like it happened. Every four years. Since, 1793.. What we know for sure is that the outcome is guaranteed, to delight, tens of millions of americans, and disappoint. Tens, of millions, of americans. But we also know that we, will wake up. On january, 21st. Still blessed, to live in the greatest nation, the world has, ever seen. And in no small part that is because we respect, the rule of law. We trust our institutions. And neither of those things is outweighed, by pronouncements. From partisans. Or the press. Now on an entirely, different, matter mr. President. The last several days have brought huge good news. In our fight to beat the, terrible, virus. This morning one drug manufacturer. Announced, that ongoing, trials suggest their candidate, for a covet 19, vaccine. May be more than 90, percent. Effective. 90. Effective. This is a huge testament, to the ingenuity, of the american private sector. And their global partners. And to the historic, efforts of congress. And the trump administration. We flattened. Regulatory. Road, roadblocks. We sped up trials. And laid groundwork, to buy and distribute, a vaccine. As fast. As possible. Last week we learned the unemployment, rate has fallen to 6.9. Percent. 6.9. With more than 630. 000 new jobs, added. Just in the month of october. Now remember, back in the springtime, many experts, estimated, we would still be saddled with double-digit.
Joblessness. Through the end. Of this year. Turns out. The news, is a whole lot better. Another testament, to the strong economic, foundation, that congress and the trump administration. Spent three years, laying. Before the pandemic. Struck. And most of all. To the resilience. The incredible. Resilience. Of the american, people. So to be clear, our work is not finished. Too many americans, are still suffering, economically. And infections, are climbing, across the country. We cannot give up on common sense measures like wearing mass just because we've grown, tired of them. The senate is going to have a busy few weeks. I hope our democratic, colleagues will finally put aside their all or nothing obstruction, and let the targeted, pandemic, relief. Targeted. Pandemic, relief, is what we need. Let it move forward. In any event we will need to fund the government. Reach agreement with the house. On the national defense authorization. Act. And confirm, more thoroughly, qualified. Nominees. So i welcome all my colleagues back to the chamber. And i look forward to finishing this year strong. Our states, and our country. Are counting on. Us. Clerk will call the roll. Mr. Alexander. Unanimous, consent the quorum be dispensed, with without objection. Now mr president. Last tuesday. Our country, conducted, the most sacred, process, in our democratic. System of government. A national, election. It was an election, unlike, any other, in modern, history. Much of the voting was done before election day itself. As a global, pandemic. Forced states to adjust their balloting, and voting procedures. The counting of the vote took a little longer than most americans, might have expected. Or hoped. Indeed. Some of the final tabulations. Are not yet complete. It is still to be determined, which party will hold a majority. In this chamber. But we do know a few things. First, and most, importantly. Former, vice president. Joseph. Robinette, biden. Will become the 46th. President. Of the united states. Our dear colleague.
The Distinguished, senator from california. Kamala harris. Will be the next vice president, of the united states. And on january, 20th. The country, will finally, finally, turn the page. On one of the most divisive. And chaotic, chapters. In our history. President-elect. Joe biden has told the country that it's time to come together and heal. To unify, once again. To fight not our political, opponents, but our common enemies, disease, and poverty and injustice. There's no person better suited to the task than the former vice president. He will be a great president. For all americans. Vice president-elect. Harris meanwhile, has just made history, four times over. She will be the first african-american. Woman. The first asian-american. Woman. The first bi-racial. Woman. And, the first woman period. To ever serve. As vice president. Of these, united, states. I congratulate. The former vice president, his wife jill. Our colleague, senator harris, and her husband doug. On their hard-fought. Hard-fought. Victory. More americans, voted for president-elect. Biden and vice president-elect. Harris. Than any ticket in our nation's, history. They have given them an enormous, burden. A decisive, mandate. To take the reins of the executive, branch and marshal this government, into action. For they will assume, the high offices, of the presidency, and the vice presidency. At a time. Of unprecedented. Challenge. Our great nation. Faces, the greatest, economic, crisis, in 75. Years. The greatest public health crisis, in a century. Extraordinary. Inequalities. Of wealth and income, strike at the heart of the idea of america, as a land of equal opportunity. Racial disparities. In our society. Strike at the heart of the idea, of america. As a place of equal justice. Climate, change. Threatens. The very future. Of our planet. The american, people have placed their faith in president-elect. Biden to confront, those challenges, head-on. To relieve, their suffering. To repair, our democracy. To recover, our economy. And rebuild, a country, and a planet. For this generation. And, for the next. I have no doubt. Their faith will be rewarded. But i also have no doubt, that the task ahead. Is daunting. While the country prepares, for a change in administration. It must also brace for the darkest, days of the covet, 19, pandemic. Over the weekend, the united states recover, recorded, its 10 millionth, case. We are now confirming, nearly a hundred thousand new cases of covet per day. On track to, eclipse, more than a million new cases, per week. As exhausted. And impatient. As we all are. For our lives our livelihoods. To return, to normal. Experts, are warning us that the worst phase is still ahead. The quickest, way to turn the tide, crush the virus, and get back to normal. Is to do what we should have been doing, all along. Take the virus seriously. Listen to the scientists. And dedicate, the necessary. Resources. To get the job done. President-elect. Biden is already preparing, to do just that. Today he named several health experts, and scientific, advisors, to serve. On a covet, 19, task force. It sends the right signal that while the president-elect. Will not assume office for another few months. His administration. Will hit the ground running. And its policy, on covet, 19. Will refreshingly. Be. Dictated, by facts. And by science. It's a major, turning point that soon. We will have an administration. That actually, acknowledges, that this is a health care crisis. That knows our economy, won't fully recover, until we solve it. I'm confident, that abiding, administration. Will do that. But congress. Must play its part too. Nearly 15 million americans, have lost health insurance, through their employer. Democrats, have a solution, to that problem. Let's get it done and make sure those families, have health coverage. Medicaid, programs, across the country are experiencing. A huge influx, of new enrollees. While state budgets. Struggle, to bear the added costs. The heroes, act ensures, that medicaid, is strengthened, and secured. For the duration, of this pandemic. Let's get that done too. And today we receive, news that the entire world has been waiting for. A u.s company, has developed a vaccine, for covet 19, that according to the preliminary, research, in the news reports. Is 90 percent, effective. The fda, said it would approve a vaccine, that was 50 percent effective. So while the fda, needs to review the vaccine. To have a vaccine, as that is 90 percent, effective, is about as good as it. Gets. We democrats. Will do everything, we can. To make sure, this vaccine. Or any vaccine. Is distributed. Quickly. Fairly, equitably. And the challenge is now one of scale, and one of delivery. Congress should fund a national, vaccination. Program. And the administration. Whether it's the trump administration. Or the biden administration. Must do everything, to reach minority, and underserved, communities. Combat, vaccine, hesitancy. And ensure that the vaccines. Are free. To everyone.
This Will be a massive, and complex, undertaking. Unlike anything that our country has seen. And we must all work together. From the president, to congress, down to local community, health departments. To sure that it gets done right. And it gets done fairly, and it gets done. Equitably. So while the incoming, administration. Prepares, to take on the surge of covet 19. Congress. Should pass a strong, comprehensive. Coveted relief bill. That actually, meets the needs. Of the american, people, excuse. Me. It comes to health care education. Testing, tracing. Unemployment. Benefits, and many other critical, issues. Republican. Majority. Has proposed. Totally, inadequate. Solutions. As the disease, surges, across our country once again. There is no time. For inadequate. Solutions. I hope now that the election, is behind, us. Our colleagues, come are ready to come together. In a search for an adequate, bipartisan. Solution. Rather than the partisan. Stunt, voting. Legislating. We've suffered for the past few months. Now i must spend a moment on something that will garner too much attention, over the next few weeks. Baseless, claims by the president, and his supporters. That there's been widespread. Voter fraud. And that the election. Was somehow, rigged or stolen, from president, trump. That kind of rhetoric. Is extremely, dangerous. Extremely. Poisonous. To our democracy. As in any campaign, the president, has a right to bring legal challenges, or request recounts, where state law allows. However. There is no legal right to file frivolous, claims. Lawsuits, must have basis, in facts, and evidence. And make no mistake. There has been no, evidence, of any significant. Whites or widespread, voter fraud. Joe biden. Won this election. Fair, and square. The margins, of his victory are growing by the day. And former, vice former president, george w, bush commendably. Acknowledged. That fact, when he congratulated. President-elect. Biden. And vice president-elect. Harris on their victory. Now republican, leaders in congress, should also, do the right thing. Republican. Leaders. Must unequivocally. Condemn, the president's. Rhetoric. And work to ensure, the peaceful, transfer, of power on january, twentieth. I have been heartened to see a few of my, republican. Colleagues. It's three i believe. Congratulate. The winning ticket. But too many. Including. The republican, leader. Have been silent, or sympathetic. To the president's, fantasies. Even some non-partisan. Members of the current administration. Have refused, to move forward with the formal, process, for an incoming administration. According to the washington, post. The administrator. Of the general services, administration. Has declined, to sign a letter for allowing, president-elect. Joe biden's, transition, team. To formally, begin its work. It does not matter whether the president, is happy about the results of the election. The peaceful, transfer, of power. Is a hallmark, the, bedrock. Of our democracy. And it must proceed, unimpeded. The gsa, administrator. Should sign the paperwork, immediately. In order to allow the important, work. Of the presidential.
Transition. To proceed. America, remains, in the middle of a worsening, health and economic, crisis. And there's no excuse, none. For the outgoing, administration. To impede, the new administration's. Preparations. To deal with these urgent challenges. There is no law or requirement. That president, trump concede, the election. Or leave the office of the presidency, with grace. But as history, prepares, to write the final few sentences. On the trump presidency. It will surely note how this president. And his republican, allies, here, in congress. Treated a treated our democracy. On his way, out the door, i yield the. Floor. Senator from vermont, mr president. I believe under our. Original, agreement, i'm recognized, next, yes sir. And. Um. I appreciate, what the democratic, leader, said i. And i was willing to step. Step aside, earlier when i had the floor because, i. Understood, the two leaders are coming to speak as a matter of courtesy. To them and i know, the democratic, leader at least appreciated, that so. Let me. Agree with what he, said. I came here. And the president, of the united, states. Was an, unelected. President. Been unelected, vice president. As jerry, ford. And then. Under our. Change in our law since, president, kennedy's. Death was able to pick, a. Unelected, vice president. I remember democrats, and republicans, alike. Welcoming, him. And saying let's go forward. And i've been here with each president. Some. Re-elected. Some not. And. In every instance. I see the outgoing, president. Welcoming. The incoming, president. Republican, or democratic. And they've done it to try to make it smoothly, transition. Not for their own political, purposes. But for the good, of the united, states, of america. Everyone, has done that. George, i think of george h.w, bush. Welcoming, bill clinton who defeated, him. I remember al gore who had more, votes than george. W bush but after the court had ruled. Graciously. Conceded, to george w bush i remember. Hillary, clinton with, well over two million more votes than donald, trump. But saying here's what the electoral, college, is. And and conceding. Now we see. Joseph, biden. With more votes than anybody. Has ever gotten in the history, of the united states for. President. And the incumbent, president. He goes off golfing. Again, again. Pretends. He doesn't have to step back. And in fact, actually does everything possible. To make it difficult, for the new president. To handle the transition. That's wrong. Just as i've encouraged both. Democrats, and republicans. As. President, you, help. The incoming, president with transition. Not for your political, reasons, or their political, reasons. But for the good of all of us as. Americans. And they say oh no we're going to. We're going to hold the key to the door the transition, office. Every. Republican. Every democrat, voted for the money. For that transition. Office. That whoever, is president. Could step forward. And not hurt the country, by coming in without, doing the necessary, preparation. And they're like a little. Child and a playground. No we got the key we got the key we're not going to share the key. Oh come on. Do you know how this makes us look to the rest of the world. You know how it makes us look at my state of vermont. Where some republicans. Voted for donald trump. Some voted for. Joe biden, the majority, voted in this case for. Joe biden but i've been hearing from vermonters, all over both parties. What's going on. It's over, it's gone for the country. In that regard. Let me just speak briefly. About the president-elect. The vice president-elect. When i came to this body i was the most junior, member. Of the united states. Senate. And the second. Youngest. The youngest.
Was A senator, from delaware, who had been elected just two years before. Joe biden. And i think the fact that we were the two youngest we bonded, over that. And. Got to know his family. I knew the tragedy, he had when his. First wife was killed his daughter was killed. But he'd go home every day. To make sure that. He could put. His sons to bed. Be there with him. I don't know how many times mr president would be standing down there in the well. He's looking at his watch he said what time do you think the last vote's going to be because the next train. To delaware. Is at such such, time. It's like a marathon, runner going out the door to make sure he got the train which he did, to be home to take care, of his children. And i remember how happy marcel, and i were when he met jill. What a wonderful, woman. Dr, biden. Was, everything. You'd want, in a first lady, in this. In this country. We had the privilege of traveling, with both of them seeing the. Love and the joy they had in each other's company. The love and the joy they've shown in their children, and grandchildren. And continue, to. I watched joe biden with a sense of dignity, as he ran. As he ran, for election. To the presidency. An office. He had hoped to hold. I probably thought he never would. I know that he had wanted to run. Four years ago, but it's too close to the time. Of losing his son beau. And i'd had the, privilege. Of knowing, bolt. In fact the last time i talked to him was, on the. On the battlefield. In iraq where he. Was serving. In. Combat. For, our u.s, military. I told him at that.