(Senate - June 26, 2012)

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[Pages S4627-S4631]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I now move to proceed to Calendar No. 341, 
S. 2237.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the motion.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to Calendar No. 341, S. 2237, a bill to 
     provide a temporary income tax credit for increased payroll 
     and extend bonus depreciation for an additional year, and for 
     other purposes.

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I made a commitment to proceed to a 5-year 
flood insurance bill following the farm bill. We have done that. It is 
the right thing to do. It is an extremely important piece of 
legislation. So I have lived up to that commitment. I had hoped the 
broad support we have for this extremely important bill would allow us 
to reach an agreement and finish the bill in a relatively short period 
of time.
  As everyone knows, the senior Senator from Arkansas has had some 
issues with the bill. I have suggested that he have a vote. From 
talking to my Republican friends, they do not have a problem with that, 
giving him a vote. Unfortunately, as happens around here more often 
than I would like, we have not been able to reach agreement because a 
small group of Republicans is stopping us from doing this.
  So my options are really very limited at this stage. I can file 
cloture and put at risk our ability to complete action on student loans 
and the Transportation bill. That is what it would do because if I file 
cloture, we will have to have a cloture vote on this on Thursday. And I 
would have to file cloture twice because there is the bill and there is 
the substitute, which everybody agreed was the right thing to do to 
move forward on the substitute. That is two votes, so at least 60 
hours. The flood bill is a very important piece of legislation. It is 
not something we have to complete the day after tomorrow, but it is 
something we have to complete a month from now. So do I file cloture 
and put at risk these important pieces of legislation, meaning the 
Transportation bill, the student loans--put everything at risk--or I 
can give supporters of this bill time to try to come to an agreement on 
limiting the number of amendments.
  I really believe the right thing to do is to give the people who want 
this bill passed, Democrats and Republicans, people who support this 
extremely important piece of legislation, a day or two to figure out if 
they can get something done. I hope they can. I honestly do. So I am 
not filing cloture on this bill as I had really actually contemplated. 
I hope my Republican friends will work with us to get this bill done.
  This is a bill that deals with flood insurance. I have spoken to a 
number of Republican Senators, including Senator Vitter, who is the 
person who has spoken out on this more than anyone else, and he 
acknowledges that there may be a few relevant amendments that we should 
have on this bill. I do not care. That is fine with me. Let's set up a 
list of amendments and finish this bill. So I hope we can get that 
done. I really do. We should not get in a legislative morass on a bill 
that is extremely important for the country no matter what part of the 
country you live in. The dry deserts of Nevada, this is an important 
piece of legislation; the wetlands of Florida and Louisiana, very 
important piece of legislation. So I hope we can get this done.
  Let me just say another word or two. I am very pleased to say that we 
are close to an agreement to prevent student loan rates from doubling 
for 7 million young men and women. That would happen at the end of the 
week. So I appreciate the leadership of President Obama. He has pushed 
forward on this for a long time. He has given many public statements in 
this regard. He has been talking to students around the country. He was 
in New Hampshire yesterday talking to students. They waited in the rain 
to hear him talk. He has been working with leaders in Congress to 
ensure that students will not pay the extra $1,000 to get a degree.
  I would remind my colleagues, the Republicans, including the Speaker, 
my friend, were willing to give up on this issue a few weeks ago. We 
are not willing to give up on this issue. I am glad my Republican 
colleagues have agreed we should not give up on this issue. We do not 
want to let the rates double. Leader Cantor even said Republicans were 
done legislating. Remember that? But with the President's leadership 
and our persistence and the help of my valiant Republican friends, we 
are going to be able, with a little bit of good luck, to protect 7 
million students. I hope that is, in fact, the case.
  I appreciate the diligent work of the chairman of our committee, 
Senator Harkin. Senator Jack Reed has worked very hard on this, as have 
other Senators. I am leaving a few out, but I am certainly not doing 
that intentionally.
  I hope everyone understands the legislative issues we have to work to 
toward the end of this week. I hope we can get it done. I hope we do 
not get trapped in one of these Senate procedural bogs where we are 
going to have to be here Friday, Saturday. You know, I hope we do not 
have to do that. There is no reason to. We can get all of our work 
done, but we do need a little bit of cooperation.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.

         Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act

  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, I congratulate Senators Harkin and 
Enzi, their staffs, and all who worked for 15 months on this important 
piece of legislation. I have watched the Senate for a long time--first 
as a staff member and then as a Senator--and it has always been a 
little messy and complicated. There are always disagreements. That is 
the purpose of the Senate, to work out arguments. But over the last few 
months, this Senate has done a much better job of operating in the way 
the American people expect us to operate. We are all here to try to get 
results after we state our positions. This bill especially affects the 
health and safety of millions of Americans. Almost every American 
family buys the prescription drugs and medical devices we are talking 
about in this legislation. I am glad to see this happen for two 
reasons--one, because of the result, and two, because of the way the 
Senate has worked. It is a fine example of what I hope to see happen 
more often.
  I also thank the majority leader, Senator Reid, and the minority 
leader, Senator McConnell, for creating an environment in which we 
could have a large number of amendments, debate, and discussion. I 
think we all appreciate that very much and want to create an 
environment in which they can provide that kind of leadership.
  I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                        Land Grant Universities

  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, on Monday, at the Library of Congress, 
was the 150th anniversary celebration of the creation of land-grant 
universities and the National Academy of Sciences. The assemblage also 
took a moment to throw a bouquet to Andrew Carnegie for founding so 
many free public libraries.
  I am on the floor to ask this question: What was in the water in 
Washington, DC, 150 years ago, in 1862 and 1863? During the 2 years 
after the telegraph dispatched the Pony Express in 1861, Congress and 
President Lincoln enacted the Morrill Act creating land-grant colleges, 
authorized the Transcontinental Railroad--reducing the time for getting 
from New York to San Francisco from 6 months to 6 days--as well as the 
National Academy of Sciences, and enacted the Homestead Act. They also 
agreed on a conscription law with teeth, a National Banking Act, 
establishing a national currency, a new internal revenue law, and 
created the Department of Agriculture. To top it off, on December 2, 
1863 the last section of the Statute of Freedom was put in place on top 
of the Capitol dome, with a great celebration.
  Mr. President, if I were the Republican national chairman, I might 
suggest that this transforming burst of governing was simply a matter 
of turning the government completely over to

[[Page S4628]]

Republicans and sending home half of the Democrats. By the end of the 
37th Congress in 1863, southern Democratic U.S. Senators could not 
obstruct any of these laws because their States had seceded from the 
Union and they could not to vote. According to the Senate Historian, 
that left 48 Senators voting at the end of that session--27 
Republicans, 12 Democrats, and 9 Unionists, oppositionists, or Senators 
who called themselves the ``know nothings.''
  Perhaps this burst of governing came from the energy of a new 
political party or the brilliance of the new President, Abraham 
Lincoln, or maybe a Congress that was simply more efficient in those 
days. The Morrill Act that created land-grant colleges passed both the 
Senate and House in the same week, in June 1862. The President signed 
the bill into law 2 weeks later. The National Academy of Sciences was 
introduced on February 20, 1863. It passed the Senate and the House and 
was signed by the President all on the same day, March 3. Back in those 
days, the President would obligingly travel down Pennsylvania Avenue 
and sit in an office in the Capitol waiting for bills to be brought to 
him for signature.
  Maybe it was a result of the state of the American condition at the 
time--the absence of a 24-hour media, special interest groups, and 
instant communication on the Internet. Or maybe it was that Members of 
Congress had more time to think great thoughts while traveling to the 
sessions. It would take Senator Sam Houston 6 weeks to travel from his 
home in Texas to occupy his Senate desk in Washington, DC.
  There is no doubt it helped that there was a crisis, the Civil War. 
Americans have always risen to our best in the midst of a crisis. 
Making the crisis worse, many thought the new President was 
incompetent. In January 1863, former Supreme Court Justice Benjamin R. 
Curtis ``reported general agreement on the utter incompetence of the 
President. He is shattered, dazed and utterly foolish.'' This is from 
David Herbert Donald's book ``Lincoln.'' The editor of the Cincinnati 
Commercial was more explicit when he wrote that President Lincoln was 
``an awful, woeful ass. If Lincoln was not a damn fool, we could get 
along yet.'' The President, in turn, considered many of his generals 
incompetent. And he and Mrs. Lincoln were suffering a personal crisis 
at the time, grieving the death of their son, Willie. The war crisis 
clearly helped to enact transforming legislation in 1862 and 1863. One 
impetus for passage of the law creating land-grant colleges was to 
provide military training.
  Among the first assignments of the National Academy of Sciences was 
to find some way to protect the iron hulls of the Union Navy warships 
from corrosion.
  GEN Grenville Dodge told President Lincoln that the Transcontinental 
Railroad was a ``military necessity,'' even though Representative 
Justin Morrill, a visionary in other matters, said he saw no need for 
the railroad to go further than the silver mines in Nevada because it 
would only be traveling through uninhabited territories.
  The war caused the bickering Republicans, who remained in Congress, 
to pull together. The editor of the Chicago Tribune explained:

       [If we fail], then all is lost. Union, party cause, freedom 
     and abolition of slavery . . . let us first get the ship out 
     of the breakers, then court martial the officers if they 
     deserve it.

  Mr. President, it helped to have a crisis.
  Unfortunately, the formula for the passage of transforming 
legislation 150 years ago is not neatly explained as a crisis, plus a 
brilliant President, plus a high-minded Congress efficiently enacting 
big ideas developed in Washington, DC. The real story is much more 
American than that. As has usually been the case, these big American 
ideas came from outside Washington, they took a long time in coming, 
and enacting them into law was a long and messy process.
  Jonathan Baldwin Turner's address before the Illinois Teachers 
Institute in 1850 proposed the creation of an ``industrial university'' 
12 years before enactment of the Morrill Act. Representative Morrill 
first introduced the idea in 1857. After much struggle, it passed in 
1959, but President Buchanan vetoed it. Two years later, Morrill 
succeeded. And even though the obstructionist Southerners were gone, 
eastern and western Republicans argued vigorously over land grants, as 
well as where the new Transcontinental Railroad should go.
  The roots of the National Academy of Sciences can be traced to a 
group of Cambridge scientists meeting in the 1850s or to earlier 
philosophical organizations before that or even all the way back to 
Benjamin Franklin. California entrepreneurs and speculators and 
politicians--some of them were all three--were the ones who persisted 
in the 1850s until, in 1862, the Pacific Railroad Act became law.
  So the formula for success for these transforming laws 150 years ago 
was typically American: big ideas bubbling up from around the country, 
plus entrepreneurial persistence, plus a crisis equals transforming 
  How does that formula apply today to improving the American 
condition? Well, to begin with, we have a handy crisis. Washington is 
borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends. By this rate, by 2025, 
every penny of tax revenue will go for Medicare, Medicaid, Social 
Security, and interest on the national debt, leaving nothing left--
unless we borrow more--for national defense, national laboratories, 
national parks, research, or education. A second crisis, many fear, is 
that our country will be unable to compete in the future with the 
emerging Asian economies. So what transforming steps should the United 
States take to meet these new challenges?
  My own view is that rather than creating new institutions, as America 
did in the 1850s and 1860s, it would be wiser for us to spend our time 
making the institutions we already have work.
  Let me discuss just two examples--first, our basic governmental 
institutions. The new Foreign Minister of Australia, Bob Carr, a great 
friend of the United States, expressed recently in Washington, DC, that 
the United States is one budget deal away from reasserting its 
preeminence in the world. He means, of course, that the world is 
watching, actually hoping, that at the end of the year the United 
States will demonstrate that we actually can govern ourselves by 
resolving the fiscal mess we have in a way that reforms taxes, controls 
spending, and reduces debt. We do not need a new government to do this. 
We need for our newly elected President, whether his name be Romney or 
Obama, to lead.
  President Lyndon B. Johnson's Press Secretary, George Reedy, once 
defined Presidential leadership as seeing an urgent need, developing a 
strategy to meet that need, and persuading at least half the people 
that you are right.
  We don't need to change the rules of the United States Senate; we 
simply need a change in behavior--one that focuses less on playing 
games and more on getting results. The new Congress, next year's 
Congress, whether it be Republican or Democratic, must make its goal to 
dispute, amend, debate, vote upon the President's proposed agenda, and 
then help the President succeed, because if he succeeds our country 
  We might well remember the words of that Chicago Tribune editorial 
writer in 1862 who said:

       Let us first get the ship out of the breakers . . . then 
     court martial the officers if they deserve it.

  The second institutions we should refurbish and make work are our 
colleges and universities--all 6,000 of them, not just the land-grant 
universities that we celebrate this week. Again, we do not need new 
institutions; we need to reassert the greatness of the ones we have. 
Our universities, along with our national labs, are our secret weapons 
for innovation, and innovation is our secret weapon for producing 25 
percent of all the money in the world for just 5 percent of the world's 
population. The list of what it would take to strengthen our colleges 
and universities is short and mostly agreed upon. First, stop sending 
home every year 17,000 of the 50,000 international students who 
graduate from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, 
technology, engineering, and mathematics. Give them a green card and 
let them stay here to create jobs in the United States.

  Next, double funding for advanced research, as the America COMPETES 
Act, which passed with huge bipartisan

[[Page S4629]]

support in the Senate, has already authorized.
  Third, repeal the Federal Medicaid mandates that force States to 
spend money on Medicaid that otherwise would go to higher education. 
This has resulted in dramatic decreases in State support and increases 
in tuition to try to maintain quality.
  Next, while Congress is repealing the Medicaid mandates, it should 
literally cut in half the stack of regulations that hampers 
institutional autonomy and wastes dollars that should be spent on 
students and research.
  Finally, the institutions themselves should look for ways to save 
money, such as full utilization of facilities during the summer, 3-year 
degrees for some students, and reforms to teacher tenure.
  In the 1960s, Mitt Romney's father, George Romney, offered this 
advice to the big three Detroit automobile manufacturers:

       Nothing is more vulnerable than entrenched success.

  The big three did not pay attention to that advice, and we see what 
happened. It is good advice for universities today.
  In conclusion, I wish to say a word about the Carnegie libraries. My 
experience is that most ideas fail for lack of the idea; or to put it 
positively, that a great idea eventually carries itself into reality. 
Andrew Carnegie's great idea was building public libraries. All of us 
know of their importance.
  I remember when the New York Times wrote an article about me. They 
said, Mr. Alexander grew up in a lower middle-class family at the edge 
of the Tennessee mountains. When I called home later that week to talk 
with my mother, she was reading Thessalonians to gather strength for 
what she considered to be a slur on the family. She said to me: Son, we 
never thought of ourselves that way. You had a library card from the 
day you were 3 and a music lesson from the day you were 4. You had 
everything you needed that was important.
  Andrew Carnegie's gift and the Federal laws 150 years ago creating 
land grant universities and the National Academy of Sciences and the 
transcontinental railroad and the Homestead Act all have this in 
common. They were not command-and-control Federal Government actions 
from Washington, DC. They were big ideas that, when implemented, 
empowered Americans to do things for themselves--to travel, to own a 
home, to educate themselves, and to learn by using a library.
  For example, my empowered mother took me to the A. K. Harper Memorial 
Library in Maryville, TN, when I was 3 years old in order to get my 
library card. ``Mrs. Alexander,'' the librarian said to her, ``we don't 
give library cards to 3-year-olds.'' ``Well, you should,'' she said to 
them. And they did.
  So on this anniversary for the congressional enactment of 
transforming and empowering ideas, there should be more hope than 
despair. We still have most of the world's great universities. They 
still attract most of the brightest students from everywhere, 
insourcing brainpower and creating wealth.
  According to a recent Harvard School of Business survey of 10,000 of 
its alumni on U.S. competitiveness, if you are in business in this 
country, it is still hard to beat America's entrepreneurial 
environment, proximity to customers, low levels of corruption, access 
to skilled labor, safety for people and property, and protection of 
intellectual property.
  We have a remarkable system of government created by geniuses that 
many countries struggle to emulate. So why not celebrate this 
anniversary by taking steps to ensure that 25 or 50 or 100 years from 
now we have even more of the greatest universities in the world?
  Let me read exactly what Australia's Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, a 
friend of the United States, said in his speech in April:
  America could be one budget deal away, in the context of economic 
recovery, one budget deal away from banishing the notion of American 
declinism. Think about that, one budget deal, an exercise of 
statesmanship up the road, in the context of an economic bounce-back 
and all of a sudden, with energy independence crystallizing, with 
technological innovation, resurgence of American manufacturing, people 
who spoke about American decline could be revising their thesis.
  So as we celebrate the transforming legislation of 150 years ago, why 
not take the advice of our friend from Australia? Why not take 
advantage of our opportunity at the end of this year to enact a budget 
that will reassert Americans' preeminence in the world?
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arkansas.

                       Honoring Our Armed Forces

                  Army Master Sergeant Gregory Childs

  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, as the son of a master sergeant in the 
Air Force, I grew up in a family that had values rooted in military 
tradition and patriotism. But you certainly don't have to be from a 
military family to love our country. We are encouraged to have a sense 
of American pride in our daily lives.
  I remember reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing patriotic 
songs that reflect the love of our country. Students continue to do 
this and to learn these values passed down from generations of 
Americans before them. We have special days that recognize the people 
and symbols important to our country.
  Two weeks ago, we celebrated Flag Day and next week we celebrate 
Independence Day. The 3 weeks between these patriotic holidays is known 
as Honor America Days. You most likely won't find these on your 
calendar, but Congress established these days and adopted it into the 
U.S. Code to encourage gatherings and activities that celebrate and 
honor our country.
  While these days are not widely recognized, one of the ways Americans 
demonstrate our devotion to our country is by supporting our men and 
women in uniform. These troops have made enormous sacrifices to defend 
our country and our interests across the globe. These heroes are 
shining examples of the spirit, commitment, and bravery of our Nation.
  During my time in Congress, I have had the opportunity to travel and 
meet with our troops across the globe and thank them personally for 
their sacrifices to make our world a better place. These men and women 
are always in my thoughts and prayers. I thank our military personnel 
and our veterans for their valued service and offer my sympathy to 
those families whose loved ones have given their all in defense of our 

  This includes the family of Arkansas soldier Army MSG Gregory Childs. 
Master Sergeant Childs died on May 4, 2012, while serving in 
Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His family and 
the community of Warren, AR, paid their respects to Master Sergeant 
Childs, a father, a son, a brother and a friend, in a very moving 
  Master Sergeant Childs graduated from Warren High School in 1992. He 
considered it an honor to serve his country in the military. For 20 
years he served his country in locations around the globe, from Bosnia, 
Germany, Colombia, and two tours in Afghanistan. He excelled through 
the ranks of the Non-Commissioned Officer Corps and earned one of the 
highest ranks he could attain.
  I ask my colleagues to keep his family--especially his young daughter 
Kourtlan--and his friends in their thoughts and prayers during these 
difficult times. I humbly offer my appreciation and gratitude to this 
patriot for his selfless sacrifice.
  As the home to literally thousands of active-duty military personnel 
and even more veterans, Arkansas has experienced more than its share of 
grief and sacrifice for loved ones who serve our country. Our State has 
a rich history of service to our Nation. Troops stationed in Arkansas 
have served our country honorably even before it was admitted to the 
Union. Our men and women have always been willing to do their part to 
serve and to protect. Our troops stationed in Arkansas and our military 
facilities at the Little Rock Air Force Base and the 188th Fighter Wing 
are some of the best assets in our military. Arkansans' active-duty 
personnel and National Guardsmen have time and again proven their 
dedication, perseverance, and commitment to excellence in defending 
this country.
  As we plan our Independence Day celebrations, let us remember the 
service men and women who embody the

[[Page S4630]]

ideals that make our country great. I know my fellow Arkansans share my 
gratitude and appreciation for our military personnel and their 
families who sacrifice at home while their loved ones are away.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.

                   Synthetic Drug and PDMP Amendments

  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I rise to talk about a couple of 
amendments that were included in the legislation we voted on here this 
afternoon in the Senate. I am speaking of the Food and Drug 
Administration legislation. That legislation included two very 
important amendments that deal with combating legal drug abuse here in 
this country.
  I want to start by thanking my colleagues, Senators Schumer, 
Klobuchar, Grassley, and Enzi, for helping to develop and promote this 
legislation over many months. The legislation addresses what is called 
synthetic drugs. I also want to thank them for helping see it through 
to passage as an amendment today.
  Senator Grassley actually shared with me a story a few weeks ago of a 
young man from Iowa, David Mitchell Rozga, an 18-year-old, who sadly 
took his life after using this synthetic drug known as K2, or spice. It 
is synthetic marijuana. He had purchased it legally at a local shopping 
  In recent weeks, we have seen lots of news accounts of some of the 
savage acts committed by people high on these synthetic drugs, such as 
the widely reported cannibalism in Miami, FL. I saw today another 
horrible story about another man in Waco, TX. We have seen lots of 
deaths reported in my home State of Ohio due to synthetic drugs. Very 
recently we had a report of the Columbus, OH, police having to shoot 
two men who were high on what are called bath salts. One was shot 
fatally. There is synthetic marijuana out there, but also synthetic 
stimulants and synthetic hallucinogens. Unfortunately, people don't 
know they are dangerous because they are not illegal. So we need to act 
and act now, and we are doing so through this legislation today.
  As I said, one of the drugs is called spice. It sounds like an 
ingredient you would find in a kitchen, something benign you would find 
on a shelf somewhere. The same with bath salts. Unfortunately, they are 
not benign at all. They are not what you think they are. They are 
dangerous compounds that can cause tremendous devastation, and we need 
to be sure we get the word out.
  Users are led to believe they are getting a legal version of 
something that mimics marijuana, cocaine, LSD, or any other illegal 
street drug that is under what is called Schedule I of the Federal Food 
and Drug Administration. This means they are illegal drugs. But because 
these synthetic drugs are legal, again, users think they are safe. But 
they produce adverse reactions that are truly unexpected and sometimes 
bizarre. And like the street versions that are on Schedule I at the 
Federal level, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FDA have both 
concluded none of these drugs has any currently accepted medical use in 
treatment in the United States.
  It seems to me it is appropriate for us to list them under Schedule 
I. And again, that is what the Senate did today, following the House of 
Representatives. Because they are legal, they are accessible, 
particularly on the Internet. I have Googled a number of them, 
including K2, and it is alarming to see how easy it is to purchase them 
and how they are advertised. It is time to put them on Schedule I, just 
like street drugs, and by doing so we give the DEA the ability to 
prevent these drugs from being distributed or imported into the United 
States, and also allows them to pursue the manufacturers of these 
  A lot of families have suffered from synthetic drugs, and sometimes 
those families come to me. I have done a lot of work over the years in 
prevention and education of substance abuse. I started a coalition back 
home that continues to do great work in the greater Cincinnati area. I 
have been involved in encouraging community coalitions around the 
country, and I am hearing more and more about these synthetic drugs. 
Families come to me because they are hoping something positive will 
come out of the tragedies they have experienced; that the word will get 
out through these tragedies and other young people and adults won't 
lose their lives.
  I heard one such story in the Senate about the family of Caleb Tanner 
Hixson in Riceville, TN.
  Tanner was a student at Lee University in Cleveland, TN, majoring in 
exercise and health science. After graduating, he wanted to study for 
an advanced degree in physical therapy. Besides studying in that field, 
he was an avid athlete and outdoorsman. He had played competitive 
baseball his whole life, and he was also into hiking and canoeing. But 
all that promise was cut off on March 8 of this year when Tanner died 
as a result of a cardiac arrest after ingesting alcohol and a synthetic 
drug at a party in Chattanooga, TN. He was 22 years old. That drug is 
easily purchased on the Internet. In fact, it is identified on the 
Internet as being a ``research chemical.''
  His cousin, Brandi White, was the one who told me about this incident 
on the Senate floor. Brandi actually works in the leadership office. I 
appreciated her sharing this story with me, and my heart goes out to 
her family. She said she called Tanner's mom to tell her about the 
legislation when we got it onto the bill, and she called her again 
today to tell her the legislation had passed. Although it is little 
comfort when you have lost a son, it is some comfort. I appreciate the 
fact that her family was willing to share that story so that other 
young people will not make that same mistake.
  This legislation puts these dangerous drugs on what is called 
schedule I. We don't want one more young person to make one more bad 
decision and to die or have a serious health problem as a result of 
thinking these synthetic drugs are safe because Washington hasn't put 
them on the list to tell people they are unsafe.
  If we want to do right by the safety and health of our children as 
well as our communities, closing this loophole, of course, was just 
something commonsense--and, by the way, something bipartisan, along the 
lines of what my colleague said earlier about how we ought to be 
operating in the Senate.
  I am also proud to see bipartisan support for passage of another 
amendment today. This is legislation that I introduced with Senator 
Whitehouse along with Congressman Hal Rogers from Kentucky. This deals 
with the prescription drug problem we have. There is a prescription 
drug abuse problem throughout the country, but in Ohio we have been hit 
hard. One of the issues I found in going to a townhall in southern Ohio 
was the fact that the State prescription drug monitoring programs 
couldn't communicate and operate across State lines.
  I did a townhall where Director Gil Kerlikowse of the Office of 
National Drug Policy kindly came to Portsmouth, OH, about 1 year ago in 
July 2011, which is in southern Ohio on the banks of the Ohio River, an 
area that has been in the center of prescription drug abuse and 
interstate drug trafficking. It is also right across the river from 
Kentucky and right near West Virginia, so it is an interstate area.
  Prescription drug abuse has devastated the county in which Portsmouth 
sits, Scioto County, as well as other counties in the area. But because 
of the hard work of family members, community leaders, and Federal, 
State, and local law enforcement, there has been some momentum and we 
are beginning to turn things around. Pill shops are being closed. One 
critical tool they told me they needed was prescription drug monitoring 
programs that could work across State lines. This is a database that a 
lot of States use to monitor prescription drug abuse so when someone 
goes to ask for a prescription, the person responsible for implementing 
the program or someone at a pharmacy or a doctor knows what 
prescriptions this person has already received. These are very 
effective programs.
  Forty-eight States have them, one territory has it, and they work 
well within the State but they don't communicate well within the 
States, between each other. Again, in a place such as Scioto County, 
where we have interstate traffic, this legislation will now protect our 
community and ensure that if someone gets a prescription in Ohio and 
then goes across to Kentucky to fill it once they have reached their

[[Page S4631]]

limit in Ohio, that there will be a monitoring program and a database 
available. So it succeeds by getting States' different programs to work 
together securely, reliably, and efficiently.
  I would also like to thank the Alliance of States with Prescription 
Monitoring Programs, which has played a pivotal role in promoting 
national interoperability standards.
  These are examples where the Senate acted to try to make our 
communities safer and to help ensure that young people can achieve 
their God-given potential. Working together, we have been able today to 
help ensure the health and well-being of our communities.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Bennet). The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.