[Pages S3998-S4001]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


      By Mr. FLAKE:

[[Page S3999]]

  S. 1552. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow 
individuals to designate that up to 10 percent of their income tax 
liability be used to reduce the national debt, and to require spending 
reductions equal to the amounts so designated; to the Committee on 
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, I rise to speak about a critical subject 
too often overlooked by Congress. It is the Federal debt and our 
  It is no secret that our national debt will soon surpass $20 
trillion. To provide some context for that figure, $20 trillion 
represents the largest amount of debt ever owed by any nation in 
history. This fact, coupled with the fast-approaching end to our fiscal 
year, will leave Congress facing an unavoidable debt debate.
  Our looming debt and deficit are two of our country's most urgent 
challenges, but the legislative branch does not treat them like the 
crises they really are. Since January alone, Congress has added $284 
billion to the debt over the next 10 years. The Congressional Budget 
Office recently projected that if Congress continues on its current 
path, deficits will increase dramatically over the next decade. 
Specifically, by 2027, the deficit will grow from 3.6 percent of the 
Nation's GDP to 5.2 percent of the Nation's GDP, totaling $1.4 
trillion. Yet, as the National Debt Clock continues to click upward 
toward $20 trillion, the Federal Government continues to spend money 
that it simply does not have.
  If Congress continues to legislate in this current state of denial, 
one day soon, we may well wake up to discover that the financial 
markets have declared that the United States is no longer a good bet. 
We must also remember that Congress's failure to address this fiscal 
train wreck today will force our children and grandchildren to deal 
with its consequences tomorrow. Unless Congress can get this 
fundamental issue under control, nothing else will matter very much.
  There ought to be an option that allows taxpayers to take matters 
into their own hands. That is why today I am reintroducing the Debt 
Buy-Down Act. The Debt Buy-Down Act is a commonsense bill that allows 
taxpayers to rein in the national debt with the simple check of a box. 
If passed, this bill would require the IRS to include an option on 
individuals' tax forms that allow them to voluntarily designate up to 
10 percent of their tax liabilities to go specifically toward reducing 
the national debt. The bill would then require Congress to reduce 
Federal spending by an amount equivalent to that designated by the 
taxpayers. If Congress fails to make these necessary spending 
reductions designated by taxpayers, then across-the-board spending cuts 
would be imposed.
  This is not a good way to reduce the Federal debt. The better way 
would be to make priorities as we consider our spending bills, but it 
is better than just letting these spending bills go and doing nothing. 
We ought to use a scalpel and go in and treat these programs as we 
should and make sure they are doing what they were intended to. If we 
cannot do that, then we need to take dramatic measures to get our debt 
and deficit under control.
  The Debt Buy-Down Act would protect Social Security benefits, 
benefits for those in the uniformed services, and payments for net 
interest on the national debt from being included in any of these 
across-the-board cuts.
  Simply put, in the absence of responsible Federal budget solutions, 
this bill allows taxpayers to take matters into their own hands. In 
2014, Americans paid over $1.37 trillion in individual income taxes. If 
every one of these individuals had contributed 10 percent of their tax 
liability, Congress would have been required to have cut $137 billion 
in spending. While $137 billion does not solve our $20 trillion debt 
problem, it is certainly a good place to start.
  Congress has been so desensitized to the growing national debt that 
the word ``trillion'' does not even raise alarm bells anymore. In fact, 
after I introduced the Debt Buy-Down Act in 2010, I began sending a 
weekly, pun-laden press release to help put the then-$13 trillion 
national debt--just in 2010--into perspective. It was called ``So Just 
How Broke Are We?'' Maybe it is time to bring it back.
  So 7 years and $7 trillion in added debt later, just how broke are we 
today? We are so broke that, with our $20 trillion national debt, we 
could book 570,000 trips to the Moon on SpaceX. It is a pretty 
expensive excursion, but we could do it 570,000 times. We are so broke 
that, with our $20 trillion national debt, we could buy every seat at 
Chase Field in Phoenix for the next 22 million Arizona Diamondbacks 
games. Of course, that is just a ballpark figure, but it is the last 
pun. I promise. We are so broke that with our $20 trillion national 
debt we could buy 20 billion tickets to see Hamilton.

  My love of bad puns and jokes aside, instead of thinking about how 
$20 trillion could be spent, maybe we ought to start thinking about how 
$20 trillion could be saved.
  That is why I am calling on my colleagues to support the Debt Buy-
Down Act and empower taxpayers to reduce the national debt. Just think, 
a simple check of a box would help save billions of dollars and 
preserve the strength of our national economy. It would save future 
generations from the consequences of our crippling national debt.
  At any rate, I hope this bill makes like the debt and grows a lot of 
      By Mr. JOHNSON:
  S. 1553. A bill to amend the Controlled Substances Act to list 
fentanyl analogues as schedule I controlled substances; to the 
Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss an epidemic that 
is sweeping our Nation. From big cities to small towns, communities 
across our country have been ravaged by drug addiction and the multiple 
problems caused by it. Opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999 and 
were responsible for over 33,000 deaths in 2015 alone.
  We have all seen the dangers posed by the overprescription of highly 
addictive prescription opioids. According to the CDC, addiction to 
prescription opioid painkillers is the primary gateway to heroin abuse. 
In fact, Michael Botticelli, President Obama's drug czar, testified in 
my committee last year that people who are addicted and abuse 
prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to abuse heroin.
  Almost all of the heroin sold on the streets of the United States 
today enters the country illegally from Mexico. It is trafficked by 
drug cartels into our communities through our porous southwest border.
  It is a problem that continues to grow. Even as heroin has increased, 
it has remained available and affordable because increased production 
in Mexico has ensured a reliable supply of low-cost heroin. As long as 
there is a demand, the enormous profit potential of the drug trade will 
ensure that there is a sufficient supply. A kilogram of heroin can be 
produced in Mexico for around $5,000. It can be sold to dealers for as 
much as $80,000--a 1,500 percent profit.
  At another committee hearing, we learned that heroin has 
significantly dropped in price. In 1981, the nationwide average price 
was $3,260 per gram of pure heroin. Today, it is between $100 and $150 
per gram. That translates into as little as $10 for one hit, making 
heroin a very affordable and very destructive addiction. While prices 
have dropped, the potency has increased. Heroin sold in Wisconsin has 
increased from 5 percent purity in the 1980s to somewhere between 20 
percent and 80 percent purity today.
  As awful as that reality is, imported heroin is only one front in our 
fight against opioids. Another equally dangerous front is synthetic or 
man-made opioids--particularly fentanyl and its analogs--which are now 
commonly mixed into the heroin sold in our communities. Since fentanyl 
is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than 
morphine, it only takes a minuscule amount of fentanyl--just 2 
milligrams, less than one one-thousandth of the weight of a penny--to 
be potentially lethal.
  Even more alarming, we are now beginning to see carfentanil, often 
used to sedate elephants, also being blended into heroin and fentanyl 
on the streets. Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 
10,000 times more potent than morphine. A dose of carfentanil the size 
of a grain of salt can lead to a deadly overdose.

[[Page S4000]]

  Just as we are seeing an increase in drugs coming across our 
southwest border, man-made opioids are on the rise as well. The profit 
potential of fentanyl is even more staggering than heroin's. According 
to an article in the Wall Street Journal, 25 grams of fentanyl costs 
approximately $810 to produce and has a market value of $800,000.
  In 2013, 3,097 people died from overdoses involving synthetic 
opioids. Just 1 year later, we lost 5,544 people to that same drug--a 
79-percent increase in just 1 year. My home State of Wisconsin has been 
particularly hard hit by the introduction of fentanyl and its analogs.
  In April, 2016, I met Lauri Badura. Lauri is from Oconomowoc, WI, a 
suburb in Milwaukee. She lost her son Archie to a heroin overdose.
  Here is a picture of Archie. He doesn't exactly look like a heroin 
addict, does he? Archie was just 19 years old when he died. He began 
using marijuana during his freshman year in high school and discovered 
opioids the summer after his high school graduation. After overdosing 
multiple times and trying to quit, Archie had stayed sober for 77 days 
before he relapsed again and finally overdosed on May 15, 2014.
  In Archie's memory, Lauri started a foundation called Saving Others 
For Archie, or SOFA. Her organization raises awareness throughout 
Wisconsin of the dangers of drug abuse. It offers support for families 
battling addiction. Lauri is constantly being contacted by and 
providing comfort to other parents coping with similar tragedies.
  Lauri's story is moving, and I applaud her for being such a strong 
advocate for those struggling with addiction. Unfortunately, her 
tragedy is not unique. The scourge of addiction and overdose deaths has 
devastated thousands of families, including my own.
  In January, 2016, I lost a nephew to a fentanyl overdose. The 
legislation I am introducing this afternoon is in memory of my nephew, 
of Archie, and of all of the families in Wisconsin and throughout 
America who have lost loved ones in this epidemic.
  Today I am proud to introduce the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl 
Analogues Act, or SOFA Act. Sharing an acronym with Lauri Badura's 
organization, the SOFA Act will give law enforcement a set of enhanced 
tools to combat the opioid epidemic by closing a loophole that criminal 
drug manufacturers are exploiting.
  Fentanyl is a synthetic, or man-made, opioid--the result of complex 
chemistry that brings together multiple building blocks. Criminal 
chemists need change only one small piece of the chemical bond to be 
one step ahead of the law. The fentanyl analogs on the street today 
serve no known medical purpose and are contributing to the alarming 
overdose rates throughout the country. My legislation would classify 
these analogs under schedule I and give the DEA tools to quickly 
schedule additional fentanyl analogs as they are identified in our 
  This body took a step forward last Congress when we passed the CARA 
legislation to improve addiction treatment programs throughout the 
United States. We can now take another important step forward by 
providing law enforcement with the tools it needs to get these 
dangerous synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and carfentanil, off the 
  In addition to Lauri Badura, I also want to thank Dr. Tim Westlake 
for working with me to craft this legislation. Tim has testified at a 
committee field hearing in Pewaukee, and he participated in an opioid 
roundtable in Milwaukee I convened in September. His leadership in 
Wisconsin and on this issue has been invaluable.
  I look forward to working with my colleagues on this legislation and 
additional opportunities to combat this serious problem that has 
plagued our Nation.
      By Mr. DURBIN (for himself and Ms. Duckworth):
  S. 1560. A bill to ensure the integrity of border and immigration 
enforcement efforts by requiring U.S. Customs and Border Protection and 
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to administer law enforcement 
polygraph examinations to all applicants for law enforcement positions 
and to require post-hire polygraph examinations for law enforcement 
personnel as part of periodic reinvestigations; to the Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of 
the bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 1560

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Integrity in Border and 
     Immigration Enforcement Act''.


       In this Act:
       (1) Law enforcement position.--The term ``law enforcement 
     position'' means any law enforcement position in U.S. Customs 
     and Border Protection (``CBP'') or U.S. Immigration and 
     Customs Enforcement (``ICE'').
       (2) Polygraph examination.--The term ``polygraph 
     examination'' means the Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Test 
     certified by the National Center for Credibility Assessment.


       (a) Applicants.--Beginning not later than 30 days after the 
     date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland 
       (1) shall require that polygraph examinations are conducted 
     on all applicants for law enforcement positions; and
       (2) may not hire any applicant for a law enforcement 
     position who does not pass a polygraph examination.
       (b) Targeted Polygraph Reinvestigations.--Beginning not 
     later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this 
     Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, as part of each 
     background reinvestigation, shall administer a polygraph 
     examination to--
       (1) every CBP law enforcement employee who is determined by 
     the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security 
     to be part of a population at risk of corruption or 
     misconduct, based on an analysis of past incidents of 
     misconduct and corruption; and
       (2) every ICE law enforcement employee who is determined by 
     the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security 
     to be part of a population at risk of corruption or 
     misconduct, based on an analysis of past incidents of 
     misconduct and corruption.
       (c) Delegation of Authority to Determine Targeted Polygraph 
     Examinations.--The Inspector General of the Department of 
     Homeland Security may--
       (1) delegate the authority under subsection (b)(1) to the 
     CBP Office of Professional Responsibility; and
       (2) delegate the authority under subsection (b)(2) to the 
     ICE Office of Professional Responsibility.
       (d) Random Polygraph Reinvestigations.--Beginning not later 
     than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the 
     Secretary of Homeland Security shall--
       (1) randomly administer a polygraph examination each year 
     to at least 5 percent of CBP law enforcement employees who 
     are undergoing background reinvestigations during that year 
     and have not been selected for a targeted polygraph 
     examination under subsection (b)(1); and
       (2) randomly administer a polygraph examination each year 
     to at least 5 percent of ICE law enforcement employees who 
     are undergoing background reinvestigations during that year 
     and have not been selected for a targeted polygraph 
     examination under subsection (b)(2).
      By Mr. McCAIN:
  S. 1561. A bill to repeal the Jones Act restrictions on coastwise 
trade, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to introduce the 
Open America's Waters Act of 2017. This bill would repeal the Merchant 
Marine Act of 1920, better known as the Jones Act, an archaic and 
burdensome law that hinders free trade, stifles the economy and 
ultimately hurts consumers, largely for the benefit of labor unions. If 
this legislation becomes law, U.S. shippers will no longer be required 
to patronize market inefficiency but rather, effectively leverage the 
global shipping market.
  As many of my colleagues know, the Jones Act is one of many of laws 
passed over time that addresses port-to-port coastal shipping, drafted 
in order to protect the U.S. domestic shipping industry. While the 
Jones Act may have had some rationale back in the 1920s when it was 
enacted, today it serves only to raise shipping costs, making U.S. 
farmers and businesses less competitive in the global marketplace and 
increasing costs for American consumers. This protectionist mentality 
directly contradicts the lessons our nation has learned about the many 
benefits of a free and open market. Repeatedly, it has been proven that 
trade liberalization has created

[[Page S4001]]

jobs, expanded economic growth and provided consumers with access to 
lower cost goods and services.
  The forced purchase of American vessels combined with the immense 
cost associated with U.S. shipbuilding has forced U.S. shippers to act 
against their best interests to the detriment of their businesses. 
While foreign-built coastal-sized ships typically cost between $25-30 
million, a U.S.-made ship of the same size can cost anywhere between 
$190-250 million. A repeal of the Jones Act, over time, would have 
broad impact. According to a 2002 U.S. International Trade Commission 
study, repealing the Jones Act would lower shipping costs by about 22 
percent. The Commission also found that repealing the Jones Act would 
have an annual positive effect of $656 million on the overall U.S. 
economy. Though this decade-and-a-half-old study provides some of the 
most recent statistics available, it is not hard to imagine the modern 
affect that maritime deregulation would contribute to this industry.
  Congress must take action to repeal laws that have outlived their 
usefulness and are no longer relevant to modern commerce. It is 
unacceptable that millions of dollars in the U.S. economy are lost 
every year to an antiquated policy, and unacceptable that this body is 
unable to disengage from special interests in order to participate in a 
productive debate on this issue. I encourage my colleagues to reflect 
on our responsibility as lawmakers and see the Jones Act for what it 
really is: an outdated and protectionist policy that only serves to 
harm the American economy and consumer.
  I encourage my colleagues to support this legislation.